Random bits of my so-called life.

Random bits of my so-called life job

February 28th, 2018 by kayak woman

Ping! Ping! Ping-ping-pingity-ping!

India emails: Whaddya wanna do about this off-the-wall scenario? (Hey, note that “India” writes in perfect English and doesn’t ever say stuff like “whaddya” or “wanna”). Mouse would love my India colleagues, or at least their grammar and syntax.

Meeting notices up the wazoo: mostly false ones sent because Outlook (at least as implemented at global-corp) doesn’t always work all that well.

FZ yelling any number of things over the wall and/or pinging emails at me: Yes, No, DAZ. We need to talk. It’s okay, I mean THE TEAM needs to talk. You’ve heard of work boyfriends? FZ is NOT my work boyfriend. But we somehow speak the same language. That language is called something like, “Requirements Requirements Requirements”. I email long complicated questions to him and he answers them with long complicated answers that I can understand. And vice versa.

Amazon Woman emails/texts/IMs/whatever: Can I just say this is the best supervisor I have ever had.

LSCHP randomness: Where is this (or that) site that I used to have before my computer crashed? Don’t we have this somewhere in our product? [segue off into some other subject, like that new Marvel movie or Futurama or whatever]

Israel calls: Well, actually Israel does not *ever* call me personally [yet] but I am working on that prodject so when the LSCHP or the CRD are on a call with them, I am all ears. I do meet online with this group on Thursdays so we’ll see what happens tomorrow morning. Don’t stay tuned.

Mr. Golden Sun makes his last appearance for a day or so.

In which the seagulls return to the moominbeach

February 27th, 2018 by kayak woman

I did not observe the seagulls’ return in person. I rely on Our Northern Correspondent to post it on Facebook or sometimes she has texted me or whatever. Today was the day. We are getting reports of migratory bird sightings here on the Planet too: red-wing blackbirds and damn-I-can’t-think-of-the-name-it’s-on-the-tip-of-my-tongue! Geese are scouting out their nests at the ponds at Cubelandia and the swans are back at Swan Corners. Winter is breaking, although I’m sure Old Man Winter still has a few snowballs to throw at us.

I am not at the moomincabin and I can’t feature staying there at this time of year. The place is not insulated and a lot of the pipes are outside. After the Polar Vortex winter, we got up there to open the place on Memorial Day weekend and despite the fact that we had followed the procedure for draining the pipes when closing the place the fall before, a pipe had broken. The GG spent a frigid afternoon fixing the broken pipe, high winds screaming off of Gitchee Gumee and tunneling under the cabin where he was working. This would have been an expensive fix if we’d had to hire a plumber and the GG does not get anywhere near enough credit for the maintenance/repair work he does at the moomincabin. Just sayin’.

When I was a young child, my parents tried a couple times to have a Sunday dinner (old-fashioned noon after-church dinner) at the moomincabin. We could not drive in back in those days. The road didn’t get plowed all winter. We parked up at Luigi’s and the parents pulled us down the road on a toboggan. They built a faaaar in our old wood stove and The Comm cooked a chicken dinner in the oven (or maybe heated up a pre-cooked chicken dinner). It was fun the first time. It was apparently not all that cold and we frolicked in the snow and walked amongst the ice hummocks on the shore. The second time it was colder than blue blazes and no one had a good time. I still remember my feet being so cold they hurt. Alas, I don’t remember us ever doing that again…

A few years back, some folks actually suggested that we close the moomincabin on *Halloween* weekend. Okaaaay. Did those folks have any CLUE what Old Man Winter can throw at the yooperland during the month of October (or even September sometimes)? Um, no. I mean if anyone lived within a couple hours of the place, it might be possible to respond with agility to changing weather conditions and get up there just in time to close the place before The Big Chill. But three of us are five hours away and the other two are a plane ride (or two or three) away. Nope. Not happening. But I am ALWAYS open to discussion (and always have been). Common sense anyone? Jeebus…

In their retirement, the grandparents, whose main residence was a short 15 minute hop to Sault Ste. Siberia, used to stay at the moomincabin until they saw a snowflake or two. That meant they usually made it to early October. When that first snoflake came down, they high-tailed it back to town, to what Lizard Breath once called “Grandma’s other house, the real house, where she lives some of the days”. Out of the mouths of babes.

No rooster today but you can click the pic to email me (or not)

February 26th, 2018 by kayak woman

Yeah, that’s me underneath that brightly striped burka-like thing (beach towel) with my 12″ G4 Powerbook peeking out. Um, and my bare legs, oops.

I was sooooo excited about that laptop. At the time, we were still sharing a “family” computer. It was a loverly strawberry iMac but I really needed my own computer. I first saw the 12-inch G4 Powerbook in an ad in the New Yorker (the dead tree version). I lusted after that musheen. Problem. I was not what you might call gainfully employed at the time and we had one kid in college and another approaching that age. There wasn’t much extra room in the budget for moom to get her own new computer.

Truth? The Commander got wind of the dilemma and SHE BOUGHT ME ONE! I was not one to ask my parents for money but she offered and I took her up on it. I was hoping to get it all set up before the GG got home from work. Surprise!!! That didn’t exactly happen. Delivery was delayed a day because of snow and it came on Friday, a day he often didn’t have to work.

