Archive for November, 2015

Current Shower Procedure

Monday, November 30th, 2015

darthbarberThis procedure is in effect while we still have running hot water. I’m sure it’ll change once we lose running hot water. Will that be on about Wednesday? We’ll see…

This procedure starts the night before my morning shower.

Night before:
— Organize clothing to take down to the Landfill Dungeon to put on in the morning: Turtleneck sweater, polartech vest, article of flinging at end-of-day, clean underwear.
— Turn hot water on in kitchen.
— Take organized clothing down to dungeon and bring washtub up.
— Fill washtub partway with hot water.
— Take washtub downstairs and wash feet. (I wash my feet every afternoon.)
— Dump foot water out in laundry tub, set washtub up to dry and ascend stairs.
— Put socks on.
— Put leggings, tights, and socks on the Green Couch so they’ll be there in the morning.

— Turn thermostat up to 68, which is way hotter than usual.
— Take shower in Landfill Dungeon.
— Put underwear, article of flinging, turtleneck sweater, and polartech vest on.
— Go upstairs and sit on the Green Couch to put on tights, leggings, and socks. It’s dark in the living room, so no one can see me from outside and I don’t disturb the GG, who is still surfacing from sleep at this point.

Love y’all. Hope you are having as much fun as we are! And hope none of this was TMI!

Ending a five-hike day watching sandhill cranes land

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

Five hikes for me anyway. First hike, the usual 0-dark-30 neighborhood thingy. That’s where I get three quarters of my daily 10,000 steps outta the way. Bright and early. Strike the bright because morning in no way approaches bright at this time of year. So no pics.

Second hike was relatively short but it did allow me to hit my 10,000 steps. Mill Creek at Dexter. Mostly boardwalk. Frosty boardwalk at that, which means potentially slippery. It wasn’t really that bad and I only had a minor slip a couple times. I mean that the toe of my Keen sandal slipped a fraction of an inch. I did not come anywhere near falling at any time but I was careful. The beautiful pic below belies the fact that we are within sight of downtown Dexter including the BP station where the GG got gas and picked us up. We had lost track of him at that point. I thought he was wandering around the adjacent cemetery as he is wont to do but then he texted us from the gas station.


Third hike was a short one over to the Plum with Lizard Breath. DIY Turkey leftover wraps for lunch! No pics.

Fourth hike. I walked downtown and the GG picked me up. The pond at West Park had a skim of rather sloppy ice upon it. I was a bit surprised because the temperature was in the upper 30s at this point.


Fifth hike. This was also a very short hike. The GG picked me up with the Frog Hopper on Washington Street between Ashley and Main (a pizza delivery guy behind him was NOT patient but neither was the GG in a couple other situations today) and we headed straight west out to the Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary (google it if you want, I’m too lazy to link) to watch sandhill cranes land for the night. We wanted to get there close to sunset and so we did and here is a pic albeit this is *not* where they land. This a lake on the property and there is way too much water for a sandhill crane here.


The sun set at 5:04 PM today (yes, really) and we hung around at Haehnle watching cranes come in until 5:07 at which time I was kind of done. It is always fun to watch the cranes land but we didn’t see the multitudes that we have sometimes seen at that location. An official Crane Counter happened to be there and he explained how finicky sandhill cranes can be about their environment (water levels, etc.). He also said that the cranes have not left southern lower Michigan for the year yet, that they are *everywhere* in the general area, just not necessarily in the area we could see from the sanctuary.

Such a wonderful end to a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. Many many many things to give thanks for. The GG, who can rig up a shower in the Landfill Dungeon out of old parts and adult children who, well, just are who they are. I never have to worry about them (well, except for snow driving and Grizzly Bear trips, etc. but that’s mom stuff…) and they seem to like to spend time with us whenever wherever. And there are our huge, wonderful extended families everywhere. Fin, MacMu, Courtois. Love you all. Truly.

At least it’s in the right colors [snort]

Saturday, November 28th, 2015


Twitter play:

Setting: Just outside the Landfill Once Blue and Always [Maybe] Only Bathroom…

The GG: Are you going to take a shower?

Lizard Breath: Yes.

The GG: I won’t look down if you won’t look up. [Explanatory note: you can glimpse the Landfill Dungeon through the cracks between the floorboards in the Once Blue and Always [Maybe] Only Bathroom.]

Fully functioning water closet or not, we seem to be running a decent hotel here because our beach urchins came over to The Landfill on Wednesday night and one of them is still here. Or maybe it is the Death Marches we sponsor for our guests. Today I surpassed 30K steps on my fitbit for the first time and I wasn’t even trying.

