Archive for August, 2016

Barefoot and pregnant (the first but not the second)

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016


I have spent approximately 17 months of my life pregnant (one child 1 week early, the other 3 weeks early so do the math). I have spent many more moons than I can count going barefoot. Especially at the moomincabin. When we were kids, we took our shoes off the minute we arrived there after school got out in June and didn’t put them back on until the day after Labor Day, when we went back to school. (I actually always loved going back to school (except for the doggamn review of stuff that I had learned the last year) but that’d be a whole ‘nother post)

I am barefoot in the Landfill Chitchen now and most of the time except for when it’s cold and I have my Smartwool socks on. I am not a housewife. I am a Chief Cook and Bottle Washer. I adopted that title from one of my fave childhood TV series, My Three Sons, because that’s how Uncle Charlie, a war veteran, served the family. I do all that stuff (and I love doing all of it) plus mom stuff. Or I used to mom stuff when my beach urchins were small. They are grown-up Amazon Women now and I am proud of them but they don’t need me in the same way as they did once upon a time.

So, when I got home today I was a bit confused because the GG was not here. That was okay but the last few weeks, he has usually been around when I get home and often napping. After some text messages this afternoon, it turned out that he was at the Plum Market. Of all places. Asking if I needed anything. I did. I had a little grokkery list that I was gonna take over there after work today. The GG is great about picking up grokkeries but I had some very specific stuff on my list and I didn’t have the psychological strength at that particular moment to make a Man List. Plus I needed to walk.

So I took my own trip over to the Plum and we met there. I said something like, “Go pay for your stuff and go home.” And so he did. And then I paid for my stuff and started walking home. And there was the GG ahead of me.


I love that the GG can shop and cook for himself if he needs to but I am still the Chief Cook and Bottle Washer around these parts.

Oh the humanity

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

donoteatI do not know what this plant is. I posted it on facebook and Our Northern Correspondent identified it as ginseng and she is probably correct. She knows a heckuva lot more about plants than I do. One of my cousins simply said, “Don’t eat it!” I didn’t. Living a few blocks from two grocery stores, I am not reduced to foraging for food in the mini-woods behind my house. I ate leftover chicken shwarma. It’s Summer 2016’s Thing around here.

It always seems like there’s some kind of a Summer Thing. One year at the moomincabin it was pita chips with hummus. I still make pita chips once in a while (I *buy* hummus because I am not a fanatic) but that summer it was every other day. Once we actually recruited Grandroobly to pick up some pita bread from Glen’s Grokkeries. Grokkery stores were not among Grandroobly’s usual hangouts, at least not without The Commander herding him around, and I had to make him a map so he could find the pita bread. I’m not exactly sure how he managed to pay for it. I suppose he did it with cash. He was a banker and definitely used plastic cards back in the day but after they installed those swipers at the checkout, he would go over by the door and wait while The Commander did the deed. He never did quite make the transition to that kind of technology. Odd in a way I suppose because his daughter (meeee) *designs* internet banking functionality. Or maybe not odd, since he was a banker.

Anyway, today was one of the longest days ever and involved a lot more w-a-i-t-i-n-g than my foot-tapping gotta-keep-it-going personality could handle. There was also a bit more humanity than I could tolerate although I was also annoyed at myself for feeling like a snob because who the heck am I to judge other people for using the illiterate sounding speech patterns that have probably been embedded in their families for generations. In the end, when I got home, there was a freezer ‘hattan waiting for meeeee! Yay!

Patterns and Pictures and Maps, Oh My! (And Poultry)

Monday, August 29th, 2016

poultryPatterns and pictures played a major role in my grueling but ultimately successful work day today (not to crow because it is in the nature of the biz that pride frequently goes before a fall). And map*ping* but not maps.

I can tell you probably every city and small burg in the eastern Yooperland. I can tell you just about any city and small burg all the way up and down the I75 SUV Speedway between here and the northern terminus of the I75 SUV Speedway at Sault Ste. Siberia and I can probably tell you the mile marker of each exit. The Great Lake State’s west coast? Not so much. I have a natural preference for my childhood Gitchee Gumee but its sister great lake Michigan certainly rivals Lake Superior in terms of beauty.

But boy oh boy, do I struggle to remember the geography of the cities and towns strung along up and down the lower half or so of Lake Michigan. Is Ludington north or south of Manistee? Where does Saugatuck fit in? I still don’t have it straight but I have been looking at Google maps for the last week or so figuring out where things stand. The Benevolent Despot took a vacation in Pentwater (south of Ludington). GoGrannyGo took a vacation in Saugatuck which is south of Muskegon, which is south of Pentwater. GoGrannyGo was chuckling about not wanting to have a “sighting” of TBD even though she knew it wasn’t likely. Indeed, she did not run into TBD but she *did* run into our beloved (and now retired) Queen Bee, who was coincidentally vacationing in Saugatuck with her husband and his brother. Then there were the Beach Urchins who spent one of their camping nights a bit north of Manistee which is farther north than any of these other places.

Clearly I need to get this stuff straight so going from the southernmost point (of the last week) to the northernmost, here are the sizeable cities and towns: Saugatuck, Muskegon, Pentwater, Ludington, Manistee. With lots of smaller burgs and parks and beaches and tourist attractions in between. We occasionally take a day trip to Manistee because it is a pretty straight shot from Houghton Lake. Those other places? I do not know. Bucket list trip? If I had a bucket list but that’d be a whole ‘nother blahg.

