Archive for December, 2012

“Life is just a blur of republicans and meat”

Monday, December 31st, 2012

So, who wants to go over the fiscal cliff with me? C’mon, it’ll be fun! YOLO, yaknow.

I took the day off from work but spent it working as any self-respecting job creator should, i.e., buying superfoods and gasoline and whatever cosmic debris I needed to keep the landfill running.

I wanted to kick the can down the road today but instead I decided to double down on flinging. Spoiler alert here but I did make some progress down in the Landfill Dungeon, including cleaning off the red storage unit that has forever held a train set and bags and bags of stuffed aminals. We are passionate about stuffed aminals around here, don’tcha know…

Spending an exciting New Year’s Eve is not on my bucket list but we did manage to walk downtown to the Oscar Tango and get the catbird seat (aka, window booth) for dinner, where we did *not* order boneless wings [huh?]. Then a short walkabout and over to Grizzly Peak, where we managed to snag a seat at the bar. The cocktail guru made us a heavenly couple o’ ‘hattans. I had just been saying to the GG that he shouldn’t expect a decent ‘hattan at a brewpub (fer kee-reist) but I think that ‘hattans and things are trending these days and these were good ones. And then we trundled on home… It’s okay, remember, we were hoofing it…

Title quote is from Bill Griffith via his character Zippy the Pinhead and that’s the GG’s handwriting, not mine, so go figger.

Words (12 of them) are from LSSU’s annual list of banished words. LSSU is located in my hometown and is “across the street” from the house we currently have listed for sale in that city.

P. S. If you don’t wanna go over the fiscal cliff with me, try some of these other cliffs or this, which often feels like going off a cliff.

Hee hee… It seems possible that the GG, who normally wants to see the new year in, may actually crash out before I do.

Happy New Year,
Kayak Woman


Sunday, December 30th, 2012

This morning, after my usual 0-skunk-30 walk and a wee sausage / egg breakfast, I was feeling a bit cabin feverish. What did I want to do today? I couldn’t think of a flinging mission to embark on. The shopping mood I had yesterday but didn’t act on had vanished. Yes, shopping. I don’t know where it came from either. I can’t buy another new stove because I already have Gertrude… What I really wanted to do was take a drive along the river and out into the county. And so we did. And somehow we must’ve been of two minds for once* because we were heading west on North Territorial and the GG pulled into the Park Lyndon County Park and that’s how we came to be standing on the shores of Lake Genevieve looking at the kame across the way. Yes. Park Lyndon had also been on my mind.

What the heck is a kame? Well, I had never heard of a kame before but it is a glacial formation. Much of the terrain in this area was formed by glaciers and Park Lyndon is full of hills (and kames and things). I am not going to use my blahg to provide a lesson on what a kame is, although I have posted a photooo of the sign that explained what a kame is. Y’all can look it up if you’re interested. What the heck did we do before iPhones anyway? I often encounter informational signs like this when I’m out hiking and I always dutifully read them and promptly forget everything I’ve read. With the iPhone, I can take a picture and refer back to it as I need to.

Our “hike” at Park Lyndon today was only a mile or so. We weren’t really prepared for a longer hike. There are steep ups and downs on some of the trails and in the snow, they were slippery for folks without their YakTraks. I had my YakTraks on but my feet were cold! I wasn’t wearing any socks over my tights and that’s okay in cold, dry weather but snow made its way into my boots today and I was wishing I had layered a pair of SmartWool socks over my tights.

I was feeling nostalgic about Park Lyndon. We used to hike there sometimes with the beach urchins when they were small. I can’t exactly remember when Park Lyndon dropped off our radar screen. I guess it happened when we all got busier… I am also probably remembering our hikes there with the proverbial rose-colored glasses, thinking about my loverly little children scampering around with wild abandon, collecting stuff and peppering us with questions, yada yada. More likely, not everyone was with the program. You know how that goes. I’m hungry. I’m thirsty. How long do we have to hike? I’m cold. My feet hurt. My shoe is falling apart. I can’t find my mouse. Etc., etc., ad nauseam. But still.

It’s not quite the new year yet but I do have one resolution. I am gonna visit (and hike if I can) every single nature preserve in Washtenaw County. We have a lot of them. Another sign [that I took a picture of] clued me into that fact and from there I hit the web and… I’ve visited / hiked some of them already. I’m going to get to the rest of them this year. I am not big on new year’s resolutions and rarely make any (except maybe to clean out the damn refrigerator) but I think this is a good one, don’t you?

*Usually the only person the GG is of two minds with is his identical twin.

I’ll start with the end because it was sublime…

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

We were walking “off-trail” right next the river. Geese were honking and gabbling away. Then another chittery kind of bird sound. Not a familiar one at this time of year here in the Great White North. I was following the GG’s tracks through the snow and I was a bit slow coming along because I was taking pictures. He waited for me at the “landing” and when I got there, he said “kingfisher!” We heard it again off in the distance. (A true birder would probably disagree with my description of the sound.) We rejoined the regular trail at that point and continued over to the dam and across it and as we were making our way back to the Frog Hopper, three swans flew overhead honking and winging in unison.

Barton Dam Park is our fave urban hiking trail. Quick to get to if you need a couple mile blast (thank you Jay). We go there throughout the year and the GG has put up homemade birdhouses down there a few times over the years. I was hoping that we might catch a sunset down there today but it was not to be. We began our walk in daylight, ended it in twilight and by the time we got home, it was pretty darn dark.

Long day and a lot of picking away. Gathering more (yes) clothing for donation. Dusting here and there (yes really moom (and Bubs)). Laundry. A bit of vacuuming. Breaking up boxes from xmas gifts that got shipped here. Oh, I know… Such a good box. It could be used for something else… No. New boxes are always coming in the door. If I saved every blasted box that came in the door, you would find me collapsed on the floor underneath them like the Collyer brothers. No no no no. Just no. Every box goes out unless I have an immediate and specific need for it.

