Archive for September, 2013

Plop… Plop Plop. Plop…

Monday, September 30th, 2013

applesIt kind of sounds like the sound Froggy makes when he frog-hops around but it isn’t. It is the sound I hear every time I walk out into the Landfill back yard. If I am in the wrong place at the wrong time, I get hit on the head. Can I just say APPLES!!! Apples and apples and apples and more apples. And then some more. Our whole tree is covered with them and there are tons of them on the ground, which is where I do my picking.

If I had any life experience with growing fruit on trees (or growing any food, for that matter), I’d’ve spent the weekend peeling (or not) and cutting up and seeding and canning and whatever you do to apples. Instead, this whole apple plethora has taken me completely by surprise. We have lived in the Landfill more years than I have the strength to admit at the moment. The apple tree was a mature tree when we moved in. Apples? Oh, maybe a handful or two each year. I don’t ever remember eating even *one* of the apples in any of those handfuls.

This year? I do not know what the heck is going on. I know just enough about agriculture to know that last year’s apple crop (and cherry crop and asparagus crop and I dunno what else) was a total bust. I mean statewide. I don’t remember any apples here at the Landfill but I wasn’t really looking for apples because, well you know, we usually don’t get very many.

These apples are wonderful! I have no idea what variety they are. They are very sweet and they are small. I hate trying to eat the big, often kind of tart apples you get at the grokkery store (even the last ones I got at the farmer’s market were like that and I taste tested those before buying so go figger). These little apples are to die for. We can’t eat them all and I feel guilty about that and also about the fact that I don’t have the time, expertise, and psychological energy to process them into pies or applesauce or donate them to someone or whatever. At least we’re feeding the shirrels, chipmunks, henrys and probably other little beasties.

It would be fun to speculate that this windfall is the doing of someone from the Other Side messing with my mind and my Black Thumb but I suspect it is more likely due to our very wet and rather chilly spring and summer weather. Anyway, my apple tree is sure happy this year and I love her!

Plum tomatoes from the Grape Market

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

argopondLong largely unproductive day, at least if you count housekeeping and deacquisitioning activities. A day of anticipation and waiting for various things to happen.

I took the photoooo early this morning as we walked along the Huron River over to the Northside Grille for breakfast. I can’t always figure out even for myself what gauge I use for weekend progress. I did a fair amount of food shopping and preparation this weekend. I set Rooooomba off a few times. Did various loads of laundry. Changed the sheets. Paper sorting. I dunno what else. I did a lot of stuff but somehow it didn’t feel like I accomplished anything much.

I was in a waiting mode of sorts. Waiting for what? Well, for today, for my Sam to arrive. And she did and we figured out that hadn’t seen each other since B.G. That’s Before Gertrude, my loverly new stove. The new stove that is now old enough that I need to figure out how to use the self-clean oven function. For the top oven at least, the bottom oven hasn’t been used all that many times. Although the GG did use it last night to make an apple “cake” or “crisp” or “crumble” or whatever out of some of the billion gazillion apples that are raining out of our apple tree this year but that’d be a whole ‘nother post…

Anyway… Sam and jcb did arrive and we had fancy whine that Sam brought and a dinner that I cobbled together and a bonus here is that jcb is my “web guy” and not only did he migrate my website (and those of his other bunch of ragtag renegades or whatever we are) over to a new server, he sat right here in person and migrated things like the Houghton Lake Group Home webcam over there too. So it seems that ababsurdo’s “persistent coughing fit” is finally over. Hey, I never even had to *call* my “web guy”. I always knew he was on it. I need to make it clear that jcb’s function as my “web guy” is about one billionth of the good things he does for the folks in his life. I am fortunate that my bestest friend is married to him, plus he is FUN! But I am embarrassing him [grin].

Our friends went on up the road tonight. Their eventual destination is in the yooperland, where they will close their cabin for the season. I sent my Sam off with one of my bazillion pairs of Smartwool socks and then Bolette and I scrambled to wash the dishes.

Good night,
KW

Injun River

Saturday, September 28th, 2013

trainThe CFam took the pontoon boat up to Indian River today and launched an expotition on the Inland Waterway. I would have *loved* to be on that boat on a beeyootyful day like today. Jimmy C posted some photoooos on facebook and I saw people with beers and beautiful blue skies and I dunno if there are any tiki bars on the Inland Waterway but I wished I was there. On the other hand, if we had scrambled a trip to the Group Home this weekend, we wouldn’t have walked down to the farmer’s market this morning and if we hadn’t walked down to the farmer’s market this morning, we wouldn’t have reached the Drop Acid Not Bombz railroad bridge just as the big old morning freight train was about to cross it and I wouldn’t have gotten this loverly photoooo… If I had a bucket list, I could now cross one thing off of it.

Aaaaannnnddd… We wouldn’t’ve gone to the dump to the dump to the dump dump dump. Nobody took the baby crib off the curb overnight so we loaded that up on top of the old pieces of concrete and railroad ties that have been hanging around in the back yard for umpteen gazillion years. So, we only got rid of one thing out of the Landfill’s interior but progress is progress. Actually, I lie — I think the GG took some re-usable stuff to Habitat yesterday. And good for him because lately I have been struggling to get back my mojo for getting rid of cosmic debris. I’m not sad about having to throw out the crib. If I could do it all over again knowing what I do now, I might not have bought a damn crib. Or most of the crappy plastic toys I bought. Just let them play with stuff in the sink, etc…

Another bonus for staying here on the damn Planet this weekend emerged when I received a text message from my Sam (archaeologist, not dog) this afternoon. Dinner on The Planet tomorrow night? Well, YES! I mean, we could easily have driven down from the Group Home in time for dinner tomorrow but it will be really nice to be home tomorrow to futz around in the chitchen. Oh, just a bit. I am not a fancy cook by any stretch of the imagination!

