Random bits of my so-called life.

Gokotta

January 6th, 2020 by kayak woman

My daughter introduced me to this untranslatable Swedish word today. Basically it means something like “to rise at dawn in order to go out and listen to the birds sing”. And that’s what I do. Actually it is well before dawn at this time of year. Rain or shine, snow or not.

Except. 1) I do not do severe weather. If there’s lightning anywhere near the area, I bag it. 2) I am more leery of slippery crapola than I used to be especially when it’s pitch black and I can’t see what I’m walking on, but I will venture out with ice cleats. 3) Dangereuse aminals… After seeing a video of a BARE BEAR galloping down the moominbeach at top speed early one morning, I have grown a little leery of walking the beach that early, at least during spring and early summer, when the bares bears are most likely to be out. But we don’t have bares bears anywhere near the Planet Ann Arbor. Coyotes? Yes yes yes. But (knock on wood) I am not afraid of them. Skunks? Yeah, I give those guys a wide berth.

At this time of year, the actual birds referred to in the definition are pretty quiet. There are plenty of birds that overwinter this far north so there is bird *noise* but there will not be bird *song* until sometime in February around the time Mr. Golden Sun asserts his presence in such a way that we can see summer in our future, even though there may be some long fugly months to endure before the summer season actually arrives.

But yes. Getting outside early? I am solo and can think about whatever I want or nothing at all. It allows me to focus (or not). And I like to be invisible. I wear dark clothing and sometimes get called out for it by people that think I’m gonna get hit by a car. Nope. There is very little traffic on the streets I traverse and I am very aware of what traffic there is. I (usually) stay on the sidewalks and I always stay away from automobiles. The don’t even know I’m there watching them from the sidewalk.

Gokotta!

Onward

January 5th, 2020 by kayak woman

I guess one-word new year’s resolutions are A Thing this year so Onward is my resolution.

I don’t doooo resolutions as a rule. I mean, like dieting-type resolutions. I don’t like junk food as a rule so I mainly shop the farmers market and/or the perimeter of the upscale grokkery and cook from scratch. My main food vice is Lay’s potato chips, plain or ruffles, and I occasionally succumb to that. And then there’s the whole join the gym thing. I get plenty of exercise, like every morning at 0-skunk-30. Gym membership? What? Why, if you can simply walk outside? I dunno? What else? I don’t (usually) spend money on frivolous luxury crapola but on the rare occasion that I want something I will buy it. Stop talking to the radio? Nope. Not until the Orange Baboon is out of the White House. Move on buddy.

About the only word that works for me is “Onward” because that’s about the only thing I can do at this point in my life. Move forward. No turning back.

So I got distracted by a cover of the Postal Service’s Such Great Heights song. I don’t know who did the cover but I will always remember a mix-CD one of my beach urchins gave me a long time ago. Such Great Heights was the first track and as I was starting my walk through the schoolyard in the dark in the fall, Ursa Major was to my left and Orion was to my right. At great heights.

P.S. This snow was just a little squall we had this afternoon. The temp was right around freezing and nothing stuck around, at least not on the roads. Seems like we’re gonna have unseasonably warm temps for the next couple weeks. Even though I know winter is just beginning, in a weird kind of way I feel like we’re almost on the back side of it. We’re not. But. I can’t put it into words and maybe you’d have to be a northern Great Lake Stater to understand it anyway. Or maybe some Great Lake Staters are ready to kill me for saying that.

The shortest day

January 4th, 2020 by kayak woman

Okay, I know today is not the shortest day of the year. Mr. Golden Sun began his northward swing a couple weeks ago. I guess grayest day is probably a more accurate description. Pretty dreary. It was dry when I took my 0-skunk-30 but it was also blacker than the ace of spades (which I actually like). By the time I went out to retrieve the garbage carts, it was, hmmm, let’s call it “actively misting”. Precipitation increased and turned into snow but not the pretty kind of snow, this snow melted as it hit the ground and later froze. Oh, it wasn’t slippery at all. Just droplets of ice here and there.

Or maybe boringest day would be appropriate. Fugly as it was outside, I hung around the Landfill *all* day putting xmas away. I pulled 150-plus ornaments off the tree (yes I counted), plus a bunch of stuff that didn’t get hung up. Organized it all and sorted out a bunch of crumpled up balls of tissue paper and bubble wrap and ziplock bags, etc., that we use to pack things up. What a MESS!

The tree is still standing. I’ll let the GG deal with the tree and lights. No doubt he’ll find an ornament or two that I’ve missed. It was one of those days when you don’t feel like you’re accomplishing anything much until you are done! Well, mostly done. I have a bit more to do tomorrow.

