Archive for October, 2017

You should play the part of the old witch

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

Say it as if you were talking through marbles.

I was galumphing along through the bowels of the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre years ago and one of our young cast members came up with the idea that I should play the part of the Old Witch. We didn’t *have* an Old Witch role in the current play but never mind.

This was the same person who had recently talked at length about having big snakes in his family’s backyard to the point that they had to “call the scientists out” to do whatever with the snakes. In Michigan, where we don’t have big snakes or even poisonous ones, for the most part. He was in the costume room telling me this stuff and a young middle school woman was sitting next to me, eyes wide. At the end of it all, she asked if all of that stuff was true. I earnestly told her that not one iota of that stuff was true but I had a very hard time not rolling my eyes. Jeebus…

I did not wear anything resembling a costume today, that is except for the costume that Ma Natcher has bestowed upon me as I, uh, age. Old Witch? You go, girl!

I did not count trick-or-treaters tonight. It was cold but we didn’t have rain (or snow) and I was pleasantly surprised that a handful of people did actually come to the door for candy. We gave them handfuls of candy. I don’t really care who gets the candy. High school kids? I’m glad they’re still having fun. Kids bused in from poor neighborhoods? Please take my candy! Little kids with parents warily watching who is handing out candy? We are OKAY! I wish I could tell those folks that the first Halloween we spent here at The Landfill, when trick-or-treaters came to the door, the GG would show them our beautiful newborn baby as we passed out treats. And there was The Commander hanging out in the background, so happy with her first granddaughter.

At any rate, no poison or razor blades here. Just people who have raised children and love to give out wrapped candy and ohh and aah at costumes.


Monday, October 30th, 2017

I needed a *few* (really) things from the Plum when I got home from work today but I also had umpteen billion chores to do and walking over to the Plum, as nice and head-clearing as it can be, was not gonna work for me today, so I asked the GG to pick up three things. I thought I was being Super Awesome by making a list on my current list app and texting him a pic. Alas, the text message pic didn’t show the first (and most important) item (1 lemon). I talked to him at some length about exactly which olives to buy (olive bar, pitted kalamata, medium-sized container, the ones I always buy yada yada yada). We may have touched on tomatoes but I did not talk to him to make sure he knew about the lemon. It turned out that the text message pic was only a partial pic and it showed tomatoes and olives but you had to *open* it to see that *lemon* was on the list. It’s okay (note to Super Awesome [not] self). The GG *happily* went back over to the Plum to pick up a two lemons. He drove the Ninja over there the second time.

The GG did a lot of other stuff today too, including putting up a whole bunch of Halloween-type lights. The S-word is in our forecast for Halloween and it is on a Tuesday, so I bet we will not have a whole lot of trick-or-treat customers. I panicked and bought MORE candy ANYWAY! It’s okay. I will save some of the leftovers and put the rest in the Food Cube next to mine at Cubelandia. I am happy about the lights anyway. We are going into the DARK time of year and we need as much light as we can get.

Speaking of light, I just checked the sunrise time for tomorrow HERE on The Planet Ann Arbor and it is 8:05. We change back to standard time next Saturday so the sun will be rising much earlier for a while but I was surprised at the after-8 sunrise today because I usually associate that with late December. So we will have dark days for a while and it’ll be okay and then about mid/late January, Mr. Golden Sun will start giving us light again.

I hope it’s okay with the beach urchins if I start telling people I am Super Awesome when people ask me how I am. I think it’s probably a better answer than “Do you have 5 hours?”. Super Awesome is what Mr. Luv at my work always answers (in his Scottish accent) when people ask how he is. Mr. Luv actually *is* super awesome and I am not necessarily so.

Taking the Lansing Route

Sunday, October 29th, 2017

I don’t have anything clever to say today, not that I ever do, so I guess I will just report a sort of today in the life thingy. Here is the sunrise at the Cfam cabin at Houghton Lake this morning.

