Archive for December, 2016


Saturday, December 31st, 2016

It’s been a long day and I am taaaared but my number one (by age) Amazon Woman pretty much saved it.

We got outta dodge (aka Hoton Lake) on the early side (for us) and after a few miles of somewhat messy roads on the southbound I75 SUV Speedway, the temperatures climbed precipitously (for this time of year in the Great Lake State) to around 45 and the entity in the picture made his presence known in full force. I can’t remember the last day we saw any more than a few watery glimpses of this entity and I was just about blinded by his brilliance.

I was feeling a little nervous about the New Year’s Eve party (or whatever) that I am “hosting”. I dunno why since it’s just us and our kids, npJane, Pengo Janetto and cBear but still. Amazon Woman 1 started texting me when we hit about Saginaw and she had the hors d’oeuvres already figgered out. Thank you! With that outta the way, my poor little brain MAY be able to focus on the rest.

We arrived at the Landfill just after Pengo and crew and we all walked down to the Griz for a New Year’s afternoon beer/whine and snacks, then home again. Aaaaannnnnd CRASH! The GG with a goat in his little Nap Nook in the back room. cBear with a penguin on the couch in the front room. Here’s the GG. I won’t post cBear 🐸

I don’t have much more to say but I have been feeling happy sitting here in the back room listening to Lizard Breath (AW1) and Pengo talking in the Landfill Chitchen as Lizard puts together our New Year’s Eve dinner. Well, except for the filet mignon. The GG and cBear will deal with that. I love hearing the cousins talk together in my kitchen. That is about all I can say…

Except my Mouse and npJane (*my* cousin) are here and the GG and cBear are awake and here they are grilling all of that filet. The GG is the one in the pink shoes.

The young folks are now downtown and we’re watching @Cmdr_Hadfield playing David Bowie on the space station on Youtube or somewhere. Thinking a bit about 2016, which I can’t describe as good or bad exactly, for us anyway. Weird might be a better word. We motored along through everything we had to deal with and we will continue to do so.

Love y’all and stay strong,
Kayak Woman

Sooper dooper yooper musheen

Friday, December 30th, 2016

Where do I start? I slept all the way until 7:11 AM this morning. I have been slodgy about getting up at my preferred time lately and it has worsened here at Houghton Lake. I will have to get myself back on track because Tuesday morning, I will be dragging my sorry arse to WORK! Yes. Butt in seat and back to it!

So it was around nine when we finally got hooked up with breakfast, at Mikey’s, a new place in the old Big Boy where I once endured a meal with my in-laws who ordered frog legs and then complained because they didn’t look like the picture. I was pregnant at the time and it was not a fun occasion for me although it is quite entertaining after all these years. Mikey’s is notchyer grandpa’s Big Boy. They are focusing on fresh, local foods and I do not think you can get frog legs there. We have actually met one of the folks involved in this venture (on the North Country Trail, where else?) and we have enjoyed a few breakfasts there.

I hope Mikey’s succeeds and I will patronize it whenever I can, without abandoning Little Boots. It seems like all of a sudden, unassuming but good restaurants are popping up all over in the north country. And so we schlepped up for a beer/whine snacky kind of lunch at Paddle Hard Brewing in Grayling today.


When I think of paddles these days, I think of kayaking, not canoeing (a canoe is a fight), but it needs to be said that the AuSable River runs through Grayling and there is a looooong tradition of canoeing and canoe outfitters in that little city. Anyway, we had barely sat down at the bar when the couple next to us noticed the GG’s backpack with its North Country Trail badges and things. They were trail aficionados and so an animated conversation ensued and many phone pics were shown. Other than that, it was a wonderful place, food, drink, and our lovely bartender, an upbeat friendly multi-tasker after my own heart. I loved her. Not the best pic but here is a little “nook” that you can sit in at the brewpub assuming you have the right number of people and arrive at the right time.


On the way back down to Hoton Lake, we hit up the Grayling Glen’s Family Fare for a few grokkeries. I had scoped the place out on way up because the Sault Ste. Siberia Family Fare is closing tomorrow (if I have it right), a victim of Walmart and the new Meijer that’s coming into town (and turned my little life upside down by changing the 3-Mile/Radar Road intersection from 3-way to 4-way. Whut?). Could the Grayling store be closing too? There were a lot of cars in the parking lot so we took a chance and I am ECSTATIC to report that THIS Family Fare is alive and thriving and advertising an upcoming in-store STARBUCKS! This is a good thing! (We’ll talk about my mixed feelings about the Soo Family Fare and Meijer some other time.)

Finally, one of our missions today was to get some NEW GAS to get the Hoton Lake snowblower going. I won’t even try to explain the backstory to that. It wouldn’t start earlier in the day and it was EVENTUALLY determined that maybe the gas was bad. I’m glad I’m married to one of the Courtois boyz because I could never figger this kinda stuff out by myself. But New Gas solved the problem as you can see in the next pic.


By the way, I inherited that sooper dooper yooper musheen from my old coot. He decided at about the age of 75 that he was taaaarrred of shoveling the huge dumps of snow that the yooperland often gets by hand and bought a snowblower. The GG and I are sitting here kibbitzing about whether this snowblower was the one he bought way back then. If so, it would be 23 years old now. It probably is. I guess it just needs New Gas to run. It has joined the fleet of motorized tools here at Hoton Lake and it gets used and my old coot would love that!

