Archive for July, 2009

Vacation mode, anyone?

Friday, July 31st, 2009

octothorpulatorI am in vacation mode. I have been in vacation mode for about the last two three four weeks now. I have three and a half more work days plus probably a few hours working from home this weekend. Fridays have been the hardest. Last Friday I felt like I was seriously on the verge of actual depression. It was okay, I was fine by that evening. I am not prone to being depressed. Aside from an occasional day or two of bluer than blue. Or even a couple hours. My moods have evened out a bit with age and a few losses. Why sweat the little stuff? It’s not worth it. But sometimes I do get wrapped up in the moment. Something is not going my way and I can’t control it. Somebody else gets some well-deserved praise and I feel overlooked. Nobody will listen to me. Or whatever.

My job was fine today, as it almost always is. It was a boring day and I was working on a boring task but the place was in a summer kind of mode with lots of key people on vacation and I was distracted enough by questions from some of those who were left behind plus occasional little breaks with co-workers that it all kind of balanced out into a relatively fun day. I *love* getting questions. I love deciphering exactly what the question is and writing carefully thought out answers and if I don’t know the answer, I love the high-tech archaeological dig that it often takes to find the answer.

Nevertheless, I felt pretty stressed out when I got home. Mouse was cooking veggie curry and she needed some carrots. She had already been to the grokkery store but didn’t get carrots because, when she looked in the refrigimatator, there were carrots in there, so she didn’t put them on her list. Guess what? The carrots in the refrigimatator were too old to use. So, I was dispatched over to the Plum Market. And had my first traumatic checkout experience there. I got in line with my single bunch of multi-colored carrots ($2.99) behind a woman who appeared to be paying for her grokkeries. No brainer, right? Not. The machine couldn’t read her credit card. She tried it again. She said, “Oh, last time I was here, it wouldn’t read my card either.” [Duh.] The [incompetent] young male cashier tried to do it manually. He couldn’t figure it out. He yelled over to the next cashier for help. Still didn’t work. There I was. Standing there with my one bunch of multi-colored carrots nervously smoothing the three crumpled dollar bills in my hand and organizing them so George Washington was oriented the same way on all of them. [Didn’t you know that’s what you do when you are counting money? If not, now you know.] It is always a little embarrassing to me to buy *one* thing at the grokkery store (even though I walked there and so didn’t use any gasoline for such a frivolous errand) and there I was with my one bunch of carrots. After what seemed like an eternity, the cashier looked at me and apologized and I slunk away with my one bunch of carrots and my perfectly smoothed out dollar bills and eventually I got outta there. Totally stressed out at that point. Even the walk home didn’t help much.

But it’s okay, it’s better now. Back in the Jurassic Age, I ran a cash register. It wasn’t a computerized one. It was one of those old mechanical ones with all of the rows and rows of numbers. I was an expert at running that cash register and I loved that job but I made minimum wage, which I think was about $1.45 an hour when I started. We took credit cards. Not everybody did in those days. We had those old manual credit card thingies, that you ran over a carbon paper type receipt. If the customer’s total was over $50, we had to call the store office from our cash register and wait for the office gals to call VISA to approve the transaction. Wait anyone? Irate customers anyone? I felt irate today but I squelched it. I know how hard it is when technology doesn’t work. And people like me are waiting in frustration.

Vacation? Vacation? I need a real vacation. These rocket trips are fun but just about the time you get settled in a bit, you are cramming all of your crap back into your vee-hickle and rocketing back down the I75 SUV Speedway. Which is a long slog but please know there are plenty of rest areas (and McDonald’s, etc.) so do *not* feel as if the only place you have to stop is the Nun Doll Museum at Cross in the Woods near Indian River. I mean, you can stop there but remember that there are many other attractions in Michigan. Sorry, I’m just saying.

Onward and vacation beginning next Thursday afternoon. Whew!

Migrating elephunks. Or telephongs. Or birds…

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

pondOne of the perks of having a cubicle in “my” “business” park is that it is next to the Ann Arbor Airport. Not that I have ever or will ever fly out of there, just that I love to watch small airplanes and the occasional commuter jet or helicopter or blimp land and/or take off. Another perk is that our building is in a business park on an old farm. It is called Avis Farms and it was once owned by the same Mr. Avis that owned the rental automotive vee-hickle business with the same name. Folks that I work with who have been there since our building was first built remember old Mr. Avis being driven around the grounds in a golf cart by his caretakers.

I don’t think I will ever willingly participate in any decision to turn Fin Family Moominbeach into a business park but Mr. Avis did that with his land and he enjoyed it and of course, he enjoyed the profits he received. It was his own decision and so be it. And so, my building is in a beautiful spot with a nature trail and a number of ponds where all kinds of water birds collect.

I have been working in my cubicle for almost two years now. I’m kind of amazed at that in itself. Who knows how long it will last. Almost nobody’s job is safe these days. But back to one of the perks of working where I do… Throughout my whole life, I have loved nature but I but I but I but I but I tend to look at with a rather broad brush, like if you squint at those trees there in one of the ponds in Avis park, you might even see elephants, like Mouse did when she saw the picture over my shoulder. But of course, there is more too it than that and so yesterday when I saw a V of geese taking off from one of the ponds, I was totally enthralled. Yes, I have seen geese flying in a V formation before. Ho-hum, roight? The difference is that this time I think that I saw these geese in training for this flight pattern on the ground a couple of weeks ago. They were standing on a gentle grassy slope to the left of the elephunk trees and I swear they were lined up in a diagonal line. Like a V. This is the first time this year I have seen geese flying in formation. I have watched them with their newborn goslings and I have watched those goslings grow into teenagers. And now they are flying. In formation. I have been able to watch an entire cycle of life and even though it is not finished yet, well, I am just amazed.

The title is quoted (or maybe misquoted) from my favorite poem *ever*, Eletelephony, by Laura Richards, not sure when she wrote it but it’s just about what I think about telephones in general. Blech.

It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it.

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

mouseholderWhat job? The job of Mouseholder, of course. Froggy, do you have Purple Mouse? Unh hunh.

We had a moment of panic this afternoon, or I did. Mouse came home today from her visit to The Commander’s cabin up on Fin Family Moominbeach. She and Froggy drove up just about when I got home from work and, after a good schlurping from the Froog, we walked over to the Plum Market subliminal advertising inserted here.

