Random bits of my so-called life.

From the land of the ice and snow

February 9th, 2019 by kayak woman

Actually here on the Planet Ann Arbor Mr. Golden Sun shone brilliantly from a cloudless sky ALL DAY today. We have some residual bits of snow around the edges but the pavement is DRYYYYYY and the walking was good. Two days ago (or was it three?) our sidewalks were pretty much unwalkable, a mess of ice and slush. Oh, I am not gloating. We are expected to get something like FOUR winter storms in quick succession beginning on Tuesday. It’s February and summer-like skies or not, it ain’t over yet. We’ll probably have snow tomorrow but probably not all that much.

I have friends and relations in the PACNW area and they are experiencing snow out there and sometime today a post from the police in Puyallup (pew-all-up, I think!) flew by on facebook or wherever. It listed a lot of useful driving information in a humorous way and I loved it. But y’know, they were telling folks to stay home if they had rear-wheel drive vee-hickles. Yes but…

When I was growing up in the yooperland, I learned to drive on rear wheel drive vee-hickles and I drove them in the winter. My first attempt to drive downtown during a snowstorm, I did a 180 trying to stop at the Minneapolis/4th Avenue intersection right next to St. Joe’s church. That sobered me up a bit.

All of us kids learned to drive in snow and we managed it. I remember driving the old coot’s Buick Lesabre (“banker green” as my brother and I used to laugh about) once around a corner through a big bunch of snow. It was a rear wheel drive car. I think that’s what most of our cars were then. It was sort of a big car and it was kinda like driving a boat and I did manage to successfully navigate that corner.

All that said, I know that Seattle has some snow driving challenges that are a lot different than those us Michiganders face. Stay safe!


February 8th, 2019 by kayak woman

Our long time congressman the now retired John Dingell died yesterday here in the Great Lake State. He was 92. That makes him something like 28 years older than his wife Debbie. They’ve been married several decades and she carries on his legacy as our elected congressional representative.

I am somewhat apolitical (or used to be) so it wasn’t until recently when I figured out that Dingell was on Twitter that I became a fan. John Dingell, at 92, was adept at twitter and was often funny as all getout, especially when tweeting back at Donald J. Trump’s ridiculous crapola. When Trump tweeted “[blah blah blah] I rarely use a cell phone [blah blah blah]” Dingell replied “Oh yeah? You tweet this from your landline?” And so on…

Because his wife Debbie is now a congresswoman, there was talk a while back about whether it was a good idea for John to tweet. She replied that while her team did review his tweets, he was largely free to speak his mind. He was over 90, fer kee-reist! I mean just try to stop a nonagenerian from speaking his/her mind. I certainly didn’t have any control over whatever The Commander felt like saying in her later years and that could definitely get interesting.

I have struggled a bit over the fact that Debbie Dingell married a man so many years older than her. How does that work? When I was in high school, I had boyfriends that were a year or two older than me. I married a guy my age. 28 years older? I’m not sure someone that many years older would have appealed to me. Yet from all accounts it sounds like they had a wonderful marriage. Who am I to question or judge?

Godspeed, Mr. Dingell. I will so miss your tweets.

Deconstructed cabbage

February 7th, 2019 by kayak woman

Okay, yesterday was the SIXTH (count ’em) day in 2019 that I telecommuted because of weather issues. Yesterday it was due to an ice/slush storm. Once again, mgmt didn’t exactly *order* us to stay home yesterday but Amazon Woman came around on Tuesday checking with each of us about what we thought we would do. If I had been able to drive the Frog Hopper to Cubelandia, I prob’ly would have but the GG was taking it to the yooperland and the yooperland is scheduled for a major snow/ice/whatever storm so he needed that vee-hickle.

The last winter I telecommuted that many days was 2014, the Polar Vortex winter. That was a *much* worse winter than this one is. The temperatures tanked in the beginning of January and Old Man Winter spewed snow at us every day. We had yooperland style snowbanks for months (and you’ve heard me kvetch about that winter plenty of times before). This year the weather is just frickin’ crazy. Up and down the temperature dial in a mercurial way and precipitation is all over the map.

People have asked if it is “okay” for me to telecommute so frequently. Yes, yes, yes it is. It functions as a disaster-preparedness exercise of sorts. Can we keep the online banking business afloat with everyone working from home? Yes we can.

I did go in to Cubelandia today. I was soooo happy when a beach urchin texted me that she and her SO wanted to come over and do laundry at The Landfill today. Oh, and cook dinner for me. Homemade pasta? With BACON (and other things)? Yes yes yes! And then she did the dishes!

What did I do to deserve my two wonderful [adult] daughters? I do not know.

Love y’all, KW

Orange Hangover!

February 6th, 2019 by kayak woman

The color orange does not belong in my bedroom. Not on the walls, not on the floor, not covering the windows. Definitely not on the boob toob!