Snow drivin’ with[out] Miss Daisy

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

daisyDinner at the country club in the snow belt tonight and then a loooooverly snow drive home to Houghton Lake. Without Miss Daisy. She sat with me for a while as I watched some sort of hot judge show on TV. I don’t watch a lot of TV and I was fascinated. An interesting way for people with petty complaints against others to resolve them? Whatever. So it was a snow drive home and on the very last leg of the trip, we were following a state cop. He turned down our road and immediately stopped and turned his lights off and after we got home, the GG watched him sneak down the road with his lights off. I don’t guess he was after us but I dunno what he was doing. And now I don’t seem to be able to string two words together to save my life and that may only be partly due to the fact that I am distracted by watching The Princess Diaries on TV.

Oh, BTW, thank you to everyone who didn’t caterwaul to the nth degree about Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds today. I recognize how talented they both were. I get the tragedy of a daughter’s early death preceding her mother’s death. Broken heart? Ya think? But. People die all the time. (I’m glad I didn’t die tonight when the big double-trailer semi passed us at a high rate of speed on a snowy freeway with whiteout visibility. Man, that was fun.) This stuff happens to everyone. My parents had to deal with a child’s death. He was 47 when he died. It likely destroyed my dad, who was 86 at the time and died nine months later. My mother The Commander motored on for another six years. The movie is winding down and I am out of words. But the GG is still shooting his blow-dart gun or whatever it is. Life goes on…

If it’s winter in Michigan, it must be gray

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

cfamhlI’m feeling like my pictures are getting to be very similar these days. Black and white. Yesterday? Beautiful trees / power lines, etc., at the Marathon Refinery downriver from Detroit. Today? Beautiful trees (no power lines) here at the CFam Group Home at Houghton Lake.

It is not all that cold here at Houghton Lake but the wind was biting when I took a walk down to the end of the point and back this afternoon and I put a pair of leggings on in between my tights and long wool skirt. The GG took a bit of a different walk back into the swamp and managed to break through the ice back there. The water is only about knee deep back there and there are trees everywhere so he was able to drag himself back up onto the ice without a problem. I wish I had a pic of his wet pants that but I was more concerned that he get those wet pants into the dryer here. We have a real dryer here these days. Back in the moldy old cabin days (which I remember fondly but have moved on), if you had wet clothing (and we did sometimes), you hung your clothing up in just a certain place to dry (and it did).

So, we drove up here today and apparently the UU and TBG are “in town”. I puzzled over that for a while but I think it means that they are in their luxurious home in Gaylord and I am thinking we will take them out for dinner tomorrow night. Gaylord is close enough to Houghton Lake to be “in town”.

I so love having relatives up and down the I75 SUV Speedway between the Planet Ann Arbor and the Cfam cabin and the moomincabin. Love you all.

Industrial tourism

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

patternsI wanted to go for a ride this morning. I was kind of anticipating the usual kind of ride that we take out into the country but it turned out that the GG had anticipated *meeeee* and had a different kind of plan in mind. “Do you want to take an industrial ride?” After a split second of something like “Whaaaaa?” I said, “Sure.” And off we went EAST for a change to check out some DayTwa suburbs that we don’t normally spend a lot of time in. River Rouge, for the most part.

The pic is from the outskirts of the Marathon Refinery (I *think* it’s in River Rouge) and I was struck by the juxtaposition of Ma Nature’s version of order and symmetry (trees) and mankind’s version of the same (towers), all in a kind of wiry format. It was another ugly gray kind of day, hovering around 30 but with a penetratingly cold wind. Somehow, this little day trip seemed like the right kind of thing to do.

Back to the planet in the early afternoon and I was reading my latest book The Nex Nix. I am enjoying this book greatly and I was greatly entertained to spot an anachronism. When you are taking a home-ec class in 1968 and somebody burns a pan down to the point where it melts onto the stove, it doesn’t set off a smoke alarm. We didn’t have smoke alarms in the schools in 1968. There were fire alarms stationed around the school but a person had to *pull* those. I could also say that the home-ec classes I took didn’t resemble anything in the book (think crappy, green scrambled eggs) but the description of that class and what happened in it was integral to the story and I am loving the book immensely so I am totally happy to excuse the anachronism.

Other than that? It is late and I am taaaared and so g’night.

A man and his generator? Or… If it fits, I sitz? Your choice

Monday, December 26th, 2016


Yes, this is what a basic generator looks like. It is not large. It is not a whole-house (or boat) generator. It provides just enough power to run the blower motor on the Landfill furnace and possibly the refrigerator and maybe the stove. I fergit. The reason for purchasing this item is that our neighborhood, after many many many years of stable lucky-shuckial power has experienced many power outages in the last year. We can cope with those easily in warm temperatures but we need to have heat when it gets cold. We always have hot water in power failures, so that is not an issue. If it was, I would be the first to bail out to Weber’s Inn or wherever but we can deal with lack of power up to a point. So now we can run the furnace and maybe a couple other things. I still can’t figger why this had to be a Christmas gift but I had so much fun buying it that I don’t care.

