Monday, February 12, 2018


About 15 inches covered with a half inch of ice as we had freezing rain yesterday
At the thrift store they let Maya fill a bag with toys for a dollar. I added this snail. Best find? A Hatchanimal which before Xmas was very pricey to buy. This one had already hatched so maybe it isn't worth much more than the 10 cents I paid for it

I sound like a broken record with my constant whine about the cold and snow. It snowed non-stop from late Thursday to Sunday morning in which it was freezing rain instead. Maya had no school yet again and her dad could not pick her up. So back to grandma's. Added bonus she had a cold which I seem to be getting right before I leave for vacation. It will be the first cold in 2 years.

But I will leave in 36 hours. Got my nails painted in Cajun Shrimp so they will shine in the rain forest. I will be not blogging no thanks to apple and Blogger not getting along.

Hope to see some beauty and feel some warmth.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Semitic semantics

This artist specialized in taking photos of the Amish Goes well in my hall way
only orchid in bloom though I have some Xmas cacti blossoms and a kalanchoe 
art for the bathroom wall
She is with us yet again. We are in the middle of a blizzard. There was a snow day earlier in the week too though that one really wasn't necessary. No end in sight for all this snow. Hate winter!!!

Compare and contrast the two statements:

He is a real Christian

He is a real Jew

One is positive and the other is negative. Why is this so?

We did have one brief reprieve from the seemingly non-stop snow, yesterday in which I went out to eat with a friend. Running is impossible outside. Hopefully my boring elliptical trainer and weight lifting sessions will be enough to keep me somewhat in shape. Still haven't lost the weight I gained in January. and I had been so good up to then. Having fancy hotel meals during the next two weeks will not be good.

And Don'tae won't be able to drive through the blizzard to pick up Maya and Naomi has to work. Steve is all crabby, so much so I won't miss him much when I am gone.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


This is the couch at the AirBnB we are staying at in San Jose. We have to pick the one with banana couch right?We are going a day earlier as we are nervous about winter storms plus the air fare was way cheaper on the day before. It is in a safe neighborhood and one fifth the cost of the room we
will be staying at on the official tour. Plus breakfast is included

On the Berkeley-Oakland CA border, there are two signs. On the Berkeley side:


On the Oakland side:


There is a famous Gertrude Stein quote which is being used quite often these days describing several current situations
There is no there there

What was she talking about? I have had a history of puzzling over what Stein was trying to say starting with the awful to me To the Lighthouse. But here she is referring to visiting her childhood home in Oakland CA only to find it razed and repurposed as a parking lot or something.

So the sign makers thought it would be funny to put a 'there' in Oakland. So now there is a there there.

Another boundary: racism. I recently referred to the Jewish people (apparently the 'correct' terminology) as The Jews. I meant absolutely nothing negative about this but I was called out. Although I am not Jewish, these ARE my people. I was a tad annoyed at the time but dismissed it as there is no pleasing certain people who want to see me in a negative light no matter what I do. Imagine my surprise the other night listening to my favorite This American Life podcast in which the host Ira Glass admits to being called out for the same sin. And for the record, he is a "Jewish person". He too was surprised as he has lived on this earth for more than fifty years using the same term not knowing that some think it's a pejorative. As he said "I didn't get the memo".
The podcast itself was on the troubling use of language. Basically you can never please all the people all the time. A sex educator found herself referring to people as the penis owner and the vagina owner as some 'males' don't have a penis.

What to do in the doldrums of winter? Still too much snow to trudge around outside though by tomorrow maybe it will be packed down enough to run on top of it. On Sunday night, it was Naomi's turn to drive 130 miles in a blizzard to retrieve her daughter. I was so nervous for her. Lots of accidents that night. I was out too but far from the freeways. My car has this helpful light to tell me when I am in a skid, as if it was not obvious. In my mind, I have a list of things to do now that I can't get to in the summer: do genealogy, organize those photos, organize the kitchen once and for all Just can't get started. What I really need to do is sign up for Medicare (should be easy) and then choose a Medigap program. Steve did a lot of the homework already but I am not sure his choice will be best for me. I have a big pile of plans stacking up. Apparently my birthday is no secret to marketers.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Bad genes

amaryllis in full bloom

more stained glass

I bought this vintage dress..never had been worn but....very short. I do have 'good' legs but am a bit old perhaps for a mini dress. Lace bicycle shorts underneath?

sleeve detail. If I do wear this, will have to stay away from red wine, which I seem to dribble everywhere

Promethease is a service that you submit your raw DNA data to and it will check the DNA snippets for various medical conditions. It is not a full gene sequencing service. They recently updated their database and I resubmitted my data to them. I had the bad medical conditions listed first.

