Archive for December, 2010

Um, er, ah, Happy New Year?

Friday, December 31st, 2010

We drove for 250 miles in this stuff today:

And that was only the last 250 miles. It could’ve been worse. It was too warm for an “icy fog” to form. We crossed a ghost bridge:

And paid the toll at the northern end:

We paid with our commuter card. Do you know anybody else that has a commuter card for the Mackinac Ghost Bridge? And on into the dark, foggy, spoooooky upper peninsula. Hardly any other vee-hickles on the I75 SUV Speedway in Da Yoop at all.

I don’t mean to wish such a tentative Happy New Year to y’all. I’m just a wee bit shell-shocked by our loverly trip north today. It’s always a bit strange when you begin your trip to Da Yoop with a stop at good old Daytwa Metro, where chaos reigns. 4-5 lanes of traffic at both the drop-off and the pickup and a bunch of cops standing outside their vee-hickles blowing their whistles randomly into the ether. So, in addition to being shell-shocked, I’m also a bit culture-shocked.

Please have a happy new year. If you are drinking tonight, please designate a driver. If you are driving, please be extra careful! If I were an EMT here in the northern part of the Great Lake State, I would be dreading tonight. It may not be snowy or icy but it IS FOGGY! As for us, we’ll be staying in and yer favo-rite blahgger will probably crash out by nine or so. But that’s typical for yer favo-rite blahgger, who enjoys an early New Year’s Day morning MUCH more than a late night New Year’s Eve. 😉

P.S. The passenger we dropped off at Metro today landed in SF *early* and, although I hope the fog doesn’t hamper anyone’s celebration, I also find myself hoping that it will still be foggy in the morning so that my lock-walk will be ultra-beautiful. Although, if it is this foggy, the lake freighters will all be tied up and not locking through. So, no pics…

Dumpy

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Oh, I don’t mean the person in the photoooo. I mean yer favo-rite blahgger. Yes. It is a dumpy, slodgy sort of day and I have been in a post holiday funk for most of it. I even begged off a lunch date with the Commander, the GG, and Bugs & Horsey. I stayed here and grazed on leftovers. Threw out a bunch of old food too. It is bad of me to say this when so many people are starving right here in our own loverly country but good riddance!

And then I turned my attention to the Landfill Dungeon. While I have the California beach urchin home, it seemed like as good a time as any to get her to sort through some of her stuff. We have made only a small dent but anything is better than nothing. So, we are getting rid of a box of old shoes. Aaaaannnnddd… Then. Cases and cases and boxes and boxes of mix CDs! Remember when all the kids hauled big CD cases around? Some of these are labeled and some of them are, well, not. And some of them have beautiful marker art on them, making them hard to part with. A nostalgia trip ensued and there she is in the photooo sorting and ripping (is that what you call it?) and taking photos of some of the funnier CDs and posting them on the Internet. I am going to be conscientious about disposing of all these CDs and send them to a CD recycling outfit. Because they are not needed in California. I hear they have their own music out there. Some of it is pretty darn good, so they say.

The photooo also includes a gratuitous view of the infamous Green Couch. It’s Its [sheesh] claim to fame is that every member of the Courtois family has been sick on it. Including yer favo-rite blahgger, a few times.

It may be a dumpy day here at the Landfill but My Dear Uncle Harry had a wondrous little adventure in the early morning hours. You see, we had a bit of freezing rain overnight and all of the sidewalks and most of the streets were coated with a glaze of ice this morning. And MDUH, whose house is on a wooded lot, has had a deer living under his deck. Yes, really. This morning, that deer decided to die. MDUH’s walkway was coated with ice but there was some snow just to the side of it that was soft enough so as to be not very slippery. But the ice on the walkway made a perfect surface for dragging a dead deer. So MDUH walked in the snow and dragged the deer down the walkway to the service drive (that’s kind of like a fancy alley) from where the garbage folks or whoever will pick it up. My Monday Coffee Buddy will be envious of MDUH about this because she lives outside the city limits and, when a deer died in her yard a few years ago, she had to call Acme Hauling or somebody to come and get the deer and that turned into a rather complicated adventure that she was NOT happy about and I got to hear all about it and I have been friends with MMCB for about a billion years and I would NOT want to be on the wrong side of a customer service issue from MMCB. Being on the other side of a table at Barry Bagel’s Bagels (I dunno what it is with me and extraneous apostrophes today) from MMCB I can handle. If that made any sense.

All right, already. It’s (“It is”, got it right, yay!) high time I got myself un-dumpified!

Guest blahg from my favorite bicyclist

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

I opened my email one morning a couple weeks ago and there was a message from the beach urchin Elizilla, my 20-something daughter who lives in San Francisco’s Mission District. The subject was “Oops” and she described an experience in which she was “doored” while riding her bike. I am not much of a bicyclist myself, so it took me a few beats to process exactly what “doored” meant and then of course my imagination began dreaming up all kinds of horrible things that *could* have happened. I have witnessed a couple of horrific bike accidents in my time, one in which the cyclist sailed high into the air. Of course I do *not* want that kind of thing to happen to my daughter!

Anyway, she didn’t sail into the air and she is fine and here with us on The Planet Ann Arbor for the holidays and I didn’t even have to ask her to guest blahg! The photos are of her on less eventful rides so, without further ado, here is Liz, in blue:

Two weeks ago, several friends and myself left our neighborhood around 6:30 PM to ride bikes downtown and join a semi-organized bike ride around San Francisco. We were nearly at the meeting point when my plans were cut short because I was doored. We were riding in the bike line, in between a lane of parked cars and a traffic lane. As always, I was wearing a helmet, had bright lights on my bike, and was wearing light colors (my messenger bag is white).

