February 2005 Birch Pt. Beach Blog

January 05 | March 05

Tue. February 1: From Jane:

| here's a link to an interesting article, for those of us who
| can sit on the beach all day with a book and a pair of binoculars and be perfectly happy.

Binoculars. Boats. Summer. Beach. Kayaks. Okay, back to work.

Wed. February 2: Haisley night at Knight's? Thanks Vicki, for dragging me out to dinner! Today? One-a them thar group presentations. Painful...

Thu. February 3: Well, *that* was weird! I was standing in front of a class *talking* and I was *not* nervous. I was actually kind of having fun! Even though I didn't consider our presentation to be all that great and I went through a whole bunch of fumbling around with PowerPoint et al. This is pretty darn scary! Almost like somebody slipped me a shot of Vicki's DNA.

DNA? DNA? Yeah, haven't done any-a that stuff in a while. It's pretty expensive these days, y'know? >:->>

Fri. February 4: When my kids achieve something that I think is cool, they are usually quick to say, "Mom, don't put this in your blog." (The last word is spoken in a very derisive tone of voice.) So, I don't know if the beautiful Renee reads this thing or not and if so, I hope I don't embarrass her but her dad is mighty proud of her. What is her latest achievement? A new job! Her dream job. With the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, where she will be employed as their Business and Government Affairs Research Analyst. It's a new position and she will be tracking and analyzing legislative issues pertaining to the Fed in general, and reporting on those to economists and other Fed people. And he even sent me an email she wrote so that should be accurate. So, congratulations Renee!

And we are here at Houghton Lake at the Beachfront Best Western with wireless internet access. So, pretty soon, y'all will get to look at something besides my feet on this here blog.

Sat. February 5: The north shall rise again!

The call came: "Bring Booze!" Okay! After a whole day of being exposed to the elements while the Courtois sibs scrutinized and photo-documented every last little itsy bitsy board and wire and electrical box and duct and argued about inches here and there and sound-insulating the bathrooms and LED lighting (in your dreams) and where the TV(s!) would go, etc., etc., ad nauseam, I borrowed Bob's Caddy-lac and headed back here to the internet mo-tel to wash my face and feet in an effort to reestablish myself as a member of the human race. Believe me, just drivin' that car was an adventure. Shoot, I got in there and painstakingly readjusted the seat to my own specifications and as soon as I turned the key, rrrrrp, the damn seat automatically rearranged itself. I couldn't figure out where the headlights turned on. I guess they turn on when you turn the key. I did somehow (thank you god) figure out how to turn on the radio and change stations, etc., without calling the On-Star emergency lady like I accidentally did the last time I drove the car :-) Yeah, it's a fun car. Heck my grandaddy always drove us around Detroit in one. It had power windows. Is it okay if I like my cheep top-dolla Honda betta? When I get Caddy ads in the mail, I unceremoniously throw them into the recycle. (I do that with that AARP crap too -- I am *not* ready to join the blue hair set. No-sirree. I was called "sprightly" just yesterday by some other old gal after she saw me sprint across the parking lot from my far-flung parking space in the Meijer parking lot. And I *have* dyed my hair purple. It was *not* a pretty sight.) Boy am I off the track here... Anyway... I packed up some booze and ice and paper cups and even some maraschino cherries and headed on back to the cabin. We toasted the new place looking at the sunset out the west front door-wall. It was too dark by then to deal with the damn cherries. It isn't finished yet. It is beautiful. It is big. Probably bigger than we thought it would be. It has lots of big windows. When you look out of the big windows in the upstairs, you can see over the roof-tops of all the neighboring cabins. I am not ready to get rid of the Little Princess trailer yet. I think if I sleep in that thing next summer (and I will if I can), I might be able to fool myself into thinking when I get up I'll be heading in to that crummy old bathroom with the rusty old frog-infested shower stall that you could barely turn your body around in. And maybe Garth'll even be puttering around the garage or fussing with lawnmowers or boat motors or hoists or baby grass or whatever. I miss the old place. I miss Grandpa. Onward and upward. There's no other choice. But the north shall rise again.

