Saturday, March 31, 2012

Birthdays missed

Today is Naomi's 21st birthday. Now she is really an adult and can drink. She will go out and have that first drink tonight while Steve watches Ms. Maya. With all the challenges she has faced, substance abuse fortunately has not been one of them. No smoking; no early drinking. Yes I know I might be sounding a bit naive here. All kids experiment and I experimented plenty despite being Ms Cautious and Ms. Goody-Two Shoes. I won't be back today but I can take her out later in the week. I at least planned ahead with her birthday present.

I also missed Josh and Julia's 30th birthdays..some find turning 30 some sort of milestone too. Recently there was a poll to determine what age do people most wish they were..33 was the winner. I remember being in my 30s as being the most rewarding. My two kids (Naomi had not been born yet) were elementary school age and had no major problems, I was in the best shape of my life capable of doing marathons at a good clip, work was somewhat fun, we had no money issues..we were really busy coaching soccer and me having my Girl Scouts. Since I have turned 50 however, challenges galore have presented themselves. Health issues (Cancer scare and actual cancer) dealing with a  learning disability (Naomi's) that the school preferred to ignore, ailing parents, Alzheimer's Disease and my father's craziness which I had been able to ignore until then, their deaths and the estate from hell full of court battles, both of us losing our jobs, a run away times.

But many blessings..weddings, babies,travel, surviving cancer..time to deal with it all. And I have been able to witness Tessa's first 10 precious.

Ramy started driving back here with the boys, a difficult ride as they  all have colds and ran into icy weather  in Canada. He had planned to stop halfway but needed to stop way before that in an area where he didn't know the motels so it took a while to find one. I will stay here until he returns which will be late tonight. Weather permitting, I'll be on the road tomorrow.

Yesterday I ran the farthest  I have been able to in the past 10 years: 102 minutes. I was going to run to Lexington on the Minuteman trail but running uphill 5 miles against a sizeable northwest wind was not appealing. Instead I ran around Fresh Pond which is shielded by large trees so I didn't feel the wind much until I returned on the Minuteman. The not so nice section: the area around the T station and running along a busy road during rush hour but that all just lasted less than 10 minutes..faster than the cars I passed. Rhododendrons are in bloom now! The weather today as the weather reporter just said is the coldest day Boston had the whole month of March. We hope the Berkshires will be clear by the time Ramy drives through them. Lots of anxious waiting here.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Back at home....

Josh's town billboard. Their high school mascot is a Dreadnaught.
Is that any better than a River Rat (Huron High) or a Spy Ponder (Arlington High)?

Maya and Taya..about 2 months apart. If Naomi stretches out her locks, they measure 5 inches now

Every time Maya makes a basket, she squeals

I am not at home yet. I probably will be this weekend though. Steve went back already.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Brown Magnolias

All those pretty blossoms! The cold destroyed them...
During my morning run I was pelted by tiny ice pellets that I later learned were known as graupel..strange stuff.
Ms. Tessa is now a week old and doing well.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chillaxin' in the Chill

Ah the 80 degree days of last week are gone. It was all of 17 degrees this morning with very strong winds and a  below zero dewpoint,  which I never heard of before. It means that it is so dry here that fires are a big danger especially since so many of the houses are wood (they saved the bricks for my running paths...pretty but  tough on my legs). Today is garbage day. The gale force winds sent garbage bags all down the street.

The cool temps make it easy to run  though that wind was no fun at least in one direction this morning. Also it makes it easy to chose my clothes. I packed mainly winter clothes and only a weeks worth given that there was snow on the ground when we came. But I would not have missed this time.

Most of the days are spent watching Tessa's antics. Each day her alert periods lengthen and she is able to open her eyes wider. So far she is an easy baby..hope that continues. She had a doctor check-up yesterday. All is fine though she is down 10 oz from her birth weight.

Shanna moved to this community in part because it is safe. Yesterday a cop knocked on the door wondering if we saw the house get broken into across the street in the middle of the day. Ugh!

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Miss Tessa has a big lump on the top of her head about the size of a plum half. It is flesh colored. I didn't even noticed it until day 3 because  she was wearing a hat. I did notice that the ear on the same side is flattened. Both conditions are due presumably to how she laid in utero and both conditions are harmless and will resolve themselves.

I did look up cephalohematomas. One of the first hits I came across was a link to a weasel lawyer who claims that one should sue ones OB for this 'hideous deformity' because it didn't have to be. The OB could have performed a C section to prevent it.

Well newsflash weasel lawyer, a C section would not have prevented it.

