Archive for November, 2011

Pipe Dreams

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

This rather disturbing piece is why I wish we didn’t have to make laws about bullying.

3) Snitching is considered a civic duty. It began, understandably, with the post-9/11 “See something, say something” mantra, but these days we’re expected to report much more than abandoned backpacks on subways. Students are expected or even required to report incidents of “bullying,” which is often broadly defined to include any allegedly disrespectful or offensive word or gesture — like tweeting “he sucked.” The rest of us are exhorted to report whatever we consider “suspicious” activities, informing on people who photograph bridges or buildings, take notes in public, or view forbidden material.

Kee-reist! I take a photo (or two or ten) of the Mackinac Bridge everytime I drive over it! Because I love it!

We need to protect people from bullying. I know that kids are committing suicide because others are relentlessly making fun of them. But I think we are on a slippery slope when we feel we have to enact laws to protect people against these things. What is the language of the law? (Erp. Michigan’s new law is out there but I can’t quickly find it. And that is also a problem…) How will we decide whether or not an act of bullying has actually taken place? And who will decide that?

I understand why these kinds of laws are being enacted. People have been bullied since the human race began. As the tools for communication change, the tools for bullying change. When I was a kid, we avoided unsavory looking people when we walked home from school. Phone? We had an ugly black dial phone in the living room. Everybody could hear your side of your conversation with your boyfriend. My dad often answered the phone and when he said things like “Get off the goddamn phone”, bullies usually couldn’t get through. I was not bullied but I know that life was hard in those days because other kids find ways to bully when parents were not looking or maybe didn’t have the wherewithal that my parents did.

Nowadays there is social media. You can monitor the heck out of your middle school kid’s online activity when they are in your house but, the minute you give them a smart phone (which I think you *should* do, I would have), they are vulnerable to a different level of bullying than I ever was, with my parents answering the crappy old black dial-up landline.

Where was I? Life sucks. Sometimes. I think we need to try to give our kids the tools to deal with bullies. It would be nice if the schools and the government would do all of this for us but I am not sure that they really can. And I don’t think that enacting more laws will help.

I have a lot more thoughts about this but it is a complicated issue and I think I am finished with it for now. Today’s photooo is the obligatory first (significant) snow of the season. Walking this morning was interesting but okay. Driving? Sheesh. Why did I not telecommute today? At least for the morning? It was bad enough *getting* to work today. Driving *in* to work, I thought I might spin out at one point (I was *not* going fast at all). When I got out of the Ninja in the parking lot, I almost fell on my you-know-what. I slid my way across the parking lot as the salt crew began to de-ice the it.

Am I getting old or lazy or what?

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

I walk every morning. Except when there is lightning. Or a tornado warning. Or a quarter inch sheet of glare ice covering everything and tree branches and power lines falling down. Or when it’s below about zero. Or above about 95.

Driving rain? As long as there isn’t any lightning within 100 miles or so, I am out there. Except for this morning. It was raining cats and dogs, 35 degrees, and there was enough wind that when I got to work [a couple hours later], I almost couldn’t get the Ninja’s door open and there was a small river running underneath the car. Aw, what the heck? I gave myself a pass this morning. I may have to give myself a pass tomorrow morning too but it won’t be because of rain (I don’t think) or laziness. It’ll be because I am shoveling snow. Which isn’t really a pass, it’s just an alternate means of exercise and that could be a good thing because I will be using muscles I haven’t used in a while.

And I am grumpy. I am grumpy about political stuff. Local, state, national, you name it. Fer kee-reist. I don’t like to talk politics too often. First, I am not a Repug (yes, I wrote that, the Republican party has moved way way way to the right of me) or a Dem or a Libertarian or whatever. I am a little bit of all of those things. I am an independent. I see issues (and people) in RGB [google it] rather than B/W. Also, I do not always understand the issues all that well. But I am trying!

I am grumpy about a lot of local politics but I’ll spare you the gory details. I am grumpy about a lot of state stuff but one issue that particularly comes to mind is the state Repugs recent attempt to pass an anti-bullying law that would EXEMPT people who bully because of religious or moral convictions! SAY WHAT??? Now, the bit of libertarian in me wonders why the heck we NEED a blasted bullying law. You know, “shouldn’t the parents be taking care of this?” As The Commander used to tell me and my fearless friend Laurie P., “fight your own battles.” Free-range kid? Well, sometimes… I was rarely bullied or even teased. In grade school, I was even picked first for sports stuff a lot of times. Still, my self-esteem nose-dived upon entering junior high and, although I was not teased, I was very very very low in the pecking order. Or at least I thought I was. I think that feeling of being at the bottom of the totem pole, whether true or not, has affected my adult life. I have a wonderful life and a good job but I often wonder what my life would be like if I had had more support for the emotional issues I endured during those very difficult years. Support that cannot always come from parents. Most of our junior high / middle schools do a horrible job of creating a community where kids are valued for themselves rather than their clothes or sports achievements [or discipline referrals] or whatever. Students who brown-nose teachers get the best perks, whether or not they are the best students. If we truly need an anti-bullying law, it needs to make clear that there are NO EXCEPTIONS!!!! I think I have run out of steam on that issue and maybe have not made my point.

National? Herman Cain will you please drop out? Of course, if you do, who knows which one of the non-Romney idiots (yes, I said that) will be the next flavor of the week. Yes, I know that Newt is currently that flavor. For the record, I am not crazy about Romney either. You guys, if you want the independent vote, you will have to do better and stop pandering to the tea-baggers.

