Archive for April, 2015

Back in Kansas. Or is it Oz?

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

newshoesIsn’t Oz one of the many nicknames for The Planet Ann Arbor? Or am I delirious? The Google doesn’t tell me much. Tree Town. Well, yeah, but aren’t there some other nicknames? Definitely looks more like Kansas here than Oz but that is changing rapidly.

How dooya like my new blue shoes? I wore my red Keens down to Fla (and they are still good hiking shoes (and so are my old purples)). The new blue ones are wonderful but Keens — at least for me — need a wee bit of breaking in so I left them home for the trip. Pack light… What about the tights? Purple, anyone? welovecolors.com. I’m sure I’ve posted that link before and I bet I’ll post it again. Do my colors clash? I do not care.

Anyway, the GG took this colorful pic as we were taking our reglear Sunday hike down by the river. He even posted it on facebook. He is not all that active on facebook so I was a wee bit surprised that he managed to post it without asking for help (even though he is a computer scientist by trade and can troubleshoot almost anything). What I mean though is that he can go for DAYS without even looking at facebook. This can result in a couple scenarios:

1) GG: I wonder what [insert one of many C-fam relatives here] is up to these days. KW: [insert relative] is [blah-blah-blah]. GG: How did you know that? KW: Facebook *snort*.

2) [A C-fam relative]: Bill, the HL webcam isn’t working. [crickets…]

Hey, it’s all good. Everybody uses facebook differently. As snarky as I can be when either of these scenarios happen, I am silently proud of him. [wink] Disclaimer: I love my C-fam in-laws. They are the best!

Two weeks ago today, we were in a small leaving-on-vacay faaar drill here at the Landfill. I scrambled to get outta work and when I got home, the GG drove into the driveway just as I was trying to wheel the garbage / recycle / compost carts out to the curb. Like, couldn’t you have arrived five minutes later? [Hard to drag carts out with the Lyme Lounge and two vee-hickles in the driveway]. Thanks to Mouse for hauling the empty carts back up, maybe while we were on a distillery tour in Kentucky.

A week ago today, we were staying in a Holiday Inn Express hotel in downtown Gainesville, taking our niece and her boyfriend out to dinner (but not their cat, who at that point was still a bit skittish about us (plus who would take a cat to a restaurant)) and visiting their lovely townhouse-style apartment.

Today? Butt in seat as usual. But it was a particularly good work day in some small ways that I couldn’t describe if I tried because most of you do not know anything about fixed format files (and do not want to know). Short story: I make good pictures [wink]. I did take out the carts tonight and the GG will drag them back up tomorrow since he doesn’t work on Fridays. And maybe he will even wash the *garbage* cart. It needs it!

G’night, KW

Just remember, it’s a loooonnnng drive back to Michigan

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

We were talking about doghouses in a meeting today and I piped up that the GG has a van Gogh in his doghouse so it really isn’t a punishment for him but then I divulged my retort to some snarky husband-wife comments that were uttered in a restaurant in Fla on the morning of the day we commenced our return trip to the Great White North. And yes, it was a long drive but it was fun.

The day after I made that retort, we drove from Gainesville to Chattanooga and we were king of nattering around about what to do the next day. I was kind of thinking about the Smokies. As we approached Chattanooga, the GG said, “Wanna go on a Cave Tour tomorrow?” Well, hmmm… Did I? If you know me, you know that I [usually] have to think about “new” ideas for a while, sometimes a short while, before I warm up to them. I get a wee bit nervous about caves but I was more concerned about Weather, as there was a potential for tornadoes the next day. So a part of me just wanted to get outta Dodge Chattanooga as early as possible the next day. Fortunately I made myself chill out and the weather also chilled out — down to 53 degrees, which is usually too cold to generate funnel clouds of any significance. Okay. We’ll do the cave tour.

I admit, I was nervous about the cave tour (even though it is a major tourist attraction and umpteen gazillion people go through it each year) but I overthink stuff like this. We took an elevator 1200 feet (?) down the mountain and I felt “dizzy” as we began our walk through this place. I was thinking stuff like earthquake (Nepal that day? I think?), flood (it does flood occasionally but not catastrophically), collapse, alligators and poisonous snakes, bats (there are no bats or anything other living beings down there). Didn’t matter to me that a couple of huge tour groups were ahead of us or that the other folks on our tour didn’t seem freaked out at all, including the man who had recently undergone a knee replacement. What a trouper! I didn’t let on that I was nervous at the beginning (I don’t think) and the friendly tour guides and history videos calmed my nerves considerably until wow, what a good time. I think it helped that we were in a VERY small tour group – six people as opposed to 30 or 60 or whatever. In hindsight, I wonder if that was because 1) one of our group had a knee replaced recently and couldn’t necessarily keep up in a 60-person group and 2) they threw us in that small group because we are around the same age — let’s put the baggy old people together in a small group. Whatever. It was a wonderful tour and maybe that’s one of the perks of not coloring your [white] hair.

