Archive for June, 2009

This can’t be Tuesday ’cause I’m in the Landfill, not Belgium Da Yoop

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

bootsSorry that title doesn’t make sense. I am in the Landfill. I kind of want to be in the UP (but not Belgium, that would take too much work). Whatever. Dream a little shoreline dream for me.

Anyway, one of these days I am going to get a decent photo of this Bootsacatsa-like black cat with white feet and ears in the shape of isosceles trapezoids. From frostbite, don’tcha know. I see this old boy about once a week. At least I think he is a boy. I haven’t checked. I’m not sure he would let me get that close in any case. I call him Boots just because. Because he looks almost exactly like Boots, my aunt Katie’s cat that I grew up with, right down to ears in the shape of isosceles trapezoids. From frostbite, don’tcha know. He was born with the usual triangular ears. Boots was an old beach cat and he did not put up with any you-know-what. In general. I do remember him sort of barely tolerating Muksaslooie, a young whippersnapper interloper that zoomed all over everywhere including the then elderly Boots. Muksaslooie (Mike) grew into a crotchety old coot in his own time and there are a lot of stories that I remember about his life but that’s a whole ‘nother blahg..

I think Boots was around before I was, and I was afraid of him when I was little. I think I had some kind of encounter with him at an early age, one where he didn’t really want to put up with whatever I was trying to do to him. I don’t really remember anything about it so maybe I’m just remembering my moom doing some panicking for me. Anyway. I was afraid of Boots and I was afraid of dogs too until we got Tigger. After that, I wasn’t afraid of dogs and cats any more and I am not afraid of them now but I do get annoyed with people that let their untrained trophy dogs loose in the schoolyard when I am walking there early in the morning but that’s a whole ‘nother topic.

I may be wrong but I think this 21st century Boots-like cat is a feral cat. We have a few of those around the neighborhood and this cat doesn’t have a collar or anything. He let me get pretty close to him this morning. I thought he was interacting with me and I managed to get my iPhone turned on and open the camera app but just as I was clicking the button, he turned in disdain and trotted off. So that blur is what I got. Then I heard a noise behind me and I turned around and saw another feral-looking tomcat. Big, puffy-furred gray tiger striped character. Didn’t manage to get a photo of him at all. Or was that “tomcat” female? I dunno.

Anyway, just another summer morning on west-side Planet Ann Arbor. Still not sure what kind of interaction I interrupted.

Frogtortionists and high-tech disasters

Monday, June 29th, 2009

contortionistAnd so. Technology was not at its finest today. It was working okay all day at work although, for a large part of the day, I sat and proof-read a *printed* copy (2-sided print job, you green guys) of my now-178-page spec, so I was only occasionally tinking around making small edits with MS Word (2007 for Windows, get it, it’s pretty cool). And I’m not bragging about my spec because others have written longer ones. I’m still on the bunny hill here.

So then. The GG was scheduled to arrive at Metro (from the Smokies, don’tcha know, all the cool kids are flying down there these days). Everything thing was fine and I was on my way over and I was at the I94 State Street rush hour slowdown when I got the call that his plane had landed. Okay. I figgered I was late. He did have luggage checked and I figgered that would buy me some time. So. I got to the Metro cell phone lot and, when I called to say I was there, he was still on the blasted plane. At the gate. Turned out no crew was there to connect the ramp to the plane. Remember those days when we all walked up an outdoor staircase to board a plane? And we would wave to the photographers on the way down? Maybe they still do that somewhere in the world? I dunno. Anyway, he called again when he got off the plane and then he didn’t call and he didn’t call and he didn’t call and I was chompin’ at the bit because I hadn’t thought to bring a UFP with me like I did the last time his flight was late and the only thing I had to do was play with my iPhone, which was connecting to the Internet just fine. But it was getting late and I finally called the GG *again* and it turned out he was sitting outside the terminal with his luggage. He had tried to call/text/email/twitter me umpteen times and, for whatever reason, my phone didn’t interrupt my other activities to inform me that I had messages. He didn’t even show up on twitter. Anyway. We finally connected and I do *not* know what all those blasted cops were doing outside the arrivals area of Metro. Are they there every day? Fer kee-reist, how often do they have to collect some nincompoop who has made the intelligent decision to light a ciggie in the airplane bathroom and set the plane smoke alarm off so they can get picked up by the Dee-troit Po-leese?

And then I got home and found that Froggy had received an email from “MarjoryBeard” who wants to follow him on Twitter. I clicked over to MarjoryBeard’s Twitter account and it has one post, which is “hiiiiii guys. I want a guy who is willing to try new positions with me.” Hmmm. As you can see, Froggy is *always* in some kind of weird position but I am pretty sure it doesn’t have anything to do with sex. Er, we I always use male pronouns when I talk about Froog but others call him an “it”. And yes, I blocked “MarjoryBeard”.

