Archive for January, 2017

Late Start Tuesdays!

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Our school district has never had “late start” as far as I know. “Late start” means the roads are terrible in the morning but the weather is supposed to warm up so they delay the start of school for a couple hours. I don’t have anything to do with the public schools here any more except that I walk through the schoolyard all the time but I have had three Tuesday Late Starts this month. It’s winter and this is Michigan and it snowed a few inches overnight and there were traffic accidents everywhere this morning. I emailed my group and said I was starting out at home and would slodge over when I started feeling Cabin Feverish. That happened in the late morning and I rolled over to work. By that time the temps were over freezing and the roads were just wet and I had a lovely Zen Drive. The schools were open today. I think Superintendent Jeanice made the right decision. It wasn’t all that bad out this morning and it was gonna get better. I just decided to not add to the early morning traffic. You’re welcome.

Hello neighborhood parents, do you know where your hoodlums are? For months and months now, our normally safe* neighborhood has been experiencing petty crimes. Stealing change from unlocked cars (I knooooowww), scattering belongings from said cars all over the neighborhood, stealing RATS from a beloved Halloween display. Recently things have escalated just a weeeeee bit as young men are knocking on doors late at night asking for money. Reportedly “cute, friendly” young men but still…

I have not been too freaked out by this although I *have* been ultra-vigilant about locking our cars at night and making sure the front door is dead-locked. It got a little closer to home today when Shuggy’s Dad, a neighbor we have known as long as we’ve lived here, told the GG that *he* had found footprints near the cars in his driveway. Pretty stoopid to case out people’s cars after a snowstorm when you think about it because you leave footprints. Duh. If it hadn’t snowed, no one would have a clue that anyone had been in their driveway.

Despite that, I am still not very freaked out. My *hunch* is that this is a teenager who is out of control. Telling mama he’s going to the library (or his girlfriend’s house) to study (so he can go to Harvard hey, this is The Planet Ann Arbor, roight?) and prowling the neighborhood instead. A neighborhood friend of mine once had a teenager a bit like that, except that he was actually breaking in to neighbors’ houses when they weren’t home, stealing stereos and stuff. This vibrant, extremely extroverted, positive-force-of-nature-type woman was at her wits end and tried to get the police to arrest him (yes, really) but they hedged because they couldn’t figure out that he was the person doing any of that stuff.

That kid grew up into a good citizen and now has at least one child of his own, a child who may be a teenager by now (I think dad is in his 40s now). I’m sure that dad is hoping his kid doesn’t take after him in that respect. In our neighborhood, we need to be vigilant about who is scouting out our vee-hickles and [possibly] homes. Webcam on the driveway? Let’s move ours there. If whoever is doing this is truly just a non-violent kid, I want him (I suspect that’s the correct pronoun) to be punished but I also want him to grow up to be a productive member of our society.

*A neighborhood is only safe until somebody/something makes it unsafe. I regard my neighborhood as safe despite the recent troubles but I ALWAYS watch my back, no matter where I am.

Blame it on the weather

Monday, January 30th, 2017

Malaise? What? You say we’ve only had three (or is it four) sunny days this January? New Year’s Day? Absolutely gorgeous. The next 29 days. Mostly gray and ugly. We’re taaaarrred of this. Tonight we were headed downtown in the Frog Hopper and I was thunderstruck to see the waxing crescent moon along with Venus and Mars heading down toward the horizon. I was starting to wonder if we would ever see any celestial entities ever again. It’s snowing to beat the band now, just like they said it would but we did get downtown for a birthday of porterization dinner tonight and the GG and I had the canard and I swear he has told me how good it was about 20,000 times and it *was* really good but…

The Earle is a gorgeous basement restaurant, kind of like a grotto almost and although it has been around as long as we have lived here on The Planet Ann Arbor, we rarely go there. I’m not sure why but probably because back when we were young we were also too poor to spend much time there. And then there were kids, etc. I think we’ll have to figure out how to put it into our restaurant “rotation” or whatever you want to call it.

I am dead taaaared and my photos are taking forever to port over from my phone so I am also quite annoyed. Is the snow somehow slowing my connection down or whut… (Er, ackshully, I think it might’ve been because I accidentally took one photoooo as a “burst”…) Anyway, check out this mechanical stuff and the stone walls.

Cork-lined booths anyone?

A glass of grappa was ordered despite a lot of groaning. I did not order it. (BTW, if you ever find yourself with an unwanted bottle of grappa, just post it on the Nextdoor Neighbor app and it’ll be gone before you know it.)

When we walked out of The Earle tonight, just a few snowflakes were falling. By the time we got literally one door down to cross the street, it was coming down like crazy. If this keeps up, we’ll be getting more than the several inches we were promised and it’ll be a late start for me tomorrow.

Typos? I dunno. I’m too taaaarred to proof. Typos be damned! G’night!

Talking to the radio again, just ignore me. Yours truly, Kassandra

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

Stuff I did today? Hmmm… Shoveled snow. Not a lot. We got a couple inches overnight. But still.

Rearranged my herb/spice cabinet. “Combinded” some duplicates, got rid of some ancient things. So hard to keep up with that stuff, especially when dealing with supplying a summer place that needs a few essential herb/spices for a few months.

Cleaned the GG’s Squirrel Tray! It needed it. (Also in the pic is a pic of the GG’s (late) eldest brother and his girlfriend and the Corn Palace in Mitchell, Iowa.) Embiggen if you can’t read the notes on the tray.

