November 2004 Birch Pt. Beach Blog

October 04 | December 04

Mon. November 1: Tomorrow is a very important day! Sure hope everyone is ready!

Tue. November 2: I am sitting in the college library at 8:40 AM wearing my "I voted" button. Left the house at 5:37 AM, walked 3 miles in the rain and arrived at our polling place, Haisley School, by 6:15 AM. I think there were about 8 people already lined up, including the GG. By the time the polls opened at 7, there were at least 150 and counting.

And Karen already scooped me on this but, should y'all need a little relief from the stress of election day (you know who you are ;-) and may it truly be a day this year and not a couple months), check out the Sault Ste. Siberia Evening Snooze droven-ins. Highlights of the droven-ins for Halloween weekend 2004 include superheroes in the slammer and odd scenes and scenarios played out in the parking lots of various drinking establishments and high school parking lots, etc. To get the facts, click here.

Wed. November 3: Political blog? Ho hum. Just about what I predicted. What was so exciting about *either* of these guys? Somewhere out there in the universe a life-form exists that has what it takes to run this big behemoth of a government. I'm not sure either of these guys is it.

Kids (and some adults I know, too, you know who you are ;-), it is *not* the end of the world. Life is gonna go on. It isn't even gonna change for any of you. What's going on in Iraq/Afghanistan is not enough to make anyone get crazy enough to try to reinstate the draft. Canada is a great place but you don't need to move there.

Pay attention to what's happening. Find out who your various elected representatives are and how to contact them. If you don't like something (or even if you do), write, or call, or whatever.

As the Marquis of Axe said in a recent email response to some ranting and raving I was doing about some stupid little thing, "Chill out babe! Don't sweat it. Like, be cool!" etc., etc., etc. So, Chill! And you could focus on what *you* could do to make the world a little better place.

Thu. November 4: Well, rat's ass, it's 5:30 AM and it's *November* and 40-something degrees and it is *thundering*! Will I get to walk this morning? :-/ I am a fanatic and there are a *few* weather conditions I don't walk in and they are:

Weather Underground: "A line of showers and embedded thunderstorms will spread steadily northeast through the area early this morning. This activity will focus to the west of US 23 through about 6 am." And goes on and on about hail and gusty winds. I sure hope I get to walk this morning. I tend to get a little bit twitchy when I don't get to start the day out by walking! :-/

Fri. November 5: Are y'all glad to see that ghostly (or was it ghastly) Halloween color scheme go away? I thought so. Not that this one is any better, really. I was experimenting with the leaf picture. I know it looks terrible next to the bay-at-night graphic. This site is screaming at me to redesign it. It breaks just about all the graphic design rules in the book and it doesn't rank very high on the usability scale either. And if my coding teacher saw the snarled up mess of html and css that hangs out behind it, he'd throw me out of the class. Maybe someday I'll have time for a redesign. For now, about all I have time to do is play around with the style sheets and the colors. And don't even bother to send my site to web sites that suck because he doesn't accept personal web sites or blogs, so there :-P

Sat. November 6: So get to work, you lazy slacker! It's just a 1-page executive summary. One lousy little page. So why can't you get started on it already?

Before school started this fall, my very helpful little daughter Elizardbreath teased me unmercifully about stuff like, "Mom, you are going to have to write papers!" hahahahaha. And I do! My teachers strongly believe that all college students need to be able to read and write and demonstrate that ability with great frequency. And do I agree with them? Of course I do! The whole subject relates strongly to a few of my personal pet peeves. But was it easy to write that first paper? Noooo, it was not! And it was only 1-1/2 pages double-spaced. But somehow, after struggling for about 4 days of writing, editing and rewriting, I managed to get a really good grade on it.

I can't say that without -- again -- mentioning Mr. Pfifer (too lazy to look up the correct spelling), 12th grade honors English teacher. Plus a couple of nods to Mrs. Pratt and Mrs. Loye, old-fashioned junior high English teachers from back in the day when it was *called* English (who came up with "language arts" anyway?) and when they actually taught stuff like grammar and syntax. 'Course, I also had to contend with The Commander, who took an evil delight in correcting the sloppy grammar of any kid in range of hearing: her own kids, their cousins, neighborhood kids, you name it. If you wanted to say something like "I ain't got none", you'd better darn well be over at the schoolyard or somewhere. Now an octogenarian, The Commander is still actively correcting people's grammar. Her grandchildren have even been known to refer to her as "My Grammar." Do *not* confuse "lay" and "lie" or "bring" and "take" around The Commander. No sir!

