Archive for December, 2017

Hey, KW, get off yer MacDuff!

Sunday, December 31st, 2017

I am trying to take things a bit easy during cold2 (cold weather and cold virus) but it is hard for me to sit still so I finally got off my MacDuff and over to the Plum Market this morning. I took the Ninja. I usually walk over there but I was thinking I might buy more stuff than I could schlep home in a backpack today.

I did buy more than I could shlep home. Plus I lost track of my purse about the time I was heading to the checkout. It was in my cart and I found it after a bit of rummaging. I had received a text message when I entered the store and that discombobulated me to no end. And then, when I got out to my vee-hickle, a guy was backing a huge Ford Twuk into the parking space next to me. I looked askance at him for a moment before I realized that he was not gonna slam into my wee vee-hickle. He must have seen me give him the side-eye because after he got parked, he (cheerfully) said something like, “Not bad, eh?” I had to agree and gave him a thumbs up. Another woman mighta been angry but what the hell. He did not hit my car. Happy New Year.

I spent most of the afternoon reading Outlander, Sitting on the Green Couch Watching all the Dogs Go By.

The GG schlepped over to DayTwa today for brek and a Lions game with Lizard Breath. That was wonderful (and the Lions actually won for a change) but now he is home and after a nice beef stroganoff dinner, with a faaaar in the faaaarplace, we are kinda hanging out on New Year’s Eve. He kinda likes to go out for NYE but it just ain’t happening this year. Last year we had a rather more exciting NYE. We drove down from Hoton Lake, and our kids plus Pengo and cBear converged here. We walked down to the Griz for lunch, then back for dinner here with npJane. npJane dropped the younger generation downtown and the GG picked them up later.

Every year is different. This is a quiet year and that is okay. Well, except that there is a frickin’ Stink Bug on Gertrude… Love y’all and Happy New Year!

Honking up a murder of crows on Joy Road

Saturday, December 30th, 2017

This was just a bit down the road from Mother Teresa Drive, which, if you know the Planet Ann Arbor, is where the owner of Domino’s Pizza lives. When the beach urchins were small, his helicopters used to fly over our neighborhood frequently. I don’t know if he has helicopters any more but I haven’t seen one in a gazillion years.

Anyway, I did not walk down to the farmers market this morning. We didn’t really need anything. We have salad stuff and fish that Bob and Gay (um, what???) caught and a pheasant from the Plum Market. And I dunno what else but it is enough to sustain us through the new year. So we took a ride up and over to the east side of the Planet Ann Arbor area and managed to scare up these crows.

We drove downtown for lunch today (we usually walk). I am not feeling unwell at all but I do have a cold and it was cold and windy as all getout today. For a while I was thinking it would be fun to take the bus (I love the bus) but after we got done with our little snow-crow drive, the wind had kicked up and I didn’t really want to wait at bus stops, so I threw in the towel and suggested we simply drive one of our vee-hickles downtown. To my great relief, the GG readily agreed.

And then, MAGA MAGA MAGA. That means a different thing than Trump might think it means. And I can only guess that my [dead] parents are laughing from wherever they are.

I have to blahg so people will know I am okay!

Friday, December 29th, 2017

And so I do. It used to be because The Commander (my mother) would wonder if I didn’t blahg.

Tonight, after dinner at the OT and porterization at The Landfill, I had not written a blahg entry yet. I spent the whole day “working” (or not much) from home and I hab a code id by doze. I am okay but feeling a bit slodgy in general, even though I walked downtown (2 miles) for dinner.

Anyway, I told the GG that I needed to post a blahg entry so my kids would know that I was okay. No sooner did I say that than… doodle-oop! went my iPhone in my pocket. And guess what it was? A text message from one of my children wondering why I hadn’t posted anything yet. She is waiting in her union suit for this loverly entry and so here it is!

So glad I have folks who keep track of my whereabouts and well-being. I am fine but don’t have a whole lot to say about today. That is a GOOD THING! I Love you ALL!

Slodge along…

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

I don’t even want to peek at my fitbit stats today. I dunno. I did not walk really at all today. Something about that igloo icon and -18 degree temperature reading when I first looked at my phone this morning was off-putting, even though it was actually more like -1 here at the Landfill. They measure the temperature over at the A2 airport – near my work – and it is almost always much colder there, although MMCB1 also had very cold temps at her house and it’s not that far away from mine although it is down in a “hollow”. Microclimates?

Then there was the “do I have a wee bit of dry (sore?) throat?” during the night. Lizard Breath had a cold over xmas and maybe I’m catching it. I am a 100% non-believer in the whole set of wives tales about going outside in the cold giving a person a cold. Colds are caused by VIRUSES (!) and if you are a healthy person and dressed properly and don’t go on some kind of Death March, I do not believe that cold weather causes colds, even if you have wet hair, like I do every single morning of my life. I DOOOOO believe that going outside in the cold once you have *caught* a cold can potentially make it worse. Today? I was just frickin’ lazy. Getting suited up to go out there was more than I wanted to deal with. I have been blowig by dose a lot today but I don’t feel sick at all. But who knows how this cold’s trajectory will go, if it is indeed a cold.

