Archive for February, 2013

Draggin’ [rhymes with “mass”]

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

lizsnowsuitI was looking for the photo of me and my brother standing next to a giant snowbank up in Sault Ste. Siberia back in the 60s or whenever. I couldn’t find it (hello, 30K photos?) so you get this one of Lizard Breath in our front yard on The Planet Ann Arbor back in the 80s. When I was a kid in Siberia, the snowbanks on the extension (is that what you call it?) between the sidewalk and the street were even higher than this one for most of the winter and they got hardened enough that we used to *walk* on them.

Here on The Planet Ann Arbor, we had a “measly” seven inches of wet, slushy snow earlier this week, the most snow in one storm for the whole season. Even though it’s supposed to get a little colder in the next couple days or more, it won’t stick around. It’ll be March tomorrow and as nasty as March can be, winter is on the downslide here.

That said, I am draggin’ ass this week. How do I count the ways?

I have been chasing a load of laundry all week and no it is not because Froggy has been hiding it various places.

I have had to walk to the Plum Market to forage for food twice (or is it three times) this week. I love walking to the Plum Market but… Must. Get. Organized.

My hair? It’s getting to be that season when my hair feels like a strawstack. Need a haircut. (I’m looking at Mouse and she is hiding right now.)

Also need help with my loverly amaryllis. (Mouse is peering out of her hidey hole.)

That mess on the dining table? I started to triage the latest batch of The Commander’s belongings earlier this week. Save forever? Give away / sell? Trash? I have made no progress. Heck, I’m still chasing a load of laundry. One stinkin’ load of laundry.

The Sequester? It’s just an annoyance to me. All of you politicians, getcher act together. But you won’t and it’s easy for you to dodge it because everyone in the country is suffering from crisis fatigue. That’s a bad thing but I am fatigued too. I’m tired of hearing the constant analysis. The sequester is not likely going to put much of a dent in my rather humble lifestyle but it may for others and I do not understand why it makes sense to lay people off who have government jobs. If people are working, even if they are working for government entities, they are buying things and paying taxes. Laying those folks off also makes a dent in the private sector, because those folks cannot buy cars or make housing improvements, not to mention food and shoes and things. I am a fiscal conservative but we need to ratchet back government spending slowly and carefully. I could go on (and on) but I won’t.

Oh, the Pope. The Pope? I am not Catholic (or even Methodist any more). I like to joke that one of my lots in life is large Catholic families. Friends that I grew up with and the wonderful family that I married into (who have always happily accepted a heathen like me). As an outsider, I think the Pope did the right thing, realizing that he couldn’t do his job effectively any more and [maybe?] not wanting to have his assistants do it for him as his physical and mental state deteriorated. There may be a few politicians who could take a note here.


Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

slushstormPlug and unplug. Plug and unplug. Unplug the cable from the airport (or whatever it is). Plug it back in. Unplug the cable from the cable modem. Plug it back in. Unscrew the cable from the cable modem. Screw it back in. Finally, the flashing yellow light on the airport (or whatever it is) turns a nice solid green.

Plug and unplug. Plug and unplug. Unplug the powerstrip from line 1. Plug it into line 2. Power up? No. Unplug the powerstrip from line 2. Plug it into (eeny, meeny, miney mo) line 4. Voila! Power up! Nothing like spending the first 15 minutes or so of your work day crawling around on the floor down in the bottom of your loverly, once dog-poopy cube trying to find a working outlet.

Yes, I did go *in* to work today despite all my caterwauling about the work-from-home controversy of the week. Perversely enough, I actually kind of *wanted* to drive in the heavy, slushy crap that fell overnight. Of course, I *did* have the Frog Hopper today. It really wasn’t all that bad, mostly wet, although some roads had huge slush piles everywhere. If I had been speeding, I’m sure I could easily have spun out but I wasn’t speeding and most other drivers were taking it easy too and I got there just fine, even stopping at the Saline Road Meijer on the way for Cheerios and other essentials that I don’t buy at the Plum.

When I arrived we had “half-power”. That is, about half of the lucky-shuckial outlets in the building had power, hence all of the crawling around down in the bottom of my cube.

My supervisor and I agreed early on this morning that today had the potential to be a very weird day and it was, albeit most of that weirdness would be inside jokes that are only funny to people who work where I do. Except for this… The LSCHP opened up a javascript file and there it was. A variable named bOOBA. He happened to be in a conference room with a client (rare for clients to be in our backwater office) and was projecting at the time, so everyone in the room could see this. Hilarity ensued. Whyyyy would anyone name a variable bOOBA? “I can see how a guy might name a variable something like that but it’s three *women* who code this stuff.” And it *is* three women and one of them is meeeee and I didn’t create this variable but it follows one of our informal variable-naming conventions and, if I had been working on that prodject, I’d’ve probably named it that too. And never noticed it. Nerds R Us…

Came home to shovel water and do more damn plugging and unplugging, since the damn internet was out *again*.

I am so glad I don’t work for Yahoo

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

snowI feel kind of stupid talking about the rain/sleet/ice/snow/whatever storm we got here in the armpit of the Great Lake State today. It’s Michigan and this is *winter* and this is all part of the program. But…

Take a note, Marissa: at around 4:30 PM today, when the heavy rain that had been coming down most of the day turned into I’m-not-sure-what, my boss came around and told her employees that it was okay with her if we left for the afternoon. We normally leave around 5:00 PM anyway. I said, “Thank you. See you tomorrow morning.” She said, “You gals can work from home in the morning if it’s still ugly out there.” And we can. And I may. We’ll see.

It was a kind of a long slog home but I had the Frog Hopper, which handled the snow/ice/whatever with aplomb. Although *everyone* was going slow… I walked over to the Plum after I got home and this *old* horse trailer apparently broke down and had to be towed (click to enlarge). I hope the horses were okay…

Sometime tonight, I will probably get out there and wield a shovel. I will also throw some salt down on my sidewalk. I do *not* want people to break bones or get concussions by slipping and falling on my sidewalk.