The GG got his generator as a gift and because “I” spent all of that money on a generator, he thought that I needed another BIG GIFT. I didn’t really but did I want another Z-chair? (Google it.) Yes! He bought me one for my birthday last January and well, yes, I love the Z-chair and I want another one. Mid-century modern? And so, last week, the day that the Z-chair was supposed to be delivered, I was walking home from the Plum Market and the delivery truck trundled up the street and I texted the GG that I thought our new chair was arriving. I got there just as the truck did and the GG said, “go drive around the neighborhood for a few minutes.” I did and when I got back, the truck was gone and the Z-chair was stashed in the “extra bedroom”. I was not allowed to go in there but I keep Roooomba in there so I had to ask the GG to get her out when I needed her.


So here is our new Z-chair’s box and the GG is having a beer and cookie in there. He took a nap after that.

I watched the sky for a while this evening. It has been warm but rainy all day here. I’ll take rain over snow, mostly because I want my beloved friends and relatives to be safe driving. I think it was something like 6:04 PM when I last saw light in the western sky today even though it had set almost an hour ago. The sun is traveling back up to the north country and in a few weeks we will be seeing that entity’s increasing presence.

Blue undies on a pink Christmas

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

pinkI won’t show you the blue undies. It was a laundry error 🐽.

I awoke with more trepidation this xmas morning than usual. I always fret more than I need to about gifts. Do I have an equal number of gifts for each child? This got complicated enough when my children were *children*, now it’s even more difficult because… 1) the Amazon Women my little beach urchins have turned into have more belongings than they can deal with and are downsizing just like we are and 2) their interests are different, in other words, I can’t just buy two of everything for them, although I do sometimes give them a few identical gifts.

Today? I couldn’t even remember what I had bought for anyone. I’ve been ordering stuff online for months now, wrapping it up and putting it in grocery bags down in the Landfill Dungeon. And forgetting what I ordered? Manatee teacup thingy? I bought those? Well, yes, because we love manatees! It didn’t seem like I had “enough” presents for them to open but the GG had also done some shopping and, in the end, it all worked out pretty well.

And then there’s the GG. What did he want for xmas? A generator. Yes, a generator. He had one all picked out. I said, “Why the heck can’t we just go out and BUY A GENERATOR???” No, he wanted ME to go and get it and “surprise” him on xmas morning. Eventually I steeled myself for a trip out to Weingartz, the generator store. OF COURSE, it turned out to be a fun expotition and the sales guy was an absolute hoot. And then, the generator was something like 50 pounds and we put it in the back of the Frog Hopper and there it stayed until this morning, when the GG went out to get it. I could’ve probably wrangled it into the Landfill but I was done.

Not a bad day but quite slodgy without any hint of Mr. Golden Sun’s existence. The presence of the blow-gun got a wee bit tiring by the end of the day too. Since I’m so taaaared my head is about to fall down on my keyboard, good night and typos be damned.

In which my camera (once again) sees what I don’t

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

frogfishOh, what a neat looking fishy. I’ll just get a pic of it. Maybe I’ll feel like posting it somewhere on them thar tubes (or maybe not). And then, as I was getting in there to get the shot… There was a FROG in the frame. A WHITE FROG. I put it on Instagram. Sometimes I put pics on both Instagram and facebook because some of my friends are on one but not the other. This one didn’t seem quiiiiite face-bookable. I figured a small subset of my fb friends might “get it”. A lot of others might be wondering whaaaaaat is that goofy kayak woman posting now? That is, if anyone saw it at all, slipped in there amidst all of the xmas wish memes and [alas, still] polly-tickle crap. Just show me what you’re having for lunch, please.

So this fishy (and froog) are down in the Kerrytown Shops, which are adjacent to the Farmers Market. It is not one of Victoria’s special Protective Fish. Instead, it seems to be a piece of artwork associated with Monahan’s Seafood. I’m not sure if they hung it underneath that frog on purpose or what. We did check out Victoria’s wares today. She began many years ago by making Santa-type figures out of random pieces of wood. They are GORGEOUS but I was young and poor then and couldn’t afford to buy her stuff. At some point, she started making her Protective Fish and we have outfitted the moomincabin and Houghton Lake Group Home with a couple of protective fish each. She only had a couple of Protective Fish today because at this time of year she gets overwhelmed by orders for Santas. She sounds like she is itching to get back into making Protective Fish but that probably won’t happen until after the new year.

We are in the market for a muskellunge and I told Victoria [probably for about the umpteenth time ;-)] my Muskellunge Story. So back in the day, when the beach urchins were young teenagers, think middle school/early high school, all four of them were up at the moomincabin with me and we were all sleeping upstairs and they were giggling up a storm and I wanted to go to sleep. I didn’t what want to just tell them to SHUT THE F UP in a mean kind of way, so finally I said, “If you girls don’t stop giggling, I am gonna throw fling a muskellunge at you.” SILENCE! For about two seconds. They were processing. What the heck is a muskellunge? So, pause. And then, hahahahahahahaha! But then they sort of settled down and went to sleep. I miss those days.

So, walking down to the market today was nasty, even with Yax on, but the market was festive if not crowded with merchants. My main mission was lettuce and I couldn’t get that but I did get some onions and we had our usual coffee from Roos Roast and then we talked to Victoria and ran into some old Roos / Argus friends who have moved to Wisconsin up on the shores of Lake Superior. I should clarify that they are *old friends* but they are *young people*.

