Archive for October, 2017

Decadence at the end of [bonus] summer

Sunday, October 22nd, 2017

npJane didn’t quiiiiite catch the Friday Night Oscar Tango train but via a series of facebook comments, we formulated a Decadent Sunday Lunch plan. And then, first one beach urchin and then another horned in on the fun. Here they are, npJane (my first cousin) and Mouse/Liz (my kids, therefore 1st cuzzints once-removed with npJane).

Hmmm… Where to go, where to go, where to go… For Decadent Lunch, I mean. There are about a billion places to meet for a casual lunch and beer/whine on The Planet Ann Arbor. In the end, we decided on HOMES (that stands for Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior – bonus points if you know what those names stand for), a new brewpub on our side of town with an Asian twist to the food. Kimchee fries? Yes yes yes yes! It also opens to the outside and so was a *perfect* place to hang out on this UNSEASONABLY WARM upper 70s bonus summer day, maybe the last. We love the Griz and the Jolly and whatnot but they are dark inside. We wanted to get one last shot of vitamin D before Old Man Winter kicks Mr. Golden Sun over to the curb for the duration.

npJane had a roof chore to attend to at Bugs and Horsey’s and Mouse was on her way to work. The rest of us retired to the Landfill, where Frankenstein created one of his monsters and then everyone but yer fav-o-rite blahgger crashed out for a bit. She watched a leopard cheetah facebook video and sorted out various bits of bungled online shopping. Note to self: when you ORDER SOMETHING, PAY ATTENTION TO WHETHER IT ARRIVES. And where it arrives, as in Olympia, WA is three whole time zones away from the Planet Ann Arbor.

Bonus Summer is supposed to end after today. I *think* I am actually ready for it. We didn’t have a very good summer but throughout September and October we’ve been on a pretty good roll. I don’t mind winter but it helps if we have just enough hot swampy weather for me to get a bit sick of it. Not this year.

G’night and HB to the October “cluster”, one of which is my daughter (tomorrow). I am not strong enough to say how old she will be.

Michigan salute to sister Suz

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

Oh slap me upside the head a few times. Our sister (my sister by marriage but someone I loved dearly) lived for most of her adult years in Florida and died there. When folks started talking about a memorial celebration of her life up here in the Great Lake State, I was skeptical. What if this or that family member couldn’t make it? What if no one could make it? What about her friends, the ones she hasn’t probably seen in the decades she has lived in Florida?

Well, who the heck am I, fer kee-reist. Brother Jim and The Beautiful Becky grabbed a date (today) and arranged for a three-hour luncheon over at a wonderful restaurant in Troy. Almost immediately, a *host* of family members said, “I’ll be there and this and this and that child and their families.” Oh yeah, I almost forgot that one of my lots in life is large Catholic families. One of my favorite lots I might add and I so love to be a part of the cFam.

The GG and I got there a bit early because we were driving over to Megalopolis from The Planet Ann Arbor and we had technology to transport (TVs and things). It was quiet for a while with just us and a few siblings and their SOs and then the room FILLED UP with nieces and nephews and their children. And friends of Susie too. The GG and I had snagged seats at the back of the room and for a while, I was kind of wondering if that was the right place for a shy person like meeeeee to be. But then The Beautiful Gay (the GG’s twin brother’s wife and one of my soul mates) arrived and sat across from us and her children and grandchildren filled in around us and I had so much fun talking to all those folks.

At one point, a couple of very young children were running around the tables. I was enjoying that but when they started to get in the way of the servers, their dad (our nephew) squelched them PDQ.

I mostly hung out with family members but I did connect with Susie’s childhood boyfriend Doug from back when I first knew her, when I was first hanging out with the GG and going to the Cfam cabin with him. The GG once said that his dad, Grampa Garth, kept the old dirt bikes going for Doug and actually, we talked about those old dirt bikes today.

And then it was time to close up the party but a few of us did a “last call” at the bar. Shameless anyone?

PS. There were valiant attempts to take photos of groups of people at this event today. Siblings of Susie. Siblings plus spouses. The cousins… I didn’t try for any of those kinds of photos. I am not good at that kind of thing. My photos are intended to show that there were many people in the room and then a few of us hanging out for “last call”, not to display any single person or group of people. This is just us, a large family, getting together. The circumstances were not great but we love each other.

Fuzziness

Friday, October 20th, 2017

I had a beautiful (very warm) walk down to the Oscar Tango tonight and I followed our friends of porterization up the steps. I got this loverly photo of fuzziness with porterization in the foreground and a particularly fuzzy photo bomber in the back.

Just last night our Atlantian / Yooperland friends were here and we were talking about how they are the only folks who ever visit our house. But that’s not quite true because we occasionally porterize this place, including tonight when we had the wee-est of nightcaps in the Lyme Lounge. We do have family members who visit sometimes. But family members are friends whether they want to be or not, although the GG and I feel very fortunate that most people on all sides of the fam (Fin, MacMu, and cFam) seem to want to be friendly with us.