The rule of thumb when riding in the bike lane is to stay close to the left side, in case someone in a parked car on your right opens a door in front of you. It was rush hour, so all of the car traffic was stopped. In a freak occurrence, as I got past the intersection, someone decided to get out of a cab on my left, into the bike lane and that’s how I was hit.

We had just been stopped at a red light, so I wasn’t moving nearly as fast as I could have been. My left hand collided with the door, I pitched forward and hit my shoulder, then fell sideways off of my bike, running my knee into my pedal on the way down and bruising that, too. It was fairly painful but didn’t merit a doctor visit until a few days later, when I decided I wanted to get my hand checked before going out of town for the holidays. I didn’t want to find out three or four weeks after that fact that my hand was broken. It isn’t fractured but is still bruised and tender.

Why am I telling you this? The moral of the story is, regardless of your feelings toward bikers, where and when we should be riding, and whether or not we are assholes, please please please look before opening your door into traffic.

Quick beach update: Mary McNaughton: 1928 – 2010

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

Died Sunday the 26th — link to obituary

Hey wait! *I* invented that!

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

I was thumbling… Thumbling? Why yes, I used my thumble. Don’t you have a thumble? Okay, I was thumbing through our January 2011 copy of the Ann Arbor Observer when an article jumped out at me. It was about “job-sharing” parents. People who scaled back to part time jobs when they became parents, so their children could be raised largely at home by their own parents. Well, that’s exactly what we did, back in the 1980s. Actually, it was the GG who arranged it. I was cluelessly bumbling along putting off making a decision about whether or not to return to my job when my baby was three months old. (Our company — we worked for the same government contractor — had no maternity policy but, after some hemming and hawing and shifting from foot to foot, they decreed that I could use my saved-up sick time.) Elizilla was born in October and the GG came home one day in January to find me cleaning out closets and that was that. He went to work the next day and before I knew it, I had an intense half-time job doing pretty much what I had been doing pre-baby. (I have not frequently cleaned closets since then so he may have some regrets about the whole thing 🙂 )

We cooked up an arrangement that the GG would get to work at six in the morning and work until two in the afternoon. I drove the baby over there at two and waited in the parking lot for him to come outside. He drove the baby home and I went in and worked five hours (four days a week, I didn’t work Fridays). What the heck? The GG was better at the mechanics of taking care of babies than I was. Since he and the Uncly Uncle were right smack in the middle of a set of ten siblings, he had many years of experience taking care of younger siblings and then nieces and nephews. So he changed all the diapers for the first few days week or so. And he was the Bath Master. Except he didn’t call it a bath. As he lowered the baby into the tub, he would say, “And now I veeeel perform zeee cloning!” Me? I changed my first diaper sometime after Elizilla came home.

We did various versions of the job-sharing scenario for ten years. Was it easy? Not exactly. It made for a VERY long day, for one thing. But we were able to raise our children as *we* wanted to and, even though I didn’t regard my job at that time as a career, it was a good job and I probably would’ve gone stir-crazy if I had been a full-time mother for all those years.

This is NOT to say that using a day-care situation is a bad thing. Day care situations run the gamut, just as the homes and families into which children are born and raised. And parents have different styles too. As much as the young Kayak Woman looked forward to having children and sometimes even dreamed of being a full-time mother, I know now that it was better for that young woman to be out in the world working. Interacting with other people, analyzing and solving technical problems. It’s what I do best and doing it five hours a day gave me the intellectual diversion I needed so that the messy diapers and tantrums and picky eating that come with small children did not overwhelm me. Usually… 😉

My only wish is that it was easier for all young parents to arrange their schedules to better fit the needs of their babies when they are young. If we are still talking about it in 2010, I’m guessing that it’s still hard for most people to arrange flexible, part-time schedules. It should be easier. The years that our children are young are short. And the wisdom and problem-solving skills that we gain as we raise our children should be regarded as valuable by prospective employers.

Okay, I’ve lost track of where I am here. The GG, the Commander, and the Beach Urchins are all out there talking in the back room (with a faaarrr in the faarrrrplace) and my ultra-sensitive ears are picking up probably 95% of what they are talking about, some of which I do not even wanna know… I am heating up leftovers for tonight. I am loving the ham that @DogMomster left here yesterday. I rarely cook ham. Except for when I make Eggs Benny, which calls for Canadian bacon. Speaking of Canadian bacon, DO NOT EVER rent the movie “Canadian Bacon”. Baaaaadddd movie! Trust me!

Sparkly old woman comin’ through

Monday, December 27th, 2010

Well. So. Today, the party was right here at your favo-rite blahgger’s house, aka The Landfill. I think that the youngest person at this party was 21. That would be the gorgeous Pengo Janetto. And thanks to John for serving as the token boy. We could use a few more o’ those around here, at least on an occasional basis. I mean besides dogz, as much as I love Ernie and Alfred. That’s what The Commander said, anyway. Or maybe it was G’ma Joyce? Or Bubs? Probably not Bubs. Well. I suppose I could go hang out in the shipping channel in my kayak and pick some boyz up off of the salties? Or not? Okay, I’ll shaddup. I would like to tell y’all about some of the rather bizarre things that happened at this mostly sedate party but, since most of them fall into the category of “I-can’t-blahg-about-that”, I cannot. Someday I may be able to tell. Hee hee snort.

