Archive for June, 2011

Boyz and their trailerz

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Ka-whomp! Back in the day, we used to think we were so cool when we had finally built up enough vacation time that we could manage to extend long holiday weekends just enough to miss the Great Lake State holiday weekend traffic phenomenon known as the I75 SUV Speedway Parking Lot. Actually, the GG can still do that kind of thing since he has worked for That Darn EPA (that’s a joke, y’all) for so many years, he has about a billion vacation hours a years. Yer fav-o-rite blahgger? At less than five years of service, not so much… Nevertheless, we did drive “up north” a day early. And guess what? It [mostly] wasn’t a parking lot tonight but it was obvious there were a lot of other folks driving north a day early to avoid the parking lot the Speedway will become tomorrow afternoon and evening. We do have to drive back down on Monday. Oh joy…

Getting outta the Landfill neighborhood was like running a gauntlet. The plan was to haul the loverly old Courtois trailer north with us. It’s a trash hauling type trailer, not a cute little camping trailer like the beloved old Little Princess we had back in the Uncle Fester Club days. (There it is in the photoooo just about to take off behind The Indefatigable. The trash hauler, not the Little Princess.) Some people were pretty excited about hauling the old trailer. The Indefatigable is gone now and it has been a couple years since we have owned a vee-hickle with a trailer hitch. And this weekend is prodject FV so we will need vee-hickles and things that can haul furniture.

Anyway, when I got home from work, the Mean Green Frog Hoppin’ Musheen was in the Landfill driveway backed up to the trailer, so I parked the Ninja in the street. We finished loading the Frog Hopper and then, the GG pulled it out into the street and I parked the Ninja in the driveway, beeped it shut and hopped off into the Frog Hopper’s passenger seat. We got a half a block down the street and the GG said, “There’s no spare taaaarrrr for the trailer and the taaaarrrs that are on it are ‘cracked’.” Screeech!!! To a halt. Say WHAT? There is no way that I am going to waste any time this weekend sitting on the side of the I75 SUV Speedway with a broken down trailer. Back to the Landfill driveway. Pulled the Ninja back out to the street. GG backed the Frog Hopper (and trailer) into the drive and disconnected the trailer. Frog Hopper back out into the street. Ninja in the driveway. Again. Are we having fun yet? We were finally off, with yer fav-o-rite blahgger at the wheel. I hope we didn’t forget anything! If we did, I don’t care. We’ll just buy it! (But can’t imagine what we couldda possibly forgotten with all that junk we’re hauling!)

G’night from the Hoton Lake Group Home! -KW

Liquified propane

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Still twitchy after all these hours. But doing okay. The LSCHP threw some more work my way today. He knows better than to let me idle for too long. His words? “KW was whining.” Yes, KW was whining… Except it was too early on a workday to be whining. Most days I don’t whine until the sun is over the yardarm. Er, unless I am sitting around by the water at the Houghton Lake Group Home with The Beautiful Gay. Or hanging out in the hollow in front of the Old Cabin with NpJane.

Dinner at Knight’s tonight. Our very own neighborhood pub. Looonnnnngggg day tomorrow. Moving this weekend. I am soooo taaarrrrred this week. Mostly in a psychological sense but it is translating into physical taaarrreeddness too. After all those weeks upon weeks upon weeks of bouncing back and forth between the Planet and the Yooperland, I am finally looking forward toward a period of relative stability. I am feeling totally whomped out for now. That is about all I have to say tonight. I am a blank.

Good night,
KW

P. S. I will still be bouncing to the Yooperland and back for a while forever.

Twitchy

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

I don’t even know where to start but maybe that’s because I don’t really have anything to say today. After a couple of months of 1) living in a weird, nomadic holding pattern and 2) wondering if I would ever see the light at the end of the tunnel on my current work prodject… Well. Ka-whomp! 1) I am no longer in a holding pattern and 2) I am in a lull at work. It’s a temporary lull and these things happen sometimes. But it is a horrible time to be in a lull because… I am struggling to find things to keep me occupied at work but it is excruciatingly hard to concentrate… Because without anything interesting to focus on, I keep looking ahead to this weekend’s major prodject, wishing I could get started on it NOW!!! The bottom line is that my life is extremely unbalanced right now. It been that way for the last couple months but this version of unbalanced is an abrupt shift to the opposite of the last couple months. Hopefully this won’t last too long. Because I do not do well when I am not busy, even if busy means sitting in my cube with my feet up on my desk (oh, not really) thinking about how something should work. Because that is what designers sometimes do.

The first job I ever had was at the Tempo store up in Sault Ste. Siberia. I ran a cash register. I am terrible at job interviews (KW ≠ perky, KW = VERY awkward) and had failed at every attempt at getting a job I had ever made and so I was very surprised when they called me up, even though my old coot had arranged for me to interview with Mr. Drysdale. I can just imagine that phone call (or whatever it was). “My awkward ninny of a kid needs a job. Will you hire her?” They did hire me. Of course, the day I started that job, I had a horrific sore throat and a fever. It was a Tuesday and Mr. H was training me and, at the end of the day, he said, “Come back Friday.” Like, you are sick. Go home and get it out of your system. Not an auspicious start to my first job.

I was a total klutz at running a cash register for a couple weeks and maybe they might have faarrrred somebody else. Somebody whose dad wasn’t a buddy of Mr. Drysdale. And then something clicked. Running a cash register turned out to be right up my alley. I was fast and accurate and friendly, even when I felt like clocking somebody with my bag stapler. (Note that this was way before there were scanners and things. I had this huge mechanical cash register with rows and rows of numbers and had to enter every item’s price and one or two other associated numbers by hand. Aaannnnddd I had to calculate the sales tax more or less in my head.) Eventually, Mr. D decided to move me to the office, where I did customer service stuff and bookkeeping tasks. I liked that stuff too and I was also good at it. And sometimes, when there were long lines at the cash registers, Mr. D or Mr. H (or the dreaded Mr. P) would ask, “Hey KW, can you go open up a register and get some of those people out the door?” And I would. And I loved it. Some of the people waiting in line recognized me as a very fast, accurate cashier and would scramble to move to my line.