<polly-tickle-rant-beware>I made the conscious decision not to watch the SOTU last night. I figgered the Orange Baboon would not spew his typical unhinged Word Vomit. I did not expect him to declare a national emergency to get his “beaded curtain” or whatever it is he thinks he wants. I figured he’d actually go through the motions of trying to make himself sound like a rational human being capable of great empathy for all people who are Not-Donald-Trump. And from all accounts I guess that’s what he did.

I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word of it. He is (or can be when he actually manages to string an intelligible sentence together) just wonderful at talking in superlatives about all the wonderful things he has done or plans to do. Say what? Yeah, he has done some things that could be described in superlative terms but in my opinion the superlatives are negative. Worst policies ever, indiscriminately wreaking havoc upon innocent human beings, lifelong US citizens and undocumented immigrants alike. And their children. Sad.

What I did do last night? We watched a couple episodes of Russian Doll. It can be a challenge to find a movie or series that the GG and I can enjoy together (that is not a bad thing, it just is…) but this one seems to work. Then I took a short nap on the couch in the back room.

I guess I should’ve slept a little bit longer because when I moved into the bedroom the Orange Baboon was still thundering along at least an hour after whenever it was he started spewing. He was at top volume. IN MY BEDROOM! I wanted him OFF (or at least in another room). An argument ensued. It was pretty ugly and although the OB eventually ended his long-winded crapola, I woke up this morning with a huge Orange Hangover.

Please. Not again. My bedroom is an orange-free zone. And BTW. AGAIN! I do not get my opinions from listening to NPR or Nancy Pelosi (although I have become a Pelosi fan). My opinions have not changed greatly throughout my life, which (again) began in a republican-leaning family. The difference between my childhood family and today’s republicans is that *my* repubs felt compassion for those who had less than us “rich” folks. Not that you could call my family rich by any stretch of the imagination what with our humble life-style within our shabby little yooperland bungalow.

Finally, I am beyond sick of being called stupid! I’m not sure what “stupid” really means as an adjective to describe a human being but it is NOT synonymous with “you don’t agree with me”. I don’t remember anyone EVER calling me stupid, at least not to my face, until the Trumpian Idiocracy.</polly-tickle-rant-beware>

Driveway moments and bear poking

February 5th, 2019 by kayak woman

It was actually a parking lot moment and I was listening in well, maybe morbid fascination would be an appropriate phrase. NPR was interviewing none other than Kelly Anne Conway and I could not stop listening to her light-speed spew of lies, half-truths, and various other gyrations to avoid answering even yes-or-no questions with straight answers. If I talk fast enough will people even understand what I say? So bladladladladl. I know that many other polly-tishuns (and other folks) do variations on this kind of thing but I find KAC particularly annoying.

Once upon a time, Mr Luv’s young son was visiting Cubelandia and he asked, “Dad, how old will you be when I’m 19?” Mr Luv (of course) dodged the question. FZ (considerably older than Mr Luv) jocularly said, “Answer the question dad!” Honestly I thought most reputable news organizations had stopped talking to KAC a long time ago.

So then I waltzed into Cubelandia and answered an email I was copied on with what turned out to be a wrong (or at least incomplete) answer. Whomp! The Bear hit back! (Cue the Volga boat song. [Youtube link and may begin with an ad.]) I sat and licked my wee li’l rabbit paws for a bit and decided not to reply. Except to kibbitz over the wall with FZ (after carefully making sure The Bear was not at Cubelandia today) about how The Bear was probably right and I was wrong. And then I corrected myself because of course The Bear is ALWAYS right and we all know that and…

FZ and I totally cracked up at that but it’s pretty much true. The Bear is a talented software developer/information architect and when I can get him to ‘splain something technical to me in a language other than “Russian”, I can almost always write/make pictures about it for the audiences I need to explain it to. At any rate, I would rather have The Bear on my team than Kelly Anne Conway any day of the week. He is as straightforward as all getout and is totally focused on making our product work well at all times. KAC seems like she is upholding the Orange Baboon’s random word vomit only to bolster her own career, whatever the heck that is. For the moment, it seems to be Lackey.

So do I watch the SOTU tonight or more episodes of Russian Doll? What are y’all gonna watch if anything? Cubelandia mgmt (two AWSOME women) told us all to strongly consider working from home tomorrow due to potential freezing rain. I will probably take them up on that.

Whine book blahg

February 4th, 2019 by kayak woman

Yeah, you do not want me to blather on about html or the weather. (Warm and very rainy today with freezing rain and gawd only knows what else in the week’s forecast. Yer belcome.)

I entered a reading challenge on GoodReads this year. The beach urchins shamed me into it. Oh, not really but they were doing challenges and I copied them. My challenge is 52 books. I have read seven so far. We’ll see what I get up to. A few books at random below.

In the people who kind of want to be “normal” but don’t feel like they fit in but tend to do whatever the heck they want *anyway* category? “Blue Boy”. Indian/American junior high boy. Highly talented, mercilessly teased by peers, chafing at parental attempts to force him to follow their cultural norms. In the United Snakes of America? Really? Good book. Blue is the color.

