Random bits of my so-called life.

Harbingers of spring

May 8th, 2017 by kayak woman

The title is a bit of a misnomer because here on The Planet Ann Arbor, we have been having spring for a while now. Really nice weather in April, some of it when we were in Fla of course, but my facebook/timehop “memories” tell me that things were getting going a week or so earlier this year than last. Well, and then there was the Polar Vortex Winter back in 2014… You know the one, when Canada got drunk and fell asleep in the northern midwest and great lake states.

Here is my annual jipt (jack-in-the-pulpit) pic from the woods behind my house.

And here are the birdies in the birdhouse on the north side of my house. I know that the momma bird was freaked out that I was there (the birdhouses are at eye-level). But I took my pic and got outta town so momma could continue to feed her babies.

And here is the Moomincabin.

Just kidding. That big snow drift is gone and this is what is left.

Smoooooth Ninja Ride…

May 7th, 2017 by kayak woman

And so I am back here on the Planet Ann Arbor. I drove my cute little 2008 Honda Civic SI 6-speed manual up to the Group Home at Houghton Lake on Friday and then I drove it back down to the Planet Ann Arbor today. I had a bit of trouble today when four lanes were turned into two for construction issues but that was short-lived and I knew that Flint (yes, that Flint) would be a problem so I took the I475 Flint bypass.

I am happy to be home but I sooooo miss Houghton Lake. This morning, I walked and then we ate breakfast at my fave Little Boots with the GG’s brother Jim. And then we drove over to the Reedsburg Dam area. It was so comfortable to be sitting in the passenger seat of the Ninja with the GG driving us through all of the usual Houghton Lake area dams and things that we have been checking out ever since we were young.

Oh, but… The speed limit in many places on Michigan freeways is now 75 mph. I am not sure how I feel about that entirely but I do think it shortened my trip a bit. Man oh man, I am remembering when our freeway speed limits were 55…

Working from Lyme Lounge

May 6th, 2017 by kayak woman

Working for an afternoon’s worth of hours this morning was a *good* thing. I managed to sort out signal from noise enough to make major progress on a couple of prodjects that have been escaping comprehensive solutions for weeks now. Interruptions, interruptions, interruptions. Okay. So, here is my cozy little Cube Away from Cubelandia, nestled up next to the Group Home. It’s also a good Freak Out Chamber for introverts who need a leeeeeetle less discussion for a bit.

Here’s part of the interior minus my work laptop, which was on the *other* table at the *back* of the Lyme Lounge, the table I was sitting at.

This lumberjack was at play while I toiled away. And yes, that’s a pole barn across the road. No, it is not ours (aka, the Cfam). We do not own the land it’s on. It’s a long boring story and it doesn’t involve The Nature Conservancy. Although we would prefer it was not there, there is actually a bit of a silver lining involved, one that defies description.

The Lyme Lounge is a bit too small for Victoria’s Protective Fish but we have some have some mini versions. Also Protective Moose, Protective Beaver, Protective Squoil, and, oh yeah, a Protective Mouse.

And now, four out of five Group Home owners (out of the 10 original siblings) and three of four significant others and Daisy and Chloe Belle are here and yer fav-o-rite introvert is about to put some bells on and head on in to join the party. Lemme see… Chicken and bratwurst on the grill, red-skinned potatoes, asparagus, corn on the cob, and salad. And the Kentucky Derby! My bets are placed! Are yours?

Haven’t been here in toooooo long…

May 5th, 2017 by kayak woman

Uuuuuuugly on The Planet Ann Arbor this morning. 42 degrees, heavy rain, wind. Did I say wind? When I got to work this morning, I tried to open my car door and the wind blew it right back at me. I simpered to myself for a split-second and then I pulled up my big-girl underwear and pushed the dern door back open, grabbed my laptop and schlepped into work.

I exchanged this afternoon for some weekend work hours so I schlepped back out into the muck and sloshed home, packed up and headed north out of Ann Arbor. For about the first 15 miles, I. thought. I. was. gonna. die… Heavy rain. Big lorries EVERYWHERE. Construction (they’re building a “flex lane” in the middle of the freeway, not sure what that means exactly) Horribly uneven pavement laced with rumble strips or whatever they are.

