Archive for September, 2017

A hot donut of fuzzy logic

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

First of all, I’m thinking I need to start sleeping in the Lyme Lounge or somewhere. I am accustomed to waking up at that Batscope Hour. In fact, for the most part, I think I get a better night’s sleep when I *do* wake up sometime during the night. But waking up to The Pensioner singing “La Marseille”? Not so much. Was he sleep-singing? I do not know. Shaaaaaddddup!

His choice of song didn’t really surprise me that much. We sing “La Marseille” quite a bit around here. I’m sure we totally mangle the pronunciation and some of us are not always in tune. But really, in the middle of the night?

Of all things, we are in the middle of a Hot Donut right now, courtesy of Hurricane Maria. Hurricanes that hit further west (Texas, for instance) sometimes dump heavy rain on us, I wonder if there’s a name for that… Feeling sorry for the devastation left by Maria though. I’d take September snowstorms here in Trollandia over a Maria Hot Donut any day if that would save lives and property in Maria’s path.

And I have been using the term Fuzzy Logic for many years but it wasn’t until today that I knew anything about the man who coined the term, Lofti Zadeh, memorialized in the New Yorker (so you may hit a paywall if you follow the link). If only more of our politicians were intelligent and thoughtful enough to embrace Fuzzy Logic. The nuances of creating extremely complex systems (such as affordable health care or immigration policies) do not lend themselves to binary choices. (It is this kind of stuff that revolts me about many of our elected officials, GOP (and their “leader”) but also others, but I’ll save my thoughts on that for another day. Or maybe never, as it is extremely complex to write about and requires more Fuzzy Logic than my poor little peabrain can probably muster.) Godspeed, Mr. Zadeh.

And then there’s this other kind of fuzz. Do we like it? I am not a fan. We had pre-retirement discussions about facial hair and appropriate attire. We’ve already done Underwear-in-the-Front-Yard. Fortunately a beach urchin was here to witness that incident and rat him out. Now there is facial hair. Whaddya think?

Is it okay that I wimped out on kayaking because it was pouring rain?

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017

Because I did. It was our annual work river trip at Gallup Park and I have previously been an enthusiast, not to mention usually the first person to get down the river, well ahead of the others. Of course, I don’t take a cooler of beer with me in my kayak.

The last *two* (count ’em) years, the outing has been held on the Friday of our annual trip to Tahquamenon so I missed those two years. This year it was today, a Tuesday, and I don’t think we’re going to Tahquamenon this year, at least I am not. So no excuses. But. Rain? Meh. I huuuuuung around at our shelter at Gallup and that was okay but the acoustics were such that my ears were doing their usual Party Thing of picking up bits and pieces of the multiple conversations that surround me such that I don’t really understand *anything* anyone is saying. What *was* funny was that so many people were talking about all of the issues they were having with their teenage or 20-something kids. I just sat there and gnoffed to myself. 30 and almost-33? The worst problem I have is that I sometimes feel like I have to remind my kids that I am NOT goddamn 90, fer kee-reist! The funny thing is that I couldn’t participate in those kinds of conversations when they were teenagers or 20-somethings either because I didn’t have any serious issues with them then.

The rain stopped and eventually I took a walk. I walked through the Furstenberg Nature Area and then, as I was returning, I ran into Xenny. She had made a loop around the main area of the park and wanted to do another one, so I joined her for that. She has recovered from a serious illness that has left her arms too weak to paddle and I am sure that the fact that English is not her first language makes it even harder for her to process conversation during a party in an acoustically live room than it than it is for me.

So we had fun walking and talking and I got this cheep iPhone photo of the Gallup Park canoe sculpture, which has probably been instagrammed in all kinds of artistic ways many times before.

And then I got home early and I dunno why but the GG didn’t even ask me if I was carrying a pink slip. And I will leave you with this Rocketman YouTube video, which doesn’t have anything to do with kayaking but. I. Do. Not. Have. Any. Words… … …

I like the bull but not the fuzz

Monday, September 18th, 2017

So, every Monday or thereabouts, my teensy tinsey team of two meets with Amazon Woman to catch up on what we’re doing and if we need her to “poke” anyone for more information or whatever. We usually start out gossiping about our lives and today Amazon Woman had had a rather rough start, given that westbound I94 was hosed by two (count ’em) accidents. That is her current route to work from over in Megalopolis and about the best she had to say was that her day hadn’t gotten any worse. I know how she feels although today, I floated over to work via my Zen Route and picked away at the nerdy details surrounding a couple complicated pieces of functionality that I was tasked with turning into functional specifications. I love my job. I am a nerd.

Anyway, somehow we got onto ultra-smart people with large vocabularies and the fact that they were usually prolific readers from an early age. I floated along talking about how both of my children fit that category. I was NOT bragging, I HATE when parents brag about their kids. But then, I remembered my own childhood. I did read books. I liked to read books. I was more or less a prolific reader. I didn’t read as many books as my cousin The Grand Poohbah by a long shot. But I read books.

But what I probably spent *more* of my time doing — hours and hours and hours and hours and and and — was playing music. I mean playing the flute, which was my main instrument, and the piano, which was my first *real* instrument and one that EVERY musician should learn how to play if it is at all possible.

