April 2004 Birch Pt. Beach Blog

March 04 | May 04

Thu. Apr. 1: Hey, all you Shambling Mounds, you all are just getting out of hand! Inviting all your friends over and whooping it up day and night. I will just have to unplug myself long enough to evict you!

Fri. Apr. 2: And after I wrote yesterday's blog, my ISP unplugged me! Sort of. I was "migrated" to a new host and everything was working except for my email. They neglected to tell me in any meaningful way that I had to change the incoming and outgoing mail servers in my email program and it took more or less 24 hours to get it all straightened out. Technology is so much fun :-)

Sat. Apr. 3: So, Liz came home last night to watch Mouse act in Twelfth Night and has to get back today in time for a graveyard field trip for her "Archaeology of Death in the Greco-Roman World" class. This cracks me up because it reminds me of a once favorite book we had when the kids were little, the Egyptian mummy book with the graphic description of how they pulled the brain out through the nostrils. Remember that, Grandma? But it was much more interesting than another old favorite, the dreaded "Cat Family" book, wasn't it?

Sun. Apr. 4: Abandoned at the age of four in the ancient sacred crypts of Egypt, and found by a curious pair of tourists, Mouse has been brought to America only to be forced into the realm of make-believe where she is constantly placed into the role of the bitter old woman. She loves it.

Mon. Apr. 5: Dredged up by popular demand from the Courtois computer graveyard, the diary of Donald Manson Finlayson, aka, the great-grandfather of all us G3 Fins, who died while trapping in northern Saskatchewan in 1889.

Tue. Apr. 6: Since we're sort of on the subject and there's nothing else going on around here worth blogging about, BPB Fins:

G1: Don & Margaret
G2: Don, Jack, Betty, Bubs
G3: Jan, Sandy, Suzie, Mac, Mike, Anne, Anne (Pooh), Aimée, Jay, Jim, Jane
G4: Katie, Kristen, Judd, Becca, Nate, Lizzie, Molly, Lizzy, Matthew, Robyn, Dan, Val, Mouse, Rey, Dave, Janet, Ashlan
G5: Matthew, Ana, Megan/Brendan/Sara, Edie, William, Buzz

Wed. Apr. 7: typical octogenarian warnings and other bits of octogenarian flotsam >:->> bwahahaha, I am REALLY being bad! >:->>

    Watch out for deer
    Watch out for potholes
    Don't drive too fast
    There are deer all over the place, so watch out for them
    You talk so fast, you are just like those people on TV
    The potholes are really terrible this year, watch out for them
    Now, there are police out there, so watch your speed
    There's ice on the cabin road, so don't "droven" into the ditch
    Don't drive it over 50 or the engine will blow up (say what?!)

Hrrmmm, what about coyotes? Shouldn't I watch out for them too? And what about herons? Or tornadoes?

Thu. Apr. 8: And I'm off! On a mission to rescue the long-lost GPS! (please run the dishwasher tonight)

Fri. Apr. 9: The octos are standing on their heads in the shower to see if the water will drain down in the opposite (southern hemisphere) direction.

Sat. Apr. 10: Sign outside the Sault Ste. Siberia Central Methodist Church: "Easter Sermon -- Good News from the Graveyard."

The GG: "Easter is canceled. They found a body."

(Grandaddy's opinion in general: "Kill 'em all and let god sort 'em out." -- Hey, he's 85, he can say whatever he wants! ;-)

Sun. Apr. 11: So, for those who care, I've been walking all over the frozen, windswept city of Sault Ste. Siberia since Thursday, dodging big rotten, blackened piles of snow everywhere. Had an uneventful drive up, stopping to walk the snow-covered beach first. The octogenarians are full of energy and when I got here, Grandma was up on a ladder in the garage, cleaning out a cupboard. Grandaddy walks downtown at least twice each day and then recuperates by watching old westerns and James Bond on a new "Men's Channel." The GG and Mouse came up Friday and left today. Don, Betty & Mike are due here for dinner any minute. (Grinchie, you *better* show up today so I don't have to be the only kid at the party.) I'll hang out for a couple more days and then head back down in order to cramp Mouse's style for the remainder of her spring break. Valdemort heads to France tomorrow on some kind of a music junket.