In the people who know they aren’t normal (no quotes) and don’t really care but try to fit in anyway category? “Convenience Store Woman”. It’s Japanese (because there is more than one book with that title). I won’t say anything more about this except that I enjoyed it and am glad neither of my children turned out like this woman. And that’s *not* because she works in a convenience store and not at a “real job” whatever the heck that is. I’m still trying to figger it out.

In the people who *are* normal but can’t get a break category? “Winter’s Bone”. Dirt poor teenage girl struggles to hold dysfunctional family together in the middle of the winter in the Ozarks. Oh my. I grew up in the yooperland knowing good but dirt poor people with dysfunctional families and I love books like this. Other books in this category (which I read a while ago) are “Marlena” and “Sweet Girl”, both set in the Northern Lower.

In the everybody’s crazy in different ways all over the map category? “Bellweather Rhapsody”. State wide high school music festival for the most talented kids in the state. Haunted hotel. Disappeared student. A Mommy Dearest to beat all. What can I say? I enjoyed the book but struggle with how some loose ends were tied up at the end but not others. At least I couldn’t figure them out.

I read the last book in part because it kind of reminded me of when I was in high school and made it in to the Interlochen All-State camp a couple summers. The book had elements that matched my experience. Little “romances” blossoming on Melody Lane (or whatever it was called). Mean girl crapola that I DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN!!!! Thank you very much. More on that some other day? Maybe…

Oh, and then there’s “The Monsters of Templeton”, which isn’t quiiiite in any of these categories but features a fictional version of Cooperstown, NY, complete with a lochness-style monster. The book is by one of my favorite contemporary authors, Lauren Groff. If you are thinking it’s about baseball, you may be disappointed.

Dizzy with intergalactic travel after running across a green field full of daisies

February 3rd, 2019 by kayak woman

I can make lasagne(s) quick quick quick or I can take the s-l-o-w route. I opted the slow route for the two (meat and veg) that I made this weekend for the GG to take to Tahq next weekend. I’m not going this year. I am saving vacay time and if the GG is not constrained to my schedule, he’ll have more travel flexibility to go to say, Hoton Lake or wherever.

Anyway, I love to make lasagne so I am at least contributing food for the lodge. So yesterday I made two batches of sauce and stuck them into the fridge in great big bowls. Today I chopped up some zucchini and carrots and cooked up (slowly) some Italian sausage. Eventually I got into assembly mode and managed to put both lasagnes together in probably less than a half hour. This method allows me to wash dishes (the ones that don’t go in the dishwasher) and let them dry in between “acts”.

Re-reading the stuff I wrote about groundhog day yesterday, I regret that I referred to my last stage of life with my mom as I did and wish I had described it differently. It might have been the hardest time in our long relationship for me. Maybe it was for her too but I’ll never know. I did whatever I could but I do know that she was ready to go and as the only living member of her little Sault Ste. Siberian Superior Street nuclear family (mom, dad, brother and I) I gave her permission to leave me whenever she was ready.

Green field with daisies? Not exactly what we had today but it was 50 degrees and sunny and that is kinda what it is like to live in the Great Lake State. 22 below on Thursday, 50 above on Sunday. After a couple days of rain, it looks like we will settle into typical winter weather for a while.

On Groundhog Day

February 2nd, 2019 by kayak woman

Y’all have seen the movie, roight? I’ve seen it a few times.

I have probably written about this before but I lived a version of the Groundhog Day movie back in 2012 when The Commander got fed up with living and wanted out. Did I want my mother to die? Of course not! But she was not the mother I grew up with. She was not the mother I struggled with as a teenager (but who also supported me unconditionally). She was not the mother who doted on her grandchildren. She was not the mother who loudly told morbid stories while shopping at Planet Ann Arbor stores (flinging a dead porcupine into the swamp and Radical Betty’s friend dying on a hike in a Canadian national park and having to call the Mounties to get his body out). She was not the mother that I often called (as an adult) to shoot the shit and laugh (and kvetch) with.

End of life is no fun for anyone and mom’s last year was a pretty rough ride. We got her situated at a nice assisted living facility a half mile down the escarpment from her home (which she still owned). We hoped she would flourish at assisted living but various trips to the ER/ICU ensued and each one of those further degraded her well-being. She contracted c. diff during the last of those hoosegow stays and refused meds and food and NO! she did NOT want MEEEE to feed her! Sorry nurse but neither one of us love each other in quiiiite that way. We are independent women… Eventually we arranged for hospice care at her assisted living facility and every morning I hoofed it down there from her house (Squatter’s Paradise) for another day of hanging out with a woman who didn’t really want to live any more but was a bit too healthy to die. So awful but it also reminded me of the Groundhog Day movie.

Today the GG went hiking somewhere over in the west with his girlfriends. I was spacified. I walked, did chores, shopped for grokkeries, and prepped lasagnes for the GG to take up to Tahquamenon next weekend. And then, I found a new groundhog day type movie. Y’all have maybe heard of Russian Doll because it’s been hyped. I have watched two episodes of Russian Doll on my phone. Yes, on my phone. It’s on Netflix. I am enjoying it. I wonder if I can get the GG to watch it with me (on the TV).