Oh, I did not read a book today. But… … … Now that I have apparently fixed my problem with the iPhone / iPad New Yorker app, I read the latest New Yorker today. On my phone. Sitting on the Green Couch Watchin’ All the Dogz Go By… So, some SSR was accomplished today. Yay me!

Gertrude is being lazy and I have gotta get her to work so we can eat sometime soon.

Love y’all,
Kayak Woman

I had a good day and I hope y’all did too.


Friday, December 28th, 2012

I don’t have a whole lot of positive stuff to say about today except that they did eventually find my debit card down at the OT tonight and I still love the OT and the waitresses there. In general, I think that working as a waitress between xmas and New Year’s probably sucks even if you have a decent employer. Me? I went over to my loverly old dog-poopy cube today and was greeted with, “look at what the cat dragged in” as I passed the LSCHP’s office (aka my [decent] employer). I actually think that the LSCHP would’ve preferred to be there totally alone this week and my presence was no doubt cramping his style. As it was, he came by around noon and said, “Oh by the way, you can leave at 3.” And I did, although I had enough work to do to keep me busy all weekend and beyond and coming home meant that I had to share space with the GG for an hour or so when I really wanted to be alone. At any rate, if I had been forced to wait on people to earn my pay today, I think I might’ve killed somebody. (Of course, I am not serious about that so don’t anyone get their underwear in a bunch!)

I am now faced with an actual four-day weekend. A four-day weekend that I can do pretty much whatever I damn well please. I do not have to make a rocket trip to the yooperland and I am not even going to Houghton Lake although that might’ve been fun. I do not have a bunch of parties to go, as fun as those are. I do not have a whole bunch of holiday cooking to do. I can fling to my heart’s content if I want to. Or not. I can hike all over the Planet Ann Arbor in my YakTrax. I can sit around and read if I want to. What a novel idea! Or watch Downton Abbey? I don’t know what I’ll end up doing except that it’ll be whatever I damn well please. Alas, I know myself well enough to know that if all I do is sit around and read or watch Downton Abbey or whatever, I will go stir crazy from not doing anything “constructive” or “productive” or whatever. I think I need to relax. Do I know how to relax any more? I do not know. Wish me luck.

Good night,
Kayak Woman

I don’t need no stinkin’ coffee maker!

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

In a sense, it’s true. I have owned *many* a coffee maker, even a fancy cappuccino maker for a while. They all break! And I have too much adult adhd to get the hang of Chemex or a French press. Which only means those things just do not fit into my life for the time being. Maybe they will someday. We’ll see. Sigh. I rarely drink coffee in my house these days anyway. After a shower and an invigorating three mile hike in the snow in the dark, I am more than ready to rock. There’s coffee at work if I want it but I’m just as likely to drink water. If I’m home and I *want* coffee, I can either make instant or it’s a hop, skip, and a jump over to Zingerman’s @ The Plum Market. They have coffee there. And bagels and other stuff. And I can grab a few grokkeries if I want to.

It probably would be nice to have coffee and all of its accoutrements around here when there are guests… [When my Mouse comes to spend a holiday overnight here, she hauls her own coffee and Chemex and all of its accoutrements and provides coffee for all. This is why I had children.] This morning when I was walking through the woods at the end of my walk, I could see that the bathroom lights were on. Hmmm… Did the GG sleep late? Could be, except that the Frog Hopper was not in the driveway. Did he leave the lights on? Could be, Reddy Kilowatt frequently makes his presence known at The Landfill. Turned out it was Lizard Breath, who stayed an extra day to visit with all the Ann Arbor kids back in town for the holidays. She needed to get to work in Megalopolis today and all we have is instant coffee and I’ve lost track of what kind of breakfast froogs foods are around The Landfill, so Zingerman’s @ Plum Market it was. We were halfway there when I realized that I had my *phone* but not my purse, so Liz had to pay for her moom’s breakfast. [This is why I had children.]

Yer fav-o-rite blahgger sent Liz off with leftover lasagna, then settled in to a second day of workin’ from the Green Couch watchin’ all the dogz go by… Can I just say Cabin Fever? I think I am gonna have to head over to my cube tomorrow, at least for part of the day. Even though that promises to be as stultifyingly boring as The Landfill since almost no one on my team will be there. Working from home is cool once in a while. It is a lifesaver if you have to be home for a delivery or if you have a contagious disease and are up to working but probably not hanging out at the office all day. But it gets old fast, at least for me.

Oh yeah. 1) I trudged through enough snow on my walk this morning that various leg muscles rewarded me with that pleasantly mild “thank you for using me” ache. And 2) Did you see the moon tonight? Hung like a Chinese ba-a-a-a-alllll [this links to a damn video].

Well, today turned out to be a good day to work from home

Wednesday, December 26th, 2012

Everyone here at The Landfill was scheduled to work today. I didn’t really have a choice, seeing as I “squandered” all of my vacation time this year and have very few paid time hours off left and I am not even gonna try to mess around with LWOP because it just isn’t easily do-able. As luck would have it, we need to update our user guides and, as boring a prodject as that is, somebody has to do it and it’s been a couple years since *I* have been that person. In a way, because it is busy work, it is a perfect little prodject to do on days when the last thing you want to do is use your brain. As a bonus, I actually *did* have to use my brain today. As a bonus to *that* bonus, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my brain *worked* today and that it was enjoyable to have to use it. Yay me!

