Archive for September, 2012

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

I kind of hate this shed. It is an old tin thing and those are sliding doors — rusty old sliding doors that close only when they darn well feel like closing. When we first moved into this ratty old Landfill, a few months before the first beach urchin was born, we felt like we had hit pay-dirt. A three-bedroom house with a basement and an A-dition and a woods behind it and an elementary school behind *that*. And we could somehow afford it…

Downside? No garage. If you don’t have a garage, where do you put all of the lawnmowers and things? Well, there was a shed! At the time, the shed seemed like a bonus to me. I remember the previous owner telling us that kids used to go through the back yard, climb up on the shed, and jump down into the woods to get to school. That was okay with him (his kids probably participated when they went to Haisley) but when he caught some boyz peeing off the shed, he put an end to it.

We’ve been here for a long time now and I am over the shed. Besides the rustiness and the tinniness, it is one of those places that everybody jams stuff into in a willy-nilly fashion. And I do mean *everybody* because I cannot tell you how many acorns we swept outta there today. It gets to be a black hole, just like the Landfill Dungeon was for a while…

I can’t remember when the shed was last cleaned out. I remember cleaning it out the summer of 2006. The GG and I were arguing about a certain C family artifact, the Swastika Marina. It is a big bent up sheet of metal with a US Marine painted on it defaced by a spray-painted swastika. I have no idea where he found it. I want to get rid of it. He did not. I threatened him with, “Maybe you will die.” I did NOT mean that, just to be clear. It was the summer after my old coot died and it was a season of rather morbid humor with, of all people, his widow (aka The Commander) as the ring-leader.

Anyway, I have been hankering to get the shed cleaned out before winter. I can (and have) done it myself but I was hoping for some help this time. For one thing, I wanted help with the sclepping. I can schlep with the best of them but we have all been doing a *lot* of schlepping in the last year or so and I am just plain sick of it at this point. Also, I wanted to push for getting rid of certain things.

I approached the GG about cleaning out the shed with some trepidation. I had no idea whether or not he would be on board with it or not so I was pleasantly surprised when he readily agreed that it needed to be done. When? Hmmm, it was really too late yesterday to start that prodject (intentionally misspelled) and there was a guy-type trip to Day-Twa today to see the Lions lose (did the Lions lose?). The GG was leaving for Day-Twa at around nine this morning and we formed a fuzzy plan for getting things started before then with me finishing up after he left.

As it turned out, the GG swung into action this morning and hauled *everything* including the *three* lawnmowers out of the shed. We swept (and swept (and swept (and swept (and swept)))) (did I mention acorns?) and I managed to snag a small but significant number of items to throw in the trash or recycle. I did not manage to convince him to get rid of any lawnmowers. The Swastika Marine? Hmmm. He wasn’t in there. Did the GG already get rid of him? I dunno but I can’t help but wonder if he is stashed away somewhere down in the Landfill Dungeon…

Early morning foot tour on the Planet Ann Arbor

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

I threatened an early morning trip to the farmer’s market and here’s what it looked like about halfway down Miller a few minutes before seven AM.

The next bit was surreal. We walked under the Drop Acid, Not Bombz Bridge and we could hear a train and that was fairly normal because trains go along the river all the time and we were trying to figure out if it was going east or west and then we realized that it was waaaaay too loud to be all the way over at the river and *then* we realized that it was approaching the Drop Acid, Not Bombz Bridge! I do not think I have ever seen a train go across the Drop Acid, Not Bombz Bridge before. I did not think that trains *traversed* the Drop Acid, Not Bombz Bridge any more. The rails were shrieking! I don’t have a photooo of that train (because say what?) but this gas station is on the corner of Main and Miller and when you get here, you are almost at the farmer’s market.

First stop, coffee from @roosroast, one of our fave coffee purveyors. They tweet and instagram all the time and weeeee were once instagrammed by @roosroast in our tie-dyed t-shirts (and no, I do not like when my SO dresses like me. He has an identical twin and as far as I’m concerned *they* can dress alike.). But fun folks @roosroast and good coffee, even for coffee lightweights like yer fav-o-rite blahgger.

I love stacked squashes. I know, it doesn’t take much… >wink<

Normally, we have a snacky breakfast at the farmer’s market and I buy just enough produce that I can haul it back up the long slow hill leading back to the Landfill. And then we head back up the hill. Today we took a bit of a detour to check out this crane that’s been hanging out on Washington Street.

We watched until they lifted a cab up to the top of, well, I’m not sure what the correct terminology is, but here’s a pic…

We didn’t watch the entire crane-building process. We greatly enjoyed the cranes although we are not all that crazy about the reason for them, which is building yet another 14-story (or whatever) apartment complex with an underground parking lot. I understand the need for development but it seems to be rather willy-nilly in this small city. I don’t want to be a stick-in-the-mud but I don’t want my adopted city to change so much that I don’t recognize it.

Anyway, after a while we continued on homeward and my last photo is of the beautiful new “water feature” in West Park. Alas, if I have it right, this water feature and other “improvements” have apparently led to wet basements where basements didn’t used to get wet. Improvements to the improvements are ongoing.

After that chores and errands and more chores all day. Will we get the shed cleaned out tomorrow? We’ll see what we can get done tomorrow morning before the GG heads off to watch the Lions lose (and hopefully not get his my vee-hickle towed by the Dee-troit po-leese and their cronies).

Going rococo

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Words? I can haz words? More like word salad tonight. About a billion pages of html today. Building out a new chunk of functionality. And a start on the words required to describe all that new functionality. And now my cube neighbor is adding ornamentation to my two against three (or five or six, depending) javascript functions. Going rococo in the online banking business. (Oh, don’t worry, it won’t affect you.)

Home and dooowwwn to the Ocsar Tango Barrooom and hooooome again and soooo taaarrrred. I could not for the life of me figger out what to wear down there tonight. And I don’t mean Scarlet O’Hara style, aka which ball gown should I wear? I mean which collection of raggedy old clothes will work best with the weather conditions. 70 or so walking downtown but dropping to the 50s at some yet to be foreseen time. I ended up wearing a tie-dyed tshirt, leggings, and sandals with bare feet. With a polartech vest and a pair of little black socks in my backpack. Warm walking down there but had to break out the vest to walk home. I am ready for sweater season. I am not sure I am ready for YakTrax season. Can I get some YakTrax for the Ninja? (Yeah, I know that would probably be chains…)

Toldya I was incoherent tonight. And I am absolutely totally utterly bone-deep dead tired so I’ll just quit while I’m ahead. Home on the Planet Ann Arbor this weekend. Farmer’s market tomorrow. Bright and early. And then we’ll see what gets done…

G’night -KW


Singing error messages and other systems analyst type adventures. And camels.

