Random bits of my so-called life.

Almost too bright

March 2nd, 2021 by kayak woman

I do not have ANYTHING in my brain worth writing about today so we’ll see where this ends up if anywhere.

The pic is Mr. Golden Sun lighting up the trees in the Haisley woods just enough after dawn that he’s high enough in the sky to, uh, light them up. We’ve got another 10 days where this kind of photoooo is a possibility, then daylight savings will put me back in the dark for a while. Which I actually kinda prefer. I like to be “invisible” and I am because I wear black/dark gray. Yeah, the usual worry warts will fuss that automotive vee-hickles can’t see me. Well, I am mostly on sidewalks and I can see (and hear) automotive vee-hickles that are blocks away. I am ALWAYS on the lookout.

I also look out for Stinkerbelle the Skunk. ’tis the season. Once at around this time of winter we got eight inches of snow or whatever overnight. I went out at 0-skunk-30 to start shoveling out and figured out that the funny little trails UNDER the snow were from skunks burrowing around the neighborhood. I think that was in the years before “they” started finding rabid skunks all over this side of town. Suddenly we had a lot fewer skunks. We don’t know for sure but we suspect the city embarked on a quiet little eradication program. I am an aminal fan and I have nothing against skunks. They’re an important part of the ecosystem and I just avoid them. But rabies brings a different variable into play. (Sshhh, don’t tell the folks on Next Door Neighbor any of this!)

Anyway, I have been trapped here for the last couple days with a COVID Mohawk person who has been frenetically bopping around like crazy and talking at me while munching on Trenary Toast right smack in my face. Trenary Toast is a yooper thing but I am not a fan. Dry dry dry hunks of cinnamon flavored bread. In my book, cinnamon toast is “Bunny Bread” that is toasted, BUTTERED, and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Having somebody crunch Trenary Toast in your face? It reminded me of the time somebody was crunching pistachio nuts on a Family Trip to the Badlands. You know the kind of trip. The one where the car breaks down, the kids get sick, and the dog runs away🐽 That was a generally stressful day and the noise associated with aggressive pistachio chewing did not help lower the stress level.

Love y’all, KW

P.S. Also on that trip? Nobody got sick. We didn’t have a dog. The POC didn’t break down but on our last (and most stressful) day, the fuel pump (we figgered out later) made a humming noise for at least 100 miles. Cheers!

When Microsoft comes calling, don’t answer

March 1st, 2021 by kayak woman

At least not unless you are EXPECTING Microsoft to call.

Not only did I earn my pay as a systems analyst in the online banking industry today, I had the rather dubious “pleasure” of helping untangle a mess with a money transfer app. It wasn’t my mess and I won’t out the mess-ee. It wasn’t the GG’s mess either except for his role in sorting it out. Short story, canceled card.

That said, I use a money transfer app on my phone. It doesn’t really matter which one it is although it wasn’t the same one as was used in today’s mess. I use my app to send money to a VERY limited number of people. When I send money to them, they don’t get asked to enter any kind of personal information in order to collect it. We have to accept a connection with the first transaction and after that, it just goes.

I spent a good amount of time this afternoon (between the cracks of doing my PAID job) helping the GG get set up on my app so he would understand how these things work. I transferred $10 to him and, in the end, the transfer was successful. No this wasn’t a useless transaction from our bank account to our bank account. He set up a different receiver for the money. One that I am not even privy to. Which is okay.

I am here to remind everyone, if anyone calls/texts/emails/whatever telling you that they have money for you if you click a link and provide personal information: 1) DO NOT CLICK THE LINK and 2) DELETE THE MESSAGE PRONTO!!! It is not Microsoft. Microsoft doesn’t hand out money to random people. *I* do not hand out money to random people, so if you get that kind of message from meeeee, it is NOT MEEEEEE!

If you want to use a money transfer app, make sure you are connected ONLY with people you know and trust. And make sure you TALK to them offline (outside of the money app) to agree to be connected. The online banking industry is diligent about keeping up with security but it’s still a whack-a-mole game.

Willya look at that “gawky” looking kid? Gawky is her word. I agree that she is wearing a funny (but happy) expression but this person has NEVER been even one iota of gawky. Yah, I know I’m her moom. She obviously doesn’t take after meeeeee. This pic? Over the weekend, I found some old photos with the .pict extension. I think they came from a Quick Cam(?) that we used to use. My brand new laptop/OS couldn’t display them. I did The Google and found a conversion site and they are now little (38K) jpgs.

March came in more or less lambish (except for the wind) here on the Planet Ann Arbor. Sault Ste. Siberia was by all reports another story. Whiteout conditions and icy icy icy roads.

Love y’all and g’night, KW

Incited by 🐭

February 28th, 2021 by kayak woman

The pic, that is. The moooooooon rises in the back yard so if I am hanging out in the front of the house, I sometimes miss it if I’m not thinking about it. Or if it’s cloudy.

So, we go in and out of marriage phases (don’t worry, this isn’t gonna end in a “hold onto your shorts” moment). When I was a “kid” and first married to the GG (and we were 28 then so we weren’t really “kids”), I used to be nervous if he was outta town and I was in the house alone. That feeling intensified when we had our children. What if someone breaks in or a weird person comes to the door? No one has ever broken in (knock on wood) and weird people sometimes came to the door pre-COVID and I dealt with them.

Fast forward to middle/high school kids. I got less nervous and there were weekends when it was kinda Girls Alone and Dad with his Twin Brother. Which was okay with me. And there were all the times I drove with my daughters to the yooperland to hang out at the moominbeach with the moominfam.

