Random bits of my so-called life.

79 percenter

June 1st, 2024 by kayak woman

For those of you who wait with bated breath (or not) for my daily blahg of blather, no there was no entry yesterday. I started one, then npJane came over for an adult beverage, THEN my DNA test results came in, and when I finally got back around to finishing my entry, the server was down (or something). So y’all got a day off. You’re welcome.

So, the results? Drum roll… 79% Scottish, 7% Irish, 10% some Scandihoovian countries, and 4% England and Wales. Did this surprise me? No it did not. I’ve pretty much always known more or less what I’m made of although Scandinavia was never anything “official”, just a guess. The Commander always said something about German but she also called it “Pennsylvania Dutch”. I’m not sure what Pennsylvania Dutch actually means (no, I haven’t googled it) but Germany was not represented in my results.

Interestingly enough, the results actually pointed out Caithness (northern Scotland) as being where my DNA mainly hails from. Thanks to an amateur genealogist in the family, I have a book documenting my family’s connection to that area including a picture purporting to be the old farmstead. If I have it right, that would be where my dad’s paternal grandfather was born.

I’m not sure what (if anything) to do with this information. Going in to this, I was adamantly a hard NO for making the results “public” (within Ancestry I mean). Now I find myself intensely interested and am “sitting on my hands” so as not to flip the switch without thinking about it some more. I suppose I could always turn it off again.

Some of the things I *can* get at are, hmmm… I’m not sure what word(s) to use but here are some examples. I am an introvert (YES YES YES!). I smell asparagusP (yes). I like individual sports over team sports (yes) but I like to *watch* sports (not really although I did watch Umich win the Rose Bowl this year). I am a night person (NO WAY!!!). I am not a pet owner. No I am not but not because I don’t like aminals. I am a one-dog woman even on a three-dog night and that dog died after I went to college. I play a musical instrument. Yes albeit not so much any more but I spent YEARS of my youth playing the flute and I can manage the “puano” except I am hampered a bit by small hands. Anyway…

The can depicts a barred owl (“who cooks for you”). It was purchased at a brewpub down in O-haaa-o near Hocking Hills by our mouse-ish beach urchin and the GG finally drank it. I don’t think we are eager to get rid of this artifact.

Karma or covfefe?

May 30th, 2024 by kayak woman

Today’s notable news event isn’t quite as memorable as the day JFK was shot or the day the Trade Centers fell. It was notable enough that I will probably remember it anyway. I was driving home from the lovely little farmers market at the Bay Mills Indian Community on a beautiful sunny afternoon.

First, the caveats. I well know that the Trump guilty guilty guilty guilty to all charges verdict does not mean that Trump will lose the next presidency. It doesn’t mean that he’ll wear an orange jump suit. It’ll no doubt rally his “base” to support him. We’re not done yet and we have a long way to go.

What felt good to me was that somebody *finally* called him out on something. It always seems that no matter what he says or does, he gets a “get out of jail free” card. That’s in quotes because you can’t really put somebody in jail just because they say and do totally idiotic, irresponsible, and often dangerous things. But he has done some outrageously awful things and you interview people in a barber shop, say, and the owner says something like, “Trump has his wild side but I like his policies and he at least tried to help small businesses.” POLICIES? Whut? And who did he ever try to help except himself? But let’s go there some other day.

People sometimes compare Trump to Richard Nixon but I don’t see a comparison. Nixon did some horrible things but in the end, he resigned without whining and crying about how unfair it all was. The big orange toddler has been doing this throughout his whole trial and any other time someone challenges him. DISCLAIMER: I am not an expert on Nixon. I was barely of voting age then and not all that politically aware.

I got home this afternoon and listened to some of the news commentary and analysis and then I put my Smartwool leggings on and headed down to the beach for a bit. The MOE-skee-TOES were oot and aboot but they didn’t really bother me.

P.S. My 🐭 reminded me that today is the 7th anniversary of the night Trump tweeted a partial sentence that ended with “covfefe”.

P.P.S I have decided that I will no longer (usually) refer to Donald J. Trump as “The Orange Baboon” on my blahg. I am thinking about Harry Potter here in which people at Hogwarts called Voldemort “he who cannot be named” (or something like that). Harry decided his enemy needed to be named. Trump is my enemy (not that he knows or cares) and he is the enemy of every US citizen, including his “base”. Do not vote for him.


May 29th, 2024 by kayak woman

Yes, this is a fantabulously AWFUL photo. But it illustrates something so rare that I had to break the law to get a pic. And yes, in the Great Lake State, it is now illegal to use your phone to do ANYTHING when you are driving a car. Unless you are using it hands-free, which I am not really good at. But.

