Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Johnny Depp is my 8th cousin once removed

X-mas mantle
snowflake lights flash in seizure producing sequences. The colored snowflakes rotate around the door and the vestibule  Once I find an extension cord that isn't all nicked, I will put the colored snowflake lights further from the house resulting in bigger snowflakes
the third tree. I had the large white star on top of my white tree but it is bluish white versus golden white and clashed
Almost 51 years later. Bar mitzvah boy (name is on the bottom of the sign). Sea Breeze synagogue has  since been torn down and replaced by a Jewish community center. Trump Village, where they lived on the 13th floor facing the ocean, in the background. Ugly D train tracks.

Despite Mr. Depp being a good ten years younger than myself, generation-wise, he is lined up with my father, his 8th cousin.  I guess generations on our side tended to be longer. For instance, my grandfather was born to a 40 year old mom and waited himself 37 years before my dad was born.
Our common ancestor was a William Middleton, who lived in Prince George County, Maryland from 1685-1769. Two of his sons: Holland's progeny ultimately led to my grandfather; Hugh's progeny led to Mr Depp. So far, I've gone back to William's father, Robert, still of the US.

This is all according to the app by Ancestry, We're related. The more detailed your family tree is, the more hits you get. My friend, who has been constructing her tree for years, has all sorts of hits including both Hillary Clinton and Obama. I also got hits for being related to Churchill, Peyton Manning, Elvis and Edgar Allen Poe but somehow the specific links disappeared.

I did spend some time entering more relatives. It is easy to do if they are from the US. On my mother's side, I can access the German records. For her Polish side, things come quickly to a halt.

A rare 'warm' day so I could bike despite strong winds. After a setback around Thanksgiving, I am back to losing weight. Still too much of me left to love.

Later, grandkids will come over.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

My favorite Christmas Ornaments

Finally finished this
My oldest ornament: a Pegasus that Soulmate gave me in college
I have several framed photos of grandkids and kids
tackiest ornament
the moon is lit up
Mexican dough creche
Lots of embroidered and needlepoint ornaments made by yours truly
And some felt ones

I have three trees, 4 if you include the rosemary plant I put little ornaments on. My metal wire tree has Mexican tin ornaments on; a white one has golds, silver and pink ornaments and the big tree has a mix of stuffed animals, hand blown glass, carved wood, felt, cloth and a few plastic ornaments. Some are quite tacky but I rarely throw things away.

We will have large flashing snowflakes on the front porch. Not sure where to put my laser disc moving snowflakes. On the porch too? The flashing orange spiders were taken down today.

Bundling up, I was able to go 21 miles on the bike yesterday without freezing too much. Very uneventful weekend.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving food police

I harvested 3 of the 8 Brussels sprouts stalks I've been growing. The stalk was thicker than a corn cob and much tougher. Very hard to saw through. I cut off the sprouts off of half of these taking 90 minutes and decided I had enough especially after slicing my finger. I thought they were quite tasty sautéed in garlic and bacon glazed with balsamic vinegar and brown sugar but only half were eaten. On the other hand, the boring green bean casserole with canned soup and crunchy onions disappeared.
today I've been decorating X-mas trees. I finished this one with metallic ornaments and pink. Looks good in my yellow flower room
with lights

For Thanksgiving this year, all I was responsible for were side dishes as Shanna did most of the work hosting 30+ people at her house. Naomi came over the night before to prepare ambrosia and candied yams. The yams were a hit, particularly the crusty marshmallow top that seemed to go missing immediately. I assumed one of the kids skimmed this off.

Before the food police arrived, I was able to consume some very tasty Syrian meat pies containing pomegranate seeds without comment (excepting one of Ramy's cousins was keeping count). I was going to limit myself to one drink. After all it was Thanksgiving. I chose some Rumchata on ice. By this time, the food police arrived telling me that this was NOT a good choice (rum, cream and spices making it taste like rice pudding). Also I had a quarter piece of coconut pie. More comments from the police. Steve, bless him, never comments on what I eat or drink though I bet he has been tempted. If nagging worked, we'd all be skinny.

Back when I was a freshman, I had this whiny boyfriend who ate only because he had to. He didn't understand that some people enjoy eating. Dear Reader, I was thin then. He ate lunch at my dorm on Brownie day, one of the few things the dorm could make well. So as I ate my brownie, Sourpuss would be telling me how I didn't need that. I grabbed another one. Good riddance to that one.

I met up with him in Seattle about 15 years later. I weighed the same as I had as a freshman though I had two kids. But I was also doing triathlons and marathons. I was quite buff. (I want that body back). He was still bony though somehow he had a potbelly. What could 18 year old Sue been thinking?