Oh man, I will be glad when people start trickling back into work next week. TODAY, the Benevolent Despot managed to remember his badge and keys so he didn’t have to call me from the parking lot to let him in. But then when he started up his [new] laptop, it crashed and would NOT come back up and he had to CALL support (I had to find the number) because no laptop and they couldn’t help (and Rocks and MrLuv couldn’t help either) so he has to send it out to The Mothership and so he took off to go visit his mother-in-law. But not without decreeing that I was to work from home tomorrow and TAKE OFF EARLY! Yes sir! Aye-aye sir! Thank you sir! (I was planning on doing that anyway and he knew it.)

It seems like we’ll be in a deep freeze for the duration. People kind of crack me up though, talking about temperatures. Somebody today was saying something about 20 below out in Iowa or wherever. It sounded like absolutely horrible weather but, when I was a kid in Sault Ste. Siberia, I remember walking to school when it was 32 below zero. Really! One time, I was wearing a “fashionable” (but not warm) faux-leopard-skin coat, some sort of goofy hat and NYLON STOCKINGS. Jeebus. Where were my tights and leggings and long wool skirt? Where was my balaclava? How did I not get frostbite?


Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

Not the most exciting photo but that’s about what it looked like out my front window this afternoon. A little more snow today (I took this a couple weeks ago).

Was it 3 or -3 when I checked the weather this morning? I can’t remember. It was probably 3 here. By the time I got to work a few hours later, the Ninja proclaimed -11. I didn’t really feel it. I was layered to the nines. Tights, leggings, long wool skirt. Turtleneck sweater, polartech vest, Smartwool jacket. Smartwool balaclava and bomber hat. Two pairs of little knit glubs. Smartwool socks and my new Sorel boots that I actually think will fit me well enough that I asked for (and received) a second pair from “Santa”. If I have learned anything in my life, when you are operating with a minimalist kind of wardrobe, if you reeeeealllly reeeeally reeealllly like something, buy another one (or two) right away, before they stop carrying them!

If I can do a little commercial here, my Smartwool jacket just plain ROCKS! It is lighter than a feather and uber-warm. Yes, it’s $220. It is WORTH IT! I would buy a second one of these but I bet that Smartwool will have them around for a while and maybe even expand that line of clothing.

Where the heck was I? The plow came by last night so I had some “cement” to shovel out of the bottom of the driveway this morning. I faaaared up the Ninja and let it egregiously idle while I shoveled. Ano and his human came by on their way to the woods and I eventually did a woods walk but that was about it after the shoveling. And then Pie For Breakfast! Cranberry from Sister Pie. Google it.

So to work. The streets were not bad but I am always thinking about Black Ice so I did a Slow Drive. That was okay until I got into my business park. Can I just say Squiggly Roads and ICE (ICE ICE). People ALWAYS end up in the ditch (or even sometimes one of the ponds!). I was going about 18 mph into there today (speed limit is 25). I had a tailgater. And then somebody was in the ditch and the tailgater backed off. Jeebus. I’ve been working down there for 10 years. S-L-O-W D-O-W-N when it snows (or turtles are crossing the road).

NOBODY on my team except me was at work this morning and nobody was online. Until. Dun dun dun dun… My phone rang. The Benevolent Despot was in the parking lot without his badge, could I let him in? Well, duh. He couldn’t get into his office either so after a morning with me and the CRD online with us in a conference room working on our new methodology, he went home to work. And… So did I. What the heck?

On the 7th day of xmas…

Tuesday, December 26th, 2017

…I read a book…

Honestly, this was just about the best xmas I’ve had in a while. I’m counting the seven days since last Wednesday. Lemme see… I worked last Wednesday but then we had dinner out with friends. Thursday and Friday, dinner out with friends. Saturday, cFam xmas party. I did not have to cook or muck around with dishes for FOUR DAYS IN A ROW! Not that I mind cooking and doing dishes at all. I actually enjoy it but it was nice to have a break. Sunday was lunch at the Griz with A2-based Fin relations and then a bit of hanging out at the Landfill with my kids’ wonderful young second cousins during a snowstorm.

Christmas day? Pretty much perfect! I try hard to strike a balance with gifts. Nobody needs anything and I don’t like to load people up with junky trinkets but I also like to have a few small packages for people to open. Small being the operative word here. Mouse said something like, “I’m glad I don’t have to schlep a few laundry baskets full of Stuff home.” Indeed. We were plagued with Snow Squalls during the afternoon and evening but Liz made it back to a party in the downtown Detroit area (which is also her home) without event.

I was alone today and didn’t have to work. Yaaay! I started on the Outlander book series. I had been reading The Power (I have mixed feelings but I am nowhere near done) but I interrupted that book to read Outlander. I am greatly enjoying it! Is it great literature? Probably not but I don’t think I care. Okay. But. One of the things that bothered me was how the time traveling protagonist took over an earlier (18th century) “doctor’s” office. She allowed a couple of young “maids” to come in and dust everything in there and then, well, she threw out a lot of stuff. Well, I guess it’s okay that she threw out the jar of old dried-up mouse ears.