Tried to walk in the northern side of the woods but couldn’t didn’t because there was an “unfriendly” dog in there. That was according to his owner. This dog was interesting in that “he” had BLUE EYES! I asked about that and it turns out that he is a shepherd/merle mix. German Shepherd mixes are among the dogs I do not mess with. All dogs are unpredictable but I have been known to tackle a golden retriever in order to *retrieve* a stuffed mouse from its mouth. I wouldn’t do that with a shepherd mix. I told the shepherd/merle mix owner to let her dog run. I’m not entirely happy that I, as an adjacent neighbor (she drove over in a vee-hickle) cannot walk through “my” woods any old time I want to but I understand that dogz need to run so I told his owner to let him run and I would come back to walk later. And I did. And that’s when I encountered Gretchen, who is just about my fave woods dog. Always friendly but never jumps up on anyone.

Merle… Merle… Merle… Le Merle Noir by Olivier Messiaen. A flute piece I played long ago having nothing to do with blue-eyed dogs. Le Merle Noir is French for “blackbirds”. I used to play this piece when I was still playing the flute on a regular basis. I definitely studied it in college. I loved playing the old baroque and classical stuff (Bach and Mozart, etc.) but I was *crazy* about “modern” atonal esoteric stuff. Like Le Merle Noir. It was so much fun to play. The folks in this YouTube video are much better than I ever was but I will understand if you don’t bother to click over. <3

Nice cozy faaaaar in the faaaarplace tonight. Hope y’all are having a Good Sunday too 😉

Green Couch Retail Therapy

Saturday, January 28th, 2017

Lemme see… What did I buy today… A *large* pillowcase for that one long pillow we have in the Monster Bedroom to replace the absolutely shredded pillowcase we’ve been using, which is totally beyond repair. I could sew the ends shut but why bother? Um, also cute skirt from Serengeti, a cardigan from Coldwater Creek, and a polartech hoodie from Patagonia. I bought True Teal (not what you see in the pic). If I like it enough, I’ll buy a black one too. Oh, and I ordered a pair of boots. I hope I like them…

A shopping spree? I dunno. Maybe. Shopping through KW’s life, the short story….

Downtown Sault Ste. Marie, MI was so much fun when I was a kid and we had dime stores (Kresge, Woolworths, etc.) where I could spend my meager allowance and, on a good day, have a coke at the counter. And we had The Hub, where people with “money” bought their clothes. We used to shop there but I don’t think we could really afford it when I was young and I don’t remember buying a whole lot there. I did love the mirrors in that place because I could see myself forever and ever.

Then the Tempo store (similar to KMart) got built out on the business spur. We were so excited to have a “big” store like that in town that we would wrangle rides out there and spend whole Saturday afternoons wandering around. (I worked there summers when I was in college).

I was fortunate enough to have grandparents in Detroit and when we visited them The Commander and I would always shop at the [long-dead] downtown Hudson’s store, where she worked as a buyer after college. I have a pic of me in Santa’s lap at the Northland Mall Hudson’s…

In my adult life, I used to love going to malls and big-box stores to look for clothes and whatever for me and my children when they were young. I’m not sure when that all changed. I remember when I first got my current job and Liz (visiting from San Francisco) and I went to Chicos at Briarwood and picked out some biz-cazable clothing. That was fun but I was kind of done with malls not too long after that.

I kind of figured out a biz-caz style that worked for me and how to obtain things that I was interested in on-line. So nowadays I scan various catalogs for clothing. 99% of it is not interesting or would not fit into my “uniform” but I know what will work for me and I found a few things today. I did all of that shopping from the Green Couch and all of those catalogs are in the recycle bin now. Probably the hardest part of all this is that by the time the packages start arriving, I’ll have forgotten what’s in them 🐗

Weather, traffic, and blue urine

Friday, January 27th, 2017

Can I just say something like BLECH? I mean the weather and a few other things, mostly mundane.

We’ll start with the weather. Bone-chilling? Yes. Oh it isn’t really all that cold. This is Michigan and it is January. The temperature hovered around about 30 all day and Old Man Winter spat little bits of precipitation of various sorts at us off and on in one of his blow-hard modes. Patches of ice on the area freeways caused numerous accidents this morning but my 0-Skunk-30 Walk and Zen Drive over to Cubelandia happened on dry pavement, thank you very much. Leaden skies. We have not seen Mr. Golden Sun since about last Saturday. Maybe 20 minutes or so on Tuesday? One absolutely gorgeous thing that happened on my Zen Drive was a huge flock of birds swirling across the road in the sky above me. It was a split-second thing but a welcome sight. But I took a “sunset” walk through the woods after work today and man oh man was it cold, even with my balaclava!

TAILGATERS? What the heck? Yes, I am only going 35 on northbound State south of the State/Ellsworth roundabout. Why do you think I am going so slowly? It is not because the road is slippery although it’s possible there are some slippery patches and my vee-hickle does not have winter taaaars on it. But the real reason I am only going 35 is because THE CAR IN FRONT OF ME IS ONLY GOING 35. What do you want me to do, rear-end it? And to the person who was so hot to get around me *in* the roundabout that they passed me on the right, with squealing taaaaars, as we both exited it? The speed limit in this roundabout is 15 and there is a REASON for that. Believe me, it takes a lot less time to get through the State/Ellsworth intersection with the roundabout than it used to with the traditional stop-lights and stuff. Chill out.

