Random bits of my so-called life.

Dark, messy, and chippy

September 28th, 2020 by kayak woman

After weeks and weeks and weeks of bright hot sunshine, Old Man Winter gave us the teensiest tinesiest of pokes overnight and today was cloudy and rainy and the Landfill was DARK. (“I’m not here yet but you know I am coming.”) It’s not cold out but things are looking a little different later in the week. I don’t mind the dark. Sometimes at Cubelandia the lights didn’t get turned on until 10 AM or whenever and I always enjoyed those days. I can see a screen in the dark. As I think I have said before, I like natural light or lack thereof. Makes it easy for me to cope with the dark season.

It is also MESSY around here today but I am putting up with it because at least some of it represents progress. Someone bagged up a whole bunch of old clothes to get rid of and for once that someone was NOT ME! And there are boxes all over the place because I am now saving packing boxes to fill with stuff to off-load. Early on in the pandemic, I was breaking them down and stuffing them in the recycle because I was immobilized for just about anything but work and sitting in the Lyme Lounge by Lake Erie or wherever on Sundays.

My absentee ballot is on the way! YAY! Now, when will the postal service get around to delivering it? Our mail service is still as squirrelly as all get-out.

Packages are [mostly] getting delivered quickly and we got this big box of potato chips today! I am not a huge snacker but potato chips are one of my faves. I can go a few weeks without thinking about them and then all of a sudden I will be going “Why do I not have potato chips?” Usually plain Lays or Ruffles are fine with me but a beach urchin discovered Great Lakes Potato Chips and ordered us a variety box, which will be fun. Coincidentally I had just bought a couple bags of Lays but it’s all good. They’ll keep.

boooooook blaaaaaahhhhhg

September 27th, 2020 by kayak woman

A beach urchin asked me a while back when I was gonna do another book blahg. My reply was “when I finish the Poldark series”. I have finished it and here is my report.

12 long books. 500-800+ pages each on my phone. I tend to prefer a small font size so not sure what that translates to in print or other electronic formats but it was a LOT of writing. I LOVED this series although it had its flaws. I’m not sure I can write about it coherently (see disclaimer at the end) but I’ll try.

I loved the Cornwall setting. It isn’t anything like the moominbeach except for Big Water, a beach, and sunsets. I think I found via Google maps the big beach near the Poldark family home although it seems to have a different name than in the books. I didn’t really have a good idea about where Cornwall *was* before reading the series.

I love long family historical dramas (not sure if that’s an accurate label). I liked most of the characters, even those who were deliberately created to be baddies. There were characters I wanted to know more about. There was a character that I HATED with a passion. Not sure what the author was doing with that story line. For that matter, there were sub-plots that disappeared, some for the better, some I wanted to know more about.

12 books? They were not written in a tight sequence, for instance, I think the fifth book was written 20 years after the fourth. That resulted in a slight change in writing style, for the better IMO. The author slipped in a lot of words I wasn’t sure of, some from the Cornish vocabulary of the era, others English words I didn’t know. I consulted The Google a lot for those, which I enjoyed.

There were long technical explanations about copper/tin mining, which was fine (even though I didn’t always understand them) because mining was the primary business/occupation of most of the characters. I was less enamored with the steam engine stuff, which was supposed to flesh out one of the characters (not the one I hated) but there was too much of it for me. I am not a history buff so the battle descriptions were basically unintelligible to me for the most part. Again, Google maps came to my aid and I am happy to report that I NOW KNOW where Waterloo occurred!

Hero? Ross Poldark, every woman’s hero? (Jamie Fraser, every woman’s hero?) Yes yes yes. A strong leading man who, flawed as he is, VALUES people, even those of lesser “standing”, and isn’t afraid to fight villains and try to put injustices to right. Make no mistake, there are great female characters in this series too. I am kind of joking about the similarities I see between these two guys.

Okay, I finished the last book a few days ago and I have read a couple much shorter books since then (flinging avoidance 🐽). I dunno if it would be everyone’s cuppa but I was blown away by Piranesi. There is NO WAY I can describe this book. Just WOW!

Disclaimer. I was once “invited” by a college English professor to be an English major. I think that was because on a good day I could write a complete sentence and cobble together a decent three-page paper. Those were skills I learned in our not-that-bad schools in the yooperland, the latter from my 12th grade “honors” English teacher. His name rhymed with “fifer” but was spelled “Phifer” and people often misread it and called him Mr. Piffer, which he did not like but was able to joke about.

My point here is that I did NOT major in English and therefore have no credentials or expertise in reviewing books so take this for what it’s worth.

I gotta go for now so typos and things be damned!


September 26th, 2020 by kayak woman

I was gonna do a book blahg tonight but instead, the GG and mouse returned from a hiking trip over by Newago. And yes there are EEE MOE-skee-TOES over there. Both mouse and I harassed the GG about EEE, not to mention COVID. Again.

As it worked out, our mousey-type beach urchin ended up eating dinner with us. A shrimp/pasta dish that i didn’t think she would like but it turned out okay. I tried to encourage her to sleep here for the night (COVID be damned) but she headed home to her woods nest near Manchester. I cannot complain.

