Tuesday, August 21, 2018


A good friend is helping a family of African refugees. How to keep the kids entertained while the mom deals with lots of court visits? The girl, a sweetheart, is Tessa's age and the little boy, Allie's age

We took them to the sprinkler park near me  They enjoyed it

Daniel emerged from a 6 week premature infant to this 9 year old this weekend. He seems to be fascinated with maps so a globe seemed fitting. This one lights up at night to show the constellations

His parent were gone on his actual birthday though he had celebrations before and after. But this one is at grandma's

Jacuzzis are fun

I think they snuck some more bath foam into the water. Our soft water seems to make plenty of bubbles. Ginger blossoms smell so good

our house is the transfer point between shifts of custody

It is early in the morning. Normally I would be out with my flashers running or biking but I draw the line at thunderstorms which I hear outside . I am hoping for some lightning free time later in the day though I do have an elliptical trainer in our basement. But we need the rain so I shouldn't complain.

Summer is winding down, which makes me sad as I hate the cold winter months so much. I do enjoy relaxing outside in the early morning with my coffee. Days are getting shorter but my headlamp lights up the road just fine while I am biking in the dark. I was able to come back early enough the other morning before the eastern sun blinded the cars and me and in time to make buttermilk pancakes before the kids woke up.

I was running down a dirt road the other morning which was deserted as it is at all hours. A truck stopped besides me. I panicked as again, deserted road and what did this man have in mind but he said something about how he could see me really well (or maybe he couldn't see me...hard to say, I did have a neon light blinking) I wanted to ask him why he felt he needed to blind me with his brights but didn't want to annoy him.

A few weeks ago, I ordered something online from a Chinese company which very soon sent me an email to say my item was shipped. Haven't received it. Could I track it? If only I had purchased a tracking number in advance, which I didn't know was an option. I have since read reviews about this company. Seems like I will be lucky to get this. Should read reviews ahead of time, lesson learned.

How does my garden grow?  Well lots of spaghetti squash now and my butternut squash will be ready very soon. All of my many tomato plants seemed to have disappeared. I had harvested lots of tomatoes a few weeks ago but now the plants are gone. Some virus? Zucchini still is producing but the yellow squash seem to rot while they are maturing. My cauliflower is hard to get at and now most of it is overgrown. I thought they were brussels sprouts plants which I put in the middle where I wouldn't need to get to them until everything else was dead.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

ghost bikes

these have been popping up over Michigan. It denotes where a bicyclist was killed. Some drunk in Kalamazoo managed to kill 5 cyclists at once and maim several others
I did buy these two in a week of splurges (I bought some fancy sandals on line that better fit). The lower one is green amber set in silver. Need to find a uv light to see if it's real

I love delphiniums but this year has been tough on them. Got these purple ones finally but I miss my bright blue ones

this hibiscus will need to come inside for the winter

my head pot is filling up

no matter how many seedlings I destroy, a few always manage to survive They are pretty

From my cooking class: meals in a bowl. One's starch, veggies and protein are put into one bowl. This is the burrito bowl, beans, rice, tomatoes peppers, avocado topped with greek yogurt

We had two other bowl meals: bulgur wheat topped with swiss chard, mushrooms and an egg and a Greek salad over quinoa

As it is still warm, I am still exercising before dark though today I was caught up in an earlier than forecasted rain. I am hoping that all my lights will save me from being a ghost bike and that drunk drivers tend to operate at night, not in early morning.

Due to my travels, I had missed some cooking classes. This time my friend was strong enough to make it. While the food is prepared, people tell their cancer stories. A lot of tears last night. One not so nice aspect is 'my tumor is bigger than yours' syndrome. A person would say they have lymphedema on one side, another would pipe in Oh you're lucky, I got it on both sides. One person actually told another she is lucky that her cancer wasn't as bad as this one's cancer and used the word 'lucky'. Lucky isn't how any cancer patient feels. Yep there is always someone who was dealt worst cards.

Someone's spouse is dealing with stage 4 lung cancer. Were they a smoker. No but are they deserving of less care if they were? What symptom sent the wife to a doctor? Coughing? Difficulty breathing? None of that. A headache. The lung cancer, not immediately diagnosed, had already spread to the brain.