What I can tell about is the wonderful scarves that The Commander made for us all for Christmas. She is an accomplished seamstress from way back when and she made a whole box full of scarves to hand out as gifts. She sewed them by hand. She’ll tell you a long story about how her serger (it’s a special type of sewing machine) wasn’t working quite right, so she had to handsew yada yada yada. But who the heck cares? She did a beautiful, professional job. Some of these scarves were made from gorgeous subdued rust and blue-gray fabrics. Beautiful and bizcazable. And then there are those made from sparkly flashy polyester (or whatever), like in the photooooo. Yer favo-rite blahgger got first pick on Christmas morning and she wasted no time on hanging that sparkly thing around her neck, even while admiring the others. The interesting phenomenon was that everyone else chose the same sparkly flashy fabric as yer favo-rite baggy old Kayak Woman! And most of these women are closer to The Commander’s age than yer favo-rite blahgger. Who the heck cares about bizcaz, anyway? I think by the end of the night, The Commander had run out of scarves and was taking orders for more. And that is a good thing. Etsy, maybe?

It was a loverly party and I wish we could do it every day. G’night, KW!

MacMu aka We’ve got to stop meeting like this

Sunday, December 26th, 2010

The last time I got a photo of these three together, it was at a funeral. Three out of a set of the original five MacMullan siblings of Garden City, born in the early part of the 20th century. The second and fourth of the set are dead. There’s a 10-year age spread among those who are left and I’ll leave it to you to figure out the order, which is not necessarily the order in which they are seated.

This particular occasion was not a funeral, thank you god or who/whatever. It was a wonderful Christmas dinner that we were invited to crashed today. I say that because it was my uncle Don who invited us but it was not at his house. It was hosted by my cousin Doug and his wife, The Beautiful Jennine, and their children, who have moved from Megalopolis to a beautiful house in a country setting not too far outside of The Planet Ann Arbor. Yes, he invited us to somebody else’s house 😉 We were slodging around the Landfill today planning on eating leftover duck or whatever for dinner tonight when Don called and so we mobilized. I have more than enough food and beer and whine around here, so I was at least able to contribute something at a moment’s notice and I know the whine was appreciated.

Don’t let those canes cudgels (in the photo) fool you. These folks are feisty, especially the gals. Roberta, there on the left, was batting at the GG’s remote control helicopter with that cane cudgel, oh boy oh boy. We weren’t quite sure what the heck she was doing. Did she think it was a big mosquito? Maybe she thought she was playing a game? Really, this woman is pretty darn “with it”. At least when she isn’t trying to navigate up a step with a glass of red whine in one hand and her cane cudgel in the other. These folks were born when airplanes, not to mention telephones and things, were more or less in their infancy. When I think about how much the world has changed just since I became a mother, back in 1984, I am amazed that my older relatives can keep up at all. What will the world be like when I have lived as many years as they have? When will I get to the point where I have to focus so intensely on getting myself from point A to point B without losing anything along the way that I won’t be able to take in enough new information to operate whatever devices will be around?

Small world department? I am friends on FB with my cousin’s college freshman daughter. I am friends on FB with the GG’s 20-something nephew. Out of the blue, cousin’s daughter asked how I know the GG’s nephew. Because. The two of them know each other. They have done theatre work together. “Because he’s my nephew,” I said. I was totally astounded! My brain immediately dredged up memories of both of these wonderful people when they were babies. Before they became who they are now. I then spent time explaining that they are not related. My cousin’s daughter is second cousin to my daughters. My daughters are first cousins to the GG’s nephew. I wish I could put into words how ridiculously geekily happy this little coincidence made me. Six degrees of separation? Or maybe just one, I guess, in this case.

Anyway. My new YakTrax worked wonderfully well today. They kept me from slipping and they are so lightweight I can almost forget they are attached to my boots. Good night. Kayak Woman.

Wretched Excess, episode #18387.343

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

My vintage MacBook (January 2007) is getting pretty rickety and slodgy and there has been mailing tape holding parts of it together for years now. I have been thinking about replacing it with a newer one for about the last six months or so. But, yaknow? It is really just kind of humming along nicely, if slodgily. I have replaced the power cord but I have NOT HAD TO REPLACE THE ORIGINAL BATTERY!!! My beloved 12″ G4 Powerbook (that I had pre-MacBook)? Three batteries. And I *loved* that old thing more than I love my MacBook. Go figger. (Yeah, I know. The MacBook is looking for my attention since I bought the iPhone and got my work laptop, etc., because inanimate objects do have feelings. Roight?)

Anyway, the GG (bless his heart) doesn’t feel like Christmas is Christmas unless he buys me something expensive, no matter how much I try to protest. I will tell him something like, “Oh, just buy me some YakTrax (so I don’t break my neck out there on the un-de-iced neighborhood sidewalks) and a new Moosewood Cookbook (since my old one is literally disintegrating). I got both of those things and more and… an iPad??? Say what? I am told that, at some point, I actually told him that I wouldn’t turn one down. (Whose whine, what whine, where the hell did I dine?) It’s okay. (errrr….) I WILL LIVE!!!

Well. At least he didn’t buy me himself a vacuum cleaner, eh?

And he did NOT spend the day in his long underwear. I caught him in those when I came back from my 0-dark-30 skunk walk this morning and I harped at him about wearing them in front of his mother-in-law (who probably wouldn’t have cared).

It was a long, fun day with presents and eggs benny (shoutout to The Beautiful Becky aka the New Stormy Kromer’s wife) and a wee bit o’ Christmas whine at two o’clock and Goose/Karl (shoutout), who stopped by and helped drink a bit of beer.

Missing some folks here. @ bigbandboyinthesky (my brother who used to always email me dog photos (and uglies) on xmas and harass the GG about hanging around in his underwear), @ grandroobly (my dad…), and @ radicalbetty (my beloved aunt who almost cannot be described, she really had to be experienced).