Photos below. Some might think the colored lights are a bit overdone. I enjoyed them but then I like lots of colors. But there were plenty of areas that were lit up with a more natural light color. And how about that underground waterfall.

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You are happy that I’m not blahgging about AP classes tracking tonight…

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

sinkholeIt was almost impossible for a random person like meeeee to get a pitcher that shows the Devil’s Millhopper sinkhole in Gainesville, Fla in a way that you can see what it is. We are at the bottom of it here. You can’t see the 212 steps we climbed down to get here.

This beautiful place was a wee bit spooky, at least at first. Like, will there be alligators? Not, and not sure whether alligators can climb that far down and back up. Will a poisonous snake reach out and nip me? The visitor center listed all of the possible park fauna and several poisonous snakes were mentioned. I am not used to hiking in poisonous snake territory. We have one poisonous snake here in the Great Lake State, the Massasauga Rattler. It has a limited territory in the Great Lake State and I have never seen one. I am more scared of being sprayed by a doggamn skunk. The snakes I know and love are harmless Garter and Grass Snakes. And then there was just the idea that the ground can suddenly sink to the point where a 212 step staircase needs to be built for people to get down to where somebody’s house or whatever used to be. But it was gorgeous down there and I got my bearings and then, other people started coming down the steps. And going back up. And down. And up. Exercise for young oldsters. You go, Fla retirees (or whatever).

After that, we got a tour of the lab in which my niece is working toward her phd. I’m not going to divulge what that line of work is (and I *certainly* didn’t take pictures) except to say that there were a lot of bones and the stories about those bones are confidential to the folks who are entrusted to figure out what they are. My niece gave us a wonderful tour, carefully telling us things that were *not* confidential and explaining her lab and work in a way that I could understand it without a big whooshing noise going over my head. Both of my nieces are pursuing phds. I know that my brother would be very proud of his daughters.

Breakfast after that at a lovely Gainesville restaurant (beautiful city) and then northward to Chattanooga. I was starting to get into beam me up mode by then, not that I wanted to be. Man, that “R” word. But not yet…

This guy

Monday, April 27th, 2015

alligatorThis is the only “erderator” (18-month-old speak from more years ago than I am strong enough to count) we saw during our trip to the Sunshine State.

First a disclaimer: I am NOT an expert on alligators. From what I’ve been told they CAN show up just about anywhere in Fla but they usually stick to their preferred habitat, which is the swampier inland areas. If you are hanging out on the gulf coast, like we were, especially the built-up, populated areas, you don’t have to walk around warily watching for alligators. My s-i-l’s house is in that area and I really didn’t think about alligators at all during my walks in her beautiful neighborhood. Not even close to as much as I think about skunks when I walk in my neighborhood on the Planet Ann Arbor.

Ed and Suze told us some cautionary tales about encountering large alligators when nosing their smaller boat into some swampy areas but, generally speaking if you are a tourist staying on the gulf coast and you want to see alligators, you go to the Sarasota Jungle Gardens or drive an hour or so inland to Myakka State Park if you want to see them in the wild. We have gone to both of those places a couple of times (don’t ask me about biorhythms). I have to admit that BOTH times we went to Myakka, it was cloudy and a bit chilly (for Fla) and we did not see many gators. This was a really short trip and we didn’t have time for Myakka. There was some talk about the jungle gardens but in the end we headed north about mid-day Thursday. We were scheduled to meet up with my niece and her BF (and cat) that evening in Gainesville and I guess I figured we weren’t going to see any gators this time around and I was okay with that. You do what you do and the doggamn “R” word seems a weeeeeee bit more interesting after this trip (but just a weeeee bit, because getting back to work today was wonderful in its own way, not to mention money…).

And then. We were approaching Gainesville on a secondary highway north of Micanopy (which we drove through – slowly – but didn’t stop), and we were crossing a great big swamp (or something) that seemed to be part of Paynes Prairie Preserve and there was a big walkway at the side of the road, so we stopped. When we got to the end of the walkway, we looked down and saw the guy in the photo. Or maybe it’s female. I was happy to be up on a large and sturdy structure and wouldn’t know how to sex an alligator anyway.

By the way, although I was not nervous about meeting alligators walking around Gainesville, my niece reported that alligators have been known to use some of the University of Florida campus walkways there to get to wherever they are going. She did NOT seem to be freaked out about that. Much less freaked out than I am about skunks in my loverly Planet Ann Arbor neighborhood.

Rumbledy thump ka-whomp.

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

A little slower launch than usual even for a Sunday morning but felt good to get slowly back into routines. I’ve heard tell that various young folks are envious of some of our little routines. I think those folks need to meet My Dear Uncle Harry, a person I seem to emulate more and more as time goes by. That is not a bad thing.