In my role at my work, I often have to do what I call archaeological digs. Why the heck did we do this and how does it relate to what we’re doing now? So I look back through old documents to try to figger it out. I am only going back to 2005, mind you. I get reeeaaaally annoyed when somebody deletes documents for some unknown reason and we are unable to restore them. Grrrrrrrr.

But I was home alone today and I read a book off and on all day and we’ll see what happens in Outlander. I guess there’s a TV series or movies too. We need another of those…

I wonder where the snowplows are. They don’t seem to be anywhere near here. I will have to telecommute tomorrow if they do not come through. If they do come through, I’ll have to shovel the cement-snow at the bottom of the driveway.

And… there’s the plow!

xmas uuuuglies

Monday, December 25th, 2017

We were texting this morning with Pengo Janetto and cBear, who are spending xmas at their home down there in Crazy Old [beloved] Fla. I was remembering the good old days, the early days of digital cameras. My brother the engineer (Pengo’s dad) usually managed to have, if not the latest and greatest, at least something better than me when it came to cameras. He was way more “into” photography (“What are you into?”) than I have ever been and I sometimes wonder what he would have thought about iPhoneography. I suspect he’d’ve probably rocked it while still keeping up with other fancy camera technology.

The last couple Christmases of his life, he instigated Ugly Photo exchanges between his family and ours. His dog Sam doing something weird or gross or whatever. His daughter Valdemort making a goofy face. You know how it goes. I responded with Liz making an ugly face and a photo I could only title “In my underwear” of the GG wearing his long underwear midway through the day, something I was not happy about. I could not find those old photos today but I found some Dog Pics from the next xmas. First up is Sam. He was a hilarious dog but is long dead and I miss him.

Then there is one of Ernie decimating a pig’s ear. Ernie is still alive (as far as I know) but I have not seen him in years because Stoopidest In-law Crapola on Earth. I miss him too. I doubt I’ll see him again except maybe someday at the rainbow bridge.

Heeeeeere’s Ernie again. Yes, this is a pretty scary photo.

Holidays don’t seem to be holidays around here lately without a dose of this kind of thing:

This screen huuuuuuung around for a couple hours until I finally bit the bullet and did a hard re-a-start. Miraculously, everything came back all right. Apple, please please pretty please with sugar and a cherry on top, make your upgrades more user friendly.

Below is my first and best photo of the day. xmas colors with a dose of white xmas behind.

And I won’t post any pics of people in their brand new red union suits (with the flap in the back and everything) or the GG zonked out on the couch next to his brand new Lyme Lounge vacuum cleaner and other xmas gifts, etc.

Raining cousins and talking xmas trees

Sunday, December 24th, 2017

I couldn’t count the number of folks at the cFam party yesterday if I tried. Or maybe I could but I don’t really want to. Somebody posted a pic of one branch of the fam on facebook today — the Lord and Lady of Linden and their kids — and I think I counted 19. This was the GG’s sister and her husband and all of the other people in the pic are our nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and nephews, 1st cousins and 1st cousins once removed to the beach urchins. I am not going to post that pic here but below is one that I took of a clump of our teenage grand-nieces and nephews driving the Lord of Linden’s golf cart around. The Lord of Linden is their granddad.

Today. Grizzly Peak with, hmm, my aunt and uncle, two of my 1st cousins (their kids), my kids, and my cousin’s kids, who are my first cousins once removed and my kids’ second cousins. And nephews of npJane, one of said 1st cousins. We finished off the day over here at The Landfill with the second cousins visiting for the afternoon. Here is a pic of the Landfill Man Cave from my introvert’s vantage point behind the xmas tree. No you can’t see any people in this pic. I’m sitting behind the xmas tree. We had a great time though and before the wonderful young men we used to call the Boyz of Noyz left, the non-driver had a ‘hattan with us. (We loved them back when they were the Boyz of Noyz too. I so often miss those days.)

I am feeling blessed to have so many friends and relations and to be able to spend time with them over the xmas holidays. And BTW, last night one of my young grand-nephews asked me which holiday I celebrated. My answer? Every single one! That was the right answer but even though I don’t really celebrate every holiday, I celebrate every person’s right to celebrate their own holidays. Love y’all and “the kids are all right.”

