Archive for December, 2015

Digital bingy

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Slodgiest day on earth. I didn’t have any particular work mission plus I had 8 hours of use or lose. I had no missions here around The Landfill, although I did run Rooommmba around the basement a couple times. It is New Year’s Eve and we walked downtown to The Planet Ann Arbor and I love living on this planet, dontcha know.

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We had cocktails and dinner at the Oscar Tango and then we walked up the street. We did not stop at the Bar Louie although the faaaar was soooo inviting.

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We walked through The Diag and back. We saw at least 150 crows outside the grad libes.

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You never know exactly what you’re gonna get on New Year’s Eve on the Planet Ann Arbor. We have done a nightcap at our fave Grizzly Peak before. Tonight it was so crowded that we sneaked into the bathrooms (I’m outside) and then hoofed it back up to our neighborhood Knight’s, where there were actually empty seats at the bar.

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Happy New Year! Our plans for the weekend are indeterminate but I am hoping to get the xmas tree down and the place cleaned up. And some hiking…

Icy cold

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

cubelandThe day that is, even though it was above freezing the entire day. This post is all about updates. In no particular order.

Update 1: I am kinda at the end of anything good to work on but they seem to pay me anyway. It gets like this around this time of year every year and sometimes in between. I’ve learned to live with the ebb and flow of my particular flavor of systems analyst over the eight (EIGHT?) years I’ve worked at Cubeland and I was living through the slodginess of today. My I/M icon lit up. It was the LSCHP. “Your new laptop arrived. I locked it up.” “How long are you gonna be over there? I’ll come over and get it (cabin fever).” Yada yada (sorry moom, wherever you are) ensued and I jumped into the Ninja and schlepped over to Cubeland.

The LSCHP does things on his own time so there was a bit of a walk-about before we got to the one locked room in the building, where my new laptop was stowed. As he talked to the folks doing the renovation, I alternated between trying to look “impotent” (as my parents used to say) enough that I gave a you-know-what about what was going on and taking pictures/checking facebook on my phone.

Update 2: Our beauteous new bathroom was officially finished as of yesterday. We have been using it for weeks now but there was an issue that had to be corrected (that the contractor caught, btw, not us). Photos deserve a separate post, maybe after the new year.

Update 3: The TREE! As of this afternoon, the power lines are gone and both of the sidewalks leading into the schoolyard are clear. I sorta cannot get into the south half of the woods. I’m sure I could manage to figger out how to clamber over the HUGE tree trunk that still blocks the entrance. I thought about trying. I eyeballed the yellow tape. I thought about Titanium Pinky, although I don’t think clambering over that big log would cause an injury of any sort. I hemmed and hawed. In the end, I didn’t do it.

So this happened

Tuesday, December 29th, 2015

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I heard it fall. It rattled my windows. I looked around my own yard and didn’t see anything out of order. I did not actually suit up and walk around the corner to the woods. We were in the midst of a sleet storm. So I didn’t see it until I took off on my 0-skunk-30 walk this morning. First I encountered what I thought were branches down over the sidewalk. Okay, I’ll just go over to the other side. Or not. Do you have any clue how spooky it is to be walking along in pitch black and realize that a HUGE tree trunk is impeding your path?

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I climbed over it. Yes, that was an insane thing to do. Why? Because power lines. Yes, I KNOOOOOWWWWW how stoopid that was. It didn’t occur to me until later (after I had climbed *back* over the tree) that the reason it was extra pitch black in that area this morning was because the streetlight was out. I *was* using my iPhone flashlight though and if I had *seen* a downed power line, I’d’ve backed off right quick. The fence was already destroyed by a previous falling tree incident. We’ll see if the school district gets around to fixing it this time… … …

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One thing I did spy with my iPhone flashlight was a single tennis shoe. Under the tree trunk. Scared the living daylights outta me. Whose tennis shoe? Where was the foot it was attached to? I looked around. I did not see any evidence of, well you-know-what. Later on, when I went back over there in the light, a young Haisley student was there with her father and she (who plays over there a lot) confirmed that those shoes (there was a matching shoe that I didn’t encounter) had been *in* the tree.

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I walk through that area every morning and I frequently walk through it around the time the tree fell. Yesterday, I braved the elements to go to the Plum Market instead.

Floo powder or an apparation app or just beam me up!

Monday, December 28th, 2015

icestormSo, who visits the Moomincabin when its summer residents are not around. When I was a child, this was of much more concern because no one lived along the moominbeach during the off-season and it was (and still is) isolated enough that anyone could come in and loot and/or destroy cabins.

Nowadays, there are four homes along the moominbeach that are winterized and have people living in them throughout the year. I will not identify all of them except that the Grinch is one of them. The point is that I live five hours away from my family’s cabin but I do not spend a whole lot of time worrying about break-ins, etc. OF COURSE THEY COULD STILL HAPPEN! I could write a whole post about that. But that could happen here at The Landfill too. What I know is that there are relatives of mine going in and out all of the time and whether or not they are actively and specifically watching our place, they do notice things. They all drive in and outta there multiple times per day and there are more than a few folks that I don’t think I would want to run into if I was a burglar/vandal and the Grinch is definitely one of them.