I do love Manistee. The last time we shot over there it was early November 2015, so not really the tourist season at all. We went there to look at Big Waves. Lake Michigan sorta delivered but I think the waves were probably more spectacular in other areas. I found a wonderful little antique shop where I actually bought these poultry items. Antique stores generally overwhelm me and I am in a de-acquisistional phase in general but somehow these three “spoke” to me. Note that this little acquisition does *not* mean that I want to be inundated with collectibles in any way, shape, or form. I am *not* collecting them. Or maybe I am. But not in any serious way and I want to choose my own collected items on my own terms. I am not interested in random gifts of cute poultry or somebody’s grandma’s collection. Sell it on eBay or donate it. I chose these carefully and rejected a number of other items because they just didn’t “speak to me”.

As I was paying for my poultry, I asked the shop owner where we could get a sandwich and a “beer” and she sent us just down the street to TJ’s Pub, which fit the bill pretty darn perfectly. After lunch, we shot back to the Group Home at Houghton Lake.


Sunday, August 28th, 2016

hlMr. Golden Sun made his first serious appearance mid-morning up @GroupHome @HoughtonLake. He then disappeared for a while but (of course) he came out in full force *after* the UU and I returned from a wee Flote Bote “fishing” expotition and the GG and I were scurrying around getting ready to leave for Southeast Trollandia aka home.

The weather was not perfect for cruising around the lake in the Flote Bote, stopping at tiki bars along the way but it was good enough and the Great Lake State needs rain. It’s fun sharing a vacation home with relatives that get along well. Not that there aren’t ever little squabbles about this or that but it’s all just family stuff and it *stays* within the family, which is where it *should* stay. This weekend we were three baggy old couples, the GG and two of his brothers (one of them his twin) and all of the respective out-laws. Yer fave blahgger, The Beautiful Gay and The Beautiful Becky.

Yesterday, as it was approaching cocktail hour and I was chilling out in the Lyme Lounge processing photos, I received a fb msg from a S-I-L that we needed to declare NO POLITICS at the Cfam cabin. I totally agreed! Once a long time ago I happened to be there on my *birthday* and people were rumbling around about polly-ticks (“Ohbummer” and whatever I *think*). I declared that it was No Politics Day. People kept talking about politics. I persisted. People started looking at me a little funny. I persisted. Suddenly people seemed to “get it”. With a couple of chuckles, we stopped talking about politics. That day. What the heck. We don’t all agree. I can’t usually sort out what *I* think half the time so who am I to be engaged in political discussion. Better to do something constructive like wash the dishes. Something that makes the world [arguably] better and can actually be *finished*.

Our beach urchins did a sisterly camping trip this weekend. They ended up in various places over closer to Lake Michigan, probably not farther north than Manistee, which is pretty much straight west from Houghton Lake. As much as I enjoyed our time with our relatives at the Cfam cabin, I kind of envied the beach urchins their lovely camping trip. And yes they were in the rain too. Being their moom, I was kind of worried about them being in the rain but then they posted lovely photos of cooking eggs under an umbrella along with beach and nature pics. Not to get tooooo sappy but I am so glad that they love each other and can carve out time to take road/camping trips together. It isn’t easy to find that time. And then there was last year when they were planning their own camping trip but things went a bit south when Mercury went into retrograde that weekend and they ended up camping with their *parents* and a whole a bunch of other old fogies at Tahquamenon.

And that’s waaaaayyy more than enough for today.

Mainly a lot of Big Red Wheels

Saturday, August 27th, 2016

It isn’t like I sit around salivating waiting for the annual Black Iron Days event at our beautiful Harwick Pines State Park but when we are at Houghton Lake the last weekend in August, we usually try to get there and this year I think it helped sway our decision to travel north at all this weekend. We did get to Black Iron Days and it rained like heck the whole time we were there but I’ve also been there in brutally hot weather so this was pretty darn nice.

When I posted this pic, I thought I would remember exactly what this device was used for (there was a sign and everything) but then there were a whole bunch more Big Red Wheels and now I can’t remember. It definitely has something to do with the Great Lake State logging industry back in the 1800s. I think it also has something to do with snow. I’m sure it has been repainted since then 🐽


Here are the Twinz of Terror standing in front of another Big Red Wheel perusing some lovely key/jacket/cap hook holders in the form of an arrow. The Uncly Uncle: Where will it fit in my house? Will The Beautiful Gay like it? Given that she might not, how should I present it to her? In the end, he bought it, she *loved* it, I don’t know where they are going to put it in their house and the guy who made it did a bunch of double-takes and then said something like, “Oh you are twins!” Yes indeed.


It wasn’t all Big Red Wheels. This dugout canoe in progress was probably one of my fave things of the day. I loved the vendor and the heat from the faaaar (although it really wasn’t cold, just wet). What you may not be able to process from this pic is that the faaaar is pretty much out at the stern (closest to me) because that part of the dugout was *outside* the tent and *in* the rain.


Some log marks (in the logging museum). They are kind of like cattle brands. When a bunch of logs are floated down a river by a number of different companies, they get sorted out by their log marks. Yes, sometimes people steal each others logs. A couple of us read Barkskins ([E.] Annie Proulx) this summer. If you are interested in logging history it is a good *fictional* book about the industry (with lots of pot-boiling stuff to make a story about cutting down trees interesting). Also it’s a pretty darn good book.


We actually hit the Black Iron Days event in time to watch the sawmill operate. They run the sawmill operation two or three times a year with volunteers manning the musheens, which are obviously meticulously restored.


When the big steam engine thing got going, it was noisy as all getout and smoked like crazy and sometimes there were sparks too but I didn’t get a pic of the sparks, just the smoke.


We watched this saw chew through a couple of logs. It is silent now.


And then us intrepid hikers got LOST on the PAVED trail and ended up at the wrong parking lot…


I cannot figger how a bunch of HIKERS could get lost on a little paved mini-trail but we did. It was okay. One of us ended up hiking more than he probably should have but we are all okay. And then we went out to eat at that bowling alley up in Roscommon. It was wonderful and lived up to everything we had been told about it.