This is the place my husband and four of his 10 siblings own AMICABLY via an LLC agreement. I do not personally own a share of this place but I have been going up to the Cfam cabin since I first knew the GG and I always feel welcome there. The siblings rebuilt the original family cabin that I first encountered all those years ago. Much later, during the years I was saying goodbye to my brother (only sibling) and parents, my beloved in-laws and their newly built Houghton Lake cabin were there for me.

Oh jeebus, I am off in the weeds. Today? The sun did not rise at Houghton Lake until *after* I got back from my walk, which was 8:00 or so. We mobilized pretty darn quick after that to get over to Little Boots Diner for brek. Gunslinger quesadilla for me and the GG with leftovers, which I always plan.

Then we headed over to check out the water levels at the Reedsburg Dam. Despite the brilliant sunshine of the morning, fog had set in. Something to do with the dew point and presence of a large body of water that I could probably process if I wanted to but I decided to simply enjoy the phenomenon as something we don’t see all that often.

As we arrived at the Reedsburg, the GG realized that he had left his hat and glubs at Little Boots. He called the diner and yes, they had his stuff at the counter so we schlepped back to Little Boots to get them and then drove back to the cabin through Prudenville, etc. We are not accustomed to carrying cold weather accessories this year so I am not surprised that he forgot them!

Mr. Golden Sun burned off the fog PDQ and we decided to take the Lansing Route for the first time in I can’t remember when. We’ve been sucking it up on the I75 SUV Speedway for a few years now. But. The weather was gorgeous and we weren’t in a hurry. Oh, and, the Twinz of Terror have been actively looking for a very particular kind of log splitter. It cannot be electric. No. It has to be hydraulic. Turns out that the GG had scouted out various places along the Lansing Route where he might find one. I steered us onto the old highways as long as I could, which turned out to be Mt. Pleasant. That was our third stop to look for a log splitter and it was a WINNER! After that we got onto the freeway on down and around to Southeast Trollandia.

No cat herding or dragging *ss this weekend!

Saturday, October 28th, 2017

I decided I didn’t want to do any cat herding here at HL this weekend so I made some plans of things that I-e-I-e-I wanted to do. I still had to do some cat-herding and there was some dragging *ss here and there but here we are at Paddle Hard Brewery in Grayling watching uMich win against Rutgers. The GG said, “If we were home (in Ann Arbor) we would be able to hear ‘this’ (people cheering in the big house)”. Instead, it was on TV and I wasn’t really watching but I am glad that GoBlue won.

I can’t quite figure out when Grayling started to sprout brewpubs. It *did* have a wondrous quilt fabric store for many many many years but that is now defunct and I have stories about that store that I will save for another day. I am very very very sad about the Ice House’s demise but… but… Brewpubs? Yes, we’ll take them. Paddle Hard is always fun and I got a decent cab there (since I don’t usually drink beer) and our sister Liz got a bloody mary to *die* for with a whole series of meat slices (think prosciutto/salami/pepperoni), pickles and olives across the top. Whyyyyyy did I not get a pic of that drink? We’ll just have to go back there… Again… 🐸

Anyway, when we got back to the HL cabin, the weather was rather unstable and below is the view toward the end of the lake where the rainbow *wasn’t*.

The Twinz of Terror spent a long morning eradicating leaves from the yard and after our Grayling excursion and a wee winter’s nap with some TV football (Ohio State and Penn?) in the background, they grilled some cherry brats from Best Choice for dinner.

G’night, KW


Friday, October 27th, 2017

Yeah, sorry, still grumpy. But I’ll try… The pic below is more or less a yearly sight over at Cubelandia. The geese are gathering for their fall departure. Those that are leaving, that is. Some of them stay year round.

And then, a looooooong day at work (even though I left a couple hours early) and a looooonnng fuuuuuuugly drive to HL. It wasn’t cold enough to snow so there was that. We ended up at the Northshore for dinner with the Uncly Uncle and sister Liz. Alas, the tiki bar is closed for the season. Oh well. I looked up and saw cupboards kind of like the ones we used to have in the Moldy Old Cfam cabin before it got rebuilt and so the GG OF COURSE had to look and see what was in them. I can’t remember what, not much.

