Random bits of my so-called life.

Felt like about a six beer day today!

June 27th, 2019 by kayak woman

At least for me. There were no empty beer cans when I got home, our two big compost bins were out at the curb, and the yard looks dropdead gorgeous so you know somebody was hard at work, in the heat no less.

This morning I arrived at Cubelandia and faaaaared up my laptop and… Got the black screen of death. Again. Oh, there was a little white cursor that I could move around and it was making noises (fan, etc.) like it was thinking about booting up. But. It. Didn’t.

When Amazon Woman got in I kvetched about it to her and she thought about it for a split-second or so and said, “Take the battery out for a few minutes.” So I figgered out how to get the battery out, played a couple mini xword puzzles on my phone and put it back in. Voila! I think we were both skeptical but it worked.

Although the musheen is clearly in a failure mode, this was a good thing. Getting a computer fixed at Cubelandia requires boxing it up and sending it back to the Mother Ship. Turnaround time is usually fast but if you have a job where you spend all day every day talking to your laptop, twiddling your thumbs doesn’t come easy. And we are not allowed to have a spare laptop on site. I do not know why.

So then, Amazon Woman asked, “How old is your laptop?” Me: “Three and a half years.” Amazon Woman: “Order a new one!” When your boss tells you to buy a new computer and the company is paying for it, you order a new computer.

Today is the 14th anniversary of my brother’s death. Rather than write about that, here is a link to my then 2-year-old blahg during that time period. Entries about that (and other things) are in June and July and I *think* a lot of the pictures still link to pictures but not sure. Other links may have rotted. This was back before I had a wordpress blahg. I “rolled my own” back in 2005, writing all of my own html and linking up pictures and stuff and no comments. At that time, I was managing (or trying to) a youth theatre guild and doing school PTO treasury work.

Two beer day

June 26th, 2019 by kayak woman

So just when it finally gets truly HOT here in the Great White North, my cute li’l Ninja’s A/C decides to crap out. It was a long, hot, SLOW slodge home this afternoon. No big backups or anything, just the usual choke points. I love Zen Driving but Hot Zen Driving is a bit much. I think Hot Yoga sounds awful too (not that I have ever done Yoga of any sort).

I still dunno why the city decided it was a good idea to put N. Maple between Dexter and Miller on a road diet. There are some things I like about it (people don’t travel at 55 any more) but it regularly HOSES northbound rush hour traffic for the three preceding traffic lights. It’s a complicated area from the get-go and I won’t try to describe it any further than that. Your city probably has worse situations.

Once upon a time, during one of the craziest weeks I have ever experienced, we had the POC and its A/C was in a failure mode. My brother The Engineer died on a Monday morning. June 25th 27th, so right around this time of year. He was chronically ill but this wasn’t expected but in retrospect we all think *he* was expecting it. I hit the road the next morning in the Dogha, which was four years old. That’s NEW for us. I drove to Sault Ste. Siberia to pick up my parents (watching for deer and cops as they admonished me to do). Yes, I drove five hours up and five hours back (the next day) to schlep my parents to their son’s funeral. In retrospect I don’t think my dad ever recovered from that experience but that’d be a whole ‘nother story (he died nine months later).

My parents were able to ride with me in air-conditioned comfort. Down here on The Planet Ann Arbor, people were schlepping around in hot cars. The POC’s A/C failed and The Indefatigable never did have A/C. We had to wear bandannas when we drove that thing on the freeway on hot days. But that was part of its “charm”. My parents were quite elderly by then and we all thought they needed to be in a cool vee-hickle for the trip.

As it happened, we had ordered a new Honda Civic maybe the week before. I can’t exactly remember when but we didn’t expect it to arrive for a few weeks. We were all scheduled to go north after the funeral. I took my parents home and others came up for the 4th of July weekend. We were concerned that some people might have to drive the HOT POC up north. Miraculously, our new Honda Civic became available in the middle of all this. We wrote the check and signed the paperwork and everyone drove off up the I75 SUV Speedway in comfort.

And no, I do not think I will watch the Democratic presidential candidate “debate” tonight. I will vote for whoever ends up being the Democratic candidate because in my not-so-humble opinion ANYONE is better than the Orange Baboon. But there are too many candidates and I do not think that is a good thing although I know many will drop off. The Democrats need to carefully choose a decent candidate and one who can unseat the OB. They also need to focus on keeping the House and trying to make inroads into the Senate. Some of the stronger Democratic hopefuls might do well to explore a Senate run.

If you disagree with me (and you know who you are), you can *bite me* 🐽 Although I have not solely supported Democrats throughout my life, my basic polly-tickle opinions have not changed and I am capable (unlike the OB) of sorting out what constitutes “fake news”. At least I *read* articles before sharing them on social media unlike some of my right-wing “conservative” friends and relations. Harrumph.

Unbucketable item stored in an item bucket

June 25th, 2019 by kayak woman

Every time I turned around today I was confronted by the message in the title. Do you know what the heck it means? I certainly do not. It was a “caution” message of some sort I guess because it was yellow and didn’t seem to keep me from doing what I needed to do but still?

I was using a new corporate “tool”. The user interface is crazy nuts overkill with all kinds of navigation and obscure labels (and messages). Somehow after much flailing around I found where I needed to be and figured out which of the 1% of the functions available I needed to get my job done, which was to simply upload PDF files to a client-facing site. How about a simple “Upload” button? In the end, there was an “Upload” button but finding it and learning how to use it was not particularly intuitive.

