Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The crane duet

I did take a video of them vocalizing but can't figure how to upload it
Males and females look the same though the male is usually 20% bigger. During a duet the female adds twice as many notes as the male. As these guys were in sync, they are probably both boys
Their voices presumably carry a mile

sandhill cranes  Used to be rare around here but no longer. I usually can hear them, if not see them, on my bike rides. These ones are particularly tame

they are so pretty

sunrise this morning. One advantage of this house is the lack of big trees blocking the sunsets and sunrises

who doesn't need an aquarium on their ceiling from a nightlight. I have the solar system on the ceiling of our hallway

The four of us from the bicycle ride were to ride together yesterday in the state park near Josh's but at the last minute, two couldn't make it. Why haul our bikes (with 2 dicey racks) up there when it is pretty down here? On to the country roads (dirt) here. We did go to the park afterwards to swim as yesterday was a particularly toasty and humid day. The water was quite warm. As we stood around, fish and some other creature (with claws!) would bump into our legs and feet. Sort of creepy.

The sandhill cranes seem to be a fixture of the picnic area as we've seen them there several times before. When I saw them last time, they were taking food off a picnic table. A woman had to shoo them away with a swim noodle. They came up to us while we eating water melon. Would they like some? Yes they would snapping it out of my fingers. Then they started to sing together. Later they went for a bath flapping their wings frantically in the water to get all wet then later on shore to dry them out. Quite a show.

A nice summer day. So calm and peaceful. Fish would regularly jump out of the water (to snap up bugs?) An osprey flew overhead. After lunch, I returned home to find a distressed Steve. The water went crazy as our pressure regulator somehow melted leaving the water under pressure blowing up through the toilets. He somehow shut off all the water awaiting the well guys yet again. New switch; new pressure regulator, new gauge. So far so good but I suspect we are not at the end of problems with the well.

Today will be last warm humid day for a while. As I had biked 2 days in a row, time for a long run. Deer fly season must be over as none flew around my head.

Neuropathic pain. I had a severe attack this morning as I sat on the porch talking to a friend. I assume it is due to damage of a nerve close to my ribs from radiation. Sometimes I go for months without feeling this but today's attack felt like I broke a rib. When in severe pain, my blood pressure drops so I felt like fainting. And then vomiting. After 30 long minutes, I felt fine again. I have no idea what sets these things off. Many times, it wakes me up in the middle of the night. This too shall pass; this too shall pass. And it does.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

August, die she must

barn sale tile that looks good in guest bathroom
and the primitive doll which has pieces of copper ore attached
perhaps the blue is too bright to match the rest of my orange and blue room
pink skies last night
lots of pink cleome along with yellow dahlia
finally more than one bloom on the tropical hibiscus which has doubled this past year
life along the frog pond. What missing are my real frogs. The snake ate one and chased the big one away

I was just thinking of the song "April, come she will" yesterday when later flipping through the channels, I came across Simon and Garfunkel's concert in Central Park and they were singing it. How 20 somethings were so obsessed and knowledgeable about leaves that are green turn to brown, I don't know.

I remember walking downtown Detroit around Christmas in late 1964 and the Sounds of Silence was being piped into the streets thinking it was so cool. I listened to it all the time on my tinny transistor radio. Keener 13? CKLW? The two stations I would switch back and forth with the latter broadcast from Canada so the time would be different half the year.

This has not been a good summer for bicyclists. First some drunk plowed into a tight pack of them in Kalamazoo killing five outright and maiming as many others. There have been a couple of bicycle fatalities recently in our county too. Last Friday a woman my age was mowed down while she was travelling between  Dexter, where she lives, and Chelsea. I knew her! She was one of the triathlete pioneers here, a gifted athlete and along with her husband, a race organizer where I came into contact wit her. She was very shy, unlike her outgoing husband but very likeable. I went to her house a few times back in the 80s.I hope she was killed instantly (so not to suffer) but it is so sad and disturbing.

So as not to become roadkill myself this morning, I placed flashing lights on my body to travel through dense fog. By mile 8, the highest point of today's ride, it had finally lifted. It was unbearably hot and humid. I sweat for almost an hour after I finished my 20 mile ride.

I've been biking and running a lot lately. Still fat.

I watched Brooklyn the other day. I really enjoyed it.