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Rumor has it that once upon a time, there was a spec review that went south in a disastrous way. It became so dysfunctional that someone (maybe it was a developer) began singing error messages. Wouldn’t it be fun if you were filling out an online form and you hit the Submit button and your computer began singing error messages at you? I actually hate sound on my computer. I mean, I think it’s wonderful that it has sound. I just don’t like when it gets turned on automatically. Like the time I was chilling out [ducking] in the community college library before class and all of a sudden I heard *Froggy’s* voice, singing one of his little ditties: “Grok grok grok…” I jumped about a jile mile, thinking, “Where the heck is *that* coming from?” Well, duuuhh, my own computer. Somehow I had accidentally launched iTunes and guess who the top tune of the day was? It was *not* the Beatles or Jimi Hendrix or Led Zeppelin or The Cranberries or Radiohead or the Beach Boys. I scrambled to turn off the dern sound and quit iTunes. Had anyone else heard that? Fortunately, the sound was set at a relatively low volume…

That rather legendary spec review was before my time (and we do NOT incorporate singing error messages into our product) although I have had some similarly ragged moments at a few of my own spec reviews (modus operandi: stay calm KW and make people start at the beginning, using specific and relevant language and take turns talking instead of blurting things out.). I was just thinking about it today because my current prodject (intentionally misspelled) requires that I revisit a corner of our product with some extremely gnarly twisty turny functionality and wrap my brain around the worst of those error conditions and associated messages in order to tweak them for use in some new functionality.

The life and times of a systems analyst is usually only interesting to the systems analyst herself and sometimes those who work with her and I am even boring myself at this point. I finished steps 2a and 2b of the moomincabin laundry prodject this afternoon (2a = folding, 2b = high-level sort). What about the life of a camel? This very elegant camel lives on San Juan Island. He is a spectacular part of the scenery on the way from the ferry dock at Friday Harbor to Roche Harbor. I can’t exactly remember the story (I could google but you could do that too) but he is a rescue camel. He is obviously happy and well taken care of now and maybe he even knows he is a celebrity of sorts because he seemed to turn his head into the sun to pose for me and my loverly little camera (aka cracked-screen iPhone 4S). It was almost like he was thinking, “I guess I’ll indulge her. I do this *all* the time. La dee da.”

27 pillowcases and counting…

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

I dunno how many pillowcases one small, rustic, northwoods cabin can hold but I’m up to 27 and I still have one more laundry basket to sort out.

Just because I don’t have enough to do already, I gathered up ALL of the sheets and pillowcases at the Moomincabin last weekend and hauled them all down here to the Landfill to wash and sort out. Not that they all needed washing. It does sometimes get a little musty up there but only when it rains for three weeks straight. Summer 2012? Not musty. Still, the linens were in a disorganized mess and I needed to start somewhere. Washing them seemed like a good place to start. Washing them at my “leisure” here at the Landfill seemed like an even better idea. While they were washing, I could think about how to organize them. When things get put away fast and furiously, like they have at the end of the last few summers, things get disorganized. How disorganized? Disorganized enough that *last* summer, we couldn’t *find* enough single sheets to make beds for the beach urchins (even though we knew we had them) so they went to Tarjay on the way up and bought two *new* sets (and The Beautiful Jan was kind enough to *wash* them for us before we put them on the beds).

The Commander ran the Moomincabin linen “closet” with an iron hand for many many years. She had a system and I won’t go into the boring details but it worked very well for a very long time. The last few years, I do not think she had quite the level of energy required to keep up with that system. She definitely could not navigate the not-quiiiite-up-to-code ladder/staircase that leads to the Moomincabin upstairs. At least we didn’t *want* her to navigate it. I’m positive that she managed to get herself up there and down if she wanted to, not that I really want to think about that scenario too much.

I don’t really have a flowchart for this prodject (intentionally misspelled). I have washed everything. I ended up with four laundry baskets of linens. I have folded and sorted three of them. I have some space saver bags to pack all of this stuff into when I get it all sorted out. Double and single sheets, and matching pillowcases where they exist will get stored together. I think when all is said and done, we will need all of the sheets. Pillowcases? 27? Maybe we can get rid of some of those. But not the heirloom hand-embroidered ones from the early 20th century…

Next spring, I will do a similar thing with the blankets and comforters…

The photoooo? Roche Harbor on San Juan Island with Uber Kayak Woman, Lizard Breath and Mouse (kneeling to take a photo) at the bottom of the ramp. It was Monday morning and we were walking around with coffee (and using the bathroom a lot, at least I was) and wondering if all of these boats were deserted. Nope, after a bit, people began appearing everywhere. We were just early. Absolutely *gorgeous* morning in the San Juan Islands. My life is good but I miss that morning so much today.

Dresses and skirts

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

I was working on something relatively boring today which involved tweaking the javascript that provides dynamic content for about a billion pages in our high fidelity prototype. It wasn’t boring at first because I was actually doing a bit of lightweight programming and I like to program computers. (Especially debugging: stay calm, put write statements everywhere, comment things out, yada yada.) My work got boring when I had to QA the billion pages I had updated / created. I am good at QA work, although it isn’t my job, but I am not good at QA-ing my *own* work. Is anyone? But the point is that doing that kind of busy work often frees my brain to wander around and (EUREKA!) solve other problems. If I am not under a time crunch or getting interrupted every five minutes and that wasn’t happening today so I got a lot of busy work done and some creative work too.

I wore a dress to work today. I almost always do. Or more often a skirt. Even on casual Fridays. Even on summer casual days. You know, think baggy old guys (like me and sometimes, uh, larger) wearing cargo shorts (is that the right word?) to work. I am sorry but I don’t go there. I choose *extremely* comfortable biz-caz stuff. If it doesn’t fit right or look right or I am generally tugging at it the whole day, I ruthlessly put it in the free box. I have tried pants but they are usually too long for me. I AM NOT SHORT but I DO NOT WEAR HIGH HEELS! So why not wear skirts if that’s what I’m the most comfortable in?

I do own pants. They are raggedy old black cotton / spandex leggings (that my kids hate). In fact, I realized about five minutes outta the Planet Ann Arbor last weekend that the pants I was wearing had a HUUUUUGE split in the seam up at the top of my left thigh. Yikes! It’ll be cold up there this weekend, I will need these pants. I knew I hadn’t packed a second pair. I knew I would not be able to buy a comparable pair up there. After a couple of days of schlepping around town with some inner thigh showing (!), I fixed that problem with a needle and thread in the moomincabin bathroom. Sigh.

