June 2005 Birch Pt. Beach Blog

May 05 | July 05

Wed. June 1: I hate this time of day, late afternoon. I got up at around 6 AM today and I have been on the move and working all day. But I have been working on so many projects at once that I have made only fractional progress on every one of them. So, consequently, I feel like I have accomplished a great big nothing! And I am sick of not doing anything for pay but I just can't seem to focus on any one thing long enough to gain the expertise to get paid for it. I could write about ten pages on this (which is about what Mouse has to write to finish her physics paper) but I won't bore you. But, shoot, if anyone can tell me some *good* news, about anybody, I am all ears!

Thu. June 2: Mouse: "I'm taking my Mouse to school today." Well, I am not sure if today was the last day of school or not. It may be or there may be a few more days. I don't feel like wading thru the calendar to find out and I've been notified by the school that Mouse has signed me off, that is, she is 18, therefore she takes care of her own business. Not that she hasn't always pretty much taken care of her own business anyway. But now it's official. This is new for me because Liz didn't turn 18 until she started college, therefore, for the 1st month or so of college, I was still legally responsible for her. This is the flip side of that, not that it's a big deal, just food for thought. For me, I know y'all have bigger fish to fry ;-)

Anyway, Mouse has been going to school with Mouse forever. We kept sorta thinking it would reach a point when it might be a bit inappropriate for Mouse to go to school with Mouse and probably in later years as she has become creakier and creakier, she has accompanied Mouse less and less often, but she still goes sometimes. But nowadays, she gets to ride in style. That is, if you consider a 13-year-old jeep wrangler with big rust-holes stylish. There are people who do. Well, that big metal thing with the "Old Grandad Whiskey" sticker that covered the holes in the passenger side floor did get taken out before Mouse took her driver's license test in that car so that lessened its caché considerably but the old roll of toilet paper is probably still back there somewhere and all of the animal bones and bird feet and big fake bugs are also in there. Anyway, I guess Mouse either gets nestled into the passenger seat or buckled in with Mouse, I dunno which, I have seen it done both ways, I think. But at least she is not smushed into a backpack underneath a whole bunch of markers and papers and crumbled up old cookies and other cosmic debris.

And the forecast is for continued decreasing creakiness, for more than one being ;-)

Fri. June 3: Mouse (or Mouse?): "It's the last day of school!" Well, maybe in this episode it is ;-)

Sat. June 4: I'm 18 and I'll do what I want. Well, this was not much of a surprise and anyway, what did y'all do on your last day of high school? I don't really remember much except that burning picnic tables was involved but show tunes were not...

Sun. June 5: Kkkxxxnnnk Kkkxxxnnnk Kkkxxxnnnk. This is the office of disaster preparedness... Cyclonic storms? Yeah, bring 'em on! Otherwise I may be sleeping outside with Henry and the skunks tonight. Kxx Kxx.

Mon. June 6: Happy Monday! Lemme see... 0-dark-thirty last night: "Squeak! I think I dropped my phone by where I parked at a farm somewhere. Can I take your phone and the Honda (because I'm low on gas) and go look for it?" Say what? Farm? Where? Never did figure out where, just "out past Amanda's house." Which is off Wagner Rd., which is the scariest road around. I have seen so many accidents there. Anyway, a little while later, "Squeak. I got it." So, all was well. And I went back to sleep, sorta, and then "THUMP!" WHAT was THAT! Well, I know what it sounds like when a tree falls on the house and it was not loud enough for that. Mouse was still up but it wasn't something she was doing. She didn't know what it was either. Then I noticed that the GG was missing and all I could think about was another restless night a long time ago when he kept jumping up and running outside to do battle with a cat that was trying to eat baby birds. But it had nothing to do with cats and he was randomly wandering the house when it happened and couldn't find anything amiss. So, everybody finally got to sleep and now it is Monday and I am tired and my usual Monday coffee is moved until Thursday because of graduation stuff. And the one place that I don't think anybody checked (about the Big Thump) is the basement, so I guess I'll venture on down there and see if anything is amiss, although it is such a huge mess down there that it might be hard to tell. It's Monday! Good morning! Blark.

Oh, and happy 18th birthday to Rey. Any piercings planned? Tattoos anyone? >:->>

Tue. June 7: Last night, approximate words: "Mouse, are you going down to the school tomorrow?" "No, I'm not going anywhere near the school any more. You can run your own errands!"

