Friday, November 17, 2017

Pro se

A Jamaican themed Zulu beaded necklace I got for my friend 

living room art

my only orchid in bloom

me trying to take a selfie with my new scarf. Need not to look so dour

new Italian wool scarf. My favorite

Broken tile reminds me of Gaudi works in Barcelona Once I print it, I'll put a Hannah photo (below) in it as pink will look better

Granny Christmas

I make some attempt to match the photo with the frame. Perfect for the frame above

They don't make do-it-yourself  lawyering easy. We showed up at the courthouse yesterday with a stack of forms. My main job was to help Naomi translate some of these legal terms. New words for her: pro se, plaintiff, defendant, moving party (that would be her even though her ex was the one who physically moved)motion. But the forms were so unclear on what they were asking, we had to go to a special office that provided translations. That lady was helpful. The many other offices we had to retrieve info from, not so much. Extra fun: Naomi stores all her info on her phone , which are forbidden in the courthouse, so she had to run to the car a few times to extract info from it and be rescreened through security. Then everything needed to notarized. Do they have a notary in the building. Of course not. We drove 6 miles round trip to her bank. Hopefully all is in order. She has a court date, which her ex probably can't make as he is working out of state, but he knew this was coming and said he would contest it though he is in a very weak position to do so. Then she was to serve papers on him. Fortunately mailing is enough.

She needs more child support and full custody. They have 'shared' custody currently but now he hardly can see her. He thought it would be OK to have his girlfriend (not wife) come get her driving 600 miles in one weekend with her 3 kids just so Maya could share a bed with the girl her age. No to that. So that experience was fun. Naomi has to change her work schedule yet again to accommodate these changes so lots of Maya for a while here. 

Then out to have a bit of fun with my friend, lunch and shopping.

I finally can fit into my wedding dress even though I weigh a pound more than I do when I last tried it on. But I have been doing so much toning stuff so I think I am a bit smaller. As long as there is no ice on the dirt roads, I can run. Bicycling in the cold is tough though. Can't wait until spring.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Those in gingerbread houses shouldn't throw scones

This is a Mary Frances bag usually selling for quite a bit but not second hand. Usually I just carry around a boring, practical Costco purse but I might make an exception for this

I now have at least 8 strings of various fairy lights strung around the house  Makes my glass sparkle

I got this lamp in a gallery years ago in Saugatuck It makes our bedroom pretty at night

I wish the title quote was original but no, Trevor Noah said it. One of Trump's favorite insults of the North Korean dictator targets Kim's obesity. Yet their BMIs are almost identical. Maybe Trump is just thinking about his body when he was the Dictator's age. Maybe he hasn't looked in a mirror lately.

Not that I should be throwing scones around either. How did I get so big?  Yes I have rehashed the reasons excuses many times here. My dental hygienist, a sweet woman my height and who weighs close to what I did, wanted yesterday to know how I got rid of almost 80 pounds. Not easily. It is still off despite various get togethers and vacations but exercising so much will be more difficult in winter though Steve is finally getting our elliptical fixed. Today is the only suitable day for bicycling: not rainy or windy. It will be the warmest day in the near future. I am impatiently waiting for it to go above 40.

I've been out shopping: more lights and decorations for the house, smaller pants for me, gifts for various people as we will be gone during the prime shopping weeks. And fun times ahead, we will have to take Naomi's ex to court to get full custody(for Naomi). It turns out he isn't out of state 3/4 weekends a month just to train; that's where his job will be. And he lives 2.5 hours away when he is home. No heads up for this either so again we will have Maya as Naomi works. He said he will contest this but he doesn't really have a leg to stand on nor will there ever be a day he can come to court. Also no child support has found its way into Naomi's account though he insists they have been taking it out. As he has switched jobs three times in as many months, I am assuming the Friend of the Court has trouble collecting. A big mess.

