Archive for November, 2013

I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now…

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

grassInsert error aminal here. Just last Saturday, we walked down to the farmer’s market and there was still fresh produce everywhere, even some decent tomatoes. I couldn’t rouse the GG from whatever sleep cycle he was in at 0-skunk-30 this morning so I dressed up for the weather and trucked on down there on my own. Alas, not a whole lotta produce at all (I knoooowww it’s late autumn, what was I expecting). Lots of wreaths and other holiday things but I wasn’t about to stuff a wreath into my backpack, so I cruised through and headed back up the hill with an empty backpack for once. It’s okay, it was a good walk.

Today was also the day that beer runs in the streets in downtown Ann Arbor by 10 AM, aka, the Umich / Ohio State feetsball game. It was a gorgeous day and so the GG spacified me by walking downtown and over to the stadium and back to the Grizzly and finally home. I didn’t have any specific de-cluttering plans for today and so I was struggling to get going. Doodle-oop! I got a facebook message. Wanna meet up with the YAG moms over at Cafe Marie in a half hour? My pea-brain went nuts. What time is it? When was the message sent? Can I do this? Yes!!! These are some of the folks who helped keep me sane back in my youth theatre guild days. I changed outta my holey old leggings into a skirt, saddled up the Frog Hopper, and braved the football traffic to get across town. Fun, laughter, and love ensued.

When I got home, I fiddled and faddled around for a bit and then I peeked into one of the drawers in the old C-fam dresser in the Landfill front room, where I keep various “artifacts”. Some of them are mine or the GG’s, others are things from The Commander’s house that I have shoved in there willy-nilly (albeit carefully and bubble-wrapped). One thing led to another and I won’t go into the boring details but I’m feeling less overwhelmed about that teensy-tinesy little area of my life.

Talk today at lunch was a lot about what all of our kids are doing, etc. In my estimation, all of our kids are doing wonderfully well even if they are not earning a king’s ransom. It sounds like most of these young folks are able to afford to live without much parental (or government) support even though they are not MBAs or engineers or doctors or lawyers shysters ROCK THROWERS. We need those Creative Types (as my BFF calls them) in our culture.

Bean Bomb Friday

Friday, November 29th, 2013

No shopping for yer fav-o-rite blahgger today. Unless you count sending the GG over to Zingerman’s @Plum Market for coffee to go this morning (aka, I don’t need no stinkin’ coffee maker!). I’m not all that crazy about the whole Black Friday thing but I see it in RGB, not B/W. And my thoughts here are disorganized, random thoughts after a day spent organizing ancient photos and negatives so don’t getcher undies all into a blasted bunch.

I understand the idea that people should be able to stay home and spend the Thanksgiving holiday with their families. But sometimes that sentiment seems a bit false (or at least overdone). What about people who don’t have families or don’t have any family members that live close by or don’t get along with their families or whatever. It isn’t always all puppies and rainbows and glittery stuff. That’s why there are always gazillions of articles about how to avoid getting into fights with Uncle Archie on Thanksgiving.

I once worked retail on Thanksgiving Day. Actually it wasn’t that bad. I got paid three times as much as I usually did and I was also able to have Thanksgiving at Radical Betty’s after work. Granted, that was long before people were lining up outside to get their Black Friday “specials” and whatnot. The money was really nice and those of us who worked that day were all upbeat and having fun.

On the other hand, rampant consumerism (or whatever you want to call it) makes me a bit sick. I have too much stuff. I do not need anything more. You’ve heard me kvetch about that a few times before. I have absolutely no interest in anything Woldemort or Tarjay or Kohl’s has for sale. Woldemort in particular has been known to make me dizzy although I do shop there occasionally if it seems to be the most expedient place to obtain something I need. Oh that’s not that I won’t occasionally see something uber-cute there that I covet. I’m human, after all.

I have shopped on Black Friday in my life. Actually, for about three split seconds, I kind of felt like shopping today. I do a random kind of Black Friday shopping, walking around downtown Planet Ann Arbor or Petoskey or someplace, buying (or not) things that catch my eye — hopefully useful things. I have shopped on Thanksgiving Day in my life. In fact, I spent several Thanksgiving afternoons during high school going across the river to Canada with a friend and her family to buy shoes. My friend couldn’t get anything in her size on our side of the river and her mom didn’t drive and her dad was a small business owner who only closed on Sundays and holidays. I’m sure they were thankful that Canada was open on our Thanksgiving and I was thankful for the outing on an otherwise long, often boring afternoon. I shopped yesterday! I walked to the Plum Market and bought orange juice and dessert. Everybody was in a good mood over there and I thanked them for working on the holiday.

I can’t imagine ever lining up in front of a store at 4 AM or midnight or 6 PM on Thanksgiving to get bargains. If people didn’t line up like that, maybe Woldemort wouldn’t open. But I am not about to get judgmental about people who do. In *my* perfect world, people wouldn’t get so excited about the latest big-ass TV (or whatever) that they have to line up to get some special price. With my luck the dern thing would die the day after the warranty ran out. Still I can understand how people could get into the whole thing and develop their own traditions that incorporate Black Friday expotitions.

Does Woldemort (et al) pay its hourly employees a living wage? I don’t want to go too deeply into that subject tonight but I think not. It was okay for me to earn $1.75 / hour working retail all those years ago when I was a kid because I didn’t have to pay for housing or food or transportation or [ahem] *college*. I am disturbed by (admittedly anecdotal) reports that Woldemort and McDonald’s, etc., are providing information to their employees about how to obtain government benefits to supplement their income. There’s a lot of political talk floating around about reducing people’s “dependency” but if we refuse to pay people who WANT to work a living wage, I do not see how we can reduce “dependency”. Alas, I do not have any answers, at least not comprehensive ones.

Dum de dum de dum… How about them thar Lions? What did I write? I dunno. Between the last paragraph and this one, we went to Matt Watroba’s annual Day After Thanksgiving concert at The Ark and maybe I’ll delete the whole thing tomorrow. Or not. But I’ll probably edit. I often do, at least to get rid of typos and awkward phrasing, etc. Anyway, the Ski Ranch posted on facebook that today is not Black Friday, it’s Bean Bomb Friday. Even though the GG and a few dogs I have known adore Bob’s Bean Bomb, I have always been a bit suspicious about it but I am all for renaming it Bean Bomb Friday anyway.

Sneak peek at a Landfill Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

It was a potentially dicey drive from Detroit this morning but Lizard Breath made it safely in Ruby. What you cannot see (or hear) in this photooo is that Mouse and the GG were bombarding her with a turkey gobbling sound clip on their iPhones. I’ve been randomly hearing that gobbling sound throughout the day, although once or twice I confused the sound of Mouse’s sewing machine with the gobbling noise.

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Mouse travels with her own kitchen and sewing musheen. She’s making her own costumes for an upcoming play and I love those crazy lamps but I’m starting to think that THREE is too many.

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We were going to have mimosas but these entities beat us to them!