An old refrigerator does not make a good shelving unit

Friday, August 26th, 2016


So, when you dream (just before you wake up) that a guy in a tin foil hat and onion goggles has lined the walls of the already cramped little “master” bedroom in your 1959-vintage ticky-tacky “ranch” house with every shelving unit that your moom collected PLUS the small REFRIGERATOR from the Moldy Old Courtois Cabin, there’s nowhere to go but up, roight?

And up I went, in a manner of speaking at least. After a horrendously bad week at work (which is not all that bad given that my work is what you might call “cozy” 99% of the time), a spreadsheet that I put together just after our Darkest Hour, a couple days ago during a painful meeting when some excruciatingly convoluted things finally started clicking into a Pattern for me, was deemed “This is GREAT!” by my new supe. Whew! (Note to Story Problem type engineers if they are bothering to tune in from the other side. Alas, I kind of hope they are, not that they could change anything… … …)

The last two weeks have been a kind of a maelstrom in a few different dimensions and I hesitate to say we are on an upward trajectory but here we are at Houghton Lake. I am sitting in the Lyme Lounge looking out over the water, writing my boring blahg of blather as @tmotu “fixes the internet” [again] and two of my beloved brothers-in-law and their beloved wives talk in the cabin. I hear the sweet dogz (Chloe Belle, Daisy, and Riley Sue) going in and out of the cabin but they are mostly pretty quiet.

The highlight of my day? Before I left work today, Building Mom/KennyP found a praying mantis here on our window. We were both entranced by this insect and we were tripping over each other to get photos of it that didn’t include each others’ feet. These things are around. I love them. I love BM/KP. So here it is as well as its reflection.

But then…


Because I am an IDIOT focused on my own stupid little self, I neglected to tell our Friday Oscar Tango buddies that we would not be there tonight and I cannot believe that we missed them and their wonderful tin foil hats. Love you guys. I meant to text you but I failed!!! OMG! You look fantastic and that would’ve been so much fun!

Go fund me!

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

farmstandOh, not me! I do not need funding!

So this is a terrible picture of Farmer John’s market. As you can probably tell, it is tomato season at FJ’s farm although he also has asparagus (in the spring), sweet corn, green beans, peppers of all sorts, cucumbers (for pickling, he doesn’t like cukes in general), raspberries, summer squash, potatoes, winter squash (just starting to get those), flowers, and I fergit what else. FJ is a sweeeeeet man who has been a software developer at my company for a long time. He refers to himself as “just an old farm boy”. He charges for his produce but he certainly doesn’t do it for the money. In fact, by his calculations, he makes about $2/hour running his market and we LOVE his market. We love his market and wait impatiently for asparagus to appear every spring.

Something terribly sad happened yesterday. FJ reported that the cup he puts out to collect money (honor system) had $36 in it at lunch time and $13 by 4:00 PM. This has apparently happened a couple times recently but it is a first, at least in my memory. In the NINE(!) years I have toiled at Cubelandia, I have never *once* felt unsafe about leaving my purse or my iPhone or even the very occasional bit of cash sitting around in my cube. It’s hard to describe my workplace and the people who work there but my company doesn’t just go ahead and hire any old schmo. (Well they did hire meeeee. I’m not sure but what the Benevolent Despot may harbor some second thoughts about that from time to time… OMG Oi hired Kayak Woman? Oy. [wink]) But people are trustworthy at my work and many of them have worked together for umpteen bazillion years and survived multiple corporate upheavals of various sorts together. We care about each other.

No one replied to Farmer John’s email yesterday afternoon. I think people were pretty shocked. This morning the emails started to come in. “How sad is this? And what can we do to help?” One: move the cup over to Building Mom’s desk. She will watch it like a hawk. And then. “Go Fund Me! Everyone donate 50 cents to the cup!” I thought something like, “I can do better than 50 cents and took a fiver over to Building Mom to put in the cup. Then the replies to the Go Fund Me thingy started coming in. “I’ll put $10 in!” Even one of our Indian colleagues who has never been over here offered to send in $10. No I didn’t run over and try to match the $10 donations. I’m just reporting that the point was made over and over again by old and new colleagues that Farmer John’s wonderful market is a major perk at Cubelandia. WE CARE and we are happy to pay for fresh produce!

And then Farmer John weighed in on the whole thing to say no no no no to the “go fund me” campaign. Too late. I bet he doesn’t “need” whatever money has been collected and I certainly don’t want my $5 back so maybe he can either use it to fund some mini-prodject related to his garden farm or maybe it can be donated to some other good cause for feeding people who don’t have enough to eat.

Oil trains are dangerous

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

pressman1Yes, oil trains are dangerous. I don’t have a whole lot to say tonight. This has been a rough week in all dimensions. Some of it is blahggable but would be stultifyingly boring. That would be my work stuff where many heads have been exploding for a week (or more) now but you certainly don’t want to know and you do *not* want to understand. I am cautiously optimistic that we may get beyond that soon. But we’ll see. And we’ll talk about Bob Miles some other day.

We did automotive vee-hickle stuff today. The kind of stuff where the beginning and end of my day involved schlepping out to the Subaru dealer on Jackson Road. No big problems with that vee-hickle besides routine maintenance, except that the rear-window backup cam hasn’t worked in a while and the right passenger window does not go down when you push the button. The timing belt apparently doesn’t need maintenance, apparently because that vee-hickle does not *have* a timing belt. Whut? But some of the brakes are on the verge. So it’ll be back in on Friday morning for beaucoup bucks.