Maybe it never snows wherever Yahoo is but it certainly does here and there is absolutely NO EXCUSE for an information technology company to not set up their employees to be able to work from home. Shame on you, Marissa.

Monday Monday

Monday, February 25th, 2013

cathatSitting at traffic light number 5 (out of 15) this morning, I realized that I didn’t have my purse. Which meant that I didn’t have my phone or my work badge… Back to the drawing board. 25 stoplights this morning.

No, I’m not gonna write about skiing today. How about telecommuting? I cannot believe that the CEO (you know the one) of a *tech* company (you know the one) has decided to end telecommuting! Say what?

I think this is crazy! I have some experience with telecommuting and also working with colleagues who telecommute. Actually, I prefer going into the office most days. I like the separation of home and work. I like being able to overhear the LSCHP talking about video games or hygrometers or whatever esoteric topic is at hand. I like to “yell over the wall” when I have a question. But there are times when telecommuting is a good thing. Like…

— When you are not too sick to do any work but you are coughing and sneezing to beat the band. Why take your germs to work? Not to mention the noise and distraction of a person who sounds like they are hacking up a lung. Ditto if you have a child who is not very sick but too sick to go to school.

— When there is eight inches of snow in your street and the plows are nowhere to be seen and you cannot get your cute little vee-hickle out of the driveway. (Yeah, I know. Still…) A corollary to this: we have a *lot* of traffic around here and when it snows, it is a *mess* out there. If more of the people who *can* work from home *do* on snow days, the easier it is for people who *can’t* work from home [nurses, anyone?] to get to work.

— When “the cable guy” or whoever is scheduled to stop by “sometime” in the afternoon.

— When your mom is dying and you have to be with her…

Are there some downsides to working from home? Yes, there are. If I have a presentation to do, I will break my neck to get to work. I need to hook up to a projector for those and the last thing I want to do is have somebody else vanna for me. I like to drive my own presentations.

Why *is* a high-profile tech company requiring all of its workers to be at work all the time? Are there some non-productive work-at-home types working for the company this woman was hired (with great fanfare) to lead? FIRE THEM! But let those who *are* productive continue to work from home. Continue to provide the perks (free food, etc.) that supposedly keep people coming in to work (according to the internet and NPR). But recognize that not everyone cares about that crap. I am a baggy old 50-something (I think my brain still works…).

I *love* the occasional bagel breakfast or catered lunch. What do I love more? Time. Time to go home at the end of the day and create a meal out of natural ingredients. Time to spend with my family. Time to hike and ski and kayak and hang out at the Group Home and the Moominbeach (and Lopez…). Time to think… I don’t understand why some people think that being at work umpteen gazillion hours a day leads to more productivity. My “aha” moments, when I figure out what I need to do at work often occur when I am on the freeway driving home from work or walking around the neighborhood in the dark in the morning. These insights do not always happen when I am sitting in my cube… But I am “old” and I guess I don’t know much of anything…

My [tech] company believes that the ability to work from home is an asset. If people cannot get to work for whatever reason, the on-line banking world keeps going. Maybe this other tech company isn’t as essential. I dunno… … …

This wouldda been me back in the Pleistocene…

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

hulaskigalThe gal in the grass skirt and lei, that is. I just may blahg about skiing all week. You can go away if you want to. But you never know what I’ll do. I do have skiing on the brain again tonight. We went to the Ski Ranch again today. Fortunately, we got out early enough that I got to do a whole bunch of skiing without seeing more than maybe three people plus Groomer Bob or whoever the heck it was on the snow-mo thingy. And then I got to my fave Rolling Hills loop and there were about a billion kids skiing The Wrong Way! A race. I asked if I could ski on Rolling Hills anyway and was told it was okay but it sure was interesting mixing it up with the young racers.

I kind of miss skiing with kids. Little kids, that is, not big teenaged kids who leave me behind in the dust with great glee. Yesterday I stopped off at the warming shack to re-wax and because all the Houghton Lake man-splainers were there. A family with young children was also there and I said (to the man-splainers) something at some point about how the last time I skied with Mouse, she left me in the dust. I got back on the trail and this young girl, maybe about nine, who had been at the Trapper’s Cabin, came up behind me *fast* and I had to get out of her way! She said, “I’m leaving my mom in the dust.” Yes, she was.

Skiing with children… You’re are skiing with your 3-year-old on skis and your 8-month-old asleep in a backpack and you know your husband is coming along to meet you and take the kids back to the ranch so you can get a good fast ski in *alone*. You send your 3-year-old off to meet up with her dad who is not quite in sight yet but you know he is just around a bend and while your baby is skiing toward him, you hear some *concerned* people ask her if she is alone! And then you hear your 3-year-old very clearly and confidently answer, “No. I am with my mommy and my daddy.” And then both of us parents come together and I hand off the kids to the GG. He takes them in for hot chocolate and stuff and I ski!

Your 2-year-old has an uber-cute set of red rental skis and boots and she has been gung-ho about skiing all weekend. Until Sunday afternoon. She’s done! She has been speaking in complete sentences since forever but somehow she can’t tell you that she really doesn’t want to ski *again*. She’s only *two*, fer kee-reist. You don’t understand. Everybody *always* wants to ski, roight? You say something about maybe we’ll just do the “Little-kid Loop!”. Oh, bad choice of words. A meltdown ensues. You pick up your 2-year-old, skis and all and walk into the ski ranch and with more laughter than tears, you tell Bob, “I think we’re done with skiing for the year.” It is late in the season and he has his own little kids and he understands.

