Saturday, May 31, 2014

Alligator Snapping Turtle

She's not so pretty
Most of the year, all you can see of the neighborhood snapping turtles is their ugly snouts protruding just above the water in Thurston pond. Our neighborhood has a few smaller ponds such as the one in Sugarbush woods near my house where the above beauty lives. But every year in May, the females come out of their ponds to lay eggs.Some of them cross the road in search of sandy soil to dig holes in. Our street is particularly busy today as the neighborhood is having its garage sales and drivers are distracted. I was trolling them by bike. What do I want? More playground equipment for the kids? Discarded dishes to make my own lawn art? I assumed she was finished laying eggs and was going back to the pond but she was was in danger of being a speed bump. A couple of people stopped to help me. Strangely no one could identify her even if she literally was in their front yards. I first tried to direct her with a large stick which she turned around to snap in two. A neighbor thought she looked dehydrated (not to me, the moss was still wet) and dumped water on her. Another appeared with a  snow shovel. I scooped her up and carried her to the park.

I had posted her photo on Facebook. Within minutes, Josh messaged me to inform me she was a snapping turtle. Duh, who do you think taught you about turtles? When he was a kid, the School of Natural Resources offered to pay him to scoop the turtles out of Thurston Pond so they could mark them. He learned o follow the trail of bubbles.

My son-in-law snapped his Achilles tendon playing soccer He has been outfitted with  an enormous boot that makes it impossible for him to drive. Shanna stopped by for our crutches. How is he to get to work when she is off delivering 2 of the kids to different schools? Lots of complications and changes of plans.

Tonight we are going to have a rare Moms Night Out: dinner and then to a music place. Should be fun.

Also, I was able to solve a mystery yesterday. Back when we were glamping in Big Sur at the yurt place,we came across these huge pink blossoms, which my sister-in-law with her degree in botany could not identify. Yesterday I found it on a new friend's blog: tree dahlia.

I included Steve's arm to show how big this blossom is. Originally grown in South America. The stems are like bamboo: hollow and used there for pipes. Apparently they have been transplanted to Australia and Northern California.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hamburger Porn

Miss Tess was with us this morning. Such a cutie!

The star
The two silliest commercials currently airing:

  1. One for cable TV: Its selling point is that you can watch the TV anywhere even outside. It shows a woman staring at the TV giving her instructions how to repot a plant. Meanwhile her husband is inside watching a hamburger grill on TV on an apparently forbidden to watch channel. He is salivating. His wife suddenly appears: quick the TV switches to another channel. She leaves and he can resume watching the hamburger cook.
  2. For the Surface tablet/notebook: It's absurd theme song: Honestly, I want you to be brave. Really.
A beautiful day here.
poppy and thrift

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Virgin Killer

Got up early in the rainy fog to purchase 2 more baskets from the Farmer's Market.
Except for a few perennials to fill in my rock garden, I am done

One of my container gardens. Needs to fill in a bit. It should look better in 2 weeks or so

And by virgin killer I mean the nut job who killed because he was frustrated by being a virgin, virgin status of victims unknown. He couldn't believe that women were not throwing themselves at him.

In the middle of the night, I actually skimmed through his 141 page manifesto detailing all the wrongs he allegedly suffered. Could this been prevented? Is it his parents' fault? Did he discuss his plans with his psychiatrist? Why do kids grow up the way that they do? He seemed to have everything going for him.

The whole incident reminded me of the movie A Beautiful Boy, which dealt with the aftermath of a college student mass killing his classmates but never showed the killer or discussed his motives. All the parents could say was he was quiet, vaguely unhappy, and aloof and as a child, he was physically beautiful. The media descended upon the parents like locusts trying to figure out what monsters they must be to have produced such a monster. They were forced into hiding.

From this kid's rantings, it was obvious that his parents were bending over backwards to please him. But they couldn't make other kids like him, no matter how hard they tried (and they tried hard).. My favorite part of his biography was him ranting how selfish his mother was for not attracting richer men to marry so he would have even more money at his disposal. As it was, she gave him a BMW to drive and first class accommodations on European vacations. She also gave him unlimited computer time (the step mom tried to keep it under an hour a day). 