Sun. February 6: Okay, got rid of the sox, are y'all happy? :-) And I replaced them with a slideshow that'll prob'ly bore everyone except the Courtois clan. Maybe even some of them, I dunno. And they're not all that well organized. (Oops, I mean the photos, not the Courtois family!) I *did* leave out the umpteen million shots of w-a-a-a-rs and plumbing and electricical crap in general. Y'know, you gotta document all that stuff. Never know when ya might wanta know what's inside the walls, eh? Might wanta install some LED lighting some day or hide the stereo system (duh? at the cabin!) in the closet or something. Anyhoo. I am done posting photos for a little bit here. It is a *project*. I hafta process all those pictures, fix the colors and optimize them for the web. That means make 'em small enough that it doesn't take the Commander 2 days to download them. Then I have to write html files for all of them. Yeah, I could prob'ly write some kind of visual basic routine to write all that html. In the next life or maybe just the next series of classes. I have no time to self-teach myself visual basic. Anyway, I need to get some *homework* done. Run some auditions next week. Get all of my junk out of my lizard's room so she can find her bed when she gets home. In less than 3 weeks. So, you may have to look at that cabin for a while. Love y'all but get used to it :-)

Mon. February 7: Mom to Elizabeth (last week): "Vicki and Jane dragged me out to dinner at Knight's last night..."

Elizabeth to Mom: "what on earth do you guys talk about? not your kids i hope."

Bwa-ha-ha! Actually, it reminds me of once when the Commander and Radical Betty were about my current age and an incident occurred following an evening of talking about *their* kids that involved falling into the water and not being able to get back up due to laughter and god knows what else ;-) Thud club?

Tue. February 8: Obviously I have learned enough about html, css and photoshop to fall into the category of dangerous. That is about all...

Wed. February 9: Lizard: "two things. 1, i assumed this was ok but as long as it is lexy going to come to our house from the airport on the 26th and her friend is going to pick her up from our house. so one i need easy directions from kalamazoo (with exit numbers preferably, that´s the only reason i ask you so it´s not ¨take the highway hte veers off to the left and then that first exit with the trees). and second she wants to know if there is a thai restaurant where josh could call ahead to order food and then lexy could pick it up with dana, their friend and take it back to kalamazoo with her. i was thinking that one place over by kroger but i know it´s closed sometimes so i was wondering if next time´you´re at kroger or barry bagel´s you could take a quick look and see if it´s open and if so see if they do call ahead orders and if they have menu´s. sorry i know it´s a lot to ask. maybe mouse or dad could do it if you´re too busy."

Two things? Three, four or five things, maybe? Anyway, yes, yes, yes, and yes. Um, I *think* I got all of that and of *course*, I can do it all. Your friends can always come here as long as they don't mind the dirt, grime, clutter and rodents. I am the queen of Mapquest and I *am* at Barry Bagel weekly and the Westgate Kroger *constantly* and they *are* next to the Thai restaurant and don't they have Thai food in Kzoo? Busy? What's busy?

And, those of you using Explorer? Does this look a little better? (And *why* are you using a Microsoft browser anyway?) Anybody out there using Netscape 4? After suffering through the Celik Hack yesterday, I know a few people who are ready to kill anyone using Netscape 4 ;-) People, upgrade! New browsers are free to download.

Thu. February 10: I still don't have a picture of the exploding bungee cord chair. The story is that it is buried under "stuff" in the artist's bedroom. Well, I have no doubt that is the truth. But I suspect it is also being held hostage until I get my butt over to St. Louie! So, instead, y'all get this very cool bottle tree, currently on display at the Visual Arts Studio which is, I guess, at Webster University, since that's where the artist goes to school.

Fri. February 11: Mouse has been counting the days since... Mouse, how long have you been counting the days? (Mouse, I know you read this "stoooopid blaaaawwg.") Me, I'm sitting here in the middle of the road like Mr. Toad, holding on to a disembodied steering wheel for dear life and occasionally beeping an imaginary horn, watching while a speeding motorcar leaves me here in the dust with a dazed look in my eyes. 15 days. Where the heck did the time go? Who hit fast forward? Did we have Christmas yet? Kinda reminds me of when I was a kid and we used to ski at Boyne and Nubs a lot and one of my friends would invariably ask, "have we gone over the Mackinac Bridge yet?" twenty minutes or so after we had *crossed* the Mackinac Bridge. And, since we *did* cross the Mackinac Bridge a *lot* when I was a kid, I suppose it was easy not to notice it although we razzed the hell out of her at the time. Nowadays, when I actually get enough time to pack myself up and head north, when I get to the Mackinac Bridge, after 300 miles of the I75 SUV speedway, I almost want to get out of the car and dance rigs and jeels for joy! Open water! Home! Or, almost home. The last 50 miles to the beach go fast! And I used to absolutely adore downhill skiing. Boyne? Yeah, let's go. Wasn't all that great at it, just a very decent amateur who would try just about any slope no matter how ridiculous I looked. I have cousins who were *experts*! They were much admired for that. It was all fun but somewhere along the line I switched over to X-C skiing and that ties with kayaking as my favorite sport now. Wish I could do more of it this winter! Just always seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The skis are in the Honda. I'm ready. Anyway, 15 days. It's almost airport time again. Will we know each other? Have we changed? I know you have. I wonder if I have... Um, did we have Christmas yet? Have we crossed the Mackinac Bridge?