Sponsored Death Marches of the day? Farmers Market at 0-skunk-30. Our guest [wisely] chose to stay in bed a bit longer on this cold, dark morning so she missed that one. Yer fav-o-rite blahgger took a quick jaunt to the Plum Market to obtain supplies for a little eggy-type breakfast for our guest. Finally an odyssey: Downtown, then down Main to the stadium where there was some kind of big sporting event going on today. We were merely tourists in terms of that event so we headed back up Main to downtown. We ascertained that there weren’t three bar seats in a row anywhere at the Griz, so we headed up the street and obtained a “beer” and lunch at the ABC Brewpub. Haven’t been there in *years* but it will definitely be added to our Saturday Walk Downtown for Lunch “rotation”.

Then back to the Landfill where our guest gathered up all of her laundry, etc. and put it in Ruby and… then… I nagged the GG to make a faaaaaar in the faaaaarplace. We have had very few faaaars so far this season. Too warm for the most part. After quiiiiite some nagging, the GG eventually made said faaaaar. Our guest bagged a homeward trip, retrieved her laundry, etc. from Ruby and then demanded dinner! Which works out well since we have tons of Thanksgiving leftovers here and I think we have eaten out for every meal *since* Thanksgiving dinner.


Bonus Twitter play:

The GG: Doesn’t it feel weird to be walking around the basement with no clothing on?

Null but in a gentler way than last Friday

Friday, November 27th, 2015

No need for a Beach Day today. I wasn’t at any time White Hot Angry at anything or anybody today. It was a pretty good day. Telecommuted for a good half day, then walked downtown for shopping (local shopping, not Black Friday stuff) and lunch at the Red Hawk (with a beach urchin). Rained ALL day. Umbrella rain, that is. Then walked home, then walked downtown again for cocktails and dinner at the Oscar Tango with npJane (and a beach urchin) and a dose of porterization. After all that walking, we cadged a ride home with npJane. After popcorn (I was hungry believe it or not) and a couple Downtown Abbey episodes, it seems to be STILL raining. Very dark day in general but feeling pretty good after spending time with beach urchins, a cousin, and friends. G’night. Here’s our window view from the Oscar Tango tonight, minus the gargoyle.


Mimosas, Samosas, and Gobblebombing

Thursday, November 26th, 2015

And a few other things like Eggs Benny on Gertrude.


And gobblebombing. This guy is taking a little break from gobblebombing.


We watched the Dee-troit parade. I should say that we turned the parade on. I was so excited about watching the Detroit Thanksgiving Day parade when I was a child. My grandparents lived in Detroit and all my mom’s relatives lived in neighboring suburbs and I always wanted to go to the parade. Alas, we lived five hours away from Detroit and about all I could ever do was watch it on TV up in Sault Ste. Siberia. Black and white TV. I don’t care any more about going to the parade. A little slice of it on TV suffices. And so today we saw an *awesome* middle school marching band (first middle school band in the parade EVER) but then there were these… uh, elves…


My Mouse was sitting in a little nook where she couldn’t see the TV but she could *hear* the elves singing. The singing was pretty awful and their costumes were really awful too. I couldn’t entice Mouse to come around to where she could see what the elves were wearing so I took the pic above and texted it to her. Who on earth thinks that families are not communicating with each other on holidays just because they are tethered to their phones…

I am apparently collecting things even while I am getting rid of things. The turkey planter and chicken couple match my turkey plate (the last xmas gift I received from The Commander, from an antique store in Sault Ste. Siberia). If you ever manage to make a trip to the beautiful little city of Manistee and you have any interest in antiques at all (and I normally don’t…), stop in at Maryann’s. Just do it. And eat lunch at TJ’s Pub. You won’t regret it.


This walking to the Plum Market pic is turning out to be an annual tradition, where Liz takes a pic of me and Mouse walking to the Plum to pick up desserts and, today, champagne because the champagne we opened up for our mimosas today was as old as all getout and tasted of vinegar. We bought champagne and some other things too.


So here are our mimosas and samosas. “Samosas? Are you guys drinking?” I think this is a new “tradition”.


These big dirty snowballs were all over the schoolyard today. We reminisced about the only time my mouse ever came home crying from elementary school. She was in second grade and it had snowed and she had made a couple of beauteous snowballs and Some Others had threatened to destroy them. We saddled up Sugar (a green pink plastic sled tethered to the front door) and I helped her haul those snowballs home, where they were free to melt safely in our front yard.


Our Thanksgiving temperatures differ pretty wildly. We were lucky enough to get up to 60 degrees today and so our walk over to Miller Woods was very comfortable. And here is my fav-o-rite fledermaus standing below her house.