So, up a bit later than usual, 6:45 or so, late enough that I took my sunnies along for my Skunk Walk. Took my half of the Birthday Twinz of Terror out to breakfast, then picked away at unpacking and laundry and grokkery shopping and food prep, etc., while the Birthday Twin of Terror lolled around on the couch. That was A-OK with me. 1) It IS his birthday after all. 2) we drove 600+ miles yesterday. 3) His lack of activity spacified me so I could power slowly through my need to put “things” back in place here at The Landfill. I love that I have found traces of Mouse here and there. There are a couple of gifts for her here too, including one from Snooty the manatee.

Anyway, The Birthday Twin mobilized himself mid-afternoon. He took a trip to the hardware store and then we headed down to the river for our regular urban hike at Barton Dam.

The rest of this post is pics of the Twinz of Terror. If you are friends with me on facebook, you have already seen them so click-away (click-away click-away Dixie Land (sorry, couldn’t help myself)). Love both of these guys (but not in the same way [wink]). Love the other twin’s wife too. I couldn’t have landed in a better family if I had tried.

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Beam. Me. Up.

Saturday, April 25th, 2015

knightshome

Yup, we’re home. This photooo was taken earlier this evening after we dumped off our stuff (to be dealt with tomorrow) and hoofed it over to our beloved neighborhood steakhouse. The one where the bartender we hardly even know yet remembered that we would prob’ly want ‘hattans while we waited for a table to open up. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.

Not that we didn’t have an absolutely wonderful time on our rocket trip to the beautiful south. Thanks? Lemme see… Rey in Knoxville. Sam and jcb in Atlanta. Cap’n Ed and The Beautiful Susie and Rose (dog) and their rescued box turtle but I fergit his name…, Brother John and Jax Junior (dog), and Snooty (manatee) in Bradenton, FL. Pengo, Corey, and Simcoe (cat) in Gainesville. And again Sam and jcb in Atlanta on the return trip but alas not in person that time. We are blessed to have so many wonderful friends and relatives.

We launched from Chattanooga this AM after a beautiful Ruby Falls cave tour. I’ll blahg about that experience another day along with some other things like the sinkhole and the alligator and other various bits and pieces that I haven’t managed to weave into an intelligible story yet, not that I am EVER capable of weaving anything into an intelligible story.

April is a perfect month for a Florida road trip. The high tourist season is over so the traffic is manageable and we encountered very little except for our trip through Atlanta at rush hour. It was hot in Florida but not unbearably so. Beautiful? I have no words.

And yet. When we got on the road after the cave tour this morning, I punched “home” in on the GPS. The estimated time that came up was 18:57. I think our VERY loose plan was to stay in a hotel one more night and arrive home tomorrow (Sunday). But… 7:00 PM? Hmmm… Assuming we actually got home at around 7 (and all bets were off on that), we could dump off our stuff and walk over to Knight’s. As opposed to trying to figure out something to do today that would place us about halfway home and THEN finding just the right kind of hotel. Not cheap enough to be seedy but not so expensive that we would waste money on a place we’d be staying in for fewer than 12 hours (hmmm… niche business anyone?). And then a decent place to eat, not just some chain restaurant along the freeway or at a mall although we are not snobs and will eat utility food if need be. Just that we tend to eat very little during the day while traveling but like something decent for the evening meal.

Anyway, I took over driving in southern Kentucky and we decided to hang loose on the issue. If we thought of something interesting to do, we would stop. If not, maybe we just might push on through to the Planet Ann Arbor. Home. Of course we did end up going all the way home. If you know us, you might guess that. It was probably a good thing. We did not encounter severe weather but I ended up driving for *hours* in heavy rain. The screenshot below shows what we went through in Ohaaaaao. Note that it was (thankfully) too cold for funnel clouds to form. 44 degrees. No. We did see lightning once.

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But, while we were eating over at Knight’s, I saw all kinds of tornado warnings in Kentucky on Twitter, some of them along our I75 route. As far as I know, nothing devastating happened but I am glad we weren’t staying somewhere down there overnight and that our drive through KY was relatively uneventful.

I did NOT fergit that Mouse celebrated a birthday yesterday. I texted her yesterday morning to tell her there was a big box for her sitting in her childhood bedroom. As big a box as it was, it wasn’t a fancy gift and she knows that we can do more shopping or whatever whenever she wants. I did fergit to blahg about her birthday. I’m not sure she cares and maybe she would actually prefer that her birthday not get broadcasted on this blatherous bunch of you-know-what. I know that I am not all that happy when people call my birthday out, although I will respond graciously.

Anyway, here is one of The Commander’s fave photooos of Mouse on a long-ago birthday. She was two and various people gave her articles of clothing for her birthday. Of course she put them all on at once. My brother and his family gave her the cute little outfit and she literally took off the clothes she was wearing to put it on, right in front of God and everybody. That’s what two-year-olds do, roight? [wink and grin] Oh, and there is a gratuitous shot of Mouse aka Speedy Water Janet Pop Mousey Mushroomears…

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Oh yeah, our actual arrival time tonight was 7:13 PM. Not all that much off the GPS’s original estimated time of 6:57, considering that we drove something like 600 miles today.

