Archive for February, 2016

Your mileage may vary

Monday, February 29th, 2016

dam2Any day that starts out with a quick coffee and breakfast snack @Zingermans @PlumMarket w/ @elizilla (or is it @LizzyFrances these days) is a good day. This day continued along that path albeit nothing terribly exciting happened. But that can be a good thing.

I did earn the Italy Fitbit badge: 736 “lifetime” miles. Lifetime of the Fitbit, not me, obviously. I have the Marathon badge (26 miles), March of the Penguins (70 miles and I walk between 60-70 miles most *weeks*), London Underground (250 miles), Serengeti (500 miles), and now Italy. I was heading home after an afternoon walk when my iPhone doodle-ooped and that was the message. I am not bragging about this. I have been a compulsive walker my entire adult life. Nine months pregnant? I’ll take a hike, what else? Hmmm… Shooting pains in my legs? Hmmmm… Baby 12 hours later? Yeah! And that baby grew up into the beautiful young woman I had the snacky breakfast with this morning. 💜

As I’ve said before, this Fitbit thingy is just a way to geek out about steps. Get those steps in! If I have to print something at work, I send it to the most distant printer and take the long way around going back to my cube. If I have to hit the john, I do a little circuit on the way back. W1.5 has actually been doing something like that ever since I have worked over at Cubeland. Every half hour or so he does a circuit.

Oh yeah, and my new Cube Naybers, Louie-Louii and his QA cohorts invited me to a little mid-morning stretching session today back behind a partition in the back 40 of the building. I LOVED IT! Must do more of that! Does anybody else do stretching exercises? I’ve always noticed runners doing them when they get stuck at stoplights. I’ve never felt like I’ve needed them. Nowadays I am thinking they might be a good idea, especially since my job is largely sedentary.

We are edging into that whiplash season here. We got dumped with snow last week but after yesterday’s Big Meltdown, it was largely gone this morning. Now the weather gods are threatening us with another storm tomorrow. We will see. Whatever happens, it seems as though we are on the upswing. But you never know. We have had El Nino winters before when March was a killer with single-digit temps. Or when we got all of our snow in March. And then there was 2012, when it was hotter than Hades here and the Dexter Tornado happened. Like people often say, if you don’t like the weather in the Great Lake State, wait five minutes.

Blah-de-blah-de-blah. That is your daily dose of blather. Isn’t it fun to watch paint dry?

Love y’all,
KW

You can get anything you want at Alex’s Restaurant

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

dam1I couldn’t describe today if I tried. The GG seems to be happy to wave his stitches in front of anyone whether they want to see them or not but you’ll notice I have NOT posted a pic of them on the internet, even though they don’t freak me out nor did the mid-surgery pic Doc L showed me at the family post-surgery consult. I did not post my broken pinky x-ray last summer either. I did text it to a few relatives, my two uber-cuzzints who also have broken hand bones and my forensic anthropologist niece who knows bones and other stuff that is also not internet-able. Oh, not that the non-internet-able stuff today was about the GG’s stitches, although he *did* wave them in front of more than a few folks today… And played the Cat Yard Game while doing a mini-hike down at the dam and WHILE DRIVING OVER TO MEGALOPOLIS!!!!

I got the spinach/feta omelet with hash browns and tomato juice at Alex’s Restaurant. I ate the whole darn thing but then I was hungry because I did something like 16K steps before I had anything to eat today and that thing to eat was a cherry Chobani yogurt I got at the Plum Market on my first trip over there this morning after doing my usual 3-mile around the neighborhood and then a short dam-hike. Three-egg omelet? Yes, ma’am. Gobblety-up! I usually have to take a box for that much food! I did not eat the toast. I can never eat the toast. If I’m strong enough, I sometimes tell them to hold the toast but that can result in a mixed bag and today I wasn’t strong enough. I did not get coffee because I knew that the one little cup of homemade coffee I had this morning was more than enough for today. And it was sooooo good.

We were over in Megalopolis at Alex’s eating breakfast/brunch/lunch/whatever with The Beautiful Liz and her loverly husband whose name I will not disclose except to say that it is a male name that, when bellowed by a parent sounds a lot like my name does, which always sounded like a darn buzzer. I only report this because we had a meeting of the minds about that today. I, of all people, would know about mis-naming children [wink].

The pic is from this morning down at Barton Dam, our fave urban hiking place. We drive down there but it’s a short drive. It was slippery walking down there this morning but I bet that with today’s meltdown (60 degrees anyone), it’s a big muddy morass by now. It was so beautiful this morning.

Prismatic

Saturday, February 27th, 2016

gertruderainbowAny day that ends with a rainbow on Gertrude (or any place in the Landfill) is a good day. My fave parts of today?

— Can I start with last night? Because walking down to the Oscar Tango Friday after work is so much fun. And being Powterized adds to it all. And yes, that’s a “w” in there and there is a hilarious reason for that (mis-quote by a local news reporter) but I think it’s gonna stick.

— Walking down to the farmers market early Saturday morning. At this time of year you can’t get the huge amount of vegetable produce that’s available in the summer so I didn’t take a pic of what we got and post it on facebook like I sometimes do with my bee-yoo-ty-ful teal subway tile backsplash in the background. Today we bought pork chops, lamb chops, pasties, lettuce, onions, potatoes, two kinds of ravioli (lobster and portabella mushroom), swordfish scallopini, smoked mackerel, smoked salmon, a chicken to grill tomorrow and coffee and a donut/apple fritter b-fast. I fergit what else. My stuff was not photogenic in general but the market will be on an upswing soon.

— Walking downtown (after a morning of chores) to the Griz for a mac-n-cheese/coleslaw lunch. Beautiful 40-something snow-melting kind of day here. So many people were out and about.