So, I wended my way along the backroads into “town” to the grock shop this morning. There are NO traffic lights my whole trip. But there are a few stop signs. Like the one at this level crossing on Five Mile Road. The notable thing about this crossing is that there is nothing but a stop sign to make people stop. No lights or bells or barricade. Dangerous? Yes yes yes.

What I think makes it even more dangerous is that there are almost never any trains. I mean there are probably one or two trains daily but it’s really rare to encounter one. I am baggy and old and I definitely ALWAYS stop and look both ways on the off chance there is a train. I can’t remember the last time I saw one though.

Today I was driving back out to the moominbeach when I saw train cars passing at the crossing. I was hoping there would be more so I could actually STOP and get a decent pic. Alas, it was a very short train and although I stopped ANYWAY (there IS a stop sign, right?), the train was already past and this is all I could get. I did not get a ticket for taking this pic. There were no other cars ANYWHERE, definitely not any cop cars. Turkeys? Yes.

Weather report

May 28th, 2024 by kayak woman

The weather since I’ve been here has alternated wildly between COLD and Umpteen Bazillion MOE-skee-TOES. The first night I slept in my Smartwool leggings. There were no mosquitos. The second night I didn’t need my leggings but “a” mosquito (maybe multiple mosquitos) dogged me most of the night. eeeeeeeee. I won’t bore you with a play-by-play but today is a COLD day with no mosquitos. I ran the propane stove ALL DAY. It’s a good thing a propane refill is on order.

Such is the yooperland. Or not. Two sayings about our state. State motto: Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice. (If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.) The intertubes separates “circum” and “spice” for what ever reason. I always thought “circumspice” was all one word but it’s been a long time since I took Latin. A quick intertube search is not conclusive (AI maybe? Not impressed. Where is Mrs. Velde when I need her?). But I am not gonna die in that rabbit hole. The second: If you don’t like the weather in Michigan, wait five minutes. I’m guessing we’re not the only state that fits that description. And yet sometimes here it seems like we have to wait forever for a change in weather.

I am kinda done for tonight. I’ve been listening to an NPR thing about how the goddamn electoral college got started. I am not a historian or a political analyst but I’m starting to think we need to abolish that institution. Some people (they know who they are) think I get my opinions from NPR. Actually it’s more that NPR AGREES with my opinions. At least the NPR folks don’t rant and rave like maniacs.

The pic is from a few days ago when a marine layer made its way in.

Coffee Boy and QOFE mug

May 27th, 2024 by kayak woman

Since covid started and I became a full-time forever telecommuter, the GG has taken on a new persona, that of Coffee Boy. In the early, scary days, he started making me coffee every morning. Prior to that, I schlepped over to Cubelandia without coffee. I occasionally grabbed a cup from the office kitchen but usually not.

This Coffee Boy thing got to be such a habit that I don’t usually make my own coffee when the GG is not around. Here we are at the moominbeach and he makes coffee every morning. And he chooses a mug for me.

Imagine my surprise Saturday morning (our first morning here together) when he approached me with a *black* mug. I was like, “Where the heck is Big Ass?” Because that’s usually the mug he hands me and it is white.

My dad began collecting mugs in his retirement when the parents traveled around the American/Canadian west so he got this one from the Columbia Icefield and named it “Big Ass”, which I think was a kind of a dig at The Commander kinda like “you peckerwood” was. I *own* that mug now and all it entails, even though I don’t really have a very big ass.

So the other day the GG was handing me my coffee and I was like, “what the heck is this black mug coming at me? Where is Big Ass?” Oh, it is a QOFE mug. I guess I can accept that. We’ll have to alternate the QOFE with Big Ass though.

The mug collection kinda drove The Commander a little nuts and we weeded some of them out after she died. But I will always keep Big Ass and some other ones.

Greetings from the Mosquito Coast

May 26th, 2024 by kayak woman

Here is the GG sporting the latest fashion here on the “third coast”, which could also be called the Mosquito Coast, at least this year.

Foliage is advanced this year. The last umpteen years when we have arrived for Memorial Day weekend, the trees were just beginning to sprout leaves and mosquitos were pretty much non-existent. Not this year, oh boy oh boy! Plus there is lots of standing water in the swamp. So mosquitos are everywhere. They are getting into the moomincabin and swarming the screen in the moominkitchen window. I find myself “praying” for another nor’wester so I can bundle up and hang out on the beach undisturbed.

