Archive for October, 2011

I’m handing out meat treats this year, how about you?

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Okay, not really. I have the usual snack-size candy bars. You know, Reese’s peanut butter cups and KitKat and little bags of M&Ms and I fergit what else. W1.5 claims he’s handing out jerky this year. I would send the GG down to W1.5’s house except that we already seem to have a supply of jerky around here. The spoils of a Guy Weekend closing up a friend’s cabin in Da Yooperland. No showers. That counts out a lot of women, including yer fav-o-rite blahgger. Anyway, we have jerky. It doesn’t seem to be ostrich jerky. How do I know that? Because when I open up the refrigerator, I don’t SMELL it!

I think W1.5 is not feeling the Halloween spirit this year. I know I’m not. We usually carve pumpkins. That is, the GG does. He puts on a mad scientist lab coat and gets out his power tools and buzzes up a bunch of jack-o-lanterns. With Courtois faces… This year? Not so much. He was off on a Guy Weekend and I was flinging (and walking). And we have not set up any skeleton lights.

And we usually stuff this old orange prison suit (VanderGriff or somebody) with leaves and prop him up on a ladder with a jack-o-lantern on the top rung. No jack-o-lanterns on The Indefatigable either. No Indefatigable. The effect is just not the same on the Ninja or the Mean Green Frog Hoppin’ Musheen.

Only a few people dressed up at work this year. Cube Neighbor had a wonderful Professor McGonagall costume. She was so cute! I wore a very toned down “costume”. I dressed almost completely in black. I usually wear at least one article of jewel-toned clothing. Today? All black. Except for my spider-web socks. And my bat mardi-gras beads.

I left work a little early today. The Planet Ann Arbor always tries to decree that the trick-or-treat hours are 5PM to 8PM. Excuse me? 5 PM? What? There are still a few of us out there with day jobs and I usually *leave* work at around five. Even though I left a bit early today, when I drove into my neighborhood just after five this afternoon, there was a group of trick-or-treaters making their way down my street. I thought something like, “Good luck with that. Nobody’s home!” Of course, here it is 6:45 and we have had exactly *four* customers.

I actually *like* Halloween. I am usually at least a bit excited about it. This year I am totally utterly absolutely focused on flinging. If that continues, maybe I’ll get more excited about Halloween next year. Maybe without such a bunch of junk, I will actually be able to *find* our (pared down) Halloween paraphernalia down there in the Landfill Dungeon. Sure took me a while this year. That could be because it was in several places…

I am outta words. I will close with this photo, which I seem to post frequently. But this may have been one of the best Halloweens I remember. It was cold out (check out the sweater under the princess/fairy’s costume (What? All girls are princesses, didn’t anyone ever tell you that?). But it wasn’t cold (or wet) enough that people had to take baths to warm up when they got home. And nobody was coming down with the chicken pox. We almost lost New Mouse but a short backtrack to the Burke’s yard turned it up.

Happy Halloween,
Kayak Woman

Lean on me.

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

I came home from a walking trip to the Plum Market after a day of flinging and walking and brunch with Mouse and I needed to walk just a wee bit more. So I dropped my grokkeries off inside the front door of the Landfill and headed over to the schoolyard. I thought I would take a quick little walk around the school and through the woods. I stopped to check out my favorite fungus. There’s a part of me that wonders why we need to create committees and spend tax dollars for a public art program when art is everywhere but I’ll kvetch about that another day…

After I checked out the fungus, I looked up!

Whoa! Was that tree leaning like that this morning? Or yesterday? Or last week? I wasn’t sure. I walk through there when it’s pitch black and my eyes are trained on the ground, on the watch for stinky black and white striped aminals. It is a BIG tree. The trunk is a couple feet in diameter at the bottom. Kind of like the Fungus Tree. I wonder if these are “volunteer” trees…

And then, a piece of paper caught my eye. It was attached to the fence around the “prairie” adjacent to the south side of the woods, which is behind my loverly old landfill.

Thanks to whoever put out this sign. Good to know that the city is coming out tomorrow. Or maybe they should send out some of their real estate developer friends. Those guys are good at cutting down trees. Hopefully they don’t send out any of the Public Art folks. Anyway, I hope something is done soon because this tree is hanging over the ENTRANCE TO THE SCHOOLYARD!!!

I’d like to think that Grandpa Garth would be proud of me today

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

I was one of Grandpa Garth’s daughters-in-law and can I just say I loved that old coot. Even when we would arrive at Houghton Lake on a Friday night and he would proclaim a Work Weekend. That could mean just about anything but work weekends are necessary when you own a cabin on a lake Up North in the Great Lake State (or anywhere). And so we would work. Raking leaves. Dragging boats and docks in and out of the water. Cooking, cleaning (er, trying to clean). It was fun! I love the new cabin and I love that we don’t have to turn off the water for the winter any more. And that the kitchen never floods and frogs don’t make their way into the shower.

It has been a Work Weekend for me so far, punctuated by much walking. I walked this morning. I drove to get grokkeries at the Jackson Road Meijer. I flung stuff. I walked over to Nicola’s Books and Staples and The Plum Market. I flung stuff. I walked downtown and back. I bought a new purse iPhone/credit card holder at the farmer’s market. I ran into my old friend John who runs the Ann Arbor Observer. I checked in at Mouse’s work. Some nice female customers said something like “aaww” when my Mouse and I hugged before I left.

Got caught in a loverly rainstorm in West Park as I was walking home but I had an umbrella in my backpack so I survived. By the time I got to my neighborhood, the sun was out in full form.

