July 2005 Birch Pt. Beach Blog

June 05 | August 05

Fri. July 1: The subject of the last email I got from my brother was "wheels" and the message was simply, "Any good juicy car news?" And I replied, "You'll be the first to know." We didn't always email each other a whole lot but whenever there was even the sniggliest little inkling of some kind of change in the status of the Carbeck vee-hickle situation, he was hot on it! New car? Broken car? He wanted to know all about it. And engines. I used to wonder if he knew what was under the hood of every car ever made. Once many years ago, we were running two *ancient* Ford Fiestas and we got tired of having to put the newborn baby into a car seat in the back seat of a 2-door car, not to mention that you never knew what was going to fail next and when, of course. So, we bought a new VW Jetta. The first car we had ever purchased together. (We kept the Fiestas -- of course! -- until the blue one caught fire out in front of the house one day). Anyway, the first thing Jim did when he encountered the Jetta was to open up the hood. He made the comment that such and such an engine component or part or whatever "used to be over there but now it's over there, but it doesn't matter either way." Um, okay, I sure am glad to know that... In another episode a couple of years ago, a bunch of Regenstreifs looked out the kitchen window of the old cabin into their parking area and Jim, with his usual engine inspection entourage (Grandaddy and Sam (dog, not archaeologist)) had all their car hoods open.

I don't think Jim ever exactly understood why it always takes the GG and I so long to get around to buying new vee-hickles. Even when we are driving things that are threatening to disintegrate right underneath our feet or butts or whatever. It always seemed like just about every time I managed to turn around maybe about twice, Jim had some kind of new car. I could not keep up. Last summer, I was reading my email at the cabin late one night and a message came through with the subject "twuk" and a picture of a white pick-up truck attached. I showed it to The Commander and she jumped about three feet and screeched, "He was just talking about a truck two days ago. I didn't think he was going to BUY it!" But my household is a Courtois household. And that means you drive vee-hickles until they completely fall apart if you can possibly get away with it. Holes in the floor? Just cover 'em up with that piece of scrap metal with the Old Grandad sticker on it. And, hopefully the GG is not reading this but I have to admit that I get sort of a big charge out of driving around in an old rusty jeep and/or crappy old POC with a couple of kayaks on top. Somehow it makes me feel just that much "cooler" than the perfectly coiffed Lincoln Navigator soccer mom set >:->> But I do like to also have one or two reliable highway vee-hickles and air-conditioning can sometimes be a plus.

Anyway, getting back to that email message, Jim didn't end up being the first to know because he didn't stick around long enough to find out. Or maybe he does know. I don't quite know where he is or how the universe works and that might be a good thing. But after at least a year of the usual nagging, crabbing and bickering, the GG and I exchanged various pieces of paper with Kevin Liu this morning and I drove down State St. in a new blue whored-up (the GG's expression) Honda Civic. And since Jim would've wanted me to post it on the internet -- kee-reist, it is a vee-hickle, after all -- this is what we bought. But although I drove it home, I took off with the Octogenarians in my boomerang (woops, I mean my "old" green honda accord ;-) and let the others have the new blue one.

And now The Octos and I are back in the rugged outpost of Sault Ste. Siberia where it is sunny but extremely windy but the denizens of this fine city can handle that because they are Yoopers, eh? Good night. --Boomerang Woman.