Twitter, will you please stop spamming me with the same tweet (over and over ad infinitum) about Melania Trump’s “IQ”. I actually clicked on the link once and it took me to one of those clickbait sites that reported the “IQs” for a whole bunch of celebrities but you had to click “next” to get to each one. (Where these “IQs” come from is not clear.) After about a billion clicks, I finally got to Melania — she was last of course — and it did not list her “IQ”. I blocked that twitter bot or whatever. Here’s the kicker. Against all odds, I actually *like* Melania Trump. I think. Or maybe I just feel kind of sorry for her. I suspect she *does* have a relatively high IQ and I also suspect she is not all that happy about having to take on the job of First Lady of her adopted country. I suspect this isn’t what she signed on for when she married “The Donald”.

Finally, to answer yesterday’s second commenter, I do actually think that the EPA will transition eventually. I know we’ve all been through this (together) a whole bunch of times, including a couple of ridiculous government shutdowns. My tears yesterday were complicated and related in part to reminiscing about my years working over there at “that darn EPA”. To me, what Trump is doing feels different and scary. I think it is important for agencies to tweet in resistance to being squelched (we didn’t have Twitter when Reagan took office or even when he died – 2004, I fact-checked that🐽). President Trump tweets whatever the heck he wants. Why can’t career scientists Tweet too?

Sifting through a box of puzzle pieces (with some missing) with tears in my eyes

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Earlier this week, our newly elected president (yes, you *won* Donald, I’m still not sure why) abruptly shut down public communications from various government agencies including the EPA. I know that this kind of thing happens with every regime change but usually it is a more targeted kind of investigation into various programs and the overall business of communicating with the public goes on more or less normally. This heavy-handed NYET (or whatever Kim Jong Un says in North Korea) seems unprecedented in our country of free speech (not to mention freedom of the PRESS!).

I have a long history with the EPA. It was my first job after college. I had a music education and I had NO CLUE what to do with it. Somehow I thought that I would have to take some kind of clerical job and do that and build, well, I dunno what, some sort of flute studio? Back in those days, job ads were in newspapers and there were a lot of secretarial-type jobs and you needed to take typing tests and whatever. I could type but those kinds of jobs just didn’t feel right to me.

My cousin worked for a tech company that contracted with the EPA and I used to party with all of those people and eventually they hired me as an entry-level employee on that EPA contract. I spent my first six months there sitting in front of The Window, logging in data processing “jobs” for key-punching or whatever and handing out printouts from our Data 100 printer. I think my starting salary was something like $8,700. YES REALLY!

For various reasons, the first six months were challenging but I found that I had a knack for IT work and I EARNED some respect for my ability to learn and try to get things done. Long story short, I ended up with a good career there for 15 years. When I had my children, the powers-that-be (EPA and CSC) created a part-time job for me, enabling the GG and I to take care of our kids in tandem, switching them off in the parking lot as we changed shifts. THANK YOU CSC and EPA! Yes, the GG worked there then too. See the P.S.

There are bad apples in every work situation but I have to say that the majority of folks at the EPA are committed to making the world a better place. The scientists and those who support them do not approach their jobs in a political sense. They are dealing with facts. I mean *facts*, not *alternative* facts.

When I saw tweets from @ActualEPAFacts today, I almost lost it right there in my cozy little cube in Cubelandia. I covered it by blowing my nose. I could not think how I could explain to my current [beloved] co-workers what my childhood career at the EPA was like and what it meant to me and why I was so sad and yet heartened that those “darn EPA folks” are resisting this tyranny. You Go EPA (and NASA and National Parks and all of the others who are resisting)!

Love you all but still don’t understand why Trump is our president.

G’night, KW

P.S. In full disclosure, the GG retired last year from a long career at the EPA. I was skeptical about his retirement but now I think it might have been a good thing. Alas.

My point? You might be wondering?

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

Yeah. I did have a point to yesterday’s blahg entry. Man did I stumble and bumble around [not] getting to it. The point was that when you do the NYT xword every day for umpteen gazillion years, you learn a lot of words, random as they may be. This comes in handy more often than one might think. Like “zarf”. I got that from a NYT mini-puz a couple years ago. A zarf is the little sleeve that they put on your paper coffee cup to insulate it so the cup doesn’t burn your hand. I am not sure if Roos Roast coffee knew that word before I did but they definitely know it now because The Pensioner asks for a zarf every time we get coffee at their farmers market booth.

It is surprising how often this trivial kind of knowledge becomes useful although it has NOT helped me with Scrabble-type games. A few years ago, one (and then the other) of my daughters engaged me in Words with Friends, which is really scrabble on the iPhone. I lost every blasted game. I will admit that it was fun when we were galumphing around in the woods near the Beaver Pond on the North Country Trail once and my phone surprised me with a Words with Friends ping from San Francisco. I didn’t even know we had phone service in that place. And I am sure I lost that game.

But then a couple more people, including one wonderful intelligent friend who did not learn to read until adulthood, engaged me in this game. All of them clobbered me. My Amazon Gals kind of dropped off after a bit. They were busy and I was relieved. And I eventually managed to extricate myself from all games. I can’t end this paragraph without referencing my uber-cuzzint, The Grand Poobah, who is the epitome of scrabble players. She beats everybody. I do not play Scrabble/Words with Friends with her. I do not play it with anyone.

Remember the zarf and start asking your coffee servers for one 🐸

As anyone who does the xword knows…

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

I have a rather sketchy cultural background when it comes to the so-called liberal arts. I say so-called because I think the term “liberal arts” refers to a rather fluid set of subjects. I’m thinking here of things like literature, art, music, philosophy, and science (in the broad sense of understanding the world that surrounds us like when does the moon rise, etc.).