— Getting rid of two (count ’em) solicitors. The first was for Bernie Sanders. I love Bernie Sanders as a person. Would I vote for him? I dunno. I made the mistake of saying that I was undecided. What I should’ve said was that I am sitting back watching the 2016 election in horrified fascination. The second solicitor was trying to sell vacuum cleaners… Duh… Roooooomba, some sort of hoover with a tornado on it, a shop vac, and the Electrolux that cleaned my Uncle Don’s doctor’s office back in the 1950s/60s AND STILL WORKS. I do NOT need a vacuum cleaner and if I did, I would NOT buy it from a door to door solicitor.

— And then there was Stanley. He’s an elegant black dog and I met up with him when I went to do a “sunset” walk in the woods. And then his owners recognized me from the days over at Haisley School when our kids were small. We walked through the woods together and Patty and I hugged each other before we separated this afternoon. Patty and I were always friendly but she wasn’t one of the Haisley moms that I hung out with on a regular basis. But boy oh boy did I love that hug. The more friends the better!

Love is all there is! [Youtube link]

Snowmen, before they melt

Friday, February 26th, 2016

Do y’all have any idea how hard it is to write a blah[g] entry while watching Shameless on the boob tube? Huh? Here are some snowmen I’ve encountered today, either in person or via text message. First, a couple of pengie-looking characters down at the Argus Farm Stop. I don’t have time to go to Argus on Fridays so this one was texted to me.

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Another one texted from Argus although when I first saw it, I somehow thought it was Downtown Home & Garden.

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I found this one on Pine Ridge, where my dad’s old friend Frank Waite lived. It might even be the same house but not sure. I couldn’t quite figger out the shirt. Is it UMich or not? It’s the right colors but…

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This guy looks like the sloppy kind of snowman I would make.

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I don’t think these snowpeople will melt any time soon. Powterized at the Old Town Barrrrooom on a Friday night.

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I took this fuzzy for complicated reasons that I could not ‘splain in fewer than about 5,000 words if I tried. But we are headed up the long slow hill that leads to our loverly Landfill on the northwest side.

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G’night. Farmers market in the morning and getting ready for the Quiet Water Symposium at MooU next weekend.

Real women wear skirts

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

I met the GG at the door when he got home this afternoon. Lemme get my gear on so you can get a pic of me with my favorite snow shovel. He got the usual bunch of uglies but then there was *this* one 💜. Liking this photo as much as I do should be illegal. I’ll let all y’all guess all of the reasons why. I cannot count them but Badass Shoveling B-Witch might be one of them [cackle cackle cackle].

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Except I cannot just crinkle up my nose like B-Witch used to do to make snow go away. I shoveled the inch or two of snow that fell overnight when I got back from my 0-Skunk-30 walk this morning. The snow was still coming down. I was telecommuting today, which means Sitting on the Green Couch Watching All the Dogs Go By, so I saw when the plow came by. This is heavy, wet snow and the plow left what looked like mountains of it at the end of the Landfill Driveway. Was Yer Fav-o-rite blahgger shoveler up to the task? Oh yes, she was!

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Actually, I think yer fav-o-rite shoveler was almost faster than the guy catty-corner whose wimpy little Southeast Michigan snowblower was having trouble blasting through the crap the plow left. I’m really not being snarky but I felt really good after doing all that shoveling and I’ll note that My Old Coot did not purchase a snowblower until he was 75 and *he* lived in the Yooperland. That big-ass snowblower now lives at Houghton Lake and loves its new owners.

I tried to get a pic of myself via my selfie stick today. It was a Christmas gift. I admit I was skeptical. It languished. Today I went, hmmm, I could use my selfie stick to take a pic of me and my snow shovel. I got the whole thing working, Bluetooth and all but I wasn’t very successful at getting the pics I wanted. An out-take is below. It kinda looks like I was trying to fend off a bear or whatever. Jeesh. I need some practice…

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If a bear DID try to attack me, a more likely implement might be my shovel. (But we don’t have bears here.)

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I had a great title but I can’t remember it but it was some snarky thing the GG said to me about shoveling snow… … …

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

When I took my 0-Skunk-30 walk this morning, it was Bone Dry everywhere. A half hour after I got home, I was puttering around doing my morning chores and I happened to look out the window at the Ninja there in the driveway and, uh, hello? What is that white stuff? Oh, don’t get me wrong. I knew we were gonna get slammed today.

My plan had been to drive over to meet MMCB2 at coffee, then drive to work and bail when the snow started. As the snow rapidly thickened and showed no signs of letting up at 7:40 this morning, I began to rethink that plan. After dithering and dathering for a while, I messaged MMCB2 that I was going to telecommute and therefore walk to coffee and would be a little late, through threw [Jeebus, KW] my YakTrax (and an umbrella) into my backpack and took off. I didn’t end up needing the YakTrax or the umbrella but this is what the infamous Jackson/North Maple intersection looked like as I was walking home from Barry Bagels.

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By the time I got to the Plum Market, I resembled the Abominable Snowman. This is not the first time in my life that I have resembled that entity.

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Sandals were adequate (barely) at that time of the day. The Ninja got started up and egregiously idled twice today but it never left the driveway and this is what it looked like before the six/whatever inches of heavy wet snow fell.

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I had already emailed the Queen Bee that I would be working from home and so I settled in to that routine. The Queen Bee was at the office but I suspect that’s because her hubby also works there and they drive together and yada yada whatever. Sometime before noon, the LSCHP aka The Benevolent Despot decreed via email that everyone should work from home this afternoon (or take paid time off if they wanted to).