We will also have to take the executor of my step-mother's estate to court as he continues to ignore texts, phone calls, e-mails. In the past we got lots of promises how all will be resolved 'soon' but now he is impossible to reach. All of this is mess is in Canada and all will have to be done in Quebecois French so that might be part of my 2018 travels. I am well familiar with the estate laws of the US as I've handles my parent's estates but this will be troublesome.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Manana, iguana

The cenote that Shanna and Ramy swam in Mexico 150 feet down. They look like ants
The playground I took the kids to was interesting. Either you could propel this as Maya is doing or stand up on the pads and push off the blue ring. I got some exercise myself that way

A wheelchair friendly rocker

Shanna in a cenote

This was to celebrate their 10th. The resort covered their door with ribbons and provided champagne

Shanna looking happy

These come in all colors. When I visit Costa Rica in a few months, I hope to see these and so much more

It's almost the middle of November, my least favorite month. The hard frost of last week killed everything including the mums. I do have my tropical hibiscuses blooming inside along with one , lone orchid. Soon the Christmas cactus will be in bloom as all of a sudden, buds appeared. I've been stringing fairy lights on everything to at least have some brightness in these drab cold times. I ran the other day in the 17 degree dawn. As long as the wind is minimal, I'm OK. 

Should I exercise while nursing a cold? I've been lucky that I've been healthy since the winter of 2016 where everything went wrong while we were traveling. I was recovering from my reconstruction surgery (note: better to lose weight before the surgery rather than after as I did) when I got a really bad cold. On top of that, I got hot tub dermatitis causing the skin around my private parts to slough off while burning. We were away from home and Steve wasn't speaking to me as we had a political argument. I borrowed some cat antibiotic (Steve had our rental car keys so I couldn't even go out and buy some more suitable stuff) which I was allergic to so I was covered in hives, that itched. After a week, the cold finally went away and some of my skin healed so I felt I could run again and then I fell down in the first seconds face first in the middle of the Pacific Coast Highway breaking two teeth and slicing my lower lip open. I needed a plastic surgeon again. The antibiotic I was given screwed up my digestive tract for the next two months. Fun times.

The kids were sniffling last week when we were taking care of them. Steve caught their cold immediately exempting him from outdoor stuff. I am exposed to a lot of stuff and rarely catch anything but my number apparently is up. As we are promised rain today all day, perhaps I will take today off.

With 3 kids close in age, Shanna doesn't get too much time off. I'm glad they were able to enjoy themselves though it was a rude awakening to come back to 17 degrees versus 80s. I was in the Yucatan peninsula about 20 years ago staying on Cozumel. We did go to the mainland one day to visit ruins in Tulum and Coba. Despite my fear of heights, I decided to climb the Coba pyramid, the tallest Mayan pyramid. I was fine going up but I had to go down. Argh! Cozumel's main attraction for me are the coral reefs. I spent hours snorkeling. The whole peninsula is a coral reef so there is no soil or rivers, just sinkholes that fill with fresh water called cenotes. One can swim in them as Shanna and Ramy did. Cancun is to the north of Cozumel and closer to Chizen Itza which they visited. 

As soon as I returned home, I was hosting the Moms. I made squash red lentil soup and a pasta dish using cute little pasta shaped like pumpkins to which I added a variety of vegetables and nuts. I should have added chick peas. At the last minute, I sautéed some scallops for additional protein. The other moms brought lots of wine, appetizers, salad and dessert. Shanna had brought back some Mexican liqueur for me, a mix of cream, tequila, coffee and cinnamon. It was quite tasty.I decorated my home with my Halloween stuff along with leaves to have a fall theme.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Fall colors

this is a long exposure of the photo I posted last time. I was trying to smooth out the waterfall. Alas I must not have had a steady hand but it looks sort of cool

The park in Shanna's neighborhood is surrounded by baby crimson maples

The hard frost caused many of the leaves to fall overnight. Oliver was fascinated with the sun catching the dew crystals on the diamonds. Alas, not evident in this photo

It has not been a good year for fall colors. An extended Indian Summer, which I was very happy to experience, must have delayed the color change. And now the cold and the winds have knocked the leaves down. It was 27 degrees this morning as I waited with Oliver for his bus. Fortunately it was more on time today versus very late on Monday. There is an app which tracks the school buses (Where in the F  is the bus???) but I don't have it. The other mother did the other day but it only said the bus was delayed without telling how delayed. My favorite was Shanna finding the missing bus once at a Starbucks. Then I run home to get the other two ready to get on their bus in the opposite direction. And then we get to return to our house for the day.

