December 2004 Birch Pt. Beach Blog

November 04 | January 05

Wed. December 1: jfmhc. Are my feet *ever* gonna be dry again? I guess it is time to retire the tevas for the duration. But that means I will have to go to Marshall Fields (twitch) (apologies to Karen) and buy some new (choke) DKNY tights because polar tech socks do not fit into my boots and my old DKNY tights are all holey! Slog on.

Thu. December 2: I've been putting off and putting off doing this dern blog today. I really do not want to write about what there is to write about. Actually, I do not really even have any words. This has been a pretty snarky week in general. The weather has been crappy. Mouse has had so little sleep that SenoraMadame took one look at her yesterday and sent her home from school. (Thank you Senora for caring.) And I've been blogging about really lame stuff like wet feet and the cold I thought I was getting that didn't materialize, etc., because there really wasn't anything worth talking about. Right now life is just school and YAG and struggling against the elements.

But then, things took a sudden, shocking turn from lame and crappy to absolutely horrible and tragic. Good-bye Paula. Wherever you are, I hope you know how much we all miss you. The Mendelssohn, Scarlett, STAC, The Estate, YAGbabes at Cafe Zola et al will never ever be the same again without you. I know you would want the show to go on but I do not know how we're all gonna make it through the upcoming Tech Week at the Mendelssohn and on into the future. That is all. I just do not have any more words.

Fri. December 3: I didn't start out to be an alternative school mom but I've been one for 9 years now (oops, make that 10, can't count). And thinking about moving on into the future makes me realize how little time I have left to wear that particular hat. (Um, "alternative" has a little bit different definition here in A2 than it does most other places, you'd almost have to live here to understand -- check out the Commie High website if you wanna know ;-)

Sat. December 4: Well, it is now officially tech week for The Tempest and I could rant and rave about today -- basketball traffic jams, standing at the Expresso Royale counter waiting for coffee while doing email, wet cement (!) dumped by vandals at the end of the producer's driveway behind her cars, etc., etc. Not to mention that a dear friend and very hard-working fellow board member died suddenly this week leaving us to somehow figure out how to muddle through the rest of the production (and life) without her. But I'm not gonna rant and rave. Instead, here are the northern lights. Thank you, Pooh, and Pooh & Mark's friend Ron. I needed a little reminder to stop beating my head against the wall for a while.

Sun. December 5: To Mouse (origin unknown, found on the bulletin board at STAC):

Leaps tall buildings in a single bound.
Is more powerful than a locomotive.
Is faster than a speeding bullet.
Walks on water.
Gives policy to God.

Leaps short buildings in a single bound.
Is more powerful than a switch engine.
Is just as fast as a speeding bullet.
Walks on water if the sea is calm.
Talks with God.

Stage Manager-
Lifts buildings and walks under them.
Kicks locomotives off the track.
Catches speeding bullets in her teeth and eats them.
Freezes water with a single glance.
*IS* God.

Mon. December 6: Rrrrrk! For years now, I have been trying to get people to *read* either all the *paper* information we hand out or else read the *website*. And people either can't find the website or "don't have time" (yeah, like it's faster to seek me out and *ask* me, roight!) or their kid crumpled the paper or threw it away or whatever, ad nauseam. Now, all of a sudden they are reading *both* and wouldn't you know it, the web and the paper handout are not consistent with each other. Go me! Talk about confusion! (Can I quit?)

Tue. December 7: Sam, via email: "Hope your feet are dry." Well, no they are not! The WCC parking lot was a river today -- a couple inches deep. And of course I had my sandals on. It was over 40 degrees, whaddya want? :-)