BTW, this task felt daunting to me so I picked at it Fly Lady style (bite-sized pieces) in between reading the second book in Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” series. I know these books used to hang around the Landfill back in the day. Why did I not read them then? Oh, yeah. Husband, octogenarian parents, teenagers, pets, YAG and other volunteer jobs.

My Man Cold is finally leaving the building! I am still coughing but the spasms are sporadic now and usually correspond to changes in activity or environment. Like getting out of bed, going outside, eating, talking a blue streak. I don’t think I used my voice all day except maybe to curse to myself. Hmmm, just tested and do NOT sound like Froggy any more! Yay!

Memes of war…

January 3rd, 2020 by kayak woman

Okay, I am not well versed in history or war or politics but I think I am still entitled to an opinion or two. A lot of people jumped to the conclusion that the latest swing of the Orange Baboon’s sledgehammer will result in another war. I’m waiting for evidence that there was an actual threat requiring the Idjit in Charge to take what seems to be a reckless action. His intelligence agencies counseled him to do this? What? He denigrates U.S. intelligence agencies at every opportunity and now he is suddenly taking their advice? I’m not optimistic. And I smell a rat. Or a baboon. But War with Iran? We’ll see…

We of the web application development world are dismayed (that word is probably a bit strong) for our own reasons. For several years, my team has been tasked with enhancing our product so that it is compliant with American Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. This is a difficult task from the get-go. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) are *guidelines*. We are accustomed to working with *requirements*, which are (on a good day) very specific. Without going on and on, I’ll just say this has been quite a learning curve for us and a lot of flying in the dark.

But then… We are not getting clear direction from our corporation on when we need to implement these changes. Why? Because. They are waiting for the Department of Justice to weigh in. Hello? Hello? Department of Juuuustiiiiice? Is anyone hoooooome? Maybe the DOJ is in KTLO mode? Hmmm, I don’t see any lights on in there. Another war may not seem to have anything to do with our efforts but it will definitely detour resources from positive changes to our society. Like helping disabled people use the world wide web. Including wounded disabled soldiers returning from ridiculous, useless wars started by narcissistic sociopathic idiots.

Trump and the current DOJ may not give a flyin’ you-know-what about the ADA or WCAG. So what if a blind person can’t see something on the web? I am here to tell you that Corporate America *is* working to make our web applications more compliant, whether or not the US government cares, and on our own damn dollar. We are not perfect but we do care about our users.

Home from an evening of porterization at Knights. My Bar Buddies (before getting seated) tonight included a man who attended Forsythe Middle School in the 1980s, i.e., probably 10 years before the beach urchins. His kids also went to Forsythe and then Skyline High. If we’d had a few more minutes, I may have had the presence of mind to ask if MYA (Middle Years Alternative) existed at Forsythe when he was in attendance there… Before that happened, porterization ensued complete with terlet talk and then our table was ready.

Ringin’ out the old, ringin’ in the new

January 2nd, 2020 by kayak woman

If you have any connections to the yooperland or great lakes shipping or whatever, you know about the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. As I remember just about every year on the anniversary (November 10th), my brother The Engineer was living at our parents house and attending Lake State U, which meant that he could walk across the back yard to get there. Except that he was usually schlepping a trombone so more likely he drove his old VW bug. Anyway, the night the Edmund Fitz sank, he was listening to ship traffic communications on a “multi-band” radio and heard the Arthur Andersen call to the Fitz over and over and over into the night. No response.

Anyway, when I started working at Cubelandia, one of the artifacts I took over there was this Edmund Fitzgerald mug.

It has seen better days, right? I have half-heartedly scouted around for a new one over the last few years but most of those I have encountered were a little, uh, I dunno, rococo, maybe? Plain and simple please. So this year, I belatedly tacked a request for a new Edmund Fitz mug onto my xmas wish list. And this is what Lizard Breath came up with🐸

I love it! Actually it looks a lot like the old one but I like that there’s a photo.

Now… What do I do with the old one? Faded as it is, it’s a perfectly serviceable mug…

Big Mac closed for falling ice

January 1st, 2020 by kayak woman

The [Big] Mackinac Bridge, that is. This has only become a “thing” in the last few years. I’m not sure why. I have been crossing that bridge since I was three years old and I don’t remember it closing for ice or anything much else until recent years.

Or is it just that with social media I get instant notifications about closures and so am more likely to hear about them? Back in the day when I first started going across the bridge (in my parents’ car), we had two of those old black dial telephones and our first (black and white) TV with one CBC channel. Oh, yeah, of course we had radio. Anyway, closing the bridge is inconvenient for people who frequently traverse the Straits of Mackinac/(w?) but so is the aftermath of ice falling off the top of the structure onto your vee-hickle and breaking your windshield (or worse).