When they were young, I drove but I’m particularly remembering a time when we were driving tandem with me in the POC (crappy old ISLAND TEAL Plymouth minivan) and them in the Indefatigable (ancient Jeep Wrangler). The 16-year-old was driving and when we stopped to gas up at Indian River, a young couple next to my vee-hickle were changing a newborn baby girl and I remember thinking that in 16 years, they might be driving tandem with their daughter in another car.

Later on, at a time when the GG was still working and I was not, I was frequently traveling solo to the yooperland and The Commander once wondered if our marriage was okay. She figgered out that it WAS. And it WAS, *I* was checking up on The Commander and Radical Betty. And spreading my wings.

Now. In the COVID days… We are together all day every day. When he goes outta town, I am happy. We love each other but we both need space. And (knock on wood) I am never a-skeered of staying at the Landfill alone. Not even when I hear people drag racing on N. Maple. Yes, really.

Boring day but that can be okay

February 27th, 2021 by kayak woman

What can I say? Took my 0-skunk-30, then settled in to a morning of vacuuming, mopping, laundry and…

…ordering stuff on the internet. Lemme see, cleaning/household crapola. I’ve been ordering a lot of that stuff from Amazon since waaaay before the pandemic. It usually works out well. Aaaaand… Monkfish from Luke’s Lobster. Yeah, Julia Child’s fave fish. I have a vague memory of that episode and also think I have it in a cookbook. And then tamales I randomly ran across online. We’ll see how that goes. I’ve ordered from Luke’s before but not from the tamale place.

And yes, I know I can probably get both of those things locally, the monkfish when Monahan’s has it, the tamales probably any time. I do like that Luke’s is (according to a NYT article) involved in supporting the Maine fishing community and other folk. As much as I try to reduce my Pandemic Food Stash, I seem to also keep increasing it. I guess we have a “complicated” relationship?

In the afternoon, I settled in to finishing Echo Wife, which I started after work yesterday. This is a REALLY STRANGE book and I highly doubt it would be everyone’s cuppa but I enjoyed it a lot. I was gonna give it a 4 (out of 5). There were three instances of “exact same” and other flaws that I can’t easily articulate. But the story hung together for me despite many moments of “wait, what?” and after I read the author’s acknowledgements I bumped my rating up to 5. I dunno what to say except google it if you don’t know me well enough to have an idea of my sometimes weird taste in reading material.

Amazon Woman and I usually touch base on Mondays (which I GREATLY appreciate BTW). I love a boss who keeps in touch and provides support where needed but doesn’t micromanage. Anyway, she always asks how my weekend was and more often than not my answer is “boring”. Her life is a lot more interesting but then, she has an almost-teenage child. My life was maybe more interesting when I had teenage children. But inside my head it is NEVER boring.

So here is “my” woods (i.e., behind the Landfill) today. Wet and muddy except for the “trail”, which is totally glare ice. I climbed up on a big pile of leaves to get this pic. I have plenty of water and mud in my back yard but the paths are not icy and the glaciers are melting. A beach urchin reports that the weather forecast for tomorrow includes possible thunderstorms. I’m a bit skeptical but if so, bring ’em on!

Sent from O-haaa-o

February 26th, 2021 by kayak woman

Not the best pic. I wouldda at least tried to “frame” it better or get a better angle without such a busy background. But it’s an interesting sculpture. And better than the COVID Mohawk pic I also got. Or any of the pics I took today, which is a big fat ZERO!

One of my recent book goals (or whatever), was to re-read Isaac Asimov’s Foundation “trilogy” along with its sequels and prequels. Seven books in total. I didn’t think I had read the sequels before but it turned out I did because I remembered the ending. The prequels were new to me.

I started at the beginning with the first book in the original trilogy (Foundation) and it took me a while to get, I dunno, re-acclimated, maybe? I used The Google and found that quite a lot of the original trilogy was written as short stories in the EARLY 1940s. With that knowledge, I plunged ahead and began encountering little bits and pieces of memories. Hari Seldon, Bayta, Arkady, Trantor, Terminus. And more.

I greatly enjoyed this trip through my own time musheen as well as Isaac Asimov’s. Along the way, I read all kinds of criticism, mostly about his sequels. I have to admit I understood the flaws and as I was re-reading, I wondered (as amateur critics claimed) if his publishers had pushed him to write the sequels so he came up with some “crazy” stuff. I dunno. I enjoyed the sequels way back when and I enjoyed them this time around.

The prequels were about Hari Seldon’s life and I thought they were pretty solid.

All that said, this stuff is what I think of as “classic” sci-fi. Were the characters multi-dimensional? Naw. But who cares? Asimov clearly had an amazing array of creative ideas in his head and so what if his stories weren’t perfectly thought out. I’m thinking that he had SO many ideas that he couldn’t figure out how to fit them all into books before he died.

I’m gonna take a little break but at some point, I may dive into his robut robot stuff.

I’m reading an almost crazier book now, Echo Wife. I’m enjoying the book but every time the phrase “exact same” comes up, I get a grinding noise in my head. Isn’t that what editors are for?

Not Gitchee Gumee

February 25th, 2021 by kayak woman

O-haaaa-o has a lot of canals and some rivers but… bdah bdah bdah… I was gonna say no Big Water but then I remembered Lake Erie. Duh.