And then I ran out of the rain and construction and for most of the rest of the trip, it was smooth sailing. Until I got a few miles south of West Branch, where I had to make a Hard Stop and for the next several miles I switched between first and second gear until I passed this part of the construction. Michigan freeways are baaaaad but if I had known about this bit of construction (hint to people who *did* detour it yesterday and could have warned me but didn’t, ahem), I could’ve easily detoured it.

As I drove north, the temperature climbed from 42 to 60. Go figger. And this is the lake skyscape that greeted me when I got here. After our epic trip to Florida, I had some trepidation about driving to Houghton Lake this weekend. But I did and I did it with aplomb. I arrived to an overwhelming amount of information via the GG jumping out of the Lyme Lounge and asking me a whole bunch of questions. What horse do I want to bet on? Do I want to go to Fred’s for dinner? Well. Give me a few minutes to get my breath, please?

I took a small walk and then I chose my horses and we did go to Fred’s for dinner. Of course I wanted to go there! We met up with the Lord and Lady of Linden who were a bit behind me on the freeway (and I’m sorry I didn’t have the presence of mind to warn them about the West Branch construction since I also went through it). So much fun!

Protective Fish

May 4th, 2017 by kayak woman

Things about today? Hmmm… Coffee at Barry’s with MMCB2 is always a plus. What do we talk about? just the usual things baggy old bags talk about. Husbands, kids, other family members (problem or not), travel, polly-ticks, technology, you name it. I could’ve sat there all morning today. It was raining and I was comfortable sitting over at Barry’s with my friends and I really didn’t want to go to work because…

…I well knew what work would be like today, which was banging my head against one ridiculously complicated issue after another all day long, sometimes having to switch rapidly between ridiculously complicated issues. Do not get me wrong! I LOVE this kind of stuff but I was exhausted by the time I got home, not to mention that I had an echo all day.

Did I mention rain? It rained ALL DAY and getting home meant piloting my little Ninja around the gigantic puddles that formed here and there on the secondary roads I have to drive while I can’t get to my beloved (yes) traffic circle and therefore the I94 18-wheel Slogway that dumps me off (after five miles) onto Jackson Rd. Flooding? A little in the back yard but I’ve seen worse.

So, Protective Fish? Mouse’s photo (above) shows two examples of Protective Fish. Our friend Victoria exhibits these at the A2 Farmers Market every Saturday pretty much throughout the year. I think she goes to Fla for a bit. I don’t blame her. When I was young and poor(er than I am now), she was making St. Nicks (and she still does those). I always coveted those but there was no way I could afford one. At some point, she branched out into fish (she still makes St. Nicks, hint for xmas gift) and the GG discovered her and we are now friends and there you go. At this point, almost everyone in my little branch of the Fin Fam owns at least one Protective Fish and we also have a couple at the Houghton Lake Group Home.

Alert Alert Alert

As I speak, a spider has “rappelled” down from Froggy’s mardi gras beads onto my MacBook Pro keyboard and BACK TWICE. I watched the whole thing. I could not get a good pic of Spidey, even with the iPhone burst feature. I thought that I lost the spider but now I see it scuttling around the stuff on the counter to the right of my laptop, iPhone, etc. If I were The Commander (my mother, who hated spiders), I would squelch it with a Kleenex from the box to the right of my laptop. But I’m gonna let it live. I am reasonably sure that it isn’t a poisonous spider and one of the things I will remember forever is the time when the GG and I were at Houghton Lake and his dad was there and we stood in the garage watching a spider spin a web for what seemed like hours.


When in doubt, color code

May 3rd, 2017 by kayak woman

One of my mantras at work is something like, “if you find that you are writing Word Salad, that means it’s time for a picture”. I use the term picture loosely. It could mean a flow chart or a table or an annotated screen shot. Or whatever it takes to get the point across. I rocked it this morning with a color-coded table that helped a bunch of us sort out an extremely complex issue. But pride goeth before a fall so the next issue had me going something like bdah bdah bdah.