I had a lot of work to do today, the kind of work I get paid for, but eventually I got outside to shovel. Priorities here. Sidewalk first because the city can fine you if you don’t clear your sidewalk. Driveway next. The Frog Hopper easily handled today’s snow but the Ninja cannot, although it probably won’t have to go anywhere until maybe Friday. Finally, I shoveled a path to the compost bin.

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The neighbor and her son created this loverly snowman. I was remembering the only time that one of the Beach Urchins came home from school crying. I think it was about second grade. She had made some Cute Snowballs in the schoolyard at recess that day and she didn’t want someone [those others who are not girls] to destroy them. I saddled up Sugar the Pink Plastic Sled and schlepped over to the schoolyard to schlep those snowballs home so they could melt in our own front yard.

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After my hour or so of shoveling heavy wet snow, I took a little woods walk. The woods behind our house is very small but just the few moments it takes me to walk through it soothes my soul.

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Good night and love y’all and I wish we could see the Moon and Jupiter tonight but I doubt we will,
KW

An odd couple (or maybe not)

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

northshoreI can’t find my splint! Rummage rummage rummage. Did you leave it at work? No. That was what just went on here at The Landfill. A [minor] panic! Do you need your splint? Not really, but… And he doesn’t really totally need his splint because nothing was broken. The splint is merely a protection. In the GG’s situation, it is not needed as much as my splint was after my finger surgery.

I remember a couple of things from late last summer. One was that I was walking with my cousin Pooh and our cousin (1st and twice removed) C*Q*L down to Doelle’s in the water. I had a big fricking cast on my hand/wrist/forearm and could not duck under, even though I wanted to. I took a shower when I got back to the moomincabin. A month or so later, on Labor Day weekend, I walked the beach/water with my childhood buddy Dan and C*Q*L. So much fun! I “swam” that day, even though at that time, Titanium Pinky didn’t quite yet feel like “she” was part of my right hand. She is definitely part of my hand now.

I had a removable splint last Labor Day weekend. I did not lose track of it at all. I wore it for the NCT hike that Sunday and for the Sherman Park re-dedication. A few weeks later, I realized that I did not need the splint any more. I threw it out after Surprise Appendectomy Weekend up at Tahq with our wonderful adult children and the HSS NCT folks.

We’ve been going to the Northshore Bar up at Houghton Lake since forever. We went there Saturday night because we didn’t quite have the guzzinto to buy food and cook it at home after a long day of rattling around the northern lower. The place was quiet when we got there and the GG was wondering if the bar was doing okay. I thought that if the Northshore could afford that fancy jukebox type thing, plus the tiki bar that we boat to in the summer, it was probably doing okay. What did that young whippersnapper over at the jukebox play? Hotel California, by the Eagles. By the time we left, the place was hopping! Long live the Northshore.

Courthouse collector

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

grandtraversecourthouseIf you had asked me 50 or so years ago what was in my courthouse collection, I would have thought you were nuts! What did I collect in those days? I collected rocks. Of course! Every kid collects rocks. The Beach Urchins would even collect rocks from gravel parking lots. And then there was my Shell Collection! This collection consisted of a single small box of carefully curated and polished shells purchased from some tourist trap by my great aunt Elizabeth down in Crazy Old Florida. Make no mistake. I am not being snarky about this. I loved that little shell collection deeply and kept it into my young adulthood. I finally got rid of that little shell collection (you’re welcome) but I could not quite follow through on that with The Commander’s shells, the ones she actually picked up on Florida beaches. I was about ready to take those shells over to the Scrap Box but I got cold feet and took them back up to the moomincabin instead.

And then there were my adult collections. Fabric anyone? Beads? I used those things for a really long time and then all of a sudden I sorta didn’t. I fell backwards into a full-time career just as The Commander began to need a wee bit more help, even though wild horses couldn’t make her admit to it. So I began to get rid of those collections. I’m not done with that yet, in fact I am a bit stalled, but I did make progress and my life continues on an upward trend to less baggage.

I collect very little these days and I don’t think that a Courthouse Collection is going to get me into very much trouble given that it’s “just” photos (but we won’t talk about my photo archive(s)). I can’t exactly put courthouses into the Landfill Dungeon.

I have three courthouses in my collection at this time. Hillsdale County, Lenawee County, and now Grand Traverse County. I could certainly add the beautifully restored Chippewa County courthouse except that I don’t think I have a picture of it from the outside. I have certainly spent a lot of time (including IN the courtroom, alas) there in the last few years.

It’s sad that so many of the old county courthouses have not been maintained or have been replaced by new modern buildings. I can’t remember if our own Washtenaw County courthouse is what’s called the Cheese Grater or if that’s another building but it does not in any way resemble the Grand Traverse County courthouse.

For the duration, I am collecting courthouse pics. The Great Lake State and hopefully some other states if I can ever get outta town… I love these old courthouses.

Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

stateomiRecursive* peninsulas might be one way to describe our weekend. Actually, fractals might be more appropriate. First, we spent the entire weekend rattling around the Lower Peninsula. The Big Mitten. [Note to self. Spend some time exploring The Thumb!] Our home base for the weekend was the CFam cabin on Long Point, which sticks out into Houghton Lake. Yesterday, we ventured partway up the Mission Peninsula (which sticks out into Grand Traverse Bay) but chose not to drive out on Neahtawanta Peninsula (which sticks out off the Mission Peninsula into the west arm of GT Bay). We had bizness to take care of in Gaylord and needed to make tracks. Some other day. Actually, the Mission Peninsula, gorgeous as it is, is chock-a-block with houses so not really our fave kind of place. On the other hand, there are whineries everywhere…

It would’ve been fun to spend the night with the UU in Gaylord last night but it has been months since we’ve spent time at the Cfam Group Home @ Houghton Lake so that’s were we ended up. This morning? Little Boots cafe for a gunslinger quesadilla (I always box a third of it). Our usual waitress (I’ll call her Sunny and I overheard this) is out for a while for some sort of surgery and then a vacation trip. I missed her but was a wee bit afraid to ask where she was. She is, well, I’m sure she is quite a bit older than me but beautiful and as spry as spry gets. I hope she’s okay. We were very well taken care of but that’s part of what Little Boots is all about. Took the usual Houghton Lake sort of detour (Reedsburg Dam area, etc.) on the way back to the cabin where I futzed with cleaning and laundry and a little spreadsheet prodject while the GG took a long winter’s nap. Then we walked (independently), had a teensy tinesy snacky lunchette, and hit the road again, southbound this time, sigh.