It’s not snowing yet (that I know of (and maybe it won’t)) but it was an ugly commute home in the driving rain and the GG was almost hit in his own parking lot by some f-wad (again, sorry for the language).

I am feeling an almost overwhelming need to visit Briarwood Mall [or maybe Twelve Oaks or Somerset…] in the not-too-distant future. What is up with that?

Garumph and good night! –KW

P. S. Love y’all no matter what yer polly-ticks are.

Eight minutes

Monday, November 28th, 2011

I don’t know exactly why but I left work eight minutes earlier than usual this afternoon. I had put my eight hours in and I was at a good stopping point and it was getting dark and starting to rain and so…

It was a pretty smooth commute eight minutes early on the Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend. Traffic was NOT backed up south of Ellsworth Road and I didn’t even have to wait more than one traffic light cycle *at* Ellsworth Road. No trouble merging onto the I94 18-wheel Clogway on the antiquated entrance ramp. WWII-era cloverleaf anyone? Traffic was chugging along at a rather sedate pace, 65 mph or whatever. I chugged happily along with it. The Jackson/Maple left turn signal was having one of its fits. The kind where it only lets five vee-hickles (instead of 25) through at a time. Even that wasn’t much of a problem. I only had to sit through two light cycles.

I got home and changed my clothes (flinging an infamous undergarment in the process), washed my lunch dishes, did a couple other chores, and checked Twitter:

There’s an apparent police chase going on right now in Washtenaw County. On I-94 heading westbound at a high rate of speed. (Tweeted by Kyle Feldscher of annarbor.com)

That’s my freeway.

Subsequent tweets divulged some details: Two armed men. Driving a silver Dodge Caliber. Passed State Street. 110 mph on the shoulder at Ann Arbor/Saline Road. One of the po-leese cars chasing it crashed. Then the Caliber crashed. At Zeeb Road. The two occupants escaped on foot northbound into the woods and were still at-large last I knew.

Some people around here are questioning whether they were actually traveling 110 mph. And maybe they weren’t. I don’t know who was doing the estimating. But even 85 or 90 mph on a crowded freeway ON THE SHOULDER during rush hour is insane.

I wouldn’t exactly call my decision to leave work eight minutes early a Celtic Sixth Sense moment. It was more like, “I am done and it is dark and I wanna get outta Dodge.” But it was a good decision, don’tcha think? I mean, there has been no news about any fatalities or injuries but what if me and my Ninja had been in the way of these two desperate criminals. Glad I was (apparently) off the freeway before this started.

Rain is in our future. Lots of it apparently. Two inches over the next 24 hours or thereabouts. Changing to snow by Wednesday morning. I love the Great Lake State! So how was your Monday?

Squeaky 12-year-old cheese

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

The Great Lake State probably has the worst roads in the country. I wonder if there is anywhere else besides Michigan where you can find “Rough road ahead” warning signs on the *freeway*. Yes really. Bumpity bumpity clunk!

One particularly clunky stretch of the I75 SUV Speedway f-i-n-a-l-l-y got on the construction schedule for this summer. Unfortunately, this stretch of speedway is only TWO lanes each way. That’s fine for a regular old non-holiday weekday or even a Saturday. Goin’ “up north” on a Friday night? Headin’ back to megalopolis on a Sunday afternoon with yer motorboat in tow? Not so much fun. Northbound lanes routed across the median to share the southbound lane. Or vice versa. Traffic lanes closed. Big backups.

One Sunday when we were about to head south again, we checked the traffic on the iPhone maps app and discovered yet another sea of red in the area of the construction. Consequently we RE-discovered an alternate route, namely M13, a four lane highway a couple miles to the east of the speedway. It connects the likes of Standish, Pinconning, Linden, Kawkawlin and I am probably missing a couple of small towns. These towns were once located on the main drag down the eastern side of the state. Now they are by-passed by the interstate.

So, we were driving down M13 back in September or whenever it was and we were driving through the town of Pinconning and suddenly, over on the side of the road, THERE WAS A GREAT BIG MOUSE!!! It belongs to Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe. I am overstating my excitement a wee bit here. I know that Pinconning is well known for cheese and there are Wilson’s billboards [very cute mouse billboards] on the freeway and I think I have even been to the cheese shoppe once or twice in my life. But it is a very cool business that I think a lot of would-be customers *do* by-pass by sticking to the I75 SUV Speedway.

In September, we stopped just long enough to take a picture (or two or 10) of the Wilson’s mouse sculpture. (And if this isn’t “public” art, I don’t know what is but I am digressing into Planet Ann Arbor horse pucky…) Today we went inside the shoppe. The Beautiful Susie, the GG’s sister down there in Florida had posted to Facebook about receiving some 12-year-old cheese from Wilson’s. You know the GG had to get some of his own!

I doubt that we’ll stop at Wilson’s on every trip but I can see it becoming a more frequent destination. Cheese (of course), a large selection of liqwire, John Deere clocks, appliances from the mid-20th century (not for sale and don’t touch!), restrooms, and friendly service. Wilson’s had a steady stream of customers when we were there today and I heard people discussing whether the freeway construction has added to its customer base. I think it probably has. But, although I’m sure the freeway has sucked business away from these towns, M13 is a pretty busy highway and Pinconning and Wilson’s are well known for cheese (and they have billboards on the freeway) and they have liqwire! So I bet they do pretty well.