The huge, sweeping white pine tree in the pic was wounded in the recent snow/ice storm in the yooperland. The tree is still standing but a big branch is down. I’m not sure if it’s the one you can see in the pic (upper right) or another one. This pic that I dredged up is taken from a bit of a different angle than the one Our Northern Correspondent posted on social media but I immediately knew which tree it was.

This tree has been a beach friend for life. It grows on the bank adjacent to the “pond” at the west end of the beach. I’m trying to remember if anyone ever climbed it. My brother and Kevin? Mike and Mac? (Jack and Don? Otto?) Or am I just manufacturing memories…

Meanwhile in the yooperland… People are still without power and Cloverland’s lucky-shuckyal line workers were looking forward to help from the northern lower last I looked. Somebody on facebook shared a pic of a county snowplow dwarfed by snow/ice-encased tree branches bending down over it. I took a screenshot of this pic so I could show it to MMCB1 tomorrow morning at Barry’s but I don’t feel comfortable posting someone else’s shot without their permission and I dunno even *how* to get to the person who posted this. An epic storm by any description.

PIG WILD 🐽🐽🐽

December 31st, 2019 by kayak woman

As in “my mom went PIG WILD and read 100+ books this year” (I’m friends with my beach urchins on Goodreads). She goes on to say she doesn’t know how I did that and (sorta) neither do I. There were years during the last decade that I am not sure I read more than one or two books in a year if that. Some difficult family things happened in the 2010s but I won’t detail or dwell on them except to commemorate my mother The Commander’s death in 2012, at 91. But really, so many people had a much worse decade than I did. I have had a roof over my head in a long-ago paid-off house, food enough to feed anyone under that roof and then some, and a very good job, definitely not a given for anyone of any age and certainly not for a baggy old kayak woman like me. I try to pay it forward as much as I can.

I follow a couple of book bloggers who write “wrap-ups” of their year in reading. Best book, worst book, etc. I find that I cannot do that. I bet they actually take NOTES on what they read. I LOVE their blogs and get many ideas from them. But me? I just let Goodreads tot up what I have read. Well, I could tell you my worst book but I don’t like to “dis” authors. I know that writing a novel and getting it published is waaaaay beyond anything I will ever do or even care about doing.

Instead, I am here to say that Lake Superior State University published it’s annual New Year’s Eve banished words list. My parents lived “across the street” from LSSU and were acquainted with the (late) list originator. I actually submitted two words/phrases this year. One of them was “quid pro quo” and it made the list, not because *I* submitted it but because about a gazillion other folks also submitted it.

I also submitted “woke”, which didn’t make the list. I have complicated thoughts about this term (google it) but somehow the word annoys me although I agree with its meaning. And then there’s “OK Boomer” (which I did not submit). This one makes me laugh. How DARE we of the “don’t trust anyone over 30” generation take umbrage when young people complain about how we have handled the country/world?

The eastern yooperland has been hit by a big fugly snowstorm and many people have been without power for a day or two now. From what (beautiful) pics I’ve seen, the snow was heavy and wet and trees are cracking and falling over and the roads are bad and our local electric cooperative up there is struggling to keep up. I can’t think of a more beautiful place than the shores of Gitchee Gumee to be without power during a snowstorm but I sure hope the power company can get things working again soon while keeping their workers safe. I 🧡 Cloverland.

Sick bay and duplications

December 30th, 2019 by kayak woman

I took a sick day today. I cannot remember the last time I took a sick day. I have not (until today) taken any sick time in 2019 and pretty sure I didn’t take any in 2018. I couldda looked it up this morning when I cracked open my work laptop to email Amazon Woman but I did not and ain’t no way I’m gonna open up that thing again today.

Sick? Yeah. It’s a Man Cold and the main symptoms are koffig, sdeezig, ad blowig by doze. No fever or sore throat or fatigue or headache (but I never get headaches). Just seemed like a good thing to lie low for a couple days. I knew that NOBODY on my team would be at work today, in fact I’m not even sure if Amazon Woman got my email because she is OOO until January 2. Since she is also the building manager I am guessing she is occasionally sneaking into her email.