So this pic is a text I got today. The person is Urban Hiking in Dayton, on the Buckeye Trail, which shares trail with the North Country Trail. 20 miles a day, took a Lyft to get from point A to point B today. Yes, masks are required on Lyfts. You know I asked. His Lyft gal (Kathy? or is it Barb?) is gonna watch for his “order” (or whatever it is) tomorrow. Yes, he’s a popular guy, especially with the wimmen. Even with his COVID mohawk, I guess.

Kayak Woman? Blaaaaaahhhhhh… Yes today was a work day. Most of the team had an “exciting” start to the week and are now all dead taaaarrrrred. I wasn’t involved in their excitement but their lack of energy somehow transferred to meeeee, even though we are now totally working in cyberspace.

I do have stuff to do (I always have stuff to do) but I am waiting for information on a lot of things and I wasn’t in the mood for some of the “bookkeeping” aspects of my job today. Late in the afternoon a couple of training sessions showed up so I did those. The typical online banking stuff about fraud and money laundering, etc. I have absolutely NOTHING to do with any of those things at work. Believe me, we have teams upon teams of specialists in those things. But everyone has to take the training. And pass the QUIZ at the end. I used to be nervous about the quizzes but they are just multiple choice and in the end it’s all common sense stuff. Like don’t give/accept expensive gifts in exchange for special services. Duh.

The Commander used to tell me how much I hated multiple choice tests when I was in grade school. “But sometimes there isn’t just one right answer”, I would say. I don’t really remember this. I learned how to rock multiple choice and nowadays when I take these little quizzes, if I miss one it’s always because I didn’t CAREFULLY read the question and/or options.

So I am about to heat up leftovers again. I am on Mother’s March this weekend, trying to slowly make my way through more of some frozen stuff that is still perfectly edible but not what I would want to serve for dinner, even with our extremely relaxed standards. And I am awaiting the [temporary] return of the Frog Hopper to our driveway, which should be happening any minute.

And here it is (the Frog Hopper (and a couple bottles o’ whine)). Thank you 🐭. G’night, KW

By the shores of…

February 24th, 2021 by kayak woman

One of my PacNW blahggy buddies posted about her cousins yesterday. I’m not gonna link to her this time because, well, mainly because I think (like me) she sorta likes to fly her blahg a bit under the radar and this entry is about family “stuff”. I did offer to be her pretend cousin because she is what my Jewish buddies call a MENSCH and I think she deserves well, not *better* cousins because these folks are HUMAN and humans are imperfect (ask my kids!). But I have been blessed by wonderful cousins from both parents’ siblings and I wish that kind of family for everyone. I have my own family “stuff” but it doesn’t involve cousins.

One thing she wrote about made me go, “WAIT! WHAT?” for the second day in a row. When she was a kid, her extended fam took family vacations at a hotel called Gitche Gumee. IN WASHINGTON STATE! WAIT! WHAT?

Throughout my entire life, Gitchee Gumee is one of the names I have called Lake Superior, the big body of water I grew up on. This tipped my world a bit sideways so googly googly googly. As near as I can figure out… YES it is a Native American term from the Ojibway language. There are many spelling variants, which I won’t list. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow spelled it Gitchee Gumee and that’s how I have always spelled it.

It means “big sea” or “huge water” but is usually associated mainly with Lake Superior. In 1878, Bishop Baraga (google him), wrote a dictionary that included “Otchipwe-kitchi-gami” meaning “the sea of the Ojibwe people”. That would be Lake Superior but apparently “kitchi-gami” applied to ANY big body of water. I’ve been to the Pacific Ocean and it certainly qualifies as a big body of water. I dunno who named that hotel or why. Maybe they had Lake Superior or Ojibway tribe connections or maybe they were simply honoring the old poem. There has to be a connection but I dunno what it is.

I was a little kid, like six maybe, when I drew a picture of Gitchee Gumee. To me at that age, he was kind of a “monster” albeit not necessarily a scary monster. My picture was very colorful and full of carefully crafted “designs” (I learned this kinda stuff from my older MacMu cousin Sally) to fill in his face and clothing, etc. That thing hung up in the moomincabin beside the Sunfish sailbote trophy for many years. I wish I could share it today but it is no longer around and has probably disintegrated. Alas.

Learn something new every day

February 23rd, 2021 by kayak woman

I have owned Gertrude for going on 10 years now. I went to turn her top oven on to heat up some leftover enchiladas for dinner tonight. As I leaned in to click upper-oven bake 200 start, somehow “chicken nuggets” caught my eye. Wait! What? Gertrude has a SETTING for CHICKEN NUGGETS? I use the timer function just below all the time. That is I use it twice a year when I make Chex mix (three times this year because I didn’t want the leftover cereal to get stale and end up in the compost).

We bought Gertrude BEFORE we gutted the crappy old 70s Landfill Chitchen. Why did we buy a new stove? I’m not sure how old the stove that came with the landfill was but it was OLD when we moved in and occasionally one or another of the electric burner coils (or whatever they are) would crap out. The GG would go over to Master Tech and order a new one, install it, and we’d be good to go.

So once, I was over at Cubelandia and a beach urchin was cooking something and one of those old burner coils burned out in a SPECTACULAR way. As much as I’m glad she wasn’t injured in any way, I’m also kind of glad I wasn’t home. I’m sure she was a lot calmer than I wouldda been. This time when the GG went over to Master Tech, he could not get a replacement.

Well, okay. Being US, we couldn’t agree on a replacement stove so we lived with a three burner stove for a couple years. Eventually we took another stab at it and there was Gertrude big as life. That’s my stove, I said, and even though she is a brand that isn’t particularly highly rated for quality, she has served us well (knock on wood).