The GG is in mosquito heaven right now. He is sitting on the deck, drinking a ‘hattan, smoking a ceegar (and spitting, TMI?), and zapping mosquitos with his lucky-shuckial zapper. I don’t generally like to kill insects/arachnids as long as they are not in a place they shouldn’t be (like my shower) and/or are minding their own business. I have no problem killing mosquitos.

The “third coast” is the great lakes shoreline, American side if I have it right (and I may not, it was a rabbit hole I didn’t wanna go down today). I’m not sure how the distance compares to the east and/or west coasts but there is quite a lot of shoreline on the great lakes.

Mosquito Coast is a book and TV series I read/watched. I liked the book better than the series although the series was fine. The book author is an acclaimed travel writer and I think this might be his only novel. The mosquito coast in the book/series is NOT anywhere near the great lakes.

G’night and zap zap zappity zap, KW

Hanging out with Mr. Tick

May 25th, 2024 by kayak woman

Four years ago, we traversed the I75 SUV Speedway to the yooperland for Memorial Day weekend. When we got here, I posted on facebook something like, “We are here, hope we *don’t* see you.” (That was intended for the moominbeach community.) Of course the GG was mixing it up ANYWAY, with a couple of my cousins (first cousins, once and twice removed). They were on the beach but back in the day when we still didn’t understand covid’s rules, I was nervous about transmission.

This year. I got here two days ago. Yesterday, while I was still solo here (the GG arrived in the afternoon), I took a ride around town after my Meijer grock run. Everywhere I went, I saw my old fave restaurants. And something inside me sort of woke up. My first thought was, “I wanna have lunch at the Palace Saloon!” (And Wicked Sister and Kenny’s Pitchen and Bird’s Eye and and and.) And so when the GG got here yesterday, I proposed an early lunch at the Palace today. And that is what we did.

It’s not that I haven’t ever eaten out during covid. I have quite a few times and even attended a Big Fat (loverly) Greek Wedding and the crowded Quiet Adventure Symposium and that weekend included THREE restaurant meals. Today was somehow the first time I came up with the idea myself and felt pretty dern comfortable with it. (Knock on wood.)

Why the Palace? Partly because we haven’t been there in forever. Also… When The Commander was in her last year of life, it was one of our main go-to places to eat being a couple blocks from the hospital. The staff kind of got to know us to the point that once when I appeared there with npJane instead of the GG, they looked at me like “who is that and where is the GG?” I explained that my husband had gone home for a bit and np was my cousin. She had come up to keep me company for a bit and I am forever thankful!

I’m sure nobody on the Palace staff today was here back then (12 years ago) so no one remembered us. But they were wonderful servers anyway and I tipped well like I always do.

After that little idyllic restaurant interlude, immediately after we got into Cygnus, the GG was scrambling with his clothing or whatever. Why? He had found a TICK! I should say ANOTHER TICK! That tick went unceremoniously out the window. When we got back to the moomincabin, he systematically sifted through all of his clothing and other belongings and took a shower, I think to eliminate any other ticks. Yick.

P.S. A beach urchin set up a Spotify playlist for me to hook up to Cygnus’s radio. Today I finally figured out how to hook it up. We were driving up (down) Ashmun (the main Sault Ste. Siberia street) and the radio was talking about the Orange Baboon. I dunno what was even being said but since the GG and I disagree about MAGA crapola, I decided it was time to change the station. So I pulled into an empty parking place, put Cygnus in park, and opened Spotify on my phone, which was connected to Cygnus. After maybe 30 seconds, voila, I had some loverly 1990s music playing. So thanks kiddo and what’s the frequency, Kenneth?

Every housewife should know

May 24th, 2024 by kayak woman

So, the fuse on the lower left was the one I had to SLAM in with my RIGHT hand when I got here yesterday. The big boxy one. It turns on the water heater.

I am not crazy about this arrangement of fuses from the getgo. Knowing that I would have to slam the big boxy fuse in (with my right hand) when I got up here added more stress to my week than I am willing to admit. “But when I get there, I have to deal with that damn fuse!”

After a couple of tries, I did in fact get it in correctly. Why did I have to use my right hand? I was perplexed about that rather adamant instruction. A beach urchin suggested something involving an electrical current traveling up the left arm to the heart. Yikes? Nope. It was just that the way the fuse box is situated relative to the other objects (and walls) in the room, the path of least resistance was to use my right hand. And I am also right-handed… And this operation does not result in an electrical shock. I have actually done it before. I just don’t like doing it.

