Archive for March, 2016

In which I earn my first hash marks, fortunately they are the good kind

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

hashmarksIt was the seventh inning stretch and Louie-Louiii-ii-ii and I both happened to stand up at the same time to, you know, stretch. I don’t exactly remember how our convo got into housework. It was not because L-L was running the vacuum in his cube when I got to work this morning. I think he’s about the only person besides the cleaning contractors who ever runs the vacuum. I *think* we started with the “R” word and then there was something about a Job Jar (his suggestion, NOT mine, thank you very much, although I DOOOOOO want the compost bin fixed up).

We were talking about sharing household chores with a partner and I was talking about the stuff that I just DOOO. Like the dishes and the laundry and cleaning the bathroom and getting the garbage carts out (and milking the cow and slopping the hogs and feeding the chickens). I almost NEVER ask for help with any of the stuff I more or less routinely do. It’s part of my routine and I just do it without thinking about it and, hmmm, sometimes, when Other People help with it, they, uh, don’t quiiiiiite do it the way I want it done. That’s okay, but… On the other hand, I do NOT put air in the Ninja’s taaaaaars on the frequent occasions that the taaaaaar light goes on. That’s Somebody Else’s Job. Things work out pretty well when people take care of the stuff they DOOOO and arguments about who did what percentage of what don’t tend to happen.

And then there’s making the bed. I mean making it so it doesn’t look like somebody just haphazardly threw a comforter over a big mess of sheets and called it good. I don’t mean Nurse Corners either. Just pulling off the top covers so that the sheets can be pulled up somewhat neatly. I only randomly made beds until I was 40-something. I don’t know what changed. Making the bed does NOT particularly improve the overall appearance of the Messter Bedroom due to the ebb and flow of the various shambling mounds that live and breed there. I just got obsessive about it. It’s much more comfortable to at least *start* the night in a bed with more or less organized sheets. I did that chore for years but somewhere along the line, the GG took it over. Quietly. Without being nagged or harassed or even *asked*.

I told L-L about this development and that earned me a set of RED hash marks on the board. I do not understand the rules for putting hash marks on L-L’s board. It has something to do with “the girls” earning them when they dis their significant others. FZ has his own special area and I didn’t ask what that was about because I’m not sure I want to know. Apparently RED is GOOD though and because I made some nice comments about my long-suffering cat-herding significant other, I am on the board for the first time ever.

Can you tell I am proud of myself? [insert cheesy grin here]

What to write about, what to write about…

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

fenceI’d’ve rather inserted an image of Gretchen-the-dog here but she was POOPING and I didn’t think anyone would want to look at that. Oops, she was pooping in the woods. Should I have reported her? It’s on school property. I think. Once upon a time when I still knew people at the school behind my house, that school put up new gates on the woods and tried to padlock it shut. Saaaaay what? I emailed Jacqui on the Haisley PTO to express my dismay that I could not walk in the woods behind my house. She took it to the Haisley principal who said that there was “a lot of science going on in those woods” and the kiddos might get dog poop on their feet… And bring it into the school…

In the first place… This occurred in the next year or so after I left my career as Haisley PTO Treasurer (because my kids moved on, not because I mismanaged the funds, just saying). I spent that career managing a slush fund of epic proportions for an elementary school. I could not for the life of me get people to spend it. So my first thought about that principal’s response was something like, “Why don’t you buy a pair of rubber boots for every kid in the school and hose them down when they come back inside after all of those trips (not) into the woods to look for all that “science”. I was working from home in those years and I think maybe once I saw a classroom of kids walking through the woods looking at the blasted “science”.

That principal sounded like a total idiot but in reply, I mentioned that a lot of Wild Aminals (raccoons, possums, birds, feral cats, ground hogs, scurry mice to name only a few) also poop in the woods and that I walked through there daily and never encountered poop of any kind, including dog poop. The principal relented and unlocked the woods.

A few things… Gretchen was not pooping on the Trail today. It looked like that was HER choice. Her human was standing 10 yards away doing stuff with his iPhone. I think that dogs poop on sidewalks (or on the lawns next to them) because people walk them on sidewalks (next to lawns) and there is nowhere else to poop. I have walked a few dogz in that woods over the years. Bandit, Ernie, and Alfred. I would always let them run free and if they pooped (and I don’t know if they did but prob’ly), it was not where people walked.

And then there’s the issue of trees falling on the fence and destroying the entrance to the woods. The HUGE tree that fell back on December 28th was not the first tree to destroy the entrance to the north side of the woods. It just made it worse. I kinda wanta bug the school district about this difficult entrance to the northern half of Ritsema Woods (Louise Ritsema is probably churning in her grave). On the other hand, why do we separate the woods from our school (and those homes — mine — that back up to it) by chainlink fences?

Wouldn’t it be better to get rid of the fences?

And then there are those spit-take memories

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

franknifeLike today when my facebook “memories” served up this from The Commander.

He’s a really, really good person and he’s doing the college now.

She was talking about the young man whose company she had been hiring to do yard work and he had apparently obtained a contract to do the local university’s yard and garden work. But, uh, moom, “doing the college?” The Comm was DEFINITELY not a prude but I do not think she knew the connotations of what she had just said.

That was a post I made six years ago today. That would be 2010 and The Commander had another year of independent living and driving ahead of her, although we didn’t know it at the time. Oh, not that we weren’t a bit worried about her living alone without Radical Betty in the world. We definitely were. I felt like I needed to call her EVERY day but I didn’t always do that, so whenever I did call her and didn’t get an answer right away I would be worried. Is she just confused between the iPhone and the landline or is she on the floor somewhere unable to get to any phone? Or is she out gallivanting around somewhere? It is hard when you are still “young” and working on your fortune but your moom is not and may need your help but is too proud to ask for it.

