April 2005 Birch Pt. Beach Blog

March 05 | May 05

Fri. April 1: Clyde's Drive-in is open and I think Jane and I need to do a road trip! I want Clyde's. I'll have a hamburg with everything but, just like my grandma (not the Commander, she's only my mom) used to order. And I'll split onion rings with someone. I've been going to Clyde's since I was a little kid and, yes, I can remember going there with my grandma, Margaret Finlayson (she's Jane's grandma, too :-). Clyde's is a cool place, you can watch the boats while you're eating and you used to be able to feed the seagulls but that isn't allowed any more because they have turned into french fry attack birds. And Clyde's is *grease* city. If you have little kids and you actually care about the interior of whatever POC you are currently driving, make sure you have cafeteria trays and wet washcloths or the equivalent. Because it will be a mess, even if you don't let the kids play at Goose Poop Park. But I can't go this weekend. I may eat at Ron's or Yvonne's or The Spikehorn but I will not make it all the way up to Clyde's. When do ya wanna go, Jane?

Sat. April 2: "Phone Bob." ... "Phone Bob." ... "Phone Bob and Gay." ... "Phone Bob." I dunno, I think it might be faster to just enter the dern number than trying to teach a cell phone the English language. And then, we'll be driving along and all of a sudden the former phone luddite will just about jump out of his seat and start going through all kinds of crazy contortions and I'll be wondering what in the heck is going on and it'll turn out his *phone* is ringing or vibrating or whatever and he has to get it out of his back pocket. Of all places to put a phone when you are *driving*. It is amazing we didn't get into any accidents and it is a good thing we weren't driving the jeep this trip because I do not know how he'd have managed the stick shift while going through all those gyrations. (Oh, and I had to study or I prob'ly would've been drivin' anyway!)

Sun. April 3: So, we watched an episode of Thomas the Tank Engine where Emily got upset and pushed some floury train cars into a river and then was banished to the Black Loch route (or something like that). But it all turned out all right in the end and then we checked out of the Best Western Beachfront hotel. Our cabin away from cabin at Houghton Lake. Wireless internet access. I doubt if I'll stay there again. Not because I don't like it. It's a nice, clean place. And I always like wireless internet. But I think by the next time I get to go north, the New Luxurious Courtois Cabin might have water in it. That's my requirement for staying there. It already has lucky-shucky and I don't really need heat during the summer months. I turn my heat off here on Carbeck in May and don't turn it on again until October. And I am getting a little tired of staying in a hotel. It will take a bit of getting used to the cabin though. I think it is the most fanciest dwelling I have ever had anything more than a fleeting association with. I am accustomed to grunge and shabbiness and rodents and cosmic debris -- sometimes chic, sometimes not so chic ;-) And using outhouses and pumping water and heating it up on the stove to process the dishes with. And using a rubber camping shower to wash my unkempt mass of hair. Or bathing in the lake, like we used to have to do before the Commander acquired a daughter-in-law and finally got serious about indoor plumbing on the shores of Gitchee Gumee. Anyway, I think I will miss the old place...

Mon. April 4: It is the first day of school after the last spring break of our journey through the Ann Arbor Public Schools. Senioritis? Or spring fever? Or both? And "break" is a relative term. Technically *I* even had a spring "break" this year. It snowed all week and I spent it schlepping around town on various theatrical errands and studying for the mid-term tests that happened the next week.

| by the next time I get to go north, the New Luxurious Courtois Cabin might have water in it.

Er, I meant water contained in pipes that comes out of devices like faucets and shower heads upon demand. I did *not* mean 4 inches of water all over the kitchen floor like was often the case in the old place.