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And then they came over to harass yer fav-o-rite blahgger… (This could potentially be a good facebook profile pic except that it shows Froooggy’s, oh you know, butt hole…)

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The GG turned on the Lions football game but then got distracted by a little scanning prodject and I am posting this loverly photo of Sputnik’s track through the night sky for him. Photography by The Gumper, aka Grandpa Garth.

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Here are those mimosa-guzzling entities again, waiting impatiently for their food. The platter has a story, one that I kind of forgot about until I posted this on facebook and Our Northern Correspondent jogged my memory. We were up in Siberia the fall after The Commander moved to FV assisted living. She was actively working on making her new living space work for her and one of our missions that weekend was to find her a small rocking chair. We eventually found one (which is now at the moomincabin) but along the way, I encountered this tacky but loverly turkey platter in an antique shop. I coveted it but didn’t buy it. We spent Christmas with her and opened gifts in her apartment and I was very surprised to receive the platter. Given the size, shape, and weight of the box, I was figuring somebody had found my old Drawing Board. (*I* later found the DB and it’s at the moomincabin.). Turned out that she wanted to buy something for me but didn’t know what (I certainly didn’t need anything!) and couldn’t easily get out to shop. Shopping was something she had always greatly enjoyed. The GG remembered the turkey platter and enabled the whole thing.

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I won’t post a whole bunch of food photoooos. Lemme see: turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, dressing (cooked outside the turk), cranberry sauce, and this loverly brussel sprout / red cabbage saute-type thingy. It also has pecans, scallions, dried cranberries, pepper, and a drizzle of Besteman’s maple syrup. I had a hankering for frog legs earlier today [wink] but I spared those entities. Oh yeah, and a few mini cakes and pies from the bakery in the Plum Market because life is too short, don’tcha know.

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Hope your Thanksgiving was a good one and especially wishing peace for those who are missing loved ones this holiday.

Swinging!

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

The ace in the hole and why yesterday’s kvetch was really kind of put on was that I was certain that our beloved, benevolent despot would boom GO HOME at around 3 PM today. Actually he sent an email around this morning. Boy oh boy, I needed that. Once again, the G and H (and ‘ and up-arrow and I *think* the alt) keys did not work on my loverly Windows work laptop. I limped through the day and sent an email to the Queen Bee that my laptop was (AGAIN!) heading south and I would most likely need a loaner for a couple days next week. IF a loaner can be found, it will definitely not have all of the software applications on it that I’m accustomed to using to do my job. The workarounds are always tiresome…

Anyway… I got outta dodge directly at 3 PM. The LSCHP (despot) had already flown the coop but he’s got Thanksgivukkah going on tomorrow, I just have regular old Thanksgiving. Got home and started swinging! Threw some laundry in, schlepped over to the Plum Market, chopped celery, onions, red cabbage and I fergit what else. Cut up brussel sprouts, lemons, mandarins and I fergit what else. Washed lettuce. Baked Chex mix. Yes I know I can buy it. I like it better when I make it myself — in one of Gertrude’s ovens, not the microwave. Did I mention that Meijer was OUT of Rice Chex yesterday?!? Wrote a note-to-self to drape my turkey with bacon strips (yes). Cleared a gazillion catalogs off the dining table and moved my scanning prodject out of the Landfill Chitchen.

I am kinda bored to tears with all the crappy articles out there about Thanksgiving and how to avoid family arguments yada yada. I guess that’s partly because we will only have our own children here tomorrow. We are all on more or less the same page when it comes to religion and polly-ticks and I can’t harass them about their *lives* because they are both independent, self-supporting, upstanding citizens of the world. But even back when I was a kid and we had big Fin Fam holiday parties, I don’t remember arguments at all. I remember lots of food and laughter. I *liked* sitting at the kids’ table. Actually, a few years ago when a few of my cuzzints came home to The Planet Ann Arbor, we had Thanksgiving dinner over at Chez Harry and I think we were elbowing each other out of the way to get to sit at the kids’ table. (I’m kidding here. It wasn’t really a kids’ table.)

I miss those big old parties but the proverbial sands of time have shifted since I was a kid and, more often than not, we have a small Thanksgiving here at the Landfill. I know that we could probably crash a C-fam party (or two or three) or meet up with My Dear Uncle Harry but I am working full time and usually don’t have a whole lot of paid time off left at this time of year, so I am as happy as a clam to just haaannng out at home. Faaarrr in the faaaarrplace and my own scaled down version of Thanksgiving food.

Love y’all and please put bacon on your turkey (and remind KW to do the same).

Thanksgiving kvetch

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

mossThis is gonna be a lame post, so read it at your own risk. It’ll also probably be stream-of-consciousness…

It wasn’t a bad day exactly, except maybe for the fact that my loverly Windows work laptop was intermittently refusing to let me use the G, H, and up-arrow keys. And maybe the ctrl key. I couldn’t quite figger that out. Oh, and the trackpad was intermittently behaving like the trackpad on my old MacBook Pro, which means I had no control over it. I sincerely hope that I don’t have to send the dern thing back AGAIN! I sincerely hope it doesn’t totally crap out on me tomorrow when Building Mom will be off for a much deserved long weekend. I have to box my laptop up but she takes care of the labeling and hands it off to Fedex or whoever. I know this because I have sent this POYKW back TWICE already. It’s not like I couldn’t label it and hand it off to Fedex myself. I send packages all over the place all the time. It’s just that she does that part of it SO WELL! She has all of the supplies at her disposal and familiar relationships with the Fedex folks, not to mention the guys over at the Mother Ship who fix our computers when they start throwing error aminals at us. It would probably take me an hour to do what Building Mom does in 60 seconds or so.

Dark? I dunno. I don’t mind the dark. Actually, my walk to the Plum Market after work this afternoon was lovely and energizing. Snow? I dunno. I don’t mind snow (disclaimer: it is not snowing here, the roads are dry). But I am a little gun-shy because last winter, over and over and over ad infinitum ad nauseam, the weather gods kept telling us “chance of snow flurries”. They were always wrong. We did not get any big storms that I remember but over and over and over, we’d get just enough snow to make the roads ice over. It was nasty. I would rather plow through a few inches of snow than deal with “light showers”. When there are a few inches of snow on the roads, most people actually SLOW DOWN! “Light showers” tend to create BLACK ICE! I HATE BLACK ICE!!! I am having PTSD from last winter, the winter that lasted FOREVER. You may not remember this, but we drove Up North in mid-APRIL through an ICE STORM. I posted a photo on facebook and The Beautiful Mimi commented, “You sure know how to have fun!” Indeed. Later that weekend, I slodged through deep snow on snowshoes. It was a lovely hike but my feet were soaked at the end of it. And then we drove through more snow and stuff to get to the UU’s house in Gaylord. (I’m asking Santa for my own personal pair of MODERN snowshoes this xmas. Those old-fashioned ones are good for hanging on the wall but not so much for climbing hills, etc. If Santa doesn’t bring ’em, I’ll just buy ’em. Also, check with me before buying PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!)