I extended our weekend as long as possible by taking the old highways as far down south as is reasonably possible. M55 to West Branch, M76 through Alger and Sterling to Standish, and finally M13 through Standish, Pinconning, Linden, and Kawkawlin. It’s a tossup whether this route is slower than taking the I75 SUV Speedway the whole way down. The speed limit is lower (but nobody really observes it) and you have to stop a few times if the lights don’t favor you and you can get stuck behind slowpokes on the northernmost two-lane stretches of the route. Then again, if you are on the Speedway, you can get stuck in miles-long backups. For me, the old roads are much more interesting than that particular stretch of the freeway. Today I was struck by how many businesses seemed to be closed up and I was trying to remember if they were open the last time we traveled that section. I could not remember. The cheese shops were all open and the outfitters and the hubcap shop will probably always be there.

Anyway, back on the Speedway at Bay City. Smooth drive overall but I still felt happy when I crossed the Washtenaw County line. Home again home again jiggety-jig. And a trip to the Plum Market has put me over 20K steps today. I was going to throw some chicken thighs in Gertrude’s oven for a quick-and-dirty dinner but they were out of chicken in that form factor so the GG will just have to suffer through some pork chops stuffed with apple and cherry. I think he’ll live.

G’night, KW

*Pretty sure “recursive” is the wrong word in this context. I’m thinking of the days when I was five years old and thinking about folding a piece of paper in half and half and half again and wondering if there would be a time when I could not fold that thing any more. For some reason people keep trying this stuff. As a kid with a piece of notebook paper, I gave up pretty early after maybe three or four folds. These people got farther than I did but I’m not sure they demonstrated anything more than I did alone in my Superior Street bedroom umpteen billion years ago. The concept is infinity and I didn’t go very far in mathematics but only because I chose music. I believe that the “limits” I learned in Calc 1 address this issue. So, peninsula upon peninsula upon peninsula upon peninsula… … … Fractals? Mathematicians? Am I at least on the right track?

Manton, Marion, Mesick, and Fife Lake

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

An absolutely gorgeous day, aside from being awoken by an “amber alert” at 2AM. A quick and dirty google/mlive search turns up inconclusive (and maybe horrific) information in this case but I remain puzzled by why anyone thinks waking up somebody like me with an obnoxious text message at That Batscope Hour is going to help them find a missing child. Can I just say that an SUV (or whatever) with license plate thus and so is NOT in my bedroom?

I’m sure I can turn that kind of notification off if I put my mind to it and I did go back to sleep and this was a Red Sky at Morning view I got (and apped) during my morning walk.

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We had a half-*ssed plan to hike this weekend but we sorta slacked instead. The snow here by Houghton Lake looked like this and was very slippery and I dunno, we weren’t exactly as well prepared as we could have been. Plus the GG is still recovering from hand surgery. Excuses excuses excuses…

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We headed off north and west and north and west on county roads. We drove through Fife Lake, a burg I don’t think I have *ever* traveled through before and I have been through an awful lot of small northern Michigan towns. When you google “Fife Lake” the results always say something like “also known as Zyacky Town”. I cannot find anything anywhere about why or what the heck Zyacky Town is.

Our main destination was Traverse City, where we ate lunch at the Bum Steer and I snagged a county courthouse photo for my little collection of county courthouses. We jogged north onto the Mission Peninsula for a bit, then headed over to Gaylord to visit the Lyme Lounge and snag a drawer from it (long story). Then (whew) down home to the Houghton Lake Group Home. I was pretty darn road-weary by the time we got back but what I really needed was a *walk* so I walked down to the point (and beyond) and got this photo of the late afternoon sun.

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Barroooom food at the Northshore for dinner and home again under a cloud-obscured waxing gibbous moon.

G’night, KW

Yeah okay, let’s rally off the bottom

Friday, February 19th, 2016

howlingFirst of all, what a faaarrr drill day. We have had a network of cracks in zee Frog Hopper’s veeeeendsheeeld for two years. It cracked in the cold during the 2014 Polar Vortex. The cracks were all on the passenger side and didn’t obscure vision and we have been ignoring them. Zee Ninja’s veeeendsheeeeld has never had even one teensy tinesy crack until I faaarrred it up Tuesday morning. There was a scary-looking crack that covered probably 3/4 of zee veeeeendheeeld. As I was driving to work I noticed that it had gotten WORSE! EEEK EEEK EEK EEK! (Anyone remember that cheesy old “ghost” story/joke about zee veeendsheeeld vipers?)

I did not like the looks of the Ninja’s crack. I said, “I want it fixed”. So, “we” scheduled BOTH vee-hickles for replacement veeeeendsheeeelds today. I could not quite wrap my brain around this arrangement. I’m not sure why. I AM NOT SENILE!!!!! !!! Basically, the GG dropped the Frog Hopper off this morning. Or was it the Ninja? No, it was the Frog Hopper. I drove the Ninja to work this morning. Later in the morning, I got a text “swap cars”. I drove the Ninja over to the glass place and was puzzled. Where was the GG? And then… Oh! Duh! I don’t need the damn GG to be present to swap vee-hickles at a glass place. I just need to park the Ninja, take the keys inside and exchange them for the Frog Hopper keys and drive the Frog Hopper back to work. Duuuuuhhhh. Man, was that glass place busy!