The rest of the day? I dunno. Meijer, two trips to Plum, one with the FROG HOPPER! I had a hard time talking myself into not walking because that’s what I *do*. Lunch at the Griz with the GG and Lizard Breath. And then I got dinner prepped and went to sit in my fave spot by the front window where I eventually nodded off a bit. I startled awake when I felt my laptop slipping out of my hands and off my, uh, lap. No… If you know me, you know that I rarely nod off in the afternoon, the sole exception being on sunny, windy days lying on a towel at the moominbeach.

Where was I?


Friday, December 23rd, 2016

weaksunFirst, I had to go to a bank today. I have not been inside a bank in a while, maybe not since they were closing the PNC up in Sault Ste. Siberia and I met up with Kathy over there so she could give me a bunch of pics of my grandfather that were hanging around in the basement.

I walked over to the bank and as I approached the door, I read a notice that asked people to remove hats and hoods, etc., before entering the bank. I knew that the people at the bank would probably understand that someone like meeeee was wearing a balaclava and sparkly bomber hat because it was COLD and not because terrorist but I took the sign seriously and made a minor show of removing all of that crap in the foyer, shaking out my gray-blonde beautifully cut WASP-y type hair. Man oh man, did those folks greet me with great cheer. Actually, I was the only customer in the bank. I’m thinking that’s in part because of online banking…

From there, I hit up my fave grokkery store for a duck. Every time I have been over there in the last week, I have checked to make sure they have ducks. They always have but I haven’t been ready to buy one. Until today. I made a special trip over there to buy a duck and… No ducks… Don’t worry, I got one at Kroger.

I greatly regret scaring the heck out of a woman who thought she came close to hitting me as I was walking downtown in the dark in the late afternoon. She didn’t come close to hitting me and if I had thought she might have, I’d’ve dived into the adjacent snowbank. She did nothing wrong. I shouldda been on the sidewalk. I hope she had a good evening.

And then we got porterized Planet Ann Arbor style, meaning we visited their beautiful home, a mile or so from ours. And it’s late and I’m taaaarrrred, and g’night!

Sincerely, Mrs. Grinch.

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

truckActually, that is only the ending part of the quote. The entire quote is:

‘The xmas tree can come in the house when the broken old chair from the shed at Houghton Lake leaves.’ – Kayak Woman, December 2012.

I vaguely remember something about having an old chair around a few years ago. It seems to be gone now. This is not an unusual circumstance around The Landfill. There was a looooong period of time during which I swear that duct-taped easy chairs sprouted and grew to maturity in the Landfill Dungeon. And I have a vague memory of the Gumper (my beloved f-i-l) offering us some sort of Lazy-Boy chair. My response was something like, “How many old duct-taped chairs are we gonna get rid of?”

By the way, I am not dissing the GG’s fambly at all here. He has a large fambly and some people save stuff (sometimes to an extreme) and some people do not. I have a large fambly too (although I am counting my beloved cuzzints — Fin and Mac — because I have no living siblings) and some people save stuff (sometimes to an extreme) and some people do not. Like most folks in both families, we are somewhere in the middle. We saved stuff for quite a long time. And now we don’t. Mostly. It’s okay to save some things and we do. But we have been off-and-on flinging for years now. We have more to do but at least we don’t have old duct-tape chairs growing in the Landfill Dungeon any more. I don’t think.

The printer? The extra printer that has been hanging out in the front room for weeks now? I want it outta here. It is an Epson something or other. It works! I don’t think it has up-to-date ink cartridges. Does anyone want it?

Sincerely, Mrs. Grinch.

Pink (or Blue)

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

bluegloveIn my circle of life, we are currently at the absolute tip-top (sorta because my circle of life is a kind of a squashed ellipse, not a circle) even though today is the darkest day of the year. I have to say that this particular winter solstice was very dark indeed. Mr. Golden Sun did not make even one single appearance. Unless you count the pink I saw to the west as I was driving home from work on the I94 18-Wheel Slogway. The sun had officially set by that time and I couldn’t have gotten a pic if I had tried so you’ll have to take my word for it.

You would think, since I do not have to work again until January 3, that I would’ve been whooping it up as soon as I got out the door today. Strangely enough, I wasn’t. There was no faaaar drill involved in getting out the door today. Very few people were at work. The Benevolent Despot was talking to me about the visual basic stuff he was coding. Visual Basic? What? He rarely has time to do any kind of nitty-gritty stuff any more and he was having a great time. The BD is a rabbi so he doesn’t do xmas (although he always provides a holiday celebration for us) and therefore always loves to hang out during the xmas holidays because he can get things done without anyone bothering him. Once, many years ago, I dragged myself into work during that period of time because I had Cabin Fever working from home. He saw me there and said, “Look at what the cat dragged in.” Yes.