I posted her quote on facebook back in 2010. I “shared” the memory early this morning but then I deleted it. Facebook didn’t feel like the right place to share that memory, even though that’s where I originally posted it and one part of the memory is when Cap’n Hobbs (Cap’n of the Badger) commented on it. But he’s also dead and didn’t even quite make it to 60 although he did live long enough to greet a grandchild and died playing hockey.

I am posting that memory here on my blahg where I am technically free to say whatever the hell I want. Y’all can read or not butcha can’t unfriend me. I don’t know where The Commander is but I think this photo of her coming at me with a knife might indicate what she might think about this post and that long-ago facebook status and that she if still keeps a watch over what I *do* post, she and Radical Betty are probably cracking up about “doing the college” wherever the heck they are. And they were once at college together although I am pretty damn sure neither one of them were “doing the college”. I know they weren’t handling the lawn care 🐸 at MooU.

Honey baked (with big great pants (or not))

Monday, March 28th, 2016

eastertable1What do you cook on Easter? If you cook on Easter, that is (if you celebrate/observe Easter). I don’t always. Except that it falls on a Sunday and I usually cook on Sunday because I have time. Of course, I cook almost every day but sometimes “cooking” constitutes throwing leftovers in Gertrude’s top oven and making a salad. Which is okay because I cook well enough on the weekend that our leftovers are pretty dern good.

I’ve been cooking ham on Easter the last few years. Ham is not my fave food and once a year is about enough for me, aside from the wee cubes of ham in Little Boots Diner’s Gunslinger Quesadilla (which I stretch out over two days) and eggs benny with Canadian bacon a couple times a year. But I like to cook ham on Easter although I will do other things if that isn’t convenient. For one thing, it has to be in the right form factor. That means SMALL! You know the old saying about two people and a ham? That would be us, even though it’s usually four [again] nowadays. Ideally a pound and a half of spiral cut ham would suffice but I usually don’t have my act together to order it and I didn’t this year.

eastertable2Easter snuck up on me and I could not find a small ham in a form factor I liked. I didn’t want to schlep all over town to look for just the right thing so I texted everyone and asked if they would care if we had duck instead of ham. I knew I could find duck in an appropriate form factor. The beach urchins were fine with that plan. The GG didn’t exactly complain (he does like duck but I think he wanted ham) but he did offer to head over to the local honey baked ham store and see what they had. Bingo! It was around three pounds, boneless and SLICED and soooooo good I almost couldn’t stop myself from picking at it. Yes, we have leftovers. Yes, we probably have too many leftovers. I did give some to Liz, who asked. I don’t like to push leftover food on people unless they actively want it. We will do this again!

What else? Well, mashed potatoes, of course, the decadent recipe with cream cheese and sour cream and Liz asked if she could put pepper in it (YES!) but I forgot to put paprika on the top. Oh well. And I threw together a dish of asparagus, RAMPS, and MORELS that I found when I walked in the door of the Plum yesterday. I don’t think that any of those things are available locally yet. I know that asparagus is not. And morels are best when you pick them yourself outta your friend’s cabin back yard but that (my sole experience with picking morels) is a story for another day. These were good enough. And then there was a regular old green salad.

What are we eating tonight? Easter Sunday leftovers, of course!

Oh, and I bagged dessert last night, which was probably not the best idea because some people wanted it. But there was ice cream in the freezer from an earlier event and so…

You have to know that there was a beautiful thunderstorm going on throughout our Easter dinner. Fortunately, lightning did not hit a tree in the woods (that I know of) and no big “splinters” flew out to hit the Rental Car’s moonroof. I dunno if the Rental Car even has a moonroof. I will continue to drive the Ninja for the duration and hope that nothing falls on it. As our friends of Powterization say, “You guys are running out of trees.” Indeed.

G’night (and love all y’all), KW

Queen of [you-know-what] Everything

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

When the beach urchins were small munchkins, we celebrated (or is it observed?) Easter with reckless abandon, spoiling our kids with dyed eggs and elaborate Easter baskets full of candy and an abundance of gifts. Need another stuffed aminal? No? Here’s one anyway. And then they grew up and Easter disappeared from our lives almost completely. I remember one Easter morning when it was hotter than Hades and the GG and I kayaked something like seven miles down in the Huron River, eating baggies of cheerios and drinking little cans of V8 juice. Then one spring Mouse said something like, “I have to work until 8:00 tonight but if you cook dinner, I’ll come over.” And I did and she did and it was fun and beautiful with candles and everything and now we sort of do Easter again. Without candy or gifts or egg-dyeing. I note that “no one” even bought any of those blasted peeps this year. Maybe because there are still a few left over from last year? [wink]

Nobody said anything about Easter this year and I don’t EVER want my children to feel compelled to come over and spend a holiday with me, especially a religious holiday that I don’t observe except in a secular way. But still, I tentatively texted them last week. Easter? Or not? No pressure. Of course they came over for dinner. And so we left Houghton Lake much earlier than usual this weekend because I wanted to get home in plenty of time to put together an Easter-type dinner. Not that it’s hard to do but I had some shopping and KP-type stuff to do.