My brain doesn’t always work after xmas. Seriously, there have been years when I didn’t recover from Christmas for a couple weeks. I mean, my body did what it always does, which includes walking three miles a day at a minimum and preferably more. Psychologically, I would be blotto, sitting on the Green Couch or somewhere trying to figure out where to “start”. This year, I have been kind of tapping my foot waiting for xmas to be over so I can *continue* my flinging prodjects. Let’s get on with this…

Fortunately, I had let everyone at work know that I may (or may not) work from home part or all of this week. And that is what I did today. Which was a good thing because I am not sure how many inches of snow we have out there now but I doubt that the Ninja will be going anywhere (performance taaaaarrrrs) until The Planet Ann Arbor gets around to sending out a snowplow. Or two. Also, I got a whole heckuva lot done. I am sure that my cube farm was mostly empty today and I suspect that I would not have been able to concentrate if I had been there. Here at The Landfill, there were people and dogs walking by, beach urchins to interact with, a couple loads of laundry to process, etc., etc. Multi-tasking served me well. I suspect I got more done than I would have if I had gone over to my cube. My eight mile commute would likely have taken an hour or more today. So much for productivity… (I mean personal productivity, which is important to corporate productivity…). I actually like to work in my cube most of the time but I greatly appreciate the fact that I can work from home when there’s some good reason to do so.

What do you do with a drunken sailor earlye in the morning…

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

Gertrude spends her first xmas helping me make Eggs Benny for xmas breakfast.

A detail from a Mouse-wrapped package.

Mimosas! On a beauteous new cutting board from Mouse.

The GG and his latest toy (BB cannon). Hey, we know of at least one guy who got underwear for xmas! (Photo by Mouse.)

White xmas, blue skies.

The beach urchins take moom on a walk to Miller Woods and back so that she doesn’t get, you know, cabin fever and go stir-crazy. Also, this is evidence that I do indeed have [grown] children.

The GB Fins check in from Cali. No dog photoooos this xmas but we do seem to have an “ugly”.

Gertrude did not help with the ducks but she is heating other stuff up. (Yes, that’s bacon on there.)

Merry Christmas and good night.

I lied…

Monday, December 24th, 2012

Remember that rant last week about the elf-on-the-shelf? Well, guess what I [re]discovered in our own rather motley ornament collection? I’m not sure when it showed up but it’s been around a while. I am gonna guess it came from The Commander. She would’ve thought it was cute. I do not but whatever. I swear I did not know about the story and never used it to blackmail the beach urchins into good behavior. Anyway, *my* elf has its own mouse!

My BFF Sam (archaeologist, not dog) uses an elf-on-the-shelf as her xmas tree topper. We use various tree toppers. I don’t think we have ever used the elf but I won’t say that out loud because, who knows, I might be lying again.

When I was a kid in Sault Ste. Siberia, my great-aunt Elizabeth gave us a beautiful angel to put at the top of the tree. We would put a xmas light inside her and it made her glow right down to the tip of her wand. Wand? Hmmm… Something like that. I *think* we still have her somewhere. I’ll have to find her. I loved her! Although I am a skeptical life-long agnostic, I grew up going to Sunday School and church and I loved the music and the pageantry surrounding the Christmas Eve service. It ended with the whole congregation holding candles and singing Silent Night. Magical. And then we would trundle off through the snow. Home for hot chocolate and cookies and one xmas eve gift to open. It was the Yooperland and all of our Christmases were white back in those days.

It is white here on The Planet Ann Arbor this evening. When I made my early morning pilgrimage to the Plum Market, the cashier asked me if my shopping was done. I told her I had no idea. And I didn’t. I have packages for the beach urchins but I would be hard-pressed to remember what is in most of them. Stuff they asked for, mostly. I know that I don’t have an equal number of packages for each and I am sure I haven’t spent the same amount of money on them. It doesn’t matter. If someone needs something, I will buy it for them. I don’t want to buy stuff that nobody needs or wants just to make the number of packages equal. We are *all* flinging. I have almost *nothing* for the GG. He says that’s okay, we just bought a stove Gertrude. If anyone feels slighted, they can “shop” the Landfill Dungeon if they want. [Some of] my old [costume] jewelry and record albums from my youth are up for grabs. If no one wants them, they will be donated. [grin]

I also told that cashier that I would very likely be back at the Plum and guess what? I was! (I also went to Whole Foods but that was partly because the GG wanted to go to REI, which is next door to Whole Foods and I didn’t want to hang out in REI f-o-r-e-v-e-r.) Lizard Breath (who made it here from megalopolis before it started snowing so her mooma duck didn’t have to worry about her driving our congested freeways with all the yay-hoos) and I walked over to the Plum in the afternoon and bought two six-packs of beer, lotion, and a small ginger root. Necessities, don’tcha know…

Waiting for our Mouse, who works today and then heads home to get stuff before coming here. I hope that includes decent coffee and all of its accoutrements. But if not? What the heck, we could just drink mimosas.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas,

P. S. Mouse is here! With packages, laundry and and and coffee stuff!

Yes, we do have a tree…

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

I posted this loverly froog  Grok grok  on Instagram this afternoon (no I didn’t delete my account, I was just idly ranting the other day because I didn’t have anything else to talk about…). One of the Beach Urchins commented something like, “I was just wondering if there was a tree” … … …

Yes, there is a tree. Lemme see. It was obtained last weekend (I mean a week or so ago). It finally came inside on Friday. I can’t really remember when the lights were put on but they *were* on last night. Today, various garlands and ornaments were added. I started to whine that I needed ornament hangers and then I remembered about all of the fancy metallic ribbon I’ve been hoarding down in The Dungeon all these years. Say what? Why do I need those stoopid tacky ornament hangers again? Froggy is hanging via an *elegant* red metallic ribbon. Okay, maybe “gaudy” is a better word than “elegant” but that’s what frogs are all aboot, don’tcha know.

I guess we’re pretty late this year but we are both busy with work and we are off-and-on flinging and it is what it is.

Today I used *both* of my new stove’s ovens at once. (I gotta *name* that stove!) I had chex mix going in the top oven at 250 and pita chips in the bottom at 350. I put the stove top to pretty good use too, making my fave make-ahead mashed potatoes and a wee bit of cranberry sauce.

