Archive for January, 2014

Remember when there were tomato plants taller than Mouse in the garden behind this arbor?

Friday, January 31st, 2014

winterarborNot the greatest photoooo but this was in the height of the latest polar vortex and it is what it is. The highs this afternoon were enough over 30 that things got really sloppy. I left work early and sloshed downtown to meet the Twinz of Terror at the Red Hawk Barrooom for dinner before the Folk Festival. They took off for that and I sloshed home.

I wore my YakTrax most of the way downtown but took them off somewhere on Washington Street and didn’t ever put them back on. Had a great conversation with a nice gentleman while walking down the hill on Washington on the homeward trip. One of those weird things where you are walking next to someone you are not *with* and you are both kind of eyeballing each other via a sideways glance and finally I just said something like, “I’m being careful because I’m watching out for black ice.” Guess what? So was he! If I’d had my YakTrax on, I would’ve asked if he wanted an arm but they were in my backpack, so I didn’t. Anyway, it wasn’t slippery and we both made it down the hill safely and I Red-Queened up the rest of Washington and then over into my neighborhood and home and I don’t know where my new boyfriend went. I didn’t look back. I made it the whole way home without YakTrax. It’s now down into the 20s so I’ll probably be wearing them again in the morning.

So, while I was at work today, a big party happened at my house. CKL got a carpenter(?) out here to drill into various wall-type places in the Landfill Chitchen to find out what was in there. So there are holes in my chitchen now. We are gonna gut the Landfill Chitchen in a couple months. I love it.

I had an epiphany about this whole thing at work today. I had already figgered the scenario of having the refrigerator in the living room and cooking on the grill. I can handle that but the idea of washing dishes in the Blue and Only Bathroom is not my fave. But then I remembered that we have the Lyme Lounge. Wahooo! We could easily park the Lyme Lounge in our driveway for the duration. It has a stove and a sink and a water supply. This could be fun!

Jetsetters on a hillbilly budget

Thursday, January 30th, 2014

kitchencolorsAaaannd… We’re off! Signed a contract today! Initial design made and picked out some of the basics. From left to right in the photoooo. Turquoise (Ocean Blue) “subway” tile backsplash, probably 3×6″ rectangles. White wood cabinets, plain, no fancy rococo or even shaker stuff for me. White sparkly quartz countertops (click and click again to embiggen). Light oak hardwood floor. More decisions will ensue of course, including how much wall to knock out. CKL and a carpenter-type person are coming out tomorrow to drill holes and look at what’s inside that wall, which was originally the back wall to the house, before the previous owners built the AAAAA-dition.

I’ve delegated the wall decision to the GG and he is deferring to me on colors, surfaces, and other aesthetic stuff. No marriage counselor needed this go-round. (Yet.)

Does it sound like I have made hasty decisions? I did not expect to choose all of that stuff today. But here’s the thing. Having CKL ask me questions served to help me sort out what I really wanted and didn’t want. I knew a long time ago that I would probably be going with wood flooring and I had the overall color scheme largely down. If you are one of my five regular readers, you are wondering something like, “What happened to the granite countertops?” After taking a break from this whole prodject for a while, I realized a couple things: 1) Granite is “too much” for my little 50s ranch-like beastie. 2) I was largely lusting after granite because it was a “fad”. I have lusted after many gorgeous granites and it is certainly a wonderful choice for many chitchens. In the end, it was too much for mine. I was skeptical when I first saw this quartz but I warmed to it quickly and I don’t think I’ll change my mind. I do like sparkly things. Up to a point, that is. I am not a “diamonds are a girl’s best friend kinda gal” [grin].

So, those are the basic materials. I will add touches of red and black and some other bits of color via accessories. Maybe I’ll even find a wee bit of wall space for one or two of my rainbow-hued Anny Hubbard prints. (If you click on Anny Hubbard and scroll down a bit (after reading about her!), I own a print of that clothesline painting! Anny is a Class A person and was a friend of The Commander.)

Alas, I think we both know that when it gets *done*, we will want to renovate the rest of the damn landfill. I think we can start by getting rid of a whole bunch more stuff, including some furniture.

Going out to celebrate at the Real Seafood. Er, actually that celebration is not really about our upcoming reno but I’m sure we’ll toast it anyway.

Kayak Woman

Stopping for a few moments of beauty in polar vortex Leon

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

suntreesOh, there’s the GG. I was working on making taco salad and the handy-dandy food-on-hand list I made in Evernote said I had black beans. It lied. Er, that would be me lying to myself [insert error aminal here]. I did indeed have a can with “black bean” in the label. Alas, it was *refried* black beans. So I texted the GG, “Would you mind picking up some black beans?” He asked for specs. I said something like, “Regular black beans, not refried, regular sized can aka 14-16 oz or whatever”. He seemed to be taking a while so I figgered he was wandering around the Plum Market picking up snack food since I don’t buy a whole heckuva lot of that. Not so much — although that wouldda been okay — but he did buy EXACTLY what I asked him to. Yaaaay!!

It’s on my mind that we are meeting with CKL tomorrow afternoon and that means we [hopefully] enter into the next phase of Operation Landfill Chichen Reno. It’ll be a while before the place gets gutted but the minimalist I am turning into is thinking about how to use up what food is here so we don’t have to store a whole lotta stuff. We will still have the refrigimatator for the duration (I think!) but I don’t want a whole lotta stuff in it.