Tue. April 5: An *overnight* you ask? At Kalamazoo College? With college kids? Um, roight. Nope, I dropped Mouse off there early in the evening and then I beat tracks back to the Carbeck house in A2. I have read newspaper entertainment-type articles about how college kids' parents spend the night in their dorms with them. But those were not written by *my* kids and I know they do not want me there and actually I don't want to be there. Shoot, I've *been* there! And the Carbeck house may not exactly be a dream house but it is okay and it is mine. And what would I do in that dorm? It is a huge suite but there's no kitchen. I couldn't've processed the dishes. A ship out of water. Maybe I could've processed some of the garbage. Laura had a very interesting sewing project going but helping her with that would just distract me from my homework. And it didn't look like she needed help anyway, I'd've prob'ly just messed it up. She definitely has a fancier sewing machine than me and I'm impressed but not the least bit envious. Really! Even though I actually had a sewing machine with me when I was in college. But that was a long time ago. So. Speaking of homework. This week I am behind. And tomorrow is my long day. And I have an ugly assignment to turn in. Anyway, Mouse'll have a good time with her big sis and actually attend some classes, not that it seems necessary to do that at this point. And us old gits are at home here in A2 and the GG just blew some sort of cee-gar smoke into the kitchen window at me, so obviously, it is actually warm outside for the first time since about last September or so. Hope he doesn't disturb any skunks. He will *not* be sleeping inside!

P.S. This is mostly for Mouse: There was no sign of the *little* accident that we saw near Jackson on the way over. They were fast at cleaning that up. The *big* accident (east of Battle Creek, I think, was not backing up traffic any more but there were 4-5 emergency vee-hickles (fire trucks, cops and tow trucks) at the scene and it looked like they were figuring about how to clean up that mess. I am reasonably certain that the only vee-hickle involved in the actual crash was a truck. So. Bad, but could've been worse... I am really glad I am not a cop or paramedic with the I94 Chicago-Detroit speedway/truck route. Yuck. You kids please be careful! It gets ugly out there!

Wed. April 6: Boy, did I think I was getting pretty darn good with Photoshop. What a hot shot! But that last assignment damn near killed me! It's as done as it's gonna get. I'm turnin' it in like it is. I get to drop one assignment if I need to. Maybe this'll be it. Bleag. After "finishing" it (take that however you want), it was actually *fun* to unload the dishwasher. It is very weird to not have Mouse here today, especially with her jeep out there in the street.

Thu. April 7: Whomp! Bang! That was a rough landing. The wayward amphibian/crustacian crew have returned and now I guess buoy 22 will rust forever in my back yard. I'll prob'ly end up on some government list of suspected terrorists for keeping a piece of U.S. Coast Guard property in my back yard and harboring the criminal who stole it in a laundry basket. Anyway, as that little adventure ends, we now turn our attention to the mystery of Sparty and the percolator. (Er, if "percolator" refers to the item in Sparty's right hand, it looks more like a standard coffee maker to me.) What's up with that, Valdemort? Enlighten those of who do not live in MooU Basketball Land.

Fri. April 8: Yes, the dates were all screwed up. That's what you get for updating your blawg fragmentally while hopping around town (home, Expresso Royale, A2 Academy). And then when I got home again and realized that I had duplicated a date, etc., of all things, Comcast went down or into a kind of brown-out mode or whatever. And I was too lazy to dredge up a phone wa-a-a-r and hook up the slow, dial-up way. But it's back today and that's a good thing, otherwise I'd've had to hang out at WCC all day today... Technology is *so* much fun and makes life *so* much less complicated. Roight! ;-)

Sat. April 9: Yeah, ababsurdo was down for much of today. I can't help it, the host server was down for whatever reason. They did not give a warning. I'm trying to decide whether or not I have the energy to complain about it. We're back (I think). Sheesh, first Comcast goes into a brown-out mode, then I lose my server. Cripe, I have so much interesting stuff to say, I just know y'all can't stand it when I go away for a day or so ;-) I dunno what time ababsurdo came back today because I was over in Megalopolis at a party in honor of The Beautiful Julia, who was visiting from Colorado. It was so much fun we didn't want to leave. And just what I needed after days and days of studying internet law ;-)

Sun. April 10: Update! Quick! Before the server goes down again! If I have to put up with this crap much more, I am definitely gonna jump ship. Maybe I'll jump ship anyway. I am not quite ready to operate my own server in my own house but there's sure no reason I have to stick with this one, I didn't choose it in the first place. I was dumped here rather unceremoniously by our former host around a year ago and being as lazy as I am, haven't bothered to look around for alternate hosts.