It was “hot” (60) and sunny down south today and I bagged work at about 2:00 so we could get ahead of the rush hour traffic heading north outta the Planet Ann Arbor and the Weekend Warriors (like us) who are heading up to the Great White North. We have not been out of town except for day trips since we went up to Iggy to hike with our NCT buddies at the beginning of December. We haven’t been to Houghton Lake since November. I was ready.

handIt is warm (for February) here too but man oh man, what a drive. It was a windy day from the get-go and I was feeling a wee bit of wind early on and then we were somewhere south of West Branch and I said to the GG, “It seems like the wind has died down.” But then. A few miles farther north, I had to hang on to the steering wheel to keep the dern car on the road. We worry about snow driving in the winter around these parts but we forget that sometimes even when the pavement is perfectly dry (like today) rain or wind or whatever can still make driving difficult.

I drove mostly because I like to but also because the GG’s hand is still healing from his hand surgery. He got rid of his big ugly wrap yesterday and obtained this elegant removable splint. He took this photo and I have his permission to post it. He took some rather more gory photos that I will not post. Actually I haven’t even seen them, although Doc L showed me one photo in the post-op fambly consult room. At any rate, the GG’s surgery required more and larger incisions than the one stitch incision they did to put the screw into Titanium Pinky. He is healing well and I want that to continue so I don’t want him to overdo anything.

Anyway, I was thinking I would walk down to the point and back when we got here today but it was raining and the wind was HOWLING and my brain made the executive decision that my body would bag that walk. It will have to be a low-mileage day. I am close to 13K steps. That will have to do. It was a travel day and that’s how travel days can be.

Love y’all and wish you were here,
KW

Nothing to say here and you do NOT want to know about my continuing weird dreams

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

pv1And no, they aren’t Cat Yard Dreams or even Shoreline Dreams. I can’t actually remember what they were, oh yeah, something about taking a car trip with my mother. Yes, it was a Packing Dream! And a Driving Dream. And a People From the Other Side Dream. Oh joy. (Disclaimer: I actually like to drive but I occasionally have weird dreams/nightmares about driving.)

Let’s time travel instead. Today my cute little Timehop iPhone app served up some Lovelies from the 2014 Polar Vortex winter. This was yet another shoveling session. By what the sky looks like I’m thinking I took these just after an post-work shoveling session? Or maybe not. My entry from that day is a bit cryptic as to what I was actually doing (except for backing the Frog Hopper outta the driveway) and what time of day I was doing it.

Can I just say that now that we are in the second half of February 2016, I can say [guardedly] that I am finally getting past the PTSD of surviving the Polar Vortex winter. It was a winter of shoveling/salting almost every day and our city got behind on clearing the streets early in the winter and never quite caught up so even some of the main roads were slippery pretty much all winter. I telecommuted something like six days that winter and I think it was around the same number of days that we did not get a mail delivery. I am *not* complaining about that!

pv2You would think a native Yooper would love those kinds of conditions. I loved *some* of them. I loved shoveling all that snow (yes, really). I loved that the streets were lined with huge snowbanks all winter. I used to walk to school on top of snowbanks like that. I loved the beauty I encountered on my morning walks under the stars or falling snow, at least during the period when the sidewalks were easily navigable with YakTrax. I did NOT love the driving. Jeebus! We won’t even go there. I did not like the inevitable thaw and freeze season when ice formed and even YakTrax were not enough to keep me upright without picking my way slowly along using my hiking pole and iPhone flashlight as aids. I lost a couple of 0-skunk-30 Walking Friends that winter because of ice-related injuries. I miss those friends. (They didn’t die, they just stopped walking outdoors.)

Last winter was nowhere near as horrific as the Polar Vortex winter but it had plenty of moments. This year? It doesn’t look anything like the pics around here. I have used my YakTrax a handful of times this winter and for most of those I have stuck them onto a pair of Keen sandals. I haven’t used my hiking pole at all, knock on wood. This morning (16 degrees) I walked in Keens without YakTraks. There was intermittent ice on the streets and sidewalks but for the most part, the pavement was dry and I could see where the ice was and strategize how to navigate it on the fly.

Two years ago it was so hard to get around on foot, I was kind of wondering something like, “am I getting old or what?” While it was largely the weather that made me wonder that, I did not walk to the Plum Market on top of the snowbanks like I once did walking to school as a kid. Another thing that smacked me in the face is how hard it would be for an elderly person who couldn’t drive any more (like my mother, who died at 91 in 2012) to try to navigate the mess that our streets and sidewalks were, to get to the bus stop…

My brain is going off in a whole bunch of different directions at this point but I will stop for today.

Bigger than a breadbox but smaller than a mailbox

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

breadboxesThis phrase was used at work to describe a proposed enhancement to our product. It means something like: 1) we can’t just design a cheap-and-dirty solution for this piece of functionality because we need to write up some Business Rules but… 2) we aren’t adding a whole new huge, well, something, to our product. I dunno if that made any sense or not. Probably not, but bear with me.

We talk about “bigger than a breadbox” all the time at work (we all kinda know what that means) but this is the first time that “mailbox” has entered into the discussion. I got the point but I kept thinking something like, “I have breadboxes in my basement that are bigger than my mailbox.” And then I got kind of fixated on those beautiful old Cfam breadboxes. I’m not sure how they ended up in the Landfill Dungeon but probably the GG snagged them from the Woodsboro house in Royal Oak when his parents sold it and moved full-time to Crazy Old Florida. At that time, Lizard Breath was our only child and she was only a year old and we hadn’t yet collected the massive amount of crapola that I have spent the last 10 years flinging.

