Random bits of my so-called life.

I wanted to write my whole post in emoji…

July 17th, 2019 by kayak woman

Or at least the title. And not because it’s Emoji Day. Because this morning I discovered something momentarily shocking although I have been expecting it to happen for YEARS now so it also made me laugh out loud because honestly, HOW STOOPID CAN YOU GET!!! Anyway, I wanted to post about it but it falls into that ever-lovin’ I-can’t-blahg-about-it blahgging category so I thought it would be a cool challenge to “code” it into emoji. The problem is that there are no emoji characters for witch or bitch and devil implies quite a bit more intelligence or wile or whatever than what we’ve got going on here. And I couldn’t find an emoji for blocks either.

This discovery may mark the end of a rather dark era but for other unblahggable reasons, I suspect that era will not be over ’til the Fat Lady Sings.

Anyway I spent my entire day rattling around down in a little corner of the Minotaur’s Labyrinth trying to untangle the history of various pieces of custom functionality. When did we first install this? What did we change and when? This is a low priority prodject but it *is* on the roadmap and I need to sort it out *now* before FZ rides off into the sunset. Yes, I could just ask him about it but if I spend enough time untangling it myself, I will be able to ask him “intelligent” questions and understand the answers. Then when he is gone I will be a legitimate SME on this topic.

Try as I might, I cannot think of anything else to say or how to end this gracefully. Whenever I write anything, I channel Mr. Pfifer (silent P long i, he hated when people called him “Mr. Piffer”), 12th grade “honors” English. Three-page paper? Introduction, body, and conclusion. Great teacher and I feel “naked” if I don’t have all that stuff but this is just a stoopid old blahg, so who cares. And with that I’ll end this emoji-free blahg with one of my fave conclusions 🐽

Love y’all, KW


July 16th, 2019 by kayak woman

I would normally be sitting out in the back yard at this time of day, especially after today’s grueling commute. Art fair(s) week traffic anyone? I am not outside because there are pop-up Tstorms rollin’ on through. Just little ones but even little ones come with rain. And lightning.

Apparently this summer is going to be a real summer. I can’t actually remember what last summer’s weather was like. I spend most of my time in A/C, driving and at Cubelandia. Nowadays we have central A/C here at the Landfill but rarely use it. We have a lot of shade and a “whole house” fan and that takes the edge off the worst days. Not sure what we’ll do if we get the predicted mid-90s later in the week. I reeaallly reeaaallly like to have the house open (screens) to the outdoors but others may disagree with me.

This is the Great Lake State and weather is such a mixed bag. When the beach urchins were babies, we endured a couple summers where the temperatures hovered in the 90s or once in the low 100s for weeks. No central A/C then. Just a couple of crappy window-type A/C units that were noisy as all getout and prob’ly tripped circuit breakers. I will never forget the day my Mouse had a 104 degree fever (it was roseola and she was A-OK) and her temperature matched the outdoor temp. I think we even put her in a plastic kiddie pool for a bit, which I would NEVER do with a feverish child in cooler temperatures.

But Jeebus, this yoopergal was not really built for that kind of crap. I mean, I remember Radical Betty walking the moominbeach in JULY wearing glubs and complaining that “we only get a little BOX of summer”. And then there’s an old yooper joke: Summer was so nice last year. It happened on a Wednesday.

The Planet Ann Arbor is usually a lot warmer than the yooperland and we are having a beautiful rainstorm right now and this terrible photo might give you an idea of my chitchen in the dark in a rainstorm. The only lights I have on are some LED strings. Look up to my colored glass collection*. This is at the purple/red end of my spectrum (actually there are clear pieces to the left but they are hard to see in the pic). Green and blue are at the other end. It isn’t a perfect rainbow (I don’t have anything orange) but it’ll do. DO NOT look at the bottle of Weiman’s glass stove-top cleaner.

*I am not actively collecting glass vases, etc. A few of these pieces were given to me for my wedding, some are artifacts from my parents or the GG’s. The purple stuff is from my Mouse for xmas because I needed some purple.

Unexpected compliments

July 15th, 2019 by kayak woman

I got an unexpected compliment today. FZ yelled over the wall today that some people are able to write things that make sense and that was a good thing. And he was talking about meeeeee. Which was very flattering. And then he commenced to start lobbing things over the wall for me to essentially re-write.

This is okay. It is part of his knowledge transition plan in preparation for executing the dreaded R-word, which is happening within the next year… Alas… I did not scream when I heard this but I wanted to. I love everyone I work with but me and FZ communicate in kind of a particular way. We are both very detail oriented and we come up with questions not everyone has thought of. He is MUCH MORE KNOWLEDGEABLE ABOUT OUR PRODUCT THAN I AM and that is why I will miss him sooooo much.