But I still remember my early days as a cashier. If we did not have any customers — and there were plenty of slow times — we were supposed to “look busy”. That was fine if there was actually something to DO. Like help the [wonderful] woman who handled the nearby “health & beauty aid” department stock or straighten shelves. If there was nothing to do, well, I fidgeted. How many times can you straighten your bags or whatever?

In other words, I have a killer work ethic. And that’s a great thing to have. Except when it kills ME! If I am being paid to do a job, I feel like I need to be working. Today? I finally told the Long Suffering Cat Herding Person I was leaving a bit early. It was okay with him. I knew it would be. He isn’t quite ready to hand some things off to me and it’s not like I have to be available for customers at this job. I sit waaaayyyyy back from them. But I still felt guilty about not spending the last hour of the day at my work. I wish I could say that I was productive here at the Landfill. Not so much. A little bit of laundry and some mail and that was about it.

surreal

Monday, June 27th, 2011

First, what I wrote yesterday about school sports is only a thin, clumsily written little slice of my thoughts on a very complicated subject. Yes, I’m still thinking about it. Yes, there are many things that are *good* about school sports. It is absolutely important to provide students who struggle academically with other ways to shine. I just think team sports are over-emphasized. But then, I feel that way about AP classes too and don’t get me started on those big high school musicals… Even though I once played in a pit orchestra for one of those beasts and had a BLAST!

I’d like to say that I’m surprised that the school district waited until after the end of the school year to announce these cuts in sports. Alas I’m not. I am also not surprised that they left a lot of the stakeholders out of the process. Business as usual. Except that I think elected public boards are playing a particularly dangerous game in this day of social networking by making controversial decisions behind closed doors.

More on this someday. Or not. Onward for now. It is June 27th. Six years ago today it was June 27th and I threw my powerbook and, uh, Frooggy into the Dogha and drove a half mile… Uh, wait a minute! I have Frooggy but not my PURSE? Priorities, please… Got back on the road again and drove 45 miles north to a hospital to say goodbye to my brother. I will never forget standing out in the hoosegow parking lot under a blazing sun with DogMomster thinking, “what did we just do?” Surreal? And just the day before, I’d been arguing with the Uncly Uncle about the Houghton Lake GARBAGE, of all things!

Six years later, this morning also marks a milestone, albeit a smaller one. For me, that is. Some may argue that point. I had a bit of business at the bank today and it is hard for me to get to the bank because I work during the bank’s business hours. Going out to the bank during lunch is like running a gauntlet. So this morning, I faarrrred up my work laptop and emailed my team, “Working from home until the bank opens, then coming in (EOM)”. And so, I sat there tinking away at stuff when my phone vibrated. Telephones drive me crazy, so it was with some annoyance that I wondered, “Who’s calling now?” Well! My phone proclaimed that it was Freighter View. OMG! I had to muster everything I had to not answer it with, “GOOD MORNING, Freighter View!” I have been waiting for a call from FV for weeks now. So, we have a little moving prodject to look forward to over the 4th of July weekend and a few people will subsequently be able to move forward with their lives. I hope.

And yes, I was indeed on the ski team one year. I was a decent amateur downhill skier in high school. I could get myself down ANY hill. By hook or by crook. Style and grace? Not. Ski team material? Not. One of the surreal aspects of that experience? As an 18-year-old senior in 1972, I was legal to drink adult beverages and I would frequently see our young female ski team coach out at the barroom that I used to go to with my boyfriend and his posse.

Onward and upward (I hope!) and goodnight from The Planet Ann Arbor.

athlete

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

As I was walking this morning (6.5 miles) and kayaking this afternoon (I dunno, maybe 2-3 miles at the most), I was thinking about the article I linked to yesterday and cogitating about why the subject of school sports annoys me as much as it does.

I mean, obviously, I think physical activity is important. If I didn’t, I doubt I’d spend so much time hiking and skiing and kayaking and generally galumphing around. Now, make no mistake. I am NOT an Amazon Woman and I will not be winning any triathlons. I’m just a baggy old bag who is at her best when she stays in motion.

As a kid, I was a pretty darn good athlete. In my south side Sault Ste. Siberian neighborhood, we were in constant motion. We would hold running and jumping contests and I would almost always WIN. A lot of times I would even beat *boys* who were a year or two *older* than me. I was actually once good at ball games! We played kickball in the street and, if we could manage to get our hands on a bat and ball and recruit enough kids, we would set up a baseball diamond in the back corner of the Pingatore lot. When we formed basketball teams in gym class over at old Stinkin’ Lincoln, I was always picked first.

Junior high and high school came along and, back in those days, it didn’t seem “cool” (at least to me) to continue to ride a bike or play baseball with a bunch of “little kids”. Running and jumping contests… Well… Those, uh, boys that I used to beat? They all still had cooties. Except for the ones that I sort of, um, liked (that didn’t like me back, of course). There were not a lot of opportunities back then for female students to participate in sports and most of us didn’t. My main physical exercise became walking to school, carrying my books, music, and clipboard in my left arm and my flute in my right hand. As I became more and more involved with music, I lost any taste I had as a kid in competitive sports. Heck, the music business is competitive enough…

A lot of things have changed since those days. There are *many* more opportunities for girls and young women to be involved in team sports, and that’s a good thing.