At least I didn’t have to edit any html to make this thing happen like I used to have to do with the old tool. Mind you, I *love* to code and edit html. I am good at coding html and will happily do it until the cows come home. But this html was the kind of html that a “tool” generates and was total overkill. There were no line breaks so you were wading through a virtual sea of duplicative [correct word? not sure] tags and content and if you accidentally wiped out an ending tag or whatever, you totally broke the page and had to start all over again.

If you are designing web or phone or whatever apps, keep it simple. Make it easy for people to get in, find their information or complete their task, and git the hell outta dodge. That last sentence is not a direct quote from the GG but it is close to what he always says. As a user experience designer, I am on the same page.

Sorry about the work rant. I’m not even ranting against the company. I think these kinds of tools are pretty much ubiquitous in the corporate world. They are created (or purchased) to provide a wide array of functionality to many users with different needs. And to be fair, the company has replaced some of our older tools with better, more usable ones. In the end I get paid to master tools like this and I am pretty sure I earned my pay today oh boy oh boy. But “unbucketable”? That is not a word…

Hey, at least I’m not ranting about polly-ticks🐽

“You’re not used to having anyone in the house with you”

June 24th, 2019 by kayak woman

Scroll down if you want to skip the loooonnnng list of email spending alerts I’ve received over the last couple weeks. The juicy stuff is at the bottom.

June 10, 3:01 PM: gasoline in Glen Carbon, IL.

June 11, 9:48 AM: gasoline in Oak Grove, MO.

June 11, 1:21 PM: gasoline in Ellsworth, KS.

June 11, 4:42 PM: gasoline in Garden City, KS.

June 11, 5:06 PM: I dunno what at Walmart in Garden City, KS.

June 11, 8:04 PM: Colorado Parks and Wildlife (online transaction)

June 12, 1:04 PM: gasoline in Pueblo, CO.

June 12, 4:42 PM: gasoline in Gunnison, CO.

June 13, 1:24 PM: I dunno what at Pleasant Valley in Cimarron, CO.

June 14, 11:26 AM: gasoline in Rifle, CO.

June 14, 12:01 PM: I dunno what at City Market #0 in Rifle, CO.

June 16, 4:56 PM: I dunno what at Walmart in Westminster, CO.

June 17, 1:32 PM: gasoline in Englewood, CO. (at Stinker #332).

June 17, 7:30 PM: Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

June 18, 11:10 AM: gasoline in Ovid, CO.

June 18, 2:01 PM: gasoline in Thedford, NE.

June 19, 9:26 AM: gasoline in Oacoma, SD.

June 19, 12:27 PM: gasoline in Worthington, MN.

June 19, 2:39 PM: gasoline in Owatonna, MN.

June 20, 11:59 AM: gasoline in Tripoli, WI.

June 20, 4:50 PM: gasoline in Manistique, MI. (hmmmm, he’s back in Michigan, should I get the boy toyz outta the Landfill?)

June 21, 11:28 AM: Big Boy (????) in Gaylord, MI.

June 23, 10:20 AM: Meijer in Gaylord, MI.

June 24, 11:57 AM: SERPENTINE BELT REPAIR (and BTW you boy toyz better git out NOW because TMOTU is a few hours from the Landfill) at Alter Star in Gaylord, MI.

June 24, 2:09 PM: gasoline in Bridgeport, MI. Boy toyz, are you out?

June 24, 2:51 PM: dunno what but prob’ly beer, rum, and hot dogs (typical FlaMan supplies, no cigarettes, thank you very much) at Kroger in Grand Blanc, MI. BOY TOYZ *OUT* NOW

So here I am laughing about getting the (non-existent) boy-toyz out and I find out tonight (as the GG is talking to his sister on the phone) that HEEEEEEE visited a beautiful woman-friend in Minnesota. A woman he knew in college. It’s okay. I rooooaaarred with laughter when I heard this.

But yeah, I was doing something in the chitchen tonight and he snuck up behind me and I totally freaked out. I have been alone for two weeks except for one night that I fed enchiladas to a mouse and a raccoon. I did really want to go to HOMES or Sessions or Conor’s or wherever for lunch yesterday and there was no one around to go with. It was okay and I was okay.

Love y’all, KW


June 23rd, 2019 by kayak woman

Peas to shell? Oh, peas to shell. Yeah! Gimme three boxes! Shelling peas is one of my fave things to do and there’s such a very short window in which I can get them. Sugar peas are available a bit before shelling peas and some people apparently get excited about them. I am not a fan. I mean they taste just fine but the pods can be kind of stringy. There were shelling peas yesterday and they are GORGEOUS. Great big peas all of them and sooooo sweeeeeeet.

I jumped around topping up Ninja’s tank and getting some grokkeries before Sunday Morning Jazz came on. Then I cooked up some tomato-based sauces to freeze to take up to the moomincabin for the summer. Two lasagne/pasta sauces and one enchilada. After all that, I got set up in the back yard to shell my peas. ‘hicken and Pekak guarded my operation during a powder room break.

