Archive for July, 2015

Don’t stop believing…

Friday, July 31st, 2015

dontstopMan oh man, I spent a lot of time cleaning this place today. It was about time. There were spiderwebs everywhere, inside and out. My young cousin Cap’n Queen Leila (first cousin twice removed) came over to help. She is a wonderful cleaner and helped me sweep the deck and scrub out buckets and tables and whatever.

Eventually, my Mouse arrived and picked enough blueberries in the front yard that we could make pancakes tomorrow morning. Except that we don’t have any maple syrup. But maybe my Dear Uncle Harry has a quarter cup or so that he could lend to us. Because that’s the kind of thing that us Fin relatives *do* up here on the shores of Gitchee Gumee. We love each other and we share whenever we can.

We are expecting Lizard Breath to arrive just about any moment and there is a freezer ‘hattan ready for her. And plenty of food.

Love y’all. Kayak Woman.

Atlases and spiders or both

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

atlasThe top atlas in this pile is one that I pored through at great length as a child. I *think* it even has all of the planets in our solar system in it (including Pluto) but I haven’t double-checked so maybe I am lying about that. Before this big bee-yoo-ty-ful atlas, there was a smaller dictionary-style atlas that I pored through. I wish I could find that one but I haven’t yet. I hope The Comm didn’t get rid of that old book but if she did, it’s okay. I know she was trying to make my life easier and I love her for that.

Anyway, when I excavated these atlases from the Veteran Greenhorns Hamburger Stand Gaaa-rage today (Hi, Green Guy), there was a spider egg sac (I now think) on the back of My Childhood Atlas and a big dead spider next to it. Or I thought it was dead. I picked up the three atlases (heavy load) and started to schlep them to the cabin. The spider came alive. I am NOT afraid of spiders but this was a huuuge spider with a big abdomen and I was thinking something like, “Brown recluse?” It probably wasn’t a brown recluse but at that point, I put all of the atlases on the ground and carried them one at a time to the moomincabin, checking each time for that spider.

The Comm would dispatch spiders by snatching them up with a paper towel. I would have done that but this spider was too big and ugly to be dispatched in that way plus I don’t really like to kill spiders as a general rule. I managed to get all three atlases into the moomincabin from halfway to the outhouse garage. Albeit. One. At. A. Time.

Dear Spider, I love you. I am sorry that I destroyed your eggs. But I think that there might have been a better place to lay eggs than on the back of My Childhood Atlas.

Waiting in line for bacon at the park store

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Up at 5:30 or thereabouts, emptied the dishwasher, cleaned the chitchen sink, packed food, etc., cleaned the Blue and Only Bathroom, watered the gardens, took a walk in the woods while the GG ran through his last-minute stuff. On the road at 7:15.

First stop (besides a quick coffee stop at Micky D’s in Fenton) was Gaylord, where we picked up the Lyme Lounge from the Uncly Uncle’s house.


Every time we stop at the UU’s house aka Chloe Belle’s house, I kind of want to stay there because it’s so beautiful. But. Anyway. After that, there was some kind of weird little connector that would help some kind of brake thing connect to the UU’s vee-hickle to help tow the Lyme Lounge and we spent a good bit of time and some stomach-churning driving maneuvers (pulling a trailer, no less) checking out five (yes) auto parts stores and a U-Haul place. It wasn’t a deal-breaker for the upcoming Twinz of Terror trip to the Keweenaw so I wasn’t sure why we were doing all of these driving gyrations but whatever.


Next stop? St. Ignace. Plan A was to grab lunch at Clyde’s and drop the GG and the Lyme Lounge off at the Straits State Park. Clyde’s. Was. Closed. Yes. Whaaaa? Plan B? We had a Plan B but only because we expected Clyde’s might be too BUSY! Plan B? The Driftwood. A fave place further into town where they have incorporated a bunch of painted wooden fish made by our Planet Ann Arbor farmer’s market friend Victoria. It was a lovely lunch stop but longer than we had planned.


We were in St. Ignace so we stopped at this North Country Trail storefront to visit our friend George PITA and his new rescue doggie (fergit her name, darnit). I was happy to see GPITA but anxious to get going again but, while the GG was jabbering away with GPITA, I spotted MY PHOTO (of jigsaw puzzle fame) displayed. That thing does get around. Love my North Country Trail friends.


I dropped the GG off at a campsite with a version of this view. He was without an automotive vee-hickle at that point but just about anything he might have needed was well within walking distance and eventually, The Uncly Uncle aka Chloe Belle aka The GG’s identical birth partner showed up (I liked it on facebook) and so the Twinz of Terror are camping there tonight and heading to the Keweenaw tomorrow.


Eventually I arrived here at the Moominbeach. It was hotter than Hades here when I arrived so I swung around opening windows and putting screens in the doors. We had pulled three (out of four) fuses when we left after 4th of July and I HATE those fuses (and lucky-shucky in general) but I did manage to SLAM them back into place and so the pump, water heater, and stove are in fine form.