So he was HERE when Fedex delivered THREE BIG BOXES (computer, free printer, and I fergit what else). Amazingly, he did not notice the delivery and it wasn’t until I had the laptop unboxed and was playing around with it that we had the “Gasp! What did you do?” moment.

Other memories of that day, including Guinea Pig and maybe driving Mouse over to visit her sister at college for the weekend, are vague for the moment. I could probably look them up in the pre-wordpress archives of my blahg. But I won’t. But here I am sitting on the beach and I am pretty sure this was a graphic link on my old roll-yer-own blahg, so people could, y’know, comment on my posts since I didn’t have comment technology at that time. I definitely photoshopped the text onto the photooo. Ain’t it loverly?

I was working for YAG in those days and that musheen made my life soooo much easier. I could schlep it to any rehearsal venue we were using instead of hauling a big huge binder around. I will never forget when me and my late beautiful friend Paula figgered out that I could access wifi at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre. That opened up a whole new dimension for me, in that I could send and reply to emails *right then* instead of having to stay up late to do it at home after rehearsals.

I had a great time schlepping that thing around and getting reactions from various male entities (most females were “you go girl” even if they weren’t particularly tech-savvy). Most of the young guys were greatly excited – by the computer, not me. Older guys sidled back into the woodwork, like my dad did when I used my debit card to pay for groceries bourbon at Glen’s once. “Did your mother give you any money?” “No dad, I’m paying for this.” [Love you dad.] Guys somewhere in the vicinity of my age couldn’t figger me out and either made conversation about their own computer conquests or regarded me as one o’ them thar Uppity Women. And I AM an uppity woman (sorta). So what.

I’m writing this blahg from my most recent MacBook Pro. I think it is my fourth Apple laptop but I could be wrong. I think I am on my 6th iPhone. I still love my laptop but I can often do most of what I need to do on the Internet with my iPhone.

I will always remember how the Commander helped me when I needed her and I do my best to pay that forward whenever I can.

Falling asleep in front of the olympics

February 25th, 2018 by kayak woman

Once upon a time we ate at Dexter’s Pub a lot. It was back in 2006 when my dad was ensconced in the Henry Ford Hoosegow with a shattered pelvis. He took an air ambulance down there and The Comm had something like an hour to pack for that trip. After about a week of sleeping on a chair in his hospital room, she moved to a short-term apartment on campus for the duration.

I drove down there every darn day I could. It was a dry winter so I didn’t have to deal with snow driving. Dad was there for around three weeks. I had an email list of folks that I wrote to EVERY DOGGAMN NIGHT after I got back to the Landfill from the Henry Ford Hoosegow. Some folks kind of wondered how I could write about that stuff every day. Answer? It kept me going. I didn’t do the same thing when The Comm went into her death dance. I don’t know exactly why but things were different then. That’s how it goes.

When my dad was down in Detroit, we often drove out to Dexter’s Pub for dinner. After I got home and wrote my daily email, that is. Life went on and I got a job and we started walking downtown to the Oscar Tango and the Griz and whatever instead of driving out to Dexter.

Today we drove around through a lot of the glacial hills and lakes north and west of The Planet Ann Arbor. It was beautiful and we ended up back in Dexter and the GG was doing some kind of weird driving maneuver and we ended up at Dexter’s Pub for a bowl of chili for lunch.

I did not drink Fireball or even a margarita.


February 24th, 2018 by kayak woman

I’ve told moominbeach outhouse stories in this space before. Actually, My Dear Uncle Harry still maintains an outhouse and I used it one morning last summer when I was telecommuting from the Lyme Lounge and every time I went in to the moomincabin to use the Water Closet, someone was taking a shower. I always make sure to contribute a roll of toilet paper to the cause.

Besides that, wanna know how we got our (cold) running water when I was a kid? No, we did not (as grandroobly used to say, describing one of his childhood chores) RUN down to the beach with a bucket, fill it up, and RUN back up to the cabin. We got it from my uncle’s well via a garden hose. It was indeed only cold water for many many years. If you wanted to wash the dishes (or your feet, like I did *every* night), you heated water in big teakettles on the [electric] stove.

As the years went on, we complicated our simple carefree summer lives with indoor plumbing and a water heater and eventually we (I mean my parents) decided our needs had outgrown the garden hose and we needed to drill our own well. What an adventure that turned out to be. Here is the rig that came out to drill our well.

Yes, it was a mess. Not to mention that the whole prodject was temporarily interrupted when a tornado warning happened out in Whitefish Bay and a couple of my cousin’s kids were out in *our* bay (south of Whitefish Bay but close enough to be worried) rowing the rowboat of sailing fame (and notoriety, alas) and I had to neglect our well drilling guy’s questions to run down to the beach yelling and screaming and waving a big bright beach towel around trying to get their attention. STORM COMING! COME BACK TO SHORE! Never a dull moment and we DO NOT mess around with water safety at the moominbeach.

They did return safely but the well thingy in the pic below was not the end of the story.