It is 38 degrees here today. That is ABOVE zero! And I just saw a guy run by in shorts and a tank top…

Zero degrees and climbing

February 1st, 2019 by kayak woman

We know two of the folks in the pic. The other person is selling Ground Cover newspapers. I have mixed feelings about the Ground Cover newspaper but I am not willing to go there tonight.

We have finally broken through the zero temperature ceiling. It was around zero when I went outside and faaaaared up the Ninja this morning. She was a wee bit hesitant at first but she powered through to a strong start. MMCB and I had postponed our coffee at Barry’s a couple times this week but we finally met today. The young woman who served me always remembers us and asked me if my vee-hickle had trouble starting today. No, although it was a little slow. It lives outside and is 10 years old. But… It is a Honda and Honda vee-hickles ROCK (and last forever). And then I volunteered that I had been telecommuting all week with a dern Pensioner haaaaannnnging around to boot. She asked if I had Cabin Fever. Yes yes yes. She said she had heard a lot of similar stories.

It was wonderful to get back to my work life in Cubelandia today. It was somewhere between 7 and 12 degrees when I got home this afternoon and began my schlep down to Oscar Tangolandia this afternoon. I managed it without either my Smartwool leggings (which ROCK) or YakTrax. In sunlight. In sunlight. In sunlight. Old Man Winter is in no way finished with us but the north shall rise again!

Last night the GG’s feet were like blocks of ice and he was congested. He was resisting putting socks on so I finally dragged a pair of smart wool socks outta the laundry basket and physically pulled them onto his feet. Jeebus! I do think he has socks on tonight.

Frost quakes?

January 31st, 2019 by kayak woman

This seems to be the decade of inventing new weather terms. Frost quake? I can’t remember exactly what it is (you can use The Google) but something like how all of the water in the ground suddenly freezes and makes a big booming noise. But check it out yerself if yer instristed.

I have telecommuted FOUR days this week and I am soooo over working from home with the GG hannnnnging around. You might guess I won’t be retaaaaaring any time soon. I actually wanted to schlep over to Cubelandia today but my phone proclaimed -22 when I woke up so I bagged out and so did *everybody* else.

There was also an alert on my phone about keeping the thermostat set at 65 or lower for anyone who could. It came from Consumers Power, which was *really* confusing because we get our gas from DTE. Turned out that a fire at some kind of Consumers natural gas facility was threatening to impact their ability to deliver natural gas and because (apparently) the grid is all interconnected, it was a statewide issue (or maybe just the lower peninsula). Our gal Gretchen (the governator) made her own plea. Anyone who *can* lower their thermostat without compromising their health *should* for the good of the wider community. I was happy with 65 or lower and definitely complied. One thing the FinFam is not short on is blankets, not that I needed one. In the end, GM and Chrysler agreed to shut down some auto plants for a few days and that will (hopefully) alleviate the issue so those who are fragile can stay warm.

Don’t mind the guy in the hat. It’s only Stormy Kromer in disguise and the hat was probably purchased to bug the heck outta yer fav-o-rite blahgger. Er, a woman who actually owns guns (by inheritance) but has never shot one of them and probably won’t unless Big Bugs from Zephron 3 try to take over the earth.

MoonX at the end of Cabin Fever

January 30th, 2019 by kayak woman

I am not sure why we are so hyped up about minus nine degree temperatures. I remember that the Polar Vortex winter of 2014 had many many days with colder temperatures. I dunno what the wind chill was and I don’t really care. It WAS windy today. I made a quick trip over to the Plum and I pulled my smartwool leggings on over my tights (underneath my long wool skirt). I was warm enough and it was only about minus four at that time anyway.

But hype? Hmmm… So the schools were closed Monday, today, and tomorrow. That’s not unusual. My company told Planet Ann Arbor folks to telecommute Monday, today, and tomorrow. It wasn’t an order exactly, just a strong suggestion. We all have badges that’ll let us in the door so we can get in whenever we want.

Trash/recycling is delayed two days. That means we will put out our trash for an unprecedented *Sunday* pickup this week. I wonder what the neighbors will think when I don’t put my trash out for its usual Friday pickup. I know LofP will be paying attention to what Garbage Woman does. Garbage pickup is not like it used to be when Bad Boyfriend worked for Soo Sanitation and had to jump off the truck to physically pick up garbage cans to throw them into the back of the truck. Nowadays our truck drivers stay in the truck and use a big mechanical arm to pick up the carts. So I’m not sure why the trucks can’t go out. But I am not complaining.

I can better understand why there was no mail delivery today. This wasn’t random like back in the polar vortex winter when sometimes the mail simply didn’t show up. We were *told* that there would be no mail in our zip code. I am okay with this. Postal mail is not how most important documents are dispatched any more and I am happy that postal delivery folks do not have to deliver a bunch of junk mail on foot in subzero temperatures. I do hope they are being PAID.

I was actually hot in my house this afternoon even though the thermostat was set for 67. It got warmer with our Hotlantia/Yooperland friends who stopped by for lasagne and MoonX whine. Black pinot noir. Our lights were pink/magenta when I took the pic. They changed color throughout the night.

