round island

Birch Pt. Beach Blahg Archives
March 2006

Wed. March 1:

Confusion? Say what? For about five minutes around noon today, I was actually popular for once in my life ;-) First Lizard Breath called me. As I was talking to her, there were some little beepity noises in the connection and I thought it was because my troll phone often does strange things up here in The Great White North. But it turned out that Mouse was trying to call, so I called her back and while I was talking to her, The Commander's land line rang and *that* was the GG. For me. All the while, Radical Betty was banging on the door trying to get in. Besides that, I did manage to successfully put out the garbage last night with minimal supervision and no blue language. But blue language was definitely in order during a Waste Management/National City confuddlement, proving for the umpteen millionth time that garbage processing is never boring. And we won't talk about why my debit card was declined at The Mole Hole but it had nothing to do with Waste Management. That is about all, I guess. It could be worse. The Commander has just read me an obituary about a 44-year-old woman who died in Hessel. Her husband died in 1994. They had some children and as sad as it is, my first thought is that at least those kids will not have to deal with wheeling their old decrepit parents around Tendercare. But, really, Tendercare is a pretty good place and there were definitely a few moments today when I was beginning to wonder if maybe they had a couple more beds over there, either for The Commander or me! Grok Grok. No, you can't go to Tendercare! grok grok. You need to help me grok grok catch flies and spiders grok grok and keep my flying machine going grokGROK!!! Kee-reist!

Thu. March 2:

Whoosh! I am tired tonight. I have been up here in The Great White North for the last week for a pretty serious reason but life here has not been without a few little guilty pleasures. One of them has been lunches at Penny's Kitchen. And seeing the new Coast Guard ice breaker Mackinaw. But the best is skiing! When we get enough snow in A2 to actually make the local hiking trails skiable, usually by the time we can drive there, it all melts. Houghton Lake is a great jumping off point for skiing but it's a three hour drive *to* Houghton Lake from A2 and then 15 minutes to the closest trail.

Here, it is three and a half *minutes* to a ski trail. There is a lot of snow here. It is heaven. I have skied every afternoon since I got here. It gives The Commander a little break from me and a chance to nap or work on her own projects without any of my smart-alecky commentary. I can do any number of different distances at the Algonquin ski trail. Usually I just do the five mile loop. Today I did the eight mile loop, the longest loop. It was fabulously perfect today. Not a cloud in the sky, cold but not bitter, just a little bit of breeze, plenty of snow, fast but not slippery or icy. After six days of skiing in a row, my skiing endurance has built up to the point that I felt like I could go on forever. And now I am feeling that nice, fuzzy kind of tired like I got some good exercise today. And my face feels just a leeeeetle bit sunburned.

Of course, I am here for a serious reason. Grandroobly is doing okay at Tendercare but it certainly isn't all wine and roses. We have settled into a routine of visiting him twice a day, after breakfast and before dinner. We are never quite sure where he'll be or what he'll be doing when we get there. They do keep him pretty busy and physical therapy can be very hard. There are encouraging moments, especially watching him interact with the staff and the other residents. A bamboozler from way back for sure. But he is also nice and friendly to everyone, including those who, well, are just not all there any more. He's particularly empathetic with those who are having difficulty, especially with physical therapy. But then there are the times when we know he is tired and thinking about how much he hates being in a place where he has no control over his life. I am heading back south tomorrow. Onward and hopefully upward but there are some definite bumps in the road ahead...

Fri. March 3:

I don't remember!

Sat. March 4:

Well, here we are, two days after the most glorious ski of the season, and I think I am about finished. For this year, that is. There are those who think I might ski tomorrow, and maybe I will, but I have half a mind to just quit while I'm ahead. Beaver Creek was a fast ski today. Unfortunately, I am not crazy about leaf skiing. I can slow myself down perfectly well without the help of a bunch of oak leaves or pine needles. A lot less abruptly too! Honestly, falling down in front of a bunch of snowmobilers just totally cramps whatever measly little bit of style I can manage to muster in my dirty, ratty old Columbia ski jacket. The ski ranch, which grooms its trails, does not have a leaf problem but by this afternoon, we might as well have been water skiing. Two sorta glides forward, one and a half back. Ice turning to slush. The season has turned. Yes, this is Michigan and it's not over until it's over. It will snow again. But the ski season has entered a downhill slide. And, of all things, my feet hurt! I have blisters in about five places. I think my feet will scream bloody murder if I try to put my ski boots back on them again. I'm done. It is time to kick the squirrels out of the kayaks. Fancy boots, etc., are not needed for kayaking. I can kayak in my bare feet and old ratty bathing suit. And uber-sunhat. Onward to the next episode! We do have pics, click here.