When we got back, Mouse realized that Purple Mouse was nowhere to be found. Purple Mouse who has survived a trip to Africa and a bunch of unknown adventures that resulted in her return to the landfill mailbox in the middle of the night a couple of months ago. Oh where, oh where, could our Purple Mouse be?

While I was outside trying not to panic as I retraced Mouse (and Froggy’s) steps from her vee-hickle out in the street up our driveway and into the house, I realized that I have been through this a few times before. Probably the most famous incident was on my birthday back in 1989. Some birthday. First, our brand-new Chrysler minivan lost almost all of its oil due to a defective part. Somehow we managed to get it to the dealer without burning up the engine. We got home and everything was fine and then the 2-year-old said, “Moom, I can’t find my Mouse!” This was true panic. We were in full-tilt boogie mode trying to find the Mouse that our Mouse may have been almost more closely bonded to than she was to her old tired crabby parents. I won’t describe our search, some of y’all know the drill. The GG was ready to get on to our old MacPlus and draft “missing mouse” flyers to post around the neighborhood. Printed on the old dot-matrix printer. I settled Mouse into bed with “New Mouse” that night. Yes, “New Mouse” was a duplicate and that’s a long story for another day. She decided that she could fall asleep with New Mouse but I could tell she was still very worried about her real mouse.

Tomorrow really can sometimes be another day. And that particular tomorrow was when Mouse remembered that she had stuffed her own real puffalump (not scurry) mouse into a beautiful purple lame drawstring bag that I had made. And she had shoved a whole bunch of markers on top of her mouse. Who knew? Hallelujah, in any case.

So I was walking around looking all over the driveway for Purple Mouse today. I was wondering whether the new neighbors moving into the Burke house (yes) would think I was crazy. I was cursing Froggy for being such an inattentive mouse-holder. I was wondering what the heck an old bag like me was doing wandering around outside looking for a very small stuffed animal that a frog puppet had lost for her 20-something daughter.

It was all okay in the end. Purple Mouse had somehow made it inside the house and was located in Mouse’s room. Froggy’s reputation as an excellent mouse-holder was restored.

I am nuts but this kind of stuff really is my life sometimes.

G’night
KW

Female life blahgger. Two kids. No ads.

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

bobThe annual Blogher conference happened over the weekend and I never attend it but I do lurk a bit in the realm of the “mommy-bloggers” and there is always a lot of controversy about this conference. And quite a bit of squee too. I don’t quite get either the controversy or the squee. This year, there are other little tempests about to complement Blogher. The Marquis has written a very good post about this over at RegenAxe. About the only thing I could possibly take issue with is that, OF COURSE there are subliminal Plum Market ads on my blahg!!! Not sure if that Plum Market link’ll work. asp.net gone crazy?

I will never put ads on my blahg. I won’t write reviews either. Er, not unless the kitchen fairy sends me a whole new kitchen to replace The Ugliest Kitchen On Earth. But that’ll never happen and the older I get, the more anti-materialistic I am. I have enough cosmic debris. I’m trying to get rid of it. Please don’t send me any more. Swag? I still haven’t emptied the bag o’ swag I got from the wonderful little web usability conference I went to at our own WCC in APRIL!

To me, getting a financial return from blahging is not what it’s all about. But I can understand where other folks are coming from. I know how hard it is to raise children without two decent, stable incomes. Many folks have unstable jobs and really good day-care where you can leave your kid without worrying about them all day can be prohibitively expensive. I do not blame moms (or dads for that matter) for trying to turn their blog into an income. I had the best of all worlds when my kids were little. I had an intense part-time job with a relatively flexible schedule and (yes!) a *very* supportive husband with a promising career. I still dreamed about being able to work from home in my pajamas. That said, when I am drifting around on the Internet these days, one of the things that makes me decide to *not* follow a blogger, even when they don’t always seem to be shilling/reviewing products, is when there are so many ads that the page takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r to load. Three seconds, folks. If it takes more than three seconds, people will not wait. That is Web Usability 101. Blogher ads are among the worst offenders.

And then there’s the squee. What squee? The squee of “omg-i-luv-ur-blog-i’m-so-glad-2-meet-u”. Bad, bad, Kayak Woman. I know it’s not like that. I know there are wonderful panel discussions and people learn all kinds of stuff and make connections and many of these women are wonderful writers and almost nobody uses text-message abbreviations. I think some these people probably make important connections. But I don’t squee. I think I have squeed about twice in the last 10 years and that was when I met up with Sam the Archaeologist and Uber Kayak Woman (no blahg, sorry folks) after not seeing them for nine years or whatever. (This was on separate occasions and they do not know each other. At least I don’t think they do. Sam is an honorary family member but I’m not sure off-hand which of my cuzzints she’s met.) I am certainly far from being one of the A-list female life blahggers so squeeing (or not) would probably not be an issue. But still. I am a much shyer person in real life and *certainly* in social situations than my blahg might indicate. I don’t squee frequently and, since I am quite sure that I am not widely read by the Blogher audience, I doubt if anyone would squee to see me either. So there’s that whole awkward party thing that people keep saying isn’t going on but they still talk about invitation-only parties, etc. And I’d probably just go to sleep at one of those but, if you have been to one, why brag about it afterwards if this is supposed to be such an inclusive, welcoming event? Junior high anyone? Sigh.

And so. Yes, I blather about my life on the Internet. Every day. For six years. It is *my* blahg and I’ll blahg what I want to. I started small but that’s a story for another day. What the heck, it is *still* small! The GG’s head has probably already clonked down onto his keyboard trying to read this. I have some loosely defined rules. Basically it’s a litmus test kind of thing. “Will it hurt someone’s feelings?” Not bloggable. “Is it bragging?” Not bloggable. “Does it get into family business?” Not bloggable unless it is just superficial stuff. Have I ever broken any of these rules? Yes. Unfortunately. I try to slog on and do better…

Breaking and Entering

Monday, July 27th, 2009

squirrelWork badge out of purse and *firmly* in hand. Check.
Personal laptop, phone charger, and purse into personal laptop bag. Check.
Work laptop over shoulder. Check.
Sandals on. Check.
Frog-infested lunch bag over arm. Check.
Pick up personal laptop bag. Check.
Lock door and shut it. Check.