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night,
Kayak Woman

Can I sit down now?

Friday, December 24th, 2010

Lemme seeeeee….. Got up at 5:30 AM, not that that’s anything unusual for yer favo-rite blahgger. I love to be out and about before the sun rises. Three grokkery stores today, quick shopping trip downtown and back, finished wrapping packages, made pita chips and I forget what else, hung around the kitchen while Elizilla made potato leek soup. And, honestly, I forget what else. We are hanging out in the Landfill back room having a cocktail before dinner and the GG is playing cheesy Christmas song videos on his iPad (and I am laughing!) and Mouse just got home from work and I am a big blank, so… I hope y’all are having a happy Christmas Eve. Whether or not you are celebrating a holiday tonight. Goodnight. -KW.

 

The Lizard has landed at Hoarders R Us

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

It started innocently. I [used to?] have these beauteous plastic snowman glasses with a matching wooden tray. The Commander and Grandroobly bought them for me at Kitchen Port. Alas, now defunct. Note to Kerrytown businesses: do NOT move out to Zeeb Road. Most of us only go out there for Meijer or Lowe’s. We like our upscale kitchen shops and whatnot to be downtown where they belong! Anyway. These glasses were good for ‘hattans or G&T’s or just a glass of pop or cranberry juice with ice. They hung around the Landfill Chitchen for a few years and then one hot summer day, I was in a kitchen purging mood and snowman glasses are really not particularly appropriate for a 95 degree day, so I stashed them. Somewhere. I think that’s how it went. I HOPE I didn’t get rid of them!!! At any rate, I thought of them today. I went down to the Landfill Dungeon and looked high and low, opening boxes left and right. Even boxes that were labeled “Baby blankets” and the like. Why I am saving baby blankets, I do not know, except for the ones that were handmade by The Commander.

Well. I didn’t find the snowman glasses and tray. But I did start looking around the dungeon. And I was pretty horrified. Man, oh man, what a mess! I keep saying we aren’t hoarders and so we aren’t. I mean we don’t save grocery receipts or newspapers or bread bags or margarine containers forever. But we all sort of collect our own things and the Landfill isn’t very big and we raised children here and yada yada yada. We have got to do something about getting rid of all this stuff. I don’t know what. I was making good progress for a while and then I sold my soul to corporate America and now things are worse than ever.

So, The Beautiful Lizard caught a flight at SFO at five-something PST this morning, after absolutely no sleep. Apparently it was Whiskey Night last night in the mission district, so she was up late and why sleep? Non-stop flight to DTW and everything was on time, thank you god or who/whatever. When she landed here at Hoarders R Us, the first thing she noticed was the bowl of leftover Halloween candy. Of course, the GG then retrieved a bag of ANCIENT Halloween candy collected by none other than TBL back in the Jurassic Age. Yes, really. I don’t know where he found it or why he is saving it. Some of us were rather astounded. Hoarders? Uhhh… She and The Commander (her grandmother) napped on opposite ends of one of the Landfill backroom couches. How good can it get? Welcome home, beautiful baba grrrl. She will kill me for calling her that and for mentioning Whiskey Night.

P.S. I now own a new coffee grinder and Chemex coffee-making thingy-do, thanks to the two bags of coffee beans that flew from Cali to here. I love you, baba grrrl. These days, when I want coffee in my house, I send the GG over to Zinnnnnngerman’s at the Plum Market for a to-go cup.

Keepin’ up with The Commander

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Trying to anyway! Lemme see… Got up just a wee bit too late to take as long a skunk walk as I wanted to this morning. Snow showers and sloppy roads on the way to coffee at Barry Bagels with MMCB. And almost nooooo gasoline. Snow showers and sloppy roads on the way from Barry Bagels to work. And almost noooooo gasoline. No there wasn’t anywhere near a quarter tank, let alone a third. Next time I will take a photoooo of the gasoline gauge. Er, not that I am incapable of pumping gasoline. I pump gasoline all the time. There have been days when I have driven no fewer than three (count ’em) vee-hickles over to the Jackson/N. Maple Shell station to fill ’em up. One after another. Just another chore somebody has to do. What I am not terribly crazy about is getting into a vee-hickle when I am on the verge of running late in the morning and discovering that it is running on fumes. I could’ve just parked the offending vee-hickle (the Dogha) in the street and taken the other one (the Ninja, which was full because *I* filled it a couple days ago). Except that I had the Dogha completely warmed up and cleaned off and the Ninja was sitting there covered with snow and ice and all that loooooooverly stuff. And I was on the verge of running late by then, don’tcha know.

Worked in my loverly dog-poopy old cube half the day, then changed coordinates and worked here at Tangelo Row for the afternoon. It wasn’t easy to concentrate since my razor sharp ears kept picking up every little bit of conversation between the GG and The Commander. They were a couple rooms away, working [mostly] with her iPhone, making sure her apps were up to date and selecting a ring tone that doesn’t sound like an old fashioned phone ringer. It can be confusing when your cell phone and your landline have the same ring, don’tcha know. As for me, super-sensitive hearing can be a blessing and a curse and sometimes (today) just a pain. (Note that I GREATLY appreciate having the GG around to help The Comm with her phone and computer. He is VERY patient about that kind of stuff. Yer favo-rite blahgger? Not so much.)

Took a break to join ten thousand other shoppers at Whole Foods Paycheck. How many times do y’all think I will go to the grokkery store before the holiday? I’m taking bets. (Hint: I went to the Plum Market later in the afternoon and it was only partly because I needed to take a walk.) This morning, MMCB asked me if I was ready for Christmas and, after I got done laughing maniacally, I asked if I could stay at her house for the duration. (She’s Jewish, don’tcha know, and we do this kind of shtick with each other every year.)