I forget exactly what happened. I’m thinking it was some kind of collapse or something? At any rate, the well had to be RE-drilled on the *other* side of the moomincabin. That well was successful and it serves up water to this day. And here are a few people sitting around on the moomincabin deck. Do we recognize any of them? What about the incognito behind book one? Teenagers… 💚

Un-tethered? I am un-tethered from my [blasted] fitbit. I went to plug it in Thursday night and it, uh, wasn’t there. I mean in the wristband. I knew it was in the house somewhere because it was syncing with my phone. I could not find it. I mentioned out loud that I couldn’t find it and immediately regretted it. Full-fledged rummaging session at 10 PM? For a *fitbit*? No thank you. I couldn’t find it yesterday morning and I decided to just Bag It. I know how many steps I get in an average day. That’s not likely to change drastically. I am sick of it telling me I haven’t walked 250 steps in an hour. I know that it’s good not to sit all day but really? I found it this morning. I got out of the shower and it was staring me in the face underneath the bottom of the bathroom cabinet. (What is that little black thing on the floor? Oh…) Why did it take me that long to notice it? Why didn’t the Rummager in Chief see it? I dunno. I decided not to put it on today. I think I am taking a break from my own OCD. I do that sometimes.

A quickie (or whatever)

February 23rd, 2018 by kayak woman

It has been a dreary week. I actually greatly enjoyed the heavy rain we endured for a few days. It decimated the last of the recent Big Snowfall and all of the blasted ice and this morning the sidewalks were dry when I walked and the woods was not too swampy. Freezing rain had been predicted and so when I looked out the window a while after I got home and saw precipitation, I wasn’t sure what form it had taken. As it turned out it was NOT ice. Whew. I was able to 1) commute to Cubelandia and 2) drive my cute li’l Ninja over there. We will get more snow before it’s all over but winter seems to have broken (knock on wood).

This has been a baby week. There was the newborn gosling and then when I got to work today, I was surprised to see Building Mom carrying a baby in the lunchroom. Say what? Turned out that it was Farmer John’s six-month-old granddaughter. He was outside fumbling with her car seat and Building Mom was holding her so she could see her grandaddy. Some kind of complicated scheduling situation had brought her to work with him for a while and we were all the better for it. What a cute little dolly.

FZ did not bring in his dog’s new pups. Seven girls and one boy and mama dog was more than ready to get it all over with. Flat coat black labs if I have it right. They are beautiful dogs. Out of the last litter (which was eight boys and two girls), they kept one puppy as a show dog. His name happens to be Tigger, which is the same name as my childhood dog, who was a mutt and a stray puppy when my dad’s boss’s wife found her.

I will never forget sitting on the old log pile outside the old cabin with various cousins waiting for my Tigger dog to arrive. And when she did? What did I do? I totally freaked out. I was afraid of dogs then. But later, after Tigger got done bouncing (because that’s what Tiggers do), she went to sleep in a nice cozy box and I was able to pet her and she quickly became My Dog and I haven’t been afraid of dogs since that day. I don’t like when random dogs jump up on me but I don’t blame the dogs, I blame their owners.

Shirl Sirkar Squirrel [Screeeeeeeech]

February 22nd, 2018 by kayak woman

Four grandchildren (granddaughters actually), four totally different approaches to learning language. Er, that would be my parents’ grandchildren, not mine. If I need a grandchild fix, I borrow C*Q*L.

A couple years ago I was galumphing along through the mini-woods behind The Landfill when I encountered an emergent speaker of the complicated language we call English (her first language, to be clear). And her parents. They were watching a squirrel. I asked the child what aminal she was watching and her dad (rather disdainfully) answered for her, “It’s a squirrel. [you stoooopid old bag]”.

Alas, I was not asking *him*. I was asking his cute little daughter. In part it was a friendly, innocent question. In part, I was doing a little informal research, being curious about how this little tot pronounced the word “squirrel”.

I am intimately familiar with the trajectories my own children took when learning to speak our language and I spent enough time with my nieces as small children to get a pretty good idea of their trajectories.

So one day back in the Jurassic Age, all four of The Commander’s granddaughters were hanging around here at the Landfill for a day while their parents had business to attend to. 2-year-old Pengo (the youngest) was an emergent English speaker. It was a beautiful warm day and we were all outside and I left my very competent 6-year-old Lizard Breath “in charge” just long enough for me to BlueTerletP. In general P does NOT take me long wherever I am. If you grow up using an outhouse, you can P PDQ.

Suddenly I heard a BLOODCURDLING SCREAM from outside. What the he…? Is everyone all right? I had been gone for 30 seconds. But that’s all it takes for something awful to happen to a small child. What do I tell my brother and his wife? I ran outside and… Oh, it’s okay moom, Pengo saw a squirrel.

Okay, family lore here. Words for squirrel at about age 2 or so:

Granddaughter #1 (Lizard Breath): shirl
Granddaughter #2 (Valdemort): sirker
Granddaughter #3 (Mouse): Squirrel (perfectly enunciated, thank you very much)
Granddaughter #4 (Pengo): SCREEEEEEECH!

