Monday, August 22, 2016

Sunflowers

the unicorn above my crowded  mantel
field of sunflowers on my bike ride yesterday

interesting wildflower
rainbow
Allie sliding down the bouncy castle slide
Maya and Tessa
King Daniel on the birthday throne

The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last for ever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year – the days when summer is changing into autumn – the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.”
―E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web
(thank-you KH)

Fall is coming. I felt a rare chill in the air as I began my 33 mile bike ride much later than I did in June and July due to our disappearing sunlight. But  the cool air feels so good. I've done this route many times but the last time was the first week of July. How did I not notice two huge fields of sunflowers before? Several cars were stopped to photograph them. The heads all turned to face the eastern sun: girasole in Italian meaning turns towards the sun.

I tried to use up as many of  my tomatoes and squash in my ratatouille I made for the Moms Saturday night. We since have changed our name to The Chosen Sisters. All week we have had rains on and off driving us inside after we had wine and appetizers on my friend's pergola. Fortunately the final rain (knocking down many of my pots back at home) brought in a cold front which still remains. We were able to go outside after dinner in the dark watching my friend go through the complicated motions of making home made ice cream, which was delicious. Lots of interesting conversations; a good night.

Yesterday afternoon, Daniel's cousins and friends convened at a bouncy castle place to celebrate his birthday. The kids probably slept well last night as much energy was expelled jumping and climbing.

And later a friend came over to sit on the porch to watch the setting sun while drinking our mules and then some TV. Some neighbors tooled around in a stretch limousine waving to all they could find. Have no idea what the occasion was.

And I didn't need to run as soon as I got up as it is cool enough to wait for a bit though now the Eastern sun is so low, it gets in my eyes.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

My unicorn

We (Steve!!) will put this over the fireplace to join my boar and cat heads. The artist is only 16 years old. I have found his Etsy site (Heads on a wall) where I can order more without having the gallery surcharge
Tooth waterfall Not a ringing endorsement for the dentist within

Daniel the birthday boy, blows out his candles the other night
I let a few morning glories live
cigar plant, a humming bird favorite. I had a yellow shrimp plant within but it disappeared while I was gone
I now have yellow dahlias too despite buying all red
bumblebee on zinnia

It's a sauna out there. I ran this morning in fog so dense, I couldn't see my house from the street. Days are getting shorter. Soon it will be fall, which I love but it is a short segue to gray, lifeless winter.

Steve and I made a trip to Northville to lunch at a cute crepe place and then visit art galleries where I bought my unicorn head. My favorite resale shop was closed again. I've been slowing down with the decorating but I still am looking for another tiffany-like lamp. And for a cool coffee table versus the oak boring 80s one we have.

Today's task: slice and dice vegetables to make ratatouille for the Moms tonight. The eggplant is soaking in saltwater to draw out bitterness and to prevent it from being a fat sponge.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Our big red coyote

my dahlias are in bloom, dahling
botanical gardens
big fat zinnia
koi: they nibbled on our fingers when we dangled them in the water
the nearby village of Dixboro that we biked through to get to the gardens, lest we forget
my living room all aglow What is that painting doing on the floor.? hopefully I can convince Steve to mount it above the window
selfie holding a sausage from the sausage tree
soccer lessons
Love his curls! Daniel turns 7 today though he is only 2 in this photo

my scary looking sixth grandchild weighing in at 11 oz. All is well
Halfway to due date


For the past month, Steve has seen the coyote gallop across our lawn a couple of times. He described it as big, red and very fast. Sure it isn't a fox? All the coyotes I've seen are grayish brown. But right before I left, I saw it myself. Way too big to be a fox. I was thinking it is too big to be a coyote too. But it was very red. I guess they do come in red. If it ever slows down, I will try to take a picture of it. I went to check to see if Odie, the next door border collie was OK. Normally he is very quiet but when he sees the coyote, he goes crazy. But he was inside this time. And the coyote seems to be bigger than him.

I also saw my first cat here. It looked like it as only 4 or 5 months old and very thin. While Steve was trying to find something to feed it, it scampered away. I assume it was after the chipmunks. The woman we had dinner with last week, feeds feral cats. She also captures them somehow to neuter them. Once a cat is feral, it can't be tamed. I showed her the feral cat feeder I found in the woods of Redding, California.

