Archive for June, 2015

Taking down my rainbow pride profile pic (or not)

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

carbeckold<metablahg>The not would be because I didn’t make a rainbow pride profile pic. I am *for* SSM, although I have to admit when I first encountered the acronym SSM, I was scratching my head. Sault Ste. Marie? I know via the Sault Evening News facebook page that at least one same sex marriage has been performed up there, but I couldn’t figure out why the Sault was being called out. Ohhhh. Because SSM stands for Same Sex Marriage, not Sault Ste. Marie. Get a grip, KW. Anyway. I did not rainbow-wash my profile pic. I support others for doing it! You go! It just isn’t my style, not that I have a “style” [snort]. Then again, one of my Uniforms includes a tie-dyed t-shirt so maybe I’ve already got it covered In Real Life 🐸</metablahg>

Sorry, I am sick to death of news, good or bad, it doesn’t matter. Or maybe it’s news *analysis* up the wazoo that I’m sick of. Like the internet article I skimmed just before writing this that gave guidelines for taking your rainbow pride facebook profile pic down. Jeebus. People, do what you want! It’s *your* facebook page. You can change your profile pic whenever you want. Personally, I still have pics of meeee and Sarasota Bay from Cap’n Ed’s bote from APRIL because that was a dream bote trip that I am reluctant to take down. But eventually, I will.

carbecknewHow about some new bushes? A few weeks ago, Luke of Perrynet and I bumped into each other taking the garbage/recycling/compost out to the street. He gave me that black and white photo of my house. It’s on my refrigerator now. He took it back in the 1970s when he was a teenager. His parents owned the house across the street. When we first moved into our house in 1984, he and his parents were living there and he was driving his motor-sickle. Fast-forwarding through a lot of stuff that I saw on the fringes, his dad left his mom (and then died) and his mom got very frail and Luke married Marsha and they moved mom somewhere and bought/inherited her house and had a baby and have lived there ever since. Good neighbors.

The bushes in the first pic have been bugging me for years but we never quite got around to doing something about them so you can see what they look like, hmm, 40 years later. It’s partly because we are not good gardeners but also because these ugly, dying bushes provide habitat for the birds who inhabit all of our birdhouses. During the nesting season, mooma birds flit from their birdhouses to the bushes and back. We want birds here, which is one of the reasons we don’t have a cat, even though I love cats.

So now, (second pic), we have some new bushes planted. The plan is to get the new bushes started and then destroy the old dead bushes. I hope this works out.

Rumbly thunderstorms here. I remember Grandma Frances comforting a very young Lizard Breath about taking a nap during a possible thunderstorm: “If there is a thunderstorm, Grandma will come swish!” Love…

This is not in front of my house!

Monday, June 29th, 2015

freestuffIt would be rare for me to put a teensy tinesy wee little boxette like this with a “free stuff” sign on it out on the curb. Nope. I do put stuff out there sometimes but it’s usually big enough that you can *see* it if you aren’t driving or cruising along at a full-tilt boogie walking pace. It can be embarrassing (to me anyway) when you actually witness or even encounter a person that is picking up your stuff. Like once when I put some boxes of empty binders and plastic baskets and things out there. I got back into my house and, as I was walking by the front window, the neighbor across the street was picking them up. This was fine with me but I bet we both felt a bit awkward. As it turned out, a couple months later, the neighbor’s daughter approached me and thanked me for that stuff. She was just starting out as a kindergarten teacher and took it for her classroom. I was glad to help a newly employed young teacher get started.

I don’t have much else. You do not want to know about human-readable-reports and most of you probably don’t know what an LA36 DECwriter II terminal is. My friends, the LA36 DECwriter II terminal is the musheen I was using when I taught myself how to program via the FORTRAN IV computer language. I cannot believe that we are still talking about those old terminals at my work these days. It says something about my “team” that most folks don’t have to be told what an LA36 DECwriter II terminal is.

It is a travel week and guess where we are traveling? No less than the Number 1 state in the country according to Thrillist. This was big news here in the frequently disparaged, god-forsaken Great Lake State today, oh boy oh boy. To meeeee, a lifelong Michigan resident, this makes perfect sense although I do get taaarrred of snow driving… I think they were trying to be funny ranking Florida as 50th. Our recent rocket trip to Florida only made me want to go back there. Not to retire, of course. Just to enjoy the beautiful beautiful scenery and aminals (some of them from a distance, thank you very much) and our beloved relatives down there. Still, I’ll take any ranking that puts Michigan first. It is my home and I love it here no matter the doggamn weather.

Front Loader

Sunday, June 28th, 2015

Front Loading is a new (to me) term for something I do with some frequency, that being work the weekend before a trip in order to take a day or two fewer paid vacation days. I did that this weekend, spending hours on an up-and-coming prodject in trade for a day during the 4th of July weekend. I will take three days off: one vacation day, one company holiday, and one trade day for working this weekend.

