Sunday, December 8, 2019

For white girls who considered suicide when the rainbow is not enough

I woke up this morning to find that  a friend probably killed herself (daughter was vague, sudden and unexpected were used to describe the death).

Were there signs? About two weeks ago a strange message appeared on my Facebook wall in big caps

Does anyone really care if I am alive?

Before I could answer, the message disappeared. Maybe just a  moment of despair that she thought better of later? Maybe she didn't even write it. I have known her for eleven years from the blogsphere.  We battled the same shitty type of cancer at the same time. I've met up with her twice when visiting LA. She had made me a  bracelet.  Although she had plenty to be angry about, she never said anything indicating depression She seemed hopeful and balanced. She is a mental health worker.

In the next few days more messages for various individuals to call her with her phone number written These too would disappear. I would think she would know not to put her phone number in public

On Thanksgiving, she decided to help the homeless. I am not sure if this was part of an organized effort as it seemed she was  just trolling the streets looking for someone to help. It was cold and rainy
(another LA friend confirmed that day indeed was cold..my first thought was California doesn't know what cold is).  She ended up taking 3 people home with her (a single woman, no one knew she was doing this) A twenty year old woman who had a 3 month baby in tow named Surely (Surely you Jest?) and a very frail 80 year old man who probably had TB. She fed them, let them clean up, they all watched TV together and then all went to bed though the man insisted on sleeping on the floor. She was trying to convince the woman to get medical care for the infant who had never seen a doctor but the woman  thought her baby would be taken away. The last thing she said was she took them to a shelter before another all caps message:

Would anyone else do this?

Uh no..was the general consensus. A few people asked her some questions about the experience which were never answered.

She had a grandbaby who she adored, children she was loved by and visited. She planned a trip to visit her son in Europe this spring (living in a town that I visited recently). She seemed to have zillions of friends.  Why oh why????

I last saw her about 5 years ago when she treated me for lunch in some trendy section of LA. We had a nice lunch then continued our conversation on a park bench. A homeless man sat down with us who clearly had some mental issues. I kept nervously glancing at him. Finally she whispered if the man was making me uncomfortable. Um..yeah.  We got up and she seemed really disappointed with me for my apparent intolerance.  We parted sort of on a off note but she apparently forgave me later.













Wednesday, December 4, 2019

things to be thankful for

apparently 911 got tired of all the calls

Japanese mask for my wall the mouth moves

animal head addition
Josh's girls at the other grandma's

On Thanksgiving, Maya  took a trip with her father's family. She has three step siblings

A stylized photo of my friend and her new husband (number 4) They stopped to see me on their honeymoon

Early Thanksgiving morning one would find me feeling around in the dark in my garden for sage. It has fuzzy leaves and its crushed leaves have a distinctive odor so it wasn't impossible though I wished I thought of this the day before. I needed it for the stuffing and the turkey had to be in before the sun came up.

I make the same things every year but this time I skipped the green bean casserole which no one seemed to miss instead stirfrying some broccoli with garlic. Steve had bought a try of scalloped potatoes. I normally would just roast a few and maybe someone else would convert them to mashed potatoes. Not a fan of potatoes. I read an article recently how they are being replaced by sweet potatoes which are perceived to be 'healthier'. Although they have the same amount of carbs in them, for whatever reason they have a lower glycemic index than potatoes plus more carotene. I can tolerate them though not in the sugary mess that Naomi later converted some of them into (everyone else loved the marshmallow casserole). I did enjoy the roasted savory version of them she made to placate me.
Once the turkey was in the oven, I was free to run and bike until Naomi came over to help. She is a prep cook for her job. She is quick at slicing and dicing and has committed many of her various restaurant recipes to memory, a surprising job as she never cooked growing up. I did try to teach all the kids but only Josh showed any interest and that only involved whipping cream or egg whites. I can assume that Naomi must have someone following her around at work washing all the various bowls she uses. I did a lot of washing that day.

What do the grandkids eat? Not much though the crescent rolls disappeared real fast.And dessert which Shanna supplied. Josh's contribution was a salad bag for two. When I said something about this being for 13, he said, don't worry..it will all be leftovers. He was right. No one wanted glorified coleslaw.

Maya was the only one missing. She still is crying because she didn't have Thanksgiving though she did get to go on vacation. I offered her leftovers, which she didn't want. She missed her cousins and dessert. I will give her a little apple pie but I understand. Thanksgiving isn't just food. I am thankful that my kids are fairly nearby and willing to get together for major holidays despite the inlaws. Shanna had three thanksgiving dinners: father-in-law, us and then mother-inlaw.