It was a gorgeous day here on The Planet Ann Arbor. Will it be the last? I don’t know. The GG took a good kayak trip down on the Huron River. I did not go with him. I dunno why. I prefer early morning trips on the Huron, when there are very few people out there. Except when my work organizes an outing. I love love love love love those…

I hope your day was good too. Love y’all,
KW

We are so excited…

Friday, September 27th, 2013

And I am sooooo taaarrred… Friday afternoons at my work are often a slodge but somehow today, what was a thousand scattered bits and pieces at the beginning of the week came together into a beeyootifful diagram at the end of the afternoon. I couldn’t quite believe it was as cool as it was, so I called Cube Nayber over to look and she oohed and aahed too. I am a humble soul though and I said something like, “Probably when I come in on Monday morning, I will take one look at this thing and wonder what the heck I was thinking.” Anyway, I left on a high note today and whether or not my diagram is perfect, I think it is a good start.

Got home to find our old crib out on the curb with a “FREE” sign on it. You cannot donate a baby crib anywhere these days. I understand that up to a point. But we bought our crib in 1984 and even then there were standards and there is NO WAY that a baby could get caught with their head between the slats on this crib. I am sure there is probably something else dangerous about it that I can’t even fathom.

We didn’t even really use the damn crib all that much. Before I had Lizard Breath I had absolutely no idea how to be a parent. I told everyone I was going to breastfeed only because if you were an Ann Arbor type mom back in those days, that’s what you were “supposed to do”. Or something. Really, I had no idea. Guess what? I turned out to be a natural at Attachment Parenting. Breastfeeding, sleeping with baby, wearing her, the whole nine yards. (She is embarrassed right now.) I don’t even think there was a name for Attachment Parenting then. Oh yeah, I also worked an intense part-time job and shared work hours with the GG. Anyway, we mostly used the crib when the kids were toddlers. And when it was time for them to graduate into a regular bed, they were just fine. For the most part. Except for all of those marathon reading sessions we used to do in their beds before they went to sleep. Chronicles of Narnia anyone? Map of Narnia, map of Narnia… Say it in a nice sing-song voice.

We’ll see if anyone picks up the crib or not. When I got down to the Oscar Tango tonight, we were Porterized and the GG told all of us that “we” were excited about tomorrow. What? What are “we” excited about, I asked. “We’re going to the dump!”, was the answer. I don’t think that the whole table exactly clapped but it was something like that. “We wanna go to the dump too”, etc., etc., etc. Everybody loves to go to the dump. Do you? I do. Even when we miss the turn and end up on the Spectacle Lake Overlook [wink].

G’night,
KW

P.S. Wish I was going to Indian River with the CFam tomorrow. They’re going to take the pontoon boat on the inland waterway. That would be even more fun than the dump.

And the caissons go rolling along…

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

sunflowerseedsI wish I could keep yesterday’s photooo up forever. I think it’s really cool even though it’s just an accidental iPhone photo. The light at Lake Erie Metropark just after sunrise is to die for. It’s almost hard to take a bad photo but I certainly have plenty of them. That one? Not so much.

Today, you get this half-assed sunflower photo. I wish I could say that these big sunflowers came from Landfill gardening efforts but alas, they did not. They were at the farmer’s market last weekend. The GG planted some sunflower seeds last spring. Henry ate two of them right off the bat and I don’t remember when the other two disappeared but they didn’t make any kind of progress at all. We tried. I watered them. I didn’t step on them. I dunno.

When I was a beach urchin, Doc Read had a big garden with sunflowers at the back of it. We would walk up the cabin road to Doc’s house and down the little road to the outbuildings in his back 40 and right before that little road hung a left, there was his garden on the right. I don’t remember what else was in the garden but I remember the sunflowers. Doc Read is long dead and so is his son Lewie, one of the original Veteran Greenhorns, aka friends of my dad. That garden is [sadly [or maybe not]] long neglected. If the iPhone had been around back when I was three or five or seven or whatever, maybe I could find a photo to post. On the other hand, who knows what kind of photos my childhood self may have taken. Probably not photos of some old coot’s garden. More likely something like The Purple Eye.

Yes, I got the green stuff down

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

erietreeI feel like Alice when that deck of cards goes nuts and assaults her. My dining room table is covered with papers. Well, except that I don’t really have a dining room. I have a table in the area between the front entry and the chichen that serves as a dining area (yes, it is one of *those* houses.) Now that the Dillon house is sold, I think I can actually get rid of a few of these papers soon (some of the photocopies, I mean) but not quite yet.

Work? I sat between three sets of requirements, some reeeeaallly sketchy screenshots, and an Excel spreadsheet today. And lots of papers. I do most of my work on my loverly Windows laptop but sometimes it helps to have printouts sitting around to write on. Today it was three sets of requirements and a bunch of sketchy screenshots. And a lot of stuff that didn’t exactly match. Cube Nayber and I beat our heads against this stuff all afternoon and I left the building at the end of the day (oh, not like Elvis did) in a haze of confusion.

We are here debating education, responding to something on NPR. STEM vs. STEAM. STEM being Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. STEAM inserts Arts into the middle of STEM. The trend (supposedly) these days is to educate our next generation in STEM subjects. Without a doubt we need scientists and engineers and mathematicians, etc.

