Archive for January, 2011

Well? Are we gonna get it? Or not?

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Lotsa hype goin’ on around here. I woke up *yesterday* morning and checked the weather on my phone. Like I always do. I need to know how many layers to put on before I venture out into the cold and the dark. There is no such thing as bad weather. You just have to dress for it. Roight? Anyway. ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! What the heck? I thought it was gonna be sunny and, if not warm, at least dry that day (yesterday). And so it was. In fact it was soooo brilliantly sunny that some people got headaches from all that sun. (No, not me. I get a headache about once every 18 months.) That was Sunday. The ALERT was for TUESDAY NIGHT through Wednesday night. I know that weather forecasting has become more sophisticated in recent years but I still can’t figure how they can predict 16 inches of snow (or whatever they said) THREE DAYS ahead! The Planet Ann Arbor has apparently taken the predictions seriously. They have already canceled trash/recycle pickup for Wednesday.

So, I dunno what we’ll get. Maybe I’ll get my exercise shoveling on Wednesday morning instead of walking. Or not? If we really do get 16 inches (or anything much more than about eight), I will not be driving to work. We do not have the loverly old vee-hickle in the photooooos any more, aka The Indefatigable. And if we did, we would be fighting over who would get to use it to get to work. Roight. Actually, my work team has already discussed the possibility of working from home on Wednesday. Well, except for W3.0 who is off on some fun little boondoggle out in the southwest this week. We are the so-called “geriatric team” and we are skeptical about the forecast. But who knows? My cube neighbor once got stuck AT WORK for THREE DAYS! I think I would start walking after about the first night. It’s only eight miles to my house, after all.

If we do get enough snow that we are stuck in our neighborhood, we are pretty well set. I *can* work from home and I can walk (or ski) to the Plum Market to get food. That is, if enough Plum Market employees can get to work… And I think Knight’s has a generator. And I theeeenk that some of those folks live next door to the restaurant… I would not be a terribly happy camper if we lost power. I mean, we can heat the back room with the faaarrrrplace and we have a gas-powered water heater, so I could still take showers, but what’ll we do when our phones/iPads run out of power. I guess we would have to go out in the driveway and faarrrr up our vee-hickles to get to the Internet. Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and I filled up the Dogha today.

The photooos of the old Indefatigable are from New Year’s Day 2008 and that’s Elizilla driving in the second one. I forget how much snow we got that time but she was home from Callyforny and had places to go and friends to see and the jeep was the only vee-hickle that would make it out of our neighborhood that day. We bought that loverly old vee-hickle in 1992 and it is the one my girls (and a whole lotta other kids, cuzzints and friends) learned how to drive. On an old abandoned air base in the Yooperland when they were well below legal driving age. Think eight or ten. Whenever their feet could reach the gas, brake, and clutch pedals. But that’d be a whole ‘nother entry or two or ten.

I wonder how much snow we’ll get in the next couple days? Anyone know? 😉

When the cat’s away, the mice will bring their freakout chambers out into the light of day

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

And so this is what we came home to this afternoon, after leaving the GG home alone for a few hours. With Jimi Hendrix reverberating throughout the Landfill. (I need to say that I did not take that photoooo. It was taken by jcb sometime during the last year and I cadged it off his iPad tonight. I have been exclusively using my iPhone for my camera since about last June and it can do some neat things but it cannot do what jcb did in this photooo.)

Anyway. It has been a rather surreal weekend. The GG was scheduled to attend the Saturday night Ann Arbor Folk Festival performances with Dogmomster but she came down with a killer cold that day. Hill Auditorium would not be a good place for anyone with a cold to hang out for five hours, not to mention passing along the virus to, well, the GG and therefore probably me. So she very prudently begged off. But that left the GG without a date and I am not a good folk concert date. Fortunately, he foraged around a bit and Sarah Palin GrandmotherTrucker agreed to accompany him.

She stayed the night and then accompanied Mouse and me on a fabric store boondoggle over to Haberman’s in Royal Joke. This little trip was one of Mouse’s Christmas gifts and we have had one heckuva time scheduling it because I work weekdays and Mouse often works weekend days and then there’s the whole issue of snow and the last thing I want to do on a day off is to break my neck traversing a bunch of snow-covered freeways to the Megalopolis area and back. Bumpity clunking over to Megalopolis is not my favo-rite drive on any day but today the skies were clear and the roads were dry and so we did it.

I was not into fabric shopping myself today. Mouse is very very particular about color and texture and fiber and drape and whatever and I felt that it would be best if I just left her alone to make her choices, so mostly I sat there and did today’s NYT xword on my phone (extra fun horoscope zodiac signs theme with rebuses and all — yers truly is the year of the snake — hssssssssst!). And then. I got the brilliant idea that I could do the little bit of grokkery shopping that I needed to do today at the Holiday store down the street a couple blocks! Yes! That did the trick. I knew that I would be about at the end of my shopping rope by the time we got back to the Planet Ann Arbor. And then, for good measure, we stopped at Holiday a *second* time *after* we were finished with Haberman’s because Mouse, who had not eaten anything much all day, needed a snack.

And then, we got back and, after we managed to get the GG to at least tone down the music a bit, I threw together a lasagna and some related stuff just in time for none other than Sam the Archaeologist and her accomplice jcb (who took the photoooo) to arrive. We ate lasagne and whined for a while and they are now on the road again, heading back down to Hotlanta. They were not scheduled to hit The Planet Ann Arbor until tomorrow but apparently there’s some sort of snowmageddon heading our way on Tuesday (my phone weather apps are *already* showing a severe weather alert for it), so they are wise to get on down the road now, so that they don’t get stuck in some hotel somewhere along the way for a few days without power or water. I mean, I can’t even do without a shower for even one measly day and we won’t even talk about what can happen to toilets under those circumstances… We’ll see what we really get though.

Oh. But. I was gonna end on that but then I remembered. There was also a tragedy in our neighborhood this weekend. The twice a week local newspaper arrived this morning and the headline was something like, “1 dead, 1 critical in fire”. I began reading the article and realized to my sheer utter horror that the house was on a street just a couple blocks from the Landfill! And if I had been out and about just a bit earlier that morning, I’d’ve probably heard sirens or smelled smoke or, well, I dunno. As it was, I walked to the farmer’s market that morning and got out a little late, after they had the fire under control. Very sad, not to mention spooky. Made me actually almost appreciate the fact that we have something like four hard-wired smoke alarms within about a four foot radius, even though they go off whenever it rains extra hard or somebody takes a shower without turning on the bathroom fan.