Sun. March 5:

I subscribe to magazines. Why can't I subscribe to socks? I wear polartech socks every day all winter and plenty of times in the spring and fall too. They are great but they do wear out and then I am stuck with bare heels or whatever. I cannot stand wearing holey socks. I always get the same size, medium, so I don't have to try them on. I don't even really care what color they are. Heck, I get dressed in the dark, sometimes I end up wearing mismatched ones anyway. So why can't I just subscribe to them? New socks on my doorstep every month.

Mon. March 6:

"Stadium Blvd. construction begins mid-March," says the sign just before the turn-off to my favorite uscan at the Westgate Kroger. Actually, I know what they're gonna do and "excavation" would be a better word but it just proves that not only am I back on the planet Ann Arbor but somehow winter has ended. Or so thinks the city, er, planet, in its infinitely superior wisdom. grok GROK! Hey, if we are on a (grok grok) planet now, (grook grok grok) you will have to take (grok grok) the buoy 22 shuttle (grok) to get to the Dexter Pub. grok grok grok frok frok? Yeah, right, Froog.

Tue. March 7:

<shopping_rant>Ooock. I hate shopping. Especially for clothes. Especially at the mall, Marshall Field's, to be specific. But I am just about at the absolute end here. Can we just say tattered? It is too late to do anything about my winter clothes this year. But, for once in my life, I decided that March was a more appropriate time to replenish summer stuff than July, which is about when I usually wake up and realize how awful my summer so-called wardrobe is. By July, all of the size mediums are long gone and there is a long line of people waiting to try on clearance sale items. Screaming kids in strollers and the whole works. I don't know, to me, it's almost worth paying regular prices to avoid that scenario. Today, there was only me and a couple of other old bags in Marshall Field's and I was actually somewhat successful, to my great surprise. Nothing exciting, just some basic stuff. In basic black, as usual. I tried to find something a little more colorful. But peach and celery and mauve just make me want to yawn. Not that those aren't good colors. I use them in fiber art projects all the time to great effect. Or at least *I* think it is to great effect ;-) But I just do not like to *wear* those kinds of colors. I need something a little brighter. grok. Like frog green! Yay! grokGROK! Ignore him. I could've gone on to Chico's, where they usually have some brighter colors, but after Marshall Field's, my budget was shot and I was getting mall-dizzy. I was done and Chico's'll just have to wait.</shopping_rant>

Wed. March 8:

Kee-reist, woman. FOCUS!!! Yeah, grok GROK! ooh ooh ooh ah ah!

Thu. March 9:

"So, how's your arthritis?" Say what???? The questioner was a friend and neighbor that I haven't seen for a while and the questionee was, well, ME! I ran into her in the woods behind my house at the end of my 3-or-thereabouts-mile afternoon walk. Of course, I replied with a surprised, "*What* arthritis?" She was appropriately embarrassed but went on to tell me that she and some other neighbors frequently discuss what a good walker I am for someone who has rheumatoid arthritis. JHMK. This whole conversation absolutely totally utterly cracked me up. I think it is hilarious that there are people out there who think I have rheumatoid arthritis and are amazed by my walking capabilities! People! I do NOT have ANY kind of arthritis. I do not have aches or pains. ANYWHERE! I avoid tylenol and ibuprofen et al like the plague. I do not NEED any of that crap! My joints do not hurt. We talked about lots of other stuff too and it was fun and I needed it because the only other living beings I interacted with yesterday were felines. They are nice, but. Anyway, maybe I should start wearing a sign on my back saying, "I don't have arthritis. I'm just addicted to walking." I just do not know how these rumors get started!

