Archive for October, 2016

Tree fairy

Monday, October 31st, 2016

tree1Back when we bought The Landfill (more years ago than I care to count), tree solicitors would constantly stop by and ask us if we wanted them to “do something about that tree”. We do not like to cut down trees and are minimalists in general so, no…

May-whatever 2000. We were woken up by a thunderstorm. The wind kicked up just a wee bit. The GG *loves* that kind of weather and he was settling back into sleep when the wind kicked up WHAM! KABAMM! That was NOT thunder. We jumped up and met up with our then teenaged beach urchins in the “hall” aka the small space between all of the bedrooms and the bathroom. Okay. We were all okay.

We ventured out of the “hall” to find out that the top third of that tree had fallen along the north side of our house, puncturing several big holes. That discovery precipitated a panic about the well-being of Izzy the rat and Dinah/Piggy/Eagle Bait/Toilet Brush. Our guinea pig. Yes, they were okay. Our neighbor Luke-of-Perrynet watched the top of that tree fall on our house that night. At 3:00 AM or whatever.

Today, after all these years, we had a team of arborists come out to trim and evaluate our tree. It turns out that we don’t have to cut the tree down but they did do some trimming. I am gonna guess that the young woman in the pic wasn’t even born when we moved into this house. She and her brother are the movers and shakers of this business and he has placed in tree-climbing type competitions here in the Great Lake State. A modern day lumberjack and I have a video of him climbing our tree.

Another Halloween come and gone. Not that many trick-or-treaters even though I put our house on the neighborhood map for handing out treats. Alas, y’all know what happens after Halloween. Thanksgiving and xmas come along in the wink of an eye.

Love y’all. KW

Roosevelt dies

Sunday, October 30th, 2016

bedroomI was a wee bit slow dragging outta the rack this morning but not all that much, maybe a half hour? But then just as I was ready to walk out the door (in the rain), I heard thunder. Um, no I don’t think I will go out. I futzed around cleaning up the kitchen stuff I didn’t quiiite get around to last night and threw some laundry in and cleaned the bathroom (but I do that every day).

We never did get any kind of a storm, just rain. I think whatever there was skirted south of town. So eventually I went out and got, oh something like 6000 steps.

I spent most of the rest of the day hanging out in the zen of the Landfill Chitchen. The main goal for today was enchiladas for dinner (chicken, black beans, salsa verde, cheese, black olives, scallions, and SQUASH cala- cala- cala-what? I can’t remember what Farmer John called it but it is GOOD!). There was also a wee quick brek and a lot of side stuff, like I used dried black beans from the bulk aisle at the Plum and so had to soak/cook them and there were other ingredients that I prepped for possible dinners this week.

I HATE schlepping home from Cubelandia in the afternoon and having to chop stuff up, etc., let’s just throw some leftovers in the oven on low. I LOVE cooking on the weekend and all of the dish processing that goes along with it. I mean I *have* a dishwasher (a reeeeeally good one) and I *use* it, but when I am in a major cooking mode, I also hand-wash stuff like crazy. I even polish the copper on my Revere Ware. You know that thing where every pot in the house gets dirty? Doesn’t happen here (or *rarely* anyway). Clean as you go. It’s a thing. Google it if you don’t already know CAYG.

There was also a Rain Ride out in the county and a mad dash to Kroger to get Halloween candy and some people are Downtown watching a hocky hockey game that I opted out of.

And then there is the bee-yoo-tiful purple bedroom in the photoooo. I do not have a Before Photo. All I know is that the door was shut on Saturday morning and when I went in to get Rooooomba, I did a huge double-take. Oh, not about the color purple. That’s been there for over a decade. There was so much crapola in that room earlier in the week you would not believe it. The Pensioner earned his keep this week (Friday, I think) by, well, I guess the simplest way to say it is that he removed some furniture and reorganized a whole bunch of crapola. This room goes in and out of messterness as we process our stuff plus The Commander’s stuff, etc. I hope that whole “spiral’ is tightening at this point. It’s about time.

Love y’all and Go Red Wings.

Street walkin’ cheetah

Saturday, October 29th, 2016

So we were walking downtown on a Halloween-y M&M football-type Saturday and I started walking in the street and the GG said something about a “Street-walkin’ cheetah”. I. Had. No. Clue. WTF. He. Was. Talking. About. I peeeeeered at him and asked if he meant to say that I was a “cougar”. You know the kind and actually, I do not IN ANY WAY resemble any kind of cougar, either puma concolor or over-50-type dyed/spanxed/botoxed American woman. But no, he was talking about an Iggy Pop song. But then, when we got down to the Griz for lunch today, one of our fave wait-persons was dressed up as a CHEETAH! How cool is that. To the left of him is our lovely bartender buddy Jenel.

cheetah1

And then there was Destiny, who dressed up like the GG but not on purpose because we didn’t really know Destiny before today. She just glommed onto his red plaid shirt when we walked into the restaurant today. I posted the photo below on Instagram and it caused some confusion that defies description but she is a pretty wonderful young woman.

cheetah2

And then we walked home… As we were walking up Dexter someone yelled out the GG’s name. It was an old friend of ours from my childhood career and the GG’s lifetime career. This friend owns a house on Dexter and he happened to be at that house as we were walking up the street (we were wondering about that house just last week). After some reminiscing, etc., we continued up Dexter and I split off over to the Plum, where I spent a lot of time walking s-l-o-w-l-y into the store behind the woman in the next pic. It was okay. I LOVED her sweater.

cheetah3

By the time I got home from the Plum, both Van de Griff and the GG were crashed out in front of the Landfill.

cheetah4

It was a beautiful day here on The Planet Ann Arbor and, to beat the band, Umich beat State. I have a complicated relationship with umich but I will always root for the football team, even though in life I could not care less about sports.