If I am lucky, I will be able to buy one more load of shelling peas next Saturday. They may still be available another week or so but by the time I have a chance to get back to the farmers market, we’ll be swinging away from spring crops and into corn season. I’m sure I would quickly tire of shelling peas if my life depended upon doing it as a regular chore but as a couple-times-a-year activity in a beautiful green (a bit overgrown at the moment) backyard on The Garden Planet Ann Arbor, I savor it.

How Pekak got his name: Many years ago the younger beach urchin went to morning kindergarten at the elementary school behind the woods behind the Landfill backyard. I probably walked her to school most days but maybe she walked with her 3rd grade sister. I can’t really remember. It is safe for young children to walk to the school from my house. There are no streets to cross AT ALL and she certainly knew how to get there, having been there a gazillion times with me or the GG to “help” in her sister’s classrooms or play on the playground equipment.

She *usually* walked home alone for lunch unless I had a reason to be over there and was waiting outside her classroom. But one day she was pretty far overdue. I finally schlepped over to the school and found her sitting at a desk in the hall outside the classroom, busily writing a story about a pekak. I could tell that her young teacher was torn between sending a quiet little student off (teachers need LUNCH!) and not wanting to interrupt a burst of creativity. I knew how intelligent this child was but was not always sure the school got it so I think the teacher and I were both interested. I took my child home saying she could finish the story there. Many years later, she found Pekak down at Downtown Home and Garden. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t remember the pekak story.

Red, shadows, and other crapola

June 22nd, 2019 by kayak woman

First of all, we have SHADOWS today. I do not think I have seen a cloud in the sky all day and that means there were shadows. Stop reading NOW if you do not want to go where Imma gonna go, which is into sexual crapola. I’ll try to be coherent and keep it relatively G-rated if I can.

Okay. I use Twitter mainly to aggregate news feeds and keep track of polly-tickle entities. Like @RealDonaldTrump. This morning (after I went to the farmers market – peas to shell – YAY!) my Twitter feed “fed” me an article about someone named E. Jean Carroll claiming that she was raped by “your favorite president” (as the a$$hole in charge sometimes calls himself). I had no clue who this woman was. I do not read Elle magazine (maybe I should?).

Here’s the article I read. It’s all over the internet now of course and I have read many different opinions on it. The takeaway for me was not that the Orange Baboon stuck his p*nis partway or all-the-way into her “VJJ” in a Bergdorf Goodman’s lingerie dressing room. He was buying a gift for a woman (Ivana? Marla? a “girlfriend”?) and up until the last moment, she thought they were having a good time bantering about who would try on the gift. And then he slammed her up against the wall and… She escaped.

I believe her story. This crapola happens to many women and I applaud her for telling her story. Her write-up was real, self-deprecating, and as funny as all getout.

The takeaway for me was that she was not totally traumatized by this and went on with her life. Like her, I have endured a number of weird sexual encounters in my life and have been able to get beyond them all without being traumatized. My life has been much quieter than hers but I have certainly had some fugly incidents involving “hideous” men back in the day. I don’t want to recount all of those incidents here at this time (or ever) but I always escaped and was *always* able to move on.

BUT BUT BUT… Not every woman can. Me and E. Jean are highly intelligent (at least I would like to think that I am as intelligent as E. Jean), independent, and financially stable. Not everyone is. Trump aside, we need to protect those who are vulnerable. I am lucky. I met the GG when I was 26. I married him when we were 28. And we have been married ever since. It isn’t like we don’t ever argue but overall, we get along. Somehow, every boss I have ever worked for has treated me as a valuable employee.

It isn’t the same for every woman.

Stick a fork in me

June 21st, 2019 by kayak woman

Seriously, I was ready to call it quits 20 minutes after I got to work.

I had to call employee support today. It wasn’t an urgent issue, just something I had filed previous tickets about online but it wasn’t getting resolved so I finally bit the bullet and called. So. I got a support person.

He asked me a few questions then disappeared totally without warning. No “Can I put you on hold”. No nothing. I sat there in silence for at least five minutes (or it felt like that anyway). Then. Beep beep beep. My call got disconnected. I thought. But then there was a ring tone so I thought I was being connected with someone else. An *American* man’s voice answered with, “Hullo? Did you call me?” I was really confused by this because I think all of our support folks are on the Indian subcontinent. They are fluent in English but speak it with an accent. Then I realized I *knew* this voice. It was the GG.

I am still not sure exactly what happened but my best guess is that I did get disconnected from support and somehow ear-dialed the GG. So no I didn’t intentionally call him but… By coincidence, at that moment he was cooling his heels at the Vanderbilt Michigan rest area on the southbound I75 SUV Speedway. Catastrophic serpentine belt failure in the Frog Hopper. He was dealing with tow truck/repair logistics so I got off the phone.

Called support [again] with the anticlimactic result that I have… another… ticket… filed. Wonder how long it’ll take for them to fix it. Or close it without fixing it. At any rate, I felt totally exhausted after all that.

So the GG was gonna be home today but there’s a part they can’t get until Monday so he is stranded for the weekend. Fortunately he is stranded at the UU’s gorgeous house near Gaylord (a few miles away from Vanderbilt) and the UU towed the Lyme Lounge outta the rest area to his house so it is also safe and sound. And they can go hiking with all their buddies in the Jordan 45 NCT chapter.