And how about a niiiiiice here’s my dinner shot, eh? Sorry, we had decimated our food by this time and this is an accidental photoooo anyway.

Did I say I was grumpy? Yeah, I sort of am. But I am coming to realize that I have been going through some sort of weird emotional shift. Sorta like shifting tectonic plates maybe. It isn’t all bad and it isn’t the first time I’ve been through this kind of thing. I can’t explain it any further than that. I do not have the words and y’all don’t want to know anyway. It’s just part of being human. Please bear with me!

Backyard faaaaarrr

Thursday, October 26th, 2017

Not sure what to say here. My life is pretty dern good but I have been just a weeeee bit under the weather this week. Psychologically, that is. Just a weeeee bit blue and not without good reason. Today, my Mouse texted me that there was fancy salmon on sale at the Plum Market and then asked if she could come over for dinner. Of course of course of course!!! I walked over to the Plum to buy salmon and a few other things and then Mouse came over and COOKED dinner. Salmon, rice, and collard greens. Sooooo good. And she convinced the GG to make a faaaaar in the back yard. Such a beautiful evening 💜

Just go in the other room

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

What is it that makes people (some people, anyway) talk louder when they are on the dern phone? I guess I have been known to do it too although on the rare times someone actually calls me, I skedaddle out of Cubelandia. About the only person who ever *does* call me is FinGuy (NOT to be confused with anyone in the FinFam – FinGuy and I are not related and I don’t think either of us are Finns aka Finnish but that’d be a whole ‘nother blahg post 🐽). But he’s a schmoozer from waaaaay back. Howya doing? Let’s go out to eat! That place by your house [Knight’s] is good. And my fave: Yeah, I’ve sat at this (wobbly old) teak gate-leg table a gazillion times. Because I don’t feel like being quiiiiiiite as cryptic as sometimes, that would be The Commander’s old teak gate-leg table at the Dillon house .

Anyway, FinGuy will dooooo email but it isn’t his fave. Apparently his wife is like me and prefers text messages. But I answer his calls, partly because I genuinely *like* him and also because my phone recognizes all of the phone numbers he calls from so I know who’s calling. I decline calls from numbers I don’t know.

That got me thinking about where that wobbly old teak gate-leg table was these days. It is beautiful but it is a MONSTER! The Comm “inherited” it from her old friend Pauline, whose husband ran the bank my dad worked for until he retired (and my dad took over that job). I also own a beauteous teak table but it is much less complicated than the gate-leg table, not to mention lighter weight. But I couldn’t remember what we did with The Comm’s table. I didn’t *think* we donated it. We donated a lot of furniture but there were plenty of things that we felt like keeping around for a while. After The Comm’s death, we got some passive-aggressive pushback for keeping things in the moomincabin garage but to me, that seemed like a *perfect* place to keep The Comm’s stuff while we decided what to do with it.

Anyway, the answer to “Where is the teak gate-leg table?” turned out to be, “In the Landfill Dungeon – we’re using it.” We probably are and I probably couldn’t remember where it was because no doubt there are boxes of “stuff” on top of it. I don’t really want it in the long run but I’m not ready to dump it somewhere just yet. Who will want it? I dunno. And then there’s *my* teak table. Who will want it? I’m not going anywhere anytime soon but someday that’ll be a topic of conversation. So I will say right now, if no one wants my table (and that includes my children), give it to someone who wants and/or needs it. Or sell it!

Love y’all, KW!


Tuesday, October 24th, 2017

I think I might’ve posted not too long ago that I was *ready* for the inevitable. I mean cold weather. Turns out I am not really. It isn’t even that cold out. It was 49 degrees pretty much all day. It’s that WIND! And there’s the S-word that some of our sensationalist weather reporters keep sneaking into the edges of the forecast. It is certainly not too early for a wee bit of S here in October but not sure if we’re gonna go that low just yet. The Yooperland on the other hand? I saw pink on the weather map over by Marquette today. You know what that means, roight?