Anyway, if you know me, you might know that I have a complicated relationship with cheese. I’m sure the 12-year-old cheese the GG bought and TBS had shipped to the Sunshine State is fine but I won’t be partaking in it. But I love Wilson’s. I hope it doesn’t get so successful that it expands into something like Bronner’s or Wall Drugs or whatever. It is fine just the way it is.

Small Biz Saturday

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Road trip to Petoskey’s Gas Light District. I can’t say we added much steam to the economy today. I found a whole wall of SmartWool socks and couldn’t resist a few pairs of those. Other than that, a loverly spinach salad and glass of cab at our fave Mitchell St. Pub and a whole lot of window shopping.

Below is my favorite window of the day. A view of Little Traverse Bay from the top floor of a furniture store we floated through. We need to buy a new couch or two or three (and replace the Landfill Chitchen) but today was not the day.

As luck would have it, today was the holiday parade and here is the Petoskey High Marching Band. Or the tuuuuba section anyway. Didn’t have the cam out when the ‘bones went by. Or the flutes…

Texted a photoooo of the flagship Kilwin’s to the #1 franchise (or one of its employees anyway).

Aaaannnndddd… If you go to Petoskey, you have to visit Symon’s General Store and there is the GG heading up the steps. Yes, he’s wearing his Stormy Kromer gear.

Last but not least, the Mitchell St. Pub TV was tuned in to the U of M / Ohio State feetsball game. We caught the beginning of it while eating lunch and returned to the Houghton Lake Group Home just in time for the last seven minutes, a long ramble on two-tracks through the backwoods in between. I don’t really care about (or understand) feetsball but by the emotional displays in the room and on Twitter, it seemed to be a cliffhanger. And guess what? “We” won. First time in a long time. Bravo. Yes, I just blahgged about a football game.

I think the sun is over the yardarm. G’night! -KW.

Black Friday

Friday, November 25th, 2011

The first time I heard the term “Black Friday”, I had to ask what it was. It was not all that many years ago and I was taking a Photoshop class at the community college. The assignment had been to create a holiday postcard. Mine was the winter solstice or maybe Tip-Up Town Weekend or something. One young man made a Black Friday card or I suppose anti-Black Friday would be more accurate. I knew that the Friday after Thanksgiving was a big shopping day but I hadn’t ever heard anyone call it Black Friday before. This year? I think I am getting something like 50 spam emails a day with the subject “Black Friday”. NPR was talking about Black Friday ALL morning. And people have apparently been camping out in front of Best Buy all week.

I have patronized exactly three business establishments today. A McDonald’s restaurant (yes, for coffee, what were you thinking?). The Best Choice specialty grocery here at Houghton Lake. And a gas station. You will not find me waiting in line *outside* any store any time of the day or night. I *hate* crowds and I can’t think of anything that Best Buy or Tarjay or Woldemort or Macy’s has that I need to wait in line for.

That said, I don’t really have the energy to rant and rave and kvetch about Black Friday or those who participate in it. I can even see how some people might have fun getting together and going to the mall at 4:00 AM or midnight or whatever. Or camping out at Best Buy all week. (I wanna say “Occupy Best Buy” but I am on the internet enough to know it’s already been said — about a gazillion times.) I can EVEN see how it could be fun to WORK at a store during Black Friday but I probably better not say that too loud…

I think it would be nice if our society was a tad less rabidly consumed by “stuff” and sale prices and special “deals” et al. But I doubt anything I have to say on my blahg is going to change that and anyway I buy “stuff” too. If you are a regular, you know that I have “stuff” because you have read about my recent flinging prodject (intentionally misspelled). We have TVs and kitchen gadgets and computing machines (computing machines up the wazoo) and clothing and books and don’t even ask me about stuffed aminals. I buy a LOT less stuff than I used to and I don’t buy stuff on Black Friday unless it’s stuff I NEED. Like coffee. Or food. Or gasoline.

Anyway, we got up early and drove up here to Houghton Lake. And I just have to say that today has been *anything* but black. Unseasonably warm temperatures and blindingly bright sunshine all day long. We moseyed over to the Reedsburg Dam this afternoon and took a little hike along the water there. There is hardly anybody out here on Long Point this weekend. I guess everybody’s over at Woldemort.

What did you buy (or not buy) today?

P.S. What is up with Best Buy anyway? I don’t have anything against Best Buy. It saved our “lives” when Mouse’s iPod died 12 hours before she was scheduled to fly to Africa for six months. But what is Best Buy selling this Black Friday that people had to camp out for? I do not understand.

Grobble grobble

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

If you look carefully, you might be able to see my Mouse inside this beauteous tepee-like structure over in Miller Woods, which is a few blocks from the Landfill.

I dunno. What am I thankful for? I am kind of out of words about that. I was really looking forward to the holiday for some reason. But maybe I just needed a day off. Because I felt a bit glum for at least part of the day. Guilt, maybe? We won’t go into that today but I am feeling it. It hasn’t been the best of years, I suppose, but it could’ve been a lot worse and I guess I am feeling thankful that it wasn’t worse but still wishing that I had the wherewithal to make things better for others.

Anyway, my Mouse arrived in the early afternoon and we hoofed on over to Miller Woods for a walk. Or as she put it, as I was dealing with a storm of text messages, “This isn’t a walk; it’s a ‘Moom is texting’ crawl”. And I was texting! Like crazy. Lizard Breath sent a photo text (below) from San Francisco to everyone in our little branch of the FinFam and I texted back and so did a lot of other folks. The Commander was also included in the text storm and, although I’m not sure she managed to get the photooo, she did manage to connect with me, so Mouse and I talked to her on the phone as we were walking.

