Wednesday, December 7, 2016

La Bocca della verita



Maya was with us for awhile last night but then demanded to go home. Not sure if she wanted to hurt our feelings or really wanted to be home. Naomi came and got her
The original Bocca della verita is a 1300 kg marble disc in Rome. Somewhere I have a photo of me sticking my hand into it. If I tell a lie, the hand gets bit. I found a miniature one at my favorite resale shop
Who would throw away this enormous smoking santa in an ornate frame? My neighbor who is moving would. Maybe I will make use of the frame. Oh well, the price was right. Included in my trash diggings is a beautiful mahogany mirror
This triptych of the Brooklyn Bridge hangs over my TV in our bedroom. I like it.
I was playing around with the low light feature of the new phone Note lit up Hanukkah house 
color changing trees on mirror
snowflake lights through the stained glass
and through the other one

As I was standing in line at Treasure Mart with my few treasures, I see a beautiful iridescent turquoise vase behind the counter. How much is that?
Prepare to faint..$395
Turns out it is antique Steuben glass, their so called aurene glass because it contains gold. They were a competitor to Tiffany though their glass is allegedly superior. That made the aurene glass between 1902 and 1933. Steuben glass is a subsidiary of Corning Glass so this was made in my home town. Is four hundred dollar a good price? Probably assuming this is not a forgery and is in perfect condition. I have never paid more than a hundred for art (and I can't remember when I did that though I am sure I did). The vase is so, so pretty.

I could hear the coyotes howling as I ran today though the sun had been up for at least an hour. Running will become less pleasant for the next week or so. The 30 degrees today will feel tropical. Can't wait for spring.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Bromeliads

my very own bromeliad i.e. air plant. No one could tell me if it will bloom. It is suspended over my Jacuzzi which should provide humidity. According to the instructions, I am not to use city or softened water on it leaving reverse osmosis water
I've had air plants in the past, one with beautiful pink and purple flowers. I had attached it to the wooden fence that surrounded my patio at the old house. A bird ran off with it.
At the Botanic Gardens yesterday, along with their X-mas displays, they had a local art show and a craft sale. This was my favorite art
lots of orchids in bloom in the green house
And bromeliads





Our first snow hat stuck at least overnight and into a few hours of this morning. I could barely make out  two pairs of tracks across our yard. Two deer or two coyote?

I stopped during my run yesterday morning to investigate a woodpecker tapping away. It was fairly large, about the size of my red bellied woodpecker though a different shape plus it didn't have the tiny checkered back. As it was the east side of the road, I had to squint to get a good look. A young woman stopped to see if I were OK. Just trying to id a bird. She said she could see a red Mohawk on its head. Could it be a pileated woodpecker? Probably not as they have all black backs. I narrowed it down to a hairy woodpecker or maybe a yellow bellied sapsucker, which would be more colorful. They have more red that a hairy woodpecker, who only has a red dot and only if it's a male. The woman was about Josh's age and very friendly. She had recently moved from an urban area to this wild road I run on. Why do people dump deer carcasses up and down the road? Um, they don't. They hit them accidently. Surprisingly she never has seen live deer cross the road. I had just seen one a few minutes before stopping.

The Botanical Gardens was a nice break in the bleakness that Michigan has become. Aside from my air plant, I bought a homemade tile for my living room. Later a visit from Josh and Allie. Less than a month now before the baby comes. Then a visit from a good friend.

I should be wrapping presents.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

My girls one year later

The artist down the street had an open  house today featuring bird art. I had bought a watercolor she made years ago at a thrift store for a dollar of a house finch. She is selling similar paintings for about $70. I did buy the above ornament featuring a red bellied woodpecker that I now hang over my back door. Mr Red bellied woodpecker finally came back yesterday after a 6 month absence to my suet cake. His mate hasn't shown up yet. Included in every purchase was a little gift. In my case, a miniature whooping crane with bittersweet. Also she had lots of treats..not good for yours truly. Seven layer bars..who can resist?