At a meeting today, a colleague was talking about leaving early to help with a holiday party for her 3rd grade daughter and how this daughter was *already* getting embarrassed by having her parents there wearing weird light-up holiday sweaters and reindeer antlers, like my colleague was going to wear today. My memory dredged up a time about a beach urchin who began kindergarten at the ripe old age of four. Yes, she was ready for K. I was walking her to school one morning and I picked up my teensy-tinesy little girlie and hugged her and gave her a kiss. And… This very small child stage-whispered to me, “Mom, you really shouldn’t do that so close to the school.” Yes. She still liked to be picked up and cuddled, etc., (I think) but she knew it wasn’t the best thing when you were at school. This kid had all of that stuff figgered out early. She was Switzerland then and she is Switzerland now. Love.

The blue glove? Just the GG being funny. It has something to do with his recent hand surgery but I’m not sure what.

How can there be a lunar eclipse if there’s no syzygy?

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

glassblockWhile you’re looking syzygy up I won’t tell you about the archaeological dig I embarked upon today. Except maybe to say that it went all the way back to 2005, which is pretty much the Jurassic Age when you are talking about online banking. Yes, I know that online banking was around before then. I definitely had an account *well* before then. But I shudder to think about the design / functionality issues from back before 2005, not to mention the security stuff.

Okay, while you were not looking up tonight’s lunar eclipse and/or syzygy, yer fav-o-rite blahgger was getting a lesson in fake news. A facebook friend shared something about a rare lunar eclipse tonight. I was skeptical. The moon is at the 3rd-quarter phase and I couldn’t process how there could be an eclipse. But I googled and found an “article”, you know, like the “articles” we all publish on facebook. Article? Whut? This article was written TODAY, Tuesday, December 20, 2016.

I asked the GG about an eclipse. He had no clue. He said something like, “There’s no syzygy!”. He did some research. Yes, the article was written today but it references an eclipse in 2010! I may or may not have seen that one. The Commander was down here that Christmas and I am sure I was not focused on what was going on with the moon or maybe couldn’t even see it. I remember that it was a warm but kinda rainy xmas. Other memories about that xmas are too much for tonight.

So it turns out that somebody wrote a blahg entry or whatever *today* about a lunar eclipse that happened six years ago. People looked at the date of POSTING (today) and not the date it happened. I didn’t notice all of that first thing. I GOT TAKEN BY FAKE NEWS! The GG made a polite comment asking the person to take the post down. As far as I know, it did not happen. Or maybe it has.

Please. Fact check, fact check, fact check. I spent my whole day picking away at the true functionality of the product that I support at work (because I care enough to make it better) and I came home and got myself hoodwinked about a lunar eclipse that isn’t happening tonight. But y’know, I was skeptical and checked it out (or asked the GG check it out, which he did). I will also try to say that the moniker “fake news” doesn’t apply to everything that’s out there on the Internet. There are many many variations of fake news. It is a continuum. Please, everyone, look at multiple sources before just sharing some facebook thing.

Actually it’s six days… Almost…

Monday, December 19th, 2016

wingedhorseI wrote a long blahg entry and then wordpress deleted it because it wanted me to sign in again. And I tried to but my password (new, after some hackers) is ridiculously hard to type in correctly. After a couple rounds of that, I did get in (I have a pw phone app) but wordpress had lost my entry. Jeebus…

In that post, I had been complaining about how hard it can be for employees at my global high tech company to find basic information like, how many vacation days do I have left. I thought that I had something like 5.5 but I have approximately one hour less than six days. What this means is that I can take off from this Thursday through January 2, which will be the 2017 New Year’s Day holiday. I didn’t know, expect, plan, or even want to take that much time off during the holidays. I have a work ethic that regularly slaps me upside the head and so I was nervous about telling my supervisor that I wouldn’t be around for what amounts to a couple weeks. Her response was something like, “don’t worry about that hour.” Oh, yes…

As difficult and weird as my problem with my PTO is, today I eventually bashed my way through the application to figger it out. I have to note that even though our internal tools are not always the best, we are a global leader in terms of online banking. We do care about the people who use our stuff and we work hard to make sure they don’t have these issues.

And I am a “resource”. I love being a resource. Resources are treated well where I work.

#unpresident…. … … Wha…?

Sunday, December 18th, 2016

drivesundayI am sorry. No, I do not think He-who (Trump) was trying to make some sort of joke or satirical point or whatever by using the non-word unpresidented instead of unprecedented. I do not think president-elect Trump is capable of understanding jokes or satire or whatever. I think he tried to spell a word that he didn’t know how to spell and autocorrect took over or maybe not. I could be wrong about this but the outcome of me being wrong is just as scary as the outcome of me being right. No, he won’t be unpresidented by the electoral college. Enough of those folks will do their jobs that Trump will be our, uh, president… I hope he understands what he stepped into but I am skeptical.

Here on the Planet Ann Arbor? I got up a bit later than usual today, like 6:30 or something. I put out a half-pack of bacon and a half-pack of hash browns on the stove (to be cooked) and took my usual walk and when I came back, the GG was cooking that stuff. I finished it all off and then sometime later in the morning, after much slodgi-ness, the GG said something like, “Do you want to go for a ride?” Oh man. I was waiting for him to ask that. Our drive today was a small one out by the river and then some back roads between Dexter and Chelsea. And so here is a pic from that. And then we hit up Sessions for lunch with beer/whine and sliders. A new bad habit? Maybe. It is a beautiful new brew-pub with good food. Back in the day, the GG investigated it as a potential place to get car window glass replaced and he decided it was too seedy. LOL!