So, the first pic is from when I took my usual HL morning walk to the Second Bridge and back. These reflected trees greeted me at the Second Bridge.

easter1

And then there was the sun blinding me over this big pile of ice floes with snow on the top back at the cabin.

easter2

It was a gorgeous morning and I didn’t want to leave but… But we didn’t leave before having breakfast with the Lord and Lady of Linden over at Little Boots Diner, home of my fave Gunslinger Quesadilla. It seems as though the Lord of Linden got my mug though… Or maybe he was the appropriate recipient [wink].

easter3

Onward down south to The Planet Ann Arbor and here is the Lyme Lounge tucked up next to The Landfill. You can’t see the GG but he is inside, in his element, working on getting it ready for the next season of adventures.

easter4

After a while and a couple of grokkery trips, Lizard Breath came over. We took a hike down through Miller Woods and over to the Plum (my second trip there) and when we got back our mouse was working on her garden(s) and here she is attacking the dead leaves in the front garden with her pink rake. Real women wear skirts (except when they don’t) and real women use pink rakes (except when they don’t). (And yes, it was HOT here today, in case you couldn’t tell by Mouse’s lack of sleeves.)

easter5

And finally, in case anyone was wondering, no we did not see Chloe Belle this weekend. Well, not exactly. We entered his house and took a pic of his North Country Trail volunteer bandanna and used his bathroom and monkeyed around in his garage. But we didn’t see him. Well unless you count when we passed him on the I75 SUV Speedway. He was headed north and we were headed south and we were right about at mile marker 119 (Flint and y’all know about Flint nowadays, don’tcha?) when we saw each other. And yes, this was only possible because 1) we all have iPhones, 2) the Lyme Lounge makes us easy to spot, and 3) Chloe Belle stuck his arm up out of his window (and told us that via iPhone that he would be doing that). Why was this so much fun? I do not know. We are such nerds.

G’night and Happy Easter if you celebrate or observe Easter or whatever. Love you all.

(((You have to remember that I am not retired)))

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

hl2

Oh my gosh, it has been a looooong day. We launched off the Planet Ann Arbor just before 7:00 AM today. We landed at Chloe Belle’s house in Gaylord around 10:30 AM, where we liberated the Lyme Lounge from its winter berth. Lunch at the Alpine Inn in Gaylord and then back down to the Group Home at Houghton Lake, where we have spent the afternoon and evening with the Lord and Lady of Linden including a wonderful roast lamb dinner.

So much fun and I had so much more to say earlier but I am kind of done for tonight. Lemme see… I could blather on forever on my blahg or I could catch up with the Lady of Linden, who I have not seen since xmas. Love.

This big pile-up of ice floes and snow is in front of us this weekend. I do not remember this particular type of formation ever before.

hlsnow

Alien invader

Friday, March 25th, 2016

alieninvaderTwo tech support sessions, the last one an hour and 15 minute long phone call and my VPN issue is still not fixed. My tech support person was really really nice and friendly. My tech support person was obviously more knowledgeable about the innards of my laptop’s OS than I am. I don’t generally delve tooooo deeply into whatever makes an OS works. My bad? Maybe… But man oh man. We went over and over the same things about a bazillion times to the point where I felt like I was getting to know this person’s job better than they did. About 50 minutes into the conversation, I decided to mention (again) that the problem began when I was issued a NEW LAPTOP. Oh, really? A new laptop? Oh. Um, duuuuuhhhh. I had said that at the very beginning of the call. Maybe I was talking too fast for the tech support person to get the details? Could be. But still…

It is Good Friday and that means nothing much to a lot of people including the Benevolent Despot (Jewish and doing his taxes this weekend) and me (agnostic but planning to cook an Easter sort of dinner just because). Nevertheless, we always get let out early on Good Friday and so I asked my tech support person, “Can we continue this on Monday?” My left hand was getting numb by that time because of holding my iPhone up to my ear. I am not accustomed to talking on the phone these days, not to mention that most of the conversation involved listening to each other breathe and/or type on our respective keyboards. Jeebus. And so this loverly little story is to be continued…

I have now had two more or less UNproductive work days in a row and I must say that after that long tech support phone call, it felt fantastic to walk downtown to the Oscar Tango tonight. Over the river and through the woods although more accurately it’d be the other way around since I walk down through Miller Woods and then across Allen Creek in West Park. Our favorite alien made its appearance at the Oscar Tango and our adventures walking home included a drone sighting at Westwood Park. I kept looking for the waning gibbous moon but when I finally got around to checking one of my celestial object apps, I found out that it doesn’t rise until 10:06 tonight. Oh well.

Early wake-up call tomorrow morning, although not any earlier than any other day.

G’night, KW

Gleck

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

2012spring1I love (except when I don’t) when facebook and other apps serve up my “memories”. Photos from this date on that past year. The good, the bad, and the ugly. And sometimes the mundane, like when one of the beach urchins gets a package delivered here in my humbly nice neighborhood and I text her a picture of it to let her know it’s here. How did we manage these little conversations before text messages and smart phones?

Anyway, the pics in this post are from four years ago today. They are apped, of course! It was a Saturday and it was HOT and I walked down to the farmer’s market and all of the flowering trees in town were in bloom. That is waaaaaayyyy early! We had a sustained period of pretty extreme heat that March (and a good-sized tornado) and it whacked out the growing cycle in this bountiful northern tier state pretty damn well because everything got going big-time in March and then a freeze or two in April killed a lot of stuff off.

That was 2012 and it was the year that The Commander died and two of my best friends also lost their last parent. I don’t really think the weather had anything to do with The Comm’s death but a friend’s botanist dad may have had something to do with it because he was able to enjoy asparagus from his garden before he died, which was in March and that is waaaayyy early even for asparagus. I can’t remember when Farmer John at work starts bringing in asparagus but it is not usually in March. I do remember that in 2012 he had very little asparagus to offer.