So it is an experience dealing with 3 kids, 4 yesterday. Finding missing clothes at the last minute, begging kids to get dressed with them thinking they are doing me a huge favor by complying. I brought them all over to our house yesterday as Daniel needed my computer to order photos for this big project we are going to be working on later today. We got a lot of it done yesterday. Lot of my motivation consists of dangling tablet time in front of them and taking it away for various sins such as Daniel biting his sister. When I ask Oliver to do something, he always cheerfully agrees to do it but I come back and find the task undone and him affixed to the tablet. As it was chilly yesterday, the only kid who wanted to go outside was Maya. She rode Oliver's bike while I rode Shanna's. They are putting up yet another subdivision nearby that has a lot of paved streets and no traffic, perfect for Maya.

Their parents return tomorrow night. They had not contacted us in two days until I finally texted them last night to see if they had been kidnapped or something. Usually I go to my cooking class today but it is right when the buses return and I don't think I could get Steve to do bus duty (won't be able to find the stops, too cold, getting a cold). And I will miss next month because I will be in Spain. We had bought a packaged deal for a change instead of me making lots of arrangements. But right before we left to New York, we were informed that they ran out of their allotment of train tickets so we were on our own to get from Sevilla to Barcelona. They will give us back the money they took but tough luck to us. Fortunately intracountry flights are quite cheap so that's what we will do.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Sue in Exile

Shanna's kids for Halloween


Allie, Josh, and unhappy Hannah

lit up paperweights

ranbow over Shanna's neighborhood

Pretty stream that goes through the park I've been taking the kids to


me and my charges. Do you think the feedbag way of carrying my purse will catch on?

The lake near us lit by dawn
For their tenth anniversary, Shanna and Ramy flew to Mexico so we have moved into their house to watch the kids. Since they are in school as I type this, I am home getting supplies. They live fairly close. My long run yesterday overlapped a long run path I take from my house. Her neighborhood has the advantage of being absolutely flat despite the word 'hill' in her little town. As a bonus, Maya needed to be watched on the weekend due to her father again being missing in action and on election day so we have four kids most of the time. Daniel and Tessa are excited that we are there but Oliver never misses an opportunity to complain and to tell me how the other grandma is so much better than me.

I have been trying to keep them as active as possible taking them to parks but it is very hard to pull them away from those screens, especially Oliver. Tomorrow I have some art projects lined up as it will be too cold to drag them outside.

I decorated the house for Halloween but no kids came. I will bring Shanna's kids over at some point to amuse them. Halloween was quite cold so I wasn't too sorry I wasn't asked to go out with any of the grandkids. Shanna's neighborhood is the exact opposite of ours: little personal property but a lot of communal land (parks). All houses have front porches to encourage interactions between neighbors. Also each neighbor tries to outdo the next in Halloween decorations. A kid can quickly run from house to house as they are so close. The streets are crowded with kids who come in from other neighborhoods, including Naomi and Maya though they did stop at Shanna's and went out with Tessa. Favorite decoration: a hologram of life sized dancing skeletons. Not favored especially by Maya: a man with a chainsaw chasing kids.

I was sad to see that frost had come while we were in New York. Most of my flowers are dead except, strangely enough poppies and primroses despite them being associated with spring. But we will soon get a 'hard' frost  to finish them off. I spent much time digging up bulbs and tubers and bringing some of the plants into the house or garage. What we need to do is drain the pond and all my water features before the hard frost. I guess that will be Wednesday's activity. I also spend an exciting time organizing my clothes and closet. With so much space, you'd think I would have a space for everything but no, all in a jumble. Removed all the size 10s and 8s.They aren't far away if I am forced to wear them again.