What bothers me about school sports? I think that every school’s primary focus should be on academics. I think that physical fitness is very important and I think that it should be included in every school’s curriculum. But these days, I think there is too much emphasis placed on team sports. Kids are graduating as scholar-athletes on The Planet these days. What does that really mean? What about students who get their exercise by walking or skiing or kayaking or cycling? Are they not athletes too? Those are not team sports but they can be practiced over a lifetime.

It is daylight in the swamp and it is a WORK weekend!

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

Okay, I am not grumpy any more. At least not that much. I was GRUMPY because my blasted FEET were bothering me yesterday, of all things!!! Me, who walks umpteen billion miles a day. This is a direct result of using the Green Kayak a couple weeks ago. I could not for the life of me get the damn foot rests to MOVE for the longest time and when I FINALLY managed to get them to move, I could not move them into a COMFORTABLE position. WD40 anyone? Er, well, not so much, since the mechanism is not metal. Still, there must be SOMETHING that would make it work better. More USE, maybe? Anyway, I cramped my feet all up on that trip and they have been very intermittently bothering me ever since. Better today but still a twinge here and there.

So, nothing but bits and pieces of housework today. Catching up from spending the spring as a nomad. I actually accomplished a few things but my day was so boring that, when I made my daily phone call to The Commander this afternoon, she said something like, “Well, you don’t really have to call me tomorrow if you don’t want to.” Roight. Gotcha Moom. But I will. Or maybe I’ll take a day off and get the GG to do it. Or any of y’all could call her. Lemme know if you want the number. (Of course, I mean people who KNOW The Commander. Others need not apply.)

Er, I had a diatribe going about this article about some of the cuts the Planet Ann Arbor school district is making in order to comply with our loverly governor’s loverly new budget. I have mixed feelings about this… What do others think about school sports programs?

And then there was this plane crash. Of course (!) this is a tragedy (latest radio reports are that the young man is in critical condition, not serious). But then. WTF? The pilot has already had a plane crash in which his wife and two children were killed. He is [was] still flying his own plane? Why?

I wish I was at Houghton Lake! The Uncly Uncle and [probably] The Beautiful Gay are there. And… Last but not least… The Beautiful Julia and Her Beautiful New Daughter, The Beautiful Alexandria!!! Love you guys. Not sure when I’ll get to Houghton Lake again. Hope it’s sooner than later but…

Grump ‘n’ growl

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Yeah. It’s Friday. It’s summer, or at least it’s supposed to be. It is very green and lush around here but it’s chilly and the leaden skies are mindful of winter. And I don’t really care about that. Theees eees Meeesheeegan and you get what you get. If you don’t like it, it’ll probably change in five minutes or so. So they say, anyway…

At least it is not like the summer of 1988 when we had several *weeks* of *over* 100-degree temperatures and absolutely absolute no rain. We did not have central a/c in those days. In fact, we didn’t even have a vee-hickle with a/c in it. We don’t need no stinkin’ air conditioning! We used to say that when we were young and foolish. Mouse was 18 months old and, let me tell you, it was no fun putting her into a vee-hickle that had been sitting locked in the hot sun for a while. Even driving with all four of the windows rolled down the whole way, it did not cool off all that much. Mouse contracted roseola during that period. At one point, her temperature was exactly the same as the ambient temperature — 104 degrees. Oh man, that was a lot of fun.

And then there was the monsoon summer. 1996. During the era the beach urchins and some of their friends spent the week after school got out at Camp Hilltop. Camp Hilltop was a local girl scout day camp run entirely by volunteers. This was a no-frills place. No swimming pool or fancy cafeteria. Each group of girls, led by a teenage counselor, was assigned a “campsite” and they were required to make their own fire and cook their own lunch. The rest of the day was spent cycling through various activities. Each mom spent a day at the camp hauling a big jug of water around for one of the groups. The kids LOVED it!!! The monsoon summer? The camp got rained out two days in a row. That was the year I bought my beeyootyful Island Teal POC and I spent those two days hauling would-be campers around town trying to pick routes that would not involve great mini-van engulfing troughs of water.

A lot of people are complaining about the weather this summer but, I dunno. It is what it is. It is one of the greenest summers I can remember and wildlife abounds. And I do not mind that it is not 90 (or 100) every day.

And yeah, I AM grumpy tonight. For a really trivial reason that you do not want me to rattle on and on about. Good night.

Earworms and Scurry Mice and Bunnies Go Hop (Hop Hop)

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

A facebook / high school friend complained that “Little Rabbit Foo Foo” has been plaguing him as an earworm during his daily run. Or whatever his running frequency is. Er, by “running frequency” I mean how often he runs, not the radio frequency his iPhone (or whatever he has) is set to. What’s the frequency, Kenneth? Indeed. What *is* the frequency?

Well, been there, done that. When you have an earworm, the frequency doesn’t really much matter because you tend to get so stuck on whatever the earworm is that you don’t necessarily listen to the radio or whatever. I have indeed had to endure the song “Little Rabbit Foo Foo” as an earworm more than a few times. Thank you Wee Sing Silly Songs. Actually, at the moment I cannot even remember the tune to “Little Rabbit Foo Foo”. Probably because I am confusing it with a nonsense song I made up to sing to my Mouse when she was a baby and I was either trying to get her to eat something she wasn’t particularly interested in or take a nap (what? a nap?!?) and another even stupider song. The only lyrics I know to the even stupider song are “Bunnies go hop hop hop. They don’t like foxes!” And that’s it!!! At least that’s all I know of that, uh, song, or whatever you want to call it. Imagine getting that earworm stuck in your head for two or three days… We have a LOT of rabbits around here (and a bare bear) and I see them (the rabbits, not the bare bear) when I’m walking, so maybe that’s why I frequently get stuck with animalia chordata mammalia lagomorpha leporidae (I quit at “family” on this one, I have no idea about the genus and species of the rabbits in my neighborhood) earworms.