Sat. July 2: Well, I guess we have moved to the cabin today (the Fin cabin at Lake Superior, not the Courtois palace at Houghton Lake) even though I only have a few days here in this episode. When we were kids, we'd get out of school in the spring and demand to move out here absolutely the first day we were out of school. It didn't matter that it was usually 40 degrees -- the air, that is. The water was warmer. We didn't care about dodging all the 11 pound mosquitos or the biting flies. Or that there was no place to ride our bikes and sometimes not even a large variety of other kids to play with. The Mullin kids were always here and our older cousins, who I'm sure regarded us as complete pests. School's out, let's get outta that town. We packed up our clothes in bushel baskets and The Commander loaded us and the dog and all the kitchen junk into the car and away we went. We went swimming every day no matter how cold and rainy it was and The Commander used to have to wear a winter jacket to sit down on the beach and watch us. We had lucky-shucky, a wood stove and cold running water that ran through a garden hose from our uncle's well into our kitchen sink. The toilet was way out in the back yard but I'm not gonna talk about that because I usually write my outhouse blahg around the time of the Trenary Outhouse Race. Anyway, I didn't have any bushel basket to pack in today. I've been sorta halfway packing and unpacking my LL Bean duffel bag since about a week ago Friday when we last went to Houghton Lake. So I just threw my ratty old clothes and all my electronical crap into my dirty Honda (the green one, not the blue one) and off I went. We're here. It is hot. The water is warm. And now there are about a million people here. And dogs. They want in and they want out. And I can't concentrate any more. So I'll quit for now :-)

Sun. July 3: This is not whitefish bay, whitefish bay is up there. Or something. Heard on the scanner from four power boats who ended up rafting for lunch in our bay. That is not what today was all about but it is about all I can manage to say about it. Happy anniversary to the GG, 23 years...

Mon. July 4: Dear Ernie and Alfred: sorry boys, about having to call you back when that runner tried to come out of the woods down there at the end of the beach this morning. For a minute there I was fantasizing that you were velociraptors. i.e., git 'im! But whatever, you guys did a great job of scaring that creep off the beach. He even screamed! You guys are apparently scary, I know *I* am not for the most part. I dunno. I just wish I didn't hate real estate developers so much. I know, I know, supposedly they are just people like everybody else. So why the heck do they get such a large charge out of ripping out trees by the thousand and building great big super-highways through the north woods? All you stupid government officials who habitually look the other way when those delusional developers break every flimsy little law supposedly enacted to *protect* our land. Who's snuggling up to who? Deep pockets, right? Just go ahead, blast a big road through a major wetland. Dump umpteen thousand million tons of sand onto it to *try* to fill the resulting canal. I am sorry, but the only runners we want on our beach are dogs, sand pipers and Harry. And we do not want lost, drunken ATV drivers here either. We do not need random trespassers to tell us about riparian rights or make misogynistic jokes. Developers, go play with your Tonka trucks on Mars or somewhere. Runners, go run on the Ganzhorn Gash. It is at least paved. Trespassers, you *will* be eaten! Grok! Grok! Ba-gawk! Grrrrr-snap!

Tue. July 5: M & M's. Manhattans and Margaritas, that is. Or moles and milk, maybe?

Wed. July 6: Grokgrokgrok! Grok Grok! Grok! I'm gonna get that Grinchy! Grok-grok, grok-grok! Grokgrokgrokgrokgrokgrok!

Thu. July 7: KA-WHOMP!! Well, even though nobody left the refrigerator door ajar here, the milk was still bad. And pickles (or pickle-like entities)? Excuse me? Lemme see here:

So, Lizard Breath says: "Mom, I'm glad to know that Mouse is still here because I thought you were out there talking to Froggy all by yourself!" grok GROK! But all I've got to say is: "EAT PICKLES!!!" Kee-reist!

Fri. July 8: Now that I have been in one place long enough to actually breathe again, and am still managing to ignore the shambling mounds all over the house, I need to get it together here. So, here's a link to Jim's obituary, which I snagged out of the Sault Evening Snooze. (And the dog's name is "Alfie", as in "Alfred", not "Elfie", sheesh! Pine martin slinkin' down the back road? Bring it on! I'll git it! Kee-reist. Elfie? Not!) I have also placed a link to it in a permanent place on the left sidebar of this page which I will keep there as long as it seems right to do so, even after I get around to fixing up this ugly frog-infested site.

Jim had battled the hepatitis C virus for many many years, actually all of his life, although it wasn't detected until 1991 (not sure if the year is accurate) and I don't believe it even acquired a name until after he was diagnosed with it. It's too long and complicated a story to tell here, it is not my story to tell and I know I would mangle the facts, so I won't try. But I do know that no one who ever met him, even in the last weeks of his life, would have guessed that he had any health issues at all. He had an intense career as an automotive engineer , worked long hours right up to the end and had all kinds of other interests, as noted in the obit.