So, I did get rid of a lot of stuff today. There is so much more…

Ashes to ashes

Friday, October 28th, 2011

I’m taarrrred tonight. I’m almost too taaarrrred to get all hopped up about the latest real estate development fiasco here on our loverly green planet. I hate real estate developers. Now, I know that *somewhere* out there, there is a responsible, ethical real estate developer. And I bet there are a lot of real estate developers that I’ve met and liked somewhere or other. The checkout line at the Westgate Kroger. Or Barry Bagels. Or the farmer’s market. Or the ski ranch. I know that real estate developers are people and they come in all different stripes. But when I see these guys in their hunting mode (and I know there are probably female real estate developers too), I just want to SHAKE THEM!

This saga has been going on for years here on the Planet Ann Arbor. I am not going to try to explain the whole thing. I don’t understand it! The short story is that seven very old houses on a near-downtown street are going to be torn down to make way for two big blocky, ugly student apartment buildings. Over the years, our wondrous dysfunctional city council has been going back and forth (and back and forth (and back and forth)) with a developer about his plan for this site. A horrible plan to preserve the old houses and build apartments behind them was scuttled. There were failed attempts to create a historic district in the area or re-zone or whatever. Like I said, it’s a long story and I don’t really understand it. Now a new developer has bought the property and after more bungling by our wondrous dysfunctional city council, he is moving ahead to demolish the houses and build yet another ugly monstrosity. I think it was the fact that he cut down trees today that got to me the most.

I am not totally anti-development. I think there are times when tearing down old buildings is okay (we did that with the Houghton Lake Group Home a few years ago) or even (gulp) trees. Yes, I have a hard time with trees. Even “volunteer” trees. With two foot trunks? I bet those trees are were older than yer fav-o-rite blahgger… Anyway, what upsets me is how easy it is for any old crappy real estate developer to walk into your average (and I do mean average or less than average) city council meeting and present any old crappy old plan and get it passed, even after a couple of years of bullshit discussions. Who is in who’s pocket here? I can’t even begin to untangle it.

It is clear that our wondrous city council is totally dysfunctional. Maybe it is truly a *good* thing to tear down seven old houses and replace them with big ugly blocky student apartment buildings. But I don’t think that this whole situation was properly analyzed and thought through. And by that, I do NOT mean that the city should’ve hired an expensive consultant from Timbuktu. This wondrous dysfunctional city council seems to screw up at every turn and there is an election coming up and I hope people get out and vote. I wish I could vote against the mayor but he’s not up this time.

Eighth notes with one hand and triplets with the other…

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

And so tomorrow (i.e., today) was (is) a better day. So far. It ain’t over yet even though we are winding down here in the Landfill Chitchen. Some of the highlights…

Breakfast! With an old breakfast buddy that I haven’t seen since she moved to Arizona two years ago. Guess what? She has moved back! We used to meet weekly on Wednesdays and had a rotating schedule of three restaurants: The Village Kitchen, The Broken Egg, and the Coney Island out on Jackson Road. We used to take turns picking up the check. It could be a challenge even for me to remember which restaurant and who was paying which week. Two people and three restaurants.

Waitresses in all three of those places recognized us as regulars. I walked to the Village Kitchen to meet my old buddy today. When I walked in, I was greeted by a handsome elderly gentleman with a fancy cane who told me that I was welcome to come in but he had already eaten all the food. Channeling Grandroobly I guess. He was a customer and the hostess came along and rescued me with, “Is that your lady friend over there?” And there she was! The hostess had remembered her too. And that we were a pair. I sometimes eat at the VK but my friend hasn’t been there for two years. Her new house is not too far from the Planet Ann Arbor but probably far enough that we won’t meet every week. But I’m still glad she’s home.

After breakfast, I hit up the Plum Market and then walked on home. I worked from home today. The power was supposed to be out in various areas of the building today, including my cube, and the advice given was to work from home or bring in an extension cord and a flashlight (for the bathroom). I knew that I would not be as productive at home but I have “published” a lot of stuff lately and I felt like a slacker kind of day would be tolerated. I can haz that occasionally, I think. I think everyone should.

I did get work done but I was also able to take care of some naggy little bank things that are hard to do since I work more or less the same hours the bank is open. Today, I had a couple of Comm Central checks to deposit, so I got the deposit ready and headed over to the drive-thru. I didn’t really look at the teller when she greeted me and, because the checks and deposit slip had The Comm’s name on them, I was surprised when she thanked me using *my* name. Usually the drive-thru tellers call me The Comm’s name when I deposit her checks. It was then that I realized this teller was none other than The Beautiful Eleanor, who has worked at that bank branch since it was 1st of America (it became National City and is now PNC). She knows me not only from my own personal banking business but from all of the PTO treasuries I managed over the years. When I would schlep big bunches of carefully counted and bundled cash over there for deposit. I almost never go inside that bank branch any more or even use the drive-through. I can do almost every bit of banking I need to do via the Internet or an ATM. It took me a minute to process that it was Eleanor and she recognized me. Not that I was surprised. She’s one of the reasons I didn’t leave that bank when PNC took it over.