Fall morning at Cubelandia

Friday, October 28th, 2016

cubesunriseI dunno. Mornings like this when I arrive at Cubelandia, I sometimes wonder what it would be like to paddle around a pond all day and not have to use my brain… When it is colder than blue blazes and the wind is blowing a gale and the geese are huddled wherever ice hasn’t formed, I am usually glad to schlep my laptop into our nice warm building and try to engage my brain. I suppose that the geese are not any less intelligent than homo sapiens, they just have a different set of life conditions to deal with. At least they don’t have to worry about their vee-hickles rolling backwards into the pond.

I have always kvetched (or not) about the fact that I can’t take public transportation (aka a bus) to my work but yesterday, as I turned north onto State St., an AATA bus was heading south towards me flashing “Avis Farms” as its destination. That’s where Cubelandia is located. I knew that they had done a major change and expansion of the bus routes but this still surprised me. Will I start taking a bus to work? Highly doubtful. I have not looked up the route but I suspect it would require me to take one bus downtown and transfer to another one. My little 8-mile commute in the Ninja is pretty relaxing unless it is snowing or something. Spending an hour and a half or whatever on a bus might be relaxing in its own way but I suspect that it would more likely wreak havoc into the smooth little routines I have built over this epoch of my life. Walk, small breakfast, morning chores, commute. Reverse (sorta) in the late afternoon.

Today was Halloween at work. Some people did it up big, like GoGrannyGo in her Wicked Witch of the East getup. It was fun but it kind of petered out early. It’s been a long food-filled week over at Cubelandia with leftovers from last weekend’s software release and catered food for many groups all week. I normally take my own lunch, which is usually leftovers from home. I pack a *small* container with whatever is hanging around and *always* put some salad on top. It is just enough food for meeeee and little enough that if Louie-Louiiiii or someone happens to bring in a cake or something, I have enough room to indulge. Today? Jeebus. Catered sub sandwiches and pasta salad with ruffled potato chips and chocolate chip cookies, then donuts and cider later in the afternoon. Food Coma anyone? I canNOT normally eat that much and it felt sooooo good to walk downtown this afternoon.

I thought I had lots of stuff to say earlier but I am taaaarred and I’m hearing a bit of snortling coming from the couch so I am not the only one. G’night. KW

Reverse. Check. Emergency brake. Check.

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

fuseboxSo a bunch of us came out of a contentious meeting this afternoon to find a whole bunch of folks standing around the lunch room. Yesterday at around that time of day, there was a small retirement gathering with cake and we were all thinking “Cake? Cake?” Actually I was thinking more like, “No, not cake!” I like a little cake once in a while. I love the frosting (I know it’s popular to say you hate frosting [snort] but I do). But a little bit goes a loooooong way for me.

As it turned out there was no cake or anything to eat although some people were thinking about making popcorn. What there was, was a tow truck out by the pond. One of our developers had forgotten to 1) put her car in gear and 2) put the emergency brake on before she parked it. It took something like three hours for it to start rolling but roll it did. The good news is that it didn’t get very far into the pond. The pond is very shallow and muddy and I think once the back wheels hit the mud, they stuck. The bad news is that she needed a tow truck to pull her out and that caused some damage but hopefully not to the engine.

There but for the grace of god go I? Yes. Of course, every member of today’s peanut gallery had stick shift advice to give. Not to mention stories about the sticklers (not an intended pun but a good one now that I revisit it) that had taught *them* to drive stick and how *they* would never do something like that.

I dunno, I more or less taught myself how to drive stick and although I *know* how to keep a stick vee-hickle from rolling into a pond, I empathize with my friend. Backing up a bit (in life, not in my vee-hickle), a stickler *tried* to teach me how to drive stick. It was my own personal stickler aka my dad and he had been driving since he was gawd only knows what age, not to mention his years as a WWII Army Air Corps pilot, etc. He was a flight instructor in the Army Air Corps and I have to believe that he approached my training in driving stick in as rigorous a manner as he trained his students. I won’t speculate at length about the difference between teaching any old yahoo how to drive something that can fall out of the air vs. teaching your (pretty dern smart) daughter how to drive a VW Bug. Now that I am a parent, I know that the operative words here are probably *daughter* and *car*. (Love you dad.)

Anyway, after I had to start out in first gear about a billion times at a stop sign (on a flat road) and couldn’t manage it without lurching, I was done done done, at least with his lessons. I just kept getting more nervous. And failing. But. I snuck around behind his back and got The Commander’s permission to let me drive the VW to town while he was at work. It was fine except for when I stalled the thing out at the Easterday / Ashmun intersection, one of the major intersections in town and arguably one terminus of the Sault Ste. Siberia “cool” teenager activity of “Dragging Ash”, meaning I was TOTALLY EMBARRASSED. (Aka what cute guy who couldn’t care less if I existed saw me do that?) I got it then. I can’t say that I haven’t ever made mistakes with a stick shift since then. I occasionally do but it’s usually because something has distracted me from following my instincts. Of course, the Ninja that I drive now can actually start out from a stop in 2nd although I don’t often do that unless it’s a kind of a rolling stop. And I know that I could *also* forget to secure my Ninja and let it roll. All it takes is a wee bit of distraction.