Anyway, I couldn’t get “breadboxes” out of my head today and whether or not they are bigger or smaller than mailboxes, I started thinking about the breadboxes in my basement. What should we do with them? It seems stupid to let them sit down there and rust forever. I was kind of thinking maybe they should go up to the Cfam cabin at Houghton Lake. But then I thought maybe they would actually work in the Landfill Chitchen in some way. Like maybe I could put them on that cute little red shelf unit I bought cheap on the internet. Alas, they don’t work on that little shelf unit. Why? Because they do not FIT on that cute little shelf unit.

Actually, I like the look of that cute little shelf unit but I’m not sure if it is working out. Or maybe I just haven’t figgered out what to put on the shelves yet. It was a cheapie (as The Commander used to say) so I took a chance. I will keep working on it and/or looking for a different shelf unit.

The breadboxes? I dunno. I’m not sure I want to take them to Houghton Lake just yet. I still think they might “work” in my kitchen but not sure where. That said, they are Cfam artifacts and if anyone in that family wants them and will *use* them (and not just add them to a basement collection), they are here. (You may have to duke it out with the GG to get them…) One thing I will not do with them is take them down to the Kiwanis dropoff.

Love y’all, KW

Toxic waste removal

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

sickensSo, cat yard nightmares anyone? I can haz them, not that I want them. My early morning REM dreams today? For some godforsaken reason, I agreed (for a split second) to foster abandoned cats. IN MY HOUSE!!! WHAT??? It actually wasn’t my house. I’m not sure what version of whose house it was. What I do remember is that twin cats kept turning up (yes, really) and I was thinking something like, “I need some cages.” And so I was trying to think where to buy aminal cages so I was googling and PetSmart (or whatever it is) was way the heck out on the far side of Ypsilanti, so I was thinking I could find aminal cages at Meijer (or maybe Tarjay) and then I was trying to figger out where those places were and I couldn’t. And then squirrels and things started to show up and I was thinking that those critters were wildlife and there was no reason that I should have to shelter them. At that point, my dream was weird enough that I made myself wake up. (Ever do that?)

Somewhere I have a loverly pic of a big fat feral cat sitting atop one of our birdhouses. Our late neighbor Burke sent it to us back in the day. I could not find it today. I hope I didn’t fling it. I don’t *think* I did. But. Looking for that pic, I found today’s pic of the “sickens” we had in our house as a girl scout prodject.

My loverly friend Eileen was our fearless leader at the time and she dreamed up this prodject. Her husband actually called up the city to ask if they could stop the prodject somehow. He did not want chickens in his house. Can we arrest her? The city told him that if it was a two-week girl scout prodject, they wouldn’t do anything about it. So, we all got two chicks but I ended up with four because one of the kids had a family aminal situation that wasn’t conducive to the health of the chicks aka Attack Dog and I think there was also a cat.

I won’t detail the rest of this prodject except to say that having chickens in a laundry basket in my house for a couple weeks gave me a persistent smell. I wasn’t sure if the smell was stuck in my nose or if I was exuding it for the displeasure of anyone in line with me at the Westgate Kroger checkout counter.

I made Eileen a chicken bolo tie thingy in honor of that girl scout prodject.

Tubbsed again

Monday, February 15th, 2016

catyardTwitter play:

Setting (@kayakwoman): geeking and hot-rodding around the back roads of southern lower Michigan in the Ninja with the GG and an onboard diagnostics device and associated iPhone app.

Setting (@mouseleen): wherever Mouse was at the moment, probably her apartment

@mouseleen: [sends pic of current cat yard showing Tubbs]

@kayakwoman: [sends pic of current cat yard showing Tubbs]

@mouseleen: Ha!! Straight from my yard into yours 🙂

@mouseleen [minutes later with another pic]: And straight back to mine!!!!!!

Yes, it’s that cat yard game. Its official name is Neko Atsume if anyone is frothing at the mouth to download it. All I can say is that we’ve come a long way from the days I sat around The Commander’s hoosegow room playing Angry Birds to while away the time. I even downloaded it to *her* iPhone when she was incarcerated in the long term care facility for rehab but although she was interested at first, I’m not sure she got very far through the Angry Birds levels.

I got to one Angry Birds level that I could NOT for the life of me get past. Eventually an update came through with the message, “Having trouble with a level? Try again.” Indeed and I did get past it after that update.

Cat yard is not anything like Angry Birds. It does not, as near as I can figger out, require any skill whatsoever. You put food and toys out in your yard and cats come to eat and play with the toys. Or not. Or Tubbs comes and eats all the dern food.

This game causes a wee bit of stress in my life. The problem is that I cannot keep up with it. I forget to feed the cats and they go away. I know that if I open up the game and feed the cats, they’ll come back. Aside from Tubbs, there seem to be no penalties in this game. No levels to beat. In a way it’s a kind of a world-building game, like the old Sims game we had on our long-dead big ugly Mac (before the Strawberry iMac so it’s a long time ago). Except sometimes the Sims got sad or angry or whatever. I never actually played the game but I was bustling around the ugly old Landfill Chitchen while the middle school kids did and I could recognize the Sad Music (kids, am I remembering this accurately?). In the cat yard game nobody ever seems to get sad. They even leave me little gifts sometimes (no, not squirrel legs). I guess this is a *cat* yard.