I did my usual chores today plus continued to clean up after xmas. Plus. Reorganize the spice cabinet(s)! What a frickin’ mess! How many containers of paprika do I need? Four? Really? Nooooo. How do you organize little containers of herbs and spices? Well. YEARS ago, I was lamenting this issue down on the moominbeach and the White Tornado (my Aunt Katie, busy UBER efficient doctor’s wife/mother of four of my cousins) had the obvious answer. What is it? Alphabetization of course! And I was doing that but, at the time, I was storing my herbs and spices on the crappiest lazy susan on earth. It had NO RIM so if you turned it too fast (and that wasn’t very fast), things would fall off. And things just got messy…

I love these custom drawers that the GG installed when we gutted the Landfill Chitchen. But things still get messy. It’s worse now because I try to make sure there is a basic supply of herbs/spices at the moomincabin every summer but I do NOT leave them there over the winter because I do not leave FOOD there over the winter. No matter how hard I try, duplication happens. So today, I re-alphabetized (and even “combinded” a few duplicates when possible) but I know we’ll have a mess again. I did find a small number of duplicate UNOPENED containers! Including one of the four containers of paprika! Maybe you can see those on the counter there in front of the rainbow striped thingy? Maybe Food Gatherers would like them?

Kleenex (used) with blue footed booby

December 29th, 2019 by kayak woman

Soooo, the GG approached me at my Green Couch seat this afternoon and accused me of spending the last 10 days in it. Well, not… Walking, going to grokkery stores, cooking, wrapping pkgs, etc., etc., etc. Sometimes I think my “chores” are invisible to him because I just doooo them. Dishes hand and musheen, unloading the musheen, cooking, laundry, bathroom, garbage, recycle, menu planning, running roooooomba. The GG does most of the other vacuuming although I forced myself to learn how to use the new cordless Dyson a couple weekends ago and I liked it so much I think I’m gonna get one for the moomincabin. I hate running the upright around but we do need one of those here at the Landfill.

We don’t have (and never *have* had) an official division of day-to-day household labor around here and we rarely argue about piddly little chores. I normally do the dishes because I dooooo dishes. It was fun when I was a kid, nowadays it is a chore easily dispensed with and yes, if you visit my house, keep a firm grip on any drinking glass you want to use again because I will likely snag it and wash it. Plus doing the dishes gives me a bit of spacification. I don’t mind giving this chore over to others from time to time but really, in a 2-person household, how hard can it be? I am also (you are guessing this already) particular about how they are done, like what goes in the dishwasher and what doesn’t and I sort the silverware in the dishwasher (yes really). I am particular about other chores too, like I do NOT dry various items in the dryer! And one of my alter egos is Garbage Woman. More on that some other day…

But yes today I did spend most of the day on the Green Couch reading. That was not necessarily a good thing (I mean sitting wasn’t a good thing, reading is always good!) but it was what it was. I woke up before six like always and it was raining catz and dogz. That is not enough to stop me from going outside but I have a MAN COLD so, what the heck, slugging in bed seemed like not the worst option for a weeee bit. I *was* up and showered by seven though because the sun does not rise here until after eight at this time of year and I LOVE sitting on the Green Couch in the morning dark. It continued to rain catz and dogz until about noon, then it got foggy as all getout. Rain again later? We’ll see. I will say that now that I am upright again, I am coughing less and more productively.

So this is my interior view from the Green Couch today. There is my little wastebasket filling up with used Kleenexes to catch the outflow of mucous from my Man Cold (TMI?). And my skinny little blue foot (skinny aside from the bunion I inherited from my mom’s side of the fam). And my Blue Plaid (yes, blue) Woolrich blanket/throw. Note that I wasn’t cold, it was just cozy. We aren’t exactly Hygge around here but we do have a lot of blankets.

BTW, the GG did not get Out of Bed until [drum roll] NINE AM this morning, so I’m pretty sure I am not the only person slugging. Maybe he has my Man Cold🐽🐽🐽

Apocalypse tomorrow

December 28th, 2019 by kayak woman

December 28th. It is my (late) cousin Cathy’s birthday. She was born a few weeks before me and when I was a kid I was ALWAYS green with envy that she was OLDER than me. And that she had beautiful white-blonde hair. Her hair was *naturally* white-blonde her whole life. And that she married her high-school boyfriend in her early twenties, during a time I could not find a decent boyfriend to save my life 🐽🐽🐽. And that she lived in a big city with loverly stores like the downtown J. L. Hudson’s, while I lived in the god-forsaken yooperland.

I was certainly preoccupied by being envious of people when I was a kid. So. I was a tow-head as a small child but my hair darkened into “dishwater blonde” as I grew up, which isn’t all that bad in the long run. I thank my lucky stars that I didn’t marry Bad Boyfriend. We would *certainly* be long divorced (as Cathy was…). Big city? Meh. I did love shopping at the downtown Hudson’s when we visited my Detroit grandparents but I bet in the grand scheme of things, Cathy didn’t shop at the downtown Hudson’s any more often than I did. And we all know what happened to Detroit after the era our grandparents (Cathy’s and mine) lived there. Detroit is coming back after a fashion and I love going down there but the downtown Hudson’s of my youth will never return.