I have never baked chicken nuggets in Gertrude and I doubt I ever will.

A little color if you will?

February 22nd, 2021 by kayak woman

And other trivia.

Like two (count ’em) recent postal experiences. One, I got a text from “Marc” at the “USPS” that he had tried to deliver a package but no one was home and I could click the link to discuss delivery options with him. Um, noooo. For one thing, this is a known scam. Even if it had a chance of being real, there is someone here (usually meeeee) 99% of the time. I see almost ALL deliveries of everything from my vantage point at TeleCubelandia The Green Couch. So, NOOOO, I did not click the link.

The funny thing is that I was actually expecting a delivery from Amazon via USPS. Amazon kept telling me it was late, then it said it was probably lost. Did I want a refund? I clicked the tracking link and guess where it was last seen? Anyone guess Texas? Houston. I cracked up. I decided to wait a bit longer. Lo and behold, it arrived today. It wasn’t anything critical to my existence or even my happiness. Just a package of Windex wipes. I started buying cleaning/household supplies via Amazon waaaaay before the pandemic. The short story is I don’t enjoy spending any more time in the big grock stores than I have to.

So a few postal thoughts. 1) I don’t blame either of these issues directly on DeJoy or tRump or even the postal service. Really, I don’t (as much as I HATE tRump). 2) I believe postal service reform is necessary but probably not for the same reasons as DeJoy and tRump might think it is. 3) I think designing positive changes to the postal service will be extremely complex and I doubt that DeJoy is the person to lead the effort. 4) This has nothing to do with our neighborhood carriers who typically do their jobs competently even when under stress, like they have been doing throughout this pandemic year and recent snow storms.

Can I just say that I CONTINUE to be NOT READY to dine INSIDE a restaurant or even OUTSIDE one. I don’t care if case numbers are plummeting. We (aka SCIENCE) don’t really know why they are declining or whether they’ll go back up. Vaccines are still not readily available, at least not in our county, except for folks in elder care facilities and medical workers (who SHOULD be getting them). I strongly believe that other essential workers should take priority, like grocery/retail/restaurant workers. And TEACHERS if we continue to talk about returning to in-person classes. More on that if I ever get my writing chops together on that subject but I seethe when parents complain about their kids’ their struggles with online school without mentioning that teachers have needlessly lost their lives.

I love the Dexter pub. It was one of our go-to places back in 2006 when my dad was incarcerated in the Henry Ford Hoosegow with a smashed pelvis and The Commander was staying in a hospital campus apartment. I drove over there almost every day, usually in Daisy (2005 blue Honda Civic, still in the fam but likely to leave soon). Fortunately, it was a very dry winter. Many nights I would get home and send out a daily status email to family and friends and then we would drive out to Dexter for dinner.

Alas, the Dexter pub would not be my first choice for a return to indoor dining. They may well follow the rules for occupancy and seating, etc., but I wonder what their ventilation system is like.

Also, a lot of us have COVID hair (including me) but I do not like to be out in public with a baggy old guy sporting a COVID Mohawk🐽🐽🐽

We will eat chili at the Dexter pub bar again someday🧡🧡🧡


February 21st, 2021 by kayak woman

Oh, not today. That weak sun was my late afternoon view out the front of the Landfill.

Yesterday we went to Argentine. Actually we went to Flint (yes, that Flint). We went to Flint to participate in a can exchange with FlaMan. The deal is, if his empty cans are fully drained of beer and neatly bagged (or even just bagged) when we get there, they are magically replaced with full cans. It was a while before the GG managed to train FlaMan to follow that procedure but a man does need his beer so Pavlovian conditioning eventually yielded a result. Last time the GG brought a haul of cans down here it was Recycle Eve, so he put them out in the street and the neighbor across the street IMMEDIATELY snagged them.

Another rule the GG has adopted, after narrowly missing a black ice accident in January 2020, is “I don’t do 100 mile beer runs in bad weather.”

I didn’t really want to go to Flint yesterday. I was up for a road trip and the weather was fine and the roads were dry but the easiest way to get to Flint is up the freeway and I was NOT up for a freeway trip. So the GG offered me a trip up “through Pinckney”. We turned in the wrong place and didn’t ever end up in Pinckney but we meandered the back roads through and around a number of other little burgs and that was cool.

Including Argentine. I often follow along on our meanders with GooMaps on my phone. When Argentine Road came in to view I squeeed just a bit, silently to myself. But I couldn’t remember why it was familiar. Then we crossed Clyde Road and… Oh yeah, when we used to take our girl scout troop for overnights at Camp Linden, we would exit the freeway at Clyde, drive a bit west to Argentine and turn north to… Hmmm… What was that road? It was a little road on the left and I don’t think we took ONE trip to that camp that we didn’t MISS THE TURN and the whole convoy of mini-vans had to do u-ies to get back on track.

I looked for the turn on our way north but missed it. But. We ended up taking Argentine partway home too and this time, I looked up from my phone to see a road sign proclaim HOGAN ROAD! YES!!! That was it! We didn’t explore any further yesterday (the drive was getting to be a little looooong) but we’ll go back some other time and check it out.

Because a couple of area girl scout camps have closed since my kids were troop members, I wasn’t even sure Camp Linden was open but according to The Google, it is alive and thriving. And has a rifle range… I’m sure the GG was interested in that little tidbit.