G’night, KW. Love you all.

The error shot

Friday, April 24th, 2015

atlantaGiven the tight timeline defining our little odyssey, we knew that we would have a few days of long freeway slodges. We did NOT plan on driving through Atlanta during the rush hour. Even we know better than that. But whatever, that is exactly what we ended up doing today.

I texted this phone screenshot to my Atlantan BFF today as we were slowly wending our way through the city. On the off chance that you aren’t familiar with Google maps on the iPhone, we are the blue dot in the northwest quadrant of the screen, just under the “401”. You can see Piedmont Park over to the right at about the same latitude as the blue dot and that is near Sam’s house. Of *course* Sam said COME OVER TO OUR HOUSE! And boy oh boy, did I want to right then. At least a part of me wanted to. The other half wanted to put a few more miles behind us. Our goal at that point was Chattanooga.

In the end, after some more texting and a phone call, we did continue to bite down hard on the bullet and stayed on the freeway. It took a while and *almost* more patience than my panicky personality could handle but we did eventually drive out of all that doggamn red stuff. We are now safely (?) ensconced in a hotel in Chattanooga. Would I drive through Atlanta on the freeway every day if I lived there? I would do everything I could possibly do to avoid it. Today? It was AWFUL but we only had to do it TODAY and (KNOCK ON WOOD BIGTIME — OHAAAAO, I AM LOOKING AT YOU), we have had almost zero traffic slowdowns this entire trip. I did not like some of the construction north of Tampa on the way down but that was because the pavement was awful and it rained, so there was standing water and I felt like I was hydroplaning a couple of times. The biggest problem I had on that stretch was that I wanted to go slower but it was unsafe to do that, despite the hydroplaning.

But here we are in Chattanooga and guess what? The weather forecast wants to bring us tornadoes tomorrow. Potentially, anyway. We’ll see. It sounds as though we will miss any big ugly storms if we drive north, so maybe it’s best we didn’t stop in Atlanta. I dunno. Taaaaarrred at the end of this day and feeling like we may have dodged a potential mugger downtown after dinner tonight. Toooooo friendly for my taste. Works in the carnival business and anxious to get back to work soon because he (and his girlfriend?) are currently living in a tent. Okay. Took a different direction back to the Frog Hopper than he was walking.

G’night, KW

Whirlwind

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

snootyA nephew first cousin once removed in Knoxville, friends in Atlanta, sister, brother-in-law, and brother in Bradenton, niece in Gainesville. And then there’s Snooty, our manatee friend. Click here for a better photo and click here for his history. He is 66 years old. Yes, that is older than me!

We visited Snooty in 1992 and the beach urchins fell in love with him. They had Snooty t-shirts and somebody decorated an Easter egg to look like Snooty (and got really upset when a parental unit threw it out). One of the beach urchins was involved in a mascot naming event at school and her nose got a wee bit out of joint when her table voted to call themselves the Tigers rather than the Manatees.

I don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about Snooty but for one reason or another, he blipped on to my radar screen a few weeks ago and, duh, Snooty is right on the way to Aunt Susie’s house and we can *visit* him! And so we did and were lucky enough to get there at feeding time. The GG didn’t really want to spend $38 ($19 museum entrance fee) “just” to see Snooty but I put my foot down. We have driven all the way down here and we are gonna go visit our friend and I don’t *care* what it costs.

Snooty has a new tank since we were last there and you can’t get close to him any more. Back then he would get right up in your face and you could smell his breath. I’ll leave that to your imagination. And yes, there are two manatees there. Snooty is the bigger one. The facility now rehabs rescued manatees for return to the wild. Snooty is not being rehabbed. As he has lived in captivity his entire life, he doesn’t “know” he is a manatee. He forms personal relationships with each of the individuals who care for him and expects different feeding styles from different people. The young woman feeding Snooty the day we were there said that when she began her job, she couldn’t feed him for a couple weeks because he gets so excited about new people that he won’t eat.

I texted a photooo to the beach urchins and one of them immediately replied with, “Is that who I *think* it is!!!” Friends forever.

Yeah, I know…

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

I’m pretty sure that a few folks were hoping I wouldn’t be back. You know who you are and sorry about that [wink]. Turned out that I took a [nice, hot] walk during pretty much the only blahgging time that ended up being available and never got back to it. [snort]

Yesterday I got up and took the SKI WAX out my backpack and we headed down the inland waterway for a gorgeous day of boating. Launched at the Manatee boat launch up here in Bradenton and cruised down to Sarasota and back. Saw a couple of dolphins but didn’t even try to get a photo. My nanny The GG was bugging the heck outta me about getting sunburnt. Geesh! I think I was the most bundled up person on the boat. Only my forearms were bare and I slathered them with sunscreen. I was a sun goddess in my youth but not so much now. Thanks to Cap’n Ed for the excellent piloting. Native Floridian and lifelong boater.