He was very ill the last few days of his life but he managed to completely bamboozle his family into thinking it was just "the flu" and I was blissfully oblivious about it all until the day before he died. That was a Sunday and we had arrived in A2 after a nice hot POC ride down from Houghton Lake and I was pretty darn cranky about the A/C (or lack thereof) in that car. I read an email from Karen that Jim was sick. I wrote some lame reply and started doing something in the kitchen and then I did a big double-take! "Rough" breathing??? Wha? I called up there and I guess The Commander also called and *ordered* him to go to the ER and the next I heard, Karen and Janet were following an ambulance with Val staying behind with the dogs (or working? kee-reist I can't remember!). It was a hot and restless night around here and I spent the next morning putzing around Ann Arbor doing just about the most lame and random errands possibly imaginable. But I did somehow have the presence of mind to put gas in my car. Therefore, when Karen called me at 11 or so that morning, I just got in and left. But since Froggy put up such a big fuss about going with me, I got a half-mile down the road and realized I had him but not my purse, so I had to turn around and go back to get it!

When Karen had visited Jim early that morning, he was initially able to respond to stories about the dogs' antics but by the time she left he had slipped into unconsciousness. By the time I arrived at Grand Blanc, the hospital had called to say he had taken a turn for the worse. I won't even try to document the afternoon. Karen is *much* more knowledgeable about all of that. It was a blur to me. I felt my job was to function as a bumbly sort of "sweep," just being there to do whatever was needed. I do not know whether he was aware of our presence at that point or not. They were still working on him pretty hard and there was quite a bit of waiting and we all made phone calls, etc. And then we were told he was going and we scrambled to get everyone back into his room and he slipped away. We were there for a while afterward and then we walked out to the parking lot, Karen got in her car, I got in mine, I blew a master salute and then, we just drove off into the steamy hot late afternoon haze. "What happened this afternoon?" "What did we just do?" I couldn't make sense of it. And that is all for now. There has been a lot going on since then but that's the end of a chapter.

Sat. July 9: After much futzing around with iTunes and my green iPod mini (engraved with my email Id) I walked this morning, plugged into Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. It's pretty good to walk to, especially since it's doubtful any of the people I ran into could even guess what I was listening to. Hee hee hee :-) After I can't count how many days of traversing the freeway, etc., my iPod had completely lost all of its songs. I don't know what made me think of Pink Floyd but suddenly I realized that I didn't have it on any later media than an old scratchy vinyl album and maybe a cassette tape and that I could probably download the dern thing for $10 or so. So, I did. And, after a bunch of futzing around, I managed to get all of my playlists *except* the "300 Sound Effects" from my powerbook's iTunes to my iPod. To the great amusement of the kids who heard me play an iPod "help" video on the internet. Like, Mom? Are you all right? What are you DOING? I can help you with iTunes/iPod if your feeble brain can't handle it. Yeah... Anyway, see ya on the dark side of the moon, Jim. I don't exactly know where that is or where you are but I figure it is just a metaphor for "see ya in the next episode" and even though your main interests in music were jazz and big band, I know you appreciated a lot of different genres and that Dark Side of the Moon was kind of a universal album. I am not ready to or intending to die any time soon. Kee-reist. I have a lot of things to do and I am nuclear powered. But someday when I might not be in quite the shape I am now, knowing that Jim is on the other side might make it easier for me to traverse there. Goodnight but not goodbye.

Sun. July 10: "Mom, you need to have an adventure with someone!" Okay, the kayaks are at Houghton Lake. How 'bout if *we*, yeah, that's you and I, go computer shopping! Should we go to Twelve Oaks or should we just call? Either way, it would seem that Apple oughtta give me a volume discount... Or we could just go look for hand mixers.

Mon. July 11: Um, national expert? In what? Keeping track of credit cards? Roight. And on a totally different tangent, announcing the 2005 Michigan State University Marching Band uniform.

