Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Boys in Pink

This picture was taken before Oliver's hair was cut. A mistake was made leaving a massive bald spot so the rest of the head was shaved. I don't have Halloween pix of the kids yet except for Ms. Tess. Maya was dressed in her kitten outfit this morning when I took her to her therapy class. Looks super-cute. Today they tested her fine motor skills which they still find deficient though not as bad as she originally tested. Where she failed: opens books several pages at a time rather than one. Can make a tower of 8 blocks, not 9. Does not draw a straight line when asked; scribbles instead. Good at opening bottles though. Her gross motor skills were not tested as she is probably ahead of most kids her age in these. Her greatest issue is her speech lag. She is saying more words now but does not put them together. I think she is about a year behind. Her receptive language is further along.

The Jersey shore is no more. I am glad we were able to enjoy it last April when we could. Where my MIL last lived in NYC on Rockaways is especially a mess. We got our own bit of Sandy with rains and strong winds yesterday. It was hard to get motivated to run in that mess. Plus there were ice pellets all over the place. I went to storytime with the grandbabies instead and then holed up at home with the babies. Then I finished 2 of the 3 photobooks I had planned. Just a bit more to do on one of them. Now I just need to make reservations for the big trip.

I did run today as the winds were not as strong as predicted. I felt good to be moving. Tonight, I will go trick  or treating with Maya at Josh's house. Houses are closer together there and it has been our tradition of sorts.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

More from the big scan project

Unhappy teenager

toothless 6 year old

The Moms minus one

Chicago right before 9-11

Chartres: Didn't need a map to find this (convenient as we had no map). Just headed towards the twin steeples miles away

Colmar: Alsatian towns are so pretty!

Steve in front of Bacchus statue in Staufen, Germany. I selected this town to stay in because of this statue and Dr. Faustus's house was there

Villandry: Loire Valley
Although we are not getting the flooding associated with Hurricane Sandy, we are getting the winds. I did run for a bit yesterday in gusts over 40 mph. At least it was dry. Today, I can hear ice pellets against the window. My friend's exile has been extended  so Naomi has more things to do and I will have Maya.

I've been on the computer trying to finish up my photobooks before I leave. Also I need to plan a bit more. Will Steve want to stay in a yurt teetering on the edge of a cliff in Big Sur? There is a bird's nest option. You sleep up in the trees in a nest for 2. Bring your own sleeping bags. Need to rent a car too.

Had a nice lunch with a friend yesterday though I forgot my wallet. My BC yoga was cancelled. Last week, the Drill Sergeant returned. She was a bit more restrained this time but...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Scary pre Halloween photos

Steve in my wig

I let someone take senior pictures with infrared film. Big mistake as eyes appear as black hollows

Moray eel: these things scare me. Couldn't get its ugly face

Love gargoyles

Hair raising

Really scary big shoulders and big glasses with the mom pictured here

Little tigers. The boy on the right I had written about has his own 2 kids
I have been scanning photos all weekend. I am making a Josh book this week at his request. Yeah I did bike yesterday but it was no fun. Temp=40; steady 20 mph wind with 30-40 mph gusts. Biking will be harder and harder in the coming months. Meanwhile, Livestrong alumni classes start today. Will I have time to go?
Hurricane Sandy has left my friend stranded out east. While Naomi tends to her stuff, I will take Maya to her classes.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Ohiopyle State Park

You must be kind of zany
To raft  the Youghiogheny
Part of a poem a co-worker wrote about me
One of many waterfalls in the park

Me balancing on the railroad bridge which has since been redone complete with railings for the Railtrail. I am pregnant with Josh.

Mountain laurel all over the place. Should be in bloom for the ride in June

A very long way down. If you enlarge, you can see tiny people on the banks. Generally walking across a railless, rickety bridge would kick in my fear of heights but if we didn't take this bridge, we'd have to walk another 3 miles to our campsite.
It is strange sometimes how random events seem to be tied together. For instance, within a few minutes of each other, I had two requests for my address for totally unrelated reasons when noone has asked for my address for years.

