Archive for November, 2012

moonlight midnight madness

Friday, November 30th, 2012

I can never remember whether it’s moonlight madness or midnight madness. Whatever it is, when the beach urchins were teenyboppers, I always used to call it the wrong thing and then I would get the whole correction thing. “Oh mooooom, it’s *midnight* madness, not *moonlight* madness.” Or probably it was the other way ’round. And no doubt somebody will correct me tonight.

Anyway I still don’t remember what it’s called but it was crowded down there and I had my backpack on and I kept bumping it into people and even though it was practically empty, that was annoying. And there were all these carolers everywhere and I just couldn’t get into the seasonal stuff. I wasn’t in a bad mood exactly, just not all that excited. I was more in the mood for somebody to dump a big barrel full of leaves into the street, pour some gasoline on it and light a match. I guess it wasn’t crowded enough downtown, so we headed over toward Kerrytown…

Where it was *really* crowded.

There was yet *another* festival going on over there (Kindlefest, I just looked it up) and eventually we figgered out that we were not just in a big gridlock, we were actually in line for “rue” gluh wine or some such substance. I can’t remember exactly. Thank you Twitter! Not that I would normally turn down whine but if you have to walk a couple miles to get home, you have to manage your substance abuse carefully so you don’t end up hitting the bushes at West Park or wherever. So we bagged it and the GG ate fish instead. Or maybe it ate him. I can’t remember.

Anyway, home again and after a loverly second shower (of the day), I am hanging out in the back room with whine but I’ll be switching to water in a few minutes. And hitting the rack. So I can walk back down to the farmer’s market in the morning. And then I have a special prodject planned for this weekend. We’ll see what gets done…


Your daily [mini]dose of excitement!

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

It was a loverly afternoon and the drive home was smooooooth as silk. I didn’t have to wait more than *one* cycle at *any* intersection, not even the infamous Ellsworth / State or Jackson / N. Maple. The roads were dry, the sun was setting, and I didn’t have any tailgaters. To add a bit of icing to the cake, as I was leaving work, some young Whippersnapper actually *complimented* me on my vee-hickle, which was the Ninja today, which is indeed a fine vee-hickle, except when there’s over a few inches of snow. Anyway, I was on a cloud all the way home, shifting up and down through all the gears with aplomb. And yeah, I know, git over yerself, y’all are saying.

I rolled up the street to the Landfill, parked, and started schlepping stuff inside. Everything was normal. It’s Thursday and that means it’s time to get the garbage and recycle out to the curb. So, maybe three minutes later, I was outside again, rolling the recycle cart down to the street. Say what? There’s a faaaarrrr down the street. A big bonfaaaarrr in the “middle” of the street. Leaves. I had driven by that house maybe five minutes before and did not notice a faaarrrr. Or anything out of the ordinary. It is illegal to make a bonfaaarrr in the middle of the street on the Planet Ann Arbor and, as I went back inside, I wondered if somebody would call the Planet Ann Arbor Faaarrrr Department.

I was opening a package from eBay down in the dungeon. There were about a billion packing peanuts in it and that was the only place I had a garbage situation that would handle all those damn peanuts. (I needed some new mixing bowls — my old Copco ones are shot — and I found some cool vintage ones on eBay that will match one of the colors I want in my new chitchen.) Say what? SIRENS! Yup. Somebody called the AAFD. Back upstairs to grab my camera iPhone to *try* to get a photoooo. Alas, I am a huge fan of iPhoneography but I knew I could not get much closer to the action to get a better photoooo without having some poor overworked faaaaarman yell something like, “Git outta here and stop rubber-neckin’, ya old bag snowbilly”. So, this is what you get. That big bright light is not the faaaarrrr (which was pretty much out by then). It is what my iPhone did with one of the faaaarrr-trucks’ headlights. Yes, there were *two* trucks… Why? I do not know… How much does it cost to send out a faaarrr truck? I mean, this was a *leaf* bonfaaarrrr…

Good night,
Kayak Woman

Flingin’ Bling

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

So, NpJane commented on yesterday’s bunch of blather that the last time she tried to take a roll of pennies to an actual *bank* to deposit it, they would not accept it. If that’s the truth, I wonder what the heck the Haisley Elementary School PTO treasurer does with all the cash and coins after the Ice Cream Social. Or what the Forsythe Middle School Treasurer does with all of the cash and coins after all of those “Fun” Nights.

Back in the day when I did those jobs, I would take several gallon-size ziplock bags full of cash home after the Haisley ice cream social and also those loverly old fun nights. Once upon a time, Purple Victoria came over the day after one of those events and saw bags of cash on my kitchen table and remarked that it looked like I was a drug dealer. Except that most of the cash was one dollar bills. I loved counting money and I always took that stuff over to the bank perfectly counted and labeled and they loved me over there at the bank.

So, for everyday banking, I still have accounts at the bank that took over the bank that took over the bank that took over the bank that took over the bank that my dad and grandfather worked at as small-time bankers at in the rugged outpost of Sault Ste. Siberia. I am not sentimental, especially since the 2nd to last bank went under in the big mortgage greed crisis. But I still do use the new bank. For one thing, there is a branch within walking distance of my house and, even though I am not always in there with my big ugly PTO bags of cash and coin and lizards and whatever, people over there still remember me and so they are nice to me. And then there’s the fact that The Comm kept that bank for her everyday accounts (and safe deposit box) in Sault Ste. Siberia. Aaaannnddd… The bank manager lives next door to The Comm’s house and is a facebook friend of mine… I do not know if my branch of that bank takes coins, rolled or not. I suspect that the Sault Ste. Siberia branch does.