2012spring2Our landscape today doesn’t look anything like these pics. Our landscape is gray and brown and kind of ugly (although the green shoots of some hardy plants are shoosting up into the sky) and that is a good thing. It rained cats and dogs most of the day. An absolutely beautiful rainy day with temperatures rising throughout the day so that now we are in the mid-50s which I will take because “up north” it is a lot colder and the precipitation is snow and ice.

We lost power at Cubeland at 10:54 AM today. QA Row (where this BA and a couple of developers also live) was already buzzing with various discussions. When the lights went out, it became a nexus of communication. At one point I said something like “it doesn’t take much, does it” and everybody laughed. The Benevolent Despot contacted the power company and came up with basically the same information that I got on my iPhone Detroit Edison app, which was that they didn’t think the power would be back until late afternoon. He has more power than me with my little app though and he may be the reason why the power was actually back on by 1:30.

But that was after almost everyone bailed and I was looking forward to an afternoon of working from home but then, as I was using my phone to unlock my front door, I remembered that the last time I worked from home (snowstorm), my VPN connection didn’t work. Oh dear. That time, I didn’t really need the VPN to do my work, so I didn’t bother to contact tech support to get it fixed. Nowadays I am heavily into coding, which means I need the VPN. So… I was forced to open a ticket about my stoopid little individual problem and because it was a stoopid little individual problem, I did not get it resolved today. Therefore, I was not terribly productive today. But I had nothing to do that was time-critical so that was okay.

The weather gods are now threatening us with freezing rain/snow/whatever overnight. I am not happy about this new(?) development but at this time of year, any snow we get will melt pretty much directly. Green things are starting to come up out of the ground but that is normal at this time of year. Trees are NOT FLOWERING! That is normal at this time of year and that is a good thing.

Yooper Boyz in the woods back in the day

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

gunfighters

I don’t always remember the date of my old coot’s death on the date that it happened. His last couple of months were absolutely horrendous. A fall on ice, a shattered pelvis, a late-night air ambulance ride to the Henry Ford Hoosegow in downtown Dee-troit. Three weeks there, ALL OF THEM IN A HOSPITAL BED, 11 DAYS IN THE ICU, two looooonnnng surgeries, a ground ambulance ride back to a rehab facility in his beloved Sault Ste. Siberia, failure to thrive (my opinion and not an official diagnosis just in case there are perfectionists lurking out there wanting to correct me), sepsis, and death.

None of this was any fun at all but it was truly only the last couple months of his life that he suffered anything but the usual crapola that old age entails. I often think that he’d have been better off if his little heart arrhythmia had dropped him in his tracks but alas, that didn’t kill him. It had to be harder than that. Of course, that meant that it was easier (in some ways) for me, as his only living child. When your elderly parent is miserable and you know things aren’t going to get better, there is a certain sense of relief when they die. I know some of my nine readers understand that. The Commander (my mother and his wife) also felt that relief but we’ll go there some other day (or not) and I went through an even worse sort of thing with my mother and we won’t talk about the Stoopid Crapola that I endured after she died.

Let’s focus on the good times, when my old coot was a young 20-year-old engaging in all kinds of hi-jinks involving automotive vee-hickles and, um, implements of too much fun aka guns. I’ve posted the gunfighter photo before but it is a classic in our family and I have to post it again. And here are a few more. All of these photos are from the Sherman Archives, curated by my childhood friend Dan Sherman. Love. To Dan and the Fin and Sherman families and all of the Veteran Greenhorns. Love is all there is.

jack1

jack2

jack3

PG rated. Beware!!!

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

wirechartWhat do I have today? Dum de dum de dum. Not very much. Dum de dum de dum. Except that a very weird conversation took place in the hallway at my work today. I mean it was a weird conversation for my work and do not read any further if you are squeamish about b**bs and women breastfeeding their babies. Click away, click away, click away, Dixieland. I’m sure there’s something on Facebook about Trumpity Dump or whatever. Not saying anything in particular, just that even with the Brussels bombing, my feed is still filled with Trump. Go figger. Anyway…

This hallway conversation was about those articles of clothing that I fling almost as soon as I get in the door. I know that cup sizes like G and H exist and I feel for the women who need to wear those. I think that back problems are often an issue and sometimes reduction surgery is the only way to solve that problem. As a C, I miss the days of A (yes, really). I don’t need a huge amount of support so I am able to wear “comfort” bras and yes they may make me have a uni-b**b but I don’t really care. Hey, I told you to click away 🐸

Although bra conversations are interesting to me, I wasn’t very participatory (I was actually very busy) and then the conversation shifted to breast feeding. We CERTAINLY don’t talk about that at my work but that may be because most of the women who work at my office are long done with feeding babies, whether breast or formula.

There was a lot of discussion about people breast feeding in public and reactions to that. I didn’t often have to breast feed in public (and when I did, I was discreet because I didn’t want people to look at my dern b**b).

I was a lucky mother in many ways because I was able to breast feed my babies without quitting my job and I never had to pump breast milk. But my question is that nowadays, women who are having babies are planning to pump breast milk in their cars, as they are driving to work or wherever. This is a thing. I am not being judgemental about this. I’m guessing that the technology exists that allows mothers to pump breast milk while they are driving and I think that anything that helps mothers to provide their children with breast milk is cool. But wouldn’t it be better if mom (and dad) could actually take time off work to get to know their baby? And mom could actually breast feed her baby in person? Breast feeding my babies (in person) is probably one of the best things I have ever done in my life. I wish that more women could have the experience that I had with my children. Is it a good thing for new moms to pump in their cars? Or is it just another way to stress young mothers out. I honestly do not know.