My cat sugar and cream set. Cream comes out of the raised paw. Above are the blooms from my Christmas cactus that Shanna gave me a year ago after my surgery. The plant has doubled in size
Finally loaded everything successfully to my new iPhone. Its camera is supposed to be superior in low light situations. I was trying it out here. The only light in the room is supplied by the light strips along the tray ceiling

A year ago today I underwent reconstruction surgery for my 'macromastia' i.e. mega boob. Several surgeries plus radiation left me with one hard miniature breast and one massive, soft breast. It was hard to hoist the one up to the same level as the other resulting in a Picasso-esque effect. The plan was to whittle the big one down to size and plump up the other with tummy fat (suck away, please). However during surgery, he found the latter would be impossible as I had absolutely no breast tissue left to graft it onto. A dead zone, he called it. Recovery consisted of sleeping upright with the girls girdled away for 3 weeks and no lifting more than 5 pounds for 2 months. Running was out of the question too. When I was finally cleared to run, I tripped ripping my mouth to shreds with my broken teeth. More inactivity ensued probably resulting in the extra ten pounds on top of a bunch of fat I had already gained over the past ten years with lots of excuses for. According to the pathology report, 150 g of breast tissue (about a third of a pound, did they test all of it?) was examined for cancer. None was found. My scars are still reddish purple though who sees them. Originally the new breast was quite hard but it has since softened. Still is on the same level. I could still go braless as I pass the Ann Landers test (breasts will not support a pencil if tucked beneath).

What can go wrong if one insists on burying ones head in the sand to avoid unpleasant news.

I didn't weigh myself for the past ten years because I didn't want to be depressed. I do know that I gained 10 pounds since last year as my weight from the presurgery visit was on the charts. After I finished treatment, I did lose about 10 pounds or more. The steroids I took for chemo made me into a water bag and increased my appetite. Chemo also destroyed my red blood cells making me too weak to move much. Butt once I finished treatment, no steroids and returning red blood cells made it easier to exercise so I did lose the chemo weight. Should have kept going. But now I am down 23 pounds. Yay! Still a long way to go.

Not dealing with finances. I just sign our tax returns with out looking at them trusting Steve to do it right. The other day we get a note from the IRS warning us the penalty for NOT having health insurance will go up dramatically from the fine we paid this year. What???! Somehow Steve failed to show we had health insurance so the IRS subtracted $1500 from what it owed us. Ugh! But I assume we will get this back once they received our amended return. What other mistakes has he made?

The other day, a big package is left on our porch. Early Xmas present? Nope addressed to the former home owners who, once we contacted them, want it saying they will pay the $20 postage. Still a pain.

Our warm November is no more. I biked today when it was 30 degrees though windless. Despite two pairs of sox, my feet were numb. A good friend came yesterday to keep me company. I added a bit to my family tree though lots more to do there. I guess I will have time as I am no longer gardening.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Blue Angel

My friend made me a wreath
complete with lights. I have it hanging over my fireplace
I have my blue angel hanging in my bedroom window

I am currently trying to transfer the stuff on my old phone to a new one. It is stressful. I would have happily kept my old phone but find I have to reboot it more and more to make it work. We took the phones (new and old) to the Verizon store. They weren't too helpful other than to tell me to buy more storage to back everything up in the cloud and then switch the sim cards. So I bought more storage (why does Apple provide so little?) and backing things up. Two more hours to go.

I had to wear my oldest article of clothing, an Icelandic wool hat, to keep me dry in the ran/snow mix I ran in this morning. I dare not wash it lest it shrink. It is probably dirty but I am alone when I wear it.

This has been a low key week. One night, Shanna and the kids came over for dinner. Maya was here too and stayed the night. She wanted another 'cacuzzi' pretending to be a mermaid splashing all over the place. Not too relaxing for me.

Today my friend came over for an early lunch. She leaves soon to be studied by the NIH to hopefully give her some answers regarding her host versus graft disease. Her stem cell transplant was a success in that her new bone marrow is producing healthy red cells but the lymphocytes that came with the stem cells are attacking her body. Some of the damage is irreversible. How to keep it from progressing is what she hopes to find out.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Johnny Depp is my 8th cousin once removed

X-mas mantle
snowflake lights flash in seizure producing sequences. The colored snowflakes rotate around the door and the vestibule  Once I find an extension cord that isn't all nicked, I will put the colored snowflake lights further from the house resulting in bigger snowflakes
the third tree. I had the large white star on top of my white tree but it is bluish white versus golden white and clashed
Almost 51 years later. Bar mitzvah boy (name is on the bottom of the sign). Sea Breeze synagogue has  since been torn down and replaced by a Jewish community center. Trump Village, where they lived on the 13th floor facing the ocean, in the background. Ugly D train tracks.