On stereotypes (and outhouses)

February 20th, 2021 by kayak woman

Yesterday I was kinda telling a story about my late brother and not trying to tackle feminism and sexual harassment and whatever all in one post. I don’t have the writing chops to do that in a daily blahg or ever. But well, what *about* female trombone players?

Yes, they exist! There were/are three in the FinFam. My [late] aunt Bubs, a niece, and a relatively new in-law. I dunno what it was like for Bubs to play in the Soo High bone section back in her day. There was ONE female trombonist in my high school band and she seemed to be able to dish it out as well as any of the guys. I actually have NO MEMORY of how many female trombonists were in the groups I played in at Interlochen or in college. Interlochen? I’m sure there were a few. College? No clue.

I was participating in virtual Oscar Tango porterzoomation when I wrote yesterday’s blahg so you get what you get. Were we arguing about the Russian Revolution again? If so, why? (Don’t answer that!) Upon reflection, I have been thinking that some of the stuff those old trombone players said and did would probably get them kicked out of school nowadays. I probably remember it more fondly than some others because people didn’t really try to mess with me that often. I was [usually] wind symphony first chair flute and there were a handful of [male] band members who knew me (and my brother) from high school in Siberia and I suspect there was a third reason but I’m not gonna go there.

I will go on record to say I don’t think people should EVER bully or harass ANYONE. BUT. I also think that our society is not oriented towards providing young people with the tools they need to stand up against that kind of crapola. As a young music student I watched so many of my female peers struggle with harassment mainly from male professors and I had ONE episode of my own, which I LEARNED FROM. Why these old fossils think they might be attractive to the average 20-year-old, I will never figure out. Hint: it isn’t because of your musical proficiency. We admire your playing but we want to LEARN from you, not SLEEP with you. Young ladies, stand with a fist!

Floating around out on social media somewhere is a wonderful high school pic of my brother and a couple of his friends playing their instruments wearing Mexican style PONCHOS! It’s probably a yearbook pic but it isn’t in any of my yearbooks because I was in college by then. Instead you get this pic of him after destroying our old moomincabin outhouse. He sent the pic to his colleagues in the auto company and yes my blahg seems to have taken a dive from G-rated this week. I am sorry. Or not.

To balance this one out, the second pic is of our parents BUILDING the outhouse back in the day. I have a LOT of outhouse stories but let’s not go there today.

P.S. Apologies to Joel, a fantastic trumpet player who could play a mean screech trumpet (google it). He was also one of my brother’s best friends and a good friend of mine who, while we were both at Moo-U, braved many rides to and from the yooperland in the snow with meeee at the wheel of my CRAPPY old rusty green Pinto Wagon. I haven’t seen or heard from him in years and I’m sure he knows nothing about this blahg of blather but when I stereotyped trumpet players I wasn’t thinking about Joel and feel compelled to make it right by him.

Don’t look at the trombones…

February 19th, 2021 by kayak woman

…it only encourages them.

Oh yes. Some of the raunchiest behavior, not to mention humor, in the band. I know. I rode on many a band bus back in the day. Exaggerated body function noises and crude language, etc. One particularly memorable, uh, memory:

[male] trombone player to cute [male] trombone player: I’d like to be a woman for a week with you.

This stuff didn’t really bother me. Actually in my youth I thought it was funny. I grew up with a couple older male cousins who could be just about as raunchy as any trombone player I knew. Also, growing up on the south side of Sault Ste. Siberia, my then BFF Ping and I were constantly fighting “wars” with the boyz in the neighborhood. There were the four W boyz who learned to throw rocks as soon as they learned to walk and the I dunno how many L kids who lived in what The Comm probably called “squalor” and (maybe?) once stole my brother’s bike? (Whoever stole it, The Comm got it back.) And others.

So my brother was a trombone player and he fit right in with all that stuff. Our older male cousins probably had an influence on him too. Trumpet players were usually too full of themselves to succumb to raunchy behavior. “Yeah, I play a little trumpet”, I once heard one say. Ugghhh. Tuba players were a whole ‘nother thing. There weren’t usually enough of them to, uh, “organize” but think donut down the horn kinda thing.

Hey, there are stereotypes about every instrument including mine (the flute). Mine might be almost an uber stereotype but I *own* it but we’ll go there some other day.

My brother was a good trombone player. He got into jazz in high school and continued it into college, playing in a highly acclaimed jazz ensemble at Michigan Tech, where he got an engineering degree. His jazz group traveled and Jamaica was a yearly destination. I only know the inside poop about trombone section behavior from his stories although I also witnessed it in my own groups. I’m sure I didn’t hear all his stories and those I did hear are not really blahggable although most o’ that stuff is legal nowadays.

My brother became a successful automotive engineer but he never stopped playing the trombone as long as he lived. And he was always *buying* trombones. I remember when Craig’s List was a new thing, he would go and meet people in parking lots to buy trombones. I was kinda freaked out about this at first and then my brain reality-checked me. He’s buying TROMBONES! These people are his TRIBE. They’re probably meeting in these parking lots making raunchy trombone guy jokes as they’re doing their transactions.


February 18th, 2021 by kayak woman

So this happened. Not today. It was a few five years ago and no it didn’t hit my house. It fell across the sidewalk that leads through the Deep Dark Scary Woods into the schoolyard. I heard it from inside my house and I’m the fourth house down the block. It’s a good story but maybe one for another day.