Do NOT get me wrong. I LOVED Cathy and I was always excited when we were able to be together, which wasn’t often because we lived 350 miles apart. Our families did visit and Cathy’s mom was my mom’s fave sister Charlotte, also my fave aunt in the MacMu fam! I do not have words about why I was envious of Cathy (and other cousins), at least not tonight. We all have our own insecurities to deal with. I haven’t totally outgrown mine but I can laugh about most of them now.

So, back in 2004, Cathy died. She was ill but her death was not imminent when an infection grabbed her and dragged her under. When I started writing this, I was thinking she had died on her birthday but I quickly realized it was earlier in the month, on the day of that year’s cFam xmas party and I don’t remember what day that was. It was her memorial that was held on her birthday.

I am pretty sure it was my brother who called me to report Cathy’s death. I have always known and loved all of my cousins on both sides of my fam. I am one of 11 FinFam grandchildren and one of nine MacMu grandchildren and age-wise I’m in the middle on both sides. Cathy was the first grandchild on either side to die. Little did I know that my brother would be next (second of the MacMus and first of the FinFam). We haven’t lost anybody else yet and I hope we keep it that way for now.

Apocalypse tomorrow? We are supposed to get torrential rain and maybe t-storms tomorrow. This is unusual weather for the southeast Great Lake State at this time of year but not unheard of at all. But we’ll see what we get.

Happy birthday my dear cousin wherever you are.

I wonder as I wander through the parking structure…

December 27th, 2019 by kayak woman

In which two white Ford SUV-type vee-hickles are parked next to each other and nobody can figger out which one is a vee-hickle of porterization. *I* finally figgered it out because of the renewal month on the license plate. Don’t get me wrong. I think the vee-hickle owner knew which vee-hickle was which, he just didn’t manage to communicate that info to the rest of us. Compared to some of our other parking structure adventures, this one was a piece of cake. No stuck elevators or alley entrances. And nobody put their laundry in the wrong vee-hickle but the laundry adventure did not involve a parking structure or porterization.

Downtown was not all that busy tonight (although I bet the neighborhood Knight’s was). We did the Red Hawk tonight and the GG was able to get a window seat. The Red Hawk has somehow made it into our loose rotation of Friday night restaurants of porterization. For a number of years it was the Oscar Tango every Friday with an occasional jag to the Griz. Before all of this the Red Hawk was one of our regular faves and now we are going there again. Duck quesadillas for me please!

We bagged doing a nightcap tonight. The GG has business with FlaMan and others in the cFam tomorrow. The GG asked did I want to help with this endeavor? NO! He said something like, “You are too smart.” Yes. Yes I am. In truth, although I am not deathly ill, I am still hacking up a lung from Cold Number Two. Outdoor aerobic exercise feels good. Schlepping furniture and boxes of crapola around does not seem like the right thing.

I am so taaaared I’m about to fall over so g’night!

Carrot-y downtime

December 26th, 2019 by kayak woman

Parts of the Landfill got back to what passes for normal today. One BIG dishwasher load plus assorted hand-washables, two loads of laundry, and ran rooooomba. It feels soooooo good to wash a bunch of kitchen linens after a holiday.

I dunno if I made it sound as though I did ALL of the xmas cooking. I did not. I just did the easy do-ahead stuff. Mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce and cutting up veggies, etc.

But. Lemme see…

The GG is the grillmaster, which at xmas almost always means he cooks a duck on the gas grill. The last time I remember us NOT cooking a duck was 2011, the year we took xmas dinner up to cook at The Comm’s Dillon house in Sault Ste. Siberia. She was living in Freighter View assisted living at the time but she still owned her house and we were using it as a squatter’s paradise. It turned out to be her last xmas although we didn’t know that then. For various reasons, turkey was easier than duck.

Lizard Breath cut up and cooked these colorful carrots. She had wanted to cook carrots on Tday but there were two problems. 1) I couldn’t get “rainbow carrots” at the time. I bought plain old orangutan carrots but 2) she ended up on the couch with a Man Cold that whole day so we bagged cooking the carrots and I sliced them up for the GG and me the next weekend. This time she was hale and hearty and I was able to get rainbow carrots and I didn’t take a picture of the final product but it was gorgeous.

Mouse? Mouse? Mouse… Cranberry curd dessert. It was also gorgeous but I don’t have a pic of it (yet). I was toooo full to try more than a teensy-tinesy taste of it last night but it made for a good little brek this morning.