I loved playing the piano and I was not bad at it but the flute? Oh. My. God. I got assigned probably the crappiest of the three crappy old flutes available to us fifth graders. I think I was the first to get a sound out of it and by about a week later, I had been pretty much through the whole beginner method book. Fingering charts were my friend and I already knew about staffs and clefs and notes and rhythm because I had taught myself piano (until The Commander forced me to take lessons — a GOOD THING!). My parents supported my musical habit and I practiced diligently because I LOVED IT! Scales and arpeggios and tone exercises and etudes and every single blasted piece of repertoire I could get my hands on. I spent hours and hours and hours (and hours) practicing and I was very focused, with a set procedure through my exercises and pieces every day. And I was a HUGE music theory nerd.

I didn’t end up pursuing a music career (it would take umpteen gazillion blahg entries to talk about that but I’m not doing it tonight, for one thing because I don’t really have it all sorted out yet) but let me repeat the old adage that musicians are usually also good mathematicians (I am) and a lot of the skills acquired via music translate well to the IT industry. Especially for us music theory nerds.

This entry does NOT represent me bragging about myself. It is a glimpse into my childhood and young adulthood and what makes me tick. It’s been a loooooong time since I practiced my flute in the driven way I did when I was young. Children and jobs-that-helped-pay-the-mortgage intervened. Maybe one of these days if I ever become The Pensioness, I will dredge out my beautiful Haynes flute and reinstate my regimented childhood practice routine. Or maybe I will just play for the joy of playing. I still have the chops and the fingers, although Titanium Pinky may need a bit of retraining.

Oh yeah. That posture in the pic is TERRIBLE!!!! The best posture for playing the flute is standing up. When I was at college, I practiced standing up. At the moomincabin, I slouched on the couch.

P.S. Congratulations to my long-time internet buddy Agate Gal, on her new GRANDSON! He is absolutely gorgeous!


Sunday, September 17th, 2017

I dunno, it was after noon when the GG asked me if I had been reading a book all day. I [snarkily] replied that I had been reading anti-Trump stuff all day. That wasn’t true although I did see some of his latest tweets, including the retweeted GIF of him knocking Hillary over with a golf ball, a poorly constructed GIF created by someone in his “base”. I don’t care what y’all think of Hillary. I think it is in poor taste for the blasted POTUS to retweet something like that. But I digress.

I did finish a book today, Salt Houses, recommended by one of the beach urchins. I enjoyed this book, a multi-generational saga involving a well-to-do, well-educated Palestinian family buffeted about the mid-East and eventually America (and back again) by various wars. There are people who try to tell me that the Islamic faith is inherently violent. I do not believe that. I believe that people of every faith (and *people* in general) run the gamut and that *anyone* of *any* faith (including those who share my own agnostic mainstream protestant-based beliefs) can be violent. The folks in this fictional family ran that gamut although no one ever became violent. In the end, they were a family, in so many ways a lot like my own family.

But that’s not all I did today. It was a peaceful domestic sort of day, well, except for the intermittent noise of the GG’s power tools a few feet away from me. I did laundry and minor cleaning chores and I walked to the Plum Market and I processed food. I put baggies of pesto from farmer’s market basil and chopped bell peppers from Farmer John’s lunchroom market at work in the freezer. I remember when I used to make pesto with *spinach*, adding dried basil flakes for flavor. Nowadays fresh basil is everywhere, even in the winter. Anyway, I did all of this in slow motion. I would finish one prodject (hey, autocorrect, quit correcting that!), wash the dishes and put them in my bamboo rack to let them air-dry and go and read. When the dishes from one prodject were dry, I would begin the next prodject (autocorrect? STOP!).

I did my reading in the back yard today. It is gorgeous here this weekend. This is not Indian Summer. This is summer. Indian Summer happens in October or even November when we have had some truly cold weather and then a spate of sun and heat. The pic shows a different view of our back yard than usual. It is so green now but in a few months it will be cold and gray and I will be driving to and from work in the dark and coping with whatever style of precipitation Old Man Winter decides to throw at us. La Nina? Not gonna be good.

Kitchen dancing

Saturday, September 16th, 2017

The first photoooo showed up on my Facebook memories today. From 2011. I know that UKW and I were not at the moomincabin on September 16, 2011. She was there earlier that summer and I *think* this photooo was taken then but I’m not sure because I cannot find it anywhere except for Facebook memories.

But hey, I did find the next pic. These are our mothers, Radical Betty and The Commander in roughly the same positions in the kitchen. They were sisters-in-law, not biological siblings but they met in college and that led to The Comm marrying my dad so they ended up being best friends for the rest of their lives.

I dunno exactly what was going on in either pic but it doesn’t matter. We were having fun and probably laughing at something totally ridiculous. That’s what my family does. As I said on Facebook today, I am blessed to have wonderful cousins on both the Fin and Mac sides of my family. Anyone who is not interested in loving other family members unconditionally and is not blessed with tolerance and a good sense of humor need not apply.

