Archive for May, 2009

Tomorrow is another day

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

riverAnd yes, tomorrow (i.e. today) did turn out to be another day. We were out of the house by about quarter to seven in the morning, hoofing it over to Bird Hills and then the river and along the riverside Border to Border Trail until we got to the Northside Grille, where I had a Pontiac Trail for breakfast. Home through town past the finish line of the Dexter-Ann Arbor fun run or whatever it it’s called. Man those people looked tired and hot and some of them looked like they were in pain. I guess there is a point to running a race because so many people do it. If you like to run, go for it! I will be there cheering you on! I like to get a *lot* of exercise. But I do like to get it at a slower pace. Walk, ski, kayak. I think bicycling is great too. I’m just too chicken these days to mix it up with vee-hickular traffic. And I have an old bike with squeaky brakes, yada yada.

And then, we got home and I ran errands. I managed to leave my memory card reader* up at the moominbeach last weekend. It is in the same Trader Joe’s bag that my UFP is in, I will bet dollars. I won’t be back up there until three weeks from now and I can live without my UFP for that long but I *need* a blasted card reader. Problem. *Both* big-box office supply stores I went to today DO NOT CARRY a cheap and simple memory card reader like the one I left at the beach. This is a new development. I know, because I did the same thing a few months ago (yes, really, except that time I left it at Houghton Lake) and was able to easily find a replacement then. Now they only have these expensive multi-card readers. I DO NOT NEED ONE OF THOSE!!! I think they have made a bad business decision discontinuing the other ones. Luckily Tarjay came to the rescue with a perfectly good little card reader for *six* dollars, which is about a third what I expected to pay, so yay for me!!! I was out by Tarjay because I was making a secret run to JoAnn Fabrics for a secret ingredient for one of my *new* UFPs!!!

Home again, worked on UFPs and dungeon and the GG vacuumed!!!! I *hate* to vacuum. Actually I don’t hate to vacuum, I just hate to move furniture, crud, and corruption around so I *can* vacuum. Hint to 2009 xmas list makers: Roomba. You can get me a cat to ride around on it too. If you want to be bored by pictures of our hike, click here or on the pic. For pictures of this hike or parts of it at other seasons, click here (October) and here (late November) and here (a very colorless January day).

* A memory card reader is a little USB device that I can stick my camera’s memory card into, plug it into my computer and transfer photos. It looks a lot like a flash drive (or jump drive, or key drive, or whatever you call those). I do NOT miss the days of floppy disk photo storage!

Blerrrrrrrrrrrgggggg

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

stripsSelf confidence is not my strong suit. Anybody who knows me from way back when probably knows that. But I do interact with plenty of people that know me *now* and I am always surprised when I make an off-hand comment about being shy or low in self-esteem and they reply with, “You!?!” It’s true, I’m more confident these last few years. Or maybe it’s just that I hide it better. Part of it is realizing [finally] that I’m not the only person in that particular boat. Another part is realizing that those who are uber-social extroverted high-achievers have their own problems. I know that because I actually have friends in that category. I’m never exactly sure why they would hang around with me but sometimes they do. Mind you, these are not the captains of industry, in general I think some of *those* people are CRAZY!!!

But I am who I am and yesterday was a series of minor defeats in every part of my life and, when I got home at the end of the day, my tail was between my legs. It stayed there throughout the night and I went to the schoolyard and there were all kinds of kids there and I was missing the years that I would take my tiny little children over there — even the night the bomb went off — and I got mad at the GG because I was feeling bad about myself and he took off on a ride in the Ninja somewhere. And that’s okay. He was right to be mad at me and, after 26 (almost 27) years of marriage, that is okay! Heck, it was okay at seven years of marriage but we didn’t necessarily know it back then. Anyway, my tail stayed between my legs today until, oh I dunno, about 3:30 PM when I *finally* forced myself down into my dungeon “studio” to try to do some “creative” work. With fabric, don’tcha know. I’ve got that one room of the dungeon cleared out enough that I can actually *see* what fabric I have. It looks like a fabric store down there. And I am intent on using a lot of that up before I die. I am not gonna leave my beach urchins — the ones I missed immensely today — all my fabric.

“Every time they change the garbage pickup day, it takes me about three years to recover!”