Number one: My DNA indicates that I probably have the BRAC2 gene. I found this very disturbing. Although it isn't as lethal as the BRAC1 gene, it is associated with increased chance of ER+ breast cancer (I had ER-) and ovarian cancer. Medical advice is usually double mastectomy and ovary removal. Furthermore, it is autosomal dominant so that my kids each have a 50% chance of inheriting it and thus should be tested. Also it means that one of my parent's had the gene. Which one? No history whatsoever of people dying young or even old with cancer on either side though my mom and her sister had ER+ breast cancer when they were old and it was early stage. This was not a day brightener! It was very expensive to test for the BRAC1/2 deletions in the recent past due to a company having a monopoly on the gene. This since has been overturned so tests now are one tenth  to one thirtieth the cost. Insurance would pay only if I were younger than 50 when diagnosed, Jewish and/or had a strong family history. I was 54 when diagnosed. A few years later they changed the age to 55. I was ready to do it a few years back when I was told I had a recurrence but when I found it was a false alarm, I dropped the testing.

So how worried should I be? As it turned out, not much. I am not the only one who got this result as they are finding that 50% of people whose dna was tested by Ancestry got this bad result. And upon further testing, they didn't have the gene at all. Maybe I will have my doctor OK the test at my next physical. Naomi's doctor keeps bugging her to bug me about it.

Other bad genes: peanut allergy (I don't seem to have one though one grandson does), a gene for high probability of thyroid disorders (yes, I had Graves' Disease), a gene making me likely to have a stroke (I usually have low blood pressure and my lipid levels are low) but my favorite bad gene is one that presumably causes me to have no empathy for people. What? By some definitions, one who has no empathy is considered to be a psychopath. Am I a psychopath? I don't really think so as I do worry about others' pain. I certainly don't want to distress those that I like. Do others feel more for others? I have no way of telling. I do know my father was so self involved that he could care less about how others felt, especially my mother. Interestingly, the polar opposite of being a psychopath is to have anxiety disorders. I don't seem to have anxiety but somehow some, if not all of my kids do. And my father who really could care less about how people felt was chock full of absurd anxieties so I am having a hard time believing they are opposite conditions.

So this gene testing so far is like a horoscope. sometimes they get things right but other times, totally miss the mark.

Snow again. I was able to run outside for the past 3 days though not comfortably as windchills were close to zero. I will leave next week for the tropics. We had dinner last night with Josh's family. Miss Hannah still refuses to even look at me.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Oh deer

Our herd of deer crossing through at dusk Must be 20 deer
Have 3 huge blooms of this

A dual birthday cake for Oliver and Steve. For Steve's 55th birthday, he got a grandson

I've been meaning to make this for years: limoncello tiramisu Very lemony, which is a good thing. Takes a lot of pans to prepare

Ann Arbor is now the killing field for deer. This is the third year of the 'cull' in which they close down parks particularly in the NE quadrant that we lived in and hire sharp shooters. Some of the female deer are not killed but sterilized. Last year, they were not able to kill many deer because the weather was so mild. Mild weather means no snow so they can't track the animals. And the deer were able to find food and actually multiplied significantly. Near our former house was a few blocks of woods that kids routinely used as a shortcut to from school. That was going to be closed too but the neighbors protested as it would be hard to ensure the kids wouldn't be in there. Lots of protests period as there are many deer lovers in AA.

But out here in the country, no official sharp shooters though when I was finally able to run on the side roads during our too brief thaw, I heard unreassuring gunshot. Please don't shoot me. It is not deer season but I think they always can be killed on private land. Driving at night is risky as the deer will suddenly dart in front of you. One night I encountered 3 different sets of animals in a 2 mile stretch. It made me very paranoid so I kept the brights on, slowly  scanning for deer along the sides. I remember when seeing a deer was very rare. Not any more.

