Archive for June, 2014

Things I can’t blahg about (not G-rated)

Monday, June 30th, 2014

blueWell, there is the Supreme Court decision. You know the one (I’m still parsing the other one). About all I can say is that if you TRULY want to get rid of abortion, chipping away at reproductive rights from every possible direction is not the way to go. Unless what you really want to do is shame women for living a sexually liberated lifestyle (or being raped at the age of 12 by your mother’s crackhead boyfriend (and everything in between)). I am also trying to process what “religious freedom” means in this context and whether it means the same thing as what our much-vaunted “founding fathers” thought it meant. Because I’m not sure what it means now but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean what it meant when our country was founded. Okay, that’s off my chest.

I could also go on and on about the Sudden Departure of Chancellor Grifter John Covington from the charter school “district” he was “running” in Detroit the last few years. He’s going to “take care of his mother” (my ass (sorry)). Note to @onetermnerd: when you hire a replacement for the grifter, please don’t hire someone who has already proved he is a failure at this kind of job. Here is a very polite version of JC’s tenure in Detroit. The Detroit school system may be a mess but we have to do better than this ridiculous substitute for PROFESSIONAL TEACHERS WHO ARE TREATED LIKE PROFESSIONALS! And so much more… Like what the hell is a damn chancellor? Okay, that’s off my chest.

Twitter play:
The GG: Lucyyyyyy. I’m hoooooome!
KW: It’s in the freezer.

And then he asked why I was wet. I am not really all that wet but well, because, I worked from home today and it was HOT here. Not really all that hot. It’s in the 80s but it is humid and I REFUSE to turn on the damn central air because I want to hear the birds! I might turn on the a/c when it gets to 95 or 100 or thereabouts. 80-something? Not. But still. The a/c at work is lightweight but I am not sweaty when I get home. And I am not uncomfortable today. It’s a good kind of sweaty. The one you have earned after living through the Polar Vortex. Actually, I have Gertrude’s top oven going.

Why did I work from home? I didn’t intend to. I drove over to Cubeland and booted up my laptop and things seemed to be all right at first. It turned out our internet connection was down down down and we couldn’t get to our internal server. The LSCHP arrived just as a whole bunch of folks from the *other* team we share a building with were leaving with their laptops. He was “like” “why are all these people leaving?” and so he found out and and then, when he came in, he boomed out something like, “Go work from home!” So we did. It was hot here at The Landfill. I was sweaty at the end. Of course, I also galumphed over to the Plum Market.

Good night. I love y’all even if you have different views on polly-ticks than I do.
Kayak Woman

P.S. I randomly heard about this guy on NPR today. Is he related? I dunno.

Mousetraps in the dishwasher

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

rooftopGoogle it if you dare.

So, I have been Home Alone this weekend and that is actually just what I wanted. I was spacified. I could come and go as I pleased and work on tinking away at various cleaning and flinging prodjects. Alas, the flinging is slow-going at the moment. I make eensy-weensy little bits and scraps of progress and then I either get bogged down in something or can’t figure out what to do next. Today it was my dad’s old Army Air Corps stuff. I haven’t actually looked at that stuff before. During the vortex that surrounded The Commander’s illness and death and *still* hasn’t gone away (but these things do take time and I knew that going into it), “I think I’ll go look through Jack’s old flyboy stuff” hasn’t been first and foremost in my mind. Today I decided I at least needed to see what exactly was *in* that box and so I did. I just did a quick inventory and then put it away for the time being. There may be stories in that box but I haven’t teased them out yet and not sure I will ever know them well enough to write about them.

Anyway, that box kind of stymied me for today at least but it was okay because around then a text message came in something like, “I’m going to do some shopping in Ann Arbor, want to meet me downtown?” It was the DayTwa beach urchin and yes yes yes yes! Her Momdar was in full-tilt boogie mode and she knew I would welcome some company this afternoon. I threw my umbrella into my backpack and scurried roly poly pell mell downtown, galumphing through Miller Woods and… I was getting close to West Park and the clouds off to the west looked menacing. Just then, Lizard pinged me to ask if she could pick me up because the weather looked inclement. Yes! I’ll be walking down Huron.

We had ugly looking clouds all afternoon and I was expecting pop-up thunderstorms but although I experienced a few errant drops of rain, it never did thunder and we had so much fun downtown. Clothing for Liz at Urban Outfitters (“looks like all the stuff nobody wanted from their attics” –The Commander, December 2010 [not an exact quote]). A few needful things at Downtown Home and Garden, where the two of us just *slayed* the cashiers with our schtick. I guess it was a slow day there… Light lunch on the Jolly Pumpkin rooftop (photo and yes I have been there with *both* daughters this weekend), a quick stop to visit Mouse at work and now we are at the Landfill…

…where it has been suggested that I put MOUSE TRAPS in the dishwasher. I mean mouse traps that have had DEAD MICE in them. Is anyone else grossed out by this idea?

P.S. I can’t remember how we got on to this but somehow the band Oasis came up and Lizard has her own memories of that but my memories are the days it played on repeat as I drove kids all over town in the POC. Unlike my parents, I loved my kids’ music (or most of it) and here’s Wonderwall. Miss those days…

I wonder if I’ll like Keb Mo better on Prairie Home than I did at Rackham

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

ladyslippersMy FinFam cuzzints and I always like to say that the only rule we had growing up on the moominbeach was, “WE DON’T THROW SAND!” Every kid in multiple generations of our family has experienced a grown-up (or two or five — takes some people longer to “get it” than others, I guess) expressing that rule in a vociferous manner. Why? Have you ever gotten sand in your eyes? That’s why.

Of course, it’s not true that we only had that one rule. What is true is that we had rules about things that were important, not frivolously created, overzealously enforced rules. You know the kind, rules that are made for the sake of making rules. When your dwelling is between a Great Lake and a swamp, you can’t have small children wandering off or going swimming whenever they feel like it. So you have some rules. If you want to go swimming, you ask an adult to watch you. The thing is, I don’t remember that it was *ever* a problem to get an adult to watch us swim. Not ever. I can remember The Commander sitting on the beach wearing a winter jacket watching us swim on a 50-degree windy day or whatever. The Comm and my aunts were always at the ready or a McNott mom or our friend Barb down the beach if we were playing with their kids that day. Probably my grandma when we were young. When it got to be my turn to be an adult, I spent uncountable hours down there watching G4 swim. I am the best head counter ever. I loved those days. Although there were times when I didn’t think I would ever get a Pbreak. No text messaging in those days. 4G on the beach was just a gleam in Steve Jobs’s eyes. But of course, I could also do beachP in Gitchee Gumee.