Beauty in polar vortex Leon? I’m not even sure we in the god-forsaken Great Lake State are actually *in* polar vortex Leon. Or maybe the polar vortex and Leon are two different events. I have been kvetching about the weather here but it is truly not out of the ordinary for this part of the country. I think we are just having *winter*! Leon has been very tough on our southern neighbors and I wish them well.

That said, when I got home today, it was 16 degrees (now down to 10 though) and the sun was sinking into the horizon. I schlepped my work crap into the Landfill, sorted several days worth of mail (didn’t get delivered for two days in a row), cleaned up a mess in my lunch bag, and then… Took a short walk and got a few photooos including this one showing the light of the setting sun on the trees in the little woods behind the Landfill. One of the things I love about winter is being able to see the “bones” of the trees.

No serial killer today

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

vortextreeWait! What is that big van out there in the street behind The Commander’s glass pine tree? The one with the yellow flashing light on top? Is it a serial killer? Nooooo it is not. It is Comcast Guy, come to save the day! Something like Mighty Mouse. And guess what? He ROCKED! Replaced our crappy old squirrel-chewed, kinked up cables and even climbed up a pole in five degree above zero weather (that’s Fahrenheit, folks, but you knew that).

We have been struggling on and off for MONTHS (maybe longer) with intermittent outages. “We” are DIYers when it comes to ‘puter stuff, if at all possible. I know how to plug and unplug waaaars and things up to a point. The GG knows [most of] the lingo and gets a whole heckuva lot further into it than I do. But he finally held up a white flag and called Comcast. Multiple times, in fact. Finally. Today. Comcast sent out Comcast Guy, who actually checked our “signal” and said something like “57 upstream is absolutely unacceptable”. Who knew? Comcast Guy got to directly to work despite the blasted polar vortex. He worked here at the house and climbed a pole in the neighbors’ yard, moving his van as he changed yards so that neighbors would know that the character tromping through their yard was there on a utility mission and not looking for people to, you know, kill. He was pretty appalled about the last guy that came out here from Comcast.

Comcast Guy is a Class Act but I remain unimpressed with Comcast’s customer service and user-friendly-ness in general. The GG has spent a *lot* of time on the phone / online with Comcast (or waiting to find a human) and has been told over and over and over and over again that the signal is fine. NOT!!!

I think five degrees was our high temperature today. I think I saw eight on the Frog Hopper dash on the way home? I’m not sure. I was paying attention to the road surfaces. Ice or not? The temperature is now back down to zero. Despite that, I just snaked out the front door around the corner to put stuff into the recycle cart without putting on a hat, scarf, jacket or two, and boots. Without a hat? Nod to 16-year-old self. I was wearing “nothing on at all”. Which means I was wearing the clothing I wear in the loverly Landfill with modern natural gas central heat and a faaaarplace. I think I am acclimating. Is that a good thing?

Also, I will not be watching the state of the union speech tonight. The last (and maybe the only) time I watched it was with The Commander in her room at Freighter View. She watched the whole thing (I think). I dozed a bit by her side. I dunno what history will have to say about Obama but I know that, at some point in her life, my mother switched from routinely voting a straight Republican ticket into voting for Barack Obama. My mother was an intelligent, educated woman and not senile in any way shape or form. Republicans, take note! I am done for now. Good night. Don’t freeze when you take your recycling out.

The obligatory Landfill snow photo

Monday, January 27th, 2014

landfillYes, it is winter and this is Michigan. But there are years when I cannot get a photo like this. Our winter weather varies wildly from year to year and even within a single season. One year when Mouse was in about sixth grade, she did not have a winter jacket. We could not find one that she liked. I was fretting about being a “bad mother” until we got about halfway through the winter and I realized that she didn’t really neeeeeed a winter jacket. Why? Because it wasn’t cold. She got by with various hoodies and other layers. Eventually we had a teensy-tinesy little cold snap. It occurred during the “mid-winter” break and she went downhill skiing with some friends and I strongly encouraged forced her to wear my ski jacket. You can under-dress for x-c skiing, in fact it is advised because you are getting a lot of exercise and it can be easy to overheat. Downhill skiing is a whole different thing. (Once upon a time, I did downhill skiing. I wasn’t all that good at it but I loved it.)

This year is a whole different thing and so, this morning after I took my walk, I was shoveling snow at the Landfill and I took this loverly fuzzy little photooo. Or tried to. As I was about to hit the button, my phone proclaimed that it was out of battery and promptly shut down. I knew it was lying to me because it had been at something like 92% when I left for my walk. I also knew (from experience) that it had probably spazzed because of the cold weather. This actually posed a worse problem for me than not being able to take a picture. I couldn’t unlock the front door. We have a new touch system and if I have my phone in my pocket, all I have to do is touch the lock to unlock it. Fortunately, I had stuffed a set of keys in my other pocket and was able to open the door with the emergency key. Note to self: when it is bitterly cold out, make sure you have a physical key with you in case the virtual one craps out.