And then, you are slodging along in the back reaches of the Manitou Trail with your 4-year-old. There are some long, flat sections on that trail and your kid is bored and you are both trying not to ask, “When are we gonna get there.” Little kids don’t really need ski poles and so you are carrying your kid’s ski poles plus your own in your right hand and holding hands with her with your left. There is silence for a long time and then your kid says: “Mom, I am thinking about volcanoes too much.”

I miss skiing with little kids or maybe I just miss skiing with my own little kids. I was really happy to be skiing alone this weekend. We had a wonderfully dry drive down today. We took the Lansing route for the first time in a while so we could drop off The Beautiful Chelsea at her apartment in East Lansing. Nice dry roads all the way. Thank you god or whoever. Because I am so blasted sick of black ice…


Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

skiingMan, did I need that! I can’t remember the last time I went x-c skiing. I know it was sometime the winter of 2011. That’s two years ago. Last year? Well, first of all, there wasn’t a whole lot of snow here in the Great Lake State. Also, it was the winter we said goodbye to The Commander and I spent a whole lot of time hanging around at War Memorial and Freighter View. I did a lot of walking during that period — up and down the escarpment to wherever The Comm was. It helped me keep my sanity. Skiing? I didn’t even have enough wits about me to haul my skis up there.

Despite considerable panic on my part yesterday, we did end up driving to Houghton Lake this morning. I knew that x-c skiing was in my immediate future and I was actually *dreading* it. Could I still do it? Would I be able to schlep myself up the hills? Would I break my neck going down the hills? Would I have to struggle to keep up with the others? Not to mention that it was borderline too warm to x-c ski today. At least in my book. Would it be one of those days when it’s so slippery you find yourself slipping backwards with every glide? Would I get too hot?

I forced myself to haul my skis across the highway and put them on. I told the GG I was going to go off by myself. We had six skiers today, of widely varying levels of experience. I have a *lot* of experience but I do *not* consider myself a pro, plus it’s been a couple years…

I started slowly and even a little shakily. “I’ll just go out to the Trapper’s Cabin and see how it goes.” I got to the Trapper’s Cabin and, guess what? I was A-okay! I wasn’t winded and I was even starting to get back in to the groove! I kept going! I did the Manitou Trail. The GG caught up with me about halfway around that. He had been kind of wondering where I was. I shooed him on ahead. I was *digging* being alone, getting my x-c ski mojo back at my own pace. And I was okay! I didn’t get tired or hot going uphill. I snowplowed the downhills. But I was doing okay. I met up with the Twinz back at the Trapper’s Cabin where I re-waxed. Then I did the Adventure Trail and Rolling Hills, including the new/old “trail extension”. And then I was done.

I felt absolutely totally utterly fantastic! Like I had actually done something. Warm and almost kind of glowing. I couldn’t believe that I had almost bagged skiing today. Using every lame excuse in the book. Why? I do not know. I was not the fastest skier today but I was far from the slowest. I suspect I will have some sore muscles in the next few days but it will be that lovely “thank you for using me” kind of sore.

We have a full house tonight and The GG is hankering for a ‘hattan and things are getting loud and confusing in general. G’night! Be careful and please don’t hit black ice, whether you are walking or driving.

A Radical Betty moment

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

downtownWe went to the Ark tonight to see Hot Club of Cowtown. I *had* to get that out there early because somehow I keep merging the Hot Club of Cowtown with the Cowboy Cultural Society and, even though I just got home from the concert, I *still* have to keep asking the GG the name of the band we just saw.

Let me start at the very beginning. Of today, that is. I walked outside in my YakTrax at 0-skunk-30 today but all of the cement surfaces were dry (except for random patches of black ice but I can see those with my iPhone flashlight). So I took my YakTrax. Then something started coming out of the sky. I couldn’t tell at first if it was ice or snow. A couple blocks later, the streets and sidewalks (and black ice) were covered with snow and I sat down on the curb and put my YakTrax back on.

I was really feeling sorry for myself this morning. We were supposed to drive to HL tonight and I didn’t wanna drive up in snow / freezing rain. Heck, I didn’t even wanna drive to work. I whined that I didn’t wanna drive the Ninja to work and so the GG very patiently backed the Ninja out into the street so I could drive the Frog Hopper (he did not work today). Still I was freaked out about the drive. I decided to work from home. I faaarrred up my work laptop and got out my VPN key device. And then… I remembered. A Friday approximately a year ago. Similar weather conditions. I *did* work from home that day. Until a phone call came… A bit of PTSD maybe today? I kicked myself in the butt, shut down my work laptop, hit the remote start button on the Frog Hopper’s key fob, threw some biz-caz stuff on, packed a lunch and took off. It was an ugly commute and I would’ve hated it in the Ninja but I was pretty confident in the Frog Hopper and I *loved* being at work today. In my loverly, once dog-poopy cube.

The weather settled down and I’m sure we could’ve driven up safely tonight but the GG made an alternate plan to go to the Ark tonight and drive up early tomorrow, when the weather is [hopefully] better. I am not crazy about concerts. I get up at 5:30 AM and it’s really hard for me to stay awake through a concert sometimes. Plus I just hate to sit. And it has been a long brain-twisting week at work.

It all worked out. I walked downtown and met the GG at the Oscar Tango. He left a bit before me to get in line at the Ark while I had a glass of cab and chilled out a bit more (and paid the bill). The band was wonderful. Elana the violin player has got to be classically trained. She is stellar and it seems clear to me she has spent a lot of time with the whatever the violin world’s equivalent to the flute world’s Taffanel and Gaubert exercises is. Actually one of my fav-o-rite bits of the night was a few moments when she was just a wee bit out of tune. I am not being catty here at all. I just loved being at a *real* performance and hearing a pro go flat just for a few seconds. And it was literally a few seconds out of the billions of notes the woman played. I’ll be seeing this group again.