Lest you think I let this compliment go to my head. FZ is a VERY good writer but it isn’t his job to write functional specs and those beasties have some kind of particular writing requirements. After I caught my wits, I yelled back over the wall to say, “You have to know that almost everything I write starts out as Word Salad.” I think it’s called Process Writing (or was when the beach urchins were being taught to organize their thoughts into pieces of writing way back when). You begin by simply capturing your thoughts willy nilly and then edit any number of times. Getting rid of extraneous words and whatever and rearranging it all into some kind of logical order. For my job, that usually means bullet points interspersed with tables and pictures of various sorts.

Y’all are kinda going, “but I can’t usually even understand yer blahg.” It’s okay, the GG frequently says that and sometimes I’m not even sure I understand it. And so many times I edit it in the cold clear light of the next morning to remove run-on sentences or repetitious crapola or whatever. Or sometimes I just leave all that stuff. I write at the end of the day and with the distractions of cooking dinner and catching up with the GG and whatever else is going on, it can be hard to write coherently.

Then I came home and got another unexpected compliment. A beach urchin said that she doesn’t remember ever not having a home-cooked meal as a child. Now. It is not true that we fed our kids home-cooked stuff every day but we really did do it most of the time. Did she always eat those home-cooked meals? No, she certainly did not. Of course, there was a lot of filler stuff like Kraft Mac’n’cheese and ramen noodles around here for many years. Microwaved pepperoni was extra speshul… But she gets that I tried. And maybe that’s why the beach urchins are such good cooks now (although I didn’t teach them anything) and why they work hard to feed themselves and their friends with fresh food. 🧡🧡🧡

P.S. Oh yeah, after a few years of procrastination, we pulled a certain trigger today. The Engineer may know what we did if he is watching from the Party Bote Edmund Fitz. The rest of y’all’ll have to wait [wink wink]. Except for Stargazer.


July 14th, 2019 by kayak woman

These are my veggies from the farmers market yesterday. Meat/seafood purchases are not as photogenic.

Of all things, the bird email list has been lit up by sightings of a whooping crane (or two?) for the last couple weeks and pelicans the last couple of days. These are unusual birds for our area (and whoopers are rare anywhere) and they have been seen at Fourmile Lake so we took a drive out there this morning. We saw geese (of course) and an egret and sandhills and an eagle (well, I didn’t see the eagle but others with scopes and fancy cams did). I declined to use the GG’s binoculars. I mean it was all cool and we talked to some nice folks but I am not anything like a serious birder and I regularly see all of those bird species at work, sometimes close enough to photograph with my iPhone. And why would I take pictures of a Canada Goose unless it was doing something weird because they are everywhere. Were they endangered at one time?

A trip to the Plum Market both to buy a few groks and to check out a certain vee-hickle with an onboard diagnostics reader. It was emissions stuff so it was fine but the truth is that most of us (in our fam) are driving OLD cars and prob’ly need to upgrade. Why (besides $ of course) are we procrastinating? I dunno. As the Orange Baboon always says, “We’ll just have to see what happens.” Well that’s one of the things he says, when he is not telling American citizens to return to their home countries and “fix” them. What a frickin’ idjit.

Hot here but not insufferably so and it is summer so it’s supposed to be hot. Because you know what we have to look forward to here in the Great Lake State.

Mooooooon Uuuuuuunit

July 13th, 2019 by kayak woman

Yeah. Up early to walk and then hit the farmers market right around when it opened. Lemme see… Basil (which we could prob’ly grow but aren’t), tomatoes, potatoes, red onions, broccoli, aaaaaand… big bag of shelling peas. I swear that last year I could not get shelling peas by this time of year so this bag was a big bonus. On the other hand, I think we were getting local sweet corn by this time last year and there wasn’t any today so sounds like crops are a bit behind. Also bought some non-veg stuff… Rainbow trout and whitefish from Monahan’s, whole chicken from Sparrow, and stuffed cabbage and potato pancakes from the Polish folks.

That was followed by a morning of chores and a particularly loooooong errand and then Lizard Breath joined us for lunch at The Griz with Janel. She had a baby shower to attend in A2 this afternoon which I had totally forgotten about probably because of my general schedule fogginess this summer. I somehow thought the shower was in August but that is when the baby is due, fer kee-reist. I am not ready to retaaaaar yet but it sure would make planning summer vacations a bit easier if I didn’t have to put in for time off. Anyway I didn’t quiiiite realize until mid-afternoon how HOT it is today. It was not all that hot this morning and we spent quite some time this morning in A/C.

The upcoming baby is via a middle school thru college and beyond friend of Liz’s and his wife. I always have to ask these rude questions. Do they know the sex? Did they want to know the sex? Do they know the sex but haven’t told anyone?

