Random bits of my so-called life.

Catching rays

March 21st, 2021 by kayak woman

That’s what I was doing when I looked up to get this pic of the leafless tree above me. I don’t think I actually noticed the plane and its vapor trail until after I took the pic?

Doesn’t our blue sky look beautiful? It is and it was in the 60s when I took the pic. Mouse was doing an outside visit before her work. Her purpose was to take pics of the Frog Hopper so she can sell it but she and the GG were walking around the yard talking about gardening and composting and whatever. I am a TERRIBLE gardener. I like the idea of growing things but I don’t find it very much fun. The GG mentioned some ideas that I hope he acts on.

As much as we are enjoying Mr. Golden Sun, man oh man, do we need rain! Notice I didn’t say we needed snow. Done with snow for 2021 although I am pretty sure we’ll get more. We’re now at that post spring equinox time of year that when we do get snow, I don’t usually bother shoveling because I know it will probably melt the next day and not re-freeze as a slick sheet of ice. But we do need rain. A lot of it.

I finished Firekeeper’s Daughter today. I could certainly spot some flaws but I loved this book. It was set in my home town. There were a couple of locations that I didn’t exactly recognize but mostly I did and I could sorta figger where the protagonist lived, which *may* have been up in the neighborhoods on the escarpment where my parents lived when they bought my grandparents’ retirement home, which was comfortable but certainly not fancy. It took a couple of years to sell that place

I might have more to say about this book but in the meantime, I am wrapped up in COVID vaccination discussions, aka we’re getting there. Once again, I am sooooo glad my parents didn’t have to deal with this crapola. Oh man, all the days we had lunch at Penny’s Kitchen and Karl’s Cuisine and the Palace Saloon. Love the little city of Sault Ste. Siberia.

Snuffly sniff (an inside Landfill joke🐽)

March 20th, 2021 by kayak woman

This lovely is Softy Beanbag, a fave personality since just about forever. She dates from a big birthday party we held a bazillion years ago for the younger beach urchin. In addition to all of the younger kids, we also invited a friend of the older beach urchin for “company”. I’m thinking this was 4th and 1st grade. We didn’t expect her to bring a gift but she did and it was Softy Beanbag.

My 🐭 pretty much immediately dressed her up in some lace panties and a couple other clothing items that I *think* The Commander made but maybe they were in fact stolen from a doll or whatever. The next time I met up with the moom who helped choose Softy and showed her the lace panties, she CRACKED UP!

I may say too much here but Softy’s owner was/is what I learned to call a spirited child/person. I suspect I was similar but I am old and taaaaared now and prefer to watch the children play. Like Becquet (6 today, I THINK) learning to ride a two-wheeler and Branch Manager Petra (2 years) carrying a branch almost as big as she. But I digress.

There were times when I was at the moomincabin with my kids without the GG. He was gainfully employed and I wasn’t. The reverse is true today. Softy’s owner approached telephone calls with her dad (or anyone) with quite a bit of trepidation in those days. I don’t particularly do well with phone calls myself so I understood this. Softy was usually tasked to stay on The Planet Ann Arbor with the GG in those days, so when we connected by telephone, he would put Softy on the phone to talk to the younger beach urchin.

Softy Beanbag is still here at the Landfill and although we may eventually adopt out a lot of our stuffed aminals, Softy will stay here with us. Her owner is a full-fledged adult now and doesn’t need to talk to the GG or anyone through Softy.

Siberian boooook blaaahg plus

March 19th, 2021 by kayak woman

A quote from the first chapter in the book I started after work today:

I cut through the parking lot behind the student union toward the north end of campus. The bluff showcases a gorgeous panoramic view of the St. Marys River, the International Bridge into Canada, and the city of Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario.

Yes. I have walked this walk early so many times. I walked it from my parents’ house up on the escarpment, the one they moved to when I was in college. It is SPECTACULAR when you happen to hit it when the sun comes up. Even if it’s still dark, the lights from the locks and bridges to Canananada are gorgeous and if you are lucky there may be a freighter going through.

Once, post-911 / pre-COVID, I arrived at the locks park as a freighter was going through. (It might’ve been the freighter in the pic – a salty – but not sure.) The locks had opened for the year at midnight and it was dark when I got there at 7:00 AM. I approached the person on duty at the “guard house” saying, “I’m your first tourist!” They looked at me like I was nuts. I showed that all I was carrying was my iPhone and they waved me on in. What a world we are forced to live in these days.

So I became aware of the book “Firekeeper’s Daughter” last fall and it finally dropped this week. I rather laboriously plodded through my last book and jumped on to download this one today. I don’t know the author personally but she grew up in Sault Ste. Marie (Michigan) and the surrounding areas and I think some of my yooper friends actually have met her.

This is a YA fiction book and I am loving it. Yes, when you drive south of town, you turn left at the Dairy Queen corner to get to the middle and high school. Except I only went to that high school the last two years of my public school career. Before that, I walked “downtown” across the canal on the Johnston Street bridge. Man that was a cold walk when the temps were well below zero.

More on this when I finish it with the caveat that I am not Native American in any way shape or form and so I can’t begin to understand all of the context surrounding the issues discussed in this book. I grew up there but I come from a WASPy type family.