Otherwise I pushed, tugged, and picked away at stuff, several loads of laundry including sheets and the shower curtain and bathmat. (Last holiday, Mouse took it upon herself to throw the groady shower curtain into the washing musheen… [wink]) Vacuumed here and there. A trip to Meijer for regular old grokkeries and things that are too heavy or bulky to haul home from the Plum on my back (think five-pound bags of potatoes and boxes of clementines and toilet paper). And then a trip to the Plum for tonight’s dinner ingredients and fun stuff. An afternoon trip over to Ace Hardware (with gift cards no less), where I had myself a merry little xmas buying a couple of Le Creuset crocks for my kitchen utensils. One is red and one is that teal/aqua/turquoise/whatever you call the “warm” blue color that I love so much. Red and That Warm Blue Color are going to play strong supporting roles in my new chitchen’s color scheme (more on that in a later post) and I am LOVING the new RED colander from The Beautiful Becky and James C. It fits in perfectly with my desired color scheme and I think I even bought one like it for the Group Home at Houghton Lake when we first rebuilt it.

There will be last minute shopping. There always is. It’ll have to happen early, when the stores first open. My main grokkery run will be at 8:00 in the morning when The Plum opens and most people aren’t up yet. I can see myself going over there in the afternoon for that one totally essential thing I’ve forgotten and if I do that, I will have fun! Actually, I think The Plum is closed on xmas but Kroger and Meijer probably aren’t. We are so spoiled.

Bedlam of the best kind…

Saturday, December 22nd, 2012

Back in the day when we would have Christmas dinner at my grandparents’ house in Sault Ste. Sibera it was probably pretty crazy. There were usually four families in attendance, assuming nobody was in Alaska at the time (you know who you are [wink]) and that meant 11 cousins. We could get rambunctious but the grandparents had a big old house and the parents kept us pretty well under control and by the time I was at the age of rambunctiousness, I had quite a few cousins who were getting a bit past that age and I tried to emulate them (not always successfully).

I married into a large family. Lemme see… 10 siblings, 19 grandchildren, and [counting on fingers now] 12 great-grandchildren (?). Every year, the C Fam gets together for a huge, rambunctious Christmas party. I hosted it a couple of times back in the dark ages but the Landfill with its Blue and Only Bathroom is no longer big enough to accommodate those numbers so usually it’s hosted by someone somewhere in the megalopolis area with a bigger house.

This year, it was at our nephew’s new house over in the east side Dee-troit suburbs. He arrived from Afghanistan today and somehow managed to get up the gumption to play Santa for the kids. His mom gets credit for doing the main cooking tasks, helped by two of her sisters and various in-laws and out-laws. I was not much help this time around other than making veggie lasagne (first thing I cooked in my new stove’s top oven). Long drive for us over there but what worked out was nipping down off I696 at Woodward a couple blocks to pick up Lizard Breath at her apartment in Fabulous Ferndale. As for the party, can I just say bedlam? Yes. Fun though, as always.

I love this family. That is just about all I can say.

The end of the eorld

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Or maybe just the stove…

Aloha my loverly old stove. Oh, how I loved you. We had so many wonderful times together. All those turkeys and ducks and chitchen pieces and steaks (yes, the steaks) and lasagnas and eggplantP and pita chips and even cookies back in the day. And pasta and rice and vegetable sautes and breakfasts and… I can’t even think of all the stuff we cooked together. You never let me down. I occasionally let something boil over and there was the infamous time I put the meatloaf in your oven and forgot to turn it on… Alas, I think I am taaaarrred of living with a 3-burner stove. That burner blowout a couple years ago wasn’t your fault. We used you to death. It isn’t your fault that they don’t make burners for you any more. I am sorry. I will miss you…

Hello, beautiful new stove. I loved you the moment I met you. I hope you know how much it means, given how many years I have been looking at stoves, that I picked you. I wonder how often I will actually use your two full-sized ovens. I don’t think I will ever cook two 28-pound turkeys at the same time but who knows. Anyway, we usually cook our turkeys out in the back yard in the gas grill. But who knows what I could get up to now that you and I are friends. With your two ovens, I could bake trays of pita chips in parallel and do them in half the time, roight? I hope you are as good to me as your ancestor was.

G’night from the Great Lake State where (in this little corner of it at least) it is WINDY as all getout and the sidewalks got so icy today that I walked downtown in my YakTraks and we actually accepted a ride home from the Oscar Tango with npJane tonight in part because of the wind. And partly because I just got lazy. Christmas is in four days and I don’t have to work any of the days leading up to it but we have a lot to do in the next 18 hours. And so…

Black as the ace of spades

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

The Commander used to always say that about “The Oldest House in Town”… dun dun dun… dun dun dun… Back in my childhood in the loverly but rugged northern outpost of Sault Ste. Siberia, we would frequently drive the waterfront and there was a certain period when we would pass what The Comm would always call the oldest house in town. It was an abandoned old Victorian place with a big turret and the exterior was black and there were lots of ancient trees and overgrown vegetation in the yard. Spooky? Yes. But we always *asked* to drive by the oldest house in town. The oldest house in town is gone now. Torn down sometime in the last 40 years or so. I sure don’t know when. (It isn’t really the oldest house in that town. There’s the Henry Schoolcraft house and the John Johnston house and I dunno what else.)