The same with this park. My friend, Soul Mate, recently lost his mom and has a house to sell near this park located in an old coal mining town, which has seen better days. But the frackers will come soon! Maybe they  will buy the house! Then my travel magazine has an article on Great State Parks that are in Danger. This one was featured. Not for budgetary reasons such as the Michigan entry (Ludington) but because of the Frackers. All of West Virginia (Blackwater St Park also on list where we once rented a condo) and a good part of PA rest on shale, which is frackable. Even though this is state land, private interests control mineral rights below the surface. Then I get an e-mail from Rails-to-Trails urging me to sign up for a bike ride on The Great Allegheny Passage which goes through this park and lots of beautiful mountain lands. All flat due to it being on abandoned coal train lines. 5 days for 150 miles. Sounds cool. I had thought that The Michigander was the only Rail trail ride. Rails-to-Trails for some reason dropped the Michigan organization. My ex-neighbor and her co-worker then formed their own organization which sponsors the Michigander amongst other projects. The only reason I am on Rails-to-Trails mailing list is because I joined to find out about the railtrails in MA during my exile there in March.

Ohiopyle. An unfortunate name suggesting it is Ohio's hemorrhoid. But the name means Foaming Water due to the rapids of the Youghiogheny, known as The Yuck, that runs through it. A very popular whitewater rafting place. I have been there by myself or with the kids at least 6 times. The last time, I fell off the raft in what was supposed to be a minor rapid but it was a hydraulic. Think of being put in a spin cycle while held underwater bumping against rocks. Eventually I was spit out all bruised. Not fun. The park is beautiful full of waterfalls, canyons, mountain laurel, and lots of hiking trails. From my later visits, I could see the RailTrail which crosses the canyon on the fixed up bridge pictured above. I had considered organizing my own ride but now I see that has been done for me.

On the way there for the first time in June, 1981 at a rest stop in Ohio, I knew in an instant that I was pregnant with Josh. How pregnant could I be? One week, way before any tests could indicate that. It was another 5 weeks before I could use the crude EPT that you had to wait for 3 hours while some barely visible ring formed (which it did). I suddenly felt this overwhelming fatigue that made me want to just hole up in my tent for the duration. But hike and raft I did.

A few friends have said they might join me. Rasta Man grew up near there also and is well familiar with the park. I have rafted with him in groups and with my kids  several times.

It is cold and windy right now. Yet this will be the warmest day this week. How much do I want to bike today?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Cosmoses Cosmesis

I love puns.  Cosmoses Cosmesis. I was introduced  to the latter term by my radiation oncologist who addressed the 'negative cosmesis' potential for me doing the Three week Canadian study Radiation (Hyperfractioned). Translation: bad looking boob. Though later she said that I didn't seem to suffer from that. All is relative I guess. And yes I realize that cosmos does not have a plural but too bad, I am going with it.
And the video clip, off the internet off my friend's daughter's blog. My own cosmos are still in bloom but this next week will finish them off.

A night with Tess

Practising standing

While Ramy and Shanna were celebrating, we had Ms. Tess. Although she does not look like Shanna much to me, her temperament  is very much like Shanna's was as a baby. An easy baby, thankfully for us all!

Shanna had been pumping all week in anticipation. I don't think Tessa cried one minute though she did fuss a bit when we were trying to sneak her into her crib (finally getting some use other than as a storage receptacle). She was happy just to sit on our bed with us surrounded by her toys, gurgling with pleasure. She slept for 10 hours and woke up cooing. Such a sweetie!

Even though no baby woke me up, we got a phone call in the middle of the night with some woman demanding that we pick up our baby. I heard a baby screaming in the background sounding like she could be Maya. However after some questioning, it turned out to be a wrong number. But my heart was racing and it took me hours to settle down. Too much like a scary call that was meant for us in the middle of the night just 10 days ago. Yeah the situation isn't good but gradually we are picking up the pieces. Maybe things will be OK.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fifth Anniversay

Five years ago today

Shanna and Ramy were married 5 years ago today, also on a Friday night. They are going on a minivacation to celebrate. I will have Tessa and the MIL will have the boys.

The cold front moved in along with the rain. Indian summer is over.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

An afternoon in the park

Deer crossing

I am Facebook friends with 4 of the 6 other girls my age that lived on my street. One of them recently sent me this;

So funny.

I had a doe jump right in front of me during my bike ride this morning. No deer crossing signs there.I am learning where they are more likely to cross. Fortunately no where on the long downhills.I wrote the other day about appropriate soundtracks for ones life. I always think of Mendlessohn's Italian Symphony (from Breaking Away) while going down steep downhills.

And a good soundtrack for those old videos of steve's would be Satie's Gnossienne#4. So beautiful but sad and wistful.

It will be almost 80 again today. We'll take the kids to a park.