All of this on a snowy xmas eve, one where we aren’t worrying about anyone driving in from any kind of distance. I sat in the Reading Chair, which was behind the xmas tree and let me tell you, sitting behind a big bushy lit up tree gives you a lot of room to say whatever you want. Talking xmas tree.

xmas outtakes

Saturday, December 23rd, 2017

First, I posted the loverly pic below on Instagram. It is of xmas lights on the back of the Red Puano. I did not look at anything on Instagram before I posted this. *After* I posted it, I scrolled down and wouldn’t you know, my BFF Sam (archaeologist, not dog) had posted a similar pic. Her pic does not involve a puano but it does not involve a Christmas tree either. They light up an old newsbox. (We also have a tree. They do not.) But it was funny because Lizard Breath had seen Archaeofacts’s post and thought for an instant that it was *mine*. And then I posted mine. If this doesn’t make sense, go read one of DJT’s tweets to get some perspective 🐽

I married a Redneck? Yes, I did. This was the fashion last night, lending a whole new meaning to the old lyrics, “Up against the wall, you Redneck Mother”. Wait a minute. Are those lyrics from a real song or am I just dreaming. Colorado comes to mind. Skiing? And bars? Hmmm… That was a looooooong time ago…

After dinner, we actually entertained for a bit. Not for tooooo long because I turn into a pumpkin at about I dunno, 8:30 or so. Here we are in front of a roaring YULETIDE faaaaar. I will have to get a better pic of the remaining Yule Log before somebody burns it. The other one got burned last night.

And now we are awaiting Lizard Breath’s arrival so we can make our way to the cFam xmas bash. In an effort to keep the GG from getting “antsy” 🐜🐜🐜 about leaving a weeeeee bit later than he really wanted to, LB is keeping him busy via a request for an Egg Sandwich To Go. He is ALWAYS good for an Egg Sandwich (to go or to eat in) for either of his baby girls (or anyone else).

When a maaaaaaan drives a vacuum

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

What was I doing? I was hanging out on the Green Couch doing the xword after a busy morning of shopping and wrapping (a few) more packages. Roooomba was running around in the chitchen and the GG was driving the Tornado Vacuum around back in the Man Cave and…

Clunkety-clunkety-clunkety-clunk KA-WHOMP! It sounded like someone was throwing furniture around. I went into the chitchen. Everything was all right. I headed back toward the Man Cave and… Hello? Where is the stepstool I had positioned at the top of the basement stairs to keep Roooooomba in the chitchen? It wasn’t in the Man Cave. I asked the GG. He said, “It’s in the chitchen.” Uhhhh, nooooo… Then I looked down the stairs.

The GG is trying to blame Rooooomba for this accident. I couldn’t really figure how Rooooomba could be at fault. Roooooomba doesn’t knock furniture around like a maaaaaaan-driven vacuum cleaner can do. You can put an empty plastic laundry basket across a doorway and Roooooomba might move it an eighth of an inch or something but she will also turn around and go the other direction.

So I was skeptical but I suppose if the stool was right at the edge of the step and maybe one of the legs was even a bit *over* the step, Rooooomba could’ve nudged it a wee bit over the edge, causing it (the stool) to tip over and then somersault down the stairs. Rooooomba itself does not go over edges. She stops and plays a Sad Song.

Okay, so now we know what it sounds like when somebody/something (heavier than an empty box) falls down the stairs!

BTW: Please excuse the empty box and other junk at the bottom of the stairs, along with the general ugliness. We randomly bumped into Certified Kitchen Lady at Knight’s the other night and I told her I wanted her to help me re-do The Landfill Dungeon. I was only half kidding. Actually, before we can do a reno down there, we have to do some more flinging. Or maybe the best plan is to schedule a reno and flinging will happen.

I am gonna sign off for now. We are actually “entertaining” tonight and my brain is not being all that successful with multi-tasking so who knows what kind of typographical errors I have made (and I’m having particular trouble with plurals today). We’ll talk about the Rednecks some other day.

Byzantine endeavors

Thursday, December 21st, 2017

Meet Apple Mouse.

I took the solstice off. There was nothing terribly byzantine about most of my day. Early morning walk, coffee with friends, a couple shopping expotitions, cleaning, wrapping a few packages (don’t worry kids, I don’t have much). After all that, I walked over to the Plum and picked up a duck to cook on xmas and a pheasant for some other time. It seemed to be Exotic Bird Day over at the Plum so I snagged the pheasant because I know I will not see one of those just hanging about again for a while.

True story: Once upon a time, a pheasant* hit the Moomincabin picture window and died and The Commander and Esther Sherman plucked the feathers off it, cleaned it up, and cooked it for dinner. *Or maybe a grouse, see comments 🐸

Anyway, Mouse and the GG were out death marching around Waterloo somewhere so I was happily spacified and then, npJane texted that she had something to drop off here and wondered if anyone was home. Well. “I am!” It didn’t take too much persuading for her to have a glass o’ whine with me and before we knew it, almost two hours had elapsed. Cousins (of all degrees) absolutely ROCK!

The other day, I got off on a tangent about my ancient xmas newsletters. Today I went looking for them, both on my laptop and hard-copy. I found them on my laptop but try as I might, I could not get the images to show up (I could see them in the word doc preview). Yes, I googled around to pretty much no avail.

I ended up emailing them to my work address and, voila, Word on my Windows musheen opened them with the images intact. So… I used Snagit to capture them all and save them to jpg format, then I sent them back to my personal email as attachments. All of this McGyvering worked wonderfully but it reminded me tooooo much of the original McGyvering I had to do to get the original images into the original documents. Except that involved actual paper and spanners scanners and things.