Drive safely and make sure your smoke alarms are in good working order.

Love,
KW

Mrs. Pratt visits

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Does your eighth grade English teacher ever visit your workplace? And I do mean *English* teacher. Back in the Pleistocene, there was no such thing as “Language Arts”. We learned English and we learned it well. Or else.

My 8th grade English teacher visits from somewhere over on the other side. I’m not sure when she made the journey over there but she was old when I was in 8th grade. Or at least I thought she was old. She dressed a lot like my grandma and had nicely permed white hair like my grandma. I realize now that she probably wasn’t a whole heckuva a lot older than *I* am *now* and lemme just say that I am NOT OLD!!! No. Not yet! Thank you very much. Grok grok gork! Wuddya meen yer not old, yoo ol’ bag? Yoo are at leest 110! Grok grokfegork! Excuse me a minute. Frooggy, get outta here! Sorry about that. Don’t mind him. What I was trying to say before that rude amphibious interruption is that Mrs. Pratt probably did not think of herself as old.

Anyway. Mrs. Pratt ran a very tight ship, if I am remembering accurately. You sat in your seat and you were quiet unless you were called on and if you wanted to stay in her good graces, you did your homework and turned it in on time. No lame excuses. Dogs did not eat homework in Mrs. Pratt’s world. Yes. We did learn English. Or else. We were drilled extensively in the intricacies of the various parts of speech and how to properly put them together into sentences and how to punctuate those sentences.

Actually, I LOVED Mrs. Pratt’s class. I am a GEEK! I loved learning the technicalities of English. Alas, I scored just about zero in self-esteem as a young teenager. Fitting in with the crowd seemed to mean not getting good grades and so sometimes I deliberately did sub-standard work in a lame attempt to fit in with the crowd. This is not some “Oh woe is me, I was so unpopular” diatribe. Junior high is hard for most kids for many different reasons and our educational system could do a better job with educating that age group but that would be a whole ‘nother entry or six or 10. One of my daughters thinks middle school kids should be sent out to live/work on a farm for the duration and I can’t say I disagree with her. Anyway. I never quite fit in with the crowd but my teenage life was only intermittently horrible and in my adult life, I eventually sort of figured out who the heck I was and gained the courage (mostly) to be meeeee. Nowadays I often find myself more popular than I want to be. *Because* I am a little weird or quirky or whatever. Go figure.

Every job I have ever had has involved a LOT of writing. (Take a note, kiddos.) In my current (beloved) job, it is absolutely imperative that the documents I write make sense to the audience for which they are intended. If they do not, that audience will be right there, knocking on my cube asking me, “what the HECK are you talking about?” And I will have to hem and haw and clarify. I may not always be able to recite the rules I learned in eighth grade English but I can use most of them in a knee-jerk fashion and if I am stumped, I can summon up Mrs. Pratt to my loverly, dog-poopy, cube pretty darn quickly.

I wonder if Mrs. Pratt knows how much some of her students value her. I’m sure she’s not hanging around with Grandroobly and The Engineer driving freighters and drinking bourbon on the beach (but who knows). But maybe somebody else is over there showing her how to use the Internet. Cheers to Mrs. Pratt and all “old fashioned” English teachers. You all rock!

This post was brought to you by Facebook. Or more accurately, by an old friend I’ve reconnected with on Facebook, who reminded me of Mrs. Pratt today. I love Facebook! The randomness of it and all of the old and new friends and family I’ve connected with there. Too much fun! Love all my FB friends! And the rest of you too!

Various things

Friday, January 28th, 2011

It is Friday night and I am fiiiiinally spacified! This is the weekend of the Ann Arbor Folk Festival. The 34th folk festival, to be exact. The GG absolutely adores this two-evening event. Me? Not so much. Yeah, I know. I am a musician. Or was. I’ve spent my adult years in the IT field: programmer analyst, systems analyst, business systems analyst. You name it. I could write a whole post or six on my musician years and transition cliff-dive(s) into the IT business. For now, I’ll just say that I love to *play* music but sitting in an uncomfortable auditorium seat *listening* to music for five hours? No can do. Too hot! Or too cold! Thirsty. TOO LOUD!!! For my hyper-sensitive ears, anyway. I tried to attend a couple of times. The last time I went, the “head-liner” set up about a billion guitars on chairs on the stage and then spent most of his time walking back and forth between them, apparently trying to decide which one to use for the next song. I won’t name him but even the GG didn’t like him. And suggested we leave. Yaaayyyy! Of course, the “head-liner” is the last act of the evening. Otherwise, I wouldda had to sit through the whole boring thing.

So the GG gets two date nights outta this! For the past I-dunno-how-many years, his “date” has been his “ugly” [identical twin] brother, the UU. It was always a fun weekend for me anyway. We would have an early dinner downtown and then they would go to the show and I would walk home in the beautiful late-January early evening. This year, the UU and his wife, The Beautiful Gay, are living up in the Great White North, so the GG needed a new date. Mouse is the GG’s date tonight but she has to work tomorrow night, so there was a very scary moment when the GG pointed his finger at meeeee for that night. Yiiiy!!! Fortunately, he shopped around a bit and DogMomster came to the rescue. Whew!!! This is one of those “I married you for better or worse but not for lunch” moments!

I know better to try to talk much about politics on here. I know that many of you have very different viewpoints. I like to *think* I am an independent. I *try* to sit back, gather facts and think as critically about current events et al as I do about my work. I often fail miserably at all of those things. And I am also a pretty much an ignorant old snowbilly. You know the kind. “Well. *I* drive my snowmobile when I’m DRUNK!” Okay, not quite. But most of you are much better informed than I am. Today I overheard folks talking about Egypt and complaining about how “those Muslims” are trying to take over the country. Is that what’s really happening? Kee-reist! I didn’t know… A quick read of a rather long article on the NYT news app on my iPhone seemed to indicate that many, many people in that country are desperately poor and oppressed by a purportedly corrupt dictatorship. They have been that way for many years, since long before all of this Islamic jihad-type terrorism has been going on. So, I dunno. I’m not sure that I’m reading that radical Islamists are fueling this. But this might be a good opportunity for another type of totalitarian (is that the right word) government to try to take over. Convince a country full of poor and frequently uneducated people that your flavor of government will be better than the current dictator? Yeah. That might work. And maybe it will just make things worse… Maybe the people who cannot afford to educate their children now will be *forbidden* to educate them with a religiously oriented regime. I am concerned about what’s happening in Egypt right now but I will admit that I don’t really understand it. This little screed is not about the Islamic religion at all. I am uncomfortable around religious extremists of any flavor. Extreme Christian conservatives make me as squirmy as all getout. They have nothing to do with the mainstream Methodist church that I went to as a child. Or the wonderful Catholic families that I grew up with or the one I married into. The family who has made this heathen old snowbilly one of their own. Hey, not trying to draw any conclusions here, just thinking…