I dumped $43.40 worth of coins into the Coinstar musheen at Meijer today. I paid .09% to do that, $3.87 or something. Some people might think that I wasted money. I could’ve rolled those coins at home yada yada. But wait a minute. That would’ve taken time. First of all, I am done done done with rolling coins. Second, the bank is open when I am working. So taking my carefully rolled coins to the bank requires that I *drive* from my work *to* a branch bank (and back). How much gasoline am I using? At what price? Hmmm?

I’m not sure how an innocent comment from npJane resulted in this diatribe (or whatever it is).

I am doing my best to balance my life and at this point in time, sorting and rolling coins does not add any value to my life, not even in that zen way. (Er, not that anyone [but me] cares [wink].)

Full Swing Fling

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Ever wonder what your dungeon walls look like from the *outside*? It’s a good thing I managed to get a picture of this loverly hole this morning after the sun came up and before I left for work. Otherwise, I am guessing I might never have known this prodject actually happened because apparently the hole is already filled up. I didn’t look. Actually, I am wrong. I would’ve noticed because this prodject took out a whole bunch of weedy, ugly vegetation that has been there mostly untouched for going on 30 years. Or more. Yay! Supposedly, our loverly clayey soil was pushing water through little cracks in the wall and not allowing it to seep or trickle or whatever down to the drain tile, which was pronounced A-okay. Now there’s gravel down in that there hole. Even I can figure out what that means. I think.

Flingin’. Okay, I have not flung in bulk lately, except for the three big garbage bags of clothes and stuff that Easter Seals is picking up on Friday. This weekend, I put a number of small bags and other containers into the Ninja for flinging at various places throughout the week. An egg carton went to work today for a woman who raises chickens in her back yard. A bag of old CDs and some scrappy balls of yarn got dropped off at the Scrap Box at lunchtime. Good memories of girl scout, YAG, and birthday events at that place.

What’s still in the Ninja? 1) Coins to drop into a Coinstar musheen. I’m sorry, I’m not gonna roll all those coins and take them to the bank. I spent a lot of time rolling coins during my small non-profit treasury years and I loved it but I didn’t have a full-time career in those days and now that I do life is just too damn short. I’ll pay $.09 on the dollar to dump my coins into the musheen. Besides, the Coinstar musheen is fun! (There’s one at Glen’s in Sault Ste. Siberia too.) 2) A few returnable bottles et al leftover from Thanksgiving. If the bottle musheen doesn’t take ’em, I’ll throw ’em into the recycle bin for the bottle picker folks to pick up Friday before the recycle truck comes. 3) Books! I am slowly but surely curating the book collection, so I am getting rid of some (but not all!) and now there are these book drop bins showing up all over town. I know there are other places to donate books but my fave (AAUW) only accepts them in the summer and my flinging prodject is ongoing and and this is easy because there is a drop bin at the Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. MEIJER! And that is on my way to work and I often stop there when I have a grokkery list of non-perishable things that can hang out in the Ninja’s trunk all day while I’m at work. Like terlet paper and dish detergent and plastic wrap and canned tomato paste and tortilla chips and cereal (and whine).

G’night and happy flinging (if you are flinging).

Snowy and Snowy are here. It’s time!

Monday, November 26th, 2012

I wish I had a photooo of Snowy and Snowy. Or even of the great big hole on the south side of The Landfill. You’ll have to make do with this cheap and dirty “designer” fashion cart instead. I *don’t* brake for designer fashion and I haven’t been in TJ Maxx in a ‘coon’s age. I think the last time I was *in* TJ Maxx I was with Purple Victoria and we both bought Easter place mats. That would’ve been a long time ago because about all the attention we have given the Easter holiday since about 2002 is a distant tip of the hat. I mean, I often use Easter as an excuse to make a holiday dinner but we really don’t observe it in any religious way and I think I flung those place mats a while back. They were pretty cheesy.

Snowy and Snowy mark the true beginning of the Christmas holiday season. When I emailed my supervisor last Friday to let her know that I had indeed decided to work from home, she told me that the place was quiet except for Broosie putting up his Christmas decorations. I won’t even begin to try to describe Broosie here except to say that he is one of those eccentric people that every workplace absolutely *needs*. Occasionally his treasures overflow his cube to the point where someone above him (and me) in the hierarchical structure feels obligated to scale him back a bit. When this happens, he loans treasures to various other cubes (like mine). I am honored that my cube is considered worthy enough to display his treasures and I consider it one of the perks of my job. Anyway, Snowy and Snowy have been around for so many years that management puts up with them. The pink six-foot Easter bunny? Not so much… (P.S. Broosie *does* do his job.)

Oh yeah, and then there’s that big hole… It was pretty dern dark when I got home this afternoon and I didn’t even notice it. My first clue was that there were two bowls in the chitchen sink. Hmmm… I didn’t leave anything in the sink… Oh yeah, Terra Firma must’ve been here and the GG prob’ly came home to meet them. And dug into the leftovers that I had planned for dinner tonight (grrr). We have had a leak in the basement wall for oh, I dunno, about the last seven years maybe? Maybe longer. It is only obnoxious when it rains really hard and a puddle forms under and in front of the dryer and if I don’t remember that we have a leaky wall, I step in the damn water… We are *finally* doubling down (does “doubling down” make sense here?) and getting it fixed after much procrastination and certain people saying that they wanted to fix it themselves, etc., etc. My opinion about that was, “Not”.

Finally, we have Black Friday and Cyber Monday and I fergit what else. Except for Giving Tuesday. That’s tomorrow. A new thing? I may not do any giving tomorrow (I’ll be working) but I have already done some giving this year, especially taking over some of the charities that The Commander supported (Hi, take The Comm off your list and add me). I will be doing more although I will be very careful about who and what I give money to and how much…

The Goldfinger theme song just played on NPR. When I was a teenager and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always told them I wanted to be a beach bum. Really I wanted to be a Bond Girl. Sorta. I wanted to *look* like the Bond girls, I didn’t want to get killed. And guess what? You can be a beach bum and still be successful in your career. Success is however you define it.