I am the Hat Police! I do not understand how people can be outside in temperatures like this (two degrees above zero at the moment) without a blasted hat! I suited up and walked over to the Plum Market in the late afternoon and I could not believe how many people were walking around without hats. Yer fav-o-rite blahgger was wearing her balaclava, which is a loverly piece of headgear except that it kind of keeps falling down over her eyes and she has to constantly adjust it so she can see. It is annoying… I’m sure all those hatless folks drove to the Plum Market and probably most of them drove out of heated garages but still. What if you drive your vee-hickle off the road into a snowbank and you have to haaaannngg around waiting for a tow truck? Please wear a hat. Nobody cares what yer damn hair looks like. Really. Or at least keep one in yer vee-hickle. Also, a shovel and a blanket and some decent boots. Oh, and a pair of YakTrax!

Shake-a shake-a shake-a… Shake-a shake-a shake-a…

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

I do not like Ice Driving. Yes, I am a yooper, albeit one who has lived in southeast troll-land since the Jurassic Age. I still don’t like Ice Driving. I do not like Ice Riding either. I am a White Knuckle Ice Rider. My knuckles were white for somewhere around three hours today as we joined all the other Weekend Warriors traveling down the I75 SUV Speedway. The GG did the driving. I sat in the passenger seat and drove my iPhone, flipping nervously between email, Twitter, Facebook, Angry Birds, the NYT xword, solitaire, the weather, and Google maps.

I drove the GG nuts with questions. Is it slippery here? Was that the wind or did we slide a little? The Frog Hopper is pretty good in bad conditions and has new tires but you can feel the wind in that vee-hickle. The road surface varied wildly and it was almost impossible to tell whether the pavement was wet, dry, dry with blowing snow, or a sheet of ice. US23 was particularly awful and got exponentially worse as we began our orbit of The Planet Ann Arbor. Maybe I should rename it Ice Road Asteroid?

Anyway, the GG paid me back bigtime for all of my skittishness. Shake-a shake-a shake-a. There was a half bottle of Blue Death in the driver’s side door pocket. It was frozen. He wanted it to thaw out so he could drink it. I don’t drink Blue Death unless I am desperately thirsty and it’s the only thing available. Anyway. It got partially thawed out and then he started shaking it to speed up the thawing process. Shake-a shake-a shake-a. Shake-a shake-a shake-a. This went on intermittently for around an hour. It was like the Chinese Water Torture. I wanted to complain but I held my tongue. I think… I may have complained once even though I knew it was futile. The GG does not get nervous about Ice Driving but I knew that he had to focus and my skittishness and passenger seat driving had already interfered with that. I tried hard to just shaddup. Not easy…

In the end, our trip home did not take all that much longer than usual. Actually it was probably faster than some of our summer trips when the traffic gets totally hosed and there are hours-long backups. Like when they close the Zilwaukee Bridge and don’t tell anybody. Google maps showed accidents and slowdowns but they did not cause backups and I finally figured out that the slowdowns were because people were actually traveling S-L-O-W-L-Y. I still felt great relief when we exited onto North Maple.

Just try to get to the Yooperland!

Saturday, January 25th, 2014

Lemme see… Woke up at 5:30, used the Water Closet, then fell back to sleep until the GG woke me at 7:00! That was not the plan. Wanted to be up and out early. At least the dream I had between Water Closet and Rude Awakening was decent (although I can’t remember it). So, a quick walk to the point and back, then Little Boots for my fave breakfast quesadilla (boxed one third of it of courserous).


Ski Ranch trails: Wild Turkey, Manitou, Adventure, and Rolling Hills. Got to the ranch before the groomers had done all the trails so a bit of trail breaking was in order. That’s okay with me. I am an old-skool X-C skier and I actually enjoy breaking trail.


This faaarrrplace (at the Ski Ranch) always reminds me of the faaarrrrplace in the Old Cabin. When us cuzzints swam on cold days, we would always stand in front of the Old Cabin faaaarrrplace afterwards to warm up. Today was a cold and blustery day and I stood in front of the Ski Ranch faaaarrrplace a good long time, warming up.


It is Tip Up Town weekend! Yaayyy! We had tentative plans to spend our usual half hour or so at TUT but we ended up wimping out because of the severe cold and strong winds. This has been the view out the Group Home front window for most of the day.


Here’s a photoooo from a TUT weekend long ago. Those are erderator (alligator) mittens in case you couldn’t tell. Oh yeah, the blueberry eyed munchkin in the middle is Lizard Breath and those are her cuzzints Don and Doug.


That day, if I remember accurately, was pretty cold but sunny and calm. This is what TUT looked like today. We drove the Frog Hopper out onto the ice but did not get out. This photo doesn’t show the intermittent white-out conditions.


The Twinz of Terror are hunkering down in front of a [bad] movie (Miss Congeniality II) and I’m watching snowmobiles go by on the lake. We’re gonna grill some brats tonight and, if we’re lucky, some 20-somethings will visit for ‘hattans. Oh yeah, apparently it is not easy to get to the yooperland this weekend. Glad I am not trying to.

“Well, I drive my snowmobile when *I’m* drunk!”