This is not your mother’s rutabaga

Monday, March 21st, 2016

riverreflectionsYou saw us sitting at the Jolly Pumpkin bar Shameless style yesterday. Drinkin’ again, roight? Not that there’s anything wrong with a wee bit of beer/whine late in the late afternoon on a very productive Sunday but we were also looking for a bit of a snack. One to share. I wasn’t as hungry as Lizard Breath and I was struggling to process the menu. Probably not the cheese assortment because I only do goat cheese, etc., in any format other than melted on top of things, long story there and I’m prob’ly *not* particularly lactose intolerant.

Anyway, we got the Farmer’s Fritto, which is tempura fried whatever vegetable is in season. If you know anything about the Great Lake State, you will know that the main “in season” veggies at this time of the year are root veggies. Our server/bartender may have been pre-empting potential complaints by telling us that the fritto vegetable of the day was rutabaga. Okay. We’ll talk about pasties (the food not the thingies) another day but although I readily agreed to get the Farmer’s Fritto even though the veggie was rutabaga, I have to admit that my brain did a little mini-dip back into my childhood encounters with rutabaga.

As in YUCK! The Commander would occasionally serve us rutabaga in a mashed form. I think some sort of sweetening was added, like brown sugar maybe? I did NOT like rutabaga in that form factor and I am not sure that brown sugar (or whatever it was) enhanced it. I actually think I remember that nobody bugged me to finish my mashed rutabaga when we had it. I suspect this was a dish she remembered from her childhood, where she lived with her parents, siblings, and a set of grandparents on a farm near Detroit that later got razed so someone could build a dern Burger King. But I bet the rutabaga that family used came straight out of the garden (or maybe a root cellar), definitely not from an A&P or Red Owl grocery store in Michigan’s eastern upper peninsula. Again, rutabaga is a root vegetable, but who knows how long those rutabagas had been traveling around. So blech.

The Jolly Pumpkin’s rutabaga Farmer’s Fritto was EXQUISITE! I dunno where they got those rutabagas or maybe it was just how they processed them, thinly sliced and fried with tempura batter. I wish I had taken a pic because they were so good.

Lookin’ like Shameless

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

shamelessAnd so a day that started out in a sublime way deteriorated slowly through a frenetic search for a new alarm clock and finally ended up at a barrrroooom, Shameless style. (Anybody else watch that show? I recommend the British version even if I can’t always 100% understand the talk.)

I started out on my usual Skunk Walk after giving the GG optional instructions to text me when he got up. He could pick me up and we would drive down to the river and walk the Barton Dam trails. I wasn’t sure if he would do that but he rose to the occasion, picked me up on Arborview and we took a beautiful sunrise hike down by the dam.

The next umpteen hours were a mixed bag. I found some Important Papers that I could not find a couple years ago when I needed them (and various people pilloried me in the stocks for committing the unconsionable sin of temporarily misfiling papers in the midst of total chaos, jeebus forgive me). The GG spent multiple hours going to *seven* stores trying to obtain a new alarm clock. I had two requirements for this. 1) It needed to be a clock radio and 2) I have to be able to see the time when I wake up at that Batscope Hour. We have a new alarm clock now. I think it works.

So how did we end up sitting at the bar down at the Jolly Pumpkin looking like Shameless? Lizard Breath came over here today and wanted to walk. So she and I walked downtown and after we bought books at Literati, we sought out whine and a snack at the Jolly Pumpkin. And then Mouse joined us and then the GG. And so here we are in all our glory as a baggy old fambly on a beautiful Sunday afternoon on the first day of spring here on The Planet Ann Arbor in the beautiful Great Lake State of Michigan.

And actually, I think we ended this gorgeous day in a sublime way too, now that we are back at The Landfill with lasagne in the oven, etc.

Love y’all, KW

Life goes on

Saturday, March 19th, 2016

mkt1I just caught a whiff of an NPR story about a trend where people are getting divorced when they are in their fifties. Why? I only listened to bits and pieces of the article but I kind of understood what they were talking about. In a weird kind of way. I cannot write coherently about this tonight but I experienced a kind of freedom in my fifties that I didn’t expect but enjoyed greatly. As I began that decade, the beach urchins were largely independent, my parents were elderly but healthy, and I wasn’t gainfully employed but I had a vibrant career doing non-profit work. I spent that decade going to school, traveling back and forth to the Yooperland to deal with sick and/or elderly family members and eventually working at my current bonus job/career. But. During that entire time, I never felt compelled to divorce the GG. He was right there with me for the good, bad, and ugly, and he tolerated me traveling in and out of town on my own steam whenever I felt like I needed to, not to mention all the trips the GG himself made up there to help The Commander after I started working at my bonus career. That decade of my life had its ups and downs but I can’t figger why on *earth* would I choose that particular time of life to get divorced from the GG????? ???? Women have enough money to do what they want nowadays, the radio said. That’s cool and yes I do have a wee bit of my own money but kee-reist, isn’t it better for a couple to combine their money…

And who the heck would I hook up with if I divorced the GG? Who else would I hike the local trails with? Who else would drag me onto the North Country Trail? Would I still be able to hang out with The Uncly Uncle and all of my in-laws and their children at Houghton Lake?

C’mon people. Shake a blanket while you still can!