Today? I spent a whole heckuva lotta time thinking about radio buttons today. You do not wanta know. And then I went home. And scrambled into some walking clothes that ultimately turned out to be too hot! And walked downtown to meet the GG and Mouse at The Jolly Pumpkin. The JP would be our new favo-rite Friday night restaurant except for one thing. They make ALL of their own alcoholic beverages. That is a WONDERFUL thing! Except. That they do not make their own bourbon. Therefore, the GG could not order a manhattan. They *do* make vodka, so he was able to have a martini of sorts. I had a glass of Peninsula Red whine, which was very good, as was the food. We will definitely return to The Jolly Pumpkin. But we will probably stick to our new routine of walking to the Old Town barrroooom on Friday nights. When we are home on The Planet Ann Arbor, that is. When we blast off to the Great White North or wherever, it’s anybody’s guess where/what we’ll eat/drink.

Love y’all,
Kayak Woman

P.S. It is 25 years since the Challenger space shuttle exploded. I remember where I was when Scott Carpenter went into outer space (vomiting on my desk in 2nd grade in the *wonderful* Mrs. Bishop’s class) and I remember where I was when JFK was assassinated (Patty McKerchie fell over in her chair, 4th grade, Mrs. Scott’s class (oh yeah, I was also sick then but not the vomiting kind)). I don’t remember exactly where I was when the Challenger exploded but I had a premonition about that flight. And I dreamed 9/11. Sigh…

Seven degrees below!

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Huh!?! It’s THAT COLD OUT? The voice startled me out of sleep at around an hour after that batscope time of the night. You know the time. I didn’t think it was gonna get anywhere near seven below zero this morning. The weather forecast was for overnight temperatures to stay somewhere in the mid-20s and for snow to begin this afternoon. All of that happened and I had a loverly commute home but that’s beside the point. It is winter and this is Michigan.

Anyway. It turned out that the voice was not telling me the temperature. It turned out that the voice was reciting the number of degrees the moon was below the earth’s orbital plane. Of course, the voice belonged to the GG, the mad scientist that I am married to. For whatever reason, he was dreaming about the orbit of the moon and spoke those words out loud. He now says that seven degrees was incorrect and that it was actually eight degrees. Until just now, when I quizzed him about the whole thing, I thought he had been playing around with his iPhone. Apparently not. Me? I was thinking, if it is seven below, I will have to wear my snowpants and my balaclava and blah-de blah-de. Or maybe I could just bag my walk today. I do occasionally give myself a pass.

I went back to sleep and directly into shoreline dreams, including one where a renegade great lakes freighter whizzed along from Doelle’s to Paulette’s and then hung a louie up onto the beach and through her front yard and came back down next to Barb’s. No one died. I personally checked every beach dwelling. And yeah it was surreal. And there was more stuff about hiking on the “mountain” behind Paulette’s and Ozzie Osbourne was even involved and I don’t even know anything about Ozzie except that didn’t he once bite a bat’s head off on stage? Blech. For the bat.

Grok grok! Ol’ Baggy haz no biznis tokin’ about enybuddy tokin’ in thare sleep. Grok gork froggokto grok!

Batty

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

I wish I had a photoooo of Batty wearing her cute little white feathered pillbox hat. I will guess that one might even exist somewhere in the universe, maybe even in the hatbox she kept her old photooos in. But I don’t have it. One of the many things that you could say about Batty was that she was married to an Air Force officer, colonel in the last few years of his career. They were stationed all over the place until he retired and they built a ski chalet on the shores of Gitchee Gumee. Duke died in 1983 (alas) but Batty lived a very vibrant life until 2009.

Anyway. I don’t know what it’s like to be married to an Air Force officer now. Back when Duke was an officer, there were all kinds of affairs that required the officers’ wives to dress veddy veddy proppa-ly. Back in those days that meant hats and probably even gloves. (Heck, I even had white gloves when I was a little kid. For church and weddings and things. Yes, I hated them.) After Duke retaarrrred and he and Batty built their chalet, the white feather hat only came out after a leetle wee bit o’ whine. Or whatever. At that time of her life (and until the end), Batty was an Amazon woman. She was much more interested in death marches through the wilderness than participating in teas and things, although being an extreme extrovert, she managed those things too. (I wish I had even just a leetle bit of that extreme extrovert DNA.) Batty was always a beautiful elegant woman but all of us, who weren’t familiar with fancy air force parties and teas and things could never quite reconcile the presence of that particular hat on Radical Batty’s head in her Amazon woman years. And so all of us, including Batty herself, would be rolling on the floor laughing our you-know-whats off. And trying the hat on. All of us looking as ridiculous as we could possibly look. And once, very very very long ago, something about Lazy Bob’s was involved in the whole thing but I don’t even want to go there now. Because we are all now responsible adults. Roight? Snort.

I don’t have a photooo of the white pillbox feather hat but I do have this wizard type photooo from Batty’s birthday in 2006. I think it was 2006. I think it was the June after my old coot died (and my little brother before him…). And I was at loose ends with grown up children and no job or anything constructive to do but one day I picked up Batty’s daughter Uber Kayak Woman (my cuzzint) at Daytwa Metro and we drove north and somehow my life got sparked into beginning again…

Can we talk? (Go elsewhere if you don’t want to read a[nother] taaarrrred old rant)

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

I want to talk about salt. I don’t mean table salt. I mean the salt that we put on our roads and sidewalks during the bleak midwinter up here in the Great White North. Because I keep running into people (intelligent people who normally think for themselves) who try to tell me that “salt doesn’t work when it gets too cold.” Well. I think there is some truth in that. But I also think that people are mis-translating something they hear on the news and applying it to their own snow and ICE clearing strategies.