My Radical Betty moment? Well of course, it was an “oh shit” moment! I was standing in line outside the Ark (the GG was already inside). I was between two couples, both older than me (I *think*, sometimes I can’t tell). I pulled out my iPhone to take the looovvverly fuzzy photooo in this post and then. I dropped it. Yes. On cement. “Oh shit!” Loudly! My iPhone didn’t break or crack (any more, it’s already a bit cracked). I apologized for my language and explained and everyone commiserated with me and then I went into KW mode and said something stupid like, “if it was broken, I’d just buy a new one.” But that *is* what I’d do…

G’night. Maybe I will actually ski this weekend. It’s been a while. Hope I can still do it…

I don’t wanna go to Disney World either.

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

reneelizmousefloridaBut not for the same reasons that Lucy didn’t want to go to Disney World. Y’all have probably already seen the video. I am posting it anyway. There is no excuse for abusing a three-year-old disabled child in a pink wheelchair in the name of airline safety. We need to hire TSA agents who can apply common sense to the rules and not let the power of being able to detain American citizens go to their heads. And we need to call out those who *do* let power go to their heads. Alas… Let’s cut the damn budget!

Me? I went to Disney World once. We drove down to Fla in the Exxon Tanker Valdez (aka 1989 red minivan) back in 1992 or thereabouts. That Fla trip was a long, interesting adventure with a detour to DC and Chincoteague Island, etc. (And yes, we had read Misty of Chincoteague). And Disney World. DW was okay. Except for a thankfully short I-don’t-get-along-with-the-tap-water-here incident that would be TMI. By the time we got to the grandparents’ house in Bradenton after a day at Disney World, I was like, “Where is the Salty Dog drive-thru, again?” (Note to self: Salty Dogs next summer at the moominbeach!) Somehow the Disney magic is lost on me. Maybe I’m just old but, in the grand scheme of things, I would much rather hang out at a place like Myakka State Park than Disney World. Even if there aren’t any alligators erderators out that day.

The photo was taken in Myakka State Park and it kind of looks like a steroid version of my daughters. Like there is an extra one! The tallest of the three beautiful blonde young women, aka, TBR, is not my child, although I love her. She is [arguably] biologically related to the GG because he and her father are identical twins. Later on (much later on), TBR and Lizard Breath have sometimes been referred to as identical cousins (think Patty Duke if you are old enough to remember that show). They aren’t but there have been times when they have looked a lot alike. (Hope it’s okay with TBR that I posted this photo.)

I love Florida and I want to go back again but, no matter where I go, I am always glad to get off the I75 SUV Speedway and see the Ann Arbor Muffler sign again. Home. Well, except for Uber-Home, aka Sault Ste. Siberia and the moominbeach.

I am in the 1%!

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

saltnpeppaThat is, I am in the 1% of those who salt their sidewalk.

I won’t go on and on about the weather again. It is winter and this is Michigan and stuff happens. I am picking my way through The Commander’s stuff. What do I want to keep? (The salt and pepper shakers in the photo. They have been around my entire life.) What might somebody else in the family want? What do I *throw* out. I *have* thrown some stuff out… What do I donate / sell / whatever…

I had S-hooks on the brain last weekend. I had procured some of those tacky chili-pepper lights and I want to hang them over my chitchen sink but the usual method of hanging the waaaars on straight pins (of the sewing variety) wasn’t working for this little prodject. I thought of mounting a curtain rod or some such thing and hanging the lights from S-hooks.

One of the ways I failed The Commander in her last year had to do with S-hooks. She had these big S-hooks in her house, like a foot long or whatever. She used them to get certain things down from high places (like toilet paper from the bathroom closet).

While she was still at Freighter View, her toilet paper supply was also on a high shelf and she once tried to ask me to retrieve one of her S-hooks from her house so she could use it at FV. Alas, she couldn’t remember the word and I couldn’t quiiite understand the gesture she made. Except that I sort of could but when I went up to her house, I couldn’t find one of those S-hooks.

Later… The Comm was in the hospital in what turned out to be her last days. I was luxury camping at Command Central and I went into the bathroom and I looked up and… There was an S-hook! Right there. Big as life. How did I miss that when The Comm was asking for that thing?

Much later… The Commander had died and we were cleaning out Command Central. I walked into the laundry / utility / bar room and I looked up to the right and there were about a billion S-hooks. Sigh…


Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

Iced inThis is one of *those* days so I’ll just start typing and see where we end up…

We are having snow squalls again. One minute it is sunny, the next you can’t see your hand in front of your face. Snow accumulations? Jack-doodly. Accidents? Probably many. As hard as it is to drive when there is “significant accumulation”, I think that snow squalls can be more dangerous. You are driving along at high speed on dry pavement and suddenly you can’t see anything and there’s snow on the road and people are sliding all over the place ahead of you… When the roads have *visible* snow on them, [most] people go slow[er]. My commute was fine today. Things didn’t get revved up until after I got to work and actually, when I walked this morning, none of the concrete surfaces I encountered were slippery. I guess we’re back to black ice tomorrow. Yak-Trax or not? We’ll see.

The Commander’s only car accident in her life happened in a snow squall. It was a minor accident that happened a couple years before she died and she didn’t tell me about it right away, probably because she thought I would take her license away. As if I could, because it’s not all that easy to do that. I was concerned about her driving by that time but driving in Sault Ste. Siberia isn’t like driving in Megalopolis and I knew my mother was careful and I wasn’t *there* to help her get places… For the most part, her difficulties at that age were parking lot kinds of things, where she was inching along into a space and something that was sticking out scraped her car. Or her garage scraped her car, even though she was “cagey” about the garage.

