Random bits of my so-called life.

You’re welcome!

December 29th, 2018 by kayak woman

Yes, you are right! I did not post anything yesterday. It was one of THOSE days. I mean, it was a fun day filled with an eclectic collection of people. I didn’t want to neglect anyone and my brain couldn’t sort out all of the goings on. What can I blahg about? What should I not blahg about? We all ended up at H.O.M.E.S. for dinner where we met up with the GooseFam and then a friend of our fam turned out to have a connection to someone in the GooseFam and, well it was all fun, at least I thought it was.

Do NOT open me! Do NOT open me? What? This item has been hanging around since about xmas day. No one opened it! I mean, I am not going to open an Altoids box with a post-it note saying, “Do NOT open me”. Would you? Pengie was brave enough to open it. Guess what was inside? It was an artifact that makes a MOOOOOOO noise when you open the box. I have encountered this artifact before. I think it was originally designed for installing into a cookie jar. Which is cracking me up because I am remembering when my dad taught the beach urchins how to open the moomincabin cookie jar without making any noise. The payment for teaching them that trick was that every time they got a cookie, they had to take one to him too. (I don’t actually remember this. The beach urchins told me about it many moons later.)

Anyway, Pengie has been a member of the FinFam for more years than I am strong enough to count. He occupies a position of honor similar to the one occupied by Speedy Water Janet Pop Mousey Mushroom Ears. When I got up this morning, Pengie and his owners were already gone, rolling along down the I75 Snowbird Geezerway to his home in crazy old Florida. I got up a little later than I wanted to but not too late to roll the garbage and recycle carts down to the curb by 7:00. I had FORGOTTEN to roll them down last night! As I rolled the recycle down there, the recycle *truck* was coming up the street. I guess I wasn’t on much of a roll yesterday (har har).

As for the rest of today, about the most exciting thing we did was take a ride in the country where we sat on a deserted dirt road watching a bunch of shaggy cattle cavort, including a big old white bull that charged somebody else while we were watching. Yes, you are right, it doesn’t take much.

And now, I have been ordered to get dressed up in Holiday Attire so we can hoof it over for porterization at Knights.

Are you guys drinking already?

December 27th, 2018 by kayak woman

Nobody can exactly remember when it was but the beach urchins were over on some random Sunday afternoon or whatever and we were eating samosas from the Plum Market. The GG asked (from the back room) what we were doing and when we replied that we were eating samosas, he asked us if we were drinking already. Well, there are *mim*osas and *sam*osas and *mim*osas are fun but we were *eating* *sam*osas, not *drinking* *mim*osas.

Sometimes we do make *mim*osas on holiday mornings but we never quite got around to that on xmas day even though we had the ingredients. But we had this bottle of cFam whine. Mouse obtained it many moons ago from the whine specialists where she works and she keeps fergitting to bring it over here. It really needs to be shared by folks in the cFam, although the GG doesn’t really do red whine because it gives him headaches. But this time Mouse remembered to bring the cFam whine over and it was really pretty good! The GG had a couple little tastes but was v. v. careful because red and headaches.

This isn’t the first time we have had cFam whine. Many years ago we bought some whine in Courtois, Missouri. It was fine but this French whine was probably better.

BTW, Courtois can be pronounced a few different ways. In France it is probably something like “CooTwa” (but Mouse or Margaret can correct me). In Missouri, it is pronounced something like “Curtaway”. In the cFam I know and love, it is [usually] pronounced “Curtis”. The GG’s grandmother of myrtle-ization married a Courtois and Anglicized it into the Curtis pronunciation. Thankfully, she did not change how to spell the name. Despite that French grandfather, the GG (I think) identifies more with his Irish and German roots. I’m not so sure but I was lucky enough to marry into a wonderful family whatever their roots are.

It’s not exactly the baby Jesus…

December 26th, 2018 by kayak woman

When you have The Pensioner around to decorate for the holidays, you never quite know what might end up in the rotation so this set of artifacts did not exactly surprise me although I don’t really have a coherent explanation for it besides something like he saw them so he put them under the tree.

It’s Orange Baby and Own Baby, of course. Orange Baby was delivered by the stork Frances Grandma the day newborn little sis came home from the horsepittal. She was lying in that cradle (once yer fav-o-rite blahgger’s) wrapped in homemade blankets waiting for her new mooma (big sis) to take care of her. It was love at first sight. One day we were coming out of Minifab (Minnesota Fabrics) and big sis panicked! “My baby! My orange baby!” Yes, we had left the newly named Orange Baby back by the pattern books. We quickly retrieved her and I guess that’s a better (or cleaner) place than where we once left Speedy Water Janet Pop Mousey Mushroom Ears, which was on top of a trash can in a McDonald’s restaurant bathroom (yes, we successfully retrieved Mousey too).

At the ripe old age of 18 months, little sis peered at me intently and strung together a coherent but pointed request: “Big Sis Orange Baby, OWN BABY!” I relayed this to “the stork” and if you knew The Commander at all, you know she quickly obtained another orange baby and made some more doll blankets to give to her third granddaughter.