G’night, love y’all, and I’ll maybe do a book blahg tomorrow.


September 25th, 2020 by kayak woman

My work is rarely contentious and it wasn’t today, exactly. Except that Mr. Bear got “stuck” on something that was wrong in the prototype that I [try to] keep up to date and wouldn’t let it go. Why was it like that and how many years had it been wrong? I mean this was one little piece of text in a S-P-R-A-W-L-I-N-G application. Not that there aren’t other little discrepancies but yaknow, there are times when I never quite know what I’m gonna be doing from day to day or even minute to minute and sh*t happens.

So finally I wrote this message:


1) This was a proposed solution when we talked about it last [and reader, that was *years* ago].
2) I didn’t understand how it worked then (but I do know).
3) I put it in the prototype thinking we’d talk about it more.
4) We didn’t (talk about it more).
5) It got deferred.
6) I forgot to take it out of the prototype.

So, human error. Cheers!


Was I angry? Heck no. I was laughing my you-know-what off. I did not hear back from my ursine friend.

And then, a blast from the past. We were discussing an issue in a meeting yesterday and everybody was saying stuff like, “Oh this has a simple solution.” I was thinking, “Oh no it doesn’t because I think I remember the last time we talked about it.”

So, I found that meeting and WE HAD RECORDED IT! I listened to the recording and no it was not simple, the discussion went on for a half hour and meandered all over the place without ever landing anywhere. Mr. Bear was a prominent participant. But what a blast from the past!

1) My old work buddy FZ ran that meeting. So good to hear his voice.

2) We were sitting in a conference room at Cubelandia. It was mid-January 2020. I don’t think anyone in that room realized that two months later we would be sent home never to return.

And finally, here are two antifas (or are they communists?) off adventuring in the woods somewhere over on the west side of the state. Womb-mates or not, I am not happy to see them without masks 🐽🐽🐽.


September 24th, 2020 by kayak woman

This is where I have been working for the last six months and I thought I should take a pic before I move to different digs. Within the Landfill, I mean. Not sure how soon that’ll happen but anyway, for posterity…

This is the Green Couch and I hate the color so much that I drape it with Pendleton “Chief Joseph” blankets. A yooper can never have too many blankets. The blankets are kind of crooked right now. I pull the couch out from the wall and throw my co-workers on the floor and straighten everything out every weekend.

On the left we have my co-workers. Up on top are Frogette, Chrissy the Police Mouse, and Froggy. On the couch itself are Green Guy (with his “Frozen” aerials down around his neck), Softy Beanbag, Turnstile, and Bucky Beaver who is really hard to see because he blends in with…

My black Patagonia polar-fleece jacket and vest. Also hard to see. They are there because that’s where I hang out to put outer-wear on for my 0-skunk-30 walk so as not to awaken the GG. If I don’t disturb his REM sleep, I get some much needed spacification even after I return from my walk. Oh yeah, there’s a pair of Smartwool socks there too.

A Blue Plaid (yes blue) Woolrich “lap” blanket that I sorta snuggle into on COLD mornings, neatly folded because I haven’t needed it in a while.

A MASK! On top of the Blue Plaid blanket. It’s my go-to mask. Green forest-y batik in this case. I have three others in the “master bedroom”.

On the chair arm next to the window is [one of] my iPhone charging devices. And that’s also where the GG puts my coffee after he makes it in the morning while I am cleaning the bathroom. I move it carefully down to the shelf/ledge.

The shelf/ledge next to the couch? Well, first the shelf and windows above it. This is original to the Landfill (built in 1959). I can’t count how many shysters have come by trying to offer me/us new windows. “Aren’t those windows drafty?” I dunno maybe but we aren’t replacing them nope nope nope nope. We do have storm windows for them and I actually LIKE a house that’s a bit drafty. Kee-reist, if you are a yooper with a seasonal cabin on the great lakes (you know which one), you know about weather.

Anyway… On the shelf is my work laptop, a Dell device not to be confused with my personal MacBook Pro. Not a bad device though. It does the job and the company tools are getting pretty cool and Ajax-y (or whatever it is these days).

And… The basket back there? My office supplies. I’ll inventory the contents of that some other day.

Mask thief

September 23rd, 2020 by kayak woman

The GG and I each have four masks. They are handmade (by our creative-type fiber artist daughter) with a double layer of batik fabric. Not medical grade by any means but batik is regarded as great mask fabric and I think that’s because it is DENSELY woven cotton.

Early on when whatever “science” we all could muster was just beginning to recommend masks, we here and near the Planet Ann Arbor were a bit concerned that the GG might try to defy mask recommendations because he is a serious envelope pusher. Our beach urchin picked out nice green forest-y batik fabrics to entice him and that pretty much has been working. #thatWomanInMichigan aka #bigGretch’s mask rule has also helped. Not to mention yer fav-o-rite blahgger’s constant nagging.

Anyway, two of the masks are identical (one his, one mine). I keep a mask on the Green Couch so it is at the ready on the rare chance that I need it.