I did manage to squeeze in a whole bunch of other stuff over the weekend, including my whole regular line-up of Saturday chores and trips to *both* the Kiwanis Thrift Shop and Recycle Ann Arbor’s dropoff center. So nice to finally get those bags of bubble wrap outta the Ninja’s back seat.

And of course there was the farmer’s market. I walked down there in the rain early yesterday morning. We always buy a donut and coffee and we *usually* sit on those red seats to eat our little breakfast. Not yesterday. I’ll let you guess why. Still beautiful down there and though there were not quiiiiite as many vendors as usual, there was plenty of produce and the GG’s girlfriends were all there.


Yesterday was a pluviophile’s dream. It rained ALL day. I don’t think I will have to water anything any time soon as more rain is in the forecast. Today? Complete opposite. Warm and sunny all day. We headed down to our fave urban hiking trail at Barton Dam, where we found raspberries.


Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore North Country Trail maintenance crew needed here! (And a couple other places.)


As the late afternoon approached, I shut down my work laptop and headed out to the back yard to shell peas, my new favorite zen activity.


What did you do this weekend? I hope it was a good one! Love.

I don’t always remember the significance of this date

Saturday, June 27th, 2015

This year I realized (in bright colors) that it is the 10th anniversary of my brother’s death. I frequently call him The Engineer here. He was a mechanical engineer who parlayed a life-long love affair with automotive vee-hickles and their engines into a successful career with General Motors. I’m not going to say much about the surreal day of his death. I will say that he suffered from a chronic illness (and its associated treatment) but, although in hindsight I believe he knew he didn’t have very many more days on earth, the rest of us were a bit surprised. Here is my blahg entry on that day:

I was going to write something lame today. But life threw a goddamn curve ball and I can’t do that. Goodbye, Jim, my brother, my only sibling. That is all I can say for now. I am speechless for once. And I am peering through the fog trying to find a space of solid, dry land on which to put one foot. Siberia tomorrow, bright and early…

Early the next morning, I flew the Dogha (Dirty Old Green Honda Accord) up to the yooperland to pick up my shattered parents and taxi them down here for a funeral that we had to draaaaaag my dad into. I swam in Gitchee Gumee the afternoon I got up there to pick them up and later, back at the Dillon House, reruns of The Munsters blared on the TV as we cobbled some sort of dinner together. The Commander soldiered on into the future for another bunch of years but my old coot died nine months later. Shattered pelvis or broken heart? Both plus advanced age of course but still…

I still can’t put into words the conflicted feelings I’ve had over the last 10 years, losing my only [younger] sibling, then both my parents and my beloved aunt Radical Betty and some really ugly stuff. During that time, I re-invented myself by going back to school and embarking on a new (and successful) career. And people say 20-somethings have it hard [wink]! Always move forward, even if some days yield only the teensiest tinsiest wee bit of progress. If the proverbial Black Dog is after you, TAKE A WALK / RUN / BIKE / SKI / KAYAK / CLIMB / WHATEVER! GO OUTSIDE! Reconnect with friends and cousins and play with your fun in-laws. And BTW, Make love, not war. You WILL feel better.

I am getting on the edge of being maudlin and I am really not feeling that way after this beautiful rainy but productive day on The Planet Ann Arbor. So here are some random photos of The Engineer (and others, even yer fav-o-rite blahgger) throughout the years, not necessarily in any order.








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Honey I shrunk the erderator

Friday, June 26th, 2015

agillatorIf you travel around the Planet Ann Arbor on foot and you are moving a wee bit slower than yer fav-o-rite blahgger usually does, you will encounter various fairy doors and other little scenarios. And so tonight, as we were walking home from the Oscar Tango, we encountered this cute little reptile. Actually, I shouldn’t say “we”. It was the GG who encountered him. I was beating up the pavement big-time and walking past at great speed. Note to KW: slow down a bit.

Anyway, this scary-looking erderator was part of a larger scenario that included a cute little house and some ghosties and whatnot. Waaaay back in the day (like the 1920s), my old coot paid some buddy of his a quarter for a baby alligator. In Sault Ste. Siberia. He brought it home and his mother (aka my grandmother, Margaret Finlayson), let him keep it in the bathtub for a while, maybe a few nights? I can’t exactly ask my old coot to step into an NPR Story Corps booth to clarify the details. “So dad, tell me about that time your mom made you get rid of the alligator and how did that make you feel?” Anyway, after a short period of time, my grandma told her young son that he really needed to get rid of the alligator. So he sold it to some other friend (Basil maybe?) for a dime. Sounds like a bad deal for everybody except maybe the original kid who got the quarter. I doubt the alligator lived very long in that particular climate. The sole alligator we saw on our recent rocket trip to FLA was comfortably hunkered down in a very wet, marshy type habitat soaking up the blazing hot sun. Between Micanopy and Gainesville. Beautiful beautiful terrain but we were there in April and I know it’s insufferably hot and humid now.