Her accident happened on a snow squally-type day. She drove downtown to the library on dry roads under a brilliant sun. Shortly after she left the library, a snow squall blew through and, when she reached one intersection, she couldn’t see the stop sign or remember if there *was* a stop sign. So she inched into the intersection and nosed into another car. She did not get a ticket. The cop recognized that the road conditions were awful…

The Comm had her first accident at something like 88. I had my first at 17. Bad weather was a factor in my accident too. I have a stellar driving record but I think she has a better record than I do. Alas, I did eventually have to keep her from driving. I did that the best way that I could. I let her have a set of keys to her vee-hickle but I kept that vee-hickle in a place that she couldn’t get to. Bad daughter? Sigh…

The problem here is, how does an elderly person get around even a small town without a reliable public transit system. There is Dial-a-ride in Sault Ste. Siberia but The Comm had a really hard time waiting for that bus. I couldn’t manage to convince her that she could afford to call a taxi whenever she wanted to. (She could…) Here on The Planet, buses come by a block or two away from the Landfill. An able-bodied person (like me, who can also drive a car) can easily get to the bus stop. An elderly person with a walker? Trying to navigate icy sidewalks to get to the bus stop? Not so much… I salted the heck out of my sidewalk this afternoon. Many people don’t do that…

“I brought lots of boxes!”

Monday, February 18th, 2013

garbage1At first I was thinking, “Empty boxes?” Because last summer when we were boxing up stuff at Command Central, we could not for the life of us find banker’s boxes in Sault Ste. Siberia but they are readily available here so, what? But no. He meant boxes of *stuff* and it’s okay, I asked him to do that. The GG spent a loverly long weekend gallivanting around The Great White North while yer fav-o-rite blahgger slaved away in the salt mines. Gaylord, Sault Ste. Siberia, the moominbeach, Petoskey, you name it. He even made an appearance at a *casino*. No he didn’t win anything. You have to spend money to win money. We are not good gamblers here.

So the room formerly known as Mouse’s bedroom now has more *stuff* in it. I walked in and the first box I looked into had two (TWO!) irons in it. Fer kee-reist sake, I bought a *new* iron a couple months ago! My old iron was shot from working with Wonder Under and I needed a nice new clean iron to press the contents of a box of old C-fam linens that was in The Landfill Dungeon collecting rodent turds, etc. (Washed and pressed and took to Houghton Lake. Enjoy.) The GG said something like, “We have enough stuff here to have a garage sale.” Okayyy…

garbage2So today, my initial reaction was reminiscent of PTSD. We had a garage sale once. It wasn’t a particularly fun experience. It was a *lot* of work and I think we made $79 dollars or something. And then. When it was over? All of the stuff that didn’t sell went straight back down into the damn dungeon. That’s not what you are supposed to do. You are supposed to donate whatever didn’t sell.

I was not in good shape for that garage sale. I had spent the night at the Planet Ann Arbor Hands On Museum with a bunch of girl scouts. I can still remember telling Shalonda and a few others to go to sleep (already) at 3:00 AM. (Wonder where Shalonda and some others are now…) Sleep for KW? Not. I didn’t even get home until about mid-morning…

garbage3So, my initial reaction today was, “NOOOOOooooooo!” In my defense, I had just arrived at home from a long day at the salt mines. But I got to thinking about it. We could just donate everything. I would be okay with that. But it might actually be fun to try a garage sale again. Maybe I’ll actually get a full night’s sleep the night before this time? Maayyyybeeee the beach urchins miiiight want to collaborate with some of their own stuff if the date is right. Just a thought.

We’re still thinking about this idea. I will be going through those boxes in detail over the next couple of months. I do *not* need another iron and those plastic containers that The Comm kept nuts and rice and other things in would probably drive me nuts. Although I got along well with them when she was still running her own kitchen with aplomb. They worked for her. They would not work for me. But I may keep some stuff and I will give right of first refusal to the grandchildren (and anybody else!).

We’ll see what I end up doing here. A garage sale could be fun. Ahem. It might provide a way to get rid of some stuffed aminals that will be difficult to just put in a donation bin somewhere… Not that I will do that any time soon.

Last photooo? Gratuitous shot of The Indefatigable (jeep wrangler) parked across the street!

Snow squalls and blue skies

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

ritsemaThis ended up being one of those weekends when I did about a billion *little* things but don’t feel like I accomplished anything. Opened a new bag of rock salt and poured it into my loverly old drywall bucket. Hmmm, maybe I’ll have to go “shopping” for a new one the next time I’m up at the moominbeach… Made batches of lasagne and enchilada sauce to freeze. Palmed off a little baggie of stuff on Lizard Breath in exchange for a bunch of egg cartons to give to the egg lady at work. Dusted and de-spiderwebbed various nooks and crannies and re-organized / thinned out a few little knick-knack collections. Like, why is this *prism* stashed on a little shelf in a dark corner of the back room instead of out on the front window where it can make *rainbows*? (It may well have been meeee who put it there, like just to get it out of the way…)

I made a late breakfast for Lizard Breath and me. It was so much fun to be a mom. She came over here for some dance party thingy down at the Blind Pig last night and stayed the night. Say what? You say you are too *old* for a dance party? Oooohhh, don’t say that… I haven’t been to the Blind Pig in about a gazillion years. I did actually go there occasionally back in the day…

Once, when I was young, thin, blonde, and living in an upstairs flat down on Seventh St. across from West Park, none other than the Mean Old Grunchie Old Grinchie was scheduled to be here on The Planet for I fergit what reason. We made a plan to meet at the Blind Pig. I got there first. Back in the day, I was always a little unnerved to be sitting in a barrooooom by myself. I suppose if I had brought my knitting (I usually had some knitting in those days), I might’ve been okay. Definitely if I’d had an iPhone, I would’ve been okay but… Anyway, I was sitting at the bar waiting for my beloved cuzzint to arrive and a couple o’ guys started trying to talk me up. I didn’t mind talking to them but I was not *interested* in them. (Actually, I already had a *boyfriend* aka The GG.) I told them that I was meeting my cousin and they were all like, “yeah, okay, roight”, etc… … … And then, The Grinch walked in. I do not have a handy photo of The Grinch back in those days but I will just say he was a *very* good-looking young man but he also looked like somebody you might not want to mess with if you were looking at his cousin through beer goggles. I won’t try to describe the looks on their faces. I think the Grinch also knew well enough that I didn’t generally get entranced by some random bar pick-up guy. From what little I remember about that night, we all had a good time and parted friends. I was probably getting a little too old for dance parties…