As we were walking home, Goose and Karl arrived at The Landfill. The GG had fallen asleep and, not recognizing that they were not his spouse or biological children, groggily told them he wasn’t ready to wake up yet. It was okay. We were almost home and we rescued them, not that they needed rescuing as they are welcome in our home at any time. And now I am about done for the night.

Love y’all and hope you had a good Thanksgiving!

P.S. Mouse is right (see comments). Sugar was a pink sled. Jealousy was green.

What are you doing for Thanksgiving? Probably not what we’re doing ;-)

Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

The GG took the day off today and I asked him to text me pics of the Blue and Only Bathroom Demolition scheduled to take place. The first couple pics showed some progress, including the Blue and Only Terlet in the Blue and Only Bathtub (not shown). And then there was this!


I have to admit that when I saw this, the first thing that came to mind was something like, “What the heck are we doing and why are we doing it on a holiday weekend?” And then, where is the Blue and Only Terlet?

I was much happier when I received the next photoooo, which shows that all of the debris has been removed and they are taking out the vintage 1959 floor tile. I did a few cartwheels over this one! (Oh, not really. I have not done a cartwheel in 40 years.) Re-reading this to check for typos and odd commas and things, I feel a pang for the folks who originally bought this once-new ticky-tacky kind of house back in 1959. I’m gonna guess that they loved that [new/fancy] tile and it was probably wonderful back in 1959. We won’t fast forward 50-something years into the future until somebody questions my design choices.


Okay, the Blue and Only Terlet returns. Whew! Y’know, the Blue and Only Terlet works like always and this room with its bathmats and things is actually pretty comfortable. The scary part about this photoooo is that many times in my life I have used bathrooms in people’s homes that looked kind of like this. Long renovation works in progress stalled due to lack of money or cheeeeep crappy rental units (due to lack of money). Or just plain lack of money. This kind of thing is different than outhouses. I know about those too, oh boy oh boy.


I was expecting to have to fill up a Bag Shower for tomorrow morning but the GG surprised me with a pretty dern luxe Landfill Dungeon Shower! It’s hard to see it all in the pic but our existing shower head is hooked up to the laundry tub faucets and our existing shower curtains are strung up for privacy and there’s a cute little Soap/Shampoo Station and a kayak paddle towel rack (that’s to the left outside the pic). I will have to use the Bag Shower for a couple days when they re-jigger the water heater but this li’l shower makes me so happy! Yay for Courtois Family boyz!


The Last Shower

Tuesday, November 24th, 2015

I washed my feet in the Blue and Only Bathtub after work today for the last time. Tomorrow morning will be the Last Shower. Sorry about the general grossness of the photooos. Suave Ocean Breeze shampoo (soap fo[r] ha[ir] is what one of my cute little beach urchins called shampoo when she was a brand new talker) is my only hair “product”. I think we used to buy Freesia but I couldn’t find it at one point. I switched to Ocean Breeze and haven’t looked back. I keep a stash at Houghton Lake (and anyone there is welcome to use my shampoo at any time if they don’t prefer a different product💜) and I supply the Moomincabin with it for the summer and take whatever is left at the end of summer home. That back-washing thingy came in sorta handy when my right wrist (pinky finger) was in a cast except when it fell apart…


I will be sooooo glad when I don’t have to use a wet washcloth to keep the drain open. I have been using this technique for 30-some years. It works but it is gross. I am currently in the habit of switching out the washcloth with great frequency. That hasn’t always been true though and I have thrown a few of them out rather than contaminate a load of laundry.


Certified Kitchen Bathroom Lady says that this tile is the original tile and I believe her. No the bathmat does not match it at all. I do not have a clue why I didn’t buy a plain color bathmat. When we bought The Landfill, there was actually blue carpet in there. It was removable but it disintegrated after I washed it a few times and I eventually jettisoned it. Carpeted bathrooms don’t do it for me.


And then there’s the chimney that we’re removing. It’ll still be a small bathroom but getting rid of this useless 1959 artifact will gain us a wee bit of space.


A gratuitous shot of the Blue and Only Terlet. TMI to talk much about my long-running relationship with that terlet. Goodbye.


I’ll remove the remaining stuff in this closet after I take my Last Shower tomorrow morning. We’re keeping the closet but cleaning it up. It is on the back end of the tub faucets and shower head.


And then there is this. The chimney.


I hope the DreamMaker guys don’t freak out about this artifact every time they walk into the basement. I ALWAYS DO!!!! HINT HINT HINT! Of course, The Commander wore the mask on occasion…


Conflationary crap

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

turkeyI am sorry to report that there is nothing new in terms of Family Gossip around here. That is to say, we have no idea what the powderpost beetles are doing to the Old Cabin up there on the Moominbeach. I think that C*Q*L is probably too busy being a 3rd-grader to check on it for us and that is a good thing.