Guess what? We also need artistic folks in the mix. It’s not just that we need artists and musicians, etc., to create new works of art. We do need those people. They help lead our culture into the future (take that anyway you want [smirk]). But arts education also fosters the creativity that our scientists et al need to dream up new ideas…

I got off on a tangent there but this is my soapbox and I am going to use it again to remind people that if you graduate from college not knowing what you want to do when you grow up (aka liberal arts degree (or music, sheesh!)), it is OKAY! I still don’t know what I want to do when I grow up but I get paid pretty damn well to do something that didn’t exist when I graduated from college. I can read, write, do math and critical thinking.

Not sure where I am at this point but I think I am done. Dun dun dun. G’night… KW

Minus one

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

dillonHouse, that is. Yes. Farewell to “Grandma’s Other House, the Real House Where She Lives Some of the Days” aka The Dillon house. The Dillon house was not my childhood home. In those days we lived in a little bungalow down on Superior Street, across the street from Stinkin’ Lincoln and a few blocks away from my grandparents. I actually took piano lessons in the Dillon house back then! Mr. and Mrs. Diecke moved out of town about the same time it was decided that my grandparents could no longer live in their big house with the only bathroom on the second floor. They bought the Dillon house and after they died, my parents ended up with it. This is the short version of course. The long version is too boring to post.

As humble as it is, the Dillon house was a bit of a step up for my parents. They loved the house and, and, and… I’m not sure how to explain this exactly but I am so glad The Commander was able to keep her house when she could not live there alone any more and had to make the dreaded move to an assisted living facility. The Dillon house is a half mile away from Freighter View assisted living and my hope was that she would be able to visit her beloved home frequently as long as she was able to. And she did for a few months until, well… About the time we began toying with putting the house on the market, she began to seriously decline and it became my luxury camping command central during her last couple of months on earth. Staying at the Ojibway Hotel for that length of time would not have been affordable (not to mention it would have sucked (even though the Palace Saloon is right next door and it’s two blocks from the hoosegow)) and sleeping on the floor in her apartment at Freighter View was definitely not a palatable option. What if Ralph came in and stepped on me in the middle of the night?

I didn’t grow up in that house but it’s where I took my children to see their grandparents and so many good times were had there and I have many memories. Like the time that I was home from college and I came home after the bars closed and THE COMMANDER CAME IN MY ROOM AT 7 AM AND STARTED RUNNING HER SEWING MUSHEEN! And then there was the time that WE LOST LIZARD BREATH! Where’s the baby? We looked everywhere. Did she go out Jack’s Door [door to the garage, of course]? I finally found my baby (18 months or so) playing in her grandmother’s sewing room / office (once my piano lesson waiting room) with loops of buttons that her grandma had shown her on a previous visit. More than anything, I remember making dinners in that place with Radical Betty and The Comm and I hanging out in the chitchen during cocktail hour. Talking a blue streak about everything under the sun and laughing our damn asses off. But we always did that wherever we were…

The house languished on the market for a year. Some people fretted about that but I suspected from the beginning that it would take a while for it to sell. I won’t get into the reasons for that except that it is in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The economy has been horrible up there since way before the 2008 mortgage greed meltdown and the weather last winter was HORRIBLE up there. But I have sold it to a young couple who are buying their first house. I hope they are happy in the place that provided so much happiness and joy for the Fin family. Cheers!

What, I don’t have a damn title? Who cares?

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

eriesunI reset the Ninja’s trip odometer every Monday morning [or most Monday mornings]. Why? Because I am a nerd. And occasionally a bit OCD. It’s okay, my little bits of OCD don’t [usually] hit people over the head or cause them to tiptoe around me. [I don’t think.] [Except when I rant about keys not being in the basket.] Resetting the trip odometer at the beginning of my work week is one of the things I dooooo. When I remember. When I don’t remember, I have a moment of panic, followed by a moment of silence, and then I move on.

Usually when I get home on a Monday afternoon, the odometer reads 18 miles. That’s eight miles over and 10 miles back. Today? Well, I forgot to look when I got home but it was something like 48.9 miles when I was at the S. Maple / Pauline intersection and that’s a couple miles from home.

Yes, I drove a LOT today. Don’t ask. After it was all done and I had been back at work for a while, I realized that my little black summer-weight cardigan sweater was INSIDE OUT! Why didn’t anyone tell me that? I dunno. Maybe because we are all geeks who couldn’t care less what people are wearing and no one noticed?

Oh. My. God. My trip[s] to and from work today involved the new and dreaded State / Ellsworth traffic round-about. I want to like round-abouts. I get that they can make traffic flow more smoothly. I get that they minimize the risk of t-bone style accidents. We had one at Moo-U back in the day [anyone know if it’s still there?] and I got along with that one just fine. In fact, once I went to some kind of crazy student-made film thing at the planetarium where somebody was filming while riding around in a car on campus and the car stopped in the round-about. Right behind The Poochie! All the drunken college students I was with recognized The Poochie and raucous gnoffing ensued. (If you are related to Bugs and Horsey, you may remember The Poochie. I certainly do.)

Anyway… The State / Ellsworth round-about is not finished yet but today the traffic signals were down and people were trying to make their way through it without crashing into anybody or anything. It was terrifying and I don’t think it’s ready for public consumption yet. I can’t even tell you why. I couldn’t figure out where the heck I was from the get-go, between the construction signs and poorly marked lanes and the PEDESTRIAN CROSSINGS!!!! Man oh man, I am a frequent pedestrian and I understand the need for safe pedestrian crossings but that intersection is a pedestrian no-man’s land as it is (and there are VERY FEW pedestrians (and the ones that *are* there are guerrilla type pedestrians — like me)) and this round-about is not going to make it better.