Good night,

P.S. I have not voted for Republicans for a long time now and that party will have to work very hard to get my vote but I liked what John McCain said about the choice issue. Google it.

Black Sunday? Cyber Sunday?

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

I hate to shop. Except when I don’t. I, who didn’t participate in Black Friday and even did a certain amount of looking down my nose at it, felt an urge to shop today. I mean besides the Plum Market, which I also patronized. Of all things, I had a hankering to go to the hardware store. I mean Ace Hardware, which is small and fun and in the neighborhood, relatively speaking. It is one of the few stores where neither the GG or I get bored for the duration and we did buy a few things but nothing exciting, for example, I replaced my old dead dish pan and bought a bottle washing brush.

I also spent a considerable amount of time shopping online today. Processing all of The Commander’s stuff has sent me down more than a few internet rabbit holes. Hmmm… I know they don’t make [this or that utensil or whatever] any more but maybe it’s on eBay… So, I was looking for one thing and I got close but no cigar but I found a treasure trove of something else. That is all I will say about that. I won’t be participating in Cyber Monday tomorrow (I have to work, duh) but I did both Black Friday and Cyber Monday today. And a whole bunch of other sorting, cleaning, flinging, whatever activities. Tink tink tink… Tink tink tink… Eventually I will get there.

Speaking of The Commander, the looooverly platter in the photoooo was the last gift The Commander gave me. Until about the last 10 (15?) years or so, The Comm would send xmas and birthday packages with an eclectic assortment of items in them. I always enjoyed opening those packages although, when she gave them up in favor of checks, I was okay with that too. Not that I needed her to send me money. Just that by that time, I was starting to look around and wonder where we had accumulated all of our stuff and maybe it was time to start flinging some things, yada yada.

Anyway, last year somewhere around this time, we made yet another emergency trip to the yooperland because The Commander had landed in the hoosegow. She almost didn’t make it that time but she ended up being okay and chomping at the bit to get out and oh, by the way, she needed a rocking chair over at Freighter View for when she got back over there. The GG, who was her fav-o-rite [and only] son-in-law (er, except for the Uncly Uncle ;-)) was all over it and found one at a local antique store.

Dogmomster and I went over there with the GG to look at the chair and, well, even though I am not generally a frequent shopper at antique stores, I saw this loooverly turkey platter there in the store. I wanted to buy it on the spot! But… I try not to be an impulse buyer. We didn’t buy the rocking chair or the platter that day but I bugged the GG to buy me that platter.

Last Christmas, we opened gifts with The Commander in her beautiful little apartment at Freighter View Assisted Living. I had some small things for The Comm and my girls and the GG. I don’t even remember what. We all cared more about being with The Comm than gifts last year. And then, the GG brought out this big box for me! What the heck could be in that? I thought maybe it was my old Drawing Board, the one I tap-danced on in front of the TV in our rather shabby living room over on Superior Street. Nope. It was none other than the turkey platter in the photo!

Apparently, The Comm had ordered him to buy that for me (from her) and so he did and I used it this year. Thank you moom. I love you and the turkey platter and I did find the Drawing Board [at the cabin]!

Routine Planet Ann Arbor Saturday with a twist.

Saturday, November 24th, 2012

Our Saturday Planet Ann Arbor routine the past couple years has been to get up at 0-skunk-30 and walk down to the farmer’s market (two miles or thereabouts). I like to buy produce locally, at least as much as I can schlep back up the long slow hill to The Landfill. And the GG has a “girlfriend” down there at the farmer’s market. Oh, don’t get all excited. Victoria has sold us a few of her fish over the years and we will probably buy more in the future and I love Victoria but I don’t apparently have a chit-chat gene in my DNA like the GG apparently does and so he and Victoria get going and he shows her photos and I go and buy produce.

We didn’t talk to Victoria today for whatever reason. Her fish (and Santas) were there but she was off somewhere schmoozing with some other “boyfriend” when we walked by. We almost couldn’t find our fave coffee joint Roos Roast. They are in a different spot at the farmer’s market every week and the first time we did the usual walkaround, we couldn’t find them. The GG was ready to go inside and get coffee at Sweetwaters (which is a wonderful place to get coffee too) but I said, “let’s walk *that* way one more time.” And we did and there was Roos Roast, right there big as life. We had walked right by on our first tour.

So, home with a backpack full of produce and then a walk to the Plum for other stuff and then a bunch of flinging / organizing activities that would bore y’all to tears. And then, this afternoon, we made our first visit to NpJane’s *gorgeous* condo. We had a wee bit of whine while a certain feetsball game on TV played in the background. While we discussed various things like polly-ticks, etc. Or tried to, since many of us are sort of scratching our heads.

So now, we are home at The Landfill and Turkey Tetrahedron is (finally) in the oven and there are fake logs in the faaarplace and life is so cool sometimes…

Bag Lady

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

I make this trip multiple times a week. This is my main grocery shopping routine, walking across Dexter schlepping an old backpack the parents got on a trip to Toronto many moons ago. It’s a great pack, lightweight and zips closed and if it gets ucky because I forgot to put my tub of fresh mozzarella in a plastic bag, I can throw it in the washing musheen. (Well, usually I can. When the dern thing works.) I buy just enough stuff to fit in the pack. If I need terlet paper or something like that, I make a run out to the Jackson Rd. Meijer or wherever. I don’t usually have any company like I did yesterday and I don’t usually push a shopping cart. But yesterday I found a Plum Market cart on my way over there, so I grabbed it. To the great hilarity of the beach urchins, who had to take a picture. That’s Mouse scurrying along on the right in the purple tights.