Those are extremely rude questions but note that I didn’t (and wouldn’t EVER) ask the PARENTS. My child either didn’t know the answers or didn’t ‘fess up. That is totally okay. It is totally the parents’ business! And these parents will be wonderful!

I know that some people go to great lengths to do a “gender reveal” sometimes to the point of accidentally blowing up their car (that was all over social media this week) but I know that others would rather keep it private or wait and see or let the child decide or any variation on all of that. That let the child decide option sounds crazy to some people but sex is not ALWAYS binary and sometimes babies get assigned the wrong sex at birth. Read Middlesex. It’s about that but it’s also a very good book.

I am curious about these issues because ultrasounds, etc., were just beginning to be “normal” when I had my children. I did not have one during my first pregnancy. This even surprised my child, being the one who was not ultra-sounded. Everything was fine and there didn’t seem to be a reason to have one. I was grateful for this non-intervention. I had one during my second pregnancy but not for any specific reason. A nurse talked me into it during the doc’s vacation and I was grumpy about it but ultimately felt okay because we could see that the baby was well formed. I suspected that the technician probably knew I was carrying another daughter but we did not want to be told. The point is that technology exists now that didn’t when I was having children and I’m curious about what young parents think about it.

I “knew” both times that I was bearing daughters. How did I know? I do not know. But I did and I was right.

Did you know that Frank Zappa named his daughter Moon Unit?

The Lord High Grumpess

July 12th, 2019 by kayak woman

Man oh man, I was soooooo grumpy today. We are trying to strategize our plans for the rest of the summer and I am trying to figure out if I have over-committed myself or what. I don’t think so. I just hope I can stabilize my remaining vacay plans for the duration.

And then we met downtown at our longtime fave Friday night dinner restaurant and what the heck? It took F-O-R-E-V-E-R to get service for ANYTHING. We typically order two drinks. When we order the second, we also put in a food order. I used to sometimes have a whine to end the evening but I am good with the two drinks nowadays. Tonight I put our first two EMPTY glasses at the edge of the table and it was a while before even doing THAT got the attention of a server.

When it did get their attention I told them we also wanted to order food. He asked if we knew what we wanted. Well, I did but at that exact nano-second, the GG was on the phone and I didn’t know what HE wanted so the server went away and I think we got the drinks but it took a while for us to put in our orders. Getting the check? They put the check down by The Man (the GG) and left even though I was waving my debit card around like crazy. And then didn’t come back… The GG finally took the check up to the bar and I can tell you that they did not get as good a tip as I-e-I-e-I usually give. I dunno. I like that restaurant but the service has been on a downward spiral throughout the year and I am not sure what’s next.

We walked a bit through the annual Rolling Sculptures car show. I am not the slightest bit interested in car shows but I had a bit of fun telling somebody with an old Corvette or whatever that when we buy our next vee-hickle (soon), my main specification is that the color will be anything but brown. And I told him why, which is that when you keep cars as long as we do, a old brown car will look like sh*t rolling down the road. I think his Corvette was a beautiful shade of baby blue and he laughed.

And then we ran into another loverly gentleman who owned the vee-hickle in the pic and I am not sure what it is. He had been an automotive engineer who worked on emissions systems for a couple auto companies and it turned out that his career was somewhat parallel to the GG’s in some ways.

I am gonna publish this typos be damned so I can get back to reading my booooook and watching faaaaarflies.

If I hear ice cubes clinking this weekend, it’ll definitely be my brother wondering what kind of vee-hickle we are thinking about buying… 🐽🐸

Noooo froooog in blooooo

July 11th, 2019 by kayak woman

Came in and out of the chitchen umpteen times this afternoon dealing with dishes and garbage and what not and finally looked over at my laptop and whooooaah! Noooo frooog! The frooog is not really bloooo. That’s an effect of the color I have that particular string of LED lights set to. (I think he got it at Ace Hardware…)

I remember my daughters’ ages because I was there when they were BORN! Becquet? Hmmm… She was riding a bicycle today. She was obviously new at it and there were training wheels but still I had to ask the question: Is she going into kindergarten in the fall? No, she’s only four. There are plenty of good pre-school options here on The Planet Ann Arbor and I’ll bet she is enrolled in one of them.

I did send a 4-year-old to kindergarten but a couple things were different back then. 1) The age cut-off date was December 1. 2) My child turned five in October. (Becquet has a March birthday so she wouldn’t have been eligible to start at four even with the old cut-off date.) I wasn’t worried about sending my child to kindergarten but apparently the teacher, when we did our kindergarten “interview”, thought we were nuts sending a small-for-her-age 4-year-old off to kindergarten. At our first kindergarten conference, she ‘fessed up about that thought and told us she had been wrong. Our little munchkin fit right in.