I don’t remember how each of these kids pronounced most individual words but shirl/sirkar/squirrel/screeeech are words that I remember we kept track of (The Commander and I at least). All four of these kids learned to talk “on time”. Mouse and Valdemort were both very early talkers. Lizard Breath practiced sentences privately before trying them out in “public” (aka, The Landfill Chitchen). Pengo just plain did whatever she wanted to do, loudly if necessary. I remember my brother calling her “foghorn” when she was two or whatever. O brother, where art thou?

And here is Twiggy, the water-skiing shirl/sirkar/squirrel/screeeech. He was at the Detroit Boat Show yesterday. The GG porterized himself by driving the Porters down to the show. The water skier is a real shirl/sirkar/squirrel/screeeech. He has a trainer. His motor bote is droven by a couple of stuffed shirls/sirkars/squirrels/screeeech.

What did you buy at the boat show?

February 21st, 2018 by kayak woman

I love online banking technology and I don’t mean because it pays my rent and funds my lavish humble lifestyle although I am grateful that it does those things.

I think it’s cool that you can set up your bank accounts to email/text you when various things happen and at some point in ancient history I signed up for a random assortment of “alerts”. I’m not even sure what they were. I do NOT get notified for every single blasted transaction that happens in every account. That would be awful! Some of the notifications I do get are more helpful than others.

Like for some reason I get a notification whenever either of us puts gas in an automotive vee-hickle. This can be handy when the GG is off gallivanting around somewhere where there may or may not be cell service. If I get a notification that he’s getting gas I know where he is (and that he is alive!). It is even more helpful when he is on his way home from wherever because if I get a text message from a gas station in say Gaylord, I know he’ll be home in 3-l/2 hours or so and I have plenty of time to clean up the wild-ass party I had the night before and kick my boyfriend out before the GG gets home.

Other notifications are less helpful. In general I don’t really care when or where the GG spends money. And then there are the notifications I get when *I* spend money. I don’t really need those but whatever. One of these days I might de-clutter my alerts.

Today I got an alert for a purchase on the GG’s debit card. He was at the Detroit Boat Show! I knew he was going there. But what did he buy? I had already received a message that he spent $13 on what I’m sure is the entrance fee. I knew he did not buy the $800,000(?) boat that was supposedly the star of the show (but I think the star(s) of the show were the squirrels). That would be a bit too rich for our blood. The answer was something that had nothing to do with the boat show and isn’t worth reporting here.

So that is my Mouse in the pic, next to her dad (the GG). I can’t remember how many ticks they encountered (and collected) during that particular trip in which they picked up our Lyme Lounge in Minnesota and traversed back across the yooperland to the moomincabin. I do remember that the GG was so sick when they finally landed that we were trying to decide if he needed to go to the ER to get checked out for Lyme Disease. In the end he did not go to the ER. He recovered and it’s pretty obvious that he didn’t get Lyme. Most likely many black fly bites caused his illness.

Finding quinoa before quinoa was cool

February 20th, 2018 by kayak woman

I think this will be my last wayback musheen photoooo for a while. I could change my mind if I find more funny old photoooos. After all, it’s my blahg and I can do whatever the hell I want to. I have been looking for this pic since summer 2016 when the GG orchestrated a big Man Cleaning of the moomincabin, pressing our lovely Beach Urchins into service.

When The Comm did this, she was 80 years old. We were all a little nervous about her being out on that overhang, like we are when My Dear Uncle Harry does things on ladders, etc. What the heck? *I* don’t like to get up on roofs but then I never have. Just a touch of acrophobia going on there.

Disclaimer: This is a *terrible* pic of The Comm BTW. It was taken with our Sony Mavica and we must’ve zoomed in or whatever because her face is mottled with the “artifacts” of early digital photography. In reality, her skin was pretty darn good for an 80-year-old. It’s true but I also had to say it for fear of her sending lightning bolts down upon me for posting such an fugly pic.

During the 2016 Man Cleaning, Mouse got out on the little roof overhanging the back deck and swept off the pine needles. Just like The Commander used to do. This pic provides a better (and a bit less scary) view of where the pine-needle sweeping took place. That white line going across the photooo. That’s the clothesline! It is an important, integral part of life at the moomincabin.

I’ll tell you about Bat Cooking and Garbage Day some other time. Again, since I’m sure I have talked about those things before.

Everything emptying into white

February 19th, 2018 by kayak woman

And that’s what’s going on today as The Great Lake State melts. I emptied into white as I left work this afternoon and could not see *anything* ahead of me on the squiggly little road that leads from my parking place at Cubelandia to the main road. Squiggly but NOT ICY, at least not today, thank you whoever.

So here’s the wayback musheen again, back to a sunny hot(?) summer day at the moominbeach in 2001. A “sailing” expotition by Liz, her buddy Jess (they are STILL BFFs!), and a couple of Liz’s 2nd cuzzints. We used to [affectionately] call them The Boyz of Noyz but that nickname doesn’t really fit any more as they have grown into sensitive, accomplished young men who are fun to be around. I think it is really cool that my children know cousins of all degrees well enough to *want* to get together with them but that would be a topic for another post.

Dan is an accomplished sailor but that weekend we couldn’t find the sail that went with that boat. I can’t remember whose garage it was stashed in… 🐸 Being an inventive kind of guy, he rigged up a tarp sail for the old Boston Whaler.