The other thing that’s going on today is that we FORGOT to give our Mouse a couple of IMPORTANT birthday gifts including a PROTECTIVE FISH! Actually two. I cannot explain in this space at this time why we call them protective fish. Maybe someday when I am wearing purple, I will let all of the family crap out. Not yet. Actually, I DOOOOO wear purple quite frequently. But I do NOT wear one of those red hats or whatever they are..

And then there was some other stuff that happened today, including the Bookhouse Books but we’ll talk about that another time. For now, it is spring on The Planet Ann Arbor and we are color coded for spring, which I believe has happened at least a week before it usually does around here.

Where are you, Mr. Mxyzptlk?

May 2nd, 2017 by kayak woman

Here’s your May 2, 2017 Planet Ann Arbor voter election experience from a baggy old voter’s viewpoint.

Somehow, I managed to remember to throw my driver’s license into one of my raincoat zip pockets at 0-skunk-30 this morning. I don’t *technically* need an ID to vote. I can turn the ballot “application” over and sign an affidavit that I yam who I yam, not to mention that I am acquainted with a couple of the poll workers from back in the days of the Haisley Mafia.

Brrrrr… I was warm during my walk but when I got to the polling place in the back yard (the school), it was 6:56 AM and that meant that I sat on a bench and shivered for four minutes. Sometimes the poll workers invite people into the building before the polls open but I understand when they don’t. Getting set up to do something that you only do a few times a year is tricky and it doesn’t help to have a bunch of vultures staring at you as you work. It was okay. I didn’t freeze.

Missy walked by with Java and said she was gonna go get Bob and come back and vote. And commiserated with me about the crappy weather.

I wasn’t [exactly] trying to be voter #1. I actually figgered that Mr. Mxyzptlk would get there before me like he almost always does. I was prepared to let him be first even if I got there before him. He was not there. At 6:59, another woman approached and, when they opened the doors, she went in first. And then, I got a little competitive. How fast can I fill out the ballot application? Pretty darn fast, as it turned out, and so I was able to skirt behind her and get that coveted status of Voter #1.

That coveted status can also be tricky because when you are #1, sometimes the folks operating the technology are not quite into the swing. My driver’s license did not scan and the person who looked me up the “hard way” [typing in my last name] was definitely not a touch typist. Hunt and peck was slow but he did locate me. I felt a little sorry for him because he seemed a little nervous about the technology at hand. Can you imagine how that might have gone if Mr. Mxyzptlk had been voter #1? (On the other hand, if you are doing hunt and peck…)

I had one circle to fill in today, a school millage, a rather big one, a sinking fund thingy. I do not know if the GG voted or not. I thought about reminding him but since he was walking downtown this morning I knew he would pass the polling place and it would be up to him if he voted or not (he did). I’m pretty sure he canceled my vote out but who knows.

I am always nervous about whether or not the ballot-eater will eat my ballot. I shared that with the poll worker who was stationed at the ballot-eater and she commiserated with me. This is voter #1 and there’s only *one* thing to circle on the ballot, so if the ballot-eater does not eat the ballot, maybe we are in for a troublesome day.

The ballot-eater ate my ballot with no problem and I kind of wanted to high-five that poll worker but I think her fingers were crossed for the rest of the day so I picked up my “I voted” sticker and galumphed over to the woods and home.

Where the heck was Mr. Mxyzptlk? He usually arrives on his bicycle. I hope he’s okay and has merely moved to a different polling place, in town or in South Dakota or wherever. Or maybe he is traveling in Africa or Asia or Florida or somewhere and has already voted absentee.

M-I-C(eeeee)… K-E-Y(iiiii)… M-O-U-S-E(eeeeee)

May 1st, 2017 by kayak woman

I won’t go into all of the gyrations that came in to play when we were in the “planning” stages of our recent Fla Road Trip. We ended up with solid reservations at a very cool retro-type Fla vacation rental and for the most part we flew by the seat of our pants for other rented lodging and pretty much lucked out, largely because we were traveling down at the end of almost every spring break and back after Easter. You have to know that we spent two nights on the way back north with friends in Atlanta. Their house is lovely and Atlanta is beautiful at this time of the year and we were able to catch our breath there before the last leg of our trip back up to the North Country.