We drank. We had supplies for old fashions  Trader Joe's has a new batch of amarena cherries which cost 4x more elsewhere. and prosecco.

I tried to have everything done in advance so I could enjoy my family though I didn't take any photos.

Naomi was able to drive her new to her car here. Her fourth car in less than a year. Last Christmas Eve, deer smashed into her 7 year old car totaling it. The car had a dicey transmission so she really wasn't sorry to see that go. Josh offered his much nicer car, 5 years old though with lots of miles for what the insurance gave her. It was a considerable upgrade but about 6 weeks later, a lady ran a red light into her totalling it.  They did give her quite a bit for it but not enough to buy anything special so we sold her our 12 year old car for cheap a nd bought a new one for ourselves. It is actually a good car though its air conditioning isn't working. This fall, Josh's father-in-law was trading in his 2 year old leased car. He could buy it from the dealer for much less than the open market. Josh offered to buy it from him and then sell it to Naomi, a huge, huge upgrade. This better last ten years In Michigan, you don't have to pay sales tax for sales between relatives Fathers in law are relatives as our brothers but not a father in-law of a brother. The bank of Sue and Steve didn't feel like paying sales tax twice for the same car but somehow the Secretary of State was understanding and the transfer of ownership went through after a long wait which involved the father-in-law, Josh, Naomi and Steve hanging around forever the office. Ever since our driver's licenses need to be especially certified so we can use them flying, the waits have been awful. They started offering appointments in advance but the catch is, in advance which turns out to be months. Naomi initially had a buyer for the old car which is in our garage but that fell through. Josh thinks he has a buyer so I hope that works.

Meanwhile on the other side of the country, my sister in law was involved in an accident with the car she was a passenger in rolling down a steep embankment on an icy mountain road. She came out of it with just a broken hand though the driver has a broken neck (she is able to walk around with it). It was 280 miles from where she lives so there was some scrambling to get home and reclaim their stuff including a dog that also was a passenger that a first responder offered to take in  wile they were in the hospital.

Things to be thankful for? So many though I lose sight of them often. My health despite my crappy gene, the health of my kids and theirs (despite my crappy gene)my husband who seems devoted to me despite me being me. My family. That I don't need to worry much about money. My friends. And the occasional not so cold day that I can go out and run or bike.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Tempus fugit

who doesn't need a schnauzer made from junkyard parts?  I went out the other day to buy baby presents but got distracted

Me almost 45 years ago. I like to think that my legs are in much better shape now even though I was biking quite a bit back then. I do weigh a bit less now

Delhi Park. In high school I would be wearing tons of eye make up but in  my coop days, maybe some mascara if that

outside it is bleak, cold, gray but at least things are blooming inside

another angel for my wall
My former boyfriend is slowly dying and putting his affairs in order. He did visit me last year to say goodbye. He has a slow growing form of leukemia which possibly could be cured by a stem cell transplant such as my friend (who died in August!)had had  but that is very iffy and painful. In the past, 50 years was the top age they would even consider this. True he was in excellent shape. He had developed symptoms while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. He went a year needing blood transfusions every 3 days until last spring when he was given some experimental drug. He went the whole summer not needing a transfusion and even resumed running and traveling a bit but the miracle is over. Furthermore his white blood cells have disappeared so it is only a matter of time before some infection gets him. Going through his files, he found photos he took of me. I don't remember seeing these at all.

I met him the week I was graduating college. I was supposed to go out to dinner with my best friend (the guy I visit in DC) who told me that he was bringing a med student he just met that afternoon who was going to the med school he most wanted to go to and wanted to continue the conversation and could I bring one of my friends that maybe he would be interested in? I was super annoyed as it would be our last time together for a while and it was supposed to be special. I did bring my girlfriend, the one who lives in Santa Monica and who went with me to Italy when I finished treatment from cancer 10 years ago. She seemed annoyed at the set up. After the dinner, just me and my DC friend went to see Jaws. I remember him shouting at the screen at the teenager nonchalantly dangling her legs in the water with Bruce the shark lurking beneath to get out.