Mon. Apr. 12: I can't keep up with 'em. The octos, that is. This afternoon I was so sleepy I could not do anything! I was working with my computer. I had to prop my eyes open. I had lunch (aka my monthly quota of grease) at Clyde's Drive-in, maybe that's what did it. The only other time I am ever that sleepy in the afternoon is sometimes in the summer, on the rare days when I have time to lie on the beach. Now that I'm not the head lifeguard any more, I actually get pretty relaxed.

Grinch, you missed a good, wild-ass party, we were up until 10 PM :-0 I hope your date was fun! >:->>

Tue. Apr. 13: From someone on the flute listserve: "Preserve me from the Expert in Everything" Right On!

Wed. Apr. 14: 9:36 AM, I75 exit 394 (last exit before Canada), temperature, oh around 30 maybe. 2:18 PM, Ann Arbor Main St. exit, trip odometer 329.4, temperature about 53. Would've continued on to Maple Rd. exit but had to investigate some smoke on the Huron River which turned out to be a prescribed burn on the parkland across the river. Fast traffic, cops focusing on 18-wheelers, dry pavement, no clouds, no construction to speak of (just wait), no deer, no coyotes, no herons, no tornados, nothing. One stop for gas at West Branch. House is a *total* disaster, no food except peeps and apparently no one did *anything* about garbage this week. And, people on all fronts *could* at least *try* to be a little nicer to the old ATM machine here! Just a *little* bit more civil maybe? I QUIT! Y'ALL HEAR ME! I QUIT! GONNA GO LIVE IN A HUT SOMEWHERE! Oh wait! I already live in a hut. Damn.

Thu. Apr. 15: Technology is so much fun (?)

Episode 1: Hee! Hee! Hee! I can do something that you guys can't do! I'm talking to my kids, of course, and I'm referring to the fact that I just did a video I/M session with my friend Sam in Atlanta! So, nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-nah! (Well, except that I don't have a video camera (yet) so I could see her but she couldn't see me.)

Episode 2: (subtitle: Mouse vs. Mom-the-ATM)
    Br-r-r-ing! Br-r-r-ing!
    Mom: (that infernal phone!) "Hello!"
    Mouse: "I'm at Orchid Lane. There's a sweater I want but I don't know if there's enough money on my card because I just bought a CD."
    Mom: "Okay, just a minute..." clickety-clickety-type-type-click... "You have $46. How much is the sweater?"
    Mouse: "It's $40. If my card goes under $20, don't they email you and make you put more in?"
    Mom: "All right, how much do you want? Will $20 do it?"
    Mouse: "Yeah."
    Mom: "Well, okay, but is this for your birthday?"
    Mouse: "Yeah."
    Mom: "Okay, just a minute." clickety-clickety-type-type-click...
    Mouse: "Hurry up."
    Mom: "Now, just a minute... okay, you've should have it!"
    Mouse: Thanks, Mom!"

Fri. Apr. 16: Today was just a work day and nothing the slightest bit interesting happened (I guess that *could* be a good thing) so I have no blog. It is warm out, it has not been warm out since about Halloween. With any luck we will be kayaking tomorrow. It's about time. That is all.

Sat. Apr. 17: The Dog People have disappeared and have been replaced by a strange looking man with some kind of weird contraption, metal detector or geiger counter or something. (No, he is not the GG, although he does have a similar kind of mad scientist look about him.)

Sun. Apr. 18: Last Sunday: walked Birch Point Beach, bay still iced over, knee-deep snow on the beach, ski jacket/ski band/scarf/gloves/boots. This Sunday: kayaked 7.5 miles up/down the Huron River, shorts/tank top/bare feet. I am SUNBURNED!! :-) :-) :-)

Mon. Apr. 19: Question of the week: What to get a 17-year-old girl for her birthday? Well, that is, other than the long list of CD's she emailed to me. No, we aren't going to buy her a car, anyway the kids (all 3 of them) fight over the rusty old jeep. I cannot buy her clothes, I would not know where to begin! Why is this so hard? Suggestions welcome.