So I got the damn fuse slammed in and I heard the water heater make little noises so I figured all was good. But. Much later, I was only getting lukewarm water out of the taps. Oh dear, that will not do for washing the dishes or my morning shower. I couldda done the dishes by heating water on the stove like we used to do in the Jurassic Age but the shower was another story. It is toooo cold to swim in Gitchee Gumee at this time of the year. Unless you are five years old.

A phone call or two later, it turned out that both of the faucets *under* the moomincabin deck needed to be turned off and were *not*. I’m not sure why they weren’t and I don’t really understand the issue, but once I turned them off, voila! I had hot running water and a loverly shower this morning.

I want to replace this arrangement of fuses with a modern circuit breaker box. When I am on the Planet Ann Arbor and there is a brownout and Gertrude (my stove) has a seizure (i.e. starts making all kinds of crazy noises), I can just run down to the basement and flip a circuit breaker with one finger. It doesn’t even matter which hand the finger is on but usually it’s on my right because I am right-handed.

This all reminds me of The Gumper, my beloved father-in-law, and his “Every Housewife Should Know” lessons. The Moldy Old cFam cabin probably had a similar arrangement of fuses and he made sure to instruct every new person using that kitchen as to which appliances could or couldn’t be plugged in at the same time. Having grown up in a shabby little bungalow and the moomincabin, I already had a pretty good idea not to plug in every single blasted appliance at once. But I loved him and appreciated his guidance.

How are the skeeters?

May 23rd, 2024 by kayak woman

The freeways that surround The Planet Ann Arbor hail from the WWII era (if I have it right). There are some areas where the “design” was never intended to be permanent. Unfortunately, those “designs” have never been updated. Enter a bazillion more automotive vee-hickles than existed in the 1940s.

In particular, if I am going north, the first couple of miles of freeway involve merging with cars entering from very short ramps, even including an entrance ramp that ends with a STOP SIGN! Yes, really. And then a left exit to leave the eastbound freeway to the northbound freeway, with a left merge onto the northbound freeway. Does any of this make sense? No, I’m sure it doesn’t. Don’t worry. All you need to know is that it’s a tangled MESS, one I have hated FOREVER, every single dad-blasted time I have to drive it, both north and south. AND NOW THERE IS CONSTRUCTION! But not to correct the terrible design. That’ll probably never change.

But hey! I can easily avoid all of this crapola. Because… I know the back roads around here like the back of my hand. So I took N. Maple up to the Huron River and across it. I continued up to Stein Rd., over to Whitmore Lake Rd., up to North Territorial Rd., and on to the freeway at a MUCH MORE SANE entrance (even after navigating two roundabouts to get there). I was on dirt roads for a bit there and the whole thing was probably slower than taking the freeway from the beginning. EXCEPT. That the freeway is almost always RED on Google Maps these days. Traveling slowly along beautiful dirt roads with very little traffic is much more pleasant than sitting in a traffic jam on a freeway. (This is all within about 10 miles or less.)

So I had a nice little zen start to my trip and it continued to be smooth. Until. The Mackinac Bridge. Construction has it down to two lanes, one in each direction, no passing (of course). The contractor had “promised” that they would have the first phase of this construction done to the point that all lanes would be open by today. That did not happen. So for all of the holiday weekend, the only way in and out of the yooperland without traveling around Lake Michigan or Lake Huron (loooooong way around in either case) is one lane on the bridge. Think that one through a bit. The only alternate routes involve going through either Chicago or Canananada. My trip across the bridge was a steady 20 mph slog. It was fine (I knew about the issue beforehand) but it will only get worse. I am so glad my beach urchins aren’t trying to travel here this weekend and I wish for patience (and a safe passage) for those who are.

So, I am here, “home”, again. It was 54 degrees when I got here but at least it was not SLEETING! like it was two years ago (also 54 degrees). This arrival featured a strong northwest wind. A facebook/high school friend asked how the skeeters were. Well, non-existent due to the wind. But I’m sure they are hunkering down lying in wait.

Love y’all, KW.

Mixin’ it up

May 22nd, 2024 by kayak woman

The next door neighbors are building a garage and the last two days have been NOISY here! And hot but that isn’t related to the garage.

Tuesday they were breaking up whatever concrete was at the top of the existing driveway. Today a cement mixer drove up. Twice. Once in the morning and again in the afternoon. So it was almost too noisy for even someone like me to concentrate. Not to mention hot. I was thinking I could turn on the whole house fan but that would be just about as noisy as the cement truck. Or the central A/C but that would mean I would have to close the doors and windows… In the end I bagged off work a bit early and headed out to the back yard where there it was cooler and I was sheltered from the noise. There were insects though. Not nasty biting ones, just minuscule little buggies that I would find crawling on my skin.