I do not have a liberal arts education. My first education was music. There are certainly components of liberal arts in a music education, make no mistake. But there are HUGE technical aspects to it too. My second education? Technical technical technical. Well… Except for the parts where I had to analyze design elements and write papers about them. It was definitely handy to have good reading/writing skills for those classes. So many people in my classes did not.

For the most part, I have dipped in and out of a lot of liberal arts topics more or less at will. I have read a lot of books but not NEARLY as many as my children (30 years younger than me) have. But still, I have a solid high-level liberal arts cultural overview in my head. I usually at least recognize an author or composer or artist or philsopher or scientist’s name, etc., even if I am not intimately familiar with their work.

And then there is the xword. I do the NYT every day on my phone nowadays but I have dipped in and out of it via the actual paper or books forever. If you are a long-time xword do-er, there are certain words that you know because xword. Like “adit” = mine entrance and “aril” = seed covering. I don’t *usually* see either of those in the NYT because they are “oldies” but occasionally they show up when the authors and Will Shortz can’t figure out how else to squeeze some other stuff in.

So I have named a couple of words that I know only through xwords but not (by far) all of them.

Now that I have talked about the xword, I cannot finish without telling you about my uncles Don and Duke. They did the NYT in INK back in the day. When I was a 20-something I often worked on xwords in NYTimes books at the moomincabin. I learned that if I didn’t hide my unfinished puzzles somewhere, Don or Duke would fill in my blanks and errors in ink. I miss those guys a lot but I think I am just about as good at doing the NYT xword nowadays as they were back then. 💜 those old coots.

Reading the Constitution (or not)

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

I bet that there are a few 10-year-old political geeks who carry a copy of the Constitution in their pocketses. I carry one on my phone. I bet that most of those 10-year-olds can quickly find whatever they want to in their copies of the Constitution a lot quicker than yer fav-o-rite blahgger found “freedom of the press” in her phone app today. I am not comparing pocket-sized paper copies of the Constitution to the iPhone app. I am comparing the truth that any 10-year-old kid who bothers to carry the Constitution in their pocket has a much better grasp of what is *in* the Constitution than yer fav-o-rite blahgger does.

I’m sorry. I remember taking government class in high school. I know that I probably aced that class. I am an A student. When I went back to college at 50, somebody somewhere suggested that it might be hard for me to go back to school at 50 and I shouldn’t feel bad if I failed the mid-term exam. I kept my mouth clamped shut from saying, “I am not gonna fail the mid-term exam.” Guess what. I aced the damn mid-term exam. I am not bragging. That’s just who I am. And that aspect of who I am has its problems but that’d be a whole ‘nother blahg entry.

So I know that I learned all about government and the Constitution waaaay back in the Jurassic Age and probably aced a test or two or three about it. Do I remember anything about it? Well, yeah, sorta. Lemme see, there is freedom of speech and the right to bear arms (or is it the right to arm bares bears), and and and… Back then I was more interested in clothes and boyz and advanced mathematics (yes, really) and whatever virtuoso flute music I could manage to get my hands on. I was a mixed bag then and I still am except that I am now an old bag and I have a baggy old boyfriend and we have adult children together so don’t bother me.

Freedom of the press… We have slipped into calling the “press” the “media” lately. The “press”/”media” is changing. We have many many more options for getting news nowadays than the dead tree thing that thunks into the driveway at 0-skunk-30. Some of those options are fact-based and some not so much and it is really hard to sift through all of this stuff to figure out what is fact or alternative fact lies or just crappy reporting.

But we have to do that. We have to decide whether or not online “news” “sources” are real or not. We need to teach our children to do that too. Is it real? Is it fake? Is it propaganda? Or merely slanted? Let’s go back and read the Constitution and try to process what our country’s founders wrote and how it might apply to today’s world. Because after my short perusal of the Bill of Rights today, I think freedom of the press still applies. I hope our new president isn’t trying to challenge that just because the “press” sometimes challenges him. Think about this, my friends.

Love, KW

Domestica

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

The GG is hot to be the first to get 100 miles of hiking on the North Country Trail for 2017. I think he has 49 miles already and it is only January what? I am not into 17 or 22 mile hikes. I never actually have been. Today he enlisted Mouse to do a 17 miler. I stayed home. It was okay. I kind of needed a day of Moom Alone.

The “Bus” was supposed to leave at 7:30 this AM. I think it left a wee bit later than that but so what. I got a wee brek out of it and then, what the heck did I actually do today? Beside wash the breakfast dishes (which I INSISTED on doing because dish-processing is zen therapy for me), I dunno. I picked away at my parents’ stuff a bit. Moved stuff that I got from The Commander one way or another out of an overloaded set of Cfam drawers into my grandma Margaret’s buffet. That piece of furniture is now in the Guest Bedroom. I am happy that Mouse has spoken for the buffet and so it is hers but it is here at The Landfill until she has a good place to put it.

In the process, I got rid of the checkbooks associated with my parents’ trusts. I shredded them. Even though the accounts have been closed for a long time, I am skittish. I have PTSD from when a couple of unscrupulous lawyers tried to dig into all the horrible things I did NOT do with my parents’ trusts. Unwanted hands up you-know-where is what it felt like. That is about all I am gonna say tonight except that I am hoping that someday we can all talk and remove the elephant from the room.

Beef stew tonight? Yes. And salad and garlic toasts. I thought Mouse might want to head home when she and the GG returned tonight but our loverly little Landfill was so comfy and smelled so good tonight that she stayed for dinner and is still here. So glad my adult children like to hang out here. Love.