I lived in a housing co-op with 20 other women though later men moved in. It was quite the learning experience for me which I have written about in the past. My to-be boyfriend showed up at my door a few days later. We were together on and off for about two years and he  would never commit to being exclusive. It was a shock to him when I told him I was marrying Steve. By that time he was a doctor living out of state. He did marry someone else and raised two step daughters. We have kept in touch on and off.

He wrote yesterday that we were both so much prettier in our twenties. He did age well though obviously his insides are dying despite the care he took.  Well who wasn't though I never really thought of myself as pretty. My father was a photographer who stopped taking pictures of me once I was 5 or so as I was no longer pretty but good thing I was smart as I would be having to take care of myself.  And I sadly thought, yeah, he is right. If only I could be pretty….

I did discover make up (lots of it!!!) and maybe the boys in high school were blinded by testosterone poisoning but my dance card was full so to speak as it was in college though I made plenty of wrong choices. I remember one roommate (she had been the local beauty queen in her town) marveling at the attention I got as she honestly couldn't see why as I certainly was not all that. Well here is to bad taste. Maybe it is my charming personality....

It finally got warm enough to resume biking but I hadn't fixed my slow leaking tire that morphed into a fast leaking one. And it was on the one day my new shop was closed. Time to go to Plymouth, certainly it would be cheaper there (everything is much more in Ann Arbor..If we had an Ann Arbor address versus a Plymouth one our values would go up at least 200K and we pay Ann Arbor taxes..maybe my bitchy neighbor should be whining about changing the post office areas we aren't even in the same county instead of my unruly coneflowers and hollyhocks). Well the Plymouth shop was twice as expensive and took forever to fix as opposed to instantly in Ann Arbor. Lesson learned.

As I type this, I am waiting for the temp to get over 40 for another bike ride. I went out in the 30s recently and despite 2 pairs of socks (wool) and a plastic bag covering my toes, it took a while for my toes to thaw. I have been running too disappointingly slow though yesterday I finally started resuming my old speed, such as that is (nothing like the days when I would actually do well in local races) I am doing French, so much easier than German, on my Duolingo. I had finished the German but already it is slipping from my mind.

We had a Moms group last night. I usually make dessert but someone else wanted to. I made an old school appetizer. We had bought all these crescent rolls for the grandkids for Thanksgiving. What could I do with at? a broccoli, cheese almond braid.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Snow

our bedroom

pretty sunrise over too much snow


Tessa's art work  She s 7

I had bought the thing over the door at the estate sale
Entry to our bed room. Mirror wall on left, doll wall on right. Yep I am weird
I usually hate November for its bleakness and closeness to winter, my least favorite season. I hate to see all my flowers die that I had spent so much time making nice. Usually though, it is warm enough to continue running and biking. Not this year!! On Veteran's Day 10-12 inches of snow fell then the temps fell to record lows. More snow has fallen since so I have been exercising on our elliptical trainer in the basement and spending more time on my weights. I hope this is not the new normal, 6 extra weeks of f***ng winter. I don't think we got snow like this until January last year. Bonus, the schools had to close so we had Maya again. We had her the week before because of election day. They used to keep the schools open for elections but then the gun nuts insisted on carrying their guns into the schools. Guns and kids don't mix (as I write this, another shooting in California in the schools).

Extra bonus: things are breaking down. The thermostat is broken on the hot water heater. For a while, it would have least heated water to luke warm but now, nothing. I took a shower at Shanna's. We also spent tons of money for the tree guys to come out (as the snow began to fall) to chop down our dead trees and trim the living ones. They have to return to treat our spruces for a variety of diseases Of course my evil neighbor accused me of spreading spruce disease but the tree guy said it was all over the place for two years. But our formerly beautiful white pine is now gone. We have another huge one that seems healthy.

Hard to stay positive.

But I did go out one night (during the coldest night ever in November) to see JoJo Rabbit. At first I thought it was in very poor taste having a Hitler character seem like a nice person but it was a lonely 10 year old boy's version of Hitler as an imaginary friend, of course he would be what the boy wanted him to be. It took place towards the end of WWII in Germany. The mom (unknown to the boy) is part of the resistance and she is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic whom the boy discovers. He slowly discovers that she isn't at all like the stereotype he learns about in in his Hitler youth camps and then questions everything. Hitler is played by the director and writer of the movie who is half Maori and half Jewish, an unusual combination. I am sure this movie will get lots of Oscar buzz. At the very least, the kid actors (and Hitler) will be nominated. Extra bonus, the movie was filmed in Prague and nearby Czech villages so a few things looked familiar.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Horse oil and other oddities

