Saturday, May 30, 2015

My personal waterfall

our new chaise
Julie recently had professional photos done: Ms. Allie
My handsome  son and  his daughter
The family

Back to the old house today to clean up the gardens for our big open house tomorrow
waterfall and pond. Need to pretty it up a bit by planting flowers in upper planter and buying water lilies

I finally took the tarp off the pond to see what I have: gallons of fetid, brown water. A gemisch of decaying vegetation, worms and leeches. It smelled so bad as I ladled it out with a 5 gallon bucket and then scrubbed it clean before adding fresh water. We need to do some adjustments with the hose as too much is spraying out of the bubbler and not enough going over the waterfall.
Here's a first: Naomi was finally able to pay rent for the first time since Don'tae moved out. Yay!
After 10 viewings, still no offers. Meanwhile other homes are attracting bidding wars. Tomorrow is the big Open House. Hope something happens then. We went back today for some last minute tidying up of the yard  before an unforecasted downpour stopped that. Hopefully it won't rain during the open house but sadly it is forecasted.
I have been both running and biking in the heat. I seem to be very busy taking care of things that didn't get done while I was gone. We did have time to go shopping for a chaise. Unfortunately our larger car's battery died and we couldn't fit in the tiny car. Shanna came to the rescue. Still have to  deal with the immobile car. We did go out to dinner with Josh and Allie last night and then a trip to the playground. She is now putting words together.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Song of the mockingbird

loved this cake

This little guy was quite bold. I thought it was some sort of western chickadee (no such thing) but it seems to be a variety of junco
for a second, this looked real
interesting flowers at the hotel. Looks like a hummingbird magnet. Hummers don't love red flowers per se but insects avoid them and thus there should be more nectar left
my trusty rental car. I was told I was getting a Toyota but noticed in the middle of the week it was actually a Chrysler. Bizarre little dial to change gears instead of the usual large lever.
back at home, we had a flock (7 birds?) of cedar wax wings visit the service berry tree last night. Hope they will be back tonight so we can get a better photo. They are striking birds.  I didn't think the berries were ripe yet though one of the waxwings has a red berry here
photo booth of us moms at the wedding. My nose is red from a day around the pool though I thought I was in shade

I am back and it is 5 am California time yet I have been up more than an hour. I guess I adjust quickly. Lots of stuff needs to be done but as soon as this coffee is in me, I am going for a long run as I feel bloated and ugly. Recently there was a cartoon on Facebook with a woman critically reviewing herself in the mirror telling her husband I feel hideous, fat and ugly. Please say something nice to me. Husband: Well you seem to have near perfect vision.
Lies we tell ourselves. I made a stab at losing weight for the wedding not drinking except maybe a glass on the weekends for more than a month before as usual, I backslid.. With the flurry of activity a few weeks before I went in which I barely had time to eat, I think I actually lost weight as clothes were fitting more loosely but now they are digging into me. What made me think I really didn't look all that bad? What made me think the dress looked good on me? Delusions. One look at the many photos brought me back to reality. Below are some photos of me taken last week. I won't even post the photo of me in front of the weinermobile in which I am wearing a not very supportive running bra so my dissymmetry is very apparent for all to see.

My hair was cut way too short and although I thought I styled it, all quickly came undone. My friends were careful to cover up their upper arms but the shawl I brought didn't match well. Bonus: I froze once the sun went down. The top photo was taken by a sweet young woman from Michigan (yay!) that we shared a table with at the trendy restaurant I met with my blogging friend.
We were told that no one ever wears nylons in California and so we shouldn't either. This posed a dilemma for the Moms though one said Fuck it...I'm wearing them. As I had sandals, I didn't plan on it anyway. My legs actually are in very good shape and tanned. And I never had veins or thick ankles except when pregnant but the rest of me has gone to hell in a handbasket.
Throughout the stay, I was treated to the songs of mockingbirds. Their favorite thing to imitate are car alarms, the ones that cycle through 4 different sounds. The birds themselves re sort of unimpressive: medium sized gray birds though their wings in flight seem to have stripes but their songs are interesting. When I googled  Bird that sounds like car alarm to find them, the lyre bird of Australia has a much more impressive repertoire imitating chainsaws, various children toys, camera shutters clicking and film rolls advancing came up also. Sam the cockatiel living with my friend imitates the swoosh of curtains opening and phones.
Despite my many worries, getting up in time, dropping of the rental car and getting on my plane went smoothly helped by Delta waking me up at 4 am to announce a gate change; a sharp contrast to coming to California. The airport is so much busier than Detroit's.
California was a good break. I had plenty of things and people to keep me amused and it is so pretty and different from Michigan.
Back at home I was in a fog hungry as I had no food for I don't know how many hours. It takes me longer to unpack than pack. As it turns out, I didn't have to cram everything into a little bag as I did get free luggage. New flowers here in bloom; many weeds to take care of probably at the old house too. We have had 9 showings and no offers. We will have an open house this weekend so that better work.
Steve says he saw no hummingbirds and orioles while I was gone. No sign of the orioles but there were plenty of hummers. I did enjoy my friend's hummers. She has no feeders but they love her fountains. I think she has Annas, Rufous and possibly Allen hummingbirds. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw that the service berry tree outside our bedroom was covered with colorful birds way too big to be the usual cloud of finches. Steve thought they all were female cardinals but their bright yellow tails and black masks indicated cedar waxwings. They eat only fruit. The berries are just starting to ripen so I suspect they will be back.
Now to run.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Bicycling along the Pacific