Anyway, I am watching whatever storm is dumping snow in some of the states south and east of us and I am watching the ever-changing weather forecast for our area and hoping for no snow travel for my Detroit beach urchin this Thanksgiving. And I am kvetching about shopping for our modest Thanksgiving dinner, even though I LOVE to cook Thanksgiving dinner. Just that I am wishing I had a few more daylight hours to putz around pre-cooking and de-cluttering, etc. in my house alone. As it is, I am probably over-reacting. I will no doubt get bored about halfway through Thanksgiving afternoon. But that is okay.

P.S. Can you find the photo bombers in this picture from our last North Country Trail hike?

Apes Rule. That is all.

Monday, November 25th, 2013

apecluboldcabin1965

Squint at it. Can you tell what it is? Yes, it is the crappiest photo of the Old Cabin you have ever seen. Oh, excuse me, it is not the Old Cabin. It is the Ape School, as it was called by yer fav-o-rite blahgger and two of her cuzzints during the wonderful summer of 1965. Do you guys (you know who you are) remember the Ape Club? You do not have to answer that unless you want to [wink].

I won’t say which cuzzint was the creator of the Apes Club. She knows who she is even if she doesn’t remember the Apes Club. She is also the person who taught the other two of us how to climb out of our cribs.

So what was the Apes Club all about? Well, I can’t tell you too much. I could be killed! More likely it’s that I don’t remember all the details. It was a secret little society where the three of us all adopted names that began with Ap. Was I April? I can’t remember! It was all kind of like junior high (which we were one year away from). For one things, we made up a rival group of girls to be our arch-enemies. Shrill mean girls. You know the kind [wink]. Apakiki (spelling?) was one of them and that’s all I will say except that I think she had long fancy ringlets in her hair. We all hated that kind of stuff. I don’t really know why. We earned achievements for doing gymnastic-type stuff on the beach and maybe some swimming. I fergit what else, although I had all kinds of ideas for achievements in all subjects. But I am also the person who read the Campfire Girls handbook from end to end when I was eight or whatever…

apeclub1965

I hadn’t thought about the Apes Club in years until I found myself randomly telling npJane about it on the beach last summer. npJ didn’t remember it, I think she was about three years old at the time. (And it was secret.) When I found this *very* random photo and then turned it over, I made an exclamation when I saw what was on the back. Not sure why this photo was in the archives. I’m sure our mothers, who were beloved sisters and sisters-in-law, knew about our little club and probably giggled about it over beer lunches on the beach. I bet this photo was saved on purpose.

Tiggers don’t jump, they bounce!

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

1965vwtiggerVintage vee-hickle, vintage dog. I *think* that I finally have all of the family photo archives in one place (unless there are any still hanging around at my late brother’s house) and I am now in the beginning stages of sorting through them. This task is overwhelming. I am just about OCD enough to want to scan every blasted photo and negative in the world, even the really crappy ones (and there are plenty of those) and those where I have no idea who the people are. The Comm (and others) labeled some of these things but most of them are not labeled. Why is it so dern hard to throw photos out, even if you don’t know who / what is in the photo?

I suspect that The Commander had ideas about organizing the photos. There’s even evidence that she began that complex and arduous process. Alas, she ran out of time and I have what I have. As I make my own way through the fambly fotos, I’ll make as much sense out of it as I can and I will work to keep the OCD monster back in the shadows where it belongs!

Along the way, there are random little gems like this one. Yes, I know it isn’t the best picture anyone ever took (and I’m gonna guess it was yer fav-o-rite blahgger who took it but I’m not sure…). But boy oh boy does it bring back memories. I posted this elsewhere (fb) as being taken in 1965 but I’m not really all that sure about the year. That’s the VW bug that my old coot coveted and finally bought. This vee-hickle was the first true “second car” that our modest little family owned. For a while we were the prime users of a fancy jeep thingy that my grandparents bought and didn’t really get along with for reasons I don’t remember (or maybe wasn’t privy to). Anyway, it lived in our driveway for a few years and yes, we did use it.

I like that our old green VW is in the photo but look! There’s the back end of Ozzie (Green Thumb) McInnis’s house and his garage in the background. And the Heron’s (spelling?) house behind that, with a new garage being built. I remember Philomena Heron telling me that I was a heathen and she was gonna say “rosie” for me. Rosary of course. Fine, Phil, I hope you are still saying rosie for me wherever you are these days. The alley between Superior and Kimball Streets is just on the other side of that fence at the back of Ozzie’s yard and the houses that you can’t see are the Oberman’s (we still see Bill when we shop at Barishes) and the Waisenant’s. The Waisenant boys — four of them — were ROCK THROWERS!!! Not fun to pass by their house if Billy or Johnny were out. (They’re prob’ly lawyers now, snort snort snort.) The white house in the right background was the Woods’s house and across the street to the right from that house, where you can’t see, is the Ping[a]tore block, where my grade school BFF lived.

Wow, I didn’t leave a lot of room here to talk about Tigger, the dog that was my bestest friend ever for so many of my childhood years. I was deathly afraid of dogs and she was a stray puppy. I have told that story here before and I will probably tell it again someday but not tonight. I think she looks regal in this picture.

Blustery day (???)

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

carrotsLast night, the GG got a text message from Lizard Breath inviting him to help measure little plants over at the Mechanical Botanical Gardens. He read it aloud and my restless little Keen-clad feet went something like “woods woods woods” without connecting with my brain to make it think through what “measuring little plants” might mean. The plan was to help our friend Damn Arbor with a phd-type prodject and she wondered if the GG wanted to help. Of course he did! It was right up the GG’s alley, plus we’ve known Damn Arbor since middle school, etc., etc.

After some confuddlement and an unexpected snow squall (but I don’t *think* that had anything to do with the confuddlement), the field trip moved to Miller Woods and my beach urchin apologized to me for not inviting me too. “It didn’t seem like the kind of thing you would want to do, Moom.” Something like that. And she was right, right, right! She knows me well. Today’s expotition involved spending a lot of time in one place focusing and doing careful stuff, not rambling around the woods with wild abandon. Not to mention that I had a boatload of stuff to do today! In the end, I figured out they were in Miller Woods and not the Mechanical Gardens because I randomly checked Instagram and Lizard had posted a couple recent photooos at that location. Hey! I can WALK to Miller Woods. So I grabbed my purse, phone, and backpack, bundled up and walked to Miller Woods, where I met up with the work crew before sashaying off to the Plum Market for my third round of grokkeries today (Farmer’s Market, Meijer, and Plum). Bonus? Lizard spent a half hour or so here at the Landfill this afternoon and took a few more of The Commander’s artifacts back to Detroit with her.

I spent a lot of the day obtaining supplies for The Landfill version of Thanksgiving and pre-cooking. My make-ahead gravy recipe calls for carrots. I didn’t have any carrots and, after three food procurement trips today, I wasn’t about to go back to get carrots. But then, I was taking a load of stuff out to the compost and I passed Mouse’s Garden and I saw CARROTS. I pulled these carrots. They are small but aren’t they beautiful?