Black as the ace of spades. This morning, when I left for my 0-skunk-30 walk, it was as dark as it always is at this time of year but it was also WINDY and RAINY. As in I had an umbrella but I had to hold it down against the wind and by the time I got home, I felt almost as wet as when I had finished my shower earlier in the morning and definitely soggier with my wet socks et al. At three in the afternoon, I stood up and walked over to the windows. It was as dark as it is on a cloudy day at five in the afternoon, which is when I usually leave work and, at this time of year, when the sun sets. Ugly, ugly, ugly. For a minute or two, I was thinking those Mayans were right but I don’t believe in crap like that and then I spotted somebody outside the entrance smoking a cigarette and talking on his cell phone and I talked myself down off that ledge. After a dark, rainy, ugly trip home on the freeway, I walked over to the Plum Market to pick up a few things and just kind of feeeel the dark outdoors and wander around under the bright lights in the Plum trying not to bump into too many people with my mini-cart.

It is not black at Houghton Lake, as you can see. It seems that there is some ice on the lake. I do not think whatever ice is there is safe for snowmobilers or even ice fishers yet. Apparently whatever ice has formed on Houghton Lake has been blown over to the south shore of Long Point.

I don’t have an elf-on-a-shelf but I do have a grinch (and a frog) and Chrissy the police mouse

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

This year is the first I have ever heard of the elf-on-a-shelf and I think it is pretty awful. The elf isn’t cute (I don’t think) and I don’t believe in the whole naughty or nice thing. I don’t *remember* ever holding that over the beach urchins’ heads when they still believed in Santa Claus. I sure hope I didn’t. I actually went overboard in the other direction, showering them with more presents than they could possibly process. I dunno what it is about the wretched excess of so many people in my generation but I was an active participant in some ways and I have lived to regret it.

Our “elf-on-a-shelf” experience happened at the Spikehorn Barrroooom when the beach urchins were young. We were eating dinner there once when we were at Houghton Lake (it’s a “family” restaurant too) and the service was s-l-o-o-o-o-w and the beach urchins got a little antsy. Now. They were *not* running around the place knocking chairs and things over. They were *not* yelling at the top of their lungs. It was the Christmas season and people were whooping it up and I’m sure there were many louder people in the place than the beach urchins. The Beach Urchins were probably fidgety and sniping at each other. We had waited a long time for our food and we were all a little edgy.

Alas, an ugly old drunk crone took it upon herself to trundle over to our table and slur a long soliloquy about how Santa wouldn’t bring the beach urchins any presents if they didn’t behave. I cringed as I saw her come over. I tried to be polite and make light of the whole thing. I am just old-school enough that I wanted to teach my children to respect their elders, even though I had absolutely no respect for this drunken old hag myself.

I’m sure there are lots of moms out there who are doing positive things with the elf but the whole thing kind of leaves me cold. The Christmas season should be as much fun for children (and everyone else) as it possibly can be. December is the darkest month of the year. I love the dark to some extent. I love walking in the dark in the morning and I love driving home after the sun sets. I keep The Landfill as dark as I can during this season, with lights where I need them and strings of xmas lights where I don’t.

I sure wouldn’t want to move an ugly blasted plastic-faced elf around the Landfill to be watching for “bad” behavior or whatever. That sounds like a lot of work to me.

Have yourself a squeaky little Christmas

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Spit-take of the day: one of my [seemingly] right-wing conservative facebook “friends” posting that he wanted Jenny back. Jenny who? Our last governor [a democrat]. Why? It’s complicated but it has to do with our [current] wondrous governor, aka @oneToughTermNerd and his signing (or not) of a whole bunch of hastily conceived bills that have been rammed through the state legislature during the lame-duck session. Maybe y’all have heard a bit about it on the news… I suspect fb friend is upset because 1) @oneToughTermNerd signed off on a right-to-work bill and 2) vetoed a bill to allow people to carry concealed weapons into churches, schools, day care centers, and other places. I suspect that fb friend is (or was) a union member and also owns guns. What is that old saying about polly-ticks and strange bedfellows? I’ll reserve my own opinion about @oneToughTermNerd’s latest adventures for some other post.

What is up with Instagram? Oh, yeah, facebook bought it out. I enjoy using Instagram. I like playing with the filters (or not) and I like how easy it is to upload photoooos (if you are not trying to upload them on the Edge network, which fails every time). I only have a few followers on Instagram and I like how I can post stuff there that I don’t really want to post on Twitter (too many random followers) or facebook (don’t want to subject everyone to everything). I think that facebook has chosen a disastrous model for monetizing Instagram and I expect Instagram will bleed users if it doesn’t change that model. We’ll see what happens…

Today… Can I just say Team Holiday Lunch at Mediterrano! I had a field greens salad, butternut squash ravioli and tiramisu, which there was no way I could finish. At the end of the luncheon, our own personal Santa Claus (who is a rabbinical scholar in his spare time) told us something like, “Before you all drift off, thank you for all your work”… well you know. And we did drift off… Some folks drifted to nearby Briarwood Mall, others home to check on dogz, some probably back to work. We all have stuff to do all the time and we manage it all but we were all thankful today for the extra couple of hours we were given.

Yer fav-o-rite blahgger drifted down the street to Whole Foods to obtain a couple of ducks for our Christmas dinner and then hit the freeway out to the Jackson Road Meijer for some other stuff. And got home just after four and spent the next hour or so nose to the grindstone busy with household chores and a wonderful storm of text / email messages and throwing together some chicken enchiladas.

For whatever reason, my usual (and hated) “Have yourself a merry little Christmas” earworm has not yet set in despite the title…


Monday, December 17th, 2012

4.a. A compartment in some types of firearms, often a small detachable box, in which cartridges are held to be fed into the firing chamber.

I am a systems analyst. I am not against firearms. I am not against hunting with firearms or shooting at targets or old dead logs back in the swamp (as long as people warn me that they’re gonna do that so I can go down on the beach or block my ears or whatever). I am not against arming our police (within reason) and I know that we need to arm our soldiers although I hate that we keep getting into wars. If I lived in a place where there was a high likelihood that I would be regularly assaulted by raving mad drug crazies or herds of marauding polar bears, I might even decide to obtain my own gun and learn to shoot it.