On the road again later today. Photos from yesterday…

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2nd verse, same as the first 

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Once again, I am kind of out of words. Not to mention a certain amount of multitasking. So a few photos. Here is the GG at the neighborhood Robinson Preserve.

  
And then in the afternoon we made a run down to Longboat Key, stopping at Coquina Beach on the way back. Here’s the beach.

 
And the parking lot.

 
Hasn’t changed much since this photo was taken more years ago than I am strong enough to count. She was showing us a seagull, by the way.

 
G’night. KW. 

Snooty or bust 

Monday, April 20th, 2015

I am dead tired & struggling with a difficult internet connection (and having interesting conversations with relatives) so I won’t tell you about visiting our old friend Snooty today. It’s too long and maybe a wee bit emo. You’ll have to make do with this beauteous pic of a gulf sunset from the Sand Bar restaurant on Anna Maria Island. G’night and stay tuned.

  

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Sunday, April 19th, 2015

A nice quiet start to the day.

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I love trips to the grokkery store when I can just kind of float along and let somebody else do the heavy brain-lifting. The Buford Farmer’s Market may be the most fascinating grokkery store I have ever been in (the Berkeley Bowl is pretty interesting too). I live in a multicultural area and can probably buy a *lot* of what was for sale back on the The Planet Ann Arbor but not all and definitely not in one place. I was entranced by these achoy sum veggies.

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The achoy sum prompted a lively discussion about vegetable production and marketing amongst an international crowd – Chinese, Bulgarian, and a few baggy old ‘muricans. We ran into the Bulgarian woman again at the checkout, where we held up the line just wee bit with our banter.

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I posted the achoy sum on Instagram and a beach urchin asked if it was sugar cane. Nope but they also had sugar cane.

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Onward to a pho lunch. My first pho actually, although I was not unfamiliar with what it was. Of course, I instagrammed it. Wouldn’t you?

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Up next? The Lenox Mall Apple Store. Yes, really, and no we were not there to buy a watch.

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How? Hanging it out a car window trying to get a picture of a street sign. What street sign? Gay Street, of course. Knoxville, Tennesee. For our beloved sister-in-law, The Beautiful Gay. We never did get a good pic and fortunately, the phone landed close enough to a parked car that nobody behind us ran over it. Thank you Rey for being such a calm driver as we were freaking out!

Fixed today to the tune of $130. Despite the fact that we live umpteen billion miles away from our friends, it seems like we often end up at the local Apple Store when we do meet up, so this was pretty traditional. (And no, it was not my iPhone, at least not this time… … …)

The Apple Store was packed today and after waiting what seemed like forever to get our own personal genius, we had another hour wait for the actual repair. Since we are NOT shoppers, *especially* not mall shoppers, JCB took us on a loverly Hotlanta parking lot tour. Waaayyy fun! Here is what’s left of the old Braves stadium. This is a must see, at least for me and my relatives, even those of us who are not sports fan[atic]s (inside joke [grin]).

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Here’s the view from another stop on our parking lot tour. This one overlooks a train yard and a CSX freight train arrived while we watched. No one dropped their iPhone over the edge and here is a photo of jcb’s video back at the Apple store. In full disclosure, today’s Atlanta tour was NOT just parking lots. I loved our tour today. I may or may not remember everything I saw. What I *will* remember is the parking lot stops.

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Throughout all of this, we were all taking photos and videos and uploading them to various internet platforms. We were interacting with each other in person and on the internet along with friends and relatives all over the country. I don’t see how this kind of technology has degraded personal communications. I think it has enhanced them. Instead of trying to make and enforce stoooopid little rules about handling rapidly changing technology, I think we should embrace it and invent how to move forward and use technology to make life better.

We’re heading further south tomorrow. I have cherished my time here in my BFF’s beautiful house in beautiful Hotlanta but I am also looking forward to seeing our more southward relatives.

G’night and love y’all! KW

The usual customary visit

Saturday, April 18th, 2015

faarplaceWhat a perfect day! After a couple hundred miles of driving, we are ensconced in the best B&B the Atlanta area has to offer tonight. If I had to live in an urban area, this would be it. When we arrived, I sorta had to backtrack a bit because I was overwhelmed by how beautiful our friends’ house is. Of course, the azaleas were in full bloom but still, a gorgeous house.