Finally a good use for those big bright overhead LED lights

January 29th, 2019 by kayak woman

Out of nowhere, an unidentifiable insect (or something) appeared and started climbing onto my hand. I was *not* freaked out about this but some other people around here, aka The Pensioner, get freaked out when an insect appears inside the Landfill. Is it a cockroach? Is it a bedbug? Let’s get it!

It was a very small, flimsy little buggie with many legs and I tried to keep it in sight until The Pensioner could bag it up in order to study it a bit. It climbed onto my sweater and that hung it up for a bit but as TP tried to capture it, it fell to the floor and here he is (in his new hat 🐽) trying to find it on the floor. I don’t usually need the big bright overhead LED lights for anything but this time I turned them on.

We did not find the wee buggie but I do not think it was a cockroach or a bedbug and I’m sure it wasn’t a tick or a black fly. Given that, I think it was harmless and I hope neither of us stepped on it.

We gave up and at about the time we did, I got a text message that Delta flight 1591 was going to land ahead of schedule (after a whole bunch of “it’s gonna be late” texts). So we scurried out to the Frog Hopper to head over to Metro. It did indeed land early but our travelers had to wait for more than half the passengers to disembark, a contingent of high school figure skaters. Boy oh boy, I bet those SanFran kiddos will loooooove being in the Detroit area the next couple of days. I hope they have Smartwool balaclavas, etc., but doubt they do.

Our travelers finally managed to get off the plane and we headed back to the Planet Ann Arbor for dinner at Knight’s. So much fun!

Snowed all day and this is the only pic I have to show for it 🐽

January 28th, 2019 by kayak woman

Last Friday we were nicely but strongly advised to take our laptops home because Monday (today) was almost surely going to be a snow day. (I *always* take mine home.)

Amazon Woman was at Cubelandia at least for a while this morning but she actually lives within walking distance (although I don’t think she walked) and manages the *building*, meaning if there are heating issues, etc. (there weren’t), she is the point person. Other than that I don’t think *anyone* went in, meaning I was communicating online with folks all over southeast Michigan plus India.

Since this snowstorm also covers a few neighboring states, there were so many people telecommuting that VPN was s-l-o-w as molasses in, well, January. If you look at today as an informal disaster recovery exercise, I’m gonna guess some tickets are gonna get opened to deal with the VPN issue.

There was nothing spectacular about this snowstorm, at least in terms of photography. Just gray skies and kind of crappy looking snow and how many photos can you take of the GG running his new snowblower? So, here is The GG’s Tick Collection. I thought it was in a baggie but he has moved it to these fancy little bottles. I think there is some kind of alcohol in there but not sure what the liquid is. I’m guessing water would turn them to sludge.

I think he started to actually *collect* ticks the summer he bought the Lyme Lounge. He and Mouse went to Minnesota to pick it up and hiked various places along the way back to and through the yooperland to the moomincabin. They were collecting ticks left and right, I think maybe something like 60 in a day at one point?

A couple days after they got to the moomincabin, the GG felt ill enough that we teetered on the edge of going to the urgent care to test for Lyme Disease. But then he felt better and we decided the true culprits were probably black flies. They had also encountered throngs of those nasty little beasties and they do bring on short-lived symptoms like fever, etc. I would know. The GG does not (that I know of) have a black fly collection.

Dreaming of summer today, as you can tell 🐽

The stinkiest ride ever

January 27th, 2019 by kayak woman

Did I want to go for a ride? Where to? To get a new tank of propane. Well, not really. Then I saw that he had a boooook in hand. That meant we would eventually end up somewhere for lunch. Okay, okay. We got the propane tank filled and then we headed out Liberty and I was sooooo happy when we got far enough out of town that Liberty turned into a dirt road and we didn’t have to deal with any traffic on the snow-covered intermittently slippery roads.

Eventually we ended up heading north for lunch at Dexter’s Pub but not before we were almost overpowered by the smell of mercaptan. I was wondering if someone had “let one” (one of the politer terms we used as kids when discussing flatulence) until the smell became so overpowering that I opened my window. In 16 degree weather.

My supernose almost always catches odors first and it wasn’t until after I started panicking about the propane tank that the GG seemed to notice the smell. “Oh, it’s just mercaptan.” What!!??! A rather disjointed “discussion” about mercaptan and propane tanks and whether we were in danger of exploding ensued. After some googling, I became convinced that mercaptan in and of itself was safe enough. It exists in our bodies and does indeed play a role in the odors produced by flatulence. And it is used with petroleum products to warn of leaks, etc. I’m still wondering why we were smelling it and if the propane tank was leaking but we did make it home and the tank is out in the back yard, thank you very much. I am remembering stories from my days at the EPA NVFEL about how propane tanks could rocket around the building, etc. Fortunately that never happened thanks to the expertise of our federal employees (sorry, had to get in a “dig” at the Orange Baboon).