Friday, January 24th, 2014

snowmosI won’t tell the details of this old kinda-family story. It really isn’t web-able. Suffice it to say that a bunch of Fins and other assorted Beach Folk attended a township-type meeting. Or some governmental entity. (I wasn’t there. The Comm told me admist much gnoffing.) The thing they thought was gonna be a hot topic actually never came up, so one of the group *brought* it up after the agenda was finished. Bad idea? Probably. This person didn’t stop with the topic but started to rant and rave about “those snowmobilers” driving their snowmobiles while they were drunk. Another neighbor — a not always all that friendly neighbor — took that rant as his cue to get up and walk out, loudly proclaiming “Well, I drive my snowmobile when *I’m* drunk!” as his parting shot. Indeed. Both of these people are long dead and Our Northern Correspondent now owns the drunk snowmo guy’s property. An improvement in neighbors in my not-so-humble opinion.

I do not drive snowmobiles at all. I have only one memory of ever driving a snowmobile and it was not a very successful ride. Some Shermans were visiting our little old Yooper bungalow on Superior Street. In the *winter*. Why? I do not remember. But they had their son Nick with them. I didn’t know Nick as well as the Sherman boys in the other Sherman family, the one who used to park in the moomincabin trailer spot and share our outhouse with us for a couple weeks every summer. But he was kinda cute and I was between boyfriends and… I asked if he wanted to go for a snowmo ride. We actually owned a snowmobile at that time. It was The Engineer’s idea and I think he was about the only person in the family who ever rode it. My old coot never showed much of an interest. So I took Nick for a ride on that snowmobile and I don’t think anything particularly bad happened except that I had no idea how to steer the damn thing. Fortunately we didn’t take a very long trip, like maybe across the schoolyard and back. They left and went back to their home in New Jersey or wherever and I don’t think I’ve seen Nick since. Oh, not because of the snowmobile incident.

When I first started hanging around with the CFam, there were multiple snowmobiles here at the Group Home. I think the CFam had fun with those but by that time, the GG had kind of switched over to XC skiing as his preferred winter sport and that matched *my* preferred winter sport and we really didn’t ride the CFam snowmos around. Eventually the Gumper sold them (or maybe it was the Uncly Uncle?). Anyway, no more snowmos here.

It is kind of fun to see a bunch of snowmobiles in a barrrooom parking lot, like we did tonight when we went to grab dinner at the North Shore Barrrooom (where they had NO red whine tonight!!!). And it is fun to see snowmo helmets all over the place *inside* the barrrooom. When I was a kid in Sault Ste. Siberia, there were always snowmobiles all over the place in the winter and they were always parked en masse outside various barroooms. Once I was in the lavatory at the Stable down on Portage (burned down ages ago) and, in the stall next to me, a woman pulled down her snowmobile suit and the hood went into the terlet bowl. Fun times.

You guys, when I make offhand statements like, “I was between boyfriends”, etc., please know that when I was a teenager, I was just about the most awkward young woman on earth. Yes, I did have a couple of boyfriends through those years. They were good people, even Bad Boyfriend in his own way, but I was not a popular kid by any stretch of the imagination and my dance card was never anywhere near filled.

Not the best drive up to the Group Home that I’ve ever experienced but we got here and it is like a heat wave compared to the Planet Ann Arbor. It was 18 degrees last I looked.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

wintersunsetYes, The Commander’s ashes are churning at my grammar and use of the word “ain’t”.

Ongoing Comcast saga in soundbites:

— One week ago, our internet service went down.

— The GG is a trooper at trouble-shooting stuff like this but he couldn’t figure it out.

— The GG finally, reluctantly called Comcast. They said they could send someone out in a week. (A WEEK!!!!) That would be today.

— The next day, the GG fixed the internet. It was a “bad” “splitter”. I think it took him about five minutes.

— Meanwhile, Comcast tried to call me on my iPhone. They were supposed to call the GG but they called me. Probably because the service is in my name… I missed the call. When I tried to call back, I was met with a maze of menus. Since the internet was back in business at The Landfill, I hung up.

— The internet has worked swimmingly all week.

— Today, a Comcast Guy called the GG. He was parked in front of The Landfill and wanted to know what the “problem” was (i.e., why we had called for service). The GG told him he had gotten it working and then said he (Comcast Guy) could “clean up the connectors, etc.”

— The Comcast Guy did as he was told.

— Now the internet does not work. Actually, the GG got it to work for a few minutes by knocking out the TV service. But we he wants the TV to work (okay, so do I) so he forged ahead in trying to make both work and…


I am not blaming the Comcast Guy for this. I just think that the usability surrounding internet connections sucks in general. Nowadays you can use your cellphone to open your front door and set your thermostat from Timbuktu if you want to. Why can’t internet service providers make all o’ them thar hubs and waaaaars and things more user friendly? If somebody figures out how to do that, they will put Comcast out of business. I nominate jamadots to work on this. I have never had a problem with jamadots. A Yooper company…

So, what else. Nadir called the GG today! What a blast from the past. I used to work with Nadir during the last couple years of my Childhood Career. I loved working with him. I will never forget the day an HR person from CSC came out to tell us that we were going to be laid off in x months. (We weren’t but that’s a whole ‘nother story.) I was wearing my [then] beloved three-tiered wooden-beaded Fish Necklace. I think I bought it down in Fla. In the middle of her rather shaky little presentation, my necklace decided to disintegrate. Beads were rolling all over the floor and Nadir and I were scrambling on our hands and knees to collect them. HR person? A bit discombobulated. Me? Never even attempted to put that necklace back together and nowadays don’t wear jewelry very often at all, except for earrings. Anyway, Nadir was and is a Class A person.