That little digression aside, after a couple months of writing papers, I can usually knock out a measly 1-page paper in no time. So, get to work you lazy slacker. Stop writing in this silly "blog" and start writing that executive summary! Then you can get to the *fun* part of your homework; reading, coding and playing around with photoshop.

Sun. November 7: acrobat, copy max, dishwasher, dryer, email, excel, explorer, fetch, illustrator, imageready, indesign, itunes, microwave, photoshop, POC, powerbook, preview, printer, quicken, safari, stickies, textedit, ticketmaster, washing machine, word. Well, that's about all there was about today, not necessarily in alphabetical order though. Prob'ly shouldda added vacuum cleaner(s), dust rag, garbage bag(s) and mop in there somewhere ;-)

Mon. November 8: All right, you amateur astronomers (you know who you are): lately, when I'm out walking in the morning, there are these two bright stars in the east, kind of high in the sky (45 degrees, maybe?). Last week they were really close together but they've been moving a little farther apart ever since. This morning there was about a quarter moon above them. I may not be the brightest light on earth but I *know* that they can't both be actual stars. Since they are getting farther apart, at least one of them has to be a planet. So, what *are* they?

Planet Update -- Venus and Jupiter: No one knew what I've been seeing in the morning. Jane mentioned that aurora borealis was out last night and conditions might be good for it again tonight. Valdemort, our little factoid, didn't know either but said something about looking online. Duh, why didn't I think of that? And you're right, Val, Venus is not 45 degrees above the horizon, more like 20. And I found it on StarDate, which we used to always listen to on NPR when we were at the beach.

Tue. November 9: I am on the "do not call" list, so why do y'all keep on spamming me? The phone kind of drives me crazy anyway. Email is much less intrusive and, to quote a teacher of mine, "your email will not wake me up" :-) Of course, it's easy to tell if it's a solicitor right away because either there's a pause before a person gets on the line or they mangle one of my aliases: "Mrs. Finally-son", "Mrs. C-C-Core-toyce", etc., etc. ad nauseam. About the only thing I haven't heard is "Mrs. Finnelson" but that whole thing was prob'ly just a ploy by some semi-literate 60's-era Eastern Yoopers to drive The Commander crazy.

I'm pretty good at hanging up when these characters call. But this time they didn't ask for a person and I happened to stay on the line long enough to hear, "May I please speak to the marketing department for your website?" Marketing department? I looked around my ugly, messy, kinda grimy, rodent-infested kitchen and I did not see anyone. Oh where, oh where has my marketing department gone? Oh where, oh where can they be? Are they out to lunch? Bathroom break? Cigarettes out the back door? Don't start a leaf fire, you guys.

Wed. November 10: Well, yeah. I use the drive-through ATM at the National City Maple Rd. branch all the time. But if I went over there after dark, or any other time the bank is closed for that matter, and there was some guy loitering around behind my car smoking a cigarette, I would not deposit my paychecks either! In fact, I *may* have even taken the further step of calling the police. Good call, Mouse! Those checks can wait another day. Just a little reminder that in this largely "safe" city, there do exist a few people who are just plain up to no good!

Thu. November 11: Yeah, the chapter assigned was chapter *7*, so what was I doing messing around with chapter *12*? :-/

Fri. November 12: The guest blogger of the day is none other than the Grumpy Growler! And this is what he has to say: "We have enough rakes here for an army, so where's the army?"

Seriously, the twinz and I got what was left of the leaves done in about 2-1/2 hours and burned a bunch of unsalvageable knotty pine while we were at it. It was a gorgeous day and we are now hanging around the Best Western where the GG helped the owner get the wireless network configured correctly.

For anyone interested, click here for the Courtois cabin elevations. The "front" elevation faces the road, "rear" faces the lake, "left" is viewed from the east and "right" is from the west. We've added windows to the rear and east elevations, so these are not final.