So, today is so-called Black Friday or I guess it’s White Friday at the ski ranch, where they actually got enough snow to stick to the ground a bit. It just spat at us today. I have very mixed feelings about Black Friday. Back in the Jurassic Age, when almost everything in Sault Ste. Siberia shut down for Thanksgiving day, I often went shopping with my friend Helen and her parents. We shopped across the river on the Canadian side for shoes for her because our small town did not carry shoes in her size. Thanksgiving was one of the few days her family could go to Canada because her dad worked six days a week at his television shop and her mother did not drive. I’m sure they were thankful that Canada was a hop, skip, and a jump away and open on our Thanksgiving and I was always thankful that they invited me along because I loved going to Canada and was dead bored with hanging around home on a holiday. That was back before passports were required and the border was friendly and we weren’t interrogated as if we were bringing in bombs or pot or cow poop or whatever they think baggy old American citizens might be smuggling.

As a young adult, I participated in Black Friday (I don’t remember it being called that then) plenty of times but in those days, it meant going downtown and shopping at John Leidy and Jacobson’s and Peaceable Kingdom and Borders and all the other local businesses. And yes, Border’s *was* a local business here on The Planet Ann Arbor in those days. Nowadays Black Friday pretty much leaves me cold. Woldemort makes me dizzy whenever I go there and crowded stores in general give me the willies. And I cannot feature heading out to shop at eight PM on Thanksgiving evening. Here at The Landfill, we were hacking into the GG’s gargantuan mothership iMac to download Downton Abbey episodes from Netflix while he gabbled away on the telly-phone for at least an hour. I cannot imagine waiting in line overnight to pick up a big-ass flat-screen TV or some random electronic device. If and when I need such a thing, I go out and buy it. I bet most of the folks waiting in those lines can probably do that too. Are you really saving all that much money, when you think about all the time you have lost? Unless you are having fun! In that case, whatever floats your boat and you have my enthusiastic blessings.

I am really not all that concerned about those who have to work on the holiday besides the fact that I think most retail workers get paid crap and should get more. I worked a few holidays back when I ran a cash register and I actually volunteered to be scheduled on them. Not only was it fun, we got paid what they called double-time-and-a-half, which amounted to three times our regular pay. I had to do that for a couple years but I certainly haven’t had to work every holiday my whole life. And not everyone is missing some big fancy family celebration where people are starting food fights over polly-ticks or whatever (not that *we* would ever do that [grin]).

I am disgruntled about the fact that the xmas season seems to start at Halloween or even before. One year I didn’t get around to buying Halloween candy until the morning *of* October 31st. When I got to the Westgate Kroger, I was horrified to see that it had all been pulled off the shelves and they were putting out xmas candy. Sheesh! I hope they weren’t planning to throw out the Halloween candy just because it had the wrong color wrappers for the season.

I don’t like the consumerism surrounding xmas and I hate crowded stores and I am FLINGING (hello!), so I did not shop today. Anywhere. Well, I did online research about silver cloth but that was hardly exciting and I didn’t even buy any of that. Actually, I worked today. I mean I worked on my *job*. From home. Until sometime in the afternoon when the VPN got all wonky and I couldn’t keep connected to the server. Okay, I was done. I did put a few dollars into the local economy. $40 or so for breakfast for four at the Village Kitchen, where Barack Obama called up to ask about the line cook job they had posted. I am not even kidding. The owner took the call and showed me his name on the caller ID. And I fergit what I paid for dinner at the Oscar Tango tonight. All I know is that it was colder than blue blazes walking down there and back and our fav-o-rite waitress had my number because there were a whole bunch of napkins in front of me when I sat down and darned if I didn’t spill a quarter glass of whine in The Beautiful Diane’s direction at the end of the evening so those napkins came in handy.

What did you do on Black Friday? Whatever it was, I hope you had fun!

Good night,
Kayak Woman

“I eat properly. Red meat and gin.” –Julia Child.

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Here I sit. It’s about three o’clock and I am sitting in the Landfill back yard whining a bit, since I have been [mostly] on my feet since 0-skunk-30, which was about an hour before I took the photoooo of the approaching sunrise behind Ritsema Woods. “Warm” and “sunny” are not usually words you associate with Thanksgiving, at least not here in the forlorn, god-forsaken Great Lake State. Global warming? I dunno what I believe about that. I do *not* believe the earth was created 9000 years ago and I do not think children should be taught that as “science”. But let’s leave that rather tenuous little tangent alone today.

It is a minimalist Thanksgiving here at The Landfill. Lemme see: Turkey on the grill (it’s a gas grill and can function like an oven) “stuffed” with lemons and clementines and topped with bacon strips. A few bacon strips, not a big woven mass like that photo meme that’s been going around the internet the last couple weeks. (Please don’t repost that!). Smashed potatoes made the decadent way with cream cheese and sour cream. And butter. Dressing — pretty regular one — cooked separately from the turkey. Gravy that I made over the weekend and froze. Cranberry/orange sauce that I made over the weekend. Salad — a simple green one with leaf lettuce, cukes, and tomatoes. A couple mini desserts from Zingerman’s @Plum Market. No pomegranates to seed here [wink].

When I was young[er], I used to try to get all fancy on holidays. Maybe I was trying to replicate the Thanksgiving dinners I remember at my grandma’s house? Over the river and through the woods, or actually about eight blocks away through our Sault Ste. Siberia south side neighborhood. Ya know what? Life is too short. Over the years I have simplified and figured out a few little do-ahead tricks, et al. Am I still on my feet most of the day? Oh yeah. Simplifying the dinner makes room for other little complications to creep in, like Eggs Benny for breakfast (although Eggs Benny is a snap with these egg-poaching pods). Still, it’s all fun for me. I will also admit that it’s only my nuclear family this year and that cuts out a lot of the stress. If something isn’t perfect, nobody will care. Oh, Moooom, they’ll roll their eyes.