Anyway, it’s been a busy couple of weeks and it’s shaping up to be a busy weekend and I am pretty much done for the night.

Love y’all, KW.

Nothing like being chased by a lasagna all week 🐽

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

No, that is not a lasagna. That is my friend Gretchen. Doesn’t she look like a Gretchen?

The plan was to make the lasagna last weekend and put it in the freezer, then thaw it and serve it to BFF and The Guru tonight for dinner. I make lasagnas ahead ALL THE TIME! I make three lasagnas at a time for the North Country Trail folks and sometimes they don’t even get left behind in my freezer, like they did last February when we all met up at Tahq. Lasagna is a snap! I can make it in my sleep.

Last weekend? I dunno. I made the sauce. I bought the cheeses and the noodles and some spinach and what not. And then. It all kind of petered out. I double-bagged the sauce in a couple of big ziplocks and stuck it into the freezer and figured I’d get it out to thaw at some point and throw the darn thing together on Wednesday night after I got home from Cubelandia. Alas, when I got home last night, the sauce was still a big frozen ball. I couldn’t even get it out of the bag and into a saucepan to melt it without more guzzinta than I wanted to putinta it. Oh hell’s bells, I thought. I put it back into the refrigerator. I will figure this out tomorrow. And I did. I didn’t have anything *hot* to get done today so I took half the afternoon off, came home and put it all together WITHOUT STRESS, plus I turned two little baguettes into garlic bread and walked over to the Plum to get salad stuff, which we are low on and what lettuce we have is looking a little worse for the wear. I asked the GG if he wanted me to get eggs (we have ONE) but he said he would take care of procuring Breakfast Materials. Yay!!!

I am envying my bloggy Stargazer friend, who y’all know as Margaret, who had a cooking day. Potato salad, chili, and some sort of muffins or something. It all looked sooooooo goooooood. But then, she is retaaarrred. I am still hanging in at Cubelandia flinging esoterica about BAI and SWIFT file formats and other stuff back and forth over the wall with FZ. At least that’s what I was doing today. Every day brings a different rabbit hole.

Anyway, the ETA is around 4:30 and it’s 4:15 and I am being a little decadent with a glass o’ whine in the Landfill Backyard. Because it is a WEEKDAY AFTERNOON and I am HOME and it is going on LATE OCTOBER and it is WARM and GORGEOUS!

Love y’all, KW!

More pavement art

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

You know you wanted it!

When we bought The Landfill, it was 1984 (not *that* 1984) and we paid $65,000 for a 1959 ticky-tacky house with three [small] bedrooms, one bathroom (the blue and only!), an AAAAAAA-dition (as the Grinchie called it), and a basement. No garage. For $65K on the Planet Ann Arbor in those days, you could get either a basement or a garage with your house. We chose basement. I *think* that was the right decision but sometimes when I am egregiously idling my vee-hickle to thaw zee ice on zee veeeendsheeeeld, I wonder. You don’t want to know what Zillow thinks this place is worth now. As much as I love the place, I disagree with Zillow.

We were fortunate to be able to put enough money down (1/3? something like that, I can’t exactly remember) that we were able to avoid having an escrow account. That was partly thanks to diligent savings habits for a couple years but also thanks to PARENT CONTRIBUTIONS! THANKS PARENTS! $65K was STILL a whole heckuva lotta money to us and I remember counting in thousands at that Batscope Hour many nights before we closed on the property. I will say that my recent kitchen renovation cost more than that down payment and I didn’t wake up at that Batscope Hour counting in thousands thinking about how to pay for it even once.

When closing day finally rolled around, we had to take thousands and thousands of dollars out of one bank in cash and carry that cash across town to another bank in one of our cute little Ford Fiestas. I saw that the GG was about to embark on this adventure wearing a sleazy looking Shakey Jake tank top. I told him NO NO NO NO! That will not do. He either changed his clothing or put a jacket on over the tank top, ah don’t recollect (as the southern boyz say when they wanna weasel out of answering a question). Yes, this was before the age of online banking, the industry that now employs yer fav-o-rite blahgger. Nowadays we have to worry about him wearing his bomb-head shirt. You do NOT want to know. Fortunately I inadvertently raised a couple of Amazon Women who help me police that shirt when they are around.

Why didn’t we ever upgrade our housing situation after all those years? Many friends who were maybe more financially challenged than we were did just that. Well, one reason is because we paid the place off in 13 years and it is sooooooo nice to not have a mortgage. Let me count the ways (some other day). But also, we like it here. At least I do. The beach urchins didn’t have to cross even one street to get to grade school. And nowadays my fave grocery store is a short walk away and the neighborhood pub/steakhouse is around the corner and I have a lovely Zen Commute to work [except in snow]. Oh, and woods? Yeah, right behind us. Location Location Location? We have it.