The occasion for potential Family Gossip was that npJane came over to exchange a whole bunch of seasons of Downton Abbey DVDs for season 5. Yay! We are anxious to get on with our journey through early 20th century English landed gentry or whatever. I love that I have been cousin-ified twice in just a few days. npJane is the “baby” cousin on the Fin side. Doppelganger cousin Maija is 3rd from youngest on the Mac side. My brother and cousin Doug were born after her. Yes, I am a nerd and I am off on a tangent but just to say that I love all of my cousins very much. In the last few days, I have had as much fun connecting with a cousin that I haven’t known very well but seems like my doppelganger in so many ways as I have with a cousin I have known and loved since she was a baby and see frequently.

So, what is that in my backpack? It is a turkey, of course. I swore to backpack most of our Thanksgiving food home. I think this is the first time I have ever bought a turkey at the grocery store and walked home with it. Not to mention that I was walking over a lot of ice. I joked with the cashier that if I fell on the way home, I would fall on the turkey (in my backpack). Not sure that would be a particularly good thing but I didn’t fall and you may be able to see that I bought a small turkey (11.5 pounds). I think that’s all we’ll need. We’ll stuff it with clementines and lemons and drape it with bacon and cook it on the gas grill.

Come on over. It’ll be fun!

Love y’all. -KW

Sun Day

Sunday, November 22nd, 2015

I was annoyed at myself this morning because I got up a half hour “late”. That means 6:00 AM instead of 5:30 AM. Now, first. Late? I didn’t have *anywhere* to be this morning. The GG headed over to DayTwa to watch the Lions lose again WIN! He left early and was gone all day. I had a random list of chores and things to do. I am not quite as organized this Thanksgiving as I usually am for various reasons that I’ll prob’ly blahg more about later this week. The point I’m taking forever to get to is that, by getting up a half hour late, the rising sun offered some photo ops that I would not have encountered if I had left for my walk at the usual time because my entire walk would’ve been in the dark. I know these are on both facebook and instagram. Sorry. Or something like that.




I managed to more or less get some of the things done on my amorphous list. I’m not sure how many of those things I got done because amorphous. (My children are probably ready to fling muskellunges at me for adopting the “because” thing). Anyway, one of the things that was a challenge for quite a while today was obtaining Turkey Parts to make gravy. I did see turkey wings or something at the Plum Market a few weeks ago but I did not buy them then. And now they do not have them. Meijer ALWAYS has them. Okay, I’ll just head out there early Sunday morning. Problem. Our street was a fricking mess with unplowed snow this morning. Ruts and everything. The Frog Hopper was just fine with the snow, ruts and all, but it headed off to DayTwa and I didn’t feel strong enough to try to blast through the snow with the Ninja, which has taaaars that are not designed for snow from the getgo and also needs new taaaarrrs. I waited a while until the temps rose a bit and eventually, I got out to Meijer without incident (after I got from our neighborhood street onto N. Maple, that was a challenge) and also got gasoline and whatever.

Our street was still a mess this afternoon but I wanted to walk some more and so I drove the Ninja down to Barton Dam and did our fave urban hike, which is where I got the photooos below. When I got back into the Ninja to back it out of its ICY parking spot, the taaaaars were spinning a bit. Yeek. I panicked for a split-second. I didn’t want to ask the young couple who were having fun picking their way down the icy hill to the river for help. I can do this. I am an old Yooper. Somehow, someway, my old Yooper driving skills kicked into gear. I rocked the Ninja a wee bit (with the stick shift) and then I turned the wheel so as to back the car out of whatever icy ruts had formed where I parked it. And I was outta there! Yay!

So here are a few photooos from my solo urban hike down at Barton Dam. Love y’all.




Identical cousins…

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

novembersnowWell, first of all, can I just I’m sorry if I told anyone that I thought the winter storm was just hype. I KNOW BETTER THAN THAT. I AM A LIFE-LONG MICHIGANDER. I AM A YOOPER! I KNOW BETTER THAN THAT. I KNOW BETTER THAN THAT. I KNOW BETTER THAN THAT. JEEBUS!

We had a snowstorm today. The first snow of the season here and it is a doozy. But before all of that, or maybe when it was just starting, I had a chance to meet with the cousin I probably know the least, which is a shame because we look a LOT alike. Last weekend, she changed her fb profile pic and, when I saw the notification, my first thought was something like, “I didn’t change my profile pic!” I am one of 11 cousins on the Fin side and one of 9 on the Mac side. I feel fortunate that I knew each and every one of those cousins as I was growing up. We share some family resemblances but we mostly don’t look much like each other.