I digressed a bit there but today got interesting when a certain financial guy called and asked if he could meet with me. Sure, I’m working from home today. Just as he was coming down the street, the Long Suffering Cat Herding Person called. On the phone. I think the LSCHP has *called* me about four times since I have worked for him. So I was on the phone with LHCSP when I let FinGuy in the door. Yiiiiiy… I mitigated that situation with the usual Kayak Woman grace klutziness. And then the faarrrrwood delivery guy came along…

STOP! In the name of insanity

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Boy oh boy, what a long complicated day. I bagged my walk this morning because we needed to get the Mean Green Frog Hoppin’ Musheen over to Suuuuubaru by 6:45 for scheduled maintenance. We couldda dropped it off last night but by the time I got home from work and a walk to the Plum Market, I was done. Done done done. Let’s just take it over there in the morning.

So we took it over there in the morning and then I drove the GG over to That Darn EPA and back to the Landfill. Can I just say… In the first place, I think I hit every single blasted red light on the Planet Ann Arbor today. And also…

We have this wondrous new crosswalk ordinance here on the Planet Ann Arbor. It is causing a lot of problems. The wonderful and underrated Great Lake State has *always* had a state-wide law that when a driver is approaching a marked crosswalk and there is a pedestrian *in* the crosswalk, that driver is required to stop. And I always do unless I am texting (oh, I am just kidding, just try to drive a 6-speed manual and text at the same time or even make a phone call) but a lot of people do not and the law is not often enforced and people have been killed.

So our wondrous Planet Ann Arbor city council has enacted a new ordinance that drivers have to stop when a pedestrian is APPROACHING a crosswalk. Okay. Approaching? What does that mean? Does the person have to be standing right at the crosswalk waiting to cross? If they are 10 feet back from the crosswalk but walking purposefully toward it, is that “approaching”? And then there are the folks that are just waiting for the bus — at a stop right next to a crosswalk. Or maybe parachuting down from a spacecraft from Zephron III.

I have been against this ordinance since the get-go for many reasons but I have not encountered it from a driver’s standpoint until today. Can I just say? There are two of these crosswalks on Plymouth Road, which is on the way to That Darn EPA. It was dark and I found myself scanning the sides of the road to look for pedestrians that might be “approaching” the crosswalk(s). I couldn’t see *anything* more than a few feet off the road. Oh, there’s a guy standing by the road! Does he want to cross? I was about to put the brakes on when I realized he was waiting for the bus. I was so concerned with looking for pedestrians at the crosswalks on this high-speed four-lane road that I almost missed the entrance to the EPA.

This afternoon, when I drove over and picked the GG up from That Darn EPA, it was even worse. There was more traffic and there were actually people using the crosswalks. The traffic stopped for them. Or not. And, on our way back over to the west side, I saw a woman waiting to cross the street but it took me a split-second or so to see that it was *also* a crosswalk. I stopped. I wasn’t sure the person behind me was going to stop without crashing into me and I wasn’t sure that the person in the lane next to me was going to stop at all. If I didn’t stop, I could get a $100 ticket and two (count ’em) points on my license! If I did stop, I ran the risk of being rear-ended. I am ranting but this is a ridiculous ordinance and I think it should be repealed immediately! Maybe the existing state law should be enforced more vigorously. And pedestrian crossings on fast four-lane roads like Plymouth should have HAWK signals or something. I dunno…

Anyway, by the time I met up with MMCB at Barry Bagels this morning, I felt like I had run a half marathon. And then… Dun dun dun… We were talking. We were talking animatedly. I managed to fling an arm out… aaaannnnddd… dump a full cup of coffee over. Oh man. It was relatively hot coffee! Was anyone burned? I was not and my clothing was all easily washable. MMCB escaped the bulk of the whole thing and she was wearing her workout clothes. Whew! We have been meeting for coffee at Barry Bagels since our kids were in 6th grade and I was totally mortified.

Of course, by that time, all I could think was that the day could not get any worse and it didn’t but I am still knocking on wood and crossing my fingers and all that stuff.

P.S. The day has actually gotten worse but since no one has died or anything, I guess we are motoring on. Fingers crossed, knock on wood.

Small and somewhat infrequent doses

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

I walked over to the Plum Market after work today. I strapped on my handy dandy backpack this afternoon and off I went.

I got my grokkeries and I chose what I thought was the shortest line over at the Plum Market this afternoon. But. The cashier was flirting with the guy ahead of me. I suppose he was young and good looking. I guess. He had blonde curls. And a British accent. He was dressed in tweed. He told the cashier he was studying for a graduate degree in English literature. I don’t think I would’ve been interested in that guy. He seemed like Caspar Milquetoast to me. But whatever. I wanted the cashier to stop talking to him. And ring my stuff up. So I could get the heck outta there. I mean, she dragged that checkout process out absolutely forever. I am okay with young love or whatever it was but I didn’t think that Caspar Milquetoast was Mr. Right for this dynamic young cashier. She certainly was quick about ringing up my grokkeries. No reason to flirt with me.

They need a uscan at the Plum Market. I know that they are trying to provide super service in upscale grokkery stores but for a baggy old kayak woman, uscan is the best service.


Microclimatic dissonance

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Yes, I am back to the usual blather. It seems to me that the ambient temperature often drops after the sun rises. I will take my 0-skunk-30 power walk and be as warm as can be (assuming I’m wearing all the right layers and accessories) and then after I’ve futzed around at the Landfill for a while, I’ll go out again — to work or wherever — and it’ll feel colder than blue blazes, even though I am wearing more or less the same stuff as earlier.