Wed. December 8: Omigosh! I have missed so many phone messages in the last week! "You have... 3 voice mail messages, first message, sent Friday, December 3 at 3:37 PM." "You have... 4 voice mail messages, first message, sent Sunday at 5:15 pm." To everyone who has tried unsuccessfully to contact me (or anyone here) via our home telephone in the last few years: I am sorry. My land line voice mail is a black hole. It swallows messages and spits them out over on the planet Zephron III or somewhere. I don't ever think about checking for messages. I only find them on the relatively rare occasions I need to call someone and decide to use that phone. And sometimes other people check for messages and, with the best of intentions, save them and forget to tell me about them. My cell phone is a little better bet: 734-417-7238. But it can also be a black hole and, just to complicate things further, I turn the ringer off when I'm in class. Sometimes I forget to turn it back on. The best way to get me is via email: or They both go straight to me. And I don't care if the damned spiders get 'em. I get so much spam already it's just hopeless. I am on-line pretty much all the time unless I'm in the car. I can drive and talk but I can't drive and type. It's amazing how easy it is to find wireless access. Love y'all but I never *have* gotten along with phones, I consider them a necessary evil and I am an incurable telephone klutz. (Hey, just read some of my entries about the trials and tribulations of international dialing ;-) If you leave a message and do not hear back from me by the next day, I probably haven't received it. Try again or email me and tell me to get with it! :-)

Thu. December 9: It is 8 o'clock in the morning and I am just settling myself into a nice cozy computer workstation in the WCC Computer Commons. In my favorite place way in the back row by the windows. And a friend of mine who happens to run the place comes along and very helpfully informs me that I am sitting in "porn row." Maybe a change in coordinates is in order.

Fri. December 10: Swoooooooossshhhhh! (and wet feet. of course.)

Sat. December 11: Zombie or walking train wreck? Can't decide. Dry feet though. Weather (28 and snow) just under the boot-wearing threshold. (Thresshold? Grammar/spelling Nazi?)

Sun. December 12: An afternoon in the Mendelssohn box office:

Can I sit down now?

Mon. December 13:
    You should be proud.
    Of WHAT! [thinking: WTF (sorry girls)]
    Of being you!
    Whaddya mean!?!?! [thinking Kee-reist!]
    Well, ya ain't exactly chopped liver, ya know!

Okay, I will keep you around, I guess. We've been hanging for like 25 years now. But, just remember, I married you for better or for worse but *not* for lunch. (That does not include lunch on the trail or at the ski ranch or in a kayak or at Yvonne's Airport Restaurant or the other million places we go when we are not in A2. :-)

Tue. December 14: A presentation. With a group. My favorite thing to do. Oh well, at the end of today, it will be over.

Wed. December 15: My friend Paula.

(And, to those who were anxiously awaiting word about how this perpetually tongue-tied shy extrovert would do *speaking* in front of a classroom? Yes, the presentation is *over*. Woohoo! Could've been worse, I guess, and I certainly have some ideas about how to approach the inevitable next one ;-) One more final project. Photoshop. Individual work, thank god. Due tomorrow morning. Back to work. Dreaming of beads and flute.)

Thu. December 16: Glick, or deer-deer-deer-whomp, or whatever. Last final today. Just turned in a project. Free woman. Not. A whole day of sorting out papers, papers, papers, papers. Frantic searches for checkbooks. Sigh. Sun to sun. And sun sets early. So, here's Liz from Spain.

Fri. December 17: Merry Christmas to me. I bought pillows today. Decorative ones. At Target, of all places. We *have* pillows but The Commander made most of them back in the early days of our sojourn in this house. 20 years ago. If she were to visit today, she'd prob'ly try to throw 'em out. The time has come. Actually, that time came quite a few years ago. And I kept thinking, I'll get some nice fancy fabrics (or make some nice fancy fabrics) and sew my own. And I can add beads and all kinds of fun stuff. Yeah, right. I can run a sewing machine about 100 miles per hour. But can I *find* the darn thing? I know it's down there in the dungeon somewhere.

Anyway, people keep asking me what I want for Christmas and I keep scratching my head in complete puzzlement. I do not need much of anything. I need to get *rid* of things, not acquire them! And when I do ask for specific things, people seem to think they are inappropriate gifts. Like last year when I asked for the latest operating system for my powerbook. But, if you want a list, here it is:

But since I seem to be on a roll with the home decor stuff -- and believe me, that is a *rare* occurrence, I'm not sure what has gotten into me -- why don'tcha just let me continue with that and we'll call it xmas. And maybe this place will be just a *little* bit spruced up before I have to put my head back down for the next semester of my little college odyssey.