I won’t get all maudlin and list everything I have to be thankful for. What I am *not* particularly thankful for, at least lately, is my washing musheen. My fancy, expensive, relatively late model high-efficiency washing musheen. The one that keeps throwing errors at me. “H” “F” “H” “F” [repeat ad infinitum]. I do *not* have time for this. I think one load of laundry took something like three hours this morning with the GG babying it along. He thinks he can fix the dern thing. He has fixed washing musheens (and lots of other things) before and I am optimistic that he’ll fix this washing musheen. We’ll see how many times he fixes it before he throws in the towel and heads over to Big George.

Well, the sun is starting to sink and there is now a bit of a chill in the air. Happy Thanksgiving and don’t choke on any pomegranate seeds [wink]. Here is a little ditty to help you get into the spirit.

kayak woman

P. S. I posted the little gobbler ditty last year on Thanksgiving. Somehow, Mouse remembered it (I didn’t) and this morning, she sent the link out in a text message to various people, including me and the GG. She spent the night here last night and you *know* that, when the GG and I received the message, we both had to go stand outside her bedroom door and play it back to her!

Round it up

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Yesterday, the mothership decreed that all of us here in the backwater of The Planet Ann Arbor were free to leave at three in the afternoon today. Oh, and it was a jeans day. Not that I ever wear jeans. I am much more comfortable in my own personal brand of bizcaz than I would ever be in jeans. But still. It was a wonderful gesture and greatly appreciated.

And then today, at exactly 2:44 PM, the LSCHP came along and asked me why I was still at work. I mentioned the three o’clock thing and he said, “Round it up.” In other words, “Git outta here.” So I got.

I could’ve met up with the GG and a friend of his from college but I decided to let them have their own time together. I also knew that traffic around town would be ridiculous and what I really wanted to do was just get home and tinker with my minimalist Thanksgiving plans, not navigate through downtown, et al. And that’s what I did.

Round it up, pay it forward.

After tinking around for a while at The Landfill, I walked to the Plum Market for a few last minute supplies. I knew it would be nutso there with all the last-minute shoppers, etc. But at this time of year, I love walking over there during the sunset or twilight or even dark. It was nutso and another day, I might’ve been annoyed by the space cadets ahead of me in line. But I couldn’t be because of another thing I witnessed at the Plum Market today. A super-nice Plum employee had helped a frail but with-it older lady shop and then helped her get into what looked like the fastest line. And made sure she felt comfortable holding her small basket of groceries. I bet that Plum woman is getting paid to do that but I was impressed. Do all grocery stores have folks who help disabled or frail shoppers? It seems like a good thing and I hope those people are getting paid well.

And then, after the space cadets ahead of me in line *finally* moved forward just a bit, I put my grokkeries on the conveyor belt, and I bagged them into my backpack as soon as the young cashier had finished ringing them through. She said, “Thank you for being so efficient.” What can I say? (Besides, “I am very efficient except when I’m not.”) I was a cashier for a while back in the Jurassic Age. I know what her job is like and if I can even begin to make it easier for her, I will try. She asked (as they are trained to do), “Did you find everything all right?” My answer was, as always, “Yes, but I’ll probably be back tomorrow.” And I probably will… She said she would be working tomorrow. I’ll look for her line. Sometimes I wish I could tip grocery store cashiers…

I am looking forward to a small, quiet Thanksgiving here at The Landfill tomorrow. For the first time since something like 2005, both of the beach urchins will be here.

Round it up. Pay it forward. Watch the sun set if you can see it. Go outside no matter what the weather is (unless it’s dangerous). Put up strings of xmas lights (no matter what the season). Round it up. Pay it forward. Have fun. Live.

A piece of work…

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

I had this fragmented, disjointed diatribe in my head about the Common Core State Standard and how it applies to teaching mathematics to young children. And then I came home and there was a Cloverland bill in the mail and that was fine except that I decided to go out to the website and pay online and I couldn’t because neither of the *service* addresses showed up. Instead, there was my dad’s name and the address of the Freighter View Assisted Living facility. My dad never lived at Freighter View but The Commander did and I still can’t figure out why or how she got the billing address changed. And to make things worse, it isn’t even the correct address for FV. Close but no cigar. So I spent about a half hour writing a letter and other related tasks. I thought I had this stuff sorted out a month or so ago when TBJ noticed that the moomincabin’s service had been shut off (because the bills were going into the dead letter box).

Did that make sense? It doesn’t even make sense to me! All I can say is that my mother could be a piece of work. Like the whole driving thing…

One of my favorite car-talk episodes ever is when a guy called in complaining about his mother’s car, which would frequently drive off the road into the ditch or worse. Of course it wasn’t the car, it was his mother. He wanted to disable the car. His brother (mom’s fav-o-rite of course) wanted to keep mom on the road. I was nervous about The Comm driving the last few years but didn’t quite know what to do. She was always on the go and I rationalized by thinking that Sault Ste. Siberia is a small city and pretty easy to get around — light traffic and slow speed limits for the most part. And The Comm was extremely careful. She had a few little mishaps but they mostly (mostly) involved inching through parking lots and having small scrapes (for example a snow-mobile ski scraped her car once as she passed it a bit too close). Then there’s that “mostly” word. There were a couple scary incidents that I won’t detail (and wasn’t told about right away).

