Saturday, December 31, 2016

Oh the places I have been in 2016

ghost forest Mendocino County



Eureka, CA

Glass Beach, Ft. Bragg, CA

Sea lions, Newport OR

Sundial Bridge, Redding, CA

Superbowl 50 celebration, San Francisco

Ferry Building, San Fran

surfer, Santa Cruz

downtown Northville, MI

Country Dairy, Hart, MI

near Newago, MI

Muskegon River on which we kayaked lit, barely, by a full moon

Lewes, DE

Rehoboth Beach, DE

outside of Livermore, CA



Mono Lake, CA

near Coulterville, CA

Japanese Gardens, Golden Gate Park

Hidden Stairs, San Fran

flock of pelicans, Pillar Point, CA

Grand Rapids

Ypsilanti, MI

Letchworth St. Pk, NY


Corning, NY glass museum

Freedom  Tower, NYC

Prospect Park

Coney Island

Greenwood Cemetery

I have skipped over many of the places we visited. Hoping to expand my territory next year. Stay tuned! Happy New Year to All.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

29 seconds extra of sunshine

super senior day purchase: purple poppies for my green and purple room

I first thought these were miniature quilts but closer examination shows that they are painted hand made paper Still haven't figured a place for them
Maya from last night. We thought we would watch all five tonight when their parents went out but illness in one of the grandchildren postponed the whole event until we will have 6 to watch
new quick sale lit up wreath
from the neighbor's garbage along with 2 paintings with their original $120 price tags still on

Twenty-nine seconds are tacked on to each new day since the solstice. Not fast enough for me. Today was the sunniest and calmest day of the week so out for a 16 mile bike ride early this morning. Unfortunately it was 27. I bundled up but still the cold, moving air got under my helmet. Not much room in there for a hat though maybe those thin covers I slept in when I was bald might help.

A fun time was had calling my insurance company for the umpteenth time concerning my tooth repair. Broken teeth due to an accident is allegedly covered. There are no dentists in their network, only oral surgeons, who would not repair my teeth so I was given an 'out-of network exception' Trying to get them to pay for the bills is quite a challenge. Each month, since February, I think it is finally settled but then it isn't. I got a denial of claim letter last week. Something about the wrong code was entered. Codes I know they had provided my dentist. They say they will pay when the proper codes are entered. No they can't give me, the patient, the codes. My provider has to ask for them. The provider is closed until next week. I've done all I could until then though I did get the magic code phone number for my provider to call.

It has put a dark cloud over my holiday.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas 2017

Before they were allowed to open presents, they had to sit relatively still without purposely making funny faces so I could take a photo. Next year, there should be a year old sitting amongst them
Josh's family on Xmas eve

before dawn and the craziness began. All that wrapping was undone in about 10 minutes

To make things a bit easier on myself, I made the latkes the night before. I got up before dawn to put the ham in the oven and to chop up vegetables for the frittata. Then out for a run on the main road (it has a 6 foot wide bike lane on both sides). No traffic and a bit above freezing. Still the ice hasn't completely melted on our streets but today it will hit 50.

After a shower, I prepared the frittata and made cream cheese icing for the cinnamon rolls I baked. Julie brought lots of fruit and Shanna brought Xmas cookies for the kids and pecan pie for the adults. We didn't starve.  The kids had to wait until we all had eaten before attacking the gift pile. I think all were pleased.

I am blessed to be able to see my family so often and that they are so close. Merry Christmas to my readers.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Hairy woodpecker

How do I know he isn't just another downy? He is 9 inches long versus 6 inches and has a much longer proportionately bill.  We had a downy and a hairy clinging to our walls right next to each other. Alas, no photo card in the camera. Later they were both on the feeder at the same time but the hairy is easily spooked by any movement on our part. Downies don't care. I have had downies eat out of my hand
A downy's body would not extend beyond the feeder
new art for my beach themed bathroom
I needed this beaded centerpiece like I need a hole in my head but it is so pretty
New lit up Santa holding flickering lamp thanks to a good friend. Tessa likes it as do I

Such is life that excitement is getting a hairy woodpecker to come to our feeder. I do see them high in the trees when I run through the woods (road currently is an iced luge track). They do look much like downies but are 50% bigger and are much shyer. While I was typing the above captions, I took a bathroom break and found both the downy and the hairy on the same feeder for comparison though it isn't the best photo but one can see how similar they are. Will include later at the end of this post. Also I don't know why they are called 'hairy' or why the red bellied woodpecker is called that when the red is just a faint pink streak. We are up to 3 full pairs of cardinals, still less than the 5 males I had sitting in the tree last January. And the flock of juncos is back. This is south for them. they breed way up north. Some call them snowbirds as they don't show up until there is snow.