That is about all. If you don’t live on The Planet Ann Arbor, you probably don’t understand any of this. Come to think of it, I *do* live on The Planet Ann Arbor [plus I wrote this] and *I* don’t understand any of it. Good night.

I have been trying all weekend to make the weather warm but it is just not

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

lakeerieWell okay, Friday night it was warm. And rainy. And beautiful. We walked home from downtown in a very light rain. So light that I didn’t even put up my umbrella, even when the GG solicitously suggested I might need to do that. Hey buddy, I love you but *I* will decide when I need to put up a damn bumbershoot. As it turned out, I got a bit damp but it was a very light warm, comfortable damp and it wasn’t until after we got home that the skies opened up big-time. Of course, the next morning, I put on that still somewhat damp tie-dyed t-shirt to walk down to the farmer’s market. It was a kind of a hmmm… moment but then, if you grew up on the moominbeach, you ran around in a bathing suit all day and you got accustomed to that damp feeling. I knew my shirt would dry out and it did.

So, it was still warm and a bit humid walking down to the market yesterday but later on a wind came up and although I wouldn’t call yesterday cold, I wasn’t exactly feeling overheated.

Today we dragged ourselves out of bed early enough to make the 45-minute drive to Lake Erie Metropark in time to see the sunrise. This weekend was Hawkfest (google it) and we did our usual thing by getting there before the sun rose and then walking a few miles before the pancake breakfast. Except. Today, we arrived at the usual pancake breakfast venue, only to find that NO ONE WAS THERE!! What the heck? We checked the web just last night and it said pancake breakfast at nine. The GG called the number and someone confirmed that the breakfast was canceled. CANCELED. Whut? It was canceled? Yes. CANCELED. We regrouped and drove up into the beautiful little city of Gibraltar where we had a loverly and friendly breakfast at the Gibraltar Grill. Then back to Hawkfest where I did yet more hiking aaaannndddd finally home.

Alas, sunny and beautiful out today but I’m not sure the temperatures ever got out of the 50s. And there was a wind. Not very warm unless you were walking. I tried to pretend it was warm out but eventually, I put on a silk-wool turtleneck and a polartech jacket and smartwool socks and I was not quite thinking about glubs but almost. But we were burning stuff in the back yard so that faaaarrrr warmed us up at least a little bit.

G’night,
KW

a function of anomalistic and draconic periods of the moon

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

spiderwebThat moment when you are walking downtown to the farmer’s market at 0-skunk-30 and your little reptile brain is totally focused on watching for skunks because, you know, it’s 0-skunk-30 and that’s when the blasted skunks are out. And the person you are walking with says something about how his sleep was invaded by 18-year solar cycles and he can’t get them out of his head. My friend, THAT is known as a “processing dream”.

I know about those. I used to practice flute fingerings in my sleep and probably piano too although I remember the flute stuff more. I don’t really do that anymore but in my adult dreams, my brain spends a lot of time typing or analyzing various programming languages or code or flowcharts or even spreadsheets. Whatever.

I have “packing” dreams too. My best memory of this is when Lizard Breath was a baby and I was sitting on the floor somewhere. The Landfill? Grandma’s Other House The Real House Where She Lives Some Of The Days? The Moomincabin? I dunno and it doesn’t matter. I was stuffing stuff into a diaper bag and whenever I thought I was done stuffing stuff in there, a whole bunch more stuff would materialize outta nowhere. Baby toys and clothing and whatever. Of course, we couldn’t leave *any* of this stuff behind because that would just be a tragedy. Why? Now that I am in a long, slow but persistent deacquisitional phase, I do not know.

Then there are the shoreline dreams. Where big wooded islands materialize in the middle of our bay or whole lakes materialize in the swamp behind us or the system of bays over by Cedar Point and Mosquito Bay take on dramatically different characteristics. Big rivers and things. Heck, once there was even a damn ski hill behind the moomincabin, complete with rope tow or something like that. No snow though. It was summer in the dream. Shoreline dreams have something to do with my emotional life but damned if I could tell you what. Sometimes they exhaust me, especially nowadays when more and more people pop into them from over on the other side. I am also sure that they inspire no small amount of creativity, not to mention love for existing moominbeach folks.

I have had the ubiquitous “freighter coming into shore” moominbeach dream but it isn’t my usual moominbeach dream. For me, the freighter dream thing is a subset of the shoreline dream thing. My fave ever freighter dream was a large freighter heading for shore at a *high* rate of speed, charging up on the beach and through the woods veering east just in time to miss the moomincabin. Actually, I think my brain was re-creating a random cocktail-hour incident at the moomincabin when a deer crashed through the woods in roughly the same trajectory. Sam (dog, not archaeologist) went ballistic with barking and that made Guinea Pig squeak like mad and for about three split seconds bedlam reigned at the moomincabin. And then laughter a-plenty because the Fin Fam always tries to laugh with each other if at all possible (and I bet there was another eighth ‘hattan for Grandroobly)

Anyway, fun times at the farmer’s market this morning and all the fresh produce we could carry the two miles uphill to home. Plus tomatoes from Mouse’s garden and apples from our apple tree. I have never in the almost three decades we’ve lived here seen that apple tree produce so many apples.

Lake Erie Metropark by sunrise tomorrow or bust!