The Pensioner being who he is has a collection of weird and not always PC artifacts and it was his idea to dress the little sis up in the “kill ’em all and let god sort ’em out” t-shirt shown below. Where did he get it? I do not know. Fortunately he did not obtain the Mohammed Bombhead shirt until many years later but that may not have had the same political connotations back then anyway. What did little sis do when she first received Own Baby? Held her up to show her the moon, of course.

The Pensioner did a great job on the decorations this xmas. I didn’t really have the time or psychological energy to do much. What I didn’t really need help with is wrapping packages because some things GOT MIXED UP!!! That resulted in big sis opening a couple of gifts that were supposed to be for little sis. I somehow missed that this happened until little sis had to ask me, uuhhhh, Mooooom, what happened to those Gwen Frostic calendars I asked for? Like SPECIFICALLY asked for, sending me links to EXACTLY what she wanted. It was an awkward moment for me but big sis was more than happy to hand them over. Everyone had too many gifts anyway.

In which…

December 25th, 2018 by kayak woman

…I who need absolutely nothing on earth in terms of material goods seemed to end up opening the most packages today on this Great American Holiday of Excess.

I didn’t ask for all of this stuff, at least not exactly. The Pensioner started hounding me and other family members for xmas lists a couple of months ago. He was driving us crazy. Me? I had nothing. At one point I told him I had bought a pair of tights online. Did he really want to buy me stuff like that? I mean, a pair of tights? The answer was YES. Okay, so I thought about what I might need or want in terms of clothing and I sent him a bunch of links and basically all he had to do was clickety-clickety-click. I am NOT a Clothes Horse at this time in my life but if I see something that I know will work for me, I snap it up PDQ!

So most of the stuff I opened today was stuff I would have bought for myself anyway. Biz-caz skirt and scarf, Smartwool hiking skirt, SOCKS, fancy Smartwool “leggings” — “base layer”? long underwear? whatever, they will work well as a layer between tights and my long wool skirt. But he also came up with a few other items and the Beach Urchins came up with a whole bunch of creative moom-type gifts, fancy dripless candles for our holiday table and aubergine glass vases and I fergit what else (well, I did ask for/know about the vases but I had totally forgotten them). In one case, I totally cracked up when I opened some bees wrap from Mouse because I had bought bees wrap for the Beach Urchins too. We are all wondering how this bees wrap stuff will work out. We’ll see.

We had a very slow day around here today. We hung around doing gradients and jigsaw puzzles for a looooong time this morning and eventually I made Eggs Benny and after that we opened (about a gazillion) gifts. I felt like we were putting the gift-opening off because it was almost embarrassing to have so much. Nevertheless, we are blessed and especially blessed to have adult children who actually like to spend holidays with us.

Love y’all and hope your day (holiday or not) was happy and peaceful. If you worked today, thank you!

Gradient addiction

December 24th, 2018 by kayak woman

She comes in and sits down next to me on the Green Couch and says, “Moom, I have an iPhone game you might like.” Oh, okay. Ho-hum, I’ll check it out, what now… And that’s how I have managed to spend the last 24 hours or so totally addicted to arranging scattered colors into gradient order. Know what a gradient is? Huh? Look it up if not. The game is “I Love Hue” and it is a free app but after three or four rounds of the “game”, you have to put up with annoying ads between each round. You can make those go away though by buying, well, something. I’m not sure what I paid for (oh, I only paid like $1.99 or whatever) but I am playing without ads now.

Meanwhile, the GG has spent most of the day working on a jigsaw puzzle. This is not a usual activity at our house but, inspired a friend whose family does xmas jigsaw puzzles, Lizard Breath sent us a couple of beautiful puzzles and she and the GG are totally engaged. Uber KW had the idea to put out puzzles at the moomincabin last summer. It was a wonderful idea and we have some up there. Unfortunately, there isn’t a good space to put a puzzle out and LEAVE it out when there are more than about two people there. So we tried it but eventually put it away when a boatload of beloved relatives arrived and we needed all the space we could muster. If and when the family can ever actually talk about making improvements to the moomincabin, having enough space to keep a jigsaw puzzle out would be high on my list of requirements, along with removing the water heater from the downstairs bedroom and installing a sturdy outdoor stairway to the sleeping loft. Unfortunately we’re not at that point yet.

It’s xmas eve and every fin fam relative on the Planet Ann Arbor who didn’t have to work today met up at the Grizzly Peak for lunch. I think we had eight people this year. It was fun and that’s about all I will say about it. I hope we can do this or a variation thereof, for at least a few more years. Home now. Mouse is making homemade pasta and we are grilling filet mignon. And I guess it’s Cee-gar Time but at least Cee-Gar Man went outside and I am degenerating into incoherence, so I will say goodnight and Merry Xmas if you celebrate the Great Holiday of Commercial Excess and Love to You if you don’t.

Mid-century church in mid-century house

December 23rd, 2018 by kayak woman

This mid-century church didn’t originally live in a mid-century house. It was a shabby 1930s (?) bungalow with a a few nods to mid-century modern furniture, thanks to what my parents could afford and/or my mother built.