When the beach urchins were babies, I dressed them up in all kinds of cute frilly ruffly PINK (or whatever) dresses and skirts and things. And I also dressed them in Oshkosh-by-gosh overalls, the regular blue denim kind (or not), sometimes with hand-me-down shirts from their boy cousins. They grew up wearing pants and skirts and sometimes skirts with pants underneath them, which I thought was really smart, given that some not particularly well socialized boyz at the school playground would *look* at people’s panties if they were hanging upside down on the monkey bars. I armed my kids against that. If you want to wear a dress or skirt, wear shorts under it.

Skirt or pants? Who the heck cares? There’s no reason a male person cannot wear a dress or skirt. At a wedding I recently attended, the bride’s dad wore a kilt. Some of my Scottish ancestors probably wore those too. What are you comfortable wearing? Whoever you are, wear whatever the hell you want to.

“We don’t ship those, they escape our grasp in a bloody trail.” I shipped it anyway and then I left to go meet the megabus.

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Er, yeah, someone has been doing a lot of xbox-type gaming in their spare time. Anyway, I picked Lizard Breath up over at the Megabus this afternoon after a trip to Chicago and we are hanging out at the Landfill cooking spaghetti sauce.

And we are reminiscing. Or I am. About the time when Liz was 18 months old and we were scheduled to drive down to Flor-i-duh to visit her grandparents. The Beautiful Suzie went with us. A week or so before the trip, I was having a rather stressful day and I was trying to feed my baby lunch in her high chair before I went to work for the afternoon. I don’t remember whether she didn’t want to eat or was just fussy or whatever but I kind of snapped and called her a “bad girl”. I have had my moments as a parent but that was out of character for me and she *hung her head*. I immediately melted. How could I have said that? I also realized something. We had been talking and talking and talking about going to Florida but we forgot to say something very important, which was, “*You* are going *with* us!” I think that babies understand language a lot earlier than they have the ability to verbally communicate. I knew that then but I was too wrapped up in my own stress to be thinking about what my baby might be thinking. To me, going to Florida and leaving a baby at home alone was totally unthinkable. My baby may have had some different thoughts…

We had a great trip to Florida that time. The Courtois grandparents were traveling to Florida at the same time and we met up with them at various points along the way. We had two overnights on the road and the first night was the first time the baby Lizard Breath had ever stayed in a motel that she could remember. As we were packing up to leave at 0-dark-30 the next morning, she made sure that she was *outside* the motel room and next to our vee-hickle (1985 Jetta if The Engineer is tuning in from the other side). NO WAY was she going to be left in that motel room! As I just (unnecessarily) reassured my independent 20-something kiddo tonight, even if *we* had tried to leave her in a motel room, her Beautiful Aunt Suzy would have made sure she was retrieved.

So, of course we *did* take her to Florida and we did *not* leave her in a motel room (fer kee-reist!) and she is now in the Landfill Chitchen cooking a spaghetti dinner for us.

Dreams of Florida that trip include the GG getting up at something like 3:00 AM to drive into the interior of Florida to set up his telescope and watch Halley’s Comet. When he got back from those expotitions, we would go out for breakfast. Beach outings and alligators erderators at the Sarasota Jungle Gardens. And rubber duckies in the grandparents’ condo pool.

Three boxes of baking soda and counting…

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

I tried. Yesterday in the late afternoon I tried to sit and whine in the little hollow in front of the Old Cabin. 1) It was too cold. 2) My Old Cabin Hollow Buddy npJane was not there with me. I gave up. I cleaned the moomincabin refrigerator instead. Not that it was filthy by any stretch of the imagination. Actually it was in pretty good shape. But summer is history and it was time to pack up all of the leftover mustards and things and take them home.

I hate schlepping food back and forth to the Yooperland or wherever. It absolutely drives me nuts. Yesterday and this morning when I was packing food up and this afternoon when I was unpacking I vacillated wildly between thinking something like, “there is way too much stuff here” and “actually this is not too bad.”

It really wasn’t too bad. It wasn’t as hard as a few years ago after Radical Betty’s memorial service when I ended up with something like four boxes of whine in the Landfill Chitchen and a whole bunch of other stuff. I did use up the whine and no, I did not drink it all, I cook with whine a lot. It wasn’t as bad as last summer which I can barely remember except that The Comm was still alive and a good time was had by all and I ended up with a lot of food to assimilate.

Today? I now own three boxes of baking soda. I am not a frequent baker so I wonder if I’ll ever use that stuff up. Oh, I know I can clean with it or pour it down the drain or whatever. Actually, I did pour some of it down the damn drain here at the Landfill today. Like, what *is* that stench? Is there a dead chipmunk down there or what? I was able to assimilate most of the leftover food and it *was* easier than the last few years. And some of the excess this year is stuff from The Commander’s house in town, “Grandma’s other house, the real house where she lives some of the days” was how Lizard Breath described it at about the age of three.

We are entering into a new era of managing the moomincabin. One where there isn’t a house “in town” to schlep stuff to for the winter. So, what goes to the moomincabin in the summer has to return to the Planet Ann Arbor or somewhere in the fall.

Where’s the balance? You want to have all of the food staples that you and your family need and you want to be able to supply guests with things that they might need too. But keeping a whole lot of crap in a vacation cabin seems like a bad idea too. There is a small but good grokkery store a few miles down the road in Brimley and there is always Glens (or Woldemort) over in The Soo.

I did okay today. I found homes for most of the items in the six (count ’em) bags of food that I brought home today. I only threw a few things out. I think there is about one grocery bag of stuff left up there now. We’ll get that in a few weeks. And we’ll all go on from there…

[Long] Lost and found photo

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

I was thinking about this photooo yesterday and wouldn’t you know, the GG actually knew where it was. We were poor when I was six years old and my parents built this place. Poor being an exaggeration I think. I don’t remember EVER being hungry or cold (well, cold maybe for sometimes when the summer temperatures on Gitchee Gumee would dip to the 30s overnight). We owned our own home and a car and my dad worked as a banker in the small town of Sault Ste. Siberia. Let me just say that his salary was NOTHING approaching the salaries of those “bankers” who drove our nation’s economy off the road a few years ago. We lived well but modestly.

But my granddaddy and a couple of his friends bought this beach in the 1920s and when I was six, my parents abandoned their dreams of building a new house on a lot they owned then and instead decided to build a cabin on the grandparents’ land. I forget how much money they told the builder they could spend but it was not a lot. The builder was a buddy of my dad. He was up to the challenge and one of the things that I love most about this place is the big picture windows. They were salvaged from a store somewhere.