Sat. December 18: *New* kitchen may not be attainable in the near future, but *clean* kitchen is within reach after today. Hantaviruses begone!

Sun. December 19: Random "in whiches" from the last couple days:

Happy holidays and drive a little slower if the road surface looks iffy. Take that from a Yooper!

Mon. December 20: Well, if this doesn't beat all:

    --- The message cannot be delivered to the following address. --- Mailbox unknown or not accepting mail.
    550 5.1.1 ... User unknown

When a "returned mail" message came in from the Kalamazoo College mail server, I just thought, "oh rats, the email I sent to Elizabeth this morning didn't make it through. Now I'll have to re-send it or send it to her ababsurdo email ID which I don't think she checks as often." But that wasn't what this was, it was a case of "spoofing". Or as my host service says:

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".

I have *no* idea who is. Someone by the name of "Simmy Hxteec," a likely name if I've ever seen one. I have *never* emailed anyone from Kalamazoo College besides Lizard Breath. Except for the admissions officer that covers A2. But that was a few years ago. And I did once email Jess in Africa, at Liz's request, to send her Liz's snail mail address in Spain. I'm currently getting around 200 "spoof" spam emails a day and since just now a similar message came in from the Carleton College server, it's apparent somebody is now trying to spam people at small private liberal arts colleges using my domain name.

It is not me! Spammers be damned!

Tue. December 21: Sheesh, will somebody just bang my head against the wall for me? I am such a loser. I should've known this would happen. I was going 50 million miles a minute all fall, taking classes and assisting with theatrical productions and bopping back and forth to Houghton Lake. And then it all stopped. And yesterday, whomp!, I was just plain sitting on the ground! I wanted to go out to lunch! And maybe even -- uh -- shopping. Really! With somebody not-male. And there was no one. All the usual suspects are off vacationing in exotic places or doing slave labor at the mall or I don't know where (Paula). The Commander and Radical Betty are in the UP. Elizabeth is in Spain (yes, I *do* miss her, but I don't want her to be homesick!). Sam (archaeologist, not dog) is in Atlanta and I was too busy to meet up with her when she *was* in the area a couple weeks ago (sigh). Mouse is here when she's not out gallivanting around but she's been pretty dern surly and I can't figure out exactly what I've done to deserve that except for something about the use of turn signals or lack thereof. And I haven't had more than about a 6 mile day in a couple months and there is not enough snow here to ski and I can't get to any significant snow until about the end of next week! So, bleeg. Coffee or lunch, anyone?

Sincerely yours, The Grinchess of Ritsema Woods

Wed. December 22: Two vee-hickles down, one to go. POC, you had better be on your best behavior today!

    On Dec 22, 2004, at 1:29 PM, James Finlayson wrote:

    | what's the vehicle scoop?

I can *always* count on car-related posts to bring the engineers out of the woodwork!

Thu. December 23: All I know is that if this were Sault Ste. Siberia, the plows would already be out in full force and at least the main roads would not have 6-8 inches of snow on them like they do here. Heck, they even plow the sidewalks up there and I am old enough to remember when they used horse-drawn plows. Then there was the year I was a high school junior with a 6-month-old driver's license and the use of a couple big old rear-wheel-drive vehicles, in deep snow it was kinda like driving a boat. The city decided to save a little money that year and not plow the roads as much. Of course, we got *dumped* on all winter and the streets were reduced to glare ice ruts with varying depths of snow covering them. They didn't bother to plow our alley, where our garage was (hello), for 3 weeks, and we were reduced to pulling a sled over to Aunt Marion's, the neighborhood mom and pop grocery, to get groceries. The Commander was sure thrilled about that as well as schlepping stuff up to her classroom through the snow! And the one chance I had to participate in a solo and ensemble contest throughout my whole high school career (band uniforms were more important than musical excellence ;-) was also foiled by snow. We couldn't get a car out so my brother drove me up on a snowmobile to catch the school bus at 5:30 in the morning. We were met by the basketball team, who had just returned from wherever the game was the night before. It took them all night to get home! No bus was going anywhere that morning. Finally, I had the one and only accident of my driving career that year (knock on wood) when somebody coming the other direction up Bingham managed somehow to leave his set of icy ruts, cross the center line and hit me head on.