Good night,
Kayak Woman

JungleP Guide (read at your own risk)

Friday, September 20th, 2013

I have been peeing in and around the woods (and occasionally in discrete places in the back yard or wherever) all my life. Of course, if there is a clean bathroom or even outhouse in the vicinity, I will use that but I am not afraid to water the outdoors. I have never peed the bus stop. Once when Duck and Radical Betty lived in England and the Mean Old Grunchie Old Grinchie was a baby, Radical Betty had to go badly enough that Duck stopped the car and she got out and started to pee… And then the bus came along… And she couldn’t stop… Radical Betty was still laughing about that a gazillion years later.

I pee in Gitchee Gumee too. Certain people (RB included) always said that they could not pee in Gitchee Gumee. That’s because when they were kids back in the days of playing Rum Runner and Coast Guard on the moominbeach, they had WOOL bathing suits! Can you imagine wearing a wool bathing suit? If you peed through a wool bathing suit, the crotch would rot out. When I was a kid, we were beyond wool bathing suits but I think we were still told not to pee in Gitchee Gumee. Well, why not? Eeeeet eeeez a beeeeeeg lake and we have a huge beach and a leeetle beeet o’ peeee once in a while probably doesn’t do any harm.

I had no idea that when you peed outdoors you were adding nitrogen to the soil until I visited Uber Kayak Woman’s gorgeous place out on Lopez and used her outhouse. Yes, she has an outhouse. Her outhouse has a picture window. And a composting toilet along with instructions for using that beastie. Those instructions invite folks to do number 1 (if that’s what they have to do) right out in the yard if they so desire. We won’t talk about number 2 except that it involves a bit more scooping than number 1 and people are not invited to do that in the yard. It works though. The outhouse that is. And it does not stink.

Anyway, tonight I urban peed at the edge of the woods in a park on the way home. I posted it on facebook. What the heck… I do have a better filter than that but we were having so much fun tonight (and I didn’t post a photoooo, fer kee-reist). We did the usual Oscar Tango thing (although we were not Porterized tonight) and then we decided to actually walk up to the Red Hawk for a nightcap. And we did and I couldda made it all the way home without urbanP but what the heck. It was dark and we were in the woods and, well, why not?

Love y’all,
Kayak Woman, JungleP-er from way back

Coughing fits

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

treeMy glahg server is having coughing fits again so we’ll see what I get posted tonight.

I did manage to head Froooggggy off at the pass. His head is all inflated today. It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day today and the LSCHP scheduled a party and a whole bunch of other antics and all morning at the Cube Farm you could hear Aaaaarrrrrrgggg-ing going on in every direction. After a catered Chinese lunch, that all settled down as us old folks settled in to our afternoon siestas (oh, not really!). Frooog, as usual, was a hit. My week has been a damn faaar-drill and so I didn’t have time to go out to Tarjay and find eye patches or whatever. So Frooooog sat on my shoulder kind of like a parrot and everybody ooohed and aaahed about his milk jug ring bracelets (he got them from Green Guy). eBay Froog came to work today too but he doesn’t have quite the [obnoxious] personality that Froooooggg does and he was too shy to attend the luncheon.

Anyway, after we got home from work today, I sensed him frog-hopping around and caught him in the act of trying to use garage band on my iPad to record some ribald little pirate ditty (that he probably learned from the LSCHP) and post it on my glahg. Too bad Frooog, glahg down! Love you anyway. Not sure why!

My server is coughing again. Getting out while I can.

Good Night!!!

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

workpond

Out uncharacteristically late for a weeknight and not much to say about today. Another long slodge tomorrow. With any luck my blahg will allow me to post this loverly picture from the pond by my work.

Takin’ care o’ bizness

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

spiderOh, you don’t wanna know. It’s amazing to me what I can get done when I actually put my mind to something. And, in this case, the Ninja played a large role. Yes, I am taaarrrred of making multiple rush-hour forays into the northwest shopping centers on The Planet Ann Arbor in a vee-hickle with a 6-speed manual tranny. 1st to 2nd to maybe 3rd and occasionally 4th. Actually, I rarely have to go into 1st in that vee-hickle unless I have come to a complete stop. I even made an actual PHONE CALL today. To a business. I talked to Mr. Singh and, when I arrived at his place of bizness, he asked if I was the person who called him a while before. Yes, yes, yes! I suppose he was having some difficulty reconciling the baggy old Ann Arbor hippie in the tie-dyed tshirt and hiking skirt with the voice he heard on the phone. Maybe he was expecting someone dressed in more tasteful clothing. And I was dressed that way at work today but I needed to wear some action clothing to get today’s bizness done.

I wore tights to work today. It seems early for that but it was chilly enough this morning that I wore long pants, polartech jacket, socks, and glubs on my 0-skunk-30 walk. It was okay. Wearing tights allowed me to wear the cute little light blue skirt I bought over the summer. I showed it to Lizard Breath back in July and she wanted me to model it but I hadn’t actually tried it on yet so I refused. It turns out that it is very cute. But I have to wear either tights or bare legs with it. And I don’t do well with bare legs all day at work most days (I wear Leggs knee-highs in the summer). In that air-conditioned climate, my feet get all dried out and and and. That was TMI.

BTW: For the life of me, I can never figure out why people think that a woman (or a man) shouldn’t wear a damn skirt if she (or he) prefers such attire. Although I do wear pants, I have pretty much always have been more comfortable in a skirt and I ROCK skirts and I looovvve that various folks are designing hiking skirts! I am waaayyy out on a tangent and so I will try to quit while I am ahead (?).