Finally, weather? Yes, this is Michigan and it snows in the winter. Problem? People. People who drive too fast in slippery conditions. People who think that driving a 4WD vee-hickle automatically protects you from sliding on snow and ice. Guess what? 4WD is great for navigating mud and deep snow, etc. But you can’t go very fast in those conditions. Black ice doesn’t give a flying f*ck what kind of drive train (?) you have. When MMCB and I looked at Google maps on my phone as we were preparing to leave Barry Bagels this morning, the entire freeway system ringing The Planet Ann Arbor was yellow and red. I don’t usually take the freeway to work (although I often take it home). I certainly didn’t today. When I got to work, Cube Nayber reported that she almost slid off the road by just barely tapping the brakes in her normally stable minivan. Renee had watched someone on eastbound I94 do a 360, hit a guardrail, bounce off the guardrail, do another 360, hitting another car at some point, then “fly” off into the ditch. Snow / ice removal has been horrible around here the last few years and people do not seem to understand that it is important to SLOW DOWN when the roads are slippery.

I love all of my [five] readers. Please stay warm and drive slowly and cautiously.

I am sick to death of the color white so here’s some bluuuuuuue…

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014

blueAt least I am sick of looking at white out my veeeendsheeeld. Light snow all afternoon here made the evening commute a total disaster. The I94 18-wheel Clogway is normally my quickest route home. I don’t touch it in snow. I snake my way through town. I won’t even try to describe the scene (in detail) as I drove over the State Street I94 overpass. Eastbound (not my direction) is *always* hosed at the end of the day but it was infinitely worse today. Westbound? Well, people were off the road down in the damn cloverleaf entrance [that I usually take] and I saw emergency lights a little way off to the east. I eventually got home and read about a billion tweets about traffic backups and/or accidents. People go too fast when it snows and our city is *terrible* about snow / ice removal. That is all. Please slow down.

I hate when my sleep cycle doesn’t exactly coincide with the time I want to wake up. And so this morning, about a half hour before I got up, I dreamed that I was madly trying to photograph the Old Cabin Chichen with my iPhone. I mean the OLD Old Cabin Chichen from when I was a kid and us cuzzints would submarine under that big old table and fight about who got what color plate, not My Dear Uncle Harry’s beautiful reno. Those were the days. There was a lucky-shuckial stove but there was also a WOOD stove and I can remember people lifting the burners off the top of that and flames shooting out and I can remember people *successfully* baking pies in that thing. It was also zero degrees out and I was thinking that the pipes garden hose would freeze and it was snowing to beat the band and I was worried about The Commander driving us outta there… … … And then I woke up, thank you god…

Obviously I have kitchens on the brain. I wish we had more pictures of the Old Cabin kitchen as it was when I was a kid but people didn’t have iPhones back then. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I’m not sure we know yet although I am interested in opinions. My new kitchen will look nothing like the Old Cabin kitchen, as much as I loved that space. It will be quite “modern” whatever that means. But as I get more and more involved in designing my own new kitchen, I know that I will want to incorporate little bits and pieces of my roots. And that cabin is part of my roots. But I hope I don’t dream about that again tonight!

That’s a pretty interesting outfit!

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

colorsThis is what I wore into work this morning. I also had my sequined bomber hat on. And that title is what the Young Whippersnapper who was grabbing some kind of breakfast bar or whatever in the lunch room said when I arrived, after doing a double-take. Yeah, pretty funky outfit, if I do say so myself. And dooya know what? I laughed! I was rocking that outfit! Nevertheless, I changed out of those shoes and socks into my gray biz-caz Jambus when I got into my cube. Not that anyone around there cared.

I am all about color. Black black black (it goes with everything!) but also red and turquoise and sometimes green. And sparkly stuff, albeit usually in smallish doses. I am not a pastel kind of gal although I certainly admire it on other people or in nature. I’m pretty sure I overwhelmed The Commander with my exuberant use of color. She had very good taste but it was a weeeeeee bit more subtle than mine.

Yes, CKL came over today. Measuring and photographing and talking up a storm. What do you think about lighting? She *got* that I like natural light. You know, the kind that comes from Mr. Golden Sun. She got that I’m not crazy about lots of overhead light. She got that, despite the Landfill Chichen’s shortcomings, I have gotten along with it for years. I told her about some of the other chichens I know and love and showed her photooos of our beloved moomincabin chichen. My words about that are waaaaay too long and disorganized for this blahg but but I think she got it. (Six-word version: humble beginnings with lots of love.)

Color? Yes, color! KW: I am a color-driven person! (I reeeaaaally am, see photooo.) CKL: Bright colors? KW: Yes! And we talked color for a bit. And we aren’t finished yet of course but SHE GOT IT! And no, I won’t subject the GG to chartreuse countertops but there will be some color.

What else? An initial pass-through about structural and lucky-shuckial stuff. A carpenter will also come out to evaluate. She survived THE LANDFILL DUNGEON!!!! She noticed THE SCARY MANNEQUIN (and all kinds of other weird artifacts) and lived to tell about it. (The GG disposed of a [dead] specimen of mus musculus before she got here but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t’ve freaked CKL out.)