Despite Mr. Depp being a good ten years younger than myself, generation-wise, he is lined up with my father, his 8th cousin.  I guess generations on our side tended to be longer. For instance, my grandfather was born to a 40 year old mom and waited himself 37 years before my dad was born.
Our common ancestor was a William Middleton, who lived in Prince George County, Maryland from 1685-1769. Two of his sons: Holland's progeny ultimately led to my grandfather; Hugh's progeny led to Mr Depp. So far, I've gone back to William's father, Robert, still of the US.

This is all according to the app by Ancestry, We're related. The more detailed your family tree is, the more hits you get. My friend, who has been constructing her tree for years, has all sorts of hits including both Hillary Clinton and Obama. I also got hits for being related to Churchill, Peyton Manning, Elvis and Edgar Allen Poe but somehow the specific links disappeared.

I did spend some time entering more relatives. It is easy to do if they are from the US. On my mother's side, I can access the German records. For her Polish side, things come quickly to a halt.

A rare 'warm' day so I could bike despite strong winds. After a setback around Thanksgiving, I am back to losing weight. Still too much of me left to love.

Later, grandkids will come over.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

My favorite Christmas Ornaments

Finally finished this
My oldest ornament: a Pegasus that Soulmate gave me in college
I have several framed photos of grandkids and kids
tackiest ornament
the moon is lit up
Mexican dough creche
Lots of embroidered and needlepoint ornaments made by yours truly
And some felt ones

I have three trees, 4 if you include the rosemary plant I put little ornaments on. My metal wire tree has Mexican tin ornaments on; a white one has golds, silver and pink ornaments and the big tree has a mix of stuffed animals, hand blown glass, carved wood, felt, cloth and a few plastic ornaments. Some are quite tacky but I rarely throw things away.

We will have large flashing snowflakes on the front porch. Not sure where to put my laser disc moving snowflakes. On the porch too? The flashing orange spiders were taken down today.

Bundling up, I was able to go 21 miles on the bike yesterday without freezing too much. Very uneventful weekend.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving food police

I harvested 3 of the 8 Brussels sprouts stalks I've been growing. The stalk was thicker than a corn cob and much tougher. Very hard to saw through. I cut off the sprouts off of half of these taking 90 minutes and decided I had enough especially after slicing my finger. I thought they were quite tasty sautéed in garlic and bacon glazed with balsamic vinegar and brown sugar but only half were eaten. On the other hand, the boring green bean casserole with canned soup and crunchy onions disappeared.
today I've been decorating X-mas trees. I finished this one with metallic ornaments and pink. Looks good in my yellow flower room
with lights

For Thanksgiving this year, all I was responsible for were side dishes as Shanna did most of the work hosting 30+ people at her house. Naomi came over the night before to prepare ambrosia and candied yams. The yams were a hit, particularly the crusty marshmallow top that seemed to go missing immediately. I assumed one of the kids skimmed this off.

Before the food police arrived, I was able to consume some very tasty Syrian meat pies containing pomegranate seeds without comment (excepting one of Ramy's cousins was keeping count). I was going to limit myself to one drink. After all it was Thanksgiving. I chose some Rumchata on ice. By this time, the food police arrived telling me that this was NOT a good choice (rum, cream and spices making it taste like rice pudding). Also I had a quarter piece of coconut pie. More comments from the police. Steve, bless him, never comments on what I eat or drink though I bet he has been tempted. If nagging worked, we'd all be skinny.

Back when I was a freshman, I had this whiny boyfriend who ate only because he had to. He didn't understand that some people enjoy eating. Dear Reader, I was thin then. He ate lunch at my dorm on Brownie day, one of the few things the dorm could make well. So as I ate my brownie, Sourpuss would be telling me how I didn't need that. I grabbed another one. Good riddance to that one.

I met up with him in Seattle about 15 years later. I weighed the same as I had as a freshman though I had two kids. But I was also doing triathlons and marathons. I was quite buff. (I want that body back). He was still bony though somehow he had a potbelly. What could 18 year old Sue been thinking?

It was fun. The girl cousins played happily together. Don'tae had dropped Maya off early. Every 5 minutes, when are we going to Shanna's, when are we going to Shanna's. Julie is not enjoying late pregnancy. 40 days at most to go. The baby now is more mature than Daniel was when he appeared.

The 9 foot tree is in our living room. I've spent a good part of the day hanging ornaments. I have hundreds. I need the ladder to get some of them up. I finished the smaller trees.

Tomorrow might be dry and calm enough for a bike ride. I 've been running a lot.

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