Anyway, if anyone who bothers to read this blahg o’ blather and also lives at the moominbeach happened to see an unfamiliar vee-hickle drive in today, it was the Uncly Uncle and his son-in-law. The UU is welcome at the moominbeach at *any* time. The Commander had a special relationship with the Twinz of Terror and I’m sure she is smiling, knowing that the UU and Nick visited our beach today. I wanted to be there today and I hope that Nick will get a chance to visit during the warmer months someday. He and his family will be more than welcome.

Down here? It was a dark day but we enjoyed it anyway. I worked from home all day and that wasn’t bad, especially since I spent most of it sitting on the Green Couch (watching all the dogz go by) with Lizard Breath sitting quietly at the other end. At the end of the afternoon, I suited up to schlep over to the Plum (second time today, long story). It sounded AWFUL out there before I left with needly-sounding precipitation falling but my walk to the market invigorated me, even though ice was needling my face.

Visions of disembodied mouse ears

Sunday, December 27th, 2015

froogsEven though the temperature was above normal today, it was blacker than the ace of spades, windy and humid. Not very friendly for spending a whole lot of time outside. This is the kind of day that I would normally kick myself outside *anyway*, knowing that I would feel better for doing it. Instead, I hung around like a slug while the GG went to the Star Wars movie. Thinking back, I should prob’ly have either walked over to Miller Woods or droven myself down to the dam for an urban hike. Last year, I got a LOT done on the second day after xmas. I remember pushing myself to accomplish all of that stuff that day — and feeling quite accomplished at the end of the day. One of the reasons I didn’t do all that much today is because we have made enough flinging progress around here that the fugly Silence of the Lambs-looking dungeon closet I cleaned out a year ago today has almost nothing in it, i.e., we haven’t packratted a whole bunch of crap back into the Landfill since then, so yay!

I was partly at loose ends because our niece Pengie and her BF, not to be confused with @_FloridaMan although that’s where they are living, stopped by for dinner at the ABC downtown and xmas cheer on their way back to Fla after a whirlwind of visits to friends and relations in the Great Lake State. They were not required to make a stop on The Planet and they were *certainly* not expected to arrive bearing gifts but look at those cute frroooogggs! They came from a store that I did not shop at this year, which is probably a good thing because if I had seen them, I would’ve prob’ly bought them for myself 🐸🐸🐸🐸. Anyway, they are technically measuring cups and they will be wonderful in my kitchen whether I use them for measuring cups (I might) or something else.

Oh yeah, I did read a big chunk of my current book today, which is Lila by Marilynne Robinson. (Reading is a productive activity, roight?) I was thinking that this was the second book I have read recently by Marilynne but it turns out it’s the third. But it is the third in a series of three and the second in that series that I have read. How’s that for advanced math, eh? 🐗 I like Lila the best so far. I liked Housekeeping (which I didn’t realize was written by the same author as Lila) but I had mixed feelings about the ending but that’s mainly because my maternal instincts kicked in (but now that I am reading Lila, I am revisiting my feelings about the ending). I loved the main character in Gilead but I struggled with the format a bit. For a split second, I confused Housekeeping with The Help as in, did *this* author write *that* book too? I enjoyed The Help and its characters but like Marilynne’s writing better. I’m sure that’s more than you ever wanted to know about what I’m reading right now but that’s what yer gonna get.

Because I have been asked more than a couple times… 1) Yes, I am working tomorrow. I *have* to work. I do not have enough vacation time left to take tomorrow off and I am no longer sick enough to be able to use that excuse. 2) Yes, I am telecommuting. I *have* to telecommute. My loverly dog-poopy cube no longer exists. All of the cubes have been dismantled and stored in big truck trailers and the carpet has been ripped up. 3) I *know* there is a good chance there will be an ice storm sometime tomorrow. Doesn’t that make it a Good Thing that I have to telecommute tomorrow? Well, actually there is a chance that I will have to schlep over to Cubeland because my new [unwanted] work laptop has been shipped. But I won’t drive over there to pick up that thing in an ice storm!

La la la [snort]

Saturday, December 26th, 2015

bearSome of my uber-organized facebook/high school buddies ALREADY HAVE THEIR XMAS STUFF TAKEN DOWN! I have seen their pics throughout the season and they had a whole lot more decorations up than we do. Jeebus! We just BARELY got our xmas tree UP this year. Just was NOT happenin’. I could blame the bathroom renovation prodject and maybe even my work’s renovation prodject (and a wonderful long weekend hiking up in the yooperland that I wouldn’t have missed for the world) but in the end it was just laziness.

Needless to say, what decorations we managed to put up are gonna stay up for the next week or so. I think I will try to take them down next weekend. I do NOT want to wait until The Commander’s Birthday this year (although that little escapade was sure fun last year [wink]). It DID feel good to clean up the chitchen this morning. It wasn’t really all that dirty. I had a full contingent of chitchen helpers last night and for the first time in my life, I own a dishwasher that actually CLEANS DISHES. But then there was the Duck Pan, which was used on the gas grill without an aluminum foil liner last night. I figured it might take about 10 days of soaking to clean that thing but my old hand-dishwashing zen kicked in and between that and a few good tools, it took me a couple hours to get it cleaner than it has probably been in years. I have to believe I was channeling The White Tornado aka my aunt Katie. I caught up with the linens (such as they are) too. Given that there is usually a Holiday Plumbing Disaster of some sort (see yesterday’s entry for this year’s episode), we use a lot of towels most holidays.