Grock grock grock

March 18th, 2021 by kayak woman

Somebody was complaining on Nextdoor Neighbor earlier this week that My Fave Grock store had stopped stationing folks out front to sanitize carts. I had noticed this when picking up curbside but figgered it was because “we” — via science — have pretty much figgered out that COVID is not readily spread by touching things. Not that it’s bad to keep things clean in general, but this cart sanitizing stuff at the store entrance is theatre. Apparently changes were also made inside but I haven’t been inside a grockery store since early March 2020 so we won’t go there. But some of it was about the cashiers and I do have opinions there.

The problem is that the conversation QUICKLY devolved into discussions about what grocery workers are paid/should be paid and then it went further down the rabbit hole surrounding why people are working these “low-level” jobs and shouldn’t education be more affordable and blah-de-blah-de-blah, well, there was TOOOOOO MUCH and I had to quit reading it. Don’t these Nextdoor neighbor people have JOBS? Sigh, I know not everyone posting to Nextdoor neighbor is employed.

*I* have experience running a cash register. It wasn’t a grocery store, it was Tempo, a now defunct discount store similar to KMart. I worked there summers and xmas vacays during college as a “checkout girl”. Yes, we were mostly female.

I *loved* that job. This was back in the day when a cashier used a mechanical musheen with rows and rows of keys to press. Not only did we have to press buttons for an item’s price, EVERY item also had a “department number” and certain items also had a “tag number”. We had to calculate the sales tax by adding up numbers (in our heads) on a set of little tabs that sprung up when we hit “total” and the final price showed up in the display. And we had to “count back” change when people paid cash (which they MOSTLY did in those days). There were quite a few checks (which were a pain) and a few credit cards (which were a MAJOR pain in those days). Complete flip from nowadays when we swipe or tap or whatever aka buy online🐽🐽🐽

I was GOOD at that stuff. I had a lot of the stuff in the store memorized, at least the department number and price, tags were more related to what we called “soft lines”, which is mostly clothing and changed all the time. Because I didn’t have to touch each item in order to swipe it over a scanner, I could often get a customer’s purchases “rung up” almost before they had them on the conveyor belt. (Wait! Did we even have a conveyor belt? Not sure.)

Cashiers deserve MUCH MORE than the minimum wage they are typically paid. Today’s equipment is space age compared to my old mechanical cash register. I’m sure it calculates the sales tax and the change for those few customers who pay cash. Still I’m sure there is a lot of stuff for those folks to learn to do. Plus they are responsible for MONEY and for CUSTOMER SERVICE. And CUSTOMER SERVICE is one of the worst parts of the job but we’ll go there some other day. I was good at it but there were always THOSE customers.

I’ll quit for now but I am ALWAYS polite to cashiers everywhere. They are under-appreciated and underpaid. As a customer who was once a cashier, I can almost always tell when a cashier is dealing with a difficult situation or customer and I always try to be patient, not to mention offer a few words of support when it gets to be my turn if it seems appropriate to do so.

My parents took so many crappy pics of their trips to Europe but there isn’t ONE of MEEEEEE running my cash register at Tempo 😥. Then again, I probably wouldda shooed them outta the store if they had tried that🤣

Happy St. Paddy’s day [HIC-grok]

March 17th, 2021 by kayak woman

A li’l Insty play this afternoon…

Lizard Breath [seeing the above pic, that I posted on Instagram]: Keep an eye on the laundry detergent…

KW: I think it’s too late 🐽🐸

Yes, the Froooog is still at it with his main vices, which are chugging “londry” detergent with a chaser of Listerine, then sleeping it off in the “londry” basket. He can’t abscond with the POC any more since it hasn’t been around since, hmmm, I dunno, maybe 2007? Our newer automotive vee-hickles have more sophisticated locking technology. He *does* occasionally take off on Buoy 22 for little flying excursions… I don’t have the keys to that. If you see it up there, you’ll have to report him to the Coast Guard.

I am also posting a pic of a St. Patrick’s Day pre-pandemic. We were porterized at the OT with Froooogggy and this is a GOOD photo!

P.S. I think St. Urho’s Day is wonderful (it was yesterday). I am so glad nobody wished me a happy St. Urho’s Day. It is a Finnish holiday. I think Finnish people are WONDERFUL and I love my Finnish friends. I. am. not. Finnish. I can lay claim to some Irish.


March 16th, 2021 by kayak woman

I earned my pay today and that’s about all you wanna know. So we’ll do some historical stuff instead. My cuzzint commented yesterday that her family (who owns the Old Cabin now) recovered an old bench with some of that leather. I spent the first six summers of my life in the Old Cabin. In my VERY FIRST summer, when I was six months old, I THINK all of my grandparents’ children (4) and THEIR children stayed at the Old Cabin (except WE may have just visited from town).

The reason I think that might be true is that my uncle Don was a doc in Sault Ste. Siberia and I remember him answering a phone ringing at the Old Cabin. He had to have a phone. He and his family were in the process of building their own cabin that summer and none of the rest of us had phones until decades later. I have exactly TWO memories of my first summer there, before I was a year old. One was hearing the susurration of the pine trees in the persistent onshore breeze northwest wind as my parents drove down the road to the cabin with me lying untethered in the back seat. The other is of the phone ringing in the Old Cabin chitchen and my uncle answering it. Yes I do have early memories, as vague and fleeting as they are.