Everyone is home safe so I can blahg now

Saturday, December 17th, 2016

solsticeI married into the Cfam more years ago than I am strong enough to count. Every year the Cfam gets together sometime in December to celebrate Christmas but more importantly our family! I was telling someone tonight that it took me, an introvert, maybe 10 years to figure out how to deal with Cfam partays. I am kind of beyond that nowadays but I tell people that because I hope it will make them feel welcome because the Cfam is just about the most wonderful family anyone could stumble into.

Today we met up with a couple of new babies. Two of the four baby girls that were born to the Cfam in the last year were there. Other than that, it was a quieter party than we sometimes have. I can’t exactly explain that but it was a good thing.

And then there was the drive home. Which was okay except that we were getting freezing rain intermittently on our southward trip down US23. The GG was driving and I noticed via our GPS that he was driving *under* 60 mph, without any nagging from meeeee.

I text messaged that we were home when we got here and I was SO HAPPY when Lizard Breath texted her own arrival in Detroit, since she had a longer drive than we did.

So the party was wonderful but I am glad that everyone is home safe and tomorrow can be a down kind of day. Or whatever.


Friday, December 16th, 2016

tree1Lemme see… “Pink is the New Black” or maybe “Real Women Trees Wear Skirts”.

This didn’t qualify as the slodgiest day ever at work but it had its moments. For one thing, almost NO ONE was there! FZ was over the wall from me in the morning and Wdong was there to represent the dev team. W1.5 came in later than usual and the Tall Boss was around for a while. And Mr.Luv but he was intent on various builds and patches and I dunno what. KennyP was a little freaked out when she got in this morning and I was the only person around. I didn’t tell her this but I welcomed her bustling force-of-nature presence even though I have been at that place many times before when almost no one was there. It’s just how it gets sometimes, especially during the winter holiday season when there is snow in the forecast.

I forgot about shopping malls! It has been so long since I’ve been at Briarwood except for those dreaded trips to the Apple Store to get yelled at by the geniuses because my keyboard / touchpad are gummed up by blood, sweat, and tears. If you are making LAPTOP COMPUTERS, you need to make them impermeable to water and icky crapola. PEOPLE TAKE THESE THINGS TO COFFEE SHOPS (or station them in their chitchens), FER KEE-REIST! Things happen. Anyway, I didn’t go to Briarwood today. My goal was to go past it to take a quick walk-about at Cost Plus World Warehouse. Many years ago I used to get sarongs and all kinds of trinkety-type stuff for the beach urchins to open in their xmas stockings, etc. I even remember being in there with MY PARENTS! The Commander LOVED shopping! Alas, I knew that I would not find anything worth buying there today (and I didn’t) but I needed to get outta dodge for a bit so I drove over there. Man oh man, what the heck is this traffic jam? Well. It was vee-hickles lining up to make the left turn into Briarwood Mall. What is there to buy at the mall? I do not know. I do not even know which stores are there anymore. Except for the Apple Store. And Macys, which I used to actually shop at when it was good old J. L. Hudson. Sigh. Now I buy 99% of my clothing on the internet, including a #redplaidnation “pencil” skirt that arrived today. Yay!

tree2Anyway, W1.5 and I both bagged it a bit early and then I did a few faaardrills at home before hoofing it down to the Oscar Tango for dinner. I was out the door and over at the schoolyard when I realized I was not feeling as bundled up as I needed to be because I WAS NOT WEARING A SCARF. Not a good thing. So back home where I COULD NOT GET DISCO LOCK TO COOPERATE WITH MY PHONE! Not off to a good start.

Fortunately things improved significantly. As you can see, our xmas tree is finally up and has lights on it. The first pic shows that I can see it from the Landfill Chitchen with a gratuitous shot of the GG, who is actually posing. Before our 2014 chitchen renovation, I had to walk into the back room to see the tree. The refrigerator was where that big window-type opening is now and it had a wall behind it. Now I can cook or blahg or wash dishes or whatever and see the tree whenever I want. Unfortunately I can also see whatever kind of financial crapola or whatever is sitting on the shelf there.

What I didn’t realize at first was that about the bottom third of the tree is strung with PINK lights! I was kind of going WHAAAA? at first but then I realized that our tree was wearing a SKIRT! Just like a Real Woman (just kidding).

I dunno. There is always something DIFFERENT going on around here. The level of significance may vary. Oh, and I have had almost nothing to do with the tree this year (so far). I held it upright while the GG screwed it into the stand. He has done the rest. I suppose I will hang some ornaments before it’s all over.

Business rules: 1) I have a Santa collection. 2) I am not collecting Santas. 3) Do not buy me Santas..

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

santacollectionWoops. I’m not really gonna write about “my” Santa collection today. I am gonna write about what’s been going on in the Yooperland the last couple days. Can you guess? If you guessed SNOW, you would be right.

I have no clue what the storm total was. Some of the predictions I saw were for 18 inches. That’s kind of a lot but it is nowhere near the 5-6 FEET of snow that fell in two days back in 1995 (I think).