Wed. June 8: Commie High actually puts on a graduation that even somebody like me who hates sitting through long, boring things can enjoy. I ended up with an aisle seat so I could escape if I needed to without trampling somebody's grandma. There were no drug sniffing dogs and nobody called me up to the stage for anything or even mentioned my name. I didn't feel any particular need to be rowdy and disrespectful and I didn't wish I were kayaking instead of watching some insipid ceremony that handed out all the awards to the kids who play the game in front of the teachers and then "do sex and drugs" as soon as they hit the outskirts of the schoolyard. Yeah, I know I'm exaggerating a bit, but. There were a few caps and/or gowns in various colors but most kids dressed in a gamut of costumes from ripped up jeans to evening gowns. One kid had on a white cape that enabled him to leap on and off the stage superhero style or whatever. Mouse wore a black dress that she decorated with beads and bells and she carried a half-knit sock. Each kid gets to make a 30-second speech and you definitely get the gamut there too, tears, songs, jokes, skits, dances, everything. The "mighty" Mouse didn't have anything prepared but heck, a trained actress on a stage with a prop? She stole the show! Riffed off about knitting in class, i.e., "if I wasn't knitting, I probably wasn't paying attention." (approximate words, of course) She finished off with a couple of big, skrawky bird calls that elicited the expected response from those denizens of the third floor who were in the audience. Her sister said, "she looks older [more mature] than the others" and I tend to agree, even with the bird calls, actually I thought the bird calls were great! Hey, I'm her mom, I can be biased if I wanna be! ;-) They didn't get her college into the program but that was "my" fault for not nagging her to turn in the yellow form on time. It was on the dining table for weeks. But she did get a couple of awards, Spanish and something about science and maybe something else but I forget. And then it was done and we went home and Liz went back to kzoo and she even remembered to take the damn cookies I slaved over ;-) Does anybody wanna make a bet on how long the dorm refrigerator and microwave will hang out in the living room?

Omigod! How could I forget? Especially since Mouse reminded me once today. Happy 16th birthday to Pengo Janetto!

Thu. June 9: In which Black Thumb Banana embarks on her Annual Attempt to Tame the Carbeck Jungle into Some Semblance of Order, battling Weeds of Titanic Proportion, murdering Thousands of Flourishing Plants and stumbling over Buoy 22 in the process grok grok and foiling Attempts by Pollen, Stinging Insects and a Certain Species of Lepidoptera to Stop Her Assault but probably not Attacks by Stray Particles of Urushiol Oil -- it only takes a Nanogram of That Stuff and if there is a Nanogram of That Stuff within five miles of Black Thumb, it *will* find her.

Fri. June 10: The Commander reaches out and touches someone -- me, that is -- in a telephonic manner and declares: "Well, sometimes I don't understand your blahg." That's okay, frankly, sometimes *I* don't understand my blahg! Uh, that was one declaration, there were quite a few others >:->>

Sat. June 11: For all those raunchy trombone players. Courtesy of the froot loop group. Fellow piccolo players, please do not throw anything at me >:->> (Hey y'all need the Windows Media Player plug-in if you want to play this clip -- download here if ya don't already have it.)

Sun. June 12: Yerb. Yesterday was a long, hot day and I had to keep reminding myself that cooking, grocery shopping, washing dishes, cleaning tubs and toilets and doing laundry was actually *accomplishing* something! Today it is still hot but it is also sort of rainy and I am so severely uninspired that I did not even drag the GG out kayaking this morning. And it is not raining too hard for kayaking. I'm sure I'll do my share of CGSWDCT&TDL today but I think I will also emulate the GG's activities. At least the ones that involve hanging around on the computer. I will not sleep the day away! But I am at least hanging around on the computer in the back yard while he hangs around the hot, swampy back room :-P Thank the boys at Apple for the 12" G4 powerbook and whoever invented the wireless internet. And this is what I get for my jungle-taming attempts -- caution, it is not for the faint of heart!

Mon. June 13: A field trip to Lansing on a bedraggledly hot wet summer day: 2 yarn stores 9 skeins of various types of yarn. Lace-weight, sock-weight and I forget what else... A wild goose chase search for a Panera in Okemos where the soup turned out to be good but the wireless wouldn't accept me for some reason and there was a tsunami in one of the toilets. Completely, totally, utterly exhausted! Next such field trip? Kalamamalakazookman?