For the next bunch of summers, we stayed at the Old Cabin with the rest of our cousins, having fun and fighting like siblings. I have two female cousins who were born the same year as I was so maybe you can imagine.

We built our own little rustic place next door when I was six and Radical Betty and Dcuk built an all-weather house when he retaaaarrred from his military career. MANY years later (and quite a few ago now), here is the faaarplace at the Old Cabin. I hope these folks are okay with me posting this pic. They are members of G4, my grandparents’ great-grandchildren, two brothers (my cousin Pooh’s children) and their second cousin (one of my daughters). How many of you GREW UP knowing your second cousins?

I was thinking that whoever took that pic cut off the top of the hooked rug up above the faaarplace. But then I found this pic of that rug. My great aunt Elizabeth (my grandaddy’s sister, who never married) bought this and I know the story but I can’t remember the details for now. My favorite memory of Elizabeth is once when a bunch of us little cousins were sleeping on the front porch and a big thunderstorm rolled through. She comforted us by telling us it was just the “gods” (Thor, I think she said) rolling bowling balls around.

So here’s the other side of that big old faaarplace.

And here’s a pic of the place in the winter. I was puzzling over this a bit. Who took it and when, etc.? Then I realized it looked like a scanned SLIDE. I am all for getting rid of crappy pics but not this one! It is what it is and that’s what snow does on that beach.

So, my dad created this birch bark scroll to document when his dad built the Old Cabin. 1924. Three years short of 100 years ago. How many people have been able to hang on to family land for that many years? I mean people who aren’t trillionaires.

As I hinted at earlier, my branch of the family does not own any part of the Old Cabin any more. We built our own rustic little cabin when I was six. I have always been happy about that. It was soooo much fun to watch our little shack get built and I always LOVED being there in the summer.

My grandparents and my aunts and their families still spent summers at the Old Cabin. We ran back and forth like crazy banging in through the door (no knock policy). Eventually, through land divisions, the Old Cabin ended up in the hands of my [late] aunt Bubs and My Dear Uncle Harry.

We STILL bang back and forth into each others’ cabins without knocking. Well, at least in non-pandemic times. And (in non-pandemic times) I have to tell my cousins’ wonderful children over and over that YOU DON’T HAVE TO KNOCK!

Master of the Universe King of Saws

March 15th, 2021 by kayak woman

I watched the package delivery (as I do all package deliveries since you know when) of EIGHT of these thingies last week. I was expecting terlet paper and this looked like about the right size box for what I ordered (I did get the TP so we should be gootchy until about August even factoring in a summer moomincabin supply).

Our own Landfill seems to have become the Hiawatha Shore-to-Shore North Country Trail chapter’s clearing house (I am NOT complaining). At least we’re the southern terminus. A bunch of crapola made its way up to Iggy or wherever over the weekend. These saws will be distributed to trail maintainer type volunteers.

The leather is left over from my old coot’s stint as a Sault Ste. Siberia tannery worker in the 1940s. It was a job he obtained after his stint as a WWII flight instructor and he worked there until before I was born. This was part of the trajectory of careers that later in his life led him to label himself as a Successful Failure. My career trajectory is not all that different.

From everything I remember hearing about that time of dad’s life (since I wasn’t born yet), he liked working with the people at the tannery but, as factory work often goes, it didn’t pay enough to raise children and send them to college (I’m guessing here). By the time I was born, he was established in a low-level job at the bank his dad presided over. His career trajectory went up from there but Successful Failure is a good description of his life.

I grew up in a shabby little bungalow on Superior Street in Sault Ste. Siberia. We had a second story but there were eaves, making the walls slanted on the sides. But the eaves also provided storage space and at the top of the stairs in what became my brother’s room, several drawers were embedded into the eaves and those drawers held pieces of LEATHER. Scraps from the tannery. I was fascinated by those as a young child.

Again I am guessing but I *think* The Commander had some designs on those leather pieces. Most of them never came into being (because kids, finally), except maybe for a footstool(?) she may have recovered. It may be at Houghton Lake now?

I own all the leather now. I am so rich🤣🤣🤣. I will probably never do anything with any of it but the GG dredged some of it up today with the idea to make sheathes for these highly dangerous kniffy/saws. That wouldda been fine with me but apparently he found some ready-made sheathes that would fit online somewhere so we’ll see what he does.

New socks

March 14th, 2021 by kayak woman

If you are not a bourbon fan, you may not recognize that these are none other than Maker’s Mark socks! I found them in teleCubelandia today after the GG arrived home from yet another trip to the Great White North.

Apparently he bought a bottle of Maker’s Mark on an earlier trip and the socks came with the bottle but he accidentally left the socks at the Uncly Uncle’s house. They are too small for men and The Beautiful Gay is really more of a vodka gal, so she was not interested. Actually, TBG is a VERY elegant woman who probably wouldn’t be caught dead in any sort of booze socks. Her sister-in-law (aka meeeeee), yeah, bring ’em on. I’ll probably wear my Frog Socks on St. Paddy’s Day, even though no one but the GG will see them.