There is a wonderful light exhibition at MOCAD (in Detroit) going on complete with a terlet carousel and I reaaaaally want to go to it. Last weekend (and even a couple days ago), we were thinking it might be do-able *tonight*. Today? Nope. EVERYONE needed downtime today. The GG worked on one of his xmas gifts, I cleaned, Lizard went to work, and Mouse hiked with her buddy Lairi the Rake, friends since kindergarten. Love.

Jigsaw butts on a sluggy xmas

December 25th, 2019 by kayak woman

I am not [usually] much of a jigsaw puzzler but they are starting to become one of our xmas traditions (if you can call them traditions) and I like being in the room with the puzzlers.

It was actually a pretty darn blah day for me. I kicked the turkey day cold virus to the curb last week. Alas, yesterday I started getting congested *again*. I am not sick (i.e., feverish or whatever), just annoyed as all getout. At any rate, I hung out next to a Kleenex box most of the day. I bagged my 0-skunk-30 walk and a family walk to Miller Woods and I didn’t even put any eye makeup on until about five o’clock. Maybe I picked this thing up at the family party last weekend? At least it is not a vomiting bug. But I was a slug today. Good thing I did a whole bunch of cooking, etc., the last few days.

I think this is the first xmas since I have had two children that I didn’t spend the whole gift-unwrapping session worrying about whether I had gotten them an EQUAL amount of gifts. When they were small it always seemed like somebody ended up with more packages. Or maybe they just opened them at different rates? This year people were good about submitting wish lists and I randomly encountered a *few* unlisted things that seemed appropriate. As always, I have no problem with people re-gifting or donating items that aren’t perfect for them. We all have toooooo much stuff.

Me? Apparently various miscommunications occurred and I received a couple of duplicates. That was okay (not to mention hilarious). One was a Chico’s skirt from my wish list and as soon as I opened it I knew I would want two. If you wear a “uniform”, it is always good to have some duplicates. The other was smartwool leggings. I can always use more of those, not to mention baklava balaclavas 🐽.

I finished my 99th book of the year today. A magical book as far as I was concerned, The Ten Thousand Doors of January. Might not be everyone’s cup of tea but I loved it. Think portals.

The Softest Snort

December 24th, 2019 by kayak woman

I guess I am emulating my aunt Bubs in a way tonight. There’s an old story about her three daughters hiding in the closet and jumping out at her ONE AT A TIME and scaring the bejeebus out of her each time. If I have it right, that means ALL of them were in the closet at the same time and every time Bubs went to the closet, a different child jumped out at her.

This evening, my beach urchins are here and one of them has snuck up on me TWICE to quietly SNORT right next to my ear. Making me jump a MILE. The second time she did it, after I recovered, I said, “Well it is MEEEEE who has all of the lights out.” Except for the twinkle lights. I love the dark of the solstice but you can’t see if someone sneaky is sneaking up on you.

It’s okay. It was a fun day except for the part where the GG was driving over to Chez Harry and made an illegal turn ON PURPOSE, we were arguing about it (acting like Grandroobly). We were perfectly safe but I was soooo glad Mr. Policeman was not around. I drove us home. The GG needed a nap. Anyway, we met up with Chez Harry and Bubs and some of their branch of the fam at the Griz. My Dear Uncle Harry invited us to his house for eggnog (spiked or not) after lunch so we headed over there for a short while. Harry was nodding off (this is typical and we love him). The GG was not far behind him. Five or whatever deer were hanging out in Chez Harry’s wooded yard but I did not even try to get a pic with my iPhone. It has a decent camera but this particular scene required something a bit more high powered. Opening the door to go outside to take the pic would have undoubtedly spooked the deer.

This tray and glasses (there are six glasses) are really not my style but way back in the day I was at Kitchen Port with The Commander and somehow they spoke to me and The Comm *loved* them and was also *dying* to buy me something. So here they are and we are using them for the holidays. I’ll put them away after New Year’s Day or maybe in February.

Gumbo chef

December 23rd, 2019 by kayak woman

It is xmas eve eve and here is our resident Gumbo Chef using one of the Houghton Lake Nesco ovens from I dunno when, maybe the 1950s, to cook gumbo. He’s basing his gumbo on a Bear Creek mix so it is not from scratch but it’s pretty dern good.

We porterized ourselves for tonight’s little adventure. Other than that, whew! I jumped around a lot this morning. Three (count ’em) grokkery stores ending with the Plum and I left a few items off my Plum list for tomorrow morning because I know I’ll be back there again. Then I wrapped a bunch of presents and prepared a bunch of xmas food ahead of time.