After getting the basics in order, I sat on the beach with Pooh for a bit. She went up to prepare for an early birthday dinner for Harry at Zorba in town. (I was invited and I LOOOOVVE Zorba but I needed to chill and I think that was understood. 💗) After that, I walked the beach, took a quick dip, and then prepped a simple dinner and let it sit while I sat on the bank.

Gonna miss my rabbit proof fence

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

nastyHeat, a couple of dry days, hose confusion and some associated laziness left my impatiens looking a wee bit less luxuriant than they did the last time I actively watered them. A wee bit leggy and wilty. Will they survive the next 10 days? I could ask Mouse to water them and maybe I will but she’ll be with us for a good number of the days we’re away. They are pretty damn hardy plants though since for YEARS now, since The Comm died, I have left 2-3 pots of them on the Moomincabin deck Memorial Day weekend and they seem to *flourish* throughout the summer. We’ll see what they are doing tomorrow and I hope The Planet gets more rain while we are gone. It has been anything but a dry summer here in any case.

I’m suffering from the churning feeling I get whenever I’m about to embark on a trip. It’s so beautiful here and I have so much to do around here and I love my little Landfill here on my beloved Planet Ann Arbor. But we are going to the yooperland and I am excited about that too and except for telecommuting on Thursday and maybe (ugh) part of Friday, I will have a wee bit of vacay (but I’ll be back butt in cube all too soon) and see my daughters and cousins (of various degrees) and remaining aunt and uncle* and Our Northern Correspondent and whatever McPiedy friends I happen to cross paths with.

So, the GG is swinging around putting more stuff into the Frog Hopper tonight (and rummaging for Lyme Lounge keys) and we hit up Knight’s for dinner because that has become our go-to place for dinner the night before a trip. We got our fave balcony seat but no interesting downward views tonight. Hung out to watch the skateboarders at the Vet’s park skatepark on the way home. Soooo much fun!

It’s always hard to leave The Planet Ann Arbor for anywhere. It’ll be hard to leave the Moomincabin on the return trip too. Life keeps tumbling on and all I can do is live in the moment.

* Remaining aunt and uncle on the Fin side. I also have a living aunt and uncle on the Mac side.

Pkg mailed to Fla this AM! 🐸

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Pkg for The Mean Old Grumpy Lovely Aunt Susie and Cap’n Ed! Truth told, I have seen Suze get a wee bit grumpy a few times but for reasons I would never argue with. Anyway, that’s a better title than the only one I could come up with five minutes ago or so, which was something like blech! Oh, only because we are heading north for a short but much-needed vacation to the family property in 36 hours or so and I am in that kind of panic-packing mode. Meanwhile, work is going crazy (not the usual thing). It’s okay. I’m packing light and I’ll manage work (I hope 🐗). Still it is hard getting outta Dodge (or lifting off The Planet Ann Arbor, if you will). It’s the little things. Property tax bills to pay and pkgs to mail and gas to put in the Ninja (although I am NOT taking the Ninja up this time). Only one vee-hickle! Yay!

Here are some photos from one year ago today (it was a Sunday), thanks to my cute li’l Timehop app. First, I took my morning beach walk in fog. When I went to upload this photoooo to facebook, the Algolake freighter folks had posted a video. Where were they? A mile or two north of me, sitting drinking coffee on the other side of the Pickle Finger, waiting for the fog to clear out of the St. Mary’s River so they could continue on downbound, through the Soo Locks and the lower lakes and wherever. St. Lawrence Seaway? Maybe, maybe not.


At the end of the evening that same day, this is the view. I dunno what freighter that is. It is not the Algolake. The Algolake was many miles away by then.


Sometime during that day, I had a small grokkery list and since I was WORKING that day (yes it was a Sunday, is there a theme here?), I sent an engineer up to the park store (small but very well supplied). My own personal engineer, that is. (Okay, technically he is a computer programmer of some highly advanced sort. But anyone who can troubleshoot vee-hickles, appliances, plumbing, lucky-shuckial stuff and, oh yeah, ‘puters, is an engineer.) Anyway, this is how you make a grokkery list for an engineer. I *knew* he could manage to get eggs and butter in the right quantity and form factor, therefore those items are not annotated.


By the way, back when I was dealing with CKL (certified kitchen lady), I was tasked to find photos on Houzz of chitchens I liked. I did that but I also snuck in a couple of real-life chitchens that I love, including The Commander’s cabin chitchen. CKL was excited about The Comm’s yellow countertops. Actually, she thought they were chartreuse but she was pretty happy with the idea of yellow too. And here is The Comm making yet another a pie (not from a year ago though…)


Sunday morning jungling

Sunday, July 26th, 2015

All and all, it was a rather grueling day of working from home on a Sunday but I did drag us down to hike the trails by Barton Dam this morning before it got too hot. Although no dragging was required as the conversation went something like this: KW – Wanna walk down by the dam? GG – yes, when?