Friday, May 29th, 2009

garbage1garbage2garbage3garbage4

I didn’t say that. It was Gunther, who was putting out his trash (and recycle bins and compost bin, etc., etc.) this morning. I was confused. We had Memorial Day earlier this week and when we have Memorial Day in the week, that means that they pick up the garbage (and the recycle bins and compost, etc., etc.) on Saturday instead of Friday. I knew that. Except that Gunther and probably about 80% of the neighborhood was putting their trash out today or had already done so. Sooooo…. Was I missing something? I didn’t know. I hate having garbage day on Friday. It used to be on Tuesday and I liked that a lot better. When it is on Friday, about once a month or maybe two, I have a week where I have two or sometimes even *three* blasted weeks’ worth of garbage (and recycling and compost, etc.) to put out. And that is because if you have octo-women and property in the Great White North, you need to go there once in a while and if you can manage to get a Friday off, you can leave the night before and then you can’t deal with the blasted garbage on Friday… Oh well, I trundled on to the Recycle Ann Arbor website and garbage day is indeed tomorrow so, I wheeled a very full garbage cart out there tonight and I’ll get the recycle bins out there when I have put every last scrap of recyclable crap in them, which could well happen tomorrow morning. And there is nothing in the compost bin that I know of because nobody has been around the Landfill enough in recent weeks to fill it and I am working on dredging out the Landfill Dungeon, which means I am not working on the Landfill Jungle. And if you click on the pics above, you can see a little blast from the past, which is The Commander and Grandroobly doing the weekly garbage run at Fin Family Moominbeach back in about 2002 or 2003. Yes! You are right! They are not particularly happy and that is about all I will say about that because if I say anything more, I will get in trouble! Except that The Engineer and I used to get a huge kick out of the whole blasted procedure.

G’night and gitcher garbage out on time,
Garbage Woman

Note to self: start bringing your “real” camera to work with you

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

duckpondMy “real” camera being my trusty old Powershot. 2-1/2 years old now and going strong, knock wood. I mean, as if I needed one more thing to remember to pack into my vee-hickle every morning. Oh, I wouldn’t use my powershot to document fraud, waste, abuse, or bad behavior. Actually, I think this is the only place I have ever worked that nobody drove me absolutely nuts and I haven’t observed any fraud, waste, or abuse. Unless you want to count that Monday morning fog that a lot of creative/technical folk working on multiple projects have to work through. Like where did I end up on what last Friday and what should I start with today and…? But everybody gets through that and things rev up. People are committed to creating a great product, they work hard, collaborate with each other and stuff gets done. *Still* don’t know how I got here and hope it lasts a while! A camera *is* sometimes helpful during an extreme design session when the boss is drawing things on the whiteboard like mad and we get to some kind of absolutely brilliant solution to something and then I get back to my desk and think, “uh, what did we just do?”

None of that stuff is what I need my “real” camera for. This particular picture was taken by my iPhone camera. Unlike some others, I don’t think the iPhone has a terrible camera. It is what it is. I use it all the time and I am more often than not happy with the results. This picture? I dunno. A bunch of co-workers and I were out for a Group Walk and ducklings are being trained by their mama in this little pond and we love watching them. The ducklings weren’t visible when I took the pic but I loved the reflections, so I tried to photograph them. But I only had my iPhone and, although it can do some low-light conditions well, sometimes even better than the powershot, this flat gray light was not the best. I wish I’d had my trusty old powershot today.

We have a lot of parking lots around my work but we also have beautiful ponds that support all kinds of wildlife. Plants of all sorts and all kinds of waterfowl and birds: ducks, geese, swans, egrets, killdeer… It isn’t exactly like walking the moominbeach but there are many mornings when I park my vee-hickle and walk over to the pond for a few moments before I head inside.

Two packages of stickers, twice a week

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

fishdinnerYou’d think I’d’ve been more interested in saving money for the [expensive] private liberal arts college that my beach urchins eventually attended instead of spending approximately ten dollars a week on stickers. You know the kind. Cute little aminals and things, sometimes sparkly or metallic. They are in the greeting card section of the store. Even though I would always get bored when I was a kid and I went downtown with a friend who just had to read all of the blasted greeting cards… Even though one of my great aunts would slip little pictures of Jesus or scriptures (actually I’m not sure what) in the greeting cards at the grokkery store when Radical Betty took her shopping… I get easily bored with the greeting card section of the grokkery store. Or any store for that matter. But somehow, whenever we passed the greeting card section, I would always buy stickers.

Once upon a time, when I had two tiny little children and worked an intense and beloved part-time job, I had a *routine*!!! Yes, I did. I worked afternoons 2-7 and every Tuesday and Friday morning, I would load the urchins into whatever vee-hickle I owned at the time and we would go to the Westgate Kroger. I would almost always have a long, detailed list of whatever provisions we needed to get through to the next grocery trip and although there were more interim emergency grokkery trips than I care to remember, that schedule usually worked. I know there are lots of mooms who get their babies all cleaned up and dressed for an outing and somebody poops or vomits copiously at the last minute and the whole dern thing gets derailed. I can count on maybe one hand the times I had that happen to me. There were the usual meltdowns sometimes when we were out (I *had* to cry [don’tcha know]) but we *usually* managed to get out and back without any major body fluid explosions. I am not the best of mooms and I don’t have any secrets, I was just lucky and yada yada. ’nuff o’ that.