I knew the cousin of this morning’s meeting when we were children but I didn’t know her well. Actually, I was around shortly after her birth. The Comm and I flew down to The Planet Ann Arbor to help out with the new baby. About all I remember about that trip is that the windows on the airplane were round on the way down and square on the way back. Something like that. She doesn’t remember anything about me then because she was a newborn baby. We have met at a few family events over the years but I am such a wallflower at parties that I have never really connected with her. But wow, do we look alike.

Enter facebook… We met at the Arborland Starbucks this morning. When I pulled the Ninja into a parking spot just outside of Starbucks, I saw her sitting right there inside and she saw me and so we waved “I know you”. And then we talked. And talked and talked and the GG was there too and it was all so much fun and then we stopped off at my aunt and uncle’s house (her parents) with her and we all talked some more and then the GG and I schlepped (slowly as the roads deteriorated) back over to our side of town with promises to include my identical cousin on our next trip to the PAC Northwest, whenever that may be… Not only do we look a lot alike, I think we think a lot alike too. So much love. Same sense of humor and I *think* similar outlooks on life, etc.

After that, the GG and I walked downtown (in the snow) to the Grizzly Peak for lunch. A young patron and his partner noticed the GG’s North Country Trail patch on his backpack and was brave enough to engage us in conversation about the NCT, etc. So much fun.

Home and eventually a walk over to the Plum Market for a few grokkeries. The pic is what the N. Maple / Dexter intersection looked like. I was on foot. Multiple Plum Market folks asked me to take care. I told them that I had walked and I wished them all a good drive home.

Friday, November 20th, 2015


Gin margaritas

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

ginmargaritasToday? My friend became Bubbe for the second time today and there is another one on the way. Grandchildren are raining upon her and I am very happy for her.

I arrived at work on Monday to find that the UberBoss had hired a new person for our team. Surprise surprise surprise. Her computer finally arrived today. Jeebus… She is wonderful and I will be happy to work with her. It’s kind of an odd feeling to have a new hire on my particular team. I have been working there for eight years and because it’s been that long since we have hired a new person, I still feel a wee bit like the new kid on the block, even though I am definitely not. This week I have made a quantum leap into old baggyness.

I am determined to schlep 95% of our Thanksgiving food via backpack. This afternoon, I schlepped over to the Plum and purchased cranberries, Canadian bacon (Eggs Benny), olive oil (because I needed it anyway), Hollandaise sauce packs, and salad bar lettuce (for tonight because I am out of farmers market red leaf lettuce). I’ll get as much fresh stuff as I can from the farmers market on Saturday plus multiple trips to the Plum throughout the weekend and next week. It’ll be fun!

I will be packing up the Landfill Bathroom this weekend so it can be gutted, along with the chimney. This is nowhere near as huge a prodject as packing up the Landfill Chitchen but I still have to do it.

I am posting this pic of The Comm and Radical Betty because I have been thinking about generations today. And holiday dinners. And who cooks them, etc. I do not have any kind of coherent thoughts about all of that at the moment. In the pic I have posted, The Comm and Radical Betty were in the moomincabin chitchen concocting margaritas. We had taken a boondoggle trip to Petoskey that day (Mouse and Aimee were with us) and I had lasagne in the oven. We figured out a few minutes later that The Comm had accidentally substituted gin for tequila in our margaritas. What did we do about that? We laughed like crazy! We were having so much fun and I miss that generation so much!

Cranberries? Cranberries? Oh yeah…

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

daisyUsually by this time of November (especially with a “late” Thanksgiving), I have the gravy and cranberry sauce and sometimes even the mashed potatoes pre-made and in the freezer. This year? Turkey? What turkey? But we’ll get to that. It isn’t that I haven’t spent a moment or two or ten here and there thinking about my Thanksgiving menu (don’t fergit about the Eggs Benny in the morning, KW) but I am NOT organized and it took a facebook post to remind me about cranberry sauce.

I have been especially annoyed about all of the crap people are posting sharing on facebook lately. If you are reading this and occasionally do that kind of thing, I am not annoyed at you! But I love when people post little slices of their lives MUCH MORE than when they repost “funny” cat/dog thingies or poorly researched articles, etc., etc., ad nauseam. And so tonight, a friend posted about how her cats haven’t exactly done their job lately because she observed a Scurry Mouse, uh, scurrying along around the perimeter of the room. Been there, done that, no cats here. She was so intent on solving the Rodent Problem that she took off to the hardware store to obtain a different trap… forgetting… that she had cranberries cooking on the stove… Yes, her house is still standing, as is her recently renovated kitchen. Apparently the cranberries were ruined along with the pan.