It was fun. The girl cousins played happily together. Don'tae had dropped Maya off early. Every 5 minutes, when are we going to Shanna's, when are we going to Shanna's. Julie is not enjoying late pregnancy. 40 days at most to go. The baby now is more mature than Daniel was when he appeared.

The 9 foot tree is in our living room. I've spent a good part of the day hanging ornaments. I have hundreds. I need the ladder to get some of them up. I finished the smaller trees.

Tomorrow might be dry and calm enough for a bike ride. I 've been running a lot.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thrift store shopping

As her mother didn't check the school calendar versus her work schedule, we had Maya today. Wednesday is 'senior' day at the thrift stores. She came with and was allowed to select one fancy dress. In the background, is a lamp and table I had gotten last spring at a resale shop
this dress barely fit her. I am re there aren't many her height that are so thin
X-mas stuff was 75% off. These figures are now standing high above my cabinets
behind my new plate is a Thanksgiving cactus about to bloom

Fortunately they were wrong about the lows and how soon the freezing rain came. One could find me out before dawn running before the rain hit this morning. As the sun came up, the sky turned bright orange. I don't run with a camera unless I am out of town. Just as I was finishing, the rain started. Eight  hours later, it is still coming down but fortunately it is too warm for snow and ice. Where we were just 2 weeks ago  in upstate New York is now blanketed with  almost 2 feet of snow.  I can't wait for spring!

I will harvest my Brussels sprout crop tomorrow. Rain and Maya stopped me today. Thanksgiving will be at Shanna's along with 30 people. Naomi will return tonight to make ambrosia and candied yams; I will make green bean casserole and the sprouts.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

My first and last colonoscopy

What is this? The end of the line. Perhaps they included this photo to prove they went all the way there. Looks somewhat like a rose, n'est-ce pas?
Perhaps a glass representation of  appendiceal orifices
or a glass bead coil representative of a digestive system

Done and done! At my current rate of getting a colonoscopy, I won't need another until I am almost eighty. And as they could find nothing the least suspicious yesterday, I assume I am at low risk for colon cancer. As I seem high risk for additional breast cancer, I will concentrate screening efforts there. Steve on the other hand, is at much higher risk with family members who have had it. Plus it is much more common in Ashkenazi Jews.

I stopped taking my baby aspirin more than a week in advance. I take it as a breast cancer and stroke preventative. Also it allegedly protects against colon cancer. On the other hand, it probably contributes to my heart burn. Three days before, I was to stop eating anything with seeds (goodbye big bowl of raspberries)nuts, beans, and corn. Then 24 hours of fasting. I prepared a gallon of vaguely lemon flavored, nausea producing poly vinyl alcohol solution. Half was to be consumed during the early evening before; the other half in the middle of the night. I began gulping this stuff down a cup at a time every 15 minutes per instructions. Aside from feeling nauseous, nothing seemed to be happening. I asked friends but everyone had a different prep. Finally consulted the net. They said something for sure will happen in less than an hour. If not, I should call somebody. On a Sunday night? And what would they tell me? Anyway, it took more than 3 hours for this solution to take effect and it was not pleasant. Maybe I have a very slow system. Sleep was impossible.

I was so drugged with the fentanyl and Versed, I felt nothing and remembered nothing other than being introduced to the doctor right before I was drugged who looked like he just graduated high school. They also had trouble finding a vein probably because I was dehydrated. I pointed out the good one on my right but they had my records right there; nothing ever should  be done on the right side due to the cancer on that side.

I had been keeping my weight secret from myself to no good effect. I did think I weighed a lot less a year ago a judged by how baggy clothes were on me versus bursting at the seams 7 weeks ago. Include in the print-out was my weight  a year ago when I went to a pre-surgery physical. Yep I was a lot lighter but now, especially after this awful weekend, I am down 20 pounds. Still a long way to go. Maybe March I will be Svelte Sue.

I slept the rest of the day. Naomi was over but I didn't even talk to her. Josh and Allie  came for dinner. I told them I couldn't go out so Steve brought stuff in. Then I went to sleep again not waking until 2 am.

It is cold out there but as it is sunny and windless, I will go for a long run. Plus it is late enough for the traffic to have died down on that major road I have to cross.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

First snow

We had Shanna's kids all day and night due to their parents being sick. When I first turned on the Jacuzzi, Tess recoiled in terror and demanded to be let out. After sitting on the tub's side for 15 minutes, Oliver promised that if she came in, he would make sure she would be safe. She ended up enjoying it.
How to amuse the kids: light shows. I turned off the lights and had the rotating snowflake projector on. Oliver spent a lot of time earlier playing around with my falling leaf projector
This is where my succulents and some of the orchids are hanging out for the winter. I did bring in some stock, still in bloom, that smells like cloves
the hibiscus is huge. It has about 10 blossoms on it today. I guess it likes its winter home in our breakfast nook

The part of November I hate has begun: the cold, wind, and snow after a week culminating Friday with temps in the  70s. My last long bike ride was on that day. Usually on Sunday I am out there but not with wind chills  around 15 degrees.