That is about all. My brain is full and I am tasked with collecting photooos on Houzz for the next week. I’ve had a Houzz profile for a while but have used the site only randomly up until now. Onward.

Let’s go! Let’s go! L-e-t-s-g-o!

Monday, January 20th, 2014

uglyI didn’t chicken out today. We have a certified Kitchen Lady coming over to the Landfill at 11:30 tomorrow morning to take her own measurements (thank you very much!) and billions of photooooos. She warned me that she would want to take pictures of what’s *in* my cabinets. I am okay with that!

I liked this person. I liked her from the moment she said she had just eaten ramen noodles and made a snarky remark about what a wondrous brunch they made. It was just the kind of thing I would have said if the only thing I had around to eat was ramen noodles and she said it in a very KW over-the-top snarky / friendly tone of voice. When I mentioned the Blue and Only Bathroom, she said, “I had the Pink and Only Bathroom”. “Had” is an operative word here but I knew that she *got* it! We weren’t exactly finishing each other’s sentences (“other’s” or “others'”? The Great Google does not provide quick / easy answers. Grammar mavens?) but we had plenty of common ground and we shared personal information but were also able to get back on track. I liked that. And she was zippy. Like me. But not in that pinhead way.

I hope I’m not just being giddy about this. I know we have a slodge ahead of us and there’ll be moments when I’ll be hanging my head in despair or more likely screaming!!! KW, grow up already. Alas, I still have those moments. As awful as they are, they are a reset for me. I almost always feel better after they are done. Onward and upward.

“It used to be over there. Now it’s over here. But it doesn’t matter.”

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

teslaWe were sitting at our fave Dee-troit restaurant Green Dot Stables today, having lunch after attending NAIAS, known to me as a child as the Detroit Auto Show. Talk turned for little bit toward a summer evening long ago when Grandroobly and The Engineer wandered through the parking lot between the moomincabin and the Old Cabin opening up the hoods on all of the vee-hickles — including the regenharms’s rental car — to inspect the engines. Sam (dog, not archaeologist) stood watch on the moomincabin deck.

When I was a child in Sault Ste. Siberia, there was an era when we made annual pilgrimages to the auto show. We stayed with Grandaddy and Bolette in their Detroit home on Mark Twain Street. The Commander and I would spend the morning shopping at the downtown Hudson’s department store, where she had worked as a buyer in her first post-college job. It was a loverly multi-storied place, fabric on the 8th floor. Or was it the 12th? I can’t remember. Elevators and escalators everywhere and revolving doors and lunch on the mezzanine. The Engineer and Grandroobly? Well of course, they were at the auto show, don’tcha know! The Comm and I would walk over to Cobo Hall after our morning at Hudson’s to meet up with them and wander around a bit. At my age then (somewhere around 10 through high school), my favorite parts of the auto show were the lovely spokesmodels in their sparkly outfits. Hey, I liked to SHOP then too!

So today we picked up my first cousin once removed from his grandparents place (my aunt and uncle) at 0-skunk-30 and drove to Daytwa and picked up our daughter Lizard Breath, who is second cousin to my first cousin once removed. Does your brain hurt yet? Don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz. (How many of you know your second cousins well enough that you *care* about each other? I do not but my kids damn well do!!!)

The GG could’ve probably spent all day at the auto show. My limit is about two hours and I was happy that our Fin G4 companions were with me on that. I am pretty dern sure I know which vee-hickle I am gonna buy next although I am not going to buy any time soon. I am more interested in the design elements surrounding the vee-hickle display. Except for the huge videos that Ford projected. When I got next to them, I experienced enough vertigo that I had to grab the table behind me just for a second.

The GG likes to inspect *everything* but he has a different kind of focus going on than Grandroobly and The Engineer had. In addition to inspecting all of the vee-hickles at the auto show, he also inspected anything to do with the building utilities. Electrical boxes and waaaaaring and whatever. I actually think this is a good trait although it can be annoying sometimes.

Anyway, it was a fun day overall and maybe I will go to the auto show again in a few years.

Five trips to the hardware store, two trips to the Plum Market, a Meijer run, and a couple trips to REI and I still don’t have a new trash receptacle in the Blue and Only Bathroom

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

Put it on your own blasted LIST, KW!


I was about to say that the GG is the only person who drove an automotive vee-hickle today but then I remembered that Iiii-ee-iii-ee-iiii made the Meijer run. Anyway, after all those hardware store trips, the GG has completed a cool little home-improvement prodject. I prob’ly shouldn’t say out loud what it is. I’m not sure about the REI trips, something about underwear. You probably do not want to know.

I’ve been working on my own little prodject today and that is most definitely a secret [wink, tee-heeee]. That was in between all the usual cleaning stuff I do on Saturdays, lots of running up and down the stairs to the Landfill Dungeon and bending over to get things and clean stuff, all the while enjoying the spry-ness of a new decade.