It is a jungle down there this year.


Fields of flowers taller than yer fav-o-rite blahgger.


Is this the entrance to a bear’s den?


And the river. Despite a warning from another walker, this is the only place where I saw any poison ivy, which was a good thing because the trail was pretty narrow in some places and I am highly sensitive to urushiol oil.


This is the “bear’s den” from the other side. Gratuitous shot of the GG off in the distance. Yes, he is wearing an @_FloridaMan shirt. His [late] brother Don gave it to him (I think) and I tolerate it 🐗


I didn’t get much done around the Landfill this weekend and I have not done as much pre-packing as I wanted to but maybe that’s okay because I am going to pack as lightly as possible anyway. I do have a few things kinda/sorta pre-collected, including one artifact that I may need in order to attempt to solve (and rectify) a certain mystery. The GG made up for my lack of organizing by spending the day rummaging. This was all good. Cleaning out the Frog Hopper, de-cluttering the “office”, re-organizing all of his bags, etc. Even though I knew he was “pushing and pulling” things together and understand his modus operandi after all these years, it felt like rummaging to me and, for whatever reason, rummaging activities always make me feel a wee bit queasy, even when I am engaging in them myself.

Danger Will Robinson! Yikes! What is that smell? Oh, it is a newly empty kimchee jar. Rinse that thing and get it into the dishwasher ASAP, KW! I love Wan Oo and I appreciate the concept of kimchee. But that smell… … …

Missing my beach urchins. Loose plans to get together with Lizard Breath were discussed eons ago (last weekend) but then this whole working all weekend thing came up and she had a work-related event to attend too albeit her event sounds a lot more fun than what I did today. It is what it is and I’m glad that my grown-up urchins have lives of their own, lives in which they seem to *want* to see their baggy old moom more frequently than any of us have time to arrange. Love is all there is.

I. Am. A. Blank.

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

highseasonThe best part of my day today was walking down to the farmer’s market at 0-skunk-30. It is high season there. The sweet corn is in. Our friend Victoria of painted fish (and Santa) fame pointed us in the direction of the Amish family a bit down the way from her artistic fish booth and that’s where we bought our corn although plenty of others were also selling it. What else? Lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, brussel sprouts, basil leaves, peas (to shell) a whole chicken from Sparrow Market and I fergit what else. The chicken is the GG’s prodject. It is slathered in Old Bay seasoning and I dunno what else. I didn’t buy broccoli because I had already bought it from Farmer John at work and I didn’t buy cucumbers because somebody on my 0-skunk-30 walking route put free cukes out on their front lawn and I picked one up yesterday. We won’t talk about the visual of a baggy old kayak woman in a tie-dyed t-shirt and black “hiking” skirt walking along carrying a cucumber. No kimchee today. Wan Oo (phonetic spelling) had her booth set up but was nowhere to be found so we bagged that but we’ll be back. And no pasties, even though Uncle Peter’s booth *was* staffed. The GG wants to buy some in the Yooperland next week. I’m sure he’ll ask whatever purveyor he finds whether or not there’s rutabaga in them. Uncle Peter’s pasties do have rutabaga.

Oh, and by the way, just because I was born in the Yooperland and once had blonde hair and a surname that begins with “Fin” doesn’t mean that I am Finnish! I am a pretty good British mix with some German thrown in for good measure. Scot is what I mainly identify with for whatever reason although I love living here on The Planet Ann Arbor with folks from every corner of the earth. I don’t think I encountered a pasty until I was about 16.

I spent most of the rest of the day working at my paid job. I did get my chores done. I am fast at those and probably spent less time getting them done then the daily chit-chat at work can sometimes take, meaning I got more work done, or something like that.

I am done. I am a blank today.

Ma’am! Ma’am! Gjlbsknwvstrxp! Gjlbsknwvstrxp!

Friday, July 24th, 2015

watertruckOh, *that* Water Truck!

Yeah, Duncan Street has been torn up for weeks and I am pretty accustomed to navigating it on foot since I walk there every morning. This afternoon after work, I was headed downtown to meet up with the GG at the Oscar Tango and, as I was crossing Duncan, a construction worker started yelling at me. He didn’t sound unfriendly or anything but I could not understand what he was saying because some sort of dozer or whatever was coming up the street making a whole bunch of racket. I yelled back across the street, “What?” and took off my sunglasses so I could hear him better. At that point, he ran across the street (in front of the oncoming dozer) to me and said, “We’re sending a water truck down here in a few minutes. Just watch out for it.”

I thanked him and said, “It’s okay, I’ll be halfway downtown by the time the water truck gets down the street.” Well, what the heck is a “water truck” and why would I need to watch out for it? I hoofed on down the street at my usual clip and then I realized that the Water Truck was indeed coming down the street and it was not wasting any time. A Friday night porch beer kind of character was sitting out there laughing at me taking a pic and saying I was about to get a shower. Not, although I did take a second shower tonight in the Blue and Only.