I got off on a huge tangent. I was going to talk about pavement [again]. The top photo is our loverly driveway a few weeks ago. Look at huge slanted piece of pavement. I was sick to death of that thing. Now that the GG is no longer employed, I end up parking my loverly little Ninja in such a way that when I go around to the passenger side to get my work laptop and all of my other crap out of the car, I have to deal with that crappy old slanted piece of pavement. It’s annoying during the warm months but it is horrible when it ices up. We tried to get a professional to come out and re-do our driveway this fall but no one would take our money. I dunno whether we’re too small a job or maybe they don’t want to deal with the tree. Whatever. We have given up on getting a new driveway put in until [hopefully!] spring but today the GG broke up some of that crappy old pavement and it is at least marginally better now.

Look ma, I found a grizzly bear old man

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

After a difficult, exhausting week down in Florida, what to do next? Well, of course, you scramble the Frog Hopper and Lyme Lounge and drive a few hours north to scare some Cute Little Chickies who are out camping/hiking in the woods.

Seriously, Mouse and her kindergarten through college and beyond buddy Lairi The Rake went north to camp and hike at the Rifle River Rec Area and they talked the GG into meeting them up there for an overnight. Bring yer own berbun, thank ye very much. I was happy to have the GG home from his odyssey to Fla but I shoo-ed him out the door for this little joyride. The weather is beautiful here in the Great Lake State if [finally] a bit chilly in the morning and I thought it would be good for him to get away from end-of-life type issues for a bit and hang out with two vibrant young women who actually seemed to want him to join them up there.

Here he is wrapped in a Pendleton/Chief Joseph/Beaver State/whatever blanket that he seems to have cadged from The Landfill. It (and other blankets) will have to return to the Landfill when we put that beastie into winter storage (passive/aggressive hint). I have several of these fancy blankets plus a few Hudson Bay blankets and other random ones. When you live in the Great White North, you can never have too many blankets. Even in the summer, if you happen to be on the moominbeach and the temperature dips to 39 degrees overnight. One of my feet felt frozen once when that happened (I think I was 10 years old?) and The Comm tucked an old Army Air Corps blanket in on top of my regular summer blankets and that did the trick! That blanket is still at the moomincabin, BTW. It is an heirloom.

I stole this pic from Mouse’s facebook. I’m sure she won’t care.

FitStumbling?

Monday, October 16th, 2017

Remember when we all MacStumbled around holding our laptops open looking for an open wifi connection to pop up so we could spend a few minutes doing bizness. Mostly we were checking email in those days although I *think* I had started doing my blahg during that period so I may have been hurriedly trying to post something. That was when I “rolled my own” blahg, meaning that every single blasted day I edited my home page in an html editor, adding my newest entry to the top of the page. I fergit exactly how I handled photoooos. Maybe it was so painful I am blocking it.

I remember the first time I was able to connect to The Edge network at the moomincabin and post something with my first iPhone and I remember when we first got the 4G at the moominbeach and I didn’t have to run over to the Green Guy Cafe to post a video to facebook. And I remember when The Comm was in the long term care for rehab and I wanted to work from the moomincabin and I got fed up and stormed into Brimley to get Jamadots to come out and set up DSL service for me. Oh, I didn’t really “storm in” to Brimley. The Jamadots folks were WONDERFUL.

So that was all years ago but this morning I got dressed for my 0-skunk-30 and it was 43 degrees and, hmmmm, how do I dress for 43 degrees? Wool/silk turtleneck sweater, polartech vest, toad skirt and tights. Oh, and glubs, the little 50-cent kind, just to take whatever edge there might be off (not to be confused with The Edge network, mind you). There wasn’t really an edge and finally, as I was walking out of the woods, I took my glubs off. That apparently dislodged my fitbit wristband somehow but I didn’t realize it until after about 20 yards or so. Hmmm, where is my fitbit? I pulled up the Fitbit app on my phone and it synced so I knew it couldn’t be far away. I slowly retraced my steps, Fitbit app open and phone flashlight on. And there it was, big as life, down on the sidewalk! I didn’t even lose any steps!

And yes, this is the second time in not too many days that I have given you a loverly photoooo of pavement. You’re welcome! It makes me wonder if there might not be a niche for some creative photographic artist to put together a collection of interesting pavement pics. Maybe someone is already doing that but a quick google search turned up images with human bodies (live, I think) superimposed on pavement. I wasn’t quite thinking of that kind of thing. Just interesting pavement stuff. Oh well, I 1) am not an artist* and 2) don’t have time to collect pavement pics and 3) may just get bored with that kind of prodject pretty quickly.

* WE ARE ALL ARTISTS! Art is what makes the world go ’round. Sometimes it takes the form of “abstract” painting. Sometimes it takes the form of engineering highly technical musheens that travel through space. There’s no reason it couldn’t take the form of an iPhoneographer searching out pavement pictures, embellished or not. I do NOT regard my random turn-on-the-flash point-and-shoot photo as art. But when I looked at it later and saw the crack and the leaf and whatever, I was thinking that someone with a better eye maybe could have made something interesting out of this photo.