Anyway, long before this trip happened, the GG asked me if I wanted to go to Mouseland (Disney World). No. Thank you but no. I have been there *once*. We took our two daughters plus their cousin The Beautiful Renee on a long ago trip to Fla when they were all kids. TBR looks enough like our kids that most people thought that we had three daughters. Disney World was fun and I’m glad we went there but I decided at that time that I never really wanted to go there again. There was a bathroom incident but that’s TMI. I don’t like roller coaster type rides and I don’t like fake nature and, well, nowadays I don’t like tourist shops but back then I was probably okay with a weeeeee bit of shopping, like I think we bought someone (Mouse, maybe?) a pair of flip-flops at a tourist shop.

On our way north, we drove through/around the Mouseland area and landed for that night in a beautiful lake area of Fla. We did hit up Silver Springs State Park the next morning. This was once a private place that exhibited exotic aminals, etc. Thankfully the State of Florida made Silver Springs a state park and therefore has gotten rid of the exotic aminals and the petting zoo and “monkey island” is now “cormorant island”. This is a good thing. You can rent kayaks there now but we were in transit and I just wanted to go on a glass-bottom boat tour and so we did and it was gorgeous and that’s about all I have to say.

I love Florida. I loved our trip there this spring. I don’t think I could EVER live there. I was so glad to be back up here in the north country and here are my kids hanging out with Gertrude.

You can take her out but you have to put a bag over her head

April 30th, 2017 by kayak woman

Something like that. This is a snapchat pic. I do not have snapchat. I’m not sure I totally understand how snapchat works. I do know that the pics/posts/whatever go away after a while. That could be useful for people who don’t want their posts to exist forever. That way, you can hide your posts from your parents or the government or whoever. I think that’s how it works but not really sure. On the other hand, you get to add all of these cool neon stickers and things. See the froog on the GG’s shoulder?

Also, didn’t someone once say something like April is the cruelest month? It was kinda cruel today. Not that it snowed or anything like that. Sometimes it does snow in April. Today was simply chilly and gray and eventually it rained. We huuuunnnnng around most of the morning until finally the GG said, “Do you guys want me to take you for a ride?” Yes. Yes, we did. Lizard Breath and me. He did the traditional River Ride and then he headed south to Liberty and back east. At some point he suggested a bit of Sunday afternoon decadence and we were discussing various places of possible decadence and then he jogged over to Jackson Road and I knew that we were going to end up at Sessions, where we spent a loverly hour or so drinking beer/whine and eating a snacky lunch.

We got back to the Landfill and Lizard and I walked to the Plum Market and then I made some enchiladas and eventually our Mouse came over after her work was finished. The GG snuggled her into the Reading Chair and Lizard Breath served her a few belated birthday gifts and her irresponsible mother provided a freezer ‘hattan.

The weather here? Really not all that bad. After our two-week road trip to Florida, we have missed most of the usual April cruelty, including deep snow slogs on the North Country Trail in the yooperland.

Love y’all. KW. Safe travels to those jumping over the pond in the near future!

Bad pics of good aminals

April 29th, 2017 by kayak woman

In my adult life, I have not had pets, at least not the “traditional” dog and/or cat-type pets. Rat, guinea pig, multiple fish (that died quickly at our incompetent hands), five anole lizards (that lasted FOREVER, the last one died after six years). BTW, anoles are all over Florida as a natural part of the landscape.

Friday was (inexplicably) an aminal day for me. Somehow I needed one. First there was the catsa I encountered upon returning from my walk at 0-skunk-30. He was pretty friendly. He didn’t quiiiiite rub against my legs but he made those kind of motions, just stayed a few inches away. He did not look like a stray. He had a collar and tags and didn’t look or act needy so I told him how pretty he was and side-stepped into the house.

And then I got to work and FZ has been threatening promising to bring his dogs to work for a couple of days now. They have been Home Alone this week and need more exercise than they are getting. And we needed a weeeee bit of pet therapy after a more strenuous work week than we are accustomed to.

Our (awesome) Amazon Boss said, “Go get them” and so he did and my team spent a good half hour hanging around watching these beautiful black labs explore the area, splashing in and out of the ponds. Sonic is one of the dogs and she is the mother of none other than [drum roll] Tigger!