Texting was one of the main methods of communication today as we talked to family members far away and discussed things that are secret from other people in the house. Mouse reported that she sometimes tells friends that I won’t talk to her unless she texts me. That isn’t really true of course, but texting is such a convenient means of communicating stuff that doesn’t require a whole bunch of “Hello, how are you, yada yada yada” stuff. In general, young adults of Mouse’s age tend to be surprised that a *parent* prefers to text. What the heck? I text with *my* moom! And she’s 90!!!

So, what does a systems analyst do on a holiday? Hmm… This systems analyst cooked (a lot) and cleaned (a little) and flung (a bit) aaannnnd… Mucked around with her computers and things. I NEEEEEEEEDED to install dropbox just so I could disseminate a loverly little turkey sound file to all of my friends and family. Grobble grobble to you and hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful and that you have many things to be thankful for.

I do actually have many, many things to be thankful for. I’m just not into enumerating them today. Well, except that there is not a bat flying around in the back room. I don’t think…

Oh, and I am thankful for bacon!!! Yes. The GG draped some bacon over the turkey he cooked on the grill this afternoon. Is it good? Yes!!!

Baggy old bag with a bag full of bags

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Yes I do remember the time that I woke up in the middle of the night — that batscope time of night — to the horrible smell of burnt chilis and fish sauce. Loverly. And in the morning, the two conspirators in the photooo argued about whose vee-hickle would be used to transport their stinky food down to the multicultural potluck at Communist Martyrs High School, our loverly little alternative high school here on the Planet Ann Arbor.

I don’t remember who won that little argument but the girls hanging out at our old PowerMac in the photooo have been friends since they were in 7th grade. I remember dragging Lizard Breath (with the braid) with me over to the Middle Years Alternative office before school started that year. The Beautiful Mary Beth was also there with Jess in tow. I remember thinking something like, “that girl would be a wonderful friend for Liz.” Not that Liz didn’t have other friends. Just that… Anyway, they did become friends that year (with no intervention from me, just to be clear, I just had a premonition). They went to Commie High together, and then K College, and… then… San Francisco… I’m gonna guess that photooo was from about 9th grade.

Anyway, I can’t believe that the burnt chili / fish sauce Thai food cooking experiment was *10* (count ’em) years ago!!! I bet that Commie High does still do a multi-culti potluck but, since the Planet Ann Arbor schools are now closed the Wednesday before Turkey Day, it probably happens on Tuesday.

This year? I am not sure what Lizard Breath is doing for Thanksgiving but it is typical for her to host or attend parties out in SanFran so I hope that’s what she’s doing. We are doing a quiet little celebration here on The Planet. Just us and Mouse. (Any time, Mouse. Eggs Benny in the morning if you want to try to get here.) I *am* cooking a whole (small) turkey. We will use / freeze the leftovers.

Why only three of us? Because I am sort of socially / psychically exhausted. I don’t want to travel (tomorrow anyway). I don’t want to hang out at somebody else’s house. And I don’t really want to be a hostess. If anything, I want to spend a little time flinging… Aaannnddd… Our plan is to get up early on Friday morning and shoot up to Houghton Lake for the weekend. We have not been there in a while and we miss it and I think I need to hang out with some in-laws, etc.

I have a hankering to head up to Petoskey for a day trip on Saturday. Been too long since I have been to Petoskey.

I got off work a wee bit early today. I needed that too. The GG came home not long after I did and he suggested we go out to eat. We walked over to Knight’s and it turned out that was just what I / we needed! And, to boot, as we were waiting at the bar for a table, we got into a conversation with a long-haired hippy-looking guy who does computer stuff for U of M and is familiar with the http://www.psychicjourney.com old *MTS* system that we used to use at that darn EPA back in the old days! Good times. (Oh, and some friends of ours came in just as we were about to leave and I’m not sure they would’ve noticed us if the GG hadn’t thrown a napkin at them!)

I am rambling. Good night. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and eat whatever you want!

In which life settles back into the usual dull roar

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Soooo… Last night. We were hanging out at the Landfill as usual. After spending 45 fun minutes on the phone with The Commander, I *finally* had dinner underway. The doorbell rang. Okay. I do not like to answer the damn door *any* time. Sometimes it’s Luke and I *never* mind when he comes to the door but if it’s not Luke, it’s usually a solicitor. I am not happy about talking to door-to-door solicitors at *any* time, especially after a long day at work and a walk to the Plum Market and a long phone conversation with The Commander and a struggle to get dinner ready. I made the GG do it.

Well, guess what? It was a FACEBOOK FRIEND OF MINE!!! From high school! He had an extension cord in his hand. No, he is not a serial killer! Actually he is not someone I knew well in high school at all. I knew his cousin a lot better (one of my old classical musician buddies). I didn’t even know they were cousins until Facebook came along. The cousin’s sister is a friend of *my* cousin, The Beautiful Jan, and it just kind of goes on and on and on…

Anyway… He and his dog were on their way to Siberia for Turkey Day. He was driving his camper and there was a Metro airport pick-up involved somehow and, as he approached the Planet Ann Arbor, his generator gave up the ghost and he needed a place to plug in and park the camper for the night. He checked facebook for who he might know that was nearby and, well, guess who? We served him a cocktail. Well, actually, he had his own preferred cocktail makings in the camper.