Not that the former host was such hot stuff. Once they yanked my websites because some nincompoop decided it would be fun to use my domain name to do some spamming. This happened on what was supposed to be a "vacation" and I had to call tech "support" from a remote phone line in the UP, one which I was also using to get on to the internet. Like, the only way I could talk to them on the phone and simultaneously be on-line was via cell phone, one that was roaming all over the place. Anyway, they initially tried to accuse *me* of spamming. Um, duh, I am a pretty good run-of-the-mill girl geek but I am not technologically savvy enough to use whatever the whosey-whatsit it was that they claimed I was using to spam people. You guys, I don't even know what *eez* that! I will not be hacking National City any time soon. They then asked me the egregiously idiotic question, "Well, who is doing your web site for you?" "Uh, me!?!" (Duh, who did you think?) Anywho, at that time, my website was even more amateurishly designed than it is now, if that's possible. It had a loverly black background and neon-colored text and the weather icons were floating around in the middle of the page. When I finally convinced some stupid tech guy to actually look at what my page was, he seemed to finally believe that I was not the spammer. "Oh, weather all over Michigan, ha ha ha." Duh, yeah, I've been trying to tell you guys it's just a little mom-type web page. *Now* do you understand? And he sounded like he did but then it took another 3 days and about a million phone calls and talking through clenched teeth to get the guys to get off their butts and actually fix the problem.

Anyway, I hope the dern site is back, I mean, how's a girl supposed to make a living selling deep well submersible pumps on-line without a web site? Not to mention all of the octogenarian confuddlement this is causing. I have heard from the Commander more times today than I have in the last 6 months. Bouncing email? If y'all get bounced back from my regular email, you can use afinlays@stu.wccnet.edu -- write it down please. Ah, I just got an email message. From Svend Aage Clausen. Yes, of course it's spam. I do not know anyone named Svend Aage Clausen. And I don't have any idea what "Autosvar - Ikke til stede: Savvy p|ayers wOu|d be wise tO |Oad up early" means.

Maybe one of these days, I'll get energized and move to another service provider. Hopefully one that's better at spam control. But one of the reasons I keep procrastinating is because I really suspect that the service issue is just a crap shoot.

Mon. April 11: So, almost a year ago, I wrote that "we" (meaning Mouse with a lot of nagging from yours truly) were about to pick through an overwhelming list of colleges to find the right one. And I wrote that I would not be blogging about it much because it was her business. Last week, after some fumbling around getting a replacement for a missing admissions letter, I sent a check to Kalamazoo College. I guess that is the beginning of "our" second episode there.

Tue. April 12: Blah. Sorry but I am just about at the absolute end. We have 3 plays going on right now. Yeah, I know. Anyone from YAG who wanders over here will say, "No you don't, you just have two. What are you thinking?" Well, that may be true for most of y'all. But I still have the videos from the last one to deal with. It ain't over yet. And we are trying to get a workshop program off the ground. And we are in the middle of registering people for the summer camp. So I have about a million little things to do in all different directions. I cannot begin to keep track of them all, especially the half or so that involve input from other people. Or the things that people keep asking me about that I either don't know about or am not about to touch with a ten foot pole. Sorry but I am not the master of the universe! And there are only a few more weeks left in the semester at school and somehow I have to fit studying into all of the theatre stuff. And I have this nasty internet law group project coming up. I just don't think like a lawyer. I could write a good paper about the case but I just don't think I am up to a mock trial. I am in over my head and I am tired. Why don't I ever get a vacation? It seems like there's been one school break after another all winter. Why didn't I get one? I can't even manage to grab a couple of hours. I wanna hike or kayak or do fiber arts, 'course, I'd have to clean up my basement to find my sewing machine :-/ Or play my piccolo, that's the latest hot topic for the froot loop email group. I'm tired. Blah.