Tue. Apr. 20: Okay, I couldn't decide whether to blog this or not because it's a little bizarre, but I can't think of anything else but theatre production stuff and, well, y'all just don't really wanna know about that ;-) so here goes:

Last night was a pretty restless night, lots of wind and a car alarm went off sometime around 2:30 AM. That woke me up from a fairly typical dream for me: something about floating around in 10-foot waves, in a lawn chair, that were crashing onto the pavement of the street in front of my house. But I went back to sleep and the next dream was even weirder:

I dreamed that I woke up at 2:30 AM and Elizabeth walked in the front door. That's not a terribly unusual time for a college kid to come home at night, except that she's at college and we weren't expecting her to be home. It turned out that all of the theatre students were supposed to work at a "job" for the term and the only job that they would assign to her was to shuffle papers around in some law office here in A2. Not what we're paying umpteen thousand dollars a year for. She told us she had tried to get another "real" theatre job that she really wanted but had screwed up and got banished to the law office job. The GG asked, "What did you do? Blow something up?" And she replied, "As a matter of fact, yes! A $1000 light!"

We were standing there discussing all of that when other random relatives began drifting in the front door and sitting around the front living room like zombies. Jim & Becky & their kids & some nanny. Bubs & Harry and I think some other Regenstreif-y people. Mike and Mac, who had grown a long, scraggly beard like those ZZtop guys. And I think there were others but I can't remember who. Why were they all there? Because, there was a big blizzard going on and, at 2:30 AM, they were all on the freeway near A2, so they bailed out at my house!

At that, I forced myself to wake up!

Wed. Apr. 21: I am now the proud owner of a John Boshoven refrigerator magnet and Mouse has an initial list of possibilities (in alpha order): Allegheny, Beloit, Butler, Carnegie Mellon, Case Western, DePaul, Grand Valley, Iowa, Ithaca, Kalamazoo, Kenyon, MooU (the GG put this in), Northwestern, Oberlin, UM, Wayne State, WMU. Where to start? I hope we survive the next year! (Mouse please don't kill me for posting this :-)

And thanks, Mark, for the hilarious suggestion. It's probably needless to say I would be risking life and limb to get involved in any such endeavor. A matchmaker I am not. I can lay claim to the successful acceleration of exactly one relationship >:->> but I only did it because the woman, my co-worker, was making it impossible to get any work done. They have 2 kids now and I talk to the grandfather and his dog regularly.

Thu. Apr. 22: A bit of a disclaimer: Mouse has ordered me to make it clear that all of those colleges below are not her ideas, they came from the school counselor, except for the one the GG slipped in there. At her small alternative school, the counselors actually spend a significant amount of time talking to the kids about their options. Mouse has a lot of options available to her but despite the fact that she has some very specific interests, she really doesn't know where she wants to go or what she wants to do. It's overwhelming for her and I am of extremely limited help. So, the list below represents a variety of schools within a very loose 4-hour radius that have some programs she might be interested in. It's a start and that is all it is. I will not often blog about her college search. It's her own very personal business. And, please, suggestions that she study engineering or rocket science or accounting are probably not going to be helpful (you guys know who you are and that I love you anyway :-) :-) :-)

Disclaimer of disclaimer: please know that I am not trying to slam Michigan State in any way, it's a great school. Valdemort is going there next year, she's excited about it and she'll have a great time there.

Finally: Don Schell called to say his departure to Iraq, where he will work for Halliburton, is imminent. So, Donny, we love you, good luck, be safe and send us pictures!

Fri. Apr. 23: "Sorry I was so slow to answer. Busy and will write more later." -- An octogenarian response to a request for Jack McNaughton's chocolate cherry cake recipe. Busy! Sheesh! :-)

Anyway, when was the last time I asked for the recipe for Jack's cake and how many times have I asked for it and why the heck can't I hang on to the damn thing. Actually, I think it was about a year and a half ago and it was probably about the third time and I guess it's probably buried in an email message on the old dead strawberry iMac. One time I actually tried to make it without the recipe but that was less than perfect, to say the least. I can read a recipe if I don't get distracted in the middle of it but usually if I need dessert for something, I recruit Mouse. But her specialties are pie and cheesecake and this time I need Jack's cake. Maybe if I blog the damn thing, I won't lose it again, do ya think? Recipe from Fran below with my editorial comments in "[]".