What I’m cranky about is that according to Next Door Neighbor (which I have mixed feelings about), people are using the city’s “fix-it” app to tattle on their neighbors for not clearing their sidewalks of snow “immediately” (I think 24 hours is the time limit). This results in big fines for the “offenders”, many of whom are actually shoveling but apparently not doing a picture perfect job.

I am a long-time early morning walker and I totally agree that people should be clearing their sidewalks AND putting down some kind of de-icer. I wear ice cleats now but over the years, I have fallen a couple times. Both times, I was galumphing along on what seemed like “grippy” snow, then suddenly encountered a sidewalk pane with a slick coating of ice hidden under the snow. Ka-whomp! What hit me? I revisited those locations under cover of dark and stealth salted them.

It’s always been possible to report people for poor snow removal but now that all it takes is a click or a tap, I think it’s too easy to do. I also don’t think the clickers and the tappers are thinking their actions through. There are any number of good reasons why a neighbor of any age might not be able to keep up with perfect clearing. I dunno why we can’t relax a bit and give them some slack, especially in this stay-home pandemic winter. I mean, it often takes DAYS for the city to plow the STREETS.

Also, most of us in the older Planet Ann Arbor neighborhoods don’t have a whole lot of sidewalk to shovel. Why not just shovel your NEIGHBOR’S walk if you suspect they aren’t simply being neglectful? Back in the day when we had older neighbors, I did that a few times just for the joy of being outside in the dark under the stars, throwing snow around. BTW, they were well capable of doing their own snow but they were entranced and gave us WHINE!

I have used the fix-it app once. It had nothing to do with winter precipitation, except that the tree in the pic fell during an ice storm. No one was injured in that incident and the city came out directly to tape it off and then clean it up. But. The street light that keeps the vampires and werewolves away went out and didn’t come back on. A few months later, I learned about the fix-it app, took a pic of the street light pole’s serial number and filed a fix-it request. In about a week the light was back on!

I think that kind of thing is a GOOD use of the fix-it app. Tattling on neighbors about imperfect snow removal? Not so much. It’s winter and this is the Great Lake State and we have to pull together! I bet neighbors are helping neighbors in Texas.

Infrastructure Week?

February 17th, 2021 by kayak woman

There’s a lot of talk about what’s going down in Texas right now. One of the threads of conversation that I am pretty tired of at this point is how bad Texas folk are at driving in snow and ice. Nothing is ever simple. For one thing, not everyone who lives in Texas was born there. I think quite a few have migrated there from places further north where winters include plenty of snow and ice.

For those who do NOT know how to drive on snow and ice, why are we denigrating them? Of COURSE they don’t have winter driving experience. What are we supposed to do? Send all the southerners up to the Great Lake State for a 2-week winter driving course during their driver’s ed training? Who’s gonna pay for it? The gubmint? Come on and cut these folks some slack. Big pileups or small, people are dying. As a native Michigander, I *do* have winter driving experience. Maybe because of that experience, I prefer to stay off the roads in snow and ice.

I do not have anything approaching extensive knowledge about power grids. Obviously Texas’s grid is not handling the conditions down there. I know there are a lot of hard-working hands-on folks down there who are up to their ears and risking COVID exposure to get the grid working again. Unfortunately there also seems to be a lot of finger pointing. Wind power. The Green New Deal (which last I looked did NOT magically happen with Biden’s inauguration). You name it. The Colorado City TX mayor resigned after an inflammatory social media post that callously told people they were on their own (google it). Yes to a certain extent we are ALL responsible for our own welfare during disasters (not to mention helping out our neighbors) but come on. We do pay taxes in part to support infrastructure and anyway, how did that a-hole get elected in the first place. MAGA idiot probably catering to MAGA idiots? Sigh. Can we get rid of the mean-ness?

So, what ever happened to Infrastructure Week anyway? We kept hearing about that throughout the campaign and early years of the Trumpian Bombasty. I mean, he built a wall (or claimed to). Was that his infrastructure plan? I don’t get how the small expansions/repairs he made to the existing wall (that Mexico did NOT pay for) help all of the Texans caught in the weather/infrastructure debacle going down right now? I cannot fathom.

I randomly came across this Twitter thread today. I dunno if it’s totally true but it cracked me up. If you are not one o’ them thar “socialists” like me, you may not wanna click that link. P.S. I am NOT a socialist.

Yes, we have a big ice p*nis stalagmite in our back yard. I think that pipe thingy above it drips water. So much for G-rated blahg, roight?

What did the snowman do…

February 16th, 2021 by kayak woman

I am spoiled now that The Pensioner has a yooper-sized snowblower. We “inherited” my dad’s yooper-sized blower after The Comm joined the Ryerson party bote in the sky but we “donated” that one to the cFam “group home” at Hoton Lake. A few years later, I “bought” this one for TP for xmas. I mean he picked it out and bought it — in October — and I “gave” it to him for xmas, after it had already been used at least once.

I used to do most of the shoveling around here, especially when he was still gainfully employed. I actually enjoyed it. I’m kind of amazed at how much I don’t miss it. In fact, today I actually had to complain a bit about a glitch! There was no path to the compost heap! He ALWAYS blows a path to the compost heap. I mean, I couldda put my boots on and trudged out there. But it’s a lot easier to just throw on my sandals and walk a cleared path. I did wear boots for my 0-skunk-30 this morning. I was out before most people had a chance to clear their sidewalks so I was trudging.