Yesterday morning I took my regular walk. I was angling to get more walking in at some time and that could’ve been the Art Walk but I was thinking that wouldn’t quite work into our schedule, which included a trip to Megalopolis, aka the northern Dee-troit suburbs. When I got to W1.5’s block, I texted the GG: Wanna walk down by the river as the sun is coming up. No response. I texted a few more times. No response. There was no point in calling. If he wasn’t getting texts, he wouldn’t get a phone call either. I briefly lamented the old landline I canceled a year ago, until I remembered all the spam callers. I considered texting “are you alive?” but refrained from that. No point in tempting fate. Finally, when I got home, he was in the shower. “DO YOU WANT TO WALK DOWN BY THE RIVER?”, I yelled. He did and we did.

And it was gorgeous down there as the sun was coming up. And colder. I had my special jack-o-lantern glubs on and my hands were frozen. And as we were walking through one open meadow-like area, we watched things become frosted almost right before our eyes. As we continued into a more forested area, the vegetation was dripping on us. No frost. Beautiful sunrise by the river though and, by the end of the day it was in the 60s. Even warmer in the Yooperland, according to The Commander, who walked around outside yesterday for the first time in I dunno how long. Unusually warm fall here and even more so in the north.

More pictures to come throughout the week to alleviate what is sure to be a boring week of blather. Did I just say that? Knock on wood BIG TIME!!! Boring can be GOOD!


Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

If this was a “regular” Sunday, I’d be blathering about walking through the micro-climates down by the river this morning. Or all the flinging I did today. Or the loverly little trip we took over to Megalopolis (and it *was* loverly, except for the traffic — always fun to see Jim C and The Beautiful Becky). But it is October 23rd and that is a date I don’t forget. So here goes and first up is Grandroobly helping his first grandchild stand up.

I think she was still wearing this Duck’s Breath shirt when she went to college. It has probably disintegrated by now.

This was during the era when the Landfill Dungeon kept spontaneously sprouting old duct-tape easy chairs. Don’t worry, she eventually recovered.

The Commander bought her this bathing suit. It is a “Coca-Cola” bathing suit (not sure The Comm realized that). We liked it anyway.

This would’ve been about second grade.

French braids? I tried. I do not do hair. 6th grade or thereabouts?

Hermione. The Winter’s Tale. Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, May 2001.

“I’m older than you think I am and I’m graduating.” 2002.

Callyforny girl.

On the beach but not the moominbeach. Summer 2011.

This is the kid who everybody always thought was younger than she was. She was four the September she started kindergarten and the teacher later told us how horrified she had been when we showed up for the kindergarten “interview” with Liz. She had thought we were nuts for putting such a small, young-looking child in kindergarten. As it turned out, it was right where she belonged. She still looks young for her age and that can make people take her less seriously or think she is less capable than others. Not! This young woman, like the little girl she used to be, is a heck of a lot tougher than she looks. Anyway, as I always tell her, “that’s okay, you’ll look younger than your age when you’re 40 (or 50 (or 90)) too.”

Happy birthday!

Tada dump tada dump tada dump dump dump

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

The dump doesn’t open until nine on Saturdays so we trekked down to the Farmer’s Market first. It was pretty cold when we got there, so we snagged coffee at Roo’s Roast, then headed inside to the Sparrow Market, where we oooogled a lot of stuff but did not buy anything, not even cheese.

Outside for apples, tomatoes (still), and corn (STILL). I would have bought more but when you have a two mile mostly uphill walk home, you are careful about how much you put in your backpack. A couple years ago, I made a pilgrimage to the Farmer’s Market with Mouse and we somehow ended up with three butternut squashes (3 !!!) among other things. That was a long slog home. Today we hit Main Street on the way home just as old Mr. Golden Sun was thinking about peeking up over the horizon.

Got home, saddled up the Mean GREEN Frog Hoppin’ Musheen (our own GREEN vee-hickle is back from random emissions testing by the local Subaru lab) and Courtois trailer and headed over to the Planet Ann Arbor dump landfill. Actually it isn’t even a landfill, it’s a materials recovery facility. We dumped a whole bunch of rotten old wood from when the [late] neighbors’ tree fell on Mouse’s bedroom a few years ago. Apparently it wasn’t good burning material but Calvin at the MRF seemed happy enough with it. Good compost! Calvin and the GG flung stuff outta the trailer into the bin in the photoooo and I stayed well out of the way!

That photooo (above) might make a good facebook profile photooo. You know, KW’s shadow at the beach, KW’s shadow at the dump landfill materials recovery facility. I am gonna have to concentrate on memorizing that phrase. It just doesn’t roll off the tongue that easily…

And then there was this looovvverrly vee-hickle coming in to the MRF as we were leaving. The GG’s next mid-life crisis?

Anyway, this stuff was all very carefully orchestrated because after the MRF, the trailer was empty, so we stopped at Fendt on the way back to our own loverly landfill to pick up slag for the GG’s latest brick paving prodject. Cue the theme to the Beverly Hillbillies. That’s us! Actually, I am more of a snowbilly. Move over Moosezilla.

I spent the whole afternoon in my own loverly landfill dungeon. I liberated yet another mynah bird cage plastic storage shelf unit. I had two other ones hanging out in the back yard so I put all three of them out on the curb with a FREEEEEEEE sign. Wouldn’t you know, the same folks who picked up the last three some folks happily picked these up too. And somebody from down the street came along and asked, “Do you have any more?” 1) Yes, but they aren’t emptied yet. 2) They didn’t ask me. They asked the GG. I was lurking inside the house watching (and talking to The Comm). As much as I want to get rid of stuff, I don’t necessarily want to make friends with those who are taking my free stuff, as nice as they may be.

It is beautiful here tonight and we are grilling and the GG is bugging me to hang out with him by the grill. He wants to show me the brickwork he did today and I’ve already seen it but I want to go outside anyway. Good night! Love y’all. KW.