They have launched! Although they seem to be pointing *toward* the beach, not away from it…

They actually sailed for maybe about five seconds. I do see Liz dipping an oar into the water. Hmmm…

Walking the boat back to shore.

Missing those old days. I could write volumes about that old Boston Whaler boat, which us teenagers mostly used as a rowboat back in the 1960s. But not tonight. Cat Stevens from so long ago.

G’night. KW

Midwinter Break 2018

February 18th, 2018 by kayak woman

I am maybe a bit too excited about our upcoming “warmup”. It was a beautiful sunny day but the temperature barely iiiiiiinched into the lower 30s from a 26 degree start, complete with a dusting of snow and [still] some icy patches of sidewalk [grrrr]. It’s okay. It’s [still] winter and this is [the beautiful, godforsaken] state of Michigan. The North SHALL Rise Again.

I am on a Mother’s March these days. I am marching to clean out the freezer. It isn’t all that bad really. The only freezer I have is the one incorporated into my refrigerator. It can’t get all that filled up. There is a Container of Blueberries that needs to be used but I did not pick them (I am not blessed cursed with berry-picking DNA) and I am not sure what to do with them. It is bratwurst that I’ve had in my sights this winter. And the associated buns. There were four of them in there this morning. I scheduled a bratwurst lunch for today. That would take care of two of them. Then. Doodaloop? I was over at the Plum when I got a text message. My Mouse came over today to avail herself of laundry facilities and tax preparation software. That made three. We cooked all four *anyway*. Hopefully the GG will eat the final one for lunch this week.

I hung around tinking away at de-cluttering my laptop while Mouse was here. I can do that and talk to Mouse about her plants (the ones that are stashed here at the Landfill) and anything else we decide to talk about.

Today a topic of conversation was a brand-new gosling, birthed yesterday by one of Mouse’s BFFs since forever, participant in back-to-back sleepovers during the fugliest xmas school break ever and co-instigator of the infamous Bacon Driving Incident. Seems like yesterday when they were sitting on my bed watching movies yelling, “Bagawk! Bagawk!” and wearing buckets on their heads and other crazy stuff 💜

At any rate, during my travels through ancient computer files, I found some stuff from 2001, including the classics I am posting today. My beautiful cousin (1st cousin once removed) pulling her triplets (my 1st cousins twice removed, C*Q*L’s older sibs) along in a canoe. The GG engineered the beach chairs for them to sit in. No they are not wearing life jackets. What you can’t see in this pic is that there were any number of adults/teenagers within grabbing distance of these toddlers. And they were not taken out into deep water in this rickety (but fun) contraption. Still, do NOT try this at home!

It was serendipitous that I found these particular pics today, given that the triplets touched down on The Planet Ann Arbor today. We didn’t try to complicate their schedule to meet up with them. We had our own things to do. The beautiful toddlers in the lawn chair canoe are now picking out colleges and our local college (UMich) is on the list for one of them. I won’t say whose list. I’m not even sure I know! All I will say is that it must be totally crazy to be a parent trying to provide support for triplets to choose colleges. We’ll see them in the summer. Plus their younger sister C*Q*L and thank you god or whoever that she will not be leaving for college any time soon!

Hot date at the landfill

February 17th, 2018 by kayak woman

A lot of men make their wives happy by taking them shopping. This wife, not so much. I am more likely to say something like, “you go and pick a couch out and I will say yay or nay.” I was a shopper once in my life. I am not a shopper now. I hate shopping.

How the GG makes his wife (meeeee) happy is to load up a bunch of crappy old stuff into the Frog Hopper and drive it to the dump! Ta da dump ta da dump ta da dump dump dump, etc. Sing it to the tune of the William Tell opera. Y’all know it.

Today we took stuff to the Kiwanis Thrift sale and the dump. Goodbye 10-year-old printer and ole dead Roooomba and I fergit what else.

I didn’t take photos today. I think I took this photo at the Ann Arbor landfill a few years ago. I am pretty sure it isn’t from the Sault Ste. Siberian Habitat yard. There were a whole bunch of old toilets there…

We were dropping off a couple of mattresses at Sault Ste. Siberia habitat (and some other stuff). Yes, they took mattresses there. While we were there, we got wind of a couple of folks who were *buying* a mattress (for $10) to take home to their rental house. The problem was that they had no way to transport that mattress to their home. You have to know that the GG put their new mattress into the Courtois Trash Trailer and we drove those folks to their new home.

Dirt men

February 16th, 2018 by kayak woman

I didn’t see these snowmen when they were first made. I’m sure they were beautiful and white once upon a time. This is what they look like now as our beautiful white snow deteriorates into crappy old dirt-snow.

Mudmen mudmen mudmen mudmen. Mudmen mudmen all day long. Bom-ba-dum-bum bum-bum-bum-bum. How you like our mudmen song?

I don’t know what made me think of that day. It was back when I was about a high school sophomore and we had a huge late winter rain storm and Sault Ste. Siberia was totally mud. My friend Helen and I walked up Easterday hill to the brand spankin’ new college apartment-type dwellings where we met up with a woman who was supposed to teach us how to play the flute.