Fri. March 10:

Good news? Hmmmm. Yes, I do actually have some. By some miracle, I managed to get 100% on the mid-term test I took a couple weeks ago. I had all but forgotten about that test because I blasted up to the Yoop the next day. For the life of me, I do not know how I got that score. There were some truly surreal multiple choice questions. I had to parse them right down to individual words about five times before I could even begin to figure out what they meant. That is all. Yeah, I know, that's not much, is it? I am happiest when I am operating in a head down, one foot in front of the other mode, preferably at full-tilt boogie. In other words, when I have a mission, even though I may not always completely understand what the mission is. But I have been adrift this week. Not fun.

Update: Good news item number two: Jacob the cat actually came out and let me *pet* him a bit today! His sister Sarah is a pretty good friend of mine but Jacob is quite a bit more skeptical.

Sat. March 11:

First and most important, Sam (dog, not archaeologist), was thirteen years old yesterday! Happy Birthday, old man! Other than that, we have a guest blahgger today and it is none other than The Commander:

"This morning, at about 8:30 AM, as usual, I went over to see Jack for a few moments before I started my daily routine. About that time he is in the rehab room doing his little exercises so I walked down the hall and could see him sitting as usual -- facing away from me in front of the big windows. His head was bent over something which turned out to be a puzzle designed to exercise the mind. Sooo I put my arm around his neck and gave him a big kiss on the cheek. He turned around to look at me and!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it wasn't Jack!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. Jack was one chair down doing something else. Everyone in the room - which was 6 or 7 people, just roared with laughter. After they stopped laughing someone asked me how long we had been married and how we had met. I may never live that down."

Actually, I have some experience with mistaking someone for my husband. But I have a pretty good excuse because the GG has an identical twin. His name is Bob and they look, well, identical. They were numbers 5 and 6 out of 10 kids and when they were born, their oldest sibling, Gary, was 6. Sound like fun? Their aunt Gale once told me, "the twins were holy terrors", and she is absolutely right but that's a whole nother blahg. Anyway, I definitely can tell the difference between them but sometimes, when I'm not totally paying attention, I get them mixed up. Fortunately for Bob, I have never accosted him in the overt way that The Commander accosted that poor, unsuspecting old man.

Sun. March 12:

My brother did a lot of good things in his life but one of the best had to be to marry a flutist! One who sometimes drags me out of my musical stupor to do something flutey. Yesterday, our plan was to participate in a Native American flute workshop at the Flint Institute of Music. Not only was I overdue for some kind of musical experience, this was a week that I desperately needed the companionship of a female friend. All of the usual Ann Arbor suspects were out of town or couldn't be scared up for whatever reason. Sigh ;-)

I drove up to Grand Blanc and we caught lunch at a nearby restaurant and then had some good dog time. Along the way, we caught up on all the bits and pieces of our so-called lives, kids and octogenarians and work or lack thereof in my case :-/ and bombed-out houses and aminals grok grok and you name it.

We got to the workshop only to find out that the presenter was stuck in an airport in Oklahoma or somewhere. But there were still flute choirs to listen to and a chance to participate in one and we were certainly up for that. I have been on plenty of stages in the last ten years or so but usually it has been to deliver food to the stage manager of one play or another. Definitely not to perform. Yesterday, Karen and I were two of about twelve flutists of all ages and abilities and we read through five or six pieces, ending with an arrangement of The Pink Panther scored for 100 flutes! It was a total riot! Non-competitive, unlike Interlochen or college. No big egos involved.

We finished off the day with a cappuccino at the Indian Hills neighborhood Starbucks and then I said goodbye to the dogz and Karen and Pengo Janetto and jumped onto southbound US23. Perfect day. Until I got about two miles north of the M14 interchange. I was passing someone at about 75 mph when I realized that there was a po-lice car with its lights on *directly* behind me and my cute little Honda Civic. YIKES!!! I completed my pass and prepared to pull off, thinking something like, "shit, this is my first speeding ticket ever!" Wonder of wonders, HE KEPT RIGHT ON GOING! WHEW! A moment later, another po-lice car passed me. I got onto M14 and prepared to make my ascent up to the Planet Ann Arbor when I saw both of those po-lice cars pulling somebody else off. They were obviously after someone for something but it was not me. This time. grok grok You should've asked me for (grok grok) a ride on buoy 22. grook grook Froogy, you and buoy 22 are grounded, remember?