Earworms used to take on a third dimension for me, back when I was a more active flautist flutist flute player. In those days, if I was stuck with a flute repertoire-related earworm, I would “finger” the notes required to play the piece as the earworm played in my brain. I never figured out whether this was an effective aid to my practice regimen or not. It’s been a while since I’ve cracked my flute case open but sometimes I still get flute music that I know inside and out into my head and my fingers know what to do…

Oh, and, Scurry Mice? Well… We have caught two… And there was a third scurrying around the Landfill Chitchen this morning… I did not see the third Scurry Mouse. I was at work and no, we do not have a webcam in the Landfill Chitchen. Yet. But I got this text message: “A little mouse broke into your house this morning, borrowed your computer to print something, and made herself breakfast.” Inspired, maybe, by my egg cooking post last night? But also, a package came for her here yesterday. I almost asked if she had washed the egg pan et al. She didn’t. That was okay with me. I like to walk in and have a *few* dishes to do (and she knows that) and so, after breaking my neck to get home through yet another rainstorm and jaffic tram, I settled down by washing a few dishes. <smile />

Your next wife will be feeding you TV dinners!

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Well, okaaayyy. I asked if leftovers would be okay tonight. I don’t know why I even asked. The GG eats almost anything I cook. Er, there was a tofu experiment a long time ago where the recipe said to put 4 *tablespoons* of chili powder into the mix instead of 4 *teaspoons*. Yes we ordered a pizza that night… But I guess a guy who ate pancakes every day while putting himself through college is not all that picky. His answer? “My next wife will not serve me leftovers.” My retort? See today’s title! (He was kidding, all you feministas!)

I am not Julia Child or Rachael Ray (I don’t even exactly know who Rachael Ray is) or The Pioneer Woman. I am not The Commander, who grew up on her grandparents’ farm and learned to cook from her mother. I am not Uber Kayak Woman, who, I dunno, just makes magic with more or less whatever is around. I am not AgateGal, who is not a food blahgger but I have gotten some fantastic recipes off of her blahg.

I am a decent, serviceable cook. I don’t like to eat packaged food. I don’t belong to a CSA. I am intrigued by CSAs but I’m afraid I’d get way more produce than we could ever eat and I hate to throw food out, especially now that the (ahem) Dexter bare bear is in the general area. I *love* to shop at the local farmer’s market. But I’m not always in town. And, when I am, I have chores to do… Uh, note to self… But when “they” started telling us all to shop the perimeter of the grokkery store, where all the fresh stuff is, don’tcha know, well, I already DO that. Mostly. There are some canned or packaged ingredients that I use. But I like to chop things up and simmer them and assemble them or whatever. It can be a challenge to do that after a long, faaaarrrr drill-type day at work with a rainstorm and traffic jam on the way home. Like today. But that’s why we have leftovers, roight?

Although I have always taken on the role of Chief Cook and Bottle Washer in our family, the GG is not too bad in the kitchen himself. There are some things he does notably better than I do. Like eggs. When the Beach Urchins are home and want a nice little egg sandwich, they do not ask yer fav-o-rite blahgger. Nope. Daaaaddddyyy? I can do scrambled. On a good day. He can cook them to order.

I have lost my train of thought. Good night! -KW

Animalia chordata mammalia rodentia muroidea muridae murinae mus musculus

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Just when you thought it was safe to venture into your chitchen. That scurrying that I caught out of the corner of my eye at 0-skunk-30 this morning was definitely NOT cygnus buccinator. I can’t even imagine the ruckus that cygnus buccinator might have made in my house. I think I’d be hiding under the bed.

This intruder was murinae mus musculus. Aka scurry mouse. As opposed to puffalump mouse (mus poofaloompfus?). Like the mice in the photoooo. Well, two of them anyway. The big one is homo sapiens, of course. The mus poofaloompfus on the left is named “Squeaky Speedy Water Janet Pop Mousey Mushroom Ears” or “Original Mouse”. On the right, we have “New Mouse”. There was also “Bouncy-bow Pink-bow Purple-Bow Blanket Mousey Mushroom Ears” and “Hisse”. Those two came in slightly different colors and Hisse had a little jingle bell in one foot that once scared us to death during a Freddy Krueger movie (don’t ask). And we have recently added a new copy of Original Mouse when The Beautiful Julia sent her old mouse to The Planet Ann Arbor. Or did I dream that? I’ve been hangin’ out with a lot of Octo-women and Nanamooses lately and may be emulating them on the short-term memory thing… Love you moom ;-)

Anyway, we have been plagued by scurry mice almost since we bought this disaster area. We don’t *always* have them but several times a year, they find their way in. About the first time this happened, Grandroobly was here visiting his grandchildren and he obtained some diazinon (yeah, I know) and resolutely sprinkled it around the perimeter of the place. We were actually trying to deal with ants that time but I think it was a couple years before mice ventured here again. Usually we just use traps. Alas. I do NOT like to kill living things. Except for moe-skee-toes and biting flies. And occasionally spiders if they are in the shower with me. Mice? Not so much. So that jorb usually falls to the GG. With much nagging.

Mostly we use the traditional snap-type trap. Once when we were in Florida visiting Grandpa Garth and Grandma Sally, there was a wee little scurry mouse problem in their fancy condo and I remember a certain beach urchin saying, “When Grandma snaps the trap, the mouse gets away.” Roight… The only problem with the snap-type trap is that sometimes the mouse does not die immediately. I can grab some tongs and pick up a trap with a dead mouse in it and, on a good day, I can even kind of look the other way as I transport the mouse to the Blue and Only Bathroom and use the tongs to release the mouse into the Blue and Only Toilet and flush it down. (And then scrub the heck outta the tongs with bleach.) I once found a mouse in a trap in the Landfill Dungeon flopping around like crazy. It was trapped via the mid-section kicking and screaming and it was pretty clear it wouldn’t live. I drowned it in a bucket. I hope I never have to do that again. I felt like god. I did not like that feeling.