So I feel very accomplished today but I haven’t looked at the Back Room yet, the room where xmas morning happens. I know that it’s nowhere near as messy as it used to be when we overloaded our young children with more gifts than they could possibly process. Nowadays it’s more the Man Cave ambiance that tends to start taking over if I don’t try to nip it in the bud. There is a Man Cave in this place. It is in the Landfill Dungeon and it used to be called the Freakout Chamber… … …

A slow but not slodgy morning, then Mouse headed off to her home and work and one of Liz’s BFFs (since middle school) came over and we walked downtown and met up with RegenAxe at the Red Hawk and then, as we were walking home we spied the Courtuenkels and I grokked and we accepted a ride home and then we kind of crashed although not all of us slept (although I did knock out for a few minutes, unusual for me) and then it got dark and we are listening (sort of) to PHC with xmas leftovers in the oven.

Green Brown Xmas

Friday, December 25th, 2015

I am not a fan of big inflatable ornaments but I loved this scene early on xmas morning. Actually later than I wanted to be up and out but if I hadn’t been able to see the sky in the background, I probably wouldn’t have taken the pic. Oh, just another inflatable Santa. But not so much.

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And then there was this, uh, gift, which I saw on my way outta the woods behind my house. I don’t know who Gretchen (or Nate) are but I *think* that the “gift” is Dog Poop Bags. Which might explain why Dog Poop Bags have been stuck into the chain link fence lately. [Delete long rant about why people get so dern hopped up about Dog Poop. You’re welcome.]

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Of course it would not be a holiday at The Landfill without some sort of disaster. Last year Two years ago it was the Blue and Only Bathroom. The New and Only Bathroom is now 99% installed and today’s incident involved Mr. Coffee. Let me just say that if you run a coffee maker without a carafe to catch the coffee you will be cleaning up coffee spills all day *everywhere*. I mean, I was finding little drops of coffee all the way across the room.

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After gifts and brunch, the GG pouring us a wee leetle pre-hike snort of Xmas Decadence.

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A lot of folks are complaining about the lack of snow everywhere in the Great Lake State. Green Xmas? Say What? I understand the issues about climate change but darn it all, the last several winters have been pretty awful around here and I am feeling grateful that we were able to take a little hike down by the dam today without suiting up like we were traveling to Antarctica or somewhere. 45 degrees and bright sunshine? I’ll take it. BTW, there were a LOT of people walking around by the dam including a few cute little trolls under the foot bridge and one lonely old “soldier” chipping away at some graffiti.

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As so often happens, a gift gets forgotten and I forgot the little robot I bought the GG quite a while back, like September. I think this brightened the dark end part of an otherwise beautiful xmas day. Also, who else wears a mouse tie?

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DJ Dad and some Xmas Elves

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

Just to get this outta the way, I was MUCH better today although those who I met for lunch down at the Grizzly might have wondered, given all of the coughing I did upon my arrival (after walking two miles downtown and it did settle down). But seriously, no muscle aches aka no low-grade fever.

I am not alone in contracting the Christmas Crud this week. I met my Thursday Coffee Buddies this morning and one of them sounded just as bad as I do. I don’t suppose I can call it the Christmas Crud in her case, given that my Thursday Coffee Buddies are Jewish. Anyway, I stopped off at Kroger after coffee. I needed Kleedex. Guess who was also in there buying Kleedex. And then our OTHER coffee buddy showed up there too.

Home (with Kleedex) and after a trip to the Plum and some random chores, we walked down to the Grizzly for lunch with all of the Fin relatives who are currently in town minus Mouse and npJane who were both working 💜. (Thanks to the Marquis for picking up the check. He was definitely quicker than me at check grabbing. Today anyway, the weekend is not over yet…)

So here we are walking through West Park with Lizard Breath wearing my infamous Maple Leaf backpack.

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I won’t try to explain the gyrations we went through figgering out what to cook for dinner tonight. The relatives we met for lunch were having salmon. Salmon. As if it was only that simple. I was lost at sea about what to cook tonight. Elf number 1 and my ancient Vegetarian Epicure cookbook helped sort that out. Split pea soup enhances various leftovers. And here is elf #1 cooking on Gertrude who screamed at her at one point but that was KW’s fault.

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Elf number 2 is wrapping a few presents at the last minute, and I knew there would be people who would be need a wrapping station tonight so I refrained from cleaning off the dining table although I did run Rooooomba and we won’t talk about all of the sekint cuzzint Rooooomba traps I set, at least not tonight. Elf #2 didn’t cook anything tonight but that’s okay. She has been working two jobs lately and brought dessert-type goodies home from both of them. 💜 her and Speedy Water Janet Pop Mousey Mushroom Ears (and Frooggy and Green Guy too).

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Finally, here is the GG aka DJ Dad failing at getting our “vintage” CD player (an 80s xmas gift/purchase) to work.

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We have xmas music going now (through the computer, not via the CD player) but not all of us are particularly happy about the choices. Except for this one [it prob’ly starts with an ad, sorry].

And that is about all I have today. Merry Christmas to everyone whether you celebrate the holiday or not. I can’t speak for everyone in my family but I am an agnostic who celebrates whatever holiday I dern well want to celebrate. We have to find joy in our lives, not to mention laugh and have fun. If you celebrate Christmas, I wish you merry merry merry. If you do not celebrate Christmas, I hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow. If you don’t want to participate in the frenzy of gifts and xmas trees, at least consider making a small feast for your family and friends and putting up a few lights to add some warmth and color to this dark time of the year.