The day didn't turn out exactly as planned but it just didn't matter because Karen and I actually got to spend some time hanging out together somewhere besides a goddamn horspittle. We have spent too darn much time hanging around horspittles in the last couple years. THANK YOU BRO', wherever you are, for marrying a flutist. THANK YOU KAREN, for dragging me out of the walking train wreck I seemed to be stuck in.

Mon. March 13:

Well, I walk three miles or thereabouts *every* morning and again in the late afternoon. A few years ago I used to say that one walk was for teenagers and the other was for men. Men and teenagers, sheesh! But really I am just a plain old addict. Without arthritis, thank you very much. There are very, very few weather conditions I do not walk in. I can do from about -15 up to around 100 Fahrenheit, although I am pretty much a bedraggled mess anywhere above 95. Hey, youse guys, I am half yooper, ya know, eh? I do rain, snow, and wind. I do ice up to a point. If I can't maintain my footing on about a 2 degree incline, I call it quits. Yes, it *has* been that icy around here and it just isn't worth it. Free fall is only fun in space. Uh, like I would *know* that ;-) One thing I definitely do not do is lightning! Lightning is just too weird and unpredictable. I was standing in my kitchen one time on a nice, warm, quietly rainy afternoon when suddenly, KABOOM! Lightning exploded a tree in the woods behind my house. Out of nowhere. No big front moving through. Nothing. There isn't any lightning right this exact minute but there have been thunderstorms half the night and it is raining cats and dogs and there is a 70% chance of more storms this morning. Plus there is a tornado watch. I *really* need to walk right now but think I will just have to take a pass today. And to think, just over a week ago, I was at Houghton Lake and it was so cold, I had to wear every blasted item of winter clothing I possess to take my morning walk. Yes, including snowpants. It is March and this is Michigan. Anything goes.

Tue. March 14:

Dum de dum de dum. grok grok. Haveya packed the listerine? ooh ooh ooh ah ah dum de dum. How 'bout the frog juice? ooh ooh ooh ah ah la la la. I can't believe (grok grok) the ol' witch (grok grok) is lettin' us outta here. grook grfok. Didya check the engine? ooh ooh ooh ah ah. How 'bout paddles? grok. Do we have 'em? ooh ooh ooh ah ah hee hee hee dum de dum de dum. We are goin' on an adventure! grok grok. We're gonna fly to Kalamazoo (grok grook) and take my owner (grook) out for a nice flea and fly lunch (frok grok) with spider shortcake for dessert. grok grok. Mmmm. She better be ready to eat! grok grok. 'n' then we're gonna (grok frgok) pick up Squeaky and Aunt Mousey (grok grok) and bring 'em back to the Planet Ann Arbor. Grok grokka. Smokie, strap Clammy onta the back o' buoy 22 there (grok grok) ooh ooh ooh ah ah and let's fire up this here flyin' machine (grok grok) and get outta here (grok grok) before the ol' witch changes her silly ol' mind. grok grok. Bats in her belfry!! Grokgrok. Ready. Set. Ten. Nine. Grok. Eight. Seven. Grok. Six. Oops. Smokie! I lost count, where am I? Oh, yeah. Five. Grok. Four. Three. Grok. Grok. Two. One. Ignition. VARRROOOOOOOM!!!! GROKGROKGROKGROKGROK!!!! We're in the air! grokgrokgrokGROK! Kalamazoo, here we come! grokGROK! Hey Smokie, grok grok, hand me that jug o' (grok grok) frog juice. grok grok. With a niiiice listerine chaser. Schlurrrrrp chuga-chuga-chuga grokgrokgrok HIC!