Y’all don’t really wanna know about my work much but today had its minor successes. The main one being that I was BANGING MY BRAIN against an obtuse description in our defect/change tracking system. I was on the verge of asking a Stupid Question. I know. I know. There are no Stupid Questions and I am not afraid to ask Stupid Questions. But before I ask, I like to dredge up as much background information as possible. So I was dredging today and I found a document written by my retired colleague W1.5, who worked for YEARS on our legacy system, which doesn’t exist any more. Bingo! I didn’t get a definitive answer out of this but I think I know how to ask an intelligent question, or at least a less-stupid one.

I miss W1.5. He was one of the first people I met when I went to Cubelandia to meet with the LSCHP for my STUDENT INTERNSHIP interview. I was nervous as all getout but when I met W1.5 and a few other folks who were my age or older, I felt like I had maybe found a home. W1.5 was doing something at the command line on his computer. I have NEVER worked at the command line at Cubelandia but I did in my childhood job at That Darn EPA.

So, the GG did go out and blow a path to the compost heap and then, just to be all mavericky or whatever, he cut a path right through the front yard. I posted this photooo on FB and tagged the GG so all of his fans (and he has them) could send him some love and they are doing that.

Oh yeah. What did the snowman do when he heard the snowblower coming? This is a G-rated (mostly) blahg so y’all will have to remember our old childhood joke or manufacture yer own.

Love y’all, KW

Looking for spring, nowhere in sight

February 15th, 2021 by kayak woman

Here you can see at least a few of the sequins on my bomber hat. I am TERRIBLE at selfies (I even own a stick) but I managed this one. I think it was on a Friday afternoon as I was getting ready to schlep down to the Oscar Tango to meet the crew for dinner. It was 2014, the Polar Vortex winter. You know the one, when Canananada got drunk and….

A huge snowstorm began that New Year’s Day and the local road departments never really got caught up with clearing that stuff before more snow came down. And down. And down. Forever. The roads were snow-covered on top of a loverly ice base ALL WINTER!

I chose to work from home that January 2 and it turned out that was a good thing because the parking lot at Cubelandia had not been plowed and almost everyone who drove over there got stuck. When the plows finally came, people had to go out and push cars around so the plows could actually clear snow. The Benevolent Despot apparently bellowed his frustration with something like, “If people are gonna drive over here just to push a bunch of cars around, I don’t see why we don’t all work from home.” Here it is 2021 and we are working from home. Permanently.

The hat has a story in that it is a gift from The Commander on one of her last xmases. The story involves differences between my mother’s and my taste in clothing, etc. She spent my childhood years trying her best to dress me “elegantly”. I don’t really like to dress “elegantly”. In one grade school memory, we were choosing between two dresses for me. We ended up with a elegant plain blue shift kind of thing instead of the beautiful blue flowered full-skirted, puff-sleeved number that I preferred.

Of course as I went through my teen years I began choosing my own outfits more and more plus I LEARNED TO SEW (‘nother day). I’m not sure she was ever all that happy with my garish taste but we co-existed well.

And then, the fall before that penultimate xmas, I was up in Siberia and we were in Barishes and there was *my* black sparkly bomber hat! I was in love. She peered at the garishly sequined hat and she peered at me and asked, “Do you really like that hat?” Yes, yes, I do. And so when I was opening xmas presents, there it was! Oddly enough, I didn’t actually wear it for a year or so, not sure why. And then one day I put it on and walked forth in confidence. I got umpteen bazillion compliments about it. Now I wish I had two or three of that hat.

Love y’all and miss The Comm,

Yooper gal

February 14th, 2021 by kayak woman

What’d I tell y’all yesterday about how my winter outerwear fashion choices haven’t really changed since I was eight. Black bomber hat – you can’t see the silver sequins in this pic – over a little black balaclava, thin but warm. Patagonia polartech jacket and long gray wool skirt over whatever layers. The sunglasses were just plain funny. They were my only purchase besides grocks and booze when we went to our cousin’s wedding out on Lopez Island. Despite all the snow, this outfit was overkill for the weather. It was warm and all that snow was starting to melt by the time of day this photooo was taken.

So it is Valentine’s Day. We don’t really celebrate it in any big way but it is my late mother-in-law’s birthday. So happy heavenly birthday to the Beautiful Sally. I am not religious but the cFam practiced Catholicism (some still do and the GG can fake it if he wants to) and I’m sure heaven is where Sally is.

Okay, a year ago, we were not really thinking about COVID. It was Friday and our friends of porterization suggested a deviation from our usual habit of walking to meet them at various downtown Planet Ann Arbor restaurants. We drove down to Clinton for a special Valentine’s Day dinner put on by the new owners of a historic hotel. I remember my boss asking me what I was doing for Vday and I rather sheepishly reported that we were doing something sorta romantic. We were actually meeting FACE TO FACE IN A CONFERENCE ROOM AT CUBELANDIA that day.

So it was all fine except for the part where we discovered how NANNY Mooon Yooonit gets if somebody doesn’t put their seatbelt on. I mean everyone was TRYING to get their seatbelt on but there was a wee bit of difficulty in the back seat that went on for a while and Mooon Yooonit went absolutely NUTS. Ding ding ding ding ding ding dingity dingity ding. Eventually it got sorted out and Mooon Yooonit shut up.

Going on a year

February 13th, 2021 by kayak woman

It was just a few days more than a year ago that we spent our annual long weekend with our North Country Trail buddies in the DNR lodge at Tahquamenon. The coronavirus was in the back of our minds (at least MY mind) but nobody was talking about it. There we were, sharing space, eating together, going to the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery Den of Iniquity. Little did we know what was lurking.