The white paint was just the first coat. The parents knew they were going to paint the place red (it’s brown now and I actually had to go out the back door to check…) but it also kind of looked like a hamburger stand and so the “hambergurs 10 cents” sign was a huge joke around the moominbeach for a while. I would not be surprised if The Commander actually served hamburgers to folks but I don’t exactly remember. Probably there *were* a few good parties involving hamburgers on the grill and a wee bit of beer or whine or liqwire. I do know that those folks had a darn good time. The Commander always told me that when she first met Grandroobly’s family, they were all giggling. I think we still do that and that is not a bad thing.

This place has evolved just a wee bit since that photoooo was taken and I talked about that yesterday so I won’t bore you with it again.

Another long day. We spent the morning finalizing the carpeting work at The Comm’s house with Ralph and his lovely Canadian wife Colleen. Ralph was a friend of The Engineer (photo) and did The Comm’s last carpeting project. Colleen is a second grade teacher at Washington School. Then there was a window washing session at the Dillon house and… finally… ’cause I was starving by that time… lunch at one of my fave places on earth, The Palace Saloon!

That is about it for now. The rest of the day was filled with moomincabin clean up and close out staging tasks. We’re not closing up this weekend. We’ll be back one more time.

If you put my chair next to a pee rail, I can put my cocktail on it

Friday, September 21st, 2012

It isn’t always very easy to get a good photooo of the moomincabin. There’s always a vee-hickle in the way or the propane gas tank or a bunch of junk on the deck… Actually, there is some junk on the deck but this one isn’t too bad. Someday I will have to post a few photoos of the place over the years. We originally built a low-budget one-story place with no deck and no amenities. Wood stove, outhouse, and cold running water to the kitchen sink via a garden hose (yes, really) from my uncle’s well. The short story is that when The Commander gained a daughter-in-law, she finally put in an indoor bathroom. It’s a small one but it works. When Lizard Breath was born (The Comm’s first granddaughter), she had a second story built. The GG put the pee rails in during the last few years of the grandparents’ lives. They were doing well but starting to get a bit rickety and we didn’t want any accidents. I made sure that the GG did *not* put a pee rail on the front of the deck (to the left in the photooo). I didn’t want to obstruct our view of Gitchee Gumee.

We had a lot of crap to do in town today. Removing almost all of the last bits of The Comm’s stuff from her house, cleaning the windows….., re-connecting with our carpet guy after doing the chicken dance for the last few weeks, going to the GG’s fave Parker’s Ace Hardware store, eating at Clyde’s. It rained throughout most of this. I was happy about this. We needed this rain. And then, we got back out to the moomincabin and I took a box of stuff out to the garage in a driving rainstorm and the next thing I knew, Mr. Golden Sun was out in full force.

Everybody was happy about the rain.

I spent the afternoon bagging up linens (we have a LOT of linens here) and then I walked the beach and *then* I sat up on the bank with whine, watching rainstorms move across Whitefish Bay.

And then, we were cooking duck breasts on the grill and the mean old grunchie old grinchie was coming down the back road. I ran like hell over to the grunchie’s place and managed to drag him back over here for grilled duck breast and rice and salad. And here are the boyz and I am done for the night.

In which the Victoriaborg is upbound rounding Point Louise

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

(And the Frog Hopper is apparently rounding a twuk on the Big Mac.) What I really need is about a week off when I get to just rattle around the Landfill picking at this and that and flinging it here and there. I’ll settle for the loverly MarineTraffic app I just downloaded to my iPhone. It gives me the location and all kinds of other data about all of the freighters and tugs and ferries and whatnot in the area. I think this little app may even beat Grandroobly’s scanner, although the crackly voices emanating from that device lent a certain ambience to cabin life (especially when they woke you up in the middle of the night). Maybe the app designer will include those in some later version.

Back in the day, we would all be sitting on the beach in the afternoon. “We” being pretty much whoever was around but always Radical Betty, who in the later years would appear around 4:00 or so with her beach chair and a basket of beer (“beeeeer is goooood for-r-r you”, she would say in a fake foreign accent attempting to emulate a Dutch friend). Grandroobly would be hanging out up in the moomincabin listening to the boats call in, downbound 15 miles above Ile Parisienne, downbound at Ile Parisienne, downbound at Light 26. He loved to appear at the top of the bank with his binoculars, peering out into Gitchee Gumee and announcing the approach of this or that freighter, one that none of the rest of us could see. And neither could he. He knew it because he was listening to the scanner. He did not get along with computers and I doubt he would have managed the iPhone with all of it’s swiping and double-tapping and apps and stuff. But I am looking forward to having a great time with MarineTraffic this weekend.

I am exhausted though. I missed a kayak / canoe work expotition this afternoon to come up here to work on The Commander’s house, which is now on the market but needs some carpet and a bit of cleaning and there is still some stuff in it, although we are really at the bitter end of that. It’s all the stuff that you wish you could just throw out in the swamp and look the other way, “Who me? I didn’t throw any old junk in the swamp. La la la.” But being the recycle queen of the Great Lake State, I cannot do that. And I am NOT (NOT NOT NOT) gonna to spend my whole weekend *cleaning* The Comm’s house. Maybe my real estate guy can recommend a good cleaning service for that kind of job. I am not up to it.

Anyway, it was a loooonnnng day but we are here and the moomincabin is warming up pretty well and, with luck, it’ll only go down to 40 overnight. Our trip took a somewhat different trajectory than usual because we were scheduled to attend a north country trail dinner and presentation in Rudyard but, by the time we got across the Big Mac, we were something like an hour ahead of schedule, so we detoured over along the waterfront in St. Ignace and actually stopped at a barrooooom for a cocktail. And I know about the MarineTraffic app because someone at the north country trail dinner told me about it. What can I say? We are easily amused here in the Great White North.

Okay, I am totally incoherent tonight and so good night!

P. S. I was talking about Boat Nerd and I accidentally said Boat *Turd* and I could not stop laughing. Guess you can be 50-something and still be into bathroom humor.


Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

I don’t think I have *ever* before received a comment from all three of the Regenstreif sisters on one post. They are my cuzzints and npJane *was* born in February 1962 around the time we [apparently] bought that lemony Corvair. Boy was she CUTE! I was not crazy about babies as a kid but I loved the baby Jane. Nowadays, when the two of us are occasionally out and about in downtown Planet Ann Arbor, she almost always runs into some of her gazillion friends and I love to embarrass her with, “Jane is the Baby Cousin!” It could well be that The Commander drew a correlation between buying the Corvair and Jane being born. I’m just trying to figure out what earlier events The Comm may have been drawing that pattern from. Oh well, I will probably never know… (Except it seems we did buy a new two-tone 1957 Ford something and The Engineer was born in 1957…)

@Tonya, I am also puzzled by my very carefully written (if a little wavy) *cursive* letter to my grandparents. I also thought that I remembered cursive being taught in third grade. The GG says, “I learned cursive in second grade.” Okay, kiddo, you went to the “C’mere so I can hitya” (aka Catholic) schools then. I *definitely* remember having my tonsils out in second grade and that letter was written before the operation… I must have learned it in second grade. Mrs. Bishop was my second grade teacher and she was hands down the best of the best of my excellent grade school teachers. My best guess is that she took some of us who were ready to learn cursive writing and *taught* it to us. And *still* managed the classroom. Politicians, take a note…

You would’ve had to be there but I once cracked up a whole roomful of software developers and systems analysts and the like by saying something like, “Talk Like a Pirate Day? This is Talk Like a BA Day!” BA = business systems analyst, a job title that didn’t exist in the Jurassic Age when I graduated from college. With a music degree. Flute performance. Yeah. Very marketable.

I am humble about my small and rather late success in the world but, when someone seems actually interested in my life and job, I love to give them a thumbnail sketch of my employment history — IT careers bookending a looonnnng stretch of mooooooom (and very active volunteer). I am not an expert on education but I have been a student, a parent, and a student again. I have *always* been interested in what goes on in the schools and I am very disturbed at the direction that our politicians and business folk seem to want to take education. I have *many* concerns but the one I want to focus on for the moment is the eradication of arts education from our schools.

I get that STEM is where all the money is. What do I not get? First, that not all students *want* STEM careers. Then there’s the rather nebulous thought that life would be pretty damn boring if we didn’t have art and drama and music. Why should we not support those areas of expertise? Many of those people would be very successful at STEM-type careers but, if they are not interested in those, why force them into that area?

Finally, I had a bit of an epiphany today. If you are a professionally trained musician or even if you are a pretty darn good high school musician, you will know the discipline involved in playing two-against-three. What does that mean? In its simplest form, if you are playing a keyboard instrument (like the piano), it means that one hand is playing triplets and the other is playing duplets. I was a pro at doing stuff like that from an early age. Recently, in my life as a systems analyst, I had to write some relatively gnarly javascript. We have a need to display a variable number of items in an html data table where the background color of the rows alternates (think online banking, you guys). As I was writing the function that accomplishes this, I realized that it was kind of like the old triplets vs. duplets thing.

It’s maybe a stupid example in some ways but please, let’s not eliminate the arts from our schools. I don’t have the steam to write about this coherently and comprehensively tonight and you are pretty much done reading for now. I just think that for a lot of people, a good liberal arts education with some STEM stuff sprinkled in is a good thing. Because who the heck knows what careers are coming down the pike. As I think I began with, I doubt many people back in the 1970s could envision the career that I have now but being a *music* major and liberal arts person in general has given me the critical thinking skills that are necessary to be successful at it.

Dear Grandfather

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

I will spare you the incoherent rant that keeps percolating through my brain. A few of my five regular readers agree with me about these things but others do not and I am not feeling up to troll-poking tonight. But fer kee-reist!

Instead, let’s return to that proverbial “simpler time”. You either know about that from life or those internet memes. For the life of me, I can’t find one of those memes right now. Usually, I am inundated by them by those who only post photos or memes on facebook. Today I can’t find one. Anyway… Yes we did play outside all day and nobody could reach us and we knew to come home when the streetlights came on (and for meals, roight?). And when The Commander blew the blasted train whistle (a downside of that being that certain beach relatives would take the train whistle as a signal for “Cocktails are now being served.” >wink<)

Yes, those were good times and I miss them. But I don’t miss the polio virus and running water as my dad used to describe it (you run down to the beach with a bucket, fill it up, and run back up) or outhouses (although I do enjoy fancy composting ones with picture windows). And fer kee-reist, having smartphones with us when we landed in Seattle oh so many days ago now allowed us to find our way to a Panera for MUCH-NEEDED utility food and re-grouping and then on to Anacortes to find a liqwire store and catch a ferry…

I think that part of the reason so many people are remembering the “good times” is because they *were* good times for those people. Like me, they had parents who wanted children and were able to make enough money to care for them. When the streetlights came on or the whistle blew, there was a warm place to return to and someone to take the slivers out of your feet and tuck you in for the night.

I don’t know that those good old days *were* all that good for everyone. Some of those people made it through all of that and became “successful” “baby-boomers” like us. Others maybe not so much.

The photooo is part of a letter I wrote to “Funny Grandaddy” when I was in second grade (in 1962). I left off the first page, which had “Dear Grandfather”, and then told him that I had been having fun with riddles and proceeded to write eight riddles and eventually tell him the answers. You are happy that I didn’t include that. I did get my tonsils out. I needed to get them out. I was waking up about once a week with a sore throat — tonsilitis or strep throat or whatever. It was time. I remember a lot of stuff about that experience but will spare you for now. Twinkle did have kittens — it was her first litter and two of them died. We did buy a new vee-hickle that year. It was a Chevy Corvair and it was sort of a lemon. Fun fact: my second high school boyfriend bought that car but, by the time I was going out with him, he had a Gremlin. (The GG had a Gremlin when I first went out with him too… Oh well.) I cannot believe that I had $100.37 in my savings account back then. Grandparents must have been involved. I do not at all remember the thing about if we buy a car, somebody has a baby… Mother? What? Where are you?

Tweet tweet grok grok

Monday, September 17th, 2012

It was Friday night and I was sitting in the Landfill Back Room chilling a bit after walking down to the Oscar Tango Barrooooom and back for cocktails and dinner and taking a loverly second shower.