Errrr….. Something was not right! I was outside the locked door without keys to either the landfill or the Ninja. With all of my work paraphernalia dangling off my body. Well, whew! Mouse is home. I can just wake her the nitroglycerin up and she can let me in so I can grab my keys. But Mouse is not *always* home. In fact, she has just spent the last four years in college over at kzoo and six months of that in Africa! She is here for the time being but she won’t be here forever. So I really need to be more careful when I go through my going-to-work mental checklist. Because if I do lock myself out, I might have to figger a way to break in and then somebody might call the po-leese and when they try to arrest me even after I’ve shown them my valid Great Lake State driver’s license with a picture that looks like me (sort of, but that’s a whole ‘nother story) and has the landfill address right on it, you can bet that I will be screaming bloody murder!

It’s a bit unlikely that anyone would call the po-leese on a baggy old honky like me. I do not exude the aura of criminal as hard as I may sometimes try and I think even most of the people in my neighborhood who don’t know me by name probably know me as “that old bag who walks every morning” or something like that. I am a fixture. A known entity. And anyway. In our nice but decidedly un-fancy neighborhood, there is somebody that I will refer to as the Duke of Maple Ridge who sees everything! He saw *both* trees fall on our house — one of them at three AM — and he was watching when the guy that got bored at a nearby AA meeting came down the street trying unlocked house and vee-hickle doors. I think the only incident that he didn’t witness first-hand is when the catty-corner neighbor became suicidal and barricaded himself behind a gun and the po-leese locked down the neighborhood. The Duke missed a good one that time. He was out of town and his wife was home alone when the local SWAT team appeared in their back yard demanding all kinds of stuff. Ladders or whatever, I forget. I make a decent gin ‘n’ tonic and she was okay by the end of that episode. Anyway, I would just about bet that if the Duke saw me struggling with my front door, he’d be over here helping out. An adventure!

But maybe not. What if someone who didn’t know that an old bag and grumper lived at the landfill just caught a glimpse of a door being bashed in and didn’t see who did it? I don’t know about this Gates incident over there at Harvard or wherever it happened. I don’t have all the facts. The more I read and hear about it, the more questions I have. He said, she said, he said. Defuse, people! If we knew our neighbors a bit better, maybe this stuff wouldn’t happen. Maybe we could actually leave our doors unlocked? That’s probably too much to hope for. But there are always these issues of face. I mean saving face. If you ask somebody for their ID in their own house and everything matches up, then whoever called you was wrong. Apologize and back off. We are all coming from our own space and I know that even when I drive the five hours down from Da Yoop, sometimes I am pretty testy about things by the time I get home. Think about the person who has flown from China. How many hours? How many airports?

Breathe,
Kayak Woman of Maple Ridge

The Buck Stops Here!

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

buckYes it is a terribly fuzzy photo. I am amazed that I managed to get his picture at all. Just after I took this, he started off through the woods but then a doe came along and they both stopped and I got a couple more fuzzy pictures and then I continued on down the boardwalk and they headed off into the woods for good. We were not hiking in the Great White North this weekend although some others did. We were on the Hoyt G. Post boardwalk trail in Parker Mill County Park. Our early morning hike was from the Gallup Park boat launch parking lot over to Parker Mill, around the boardwalk trail and back. Our path today was mostly paved trails that accommodate walkers, bikers, roller-bladers, strollers, and wheelchairs and it’s best to get out early before the crowds come out. Unless you like crowds, that is, but I don’t. It’s an urban hike. But we weren’t all that surprised to see deer so close to the trail because we have a whole lot of deer around here. Mouse (I think it was Mouse) even saw one east of the Dexter/N. Maple intersection once. That is seriously *inside* our city. I think these deer were not afraid of us because they are more or less used to people.

We saw a lot of other beasties too. A vole that wouldn’t hang around long enough for a photo. Rabbits. Swans and lots and lots of geese and ducks. Red winged blackbirds. Goldfinches. A mourning dove sitting on the railroad tracks. Shirrels Sirkirs Squirrels and chippies but those are everywhere. Just ask the GG. He says chipmunks are coming from two blocks away to feast at his bird feeder in the back yard. I’m not sure how he knows where they’re coming from. He just says, “I see ’em coming across the street.” Okaaaaaayyy…. And of course there were all kinds of plants, some of which I can identify, most not. I posted some photos on facebook and a FB friend asked about the mulberries. Mulberries? Say what? Is that what those red berries were? Who knew? Not old Black Thumb Banana.

We I almost chickened out this morning. When my alarm went off at 5:30 AM, I reached for my phone to check the weather forecast. It said rain by seven and thunderstorms by 10. I can handle a little rain but I do not walk in lightning storms. Lightning is unpredictable and I am a chicken. As it turned out, the sun was out the whole time and when we got back to our vee-hickle at nine, clouds were just starting to roll in. And here it is after four in the afternoon and we’re finally getting some rain. No thunder. Anyway, the rest of the day was not worth writing about. You do NOT want to read any kind of a rant from me about extraneous styles or broken document maps. So, click here or on the buck for more.

Oh, and we have a newspaper today! Two days a week, Sunday and Thursday. Some like it better than others. I haven’t read it yet. So, we’ll see…

*Nobody* wants old magazines! I you find somebody who does, I’ll eat my hat!

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

irisSky & Telescope. Astronomy. NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC!?! Some dating back to 1983. Seems to me that every generation has to re-invent the wheel when it comes to saving old magazines. Oh, but there’s that wonderful article that I didn’t have time to read. Or that quilt that I am definitely gonna make someday. Or this or that gorgeous picture that would be great the next time the kids have one of them thar school prodjects. “Prodjects” was (as always) intentionally misspelled and y’all know the kind. “Moom, my mouse prodject is due tomorrow!!” Yaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh! So we save all of those magazines and they start piling up and piling up and piling up. And piling up. When my beloved late father-in-law moved to Florida back in the 80s, he initially stored his extensive collection of National Geographics in somebody’s garage. He paid $25 a month (I think). This might sound a little crazy and he did have his quirks (who doesn’t, hmmmm?) but I am sure he isn’t the first person to do something like that.

Because we have done our own crazy magazine saving. It was okay at first because there were just two of us plus the teensiest tinesiest little newborn baby in this great big rambling house and there were all kinds of built in shelves in the basement. Except it isn’t a big house at all. It’s a little 1960s-era tract house with the Blue and Only Bathroom on the west side of the Planet Ann Arbor. The teensy tinesy little newborn baby grew into a toddler and started collecting her own toys and books and clothes and things because there was soooo much room here and, even though we were far from rich, we had enough income to spare that we could buy stuff for our baby. And because we loved her so much, we did. And then there was another teensy tinesy little newborn baby and that whole pattern continued. All of a sudden they were teenagers and I started looking around and realizing that I couldn’t actually de-clutter and clean and vacuum the house in an hour or so any more. In fact, I didn’t have any place to put things at all. I was *still* reluctant to get rid of the old magazines. Well what if we need them? What about all those beautiful quilts in my Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine? I guess I thought I would still have time to actually read old magazines. I remember briefly thinking hallucinating about the idea of putting the magazine collection in the shed. Yeah, the crappy old tin shed in the back yard. Kee-reist! Rodent city. I guess the only thing that would’ve been good about that plan is that after they had been out there for a couple of years, it would’ve been easier to shovel up piles of old, tattered, rodent chewed, damp magazines and THROW THEM OUT! But I didn’t do that.