I remember sitting there in the Den, which was jam packed as always and we were all packed around a table. Yeah, just pull up a chair, we’ll squeeze you in! I was sitting next to a Canadian woman who lives near Gros Cap, across from Iroquois Point at the mouth of the St. Marys River. I said, “I can see your house from my cabin” and LEANED IN to show her a pic. Of course I can’t really see her house but I have been looking out from our family beach at the Gros Cap land formation my whole life.

We didn’t do the DNR lodge weekend this year because you know. The GG went up to meet with some DNR folks. I HOPE they are all masked and distancing appropriately. Hiking by itself is a low-risk activity that I don’t worry about. He is staying at the Driftwood with his other half and they are no doubt carpooling. I am forever nervous about these kinds of arrangements. I don’t think they quite get the fact that the coronavirus doesn’t give a flying you-know-what that they were once womb-mates. To the virus, a human is a human is a human, identical DNA or not. But despite the fact that the Twinz are not particularly aligned with me in a political sense, they do comply with “the rules” although the GG often pretends he’s gonna do risky stuff or tries to goad me to do risky stuff just to push my buttons.

This is one of my fave pics ever. The Comm, me, and the Engineer at Tahq. I think I was about eight. It totally cracks me up that nowadays I wear an almost identical winter outfit. Except that now it’s mostly black, sometimes with some sparkly bits.

Yelling and Screaming

February 12th, 2021 by kayak woman

Oh, not me although there were some times today when I wanted to. I won’t describe my workday except to say that Amazon Woman and I were online again this afternoon strategizing. She apologized for somebody running some kind of power tool in her house (she had a house built a couple years ago and is in the process of customizing various things). I couldn’t hear the power tool. My background noise was Trump yelling and screaming. She couldn’t hear that.

She has not been watching the SECOND impeachment trial. I have not been watching it either (I don’t really watch TV) but I usually have National Petroleum Radio on so I have been HEARING it at least when I actively listen to it. Make no mistake, I think the Orange Baboon will NOT be convicted. On the one hand, I am amazed at his lawyers’ idiocy (except it doesn’t really matter because he’s not gonna get convicted anyway). But yesterday the Dems played videos of Trump telling his “base” they needed to “fight”. Today, the “defense” strung together mini-clips of various senators and reps using the word “fight”. Over and over again… Difference? “Fighting” for help for disadvantaged people (who more often than not legitimately need help) is not the same as inciting insurrection. But whatever.

On the other hand, there are a LOT of incompetent lawyers out there, including the two who were hired to viciously harass me and my family after The Commander died. But you’d think tRump could afford better lawyers than the person who hired my family’s tormentors could. In the end, those lawyers didn’t do anything positive for their client, not that I could figger out. tRump’s lawyers are nothing more than theatre and bad theatre at that. But so what? He won’t be convicted.

Anyway, the top pic is of a large suspension bridge. I’ll let y’all guess which one. I didn’t take it. I’m on the Planet Ann Arbor. I did Plum Market curbside today and we have enough snow in the street that Ninja alerted me that her traction control system was activated. The bottom pic is the Twinz of Terror, who took the pic. Aren’t they cute with their Stormy Cromer hats and COVID hair? At least the GG (on the left) has COVID hair.

Orange Betty

February 11th, 2021 by kayak woman

Another day, another dollar. I received the first pic from a beach urchin this afternoon. I know the elephants but I didn’t really process that they were driving a stick shift and not one that I recognized. The accompanying text message was an advance warning that a beach urchin was coming over in an hour or so to use the Landfill printer. Oh, okay, she’s printing her taxes, I thought. Fine. We’ll be masked.

I had a War Meeting with Amazon Woman scheduled during the time of printer usage. We are ramping up our next web app release and need to be on the same page regarding some slippery functionality and the vocabulary that will keep Mr. Bear from freaking out, aka it’s a REQUIREMENTS meeting, NOT a DESIGN meeting. Don’t ask me to ‘splain that. Jeebus.

It was all good. I figgered the beach urchin would come in, print something and leave and it wouldn’t interrupt my meeting in any significant way although I did mention to AW that my daughter would be stopping by.

And then… This brilliant orange entity pulled in to my driveway. I was expecting a dirty old green thing. This wildly disrupted our meeting and not because I suddenly disappeared behind a cat filter. I started yelling, “OMG, she has a new car!” AW asked if I wanted to call her back and yes, yes, yes, I did although I only needed a few minutes to suit up enough to go outside and take a pic.

This is not my story to tell but I have been on the periphery of it throughout the winter so I’m gonna tell my side of it. A car search has been going on for a while and I have (happily) been on the receiving end of umpteen gazillion text messages with links to Subaru and Honda cars. I have followed enough links that Facebook now regularly serves up Subaru ads alongside my timeline or whatever it is.

It is hard to buy your first vee-hickle (her previous ones were hand-me-downs from us). When I bought mine, my dad and brother – both bigtime car guys – were actively involved. Nowadays I let the GG pick out the vee-hickle and do the bizness end. He knows my rules. No American car companies. My experience with American companies is that the cars become problematical much earlier than Japanese. And most Japanese cars are made in the USA so I’m not sure they are taking jobs away from American workers. But that’s kinda beside the point.

This vee-hickle was previously named Betty. It may acquire a new name but since Radical Betty was my dad’s sister, my mom’s best friend, and a wonderful aunt to two generations of nieces and nephews, I believe it is a positive omen that this was its name.