I loved this church as a kid. It uses lucky-shuckial light but it also has a wind-up music box, which is probably why it still plays Silent Night after all these years. I am not sure where this came from but I have a vague memory that maybe my great-aunt Elizabeth gave it to us. I wish I could remember her personality better (she died when I was about seven). I think I was a bit afraid of her (she could sometimes be a bit “cross” with wayward children) but she also comforted a bunch of us young cousins once when we were sleeping on the front porch of the Old Cabin and a thunderstorm woke us up. “It’s just the gods bowling.” And she gave me my beloved sea shell collection from a trip to Florida. And the angel that resides at the top of my xmas tree to this day. And I think the church that plays Silent Night.

I am a great-aunt many times over thanks to the huge and beloved Catholic family I married into. My kids are 12 and 13 of 19 cousins in their generation and many of those cousins have produced another generation. 19 (?) so far with two more on the way! The older kids of that generation are now driving and applying to colleges and life goes on and on and on…

As I always do with children and pets, I let my great-nieces/nephews come to me. I don’t try to smother them with hugs and kisses. I don’t even give them gifts. My great-aunt Elizabeth lived in my grandparents’ house 8-10 blocks away from me, so I saw her regularly. These children see me occasionally and have many people in their lives who dote on them (which is GOOD and they are LUCKY). But I don’t want to be remembered as some baggy old woman who tried to force them to hug her, etc.

What I loved tonight while the great-nieces/nephews variously rampaged through the party or hid from the party or engaged with their baggy old great-aunts (as a couple of them very eloquently did), was talking to their parents. I think I spent more time talking to those in my children’s generation tonight than I did with my own generation. It was soooo much fun, even for an introvert!

I am still processing this wonderful party. A good thing is that for once, we had DRY ROADS all the way up and down.

Gardening while black

December 22nd, 2018 by kayak woman

Okay, here we go again. An Orange Baboon who seems to be walking around at about 100 (or maybe it’s more like 80) has a temper tantrum and causes a[nother] government shutdown. People are furloughed WITHOUT PAY or REQUIRED TO WORK WITHOUT PAY. Once again, a bunch of little people are taking a hit because a bunch of idjits cannot talk to each other. Except. This time, we have the Orange Baboon. I place the blame squarely on the Orange Baboon. I guess if you have never lived from paycheck to paycheck, as I doubt the Orange Baboon ever has, you have no clue.

My family has been through a couple of these stoopid shutdowns. There was the Clintonian Shutdown back in the 90s. I was not gainfully employed during that one. That was by choice and after careful financial discussions. Could we afford for me to quit working? Yes, we could. (We’ll talk about “lean in” some other day.) But we were far from wealthy and going without a couple of the GG’s paychecks was very difficult. Yes, he did eventually get back pay. That was wonderful! I quickly paid off our mortgage and the dad-blasted POC and I don’t think we have ever borrowed money for anything since then. But we were lucky. Congress does not have to require government contractors to pay back pay after shutdowns, so our contractor friends had to suck it up.

I generally believe it when our loverly elected officials say they do not want to shut down the government and maybe that’s why the next time it happened was almost 20 years later in 2013. The GG was still working at that time so he was furloughed. But by then I was gainfully employed (as were our adult children) and we were in a much more viable financial position (albeit still not what you would call wealthy). The GG headed up to play around in the yooperland and I toiled blissfully away at Cubelandia, enjoying the spacification of light-filled September evenings alone at the Landfill.

I do not think Mr. Trump gives a flying f*ck about who he might hurt by shutting down the goverment. I don’t understand all of this crapola about the border wall or steel slats or whatever he wants to call it. I know that a lot of folks are freaked out about “open borders” and “migrant caravans” and yada yada. Call me a librat if you want but I don’t see what threat there is in desperately poor, oppressed people trying to enter our country to try and make a better life (as many of our ancestors did). I know that these issues are complicated but I don’t see that the Orange Baboon’s random edicts on Twitter are making anything better.

We need to find a way to talk RATIONALLY about all of these issues. We need to define vocabulary terms. What exactly are “open borders”? What constitutes a “migrant caravan”? I could go on and on here.

I am sincerely sorry for all of the federal government employees who are, once again, going without pay for however long this ridiculous political stunt of a shutdown takes. These folks are pawns. They may have their own personal political opinions but their jobs are not political and most of them don’t approach them in a political way. They are employed to do a job and they should be held harmless while our elected officials fight it out. Well. ARGUABLY elected, in the case of the Orange Baboon. Okay, yes, he did win the election (but not the popular vote) but his narrow electoral college victory does NOT give him any kind of mandate to do anything. Sorry but #TrumpResign. Of course, I know he won’t. I am not as stupid as people sometimes seem to think.

Solstice gobble gobble

December 21st, 2018 by kayak woman

It is the shortest day of the year. I do not get SAD. I get out and *walk* in the dark. So I actually kind of enjoy the darkness when I am driving to and from work.

We porterized ourselves at the Oscar Tango tonight and then we spent some time viewing a tree of porterization. And playing an informal game. What is your favorite whatever? You get asked the question and the other people get to guess the answer.