There were a few moments of grace throughout the day. One of them was the SUUUUUNNN that greeted me as I parked in myyyy parking place at my work. Click the photoooo to enlarge.

Love y’all and hope your holiday plans are going well.

Tangelo Row

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

I don’t work from home too often. I like my loverly, dog poopy cube just fine, thank you very much. I like my little eight mile commute. I love locking the door when I leave the Landfill in the morning and I even love my drive home in the evening. In a way, I almost love it the most at this time of year when it’s dark when I leave for work in the morning and also when I drive home at 5:00 PM.

Today I left my cube at noon or so. I ran one errand on the way home and then I set up a little work-type environment on the “dining” table. You can see it in the photooo. And I continued to work. I wrapped my brain around translating requirements into web pages. I fielded questions from our wonderful development team. I was home because The Commander was scheduled to arrive this afternoon! And she did! Courtesy of Our Wonderful Northern Correspondent Paulette. Thank you Paulette. Love you! The Commander LOVED that ride! She is stil talking about it.

And so… I asked The Commander if she wanted to accompany me to downtown Planet Ann Arbor for a quick couple of errands. It didn’t surprise me that she said no, especially after the trip down from the Yoop. So, I asked if she wanted to go to the Plum Market with me after I returned from downtown. Grocery store? Oh yes! And so we went. Shrimp? Yes, moom, we will buy some. I can afford it (and so can you). And it’s okay if you pretend to hit meeeee with your cane butcha prob’ly better make sure nobody else is in the way. It’s okay. Well. It’s just okay.

So, my moom is here for the Christmas holidays. This is the first time she has ever spent the holidays with us on The Planet Ann Arbor. I don’t exactly know what to say about that except that, when I looked at her face during dinner tonight, she looked really happy to be here and I felt almost ecstatic. Love you, Moom!

Because youth wants to know…

Monday, December 20th, 2010

and because I am the epitome of lame-osity today… *This* is a Pyramid Peg Measure. It is myyyyy Pyramid Peg Measure. I mean the silver thing in front of the beauteous “Peace” gift bag (not the cute owly). If you have ever been to the Moomincabin (or the Landfill), you have probably encountered a Pyramid Peg Measure just like this one. In fact, if you are ever served a cocktail at the moomincabin, check carefully before you take a drink because the Pyramid Peg Measure that resides there sometimes harbors loverly dead bugs.

My Pyramid Peg Measure went missing for a while. It was entirely the fault of yer favo-rite blahgger. We went to a Courtois family party sometime over the summer. I forget exactly what the occasion was. A post-memorial party or maybe a graduation party. There are usually a lot of people at Courtois parties and there is wonderful food and beer and whine and of course, I always try to contribute some food or at least some whine. I also need to haul a wee bit of bourbon and vermouth for the GG. Aaannnddd… Because I am meeeee, I usually haul my fave red corkscrew and my Pyramid Peg Measure to these events. And I almost always manage to leave one or the other of those things at the party. Which is okay because I always get these things back eventually.

So, I left my Pyramid Peg Measure at a party last summer and that time, it kind of got lost in the shuffle for a while. Kind of like my social security card, which the Great Lake State DMV for some bizarre reason thinks I need to have to renew my driver’s license next month. I know it’s in my house. It WAS in the safe deposit box. But I emptied the safe deposit box at one point. *Probably* because I needed my social security card when I started my job? Maybe? At any rate, I’m sure it’s somewhere in my house but I’ll be derned if I can figger out where. So. I KNOW about this kind of thing!

I wasn’t worried. I knew that my Pyramid Peg Measure would return to me someday. But this also got me thinking. Why the heck don’t I buy another Pyramid Peg Measure? Or two or three or twelve? I could use a back-up here at the Landfill and it would be nice to have one at Houghton Lake and I could hand them out to all the in-laws at the next Christmas party. And the beach urchins are old enough to legally indulge in a cocktail or two. On an occasional basis, don’tcha know. So. Where did this Pyramid Peg Measure come from? The Commander gave it to me as a gift sometime back in the Jurassic Age. Alas. She couldn’t *exactly* remember where she purchased it. Petoskey, she thought. But which store? Cutler’s maybe? That would make sense. But I could not find one at Cutler’s. So I went on the internet… I searched high and low. It was this search that led to the term Pyramid Peg Measure. Before that, I think I just called it a shot glass. Alas, a Pyramid Peg Measure just like miiiine was not to be found. The closest thing I could find had a little base on the bottom of it. Sorry, but that just wasn’t quite the right form factor.

The Prodigal Pyramid Peg Measure has returned home. I knew it would but I was truly unsuspecting when I received it at the Courtois Christmas party last Saturday and I was much more ecstatic about the whole thing than any person oughtta be about getting an old shot glass back. And yes, I know that Prodigal is stretching it a bit. I know that my Pyramid Peg Measure wasn’t gallivanting around spending its inheritance!

#freefall

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

That’s what happens when you are galumphing along on a dark, snowy street and BOTH your boots hit an unexpected path of glare ice. Simultaneously. Yes. Ka-whonkbonk! In the 2010 version of this all too familiar scenario, it took a split second for me to fall flat on my back and bonk my head. I immediately scrambled to my feet there in the darkness, uttering a bad word on the way up. I’ll leave it to your imagination to conjure up which word. Was I okay? Weellll… I was ambulatory. I felt a little bit of pain in one hip but nothing seemed broken. I wasn’t dizzy. I didn’t see any stars. I could walk. I kept on trucking. I remain okay. My head is okay. My hip is a bit bruised and I seem to have bruised my hand a bit too. That wasn’t even noticeable until about six blocks later. (Note that this was nowhere near as bad an accident as the dooring that the beach urchin Elizilla experienced on the beautiful streets of San Francisco earlier this week. She is also okay, thank you god or whoever. (And probably doesn’t even want me mentioning this on my blahg.))