Yes, the GG is traveling and has been since last spring. I am not all that comfortable with it except that… 1) These are exclusively road trips in Mooon Yooonit (and occasionally Ninja) (and he can pee anywhere because he is a maaaaaan). 2) They are hiking trips, solo or with VERY few people. 3) He stays mainly in hotels/air-bnbs or the Lyme Lounge ALONE. 4) He takes his own food and supplements that by take-out food. 5) His polly-ticks are different than mine and I don’t totally understand what they are but he does comply with masking and social distancing.

Vaccines? Not yet although we are eligible by age. Friends and relatives are s-l-o-w-l-y reporting vaccinations. I am registered in a few places but have not received an invitation yet. I am PERSONALLY okay with this since I am “rich” (emphasis on quotes) and can hunker down in my comfortable house doing my cozy little job and earning a nice little chunk of change. I do not have grandchildren and while I miss seeing my adult children, we are okay. A lot of folks (going by Nextdoor Neighbor posts) are chomping at the bit and driving to places like Napoleon Ohio, which is a couple hours away (and has a beautiful courthouse). I have to wonder if those folks are taking spaces away from Ohio residents?

I think this nitsy-bitsy business of registering with pharmacies, etc. is not the way to go. When I was something like 10, the powers that be decided that EVERYONE needed a polio booster “shot”. Except it wasn’t a shot, it was a sugar cube. I’m not sure who mobilized the whole thing but my family enthusiastically joined pretty much every family in Sault Ste. Siberia down at the National Guard Armory to line up for our oral vaccine.

This kind of mass vaccination effort is what is needed EVERYWHERE to get our population vaccinated. The Orange Baboon trumpets his Operation Warp Speed thingy as something wonderful that he did. But. Why did the Baboonian administration not build the INFRASTRUCTURE needed to deliver shots into as many arms as possible as quickly as possible?

Oh, okay. I guess COVID didn’t happen during Infrastructure Week…

P.S. I was just mashing potatoes while listening to somebody sing about doing the Mashed Potato dance from way back when.

I can see St. Petersburg on the inter-tubes

March 13th, 2021 by kayak woman

Am I flinging again? I think I’m flinging again. Fingers crossed that today was not an aberration.

I’ve had some big ideas about getting back into flinging but two problems (well, besides random pandemic emotional weirdness) have had me stymied for the last year. One is that I am down to the point where I don’t *personally* have a lot left to fling. I was pretty direct about getting rid of a whole bunch of biz-caz clothing pretty much when I learned that we would NEVER be going back to Cubelandia. I still have a lot of possessions but, for example, I am pretty sure I am not finished with fiber arts. That’s another area of life that I’ve struggled with getting back into but we’ll save that for another day.

So what do I so with the stuff OTHER people own that’s in my house? I can’t really get rid of the GG’s stuff but I did manage to make a deal of sorts with another person who is still storing stuff here after college and a subsequent series of rental housing units. This is NOT a complaint. This is a person who is completely independent from her parents but, being a “creative type”, has a fair amount of stuff (mostly clothing) and The Landfill has been a stable place to store it. So the deal is that I am gonna bag things up bit by bit in my beautiful Plum Market curbside grocery bags and dole it out to her a bag at a time.

And then there are the photos… I am not quiiiite ready to deal with our own photos yet and we won’t go near my digital photos for now although they are a MESS! I am starting with my family’s photos. Oh, don’t panic. I’m not indiscriminately throwing all of them out. But yaknow? I don’t need to save umpteen bazillion CRAPPY photos of my parents’ trips to Europe when they were in their 70s.

They took multiple “elder” trips to Europe organized by college or elder hostel organizations. That was a GREAT thing and they always had a good time. They took a gazillion pics. They had some kind of crappy film camera. That was okay. Neither one of them were photography aficionados and they almost always lived well beneath their means.

But. The scenery and historic buildings I can easily find on the internet. There are very few decent photos of my parents (I did save a few). There are a LOT of photooos of the other people in their travel group. I know they were wonderful friends but I have absolutely no relationship of any sort to any of them.

So I emptied the Russia/Scandinavia album today and looking toward what to target next.

The stuffed aminals will be the hardest to fling. I have thought of this before but COVID squelched it but maybe if COVID ever goes away, we’ll do a stuffed aminal adoption day some nice day in our driveway. Freeeeeee aminal(s) to any kid who wants one! Or ten…

P.S. Thanks to my blahggy friend Margaret (and her MOM!) for helping me find the strength to start dealing with all those crappy old photoooos.

Technical difficulties

March 12th, 2021 by kayak woman

We lost power for 4-5 hours today. How did I know that the power went down? Well, it was NOT because the lights went out. At least not that I noticed. It was a bright bright bri-i-ight sun-shiny day and the only lights I had on were the blue twinkle lights across the living room. They don’t really show up in bright sunshine so I didn’t notice when they went off. A little string of LEDs across the top of the cabinets in the chitchen did NOT go out.

What alerted me to the power outage is that Gertrude started to beep and flash like crazy. WHAT is THAT? I couldn’t figure out how to turn all of that racket off. I finally figgered out that I would have to hit the circuit breaker to get all of that stuff to STOP!!! I flipped the light switch to light the Landfill Dungeon and it didn’t come on… Hmmm… Eventually I figured out that we were in a weird brown-out situation. Some lights would come on sorta. My phone charging station was working. I do not know the rhyme or reason behind what was working and what was not.