See the dart board and the upside down kid chair in the upper background? I remember my dad using the dart board on a few occasions before it got hung forever in the back of the kitchen. The kid chair I THINK (but not sure) was a gift to me from my Great Aunt Elizabeth, my grandaddy’s sister. I remember sitting on that chair in the back of the moomincabin kitchen getting my feet washed and de-slivered. I would look up at the ceiling from there, fascinated by how the 2x4s slanted to create the corner of that room.

It’s not over until it’s over. Summer, that is.

Friday, September 15th, 2017

We did the usual Friday Night Oscar Tango thing with our friends of poterization tonight and then we all had a nightcap in the Landfill backyard.

It was a “fun” night in which we learned a few things. Like when you lose track of your parking ticket and subsequently have to pay for a parking ticket. That’s as far as I’ll go with that. And then there is when a CAT gets into your house. And you didn’t see the cat get in and you are not quite sure what your friend is talking about when he reports a small mammal with pointy ears coming into your house. Really? What? Hope it isn’t a skunk. Okay I got the Orange Cat out. He has a collar so I suppose he/she/it I think he belongs to someone somewhere. I picked him up to get him out. I know that I’m lucky he didn’t bite me or something. Muksaslooie probably would have.

Love this bonfaaarrr and those who shared our back yard with us tonight.

double coffee and breakfast to go

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

8:00 AM: Coffee at Barry’s with MMCB2. Five minutes into our meeting, I alarmed everyone with a huge spasm of hacking up a lung. I realized it was because I was TALKING A BLUE STREAK! First I was yammering away about my Man Cold and then somebody said something about lawyers and if you know anything about my life for a good portion of the last five years, you KNOW that got me going big time. I managed to cough up the rest of my story and then I said, “Okay, now you guys talk and I will sit here and try to recover from that.” Jeebus. (Overall, today was a *much* better day in terms of coughing although I still have “tennis elbow” and a couple other annoying muscle aches.)

9:00 AM: Breakfast (and more coffee) at Nick’s Original House of Pancakes with my work team, sponsored by Amazon Woman. I knew exactly (I thought) where Nick’s was and I could see it but somehow I still had to go through the Ann Arbor Saline/Waters intersection *three* times before I figured out how to get there. It was worth it and I think every single one of us ended up putting half of our food in a go box. GoGrannyGo ordered the “Fruit Explosion”, which was three large pancakes covered with fruit on a huge platter. Yes, half of that came back to the office and we were still talking about it at the end of the day. I ordered something a bit more pedestrian but it was still enough food that I never got around to eating my packed lunch, so I will have leftover breakfast tomorrow morning and today’s lunch for lunch (it’s okay, I stashed it all in the mini-fridge in the empty cube next to mine).

I am feeling both better and totally beat up right now, if that makes any sense. I am about done. Yeah, that’s our shed in the pic there. It is so clean! We are gearing up to figure out how to get rid of that one and put up a new one. We have differing ideas about how to go about that. I vote to hire an architect to help create something small, cheap, and beautiful. The GG is more in a DIY mode. Of course he will win that “battle”. What I do NOT want is another blasted TIN thing. And I would love to have some windows.

I slept well last night. Here’s to another of those kind of nights. G’night. -KW

Irma dies a gentle death in southern Trollandia

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

According to my fave Mlive weatherman Irma accounted for the warm, gentle rains we had this morning. We do sometimes get touched by hurricanes, usually those that hit the Gulf of Mexico. We get maybe 1% at most (today 0%) of the damage anyone in the south have suffered. I love Florida and we have relatives down there and I am very happy that everyone is safe. It won’t be long before our weather will be forecasting snow and I will be wishing I could apparate down to Florida and back in the winter. It is a beautiful state.

Meanwhile, KW had a difficult night and most of the rest of this is intended to be HUMOROUS. So, I went to bed last night and slept well for quite some time but that Batscope Hour came around and I moved my leg wrong (I was sleeping next to a cement block and had NOOOOO space) and got a charley horse. Okay… Dealing with a charley horse in a kayak (or, uh, while giving birth (TMI?)) can be a challenge but I have been getting those since I was a little kid and I know that if you get one in the middle of the night, all you have to do is get outta bed and PUSH YOUR HEEL INTO THE FLOOR! It seems counter-intuitive but it works. So I did. And then I was awake enough that I felt like I needed to visit the Water Closet…

After the Water Closet Visit, I thought I would settle back down to sleep. Alas, the walk to the Water Closet and back (it is like 10 steps away, fer Kee-reist), resulted in a bunch of coughing that WOULD NOT END! There were some REM dreams in there. Shoreline dreams in which it was so golden out in the bay in front of the Moomincabin that I couldn’t figure where the GG was in the Motor Bote. And then when I wanted to schlep up to the cabin, there were 10-foot banks that I struggled to climb up. I finally got up there somehow and my moom and brother were in the cabin with me helping me find appropriate boxes to take my own record collections out of there (Pink Floyd, anyone?). This was a packing dream but it was kind of a positive packing dream.

So, I hacked up a lung most of the night and most of my workday today. I do not feel bad at all, except for the frickin’ coughing. When I got home this afternoon, I went to pull the mail outta the mailbox. My elbow did not hold (a whole lot of) weight. What the? It’ll be fine. I think I slept on it wrong last night.


Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

Alas, in my memory this photo was nowhere near this blurry. It is a recursive photo of my blahg showing our two brand new iPhones with the photo on the blahg showing the two new iPhones and on and on ad infinitum. Obviously it was carefully set up and taken via a “real” camera. Why is it so blurry? I do not know. Did I accidentally get rid of a better version of it. I wish I knew. Anyway, this was the dawn of the iPhone era for us, a few weeks more than 10 years ago today.

We bit the bullet and picked these things up on a Sunday afternoon in a pouring rainstorm. The next day, again in a pouring rainstorm, I picked up UKW at Metro and we headed up to the Great White North. Was that the time we were talking so much I missed my turn at US23 and we ended up in Lansing? I can’t remember.

This was the first photo my newfangled iPhone took. It was an accidental photo taken by MMCB at Barry Bagels where we met for coffee that morning. I kept that photo as my main screen photo for a really long time until one of the beach urchins unknowingly changed it.

We still had dial-up internet at the moomincabin in those days and I remember being totally flabbergasted that I had enough service via my new iPhone (the Edge) to post something somewhere. Twitter? I don’t remember. And then on a Yarn Store Boondoggle to the northern lower, we posted (probably Twitter) that we were crossing the Mackinac Bridge. We took the photo below but couldn’t post it because the technology wasn’t quite there yet. I remember Mouse trying and saying that she needed to find a file to post a pic (like on a laptop). Amazing how phone technology has evolved since then…

Here are UKW, Radical Betty, and Mouse on the beach. When I got that first iPhone, somehow I was all into these slanted photos for a while. Not sure why. They were sorta cool and yet… I suppose I still do that from time to time.

We are on the 6S version of the iPhone these days and ours are two years old (I think). I *think* that is our fifth iPhone? Not sure. Are “we” hot to get the X? I dunno. The $1,000 price point gives me great pause. But we paid $600 each for our first iPhones and that was a pretty big leap too. I titled that original iPhone blahg post “An Irresponsible Purchase”. At any rate, my phone works well for now…

Goodbye Irma, all is well

Monday, September 11th, 2017

I am relieved to report that all of our Floridian relatives, cFam and Fin, have ridden Irma out with minimal damage. There was some worry here this weekend although I had my own personal hunch that things would be okay. Hurricanes (that I know of) tend to weaken upon landfall and as big as Irma was, Florida is a large peninsula. I know, I drove all over it last April!

Our cFam relatives are in the Bradenton area, which was expected to get hit pretty hard, so they lucked out with the weakening storm. Fin niece Pengo and her BF and two tortoiseshell catsas (she was calling them “purricanes”) are farther inland in Gainesville, although she posted a lovely pic of their flooded parking lot complete with some rafters, which I couldn’t help but smile at because I’d’ve probably been wanting to launch a kayak, well, except gators 🐊. I think everyone is without power. I would suggest generators for all but generators require gasoline and if you cannot get to a gas station, you cannot refill your generator. Also, they are not inexpensive. Sure loved having one when we lost power for a couple days last March, when it was NOT all that warm out. But we could easily get to the gas station (not to mention stores and restaurants, etc., were open).

I don’t know how our loverly old-school Sea Club resort fared out on Long Boat Key. I saw a random video of waterspouts in the gulf somebody posted from Long Boat Key. What little I saw of the actual *key* in that video indicated that it was still there, so I am optimistic. (Actually, it *looked* like the videographer was on a *boat*.) It is sad to me that Florida seems so over-developed in an unsustainable way. I loved our low-profile little rental. I did not love all of the high rise buildings along the beach to either side of it. I love Florida in small doses. I can’t imagine moving down there permanently or even for the winter. (Delete long, rambling, unintelligible thoughts about Florida and snowbirdism, and retiring to a place far from home and family. Don’t get it. Never have. Not sure I ever will.)

Meanwhile it is gorgeous here on The Planet Ann Arbor and here is a pic Lizard Breath took from the back of the back yard yesterday. Green, kind of messy, and overgrown gardens. Love this place anyway.

Good night and love to Florida and Georgia family and friends who are on the other side of Irma or getting there.

Man Laundry

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

When a maaaaaan does his laundry🎶 This is merely the preliminary step, where he rinses out the caked-on mud obtained during his recent battles with Bucky Beaver.

Seriously, the GG is well capable of doing his own laundry although here at the Landfill it is a chore that I usually handle happily enough. I am a washerwoman and he takes care of the automotive vee-hickles, etc. But he started doing his own laundry at about the age of 10. When you are right smack in the middle of 10 children, if you want your laundry to 1) get done and 2) get returned to *you* and not some other sibling, you do it yourself. I saw the Woodsboro laundry room when I first started hanging around with the GG and I understand. Somehow the beach urchins also began doing their own laundry at an early age, even though there are only two of them and laundry is USUALLY relatively well organized here at the Landfill, last week notwithstanding.