Outta steam

Friday, March 18th, 2016

chairsAnd almost too taaarred to write anything. It has been some week although most of it kind of swirled around in the background as I worked my you know what off. Walking down to the Oscar Tango tonight I expected a text message or two or three. On a regular Friday, I text my progress toward downtown to the GG and he responds (or not). I often think of a Friday a few years ago when I found myself barraged by a storm of text messages from The Commander and an obsessive text messager. Oh, not that it was an argument. If I remember accurately, The Comm had accidentally texted the obsessive text messager. Or maybe it was vice versa? Whatever. I was walking down Washington Street banging into trees and tripping over dogs, tricycles, and small children as I navigated that complicated thread of messages trying to turn it into a dull roar. Still, I miss getting texts from The Commander. Even texts like:

Yyyyyyyy

Plow Illinois

My mother determinedly tried to keep up with technology as long as she possibly could. I hope I’m up to that when I get to that age. (And that yyyyyyy text message was supposed to show up as a “block quote” but it isn’t exactly and I’m not sure why except that I’ve probably mangled the [very simple] html in some way that I cannot process tonight. I don’t give up easily but after an afternoon spent untangling crappy old skool javascript, I’m done for now.)

Tonight I was pleasantly surprised by a text from npJane. Are you OTing tonight? Yes, I am on my way down there and the GG is probably already there. I had been thinking about np earlier in the week. She came over one Sunday in January and that’s the last time I’d heard anything much from her. Which is okay! We are all busy and employed and that is always a good thing! But it’s always nice to get together and catch up on the latest powderpost beetle gossip and whatever. We stopped [sorta] short of any polly-tick type discussion tonight. I think. At least we didn’t get heavily into it but then I think a lot of us are sort of watching the 2016 presidential race roll out in a kind of horrified fascination. Gone are the days of Foster Friess joking about women using aspirin as birth control. And I had trouble googling that sad little chapter of history. Foster, uh, who was that guy? Fliess? Uh, no… I think that was Heidi… “Foster aspirin between legs” finally got me to where I needed to go. Waste of time? Yes. (Actually, as the GG pointed out, women were holding an aspirin tablet tightly between their KNEES. Okay, but the point is that the incorrect google search I used worked and Foster Friess hasn’t been heard of since, as far as I know. Good riddance.)

Home. Come on in and through the house. What about my shoes? They’re muddy. No they’re not. Come on outside the back door. Happy birthday to the GG. It is not his birthday for more than a month and I was gonna buy him some of these chairs. He apparently couldn’t wait. Now I will have to think of something else… Or maybe buy a few more of these. But I was gonna surprise him and that won’t be much of a surprise. Since we have both had our eye on these chairs at Downtown Home & Garden for a while now, it wouldn’t have been a surprise in that oh you *really* shouldn’t have way. These chairs were in our future.

I am babbling. Kerflop. –KW.

Green beer Blue foam

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

bluefoamApparently the bar we always go to for an afterwork St. Paddy’s Day par-aaay buys their green beer already green. The problem is that they only buy one beer in a green color and the LSCHP does not like that kind of beer so he schleps his own food coloring bottles along and the challenge becomes what kind of beer to buy that will work with which color of food coloring.

I did not think to get a pic of the first pitcher we got but the blue food coloring he put into it gave it a kind of a greenish brown tinge. People drank it anyway, except for those of us who prefer whine, that is. The second pitcher arrived with a huge head on it. Attempts to color it were foiled when the blue food coloring got stuck the foam and refused to get mixed in. The LSCHP spooned the blue foam out into a glass and passed it down to the CRD. I’m not sure why the CRD got stuck with it or whether he drank(?) it or not. (Don’t look at the whine glass or the chicken bone.)

We’ve been doing this St. Patrick’s Day par-aaaay for more years than I care to count now. I typically have two glasses of cab and hit the road for home. I have missed some good stuff over the years like when a long-gone developer drank out of a pitcher at the end of the evening. Fortunately his vee-hickle broke down just after he left so he didn’t end up driving in that condition.

I wasn’t the first to leave but I left earlier than I really wanted to. As is often the case, I had other things to get to tonight. The GG wanted to get dinner at Knight’s and I was up for that after an interesting week around here, what with sharp sticks pelting us from the woods, etc. Still, I was sorry to leave. It was a smaller crowd than usual but that wasn’t really a bad thing. Introvert that I am, I was kind of wanting to spend more time with those folks. Maybe it’s because this is the Queen Bee’s last official St. Patrick’s Day party (noooooooo!) or maybe it’s just that I have been working with these folks for a pretty dern long time now and, well, that’s about all I can say… I don’t really need a work “family”. I have a vibrant life outside of work and more “real” friends, not to mention a few big branches of family members, than I can count to help get me through the proverbial night. Somehow I seem to have ended up with a work family *anyway*.

I love our peaceful little woods except when it throws spiky sticks at me!

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

It wasn’t a very big storm at all, just a thin line of crap on the radar. No derecho or even bow echo. No tornadoes. Just a wee bit of thunder and lightning. And then, KA-BOOOOOOM! Not your typical peal of thunder. I heard earthly-type breakage somewhere in that sound, not just the gods playing at bowling on Mt. Olympus or wherever. Did I hear glass breaking? It was that Batscope Hour and I didn’t process it very well. Just enough to know that I DO know what it sounds like when a great big tree lands on your house and it did not sound like *that*. The GG had been wandering the house when the KABOOM happened and he reported that lightning had hit something in the woods. “The whole woods lit up!” Indeed. The storm moved on and I went back to sleep.

I didn’t know what I would be able to see this morning. I met Bob and Java in the woods and they said it would be obvious, even in the dark. I wasn’t sure. But then… (and I went BACK to get this photo, it was too dark for a pic on my first pass).

tree1

Here’s the base of the tree. See all those pointy looking sticks all over everywhere?

tree2

They fell within about a half-block radius. A lot of them stuck into the ground, like this one in the Landfill backyard.

tree3

The one I found in the street in front of The Landfill was not stuck into the ground but that’s prob’ly because it smashed the Mean Green Frog Hoppin’ Musheen’s moonroof before bouncing off and landing in the street. Well, we *think* that’s what happened. We weren’t exactly watching.

froghopper

I am so glad nobody was outside during this unprovoked attack. A person could easily have been killed.

