Tuesday, August 31, 2010


We had our inspection today. The condo is in excellent shape..wish we could say the same about our house though the inspector, who was very good, gave us some names. Only minor things wrong such as the garbage disposal having seized due to rust and no use. He was able to unseize it though. Some of the duct work has some holes in it that would impact the efficiency of the air conditioner. But the hot water heater, furnace, and air conditioner are brand new and top notch. The windows are new and insulated. The tenants should have a very low heating bill. We also received financial statements from the condo association. Seems to be in good shape to my untrained eye and regular maintenance seems to be taking place. We looked at much less expensive condos that had huge association fees making the fixed costs ridiculous. Of course our largest fixed cost will be Ann Arbor property taxes. Better deals can be found elsewhere but the location of this condo is excellent. UM won't go away. Once UM fills up my former employer's site, this condo is right there. Its value has to rise.

Another day of scorching heat and no rain. Fortunately there was enough cloud cover for me to run without collapsing from heat exhaustion earlier. Later it cooled down so the soccer players weren't totally miserable.

The last week of summer..how time flies.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Chemistry dream

 I've had many strange dreams lately. One in which I was home standing up giving birth to a baby and then thinking that I better be in the hospital to give birth to the placenta because I could bleed out ( I hemorrhaged with Shanna). Steve would only agree to drive me part way so I fretted that it would fall out while I walked the rest of the way. I was mad that he was so unhelpful. Can't remember what happened to the baby.

But another dream was about chemistry. I had gone back to work and my boss (who just happens to be dead now)gave me an important project involving expensive intermediates. He told me there was no need to do small scale runs (to see if things actually worked), just scale it up. I ran the reaction overnight in ethanol but I was afraid to run water through the condensers lest the hoses pop off and flood the place. Then I worried that all the ethanol would evaporate away destroying my product. Yes DreamSue, that would happen.

It wasn't clear how old I was in each dream but I think I rarely dream about things happening now. I'm back in college alot or single.

As for my deceased boss, his name was Steve and he was married to another chemist named Sue so lots of confusion all around. I did like him alot although I had trouble understanding him as he mumbled, spoke with a New Zealand accent, spoke very quietly, and often didn't look at whom he was speaking to. Finally I just told him to write down what he wanted from me as I really couldn't understand him.

Twelve years ago, I met up with him and another friend who were at a Neuroscience meeting in San Diego. I was visiting my brother at the time. I picked them up and showed them the sights. We then went sailing in Mission Bay under less than ideal wind conditions. But as a Kiwi, he was an excellent sailor and made it work. The three of us had a great time, a beautiful fall day knowing full well that back in Michigan, the weather was cold and nasty. My friends asked me what I was going to do after I dropped them off. Oh see a really good college friend that lives here now. Upon deducing that the friend was a man, Steve (boss, Kiwi Steve) asked wouldn't Steve (husband Steve) object to me spending the evening with another man? I said something about if he had thought about it, he'd be more likely to object to me spending the afternoon with two heterosexual men, albeit married, than my gay friend. I hadn't seen this man in about 8 years. In college, he was so, so handsome (but so , so gay). I remember being shocked at how old he looked but geez, had I looked in the mirror lately? But as in my dreams, my self image is much younger and thinner. That's why I hate photos. Please don't hit me with reality..I prefer my delusional world.

Less than a year later, I was returning from some errand to find our mutual boss in my office. He told me that he had bad news, Steve (my husband) was dead. I told him that was especially shocking as I had done the errand with my husband just a minute before. Oh no, he's sorry...he meant Steve My Boss.
He was back in New Zealand with his family. His three kids were with him at the beach. His 8 year old son was having trouble in the water so he jumped in to help. He must have got caught up in a rip current. Now when you get caught in one, you have to not panic, just wait it out and eventually you'd be released. He must have known that living there most of his life but as his kid was struggling, he couldn't wait it out. It's not clear if his panicking caused him to drown or if he had a heart attack set off by all the adrenaline. His eleven year old daughter saved the boy. His other daughter watched in horror on the shore. He was only 43.

A lazy hot day here and it will be hot for the next 2 days. I need to research several subjects.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Editing Problems

I forgot where I got this but I included it for the teachers out there.
Fixed the offending post of earlier today. I will learn how to modify HTMLs eventually.