Then there was the live trap experiment. In theory, I like the idea of live traps. The problem? It’s a lot of work but also… Well, at the beginning it was soooo much fun for certain people that they kept the cute little mouskets in a big ventilated glass jar. With guinea pig / rat type shavings. And they were even fed, if I remember correctly. They would stay in this loverly little hotel overnight and the GG would let them go in Miller Woods on his way to work in the morning. Except for the beautiful and seemingly exceptionally intelligent *blonde* mouse. Yeah, I know… In the world of mus musculus, maybe “blonde” has a different stereotype than it does in the world of homo sapiens? He kind of wanted to *keep* that mouse. I didn’t blame him but I wouldn’t have it. Eventually, the interest in catching and releasing mus musculus tapered off. And so we are back to the snap-type traps. I will not go the sticky tape route! (Er, did I already say that?)

Mus musculus vs. Kayakus horibilis, round 10,487.33213.

Animalia chordata aves anseriformes anatidae cygnus buccinator

Monday, June 20th, 2011

A couple years ago, I got all incensed when news came out that a family of Trumpeter Swans living in/on an area pond had been killed. The online thingy that is supposed to be replacing our old newspaper, affectionately referred to as the Planet Ann Arbor Snooze, initially reported that they had been shot. Ultimately, it turned out that they had been hit by a car. Very sad but they were living in close proximity to a road with a relatively high speed limit and stuff happens. Once I was driving along M-28 in the Yooperland and, of all things, a Great Blue Heron took off from the side of the road just as I was passing by. Before I had time to react, it glanced off the POC’s windshield. I *think* it was unhurt. I had been watching like a hawk for deer and drunk drivers. Great Blue Herons? WTF? Anyway, Trumpeter Swans are now back on that pond, according to the facebook group I joined at the time.

Actually, I am afraid of swans. Have you ever managed to steer your personal watercraft too close to a swan’s nest? If you do, watch out for Daddy Swan. He will not be happy. Once upon a time, the GG and I took our canoe down to Gallup Park to help out with the Urine Huron River spring cleanup. A canoe is a fight in my not-so-humble opinion but this was B. K. (Before Kayaks) and somehow we managed to not kill each other. At one point, we ventured unwittingly over into a Swan Area… Oh, look at the bee-yoo-ty-ful swans… Um, wait a minute… That swan is steaming along right toward us… He has a rather determined look in his eye… And I am in the FRONT OF THE CANOE… I wonder if he is stronger than me (probably)… I wonder if I will be able to ward him off with my paddle (probably not)… Fortunately, we didn’t come to blows. As we steered back out into the middle of the pond — away from the nest, I can only guess — he backed off, although he kept a bead on us for quite some time.

I wonder why baby swans are called cygnets. I guess I could query The Google. And I did and cygnus is Latin. I remember reading a children’s book about baby aminals to Elizilla over and over and over. It was a simple baby board-type book and it is probably still somewhere in the Landfill Dungeon. Mama aminal. Baby aminal. Cygnet is not the easiest word for an emerging talker. It was probably the hardest word in the book. I can still remember her saying it.

Uh, buccinator?

In which…

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

Everything I have to say today falls into one of two categories: “boorrrrrrinnnggggg” or “I-can’t-blahg-about-it”. Or both. The boooorrrrinnnnggg stuff is mostly just the same old same old stuff. The Sunday stuff. Except I couldn’t go kayaking. And I didn’t really want to make a solo expotition down to hike at Lake Erie or wherever. I settled for driving along the river for a bit. That would’ve been more fun if I hadn’t had a Tailgater. My tailgater today was an old coot a guy about my age in a Mercedes Benz convertible Midlife Crisis. Sorry buddy but this is a Scenic Drive and the speed limit is 35 and it is a narrow two-lane road and there are cyclists everywhere and I am taking my time.

I know all about male midlife crises and automotive vee-hickles. The GG had a midlife crisis before he even reached the wondrous age of 40 and that particular midlife crisis resulted in a beauteous sand-colored Jeep Wrangler. The Indefatigable. I will never forget the day I dropped Mouse off at nursery school in The Indefatigable for the first time. Her teacher was doing curb duty that day and she remarked about the fact that we had a new vee-hickle. Of course I had to say (rather snarkily at that), “It’s *not* a vee-hickle, it’s a midlife crisis.” The only problem with using a midlife crisis as an excuse to buy a new vee-hickle, is that you can only use it once. I think… The Indefatigable, despite being rear-ended on the southbound I75 SUV Speedway (on a Sunday) when it was several months old and subsequently spending weeeeeeks in a body shop, lived more than 17 years and taught uncountable numbers of children to drive — and drive stick — many years before they were legal in most cases. The last couple of years, I tried to get the GG to buy a new jeep but he chose the Mean Green Frog Hoppin’ Musheen instead. It has some similarities to The Indefatigable (all-wheel drive* and a trailer hitch) but it is way beyond the old jeep in terms of creature comforts. I won’t detail those. If I ever get to drive the dern thing for more than a few days, I might figger out how to operate the controls for them. But I like driving my intrepid little Ninja too, so…

Oh. The I-can’t-blahg-about-it category? Nothing major. Only the family stuff that we all have. Trivial stuff for the moment. Knock on wood…

*To be technically correct, The Indefatigable had 4WD drive. The Mean Green Frog Hoppin’ Musheen has AWD drive. I know that somebody will correct me on this if I don’t clarify it.

