Friday, October 30, 2015

When Jupiter, Mars and Venus align

Put a bird on it. New print for bathroom

pretty paperweight
splurge item: venetian glass dish
my hairdresser's carving of a watermelon for her party tonight. Don't think I will go
Tessa with makeup program
Allie as a hippy for Halloween
creepy Allie after Julie used the make-up program on her

We awoke yesterday to three bright objects in the eastern sky just above the horizon. I assumed correctly that one was Venus. What were the others? Stars? Turns out that they were Jupiter and Mars.  This is known as a planetary conjunction. Hard to figure out how rare this is. There seems to be a planetary conjunction every 10 years or so between 2 planets so I assume this is even rarer.This morning, it was too cloudy to see anything. It will go on for a few days so I will try to photograph it.
I  want time to pass quickly so this house thing is behind us and for time to stand still while there are a few nice days of weather. And the albatross continues to annoy. We had to have some work done today and more complications requiring more money arose. Ugh. I really hate being in this situation.
So how have I been amusing myself ? More running, more biking though the latter is becoming more unpleasant with the cold. We will have some warmth next week. I hit the resale shops yesterday and have been amusing myself selecting prints to fill the empty frames. I visited a friend and have been playing around on the computer with this photo editing program designed to try out different make-up and hairstyles on your photo. I haven't put my face into it but have put the granddaughters instead.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Local color

Burning Bush

This sugar maple (I think) is on the edge of our property. It actually is prettier than this
sky finally starting to clear after rain all night and day

our visitor this afternoon

I think that this is the first time in forever that I didn't do any form of exercise. I did walk outside to fill feeders and  take these photos. Steve took the skeletons yesterday while he was out on an errand. Very strong winds will blow and the leaves will probably all come off. It rained non-stop, a side effect of Hurricane Patricia. I fretted all night about power outages at the other house but all was fine except the leaves clogged the storm sewer. Far be it that the renters next door would unclog it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Canoe sunburst

New artwork at Gallup Park

Real goose
fake goose
wild asparagus
Huron Rier

It's been more than a year since I've been to Gallup Park, a place I would go to almost daily. In my absence, they have put up art works, my favorite being the canoe sunburst.

A triple workout today: run, bike and a long walk. As the next two days will have bad weather, I guess it's good I got my workouts done in advance.

Back to the Albatross to reclaim some of our lamps as we are no longer showing the house. We found a couple taking a photo of our pretty maple, right now the prettiest in the neighborhood. I also noticed that plants that are dead due to frost at our new house are still alive back there. Must be about 5 degrees warmer there.

Monday, October 26, 2015

In the glory

As I rode north, the low sun made even weeds sparkle

went by lots of horse farms
coming home, turned on to dirt roads. Speckled light made it hard to see
the grandkids had face painting at a local pumpkin patch
purple is her favorite
Allie singing itsy bitsy spider. Here the sun comes out

Ah Fall! Although a harbinger of the bleakness to come, it can be glorious. Sunday mornings are my prime bicycling times as the traffic is at its lowest but with the sun coming up later and later and it being so low that heading east must be planned carefully as drivers would be blinded to my presence. Next Sunday is Day Light Savings time so the sun will come out a little earlier. But yesterday it was windless and sunny though a bit nippy. I headed north and then west on paved roads before too many drivers hit the streets during the golden hour when the low sun makes everything sparkle. I planned for the eastern portion of my ride to be as late as possible for the sun to be higher and thus not in my eyes and that of the drivers behind me. Also I wanted to try roads that I have not been on. So I turned south onto a  narrow dirt  road through a dense forest. Beautiful but tough sledding due to a heavy rain the night before. I became mired in wet sand. Even the sections that I could pick up speed, light dark light dark...the flashing lights probably could set off a seizure in susceptible people. The sun had dried the rain off the middle of the east west roads so I had a better path though the sun hurt my eyes. 26 miles later, I was home.
The day before, I reserved for my longest run of the season unfortunately after a rain that made the hills slippery but still all was pretty. Steve and I have not done much together due to the pressure of the albatross (still will have it to deal with at a lesser extent for the next few weeks...those maple leaves have to be dealt with). We went for a drive in the country stopping at the orchard I had biked to the week before for more honey crisps and some of their fruit butters. Plum butter any one? We stopped at Josh's to see Allie as UM had a BYE and Josh would not be glued to the set. He and Allie came over yesterday for Allie to ride our selection of 'cars'.
And then a friend stopped by to watch Black Mirror, a British version of The Twilight Zone only much more weird. Example: a beloved princess in England is kidnapped and will be killed if the kidnapper's one request is not made: for the Prime Minister to be televised having sex with a pig.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Devil you know