I was glad not to have to wait another year for her to start school. I had a January birthday but was probably ready for kindergarten (academically at least) the year before I was legal to go and The Comm tried to get them to let me go a year early (because I was probably driving her nuts). It was a non-starter.

There was no pre-school available* for my “gap year” so she enrolled me in ballet and tap lessons (which I wasn’t particularly talented at) and I probably harassed my little brother most of the rest of the time. Oh yeah, there was Sunday School which was pretty benign since we attended a mainstream Methodist church. But it was only occasionally academic and I craved academic “stuff”.

Although ultimately I think it was okay I didn’t get sent to school early, I was ALWAYS bored by the academics the school served up and the REVIEW that happened for WEEKS every fall. Gimme more homework. Yes, really. In 9th grade, I FINALLY got tracked into what then passed for today’s AP classes. (I am not in favor of rigid “tracking” systems but it did help me *personally*.) My 4-year-old kindergartner did just fine all the way through school and is a wonderful, responsible adult.

I didn’t talk to the neighbor for a long time because she had to catch up with Becquet and I needed to go and fling various undergarments. I didn’t tell the neighbor that although I’m sure she would’ve laughed. I just said I needed to change my clothes.

*In recent years, I told a beloved childhood/facebook friend about the lack of pre-schools available when I was a young five. She said, “Oh but I went to pre-school at the Episcopal (I think) church.” I think that would’ve been open to any paying customer so I can only imagine that the Comm, who could be kind of a snob in those days, had some issue with whoever was teaching or running the school. But who knows.

Chekhov’s gun

July 10th, 2019 by kayak woman

Remember a couple days ago when I clumsily mentioned this when talking about a novel I thought was pretty awful?

Have you ever heard the rule of thumb that when a gun is introduced in a story (no matter how benignly) it will eventually get USED in some kind of a climactic moment?

Well. I can now put a name to this. It’s Chekhov’s gun and here is a link to a discussion about it. I’m sharing it without having read it.

Two things:

1) I found the Chekhov’s gun reference in my *next* book (after the Snakes) when the main character eventually used a GUN that she purchased in an early chapter.

2) I do NOT know why I couldn’t remember the Chekhov reference because even though I am not exactly a literary giant, I did hang around with the YAG theatre guild for a number of years and it was certainly discussed a number of times and I betcha any of the serious Yaggies know the whole thing by heart. Me? I was busy keeping up the admin side of things, the necessary part of running a non-profit org that the executive/artistic director couldn’t really do and was a wee bit paranoid about, at least the tech part that I introduced…

Sharing without reading/watching? Posting without knowledge? One of the annoying facebook shares I have endured in the last few days was a video knocking down AOC (google her if you don’t know who she is). While I don’t agree with everything AOC (or anyone) stands for, I admire her GREATLY for her courage in giving us straight talk and I think we DO need to let our younger citizens take the lead in terms of the future. We will not be around. I will may blahg about this in relation to a horrific event in my own family’s relatively recent history some other day. Seeya then, Kassandra.

So a recent facebook share (by a high school classmate with an advanced degree no less) was a Fox News clip showing a border patrol official who tried to dismiss AOC’s claims about the horrific conditions she encountered when visiting the border detention centers. I admit that I didn’t watch the whole clip (4:46 minutes, no thank you) but I got the gist. (And not all of Fox news is bad so please don’t go there.)

One of my more intellectually challenged high school classmates made a random comment that it was horrible that AOC swore on a Quran when taking her oath of office. Of course this is not likely true as AOC was raised as a Catholic. Not to mention that according to the constitution, a specific book is not required for swearing to office and a religious test is not a requirement to run for office in the United States. As another classmate [bravely] pointed out.

The point? Read/watch and THINK before you share ANYTHING you find on the internet. If you have time to watch a 4:46 minute video, you have time to think about whether it is true or reasonable or whether there’s another side to the story that is not portrayed. And even time to research it.

And look up what our Constitution has to say. I know how hard that is because I struggle with it too. But it’s important to understand the basis of the laws of our beautiful country.

Sk8er boi Skeeter guy

July 9th, 2019 by kayak woman

I think The Pensioner looks pretty darn good in this pic. My hair is much more white than his but then his dad’s hair stayed thick and dark through most of his life. There are my beauteous impatiens again. Before we left for our 4th of July odyssey, they looked healthy but there weren’t a lot of flowers for some reason. TP soaked them with water before we left and if there wasn’t enough rain while we were gone, Mouse must’ve watered them because they are glorious now.

I was noodling around about titles today and somehow an old song “Sk8er Boi” came into my consciousness. Something like “Sk8er Boi, seeya later boi”, well, this is 2019 and we have The Google so here are the lyrics or someone’s translation of them. I didn’t hear this song frequently. Looking it up, I see it’s an Avril Lavigne song, who I don’t believe was a fave of the beach urchins, at least not my branch of them. I heard it (and enjoyed it) in its entirety upstairs at the moomincabin once when the youngest of the clan played it as I was doing something on whatever computer was up there at the time.