Okay, MacMullan Blindside alert: the GG just electrified me (not literally) with the statement that he DROVE to the Village Kitchen for breakfast today. Folks, when I-e-I-e-I was a one-handed driver, I did NOT drive the Ninja. Two fully functioning hands are needed to drive the Ninja. It is a stick shift! I’m sure he managed [insert ancient stories about driving up and down Woodward Ave/Blvd. doing multiple things (some of them not internet-able even after all these years) while operating a vee-hickle]. I am happy that he decided to abandon the idea to walk downtown and back [two miles] but I will definitely be driving the Ninja tomorrow!

What did you do this weekend? I walked to the Plum Market 15 times. What did you do?

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

Okay, not 15 times but I will admit to five, seven if you count Friday but not sure I feel like counting Friday as a weekend day even though I did not work on Friday. Do I plan ahead or what? Yes, no, and sorta. I *was* annoyed at myself for having to make a Bacon Run on Saturday morning since I had considered buying bacon during my Friday afternoon trip and chose NOT to. What the heck was I thinking?

Anyway, “we” were quite sleepy today (but “we” are doing well and I think the sleepiness is a good thing) so I took us on an extended River Ride. We ended up as far north as the cute little burg of Hamburg, which is not really all that far north, then headed back down south. Lots of s-l-o-w back road driving, which is one of our favorite things to do when we can’t be hiking or maybe in conjunction with a hiking expotition. And so we were driving down Merrill Road when we came to this decision point.

valentine1

This is a randomly okay pic considering that I was doing a point-and-shoot with my iPhone out zee veendshield of the Frog Hopper but if you zoom in, you will see what road we randomly came upon on our meanderings. I couldn’t linger long enough to get a better pic because another vee-hickle came up behind us.

valentine2

Another random shot from our Valentine’s Day meanderings, this time I rolled down my driver’s side window, so not the best but if you embiggen, you may see the birdy type critters carved into that old tree stump.

valentine3

Things are going well here and I enjoyed the sleepiness, thank you very much. It gave me some time to work on my email cataloging prodject. And now my mouse is here to do laundry and help make a faaarrrr and take advantage of our copy of Turbotax. I have to note that she is merely using our software to do her own taxes. We do not do our children’s taxes and NEVER have. I do not even know how much money they make. Actually, I could not give you anything but a a ball park figure of my own salary at any given moment. My kids handle their own money very well without any intervention from me and I don’t feel that it is my business to meddle. Therefore, I have a hard time understanding why any parent would insist on doing their children’s taxes.

Anyway, Happy Valentine’s Day birthday to my beautiful mother-in-law Grandma Sally, who died in 1994. Mother of 10, a couple of whom have joined her and Grandpa Garth in heaven. Miss them all. What a good family to have married into!

Quiet weekend in Lake Woebegone on The Planet Ann Arbor

Saturday, February 13th, 2016

“We” have been restricted from heavy-duty physical activity for a couple days so it’s been a bit quiet here today although I can see some chompin’ at the bit in the not-so-distant future. I am not included in that restriction and I think I am over 22K steps today. 0-skunk-30 walk, THREE trips to the Plum Market and one of those included an extra-terrestrial jaunt over to Staples. Wny? To pick up the 2015 TurboTax of course. This is a necessary purchase but I am heartened to know that “we” are waiting to “do” the taxes until next month (this is a necessary and good thing) and hoping that means that the process of “doing” our taxes will not be as fraught with marital stress as it has been the last few years. Crossing fingers and knocking on wood.

So here we are. Someone wanted to go to Knight’s for dinner last night but I nixed that and I dunno if he forgot that I suggested *maybe* tomorrow night or not but he seems to be happy to sit in the back room (tonight, which was tomorrow night yesterday) while I cook enchiladas for dinner.

annarbor1

Here is a view out the front window.

annarbor2

And here is an artifact it would be so much fun to have in a garden (oh, maybe not mine). This is from Lizard Breath, who is escaping the hardland of the Great Lake State winter by visiting her San Francisco friends.

floragrubb

Love y’all and maybe tomorrow I’ll get the GG out for a VERY SHORT hike. Like less than a mile. As I said before, I think he is chompin’ at the bit. I understand that. But we’ll see.

PTSD

Friday, February 12th, 2016

slomoWhen I got the screw put into Titanium Pinky, I did not say (on the way out of the parking lot), “Let’s go to Costco.”

When I got the screw put into Titanium Pinky, I did not go inside the drug store to get my [unnecessary] pain pill prescription filled. I sat in the car while the GG did it.

When I got the screw put into Titanium Pinky, I did not say, “Let’s eat at Knight’s!” when asked what I wanted for dinner.

When I got the screw put into Titanium Pinky, I did not play cat yard on my phone when I got home.

Before I got the screw put into Titanium Pinky, my only experience with any kind of surgery at all was getting my tonsils out at the age of eight! Going into the Titanium Pinky thing, I had NO CLUE what outpatient surgery meant. Turned out it meant hours of hanging around in a pre-op area with folks getting surgeries of ALL SORTS! And being hooked up to an IV and a whole crapload of monitors, etc. etc. etc. And a neural block. Do y’all know what a neural block is? Ever had one?

I had pictured something where my hand would go to sleep for a couple hours. Oooohhhhh. Nooooooo. Ever have a dead weight for a forearm for 18 hours? I exited that place in a wheel chair. I could actually walk just fine but I was grateful for the ride because it was a long way to the parking lot and I was not accustomed to navigating with a dead arm. I HAD done my regular three mile walk that morning, cast/splint and all. But now… How the hell do I keep this thing from slipping out of its sling? It became truly surreal when an older woman accidentally bumped my wheelchair in the elevator and apologized profusely. How could I explain to her that the bulky thing on my arm was for my LITTLE FINGER and that I was not in any pain.