I am a systems analyst. I get paid to sort through complicated “stuff” and sort it out. I cannot sort out these “semi-automatic” weapons or whatever. I have *tried* to read articles on them thar tubes and I have even willingly (sort of) subjected myself to a certain amount of mansplaining on the whole subject. I get lost in all of the details: caliber and flash suppressors and big clips and, yes, magazines. (Actually, the answer “magazine” was clued in a gun sort of way in a recent NYT xword puzzle and I actually *got* it but that’s because I *read*, not because I know about guns.) If you ask me (and nobody did), if a gun’s magazine can hold 30 or 40 or even 5 or 10 bullets, we need to be very careful about who is able to buy one. I am in favor of stricter laws about these kinds of guns (whatever you call them). I *know* that these guns (and all guns) will still fall into the wrong hands. But we have to try.

I am also trying to sort out a lot of general rhetoric about guns. Mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut by a young man with emotional/psychological problems not fully understood, who raided his mom’s gun stash to do the deed. The lame duck session of legislators in the brave new state of Michissippi passing a law allowing concealed weapons in places where they are currently outlawed, like churches and day care centers and… schools… Rhetoric all over the place about how if only those teachers had been armed, this could never have happened.

I can’t sort all of this stuff out. But I do have to wonder a couple things. One is why the Michissippi GOP *wants* to allow guns in schools (etc.). Is there a positive reason for (random?) people to be able to pack weapons into a school? If so, I haven’t heard what it is. At least in relation to the bill that the Michissippi GOP just passed. And then there’s all the crap about arming teachers and principals…

The media seems to be conflating all of these somewhat separate issues but I’d like to unpack the last one a bit. I wonder if any of these politicians have set foot in an elementary school since they attended one themselves. Arm the teachers? Where are you going to put the gun? Is the teacher going to wear a holster? Or keep it in a special locked drawer in her desk. What happens if that teacher has had one of “those” mornings and forgets to lock the drawer and a *kid* gets hold of that gun and accidentally shoots someone? And how would arming the principal (or anyone else) at the shooter school guarantee that she could have killed the shooter before he killed her (and all those other human beings).

I spent a good chunk of my adult life hanging about an elementary school. It was a *busy* place. Kids going here and there, parent volunteers going in and out and sometimes *hanging* out in the hallways whooping it up talking about our kids, etc., until the teachers kicked us out because we were making too much noise.

I know that if a guy with a 30-bullet magazine (if I have that right) had ever shot his way through the front door, we would have been totally dazed and probably the teachers and principal would have been too (and we would probably all be dead). Teaching professionals are certainly responsible for our childrens’ safety but they are primarily hired to TEACH! Even if a teacher or principal had a gun and was trained to use it, I doubt that she could have reached it (and loaded it) in time to stop a guy who had shot his way through the damn front door!!!

I have to wonder what those who want to arm teaching professionals think about the cost of buying the firearms and the training that would be required. It seems to me that the only way to truly ensure the safety of every school every day, would be to hire a trained professional security guard to hang out at every damn school so that they could watch for and “take out” the [extremely rare] guy who comes to shoot the door out. And most schools have multiple doors… Aren’t the people who are advocating this somewhat equivalent to those who want to shrink government? I don’t think this will shrink government.

Sigh… … …

Hangin’ a flingin’ uwee

Sunday, December 16th, 2012


Maybe you know the feeling. You get a whole roomful of brainlessly saved hoarded items emptied out, clean up all the rodent turds, vacuum the spiderwebs, wash the walls, and fling whatever you are “allowed” to fling. And then. You have to figure out a way to put all of the non-flung stuff BACK! Whether you want to keep it or not. Because somebody else DOES want to keep it.

That happened to me this weekend with The Yellow Shag Freakout Chamber. And I have to admit that even the mannequin is starting to grow on me now that it has a face (if you are friends with me on facebook and have been on there today, you will know what I mean). But still. Now I have a whole bunch of crap in my “studio” and I don’t want it there but I don’t want to junk up TYSFC again…

But… We were driving out to Meijer / Lowe’s yesterday and we passed one of those storage places and… and… and… A lightbulb came on! And then another lightbulb, namely that there is one of those places a hop, skip, and jump away from The Landfill, like just down the row from the Plum Market that I walk to for grokkeries. We could actually rent one of those things and it might not even be a pain in the you-know-what! It would might solve the problem of all the “stuff” currently stored in the moomincabin garage that still has to be gone through. And having an additional space to temporarily store things would might allow me to get going on remodeling The Landfill. I know that one of the issues that is holding me back is that there is so much *stuff* here. And this is *not* even a true hoarder house as much as I whine and complain. I am hot on getting a storage thingy. We’ll see what we get up to with that…

Today was kind of a cooking day. Nothing exciting, just getting some things prepared ahead of time for the work week. I dunno why I make myself think that cooking isn’t work and doesn’t take time because it sure does. Anyway, I bought a whole tenderloin over at Plum Market today. The butcher asked, “Would you like me to trim that for you?” Well, yes! Why not! I am *horrible* at trimming tenderloins. And so he did and made a pound of “hamburger” out of whatever good stuff was trimmed. I ended up with so much stuff during that shopping trip that I had to text the GG to drive over with the Frog Hopper and pick up my bags.

The photooos are brought to you by the old QuickCam I found down in the Dungeon during my flinging campaign. The ’90s version of webcam? Or whatever. We attached it to our big-honking-box powerMac. Or whatever it was. That computer was anything but portable but I think that was maybe when Jobs was not working for Apple (?) My next computer was a loverly strawberry iMac (which was portable but…) and then I was on to laptops laptops laptops… And iPhones and iPads… … …

I ended the day by upgrading my iPhone to iOS 6 and downloading Google Maps. I’m glad that chapter of my digital life is over.