Nowadays, I know about that snow stuff. I am on facebook with numerous friends and relatives who live in the Sault Ste. Siberia area and they have posted many pics of what happened up there the last couple of days. Huge whiteouts everywhere and a snowplow that rolled over in a ditch (driver was okay!) and many many many warnings for people to stay off the dern roads. Easterday hill closed. The Commander once slid down that hill and through the stoplight at the bottom. She and her Taurus were okay and she didn’t tell me about that incident either. Love you Moom.

Back in 1995, it was dry as all getout down here and I didn’t have a clue that Sault Ste. Siberia had received five/six feet of snow in two days. I only knew about the snow because I walked Mouse to school over at Haisley and Mr K of Multiplication Blues asked me if I knew what was going on up north. I didn’t. I tried to call The Commander but I couldn’t because her phone wasn’t working. That wasn’t because of the storm. That dern phone never worked all that well. It turned out that my mother waded through big waist-deep snow to the next-door neighbors to use their phone. Not to call me, of course. She was battling with the phone company. She got on the phone with someone in Detroit and that person tried to tell her that someone had already taken care of it. The Comm said something like, “Oh no they haven’t!” It wasn’t until the National Guard got into town that things got all straightened out.

We got a lot of snow down here in Southeast Trollandia on Sunday. I bagged the drive to work on Monday but I have been schepping over there since then with the Fog Hopper. There was a bit of a dusting this morning that flummoxed a lot of would-be road warriors into spinning out and snarling traffic. The Frog Hopper has AWD and I was fairly confident but VERY cautious. What’s under that sneaky little layer of snow at any given point? Most other folks (except for a certain tailgater) were traveling slowly too.

Again, Chippewa County? Up in the Yooperland? Jeebus! Whiteout conditions? A SNOWPLOW flipped over into a ditch on M129? A snowplow! A woman who was following the the snowplow stopped to check on the driver and if I understand it all correctly, both drivers were surprised that they were on the wrong side of the road.

I’m just hoping that all of my friends and relatives up in Chippewa County are doing okay. Love you all <3

Oh…. Mr. Sun. Sun. Mr. Golden Sun. Please shine down on meeeee.

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

cubelandiasun“My name is Mr. Golden Sun and I belong up behind that cloud.” Man oh man, did we need the sun around here. It hasn’t really been all that long since we’ve seen Mr. Golden Sun. He was out in pretty full force just last Saturday. But snow clouds were gathering and a half hour north of here, whiteout conditions led to a big 40-vee-hickle pile-up. It was the second such event in a couple of days and C-fam relatives who were traveling north were diverted off the road, etc. Yooperland FB friends of mine were kvetching about all of us trolls that can’t handle winter driving.

My friends, winter Yooperland driving and winter Trollandia driving are [usually] two different aminals. Yes, there is [usually] more snow in the Yooperland. But there are fewer automotive vee-hickles. Maybe even exponentially fewer (not sure about that grammar but neither The Commander nor Mrs. Pratt are here to correct me so, oh well, oops, I forgot about Mouse, who is certainly still around). What we have down here are a lot of freeways, a lot of Big Trucks, drivers of widely varying abilities whatever the snow conditions are, and huge huge volumes of traffic. Many of our freeways are old (think WWII and tight cloverleaf interchanges) and not built for modern volumes of traffic. Plus, if you are driving along on dry pavement with nothing coming out of the sky and you are suddenly hit by snow with whiteout conditions, chaos ensues. The last time this happened to *me* was last *May* (May!) when I was driving through Gaylord on the way back to Southeast Trollandia after opening up the *seasonal* family cabin. “Seasonal” means it is only habitable in the warmer months of the year, when the pipes are not in danger of freezing. Just to attempt to placate various members of the fambly, it *was* okay to open the cabin that weekend. It did get cold but not cold enough for long enough to make the pipes freeze. Please stay calm…

We aren’t starting off the winter season very well this year, what with the snow squall type weather. That kind of weather may cause more mayhem on a crowded freeway than it does in the Yooperland, where there is only 50 miles of freeway that I know of and it is lightly traveled. But it can cause problems. Like the time The Commander drove from her home down to the public library — a half mile drive at best — in bright sunshine with dry roads. By the time she began her drive home, blizzard conditions hit suddenly and she bumped into another vee-hickle because she couldn’t see a stop sign and couldn’t remember if there was a stop sign at that small intersection or not. I do not think it was anything major (she didn’t get a ticket) but I don’t really know the details because she didn’t tell me about it… … … (And she’ll have fun fun fun ’til her daughter takes the Taurus away-i-away.) Sorry moom. I do love you. I’m glad you were so damn feisty!

Anyway, Mr. Golden Sun was out in full force this morning but it was frickin’ cold! It was hovering at around 11 or so when I took this pic and I took it out the Frog Hopper’s veeeendshieeeeld so you might guess how high that plowed-up snowbank is. Just last Friday, I could park my vee-hickle in my regular parking spot and walk across the grass to look at whatever was in the pond that morning. Not today. This afternoon? It is a lot warmer, temperature-wise, but the wind is bitterly cold. We’re going down the escalator tonight. I will deal with it in the morning. I know how to bundle up and I will walk.