Sat. February 12: I want my $6. I need a 5-week vacation. I wonder if that myopic trucker is a kayaker. It's a good thing the dog has good enough taste to hang Van Gogh et al in the doghouse. If you ever start acting like you-know-who or you-know-who I am outta here and today you were pretty close to acting like you-know-who (you-know-which). I want my $6.

Sun. February 13: Madrid to Berlin...

Mon. February 14: Rargh! I hereby squelch the YAG side of this computer for the rest of the afternoon! I have to finish a *bear* of an assignment for Wednesday all about the Open Systems Interconnect Model. Packets this and packets that and w-a-a-rrs (always my favo-rite topic) and all kinds of esoteric what-not that I'm not sure I really want to know about. Not to mention that photoshop project to retouch an old cracked up photo, probably not my favorite part of photoshop either. But am I getting *anything* done? Hmmm. *tick* incoming YAG email. go over to the YAG side. answer the email. forward the email. make a web update. come back over to *my* side of the computer. try to get something done. *tick* incoming YAG email. go over to the YAG side. answer the email. forward the email. make a web update. come back over to *my* side of the computer. try to get something done. And on and on until I am tearing my much shorter (thank you Mouse) but still a mess hair out. I quit. YAG, I'm gonna unplug y'all for a while, ok? And actually that floot loop group is pretty distracting today too, movement during playing and all kinds of rants, etc. No veggy music though. Sorry Mouse.

Tue. February 15: Allo? Allo? Saudi Arabia, allo? Well, grr is about all I have to say today but I've been told that "grr" is not a "proper blog" ;-) and anyway, life could be a lot worse, I suppose. But this is a week of sturm und drang and one of the things I have managed to do today ranks up there in prob'ly about the top 15% of the stupidest things I've done in my life. Please, god or fate or whatever, can the rest of this week just be a little smidge better? Not asking for much. And by the way, don't even *think* about trying to call Saudi Arabia, you you-know-what!

Wed. February 16: Madrid to Berlin to Athens to London... And here in the Great Sorta-White North, we are just sloggin' on thru The Week of Sturm Und Drang, dodging Stray Meteorites, Shambling Mounds and Leaning Towers of Cosmic Debris at every turn...

Thu. February 17: Well, no, I *don't* sell deep well submersible pumps. Actually, I don't even know what eez that.

Fri. February 18: Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday Dear Karen. Happy birthday to you. That message was brought to you by the Birthday Bird. And now, back to the continuing saga of The Week of Sturm Und Drang.

Sat. February 19: Happy 23rd birthday Don, who's heading over to fight fires in I-Rack! (And um, youse guys in da peanut gallery, it's "sturm und drang," *not* "durm und strang." Translate away! (I put that "youse" in there just for the Commander's sake.))

Sun. February 20: Flash! Flash! Holy shoot! What was *that*?!? Ka-BOOM!! Wazoo, it's thundersnow!!! And so ends The Week of Sturm Und Drang! Done durmstranging.

(Madrid to Berlin to Athens to London to Rome... Albion and Kalamazoo. Now back to vacumming. Er, vacuuming? Yeah.)

Mon. February 21: It's either a very weird virus or it's an invasion of the Australian cell-phone snatching toilets!

Tue. February 22: No that was not me whaling up and down Carbeck in the old Island Teal Chrysler mini-van fish-tailing through the 6 inches of slush that populates the centre of our thoroughfare. Froggy stole my POC! That ugly, grokky aminal has gotten so horribly bored waiting around while his owner gallivants around Europe that he has reverted to his evil ways. Thank you, Mouse, for teaching that crazy aminal how to drive!