Tigger is my childhood dog’s name. We adopted her as a puppy. She was a stray and who knows exactly what she was made of. We guessed a bit of golden retriever, cocker spaniel, collie and who knows what else. I showed FZ a (very blurry) pic of her and he guessed some sort of Canadian-type retriever that was unfamiliar to me but might be accurate. I do know that she loved to chase birds and would swim way out in the bay to try to “retrieve” seagulls and The Commander would be yelling at her to come back to shore.

Today? Farmer’s market in the morning and we were there when it opened so we definitely got in on the asparagus today. And then our quick green lizard came over from Daytwa and walked downtown with us for lunch at the Griz. We bused it back to the Plum to get ingredients for Sheet Pan Chicken Tikka and then we all had a bit of a sinking spell and *then*, our lizard cooked dinner for us, which is still in the oven as I write this. And I am kind of done and you all are happy about that. 💜

xword geezer card of porterization

April 28th, 2017 by kayak woman

After all of yesterday’s ranting and raving, how ’bout a nice eeeeeeezy xword puz to solve? Can you all solve it? (Click once or twice to embiggen.)

Seriously, this was a very thoughtful and creative bday card! 💜

Breathe, KW…

April 27th, 2017 by kayak woman

Okay. So I am a systems analyst. I do design work on a huuuuuuuge web application, I define requirements for new and/or changes to our application’s user interface and various pieces of functionality and I write functional specifications that give our development team a blueprint for building out changes to our behemoth product. Making even the teensiest tinesiest tweak to our product can require hours of careful research, modeling out how the new functionality will work and how it will affect other parts of our labyrinthine application, INCLUDING ALL OF THE POSSIBLE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES.

I do not work alone. My main man is FZ, who has been with the company MANY more years than I have (and I have forbidden him to retire in the near future) and is just over the wall from me. But there are many others I use as resources. We are all subject matter experts and we are all boots on the ground, common sense based people who are committed to providing our customers with uninterrupted service. In support of that goal, we believe in thorough research before committing changes to the app that our customers use..

If we did not operate that way, like say, I wrote up a spec that said something vague like, “Do it like Yahoo does it”, our developers wouldn’t know what to do and would either ask me ten thousand billion questions or “go rogue” and make their own design. That would likely result in our CUSTOMERS (i.e., the people who PAY OUR COMPANY) being left high and dry without service. My company would probably lose its contract and I would definitely lose my job.

Instead, I take my time to write up comprehensive solutions to even the smallest of tweaks, thinking through all of the parts of the product that might be touched. If I do not do that due diligence, I know that dev and QA folks will be bugging the heck out of me. YOU ALL are happy about that. Trust me.

Yes, I am comparing the stuff I do for my lowly job to a certain presidential document that was released sometime today or yesterday. I do not get it. I would hope that anyone involved (in any way) in the tax industry doesn’t get it either. Where are the details? What are the consequences (intended and/or unintended) to our country’s citizens? Meaning you and me…

In other news, the GG spent a good portion of the day dealing with a sewer backup in the Landfill Dungeon. He was sound asleep on the couch in the back room when I got home from work. He had texted me about the backup and how it hadn’t done much damage to the oooogly yellow shag carpet, etc. I texted back that I was discouraged that the oooogly yellow shag carpet and all of the junk down there were not damaged… I greatly appreciate all of his work on cleaning this up but I would like to re-do the damn dungeon somehow. But we’ll see…

Love y’all whatever your polly-ticks, KW (but please please please think about what the Trump administration is doing for you (or not)…)

In which the GG shares his birthday with…

April 26th, 2017 by kayak woman

His twin brother (of course), The Botanist, and [drum roll] Melania Trump! I guess I have no commentary about any of that. I spent my day talking to developers (software, not real estate, there is a BIG difference!) and QA specialists and I can’t even talk about some of it because since I don’t really understand it all, you would not understand it either.

Happy birthday to all (even Melania, who I do not totally understand) and below are a bunch of photooos. Of MY Twinz, that is. And yes, we did actually take a 3-week-old baby to the moldy old Houghton Lake cabin with us. She was fine and I sang rock-a-bye baby and other golden oldies all that weekend.