I went to the Westgate Kroger on the way home from work today. We needed milk. I *hope* the GG didn’t put the milk that was in the refrigimitator into his cereal yesterday morning because boy-oh-boy was it sour! I know he didn’t put any milk into his cereal this morning because I dumped the bad milk yesterday and we didn’t have *any* milk this morning. I bought milk at the Westgate Kroger today. Since the Plum Market has opened up, I don’t go to the Westgate Kroger any more. Not very often. Today I was in there and I was in a time warp thinking about buying stickers for a 2-year-old and the time (before I had kids) when a guy was trying to hit on me by asking me if I was “into” amulets or if I was a “lady” minister! Kee-reist…

And, yaknow, I might be richer if I hadn’t bought all those stickers all those years ago but it sure was fun and, in the long run. it all worked out and we managed somehow to send our kids to that [expensive] private liberal arts college *anyway*, even though I had quit my [beloved] part-time job by then and didn’t find/pursue another well-paying job until *after* one of the urchins had graduated from college. Go figger. And I don’t have a conclusion here but this is a blahg and I don’t need one, yada yada.

G’night,
KW

Lions and tigers and bears liberries, oh my…

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

lionSam (archaeologist, not dog) got me started on liberries libraries and actually, we had one of the coolest libraries on earth up there in the rugged outpost of Sault Ste. Siberia (er, Sam grew up near Lansing and I didn’t know her until college so we didn’t share libraries but that’s a whole ‘nother story). Anyway. Did/do other Carnegie libraries have lions? Ours did! I am pretty sure that the Carnegie Library down here on the Planet Ann Arbor did not have lions. The A2 Carnegie Library was never any more than a facade during my time here, as far as I know (I may be wrong). I can’t believe there was enough space between the library and Huron Street for lions and a big elegant staircase. It was embedded in a now demolished building that once housed Ann Arbor High and then became a U of M building. One that housed our own favorite Trueblood Theatre, where our own A2 Young Actors Guild used to perform their final summer theatre camp plays. I have so many good memories of helping to manage play productions in that un-air-conditioned place during the A2 Art Fair but they’ll have to wait for another post. That building has been torn down by the university, which has built some kind of uber dorm or whatever, I can’t exactly remember. My kids lived in rather shabby dorms over at K-College but they got a wonderful education out of it all (I think that is the point, I mean they grew up in this shabby little ticky-tacky west-side Planet A2 house) but that all is also a whole ‘nother story. Bottom line, the UM managed to incorporate the Carnegie Library facade into the new luxury dorm.

I don’t know how many Carnegie Libraries had lions out in front but ours did and I loved playing on them. The building *is* still there. It is now the office for the Eastern Upper Peninsula Intermediate School District. The building is being used! Yay! I got out at 6AM or so on Friday morning and got a bunch of pictures of Sault Ste. Siberia. Starting with sunrise going down Prospect, then some houses in the area of the library and the library itself and then I walked down near Brady Park and took pictures and I forget what else I included in the slide show, if anything. Click here or on the pic…

Oh yeah, speaking of bears, our northern correspondent, Paulette, has had a bear hanging around. She knows more or less where it lives. Moominbeach folk, think left of tunnel road somewhere. That didn’t make much sense! Right of tunnel road if you are going *down* the hill. She has implemented bear avoidance deterrence strategies.

Just don’t get your tongue stuck!

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Trust me. It is never a good idea to get your tongue stuck. Especially when you are on a “vacation”, like the one I was supposedly on for the last five days. Froggy’s quick and dirty little video might give you an idea of about how I feel right now. Will somebody please invent some kind of little booth that I can step into with all of my cosmic debris, press a button, and emerge in the northcountry (or vice versa). Captain Kirk? Dumbledore? Where are y’all? Anyway. Earth to Kayak Woman… To the driver of the blue minivan from the Naylor dealership on the Planet Ann Arbor: I’m glad the po-leese saw yer reckless driving. I wonder if I know you. You are *not* my boss, he has a different license plate. To the driver of the big ugly silver SUV-type thing: er, never mind, this blahg is G-rated. To the I75 SUV Speedway construction gods: THANK YOU for not closing the blasted Zilwaukee Bridge! And seriously, it *was* all fun but what a whirlwind! And I left my blasted UFP up there! I wonder what I should do on my next “vacation”. ;-] Teach vacation bible school? Naw, probably not. Anyway, whatever you do, do not get your tongue stuck. Or did I already mention that?

A washerwoman goes to church

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

forgetmenotsAt least that’s how I was dressed! Honestly, when I packed threw a bunch of raggy old clothes into my moldy old duffel bag, you can bet that church clothes were not on my mind. Ski jacket? You betcha! And scarves and gloves and polartech socks? Ummm-hmmm. And I wore those polartech socks to church today, yesiree! It’s dern cold up here, don’tcha know?