Due to weasels like that, the C section rate in the US is amazingly high. One thing we seem to be spared here in Boston is the constant stream of competing ambulance chaser ads. I love watching The Office reruns but on the Detroit station, sometimes 8 different lawfirms with their fake sincerity urge us to contact them for sidewalk tripping, birth defects, prevent foreclosures, car accidents, disability claims, etc.

All so quiet here. Ms Tessa hardly makes a peep. In the hospital, Shanna seemed to be surrounded by constantly crying newborns.Before  I could get a single room, I had to share a room after having Naomi. My roommate's baby cried for a good hour in the middle of the night before she finally yelled at me Well aren't you going to do something? I then told her that it was HER baby making the noise, mine was gone.

Due to gas and fluid accumulation, Shanna still looks pregnant. Walking should help but her blood pressure is high and she was told just to rest.Since it is "heart' month, the local pharmacy does blood pressure checks. I think we should pay them a visit.

It is fun to watch Tessa's face in the few times she is up and alert. She scans her surroundings wrinkling her face and making all sorts of expressions. Yesterday we just took turns holding her as she slept. Although she is a good eater, nursing is so relaxing she falls asleep but she does resume if Shanna starts to pull away.

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Tessa and Shanna are home now's just us girls. Ramy, Steve, and the two boys are on their way to Michigan. It will give Shanna some additional time to rest. So we are camped out in the living room watching junk TV.
Steve and I took the boys to Spy Pond yesterday. It was a warm beautiful day and we pinicked on the shore. The kids had fun at the playground. Oliver did not want to ride his bike home, almost a mile uphill, and I didn't want to carry it. He can be so stubborn! Eventually we had to be driven back.

A cold front moved in dropping the temp 30 degrees. No sun either. But just wonderful for running. So I was able to finally run around Fresh Pond, Cambridge's twin kettle pond. Both were important sources of ice that was shipped around the world. Now it is a reservoir for the local communities. It's an hour round trip for me to run there and includes a busy ugly section but it was worth it.

Friday, March 23, 2012

What makes me feel old

THE SITUATION: There is a train coming two flights down from the bus we just got off from. I hadn't had time to remember the 3 possible names of the trains other than to know we didn't want Alewife. The announcer said something about inbound. Do we want inbound or outbound? Steve asked Are you sure this is the right train? (he hasn't been wearing his aids as he says they amplify the kids' screeching..doesn't sound good to these normal ears either)Well I didn't hear the word Alewife...He immediately bounds down the stairs at top speed and assumes I can follow. But I can't. I can't get my feet to move much faster than normal. I am so afraid of  falling. My balance is now so bad. I am not sure which drug did this to me. I can't blame age as Steve is a few months older than me and look at him race ahead along with the crowd. Even the adrenaline isn't helping me move faster. He is already in the train and the doors are about to close. He has no idea on where I planned to have us stop though I guess I could call him assuming the cells work on the trains.
I do make the train on time but shortly after the doors close, the computer generated voice says the next stop is Alewife. Steve looks at me in exasperation and lectures about the difference in inbound and outbound..he thought he heard outbound. Turns out we were headed correctly. The computer just randomly gives out the wrong info a passenger said.
I am not a fan of designating trains by being downtown or uptown either. What is up and what is down? The bit of Ontario tucked south of us used to be known as Upper Canada. Up to them was against the current of the St. Lawrence.
I would like trains designated by the direct they are headed though I realize many people would be confused. Even I was confused when I was told (in rapidfire Italian) that the train I wanted was on the north tracks (and where in the F would that be?). I was just grasping that the train's destination wasn't necessarily my destination and I had to look on the map to see how my city lined up with the big cities.
They do use different words here. Like milkshakes are frappes pronounced  to rhyme with raps.
Roundabouts are 'rotaries'. There is no 'pop'.
I don't usually feel my age. Inside, I feel much younger.I run so much more slowly than when I was winning age group trophies but I still can run for 90 minutes without stopping (assuming I catch Mass Ave at the right time..bane of my current existence). Not good going downstairs though especially the tiny stairs Shanna has especially in the middle of the night dealing with yet another indignity of age.
I dreamt of Tessa last night. She had lots of red hair. In real life it is very black. Although all my kids are probably carrying red hair genes, it needs to be on both sides. Not common in the Arab or African-American communities. Julia's family has redheads though......

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Absinthe spoons

Back in Ann Arbor, we used to have a small company that produced specialty liquors: my favorite being blackberry liquor. It tasted so fresh! It also made absinthe. I've been looking for absinthe spoons over the past few years( yeah I know I can order them over the internet). Finally found some today in a bar specialty shop but too pricy..
Pretty things that I have bought since my MA stay:
A beautiful purple silk rose scarf in Concord.
A pretty yellow top from the hospital giftshop.
Bonus: no sales tax on clothes here.
Today was in the mid-80s..too hot for running comfortably but out I went anyway. I finally figured out the path to this one lake I wanted to run around but then I was too tired to do it. Cooler days ahead though.