And then, at the OT, our friendly waitress tipped me off that my tank top was on inside out. Alas, that means it was inside out ALL DAY. Not that anyone at work noticed because I was wearing a little summer-weight knit jacket over it. Well, and because we are all geeks who don’t notice clothing mishaps (although we do notice when we are wearing the same color, go figger). But I do sometimes put clothing on inside out. Inside out bathing suit anyone? Yes. Right down there on the Huron River. Not sure anyone could tell, given that I was down in a kayak cockpit.

Friday night. Home on The Planet Ann Arbor. Spending the weekend in pre-vacay mode, working on the stuff I get paid to do plus all of the chores and pre-packing / organizing activities that precede a 10-day trip to the moomincabin. Tarrrrred. G’night.

Where were we?

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

fishgraffitiI was struggling to remember where this grafishy was but just about when my brain was sneaking up on “Cut River”, I looked at where Photos put it, which was “Mounds Trl”. That confirmed that it was a Pontoon Bote trip up the Cut River on a beautiful weekend in June with The Lord and Lady of Linden, The Twinz of Terror, and the UU’s son and small grandchildren. On that trip, I was constantly reminding a certain going-on-4-year-old to put his knees down (damn it 🐸). You had to be there.

The GG and his siblings could tell you more about what “Mounds Trl” means because it’s close to the cabin they rented (for years) when they were all young. And sure enough, after we exited the Cut River, we hung a louie and headed over to buzz the old rental. The Lady of Linden told us some of the old stories. She remembers them better because she was the second oldest of the cFam 10. I will not repeat her stories here. They aren’t part of my story except tangentially. I am a cFam outlaw and I love all of those folks 🐸

That is all. I am puzzling over a mystery here. Maybe I’ll blahg about it someday and maybe I won’t. I couldn’t put it into words if I tried and some things are best left unblahgged.

Nine o’clock meeting tomorrow morning. That’s early for a meeting where I work. We don’t normally do meetings before 10 without checking in with all of the invitees. I know. You wanna work with me.

G’night. KW

B-flat alligators and sewing musheens

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

sandWhen I got home today the front door was open, the dryer was running, and the Landfill smelled like bread baking. Yes. Do you know how often KW bakes bread? If “almost never” is your answer, ding ding ding, you win.

I have made bread in my life. I actually own one of those fancy bread musheens. It was a [very thoughtful] birthday gift from my family when the beach urchins were middle-school-ish. If I am remembering correctly, I was getting out of the shower at 0-skunk-30 [this was before I started abandoning my kids to walk at that time of the morning] and I heard little voices outside the Blue and Only Bathroom door. Ooooh noooo, I thought. At that time, when a beach urchin was up *that* early, it almost always meant they were sick. The last thing I wanted to do on my birthday was sit with a sick child. But no, they were really excited about the bread musheen and wanted to give it to me right away! 💚

It was a wondrous musheen and it got a lot of use for a while, both by yer fav-o-rite blahgger and the beach urchins. But then… We had the usual too-many-baked-goods problem around here. And I didn’t really have a good place to keep it except on the floor under that old wooden table we had in here and that meant one more thing to moooooove whenever I wanted to clean the chitchen floor. And so on… It has been down in the Dungeon for years. Flinging mood that I am in, I cannot quiiiiite bring myself to take it down to Kiwanis. Anyone want it? I mean anyone within driving distance. I don’t want to ship it somewhere.

So who was baking bread in my chitchen today? Did a burglar break in and decide to bake some bread (and do some laundry) as long as he was here? Of course not. It was a beach urchin. She had been happily multi-tasking in her own little nest across town — running her sewing musheen, cooking soup, waiting for bread to rise and I fergit what else. And then. Dun dun dun. No power. Okay, her moom’s house wasn’t exactly in her plan for today but it worked out.

And now, according to facebook, she is considering obtaining a vintage treadle sewing musheen. (Of course, she also says she considers that only when the power goes out.) No fewer than THREE cFam aunts offered treadle musheens 💚

But why not rescue (and use) an old treadle musheen? We already have three spinning wheels (cFam and others), three looms (The Comm and Our Northern Correspondent), and uncountable sewing musheens of various vintage (The Comm and KW, mostly). I did take The Commander’s serger down to Kiwanis last fall. I kind of wanted to move her big old Singer out of the Moomincabin just make a wee bit more breathing space but the beach urchins (particularly the one who doesn’t sew a whole lot) objected vociferously enough that I relented. I wasn’t gonna get *rid* of it. Heck, I think it was possibly my parents’ first “major” purchase* after they got married during WWII and were stationed somewhere out in the southwest. I learned to sew on that thing and I can still remember it humming when mom sewed when I was small.

I stole the photo from Mouse’s facebook a few weeks back. As my BFF and I have talked about a few times, Mouse has an interesting eye for texture.