I keep thinking these Planet Ann Arbor fairy doors and things are a recent phenomenon but then I remember the Fairy Cross that we passed when we walked the rocks over to Cedar Point when we were kids. I have a picture of it somewhere I think but couldn’t begin to find it right now. Always enchanting.

I am dead taaarrred tonight. Morning walk. Interesting day at work complete with lost (and found) quilt fabric in an otherwise empty cabinet, a ride in Louie-Louii’s fancy new Wrangler (and a look at the engine, no less, I hope The Engineer was looking on wherever he may be), and a hilariously loud team “meeting” in front of the bathroom doors *about* the possibility of putting cubes there. You had to be there. Oh, and I follow Margaret Finlayson on facebook these days. Margaret Finlayson Music, that is. She’s over in Scotland, which is where my Fin ancestors came from (not Finland, contrary to the conclusion people often jump to 🐗).

And a disclaimer: NPR Story Corps is often on the radio on my Friday morning commute and it frequently makes me tear up a bit, so do *not* think I am dissing it!

Brain Gremlins

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

chickenFirst of all, in the “Did You Plug It In?” department, I am happy to report that iCloud is working just fine now. How did I fix it? A Random Duh Moment, as usual. I went out the door for my 0-skunk-30 neighborhood prowl this morning and, when I tried to lock the door behind me, the Disco Lock did not respond to my touch. The Disco Lock is cool when it works but it can be persnickety. Anyway, I did a little upward swipe on my phone to get to bluetooth. I turned it off and on and tried Disco Lock again. Success! But… Hmm… The little wifi button on my phone was UNSELECTED! If my phone isn’t connected to the internet via wifi, it doesn’t upload photos to the iCloud. Wifi had been turned off since Saturday when I had some temporary connectivity issues at Houghton Lake. Tapped the wifi button and by the time I got back from my walk, all my photoooos had been uploaded, as has this looooverly raw chicken/burnt waaaar/plastic one I took this afternoon 🐗🐗🐗. Replying to @agategal in yesterday’s comments, I know this doesn’t work for everyone and I feel your pain! Tried to reply via email but it bounced🐗

The last week or so has been a doozy with Water In The Computer, etc. So you would think a baggy old kayak woman might catch a break, roight? Not.

Came home and did a few chores. Put a big plastic bag of frozen chicken breasts into the micro and turned it on to a low defrost temperature, the goal being to defrost the whole mess just enough to be able to separate one of them from the rest and feel safe about putting the rest of them back in the freezer. Okay fine. Set it up at power level 2 for 2 minutes. And again. Lather, rinse, repeat a couple times. Hmmm… What is that smell? Smells like BBQ. Must be coming from outside? So why does it seem to be in the Landfill Chitchen and Not Outside? The next time the timer beeped, I headed over to check the defrosting progress only to see a wee bit of FAAAAARR in there!!! What?!? I quickly smothered it with the bag of chicken and there is no damage to either the chicken or the micro. But whaaaaa? As you can see, there was a wee bit o’ waaaar holding the plastic bag together. Why did I not notice this? I do not know. I am ultra-careful about cooking. I am terrified of faaaar. I do not deep-fry. I do not leave pots on the stove while I visit the Blue and Only Bathroom. I do not put metal in microwave ovens. Well, once, many many many moons ago, a SCRAP of aluminum foil got into my baggy old micro. I saw it spark and immediately shut the thing down.

Anyway, fallible human being here? You betcha! I make mistakes. 🐗 Do you? Love you ANYWAY! 🐸


Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

imageI mean the fleurs, that is. I posted this pic on facebook and my friend Nedrick (I love that name, don’t you?) complimented me on my gardening skills [snort] and asked me to come and beautify his yard. Me and my Big Black Thumb. I had to tell the truth, which is that I encountered these beauties somewhere over on Westwood on my 0-Skunk-30 walk. I love the orange and purple.

<Danger Will Robinson!>Excuse me a moment. I am now OBSESSED with every teensy tinesy little scrap of anything that lands on my laptop. This barely visible scrap did not appear to contain any H2O but I wasn’t born with the capability of analyzing the individual molecules in any given dust mote by eye-balling it, so who knows whether there was H2O in it or not. I certainly don’t want Apple’s Water Sensors to detect it so I grabbed a dry kleenex to get it off my trackpad.</Danger Will Robinson!>

I’m not sure where I was trying to go with this after that little alert happened. Oh yeah, for one thing, the last time any of my photooos went to the cloud was Saturday. Not sure what’s going on there but had to Ninja today’s photoooo into place via a secondary device (iPhone in this case). I’m not asking for help on this issue. I *think* it has something to do with my MacBook repair although I was asked for my iCloud password umpteen billion times and entered it correctly umpteen billion times and can even access my iCloud account (or whatever it is) but I am not getting photooos there.

