Saturday, January 19, 2019

Snow storm Harper

My photo 3 years ago of Mendocino. Not the view I am getting outside my window now

My nieces 33 years ago
Hannah had a birthday party last week. She is waiting for the cake

I collect pug stuff. Another pug cookie jar for me

this towel came with the jar but with the upright ears, it is a French bulldog, not a pug

Harper snowing on my parade. So far about 5 inches but we still have another 2 hours to go. Hate winter.

I was talking to my DC friend the other day who was complaining about having to trod through a foot of snow with his dog (who has very short legs) as his neighbors don't seem to own shovels or know how to use them. We must have even more snow, right? Nope, no snow in 2 months! Well this suddenly changed. Extra bonus, the temps will drop below zero. I guess my fantasy of skipping winter this year was just that.

Gradually we are taking little steps to improve our life. I fixed our central vac system this week (all clogged up; it wasn't sucking) and now we are back to two cars, ageing hulks as they may be. This almost didn't happen as right before Steve and Naomi were to spend the day at the Secretary of States's office, Steve noticed a lien on the title. With the insurance money from the deer herd collision, she was buying Josh's car from him. As he was in a long work meeting, he was hard to get a hold of. Naomi could only go there on Mondays and the next Monday was going to be a holiday. It looked like I was going to be carless for another 2 weeks. Unfortunately he didn't have anything to prove he paid off the loan. We'd have to call the creditor ourselves but that proved impossible as there were no working numbers for them. They ended up going to a Ford dealer who was nice enough to spend time contacting Ford credit and arranging for the fax that would release the car so the title could be registered, an ordeal but made possible by the kindness of strangers and some flexibility of the Secretary of State. I will no longer go to the one sort of near my house.

Hannah had a party. All her cousins except Maya came. It was fun.

We went to a hand pulled noodle place. The chef takes a log of dough. Within 30 seconds by repeated pullings, he turns it into a pile of noodles. Another 30 seconds boiling and it is done served with various toppings. Yes I know, I should be avoiding white flour products. One thing we didn't have the courage to try was a dessert: snow fungus papaya. Then on to see "The basis of sex" the early days of Ruth Bader Ginsburg what she had to put up with. I did like it though some of the characters were one dimensional. Another movie I watched was "Roma" which although Mexican, reminded me a lot of the Italian movies I watched in Italy for my summer abroad.

I did go to a meeting for people who seem to be in the same boat I recently found myself in. I've been dealing with it by burying my head in the sand but sooner or later, I will need to act.

Today we are snow bound. Perhaps Steve will go out with the snow blower before the temp drops too much.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Salad turnips

I do love my new lamp though I don't have the proper stand to put it on yet. I believe the bird is a mot mot, which we saw in Costa Rica

colorful salad for out cooking class

now all mixed up

these are salad turnips. The bulbs can be eaten raw or cut up into salads. The greens can be cooked

The subject of our cooking class was 'brain food' though to me that sounded vague. Foods to prevent Alzheimer's? Fatty fish seems to be important so she cooked salmon unfortunately with asparagus on top. All the colorful vegetables and fruit is to contain anticancer ingredients thus the colorful salad with a dressing from sesame, peanut butter and orange juice that was especially tasty.

The local hospital has farm fields and hot houses that routinely donates food to us. So we all went home with bags of turnips. Last month, winter squash.

Each day, a new annoyance arises. I've been trying to deal with each issue with grace but day after day of new unpleasant surprises is starting to grind me down. The condo we own, which Naomi 'rents' from us had plumbing issues which we finally addressed. But that unleashed a series of new problems resulting in 3 separate trips to the condo. Now we are getting a letter that they are fining us for something we took care of as soon as we heard about it. We can appeal. We have a second floor condo and an evil bitchy nag on the bottom floor. Last year she went into our private space and turned the water shut off valve off without asking our permission or even telling us. Then she refused to answer the door. We had called a plumber, which fortunately we were able to cancel as soon as we figured out the problem. Should have filed a police report as she is just so annoying.