Probably the worst thing I did today was call Mouse from work and say “grok” in a frog voice in response to her “grok” when she answered the phone. But it’ll be okay. They are starting to know I am a little crazy… Hopefully that’s not a bad thing…

Mousey? Nothing?

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

walkingstickSay it in the sing-song voice that a moom and toddler might use to talk to each other. Actually, the entire script was originally:

Moom: Mousey?

Mouse: What?

Moom: What are you doing?

Mouse: Nothing.

Mouse learned right away to just dispense with those middle two sentences. Why waste your energy with extra sentences when you could continue writing all over yourself with markers or painting your bed frame with glitter glue or eating little girl lipstick [oh fer kee-reist, it was non-toxic] or whatever until your old tired moom actually came along and *checked* on what the heck you were doing. And the reason for the initial question? Well, of course, things were just a leetle bit too quiet for the old tired moom’s taste.

Anyway, I can’t remember the last day that I haven’t had something scheduled. Somewhere to go. Work or HL or Siberia or kzoo or Cali-in-my-dreams or wherever. I think I could write a chore list from here to the moon but there I was this morning, bumbling around the Plum Market without a list or anything. I started out in the produce department and I think I returned to that department either three or four times. Maybe Mouse remembers. She actually dragged herself out of bed to walk over there with me. And so the day continued. I wasn’t exactly idle. I was washing dishes that Mouse brought home, and chopping veggies that we bought at the Plum, and fiddling around with laundry, etc. But I felt un-moored or whatever. At one point I lamented [on the internet, no less, my bad] about how unproductive I was feeling on a day that was essentially mine! Nothing scheduled at all. A few facebook friends knocked me in the head with the 2×4 that it was OKAY to be idle once in a while. And I think they are right. Eventually, I did make it downstairs to my deep, dank, dark, great gray-green, greasy Limpopo “studio”, where I moved the blasted BED away from my fabric shelves and picked away at my fabric stash and one of my three four UFPs.

I was also annoyed with the weather today. It started out cloudy and we felt a few drops of rain on our way to the Plum this morning. And then it cleared and got windy and actually it was a perfect early summer day around here, never even got above about 82. Great for graduation parties, et al. I really wanted a good monsoon type summer day, or at least cloudy skies. What is wrong with me? A Facebook/childhood friend living in Texas mentioned that it has been over 100 down there for days now. I am such a wimp! How can I complain?

Nothing nothing nothing nothing
Nothing nothing nothing all day long
Nothing nothing nothing nothing
How-ya like my nothing song.

Man oh man, I am waiting for the next iPhone camera where I can actually TAP where I want it to focus.

Baking soda, white vinegar, and Plum Market bags

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

gingkoAnd coffee at the Zeeb Road Mickey Ds and then the I94 18-wheel Clogway over to kzoo (no offense intended to the Knights and Ladies of the road). The purpose of the journey? To help my Mouse move the rest of her stuff out of her cute little apartment because the lease is up at the end of the month and since she is now a graduate and doesn’t plan to stay in kzoo, she doesn’t need living space there.

I know that Mouse had a hard time leaving it. And so did I. This is really Mouse’s story. It is up to her to tell her own story and she may not tell it on the Internet. Or anywhere else. But it intersects a bit with my own story, which I will try to tell without treading on hers too much. As Mouse’s junior year study abroad in Senegal was coming to a close, the off-campus housing plans she had made for the spring quarter fell through, as those kinds of things sometimes do. Being a moom, I was a little panicky. I did not want her to be living in a cardboard box in front of the theatre. Mouse was less panicky and sometimes little setbacks like that turn out to be the beginning of better things. Mouse found a few places online, including an old house on Pearl Street that had been chopped up into apartments. I think there are seven. I may be wrong.

The GG and I ended up driving over there on a very dreary (in a beautiful kind of way) February day and toured two places in the Pearl St. house plus another place. Click here to see what that day was like. We posted about a billion digital pictures on-line and Mouse chose an apartment from Africa. We signed the lease for her in absentia and when she returned from Africa, she added her own signature and moved in.

It has been a wonderful little place for Mouse. A very small one-bedroom. I remember the land-lady being nervous about whether Mouse would like the bathroom! The bathroom has a slanted wall that makes a modern tub and shower arrangement impossible so the landlords installed an old-fashioned tub instead with a handheld shower. I told her that since Mouse had been living in Africa for the last six months, she would probably be happy with just about any kind of American style bathroom and, if I have it right, one of the selling points on that apartment for Mouse *was* the bathroom.