Meanwhile, I got porterized downtown at Amadeus, which has *wonderful* food and I LOVED our server and we had soooo much fun ranting and raving about polly-ticks and outhouses and whatever.

So it’s all good but I think it’s time for a new vee-hickle. Or maybe two…

Things that go screeeershscrapeflumpf in the night

June 20th, 2019 by kayak woman

Something like that. For the second time this week, I awoke to hear a NOISE in the night. I don’t think this one woke me up. I was awake at that Batscope Hour like I often am. Do I need to use the Water Closet? Hmmm… And then there was a very weird noise outside. I mean right outside The Landfill. In the front. What the bloody hell? Was it an aminal? It didn’t sound like an aminal.

After the ending flumpf, all was silent and then some birdies started chirping. It seemed (4:00 AM) a weeeee bit early for birdsong so not sure if the screeeershscrapeflumpf event woke them up or what. Silence continued and I fell back asleep dropping into my usual early morning weird REM dreams.

When I got outside, I encountered this downed BRANCH! A’right, what do I do… It was partly in the driveway but I could’ve driven around it. Then I noticed it was sticking out into the sidewalk. That didn’t seem like a good thing. Could I move it? Hmm, I sized it up… It was very long but not very thick. I managed to drag it off into the front yard so it was no longer blocking the driveway or the public pedestrian thoroughfare and it’ll have to stay like that until Chainsaw Man can deal with it. It’ll be a fun little prodject for him.

I don’t know what made the branch fall. It was raining very lightly and there was absolutely NO WIND. A number of years ago, the [dead] top third of that tree fell on The Landfill and the POC but a couple years ago we hired tree specialists to check the tree out and trim anything unhealthy. This branch is full of leaves. I dunno. Waterlogged? Too many raccoons on one branch? Orange Baboon drone strike? (But I’d’ve prob’ly heard the drone.) A mystery.

Other than that it rained cats and dogs ALL DAY today but fortunately nobody had to fly anywhere. Yesterday the beach urchins flew to Florida (two flights each originating from a different airport but with layovers in Charlotte NC but not at the same time). It was all complicated and I was fielding text messages off and on all day (which was FINE!). The second flight for one of them was delayed for a long time. I suspect heavy rains at their destination. Reason for trip? Cousin Pengo Janetto Cookie Tester Penguin Hoosh has reached a milestone birthday and they wanted to help her celebrate. I suspect a few muskellunges are being flung. HB.


June 19th, 2019 by kayak woman

My two (count ’em 🙃) commenters yesterday pointed out that Discount Tire in fact has a good reputation. They have had good experiences there and in fact, so have we. I changed my reference to “a tire store” and am here to woman ‘splain a followup to my story. Nikio went online to check for issues with Ford lug nuts on her particular vee-hickle and, yes, there was a bad design. I don’t think they were likely to cause a catastrophic vee-hickle failure but it was probably good for her to replace them. And it was something like $45, so it didn’t break her bank.

I do still struggle with having to deal with dealers and repair shops, etc. Those folks talk a mile a minute using a vocabulary that I am only vaguely familiar with and sometimes with our often ancient vee-hickles, there are issues that the GG KNOWS ABOUT but doesn’t want to fix for whatever reason. I am okay with that as long as it isn’t a SAFETY ISSUE or interferes with my driving experience. But when a repair person is talking at me, I cannot always sort it all out.

Too often when I’m dealing with car folks, I feel like my then octogenarian mother felt the time she was having an “issue” with Waste Management (moomincabin garbage pickup at the time). We walked into her house and there was a phone message from Waste Management. The woman who left the message was MUCH younger than The Commander and she talked a mile a minute. *I* understood the message but The Commander couldn’t process it and thought it was from the BANK (which she didn’t have an issue with*) and was all set to go downtown and do battle with the bank! I played the message for her again and managed to talk her down off that ledge. Moom, the bank will NOT have a clue what you’re talking about!

So, I can handle car repairs but it is much more efficient if the GG does it. He has a long history of dealing with automobiles, assembling them in the Hamtramck assembly plant, troubleshooting issues with his/our vee-hickles, which we tend to keep FOREVER, plus a long career at the EPA emissions testing facility. Therefore he knows when somebody is giving him crap and *politely* doesn’t take it.

Along the way there have been some good old boys that I *have* been able to deal with. There was Ivory over at Ann Arbor Muffler and the guy at A&B Radiator. They were both sweet and polite and never talked at me or down to me and I’m guessing they are both retaaaaared by now. I do hope they are still with us!

*In my opinion, The Commander’s main issue with the bank at that time was that her husband was no longer the president of the bank, which was NOT the bank’s fault. In my observations, the bank folks still treated her like the Queen of England and her then next-door neighbor was the manager. But I guess it’s okay to be a bit cranky if you manage to live as long as The Comm did.

It’s the lug nuts

June 18th, 2019 by kayak woman

Back in the Pleistocene period or whenever it was that we were crawling out of the sea and growing legs and things… A childhood BFF and I were in junior high and when we wanted to go skiing somewhere we couldn’t walk to, her older sister Grace Anne (high school) was often our driver. Her family owned a work van (TV repair) and a 13-year-old Buick, which was available to Grace Anne largely because their mother had not learned to drive at that point and the older brothers were out of the house.