Tue. July 12: Grok! You stoopid old bag. grok grok. Whaddya mean, there's no dinner plan? Grok grok. I'll just whip (grok) up some flies, frog juice (hic), and candy wrappers! Grok GROK!

Wed. July 13: "Mom, why did you invite all these people over here tonight." Like anyone would want to come to this hot, swampy "bombed out pit" -- borrowing your phrase, Karen. Well, hmmm, "these people." Some of "these people" live in Hotlanta. And the rest of "these people" live in Seattle. And one of the Hotlanta people is Sam (archaeologist, not dog) and one of the Seattle people is Jay (Joyce prior to the early 80s). And it is too long a story to tell here and I'm a little fuzzy about it even though it's my own story but Jay and Sam were very good friends at MSU back in the day and somehow or other Sam (we're still talking about the archaeologist, not the dog) ended up being my best friend. Sam and I have, on occasion, gone for *years* without seeing or talking to each other (like 9 is I think the longest) but Jay and Sam have not seen each other since like the early 80s. But somehow, we are all in A2 tonight and we're all here. And instead of going out to eat, John has ordered pizza here (thanks!). And some of us are drinking wine and some of us are not. But those of us who can are taking advantage of the Courtois airport waaaarless network. And that might include Mouse in a few minutes when she finishes opening her newly delivered 12" G4 powerbook. And someone, in a moment of greeting, said something about by what stars has this meeting happened? For a moment it flashed through my mind that Jim had done it. After all, he spent a lot of time with Jay back when we were kids and I know he loved her. But at least one of my feet is usually pretty close to the ground and I bet it is just plain old coincidence. But it is a good coincidence and we are having a great party! And here's a toast or two to Jim anyway! Oh, and I drowned a plateful of ants and people are mad at me about that and Liz and I can only figure that the firetruck that was idling down the way for an hour or more was looking for gas leaks. And I'll bet that the emergency trucks that woke me up at 3 AM were here for the same kind of reason. We all could well be wrong but Mary was looking out her window so I'm sure she has a theory >:->>)

Thu. July 14: Ramble ramble grumble grumble. Thursday, first week of theatre camp. A day and a week to go. Hot humid and no A/C except in our Honda vee-hickles (2, yay!), thank the gods. No, I am not a camper. And I don't do costumes either. That's a very respectable question because it is fairly widely known in some circles that I am capable of running a sewing machine at about 100 mph with confidence and a bit of attitude! But I have a myriad of interests even within the fiber arts genre not to mention all the other stuff I do, or wish I had time to do, which I won't begin to try to list. Costuming a theatrical production takes some talents I do not have. If someone hands me a mile or so of fabric and a pattern and says make 100 of these, I can sure do it. I may be in the loony bin at the end of it but I can do it! But, that's not all it is. It involves making costumes for a number of different characters in the style of whatever period the play is set in. And the colors have to look good in the lighting designed for the set. Plus, you have to measure the actors' bodies (no thank you!) and keep track of all that, not to mention some of the issues that can be involved. And since YAG frequently double-casts roles, it's always possible that the two actors assigned to one role are very different sizes and shapes. Etc., etc. I know some great costume goddesses: Kathy (my sister-in-law) and Catherine (YAG costume master extraordinaire) are only two of them. It is not my job and that is a good thing. I am dying to get my uber-pit cleaned up so I can sew stuff again. But I'll be sewing my own fiber arts stuff. I probably won't be doing anything about costumes at least until some later episode. Anyway, I am the camp (and YAG) administrator. Anything that has to do with paper, I do. And we do a lot of stuff with paper and I am overwhelmed and I am tired. But somewhere along the line, I lost the grumble grumble part of the ramble ramble grumble grumble. Because as short-handed as we sometimes are, it is all fun. Or I would not do it. Good night. Ramble ramble.