The Accidental Landlady

Handiwork of my undesired tenant. This is his 'bedroom'. He liked to be surrounded by his possessions like the rat that he is. Photo taken on eviction day. Not seen are the syringes and bloody pads strewn all over the place from the tenant being diabetic. The bailiff declared it medical waste meaning more money needed. His crew said that only one crack house was more disgusting and filthy than this place. How did this come to be? Read below...

So now I will be a landlady again; I do have some experience in this.  It was a big surprise to me that my relationship with this cockroach of a person was legally classified as landlord-tenant: not property conservator-trespasser if I had to guess. My lawyer informed me if I wanted this squatter gone, I would need to go to court to evict him. Furthermore, I was not to do anything like cut off utilities or change the locks as that would be some violation of his tenant rights. This can't be possibly true!!! Steve immediately went to get a second opinion from the company- paid lawyer who agreed with my lawyer. Also, added bonus; I was  legally responsible for his behavior. This man did not believe in car insurance or registering his vehicles with the state. He left them parked in my mother's driveway (the real owner of this property; she was in a nursing home and I was her guardian/conservator; another court appearance for that) filled to the brim with his trash. The city had an ordinance about parking unregistered vehicles on ones property (can't park any vehicle on the street overnight either!!!) and sent two different letters threatening huge fines/jail time if my mom (ME) insisted on  not complying. I called up to explain the situation. Couldn't they just tow the illegal vehicles? (other communities would) No, they are on private property. I called the police to be on alert for this unregistered vehicle with a severely obstructed view and faulty brakes. He did routinely drive one of the vehicles. The city agreed to give me a break considering the situation but wanted a timeline. I called the cockroach himself to tell him to at least put these things in the garage as they could be towed.How long does it take to evict someone? Two months working as quickly as possible including serving the initial eviction papers, giving a month to vacate, serving papers again for the court date to get a Writ of Restitution, again giving him time to vacate. Then 24 hours before the actual eviction: notices are stapled all over each door. When the bailiff showed up to physically extract him, he said that no one told him that he was being evicted. He was given 4 more hours to watch all his possessions (read: all my parent's possessions that he stole)be strewn on the front yard ( with various neighbors furious that their fancy neighborhood was turned into an eyesore; not much I could do about that)the locks were all changed (not that that stopped him, he cut the screen and slithered right back into the house after everyone left) and he was given another 24 hours to remove the possessions from the yard. After that, he was a trespasser and I could throw everything away. I was afraid he'd show up to the court hearing but fortunately he was sticking with his lame 'noone told me' defense. On the docket was an apartment owner wanting to evict a lady who had been in arrears for a long time.The lady's defense was Oh, you wanted me to show up on such and such a date? I thought that was a Wednesday and it turned out to be a Tuesday.The judge ended up giving her another rent free month.Arggh!

So how did this happen? Did the person have a lease? Did he pay rent or utilities? NO!!! Did he perform routine maintenance? NO!!! He was an invited guest who outstayed his welcome. My dad told him to leave on many occasions and was physically afraid of him but couldn't get him out. Meanwhile this person had been evicted at least 2 other times so he knew what he could get away with.

Seven months previous, my father's health had deteriorated so much, I needed to have him hospitalized. My mom, physically OK, was going downhill mentally fast. I agreed to have her move in with me while he recovered. It soon became obvious to me that she needed to be placed in a nursing home. She needed 24 hour supervision. He initially refused to believe this. He thought the system of him ordering her around to step and fetch it served him well. I told him that given half a chance, she'll leave the stove on and he'll be burned alive. He eventually agreed to have me admit her to a home but this left him without a caretaker. But then he found out through a friend about the cockroach who at the time was living in his vehicle under an overpass. The friend insisted that the cockroach was just going through some bad luck but in return for a place to stay, should help him get around and get fed.The cockroach could talk a good game and said everything my dad wanted to hear. My dad wanted so much to believe him, he dropped his usual guard. Warning!Warning! Red Flag! Red  Flag! I tried to convince my father in vain what a bad idea this was. Understatement of the century. It didn't take long for him to know that I was right. He would never admit that to me though he went to the administrator of my mom's nursing home shortly before his death begging to let him share my mom's room as there was a dangerous person in his house. What did my dad die of? Officially uremia: kidney failure. But unofficially, neglect and that he just gave up. Since he had trouble moving, he decided not to drink anything so he wouldn't need to go to the bathroom. Plus he couldn't even get his own drinks. I've pored through all his medical charts trying to find the smoking gun.
But after his death, the hoarding cockroach was still there demanding this and that.