It was a very cold and wet Halloween  I took out Maya and Tessa along with Naomi and Shanna. One house served jello shots to the adults

Hannah and Allie

my Bohemian souvenir from Prague

Fall here

apricot and plum brandy complete with floating fruit from Czech Republic

Steve's cousin's granddaughter as Frida Kahloe

trick or treaters Hannah's face here is so much like young Josh's

rain

new to me Romanian crystal

There was an estate sale in our neighborhood full of high end stuff. I thought paying $4 was a lot for a tote bag. Found it on line for $425 though I believe mine is a knock off

I paid $30 for this Lamborghini lambskin coat. It has $30 in the pocket, unfortunately Taiwanese dollars which is more like one dollar

who doesn't need a giant ampersand

lots of fancy skin care. I bought a few of these. Naomi loved them
We have been back for two weeks. Pretty fall colors have since morphed into dead brown grays and cold. I biked in the snow the other day but at least it was in the 30s. To keep my feet from freezing, I put plastic baggies on between two pairs of socks. And it will get much colder. A lot of my birds have returned as food elsewhere is low. I especially like my red bellied woodpeckers.

That surgery in July slowed me down quite a bit but I am recovering. Early in the week, I started to run at the speeds I did before the surgery. We are changing our insurance as I don't want to ever have to deal with those incompetent ones I dealt with concerning the surgery. From what I can tell, most of my bills have been paid though I think there might be one outstanding one.

All my flowers have since withered away from the frosts.

I have been seeing the kids, the grandkids and my friends.

Right before we left, we had a rare home owner's association meeting,. It will be the last one I ever go to. I now have an enemy. She has proclaimed herself in charge of the 'neighborhood beautification committee.' As she sees it, the reason we are not getting a million for our  houses is due to the presence of my unmanicured flowers. As by having flower beds I am not technically violating any association rules so she can't do anything about it other than trying to make me feel bad and possibly raise a posse of pitchfork wielding neighbors demanding I sod in all my gardens. She claims that a nearby neighborhood has houses going for a million and although they might be slightly bigger, as far as she can tell, the main reason they are worth more is because I don't live there.

Oh I wish I was prepared. I said nothing and nobody else did either. As it turns out, only one house in that neighborhood is over a million but it is 11,000 square feet (her house, the smallest is not even 3000 and Zillow rates my house with 100K more value than hers). But the biggest factor IMHO is there is a big Xpressway in her backyard and quite far from the other neighborhood. She might not mind M-14 in her backyard but others do. She might as well direct her energy to shutting that down.

The whole business made me mad and sad. I came across her and another neighbor walking together. The other neighbor was all friendly but this one gave me the sourest look one can imagine.

The owners of one of the biggest houses in our neighborhood abruptly left the country. I had met the woman, a physician  when I first moved in . She had locked herself out of her house and asked to use my phone and waited here until the locksmith showed. It seems like they hardly took anything with them, their food and toiletries and clothes still are here. They did hire a company that oversaw selling everything,,, even prescription drugs. Pawing through her stuff seemed a tad voyeuristic. She was quite a fan of Asian beauty products including the horse oil. At first I thought it was something you applied to horses but I looked it up. Horses have very little fat but the bit they do presumably confers magic to your skin. Very pricy. As a large Northern European derived person, you wouldn't think that I could possibly share clothes with a Taiwanese woman. She had this beautiful cashmere coat. Way too big but the leather coat fit perfectly. Although she seems to be the Queen of knockoffs (the bag, normally $500 was clearly one) the coat does seem authentic. Bonus it had pockets full of Taiwanese change. I'll just add it to  my strange currency box.

I finished the German Duolingo not that I was that fluent in it. I could at least read stuff. Until I figure out where I am going next, I am reviewing French. They had a hilarious skit on Saturday Night Live with Duolingo introducing "how to speak to Kids"

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Steve's vacation photos part 2

Collection of art nouveau buildings facing the river in Prague

they had these cute paddle car boats

Why are there Hebrew letters on a crucifix? Turns out it was punishment for a Jewish person who didn't tip his hat at the right time in 1694  It says Holy, holy, holy is the lord of hosts.

One of the synagogues

Prague castle at night


Charles Bridge entry

astronomical clock









World's oldest restaurant

our hotel

more schmuck







Klemzer group playing Yiddish music



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