Love is all there is.

Love y’all,
KW

I deed kleedex, otherwise I ab a blank

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

So this code id by dose sduck up od be a bit. Muscle/joint aches? Not usual for meeeee. Even when Titanium Pinky was broken, she didn’t give me any pain. Which flummoxed a whole bunch of people. What is your pain level on a scale from 0-10. Well, 0. I could tell that my finger was broken but it didn’t hurt. I had other strange sensations regarding that finger that I’m not sure I could describe, like it doesn’t totally feel like part of my body. And then there was the day after I got my surgery cast off and I had a removable splint and I was sitting on the Moominbeach and it was hotter than Hades and I wanted to go swimming but I was TOTALLY FREAKED OUT about… Uh… Losing my finger? I knew this was weird and I finally dunked myself, holding on to Titanium Pinky with my other hand. But that was yesterday and yesterday’s gone and I would have no trouble swimming with TP at this point.

This cold has given me freaky little muscle/joint pains. I still got 18K steps (at last count) in today but there were times during my 0-skunk-30 walk when I was wondering if I was doing the roight thing. Should I call the GG to come and pick me up? I felt slow today but I was not feverish and I was okay. In between coughing and sneezing and blowing my nose. Mostly blowing my nose. Kleenex anyone? We’re running out!

So it is xmas and the beach urchins are trickling in and Lizard Breath picked up her best friend since middle school (and that friend’s little brother) at Metro tonight. She eventually made her way over here and we’ll eventually have dinner but she will meet up again with that friend plus her sekint cuzzint later tonight.

It is close to 60 degrees here today and raining like cats and dogs. After the last few years of snow, I am loving this. I could do without the Christmas Crud…

Hey, *I* had *red* straps on *my* splint!

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

She was about my age (?) and she was ahead of me in the Plum Market checkout line, wearing a removable splint with HOT PINK velcro straps. Wouldn’t you know she had broken her pinky too? How did she do it? Having too much fun, of course. She tripped on a root in the woods and I didn’t totally understand the details but somehow her finger got wrapped around one of her hiking poles. Surgery? Titanium screw? I didn’t quiz her. I didn’t really wanna know. We had a moment of sympatico and then she moved on out the door and I had to re-bag my grokkeries because I was yakking so much I didn’t alert the efficient cashier that I had my own bag.

In other news, I got booted today. Oh not for good. There may be people out there who might wish me to lose my job but if you are one of my nine Reglear Nucular Taggers, you might have decrypted my boring bunch of blather in recent days to understand that Cubeland (where I work, of course) is being totally renovated. Oh don’t worry. We’re not gonna be turned into Google or whatever. There won’t be places to sleep or game rooms or whatever. We’re re-carpeting and rearranging all of the cubes and offices. That is about all.

So, these guys were there when I got in this morning. They were moving all of the file cabinets outta the bullpen across the street from me. These boyz were polite in the extreme (so sorry about the mess/noise/whatever Ma’am, etc.) and their fatherly boss kept calling me “Hon”. Which I actually kinda liked but I’m sure nobody that I work with would ever use that kind of term to address me.

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A little later, the whole bullpen with the filing cabinets in it was destroyed. This is right across the street from me. There is a wee bit of an Easter Egg in this photooooo and it has nothing to do with the chairs [snort].

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Shortly after this, we were kicked outta the building. I went to the bathroom and this is a view of my cube from when I came out. With all the bullpens between my cube and the bathroom removed.

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So, I am telecommuting for the holidays. I have eight whole damn hours of paid time off to use and I will use it since I can’t carry it over. I hope that they clean my cube when they move it… Not that it’s all that dirty… We’ll see what they do…

It’s the solstice and the glacier is rolling in

Monday, December 21st, 2015

glacierThis is getting pretty close to my neighborhood. I will go over to Cubeland tomorrow morning, if only to pick up the few items I still have left there: iPhone cable/charger, stapler (one of the few office supplies I actually use), hairbrush, and a piece of corporate “swag” that I was gonna jettison but got shamed into keeping. And I fergit what else. Hopefully I’ll get there before the glacier rolls over my Loverly [once] Dog-Poopy Cube. How long I’ll be able to stay there is anyone’s guess. Then I’ll be working from home during this darkest, dreariest time of year. Sittin’ on the Green Couch Watchin’ All the Dogz Go By.

At least I am not sick! One of the “selling points” for adopting the Green Couch in the first place was something like, “But everybody in my family has been sick on that couch!” I caved. I have since lived to spend the rare sick day on that couch. It’s a good place to watch dogz go by, roight? And suck on ice chips. Anyway, I said I wasn’t sick but I do seem to have developed a wee bit of a code id by dose. It’s okay. Some people think it has something to do with dust. Not. It should be obvious to anyone who lives with me that I do not have dust allergies. I also don’t consider a cold an illness, more like a recurring condition of life that otherwise healthy people get over. You get a break if your particular cold comes with a fever or sore throat. My current cold doesn’t seem to have either of those symptoms. My daily step count still averages 15K plus, a good indication that I am not “sick”.