I am not in ANY WAY complaining about the noise. Our neighborhood was built in the late 50s/early 60s and I think most of the garages were probably built after the houses were. I imagine the developers of that day and age were thinking “those people don’t need no stinkin’ garage”. Today their counterparts seem to think people in need of affordable housing would enjoy living on the 14th floor of some behemoth. I don’t have the answers to conundrums like this. Only opinions. One of them being that I don’t think real estate developers are necessarily the appropriate people to come up with plans for affordable housing. Not without a LOT of requirements and oversight. And input from prospective buyers.

But I am NOT complaining about the noise. Our neighbors are very nice folks and if they want a garage, I’m glad they are able to afford to build one, not to mention get around whatever city building codes apply. I’m guessing the GG is a bit envious of this new garage. We don’t have one. When we bought the house I don’t think we felt “rich” enough to build one. Besides which, it would end up (I think) taking up part of our back yard. Which I don’t want.

He has the run of the moomincabin garage, in which he often holds court with anyone coming along the road.

Ramble ramble. Takeouts from El Harissa tonight, with the beach urchins, in the back yard.

Dumpster diving

May 21st, 2024 by kayak woman

You get another pic of Ireland today. About the only pic yer fav-o-rite blahgger thought about taking today was of a Subie key fob at the bottom of a recycle cart 😵‍💫😵‍💫😵‍💫

I was ready to schlep to Meijer for a few grocks at 0-skunk-30 this morning but when I went to grab my favorite key fob, it wasn’t in the basket. I panicked for a split-second but since the *other* fob was there, it wasn’t an emergency. All the way to the store and back, I ruminated on what I could have done with the fob. I went to Plum yesterday morning. The fob was zipped securely into my polartech vest pocket. I remember walking into the Landfill, unzipping my pocket, and dropping the fob, well, where? In the basket? That was the intent.

As I continued to process this situation, I remembered being in a flurry about putting groceries away and then LATER ON, putting the bag of recycle that I collect *inside* before taking it out to the big cart that gets rolled out to the street. By the time I got home from the grockery store, I had this pretty much figured out and a quick peek into the cart spotted my fob waaaaaay down at the bottom. I couldn’t reach it so I tipped the cart over and dumped everything out (there wasn’t a lot, which is why I could see the fob). The recycle bag (*inside* the house) is next to and below the Key Basket so I must’ve *missed* the basket.

That set the tone for my day. I am in “travel” mode and I feel like a walking train wreck about packing. Yes I am making lists. At least I don’t have to take a plane. And no, it won’t be a catastrophe if Cygnus and I land in the yooperland *without* something. The moomincabin looks like it’s out in the boonies somewhere but there are stores including a nice cushy Meijer super-grock-store a 15 minute drive away and there is almost *no* traffic ever. You just have to watch out for deer, bear, and turkeys and once I think I saw a sandhill crane crossing the road but maybe that was a REM dream.

P.S. I prefer my “fave” key fob because the GG has attached looooong leather “strings” to the other one.

Bizcaz for the pandemic era

May 20th, 2024 by kayak woman

this morning, the Plum U-scan cashier noted that my reusable plastic grock bag matched my shirt. Tie-dye, that is. When I do my early morning shopping at whatever grock store, I sometimes wonder if the people that work there realize that I am actually gainfully employed, given what I’m wearing. Especially in the summer. My clothing is a bit more sedate when it’s colder out.

I finished “The Ministry of Time” and then a random goodreads comment led me into a rabbit hole that it might be plagiarized from a Spanish show? I dunno. I have spent almost zero time on this, rabbit hole that it is, but I’m not sure that’s true. I dunno if I will explore this any more or not but the woman who wrote the book I read writes very well and I’m not sure the Spanish series is based on a book at all (but I could be wrong). My brain is exploding a bit about this.

There is apparently a BBC series in the works for the book that I read. I will be watching for that. Currently I am still watching Riverdale but not sure how long that will last. I was curious to know what someone would do with the Archie comic books I read as a kid (when I could get my hands on them). I hated Veronica and loved Betty (she is blonde like me) but in the series, they are not all that black and white. And a lot of other stuff happens that wouldn’t have happened in the comic book but it wouldn’t be interesting if you stuck to the flat tropes in the comic. In particular, I do NOT like how a lot of the adults behave in the series…

I was occasionally allowed to buy comic books as a kid but not often (unless I spent my own money). I don’t think my mother regarded them as “literature”. My own view as an adult is that if a kid is reading ANYTHING, it’s a good thing. Although I did steer the beach urchins toward “literature”. I read Superman comics (over and over and over) at my cousins’ house and maybe that’s where I read Archie comics too. Over and over and over again. No matter how many times I read them, Archie always ended up with “snotty” Veronica instead of blonde Betty.