Mr. Tin Foil Hat modeled his hat after the Pressman hats he remembers when he was a child with a paper route. And so here he is with the newspaper hats that he remembers from his childhood, wearing the tin foil hat that he made from that model. Note to KW: put “aluminum foil” on your grokkery list!

Beyond that, it is raining like crazy right now. We have been needing rain and we are loving it.

Do not get in my face!

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

babiesI’m not a big Baby Person. I mean that I don’t go all squishy inside every time I see some random baby and try to overwhelm said baby with in-your-face goo-goo eyes and high-pitched baby talk about how cute they are, etc. I absolutely adored my own baby children. I think that’s normal. I mean isn’t that how babies survive their infancy? But I didn’t goo-goo eye or baby talk them so why would I do it to someone else’s baby?

Your baby? I’d love to meet your baby. I might even like to hold your baby for a minute or so. Or longer if it’s obvious that you need me to look after it for a while. I certainly wouldn’t ever hurt a baby. I am trustworthy on that score. But I regard babies in general as human beings with unique personalities who are trying to sort out an absolutely overwhelming amount of information and I don’t want to add to that. At the earliest stages of infancy they are bonding with those who are closest to them (nurturing parents and other relatives in the best case). Of course they eventually need to learn how to deal with other people but what good does it do a baby to have some random stranger (like me) get up in their face and make weird faces and shrill noises, etc.? I am pretty sure I didn’t like that kind of thing when I was a baby and yes I remember things from very early in my life albeit most of those memories are vague.

mousewalkThat said, I am enjoying the heck out of watching Beqet (name intentionally misspelled) next door as she grows into toddlerhood. She is going on 18 months now and, although I talk to her parents frequently as we traverse the neighborhood, I don’t force myself upon Beqet at all. Sunday morning I walked over to the Plum Market and as I walked through Zingerman’s coffee shop there I noticed a small child holding on to a Leopard next to a man at a table. I was focused on the Leopard because something about the way she was holding it signified to me that it might be an Important Companion, you know, like a *mouse*? After I had passed their table something made me look back and wouldn’t you know it was Beqet and her dad. They were eating some sort of hybrid croissant/donut thingy. I had already had breakfast but maybe I should try one.

Anyway, I love watching children get vertical under their own power and take their first steps and that’s what Beqet did earlier this summer and I have enjoyed watching her. The second pic is of my baby Mouse early in her walking days. Beqet is a little older and farther along than Mouse was in the pic but this stage is fun. And then they can run (Beqet is getting there) and eventually ride bikes and, uh, drive automotive vee-hickles, and that’s as far as I will go with that tonight.

Gratuitous photo of the old Landfill Chitchen way back when.

Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

tinhelmetWhat are you gonna do when they come for you you retire? When you are about to retire from your career, this is one of the FAQs. I am not about to retire from my career so I don’t get that question. But I have heard the question a lot since both TP and the Queen Bee retired this year and I have to be on my best behavior to not be annoyed when it is asked. Don’t ask why I feel that way. I’m not sure I even know.

Anyway, the first morning of The Pensioner’s retirement, Mercury made a transit of the sun (I think that’s the right description for what happened but I ain’t no astronomer so bite me if it’s not) and he set up his telly-scope in various places to watch the transit. He also built me a new compost structure and some new steps for the back slider. After that? It is different every day. There’s the useful stuff that it’s so hard for two full-time workers to do, like taking vee-hickles in for service, fixing things around the house, doing yard work, opening the moomincabin, etc. There’s useful volunteer stuff like doing trail maintenance on the North Country Trail. There’s personally beneficial stuff like hiking and kayaking and reading and pursuing other hobbies, etc. And then there are days like today…

Mouse’s reaction to this photooo, texted this afternoon was, “Does someone maybe need to go get a job?”. Yes, indeed. If we have come to that. If you embiggen you *may* be able to see who is in the reflection in my onion glasses. Ever since The Pensioner has gotten serious about talking about retirement, he has been “teasing” me by occasionally tuning in a certain “entertainer” on the radio. AM talk radio that is. Can you guess who? I am not a “bleeding heart” liberal but I believe that there are people who need help and those of us who can afford to need to help, up to a point. I am also wondering how the heck we ended up with the two presidential candidates we will have to choose from this fall but for me common sense in this polly-tickle season falls well to the left of the current center, if that makes any sense.

Whenever The Pensioner listens to this particular entertainer, I can’t help but remember his [quite conservative] father’s opinion about the person. TP’s mom, in the last years of her life, enjoyed watching him on TV. I could not hold it against her. I can love someone who holds different polly-tickle views than I do and I figured that anyone who had raised 10 kids and probably half the neighborhood kids too could choose to admire whoever she wanted. TP’s dad? “That [insert entertainer here but change the pronunciation of the last syllable in his name from “aw” to “o”] oughtta be shot.” That was so many years ago and I miss those wonderful parents-in-law so much sometimes.

Anyway, I got off on quite a bit of a tangent there but this is the pic that was texted to me at work today. It provided great entertainment to me and others and I can’t really complain that he spent his time on such a silly thing today. He is SUPPOSED to be TAKING IT EASY. The reason why is not blahggable but it is not easy for a guy like The Pensioner to DO NOTHING!

Pokemon trio after another long, productive tomato canning day

Sunday, August 21st, 2016


In which yer fav-o-rite blahgger spent another day, or a good portion thereof, chopping up ‘maters. What was it? 30 pounds? We were canning diced tomatoes today. Last week we canned tomato sauce. My Mouse canned marinara sauce on Wednesday when she had the day off but that was @Mousehouse and I wasn’t there because I was chained up over at Cubelandia. Tomato juice got slopped all over the Landfill Chitchen today but it is sparklingly clean this afternoon. I know how to clean a chitchen but my mouse surpasses me and I don’t think she learned it from me (or her grandmother). And she uses a “floor cloth”. I will have to institute that practice.