I think it’s true that salt does not melt ice when the temperatures get low enough. I dunno how cold is “too cold” but I think we’re talking about single digit temperatures and below. And it often gets that cold around here. Eet eez veenter and zees eez Meeecheeegan, roight? But. For the most part this whole “salt doesn’t melt ice” thing refers to the challenges of clearing our streets and freeways of black ice. As much as I complain about what I consider the less-than-perfect job our city does about clearing the streets, I know that there are difficult challenges, especially when it comes to ice. I know that even if there were enough trucks that the city could plow/salt every single road in the area within hours of the latest snowfall, slippery conditions can occur just about anywhere for an infinite number of reasons. Micro-climates anyone? Slow down, folks!

That said, I hate when somebody doesn’t use salt on their own sidewalk just because they heard on the radio that it doesn’t work when the temperature gets below 10 or whatever it is. Because the point is not to wait until ice has formed and frozen solid before putting out the salt. The point is that when it snows, if you put the salt down right after you have shoveled, it will *prevent* ice from forming! Even when there is a thaw and the snow on either side of the sidewalk melts across it in a beautiful smooth sheet of water. Guess what? If you have NOT put down salt, that sheet of water will freeze into a loverly little ice rink. And then, chances are, a little bit of snow (say an inch or maybe even two) will fall and yer favo-rite blahgger will be galumphing along at 0-skunk-30 and she’ll get to your sidewalk and she won’t be able to SEE that there is an ice rink under the beautiful little dusting of snow on your sidewalk. Her feet will hit your loverly little sheet of ice and instantaneously slide out from under her and before she can even process what is happening, she’ll be flat on her back. On your sidewalk. Is that what you want?

Okay. That did happen to me earlier in the winter. I am made of steel and I have a hard head and I was okay. It did not happen to me this morning. But, depending on how people have “cleared” their sidewalks during the last couple weeks, the sidewalks provided a continually and randomly changing surface this morning, after the latest little snowfall of an inch or so accumulation. I had my YakTrax on this morning and I am pretty confident with them but I encountered a couple of sidewalks that were so icy that I slid a little bit, even with the YakTrax.

Planet Ann Arbor residents, here is the policy. It stipulates that salt must be used and even provides a free bucket of salt (and sand, which may be a better alternative…) for residents who can go pick it up. It also provides assistance for elderly and disabled people.

Oh. And WHAT is up with using a blasted snowblower when the snow accumulation is less than an inch? Fer kee-reist, The Old Coot spent his whole life in the Yooperland and he did not purchase a snowblower until he was 75 years old! When I was a kid (and had to walk uphill five miles through four feet of snow both to and from school every day) and there was a snowstorm (and I am talking waaaayyy more than one sniggly little inch), it was all hands on deck with the shovels! Even Tigger, our dog!

Tell me something good

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Because I have a whole heckuva lot o’ nothin’ today. This was the first morning in about two weeks I felt confident enough about the conditions underfoot that I ventured out to walk at 0-skunk-30 without my YakTrax. It was all fine (that means I didn’t fall or even slip) but there was a little light snow coming down and apparently that caused a whole bunch of spinouts and other loverly little incidents on the freeways that ring The Planet Ann Arbor. The roads were getting messy enough when I got out to Maple that I opted to slodge along on the surface streets. Distance-wise, it’s a wash, just takes a while longer. Fortunately the long-suffering, cat-herding person doesn’t much care what time I get to work unless he has me in his sights for something in particular. (Hmmm, is it “sights” or “sites” in that usage?) I suspected that wouldn’t be the case today and it wasn’t. I got there hours before he did. I dunno. As a person who is woefully horrible at job interviews and tends to fall absolutely backwards off cliffs into jobs, I always seem to end up with the best bosses. And no, he doesn’t read this. I don’t think. I think it would be waaaaayyy too boring for him.

It is January. It is getting to be late January. The sun is heading “up north” again and the days are getting longer. I am always conflicted about this. I love the winter solstice. I mean, I have lucky-shucky and central heat and running water and a water heater. The winter solstice would be a lot harder if I had to cut down trees and chop them up into firewood and manage a fire all day and throughout the night and worry about large, dangerous aminals coming into my cave or log cabin or whatever. If I had to do that, I wouldn’t be able to commute over to my work every day. Oh, roight. If I had to do all of that to stay alive, I probably wouldn’t have an automotive vee-hickle or a computer or two or five. (Yes, five is exactly how many PERSONAL computers yer favo-rite blahgger owns. Right now, right here in the overwhelming land of wretched excess.) My eight mile commute would take a whole day (or two or three, depending on the terrain) instead of 15-30 minutes depending on weather and traffic. It would be a dangerous commute but, since horses (for example) don’t go 80 miles per hour (I don’t think), there wouldn’t be quite the number of crashes. The Planet Ann Arbor stopped counting at 42 this morning… At this time of year, I would be watching the sun every day I could see it, I think. I would be looking for more light. Would I celebrate yesterday’s brilliant sunshine? Or would I be struggling to keep my children warm in the bitterly cold temperatures. Maybe I would welcome today’s somewhat warmer temperatures even though they came with a bit of snow?

The yield sign is still down in case anyone is dying to know. Probably a whole bunch of other signs too, after today.

Tell me something good. If you can…

Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

The GG was a little surprised when yer favo-rite blahgger initiated the idea of heading off to NAIAS, or what I still call the Dee-troit Auto Show. Although I absolutely LOVE to drive, I am really not an automobile geek. That is to say I don’t go gaga over this or that vee-hickle. You know. Sports cars or SUVs or fancy luxury cars or whatever. I grew up around a couple of car geeks. The Engineer could name all of the models on the road by the time he was three. I can remember once when Grandroobly and The Commander were headed from the Yooperland down south to Daytwa for some kind of bank boondoggle and The Engineer made them promise to tell him if they saw a Corvette with its light covers down. Not too many Corvettes in the Yooperland in those days. I am no stranger to the auto show because, for a number of years, we would make the trip to Daytwa specifically to attend it. Our trip always included a morning at the old downtown Hudson’s department store for The Commander and me. I admit that I was much more interested in that part of the expotition. I would get a couple of new outfits and maybe some fabric and we’d have lunch on the mezzanine.

Anyway, my criteria for automobiles is pretty simple. I like cars that are reliable. I don’t care how fast they can go but I appreciate enough get up and go that I can pass other cars when I need to. My cars have to be reliable. And they need to handle well in snow. Did I mention reliability? Basically, I like to have a car (or two or three) that I know will start right up every morning and get me where I’m going without a noisy engine that sounds like it’s going to quit or grinding brakes or squealing belts or warning lights coming on (or blinking on and off!). A stick shift is a plus but I can live without it. My next vee-hickle is going to have a remote starter so I don’t have to stumble out of the Landfill every morning to start it so the ice melts off zeeee veeeeendsheeeeld by the time I leave for work.