People are always wondering what gave them cancer. Pollution? Bad habits? Bad genes? Bad karma? My friend, who I like very much but I do not share her religious beliefs, sincerely thinks she asked God for it. Her father had cancer (4 times now yet he is in remission now) and it caused so much stress to all involved that she prayed that she have it instead as she could deal with it. So his cancer went away and she gets cancer instead. Dad's cancer is treatable; hers much less so. And meanwhile, her mom has pancreatic cancer for one month before dying. Who asked for that?

I had Shanna's kids today. Screens keep them entertained but is it healthy? I will have them for longer Saturday.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Night riders

do I want the turquoise and lapis lazuli necklace in the center? Yes I do but don't want to pay full price for it. Next week it will be discounted 10% though I risk someone else buying it

We went to a local vineyard yesterday. True the best grapes are grown on west side of the state, particularly the NW corner but small wineries have been popping up here. They used to let us have wine tastings while us sitting on the patio. Now they make us stand which I didn't feel like doing. Still a beautiful day with friends. Just picked a wine on stuck with it. Later bought fresh corn from an honor stand

My big fashion find. Where am I going to wear all these fancy dresses though this could pass for casual. Size 4 for $4. Hmmm...looks big for a 4. Then I recognized the fancy label, Helmut Lang. Similar dresses by him go for $500. Fits perfectly though I needed help from strangers to get it zipped and unzipped. Wish my hands weren't holding an imaginary belly

A pretty rock? Nope, fancy soap. I have very pretty bars all over the place, all smelling wonderful. Do I wash my hands with them? No, prefer liquid soap (also have an assortment of pretty aromas) but Steve does. I did get him to stop using that vile triclosan soap. He has stopped getting mysterious rashes since then too.

Days are getting shorter though the temperature has yet to drop to a tolerable level. I now get up extra early in the dark to ride and run. I am not the only one. A man in my neighborhood rides with this blindingly bright flood light, much brighter than cars' brights (whose owners love to blind me with them). The main aim is to be seen without becoming road kill. Studies show that a moving light attracts more attention than a stationary one so I have a neon flashing yellow light on my calf. But this doesn't help me see much so I have a head lamp on my forehead. The downside of this is all the insects that I attract with it. I don't like running with a headlamp as I need to get it very tight around my head not to slide while being bounced up and down which is uncomfortable. I have a simple flashing light that folds over and is held in place on my right shoulder. I don't see much of the road in front of me but I am travelling much slower than on my bike and the shoulders are pretty smooth here. I did try to run with my minimal lights on a dirt road yesterday which has uneven ground. The moon is almost non existent and on the dirt roads, no extra lights so it was sort of scary.

Maya loves to comb through my vegetable garden. She found several zucchinis for her father to take home. I've been baking spaghetti squash and then covering the strands with pesto. Healthy and good. I will have a large crop of butternut squash too. I thought I put in some acorn squash but they have yet to appear. Eating a lot of tomato and basil salads.

I went shopping with my friend with the numerous health issues the other day. I offered to drive but I lack a handicapped sticker which she really needs. Walking for more than a few minutes with her compromised lungs is difficult. We went to a store that you need a hairdresser's license to enter but as long as I have her with me, I am free to buy the high end beauty supplies for more than half off.

I haven't seen my grandbabies except Maya in 2 weeks, which makes me sad but I will see some of them today so yay for that.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Summer time

swallowtail butterfly on butterfly bush. I used to grow dill right next to this. Swallowtail larvae feed on the dill family plant but the drought got to my dill first

art purchase..so it's just an IKEA print but I like it anyway

hand tinted photograph Hard to get it reflection free

beautiful hand blown vase

rain was promised everyday this week but in general, the rain is a no show. It did rain for 5 minutes while the sun was out. note rainbow

zinnia close up

My favorite time of the day is early morning after I finished exercising. I stretch out on my cabana with my cup of coffee and watch the hummingbirds flit from flower to feeder. I now have 5 feeders but they still fight over them. I have my waterfall running and I am surrounded by my flowers though now my cosmos have some kind of disease. 

This summer has been so hot. If I sweat too much, the controls of my iwatch become impossible to operate. This didn't even happen at all last summer though it did when I ran in the heat of Costa Rica. The days are getting shorter so I leave before the sun comes up with my flashing lights on. A man returns from his even earlier bike ride equipped with a bright flood light  just as I am going out. He must be one of the new neighbors.