Okay, I’ll shaddup now 🐸

Lucky[shuckial] Jack

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

If I do not get any other Halloween stuff out this year, at least The Commander’s Electric Jack-o-Lantern is plugged in. He is facing inward because *I-e-I-e-I* need his light more than anyone walking along the sidewalk does and they probably can’t see him through the bushes anyway.

I have probably told this little mini-story on my boring blahg of blather every year since The Commander died but here it is again. The Commander was stuck at an assisted living facility for her last Halloween on this earth (although I was surprised she didn’t stick around for a few more years or at least long enough to vote for Obama again). She wanted to do a wee bit of decorating for the holiday and demanded, “I want my Electric Jack-o-Lantern!” Say what? I had absolutely no clue what the heck she was talking about. Turned out her “cleaning lady” (not a comprehensive description of what Connie did for The Comm) knew exactly what it was and where The Commander stored it.

Of course (!) we took it down to Freighter View. After she died and we were clearing out her house, I found the Electric Jack-o-Lantern and he now lives with me. Um, I don’t actually remember the exact moment of *finding* Lucky Jack. I just know that he was an artifact I did not get rid of. Partly because, y’know what? 1) I can carve a pumpkin into a jack-o-lantern if I want to. 2) I LOVE when the GG puts on an EPA lab coat and carves a jack-o-lantern with power tools and I hope he does that this year but we’ll see. But. 3) It is so easy to plug Lucky Jack in and let his light shine. And that’s why The Commander bought Lucky Jack. She was done done done with carving pumpkins for the few trick-or-treaters (usually none) that traversed the Dillon Street area. But she still wanted to celebrate Halloween.

E-lec-tro-cuuu-tion… da da dum… E-lec-tro-cu-u-shu-u-un

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

Yeah, sing it like Carly Simon sings Anticipation and probably best not to ask too many questions except that you might wanna wear some lucky-shuckial glubs if you are doing BASIC lucky-shuckial work (unplugging an appliance) in sketchy conditions. The GG was wearing grubs glubs and so, THANKFULLY, he returned home safely to us late last night after a difficult week down in Florida. It was hard enough to send our beloved Susie off at such short notice but there is another sibling down there and I guess that’s as far as I will go with that on my blahg.

I knew that the GG needed to catch up on rest today so I drove myself down to the farmers market and back today at 0-skunk-30. Usually I walk down and he picks me up in the Ninja. Today he didn’t wake up until at least an hour after I got home from the market. This was not jet lag. Florida is in the same time zone as we are. The GG was totally exhausted from dealing with family stuff.

After some discussion, we ended up walking down to the Griz for lunch. I was willing to drive down there but, in the end, we walked and I think that was a great thing to do. The GG showed me many photos from Fla during our lunch and then we grabbed Bus 31 out to our neighborhood and went to the Plum Market. And then the GG took another nap. He needed it.

There were so many bees around these flowers that we encountered on our walk downtown for lunch. I grew up being terrified by stinging insects, kind of like how I was scared of overflowing terlets. My parents got freaked out about both and projected their fears onto me. I have been stung by a few insects as an adult but I wasn’t afraid of these bees at all. They were BUSY and not paying any attention to us. As for terlets? After hanging out with the cFam for a pretty darn long time, I am pretty dern good about dealing with overflowing terlets.

I looked at a LOT of Florida pics today during lunch. I did not look at the terlet pic.

Love y’all, KW!

Keep the math simple

Friday, October 13th, 2017

What the heck is this, you are asking? It is the parking lot outside Barry Bagels. It is also an out-take of sorts. There was a truck there with an AZS logo on it. And no, you have no clue what AZS stands for. We’ll get there.

The last name (beginning with S) was also part of the logo and I was peering at that making out the spelling and a voice in my head said, “Hello, Mr. Shmina” and with that I was transported back to my MacMu granddaddy’s funeral. What year was that? 1979? I think so. I think he was 93. It was over at the Sullivan funeral home on 11 mile. I think that was the first time I set foot in that funeral home but it was certainly not the last.

It *was* just about the last time I encountered anyone from two generations above me though. There was Bolette (my step-grandmother), putting a folded paper note into my granddaddy’s suit pocket. “Dear Emily, I give you Ralph.” And something I can’t remember about thanking Emily for lending Ralph to her for the years she was married to Emily’s husband. Emily was my biological grandmother who died in a car crash long before I was born. Bolette was a good grandma to me and I loved her. (Bolette went on for quite a few more years but she was quite a bit younger than granddaddy.)

And then there was Uncle Cy. I think he was Emily’s brother so he was my great uncle. An ancient farmer wearing what my brain wants to say were overalls but more likely he was wearing an old-fashioned suit. I had never met him but I had encountered some of his grandchildren (my 2nd cousins) ONCE in my youth. The Commander’s cousin Johnny-Paul (I *think* that was his name) took his family to Sault Ste. Siberia one summer. He knew that my dad and granddaddy Fin worked at the 1st National Bank so they went in there to enquire about our whereabouts. My dad was apparently not there but my granddaddy was and he told them how to get to the cabin. I do NOT think The Commander was terribly happy about having to entertain them (I suspect the family might have been “religious” in a way mine was not). I don’t remember tooooo much about the kids but later on I overheard The Comm tell Radical Betty or someone that one of the boys would NOT leave meeeee alone. I suppose I have blocked that. Like, they’ll be gone tomorrow and I can hang out with my regular cousins again.