Although we are currently in the market for a new vee-hickle, we didn’t go down to the show today to shop. We have already chosen our next car. One of these days, we’ll just decide “it’s time” and go get it. I don’t know when that’ll be. Our oldest car, the Dogha, is going strong at 150K (knock on wood). I suspect that we’ll take the plunge sometime before the GG decides he needs to haul a boat trailer somewhere, since we do not currently own anything with a trailer hitch.

Today I was mainly curious. I have attended the auto show occasionally in my adult life but it had been a few years. I wondered what the show would be like in 2011. With the major upheaval the auto industry has been experiencing the last couple years and all the hype about alternative fuels, what kinds of vehicles would be showcased and what technology would be emphasized? And then there’s the part of me that likes to look at all the glitz and even do a little people watching. What had changed for the 21st century?

And I dunno exactly what to say except that we had a great time! The auto industry *is* (and should be, in my opinion) showcasing alternative fuels. But there were plenty of big SUVs and luxury cars and sports cars and mid-size cars like our loverly Dogha that don’t get terrible fuel economy but aren’t the best either. We thoroughly checked out the vee-hickle that we intend to buy in the not-so-distant future and a number of others also. The little girl in me missed the beautiful women who used to present cars in fancy, sparkly dresses…

We are early risers so after breakfast at the Northside Grille here on The Planet Ann Arbor, we got to Cobo Hall pretty close to the nine o’clock opening of the show. And that was a good thing because by the time we decided we had seen enough, a couple hours later, it was getting really crowded. I enjoy a bit of people watching from time to time but I really don’t do well in crowds for very long. So, we dredged out our hats and gloves and headed up to the the GG’s fave Cobo roof parking lot, got into our beloved old salt-encrusted Dogha, headed down the spiral ramp to Jefferson or whatever street is down there, and hit the freeway. Fly Honda Express. For home.

Um, yield?

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

Yes. Does anybody know what “Yield” means any more? I mean when it appears on a triangularly shaped road sign. The loverly little scene in the photooo, which I encountered while walking to my fave Plum Market this afternoon, is all too familiar. It occurs at least once every winter. I’ve seen it happen a couple of times. Once, when the beach urchins were around driver’s ed age, it was a young teenage boy. You can bet I pointed that out as a lesson [more than] a few times. It may have been a teenage boy in that case but I’m sure a few teenage girls have hit it too. And probably a few baggy old people like me. No, I have *not* hit the sign. I *did* once manage to throw The Indefatigable into a donut in front of Robin’s house. We had had a lot of snow that winter and they rarely plow our neighborhood very thoroughly and I was driving a 4WD vee-hickle, don’tch’ya know. Of course, I did not have the 4WD *engaged* at that time. Can you say overconfidence? Or sloppiness, at least. Luckily nothing was hit and no one was hurt and KW continued on her merry little way a leetle wee bit more slowly and carefully.

This winter? We have not really had a whole lot of snow but what we got from the last storm has stuck around. That was maybe four inches at the most and it was something like ten days ago. The folks that run our loverly planet do not seem to be placing a priority on plowing or salting this year. It’s sort of okay. I mean, I can get around okay, even with the Ninja, which has taaarrrrs that don’t particularly like snow. But it is slipperier than all getout on the side streets and I have seen a few other signs go down. Sooo…. I guess the planet is spending the money they’re saving on snowplows and salt on replacing road signs? Hmmm… If I had my druthers, I would prob’ly dyno-mite that whole library lot prodject. But that’d be a whole ‘nother story and I don’t *think* there are a whole lotta any Planet Ann Arborite politicos who follow my blahg but somebody might do the Google and find me and troll me and my poor little snowbilly brain would not be able to sort out my thoughts about that whole issue enough to reply with an articulate, informed response. Except that it was my favo-rite downtown parking lot for 30 years or thereabouts and… Well… Change is not always a good thing and if you can’t afford to keep the streets plowed, maybe building an underground parking structure with a conference center on top is not a particularly good idea…

Anyway. Yield? What does that triangular yellow red sign mean? Does anyone know? By this photooooo, it could mean go like hell whether or not somebody is in the intersection. Didn’t yield signs use to be yellow? And mean something like slow down and proceed through the intersection if there are not other vee-hickles? Anybody else old enough to remember that? When did they switch to red signs for yield?

G’night. And yield… -KW

Move over Moosezilla

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Yeah, I know. I don’t have a face, do I? Well, what can I say. It was dark and this photooo is from my iPhone… And the GG was trying to be all artsy fartsy and get the Planet Jupiter to show up in the photoooo behind yer favo-rite blahgger’s head even though his actual mission was supposed to be to get a photoooo of her in this loverly winter get-up. Sorry but there ain’t no way my iPhone is gonna ever get a photooo of the Planet Jupiter. At least not from the Planet Earth. It was eight degrees (Fahrenheit, of course) and that skirt actually serves as a bona fide layer! It is wool and I wore it over my DKNY tights and cheep cotton/spandex leggings. Eight degrees is really not all *that* cold. If it had been a few degrees warmer, I wouldn’t have needed another layer. And I was darned if I was gonna wear snowpants downtown to the Old Town barrrooooom. Aside from the whole Planet Jupiter tangent, this was not the easiest photoooo to get because people kept walking by and they all seemed to think we were actually doing something *serious* because they kept trying to politely wait until we were done with our little photo shoot. I kept saying, “Oh, go ahead, I’m just pretending I’m Moosezilla,” and this being The Planet Ann Arbor (and not The Planet Jupiter), people were pretty much cracking up about that.

TGIF and good night. -KW

 

Things I’m thinking about…

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Amy Chua, the Tiger Mother. You can google her if you want. Oh heck, here’s an NPR interview transcript. The short story goes something like this: Chinese mom who pressures her children to be successful using methods that many late-20th/21st century USA parents think border on abuse. Despite the fact that this story has been all over the internet all week, I have been head down buried deeply in the translation of ultra-complicated requirements into screen design. I am random about what gets packaged as “news” even on a boring day. This week has not been boring and I have only skimmed this story.