*Radical Betty and Duke bought a MOTOR BOTE ENGINE for their first wedding anniversary. Wonder where that thing is. I bet it’s still around somewhere 🐸

Get ready, get set!

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

outhouseMaybe you know the drill? You are getting close to a wee bit of vacay and all hell breaks loose? I was trying to finagle arranging a 10-day trip to the beach without actually taking eight days of vacation time and, as usual, I was anxious about asking to front-load and/or telecommute (from the beach), even though those situations are *always* okay with both the Queen Bee and the LSCHP. It’s my rule-following work ethic going on here. This time, they are *more* than okay with my plans because we are under the gun with a firmer-than-usual deadline of August 1 and having me work over the weekend will definitely help us meet that deadline. Yay!

So, whew! But now I have to get ready. Plan what to pack. Do I take some of my own towels up so I don’t have to schlep laundry down here at the end of the trip and then back up later. Last year, I took some laundry home when we closed the place on a beautiful, warm weekend in late September and then found myself putting it away on January 2 in 0 degree weather. Wearing YakTrax. Which I almost *fell* in because they are tricky on any kind of surface but snow and ice, especially on ancient linoleum tiles or whatever those things are in the moomincabin. I already take a sleeping bag up there for myself. I’m more comfortable in my sleeping bag in general. And no, we didn’t stay at the cabin that weekend. We had a warm, comfortable room at the Hotel Ojibway in Sault Ste. Siberia.

Food? I am pretty bored with meal-planning. Lizard Breath is more creative (like I once was) and I’ll let her take over when she’s there with us. Kale tacos? Bap? If she wants to. The Commander’s wishes were that no one should have to go up there and work their *sses off, especially when they have limited time to visit and I agree with that. On the other hand, cooking at the cabin can be a lot of fun. And even washing dishes, at least for those of us who are OCD dish processors. Moving the furniture / rugs around to sweep / wash the floor? Not so much…

Anyway, the cabin has been mostly empty so far this summer and that is not a good thing (and not what The Commander wanted), so we are going to fill it (sorta) for 10 days. I will miss my MacMu cuzzints’ annual summer visit this year. They are off on a Bucket List trip to Europe. But the Old Cabin is inhabited and so is Don’s house. People are around and Cap’n *Queen* L will be over to visit and maybe she’ll watch Denver the Guilty Dog facebook videos with me and generally remind us of how young we once were. Good times. And love.

First fruit

Monday, July 20th, 2015


It seems that I am the lucky receiver of the first ripe tomato from Mouse’s Garden because this tomato was on my counter when I got home from Houghton Lake yesterday. A chili pepper too! Big ripe local tomatoes have been available for a while at the farmer’s market but a lot of those folks are using hoop houses and things to get an early start.

Last year, tomatoes were a bust in our yard and many others. It wasn’t Mouse’s fault. A virus was going around. A lot of home gardeners lost their tomatoes, including Farmer John, who brings produce from his hobby farm into work to sell in the lunchroom. Most years, he has tomatoes up the wazoo all the way into mid-September. Last year he was bringing in bushel baskets of them as usual, then stopped abruptly. No more tomatoes. I could still get them at the farmer’s market but I missed the convenience of buying them at work. Rumor has it that the excess rain we’ve had this year may have hurt some of his crops this year. Which ones and how badly, I do not know. He had broccoli today and I bought some 🐸

I do have higher hopes for Mouse’s tomatoes this year. I dunno. Maybe Mouse shouldda been born into a farmer’s family. My Detroit-area great-grandparents were farmers and The Commander grew up on their farm so she knew a bit about gardening but I don’t remember her ever doing anything extensive. My old coot’s side of the family, I’m not sure about. I remember Grandma had a cartload of African Violets in her dining room and I think there were various flowers outside. I don’t remember her growing veggies.

I do remember my old coot telling me many times about walking out to his uncle Alec’s farm near Dafter to help out. Once I think he said something like, “The cow is the dumbest aminal on earth!” I took that in hook, line, and sinker when I was a child but I’m not really sure it’s true. And I am *not* totally sure that he and his brother were forced to walk that distance (10 miles or so as the crow flies) but I could be wrong. I know they all walked a lot and roads and automotive vee-hickles were a lot different then but all the way out to Dafter? I dunno. I can only guess that my grandfather experienced some hard times and wanted his children to know life’s hardships.

Here are the “farm boys”. The little blond guy on the right is my old coot. He had black hair by the time I first encountered him. His big brother is on the right. I have to guess this was out at uncle Alec’s farm but I don’t really know. My own brother, The Engineer, scanned this photo long ago and named it farmboys.jpg. My Old Coot definitely did not become a gardener. He always relied on someone else to supply his food. His big brother had a huge garden after he retired from his medical practice and we used to take our compost over there, once including an old dead cucumber and green pepper from one of the Houghton Lake refrigimatators. Good times. [Moom, change the talk.]


G’night. Alas, I am not making kale tacos tonight. Maybe sometime soon!