After all of those Byzantine endeavors, on a hunch, I opened up Photos on my *personal* laptop and searched for “newsl” and wouldn’t you know, I have a whole folder called “Newsletter Scans” in there where I apparently managed to save the images at some point and have apparently totally forgotten that I did that. Jeebus.

I love the images in those old newsletters but I cannot BELIEVE how AWFUL my writing was! All the complaining I did about how frantic life was and how we were always scrambling around for money to fix multitudes of broken appliances and cars and fighting off umpteen bazillion viruses. Did I really send these newsletters out? I do not remember things being that bad at all. We had a good life in a comfortable house with wonderful children. Maybe one of these days when I am bored, I will compile some of the out-takes.

Unexpected anniversary

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

10 years at my loverly little job over at Cubelandia. I was aware that it was somewhere around 10 years but that was the last thing on my mind today when Amazon Woman and FZ and The Benevolent Despot and Rocks and Mr. Luv came around the corner SINGING (sorta) to hand me my 10-year paraphernalia, a letter of commendation and an Anniversary Artifact. OMG.

I am a woman and I am in a demographic category such that people don’t often ask me what I do for a living or how I ended up with my job. Mostly I guess they just figure I grokkery shop and wrangle vacuum cleaners and clean up after cats or grandchildren or whatever. Grokkeries and vacuum cleaners? ALL THE TIME! Cats? Occasionally but not recently. Grandchildren? I do get to borrow sweet C*Q*L from my cousin sometimes 💜

So, when someone actually asks me what I doooooo for a living they often sit back a bit when I say I am a systems analyst in the online banking biz. Whaaaaaat? Yooouuuu? Then, when they [inevitably] ask me *how* I ended up with that job, I LOOOOOOVVVVE to say, “Totally accidentally!” and watch their reactions.

I actually started my job a few months earlier than my official anniversary date but I started it as a student intern and it was December when The Benevolent Despot asked me to join back up with Corporate America as a full-time salaried employee. My brain reeled for 24 hours or so but you know I had to say “yes”.

I had an interesting start to this job in that my official full-time start date was just before the xmas holidays and I had NOTHING TO DO! In fact, when I returned to work as a full-time employee, I walked in and my computer was GONE! The then Uber Boss had told me not to worry about working until the new year but I am possessed with a Work Ethic that regularly knocks me upside the head if I am not doing something to earn my pay so getting paid for shopping at Chico’s with Lizard Breath was a pretty extreme cognitive dissonance. I guess we were buying biz-caz work clothes for me so maybe that counts.

Fast forward. The work ebbs and flows and it remains slow throughout the holidays but I can *always* find something to do. As I was doing today when The Benevolent Despot boomed out, “Go Home!” to me at like 4:15 or so. I was planning on leaving early anyway because we were meeting some old friends over at Knight’s for dinner on the early side. It was one o’ them thar days at work where people were goofing off in general and TBD [Jewish] kept “surprising” people with some kind of thingy that played “Jingle Bell Rock”.

Lemme see… I still wear what passes for biz-caz to work but we relaxed our standards to Every Day Jeans a couple years ago.

When I went to add my Anniversary Artifact to my Knickknack Shelf today, I decided I needed to do some serious dusting. I don’t have much on my KnickKnack Shelf and most of the other few knickknacks on my shelf are thingies that Broooooosie stored with me for safe-keeping a couple years ago. Brooooosie is no longer around Cubelandia but I still keep his knickknacks for old times sake.

We fish you a frooooogggy Christmas

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

I used to do one o’ them thar xmas newsletters waaaay back in the day. The kind you type up and copy and mail to all most of the folks on your xmas card list. Being a Successful Failure, I always tried not to brag about all of our Wonderful Accomplishments and Wunderkind. I mean, our kids are very smart but they certainly aren’t any smarter than yours. Instead I tried to tell what I hoped were humorous stories about our humble little lives here in our shabby little house on The Planet Ann Arbor.

When I did my newsletter, it was back in the early Macintosh computer days and I had a great time incorporating photos and drawings and other graphics. It was not easy to do this. I had to McGyver my way through an unfathomable series of software applications (MacPaint anyone?) and hardware to manage to get everything into a Word doc to print and copy (and stuff into hand-addressed envelopes to mail out). I wish I could remember that whole process because it was pretty dern funny but I can’t, at least not off-hand.

I kind of fell off on the newsletter after a while. Little kids turned into teenagers and it seemed like their lives were *their* lives and who was I to try to write about them. And if I wrote about their best moments it might seem like I was bragging and I have followed in my mother’s footsteps not to brag about my children. Plus I was just plain busy in a different way that I won’t go into for now. And then, when I started my Vanity Blahg, there didn’t seem to be much point in sending out newsletters any more.