Yesterday the GG got into a big gift-wrapping mode. He asked, “Do you want me to wrap some presents?” No. “Don’t you have some gifts for the girls?” Yes. Um…. Okay… Yes, you can wrap all these gifts. For so many many years I wrapped umpteen bazillion gifts for the beach urchins and others. I was so happy to not have to use a vacation day to wrap presents. I still had to wrap presents for HIM and a few extras for the beach urchins but no big deal.

Once upon a time I swore to myself that I would never work for Corporate America again. Twelve years ago I sucked it up (took the drug test and everything) and returned to Cubelandia. Here I am today with a job I love and enough paid time off before xmas to be able to hang out shopping and cleaning and even entertaining a bit 🐸

P.S. It was warm enough today that I could sit in the back yard for a bit. It was in the 50s this afternoon but I still walked out there with my balaclava on. After about two minutes, I took my balaclava off and dredged around the bedroom for a sun hat.

Twin stories

December 22nd, 2019 by kayak woman

When you are married to an identical twin, it can mess with your kids’ minds…

Waaaaay back in the day when Lizard Breath was I dunno maybe like 13 months maybe? We went over to help the UU and The Beautiful Gay (and their three kids) move house. Late in the evening, the UU and I went out somewhere to get a beer. The GG stayed behind with HIS/OUR DAUGHTER Lizard Breath. Was she a happy camper? NOOOOO she was NOT! She wasn’t quite yet able to use words to articulate her experience but she DEFINITELY thought that the GG and I (her parents) had left her behind with the UU (her uncle). “Are my parents ever coming back to get me?”

Years and years later… The UU and TBG had their first grandchild. At a family party when this young man was very young, the GG carried him around for a while and the kid was happy… Until… His Grandpa Bob walked up. Double-take and then complete shut down. There’s my granddad so who the heck is this character carrying me. I thought *he* was my grandpa!

Fast forward a few years. The UU and TBG now have six grandchildren. At the cFam partay last night, one of the younger ones said to her grandfather, “Are you Grandpa Bob or the other one?”. As a follow-up to this, apparently after the party she said, “I have two Grandpa Bobs.” Yes you do sweetheart.

Me? Married to an identical twin? I can always tell the difference if I am looking at the twin I’m talking to. If one of them is walking behind me and talking sometimes I’m not sure. Make no mistake, I quickly figure it out.

Sol on the solstice

December 21st, 2019 by kayak woman

I am usually a bit of a wreck during the xmas holiday season. It’s partly the general stress level although that isn’t all that bad for me these days. It is the weather that bugs me. People are driving/flying all over the place and the weather can SUCK around here at this time of year.

Today was the annual cFam xmas party and guess what Mr. Golden Sun decided to do on the winter solstice? Look at him shining in all his glory! I went outside sometime around noon to take this pic of him at about his southernmost point. And guess what else he did. He warmed us up! He melted most of the residual snow from last Tuesday morning’s mini-storm and today the roads were dry as a bone for everyone driving wherever they had to drive. No snow. No ice storms.

Partay? Wow. I just opened up a spreadsheet and typed in all the names I could think of who were there and I came up with 41. I spent quite a bit of time at the introvert table but eventually I loosened up a bit. A wee bit of whine but not toooo much. I felt like I deserved a bit of whine after enduring a morning of frenetic OCD crapola via the GG. Where the heck is your fidget spinner, buddy?

Hats off to my s-i-l the Lady of Linden for hosting *again*. The fam outgrew my humble little landfill-style home many moons ago. It would be standing room only with porta-potties in the back yard. Not only does my s-i-l usually host the big extended family party, she hosts other holiday events for her own branch of the fam, which features the Lord of Linden plus their five adult children and 11 grandchildren.

Underwear for xmas?

December 20th, 2019 by kayak woman

This is not at the Landfill and I have no idea what exactly is in that box. Lifetime supply of underwear? Probably not.

The Commander used to send us stuff in all kinds of weird boxes so you never quiiiite knew what you were getting until you opened the box. And then there was the time I was at Campfire Girl camp in the yooperland and my dad sent me a letter. Hmmm… It was in a 1st National Bank envelope (he was the bank prez) on 1st National Bank stationery. A form letter to bank customers. I had a savings account there and I could NOT process it. Why am I getting a letter from the bank at my Campfire Girls camp? It wasn’t until I got home from camp that I figgered out that my dad had written me a nice handwritten letter on the back of a form letter. The original recycler…

Somehow I have enough paid time off to take next week off. I’m not exactly sure what to do with all that time at this time of year but I know I will use the next four days getting ready for our small xmas celebration. I have wrapping and pre-cooking to do. And tomorrow I need to HOP TO IT! It’s the cFam xmas party and I have accepted a mission to make veggie lasagna. I made the sauce last weekend and it is thawed now. I have to buy the other ingredients, assemble it, and bake it tomorrow.