Ordered lunch from a nearby restaurant, then parked over by Piedmont Park and walked all over the park and botanical gardens for 3-1/2 hours. We saw everything except the cacti, I am told. We are easy to entertain, I think. When we visit friends, we like to see the parts of their city that they love. Walking tours are a bonus and that is what we got today as we spent almost four hours touring Piedmont Park and the Atlanta Botanical Gardens on foot. I’m still not sure exactly which tour we got. The Usual. The Customary. This was discussed but, being a newbie, I had no clue. I just followed along and loved every moment of it. Even when it rained.

Back to our own personal B&B for a snacks, whine, and a lovely beef stew and now hanging out in the living room. We are all on the Internet on our own devices but we are also managing to hold conversations. So there!

Another day here in Hotlanta tomorrow. Love this place. G’night.

Bonus blahg (if you want to call it that)

Saturday, April 18th, 2015

Maybe I have been getting spoiled but I am thinking my days of staying in El Cheepo Chain motels is drawing to a close. I can deal with having one measly bath towel although I really require one for my hair and another for, you know. I can deal with a wee bit of noise from the room next door. It was just conversation, not you-know-what and it wasn’t loud enough that I could hear the words. What I wasn’t prepared for was What On Earth Is That Noise? Oh, it is jets taking off loudly immediately over my room every five minutes. (Actually a look at Google Maps this morning tells me that they probably were NOT directly over my room but it sure sounded like it.). Uh, no thank you. I will not be able to fall asleep with those things. Trains? Trucks? I can handle those.

So, I did not sleep well at all although I must have gotten my quota of REM because I feel rested this morning. The jets, like moe-skee-toes, went to bed. After all, this is not some big international airport like Metro or O’Hare or Seatac. I rarely suffer from insomnia except for the kind where you wake up at that Batscope hour. Getting to sleep? Not a problem. Last night? Every little noise. Drip drip drip… It was the bathtub. If I had investigated, I may have noticed that the drain had closed itself when I washed my feet last night and there was an inch or two of water in the bottom of the tub. Instead I just closed the door. Then… Bzzzzzz… A benign little electronic noise started up. I finally figured out it was the mini-fridge (which we didn’t use). Still. Couldn’t sleep.

It’s okay. I will live. I am spoiled by staying at our usual hotels, Sault Ste. Siberia’s historic (and nicely refurbished) Hotel Ojibway, and the brand-new Marriott in East Lansing. You get at least two nice thick bath towels and you never hear the neighbors and nobody takes a pitcher of your driver’s license. Seems as though the jets have woken back up for the morning but we are on the landing pattern now? Much better. And the birds are singing and we are mobilizing for a much shorter day of driving. Thank you very much.

Ya git whatcha pay fer

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Yes, we are on an odyssey. Today? I dressed like any normal Planet Ann Arbor person would dress for 6:00 AM on a typical April day. By the time we got to the Woodford Reserve Distillery, my tights, smart wool socks, silk t-neck, and polartech vest were a wee bit much but I survived. (Wonderful tour and I would link to the site but it’s almost impossible to get to, due to alcohol rules maybe? Dunno but Google at your own risk.) A few pics. Fermenting.

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Funny coincidence type thing happened when I posted the next pic on facebook. A Planet Ann Arbor buddy saw it and said she had been on that tour three days earlier. Small world.

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I wanted to *walk* the little winding roads that led to the distillery so I could take some photos of that beautiful country. Horse country. Black fences like this all over the place and green green green. This half-hearted shot was about the best I got.

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Back onto the I75 SUV Speedway and on down to Knoxville, where we toured that city courtesy of my nephew first cousin once removed, who is pursuing a master’s degree in information science there. (He feels like a nephew because he is my kids’ age or thereabouts but he is my cousin’s child.) If I could do it all over again, info science would be my chosen field of study but I digress. We had barbecue at Sweet P’s Barbecue and Soul House. They were so nice. They didn’t have whine (liquor laws are not as loose here as they are in the Great Lake State), so I ordered a Sam Adams, and when I didn’t know what *kind* of Sam Adams I wanted, they graciously chose one for me. It was perfect with my food! You can’t see the river and docks and stuff outside this place. Not exactly a tiki bar but close.

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Knoxville was hopping tonight and here we are next to some Public Art in Market Square. Public Art probably does not provoke the same controversial reactions in Knoxville as it does on The Planet Ann Arbor.

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Stopped for a beer (whine for me, this place had it) here at Boyd’s Jig and Reel.

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Finally a walk down to the river. The last couple blocks took us down a hill that *almost* made me feel as dizzy as The Hill Between The Yarn Stores (in SanFran) but I managed. The trip *up* was much easier and here is the Henley Street Bridge.

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It is late and we are safely(?) ensconced in our lovely(?) hotel a few miles down the road. Stay tuned to see where we end up tomorrow.

Hit publish, KW. Typos, run-on sentences, and other word-smithing sins be damned.

Omigosh! I will not tell you about trying to navigate Knoxville’s freeways, et al, while taking a phone call from a relative back in Michigan. One who had no clue about the chaos that was going on at the other end.