It’s pretty weird that I scored 100% on the most obtuse work quiz ever but can’t beat the iCloud into submission. This particular quiz was all about the security issues and technology surrounding software development architecture and programming and whatever. Even though I am in no way a developer and glossed through the “training” part of the lesson, I managed to grok enough of the lingo to ace the quiz. Always was a good test taker… Get photos out to the iCloud? Huh? Apple is user-friendly, roight?

Pride goeth…

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

macstackAnd so, I got over to Cubeland this morning. I unpacked my laptop, ran a brush through my bushy hair (don’t ask), sat down and powered up my laptop, and bumped my phone with my elbow. I mean my CUBE landline, not my iPhone. The CUBE landline that I almost NEVER use and couldn’t tell you the number if I tried. Nope, we email, I/M, shout over the wall, whatever. Although I tried to shout over the wall to FZ today and he did not reply. I knew he was there. Was he ignoring me? I walked around to his Cube. Headphones. I think they were the noise-blocking kind. I said [out loud], “I’ll email him.” And I did. To much laughter from everyone in our Cube Neighborhood except FZ, who didn’t hear me.

Anyway, I bumped my landline with my elbow this morning. It made some Old Skool Phone noises and I scrambled to stop whatever call it might be making. I thought I was successful but then a couple minutes later Louie Louii appeared in my cube asking, “You rang?” Oops, no. I told him I was glad I had spammed him and not the police because that can be a mess. Bottom line? I have no clue how to use my Cube Landline’s once-fancy features. And it is as dirty as all getout from collecting dust all these years.

My MacBook Pro? Loverly. It is like a new musheen. Actually it is pretty close to being a new musheen, given all that they replaced to the tune of $755. Yes. KW, maybe you did not dump water (or whatever) into your keyboard and it’s true that you do wash and dry your hands every time you use the dern thing. But. Alas. My laptop set off Apple’s water sensors. There were some tortuous conversations with after-hours Apple support people last week in which KW was NOT in her best form (and has since felt great remorse). In the end, the GG went over to inspect the computer the next morning and concurred that there was water damage. I *think* I’ve figgered out how it happened and mitigational steps have been taken.

In the end, I could afford to pay for the repair and decided to let the whole thing go and move forward. I think I had been angry mostly at myself because I try very hard to be careful with things and I apparently wasn’t.

So, how ’bout them thar tornadoes? Loud thunder woke us up at that Batscope Time of Night. Big thunderstorm and, after a bit, tornado sirens. There were tornadoes south (and north?) of us. They damaged houses but I don’t think any living beings were injured. Here at The Landfill? Just a big beautiful thunderstorm. Many folks in town [twitter] went down to their basements. We didn’t go down to our basement. We opened up the front door to look outside. Not that I haven’t ever ordered everyone to the basement. I don’t mess around with tornadoes but my internal radar was not afraid and, therefore, neither was I. I was taaaared and I had no trouble falling back asleep.

Putcher knees down kiddo

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

imageThose times when dads and grandpas are charged with supervising small children. To give moom a break, roight? I won’t provide any details but suffice it to say old great aunt KW’s maternal instincts kicked into full-tilt boogie mode on a certain recent bote ride. One where the moom and grandmoom stayed behind to clean the cabin.

These are the best of dads and granddads. Wonderful gentle men and thoughtful parents. The kind who are always willing to jump in and help with the babies and the housecleaning and whatever. The GG was waaaay more experienced with changing diapers when we had our first and he was right in the thick of things in that department. I know that other mothers were envious and some prospective mothers were disappointed when their partners didn’t exactly emulate the GG.

He was a dad though. Once he took our small beach urchins “fishing” next to one of the canal bridges on Long Point Drive. I walked over there to meet them and they were sitting on a narrow ledge 5-6 feet above the water. As soon as I got there, Lizard Breath said, “Dad says this is all right but we don’t think so.” Indeed.

On the flip side, the GG once saved Mouse’s life. The time when she slipped through the seats on our ancient swing set glider and got her neck stuck between them. He held those seats apart for I dunno how long. Until Burke came home from work and appeared in his back yard and the GG could ask him to bring tools over and free that tiny little neck from the swing set guillotine.

That is all for now. Love y’all. Seriously. All of you. Even those of you who hate me, life is short. Let’s try to get along. Please. And please putcher knees down.

Introvert’s Rechargeable Battery House

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

imageMan, what a fun weekend! A melange of family members spanning three generations, just like the moominbeach where my brother and I and later on our children grew up.

I am probably a bit guilty of remembering my childhood through rose-colored glasses. I know that not everybody was always a happy camper, so to speak, yer fav-o-rite blahgger and once [still?] a Spirited Child most definitely included 🐸🐗 There were sibling and / or cousin squabbles and Differences in Parenting Styles. When I was really small, my family spent the summer living in the Old Cabin with my old coot’s two sisters and there their families. Many years later, I will always remember Radical Betty laughing and saying, “Shades of the past,” when all of us sibs / cousins started having kids and another couple of generations began those squabbles. Despite all that, people loved each other and there was waaaaay more collaboration than argument.