The blazing Norway Maple in front of the albatross though a forester told me it was a sugar maple 

there's one here too along with a few other maples that have lost their red leaves
we have lots of pink mums in bloom now
burning bush

We have come to regard our buyers who first presented themselves as this sweet young couple sending us a letter "please accept our offer, please?" as a blood thirsty pair of hyenas. For the past 8 days as they had more specialized inspections, their list of demands grew. Our personal favorite: they had not seen a small crack in the garage floor upon the first 3 showings. Now it was intolerable. They want 8K for this alone to replace the entire floor. Nevermind that the crack is barely noticeable and could easily be filled in. Steve noticed that they removed the threshholds we have under our doors, presumably to see what was under them and they did not put them back (which involves nailing). How dare they do this when it is not their house? I knew that this whole process was not going to be pleasant but they have made it miserable. What recourse do we have? Well there is a buyer who will make an offer if this deal falls through but will not make an offer until then. And what kind of offer will that be when they learn the deal fell through at the inspection stage.  Possibly a worse devil. Also already several parties who said they were going to make an offer the next day or the next week seemed to evaporate. Talk is cheap. Still we used this mythical backup as leverage. So Thursday we had to come up with a counteroffer to their outrageous demands which was mainly they could just learn to live with that crack but we gave in, way too much to other stupid things. We were told that there was no way they would accept life with that crack even though both agents thought they were unreasonable. Neither of us slept that night. By the end of the day yesterday, they did accept the counteroffer. So no more contingencies. They have to close in less then a month, which is way too long for me but maybe they will close sooner.
We can move on. FINALLY.
Despite the stressful week, I was able to experience some joy when for brief moments I was able to forget this. My friend showed up bright and early yesterday for a bike ride with me. Very pretty but no stopping for photos as she had a tight schedule. Deer jumped in front of us and the maples are now at their peak. I have been riding my bicycle plenty lately. Today I planned for a long run though it is pouring out and once it stops, it will be slippery on the dirt hills. I finished my project. I hung up some treasures purchased the day before.
Thursday I saw my friend, who is recovering from a stem cell transplant. She has very little immunity as they suppress the immune system she has from attacking her thus there is a whole set of rules to be followed to keep her safe. It was a nice day but she could not go outside as the mild breeze could disperse dirt and bacteria. No gardening for a year and she is quite the gardener. I was shocked to see her bald and puffy and very pale. All of this should pass. She does like to gab so gab we did for a good part of the afternoon. I did a few tasks for her. I made the rounds of the thrift stores, conveniently near her, before our visit.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Draw a man test

Shanna's person that she drew right after she turned 4
yesterday's bike ride

love this gate

Tess before her haircut. She obviously is excited
after.  Not much difference

We used to have a mom in the Moms group who had a degree in Special Ed and was in charge of administering kindergarten readiness tests in her district. One of the screens was the Draw a Man or Person test. The child is not to be prompted. No what about the ears. Kids will do better if they have had prompts in the past. But the test is a quick screen of maturity, not necessarily of artistic ability. Passing 'men' should have a head, body, arms and legs. Limbs should come out of the body, not the head. Extra body parts are a bonus. Since I judged Shanna to be so advanced, I gave her this test a full year before she was in kindergarten. The results are above. She has elbows, shoulder blades (coming out of the neck), eyelids and lashes and fingers along with a few more bonus items. Yep, she would have passed with flying colors but she was 'advanced'. Josh would not have done so well even though he probably was more artistic than Shanna. Naomi was the most artistic but I don't know if she drew a person so early.
Flash forward to yesterday during Maya's parent-teacher conference. She had two 'persons' that Maya had drawn. One 6 weeks ago that consisted of a badly drawn circle with arms and legs coming out of it, something a 30 month old could have drawn. The second, drawn very recently, actually was close to passing, as it had a head, a body, arms and legs though the arms came out of the head. It also had eyes, a nose, mouth and ears though nothing was close to the correct proportions. It represented a huge leap in maturity. Her chief weakness is very poor fine motor skills in writing and drawing and scissor use. She does have occupational therapy  sessions. Her gross motor skills though are superb. We have a video of her making an impressive amount of foul shots when she was just 3. We were gratified to learn that her cognitive skills are right in the middle of the class.  She is making friends easily and for the most part, has good social skills.We also worried about her impulsivity. Lack of maturity or AHDH? Probably the former. The teacher gave the example of early in the year, Maya would go around knocking down towers that the boys had made without regard to their feelings. She didn't think Maya did it to be mean, just that she was too immature to understand the consequences. This brought back a sad memory. I was much older than Maya when I was asked to leave a friend's house because I had knocked down a tower made by her younger brother with the mom's words ringing in my head
What is wrong with you!!!?!
What indeed. Intrinsically bad? Raised by wolves?
It is still warm and pretty out. A bike ride yesterday and a long run today. Today I help take care of my friend who had a stem cell transplant. It will be the first time I have seen her since she went into the hospital almost 7 weeks ago. The other day, she thought she had host versus graft disease but it turned out to be an allergy to one of her medications. I guess it is a good sign that she can develop an allergy as her immune system was knocked out. She has been able to grow white blood cells but lymphocytes such as B and T cells take a year to reach the proper number. She is vulnerable to fungal infections. All the antigens developed from childhood vaccinations are gone. They will be replaced as her immune system grows in.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Went for a 28 mile bike ride to the orchard and back Sunday up and down a very busy road