When I was a teenager, I vowed that when I had my own teenagers, I would NEVER complain about their music. Disclaimer: my parents didn’t really complain about my music but it could be such an issue with some people in those days. Jeebus. So I didn’t complain about my kids’ music. Actually I enjoyed most of the music they listened to when they were teenagers and I was driving them and their friends all over town in the POC. I do remember a day during Mouse’s duration of permit-driving when we were about to embark on a River Ride and I said something like, “Put whatever music you want on except I’m a little tired of Ani.” And that was okay with her.

There is a skatepark near us and it has been a huge success. Everyone who uses it seems to be polite and there have been numerous stories about how older, more expert skateboarders have helped young children. Clap clap clap Planet Ann Arbor.

Two Zero stars

July 8th, 2019 by kayak woman

The name of the book is The Snakes and I am not going to name the author.

The good thing (well, sorta, see below)? I finished it.

The bad things are almost too innumerable to list. I did not like ANY of the characters. NOT ONE! I didn’t even like their NAMES. Griff? GRIFF? When my kids were young, there was an eccentric guy a few blocks away named something like Griff. I think he was probably harmless but a friend of mine kind of raised her eyebrows when her 10-year-old son announced that he had made a new friend named Griff. The Griff in this book is elderly, “filthy” rich, and meaner than a junk yard dog.

Plot? Plot? PLOT? Whut? Okay, there is a loose sort of a plot “arc” or whatever but pieces of plot get DROPPED like hot potatoes and never picked up again!

Social issues… A lot of people who liked the book more than I did talk about how well the author handled “contemporary” social issues. Lemme see, things like money, dysfunctional families, racial profiling, drugs, mental health. You name it. Well. “Handled” them? How about spewing them willy-nilly out of a faaaaar hose, talking some of them to death without making any point and giving the rest a quick swipe into the rubbish bin.

Donald Trump? Did he belong in the book? ONE reference was made to The Orange Baboon and it was Griff saying something about how Great America was (again). What was the point? To bolster the idea of how rich (and mean) Griff was? Or to set the story in an era, as if late model smart phones and apps didn’t already serve that function.

Oh yeah, snakes? There are snakes in the story. But. Have you ever heard the rule of thumb that when a gun is introduced in a story (no matter how benignly) it will eventually get USED in some kind of a climactic moment? The snakes? Never make more than a couple of fleeting appearances. THEY ARE IN THE TITLE?!? HELLO? And no, I don’t think they are used as a metaphor for nasty sneaky rich people. In this book, those characters acted more like baboons.

The ending. Ugh, grimace. An absolutely horrible surprise ending. I’m not sure I had a clue how this book would end up but this ending was awful. So awful that I spent a lot more time than usual looking at various reviews. Did other people think the ending was awful? Yes, yes, they did.

I’m not sure what attracted me to this book in the beginning. It flew by me *somewhere* on the internet. I read a sample (on my phone). It seemed promising so I bought it. Sorry but ugh, ugh, ugh.

When I started writing this I wanted to say, “Don’t read it!” Because I wish I could *un*read it! But I might also be interested in what other people think of it. But your choice and if you decide to give it a try, please please PLEASE borrow it!

Bad Book Beeceeclette

July 7th, 2019 by kayak woman

Yeah, The Pensioner came pedaling into the Landfill back yard this afternoon. I am skeptical. I can’t remember what bikes we have around here. Apparently this is his original one. I mean the one we bought when we both bought bikes when the original beach urchin was a baby.

When I was a child, my bike was my best friend. I started out with a 20-incher and there was a period of time when I obsessively-compulsively rode that bike around our block hmmm how many times (I can’t remember) every evening. I remember one night coming home with frozen fingers and happily warming them up in warm water in our bathroom sink.

The next night? Eesh. A PREDATOR (a young man, not a bare bear) drove by me at the corner of Superior St. and 8th Ave. and said something like, “Hey kid, wanna go to the pitcher show?”. Cue the soundtrack from the movie Psycho in my little kid brain. I was two houses from home. I biked like CRAZY down the sidewalk past Phil and Philomena Herron’s house and Ozzie Green Thumb McInnes’s house into my yard (the predator was yelling “HEY KID, HEY KID”) and dove into the garage. When I got into the house I remember looking out the dining room window and seeing the predator driving fast down the alley. Looking for me? Where did that little kid go? Yeesh! I did NOT tell my parents about that. Why? I do not know. I was afraid to tell them, I think. Complicated reasons. I don’t remember what my dog Tigger was doing but it’s likely she was ready to go for his throat.