Not all of us were all that productive today but that depends upon how you define productive. The GG slept most of the morning but woke up long enough to cook a bratwurst lunch on the grill. And drink a beer. Which may be why he also slept a lot of the afternoon. But I think that’s what he needed to do today.


Can I just interject here to say that hot dog buns are one of the banes of my existence. When I buy a package of say five bratwursts, I want to be able to get, you know, *five* buns. Not possible. Since we don’t consume tubular kinds of meat products very often, when we do (and we are [usually] only two, so we don’t even eat five bratwurst at one meal fer kee-reist), there are usually a whole bunch of blasted buns left. Which I usually freeze, which isn’t all that good because they usually sit in the freezer way too long and I usually end up throwing them in the compost.

This weekend, karma worked out for us. We had three bratwurst that needed to be cooked. But we didn’t have any buns, at least I didn’t think we did. I put them on my list, or so I thought. I went to the Plum yesterday and I got the five items on my list. Hot dog buns were not on it. As I was walking by the bread I was thinking, “I need something from here. Don’t I? English muffins? Nope.” This morning I went to the Plum again. I definitely had hot dog buns on my list this time. Somehow somehow somehow, something pricked my memory. Before I left for the Plum, I opened the freezer and there were three not-that-old hot dog buns. And so, we got rid of both the buns and the bratwurst today. I know you are thinking I am nuts for making this stupid little story into a blahg post but that’s how it rolls around here sometimes.


At the end of the day, my Mouse and I walked over to Miller Woods and came across this pokeberry bush (or whatever) on which we found pokeberries in all phases of formation. The pics in this post represent three of those phases.

Currant tomatoes and other random Saturday stuff on the Planet Ann Arbor

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

It’s Saturday and… You know what I do on a Saturday morning on the Planet Ann Arbor, roight? I walk down to the farmers market and somebody picks me up and drives me and my crapload of produce home. I didn’t buy as much as I usually do today but that was only because Farmer John is in full swing at Cubelandia and I have bought a lot of stuff at work. Still, I snagged the first lima beans I have seen this season and lettuce (which Farmer John does not carry) and strawberries and raspberries and scallions and what else? I fergit. The GG was with me so we went inside and got some rainbow trout from Monahan’s and ribeye hearts from Sparrow Meats. I always like to take pics of the beauteous bounty at the market but it’s a challenge for someone without eight arms. I did leave the GG yakking with Victoria and Jim to get this reflectionistic pic.


This was a day of [mostly] nitsy little chores, the kind where you do a million things but feel like you haven’t accomplished a dad-blasted thing at the end of it all. The usual Saturday housecleaning stuff plus we made a mini-run to the Kiwanis Thrift drop-off and then to the Scrap Box and then I went downstairs to mobilize my sewing musheen to repair the rip in my backpack. But… Before I could do that, I decided I had to clean the dust and RODENT CRAP off of the top of my sewing desk. And that led to… A general clean out of all of the sewing tools, etc., that have been accumulating in that desk in more years than I am strong enough to count. So I have a new bag of stuff for Kiwanis or Scrap Box or whatever and a lean and mean pared down set of sewing tools. Kids, you do not want these cast offs. You already have two or three or whatever of each.

I also processed food. Three (more) baggies of Farmer John’s green beans in the freezer, a couple (more) baggies of Farmer John’s green peppers (chopped) in the freezer, and washed this week’s lettuce. I set myself up outside to process the green beans. I do it by hand with no k’niffies or anything, just snap off the ends, then snap the beans into two or three pieces. So I was sitting there in the zen of processing beans and a couple of things happened simultaneously. One, the GG sent me the tomato pic below.


Tomatoes? Say what? Before I could process the fact that there were actual tomatoes ripening in our yard this year, the GG was yelling for me to get up and look into the sky! It was a B29 bomber flying right over our house. That was one of the planes my old coot flew back in WWII. So cool.

After I finished processing the green beans, I went to harvest the tomatoes and found that they were about the size of the Titanium Pinky’s tip. See pic below and note that my hands are very small (but very dexterous!). Mouse had told me much earlier in the summer that they were currant tomatoes (think cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes, etc.).


At the end of the day, we schlepped downtown to meet the Grand Poobah and her accomplice The Marquis at one of our fave places, the Red Hawk Bar and Grill for dinner. I did not approve of the GG’s choice of T-shirt tonight. It kind of reminds me of the time we were buying the Landfill and for reasons I cannot remember for the life of me, we were carrying thousands of dollars in cash across town from one bank to another and he thought that a Shaky Jake *tank top* was appropriate attire for that transaction. I made him put a regular shirt on over that tank top. I will not even try to put my opinion about wearing the tshirt he wore tonight in public in my blahg. Ummmm…




Friday, August 19th, 2016


Yes, totally. Why? I dunno. I didn’t sleep all that well last night but it was mostly bizarro dreams. Some shoreline stuff and I believe The Commander traipsed through a few of them but I can’t really remember them now. I sometimes wake up at that batscope hour, you know the one, when you realize you are gonna die some day. Sometimes I come to the surface enough to actually ponder that question. Other times I note the time and blissfully go back to sleep. When I do have a rough night, it’s usually because the GG is having a rough night but he claims to have slept well last night (unlike a few other nights this week) and so he was not the cause. I can’t really blame it on the full moon either, seen in the pic as it was setting this morning. Moonlight is comforting to me when it actually shines through all of the trees we have around here. It doesn’t really matter to me if I sleep well or not. It isn’t anything approaching a chronic issue and I roll along pretty much as usual whether or not I get a good sleep. Anyway, that is about it. I am envious of all the folks who are taking next week off from work. My nose will be on the grindstone with some tricky issues to navigate. G’night!