I have been busy, either visiting friends or having people over. I made a big pot of matzoh ball soup the other day which Josh enjoyed for lunch. His company more or less shuts down for the holidays. He will return for one day of work before taking off another 2 weeks when the baby is born, 12 days at the most from now but who's counting.

All this visiting and hosting involves food so there are many opportunities for me to exercise some sort of restraint. I went out the other night with my ex-colleagues and announced to their surprise that I would be having only one glass of wine instead of drinking most of the bottle. I had told myself to order a box to put half of my entrée in it so I wouldn't be tempted to eat the whole thing but it seems so small and I had only one bowl of soup all day, I gobbled the whole thing up. Still I've lost a bit since last week. January, past the Moms party that I rescheduled, will be easier. Clothes are much, much looser.

I did take some time to have a Jacuzzi all by myself the other night. Nice not sharing it with someone who is pretending to be a mermaid kicking me the whole time. When we bought the house, I thought I'd be in it all the time. I used it a few times the first year. Last year, after my surgery, I wasn't supposed to have full body submersion for 8 weeks. I did go into a hotel hot tub at 8 weeks post surgery and ended up with 'hot tub dermatitis' which consisted of huge weeping sores on my private parts that made travelling especially fun. And then I had an allergic reaction to something I was putting on the sores to prevent infection so I had hives too. Fun times.

In the mornings, I run on the shoulder of the big road near us. It is fairly clear but boring. I ran when it was only 5 above. Fortunately, not windy.Yesterday it was in the high thirties, tropical!, so I went for a bike ride for the first time in more than 2 weeks. It felt so good!

On Christmas, the whole family will be here. It is also Hanukkah so I will make some latkes too. 

Monday, December 19, 2016


This herd of deer walk through our backyard almost every morning
we now have 2 red bellied woodpeckers. I haven't seen the females since this summer
I had bought antique glass rose ornaments for the bicycling posse that met here last night
we had a coat of ice crystals that sparked in the rising sun this morning. Should have gone outside for a good photo but it was well below zero

Every day I run outside thinking I won't be able to run the next day because the weather will be worse. It was well below zero this morning but it quickly 'warmed up' to ten so out I went. The Great Lakes protected us somewhat from the polar vortex as they were quite warm this summer so temperatures in Wisconsin run 20 degrees below what is on the west coast of Michigan. Still some cold air gets around to freeze us on the east side.

Naomi called us the other night to report she has no water. Could the pipes have frozen even though the severe cold hadn't hit us yet? I asked her to check her basement to make sure it wasn't flooded. Nope and she had water running in her laundry sink. Strange. She lives on the 2nd floor of the condo. A crabby old lady lives on the first. She would not answer the door so Naomi did not know if she had water. The next day, we were contracting for emergency plumbing (on a Sunday). We were going to need to access the 1st floor. Steve could hear the lady moving about in her apartment but it wasn't until several times that she deigned to answer the door. Turns out she turned off Naomi's water to have some insulation work done though I can't imagine why. She forgot to turn it on. Naomi has the shut off valve in her private space which this lady accessed without permission. Trespassing anyone?
This woman had lodged a formal complaint against Naomi for jumping on the bed at 10 pm and for leaving their joint front door unlocked. The Association told us we would be fined if the door  was left unlocked again. Of course it was unlocked when Steve showed up. Dark thoughts about Naomi. He locked it. It became unlocked. Turns out the woman herself was unlocking it. So the next time she feels like filing a complaint, criminal charges could be filed against her.

I had the ladies that rode in the Michigander over yesterday. They are changing the ride such that we stay 2 nights in each location. Less packing up the tent. As all 3 places are on Lake Michigan, it will be hard to be motivated to actually ride.

That will be in 7 months. Hopefully I will be quite trim then.


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