We visited Shanna and Tessa this afternoon. Baby Tessa is doing great; Shanna very weak and sore.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tessa Lucille is here!

Finally she is here! She is doing quite well....8lb13oz born officially at 39weeks 1 day (same as Maya but Maya came at her own pace, Tessa's was a planned C-section). Shanna was very nervous going into this and did not get much sleep. We had to be at the hospital at 6:30am but they didn't get around to taking her to the operating room until 9:15. I watched reflections nervously through a few
windows. What was taking so long? Shanna has a lot of scar tissue from her previous sections. It is distressing to have your child sliced and diced. Finally at 9:52  I heard a cry. Not long after, Tessa was carried to the examination table in my view. She looked bigger than she turned out to be. It was obvious that she was  healthy which we are so thankful for. She is quite cute with 1 inch straight black hair and chubby cheeks.She is nursing well already. Shanna was very groggy and tired. Fortunately she didn't seem to be in so much pain as she was in with Daniel's birth.
It was a beautiful spring day here with record highs.  She has a room overlooking the Charles River and the Boston skyline. When the boys came later with Steve, Daniel enjoyed watching the various skulls zipping on the river.
A happy day but I am so tired.
Shanna outside the elevator before  going to Labor and delivery

Ramy registering by phone 

Before the delivery room.  Looked like a cone head

The view I had

Early on
in delivery room

should have combed the hair..first time I saw her. She was 15 minutes old.

View from her window

Exhausted Daniel


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Baby Girl meets the world in 13 hours

The last 3 days here have been pretty. Magnolia and cherry trees are in bloom along with all the bulbs. We've taken the kids to parks. Yesterday Steve and I walked in the Back Bay and Beacon Hill areas of Boston.I love the 19th century brownstones. I was posting photos yesterday and got an error message that I exceeded the 1 gb allowance..I bought more space so the world can see Baby Girl tomorrow..we are all so excited.
In the meantime, I posted more pictures yesterday.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Scenes from around Boston

Steve and Shanna near weird sculpture near Davis Square

Gym equipment? Trolley Square

Wind sculptures along Somerville Linear Park.Fun to run on except for the brick sections

Cute cafe in Arlington

Beacon Hill

Cobblestones and me

Church on Newberry

Make way for Ducklings statue in Boston Commons. I remember this from when I was a kid

Cute wooden signs from Beacon Hill. We ate at a French cafe

Japanese cherry tree

Love the BostonCommons

Interesting mannequins
From fancy kids store

This window is full of antique sewing machines

The Color of the Train

To the  the  boys, especially Daniel, the color of the train is more important than the destination. His stories go like this: We took the blue train then the purple train then the orange train....
He loves pointing out the trains (Boston's subways are mostly not underground except in the Hub) when we drive by them.
Yesterday it was warm finally after 4 days of damp, gray cold. I ran along the Mystic Lakes to Winchester.A very pretty run and hardly any cars though lots of bikes out. So many communities border Arlington: Medford, Somerville, Cambridge, Belmont, Lexington,and Winchester, .I've run to and through all of them  in the past 2 weeks. These streets were platted out in the early 1630s going every which way. They do not have unique names: there is a Mystic Street and a Mystic Pkway (Shanna lived at its intersection before). Off the Concord Pike, there are two Pleasant Street exits within a few miles and no they are not the same street. There are no numbered streets like 1st Ave or the alphabet streets as Steve visited yesterday in Brooklyn. My sense of direction becomes addled trying to use main streets as signposts. I swear I was running due north on the Somerville Linear Path until I ended up at the Davis T..then I knew I was just running due east on top of the Red Train (which is underground at that point).
So the boys took a series of trains yesterday much to their delight, with their father. In between trains, they went to various playgrounds. Shana and I walked to the city center to eat at a very cute Lebanese/El Salvador cafe. She is still pregnant and enjoying it less with heartburn, back pains, lack of sleep etc. All of this ends in 48 hours and 45 minutes unless by some miracle she goes int labor. When the boys came back, I sat on the back step watching them cavort while doing my silly puzzles.
I cooked up some artichokes...YUM.
Steve returned from his weekend in NY with some Italian bakery treats. He had a nice time with his brother and family and got to eat at his favorite Italian restaurant.
A good day.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Battle of Monotony

Oops...I mean the Battle of Menotomy...not to be confused with metonymy, similar to synedoche which is NOT a city in NY.