She was a little bit gruffy but she brightened up

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

Many moons ago, Elizilla (going on four) was quietly playing in the upshairs of the moomincabin when her younger counterpart Mouse (18 months) woke up from a nap. She was napping in a crib and so needed help getting out. Elizilla came downshairs to tell me that Mouse was awake and the title was her response when I asked if my mouse had woken up happy. And so went my day…

Since the dawning of the New Reality, there have been many moments when I have felt as though I’ve been hanging on to whatever semblance of sanity I ever have by my teeth. It is not easy to try to manage your affairs when they happen in two places that are five hours of driving apart. Especially when you have a full-time career (that you love). Other people have done this. I am not the first. I have been managing. Not without a lot of help, mind you! But things have been kind of falling out, getting misplaced, whatever. Papers, checks, cards. You name it. I have taken on a new bunch of paperwork in the last couple months. I am really, really good at the nitty-gritty of banking and paperwork. Paying bills and balancing bank accounts and stuff. Except when I am distracted by a lot of other things that I am NOT good at. I have been traveling around with a motley collection of paperwork containers. Manila envelopes. Pocket folders. Backpacks. KMart bags(!). Not a good situation.

Today. After a bit of a slow start in the mood department, I began to finally pick *carefully* through my trove of new paperwork. Of course, I decided I needed to obtain a new office supply item (expandable file folder or whatever you call it). Office supply porn? It will always get me going on a paperwork re-org prodject, roight? Now, do I need a new expandable file folder? Probably not. I would bet you doughnuts that there are a few of those in the Landfill Dungeon. I thought about that on the way to the office supply megastore. I almost turned around but I decided to go for it. And so… I handled a whole bunch of mail and stuff and filed things in ONE PLACE and I am feeling better (but wondering what it is that I am forgetting to do!!!!!). And then. I cleaned the blasted dirty sticky Landfill Chitchen floor!!! And picked away at some other little things.

My beloved house (yes, that’s the Landfill) is nowhere near in the kind of shape I want it to be in. Not to mention that I want to purge all of our useless crap NOW and not when I am 85. I even picked at that prodject in a minor way today and made some very minor progress. I’ll take it.

Love y’all,
Kayak Woman

P. S. That photoooo is the Landfill Backyard today. The GG’s Squirrel Feeder is on the right. Just before I took the pic, a hummingbird buzzed me.

Goin’ on a bare bear hunt (after I clean the loverly old, filthy old Landfill Oven)

Friday, June 17th, 2011

So, now we apparently have TWO bares bears out on the Satellite Dexter. We have the male yearling mentioned in this space yesterday and now we have a HUGE bare bear. Mama, maybe? Nobody knows. Oh yeah, and then there’s the guy who has been dressing up in a bare bear costume and hanging out on Huron River Drive somewhere. (Hmmmm, I bet he is @DexterMIBear.) My Cube Neighbor spotted him yesterday. The LSCHP said… Well, I better not say what he said. All I will say is that, if you see any yarmulke-wearing bares bears, go the other way. <insert-devilish-grin-here /> Oh! And NPJane is correct (comments yesterday). Do NOT feed any bares bears!

I think MMCB is off globe-trotting somewhere but I wonder what she would think of the Dexter Bare Bear if she were here. MMCB is really not fond of aminals in general, especially wild aminals, and she does not live all that far from the Satellite Dexter. Once I was showing MMCB some beauteous photooos of a hike that Radical Betty and Uber Kayak Woman and I took through the back 40 up at the Moominbeach a couple years back. It was fall and there were gorgeous tamaracks everywhere. (It turned out to be RB’s last hike but that’s a whole ‘nother story.) MMCB’s only (rather dubious) comment? “Are there aminals?” KW’s (rather dumbfounded) reply? “Well, yes. All the way up to bare bear!” Again, I have never *seen* an actual bare bear at the Moominbeach but they *are* around.

MMCB’s main nemeses are deer. Herds of them routinely trample her beautiful wooded. They stop to rest next to her driveway and once on a particularly horribilous Sunday, a deer had the audacity to DIE on her driveway. I sure am glad I am not in the hauling business and therefore not the person she called to remove the deer because that particular operation did not turn out to be pretty. As I am sure I have said before, I would much rather sit across a table at Barry Bagel’s from MMCB than be on the other end of a customer service issue from her. Tenacious? Fearless? Detail oriented? Annoyingly good memory? All of that and then some… Chutzpah. I wish I had more of that…

That photooo is my latest Cube Mate, lent out to me by Broosie, who has no room for this loverly bit of flora in his new cube. He has more of these but I got to work first (outta Broosie’s buds) this morning, so I got to choose color and I chose red for I dunno what exact reason because the other fleur was bleu and I generally prefer bleu over rouge. Whatever… There are some very interesting perks at my work. That is all I will say.

Oh man, speaking of perks! Driving by the Planet Ann Arbor Airport is one of them and today… TODAY. The battered old twin-engine plane that has been sitting and rotting right near South State since I have worked down there and probably before that was GONE!!! I hope nobody actually, yaknow, FLEW it outta there!!!

Love y’all,
KW

P.S. To the Saudi women who are driving: You go girls!!!! No driving? Kee-reist!

Then brachiosaurus goes out to the playground, the friendliest slide you will know…

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

In which I am STILL living out of a garbage bag, even though I have been at the Landfill for over a week. Oh, it isn’t really a garbage bag. It’s a ratty old L. L. Bean duffle bag. I have done laundry a bunch of times and I have made half-assed stabs at actually hanging a few articles of clothing up but for the most part I am still pulling stuff out of my duffle bag when I want to get dressed. Or the laundry tub in the Blue and Only Bathroom closet. But I *always* do that. That’s where I stash my walking clothes. And I had no interest in picking out food for tonight. I walked over to the Plum after work, thinking I would pick up some exotic prepared food. But we did that the other night. I was hungry (or knew I would be) but I couldn’t bring myself to make a decision. I bought some orange juice, came home and threw some chicken in the oven. And then there was this awful smell. What was it? Was it the garbage? Nooooo. I finally figured out that it smelled like something burning on a stove burner. And, yes, some loverly burny stuff was about to start a faaarrrr in my oven. My oven is a bit dirty but it hasn’t been THAT long since I last cleaned it. Has it? Anyway, I will have to make an actual LIST of CHORES for this weekend. I can stop living like this some day, right?