Today may be the shortest day of the year but, as they are explaining on NPR right now, it is not the earliest sunset. There’s a long explanation for this and my brain doesn’t have the chops to process it at the moment (although I do track the position of the sun and moon on my phone). I think we may have talked about this in my physics class senior year at good old Soo High. Mr S was a really good teacher and not only at teaching physics. What I remember most was how he comforted us the day we arrived at physics after trig when Mr K threw Stu across the room. Mr K was also a great teacher and always gentle but Stu had challenged him for some reason. Stu later apologized and went on to an acclaimed medical career and Mr K didn’t even come close to losing his job. This ultimately happy little story might have turned out a lot differently nowadays in the Age of Perfection where teachers can lose their jobs over… well… I cannot even begin to finish this sentence. But *anything* is probably appropriate. I am by definition an Imperfect Person and I understand.

I think that this blahg entry got off the rails at some point but I’m not really sure where. Booby prize to anyone who can figger that out.

Love y’all,
Imperfect Person

P.S. Are *you* an Imperfect Person too? Look in the mirror.

Whining in The Introvert Corner

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

partyIn a way I had some trouble believing that it’s close enough to the xmas holiday that we traveled today to meet up with as many CFam relatives as could manage to attend a family holiday party. It’s not easy to find a date that everyone can get together and so not everyone in the fam *did* get there. Lemme see… Garth and Sally had 10 children (two are dead alas and neither of those had children). The surviving children (that includes the GG) have created 19 grandchildren (my kids are two of those). Beyond that there are, lemme see… 14 great-granchildren? Correct?

Our little nuclear family did all manage to get to the party this year. I spent a fair amount of time hanging out in the Introvert Corner with my s-i-l The Beautiful Gay and whoever else came along to talk to us, which was a fair number of people, believe it or not.

Our annual party was huge this year. As we move along through the generations, I realize that although I know who all of the children of my nieces and nephews are, they do not necessarily know who the heck I am. Who the heck is that baggy old bag? It’s okay, I have been a Great Aunt for many years now. The eldest of our great-nephews/nieces are teenagers or just about. The youngest (that were in attendance tonight) were racing around like crazy dressed up like Peter Pan and the like. I doubt that they could’ve cared anything that us baggy old people were there and I loved that! They were having fun at their grandparents’ house like my cousins and I used to do when we were kids.

Love you all, KW.

In excelsis Deo

Saturday, December 19th, 2015

santasThe song that everyone loves to hate. I hate “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” but there are complicated reasons for that. When I was a kid in the yooperland and there used to be snow and stuff like that, my dad would drive our little family around town to look at the light displays. WSOO would play Christmas music during the season and I would be sitting in the back seat of my parents’ car looking at lights and listening to music.

I was brought up as a member of the United Methodist [mainstream] protestant church and I loved to sing hymns and Christmas carols there. I have been an agnostic since I was a small child (so was my dad) but my lot in life seems to be large Catholic families. <3 <3 <3 to them, including the CFam that I married into. It is a HAPPY lot in life.

I liked most of the Christmas music they played on the radio but I got excited when they played songs like the little drummer boy. I loved the song and its rather different harmonies. And I identified with the lyrics. I didn’t have anything to give either. Except that I was sitting there in the back of whatever automotive vee-hickle we owned at that time, in a warm coat and hat and boots and mittens and whatever.

Anyway, this place was as dusty as all get-out from our renovation prodject so we both worked like heck to clean things up. Somebody cleaned up the mus crap under the sink (thank you very much) and there was much vacuuming and dusting (really) and I put all of my crystal candle holders in the dishwasher. And then we walked downtown for a snacky lunch at the Griz. We picked up a couple of ducks at Argus Farms, which yer fav-o-rite blahgger schlepped all the way up the hill to home in her backpack. The tree is inside and has lights on it if not any ornaments and I did manage to get “my” Santa collection out.

I’m more than done for the day at this point. I was thinking of walking over to the Plum to pick away at my grokkery list but it was cold today and I am just kind of done. G’night. KW

Oh, and there is still snow in the yooperland in the winter. Just ask my yooper friends about snow the last couple years.

Silver Bells

Friday, December 18th, 2015

First of all, the entity below has been missing in action for about a week. Welcome back.

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Alas, it didn’t last and later on there were snow showers. Before that, I left work to do an errand and had to stop for a few minutes to wait for these characters to waddle across the road.

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We only got a dusting of snow but it was enough to ice up parts of the I94 18-Wheel Clogway, not to mention make my walking trek downtown tonight intermittently and randomly treacherous. I am too taaaaarrrred to talk about that but it was enough for me to accept a ride home tonight. And then we porterized the New and Only Bathroom (only its temporary name). The GG may have been the first person to set foot in the new bathtub but I was the first (that I know of) to run water in it. I washed my feet.

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Of course, a tour of the new bathroom would not be complete without showing our temporary basement shower. The GG is holding our camping shower, which we didn’t end up needing to use at all during the prodject as it turned out. The temporary shower, which was our old shower head and tubing connected to the laundry sink was very comfortable and I will kinda miss it… … …

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Yesterday… Me [to Justin the carpenter]: I’m gonna kinda miss taking a shower in the basement. Justin: Oh, no you’re not! (Of course, he’s right. Pretty much. But it was kind of fun.)

Christmas? We’re working on it 🎄.

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Black hole sun

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

Glarg. That is really about all. Work was a long slodge today if you don’t count all of the times we all just let our hair down and talked about mostly nothing. MB threatened to talk to us about Process until we ate some of the cookies on the holiday tray his wife sent in. We did eat cookies but we also said something like, “Nyah nyah nyah na nyah nyah, we don’t work for you!” And then KP was freaking out that Chuckie might materialize outta the black back part of the building that the glacier has already rolled over.