I got a wee bit grumpy after about the billionth Soo High alumnus posted an invitation to join them on something called “schoolfeed” to my facebook wall or somebody else’s. I don’t know what “schoolfeed” is or how much value it adds to my life. A lot of us are friends on facebook already and that alone has allowed some of us to reconnect and plan a fantastic reunion this summer. What is “schoolfeed” and why do we need it? I have ignored all requests to join it. I could well be wrong but it feels spamish to me. In fact, I’m not sure all of my friends even know that they are sending these invitations. (Yeesh, maybe *I* am inadvertently spamming others with it…) I genuinely like all of these people and I don’t want to lose them on facebook so, instead of grumping about it over there, I tweeted this (I doubt any of these folks follow me on Twitter):

Wish high school friends would quit posting “schoolfeed” “invites” to my facebook wall. Wonder if they even know they are doing it…

Then, because I was thinking about it, I tweeted what I considered a throw-away tweet about my ongoing situation with PayPal. I have had a PayPal account for *years*. It is very convenient when you want to buy something from a site like Etsy or eBay. A couple years ago, it got “limited” some how. I couldn’t use it to pay for anything. Supposedly I could “easily” fix it via the PayPal website but every time I tried to do that, I got stuck into an infinite loop that I won’t even begin to describe. I suspect that the issue was related to the fact that I ditched my landline a couple years ago. I could have called their tech support but I HATE calling tech support anywhere. Anyway, I *wanted* to use PayPal this weekend, so I threw caution to the winds and tweeted:

Also wish Paypal would let me “unlimit” my account w/out making a phone call. Issue is prob’ly that I ditched my landline a while back.

I am still getting spammed by former high school classmates who probably don’t even know they are spamming me. But minutes after I made that PayPal tweet, @AskPayPal started following me… Hello? I followed them back and after a couple messages back and forth, I woke up the next morning and my PayPal account was RESTORED!!! YES, I WAS IMPRESSED!!! THANK YOU PAYPAL!*

That allowed me to embark on a little eBay adventure. Oh, don’t worry, my transactions were all very small and I did NOT buy any froogs.

*Disclaimer: Paypal did not pay me to write this or even ask me to write it. I was just very impressed that they monitored my tweet and fixed my issue so quickly and painlessly. I did not expect that at all. Other companies (Apple?) take a note.

“If I had a pokit if it wus big enuf I wod pot my mouse in it”

Sunday, September 16th, 2012

Little kids are so cute except when they’re not, oh you know, kicking their little brother under the table and then complaining, “He’s kicking meeeeee!” Or throwing chairs around. Or whatever. This little gem is written on one of those big sheets of lined paper that they use to teach kids how to form letters. It’s chock full of “inventive” spelling but notice that the word “mouse” is spelled correctly. You learn how to spell your own name early and over on the other side of the baggy old Landfill Chitchen from where I am blathering away, is evidence of that. Written in pencil on the wall at the age of something like 2-1/2. “Mouse”.

I finished up emptying the big canvas LLBean bag full of papers and stuff from The Comm, filing most of it, recycling or shredding the rest. And then it was getting toward the yardarm but not quite and I was hungry but there are no blasted snacks around here, so I started in on a Landfill file folder labeled “Report Cards”. Nothing much to see really. Apparently my kids were pretty darn good students overall. Of course, being their mother, I have always remembered the bad days, like when [the wonderful, in my opinion] Mr. 7th-grade-science-teacher emailed me about missing homework and the time when I felt obligated to go and drag a kid out of an end of school outdoor concert at West Park because of a missing assignment that I thought should have been a no-brainer for my normally uber-organized kiddo. It was her junior year and I just read an article this morning about how horrible 11th grade is… Hmmm…

One of the ironic things about that is that when I took myself back to college at the age of 50, that same by-then successful COLLEGE junior, who was about to launch for study abroad told me in no uncertain terms, “Moom, you have no idea about how to go to college. You can’t study in the CHITCHEN(!) and here is a folder for each of your classes.” I was okay. I got straight As. I did actually study in the chitchen sometimes but I also set up a place on the Green Couch out in the front room and nowadays that is one of my fave work-from-home spots.

Anyway, Hawkfest was today down at Lake Erie Metropark and we usually go down for Hawkfest but we decided that it would take five or six hours out of what could be a really productive day so instead, we parked down by Barton Dam and walked from there to Argo Dam, ate breakfast at the Northside Grille, then walked back. The rest of the day has been chores, errands, and flinging (yay!). I think we needed that. The GG has been on a vee-hickle-cleaning jag this weekend so both the Ninja and the Mean Green Frog Hoppin’ Musheen are spotless inside and out. That’s a good thing. It’s been a while. (I will guess that there’s still a partial bottle of blue death lingering somewhere in one of those vee-hickles…)

Love y’all,

Roly Poly

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

Yeah, I know. I gotta be gross once in a while in memory of my dear brother The Engineer who loved to send me photoooos of dead sturgeons on the moominbeach and other wondrous stuff. Click away if you need to and I’ll seeya in the next episode. I have to click away from other people’s blahgs sometimes. I won’t tell you what kind of stuff makes me click away >wink< Some of you may know. Please don’t tell. Telling will NOT get you any brownie points. Trust me.

The other day one of my BFFs aka Sam the Archaeologist (not dog) posted that her day was full of picky little chores and errands. None of these things taken individually made her feel like she was making any progress about “getting things done” and so she was struggling to feel as if she was being productive. I understood but I didn’t comment because at the time, ALL I COULD MANAGE TO DO WAS GO TO WORK IN THE MORNING, GO HOME IN THE AFTERNOON, COOK *SOMETHING* FOR DINNER, AND CRASH. Yes, I cooked. I enjoy eating in restaurants but not every day.

I had a day like Sam’s today. What the heck did I accomplish? Actually, when I tot it all up into the grand scheme of things, quite a bit. Walked down to the farmer’s market this morning, washed and changed sheets, did a secret errand that I’ll prob’ly blahg about at some later date, back down to the farmer’s market with the Mean Green Frog Hoppin’ Musheen to pick up some mums and asters, etc. Met Mouse for lunch at the Colonnade Panera, which is right across the street from REI and some people wanted to go to REI but not me but Whole Foods is right next to REI and I did have some grokkeries to get, so I went there and got some and then I went over to REI and wouldn’t you know, I was the only person who bought anything. A loverly ocean blue polartech hoodie. Home again and, since I couldn’t get everything I wanted at Whole Foods (go figger), a trip to the Plum Market ensued.

Okay, all of that stuff was procrastination. Some time in the middle of the afternoon, I forced myself to get down to business, which was to try to organize (again) all of the paperwork that surrounds the death of my mother and last surviving parent. The paperwork has multiplied in both volume and complexity over the summer and no, I do not know what I am doing half the time. My goal today was to sort it out (again). I am getting there. I started out this little adventure with a living nonagenarian mother and one cute little baby blue organizer thingy that zips shut. I now have two of those thingies plus a huge LL Bean canvas tote bag and I dunno how many binders. Although I really expected mom to live for at least a few more years, she died last winter. I am not that upset about it. Her quality of life deteriorated precipitously that last year and after a few episodes in the hospital she was pretty much done and I am moving on. But of course I am still processing. I do know that she would have wanted me to travel to Lopez Island last weekend for her beloved sister-in-law Radical Betty’s grandson’s wedding. And I did and I had the most wonderful time on earth.