We do have a generator but the GG is outta town and I have no clue how to get that thing connected and going. Plus I am no wimp but it is HEAVY and I am quite daunted about schlepping it up the Dungeon stairs and outside.

The GG (who I called in a panic about Gertrude’s “fit” before I figgered out brown-out) was worried about me. Are you warm enough? Hmmm… It was 55 degrees outside and brilliantly sunny? Actually I was almost tooooo warm but I knew it would be cold tonight, into the 20s. And then there’s the whole how to keep my phone charged overnight and what to do with the frozen tamale order that came today plus all the other stuff in the freezer. At what point do I mobilize myself and get it all into a raccoon-proof cooler outside the back door?

All’s well that ends well and the power came back on late in the afternoon and I womaned up and turned Gertrude’s circuit breaker back on. I think I expected her to blow up or something but so far she is fine, over her seizure, and quietly heating up leftover salmon and rice for me.

A little disclaimer here… Our power company has a wonderful app that you can use to report outages and get updates on when they expect to have the problem fixed. I got pretty regular texts via that throughout the afternoon and although they finished a bit later than their original estimate, knock on wood we’re all good now.

My blahg also went down for a bit this afternoon, independently of the power outage. It was the GG(!) who alerted me to that, which was surprising because he can go days and days without reading it🐽 Anyway, The Guru had it fixed in a jiffy. I hope he (The Guru) knows how much I appreciate his technical expertise, service, and FRIENDSHIP.

The pic is from a several day power outage a few years ago. We did have the generator running then and since we had heat, water, a gas grill to cook on and, uh, phone chargers, it was kinda toooo much fun, like luxury camping.

Corned beef and cabbage?

March 11th, 2021 by kayak woman

I’m sure I will reflect upon our COVID anniversary from time to time in the coming days but only when my thoughts are somewhat organized. They aren’t today so we’ll talk about food instead.

So the GG peered at me this afternoon and asked, “corned beef and cabbage?” I peered back at him and queried whether he expected meeeee to make corned beef and cabbage for St. Paddy’s Day. Because noooooo. I think my main ideas about how to celebrate the green day up until that point involved draping Froggy with his green Mardi Gras style beads, including the ones with the big lips, and posting a pic.

I have tried to cook corned beef a few times in my life. It did not go well. I supposedly have some Irish DNA (I have not done any of those tests) but apparently it didn’t transmit an innate ability to cook corned beef. The GG then kinda volunteered to cook corned beef. Um, he *may* have more Irish DNA than I do but I don’t think he knows anything more about cooking corned beef than I do. Plus it kind of drives me a little crazy to have him rattling around in the chitchen. Breakfast and preparing things for the grill are fine. Other stuff not so much. Rattly-bang-crash.

I knew that the Plum Market was offering take-home St. Pat’s dinners and PDQ I was online showing him a St. Patrick’s Day corned beef dinner for two. He’s picking it up on Tuesday. Yes that’s a day early. It’s okay. We have modern refrigeration here. This way I don’t have to TRY to cook corned beef and I don’t have to eat whatever he ends up with, which may or may not be any good. I dunno what the Plum does with corned beef but it’s gotta be better than what I do with it.

After all that, I checked out facebook and there was a thread the Uncly Uncle started about Pepe Le Pew a few days ago. Pepe is an obnoxious skunk cartoon character from our childhood days in case you aren’t familiar. The original post was about the “cancel culture”, which is a phrase that I don’t really understand but we won’t go there tonight except maybe that I wanted to cancel Pepe Le Pew when I was a child… What caught my eye in the meme the UU shared was Pepe Le Pew saying, “You are ze corned beef to me and I am ze cabbage to you”. Okaaaaayyyy. So that’s what got the GG going on corned beef and cabbage🐽

The beginning of the end (for now💩) of the Orange Baboon

March 10th, 2021 by kayak woman

I know a lot of people are writing about today being the one year anniversary of the pandemic lockdown but it isn’t exactly the anniversary for me although it was close.

TWO years ago today, I threw my full sink-side compost container into the GARBAGE. Why? Well. The compost bin was in the back right corner of the yard, kinda behind that big tree (it’s since been moved, hence “was”). Our yard was covered with glare ice with a couple inches of water on top of that. It was all too much for me even with Yaks or Katoolas. Nope. Not goin’ out there. I was telling MMCB1 about that this morning. She doesn’t remember the ice we had that March because she was whooping it up in Australia on her annual trip there, oblivious to all of our slip-slidin’ away here on the Planet Ann Arbor.

ONE year ago, MMCB1 was scrambling to get HOME (early) from her *2020* trip to Australia and I was nervously standing in line waiting to vote (blue) in the Michigan presidential primary. We knew the virus was amongst us but who knew where. I always vote EARLY (I mean early in the morning! “early voting” has taken on a whole new meaning since then). I was third in line that day. We were all keeping a pretty good three feet away from each other, which was the recommendation at the time and avoiding talking about the virus. Santa Claus was outside the door welcoming everyone in and, well, you can read about it if you want. I did NOT want ORANGE to win and so was nervous about that as well as the virus. But I voted and then I commuted to work – at Cubelandia.