Usually when this kind of thing happens (and fortunately it doesn’t happen too often), I get to rant and rave and kvetch and stealth salt! What on earth does she mean by “stealth salt”, you are wondering? Well. What it means is that I go home and load the dry-wall bucket I keep my salt in (y’all know where I get my dry-wall buckets, don’tcha?) into an automotive vee-hickle and head down to the offending pane of sidewalk and salt the HECK out of it!!! I do not care if the homeowner is one of those “green” Planet Ann Arbor types who doesn’t want salt to get on their lawn, yada yada blah-de blah-de. I figure those people should consider themselves lucky that I am not a litigious type.

Alas, I fell down in the *street* today. It wasn’t even really slippery underfoot. The roads were covered with mushy old brownish colored snow. Snow mixed with dirt and leaves and dog poop and what have you. Not slippery. But as I was crossing the Linwood/Revena intersection, I hit an icy spot. I caught myself and then I slipped again and that time, I knew I was going down. Stealth salt? Naw. There’s no point in trying to salt a city street with my little salt bucket. Zeeeees eez Meeecheeegan and eet eez veeenter.

Dear Santa, Yaktrax!!! Yours, Kayak Woman.

Other than that, I hung out home alone at the Landfill this afternoon, trying to clean up and actually plan menus since there will be a whopping five people here for the holidays. Seasoned empty nesters here, don’tcha know. The GG managed to leave his cameras at the Lord of Linden’s last night and went to retrieve them and cadge a beer or whatever. We always manage to leave something at family parties. Last night, my fave red corkscrew and my beloved pyramid peg measure actually managed to make it home with us. Camera bag? Not so much. Really, I think this was just a big excuse for him to hit the Tractor Store out by Whitmore Lake.

And, oh yeah, sappiness oughtta be outlawed on blahgs! At least this one. “Whose whine, what whine, where the h*ll did I dine?” 😉

Outlaw sappiness

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

At around 3:30 this afternoon, we were in the Dogha heading north to the annual Courtois family Christmas party. Which was held at the house of the Lord of Linden and The Beautiful Kathy aka Lady of Linden. Although I am one of only two siblings, wonderful, large [Catholic] families have forever been part of my lot in life and I married into one quite a while back.

Although the GG’s family was nice to me right off the bat, it took a few years for me to figure out how to fit myself in. I mean, as an introvert, I can sometimes talk to people individually but it wasn’t (and isn’t) easy for me to dump myself into a room full of people aaaannnddd… get ready, get set, mingle. I still have trouble with that but, now that we are all old and have grown-up kids, I have gotten to feel more like I’m just one of the tribe.

When you have a large family, it can be hard to schedule a Christmas party on a date that every single person can be there. In our case, that would be, lemme count up, 46 or thereabouts. Can everyone get there every year? Not so much. Some said that this year’s party was a little light. Maybe so. It was still a lot of fun and, as @mouseleen said in the car on the way up, “It isn’t snowing and nobody is vomiting.” And that was true, at least for our little Planet Ann Arbor branch of the fam.

No photoooos from the party. I took a few from my iPhone but nothing worth posting. The photoooo is the Ann Arbor farmer’s market at 0-skunk-30 this morning.

Good night. Love you all and a special thanks to the Courtois fam from one of yer favo-rite outlaws.

olivae, olivarum, olivis, olivas…

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Something like that. It’s been eons since Mrs. Velde tried to beat Latin into my head, so I only have the foggiest idea about whether wiki-pee’s (as Sam calls it) declension is right or not.

No, this is not my martini. I’m a manhattan kind o’ gal with an occasional G&T thrown in or some red whine. Cab or Shiraz at the moment. Beer? Only on the beach, preferably with npJane. This loverly drink belongs to a friend. We were sitting in the window seat at the Old Town barrroooom.

Grandroobly was a manhattan kind of guy too but he would occasionally have a martini with just the right companion and/or on just the right occasion. The Sherman boys were among those who qualified as suitable companions. Ratio? Gin with a little splash of dry vermouth. Olives, anyone? Yes. As many as possible. In the later years of my old coot’s life, a monthly birthday luncheon was scheduled for everyone in our group of family and friends with a birthday in that month. The luncheon was held in the dining room at the Hotel Ojibway, which overlooks the Sault Ste. Siberia locks. There were a couple of waitresses there that particularly liked Grandroobly and, whenever a birthday luncheon was scheduled, they would soak a bunch of olives in gin overnight the night before, then take great delight in presenting the old coot with a loverly olive-filled martini at lunch.

I live five hours away from Sault Ste. Siberia but I was lucky enough to be in town for a couple of those luncheons. And here I sit wondering where all of those people have gone…

Here? On the planet Ann Arbor? I have been flailing all day. I had so much flailing to do that I didn’t even take my skunk walk this morning. I went to the grokkery store instead. On the way to work. I actually took the afternoon off! I don’t usually take time off unless I need to schlep up the I75 SUV Speedway or something. Although I will chalk it up to vacation time, it wasn’t really much of a vacation. I came home and flailed all afternoon. Cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, wrapping packages, vacuuming running Roooomba, walking to the Plum Market, helping the GG put a huge Christmas tree into a stand. I fergit what else. Holiday party at Goose Mom’s in the late afternoon, then hoofed it downtown for dinner and now I am dead taaarrrrred.