A long painful story followed complete with me being threatened by a gun, police visits, numerous court dates in which instead of being the plaintiff, I or rather the Estate was the defendant (L'Estate, c'est moi!). Eventually the whole business just went away without the court or lawyer telling me.

So if you invite a person to stay with you, at some point they convert into tenants with rights. My future DIL became my tenant that year for 9 months. Hopefully someday I will be repaid with a grandchild.Then of course my other tenant was my childhood friend. She stayed with us for 3 months last year and this year for 3 weeks moving out while we were in the hospital with Naomi. She paid me with the Sad Event.

At some point, we need to write up a lease. Given all of the above, we'll need to proceed very carefully.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Night with the Moms

So another night with the 30+ year post-partum support group: The Moms aka My Best Friends

The Menu

Drinks: Beeritas. Like margaritas only with beer mixed in. Very limey! When they ran out, we fell back to wine: 3 of us prefer red; the other two white
Apps: Bruscchetti
Salad: Caprese with multicolored heirloom tomatoes
Dinner: Gazpacho with avocado; ginger-lemon grass barramunda
Dessert: Peaches stuffed with marsala-infused brutti with some ersatz mascarpone sauce on side

Name on the brutti package: Brutti  ma bellissimi! Ugly but very beautiful. Should have been titled: Dura come una roccia. Had to smash with a hammer to convert to desired crumbs as it threatened to seize up coffee grinder.
Gazpacho: Especially tasty. I read a review today of a movie in which a chef goes berserk when a diner insists on hot gazpacho. None of us insisted on this so there was no one going berserk.
Ersatz mascarpone: Well not as bad as ersatz apple pie with Ritz crackers substituting for apples but a low fat version made with 'yogurt cheese'
Barramunda: A new fish for most of us from Down Under.

Setting: Out under a pergola surrounded by flowers and a hummingbird. Very nice summer evening!
Invited guests: Naomi and her family. Some of the moms had not met Maya yet. She was passed around and admired until she became crabby.
Uninvited guests: Mosquitoes! Driving us inside after a while
Conversation: Fun. Details about the 60 mile Cancer Walk; a brother's wedding, an upcoming wedding, someones new condo, various trips we've had since meeting, house projects, kids, life, friendship...the usual but nice, very nice.

Last cool day for awhile so I ran a long time to make up for not running yesterday. One problem with long runs is that I am susceptible to chafing. Usually this stuff called 'body butter' smelling of cucumbers does the trick but it wore off prematurely today so OW!
Wildlife seen on run: One adolescent snapping turtle.As it was approaching the busy road, I should have helped it to safety but it was gone by the time I returned.
Wildlife seen while chillaxin'on my patio: I have 2 hummingbird moths now along with my flock o'hummingbirds (of at least 2).
Bad Karma experience: A van tried to run me off the road in the heavily wooded, scenic section. A customer of my ex-neighbor, a vet.
Things to do:  Many but most immediate. Look up tax laws concerning investment property. By-laws say we need a lease submitted to them for our renters. Inspection this week. Unit looks like it is in great shape but looks can be deceiving. One concern: financial state of the association, how to find out? Numerous appts for Naomi and Maya between check-ups for her and Maya, her guinea pig study, her nurse visit and my dental work.

Really sad news: My mom's younger sister has breast cancer. Results of the biopsy are not in. Hopefully she has my mom's type (no chemo needed) vs my type. Too much cancer. Hate it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Our first real estate investment

Living room. The TV stays. Nice balcony off to the side
Bathroom Nice tile, Corian vanity, all up-dated
Another view of the kitchen

Kitchen with really nice cabinets and beautiful quartz counters

This is the condo we are investing in. We got a counter offer 4 hours after we submitted our original. Still a good deal. Michigan real estate in general is quite depressed making this a buyer's market. But Ann Arbor is an island and I am hoping that the value of this increases as a rental property. This has 2 large bedrooms, lots of closets, and a basement full of shelves and a washer and dryer. The condo is quite old but recently updated.