Wed. April 13: 7:50 AM: "Squeak! Mouse?" "Mrmphh." "What time do you have to be at school?" [unintelligible response.] (hmmm, I *thought* she had to be at school "early" on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Early meaning 8 AM.) "Mom, it's the 2nd week of MEAPs! I don't have to be there until 10."

Oops, obviously I have spaced out about her schedule again. Fortunately I think she's too tired to bother trying to stab me with one of her knitting needles. The truth is, I really don't need to know her schedule and I really don't have to wake her up because she juggles a lot of responsibilities and she is pretty darn good at getting herself up when she needs to be. But she was out late last night and I wasn't sure and I couldn't remember and I do not care about the damn MEAP tests, especially since seniors don't take them, so I didn't remember they were still going on. Marci prob'ly does, she's on the school improvement team, but I haven't talked to her since Monday.

If you ask me (and no one has ;-) there are too many dern standardized tests in the schools anyway. Back when Mouse was in 2nd grade, it seemed like about half the time there was a substitute in there so the teacher could "assess" individual children out in the hall. Part of that "no child left behind" crap maybe? I can't remember and I don't know when that buzz-phrase started. I'm sorry, but if y'all don't wanna be leaving kids behind, y'all better be starting out well before elementary school starts. I could go on and on about that but I'll save it for some other blahg. Fast forward to high school though. It seems like there has hardly even been *any* school since the xmas holidays. First there are always a couple snow days, then it's Martin Luther King Day, then there are final exams and a day off to recuperate from them. Then there's the mid-winter break. Then a few weeks later it's the "spring" break. And now it's the MEAPs. I forget what's next. I don't know how *anyone* keeps track of the schedule. I can't. Sorry I woke you up before you needed to wake up, Mouse.

(Of course, this is all pretty pointless because, as anyone who has ever spent the night in this house in the spring knows, the Woodpecker *will* wake you up. ddddrrrrrr dddrrrrr)

Thu. April 14: I swear to god or whoever, can you guys get your act together? I am gonna have no hair left at the end of this week. My web host ISP was out to lunch most of the weekend. Comcast was out to lunch last night except that instant messenger still worked. Gotta keep those teenagers on line. My handy phone jack apparently doesn't work any more even if you stick a toothpick in there with the plug (yes, this is a Courtois house). And now the WCC site seems to be down. At this rate, I'm gonna have to take up residence in Cafe Zola or somewhere. Hopefully they'll let me hook up to an outlet of lucky-shucky if my battery starts to run down.

And on top of that, all day I have been thoroughly convinced that it is Thursday, like it was when I got up this morning. Now Mouse is home, which is unusual enough because she usually works on Thursday afternoon and on top of that, she is wrapped in yarn and apparently has been all day and even though I saw her go out the door this morning, I never noticed it. I guess that's better than a lampshade. And she has informed me that celery is "growing" in the refrigerator which doesn't surprise me because I have completely and utterly lost track of the contents of the refrigerator. But anyway, the fact that she is home and there is a play tonight, which I also did not know (I thought it was next week), is confusing me and making me think it is Friday. Please do not make the time go so fast. I have too much to do. Gonna go scan some beads. I need texture...

Fri. April 15: The Master of the Cheese Trebuchet is inducted into the National Honor Society and becomes the envy of all the "my posse don't do homework" boys. "Girls go to college and get more knowledge, boys go to Jupiter and get more stupider?" >:->> (Hey, I live in a girl house!) Anyway, Congratulations Dave! Good work and looks like a fun group.

Sat. April 16: I didn't know anything about all those babies and after all that screaming I know why my favorite director won't touch that one with a ten foot pole. Anyway, congratulations to all my favorite actors and good luck on your avenging tonight, Mouse. Git those litterers!

Sun. April 17: Stood up again. That's three out of three. (Liz, Val & friends at MSU. Um, they didn't stand me up, the stand-up occurred at WCC. I'll guess it's because the only woman in the group who planned to attend the meeting was an old bag ;-)

Mon. April 18: "Are you Mouse's Mom? You look just like Mouse." Well, I guess I'll take that as a compliment but I'm not too sure Mouse thinks of it in the same way.