Wed. March 15:

When Mouse was, oh I dunno, about a sophomore and/or junior in high school, she used to frequently ask me, "When are you going for your walk?" I always take an afternoon walk from about 5-6 PM and for a couple of years, I think she used that time to practice monologues and the like. I know, some of y'all are thinking something like "teenager home alone = sex and drugs, etc." but that is just not the kind of stuff Mouse does with her spare time. Anyway, I'm sure it was better to have me out of the house, even though I am the last person on earth to know anything about critiquing monologues. Flute, I can do, but that's a whole nother story and there's no point in going there. Today, she is home from kzoo for her spring break and this afternoon, when she asked me, "Moom, when are you going for your walk?," her reason for asking was that she actually wanted to go with me!! I walk by myself all the time and I am very happy with that. My brain sometimes figures things out while I'm walking that it cannot do anywhere else. And I am an addict. But today was fun. I could hardly keep up with her but that's a good thing. Thank you, Mouse. I love you. I guess we both have some of Grandroobly's DNA.

Thu. March 16:

When you run a web site, even a stupid little blahg like mine, you can really get into some weird stuff sometimes. I don't look at my site statistics very often. I think the last time I looked at them was about six months ago. I don't really care that much. But I got curious today and here is some of the interesting stuff from March 2006: I think one of the strangest things that ever happened was when someone poor, misguided guy emailed me via my blahg to ask if I sold "deep well submersible pumps." Uh, I don't even know what EEZ that! I am on a few listserves and I get a LOT of spam and I am pretty dern good with the delete key. But something made me hold off and, after a bit of thought, I remembered that I have quite a lot of old pump and bucket plumbing pictures from the medieval days at the moldy old Courtois cabin. Once, when the yard flooded up there, we used a submersible pump and I know I posted a pic of that. I concluded that this person was asking a SERIOUS question! I very carefully replied to him, trying, as politely and non-sarcastically as I could, to explain that this was just my own little personal blahg and I didn't sell deep well submersible pumps or any other products on it.

Fri. March 17:

Celtic Sixth Sense, eh? So, *that's* what it's called! My goddamn Celtic Sixth Sense had me totally wonky most of January. It's just unreliable enough that I was ignoring it but, unfortunately, this time it was right smack on the money. It has been a *terrible* winter and then, just when I think we are finally finished hearing bad news, another damn threesome arrives, all in one day. You guys, can I just scrap my goddamn Celtic DNA with all of its awful premonitions and prescient dreams and what not? And while we're at it, can we just get a phoenix or two or three in here to try to do something about these blasted piles of ashes?

Yes, I AM a crazy old bag. Thanks for letting me vent.

Sat. March 18:

This is what we've been paying all that college tuition for.

Sun. March 19:

I don't really have anything much to say today except that I am blahgging from Old Man MacMullan's waaaaarless internet. Yay for waaaarless internet and yay for octogenarians that have it installed in their homes. Old Man MacMullan is a new name for my remaining uncle Don, The Commander's youngest sibling, and he is turning 80 today. I think every one of the MacMullan G3 cousins are here, minus the two who are no longer alive, Cathy and my brother Jim. So that leaves Sally, Terri, Austin, Neal, Maija, Doug and me. And most of the MacMullan G4 cousins, including one of Cathy's kids and Jim's kids. Roberta is here and Jerry is here. Bubs and Harry are here and they aren't MacMullans but a few token Fins are always a good thing. Anyway, like I said, there's not much to say except we're having a great time and Mouse met another serious knitter (Maija) and Lizard Breath gave a few fire-eating demos. I love all of you and to paraphrase something Karen said a few days ago on her blahg, I am very grateful for my family. That means all of my families: Finlayson, MacMullan, and Courtois.

Mon. March 20:

Road trip, quick one, to the Great White North. Girls only. Sincerely yours, Volcano Mama and the Red Hot Lava Girls. grok grok GROK! What about me? And Smokie? ooh ooh ooh ah ah grok Okay, okay, we did put up with a little smidgeon of testosterone.

Tue. March 21:

No, ol' man. You cannot just get up and walk home. Even though home is probably less than a mile away from this place. I know you used to walk umpteen million miles every day, all over hell and gone. And you ran and skied cross-country. Miles. And flew airplanes. And sailed. It hurts me almost as much as it hurts you that you can't do that stuff any more but you can't. I wish this was easier but it's not.