I have spent the last 2 days researching this. One of the moms is a real estate agent and has helped me.
We went out to lunch with Josh and Julia, which was nice.
Mom's night tonight: My job dessert. Stuffed Italian peaches. So I hollowed out some peaches, chopped up the insides mixing with brutti (couldn't find any amaretti which I was supposed to use but brutti are really similar), cocoa, almonds and marsala and stuffed them and baked. I am supposed to serve them with marscarpone cheese but I made a sauce from yogurt cheese. It is tasty.

With so much going on today, I didn't run but tomorrow...tomorrow...

Naomi's pictures of California

Santa Monica beach at sunset

Light sticks outside LAX
Palisades and running path in Santa Monica
Gym in my friend's house that we kept promising to use.
Naomi's dream house in Venice
Ginger who looks like a mountain lion from certain angles.A chimera of several beasts. Forgot to take a picture of Taffy, a sweet German Shepherd mix but Ginger kept us company most of the time
Skate park in Venice Beach. These kids were unbelieveably good
Malibu Kitchen
Muscle Beach in Venice

Maya in her sleeping quarters

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bad Eggs

I volunteered to help out once at a cabin retreat for Naomi's Girl Scout Troop. I had been the leader for 6 years for Shanna's but decided to sit back for Naomi's (I did coach her soccer team however). Anyrate, the leader had the girls hard at work scrubbing eggs. Why? Because they are covered with salmonella.
I guess I live dangerously as I never have scrubbed my eggs before using them. Besides, the organism would be inside the shell.
But now there are egg recalls all over the place.

Beautiful cool morning today; perfect for extending my run.
Then...went to look at some investment property. I am putting our offer in tomorrow. Hope it is accepted.

Nice night for soccer too though Sunny wanted to break loose and be on the field with Josh. She whined piteously when told to sit down and be quiet.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Creme d'Erable

Incredibly tasty. The essence of maple truffle...my quebecois souvenir. One of the differences between French Canadians and French Europeans? Erable. Maple. They put it in everything. Yum.

Summer evenings

The patio looking west in the evening. The pink ceramic sculpture on the ground is what I fell on chipping two teeth. Finally have dental insurance again as of 9-1 so next week, they will be fixed
Steve finally has captured one of the hummingbirds in mid-air. We have Ms. Chirpy who never stops chirping and Ms. Silent One who is more green.

Two nights a week I spend watching Josh play soccer. For the new season, the games start earlier as daylight (sob) is disappearing. Sometimes Julia is there or the other soccer mom, such as last night. There is a soccer wife there too. So far his new team is undefeated.

Naomi is now a professional guinea pig trying to register for as many studies as possible. She's currently doing a 'traumatic birth' one assessing the damage from her pushing so quickly. I would argue that her birth must be one of the least traumatic on record but hers fit their criteria of pushing less than 30 minutes (more like 5 minutes) for a first time mom. They paid her $111 to be in a MRI for an hour today while we watched Maya. She will get two more of these.


What state's postal code is the last 2 letters of its name?

Alaska, Wyoming, South Dakota, Delaware and Idaho: What do these states have in common?

Answer to the 2nd: States whose residents have not visited my site in the past 3 months according to my Flag Counter. Maybe they came before I added it. I have a stat counter that resets every 500 visits. The Flag counter does not.

What states have the most unique visitors to my site other than Michigan? In order CA,WA,Oregon, NJ, GA,TX, and AL. Despite being a populous state, NY is way down. Don't know the postal code for Oregon though I would guess OR.

Ten provinces from Canada have visited my site: All except Prince Edward Island, NW terr and that Indian one..Nuvvinit? Most popular: Ontario followed by Alberta (most of those being Daria's friends)

Australia, UK and Canada are tied for providing visitors.
Most common non-English speaking? Turkey follwed closely by Italy

What are the non-English speaking people looking for?
Donkey Stew

Answer to the first question:


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Steve's hummingbird moth pix

This was taken with a camera phone. Need to have a real camera near by.
Not quite as colorful as the web's moth but it is clearly the same species


Tuesday is science news day in the WSJ. There were several interesting (to me) articles.