You’re no fun

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

You are right! I am no fun. But you were not a whole lot of fun for most of the week. Just sayin’ 💩

It was a click bait article, one of those things from a dodgy news-type site where if you click, you get a lot of pop-over ads and lurid pictures that link to other [worse] articles and very little content. I did click but when I got there I decided not to read. Why bother. The bait? A couple of ugly mug shots of “parents” and a little girl who told the poleese her name was “Idiot”. I know that horrible things happen to children but I actually have a hard time believing this one. But maybe that’s just me. I cannot feature that any parent would call their child an “idiot” at any time, let alone when they are newborn as this would imply if the kid really doesn’t know her name by the age of four or whatever it was. Bringing up children is a hard business. Your child is not your clone and they are not going to always do or think what you want them to. They are independent human beings and they *need* to find their own way in the world and learn to think for themselves. This is [usually] a *good* thing. I certainly wasn’t a perfect parent and I cannot say I never yelled at my kids, sometimes in extreme anger. I know I did (wince). I don’t think I *ever* called them “idiot” or “stupid” or whatever or made them feel afraid. I *hope* they remember their childhood as a relatively safe place in which a rather “spirited” mother occasionally acted like a thunderstorm, which later subsided back into the remorseful sunshine of the love I felt (and still feel) for my wonderful now adult children. The ones who think for themselves and don’t always agree with me. (Sorry kids, I know that was sappy as all getout.)

My normally cozy little job was difficult today but ultimately productive. You do NOT want to know any more than that except that I will say that I was congratulated by more than a few people on how I handled a “difficult” presentation this afternoon, one that I knew would be difficult when I went in to it and in the end, I got a lot of questions answered and can move forward. My fave part of the day was the family of wild turkeys I have been seeing at the edge of the woods on the west side of the property all week. We have all kinds of water birds from ducks to great blue herons plus vultures, red-wing blackbirds, killdeers, and gold finches plus many mammals all the way up to deer (no bear though). I have never seen turkeys here until this week and I couldn’t get close enough to get a pic.

Love y’all and gobble gobble,

Book rescue

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

freelib1I hate when people vandalize Little Free Libraries. I hate when people vandalize anything. I don’t see the point. But then, I am not a young person without a whole lot to do who is trying out a bit of a walk on the wild side. I was that young person once or at least a wannabe of sorts. I may have witnessed a couple of acts of vandalism carried out by people I was with but I never participated in them (I also didn’t tattle on the perpetrators). Most of the kids who do things like that grow up regretting their youthful actions and try to pay it all forward by teaching their children not to do those things. And then the kids get to a certain age and get restless and lather rinse repeat… It’s not gonna change and I think that people who install things like Little Free Libraries should be prepared to repair them.

Anyway, people keep messing with the Little Free Library outside our own fave Haisley School and this is pretty much what it looked like when I walked by it this morning. I love Little Free Libraries but I don’t usually look at what’s inside them. I read books on my iPhone. I know that a lot of people “like the feel of a real book in their hands” or whatever. That’s okay. I hope that books on paper don’t go away any time soon. For now, I am trying to travel light and that means that carrying as much as I can via my iPhone is the way to go. I don’t have to schlep things like books or cameras or paper (for grokkery lists or whatever) or pens (to write on paper) or anything. I *do* seem to be accumulating lucky-shuckial accessories for the iPhone, extra charging cables and cases, etc. Hmmm…

freelib2Something made me look inside this broken Little Free Library today. There were a lot of children’s books, as you might expect in a library in front of an elementary school. They were not very interesting and I am certainly not in the market for children’s books at this time of my life anyway. I started to move on when one spine stood out. I took another look. The Littlest Angel. I know that book! I associate it with my grandmother or maybe my eccentric great aunt Ann (I am not named after her, I am named after Anne of Green Gables and she didn’t like her name either, so there moom🐸).

I think the book was at my grandma’s house and I think somebody, probably Ann because she is who I remember reading to us (and she was good at reading aloud), read it to me when I was young but I also remember reading it on my own. It’s a cute story and I always enjoyed it but as young as five years old, I knew that I was not a religious person. But that would be a story for another post and probably one I’ve done a few times but not tonight.

Anyway, I snagged that book outta that devastated Little Free Library. It is safe with me now. I very occasionally search around on the intertubes for vintage books in good condition that I remember from my childhood and I will sometimes pay beaucoup bucks for them. I recently paid $100 for one (that’s about my upper limit if you are the GG and think I am a spendthrift). I don’t think I would have sought out The Littlest Angel and paid for a copy. I probably wouldn’t even have *thought* about that book. But seeing it in that broken little library, I couldn’t leave it there. So here it is, happily making friends with my other childhood books.

Gluing things together

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

facesWhat can I say about today? The dark start to my morning walk is always an adjustment at this time of year but I LOVED the “tropical” rain we got this morning. I hated that some idiot hit a utility pole at the Jackson I94 18-wheel Clogway interchange and hosed the whole area for for my afternoon commute for *hours* (it’s still going on) but I can more and more often summon the zen I need to deal with traffic these days. Take that, those of you who knew me when I was 16 or 22 or 30 (or 2) or whatever. Those young folks are still inside of me and they surface from time to time. Usually I can push them back into the shadows, like I did today. So give me a break. I did NOT take the freeway. Thanks to Google Maps and traffic, I knew not to take the freeway.