On today's  agenda, a visit from Josh and Allie and later, a friend comes over. Maybe, just maybe, I will vacuum.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Butterflies and rainbows

I was returning from my run yesterday morning to find this in the north sky
angels above my bedroom door
swallowtail on butterfly bush Also see lots of monarchs

The hummingbirds continue to feud. I have 3 feeders and plenty of flowers but still, much effort is spent keeping the others from eating. In a month, they will be gone crossing the Gulf of Mexico to Central America. Not much bird activity here: sparrows and noisy blue jays on the suet feeder and gold finches on the thistle seed feeder. Occasionally the Cooper's hawk sweeps through though I don't know if it has gotten any of my birds.
A low key week. Some annoyances like my dental insurance not covering any of my last visit because, unbeknownst to me, I went over the maximum. Sure wish I knew that before I agreed to each tooth being painfully and expensively x-rayed. Also my fillings will have to wait until January.

I knew my host was angry with me in Delaware but could only guess why. I reluctantly answered the phone the other day. Usually we speak quite often but after an unanswered text saying  was safe, I heard nothing for almost 2 weeks and assumed he was still angry. The conversation started fine, like the friends of 45 years we've been. But  then came the accusations and the long list of grievances, most of which I was totally unaware of. Mountains were made of molehills and lots of misunderstandings.  Geesh! Very hard to listen to and not a great day brightener. Am I so obtuse?

I've started reading more of my promethease report which links various medical conditions to my genes. One condition it said I probably have is the inability to remember faces. Hmm. I really think I can though names usually escape me. A lot of the report is very depressing as it seems I have every cancer gene and proclivity for high blood pressure (only observed this while pregnant) and strokes

Tomatoes and squash continue to ripen but I am getting sick of both. I will try to have fun next week  during the last week of summer.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


My houseguests: note Maya's position hogging up most of the bed with Tessa driven to the edge
butterfly bowl
my orange sunflower
how many zinnias can grow in one small container

Recently Maya had a routine physical. Throughout, she wandered around the room touching everything she could find,  not sitting still for a moment. Naomi asked the doctor what to do about her obvious ADHD. Well maybe she does not have ADHD, she is just immature.
And she is too young to be treated.with medications. How old will she have to be? Not clear. In the meantime, 3 people have to fill out this one size fits all questionnaire and another meeting will be set in 2 months. Although the first several questions are germane to AHDH, many of the questions seem to be along the lines of determining whether or not your child was a mass murderer. No Maya does not torture animals, set fires, rape people, steal stuff, etc. What she does  is not sit still for a second or do an activity for more than a minute before searching for another.

I do have plenty of experience with kids her age. Aside from  raising my own 3, I led a Brownie troop, coached first grade girls (and earlier, boys) and led Josh's first grade class several times. Although I did come across a few boys as squirrely as Maya, never did I see a girl so antsy.
Recently there was an article in the WSJ stressing the importance of early treatment (they annoyingly never defined 'early') They compared the impulsive behavior of treated versus untreated once these children reached adolescence. The untreated were 5.8% more likely to be involved in unplanned pregnancies, speeding, drug use. Of course they never said whether 5.8% was a significant amount (where are those editors anyway).

She and Tessa spent the night. It is easier to entertain two than one but Maya will just focus momentarily on one task before wanting to do something else. Very frustrating.

Monday, August 22, 2016


the unicorn above my crowded  mantel
field of sunflowers on my bike ride yesterday

interesting wildflower
Allie sliding down the bouncy castle slide
Maya and Tessa
King Daniel on the birthday throne

The crickets felt it was their duty to warn everybody that summertime cannot last for ever. Even on the most beautiful days in the whole year – the days when summer is changing into autumn – the crickets spread the rumor of sadness and change.”
―E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web
(thank-you KH)

Fall is coming. I felt a rare chill in the air as I began my 33 mile bike ride much later than I did in June and July due to our disappearing sunlight. But  the cool air feels so good. I've done this route many times but the last time was the first week of July. How did I not notice two huge fields of sunflowers before? Several cars were stopped to photograph them. The heads all turned to face the eastern sun: girasole in Italian meaning turns towards the sun.

I tried to use up as many of  my tomatoes and squash in my ratatouille I made for the Moms Saturday night. We since have changed our name to The Chosen Sisters. All week we have had rains on and off driving us inside after we had wine and appetizers on my friend's pergola. Fortunately the final rain (knocking down many of my pots back at home) brought in a cold front which still remains. We were able to go outside after dinner in the dark watching my friend go through the complicated motions of making home made ice cream, which was delicious. Lots of interesting conversations; a good night.

Yesterday afternoon, Daniel's cousins and friends convened at a bouncy castle place to celebrate his birthday. The kids probably slept well last night as much energy was expelled jumping and climbing.