End of the 640 era

April 25th, 2017 by kayak woman

Four years ago and some, I became the owner of a small storage unit. You know the kind, like the one where Clarice Starling found the body of a flute player of all things in Silence of the Lambs. Of course, when we rented our unit, the GG had to ask about bodies. Our storage unit guy did once find a dead cat in one. Unfortunately, he could smell it. I have always hoped it was an accident, like the cat was in the car when they were loading or unloading stuff and got into the storage unit and couldn’t get out. Alas, if *I* had a cat (or any living being), I would notice that it was missing and would go back for it or call the storage place or whatever. So I dunno. I do know that human beings seem to be capable of doing all kinds of horrible things to their pets (not to mention other human beings).

To answer some of the stuff in the original blahg entry, I never once walked to the storage unit, even though it is, in fact, maybe 500 steps beyond the Plum Market and I walk over to the Plum Market all the time (1100 steps). In fact, I have not even driven over there, at least not by myself.

I am not sorry we rented the storage unit. It helped us during a difficult period in our flinging phase (which we are still in) when we took on a whole bunch of stuff from The Commander’s house. It also provided extra space when The Prince of Denmark needed to store some stuff for a month or so last summer during her encampment here until her next living situation became available.

I came home today to see this old dorm loft out by the street. I can’t even exactly remember which of our children used this loft in their freshman living situation but it came home and it hung around somewhere and then when we rented 640, it got repurposed as a storage unit structure to hold boxes and things. I would betcha dollars that most colleges do not let parents build lofts for their children any more.

I was so excited when we rented 640. For years, every time somebody asked me what I wanted for my birthday or xmas, I would say, “A dumpster in the driveway”. I never got that but I did get storage unit 640 four years ago. Today, the GG emptied the few things that were left in it. We are at the point where we do not need external storage to deal with stuff. Although we still have stuff to deal with…

Butt in seat on mouseday

April 24th, 2017 by kayak woman

I was ready for work today. I can’t say I wasn’t a bit nervous about it. I felt like I left a bit of chaos behind two whole weeks ago and then there was the whole Ringling Museum courtyard talk-thru with my mouse to make sure people had the latest version of two of my functional specifications. On the other hand, work has been a bit chaotic lately anyway. I didn’t know what to expect exactly but as it turned out, things were just about how they were when I left. And that has been typical throughout my “adult” career in the online banking biz.

The hardest part of today was my commute, because when I got to the Ellsworth/State roundabout, I could. not. make. a. right. turn. Sigh. It’s the orange barrel season here in the Great Lake State and South State was closed from Ellsworth until Avis. I will be going “all tvarhe the way down to the bottom” (say it in a British accent please) to get to and from work for a while.

You do not want to know about work. It wasn’t bad at all and I was given plenty of space to do what I needed to do.

The other thing that happens today is that my second child, last child, aka the “baby”, reaches one of those zero birthdays. I wish her my best (of course!) but this is *probably* the last time I will post a bunch of embarrassing photos of her as a small child. But here are some, lightly captioned.

I am *not* a tiger, I am a *mouse*. Also, I do not wear hats.

Okay, this costume is muuuuch better.

Birthday number 2. A hat grandma Fran made, high heels, and an outfit that my brother’s family brought in a gift bag and my mouse took off whatever clothing she had on (right out in front of everyone) and donned the new outfit. I miss those days… … …

Various costume parts and pieces repurposed.

Rabbit head? I won’t even try to describe this one.

Home, where things are starting to get green

April 23rd, 2017 by kayak woman

As you can see, we are in the beginning of the spring season here on the Planet Ann Arbor, so there is a variety of foliage.

I love Florida very much but every time I have traveled there, I have been happy to return to the Great White North. I don’t really know why I feel that way or how to describe why I do. Probably that the Great White North is my home. There are people who migrate to Fla from around here. I don’t totally get it.

So, I ended up reading two Florida books on our trip. I wrote about Carl Hiaasen’s Tourist Season a while back. It was not my usual genre (crime novel) but I loved it and I think the GG did also. At one point, I heard him say something like, “These guys are crazy!” Yes.