I am not much of a game person but this was low-key enough to be fun. I do have trouble figuring out what my favorites are in most categories. There are two that I remember at this point.

My favorite color? I like most colors (except beige, which is NOT a color). I guess black is my fave for clothing although I accent it with jewel tones. For my house? Blue blue blue. Teal blue (not cobalt!) subway tiles in the chitchen. Red, orange, and yellow were the guesses for my fave colors. Nope. Although I LOVE those colors too.

My favorite language? Various romance languages were guessed. My answer? Fortran. Of course. My second programming language (after Basic on our old Apple II+).

We had some fun with other people’s questions and answers but I won’t document that here. It was getting late (for us) and the GG was starting to exhibit cold virus symptoms so we bagged out. I dunno if he is getting a cold virus or what. I had a loverly one a few weeks back and I figgured he would’ve had that virus by now. But who knows what the incubation period is and what an individual’s immunity is, etc., ad infinitum. I easily survived my cold virus and I have to guess the GG will too.

Sincerely, Mrs. Grinch

December 20th, 2018 by kayak woman

Or maybe that should be Cousin Grinch, since the Grinch and I are cousins, not a couple 🐽

Every holiday season I seem to have a day that I get to the end of my rope and kind of freak out. I don’t think today was That Day. I actually don’t think I’m going to have That Day this year. But today came close. After another loooooong brain-twisting day at work, me and FZ seem to have figured out What Is Wrong and we are closing in (I think) on What Needs To Change. I made some beauteous pictures today. One of the fave parts of my job.

And then every single blasted intersection all the way home was totally clogged and backed up so it took me f-o-r-e-v-e-r. At least it isn’t cold enough for the S-word today. When I was a kid I was all into the White Xmas thing. And it almost always WAS White Xmas up in the Yooperland. But. We didn’t have to *drive* anywhere. After we opened our own presents at our own shabby little Superior St. bungalow, we drove I dunno, 8-10 blocks over to the grandparents’ house on John St. to join our in-town cousins and any others that were around for brunch. I have foggier memories about xmas dinner. I don’t think it was always the same. I know that we often had it up at Don and Katie’s house on “the hill” (that was a longer drive but still probably under a mile). My main memory about that was the time I felt sick and was diagnosed with the mumps. It was my Uncle Don who diagnosed me… At his house and quite gleefully if I remember accurately! I also still kind of remember my aunt Katie (aka The White Tornado) presiding over the cooking activities in her big kitchen.

I don’t think my nuclear family often (or ever) hosted xmas dinner for the clan at our house because I don’t think it was big enough to host that many people. It was certainly a lot fewer people than the cFam and my hat is off to those who are brave enough to host that HUGE crew for a xmas party. Chinese take-outs? Yes yes yes! The point is to get together, not to show off holiday cooking skills! But that party is on the 23rd. Our little cFam unit will cook a duck on the gas grill on xmas at our own little house.

Anyway, in those old childhood yooperland days, no one had to drive 45 miles on a snow or ice-covered freeway to get to the party or Home. So nowadays, while I welcome some beautiful white stuff for the holidays, it also makes me worry about people who are driving a distance to be with their family.

Good night, Monkeyhead. Good night, Igloo Face.

December 19th, 2018 by kayak woman

Every time I pass this construction site on my way to work, I think “igloos”. Orange ones! Of course these are nothing like igloos, which are an arctic feat of engineering, warm, well ventilated dwellings made of snow! But they have a similar shape. Don’t worry, I was stopped at the loooooongest light on my way to work and it was at the beginning of the cycle so there was absolutely no danger here.

I don’t like what they are building here. Some previously wooded acreage is being replaced by something like, “retail and fancy apartments”. Or was it condos? I am sorry. This is across the street from a big Tarjay plaza and kittycorner from the Saline Road Meijer complex. I don’t understand why we are building all of this retail crapola in an area that already has a whole bunch of similar stuff when people are increasingly buying online. At least I am. Except for the farmers market, that is. I’m not sure about the apartments either but these are all complicated issues that I don’t have the chops to analyze tonight…

…because FZ and I were down a rabbit hole all the live-long day. I won’t go into detail (you don’t wanna know) but at one point I “yelled” over the wall that I wanted to update the ticket we were working on with “Speak slowly, I’m blonde”. I could tell that knocked him back a bit. FZ didn’t know me as a blonde and I don’t act like the proverbial dumb blonde at work (unless I feel like I need to – I do know how and it can be a useful tool 🐽). I was stifling laughter because my hair is white/gray these days and FZ is soooo nice that he was worried about how to approach this in a PC way. I told him I was a blonde as a kid and after a bit more rabbithole stuff, he was OWNING the “Speak slowly, I’m blonde” thing FOR HIMSELF! I don’t know what his hair color was when he was young. I’ll have to ask! But maybe “Speak slowly, I’m blonde” will enter our work lexicon. Like “organically grown” and “step back from the ledge” and “word salad”, etc. have.

Poor FZ. In the midst of all the rabbithole stuff, FZ had to get his vee-hickle towed because it stalled out about a gazillion times on his way to work today and wouldn’t really start up at all when he tried it out at lunch. His vee-hickle is one ‘o them thar wonderful Japanese thingies (like I own) but it is also old enough to drink alcohol.