Sorry, y'all but it was a very hard day here in the Great White North. I don't remember when I have had a harder day to live through but it's been a while. And it is not over yet. I am 52 years old. I know that some day things will be better again. But today was just not fun. I am sorry. That is all.

Wed. March 22:

<crazy_stuff>Looooong road trip, Siberia to Petoskey to Kalamazoo to Ann Arbor, all three of us acting about 10 years younger than we are (maybe 30 years in my case). We figured out the lyrics to a couple of old lullabies I used to sing, Summertime (yeah, Gershwin's tune) and that horsey song that I never knew the name of, "Hush-a-bye, don't you cry," etc. Actually, we only sorta figured out the lyrics to the horsey song. I think I used to sing different words just about every time. I doubt I knew accurate lyrics to Summertime either but that's okay, I always added in some of the orchestral parts to make up for it. And then we degenerated into those songs that we can only sing the first word of for fear of making somebody mad: "What" and "Oh" and "Robin", etc. And reminiscences of neon green dresses with matching fangs and bubblegum on the windshield and people taping people to walls and upside down Mrs. Potato Head glasses and using toad puppets to pay bridge tolls and I forget what else. And I do not think I have *ever* been in Kalkaska when it was not *snowing* in Kalkaska. All of this interspersed with a bunch of loud, obnoxious grokking around as always. grokka Shh, stay asleep, Froggy.</crazy_stuff>

<sappy_stuff_sorry>And then we dropped Lizard Breath off at her house in Kalamazoo. Monday will be the first day of her last quarter of college. Instead of heading off to some exotic locale to party the spring break away, she and Mouse chose to hang around the War Memorial Hoosegow with me and our octogenarians. I am not one o' them thar helicopter moms. My idea of college has always been something along the lines of, "I love you, but be off with you, get good grades and don't get into trouble, and don't come home too often." Today, for the first time ever, it was hard dropping Liz off. I dunno what she's doing after this year and it is her business. But, in the last few weeks, there have been more moments than not when I wished I could turn back time for just a little while to the days of upside down Mrs. Potato Head glasses and what not. When I could still keep my babies safe from almost anything. I just want to put my arms around everyone I care about and keep them safe forever. But that's a lot of people and I'm not sure my arms will ever be quite long enough.</sappy_stuff_sorry>

Thu. March 23:

Lemme see if I have some words here or not. This morning, I got the call that my dad, Jack Finlayson, died at War Memorial Hospital in Sault Ste. Marie, MI. He lived in Sault Ste. Siberia all of his life, except for college and service in World War II. He worked for many years as a bank executive and some of the things he loved to do were flying airplanes, driving automobiles at around 100 mph, cross-country skiing, running, watching lake freighters from his beloved beach, traveling, walking, walking, and walking. Did I mention walking? Miles. His death was not unexpected and I was already north of West Branch, on the I75 SUV Speedway, when I got the call. He was almost 87 years old and he was just about the toughest old coot on earth.

On January 31 of this winter, during his daily walk to the post office, a 2-3 mile round trip, he slipped on ice and his leg bone pushed up through his pelvis and smashed it to smithereens. The orthopedic surgeons in Sault Ste. Marie determined that they could not fix it, so they sent him to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit by air ambulance, where a team of surgeons performed two separate operations to rebuild him. After 23 days at Henry Ford, 11 or thereabouts in the ICU, a ground ambulance took him back to Sault Ste. Marie. He spent three weeks at a rehab facility there before falling into an irreversible decline that sent him to the hospital. He lived his last seven days at War Memorial and yesterday it became clear that he most likely had less than 24 hours left.

Tough or not, he endured a catastrophic accident. In ideal conditions, it would have taken even a much younger person many months to regain even a minimum level of mobility. Although Jack had very few health problems for someone his age, the fact that he was "older than dirt", as one of his docs affectionately put it, and the ongoing shock and trauma that followed the accident took its toll. From his first day at Henry Ford, he showed almost no interest in eating and in his last few days, swallowing even the smallest sip of water was almost impossible.