And later a friend came over to sit on the porch to watch the setting sun while drinking our mules and then some TV. Some neighbors tooled around in a stretch limousine waving to all they could find. Have no idea what the occasion was.

And I didn't need to run as soon as I got up as it is cool enough to wait for a bit though now the Eastern sun is so low, it gets in my eyes.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

My unicorn

We (Steve!!) will put this over the fireplace to join my boar and cat heads. The artist is only 16 years old. I have found his Etsy site (Heads on a wall) where I can order more without having the gallery surcharge
Tooth waterfall Not a ringing endorsement for the dentist within

Daniel the birthday boy, blows out his candles the other night
I let a few morning glories live
cigar plant, a humming bird favorite. I had a yellow shrimp plant within but it disappeared while I was gone
I now have yellow dahlias too despite buying all red
bumblebee on zinnia

It's a sauna out there. I ran this morning in fog so dense, I couldn't see my house from the street. Days are getting shorter. Soon it will be fall, which I love but it is a short segue to gray, lifeless winter.

Steve and I made a trip to Northville to lunch at a cute crepe place and then visit art galleries where I bought my unicorn head. My favorite resale shop was closed again. I've been slowing down with the decorating but I still am looking for another tiffany-like lamp. And for a cool coffee table versus the oak boring 80s one we have.

Today's task: slice and dice vegetables to make ratatouille for the Moms tonight. The eggplant is soaking in saltwater to draw out bitterness and to prevent it from being a fat sponge.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Our big red coyote

my dahlias are in bloom, dahling
botanical gardens
big fat zinnia
koi: they nibbled on our fingers when we dangled them in the water
the nearby village of Dixboro that we biked through to get to the gardens, lest we forget
my living room all aglow What is that painting doing on the floor.? hopefully I can convince Steve to mount it above the window
selfie holding a sausage from the sausage tree
soccer lessons
Love his curls! Daniel turns 7 today though he is only 2 in this photo

my scary looking sixth grandchild weighing in at 11 oz. All is well
Halfway to due date

For the past month, Steve has seen the coyote gallop across our lawn a couple of times. He described it as big, red and very fast. Sure it isn't a fox? All the coyotes I've seen are grayish brown. But right before I left, I saw it myself. Way too big to be a fox. I was thinking it is too big to be a coyote too. But it was very red. I guess they do come in red. If it ever slows down, I will try to take a picture of it. I went to check to see if Odie, the next door border collie was OK. Normally he is very quiet but when he sees the coyote, he goes crazy. But he was inside this time. And the coyote seems to be bigger than him.

I also saw my first cat here. It looked like it as only 4 or 5 months old and very thin. While Steve was trying to find something to feed it, it scampered away. I assume it was after the chipmunks. The woman we had dinner with last week, feeds feral cats. She also captures them somehow to neuter them. Once a cat is feral, it can't be tamed. I showed her the feral cat feeder I found in the woods of Redding, California.

I am gradually getting back to my life before vacations. I've been busy except for today. I had my friends over for a bike ride to and from the botanical gardens and dinner Tuesday. I had made this arrangement earlier thinking I'd be home by Sunday but plans change. Fun. We managed to miss the rain. Yep rain. After 2 months of drought, I've seen 3 rains since I've been home. Our grass is green again. However in some areas of the country, they've been getting too much rain. 25 inches have fallen in the past week in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My friend's daughter had to be rescued by boat from her 2nd story apartment. I don't think she has been able to get back to the apartment yet. There is no cell service there now though she was able to get on Facebook to tell the world she was safe. She has had a front row seat to several disasters in her short life (Josh's age). As a sophomore at NYU, she saw the first plane hit while she was on her way to class. She lived in the toxic dust zone so she had to live elsewhere for a while. Then she was in Boston during the marathon bombing. And now, her new town has been swept away by floods.

Yesterday I saw my friend with the stem cell transplant feeling a bit stronger and then on to the dentist for a check-up. Every 5 years, they x-ray each tooth individually. took forever and not comfortable. And after years of no cavities, I have the beginnings of 3. Maybe they can wait until next year. Then Josh and Allie came over followed by Naomi and Maya for dinner. Maya stayed to spend the night and somehow ended up in my bed. I built a pillow wall to prevent myself from being kicked but my earphones did not drown her tooth grinding adequately.

And today, after running and biking (relatively cool here), a fun time was had trying to see why my insurance hasn't paid my dentist for the damage done in my accident. How many calls have I made, each lasting over an hour. Everyone always seems nice and helpful but then, nothing gets done. I suspect I am still on the hook for more phone calls.