Menotomy is the former name of Arlington, which changed its name after the Civil war  to honor the dead in the Arlington, VA cemetery. Now some are considering changing it back to capitalize on those Revolutionary War tourist dollars that nearby Concord and Lexington get. After all, it is just as old and cute. It was on Paul Revere's path, he did not even make it all the way to Concord. And more people died in the Battle of Menotomy than in the ones in Concord and Lexington combined.

The problem would be that no one has ever heard of the Battle of Menotomy (other problems would include the confusion with monotony and metonymy). For instance, back home in Michigan we live in the subdivision of Revolutionary Battle Names. Although we have a Bunker Hill, Trenton, Lexington, we have no Menotomy Street. Not that we don't have monotony itself. Oh, also we have Antietam and Gettysburg Drs. Maybe those platting out our subdivision on top of an old dairy farm 45 years ago thought those were in the Revolutionary War too or maybe they just ran out of Revolutionary Battle names and thought they could just sneak those in. Who would know? We didn't have Wikipedia then. Well I knew all about the Battle of Antietam. I was assigned to make an oral report on it way back when. I spent the entire time mispronouncing it

Friday, March 16, 2012

Tornado aftermath

From NOAA Josh's house is about 0.2 mile from the lowest red spot. 

Also from NOAA. What the tornado looked like 5 miles north of town
While trying to out run the tornado(which he agrees wasn't wise), Josh got a call from his friend who also has a house in Dexter who wanted to know what was going on. It turns out his house was spared too but the house next to his lost its roof. His yard is covered with debris from those not so lucky. Josh is helping him clean up today. Dexter is such a small village but still managed to get hit in at least 4 different areas. It made the national news. Storms are not new to Michigan but never has there been a storm so early. Global warming? The unusually warm air (80 deg) clashed with a cold front. At one point, the hail was so thick, all he could see on the ground were ping pong sized hail balls. He scooped some of them up in a baggy to store in his freezer.The village is full of reporters, insurance adjusters, repair people, etc.Helicopters fly overhead. His friend and he walked around town to survey the damage. They visited his best friend's father's business, a place that Josh worked at a couple of summers.The dad did what Josh did when he saw the swirling black clouds: he took off to the clear sky in the south but he had no cellar to hide in. The business lost a fence and some shingles, little compared to the flattened buildings surrounding him. The trees in town are full of snagged insulation looking like pink cotton candy. Surreal. Some of the trees have sheet metal wrapped around their trunk. Julia's boss had her home totally flattened while she hovered in the basement with 3 kids. Very scary. Josh will send me their pictures.   Back in Ann Arbor, there was such severe flooding that people had to be rescued from their cars. Fortunately for us, this happened on the south side and we live on the north side.

But we aren't even there. No unseasonably warm weather has been in the thirties in the morning for the past three days.  Good for running though. I ran to Lexington and back the other day. Today I was running on several paths in Cambridge and Somerville. I came across Davis Square full of interesting restaurants. Tufts University is near it. We went back there by car to have a nice lunch at yet another crepe place.

No baby despite more contractions. Steve is going to NYC tomorrow. Baby hopefully will stay put while he is gone.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Beware the Ides of March..Tornado!!!!

No tornado in Boston...just drab weather but back home, all hell is breaking loose. A friend called to say that Josh's house was in the path of a tornado. About the same time, he looked out from his yard and saw it coming. He took his dog and jumped into the car and drove south to a clearer spot but then the skies were black there. The tornado touched down just a few blocks from his house flattening 6 homes. It headed south bypassing Ann Arbor. Our house will be safe from tornados but we are trying to figure out if our lower level is flooded . Once the storm dies down, Naomi will check.  Julia was at work huddled in the the lower level. The tornado turned southeast and headed to where she was but it didn't touch down again  until much later.

No injuries in Dexter but what a mess!!!!! When they were looking at houses, they were deciding between two in adjacent subdivisions. The tornado destroyed houses on the street
they did not choose. Lots of wind and hail too along with flooding. Hail, Hail to Michigan indeed!
I thought today will be the day for Baby Girl. More contractions..not very comfortable but still no action.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


 Another pretty village. As a child, I loved Little  Women based on Alcott's life in  Concord.On Author's Ridge, Thoreau, Emerson, Alcott and Hawthorne  were buried. It was supposed to be in the 60s here but it was only in the 40s while we were exploring revolutionary warfields.
Where the first British soldier shot in the American Revolution was buried

Historic house along Battle Road restored to  look like it did  in 1775

Steve on the spot Paul Revere was captured

Window inside of cute restaurant we ate at

cute shops. Moving cars  turnout strangely in my scanned shots

Older cemetery than the one the authors were buried. Most people here died in the  1750s

North bridge: second battle of the war; first one in which there were casualties on both sides

Statue at North Bridge honoring the farmer soldier


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