Tue. June 14: Okay, so let's begin phase one of this ridiculous operation...

Wed. June 15: Hey, can we get rid of that chair? Long ago, I resigned myself to the idea that I would probably have to live forever with "student-ghetto/early-inlaw" decor. And I have made my peace with that, thank you very much Chief Joseph Blankets, more is better! But I did think we had finally exterminated the epidemic of duct-tape upholstered chairs that used to spontaneously germinate down in the dungeon. So why is there suddenly one in the living room? Get it out! Grr.

Thu. June 16: Pita chips, anyone? How 'bout 7-layer bars? (Randy?) Or frog juice? That is about all. grok grok Well, except that the neighbors are seriously power-washing their Erection and everything else under the sun. grok GROK

Fri. June 17: What if the hokey pokey really *is* what it's all about? (bumper sticker on Miller today)

Sat. June 18: The frog juice grok grok was completely decimated today. GROK GROK!! That is really about all I have to say today but I may well have some more tomorrow!

Sun. June 19: NEWS FLASH! On an otherwise stultifyingly boring day: There's going to be another Courtois!

And now back to our boring blahg: this is the last year that we can do the freshman, sophomore, junior, senior thing with our branch of the G4 Fins, so here it is. Back in about February, Mouse told me in no uncertain terms that she did *not* want to have a graduation party. And that was fine with me. I have nothing in particular against graduation parties but I just don't get all that excited about them either. But then Kati and Goose convinced her to have a party with them and so we did, yesterday. It was fun and *I* even got a graduation gift from My Favorite British Theatrical Director ;-) but I am pretty exhausted :-) Anyway, Mouse has known Kati and Goose since grade school and they've done theatre stuff together forever. We had the party at the Beautiful Downtown Shanks Hilton, aka Kati's House. It was fun but for the life of me, I cannot figure out the food for these shindigs. We were all afraid we wouldn't have enough food but even though there were millions of people there, we still had lots of leftovers. I went to a party last week where there was a trenormous vat of that layered Mexican chip dip and it was DECIMATED! Thanks in part to us, I have to add. So I dragged Lizard Breath out of bed yesterday morning and made her make 4 pie plates of that stuff (yes we own 4 pie plates, actually, we own 6). Today I am experimenting with freezing a couple of those. Wonder if that'll work or if it'll just make a mess... But frog juice was an unqualified hit. Who knew? The first time I bought that stuff, it was more or less as a joke! Apparently, I actually started a fad. That has to be a first. Samosas and "the ugliest cake on earth" (or something like that), made by Kati also disappeared. And most of Mouse's cheesecake was gone. And probably the ugliest, most mis-shapen chocolate chip cookies I have ever made. Gone. But pita chips? Sheesh! I cannot keep up with those things at home. They disappear almost as fast as I can make 'em. I made TONS of those things in the last few days. I put them in big ziplock bags and stuck neon pink "DO NOT EAT!" post-it notes on them and then I had to STAPLE the bags shut because midnight kitchen revelers ignored the notes. Nevertheless, TONS of those things were left over. We'll send some of them to some not terribly experienced cooks in Boston who are apparently struggling a bit. I doubt pasta salad or what cheesecake is left would make it out there intact. And now I have to drag myself out to the kitchen, about the last place I want to be, and figure out what to make for tonight. Somebody said something about stir-fry and I forget what else, so I guess stir-fry is it.

Mon. June 20: Well, the battle may not be over yet but there is some early indication that my side might actually win. Right about now, I need that. And drivers of A2? Y'all watch out for TK, the latest YAGgie to obtain his vee-hickle operator's license!

Tue. June 21: Drive me here. Drive me there. Pick me up. Bring me food. Yep, I am still a Mom, at least for the summer :-)

Wed. June 22: Say what you mean. Mean what you say. Don't say it mean.

Thu. June 23: 0-dark-thirty: "Mom, are you awake?" "Yesh." "There's a spider emergency in my room."