Fri. July 15: I am on the Ps. But there are a lot of Ss, so I am only on page 14 of 23 pages. Y'all grumble and grump about having to fill out the dreaded bio sheet. Y'all have NO idea what it is like to TYPE all those derned bio sheets, match 'em up to the correct picture, and then chase down the stragglers who managed to weasel out of having their picture taken. Or doing their bio sheet! Or both. And then there are always one or two that write like dinosaurs or something and I have to seek them out and ask them to decipher their writing. And I am pretty good at decipherment. Really! And all this typing takes place on a nice hot powerbook. In a room with no A/C. I prob'ly type somewhere up around 200 wpm. Really! But all I have to say is glorp.

Oh, and by the way, what the heck is this "YAG music" that so many people are putting down for their "favorite music?"

Sat. July 16: I tried to go to Kroger early enough today that I wouldn't mow down little old ladies and their shopping carts at every turn. All week I've been coming home from theatre camp at the end of the day totally bedraggled and unable to even think about food, let alone cook in this swampy hot kitchen. And Kroger wasn't very crowded this morning. But then I got to the checkout area. One of the reasons I picked Kroger in the first place today is because it has a heavy-duty u-scan that you can take more than 15 sniggly little items through. Foiled. That u-scan was in "manufacturer mode" (or something). The "little" 15-items-or-less u-scan was open but there were just enough people around that I didn't feel right about begging Elsie to let me take my 36-item order through it. Only one other checkout lane was open and the guy that was running it (we'll call him "No-name") is not exactly the brightest light. Sigh. Having no choice, I reluctantly got into No-name's growing line. We were w-a-i-t-i-n-g for him to s-l-o-w-l-y swipe items and s-c-r-u-t-i-n-i-z-e coupons and clumsily fill up grocery bags (no bagger in sight) and a woman got behind me with one Harry Potter-looking book (I doubt Kroger has the new one, I'll guess she's back-reading). I could *feel* her thinking "I wish that old bag in front of me would let me go in front of her and her cart full of groceries" but I was *not* going to budge. Still, I felt a bit uneasy about it, so I pointed out to her that Elsie had the little u-scan open down at the end and she happily bailed out with a surprised "thank you." F-i-n-a-l-l-y it was my turn to put my stuff on the conveyer belt. When I got about half unloaded, one of the office ladies came out and opened the next register. Unfortunately, it was too late for me to move so she called the guy behind me over to her line, the lucky duck. Just as I pulled up to the debit card reader and No-name began s-l-o-w-l-y scanning my stuff, whatever 2-bit manager was on duty for some reason decided to send a bagger out to the rescue. Oh, *just* what I need! Sheesh! I am the fastest bagger in the west, except for G and unless the bagger *is* G or one of a select few other people, I'd really rather just bag my own stuff. But this bagger was not G, it was some kid that looked like about 12. He asked what kind of bags I wanted and I said "paper, please! and if you hand me a bag, I'll help out." And I did and despite a few collisions, it went pretty well and I got outta there pretty fast. Now I am home wondering why I was in such a blasted hurry to leave because Kroger was just about the coldest place I have been all week! Well, guess I better get off my butt and put those groceries away before they rot or mildew or something. Bleeg.

Sun. July 17: Midsummer's weekend? Huge thunderstorms most of yesterday. One lightning bolt separated a big tree from its bark in Vet's Park. Every time I drive by there, people are inspecting it and a picture was in the Sunday A2 Snooze. I dunno which bolt did it. There was a *lot* of huge lightning yesterday. But none of it was all that scary, i.e., no cyclonic stuff or anything. And the RegenAxes complete with the Boyz of Noyz were here last evening but now they are at the beach and I wish I was, too. Other than that, I swear that every store clerk I had to deal with yesterday was completely, utterly, totally spacey. How can it be so dern hard to scan a few measly items and deal with a debit card. Sorry, I am tired. And then there were all the crazy drivers who either went 10 mph below the speed limit (yeah, I said below) or drove across the center line toward me or whatever. Like hang up the dern phone or pull off already! "Behind" all of that I have been chained to a hot powerbook bouncing back and forth between Photoshop and Illustrator to do Mom's Graphic Design for YAG. And I am hot. And I am tired. But apparently reading Harry Potter is a bit more tiring. Because this afternoon, Mouse and Froggy grok grok were both sound asleep together on the couch in the front room. I have seen Mouse sleep in the afternoon when she has had the flu or strep or whatever. I think this is the first time I've ever seen Froggy sleep.