So if we wanted to go to Mission Hill to ski, Grace Anne was often willing to drive us, along with various friends of hers. I can’t remember what the heck we did with the skis. I don’t remember there being a ski rack. Maybe they fit in the trunk? Or maybe we sat in the car with them? Whatever.

Once, at the end of a ski day, we had the car all packed up to head back to town and… It. Wouldn’t. Start. We didn’t know anything about cars but it was a nice sunny afternoon and a whole bunch of skiers crowded around us trying to help. One person said, “It must be the lug nuts.” We (being young and silly) totally cracked up! What the bloody hell is a lug nut? (Of course we didn’t say “bloody hell”.) If I remember anywhere near accurately, there were a couple of folks with the last name [something like] “Hudnut” in the crowd and of course we latched on to that coincidence to escalate our hilarity.

I don’t remember how we got the car started but we did and we drove back to Sault Ste. Siberia without incident except I don’t think we could stop laughing to save our lives. I am pretty sure the problem had nothing to do with the lug nuts…

Today Nikio went out for lunch as she usually does when she comes into Cubelandia to work. A while later she texted to say that she’d had a flat taaaaar and was cooling her heels at a tire store. When she got back, she was a bit disgruntled and wondering if she had been “taken”. Because. They sold her some new lug nuts. Their pitch was that Ford had outfitted a bunch of cars with badly designed lug nuts. She went for it and I won’t describe the conversation she and I and Amazon Woman had about being a woman and not particularly savvy about the actual mechanics of cars and wondering if we’re being sold a bill of goods.

Actually, Amazon Woman is an engineer and is very savvy about cars, having worked on and toured with the UMich solar car – in the Australian outback where you take a toilet seat with you if you have to find a place to go. She does not take any crapola from automotive sales or mechanical professionals. And I do hope that FZ (who was just over the wall) wasn’t offended when I said something about “mansplainin'” because he would be the LAST male to ever mansplain. But it’s prob’ly okay because I mentioned a couple of identical twinz in my life who have been known to mansplain 😉 I love them ANYWAY.

The tortoise is living happily in Colorado. I did not take the photoooo.

Black Screen of Death

June 17th, 2019 by kayak woman

Okay, you’ve prob’ly heard of the Blue Screen of Death, roight? Well, not only have I experienced the Blue Screen of Death (a few times), I have experienced the Green Screen of Death and I have seen (but not experienced, knock on wood) the Red Screen of Death. Knock on wood because I *think* that’s what you get when you are RIFed and the company cuts off your access. Harsh, eh?

I have experienced a couple more interesting failures including The Talking Moose is in the System Folder Again (yeah, again). That was on our Mac II Plus back in the day when you had to boot personal computers up with a floppy disk. Except this one day every time I put the boot disk into the slot, it would act like it was booting up for a while and then CRASH! After three or four sessions of this, I called the GG over at That Darn EPA. What the bloody hell is going on? Nonchalantly: “Oh, sounds like the Talking Moose is in the system folder again.” Whaaaaaa? And whaddya know, here is the Talking Moose (YouTube link)!

And then there was the Deep Shit Noise that happened when our *first* Apple laptop crashed. That laptop (in the pic) much predates modern Apple laptops but we still have it and I think it actually still works but not sure what you can really do with it. For a while I “watched” a couple of neighbor kids mornings before school. Folks, I am a GEEK and I am not GOOD at this kind of thing. Not a warm fuzzy baby-sitting type person at all but these were also friends of my kids, they were upper-el, and the mom was a good friend of mine. So they usually basically took care of themselves.

But one morning… I was struggling with the laptop (it was our only working computer at the time) and I couldn’t get it to boot up and then… it made the Deep Shit Noise (I can’t find that on YouTube, it must’ve been what *we* called it). I was flailing around trying to get it to work when a sibling fight broke out between my charges… Oh dear… I did beat the dern laptop into submission. I’m pretty sure I didn’t resolve the sibling fight. But I wasn’t accepting any pay for this gig and I would’ve gotten involved if the fight had escalated into violence, which it didn’t.

Today! I encountered the Black Screen of Death. Or so I thought. I faaaared up my laptop over at Cubelandia this morning and it sat there with a BLACK screen and a cursor in the middle of it for a FRICKIN’ HALF HOUR! I could see via a little flashing icon at the top of the keyboard that it was [maybe] noodling on something. But. Jeebus! I was pretty freaked out about this whole black screen thing but eventually my laptop booted up and I got the beauteous landscape scenery that Windows 10 provides. I hope I don’t get the black screen tomorrow.

And then there were the “bombs” that woke me up at 1:00-something last night. What the bloody hell was that? It wasn’t thunder and I don’t think it was fireworks although we *are* approaching the 4th of July. It wasn’t right outside my house but it didn’t seem all that far away. I was almost expecting to hear sirens but that never happened. I couldn’t find anything on mLive or next door neighbor this morning and I didn’t happen to connect with any neighbors this morning. Bob and Java were in the woods this afternoon but Becquet was with them and she is old enough now that I didn’t want to traumatize her by asking her dad if they had heard what I heard. Maybe it was just faaarworks. The neighborhood was certainly calm this morning.