My take-away from this? I need to buy cranberries. Top item on my list though? TURKEY!!! I intended to order a heritage turkey from Mr. Chicken at the farmer’s market. I asked him about it a few weeks ago and I was hit with such a huge barrage of [friendly] talk about how he doesn’t really have any heritage turkeys this year that I finally feigned a bathroom emergency to get away from him. Oh, not really. But as much as I love Mr. Chicken (and I do) I think I will schlep a turkey home from the Plum Market this weekend. Along with a whole bunch of other stuff from the Plum and/or the farmers market.

If you know any of us, you might know that although we aren’t the biggest eaters on earth, we do eat WELL and so we will on Thanksgiving. I do need to make a list though.

P.S. You might be wondering (or maybe not) why I am so distracted about Thanksgiving a mere week before it happens. If you are thinking something like, “She’s suffering from early Alzheimer’s” (say it in a snarky high-pitched voice, please), you would be wrong. What you may not remember is that by Thanksgiving Day, it is a strong possibility that we will not have a fully functional bathroom and will be taking showers via the bag shower in the Landfill Dungeon. It’ll be fun fun fun now that mama took the shower away (that is a video link) but thankfully The Landfill Chitchen will be intact [knock on wood] for its second Thanksgiving!

Making sense (or not)

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

beaverpondSo many things in my life have not made a lot of sense in the last few years. Common sense please? PLEASE? And then there was my first work email of the morning…

I couldn’t describe my systems analyst job in under about 10,000 words and I won’t describe the email chains (from last week) that I came home to yesterday. I researched the issues thoroughly and answered in detail. As I always do, I ended with, “I hope I am making sense.” In other words, if you don’t understand what I have written, don’t get into a panic and skew it in some bizarre way. Let’s just talk about it!

Yesterday wasn’t the best work day I have ever had in my life but it doesn’t in any way measure up to the time I stormed out of my Childhood Job when a programmer I worked pretty closely with insulted me (and my intelligence). Or so I thought. I was not fired for bailing out like that. I wasn’t even reprimanded. My boss Byron understood. Byron is dead now and Adult Me thinks I could’ve handled that whole thing differently. In fact, I can’t even remember exactly what made me so angry that day. That programmer and I worked together happily for many years after that. We should’ve *talked* just a bit.

I learned a lot about how to deal with people during my Childhood Job. In my adult job, I use those skills a lot. Because I often have to write email messages that detail very complicated issues and I am not always sure I have articulated those issues comprehensibly and because many of my highly intelligent colleagues know English as a second language, I almost always end with something like, “I hope I am making sense.” What I mean by that is a warm, “Please talk to me if I said something incomprehensible and we’ll go from there.”

My first email today? It was from a co-worker who I have great respect for: “You always make sense.” I soooooo neeeeeeeded that. (Although I’m not sure it is always true.)

This November is a lot warmer than last November although snow is on the horizon. Click here to check out last year on this date.

Yes, my Halloween lights are still up!

Monday, November 16th, 2015

skeletorWanna make something of it?

I was planning to take down those lights the day after Halloween but the day after Halloween turned out to be a pretty damn gorgeous day and Eastern Standard Time happened, which made the sun go down an hour earlier and I kind of wanted to turn on some fun holiday-type lights, so I turned them on again. And then the next weekend we didn’t take them down either and then we took a much-needed long beautiful weekend rattling around the northern lower and there was no way I was gonna take ’em down when we got home yesterday because BECAUSE.

And then, when I got home from work tonight, I noticed that somewhere along the way, the Ninja GPS had switched into night mode and today was a day I don’t want to repeat any time soon (the truth will set you free and that is all y’all need to know especially if you are a goddamn liar). Anyway, you know I turned on my Halloween lights again when I got home today. I also took a walk to the Plum. It was a beautiful warm afternoon and I loved checking out the waxing crescent moon on my way over there and back, hazy as it was tonight. Hey, we had snow up the wazoo at this time last year. 60 degrees? I’ll take it!

I was feeling a wee bit embarrassed about having the skeleton lights up even though I use xmas twinkle lights year-round to provide ambient light and atmosphere in The Landfill. Still, these are holiday-specific (as you can see) and there is a time to take those down. Although our main string of xmas lights stays up year-round and, when friends talk about putting up their xmas lights, I always rather gleefully say something like, “I turned mine on today.”

But then I was craning myself outside the door to put some stuff into the recycle cart and our lovely neighbors were walking by and wouldn’t you know, their BABY (7-8 months old by now) LOVES our lights. And so they will stay for now. Love.

Home from rattling around the northern lower

Sunday, November 15th, 2015


All I’ve got to say is that we are home again after a wondrous long weekend at the Courtois Cabin at Houghton Lake and Chloe Belle’s beauteous home at Gaylord.