Today…

Monday, September 16th, 2013

cranesunsetSo I went to work this morning and I took a minute to check my personal email on my phone and there was a “Cabin Road” email from Jeep and Pan, as well as a photo email. I looked at the photo email first. A beat-up old white truck parked on the cabin road? And people standing around. An explanation came in a separate email but I got a little confused and took some time “processing” the picture J & P sent. As often happens to me, a lot of stuff flashed through my brain in a few split seconds:

— Where exactly is this? I mean, it’s on our road but… Oh, there’s the stop sign.

— What’s that behind the stop sign? Another vee-hickle?

— We’re having somebody fix the road (which reeaalllly needs it right now, since it has Ninja-sized crevices). Does this vee-hickle belong to someone on the road crew? Naw, it’s too beat up…

— It’s a white truck… Could it be? This thought was fleeting for me but several others that I forwarded the photo to were a little more alarmed. Why? Because my beloved cuzzint the Mean Old Grunchie Old Grinchie has a white truck. As burned up as this one was, I could still tell that it wasn’t the Grinch’s truck.

Here’s an article about this tragic accident. I guess the driver was traveling drunk and fast and didn’t hang a left along with the road. He hit a tree on our road, which caused his vee-hickle to do a 180 degree turn. He was thrown out of his truck and then it burned. I’m not going to post the photo I received. The photo in the article must have been taken after they towed the truck somewhere else because it is not on our beautiful little road. As it turned out, it was the Grinch who *found* the truck as he was trying to drive out to work that morning. He apparently looked inside the vehicle but fortunately the victim’s body was over in the woods nearby and he didn’t see it. I’m so glad he didn’t have to deal with that.

I think about all of the billion times in my life I have come down the escarpment on Birch Point Road and gone straight onto our little tunnel road instead of hanging a left along with the road. Slowing down to meet up with our beautiful little two-track, getting my first glimpse of Gitchee Gumee. I am so sorry that someone had to die there, especially in such violent circumstances. I am praying in my own godless way for him and his family and sending my love to Fin Family moomintroll and the moominbeach community in general.

I have a lot of crazy problems going on right now (none that threaten my life or career for those five who care). This puts my so-called life into perspective.

So, what’s Brangelina up to and who’s twerking this week

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

hickentomatoesThat awkward moment when you are standing in line at the Meijer u-scan and somebody ahead of you is having trouble getting a gift card to go through, so you are w-a-i-t-i-n-g and catching up with the tabloids while you wait. Aaaannnddd… A co-worker catches you red-handed! In this case, it was W1.5, who has lived over the wall from me at the cube farm for six (?!?) years. I hadn’t been there long before we figured out that our kids had gone to middle school together and *then* we realized that for YEARS, I had been crossing paths with his wife on our respective 0-skunk-30 walking routes (we still do). She walks with a friend. I walk alone. Dum dum de dum dum. I prefer to be by myself… So now my guilty little secret [wink] is out. Dooya think W1.5 will out me at work tomorrow?

This weekend has been punctuated with little vignettes like that. I think “Twitter plays” is a good way to describe them.

As much as I love to be space-ified, I was feeling a little lonelier than usual this weekend. Fortunately, my mouse came to the rescue. The GG wasn’t around to drag out of bed for a Saturday 0-skunk-30 urban hike down to the farmer’s market but I figured Mouse would probably be heading down there, just not until a bit later in the morning. So I hiked down there to meet her. I bought more stuff than I wanted to schlep home, so I hitched a ride back up to the Landfill via Daisy. We weren’t done with grokkeries yet. We walked to the Plum Market and then went our separate ways for the afternoon, reconnecting for a walk downtown and dinner on the roof at the Jolly Pumpkin. She had some laundry to dry (I love when my kids bring laundry home), so we had a wee nightcap while it tumbled, then she trundled on home via the Plum Market (for an avocado, of course) and I traded some photooos with my long-lost-lately-reunited friend.

I do not know how anyone can keep up with a Mouse kind of life-style. She sews / knits a lot of her own clothing, gardens, bakes her own bread and bagels, makes her own yogurt and god only knows what else but too many things to enumerate. On top of holding down a full-time job. Channeling The Commander in part but Grandma Sally and other ancestors too — an interesting mix of Deoxyribonucleic acid (let’s say that in unison please) resulted in my Mouse-that-roars.

Today was a bit slodgy in that I couldn’t get into a good flinging groove, except for yet another garbage bag full of clothing (my own) for the Easter Seals pickup next Friday. Seashells anyone? The Commander left a small collection, picked up on many a Florida beach (Long Boat Key, maybe?) back in the day. When I evaluated them up in the moomincabin garage, I thought they were mostly faded and broken. I get occasionally overwhelmed by even the relatively small amount of stuff The Comm left behind and my first thought was either to throw them out or take them to the Scrap Box. Today I looked at them again and they didn’t look all that shabby after all. I’m thinking particularly of one gorgeously intact sand dollar (sand dollars were one of her faves) but there were others. So they are here for now and any family member is welcome to some or all. Grandchildren get to pick first of course.

The GG is on the southbound I75 SUV Speedway, somewhere south of Zilwaukee, where he was caught up in a big jaffic tram, which is normal for the Zilwaukee area because they are [yet again] doing major construction on the ill-designed Zilwaukee bridge. He’s out of the jam and will get here eventually and what the heck did we ever do without smart phones because if we didn’t have them, I would have no idea where the heck he was. That said, he is the *king* of cryptic text messages so sometimes even when he *does* text me to let me know what’s going on, I can’t decipher his message.

That’s enough for now. I am outta blather. You are happy about that!

Saturday twitter plays

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

sunflowersTwitter play 1:

Setting: Planet Ann Arbor farmer’s market.

Mouse [watching KW struggle with backpack, coffee, bags, and money]: You need a good market assistant.