Ride Sally Ride, Woman in Space!

Friday, October 21st, 2011

This had to be one of the grunchiest Fridays in a while. All of us at work were keeping a reeaallly low profile, hunkering down in our cubes trying to stay warm (heat was out) and hoping nobody would come along asking us to pull a percentage figure out of nowhere (or an orifice or whatever). I tinked away all day cleaning up a bunch of crummy old html code from the dark ages. Not the most exciting thing to do but it kept whatever half of my brain that does that stuff busy, leaving the other half to head off into the neverland, subconsciously working out various creative details.

I felt kind of like a slow-moving train wreck by the end of the day. I wanted to walk downtown to meet up with the GG for a cocktail and dinner but I was feeling reeallly anti-social. Could I handle a noisy, crowded barrrroooom tonight? I wasn’t sure but I didn’t want to hang around the Landfill and vegetate either. In the end, the need to walk trumped the need to hibernate and downtown I went.

I made it through the evening but just barely. The Old Town Barrroooom was fine until about a billion people came in and then I could barely navigate. Sometimes it’s fun when it’s like that. Tonight I just wanted to get outta there. We popped into an art gallery on Main Street and apparently it is Art Walk this weekend. I am all for Art Walk and there’s a good chance we’ll do a bit of art walking on Sunday. But, when the art gallery owner asked if we were doing Art Walk this weekend, all I could say was something like, “We’re doing Landfill Walk this weekend. After that, we might have some room for art.” I hope she thought that was funny. I couldn’t quite tell. I do know that The Commander thought it was pretty funny that we were heading to the dump this weekend. Of course, once upon a time back in the Jurassic Age, I accompanied The Commander on a trip to the Bay Mills dump, except we ended up on top of the Spectacle Lake Overlook. It was hilarious then and it still is and no, I have never let her forget it.

Anyway… The GG just could *not* resist going in to Moosejaw. I did not want go in there (I wanted to go home) and I tried to warn him that it was a bad idea. The last time he dragged me in there I spent you-don’t-wanna-know-how-much money on a loverly maroon polartech Patagonia zip-up jacket. Ever since then I have wanted one of those in black. And guess what I found tonight? I wonder if he’ll drag me in there again…

This wonderful band was playing Ride Sally Ride when we walked out. Everybody was dancing and the GG was acting goofy and I posted a stupid little video on facebook if you are friends with me on there. I’m too lazy to monkey around with YouTube tonight.

P.S. The GG fixed my blasted iPhoto problem. How did he do it? He googled the problem and deleted one stinky little directory and voila! Me? Every time I tried to google the problem, I came up with a long complicated procedure involving the startup disks I got with the computer. Except I did not *get* startup disks with this computer. I have bad Google karma, I guess, at least when it comes to computer problems. At any rate, I am fully iCloudified now so bully for me, I guess.

Quirks Mode

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

UPS dropped a box off. It was from “Lucky, Inc.” and addressed to me and by its light weight, seemed like it was probably an article of clothing. Okaayyyy… I buy most of my clothing online but I couldn’t remember ordering anything from Lucky. I hadn’t even heard of Lucky!

When I opened the box, there was a pair of blue jeans in it. Now I was really confused. *I* ordered blue jeans? I have not worn blue jeans since whenever it was back in the 1980s that Calvin Klein changed the cut of my fave jeans. I can still remember the huffy attitude of the Hudson’s clerk that I kvetched to about this. I wasn’t blaming *her*. It wasn’t *her* fault and I knew that. I just expected some sort of commiseration or whatever. She wasn’t having it. She was one of those perfectly coiffed, nail-jobbed women who probably couldn’t operate either a computer or a diaper. She saw me as just a baggy old moom who didn’t deserve a pair of jeans that fit *and* was comfortable to wear. Huffity huff.

I have *never* found another pair of blue jeans that fit right, were comfortable, and I *liked*! Nowadays, I wear skirts or cotton/spandex leggings (or shorts when it’s hot). That means I don’t participate in Casual Friday and *that* has earned me the totally strange reputation of being more fashionable than some of the others on my team. Not. The truth is that I buy *all* of my clothing with an eye to comfort. It has to look good too but, if it isn’t comfortable, I send it back or donate it. Casual Friday is (I think) all about comfort. I am probably more comfortable in one of my fave skirts than I would be in ill-fitting blue jeans.

So, I was looking at these (very small) blue jeans and thinking, “I didn’t order those”, when I remembered!!! Mouse! Mouse came over last Sunday and she needed new blue jeans and I talked her into ordering some with my credit card. I like to spoil my children and I don’t get much chance to do that any more.

It is Thursday and I have eggplant parmesan in the oven and we are trying to decide what to do this weekend. We want to go to Houghton Lake but the thought of driving up there tomorrow night (3 hours) is just about killing me. Just traversing the eight miles from work to home on a Friday afternoon is like running a gauntlet. And then to head north? Apparation app? Please? I dunno what we’ll do…

How many economists *can* fit on the head of a pin?

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

I am sort of a grumpus today. I had to look the word “grumpus” up. I mean, it sounds like what it means but sticking in the back of my mind somewhere was, “Isn’t a grumpus a whale?” I was close. A “grampus” is a whale. Not to be confused with a “grampa”, which is, well you know what that is. Unless you call yours “Grandaddy” or “Bumpa” or “Jack” or whatever.