Today… What do we do for lunch? We had a hard time deciding. The Man Cold symptoms included appetite weirdness that still lingers a bit. So… Do we get salads at the Plum Market and eat at home? Or do we head out to a brewpub? Hmmmm, which pub? They are all good. Not the Griz, that’s a Saturday thing. Wolverine? Great place but doesn’t have whine (yet) and I didn’t feel like beer, even though their beer is wonderful. HOMES? The food is wonderful but it has an Asian bent and we weren’t quite in the mood for that today. I was in the mood for the Session Room’s sliders but with a Lions game, we knew it would be filled with noisy football fans and we weren’t in the mood for that. Better on a quieter day. Casey’s Tavern is closed Sundays. We almost did the Blue Tractor (sliders and fun bartenders) but in the end we came full circle and went with Plum Market salads in the back yard where I don’t think it ever got to the promised 70 degrees but oh well.

So now the beach urchins are here for Man Chicken on the grill and I am about done. I’m not going to talk about the hurricane. Almost everybody has relatives in Florida. We are watching and waiting and that is all we can do. And just now the GG reports that Irma has been downgraded.

NSFW Football Saturday (don’t scroll down too far if you are squeamish about p*nis shaped confetti)

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

Okay, so jumped around for close to five hours this morning, walking down to the farmers market, processing veggies from the market, running rooooomba (okay, I don’t have to work very hard for that), laundry, and I fergit what else. No coughing. Fiiiiinnaaaaalllly, at 11:something AM, I took my phone out to sit in the back yard and relax a bit and immediately started hacking up a lung! Jeebus!

It’s Saturday and I was thinking we would do the usual thing of walking down to the Griz for lunch but then I looked at the GG and I had to ask, “Are you feeling all right?” Well, not really. Oh, don’t worry, he is okay, just hanging out on the fringes of the Man Cold. Probably battling Bucky Beaver this week was not the best idea but I know that it was also fun for him so I can’t really complain. We dithered and dathered a bit but in the end we *drove* down to the Griz. It was packed of course (football Saturday) and we couldn’t find a place at Jenel’s bar so we started to head over to the other bar when someone yelled “Kayak Woman”. It was Jenel and she was rapidly setting up bar stools for us at the end of the bar next to our sorta new friend, who I will call cNiles until I think of something better.

I dunno what was going on in football at the moment but the guy in the crusty old camouflage hat is the GG looking up at the TV.

Apparently some early tailgater (or whoever) thought it would be funny to sprinkle one of the outdoor tables at the Griz with p*nis confetti, so here is our fave bartender with her own special p*nis that she collected. The GG texted this pic to me (at my request) but didn’t feel it appropriate to also include his daughters on the text. I am glad that there are some American males who are at least capable of thinking about whether to text pictures of male genitalia to, well, anyone. I mean, who wants to look at that stuff. I do not! But this being a flat, plastic version, I am going to post it here and I also sent it to my daughters.

The GG dropped me off at the Maple/Dexter intersection so I could hit up the Plum Market for a few more supplies. On my way home, I spied a lovely little green glass vase at a garage sale. I almost *never* stop at garage sales but I collect colored glass vases and things on a VERY small scale and this one was calling my name. I didn’t realize WHY it was calling my name until I went up to pay for it and RECOGNIZED the woman of the house. I was thinking she must be an old Haisley parent but she said, “No, you know me from YAG!” Oh my god, yes, I did. I didn’t recognize her as a neighbor because she wasn’t a neighbor until a few years ago. I remember once thinking they were “those parents” (we had a lot of “those parents” in YAG) but I also liked them, and then one day this mom said something like, “We are *those* parents” and I tried hard to keep from cracking up. Anyway I bought the little green glass vase (for $1.00 although I’d’ve paid more) and will add it to my small collection. It comes with a story. I still need a piece or two of aubergine glass. I saw a beautiful aubergine bowl at Treasure Mart a few years ago but I balked at the price ($55) and was on foot with only a backpack to schlep it home (yes, I probably could’ve paid for it and brought a car back down to collect it). Eventually I will find an appropriate aubergine piece and I will NOT balk at a $55 price (but probably would at $200).

And then there is Real Donald Trump Squirrel. So, The Donalds that occupy my back yard this year seem to be in a black color phase. The original Donald is as white as can be, serving martinis to an unseen guest. As I write this, using the words “black”, “white”, and “Donald”, I realize that it might sound like I am echoing bits and pieces of our EXTREMELY complex current political environment. Please be assured that the inclusion of “Trump” in this paragraph is intended to be humorous. And I wish we could interact with others without thinking of their skin color but we do not seem to have arrived at that point yet. Anyway, we currently seem to have a higher number of black squirrels on The Planet Ann Arbor than usual for whatever reason. I bought the Donald squirrel pic a number of years ago (on Etsy) during a time period when the GG was trying to feed birds but ended up battling squirrels and chipmunks. A family fave GG quote from that period: “I can see them coming from blocks away”. Chipmunks, that is.

Tractors on the Big Mac

Friday, September 8th, 2017

I am a database kinda gal and I use Facebook as a database. And so, when the GG was snarled in tractor traffic in Iggy this morning, he was wondering if I knew that there was a Mackinac Bridge tractor crossing event today. Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I did. A news story had been posted on Facebook. And then there was the whole motorcycle procession our friends of porterization saw going by the park store and later on at the Green Bag Depository. I was puzzled for a few seconds and then, oh yeah, I know what that’s about. It was a funeral procession. I do *not* know the person who died or the exact circumstances surrounding what sounds like a tragic, untimely death but I have enough Facebook friends in Sault Ste. Siberia that various versions of his story have been shared.