I grew taller and eventually got a 26-inch bike. It was a girl’s bike although at the time I really wanted a boy’s bike because I viewed myself as a badass. I was annoyed when I overheard kids at my school saying “The Brain of Lincoln school got a new bike”. I was mortified when my whole 6th-grade class saw MY MOTHER take off down the alley and 7th Avenue on MY BIKE! We lived across the street from the school. But. Jeebus!

I was a WARRIOR on that old bike. Me and my friend Laurie rode our bikes EVERYWHERE and we occasionally wiped out big time and got big oogly scrapes on our knees or wherever and so we would always say we had fought World War III on our bikes.

So the GG and I got our adult bikes when the beach urchins were babies and the problem was that the bike seats that we bought only strapped the kiddos in at the waist so they would fall asleep and their helmeted heads would move forward and bump up against my back. And then there was the time that I was riding with a very young mouse and I was struggling up a hill and she kept saying “Up the hill. Up the hill.”

I stopped riding that old bike because the brakes were making horrible noises and I do not fix brakes myself and I couldn’t make anyone else take the issue seriously enough to fix it. If he wants to ride his old bike, I am fine with that.

I’ll write about the bad book another day.

bumf and rotomontade

July 6th, 2019 by kayak woman

Sloooooow morning today. Which was okay. We eventually mobilized to make a run up to the Dancing Crane for coffee and (frozen) pasties (to take home). Aaaaaaand a Green Bag Garbage Run where we dumped a green bag of garbage at the Bay Mills Indian Community facility. A wonderful service for those of who don’t stay here for long enough periods to sign up to have Waste Management pick up a big garbage cart (that we would have to schlep up to the top of the road).

The loverly Dancing Crane folks greeted us with something like, “If you are first time visitors… Oh, not, you are not, I remember you guys!” Oh yes, we are familiar customers although we are not there every week like I am at Barry Bagels, more like a couple times a year. Alas. We bought our coffees plus sweet grass soap and insect repellent AND pasties. We need a new easy pasty source. Uncle Peter had wonderful pasties at the Planet Ann Arbor farmers market for YEARS but he got divorced and lost the bizness in the process and we haven’t found a satisfactory replacement yet. Note to pasty makers: crust should not be thick and doughy.

Then… We drove out along the “coast” a bit further to check out our Township’s recycling facilities. I tried to drop it all off at the Chippewa County facility in Sault Ste. Siberia yesterday but it was closed for the holiday weekend. I tried to research recycling facilities in the township on the web but their site didn’t say anything about that. So after dropping off our Green Bag, I said, “Let’s drive up to the township hall and check out what’s in the parking lot.” The GG wasn’t sure where it was so I told him it was next to Tinker’s fish restaurant. That did not ring a bell but “Wilcox’s” did. Him: It’s too far. Me: No. It isn’t. It’s before Mission Hill. Him: Mission Hill is to the left of us. Me: I mean the entrance to the old Mission Hill ski hill. Him: Oh.

So the recycle facility is only a few miles past Iroquois light house and darn it, I didn’t have the recycle stuff with me. It’ll have to go down to The Planet Ann Arbor with us. That’s okay. At least I don’t have to sort it down there.

We came home and slugged around a bit more, then Lizard Breath left to meet up with a bunch of folks at Hoton Lake, where they are all at the North Shore tiki bar. Here, we had a wonderful afternoon partay at the moomincabin with Sam and JCB and and Pooh and the Marquis.

Bote trip, etc.

July 5th, 2019 by kayak woman

Last night was soooo hot here that we had the screens in both doors (front and back) ALL NIGHT! That is rare. It was hot all night but somewhere around that Batscope Hour, we had beautiful rain that lasted several hours. Of course, when I got up this morning and realized that I had left a bag of garbage in the chitchen with the screens in, I was pretty horrified. A bare bear could EASILY get in to the moomincabin with the screens in the doors. Of course we have OPEN garbage in here every night but we usually put the glass back into the doors before retaaaaaring for the night.

I declined to go on this Motor Bote Ride. I was feeling a wee bit lazy today (even though I made a trip to town) but something was also picking at my brain and so while the GG and Lizard Breath were out in the Motor Bote, I picked away at some wee reorganizing chores in the chitchen. I didn’t make a whole lot of progress but every little bit helps.

Anyway, here they are heading out toward Guano Round Island.

Round Island is a seagull (and sometimes cormorant) rookery and a person with a bird crap target on his hat did get hit but I don’t have a pic of that.

Big Bote in the shipping channel (Presque Isle).

Bote Driver

Aaaaaand a side trip over to the northern version of the land of porterization. Phones were discussed but not air conditioners…

After a warm humid morning, a decent norwester kicked up as they always do. It is quite a bit cooler here now than last night (or even this morning) and here is yer fav-o-rite blahgger keeping warm via a beach towel. With a loverly driftwood companion aminal at her side.