The lucky-shuckial room? We were in one of our fave stores (DH&G) last Saturday and an employee was showing off the ancient (was it 100 years old?) fuse box. It exists (and I didn’t get a pitcher of it out of respect for the people inspecting it) but they haven’t used it in a long time. Instead, there is this big beautiful Lucky-Shuckial Room. I posted the pic only because some bizarre family communications over the summer have piqued my interest in fuse boxes.

Livin’ in a hoarder house…

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

hoarder

Not exactly — actually not at all! — but this pic is down in the Landfill Dungeon. It’s a before pic. The marble run is still around. As is *most* of the crap in the background.

We (aka The GG) posted a bunch of stuff on Cfam last weekend and some folks adopted some of it. (thank you!) We still have a lot of stuff but we are making progress. This pic makes The Landfill Dungeon look like a hoarder house but it really isn’t. We are working hard to fling and reorganize and whatever we need to do to turn the Landfill into the beautiful house it was meant to be.

Pumpkin flavored what?

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016

rat1I have never been all that intrigued by the idea of pumpkin flavored items that don’t normally taste like pumpkin. I like pumpkin pie just fine although I am such a terrible pie crust maker that I never make it. But pumpkin latte? Never sounded good. That is, not until the Tall Boss brought in pumpkin lattes for her teams last week. Why have I never tried this stuff? It was wonderful and the flavor of pumpkin enhanced rather than trumped coffee. Not sure I will make it a regular habit but it was pretty darn good.

And then today when I got in, there was a whole bunch of food in the Printer/Food Cube next to me, leftovers from the software release we did last weekend. I am not required to be at work on release weekends but I do sometimes get to partake in the bounty of goodies that are often left over. But pumpkin hummus? I was skeptical as were others but then we tried it. Four triscuits with hummus later? A fusion of middle eastern and American Pilgrim cuisine? Whatever you want to call it, it worked! I did choose original flavored triscuits over the pumpkin spice flavored ones. Triscuits have been a fave of mine since I was a small child and they are not to be messed with.

rat2The dark photooos. They say something like, “Someone has taken the chalk and the bubbles and the rats. Who?” So, for years now, this one house on my walking route sprouts rats and skeletons in their leafy front yard beginning in about mid-September. This house also puts a basket of sidewalk chalk for anyone who comes along to write stuff on the sidewalk and bubbles.

I walk by that house every day and it is dark when I walk by it now but I was kind of wondering where the rats and skeletons and things were. And then on the Next Door Neighbor app that neighbor, reached out. “Every time I put rats out in my yard this year, somebody steals them (and the sidewalk chalk/basket too).”

This neighborhood is as safe as a neighborhood gets and I have not stopped my 0-skunk-30 walk because people have been stealing plastic rats from someone’s yard. I am guessing that these thefts are being perpetrated by the folks who broke in to some cars over the last year. They took worthless items out of those cars and dumped them on the street. I (and others) suspect that the car thievery is being done by young folks in the neighborhood who don’t seem to be able to find anything better to do with their time. It feels different to me than the petty theft that happened to us umpteen million years ago when strangers walked down the street and took stuff out of our vee-hickles with the idea of selling it. But they couldn’t because our tapes were just pre-school type music and so they ended up getting flung over the fence into the woods.

Lots of us offered to replenish the rats and skeletons and whatever but I am VERY SORRY to say that I don’t think that the whole issue will be resolved until the kids who are perpetrating this stuff age out a bit and at least try to squint at what I think their parents’ values probably are. Or maybe define their own… Like, what the heck was I thinking back in the day. I had moments of indiscretion myself back in the day and boy oh boy have I lived to regret them. But I think I also outgrew all of that stuff.

G’night, KW

Chocolate chip cookies with a tongue lashing (but no oven mitt) and an annoying writer’s block

Monday, October 24th, 2016

furnitureSo, Louie-Louiiiii came in this morning and announced that a friend of his had died early Friday morning. The short version is that a woman suffering from a chronic suite of diseases had a medical emergency and her husband/EMTs were unable to revive her. I will spare you the long version, which I heard/overheard in excruciating detail at least five times today. I am sorry for the woman, her husband, and L-L, who is tasked with doing her eulogy. But. Oh. My. Gawd. One thing I will say is that I think L-L was mixing up his acronyms. I’m sure that it is possible to die of OCD (I mean somebody could get totally fed up with your behavior(s) and KILL you!) but I think a different acronym applies to the condition that led to this person’s unfortunate death. I refrained from correcting him. (I HATE to correct people when they are making innocent mistakes.) I heard another person try to correct him but the next time he talked about it, he reverted to the original acronym.

I wish I could blame this distracting little story for my massive writer’s block today but I can’t. It was just a garden variety block. I eventually forced myself to step back and focus on a bit of analysis and create some pictures. I never did get that particular bit of writing done today but I bet after a night’s sleep, it’ll flow tomorrow.

In the meantime, we lost a lot of weight here at The Landfill today. I’m not sure that the light at the end of the flinging tunnel is visible yet but maybe a small ray has broken through?

Today, The GG took his parents’ living room furniture to one of our nieces. I mean all of the various tables and things. We still have the Green Couch. This stuff is quality furniture and when his beautiful, stylish mom (Grandma Sally) picked it out (it was a set), I’m sure it worked well in the big old house where they raised their family over in Royal Oak. Alas, it is not only not MY style, it doesn’t really work well in the Landfill, which, despite its small size and ticky-tacky 1950s/60s ranch-type format, is a beautiful house that lends itself well to mid-century modern. I like mid-century modern and so does Certified Kitchen Lady, which is probably why I like HER! This furniture is NOT mid-century modern.