When I look back on this date in 2020, I know that it was the beginning of the end of the Baboonian Reign of Idiocracy. Unfortunately, I don’t think the OB or his wannabes are gone forever plus now we have this gun-totin’ screamin’ mimi from Georgia in the House along with some of her quieter but equally as ignorant cronies. I often wish for more women to attain positions of leadership. In this case, it’s a reminder to be careful what you wish for 👀

It was weeks later that I learned some young essential workers I know had been experiencing COVID-like symptoms since about that election day. But who knows? It was almost impossible to get tests then and they weren’t able to. If it was COVID, their cases were mild with no long-haul crapola, thank you zeus or whoever.

P.S. Apologies to my childhood/FB friend Mimi who I doubt reads this but she is ANYTHING but a screamin’ mimi. Highly intelligent and always gracious with a wonderful sense of humor🧡

Sun Dog randomness

March 9th, 2021 by kayak woman

I didn’t see any sun dogs today although I certainly have seen them in my lifetime. They happen in extremely cold temperatures and they can be spectacular so do The Google if you are interested.

It’s meeeee who is the Sun Dog. We have had a LOT of sun lately (more than usual) and decently warm temps so I carefully plan how and when to move TeleCubelandia outside for a bit. The back yard is blindingly bright in the morning but doesn’t warm up until mid-afternoon and by that time the sun doesn’t shine on the “lee” of the house. First world problems. And BTW, the “S” word is in the forecast. This is the Great Lake State and it’s winter.

I don’t really think about the British royals (or any celebrities) much. I have mixed feelings about the whole “break-up”. On the one hand, talking about suicidal thoughts should NOT be taboo and maybe if a celebrity discusses them on TV it will help others. I don’t really know because I have never experienced depression, not to mention suicidal thoughts. Short-term bouts of “blues” is about the extent of it for me and WALKING usually fixes me right up. But also. The British royals are who they are and I’m not sure M&H were being realistic if they thought she would “fit in” or whatever. They should have enough cash to survive on with or without the support of the family business but I do wish them well. To the minimal extent that I DO follow the British royals, I guess I was hoping for a different outcome. Oh well.

I had other complaints to post but I can’t remember them now, except that Mr. COVID Mohawk got a letter from the Secretary of State yesterday and since it was addressed to HIM, I did not open it. It turned out that it was the usual vee-hickle license tab renewal but the letter came in a different form factor and I didn’t recognize it. I ALWAYS renew the license tabs but this time heeeee did it and suddenly there was a crazy-haired mad scientist looking person in my chitchen talking about what an ordeal he had just gone through to renew our vee-hickles. Oh my. Back in the late 1990s (yes really), this online process was pretty easy. It is now (unbelievably) more difficult but I always manage to bludgeon my way through it. I am a business analyst who designs user experience stuff for a living. I think the state needs to hire some business analysts (like meeeee) to design their user interface. Well, except not meeee because I am happy working for TeleCubelandia.

Aaaaaahhhh (pick your inflection)

March 8th, 2021 by kayak woman

One way to say it is in the absolute horror of having something show up in your chitchen that smells SO HORRIBLE that you find yourself running to the bathroom because your gag reflex is threatening to kick in and you want to be right next to the terlet just in case. It was okay. I managed to control it. It helped that we had temperatures in the low 60s today so I could open the bathroom window and let some fresh air in.

Where did this smell come from? It turned out to be what caused the warshing musheen first world problem the other day. An unidentifiable cloth item got stuck somewhere and stayed there long enough to get, well, icky, to put it mildly. It was not a mask but it has me thinking I should put masks in a mesh bag to wash them because it was about the size of a mask. Whatever it was, the warshing musheen is fixed now (darn it!🐽) (or not) and the offensive item is in the garbage cart OUTSIDE, zipped into a ziploc bag. The chitchen window is open and the fan is on. I can still smell it but I think I’m okay now. Also, I am about to put meatloaf in the oven and that should provide further help with masking the smell.

The other inflection for aaaaaahhh is how good it feels to sit out in some actual warm sunshine. 63 or whatever it was does not feel all that warm at this time of year if you are not moving and I wasn’t because I was working on my laptop. Still, I didn’t need a balaclava or a blanket and Mr. Golden Sun felt sooooo good.

P.S. No, the warshing musheen is apparently NOT FIXED yet. Stay tuned. (Not that you care or should care.) And don’t worry. If we need a new one, we can buy one.

Vapor Trails Paper Jails

March 7th, 2021 by kayak woman

Randomly looked out my front window and WOW! Paper jails! We used to call them vapor trails when I was a kid. Do we call them contrails now? I dunno. One of our childhood beach friends called them “paper jails” when we were young, mishearing the words, I guess. I wasn’t always a very, uh, nice child and I teased her about that. I wish I could apologize to her but she died a number of years ago.

It’s Sunday and I was home alone because the GG is trying to hike as much of the Ohio NCT as possible before it gets hot and buggy. I am okay with being home alone. Although I am old enough to retaaaar, I have resisted it because “I married you for better or worse but not for lunch”. (Also I love my cozy little career and the nice chunk of change that comes with it.) The pandemic has given me a taste of a 24-7 marriage and I am not a fan. I don’t think the GG is either.

I went for a Ninja ride this morning. My destination was Swan Corners and I eventually got there (no swans though) but not until my Ninja took me over to Cubelandia. My company still leases the building but that will end in a couple months. I am kind of amazed that despite YEARS of empty office/lab space in our office park and more since the pandemic, a nearby field has now sprouted the steel bones of a big office/lab (?) building. I KNOW the pandemic will end (someday, maybe) but so many of us have demonstrated our ability to run complex businesses online FROM ANYWHERE. Does it not make sense to hold off on erecting huge new buildings? Who will work there?