Hotter than Hades on Gitchee Gumee

July 4th, 2019 by kayak woman

It was sooooo hot I had to abandon the beach party, come up and take Second Shower and decamp to the deck. I could’ve gotten in the water like all of these people but at the time it felt like a bit too much gazinto to get into a bathing suit. By the way, I couldn’t tell you who all these people are if I tried but they are the children and grandchildren of two of my oldest friends, who are sisters. Apparently one of them has blonde descendants, the other darker features. With everyone in silhouette who can tell?

My most frequently asked question? Are you retaaaaared? No no no no. I have the coziest little IT job on earth and I am not ready to spend 24/7 with the GG.

I won’t tell you about the tiny little buggies that kept landing on my arms and dying there. Drowning in sweat maybe?

It’s a lot cooler here on the deck because what little breezes exist are coming out of the woods but there are mo’-skee-toes’. The GG is back from jawboning everyone’s ears off at the party and Lizard Breath is channeling Grandroobly by sweeping and attacking spider webs and we won’t talk about the ceegar butt in the pot of impatiens.

That’s all I have. It’ll have to be enough.


July 3rd, 2019 by kayak woman

Oh be strong KW. 37 years and we haven’t killed each other yet. It isn’t always easy. I am kind of a spirited person albeit introverted as all getout. We are both pretty dern stubborn. But here we are.

What did we do to celebrate? Well… I decided to take a few more hours off work than I had originally planned for today. We get “early release” the day before holidays anyway (3:00 PM) but today I logged off a bit before noon. We had lunch with the Old Cabin relations (Bugs and Horsey, Pooh and The Marquis) at The Wicked Sister. And we’re grilling filet tonight.

The Wicked Sister was called Benoit’s Gin Mill in a previous incarnation and was kind of a dive bar. I never patronized it although I certainly can’t say I have never been in a dive bar in my time. Once during Radical Betty’s last years, she and I and UKW had an afternoon snack at Penny’s Kitchen, another of our faves in Sault Ste. Siberia, after a trip to walk the red rocks over in Cananananada. When we walked outside we saw smoke across the canal and it turned out the gin mill was on fire.

We love what the new owners have done with the place, which is now a lovely family-friendly spot with great food and all kinds of beer, whine, and whatever. If you’ve clicked over to their website, check out their story.

The plant in the pic is blueberry. They are flowering now. We’ll see what kind of crop we end up with. It varies from year to year but in recent years, people in the fam who have inherited Butts Up Blueberry Picking DNA have had to travel over to Raco or Betchler Lakes or wherever to get their blueberries. I did not inherit Butts Up Blueberry Picking DNA although if we *do* have blueberries in the front yard, I am happy to pick enough for pancakes.

The botes they are a-hornin’.

July 2nd, 2019 by kayak woman

There were a lot of botes (mostly lake freighters) going up and down through the St. Marys River shipping channel this morning. It was as foggy as all getout and so they were all blowing their horns.

Way back in the day when I was a small child sleeping in a bunk bed in the back of the moomincabin, I loved hearing the fog horns. I don’t think the botes were blowing them then, I think there was an actual foghorn somewhere out there in the channel. My parents would be up and about doing chores or whatever and I was sooooo comfortable snuggled into my little bunk bed.

Nowadays I think the botes have their own navigational systems that allow them to detect potential collisions with other botes. But they still blow their foghorns like today when I heard their horns blowing throughout most of the way through the morning. Eventually the Mr. Golden Sun burned the fog off and we could see Round Island (and Cananananada).

Cubelandia 2.0 (or maybe -2.0?)

July 1st, 2019 by kayak woman

The little white (Scamp) trailer is my office for a few days. It is loverly although now that I think about it, it might actually be a bit smaller than my cube at Cubelandia. But that cube was built in another era, one where people didn’t schlep their laptops with them every day and still kept a lot of paper documentation around. Almost all of my (numerous) file drawers are empty.

So my little Scamp cube boasts lucky-shucky, wi-fi, and mo’-skee-toes’. Not a whole lotta mo’-skee-toes’. It is screened. But there are a lotta those little buggies around and I think they come in when I open the door when I go in and out. Y’know, to get food, use the water closet, or check out whatever bote is going by.

And then there are my temporary co-workers, various aminals from various people of various ages. The GG always makes sure I am well supplied with company when I telecommute from the moominbeach. From left, there’s Frogette, Turnstile, The Grinch with Softy Beanbag below him, then Froooogggy with Rabbit on his lap, kind of.

Yes I really sent the aminal pic to my real co-workers today. Each one of these aminals has a story but I only told one (you can guess). I’ve been at Cubelandia for a long enough time now that I think everyone kind of knows who they are dealing with anyway. The LSCHP (who hired me) kind of always GOT me. I am quite reserved and focused on work *at work* but sometimes I surprise people with sarcastic remarks or stories about my life that may be a little bit “out there” to a lot of people.