A couple years ago, when I decided I needed to get rid of my quilting magazines, I actually took the time to go out on eBay and see if they were worth something. It’s a long story but I finally decided that messing around trying to sell old magazines on eBay was not worth my time, so into the recycle they went. I’m pretty sure that Craig’s List is about as useless in that case and Freecycle makes you join a Yahoo Group. Which I don’t have time for right now. And I used to *run* various Yahoo Groups. So. This morning, when my opinion was sought about what to do with old magazines, I just shook my head. Or not, actually, I had some choice words. Y’all who know me in real life would know that! The plan is for me to put them in the weekly recycle pickup in small enough packages that the recycle pickup guys don’t break their backs. I can deal with that. Progress!!!

Oh, and if you *do* know of somebody who wants old magazines (Sky & Telescope, Astronomy, and National Geographic) and is willing to to come and PICK THEM UP FROM ME, i.e., I am NOT going to spend time and energy seeking this out and I am NOT going to schlep them, I WILL eat my hat. But not my big sun/kayaking hat. Or my ski band. Or my balaclava.

Read at your own risk.

Friday, July 24th, 2009

purpleHow many ways am I mad at the world today? I can’t count ’em. This was a black day. I don’t totally know why. I wanted to be anywhere than where I was. I am working on the most boring task that that my team ever has to do. I have escaped it for the last couple of project cycles. This time it’s my turn. It’s okay. It has to get done. But it is stultifying work, especially when others have more interesting things to do at the moment. I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel on this task but I am not finished with it yet. By two o’clock this afternoon, I could hardly keep my eyes open. And then, when I got home, I realized that there had been a load of laundry in the dryer for TWO days! I am not Suzie Homemaker here but I am not one of those people who routinely lives with mounds and mounds of dirty laundry around. Never have been. I cycle through laundry frequently enough that it never stacks up. I fold it and then whoever it belongs to is responsible for putting it away. Except for towels and things. I do those. It’s really not a hard job at all and so I can’t figure out why I have suddenly let a load go for two blasted days. And then there was the adventure of trying to hose out the A2 garbage cart with a high-pressure hose nozzle. Or not (high-pressure), since it was infested with ants or something. Yes, we take care of our tools around here. And I wasn’t even excited about the *package* I received today. It’s just a couple of new pairs of polartech socks because all of my polartech socks are full of holes and we definitely need polartech socks around here in the summer. To wear with hiking sandals, don’tcha know. And. And. And. Sigh… As I am writing this I am thinking how lame I am and how it really wasn’t such a bad day at all and I really do not have anything to complain about at all. I just somehow managed to put myself into a black hole today and couldn’t quite get myself to crawl out of it. It was one of those days when my job wasn’t interesting enough to keep me from lusting after my vagabond days, even though I know only too well that those days were often filled with angst about whether my life had any meaning and whether I would ever find something constructive to do with it and a halfway decent salary wouldn’t be too bad either. And now I have all that and I know that the grass is not any greener on the vagabond side of the fence. It’s just a different kind of grass. Wow, I am really getting out there, aren’t I? I warned you not to read this! And there was no blasted newspaper today!!!

Okay. I am done. We are about to go to Knight’s to meet our friends for dinner. And I have a vacation (paid!!!) coming up in a couple weeks, or less than that now. Although some parts of my vacation will not be very vacation-y, my beautiful [grown-up] baby Lizard Breath will be with me and I do not see her often enough. And my mouse. And there will be cousins and octo-folks and other northern correspondents galore. So now I will go and wash my face and head on out and hopefully (knock on wood) tomorrow will be a better day.

Sayonara,
Kayak Woman

174 years

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

forgetmenotMy Mouse took this picture, not me. We were doing the usual urban hiking thing down by Barton Dam last Sunday and I was taking some pictures of flowers and we saw some beautiful-looking purples down a short but steep dirt/gravel embankment and she grabbed my cam, I guess thinking that I might not be capable of scrambling down there. Truth be told, I certainly could’ve scrambled down there but I really didn’t want to. But I thought I saw forget-me-nots down there too. I think I told her that those would be really hard to photograph but yaknow, my Mouse can be much more intrepid than I am and she managed to get *this* photo with *my* camera (which isn’t a bad camera) and it is *much* better than any forget-me-not photo I have tried to take this year. And I have tried…

174 years. The paper that I have often referred to (affectionately) as the Ann Arbor Snooze published its last paper today. I have mixed feelings about this that I have written about before. On one hand, I am going to sorely miss having a paper copy of the newspaper to read at the end of the day. On the other hand, printing umpteen gazillion newspapers every day has got to be taking out a lot of trees (I took a lot of them out myself at work this week but that’s a whole ‘nother story and, believe me, you do not wanta know). So maybe this *is* the future. I am still sad, well, maybe not sad, shell-shocked might be the best word, that I will not be receiving a daily *local* newspaper after today.

I *am* sad thinking about what so many A2 Snooze employees are going through right now. I have never actually *lost* a job, but I have quit two jobs in my post-college life and, in both cases, I was not facing the unemployment line or any kind of soup kitchen. Thanks to being married to someone who has been a little more focused on a career than I ever have been. Like, what do I want to do when I grow up? I do okay in that respect if and when someone actually sees beyond the craziness and hires me. I show up, even when there’s a ton of snow. I work hard and I have basic writing skills (important) and I get “nitsy” when I don’t have enough to do.

(Whew, looking back, I sure got off on a self-centered tangent there. What I meant to say is that I know what it’s like to have to change your career path midway through life. It is not easy and I wish all of those folks the best of luck.)

I am not sure that I will make the effort to go to the website that’s supposed to replace the paper. But we’ll see. In the long run, I think we need to stop chopping down trees to make newspapers. I think my kids get their news on the internet and may occasionally read a newspaper. I don’t *think* either of them subscribe to one. I do worry about our older folks who haven’t and won’t make the switch to computers.