Cloud atlas

Sunday, July 19th, 2015

cloudatlasNothing like ending a beautiful midsummer weekend with a flurry of text messages with the beach urchins. That is, with Lizard Breath. Mouse was also copied on them but I bet she is at work and probably (rightfully) annoyed about being pinged 59 gazillion times.

Our convo began by me checking in to say, simply, “Home”, to let them know that we didn’t meet some kind of unthinkable fate out there on the southbound I75 SUV Speedway. Trust me, when your kids start veering off into 30-something territory (yikes!), they start caring where you are. Actually, we took the Cheese Route today so for 40 miles or thereabouts, we paralleled the Speedway on one of our fave Old Roads.

I had a lot of words in me earlier but I’m kind of done with them for now. I was thinking about meeting my now 30-something nephew when he was driving a Big Wheel up and down his parents’ driveway and how he and his wonderful wife now bring their small children to HL and how, when we all drive the Pontoon Bote over to the grokkery store (where they have installed a wonderful new dock for their bote customers), he and I are often amongst the folks who trek across the parking lot to pick up food and confer a bit about it. Who knew… The Lord of Linden also helps when he is there.

The CFam (the GG’s fam) and the FinMacMuFam (my fam) create good citizens. That is just about all.

Except that getting a Cloud atlas photooo involves lying back on a seat on the Pontoon Bote in the middle of Houghton Lake, pointing your iPhone up and clicking the button.

Love you all, KW

Load the bote, sink or flote!

Saturday, July 18th, 2015

We eventually did although not until well after this potentially nasty little weather system made up its mind about what it wanted to do.


In the end, it was just a plassover and eventually we loaded up the Pontoon Bote and took off for a three hour tour.


It really was a three hour tour and although the weather never got rough enough to toss our tiny ship, it was pretty hot and sticky and everyone is taaaarrred. And I cannot figger why this place ran outta gasoline in the middle of July on the largest inland lake in the Great Lake State but it did, so we went on down the shore to another place for gas. I’d call the color of this “lighthouse” “coral”. How ’bout you? Quite some discussion!


Back at the cabin and we won’t talk about safety (yes, they know better) 🐗🐗🐗


Fortunately, our chef survived the wood-chopping prodject.


Sounds like an old curmudgeonly thing to worry about

Friday, July 17th, 2015

sunsetgirlsI won’t say what it was except that it involves the Twinz of Terror and a camping trip and possibly actually *canceling* if the weather is bad and how much money will they have to “eat” if they do have to cancel. I mean, I understand having to cancel cruises or Disney World hotels and having to eat the cost but state campgrounds? We have all toiled away our entire adult lives and we may not be in the 1% but we *can* eat campground cancellations. Jeebus.

If you can stand to read another story about my f-i-l The Gumper (or probably re-read, if you are one of my nine regulars), I’m gonna tell one from back in the days of the Moldy Old Cabin. The Gumper was an old school mechanical engineer with a particular love for small motors. Back in those days, the Moldy Old Garage was filled with small-motor veehickles: snow-mobiles, dirt bikes, and *lawn mowers*. How many lawn mowers? Seemed like about 100 to me but prob’ly more like four or five.

One Saturday we were up here when the beach urchins were young and it was kind of an on-again off-again drizzly day. The Gumper was working on a lawn mower and it was advantageous for it to be on top of the Picnic Table for him to work on it. I spent a lot of time that day helping him put the lawn mower up onto the picnic table when the drizzle stopped and helping him take the lawn mower down off the picnic table when the drizzle started again.

At some point, I remember saying something like, “You $100 an hour guys really need to hire people to do this kind of stuff.” The Gumper may have been in that kind of income category at that time but his son (the GG) certainly was not!!! But the truth was that The Gumper LOVED messing around with small motors and I will always remember that day (and the Gumper) with fondness.

At HL with the Twinz of Terror, The Beautiful Gay, Chloe Belle, and others are scheduled to arrive sometime tonight. Good outlaws. Love y’all, KW.

Weird things that happen at The Landfill

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

hangggingThis one is called Haaaaannngggging Around. Draw the word out as long as you can and make a hard G sound, please. You can even do a sort of a g-g-g-g pronunciation thingy with the gs if you want. The photoooo fuzziness was not really intentional but it kind of works. Haaaaannngggging Around is a top notch way to annoy KW [please do NOT try it].

Speaking of bad photooos, remember back in the days when we all mucked around with actual film and people tried to look good for the camera? No intentionally ugly expressions or other tomfoolery. And you never knew how your pic was going to turn out until you got the film developed and therefore were disappointed when fuzziness happened.