Throughout the whole ordeal, I personally had to work pretty hard not to be pessimistic about his eventual prognosis. When I got that first call back on January 31st, The Commander said, "he broke his hip." I don't know much about this stuff but, I think if he *had* broken his hip in the "typical" way that many elderly people do, he would have had a good chance of surviving and regaining at least enough mobility to be able to walk down to the beach. But that wasn't what this was. I think Jack knew it. He was a serious walker and I think he knew that he wasn't equal to the amount of rehab he would have to endure to ever be able to stand up and put one foot in front of the other again. I think the prospects of living life being moved between a hospital bed and a wheelchair by a machine were too much for him. He knew there was a good chance he wouldn't ever be able to get back to the beach that he loved. Why go on?

Fri. March 24:

Now that Grandaddy and Jim are both walking the beach, our little branch of the Fin family has dwindled a bit further, from ten down to eight members. There is only one male left and he is an outlaw but I guess we'll keep him. He's good for fixing toilet seats and other obnoxious chores. Yeah, yeah, I know there are some more or less male dogz around. Pee city! And an ugly, obnoxious frog (grok grok) and his pet monkey (ooh ooh ooh ah ah). But this family is now 87.5% female. Women that are made of rocks and steel and nails and whatnot. Hear us ROAR!!!

Sat. March 25:

Click here to read Jack's obituary. It should be in the Soo Evening Snooze tomorrow. Lizard Breath said she wished we could put in something about cookies and jack-hattans and dog treats et al. Maybe the newspaper obit wouldn't be the appropriate place for all of those old stories but we certainly appreciate hearing them. Jack had a long and mostly happy life and telling all the old stories is one of the things that keeps us going. So, those of you who knew my dad, if you have memories or pictures, funny or serious or whatever, send 'em along! With your permission, I will make a place to post them. And here are a few pictures, in chronological order, more or less.

Sun. March 26:

"Hey baby!", shouted the myopic young college boy as he and his friends slowed their car down to eyeball the person of female gender walking across the Fort St. bridge. Namely, me. In my holey old black leggings and filthy, ratty ski jacket. Uh, say what?!??!! Yeah, (grok grok) what're y'all smokin'? grok grok. Can I have some o' that stuff too? bagrawk You guys, I am not some skinny little college girl. In fact, I bet I am older than your mothers! grok grok. She is the oldest, ugliest (grok) old bag on the face of the planet. frok grook Those boys did get a second look and wasted no time rolling up their windows and getting the hell outta there. I was definitely not what they were looking for on that fine afternoon. Embarrassed? I would think they were ;-) grok grok grok. Hey, you guys. grok grok. I am a girl MAGNET! Sheesh. grok grok. I'll help (grok grok) you find girls (grok grok). Haveya got some nice (grok grok) frog juice (grok grok) with a Listerine chaser? grok hic grookGROK Or how 'bout laundry detergent? hic burp frok Kee-reist!

Mon. March 27:

"You know, you have really had a bad year. Are you sure you are all right?" I have received those words or similar ones via email from more than one friend. Yeah, it has been a bad year or thereabouts. I and/or members of my family have lost a few people: my friend Paula, my brother (only sibling), Becky's mom, my friend Kathie, my dad, after a horrible ordeal, and now our longtime neighbor Chris, who died yesterday. And, in a moment of extreme frustration, I quit my so-called job. Abruptly. Not my usual style. I am not religious but it almost feels like some god or spirit or whatever is testing me. What the hell for? What did I do? Am I all right? Hmmm. I don't know. I know I will be. Someday. Right now I am not sure where I am.

So. Baby steps. Wash my *filthy* vee-hickle. One step forward. Oops, missed that splodge of bird crap. Half step back. One foot... clean out refrigerator... in front of... zombie around Trader Joe's... "fast" food... the other... baby steps. put out some garbage. right foot... put a load of laundry in... left foot... *force* myself to open the goddamn bills and bank statements. Onward. Upward. Slow as she goes. Don't try to think. Just keep on truckin'... Slow. grok grok

Tue. March 28:

Ms. Wilson: What grade is your daughter in now?
Me: She is a freshman at Kalamazoo College!
Ms. Wilson: Is she still shy?
Me: No! She runs the universe!
Ms. Wilson: Wow!
Me: You are partially responsible for that!