Gliadin is a component of gluten, which is a protein found in wheat and some other grains. Celiac disease is the inability to digest it. For some reason, this condition's incidence has increased almost 100 fold in the last 40 years. Anti-gliadin antibodies are found in 7% of the general  population but the incidence is 18-20% in individuals with autism or schizophrenia. Sometimes autistic children improve with an antigluten diet. Aside from gastrointestinal distress, celiac disease can cause fibromyalgia-like symptoms and depression. Who knows why we are becoming so sensitive.

C-sections: 32% of all deliveries in the US are now C-sections vs 10% in Europe. Aside from increased recovery time and pain, the mom is at increased risk for infection: 30 % for C-sections after labor has begun vs 10% for scheduled C-sections vs 3%  for vaginal births. In anticipation of this high rate of infections, moms are given antiboitics, preferably for the mom, before birth. But some physicians felt that this endangered the infant, so they waited after delivery. New studies show that the antibiotics don't harm the infant at  all.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Loaded language

This tree in Dorchester, MA was tired of being pissed on. I know how you feel tree.

What certain word mean legally varies so much. Some examples from my life:
  • Prudent as in a prudent investment. In Michigan, this is interpreted county by county. There is a Michigan Uniform Probate Law but how it it is enforced really varies. For example funds of 'protected persons' such as my mom with Alzheimer's Disease need to invested 'prudently' with much oversight from the courts. In Washtenaw county, prudent investments must be  FDIC insured. Even then, one can only use 'approved banks.' Never mind the going interest rate was less than 1%. If ones medical needs exceed 50K/year, one needs a higher interest rate. In my book, putting money in a bank would not be prudent. Fortunately my mother didn't live in Washtenaw County so I could get the  higher interest rate that was needed.Still investment advisers would hit me over the head with this 'prudent' word saying that certain investments of my father were not prudent. But I suspected self-interest in many cases. No money for them unless I sell.
  • Reasonable as in reasonable compensation. Nowhere but nowhere is this spelled out. I finally took a probate class to see whatever that means and got a very vague answer as in somewhere between $10-$20/hour. Later I found someone getting $80/hour for estate work as that is what he'd be paid doing his normal work. The courts accepted that. We will see how Napoleonic Law interprets this phrase. (the law followed in Quebec)
  • Obviousness. While working, I had to regularly justify my activity as in I made C because A and B were active and C has the best features of A and B. It is obvious.The first time (and last time) I said something to that effect, much loud criticism was directed my way. Obvious compounds can NOT be patented; only novel ones can. I was to make no more obvious compounds even though that is what I did. I just had to call it something else.
  • Deemed disposition. Never heard of this until I tried to interpret Quebec probate law. I won't even begin to explain this but trust me, it is going to be one of  the banes of my existence.
  • Animal cruelty. Somehow not immediately agreeing to a $2000+ surgery for something that isn't causing any pain for an animal that isn't even mine is lumped together with animal torture such as burning it alive. Never mind that that the dog seemed to get better everyday so it was assumed to be a sprain even by the vet who later filed a complaint.There is only black and white similar to the sexual offender law, which fortunately is not part of my life. In Michigan, if convicted of a sexual offense, you are put on a list forever limiting your employment or where you can live. An 18  year old having consensual sex with his 15 year old girlfriend is lumped together with a 60 year priest abusing altar boys. Someone pointed out to me that there is someone down the street from me on this list. These lists give names, ages and addresses; not what the offense was.
  • Deadly. Poor prognosis. Even professional journals routinely use these words to describe TNBC making the newly diagnosed gasp. What is deadly?Kills 1%, 50%?OMG! Am I going to die?!?
  • Significant. A new drug that extends the life of a metastatic patient 1 month beyond the usual 5 months may be statistically significant but...
Sorry for the  boring post. I wanted to post more pictures but am waiting on Naomi. She meanwhile had a visit from the public health nurse, who is finally healthy herself. She approved of all that Naomi is doing and was impressed that she continues to breastfeed. We did have nice weather today and I ran for a long time.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Hummingbirds and their imposters

These pix are from the net. I will post Josh's pix of them feeding on my petunias as soon he or I figure out how to send them from his phone.