Daniel will have his big birthday party at the bouncy castle place this weekend but today is his actual birthday. We will go over for birthday cake later tonight. It's been 7 years since we made the big drive to Boston while Shanna was in labor. As he was in some crazy position, a C-section was needed. And despite his large body, he was 6 weeks premature and had great difficulty breathing. But he is strong and healthy now.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Trailhead in Rehoboth I spent a lot of time  this past week going back and forth on it. On this map they have the state park with its 'great' dune Ha! Come to Michigan for the really great dunes
Fun outside temps Saturday
Yesterday back over the Chesapeake Bay to DC. Currently I have insomnia at a friends house in Maryland. The long drive back will begin in a few hours once the considerable traffic clears though I will be going away from it

I watched more TV this past week than I have all year due to various circumstances like it being too damn hot to leave the house. Heat indices hit into the 120s for the last 3 days. The station seemed to be from a town named Delmarva, which I never heard of before. It later occurred to be that there was no such town and the station is meant to cover the Delaware, Maryland  and Virginia coasts. Delaware is very tiny. Its license proclaims First State. And the town of Lewes has signs  saying it is the first city in the first state

Two days later and I am home where it is finally wetter and cooler.

Saturday we met up with my friends' friends who were in town to have a house inspection in Rehoboth, a very pricy community. The house next to theirs rents for $16,000 a week. On the weekends, the main road is impassable and parking is expensive and hard to find so the bikes are the way to go. According to my gps based ap, it is 5.5 miles to the beachfront restaurant we met at though the last mile was dodging heavy traffic which we could go faster than. Problem was that it was ungodly hot and my friend does not do well whereas I am getting used to it. 5 miles of flat mostly shaded trail versus 60 miles of hills with no shade a few weeks ago. Really no skin off my teeth.  Didn't care for one of the friends who is very high up in a certain government agency who thought it would be fair if we'd split the bill equally after he had several margaritas and some deluxe entree whereas I don't drink alcohol when I am biking especially in the heat. if I knew that would be the only food I'd be offered in the next 24 hours aside from some stale pretzels I found for breakfast, I'd eaten more. We walked for almost a 40 minute round trip to see the house. Big mistake in the heat but much harder on my friend. I wish he had taken up the offer to be driven home. The bigwig's partner was actually nice to me, an oncologist specializing in blood cancers.  He had treated a celebrity successfully for a deadly and rare form of lymphoma. She responded well to therapy and thanked him on TV saying she is now cancer free He yelled at the TV
I NEVER said that

I guess it is bad manners to burst bubbles. Pointing out the difference between no sign of disease and being cancer free is worse than just being Ms, Pedantic.

I returned home quickly through the forest by myself. However it took forever for my friend and his partner to return as he was showing signs of heat stroke and IMHO water intoxication. He drank 2 quarts of water in that short distance. Unfortunately there was no food in the house. I guess I could have taken the bike to the other town to eat. I had stayed there too long but I was sort of trapped. I was very happy to be reunited with my car in DC and quickly drove to my high school friend in Maryland 30 minutes away.

I didn't think I was going to be able to see her. Her husband had taken a job out of state. As it was their anniversary and the commuter train she depends on to go to work was going to be shut down that week for repairs, it was a good week for her to visit him. However her home suddenly needed repairs that needed to be taken care of immediately and she ended up having to stay home. It had been 2 years since I saw her and we had lots to catch up on and we talked well into the night. It was very good to be with her and I wished I had spent more time there versus with being with Dr. Crabby who towards the end took offense at everything I said so I just was very quiet.

But it was fun for at least the first few days and I did go out on my own a lot of the time while he was having various issues.

By leaving late, I was able to miss the grand majority of traffic. By staying further north (though further east) I didn't have to be on that scary beltline that is a 12 lane parking lot a lot of the time. However I drove through torrential rains so bad I had to pull over in a twisty, hilly section of Pennsylvania as I couldn't see. And I hit Toledo during rush hour and road construction that also delayed me though not as badly as I anticipated. I had Steve to try to find which of the 3 possible routes didn't have construction on it but he is very bad at finding such info. It seemed to him all 3 paths were blocked.

So I've been back 2 days. The night I got back, I went right to bed and didn't wake until well into the next morning, a record sleep for me. I had arranged for friends to come over yesterday (when I thought I was going to be home 2 days earlier) so I prepared for that while unpacking.

Some things to be taken care of here.


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