Coincidentally, a few days ago, the GG, who looks at Facebook intermittently, noticed that I had commented on this person’s status. The GG rather snarkily asked, “Who is so-and-so, your old boyfriend?” Well. You know I gave the GG the evil eye. I mean, nooooo, he wasn’t my boyfriend. (Not that he wouldn’t have been boyfriend material. He just wasn’t *my* boyfriend.) As I said earlier, I didn’t really know him well in high school. I *did* have two boyfriends in high school (oh, not at the same time, you guys…). I am not Facebook friends with either of them. They may be “on Facebook” but I don’t know. I don’t tend to search people out on Facebook. If either of them were ever to send me a friend request, I would probably accept it but I am not seeking them out. And the GG doesn’t (apparently) understand that if he gets hit by a beer truck (please don’t), I will not be looking for a boyfriend. (I mean, you never know what life will throw your way but I will not be *looking* for one. And I hope the GG doesn’t get hit by a beer truck any time soon.)

Anyway, really really nice fun person and I think the GG had a great time talking to him too. I love Facebook moments like this but I am looking forward to a quieter evening tonight. And I’m sure my Facebook friend is having fun with his wife and family in the beautiful Yooperland.

P.S. It was an absolutely gorgeous November day. Gray skies all day, LOTS of rain ALL afternoon. Took me 45 minutes to drive my eight mile commute home this afternoon.

Peevish on this gorgeous November day

Monday, November 21st, 2011

And no, Peeves did not waft by me clinking ice cubes tonight but I have a few peeves about today and none of them have to do with work but here is one of them…

I was walking *on the sidewalk* down N. Maple late this afternoon. I was heading to the Plum Market thinking a brazillion thoughts. I was a quadjillion miles away off in the clouds somewhere. Suddenly! “On your right!” Yiiiiiiy! I flipped my head around and made an involuntary “huh” kind of noise. He didn’t hit me, thank you god.

Again… If you are a cyclist and are riding on the SIDEWALK (!), please, please, please, pretty please with a cherry on top… If you see a baggy old pedestrian in front of you, don’t wait until you are five feet behind her to quietly state your presence. First of all, you scared me out of my wits! Also, I cannot parse “on your left” or “on your right” in a nano-second. Right? Left? Say what?

If you are going to ride your bicycle on the sidewalk, either 1) get off and walk it when you see a pedestrian ahead of you or 2) yell “THERE IS A BICYCLE COMING UP BEHIND YOU” from a half-block away (I will get off the sidewalk and wait and give you the equivalent of a high five) or 3) install one of those bells that the kindergartners have on their bikes. AND USE IT!!! Starting from about a half block away.

This young man was towing a trailer behind his bike. I couldn’t exactly see if there was a baby in it or not. If there was (and even if there wasn’t) I can understand why he was riding on the sidewalk. I would have been too. North Maple is a speedway. It’s four lanes with no median of any sort and the speed limit is 35 but people regularly go 55 or whatever. But still. If I had lurched the wrong direction, I could easily have knocked him off his bike and would probably have sustained injuries myself.

There has been a lot of strife here on the Planet Ann Arbor between walkers, cyclists, and drivers. We have to work together. That is all for now.

Yo heave ho…

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

I don’t have it in me to write a post (like yesterday’s) about what I did today, but it was similar and I am feeling so high on the hog right now, I can’t believe it. In between various walks and/or trips to grocery stores, I flung a little bit more. And I cleaned. I micro-cleaned. Stuff that hadn’t been cleaned in a long time. As in I took soap and water and/or Pledge and/or Windex and/or the ancient Electrolux vacuum cleaner that used to be in my uncle Don’s doctor’s office in Sault Ste. Siberia, Yes, it lives and is going strong down here on the Planet Ann Arbor — I love Roooommba but I can’t exactly program HER to do stairs or dust off objects that can’t be thrust into soapy dish water. I put a new bag in the Electrolux today for about the umpteen millionth time 🙂

It feels so good to do the stuff I did today. If you are struggling with your own, er, over-abundance of stuff, don’t envy me my flinging. For one thing, I have been on a roll this fall but I could just as easily manage to get stymied next week (or the week after or whenever). It is so hard to get started on this kind of thing. For whatever reason, I have [finally] managed to start making progress now and I am going to continue with it whenever I can, five minutes or so every day or whatever I can manage. I am not going to leave my daughters with a dumpster.

We did get a walk down by Barton Dam late this afternoon. Checked out the birdhouses that the GG built and put up last winter.

I love you all…
Kayak Woman, aka the flinger (and cleaner)

P.S. Yes, it is okay to throw out underwear you’ve had since you were 18. Just sayin’. 😉

What I did today…

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

Lemme see…

Walked to the Farmer’s Market and back.

Did two loads of laundry.

Went to the Jackson Road Meijer (didn’t walk).

Emptied out (mostly) the freezer (scary looking, right)? (Those tubs are frozen make-ahead gravy. I only make gravy during the winter holiday season.)

Pulled out one of the couches in the Back Room. Vacuumed up the pistachio nut shells behind it (don’t ask) and washed the shelves and all the junk on them. Actually, the GG wielded the vacuum cleaner.

Ran Roooooomba in two rooms.

Sorted out a whole bunch of crappy old paperwork and flung a whole bunch of stuff.

Made cranberry sauce and make-ahead mashed potatoes and chopped some celery.

Started the Saturday NYT xword (but didn’t finish it (yet!)) and made progress on the *Friday* NYT xword (but didn’t finish it (yet!)).

Walked to the Plum Market (and back).