And so. On the last day of our local newspaper, no less than *three* newspapers were delivered to our doorstep/driveway. Our last edition of the A2 Snooze. The Detroit Free Press. And a new paper called the Ann Arbor Journal. Not sure what I will do…

Glahgiversary

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

island2

Grok grok. It’s Ol’ Baggy’s 6th Glahgiversary but she’s ben celibratin’ so much that’s she’s past out in my londry baskit today so fer wunce I c’n git onta g’rage band. Squee-grok squee-grok grok grok grok. Click on my li’l thermommyter down thare t’ heer what I hav t’ say. Grok grok grok grok!

Peace sign? Peace sign?

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

froggy2I think it was NPJane. Another Dirty Old Green Blue Honda Accord. Same vintage and almost identical to mine except there was a peace sign on it. It was going north on N. Maple by the Dexter/Maple intersection and it honked at the saggy old Limpopo bag with a Plum Market bag slung over her shoulder. (Hey, I may be saggy but I am most certainly *not* gray-green greasy!) I was thinking, “peace sign, peace sign, peace sign… I’ve seen that peace sign on a Honda before. Who is it?” It took me two blocks to figger it out. Am I right? Huh?

I was over at the Plum Market because of, “what am I gonna cook tonight? The refrigerator seems like it’s full but I don’t know what to cook.” Ad infinitum, ad nauseam. It is full partly because of my mismanagement but also because there is a young adult living at home for now and sometimes she eats with us and sometimes not. And so she buys her own food and that’s okay with me. Actually, truth be told, she probably eats healthier food than we do, more fruits and vegetables and not as much meat. Today I did the adult version of “my brain is going around and around and it won’t stop”. Honestly, it is MUCH cuter when a 5-year-old does it. It is just plain spastic when a saggy old bag does it. But eventually, my brain stopped on spaghetti! Vegetarian (lots of peppers and mushrooms are the key here). And we’ll use vermicelli for the noodles because that’s what I *have* here. Or maybe we’ll use some rotelle or farfalle, I do have some of that too. Hmm…

I can’t believe I actually asked my boss if he would beat somebody up today. I didn’t really mean it and I didn’t have a specific person in mind, just that somebody somewhere has decided on a standard format for a certain type of document and that particular format makes the nastiest Word document on earth and I have to work on one of these beasts and I am at 206 pages and counting right now and I keep getting lost in the blasted document because there’s no way Word can make a meaningful document map with the mish-mash of styles that are being generated by this particular document. But really it’s okay because if I didn’t have this mess to work on, I would probably be in a bit of a slow period and that is not a good place to be in the summer. A couple weeks before a vacation or whatever you want to call that. This is 80% grunt work and 20% creative work and that is about what my brain can handle at the moment.

And there’s yer daily dose o’ blather! Cheers!
Kayak Woman

P.S. I hope that bee-yooty-ful froog doesn’t freak anyone out.

Whaddya mean 1969 was the first moonwalk?

Monday, July 20th, 2009

moonwalkSeriously. Didn’t you know that earthlings have been rocketing back and forth to the moon since forever? Yes, really. Until I was about six years old, I sincerely believed that. Too many cartoons? Probably. I do remember having a very serious conversation with The Commander during which she carefully deprogrammed me. Sayonara, cheesy green moonwalks.

I watched the first real moon landing in an old log cabin on the shores of Gitchee Gumee and I canít remember if the TV I was watching it on was color or black and white. Thatís because I was at the cabin where all of the ultra-cool teeny-boppers hung out, not at our cabin. At our cabin, a bunch of little kids and OBs* were watching my parents’ old black-and-white Zenith, the one that I eventually took with me to college and beyond until it died. I should remember the basic specs of the TV at the cabin where I watched the moonwalk because we hung out there every night but I don’t.

I was sick during the moonwalk. Yes. Sore throat/fever-type virus. I felt like you-know-what but I was hiding that little detail because I desperately wanted to watch the moon landing with all the cool kids instead of being home in bed where I probably belonged. I have quite a track record of being sick for historic events. Mrs. Bishop brought a TV in to my second grade classroom the day John Glenn orbited the earth. I donít remember anything about it except for vomiting all over my desk and then spending the rest of the morning in the nurseís office because The Commander was off gallivanting around somewhere without her iPhone. And the day President Kennedy was shot? Strep throat.

Iím a little confused about the time of the actual moon landing. I am probably crazy but I seem to remember it being light out. With daylight savings time, it is indeed light out on the shores of Gitchee Gumee until 11 PM or thereabouts in June. By the 20th of July, old Mr. Golden Sun is starting to slip southward again. So Iím just not sure.

Where were you when you saw the moonwalk? Check out RegenAxe to see where the Marquis was for the moon landing (and NPJane, check the comments). And where were you?

*OB stands for Old B—-, not obstetrician. It meant anyone over 30. You can fill in the blanks.

Queen Anne (or not)

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

queenanneNot. But that’s my given name, the name The Commander named me. Oh, not the “Queen” part. C’mon. I have never really liked my name. Some kids don’t. I gave birth to one of those, so I know. I would’ve rather been named, oh, I don’t know, Shelly or something. I don’t mean Shelly as in short for Michelle, I mean Shelly as in finding beautiful shells on a beach somewhere other than Gitchee Gumee, where we have a lot of rocks but only a few shells. That’s only an example. There were other names that I lusted after when I was a kid but I can’t remember what they were.

For me, Anne was too short and sometimes a bit strident. Especially if my moom was calling for me when I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing, which was most of the time. My name sounded a little like an alarm. And I had a great-aunt Ann who was a bit eccentric and I didn’t really want to be compared to her. Make no mistake. I have good memories of her. She used to read stories to my brother and me when we stayed at our grandparents’ house, where she lived. She was a good person. Just not someone I wanted people to identify me with.

And then there was the whole thing about how my [beloved] only slightly younger cousin has the same name as me. The story is that my moom (The Commander) and her moom (Bubs) were both pregnant at the same time. They both chose the same name. They went ahead and named us the same name (“e” on the end and everything). My cousin was born in Denver, Colorado, and they figured we would never get together. But we did. It was okay. With me anyway. I always thought it was cool to have a cousin with my name. Somehow she got to be Anniepooh back in the old days. It was after Winnie ther Pooh, not because of you-know-what. I have various nicknames now but generally I still go by my given name and I still feel like, “me?” whenever people actually call me Anne.