I was lusting after anyone who could give me flute lessons besides the band director who was crappy as all getout at teaching the flute (and directing the band, for that matter). Mrs. Boland had been our private flute teacher in 8th grade and she was WONDERFUL! She was young and beautiful and friendly and she got me started on all kinds of fun classical repertoire (Mozart Concerto in G and Faure’s Fantasie were the first). She taught me how to flutter tongue and *accurately* count when switching from duplets to triplets (from there, I learned how to count quintuplets and septuplets and 11’s and 13’s and whatever). She was a wonderful, caring teacher for me and my friends and we loved her.

Alas, Mrs. Boland was married to a young air force guy and after a year or so, she was gone, off following her husband into the wild blue yonder.

The Commander was always willing to pay for music lessons for me and was hot on the trail of anyone she could find who could teach someone like me. That wasn’t easy up in our rugged Sault Ste. Siberian outpost. And so she found this woman up in the newfangled college apartments on the hill. Alas, I never quite figured out what the deal was but all of a sudden, after about two lessons, we weren’t taking lessons from that woman any more. She seemed to be sort of okay to me except that she was a bit smart-alecky. Mrs. Boland was NEVER like that. Mrs. B had a wonderful knack for respectfully teaching young students.

I don’t remember much about that short-lived flute teacher in the newfangled college apartments but I will never forget that day of sloshing around town through huge mud-puddles and singing the mudmen song at the top of our lungs.

We are in a frickin’ thaw and freeze cycle here on The Planet Ann Arbor today. Our sidewalks are MOSTLY dry but there are puddles here and there and the temperature is supposed to drop into the teens tonight so there will be very random patches of black ice. 60 by Tuesday? Could be but we’ll see…

Man Texting, etc.

February 15th, 2018 by kayak woman

We were totally out of food this morning. Well, that’s not exactly true. There is *still* some leftover veggie lasagne but we’ve had that twice this week and I threw the rest of it in the freezer for a “rainy day” sometime in the future. There are also two hanger steaks but they are frozen and I couldn’t quiiiiite process thawing them just enough to separate them and then putting one back into the freezer. Besides, hanger steaks are more of a weekend thing, not a Thursday night thing. Back in the day, Breakfast for Dinner was a frequent Thursday night thing but I have fallen out of that habit. It’s complicated (and not at all interesting) and you don’t wanna know.

In “desperation”, I texted The King of Cryptic Text Messages this morning from work. “What do you want to eat tonight? We have ‘no’ food. I don’t really want to go out to eat.” To my great surprise, he replied immediately with, “How about BBQ takeout?” For some reason, that sounded like a *perfect* plan. I checked out the restaurant’s menu and texted back, “UPick the BBQ, but get mac’n’cheese and collard greens for sides.” RADIO SILENCE! I was SLAMMED at work today and didn’t realize until AFTER I GOT HOME that he had not SEEN my last message! (It’s okay, he didn’t leave to pick up the food until he – finally – saw the message.)

A mystery solved! Luke of Perrynet came to the door asking if he could put stuff in my garbage / recycling carts. Yes, yes, yes, yes! Anytime! And, BTW, was it *you* who blew our sidewalk when 10+ inches of snow fell last weekend while we were gone? Yes? THANK YOU! Interestingly enough, the woman two doors down received a warning from the city this morning about snow removal. Luke blew her sidewalk too. I did not receive a notice. I dunno what the difference was since Luke walked up and down both sides of our block blowing snow out of everyone’s sidewalk.

I explained to Luke that the city does not actually come around and patrol whether or not people have shoveled their sidewalks (a lot of people don’t know how this works). What happens is that PEOPLE REPORT OTHER PEOPLE for not shoveling / de-icing and the city writes up a warning. I have occasionally wanted to report people on my walking route who have icy sidewalks for days and days on end. I would never report a close neighbor, especially not after a major snow event. Sorry but it takes a while to recover from 10 inches of snow and we are now into a freeze/thaw phase, which makes a complete mess of everything.

It was a froggy day here today. All day. I took “back roads” home. That just means I didn’t take the I94 18-wheel Clogway. The BBQ food was wonderful!

Love y’all,

Sun dog detoxification

February 14th, 2018 by kayak woman

Although my occasional commenter The Marquis mentioned internet detoxification earlier this week, this is not a direct response (or even a subtweet) to his comment. He had been listening to an NPR article about the subject. I did indeed detox a bit last weekend and his comment got me musing.

Almost every place I go, I am drenched in internet connectivity. I can (and do) check email, facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and what few *real* blogs still exist (via a feed). I like blogs (obviously) but a lot of folks have abandoned their blogs for facebook, which isn’t a blog and all too often is just a place for people to carelessly “share” content other people have created.

An aside: I am intrigued by the idea of Snapchat but last summer C*Q*L was flipping through filters and I accidentally got into the frame with her and it turned us into aminals of some sort with big green eyelashes and pig noses… Um, hmmm… C*Q*L hummed along and moved to the next filter. I moved my head out of the frame. Maybe not. Butchya nevah know…

If I get it right (and I may be wrong), a lot of folks in the Tahq area do not *want* ubiquitous cell phone service, like the 4G or the LTE or whatever. I am sure that most of those folks have internet access in their homes. As of a few years ago, we’ve been able to get good cell service in the small but beautiful town of Paradise but once you start driving west to Tahq, the service goes away.