Cake [Jack McNaughton's Cherry Chocolate Cake]
    one devilss food cake mix ["devilss"? octogenarian typist? >:->> ]
    3 eggs
    1/2 cup oil
    1/4 cup water
    1 1/2 tsp almond
    1 21 oz. can pie cherry mix

Seriously, thanks Ma! I'll try not to lose it again.

Sat. Apr. 24: Mouse has now made it through 2 years and 3 months of driving with a spotless record. That's not counting all the years of illegal driving at the old Raco Airbase. So, now we're just waiting for the non-Cinderella license to come in the mail. Congratulations Mouse! And keep it up!

Sun. Apr. 25: The things I would learn if I watched TV! This is from another guest at the Bob/Bill 50th birthday party last night: apparently there is a TV commercial for some new kind of super-tampon that gets used to stop a leak in a boat! Hmm, why weren't those available back in the 80's when we were trying to keep the cabin at Houghton Lake from flooding all the time? (i.e., splash! "Shit!" -- the sound of Bob arriving at HL late at night in the dark and dropping his pillow on the kitchen floor :-) :-)

Correction to April 22's blog: Donny goes to Kandahar, NOT Iraq! Sheesh. I talk to too many people about too many different things every day and sometimes I can't even sort it all out from what I talk to people about in dreams. My brain cannot keep up with my fingers!!! Or is it vice versa?

Mon. Apr. 26: Today's blog is brought to you by Mouse, the amazon (please don't hit me) stage manager who was leaving for a rehearsal at Tappan Middle School this afternoon (picture here):

"Things I'm carrying or wearing: a bag with my driver's license, etc. in it, a bag of homework, a bag of knitting, a huge stack of CD's, a Wall St. Journal and assorted other newspapers to make bones for little animals to chew, 2 rolls of tape (double-sided sticky and masking), a pair of shoes in my hand and a pair of shoes on my feet."

"I'm driving one boxy, moving object (a jeep) which is pulling another boxy, moving object (the infamous Courtois trailer containing 10 platforms), carrying 2 kayaks on top, and containing, among other debris: a fake tree, a spare tire, a trailer prop, assorted life jackets and paddles, a coffee can full of bullet shells, and a platform dolly." (That metal thing with the Old Grandad label on it remained on the porch.)

"When I walked out of Tappan at the end, all I had was the platform dolly with my mom's box of YAG crap on it, my 3 bags and a dead tiger."

Tue. Apr. 27: "I am an old man." SAY WHAT??? If you are going to start talking like that, I am outta here!!

Okay, a few months ago, when I became a demi-centenarian (thanks, Marky), people asked me if I was gonna blog about it. And I thought I would, but when it came right down to it, I was so busy skiing and throwing buckets of water down the Houghton Lake toilet that day that I couldn't sit down long enough to think about what it meant. Now I've had a few months to think about it and all I can say is that this has so far, in general, been one hell of a good year (please god or whoever is up there, don't drop a meteorite on me for saying that!):

So, don't you (and you know who you are) start entertaining ANY ideas about being old and starting to sit in front of "Spike" (the "Men's Network", sheesh)! You got that? (Hmmm, wonder if that truck driver is a kayaker?)

Wed. Apr. 28: Jane: "wow. I had no idea that our very own Anne Banan was, on top of everything else, a legendary 1950s lesbian pulp novelist. hey Banan -- where do you find the time?"

Outta the closet after all these years!

Thu. Apr. 29: When you have octogenarian parents and one of them calls (in this case it's almost always the grandmother, I'm not sure Grandaddy bothers much with phones any more), you get to expect the news that someone has died. This morning, the grandmother called with the news that someone did: Katie Finlayson, wife of Grandaddy's brother Don. She had been in declining health for a long time and spent the last year or more in hospital long-term care, a shadow of her vibrant persona as a busy doctor's wife and volunteer with 4 kids who was often referred to as "The White Tornado." Good-bye Katie, we love you.

Fri. Apr. 30: At latest report, Don Schell is lodged at the 5-star LeMeridien Hotel in Tashkent, 9 hours ahead of us here in the Eastern Daylight zone -- jazz bands and belly dancers and cute young Russian women. Um, don't elope ;-)