I’m not sure whether Pooh really likes her nickname or not. I have become a little bit more comfortable with my given name since The Commander told me that I was actually named after Anne of Green Gables. Another spirited child who didn’t really like her name but eventually tolerated it. As long as people added the blasted “e” onto the end of it.

I’ve been trying to get a halfway decent picture of Queen Anne’s Lace all summer and this is the best I’ve been able to do so far. My Mouse and I walked over to the Plum Market cafe for Zingerman’s coffee this morning and then we walked the Barton Dam hike. We were tired at the end and it was noon by then, so we got Panera take-out.

I don’t know how to name babies. You do what you have to do at the time and some of them are comfortable with their names and some of them are not. Maybe some other cultures deal with this in a different way…

jitp revisited

Saturday, July 18th, 2009

Sam of Archaeofacts and I have been going back and forth for months about jitp, which is jack in the pulpit if you haven’t been on the edge of your seat waiting for the next episode involving this exciting plant. Those pics I posted show jitp in May, today, and a closeup of today. Click to enlarge (a bit). I posted the closeup to Facebook and folks there made jokes, which cracked me up. And one friend wondered if jitp is poisonous. I *think* it is (but haven’t double-checked) but heck, I wasn’t trying to *eat* this jitp. And the only time my camera acts like it’s being poisoned is when someone tries to use it to take a picture of MEEEEE!

Y’all don’t wanna know about the rest of the day, which was the typical Moom-alone Saturday of grokkeries, laundry, chores (I *hate* vacuuming!!!), cooking ahead, and today working on the nastiest word document in the world for my *work*. I mean, this thing was converted from another loverly Microsoft product called Filemaker (I meant *Framemaker*, Filemaker is old database stuff). Anyway, it is 200 pages or thereabouts and I think that there are probably 15 different styles for basically the same blasted numbering type thing. To the human eye anyway. Computer software applications are still not smart enough to do fuzzy logic. When they try, they just get in the way. Anyway, it’s all writing and that is easy (or not) but, because of the messed up style sheet, Word can’t generate a useful document map and so I am constantly getting lost in my document. Scroll bar anyone? Big time. Grrr. Why was I working today? Because this stuff needs to be done by the time my vacation (or whatever you want to call it) starts. It’s okay. I love my job and with current unemployment stats in this state at 15% (right?) I have *nothing* to complain about. What? Paycheck gets deposited twice a month? How aawwwwful. Not.

If you are unemployed in Michigan or anywhere else, I wish you good luck. I’ve *been* there. It was by choice. It was enough of a choice that I never filed for unemployment, and there were good things about it but it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. Don’t ask me about having to argue to the death about replacing ancient vee-hickles or computers. And then I was left with absolutely no self-confidence about finding a new job. Somehow I ended up with a wonderful new job in spite of myself and I’m glad to be working again and hope it continues.

Good night,
KW

Don’t eat jitp. It’s probably poisonous.

Parents? Do you know where your children street urchins are?

Friday, July 17th, 2009

streeturchinI was walking home from the Plum Market after work today when I saw an even smaller street urchin than this one throwing a large tree branch into the path of high-speed oncoming traffic on N. Maple. N. Maple has a 35 mph speed limit but you can’t tell me that anyone obeys that limit because I cross it on foot frequently and have to run like heck to get across without getting hit. There was actually a whole gang club of kids involved in this dangereuse experiment (you can see a bit of leftover tree-branch debris down there on the lower left) but this character was the only one brave enough to hang around after three people (me and a 30-something runner guy and an older wise Latina waiting at the bus-stop) yelled at them.

Okay. The moom in me was screaming (really, I did yell) “GET AWAY FROM THE STREET! YER GONNA GIT KILLED!!!!!”

The crabby old Concerned Taxpaying Citizen in me (don’tcha know) was harrumphing around about where the kids’ parents were and worried about those big tree branches damaging the motorized vee-hickles that hit them, and thinking about calling the po-leese. On retrospect, maybe some of those vee-hickles deserve a bit of damage if they are going 55 mph in a 35 mph zone and aren’t looking at the good old big picture enough (cell phone, anyone?) to slow down and *avoid* the damn branch. Er, and potentially the kids street urchins. I didn’t call the po-leese. The Wise Latina at the bus stop was already doing that.

The fiscal conservative/social liberal continually morphing political persona I inhabit when I’m paying enough attention to politics to decide what my political persona is was remembering part of an Obama speech I heard random bits and pieces of on NPR this morning: “I want them aspiring to be scientists and engineers, doctors and teachers, not just ballers and rappers”. Disclaimers below. These kids were, as you can see, African American, and because of where they were “playing”, they no doubt live in the “projects” across N. Maple from my neighborhood. Whatever you think of Obama (and I know I have readers with differing political opinions), all children of every genetic background, however their DNA expresses itself in regard to physical charactistics, need to know that they can attain whatever they want and all of us need to support those dreams for all children. The best we can, that is.

But then there was the child street urchin that still lives inside of me, underneath the bushy old gray-blonde hair and the saggy baggy old Limpopo body. The crabby old Concerned Taxpaying Citizen was starting to think, “Well! I never! We did *not* do those things when we were kids.” But she was drowned out by the street urchin who said, “Yes we did! Don’t you remember?” I mean, I don’t ever remember throwing big tree branches into the street. But that could be partly because we only had a couple of streets in that town that ever had the volume of traffic that N. Maple has and that we had a whole lot of other opportunities to play that didn’t involve interfering with a major public thoroughfare. But we did live on the edge sometimes. There was the time that my friend Helen had a sleepover for her 13th birthday. Her house was just on the edge of downtown Sault Ste. Siberia and we stayed up all night. At 6:00 AM, we decided we would walk down to the Locks. And so we did. *Nobody* was around, so we skipped down the middle of Ashmun St. singing “Feeling Groovy” (by Simon and Garfunkel). One cop car witnessed this. He decided to just let us be. When we got back to Helen’s house, the garbage men were starting to come around so we sat out on the curb next to the garbage cans and asked them to pick us up because we were garbage. It was obvious from their startled expressions that they thought we were crazy!

Disclaimers: I know that not everyone here supports Obama and I’m not trying to promote him but I did like this speech. I think African American children have a lot of difficulties dealing with our schools and I think they are more likely to have parents who are incapable (for many reasons) of supporting them as comprehensively as us white helicopter parents do with our kids. Every individual family is different but there are still some disturbing trends. And I didn’t do that quote that from memory, it was in the A2 Snooze today.