I feel blessed to have been welcomed into the Cfam as an adult. My outlaws have managed to preserve their childhood cabin into the next generation so that family members can still enjoy it. And we do. We enjoy it when we are alone up there and we enjoy it when we are sharing it with a full house. The more, the merrier. Is it always paradise? Of course not! But we respect each other and there is much more collaboration than argument.

Our decision to go north for the weekend was last-minute. We made that decision because we knew there would be a whole bunch of folks up there. We wanted to spend time with them!

We did arrange for our little safe house to be there. A place for an introvert (you know who) to go when she needs to recharge her social battery, not to mention a few of her devices since the Lyme Lounge is electrified. And, as I posted on FB yesterday, a nice, clean, modern biffy is up the steps on the right. As a bonus, the young children who spent time up there had a blast exploring our cute little trailer (when they weren’t helping the Twinz of Terror drive the Pontoon Bote). Shades of the past when the Fin G4 gen hung out in the Little Princess, giving their mooms and grandmooms a bit of a break.

Again, so much fun this weekend. Love y’all but special shoutout to my Cfam relatives tonight. Love, KW.

Bote Bar

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

Yay for technical difficulties! Suspect it had to do with a perfect storm of connectivity issues, typing on an ipad, and therefore being lazy about including some html tags. So let’s fix ’em.

Lemme see… Breakfast at Little Boots and then a *gorgeous* little hike down at the Lost Twin Lakes Pathway. Here are the Twinz of Terror checking out the map.


Very greeeeeen near the hiking trail.


A little kayak expotition launches.


Blazing a trail.


Pontoon Bote expotition to the grokkery store.


And last but not least, Cap’n Brody takes the wheel.


There. All better 🐸🐗

Up close and personal

Friday, June 19th, 2015

imageFaaaar damage, that is. Half mile down the road from the Cfam Group Home, an easy walk for a beleaguered old systems analyst after a long work week, a laptop meltdown, and a 2.5 hour drive. Sad but no injuries and, as people keep pointing out, prob’ly those folks’ll build nice new cabins (and no, I am not trying to suggest anything nefarious).

Actually we Ninja’d the northward drive, even though we were driving the Frog Hopper. As we left the landfill neighborhood, I saw on Google Maps that US23 was faaaar engine red from M14 to North of Whitmore Lake. No fewer than three accidents. That was not good, not to mention that the northbound freeway turned out to be CLOSED. We figgered that out via Twitter before we got to that point. Fortunately, we are pretty familiar with the back roads in the general area and so we managed to snake around up to where the freeway opened up again. Smooth sailing the rest of the trip.

Not much else for now. This was a spur of the moment trip. A good number of Cfam members were planning to be up here and I hadn’t seen any of these particular outlaws in forever, not even the Uncly Uncle, one of my fave hiking buddies. So! So! Let’s go!

Muddling through by hook or by crook 🐗

Thursday, June 18th, 2015

I am so proud of myself tonight🐸🐸🐸 I know, I know, pride goeth before a fall. But this is the kind of pride a person feels when she has worked diligently to master something and has managed to accomplish it without any help.

What did I do, exactly? I set up my email on my iPad All By Myself without sending simpering little text messages to The Guru, “I can’t get my email to work.” [Think annoying, whiny little voice when you read that.] Tonight? I was determined. I ran into some little glitches but I muddled through aka googled until I solved them. And then I emailed my BFF to tell The Guru about my success! I’m sure he was ecstatic. So yay me!!!

Why did I finally set up email on my new iPad? If you are a regular reader, you might guess that my MacBook Pro is in the shop. Three days. New keyboard and trackpad. Keyboard issues verified, trackpad is intermittent but I asked them to replace it anyway. Humidity makes it worse and guess what season it is… No cost. AppleCare doesn’t run out until next March. Who knew?

I have an iffy relationship with the genius bar but my experience today was pretty good all in all. Then again maybe that’s because *I* decided I wasn’t gonna be in a big angsty panic. My genius was multitasking by working with me and the nice young gal in the next seat. He could manage that because while my issues were relatively straightforward hardware things, my neighbor had not done software updates in a while so they were w-a-i-t-i-n-g for her musheen to re-a-start forever. I’m not perfect about doing software updates but I *can* manage them without a genius.

As much as I complain about the supercilious [thanks for the word Margaret] Genius Bar employees, you have to know that my half of the convo will often mention various “I am not just some old bag topics” like, the Apple II+ we bought in 1979, the 12″ G4 PowerBook I bought in 2003 and, if we get far enough off on a tangent, the mainframe I taught myself FORTRAN on back in the Jurassic Age and/or something about my current systems analyst job and the Windows musheen I use there. By that time the genius is nodding politely 🐗 and trying to get the old bag outta there as fast as possible.