Goodnight,
KW

If you are looking for interesting content or sparkling commentary, go, oh, I dunno, someplace like I can haz cheezburger, maybe?

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

Actually, I have nothing against I can haz cheezburger. It can be funny. I even had it on my RSS feed for a short time. For me, it was an interesting idea but it quickly became too much (MUCH too much). Kind of like those old-skool email forwards from the 1990s. Remember them? And all those memes and apps on facebook et al. I’ll be generous and say that 5% of those are interesting and/or funny. The rest? I do not have time.

My internet habits are shifting a bit these days. For a while I was reading a lot of blahgs. Now, I’m starting to feel it’s getting a bit like I can haz cheezburger. I mean *my* RSS feed, not blahgs in general. Keep on blahgging, y’all! But I’m doing some pruning. if I *know* you in real life I definitely read your blahg (if I know it exists). That includes people like Margaret and Agate Gal. I have never met them in person but they are my friends. There are a few other folks more or less in that category along with some really good parenting-type blahggers that I mostly lurk on. I might comment more often but they are at a different stage of parenting than I am and, if I were them, I wouldn’t want a bunch of baggy old advice. And/or they get so many comments that I would just get lost in the shuffle. Or p*ss somebody off via carelessly chosen words. And then there are the quilt blahgs et al. I love those but I can’t keep up. I don’t know the blahggers (except through their blahgs) and I am not actively doing much with my fabric stash hoard, so I just start feeling guilty.

I am [finally] getting used to reading news on line. I still get the two day per week paper version of what replaced the old Ann Arbor Snooze but I haven’t read it for about the last three weeks. I’m keeping hoarding newspapers for faaarrrrr starter. This is a hard shift to make, even for a non-Luddite like me. And it’s not finished yet. iPhone apps are helping.

It is Thursday and it was one of “those” days. You know the kind. By 8:00 AM, I felt like I had been up for about 12 hours already. I didn’t have time to make a lunch because, at the end of my skunk walk, I actually got into a conversation with a neighbor and could not get away. She had walked her middle-schooler to the Forsythe bus and was going on and on (and on and on) about her Pi-Hi senior and his sports achievements and how he was only applying to big-*ss colleges and blah-de-blah-de. It was mostly a one-sided conversation and that’s okay. Really. But then, I was meeting MMCB for coffee at Barry’s this morning and that neighborly little convo ended up leaving me with NO TIME to scrabble a lunch together, so I had to dash off and forage for a lunch at Whole Foods. Which didn’t give me a chance to take a lunch-time walk. Again. And then, on the way home, I had to sit in the left turn lane at the N. Maple/Jackson light for FIVE cycles because of an accident that, although it wasn’t in my path, managed to bollix up the whole Westgate area.

Yes. Good day! And, by the way, if you are getting out of a vee-hickle on a city street, please *look* before you open your door. Or Mama Bear will be growling and flexing her jaws.

Good night! I am actually taking tomorrow afternoon off to do something besides schlep up the I75 SUV Speedway, so light off some bottle rockets or whatever. I hope I manage to get some things done! Ciao bambinos!

Butts up with Boris Vladimir?

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

I don’t know exactly why this whole Boris Vladimir Putin performance of “I Got My Thrill on Blueberry Hill” (he doesn’t start to seriously sing until after a minute in) cracks me up so much but it does. I guess it’s partly because that song is one that occasionally gets stuck in my head. But not because of what you might think. Because unless you have a very specific bit of DNA (we’ll call it “the butts up gene” for short), blueberry picking is anything but thrilling. There are folks on both sides of my family who have the “butts up” gene. I do not.

Have you ever gone blueberry picking?. It is hot (or not) and you are either bent over or squatting in the bushes. And then there are the loverly little bitey things that you are hanging out with. Moe-skee-toes and flies of every description. The occasional bumble bee. Blueberry picking (to those of us who don’t have the butts up gene, anyway) is hard, uncomfortable work, even for those of us who like to be outside in most other circumstances.

So. Thrill on blueberry hill? Hmmm. That song got stuck in my head one day back in about the Pleistocene. Uber Kayak Woman was visiting the Moominbeach for a week or so and a blueberry picking expotition was planned. UKW and Radical Betty and Colonel Duke and I all rode with Lewie out to the Raco area to pick blueberries. Now, some of the folks on that expotition have the butts up gene (UKW and her dad Duke). Others (RB and me) do not. Not sure about Lewie. Lewie was a friend of my dad. They spent a lot of time rambling around in the woods but I don’t *ever* remember my dad picking blueberries EVER! Walking, running, skiing, driving, flying airplanes? Yes. Blueberry picking? Not so much. I don’t know about Lewie. It would be hard to describe Lewie in a couple sentences, so I won’t try. Except to repeat one of my favo-rite memories of that particular expotition. Lewie and Duke (in the front seat) were talking about a “cat house” in Raco. Now, Raco is an itsy bitsy little town in the UP. It is beautiful but there is not much there, but apparently there is (or was) a “cat house”. Radical Betty and the rest of us in the back seat were in hysterics about the idea of Lewie talking about a “cat house” in Raco. Or anywhere, for that matter. Of course, the “cat house” that Lewie was talking about was a place where bulldozers were stored. Not whatever the heck Radical Betty and the rest of us in the back seat were thinking it was, which I’ll leave open to your imagination. We may not have been very politically correct but we were having a good time. And, for good measure, we all had a beer with our lunch. In Lewie’s car, which he was nervous about.