I was okay without internet service when we were at Tahq last weekend. I didn’t miss email (mostly spam). I didn’t miss facebook. I DIDN’T MISS TWITTER (my main news source). I had a few xwords stacked up in case I couldn’t download the newest one. I read almost everything on my phone and so I had downloaded a few books pre-trip in case I finished my book. I didn’t 🐽 but I was prepared. I mainly missed the internet when I wanted to google something or check the weather (no need to check the traffic where we were 🐽).

We schlepped down into Paradise for the internet on Saturday but on Sunday I didn’t really care. I didn’t really ever catch up with everything internet on Monday when we got back on the grid but nothing much happened while we were gone so that was okay.

The only thing is… If there is no cell service and you are trying to meet up with folks at Tahq, it is soooo difficult to find them. Yeah, I know, you can make plans ahead of time. But I’m thinking of Surprise Appendectomy Weekend a few years back, when we needed to connect with our beach urchins about where we were and how they could meet with us and we could not.

Can y’all see the sun dog in the photoooo? This was north of Gaylord and the driving was still awful. It did improve.

Skirts and bits of [fake] fur

February 13th, 2018 by kayak woman

I’ve posted this pic before so sorry to my nine reglear nucular taggers if you’ve already seen it one or two or ten times. It is The Commander and yer fav-o-rite blahgger and her little bro’ The Engineer. And yes, he *was* The Engineer back then. He knew every blasted automotive vee-hickle on the road by the time he was about three. Once the parental units were taking a banking type trip to Daytwa, leaving us with our Sault Ste. Siberian grandparents. The Engineer demanded multiple times that while they were down there in Megalopolis, they MAKE SURE to TELL HIM if they saw any Corvettes with the light covers up (or down). Whatever. (checks Google to make sure Corvettes were manufactured at that time – yes, of course, whew!)

Me? I ricocheted wildly between various personas. Fancy dressed-up girl. Tomboy beating all the neighborhood kids at running and jumping and playing kickball in the street. Focused systems analyst data-basing whatever flotsam and jetsam was in my bedroom. Musician… … … Wanna-be Indian (Wild Indian, not East Indian). One thing I was never as good as my brother at was identifying various species of automotive vee-hickles. But I’m not all that bad at it either… I just don’t care all that much. And I don’t care AT ALL about engines as long as they work correctly!

Uhhh, where the heck was I? Yes, I was hiking in a skirt and a hat trimmed with [fake] fur on a trip to Tahquamenon Falls way back in 196?. Was I 9 or 10? Something like that. I’m not sure even though I almost kind of remember the occasion. I remember the jacket and the skirt (corduroy, I think) and the hat. I don’t remember the boots or mitts. I bet the weather was pretty warm, otherwise we wouldn’t look so happy.

I apparently chose my own outfit that day. Except I bet The Comm forced me to put snowpants on under my loverly skirt. I STILL dress like that. I wear skirts EVERY DAY. I walk every winter morning in a beautiful long wool skirt. If it is cold enough, I pull leggings on underneath my skirt. Moom, I did heed your advice, if belatedly. I don’t ski or snowshoe in that long skirt. Catching an edge is too dangerous with a long skirt involved.

I wore my snowpants when I skied at Tahquamenon last weekend but I kept my skirt in the Frog Hopper so I could change out of my snowpants and into my skirt before heading into the Den of Iniquity Tahquamenon Falls Brewery and Pub for lunch. Bits of [fake] fur are on my sparkly bomber hat and my new Sorel snowboots.

See you on the dark side of the moon

February 12th, 2018 by kayak woman

I have often felt like that when I have traveled from The Planet Ann Arbor (my adult home) to the yooperland (my childhood home) and back, even though it isn’t the dark side of the moon up in the UP at all. It is beautiful. We’ll go into the details of all that some other day (if I ever figger them out), mostly that I sometimes have to get my bearings together when I come home from a trip to Tahquamenon Falls, where there is no internet or cell service.

So, we left Houghton Lake last Friday morning. We encountered ooogly driving conditions until north of Indian River and after that, the skies were clear and beautiful and the roads were dry. We did a drive-by at the moomincabin to pick up some stuff. Here is the Cabin Road (a well-maintained 2-track, thank you Pete!).

Here is the moomincabin in winter. We were able to walk in with boots (no snowshoes) this time but I could not get to the beach without snowshoes and didn’t try.

After the moomincabin, we visited my cousin Judd and then met up with my cousin the Grinchie for lunch over at Pickles Bar and Grill.

From Pickles, we went westward up the Curley Lewis and on to meet our North Country Trail friends at the DNR lodge we stay at over at Tahquamenon Falls. It was a gorgeous weekend as always.

Here we are on skis Saturday.

Today we drove home to our own loverly Planet Ann Arbor. We knew that the planet had received a large amount of snow the day after we left for the yooperland. I’m not sure we were thinking about that while we were up north with our loverly yooperland friends. The I75 SUV freeway was dry all of the way down. We got to our driveway and…

Someone (probably Luke and Marsha across the street) had blown our sidewalk. I am so grateful for that. I was worried we might get a ticket or whatever. We always clear our snow but we weren’t home and I am thankful.