I guess there were grammar rules too. I have said in this space a few times that if you were a child of The Commander and you wanted to say the word “ain’t”, you had better be over in the schoolyard or somewhere she couldn’t hear you say it. She knew that the kids (and their parents) in our south-side Siberian neighborhood didn’t use Proper English Grammar but I’m not sure she understood that if you were a *kid* in that neighborhood, you needed to “relax” your regular grammar in order to fit in. That kind of training did not let up in the summer but I didn’t have to break the rules to fit in because all of my cuzzints were also fluent in Proper English.

And then there were the Plant Rules. This is what you can pick. This is what you can pick and *eat*. This is what you cannot pick (or eat). I write business rules for a living and the ones I just wrote only hint at the complexity of this! We could pick and eat blueberries, wintergreen berries, service berries (sugar plums), and the occasional wild strawberry. We could pick some of the more prolific wildflowers and The Comm often did. Snakeberries are blue (like blueberries) but they are poisonous and we were taught the difference early. We were taught NOT to pick certain plants like Lady Slippers (photo) or Indian Pipes. That was because they were RARE!

Oh, there were a few sneaky little rules that got instituted because parents (and grandparents) needed to catch a bit of a breather. When I was a kid, there was the whole “wait an hour after eating to go swimming”. What us kids were told was that we would get a big stomach cramp! Not true, but it gave our parents a little time to wash the dishes, etc. Then there was the 3:00 Snack, which The Comm instituted (with a big wink) when her four beloved granddaughters would clamor for food just about every single second throughout the afternoon. It actually worked pretty well.

What’s my point? Do I have a point? I do but I’m not sure how to express it. I guess the point is that our rules were delivered with love and gentle explanations for why they existed. There were and are good reasons for the rules we had and no one was ever “crucified” for breaking any of them. Mostly we followed them because we understood the reasons behind them.

Whatever you do, do NOT THROW SAND! WE DON’T DO THAT!

I did not take the photo. The GG sent me the Lady Slipper photo from somewhere around wherever he and The UU are camping with the Lyme Lounge. I think they are by the Jordan River. No Lady Slippers in the Landfill Backyard but my impatiens are absolutely gorgeous and there are birds everywhere.

P.S. No, I don’t really like Keb Mo more on Prairie Home but at least all of the time he spends walking around deciding which guitar to use for each song has been edited out.

Muskrat Love

Friday, June 27th, 2014

fleursYou’ll have to settle for this loverly flower photo because I couldn’t get the money shot today. Mouse and I were walking through West Park and there’s a Water Feature in there now and there is wildlife there, although not the 20-pound carp because they moved him over to Gallup Park where there’s a little more water. And then he ran for city council but that’s a whole ‘nother story. Tonight, as we were walking along the boardwalk, a cute little mammal came scurrying along swimming quick as a wink to his home, dragging a huge vine with him. Muskrat! Mommy, can I take him home?

We were headed to the Jolly Pumpkin for dinner, where Mouse finally succumbed to the coveted lamb burger and I got a lovely bit of trout with corn custard and pickled radish. And a CHIVE FLOWER!!! We had (have?) some in Mouse’s Garden and I posted a photo of them to facebook a while back and people came out of the woodwork to tell me they were edible and I kept meaning to go harvest a few for salads and kept forgetting (or maybe I was a wee bit nervous about the idea) and now we’re getting past the season but there was a chive flower right on top of my salad, so I ate it! Yes, peppery and good! Note to self!

So, as we waited for our food, we were hanging out on our iPhones, of course. Mouse was making a grokkery list but I was shamelessly checking facebook. And there was npJane posting about breaking into the cabin next door looking for beer and THERE WAS NO BEER! Yikes! No beer? I just about did a spit-take. Roight! Okay. npJane is at the Moominbeach opening up the Old Cabin and she doesn’t have to break in to the cabin next door because she has a key and permission to go in and take whatever food, etc., she might need, not that she needs permission because the Fin Fam has always had an open door policy of borrowing food or whatever is needed at any given moment. NOTE TO SELF! Leave some beer at the moomincabin!

Actually, in recent years, as dorm-sized refrigimatators began to materialize in the Landfill Dungeon, we have begun the practice of plugging one of those in on the front deck. We keep beer and stuff in there and if people are on the beach and want a beer, they can just grab it out of the fridge on the deck instead of rinsing off their feet to go inside and get one. (Of course, if they have to beachP, they still have to go inside unless they want to beachP in Gitchee Gumee, which is perfectly acceptable now that we don’t wear wool bathing suits.) The beer refrigimatator also makes for more space in the cabin fridge. When it’s beer I have personally bought, my policy is that *anyone* in the adjacent cabins is welcome to whatever beer is in there, whether I am around or not. That is also my policy with the jamadots wifi, which I have steadfastly refused to password-protect. If you are close enough to use the signal, you are welcome to it! Sharing. I learned that in kindergarten.

I have always hated the song Muskrat Love. I cannot think of a more insipid song, not to mention the duo who sang it, The Captain and Tenille. Say who? I cannot believe how much airtime this stoopid song got when I was a college freshman or thereabouts. Bring on the acid rock, please! Click on that link if you dare (alas, there is a frickin’ ad). (I played it here in the back of the Landfill and Mouse was appropriately disgusted.)

Oh yes! ISS Above was flashing like crazy when we got home tonight!

Babblative

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

lensflareMaybe I should rename this boring old blahg something like “Babblative”. Or how about “An Ongoing Exercise in Inanity”. Yes, it is hard to come up with every day content that is acceptable for posting on the internet. How do I do it? I am as boring as all getout! My real life is actually much a bit more exciting.