My friend who I had been taking care of accused me of getting her sick. But I am not sick nor have I been in a year. Well you must be a carrier. I haven't managed to carry whatever I am allegedly accused of to anyone else plus I especially follow good hygiene while dealing with the immunosuppressed. I must have been forgiven because I am to resume helping her tomorrow.

Our reprieve from winter is over. I was able to bike 50 miles in the relative warmth but back to freezing glum skies. 

I did see an interesting movie, The Favourite, the other night after a sushi dinner so I've been having a little fun. And we should get our 2nd car back next week as Josh is willing to sell his car earlier than planned to Naomi, whose car was totaled by the deer herd on Christmas eve.

Monday, January 7, 2019


We had the annual Chosen Sisters Christmas party the other day. I had bought pottery medallions from the artist down the street and converted them into necklaces. I was going to find nice antique chains but that was hard. I bought a bunch of findings and chains at a craft store. Aside from the necklaces, I was able to repair some broken jewelry with my new supplies

Disgusting right? This mess was found in the attic above a spare bedroom. Now all gone and the damage repaired.

My version of a buche de noel that I made for the moms. The cream filling had chopped up amarena cherries in it along with cherries on top. I made the 'bark' by raking  through the molten chocolate on top. I used a flourless recipe which made the cake especially fragile but it worked out

Just where am I going to wear all my designer dresses? I wore it to the Chosen Sisters party, a bit much. This is an Escada costing $1200 at one point. Still pricy even though vintage.

I liked this self contained amaryllis . All it needed was light. It is about half of the size it would be if it grew in dirt but no muss, no fuss. I wish I got one for my friend who can't have soil in the house but loves plants

One of the Moms gave us all framed Motawi tiles (a local artisan)  Looks good in my breakfast nook

Two summers ago, a wet spot appeared in the corner of a spare room on the ceiling. A leaky roof? Shingles looked fine but I thought I saw a stream of insects flying in and out, too far up for me to identify them. I also detected a constant hum in the walls. Steve thought this was ridiculous. He heard nothing (he is fairly deaf). Why would the ceiling be wet? I said from the moisture in their collective breaths, which he also thought was ridiculous. When winter came, the wetness dried up leaving a stain and the invaders did not return the next summer.

A week or two ago I was cleaning the room and notices a net of dust and debris coming from the ceiling. As I tried to clear it away with a feather duster, I poked a hole in the ceiling and a bunch of insulation and hornet paper fell all over everything. How could the ceiling collapse so easily? There was no drywall left. Only a thin layer of paint had been holding up the mess. Apparently hornets can eat drywall (but draw the line at eating latex paint)

A New Year. We had a whole list of things that need fixing around here which last week we finally got around to having most of them taken care of. New bathroom fan, new garage door opener even though we don't have a car now to put in it but bonus, it has an outside keypad to open the door which the other one strangely lacked, and bonus, new drywall for the ceiling once that disgusting nest was removed.  One (or two things) that remain non functional is the electric spot lighting outside, both front and back. . I suspect rodents have ate through wires but my work person refused to tackle it. I put up solar spot lights but they aren't as reliable or bright as the electric. 

Why are we down to one car, which being in the middle of nowhere really is a pain sometimes? On Christmas Eve, a herd of deer pelted the side of Naomi's car breaking through the passenger window. I thought most of the damage could be repaired but the insurance company said no, the repairs would cost more than the car is worth. They will give her a fairly good sized settlement which is almost enough to buy Josh's car from him. But he needs his car for a few months so in the meantime she has ours. Alternatively we could give her one of ours cars and she can use the money later to replace it in a few years. We would have to buy a new car now. Maybe we will anyway as both of our cars are old.

So far, 'winter' has been relatively warm so I've been even able to bicycle. Almost 60 one of the days last week. But the crappy weather is certain to return. This is my least favorite time of year and I have no escapes planned. Can I hold out until March? I continue to study Italian though I will switch over to Dutch soon.

Last week I visited a friend in an isolation wing of the hospital. After being questioned about my health, I had to gown up, disinfect myself wear gloves and a face shield and promise not to use any facilities outside the room (nor could I use my friend's bathroom). A simple infection in about anyone else turns into a life threatening illness in compromised people just like that. She was released. As she can not walk more than a few feet without going into severe oxygen debt, I spent a day last week taking care of her. I have been visiting the kids and the grandbabies yesterday taking Allie to the park on a beautiful sunny day.