Carolina cicada

May 19th, 2024 by kayak woman

I am hearing Carolina Wrens here in the Landfill backyard. I don’t know what they look like but I know their song, thanks to the Merlin bird app. Operatic. I dunno what kind of cicada this is but the pic was taken in South Carolina by my mouse, who traveled there for a long weekend and I’m stealing it. I have not seen cicadas here.

I got a sorta second mother’s day today. My City Mouse and I made a plan to have lunch at HOMES Brewery today. I said, “I think I want to go to the hardware store too.” I felt a bit of surprise at that, so as I was turning Cygnus in to the hardware store, I said something like, “Y’know, I HAVE gone to the hardware store since covid.” (Which she knows.)

In the end the things I was thinking the hardware store might have weren’t there, at least not in the colors/form factor I wanted them in. My beach urchin had much better luck finding things so the trip was a success overall. It was CROWDED though and I waited in a long line (I’m not used to that these days) until they finally opened up a few other checkout stations. Because I had sussed the line situation, I grabbed the beach urchin’s stud finder, got in line and paid for it while she was looking at other things. As I was finishing that transaction, I spied her in line behind me with the other things. I signaled that I was going out to Cygnus and she followed me a few minutes later.

Given how crowded the hardware store was, I was a bit nervous about how crowded HOMES might be. As it turned out, there was hardly anyone in their small parking lot and almost NO ONE inside. Of course, HOMES opens at 11 AM on Sunday and we got there before noon. We had a lovely lunch with almost NO other patrons but I’m gonna guess that an hour or two later, the place was slammed.

Our Carolina travelers landed safely at Metro this afternoon. It was HOT when they landed, which I don’t think they expected but a little later, after they got to their house, a lovely little thunderstorm rolled through and we are all a little cooler now.

Lightning and books

May 18th, 2024 by kayak woman

We got a lot of lightning last evening punctuated by a couple of thunder claps at the very end. But not a whole lot of rain. The storm hung out to the west of us and I saw puddles when I traversed the back roads out in the county today. Fortunately we are not desperate for rain. The first pic is sans lightning, the second, I managed to catch the sky lit up. Can’t really see much of the sky because our neighborhood “forest” is in pretty much full-tilt boogie summer foliage mode.

So books. A beach urchin is on an expotition and has run oot of boooook… So I spammed her with some books.

I am a little more than halfway through “The Ministry of Time” and I am loving it. A new sci-fi novel (published in early May) involving time travel and a good amount of British humor. Oh, and one of the characters plays the flute!

“Limberlost” is a coming of age story set in Tasmania (I think I figured this out, many geographical places had fictional names, which is okay with me). The title was nagging at me a bit because I have read “A Girl of the Limberlost” by Gene Stratton Porter. I may be mangling my family’s history (and hopefully someone will correct me if I am) but I believe it was a fave of my paternal grandmother and she named her last daughter Gene. (Grandma was certainly literate but I don’t really remember her reading much besides the Sault Ste. Siberia high school honor roll and other tidbits in the local newspaper.) I almost lost my point here. My point is that the book family’s “Limberlost” orchard was named after Gene Stratton Porter’s book. Which was NOT set in Tasmania. (And I might have to re-read the Gene Stratton Porter book…)

“The Other Valley”. Definitely sci-fi or maybe fantasy. Speculative fiction? I’m not sure but I loved this book.

“Clear”. A story about the highland clearances which happened in the 17-1800s. I am NOT fluent with this history but I enjoyed this book and how the “clearance” of the sole occupant of a Scottish island didn’t turn out exactly as planned. I have read another book by this author (“West”). It was set in North America in the pioneer days. I enjoyed both of these books.

I have written about “I Cheerfully Refuse” recently but it came to mind today because it is about our family’s “home” lake. Near future dystopia set on Lake Superior. I mean ON the lake, at least a lot of the time. I have never been to Michipicoten Island. Have you?

A book I read a few years ago, “Piranesi”, kept popping into my head today as I was reading “The Ministry of Time”. I LOVED Piranesi. I *think* I am gonna love Ministry as much although I am only halfway through. What’s weird is that these two books are nothing alike. But there is some sort of “vibe” that’s connecting them in my brain.


May 17th, 2024 by kayak woman

Ding Dong, Avon calling. Well, no not Avon but I’d’ve sent Avon packing too. Makeup? I don’t need no stinkin’ make-up. Although I do wear make-up. TLDR.