Musical Musings, 2 or whatever out of 10 gazillion

December 18th, 2018 by kayak woman

My childhood/facebook friend The Beautiful Mimi posted a wonderful video on facebook today in which a bunch of Moo-U percussionists performed a piece written by one of their professors. It was The Carol of the Bells and it was performed on a construction site using both standard percussion instruments and various things found around the site. I have to note that their instruments included an mbira, which I am sure they did not find hanging around the construction site but I am also wondering if the mbira is actually something that they *teach* nowadays or if the professor simply wrote a part for it and managed to find someone who knew how to play it. (I know someone but that person is not anywhere near Moo-U.) There are links to this video but they are usability-challenged (think pop-up ads and logins up the wazoo) so I’m not going to try to link to it. You can try The Google if you are interested enough. And it is Michigan State University, not Moo-U.

I didn’t watch the entire video (because of the usability challenges) but I LOVE this composition. I was always fascinated by outta the box stuff like this. I think we used to call it avant garde? When I attended music school there, about the most avant garde thing we did was a yearly music festival for new composers. I loved this festival. As much as I always loved playing music that was based on traditional scales, it was so much fun to play atonal or otherwise esoterically based stuff. One year, I was sitting first seat in the symphonic band and playing our school’s only alto flute on a piece written and directed by a composer named Gunther Schuller. He gave me a quiet “Bravo alto flute” (first flute is directly to the right of the director in symphonic band) at the end of the performance. Another time, Anthony Braxton directed us. All I remember about that was a section where we all more or less noodled around like crazy for a while playing fast, random notes. I wasn’t sure I was personally doing the right thing but he seemed to like the overall effect.

Still, all of the outta the box stuff we did was in the “band room” with a traditionally arranged band and didn’t include instruments like the mbira and definitely not a wheelbarrow or random pipes sticking outta the ground and other things you might find at a construction site. I would have loved participating in that kind of thing, flute or not.

Of course any decent musician needs to be able to play all of the beautiful old standards (Bach/Beethoven, etc. etc. ad infinitum) and I always loved to play those too. But if the construction site composition was more the norm when I was coming up through the ranks, I MAY have been more interested in going on in a musical career. As wonderful as the “traditional” music careers are for the right people, they weren’t really for me. I’m not going there tonight and I am also not unhappy that I didn’t “do” music for a living. My talent for music (and mathematics) has been a basis for eventual success in a career as a systems analyst.

But. Parents, if your kid is obsessed with playing a musical instrument, lug that instrument around if you need to. If you are lucky, your kid will be like me and haul their *flute* everywhere, i.e. easy to haul. But support your kid even when it is a bass fiddle or a tuba that you have to schlep. If your kid is obsessed enough with music that they practice ALL THE TIME, that is not always a bad thing. They may be building the kind of skills that will lead them to successful non-musical jobs later (if they don’t “make it” in music). The discipline of practicing every day will build a work ethic and meticulously analyzing the structure of a musical piece will provide the skills for picking apart difficult issues in a complex web application in order to change or design new functionality.

I’m just sayin’ I got a “useless” music degree way back when. The career I have now didn’t exist at that time but I somehow have the skills to do it now. It paid off.

Life is just a blur of Republicans and meat

December 17th, 2018 by kayak woman

Honestly, I have no clue if this person is a Republican. His neck is certainly red enough (that’s a JOKE!) but I will fully admit that I don’t really know how red his neck is in real life. It is undoubtedly an effect of the dark lighting at the Green Dot and the Instagram app filter I used. I will also say that when I posted this on Instagrinch, I didn’t tag the Green Dot. I tagged “Detroit, Michigan”. You never know who sees what on Instagrinch and I figger this guy is a lot less likely to see himself in “Detroit, Michigan” than in the “Green Dot Stables”. I did like his “Beer for All” statement and I highly doubt he follows my boring blahg of blather.

So seeing a “redneck” brings back memories of the one trip I took with family members out to downhill ski in Colorado. We went to Steamboat Springs. This would be my extended family (too long a story for this entry) so aunts/uncles and cousins, etc. Eight of us drove out in my uncle’s huge van (license plate BGY747) and others joined us out there.

I had somehow amassed enough money to buy a new ski “outfit”, which turned out to be a LOVERLY white and green affair, overalls with a cute short jacket (I was young and skinny then) and a matching green ski sweater to boot. But then… I had just gotten off the lift at the top of the mountain and was heading downhill when the tip of one of my ANCIENT skis broke (Hart Hornets, if anyone remembers those). I “limped” down the mountain successfully with my broken ski but then GUESS WHAT? I need new skis too! Money? Uh, yeah. This was not a planned expense.

Fortunately for me, my dad was one of the family members who met us out there at Steamboat Springs. He drove with his bank buddy Mr. Quack. Dad never did downhill skiing in the time I knew him but he did do X-C (like me in my adult life). But he was there, so he bought me some new Olin Mark 3s. I got rid of all those old skis a long time ago but they wouldda made good chairs. But who knew?