You are happy that I posted the pic of winter tree branches from my 0-skunk-30 walk this morning. I could have posted a loverly picture of the monster cockroaches who hitched a ride in a toolbox from Crazy Old Florida. They are in my house somewhere now (I told the GG “put ’em in the chitchen”). It’s okay, they were dead even before they left Fla. The GG has a similar baggie of ticks. And one of bedbugs, which did not come from Fla as it turned out.

Traitorously fling-a-dinging

January 26th, 2019 by kayak woman

The Pensioner peered at me this morning and asked what kind of “good” we could get up to today. Turned out he had a vague plan about flinging. So did I except that my plan was more like “where do I [re-]start?” He actually had a few items in mind.

It’s been a busy year what with trips to Fla, etc. We are kind of down to stuff that we really need Other People to make decisions about. And then there’s the issue of trips to Fla bringing More Stuff into the Landfill. In the end, we took a few things out to Kiwanis. It wasn’t a lot but any little bit is progress.

Sshhh. Don’t tell Jenel but we deviated from our usual Saturday lunch at the Griz today. We have had our eye on the Brecon Grille, a place we keep driving by in Saline, so I looked it up. I was impressed enough by the menu that we ended up heading down there for lunch instead. It did not disappoint and we will return, although Jenel remains one of my fave bartenders/servers ever.

Polar Vortex coming our way? The first time I ever heard the term Polar Vortex was the winter of 2014. That was the year that Canada “got drunk and fell asleep down here in the USA”. Beginning around the new year, we had huge snowstorms and sub-zero temperatures that continued throughout the winter. It was almost like when I was growing up in the yooperland but I’ll go there some other day. The Planet Ann Arbor road crews did not get ahead of the initial snow storm before it all froze at -13 so we had icy roads forever after.

They are talking polar vortex again, ahead of winter storm “Barney”. Or is it “Jaden”? I’m corn-fused and I wish the weather gods were not naming winter storms but whatever. I guess “polar vortex” has entered the lexicon of meteorology, at least TV meteorology. I am not impressed. It is winter and we get storms in the USA in winter, particularly in the northern latitudes, like here in my own beloved Great Lake State. Those of us who live here are prepared for pretty much what Old Man Winter throws at us. It isn’t like preparing for a hurricane. Usually, it’s a matter of shoveling out after it all hits. I will say that at Cubelandia FZ decided to take his laptop home in case he couldn’t get in to work if there is snow/ice on Monday.

So we are looking ahead to some snow [maybe, they’ve backed off a bit] and bitterly cold temps [they haven’t backed off about that] over the next week or so. But this is typical winter weather for us. If the TV folks want to call it a polar vortex, okay. But it is NOTHING like the winter of 2014. And here we are in late January. In another week, winter will be half over. We call that day Groundhog Day. It is a “cross quarter day”, which means it’s midway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. We may have awful weather for a few months but the sun is swinging back “up north” and we will deal with it. Not that there won’t be complaints🐽!

The beautiful glass in the pic? That is one of the artifacts that came from Uncle/Mr. Ed’s in Fla. It is an heirloom. We aren’t sure whether it belonged to The Beautiful Grandma Sally because she inherited it from her aunt or because it was a wedding gift from her aunt. This is not the kind of thing I could ever fling even though it is not my style (if I have a style). This crystal is earmarked for inheritance by others so it doesn’t belong to us but it is in the Landfill for the time being and the GG served a nightcap of porterization in these glasses last night.

Mad hatters

January 25th, 2019 by kayak woman

I was actually trying to take a decent pic but somehow this is what happened. I kind of love it anyway, especially since it really isn’t an Ugly. And look at those eyes! A Bird Box creature? Hmmmm. I am not dead yet.

It is our friends of porterization arriving at the Oscar Tango on a Friday evening of 13-degree temperature and wind WITH HATS ON!!!

For years and years and years, we would meet for dinner in the middle of a Great White North Winter and I would look at D and say something like, “D, you are NOT wearing a hat!” But here she is, not that you can tell *who* she is, wearing a hat.

I always wear hats in the winter. In fact, today I wore TWO hats. I wore one of my Smartwool balaclavas underneath my sparkly bomber hat. The balaclava is actually warm enough on its own but the sparkly bomber hat makes me look less like a terrorist and more like an eccentric old bag. Of course, the long wool skirt helps with that too.

Is the “gov’t” “open” again? Last I checked news we were heading in that direction. I was never much of a Nancy Pelosi fan (heck, I am not even a Democrat despite my often progressive opinions) but I am rapidly warming to her and all I’ve got to say is YOU GO GIRL! We MUST talk through our issues rationally and not by holding innocent people hostage. Working without pay? No. Do we need to shrink the federal government? Maybe. Do we need to form better immigration policies? Probably. But we *must* do those things by defining requirements and then carefully designing a plan that has as minimal impact to our country and leaves our hard working federal employees to do their jobs. With pay.