We spent quite a few Sundays heading over to kzoo in time for breakfast, then hanging around with Mouse until it was time for her to get to the theatre for whatever play she was acting in or directing or costuming or whatever. I would hang out on the Internet, of course. The GG would take his morning nap in her rocking chair. If there was enough time we would walk around the neighborhood, a bit sketchy but beautiful with all of the vegetation and vintage houses.

I traveled early today and got over there in time to walk to the Crow’s Nest for breakfast, then I beat it out to a grocery store for oven cleaner while Mouse finished up packing. And make no mistake, my own Landfill oven is dirtier right now than Mouse’s was. The GG had already hauled the furniture home via rental truck a couple weeks ago and we packed up the remaining smaller bits of stuff into Plum Market grocery bags, which fit into our Honda Civics very well.

What’s next? That’s for Mouse to decide. She is a small aminal of many talents and she will have a successful career or, if she is lucky enough, a series of careers. The first step? Teaching at our own YAG summer theatre academy. The one that I bribed her to attend the summer she was between second and third grade. I walked her over there the first morning, the head director greeted her at the door of the elementary school, and that turned out to be one of those life-changing moments. For the whole family. And that’s enough for now. YAG is still a part of my story but whatever comes after that will belong to Mouse.

Oh, fer kee-reist!

Friday, June 26th, 2009

firesticksSo another celebrity dies and people go ape-shit. I dunno. I am just not a celebrity worshiper in general. Aside from having a serious crush on Mighty Mouse when I was three years old, that is.

Do I like Michael Jackson’s music? Hmmm. Well, I remember his earliest music best. The stuff he did with The Jackson Five when he was about 10 years old or whatever. I didn’t turn off the radio when The Jackson Five came on but then I didn’t turn off the radio when The Archies came on either. When you lived in an isolated northern backwater like I thought Sault Ste. Siberia was back in the 60s when I was a foolish young teenager, you listened to anything remotely resembling rock ‘n’ roll on the radio. And you darn well enjoyed it. Why? Because more often than not, the local AM radio station was playing some twangy old country crap or What a friend we have in Jesus. I think they played rock ‘n’ roll in the evening but it was incessantly interrupted by news, weather, and ads. A constant stream of raucous jingles. “Let’s go to Tempo. The price is low at Tempo”. “Hamm’s Beer, refreshing Hamm’s beer”. If you were alive in the 60s, you know those sorts of ads. Or the entire show would be completely pre-empted for a Tigers game (baseball fans, I do love you but).

I have very eclectic taste in music. Nowadays I don’t even mind some of that twangy old country crap in the right situation. I can recognize when someone has talent and I admit that I’ve enjoyed hearing snippets of Mr. Jackson’s music on NPR since his death. But y’all, he was just another aging pop star. A kind of creepy one at that. Another pop star who was thrust into the spotlight before he was old enough to know how to handle his stardom. Who grew up into a person with some strange habits and fetishes. In the height of the Thriller era of his career, I was a moom and probably knew him best by his appearance on the tabloids at the checkout during my all too frequent milk runs.

Mr. Jackson may have had some talent (and a huge pile of folks underneath him to support his super-stardom) but I don’t think I am going to miss him much. I am thinking of a celebrity whom I do admire. His name is Sir James Galway. Ever hear of him? He is a world-reknowned flute player. I’d like to call myself a flute player too except that it has been a while since I have dragged out the old instrument and actually, uh, played it. For all I know, I probably sound like a rusty old froghorn these days.

But why do I admire Sir Galway? Well, Sir James is worthy of my admiration first and foremost because he is a very talented flute player. But it goes beyond that. Because Sir James has not forgotten all of the hard work that got him where he is and the teachers and other folks who helped him out along the way. He takes it a step further and gives back some of himself and his talent to his fans. He runs an email group where he answers questions about the flute and his career and encourages discussions. He invites list members to visit him backstage at his concerts. He has even been known to occasionally ask the group for help with some issue he is having with his playing. Yes. The great James Galway asking other, presumably lesser, flute players for their help. This is a person at the top of the heap in the world of classical music and still he is aware that there are more things to learn. He doesn’t know it all. This is a person that I admire. Note that I said “admire”. I haven’t gone ape-shit over him.

Sir James is alive and kicking and I am out on a limb trying to compare a classical musician with a pop music super-star. But I can’t help comparing them anyway. I sympathize with all of those who actually knew and loved Mr. Jackson. He had a family and friends and *children*. He was young. 50 is the new 30, don’tcha know. And it takes all kinds of people to make the world go ’round. It would be pretty boring if we were all like Sir James. Or me, for that matter. On-line banking functional design specifications, anyone? Yeah.

I just hope that all of the fans who are so publicly mourning Mr. Jackson will get over it soon and pour their energy into something more constructive. And Mighty Mouse, why have you left me and where have you gone?