I actually RARELY wear a mask. Do not get me wrong, I am not an anti-masker in any way-shape-form. I just avoid going inside places or crowded outdoor spots. I keep a mask at the ready on my Green Couch “office” to put on if I have to meet someone at the door (even though we have now replaced our storm door screen with glass because you know who is coming to the Great Lake State right?). I take a mask with me when I go to get curbside pickups.

I do these things as a courtesy to the people on my porch or putting my grokkeries in my trunk. Even though these brave people and I are protected from each other by distance and glass, I appreciate what they do and how they provide us baggy old bags with food, etc., as well as keeping our country’s economy moving along. Wearing a mask in these situations is probably a bit theatrical but it is also a caring gesture and important COVID-era etiquette in an era when our national government is so ridiculously lacking in effective leadership. King George III anyone?

I do NOT wear a mask when I am walking at 0-skunk-30 although I do put one in my pocket. There is no one out at that time. At this time of year, it is pitch black when I walk. It is very easy to avoid the few other people out there by walking in the middle of the street or wherever.

This morning I got outta the shower and headed over to the Green Couch to corral my hair, put my polartech jacket and Keens on, and grab my mask… Uh… Where is my mask? This particular mask is the one that is identical to one of the GG’s.

Anyway, I figgered he had nabbed my mask thinking it was his and when he got up to head into the water closet, I immediately confronted him. “Did you take my mask?” Well, yes, he guessed he did. I walked with no mask in my pocket this morning but I encountered NO ONE.

So here he is at the moomincabin a few weeks ago. He’s wearing his big green feet and that “guy” in the red pants? That’s Chrissy the Police Mouse. She was a $3.99 grocery store (Kroger) mouse I bought for my mouse umpteen bazillion years. She was a great tool when moom/mouse moments occurred (you know the kind), she lives with me now, and we ALL still LOVE her. No masks in the pic because it was just the two of us.

We’ll talk about my Green Couch office soon – with pictures🐽🐽🐽

Wet and gluten free

September 22nd, 2020 by kayak woman

Okay, it isn’t wet here at all. This was looking out at gitchee gumee from the front picture window at the moomincabin the day we last left it. (The orangey light thingy is NOT Mr. Golden Sun. It is an interior lamp reflection.) Today the Planet Ann Arbor had a gorgeous day and we are in the low 70s for the moment. You know it’s not gonna last.

It isn’t gluten free around here either except when Kayak Woman messes up a pandemic shopping order. My grocery order this morning was PERFECT! Except for the things that *I* mis-ordered. Oh, you did it just like I told you to. Like, I ordered what I thought was something like 3-4 heirloom tomatoes and got… one. Reviewing my order, I ORDERED one tomato! ONE🐽🐽🐽. It’s okay. I’m probably gonna put in an Argus order and I can get good tomatoes from there. At least I didn’t end up with a bushel, kinda like the time I ordered THREE logs of cranberry goat cheese except I ordered three CASES. 18 logs! Local friends/family were happy to take most of them off my hands but jeebus. But I clearly have to do better with specifying QUANTITIES and paying attention to UNITS (one pound or one tomato…).

Then there were the gluten free h/lamburger buns. I THOUGHT I was ordering whole wheat or whatever. Nope. I ordered gluten free. Again. These buns will be fine. At least I didn’t order gluten free tortillas. *Years* pre-pandemic, Lizard and I walked over to the Plum to get tortillas for enchiladas. We didn’t READ the package and got home with gluten free. Problem? you couldn’t ROLL THEM UP! Somebody actually had to make an emergency run over there to get some with WHEAT in them. I’m sure it’s possible to buy decent gluten free tortillas that can be rolled up. Not these.

This is not intended to be a diatribe against gluten free eaters or products. If you don’t eat gluten that’s fine with me. There’s a whole gamut of people who avoid gluten and I do not care what their reasons are. Celiac disease or they just feel better when they don’t eat gluten or maybe don’t like gluten because the sky is blue. I do not care. What I do care is when people use it as an excuse to be a Food Fussy.

My favorite gluten free eaters are those who don’t make their food issues my problem. I don’t even mind if they tell me their preferences. It’s really pretty easy to avoid gluten if you are a scratch cook and I mostly am. When someone panics that there might be flour somewhere in my house, I am a lot less sympathetic. And yes, a [weird and unblahggable] version of this has happened to me.

I guess that did turn into a diatribe. I’m sorry! Whether you eat gluten or not, I love you 🧡. The good news is that the Planet Ann Arbor is not a Food Desert and I will get more tomatoes PDQ in one way or another. And (PS), I do know how privileged I am to be able to afford to live and buy (contact-free) food here.


September 21st, 2020 by kayak woman

Yeah, what did I do today? It was one of those work days when I started out wondering what I do for a living and ended up with a big road-map of prodjects ahead of me and then got mired in a rabbit-hole.