The small stroke that began the spiral toward the end of her life ended her driving activities. Not that she was happy about that or didn’t keep trying. The first thing that happened, when she was stuck in the hoosegow long-term care was that we lost her driver’s license. We had schlepped up to Command Central and she was carrying a whole bunch of papers and crap in the seat of her *hated* walker and I remember seeing the driver’s license on the floor. I picked it up and put it on the dining table and then we couldn’t find it. Anywhere. This became a constant topic of conversation until I couldn’t stand it any more and took her out to get it replaced.

I scrambled up her passport and a photocopy of her birth certificate and we waited in line and it was pretty damn easy to get a replacement driver’s license even though The Comm was using a walker. We had lunch after that and, as we were on our way back to the long-term care facility, The Comm asked me, “Where is that car thing that we just did?”… …

I was not the best daughter on earth and I second guess a lot of things that I did during my mother’s decline into death. But one thing that I am not sorry about is that I did not try to officially remove her driving privileges. She learned how to drive on the family farm in Garden City when she was something like 13 years old. It was HUGE for her to stop driving. I got that. Besides, she needed the driver’s license for identification (yes, I know you can get a state ID). At one point, she managed to squirrel away a set of keys to her Taurus down at Freighter View. That was okay with me. She may have had her keys but she sure couldn’t get to her car without a lot of help (which she knew I would not provide) because it was locked in the Moomincabin Garage. I am talking about this like it’s a joke but, although there are humorous aspects to it, it is really sad that active people like The Comm cannot more easily get around town whenever they want to…

Still, The Commander was not quite finished with driving. She got set up with a rehab program that would evaluate whether or not she could drive again and, if she passed, they would train her to drive. I am not the best daughter but I was on board with this. Of course she failed. Better she heard that news from somebody other than me. At that point, she quite gracefully threw in the towel and signed off on the paperwork to sell her car.

When I get to be that age, maybe those Google cars will be schlepping me around town…

First cousins once removed

Monday, November 19th, 2012

At least that’s what our relationship would be if we were actually related. We’re not, but the woman that I met for lunch today can claim me as a cousin any time she wants to. She is so much like the cousins I already have on both sides of my family…

Yes, I met up with my [step]grandmother’s niece today and returned her grandmother’s exquisite handmade linens to her. I had no idea who or what to expect. I arrived a few minutes before she did but I recognized her immediately as she drove in. Not because she looks a lot like my step-grandmother [her sister does] but because somehow I knew. Similar vee-hickle to mine, blonde, and casually but nicely dressed. Oh, not platinum blonde, down-to-earth blonde like I am…

I am not the best at social interactions but can I just say we hit it off right off the bat and it was wonderful to talk and fill in a few little gaps here and there. I always loved visiting my grandparents in Detroit but what I didn’t remember is that the house they lived in had been Bolette’s house, the one she shared with her first husband, who died of cancer. I may be on information overload here but I *think* that other members of Bolette’s family also lived on Mark Twain Street. It sounds to me like it was similar to life on the mooninbeach.

Will we keep in touch and meet up? I don’t know. We both have very busy lives. But we know each other now and we know how to find each other and we live in the same city.

Small but beautiful world…

Urban hiking

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

I am just about as taarrred as I can get after a wonderfully long day here on The Planet Ann Arbor.

It was foggy when I woke up this morning and when we parked down at Barton Dam, it was still foggy and it was still DARK. As we walked over to the Northside Grille, the sky lightened and we could actually see where we were going. By the time we were on the return trip from the NG, the sun was coming out.

It turned into a gorgeous day here on The Planet Ann Arbor. What can I say?


Dear Santa, I need onion goggles

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Oh man, Sittin’ on the Green Couch watchin’ all the dogz go byyyyy… In the late afternoon after walking down to the farmer’s market and back at 0-skunk-30 and then cooking a whole ton of stuff and taking a trip to the Plum Market and then even a Saturday *afternoon* trip to the Jackson Rd. Meijer. I usually go there at 7:00 AM when there’s just me and some floor-cleaners. This afternoon, I cannot count how many near-collisions I had with other carts. Every one of those encounters was friendly. Even the one where I had also been talking to myself. That is a piece of DNA that I think I share with Radical Betty. I wish I shared some her more more extroverted DNA but it is what it is and I am who I am [big-grin]. Anyway, all of us at Meijer knew what we were in for when we decided to shop at Meijer on the Saturday afternoon before Thanksgiving and it was a pretty fun experience.

Anyway, I was on my feet *all* day and although I wasn’t particularly taaarrred in the late afternoon, I decided to sit on the Green Couch and watch the sun set (and the dogz go by…) *and* process the latest batch of catalogs to see if there was anything that anybody needed… Well. I found a couple of good pieces of bizcaz in the latest JJill. I was enticed by items in some of the other catalogs but *I* didn’t need them and these days I am never sure what someone wants or needs or whatever and, since I started the Great Flinging Prodject, I am loathe to burden people with gifts that they don’t need because, well kee-reist… (Hey kiddos, none of this represents a hint. It’s just me processing my own life… [grin].)

Anyway, in the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog (why are they sending us that?) there was a cute little device that scans photos directly into an iPhone. I *need* something like that. Or at least a decent portable scanner, since the one that I bought years ago doesn’t work with whatever the heck operating system I am running on my MacBook now.

My own personal shopping devil was whispering “buy buy buy” in my ear. Hmmm… $160. Okay, I *could* buy that device but what if it doesn’t work or craps out after 100 photoos or whatever. So I did the old Google and I found apps out there that would let my iPhone scan photos. I was thinking, what the heck, I can just take a photo of a photo, roight? Yes. I downloaded a free app and “scanned” a photo and that’s how The Commander and Liz and Hushpuppy ended up being in this photo. The app worked okay. The photo quality is about as good as the original. I can see grandma’s buffet in the background (anyone want it? I think it’s in the Moomincabin garage) and the damn dishwasher on the right. (Anyone want it? I didn’t think so.)