Steve and Oliver had their birthday last week. We went out together the night before with the local road blocked off by police. A bank robber was caught inside Shanna's bank with 3 employee hostages. The stand off lasted 5 hours before everyone was released unharmed but terrified.

I usually make dessert for the Mom's group. I try not to repeat myself. Lots of limoncello, lots of on mascarpone cheese and a recipe I had been saving for years. Lots of work juicing lemons and grating rind making different mixes in about 5 different pans. But it did taste good. And it was enjoyable per usual being with the Chosen Sisters, our 38 anniversary of meeting this month.

Winter returned this week with a storm on Monday making running outside impossible. The roads were clear enough yesterday for me to drive to the opposite end of the county to finally get my hair done and then to meet friends to see Call me by your name which could have an hour cut out of it but as it took place in Italy, seeing the scenery was fun particularly the area around Lake Garda that Steve and I were at 3 years ago.

We finally got our Costa Rica package from the tour company. Need to organize some stuff before I go. Need sun now.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Our Seattle family

We took Steve's mom out to lunch

Her grandson is very attentive

Seattle is full of murals though the best ones I saw from the train

we went to Happy Hour downtown near where the new Amazon complex is

Liked the name of this bar. Another cool name: Biscuit Bitch

Steve and one of the Pike Market pigs

Still too cloudy to see the Olympic mountains though on the last day it was clear enough to see them. Not clear enough to see Mount Rainier which was going to receive 3 feet of snow the day we left

Add caption

cheese factory

AdUs. I walked around all day in my exercise outfit

My mother-in-law and her three kids

I cooked up some salmon for our large family dinner one of the nights when the kids were not working

Why go to Seattle during its worse month? Rain, cold...
We hadn't seen Steve's mother in more than a 18 months and at 93, she is not going to live forever though her health issues have largely resolved that caused the other place she was staying to kick her out. And at least it would be warmer there with little chance of snow and ice. It did rain a lot though I was able to find a few dry periods to exercise.

It is difficult to coordinate the wants and needs of so many people (at our dinner, we had 10 people) but things largely worked out. Lots of eating out, which is not good for my weight maintenance plan. Still trying to recover from that. All should be lost in time for my next big trip. And it was nice seeing green grass, flowers, hummingbirds, unfrozen lakes, mountains and different scenery. I did run every day mainly along Green Lake or Lake Washington though one day, we went to the highest point of her neighborhood (she must live in the lowest point: I ran there once up an incredible hill) where they have a reservoir and great views on the rare clear days to run around in tight circles during gale force winds and rain.

We all got along and there was lots of them reminiscing about their childhoods. It was not an easy life with mental illness and poverty.

Now I am back adjusting to Michigan before going to Central America. Fortunately we had a brief warm spell when I could run on the backroads and bike. This ends tomorrow.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Women's March

Not me, but I liked her sign. Lots of fun signs Like Grab them by their mid-terms, etc
This is me at the gathering of the Women's March in Seattle with my new pussy hat, thanks to one of the Moms who knit it for me. I put a cat pin on the rim to add extra bling

lots of Native Americans who seemed to hijack the march encouraging all of us to shout "you are living on stolen land"  Not what I came for

So my first march in a long time. I did the 1983 (30 year?)Martin Luther King in DC. People marched all over the country. Almost half of the 'marchers' in Seattle were men. I put marchers in air quotes because the march seemed to be a very small part of the gathering. Lots of standing around in the cold and the rain waiting for something to happen other than uninspirational droning speeches that we could barely hear. After more than and hour and a half with no promised start to the march, we gave up as we were so, so cold. But it was fun people watching. Lots of people unhappy with what is going on in our country. Today I read some quote by our scary vice president that no one needs health care. They need Jesus. If you would just attend church, God will take care of all your health needs. So even if they get rid of Trump, we get that, who is arguably worse. I guess it is evil to wish something bad to happen to Pence's health but I would like to see him pray himself healthy.

We ducked into a downtown Mexican restaurant attracted by a firepit. So, so cold. I warmed up eating an enormous bowl of tortilla soup and more coffee. We Ubered our way back home.


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