I’m not terrible about touch typing on this thing but I do get distracted by the autocorrect options and occasionally drag a finger onto the virtual keyboard where it doesn’t belong. Please be kind if you see [even more] typos than usual. Practice…

Twitter play starring the KCTM!

Wednesday, June 17th, 2015

batterySetting: Landfill Driveway, 11-ish Tuesday night.

@tmotu: Need any eggs?

@lizardbreath [not her real twitter handle]: I just went to Alaska and back.

Um, “Need any eggs?” Say what? Thinking about it a number of hours later [eighteen or so but I can’t type the numeral version of eighteen because my eight key isn’t working], this question kinda makes sense. Eggs are a quick protein snack for both beach urchins and if you have been in Alaska for 10 days, you might not have eggs in your refrigerator and eggs might make a quick breakfast on that first, jet-laggy morning back from whatever time zone Alaska is in to good old EDT time. But last night it just made me shake my head and laugh 🐸.

As of now, I am typing this on the iPad Air that I won a while back because… Last weekend my MacBook’s 8 key stopped working. I hate going to the Genius Bar so I decided to hold off for a while. Today the O, l, and . keys are working kind of intermittently. And the touchpad occasionally goes off on its own tangent but not anywhere near as badly as this MacBook’s identical predecessor (which we still own BTW). So, Genius Bar tomorrow morning. I’ll just ask them to fix both issues. If they give me crap about gunk, I’ll remind them that *laptops* were *designed* to be used in locations like coffee shops and chitchens, etc. Jeesh.

Wish I could get more accustomed to using the iPad keyboard. Practice maybe? I certainly know how to do that.

Note to self: Don’t fergit yer ‘puter tomorrow morning. I mean your own personal laptop, not your work laptop. You would NEVER fergit your work laptop!

Cabin fire

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

jackoOh, not the moomincabin, although any random lightning strike could make that happen at any time, just sayin’. This cabin faaaarr happened at Houghton Lake. It wasn’t the Cfam cabin but it happened in the ‘hood aka Long Point. Houghton Lake is the largest inland lake in the Great Lake State (somebody keep me honest here) and the perimeter is chockablock with cabins, so a faaar elsewhere on the lake might elicit a bit of attention but our cabin is on Long Point so this faaar was up close and personal. I prob’ly walk by those now burned cabins frequently when I’m up there. I can’t figure out where it happened from the pics (in the link). There’s too much smoke.

I can think of four spectacular faaars on Long Point since I’ve been a Cfam outlaw. Usually we haven’t been there but one happened when we were up there on a winter weekend when the beach urchins were young. We left for the day and when we returned, a [marginal] “apartment house” down the street had burned to the ground. That was back in the day of the Moldy Old Cabin and I would’ve been more nervous about faaarrs there except that: 1) we had installed smoke alarms there when we had children and 2) Grandpa Garth constantly reminded us about fuses and plugs and lucky-shuckial waaaaarrs in his little “Every housewife should know” speeches. Little did he know that I grew up with those kinds of warnings and, as a consequence, was very nervous about lucky-shucky in general. I loved him anyway and he was right to give those little speeches given that he owned the cabin in those days and many people used it whether he was there to supervise or not. In fact, he didn’t necessarily know who was there at any given time. He loved for his kids and grandchildren to use it and he was hands-off about its management. Have fun but don’t fergit to put the plug in. And jiggle the handle! How could I fergit that? Miss that guy, my father-in-law!

Lernaean Hydra

Monday, June 15th, 2015

negativesOr maybe Whack-a-mole more aptly describes my ongoing dilemma.

A facebook friend posted today about the huge prodject she’s tackling this week. Organizing / scanning a multi-generational collection of family photooos. Yes, she did say “week”. [snort] I fling this and that and I make some progress and then we go down to Crazy Old Florida (man, that was fun!) or somewhere and I backslide a bit. And then I get started again.

I can deal with most of the “stuff”. Well, there are some struggles about lamps and crappy old furniture but we’ll get there. It’s the photos that stymie me. Everywhere. Everywhere. Everywhere. Photos. Negatives. Slides. A few moldy old movies. Multi-generational media from every branch of the fam — Fin, Mac, cFam, you name it. I. Cannot. Organize. This. Stuff. I am a paid systems analyst. I get paid to analyze and organize data. Slice it and dice it and turn it on its head. Look at it in a new way and wallah voila! Family photos? I am flummoxed.

That little shoebox in the photooo? It represents the tip of the iceberg. Doesn’t look like much does it? It is chock full of [mostly] unlabeled negatives. There are other boxes, every shape and size, albums galore, portraits in plastic bags. BIG portrait of my eccentric great aunt Anna in her old age — wonder who talked her into getting that thing done (and I’m not gonna post it because I bet she wasn’t happy about it). Anyway, I can’t even sort out the CONTAINERS, let alone their contents. I can’t even seem to get the containers into one room! Jeebus!