Blustery day? Yes, it *was* a blustery day around here. Someone at work earlier this week was talking about how blustery that day was and tying it to Winnie Ther Pooh… I could not figure out what this blustery day stuff was and I was “shamed” for it [wink]. Hey, I grew up with Winnie Ther Pooh. I remember Radical Betty reading it to us in the Old Cabin when we were small. I have a cuzzint who has been known to answer to the name of “Pooh”. My childhood dog was Tigger. I do not get this blustery day stuff. I have both of the Pooh books on my iPhone and when I search for “blustery”, I do not get any results. What am I missing?

Map of Narnia, Map of Narnia…

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

funOh all right, I’ll do the blasted baby boomer meme:

4th grade, Stinkin’ Lincoln School, Sault Ste. Siberia (okay, I’ll be honest, I didn’t start calling it “Stinkin’ Lincoln” until Vern said that at a high school reunion a while back).

Mrs. Scott had gone to the office and when she returned, she made a dramatic entry and said with a shaking voice, “The president has been shot.”

BANG! Patty McKerchie tipped her chair over. Obviously this was an event that provided a good opportunity to knock your chair over without getting in trouble.

KW? Well, KW was not ‘fessing up to the fact that she had a horrible sore throat and probably a fever.

We were let go early (imagine that in this day and age) and KW and a friend trudged through a chilly rain (a lot like today, actually) to a play date at the friend’s house. KW did not have a particularly good time. She didn’t feel well and this was a third-string friend.

KW eventually trudged home in the gathering gloom and spent the ensuing long weekend recovering from her virus and feeling sorry for herself because it was now snowing and all the other neighborhood kids were outside sledding and building snowmen and having all sorts of fun.

“We” didn’t vote for JFK. We were a Republican family in those days. Oh, not that anyone in my family was less than absolutely horrified that the president had been assassinated. The GOP eventually moved too far to the right for our comfort level and we [mostly] don’t vote for them any more. Actually, my old coot got to the point where he was so disgusted with all polly-tishuns (“blue dress”, “stick it”, etc.) that he didn’t want to vote for anyone although I’m sure The Commander told him which levers to pull. It’s anybody’s guess whether or not he actually pulled those levers.

C. S. Lewis died the same day JFK did. I didn’t have any clue who C. S. Lewis was in those days but he sure provided many hours of entertainment to me and the beach urchins later on as I read the Chronicles of Narnia aloud to them and we watched the BBC (I think) movies.

That’s two who died 50 years ago. My high school classmate and long-time captain of the Lake Michigan car-ferry Badger, none other than Cap’n Hobbs, died unexpectedly last night. He was playing hockey at the time. He loved playing hockey. What a way to go. I don’t know if this link to the Badger’s page will work or not. This is one of the good things about facebook. If I had not connected with Dean and other high school folks a few years ago, I would never have known that he died. In fact, I wouldn’t have known that he was the Badger captain and I may well have not attended our last high school reunion and talked to him in person there. Godspeed Cap’n Hobbs. Class A person.

We had a wonderful time at the Oscar Tango tonight and kept our fav-o-rite waitress busy, as you can probably guess. (I didn’t do it.)

G’night.

Mini travelogue

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

When I was a kid up in Siberia, one of the things my family did was go to “travelogues”. I cannot for the life of me remember who put these things on. Rotary Club maybe? They were held in the auditorium of the crappy old local high school and the format was that various traveling minstrel-type-people would show a film of some trip that they took and provide live narration. (I think, I can’t exactly remember the details.) These films were not exactly movie theatre quality but they were pretty good and the narrators were usually really funny. I can’t feature what it took to edit film back in those days. I can barely manage iMovie on my phone on a good day. But we had so much FUN! Those travelogues were entertaining even for us kids but the real fun was that during intermission, we got to run all over the second floor and use the bathroom, dreaming of the days when weeeee would be big high schoolers. (That said, having spent the first two years of my high school career in that building, whenever I think of my cuzzint Pooh’s song about the seven old ladies locked in a lavatory, I think of that bathroom.)

Anyway, because I have nothing and you do NOT wanna hear about how horrible the traffic was on the Planet Ann Arbor for the afternoon commute, I will do a mini-travelogue of our last trip up north. Our ultimate destination was Brevort Lake, the purple dot on the map below. The dot almost totally obscures Brevort Lake but it is in fact a sizable inland lake. I already wrote about our hike along its shores and along the Brevort River. The red arrow points to the general area of the moomincabin (and toward L. Superior) and the green arrow points directly at the Mackinac Bridge. We did not go anywhere near the moomincabin that day. It is closed for the season.

brevortlakemap

The road to (and beyond) Brevort is US2 and it runs more or less along the northern shore of Lake Michigan for many many miles. The photo below is what it looked like that day as we were driving back toward St. Ignace and the Big Mac. Not exactly someplace you might want to swim, at least not that day.

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The UU, who was with us on the trip out but not back, was gabbling about taking photoooos of all the goofy yooperland smoked fish signs for a coffee table book. I think he was kidding about the coffee table book but I have also often wanted to stop and take pics of some of those signs. It wasn’t the right time to stop and futz around a whole lot on this trip but I liked this set of signs so we stopped and this one is for the UU.

smokedfish

Yes, high winds at the bridge. Where is the bridge? The bridge is to the right, hiding behind those those trees. Hard to believe that a big suspension bridge like the Mac could hide behind a little clump of trees. I could feel the wind on the bridge that day and I wasn’t even driving at that point. That is not always the case, even when the warnings are up, but the Frog Hopper does catch the wind a bit. I was kind of glad to get off the bridge.

highwinds

I guess that’s enough for now. At least it’s enough for meeeee!

Need a spanner scanner…

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

macsistersI know… I’ve kvetched about that here on my blahg and also on facebook and even though I have received good advice, I still don’t have a workable solution. The thing is we HAVE a blasted spanner scanner. The GG’s Mothership can talk to it just fine. I cannot for the love of Mike get my loverly late-model MacBook Pro to talk to it. I don’t LIKE to have to use it from the Mothership because, well, it’s the GG’s ‘puter and he’s usually using it. My lame excuse? Of course, “I don’t have time, I work.” (say it in a sad sing-song-ey type voice).

(Wouldn’t you know that, just now as I am writing this, the GG went down into the dungeon and dredged out a blasted spanner scanner that DOES hook up to my MacBook Pro AND it scans slides and negatives! I *thought* we had a beastie like that around here somewhere but I was clueless as to where it was.)

Anyway, that photooo shows the MacMullan sisters of Garden City. There’s Roberta on the left, she’s the oldest daughter and big sis of five children. Charlotte is in the middle, youngest daughter and fourth of five. The Commander is on the right, middle child and middle daughter.