At Steamboat Springs there were a few of us who would walk from our condo down into town at night and hit the bars. Mostly me and the Grinch. One night me and Grinch were down there and some band was playing a rendition of Up Against the Wall You Redneck Mother. This song absolutely cracked me up! I didn’t really listen to country music in those days, so I hadn’t ever heard it. And then, because the Grinchie and I were young and “cute” (or whatever) somebody bought us a beer or whatever. That cute couple? Nah, we have loved each other since we were 3 (me) and 6 (Grinch) fighting over smoked fish in the back seat of our grandfather’s Studebaker with our dads smoking ceegars in the front. We don’t look a lot alike but we are cousins, not a couple.


December 16th, 2018 by kayak woman

I dunno. It has been one of *those* weekends when it comes to marital communications (or non-communications, if you will). We had a tentative plan for what to do today, involving a 45-mile drive to take a northern relative out to lunch. All of a sudden, in the midst of a bunch of non-communication, the plan did an about-face (“I’m working through something”) and we ended up driving 45 miles to take an eastern relative out to lunch. The GG has spent a lot of time with the northern relative over the last few months, to the extent that he has spent very little time with his own children, independent adults that they are.

So a beautiful drive over to Daytwa via a metropark and then various eastbound surface streets. We weren’t in “south Detroit” because south Detroit is *Canada* but we were below the airport, etc. We drove east until we hit Jefferson Ave., aka the Detroit River, and then headed north through the downriver suburbs, Wyandotte, Ecorse, and gritty old River Rouge.

For a very short period of time in college I had a boyfriend from River Rouge. It was very “romantic” for the short time it lasted but I think in the end it was just a fling for him. But I was intrigued by his stories about his hometown and loved his drive to be successful enough to escape the devastating poverty and broken home that were (purportedly but probably true) his roots in life. If I have it right, I don’t think a lot of kids from River Rouge managed to get to college back in those days. Maybe, hopefully, it’s different these days.

I don’t know what happened to that boyfriend (I do hope he is alive and doing okay!) and the first time I knowingly encountered River Rouge in person was a couple years ago when the GG and I set off on an “industrial expotition” on a dreary December day. I don’t get all sloppy and sentimental about a long-lost short-term fling when we drive through River Rouge. I do like to look around and wonder what it was like when he was a kid and how it may have changed since then. It’s always fun driving around with the GG in the woods or the industrial parts of Detroit or to Fla or wherever.

We were driving through River Rouge again today and I realized via GooMaps that we were very close to Lizard’s house in Mexicantown, so I texted “in River Rouge” and 10 minutes later, she was driving us over to the Green Dot for lunch. There are lots of good restaurants down in Detroit these days but the Green Dot is our go-to. It has a menu of 15-20 different sliders. They come in all varieties, meat and veggie, and there are sides like fries and mac ‘n’ cheese, etc. I always order three sliders. Today it was almond duck, tofu Banh-mi(?), and mystery meat. Did I mention mystery meat? Yes, they do tell you what is in the mystery meat. It was pork/lamb meatballs today.

And did I mention that it was blindingly, brilliantly sunny today? We needed that even though I was totally overdressed for how hot it was in the Ninja and eventually had to take my dern jacket off.

A wee bit of sun *after* the sun set

December 15th, 2018 by kayak woman

The weather forecast was for sun today. We got sun. We got sun after the sun went down. I am not complaining. It was a nice warm, calm, gray day. There was a Black Ice warning when I woke up this morning but it didn’t turn out to be all that slippery, at least not driving, although there was ice on the Ninja’s veeeendsheeeld when I faaaared her up for a farmers market run this morning. But then I was on the city streets. A couple days ago, when there was NOOOOO Black Ice warning for anything, my 0-skunk-30 walk was spent shuffling along on horrible intermittent Black Ice. I am not sure about all of these newfangled weather warnings. What do I believe? Sometimes I think it was better when I simply looked out the window and checked the thermometer here at the Landfill.

A young MacMu cousin (once-removed) graduated from college today. I feel like it was just yesterday that I drove over to her high school graduation. I also remember this beautiful young woman from the time she was a toddler and her mom and aunt brought her up to the moomincabin to visit their Aunt Frances aka The Commander (and all of us hooligans too, Fran’s children and grandchildren). Aaaaahhh, where do I go from here. My moom (Frances) was so happy to re-connect with her nieces and grand-niece after a period of disconnection. Benign disconnection, I have to add, without going into detail. No big family feuds or anything. But my cousin is my mom’s big brother Austin’s daughter and The Commander always talked about Austin and I remember him and his wife Helen very fondly. Alas, they both died young.

I can remember when my cousin was going crazy with toilet training with her then toddler daughter at the moomincabin. My kids (the toddler’s second cousins) were *driving* by then and I think I said something like, “This will pass.” And of course it did. Because this young cousin has been driving for years now* and she also has a wonderful job lined up after she graduates from college. Anastasia, you go girl.

*P.S. Anastasia first drove the Indefatigable, our old Jeep Wrangler, when she was about 10 out on the old forest roads in the Yooperland. She may have been one of the last cousins to learn how to drive a manual tranny with the GG.