January Thaw

Saturday, January 21st, 2017

Are these winter spells of warm weather indicative of climate change or are they just good old-fashioned January Thaws? I do not know. I am a lot more concerned about climate change than some of our new governmental officials seem to be and I think we need to conserve fuel, etc., as much as we can. And yet, we are having a warm spell right now that feels a whole lot like the January Thaws of my youth. I am enjoying it in spite of my worries and here I am walking down to the farmers market this morning.

We were amazed at how much stuff was at the farmers market this morning. We were expecting to get some fish at Monahan’s and meat at Sparrow but I got some great potatoes and onions and carrots and I could’ve bought lettuce but I didn’t expect to see lettuce until February (hoop houses) and so I already have lettuce. Victoria is finished with her Santas and is back into her Protective Fish but, although we are in the market for another fish, we weren’t in quite the right head space to deal with picking one out today. So.

We did a whole bunch of chores and a Kiwanis run and they actually took a whole bunch of old computer crap, routers and the like (yay!!!!) and then eventually we walked downtown for lunch at the Griz and then we schlepped over to the Center of the Universe (aka Liberty and Main) to watch the “Women’s” March.

I did not join the march today. I am totally anti-Trump but I am sort of not a marcher. But I support EVERYONE who did. And “Women’s March”? Pussy hats or not (my expert knitter Mouse made one in short order), I thought something like, “What?” I hung out for a while and watched the march as it passed Main and Liberty and man oh man did I see a lot of men! This was a *people’s* march! Anti-Trump? Yes. I will not go on about that tonight but at some point, I had to dredge out my sunglasses so no one could see the tears that were starting to roll down my cheeks.

We made our way home from Main and Liberty and encountered an old EPA friend as we walked through Downtown Home and Garden and I had to just about DRAG the The Pensioner outta there before he talked the poor person’s ears off. Plus I was concerned about the possibility of urbanP on the way home in bright sunlight (yes!) with no leaf cover. Where? Not. (I did make it home with no prob.)

Did I mention that it was something like 54 degrees today? So the GG made a faaaaar in the backyard.

We eventually ate outside too. I wonder how many months before we’ll be able to do that again. But then, alas, some aliens arrived and we had to high-tail it back into the house.

Love you if you marched. Love you if you didn’t march. Love you if you are a Trumper (but don’t understand…). Kayak Woman.

Steaming

Friday, January 20th, 2017

So we managed to secure one of the window booths at the Oscar Tango tonight. Apparently our regular table and/or booth were not available. I wonder if the window booth was open because of Homeless Dave’s sudden move out to South Dakota. He and his wife often tweeted from a window booth. I don’t personally know HD or his wife but they are long-time Planet Ann Arbor denizens and I will miss having them around. I hope they will be happy in their new home.

Anyway, because we didn’t sit in our usual spot, we missed being taken care of by our fave CHicks but it was all good because we had The Beautiful Liz instead. We were happy.

The Oscar Tango was HOPPING tonight. I wasn’t sure why. It *could* be because it is unseasonably warm (and very foggy) but I sort of suspect that it has something to do with the inauguration and maybe tomorrow’s protest. Liz corroborated that suspicion, and told an anecdote about some noon-time Friday regulars who drank way more than usual today.

At our table, the inaugural discussion steamed up the window enough that a pair of BABY FEET emerged. Someone who had been there earlier today apparently pressed their baby’s feet onto the glass. I couldn’t get a full pic of both footprints without disturbing the field of porterization but you can see the toes and part of the left foot.

We won’t go any further than that tonight. I don’t have a lot to say about the inauguration, in part because I didn’t watch it, because I was at work! What I will say is that I am NOT a democrat and George Soros does not in any way, shape, or form influence how I think. I am perfectly capable of coming up with my own opinions and I am insulted that someone would think that some blasted “billionaire” and the organizations he “controls” would have any influence over me. That goes for the Koch brothers too. Get off of AM radio and do yer own thinking! [snort]

G’night! Farmer’s market tomorrow? In January? Yes.

Beautiful desolation

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

Scenes from our little trip down into O-haaaa-o last Sunday. I say O-haaaa-o with great affection. I think that Ohio gets kind of a bad rap. It’s true that if you are trying to get down the I75 Snowbird Geezerway to Crazy Old Florida (which we are planning to do in April), all kinds of awful stuff can happen in Ohio, mainly construction issues that can tie up traffic forever.

But there are also places like Kelleys Island and I will never forget a trip Liz and I took with friends more years ago than I am strong enough to count, to look at colleges in Ohio, Kenyon and Wooster in particular. Beautiful driving through beautiful rolling hills on fantastically smooth secondary highways. Our own state’s Kalamazoo College ended up being her choice and I admit I was happy with that since Kalamazoo is a mere 100 miles away from The Planet Ann Arbor and I could roll over there to visit my kids (they both ended up there) via the I94 18-wheel Slogway in pretty short order. And then drive back in the same day. I miss those days and that trip to K sometimes…

We were not that near any freeway on our recent day trip to Ohio. The back roads we traversed did not provide much in the way of the kind of scenery a lot of folks might like. It is mostly very flat terrain straight south of here. In the middle of January when nothing is growing anywhere, things can look very desolate. We looked for signs of prosperity, at least the GG did. So, the first photo is in Blissfield, which is actually still in Michigan. Big silos were all around that area. And so was the plume I saw from very far away. What is that? It couldn’t be from the nuclear towers in Monroe, those are too far away.