I will *never* be a grampus or a grampa but I am a blasted grumpus today. Why? I dunno exactly. It was a pretty regular day. It has rained almost all day but I like rain, although it did keep me from my noon walk. I was not dressed quiiiiite warmly enough for this.

Maybe I am paying too much attention to news and politics? Long rant about the housing “bubble” and subsequent banking “crisis” deleted here. I am not an economist but I predicted the crisis at least 10 years before it happened.

Back in the 1960s when I was a hippie wannabee, we used to think that our parents’ generation screwed the world up. They made their mistakes but guess what? My generation (the “hippie / meeeee” generation) has probably screwed things up much more. Why the heck did we think we needed so much crap and why did we go into debt to obtain all that crap? The crap that some of us are now trying so hard to sort out and dump. (Is anybody else doing this sorting / dumping thing? Or trying? Or thinking about it?)

I was hanging out in the back of The Commander’s apartment at FV recently while a young nursing student interviewed her about her life. I was doing my best to stay out of the conversation but I had to listen when the subject of our country’s recent difficulties came up. The Comm lived through the Depression and WWII (with a pilot for a husband) and she said that she thought that our current problems will eventually be resolved, more or less. I have to say that I agree with her and was kind of encouraged. But I also understand what our children are going through. I wish I knew what to say…

I hope The Commander is right! I don’t know where our world is going next and I have lost my train of thought. It rained all day. When I got home, I walked over to the Plum Market (under an umbrella) so I could make coq au vin tonight. That’ll get rid of some of the leftover white whine from summer at the moomincabin. I can always use leftover whine. If nothing else, I will dump it into spaghetti sauce. Or coq au vin.

In flux

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

Can I just say I have been HEAD-BANGING at work this week? What seemed to be a simple little bit of additional functionality for my latest spec has sent me into a maze! As usual, the devil is in the details. (Note that I THRIVE on this particular kind of head-banging.)

My iPhoto is still crashing. The GG (remember, he is calmer about this kind of stuff than I am) has googled up a solution. *I* have googled up a solution. Proglem? I am *terrified* to sit down and go through the steps that are supposed to fix it. I think Apple should just ‘fess up that they have a bum upgrade and offer a new one.

But I don’t wanna get toooooo upset at Apple because I am gonna buy an iPhone tonight. It isn’t for me. Alas. I am lusting after the 8 megapixel camera in the 4S. Not to mention that it has a front-facing cam too so I can foist my fugly mug on all kinds of unsuspecting folks. Arrrrgggh, it’s the Sea Hag piloting the Black Barnacle right into your face.

Anyway, this iPhone is not for me. It is for my beautiful grown-up beach urchin Elizilla, who will be celebrating her, uh, mumble-mumble, birthday in, lemme see, five days? FIVE? Oh, it isn’t that *she* is old, it’s just that her age (okay, 27) is making meeeeee feel old. Anyway, she is getting her first smart phone on her birthday this year. She knows about it. She hasn’t wanted one before (I’ve offered). I mentioned at work today that I was all excited about buying an iPhone for my daughter. The Long Suffering Cat Herding Person and a couple others said something like, “You should buy the 4S for yourself and give her your old one.” Not on your life!!! I would never do that to one of my children, who have maybe given me about five seconds of trouble (in the grand scheme of things) their whole lives and most of that involved episodes like “dinosaurs poop in the grass”. My kids *rarely* ask me for anything. I have to practically foist money on them. Nope. She’s getting the 4S. I can wait. A couple months. Santa? 😉 (To be clear here, the LSCHP is a great guy and he has wonderful children too, very smart and successful. But he still has teenagers so he has a different perspective.)

Errrr… The Commander intimated to me today that a couple people at FV are now calling her just that. One day, one step at a time. Today sounded like a pretty good day.

There are a few other things in flux but I couldn’t describe them if I tried. Well, the Landfill Dungeon is in flux but y’all have already heard enough about that.

Good night,
Kayak Woman

Living through the deep sh*t sound in the iCloud

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Back in the Jurassic Age, we owned an Apple laptop computer. We own umpteen of them now (mostly old and repurposed) but this was the first laptop computer for us. Unfortunately, it was just a wee bit lemon-ish. Kind of like my beauteous old Island Teal POC. I think this was during the era that Steve Jobs was working for NeXT. It was definitely back when the internet was run by gophers.

Back in those days, I watched a couple of neighbor kids a lot of mornings before school. For free. I was a doormat for a while. What can I say? That mom was a good friend and I felt honored that she trusted me. I am really, really, really good at saying NO nowadays. And so, usually things were pretty calm on those days but there was this one day when all hell broke loose. The kids were all arguing about whatever. And then, the younger daughter actually had a hole in the crotch of her leggings and NO underwear! I can’t quite remember what we did but I think I sewed up her pants. And then. Dun dun dun. That was the day our loverly old G1 Apple laptop freaked out and did the deep sh*t noise and that was our only viable computer at that point and I was totally freaking out… But I fixed it…

Yesterday I upgraded everything on earth (MacBook Pro, iPhone, iPad) to whatever the heck is the latest and greatest and took all that stuff (I thought) to the iCloud (I am not afraid of the iCloud). It took hours and there were some scary moments. Now… iPhoto on my MacBook Pro (which I UPGRADED as INSTRUCTED) crashes EVERY DAMN TIME I TRY TO LOAD IT!!!!!!! Every time it crashes, it gives me a chance to send a “report” to Apple. I dunno who gets these reports (if anyone) but for a while, I spammed Apple with a blasted report every damn time it crashed. Because, fer kee-reist! I eventually backed off…

I kvetched to the GG when he got home from work tonight. He is calmer about troubleshooting this stuff than I am. But I ended up shooing him away from my computer. I was playing a little bit of phone tag with The Commander and trying to get dinner ready, yada yada yada. I think this problem will get sorted out. I HOPE I don’t have to resort to the Genius Bar or whatever to get it sorted out. For tonight, I have a work-a-round. (I am pretty good at work-arounds.) I emailed the photoooo to myself and saved it to a regular old jpg file and not iPhoto…

Never a dull damn moment…


In which KW is having so much fun, she doesn’t even remember to title a post ;-)

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

I guess it was a better post [yesterday’s, that is] than the day I posted “Grrrrr” (yes, that was the entire post).