While Josh was over earlier today, we were watching the antics of the 2 hummingbirds fighting again over the rights of the feeder. One would take a drink but then be impaled by the beak of her rival. Suddenly Josh said that there was a third one, a much smaller kind, on my petunia basket flitting from flower to flower. It let Josh stand right over it as he took pix with a camera phone (will get these at some point). Now the hummingbirds will get close to you if they feel like it but they won't let you approach them..too close for their comfort. I thought it was a very large bee but it was clearly sipping the nectar with its bill like thing. Also in Michigan, we just have the ruby throated hummingbird which my girls are (though being girls, no ruby throat). The wings moved too fast to tell what they were and it was not green.. I never saw a hummingbird moth (though that thing on the beach last Wedensday probably was) before.

We then watched Girl with a Dragon Tattoo which I am to get the book soon from Julia. Someone had left a copy of the next book on the airport seat. I waited for an hour for it to be claimed..but now its mine..all mine.

Camel toe and other oddities

You can see her eyelashes and eyebrows finally coming in

Last week  while we were tooling around Beechwood Canyon trying to find the ideal spot to capture the Hollywood sign, we came across posters for a real estate firm that my friend had used. One of the realtors pictures was an attractive women, recipient of many enhancements, but looking closely at the photo..what was I looking at...my chemo brain struggled mightily..pig's foot? horse's hoof. Naomi filled in the blank..CAMEL'S TOE. This is the phenomena that occurs when ones pants are a bit too tight and ride up the crouch. This glamorous woman didn't look past her face. Later we saw the same poster but somehow onehad demurely affixed a sticker to the offending part.

Another phrase learned: TRAMP STAMP. This is a tattoo that is only visible if the wearer bends down. I know a few tramp stamp owners. I am trying to convince Naomi not to have one too There must be a phrase too to describe gel nail wearers.. man hooks? but now Naomi has reasonable looking nails.

A cool, cloudy day back here in the unglamorous Midwest. I am taking a rest day though I should be toning up those muscles. Tomorrow I will see what's up with my Y membership. I know I have been approved but the membership lady sent me the wrong person's mail..I need to call as for some reason, my e-mails keep coming back.

Steve and I went out to eat last night, the first time in I don't remember. Perhaps we'll take a mini-vacation in September and Naomi can watch the house. I went sandal shopping as my favorites are so worn out, it was a wonder that I could still walk in them. Now I have a few pair to choose from.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Morning glories

First pale blue morning glory despite all my many vines. Looks like I will have a few tomorrow too

The smaller purple variety. I had over 30 blossoms today

There was an article in the WSJ a few months back how rare true blue flowers are, but even in my humble collection, I have a few: delphiniums (sadly deceased during my absence) flax, bachelor's buttons, lobelia, bluets, and now my lone morning glory blossom. I also have 3 other plants that I don't know the names of. It is raining steadily now though this does not prevent the 2 female hummingbirds from fighting around the feeder. They try to ensure that the other does not get to drink. I don't mind running in the drizzle. I didn't go far as it will turn into thunderstorms soon.
I have posted a picture of Jupiter on my Perseid post (8-13?)and when Naomi shares her pictures with me, I will post more.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Back to Michigan

Ms. Maya at 50 days. The scale has her weighing in at 14 but it is not accurate. At 2 months, Naomi weighed 12# and Josh 14#. I am thinking she's more Josh sized