But here we are. I have nothing much to talk about. Yesterday I was kvetching about the dribs and drabs of leftover stuff in my refrigimatator and today I looked at all of those damn ziploc(k?) bags again and I cobbled together a Mother’s March on Leftovers that My Dear Uncle Harry would be proud of. And made a salad and cleaned out the top crisper, which was empty at that point. Clean me, please!

Oh, and then, the GG threw a sleeping bag up the stairs from the Landfill Dungeon and it landed on Rooooomba and Roooomba made a “happy to serve you” noise and set off to vacuum the Back Room. I’ll let her run for a while. Random vacuum cleaning.

I am done for the night. There are things I want to talk about on my blahg. Like one of today’s supreme court’s decisions. But I am not quite old enough to throw caution to the winds and wear purple (although I have always worn purple). Someday. Maybe. Some opinions are best left unsaid.

Move along, nothing to see here

Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

alienYeah. I read somewhere today that women (on average) do one hour more of household chores per day than men do. In my household, that’s probably true. I don’t care about the disparity. We aren’t counting hours and he makes it up by handling some of the stuff that I either hate or don’t know how to do. Car repairs and maintenance. I whine, “My tire light is on again,” and he goes out there and pumps up whatever ultra-sensitive performance taaar is making the fricking light go on. Rodent control. I eeeeeeek, “A scurry mouse is in the chitchen,” and he sets traps and *empties* them, even at that bat scope hour of the morning. Me? I do the laundry (over and over and over again ad nauseam). I cook and wash dishes and attempt to keep the Landfill clean and as un-cluttered as possible.

Don’t get me wrong. The GG can do all of those things (and when he is in the right mood, he does them much better than I do!) but I am a control freak in those areas and he probably wouldn’t do those things as regularly as I do. At least he isn’t like my old coot, who could make PBJ sandwiches and grill steaks and not much else. Well, he was *wonderful* at wielding a vacuum cleaner. Anyway. After his bank was acquired by a holding company and he was promoted to CEO (of his bank, not the holding company), his new employers said something like, “Jack, you have to stop with the PBJs and start eating lunch out.” That was in the days of the three martini lunch. I know that he enjoyed those lunches but I think he had been happy eating lunch in his office too. I guess he had come a long way from the days when he helped his banker father collect cows from Sugar Island but that’s another story and one I have told a few times before.

I am off on a tangent. Chores. Once when I got to work, I mentioned that I had done my skunk walk and then some chores. The LSCHP was a bit dumbfounded. I think he equated the word “chores” with milking cows and things. Not so much around here. Laundry, dishes, taking the compost out, cleaning the Blue and Only Bathroom, etc.

I walked to the Plum Market after work today. We didn’t have any food. Oh, that’s not true. We have little bits and pieces of leftovers around but nothing that I can cobble together into a reasonable leftover dinner like some of My Dear Uncle Harry’s Mother’s March On Leftovers dinners. So I bought some sea scallops and I am gonna saute them with some veggies, etc. This is the third time in four days that I have walked to the Plum for grokkeries. I love walking over there but this means that I am not in control of my chitchen or refrigimatator. Is that okay? I guess it has to be. Live in the moment, KW!

All the rage!

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

berniemevIt seems like the fashion industry has finally gotten the message that most of us want some COMFORT with our style. I saw these Bernie Mev shoes on some random blahg I landed at while surfing around for something totally unrelated. I love a lot of color and these were so much fun. And… Were they actually made out of ELASTIC? Yes, they are. The same kind of elastic that you can buy at Joann Fabrics but colorful and sparkly (of course, maybe Joann has colorful elastic nowadays — it’s been a while since I’ve been in there). I hit The Google immediately and I think I had a pair ordered within about two minutes.

I love these shoes. I think I am going to order another pair (or two or three). They are $50 or thereabouts. They are great for folks with bunions. Like me. Although my bunions NEVER bother me. They just look ugly.

I have gotten a lot of attention since buying these shoes and I have seen one other pair of them in the wild. Of all places, it was at Cubeland when I caught a BA from our sister product wearing identical shoes to mine. I didn’t catch up with her that time but I will. And my loverly S-I-L Great Gertie was out looking in malls for them today. She wants to try them on first and that’s okay. Not everyone is as brave about ordering shoes over the internet as me. But I couldn’t help her much because I do not shop at malls any more unless I absolutely have no choice (aka the Apple Store Genius Condescension Bar). I hope she found some and if she did and is reading this, I hope she posts a comment!

Bernie Mev also makes elastic shoes in less colorful versions for those who don’t like to dress like a toucan or whatever. I suspect that Radical Betty would’ve approved of these shoes but maybe not The Commander. Although The Comm might’ve liked an all black or gray version of this shoe. So, Google Bernie Mev if you are interested. The actual site requires registration (I think) but Amazon and many other vendors sell these shoes.

Oh, man. When I got home today, the GG was already home and kind of crashed on one of the couches in the Back Room. He met his high school/college girlfriend (just kidding, she was a *friend*, not a girlfriend) down in Detroit today along with Lizard Breath. LB gave them a tour of her workplace and there was lunch and then the DIA and then girl friend headed for the airport and the GG headed for the Landfill Backroom couch.

P.S. My blahg is just my own boring little ramblings. Read it or don’t. I don’t care. But I still feel obligated to say that Bernie Mev did not pay me in *any* way to post this. I love the shoes. I have paid for one pair of shoes and I will probably pay for more. I am just passing this kayak woman style “product review” on to whoever might be reading. I don’t have any relationship with Bernie Mev except that I think I will be buying more shoes!

Congratulations, you’re customer #4

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

skyscapeYou can gut The Ugliest Kitchen On Earth and replace it with a brand spanking new gorgeous custom kitchen but there is no guarantee that you will eradicate mus musculus. So, I walked in the door yesterday afternoon (toadily roto) and a fine specimen of mus musculus was scurrying across the kitchen. (Yes, it was a scurry mouse, not a puffalump mouse. There *is* a difference.)

I actually made a noise kind of like EEK! when I saw the scurry mouse. I am not afraid of mouses at all (and this one was really cute). It was more an EEK! of surprise than fear! But I do not want them in my house pooping all over everything and chewing through my kitchen radio waaarrrrs. So. Three of them throughout the night. Once I woke up to hear the GG snap the trap. And one when I got home from work. I wish it was easier for me to dispatch aminals but alas it is not and so I waited for the GG to get home and deal with it. It was underneath the trap, therefore I couldn’t really see it unless I got up close.