I am following a bare bear on Twitter. The Dexter Bare Bear, that is. @DexterMiBear. We have ten thousand gazillion deer here on the Planet Ann Arbor. Just ask MMCB. We have coyotes. We have foxes, raccoons, skunks, ‘possums, rabbits, ground hogs. We have woodland aminals galore. Bares Bears? Not so much. We have Bares Bears up at the moominbeach. They have been known to go after the bird feeders on Barb’s deck and, although I have never seen one there (I don’t think they spend a lot of time on the beach), I have seen plenty of Bare Bear scat in my time. There are Bares Bears in the Northern Lower. They have been spotted near the Houghton Lake Group Home. The Satellite Dexter? Not so much. It is rare that a bare bear would venture to this neck of the woods. I remember going on a girl scout camping trip and we had a kid that had never been out of the “city” or on a boat or whatever and she was TERRIFIED that there would be a BARE BEAR! I had a very hard time keeping myself from laughing. Come to think of it, the Long Suffering Cat Herding Person lives out by the Satellite Dexter. I am trying to imagine an encounter between the LSCHP and a bare bear. Somehow I think the bare bear would run screaming back into the woods. Gentle person that the LSCHP is.

Er, this whole bare bear thing reminds me of a loooonnnnggg time ago when I was a senior in high school and had a college boyfriend and the drinking age was 18 (and I was 18). My boyfriend had this friend everybody called “Chewy” and he got drunk enough one night that he took his clothing off and, after expounding for a bit about being outside in nature, passed out in a snowbank outside his house. I forget whether it was his friends or his wife that finally managed to get him inside. (Yes, he was married. He was 21. My [complicated] thoughts on young marriage another day, please.) What I do remember about this incident is that all of his friends were totally cracking up, calling him “Mr. Bare Nature.” Get it? I know, probably not very funny… Snort.

I have too many computers. And too many green guys. And some red people.

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

My work laptop is now pretty much loaded up with all the stuff I need to do my job. I’m gonna keep the old one around for about a week just to make sure, then I’ll send it back to the mother ship and I’m sure they’ll send it off to the recycling industry, hopefully in a responsible way.

I finally picked up my new MacBook Pro this morning. I dunno. It isn’t *all* that different than my old MacBook. Except for the part where I have 374 GB of free space instead of 5 GB. Make no mistake, I WILL fill that up! Wonder how many years it’ll take? I’m getting all my third party applications set up now. Like Adobe Creative Suite. I am not ashamed to admit that I still have the creaky old CS3. Yes, it’s old. Maybe the GG can buy me an upgrade for xmas? He’s always looking to get me some big expensive gift. Then again, these days, I use Adobe CS3 almost exclusively to tweak photoooos. Maybe I don’t need the latest and greatest version. What’s next for my perfectly good if totally overloaded old MacBook? Weellll. I will dump about 60 GB of crap and the GG will maybe eviscerate the innards and throw in, oh I dunno, a bigger drive and more memory maybe? And he will find something to use it for. Maybe it’ll host a webcam somewhere? Or he’ll use it as a netbook? It is a damn fine machine, mailing tape and all, and I will miss it. It’s odd that I don’t get overly excited about things like new ‘puters or even automotive vee-hickles these days. I mean, I enjoy them but in a way, it’s just the same old, same old. I hope that doesn’t mean I’m getting old!!!

I have been to the damn mall three times in about five days. I hate the mall. I LOVE the red people this store has in its windows. I would love them even more if they were aqua but red is okay. It balances out the greeeeen guys here at the Landfill. I would’ve prob’ly worn a dress (is it a dress?) like this when I was a 20-something. I would’ve preferred a more vibrant color though. If you look, you can see Ghost Kayak Woman back there taking the photooo. Dressed in ravenly old black bat clothing. Hey, we are in a huge move-about at work and it is casual city around there and FZ and others were running around in shorts and t-shirts all day. Foraging and dumping and some people even went out to the bar while their crates of stuff were moved 10 feet to the left… Working for “The Man” does not always suck! Knock on wood!

W—-a—-i—-t—-i—-n—-g

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

#1 – I am STILL waiting for the Apple Store to call me about my file transfer! The one I am PAYING them to do! Latest word? They are “investigating”… I hate to wait!

#2 – I am (of course) still waiting for FV to call. Alas, I don’t expect that call terribly soon. An interim solution has been arranged beginning tomorrow. It is a wonderful situation and we are grateful for the offer but it would be nice to get to the eventual endpoint.

#3 – I am waiting for Sam!!! Archaeologist, not dog! And jcb aka my webguy! I will see them before #1 and #2 happen!!

To be continued…

Continuation #1: Apple has to do some “clean-up” from my file xfer. Probable translation? They dropped the ball. I love Apple products but sometimes I think some of the Ann Arbor store staff need to get over themselves. Honesty please? When I drop a ball at my work, I ‘fess up and humbly APOLOGIZE!

Continuation #3: They are here! :-)

The good news? My work laptop (Windows) arrived today — ahead of schedule. It works like a charm and so far the transfer has been smooth. I gave the support guy a top-notch rating for his service. Apple, take a note.

Going to see a man about a podium

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Well, I can’t very well title this “Trial by fire”, because I think I titled a blahg post that last week. Or did I just dream that?

I thought I would be saving myself a bunch of hassle by paying for someone at the Apple store to transfer all of the junk on my creaky old, taped-together MacBook to my shiny new MacBook Pro. After four or five phone calls from the tech folks over there, I have been reduced to a simpering mass of protoplasm. At least I think it’s protoplasm. Not really sure I know what protoplasm is.