Way back when, we used to have one of those regulation Little Tykes kiddy cars. Those orange and yellow things. I remember Lizard Breath having an absolute fit at dinner time one night (ca. 18 months old), taking off in her car and falling asleep in it. Good thing it didn't go any further than the back room. And then, when Mouse was about to start attending nursery school in the 3-year-old class, Lizard practiced "drop off" with her in that car. Dropped her off (Mouse was hanging on to the top of the car in a way that I can't really quite describe), "there's the curb mom, get out of the car, have a good time, and I'll pick you up later." And then Liz would pick her up later. A few minutes later. I thought, sheesh, I have it made in the shade. This kid understands the whole process, not to mention she's lived through it ever since she was a baby and her big sis (Liz) was *going* to the nursery school. I'll be able to just drop her off and she'll *happily* go inside the school with whatever mom is assigned to escort the kids from their cars to the school. Cool. Well, not quite. There was one meltdown. But after a weird transaction involving a heart paper clip, a picture of a mouse family and a beautiful albeit raggedy old puffalump mouse, things were okay again. But that's a whole nother story for another blog entry.

Anyway, we outgrew that little tykes car. And one day, Marcia across the street asked if she could buy the dern thing for her day care kids. I told her she could *have* it! I didn't want money and I didn't want it back. But one day, during one of the hottest summers on earth, Marcia gave it back. Her day care kids were too big for it, did we want it back? Well, no. But. Bill and Liz were off doing Liz's 10-year-old trip to the badlands, etc., death marches and all. Mouse and I were home alone and Mouse decided we needed the car back. And Froggy started taking driving lessons! We have no air conditioning in this crazy house and the temperatures were in the 90s and even 100s all that two weeks and one night neither one of us could sleep. So we filled up our swimming pool -- one of those ones from KMart -- with nice cold water and at 11 PM or so, we were out in the back yard and I had my feet in that pool and Froggy and various other aminals (Crash-Fly maybe?) were wheeling around the yard in the Little Tykes car and Mouse had (I *think* I remember this right) the front end of a tricycle in the pool even though she was way too big for a tricycle at that time. And we were watching for skunks like hawks. And by midnight, it was *still* *really* hot out and we pulled out the fold-out couch in the back room and eventually crashed because we were too tired to stay awake. Ate breakfast in the air-conditioned comfort of Kerrytown the next morning. But I'm digressing again...

Anyway, that was Froggy drivin' my van today. He had a great time. He felt like he was driving a motor-boat through that slushy snow. And he is also a motor-boat driver (cardboard box kind of boat in the lake in the closet in Liz's room before it was Liz's room) so he would know. Oh, and that woman in the car. The *old* one with the "short" bushy blonde-gray hair? That was *not* me, that is Froggy's girlfriend! I do not even want to begin to account for her taste. Sheesh. When Froggy was purchased, the grocery store clerk had only one thing to say: "That's the ugliest aminal I've ever seen!" And he is. But he's ours. And I do not think he did any donuts in the street today, although an escapade a few years ago in the jeep did result in one of those.

Wed. February 23: Triple congratulations Mousey. That's one (or three) things out of the way. Anybody who thinks that high school seniors have it easy oughtta take a look at the jam-packed schedule that Mouse has. Now please let's get to the next step.

Thu. February 24: Multiple dredging operations in progress. Do not disturb! Um. Maybe somebody oughtta check up on me in a few days in case I get buried by a toppling pile of cosmic debris or smothered by a shambling mound.

Fri. February 25: Grok grok grok! I've taken over this stoopid blawg of a website. It's mine now! Isn't it beeyootiful? Grok-grok-grok-grok-grok-grok-grok-grok-grok!!!

Sat. February 26: Grok grok (hic) grok. That was sure a great (hic) party last night! A whole gallon of cherry (hic) limeade! Grok grok. Don't remember much (hic). People were flinging (hic) muskellunges around (hic) or something (hic)! Grok-hic.

Sun. February 27: Grok. My owner is home! Grok grok. She doesn't look any different. Grok. She didn't shave her head or pierce anything. She didn't elope. Grok. We don't think she's been in as many countries grok as Grandaddy grok grok but then between Grandaddy and his Background Telephone Prompter, we are still not sure grok how many countries Grandaddy has been in. We aren't grok grok even sure grok that Grandaddy knows! Grok grok grok.

Mon. February 28: Grok grok grok grok grok. la-la-la-la-la. Drinkin' cherry limeade (hic) and blawgin' away on Grandma's 'puter. She's not gonna get As on these mid-terms, hee hee hee snort grok grok. Not if I have control of her 'puter! Drivin' Grandma's loverly POC all over Washtenaw County sloggin' thru the snow, grokkin' along and wakin' up all my amphibious and reptilious buddies from their hibernations. Time to wake up! grok peep peep grok grok grok la-la-la. Grandma can't catch me, nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah! Your favorite amphibian, Froggy. Grok grok grok BLAGRAWK!