Watch out! MacMu Blindside coming up! National Petroleum Radio was running along in the background and somebody was reviewing a book. A book by a guy whose last name is Dybeck. I don’t know this person and I don’t know what the book is about (and I wish I could get myself back into reading books but I have been too distracted lately and that is not a good thing but it is what it is) but Mrs. Dybeck was my second childhood piano teacher. I’m sure she is dead and I don’t know if there’s a relationship there.

My history with the piano… As a young child, I never met a musical instrument I wasn’t fascinated with. I remember banging on on the pianos at my grandparents’ and aunt and uncle’s houses when I was three years old. Don’t get me wrong. I was not Mozart. I’m sure my “playing” was totally obnoxious. But I loved pianos and eventually my parents managed to buy one. I forget how old I was then but I could read words and I taught myself to read music and so I self-taught my way through book 3 and part of book 4 of the Leila Fletcher books. I had a little trouble figuring out dotted quarter notes and the like but Uber Kayak Woman (who did take lessons) set me straight on that. I doubt she remembers that but I will never forget it.

After about a year of this kind of noodling around, The Commander said, “You are going to take piano lessons.” I protested vehemently but I got signed up with Mrs. Diecke and actually piano lessons were fun because she introduced me to all kinds of interesting music that I wouldn’t ever have found on my own.

Alas, I got to be in junior high and somehow taking piano lessons wasn’t very cool any more and I wasn’t cool and so I decided to quit after 7th grade. Sometimes I wonder if Mrs. Diecke was sad that I quit but most likely she understood the trauma I was going through. Oddly enough, by that time I was an acclaimed student flute player and 8th grade was the *only* year I had a real professional flute player as a teacher but that would be a whole ‘nother story (she got me all kinds of challenging music and taught me how to flutter tongue and I loved her!).

Anyway, I quit piano lessons but I still played and then all of a sudden, I was a high school junior and I had gained at least a wee bit of self-confidence and I decided to take piano lessons again. The Deicke’s had left town by then (and my grandparents had bought their house), so I signed up with another popular piano teacher, Mrs. Dybeck. The Comm was ecstatic that I wanted to take lessons again! And I could even *drive* to my piano lessons! Mrs. Dybeck charged $1.50 a lesson. The Comm said something like, “That’s not enough money” and paid her $2.00 a lesson. I loved Mrs. Dybeck. I remember a few times awkwardly confessing that I hadn’t practiced a whole lot but I loved playing the piano so those times were not frequent and Mrs. Dybeck knew it.

I played piano in college too but my major was flute and my piano teacher was a lecherous old fart who gained my confidence and then tried to hit on me. I think he was in his 30s then but I was 20 and I thought he looked like a warty old toad. The result? I quit taking piano lessons again. This kind of lecherous behavior happens more often than you might think, at least in music departments but I thank Zeus that none of my *flute* teachers *ever* did that to me.

So, I don’t play instruments any more but getting totally entangled in all of the aspects of playing musical instruments and analyzing classical music pieces was a TOTALLY WONDERFUL preparation for an IT career as a systems analyst in the online banking biz. I couldn’t explain that if I tried but it’s true. We need to keep music and all of the other arts in the schools!

Beam me down, please

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

zones

Kee-reist. I was so damn roto when I finally landed back here on The Planet Ann Arbor. I love to drive but the drive back and forth to Houghton Lake and/or the Moomincabin can be so hard. We didn’t even have any traffic jams today. I was just taaaarrred.

Once again, I love our beautiful wooded lot on The Planet Ann Arbor. I have a hard time leaving this place whenever we go north, either to the Cfam Group Home or the Moominbeach or nowadays the Uncly Uncle’s place in Gaylord. Once I get to any of those places, I have a hard time launching back south. I know… Life is so hard, roight? You have to choose whether to spend the weekend at your beautiful home or one of your vacation places.

I don’t exactly know what else to say. Apparently, there is now a smartphone app that allows folks to send *smells* to other people. I am not all that interested in that but I really wish that we could get to the point where I could teleport back and forth to various places, not that I don’t enjoy driving because I *love* driving. But I said that already… So tired I don’t know which end is up!

G’night! KW.

Living dangerously…

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

…by posting my location on facebook. Lemme see… I posted the photo below this morning and tagged it “Courtois Cabin”. I took this photo from the second bridge over the canals. This is my turn-around point on my Houghton Lake morning Skunk Walk route.

hl1

The GG set up the Lyme Lounge in the front yard so I posted a photo of that and said it was open for business. And tagged it “Courtois Cabin”. Will we sleep out there tonight? Maybe. We’ll see.

hl2

And then we took off to get some grokkeries in the Flote Bote so I posted a photo of the Twinz of Terror and tagged it “Courtois Cabin”. I love that we can go the the grokkery store in a boat. When Mouse was in second grade, she completed a little writing assignment with “I wish I could take a boat to school” accompanied by a picture of a mouse in a canoe or rowboat or something.

hl3

After we got our grokkeries, we moseyed along the shore to this lovely orange (salmon pink?) gas station. I didn’t post this on facebook but I did post it on Instagram but I think I tagged it Houghton Lake, not Courtois Cabin.

hl4

Later this afternoon, we were hanging about at the Courtois Cabin and someone came into the yard! He asked The Beautiful Gay if this was the Courtois Cabin. The GG looked out the window and said, “That looks like Roger!” And it was indeed our North Country Trail buddy Roger. He was traveling from downstate to the yooperland. He had seen my posts on his phone and thanks to modern GPS / mapping technology, was easily able to navigate to the Courtois Cabin. Fun times! Am I afraid of this. Not really.