You kids may have left Haisley School far behind you but I still haunt the woods and edges of the schoolyard. A lot of the Haisley teachers we knew are not there any more but Ms. Wilson, Mouse's 4th grade teacher, is and she is one of the best. Perfect for a small mouse with a huge, wild imagination who didn't particularly enjoy elementary school and many of the people she was forced to deal with there.

I was a stalwart member of the Haisley Mafia for nine years and these are a few of the things I did over the years:

Wed. March 29:

<vroom>A couple of friends have expressed their concern about the boomerang driving I've been doing much of the winter. Henry Ford and back. Houghton Lake. Sault Ste. Siberia. Kalamazoo. Put your seatbelt on. Whoosh. Swish. Vroooom. I can do those routes with my eyes shut. The truth is, I love to drive and I am pretty darn good at it, despite what my kids might say. I think it is a talent I inherited from my dad (and passed along to those skeptical kids, by the way ;-) He was an expert driver, alert with good reflexes right up until the day he fell. I can't say that I am crazy about sharing an ice-glazed freeway with umpteen million SUVs being propelled at ninety miles an hour by drivers plugged into their cellular telephones. I hope I NEVER AGAIN have to live through the experience of sitting on an entrance ramp watching a tornado head directly toward me and my vee-hickle. And dashboard lights et al can just be damned. But generally I love to drive and it can be a very therapeutic activity for me. I know there are some people who think that distress or sadness or whatever are distracting and cause accidents. But I do something different. Driving gives me something to focus on while whatever kind of grief I need to process rolls around down underneath somewhere. It steadies me somehow. But here I am, sitting in my house, trying rather unsuccessfully to concentrate on my homework. Nowhere to drive. Going 35 along the Huron River is kinda okay in a pinch but it gets old fast. I need to drive. I need a mission. I am adrift. I need another road trip. Somebody, give me a mission.</vroom>

Thu. March 30:

Ho hum. Another day, another funeral. I never really spent a whole lot of time talking to our next door neighbor but I will miss him nevertheless. Yeah, he was the guy with the Russian flag and bomb-like object in his backyard. Who named his deck "Burke's Erection." Who occasionally made outdoor appearances clad in rather unseasonable costumes, or lack thereof. We moved into the Carbeck Landfill on June 24, 1984 and the Burkes had been living in the house next door for I dunno how many years before that. Responsible, well-educated citizens who also enjoyed life right to the hilt. Way back in the day, sometimes one or another of our more uptight neighbors expressed a bit of disdain about that. Sour grapes! I would rather live next to the Burkes than some of those others any day of the week. Heck, *I* might like to have a little fun once in a while myself! grokgrokgrokGROK! Anyway, they are good neighbors and we will miss Chris. Another day, another funeral. Ho hum.

Fri. March 31:

Okay. I am gonna take a break from death and funerals and gloom and doom today! I will personally kill anyone who makes me eat those words!!!! Today's subject is THE NORTH SHALL RISE AGAIN! Amazons of Birch Point Beach, we are going cylinder hunting. And when we find that blasted cylinder, we are going to blast it right out of the water! Kaboom! Ladies, kick the squirrels out of your kayaks and get ready to launch! grook grok. Hey, me and Smokie want in on this too. grok grok. ooh ooh ooh grok grok grok We are good cylinder hunters. grok grok. Please, please, please lemme fly buoy 22 again. grok frok. Pretty please with spiders on top? frook grok. I promise I'll leave the Listerine behind. grok frook GROK Well, I will think about that offer, Froggy. Maybe you can lick the cylinder to death. schlurrrrp. grok Anyway, the north *shall* rise again even though our pack count is down. Here's proof that the north still exists and here's the movie -- listen to the ice. Yeah, I know. Windows users may not be able to play the movie. I don't know what to say except, "buy Apple"! Sincerely yours, Evil Blahg Lady.

©2003-2006 Anne Finlayson, aka Anne Courtois