I was kvetching last week that I couldn’t buy a bag of clementines for curbside pickup at the Plum because their search couldn’t find them so I had to “Special Order” them😉. I was putting together another order today and I searched for clementines and LO AND BEHOLD a three pound bag of “clementine tangerines” showed up. I don’t neeeeeed clementines (because we have plenty for now) but nice to know I can order them. I texted my Plum insider a screenshot of the search results and we both had a good laugh. I’m not sure if she was an influence in getting them to show up. I dunno how their system works or how products get added (and I didn’t ask) but they are there so yay!

The GG got all wrapped up in some kind of North Country Trail email crapola this morning and it was driving me NUTS. It wasn’t that he was noisy (mostly anyway) but I felt frenetic energy emanating from his Upstairs Lair. It felt kinda like the day last spring when he did the frickin’ taxes for something like the THIRD time! It may have only been the second time but it felt like about the hundredth.

It has been a gorgeous day and I thought he needed to go, well, somewhere. When I tried to kick him out, he already had a plan to take the Purple Kayak down to the river. And so he did and that smoothed out my day a bit. Again, there’s that old saying, “I married you for better or worse but NOT for lunch.”

Donald Trump Jr. keeps emailing me asking me to buy a MAGA hat. No no no no NO NOOOO! Okay, I know it’s some kind of bot and who knows why I’m getting its spam. Kinda like the OLD internet days when we were getting email invitations to look at p*nises and whatnot. I haven’t received one of those in a while, have you? Although anything coming from any Trump bot makes me feel like, well, I’ll stop there…

Clematis? I think that’s what these white flowers are. I used to have some beautiful big purple clematis flowers that bloomed every spring. After about five years, they suddenly stopped blooming and I miss them. These little white ones are not as spectacular but they are particularly lush and beautiful this fall. I have a Black Thumb and don’t really enjoy gardening so it’s a crap shoot whether any plant survives around here.

Blueberry Black bean pancakes (and bacon)

September 20th, 2020 by kayak woman

The plan for this morning’s breakfast was blueberry pancakes and bacon. Of course that’s not what happened.

The eastern yooperland’s wild blueberry crop was not all that great this year. We have lots of blueberry plants in our front yard but very few berries materialized. I remember when Radical Betty (a few “doors” down) would pick a cup in her front yard every morning. She picked them for Uncle Dcuk. He definitely had blueberry picking DNA. I don’t think Radical Betty did. I DEFINITELY DON’T. The GG does and went out over to the Old Brimley Grade Road (or somewhere) and managed to find enough blueberries for pancakes at the moomincabin when we were there in July/August.

Did we also put some blueberries in the moomincabin freezer at that time? We couldn’t remember. So the last time we were there, I turned on my iPhone flashlight and searched the moomincabin freezer for a baggy of blueberries. Nope.

We schlepped ALL of the food outta that place when we returned last Sunday and BOTH of us thought we saw blueberries in the freezer this week. OKAY! Blueberry pancakes and bacon this morning. Roight? Not. I came back from my 0-skunk-30 walk this morning and cleaned up the chitchen and started some bacon on slow-cook, knowing that the GG had a plan for the pancakes when he arose.

He arose and started futzing around in the chitchen and after a while he said, “Pancakes are not working out.” It turned out that the “blueberries” we both thought we saw were in fact BLACK BEANS. I cook dried black beans as I need them and if I cook too many, I bag them up and put them in the freezer. I KNEW there was a baggy of black beans in the moomincabin freezer so I’m not sure how *I* confused it with blueberries.

Oh and plus, he managed to burn the frying pan all to heck (my mom’s copper-bottom Revere Ware pan) and it took me a whole bunch of elbow grease to clean it up. SOS pads for the interior and Barkeeper’s Friend for the copper bottom. I am NOT complaining. This is just life at the Landfill.

So no pancakes but the bacon was great and I ate mine with a buttered half English muffin.

Sparrow Market chicken roasting on the grill tonight and a wonderful faaaarrrr. Not sure if we’re burning last year’s xmas tree or the pine tree that SUDDENLY died in the front yard last spring. Cheers!

Forgotten object found

September 19th, 2020 by kayak woman

Seems like a lot of people cleaned their closets during the early months of the pandemic. My new fave country radio personality Jeannie Seely was talking about it every Sunday on Satty-lite radio back in the spring when we were listening to her in the Lyme Lounge parked in state and county parks, reading and eating pandemic snacks and having a bit of liquid courage. As I have said before I’m not sure how an acid rock/esoteric classical music aficionado (meeeee) came to love country but there ya go. I was pretty freaked out back in the early pandemic days and Jeannie’s voice and message helped keep me sane. Unlike our unpresidential president…

Because I need to carve out office space for myself going forward, I need to clean out an overcrowded bedroom. I mean, the company is providing desks for all of us now forever telecommuters but I have no place to put a desk. I am still working by Sitting on the Green Couch Watching All the Dogs Go By.

I am having a terrible time getting started on cleaning out that room and flinging (or relocating) the stuff in it. There are Native American made weavings from the American southwest when my parents were rattling around there because my dad was a WWII pilot trainer. There are quilts and afghans my grandmother Emily made. I did not meet her. She didn’t know any of her grandchildren because she died when The Commander was 15 in a car accident somewhere in the Detroit area. The Comm always said she was hit by a drunk driver but a newspaper clipping I found in the Comm’s stuff says she was speeding and doesn’t mention the drunk driver. Not sure what the real story was, maybe a combo of both.