KW: Actually, the GG has evolved to be a decent market assistant. When he’s not off talking to his girlfriend.

Finis

Twitter play 2:

Setting: The Landfill.

KW schleps a couple boxes of “free stuff” out to the curb and returns to the Landfill.

As KW crosses the Landfill living room, she glimpses Marsha of Perrynet descending upon the free stuff.

When KW next enters the living room and looks out the window, ALL of the free stuff is gone.

Finis

Twitter play 3:

Setting: ladies powder room outside the Jolly Pumpkin rooftop dining area, three hours after the Umich football game ended.

KW: Who won?

Woman in Go Blue shirt [rather incredulously, like what planet are you from asking a question like that]: U of M!?! But just barely and they were playing against *Akron*.

KW: Obviously I’m just an old Ann Arbor hippie who couldn’t care less about football but even *I* know that Akron isn’t a major team.

KW and Go Blue: [laughter]

Finis

Good night. P.S. I am not really an old Ann Arbor hippie but I occasionally get mistaken for one and that is so much fun!

Telecommuting from the Landfill so I can put out faaaars on a Friday the 13th in the twilight zone

Friday, September 13th, 2013

ip08All I will say is that it is a good thing that my work allows me to telecommute when I need to multitask aka deal with *life* (and Rooomba) as well as work. The Queen Bee came in this morning noting that it was Friday the 13th and that she hasn’t ever been a superstitious person but the older she gets, the more superstitious she is. TQB is just about the most humble, down-to-earth person I have ever known and when she says something like that, I listen. Except that I chirped something like, “Oh, yesterday was myyyyy Friday the 13th, internet down, pilot light, Frog Hopper taaaars, yada yada.” But then. I sent her this email at about 11:40: “Hey boss, can I work from home this afternoon because yada yada yada [you don’t wanna know] and I think I spoke too soon about Friday the 13th.” To those five people who care, everything is okay. I just have to get the right people to talk to each other using a common vocabulary. I can do that at work. I’m not sure why I don’t seem to be able to do that in life. Actually I do kind of know but you don’t wanna know and I’m not making sense so let’s move on to something more interesting. [er, excuse me, Rooooomba, stop running into my feet please. I love you but…]

But let’s get going into some fun stuff now because fun is what makes the world go ’round…

Although I do have running hot water aplenty this weekend [thanks to Mouse], I thought I would post my procedure for taking a shower and washing my hair using a camping shower back in the days when we still visited the Moldy Old [but much beloved] Courtois Cabin at Houghton Lake. I still [kinda] miss those days. That old camping shower probably died along with the Moldy Old [but much beloved] Cabin but the GG has a brand new one in the Lyme Lounge (because he knows I will not camp anywhere if I cannot take a shower at least once a day).

The photoooo links to some pics of folks pumping and hauling water into the Moldy Old [but much beloved] Cabin back in 2003. I put them on Flickr. It’s been a while since I’ve been out there on Flickr. Things have changed… I may have to explore… But those photooos always remind me of how much fun we had back in those days.

Without further ado, my old Houghton Lake winter shower procedure (this procedure assumes that none of the water on the stove has already been heated, if it HAS, you’ll have to get creative about getting the right temperature water):

  1. Fill the teakettle with water from one of the big barrels.
  2. Turn the tea kettle on high (burner 3, back right).
  3. Get an empty bucket from the shower stall. If none are empty, empty one into the toilet.
  4. Get the shower down from where it hangs on the showerhead, put it in the empty bucket, and take it out to the kitchen.
  5. When the water in the teakettle is about shower temperature (usually 3-5 minutes), pour it into the shower.
  6. Repeat until you have enough water in the shower. Washing long hair is 3 teakettles-worth, short hair prob’ly 2 teakettles, 1 teakettle is sufficient if you don’t have hair.
  7. Carry the bucket with the shower in it back into the bathroom.
  8. Remove any buckets from the shower stall. Put them anywhere.
  9. Put your clothes and towel and whatever in SAFE places where they won’t fall into buckets of water or onto the floor or into the toilet, etc. (This step can be a challenge.)
  10. Hoist the shower up and hook the handle over the top of the showerhead.
  11. Get all the way into the shower stall and take your shower. NO, you don’t just LEAN into the shower. Sheesh!
  12. Helpful hint #1: if you are washing your hair, do that first.
  13. Helpful hint #2: the hose frequently (at least 5 times a weekend) comes undone from the shower bag. Just shove it back on — QUICKLY!

This procedure is DESIGNED so that there is water left over after your shower. There are two reasons for this:

  1. it is no fun to be hanging out in the rusty, moldy old Houghton Lake shower stall with shampoo all over your head and NO WATER, so EXTRA WATER is built in to the procedure.
  2. Leftover water can be used by Mr. Rank and Mr. Odiferous to take a shower (hint, hint).

Retrograde motion?

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

kaboomCube Nayber stumbled into Cubeland a few minutes after me this morning kvetching about her morning. (We were both “late” but “late” is relative in Cubeland so I doubt anybody noticed or cared.) I said, “Okay, you tell me about your morning and then I’ll tell you about mine.” Her morning sounded only marginally better than mine, an overflowing terlet and subsequent floor mop-up being about the worst of it. I used to be terrified about terlet overflows but I am a damn AMAZON about them these days.

Me? Hang on to your shorts because can I just say something like first-world problems?

Okay. Got up. Took a shower. Not a very hot shower but it was a perfect temperature for this morning’s heat and humidity and I just figured I had a little more cold water in the mix than usual.

Took a walk.