Cedar Point

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

rockfootIf you have ties to southeast lower Michigan and the surrounding area, you might be thinking I’m writing about the popular amusement park on the Ohio shore of Lake Erie. But I’m not. Actually, I am not an amusement park fan. It was different when I was a kid. When I was a kid, I longed for the annual arrival of the carnival up in the great white north. You know the kind. It had a ferris wheel and a tilt-a-whirl and cotton candy and various cheap and dirty sideshows. I longed to go to a place like Cedar Point in those days. Not so much now but that would be a whole ‘nother post.

I never got to go to the Cedar Point amusement park when I was a kid but I did get to walk to Cedar Point fairly frequently. It was “our” Cedar Point and it involved walking to the end of the beautiful sand Fin Family Moominbeach and then an adventure of clambering over big rock boulders and jungling through mo-skee-toe infested woods to get to our destination. It is at least a mile over there and so it was a trip that required a peanut butter sandwich lunch and an adult supervisor and, um, shoes. Or not. My own special moom, now known as The Commander, still tries to suggest that I wear shoes when I walk to Cedar Point. I would usually wear shoes in those days and, by the time we would get back to the beach after one of those treks, we would be tired and hot and chomping at the bit to take our shoes off and walk in the water.

Uber Kayak Woman and I re-created our childhood the other day and walked to Cedar Point. In our bare feet, as you can see. And yes those are bunions (you are wondering, people are always freaking out about those). I inherited them. Do they bother me? No! I walk about a billion miles a day and my feet never hurt and when I do wear shoes, I don’t wear stupid shoes. Ever! Chacos forever! And check out that Celtic second toe! [Er, don’t ask me about the crazy shoes I wore in my youth. I’ve blocked them.] Anyway, don’t ask! I do think that, weather permitting, bare feet are better on “our” rocks. Bare feet grip the rocks better. Shoes can be slippery.

The pictures are from two trips to Cedar Point: our walking trip and a solo kayak trip I took the next morning. Sun and fog were battling during our walking trip and you will see my beautiful relatives Uber Kayak Woman and Mouse (who met us on the beach on the return trip) more or less silhouetted against the fog. On the kayak trip, the lake was like glass and I spent some time with reflections and shadows, et al. You will see the remains of a rock dock that is probably 150 years old. I remember my dad, Grandroobly, showing me that when I was a little kid. Anyway… Click here or on the pic for the slide show. Oh and check this out for our trip last February to Cedar Point over ice.


Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

NP Jane & I were @ Knight’s & the lights browned out. We thought it was just Knight’s but it’s all over the neighborhood. And military-style hecipoppers keep going overhead so not sure what that’s about. I think too many able-bodied folks have flipped their a/c on at once on this first 90 plus day. C’mon, this is Michigan, fer kee-reist. We don’t need no stinkin’ a/c. Maybe I should just fly to the Smokies like all the cool kids. G’night. I can do without lights but not water and I’ve got water.

Update: Lights back on at full power at 1:36 AM, EDT. The time via my iPhone, and I woke up then to the sound of lucky-shuckial trucks and workers in the street. My *personal* speculation is that on the first 90-degree day of the summer, everyone on west-side Planet Ann Arbor flipped on their central air at once. Most of us didn’t have it 25 years ago. We installed it a few years ago when we finally decided to replace the furnace that was old when we bought the house. I bet a lot of other folks have done the same thing. For the record, I avoid using our central air and didn’t have mine on. I’d rather listen to the birds and aminals and things. And, to those who felt compelled to provide all kinds of admonishments about opening the refrigimatator, et al, despite my bumbling approach to life, I *am* a relatively competent adult. But those people are probably not reading this anyway. And so I am off. Hi ho!


That is the absolute end! (This is not totally kid-friendly as I might use the H and D words once or twice)

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

ladyslipperI am quoting my dear aunt Bugs here. I didn’t personally witness the original incident. I was probably running around in the woods like a wild Indian (not east Indian, don’tcha know) or jumping up and down on the cheerio or building a fort out of pulp logs or something. But, as family legend has it, the then toddler NP Jane took Bugs’s beach towel (Bugs is NP Jane’s moom) and dragged the whole thing into the water. And so Bugs exclaimed loudly (and, for such a small woman, she can project her voice very well if she wants to), “Jane!!! That is the absolute end!!!”