Word salad, scrambled eggs, and a slam-dunk (or not)

Tuesday, December 13th, 2016

cartThis poor little Plum Market cart represents just about exactly how I felt about life this morning. I’m not sure how you get a shopping cart out of a skateboard pit (or whatever you call it). I’m pretty sure that if I tried to retrieve it (by sliding down there on my duff, I guess?), I would not be able to get out without a strong rope or a call to 9-1-1. I’m sure 9-1-1 would loooooove to use taxpayer dollars to get a baggy old kayak woman out of a skateboard pit. I wonder if the cart is still there. Under the snow.

At any rate, I had to draaaaaag myself outta the rack this morning. And then the walking was absolute hell on earth. Long expanses of dry(?) pavement interspersed with big swaths of glare ice, punctuated by piles of rock-hard snow to climb over at the intersections. I can deal with snow and ice but I prefer to wait until after the holiday season. It only annoys me at this time of year. I am busy at work and so far I have done only a measly half-hearted attempt at xmas shopping. I need to be able to get oot and aboot without worrying about road conditions, etc. To add insult to injury, I piloted the Frog Hopper onto the I94 18-Wheel Slogway this afternoon and when I got up to about 60 (which took me longer than I wanted to because a SEMI was in the right lane PREVENTING me from MERGING), the FH started to vibrate like crazy. I suspected the issue was related to ice build-up but I still bailed off the Slogway a mile down the road and took the surface streets the rest of the way.

I won’t try too hard to explain the whole word salad / scrambled eggs thing. Scrambled eggs is what Louie-Louiiiii used to call some of the tangled up stuff that we do at work that I have to describe. Word salad is what I recently wrote in an attempt to describe some of that scrambled egg stuff and am now re-writing because I wrote the stuff and I can’t even track what I said 🐗. Oh yeah, slam-dunk. A prodject that got dumped on me six months ago or so was predicted to be a slam-dunk by the Benevolent Despot. Not. I now call it the slam-dunk prodject that’s been slam-dunking the baggy old systems analyst for the last six months and “slam-dunk” is making it into our workplace lexicon for better or worse. Because nothing we do is ever a slam-dunk. (Did I write about this before? If so, I’m sorry.)

A silver lining? I had lost track of exactly how much paid-time-off I have left for this year. Sick time carries over but vacay does not and you would not believe how hard it is with the tools we have to figure out how much time you have left. Scrambled eggs. But I had a pretty good idea and I persevered today, calling in Building Mom to look through her records at one point. The good news? I have 5.5 DAYS of vacay left! Use or lose! I had figured it was about that much. I had planned to take a long weekend earlier in the fall but it never panned out and now I HAVE SOME TIME! I am plotting and planning about what I will do with that somewhat unexpected luxury.

Oh, and the full moon? After several days of not being able to see anything besides clouds or snow, I was walking through the woods after work today and I looked to the east and MOON! Onward and upward but with fingers crossed.

Fake snowbirds and this is not basketball

Monday, December 12th, 2016

snowbirdsThis was a part of my view Sitting on the Green Couch Watching All the Dogz Go By, er, actually picking away at a spreadsheet with jazz, etc., on WEMU rolling along in the background and punctuated by a trip over to Howard Cooper Germain Honda. There are occasionally some real snowbirds *outside* the window, mainly cardinals.

I can’t write in detail about “fake news” tonight. I did spend a bit of time yesterday interacting with someone on facebook who had a wee hissy about an accredited news source, albeit not one that I am particularly fond of watching myself. But then, I do not watch much TV. I enjoyed the good old days of watching John McGowan on TV 9&10 up north. I know this sounds provincial but I haven’t found a TV newscaster since that I like and “trust” as well as I liked John, whatever that really means. I just know that we would get to Houghton Lake and John would be on reporting about northern Michigan news and I would feel likw I was home.

There’s a continuum here. At one end is true fake news, I guess. The folks over in former SSRs (or wherever) who manufacture news and feed it to facebook so they can laugh when American idiots fall all over themselves reposting something that they haven’t researched (or even read!). There is the opposite end of the continuum where sites like The Onion deliberately post fake news AND LABEL IT THAT WAY! Alas, I have facebook friends (not friends who I know well or read my blahg) who have recently posted Onion articles as if they were truth. At least I think they have. Not sure though, just peering through the haze and trying to figger it all out. I think we need folks like the Onion (and SNL) and I don’t want them to go away.

Then there is the muddle in the middle. I am not a journalist in any way shape or form. I am having trouble sorting out what is real and what is not. What probably bothered me the most during the last year is what I want to call Clickbait. It’s somewhere in the middle of the continuum, teetering on the edge, maybe. It’s when an alluring headline leads to an article that either reported something that isn’t true or an article that doesn’t in any way shape or form have anything to do with the headline. Alas, I have seen news sources of all sorts of credibility (see continuum) and not sure who to believe except for my “gut”. Seems like not everyone can sort that kind of thing out.

But please please please, I think we are into a kind of no-man’s land with journalism. I don’t like that and I totally don’t understand it but here are a couple of guides for navigating this era: NPR’s fake news guide and, if you are one of those people who distrust NPR, you may want to check out an article in the Smithsonian Instutition’s magazine. The Smithsonian magazine is not a newspaper but I think they did a good article on “fake news”. Please read this instead of whatever Mushie (or whoever) is sharing on his/her facebook page.