I did not go inside the drug store to get my pain prescription. I was still figuring out how to manage my dead arm and very embarrassed about having the sling, etc. I did not want anything to eat that night. At least I didn’t know what I wanted to eat. This was partly due to the surgery and partly due to the fact that breaking your little finger can knock your appetite for a loop for a few months. In other words, my appetite was already low or weird or whatever. The GG finally ordered Chinese take-out. I ate some of it. It wasn’t really the right thing but HE was hungry and I probably needed to eat too. Do not get me wrong! I LOVE Chinese take-out food. When we order it for a work party, I am totally into it. Gimme more! That night. Meh.

Then there was the whole thing about how to keep Kayak Woman busy until she can sleep since she is tooooo waaaarrrred to sleep. I knew that I shouldn’t take a long walk somewhere (and didn’t want anyone to seeeeee my dead arm) but I was so restless that I spent a lot of time wandering around the back yard, holding my dead arm up via my other hand hoping the neighbors didn’t see me. And then it was getting dark and I STILL didn’t feel like sleeping. Social media had run its course and I didn’t have a book to read and probably couldn’t have focused on one anyway. What to do? Lizard Breath (via text) suggested TV. Duuuuuuuuhhhhh. What TV? How ’bout Twin Peaks. Uh, yeah! We watched three episodes of Twin Peaks that night. I won’t tell you about the rest of my restless night except that the neural block wore off at around 4AM and that was such a relief! I didn’t think I would ever have the use of my right arm and hand again.

A version of that stuff happened today. All is well and I had a supporting role this time thank whatever gods are out there in the ether.

Love y’all, KW. Cold and snow squalls here.

Penultimate

Thursday, February 11th, 2016

nctSo. Sorry about inflicting my rather plebeian current polly-tickal views upon y’all. As you well know, it’s my blahg and I can rant if I want to and you have a choice to read or not to read and I love you whether you read or not. I actually wish I could write more eloquently about polly-ticks but the truth is that I cannot always wrap my brain around all of the issues. I try to read and understand what’s going on but more often than not, reading articles about polly-ticks is like watching paint dry for me. Unless it happens to hit one of my buttons or there’s a Blue Dress or whatever involved.

You have to know that I work in a place where polly-tickal stuff is almost *never* discussed. This is not a corporate rule, not even an unwritten one. We are geeks. We don’t talk about that kind of stuff. We don’t even do the typical Office Polly-ticks that I have always HATED with a passion. Not that we don’t ever make the kind of snarky little remarks that call out a co-worker’s personality traits. But we *never* do that kind of thing with anything even approaching malice. We do not need to because EVERYONE on our “team” is dedicated to making our product the best it can possibly be and when someone is being a wee bit annoying, it is because they have identified an issue they think should be addressed and are making sure that it *does* get addressed. That is a good thing and every person on the Planet Earth should have this aspect of my work environment.

And so Stormy Kromer is back there putting together a display structure for our North Country Trail booth at the Quiet Waters Symposium @MSU in a few weeks. This event is one of the things that have come to define my life during this particular period of it at least and I cannot wait for it albeit there are other events that I am not necessarily happy to have on my horizon. Nothing horrible. Just that life is like a river. I think the first time I was able to verbalize that concept, at least on my blahg, was when when my dad was dying. I was sleeping on the floor in The Commander’s sewing/computer room at the Dillon house. My kids were sleeping in “my” old room, the one that I used when they moved to that house after I went to college, not my childhood bedroom.

Off with their heads!

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

stumphouseI don’t have the polly-tickal chops to do a true polly-tickal post. I know I prob’ly annoyed some of my long-time readers back in 2012 when I ham-handedly tried to slam Mitt Romney a few times. I am sorry. I have had a visceral dislike for that man. I’m not sure why. I am going to guess I might like him if I ever met him, car elevators or whatever. And I know a few Mormon folks. Those who have landed on The Planet Ann Arbor are pretty progressive. I’m still glad he wasn’t elected. (A VERY progressive friend of mine happened to hate Obama with about my level of passion for Mitt, and was thinking about voting for him so go figger, and no, we didn’t pursue THAT conversation very far at all. We both know better than to let one dern national election get in the way of our long-time friendship.💜)

This next election? I dunno. I am not enthused about any either of the Democrats. I cannot figger what the heck is going on in the GOP. It is sooooo far away from my parents’ GOP that I cannot begin to recognize it. The bottom line for me, and I know it’s “early”, is that I don’t feel any enthusiasm for anyone on either side. I guess a couple of candidates for president will eventually emerge out of the fray and I will have to pick one. The sad thing is that no matter who wins, my little life will not change much. But I still care about the Flint water disaster and the the Detroit public schools disaster.

So, somebody finally managed to submit a recall petition for our state’s governor that was actually accepted. Why? It did not contain any spelling/grammar mistakes. You guys? If you are SERIOUS about submitting a recall petition, you need to make sure the language is understandable. That means no spelling mistakes. If you cannot spell, you need to get someone who has a talent for spelling (and MS Word catches most of that). I don’t suggest hiring a lawyer to look for spelling/grammar errors because in my experience with four out of the five lawyers who have made money off my parents’ estate, attaining a law degree does not automatically guarantee expertise with the English language.

So, will I sign that petition? I probably won’t (but I haven’t decided). I do not like Governor Snyder and the water situation in Flint is abominable and so are the Detroit schools. It’s worthwhile to note that I did not vote for Snyder either time he was elected even though the men running against him were not viable candidates. But I’m not sure that recalling him will be useful in solving our beautiful state’s problems. All of that stuff has happened over many many many years and I think will take a lot of time and careful analysis to undo. I don’t think any one person, including Snyder, can handle this. On the off chance that the recall happens, who will take over for Snyder? What will that person do? Will they solve Flint’s water problem and Detroit’s school problems?

I’m just sayin’.