It is amazing how many weeds can suddenly appear in a weeks time. I have to be very careful now that poison ivy can suddenly appear anywhere and I won't notice it until it is too late. Steve has found several new areas of it that never had poison ivy before. Aside from the usual weeds such as chickweed, violets and columbine are taking over some of my beds. Also a new, nasty weed that I never saw before this year. It has shallow roots but it has tendrils that wrap themselves around my good plants so to pull it out, I end up taking the desired plants with it. I call it the cancer plant.
Even though it is still toasty here, I returned to lower humidity so I have been able to run comfortably for the past 2 days. I am also back to eating considerably less. I was so bloated on my 2 vacations.
Each morning I have a coffee cup in one hand and my dead-heading scissors in the other. So much stuff to cut back. My morning glory vines have formed a thick canopy that is blocking the light for my other plants and my solar lights. The one variety still hasn't flowered though the other has its dark purple blossoms all over the place. My hummingbird feeder was almost dry; either I had a leak or it is becoming more popular. As soon as I refilled it, 2 of them came flitting by trying to keep the other one from feeding. The morning glories are hiding it but if these hummingbirds can find their way back to my patio from Belize, I am sure they have no trouble finding it.
As I was running yesterday, a runner with her little terrier suddenly stopped and pulled off earphones to say Hi. She was one of the ex-Moms having kids Shanna's and Josh's ages and used to live in our neighborhood. Of all the mom's kids, Josh is closest to her daughter sharing a best friend. This mom has had 2 types of cancer making it 4 out of 6 of us. As she now lives 4.5 miles from me, I was surprised to find her running in our neighborhood but she probably drove. A nine mile run would be tough on a terrier though it looked to be expending less effort than she did.
The fall soccer season has begun and Josh and his buddy are on a new team. I went to watch last night sitting next to a wife of a player and their cute toddler. At one point, Josh looked at me speaking to the mom and put his fingers to his lips. He thinks I speak too loudly.To see him run is a thing of beauty. No one is faster than him. It was his 4th anniversary yesterday. He left quickly to change to take Julia out.

Today will be Naomi's 6 week (although closer to 7) check-up.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Last Day in Paradise

Alas, all good things must come to an end. We spent the last morning on the beach eating a very leisurely breakfast right off the bike path that I love to run on. This time, it was clear and we could see the water.On the way there and back, we looked at a few more local landmarks.

Mosaic house

Mosaic house from a different angle

Orange tree in its courtyard

Frank Gehry's house. He lives there. The front is hard to see and he has incorporated chain link fence into the structure itself..not sure if I like that

Teapot house. I noticed this the night before as I was running up and down the local streets

We had absolutely wonderful hosts and Maya has now a few more aunts and an uncle. We learned about raw food that my friend's  wonderful, very earnest 18 year old daughter is very committed to. She has an organic garden that she shared some its harvest with us. The husband shared his love of astronomy with us. On the last night, Naomi looked into the telescope to see Jupiter rising. I will post some of these pictures when I get them. Naomi adores California now and is plotting her return there.

Breakfast on the beach looking away from the water. The Palisades are in the background

The bike path, beach and the water. Both Maya and Naomi got much darker on this trip

 The ride back was shorter and no delays this time. Just as well as it was 1:30 this morning when we finally got home.

I have more pictures to add over the next few days. Keep posted!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Getty

Those 3 tree like affairs are covered with my favorite bougainvillea, a very slow growing plant. Much more vegetation on it since I saw them in 2006. If I lived in CA, bouganvillea would be all over my space but I am told it is slow growing and sensitive.
The Getty is a wondrous place that I try to go to any time that I am in LA. Although Naomi might have been more impressed with the Beverly Hills shopping zone (which we did a drive through..too hot to drag Maya through it), she did appreciate our perch on top of the hill where we could see for miles fancy hilltop homes, the ocean, downtown LA (which we never got close to on this trip) and of course the traffic jam on the 405. Naomi is not much of an art fan but she loved the architecture of the travertine buildings and the fountains. I love the gardens..the bougainvillea trees are starting to fill in nicely.

My favorite picture at the Getty Spring by Alma-Tameda This wiki pic does not do it justice. In person, the colors are vibrant and thickly applied. It celebrates May Day (not the Russian revolution one as this painting was made in the 1890s). Back in NY, Mayday was a big thing full of dancing around a Maypole. None of that in Michigan. Other favorites: Irises by Van Gogh and one of Monet's Waterlilies under his Japenese bridge at Giverny.

Spiral pool

Mirror sculpture that kids can play with. There are pieces of me, Naomi and my friend in the mirrors

Earlier, we went to visit 6 month twins, grandchildren of a friend of my hostess, in Beverly Hills. The twins are average size babies but Maya weighs almost as much as they do and probably is as long. They could do tricks like grabbing for things that she can't.It was fun to see them together.