To my twitter friends, the church is a United Methodist church and it is my childhood church. We went today because they had a small ceremony honoring Grandroobly and other people for whom the church had received memorial donations. The Commander received a handwritten invitation to attend “with her loved ones”. And so we went. Polartech socks and all. As always, I was a bit twitchy about having to sit there for so long but I survived and I didn’t even text anyone or twitter after the service began.

And then it was over and after we extricated ourselves from the clutches of The Commander’s fans, we made our way to Woll-Mort, where I felt much better about my clothing, although I admit to being green with envy when I saw the woman with the beautiful hot pink hair and outfit to match. The Comm got a cute little powershot camera, which I am sure she plans to employ in starting her own blahg so she can post uglies of yer fav-o-rite blahgger. At least it is pink so The Comm won’t mix it up with *my* trusty old powershot.

I could go on but I’m typing on my phone again and it’s getting old. I went over to our northern correspondent’s house to steal her wifi today but it was way more fun to cackle around with her than blahg, so here I am. And then I got a ride home on a Gator, which I was much better dressed for than church.

Oh, click on the pic for more.

Beach Dragons of Whitefish Point

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

lakedragon

This is your roving northern blahgger checking in from the Green Guy Cafe. I only have a minute but today’s slideshow is brought to you by the Beach Dragons of Whitefish Point. We got out there before 8:00 AM just in time for yer fav-o-rite blahgger to shoo the GG off on a birding walk, which gave her a perfect chance to head down to the beach and cavort amongst the dragons. Click here or on the pic for more dragons and other stuff on a dark, windy morning out on the shipwreck coast.

Sunrise

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

On a clear day you can see Ile Parisienne

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

I am here at the Moominbeach and about all I have to say is that the north shall rise again. My only Internet connection is my phone unless I go to the Green Guy Cafe or The Dancing Crane. The beach connection doesn’t work any more. I guess I’ve been found out. $200 when all is said and done for a DSL connection for just the summer. No thanks! I think vacation broadband represents a business opportunity but whaddoo I know.

Mormon nailer

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

plumYes, one of my lots in life seems to be engineers. My brother was an automotive engineer. He could recognize various car makes and models well before he could read. He couldn’t have been older than about seven when the parents took a trip down to Daytwa and he explicitly specified that they were supposed to *notify* him if they saw a Corvette with its lights open! Or shut. I can’t remember. I couldn’t have cared less about cars. In later years, it seemed like nothing was more fun for him than taking a vee-hickle (especially somebody else’s vee-hickle) in for service. More often than not, when I drove into his driveway, he would be coming out of his garage with an air pump, having eye-balled my tires as I drove up the street. Once or twice, when I was at the beach and the GG was not, The Engineer took my vee-hickle in for new tires (at my expense, of course) and we would wait to see how long it would take the GG to notice. [He’ll comment that he noticed right away, of course! :-] I will never forget the time Mouse and Pengo tried to drive the POC and came back immediately with, “POC makes a funny noise when I turn it.” Hoo boy! On a cold, gray, boring, limpopo day like that day? We were in town at the Chrysler dealer in no time flat! And plenty of Bugs and Horsey’s part of the Fin clan will remember the Engineer and his entourage, consisting of Grandroobly and Sam (dog, not archaeologist), walking around opening up various vee-hickle hoods while they were eating dinner in the old cabin. “It’s over here now. It used to be over there. It doesn’t matter,” The Engineer would say about this or that obscure part of an engine. Any engine.

I am pretty sure that I could have been an engineer too, if I had wanted to be. But even though MIT was looking for female students enough to send me stuff when I was graduating from high school, I wasn’t all that interested in engineering. Actually, I was interested in a *lot* of stuff then. Still am. So was my brother. Not sure why he had an easier time choosing and then sticking to something than I did. I do remember a famous argument we once had, which ended with me yelling “Mormon nailer” and him asking, “how’d you get that?” and me retorting with “patterns!!!” The difference between engineers and non-engineers, at least that day, was the difference between those who liked to do story problems (him) and those who could detect patterns (me and I *hate* story problems). Don’t try to figger this whole thing out, especially if your initials are GG. It was a fun argument that maybe only the two of us could totally understand and we both ended up laughing. Not all of our arguments were fun and not all of them ended up in laughter. Regrettably. But what the heck, we were *siblings*, fer kee-reist. Any of y’all ever argue with your sibling(s)? Miss you bro’!

My other major lot in life? Large Catholic families, of course. Can’t think of anything negative to say about that! At least not about the large Catholic families I’ve been involved with.