Tue. April 19: "Mom, will you call me in sick today?" Well, actually, I did, even though I knew she was not really sick, just totally, utterly exhausted. Falling asleep while knitting in classes. Falling asleep studying on the diag. But then I realized that, after Sunday, she can call *herself* in sick if she wants. And it's spring, I guess, even though I barely have any time to even look out the window. So, what did I do in my coding class today? I coded flowers! Pink and purple and blue. And a red butterfly even. For credit :-) Off to YAG and then back to internet law :-/ Bonfire tomorrow night. S'mores and all. Recycling be damned.

Wed. April 20: It's done. I can stop being a lawyer now. Our presentation was pretty darn good. But we lost the case. And we should have. Because in the real world, this case shouldn't even exist. It is absolutely stupid. I had to hold my nose while I was typing up our arguments. Fortunately, our grade doesn't depend on winning or losing the case and hopefully I didn't totally bomb that. I sure did enough work on the dern thing. But it's over. I just trashed all of the computer files. When I get home I am gonna *burn* all the papers I printed out. I got Jessie to present the most important parts but I am getting pretty good at these presentations. I mean they don't scare me much any more. I don't know why. That's kind of scary.

Thu. April 21: Quick dry underwear? Where in the heck do you get quick dry underwear? I bet you can get it at WalMart. Prob'ly right next to the adjustable underwear!

Fri. April 22: to paraphrase:

Plus: to all of you parents whose kids have been in umpty-nine million YAG productions, y'all have *got* to know how the family pass tickets work by now. It really doesn't change. (sorry 'bout that, I always have hated answering questions over and over and over again ad nauseam. I guess I'm just about at the end here ;-)

All of the above is for all of you (and you do know who you are) who don't seem to think I have anything to do this weekend. Go to Houghton Lake? Yeah, right.

Sat. April 23: I dunno, all year I have been somehow managing to keep up with everything. Well, everything except the kitchen and the housecleaning. But after 20-some years here and a few in apartments previously, I think I just need a little break from that anyway. I'll clean it up one of these days. I just don't have the psychic energy required to tackle it right now. And when I do, y'all better hang on tight 'cause I am gonna heave a whole bunch of crap! But I am just absolutely at the end here. I think I am gonna flunk all my finals :-/ And the screaming kids, the middle school romances, the panicky parents of this weekend have driven me a little nuts. "Am I doing the right thing? Why does my kid act like this? How did you make it through their adolescence?" etc., etc. I love you guys and you will make it through. Sheesh, your kids are doing *theatre*, not drugs! Me? Well, not that anyone asked :-) but I am just not in that space any more. I have my two young adult children and I actually enjoy them when they have time for me ;-) I'll get back into that space in a different way if/when I end up with grandchildren but we are all way too young for that now and we all have other stuff to do for the time being. And I dunno what I did right or wrong with my kids. I honestly don't think I'm the best parent. I guess they just raised themselves. Anyway, I'm just about as busy as they are and seeing how little I have gotten done in the last few days, I think I will just have to call myself in sick and that makes me feel momentarily like a failure... :-/ but I'll get over it. As long as I pass my finals... bleag

Sun. April 24: The State of Michigan: "Dear Mouse, Congratulations on your 18th birthday. Here's how to register to vote..." (approximate words, I think the postcard is in the recycle already). Anyway, hit it, y'all: Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday, Dear Mousey. Happy birthday to you! It's too bad you had to wear socks and a coat for this birthday but I bet it's the first time we've ever had a fire in the fireplace on your birthday! (And for those of you who haven't figured out the mystery picture yet, here's a link. The GG couldn't figure out what it was and he *took* it! ;-)

Mon. April 25: Hmmmm...