As life would have it, it was the youngest of the three who died first. Charlotte was 79 when she went out to walk the [obnoxious] dog and collapsed of a heart attack. This happened a couple weeks before 9/11, a harbinger of horrific things to come, maybe. Charlotte was my favorite MacMullan aunt (and my mom’s favorite sister) and although I was stoic about this, I remember taking a river drive just so I could see the GG out there in his kayak. The Commander and Grandroobly drove down to Charlotte’s funeral and after that trip, Grandroobly announced to The Comm that he was not going to drive south again. And he didn’t. And so they missed Lizard Breath’s high school graduation party the next spring. Charlotte was a classically trained soprano and her funeral was a formal one in the church where she had led the choir for many years. The Commander was kind of put out about that. I could never quite figure out why. I thought it was appropriate. There was a lot of classical singing and I think Charlotte probably sang and/or directed the choir for a lot of funerals and I bet she would have liked that her choir did that for her funeral.

The Comm died next (my five readers know that) but not until she was 91! We did a funeral home visitation but no service. I don’t think The Comm would have wanted a service. We were never a particularly religious branch of the family and she was still pissed off at the Methodist minister preacher that blew her off when Grandroobly died. I have to add here that the Methodist *minister* who was serving as mom was dying was pretty cool and I think she actually liked him. Although she mentioned that he wasn’t really all that good looking. Big grin. I hope he isn’t reading this. Honestly, my mooom could be a bit judgmental about other people’s looks. Not the best trait…

Wouldn’t you know, Roberta, eldest of the sisters died last, at 98 or whatever. I was not even notified when she died. That was okay with me. Only their youngest brother is still alive and he is struggling. My uber-cuzzint Terri told me about it over cocktails or whine or whatever at the moomincabin last summer. “Did you know Roberta died?” KW does a spit-take! Terri didn’t know about it right away either. We both laughed our asses off. Life is what it is. I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a funeral.

The Commander did not get along with Roberta all that well, at least not in later years. Their mother died in a car accident when The Comm was 15 and I suspect that Roberta tried to become the mom of the fam. Lots of complicated stuff that I won’t put on the internet (and don’t know all of) but I’ll never fergit when I brought The Comm down to The Landfill after Grandroobly died. We went over to Megalopolis to take Roberta out to lunch and the two sisters started to argue and The Comm threatened to leave the restaurant we were at. It was POURING RAIN, fer kee-reist. I somehow settled that down. Roberta was quite the piece of work but she was the aunt who kept me supplied with origami paper and instructional books when I was a kid. I spent *hours* doing origami in those days. And she was the aunt who gave me false eyelashes at the age of 12. Oh boy oh boy, did *those* ever look good on *me* [sarcasm]. I’m sure The Comm was not particularly thrilled with that gift. Alas, she sounds like a cool aunt but in reality she was so self-centered it was hard to have a two-sided conversation with her (and she was a hoarder to boot). Not easy to deal with in general.

Spanner scanner or not, I took a picture of this picture with my iPhone. The last couple years of The Comm’s life, she often substituted “spanner” for “scanner”, even though she owned a scanner and knew how to use it. I know she was struggling but it still cracked me up. I’m sure I will be doing something equally silly someday. I have a lot of old photos and some negatives and slides and man oh man I hope I am up to the task of organizing and scanning them.

I love seeing these women when they were young and having fun.

I once was lost but now I’m found

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

projectorI knew there was a blasted projector! I even think I remember when it got packed up. I’m not sure I remember when it got transported down to The Planet Ann Arbor but judging by where I found it, it has been here since spring or summer 2012.

So, where did I find it? Right down at the bottom of the stairs to the Landfill Dungeon, that’s where. In a big box on top of the Red Cabinet. It was even labeled “Projector”, among other things (lots of photos in great disarray…). I have not exactly been looking for the projector but I have been looking for old photoooos and that led me to haul ANOTHER bunch of old photooos from the moomincabin and THAT trunk-full of photooos also included some old 8mm films and that started to get me wondering where the heck the projector was. Why did I not find it sooner? Because the label was on the TOP of the box and I have to stand on tippy-toes to see it. When I DID finally do that this afternoon, I thought, “Oh yeah, THAT box! I remember that box!”

Okay, the GG just came home and informed me that this is a SLIDE projector, not a MOVIE projector. That burst my bubble just a wee bit. I know that we had a slide projector. I THOUGHT we had a MOVIE projector. But maybe not. I think my uncle Don had one and it seems like I can remember him filming us all at family events. Also taking photos and showing the slides later on. I remember him with this big camera with a huge bright light. Not sure what it was but we did love those slideshows. There was one where Radical Betty and Susie and I fergit who else (npJane, maybe?) were sitting on a couch with a “What was said?” kind of look on their faces. Anyway, I did remember a projector of some sort and today I found it. Yay me.

I am forever in debt to the GG for all of the work he did carefully cleaning out Command Central after The Commander died. Hauling stuff to Habitat. Hauling stuff to the moomincabin garage. Hauling stuff to Megalopolis and The Planet Ann Arbor. Prodding me (when I was actually up there and not working) to get going by assigning me a wee tidbit of a task when I was standing there with my mouth kind of flapping ba-da ba-da ba-da. I had precious little paid time off at that point after spending the winter in the hoosegow and hospice with her. I thought that I felt “free”, rather than exhausted. In reality, I was both. He did a good job and checked with me about getting rid of stuff he felt might be controversial. Usually we concurred…

I know that a lot of folks hold estate sales after their last parent dies and just kind of walk away from the old house. My BFF did that. MMCB and her sister went through their mom’s stuff like the GG and I did. Both of these friends of mine went through this stuff the same year and season that I did. I think all three of us made the right decision for ourselves. The Commander didn’t really have THAT much stuff although there were and are moments when it gets a bit overwhelming. She had been diligently working on sorting and cleaning out stuff for the five years between when my old coot died and she had to move to assisted living. If the GG had not been available to help or wasn’t willing to help or wanted to just get rid of everything willy-nilly, I’d’ve probably hired an estate sale type person. I hope I would’ve remembered to save the photos and stuff first though. As luck would have it, I married somebody my mother loved and trusted and with good reason because he helped me handle her possessions with the care I think she would have wanted. There was a lot of history in that house that she and our family want to be preserved and the GG has been my partner in preserving that which needed to be preserved.

Oh heck, I hope I don’t sound maudlin about all this. I am finding myself reflecting on life a bit more now that I have no living parents (or siblings) but I am not really all that maudlin. Please do not cry for me. I am okay!!! That’s what friends and family and decent careers are for.

P.S. I still think we had a mooooovie projector when I was a kid. But, if we did, I bet it bit the dust a loooong time ago.

Uncle Fester blows a gasket

Monday, November 18th, 2013

unclefesterI don’t *think* I’ve posted this photoooo anywhere before. Possibly Instagram but I’m in a somewhat closed loop over on Instagram. It was a couple months ago when the Lyme Lounge was still hanging out in the trailer spot at the moominbeach and Jay et al were there. Us kids were hanging out in the trailer to get away from the parents… I dunno why I’m posting it now. Maybe because the GG aka Uncle Fester might want a new profile pic?