Mon. July 18: A very long, hot swampy day ending with big rainstorms and a shower to get the derned cigarette smoke out of my hair from the bar where we had our meeting. Another day in a string of days which have all started out somewhat promising and disintegrated into a big morass of unfinished business and a feeling of total, utter worthlessness in life. A weird sensation of simultaneously being tied up in knots and unraveling. I assume this stuff will pass. It usually does, eventually. Even an hour without somebody needing something, telling me something I already know or asking me to do yet one more thing might help. People, figure out your own problems for once. I need just a little space today. Some breathing room. Peace.

Tue. July 19: "Mom, are you going to stay after until all the campers are picked up? Because Anne [uh, that would be the other Anne] and Sam and Tina have to leave and I have to go to work and we need an adult here." Hmmm, people are actually mistaking *me* for an adult and trusting me to watch their kids? Roight.

Wed. July 20: All right! Calling all Carbeck Harry Potter books back to the mothership!

I have another trip to the beach staring me in the face and I think I am gonna need something mindless to do. Oh, there will plenty of mindless things to do with the kitchen patrol and the laundromat and letting dogs in and out and looking for missing boat books and innumerable trips to Glen's and Four Seasons. And there'll be fun but not too taxing stuff like lunch at Penny's Kitchen and Clyde's and the Sault Ste. Siberia art fair and probably the annual pilgrimage to Whitefish Point. And kayaking and hiking trips. So, I'll prob'ly pack my flutes and all my music and a whole bunch of beads and fabric to boot. And I always have my powerbook with me. But I bet a lotta that stuff'll just stay in the trunk for the duration (except for the powerbook). Because I am tired of trying to use my poor, overworked, little brain for creative pursuits and problem solving activities.

And I think it has been about two years since I have actually read a book. A year and a half or so ago, I started to read Middlesex up at The Commander's house and I didn't get all the way through it because we left to return to this big vortex. The next time the book surfaced, like a year later, a Sunday School graduation thingy of mine floated out of it. It was from back in the Jurassic Age, beautiful little blonde children with angelic smiles on their faces. Completely unlike I ever was, except for the blonde hair. The Commander had been sorting out old papers and crap and she presented it to me on that trip and I guess I began using it as a bookmark.

Anyway, the time is right. Harry Potter, here I come! I think I will start with number 1 and see how long it takes me to get through to the end of number 6, which I haven't read yet. Yay for escape reading! Any bets on if I'll finish and/or how long it'll take me? (Maybe I'll finish Middlesex while I'm at it...)

Thu. July 21: Val, in response to a look I gave her when admonishing her to not get too silly while driving Twuk from my house to Grand Blanc: "Hey that looked like Ralph!" Or, something like that anyway. Yeah. Ralph was my brother's middle name. And my maternal grandfather's name too, for that matter. I guess I look like a MacMullan as much as I look like a Fin but since that Grandaddy died a few years before Val was born, she didn't know him in person so I'm sure she was referring to Jim and my face must have copied one of his expressions. Hah!! You may not be around here bro but I will tell your highly intelligent but sometimes terminally silly kiddo to be careful. And I will. I did the same thing to Mouse last night when she drove to that concert over in Megamegalopolis (I-275? Yikes!) Heck, I even tell kids to whom I'm not related to be careful. And, kids, when you are 50, if you are lucky (?) enough that your parents are still doddering around being octogenarians or whatever, they will still be telling you to be careful driving. Live with it.

Fri. July 22: First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Aimée (my cousin) and The Marquis (married to my *other* cousin)! We're all the same age, I won't say what that is. 35, maybe? Or how 'bout 28?