Razzy jain

June 16th, 2019 by kayak woman

That is, beautiful jazz and rain on a Sunday morning of spacification at The Landfill and warm enough to have the doors and windows open. And then a lot of Kexting between me and one of the beach urchins. Not the annoying kind of Kexting, i.e., why won’t moom leave me alone. She was helping me out with ideas for food and providing tips for how to cook it. I think she was in a #SundayPrepDay mode. I was in a #whaddoIWannaEat mode.

Then there were some blasts from the past, including the one in the pic, which is from Lizard Breath’s driver’s license road trip with her dad. He took the beach urchins on “10-year-old” trips and driver’s license trips. Liz’s 10-year-old trip also included the GG’s identical twin (the UU) and *his* daughter The Beautiful Renee (who is four years older than Liz). They went to the badlands. The girls became acquainted with the Twinz style of hiking and staged a protest – NO MORE DEATH MARCHES! And they experienced a tornado in a campground in the western UP that dropped a tree on their tent in the middle of the night. They were saved from being crushed by a smaller tree that broke the big tree’s fall. “I miss my mommy too but she’s moiles away”, said a woman in the shelter that night. Yes. Her moom was in Australia, hence the accent.

Liz’s driver’s license trip was to Colorado to visit her uber-cuzzint Julia and partner. Julia is almost exactly 10 years older than Liz and visited our house frequently when Liz was a baby. The GG is out in CO now, which prompted Liz to Instagram this pic, which I asked for and have permission to post.

I had forgotten that braided hairstyle. This kid had hair down to her butt as a teenager. As a child/teenager, I always wanted hair that long but mine never quite got there, stopping halfway down my back in a mess of split ends. But. The GG DID have hair down to his butt as a teenager so I guess she comes by it honestly.


June 15th, 2019 by kayak woman

The tablecloth is a wonderful gift from my s-i-l Liz. It is folded up to fit the little table we are using out here in the She-shed for the moment. She also sent me a craft kit. I have another craft kit that I ordered (from Australia of all places) and I will be working on these later in the summer when I actually take some paid time off and go to the moomincabin.

I used to take bags and bags of fabric and beads up to the moomincabin. I used them but the amount of supplies was total overkill and eventually I kind of spun around a few times (in my life I mean, not at the moomincabin) and screamed… And then there were the horrible end-of-life years when I was constantly hauling stuff south and trying to sort it out and disperse it to appropriate places. I hardly take anything up to the moomincabin any more except for clothing and a few grokkeries. This year there will be two craft kits. Both small and easy to finish.

I don’t really have much more to say. It was a slow day and I picked away at chores but didn’t feel very productive overall and at the end of the day, my MacBook’s trackpad suddenly became inoperable. It’s probably some sort of water invasion although I did NOT get water in there that I can remember. Please please please laptop manufacturers everywhere, solve the moisture problem. People take these things to coffee shops and use them in their kitchens. You need to do a better job.

Finally, I’ve been bingeing on the second season of the handmaid’s tale all week. I finished the last episode today. All I will say is that Offred is a badass! 🧡

Quick blahg administrivia

June 14th, 2019 by kayak woman

I have s-l-o-w-l-y come to the realization that WordPress is not emailing blahg comments to me. I have gone into the settings and the setting is, uh, set but it’s still not happening. Soooooo, if you have commented and I have not responded it *may* be because I didn’t notice your comment. Of course if you have ever commented, you may know I don’t *always* reply to comments so it may also be that I simply didn’t reply. Replying or not depends on a variety of factors like how busy I am and what device I have available when I get a comment. I am good at typing on my phone if I need/want to but there are times I don’t have the old gazinto. And I can’t access any kind of social media including blahgs from my work laptop. Not replying is [almost] never because I don’t like you and/or your comment.

So, maybe more later, maybe not. Gonna go get porterized at Knight’s in a bit.

Back from the dark side of the moon

June 13th, 2019 by kayak woman

So I have been putting off a mandatory upgrade to Windows 10 on my work laptop for a couple weeks now. Why? Because the updater thingy that kept popping up warned that it would take a few hours and my laptop would restart multiple times. At least it warned me. Apple, for all the kudos it receives for user-friendly design can be absolutely AWFUL when it comes to OS/IOS updates. Where the heck is the progress bar?

Today had to be the day. But wait! When I got to Cubelandia today, the first thing that happened after I logged on to my laptop is that I couldn’t access a lot of the “stuff” I use to do my job. Like an idiot, I decided to restart my laptop. I. WAS. LOCKED. OUT. If I had used my BRAIN and gone to the corporate intranet, it’d prob’ly’ve told me that and allowed me to unlock myself. Instead, I had to bother FZ so I could get on to HIS laptop and unlock myself. So annoying.

So I was a wee bit “shaky” by then and I was talking about having to do this Windows upgrade and people who had been through it were saying all of their files were destroyed and some of them even had to send their laptops to the Mother Ship to get fixed up. And then, “make sure you back everything up to One Drive!” What in the heck is “one drive” and where the heck *is* “One Drive”?

Figgered out the One Drive thing and got things backed up and then… Came home and spent the afternoon multitasking. Babysitting the Windows 10 upgrade while watching episodes of the Handmaid’s Tale season 2 (on my phone) with occasional little sprints into the chitchen to put enchiladas together.

My upgrade took over three hours and ended at 4:13 PM. NERVOUSLY, I logged on to my laptop. Success. NERVOUSLY, I checked out my file structure. Everything was there. WHEW!