Yesterday I saw Argo with a friend and liked it even though my first choices would have been The Sessions or The Master. We did sit outside enjoying the last of the warm weather afterwards with a drink.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Saint-Saens Organ Symphony

This is what I left off in my post about bright spots in dark days. This was one of my moments of wonder in my  life. I was at Hill Auditorium as a college student with my now dead boyfriend listening to this piece wondering about its name as I could not see nor hear any organ. But finally in the last movement, an organ emerged from the floor with its awe inspiring initial chords filling the auditorium. True beauty. I was in tears. The tinny speakers of this computer do not do it justice.

Steve and I drove through tunnels of trees and their beautiful colors recently while listening to classical music. At one point, this came on but then he reminded me that we had the station that plays only one movement of a piece. The first movement is nothing special so I was disappointed. But then the other night as I returned from Happy Hour, the full version was being played, which lasts much longer than my drive. I drove out into the country and then sat a long while in my driveway to hear it through. It was still special but nothing to compare to the thundering organ in person.

Indian Summer again. Great for running and walks. I had Ms. Maya for storytime and was pleased to see that she participated more rather than just sit scared stiff silently. She is such a little beauty. Later, my  other grandbabies came over. More of Steve's family's movies came back, which of course, are silent. But the video service added this songtrack, 80s hair band rock, which was so not fitting for a film about a seder in the 50s with close-ups of babies, Shanna and I collapsed in laughter.

Even later, dinner with Josh. He had his own amusing tales.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Big Scan

 Collage of Josh in college

Sisters 11 years ago

Steve in Venice Beach

Josh and my nephew, now almost 17

Naomi and  Spud
Me in Geneva Sitzerland

Josh on his high school team

Naomi in a bike race Tour de Kids. she won her age group

Me swimming in blue tang. Unfortunately I didn't set my underwater camera right so you can't see the many shades of blue

Naomi in a pie eating contest

Floating in the Yellowstone river

Shanna on Manitou Island

Me in the Marais

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Paul Bunyan

After a long drought, the Paul Bunyan statue was handled over to the Wolverines yesterday. Josh and his many friends who flew in for the occasion must have been sweating it to the end as it appeared that MSU would win.

Last week we drove along the Sunrise Coast on the very same road that rumbles near us, US-23. If Shanna had moved to West Virginia (which they were prepared to do until they got their last second reprieve) we could have taken it to see her. I was amazed at how many little towns featured statues of Paul Bunyan. Paul Bunyan wasn't even a real person yet there he was. A few places included Babe, the Blue Ox, his faithful companion. He dug out the Great Lakes so she would have some suitable watering holes. So what natural resources did the northeast part of the state have going for it? Trees and trees and more trees. Lumbering drove the economy so I guess it is fitting that a mythical lumberman gets his statues. Oscoda claims to be the birthplace of Paul Bunyan. Michigan is not the only state that has Paul Bunyan statues. Minnesota has even more.

In Italy, many towns had statues of Dante, not of fake lumbermen. Some also had statues of those three guys responsible for the unification of Italy (of which I can remember the names of only two). Previous to Dante, all literature was written in Latin. But he published his poems in the Tuscan dialect of Italian thus spreading and codifying the Italian language. It is strange the heros we choose.

Today promises to be nice. First Brunch with Shanna, then maybe a visit from Josh, if the friends have left, then a bike ride, then a visit to a friend. I've already finished my extreme killer sudoku in record time.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Extreme Cheapskates

I have watched this show with interest. None of the people on this show are destitute, they just don't like to spend money. Not flushing the toilet to save water, eating expired food out of trash cans, using plasticware from fast food places, on and on. My father could have been on this show. He also was not destitute and grew up in a 4500 ft2 home but spending money was painful for him.

Never tipped because one legally does not have to do it; carefully looked at price tags on grocery items to see if there was a mismatch at the scanner entitling him to ten times the difference; all baked goods were from thrift stores; meat from a meat cutting school; never offering to pay for anyone's dinner but would be happy to be one's guest, 'vacations' from time share companies who make you listen to their spiel which fell on his deaf ears; not sharing his paycheck with my mom because he earned it not her, on and on. Now my mom was destitute despite being married to a man with a good income. She was forced to do inane things like melt little bits of soap together to make a big bar, work at the recycle center carefully stripping off the labels to be used in her refunding quests, bringing stuff home from her walks on trash day to be given as 'gifts'..

Yeah this show brings back old memories.

The last show featured a cheapskate out on a date. And the woman didn't get up and run for her life. Never date a cheapskate; they only will get worse.