Fri. June 24: Begin Lahg Blahg: Okay, all you log users. Y'all know who y'all are. I'magonna write a lahg blahg today. Sorry Mouse, I *shall* exercise poetic license regarding grammar and dialect if I choose >:->> Anywhoo. Ya know, it is happening more and more and more frequently. We arrive at Houghton Lake and I go about my usual fumbling around with the groceries and various refrigerators, etc., and all of a sudden I am startled by, "AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!! Somebody tore a PAGE out of the LOG!" Ya know, the Grumpy Growler has been supplying this place with log books since way back in the early 80's and he goes absolutely totally crazy if there is even the slightest inkling that that someone might have torn out a page with something important on it. Or even a page with something not important on it. ANY page! Seriously, there's all kinds of important stuff in there. You know, like water level readings? You never know when you might have to argue with The Dam Man about whether his boards are in or out. Or B ODR pictures. Or stream-of-consciousness meanderings by college students in the wee hours of the morning. Or the infamous Rest Area Tornado Story, or whatever. I mean, whaddy'all think I should do? Tell him to write to his congresswoman? This time, there are no less than two consecutive torn-out pages!!! But, since I am continually and forever in need of something to put a grocery list on (ask Lizard Breath about my grocery shopping system or lack thereof), I also know how hard it can be to find a scrap of paper around this place that *can* actually be torn out of something and taken to another room or outside or in a car or on a boat or a train or wherever. So, tomorrow, I am gonna obtain a small notebook or two and some post-it notes (for the sticky-ness, you know) and maybe even a few pens. If you need to tear a sheet of paper out of something, use those. Please do not use the Grumpy Growler's Log *except* to write about your visit to Houghton Lake! And please DO write about that!!! Write anything. Draw pictures. Just don't tear 'em out. Okay? Okay. Or he will call you a "Poophead." Right in the Log. End Lahg Blahg. It is hot hot hot and the POC's A/C is totally dead dead dead *again* and wave kayaking is fun fun fun and I am wet wet wet and maybe a bit burnt. Yay!

Sat. June 25: Red pans are good and apparently Sally is having something to say about this kitchen.

Sun. June 26: Well, Ann Arbor and Boston are not the same as Spain and Thailand. It is not even a long distance call from A2 to Boston and it is pretty dern easy to fly back and forth. So, Lizard Breath is visiting Boston for a few days and it is one more place that she's been that I've never been. But heck, she's been to even more countries than Grandaddy. At least we think that's true, Grandaddy can't always exactly remember how many countries he's visited. But one place that Grandaddy *has* been to that Lizard Breath has not is Yellowknife and if she can read Inuk, maybe she can stay at the Yellowknife Inn when she goes there. I'm not sure Grandaddy knows Inuk but he did survive the Northwest Territories and even expressed a desire to return there ten years later but The Commander shot that idea down with, "I'm not going to Yellowknife again!" And apropos of absolutely nothing, the word of the weekend is "dilettante." Look it up if you don't know it. Oh, and by the way, somebody on the TV here just asked, "how do you say 'butt ugly' in Spanish?" And I don't know. How 'bout it, you Spanish speakers? Okay, now I will go away! :-)

Mon. June 27: I was going to write something lame today. But life threw a goddamn curve ball and I can't do that. Goodbye, Jim, my brother, my only sibling. That is all I can say for now. I am speechless for once. And I am peering through the fog trying to find a space of solid, dry land on which to put one foot. Siberia tomorrow, bright and early...

Tue. June 28: Watching for deer and cops.Click.

Wed. June 29: Lemme see. Lunch at Goose Poop Park. SWIMMING in LAKE SUPERIOR in JUNE for MORE THAN 10 SECONDS. Knock down drag out fights with multiple telephones. And a Herman Munster Marathon. On the road again.

Thu. June 30: It's been a very long day. Probably even longer than the day we moved all the YAG junk from the Shack to The Estate. And about all I can say right now is "don't eat like a gorilla" and "don't go under the table." Because all of the rather more profound stuff that is sifting through my poor, overworked little brain will not translate itself into words. I do not know how Karen stood there for 3 hours and greeted all of those millions of people. Thanks to Kevin and Barb for everything you did, including putting all of those flowers into your van!, and providing us some entertainment in the form of young energetic kids! It's been a while since we've had little kids around, not that I am particularly sad about that ;-) Anyway, some of us are back on the road again tomorrow and this mad highway driver may just stay put for a few days after tomorrow! :-) Well, I can't think right now because The Commander is sitting here talking. And that's a good thing, I guess.