There was also a bit of kayaking this afternoon. A wimpy little ride down to the point and back. But guess what? This kayak woman has always struggled with the technique of getting in and out of the kayak here at Houghton Lake. There is no beach here and getting in and out of a kayak via the dock doesn’t work well for me. I can find shallow enough water to get *in* to the boat. Getting out is trickier, especially given that sometimes after being more or less immobilized for the duration of the ride, often one or the other of my legs develops a blasted Charley Horse upon getting out. I have had Charley Horses my entire life and I know how to dispatch them but the potential for one makes me leery about trying to exit a kayak in knee-deep water. But guess what? I figgered out how to use the LADDER — the one at the end of the dock — to get out of my bote today. It was easy as pie! I am so excited about this discovery! Is that a bad thing?

Shamelessly heating the outdoors

Friday, June 20th, 2014

fishflyWhat did I tell you? I am here at Houghton Lake Fish Fly City. This fish fly was found in the freezer. I do not know how long it has been in there but probably a couple weeks. There aren’t a lot of these beasties around this weekend but a couple weeks ago or so everything around here was covered in them. I wasn’t here then but I know how it goes. I think this specimen is pretty cool and not just because it’s in the freezer, har har har.

We did not eat this for dinner tonight. We’re saving it for tomorrow night! Just kidding [grin]. We went to the North Shore Bar for Friday night fish fry. I love the North Shore but it is what it is. How do I describe it? Bar food. Best fries anywhere on the lake. Tiki bar. Utility food. Red whine = Merlot (not sure if it was out of a box and don’t care). Fast, *very* friendly service. Tiki bar. Happiness. I’m writing in fragments because I’m thinking in fragments now that we are back here at the Group Home and the six of us that are here are all kind of talking at once. I am trying to ignore all of the conversation so I can write coherently but *of course* I cannot because *of course* I am getting involved in all of the conversations too. So I am not coherent but then I am usually not coherent, roight? Har har har…

Heating the outdoors? Did your mother ever yell at you for opening doors or windows when the furnace was on? Close that door! You’re heating the outside! Let me tell you that we are doing that here at the Group Home tonight. Some people were cold and some people were hot. We threw caution to the wind, turned up the heat (a little bit) and opened some strategically placed windows. None of us are rich by any stretch of the imagination but doing this for a few hours on a higgledy-piggledy Friday night will not break the bank for any of us.

This song by Heart is for Randy but it is also for me and my memories.

Girlfriend

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

raindropsI was overdue for my weekly coffee with MMCB. More or less weekly, that is. We’ve been every other week for a while recently. Lemme see… Where was she off to this time? Turkey for 10 days or so. Home for two-and-a-half days (and met me and our more occasional coffee buddy for coffee). Israel for 10 days or so. I am going to Houghton Lake Fish-fly City this weekend! I’ve stopped wondering why this globe-trotting jet-setter hangs around with the likes of a baggy old kayak woman. For whatever reason, she is one of those folks who didn’t give up on me, myself (social awkwardness), and I (reticence about making friends). We are friends.

By the way, I was talking to one of my MacMu cousins a couple weeks ago and I mentioned my typical method of making friends via “People Who Don’t Give Up On Me” and she responded with a vigorous, “Me too!”. Nice to know it’s in my DNA. Actually, I think that some of us (my cousin and I and others) don’t make friends easily because we don’t like to engage in a lot of the gossip or passive-aggressive behavior that sometimes goes with being friends. I want to have friends but I want a balance. You listen to me and I’ll listen to you. So often it can be one-sided. (Not that friends don’t gossip. Just that I only gossip with people that I trust.) My cousin doesn’t read my blahg but I love her so much.

Anyway, today I needed a GIRLFRIEND! Somebody I could *talk* to. Besides the GG, that is. Not that he isn’t a friend. He just isn’t a GIRLFRIEND! MMCB and I are Bosom Buddies, as Anne of Green Gables (who I am named after) would say. We can celebrate the good stuff without bragging, knowing oh so well that pride so often goes before a fall. We commiserate about the bad stuff. The ugly stuff? Oy! We LAUGH if at all possible. Both of us are pretty positive people when it comes down to brass tacks.

It wasn’t that I had anything in particular I wanted to *say* to MMCB today. Life is rolling along about like it always does. I just wanted to be with my coffee buddy. Any of my good friends would have sufficed, just that MMCB was here and available. She messaged me from Israel the other day to make sure our standing “date” was still on. Yes. It was. And we did meet today and it was so much fun!

Like I said, I have some other people who qualify as BFFs / Bosom Buddies. Friends (internet or otherwise), cousins, and in-laws. Love y’all.

Blacker than the ace of spades

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

rainYes, I bagged my 0-skunk-30 walk this morning! A storm rolled through before I got up but, although it looked as though things were going to settle down, my lightning app was still showing lightning “very close” to my “location”. I like having a lightning app but I also wonder if it is making me into even more of a wimp. It continues to show lightning 30 minutes after a storm has moved on and sometimes I wonder if that’s overkill. Today, it was not. Weather was showing storms to the north of us moving east or northeast. Before he left for work, the GG said, “Everything is to the north.” I thought so too but by then it was too late to walk, although I was thinking about doing a circuit through the woods (a bitsy little walk — 10 minutes at most). I was just about to mobilize for that when I looked out the front door. The sky was as black as the ace of spades and then there was thunder. Okay, I think I am done. We had another good storm this afternoon (the photoooo is from the lunch room at Cubeland). These are the kinds of storms I like. No tornadoes!

When I was a beach urchin growing up in the rugged outpost of Sault Ste. Siberia, one of my first intelligible sentences demands was “Down Boat!” Down Boat meant that my dad would drive our family down to the Soo Locks in the old black Ford something or other. My dad *always* obliged with a Down Boat trip and I still have vague memories of riding in that vee-hickle. Down Boat usually happened after dinner but we would also take picnic lunches down to the locks and (on weekends) to St. Ignace to watch the Mackinac Bridge being built. I have this weird memory of seeing the reflection of a little Dixie Cup of orange juice (my juice) in the back window. I was untethered in the back seat or wherever in those days. I could not explain the juice cup memory if I tried but I thought it looked like a Christmas tree light and I imagined red and green and, uh, blue juice in my cup. We bought a new two-toned (green and white) Ford something or other around the time The Engineer was born. There were always problems with the door handle in that vee-hickle. Or something. The Engineer would remember whatever it was in detail even though he was a baby when we bought it.