Answer yer dern phone, KW

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

knightsIt started out like any other [Thursday] morning. Got up, took my walk, had a mini-breakfast, packed a lunch, didn’t do my reglear nucular chores because on Thursdays I have to get out a bit earlier than I do when I am heading to my no-clock-punching job because Thursday is [of course] coffee at Barry’s with MMCB(2) so I *don’t* usually do my chores because I have to be somewhere at 8:00, not 8/8:30/9-ish.

So, lots of fun mensch-y type gossip at Barry’s and then I schlepped over to Cubeland. I set up my work laptop and checked my phone while it was faarrin’ up aka getting its daily orders from the Mothership. Missed call and voicemail from an Unknown Number. You know what I do with calls like that, don’t you? I ignore them, mostly. Actually, I google the number before I do anything. 99% of the time, it is some damn spammer. This time? Well, it was a 989 area code and that is the same area code as Houghton Lake and a whole bunch of other places in the Great White North so I kind of wondered if it was actually *not* a scam but some real business or whatever that was actually trying to contact *me*. I mean, if it were somebody looking for a Group Home Owner, they would be calling one of the Twinz of Terror or their sibs, not me. But still.

Well guess what? The Google told me that the missed call number belonged to Central Michigan University’s public radio station, which is definitely in the 989 area code. I am a member of that station. When I canceled The Commander’s subscription after she died, I began my own “legacy” subscription as a sustaining member. CMU radio is available all over the Great White North and we listen to it frequently and love it! As a sustaining member, I pay monthly until forever (or I stop the membership). But why would they be calling me? Had my credit card expired? I didn’t think so.

So I listened to the voicemail message. “This is ‘Sandra’. You have won an iPad Air!” Uhhhhh… … … Won? What? I didn’t even know I had been in the running for winning an iPad Air. I do not usually win things, especially not things like computing musheens. Of course I called back. I was in a drawing because (as a sustaining member) I had donated prior to their current pledge drive. They will be sending me a certificate in the mail and after I sign and return that, they will send me my new musheen. “Will [insert shipping company here] be okay?” Yes it will. In fact, I will track the pkg and telecommute that day to make sure I receive it safely.

Will I actually use it? Errrr, we’ll see. [insert a whole bunch of baggage here about how I already own one of the original iPads and basically gave up on it because I don’t like to deal with more than about two devices…] To be continued…

G’night, KW

P.S. If I *had* actually answered my dern phone, I wouldda been skeptical (except that I didn’t *hear* my phone ring because it was silent and I was driving). Because I did my homework by looking up the number, I am 99.999% certain that this was not some kind of scam.

Spring Green Brown

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

I unwound this afternoon by ghosting through the schoolyard overhearing the kind of conversations between parents that I remember having back when the Beach Urchins were young. My goal was to end up in “my” woods and so I did. Love that brown color? I actually do. Won’t last long. Early spring flowers are starting to go to town and a few other things are beginning to bud. Forsythia. The Great White North will become more colorful soon.

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Remember when “my” woods looked like this back in early February? This was at the end of the second (of two) days (not contiguous) I telecommuted because of weather this winter. I think I logged six weather-related telecommuting days during the 2014 polar vortex winter and there were a number of other days when the commute was so horribilis that I wished I had worked from home. Not sure what value is added to a systems analyst’s work / life when it takes her at least twice as long to get to / from Cubeland than it usually does.

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We won’t talk about the Orange Barrel season. It officially began today for me although the impact on my commute was relatively minimal. It’ll get worse but our roads are bad and we need to fix them. I’ll be checking the traffic on Google maps before my commute and taking my usual back road routes when I need to, crossing my fingers that *those* are not snarfed.

P.S. Second pic. Snow. Blue or white? [wink]

Dedicated follower of fashion [snort]

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

tahqYes, I already posted this pic somewhere. I posted it on facebook. It was late Friday night and I was having a sorta Second Wind. I hate when I get a Second Wind late on a Friday night. I prefer to slodge up the hill after dinner, wash my feet or even take a shower if it’s hot enough (or cold enough or rainy enough or I just feel like taking a Damn Second Shower). That wasn’t *exactly* what happened last Friday night. What happened was great fun but then I got a damn Second Wind. And so I was cruising facebook and all kinds of folks were posting Sibling Pics, mostly old photooos of young folks (but not all because there were my MacMu Cuzzints Austin & Neal looking just about as baggy as I do). One of my facebook rules is that I don’t share links, especially links from questionable sources or 5 minute videos where all the action happens at 4:30 (please edit! 30 seconds is long enough). Except sometimes I do share links and sometimes I even post videos and occasionally they are longer than 30 seconds. Another of my internet rules is that I don’t participate in memes, even good ones. Except when I do. And I did last Friday night. I was bored. Deal with it.