I am gradually getting back to my life before vacations. I've been busy except for today. I had my friends over for a bike ride to and from the botanical gardens and dinner Tuesday. I had made this arrangement earlier thinking I'd be home by Sunday but plans change. Fun. We managed to miss the rain. Yep rain. After 2 months of drought, I've seen 3 rains since I've been home. Our grass is green again. However in some areas of the country, they've been getting too much rain. 25 inches have fallen in the past week in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My friend's daughter had to be rescued by boat from her 2nd story apartment. I don't think she has been able to get back to the apartment yet. There is no cell service there now though she was able to get on Facebook to tell the world she was safe. She has had a front row seat to several disasters in her short life (Josh's age). As a sophomore at NYU, she saw the first plane hit while she was on her way to class. She lived in the toxic dust zone so she had to live elsewhere for a while. Then she was in Boston during the marathon bombing. And now, her new town has been swept away by floods.

Yesterday I saw my friend with the stem cell transplant feeling a bit stronger and then on to the dentist for a check-up. Every 5 years, they x-ray each tooth individually. took forever and not comfortable. And after years of no cavities, I have the beginnings of 3. Maybe they can wait until next year. Then Josh and Allie came over followed by Naomi and Maya for dinner. Maya stayed to spend the night and somehow ended up in my bed. I built a pillow wall to prevent myself from being kicked but my earphones did not drown her tooth grinding adequately.

And today, after running and biking (relatively cool here), a fun time was had trying to see why my insurance hasn't paid my dentist for the damage done in my accident. How many calls have I made, each lasting over an hour. Everyone always seems nice and helpful but then, nothing gets done. I suspect I am still on the hook for more phone calls.

Daniel will have his big birthday party at the bouncy castle place this weekend but today is his actual birthday. We will go over for birthday cake later tonight. It's been 7 years since we made the big drive to Boston while Shanna was in labor. As he was in some crazy position, a C-section was needed. And despite his large body, he was 6 weeks premature and had great difficulty breathing. But he is strong and healthy now.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Delmarva

Trailhead in Rehoboth I spent a lot of time  this past week going back and forth on it. On this map they have the state park with its 'great' dune Ha! Come to Michigan for the really great dunes
Fun outside temps Saturday
Yesterday back over the Chesapeake Bay to DC. Currently I have insomnia at a friends house in Maryland. The long drive back will begin in a few hours once the considerable traffic clears though I will be going away from it

I watched more TV this past week than I have all year due to various circumstances like it being too damn hot to leave the house. Heat indices hit into the 120s for the last 3 days. The station seemed to be from a town named Delmarva, which I never heard of before. It later occurred to be that there was no such town and the station is meant to cover the Delaware, Maryland  and Virginia coasts. Delaware is very tiny. Its license proclaims First State. And the town of Lewes has signs  saying it is the first city in the first state

Two days later and I am home where it is finally wetter and cooler.

Saturday we met up with my friends' friends who were in town to have a house inspection in Rehoboth, a very pricy community. The house next to theirs rents for $16,000 a week. On the weekends, the main road is impassable and parking is expensive and hard to find so the bikes are the way to go. According to my gps based ap, it is 5.5 miles to the beachfront restaurant we met at though the last mile was dodging heavy traffic which we could go faster than. Problem was that it was ungodly hot and my friend does not do well whereas I am getting used to it. 5 miles of flat mostly shaded trail versus 60 miles of hills with no shade a few weeks ago. Really no skin off my teeth.  Didn't care for one of the friends who is very high up in a certain government agency who thought it would be fair if we'd split the bill equally after he had several margaritas and some deluxe entree whereas I don't drink alcohol when I am biking especially in the heat. if I knew that would be the only food I'd be offered in the next 24 hours aside from some stale pretzels I found for breakfast, I'd eaten more. We walked for almost a 40 minute round trip to see the house. Big mistake in the heat but much harder on my friend. I wish he had taken up the offer to be driven home. The bigwig's partner was actually nice to me, an oncologist specializing in blood cancers.  He had treated a celebrity successfully for a deadly and rare form of lymphoma. She responded well to therapy and thanked him on TV saying she is now cancer free He yelled at the TV
I NEVER said that

I guess it is bad manners to burst bubbles. Pointing out the difference between no sign of disease and being cancer free is worse than just being Ms, Pedantic.