Anyway… We did Down Boat throughout my childhood and STILL do it whenever we’re in town, even though my parents are on the other side now. What is it about wanting to watch boats go by even though you’ve seen them billions of times before? As the Engineer and I began growing up, our Down Boat itinerary came to include what The Commander would always call “The Oldest House in Town”. It was a creepy old place with turrets and an overgrown yard. Was it on Barbeau Street? I’m not sure. Google is not helpful in this case. I will have to drive that street next time I’m in that town. I think the house was abandoned then. I think it has been torn down now. I can’t remember if anything has replaced it. Hopefully not a duplex or something. But we always required dad to drive us by that house and I always fantasized about who might’ve once lived there. A bit. I prob’ly fantasized more about what I would do with my bedroom if it was as big as the classrooms at my elementary school Stinkin’ Linkin’ across the street…

A disclaimer: The “Oldest House in Town” was NOT the oldest house in town (The Comm knew that). The oldest house in town is the John Johnston house.

A perfect trifecta of brain-twisting questions and 1:13 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

redtruckFirst, I’m reasonably certain that I haven’t used the word “trifecta” correctly (can anyone think of a better word for things that come in threes?). But geesh! 1) Effective dating, 2) prenoting, and 3) specified time, one after another, each one an extremely complicated little piece of functionality that a roomful of SMEs spent uncountable hours untangling during the design process. But I live in the future. I wrote the spec months ago. It takes a while for a spec to trickle down through dev and QA, therefore, by the time they come up with questions, I am a prodject or two ahead and have to dredge up the spec and peer at our hi-fidelity prototype and test out the actual application. And think… Where did I write about that? Why did I write that? What did I mean? Why didn’t I include this or that example? Or another picture or table or whatever…

I waded my way through all of that and constructed replies with carefully chosen words that everyone including those whose first language is not the same as mine could understand (i.e., I did not use the word “trifecta”) and humble statements apologizing in case my reply might increase the confusion level and inviting folks to tell me if I have misunderstood the question. So far so good. That said, I may be afraid to open my email tomorrow morning… My brain was fried at the end of the day but that’s a good thing.

(If you don’t understand any of the above, that’s a GOOD thing. You’re welcome.)

And then… The video promised to instruct me on how to remove the tough stems from kale and other “trendy” leafy greens. It was a minute and 13 seconds long and front-loaded with a 13 second ad for something I was totally uninterested in. Why on earth did I bother to click on that link? Curiosity, I guess. Has someone figured out an ingenious way to remove kale leaves from stems? Uh, not. She used a big fat knife to cut along the edges of the stem. Why bother with a knife? I just tear the leaves off with my bare hands. Nobody taught me how to do this. I just figgered it out. Is that not a “correct” way to accomplish this task? Why do I need a damn knife? Heck, when I was a kid in the Yooperland, I think iceberg lettuce was our only salad option, at least at the grokkery store. Kale? Huh?

Alas, I know that this video was produced because there are folks out there who cannot figure out how to boil water, let alone strip kale leaves from their stems. But why are we showing those folks how to do it with a BIG KNIFE? That just seems like an accident waiting to happen.

Oh man, the good, the bad, and the hilariously crazy. Last summer, I gave GrandmotherTrucker (she doesn’t use that moniker any more but it was a good one) an audio file of Grandpa Garth (her dad, my F-I-L) saying, “It’s daylight in the swamp!” We were on the Flote Bote, so it was handed over via dropbox on our phones. Suddenly (long after the fact), every time she gets a facebook notification on her phone, she hears Grandpa Garth saying, “It’s daylight in the swamp!” How? I dunno… Good times!

Carriage House

Monday, June 16th, 2014

ch3I said I would write more about our recent theatrical experience at the Carriage House Theatre on a day when I didn’t have a whole lot to talk about. What’s that? That’s every day? Yeah, I know… Anyway, when I found out that Mouse was doing yet another play so soon after the last one, I was happy, albeit a bit incredulous. My beautiful Mouse is a responsible adult and she can do as many or as few plays as she wants but she does have a responsible day job (and a garden) and it is difficult to hold down a day job and act in a theatrical production at the same time. I love going to see her when she does act. When I found out that the play was actually within walking distance from The Landfill (although we didn’t walk), I was ecstatic! A lot of plays are at the Riverside and although I love that venue, I don’t always love the trek over to Ypsilanti and back.

The Carriage House is in an outbuilding behind a house down on the Old West Side. I love venues like this. I love big venues too but I have been known to fall asleep in venues like the Lydia Mendelssohn, not to mention the Power Center, many years ago (A HORSE, A HORSE, MY KINGDOM FOR A HORSE! Okay 1) Wake up KW, 2) Ohhh, THAT’s the play that came from…) I did NOT fall asleep at the Carriage House production of Phedre. All of the action was literally a few feet away from me!

If my Mouse reads this, she will hit me with the nearest shillelagh but I was blown away by her performance as Phedre. I kept wanting to stand up and tell the audience something like, “She’s my baby, she isn’t usually like this.” Of course I didn’t do that and, after the play ended, the folks sitting next to us saw us hanging about with Mouse / Phedre and said something like, “We didn’t know Phedre was your daughter.” No. Because I don’t ever brag about the beach urchins (except maybe in this entry, bear with me please…). But they were great people and their beautiful young daughter / granddaughter was wonderful as Aricia! All of the actors were wonderful. (I sound like my mother trying to include all of her granddaughters whenever one of them did something special “Oh but they are all…”!)

I hope the Carriage House Theatre goes on forever. I think we need all varieties of theatrical venues from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre to the movies to Broadway to, I don’t even know, but serious community theatre groups like this one need our support. I won’t say anything more except that the force behind this group is a former YAG actor who has gone on to form a very cool theatrical organization. I am impressed. That is all.