Did software / OS updates on MacBook Pro, iPhone, and iPad plus a whole ton of app updates. Scary buzzy noise involved in MacBook Pro firmware update. Did NOT like that! Note to Apple…

Ordered a cashmere scarf #jjill and a new batch of DKNY tights (aka long underwear) #alexblake online. Still didn’t order any YakTrax. Why am I dragging my feet about that? It’s a-comin’!

Tried to get started using Pinterest to collect design ideas but I seem to be REALLY LAME at finding design ideas on the web and so far have pinned exactly *one* thing (!!!) (Help?)

Called The Commander and managed to wake her up from an afternoon nap.

Aaaannnnddd… Then. It was 5-ish and about the last thing I wanted to do at that time on this chilly, gray day was mobilize for an evening out. But it was the last performance of “The Diary of Anne Frank” with Mouse playing the role of Miep Gies, so off we went to the Riverside Theatre in Ypsilanti. (Of *course* it was good!)

Good night! -KW.

A tweetable day

Friday, November 18th, 2011

6:10 AM: 24 degrees and I can’t find my winter boots. Anywhere!

6:13 AM: Three pairs of socks are warm enough with Chaco sandals. And my ski jacket.

7:10 AM: Ordering a new pair of boots #llbean (((and a cashmere dress #jjill))). Up next: Yaktrax!

7:57 AM: Yes I do have two vee-hickles idling in the driveway. Count ’em. And just try to arrest me!

8:45 AM: In which rodent eradication efforts attract owls. Just don’t wear a fur hat.

10:10 AM: Um, if a package is delivered for me today, DON’T LOOK AT IT!!!

10:40 AM: I thought I heard talk of Star Trek emanating from the LSCHP’s office but it turned out to be butters.

10:40 AM: Fighter jets are buzzing us here at Avis Park???

11:09 AM: GG tweets “#OCCUPY”. Occupy what? The Blue and Only Bathroom?

11:50 AM: Brilliant sunshine, fierce wind, almost enough to make little whitecaps on the ponds.

12:01 AM: Spooked a flock of ducks or two.

12:04 AM: …and The Admiral, who then got the ducks going again.

12:11 AM: Still a thin skin of ice on one of the ponds.

3:16 PM: In which I learn that my regular commute is hosed by a semi truck that rolled over just off my regular exit near the Jackson/Maple mega-intersection.

4:58 PM: Country roooooooads, take me hooooome…

5:43 PM: So glad that was: 1) a wrong number and 2) a Planet Ann Arbor wrong number. Phone calls make me jump out of my skin! Especially when the phone is in my pocket…

5:49 PM: Washington / S. Seventh crosswalk: A woman standing on the island in the middle of the crosswalk WITH A STROLLER waits while no fewer than three vee-hickles race through without seeing her.

6:03 PM: Drop acid, not bombz!

8:?? PM: All right, getcher hat sox on and let’s hoof it back over to the left side o’ town 😉 😉 😉

9:19 PM: G’night, –KW

As the ghost of a past spec wafts by…

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

Ah yes. I think I may have had to stop at exactly *one* stoplight all the way home tonight. The left turn lane from Jackson to N. Maple wasn’t even backed up. I sailed right on through.

We had just a wee bit of that loverly white stuff today. Nothing that stuck anywhere, just an occasional few teensy tinesy flakes spitting at us. Dark wintery clouds and blustery winds. I haven’t managed to connect with The Commander yet today but Mushie posted Yooperland photooos on facebook. Ten inches at his house on the shore of Whitefish Bay. I don’t actually *know* Mushie in real life. He went to school with one of my much older cousins. But I accept all facebook friend requests that come from Soo High folks, whether or not I recognize the name.

The LSCHP was in fine form today and kept telling me (and others) things like “none of your business” when we yelled snarky questions over the wall. Am I offended by this kind of talk? Not on your life. This is a guy with a personality as big as the universe. I can’t describe him, he has to be experienced. But he is always respectful of all of his co-workers, especially those who work for him. I always feel like he has my back in the rare event that there is some weird sort of little kerfuffle on the horizon.

Although I have endured my share of on-the-job sexual harassment and gender discrimination in my life, I have been lucky that I have never had to deal with this kind of crap coming from a supervisor. Back in my first “career”, I worked for Byron and I will never forget the day (in the 1980s) that I and the young woman who handled the “window” walked into our boss’s office to find him printing ASCII pictures of nude women on his dot matrix printer. He had downloaded them from the Merit Network (aka them thar tubes). Were we freaked out? No way. We were laughing so hard we were just about doubled over as we left the room! Why was this okay? Because, in all the years I worked for Byron, I *never* felt threatened by him for anything for even one nano-second. He was respectful of all of us who worked for him — and we were a diverse group — and he routinely deferred to me when a technical problem came up that he knew I could handle better than he could. ASCII nudes? Not a problem.

I’m not sure how I got started on this and I’m not sure where to go with it. I want to tell young women (and I know this happens to men too) to fight back. I know that it isn’t always easy and I don’t know what to say about that. Hold your head up. Do your job (and more if you can) so well that other people in your organization notice your work. Find another job if it gets that bad.

Finally… Don’t listen to KW because KW has NO IDEA about how to find jobs. She *hates* interviews and stuff. She falls off cliffs into jobs. Do not under any circumstances emulate her strategy for finding jobs!

I think I’ve earned a new battle ax today

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

I know I have NOOOO reason to complain about my stupid little commute to work. It is eight miles and five of those are on the I94 18-Wheel Clogway. Which is almost always pretty much un-clogged when I have to drive to and from work.