Moom Mode

December 14th, 2018 by kayak woman

Once again, I don’t have a lot to say but I want to check in so that certain people know that I am alive. You know who you are and I love you for caring about yer taaarrred ol’ moom.

We got porterized at the Oscar Tango tonight. The GG was out hiking with his southern lower Great Lake State North Country Trail girlfriends all day so he ended up driving downtown. Women seem to be okay about hiking with the GG. And they should be, since he is really not anything approaching creepy. He’s a guy who, 30-something years ago, would take his newborn daughter everywhere, including to the original Border’s book store. One of the gals who worked there at that time found him a quiet place to change her diaper and a while later, it was at Border’s that she learned to crawl up and down stairs. Conversely, I am not really worried about him finding a girlfriend, I mean a real one, like having an affair with someone. Somehow, neither one of us seems to be likely to do that kind of thing. Life is too good for us the way it is, polly-tickle arguments notwithstanding. Why complicate it?

At the end of our time at the OT tonight, I went into Moom Mode, which means that after everyone left the table, I turned on my iPhone flashlight and checked out what we may have left. Oh, a Rock! Yes. I kinda guessed it may have been something the GG had picked up on his hike and I was right! “Oh, there’s my rock!” I wasn’t sure why he brought it into the OT with him. It certainly wasn’t a show-and-tell item since he didn’t show or tell it.

Paper Jails Vapor Trails

December 13th, 2018 by kayak woman

It’s not the best pic but it’s hard to get a good pic when you have stopped your vee-hickle in the middle of the street and are taking the pic kinda sideways while [trying to] watch for any traffic coming up behind you. I was driving out of the Cubelandia parking lot and we are way in the Back Corner of the business park so there is very little traffic but still, I didn’t want to block anyone that might be coming up behind me. I do love the paper jail vapor trail [apparently] climbing vertically above the clouds.

By the time I got home, eight miles later but probably a half hour, it was dark.

I don’t have much today. We are in a [sorta] warming trend here, by warming trend, I mean we are hovering around in the 30s or whatever. It rained a bit last night and then the temps dipped below 30 and that made the walking treacherous at 0-dark-30 with the sidewalks intermittently iced. Cubelandia xmas lunch today at our fave restaurant Mediterrano. We did our best to be festive given that Santa (our sorely missed Rabbi boss) was not there to do his ho-ho-thank-yous. Amazon Woman was there and did a wonderful job and Dana-you-know-Dana remembered that last year a few introverts spent the entire holiday lunch playing with their phones and so today she did some informal seating arrangements so the conversation went on and on and on and it was so fun.

And the drippy thing is a terlet issue. Hopefully it’ll get figgered out soon.

So many Rabbit Holes, so little time

December 12th, 2018 by kayak woman

I spent a good portion of my work day down in a Rabbit Hole that my QA buddy iDeep sent me into. Why he was not around when I posted a backwards picture of the Great Lake State on the internet, I do not know. I want to say that since he lives in India, he may not know the geography of Michigan and its surrounding Great Lakes. But then again, after working with iDeep and other colleagues on the Indian subcontinent, all I can say is that I bet he knows US geography better than I do. Also, based on the Indians I work with, I think India is gonna take over the world. WATCH OUT!

The GG spent the day working on legal paperwork stuff. Among other things (that I won’t document here), he is trying to transfer a small motor bote into his name from his dad’s name. His dad died in 2001. He is jumping through hoops with the DMV, who wants him to provide documentation that all of the people who could possibly inherit the bote have signed off to let the GG own the bote.

At this point in time, nobody wants the bote. Problem. Three-to-five of the “interested parties” are dead. So NOW the DMV needs death certificates. I mean, jeebus. The bote has been at Myyyy fam’s moominbeach for umpteen brazillion years, probably since before the Gumper died and I know that our beloved Gumper wanted us to use it up in the yooperland. It is a Small Open Motor Bote, one that I actually once ROWED back from Round Island to the moominbeach when we, uh, ran out of gas out by the island…. Our young cousin Brendan helped pull us onto the beach!

I dunno if the GG wants this kind of crapola on the internet (he may not) but this DMV stuff is soooo stooopid. It’s a teensy tinesy little tin bote. When my brother unearthed “The Top Drawer”, his yellow bote from down at the pond, you can bet it was never registered with the DMV, Of course, it did not have a motor…

If we didn’t already have enough to talk about, there is now a drip down in the Landfill Dungeon. It doesn’t seem to be catastrophic but this will give the GG something to keep an eye on…

Love y’all, KW

Where are my QA buddies when I need them? 🐽🐽🐽

December 11th, 2018 by kayak woman

Yes, Michigan is BASS-ACKWARDS in the tree (see yesterday’s post pic). Anybody else notice this? I didn’t. Until now. I mean, I futzed and futzed with this pic and I never did get the light the way I wanted it. Who knew I just needed to flip it over? I sure didn’t.