Finally, another ancient man walked in and The Commander said, “Hello, Mr. Shmina.” I’ve never been too sure what my MacMu granddaddy did for a living but it was something to do with a building contractor’s association and I believe Mr. Shmina was a building contractor. I didn’t talk to Mr. Shmina or anyone who was with him but for years after the funeral I would see signs with AZS on them around the area. But it’s been a while, so when I saw that truck yesterday, I did a double-take. Obviously AZ’s dynasty has lived on. I scrambled my phone out to take a pic but, as I was doing that, a guy came out of Barrys and I just knew he was headed for that truck so I waited for a minute, pretending to check text messages or something. Darn it all, he WAS heading for that truck and I wasn’t cagey enough to get a pic. How awkward would that encounter have been? Driver: Why are you taking a picture of my truck? Meeeee: Because I saw [long-dead] AZ Shmina at my long-dead grandfather’s funeral. Roight. Instead, somehow I got this loverly accidental pic of the pavement. (I probably wouldn’t have posted the AZS photo anyway, just wanted to capture it.)

So odd how something totally off-the-wall can trigger a trip down memory lane. I have NEVER had ANYTHING to do with the Shmina family except for seeing the old man at a funeral once and a few signs for construction prodjects here and there over the years.

But let’s keep the math simple, okay? That was one of my mantras at work today. (Another was something like vocabulary, vocabulary, vocabulary but that’s like grinding an axe.) If you are trying to describe a complicated concept involving operations with numbers, choosing to make an example with numbers like $183,798.38 and $23,323.12 only confuses people, especially if you add those two numbers together to get a total. I mean, if you are mocking the whole thing up in html, which means you are *typing* the total in, rather than letting a spreadsheet tot it up, you are likely to get it wrong. $10 and $10 please or, if you need to show commas, $1,000 and $1,000.

Out of the Deeeeeeep Dark Scary Woods and Up Mah Leg

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

I was working in the lab late last night walking past the Deeeeep Dark Scary Woods at 0-skunk-30 this morning when I heard a noise! Something had emerged from the woods. It was pitch black where I was standing and after figuring out that there wasn’t a six-foot-five-inch vampire standing there sparkling dripping blood, I thought, “Dog? But where is the human?” And then I thought, “Skunk?” Except there had been a faint bell sound as the little beastie emerged and I don’t think most wild aminals wear collars with bells.

The little beastie edged over into the light from the streetlamp and who do you think it was? It was the same dastardly little Pointy-eared Mammal that barged into the Landfill not all that many weeks ago. It is extremely hard to get a pic of any aminal, tame or wild, when they are out on the prowl or whatever, so I didn’t get a really clear one (plus it was pitch black except for the streetlight) but as I took this one, Pointy Ears was climbing up my leg, which struck me as being absolutely hilarious for reasons I can’t articulate. MMCB2 was a bit more skeptical when I showed her the pic even though she is not aminal-phobic. MMCB1 IS aminal-phobic but she’s off jet-setting around somewhere this week so she was spared from seeing the pic.

And then, I am so good at the Quick Information Game if I do say so myself. The GG and his sister Liz actually took some time off and went to Coquina Beach today, which I think was fantastic. And then he called me with a question: Where was that place we ate with Ed and Susie in Fla last April? I couldn’t remember the name but I knew exactly where it was. So I searched for Cortez Blvd. on Google Maps on my phone and zoomed in on the east side of the bridge over the Inland Waterway and there was the Seafood Shack. He sounded a little tentative even though the Seafood Shack was in the EXACT place we ate and had a marina and everything, just like I remembered. So I went back through my photooooos and found THIS!

Never underestimate the powers of a systems analyst, especially one with lifelong database experience (I have 25 bobby pins and 10 pencils, etc. in my desk drawer, written on lined note-book paper). If she knows the answer, she knows the answer. If she doesn’t know the answer, she will say, “I don’t know” (this systems analyst with lifelong database experience says “I don’t know” A LOT!). If she doesn’t know the answer but thinks she can figger it out, she will tell you she’ll try to figger it out and get back to you. If she provides you with documentation (like I did for the Seafood Shack), she DEFINITELY knows the answer.

Did that all make sense? Probably not but whatever.

I’m glad you guys got to the beach today and I hope you have a nice dinner tonight wherever you end up.

The Greeeeeen Sliiiiiime

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

I really can’t complain. About the weather, I mean. We have had an endless summer and I have been spoiled by being able to come home from work and sit out in the back yard for a bit before it’s time to get serious about dinner.