This box came from The Commander’s house. She spent the last six years of her life diligently deacquistioning things so that her living children (aka meeeee) would not have to put a dumpster in her driveway or hold an Estate Sale (horrors!). She did a pretty good flinging job but I don’t think she could quiiiiite manage to deal with the photos. And that’s okay. It is a daunting task.

And so here I am. Again. Because this is not a new topic. The conundrum of the moment is how to look at the negatives in this box. I need some kind of a musheen to view them properly. Those musheens exist but it is daunting to research them. I had a moment yesterday when I wanted to bag it and throw all the negatives out. If they turn out to be crappy photos from the parents’ trips to Europe, I don’t really want them, except for the few that include my parents. But then, I thought I could make out a gal who looked a lot like UKW in The Comm’s house with a baby. I might want to keep that one. But it was a negative and I couldn’t exactly see what it was.

I wished my facebook friend good luck and asked her to share any tips she may come up with during her prodject journey. I could sure use some.

Maybe “How do you eat an elephant?” would’ve been the best title.

I thought the camelP thing was a joke 🐗

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

rescueI live with the King of Cryptic Text Messages. Except today it wasn’t a text message, it was an email message. Same difference. He’s cryptic whatever communication method he’s using.

So I get this email. The subject is “Rescue old stove” and there was no content other than the pitcher over there on the right. I started scratching my head. Where the hell is he? I knew he was somewhere between Tahquamenon and The Planet Ann Arbor but where? He had texted a while back, “Indian River”. Okay, Indian River is I75 SUV Speedway Michigan mile marker 310, which is south of the Big Mac and therefore waaaay south of Tahq. So, is he somewhere south of Indian River? And if so, why is he off the freeway? This is pretty much a Travel Day for him. And did he just randomly run into Some People trying to drag an old stove out of a river and decide to stop and help them? Hi! Need some help?

Eventually I took a closer look at the photooo and, although the faces are not clear, I realized that Some People were our North Country Trail (NCT) buddies. I still didn’t know why they were “rescuing” an old stove out of a river. I was hoping to high heaven that the old stove was not making its way down to The Landfill, not that Gertrude wouldn’t enjoy having a stove friend.

I don’t really worry much about the King of Cryptic Text Messages when he is off on various junkets. If I hear from him at all, I know he’s okay. And I did hear from him after the Rescue Old Stove message in the form of a video of him driving the Pontoon Bote at Hoton Lake, holding his grandniece. I didn’t comment but if I had, my comment would’ve been something like, “Is he watching where he’s going?” And then a final text message “on the road”. And he’s home and it is raining cats and dogs for about the umpteen billionth time today and I am loving it!!! At this rate, I won’t have to think about watering things for a few days!

I picked up little clues about the Stove Rescue throughout the day. When the GG got home, I learned that its ultimate destination is the garden of one our NCT friends. I’m sorry I missed this adventure although I wouldn’t have been all that much help in getting the stove outta the river.

Pluviophile (up to a point)

Saturday, June 13th, 2015

cowNot that we had a whole lot of rain today. A sprinkling this morning — after I walked down to the farmer’s market and back. It would’ve been okay because I had an umbrella in my backpack. Of course, that umbrella only added to the weight of the stuff I had to haul back up the hill. Lemme see… lettuce, cherry tomatoes, peas (which I shelled on the patio this afternoon), radishes, potatoes, cucumber, broccoli, Delmonico steaks from Sparrow Meats and I’m probably forgetting something. Anyway, backpack and plastic grokkery bag that I kept having to switch from hand to hand because it was soooo heavy. But I made it, so dance with me! 🐸

You don’t want to know about the rest of my day. It was sooooo boring. Flinging ensued. Or at least staging for more flinging. Not a whole lot of stuff actually got flung but I did make progress. I think my current mini-goal is to be able to vacuum the carpet in the area of the Landfill Dungeon that I once called my “studio” by the end of the summer, or maybe even replace it. Alas, it was always either too dark or too cluttered down there for it to work out as a “studio”. What studio, you may ask? Well, back when I was doing fiber arts type stuff. I may do that kind of stuff again but I am not now. The last 10 years have been a pretty chaotic ride (off and on) and now that I am in a relatively quiet period, I’m working on continuing to minimalize my life.

Beautiful day today. Cooler than predicted and I did not see any hint of the sun all day and that was okay. Pluvio-whatever.

Looking through my graduation year high school yearbook tonight. Every single pic of those who shared the year of 1972. All 360 of them… Who do I remember? Who do I still know? Who do I not remember and why not? There’s a reason for this exercise but I can’t quite articulate it tonight.