It was very quiet at Cubelandia today with Amazon Woman and I the only members of our team in the office. She wanted to leave early (whatever that means) and kicked me out too. I’m trying to remember which one of us got out first. I think I waved at her from Mooon Yooonit. And then we porterized at the Griz. No nightcap though. Everyone has too much to do tomorrow.

The cake is a lie

December 19th, 2019 by kayak woman

Today a bunch of us Cubelandians met up with the LSCHP (beloved old Cubelandia boss) for lunch! It was fun. It was also kinda funny. I said to Amazon Woman that this luncheon almost seemed more populated than our official company lunch (with seven attending, it was two fewer than the company lunch). But the LSCHP takes up a lot of space in more than one way and he was in Fine Form today. It was so fun to hear him telling his video gaming stories again (even though I usually don’t understand them 🐽). I’ll never forget being at a restaurant with him many moons ago. He was talking (loudly, as he does) about jumping over garbage cans and things. The visual of the LSCHP jumping over a garbage can is, well, interesting, and people at nearby tables were looking at him like “What?” Of course he was describing a video game. We’ve gone on without him but we miss him a lot. But he is doing very well, thank you very much! A professional day job, a fun side *teaching* gig, and rabbinical duties as always.

The lunch was fun but I couldda done without the near collision in the Notorious State Ellsworth roundabout on the way there. FZ was riding along with me. Partly to carpool but also he has the hybrid version of our Mooon Yooonit and was curious about the dashboard, etc. in mine. We agreed that the person who tried to kill us was in the wrong. I personally think the other driver was going too fast. 15 mph tops in those things and SLOWER if there is a lot of traffic like this roundabout usually has.

I dredged some xmas “necklaces” outta the Landfill Dungeon last weekend. They were all out of battery. I could not be bothered with figgering out what batteries work in them, let alone schlep around town looking for them. So… I left the dead ones on the Green Couch and ordered four more from Amazon. They arrived a couple days before but I didn’t open them. When I got home from Cubelandia yesterday, the GG was picking at the dead ones on the Green Couch, thinking we might want to take them over to Planet Ann Arbor Porterland. Oooooh noooo. Those don’t work. But… I gave him the new pkg to open and we took *those* over to Planet Ann Arbor Porterland. We all wore them for our partay but we had to Indian Give two of them because we also need them for partays this weekend. They are cheap and I shouldda just bought a couple for the Porters too.

Snoooowww Mode

December 18th, 2019 by kayak woman

It snowed a little bit overnight and although it had stopped snowing before I left for my 0-skunk-20 walk a little after six, the streets were still kind of messy when I left for coffee with MMCB1. There is a button for “snow” in Mooon Yooonit so I pressed it. What the heck. Aren’t those dashboard snowflakes purty?

I didn’t notice any difference in the driving at all but there was only a small accumulation of snow (1/2 to one inch, maybe) and I’m not sure that the “snow mode” was made for that kind of snow. By the time I drove to Barry’s and then Cubelandia, the driving was okay although there was various crapola of unknown slippery-ness partially covering most of the roads. Nobody was in a hurry and for once I was thankful that for the last third of the drive I was stuck in a line of 4-wheelers behind a huge gravel truck that was taking its sweet old time.

We xmas porterized ourselves tonight and we were talking about the “snow mode”. The GG reminded me of our loverly old Dogha (Dirty Old Green Honda Accord), which had a “traction control system” light. We bought it new in 2001 and I think it is still my favorite automotive vee-hickle EVER. That thing absolutely kicked *ss in snow driving and I remember the traction control light coming on when it encountered slippery conditions. I miss that vee-hickle soooo much sometimes.

As we were driving home from xmas porterization, the [insert I-word here] votes were still being counted. As we are a house divided, we were pretty silent. A few minutes ago I got a news alert about the results. I have mixed feelings. I do not like Trump, not one little bit. I think he is a terrible person *and* president. In particular, I hate his way of trying to solve complex problems by sledgehammer. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

I did not like him when he was a sleazy real-estate developer (and donating money to “Democrat” candidates, yes). I did not like him when he was a smarmy reality show star (and probably *still* donating money to “Democrat” candidates). But I could ignore him or laugh at his ridiculous antics or whatever. I can’t do that when he is president of our country and I am particularly annoyed when people compare him to the symbol that Jesus Christ has become. C’mon… Better than impeachment would be for voters to come out against him in 2020 but maybe this will send him a message. We’ll see.