I had various film cameras during the years throughout my childhood and earlier adulthood, up until we got our first Sony Mavica. I don’t remember what the model was but you actually had to insert one of those old diskettes into it. Remember those? It could store oh I dunno, maybe 20-30 pics? That thing may not have transformed my talent at photography into anything to write home about but it sure transformed my interest in and approach to photography. Even though it was pretty much a pain in the you-know-what to deal with the diskettes and getting a photoooo onto the World Wide Web involved more machinations than I care to remember, not to mention we had to dial up to get out to them thar tubes. But still. If it was a bad photoooo, you deleted it and moved on.

And here we are, taking photos with our phones and putting them out on them thar tubes instantaneously just about anywhere and any time. Cables and floppy disks be damned. Goofy expression? Fuzzy photo? Who the heck cares? Pitchers are cheap these days. Just delete the ones you don’t want unless you are lazy like me and have umpteen gazillion photos everywhere. They are nagging me to sort them out. Do I really need to? Yes and no. But that would be a whole ‘nother post.

I can’t end this without saying that I KNOW there are many people who *still* use film by choice. I think that is wonderful! They have a different approach to photography and I think that it’s important to keep “old” technology alive. There are many many ways to approach any art form. It isn’t an exact parallel but think about the mini-revival that’s been going on with vinyl records. I tried to get rid of my scratchy old albums a while back. Not so fast, Moom! But some of them are really scratchy because I played certain songs over and over and over again (on my cheap little record player). Moom, those are the best ones.

I will never be anything more than a rank amateur at photography but cheap, convenient digital photo technology has allowed me to improve and learn.

Octo Twitter play [snort]

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

franknifeSetting: Moominbeach, five years ago today, KW walking into the Moomincabin from wherever.

Octowoman: Where’s the sharpener?

KW: Where you hung it?

Octowoman: I looked there.

KW [looking “there”]: Um, there, where you hung it.


Oh my… Shades from the past. As if I don’t already have more iPhone apps than I can begin to use (note to KW, DE-CLUTTER!), I downloaded a cute li’l timehop app. I actually *use* the timehop app. Sometimes it makes me happy to see old photoooos and tweets (back when I actually tweeted, nowadays I mainly use The Twitter as a news aggregator). Other times, not so much. Today, it served me up an old tweet from 2010 that just plain cracked me up.

So let’s unpack it a little bit. First, what the *heck* is a “sharpener”? I do not remember this exchange. Was it a pencil sharpener? Or a… knife sharpener? Yikes! I *think* it was a pencil sharpener. Or maybe something else entirely because the pencil sharpener at the moomincabin does not “hang” anywhere.

Not to mention that I apparently walked into the cabin from god-knows-where, most likely the beach, given that it was early morning but could’ve been the grokkery store, the Lockview Laundromat, or whatever. My brain was most certainly not thinking about her “sharpener”.

Miss you, you feisty old octo/nona-woman. Your grandchild Mouse is over here tonight cadging food off of us, hogging our laundry facilities, and checking her garden(s). She brought us half a home-baked cherry-thyme pie. You made pies for 86 years (I have you saying that on video somewhere) and cherry was always my favorite. You didn’t put thyme in yours but I know you would approve your granddaughter’s experiment. Pie for breakfast tomorrow? Yes.

Freeway trifecta

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

grassIf I were the betting kind and I had bet on three accidents affecting [sorta] my homeward commute today, I’d’ve won the jackpot. I’m not the betting kind (except for $2 on a couple or five KD horses) and anyway, I spent the day immersed in organizing a serpentine set of html files with javascript around the edges, interrupted by a short detour into writing a quick little set of functional requirements. This is the kind of stuff I get paid to do but I will NOT go down in history for any of it and that’s okay.

Okay, the trifecta. #1: Truck “overhanging” (yes) on (off?) an overpass on Wayne Road, wherever that is, likely over closer to Daytwa, given that Detroit is in Wayne County. Eastbound freeway closed at I-dunno-where but prob’ly hosed in general. #2: A coupla fender-bender nincompoops on the State St. at the State/I94 interchange. That didn’t hose traffic tooooo much. #3: Traffic slowed just after I got onto the I94 18-wheel Clogway. Why? All I saw was a big gray utility truck crashed into the median barrier but apparently it was a multi vee-hickle crash. Eastbound again. I was going west and we sped up after we passed it. And then I saw a faaaar engine get on the freeway when I was getting off at Jackson. Sigh. Somebody is having a really bad day.

My commute wasn’t all that bad but art fair(s) setup is also hosing traffic all over town. Glad I don’t need to go downtown for anything the next few days. If I did, I’d walk. [Don’t worry, the GG will walk down on Friday and get tie-dyed tshirts without any logos. I hope they have sleeveless ones for Suz and Cap’n Ed in Fla 🐸. Anyone else want one? Size and sleeve length required. Quantities limited by how many he can schlep home on foot.]

And no, I am not feeling the blasted angst today. That is a good thing. At the moment I am enjoying a beautiful little rain storm that is sending some nice refreshing cool air into the Landfill and watering my flowers and Mouse’s Garden so I don’t have to do it tomorrow morning. That’s about all I have today and maybe that is a good thing.