Today? I left work just after five. The sun was shining and I would’ve seen it setting when I drove past the airport if I’d been watching. When I got onto the westbound Clogway, traffic was moving as usual except that I had the wondrous luck to merge behind a beer truck and, because there was a ton of fast traffic in the left lane, I was chugging along at about 50 (mph) for a while. Just as I saw an opening big enough that I could accelerate into the left lane and pass the beer truck, all of the tail lights in the world lit up. Okaaayyy. Plan B. I exited on Ann Arbor-Saline Road and spent the next half hour sitting in long lines of traffic waiting for red lights to turn green.

I did eventually get home. It was dark as I was dredging stuff out of the Ninja and my phone lit up! The Commander! Moom, can I call you back in 10 minutes or so? Yes. Should I call your iPhone or landline? Either. I called her iPhone and she answered it! Yay!!!

Besides all of that, is anyone else incensed buy the latest school lunch bill? The one where they are talking about classifying a piece of pizza as a vegetable? We had a corporate-sponsored pizza lunch today. I love these pizza lunches. I don’t have to pack my own lunch when the company provides lunch. We get a huge variety of pizzas at these lunches, thanks to our building “mom”. She is the best! I chose two slices of pizza with [different] meat toppings today. Just because. And I had a big serving of salad.

Seriously, I like pizza once in a while but a small amount of pizza sauce is a *vegetable*? Sorry but vegetables are those things that they sell at farmer’s markets or around the edges of yer fav-o-rite grokkery store or maybe you grow in your yard if you don’t have a black thumb like yer fav-o-rite blahgger. Chopped up veggies may be sparsely sprinkled over the top of a pizza but there is no way the pizzas that are served in our schools can in any way shape or form be counted as a vegetable serving.

To me, these pizza days are a treat! I don’t eat like that every day and I don’t *want* to eat like that every day. My regular packed lunch includes a small container of whatever leftovers I can scrabble together, green salad, and an apple or whatever fruit is in season.

Let them eat fish.

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

I have just spent I-dunno-how-many minutes talking to The Commander and now she’s talking to the GG and shows no signs of letting up on the talking. This is a good thing! It means she isn’t having trouble breathing. I think “we” have that problem figgered out and I think “we” are the track to manage it… The Comm reads my blahg when she has time. I hope she reads this one.

The Comm spent a few days in the hoosegow a week or so ago for pneumonia and that was kind of a drag but I think we’re [sorta] over that whole thing for now anyway.

The photooo is one that was taken the Sunday *before* The Comm went to the hoosegow for pneumonia. I got a call from FV saying that The Comm had fallen. The Comm is pretty strong about walking but she was futzing around with her computer nebulizer and fell back onto her walker and gashed her head. There was blood everywhere! There was more blood than the [wonderful] nurses at FV could stop. The Comm refused to go to the ER! As luck would have it, a driver was available so that she didn’t have to go via ambulance. (I don’t blame her.) And so she went.

The Comm returned to FV *much* earlier than I expected that night and she had a wonderful time at the ER! Doc Rob was there for one thing. And she had the wonderful nurse in the photooo. When The Comm got back to FV, they called me and said that The Comm had someone take photooos of her bloody head et al via The Comm’s iPhone. Eventually, I managed to get those photoos out of her iPhone.

And yes, a 90-year-old woman (my 90-year-old mother) manages to use an iPhone. Not always easy but she can do it. Moom? You go, girl!

Things that spiral and create great devastation

Monday, November 14th, 2011

There are tornado warnings in the Toledo area tonight, which is not too far south of here. We had some good thunderstorms today. Nothing severe but multiple storms rolled through and there were some decent boomers. This kind of stuff is more typical of summer than November. This afternoon, I overheard Broosie saying something like, “better this than snow and ice.” Not sure how serious he was though, since it’s almost time for Snowy and Snowy to arrive and I bet he is staging his cube for them.

Harrumph. I remain grumpy about a few things and one of them is football. Today, I read yet another story about a University of Michigan football player getting arrested for “home invasion” or whatever. I’m not gonna link to it. A University of Michigan football player! Come on. These things happen all too often. Stealing beer from party stores. Crashing borrowed SUVs. Going to parties and getting people drunk and raping them. Home invasion. This guy wasn’t armed and no one was hurt (according to the poorly reported story). I don’t care. This stuff is thuggery and worse. I KNOW that not every young man who plays football is a bad guy. I *know* that there are plenty of football players who are good people. They go to class and study and practice and *respect* others. I mean that they respect people who are teachers or elders or people who are not as big and strong as UM football players but worship them because popular culture has raised them to an unearned pedestal. There are a lot of Big 10 football players who do NOT steal beer or rape people or invade homes. Why can we NOT weed the THUGS out of the sports programs? I mean both players and coaching staff. I just don’t get it. Well, I probably do get it but I am disgusted by it.

I have a lot more to say but I will quit for now because if I keep going, my words will tumble out of my mouth as if I were one of those vomiting pumpkins, which always make me feel like vomiting. Which I HATE to do!

Ending it all…

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Despite what I said a couple days ago about not leaving the Planet Ann Arbor for the rest of the weekend, I got antsy yesterday afternoon and proposed the idea that we head over to Phyllis Haehnle Audubon Sanctuary this afternoon.