I’m not sure what I was gonna write (I’m still not sure what I’m gonna write). I do not agree with some of this woman’s techniques for raising children. But yikes! I think I may have used some of them from time to time. They didn’t usually work for me probably because I was a very inconsistent parent when it came to discipline. But, riffing off the NPR interview, she makes some good points. If you scroll down in the interview, she talks about how the children of previous American generations had to do, um, chores, and things. Yes. My dad would talk about when he and his brother were sent out to help on their uncle Alec’s farm in Dafter. That would be back in the 1930s or so, I’m guessing. Being sent out to Alec’s farm involved a ten mile *walk*! There’s a freeway now but there is no exit at Dafter. And then there’s the GG, who had a newspaper delivery route at about the age of ten (1960s), worked in gas stations during high school (and was robbed at gunpoint twice), and put himself through college by working at the Hamtramck Assembly Plant.

Me? I was more or less allowed to be a princess as a child although I careered along between princess and tomboy (but that would be a whole ‘nother blahg entry). Supposedly I had chores but, if I didn’t do them, there were no real consequences. School? I skated through K-12 with mostly A grades without really studying horribly hard. That would be a whole ‘nother story. I did get to practice my flute (and the puano) for as many hours as I wanted to and, I would spend hours in my bedroom working on analytic geometry (from an ancient textbook of my dad’s that is probably still in my basement) or whatever I wanted to study or read.

My children? Well. I think I tried to institute chores from time to time but I didn’t always follow through with any kind of consequences. What the heck? We were all so busy that it often made more sense for me to just do it myself. School? I dunno. I tried to help with homework sometimes. I wasn’t always allowed to. I never wanted my parents to help me with my schoolwork. Why did I sometimes think I needed to help my kids? Maybe because there were so many other parents who DID their child’s homework and my kids were essentially competing with those kids? How the heck do the kids of a person like meeeeee keep up with the kids of the phd-type people here on the Planet Ann Arbor? Not to mention that, even in this city of highly educated folks, there are still many, many, many people who are struggling to maintain some sort of basic existence. Our schools are servicing their kids too…

I knew I was gonna lose my train of thought and I did. Whaddy’all think? If you have kids or not…

Hey, baby! What’s yer sign?

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Yeah. Remember when you were in college and you would be at a party somewhere and some marginally cute guy (or girl or whatever) would ask you that question? And they would immediately lose whatever little bit of cuteness that your beer googles goggles had initially bestowed upon them.

I don’t think I got asked that particular question too often. More often, I would get asked one of several other toxic questions. For me, anyway. What are you into? Where are you from? What is your major? That first question (What are you into?) does not deserve an answer! What do you mean? Into what? The answer to the second was “the UP” and I won’t even begin to describe the stereotypical questions that followed that. Sigh. That would be a whole ‘nother blahg entry. The third? Well. Hem hem. [Starting to feel my feet tapping a bit.] I would say, “I am a music major.” He would say, “Oh, so you sing.” Me (grimacing at bit at the lack of sophistication of the questioner): Nooooo…. I play the flute. Him: Oh!!! Do you dig Jethro Tull? At which point I would start looking for the nearest blasted WALL, so I could BANG MY BLASTED HEAD!!! True answer to the Jethro Tull question: Yes, of course. But.

Anyway… So, the zodiac has shifted? Am I still a Capricorn? Do I care? I have never really believed in the whole horoscope thing but I won’t deny that it used to be fun to read my horoscope in the newspaper, back when we had one in the Jurassic Age. And there were those Cosmopolitan magazine-type things about finding a maaaannn whose astrological sign complemented yours… Always fascinating…

Well. Even though I don’t really believe in astrology, I do definitely believe in Taurus. The Bull, don’tcha know. Late April, early May. Um, stubborn? Yes. Taurus seems to be one of my lots in life. My dad. And his brother. Who once, near the end of a beautiful beach day, when the conversation had deteriorated into whatever, in this case astrology, emphatically proclaimed that he was *not* a Taurus (despite his May birthday), all the while wearing his wife’s beautiful straw sun hat. Ooookaaayyy.

That was long after I married the GG, who is also a blasted Taurus, along with his twin brother. Why did I not ask, “What’s yer sign?” when I first met the GG? I dunno. And then… There is the Taurus that I gave birth to. How many ways can you say “stubborn?” Lemme see… “I’m gonna going to do it ANYWAY!” “I want ANOTHER mother!” “No, I am not [insert name on birth certificate here]. MY NAME IS MOUSE!!!”

I think y’all can change the zodiac to whatever you want it to. I never felt totally comfortable being a Capricorn. I mean, who would want to share their sign with Richard Nixon? Since I am close to the “cusp”, I always wanted Aquarius to seep into my sign a bit. You know, The Age of Aquarius! So, I’ll switch if I need to (and I’m not really sure that’s necessary). But I do not think the Tauruses in my life are gonna change much. Can we just rename whatever sign they end up in as “Stubborn”?

100 26 things

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011
  1. My sidewalk this morning? Wet but well salted with just a few little patches of soft snow. Not slippery.
  2. Next door neighbor’s sidewalk this morning? Covered with old, soft, snow. Not slippery.
  3. Two houses down? Glare ice!
  4. KW? About face and back to The Landfill for YakTrax.
  5. Temperature 31 and bits of precipitation outta the dark sky? What was she thinking?
  6. An umbrella wouldda been useful too.
  7. General walking conditions? Highly and unpredictably variable! People, if you snowblow, SALT YOUR SIDEWALK! So it doesn’t turn into a sheet of glare ice!
  8. Bullpen across the street from Cube Nayber and I? Occupied by a new employee after a couple years of emptiness.
  9. I think that last is probably a positive thing, whaddy’all think?
  10. Work otherwise a bit dangereuse due to long suffering, cat herding person’s weekend acquisition of a light saber.
  11. Probably not as dangereuse as when I used to work over at That Darn EPA and a co-worker enjoyed squishing people’s bag lunches.
  12. Yes, really. With her bare hands.
  13. Y’all know dern well that KW now possesses a light saber too.
  14. I’ll let y’all guess where/how/how fast she got it.
  15. Grok grok grok! *I* wanna lite saber tooo. I wanna greeeeeeeen wun. grok grok grok frgodk grodko!
  16. (((((wonder what the new employee — who doesn’t work with our team — thinks about the light sabers/our sanity…))))
  17. From the radio: the Tiger Woman talks about threatening to lock her 3-year-old out in the cold for not practicing the puano (intentionally misspelled) for three hours.
  18. Three hours? Three-year-old? Huh?
  19. From the Landfill Chitchen: KW remembers when a certain Mouse would venture outside (of her own free will) in a SUNDRESS at temperatures of about 7 degrees above zero.
  20. (Note to self: Find that photooooo. It’s around somewhere.)
  21. Kayak woman ≠ Tiger Woman, at least not 99% of the time.
  22. Us “type A” personalities will always have our moments of child-raising panic!
  23. OMG! I didn’t teach my 3-year-old calculus yet! The sky is falling!
  24. I think about calculus all the time but I can’t remember much about how to actually “do” calculus. Whatever that means.
  25. I was thinking about calculus when I was 3 years old. I think I “did” calculus quite well back then, thank you very much.
  26. What are your 100 26 (is it 26?) things from today?