I really was having fun yesterday. That football game? It was pretty confusing because usually when the U of M plays anybody, “we” are *for* U of M. “We” includes me, even though I don’t really care about team sports. So I was really confused yesterday about who the GG was rooting for. We both went to MSU but, truth told, I am generally more on the side of the U of M. I think it dates from the days the Old Coot’s bank bought one set of season tickets and we would travel from the Yooperland once each fall to attend a football game at the Big House (and stay with our beloved cousins). And I liked Bo Schembechler (UM’s longtime coach) who has been dead for a while now. I didn’t like the coach of the last few years, who wasn’t anything like Bo. There’s a new coach this year, who I think at least has an idea about what U of M is. I had hope. I still have hope. Maybe not for this year but…

This weekend? I have been flinging like crazy! I liberated two more mynah bird cages plastic shelf units. I haven’t put them out on the street with a FREE sign just yet. I think I will wait until I have three.

The photoooos? Well. Yesterday, I guess it was pretty windy in the Yooperland (it was here too) and at some point in the day, the GG noticed that the Birch Point Beach webcam was looking UP into the trees… Either it had fallen off the tree or the tree had gone down… The GG enlisted Pete to go and check it out. Yes, the tree had fallen down. Fortunately, we have plenty of trees, so Pete put the cam up on another one.

These photooos were sent to me via text message from our Northern Correspondent Paulette this morning. When I received them, I was hanging out in the backseat of Dogmomster’s beautiful new Honda Accord Crosstour as we were traversing Huron River Drive.

Thanks to Jeep and Pan for hanging up the beach cam on another tree. Thanks to Paulette for the photoos. Thanks to Dogmomster for the good time yesterday. Thanks to Mouse for visiting today (I needed that) and for talking to The Comm (who was probably happy to talk to somebody besides, uh, meeeee).

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

Today… We wanted to walk to the farmer’s market this morning but the weather just plain sucked and so we didn’t. I told the GG to stay asleep at 0-skunk-30 this morning and then I took my usual dark walk and it was both rainy and windy so I had to hold on to my blasted umbrella. Quite the slodge.

So, the usual shopping for toilet paper and all of that stuff and then the dern University of Michigan vs. Michigan State feetsball game came on and, well, I eventually had to go for a walk. The GG was jumping up and down and pacing and flying his remote-controlled helicopter and it was making me a nervous wreck. I could not care less about football and for quite a long time, I couldn’t even quite figger who he was rooting for. He graduated from MSU but we’ve lived here on The Planet Ann Arbor for so long that I thought he might be rooting for U of M.

Oh well. MSU won. I’m okay with that. I could not care less about football but, if I had my druthers, I’d’ve had U of M win today.

Anyway, I couldn’t stand all of the jumping around and pacing, so I took a walk down to West Park and back. And then Dogmomster arrived and we walked around the neighborhood and then we ate at Knights and now it is late and I am about done writing anything.

Kill ’em all ‘n’ let god sort ’em out

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Oh, I don’t really mean that… Just that I’m getting sick and tired of having to jump through hoops to get mundane little paperwork type things done. For example… I mailed an important document to FV two weeks ago. TWO WEEKS (!). I mailed it to the address I always use to mail things to FV and I wrote FV big as life on the first line of the address. Yesterday (!), the envelope got returned to me as undeliverable. Okay. Excuse me? What? Turns out that they have changed their address “a little”. What? Okay. Whatever. What I have a problem with is why on EARTH couldn’t the Sault Ste. Siberian post office deliver the damn thing ANYWAY!!! Siberia is a small town and FV is a *very* well-known building. I suppose there may be a few residents somewhere in Sault Ste. Siberia that don’t know what FV is but I HIGHLY doubt that the postal carriers don’t know about it.

What is going on here? Back in the Jurassic Age, I can remember Radical Betty getting a letter addressed to something like, “the house on the beach down the hill on the gravel road.” RB lived in a ski chalet on the beach but had her mail delivered to a post office box in Sault Ste. Siberia. She *got* that letter. Somebody at the post office was intelligent enough to connect the name with a PO box and CARED enough to put it in the box and not return it as undeliverable.

So what is going on? Has the postal service gotten so pickety-pickety with stupid little rules that just because someone has not addressed something 100% correctly that they have to return the letter even when they know DAMN WELL that FV is that log building that they have been delivering mail to for the last umpteen years? *Especially* when the address has *recently* changed (slightly)? Recently enough that maybe not everyone knows about the change? Can’t they automatically “forward” mail to the correct address for a while? No wonder people prefer to use on-line communications (not that email, etc., is perfect either).