And so. I love when I am ultra-busy and life is interesting and I have to be hopping around like crazy all of the time and that’s how work and life have been for I can’t think how many months now. I took a long weekend to go north to meet up with Uber Kayak Woman, who traveled from the San Juan Islands (look it up) for Radical Betty’s birthday. That’s her moom and my favorite 110-year-old aunt. Things didn’t exactly go as planned but we all had a wonderful time and I got home (clunkity-clunk-kawhomp) yesterday. And spent today at work trying to figure out what the heck I was doing a couple weeks ago. Last week was a company picnic and then two full days of training and then, like I said, I was in the Yoop forgetting everything I ever knew about work. So. What was I working on? What is the top priority? Etc., etc., etc. I did learn something today, which is how to use shortcut keys to turn the desktop display upside down or sideways on a Windows machine. A few of us are already plotting how that could come in useful someday and that’s all I will say…

Anyway, I had errands to run on the way home from work today and it is hot for the first time since sometime last August or something. I finally dragged into the driveway and I could see it sticking threateningly out the top of the mailbox. A jury duty summons. The third one since about 2004 or so. They have called me for the absolute worst week of the summer, one during which I have had long-standing plans including a flight reservation (not mine but don’t tell ’em that) to be out of town!!! I have been called “randomly” three times in approximately five years. I do not know what the hell is *random* about that. The *GG* has never been summoned. Of course, I tried to call them immediately when I opened the notice and it was probably good (for me) that it was after hours because I probably would’ve given ’em holy hell! I am outta steam and don’t wanna talk about Lizard Breath’s adventures of being summoned while on study abroad or the *second* time she was summoned *after* she had become a California resident. Fer kee-reist!!!

This beautiful lady slipper is one of four that we found in front of Dennis’s cabin on Fin Family Moominbeach (Dennis might rather call it Mc Family Moominbeach and that is okay with me!). And so I will try to forget about the damn jury summons and focus on the beauty of life for the evening.

Puttin’ mah troll costume on ‘n’ headin’ back down under th’ bridge.

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

kwSo, I am already (already?) home on the Planet Ann Arbor. Actually have been for over an hour. I did get to kayak this morning. The mo-skee-toes were actually not all that bad out on the water. I kayaked to Cedar Point, which is the same place Uber Kayak Woman and I rock-walked to yesterday. It was just a *bit* bouncy at the time for our little Waldens without any spray skirts, at least for me. This morning the water was just about like glass except for when a couple of freighters created some swells with their wakes. No problem at all. I was gonna do a slide show of walking and kayaking to Cedar Point and relate it back to our ice walk over there last February but apparently, I HAVE LEFT YET ANOTHER CAMERA CARD READER UP AT THE CABIN!!! YAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH! The GG actually LAUGHED when I told him that and, Mrs. Commander, don’t worry about it. It could be that I just haven’t figgered where I packed it yet and, in any case, they are $6 at Tarjay now…

And then. Sigh. Packed up my vee-hickle and left in tandem with Mouse (in her vee-hickle). Stopped in town to drop Green Guy off, then hit the I75 SUV Speedway. ALMOST hit a blasted deer somewhere between M134 and M123 (I think I have those right, go ahead and shoot me if not, I am NOT lookin’ ’em up). Very, very, very close. The deer came out of nowhere. Mouse, driving behind me, saw it running even while it was in the woods. I braked and lightly swerved (no other cars except Mouse behind me) and somehow it made it. I shook for a while but eventually got back up to speed with an ultra-vigilant eye and then, right after Castle Rock, there was Mooma Duck with 8-9 ducklings. Right on the paved shoulder there. They were headed into the road and I swerved left a bit (no other cars) and I must’ve slowed them down and then I saw in the rear-view that when Mouse went by, they scooted *swish* for the grass. I do *not* want to know what happened to them after that. We did our best.

Mouse and I stopped for gas and fabric at Grayling. She was very very good and I was just a leettle bit bad and maybe we’ll have to put the Icehouse back on our beat… Anyway, got back on the road and split up at the Higgins Lake Road exit. She headed on down to M55 and over to 131 and down to kzoo. I stopped by Houghton Lake for just a minute. The Beautiful Liz was there and she had cleaned up a garbage mess that I learned about from a HL neighbor and Twitter friend (who may have actually done some clean-up too, if so THANK YOU!). Liz found evidence that some critter may have actually bent some metal in order to get to the garbage. She thought raccoon. I almost wonder about bear. They have been sighted in the area in the last couple years. I don’t know.

It was great to see Liz and it was a gorgeous day but I have work tomorrow and just wanted to get home. And so I got back onto the I75 SUV Speedway and it turned out that as I was walking in my front door, Mouse was texting me to say that she had just arrived home.


Sunday, June 21st, 2009

The amethyst rock is still there. Two baggy old kayak women rock-walked to Cedar Point in bare feet using a few long-dormant muscles. Two gorgeous three-inch froogs live in the Doelle pond, neither of them with any blasted bit o’ purple about the edges. Fer kee-reist. And the bottle of laundry detergent has been removed from the bit of jungle around the pond so sorry boys but no more partying. There are four (and maybe more) lady slippers in front of Dennis’s. The persistent fog has finally dissapated. Or so we thought, although Valdemort just said it was coming back in again. I haven’t looked. We celebrated it all with gin and tonics. G’night y’all. Seeya in the next episode.