Or however many things. I could prob’ly come up with more than 26 but too many of the things that happened today fell into that loverly category of “I-can’t-blahg-about-it”. Cheers! –KW

Herds and rafters

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Sort of a slodgy day in the end, although I am now recovering from my late afternoon stupor. I was up walking at 0-skunk-30. It was colder than blue blazes walking “around” Long Point this morning. Or maybe it would be more accurate to say that this was one morning that I believed in the concept of wind chill! It was 14 or 15 degrees (Fahrenheit) and I was layered up pretty darn well except I wasn’t wearing my snowpants. I don’t *usually* wear my snowpants until it gets down to about 5 F. Actually, I didn’t even pack them this weekend. I decided to take the minimalist approach that if it was cold enough for me to need them, I would bag walking. I do not wear snowpants x-c skiing. We are *mostly* in the woods when we ski and even if it’s windy, my legs stay warm enough with my usual leg layers — DKNY tights under cheap cotton/spandex leggings. I am mindboggled by all the folks who venture out on x-c skis with snowpants on. X-c skiing is fun but it involves some hard work and you can overheat easily if you aren’t careful!!! Best to start out a little cold. Anyway, I was plenty warm enough on my walk this morning until the last mile or so. The wind was whipping off the lake. My thighs were numb with cold by the time I got back to the cabin.

But it was a magical walk, with little herds of deer criss-crossing the road in the dark in front of me.

We didn’t ski today. The weather forecast was iffy, calling for snow beginning at noon at Houghton Lake and for later in the afternoon on The Planet Ann Arbor. Best to clean up, pack up, and get on the road. And can I just put in a plug here for The Beautiful Chelsea? Because she did an absolutely fabulous job of cleaning the bathrooms. And I think she did some other cleaning too. The place looked beautiful when we left today and I didn’t have much to do with that. I think Chelsea, her dad Jim, and the GG did most of it. And so, Chelsea and Jim headed down to her college and the GG and I rattled along down some of the old two-lane highways, which is where we encountered a huge rafter of turkeys. Those in the fuzzy car-window iPhone photooo are only a few of that rafter.

We eventually dumped onto the I75 SUV Speedway somewhere around Saginaw and the rest of the trip was what it was. Sun, dry roads, and light traffic on MLK Day. And the rest of the afternoon was a big sinking spell for me. I managed to get a few absolutely critical chores done and made an actual car-trip to the Plum Market, which I usually walk to, that’s how taaarrrred I was. And then, well I do not nap, but I did sit for quite a while… And played [more than] a few games of solitaire on my iPhone.

Celebrating No Politics Day here in the Great White North

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

I [usually] like to try to be cagey and not announce No Politics Day My Birthday on my blahg. But even though facebook didn’t announce it this year (I don’t think), some people figured it out. Or knew it. Either because they are related to me or have known me since the Jurassic Age. So the cat got outta the bag and this particular cat is a bit like a cat I once knew named Muksaslooie and I am not even gonna attempt to try to get him back in the bag. So HBTM. I have received best wishes via the phone and text message and email and facebook and twitter and various blahgs. And The Beautiful Chelsea baked a most excellent 2-layer chocolate cake! Thank you all. I love you!

I believe that you should do whatever you want to on your birthday. I don’t mean that you should use it as an occasion to rob the neighborhood liquor store or to be arrogant or selfish or mean or hurtful to others and I don’t *necessarily* mean you should slack. Like, if my birthday falls on a work day, I go to work! But today it did not and I have done just about whatever I wanted to. I got up and took a nice long walk “around” the point in the dark. Like I always do when I am at the cFam Group Home @ Houghton Lake. I cooked a blueberry pancake breakfast for five. The Twinz of Terror and I skied 6.5 miles at Beaver Creek, after which the Uncly Uncle headed north to his new home in Gaylord and the GG and I rattled around Houghton Lake area. We stopped at our fave Best Choice market for more dinner supplies and checked out some of the usual local points of interest like the Muskegon River dam and the Lake James area. It was cold today and although I was plenty warm while skiing, I got so chilled afterward that I indulged in a nice hot shower this afternoon, my second one today. That did the trick. And now I am sitting here with a leetle wee glass of whine, even though The Beautiful Gay is not here to have one with me. The Beautiful Chelsea was painting but not sure where she went and a couple of people of the male persuasion are asnore on the couch.

The GG has been hounding me about what I want for my birthday for the last couple weeks. I keep reminding him that I sent him a whole list of stuff for xmas (which he also kept hounding me about) and he didn’t *get* me all of that stuff for xmas. Which is OK!!! Because I do not need or want any more stuff! But I figure that means he has a ready-made birthday list, roight? Roight. But he is STILL asking me. He asked me several times yesterday afternoon! I said to The Beautiful Chelsea, “Even if I *did* want anything for my birthday, it wouldn’t be something that you could procure in the Houghton Lake area at 4:00 on a Saturday afternoon in mid-January.”

So… What do I want for my birthday? I want for all of *you* to be safe, healthy, and happy and have a wonderful day!

Love,
Kayak Woman

P.S. How old am I? Well. Hem hem. I am three years younger than my loverly “cuzzint” The Grinch!

Note to self: Do not take a year off from cross-country skiing

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Whoof! This has been an interesting day. We were on the I75 SUV Speedway Slitherway before seven this morning, slithering our way from the Planet Ann Arbor to the Great White North, the cFam’s Group Home at Houghton Lake, to be exact. We won’t talk about the driving except to say that there was quite a bit of off-roading but not by us. The Dogha managed to hold the road.