Townie Party

Monday, July 13th, 2015

knightsFirst of all, I hate when people tell me their crazy dreams but here are some of the elements of the one I had early this morning between that Batscope hour and time to wake up…

— I was in high school.

— I needed to get my books out of my locker.

— I had “forgotten” to go to one class all semester and particularly needed that book.

— I could not find my locker. I knew my locker number but the lockers were scattered throughout the school in a random fashion. There was a “map” but it made absolutely no sense.

— Going up and down the stairs involved climbing ladders. Steel ladders that went straight up and down and didn’t provide a way to get off at the top other than asking the folks below you to *push* you off the top rung… Actually, that was so stressful, my brain found me some real stairs the next time I needed to change floors.

— School got out at 3:30 and it was 4:30 and I still could not find my locker. My mother would be home from work soon and I wouldn’t be there. [Two not necessarily related things here: 1) when I was actually IN high school, my mother taught at my school and 2) my brain broke into the dream to say, “You are a mature adult and your mom doesn’t care when you get home.” If you are one of my nine reglear nucular taggers, you know my mom is not even on the earth any more.]

— FINALLY, I found my locker. But then I couldn’t get the combination to work.

— I was fully clothed throughout the dream and didn’t have to p** so there was that.

Nevertheless, I was haunted by that dream all day. It is Art Fair Week on The Planet Ann Arbor and we had plans to walk downtown to attend the “townie party” that has been happening the Monday of Art Fair Week these last few years. We aren’t actually townies but we’ve lived here a pretty doggamn long time now and our children were born and raised here so they qualify as full-blooded townies. We’ve never attended the “townie party” and I was lukewarm about it. The GG was more interested.

We never made it to the townie party, at least not the one that happened downtown. I was anxious and cranky all day and even though we met up at one of our fave restaurants downtown (other than the Oscar Tango), it just wasn’t working out for me. We sat at the bar and, although the service was friendly, it seemed more disorganized than usual, with the staff madly running in and out to cover both the interior and the folks sitting outside. We asked for menus and made decisions about food and then no one came back to take our orders. I don’t fault the servers. It felt to me that the restaurant had not properly planned staff for today. But my already high anxiety level had risen and finally I said to the GG, “How ’bout let’s try our luck at Knights?” I meant the Knights in our neighborhood, not the new one down in the old Jacobson’s/Borders store on Liberty. Of all things, that turned out to be a go, so I put out my debit card and we paid (and tipped decently) and hoofed it all the way back over to the west side, where we ate at Knights’ bar.

Townie party? Knight’s is *always* a townie party, even if the folks have driven in from Pinckney or wherever. We talked to at least three different groups of people while we were there (one of them *from* Pinckney). Walked across the street to watch the skateboarders for a little bit afterward then home again.

That sure is a nice Chicken Box!

Sunday, July 12th, 2015

This is without a doubt the laziest day I have spent since last summer when I felt ill enough with a cold to actually use a sick day. When KW gets up, doesn’t feel like walking, and *cries* when Disco Lock acts up, you know she is sick 🐗 I remember thinking about working from home that day but then I decided if I did, the CRD would likely choose that day to start pinging me with Hard Questions, so I sat on the Green Couch watching all the dogz go by aaalllll day. I downloaded the book The Snow Child onto my phone that afternoon and read the whole dern thing.

I am not sick today. Just lazy. I did take my walk this morning but then I couldn’t get interested in doing anything constructive. Maybe it’s an effect of the swinging around I did yesterday. I dunno. I do know that slodging around this morning was driving me absolutely nuts so finally we got in the Frog Hopper, headed down to the river and out to the western regions of Washtenaw County, picking up some BIG cups of coffee out at Bearclaw on North Territorial. If we’re gonna be lazy, we might as well be lazy out in nature.

Randomly driving around on back roads, we screeched to a halt upon encountering a little preserve. We hadn’t really planned on hiking but the paths were mowed (yes, mowed), so we decided to take a look. Beautiful little place, West Lake Preserve. Except for the insects. It was fly-ey in the area where I took the pitcher but that was tolerable because they didn’t seem to be the biting kind. Then we got into the woods over by the lake. Mo-skee-toes? Yes. Not good. In my tank top and short [hiking] skirt, I was particularly unprepared so we eventually bailed. But we’ll return.


And that, my nine friends, is about it. Well, until this. I took a little walk through the schoolyard and woods late this afternoon. I encountered my dog friend Ginger and her often beleaguered owner. When the GG took a similar walk, he encountered this, uh, alien?


It is an odd thing to encounter in our normally quiet, friendly woods but I will never forget one hot, swampy summer when the beach urchins were small. We were sleeping in the back room with the doorwalls open to try to attain some semblance of coooooool. In the middle of the night, someone started “rapping” in the woods. It was a slow hot-summer-night kind of rap and not scary at all, just someone communing with god or the moon or whatever. The next day we found a partial bottle of Gatorade out there.