KNOCK ON WOOD BIG TIME, this is another chapter in our continuing series of weird car incidents that don’t involve crashing into other vee-hickles on public thoroughfares.

Onward, upward, and goodnight and here’s Neko Case with one of my fave songs over the last few years. Never turn your back on Mother Earth. (Youtube with an ad.)

To-Ga!

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

togaI wasn’t really hiding out from Casino “Night”, it was just early, but the Queen Bee dragged me out anyway. She isn’t any crazier about Casino “Night” than I am but in the end we teamed up to drag D (who probably hates it worse than either of us do) and Topeka, who didn’t really need to be dragged out, she was just on the phone in the lunchroom. Topeka seems a lot more social than us but since she is new and stuck on our stodgy old team, we felt responsible for accompanying her to the event.

I have not done any kind of casino-style gambling since I was in 7th grade and it was de rigueur to play penny poker on the band bus. The morning of my first band trip, my old coot handed me a roll of pennies. I can’t remember if I won anything or not. I did know how to play poker from playing it with my cuzzints and friends at the moominbeach but we never played for money. I don’t think any of us HAD any money. You know that band-bus penny poker games were outlawed within the next few years. Jeebus.

A Euchre Tournament was also associated with today’s work event. It was organized by my buddy Louie-Louii. I do not EVER play euchre and never have. I can’t think of anything more stultifyingly boring than a game like euchre. The Commander belonged to a bridge club when I was a little kid. (I *think* euchre is a somewhat bridge-like game. At least, I was hearing “trump” from the euchre tables today and I do not think they were talking about Donald.) All I know is that I was VERY disappointed when I found out that The Comm and her friends were going to sit at card tables and go tee-hee-hee, smoke and eat nibblies, and uh, play cards? Whut? I thought that they were going to build an actual BRIDGE in our living room. THAT would’ve been exciting.

Anyway, us introverts plus Topeka grabbed some food and sat down at an empty table and then the LSCHP joined us. He was resplendent in a toga he made out of a flowered bedsheet from his childhood. (I forgot to say that this was also a Toga Party. I did not wear one.) And we had fun talking about, well, I dunno, the stuff that introverts talk about. What can I say? We do not do small talk but we are interesting enough to each other when we don’t have something more pressing on our minds. That’s prob’ly why a lot of us prefer text messages to phone calls. Topeka finished her food and beat a hasty retreat over to the gambling tables. [We hire trained card dealers for this event but I don’t think any actual money changes hands. I think all players are allocated an equal amount of chips and the winners receive company-purchased prizes.]

Uh, yeah.

Monday, March 14th, 2016

backyard“It’s Monday morning and I am at work.” A few weeks or so ago, I was playing phone tag with my RJ guy and that’s how I answered his Girl Friday when I connected with her that Monday morning and she asked me how I was. She is a Lovely Person and I never did have to talk to RJ because, as a professional financial person in her own right, she handled all of it for him.

Yes, I did call her a Girl Friday and yes, I know that it is polly-tickly incorrect to use the word “girl” when talking about grownup women in any context. Me? I do not care if someone calls me Girl or Gal or Mama or Hon or Annie (never my name but at least it doesn’t sound like a buzzer) or whatever. If I know that I am being called Girl (or whatever) in an affectionate way by someone who I know values me as the intelligent and competent person that I am, I don’t give a damn what they call me.

BTW, I included “Mama” in there even though nobody in real life has ever called me that except for my children when they were babies. Well, except for 30-something years ago when a black guy who encountered me schlepping up Liberty Street with my flute said something like, “You play the flute, Mama?” I was not insulted. Nor was I the time another black guy (also on Liberty Street) told me I looked like Cicely Tyson. Insulted? Jeebus! Flattered? I look like Cicely Tyson? Yes!

And then there are those folks who just don’t know any better and never will. I’m not talking about big-shot a-holes who make a career out of marginalizing women. You know the kind. I’m talking about people like Broosie at my work. I won’t try to describe him except to say that when he dubbed my current supervisor The Queen Bee and referred to me as a “little worker bee”, I was not insulted. With difficult life-long physical/genetic disabilities, this sweet man has no power over me or anyone else except maybe the stuffed aminals that sometimes overflow his cube. Nevertheless, he is a valuable employee and, although I tire of his long conversations, I support him as a person who holds down a really good job at my workplace. If I reported him to human resources for making “inappropriate comments”, he might well end up unemployed. Isn’t it better that he has a job (that he is good at) that allows him to afford his own house, vee-hickle, and antique collecting habits? And co-workers (including female ones) who understand who he is and what challenges he has?

I’m just saying, when you are called an inappropriate name or label or whatever, please consider the source and the intent.

Blecccccchhhh!

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

kaleOh, not this tough little kale survivor here, photographed in the Landfill back yard yesterday morning by Mouse. Today was Tax Day here at the Landfill. I hate Tax Day. I think that the 2013 Tax Season (three years ago) was the worst. I still experience PTSD from that particular Tax Season. An inordinate amount of Pinging and quite a lot of draaaaagging. Good riddance.

I do not help with the taxes any more. That is a long [boring!] story and it is not because I am not capable. It took absolutely all of the patience I have to hang around here at the Landfill during Tax Day, which, fortunately, was not as fraught with angst as it has often been in past years. Still it was hard, especially with driving rain all day.