I knew where the GG stayed last night and I knew he was coming home today but the only way I had any clue to his whereabouts or safe arrival today were two email messages that I received when he bought gas, first in Iggy (10:40 AM) and then in Ann Arbor (3:43 PM). Okay, he made it home. I am not sure why I even get email alerts when he buys gas. I must have set up such an alert at some point but… why? It’s okay. At least I have some clue as to where he is when he is in a non-texting (or cryptic texting) mood.

Switching into Garbage Woman mode, I was less than thrilled when I lifted the lid on the handy dandy Planet Ann Arbor recycle cart to put something in it and found virus-filled Kleenexes and McDonalds-type coffee cups with little bits of coffee in them. Not recyclable, at least not in that cart. I’m not sure virus-filled Kleenex is EVER recyclable. Can I just say YUCK! Although I have to admit, I was not squeamish about picking the Kleenex out of the cart. After all, my body is in the process of kicking out the same virus that is in the Kleenex.

Finally, if you click and click the pic to embiggen, you might be able to see that Donald is carrying an apple in his mouth.

Back up to 10,000 steps

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

It would be more like 15,000 if I had walked at 0-skunk-30 this morning but I did not. I was feeling better but allowed myself to lie about until 7AM. Tuesday, even though I spent a good portion of the day driving and did NOT start the day with a Beach Walk, I ended up with 9,995. 9,995! I mean, all I needed to do was walk to the bathroom or something to get over 10,000. If I had known I was that close, you know I’d’ve walked the extra five steps. Jeebus. Yesterday? 3,156. Okay. I was Under the Weather, what can I say? (Yes, I am OCD about certain things. You’re welcome.)

So, annoying things about today? We won’t talk about traffic because it didn’t actually affect me all that much but… A meeting where everyone seemingly talked at once, people panicked about things that have not changed in a gazillion years until I re-explained them (again), people talked OVER ME echoing things I had JUST SAID (I particularly hate that), people who were all at a meeting last week seemingly FORGOT what we talked about at that meeting so we had to reinvent the wheel. Hey, my co-workers are the best and this stuff happens all the time and I am used to it and it is not as contentious as it sounds but I was still hanging out in Man Cold territory and I just wanted us to be direct about getting through all of this stuff. At one point, I interjected “HELLO?” and we got back on track.

Good things about today? Our Sweet Building Mom skyped me to ask if it was me who was coughing. Yes, and I skipped over to her desk. She had found some Zicam(?) in her office leftover from a previous occupant. I don’t take OTC cold/cough crap so I very politely declined it. Because I AM fine today. I am coughing and blowing by doze but I know that this is just my body getting rid of the crappy old Man Cold virus. Something like that anyway.

Oh yeah, and then I got home and did a bunch of jumping around with laundry and other chores and suited up to sit in the back yard. (I don’t have a turtleneck sweater on tonight under my polar tech jacket, just a tie-dyed t-shirt. I’m not sure that’s because it’s warmer out tonight because I don’t think it is. I think it’s because I have kicked the Man Cold Fever outta town.) ANYWAY! I found three windfall apples that Henry (rabbit and relations) and Donald (squirrel and relations) have NOT munched on. Those will be in my bag lunches for a few days and maybe I’ll get some more this weekend.

Oh and then there was the weird. The GG recently texted from the yooperland that he was in Newberry and it wasn’t a “goid time to talk” (goid = good, of course). A more appropriate text would have been, “In Newberry, dinner with friends, service is spotty”. Because the last time he texted anything about Newberry from the yooperland was a couple years ago when he was deciding between driving himself (I knoooooooowwww) to the hospital in Newberry or Sault Ste. Siberia. In the end, he chose Siberia and that’s where he had a “surprise” appendectomy. Siberia was a good choice, mostly because I am familiar with the town and hospital, not to dis the Newberry hospital, which I know nothing about. Anyway, tonight I was thinking the worst, that he or one of our friends was at the ER in Newberry so “not a goid time to talk”? The hell? I called immediately. It turned out that he was with our North Country Trail friends in a *restaurant* in Newberry and everyone was fine but the internet service was spotty. Okay. He can be the King of Cryptic Text Messages if he wants but he better dern well be straight with meeeeee. Jeebus.

Working from utopia

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

I always hate colds that include a fever but this one did. I didn’t get sweaty and chilled like the GG did when he had that phase of the cold but I had a very low-grade fever throughout the night and was dragging *ss this morning. I did not get out of bed until 7:30 AM and did not feel like getting dressed. For me, that means that I took a shower and put on comfortable clothing. I was completely covered from head to toe but was not wearing undergarments of any sort. Why bother? And hope that’s not TMI!

So I made the executive decision to work from home today. I met with my boss and co-worker this morning from home. I didn’t mute my phone since it was only three of us so I was surprised that my boss heard the jazz playing from the radio in the chitchen. I asked if she wanted me to turn it off but noooo. And then some birds were chirping outside the front window. I hadn’t really noticed them but they were audible over the phone. My boss said it sounded like I was in utopia. It was definitely a beautiful day. I muted my phone whenever I needed to blow by dose.