Anyway, all those years ago, I felt overwhelmed when all of that furniture landed in my new house. When we moved in to this place, we didn’t have enough furniture to fill it up and I was hoping to take it slow and curate what came in the door. Alas, that strategy flew out the window big time when we “rescued” all of this stuff.

Without going into too much detail, The Pensioner somehow (recently) came to the same kind of conclusion or at least a parallel one. He posted the furniture on our Cfam facebook group and one of Grandma Sally’s grandchildren has graciously decided to adopt it so the GG trailered it up to her house today. Bonus for him? Lunch with the three nieces from that branch of the family and an appearance by our eldest nephew.

Oh yeah, now we have no end table type thingies so the table lamps (that I also want to get rid of but we’ll get there) are sitting on the floor, etc., so yes, we will have to buy some new furniture. My plan is to go slow about that and only buy what we *want* and will *fit* into our space, both in terms of physical dimensions and decor. I have reason to believe that the GG is with me on this but still, let the hunger furniture games begin.

Love y’all,
KW

Making the sausage

Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

lasagneI basked here at The Landfill ALONE on this gorgeous late October Sunday. The Pensioner was off watching the Lions lose and I did two grokkery trips, a big box thing and my usual walk to the Plum. I put together a loverly veggie lasagne (spinach and summer squash and carrot, oh, and mushrooms in the sauce) and picked away at some bits of decluttering.

And so, my Amazon Women started texting me and one of them said she was “shuffling sh*t” around and I was laughing to myself because it isn’t the kind of phrase I am accustomed to hearing from that particular AW. So I was gonna reply to it but I didn’t notice that my grokkery list app was still open on my phone (eggs and English muffins, thank you very much) so I found myself typing “shuffling sh*t” into my grocery list. And then things got even funnier when AW posted a screenshot where EB had tried to make a grocery list via voice recognition: “small intestine bags” or “small cancel” anyone?

Anyway, I am hardly ever in my house alone any more and although I wouldn’t want to be alone ALL the time, I basked in it this morning.

Eventually, the AW came over here to The Planet and we walked downtown to the Jolly Pumpkin and npJane met us there and drove us home in her cute li’l Blue Car and we all ate lasagne and played new and old records on the turntable. It was a birthday celebration albeit a small one and the GG asked if I had actually bought gifts for our birthday woman. Well… I did buy her a scarf from the Chicago Museum of Art catalog. Aside from that? Records at the store down on Liberty that she was gonna buy anyway but I slipped my plastic card in there and said “happy birthday”. And a bit of cash. In general, you can’t buy stuff for adult children who have pretty much everything they need. And that’s a good thing.

Plow Illinois…. [carriage return] [carriage return] yyyyyyy

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

cabbageMy cute li’l time hop thingy brought up a wee nasty-gram from a few years ago that I screenshotted because I doooo that. It was just a wee bit of passive-aggressive nasty that someone I once thought was my friend posted on facebook about people who post blahg entries every day whether or not they have something to say. Okay. If you do not want to read my stoopid blahg, just don’t read it, fer kee-reist sake! I am not writing it for you, I am writing it for me. meeeee. meeeee….. Onward.

No I do not always have something to say. I am scraping the bottom of the barrel today. Good stuff? Farmers market. Grizzly Peak for lunch. Moosejaw, where the absolutely fabulous cashier told me that she could have a BLACK version of the Patagonia polar-tech zip-up jacket that I wanted sent to my HOUSE! Who knew? Olive green is a wonderful color but I needed a new black jacket. The one I have is so old that the zipper is falling apart and the label is so faded that I couldn’t tell what size I wear, so I had to try one on in the store. Large, so I can wear it over a whole bunch of other stuff. After that, we managed to sneak into a sorta bar seat at the Griz. It wasn’t easy today. UMich played Illinois today and that meant that tons of people were in town for the game. Yeah, let’s go over to The Planet Ann Arbor. It’ll be so much fun. And it was fun, both for the Illini and us Planet A-squared denizens. And then “we” beat the crap outta plowed Illinois but whatever.

The best fun was some flinging activity that happened around here at The Landfill. Nothing actually left the house today but destinations have been defined and plans have been made.

Love y’all, KW aka Nasty Girl

He’s a groper, he’s a grouper, he’s a midnight pooper

Friday, October 21st, 2016

orangeOh, don’t pay any attention to the title. We were riffing off on various things down at the Oscar Tango tonight and I can’t even remember exactly what we were thinking when we concocted this or even how “pooper” got attached to it. Please don’t take it seriously.

Anyway, it was a regular morning. Dark, like late October mornings are here in the Great Lake State. I was hanging out eating a wee brekkie scrolling through all of the polly-tickle posts on facebook and the Pensioner was sleeping in a bit, which I wanted him to do because I was gearing up for a final visit to primp (or whatever you want to call it), etc., in the Blue and Only Bathroom before launching for work.

And then, suddenly The Pensioner materialized in the living room panicking about the leaf pickup. Leaf Pickup? Say what? The city hasn’t done a leaf pick-up in years! Okay, it turns out that he had done some leaf work this week and our yard waste compost carts were full and one of them was HEAVY and they needed to go out to the curb. Who knew? He could’ve taken them down to the curb yesterday OR he could’ve been a little more direct about saying something like, “I FILLED UP THE COMPOST CARTS THIS WEEK.” Because I am Garbage Woman around here and I usually deal with the garbage and recycling and compost and whatever. But I have been checking the compost bins every week for I can’t even count how many months now and they ARE ALWAYS EMPTY! So, when I wheeled the garbage and recycle carts down last night, I didn’t even look in the dern compost carts.