  1. I now know (or hope I do) a good deal of the esoterica involving xhtml, css, xml, svg, wml, and pdf. At least I think I do. Don't ask me which browser handles what how. I may know or I may not know. But it might be on the test, and if it is, I should not publicize it. Actually, it's the damn cross-browser stuff that drives me the craziest. There are so many browsers (really, y'all are prob'ly all just stuck on one ;-) and when there is a phrase like "Netscape 7.x/Mozilla 1.x/Firefox 1.x and Opera 7.x are fine with...", I start to get crazy. I want to know it cold but I don't know if I do. The teacher for this class is fantastic and I've had a great time. But in this case, maybe a table would help some of us, a data table, not a page layout table :-) (you guys, I highly doubt the teacher reads this thing or even knows about it.)
  2. I know where *both* Naylor Chrysler (Stadium Blvd.) and Howard Cooper Honda (State St.) are and I can both drive and walk to them without going in circles >:->> Well, shoot, I know where "Al's Muffler" and "Ray's Transmission" and "Bob's Brakes" and "Willy's Radiator", etc., etc., ad nauseam, are too. And those guys always act like they like me. Is it my debit card? Or are they kayakers? >:->>
  3. I know what gummy worms are but what the *heck* are swedish fish? I still haven't received an answer about what they are and why those things are needed but that was certainly an interesting email...

Um, I dunno whether "that is all" or "is that enough" or "is that too much" would be an appropriate ending. You fill it in.

Tue. April 26: Lemme see.. what day is it here? Um, 3-1/2 in giant redwood years? Or 350 in dog years? I think 350 is more like it. Anyway, happy birthday to the GG and his litter-mate. More is better?

Wed. April 27: One test done (48.65 out of 50 points :-) and one final project turned in (not graded yet, I didn't really like how it turned out but it met all of the technical specifications, or at least I *think* it did, the logo was flashing on and off for a while but I think I fixed that, so). One test to go. And, miraculously, I did pretty dern well on that internet law mock trial thing. Dunno how :-) That is all. Sorry there's nothing more interesting to say. One foot in front of the other...

Thu. April 28: Doi-i-i-y-y! Done! Prob'ly did okay on the last test unless I did something stupid like shift all my answers over one on the scan sheet. So, what did I do after that test? Did I go shopping or out to lunch or read a book or play my flute or mess around with some beads? No, I processed YAG summer camp registrations (we are damn near full now and I had to close 3 of the 4 programs, thank you very much, what a problem to have! :-) and other YAG chores ad infinitum. And laundry and the dishwasher and made a very small dent in cleaning up the kitchen but the floor is AWFUL and driving me nuts. Sheesh, we are going into run-up week for Fahrenheit 451 and I am not even stressed out about that. After the last few weeks of school and Robin Hood, it just seems like child's play. I know Elena doesn't agree with me right now :-) Well, I wrote a whole bunch-a stuff more about my usual indecision about my life and my future but I just deleted it. Y'all just do not wanta know, believe me ;-)

Fri. April 29: The Commander commands: "I'd still like to know what the name of your year's work is and whether there is another year to go or have you completee the work?" (completee? ;-) Okay. People keep asking. There isn't really a short answer. Actually, my brain doesn't formulate short answers as a general rule. But here's the info about the program(s). And here's the long story:

One Saturday in the fall of 2002, after Elizabeth left for college, the newspaper came and on the front page of the "Connections" section (or whatever you call it), there was a picture of a bunch of people in a classroom and a headline about some "Internet Professional" program at WCC. I have been hacking around with web sites since 1999, mostly learning by trial and error and taking random tutorials on the web, etc. At that point, I was sitting at the bottom of a bunch of steep learning curves going in about six different directions. I knew enough to know that I had a lot to learn. I read the article and it sounded like something that would be useful to me and some of the people in the picture were old bags like me so, of course, I figured if they could do it, so could I. It took me another 1-1/2 years to fill out the on-line admissions application and hit the submit button.

The program consists of a series of certificates that are approximately 6 classes each and the implied recommendation is that you take 3 of them a semester, which is what I did. The basic certificate, which I was more or less going for this year is called "Web Professional." And I didn't get it yet. But not because I didn't pass my classes. (Actually, unless I did something egregiously stupid on two of the final exams/projects, I have straight As ;-) I took the suggested 1st semester classes and then signed up for the suggested 2nd semester classes needed to get the certificate. But one of the class sections I signed up for 2nd semester was canceled due to low enrollment. The other section of that class was Monday morning and I did not want a Monday morning class. No, it is *not* because I can't get up early on Monday (!) But I meet Marci for coffee most Monday mornings and I didn't want to cancel that. Also, the GG gets a lot of Monday holidays and we frequently go out of town for long weekends. So, no Mondays for me. Consequently, I signed up for another class that is slightly beyond the basic certificate program.