Fortunately, we have cute little entities like Softy Beanbag around, shown here helping us have a weeeee Sunday Nightcap in the Lyme Lounge. Softy is one of the aminals that helped me through some of the tougher spots of dealing with small children. Her main responsibility was facilitating phone calls between the GG and her owner when the GG was down here on The Planet and the rest of us were at the moomincabin. (Hey, I’m not crazy about phone calls either!)

A couple of relatives were skeptical and even a bit disdainful that I would actually use a stuffed aminal to work with a small child. What the heck? I was born with a scant selection of tools for dealing with children so I grabbed onto any tool that seemed to work. I’m pretty sure that Softy’s s-o-f-t (if high-pitched) voice was more influential than the wah wah wah of an adult barking out orders. (Although I sure did that too, oh boy oh boy oh boy!)

Softy Beanbag joined our family wearing only the fur she was born with but quickly acquired a cute little dress and a pair of, uh, lace pantaloons and has been wearing those articles of clothing for more years than I am strong enough to count.

Softy still lives at The Landfill and travels with the GG. One of my favorite memories of Softy was when the GG had signed up to help chaperone a second grade field trip. He had fastened Softy onto his backpack, facing outward, and one of the teachers, who had been having a rather difficult morning, said that as soon as she saw Softy there, she relaxed. A dad taking a stuffed mouse on a field trip was likely a good omen. The GG has always been good at the cat-herding that goes with parenting. Meeeee, not so much. Spreadsheets and databases and things, PLEASE!

Recipes to use up old beer

Monday, October 23rd, 2017

It’s getting to be that time of year again. You know the time. Halloween is right around the corner and you know what happens after that, roight? You turn around about three times and suddenly Turkey Day and xmas are staring you in the face. Those are two of the main times I try to present a full-fledged meal here at the Landfill and that means…

Time to clean out the fridge. Actually, I keep as little as possible in the fridge these days. That goes for the cupboards too, i.e., non-perishable stuff. Like this weekend I decided to take everything out of my “pantry” shelves, figure out exactly what was there and put things back in such a way that I could *see* what was there. Guess what? There was a whole container of bread crumbs! Why is that significant? Because a few weeks ago we ran *out* of breadcrumbs (or so we thought) and I put them on my grokkery list. I was gonna buy breadcrumbs at Meijer yesterday morning but I couldn’t FIND any (don’t ask) and then when I got home? Voila! That’s the kind of thing I hate. When I think I am out of something and I buy it and then I find another container (or two or three) at home.

So right now, we seem to have a big “clump” of beer on the top shelf of the fridge. Beer that has been there for at least a year, some of it maybe two. Why? Because it is *weird* fortified root beer that nobody likes. I won’t say who bought it or speculate on why they thought it might be good but it seems like the fave beer around here these days is Bell’s Two Hearted and I dunno, if that’s what kind of beer people like, why buy something else? At least not in a six-pack form factor.

So what to do with the Beer Clump? I had an epiphany! Maybe I can use it as a recipe ingredient. So I googled and there were some beer breads and things but I don’t ever make bread and then… Hmmm… Marinade? Yes! I will make marinade outta that stuff. I don’t even really need a recipe for that.

I already have some pork chops marinating in a fortified root beer marinade. One bottle down, six to go. The other stuff in there? Cheese, including 15-year-old cheese from Wilson’s Cheese Shop (I knooooow, but the GG likes it and so did our sister Susie). Chocolate milk boxes that I take to work for my lunch. A huuuuuuge jar of sauerkraut. How old is it? I do not know (but not *that* old). But still. It is a huge jar and only one person here eats it.

Anyway, how do you use up beer that nobody wants to drink (or maybe you don’t have that problem)?

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.


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.


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.