A couple of loved ones flew to the left coast today. I am always a wee bit above my edge when anyone is flying although I keep it well under control because I know intellectually how safe our airspace is. Today when they closed LaGuardia my anxiety ticked up just a bit. Fortunately DTW and SFO were running smoothly although no cosmetic or shoe check at DTW…

I am past the end of my rope with the Orange Baboon. I have never believed that he cares about anything more than himself. His recent frivolous gov’t shut down only serves to support that opinion. Not everyone agrees that we need a “wall” and data doesn’t support the issues he spouts out through his ridiculous tweets. In my dreams, I would love for him to be impeached but I don’t support impeachment. Better that he loses his next election because he lacks voter support. And don’t forget that he actually did NOT win the last election if you counted actual votes. I don’t think that we should get rid of the electoral college but I do believe it did our country a disservice in the 2016 election.

I’m sorry. I’m ranting. But I’ve been directly affected by these stupid *politically driven* government shutdowns and they make me really angry. I do NOT like the Orange Baboon and I do NOT think he is an appropriate president for our great nation.

Let them eat cake (sponsored by #MAGA)

January 24th, 2019 by kayak woman

First a Birdbox update. I finished the book and we actually watched the movie last night. The movie is not set in Michigan. I’m thinking I heard something about California but not sure that’s right. Lots of other details were different and although the movie was fine, I preferred the book. I can only imagine the issues involved in turning a book into a movie but I would’ve loved if the movie had been set in Detroit. But check out both book and movie and form your own opinions if you like dystopian stuff.

Ugh. Yesterday I left Cubelandia without managing to solve a seemingly intractable Javascript issue with our high fidelity product prototype (“the demo”). The demo is mine and mine alone to deal with. I am not a Javascript expert but I know enough about it (and programming logic in general) that I can usually debug just about anything related to the demo. This one was escaping me. Finally, after hours and hours of meetings, I had some solo time to dig into it and I did manage to figger it out! Whew!

My cute li’l timehop app served up this pic a few days ago or so. It’s from 2014, a couple months before we gutted the chitchen. Can you believe that we lived with this fugly chitchen for something like 30 years? All I can say is that, when we bought the Landfill, we could barely afford it, or so it seemed, but it was a HOUSE that we OWNED. Not an apartment with landlords that rented to us because they didn’t want to rent to “zebra teams”. I was gonna say to google that but a quick search doesn’t turn up the definition I was looking for, which is a black person married to a white person. And this on the Planet Ann Arbor of all places. That was a long time ago and those landlords are surely long dead. (It was the Jackson apt, not the Seventh St., for a couple of people who might be wondering.)

Anyway, like all good gov’t employees/contractors, we lived paycheck to paycheck for many many years, basically until I became gainfully employed after a long hiatus and we actually had a meager bit of disposable income for once. Eventually, after a long period of cold feet and marital disagreements, we gutted this fugly chitchen. As oogly as it is, it is where the beach urchins grew up, drawing at the end of the “table” (that you can’t see) while I made dinner with Star Trek re-runs in the background. Wheeling around in one of those unsafe “walkers” or dragging stools back and forth across the room. Always busy and interested in whatever their moom was doing.

MAGA MAGA MAGA. Are we doing “great again” or are we just raking?


January 23rd, 2019 by kayak woman

I wish I had taken a pic out my front window this morning. What a frickin’ mess. The temperature was just over freezing and what was coming out of the sky was rain but what was already on the ground was glare ice. So glare ice topped with water and more water coming out of the sky. All of the schools everywhere were closed. Walk? I think I’ll take a pass.

I also made the wise decision to do a Late Start and work from home for a while. As I was settling in, iDeep Skyped from India and I replied to his “How are you?” with “Fine, we had an ice storm so I am working from home for a while 🐸” I was wondering in the back of my mind if he had any clue what the heck an ice storm is and why did I even say that to him. I was on Skype with him for at least an hour. About QA stuff, not Michigan weather.

The temperature was inching up (as predicted) ever so s-l-o-w-l-y but I wanted to be in the office for the 10 AM Standup so I eventually trundled over there. Ever so s-l-o-w-l-y. The roads were okay but messy and my main concern was having to hit the brakes fast. Fortunately everyone else seemed to have the same concern because even the hot-shot 4-wheel-drivers were taking it slow today. We won’t talk about the HUGE puddle I narrowly missed. It looked like it was about a foot deep. I was pretty sure it was not Ninja-able.

Poor FZ lives out in the “country” and he couldn’t even navigate his driveway so he was stuck at home WITHOUT HIS LAPTOP. That meant he couldn’t email, so about mid-morning we were all kind of wondering where he was. Like me, he doesn’t take time off without plenty of warning and almost always works *at* Cubelandia. Eventually Amazon Woman got a chance to check her text messages.

I am reading Bird Box. The Bird Box movie has been showing up on my social media and my interest was a bit piqued but I wasn’t sure but then… When I found out it was a book first (it’s important to me that a book comes before a movie), I immediately downloaded it. And I am loving reading it. It is just up my alley, beginning with the fact that it’s a dystopian novel set in the Detroit area. The main character is from the yooperland, which lends even more interest.

For another dystopian novel set in my beautiful state of Michigan, check out Station Eleven.