So, this fall, I will take the final class for the basic certificate and I will probably start on a second certificate, the "Web Application Developer" certificate. So, I'll be taking the 3rd coding class (javascript and dhtml, etc.) and I'll think I'll talk to an academic counselor about exactly which other class to take. I'm a little unsure at the moment. It'll be a hard semester but I like to code and write programs. I taught myself Fortran back in the day of DecWriter II terminals and slow modems hooked up to huge mainframe computers -- not quite as far back as keypunched cards but still. I may also someday go for a graphic design certificate but that's a little scarier since I have no art background, i.e., after about the 4th grade, the public schools don't allow you to study both music and art. I chose music. We'll see.

What am I going to do? Duh, I dunno. I don't really need to make $100K a year (the GG prob'ly disagrees with that ;-) My "dream" -- if you want to call it that -- is to do freelance web design. Like I already do except I don't get paid to do it. The reality is that I'm not very good at marketing and promotional stuff and dealing with people and their never-ending problems, etc., just makes me nuts. So, we'll see. Ideally, something will fall into my lap. But I don't have any illusions of wealth and grandeur.

Anyway, the semester is over. I did well but I don't have the basic certificate yet. But I'll get it. And this afternoon, we are going to Houghton Lake where there is now lucky-shucky and hot water but no appliances or heat, except for the fireplace. And no phone line. So I may actually get a little break from the internet and y'all will get a little break from me. Hmmm.

Sat. April 30: (haha, sitting in the parking lot by the Best Western posting this ;-) In honor of Grandpa Garth and fishing and worms in the refrigerator and being finished taking multiple choice type tests for a while and being at Houghton Lake in a cabin I think I will have to grow into (the heat is on though), here's a little muskellunge quiz:

  1. The muskellunge belongs to the family Esocidae. What is the common name for this family of fishes?
  2. The muskellunge is found only in North American waters.
    1. True.
    2. False.
  3. Muskellunge typically weigh 20 to 30 pounds. The world record muskellunge was taken from the St. Lawrence River. How much did it weigh?
    1. 54 lbs. 11 oz.
    2. 58 lbs. 5 oz.
    3. 63 lbs. 8 oz.
    4. 69 lbs. 15 oz.
  4. Which is not another name for the muskellunge?
    1. Muskie
    2. White pike
    3. Barred pike
    4. Wisconsin muskie
    5. Ohio muskie
    6. Barred muskie
  5. Muskies lie still and strike prey with their large canine teeth. What do adults eat?
    1. Bass
    2. Perch
    3. Sunfishes
    4. Catfishes and suckers
    5. Waterfowl
    6. Muskrats
    7. Snakes and rodents
    8. All of the above
  6. Sometimes muskellunge will mate with northern pike and produce a shorter, robust hybrid with pronounced markings. Hatcheries also produce this hybridized offspring. What is it called?
  7. Muskellunge prefer cool water where temperatures stay below 80 degrees. What is the highest temperature can they withstand?
    1. 83 degrees
    2. 85 degrees
    3. 87 degrees
    4. 90 degrees
  8. Which are common predators of young muskie?
    1. Northern pike
    2. Giant water bugs
    3. Diving beetles
    4. Bigger young muskie
    5. All of the above
  9. Muskie spawn after the spring ice melt, about two weeks after northern pike. Depending on her size and health, how many eggs can a female lay?
    1. 50,000
    2. 100,000
    3. 175,000
    4. 225,000
  10. Muskie are a prized sport fish because they move little, are difficult to catch, and are carefully regulated. How long does it take the average angler to catch a legal muskie?
    1. up to 20 hours
    2. up to 40 hours
    3. up to 60 hours
    4. up to 80 hours