I don’t have much today. Work involved archaeological digs. I love those trips down into old functional specs. Either the design was “before my time” (I love to say that) or I was involved in designing it but can’t remember (off-hand) why we did what we did and / or why our dev team got it so wrong. When they get something wrong, I always consider it my fault for not explaining it clearly. Today it was a combination and I have more work to do tomorrow…

I read that it was an F0 tornado that closed the I75 SUV Speedway in both directions between Gaylord and Grayling last night. Knocked down some trees. Like I said yesterday, we didn’t really get much here but a lot of folks are without power and there were many tree limbs down. The EUP was deluged with water and people posted pictures on facebook of the Ashmun Street bridge with tons of water *on* it. And there was Easterday Avenue River. I lived up there for my entire childhood and I saw plenty of snow and sometimes plenty of water but not anything like what was in those photos from today. Kinda like when people were kayaking in the streets in downtown Ann Arbor last summer…

That is about all of the mindless blather that I can come up with for today. I do hope that the Planet Ann Arbor city council repeals the damn crosswalk law tonight. As both a driver and a pedestrian, my overall *opinion* is that it’s a horrible law that was not at all thought through. Fingers crossed for a repeal…

What’s in San Francisco?

Sunday, November 17th, 2013

glassI was gonna write about Google Glass today. Maybe I still will, we’ll see where I go. I do have a fully powered laptop and that’s a good thing because we are getting severe thunderstorms at this moment but, knock on wood, no tornado warnings. But our power, which is usually pretty stable, is flickering like crazy. So, stream of consciousness anyone?

So, one of the beach urchins works at MOCAD in Detroit and Google took over the MOCAD facility this weekend to demo Google Glass. Of course we went. NpJane went with us! So what can I say about Google Glass? In a way, it kind of reminds me of when we bought our first Apple II+ computer. The one that is still hanging out in the Landfill Dungeon and (I think) still powers up. It was so cool to play around with that thing. It is the computer that taught me how to write code (BASIC). If you know one computer language you [arguably] know them all. Was it useful in real life? Not really, with the possible exception of Sticky Bear ABC. We had Excel Visicalc on our Apple II+ and I was so excited about playing around with it but in reality it didn’t help me do anything useful. That’s not that it couldn’t *do* anything useful, just that I didn’t have the time and energy to put into making it useful.

That’s kind of how I felt about Google Glass. All of these cool (and NICE) young folks were there to demonstrate this new device. It was indeed very cool. I struggled a bit though. It took me a while to fully realize that it operated largely via voice commands. I kept trying to swipe and tap the touchpad when I shouldda been giving voice commands. I could get it to give me the directions to my house on the Planet Ann Arbor. It got lost when I tried to find the moomincabin. It seemed like that address was toooo long. Or whatever. I do think that a dedicated, experienced user could’ve accomplished that task.

At any rate, I bet if I wore Google Glass 24-7 for the next two weeks, I would get it to find the moomincabin and I would find other uses for it. I think that things *like* Google Glass are in our future. For now, the usability didn’t totally turn me on. For now, pulling my iPhone personal computer out of my pocket is much more useful. As long as I don’t drop it on concrete! Kee-reist!

Soooo, lunch after Google at the Green Dot, one of our faves down in Detroit. Mix and match sliders and/or side and salads. Friendly and professional service.

Then back to the Planet. The GG wouldda prob’ly wanted to take a nap on Lizard Breath’s couch but I think it was good that we didn’t linger. Our drive was dry but WINDY but we got home well before any of the severe weather blew through. In the end, we were fortunate with the weather here after a day of tornado watches. The storm has passed since I began this bunch of blather. We didn’t get a tornado, just a wimpy little thunderstorm. We still have power. Others in the tier of “flyover states” below ours (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio) were not so lucky. I have no words for that except that I hope the death toll is low…

Because it’s cute, why else?

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

trikeI am *this* close to purchasing a loverly-looking beastie like this. More research and some thinking time are in order (like who the heck is Fisher & Paykel…). I am not [usually] good at impulse purchases unless they are under about $25 or involve the kind of bizcaz clothing that I *know* will suit me well and I want to get it before it’s sold out.

Just a minute! Somebody is yodeling on Prairie Home Companion! They are yodeling badly but I think they are *trying* to yodel badly. I think that yodeling is something I could actually *do* if I had any kind of professional-type voice training at all. Why did I not ever take voice lessons? Probably because I was already doing both flute and piano and for god only knows what stoopid adolescent reason, looked down on a bit on those choir kids. Even though my fav-o-rite Mac aunt was a professionally trained soprano and just maybe I had some of the same DNA that she had? Oh well.

Anyway, after we took our Saturday morning hike to the farmer’s market, we headed out to Lowe’s to look at dishwashers and stick a toe back into the kitchen reno waters. The GG seemed to really be draggin’ you-know-what but once inside, he rallied. We couldn’t find one single double-drawer dishwasher on display there (you have to order them), so we started walking over to the oh-yeah-we-were-gonna-replace-the-damn-doorwalls area. That had been about the furthest thing from my mind when we got there but suddenly we were trying to resurrect our records from their computer (from last May) and yadayada and maybe this is a prodject that we will actually get DONE in the not-too-distant future!

So they did not have any double-drawer dishwashers to show us but that salesman pointed us to Big George (kudos to Lowe’s for sending us to a competitor). They did have one there. I’m thinking and we’ll get there. Like I keep saying, I am one o’ those NUTS who LIKES to handwash dishes.

From there, I declared that it was Declutter Day. My front living room was looking even more ragged around the edges than usual. I still hadn’t completely dealt with the last load from the moomincabin garage, which was back in mid-October. I made great progress on that today as well as some general cleaning while the GG took a nap. Which was okay with me because 1) he NEEDED one and 2) he kinda mostly stayed outta my hair except for late in the afternoon when a football game came on and he started pacing around the Landfill, opening up the refrigimatator umpteen times, etc…

Excuse me again. We’re smelling smoke here. It doesn’t seem to be inside the Landfill. It seems to be blowing in the Chitchen window. It smells like a campfire. Did I hear sirens? Nope, guess I didn’t. Okay. At ease.

If I could have changed anything about today, I would’ve done more food prep earlier in the day. I dunno why I didn’t, I kept thinking about it. I love hanging out in the chitchen chopping up veggies, etc., but sometimes if I wait until the end of the day to start that stuff, it just seems like a chore. But I persevered and dinner is in the hopper and I am ahead of the game for tomorrow (except for the brussel sprouts). Oh, you don’t LIKE brussel sprouts? You need to experiment a bit. Saute them with some dried cherries or cranberries and some chopped up scallions and maybe some rosemary or something and maybe even a teensy bit of Besteman’s maple syrup or something.

We’ve been having a bit of an ice-clinking problem here tonight, in that the GG keeps clinking his ice cubes and I go and check and he is NOT ready for a second ‘hattan yet. I told him not to clink until he WAS ready and I twittered this: “Haven’t had an ice-clinking ghost for a while. Guess The Commander has put the ki-bosh on mooching cocktails off of mortals.”