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I told KP that if Chuckie materialized, I had her back and I *meant* that. I was afraid of vampires and werewolves when I was only a few years younger than her. I understand. And then there was the part where I explained to a new employee that I was just joking when I said that LSCHP gets “annoyed” when he has to share an office building with his *employees* during the solstice holidays. He does get annoyed, sort of, but not really and I didn’t want my new co-worker to be intimidated by him because well, it’s complicated and ’nuff said. I did tell her about the time a couple years ago when I got cabin fever telecommuting from The Landfill during the holiday season so I went in to the office one day and was greeted by, “Look what the cat dragged in.” (I’ve written about that in this space before but it cracks me up so much that I will probably write about it again so get used to it, you [beloved] hosers!)

This holiday season is a bit different at work than usual, given the state of the building. The glacier threatened to steamroll my street a couple days ago but then it rolled back a bit and this is what my street looks like right now. The first chair on the right there is my cube’s Guest Chair. The red jacket hanging up there belongs to Cube Nayber. I hope the Queen Bee remembers to take down her witch. I’ll have to remind her about that.

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Anyway, I couldn’t quite figger out why I was so close to the edge today until I counted up the number of days since I had last seen the sun. Six. We launched offa this planet last Friday morning under a brilliant sun. By the time we got to the yooperland, it was cloudy and spitting a bit of precipitation. We haven’t seen the sun since. I am always yammering about how being *outside* keeps me sane during bad weather. It does but I was on the edge today.

When I got home, DreamMaker (they’re almost done) was still in the driveway. I consulted with them about where to put the TP holder and a couple other things, then hoofed it downtown to meet up with the GG, hiding kleenex in the woods along the way. We did a weeeee bit of xmas shopping and then headed for home, stopping at Knight’s for dinner on the way. We’re watching Fargo (the TV series) these days and I knew that Molly wasn’t dead. Spleen? She can live without that. Sigh.

I dunno when we’ll see the sun again but here are a couple of youtube videos for sun lovers. Beware this one if you are squeamish or some stodgy old square [snort], you might be offended. And here is The Cyrkle with Red Rubber Ball. The Cyrkle? I remember this song and most of the words to it. I was in sixth grade listening to WSOO in my room doing my homework (wishing I had more math homework), and thinking about whatever kid I had a crush on at that time. The Cyrkle? I do not remember that band at all… … …

Sun. Sun. Sun sun sun! When? Probably not tomorrow. Keep on truckin’.

You never miss a photo op with yer iPhone in yer pocket

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

bagsAnd this is what I got at 6:53 AM or whatever it was. I was finished with my walk at that point, exiting the woods behind my house when I saw these bags stuck in the chainlink fence. What the heck is that? Oh, it’s plastic shopping bags. Why are they stuck in the fence? I can only guess but I *think* that someone has stuck them there as a resource for Dog People who have run out of Poop Bags (or forgot them or didn’t bother with them or whatever).

My first 0-skunk-30 thought about this was that it might be a good place for me to recycle excess plastic grocery bags. I’m not sure how I amass as many of those as I do given that I backpack most of my groceries and keep a bag of bags in the Ninja for when I need to actually drive an automotive vee-hickle to a grocery store. I got to thinking about it a little more though and while I think if I were a regular dog-walker I might appreciate finding a couple of clean empty plastic bags stuck into a chainlink fence along my route, I think 10 or 20 or 50 or 100 empty plastic bags stuck into a chainlink fence could be a nuisance. And what happens when it gets windy? Do they blow all over the schoolyard? Prob’ly.

I won’t get into the damn Dog Poop issue and I won’t touch the Bicycle vs. Automobile (vs. Pedestrian) issue with a 10-foot pole. At least not tonight. I am a little concerned about the Deer Cull issue. Our loverly city council in its infinite wisdom has decided to deal with the Deer Overpopulation Problem by hiring sharpshooters to “cull” 100 deer this winter. Don’t ask me where they came up with that number. I do not know.

The Planet Ann Arbor is not Portlandia by a long shot but there are some similarities and you have to know that there is a protest going on about this. I am staying out of it. I have complicated opinions about guns and hunting. I won’t try to begin to detail them here but on the balance, I am not opposed to hunting but I am rather against hiring sharpshooters to “cull” our deer population. My reason is Unintended Consequences. That is all. But I have been kind of willing to ignore the whole thing and let others fight the good fight.

Today. I received a communication from a neighborhood org that a whole bunch of city parks will be shut down between 4 PM and 7 AM throughout the winter! Say what? One of those parks is Barton Dam Park! We WALK THERE IN THE WINTER AT SUNSET! I wonder if those who favor the Deer Cull realized that they would be losing access to their parks for the duration. I wonder if the city council thought anything about how closing parks would affect the local population. I wonder if I will be safe walking through Miller Woods where 1) deer live, 2) it isn’t listed to be closed, but, 3) will people be shooting in there anyway because they think that because the city has hired folks to shoot deer, they are able to do that even though…?

I am not sure if the communication about closing the park is accurate and I will be researching that. If it is true, it’ll be interesting to watch city council meetings this winter, given that the council voted on the Deer Cull without letting the citizens vote on it and without telling their constituents up front that their parks will be closed during some of the prime hours.

Unintended Consequences? We’ll see.

