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Michigan!

Woohoo for Michigan! Congratulations to gay and lesbian couples there, who now have the option to scrap their normal weekend plans to clean the house, visit the library, go grocery shopping, and take the car in for an oil change — at least one county clerk’s office is open and issuing marriage licenses today, in the wake of yesterday’s court decision striking down the ban on gay marriage.

And to the DeBoer-Rowse family in particular, the two moms who had collectively-but-separately adopted 3 little kids and were the plaintiffs in the court case: best wishes as you work your way through whatever additional paperwork you will now legally be able to do, to finalize joint adoptions of your 3 children.

And now:

42.5% of people live in places where same-sex married couples have all the same state and federal rights as opposite-sex married couples.

5.6% of people live in places where civil unions or domestic partnerships offer state-level rights only.

51.9% of people live in places which do not offer any mechanism for gay and lesbian couples to obtain legal recognition of their relationships.

marriagemapmi

You try three times to recite a 9-digit number into voice-recognition software on a phone call, and the system refuses to recognize your croaky stuffy voice as saying actual numbers, and finally takes pity on you and tells you to how to punch it in using the phone pad.

And you know you can’t blame it on the software, because you called a week earlier and it recognized your voice just fine.

Beach weather

Saturday a week ago was the first weather above 20 degrees that we’d had in a week. In fact, temps got all the way to the low 40s. That’s beach weather!

So we headed up to Plum Island. The boardwalk was still partly covered in snow.

board1

And it wound past areas that looked beyond desolate.

bog

But the reeds in the marsh were still beautiful.

reeds

And while I putzed around taking pictures of them, E did a little sunbathing.

suntan

Then we headed over to the actual beach.

beach1

And we watched the waves roll in.

waves

One in which we had such a stubborn ice mound in front of the mailbox that I had to use a pitchfork to break it up.

pitchfork

One in which the snow bank on the corner is mounded up almost to the top of the street sign.

streetsign

One in which we spend all our daylight hours either working, or driving to and from work, or clearing snow at our house, or clearing snow at our next door neighbors’ house while they’re away, or clearing snow at E’s mom’s house. Which is why I didn’t get a daylight picture of M on top of the snow bank at the corner, but I can at least annotate the picture above so you know what you’re looking at.

streetsign2

February may have only 28 days, but it’s still the longest month of the year.

In a recent snowstorm, we got about a foot of fluffy snow before the weather changed over to sleet/freezing rain. The rain soaked into the upper few inches of the snow. And then the temperature dropped below freezing again. When I went to clear the driveway with the snowblower, I noticed a really interesting phenomenon that I hadn’t seen before.

At the edges of the driveway, the top rain-soaked layer of snow had solidified enough that it cracked off from the more level sections of snow and slid off the snowbank as a couple of sheets. It was just like a mini-avalanche. (You can click to enlarge the photos, to better see what’s going on.) Cool!

avalanche

avalanche2

Trying to find the cat

Every once in a while, it’s hard to figure out where the cat has decided to tuck himself in for a nap. Recently I made the rounds of the house, including sticking my head into M’s room, and didn’t see him.

catinbag

On round 2 through the house, I finally found him. He had crawled all the way into the sleeping bag (note the small cat-sized lump.) That’s one good way to spend a chilly winter evening!

catinbag2

Other times, of course, he is much easier to find. Fortunately M is OK with the idea that he and the cat have joint custody of a cot, a sleeping bag, a bed, and pajamas.

sleepy

M was looking through one of those guidebooks that profiles a few hundred colleges, when he asked me whether college students were really as divided into groups as the book made it seem. (For example, some descriptions talked about nerds vs. athletes vs. hipsters vs. tree-hugging Birkenstock-wearing vegetarians.) He wondered what group he might be part of, and we agreed he was likely to fit into the quirky/nerdy crowd. But then:

M: “Maybe I like wearing Birkenstocks.”

Me: “You don’t even own Birkenstocks,.”

M: “What are Birkenstocks?”

Me: “They’re a type of sandals.”

M: “Well, maybe I’d like wearing them if I had some.”

Me: “I’d suggest clearing up your athlete’s foot and toenail fungus before you take up wearing sandals as a lifestyle.”

M: “Harumph!”

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