The population of our town has temporarily doubled due to the UM vs MSU game. It is very hard to drive anywhere. A gloomy fall day but I was able to bike and run in the mist. It felt good. What would I do without exercise?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Bright spots in Dark Days

The days are getting shorter and darker. Only a few of my solar lights get enough energy to glow. I ran in the dark drizzle early this morning though finally, at noon, the sun is starting to appear. While we were gone, the power went off in our bedroom and bathroom. No it isn't the circuit breaker.  The power went on and off a few times but now, it is off. We ran an extension cord from the still working part of our house just so we could see.

The sad situation still exists and worries me.

All is not gloom.

Our 401K. Back when we were let go, we interviewed a few potential financial advisors who looked at our portfolio and said we were suffering from 'all of our eggs in the same basket'syndrome and advised us to unload our former company's stock ASAP. Maybe this was good advice but we didn't think so and dismissed anyone who said this more than once. We decided to hire one guy but he disappeared. Steve hired someone to look at stuff that wasn't in the 401K and we did OK. Meanwhile, our stock, really low, paid great dividends that were used to buy many shares. Now these shares have gone up considerably though not to the point that my many options would be worth anything. But we have gradually begun to off-load these shares into something 'safe' so maybe we will be able to afford our retirement. We are very glad we didn't listen to the experts. Still it hasn't risen to the point where I said I'd buy a house for Shanna if it went there.

Happy Hour and the Tiger's sweep. The Tigers versus the Yankees game was on at the bar. Much cheering from the fellow patrons who obviously weren't Yankee fans.  Unfortunately due to the strong winds, the bar had some power interruptions during some key plays. But they were very short.Back at home, I didn't even say anything to my resident Yankee fan. He has lived here much longer than in NYC yet he refuses to embrace anything local. He will always be a New Yorker and a Yankee fan.

My nails: Pretty things now though I didn't appreciate the new nail worker who  I think was dissing me in Vietnamese. I could see why Elaine wanted a translator to see what the nail people said about her in Korean on a Seinfeld episode. When I worked, my lab work would not be conducive to manicured nails nor did I get them done while I was in Chemoland. As a child I was told that my hands were my best feature, which was fairly disheartening at the time especially since the person who told me this struggled just to say this one kind thing about my appearance. But might as well make the best of my alleged best feature.

Creme d'Erable. My friend still had this from our Montreal visit more than 2 years ago. We carried these bottles for hours on our backs. Mine was gone within a week but she saved hers to serve the other night. Still wonderful. Steve tried to buy me a replacement maple liquor from an Ontario liquor store. It was a nice gesture but it wasn't nearly as tasty as the Quebec version. And the Mom's group that it was served at was very fun.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

You've made your bed, now lie in it.

I always thought this was a silly aphorism, if you were to take it literally. Why would you you lie (or is it lay?) in a freshly made bed? But yes, I know what it means. But who has made this bed?

I like malapropisms. The other night on TV, someone referred to his mentoring attempt as taking him under his belt. And there was the man at work who would start sentences with It always ceases to amaze me. He was the one who hated to be looked over his shoulder with a fine toothed comb.

The other day, two women were comparing chemo symptoms. One finally said something about being in the same boat. I wanted to pipe in that Stage 1 BC is not the same boat as Stage 4 BC. Not the same boat at all. But to be fair, each did not know the others' story and anyway, they were just trying to make a connection. Who am I to get all pedantic on them? Or tell the person who said that the doctor told her that she was cancer-free that he really said that she had no evidence of disease, which is hardly the same. No one can ever be deemed 'cancer-free'. Who am I to destroy hope?

It is a dark and dreary day in the land of ex-tumors. A big storm front is coming through making running hazardous. There might be a break in the afternoon. Meanwhile, with my $3 Groupon, I'll get my nails done and then have happy hour with a friend.

And as for the title of this post, I'd love to shout it at someone but it would do no good.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Indian Summer

These are the days I love: sunny, in the seventies, beautiful fall colors though they are starting to fade around here. Very windy though making my bike ride a bit tough coming back againt 20 mph headwinds. Yes I was pushed up the hills on the way out.

And in the afternoon, a trip to the park with Ms. Maya. It was too windy to take her on the bike trailer. The sad situation that I alluded to yesterday still exists. I still feel helpless knowing that someone is not making the best choices. Lecturing does no good. And in the end, it is not my life though somehow I end up having to pick up the pieces.


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