Moose epaulettes

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

It was definitely not a beach day. I woke up at 5:30 or so to the sound of foghorns in the shipping channel. I drenched my polartech hoodie and every visible square millimeter of skin with bug juice and ventured out thru the cloud of biting buzzsaws that currently inhabit the moominbeach. This is a weekend of ever-evolving plans and so even though I could search out some true Macbookable broadband wifi with a short walk either direction down the beach, I’ll just do a quick iPhone update and maybe add some photos tomorrow morning. Sayonara, KW.

Updated to add some very foggy photos. And I mean foggy, because it was foggy and most of them were taken with my phone. Why? Because I couldn’t find my real camera for a while. And I have also lost two hairbrushes since I’ve been up here. And when you have the voluminous hair that I do, that is a tragedy (and yes, I do remember the 80s, in fact I think I invented them). Anyway, I am going nuts keeping track of things and it was foggy all day yesterday and it was foggy again this morning but it was so cold the buzzsaws weren’t out and I didn’t see the neighborhood bear either.

Last but not least, happy birthday a day late to Radical Betty, who is *not* 110 quite yet. We are celebrating with cake and coffee at The Commander’s house this morning. Click here or on the pic for more fog.

When you get a little extra, buy yourself some cake or something

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Or so you can if your name is Ghanky. But mine is not so I guess I’ll buy a few dozen bottles of bug juice instead. So I can actually walk the beach. Without getting attacked by the mo-skee-toes. Change my name to Ghanky please. And yes, this post looks a little wonky, at least on my phone but I won’t be able to fix it until tomorrow. But so what, this is just a bunch of blather anyway. G’night.

Annnnnnd, fixed! @5:59 AM USB, from my sleeping bag in a room of flinging muskellunges and foghorns blowing.


Bloggin’ from behind the island

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

The boys developers in the band back row.

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

pipesWhen I went back to college at the age of 50, my beloved cuzzint Pooh of Regenaxe said, “sit in the front row!” Er, okay, Pooh. You have to understand that my cousin Pooh did a school prodject (intentionally misspelled) involving a prime number sieve in about 5th grade. And then went on to get all kinds of wonderful (and deserved) scholarships and I think she was even a Rhodes Scholar or something like that. The important fact here is that she is VERY smart! Okay. Sit in the front row. Me? I was always a kind of a back row type of college kid. Er, don’t call on me, can’t you see I am, oh I dunno, deathly ill or heart-broken or my grandmother just died, or some other sort of weird situation is going on that I am involved in that is too important for me to participate in class. Sigh. My life was really never that dramatic. Oh, maybe the heart-broken thing happened a few times and my grandmother did die while I was in college but that’s a whole ‘nother story. Anyway, I never actually *used* any of those excuses. I just hoped that the tragical expression on my face would make the profs too sympathetic to whatever plight I was going through to call on me. JUST DON’T CALL ON ME, OKAY?!?? Yeah, I know. What *was* I thinking?

When I went back to school at 50, I walked into my first class (five minutes late because of freeway backups and you have to know that I *never* took the damn freeway to school again and I was *always* there early enough to sit around and check my email, etc.). Anyway, I walked in — late — and I swallowed hard and sat in the front row!!! And that’s where I stayed throughout community college. It took a while before I actually participated actively in classes. You know, shouting out answers and obnoxious opinions and stuff. I got better at it though and I can now lead meetings and presentations and things with a minimum amount of stress. Honestly, all those years reading books to children has helped with that more than anything…

This has been a weird week at work with a company picnic on Monday and an intense training session about banking and financial stuff all day yesterday and today. This session was very informative and the teacher was great! He obviously knew his stuff and handed it out to us with much humor and real-world examples. I didn’t sit in the front row this time. I sat with the folks that I work with the most. After all, we aren’t being graded on this stuff, it’s just in-service training and a lot of it doesn’t even directly relate to my job but it is sure nice to know the framework surrounding what I do. And nobody called on me although I did venture to offer opinions when I understood the material enough to actually have an opinion.

So, the back row (behind me) both days was filled to overflowing with male software developers, young and er, not-so-young. Whaddup??

Feed whatever you want! Fer kee-reist!