To me, he was an obvious schizophrenic with all his delusions about people laughing at him for being a virgin. But could his killing spree have been prevented?

No  one needs to have an automatic weapon. Yeah he killed the first 3 without them. I just hate the thinking behind the NRA. Deer hunters can use shot guns to kill deer; hey don't need assault rifles. Although the parents could not have predicted the killing spree, he at least sounded like a candidate for suicide. And with his anger towards women and even his little brother, his psychiatrist should have put him on the mentally ill list.

Was there any hope for him? I feel for his parents and most of all I feel for the parents who lost their children to this nut case and  the easy accessibility of weapons.

And news of yet another Pakistani honor killing of a daughter  in broad daylight, with plenty of cheering on-lookers and absolutely no interference from the powers that be. It makes me so sad that some cultures are so evil. 

I am waiting for threat of thunderstorms to go away so I can bike.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Orange is the new red

Scenes from Memorial Day: Daniel about to receive an Allie nose kiss

Happy in pink
Recently, I was reading a review of Latin for Bird Lovers.The book explains how misleading some names are: bald eagles are not bald but piebald (which means having a white patch), godwits mean good to eat but they are not tasty at all, and my favorite: robin red breast. The reason they are called 'red' when they are not is that allegedly the color orange was not named until the 16th century. I assume there were no orange trees where there are robins but sunsets, wild lilies? They had no word to describe the color orange?

Yesterday our 8 direct descendants were here ( along with 2 spouses). We need a bigger table. Very fun to see the kids all playing together. We are blessed with very cute grand babies.

Muggy and stormy today. At least I didn't need to water my new plants. I tried a new nail place today. I presumed it would be Indian because all the businesses in its strip mall are (including Curry Pizza, I kid you not) but it was Chinese. Less expensive than the Ann Arbor places. The did a good job but the color wasn't what I had hoped it would be. I wanted orange and instead, it is more red.

my nails

Monday, May 26, 2014

Muguet des Bois

lily of the valley  There is a 20 foot row of them near my patio. They belong to the neighbor
These are difficult to photograph with an iphone but  I am too lazy to bring out the good camera


Ah the fragrances of May. I run out into the country and am treated with honeysuckle and apple blossoms.
On and adjacent to my patio are the lilies of the valley, purple petunias, stock and lilacs. So wonderful in the evening!

Muguet des Bois was an Avon fragrance  that as a teenager that I bought with the very little money I had. I would smell wonderful for about an hour. It did not last long.

Later today, we will have all the babies and grandbabies here. How to fit them all in comfortably?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

You could be my 100,000th reader!

Shetland ponies at the farmstand on my bike ride. They had a sheep that was the same size as these

Dahlias Dahling

Celosia galore

This place likes to make all sorts of baskets, this is their 'fairy garden'

more conventional baskets

yard decorations from discarded tableware

I went back to buy this. My birds will have a place to take a bath

According to statcounter, I am just 2 readers away from 100,000 readers. I didn't install  statcounter until I had my blogs for 6 months and they miss more and more readers. Some people never show up even though I know they are on this blog. According to the google counter built into this blog, I have more like 300,000 hits but that includes those scamming companies that go around making false hits screwing up pages that depend on hits for revenue. This is not a commercial blog but still I used to get a lot of these hits. Stat counter filters them away.

A perfect day (dry, sunny and not windy) for bicycling! Since I started riding again 6 weeks ago, I've put 256 miles on the bike, the exact amount I will do in the Michigander over 6 days. Lots of animals on my ride today: a lone female turkey, sandhill cranes, a deer just inches of me trying to decide whether it was going to dart in front of me, the fat shetland ponies at the farmstand that I stop at to drink water and stretch my legs along with their sheep and goats, and my favorite, right in my neighborhood 4 hours after the sun came out, a raccoon  darted in front of me. Raccoons should only be seen at dusk, night  or dawn, not during the day. Something must be wrong with it.

I did a lot of planting yesterday so my garden is starting to shape up. Later I had a late lunch/early dinner with a friend. Tasty.