I returned home quickly through the forest by myself. However it took forever for my friend and his partner to return as he was showing signs of heat stroke and IMHO water intoxication. He drank 2 quarts of water in that short distance. Unfortunately there was no food in the house. I guess I could have taken the bike to the other town to eat. I had stayed there too long but I was sort of trapped. I was very happy to be reunited with my car in DC and quickly drove to my high school friend in Maryland 30 minutes away.

I didn't think I was going to be able to see her. Her husband had taken a job out of state. As it was their anniversary and the commuter train she depends on to go to work was going to be shut down that week for repairs, it was a good week for her to visit him. However her home suddenly needed repairs that needed to be taken care of immediately and she ended up having to stay home. It had been 2 years since I saw her and we had lots to catch up on and we talked well into the night. It was very good to be with her and I wished I had spent more time there versus with being with Dr. Crabby who towards the end took offense at everything I said so I just was very quiet.

But it was fun for at least the first few days and I did go out on my own a lot of the time while he was having various issues.

By leaving late, I was able to miss the grand majority of traffic. By staying further north (though further east) I didn't have to be on that scary beltline that is a 12 lane parking lot a lot of the time. However I drove through torrential rains so bad I had to pull over in a twisty, hilly section of Pennsylvania as I couldn't see. And I hit Toledo during rush hour and road construction that also delayed me though not as badly as I anticipated. I had Steve to try to find which of the 3 possible routes didn't have construction on it but he is very bad at finding such info. It seemed to him all 3 paths were blocked.

So I've been back 2 days. The night I got back, I went right to bed and didn't wake until well into the next morning, a record sleep for me. I had arranged for friends to come over yesterday (when I thought I was going to be home 2 days earlier) so I prepared for that while unpacking.

Some things to be taken care of here.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Junction Breakwater Trail

Lewes Beach
Laughing full
Cute beach houses with fancy gardens. I like the frog statues. I was warned that the place I was staying was covered in tree frogs and the noise from them was deafening. My friend has a frog aversion. I like frogs and am disappointed that it is the wrong season for them
Crape myrtle. Everybody around here has at least one tree of it. Would not grow in Michigan 
Don't know what these are called. Smaller versions can be grown as an annual only at home
Lots of boats along the canal
I am amazed at how much Wild hibiscus grows around here
Historical house of some sort
Compulsive Sue would love to have an odometer on my borrowed bike. I use an app instead that maps where I've been. Downside: a battery drain
It is so hot and humid here.  Note outdoor temp.  Today is supposed to be hotter. I was out at 6 am to run and later we will ride bikes to Rehoboth and back as traffic on the roads especially on the weekends make car traffic and parking impossible

The junction breakwater trail runs zigzagging between Lewes and Rehoboth. It's about 7 miles long. I am staying closer to the Lewes side and fortunately near the section in deep woods so I can run in shade. I was told that my friend had no intention of exerting outside yesterday because of the heat so off I went by myself. A good ride

Tomorrow we return to DC where I will immediately go stay with a high school friend in nearby Maryland. Looking forward to seeing her. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Rehoboth

One of the many alleyways off the Rehoboth Boardwalk
The beach
The boardwalk
Cool door back in Lewes
Steve has been busy picking my tomatoes back at home
Dahlias back at home
Butterfly 
Old Dutch church which is now a museum
Seafoods restaurant in Lewes I had crab cakes
Church with cemetery 

Lewes and Rehoboth are about 5 miles apart. There is an incredibly busy road connecting them and running parallel in the dense woods, a bike path which I've been spending plenty of time on either running or biking. The bike I have been provided with here is much nicer than the DC bike. It's been so hot here and more humid than Michigan. At least there we have a bit of coolness in the early morning before it gets steamy. No coolness here. We have also spent time in the pool in the evening. so a bit of time spent shopping and sightseeing. I've been enjoying myself

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