This morning? Two showers. One indoor. One out. It is pitch black for my entire 0-skunk-30 walk at this time of the year and I cannot count how many times I took a step and landed in ankle deep water. I could not use my phone flashlight because it was toooooo wet. I basically bagged the woods this morning. I ventured partway into the north section but turned around when I saw what looked like yet another big puddle ahead. I didn’t even bother with the south section. I could see Ano’s flashing orange LED collar in there so I told Ano’s human that I wouldn’t be walking in there this morning. Ano is not quiiiite used to me and barks like crazy whenever I go in his woods. I do like his human. But the only reason I didn’t go in that part of the woods today was because of the puddles.

So, what *about* the Green Slime. Has anyone else seen the movie? I saw it as a teenager (when it was new) and it SCARED THE BEJEEBUS OUTTA ME! I don’t remember if I saw it at an actual movie theatre or on the Piedy Clan’s cabin TV (which was black and white, right? or not…). I don’t remember much about the movie except that I was SCARED TO DEATH and after that whenever us teenyboppers were out at The Raft, I thought that green slime would appear in the water. I was scared of The Raft too but that would be a whole ‘nother story.

Of all things, the next time I saw the Green Slime was on my wedding night in a hotel room over in Sault Ste. Siberia, Ontario. I didn’t watch much of it. Looking at the trailer I linked to on YouTube, I laughed like crazy all the way through it. I don’t remember the space stuff at all. I thought it all happened underwater. My memory must be superimposing the Green Slime I imagined from The Raft over the actual movie. At any rate, maybe I will have to watch that movie again. I do NOT like horror movies in general but this one is so dated and “campy” if I can use that word here that I think I might get a kick out of it. And that music! A blast from the past!

Zero tolerance

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

If I get it right, it is halfway through Susie’s visitation as I begin this. In a way I am sorry I’m not there but I am not sure I am “up” to some of the other stuff (not related to Susie) that our Tiger Team has been dealing with down there in Fla. I am [sometimes] envious of the cFam for having so many siblings to help out when a family emergency (or two) suddenly crops up. I often felt lonely not having my brother around when our parents died. But knowing some of the stuff I have learned since The Commander died, it may have been best that I didn’t have anyone to potentially squabble with because I am not sure that my brother and I *wouldn’t* have squabbled. Okay, KW, don’t get dragged down into the finFam crapola. I do know that I was lucky to have the GG steadfastly beside me throughout all of it.

The first time I ever went to Florida was when the cFam parents permanently moved down there to one of their condos. We drove down there when they did and even met up with them a couple of times on the I75 Snowbird Geezerway but not at church in Valdosta, GA. We scooted ahead of them at that point. We had the baby Lizard Breath (17 months) and *Susie* with us in our loverly VW Jetta. We were all so young then. On the way down, we drove across the Sunshine Skyway bridge when it was still scary as hell.

Susie was a natural caregiver of, well, anyone who needed help although she was also no fool. She knew when someone was trying to take advantage of her and could be stern when needed (but would still prob’ly help). On that trip, Liz was rapidly increasing her vocabulary and it was Susie was who translated things like “erderator” as *alligator*. I think they were having conversations that I didn’t know were happening 😉. So below is a kind of crazy pic of Susie holding Liz in Garth and Sally’s condo. They are both making the same funny, crooked kind of happy face.

We went down to Florida again when Liz was 7 and Mouse was almost 5. Susie was living down there by then and I am not sure whether or not she knew Cap’n Ed by then but I *think* she may have known some of his friends. In the pic below, we are at a beach somewhere. I can’t remember exactly where but it was a zero tolerance beach.

When Susie wasn’t taking my beach urchins out into the water, we were sitting on the beach watching them and guffawing about the various weird male humans walking past us. Suze, there’s a guy for you. Nooooooooo. At some point, we realized that we had totally lost track of where the GG was. We had seen him buying a huge cup of pop at the concession stand and then he disappeared.

Eventually, he re-appeared right in front of us and it turned out that he had purchased a huge cup of Sprite, then headed over to the Exxon Tanker Valdez (our 1989 Chrysler minivan) to spike the Sprite with some bourbon that we had in the back of the van. So much for a zero tolerance beach. The Twinz of Terror know how to get around rules.

Again, Godspeed to Susie. We had some good times over the years!

King of Cryptic Text Messages Fla Version and #dogzofinstagram #petzofababsurdo

Monday, October 9th, 2017

The GG and I were texting a wee bit today and we agreed that all of the stuff going on in Fla today was too complicated for text messages. But. I had one question. It required a one-word answer. The answer was either “in” or “out”. Something like “Are you IN the garage or OUT of the garage?” (no one was in a garage, as far as I know but maybe you get the point). The answer I received was not either “in” or “out”. It was “NAK”. Uuuuuhhhhh. My work buddies nowadays get at least as much of a kick out of this stuff as my long-ago work buddies did when I would answer a phone call from the GG and give him instructions for cooking microwave popcorn for hungry young beach urchins, i.e., read the package.

Nevertheless, *I* persisted and I did get a comprehensible answer to my question and I will wait patiently for a real-time phone download at some point. Meanwhile, he texted me pics of some of my fave Florida pets 💜

And so here is Ed-n-Suz’s rescue dog Rose.