Enough. I know those days when you are doing umpteen million little chores and how you feel like you are not getting anything done. Not. Those little things will have to get done eventually. Best to fit them in when you can and celebrate with whine or a ‘hattan or a ‘tini at the end. And don’t beat yourself up.

I am hoping that I have turned a corner this weekend with getting back into The Big Fling. Wish me luck!!!

Love y’all,

Blahgger’s block

Friday, September 14th, 2012

I am here on The Planet Ann Arbor and it is Friday night and we did what we usually do on Friday night, which is that the GG walks downtown in the late afternoon and then I walk down there after work (walking solo allows me to chill a bit) to meet him for cocktails and dinner at the Oscar Tango Barrooooom and sometimes we are Porterized and sometimes we are not. We did all that tonight and we were Porterized and it was all fun but I am feeling kind of blah somehow. I think it’s a lingering touch of jet lag. We only traveled three time zones so I don’t really feel like I should be dragging that much but still, since we got back, I have yet to get up early enough in the morning to get my full 0-skunk-30 walk in. I am *awake* on time. I just cannot drag myself outta bed. It’s not like I am sleeping in half the morning, just slugging until 20-30 minutes later than usual. I hope I can get back to normal by Monday. Or even tomorrow, so we can get to the farmer’s market when it opens at 7:00 AM. ’cause that’s what we *do* on Saturday mornings when we’re here on the Planet Ann Arbor.

So what else? Commiseration with my Daytwa public school teacher friend tonight and some solidarity with the Chicago teachers. Testing testing testing testing. Not entirely a bad thing if used in a constructive way. But where is the test that asks what time the kids went to bed the night before or where they slept or who they slept with and how many rats ran across their shoulder while they were sleeping or what they had for breakfast or if they even had breakfast or why they are unfamiliar with how a flush toilet operates. C’mon, people, the teachers are not the problem here and that is as far as I am gonna go with that because our country has some extremely complex problems these days and I cannot even begin to formulate the questions, let alone provide the answers. But make no mistake, the CEOs that run those big charter school companies don’t have them either. They just have a good nose for where the money is. Buyers (aka taxpayers) beware.

Yes, I am blathering even more incoherently than usual tonight. I am grumpy and cranky and tired and wishing the left coast wasn’t so dern far away. Or even the yooperland.

Good night, KW

Two tomatoes now

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

Today I finally started to feel like I was catching up around here. I’ve been chasing laundry around since we got back. This afternoon, I managed to actually get it out of the dryer, folded and put away. Except for things that don’t belong to me. I am a washerwoman from way back. I remember when there were umpteen bazillion people at the moomincabin in the summer and once a week, I would haul a ton of laundry to the Lockview Laundromat, fill three triple-loaders and a small washer or two for oh, you know, undies and things. I would get there when it opened at eight and be back out at the moomincabin by 10 AM. On the flip side of that, both of the beach urchins began doing their *own* laundry at about the age of 10. I think I wasn’t very good at distributing clean undies to the right people.

As I wrote that, it occurred to me that, in the later years of The Commander’s life, the mere thought of me flinging laundry around at that pace exhausted her. But back when the beach urchins were young, it was The Comm who set the laundry pace and that’s where I learned it. We didn’t go to the Lockview Laundromat then, we went to a place at the “plaza”, which was run by a friend of The Comm’s. We took the beach urchins with us and once when they got into a bit of a tiff, that friend took it upon herself to tell them that their behavior was not to be tolerated in her laundromat. She eventually left that job and the plaza laundromat went downhill and eventually out of business (I think). The beach urchins got old enough that I could leave them at the moomincabin alone and I moved my laundry operation to the Lockview. Nowadays I wait until I run out of underwear and run a load at The Comm’s house or take everything home and wash it…

Hee hee… Laundromat joke: My Dear Uncle Harry: When is the best time to go to the laundromat? Laundry Woman (aka me): Whenever George is not there. (George being a distant relative who was a wonderful person but not necessarily someone you’d want to hang out with at the laundromat (or anywhere else).)

Also hauled garbage / recycle out to the curb, paid some bills associated with The Comm’s estate, and I fergit what else. Oh yeah, ate my second (and last) homegrown tomato of the summer. I ate the first one about six weeks ago. I told you I had a black thumb! Actually there were other tomatoes six weeks ago but a well meaning person moved the plant pots down to the ground so they could take better advantage of whatever rain might fall. Alas, Henry ate them. Finally… Another tomato appeared. I didn’t think it would ever get ripe. In fact, I didn’t even venture into the back yard until this afternoon. Oh well, I will look at The Tomato since I am out here. RED RED RED! Ate it on the spot. Did not take a picture.

I am not going to post too many photooos of UKW’s space here on the internet because I want to preserve her privacy. Actually, I was random about photography out on Lopez in general. But her land is breathtakingly beautiful and this is just a wee bit of her yard with one of her gardens and her gate and our rental vee-hickle ruining the photooo in the back (Chevy Impala if my bro’ is tuning in from wherever he is). Her house (and composting outhouse) are in a clearing ringed with tall pine or fir trees. I am hesitant to try to ID those trees. They are reminiscent of the red pines on the moominbeach but certainly not the same. A gorgeous fence surrounds the “inner” yard, keeping deer out of the garden where UKW grows food a lot more successfully than I do. Gates like the one in the pic are a “thing” on Lopez! Everyone has a beautiful gate!

A two-track leads to UKW’s house and there are no streetlights anywhere, so with all of those tall trees, a flashlight is necessary to travel anywhere outside after dark. Outhouse or wherever. My iPhone “flashlight” (MyLite app) worked like a charm (except for the night that I used it to get us to R & J’s house and then couldn’t find it for 15 minutes… Sheesh.). This was somewhat reminiscent of my childhood on the moominbeach. Why didn’t we have these devices back when *I* had to use the outhouse?

Butt in seat.

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

As far and wide as you travel, sooner or later you find yourself standing in line in the Saline Road Meijer w-a-i-t-i-n-g for a management-type person to extricate some hapless person’s driver’s license from underneath the bar code scanner. Or sitting through a couple cycles of the Jackson / N. Maple left turn signal while the People’s Express shuttle (whatever the heck that is) noses in front of the third vee-hicle ahead of you, trying to make a left turn into Westgate across three lanes of heavy traffic. Or you’re just plain old butt in seat at work, like I was today. Actually, I came close to logging in to my work email on flight DL2220 yesterday but I talked myself down off that ledge. What could I have been thinking? Maybe something like, “I can, so I will?” Kee-reist.