When I got home, the GG aka Mr. Fixit was on his way out the door on a Twinz of Terror type boondoggle involving hiking and camping in the Lyme Lounge in the Tahquamenon Falls area. (Do I wish I could go too? Yes I do.) Anyway. I like peace and quiet in the morning so I can kinda zen my way through breakfast, morning chores and getting ready for work, so I was glad when he went out the door. Get out! Have fun! Seeya in a few days. Bring me back some more crap from the moomincabin garage.

Then… Dun dun dun… I realized we didn’t have the blasted internet [again]. I can FIX this intermittent situation but plugging and unplugging waaaaaars ad infinitum is NOT one of my fav-o-rite activities. I just do not have the right kind of karma to deal with waaaars. My aura is rainbow colored, not a nice serene blue (although I like blue a lot!).

Oh bother. I don’t like him texting in his vee-hickle (plus it’s illegal) so I called him (the Frog Hopper is bluetooth enabled). KW: Did you have internet service this morning? GG: Yes. KW: I don’t have it now! Nothing was to be done but unplug everything, wait a while, plug it back in again and w-a-i-t until the dern switch or whatever it is decided to reset itself. That took something like 20 minutes.

While I was waiting I did some things, including wash a few dishes. Hmmm… This water is not getting very HOT! Hmmm… Could the water heater be going south? Not likely since we just installed a brand spanking new one a few months ago. I trucked on down to the Dungeon. There was no water on the floor or anything so that was a good sign. Then I stooped down and looked at the little controller thingy. Pilot light? Pilot light? The pilot light was out.

Light the pilot light? I am TERRIFIED of pilot lights! I don’t even like to light the pilot light on the little gas stove that kinda heats the moomincabin when it’s cold. And this water heater had (as you might be able to see in the photooooo) all manner of warnings of explosions and faaaars and what not. Not a KW-able type thing to do.

I went in to full-tilt boogie meltdown panic mode! I called the GG and ripped him a new one. “I can’t go without hot water all weekend! Come home and fix it! Wah wah waaaaaaaah!”. Poor guy. He was almost at Flint by then and that’s almost an hour north and southbound US23 was one big parking lot. I knew it would be stupid for him to come home but I got out onto a damn ledge and couldn’t pull myself back in. He suggested maybe Mouse could fix it. Yikes! I certainly didn’t want my “baby” daughter Mouse to get blown up!

I finally let the poor GG go, met MMCB for coffee (and kvetched to her of course) and headed to work. Oh yeah, I also googled REI’s hours so I could go over there and procure a camping shower. I do know how to use those from back in the days when we had to pump water and throw it into buckets at the moldy old Cfam cabin at Houghton Lake. I resigned myself to using old technology until the GG aka Mr. Fixit got back to town.

Then. Mid-morning, a text message proclaimed, “Mouse lit the pilot light.” I was flabbergasted! How did a ninny like me raise such brave children. The answer came a few minutes later: “Mama, I light pilot lights at work all the time!” Oh, duh.

They say that trouble comes in threes and I hope that’s true because a third thing happened today. The GG (who will drive on taaaarrs absolutely forever, just ask The Engineer (if you can contact him on the other side)) detected a leak in one of the Frog Hopper’s taaaars. It was time. We bought that thing only a couple years ago but it has a lot of miles on it from schlepping back and forth to the yooperland to deal with The Commander and her affairs. A trip to see the guys at UP Tire in Sault Ste. Siberia was in order. Those guys are good so I like to give them some Troll-land business once in a while, particularly since some of them are relatives, albeit the shirt-tail sort. Shirt-tail or not, they are good, honest, hard-working folks who deserve every last little bit of respect any member of the Finlayson family deserves (and any human being, for that matter). Fortunately, the GG got there without a flat or something.

Blast from the [beloved] past…

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

sewertruckFirst things first. If you try to leave a comment and get a long nasty indecipherable error message about server connections or misconfigurations, it is not your fault and I am not banning anyone. I’m pretty sure that my blahg is boring enough that most would-be flamers head over to some Tea Party site or whatever. I have never banned anyone although I have been known to delete the occasional comment that provides family information that I don’t want on the Internet.

So, my host server has been wonky this week. Kinda like a “persistent cough” says The Guru and I am being patient because I know he is on it!

Anyway, I was hanging out here in the Landfill Chitchen and it was really hot today and thunderstorms were threatening and I reeaaally wanted those thunderstorms to roll through because it’s hot. But I’m also trying to enjoy the heat because all too soon we’ll turn into the land of the ice and snow.

Just as the storm was starting to roll in this afternoon, my phone rang. It was a NY number so I actually declined it. I do not answer calls from numbers I do not know unless they are in the 906 area code, aka the Yooperland. Usually those are business calls, since I am still in the throes of closing out my parents’ estates.

Well, this person would not be declined. He actually left a voice mail message. I listened to the message as far as, “This is Dan S…” Yiiiiy!!! I immediately hit “return call” and spent the next 20 minutes or so talking to one of my fav-o-rite moominbeach childhood buddies. For years when we were kids, he and his family would park their VW Bus and pop-up trailer in the “trailer spot” and for a couple weeks a family of seven would share space with us at the moomincabin and associated outhouse. We had so much fun!

I told Dan that I have occasionally searched for him on the internet but not seriously enough to be successful. I hope he doesn’t think that’s creepy. His parents were best of friends with my parents and he was a wonderful friend of mine. In the end, he asked his mom for my number and she had it.

And so a particularly slodgy day took a sharp upturn! When the GG arrived home from work I was on the phone and I wrote my friend’s name on a post-it note. When I flashed that at the GG, he got it.