We did have 3 kids but they were spread apart so it isn't like herding cats as keeping the 4 of them happy and on task is, ages 9,8,7 and 5. Shanna printed detailed instructions on what to pack in lunches and where to take them for their many activities. I've been doing homework with Daniel getting a week's worth done but he has a big project due this week so some of tomorrow will be spent on it. I am hoping Oliver doesn't need to be nagged too much to do his tonight. Oliver takes a separate bus to a different school that comes 30 minutes before the other kids'. No problem walking them to the stop. But then Oliver's bus was almost 20 minutes late! Run back to the house to get the other kids to the stop in the opposite direction. If I had my phone, I could have called Steve to do Tessa and Daniel duty. As he seems to be coming down with something, I had agreed to do all outside stuff.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Sand dunes of Coney Island

Who knew Coney Island had sand dunes. We are on the North shore on the west side. The western tip of Coney Island used to be too dangerous to go to but  it is safer now. Still we were the only ones on the beach

One could see the Verrazano Bridge to the north which is where the runners will start the marathon this Sunday. They will climb 250 feet to the mile point in the middle. What percentage of Americans have completed a marathon? Less than half of a percent so Steve and I are among the elite

long exposure of waves
 I collected shells for a while

Then on to get some Italian treats

rainbow cookie cake.  We brought back lobster tails and rainbow cookies which I feed to visitors
Do you want some? Then visit me

figurine store near our coal fired pizza place in Bensonhurst

Manhattan from our car window at 5:30 am. Driving in lower Manhattan to get to the Holland Tunnel was our only visit this time though I guess we were on the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge

Still some colors in Eastern Pennsylvania

some of the shells I picked up and then put on top of potpourri in our bathroom
Steve had lived on Coney Island from age 9 until he was an adult and then some but never visited the far western end or the north shore, which he did not know there was access. Part of it is gated off but the beach can't be. We took a walk and I collected shells.

We are since back home. It has been two days since the terrorist drove down a running path and killed 8 people maiming more. I ran up and down that running path when I was staying in Chelsea 12 years ago. And if things went the terrorist way, he planned to mow people down on the Brooklyn Bridge walking path though I am not sure how he could get a truck up there. A different scary world.

It was hard to relax in NY as back home various disasters were unfolding. Maya's father left for 2 weeks for work without telling us in advance oblivious to Naomi's work schedule, which is made well in advance.  He just assumed we'd be around to watch Maya I guess. She scrambled for childcare. We came back early for the second day. Meanwhile, one of Josh's daughters was hospitalized for croup. She had difficulty breathing. They would treat her with epinephrine  and she would be fine for 3 hours. But the drug would wear off and back to struggling to breathe.

But aside from the phone calls, it was good to be there and visit with his brother and his wife. Much warmer there than at home. An unexpected (by me at least) frost had hit in our absence destroying most of the flowers I had left out. I had taken in the more sensitive ones already. We went out one night with his cousin and wife at a good Italian restaurant. I got to try a few ethnic delicacies over our visit. I ran a lot. The bit of weight I gained is now gone. Now if I could just hold steady, I would be happy. At night we watched movies, something Steve and I never do together.

Back to gray coldness.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Bridges of New York

I started the day running along the 5 mile path along the straits of Verrazano under the Bridge. A nice path though bumpy in spots. Steve and I ran across the bridge during the NYC marathon in 1985
Later a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. The drizzle didn't seem to scare away the tourists

The deck is above the traffic. Using the Live feature on the iPhone I can take a long exposure turning the cars into a blur. Of course one needs a steady hand

let's see it in black and white

When we did the same walk almost 3 years ago, the bridge was covered with locks. They have since discouraged this

Manhattan Bridge. Other bridges we have run across: Queensboro, Henry Hudson Parkway, George Washington, Willis St bridge, 3rd avenue bridge: all in various races. Also some bridge that goes from Brooklyn to Queens

the husband

As tall as I am, I look small under the tower

me with messy wet hair. Perhaps it is too short

I have run across the Gowanus canal on small bridges. A cesspool that they are trying to clean up. This is from a parking deck of a fancy Whole Foods


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