Oh man, I miss the geese. I made the turn into Cubelandia today and almost immediately had to brake because Mr. Gander was looking at me like he was ready to step into HIS road. Although there is plenty of wildlife to watch here at the Landfill, I miss watching the Cubelandia wildlife, especially the yearly life cycle of the geese.

1st world problems number umpteen bazillion

March 6th, 2021 by kayak woman

The Landfill warshing musheen is down in a “corner” of the Landfill Dungeon. This warshing musheen is fine until it isn’t. It was NOT fine today.

This warshing musheen was purchased the same weekend the Planet Ann Arbor’s third high school — Sky[line] High — was finished and open for the public to visit. And we did visit it. It was so big it almost made me dizzy but we’ll go there some other day.

I put a small load in this morning, ate breakfast, started in on chores, went to get curbside grocks, took a little river ride. Came back thinking the warshing musheen would be done. Not. H-F-H-F flash flash flash. I’ve seen that behavior before but don’t know how to fix it. This time I couldn’t even figger out how to turn it off! Anyway.

I can do laundry pretty much any place as long as there is water and some kind of soap. So I dragged all of the wet stuff from the stalled warshing musheen upstairs and I double warshed most of it and then I put it all in the dryer FOREVER.

The GG will most likely fix this warshing musheen but there’s a part of me that hopes he won’t be able to because I really want a warshing musheen that texts me when it’s done (like my dryer does). The warsher does do a weak little beep beep beep when it’s done but it’s very hard to hear unless you are in exactly the right place upstairs. I do usually hear the spin cycle. I didn’t today. Which ended up meaning the musheen wasn’t working.

Back in the day, I’d’ve schlepped everything off to a laundromat. Can’t do that with COVID.

Sometime during the afternoon after chores, I went outside with my rumpl blanket (gifted), my iPhone (book), and a glass of whine. I hung out there until after the sun sunk over the Landfill.

Valve shelves

March 5th, 2021 by kayak woman

This was a year ago today. It was a Thursday and I stopped at the Saline Road Meijer on my way home from work for a few things and I mean a few. I remember the days when I shopped (with small children) twice a week and bought tons of stuff including two packs of stickers for the older beach urchin who certainly had me well trained. In recent years, I do not shop like that. How I do shop (even pre-COVID) would be too long for this post.

In this pic there are still some Clorox wipes in stock. I did not buy any. I do not know why. I had some? I can always get more? Right? I learned to ration Clorox wipes PDQ. One per day on the terlet rim (TMI?). I somehow can’t bring myself to use a reusable cleaning implement on the terlet rim. Even though my terlet rim gets swabbed EVERY DAY, something about that grosses me out.

This was probably a GOOD thing. Clorox wipes are made from FABRIC (if I understand accurately) and therefore probably do not degrade as quickly in landfills as other substances. One day (after COVID began) I couldn’t find my one canister of Clorox wipes. Turned out the GG was in the back yard using Clorox wipes with wild abandon to clean some apparatus or implement. NO NO NO NO NO! We can’t buy those now.

For months and months and months, Clorox wipes were unavailable from Amazon. I used to check just for fun. “Only available for health care facilities.” Mouse got me some 7th Generation wipes (which are FINE!) from Plum (and some TP). Eventually I scored some wipes on Amazon (but not sure what I paid for them, probably beaucoup bucks) and they are now a bit easier to get and I have some on order that might be delivered next week.

I have learned to clean things (except for the terlet rim) via other stuff and that’s a good thing.

Inauguration🐽 Tax [Prep] Day🐽

March 4th, 2021 by kayak woman

Yuck yuck yuck. A spec review and doing the taxes on the same day? Really?

I get why “people” feel the need to “do the taxes” before sending them off to the pros. I probably wouldn’t do it myself, at least not at this stage of the game. I have “done the taxes” in the past, both for us and for a couple of non-profit orgs. I’m capable. Accounting is probably one of the careers that would be right up my alley but I am not formally educated in it and I know enough to know when I’m in over my head. Nowadays if it were totally up to me, I’d probably just collect all the papers, fill out the organizer, throw it all in an envelope and send it off to Nancy.

Wait? Who’s Nancy? I’m not sure exactly which accountant is assigned to “do our taxes” this year but I don’t think there’s a Nancy. Somehow I woke up this morning thinking that the GG had ADAMANTLY told me that our taxes were not going to the usual folks. They were going to NANCY! I do not know if this was something I dreamed (I had some crazy dreams last night) or if I am conflating this with some kind of North Country Trail conversation.

Anyway, doing the taxes means that I get peppered with random questions about how much did we pay in property taxes for this or that and where is the invoice. I am usually conscientious about putting all invoices in THE TAX ENVELOPE but this year I failed in a couple of cases. I found the amounts online and I will sniff out the invoices this weekend. WHEN I AM NOT WORKING!

On the other side of the screen, Mr. Bear was also peppering me with questions. Actually he was peppering other people with questions and “ordering” me to do this or that. No, he is not my boss and don’t worry, this kind of behavior is typical and doesn’t bother me a whit. In the end, a potentially contentious spec review went smoothly because of his peppering. But I have another spec review tomorrow and we’ll see how that one goes.