So, we are apparently off to a roaring start. I don’t exactly know when this artifact arrived. I saw it over the weekend when I was finally enough over the December Crud that I ventured out the back door to take the compost out or whatever. So I’m not sure when it arrived. Maybe Thursday or Friday. I wonder if @tmotu got some “grog” along with his tree…

I wasn’t really ready for this artifact to come inside. I was hoping we’d Deep Clean the Back Room before putting up a tree. I wasn’t quiiiiite up to it over the weekend, since I was a North Country Trail Widow lying low with the December Crud. I can move most pieces of furniture by myself but I *hate* pulling the fold-out couch away from the wall.

Anyway, it’s here and I guess I am just gonna have to go with the flow here. Well, I *was* a bit cranky when I came in the door after work and saw it but that may be partly because Patriot Radio seemed to be on. Note to GG! I do like that since we gutted the Landfill Chitchen and put a big “window” into the wall with the Back Room, I can at least see the tree from the chitchen.

Not the best photoooo but it does provide a glimpse into Landfill Life. Can you identify the mother board, lunar lander, and icosahedron (or whatever it is). Oh yeah, and those “horns”. Who knows what aminal those came from?

I’m done for now. My chitchen is full of people and we’re having fun and I can’t concentrate any more. G’night.

bottomless pinocchios

December 10th, 2018 by kayak woman

If you haven’t seen this hashtag yet, use The Google. I remember when GWB was the president and used the term “The Google” and I cracked up. What an idiot, I thought. I know GWB isn’t really an idiot but I wasn’t crazy about him and, as a person who has been hanging around on them thar tubes since even before the WWW (wild wild west) days, my brain kind of exploded.

And yet, I get that I am an earlier adopter of technology than many people on the older end of my generation (like GWB) and even though I am an, AHEM, WOMAN (generally a CIS woman at that), the first time I wrote a computer program, I was HOOKED FOREVER! It was an Apple II+ and of course my first program was to write “Hello World” to the screen.

I went on from there and I won’t bore y’all with my squirrelly career “trajectory” except to say that whether or not I was getting paid to do info tech work, I was out there pushing it on to whatever organization I was currently involved with. If I had any kind of control, I would make email groups and websites. If I didn’t, I would push for internet communications. As a middle school PTO treasurer, I argued (unsuccessfully) with administrators for an EMAIL GROUP to enhance the dreaded backpack mail, fer kee-reist sake. “But what about the people that don’t have internet access”, they asked. Well… “The more people that have the news, the better. Hopefully people who have the internet will spread the word to other parents via their kids.” Wishful thinking, I guess. The public schools were not ready for this at that time but I’m gonna guess most of them now incorporate technology into their communications with parents. In no way can I take credit for that.

Then there was The Commander (my MOTHER). She certainly did not adopt technology earlier than I did but I will never forget the day I received my first EMAIL from her! I almost fell out of my chair! Jeebus, she went out and bought a personal computer all by herself and got somebody to help her set it up. And emailed me. Just to give me hell. Like, I can do this without you. I loved it!!!! (It is entirely possible that my brother helped with this but I kind of think she did it herself.)

Now that we are in the middle of the Orange Baboon’s term, I actually long for GWB. And all of that got me missing my moom for the moment so I’m going to end for now. Don’t worry, I am okay. I’ll talk about the Real Baboon some other day.

Drivin’ to Jackson to get gasoline

December 9th, 2018 by kayak woman

I have been subjected to some Magical Thinking the last couple years. The other night, over dinner at the Red Hawk it was a bunch of stuff about oil, you know, the natural resource that when refined, turns into the gasoline that runs our automotive vee-hickles. Most of them anyway. I know that some folks are driving hybrids. That’s wonderful but if you are living and driving in the Great White North and you frequently pull trailers of various sorts behind your vee-hickle, you really need to have something beefy enough to handle those kinds of conditions.

Anyway, there is apparently some turbulence in the stock market (this does not surprise me at all) and some people think it has to do with oil prices. And maybe it does! Or maybe it doesn’t. Whatever is going on with the stock market, apparently if you are living on the Planet Ann Arbor and you want to put petroleum products into your automotive vee-hickle so you can drive it, the gas prices are much much much cheaper over in Jackson, which, according to the google, is 32 miles away from the Planet Ann Arbor. Ain’t no way I am driving all the way over to Jackson to buy gas. Whut?

However. I will not (for now) buy gas at the Shell station on the corner of Jackson/N. Maple (where I have been buying it forever) until they let me opt out of their request to send me text messages by clicking ONCE, not umpteen bazillion times. And fix their dern gas pumps to dispense gas without making me have to pump the nozzle 10-12 times before it begins to dispense gas. I got gas out at the BP on Zeeb today. That is apparently OKAY to those who follow the stock market and I was going to Meijer out there anyway. It was cool and, hey! what’s this? I downloaded an app that is supposed to let me pay for gas without sticking a plastic card into a slot. We’ll see how that works.

And so, I hung out here at the Landfill again today and I picked away at some more bits of cleaning and wrapping and laundry and I got the Santa “collection” out. Again. I am not actively collecting Santas. This is a merged collection of The Commander’s Santas plus mine, most of which she sent me. They all fit into a small box and that is good enough for me. I do NOT want a hoarder house with walls of Santas staring at me year round! 🎅🎅🎅