Here’s a loverly close-up. Up mah nose!

If I wanted to, I could find a pic of the GG asnore at Ed-n-Suz’s house a couple years ago after a morning hike in Robinson Preserve, an unfinished razberita beside him and Rose passed out behind his chair, no razberita for Rose. But I’ll spare you. Instead, here is brother John’s cute little doggie Junior.

Finally, I feel like this turtle has a name and I should remember it. He has lived in Ed-n-Suz’s backyard for several years now, ever since Ed rescued him from a certain death by lawnmower on the grounds near where Ed works.

I miss you but I don’t miss your Dad Jokes

Sunday, October 8th, 2017

This morning was difficult because the GG was scheduled to fly to Fla in the afternoon, which meant that I had to schlep him over to Metro at around 12:30 or so. I couldn’t figure out what to do with myself until then. Around 11 AM or so we were thinking about what if anything to do about lunch and I asked if he wanted me to walk over to the Plum and get some stuff. I usually walk over there alone but today he wanted to walk with me and I was okay with that. We both needed to kill some time.

We encountered this garage sale sign on the way home. I thought those big circular things were eyes or maybe toilet paper rolls. The GG thought they were something else. You can guess.

Finally it was time for me to drop him off at Metro and so I did that and he has made it to Fla safely and yes, I miss him. But I do not miss the Dad Jokes.

Suz

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

We have been keeping a low profile about the latest cFam news on social media but early yesterday morning we lost the GG’s beautiful sister Susie. She was 9th of the 10 children in the family. The cFam siblings have also lost two brothers, the 1st and 3rd of the children. (The Twinz of Terror are 5th and 6th, born a few minutes apart, the quintessential middle children.) This pic of Suz was taken a matter of months before I first met her. She was about 20 then and honest to Pete, if I posted the pic we took of her last April on the grounds of the Ringling Museum in Sarasota Fla, you would see that she had not changed much.

I’m not going to talk about her death, which was tragic mainly in that we lost her way too soon. I will instead provide a memory of my first encounter with her.

Susie was the first cFam sibling I met after I very tentatively began hanging around with the GG. I was 26 and very jaded about men in general. That’s too long a story to get into but when the GG invited me to his family cabin at Houghton Lake and ACTUALLY FOLLOWED THROUGH WITH TAKING ME THERE, I was thinking he might be a keeper. On our second trip up there (SECOND TRIP!), he brought his sister Susie. Cutest little redheaded girl on earth, who changed into a flannel nightie as soon as we got there and settled into the place like she owned it, rummaging the cupboards for hot chocolate and whatever. This reminded me of my own childhood in a way and it was another inkling that I was hanging out with the right guy.

We had the GG’s dad’s big old Impala or whatever it was and I rode in the front seat throughout the weekend. I could tell that Susie might be feeling a little left out about that. I knew it was because the GG had probably put his little sister *Susie* in the front seat for all kinds of joyrides and here I was, this strange woman riding in Susie’s seat. Years later, after Lizard Breath was born, Susie and I talked and laughed about her jealousy that weekend. That was when Susie rode with us and Lizard Breath to Florida to visit the cFam parents. Susie loved our baby as she did all of her nieces and nephews and we all took turns riding wherever. That trip was sooooo much fun!

Susie ended up moving to Fla and marrying Cap’n Ed, who is a native Floridian and just about the sweetest person on earth. They have been together for I’m thinking 20 years or so. It isn’t easy for me to get to Fla because of work but I am happy that we were able to get down there last April and see Susie for the last time. Although at that time I don’t think either the GG or I dreamed that it would *be* the last time.

Godspeed to our beautiful, beloved Susie and may Cap’n Ed find peace.

Love y’all — KW

The Planet Ann Arbor version of Shameless?

Friday, October 6th, 2017

Your call. Aside from that, thanks to my work buddy FZ for keeping my brain busy (and therefore sane) today with the most convoluted puzzle on earth involving SWIFT time zone calculations. You probably do not want to know. How can time zones be so complicated? You fly from EST to PST and you wake up ultra early every morning until you fly back to EST and then you have to draaaaaaaag yourself outta bed. But yes, they can be very complicated. Plus means subtract and minus means add. Who knew. I needed something to focus on though and creating diagrams to explain this took up almost the entire day. And then me and GoGrannyGo both got outta dodge a weeeee bit early. GGG [whispering]: I think it’s time to go. Meeeee [not exactly whispering]: yeah, I’m at a stopping point.

Shades of the [recent] past

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

From summer 2017, to be exact. First, vultures descending upon the moomincabin dinner table. We usually eat kind of buffet style, serving the food on the table and then eating wherever, outside if it’s warm and not buggy. You may be able to see C*Q*L in amongst some of the taller people. She sometimes comes over for a little nosh after dinner at her home (next door). Make no mistake. Her mom is a wonderful cook but we eat a lot later than they do and when she visits us in the evening when we are having dinner, we share. There’s almost always enough for anyone who stops by, except maybe the last night before we leave for Trollandia when we could either be feasting or eating a weird mish-mash of leftovers.