All that said, please, folks, not *all* "yoopers" (actually, I hate that word) spend their time shooting things and driving their snowmobiles while they're drunk. Heck, I'm a cross-country skier, I don't even *like* snowmobiles. So, please don't stereotype me! ;-) (And I am not an Ann Arbor hippie either, no marijuana growing in my back yard, at least not that I know of :-)

Fri. December 24: Randomness that is always Christmas around here:

That's all so far, this entry is subject to change without notice. Just to keep The Commander and a few others on their toes.

Sat. December 25: Christmas randomness continues (and will continue to be updated throughout the day):

Sun. December 26: Elizabeth indicated via a Christmas Day email from Berlin that it just didn't feel much like Christmas to her. Well, it really didn't much to me either but then it never *has* unless there were little kids around. And there aren't. But the next stop on that train ride is grandchildren. And I am only 50. That is *way* too young (for me anyway) and thank god my kids do not seem to be on track to provide me with any in the near future. Anyhow, now it is the day *after* Christmas and since I know I won't be able to stand another day of sedentariness without getting twitchy, I am gonna drag the GG out to the Geology Center and see if there is enough snow to ski. So there! And, Lizard Breath, don't keep leaving your camera in your hotel room (or whatever) this trip, like you did in Sevilla! >:->>

Mon. December 27: Lemme see... Elizabeth is in Budapest. And Mouse is at work. And (thank you) the GG is at work. And I spent the whole day trying to get the YAG website and production paperwork organized for the next few months in an attempt to actually make it go away for a while. And that's about all. Boring, eh?

Tue. December 28: Okay, now that I have a map of southeast Asia firmly embedded in my brain forever, I suppose I oughtta get out there and figure out where the heck Budapest exactly is, eh?

Wed. December 29: In which the GB Fins are are awarded the honor of best customers of the day at Flying Sheep Yarns, we follow an engineer's "nose" to the nether reaches of the Howard Cooper Honda lot and, at long last, we learn the rest of the words to the song containing the line "And there was Granny, swinging on the outhouse door," thanks to DuctTapedBones and the Trombone Forum (hey Valdemort, what does "OTJ" stand for?) And I find out along the way that a Google search for Granny on the outhouse door turns up mainly porn sites. Oh, duh, I am naive, you say? Not! I am a regular in porn row at the local community college library. So there :-P

On a more serious note, Elizabeth has now heard that all of her friends studying in Thailand are safe and accounted for. These kids are based in Chiang Mai, which is not anywhere near where the tidal wave hit but since it is a holiday period, many were off visiting other areas of the country or neighboring countries where they did not always have access to phone or internet.

Thu. December 30: Got up and drove to HL this morning. Argued with GG (and won) about transferring the skis from the POC to the honda. Yip yip yap nag nag nag every time you think it'll be crappy kayaking/skiing we get up there and it's good and I have no equipment yip yip yap nag nag nag. Well, crappy skiing to you, Volcano Mama! RAIN!!! Anyway, we got pictures of the foundation and "Dennis was here" and the usual tree, etc. We ate lunch at Ron's. We stopped off at the ski ranch to say hello but didn't ski. We went to Arnie's Crap Store but didn't buy anything. And I only posted one of the cabin lot/foundation pictures because... Well... I've been busy sittin' on my you-know-what next to the window in our room at the Beachfront-Best-Western-with-wireless-access, our cabin away from cabin, doing something *fun*!!! So, Mouse, this is for you (and for anyone else who gets fired up by beads and other fiber arts -- Pooh? Karen?, etc., etc.)

Fri. December 31: It is cold in Krakow, where Lizard is for New Year's, but it is not cold here. Hiking at the Reedsburg Dam today featured slushy snow, mud, warm summery winds and NO mosquitos. Sadly, the GG became separated from half of his favorite Christmas present, the YakTrax given to him by the Commander and no amount of retracing our steps through the woods turned them up. God knows, we searched. No fear, they have them at Bivouac. Maybe I should outfit the next pair with little GPS transmitters or something. That's about as exciting as it gets folks. Ho hum. Hope I can make it to midnight.