And then there are a few mini-quilts that *I* made, including this one, which is probably my fave. I mean, I am not an artist in any way shape or form but I remember slowly handsewing all of these little triangles together and soooo carefully picking out the fabrics to depict a log cabin (inspired by my grandparents’) and lots of tall pine trees and the light in the sky behind them and some beach in front.

QOFE (but Garbage Woman will do)

September 18th, 2020 by kayak woman

I logged into TeleCubelandia this morning and guess what? Amazon Woman sent me an email wishing me a happy anniversary! 13 years at Cubelandia. Actually 12.5 years at Cubelandia and .5 at TeleCubelandia. What a whirlwind. And I remember well having to drive to the other side of Ypsi through torrential rain to get a drug test with just about the nastiest med-tech on earth. And a beach urchin was preparing to launch to Dakar for study abroad so the household in general was just a wee bit on edge. It was all fine although her iPod crapped out in the middle of the night before we drove her to her flight outta O’Hare and we had to buy a new one somewhere along the way. Well, whaddya know, I found the post…

So that was part of the backdrop surrounding the beginning of what I call my Adult Job, even though I sometimes feel less like an adult in this job than I did in my Childhood Job when my boss was often AWOL and I handled all of whatever shitola happened. And that was okay but the pay couldda been better.

I found this tiara in the Landfill Dungeon a while back and it was in a bag that I was gonna take to the Scrapbox whenever I can manage to figger out how to make a donation there. And then yesterday I was thinking about how I was Garbage Woman and then I was thinking about how, on top of being Garbage Woman, I was actually the QOFE (Queen of f*cking everything). I pulled MYYYYY tiara outta the Scrapbox bag and I am now proudly wearing it.

And sometime tonight, we will be porterized for Virtual Oscar Tango Friday so g’night and love y’all, Garbage Woman.

Rabbitholes, crapola, and green leopards

September 17th, 2020 by kayak woman

I was down a different rabbithole every day this week. I mean at work. For the first time since he retaarrrred, I missed my old buddy FZ. I mean I always *miss* him but today was the first day I wished we could yell over the wall. The last day we did that was March 12, 2020. He taught me well enough that when I run into something I don’t totally understand, I can figger out what questions to ask. Today? I dunno where to start. But I’ll get there.

On the home front? Are we back on the flinging track? The GG hopped around all day schlepping crapola upstairs, downstairs, from room to room and outside. And then… He asked me if the Kiwanis Thrift Shop was open and, if so, when. And while I was at it, what about Habitat? One of my alter-egos is Garbage Woman so I get to keep track of all garbage-related things. What day the garbage/recycle/compost carts go out and what goes in them (and what DOESN’T go in them, hello batteries and styrofoam egg cartons) and what about the holiday schedule. Actually Luke of Perrynet once told me that after a holiday he watches to see when I put my carts out before putting his out.

Then, like today, there is the complex web of re-use shops. Kiwanis has been our go-to for years because they take just about anything that’s not toxic in some way. They are opening tomorrow after being COVID-closed forever. I’m glad for their caution but I was also worried that they might close forever. Then there’s Habitat (I’ll tell my Sault Ste. Siberia mattress story [again] some other time) and the PTO Thrift Shop (which we haven’t used) and the Scrap Box. I have some stuff accumulating to take to the Scrap Box but don’t totally understand their COVID donation policies. I’ll get there. The GG wanted to know hours and stuff and I was about to say look it up yourself but then I remembered I was Garbage Woman and I guess I’m not quite ready to give up that particular tiara yet.

As much as I want to get back on the flinging train, the GG was engaged in so much frenetic activity today that it was driving me nuts. He finally went out to take old tents to Habitat (they took one), then to REI, which doesn’t seem to match up with GETTING RID OF STUFF! While at REI he ran into our old Oscar Tango Friday night server friend cHicks. She hasn’t been there in a few years and we miss her. But. I was annoyed when he showed me a selfie he took where SHE was wearing a mask but HE wasn’t! He says they were far apart. Maybe. He *was* in front of her. Anyway, good to see [half of] her face. We also soooo miss our Saturday afternoon Griz bartender.

In the mail today, a Biden/Harris flyer and this green leopard-print scarf I impulse-ordered from Chicos. I am voting for Biden/Harris (bite me if you’re not) so I put the flyer into the recycle without reading it. The scarf is biz-caz and I don’t really wear that any more but somehow I like leopard print nowadays? When did that happen? I do not know. But I am a black/jewel-tone person (blonde/blue) and brown doesn’t work for me, at least if it’s near my face. A leopard print skirt would work but I haven’t found one I like yet. Anyway, I liked this green interpretation enough to buy it immediately. Will I wear it? We’ll see… At least it matches the Green Couch.