Love Y’all
KW

In the shadow of the big house…

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

bighouse…lives a two-week summer theatre academy. Or theatre day camp if you want to say it that way. When I first encountered what we now call “summerYag” around here, I was thinking of it as day camp too. A place to drop my Mouse-child for the day while I stayed home and dredged out the Landfill Basement (which I did but now it’s worse and I’m doing it again…)

But this theatre academy was not just a day camp, at least not for my beach urchins. The Ann Arbor Young Actors Guild does the camp and a whole bunch of plays during the school year. I started out dropping off my little Mouse at summerYag and then both the urchins started to do plays and plays and more plays and I was leery about doing volunteer work for YAG at first, even though that is part of it all. I was doing enough volunteer work with PTO treasury and girl scout stuff. But I eventually got sucked in and then I was on the board of directors and then I was paid to do administrative work. I could talk about all those years and I sometimes miss them sorely but yada yada yada.

I have loved the YAG organization since the beginning. I visited today for the annual Second Thursday Hot Dog BBQ. The first year that the BBQ happened, things weren’t very well planned out and our intrepid treasurer used a *trowel* (as in garden trowel) to deal with hot dogs. Nowadays, Luke Skywalker makes an appearance to grill the dogs. I ate a hot dog and I hung around downstairs a bit and I left after the water balloon fight ended.

When I visited summerYAG today, I told my friends there that if I had maybe two more weeks of vacation time via my job, I would be a volunteer at the camp. My employer is generous about vacation time but I need to spend most of that time going north, at least for the time being. I loved being there today. Talking to Sue and Jean and Tina and Mouse and all of this summer’s absolutely wonderful teachers (and Mouse is one of those). And Luke Skywalker, who still mans the grill.

I did have tears in my eyes on my way back to my job today. Boy oh boy, do I miss this crazy old wonderful camp. If you Click here or on the pic and you will see photos of “our” space in the STAC facility. And outside. And some old campers. And some of our staff members relaxing down in the hallway I have spent more hours than I can count in. Love you YAG.

We’ve already said… Good-bye. Good-bye. Good-bye. Dum dadadadadum dum dadada dum…

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

partayI first encountered My Wednesday Breakfast Buddy (MWBB) in an html/css coding class over at WCC years and years ago. Five years ago or thereabouts. I was a front row gal, thanks to Pooh of RegenAxe. I wasn’t friends with MWBB at first. She was nice enough but she wasn’t in the front row and she sort of seemed like a person with more savoir faire than me, like maybe she was once a cheerleader or whatever. So we didn’t interact. I assumed the A-student role that I shunned as a child and she did whatever she did and I know she got those As too. I do know that we both had high expectations for ourselves when it came to school and grades.

We went through a few classes together at WCC before we started talking together about our lives and our kids and everything mooms talk about. And that’s when both of my kids were at Kalamazoo College and her daughter was deciding to go to college at kzoo. And then. We started to meet outside of class. For breakfast mostly. Because that is kind of when mooms of teenagers and beyond can get out. It was a while before we met weekly. I dunno exactly why. I am sort of shy in some ways and it can be hard for me to make friends. I was always thinking, “does she *really* want to be friends with me? Why?” But. Yes. MWBB was persistent and we are definitely friends now. For the last few years, we have met for Wednesday breakfast at rotating restaurants: Broken Egg, Jackson Road Coney Island, and Village Kitchen. The waitresses at all of those places have our usual orders memorized.

MWBB is moving this weekend. To Arizona. I wonder if/when all of our breakfast waitresses will wonder where their old tired old blonde good tipping mooms have gone. The GG and I attended a going away party for MWBB this weekend and I got to meet her parents and her mother-in-law, who actually mistook me for MWBB’s sister. We all laughed but I think that MWBB and I do look a lot alike. Except that she’s more beautiful than yer old kayak woman type blahgger.

I don’t think it will hit me that MWBB is gone until a few Wednesdays have passed. I still have my Thursday mensch-type coffee friends that I’ve been hanging out with since our kids were in middle school. I will see at least one of those wonderful women tomorrow. They will keep me afloat, as will my “group hug” walking folks at work.

Sandy, I will miss you. You know that…

Doobedoobedoooooo. Bedoobedoobe. You did get that spreadsheet, right?

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

grassProbably yesterday’s photo would be best for today’s post seeing as it is of the Grand Poohbah and me. Even though we look dirty and disheveled and, well, “piggy” is the actual word that the GG used for us in that photo. What the heck? We are Beach Urchins!!! We are sitting on the old log pile outside the Old Cabin. There were seats carved in the logs and it was a wonderful place to play train and all kinds of other things. The ground in the parking lot between the cabins is sand mixed with pine needles and other plant material. It is dirty. It’s okay. When you get dirty on the shores of Gitchee Gumee, somebody can always clean you up in the lake! Although at that age, I think we had our baths in tubs in the old cabin with water heated in big teakettles on the old wood stove.

Anyway. the Grand Poohbah was here tonight. We walked over to Knight’s for dinner and then we galumphed through the Plum Market on the way home. We ended the night gnauffing and gnauffing and singing all of our old outhouse songs from back when I was terrified to go to the outhouse at night. Our outhouse did not have a light and my flashlight wasn’t bright enough to scare away all of the vampires and werewolves. Actually, I think my flashlight scared me as much as the werewolves and vampires with all of the spooky shadows its feeble little light would cast. If I could possibly manage it, I would use the outhouse at the old cabin on my way home from an evening of TV at the old Mc cabin. That’s the one that Pooh and some of my other cousins used. It was a two-holer and there was a bright light outside it. Pooh was too smart to be afraid of imaginary creatures like werewolves and vampires but alas, she has some rather awful outhouse memories of her own involving bratty cousins shutting the door on her or peeping through the knotholes behind the toilet seats. Yes yer favo-rite blahgger probably instigated some of those shenanigans. And no, she is not proud of herself.

Anyway, there is a spreadsheet floating around with all of the RegenAxe dates of arrivals and departures at various places and I am a spreadsheet queen but this one is making my brain hurt. I can more or less process arrivals and departures involving Fin Family Moominbeach and The Planet Ann Arbor. Anything else, I just cannot hold in my brain. Canada? Can’t process. You guys have a good time out there in Quebec. Maybe someday I’ll get back out there. Not this summer.

Drivin’ over 55.