Sat. November 13: Damned if I can get a guest blogger for today! Sitting here in the HL Best Western "on the beach" (seriously folks, the HL area has much to offer but it does not have real beaches). Anyway, the twinz are down at the pool and elliptical machine. I'm not that crazy about swimming anywhere but the great lakes and I got my exercise outdoors like I usually do, so I'm here with the MooU game -- which I hope they don't expect a report on! At least it's better than what they left on the boob-tube yesterday afternoon, which was Grandaddy's favorite: Spike, the Men's channel!! I was in a kind of yucky mood today due to an incident of my own extreme incompetence but we had a pretty fun day anyway. Flipped a coin (west or east) this morning and west won, so we moseyed over to Manistee, stopping to kibitz with some cold-weather kayakers by the Peterson Bridge, then at the Dublin jerky emporium and finally at Gay's grandma's old property in (or near?) Irons. Watched drawbridges go up in Manistee to let a big bright orange barge go up the river, had a pesto pizza lunch that E-Lizard would've prob'ly liked, then headed out to a real beach on Lake Michigan and walked out on a big jetty (too cold to swim today though, darn). And I did homework in the back of Bob's caddy-lac the whole way over and back. Vector shapes and raster images and filters and effects and gradients and I forget what else (but I better look it up) were the order of the day. Wish I was better at art even though for this project we are graded on technical "expertise", not art, but still. :-/ I hope I don't dream that I've missed a class and failed to turn in a project, like I did last night ;-) I have some pretty pictures (sky colors are gorgeous here) but I am too spazzed to focus on posting them.

Sun. November 14: Click here to see the demolishment of the Courtois cabin. Photos courtesy of a neighbor. His photos are actually much clearer than this, I reduced the size a lot for quick loading.

Mon. November 15: Glarg... Heads up from the computer only long enough today to shoot over and pay for the POC's liberation from its most recent sojourn with Larry. Which actually took place yesterday afternoon on the way home from HL. Larry said, "You can pick it up on Sunday and pay on Monday, I'm not worried about gettin' the money from you guys." Guess not, since we're regular customers ;-) Anyway, this is what I get for frolicking on various beaches over the weekend. Unfinished homework :-/ Get yer act together, Volcano Mama!

And, btw, give Lizard an email if you can. She's doing fine but I bet she'd like to hear from home, given that she's about 2 months into this adventure. email me to get her address. Just tell her all the boring stuff you're doing. That's what I do :-)

Tue. November 16:

  1. Do NOT move my printer!! If you really need to network a printer, use one of the others. We have umpteen million of them!!
  2. The POC does not currently have a horn!!

That is all! And that's about all I need for today! :-/ Except that now there is a guy (?) sitting here in the *library* singing (?) in a stage whisper!

Wed. November 17: Well, that is odd. In October, my site got even more hits (30,000) than the YAG site (23,000) so it seems there might be some people with not a lot to do, eh? >:->> And some of the weirder search strings used (always amusing):

Thu. November 18: My dining table can now see the light of day and for once the justice system seems to have some common sense! Coral Eugene Watts, aka the Sunday Morning Slasher, who terrorized Ann Arbor back in the day when I lived alone in the old Seventh St. apartment, will apparently stay behind bars. Click here for the A2 Snooze story. Sorry but this is one guy that doesn't deserve to live and some bizarre old Texas law was gonna let him out! At least they don't have one of those ridiculous quotes from his mother (does he *have* a mother?) about how he was a good boy who always brought her flowers on Mother's Day! (Or is that "took" her flowers? Commander? Need a grammar nazi... ;-)

Fri. November 19: Albion... I sure wish this process was OVER!! Believe me, I hate it as much as you do, listening to perky little college students talk about how great their school is. And please brag a little bit. Yes, when the parents of little theatre rats are so impressed with you that they think you are a *graduate* student, it DOES mean something! And yes, you DO have to submit SOME kind of senior-type picture to the yearbook. It does NOT have to be a studio picture. But be thinking about what you are going to do about that because the deadline is SOON. (Sorry about this blog Mouse but, well, just get it done!)

Sat. November 20: I have a few words to eat today. I take it all back. *Except* for the bit about the photo. For chrissake, can'tcha just get the GG to take some pictures of you by the Mendelssohn stage door or somewhere? Or, I could submit this nice supermouse picture.

Sun. November 21: Is it a cat? It looks a little like a cat. There are always cats out skulking around at this time of the morning. Now it looks kinda like a dog. But dogs aren't *supposed* to be out running loose around here. Shoot, if it is a dog, it'll probably come over and *jump* on me. Nope. It took a good look at me and is veering off to my right. Cat? Dog? Neither of the above. It is a fox! Walking right up N. Revena, across Harbrooke and into somebody's driveway. At about 7:30 AM. The west side of A2 is about as wooded as suburbia can get and we have raccoons, possums, skunks (millions!), groundhogs. But I have never seen a fox in the neighborhood before.

Mon. November 22: A little flute oasis in the midst of the usual maelstrom. Thank you Karen!