We did some turnabout driving to get close to the plant that was putting out all that stuff. I do not know enough of the details surrounding the GG’s long career dealing with emissions testing to know what the heck he might have been *exactly* thinking about that plume but, in the end, after we LABORIOUSLY figured out (rather extreme googling) that it was some sort of ethanol plant, he said something like, “It’s just a big still.” (He may ask me to take this statement down if he bothers to read it and I will if he asks me to.).

So we went down into Ohio and when we got back into Michigan again, we took a slightly different road (Silberhorn Highway) than we took down (Riga Rd.). Talk about crowned road? The GG said something like, “This would be an awful road to drive if it was icy.” A couple minutes later I asked him to please slow down. I do that a lot but, in this case, I was kind of seasick, even though he was not going all that fast, definitely under the speed limit, and it was not icy.

This was a beautiful day trip. I loved the flat kind of scenery we traversed and I intermittently captured whatever Drains we were near on Google Maps. I couldn’t gauge the health of the small towns we traveled through. We noticed the big agricultural installations but we also noticed horribly ramshackle houses and many empty storefronts. Not that I own the most gorgeous house on earth, as much as I love it…

Death Marchin’

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

Oh, not me. I’m just up over 17K steps. Fitbit says 8.01 miles. I think that’s Fake News. But probably somewhere in the ballpark.

What a difference this morning though! NO SLIPPERY SPOTS ANYWHERE! NO LIGHTNING! NOTHING COMING OUTTA THE SKY! Well, maybe the gentlest of mists. When I got home, I was surprised to see that The Pensioner was up rockin’ and rollin’. Most mornings, he is kind enough to either stay in bed until I am off to work or be up and out by the time I get home from my walk. Mooma Duck needs her space in the morning. If Mooma ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy. Doing the equivalent of the sign of the cross here in case The Commander has heard/seen me use the word “ain’t” from wherever she is. And yes, I meant to say “seen”. She was always the main reader of my boring blahg of blather and sometimes I wonder if she still does read it. From the bridge of the ghost ship Edmund Fitzgerald or wherever the heck she is.

Oh yeah, I had forgotten TP had plans to head over to hike the North Country Trail by Albion. The trail is mostly road in that area but he got 22 of his 100 miles in. He didn’t arrive home until after I did… Having no clue how many miles he was planning on hiking, I was kind of wondering where he was at that point. He texted some pics in the morning but then disappeared without a trace. Turns out he walked from Albion to Homer and back and ate lunch at the Cascarelli’s in Homer. He sent the Uncly Uncle a pic of that. I did not get one. [snort] We’ll talk about his long discussion with a Trumpian type person some other time, or maybe not.

22 miles? Meh. Around six is enough for me, at least in one fell swoop. I like to be able to do *other* things after a hike. Like laundry or cooking dinner or whatever. I have participated in some looooong hikes in my time and they are fine occasionally. But still. I don’t like to hike along roads in general (I mean for long periods of time). Or railroad tracks (yes, I know that’s illegal).

Here we are at the Huron Room on Bagley in Detroit last Saturday! If you clicked over to the Huron Room website, I totally missed the BIG FISH “swimming” over the front door when we went there. But we loved this place. It isn’t Lizard’s fave because she takes after her granddaddy when it comes to fish (yick). That would be her Finfam granddaddy, not her Cfam grandpa who always kept a styrofoam container of worms and things in one of the Cfam cabin refrigerators back in the day of the beloved Moldy Old Cabin. The Huron Room had plenty of other options besides fish and I loved the bote pic and the food and the servers.

My… Lovely… Morning… (%@#%^)

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Stepped out the front door.

No YakTrax.

Leaned around the corner to throw some stuff in the recycle.

Test-walked a couple steps into the driveway.

IMMEDIATELY schlepped back into the Landfill to grab some YakTrax.

(Noticed that the new YakTrax that I ordered DO NOT HAVE ANY STRAPS ON THEM! Not good.)

Went back outside and slodged down the sidewalk, through the schoolyard, and down Duncan.

Turned onto Bruce.

Hello? What was that flash?

Pulled out phone weather app.

LIGHTNING INDICATOR ON!!!

IMMEDIATELY turned around and schlepped lickety-split back around the corner, up Duncan, through the schoolyard, and home. Didn’t go through the woods…

Made it home probably 15 minutes before the storm rolled through. Radio was reporting accidents everywhere. I sent a late start email. Telecommuting until later. The Tall Boss said something like stay home all day if you want. Okay I will. (Tall Boss was also working from home.) Feel like I’m coming down with a cold virus anyway. But what a slodgy day. I don’t feel like I got anything constructive done. The GG volunteered to go to Panera for a take-out lunch. That helped. He had been planning to head north to HL to restart ice fishing at the Group Home but the weather was too grim even for him.

I took a short jaunt through the woods around noon. The temps were well above freezing at that time but I still encountered bits of free-fall as I hit patches of ice during that trip. Finally at around five, I packed it in for the day and pulled my step count up over the default 10K. NO ICE anywhere but I still found myself wary. I rarely get under 15K a day.

The pic? An aisle at John King Books. This place is a must-see if you are in the Detroit area and interested in books in any way shape or form (this JK is downtown but there are a couple others, Ferndale and I fergit where else). It took me a while to figure out that the place had FOUR WHOLE FLOORS! They all look pretty much like this. It is very dark in the side aisles and I was wondering about that but then I realized that the side aisles were lined with fluorescent overhead lights with long strings. So you turn them on while you’re looking at something and then you turn them off. I didn’t really need those lights to see book titles but I loved the concept!