The GG was not really dressed for outside chores. We won’t say what he was not wearing. So I ordered him back to bed, did a quick-change into my White Pantsuit and, over his ongoing protests that “One of those carts is REALLY HEAVY”, I hauled both of them down to the curb. I could not figger out which of the bins was REALLY HEAVY. One of them was a wee bit heavier than the other but neither of them were unmanageable in any way, shape, or form. Jeebus. Getting them over that big concrete upheaval in the driveway was the biggest problem and now that we routinely have two cars (plus a trailer or two) parked in the driveway, maybe it’s finally time to re-do the dern driveway.

Fun beginning to the weekend and looking forward to the rest of it, as fast as it will go. Love y’all, KW.

Slayin’ dragons

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

amsunThe Tall Boss is trying to come up with a name for my new persona. The one I used today when I had to lead a record THIRD presentation on a particularly stinky (no, that is not a misspelling) prodject (that *is* a misspelling but an intentional one).

So she asked me what my middle name was. I didn’t exactly answer that. It wasn’t because I am ashamed of my middle name. It’s Emily and I was named after my maternal grandmother, The Commander’s mother, who died in a traffic accident when The Comm was almost 15 (December 1935). The story I’ve always been told is that she was hit by a drunk driver and that may have been true but an old newspaper clipping that I found in the Landfill Dungeon a while back indicated that she was speeding so it sounds like there was more to the story than I grew up knowing although make no mistake, I am NOT in any way in favor of people driving drunk. I do have to wonder what the traffic was like 81 years ago even down here. I’m sure that it was *nothing* like it is now. For example, there are folks in Ann Arbor who are still alive who remember when 13-14-year-olds could drive tractors and things down Miller to attend 8th grade at Mack School. That would be many years fewer than 81 years ago and, while Miller may not be one of our major arteries, it gets a lot of traffic during certain hours of the day.

So Emily the grandmother I never knew sounds like she was a Force of Nature and I am honored to be named after her. But “Anne”? That name (for me anyway) has never lent my shy personality any measure of self confidence. I won’t say what name I “lusted” after as a child but it is a name that people have sometimes mistakenly called me as an adult. Even before I named a child that name. That child has rejected her birth name and I long ago gave her my blessing. I of all people understand that parents sometimes mis-name their children.

So, I told the Tall Boss that I go by Kayak Woman on the internet. And I also told her about how we started calling my mother The Commander late in her life. I don’t really need a persona for these meetings but I suspect I might get one because the Tall Boss kind of rocks in general.

One more thing I have to say. I remember when I was a kid and My Dear Uncle Harry always called me Anne Emily. I wasn’t always happy about that as a nasty little kid but I share the Anne name with his daughter (my cousin) and I know that he was trying to distinguish us as different people. As an adult I have grown to love whatever the heck Harry calls me and so whenever I have had an occasion to call him I have always said, “This is Anne Emily”. Last summer, I loved that he yelled out from his back porch something like, “Hey, Kayak Woman!” I am outta words at this point but here’s the Beatles’ All You Need Is Love and you will understand how I feel about my uncle and all of the other members of my extended family, both Fin and Mac. And I will forever love being called Anne Emily (or Kayak Woman) by my Dear Uncle Harry.

strrrrrreeessss city

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

mothieComin’ at me from multiple directions this week. None of it is internet-able for various reasons. Oh, don’t worry. Nothing life-threatening is going on. Some of it is just work “stuff” that I will handle. And by work “stuff”, I do NOT mean office polly-ticks because WE DO NOT DOOOO THAT! It is DIRECTLY related to solving the usual kind of issues involved in adding new functionality to our massive many-tentacled product, which requires navigating a myriad of languages, versions of English spoken by folks of various first languages and also the different languages (aka vocabularies) spoken by folks on various “teams”. When the developers start babbling about table structures and methods for making changes, I kind of zone out even though I know a few programming languages and have Done Database before albeit not at this job. We all want to do it right and, as I am one of the people tasked with specifying how that should be done, it’s sometimes a challenge to sort it all out.

As for one of the other stressors, can I just say I am sick to death of how cruel people can be and we won’t even talk about incompetency. And where along the wayside did we leave good old common sense?

Anyway.

I got home this afternoon and it is *still* warm out so I didn’t have to suit up to take a wee walk through the woods and around the Haisley garden. And I found this wee mothy sucking whatever it could get out of a sorta past-the-prime looking zinnia. Somehow, trying to get his photooo completely calmed me down. I also watched a bee burrow all the way down into a morning glory flower, do its business and climb, then fly out again. I did not get a good pic of that operation. Those facebook memes you *may* sometimes see in between all of the polly-tickle crapola that I scroll past that tell people to go outside? They are right. Go outside. Watch insects. They will calm you down. Oh, not the ones that bite people, those will just raise your stress level. [insert moe-skee-toe emoji here.]

Butters and vst*ck and bup-bup-bupConvert

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

froggyFinally got a chance to hang out with W1.5 to talk about butters this AM. Tried to do that last week but got wrenched back over to the vst*ck side. I’ve got more vst*ck in my near future but I thought I might be able to squeeeeze a weeeee bit of butters in and then… bup-bup-bupConvert came swinging off the dust pile we relegated it to six weeks ago or so and slammed me in the face with a whole bunch of “hard questions”. Who whuuuu? I tried to commiserate with the Benevolent Despot who was in there on a holiday fixing the heat (or lack thereof). He was unimpressed. And the beat goes on. BTW bup-bup-bupConvert’s real name is equally as unpronounceable as the fake moniker I gave it.