Tue. November 23: The Ann Arbor Academy has a black-haired guinea pig that looks just about like Piggie except he's even bigger. And he (she? I dunno) was sitting next to the edge of his cage and when I put my finger in to pat his cute little head, he actually didn't schloop away from me or nip at me or anything! :-)

Wed. November 24: Splosh, splosh. I sure am glad I am not waiting around for a kid to come home from Kalamazoo tonight. Actually I am nervous enough having a kid driving around A2 tonight, even though she has super powers (and 4-wheel drive). Walking this afternoon required a whole different set of muscles than usual as every step held the potential for slipping and sliding all over the place. The sidewalks were slippery, the streets were slippery, the grass was slippery and muddy. Yuck. 'course, the practically tread-less old teva sandals don't help. And my feet have been wet all day. Guess I'll have to dig out my boots. Wonder if I can make those things last another winter or 10? Yeeaaaah, sure I can :-) We are having our first fire of the season tonight. GB Fins, safe driving to The Great White North! Sure am glad I am not waiting around for a kid to come home from Kalamazoo tonight.

Thu. November 25: Over the river and through the woods to, oh wait! Gay will be a good grandmother someday but she is not one yet! And I suppose we will cross a few culverted rivers and pass a few little bits of woods that the developers haven't bulldozed but the route is good old M14/I275/I696 over to Megalopolis. If we really feel like getting nostalgic, I suppose we can always get off at Woodward and drive by Grandmother's *old* house. Mashed potatoes for 20. In honor of Elizardbreath. KP duty. (And btw, don't anybody (you know who you are) get homesick because of that snow picture. It'll be back to the usual gray ugliness of November around here by tomorrow.)

Fri. November 26: My host server: "If you're receiving bounced (returned) emails that you have never sent that have your own domains as the return address, and aliases that never existed, then almost always, this is a case of header forgery, aka 'Spoofing'." ...... "this is incredibly hard to trace, and unfortunately, the general suggestion to get around this is to ignore the problem."

At least 250 such messages in the last two days! And exactly *two* from people I actually know and that weren't written for a business-type reason. delete, delete, delete, delete, delete... :-(

Sat. November 27: Liz, excerpts from an email about schoolwork abroad: "it's simply too easy for me, i think. we hardly have any work and although we spend probably 7 hours at the university every day we hardly do anything." "i miss tearing my hair out to get my papers done on top of 5 hours of rehearsal at k every night... which is kind of awful in its own way i guess"

Yeah, I think a bunch of that schoolwork has been transferred over to me! But I have blue lights :-)

Sun. November 28: Tired of sitting around on a boring Sunday at the cold, gray end of November? Need a little something exciting? How about some fun with the 17 Plane Symmetry Groups? Little too obtuse for you? Then try some Penrose tilings. Or how 'bout some good old fashioned toilet paper plagiarism?

No, I am not sitting around here surfing the web for mathematical fun and games this morning. These links are brought to you by Pooh, A Bear of Very Little Brain. Woops! That would be the *other* Pooh, wouldn't it? The Pooh I'm referring to is my very dearest cousin and superbrain, the person who spent her 5th grade xmas vacation making a prime number sieve (that link was for you, Pooh) and has always had the annoying habit of picking up a book someone else was reading and *finishing* it before the other person actually realized that it was missing (!!!)

Mon. November 29: And the race begins...

Tue. November 30: Hmm, are my muscles kind of achy today? That is unusual and I hope it is just my imagination. And I feel just a little, well, I dunno how to describe it. Freaky. Like I might be coming down with something? The last time I had a cold was over a year ago. I do not want to get one now. It is too close to tech week. Not to mention final exam week. Anyway, I am running at about 95% right now. I can manage down to about 80%, below that it gets iffy. Fortunately, the only time I've been lower than 80% in about the last 40 years was back in 1998 when we were doing Gulliver's Travels at the Mendelssohn and I had to lie on the couch in front of the TV (!) for 3 days and the remote control was missing and I was too sick to figure out how to switch the channel without the remote control and therefore ended up watching Jumanji about 3 times plus some B movie about a geeky little hill-billy type hot-dog skier that parachuted out of a helicopter, beat a bunch of nefarious macho-man skiers in a race and ended up getting the girl. (Actually, since I am a skier, I *liked* that movie!) Finally about halfway through the third day, I noticed what the kitchen looked like and how much laundry there was and I dragged myself up off the couch to attempt to deal with all of that mess. When you are a mom, you cannot get sick! So, I think I will go for a walk in the rain and see if I can knock this little bit of malaise out of my system. Then I will get some cappuccino for Mme. Producer and Mlle. Stage Manager and head over to STAC. You can get yer own food tonight! (You know who you are and you'd better be reading this!)