G’night,
KW

P.S. It’s the bike (trike?) that’s cute, not the dishwasher. If you haven’t been on the Planet Ann Arbor for a while, this cute little vee-hickle was parked out in front of the People’s Food Co-op this morning. If you were to walk to the right, you would end up at the farmer’s market.

Did somebody eat my blahg?

Friday, November 15th, 2013

jake1Y’all were wishin’ fer that, weren’t’cha? Sorry. I’m still here.

I was just downtown partying away at the Oscar Tango with the GG and the Porterization crew. Looks like Shaky Jake has a new suit. Back in the day, Shaky Jake was a real person who hung out here on the streets of the Planet Ann Arbor. More years ago than I think I am strong enough to enumerate, we were in the midst of house hunting. Shaky Jake was selling merchandise out of his gee-tar case — Shaky Jake t-shirts, I brake for Jake bumper stickers, you name it. The GG had been in the market for a Shaky Jake t-shirt for months but it seemed like every time he encountered Shaky Jake, the gee-tar case was empty. Until one day he managed to snag a cheesy tank top undershirt-looking kind of thingy.

So we found the Landfill and let me just say I do not have the stomach for real estate deals. I would wake up at that bat-scope time of the night *every* night counting in thousands in my head. I will not say how much this loverly little dump cost but it was less than six digits. We had somehow managed to save enough cash that (with a wee bit of help from our parents) we were be able to put down enough money to avoid an escrow account. That was soooo exciting and we thought we were sooooo cool…

jake2Anyway, in preparation for the closing, we needed to move a significant amount of money from one bank to another. I don’t exactly remember the details and I do NOT know why we didn’t just get a cashier’s check… Anyway, it was hot the day we headed to the first bank to withdraw cash and I looked at the GG and he was wearing that cheesy undershirt-looking tank top. I said something like, “You cannot walk into a bank and cash a check for $4000 (or whatever it was) WITH A SHAKY JAKE TANK TOP ON!!! He met me halfway by putting a Hawaiian style shirt on over it. You could still see Jake but it was marginally okay and we got the money without too many strange looks from the teller. We bought the house and paid it off 13 years later and here we are all these years later with our beautiful little woods behind the back yard and the Plum Market within an easy walking distance. And still dithering and dathering about re-doing the damn chitchen!

And downtown is just a couple miles away. And so tonight, as we approached The Landfill after walking home from the Oscar Tango, our young neighbors were also arriving home. I think they get a kick out of the fact that us baggy old people walk as much as we do and they didn’t even flinch when I mentioned that UrbanP didn’t work out all that well for me tonight and that I would be taking a shower and doing a load of laundry. We walked a bit of a different route home tonight and the only woods I encountered was right next to Dexter and I had to walk a few feet down a steep hill and there were vee-hickles going by and I kept thinking about the time Radical Betty peed on the side of the road in England and a bus stopped but she couldn’t stop. Anyway, between laughing about that and general klutziness, I wasn’t totally, uh, dry at the end of that escapade. But that’s what washing musheens (and showers) are for, don’t’cha know.

I’m sure I have embarrassed any number of family members by now but I don’t really care because [sing it] it’s my blahg and I will write what I want to. If you don’t wanna read my blather, don’t read it.

Love y’all and g’night,
KW

Roly Poly Pell Mell

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

I dunno if I am finally ready for renovating the Landfill Chitchen or not but I’m starting to feel as though if I don’t, someday the beach urchins will be selling a place with a chitchen with I-am-not-strong-enough-to-say-how-old cabinets but we bought the Landfill in 1984 and they grew up with this place. I know… I rambled on about this a few years ago. And then I kind of abruptly stopped. I must’ve had a premonition (I do get those) that I was about to embark on [another] series of journeys north, bouncing back and forth, hauling a sleeping bag around and living out of a duffel bag. This journey was infinitely more difficult than the ones I made in earlier years, in part because I was The Comm’s only living relative but also because I was trying to hold on to a wonderful full-time career. I am eternally grateful for my company and co-workers for putting up with me during the times I wasn’t really pulling my weight. Anyway…

I once thought that when I renovated The Landfill Chitchen, I would want white everywhere and granite counters and stuff. I will always admire granite but I’m not sure that’s what I want any more. I don’t think it fits me any more (maybe I have changed?) and I don’t think it fits my stoopid little 1959 subdivision house. I’m not sure exactly what I do want but I am thinking it will have *cabin* influences. Like here is the moomincabin chitchen:

moomincabinkitchen

Yes it is messy. It gets that way when a lot of people are around. The Commander loved it like that. Or at least she put up with it because she always loved having family around. In-laws, kids, grandchildren, nieces / nephews, friends, you name it. The more the merrier. Below is The Comm making a pie.

thecomm

I wish I had a better photooo of the Old Cabin kitchen than I do. But here is the one (again) of all of us (except The Beautiful Jan) eating dinner. This is a terrible pic of all of us. I’m the one with the glasses looking like I’m about to stab UKW! Yeesh. Does anyone out there have any other photos of the Old Cabin kitchen?

feeding

I hope that Uber Kayak Woman doesn’t mind if I post a photooo of her chitchen because when we arrived at her house on Lopez Island last September, in a way, I felt like I had arrived at my own [dream] kitchen.

ukwkitchen

Not sure where I’m going from here. A cabin kitchen or even UKW’s gorgeous kitchen wouldn’t exactly work in my house. But maybe I can incorporate some elements of those kitchens? Maybe…

Earned my battle axe today!

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

I’m (annoyingly) high energy on most days, not that I always channel that energy in positive, productive ways but that’ll keep for some other day [or not…] Today?

First, a serendipitous little concidence. This morning it was something like 17 degrees (F) when I took my walk. But totally dry. Since I don’t have a decent pair of boots (ordered them after yesterday’s walk though), I wore my little purple Keen sandals over a pair of tights and Smartwool socks. I was perfectly warm. I thought that red would match my winter walking wardrobe better than purple, so I searched around for a nice RED pair of those same Keens. And found one, except they didn’t have my size. Not 10 minutes after that, one of my cuzzints sent me an email (totally out of the blue) with a link to that exact sandal on Amazon (which I hadn’t thought of) and they had my size in red!!! So I ordered a pair right then and there from my phone. Thanks cuzz and I do not know what we all ever did without the internet.

I was at work and somehow in one of the feet-up moments that come with my job, I drifted off to think about dishwashers. I *own* a dishwasher but I have not used it in probably 15 years. Bolette and I do the Landfill dishes by hand. So what got me thinking about dishwashers? I *theeeenk* maybe it was my BFF Sam (archaeologist, not dog). Did she say something about dishwashers with drawers when she was here back in September or whenever it was? I think I like that idea. I could still hand wash the dishes with Bolette most of the time but I would have the option of doing a small load if I wanted to and if I ever have anything resembling a crowd over here for dinner again, it would come in handy.