I forgot my crazy hat so I guess it’ll have to be crazy hair day…

Friday, November 16th, 2012

Oh yeah, I fergot. Every day is crazy hair day. Or ugly hair day. Or something.

It is 10 AM on a Friday and there is a large beer mug (full of beer) floating along the top of the cube walls here in Cubeville…

Hmmm. I just heard the LSCHP say something about Crazy Hair Day. I hope that doesn’t mean it’s gonna become a “thing”. Why did I mention Crazy Hair Day again?

Killing the ghost demo.

Soaking up some rays from that November low-slung sun listening to an unidentifiable birdie chirp a complicated warning tune while the admiral (and some Delta jets heading for the left coast) soar overhead.

Playing chicken with various vee-hickles at the S. Seventh / W. Washington “crosswalk”. You guys, this is a CROSSWALK. It is dark. Slow the you-know-what down.

(4-5 pedestrians were hit by cars in the last week or so. TWO OF THEM DIED AT THE SCENE!)

“How do you know the marching band is practicing?” @kayakwoman: I could hear it while I was walking down here. “You can hear it from here?” @kayakwoman: I can hear it from The Landfill.

That greeting was a bit too saccharine for me.

Hem hem. The Commander would be on the warpath hearing that particular pronunciation of Ypsilanti (but I’m gonna sit on my hands)…

I like puffalump mice and scurry mice (when they are not invading the Landfill) but not computer mice.

Socialist, communist, religious freedom (my personal favo-rite): please, let’s look up some daffy-nitions before bandying those words about on facebook (or anywhere).

“So glad that John Norman Collins isn’t around here any more.” Indeed. Or Coral Watts. Or that guy in the mid-90s who would bludgeon women and run, leaving them to die. Or not. In my neighborhood.

Was I scared? Yes. But I was more ANGRY! I am not a gun aficionado but I told more than one neighbor I thought we should arm all of the women and patrol the area in twos.

“Oh, you know, that Barnwell girl. Or was it Boswell.” Those socialites…

“They wrote a book about the double helix but I can’t remember why the heck I’m talking about this.”

Other people might put up their Xmas lights. I flip a switch.

@tmotu (after spitting): It’s amazing how much phlegm you see on the sidewalk around town. @kayakwoman (banging head on wall): Well, why don’t people aim for the *grass* if they *must* spit?

All of the nitrogen was dumped in Maryfield Park tonight.

Goodnight. I hope you get to do a dump run this weekend. I do not.

The perils of being a small-time blahgger

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

You are going along blathering away and although you know you have your regular five readers you don’t get very many comments and you don’t really care because, oh, I dunno, you are just blathering away. For one thing, you aren’t trying to make money at blahgging and most people don’t unless they sell out to a “sponsor” or whatever. I am certainly not trying to make money at blahgging. This blahg had *very* humble beginnings and it has never had any kind of aspirations to be somebody like, well, Dooce, for example. Well. Except when Froggy takes it over… He may have some aspirations…

Where was I? I wish for culture change, not more laws, rules, and regulations. I wish that our culture allowed for women *and* men to be able to take enough time off work to be able to bond (yes) with newborn babies and go on to be able to raise their children and take care of their elderly parents when they are dying. I have been lucky on both ends. When I had my first baby, the company I worked for created a part-time job for me and allowed me to arrange my hours around the GG’s. When my mother was dying, the company I work for now gave me the flexibility to work remotely.

So I have worked hard in my life but I have had a few breaks. I wish for a few breaks for every hard-working mother (and father). I think there are a few people who want a free ride from the government. I think most of us want to work and make our own way. I will not look down on those who are trying to do that but have been laid off or whatever…

As I wrangled my way home through traffic tonight and walked over to the Plum Market (in the dark) to scramble something for dinner, I thought I should really throw old Romney a bone. He seemed proud at one point that a woman who worked for him could get home in time to make dinner. I am not a Romney fan (as y’all know) but, although his remark was widely disparated by oh, y’know, people like me, it is a good thing if *somebody* can get home in time to cook dinner. Mom or Dad for the most part. Our society needs to work on that.

Oh, my god, the GG is gonna make me listen to Iris Dement[ed]. Mrrryeeeooowwwwl! I am kidding! Iris is wonderful! (In small doses ;-))

Love y’all (and I mean y’all),

P.S. In the cold clear light of day, I realize that I never actually identified the “perils” mentioned in the title. In this case, it is when I have blathered away incoherently and somebody actually makes an intelligent comment and I have to go back and *read* whatever I have dumped out of my brain and think about it from a new angle. Does it make sense? What was I trying to say? What about this comment?

The lonely bull

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

I reeeeeallly don’t want to return to the odious Petraeus / Broadwell / Kelley / Allen / shirtless-text-guy / who’s next “scandal”. I actually don’t have a further opinion on that whole subject except for maybe “double-bleeechh”. We don’t normally talk about news or politics much at work but today we had a dog and pony show and somebody said that maybe it would end up being a movie. I said, “Well, they will have to dumb the whole thing down to the point where somebody like me can actually understand it.” And I am a systems analyst. I get paid to pick apart complex systems and try to re-work them into something an average user can understand. But I don’t get it. Of course, who knows what my business, the on-line banking business, will look like in the year 2525. If man is still alive. If woman can survive. They will find… Whoa-ah-whoa…

I am heartened to see more women take positions in our government and I would like to see even more. After all, 51% (or something) of the population is female. We need representatives. I don’t want women to be elected just because they are women (I *certainly* don’t agree with every woman on earth). I want people to be chosen because of their skills and position. I also hate when the media (or whoever) gets nasty about white males. For quite a few years, as I was raising my children, we were all dependent upon my highly skilled and experienced white male husband’s salary. Losing that would have been devastating. But still, a more proportionate number of *competent* and *qualified* women. We can’t get there by quotas. We have to get there by having more *qualified* women running for office and having them run decent, honest campaigns.