If you are one of my nine regular readers, you have seen my pics from the Great White North. Houghton Lake, Manistee, Jordan River Valley, Michaywe. Our drive home today was a piece of cake. I unpacked everything and then I walked over to the Plum Market and, as I was walking back out, I could see the waxing crescent moon over in the southwest. I backpacked my grokkeries home and set them inside the door, then I took a wee bit of a sunset walk back in the wee woods behind our house. I had been thinking we could drive over and walk around Barton Dam when we got home but the GG got the lawn mower out to bag up leaves and I decided not to disturb that.

Can you see the waxing crescent moon in today’s pic?

Cobweb Sweep

Saturday, November 14th, 2015

I woke up at 5:29 AM, exactly one minute before the iPhone alarm I set started chirping (crickets). Up, shower, and out. As we were driving over toward Mancelona, it started snowing to beat the band and I was glad it was dark and my window was foggy because I had made the executive decision to wear hiking sandals and I did not want to know how much snow was on the ground. I was relieved when we got to the trailhead and found no more snow coming down and not much on the ground. And the sun was coming up.


Like my footwear? I am wearing tights and smartwool socks inside these shoes and that combination keeps me warm down to about 10 degrees as long as I am walking somewhere dry. They were actually perfect for today’s conditions.


The sun rose a bit higher…


I was discouraged from using this old outhouse. It was okay, I wasn’t desperate 🐗. What was fun was the discussion it kicked off about all the old outhouses we grew up with and some of us still use, at least occasionally. And then just around the corner, we reached the top of Deadman’s Hill, where there is a modern outhouse, if that makes any sense.


Today’s hike was a special treat. Not only is the Jordan Valley a gorgeous area, we hooked up with the Jordan Valley 45 North Country Trail chapter, a different chapter than our familiar Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore friends. New friends made the world a wee bit smaller by the end of the hike. Here are the Twinz of Terror signing in to the log.


Cobweb Sweep? See the kid in the Twinz of Terror photo? He is a phenomenal hiker. For a while I was in the lead and he was bouncing around behind me. I finally asked him if he’d rather be out ahead of me. The answer? Well, no because then he would run into all of the cobwebs. My friends, there were no cobwebs today. I think it was too cold for cobwebs. But I understood how he felt and was honored to serve as Cobweb Sweep.

We hiked around nine miles and then met up with The Beautiful Gay at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Gaylord for lunch. Not a restaurant that is on my radar screen. I have eaten at one ONCE, with The Engineer and his family in East Lansing, and you know that was a long time ago because he has been dead for 10 years. But the wings hit the spot today and now we are slodging around in Michaywe.

Did you know that nematodes are virtually everywhere?

Friday, November 13th, 2015

michaywesnowThis is what Nathan Cobb, “father of nematology”, had to say:

In short, if all the matter in the universe except the nematodes were swept away, our world would still be dimly recognizable, and if, as disembodied spirits, we could then investigate it, we should find its mountains, hills, vales, rivers, lakes, and oceans represented by a film of nematodes. The location of towns would be decipherable, since for every massing of human beings there would be a corresponding massing of certain nematodes. Trees would still stand in ghostly rows representing our streets and highways. The location of the various plants and animals would still be decipherable, and, had we sufficient knowledge, in many cases even their species could be determined by an examination of their erstwhile nematode parasites.

This stuff is all on Wiki-pee so you can take it with a grain of salt if you want or do a more in-depth study if you so choose. Or maybe you wish you could Unlearn this cute little bit of knowledge.

Wonderful breakfast at Little Boots and then the usual Reedsburg Dam Cruise with The Beautiful Liz this morning, then more slodging around at the group home than maybe either of us envisioned. We eventually mobilized to head up to the Uncly Uncle and Beautiful Gay’s house in Gaylord, where we were greeted enthusiastically by Chloe Belle and Daisy upon our arrival. Dinner at the country club soon, then early to bed to get up and get to a trailhead for a 7:30 AM North Country Trail hike.

Good night, KW

When the weather turns craptastic, go to the beach!

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

Change in plans! The plan? Head north and west to hike a bit of the North Country Trail, then continue up to Traverse City for dinner at Bode’s Bum Steer and an overnight. For various reasons — weather and logistical stuff too complex to write about coherently, we bagged that plan and headed over to the west coast. The west coast of The Great Lake State, that is, Lake Michigan, where they were predicting 12-20 foot waves in some places. We chose Manistee because it is pretty much a straight shot west from Houghton Lake. Was it windy? Yes. 12-20 foot waves? Not so much. Beautiful anyway. The GG walked out on this structure.


I was a bit more reticent although later on I kind of regretted that I didn’t walk out there too. There were fishermen out there sitting right next to The Dreaded Edge.