And now for a good old rant! >:->> "Are you going to the art fair?" "Have you been to the art fair yet?" "How is the art fair this year?" Asked of me by about a billion people (okay, that is an exaggeration but still). NO I AM NOT GOING TO THE ART FAIR. I HAVE NOT BEEN TO THE ART FAIR. I DO NOT KNOW HOW THE ART FAIR IS THIS YEAR. HOT, MAYBE? CROWDED? A LITTLE RAINY? Sorry. But. I do not *go* to the art fair. It is only partly because I don't enjoy the art fair all that much. It *is* hot and crowded and actually the rain is welcome to a lot of people because of the hot and crowdedness. And, after living here for 25+ years, honestly a lot of the art gets to be kind of the same old same old. I have to admit though, it would be very nice to actually be able to make a decision about whether or not to go to the art fair. But I cannot do that because I am completely, totally and utterly overwhelmed with the theatre camp this year. It is always a lot of work and this time there is so little support staff that it is hard for me to get *my* work done! Nobody notices my work unless it isn't there and then they are wondering why I didn't get it done or why I didn't do it this way or that way. Aarrrrrgggghhhhhh! I don't have anything else much to say. It is fun but we need more help. Or I need a different job. Or 40-hour days. Or I don't know what. Beach. 2 days.

Sat. July 23: Before 8 AM today, I had already had to go back to Kroger to retrieve my driver's license and Kroger card, which I had left there at the Uscan. Where I went to buy a couple gallons of frog juice grok grok hic grokka? because they don't sell it at Glen's. Elsie was working and some other mom-type customer had turned them in. Whew! It hasn't been a bad day exactly but it's been pretty chaotic, including missing children, rodent crap, leaky coolers and other watery adventures and I forget what else. And, since I don't really wanta remember the chaos, Here's my 2005 summerYAG bio:

Mouse's Mom is a 51-year-old slacker in about the 26th grade at WCC who isn't crazy about ice cream and wishes she had time to read books and watch movies. Her favorite summer activity is driving up and down the I75 SUV Speedway. The Grumpy Growler tolerates her and they have daughters Lizard Breath (20) and Mouse (18). She plays flutes of all sizes, creates things with beads and fabric, programs computers, skis, kayaks and walks her windswept Lake Superior beach in any weather. People who know everything annoy her to no end. SummerYAG is just plain fun and she's glad her kids dragged her into it.

And so, another year of theatre camp is over. It is our last year in the Trueblood Theatre. They're gonna tear it down and build a state of the art dorm, whatever that means. We'll have to move on to somewhere else and learn all the ins and outs of that place. But, hey, maybe it'll be air-conditioned! Broadcasting from the Trueblood Theatre. Beach. Tomorrow. Early departure.

Sun. July 24: So, literally, this is what I am looking at as I type this on my powerbook. Somehow we all got out the door without killing each other this morning and navigated two vee-hickles (blue and green Hondas!) thru severe storms, accusations of stealing gas (!) and I dunno what else to Siberia today. We are here. There are all kinds of relatives on the beach. It's great. I dunno what else to say that's of any consequence.

Except, happy birthday Ryan, 21. The Fins regaled him on the phone with a bona fide Piedmont-type chorus, i.e., totally obnoxious and out of tune.

Life is lame just for a few minutes and my Harry Potter progress is book 1 about page 24.

Mon. July 25: Actually, I guess it was more like about page 60. Now I'm on page 262. In between coffee with a radical, opinionated, green grinch and his mama. And Glen's and Ace Hardware and Lock City Builders and lunch at Penny's Kitchen. And the rest of the beach was also having lunch there. And thanks, John! I was able to get onto their wireless!! :-) Other beach people were even checking their email on my powerbook. And what else? Hm, a little piddly bit of kayaking and walking and some swimming. And I made a lasagne. And swept up a whole bunch of sand and stuff. And cleaned the toilet and even got the mineral stains out of it (Ya-Hoo!!!) So, The Commander may be the commander around here. But I am the boss >:->> For this week anyway...