Meandering thoughts

September 16th, 2020 by kayak woman

I’m sure I have written before about how “poor” my family was when my parents built our own little cabin on the big lake they call gitchee gumee. I was six and my brother was three and until that time, we spent our summers at our grandparents’ log cabin next door with beloved aunts, uncles, and cousins. Although we have made a FEW changes (added a second story sleeping loft and installed indoor plumbing with hot water), the chitchen has remained pretty much the same and here is a peek into it from my seat on the futon aalllll the way across the living room by the front picture window 🐽

So many people tear places like this down and build McMansions and other monstrosities. At one end of our beach some neighbors built a big behemoth with a TOWER on top of it. I like the neighbors but I don’t understand their taste. A TOWER? REALLY? You can see their cabin/house from everywhere. The moomincabin is tucked into the woods, well back from the beach. We can see out over the water but it isn’t easy to see us.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this but I muse sometimes about whether/how the moomincabin might’ve morphed if my brother had lived past 2005. When we were young adults, he seemed to aspire to a more lavish life-style than I thought I could ever afford. He was an automotive engineer and I was a musician without a clue about how to make a living in that field or even about what I wanted to do when I “grew up” (and I am STILL growing up). I often found myself envious of his apparent financial/career success which, looking back through a long lens, probably wasn’t all that different than ours was. We just didn’t buy new cars every other year (but we also didn’t have the GM employee discount🐽).

Although we mostly got along well, things could get contentious. This happened exclusively when we were together with the parents at the moomincabin and I figured out PDQ that what we were actually DOING was falling into old childhood patterns. Unfortunately that didn’t STOP me from falling into those patterns. Nowadays when I catch a whiff of the beach urchins falling into that kind of pattern I TRY to just keep my DAMN MOUTH SHUT! Sometimes I am successful, sometimes not. I am human. I err.

The last couple years of my brother’s life, a chronic illness kicked into high gear and we started getting along a LOT better. And then he died before either of our parents. If he had been healthy and lived on beyond their deaths, would he have pushed to improve the moomincabin or even tear it down and rebuild? I do not know. There are definitely improvements that need to be made there. One BIG thing is that the only stairway up to the sleeping loft is a sorta ladder that is NOT UP TO CODE. The chitchen is okay with me and I THINK it works for most of the beach urchins.

This entry is probably unintelligible but my life is and has been good. I am here to say to those who are young “creative types” (like I was), you are probably a lot smarter than you think you are. Your life will be (hopefully) long and even if you don’t ever figure out what you want to do when you grow up, if you show up on time, fill boring hours by teaching yourself new skills, (and write complete sentences), you will probably be successful. Maybe not Warren Buffett successful but successful enough. Hint: you don’t need a big TOWER HOUSE to be a success.

P.S. I loved my brother (in case that wasn’t clear). He was also a musician, a highly talented jazz guy whose main instrument was the trombone. He continued to play with various groups throughout his engineering career.

Pandemic shopping episode #2379287329

September 15th, 2020 by kayak woman

Clementines (tangerines/mandarins/whatever) are probably my fave go-to fruit. They’re just the right size and always taste good and don’t have seeds except for the occasional rogue. Now. Disclaimer. I know they are not locally grown (Chile in this case). I know that’s baaaaad. I buy as much local food as I can. I also buy clementines and pretty much don’t care where they come from. For YEARS I schlepped a clementine over to Cubelandia in my lunch every day (and schlepped the peel home to put in the compost).

The online, inhouse system for curbside pickup at the Plum is the best. It works pretty much like clockwork. I sign up for a spot 24 hours in advance and keep adding products until I am done or they cut me off so they can shop my order. For whatever reason, I have NEVER been able to find clementines in a search. It returns clementine flavored sodas and clementine scented body products. No fruit.

I was making an order this morning and, as usual, I couldn’t find clementines…

But I have an inside contact at the Plum. So I texted her… “Are you at work today? If so, would you take a stroll through the produce section and look for those little oranges *I* call clementines? And if you find them, will you tell me what the store calls them?” In response, I got the two photoooos in this post. In other words “YES we have them” and “they are called clementine tangerines”.

Okay. I searched for clementines AGAIN. Same drinks and other products. I searched for tangerines. Still nothing except for flavored/scented other stuff. I scrolled through the ENTIRE PRODUCE SECTION. There had to be at least 200 products and every esoteric fruit/vegetable you could imagine was there including some things I am almost positive are not actually on the shelves at this moment. But not clementines. Which were on the shelves.

I have clementines now. I texted my insider again and said something like, “Next time you have a REASON to stop by the Landfill front porch, will you drop off a bag of those ‘clementine tangerines’”? Yes. And she did. Today 🧡🧡🧡 Curbside/delivery is MUCH easier than it was six months ago but there are still a few glitches.

P.S. These photos are by my Plum insider. I haven’t been in that store since something like March 8th. They are Utility Photos so I’m sure she doesn’t care if I have posted them without asking permission 🐽🐽🐽


September 14th, 2020 by kayak woman

You’ve heard of Imposter Syndrome? When you are regarded as more of an expert than you think you are. Something like that.