Monday, July 13th, 2009

AnnePoohRecent news flash: 50-something females are the fastest growing demographic group of Facebook users. Actually, I think “they” are even saying “over 55”. Haaarrrrrumpf. What the heck did “they” think would happen when Facebook was opened up to people without student IDs? Hmmm? The thing is that a lot of us resisted it for a while. I know that there are a lot of folks my age and older who really aren’t computer literate. So there’s that barrier. “I don’t know how to set up a Facebook profile.” “What would I do with a Facebook profile?” Etc. But that wasn’t my problem…

I certainly don’t know it all but I have pretty much been a power user (and programmer when I need to be) since the first time I interacted with a computer 30 years ago or so. Hey, I can tell this thing what to do and it *does* it! Of course, computers have a tendency to do *exactly* what you tell them to do which can lead to some pretty scary results. Those of you who’ve been alive long enough, think back to the days when you had to type your FORTRAN (or even assembly language) program onto keypunch cards and hand them to the geeky guy with the snarky sense of humor at the I/O window and then slink out of there in shame when your program managed to put a new page carriage control character onto every line of output and that geeky snarky guy howled with laughter as he handed you the two-foot high stack of paper that represented your output. ((((Er, hey all you 50-something geeky, snarky I/O window guys. The way to pick up cute girls was *not* to ridicule them when they flubbed their computer programs. Maybe you eventually figgered that out though.))))

To be fair, I didn’t ever go through any of that but that’s only because, when I was in college, I dropped the only class that ever required me to interact with a computer. Hello 1979. First job out of college. Big government computer contractor. We used keypunch cards for years after I started working there but only for production jobs (work lingo, don’t ask). I taught myself FORTRAN on a Decwriter II that was connected to a remote mainframe by a slow old modem. The geeky, snarky I/O guy? Well. Er. That was Meeeeee! I could be dern snarky in those days. I was young (and thin and blonde) and man oh man, I had a hard time convincing folks of both genders that I had a blasted brain. I managed it eventually but that’s a whole ‘nother entry. Someday. Funny thing. After I had my own beach urchins, I mellowed a bit (I know some of you don’t believe that) and I began learning how to gently tell clueless folks how not to get a two-foot stack of paper. Honey and flies and all that, don’tcha know.

Fast forward. Sorry, it happens whether you want it to or not. My reason for not joining facebook for a long time was different than many other folks’ reasons. I wasn’t afraid of the technology at all. What the heck? I can bludgeon my way through *any* user interface, although I may have some comments about the usability when I am finally successful (or not). The thing is that we who are drivin’ over 55 are able to connect to our old friends via facebook. People we haven’t seen in about a gazillion years and didn’t ever expect to connect with again. My favorite facebook story is about a co-worker and mentor of mine who is close to my age. She knows how to program computers too but she joined facebook because an *80*-year-old friend of hers had joined and posted some photos. You go, girls!

(duck duck goose) x 2 = ?

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

bartondamWell, according to the GG, the four ducks and two geese we saw on one of the Argo Pond docks this morning were, “duck duck duck duck goose goose.” He may have a math minor in his distant past but I could once say that algebra was my favorite subject, so I factored that statement. Or maybe I did the opposite of factoring. Or maybe I’m just mangling this. You guys, I use algebra on most days but it has been a long time since I have had to talk the talk.

I love this summer. It was in the mid to upper 50s this morning at 6:30 or so when we left the Landfill. We hoofed it over to Bird Hills Park and then down to the Huron River and along the Border to Border Trail (more or less) to the Northside Grille. A certain mouse taxi frog-hopped over to the Northside to join us for breakfast and then we hitched a ride home in that taxi, aka, the Cute Little Blue Honda Civic with the Yellow Flower in the Blower. We could easily have walked but this is a Work Weekend, don’tcha know?

I don’t feel like I did a whole lot of work but the GG continued his prodject (intentionally misspelled) of converting Lizard Breath’s room into… Well… I dunno exactly what yet. Liz, he packed a lot of your stuff *safely* into boxes and, other than that, the place is still messy and the beds are still not bunked, so no pictures yet. Mostly I was just staying out of the way today. He was on a roll and when someone is willing do de-cluttering type work around here, I almost always try to get out of the way. (And I am sorry Liz for reporting this stuff on these tubes. I think you are okay with it or I wouldn’t have. <3 Moom)

This is not an attempt to cut our beloved independent adult daughter out of our lives or our house. Fer kee-reist, I still remember when she was a baby and I was freaked out thinking she would leave someday. It’s just that she did leave home and life goes on and it is time to morph our living space a bit. It was not time a few years ago when she graduated from college. Not because of her. She had offered to pack her room up a couple times beginning when she went on study abroad during her junior year. It was because of me. That was the year my family lost Grandroobly (my dad) and The Engineer (my brother) and I quit the job that, admittedly, I had a love-hate relationship with. Make no mistake. I was not sitting around crying on most days. I was just totally, utterly, completely unfocused. Drive? Yes! Clean my *baby’s* room? No. I could not move forward. Not yet. I did finally get her room cleaned up and arranged enough so that I could bring The Commander down for a visit and provide her with a comfortable and private room. But I didn’t box anything up. It is now two years later and with a full-time job on top of being out of town probably two out of every five weeks, I have made no further progress.

My parents moved house the summer between my freshman and sophomore years in college. They moved out of the only house that I had ever lived in. They only moved up the hill into my late grandparents’ house and although I only have a couple of sharp albeit hilarious memories of that whole thing, I know I was given every chance to move all of *my* stuff into “my” new bedroom. Eventually, The Commander got rid of whatever I did not take away from the house and that was okay with me. I did not have as much crap as my kids do but that is not their fault! It is mine, for being a member of the baby-boom meeeeeee generation. You know. Us folks that *invented* parenthood and all of the useless crap that supposedly goes with it. Yes, I loaded my kids up with all kinds of cute clothing and educational (or just cute) toys and the whole blasted kaboodling works! What the heck have I saddled them with?

So. Did your parents move after you went to college? If so, was it traumatic for you? And if you have kids who’ve left for college and beyond, have you moved? If not, what are you doing with their bedrooms (and all the stuff that *you* bought them ’cause most of us did)? If your kids are younger, do you have plans for when they do leave? This is hard stuff to answer because every family has a unique situation.

I have a duck duck goose picture but I didn’t post it because it was a crappy picture and because it doesn’t include the 4th duck so technically it is an incorrect photo. But if you click here or on the photo of the Barton Dam in the mist and sunlight of an early early summer morning, you will get a short slideshow.