I found “Continental Drift” randomly. I loved the writing. I could get tuned in to the characters. But how depressing can you get? I liked the main character or at least I wanted to like him but he just kept shooting himself in the foot over and over and over. Why did he move to Florida again? I dunno. I think he moved down there to try to make more money for his family. Alas. That can work out for a few people but for most folks it’s best if you already *have* some money when you move to Fla (or anywhere). We won’t even talk about the secondary character who made a long arduous journey to Florida from Haiti and was enslaved and raped, etc., over and over and over before she reached the shores of Florida. I can’t even… … … Why do human beings do these kinds of things to other human beings? I do not know. Sorry to get heavy here but…

I finished “Continental Drift” literally just outside The Planet Ann Arbor, just after we made the ugly turn from US23 to I94 west to our Jackson Road exit.

The GG did a whole heckuva lotta yard work today. Yer fav-o-rite blahgger hung out doing little chores like dishes and picking away at small unpacking stuff. And cooking chores. And reading. I am now reading “Idaho” and am totally engrossed in it. BFF has a hard copy of the book (her book club read it) but I am doing it on my phone, which is where I prefer to read books.

Work tomorrow. Hi… Ho…

Bumpity-clunk freeways and passing on the right? Where are we? We are home in the Great Lake State of course!

April 22nd, 2017 by kayak woman

Driving from Lexington to The Planet Ann Arbor is just about as many miles as driving from The Planet Ann Arbor to the moomincabin. I didn’t like the rain we started out with but it eventually dried up, fortunately south of Cincinnati. I don’t really like driving through Cincinnati but it was (sorta) okay today. No real slowdowns for us on the entire Florida Odyssey this time around. We sure saw some awful ones on the other side of the freeway(s) from us.

So we got home a little after 1:00 PM and what did we do? We went to the farmers market, of course! From Twitter somewhere in Ohaaao, I knew that they had asparagus today. I also knew (from experience) that by the time we got there, all of the asparagus would be gone. It was but I got lettuce and some fingerling potatoes and some gorgeous mushrooms and a whole chicken from Sparrow Meats, which is what we were really after. It’s okay, Farmer John will be bringing asparagus in to work from his garden or farm or whatever it is soon and I’ll be able to buy it at work.

And then we drove over to the other side of town to help celebrate a great-niece’s one-year-old birthday. Problem? We got there after the party was over and the baby was asleep. (There was some text message confusion that I cannot explain.) The grandparents were still there though and since they are the GG’s “ugly brother” the UU and his wife The Beautiful Gay, us old folks decided to head over to a bar in the area and so we did and TBG and I wanted to stay there all afternoon to yak and cackle away but we were good and scattered to the winds after a single whine. In a way it was a blessing in disguise that we missed the party because I wasn’t really into hanging around making small talk with people I don’t know this particular afternoon. Instead I got to hang out with my husband, his twin brother and wife. A good welcome back to The Planet Ann Arbor.

And then there were trout lilies in the woods behind our house. Home.

Dollar General

April 21st, 2017 by kayak woman

Well, first of all, when I got up this morning, I wanted to just replay yesterday. Hanging around with my BFF and her SO the Guru and Droney and I’m not sure what they call their fancy new Prius, if anything. Maybe they told me and I fergot? I dunno. They have an absolutely loverly house in a beautiful neighborhood a short walk away from all kinds of fun restaurants and shoppies and things. After we were done galumphing around the Atlanta Mechanical Botanical Gardens, we just huuuuuuunnnnng around, reading, surfing the internet, doing slide shows of our phone photos on the boob tube. Oh, and streaming various videos including a facebook stream (or something) of my niece defending her phd dissertation in Hawaii yesterday. We also saw glimpses of Cap’n Pete piloting the Soo Locks tour boat on a Pure Michigan video. And once, The Guru, who was the main VJ, was about to cruise past a Go-Pro-type video of someone on a snowmobile climbing a big hill and I yelled, “Go back! That’s my old ski hill!” It was indeed Mission Hill and the snowmobile went up the hill in the cleared area where the old ski lift used to be. Memories.