DISCLAIMER: The red plaid maskless photo is NOT RECENT. It is a little over a year ago at Beggar’s Banquet in the “cowtown” of East Lansing. We were over there for the annual Quiet Adventure Water Symposium and Old Weird Mac and the GG are play facing it off at dinner. And yes we were all worried about COVID then but things had obviously not been shut down yet and I think we were all doing more hand-washing than anything at that time.

We certainly weren’t talking about our fears. We were sitting next to each other everywhere and hanging out with each other and about a bazillion other people wandering through the pavilion. At one presentation I went to, a guy WAS SITTING UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL TO ME. Believe it or not, I was less worried about COVID in that situation than I was about somebody invading my personal space.

We’ll talk about Squirrel Luckyshuckification some other day. Just try to say that without stumbling onto the F-word once or even twice 🤣

You callin’ yo mama a bitch? 🤣

March 3rd, 2021 by kayak woman

I posted this pic a year ago today AS I WAS LEAVING CUBELANDIA FOR MY COMMUTE HOME. It wasn’t my last commute. When I got home, I wrote this blahg entry, which obviously turned out to be WRONG WRONG WRONG. Aerosolized virus anyone? Yep, that’s what we were dealing with. One thing I wrote a year ago continues to be true and that is that we still don’t totally know the science behind this virus. We won’t talk about the fossils who run Texas and Mississippi except to say that, at least in Texas, some of the mayors and businesses are putting the brakes on the Big Unmasking. What a bunch of fools our ignorant semi-educated masses have elected. If y’all don’t want to vote for “socialist” candidates, at least run some Republican candidates who actually care about someone other than themselves, not to mention science.

I am deep into a very interesting novel, Moloka’i, which is about a girl/woman who spent her life in a leper colony there. After a long confusing day deciphering one of the worst spreadsheets I have ever encountered (I DID NOT CREATE IT), I did a reading session after I logged off from TeleCubelandia this afternoon. And had a terrible time putting the book down. Leprosy was a horrible disease for those who contracted it but that I know of it never reached pandemic proportions. Eventually it was renamed Hansen’s Disease and apparently is now easily cured by antibiotics, which is why I said “was” in the last sentence. At any rate, I am not [too] freaked out reading it given our ongoing pandemic, although I certainly feel empathy for the afflicted characters. An actual pandemic novel Earth Abides (do The Google) is on my re-read list but I am not ready to revisit that one just yet…

Just for fun, a text message play…

A beach urchin, arriving at the Rifle River Rec Area: [picture of safe arrival at rental camp cabin]
The GG: Which cabin?
KW: Which cabin? [jeebus]
Beach urchin: Bitch
Beach urchin: BIRCH
Beach urchin: OMG!!!!! 😳
[a couple more texts]
KW: You callin’ yo mama a bitch?🤣

I love iPhone autocorrect, don’t you?

Almost too bright

March 2nd, 2021 by kayak woman

I do not have ANYTHING in my brain worth writing about today so we’ll see where this ends up if anywhere.

The pic is Mr. Golden Sun lighting up the trees in the Haisley woods just enough after dawn that he’s high enough in the sky to, uh, light them up. We’ve got another 10 days where this kind of photoooo is a possibility, then daylight savings will put me back in the dark for a while. Which I actually kinda prefer. I like to be “invisible” and I am because I wear black/dark gray. Yeah, the usual worry warts will fuss that automotive vee-hickles can’t see me. Well, I am mostly on sidewalks and I can see (and hear) automotive vee-hickles that are blocks away. I am ALWAYS on the lookout.

I also look out for Stinkerbelle the Skunk. ’tis the season. Once at around this time of winter we got eight inches of snow or whatever overnight. I went out at 0-skunk-30 to start shoveling out and figured out that the funny little trails UNDER the snow were from skunks burrowing around the neighborhood. I think that was in the years before “they” started finding rabid skunks all over this side of town. Suddenly we had a lot fewer skunks. We don’t know for sure but we suspect the city embarked on a quiet little eradication program. I am an aminal fan and I have nothing against skunks. They’re an important part of the ecosystem and I just avoid them. But rabies brings a different variable into play. (Sshhh, don’t tell the folks on Next Door Neighbor any of this!)

Anyway, I have been trapped here for the last couple days with a COVID Mohawk person who has been frenetically bopping around like crazy and talking at me while munching on Trenary Toast right smack in my face. Trenary Toast is a yooper thing but I am not a fan. Dry dry dry hunks of cinnamon flavored bread. In my book, cinnamon toast is “Bunny Bread” that is toasted, BUTTERED, and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Having somebody crunch Trenary Toast in your face? It reminded me of the time somebody was crunching pistachio nuts on a Family Trip to the Badlands. You know the kind of trip. The one where the car breaks down, the kids get sick, and the dog runs away🐽 That was a generally stressful day and the noise associated with aggressive pistachio chewing did not help lower the stress level.

Love y’all, KW

P.S. Also on that trip? Nobody got sick. We didn’t have a dog. The POC didn’t break down but on our last (and most stressful) day, the fuel pump (we figgered out later) made a humming noise for at least 100 miles. Cheers!