Things I did not fling…

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

…although I reeeaalllly reeeeaalllly wanted to…

A bunch of old crumbling reel-to-reel tapes (remember those?). I did fling the *box* they were in, which was a disintegrating old Heineken box with rodent crap (what else?) in it. And then I almost got in “trouble” for flinging it because the GG thought the tapes were in…

Bob’s Bullshit Box. An old PBR case, probably from Campus Corners or whatever it was at Moo-U with almost nothing in it except rodent crap (what else?). Truth: I had been eyeballing BBB for flinging but decided to postpone it because breaking up that particular box would’ve been the mother of all box deconstructing battles. I didn’t notice Bob’s Bullshit Box written on it… … … I vacuumed everything questionable out of it and then, wouldn’tcha know, I was told that we could *never* get rid of that box. Nein! (Want it Bob?)

The mannequin.

A ratty old fox fur wrap thingy that once belonged to the GG’s Grandma O. I don’t know if there is rodent crap in the bag. I’m afraid to stick my hand in there. I am not all that squeamish but I keep fergitting what’s in that bag and every time I look in there and see old dead fox faces looking out at me, I jump a foot or two. I was kinda hoping that somehow Radical Betty’s old fox fur wrap thingy had ended up here ’cause then I could probably have gotten flinging permission, or at least shipped it off [wink]. Nein! Must save forever! (But Veeeeeelhelm!!!)

The loverly old ’92-vintage MacBook laptop. Actually, I’ve made my peace with that thing, since it *works*. Well, that is, it works about as well as it ever did. Missing in action? The talking moose.

The mannequin.

A box rather haphazardly (and half-filled) with old seashells and probably, oh, you know… Again, I didn’t investigate very thoroughly. Now seashells are very cool in a way. When I was a kid, my great-aunt Elizabeth used to go Florida in the winter and once she brought me back a very carefully labeled seashell collection. I’m sure she bought it at a store somewhere down there but I sure the heck didn’t care. The shells were beautiful and I loved it and it remained one of my prized possessions for many years. But what’s the point of keeping something like that forever? My collection eventually faded and began to disintegrate and I don’t even remember when I pitched it.

A dot matrix printer… … … I *think* there is an old typewriter down there too but I haven’t opened up the bag I think it’s in. Anyway, I would be less likely to get rid of an old typewriter than an old printer.

The mannequin.

We’re keeping the mannequin (and all that other crap — except for the rodent crap). Apparently, the mannequin belongs in the Freakout Chamber. I always thought that the Freakout Chamber was limited to that little room beyond the beaded curtains but apparently it extends into the Yellow Shag Carpet room too… … … And that is more than okay with me… … …

Gotta go. My [getting to be] fave Iris Dement[ed] is on PHC! (The Commander would be mortified that I actually like Iris and one or two (or three (or four (or…))) other country music singers. It’s okay Moom… … … Love you anyway.)

Sandals in the snow

Friday, December 14th, 2012

This has been a horrific week here in the brave new state of Michissippi (if you are even a bit left of center, I’m sure others are whooping it up in celebration — “protecting” women, giving workers “choices” yada yada, let’s throw the misogynist bums out!). Alas, I think Connecticut has us beat. I actually think The Onion says it best. I don’t follow The Onion, I ran across this link on Twitter. I know The Onion is supposed to be satirical. I detect just the barest whiff of satire in this article. It describes exactly how I feel. I have no words… … …

I have said before that I am not a gun control advocate. In general, that is. I will never purposely go out and purchase a gun and I am afraid to shoot one. Heck, the noise alone is enough to scare me off. That said, I have lived my entire life with benign gun owners — guys who shoot at targets and old logs back in the swamp and stuff like that. Once, when a serial bludgeoner was roaming my neighborhood (some of his [female] victims died, some did not, he didn’t seem to care one way or another), I told a neighbor that, no I wasn’t afraid to walk alone (in the middle of the day, no less!) but that I thought it might be cool to teach every woman in the city how to use a damn gun and station them at the entrances to each woods. I was ANGRY! I want to be able to walk in my neighborhood without worrying about some deranged person out bludgeoning women at random. Of course it was a pipe dream and I still don’t own a gun. Although I suppose I have inherited a few. Maybe I could store them next to the oatmeal… … … When you think about it, guns are pretty safe here with me, since I have no interest in shooting them… … …

That said, I think that it *is* time to have a discussion about some of these blasted automatic weapons… … … This is happening too frequently and it seems impossible to predict who is gonna go nuts or when or why. If I have it right, the Aurora shooter tried to warn someone that he was struggling and the warning went unheeded… … … It has to be harder to buy these fancy automatic guns. A whole roomful of kindergartners? Whaaaa??? A Twitter acquaintance has been retweeting posts from a mom whose relative has been reunited with two of her children. No one will tell her where the third is… … …

And God? Everywhere everywhere everywhere on facebook, people are posting hastily photoshopped memes about praying for the victims. Okay, if you are religious and praying to God makes you feel better about this, more power to you. If religion provides some relief to those whose lives have been horrifically changed forever, may their God bless them. I mean that. But I am a lifelong agnostic and it all leaves me a little cold. Does God really think it’s okay for a young man, barely more than a child himself, to shoot a room full of five-year-olds? When I was a small child asking questions about God and why this or that could happen, Sunday School teachers always saccharinely replied, “It’s all part of God’s plan.” Whose plan? What plan? (Where the hell did I dine?) How is “God” going to help here? Where was God when the shooter walked into that classroom? Taking a coffee break? Watching football? Visiting the outhouse? Sorry. I just can’t wrap my brain around this and I don’t see how a bunch of random strangers on facebook re-posting religious photo-memes can possibly help… … …