Wastin’ away again in razberitaville

Sunday, June 15th, 2014

kwOne of those days that didn’t exactly go as planned… I needed to make a grokkery run out to the Jackson Road Meijer. I hate using precious weekend time going to Meijer so I wanted to go as early as possible but I got up a half hour later than I wanted to so, after my walk and breakfast and blah blah blah I was feeling off “schedule” and out of sorts (at myself), so I was in the Blue and Only Bathroom getting ready to take off to Meijer, when the GG knocked on the door and asked, “Want to go down to the river?” He wanted to kayak. My first reaction was, “No! I wanna go to Meijer!” but then almost immediately I got a grip! Of COURSE I want to go down to the river! So I grabbed my hat and sunglasses and a ziplock bag for my iPhone and off we went. Other people in various botes (mostly canoes) kept saying what a beautiful day it was and my standard reply was, “Yes! I am so glad someone talked me into coming out here!”

So then. We got home and I did go to Meijer and then I was *starving* and we didn’t have any food (yes I know that doesn’t make any sense, it’s complicated), or so I thought. I said, “I’m going over to the Plum to get something for lunch.” The GG said, “How ’bout if I grill some brats?” Brats? What brats? Leftover brats from the latest Lyme Lounge trip, of course. It’s okay all of you worry warts, they were in the freezer. Okay! We got rid of some food today — brats, buns, and a couple of almost empty containers of ketchup and mustard. I cannot tell you how accomplished that made me feel! And the food was good too! I know. It doesn’t take much.

We had a razberita (or two). I don’t think that razberitas (or even lime-a-ritas) will replace my go-to ‘hattans or cabernet but they do seem to be a theme for this summer and they do give you a bit of a buzz. The GG succumbed to a nap after two (count ’em) mid-day razberitas plus kayaking and a whole bunch of hard labor. I think he deserved that, even though he was wearing a tie-dyed t-shirt and American flag underwear.

I got to cook for more than two (or even four) tonight. It’s been a while. The menu? Eggplant parmesan, pasta with garlic scape and asiago cheese pesto and green salad.

We are chilling now and the beach urchins have gone off to help move an outhouse. I guess the apples don’t fall too far from the tree, do they? Love y’all and may the ISS always be above.

Greenwashing

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

Seems like I get a photo like this one every year. It’s a greenhouse in the Ann Arbor Open schoolyard, which I pass on my way down to the farmer’s market. I tagged it in facebook (and instagram) as “West Park” for reasons more complicated than I care to go in to right now. Let’s just call it failed political activism.

greenhouse

I walked down to the market alone today. The GG needed another sleep cycle or two. He worked his butt off Friday and gashed his head but good on the Lyme Lounge window to boot. He drove down to meet me and when I found him, he was walking around drinking our fave Roos Roast coffee out of his gun mug (Roos Roast runs a coffee booth at the market among many other things). He bought kimchee and served as my Market Assistant. This actually worked out pretty well all the way around. I didn’t have to worry about buying more stuff than I could carry and, although I enjoy the two-mile uphill trudge home, I have to admit that driving home launched us into the weekend chores a little earlier than usual, like cleaning up this loverly collection of junk in the back yard. Of all things, none of them thar Ann Arbor “liberals” (except yer fav-o-rite blahgger) bugged him about his gun mug.

shedjunk

I was hell bent to clean out the “shed” this weekend. I hate the shed in general. It’s this crappy old metal thing with “sliding” doors that don’t like to, you know, slide and I usually have to use my iPhone flashlight in there to find a snow shovel or whatever it is I’m looking for but I guess that’s not really the shed’s fault. When we bought The Landfill, the previous owner told us that kids used to climb on top of the shed and jump into the woods on their way to school. Until he caught them urbanP-ing off the roof, that is. We’ve never had that problem (that I know of) but the shed tends to collect junk (and rodents (and beeeeees, apparently)) and I wish I could say it gets completely cleaned out every year but I would be lying. In the end, I did absolutely zero percent of the work. Since the GG does not work [for money] on Fridays, yesterday he gashed his head, cleaned up the blood, took a “reading”, decided things were copacetic, then removed everything from the shed. Today, he washed a whole bunch of crapola, got rid of one (out of three) lawn mowers and some other stuff, and put everything else back in. He was like a race car (reference to my job that I won’t go in to) and I decided to stay out of his way. I am afraid to go in the shed now, since there are “carpenter bees” that must *not* be disturbed… Owls in the refrigerator, anyone?

The farmer’s market is in full swing and so I spent a goodly part of my day washing greens…

greens

Specifically, red leaf lettuce, rainbow chard, and beet greens. Also in the photo are garlic scapes (from Mouse’s Garden), a cucumber, French breakfast radishes, and tomatoes. Yes, those are homegrown tomatoes. They are from the farmer’s market, not Mouse’s garden. Yes, it is early for homegrown tomatoes in the Great Lake State. And no, they are not trucked in from Cally-forny or someplace. The farmer’s market has strict rules about the origin of the wares sold there. We have a lot of enterprising farmers around here who use hoop houses and other means(?) to extend the growing season. Not sure how the Polar Vortex affected that but those are decent tomatoes.

I wrote all of the above sitting out in the back yard this afternoon. Just before it was time to leave, a little drama unfolded. A couple of our birdhouses are currently filled with babies and there was a whole lot of chirping and the birdhouses were rocking around and the mama birds were flying in and out of them at great speed. I wasn’t paying much attention because that’s pretty much business as usual at this time of year. But then, one of the mamas flew over to the apple tree and a BIG BIRD flew in from the back of the yard. I sensed it was in attack mode and I managed to scare it away. DEAD SILENCE for about five long minutes. Finally *both* mama birds flew back to their houses in the same instant. Nature is cruel and I suspect this story may not have been at an end.

We drove down and parked on the Old West Side, walked to the Grizzly for dinner, and then walked over to the Carriage House Theatre to watch Mouse play Phedre. We encountered this along the way:

phedre

I think that’s all I will write about Phedre for now except that we greatly enjoyed the play and the venue and I always enjoy seeing bits and pieces of my wardrobe on stage, in this case some very Grecian looking earrings. But the whole experience deserves its own post, so I’ll save it for tomorrow or one of those weekdays when its obvious I don’t have a whole lot to say.

Came home to wild flashes of color in the back room, meaning that the ISS was above. All quiet now. Good night!