Update: Hundred thousandth visitor came about an hour after I posted this. Someone from Reno who just stumbled upon this blog looking for photos of pink phlox

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Camelopardalids were a bust

I did get around to planting some stuff yesterday. A poppy

Bugle weed, creeping phlox and snow in summer
Last night a spectacular meteor shower was predicted. Skies were clear; alarm set for 2:30 am for the peak of 1000/ hour but again, I did not see a single one. Viewing is not ideal around my house. Lots of big trees, my own private Vegas on the patio, lots of street lights but still I could see lots of stars, just no meteors. And the alarm awoke me from a sound sleep. I figured I'd be up around that time anyway as I usually am but not last night. And then, I couldn't get back to sleep.

So I have yet to see anything in a meteor shower despite all my years on earth I did have a meteorite land near me about 15 years ago in Manistique, Michigan  and have seen a few falling stars now and again but never when they are predicted to come.

The weather has been beautiful. Lots of biking, running and planting of flowers here. Naomi has been dating a promising young man recently. She texted me his name and address in case she showed up missing. Hope this works out though it makes me nervous her dealing with men as she is so naive.

On Memorial day, I will have all the kids here. Until then,I need to rest. 

Friday, May 23, 2014


Josh's family
The Germans are quite inventive with their compound words: schadenfreude being my favorite (joy in others misfortunes) but it turns out English has a few of its own. Recently I came across 'humblebrag' though I can't remember if it was a verb (most likely) or a noun. It was new to me. Did the writer just make it up? Turns out it has been in general use for at least a few years but new to me.

Can I be accused of humblebragging? Probably.

A beautiful, cool day here. I should be planting flowers. Already I let the lobelia get too dry I did fix the damage Steve did to my bike though he should have done it for me. When I complained, he said to just take it to the 'shop'. Um......

Tomorrow summer officially begins here with the opening of the pools. I bought some goggles in anticipation of swimming laps which I haven't done in 23 years. I used to be able to swim farther than I could run.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Love is never having to say you're sorry..

Neptune's cave: Sardinia. Should I visit it? This is my niece's photograph
Who remembers that silly quote that is my title? I'll give you a hint..lots of little Jennifers appeared not long after that movie (but surprisingly, not so many Olivers). One of the sappiest movies of all times.

Anyway, I don't agree with the quote. One should say that you are sorry. Yesterday my bike ride seemed unduly difficult due to the heat and humidity and..all of a sudden my brake is rubbing against the wheel. The bike worked fine the other day. What happened in the meantime? Could Steve have knocked it over accidentally?  Yes indeed he did when asked was all MY fault for cluttering the garage.No sorry. No trying to fix what he broke..just blame the victim. He breaks things of mine alot and never, never apologizes. Some how he finds a way to say that it was my fault.


The baby robins pictured yesterday are gone. I guess they looked pretty big in that nest. I think childhood lasts just 2 weeks for them and then, time to move on.

Love Story.  That's the name of the sappy movie. I did have a crush on Ryan O'Neal left over from my Peyton Place days. Who watched that?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Nest of Robins

A tree that may in summer wear 
A nest of robins in her hair;
From Joyce Kilmer's  Trees

Mama robin and baby

The 3 babies

Shanna, Tessa and I went to the Farmer's Market this morning to pick up some baskets

During warm weather, the market is open Wednesday and Saturday mornings. I prefer really early Wednesdays. It's a zoo on Saturdays

Cheese market in nearby Kerrytown

Ms. Tess in the courtyard

Interesting ceiling of upscale baby store

Cute gift shop nearby with bubbles coming out of the mailbox which Tess loved

Lots of cute things inside

Waiting for Shanna to pick me and our baskets up. I like the bike rack. One of the baskets is full of lobelia. Hope I don't kill it like I usually do.
Just a few days ago, I had to bundle up for my bike ride because it was 38 degrees at the start. Today I got a late start; mid seventies but it feels much warmer as it is dew point humidity. It sucked my energy away.

My new feeders are seeing some action. The chickadees checked out the finch feeder and decided thistle seed wasn't for them. They did like the conventional seed though.