We made our flight reservations way back on about July 7th or whenever and it wasn’t until they were paid for that I realized we were flying home on the infamous date of September 11th. I am not a frequent flyer and, in fact, I am a relatively nervous one, even though I used to go up with my WWII flight instructor dad in little Cessna four-seaters all the time when I was a kid and sometimes he would even let me take the controls if I was in the front passenger seat. It’s the lack of control that I don’t like, not the actual flight experience, although I always feel better when I actually get a glimpse of the *pilot* before we board. Oddly enough, I am even more comforted when there is a female pilot. For the life of me, I cannot tease out why. Not today anyway.

Although I avoided watching TV news at SeaTac yesterday, in the grand scheme of things, I wasn’t really all that freaked out about flying on 911 other than a couple of fleeting moments when my overactive brain decided to run amok with, “We are flying outta SeaTac and maybe we’ll take out the Golden Gate.” I squelched that thought in short order. Sheesh, KW!

Where am I going with this? Can I just say that the SeaTac TSA folks (at least the ones I encountered) made that whole experience a piece of cake. First of all, a *very* friendly TSA trainer guy took the time to clarify the whole do-I-take-my-iPad-outta-my-backpack-or-not thing. (Short answer? Yes, it is officially okay to leave your iPad in your backpack but stuff happens and people are asked to remove them sometimes. I was okay with that answer.) Next, a man (nervous flyer?) several people ahead of me at the metal detector thingy was asking about removing his watch. The TSA guy who was beckoning us through that thing told him — in a genuinely friendly voice — something like, “You can leave your watch on. Don’t worry, we’ll get you through.” THE SEATAC TSA FOLKS GAVE ME HOPE FOR THE UNITED SNAKES OF AMERICA!

I think that Daytwa Metro could take a lesson from SeaTac. At least the woman who barked me through the scanner thingy last Thursday. I had NO metal on me anywhere. I felt like I was naked in my summer clothes and bare feet. I had even taken off the gold chains that I ALWAYS wear (even when I swim in Gitchee Gumee). So the scanner didn’t turn anything up and she had no choice but to clear me but she still managed to try to make me feel like I was two inches tall. “When I say ‘don’t move’, DON’T MOVE!” I was feeling totally underwater that morning and I didn’t process her words in a split second. “Who the *hell* are *you*?”, I wondered.

I was so underwater that morning that I wasn’t really all that angry (although others were — even including one of her co-workers that we overheard saying he didn’t want to work with her again). I am still not angry, at least not at her. I recognized her need to boss me around as a personal problem on her part and that’s as far as I will go with that. My problem? Why is the TSA hiring people who take deep-rooted shoulder chips out on innocent little people who are nervous about flying from the get-go?

We DO need to somehow screen airline passengers from carrying on box-cutters or underwear bombz or whatever. I’m not going to comment on whether what we’re doing now is effective or not. I don’t know. What I want to know is how can we screen people out of the TSA who are not appropriate for dealing with the typical American flyer (and we come in all shapes, sizes, and colors, make no mistake) who is usually traveling to be with family and friends or to a conference or a vacation or whatever. Or at least place them somewhere else.

I’ve gone on long enough. Back home, butt in seat. And the photooo is of Castle Island from the Point Colville trail on Lopez Island.

“Life is about moving things from one place to another”

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Today: SeaTac once and Daytwa Metro twice. Yeah, twice. Landed there this afternoon from SeaTac, then back to pick up the beach urchins, who were on a flight that took off from SeaTac not too long before *we* landed at Metro. Parse that, if you will. Fortunately, Metro is a quick 25 miles from The Landfill on a good day and today was a good day. At any rate, I am back on the Planet Ann Arbor again and I think I am finished with airports for a while.

It’ll be a while before I completely process the last six days but here are some thanks (and an apology).

Thanks to UKW’s wonderful neighbors R & J for putting us up in their luxurious spare bedroom with private bath. We only regret not having more time to spend talking to them. (Another time?) Mouse and the GG did get to go on a hike with R on Sunday while the rest of us slackers chose to take a less strenuous route.

Thanks to the bride and groom for inviting us!

Thanks to all of the friendly Lopezians who went out of their way to make us feel at home. The folks who provided the [gorgeous outdoor] venue for the rehearsal dinner and the folks who provided the [gorgeous outdoor] venue for the wedding and those who provided all of the food — caterer and various volunteers (my fave being, “I have this fish [big fresh-caught salmon] and I’m crashing the party”). All of these people, whether serving in a paid capacity or just lending a hand, are part of UKW’s community, many of them as close to being her family as I am. So glad to finally meet them!

Thanks to [my cousin] Jay and her husband Carl for putting us up in their Seattle home last night so we could catch an early flight. Not to mention that Carl squired the beach urchins around town this morning and then shuttled them to Seatac for their flight. Oh and when we got there yesterday after a fun but looooong day, there was beer and a lovely bottle of Shiraz! Now, UKW and yer fav-o-rite blahgger might be known for kicking back getting just a wee bit silly with a bottle of whine. Jay and Carl? They are not teetotalers but I knew that the Shiraz was there for meeeeee. They knew that I would be ready by that time. I only wish we’d had more time to explore downtown Seattle with them. (Another time.)

Thanks to our nephew S for meeting us (and Jay) downtown for dinner and a bit of a walkabout. Again, I wish for more time.

Apologies to a couple of long-time Seattle-area blahg friends, Agate Gal and Stargazer, for *not* arranging for a meet-up. Given that we were out there for a family event on a remote island and they also have very busy lives, it was impossible. I think all of us knew that. Still, so close and yet so far away… Another time?

THANKS to UKW for more things than I can begin to list, at least not tonight. Like I said, I have not even begun to process the last six days. I am going to be dreaming of “organically-grown” dwellings surrounded by gardens and pastures and tall fir trees. I am going to be dreaming of gliding past islands on giant ferries, watching the sun rise. I am going to be dreaming of schlepping things from one place to another. Actually, I already have dreams like that. I call them “packing” dreams. Maybe I’ll try to suppress those.

To all my family (outlaws included), thanks for being my family. I’m glad that we know each other so well and are still so friendly after all these years. We may all have our little quirks (I certainly do!) but I think we’ve turned out pretty darn well, don’t you? >huge-grin<

G’night! It’s late here but it’s only 8:00 PM on the left coast and I seem to have partially acclimated myself to that time zone. Tomorrow morning is gonna be absolutely brutal!