I’m faced with a “stand-up meeting” at Cubelandia tomorrow morning and I wonder if it’ll be hard to slide into that… but we are (mob-ile) a-gile nowadays and I will slide back in and maybe I will even slip a wee slideshow of the Great White North in tomorrow’s standup meeting. We’ll see.

Love y’all,

Radio Silence

February 9th, 2018 by kayak woman

Going off the grid after a drive up to the yooperland. Moomincabin drive-by (all is well), visit with Judd, lunch with the Grinchie at Pickles. Pics on Facebook and Instagram.

Gettin’ the heck outta Dodge offa the Planet Ann Arbor

February 8th, 2018 by kayak woman

It is with Some Trepidation that I anticipate Winter Wonderland adventures in the Great White North. I can’t say that multiple hours of snow driving on the I75 SUV Speedway is my Least Favorite Thing On Earth but it is pretty high up there in the ranking. But north we went this afternoon. We squeaked our way up into the stratosphere missing a nasty-sounding winter storm by the skin of our teeth. Does this storm have a name? What happened to the naming of winter storms? Do we still name them?

Anyway, our winter storm (on the Planet that is, not sure what it’s gonna do here at Hoton Lake) is scheduled to begin at 3 AM tomorrow morning and dump a WHOPPING 5 inches of snow on our beautiful garden planet throughout the day. Uh, yeah, I said 5 inches. That’s not really a whole lot of snow for any place in The Great Lake State, still it is enough to wreak absolute havoc with the kind of traffic we have on the planet. Oil tanker flipped over in the median anyone?

I took off early today so we could do the whole trip in daylight. Twitter play:

Amazon Woman: You guys aren’t driving up there tomorrow, are you?
Kayakwoman: No, we’re going to HL tonight
Amazon Woman: GOOD!

Have I ever mentioned that AW is the Best Boss Ever? Fun fact: AW’s family often rented a cabin at Hoton Lake when she was a kid. It was across the road from Funland (which is still there) and she has fond memories of HL. (And no, she doesn’t read this.)

Anyway, we hit some kind of fugly snow in the Flint area but fortunately I could see via the weather radar that it was just a blob and cleared up shortly north of Flint. What did we do before smart phones with weather radar apps? We did indeed drive out of it and then, man oh man, Mr. Golden Sun commenced to shine down upon us in spades. So here is a pic of him doing just that. I took it out the GG’s driver side window. Not the greatest photo, especially with all the dirt on the window but LOOK AT THAT SUN!

By the time I got to Phoenix we got to Hoton Lake, Mr. Golden Sun was setting. There is not a whole lot of snow here for February but Hoton Lake is not in a snow belt so I dunno. I was able to walk out to the front yard (thanks Jim/Becky for shoveling a path) in my Keen sandals (and Smartwool socks) to get this pic. Also not the best pic but I looooove that funky lens flare!

Finally, here is a poor attempt at a Mouse-style photoooo. I can’t describe Mouse’s photos exactly but she is a gifted photographer with an exceptional eye for, well, I dunno, textures, for lack of a better word. Without further ado, mini-snow drifts at sunset.

We are heading out to the Northshore Barroom (and Tiki Lounge in the summer) for dinner in a bit. If I get any pics of snow-mos in the parking lot, I will post them. Or not. We’ll likely see a lot more snow-mos this weekend.

In which I was “had” (but I knew I was being “had” and I didn’t care)

February 7th, 2018 by kayak woman

As you might be able to see from the pic, we had a wee bit of snow this morning. It wasn’t all that much, just a few inches, but I knew that it would snarl traffic and I wouldn’t feel secure driving my beloved Ninja to work in it. The GG needed the Frog Hopper (AWD) today, which left me with my beloved Ninja, so I telecommuted. As did most of the folks I work with. Yay for telecommuting.

I didn’t get around to the idea of shoveling snow until about noon. There are city rules about shoveling but I think I was well within them. But I was working from home and it was still snowing throughout most of the morning and it wasn’t very deep, so I just sat on the Green Couch watching all the dogz go by (and giving them the eye (and telecommuting)). And there were kids walking up and down the street with shovels. I guessed that they were soliciting shoveling services. That is fine with me. Except. We do our own shoveling. But I had not done it yet.

Around noon, I was suiting up to go out and shovel when I heard young adolescent male voices outside my door and shovels banging around. I thought, oh no, those kids are gonna ask if Old Lady Courtois wants her walk shoveled. I didn’t and I sorta tried to refuse them but, in the end I couldn’t resist them so I gave them beaucoup bucks ($10) to shovel my sidewalk. The GG is not exactly happy with the amount of money I paid for a kid to do something I didn’t really want him to do but I was kind of impressed that these kids were trying to earn money by providing a service on a day when school was closed.

I actually paid them because I wanted them to go away. They spent maybe 10 minutes at my house. One of them was giving loud orders to the other, which was hilarious. My plan had been to go outside and start up the Ninja to warm it up while I shoveled and took the compost out, etc. I eventually did all of that.