First of all, as I have said before, I do not get along with telephones very well. I use my iPhone for just about everything BUT a phone. I don’t know exactly where it all went south. When I was a beach urchin, I used to call my grandparents or my dad at the bank or my friend Laurie without any problem. Maybe it was when I was a terribly insecure teenager waiting for my not-very-good boyfriend to call me when he promised me he would.

Anyway, nowadays the sound of my phone ringing (or vibrating, as it does when I’m at work) feels like about a billion volts of lucky-shucky shooting through my body. Caller ID helps minimally but even with that… Who is it? What do they want? How will I string the words together to talk?

These calls were from a “blocked” number. I knew it was the Apple Store. What was the problem? It was passwords. Of course. What is your password for the new computer? What is your password for the old computer? Well, I thought I knew my passwords. Guess what? They didn’t work!!!

I was feeling a little frantic, pacing around the lunch room talking to this person, not really wanting to actually, uh, tell her my passwords, right out loud. I mean, we are *conditioned* to not give out that kind of information over the phone! And I was at work, where the Long Suffering, Cat Herding Person (or anyone) could overhear me! Not that the LSCHP would have any interest whatsoever in hacking into my personal computer. Because I’m pretty sure he doesn’t. Oh, it’s KW. I don’t even want to know [eye-roll].

On top of that, she kept confusing me by telling me that she thought they could do the transfer without the blasted password(s). “Fine! Do it!” I said. And then she would call me again! “What’s your password for the new laptop?” “What’s your password for the old laptop?” I was terrified that she would ask me about the password for one of the Apple II+ computers in the Landfill Dungeon. I DON’T KNOW!!!!! I have given you every password I can think of — OVER THE PHONE — and you keep telling me they don’t work and… I DON’T KNOW!!!

I finally asked her (I was VERY nice and even laughed) if we should just cancel the whole transfer and I would do it myself. Because I *can* do that. I just know from experience that it is a big pain in the you-know-what. And one that I do not have time for.

After we hung up the last time, I took a walk. And then I tried to call her back. Because the GG had remembered an old password that I used to use but have long forgotten about. That was (probably) it! I couldn’t call her directly because (hello!) the number was blocked. I called the Apple Store. Doodly-doodly-doodly-do, you are the next person in line. Well, okay. I was the next person in line for 10 minutes. I gave up. I have not heard back. I hope my file transfer is progressing.

This experience left me feeling as though I was a complete idiot. Speak s-l-o-w-l-y, I’m blonde! And guess what? I get to do it all over again later this week when my new work laptop arrives. And I get to do it myself that time. As you might guess, the on-line banking industry does not use Apple computers (although many of its employees have them at home).

File this under first-world problems, please.

Step away from the iPad

Sunday, June 12th, 2011

Since yesterday was actually a pretty productive day, yer favor-rite blahgger was a total slacker today. Well, there was this morning’s kayak ride. First of the season and yes it’s a bit late. What can I say? We put in at Argo and paddled up to Barton Dam and back. Not a very long trip but one that hit the spot.

And then we traipsed out to Apple with my new and old laptops in tow because I am gonna pay Apple to transfer my gazillion photooos (and my other files too). After that? Can you say Angry Birds?

OK. Apple or Windows? Does it really matter? I’m ambidextrous. Actually, I’m more than ambidextrous. My first computer career was back in the days of writing FORTRAN programs on Decwriter II terminals that were hooked up to mainframes. I didn’t know jackdoodly about computers when Byron reluctantly hired me for that job. I taught myself FORTRAN. At some level, a computer is a computer and an OS is an OS…

The MacBook that I am replacing is 4-1/2 years old. It still works very well! I have never even had to change the battery! The reason I’m replacing it? I’ve been flirting with 5GB of available drive space for about the last year. That’s about rock bottom for having a functional computer. When you get down that far, you cannot download operating system updates. Not good. I put this transition off a couple times by deleting stuff. Yesterday I decided I was done. Done. Done. Done. Dun dun dun. The GG is salivating over adopting my old MacBook. He will strip it down and replace the drive and/or memory if he thinks any of that is necessary. My MacBook will live on. As my beloved old 12″ G4 PowerBook (from 2003) has.

And so, our MacStack will continue to grow.

Computers are raining on me.

Saturday, June 11th, 2011

Today. I did a lot of household stuff. I cleaned and I cooked, etc. etc. etc. I really wanted to walk down to the Farmer’s Market this morning but I needed cleaning supplies, so I drove out to the Jackson Road Meijer instead. And then. I began. I began with the Landfill Chitchen. I haven’t been here in a while and the GG does a good job but there were some things I needed to clean up. Under the sink in particular. Mice? Not recently but there was a certain musty smell. And then, I put on some bat clothes in order to go to The Mall and buy some new sheets at Macy’s. Because the sheets we were using were all ripped up. It was time.

I continued to clean up the chitchen for most of the afternoon. And then. I randomly decided to hook up my iPad to my loverly old 4-year-old MacBook. Let’s sync this baby up, okay… For about the third time in the last year or so, I could not download the latest system updates to my loverly old MacBook because there was no disk space available. The last time this happened, I managed to dump a bunch of stuff. This time? I dunno… I didn’t have the guzzinta. I was done! I told the GG that I was about ready to upgrade. I could’ve just bought my own computer if I had wanted to. But I do like to check with the GG too. And he was UP for it, with a glint in his eye, even. And so, we configured a MacBook Pro and he called our local Apple Store and I changed back into my bat clothes and we headed out to the mall and.. bought… me… a new computer.

My new work [Windows] laptop is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday. I really think it is too much for me to receive two new computers in one week. We will see how I do. I hope I don’t get hit by a lightning bolt.