We are having unseasonably warm weather as I think I have mentioned two or 10 or 1,000 times but Cubelandia is ice cold. I am dealing with that by wearing a polartech jacket to work and I am plenty warm enough. It’s kind of funny because after many years of being a business casual outfit – except for casual Fridays and casual weeks and casual summer (great big guys in cargo shorts anyone?), we were given notice recently that jeans are acceptable at our facility EVERY day. Except for client meetings, which are exceedingly rare for anyone on my team. So if it’s cold in the building, bring a ratty old polartech or blanket or whatever. Da boss (or more likely KennyP, who is a Force of Nature) will eventually figger out how to fix it. And heck, you can always go outside to warm up.

So I got home and all of the vee-hickles were here but The Pensioner was missing. That was okay. I like to be spacified when I get home from work. But I was kinda puzzled. Where was he? Walking? Likely. Napping in the Lyme T. Lounge? Possibly but probably not as likely. I texted him. He didn’t respond. At least not for a very long time. Eventually he replied that he was indeed walking. One never knows what TP is going to be doing at any given moment these days. I’m trying to roll with it. Most days I’m pretty successful. I have the hardest time when I have to deal with Another Person in the House when I’m getting ready to launch over to Cubelandia.

Can I just say a word about Dark Walk? This morning I was returning from my 0-skunk-30 walk and it was dark and very warm and there was Becquet and her whole family (mom, Bob, and Java) walking toward me in the dark. Becquet walking along big as life! She will grow up fast. Although it wasn’t exactly the same thing, it reminded me of all the times I did Dark Walk with one of my beach urchins when she was small. She was older than Becquet when we started that and it happened at night instead of early in the AM. We did it on nights when it can sometimes be hard to settle down. Lots of stuff to “process” and not necessarily the calmest place to process it. So I would pick up my child and slowly carry her down to the corner and back home. The transformation was always just about instant. And now that she is a grown up Amazon Woman, she loves to hike out in the forest.

People need to be outside more. It was morning when I ran into Becquet and her fam so they weren’t probably trying to calm her down. I think they were just including her on their early morning dog walk. They were all having a good time. I was thinking about them walking in the early morning dark and my own habits of doing that and I was wondering for a moment why we didn’t do that with the beach urchins. The answer is complicated but it had to do with work schedules and uncertainty about the neighborhood safety. I long ago figured out that our neighborhood was safe enough to walk in the dark, at least in the morning, and I hope that my neighbors have been encouraged at least in part by encountering meeeee walking through the woods in the dark.

G’night and love y’all,
KW

Let the seagulls in

Monday, October 17th, 2016

solariumSo I have a facebook/childhood friend whose mom has reached the unbelievable age of 102 and is still in pretty darn good health. After a bout with pneumonia or whatever a while back, she decided she could no longer live alone in her house and is now living happily at the long term care unit that The Commander stayed at when she was rehabbing after a small stroke. The Comm did not live there all that happily but she was “only” 91 and didn’t exactly make the decision to move out of her house voluntarily but that’s not what this story is about.

It is also not a story about my friend’s mom. She has her own story and it’s one that I (appropriately) get occasional details about on facebook. But when my friend showed a pic of her mom in the solarium picking out books to read, it brought back a flood of memories about my adventures in telecommuting from the solarium while The Comm was there.

There was the time that “Mumma” (one of The Comm’s roommates) came down and washed her baby in a trash can. When I wrapped up my work that day, I remember fishing the baby out of the trash can and also one of Mumma’s sneakers, which was I fergit where. I deposited them on her bed and skedaddled. There were pics of Mumma and her children and grandchildren above her bed with Mumma smiling a huge smile.

And then there was a woman who walked around constantly with the upper half of her body bent waaaaay over. I think she was around my age at the time… She tipped over in the solarium one day when she and I were the only ones in there. Oh dear, I think I need to press the button for help. Us Fins are pretty reluctant to do that kind of thing. I can’t explain why but we are always like, “I REALLY have to press the button?” Oh yes. But when I went for the button, it turned out that I didn’t have to press it because a staff member was right outside the door and I used words to alert them. The woman who tipped over was fine and me and The Comm learned how to push buttons before her time was over.

Then there was the young-ish man who used a wheelchair and couldn’t speak intelligibly but boy oh boy did he know how to get the seagulls going outside the solarium. You do it by throwing popcorn out the window. The Comm and I were kind of cracking up about this. I think it annoyed the long term care staff though because someone came along and put an end to it.

Eerie to dreary and another cute li’l rhyming couplet

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

eerie1Okay, this pic of the full moon heading down toward the horizon at 0-skunk-30 does not represent eerie. The moon was gorgeous! What *was* eerie was the hint of a flash I saw to the north as I was walking through the schoolyard. Hmmm… I checked the weather and there were no storms anywhere near here although I knew there would be rain later on. I didn’t even bother to look up the nearest recent lightning strike. I forced myself down off that ledge and kept walking. It wasn’t until I had finished almost my entire loop when I saw another hint of a flash to the north. This time I checked the lightning and, yes, there were thunderstorms 40 miles north of here, a little bit south of Flint. Nothing to worry about and I was almost home anyway but it was interesting (and eerie) that I could see lightning from that far away.

I was feeling more melancholy than usual this morning. Bad dreams and some stoopid crapola that is supposedly over but lingers in weird ways that defy description. I have good and bad days and you’re welcome. Fortunately the GG had a pretty perfect solution. Let’s go for a drive “out in the county”. Before the rain arrives.