Santa Monica Pier: When Shanna used to live in West LA, I'd take the Big Blue Bus to the pier and start my run there

A screenshot of my bicycling app. Lots of backtracking. Gray spots are where I paused the timer to take photos
I am still not comfortable using the phone app for Blogger. I will edit and caption the photos when I am on a real computer.  My California adventure is sadly coming to an end as I am leaving before 7 am tomorrow. I will write about the wedding at some point. I awoke Monday morning early to do a run. jasmine bushes lined the street chock full of hummingbirds. there seems to be 2 types: Anna's, which are a duller color but similar to our ruby throats and the rufous which are bronze. Again we heard the coyotes howling at night and my friend saw one up the hill about 50 feet off the parking lot.  We returned to that great Kosher bakery again, a quinoa scone for me.  I left the hotel and The Moms to return to Santa Monica to meet a blogging TNBC survivor for lunch. A great lunch, lasagna made from zucchini instead of pasta, and a very nice talk.  HH, you need to visit Michigan. the restaurant was just a few blocks from where I stayed with Shanna in Brentwood where I visited her last before she moved back east. Back to my friend's briefly before again meeting up with the Moms, the newly weds and some of their relatives for a big, tasty Italian dinner. The owners were from Abruzzo. I was too tired to join their festivities later that night plus I came to see my friend whereas I can see the Moms back home. 
sedum in my friend's yard
Today while my friend was at work, I took her bike (we are the same height) down to the Ocean heading along the path to the Pacific Palisades. Then down to Venice and its canals. According to my GPS tracker, I went 21 miles seeing lots of pretty things. Pictured here is my friend's sedum, a nearby house festooned with teapots, a mural on the way to the path, the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile, pretty houses along the canals, the view heading north showing the Santa Monica Mountains, the Santa Monica pier and various graffiti near the Venice Boardwalk.  A nice ride though very different than my deserted country rides. Santa Monica has lots of dedicated bike lanes.  A lunch on her porch of takeout sushi and tempura (the bacon scone place alas was out of scones) and later one last dinner out. It has been an interesting week. 
teapot house
more teapots
murals all over the place in Santa Monica and Venice

pretty glads and bougainvillea
love the canal region
these people aren't afraid of color

looking north towards the Palisades

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Wedding

The groom brewed his own beer for the wedding

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The cries of the coyote

Yesterday after an early run and a wonderful fluffy bacon scone, I left the tidy pretty flatlands of Santa Monica to pick up a friend at the extremely chaotic airport.  Instead of heading immediately to the freeway to whisk us to the hills, we took the Pacific Coast highway through Malibu admiring the opulence and we are not in Michigan vegetation before heading up, up the Santa Monica Mountains and through numerous canyons lined with flowering yucca. We stopped at a western themed place in a canyon bottom full of wood carvings and members of the Seven Skulls motorcycle gang.
We are here for a wedding of a son of one of the Moms. It has been so fun watching them grow. There are just 5 of us left down from 8 though I am in contact with 2 of the left ones. everyone had a son in the summer of 1979 except me who had Shanna. We are in Agoura Hills in a big hotel flush against dry grassy hills. The wild is just out there as evidenced by the coyotes waking us up at night. There are fire pits, a pool and a hot tub. lots of excitement all around. we had a great dinner last night at an outdoor restaurant and then had a fire pit wine session. Everyone was still on Michigan time though with 3 days under my belt I am adjusting. after my run this morning, 4 of us went to a gourmet bakery as hotel food is usually gross and expensive. We then bought supplies for a poolside picnic lunch. later this afternoon. We will be bussed 20 minutes away to the wedding venue full of gardens and peacocks.   fun

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Venice Beach

A lazy day. After so many days of having to do so much it was nice just to sit and do a puzzle. I went for a long run through the neighborhood. A lot different than my country path through the woods. Lots of interesting architecture and subtropical vegetation. A man on a bicycle decided to give me hints on how to run.  Later tacos on the beach and a walk along the unique weirdness that is Venice Beach

Friday, May 22, 2015

Blubarb pie

My friend loves making pies. Yesterday's experiment was what one could do with rhubarb.  One pie was just rhubarb which I would think would be too sour as usually strawberries are added to sweeten but it turned out to be delicious. The other pie had blueberries in it.  also tasty. Later we had a wonderful dinner downtown sitting outside in the setting sun and had a marvelous talk.  I had green curry black rice and quinoa stirfry as I am a sucker for anything coconut
  By the time I went to bed, I had been up  more than 19 hours yet now I am awake as it is past 7 in Michigan. will listen to podcasts until it is reasonable to get up California time


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