Today… Got up at 5:30. Packed. Mouse and I hopped like frogs over to Zingerman’s @ Plum Market for a bagel and coffee as soon as it opened. At 7 AM. If you look closely, you can just barely see Mouse behind that unknown guy. We reluctantly dragged ourselves away from the cafe. Mouse returned to kzoo and I saddled up the Ninja and drove clunkety-clunkety (road, not Ninja) to Yooperland. Beach tomorrow. It is awfully interesting to write a blahg entry while talking to an engineer a computer scientist and an octogenarian in the next room, so I apologize if this entry reads even more like gibberish than usual.

Lovin’ y’all from the GWN and missin’ my babeeees, owls and whatever,
KW

Engineers seem to be one of my lots in life and sometimes the bane of my existence

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

[Thanks to AgateGal (on Twitter) for the title!]

wfp1wfp2wfp3

Y’all, you cannot call me at six-something in the evening on a day like today and expect me to be relaxed! I am sorry but it does not compute! Danger! Danger! You know who you are. A day like today. When I had to run a large two-hour meeting from 3-5 (except we finished at 4:30, which makes me hope we didn’t miss something important). When my Mouse is home for the night. No, school isn’t done yet and no there’s nothing wrong. And because my Mouse is home, I am scrambling to make chicken pot pie. And no, it is not done yet. I know. It is 7:18. I left work just after five, after struggling to lock the projector back up in its little cubby and I figgered out what was for dinner ON THE WAY HOME and then there wasn’t enough boneless chicken breast in the freezer so I had to go to the Plum Market and I EVEN DROVE there to save time, like maybe five minutes because the Plum is pretty close. And maybe some other day, I would’ve appreciated those iPhone photos from Whitefish Point but today? They just heightened my anxiety. I wanted to be at Whitefish Point. I can’t even remember the last time I was at Whitefish Point on a day when there weren’t umpteen gazillion tourists there too. And then. BTW. Whaddo I wanna do this weekend? Well. In a way, I have a long list: stay at the cabin, blahg, go to WFP, take pictures of the old Carnegie Library, work on my UFP, kayak if it’s not 32 degrees out (and it doesn’t sound like it will be), walk, walk, hang out with the octo-women. Problem is I do *not* want to get overscheduled. I don’t *want* to figger out what I am doing every nano-second until I get up there. I know this is not necessarily the best plan. I am just tired. And I am outta steam. Those photos above are the ones that were sent to me from Whitefish Point today. Click ’em to get bigger versions. That is not one of our telescopes there, unless the GG squandered some money that I don’t know about.

PS: There are BABY OWLS around the Landfill neighborhood. Luke has photos of them!!!

Those tubes

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

thosetubesSo. Yesterday. I got a letter from one of my *two* credit card companies. I actually have more than two credit cards but I’m talking about bank cards. Like VISA. I had a couple of department store credit cards at one time but Hudson’s is defunct (and I will NOT get a Macy’s card, it’s just wrong!) and I haven’t shopped at J. C. Penney’s in years. And I guess I have a couple of gas cards somewhere but I don’t use them. Anyway… The letter I received could only be described as NASTY!!! It outlined the new improved terms. Improved for the credit card company but not for me. But wait! It went on to say that the new terms were basically okay because I had OPTIONS!!! What options? I can accept the new terms or I can write them a letter (!!!) saying that I don’t accept the new terms. If I write the letter, they will not force me to accept the new terms. But. They will cancel my card. Who the heck do they get to write these letters??? And how did the word “options” get usurped by the powers that be to mean “my way or the highway?” Why don’t they just say in plain English, “you are screwed either way”. I won’t cancel the card because I think it’s the only credit card the GG has. Which is not a bad thing in a funny kind of way. How many guys do you know who are so resistant to credit cards that they only have one card and they got that because their wife applied for it (a billion years ago) and added his name? I can remember when he used to actually *cash* his paycheck. Long time ago, all you stalkers. On the other hand, he has been known to successfully charge things to my *other* card (my real card), the one which I have had since the dark ages B. S. (before spouse) and is technically mine alone and has my official surname on it, which is different than his, so go figger why nobody questions a *man* using my credit card. With a surname that doesn’t match the name on the card. Kee-reist. But it’s all good. Because I pay my credit cards off every month. In theory. I won’t lie. There have been a few times in history that I have carried a balance for a while. It was not fun and I don’t plan to ever do it again. But that means that I don’t pay my credit card company’s rates of usury. And the minute they start charging me an annual fee? I will cancel. Watch me! In all truth, I was so incensed at the incendiary language of that letter that I don’t even remember if they mentioned adopting an annual fee or not, so maybe it did. I know that I am not their favorite customer because I do usually pay things off regularly and never even come close to reaching my limit, which is enough to charge a lower-end automotive vee-hickle. Kids. I am sorry that credit cards are such an important part of attaining a credit rating these days. I think it is my baby boomer/me generation that begat that. What the heck were “we” protesting about back in the 60s and how did we end up buying these damn McMansions? [Er, I am *not* living in a McMansion…] Kiddos, get credit cards but use them sparingly and pay them off every month. I am done for tonight. Bring back cow collateral banking. My old school banker grandfather is turning in his grave… Blup blup blup blup…

Perserverancenth-degree

Monday, May 18th, 2009

tableThis is my Grandma Sally’s kitchen table! The one that used to seat a family of 12 in a big brick house in a beautiful neighborhood near 12 Mile and Woodward in the beautiful city of Royal Oak. Just down the street from the Shrine of the Silver Dollar Little Flower. Yes, that’s where Father Coughlin used to preach and that’s where the GG and all his sibs went to grade school and sometimes beyond. A beautiful church that even an old heathen like me appreciates.