I tried to occupy myself with Other Things but that backfired. I’ve been sorting and organizing my parents’ papers (for about the fourth time). I was okay with the estate-related stuff except for a certain amount of stupid crapola that made things unnecessarily complicated. But I am databasing everything so it is easier to find things when I need to refer to them for a sanity check or whatever. And yes, I have needed a few sanity checks during the years since my mother died.

Today I got into some of the personal stuff. Hand-written letters and things. Today it was mostly letters between The Commander and her sister Charlotte and most of them were about Charlotte’s struggles to care for my [beloved] step-grandmother Bolette as she descended into dementia. I hadn’t actually read these letters before, just stashed them, and this stuff was really hard for me for some reason. There was one particularly interesting one involving a typical topic when you are dealing with someone with dementia as most of us of a certain age know all too well (it was about poop and don’t ask). In a way it was pretty hilarious and I could almost hear my beautiful vibrant aunt Charlotte telling it over cocktails at the moomincabin or wherever and me and my mother laughing about it. Laughter is a handy tool to have when you are struggling with difficult people and/or situations. But then the whole thing made me feel a bit depressed. I thought, TMI! Do I really want to know this? In the end, I stuffed all of those letters back into an envelope to deal with some other day. They don’t take up that much space and I don’t really need to sort/fling them NOW…

Anyway, I MADE myself stay calm today, at least outwardly. Finally about mid-afternoon, the taxes were “done” (except for the part where they get mailed to the accountant and he does his thing). The GG said something like, “Didn’t you make copies of the taxes at your work last year?” I did not. I don’t even know where there is a blasted copier at my work. Hmm… Now that I am thinking about it, I think HE made copies of them at HIS work. But this passive-aggressively phrased question [wink] made me get up and say, “Would you like me to go over to Staples and copy them?” Well, yes. I needed some more steps today anyway.

And so I did. I schlepped over to Staples in the pouring rain. I think making copies of our tax documents at Staples was probably more stressful than doing the taxes this year. Out of paper. No paper in sight. Can’t get the attention of an employee. New paper. Inscrutable dialog box on screen. Re-a-start. Loooooooong re-a-start. We won’t even talk about the young woman who came in to use the advertised “We’ll print from your emailed document” service and found that NO ONE working there that day knew how to use that service or that one of the reasons that I couldn’t get any help getting my dysfunctional copy musheen to work was largely due to all of them helping her and ignoring other customers (meeeeee). Jeebus.

I’m thinking that it would’ve been much more efficient for me to use my iPhone to photograph all of the documents I made copies of today. I normally think of that kind of thing so I’m not sure why I agreed to walk over to Staples in the rain to deal with their crappy musheens. I guess I felt guilty for not helping with the taxes and needed to atone for it? Silver lining(s) to this rather ill-fated trip are that I got some more steps in and I got a couple [more] things at the Plum Market [on my second trip there] on the way home.

I won’t ask but I hope your taxes are done (done done done) or at least in the dern hopper, like ours are. The rain is still going around here but our Mouse is here to dump some compost and keep my laundry facilities in business (and play cat yard with the GG). A chicken is on the grill and portabella ravioli and salad are in the hopper.

Love y’all, KW

Ol’ Man Winter

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

I am running out of places to put the snow!

winter

Just kidding! You know how facebook greets you with your “memories” every morning whether you want to see them or not? This morning I’d’ve spit my coffee out if I’d been drinking any. This was from two years ago today during the Polar Vortex winter here on the Ice Road Asteroid, which was what I was calling The Planet Ann Arbor for that particular duration.

Below is a pic I took *this morning* of the greenhouse in the Mack schoolyard as I trucked on down Miller (on dry pavement with no significant snow in sight) to the farmers market. Our morning temperatures were not all that springlike but we experienced a 30 degree increase during the day.

spring1

Lemme see… Lettuce, baby kale, scallions, potatoes, rainbow trout, chicken, lamb chops, what am I fergittin’? Oh! ravioli (two pkg, goat cheese and portabella), lamb’s quarters quiches. I know I am still fergittin’ something and it is NOT the wee little head of red cabbage that I bought TWO WEEKS ago and we found rolling around in the Ninja’s trunk when we got home. I did salvage some of it!

Anyway, we were sitting inside Kerrytown having some coffee and people were texting us cat yard pics and then I received the pic below.

spring2

That, my friends, is a pic of the farmers market. My Mouse sent it to me, meaning that she was *at* the farmers market. We were pretty much done with our coffee so we jumped up to go and find her. After the market, she stopped by the Landfill on her way to other places and I *think* these people are playing that cat yard game. Please don’t look at the trombones froogs back there in the background. It only encourages them. Yes, one of them is wearing a green tutu. This is what happens when you take your kids frogs to Meijer with you. I was only in there to buy terlet paper and stuff. Jeebus!

spring3

I did chores for the rest of the morning and I’m not sure what the GG did but it was not the taxes. I guess he’ll tackle those tomorrow. Oh yeah, he was working on his hand this morning. Which is healing just fine by the way but we think he may have overdone things a bit the last couple days. Anyway. Walked downtown for lunch at the Griz. I love our woodsy parks at this time of year. Most of them look a lot like boneyards without leaves or snow to disguise all of the fallen trees. Beautiful decay.

spring4

And then I saw a yard with a big swath of purple in it. It had to be crocuses and it was. And that blurry thing above the fleurs is a camera-shy BEEEEEEE!

spring5

I found exactly two yellow crocus flowers in my back yard and I can’t remember what these green shoots turn into but I guess spring has sprung, although I don’t doubt that we will have more snow. And that is actually a good thing. We do not want our fruit trees to flower too early, etc. Bad stuff.

spring6

It’s Saturday and [insert whatever Garrison says on Prairie Home Companion]. Love y’all, KW.