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

fooddanceWay back in the Dark Ages when there was only one beach urchin and we were new to the Landfill, the GG had a birdfeeder (or maybe more than one birdfeeder) in the back yard. It attracted all kinds of birds and sometimes I would look out there and think that we had an air force in the back yard. Unfortunately it also attracted… Well… What? Shirr’ls/cirkers/squirrels/EEEEEEEK! Yes. You guys know the drill. You put up a bird feeder and the birds find it but it also gets overrun with squirrels. And the bird-lover/watcher tries everything on earth to keep the blasted squirrels from getting the birdseed. And nothing works. People, have you ever watched squirrels negotiate trees? And fences and power lines and whatever… They do not fly like birds do but they do get around. I have seen a squirrel “fall” out of a tree right in front of me and get up and run away. And then there was the time that the GG decided to clean out a “birdhouse” that he had placed up on our fireplace chimney. He got up there on a ladder and knocked the “birdhouse” to the ground. Except that it was not a birdhouse. Hello! It was a SQUIRREL house with mooma squirrel and three (count ’em) babies in there. YiiiY!!! Those babies fell from a great height. We thought they were dead. We kept the beach urchins out of the back room so they wouldn’t see the dead baby squirrels. Then. One of them SCREAMED!!! Suddenly (Here I come, to save the day!!!!) Mooma squirrel appeared. One by one, she rolled up each baby and transported them to a safer nest. Apparently she wasn’t terribly fluent at counting because after all three had been moved, she kept coming back. The GG? Persona non grata for the rest of the afternoon.

So, after years of no bird feeders, we have one or two (or three or whatever) now. Birds are visiting, I think, but I was at work all day today so whaddoo I know… But guess who else is getting up there… Chipmunks. I dunno. I love birds. And squirrels and chipmunks. Why can’t we just put food out and watch whoever shows up? Or not and watch who does not show up… Raccoons? They are cute but not when they try to eat my baby girl. Skunks? They are cute too. But…

Love all of you,

Cute cute cute, hiss hiss hiss!!!

Monday, June 15th, 2009

cygnetsSo, what does a baggy old kayak woman do with herself when her younger(est) child graduates from college? Yeah. No younger children. It was a thought for a while, but somehow the Mouse kind of broke the mold or however you want to say it. Spirited child? ((((er, spirited moom?)))) Not always the best combination. So. When the music started and people in caps and gowns started to walk slowly down the hill yesterday, this crusty old moom had a really hard time disguising the fact that tears were leaking out of her eyes and she was just a smidge away from the raccoon eyes that Maybelline mascara makes when it gets wet. And from a full-fledged out and out sob session… I was numb when the last beach urchin graduated from K. My emotions then were submerged in the frozen depths of Gitchee Gumee. This time I was on the verge of letting all of Gitchee Gumee out. All over everything. Maybelline, be damned.

So, yesterday, I was struggling to keep from opening the floodgates when I heard a loud outburst from behind me. I turned to see that the handsome, well-groomed younger brother of a graduate was seated more or less behind me. Down’s Syndrome? I wasn’t sure. His well-dressed, upper-class-type multi-generational family was gently (or sometimes firmly) trying to keep him from making too much noise. His noise didn’t bother me. I do not like to sit either and I understood his restlessness. I didn’t understand all of his words but I got enough to know that *he* knew his beloved brother (whoever that was) was involved in an important ceremony, one that maybe he knew he himself would never get to… And I loved this grad ceremony although I was sort of counting down columns of names in the program after we got done with the J’s, which was the last graduate I actually *knew*, and I have known Lairi since the early 1990s and her moom and I sat there and laughed loudly about all of our old girl scout adventures. The speaker was Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a young 31-year-old novelist from Nigeria. The 2009 class read her book Purple Hibiscus before they began their freshman year and she said things at their commencement that I wanted to say to my own college graduate mouse but lacked the words to say them.

So… the baggy old kayak woman somehow managed to drag herself out of the numbness of the depths of Gitchee Gumee and so she spent the larger part of *today* at a wonderful company picnic at the Planet Ann Arbor’s own Gallup Park. And that batty old bag got a cute cute cute picture of cygnets!!! KW also tried to take a picture of goslings and they were right next to the sidewalk where we were walking but there was this little “hiss hiss hiss” sound and her long-suffering fellow design team members dragged strongly encouraged her to get outta there pretty darn quick… And so life bumbles along…

Mouse and Mouse, kzoo 2009

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Mouse Courtois and *Squeaky* Speedy Water Janet Pop Mousey Mushroomears. Kalamazoo College class of 2009. Bachelor of Arts, cum laude. Major in Theatre Arts. Charles Tully Design Award. Congratulations, Mouse and Mouse! [Er, updated to correct Squeaky’s name.]


And lest we start getting all overly proud and taking ourselves too seriously, let’s note that the Hunchback of Stetson Tower also made an appearance. Oh, and I do not know who the floating head in the Mouse-mouse photo is but if you click over to the hunchback, a very few of you will recognize a beautiful neighbor of ours in the background! One who I have known since Lizard Breath was five months old but that’s a whole ‘nother story for a whole ‘nother day.

$140K. Or thereabouts.