Ooooof…

Friday, June 13th, 2014

robiYeah, that is just about all. I am out of energy and I think it might be best if I rack it up before I get a second wind. Oscar Tango tonight and then the Mayor’s Green Fair, where we ran into a human transformer and all kinds of LED lights and a whole bunch of exhibitors who are basically preaching to the choir as far as I am concerned because I already amd am the Queen of Recycling. And Certified Kitchen Lady and her family. Are we ready to re-do the Blue and Only Bathroom yet? (Yes, it was really okay that she asked us that.) I am ready but I’m not sure the GG is. Every time I go in there and look at the crumbling floor tile and the rusty blue tub and the grout that I have been trying intermittently to clean for the last 30 years, I get really antsy. Let’s just gut this room and replace everything. Maybe we can get one of those self-cleaning terlets too (but probably not). Alas, replacing the Landfill water closet could potentially involve decamping to Weber’s Inn or wherever for a few days. Or just high-tailing it outta town… Hmmm, maybe I could telecommute from the Group Home for the duration? I do not do well with porta-potties (although I do well with outhouses, at least private ones) and I take two showers a day. Well, at least I did today. Not every day.

After walking around the Green Fair for a while, I knew that I would probably have to UrbanP on the way home and I wasn’t sure I could make all the way to my usual UrbanP spot and West Park doesn’t provide a whole lot of opportunity (although I think I have found a new, semi-secret path) so we sorta swung through the Grizzly and used the water closet down in the New Old German, then swung out a different door. It was busy and I don’t think we were noticed. Anyway, the Grizzly is one of our go-to spots and we may eat there tomorrow night.

I guess I should have titled this entry with something about toilets, eh? I am sorry. I am just slammed tonight and I know I am rambling incoherently. Go to bed, KW, you have earned your sleep today and there is plenty of stuff on tap for the weekend. Starting with the farmer’s market bright and early tomorrow morning.

G’night. KW.

Aminal control

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

animalcontrolA text message came in: “I just saw you walking to the plum!” And yes I was indeed over at the Plum. Where I forgot to buy tomatoes. How the heck did I forget tomatoes? I *always* have tomatoes around, even in the darkest depths of the Polar Vortex I had [trucked-in] tomatoes. Maybe the locally grown strawberries I didn’t have on my list but bought *anyway* trump the trucked-in heirloom tomatoes?

This brings up some moominbeach memories: finding an occasional wild strawberry or two (and I *mean* one or two) along the road. Blueberries galore (most years), sugar plums serviceberries, raspberries on the island, and wintergreen berries — minty taste. We learned early which berries we could eat and how to distinguish between blueberries and the very very blue but poisonous snakeberries (aka Clintonia). We were taught by our parents, grandparents, and older cousins and we helped teach our younger siblings and cousins in turn. Family.

The text message was from Phedre / Mouse, who stopped by the Landfill to water her gardens and change into her costume for opening night. I told her to break a leg but I am not worried about her performance and I am not going to see it tonight. Probably Saturday night. It has been a coon’s age since I have been nervous about any kind of theatrical performance by Mouse. I will guess that she doesn’t always remember every single word perfectly but she takes her craft* very seriously and, if she makes a mistake, I would not notice it. Anyway, standing on a stage remembering lines is really not what acting is all about. I should be the last to pontificate about what acting is, since I couldn’t act my way out of a paper bag if my life depended upon it, but I believe it is something like actually inhabiting a different person’s body, soul, and story. And so much more…

*Acting is only one of Mouse’s crafts. There are about a zillion others, anything related to fiber arts, gardening, and craft cooking / baking, and I fergit what else. We need scientists and the like but we also need folks like Mouse, who could easily have pursued a science career but chose a creative path instead — not that scientists are not creative! I’m off on a tangent here but I have lost my train of thought so I am going to abandon ship for now. It’s my blahg and I have made the executive decision to end this entry!

Break a leg Phedre / Mouse!

So long and thanks for all the kimchee jars

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

pigmaskGood morning, here’s a Pig Mask. This artifact was texted to me early one morning while the GG and his entourage were off road-tripping. I can only guess that Froooggy commandeered the GG’s phone and took the pic…

I got a different little wakeup call this morning as I was doing my chores, making my lunch, and removing the more ugly clutter from the Landfill Kitchen in preparation for its photo shoot today. A little plastic grokkery store container of “antipasto” obtained somewhere along the joyride was hanging out in one of the crisper drawers leaking all over hell and gone (disclaimer: I probably put it there). Just what I needed to do this morning, clean the refrigerator. What an oily mess. I threw out what was left of the “antipasto” and wouldn’t you know that was one of the things the GG rummaged for when he got home from work today.

I worked from home until the photo shoot folks came, so I could let them in, then I relocated over to the Cube Farm, so as not to get in their way. They brought their own props but I know that they also use stuff that’s around if it happens to “fit” their vision. It’ll be fun to see whether they used any of my stuff when they post the photos. We had been concerned that they wouldn’t want the Rails of Carefully Curated Clutter in the photos but the marketing director was excited about them. It does actually look like they took stuff off of them though because it isn’t *exactly* how I left it. But that’s okay. One refrigerator magnet was a casualty. It was a clay(?) Kokopelli magnet from The Comm’s house and I broke its counterpart months ago when I was packing up the kitchen. Not a good material for a refrigerator magnet and no loss. They left fresh flowers in one of The Comm’s vases. A good trade.

I had a Commander Flashback this afternoon. The GG had just walked in and somebody somewhere outside started up some sort of lawn-type implement. I couldn’t process the sound at first, either what it was or where it was coming from. A disembodied sound. Flashback to the day my mother moved into her apartment in assisted living. It was a small but gorgeous space at the front of the building looking directly out at the Soo Locks. Freighters passed by literally across the street. She liked the room well enough but I know how hard it was for her to leave her house, not to mention her automobile. Boy oh boy, did she try to fight that one!

Anyway, we were having lunch on her first day there, sitting with Mrs. B, who was one of her best friends back in the day. The GG finished with lunch and went outside to do something with the Frog Hopper. Somebody started up a blender in the kitchen (which was open to the dining room). The Comm asked me, “Is Bill making that noise?” The Commander’s mental capacity was fine but there were some I/O issues and I know she interpreted the blender noise as a disembodied sound. She had known her son-in-law long enough by that time that she knew it was pretty likely that he would be the instigator of whatever unexpected noise she heard.