My mind then riffed off on to the Rooooomba 880 — h/t to Agate Gal, who posted a link on Facebook. I chews up hair! IT CHEWS UP HAIR!!! IT CHEWS UP HAIR!!! Do I want one? Oh yes, I do. And this also goes to show that not all Facebook links, etc., are annoying! There are plenty of Facebook folks who carefully curate their content. (I’m not always one of them…)

And then I drifted over to compact washing musheens. I’m thinking moomincabin here. I can no longer haul a load o’ londry into Command Central (even though the Frog Hopper can probably still open the gaaaarage door there). The new owners would prob’ly call the po-leese if they found a baggy old washer woman in their utility room. I *certainly* know how to use a londry-mat (as the beach urchins well know) but now that I can’t get to the moomincabin for more than about a week at a time, I try to avoid that option. Radical Betty’s washer is really no longer available. Which is okay because it is what it is… At any rate, the ability to do an occasional small load of laundry *at* the moomincabin might come in handy. More research is needed here.

So now there are four significant material things that I lust for. You only counted three? The fourtherous, of courserous, dundundundaaaahhh!!! The iPhone 5S!!! What were you thinking?

Do I actually have a Chreeeeestmas leeest for once? Not exactly. There is no way I am gunna ask Sandy Claws for all of those things at once. I’ll take the iPhone 5S and we’ll think about the rest. Well, maybe the damn dishwasher. We’ll see. Bolette, you can still help me do dishes. I’ll let you play with suds in the percolator as long as you want and I’ll even let you wipe the suds off the dishes without rinsing them. Love, Little KW.

Battle Axe? I got an award over at Cubeland today! I got the Battle Axe award. Way back in June or whenever, after a more contentious meeting than we usually have over there, one where I was in the Hot Seat, I stomped into the LSCHP’s office, glowered at him like only a descendent of my old coot could do, and asked him where his battle axe was! It was all in fun and I totally forgot about the whole thing until we held our latest release party today and he surprised me with that award. Many people got awards. Some people actually got awards for, you know, *work* things…

Egregious Idling and Junk Mail

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

I engaged in egregious idling this morning for the first time this season. Say what? Well, that means that approximately 10 minutes before I left for work, I went out and faaarrrred up the Ninja, turned the heat up high and activated the front and back defroggers. When I need to engage in egregious idling, I do it just before I change into whatever bizcaz outfit I’ve managed to cobble together for the day. When I get into the Ninja to go to work, it’s nice and toasty and the windows are de-iced enough that I usually don’t have to scrape [much].

I know this is a wasteful use of gasoline. A couple years ago, our city council, in its infinite wisdom, toyed with making it illegal to engage in Egregious Idling. They weren’t only thinking about lazy people like me who hate to spend time scraping ice off of windshields. They also talked about the Lincoln Navigator Moms picking up their kids over at Forsythe and various truckers, etc. Fortunately, that idea eventually got the ki-bosh but it has recently resurfaced, repackaged as an “education campaign”. I dunno. I spend a lot of time idling at intersections EVERY day. I think that overall that idling adds up to much more than the 10 minutes of Egregious Idling that occasionally takes place in the Landfill Driveway. How else could a measly eight mile commute take a half hour?

I found myself kind of annoyed at all of the stuff posted on facebook on Veteran’s Day. I get annoyed in general with memes and re-posts, especially those that are not fact-checked, but that might be a topic for some other day. (Note: I would NEVER un-friend someone for doing that. It’s FACEBOOK, fer kee-reist!) Back to Veteran’s Day. It’s not that anyone posted anything objectionable. But here’s the thing… I enjoyed looking at real photos of real people that my fb friends knew in their lives and reading some of their stories. I grew tired of people re-posting content that somebody else created. I’m not sure where some of these memes originate or whether their creators get paid for their efforts but I have to wonder why someone would spend the small amount of time it takes to add crappy looking text to a photo (for one thing) if they were not getting paid to do it.

My dad, his brother Don, my uncle Duke, and my father-in-law served in WWII. (Duke did Viet Nam too). Just to name a few. I *am* eternally grateful to all of them for their service and I also appreciate the service of today’s soldiers. But when someone posts a random meme that someone else has created and doesn’t even make a personal comment about what it means to the poster, it feels like junk mail to me. Honestly, I would rather know what you had for lunch!

So what I am wondering now is how much all of these junk posts will help our veterans. My relatives who were in WWII came home and built really good lives for themselves. What about today’s veterans? Do they have similar opportunities? Are facebook memes going to help them?

In which we encounter Stormy Kromer at the Reedsburg Dam

Monday, November 11th, 2013

stormykromerWe raked the rest of the leaves at the Houghton Lake Group Home yesterday but I suspect that the GG might’ve wanted to do a bit more detail work today. It was not to be. It was not snowing enough to dump significant inches in the yard but the snow was persistent enough that I think he decided to bag it. He worked on fixing a stuck kayak paddle and the microwave button (knock on wood) and a few other pickety little things instead.

Our drive home today? We didn’t take either the I75 SUV Speedway or the somewhat more sedate Lansing Route (aka US127). Instead, we headed over to the Reedsburg Dam and then headed south *west* of the Lansing Route on back roads. We were flying by the seat of our pants navigating via a plethora of new and old technology: the GPS in the Frog Hopper, Google Maps on my iPhone (service in and out), a much disparaged (by Stormy Kromer) State of Michigan roadmap and the latest Michigan Gazetteer.

It was fun but in the end, we were glad to get to I96. It snowed most of the way. A weak sun beamed down on us for a while but she did not stop the snow. The roads were fine. It was light snow, temperatures were above freezing (barely) and the ground is still warm. The only ice was on the Frog Hopper’s hood, leftover from the snow we got at HL this morning.

Here is the GG’s recollection of our trip today: Longpoint Drive (on Houghton Lake), REEDSBURG DAM!!!, Merritt, Butterfield, Moddersville, Leota, Lily Lake, Lake George, Farwell, Beal City, Winn, Vestaburg, Riverdale, Elm Hall, Crystal, Hubbardston, Matherton, Pewamo, Westphalia, Eagle, Lansing, Williamston, Webberville, Stockbridge, Chelsea, Ann Arbor. Butternut is in there somewhere too. It was the cutest little barely-hanging-on-by-its-toenails type settlement in the Great Lake State but I can’t exactly remember where it fits in that whole chain of villages and little cities. I do remember that it was just north of M57 (a fast-moving state highway) and that the reduce speed sign was covered with snow and I wasn’t sure the GG saw it so I reminded nagged him to slow down.

I love that when I was backing the Frog Hopper into the Landfill Driveway, we received a text message from Lizard Breath, who was thinking about us driving in weather and wondering where we were. I also love that, as I was backing the Frog Hopper into the driveway, our loverly young next door neighbor was walking her dog and, when I waved her to go in front of us and told her that I was terrible about driving the Frog Hopper backwards even with the backup cam, she said that she admired my backup skills.