I've been seeing friends and keeping myself amused. We got to a winery Saturday.  The lazy days of summer.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Pig roast

Someone gave me several hibiscus in my cooking class 3 years ago. One thrived and is covered in blossoms now

the sky this morning. I was finished with my un already, mostly in the dark, trying to escape the heat. Warmest morning yet though it isn't really hot now

Josh sent me this photo of Hannah

Both he and Hannah are 19 months here  He has a lot more hair but they are very similar

My friend likes to grow hops. He offered one of the plants but I don't have a suitable trellis

Every year the man who I attempted to bike from Pittsburgh to Washington DC has a pig roast. I miss a lot of them as they are 2 hours away or the timing is wrong but as he is moving away for a while, I decided to at least say goodbye.  Several of my former co-workers show up too so it is fun to see them. A couple who I worked with want to join us in 3 years when we try the bike ride again, hopefully not in monsoon season, the more the merrier.

What a difference being on the west side of the state is! Everything is all green whereas we are in a drought. Stories about how the overflowing Kalamazoo River messed up their commutes. We have had one good rain in the past month. The one forecasted today seems to be fizzling out yet again.

Many chemists like to try to brew beer and my friend is no exception but with his move, no home brew. He had an assortment of tasty Michigan brews to sample.

I was glad I went.

Arg this heat! I've been doing a lot of biking instead.

Last year I found a half grown raccoon swinging on my suet feeder. He is back but now is huge. If I don't take it down plus the hummingbird feeder, he bangs against the window. Hard to scare him off.

Tonight I will finish the rest of the Handmaid's Tale

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Since I've been back

Lots of flowers though the drought has been tough on many of them

she loves bugs

this zucchini is huge next to a normal sized one. Lots of squash, tomatoes and peppers now. Even the cauliflower looks good

my glass tile from the gallery up north

Murano glass from the upscale resale

hummingbird moth. From the side, looks like the bird

naomi, wish she did not dye her beautiful red hair black
lots of hummingbirds battling it out 

wish I seen this but didn't: Chalk art fair

my friend took this

a friend from the past visited me today. Hadn't seen her since college. Hadn't been friends since 6th grade. She really looks very much the same as she did as a 11 year old

I've been back from my bike ride for almost 2 weeks now but I have managed to keep busy. To beat the heat and traffic, I start my bike rides  in the predawn darkness going on the smooth shoulders of the nearby road covered with flashing lights. Bonus, a mile of my path was repaved while I was gone so more smooth road. But the rides are not so pleasant as the spring. Instead of spring blossoms, wild phlox, sweet grass, I smell road kill. Today on my run, I came across a momma turkey and about ten of her babies. No sign of the rest of the flock.

One night I saw a play in Chelsea with some of the moms about Rosie the Riveter and her co-workers. Interesting. I've had a lot of meals out which is not good for self control. At home, I do much better. We had a Mom's group one night which is always nice and I've had lunches out with friends. I have also seen all my grandbabies at one point or another.

We took Josh's girls swimming last weekend. Hannah up to now, hates the water but this time she seemed like she wanted to try. She got bolder and bolder clearly enjoying herself. Soon she thought she was ready to swim all by herself, which she is not. Not happy at being restricted.

Almost done with that dystopian Handmaid's Tale, sadly relevant these days with the fake religionists..

I was a very awkward elementary school student. Always had bad clothes, some of which I had inexpertly sewed myself. Chubby, too tall, hair that wouldn't stay combed, nerdy glasses.... a mess. Still I managed to have friends including a girl my age two doors down. We were die hard Beatle fans and would make up stories mostly them leaving their beautiful girlfriends and falling in love with our awkward 11 year old selves. I didn't realize my friend has these things written down though she couldn't find them today to bring them too me. She however was always pretty whereas I was repeatedly told, good thing you are smart because the way you look, you will have to support yourself. She always had boyfriends but at that age, boyfriends didn't speak to the actual girlfriend, just their intermediaries. I was that person. Boys were comfortable with me but it was clear, I was not girlfriend material. Luckily as I got older, there were enough men who didn't get the memo.