Good Reads

January 22nd, 2019 by kayak woman

I had to scrape my veeeendsheeeeld this afternoon for the first time this winter. It was freezing rain and I was at work and I can’t remote start the Ninja to Egregiously Idle it because it has a stick shift. Fortunately the roads were not icy (yet) but I still drove under the speed limit just in case and no one tailgated me.

So, how about some books? I have had a profile on Goodreads for a few years now. I am connected to exactly three people on Goodreads. My dear friend Jean of YAG years, who doesn’t apparently use it actively. And the beach urchins, who I stalk relentlessly🐽 I stalk them because they read a *lot* and their reading activity often provides me with good ideas.

I have read a lot in my life but somewhat intermittently. I got into a big sci-fi jag as a teenager but I also read other books. Like Portnoy’s Complaint, which The Commander bought and announced with some fanfare. I said I wanted to read it when she was finished and she said, “Sure, fine!” Well. The book disappeared in pretty short order. I did read it but I had to sneak it out of the drawer I figgered out she was hiding it in. Was it a good book? Actually I could probably write a whole ‘nother blahg entry about that but I might have to read the book *again* and I am not all that interested in doing that.

So I dunno, there was a period of Victorian novels, prompted by a college class, and then I read willy-nilly for a while, until I had kids!

The first book I read out loud to Lizard Breath (in the Reading Chair) was “Mouse’s Train Ride”, a simple baby board book with no words. Her Frances Grandma had sent it to her and every time I turned a page and voiced words for the picture (“the baby”, “some crayons”, etc.) she bounced up and down in my lap and “hyperventilated”.

I loved buying books for the beach urchins and I found that I loved reading books out loud. Baby/toddler books, picture books with an actual story. Charlotte’s Web to a three-year-old. Wind in the Willows to a four-year-old (with a two-year-old listening intently). Chronicles of Narnia to a couple of grade schoolers over breakfast and before bed. Indian in the Cupboard to older grade-schoolers, not to mention a whole bunch of beach relatives of all ages. I loved reading on the beach and I so miss those days.

The beach urchins transitioned into fantastic readers. I could still find books for them until about their teen years and then they moved on from me. Now that they are adults, they are better readers than me plus they are really good about finding good books. Our tastes aren’t always exactly in mesh but I do think we all like some weird stuff occasionally. Borne is one that comes immediately to mind, although it was meee finding Borne driving up to HL in the Ninja and listening to Science Friday on NPR. I sometimes wonder if I instilled that tendency in them by reading them Gorky Rises when they were little kids. “Gogol was goggle-eyed!”

NSFW convos against a backdrop of [loud] Andy Griffith reruns

January 21st, 2019 by kayak woman

One minute you are fussing high and mightily about smirking teenagers in MAGA hats and the next you are free-falling into a bedbug rabbithole. That tends to be my lot in life, maybe that’s true for everyone. We can kvetch and kvetch and kvetch about whatever is going on in the news and polly-ticks but then real life reaches out and pulls us down out of whatever ivory tower we think we are in and we land with a big ka-whomp firmly on the ground. Go ask Alice. I think she’ll know.

So hey KW has Monday off this week. It’s MLK’s birthday observation and KW works for the online banking industry so it is a bank holiday. Sadly it is probably not a holiday for many government workers who are furloughed or working without pay. We’ve been there but not today. Today was a beautiful day if you can get past the fact that it started out at minus seven degrees. But the pavement is [largely] dry so let’s drive an hour or so north and take Fla Man out to lunch at Little Joe’s.

That was all cool and yes Andy Griffith was on for the duration that we were at Fla Man’s before lunch. The GG took Junior out to do his business and while he was gone I endured a few NSFW discussions. Something about fans in the bathroom and being a single guy P-ing and that is about as far as I will go with that.

Lunch was wonderful until the GG received a call. Long story short, bedbugs have been detected at Fla Man’s and fumigation is scheduled SOON. That’s as far as I will go with that.

A trip to Kroger taught us a few things. Certain OTC allergy drugs need to be purchased from the pharmacy with an ID. I mean, I know that there are certain OTC drugs that can be used to cook meth or whatever but I rarely buy OTC drugs so I had no clue. And then… Cigarettes? Or cigarillos or mini-cigars or whatever they are? Whatever they are, we had to ask how/where to buy them. The answer was register 15. In other words there was ONE cash register at which you can buy cigs these days. The cashier had to go somewhere to unlock them. I sorta had a clue it worked something like this but I think I have purchased maybe 2-3 packs of cigs in my life. I am a never smoker.

Then I had an episode back at the apartment where I walked into a room with a little pad with some dog poop on it. I can handle seeing dog poop in the “wild”. I could not handle this. I will leave you with the fact that the toilet was clean and I left it clean. If it hadn’t been, this unfortunate episode would’ve been a lot worse. I am a lot more tired tonight than I would’ve been after a day at Cubelandia.

Life is rarely dull and Fla Man is quite the character but he is *our* character, as I told our wonderful bartender, who, busy as she was at the time, indulgently listened to Fla Man’s stories about Fla and taking his dog to bars, etc.

G’night, KW