Anyway. My Grandma Sally’s table is CLEAR!!! Shout it out loud! I even did a quick swab with Windex wipes although it could use a good deep cleaning. Ignore the junk peeking out from underneath the table. Ignore the junk sneaking in at the edges of the photo. Ignore the haphazardly hung “art” on the dingy dungeon wall. The table is CLEAR!!!

I can’t remember the last time that table didn’t have *something* on it. I do remember a time period when Mouse and Goose [her friend from around two corners] were in a period of occasional loose ends. I can’t remember if they were in middle school or early high school but they could not drive yet and they spent a lot of time on those dreadful winter-time school vacations having back-to-back sleepovers either here or at Goose’s house. You know those vacations. The weather sucks and it gets dark at five o’clock and you are too old for Chuck E. Cheese and your parents are too poor to take the week off and fly to some tropical paradise and you can’t drive yet. You call your sister to ask her to drive you BACON (from about a block away) and then there are the times when you get totally (and understandably) SICK of each other and need to be apart for a while. And that lasts for a few hours and then one of you calls and you end up having yet another sleepover. BAGAWK!

So, what do you do? You watch videos (BAGAWK BAGAWK) until you can’t stand videos any more and then… If your moom has a gazillion tons of fabric in the basement and a sewing machine and an iron and lots of embellishment types of stuff? You go downstairs and create things. And that is a fun, creative thing to do and your moom thinks, “Oh no! my Grandma Sally’s table will never get cleared off again.” But she will also think that she would rather have you and your friend trash her dank, dark, gray, greasy, limpopo “studio” than be hangin’ out at the mall with some cute but stoopid guy testing out those funny cigarettes or whatever. And so she sighs to herself a bit. She loves you and your very good friend and knows that she will have time to clean it up later. 10 years later, maybe.

And yes. 10 years or so later, my Grandma Sally’s table is cleared off. Ignore the junk peeking out… You already read about all the stuff that is *not* cleaned up. This is a small success but it is one more small step toward dumpster avoidance post mortem. I am celebrating.

I don’t know if I exist in a state of being able to achieve honors but I do like bacon!

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

planetlargeI got my roadtrip today. A day trip but a very good one. On the road at 7:00 AM USB, coffee at the Zeeb Rd. McD’s, I94 18-wheel Slogway to kzoo. Picked up Mouse, breakfast at the Crow’s Nest (I’m gonna MISS that place [tears]). Mouse’s apartment (I’m gonna miss THAT place too [more tears]) for Internet surfing and shower (for Mouse) and work on UFP. Walked with Mouse around neighborhood, including a *huge* SF-style hill. Back to Mousehouse for more of the above. Over to Balch Theatre, where we temporarily parted ways. Mouse reported in for call and led warm-ups, etc. KW strolled around the campus, then settled into the library coffee shop awaiting a call from Dogmomster and crew. We met up, picked up our tickets, then back to the coffee shop *with* Mouse *for* coffee this time and then hung out on the wall outside Balch above the tennis courts, drinking our coffee and kibbitzing. Play and then bumpity-bumpity back along the Slogway home again jiggety-jig bumpity-bump. While Mouse helped strike the show and then went to yet another rehearsal for the next project…

The play? Return to the Forbidden Planet. I took that grainy iPhone photo *before* the show started so I didn’t violate any copyright stuff that I know of, although that stuff is *very* murky… And I photoshopped one of my favo-rite photos of Mouse into the screen above the set (click on the pic to enlarge). I am bad. I know. This was a wonderful play. But my mouse didn’t act in this play. She got to sit in the audience with me and Dogmomster and Valdemort and Pengie. Why? Because she was the assistant director for the professor who directed the play and directors get to sit and watch. Am I proud of her? You know I am. Life is a river. There are good and bad days for everyone. Today was a darn good day for Mouse. And for me as a mother who doesn’t have a clue about as to what the heck contribution I made to make the wonderful person known as Mouse. All of you mooms, BASK today on whatever achievements your kids have made, whatever age, large or small. First words. Toilet training. Those things count. Etc. Et al.

Click on that picture to enlarge it!!