Sorry, but I spent an inordinate amount of time and energy on this situation today. Not to mention a much more complicated one that I won’t blahg about except to say that it involved multiple phone calls (!) and caused me to have to trade my lunchtime walk for a mad dash *home* (!) A charade of confidentiality. All because I was trying to PAY A BILL!!!! DO YOU FOLKS WANT YOUR MONEY OR NOT!???!

To the first situation, we need to ratchet back the “rules” a little bit and let our postal workers use fuzzy logic when delivering mail. Unless my letter just happened to get picked up by an incompetent imbecile. There are those in every profession. But this caused lost time, income, and productivity for multiple people and entities. And as to the second situation? Confidentiality of personal records is important but we need to be able to bend those rules a bit too if need be. We are strangling ourselves with this crap!

Color me frustrated! Good night!

A dead man’s hand is the beeeeeeez kneeeeeeez

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

I don’t know who I was in a former life but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Wild Bill Hickok. And that’s about all I have to say about that except that I bet y’all have work meetings that sometimes veer off into the twilight zone too.

I was once in Deadwood though (that’s where WBH died, in case you didna know). Spent the night there back in the summer of, hmmmm, oh yeah, it was 1998. I know that because I had spent the year fighting unsuccessfully to keep the school board from morphing our alternative middle school into something else. Took me all summer to decompress from that. And Lizard Breath was heading off to high school in the fall. Of course, the next fall also brought on the Ganzhorn Grab and subsequent Gash but that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Anyway, we were on one of those loverly family trips. You know the kind. The car breaks down, the kids get sick, and the dog runs away. Er, not quite. We didn’t have a dog and nobody got sick, although there was one notoriously obnoxious pistachio-eating episode during which I thought somebody might get killed. And the car didn’t break down but on our very last morning, after a night in the absolute worst Holiday Inn ever (Naperville, Illinois, do not go there), the loverly [not-so-]old POC’s fuel pump started up with a wailing noise that didn’t go away for an hour or so. Didn’t exactly inspire confidence in the American auto industry but we did make it home.

We went to Mount Rushmore (highly overrated). And the Badlands (NOT hightly overrated). And Wall Drug — I guess if you are hanging out by the Badlands, you have to go to Wall Drug. There was a dinosaur there if I remember correctly. And I think we ate buffalo burgers or something and bought a cute little egg container for camping, which we were sorta doing some of the time. And then there was Devil’s Tower, which I didn’t think I would like but fell head-over-heels in love with. And I fergit what else. There was a cave tour somewhere and Needles, South Dakota. We did NOT visit Crazy Horse. The GG refused to pay the rather exorbitant price. On principle, I guess. Anyway, he made a u-ey outta there and I didn’t argue.

Oh yeah, and there was Deadwood! Kee-reist, I lost myself in my own blahg entry (The Engineer would love this) and just now figgered out what got me off the track. Wild Bill Hickok died in Deadwood and that was brought up in a meeting today (in the on-line banking industry, go figger). I wasn’t on the hot seat at this meeting so I was sitting back in the peanut gallery with W1.5 and others checking facebook on my phone googling Wild Bill Hickok and “dead man’s hand” and Deadwood… And I remembered! Oh yeah! I’ve been to Deadwood! We stayed overnight there. Slot machines everywhere. Lovely old ladies with perfectly coiffed blue or purple hair sticking the plastic cards that were attached to chains hanging around their necks into the slot machines in front of them. I’m not judging here. We all have our own personal vices and I was just fascinated by it all. And Deadwood is beautiful. It’s in a canyon if I remember. I loved it there. Even though I left one of my fav-o-rite hairbrushes in our motel room…

Dumpster Scuba Diving

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Arrive home from work. Stash work computer. Put phone on charger. Turn on NPR. Power up Macbook Pro. Fill dishpan with hot soapy water and immerse lunch dishes and empty [recyclable] almond milk box. Change out of bizcaz into raggy old kw-type clothing. Wash feet. Pull hair back into ponytail. Fold laundry. Strap on a scuba diving tank or two and submerge… Doooowwwwn into the deep, dark, great grey-green greasy Limpopo-type depths of the Landfill Dungeon! Dun dun dun. Whoooo (or whaaaaat) is in the oooooubliette todaaaaay? Fling things until the air runs out. On a weekday, maybe five minutes. Come back up for air and to make dinner, etc.

Ka-whomp! A dumpster arrived next door today. For the third time since early summer. Our [beloved] elderly neighbors have moved out. The husband has died and his wife is in an assisted living facility. Their only living child is left to sort out over 50 years of collecting stuff in that house. That child lives and works in California so I know how difficult it is for him to get here. I am envious about the dumpster. The last time we had a dumpster here at the Landfill, it was after a tree landed on Mouse’s bedroom (she was in college at the time, thank you god or whatever that she wasn’t in her room). I could’ve probably thrown anything I wanted to into that dumpster but it was the first year of my current career and I didn’t have the psychological energy to sort stuff out and dump it at that time.

Boy oh boy, do I have it now. That flinging kind of energy. Please please please god-or-whoever don’t let me lose it just because I have posted this. I work on getting rid of stuff every weekend that we are here on The Planet. And… I am *trying* to spend a few minutes, even five minutes, down there every day before and/or after work. I am chiseling. But I am making progress. If I have stashed something for five (or more) years, that means I am not gonna use it again. Out. I am being ruthless with myself. It is time. I will be sticking around here for a loooonnng time but 1) I am not gonna keep stressing myself out with all kinds of stuff and collections of stuff that I don’t need and 2) I am not gonna leave my beautiful children with umpteen billion dumpsters full of crap to sort out when I do join all of those others.

Love you all,