We stopped being friends in junior high. I assume I was just too nerdy but we have been communicating via Facebook. So we met for lunch today and had a great time.

What's up for me? Going to a going away party for my biking buddy and a trip to Utah in 6 weeks which is unplanned except for airline tickets. A late fall trip in someplace exotic? Must think.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

we go rogue

As I was setting up my tent (final time: this time I got it right which was needed as it poured the next night), a plane made a huge circle above us

the harbor in Harbor Springs. In back you can see a 90 foot yacht owned presumably by the Jimmy John's owner. I looked in the windows the next day. Crystal chandeliers. As for the springs, there are several that you can drink directly from. Handy for my run in the heat on the final day

our cross state rogue route. The supported route had us go up to Cross Village and then back down. How many times have I been on that road? Too many though it seems easier going north. Our cars were back in Cheybogan where the red dot is. The west to east line, 31 miles, has only one business on it midway. We had no idea of the road conditions (good as it turned out and not as hilly as I thought it was going to be) No phone service what so ever until we got to the red dot. Still we figured if one of us got a flat (I did have supplies except for tire irons), the other one could go get the car. We did this as the final day of riding snaking in between all those lakes was going to be filled with thunderstorms, which didn't happen. So I went for a nice run along the water on the last day before heading home
Hemmingway spent a lot of time in various places in Northern Michigan. Look at his cat's paw..lots of polydactyl cats running around Key West even now


I liked this poster for a book fair in many of the windows

famous Octagon house made by the architect Shay. They were having some Shay days celebration while we were there

gardens are so lush. They get much more rain than we do

the beach from my car window

lots of fancy houses. The one on the right has a stream going through the house

On the way home, I stopped by the fish hatchery that I had passed on when I had a bike

Lots of trout

Our first night in Harbor Springs was quite pleasant. I had been trying to get along without a sleeping bag (space hog) and just use a down blanket but froze one night. I could have kept Naomi's after she left but it got warmer and she left me a sweatshirt so I was fine. Food was better here and the cafeteria ladies not so crabby. We walked to town after dinner. Lots of street musicians all around. The town is very cute. We found an outdoor bar where several riders joined us. it was nice.

All through the week, various people kept telling me I look just like so and so. I guess my bland features make me look like about anybody or there are lots of doppelgangers out and about.

We had been lucky with the weather but that was going to change. Thunderstorms and high winds were forecasted for the last day plus they were putting us back on gravel trails which are even less fun wet. And it would be a long day. Looking at a map, we saw that we could get our car a day early just going a few more miles. Turns out another 25 people had the same idea though we didn't see them while we were biking. We did see them as we drove our cars back on the same road.

We were to go up and down M-119, the infamous Tunnel of Trees considered the most scenic road in Michigan though usually in the fall when all the leaves have changed. Naomi and I took the car up it the day before. I first went on it towards the end of a 110 mile ride when I was younger (Lansing to St. Ignace with the final 5 miles over the Mackinaw Bridge) the infamous Dalmac ride..400 miles in 4 days. Steve and I had biked on it too. But once its enough.  We stopped again at the cute art gallery (my friend hadn't been there) and off we went off the map. No problems though and the road was is in good shape. We did stop at the half way point gas station for some cold gatoraid to fuel us through the last 16 miles. Then we were able to get a table in the gardens at Leg's Inn (which involves a wait, Naomi didn't have time for that when we went)  It was very nice. Our ride was over so no need to rush back, just sit and relax.

Before the rain started, I went back to town. For some crazy reason, they didn't want us parking anywhere near the school (though there was plenty of parking)  I got caught in the downpour walking from the remote site and hunkered down in my tent.  The deluge stopped before dawn. After packing up, I went for a run along the fancy houses facing the beach later going back by car with my camera. A walk in the drizzle at the fish hatchery and then the long drive to home. I did get stuck in a downpour in which we all had to slow down to 30 as there was little visibility. Fortunately the car problem I had coming up didn't repeat itself. We are thinking some sort of electronic malfunction. Everytime the orange wrench goes on (ominous sign), a code appears in the control center. I just need to take it to a code reader and see what havoc I am in for.

So another shortened ride. I've been trying to make up for it by riding a lot after I got home.


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