Alas, we had to take our leave this morning and we have come to a Temporary Hard Stop near the I75 Snowbird Geezerway somewhere in central Kentucky, poised for the last leg of our Epic Journey. We did not take I75 all the way up. We got off somewhere in Tennessee and took back roads up, skirting Knoxville to the west of it, eventually hooking up with US27, which we also often drive in the Great Lake State. We enjoyed all of the twisty-turny-ness of the road as it wound through the hills that are so common in the eastern Tennessee and Kentucky geography. It was way fun to drive those roads and sometimes (for me) a bit scary. At one point the GG said something like, “This road would be really fun in the Ninja.” Yes, yes, it would be. It was okay in the Frog Hopper but the Ninja would’ve hugged those curves and downshifting its 6-speed manual tranny would’ve been much better than having to hit the brakes all the time.

Dollar General? I forget where I started noticing Dollar General stores. It was somewhere on our journey down to Fla. After about the fifth or sixth one, I started noticing ALL of them. And I started saying “Dol-lar Gen-rul” every time we encountered one and eventually the GG also took up the chorus. They seem to line the secondary highways of the southeastern United Snakes of America, the Woldemort of our small rural towns. We spent quite a lot of time on secondary highways this trip and every little town had one. The Dollar General in the pic was in Cross City, Fla. We were on our way from Steinhatchee (Stein pronounced Steen) to Long Boat Key and we were looking for the Taste of Dixie Diner in Cross City and we couldn’t remember the name right off the bat but I knew it was in an email (from my Atlantian BFF) in my laptop, so we were looking for a place to pull over and dredge my laptop out and there was a Dollar General right there on the right (US98) so that’s where we pulled over. I have yet to set foot inside a Dollar General and I doubt I will on this trip. I have nothing against Dollar General. I just don’t need anything from Dollar General (or just about any other bricks and mortar store).

As coincidences go, I happened to read on *this* trip, that Dollar General is thinking about opening up a store in Brimley, Michigan, the small town a few miles west of the moomincabin that I have known my entire life. If Dollar General opens a store in Brimley, I will eventually go inside one.

P.S. If you noticed a “fatal error” when trying to access my boring bunch of blather blahg in the last 24 hours, I can tell you that the Guru is also my blahgmaster and it was kinda fun (except that I reeeallly didn’t want to make him work) to show him the fatal error in person instead of having to send him a text message. He fixed it in a jiffy! Thanks for everything, friends!

0 miles today

April 20th, 2017 by kayak woman

At least not in the Frog Hopper. We did put in a couple miles in a fancy new Prius.

I began my day with coffee, which I poured into my fave Atlantian Bay News 9 mug and drank while keeping an eye on a software update that ended up taking something like 30 minutes. It was okay. We did not find ourselves in any kind of a hurry to mobilize this morning.

When we did eventually mobilize, our host was somewhat apologetic that our destination was the same place she took us the last time we visited, the Atlanta Mechanical Botanical Gardens. This plan was A-OK with us though. The gardens are always a treat and at this point in our trip, I’m not sure I could’ve taken in one more new and wondrous thing. And of course, the gardens, being gardens, are by definition different every time you visit. I love it there and we had a nice little lunch (with whine) in the new (I think) cafe on the grounds.

Pics below. I’m too lazy (I think) to caption anything.

Droney in Atlanta

April 19th, 2017 by kayak woman

The Great White North is pulling on me big-time but we are stopping in Atlanta to visit Droney and his people for a couple days before we head back there. So here is Droney.

And here is a baggy old bag interacting with Droney. Note that she is NOT controlling him (we *think* Droney is male but don’t really know). She is just watching him with her iPhone in her hand. Her friend Sam (archaeologist, not dog) took this pic.

When we got to Atlanta today, it was late-lunch time and we were all hemming and hawing about where to have lunch. There are any number of restaurants within an easy walk but I heard something like “basement” and “dark” and “sorta like Knights” and that’s where we went. I had whine for lunch but when I found out that they serve Manhattans with a “sidecar”, I knew we had to go back. And so we did. Sam and I (girls only) walked back over there 6-ish for one ‘hattan’ and this is how they serve them. And this is Sam’s pic, which she took on my phone because she forgot hers.