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

Bladladladladl blup blup blup blup blup

Friday, June 12th, 2009

sunlitleavesHello! Hmmm. How in heck am I supposed to get to work today? There are two vee-hickles in our little no-garage driveway and the two sets of keys to the one that is blocked in are in the blasted basket but I cannot find *either* of the two sets of keys to the one that is doing the blocking in the blasted basket. And the other person in the household is halfway across town *walking* to his office, a new Friday fun routine since technically, he has a “compressed” work schedule and does not have to work on Fridays. Okay. I could call a cab, maybe? Maybe I could call Wayne? He’d give me a ride but not sure if he’s taking today off or not… Okay. Problem-solve. Valet key? There’s one. Except that one goes to the CLBHC(wtyfitb), which is in kzoo, so that doesn’t do me *any* good. Aha!! At last. Valet key to the Dogha. And I am off!

There is a company in town that calls people who do what I do “High-tech Anthropologists”. Actually, they probably don’t do *exactly* what I do. I am pretty sure that the job and daily routine of a high-tech anthropologist at that company is very different than mine. But use your imagination for a minute because *today*, I spent the first few hours operating more along the lines of a high-tech *archaeologist*. Yes, everything but the dirt, grime, dust, and handkerchief hat. Bugs? We have plenty of those. And nowadays, any self-respecting software house doesn’t call them “bugs”. They are called “defects” now and they are carefully tracked. Oh for the early 1980s… But there I was, digging and dredging through old files of various sorts trying to figger out how a teensy tinesy little bitsy bit of our application got the way it is now. Yes, I was in my *element*!!!

Home via Briarwood Mall. I dragged myself kicking and screaming into the mall, forcing my Chacos to take me to Chicos, where I bought some *desperately* needed business casual type clothing. I did okay there for once. I mean I didn’t freak out and leave empty-handed. What really made me happy today was finding a perfectly good article of summer business casual-type clothing — from Chicos, no less — in my CLOSET!!! I don’t remember ever wearing it. Or buying it. ‘course, when I wore it *today*, my boss told me I looked like a leprechaun! I don’t care. I like it and I will wear it again! Hey Froggy, whadja do with my shillelagh, eh?

And so, when I finally got home, I realized that since I walked out the door with the blasted *valet* key this morning, I did *not* walk out the door with a set of keys that had the HOUSE KEY on it… Sigh. Onward and upward!

Welcome home, Purple Mouse!

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

purplemouseOkay, I have a confession to make. I am on Facebook. I have been on there for a few months now. I guess now that both of the beach urchins have friended me on there, I can come out of the closet.

I resisted FB for a long time for a lot of reasons that boiled down to not wanting to stalk my kids on-line. I mean, I kind of tried that once. It didn’t start out as stalking. When Lizard first went to college almost seven years ago, I thought I would be really cool and try to communicate with her via Instant messenger. I had friends who talked to their kids at college by I/M all the time. Well. After about three sessions of I/M, her very appropriate reply was, “Moom, don’t you have anything to *do*?” And then there were cryptic “away” messages sometimes that would make me wonder things like, “did she flunk a test?” or “Does everyone at the college hate her?” or whatever. I know that she was just writing random stuff like I sometimes put on Twitter now and I finally realized that I was kind of stalking and I didn’t want to do that, so I talked some sense into myself and backed off. And of course, she was fine. Er, except for the time she fell on ice and thought she had broken her arm but that’s a whole ‘nother story and we used the phone for that discussion.

The truth is that I have never felt like I’ve had any reason to mis-trust either of my kids. I very fondly remember when Liz was in middle school and we’d come home late from a play rehearsal and I’d veg out on the couch in front of old Taxi re-runs while she would I/M kids she’d just left an hour or so earlier. Those were good times and I never felt like I had to look over her shoulder or search for her chats on the “family” computer we had in those days. I figure my kids have probably done some things they might not want to tell me about but I have never been afraid they’d do something stupid like hook up with some pervert from [insert-state-here] and run away from home. I am not the best moom but I think my kids have felt safe here for the most part. And I do have the *best* vacation place!!!

And so, when Facebook became available to all of us baggy old people, I didn’t join. Until. A long-time Planet Ann Arbor friend landed in the horspittal and almost died and her family was doing updates on her condition via Facebook. In minutes, I had a Facebook account. Since I had an account, I very tentatively looked around and found a very old friend from grade school. I *very* tentatively sent her a friend request thinking, “why the heck would anybody want to connect with me?” Next thing I knew, I was at a *wonderful* high school mini-reunion!!! I continue to connect with old friends slowly but last week, I confessed to my older beach urchin that I was indeed on Facebook and now I am friends with both of my kids. And a whole slew of other relatives because of it.

Love y’all. -KW