In which…

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

roundisland…I couldda been standing on Round Island between two nests looking down the river toward Sault Ste. Siberia. Another year I wouldda been doing that. This year, not so much. I was home here at The Landfill being just about as boring as a person could possibly be. Except for…

I fixed my garbage disposal. I *fixed* my garbage disposal. *I* fixed my garbage disposal. I usually need “a man” for that task. I am not particularly mechanically inclined. Wouldn’t you know, just after “the man” left for the Great White North the other day, my garbage disposal decided to stop working. I lived with that situation for a couple days. Today the water in the sink actually wasn’t draining at all. I used a plunger to deal with that. I do know how to use a plunger! But then I thought, what the heck, how hard can this be? I turned to the internet for help.

So first, I dredged every little scrap of crap out of the garbage disposal. I do not normally put much of anything besides water down there. I compost all vegetable matter and other stuff goes in the garbage. Somehow, a few teensy weensy little plastic thingies, etc., had managed to get down in there. Merely removing those didn’t work, so I located the little wrenchy-type tool, turned on my iPhone flashlight, got down underneath the sink, and used the little wrenchy-type tool to un-stick the blades. With much trepidation, I turned on the faucet and then flipped the switch for the garbage disposal. Would it work? Voila! I’m not sure I need a man any more. (Just kidding.)

I may not have been on Round Island today but I did get to have dinner down at the Grizzly Peak Brewpub tonight with both of my loverly beach urchins. I didn’t even have to drive. After all those years of schlepping the whole neighborhood back and forth to rehearsals or whatever in the old Island Teal POC.

How not to run a meeting, part 1

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Man oh man, it has been a busy week. Cube Nayber and I are working on companion specs and had back to back Cast of Thousands reviews this week. Cube Nayber went first…

— Cube Nayber cannot get her laptop to connect to the network.

— Kayak Woman graciously offers to vanna the review.

— Alas, when KW plugs *her* lemony laptop into the projector, her lemony laptop crashes!

Meanwhile… CN / KW’s supervisor calls the police! That is, she starts dialing in the conference call number, hears something about “emergency” and hangs up. Quick.

— KW hard-boots her lemony laptop (which takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r), then does a “legitimate” restart (refraining from making certain jokes here).

— Just about the time KW’s laptop f-i-n-a-l-l-y boots back up, CN’s laptop decides it is okay to connect to the network.

— A police car pulls up to the building.

— One of the more “with-it” people in the room (aka *not* KW) takes off and manages to convince the police that there is NO emergency in the building.

We eventually got on with the review. Everyone is still laughing about the incident, even though we well understand that dialing 911 when emergency help is not needed is a serious waste of resources and tax-payer dollars and could potentially divert emergency help from someone who actually *needs* it. But here’s the problem. Dialing out of our building requires dialing “9-1” before whatever number you are dialing. How easy is it to hit the “1” twice? Very easy. In fact, our policeman said that many businesses have changed their dial-out number to 8 or 7 or whatever. I hope we do that but I am not holding my breath because we are a large global corporation and I suspect there are folks who think there are bigger fishes to fry.

Anyway. Asteroid encounter and meteorite strike in the same day? Say what? I looked at Twitter when I woke up (after I checked the weather) and everything was normal, i.e., nothing had struck the earth. When I came back from my 0-skunk-30 walk, I turned on NPR. I was doing my usual morning routine and half-listening and I heard the tail end of a story about a meteor hitting the earth. By the time I had processed the whole thing, NPR had moved on to a new story. Just like that! Whaaaa! I didn’t have time to look at the videos this morning and I could only look at them on my phone at work. I well remember sonic booms from when I was a kid and there was an air force base near our town. They were LOUD! But we knew what they were. We don’t hear those any more. And is mounting a video cam on the dashboard “a thing” in Russia?*

In which the GG is having dinner at my beloved Palace Saloon in Sault Ste. Siberia, then attending a Lakers hockey game with Jeep and Pan and their son, then retiring for the night at the Ojibway Hotel. I hope all have a wonderful time tonight and the GG doesn’t get the haunted room…

*Yes, it *is* a *thing* to have a dashboard cam in Russia. It helps sort out accidents. Why has that not taken off here in the United Snakes? Let’s do it!

“You and me go together like socks and sandals.”

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

spicesOh, Ann Arbor… I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day but I am loving following the #A2VDay hashtag on Twitter. The title tweet is from @Damnarbor. I don’t follow @damnarbor on twitter but I do follow the Damn Arbor blahg. The proprietor of the Damn Arbor blog is a friend of one of the beach urchins from back in middle school and my urchin occasionally posts entries on there too, usually about music that I know nothing about (but I am proud of her anyway and my sense of pride probably greatly exceeds her sense of accomplishment). Anyway, I can identify with socks and sandals. That’s what I wore on my 0-skunk-30 walk today. What a relief to not need boots and YakTrax even for one day!

I spent a bit of time trying to dredge up Valentine’s Day memories today and came up with a few albeit not of the romantic sort. Like this one…

If you are of a certain age, do you remember when we used to decorate shoe boxes at home and take them to school to collect valentines? I don’t remember what grade I was in, maybe 1st? I don’t remember if I waited until the last minute to tell The Commander that I needed a valentine box or what. I do remember being terribly upset that we didn’t have any valentine *colored* “stuff” to decorate the box with. Red, white, etc. The Commander dredged up some supplies, doilies and fancy paper and stuff. Problem? The main color was *lavender*! Yikes! That was *not* a Valentine’s Day color! Lavender? It would not do. I’m sure many histrionics followed and The Comm probably had one of *those* nights. I hope she had whine… But lavender was the color we had and I reluctantly took my [gorgeous] lavender valentine box to school hoping I didn’t end up being the laughingstock of the classroom. Well, what do you think happened? Of course, my [gorgeous] lavender valentine box was a huge hit!