Well, for example… There are a lot of examples but… Once the LSCHP took up the first 15 minutes of a meeting talking about vampires. He was talking about Twilight vampires (a show I have never watched) and apparently they sparkle??? ??? I said, “When I was a kid the vampires outside our outhouse did NOT sparkle. They stood outside the outhouse door dripping blood from their fangs.” Dead silence for a split second and I’ll never forget the look on the then development manager’s face. After that we managed to get on with our meeting.

P.S. I love my current manager (Amazon Woman) and team but we all still miss the LSCHP and many of us still channel him from time to time. He has landed in a wonderful new job and is still in contact with those who once reported to him.

Pea-shelling operation at the moominbeach complete with “bonus” anthills (and moe-skee-toes)

June 30th, 2019 by kayak woman

Today was a long and [mostly] fun odyssey. It began with a coffee cruise in the Pontoon Bote on Hoton Lake on an absolutely gorgeous morning.

We hitched the trash trailer up to the Frog Hopper and hauled it up to Gaylord where the UU and TBG live to exchange it for our own Lyme Lounge, which has been there since the Frog Hopper’s serpentine belt disintegrated (or whatever) ten days or so ago. The UU was out “hiking” with his son and family so we headed in to visit the water closet and touch base with The Beautiful Gay (our beloved sister-in-law).

As we were leaving her driveway, she asked if our vee-hickle (of recent serpentine belt failure) was doing okay. Of COURSE the GG said YES! I rolled my eyes and said something like, “It is doing fine until it isn’t.” And TBG got it!

Wouldn’t you know, maybe 10 miles later we were on the freeway and bumpity bumpity bump and a HUGE VIBRATION! What the you-know-what! No engine lights were on. The GG inspected all six taaaars and other potential trouble spots. Everything was fine. We drove a wee bit around Gaylord and… Not encountering any more of this crazy bumpity-vibrating, we nervously got back on the I75 SUV Speedway.

The rest of the drive was smooth, thank you god or whoever. Our next stop was the Family Fare in Iggy and that was fun because I was in the produce section searching for an eggplant and a woman asked if I was a frequent customer. I told her no, I live in Ann Arbor, but I do know northern Michigan grokkery stores and I asked what she was looking for. Basil? Fresh basil? I said, “Doubtful”. I then told her that I was looking for an eggplant and was having no luck. But then I found… One… It looked battered but I took a chance on it and when I sliced it, the inside was absolutely fine.

And then we got gas and dropped some stuff off at the Trail Town Center (or whatever it is) and THEN, lunch at the Driftwood. Where we encountered various interesting folks.

Eventually we got here and the GG got the water going again and I put all of the food/laundry away and a few other things and then I went down to sit on Bill’s Birch Point Beach Bank Bench to pull leaves off the basil I bought at the farmers market yesterday morning. And shell the beautiful peas I bought.

Sunset cruise

June 29th, 2019 by kayak woman

7:00 AM: Planet Ann Arbor farmers market to get peas to shell, lettuce, and basil.

After that? Drove to Houghton Lake and hung out by the lake all afternoon. Pizza from the corner store for dinner and fun, including a campfaaaaar with a nephew and his fam and some of his wife’s relatives. And a loverly s-l-o-w sunset cruise in the Flote Bote.

I kicked into Moom Lifeguard mode when all the kids were out in the lake playing with paddleboards and things. All is well and I hope I wasn’t too obnoxious but when you grow up on a Great Lake beach like I did, you learn early that water is dangerous and children need to be watched every single second. I have also watched adults swim (when they have asked me to) and I used to enlist The Commander to watch me swim back when I had to wash my hair in the lake during nor’westers. Maybe that’s why she installed an indoor bathroom?

Anyway, long day but good day and g’night. Typos be damned.

My bags are packed

June 28th, 2019 by kayak woman

I’ve got almost nothing tonight. Just posting so various people know where I am. We were hanging out porterized in the back yard for a while (after dinner at the Griz) and I am dead taaaaarrred and now I can hear Becquet and her fam and some friends in Becquet’s backyard. They aren’t annoying me (sounds like they’re looking for bats). I’m just amazed that they sound so energetic at this time of night. Actually now they seem to have said good night and gone inside so maybe they are as taaaarred as I am.

Anyway, I am packed except for food. I pack lightly these days even going to the Great White North. I did unpack the hat, scarf, and glubs from the last trip up to the yooperland. I doubt I’ll need them up there this time and if I do, I’ll just have to suck it up. I bet the local Woldemort even has glubs at this time of year.

So… Farmers Market in the morn and then on the road. Gotta get to sleep before I get the dreaded second wind.