Walked through a nature preserve this morning

most of the pretty leaves are gone
75 degrees today. Ate lunch outside with a friend in Ypsilantii
The Hudson car musum
where we ate

The train came barreling by as we ate
Then a visit to Shanna and Tessa. Naomi and Maya came over as soon as I got home. A neighbor brought her husky over

Imagine yourself as Judge Judy. The plaintiff complains of the constant drumming of fingernails on a ceramic cup. The defendant retorts that this couldn't possibly bother anyone and continues to drum. Why? Stress relief? Ingrained habit? The plaintiff is forced to leave the area. Who has the problem?
According to an article in the science section yesterday of the WSJ, the plaintiff has the psychiatric disorder misophony, the intolerance of 'normal' human noises. These noises usually are lip smacking and  loud chewing. Drumming was not mentioned. Is there a cure besides Get over it?None mentioned. Steve did use this article to justify his bizarre habit that drives me crazy.
We had a day of summer yesterday. I was able to run early in the morning in a sleeveless top. Many of the leaves have fallen but it was still pretty on my country roads. Bonus: I am getting faster. Then off to a walk in yet another nature preserve, one with the pond pictured above. Then back to Ypsi. Years back, in attempt to improve its image of that as Ann Arbor's much poorer step sister, the city had banners festooned on every corner proclaiming the city Hipslanti.  This did not catch on. Then the flags proclaimed that Ypsilanti was one of the few "Cool" cities in Michigan as judged by the Governor (not the current one). Now it appears that it is "Ypsi Real' according to the many flags down in Depot Town, a historical area built around the old train station and where our restaurant is. Another name not found on banners is Ypsitucky because of the large influx during theWW2 of people from Appalachia to work in the bomber factories of nearby Willow Run. The story of one family is in one of my favorite books The Dollmaker.  The author, Harriette Arnow, eventually settled on a farm near my neighborhood that now is even further being subdivided into more development to increase the traffic in  the road in my back yard.
I did notice a poster for un upcoming event at the Bomber Factory for the World's Largest Rosie the Riveter contest. Women (maybe men can come too) are to come dressed as the iconic Rosie the Riveter. We Can Do It!!!!

Housing in Ypsi is affordable. One of the Moms' daughters was able to purchase a very cute house for way less than half what she would have paid in Ann Arbor recently.
It was nice catching up with my friend sitting outside as  it were summer. Still had the Blood Orange Summer Ale.The train made an appearance in the middle of the intersection just feet away. Years ago, we'd take that train between Corning New York and Ann Arbor stopping at the old stone station, now a restaurant, in Ann Arbor. We always had to switch trains at that huge station in Buffalo. I don't think we switched again from the Canadian system. Below is the station at a slightly earlier time.
I had gone to Ypsi Sunday to go on a very loosely organized bike ride from their big brewery to an apple orchard way up in Northville. Signature beer: Ypsi Gypsy which I had after the bike ride.Yep they rhyme. For some reason, there are few paved north-south roads in this neck of the woods. Thus we were on a very busy road uphill, against a stiff north wind on the way there. Obviously easier on the return. and on Saturday, to the Moms group that was in Ypsi. Even at midnight, that road was plenty busy.
Monday I devoted hours to a photobook project. If I get it done by Friday, I save $5 (meanwhile losing tens of thousands of dollars in the Albatross Fiasco). but I told myself no blogging until that is done. Well it is mostly done but it took forever to organize 325 photos from many folders into one.
After my lunch yesterday, on to Shanna's where rampant development was occurring literally in her backyard. Don't people remember 2008? But no more  backyard fields for her to enjoy. Maya and Naomi appeared minutes upon my return home. Maya practiced her bike riding while I sat in the still warm air checking for cars. The husky with the sky blue eyes visited though kids make her nervous. Her vocalizations seem almost human. After a late dinner, I fielded several phone calls from friends until bed.
I was going to have another bike ride today with a friend but it is impossible to predict when the rain was going to hit. I will go off by myself in a few hours when the map, unreliable as it is, seems to have a clear spot. Then off to Maya's parent teacher conference.


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