I am spending Valentine’s Day alone. The GG is on his way north. He is spacifying me. That is okay with me. He has Monday off and I do not and I am uber-busy at work. We have been married 30 years. That’s a pretty long time but certainly many folks have lasted longer and I hope we do too. I was writing this long complicated thing about stages of marriage but I lost my train of thought. The point is that marriage changes as life changes. There have been times when I didn’t want the GG to go. There have been times where I have said, “Just go and have a good time!” This weekend, I am ambivalent. Wishing I could go north but somehow not ready…

In the last few years, as The Commander became ill and died, the GG and I were often apart, tag-teaming her. I was up there or he was. I remember sitting on the beach or the moomincabin deck at the end of a long day and wishing I had my partner to walk the beach and drink a ‘hattan with. I love that place so much but it wasn’t much fun being there alone with The Comm in long-term care. I missed having the GG there with me then. I miss having him here now. But I work tomorrow and I will find plenty of stuff to do this weekend. And I appreciate that he loved The Comm and was so willing to help me with her in her last years. Love you buddy…

It’s mid-February in the Great Lake State, do you know where your brain is?

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

arborsWhy no, we did not watch the SOTU last night. At one point, I asked the GG if he was interested. He wasn’t and there wasn’t any bad good TV on, you know, like Toddlers and Tiaras or Beverly Hillbillies remakes so we basically crashed and burned early. That’s the theme of the week for us. We’re not sick, just too much going on. I am in the midst of three wildly different prodjects at work and I have no “chops” left at the end of the day. I can’t speak for the GG but I believe he is in a similar (but different) situation. And I am sick to death of frickin’ black ice…

The people down on the corner of Arbana and Harbrooke narrowly missed being stealth-salted this morning. I dunno whether they snowblow their sidewalk or what but THEY DO NOT PUT SALT ON IT and it is in a very dark cold micro-climate and I SLIPPED ON IT BOTH MONDAY AND TUESDAY (but did not fall, thank you god or whatever), even though I was using my iPhone flashlight app to spot black ice in the dark. My iPhone flashlight app works very well for this kind of thing but this was particularly sneaky black ice. Today. I loaded up two gallon-sized ziplock bags with rock salt, stuffed them in my backpack and headed off on my walk, excitedly plotting and planning my stealth salting caper. Alas, the black ice had receded enough that I gave them a pass.

In addition to all of the holidays and other stuff yesterday, it was the annual Community High lottery. This is a bittersweet event around this town. “Commie” enrolls a hundred-ish freshman each year. The number of applicants is usually three or four times the number of slots. It isn’t a good school for every student and it isn’t perfect (what school is?) but lots of kids want to get in (or their parents want them to). Alas, not everyone gets in and there are many tears after the lottery results get posted.

Both my beach urchins “won” the lottery and I was happy with their experience there. My first child was number 51 out of 100 slots. In like Flynn. Second child? I forget the numbers. She didn’t get in outright but was something like 12th or 16th on the wait list, which wasn’t a bad place to be, so I was cautiously optimistic. We got the call that she was *in* about a week after eighth grade ended. We were lucky twice. If I had had a third child (and that was thought about for a while), maybe we wouldn’t have been lucky. Or, on the flip side, maybe that kid would’ve *wanted* to go to Pioneer. Who knows…

And today? It is npJanes bday! HB!

What’s your holiday?

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

cartbirdyLemme see… There are at least three holidays going on today. There’s Mardi Gras / Fat Tuesday / Pączki Day. The first time I ever heard of a pączki was sometime back in the day when the beach urchins were small and The Westgate Kroger was still on my beat. What the heck is a pączki? They looked like jelly donuts to me. I like a good jelly donut once in a while but I couldn’t figger why people were getting so excited about these things. I didn’t buy pączkis today. I ate a half bowl of Cheerios and some yogurt. I am all *for* celebrating every single little thing a person can do to celebrate a holiday so, if you did buy them, go for it!

Lincoln’s birthday. (“Liiiinncoln, oooonnnn his deathbed.” (aka “leeeeeevin’ on a jet plane.”)) Way back in the day, there used to be Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12th and Washington’s Birthday on February 22nd. I don’t remember getting a day off school for either of those back then but my old coot got both of those days off from his job at the bank. Nowadays, we’ve morphed those days into “President’s Day” and the Planet Ann Arbor Schools gives students the whole week off as what they now call “mid-winter break”.

The State of the Union address is not a holiday but I have to include it in this list because the last time I watched it, I watched it with The Commander, in her beautiful room at Freighter View. She was under hospice care at that point and bed-bound but she really wanted to watch Obama that night. (She liked Obama and did not like the Not-My-Dad’s GOP…) I sat next to her bed throughout the speech. She watched it with great attentiveness. I don’t remember any of it, in fact, I eventually dozed off…

If I were to celebrate a holiday, it would be Darwin Day. Yes, Charles Darwin shares a birthdate with Abe Lincoln. There are lots of interesting things you can do to celebrate Darwin Day, including phylum feasts. I am not celebrating Darwin Day (or any other holiday) tonight. But I am promoting Darwin Day because I am horrified that people like Todd Akin and Paul Broun (Google them) were actually assigned to he *House Science Committee*. Say what? I believe in the evolution theory that Charles Darwin first documented. I cannot believe that there are people in our country who still believe that the earth was formed 6000 years ago (or whatever) and that some state education systems are allowing public dollars to fund charter schools that teach that crap.