I am babbling but no more than all of the news feeds I read today. Changing numbers of dead people. Changing numbers of shooters. A dead father [brother?] in a different town? Missing girlfriend? Pictures of men with guns everywhere [police, of course] His mother was a teacher at the school? And he killed her too? (And all those kindergartners?) His mother owned the guns? A link to a facebook profile of the killer? Or not? Or not the killer but his brother? A man in camo being hauled out of the school by the police yelling to the crowd that he didn’t do it? What is the real story? It’s been hours since I have checked news. Who knows what the story has turned into now… … …

Oatmeal reduction program

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Or “opameal” or “oyops” or whatever you want to call it… I think I wrote a while back about “inheriting” a huge canister of oatmeal. I “inherited” it from a woman who spent the last year or so of her life complaining vociferously about oatmeal to anyone who would listen. My mother, of course. And yet, *she* bought the dern thing. Why? Because oatmeal is GOOOOOOD for you, don’tcha know… I dunno. I figure anyone who has lived to the age of 90 with only the niggling little health issues that are part and parcel of advanced old age can eat whatever they damn well please. Why deny yourself? Old habits die hard… (Love you mooom, just processing…)

Anyway, the monster oatmeal canister is past its expiration date but I haven’t found any vermin in it and it’s OATMEAL(!) so I am slowly working my way through it. Yaknow, to be thrifty and eat healthy and all that. I am finding that I like it better withOUT brown sugar, which is what I grew up eating it with. Yes, she served it to us as children*. Healthy, roight? Brown sugar in oatmeal makes it too sweet for me now, although I probably wouldn’t EAT it without brown sugar as a kid. Nowadays? Some jam maybe? It gives it a wee bit of flavor without overpowering it with sugar.

Hmmmm… The Dutch Chocolate Bars recipe uses *2 cups* (count ’em) of oatmeal. That’ll reduce my oatmeal supply. Dutch Chocolate Bars are a Christmas cookie The Commander added to her repertoire back in about 1969 or so. They came out of a Michigan Consolidated Gas Company pamphlet and they are chocolate / oatmeal bar cookies with peppermint frosting. They are easy to make and they are TO DIE FOR! Today, I bought peppermint extract, green food coloring (which is *required* for the frosting [wink]), and unsweetened baking chocolate. I did NOT buy oatmeal (duh!). I considered powdered sugar (for the frosting) but decided against it, which was a good thing, because I sort of thought I had also “inherited” some of that… Yes, I had. Same thing for vanilla extract.

I think that *one* batch of Christmas cookies is definitely in my future. We’ll see what else I get up to. And no, that loverly snowman is NOT in my house. If you want to feel the holiday season, you should go to The Beautiful Gay’s house (in Gaylord…) Here we don’t do that much. Well, we do have some holiday lights up, mostly *inside* the house. But I have some of those up all year. The GG sometimes says that it looks like a whore-house. I haven’t ever been inside a whore-house so I do not know what’s in one of those but I enjoy being able to navigate around The Landfill at night without having to turn on a whole bunch of big overhead lights everywhere or use my iPhone flashlight.

Good night from Kayak Woman of Michissippi.

* She also bought us every single kind of crappy old boxed cereal that we asked for.

Metonym deja vu

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

It was WWWD who uttered the word “metonym”. He used it in a sentence! The word sounded really familiar, like didn’t I just hear (or more likely read) that word yesterday? Or thereabouts? I tried looking it up. On my iPhone, don’tcha know (WWWD: “Are you looking it up on your iPhone? I may have to pick one of those puppies up one of these days.” KW: “Yes!”) I was thinking “meta”, not “meto” although it seems as though a variant is in play here. Anyway, I didn’t find “metanym” but I did find “metonym” and when I clicked through to *that* and started reading the daffy-nishun, I realized that I had already *read* the dern daffy-nishun. Yesterday. Or thereabouts. I do not think I am ready to use the word “metonym” in a sentence yet. For one thing, it was late in the afternoon and I was deep inside an excel spreadsheet trying to remember which functions I needed to use for various dynamic calculations. Also, “speak s-l-o-w-l-y, I’m blonde.” [hello] I love WWWD. I mean that in the sense that he’s a wonderful co-worker, not in a crush sense. A *humble* person with a phd attached to his name (actually *in* philosopy, if I have it right). He is a smart enough person to know how much he *doesn’t* know and I have *never* heard WWWD do any mansplainin. Take a note, polly-tishuns.

So, yesterday was one of “those” blahgging days and my hastily thrown-together entry ended with a wish to be traveling somewhere else. The truth is that I am *loving* being here at the Landfill this December (except for the loverly joyride to the Great White North last weekend). Last year at this time, it seemed like every time I turned around*, The Commander was being sent to the ER (up in Siberia) once again and I would call the ER and the doc would say something like, “I’m not sure if we can bring her back or not but we’re trying.” I prepared myself for her possible death several times during northward drives and honestly, when it finally happened, I was more than prepared. *Actually, I think I only heard that twice from an ER doc but twice was more than enough and every one of those damn hospital trips took more out of her…

This year I am actually making enough flinging / cleaning progress here that I am starting to see a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Oops. I threw out some old ceeegar boxes… “Those were my dad’s.” –The GG. Okaaaayyyy. My dad smoked more than a few ceegars in his life and I have not inherited any ceeegar boxes to speak of, thank you god or whoever. I do remember a summer when UKW, Pooh, and I were snagging them whenever we could to build Troll Houses with them. We used shoe boxes too and we would be working on our troll houses on the big hearth in front of the Old Cabin faaaarplace when one mother or another (Radical Betty, The Comm, or Bubs) would find us there and say, “It’s a BEACH DAY! What are you doing inside the cabin?” I guess they were still decompressing from the infamous Two-year-old Summer… (three 2-year-old cousins and other assorted kids in one log cabin, rain almost every day).

Last but not least, if you have read this far and you have created a prime number sieve in your life, you are in for a treat! Hat tip to our nephew Cap, who is a mathematician and, like WWWD, he has a phd.