My appetite is still not very enthusiastic so I *drove* over to the Plum Market around noon to get some chicken soup and a few samosas because they looked like something I might want to eat later and I did eat one. I was thinking about chicken soup yesterday and remembering the days that cup-a-soup was a staple on my grocery list. The last times I *drove* to the Plum Market were xmas and New Years Eve last year, only because I didn’t have time to walk.

It is not all that warm here – 60s – but I needed to sit out in the back yard for a bit this evening so I put a turtleneck sweater on under my polar tech jacket and I have tights and Smartwool socks on. I am pretty warm and I don’t think I have a fever any more.

Can somebody else write this thing for me today? Any volunteers?

Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

What a day! It began at that Batscope Hour when I woke up and realized my throat was maaaaaybeeee a wee bit scratchy. Was I getting the GG’s Man Cold? Hmmm… I was generally okay, in fact, I was very comfortable. I was sleeping on the couch in my sleeping bag and I was warm enough and it was very dark out. I raised my head to get a sip of water and saw the lights of a freighter out in the shipping lane. Was I ambitious enough to check Marine Traffic to find out what it was? No I was not. Back to sleep.

I finally dragged myself out of bed around 7 AM and I was just out of the shower when I heard Cap’n *Queen* Leila’s voice in the kitchen. It was her first day of school and I kind of miss those days so it was great to revisit my early motherhood via a hug from our vivacious little cousin. A little later, as I drove by the Brimiley (intentionally misspelled) Schools, I made sure to obey the 25 mph school speed limit and make my own little silent salute to C*Q*L and her sibs.

Anyway, whatever I do to prepare the moomincabin for closing at the end of the summer, it always seems to be a big mad scramble. What doesn’t look like a lot of food to pack seems to use interminable numbers of bags. And then there are cleaning products and shampoo and stuff like that. I use that stuff at home so why not take it home. And breakfast. The GG suggested oatmeal (from one of those flavored packets). I don’t like that stuff all that well, so I was grumpy and we ended up with a very small egg brek. Which I couldn’t really eat and then had to clean up after. Oatmeal would’ve been just fine. Note to self.

There was quite a bit of the usual amount of the GG and I tripping over each other. Some folks think more hands might lighten the load when closing the cabin but I find that the smaller the number the easier. The GG has his tasks and I have mine. DISCLAIMER! That’s not that I do not welcome help from the beach urchins! I love having them there no matter what’s going on and we can always make things work!

I jammed everything I was taking back down to the Planet Ann Arbor into the Ninja and very reluctantly blew a master salute on my way out of the parking lot, even though I suspect the GG was the only person around to hear it. I did not stop for approximately 250 miles, to get gas. Alas, the restroom was closed for cleaning so I had to continue a few miles southward to hit up the Tornado Rest Area. Home and all kinds of jumping around to put stuff away and start laundry, etc., check in with work, and hoof it over to the Plum for OJ and a few other things. You would think with all the food I schlepped home, I wouldn’t have to do that but somehow it doesn’t work out that way. Of course there’s only me to feed today and I don’t seem to have a huge appetite.

And then I kind of crashed and burned. I had planned to get back online and tinker away with some work stuff. I did some *thinking* but didn’t get a lot of concrete work done. Do I have the Man Cold? I think so. I hope my fever (I think I have one) remains very low-grade. My colds are USUALLY milder than the GG’s, at least during the acute phase. I do tend to get a lingering cough that makes me sound like I am dying even though I am bouncing around energetically and breathing freely.

After all, I guess I had a lot to say. Love y’all, KW.

Closing the moomincabin on the Labor Day weekend…

Monday, September 4th, 2017

The Mackinac Bridge has opened up to walkers on Labor Day for more years than I am strong enough to count. I have never walked the bridge. Not sure I will ever do it, given the logistics that are involved. Many times I have driven down across the Mac on Labor Day. Today I could not do that. The bridge was closed to automotive traffic, except for the buses that transport walkers across the bridge. I’m not sure how all of that worked out but I decided to stay here at the moomincabin and drive down tomorrow.

I worked all morning to clean and pre-pack stuff so that we could clean up and close the moomincabin tomorrow. At the end of the day, here are a few photos. For one thing, it was a good thing that we pulled the Motor Bote out of the water yesterday because we could not have done it today.

After a long session of cleaning and organizing and packing, etc., I decamped to the beach to sit on the bank and here are some softy friends joining me on Bill’s Beach Bank Bench.

And a close-up for Mouse.

I wish it could’ve been warmer on the beach today but it wasn’t but that is okay. It is what it is. The wind seemed to shift to the north and we pretty quickly headed up to the moomincabin. We cooked some chicken on the grill and our buddy C*Q*L came over to visit and show us some of her school supplies.

We will miss this beach urchin greatly, along with her older siblings (triplets who are high school seniors this year) and mom and grandparents.

Rainbow aminals that appear and disappear

Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

We had a reeeeaaalllly slow start today. It was okay. I think we needed that. Yesterday I was thinking I was having a particularly difficult time communicating with the GG. I felt like I was talking to a wall for the most part. At the end of the afternoon, we were all sitting down on the bank and he was not feeling very well. It’s a version of the Common Cold, so he isn’t down for the count or anything but he had an awful night last night with a fever and about a billion nose-blowing sessions. He slept downstairs and I slept up so I didn’t experience any of his misery.