Why we don’t ever eat dinner until 8…

June 12th, 2019 by kayak woman

So yesterday my semi-local beach urchin texted me to ask if she could come over for dinner tomorrow night. “OF COURSE!”, said the Lyme Lounge “widow”. But… What do you want to eat? How about enchiladas was the response. YES!!!!

I can make enchiladas in my sleep. The only difficulty was that since I didn’t have all of the ingredients at the Landfill, I figured I would have to make two shopping trips. One was yesterday at the Saline Road Meijer to get ingredients for the sauce, which I put together last night. By the way, they are “re-doing” the Saline Road Meijer and it is a total mess and although I found all of the enchilada ingredients I needed, I could not find some of the other stuff on my Meijer list. I’m sure they were in stock. I just didn’t wanna traipse all over the store at that time of day. I WANTED TO GO HOME!

I waited in long lines at every dad-blasted intersection all the way from Cubelandia to Meijer to home.

I planned to obtain the REST of the enchilada ingredients @PlumMarket on my way home tonight. More prep work tonight and MAYBE I’ll put them together tomorrow morning before work. Or maybe I will WFH tomorrow afternoon and put them together then, while my work laptop is installing a mandatory upgrade to Windows 10 that has to happen tomorrow (OR ELSE!) and takes a couple hours and I don’t want to sit in my cube waiting for that to happen.

I waited in long lines at every dad-blasted intersection all the way from Cubelandia to @PlumMarket. I *think* I have all of the ingredients I need now.

As a disclaimer, I am HAPPY about all of this (except the frickin’ traffic). I love when my beach urchins come over. In fact, they often feed MEEEEE but this particular time, this beach urchin is waaaaay busy with work and moving apartments and various travels. And I LIKE to make enchiladas. Like, I can make them in my sleep roight? So no problem!

This morning I was over at Barry’s waiting for MMCB to arrive. (She wasn’t late, I was early.) When she got there, I was buried in an internet rabbit hole involving the hashtag #sundayMealPrep. Man oh man, I used to do at least a rudimentary version of that. I have got to get my groove back.

Okay. Kleenex needed. The last two days by doze has bed ruddig idermiddedly. Yesterday morning I was sniffling so much at Cubelandia that FZ asked me if I was okay. He actually thought I was crying! It went away completely when we were at our daily stand-up meeting in the Gizmos conference room, then came back again in my cube for an hour or so. And then gone for 24 hours or so. Returned for a short period this afternoon. I don’t have allergies in general but maybe there is some odd sort of pollen that is bothering me. Or maybe it’s just a wee virus. Whatever it is, it is MILD. I am not feverish or struggling to breathe and I am at a full-tilt-boogie energy level.

Rabbity permission

June 11th, 2019 by kayak woman

So… Where am I goin’ with this? We have about a gazillion stuffed aminal type things around here. For many years, there have been four garbage bags full of them in the Landfill Dungeon. If my memory is accurate, they landed at the bottom of the dungeon stairs via the beach urchins throwing them down there during a tornado warning. Screaming the whole time. Other things that went on during that particular storm were Hans and the GG watching moths copulating in a big sidewalk crack and a noisy wood chipping operation going on across the street. Tornado? Nope. At least not anywhere near our house.

The stuffed aminals remained at the bottom of the stairs for a while until somebody got up the gumption to bag them up in garbage bags and… store them… in the dungeon.

I dunno why it is soooo hard for me to get rid of stuffed aminals. I have gotten rid of many other kinds of toys. But then again, I still have my own Medicine Duck, gifted to me when I got my tonsils out. I don’t sleep with him any more but he was soooo huggable. I have stuffed aminals that The Commander bought for my *dad* in his later years. For *fun*, not because he was demented. I’m not sure if it’s harder for me to get rid of my kids’ stuffed aminals or my dad’s. At least my kids are still around so I can ask permission.

So the GG is on a solo road trip to visit family members in Colorado and the night before he left, we dredged all of the stuffed aminals that are languishing in the Landfill Oubliette and picked out a small assortment to take to some young great-nieces out there (if it’s okay with their parents, of course). Better they be loved by children.

I found Rabbit in one of those garbage bags. Rabbit is mine. I did not receive him as a baby or a young child. His story is a bit different. The Commander taught sewing skills (“home-ec”) to high school students but also ran a school store. In keeping with the sewing skills, she taught her students how to make stuffed aminals, which became items to purchase in the school store. Nobody bought Rabbit. Maybe you might be able to tell why. The Comm could’ve simply thrown Rabbit out but she brought him home and I adopted him. I was a junior or senior in high school at the time. Go figger.

I was kinda wondering where Rabbit went and I am happy to be reunited with him.

Powderpost beetles

June 10th, 2019 by kayak woman

No, we don’t have powderpost beetles here. I had never heard of them until my childhood beach friend Dan occupied the Old Cabin a few years ago and discovered them over there. That discovery initiated a whole bunch of gyrations to get the powderpost beetles out of the Old Cabin. What the heck was that guy’s name? The exterminator, I mean. I should remember it.