I have lost my underwear, I don’t care, I’ll go [uh, wait]

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

worktchochkesSo, first order of business. Choppers are yooper-style “buckskin” glubs that Men — you know, Real Yooperland Men — wear when they do outdoor chores. I grew up hearing people (aka my dad and brother) say things like, “I gotta get my choppers on” or “Where are my choppers?” In Real Yooperland Man voices, sometimes with ceegars hanging outta their mouths. And then I moved down south to The Planet Ann Arbor and never heard the term again until last winter when we were up at Tahq and it was 20 below zero and everybody under the sun was talking about their choppers. Whoa, was I off on a sentimental journey [Youtube link] or what? Nowadays, it isn’t just Real Yooperland Men who wear choppers. Anyway, I want some choppers so I can channel my Inner Yooper or whatever.

Underwear? Yes, I lost about eight pairs of underwear for about a week. How does one lose their underwear? Well. How I lost moi underwear is that I had the Blue and Only Bathroom completely gutted. And that is where I have kept moi underwear for the last couple decades. In a dish pan on the floor in the Blue and Only Closet with my 0-skunk-30 urban hiking clothing. Oh, no, I did not leave the underwear in the bathroom to be carted away by the DreamMaker trucks. I moved it all outta the bathroom before it was gutted. I thought I had put it all into my Former Underwear Drawer but when I was packing for the Yooperland last week, I could only find three pairs. (Why do we call a singular garment like underwear a pair anyway? Anyone know?) That worked out okay as it turned out but I always like to throw a couple extra pair in just in case I, you know, fall in the mud or laugh so hard I you-know-what.

This morning? My turtleneck sweater drawer had been feeling a bit overcrowded, so I pulled ALL of my turtlenecks outta there along with… What do you think? A whole bunch of underwear. Black cotton (or mostly cotton) thank you very much. TMI?

The GG is not impressed with my sad little lost underwear story. He is in mourning for a beloved hat and has been searching all over creation for a replacement. I feel for him. I mourn for the days when I could online-order a new pair of LL Bean winter tennis shoes when my old pair wore out and know that they would fit correctly.

The tchotchkes? Jeebus. We are in the midst of a major renovation over where I work and we can either crate our “stuff” or take it home for the duration that we are kicked out to telecommute. I have very little “stuff” in my cube. I have recycled tons of paper and there are some random computer-type cables and connectors that were there when I inherited my cube IN 2008!!!! I dunno what they are for and so I will leave them for someone else to deal with. Anything I have that is worth anything (besides my laptop, which I’ll be using while I work from home during the renovation), I am taking home.

I am taking Broooosie’s stuff home. This is only the stuff that has ended up in my cube during times that Brooooosie’s cube was overflowing and he was told to tone it down. My co-workers have some of Broooosie’s stuff too. I *think* I actually own some of this stuff at this point, not that I necessarily want to add to my own permanent collection. I definitely do not own the stuffed flower. It’s a loaner. At any rate, Broooosie actually did a bang-up job of packing up his cube and he’s off until after the new year. I chose to bubble wrap the stuff he has left in my cube over the years and take it home. If he wants it back someday, it’ll be safe. If he doesn’t want it back, I’ll re-gift it or take it down to Kiwanis.

Love to all of you and to all of your weird co-workers. I mean those co-workers who are weird in a good way like Brooooosie.

Is this my Annual Bah Humbug post?

Monday, December 14th, 2015

fogWe do not have a Christmas tree yet. I’m sure one of those is in my future. This foggy scene is in front of a friend’s house on a small lake in the Yooperland. This is not the only seasonal decorating they did. There were two very small artificial trees and various other artifacts inside the house. I read a couple of the childrens’ books. I think these folks go to visit their children and grandchildren for the holidays these days.

I kind of wish I could do a minimalist thing this year but I suspect there will be some big honking top-dollah tree set up here at the Landfill by the end of the week. I wish I had more time to focus on it. It has been a challenging season. Renovations going on at The Landfill. Renovations going on at work. A work prodject involving actual clients who came out to the office last week, big as life. Good but unusual and my work has been kicked up a notch. Hiking junket to the yooperland. Shopping? Other than a couple of serendipitous items at Alan’s Voyageur Trading Post up in St. Ignace and goofy Santa glasses for Frooooog, I have not had time to shop. Downtown is kind of ho-hum this year and I can’t feature Briarwood Mall having anything worth buying. Sigh. I used to love going to the mall. I do not have any good ideas for anyone, including myself. Again, I do not NEED anything. Yada yada. [Sorry Moom about the yadas if you’re reading this from wherever you are.]

So let’s focus on the positive. The *good* thing about setting up a Christmas tree is that when it finally gets taken down, the whole back room gets a thorough vacuuming (or two or three) and dusting and cleaning and de-cluttering. Last year the tree did not get taken down until January 9th, if you can believe that! npJane and Mouse came over and helped me remove it from its stand and throw it outside (dinner at Knight’s was involved) and I went in there on my hands and knees the next morning. D-Day. (I do expect our tree will be taken down earlier than January 9th this year.)

I’m not sure where I’ve ended up here. I think that by xmas (actually by later this week), we will have a fully functioning bathroom again. I will be happy about that but the “camping” has been fun in the interim.