When I got my Childhood Job, it was pretty clear I got it via connections. A cousin who worked for the company, a manager who may have thought I was “cute”. I had no IT experience whatsoever and still had to get over the hurdle of an interview with Byron, who would be my immediate supervisor. I am TERRIBLE at job interviews and I could tell he was skeptical about me but he took a chance. Except for maybe the first six months or so (more on that some other time) when I felt like an imposter, I grew into that job until I OWNED it. Are you bored, KW? Teach yourself FORTRAN… Byron and I grew to be good friends and when I had my children, he valued me enough as an employee that he jumped through hoops to get the company to give me a part time job. If he ever thought I was “cute”, he never said anything and that was a good thing.

I own my Adult Job too but I occasionally still feel like an imposter. I got this job by a connection too but it was a different kind of connection. I had been taking community college classes and a beloved professor matched me with the company I now work for for an internship. I won’t describe my three months as an intern there (at least not today) but suffice it to say that except for being able to write a complete sentence and do html and javascript, I wasn’t ever sure if I was a valued worker or not except that the LCSHP (who hired me) seemed to like me. It was NOT because I was “cute”(!) but was it because I had an iPhone? (This was fall 2007 and I’m kidding 😉)

I was (and yet somehow wasn’t) surprised when the LSCHP offered me a full time boogity-boogity Corporate America job and it was a hard decision to accept it. Did I give up my then carefree existence for MONEY? Oh yes, you know I did. But here I am after all these years (13) sometimes still feeling like an imposter. I did today but it turned out fine. I actually don’t think feeling a bit humble is a bad thing. As long as you can bluff if you need to.

Temporary depressive state

September 13th, 2020 by kayak woman

This is the beach I said goodbye to this morning. Rain and wind and outside the frame the Thunder Bay lake freighter is upbound.

There’s an outside chance I may make it back up before Old Man Winter gets drunk and passes out on the Great Lake State for the duration but today I was mentally prepared to leave and not return until the MOE-skee-TOES return next spring.


I had a terrible time dragging myself outta the rack this morning. The rack for this trip being the couch/futon in the moomincabin living room. When we arrived, the weather reports were iffy enough that we decided not to sleep upstairs. If it did get really cold, keeping the upstairs closed off would help keep the downstairs warm. It didn’t ever get quiiiiite that cold but the couch/futon is comfortable. The GG slept in my childhood bedroom. We didn’t have an upstairs in those days and my parents slept in the living room. There was rain throughout the night and after I visited the Water Closet at 6:00 AM or so, the wind came up.

I stayed in my sleeping bag forever, partly because it was comfortable and partly because I didn’t want to face the packing that needed to be done before leaving, the 5-hour drive, or the UNPACKING (and LAUNDRY) at the other end of the trip.

I am at the other end of that trip now and I can’t say that EVERYTHING is unpacked but perishable food is where it needs to be and laundry is about half done and can I just say? We were north of Flint (yes, that Flint) and the GG flippantly asked if I wanted to stop and visit FlaMan. I replied with an emphatic NO! I mean, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to SEE FlaMan. I LOVE Flaman. But today was not the day. And we had already met up with the UU at the Waters exit to transfer a power washer, which the GG later dropped off at the UU’s son’s house. A Waters transfer pic was posted on FB in which the Twinz of Terror were too close together WITHOUT masks. The Beautiful Gay and I stayed in our respective vee-hickles. I love her and we will hug again someday.

For now and the duration, we need to stay resolute in our efforts to mask, distance, wash our hands, etc. The latest from the CDC is that of people testing positive for the virus, a high percentage have eaten in restaurants. We still don’t understand this virus’s rules and we are stuck with a president who doesn’t understand basic science and attempts to undermine the CDC. Actually I think it’s that he doesn’t CARE about science. I believe that all he DOES care about is his own frickin’ self.

Rain rain (don’t) go away

September 12th, 2020 by kayak woman

It was a banner day for freighters passing up and down the upper St. Marys but I couldn’t see most of them very well because it rained ALL DAY!

Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. It was a beautiful day of rain with temperatures in the 50s or so. I spent my time cleaning the kitchen and bathroom and organizing food to be schlepped down to the Planet Ann Arbor tomorrow. I did not clean the floors because it was too humid for them to dry.

Even though (after much back and forth) we seem NOT to be closing the moomincabin tomorrow, I am taking all of the food down to the Planet, perishable or not. We don’t normally have rodents here and I don’t want to tempt them to find ways in.

We’ve been going back and forth about our closing date. Tomorrow or early October. There is road work to be done this fall and it can’t really happen until the fiber optic installation is finished and some people may want to be up here to help with the road work. This is okay with me and I am glad we aren’t totally closing tomorrow. It’s always a mad scramble to schlep all of the crapola outta the moomincabin AND shut down the plumbing, etc., and we only have one vee-hickle with us on this trip so space is a bit limited.

The GG spacified me today by attending a North Country Trail hike up northwest of Tahquamenon. Guess what? Only one other person showed up 🐽 (and it was TW, one of my fave NCT people). I was feeling a little guilty about not going but I wanted to hang out here. I knew if I drove from here to a whole bunch of miles up past Tahq and hiked a bunch of miles in the rain and drove back, I would be taaaarred (and cold because rain) and I would NOT feel like packing and cleaning and making dinner, etc.