At one point, I was schlepping up the stairs and I stopped to look around. A friendly employee saw me stop and when I got to the top, he asked if I had been struggling with the stairs. They have elevators there but you need to be escorted by an employee. I told him that I was a 15K-plus-a-day walker and then we compared Fitbit stats for the day.

And then I found the Hervey Allen books. We own copies of most of Hervey Allen’s books. I think they were originally my grandfather’s (beach folk are welcome to borrow them at any time!). They are good books (I have read a few) but it is the GG who is greatly interested in them. I had to snark a bit that the GG did not find those books himself but really it was pretty random that I found them. I will say that the GG aka The Pensioner can go down to John King any old day he wants to and that I bet the employees at JK know EXACTLY where the Hervey Allen books are. But not sure he’ll find anything down there that we don’t already own.

We have TOO much fun

Monday, January 16th, 2017

So, if you have a blowgun, do not aim it anywhere near a window of any sort. The photoooo below is what happened last night when someone missed the target. There was a kind of weird noise and I was wondering what it was and then the whole inside window of the back doorwall cracked into a billion pieces. I dunno. Somebody else might have been upset by that. I am sorry. The damage cannot be undone but no one was hurt in this incident and all I could do was LAUGH! I couldn’t stop laughing. We will fix it.

Today was No Politics Day and it was also MLK Day so I did not go to work. We went out to Meijer before the freezing rain started. I cannot believe what a fast trip that was. The Pensioner returned a whole bunch of bottles/cans while I cruised through my own small shopping list, mainly Kleenex… I was checking out while he was cruising by with his own bit of stuff, fake logs, etc. So fast!

And then, just as we were beginning our walk downtown for lunch, the freezing rain started. I don’t think the roads were all that bad but I did NOT like the walking. But we did make it downtown and had a good lunch at the Blue Tractor. They were playing wonderful music today and when I was down in the lady’s powder room, Santana came on. I started dancing! And then I wondered if they had cams in the bathroom… Jeebus. I doubt it butchya never know in these difficult times. We love the Blue Tractor. And then we walked over to the bus station and caught the 32 home over to the west side.

We got off and hit up the Plum Market for a few bits of stuff and then walked home and vegged out for a while until our Mouse came over. We keep thinking the temperature will go up above freezing but it is taking its sweet time doing that.

Old State Line Road

Sunday, January 15th, 2017

I think every schoolchild in Michigan and Ohio has been taught about the Toledo War. You can follow the link to Wikipee if you are interested in the specifics. I am too taaaaaared to report them don’t remember them. I do know that the Great Lake State got the grand prize [wink] because, in an exchange for a rather narrow strip of land (in the grand scheme of things), it got the whole darn Yooperland.

So, today dawned gorgeously.

I didn’t want to do a Death March today but I was kind of hoping that the GG would want to do some kind of junket and I was actually hoping it would be a southward back-highway junket so I was ecstatic when he said, “Wanna go down to O-haaaa-o? Yes! Yes I do. We’re only about an hour above the Ohio border here so it’s a pretty easy trip.

We visited the Blissfield Penguins along the way. I have not seen these penguins before, although the GG thought that I had. There is a short VERY BORING story behind that. Now I have seen them in person and I will not forget that they are in Blissfield (BTW, on our return trip, all five were on the bench.)

The destination I was told about was Berkey, Ohio, but the true destination was Oak Openings Metropark. The North Country Trail goes through Oak Openings and the GG is hot to get his 100 miles on the NCT for 2017. We had a devil of a time finding the actual NCT in that metropark and the pic below is the *only* clear indication that we were anywhere near it. I think we did about three miles today. On or near the NCT. I hope that is acceptable to whoever counts those miles.

I’m not complaining about the lack of adequate signage. There were plenty of well-beaten trails (including horse trails and we even encountered a couple of horses and their riders) but I missed the well-groomed sections of the eastern yooperland NCT with all of those rectangular blue blazes. There are complicated issues surrounding national trails like the NCT and they are not always able to use standard signage and blazes, etc.

After a bit more exploring in the area (Wabash Cannonball rail trail anyone?), we headed back north. We wanted to make sure we found Old State Line Road (the original border between Michigan and Ohio) and here we are. We drove east on it for a couple of miles, then we beamed up to the Planet Ann Arbor. We have so much fun!

Mellow yellow and Stormy Kromer hats galore

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

Oh don’t worry, I am not going to yammer on and on about golden showers. I didn’t even know what a golden shower was until this week. At least it wasn’t in the forefront of my conscious. Alas, whether or not the “dossier” is true, now I cannot un-think it.

Anyway, I do not think I have been over to DayTwa since September and since then Lizard Breath has moved into a new place. Which I hadn’t seen. It was time and it was a gooooood day for driving. New place? Four-flat building owned by friends who occupy one of the other flats. The folks across the street were happy to see xmas lights up on the building for the first time in something like 50 years. Yes.

I went over there partly to see her new space but also to explore the kind of shopping that’s available in Detroit in its “renaissance”. I put that word in quotes because I think that whatever is happening in Detroit means different things to different people and some may not agree with that term or may even feel displaced by it. Words are tricky…

But what I really kind of wanted to do was shop. I know. I am always ranting and railing against shopping. But I shopped at the downtown Hudson’s with The Commander when I was a kid and I was thinking I wanted to check out what kind of shopping was available in Detroit nowadays. I didn’t want to look at clothing. I order that stuff online. I was thinking houseware-type boutiques and other interesting stuff.