This photooo is what I posted. Siblings (KW and The Engineer) and their moom, The Commander. I (and others) called him Jimbo back in those days. Not necessarily the nicest nickname, at least not when it was uttered by my sassy lips. Poor kid. Sorry bro’. I’ll betcha that nickname was much more welcome from Radical Betty and Duke. But hey, we were *siblings* and we had some good times too. I think we were having fun here at Tahquamenon Falls back in the day. It wasn’t all that easy to get to Tahq when I was a kid. If you drove the lake route the entire way, it took all morning to get there, at least that’s how I remember it. It was bumpy old gravel [two-track?] roads then. I have vague memories of when they built a straightened, paved road from Paradise to Tahq, at least I think that’s what I’m remembering — neatly stacked piles of lumber all over along the sides of the road. Tahq is so different nowadays with the paved roads and modern bathrooms and warning signs all over the place. And the brewery. And tourists from all over the world. I don’t know why that fascinates me so much since I have lived and worked my entire adult life amongst people from all over the world. But welcome to all of the folks who come to Tahquamenon Falls from wherever!

Don’t you love my outfit? A skirt over pants. A green fuzzy jacket with a fancy hood that I can actually sorta remember. I probably hated those boots and I’ll bet my feet were cold in them, even though it doesn’t look like it was terribly cold that day. Certainly not as cold as it was when the GG and I went up there for a gorgeous and fun weekend in February. The funny thing is that I still dress a bit lot like that. I’m a bit more careful about matching colors and patterns these days (think lots of black) but I’m not afraid to get a wee bit on the wild side, like yesterday when I went over to the QA area to pick up a printout and everyone noticed (and loved) my PURPLE tights. welovecolors.com is where it’s at! I do have a black, sparkly bomber Fargo hat with black fake fur. It is not that different from the green jacket’s hood in the photo and, if you are one of my nine reglear nucular taggers, you have seen it.

This is my blahg, not facebook, so I can break any rule I want here, so here is The Kinks with Dedicated Follower of Fashion. It may start with an ad… But Carnaby Street? So many years ago. Imagine being a teenager in a small northern outpost city and trying to emulate all the cool kids in London (or NYC or LA or SanFran or even my cuzzints in the DayTwa area). Not easy.

Stream-of-consciousness blahg in case anyone doesn’t get the concept. G’night folks!

Maybe they scammed me because I post nude pictures?

Monday, April 13th, 2015

nudeI think that this was my favorite puppet at Festifools yesterday, although I LOVED LOVED LOVED all of the little cardboard box robots from 826 Michigan but I couldn’t even begin to get a pitcher of any of those cute robot-box-kiddos from where I was standing. I did get a halfway decent photoooo of this character. Not sure why one of his legs was waaaaay more disconnected from his torso then the other leg but hey this was the Festifool parade and just about anything can (and does) happen. That’s what it’s all about.

So today, facebook friends (including my daughter) posted on my “wall” [or whatever it is] that they had received friend requests from me. If you know me, you know that I have not unfriended ANYONE on my FB friend list EVER. There are a couple of folks that I have hidden posts from but, if you are reading this boring bunch of blather, you are not one of them.

I am not all that concerned that some facebook scammer will steal my identity via this kind of scam. I am more concerned that it will harass my legitimate friends with bogus offers and Grandma Scams, etc. (Grandma, I’m in [name a foreign country] and I need money to [get outta jail, get a flight home, whatever].) Jeebus!

If you have received a facebook friend request from me recently, do not accept it. But please consider reporting it to facebook. And if you have received such a request, I would love it if you would send me a link to the fake profile so I can also report it. Here’s what Facecrooks has to say.

Also, I sure hope Apple has an upgrade to the OS upgrade I installed on my Macbook Pro yesterday because I am getting the damn spinning ball ALL THE TIME. PLUS, my laptop is getting HOT. None of this stuff was happening before that upgrade.

This is a busy busy week. G’night and love y’all!

Slap!

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

moe-skee-toe

And so begins the season.

I worked another four hours (for my paid job, I mean) today and I am very happy with the progress I made. I also made a run to put gas into the Ninja and re-supply various household stuff at Meijer and a couple of backpack trips to the Plum and there were a few other chores in there. Working from home on this particular weekend was absolutely optional by the way but it will pay off.

The GG spent a lot of time cleaning out the Frog Hopper today. Happy dance! We had a plan to walk down to the annual Festifool parade in the afternoon. I was ecstatic to receive a text from Lizard Breath that she wanted to do laundry here visit us and walk downtown to the Festifool parade with us. We did all of that and also met up with Tuck (a friend of Liz’s since middle school and we know his parents (and grandparents)) for beer / whine at the Grizzly Peak.

This Festifool puppet resonated with me somehow. Her hair is not the same color as mine but I think her attitude matches in some weird way, although I’m gonna guess she’s a wee bit more assertive than I am. But I am assertive when I need to be so don’t mess with me too much.

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