So the book I read over the weekend was Red Clocks. I actually finished it within 24 hours. A fast read. It is about a dystopian version of the United States where abortion becomes illegal overnight (in almost all circumstances, kind of like Alabama, but this book was written before that). Abortion is still legal in Canada but Canada sends teenage girls seeking abortions back to be jailed in our *loverly* country. Yes, women are jailed. I am pro-choice *and* pro-life and we need to sort all of this stuff out so that, among other situations, teenage girls don’t have to bear multiple children via the step-uncles who have raped them and then get forced to marry said step-uncle. But I won’t go there tonight.

At any rate, one of the book’s characters is a “witch” who helps people out with various medical problems via herbal remedies. She was held in jail for a number of months and one of the things she was worried about was the powderpost beetles that had begun to infest her rustic cabin. Gaaah. I know about those.

This is a pretty little lake near Houghton Lake. This lake is accessible via back roads and the Ninja does not really like back roads but it was dry enough near HL over the weekend that she could handle it. I don’t know the name of the lake. Sometimes GooMaps tells us the lake names. This time, not.

Fish Fly City

June 9th, 2019 by kayak woman

Years ago, I was up at Hoton Lake when I received an email message from my globetrotting friend MMCB from Viet Nam: Greetings from Ho Chi Minh City! That was the *first* time she visited Viet Nam… I looked around at my surroundings and couldn’t resist sending the pic below with the message: You may be in Ho Chi Minh City but *IIIII* am in Fish Fly City! 🙃

That was a long time ago and the fish flies in the pic were attached to the Little Princess trailer that we used to have. The Moldy Old cFam Cabin was still in existence then and I definitely did not use an iPhone to take this pic.

Anyway… We didn’t really see many fish flies when we arrived Friday night and there were only a few around the cabin when I left to take my walk Saturday morning. When I got a few cabins down, I saw this mailbox.

The fish flies got worse throughout the day and this morning they were EVERYWHERE! When we tried to load up the Ninja to leave for Megalopolis, a whole bunch of them got INTO the car, which was a fun start to the trip.

Just to clarify, these insects are absolutely harmless to people. They do not bite or sting. They are extremely fragile bugs that hatch, mate, and, die within 24 hours. (Disclaimer: I have not fact-checked this so it may be an “alternative fact”.) They freak out people who don’t like insects in general and are mildly annoying to anyone who has to clean their carcasses up or shoo them out of an automotive vee-hickle. If enough of them die on a road, I think it can become slippery but that may also be an alternative fact. Once, I was at Hoton Lake in MARCH and I decided I didn’t want to ski that day so I cleaned out the refrigerator. I found a (dead) fish fly in one of the veggie bins. It had been there since the last summer.

Below is what remains of the carcass of a fish fly that made it all the way to the Planet Ann Arbor (we don’t have them here) and into the Landfill by way of a grocery bag.

A final disclaimer: I usually call these insects “fish flies”. I do not know their Latin name. Some people call them “May flies”. That doesn’t work for me because at Hoton Lake they hatch in June. When I was a kid at the moominbeach (where they hatch in early July), I can remember my granddaddy calling them “Canadian Soldiers”.

Best Choice

June 8th, 2019 by kayak woman

As we were driving up to Hoton Lake yesterday, the GG asked me if I wanted to stop at Best Choice Market on the way to the cabin. I did not, for geographical reasons I won’t try to explain. There have always been decent comprehensive grokkery stores here at HL. It’s a large inland lake, I think something like 27 miles in circumference. The shoreline and some adjacent areas are heavily populated so there are large and small stores sprinkled here and there. Everything from mom-and-pop party stores to Walmart and Family Fare.

And then there is Best Choice. It opened 15 years ago and we have been shopping there ever since. It is (was) a small store renowned for its meat and deli departments, and some of the best produce I’ve encountered anywhere, locally sourced whenever possible. They were overflowing with asparagus today but I had to decline because I happened to have Farmer John asparagus from Cubelandia. Oh, and a deli with all kinds of fancy salads and spinach pies and their famous feta spread.

I could never complain about this place in any way shape or form. But if there could be a complaint it is that there is was no public restroom. I suspect, given the size of the place, a public restroom is was impossible. Knowing that as an adult, I have always made sure I planned my Pbreaks somewhere besides Best Choice. I’m sure it could be difficult for parents of young children or, well, you know, people with issues.

Soooo. Best Choice has expanded by annexing the empty building across the parking lot. The butcher and deli are in the original building and there is still a lot of produce, etc., there. The new building has a greatly expanded produce area, an ice cream shop, coffee shop, and I couldn’t even process what else. Oh yeah, and PUBLIC REST ROOMS!

It is a bit bittersweet that the empty building they expanded into was the former Whitehead’s Restaurant. It was one of The Gumper’s (my f-i-l) faves. Of course they had a Friday fish fry and there was a “wet burrito” that he liked and some sort of “special” where you got three kinds of meat (chicken and a spare rib and I fergit what else) and some sides. We went there with Gumper often and I *fondly* remember him wandering around peering into the kitchen area as he would do. What a character. I loved him and I have definitely lucked out on the in-law crapshoot.

Whitehead’s closed and opened once or twice over the years and maybe it even burned(?) but it’s been vacant for quite a few years now. I’m happy to see it repurposed by a business we and many others love. Best Choice is ALWAYS busy.

I asked permission to take a couple photos in the new building and it was happily granted. Gratuitous photo of the GG buying Trenary Toast in the first photo. The mural in the second was painted by a high school student. I think it is beautiful!