Our own Washtenaw County is so beautiful, with everything from farmland to glacial moraine. Forests and rivers and hills and big corn fields. We headed in a different direction than usual today and screeched to a stop when we stumbled upon a county nature preserve that we didn’t know existed since we don’t often hang around in the Milan (My’-lən, not mə-lon’) area. There are 2.25 miles of trail in this preserve but we only managed about 1.5 of them because we were not prepared for a rain hike and wanted to get back to the Frog Hopper without getting wet. It was a beautiful spot and we will return and we did stay dry and there was even enough time for a bit of mushroom/frog Instagram competition with folks hiking a lot further north.

dumptrumpAll in all, I didn’t get much of anything constructive done today. On top of this morning’s melancholy, and the dreary (by then) weather, I was feeling gloomy about that. The GG tried to bolster my spirits by suggesting that maybe I *needed* a down kind of day. I suppose he’s right. I don’t have to go full-tilt boogie *every* day and I *did* get most of the basic everyday chores done at least and food ready for the hopper tonight. *He* took a nap this afternoon. Maybe he is onto something.

So one of the good things about today was that I noticed the Lyme T. Lounge has lost its middle initial. I was flabbergasted when that loverly vee-hickle came home a couple weeks ago with a Trump sticker on it. Who what? I mean, this is the Planet Ann Arbor. Not that there aren’t Trumpers in town. There was a guy at the Plum just yesterday wearing a 2016 Hillary in Prison t-shirt. But that was an exception. Much more likely to see pro-Hillary signs and paraphernalia around here. At any rate, I did not want it in my driveway. The only time I have ever posted a polly-tickle thingy, it was a Shifrin yard sign and she’s one of my long-time coffee buddies and she was running for school board and of COURSE I supported her. Hans was still kicking around back then and he thought it was a real estate sign! No, buddy, we are not selling our house.

After thinking about it for a while, I guessed that the Trump sticker was a prank played by, well, we won’t say who but he lives up north where pro-Trump stuff is more plentiful and the Lyme Lounge was sitting in his driveway for a while. I know some of the GG’s polly-tickle opinions but they are complex enough that I don’t have a clue whose oval he’ll fill in when he gets to the polling place. I do know that he isn’t likely to display polly-tickle stickers or wear badges or t-shirts or anything of the sort and my hunch turned out to be right. It was indeed a prank and he removed Mr. T. from the LL before taking it north again last week. “I was gonna be traveling.” Yes. And now that the sticker is gone, here’s evidence that it once existed.

It may be dreary here but it is also unseasonably warm and that made it pleasant to sit in the back yard reading and blathering away on my boring blahg. Oh, and the Prank Perpetrator (hmmm, the GG and the PP? Or how ’bout TP and PP?) is forgiven, mostly because I love him *anyway* but also because I actually thought the whole thing was sorta funny once I figgered it out.

Early Bird Special

Saturday, October 15th, 2016

bigdogSo, on the way home from lunch downtown at the Grizzly, we were walking past our fave neighborhood pub/restaurant Knight’s Steakhouse and the GG observed that there were quite a few vee-hickles in the parking lot. It was around three o’clock, which is way too early for the Early Bird Special. Heck, even four o’clock is too early for that because I have been there at that time and it is *not* crowded. My guess was that a bunch of the Saturday lunch bunch were lingering.

That got me to thinking about what people do with their Saturdays. Mind you, I work “bankers” hours, meaning Monday through Friday from whenever I float in (8-ish) until whenever I leave (5-ish). I know that there are plenty of people who work totally different schedules than I do, including weekend days. Been there, done that. And I sometimes do work on weekend days now but I work from home when I do that and it’s usually just me and my Windows laptop.

My typical Saturday, at least here at home on The Planet Ann Arbor is that I launch outta bed at 5:30 AM or thereabouts and take a shower and walk down to the farmers market and then do a whole bunch of routine chores and errands and that’s what I/we did today (the GG works in tandem with me on a lot of this stuff). By about noon we are ready for lunch and so our off-and-on habit for about the last year has been to walk downtown to the Griz for a small lunch with beer/whine.

bearshitI have to wonder what other people do with their Saturdays. Whether you work corporate aka bankers hours, retail hours, or you are a pensioner, whatever. Well, The Pensioner pretty much follows my weekend plan or whatever but that’s partly because he doesn’t mind getting up ultra-early and like I said, we sorta work in tandem in some ways. But I think a lot of folks sleep in on weekend mornings. I don’t have a problem with that but I am curious about what it’s like to not wake up until the sun is high in the sky. So, do you sleep in on Saturdays or are you up and at it? And do you kick back and not do anything constructive (which is okay!) or do you dig in and work on prodjects?

The top pic is of a Big Dog sitting with his owners outside the Griz today. He was a pretty sweet guy who seemed to have been carefully trained to not notice any members of the homo sapiens species who might be walking by and therefore not jump up on them.

And then there was a loverly photooo sent from a beach urchin of, well, can you guess? If not, it is bear scat. My personal beach urchins are currently camping in the north country in a place where you can see the stars if there aren’t any clouds. This pic, if I have it correctly, came from a trip to the biffy. Look at all of those bee-you-ty-ful berries and seeds in that poop. Isn’t it loverly?

As I think I have said before, I am so glad that my children love each other as much as they do and spend hiking/camping time together now that they are Amazon Women. Not sure that I had anything to do with this parenting outcome but I’ll take what I can get.