Anyway, we stopped at about a billion good blueberry picking spots that day. I was really almost enthusiastic the first time or two. Until boredom set in. It was hot and fly-ey and that dern blueberry hill song got stuck into my head. “I got my thrill…” Over and over and over again. Nothing about blueberry picking is thrilling. At least to those of us without the butts up gene. By the end of the day, Colonel Duke was still making us stop at good-looking picking spots although even UKW was more than ready to quit and go home, fer kee-reist.

The photoooo? Well. Actually, we have blueberries aplenty on our own land on the shores of Gitchee Gumee. Some years are better than others. Last summer, we had *so many* blueberries that even someone without the butts up gene (meeee) could spend a few minutes picking right in front of the moomincabin and get enough berries for pancakes the next morning. That photo was taken early in the season before all of the berries were ripe. Click on it for a larger version. Aren’t they beautiful?

Good night,
KW

P.S. I can’t *believe* that I was thinking Putin’s first name was Boris!!! I can be oblivious to current events sometimes but sheeesh! Too bad because “Butts up with Boris” wouldda been a much better title. Butts up with Vladimir? Well. Okay…

Kayak Woman gets dressed    Froggy gits drest!

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Uh, Froggy? The title of this post is Kayak Woman gets dressed.

Grok grok grok! Yoo ol’ bag! This post is Froggy gits drest! Grok goked frgodk!

Nooooooooo. It is Kayak Woman gets dressed!

Grok grok! Stoopid Ol’ Baggy!   Froggy   gits drest! Grok goked frgodk!

Kayak Woman!   Froggy   Kayak Woman!   Froggy  

 

FROOOGGGGYYY!!!!

 

Sorry. I’ll be back in a minute. Froggy, you get into your “londry baskit” RIGHT NOW!!!! And don’t come out. This is MYYYYYY blahg!!!!

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[hoppity hoppity]   Grok grok grok Halp!!! hic-grok   [floppity floopity ker-floomp hic-grok]

Okay. Whew! I’m back. Sorry about that. Let’s try this again. Kayak Woman gets dressed:

  • Tights (DKNY): Whatever material they are. Black. Good for long underwear and wore them later for bizcaz.
  • Leggings (JC Penney or wherever I can get ’em): Cotton/spandex. Black. The kids hate when I wear these. Sorry, I don’t do jeans.
  • Leggings (hand-knit by Mouse): Wool. Burgundy. My favo-rite color in sixth grade.
  • Turtleneck (Chicos): Silk blend. Red. This was also part of my bizcaz outfit later.
  • Hoodie (REI): Polartech. Black. Wish I had bought about five of these.
  • Scarf (made by me in the Jurassic Age): Wool. Red Stewart tartan plaid.
  • Ski jacket (Columbia, purchased at Barishes in Sault Ste. Siberia): Whatever they make those things outta. Pink w/ black trim. Only wore the outer shell. Left the inner part on the hanger.
  • Bomber hat (thought it was Mad Bomber but maybe not): Various materials. Black with silver hologram-type sequins. The Commander bought me this one at Barishes in Sault Ste. Siberia! 😉
  • Winter “tennis shoes” (LL Bean): Warm snowboot-type materials. Mainly black.
  • Glubs (Meijer or KMart or Woldemort or someplace): synthetic knit. I dunno what color, I grab whatever is there and if they don’t match, they don’t match. Two glubs layered on each hand.

A Yooper Checklist, as a facebook friend/high school comrade of mine termed it. Seven degrees (F) this morning with blustery winds. For the most part, I REFUSE to quote windchill temps! Kee-reist! It is cold and wind makes it colder. Layer up!!! I was warm this morning!

Uhhhh, does anybody else have a FROG???? If not, do you WANT ONE? If you have one, do you want ANOTHER ONE?

Me and my cupboard

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Here comes Santa Claus. Here comes Santa Claus. Da da da-da da daa. Actually I just googled this song from my childhood and the last part is really “Right down Santa Claus Lane.” My actual favorite Christmas song when I was a little kid? Probably “Little Drummer Boy”. Which, if Wikipedia is right, wasn’t written until 1958. Pah rump-a pump pum… baba dum baba dum. Me and my drum. I have a clear memory of my dad driving us down Kimball Street with that song on the radio. By 1958 I was old enough to eat four-year-old straight pickles. Yeeee. Now that I re-read that, it sounds, well, not appropriate for a four-year-old but really, it was just dill pickles sliced lengthwise. Little Drummer Boy is still one of my favo-rite songs and I think that the Roches have carried it on into the future very well.

You are lost. It’s okay. I am probably lost too. Christmas was magic for me when I was a small child. There was a whole month of snow and Christmas carols on the radio and Christmas crafts at school and snow and singing Christmas carols at Sunday School and snow and driving around (through the snow) to look at all of the beeyootyful Christmas light displays around the very snowy town of Sault Ste. Siberia. On Christmas Eve, we would attend church at our mainstream protestant (Methodist) church and I would sing my heart out through all of the pageantry and then we’d maybe drive around to look at the lights again and then we would go home. And open just one present. Then to bed to wait for whatever else Santa might bring.

I don’t exactly remember receiving this cupboard but I kind of remember wanting a place to put doll clothes and doll blankets and things and I kind of remember being reeeaaalllly happy about getting this cupboard.

What do you remember about Christmas from when you were a kid? I mean, if you celebrate it, that is. I hang around with quite a few Jewish folks and Christmas is just another day for them, don’tcha know. Chinese restaurants for some and Fiddler on the Roof sing-alongs for others. Or maybe both. I think if I were Jewish or whatever, I would take advantage of the huge Christian holiday of Christmas to start some new family traditions. Like my friends are doing.

Er, edited the morning after to add that nowadays all I want for Christmas is a big dumpster in my driveway! 😉