These great lakes crashers are nowhere near as freaky as the swells we encountered when Cap’n Ed “nosed” us out into the Gulf back in April. Still, even the GG did not walk out on this particular breakwater (most of it is to the right off the frame, waves crashing everywhere).


Safely on the beach now and we have had banks like this at the moominbeach the last couple years. I made the GG pose for this so you can see that these banks are taller than us medium-sized humans. The ones at the moominbeach not so tall and I remember visiting beach dog MiaPet scampering up and down them with aplomb.


We were certainly not the only people at the beach today. We exchanged pleasantries about the beautiful weather with these fishermen, who had already caught a bunch of fish.


Just some more waves… Oh… I guess I didn’t mention the dead deer just to the right out of the frame. I didn’t even notice it at first. Back when The Engineer was still walking the earth, I used to post dead aminals on my blahg. I don’t do it any more. I *have* a pic. I thought it would be fun to text it to the GG but he was too busy to look at it for eons and when he finally did, his phone momentarily malfunctioned and wouldn’t let him embiggen it so he thought it was a bird or whatever and I finally had to show him *my* pic. So much for that wee bit of fun.


After the beach, we headed to the main street with the goal of finding lunch and a beer. We had a place in mind but we decided to look around the shops first. Then we encountered Mary Ann’s antique shop. I did not want to go in any antique shop. I am flinging, don’tcha know? Okay, just let’s not stay in here long. Wouldn’t you know *I* ended up spending $60 and coveting a peacock blue glass candy dish that would be great up on top of my cabinets with the other colored glassware… As I was chatting with Mary Ann at the checkout, I thought to ask, “Where’s a good place to get a little lunch and a beer?” TJ’s was the enthusiastic answer. Just down the street. As we walked across the street to check out TJ’s, a young woman who obviously worked there was heading in our direction and she was so friendly we knew we were in the right place. And we were! Craft beer for Bill and cab for me and BLTs for both. And what do you think of this building? TJ’s is on the bottom level, the other levels seem to be a B&B, once a bank, given that there is a vault or two in there. It was reminiscent of the bank I barely remember my old coot working in when I was a small child.


Mini-vacay or not, Thursday is a business day and so I found a missed call and voice mail as we were rattling around Manistee. For once it was something good — Dreammaker Bath and Kitchen calling to schedule a pre-production meeting next Friday. We are back at the group home now scrabbling dinner together with The Beautiful Liz (who has made a loverly faaaaar in the faaaarplace) and looking forward to more Downton Abbey tonight. More fun is on tap for tomorrow. You’ll have to stay tuned to know what it is. Hope y’all are having fun too and that your weather is as craptastically beautiful as ours is! Seeya on the beach! (But not tomorrow.)

Pimpy Cat Walking

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

hlsunshineSo, yesterday I got to work and nobody was working The Window so I set myself up there and a guy came in and I *swear* I heard him say he was just walking his cat. It may have been that I have to talk to people at The Window through an American flag but I also felt a bit like I was under water. But then he said a name that I recognized as a new contractor, so I scooted over to the LSCHP’s office and I could *swear* he said something about a pimp. I think I asked “whaaat?” about three times. The guy at the window did *not* look like a “pimp”. Where was his maroon suit? You know the one. It has shoulder pads and pink trim. Where was his matching Caddylac? We get UPS and Fedex and a few white Cereal Killer-looking vans that [big-office-supply-store] now contracts with to deliver paper and stuff. No fancy Caddylacs. Ever!!!

Of course no one was walking their cat and there were no pimps anywhere near my building. A poised, professional young woman was welcomed into the building and onto our team. Me? I was weary. Even after the LSCHP took the flag down. I sooooo needed a wee bit of vacay. I neeeeed a couple weeks more than I get in any case. I cannot complain about my benefits because they are generous. I just wish the norm for Corporate America was more. Like the Europeans get. Plus, last summer I spent a lot of my time off dealing with Titanium Pinky and the various splint/cast-type contraptions that kept her safe. The GG gets Veterans Day off as a paid holiday, so I decided to take some of whatever hours I have left this year to go north with him for the rest of the week.

We had a loverly uneventful drive up in the Frog Hopper pulling the Lyme Lounge, which will go into hibernation this weekend. It was beautiful here all afternoon and we finished off raking what leaves were left, cheered on badgered by the Neighborhood Busybody Nutcase. And now Liz (the GG’s sister, not our daughter) is here with us and we are scrabbling a Landfill leftover dinner together and having fun.

We have plans for more fun this long weekend but we’ll see what we do, since the weather is supposed to take a turn toward the craptastic. Stay tuned for more of our fun or make your own and write about it!

Love y’all, KW!