Hope y’all are having yerselves a merry little xmas (I love to hate that song). Love, KW

P.S. Treasure Mart has prob’ly long ago sold the aubergine glass vase that I coveted last winter but didn’t buy (why not?). And there are those choppers. Like the ones Marilyn lent me up at Tahq last Feb on that frozen weekend. A bit oversized and with a wee bit of fur trim if I am remembering accurately.

Should I just rename my obscure little corner of the internet The Toilet Blahg?

Sunday, December 13th, 2015

When we left for the yooperland Friday morning, this is what our toilet looked like.

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I knew that unless there was some unforeseen problem, we would again have a toilet when we returned home this afternoon. Why I thought they would put the Blue and Only Toilet back up I do not know but I was surprised to open the [closed] bathroom door and see this Wondrous New [but still only] Eco Toilet! And yes it works!

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Can y’all believe it is something like 60 degrees here on The Planet Ann Arbor today? That is unseasonably warm (I think we broke a temperature record today) but definitely not unheard of. There was the winter we lived in an apartment on Jackson and I think there were about two days of truly cold weather all winter and one of those was the day we were driving to work and the battery in my old gold Fiesta died at the Huron/Seventh intersection. Not to fear though! We had a new battery in the back and the GG grabbed some jumper cables and jumped the dead battery from the new battery and on we went. And then there was the winter that Mouse really needed a new winter jacket but we couldn’t find one that she liked and we kept procrastinating and I think she somehow survived via various sweaters and things. Bad moom? I dunno. You pick your battles with middle school kids. And Mouse has always been sort of a furnace anyway. [Okay, ducking for cover. Quack quack quack.]

It was chilly, rainy, and WINDY in St. Ignace this morning. We gave a half a thought to driving over to our Brevort Lake section of the NCT and doing a wee bit of hiking but decided to get on the road instead. It could’ve been worse. It was waaaaay too warm to snow. Lots of rain down to somewhere around or below Bay City, I fergit exactly where it finally stopped.

Yesterday I got over 28,000 steps in. Those are my favorite days. Today? I didn’t walk this morning except for back and forth between our room and the restaurant at the Driftwood. I walked to the Plum this afternoon after we got home. And then we drove down for a sunset hike at our fave urban hiking spot by Barton Dam. I wasn’t sure I was gonna get to 10K today, first time *ever* except for the time my fitbit was lost for half the day. As luck would have it, I managed to hit 10K at the *exact* moment I stepped off the footbridge as we arrived back at the parking lot.

We didn’t go to Java Joe’s (see comments from my RegenCuzzints yesterday). I kind of didn’t know about it until we drove by it on the way out to the hike yesterday. It *was* open yesterday, unlike a LOT of businesses in St. Ignace, including some HUGE hotels behind it. Think Holiday Inn and the like. I was a bit surprised that so many businesses were closed, some for the season, some obviously forever, some I couldn’t tell. We will definitely check out Java Joe’s at some point and I will make it a point to wear a tie-dyed tshirt. I packed *one* of those this weekend but never wore it for complex weather/activity reasons. Queen of Layers here… I’m wearing it now in my chitchen where I have the window open because it’s so warm out.

Love y’all and join me in a toast to my New and Only Eco-Toilet! Cheers! KW.

P.S. I did see a guy in tie-dye SHORTS in the Driftwood restaurant this morning. Not quite that warm 🐸

Hide yer kleenex when you get to Machines

Saturday, December 12th, 2015

The wonderful restaurant in our loverly motel here in St. Ignace does not open until 8:00 AM so we scoped out breakfast joints yesterday afternoon. The truck stop restaurant over by the freeway is fine but I found Bentley’s B-M-L (formerly B-N-L), a diner a bit down the street. It opens at 7:00 AM and so we met the UU there at around 7:30 this morning (V-bilt, Machines, St. If) and had a wonderful breakfast.

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From there we drove over to Dick Road, the southern North Country Trail crossing, that is, not the northern crossing. We got there early so we walked into the western trail (toward Betchler Lakes) for 20 minutes, where I got this kind of Mouse-style pic of British Soldiers.

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When we got back to the road, all of these people were cat-herding how to spot automotive vee-hickles for a point-to-point hike. There were a bunch of boy scouts there too but [thank you jeebus] they figgered out their own logistics and didn’t need want our “help”. [snort]

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This artifact is one of the highlights of this particular trail section. I took a picture of it even though I know that I ALREADY HAVE a picture of it. Another of our friends also took a picture of it and has already made that photo his facebook cover photo 💜

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This is one of the most beautiful bridges I’ve ever seen and those are our NCT fearless leaders crossing it.

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After the group hike, we met at our fearless leaders’ house for an afternoon potluck. I was just about done done done for the day but the Twinz of Terror dragged me out for yet another hour of hiking the NCT on the way back to St. Ignace. The Castle Rock section, and here are the Twinz at our turn-around point. Like, at 3:57 PM, I shouted out, “We are turning around in three minutes!” I am sorry but I wanted to be out of the woods more than 15 minutes before it got dark today.

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You would think that we would be totally DONE with hiking after all of that but then we got back to the Driftwood and we decided to walk down to the Village Inn for dinner… … … And so we did… … … And when we got there… … … It was closed to the public for a private party… … … So we walked all the way back up the street and ate at the Driftwood. Which is fine. I actually wanted to eat there originally but… But I gotta go because I am being facebook messaged and I think somebody wants me to post photos on the HSS NCT facebook page 🐸. Love you all! Hope the Blue Toilet is back in its place when we get home tomorrow.