Having Froooooggy fishing you a merry xmas reminded me that I once sent out a newsletter with the title “We Fish You a Merry Christmas” and I had a loverly sketch of fish and bubbles and maybe kelp(?), that the GG had drawn. I know that sketch is somewhere on my laptop. I will have to find it.

By the way, I have ALWAYS enjoyed *receiving* xmas newsletters from people. Even if your newsletter sounds like you are “bragging”, I know that you are highlighting your family’s good times and keeping the not-so-good under the covers. Life is like a river and we all have our good and bad days.

Love y’all, KW

Season of darkness (and light)

Monday, December 18th, 2017

Our Monday morning design meeting eventually devolved, as it usually does. We can get off onto some of the weirdest tangents. Video games are often a Hot Topic, although the NYT Xword (which I do EVERY DAY!) is more my speed than, oh, I dunno, Halo or Portal or whatever that game was when we were at a restaurant and the Benevolent Despot was talking about how he was jumping over garbage cans and other such acrobatics. The patrons at the next table were kind of eyeballing TBD, obviously thinking something like, “That guy can jump over garbage cans?”

Then there was the day when someone… I won’t name any names here… came into the room at the start of the meeting and said, “I’m gonna tell you guys something and then I’m gonna go to the bathroom.” I’ll stop there but that meeting took a good 15 minutes to get rolling. Of course, we also had to deal with the usual round of technical issues, like getting my laptop talking to the TV, talking to the telecommuters on the phone, etc., etc. We are not Facebook or The Google so our conference rooms are still Snake Pits of cables and waaaars and we don’t pay a, well, I dunno what to call a person who gets paid to set up meetings. We all beat up on computers and we manage to muddle through that stuff eventually, not to mention we are humble enough to laugh at our own incompetence.

Today we devolved into a quasi-religious discussion about Christmas and Hanukkah and how people in America and Russia celebrate these holidays (or not). (We have a Russian-born American citizen on our team. He seems to be finally [after 10 years] to be treating me as an intelligent person, aka he actually makes jokes about me. This is a good thing.) I won’t go on and on about this discussion but I finally said something like, “Whatever religion you participate in [or not], the winter solstice is a dark season and we need light!”. There was general agreement with that. I have always believed that the winter solstice holidays evolved well before Jesus, because light is one of the things that keeps people going until That Orb swings back northward (or southward because we do not all live in the northern hemisphere).

We don’t have a fire in our fireplace tonight. It is actually a bit warm (40?) to have a fire. But we have a Christmas tree draped with colored lights and our usual strings of LEDs elsewhere. I generally like daylight in the day and low light at night but that would be a whole ‘nother Vanity Blog entry.

Livin’ in a purple house

Sunday, December 17th, 2017

So I think I blahgged something about a Shopping Weekend a few days ago. Except I got more than halfway through the weekend without doing ANY shopping, except for one thing I bought online. Actually I tried to buy the online thing a while back but it didn’t arrive and I didn’t get a confirmation message. When I finally went out to the merchant’s website, it turned out that it was “hung up”. That particular website does not seem to “play well” with Firefox, which is the browser I use on my MacBook Pro. Switching to Safari gave me a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT web experience and the item is now on its way. This is a MAJOR US merchant so I’m a little puzzled as to why they are [apparently] not doing any QA testing on Firefox but whatever. All’s well that ends well.

None of us *need* any gifts to open around here on xmas morning but I like to have a few little packages for people to open just because. I try to make them small enough that they don’t clutter and overwhelm anyone’s carefully curated space and I am TOTALLY OKAY with re-gifting for absolutely any reason. We all have toooooo much stuff! If I give you a gift, I will never ask about it again.

But man oh man, do I HATE shopping! The mall is out unless there is something specifically requested that is available only there. Downtown A2? Uhhhhh… Yeah. Lotsa little chichi type shops with lotsa stuff that no one needs. And lots of people milling around. I couldn’t even bring myself to look around down there yesterday. Oh, don’t get me wrong, this is more about my mood yesterday than anything happening downtown. Really. And I am A-okay. It was a minor bit of sagginess. Life is like a river and some days are happier than others. Remember that!

So today, we took a slow cruise along our fave Huron River Drive to a couple of the little satellite cities a few miles to the west of us, Dexter and Chelsea. They have nice downtown shopping areas that are much smaller than our loverly planet has and I felt like those might be easier for me to navigate. It took me a looooooong time to find something that fit the bill in the first store we went to but, just as I was about to give up, I found… Well, I won’t tell you but it was just the right thing. And then I found another just-right thing. And then we moved cities and I found a few other little items.

We also ran into Alice, an old friend who I’m sure doesn’t have a clue that I write a Vanity Blog (or maybe anything much else about me). And that’s when we got into a convo about “purple” and she said Colorado was purple and I said, just like my house, and I don’t think either she or the GG understood what I had just said. I was quiet throughout most of the convo because I have *never* been able to keep up with Alice. [wink] I love her and she is very intelligent but, although she has always worked very hard in her life, in my humble opinion, she has also always tried too hard. I think she is a Successful Failure but doesn’t realize it and therefore lives through her childrens’ success. I am totally a Successful Failure. Like my dad was. He was happy and so am I.