Tue. July 26: Oh goody. It's garbage day. What do you do at your house on garbage day? Stuff everything into bags and/or cans or whatever and unceremoniously put it all out where some big truck can come pick it up, right? Well, not here. The merest mention of any aspect of garbage processing starts turning up the heat in an atmosphere that really can't be described as particularly serene even on a non-garbage day. "Where did you put that bag of garbage? Which can is it in? Is it in a big gray bag? Those darn kids and their plastic drink cups! They don't crush 'em up and they fill up the bag. You're supposed to STOMP on the bag before you put it into the big gray bag!" And so on. And then it gets to be time to actually get the garbage can into the car and drive it up to the main road where the truck comes by to pick it up. I won't say much about that except that the air around here gets pretty blue before we're done. And maybe even yellow? Well, I haven't actually seen it do that but Jim once speculated upon the idea. Anyway, we were quacking around about garbage this morning until Lizard Breath, who learned early in life how to sidetrack useless conversations by old doddering members of preceding generations, sidetracked *us* with the exciting tidbit of information that in 1931, one Hedley Herbert Finlayson, a chemist who devoted most of his life to the study of rare aminals, discovered that the oola cunta (desert rat kangaroo) was, contrary to popular opinion, not extinct, and he actually gave chase to them on horseback in Sturt's Stony Desert in Australia. And Harry Potter? Finished book 1 (309 page) and, as of noon or one o'clock or whatever it is, I am now on book 2, page 99.

Yeah, the "d" at the top of my web page was one little lonely character that escaped all attempts to trap it between html tags and insisted upon planting itself in front of the doctype statement.

Wed. July 27: Lemme see... In which:

Harry Potter, book 3, page 75. Back to the beach. Sincerely yours, the Birch Point Blooger.

Thu. July 28: Made the more-or-less-every-5-years-or-so trip to Mackinac Island and did a subset of all the usual Mackinac Island-y type things. Except for riding horses. I do not care if I ever ride a horse again in my life. Mouse expressed some interest in riding until she found out the rent was $30 an hour. Mouse likes horses and once bamboozled a bunch of old aunts and things when she wore a black velveteen dress, black tights and black leather boots on a hike. "Why is she wearing a *dress* on a hike?" they asked, incredulously. Uh, because she is a horse? Duh? Anyway, I will not try to report on what one horse did in front of us today. You do not want to know. But we are home. And some of us are tired. Swimming? Even though it is raining, that turned out to be a good thing to do. And I just now heard someone in the next room trying to start an argument about whether or not it was garbage night. I won't name any names but sheesh, didn't we just *have* garbage night? Once a week is more than enough!

Harry Potter? Still in book 3, page 161. Pretty slow day on that.

Fri. July 29: Guest blahg by the Grumpy Growler.

And Grandaddy says: "Beautiful day, wouldn't miss it for anything. Inspector Pete Miller came over to inspect Bill's handiwork on the railing. Now I'm going to hide from them there objects (extraterrestrials)."

Sat. July 30: On her last day in this episode at the beach, Elizardbreath emulates Karen. And, speaking of Karen, she's baaaaack! Welcome back and BRAVO!!!

Sun. July 31: Boring day? Lemme see. It was too thundery to walk early this morning so I stayed in bed until 7:17 or so and then hung around on the s-l-o-w dial-up internet for a while. Lizard Breath and Mouse left sometime in the morning and I felt kind of grumpy about that for a while because I missed them and then the GG decided he needed to go to Walmart. Just *try* to find Walmart in the phone book. It took 3-4 people about a half hour scouring through 3 phone books to find it. Anyway, they had what he wanted -- a USB cable to connect The Commander's new printer to her new computer. Why the heck the printer didn't ship with a USB cable, I do *not* know. What if we had ordered it from Eagle, Alaska or somewhere? I'm not sure you can just boogie on down to Walmart from there! Anyway, we took the back way to Clyde's for lunch (sorry kids), then hit Glen's for a few groceries and Walmart for the cable. Eventually the weather on the beach shifted from overcast to hot and fly-ey so I abandoned Harry Potter (book 4, around page 300) and kayaked down to the old rock crib, attracting the attention of a few Faunts (I'm guessing), the people who built the big ugly road-canal through the swamp. Out to Round Island Point, then back across the bay and swam a bit, foiling the dern flies, before heading up to heat up leftover enchiladas for dinner.