Naomi, Maya and amonst the flowers

My precious grandson turns one today. Time flies! I am obviously missing his birthday though I was honored to see him at his birth.. I remember  clearly his struggling to breathe. He could not nurse and breathe at the same time as he was immature. Shanna pumped milk around the clock so he could be tube fed. He could not have any stimulation as his pulse ox would go down. Scary times but now, none the worse for wear. He is a large, beautiful happy guy eager to show off his tricks. Daniel is a people pleaser.

Daniel on a Cape Cod Beach

While my friend was at class last night, I ran in the neighborhood: up one street, down another so at most I was a mile away with the setting sun. It was especially pretty running north as I could see the set setting over the mountains. The day had been hot even so close to the coast but at dusk, it was cool and dry. None of the homes are the same here. I need to take a picture of the teapot house. I cooled down sipping a coconut bubble tea. Later the husband and I picked up Oaxacan food right across the street from where Shanna first lived here 8 years ago. Interesting moles and my tamale or tamal was wrapped in banana leaves.

We leave later today. Time to return to reality. I think Naomi will remember this as the best time of her life.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mother's Beach

Results of the pedicure a few days later. My feet have the weird tan lines on them.
Hmmmm..I wonder where Maya got her huge feet from

I ran for more than 7 miles along the coast yesterday without seeing the water. Coastal fog. I could see for about 50 feet around me but it was cool and nice.

To convince Naomi to rid herself of those talons, which would not impress the visiting nurse at all next week at least in the right way, I offered her a spa pedicure and manicure IF the nails go. So we all went in to  have this done. I haven't ever had a pedicure as my feet have been damaged due to running and  the Taxol changes to my nails though my fingernails are finally fine.  Also my latest injury left a pool of blood under one of the nails. Delightful. But now they look pretty. Naomi had a French manicure on her feet too. Her nails are a respectable length though way too short for her tastes. Now she can text faster and deal with Maya easier.

There is this beach in Marina del Rey that is protected from the surf and has lots of playground equipment called Mother's Beach. It was chilly for being next to the water though the fog finally cleared. It was nice just chillin' there.
Maya in her temporary bedding..a laundry basket. Very cozy.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hollywood and Holly

Holly and I
The bracelet Holly gave me. It has pink hearts and a butterfly dangling from it along with the jewelled pink ribbon
I got the manicure a day later
Yesterday Holly aka Ojo from Noho, and I went to breakfast at a near-by cafe and had a good talk about our similar experiences, our cyber date so to speak. She has been on my blog almost as long as I have had it. She even gave me a gift, a beautiful bracelet she had made. Pictures will be inserted once I can. It was a treasured time: thank-you Holly for suggesting it.

Maya on her way to Hollywood. Looks like she is holding an imaginary steering wheel

Far niente...the pleasure in doing nothing. An easy to understand concept here. Naomi is happy to lounge around in and out of the pool and hot tub in between tending to her baby but she is aware of the exciting world just past this house. Where would that be? Hollywood! We first tried to get as close to the sign as possible traveling up Beechwood. Lots of ohs and ahs passing the spectacular homes. Then on to the Walk of the Stars and the Chinese Theater where they have the footprints and handprints of the stars. Ms Maya's feet are almost the size of some of the ladies'. Biggest feet? Johnny Depp. Michael Jackson's star had 2 competing impersonators on it. Inland, it is quite a bit warmer. Ms Maya had enough of all this and screamed most of the way home. Naomi is surprisingly patient during these crying jags..of course, what can she do? But she has miraculously turned into Ms Serene, hard to believe.

The Famous sign. Mulholland Drive runs on top of it
Arch and elephant
This one looks more like him
Naomi trying to fill Depp's shoes

My friend relaxing in the Beechwood canyon area
The Hollywood Arch
2 MJ impersonaters and star
Ripley museum
Pretty ceiling
We were tired. Into the hottub with a glass of wine for my friend and I. The hubby bbq'd filet mignon and sea bass, both incredibly tasty. Naomi couldn't get enough of the filet..she of course is not fed this routinely (or at all!) I quickly fell asleep after watching Mad Men.
Hollywood elephant
Chinese theater
Chinese theater side

Public sculpture in Beechwood area


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