This guy was selling pest exterminating services. I did not slam the door in his face like I wanted to. The door was open (like it always is) when he approached it. I was polite, offering FIRM no thank yous throughout the conversation. Questions questions questions. I answered a couple of them. How long have you lived here? I answered that cryptically. I mean, he wasn’t even a twinkle in his daddy’s eye when we bought this house. Is it a nice neighborhood? If it wasn’t, we’d’ve probably moved. Have you ever hired a professional exterminator before? Nope. (And I’m not gonna hire you.)

He was dying to detail all of the wondrous stuff his business could do for me and at that point, I accepted one of his flyers (and put it immediately in the recycle). I told him (AGAIN!) NO THANK YOU but good luck.

My brain went away and processed that startling encounter for over 24 hours (this happened yesterday) and this afternoon, it regurgitated some interesting information. We have never had a pest problem persistent enough to seek out a professional exterminator. The mice go in, the mice go out (the mice play pinochle on your snout). It is random. Ants? We have had a few ants recently but they seem to have subsided. Nothing I would call an exterminator about. So I have a script for the next time that issue comes up at the door. “We don’t have a problem.”

One thing I miss about the bad old days of the original covid virus is we did NOT get door to door solicitors.

When is the best time to go to the laundromat?

May 16th, 2024 by kayak woman

Radical Betty asked me that question once and my answer at the time was “Whenever George is not there.” George was a shirttail non-biological relative of our family and a lot of us did not agree with him about things like politics or religion.

Anyway we were not unfriendly with him or his family. We saw him and his wife at holiday occasions and we tolerated his unannounced Sunday visits to the moominbeach. Our grandfather had told him he could visit the beach any time and we followed his direction. But we didn’t really want to hang out with him at the laundromat. And I don’t think we ever did mainly because I think we got there much earlier than George did.

When my beach urchins wee mini-kids, The Commander and I would take them in to the laundromat and then there would be a grock run and I think we sometimes had lunch somewhere. Once the beach urchins were misbehaving a bit and the laundromat manager (a friend of The Commander’s) took it upon herself to put them in line.

As the years went on, I took over most of the laundry duties, except for The Comm’s lingerie, which she preferred to wash herself and I don’t blame her.

So sometimes I would make laundry runs alone but other times various beach urchins would accompany me. And here we are. Three beach urchins are throwing towels and things at each other. I think the fourth beach urchin was not ready to get up early enough to do laundry when Kayak Woman was ready to schlep into town. That was A-OKAY!

I mostly do moominbeach laundry runs alone these days and it is very much okay (except for the time I put some of my laundry into someone else’s car). I do so miss the old days though.

Puzz spoiler alert (or maybe not)

May 15th, 2024 by kayak woman

Okay. For three days in a row I DNF (did not finish) the NYT xword. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Friday and Saturday I just couldn’t quite figger some of the clues. Sunday? There is always a theme on Sunday. This one involved a rebus. I LOVE rebuses but in this case, the rebus involved PIXAR films. Say what?

I randomly managed to figger most PIXAR movies from crosses, I would go, “Oh yeah, I know that movie.” I don’t totally live under a rock. But I couldn’t think them up myself. I go back to these puzzles if I DNF and in this case I actually googled a cross (something about the Baja Peninsula, or whatever) and that gave me “Luca”, which almost gave me the whole thing except that I didn’t know what Lady Gaga and Billie Eilish have in common. “Label mate”. WTF? Is my generation showing? (Talking about my generation.)

Every generation thinks they know how to make the world better. Mine certainly did. Alas, “we” apparently got tired of “free love” and living in communes (I never lived in one unless you count the Old Cabin when I was a little kid). We morphed through the disco age to become the “me” generation. I’m not sure where that has gotten us but a bad thing is that we seem to be allowing orange baboons to run for president. I could go on about that but I won’t. Except that although I think it’s time for some younger candidates, I will STILL vote for Biden.

I have watched one PIXAR film in my life, which was WALLE. I might have gotten that xword rebus more quickly if I had remembered how to spell it. (Wale? Wali? Walli?) I can’t remember how I ended up watching it but I don’t think anyone else was home (kids were in college or beyond) and I somehow stumbled upon it. A sweet movie in its own way but not my usual sort of thing. Last night I stumbled upon Riverdale and am trying that out. I dunno if I can do seven seasons but we’ll see.

And so it begins

May 14th, 2024 by kayak woman

Another summer at the moomincabin, that is.