Haehnle is a place where Sandhill Cranes stop on their way south for the winter. Usually, the cranes come in to this area as a flock. They lower their landing gear and land on the Haehnle marsh. We drive to Haehnle almost every year. I think we missed last year and maybe even the year (or two) before that. It’s been a while. This year, the cranes are not stopping in the sanctuary so much because the the water levels in the marsh are too high. It’s okay. They are finding other places to go.

Ending it all? I have been following the Penn State stuff. Can we please stop elevating boys who play sports into the position of god before they are able to even balance a blasted checking account? I don’t even want to try to repeat what the GG has to say about it but we are totally on the same page. After almost 30 years, I am so happy I am not married to a damn neanderthal.

 

If we move to Gaylord can we get rid of all our old crud, corruption, flotsam, jetsam, and cosmic debris?

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

WARNING: I USE THE “S” WORD IN THIS ENTRY (and maybe a couple others).

Sooooo… I was counting on and excited about taking a trip to the dump today. Alas, it didn’t happen. In some families, the decision to take old computers and things to the glue factory may happen unilaterally. Not so here at the Landfill. And this was not just a neat little stack of laptops or the *two* Apple II+s we have hanging around. It is two giraffe-style iMacs and a vintage Power Mac (or whatever) from about 1997 with a big honking monitor and cpu tower (or whatever it is). Nothing even the slightest bit sexy about any of them. I know how hard it can be to get rid of stuff. That’s why I have so much crap to get rid of. But we are disagreeing about these computers.

The bag of old telephone components I packaged up didn’t constitute enough stuff to make a trip over to Ellsworth Road so I spent a large portion of the day bombing around with smoke coming out of my ears and faaaar outta my nostrils. I finally moved on, more or less, and got back to flinging the stuff that *belongs* to me (or has been neglected long enough the owner has probably forgotten it (or it is totally and irretrievably infested with rodent crap)). And yes, there is rodent crap. It is now not only in various corners of the Landfill Dungeon, it is present in most carefully packed boxes.

I am not steaming any more but I am on the warpath. I cannot clean up the shit if I have to move 10 tons of shit to get to it.

Inroads were also made in the little room formerly known as Lizard Breath’s bedroom. There is a bunk bed in there and, when the lovely Lizard tried to sleep on the top bunk last summer (her childhood friend Shuggy was sleeping on the carefully cleaned off bottom bunk), she found was accompanied by a 1950s era Nesco oven from the moldy old cabin at Houghton Lake, an implement of too much fun, and I forget what else. Lots o’ stuff up there. Two empty bottles of Hennessy came outta that room but I doubt they had anything much to do with Lizard Breath…

This morning, our handy dandy Planet Ann Arbor garbage cart was EMPTY (and bleached out, thank you very much (you know who you are)). This afternoon it is full. I carefully left just enough room for the usual small amount of household garbage we generate during most weeks. Plus I bagged *seven* big trash bags of stuff to donate. Only the recycle bin has any room left in it and I’m working hard on filling that up.

I think I will go through the xmas stuff next. The last few years, we have barely managed to get a tree up and *find* our decorations, much less put them up in some kind of organized manner. This year, I am going to organize that stuff. I am gonna purge anything that is broken (we’ll never fix it) or disintegrating or so infested with rodent crap that it can’t be cleaned.

Oh hit Publish KW. You can always edit out the typos later.

In which nobody put on deodorant behind me

Friday, November 11th, 2011

We were still on the freeway when an unnamed facebook friend posted about taking off a certain undergarment on a Friday evening. All I could think was, “15 more minutes!” At this moment it is 11:11 11/11/11 (but it won’t be by the time I post this) so, if you know me, you know that I have officially turned into a pumpkin.

Long day and we did something outside our usual tickety little Planet Ann Arbor weekend pattern, which was to drive over to northern megalopolis for a birthday dinner with The Beautiful Becky and then a musical, “Chicago” at Stevenson High. Our niece (The Beautiful Becky’s daughter) was in the play. I have helped produce many plays in my life and I have been a pit orchestra player in quite a few musicals and operas and I know how much work it takes to make a stage production come together. Especially one with music! I am *not* that good at sitting in an audience but these kids and their adult advisers did a fantastic job and I enjoyed it very much. Bravo Stevenson High!

We are finally home. I cannot believe how much traffic there is over in megalopolis at 10 o’clock at night! The rest of this weekend will be the usual stuff. The farmer’s market and the dump (grrrr) and flinging sessions in the Landfill Dungeon. Aaannnnddd rodent turd eradication. I am not budging from town for the rest of the weekend.

Oh, you are wondering about the deodorant? Okay, I will repeat the deodorant story. Once upon a time, we went to a musical at PiHi, right here on the Planet Ann Arbor. I regret to say that I cannot remember which musical it was. We were standing in a long line waiting to get in and there were these kind of ditzy [sorry] high school girls standing behind us. Wouldn’t you know they ended up being seated *directly* behind me! At the intermission, one of them said to the other, “Do you have any deodorant?” The other one apparently did because a few minutes later the first one said, “La la la, I’m putting on deodorant in a crowded theatre.” At the end of the show, the GG stood up and proclaimed, “Smells like a locker room in here!” He *claimed* he had not heard the deodorant conversation.

Good night! It is long past my bedtime. Come to think of it, I believe that Mouse is in a play next weekend. It is not a musical. She has participated in one musical that I know of, as the assistant director: “Forbidden Planet”, Kalamazoo College, 2009.

P. S. to the GG: Sorry that I didn’t blahg about what you wanted me to blahg about :twisted:.