Naked lunch

Friday, June 12th, 2015

crowsWhat a fun day! A corporate-sponsored 5K race at work. It was a charity event and we each paid $20 plus an optional donation to participate. Two of my team’s lovely QA people (with help from Building Mom and others) planned our facility’s event. They had to re-route the race course after initial attempts to include a neglected nature trail yielded several 👹s. Yes, ticks. Yick. The consensus was that there were probably many folks in our facility that might not have a clue about ticks (I didn’t until about 15 years ago when Radical Betty picked one up at Naomikong) and we didn’t want to subject them to the possibility of encountering the devil incarnate on a charity 5K race. So our gals re-routed the course to paved sidewalks adjacent to frequently mowed grass.

Race? I think about five people *ran* the race. Most of us, including meeee, walked. I am not a runner, although I can sprint if I want to. There were people walking who may not have even attempted an event like this a year or so ago. That was so cool. The point was to raise money and get people outside walking. Oh, and have fun! Because that’s really all that life should be about.

I had to laugh when folks were showing up yesterday with New Walking Shoes purchased for this event. I walk three miles (5K) every single blasted morning of my life and on as many days as I can, more moiles than that. I almost always wear my tried and true Keen sandals, even in the winter (with wool socks!), unless it’s below 10 degrees and/or snowing. Buying a new pair of shoes the day before a hike is scary. For me, a number of three mile hikes is what breaks a new pair of shoes/sandals in. But so what. My friends were excited about the event and I can’t feature being judgmental about people wanting to get outside and walk and having fun buying new shoes for that purpose!

I didn’t expect this event to taaarrrr me out all that much but I found myself nodding off in my cube a bit later in the afternoon. I’m at a thinking point in my latest prodject… Finished off the day by walking from The Landfill to Knight’s Steakhouse with npJane for dinner and lots of fun conversation. Love. And good night.

P.S. Godspeed to Israel Borouchoff, my flute prof umpteen gazillion years ago at Moo-U, who died recently at 86. Not the easiest teacher in some ways but that was part of his job. I managed to get on his good side (and he on mine). More on him in a future post maybe. Or maybe not. We’ll see what I get up to. A Class-A person in any case.

“The main thing to remember is that the BEARS are BIGGER and SCARIER!”

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

admiralThat’s not an exact quote but when my beach urchin and her friend (since middle school) were planning a camping trip to Alaska, she emailed our cousin Uber Kayak Woman for information and advice and that piece of advice was Front and Center. UKW would know. Her dad was stationed up there as an Air Force officer for two multi-year stints when she was a child and she has spent a lot of time up there as an adult, including crewing on a salmon boat.

I have to admit, it was a relief when I received a text message this afternoon: “On bus out of Denali to get the train to Anchorage. All well no 👹” (That devil emoji has entered our lexicon as a representative of that loverly arachnid, the tick. There is no tick emoji but ticks are the devil incarnate in my book, so it works. Take a note 🍀) Cell service in Denali ranges from spotty to non-existent (and I had been warned about that) so I hadn’t heard from her since Sunday while I was kayaking down in the river. Today I texted back: “How ’bout 🐻?” The answer was that they saw lots of bears but all at a great distance and pitchers would come later. Prob’ly *much* later because she took most of them via her digital cam and probably can’t load them up on any kind of internet-able device until she returns to DayTwa because you don’t normally take your laptop camping in Denali.

I wasn’t really worried but can I just say that every time somebody posted a bear article or pic on facebook, I made it go away. I know that grizzly bears are dangerous. I *know* that it’s rare that someone is “eaten” by a bear. If it wasn’t rare, we’d be reading/hearing about it on the news all the time. But I know that it happens. And I am here and she is there and I am a moom… It’s okay, I reeeeaaallly wasn’t stressing out about it. Just glad to get that text message today. The GG? He didn’t seem to be worried about bears. He WAS worried that his “baby” would get cold.

I dunno if even my Quick Green Lizard can keep up with this running stream of blather every single day but she’ll probably read this. I try as hard as I can to STAY OUTTA THE WAY of my [very responsible] adult daughters’ lives. I don’t give them advice (unless they ask for it and *then* I am *very* careful [and often stymied about what to say] 🐗). So. Meet up at SeaTac with your best friend [from middle school] and fly to Alaska? Yes, go for it! I won’t try to help with the planning. Anyway, you do not WANT me to help with the planning because camping for me involves the Lyme Lounge parked next to a bathroom with showers 🐗.

Looking forward to those far-away bear pics. In the meantime, somebody else’s adult daughter maintains webcams in Africa. [The link is to a New Yorker article. I *think* you can look at a few articles if you don’t have a subscription. In case you were wondering, I am waaaaay behind on reading the New Yorker… … … As usual… … …]

All that said, I prefer encounters with wildlife entities like The Admiral there in the photooo. I actually managed not to scare him off today. Isn’t he beautiful? Love y’all, KW.