Being the glue? I was the glue today. Pretty much all day. What is the glue? It is the person in an institution (or family or whatever) who absorbs all of the little bits and pieces of information and files them away somewhere (brain and/or database) and then, when a whole bunch of other people are floundering around trying to figure out some little esoteric piece of information, the glue does a few little archaeological digs and figures out, well, I dunno, we did this when and why, etc. I like doing archaeological digs through old computer files and I am pretty good at it and I was pretty successful today. Tomorrow may be a different story but I’ll deal with it.

“The Glue” came from a youth theatre board member many years ago at a cast party. I loved that characterization of my job at that time and in my life in general.

I don’t think that there is a college degree for “The Glue”. I pretty much don’t think there is a systems analyst degree. If you think a computer science degree is necessary to become a systems analyst, probably not although some coding and/or database experience can be very helpful. Bottom line, a systems analyst organizes information in ways that other people can use it and designs the best way for people to access it and use it. I have done this kind of thing in various jobs in my life. I have not always been as highly compensated for my work as I am now (pinches self) but I have always been appreciated for it.

All is well and I *will* wear the pants!

Monday, August 15th, 2016

fresnelWatch me!

Actually I hardly ever wear pants any more. I have a couple pairs of leggings, just the cheap cotton/spandex kind that I use as a layer in the winter. And a pair of snowpants for when it gets reeeeeaaaalllly cold. And even then, if I am Urban Hiking, sometimes a long wool skirt is my choice of outer layer.

Other than that? Skirts skirts skirts. Short, knee-length, mid-calf, and long. Elastic waist all. I couldn’t be bothered with anything else. Comfort is the word and I feel comfortable in skirts. I even wear them hiking, at least the short varieties. I will do urban hiking in long skirts but I am careful when I detour through the woods. Pockets? Well. That can be a problem but mostly in the summer. My polartech vests and jackets have zipper pockets. I have systems involving my mini-purse and backpack for managing the lack of pockets in the summer but I won’t bore you with all of that. I know. I am already boring you.

I have to note that during recent times, nobody around here has worn pants. I won’t go any further with that.

Last but not least, as often as I hate facebook and its propensity to disseminate mis-information to the unwashed masses, the bright spot in my absolutely bizarre pants-wearing day was seeing the adult child of one of my BFFs playing a flute (not *her* flute) in a rehab bed down in Missouri. This young flutist (master’s degree) was involved in a serious car accident earlier in the summer with injuries so severe that it was a while before they could totally assess and deal with them. She likely has some head injuries but has made amazing progress. Her mom shares some of the posts the young husband (an Army musical director) makes and today, he posted that he had obtained a rental flute for her to play in the rehab facility. The fact that she kind of sniffed that it was a Gemeinhardt indicates that she is doing pretty darn well.

And that’s about it for tonight. I’m sure it’s more than enough.

La la la.

Slave labor and hickema frittos

Sunday, August 14th, 2016

You know how some things skip a generation? Well, I am a decent albeit not fancy cook. I have never canned anything in my life. My mother used to can things. She canned things when I was a very small child. Once (if I have the story straight), I was a baby and my old coot was off at banking school in Wisconsin and The Commander was canning something or other and somehow, moisture built up on the walls or something (I may be making this part up) and pictures and things started crashing down in the middle of the night, scaring her half to death. I don’t remember her doing a whole lot of canning when I got older but that was probably because she had a teaching career then and I’m sure she didn’t have time for canning. *Then*, after she retired, she began doing a little canning *again*. It was mostly tomatoes and I loved having those quart jars of tomatoes around for pasta sauce throughout the winter.

My Mouse has taught herself to can tomatoes and fruit and stuff and I may not have a clue about canning but I can sure cut up tomatoes for the cause and I am also an inveterate dish washer who loves to scurry around cleaning things while other people are cooking or whatever. Our project today was tomato sauce (or puree) and I think we did half a peck of tomatoes or thereabouts, a nice little half day prodject for me, Mouse, and Gertrude. Here’s approximately half our tomatoes. (Don’t look at the Froog, you’ll only encourage him.)


Here is yer fav-o-rite [baggy old] blahgger doing her thing. Whaddya mean, there’s a monkey on the coffee maker? Don’t you keep a monkey on your coffee maker?


Here is Mouse setting up her canning operation on Gertrude.


Close-up of our beauteous ‘maters, which were actually “seconds”, so we are supporting the Ugly Produce movement or whatever it is. Although these tomatoes were beautiful aside from some odd little irregularities.


Reading and baby-sitting. The yellow mouse there on the left end of Gertrude belonged to my loverly childhood dog Tigger. Of course I still have it.


Action shot.


Filling up the jars. Yes, the Froog is there again. You know the drill.


Because I have never been present for one of Mouse’s canning prodjects, I had no clue that she owned all of this top-notch equipment.


Here is the end product (and yes, shush, you see him back there). Mouse has more canning prodjects planned and with luck I will be able to help her again. What a great way to spend time with an adult child.


After this, we schlepped downtown to the Jolly Pumpkin where we ate quinoa salad and hickema jicama frittos. The frittos change according to what kind of fritto-able veggies are available, so the server always tells you what the flavor of the day is. When our waittress said “hickema”, I had to ask “What?” but I ordered them anyway. The last time we ordered the frittos, it was March and the veggie was rutabaga and they were out of this world, so I knew that “hickema” frittos would be good even though I didn’t know what “hickema” was. And then Mouse said something about the word beginning with a “j” and I did a great big “DUH”. It’s *jicama* and I have apparently been pronouncing that word incorrectly for decades. For a long time I didn’t pronounce “quinoa” correctly either. Sorry but my second languages (besides high school Latin) are limited to things like FORTRAN and javascript.

After that we went our separate ways. Mouse had some things to do at home and I actually jumped onto my work laptop to deal with some issues that have been nagging at me all weekend. I’ll leave you with a piece of Kitchen Art.