I thought the GG was gonna stay with the UU and TBG in Gaylord tonight but apparently he drove all the way up to the yooperland and look at the moomincabin all opened up! Storm windows taken down and deck chairs out already. And a ladder…

Usually by Memorial Day we still have a couple of small snow piles in the surrounding woods. This is waaaay before Memorial Day (but it’s coming up quick) and I’m not even gonna ask if there are any snow piles. I’m pretty sure there aren’t any this year. A couple years ago I drove up a couple days before Memorial Weekend and it was 54 degrees and SLEETING when I got there.

Part of me wants to be up there with him but he is taking off to hike with the Softies this week. The Softies are a group of women who enjoy hiking but like to have a “guy” with them. I don’t blame them. And I mean a non-creepy type guy that they aren’t afraid will try to enter their sleeping bags at night (although I think the Softies stay in hotels).

The GG is a woman-friendly kinda guy. In the first place, he grew up with five brothers (one an identical twin) and four sisters and has two daughters. He “gets” women more than most guys do. Although he doesn’t always “get” meeeeee or my political views. But he also doesn’t try to tell me what to do or who to vote for. After 40-some years that’s where you kind of get to.

Leggo my eggo

May 13th, 2024 by kayak woman

When the GG shoved this pic in front of my face yesterday, I had trouble processing it. Three of the eggs are not *exactly* close to robin egg color but somewhat close? Or naw. Our robin eggs are dark teal. That big speckly one? What the bloody hell is that?

Turns out a house finch (we *think*) has nested on top of an old robin nest and is apparently incubating three eggs of its own plus a cowbird egg.

We do have a robin nest “around the corner” (of our back yard) but those birdies hatched a while back and he was unable to get a good pic of them without disturbing the robin parents. Just to be clear, he waits until the parents are momentarily off gathering food and uses a selfie stick to get pics.

In his heart of hearts, The GG doesn’t want us (me) to use the back yard during bird nesting season. I get it but I also think that this is an urban/suburban environment where humans and birds need to coexist. And we do. While the GG was taking a nap this afternoon, I snuck around the back of The Landfill to hang out a few feet away from the finch nest. When he woke up, he came out and was surprised to find the bird on its nest with me in the yard. Well. I am QUIET! I probably scared the heck out of the bird when I came around the corner (I did not notice) but once I sat still for a bit, it had no problem returning, even with meeee in the yard. I am not a threat. I am not a raptor.

We welcome all bird parents, even cowbirds. But we live here too.

It’s pollen season and the GG was complaining about that (maybe that’s why he was coughing last night?) even though it doesn’t seem to be dragging him down at all. I am NOT affected in any way shape or form by pollen. I am NOT allergic to pretty much anything. That said, as soon as I told him that, I had a blasted sneezing fit. But it was a *dry* sneezing fit, one of those random ones that a lot of people get every day or once in a while or whatever. It went away and I haven’t sneezed in a couple hours, pollen or not.

Flowers and candy

May 12th, 2024 by kayak woman

I was out bright and early (as usual) to get the few remaining grocks I needed to help put a family dinner together. You know the occasion. The Plum was already loaded with people, mostly dads and little kids laden with flowers, etc.

I don’t need gifts for this greeting card holiday (although I don’t think it actually *is* a greeting card holiday). I did get flowers albeit in the form of impatiens to pot. I get those every year. This year, the GG got on a roll. He not only bought a TON of them, duplicating a beach urchin’s effort, he potted them himself. I am happy about that but had to redirect him a bit. The extra plants will go to the moomincabin in a couple days. I hope they survive.

Although I always love the flowers. my fave “gift” this year was help sorting out the massive mess of moomincabin sheets and pillowcases that I brought down here last fall. Waaaaay too many. I washed EVERYTHING last fall. Then I tried to sort them out. Although there were a few complete sheet sets, there were also MANY incomplete ones and about a bazillion random pillowcases. The Commander used to have all this stuff sorted out but in her last few years things got a little crazy and I had too much on my plate to be of much help.

So now we have five or six complete sets of sheets to take north this week (the GG will, I won’t join him for a bit). We definitely kept the “sleeeeeeeep” sheets. We are all fond of those. Heirloom hand crocheted or embroidered pillowcases will be kept and maybe repurposed. At least one of the beach urchins snagged a sheet set or two for her own house. And I will recycle the rest. So glad to have that stuff mostly off my radar screen. I basically have ONE set of sheets (for the “master” bedroom) here at The Landfill. I wash them more or less weekly and put them back on the bed. Of course I have my own laundry facilities at The Landfill and don’t have to take them to the laundromat.

As I always say, every day is mother’s day but today was a good excuse to get together and we had fun and so g’night.