And then we took our fave Jerusalem Road back over to the Planet Ann Arbor and had lunch at The Session Room. The soup of the day was a new one, salmon chowder. It was fantabulous.

Hey, Garbage Woman…

Saturday, December 16th, 2017

Did I want to go to the dump today? Yes yes yes! I am always happy to go to the dump. Let’s fling! The item that we “dumped” today was a bit harder than usual so I didn’t take pictures of our adventure.

When we got married and moved into the Jackson Road apartment, we needed some furniture, including a couch (davenport, sofa, whatever). We looked at all of the usual furniture stores and we could not agree. And we looked at all of the usual furniture stores and we couldn’t agree. And then. One night we were out at Briarwood Mall. I hate going to “the mall” nowadays and only go there when there is some kind of thing to do at the Apple Store and I wish Apple would open up a second store on The Planet Ann Arbor, like over in Westgate or someplace. But I am off in the weeds now.

We were in Hudsons and THERE WAS OUR COUCH! We both agreed upon it at first sight and so we bought it for our apartment and I took many naps upon it after our older daughter was on the way.

We moved that beautiful couch from our old Jackson Road apartment to the house we bought all those years ago and still live in. And here is our baby taking a nap on that couch with her mother (me, who you can’t see) after a winter wonderland walk through the neighborhood. We carried her on that trip. She was a new walker at that time but still happy to be carried.

Here is the GG taking a nap on that couch a while back. it was a wonderfully comfortable couch but it was shredded.

Now we have this couch. I like it better than I thought I would.

Designated Decoy

Friday, December 15th, 2017

I have declared this weekend Shopping Weekend. I’m not sure what kind of shopping will be accomplished but we are kind of waaaaay behind on xmas and we will try. Even though none of us need anything and I think we would all be happy enough to declare xmas to be Reading Day. Still, a few gifts for the beach urchins to open?

When I got down to the Oscar Tango tonight, everyone was already lit, as you may be able to see. Please ignore the GG’s shirt.

I think this is a great pic of porterization and a much more acceptable Red Plaid Shirt.

Speaking of gifts, last weekend at the gosling shower, many of the young women who attended gave beautiful handmade gifts to the yet-to-be-born babe. As folks who make handmade stuff (including me) often do, they talked about the flaws. Even though I know how to do various forms of fiber arts and have made my own mistakes, I could not see any flaws. I was awed at the beauty of the final products and the effort that was obviously put into them. I remember these young women when they were in middle school and I greatly love the wonderful adults they have turned into.

On the first day of Hanukkah…

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

I promise I won’t keep going on forever about political crap but…

A friend posted on facebook today that on the first day of Hanukkah, the Alabama GOP candidate for JBS’s seat lost the election. And… On the second day of Hanukkah, Omarosa (Manigault Newman) resigned (or was faaaared and frog-marched out) from her “position” at the White House. Until I read an article by a reporter who “shadowed” Omarosa for a morning at the WH, I didn’t know who the heck she was. I never watched Trump’s stupid reality show (I HAVE watched “Naked and Afraid”, mind you). The reporter who wrote the article couldn’t figure out what the heck Omarosa actually, uh, did to earn her pay. As near as the reporter could figure out, all of us taxpayers were paying for Omarosa to make arrangements for her wedding, which is what she did all morning.

I’m not sure anything happened on the third day of Hanukkah but Good Riddance to Roy Moore and Omarosa (Manigault Newman). My beloved [Jewish] boss did not have a great start to the third day of Hanukkah, as he spent a half hour sitting on the I94 18-Wheel Clogway waiting for multiple accidents to be cleared. People? People? People? Slooooooooow down!

If you have gotten this far, I am done with the political stuff for tonight. Now the GG is asking me all kinds of financial questions. I know the answers to some of these questions. I do not know the answers to all of these questions. Some of these questions are inscrutable. What? The last question got me going big-time but in a gooooood way. “What is an ACH transaction?” Oh man, I wrote a spec on that when we were modernizing our ACH stuff at work. Jeebus, I know the ACH file format inside and out and a whole bunch more that you do not even want to know. To give the GG some credit, he kind of knew what an ACH transaction was and that I probably knew the file format, etc. He knew enough to know that the ACH question would make me happier than his earlier ones, because I could talk about my work.

The pic is the GG wielding a Yooper Scooper to clear our sidewalk last night.

Go Alabama! #MAGA #MAGA #MAGA!

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017

I am sorry. I am not (as some of you wonderful people may believe) Lefty Lulu. I am probably best described as a fiscal conservative (but with great compassion for those who have less than I do) and social progressive. Live and Let Live.

As for God? Last I looked, one of the founding principles of our wonderful country is that people are free to worship any god they want, including no god. If you want to believe in God or Jesus Christ or Allah or Thor or that Spaghetti Monster dude, you are free to do it. It would be real friendly if you didn’t try to impose your object of worship and whatever rules your religion has codified onto other people. I guess Roy Moore believes in the Christian God. That is fine with me but I do not understand why he keeps invoking that god when talking about his failed race for Jefferson Beauregard Sessions’s seat. It totally turns me off!