A moron in Moran gets dafter near Dafter

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

zebrasI need a vacation. I need a road trip. I need a vacation. I need a road trip. I need…

It was a long day here on the Planet Ann Arbor but it was not an unproductive one. I actually got the displaced shelf unit back against the Dungeon wall today! You know the one (or maybe your eyes glaze over when I start talking about the Landfill Dungeon). Anyway, it’s the one that got moved out into the middle of the floor last September when Hurricane Ike reached his long arm all the way up to SEMI and drenched the carpet at the end of my dingy old “studio” room in my normally dry basement. Except for the leaky wall in the utility room, that is. It gets even better! I *almost* managed to clear off Grandma Sally’s old kitchen table! The one that used to seat 12. It makes a great sewing table when it isn’t covered with all kinds of junk. (Actually, genevievedidit or grandmothertrucker, do you want it? Not trying to get rid of it but you gals sew and it did belong to your mom…) I don’t have every little scrap of stuff off of it yet but I think I am seeing a faint little light at the end of the tunnel.

Errands, good, bad, neutral, and ugly… Neutral: the usual early Saturday morning Toilet Paper Trip to Meijer for all the stuff I don’t wanna spend umpteen gazillion dollars for at the Plum Market and schlep home on foot, i.e., toilet paper et al. Er, it is also a liqwire run. Good: buying two hanging baskets of annuals (fuchsia and some mix of purples) at Coleman’s. Bad: heading out to Joann Fabrics for one blasted spool of thread and coming home with said thread plus a COUPLE YARDS OF FABRIC — bad, bad, but only spent $15, so sorta okay.

Ugly (this deserves its own paragraph): FORCED myself to go to Hudson’s Macy’s in search of clothing. Found one skirt, not exactly business casual but will do for other stuff. And a scarf. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize and people [maybe] won’t notice that you don’t have a large wardrobe. At least not one that includes wearable items… I *hate* the mall. As I was heading in the door, I saw a gauntlet of tall, impeccably groomed people with clipboards (clipboards?) standing inside. Yiiy! I was at my frumpiest this morning and did *not* feel like disarming them with wittier conversation than they might expect out of a bag lady, so I ducked over into the “juniors” area just to avoid them. I found what I needed (not in the juniors area, of course) and somehow managed to also avoid the perfume/makeup folks hanging out in the aisle like vultures. I do *not* do perfume. I *do* wear *minimal* makeup but it’s basically the same stuff I used 30 years ago (anyone remember Maybelline mascara?) and I can apply it in less than 20 seconds. Sigh. I didn’t get any farther into the mall today. I cut and ran. I do buy stuff at Chicos but I wasn’t in the mood for trying stuff on and having to go *outside* the dressing room for a mirror. Don’t worry, I spent something like $50 total. I can afford that on my own blasted paycheck.

The Liberry

Friday, May 15th, 2009

podsNo, I do not call the library the “liberry”, er, unless I feel like harassing The Commander. I have early, vague memories of being firmly corrected on that mis-pronunciation.

I posted about books yesterday and then this morning I clicked on archaeofacts like I always do when it shows up in my bloglines because archaeofacts is my Sam (archaeologist, not dog), of Hotlanta, Lansing area, and Yooperland. Of all things, she had posted about libraries. Specifically the library of her childhood. Whomp! That brought back some memories. We are sometimes in synch. Like last week with JITP and possible relatives.

My childhood library was a venerable old Carnegie library. Here is a link to a halfway decent photo of it. I think I will take my own photos the next time I am up there, which’ll be next weekend with any luck. I *think* the building is still there, although the city built a new library a number of years ago and named it Bayliss Library.

I remember going up and down the steps at the old Carnegie Library. And climbing all over the lions that you can barely see in the picture. I liked reading and books well enough but I liked playground equipment just as much and those steps and lions, etc., provided some good opportunities. I remember going to the kid section for story hour on Saturdays (?) The kid section was in the basement of the library and I can still remember that musty smell as I went down the old staircase. A woman named Bobby Kreeger* (phonetic spelling) read stories to us and I can still remember her voice. When I was really young, I checked out the book Parsley over and over and over again and I now [finally] own my own copy as an adult. Later on, I got into a biography streak and I think I checked out every blasted biography in the childrens section. I think that’s how I know the little bit of American history that I know, which is probably why I am so ill-informed, and I had crushes on the likes of Daniel Boone and Kit Carson. Which is interesting because once The Commander told me that according to some old MacMu relative that died before I was born, the MacMu family was distantly related to Daniel Boone. I’m not all that into genealogy, so I dunno. Incest is best?

Boy do I get off the track sometimes. We were allowed to take out five books at a time and we wrote down the title, author, copy number and I fergit what else on a little slip of paper (no library cards there) and handed it to the woman at the checkout desk. And yes they were always women in my memory. My academically gifted but eccentric great aunt Ann worked there for about a billion years and was paid a sniggly little pittance for her efforts.