The Farmer's Market was full of people this morning. Fun to see all the pretty flowers and be with Shanna and Tessa. My patio is starting to look good.

Fun facts: Joyce Kilmer was a man
This nest of robins is on my gutter drain spout
Steve took the robin pictures. If I got close enough with my iphone, daddy robin would have pecked my eyes out

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Attracting finches

One of yesterday's projects: making 4 impatiens bags.These are some of last years. It will take a few weeks for the new ones to fill in
Aside from hummingbirds (which right now consist of a lone male shivering on the wire), I love finches. This year, lots of gold finches flit around me as I do my country run. I saw a female goldfinch searching for food on my patio the other day. Maybe I should feed them? There are two downsides to this. Squirrels and chipmunks eating the food instead and finch's favorite food, thistle seed, turning into thistles. But I have decided to risk it in hopes of attracting my favorite finch of all, the indigo bunting. I have only seen one in full sunlight (on cloudy days, they appear black and I think I have seen a few of them) and he was beautiful. Most common finch around here? The purple finch, which is inaptly named as it appears to be a small sparrow with a reddish head.

So far I haven't attracted any avian life to my feeders What I also share space is, two pairs of cardinals, two pairs of robins, one of them has a nest with 3 babies over my drainspout and numerous visiting chickadees. In the fall, blue jays move in. If I get too close to the nest, easy as I walk by it to exit my house, the male robin flies at my face.

Yesterday was beautiful; a long run, a short bike ride, a visit to the nursery, a visit to Shanna's and some time planting my impatiens in bags. Today, back to rain.

These make a shady area bright

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fuel for fire

Pretty but dangerous
Eucalyptus trees were imported from Australia to California in the hopes that the fast growing trees would provide wood for the railroads. As it turned out, the wood is not suitable for that.These things have since spread over California. The only thing that stops them is frost. These trees are very rich in oil and have been known to explode during forest fires.

When my brother lived San Diego County, I would visit and go on bike rides throughout the county (a very large county). On one of my routes, I'd go through the Elfin forest towards Escondido. Last week, this dense stretch of eucalyptus was in difficult to put out flames along with parts of Carlsbad and San Marcos. The trees are found in Northern California too along the coast (frost free areas). This pair is across the street from my brother's. Their presence puts him in the highest level of fire danger even though his property is usually enveloped in coastal fog.

No fire danger here due to everything being completely saturated in the non stop rains although a hoarder was killed in Ann Arbor yesterday in a fire that could not be quickly put out due to all the crap she had stuffed the home full of. Neighbors had complained about the hoarding for years. She had used vehicles in front of the house as auxiliary storage along with the porch and the yard, quite a mess.What I didn't know was that her grandson lived there. It's one thing to put yourself in danger but another to endanger a minor. Fortunately he made it out alive. I am not a fan of hoarders. My parents' house was destroyed in part due to this hoarding squatter and I was responsible for his mess. And a few years back, a hoarder fire started in the condo complex that we own a condo(for Naomi to rent) endangering the other units and causing our HOA fees to go up. Thanks Hoarder.

But no rain this morning though it was a bit chilly. Nice for a bike ride. And then, a  visit from Ms Allie.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Thyme to travel

What should I see?
A good portion of yesterday was spent plotting our escape. Since I am trying to use reward points, it was frustrating since there is maybe one seat per flight and depending on the circumstances, required widely differing amount of miles. And then we couldn't find seats for Steve on the same flight, the prices kept changing every time we refreshed the screen, on and on but finally we got something that will sort of work even though we will end up taking different flights but will arrive at our destination within hours of each other.
Ah travelling on a budget...
Steve initially was exploring package deals but of course, I think I can do way better cobbling an itinerary on my own for much less. But where will we go? We have the tickets for the  jumping off place but the world is wide open from there. Plenty of time to fill in the details....
A hint for our beginning (based on it seemed to be the cheapest place to fly)
Yeah I been there before but Steve hasn't
And today's riddle:
Thyme on my hands (though it isn't my thyme as my variegated thyme finally died after faithfully popping up for 8 years in my rock garden, not my hands either)


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