I would also like to see so-called women’s professions be more valued. Teachers, nurses, nurse’s aides… When The Commander became dependent on others for basic care, the women who cared for her (mostly women, there were a few *wonderful* male nurses / aides), saved my life. I was totally unequipped to do the hands-on care of an elderly parent myself and my elderly parent would have been mortified to have *me* be her hands-on caregiver. I loved her caregivers and that kind of work *must* be more highly valued and paid.

… … … I have lost my train of thought. You are happy about that. As I was heading over to work this morning, I was *blessed* to listen to an NPR article on A&M records, featuring one of its founders, Herb Alpert. Seeing this guy on YouTube after all these years, I am wondering why I didn’t have a huge crush on him back in the early ’60s’…


Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

I thought that I would be happy when all of the 2012 election polls and other crap would be done with. Alas. I am not happy that the whole news stream has switched over to the stoopid Petraeus / Broadwell / whatever affair…

Kee-reist! Who in the heck are these people and why under the sun do we have them anywhere near the government? Sigh. I won’t tell you my opinion about the 20,000 emails. Fer kee-reist, if you have enough time to fiddly-diddle around writing 20,000 email messages to some damn bimbo, you are probably not doing your damn job.

You guys, when Big Bugs take over the earth, we need leaders who are not following their you-know-what. I will personally be out in my back yard deploying my rocket launcher. I won’t be hanging out with any of the folks that were in the news today. They will probably already be dead. 20,000 email messages? Who are these people. Do they have children? What are their children going to grow up to be? huh? …?

Six degrees of separation (or in this case, more like one degree)

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Who knew? I was thunderstruck when my cousin The Beautiful Jan commented that she knew my [step]grandmother Bolette’s niece in college. I won’t go into too much detail here but there is a chance that I may be able to return Ellen Jensen’s handwork to her family. I hope that happens. I have to admit that my first reaction was panic (that’s my modus operandi — I need thinking time). I wanna keep these beautiful things. But I talked myself down off that ledge. Why do I want to keep them? They *are* beautiful but I probably won’t use them and there’s no point in keeping them in a box forever and ever. They have been in a box for many years as it is. And they rightly belong to the Jensen family, not the MacMullan family (of which I am a member), no matter how much I loved my step-grandmother (cue violins here). And it would be one more thing off of my plate. So here’s hoping. (And Jan, if my email this afternoon came up red, this is a [greatly] expanded version of what I wrote.)

And now, in addition to cooking dinner (eggplant parm, etc.), I have to figger out how I am gonna dress up with “flair” tomorrow. It seems to be spirit week at work. Kinda like middle school. My kids never really participated in spirit week, that I know of. One of them went to an alternative middle school where you could dress pretty much however you wanted to *every* day. The other was forced to tolerate a “traditional” middle school and I’m sure there were spirit-type weeks there but if she participated in them I never knew about it.

I failed on the Monday theme, which was “who is your hero?”. I do not have any heroes. I had a serious crush on Mighty Mouse when I was three and I’m sure that I could’ve found a Mighty Mouse t-shirt somewhere online but even a spendthrift like me isn’t gonna buy a Mighty Mouse t-shirt that would be worn *once*. There are real-life people that I regard as semi-heroes but they all have flaws. Like I do.

Tomorrow? Flair? I was grumbling about that but I think that’s one theme that I might actually be able to do… Where is that tiara? And where are those golden fairy wings? Hmmm…. Er, actually, we were all talking over the wall about this and one co-worker said something like I *was* “flair” just by being me. I don’t know if I agree with that but… DAZ!

Blundering up and down the stairs and in and out the doors…

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

I hope that Grandmothertrucker doesn’t mind if I appropriate her de-acquisitioning / cleaning phrase “blundering”. It perfectly describes what I did all weekend. Things that are in the front living room that need to go to the trash / recycle / dungeon / wherever. Things that are in the chitchen that need to go to the trash / recycle / dungeon / wherever. Things that are in the dungeon that need to go… Okay, you get it now. I blundered up and down the stairs, in and out the door and wherever. Deacquisitioning is hard work, make no mistake. Rooooomba got a good workout this weekend and so did my ancient Electrolux. And that was all interspersed with internet shopping and / or research.

And I found the handmade table linen in the photoooo… It would be cool if I could say that this piece of work was made by a relative of mine. But it was not. I have inherited a small box of exquisitely crafted table linens from Ellen Jensen, a woman I didn’t know and isn’t related to me.

[Okay, just almost had a faaarrr in the oven. Back now.] Ellen Jensen is my [step]grandmother’s mother and The Commander put a note into the box describing what this stuff was.

My mother died in 1936 and after 16 years my father remarried a widow (Bolette) with an interesting history. Her parents were from Denmark. They came to the U.S. about 1900 and raised a large family of children in the midwest. Bolette’s mother Ellen Jensen had been educated in a Danish school for women and these are items which she produced as a result.

I do not know what I will do with all of this stuff. It’s a small box and so it can hang around indefinitely. I wonder if Ellen Jensen had any idea where her beautiful lacework might end up. I wonder if she knows that it didn’t end up with a blood relative. Bolette was the oldest of nine and I have no idea about where to find any other relatives, nor do I have the time to do the research. I will say to Ellen that her lacework has landed in a family who values her work. And loved her daughter Bolette. Bolette never had children of her own but she and I always claimed each other as grandmother and grandchild. I loved her.