And our annual Mom's party was fun. As almost everyone travels at Christmas and has completely different schedules, January would have to do. One of the mom's got an unexpected present for Xmas, a grandchild in the making that she had been told previously would never happen.  So happiness for her.

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018 in photos

She turned one. Only recently will she approach me. It is almost a year later. She has plenty of hair now

In January we went to Seattle to meet up with Steve's siblings and mom

And I went on the Woman's march in Seattle to protest all things from the Orange man and his hare-brained supporters. My friend made me a pussy hat for the occasion

Indoor bloom

In February my friend and I took a tour of Coast Rica staying the day before in a b&b featuring a banana sofa

this town was full of Cyprus topiaries

relaxing in the tropical heat watching the sunset

saw the 4 main monkey species along with two kinds of sloth, a band of coati mundi and numerous birds

this spring we were inundated with hordes of orioles. Usually there are only 2 of them but this year, 20 draining the hummingbird feeders. My oriole feeder couldn't be filled fast enough

Lots of visits from the grandbabies. After my exercise in the morning I like to sit in my cabana with my coffee relaxing surrounded by my flowers

A friend and I were set on biking from Pittsburgh to Washington DC. Here I am overlooking the Youghiogheny gorge. Note to self: buy panniers. Carrying a weeks worth of provisions on ones back is painful

One of our many bridges. Note wetness. Never had a completely dry day

And tunnels. When I went through this in 2013, it was pitch black

This would have been the middle of the ride but it turned out to be the end

the Potomac was completely flooded. I don't think they were able to open the complete path all summer and there are few detours we could take

We had fun anyway even though it rained on our parade. We took a train to DC, stayed with my good friend, and biked around town and Virginia. A visit to the zoo too.

As usual I gardened. Nice romaine

new glasses

continued to buy vintage classic dresses that I have no where to wear

Though none of my friends could go with me, I did the Michigander up north by myself  and made new friends

Naomi stayed with me part of the time. She loves Torch Lake and Lake Michigan

Harbor Springs beach

Met up with an old friend from my neighborhood

Helped entertain refugees from the Ivory Coast

Summer nights in a downtown beer garden

the neighbors from the fanciest house in the neighborhood invited us over

School began again for the kids: we have a 5th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st and a kindergartener. And Hannah

Steve and I took off to Utah to see how many National parks we could see. This is Zion

On our way to Moab

Arches. Steve is in the middle there

The little baby is my aunt who died this fall at 97. She was doing great until just a few months before her death

My friend and I went to Grand Rapids for their artPrize. They will only have this every other year going forward

I harvested gallons of rhubarb. Still a lot in my freezer. Made anything I could think of from rhubarb. My friends are probably sick of it

took Tessa and Maya trick or treating


More friends from the past

me in Graffiti Alley

Trouble in paradise. The cooper's hawk makes regular visits to my feeders, not for the feeders themselves

We went to NYC this month. For half of it I stayed north in Harlem with my nieces  then down to Brooklyn with my in-laws
Beautiful brownstones

my nieces under the City College of CUNY arch

my running path along the Hudson early in the morning. Crowded as NYC is, no sign of it when I go out

Brooklyn Museum

41st anniversary. Yeah I can fit into still

Steve's brother came home with us: Euchre time

Christmas with 5/6  of the grandbabies. Maya was with her father
It will be another year in just 9 hours. For the most part, it was a good year until I opened Pandora's box. Sometimes ignorance is bliss though now I know I am 'lucky' I opened the box as more are affected than just me. Meanwhile one should never take ones health for granted, it can turn in an instant.

But for now, I appear the picture of health. I biked almost 2400 miles and run quite a bit too. Although I am a pound or two heavier than last year at this time, I think it is more muscle. I had gone from 'borderline' obese to 'thin', a miracle in itself though lots of hard work was involved. Still afraid of it springing back.

We saw lots of pretty places this year and had some visitors that were fun to be with. The kids are doing well. On the whole, we are blessed. Happy New Year to those in blogsphere!


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