The pic is from a few nights back when we had an actual sunset. Not sure if we’ll get a sunset tonight or not but guessing not.

Last beach day

September 11th, 2020 by kayak woman

Until next summer, that is. It started out colder than all getout, 40 degrees or less. We had the gas heater going and every single frickin’ light bulb in the moomincabin on. But then by a bit after noon, Mr. Golden Sun had heated us up but good and eventually a bunch of us congregated down on the bank.

I have the most ridiculous issue on earth going on at work but by about noon, I messaged my boss Amazon Woman that I was gonna take the afternoon off. My reason was that this was myyyyy last beach day until next summer and she was like enjoooooyyyyy it.

We were on and off the beach for the afternoon. It was hot hot hot for a while and I took a break to cool off and charge my phone and the GG took a nap. Eventually we went back down and the GG took one of our motor botes out to be followed by our young cousin’s drone. I’m not sure what was going on but it was so much fun.

But we were late late late for our Friday night virtual Oscar Tango porterization session and I finally kept trying to text/phone the GG to come home. What finally worked was that I walked down to the beach and yelled BILL at the top of my lungs. He was talking to our friends Pat and George. I was emulating my beautiful late aunt Bubs. When we were kids, our parents often used bells and whistles. Bubs used her voice and I used my voice today.

Mama said there’d be days like this…

September 10th, 2020 by kayak woman

Oh, don’t worry, it was just work crapola. I mean the technical kind, we almost NEVER have personnel drama.

Specifically, one of the most boring parts of my job is to update user documentation, turn it into PDFs and publish on a “portal” where, uh, users can get to it. That’s not to say that our users ever DOOOO access it but still. So I made my PDFs and published them. I always download them to make sure they UPLOADED successfully. Things were going well until the end of the day when I actually looked past the FIRST PAGE of one of the PDFs. Guess what. ONLY THE FIRST PAGE was available. It was followed by a long stretch of blank white space. WTF? I will probably have to file a support ticket. I can only hope I get a support person who understands this issue… … …

Then there was the whole thing where the normally stable moomincabin WiFi went out for a bit and I couldn’t access ANY work stuff for a while. I thought my account was locked out but then, MIRACULOUSLY, I was back in business.

In the middle of all that, various facebook friends were talking about online voting (NOT absentee ballots). I think that we should not rush toward online voting. I work for the online banking industry. As a user experience designer, I am very far removed from security issues but I know they are taken very seriously by our global corporation.

One of the things I would be concerned about is TESTING. We employ teams of quality analysis folks who BEAT UP on our product like crazy trying to find issues with it.

Who will implement a system for online voting? Who will design it? Who will code it? And who will test it? The company I work for makes MONEY doing what we do and you have got to know we would not be making money if we sold products that didn’t work or were insecure.

We are still a collection of united states. Who decides who creates online voting systems?

Drizzly gray and boring

September 9th, 2020 by kayak woman

And a pretty darn good writer’s block to boot!

Lemme see… When you have writer’s block, the rule (my rule anyway) is to just start writing anything and see where it gets you. So. I am wearing Smartwool leggings for the first time since I dunno, maybe about June? I’ve been dreaming of rain and then when we finally get it, it’s a light chilly drizzle and I had to turn up the gas stove this afternoon to warm up. This place is NOT winterized at ALL. No insulation or central heating source. Fortunately it was somewhere in the mid 50s so no danger of being seriously cold. Breaking weather news is that frost is possible in the western yooperland overnight but I don’t think it’ll make it over here to the eastern end. And yeah, I knoooowwww it was only last week that I was complaining about hot weather.

In a meeting with Amazon Woman this afternoon she was kvetching about how the landscaping at the late-model house she had built a couple years ago was, well, not up to snuff. As she was describing lawn and tree issues, etc., I looked out my picture window at Mother Nature’s own landscaping. Tall pines everywhere and the only grass we have here is the beach grass that grows on the bank. I don’t think we could mow that if we tried.

Fearful of pandemic grocery shopping, I have once again schlepped more food up here than we can begin to eat. I am again missing two summers ago when Uber Kayak Woman was here and we had a cabinful of young relatives and their friends and she and I made so many trips to Meijer for TONS of food and booze and beer that we felt compelled to tell the cashier whose line we kept ending up in that REALLY, the two of us were not eating/drinking all of that stuff by ourselves.

This week? Lemme see, homemade pizza when we got here Sunday, BBQ frog jam chicken Monday, lasagna last night, leftover chicken tonight, shish kebab tomorrow night, leftover lasagna Friday, and leftover shish kebab Saturday. And we’re apparently not closing the moomincabin this weekend after all but I am taking ALL food back to the Planet Ann Arbor, perishable or not.

I don’t think my writer’s block rule got me much of anywhere but when you are a daily blahgger, that’s part of the territory🐽

P.S. Here I am kvetching about the crappy little bit of chilly drizzly rain we’re getting while my western friends and relations are facing down scary dangerous wildfires. Praying in my own godless way for y’all to get rain too! Heavy drenching rain!