Love you all. KW

Verving and Piping downtown on the Planet

Friday, October 14th, 2016

fleetwoodWe didn’t eat at the Fleetwood. I haven’t actually eaten at the Fleetwood in many years. The GG goes there frequently. A man has to have his hippie hash, after all. Seriously, the Fleetwood is a wonderful restaurant and Planet Ann Arbor institution and apparently there is one over in Lansing too. Who knew? I suspect that one is a little fancier than the one over here in A2. At any rate, we ate at the Oscar Tango tonight. We ate alone. We heard that Cozz’s (The Cozy for those who know Brimley) was porterized tonight.

I wanted to hoof it home immediately but the GG shamed me into a short bit of walk-about, including West Side Books, where we found some potential acquisitions for our very small collection of “antique” books. And of course we had to walk by The Ark. The Verve Pipe was playing tonight. Or was it the Verve… The GG kinda wanted to go to the show but I didn’t wanta walk home that late in the evening although I suppose we could take a cab or even an Uber. But anyway, I saw that the show was SOLD OUT. Oh well. KW does a happy dance. She doesn’t like to sit and has to steel herself for the sitting required to attend concerts.

I left the Ark a bit confused. Verve Pipe? Verve? Whaaa… Those band names float up to 2016 from the late 1990s when Wee Sing Dinosaurs had long been abandoned and the alternative rock station ruled my bee-yoo-ty-ful 1996 Island Teal POC (aka Chrysler minivan). Those were the years that I drove the beach urchins and all of their friends all over the Planet Ann Arbor all the time. Gone were the days when I navigated southeast Michigan with 60s/70s rock blaring in the background of my life. Yet to come were the days when the beach urchins had fledged and my elders were starting to die and I somehow couldn’t listen to music any more and NPR talk radio became (and still is [usually]) my car radio music of choice.

Those years in the late 1990s? I loved driving teenagers, etc., around town [mostly ;-)]. I loved the music they listened to and I was happy to keep the radio in the POC tuned in to the alternative rock station, even when I was alone in the car when everybody was at school and Holly opened her stoopid [sorry] little lunch box. Dog med syringe? Really? I loved the Verve or was it the Verve Pipe or what? Was it one or two bands? I couldn’t remember. Did I ever really know?

I did the research tonight. And yes, there are two separate bands. The Verve (Bittersweet Symphony) and The Verve Pipe (Freshmen). Two of my favorite songs from that whole era. I loved both of these songs so much. Do I have the band names straight now? Naw, probably not. Pop quiz: Who was at The Ark tonight? Verve or Verve Pipe? You can probably answer this correctly. KW probably can’t 🐸

And the beat goes on.

In which Mother Nature trumps all of the other stuff

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

dramaskyI engaged in a couple of polly-tickle facebook posts over the last few days. I *try* to stay out of polly-ticks for the most part. I *will* stay out of this stuff from this day forward. The issues are waaaaay more complicated than my systems analyst type brain can sort out without some sort of five-dimensional matrix and Excel can’t really do that kind of thing. I could write a program but…

I will say that I like to hear what our young people have to say. They are the folks who will be living with whatever decisions we all are making NOW for a much longer time than us baggy old folks will have to live with them. I kind of know about this first hand albeit in a small way. I remember when the elder generation in my family donated some land to an organization I won’t name (not going there now) and our land ended up in the hands of a developer. I had (sometimes) loud arguments with my parents about that decision before they finalized it. They tried to talk me down squelched me. I never believed that it would turn out well and guess what? A developer bought that land and there are now houses on some of it (it’s a very long story and not going there tonight). I will always believe that my parents generation made a mistake but I think they were trying to protect their [baggy old] children and I loved them *anyway* and I was fortunate to be able to spend many more years with those wonderful folks.

I don’t think that the 19th amendment will be repealed any time soon but I think we always need to be vigilant regarding every citizen’s right to vote and access to exercise that right. Men and women of whatever skin color, young and old.

The ponds at Cubelandia were gorgeous today, don’tcha think?

And here is John Lennon…. Imagine a better world if you will or can. Love you all. KW

Pink Pumps and Butgers and the Crocodile Eye and other random stuff

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

crocodileeyeAnd by “pumps” I mean high heels, a style of shoes I have not worn in more years than I care to count. I used to rock high heels but we’ll talk about that some other day. I wear sandals now. Chacos or Keens depending on the occasion and the rest of my outfit. We won’t talk about boots or YakTrax today. It’s in the 70s here on The Planet today and I’m not quiiiite ready to go there.

Somebody at work had a dream that somebody else at work bought them a pair of pink high heels and the recipient felt like he had to wear them to work. This brings up a very interesting image, not unlike envisioning this person jumping over garbage cans or flying to Texas. And by flying to Texas, I mean flapping his arms to get there, not taking a plane. Video games, of course.

And so The King of Cryptic Text Messages, after hiking 20 miles (yes, really) on the North Country Trail or somewhere found himself in a town without a bar. Or so he said. I was skeptical. I mean, we once had some dry counties in the Great Lake State but not so much these days and we have found some wonderful bar/restaurants in places that you wouldn’t normally expect to find a comfortable place to go for a beer or cab with your lunch, like the bowling alley in Roscommon. I Googled his location and I found a bar where he was at that time. Alas, the streetview pics of that bar made me wonder if it was one of those “Up North” bars where you are not welcome if you aren’t, well, a Trumper.

He did manage to get a butger. I think he meant burger. He is the King of Cryptic Text Messages after all.

And I am loving the warm rain here on The Planet Ann Arbor.