Oh, and just because… 1) It was on the radio just now and I loved it 2) I love Neko Case 3) There’s the Delirium Wilderness up near our stomping grounds in the Yooperland, here is my new fave song.

Mice eat cheese

Saturday, August 13th, 2016

mouseyOh, so that’s where that comes from! It’s a Modest Mouse song! Click if you dare.

This song has been floating in and out of my life all summer. Although I know of the band Modest Mouse, I don’t listen to a lot of their music, at least not actively enough to know what it sounds like. The GG has been singing this song *all* summer and I could not figure out where it came from. It kind of reminded me of the old Bunnies Go Hop song, which consists of this:

Bunnies go hop hop hop. They don’t like foxes.

Yes, that’s it. It sorta has a tune? Maybe? It’s hard to tell whether something has a tune or not or if it does, what that tune is, if the GG is singing it. He loves music of all sorts but his assortment of prodigious talents lie in areas other than singing in tune. Me? I do not have perfect pitch but I have very very good relative pitch and we’ll get into that some other day (or not). I am not a trained singer but I am pretty darned good at carrying a tune. So I couldn’t tell what the heck the TUNE was, not even when he taught the song (or at least the Mice Eat Cheese part) to C*Q*L and sent me a sound file. I suspect C*Q*L has much greater abilities to carry a tune than the GG but if you learn a song from the GG… (I think he should sing *anyway*, by the way!)

Anyway, the song resurfaced as we were leaving the moomincabin this summer and went next door to say goodbye to Bugs and Horsey. Bugs was easing herself into the day when we barged in and she thought that we were there to sing! So we did. That is, the GG commanded that Liz and Mouse sing the Mice Eat Cheese song. I don’t think they expected to sing right then but they rose to the occasion. They didn’t seem to be able to carry a tune either. And then we left and I am happy to say that I was able to hug B&H goodbye this year because I didn’t have The Cold Virus From Hell With Eyelids Fused Together By You-Know-What (2014) or a broken pinky w/ cast/splint/whatever up to the elbow (2015). They are my last living Finfam aunt and uncle and I love them.

Finally, just yesterday, I got to googling the Mice Eat Cheese song and FINALLY I know why I can’t understand the tune. It’s because there really isn’t one. It’s kind of a monotone style of singing! Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not my fave style, although I did come to love Bob Dylan back in the day. On the other end of the spectrum, coloratura soprano can also be a bit much for me.

So, a wonderful Saturday beginning with an early morning walk to meet Mouse at the farmers market and then lots of food “processing” and picky little unpacking chores from two weeks in the Yooperland (yes, still), cleaning, and organizing various things. We got a wee bit of rain today but not nearly enough to “clean the air” as L-L would say but it isn’t insufferably hot and I was able to do some of my more rote-type food processing chores outside so that was nice.

Tomorrow? In which Mouse plans to enslave me on a chitchen prodject beginning early. Let that remain a mystery for now. Should I feed her breakfast? Bacon?

Let the bears come in

Friday, August 12th, 2016

Sing it to the tune of “Let the Sunshine In”, the second half (or whatever you want to call it) of “The Age of Aquarius” by the Fifth Dimension. We have two doors to the outside at the moomincabin. Neither one of them is ever blocked from entry/exit. Blocking perfunctional perfectly functional doors to the outside always just grates on my sense of feng shui or whatever it is. Why? (And yes, it is dangerous to block an exit to the outside but that’s not the point of this already wildly rambling post.)

Anyway, if I haven’t totally lost you, I am talking about the moomincabin doors. The doors are vintage 1960 and the design is ingenious for a summer cabin of that vintage, the operable word being “summer”. There are two interchangeable panels associated with each door. One holds panes of glass and the other is a screen. A simple screwdriver unscrews four screws to remove whatever panel is currently in the door and then screws the new panel into the door.

We won’t go into the polly-tickle intricacies that determine when to change from the glass panels to the screens. It’s complicated and changes rapidly according to the ever-changing weather conditions on the shores of Gitchee Gumee. But usually, the glass panels go in at night. It has to be reeeeeallly hot and sweaty and a stable weather pattern to boot for us to leave the screens in overnight. Anything can happen overnight. Gale force winds? Yes.

Alert! Alert! Breaking! It is pitch black outside and I can hear thunder in the distance. Are we going to get rain? No.

In his later years, my old coot became ultra concerned about who handled the moomincabin doors. People who were, uh, 50 or so and had been dealing with the doors with aplomb since they were teenagers had to kind of sneak around to change them out. And there was that one steamy hot night that he reacted to my suggestion to leave the screens in overnight with, “Well, bears will get in.” Uh, what? I mean, there are bears in that neighborhood but I have NEVER seen one in person (knock on wood because others have). I think we did put the glass doors in that night. Apparently he was reacting to an incident downriver on Sugar Island where a bear did enter a cabin through a screen door. Yes, it could happen.

So here in the southeast area of the Great Lake State, it is pretty dern hot and we are wishing for rain, as Louie-Louiiii says, to clean the air. Last night, I closed and locked the front door and then I slept on a couch in the back A-ddition of the Landfill. I left both doorwalls open with the screens in. I had a relatively restless night on one of the couches back there and then, for a variety of reasons too complicated to describe, I woke up a half hour later than I usually do on a work day. It was okay. I scrambled myself together PDQ. The important thing is that no bears came in those doors. Of course, we don’t have bears around here… Deer, yes, yes yes…

So here is the video I was talking about at the beginning of this rambling blahg of blather. Hope there’s no ad but you know the drill.

Only a wee bit of rain here in the end… Hoping for more. We need it. But of all things, it is a wee bit cooler…