* Bobby Kreeger? Mrs. Commander? Am I mis-remembering this? What about that Daniel Boone stuff?

Dungeon Dredging

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

booksOooofff. I’m almost afraid to say this but I am almost sorta just about verging on making the teensiest, tinsiest little bit of difference down in the Landfill Dungeon. The shelf unit that got moved out into the middle of my dingy old “studio” after Hurricane Ike partially soaked the carpet down there is now back against the wall where it belongs. I’m not ready to take a picture yet. As I have said before, I am not planning on going anywhere soon, er, except for work tomorrow, kzoo on Sunday, and the moominbeach next weekend, but I am not gonna leave a mess behind that the beach urchins have to throw into a dumpster in the driveway. Like what is happening at Joan and Chris’s house next door, may they rest in peace (or more probably party on the other side).

As painful as it is to pick through 50-something years worth of collections and make decisions about what to keep (or not), sometimes you actually find some little treasures in amongst all that trash. Mouse’s Train Ride was the beach urchin Lizard Breath’s first book. At least the first book that we could actually “read” to her. It doesn’t actually have words, just pictures, so you have to make up your own story. The Commander sent it to her when she was about seven or eight months old, right around this time of year. No special occasion involved. That esteemed woman just thought her first grandchild needed a book! Lizard and I opened the package and immediately sat down in what became the Reading Chair to read Mouse’s Train Ride and the little lizard was so excited that she practically hyperventilated every time I turned a page.

Of course, good old KW went overboard and bought all kinds of books (and other junk) and some of them are keepers, like the ones shown here. Others? Well, I can’t keep ’em all… It *is* fun to drag the old kid Christmas books out during those holidays, etc. Anyway, we spent many, many hours reading books in the Reading Chair. I remember reading one of those “parenting” articles in the newspaper about the time Lizard was in kindergarten. It exhorted me to read to my kindergartner a half hour every day. Really? Is it really okay if I only read a half hour? You mean I don’t have to read 2-3 hours like my kindergartner wants me to? It was a relief when she became an independent reader, although I continued to read to her and her sister until about the time middle school happened. I enjoyed it and so did they.

The reading chair? You don’t have to look closely to see how shredded it is. A couple years ago I was all hot to put the reading chair in the trash. We have too much old, crappy furniture around here and the reading chair is in the way. All it does anymore is serve as a place for me to dump my work laptop when I get home. I dunno. I tried to get rid of it but I can’t do it, at least not yet.

Optional: Best or favo-rite baby or kid books that you remember or your kids remember?

If you want to destroy my sweater…

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

robotbikerThank you NPR for playing a little snippet of that old Weezer song. It got “du-dut-du-dut-du-daah-daah” out of my head. What is “du-dut-du-dut-du-daah-daah”? Y’all are asking. Ever seen the old Wizard of Oz movie that was on TV every year when I was a kid back in the 60s? You know the one. It had Judy Garland in it as Dorothy and it went from black-and-white to color partway through. Except I think the first few times I watched it, we only had a black-and-white TV down there in the little white house on Superior Street. Anyway, think about old witches chasing people. Er, like I used to do when I had little kids. Zee veeeetch ov Reeeeetsema Voooooods. Weezer? The sweater song brought back memories of driving to Yooperland in the POC with teenagers reading/sleeping/lounging in the middle and back seats and the Weezer CD with the sweater song playing on the CD player on some kind of loop. Or so it seemed. That CD actually seemed to play on the POC’s horrible CD player. Most CDs would skip skip skip wuwuwuwuwuwu skip skip skip. My guilty little secret? I *like* Weezer. And a lot of the kids’ other music too. When I was a kid, it seemed like all the adults hated “our” music. The Commander and Grandroobly weren’t terribly draconian about music and I had some Jimi Hendrix and Cream and whatever but I don’t think they liked it very well and there must’ve been enough arguments that I swore I would never argue about music with my as yet unborn children. I say “unborn” because they were actually *not* un-thought-of. I always wanted to have children. Even when I was a young child myself. I kept to that promise to myself and I was lucky enough to marry someone relatively compatible and have children without any difficulties and I didn’t argue about music with my kids when they got to be old enough to develop their own tastes. I didn’t have to. I liked most of their music anyway. There were times when I would negotiate not listening to Ani again because she got a *lot* of air-time around here. I think people complied with that because I *didn’t* argue about music. I have eclectic taste in music. Classical, Celtic, rock, jazz, folk, African, and some country. And more… I just don’t like music to be so loud that I can’t hear other people talk or be able to think my own thoughts or whatever. Well, usually. There are moments in life when the music has to get cranked up so we can all dance! Maybe we all I need to make more of those moments.