We found some of that stuff (and I bought a couple things) and then there was a FILSON store! Who do we know who is a Filson fan? We didn’t buy anything in there (today) but The Pensioner talked the ears off of a wonderful young female salesperson about the North Country Trail and gave her a sticker for her (dad’s?) vee-hickle and THEN ordered Lizard (who was driving us in our Outback) to go around the block so he could drop off a bunch of North Country Trail brochures. Who knows what they’ll do with those…

Next door to that was a record store. I mean vinyl, don’tcha know that all the Cool Kids are into vinyl now? KW is well beyond the years when she played records on her cheap little record player in her Superior St. bedroom and danced to the music. But, oh, I didn’t wanna go into a record store… Except this wasn’t just a record store. There were all kinds of things in there and they are in the process of setting up a vinyl record pressing musheen back in the back somewhere. And there was this Wax-o-matic musheen in there and the GG kept talking about a Wax-o-matic musheen that made gorillas in the drug store back in his youth in Royal Joke. So I asked him to make the truck or whatever it is.

This whole shopping center is in the Cass Corridor (as near as I can figure), which not too many years ago did not attract, well what do I say about that… I would not have parked my vee-hickle there and walked around. From there we went to John King books. Four floors of used books. We had some fun there but I think I will write about it during the the Hardland of the Winter. And then we tried to go to the Green Dot for a late lunch but it was an hour wait so we tried out the Huron Room. It was wonderful and then we went back to Lizard’s place and we all sat down and I knew that was a bad idea because we were all on the verge of a Sinking Spell, so I mobilized us to schlep back to The Planet Ann Arbor and and and… We have a loverly faaaar in the back room and I think we are FINALLY hungry enough to eat after the lunch we had today.

P.S. There were Stormy Kromer hats everywhere!

Fool moon

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Blllrrrrrrgggggg. I spent my *entire* workday (almost, a couple meetings in there somewhere) working on my annual performance evaluation. What did I accomplish this year? I’m not sure. There is no way in the world that the work I do can be quantified in any way, shape, or form. Each prodject is vastly different from all of the others with its own unique set of challenges. I learn something from each prodject but that experience doesn’t *necessarily* translate into anything valuable later on. Overall, it’s an upward trajectory but not without some little dips and loops and things along the way. I get better at what I do with each prodject but that doesn’t mean I am never surprised by little snags and gotchas and things.

It kind of reminds me of my theatre guild administrator years. Every play we produced provided a different set of challenges. Various venues, costume needs (or not), props, a different set of cast members and, uh, their parents, weather challenges. Did I say weather? I am thinking of the December we produced a version of Merlin and it snowed every damn day of tech week. It snowed so much the Monday of that week that we had to CANCEL a rehearsal. We were all totally freaked out about that. School was also canceled that day and, as it turned out, the next TWO days, almost unheard of, and so the silver lining to canceling an important rehearsal is that our actors were well rested for the next two important rehearsals. I am rambling but what I wanted to say was, it’s an upward trajectory but not without some little dips and loops and things along the way. We all got better at producing plays but that didn’t mean we were never surprised by little (or more likely big) snags and gotchas and things.

Which job did I like better? I LOVED working for YAG. Bopping around all over the place doing whatever. Hanging out at office supply stores (but I don’t much miss them now). Working on stuff (database, communications, whatever) on my computer. Hanging out at rehearsals. Being The Glue. And when the summer academy was done, so was I, and I could head up to the beach and hang out for as long as I wanted to. Money? Not so much. Still, I love my systems analyst career too. I wish I had more paid time off (or even the ability to realistically take leave without pay) but I’ll take the money! And run!

I dunno how I’ll do on my performance evaluation. I hate these things with a passion but so does everyone else. They were due today and I think EVERYONE including a few managers were working on theirs today. I have a long weekend ahead of me because MLK Day. I don’t always take MLK Day off because I often would rather work that day and take a different day off later in the winter. I’m taking this MLK Day off because.

G’night, KW

Armageddon (or is it Apocalypse?)

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

This photo has been apped. The photo that my iPhone took of this loverly little scene was MUCH lighter than the dark ugly scene in front of my vee-hickle looked to me (at 9:00 AM!) so I turned it all kind of green like we were underwater, like we kind of were.

In the photoooo, I am parked in the Westgate lot outside Barry Bagels. I walked out to the parking lot with MMCB but I declined to help them with today’s parking lot task. That was to transfer a sewing musheen from MMCB1‘s [new Honda CRV] vee-hickle to MMCB2‘s vee-hickle [old enough Toyota to have an Obama sticker on it]. I was surprised that MMCB2 even *owned* a sewing musheen. I guess she bought it a long time ago, intending to learn to sew (I’d bet dollars that her mom knew how to sew). MMCB2, on the other hand is an accomplished quilter. I noticed the new CRV as soon as I parked and knew exactly who it belonged to. If you grow up with automotive engineers, you notice new vee-hickles.

As we walked out of Barry Bagels MMCB were “arguing” (as in “I can carry it” / “no it’s too heavy”) about how heavy the sewing musheen was and whether MMCB2 needed to drive her car around to MMCB1‘s car. I[e-I-e-I] could’ve carried the damn thing without a problem but, as much as I love MMCBboth, I got outta dodge instead.

Because of a certain comment that I don’t really understand (“Anne!” aka KW) I feel the need to remind people that it has been common knowledge since the beginning that I do not support Trump (and I am *not* a Democrat but that is a whole ‘nother story), I love all of my friends and family members who did vote for Trump. I just don’t understand…