Why? I am a baptized Christian of the Methodist denomination, the mainstream protestant flavor, not the holy roller sort (although the holy roller Methodists are *people* and are free to worship God however they want as far as I am concerned). That said, being an infant at the time of my baptism, I had no choice in the matter and I turned out to be an agnostic. Does God exist? I dunno. Maybe, maybe not. If he does exist, does he give a hoot about our little planet and the people who live here? Maybe, maybe not. Rather than put my fate in the hands of an entity that may or may not exist (or care about “his” supplicants), I choose to live by the principle of the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. From my humble view as a Successful Failure, I think a lot of folks who claim to be Christians have lost track of that rule.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. One of the other rules I live by is, “I’m Human, I Err”. Because I do. All the time. And so do you.

Anyway, last night the TV was on as we were getting ready to crash out and the Alabama election returns were still coming in. It looked like “my” candidate was losing and I could not bring myself to watch, so the GG finally turned down the sound and I drifted off into stress-dreamland. I am sorry, even minus the pedophilia accusations against Mr. Moore, he seems like a perfectly horrible candidate for any kind of political office. I’m not going to go into that for now. You can use The Google.

This morning, I groped for my phone to check the weather and right front and center there was a news notification that Doug Jones had won the election. Thank you God, said this baptized Christian agnostic to herself. Silently, so as not to wake up the GG.

Accept your loss, Mr. Moore. Go home and ride your horse. And maybe reflect upon the fact that a huge number of your woulda-been constituents will never be able to afford to own even one horse. Or even an old rusted out automotive vee-hickle that might on a good day get that person to work at a job that would pay a living wage.

Blustery day at Cubelandia

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

So, something like 10 days ago or so it was tolerably warm outside and I was contemplating sitting out in the back yard on a Saturday afternoon but I never did because it gets dark at 5:00 PM these days and it wasn’t quiiiiite thaaaaat warm. And now, a couple of Alberta Clippers and a little Polar Vortex later, we have enough snow around that it is kind of beginning to pile up. And maybe more snow tomorrow…

Driving to Cubelandia this morning was not too bad but I probably felt more secure because I took the Frog Hopper, which has AWD, instead of the Ninja, which I miss greatly on my Zen Commute but the commute isn’t all that zen when you have potentially slithery “performance” taaars. I wonder when I will make the jump to a new vee-hickle. I-don’t-want-to I-don’t-want-to I-don’t-want-to but I may do it within the next year. New Outback? Or maybe one of the new Honda CRVs? Or… Another Honda Accord? We’ll see. Yes, those are all “Japanese” vee-hickles. But almost all of them are made in the good ol’ USA (except for the Ninja – Japan). #MAGA #MAGA #MAGA #dumpTrump.

When I do get around to making that jump, I will regret not having The Engineer around any more. Back in 2001 (pre trade center tragedy), I was thinking about getting a new vee-hickle. I was thinking about getting a sedan so I asked him what he thought about the Ford Taurus. We had rented one of those for a while because a tree fell on the POC and it was in the body shop. I didn’t even think about one o’ them thar foreign vee-hickles (aka Japanese). After a career at GM and about a gazillion GM vee-hickles and lots of palaver about buying USA, I thought the Engineer would totally pooh-pooh that idea.

To my extreme surprise, his answer to my question about the Ford Taurus was, “Have you checked out the Honda Accord?” Knock me over! (In case Karen, my brother’s widow, is “eavesdropping”, I am well aware that my brother bought multiple Hondas in the later part of his life and so did Karen. Karen, if you are lurking out there, hello and I sincerely hope you are well.) Anyway… We did check out the Honda Accord and so we bought the Dogha, which was a Top Dollar Accord and, as much as I love the Ninja, my fave vee-hickle EVER.

The particular Honda Accord we were looking for was not available *anywhere* in southeast Michigan, according to my brother. But the GG is the GG and he found one right over there at our own Howard Cooper. After we bought it, I remember emailing a couple of pics of it in our driveway to my brother. His response? “Where the *hell* did you find *that*?”, as only The Engineer could say it. Miss you bro.

My brother died way back in 2005 (long story) and we have all moved on, because that’s all we can do. I buried our parents without him and as he was kind of my mother’s “fave”, it was hard for her to have only meeeeee to deal with at the end of her life. But that’s all a whole ‘nother story too and not as sad a story as you might be thinking.

So, I am thinking about buying a new vee-hickle. But not right away, probably MONTHS from now. I have some vee-hickles in mind (see above). I don’t really need any help. When I get serious, I will dispatch the GG to go out and deal with the specifics (and the sales folks).

I’m not sure why I got off on this whole topic. When I started to write it, I was thinking about snow and onion goggles.

P.S. to the GG. Don’t take my New Vee-hickle Talk tooooooo seriously… Not yet anyway.