I cooked today! I haven’t cooked anything since about Tuesday. Or maybe I just heated up leftovers on Tuesday? I don’t consider that to be “cooking”. Oh not that I am some fancy cook or anything. I am certainly not. But we went out to eat on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and if we had not changed our plans for today, we were tentatively scheduled to eat out tonight too! It’s a long, confusing story but this year’s No Politics Day has kind of been a rolling event as it was difficult for both beach urchins to get here on the actual day (not that I expected them to). After some early celebrations on Wednesday, we had dinner with Mouse on the actual day and figured we’d take Lizard Breath out this weekend when Mouse had to work. I was kind of thinking The Quarter Bistro. But then I got an idea! (I do get those some times!) We’ll take the ongoing No Politics Day festivities down to Detroit. And Sunday would be a good day for that and there’s this auto show going on and we can go to that and go out for lunch. And so we changed our plans and then things got even more fun and exciting when the GG got a call from a relative who usually isn’t anywhere near The Planet Ann Arbor and of course we are including him in our plans for tomorrow! It’ll be so much fun! And I am cooking at home tonight!

Mirro Cooky Press? This apparatus was a part of my childhood. Every Christmas it was used to make cute little Christmas tree cookies. Going through The Commander’s stuff, we haven’t come across it. Maybe she gave it away. If she did, that’s okay. She owned it, therefore it was her prerogative to do what she pleased with it — without asking meeeee. Wherever the Mirro Cooky Press is, she apparently saved the booklet that came with it and I am happy that I have it!

It is so hard to de-acquisitionhoard. I’m glad The Comm spent so much time getting rid of things so that I didn’t have to. But of course there was still a lot of stuff and I am forever grateful to the GG for dealing with the bulk of that while I was trying to deal with my job. Still, there a few items I remember from my childhood that I wish I could find. Maybe some of these little booklets are enough. I love them whether or not I know where the cooky press is. How do I know what things my children will treasure some day when they are going through whatever stuff I haven’t pitched? I don’t. I can only do what I can do.

I wonder if The Comm’s big plant (the beach urchins know the one) will still be around…

Staying spry on No Politics Day

Friday, January 17th, 2014


It was a really really fun week but it was more chaotic than most weeks, even last week when the Polar Vortex got drunk, wandered south, and passed out on top of us (or so I’ve read and it was on the internet so it must be true roight?). So I didn’t really comment much about No Politics Day, which happened yesterday. Also known as the day on which yer fav-o-rite blahgger passed one of those blasted milestone birthdays.

It’s the day after No Politics Day now and life is a little calmer. Do I feel any different? No I do not. I dunno. I was getting rather significant numbers of gray hairs by the time I was in my upper 30s. I remember once kvetching about it to The Commander and Radical Betty. We were standing on the moomincabin deck and they absolutely cracked up and said, more or less in unison, “Dye it!” Not that they dyed their own hair besides maybe an experiment or two. And I didn’t either, unless you count that one purple streak splotch that one time. I did eventually learn that if I didn’t pull my hair back into a pony tail, more of the blonde would show and if I cut it shorter, I would look younger or better or something.

The trick here is to stay spry. Once upon a time when I was 40-something, I was sprinting across the parking lot from the beeyootyful Island Teal POC into the Saline Road Meijer. An older woman (guessing 70s) admired how “spry” I was. Say what? Spry? I’m not sure that this is true but I was thinking that the word spry was reserved for, you know, active, vigorous *old* people. Spry? I smiled and thanked her anyway. But you know what? I *still* sprint across the Saline Road Meijer parking lot. I get a *lot* of exercise (but not as much as I want to)! I have no arthur-itis or any other aches and pains. My brain works pretty dern well too. I have my moments but they are the typical KW moments of brain jumping ahead of motor skills (or vice versa), those moments I have had all of my life. Believe me, they are not related to any variety of dementia.

Anything else KW? Yes, thank you for asking. Live and let live. Don’t sweat the damn small stuff. Get rid of all that crap you’ve been saving forever. Do the xword every day (you know the one). Banish any OCD tendencies you may have into the shadows where they belong. Laugh and have fun. Laugh and have fun. Laugh and have fun. Laugh and have fun. DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU. How many times can I repeat that last sentence? Do I live it? Not always. I *am* human and therefore imperfect by definition. But I keep trying.

The culprit?

Friday, January 17th, 2014


Back up for now. I honestly do not know how people (like me) who aren’t particularly skilled at futzing around with waaaarrrrs and things manage internet outages. Comcast told the GG they could send someone out around January 23rd or something. WHAT? Service anyone? (We really don’t have another viable service provider around here.)

May today be a better day!

Hanging around

Thursday, January 16th, 2014


I do not have much to say except that this day largely sucked. Even though my family tried really hard to make it better. Knight’s was a bright spot. My loooonng, slow snow commute home sucked as does our wifi outage. I sent one email this morning and that was it for the day. Thanks anyway to all who have wished me well. I am trying…

It’s okay. I will carry on tomorrow.

Birthday birthday birthday … Birthday birthday birthday … Birthday birthday birthday.

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Oh, not mine but boy oh boy were a lot of people born on this date. I can think of three of them right off the bat. A great-niece, one of my all-time fav-o-rite cuzzints aka the Mean Old Grunchie Old Grinchie, and Our Northern Correspondent. I would’ve forgotten the first and the third if it weren’t for facebook even though it seems like ONC and I have the same conversation every year aka “oh that’s right you and the Grinchie have the same birthday”. Who am I fergittin’? HB to all!