We arrived here in the late morning and the Uncly Uncle was rarin’ to go x-c skiing. Me? I have to admit, I was a little reluctant. Why? Well… I love to ski. I have been skiing most of my life. I switched from downhill over to x-c in my 20s. I’ll never be any more than an amateur skier but I am a pretty strong amateur on average terrain with decent snow. Last winter? I did not manage to go skiing AT ALL. I’m not sure why, exactly. I had to look back at my blahg to remember what the heck I was doing all last winter. It seems I was up here. It seems I was in the Yooperland. But not when there was enough snow for skiing.

This morning? The first half mile or so was BRUTAL!!! I knew it was going to be brutal and that’s why I was reluctant. I never did get totally up to my usual speed but after a while, I started to get my “wind” back and, by the end of the five miles or whatever it is, I was ecstatic to find that the uphill stretches weren’t even bothering me much. If I could do what I did today *every* day for a week, I would be in great skiing shape. I get a lot of exercise for a baggy old broad with a sedentary thinky-type job but I wish I could make time for more. And I wish there were more opportunities to x-c ski near the Planet Ann Arbor. But there usually isn’t enough snow.

So, we are here at Houghton Lake with the Uncly Uncle and their brother Jim and his daughter The Beautiful Chelsea and it is relatively stormy here with snow and some gusty winds and that photooo is of Jim playing around with the old yooper-style snowblower that used to belong to The Old Coot, aka my dad.

I was touched almost beyond words when I found out from the GG that my BFF Sam the Archaeologist and her husband jcb were apparently planning to arrive here tonight for a surprise visit. From Atlanta! I mean, they weren’t planning to travel all that way just to see *me*. The main purpose was to spend time with her elderly parents in Michigan. But still. Their plans were kiboshed by the weather and as much as I miss my friend, this would not have been a good day to drive all the way up here. So, a toast to Sam and jcb and a HUGE HUG to my Sam!

I hope you have managed to wade through all that stuff because, well, last but not anywhere least, today is The Grinchie’s birthday. The Grinch is my loverly “cuzzint” and I will not tell you his exact age but it does have a zero in it. So, happy birthday to my favo-rite grinch! Love you, old boy.

Oh, and click here for a few photooos (on Flickr) of our little ski trip today. (They are also on facebook, so some of y’all may already have seen them.)

Over and out…

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Shower. Dishes. Walk. Shovel. Throw down some salt. Clean The Blue and Only Bathroom. Make the bed. Eat cheerios. Dishes. Xword. Take out [more] recycling. Turn on Ninja. Change outta walking layers into bizcaz. Put on makeup (yes). Pack lunch. Drive to work. Word. Excel. Email. I/M. Html. Css. Javascript. Flowcharts. Screenshots. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. x12 or thereabouts. Pack up computer while entertaining co-workers with loverly little stories about my so-called life. The time the guy at the so-called outfitter store tried to refuse to sell me a pair of hiking sandals. Apparently my raggedly old feet scared him. The people that used to call me in the middle of the night thinking I was one Amy Finlayson, party girl extraordinaire apparently. Sorry, I have done my share of partying but I am not her. And that story’s corollary, which was the Pi-hi guy who called me about one Andy Finlayson, who was apparently skipping school. I don’t know. I don’t know an Andy Finlayson. He thought I was lying. I was not. How we get on these odd little topics, I do not know. Finally outta there. Drive home. Putter around for 20 minutes. Walk downtown. Two cocktails and dinner at the Old Town. Actually three cocktails. Because the waitress misunderstood me when I asked for a Merlot and brought me another Manhattan instead. I didn’t complain. It was busy and LOUD in there. I split it with the GG, who had been contemplating a third himself. Walk home. Big glass of ice water. Aannnddd… Sitting in front of the faarrrrr barely keeping my eyes open. That is, until just now when sparks flew out onto the carpet. Long week. Gibberish. All of this. Goodnight. Over and out. Mañana.

It’s Thursday, so we’ll talk about something besides my incredibly exciting life…

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

I don’t really know how I can follow an act like Alexandria (see yesterday’s entry). It isn’t too often that I get to welcome a beautiful newborn baby into the world on my blog. Thanks to her parents for sharing!

This is Thursday and Thursday is often my worst day for finding something to write about. I know that I do not have to blahg every day but it has become part of my life and also The Commander will wonder if I am still alive if I do not blahg 😉 (Er, not exactly, but that excellent woman has been known to call if my blahg doesn’t appear sometime during a given 24-hour period and ask, “Where is your blog?”) For whatever reason, I do have to blahg every day. If I get too boring (and I know I do because sometimes I even bore myself), put me on sleep or whatever.

So, the photoooo. The Twinz of Terror and Joanne (not sure of spelling), their hiking friend from last weekend. When the GG and I first starting hiking the North Country Trail in Michigan’s UP, the trails were not *always* very well groomed or marked. We had a 1990s style GPS that helped us get out of a few little snags here and there but it wasn’t always easy. Nowadays, there is a very active chapter of the North Country Trail Association that regularly grooms and marks the trails in the UP. These folks are VOLUNTEERS! The GG is one of them. I guess you could say that I am one of them too. Except… I have not participated in a scheduled hike in years. Not since I sold my soul to corporate America a few years ago (er, not that I am unhappy about that at this point).

I love to hike and I love the NCT Association folks and I have hiked with them before but, at this time in my life I just do not [usually] have the time for the hiking format required by group hikes. If we take a rocket trip to the UP for a weekend and get up there Friday night (after my work day) and I spend all day Saturday hiking, that means that I have less time to spend with The Commander or checking out Fin Family Moominbeach or whatever, and then we have to head back home on Sunday. So, I don’t usually participate in NCT hikes these days but I am happy to be spending my life with a guy who loves the UP enough to join a hiking organization up there, not to mention that he probably gets along with my mother better than I do. And that he comes with a twin. Who *also* seems to get along with my mother better than I do… Love you guys and thanks!

Alexandria!

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

This beautiful baby is our new grandniece, Alexandria. She was born Friday evening, January 7, 2011 and her parents, our beautiful niece Julia and her partner Tim, sent a couple of photos for posting.

Alexandria is Garth and Sally’s, lemme see, ninth great-grandchild (keep me honest here, Courtoises). And The Beautiful Liz’s (the GG’s sister), granddaughter. Here are Julia, Tim, and and their beautiful new daughter.

And just one more, from Kayak Woman’s iPhoto archive of 20K photoooos. A gratuitous shot of the young Julia, helping me take care of my daughter Elizabeth. They are first cousins.

Welcome to Alexandria! Isn’t she gorgeous? Her moom, too!