Here is the GG in his table-space after all of the dinner festivities were over. Grandroobly and The Commander have also commandeered this space in their time and I use it when I am telecommuting and the Lyme Lounge is not available, although I prefer the Lyme Lounge. I’m not sure why The Commander’s Beach Basket is on the table. KW has been using it so I guess she didn’t put it away.

And then there’s tonight. After quite a few miscommunications, we met Mouse at Knight’s. Knight’s was totally slammed tonight but we had so much fun!

A slow-moving tizzy

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Not to confuse a tizzy with a hissy. A tizzy is something like, “I am receiving more pieces of information than I can process and I don’t know what to do next.” A hissy is when the uMich football team does something incredibly stooopid at the Rose Bowl football game and your uncle kind of explodes and his sister Radical Betty talks about it for years afterwards, i.e., “Remember when Don had that hissy?” I don’t actually remember the hissy even though I was there, since it happened at my parents’ house up in Sault Ste. Siberia and I was home for the holly-days. What I remember about that day was that it was snowing to beat the band and something about xc skiing with a few folks out at the Pine Bowl Pathways near Kincheloe. It’s okay. My uncle loved football and he loved uMich, where he earned his medical degree. (Miss all those people. We had so much fun!)

I had a prescient day-dream the other day, where I was trying to deal with the old Delia’s website. Delia’s was where we bought cute teenage clothing and bedroom accessories and things like that. At one point, I remember a semi-circle of circular image links on that site and I would click on one and it would hang f-o-r-e-v-e-r. Since I linked to Delia’s today, in case anyone checks out the link 1) this happened in the late 1990s, so www stood for Wild Wild West, and 2) we had a blasted DIAL-UP modem then, but 3) I loved Delia’s and most of the time their website worked. I was happy to find that Delia’s is still there today, now that I have, ahem, 30-somethings…

I lived that dream today when Lizard Breath and I were working together to purchase something from a site that probably didn’t exist back in the 1990s. I tried it from my phone first but there was no “checkout” button and every time I clicked on the “cart” I got an error and the page “reloaded” and I was right back where I started from. So… Well… I can try my work laptop. My work laptop is LOCKED DOWN but sometimes you can get to shopping stuff. So I managed to get there and it was still just about the wonkiest ECOMMERCE website I have encountered in a while. After MUCH confusion about shipping vs. billing addresses and losing my information a couple times, I FINALLY got to a page where I could pay and place my order. I was comforted by the fact that PayPal was one of the options. I know some folks might be skeptical but I have had good luck with PayPal. Not to mention that it is one way to pay for things that doesn’t send a notification to the GG that I have spent (my own🐽) money. Oh don’t worry, I am not a spendthrift and the GG knows it.

Lizard Breath and I were ultimately successful with our purchase and hopefully it is already on its way. As for the site I dealt with today, it seems to need to hire a few business systems analysts to help make the website usable. Don’t worry, you do not have to hire baggy old systems analysts like me 🐸 but your user interface needs work.

Don’t let any o’ them thar pointy-eared mammals git in

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

One of the many things that drives me crazy about social media is how awful the spelling and grammar often is. I get that the iPhone auto-corrects things and even the most persnickety of us have posted totally ridiculous things because of that. (And sometimes, despite my best efforts, I just plain screw up.) But why is there a #lasvagas hashtag out there and WHY THE HECK are people using it? (It was a nephew who pointed this out (among other things) in one of his lovely black humor facebook posts, to give credit where credit is due.)

That’s about all I have to say about current events and polly-ticks today. I remain in a state of horrified fascination with how the president conducts “business” or whatever it is he’s doing because most of the time, I can’t even figure out what he is saying, which turns my brain inside out. I am numb (again) about the latest mass shooting, knowing that this will happen again and again until. Well, until what. I don’t actually think “gun control” will solve the problem. I don’t know what will. Oh yeah, I said I was done talking about that. Okay, I’m done. Alert alert! Did I just swallow a bug? If I did, it was a teensy tinesy one. Probably a fruit fly…

I finished reading “The End of Mr. Y” and I am grabbing a toe-hold into “Like Water for Chocolate”.

The End of Mr. Y was a quirky good read. The life of a poor phd student in a mouse-infested flat interspersed with trips to the troposphere (but not the troposphere that you and I know in our lives). This book talks about atomic physics (whether accurately or not) and I remember when I was young, before children, reading Scientific American articles trying to understand quarks and hadrons and other particles. I was fascinated by all of that stuff but here we are and I can do mathematics in my head if I want but usually I use my iPhone to calculate tips and stuff. Anyway, a sub-plot in this book involves lab mice and a mouse god (Apollo Sminthius). I’ll leave y’all to figger out the ending.

Like Water for Chocolate? I am enjoying it so far. No, it is not a new book and yes, there is a mooooovie. I have not seen the mooooovie. We’ll see what I think in the end.