Frog flower

Monday, February 11th, 2013

amaryllisArgument of the day: the light above the stove keeps falling down. I generally like what passes for task lighting better than an overhead light. The cheap and dirty solution to over-the-stove task lighting here at The Landfill is one of those bare-bones fluorescent tubes from the hardware store or wherever. It isn’t fancy but I don’t care. It does the job and doesn’t [usually] get in my way. Except that for the last few days, it has fallen down twice. The light isn’t broken but the little plastic thingies that hold it up there are disintegrating. My attitude is, “let’s just get a new one.” The GG does not like to spend money (except when he does… [wink]) and he also likes to fix things, so he was bent on fixing it. And he eventually did and I am happy [thank you] but I predict it’ll fall down again soon… I have to say that this argument was a lot less stressful than some of the arguments we had yesterday.

I have an amaryllis. I have an amaryllis that is currently in bloom. I have an amaryllis with *frog*-colored blossoms! My Mouse gave me this amaryllis, along with a huge list of instructions on how to take care of it. She told me it was a surprise color and it *was*! It is pretty close to Froggy’s colors. Green with a bit of purple about the edges (except the amaryllis color is really more dark red than purple, close enough though).

I am amazed that I have managed to not kill this beautiful plant before it bloomed. Black Thumb Banana is my alter-ego, don’tcha know… I did manage to knock one of the blossoms off one of the stems though. How? I was trying to get a decent photooo of the plant without a whole lot of background noise, so I tried to take Ike off the wall. In the process, poor old Ike the birch-bark fish *fell* on the plant and knocked a blossom off. I was devastated. Why couldn’t I just leave well enough alone and let Ike share space with my beauteous amaryllis?

I spent waaaayyy too much time trying to get a decent “artsy” photoooo of my frog flower the other day. In the end, I decided to post this one, which isn’t anything great but it captures the frog flower with a glimpse of Ike in the background just above it and High-Heeled Stegorator down in the lower right.

Onward and upward? Let’s go!

The good, the bad, and the ugly

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

huronriverUpon reflection, maybe it was just the good and the ugly. I think we skipped right over the bad today.

The good? A beautiful walk on the Washtenaw [County] Border to Border Trail this morning. We hiked a familiar segment today. We parked down at Barton Dam around 7:00 AM and hiked from there to the Northside Grill for breakfast. They were all decked out for the Mardi Gras and our waitress was rocking around like crazy. I loved her. An early riser after my own heart but I bet she is tired tonight.

Walked back to Barton Dam on the *other* side of the river and then walked the Barton Trails and *then* took a mini-ride along the river and accidentally found the Fox Science Preserve, a Washtenaw County nature preserve. We didn’t hike it. We had already hiked at least five miles and at that point, I was kinda enjoying my seat warmer… But we’ll go back.

Alas, the day deteriorated into a word that ends with “x” but does not start with “s”. I hate the rummaging around for the IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS. It would be cool if our financial institutions only sent us the important stuff. I am learning [slowly] what that means. What it doesn’t mean is monthly paper statements. I used to be meticulous about saving every monthly statement for every account. I think if we saved every monthly statement for every account we have, The Landfill would be crumbling under the weight of the paper. There are people who disagree with me…

Twin suns of different mothers

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

doublesunListening to PHC just now and agree with Garrison that snowstorms do not “lash” or “hit” or [insert-word-of-violence-here]. Often when I wake up in the middle of a winter night, I can tell it has snowed significantly before I even look out the window because of the *silence*!

Fave facebook photo-share today? A beer / whine “refrigerator” dug into four feet of snow drifted against someone’s front door. Open the door and voila! Is it real? Is it someone *currently* snowed in? I dunno. But I like the concept. (I do like some of those shares and memes, just hate when I’m bombarded by 25 of them in a row from the same person.) Fave *real* fb post today? After I posted that it was mid-February and I neeeeeeded some chili pepper lights, a high school musician friend posted a photo of some chili peppers that he cut up (I think) on my wall. I was touched. I ordered a string of chili pepper lights anyway. Yes, I suppose I am squandering money (according to some people, anyway). At $17.00 including shipping, I don’t think this will break the bank. (I ordered ’em from Cost Plus. I s’pose I could’ve “droven” over there today and *maybe* they might’ve had them. Maybe it would’ve been cheaper to drive across town. It was so nice not to have to drive over there today…)

I didn’t clean Gertrude with a toothbrush today. A toothbrush would’ve worked well on my rickety old stove but Gertrude has hardly any dirt and grime on her. I did find some stuff that cleaned up the little bits of discoloration that I have ALREADY inflicted on Gertrude’s burners. In the end, I actually managed to clean up some damn office/financial stuff. Hello. I have been spacing that stuff out for a long time…

I don’t really have an office in The Landfill. Except for my MacBook Pro in the Landfill Chitchen… Other people in the family will declare that a chitchen is not an office. But it is. It is where I keep my MacBook and pay bills and administer various accounts and stuff. A decade or so ago, when I put myself back in college, one of the beach urchins was a junior in college and heading off to study abroad. Her opinion about me going back to school? Moom, you have no idea how to go to college and you cannot study in the chitchen! A few years of straight-As proved that I *could* do college [wink] but she ended up being right about the chitchen. I did quite a bit of school stuff in the Chitchen but Command Central for studying ended up being the Green Couch. Where you can watch all the dogz go by…

I have a few trees worth of shredding to do tomorrow or whenever. Even though I can look at my on-line accounts (and do!) for one entity and have checked the “I don’t want paper statements” box seemingly about a billion times, I still seem to be getting paper statements! Save a damn tree. If you do send statements to me, please please pretty please, do *not* put the account number on every page! If you do, I have to shred every page…

Yes, the sun is setting later these days. When does daylight savings start up? I think it’s not that far off. I could look it up…