I’m starting off the new year on the wrong foot by being a slacker. We have some actual overnight guests tonight and I abandoned my job in the mid-afternoon so I could be home when they arrived. I am also an absolutely terrible host. There is no food in the Landfill except for a bag of Scoops that I bought for the GG. At least they are not stale since I bought them over the weekend. I am also not very conversational but that’s kind of how I roll sometimes. Fortunately Mouse came over to help me entertain. I guess I need to take lessons from TBG or try to channel The Commander or Radical Betty or somebody. Those fine women would all have snacks out and be offering whine or cranberry juice and discussing pertinent topics and everybody would be laughing their butts* off. It’s a tall order for yer fav-o-rite blahgger when it comes to that particular set of skills especially when her poor little pea-brain is filled with the details of ACH files. Oh, it’s okay, I’ll liven up when we head downtown for dinner at the Jolly Pumpkin.

And maybe that is all for your daily dose of blather, all of my [five] loverly readers!

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to report that the Soo Locks closed today. That means it is officially winter in the rugged outpost of Sault Ste. Siberia.

*Hey, a recent NYT xword had the clue “Not cover one’s butt?”. Answer? “Go commando”. Not sure how that one slipped through the breakfast test.

Poop Deck Paul

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Once when I was first getting to know the GG he started talking about being on a TV show called Poop Deck Paul. It was a TV show on CBC over in Windsor, I think. Correct me buddy if I am wrong. I asked who in the heck is Poop Deck Paul and why were you on there? The GG said, “I shot bow and arrow.” Okay then. A lot of us who grew up here in the Great Lake State got Canadian TV when we were young. Especially me because TV 2 from Soo Ontario was the first station I remember. Howdy Doody?

I dunno what kind of bow and arrow the Twinz of Terror shot. It probably wasn’t anything like what these kids are being trained to do. BFF’s nephews are probably somewhere in that photooo. Archery these days is a lot different from back when I went to Camp Wikweia and archery was one of our three morning planned activities. The other two were swimming and arts and crafts (which I loved). For archery, we walked up to a field at the southeast end of the camp (there are probably condos there now). There were a bunch of targets set up, attached to straw bales or whatever. We picked out bows according to our skill level. I wish I could remember this better (where was my damn iPhone in those days?). I wasn’t ever any good at bow and arrow but I think Miss Betsy was the archery teacher and we all loved her so it was fun whether we were good at it or not.

I didn’t really like going to campfire girl camp all that much. I’ve written about this before. It was fun a lot of the time and I always liked singing songs on the crappy old bus to Shingleton with all my buddies but I did get homesick. Especially that one year when the Old Biddy of a camp director made me choke down one spoonful of cottage cheese and forever after (all week) referred to me as “her cottage cheese girl”. Why on earth did she not ask me why I hated cottage cheese? She might have found out that it was because my little brother shoved a blue crayon into my bowl of cottage cheese during a bout of scarlet fever when I was five. The same illness that made the wrinkles (a hallucination) screw up my moom’s periwinkle pin-tucked chiffon blouse.

Oh man, I hated that camp director. I do not think that children should EVER be forced or coerced to eat something that they don’t like. I can’t say that I didn’t ever try the coercion thing with the beach urchins but it never worked because my dern kids were too independent to let me try to coerce them to do anything. But this woman was a control freak who felt compelled to enforce ill-conceived rules.

It’s late and I am done. Did you go to camp? Did you like camp?

Dry roads today. How long can it last?

Monday, January 13th, 2014

The GG questioned my use of the word “dry” when describing the roads on my commute today. Maybe something like “not slippery” would be a better description. Such a relief not to have to white-knuckle my dinky little eight-mile commute watching as people slide off the road into snowbanks left and right. It’s only mid-January and we have more of the slippery stuff in our future, I fear.

Walking through my neighborhood at 0-skunk-30 was a whole ‘nother story. I looked at the weather on my phone before I got up and it said 40 degrees. But not, alas. My Chitchen Thermometer more accurately proclaimed 30 and that meant ice, ice, and more ice. In various forms. I minced my way through a semblance of my usual walk even with my YakTrax on. Wearing YakTrax is odd when there are big stretches of dry pavement like there were today. YakTrax are not really designed for dry pavement and I think it chews them up faster (I predict that this will be a three YakTrax winter). But when you have intermittent ice… I was seeking out any kind of crunchy looking ice-snow-type-stuff I could find, usually in the street and man I was loud! I could sometimes hear my footsteps echoing off the buildings in the area. CRUNCH! CRUNCH! CRUNCH! And there were even spots where my YakTrax slipped a bit. Glare ice, don’tcha know…

So, I was gonna post a screenshot of the Google map of the business park I work in so I could show you the serpentine drive that leads to my work and regularly puts people into snowbanks (or ponds) on slippery days. I chickened out. I’m not sure why. All kinds of people work there. It showed the roads leading to my work but I could cut off the actual address of my building and I often post my location on Facebook and Instagram. I am not generally very freaked out about people knowing where I have posted photooos from. I figure no one is interested in a baggy old kayak woman without much to show for herself. But occasionally I do kind of freak out, like today. What about y’all?