It wasn’t all that cold out this morning but we let the GG keep the gas stove going for a long time since he was not feeling well. I cooked breakfast and then Liz and I sat around reading or doing the xword or whatever while the GG slept. npJane came over for a bit before loading her parents into their car for their end-of-summer trip down to the Planet Ann Arbor. We talked (and giggled) quietly and the GG did not wake up.

It was a comfortable morning but after a few hours, Liz kind of mobilized. Moom, do you want to walk the Jim? (My brother’s memorial nature trail up on the escarpment behind the moominbeach.) Yes. Let’s do it. We left the GG sleeping and when we came back, a rainbow-striped stuffed animal was here. It could only have been left by Cap’n *Queen* Leila.

The GG was awake by then and decided he was feeling well enough to tag along with us for lunch at Pickles. When we got back from Pickles, the rainbow animal was gone and the weather had greatly improved. Liz relaxed a bit on the beach bank bench and then took a beach walk and headed [reluctantly] downstate. It’s okay, she’s having fun with CFam relatives at Houghton Lake for the night before heading further south, but still, it is always hard to leave the moominbeach.

After Liz left, Cap’n *Queen* Leila piloted the Motor Bote over to the state park so we could (alas) pull it out for the end of summer 2017. Along the way to the state park, C*Q*L and the GG encountered various members of porterization floating on various float toys in the lake and so the GG and I schlepped over there to watch the sun head down toward the horizon.

Back here for more time on the beach bank bench and leftover lasagne for dinner and I think I am done done done for now.

Love y’all, KW

Slow as she goes

Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

We made an improvement to the moomincabin this weekend. We (actually, the GG) installed a LIGHT in the teensy tinsey hallway outside the teensy tinsey moomincabin bathroom. Straight ahead through the open doorway is what we now call the “back bedroom” or something. When I was a child, my brother and I slept there in bunk beds. We didn’t really fight much about who got the top or bottom (that I remember), we just switched off throughout the summer. The last time I remember sleeping in that bunk bed was when I was in the bottom bunk with my baby Elizabeth.

I do not know why there was never a light in the “hall” before but probably because when I was a little kid we lived with a bit more sand and dirt and dust and dog kibble than I am comfortable living with now. My mom was a decent housekeeper but it is hard to keep up when kids and dogs are tracking in sand, etc. So I was trying to sweep the hall earlier in the summer and it was black as pitch there and I thought something like, “Why don’t we have a light here?” And so the GG put a light in.

So this switch has ALWAYS served to turn the main light on in the moomincabin bathroom. It is on the outside of the room, which isn’t standard. Probably that has something to do with the fact that for many years the bathroom was NOT a bathroom. It was called The Little Room and it contained shelves full of sheets and towels and I fergit what else and it was where we changed in and out of bathing suits and pajamas. We went to the bathroom in the outhouse and bathed in the lake. Eventually my parents acquired a daughter-in-law who was squeamish about using outhouses and my mother built an indoor bathroom.

We have a new light switch for the bathroom now. It is on the inside of the bathroom, which is more standard.

Except I am having a horrible time remembering *not* to turn on the outside switch if I want to go into the bathroom and to turn on the light switch INSIDE the bathroom. Other people are struggling with this too but I think we all agree that this is a good thing.

Here is a mini-view of the moomincabin bathroom. It is very small. When The Commander finally decided to install indoor plumbing and a toilet and shower, she figured out that the only way to fit a shower into The Little Room was to buy an RV shower. And so that’s what we have. It works well. You can see a bit of the toilet on the bottom right there. I clean toilets EVERY DAY.

At the end of the day, Lizard Breath arrived and here she is with her second cousin once removed. Same hair? Yes. I have that kind of hair too, except at this point in time, mine is all gray/white.

Cocktail cruise

Friday, September 1st, 2017

So I got up at my usual time (5:30 AM) this morning but instead of going to work, I scrambled a bunch of stuff into the Ninja and drove across town to Bugs & Horsey’s house, the other house, the real house where they live some of the days to quote a once-small Lizard Breath talking about her own grandma’s house. I picked up npJane there and we headed north. We talked the *entire* way and I felt lucky that I managed to not get distracted enough that we ended up in East Lansing or someplace. We caught up on family gossip and our own lives and our grandmother’s house in Sault Ste. Siberia. I usually like to drive but I handed the Ninja keys over to npJane at the rest area just below Gaylord and relaxed into my phone for a while, although we never stopped talking. npJane is my “baby cousin” so she is eight years younger than me but we seem to have received some similar DNA somehow because it feels like we can just about finish each others sentences sometimes.

We got off the freeway at Rudyard and took Tilson Road up to M28 and then Brimley, where we met the GG at Jack’s Grub and Pub. We needed to eat before we got to the beach.

We have not had a whole lot of beach days here this summer. Today was a pretty good beach day and below are some pics from a little cocktail cruise the GG and I took in the Motor Bote in the late afternoon. We only hit one rock…