I spent some time out in the snow yesterday digging up my dahlia tubers. I can't find some of them but the ones I dug up are much bigger than what I put in. Maybe more dahlias next year. I still have to figure out how to store them. Sitting in my garage, which is at least 15  degrees warmer than outside are the glads, tuberous begonias, and now the dahlias. I forgot to save the calla lilies until now. Hopefully it is not too late.

Shanna and Ramy both have the flu with Ramy getting the worst of it turning into pneumonia. Thus we had the kids (and the laundry as their dryer broke). How to entertain 3 kids when you can't send them outside? Well we do have the basement playroom where they spent some time but they were thrilled to see that some of their favorites are on Netflix. I am afraid that they went way over their screen time limits though as Tess points out, she didn't get any screen time. But they behaved themselves so that was good. and they really liked the Jacuzzi and all of my fancy lights. I did have some projects that I wanted them to do but I forgot about them. Next time. They did not want to sleep alone so I put them all in a queensize bed. If I were real nice, they could have gone in our King but they didn't complain.

We had our Chosen Sisters night Friday which was fun and entertaining as usual. I limited myself to the one glass of wine. I also had to start all these silly limitations for the colonoscopy scheduled tomorrow: no seeds, corn, nuts. celery. Now I am in the no solid food phase though I can drink clear liquids. Then in a few hours, I will have to drink a half gallon of some 'cleansing' solution they provided and then get up at 5 am to drink another half gallon. Can't wait. But by this time tomorrow, all should be over. Today will be no fun though.

I have scheduled several of these things in the past but always at the last minute I got cancelled. The very first time, I was sent the wrong prep by my doctor so they wouldn't go through it. Another time, it was scheduled the same day as my cancer surgery. I didn't reschedule for awhile.  The last time, a few years ago, I got a call saying that I needed to bring $3500 to the appointment in case they needed to do a rescan. Not how I want to spend my money. As it is, every time my screening mammogram (allegedly for free) needs to be redone, it is then called a diagnostic mammogram and then costs in the thousands. This happened again this year. So with that and a lot assorted medical expenses due to the accident and some left over from my surgery, I am way over the deductible so even if they have to do a rescan, it should be covered. And who knows with the dismantling of the ACA if this will be covered in the future. So this will be it. I am not at any particular risk for colon cancer so once should be enough. Meanwhile, today will suck.

Friday, November 18, 2016


It is hunting season here in Da Mitten. This doe is hiding out in plain sight in my yard. I ran through dense fog yesterday and heard plenty of gun shots. Could they see what they were shooting  at?
back and white Greenwood
interesting restroom sign from the café below
an interesting place. Plenty of 'speidies' on the menu. What's a speidie? Stay tuned.

One of the welcoming signs to the place we stayed in outside of Corning. You can barely make out the buildings in the background. Nothing was lit.

According to some message that I received from Blogger yesterday, I have a legal obligation to inform my EU readers that cookies may be being sent if they open my blog unless they affix an s to the end of the hppt part of my address. I do not use Ad sense or even Google plus. I would think most of the cookies are generated by Blogger itself. I do use 'third party' platforms, just statcounter and flag counter. So if you don't want cookies, don't open those apps up. Hope this is the only warning I am obligated to place. I don't seem to have very many EU readers any more, less so thanks to Brexit.

My title refers to an absurd law on the books in Germany: misuse of titles. The WSJ (an ever shrinking paper, they got rid of the science and medicine sections, what good is it, I ask Steve) had a story about this woman in Germany who recently was paid a visit by the local police. Her kids on Groupon had paid for an honorary title for her "Doctor of Immortality" and she had blogged about it. That turned out to be a crime, saying you have a doctorate when you do not. Until recently, it was a crime to be called 'doctor' or 'professor' unless you received your advanced degree from a German Institution. Ivy league PhDs did not count as a visiting professor found out. They now are 'accepted'.

Speidies..say what? We stopped in Binghamton, NY  for lunch at a café that looked interesting and would be easy for us to find. If we had more time, I would have gone to my favorite park as a child, Ross Park, located at a bottom of a gorge that presumably has the most carousels in the world. There were several varieties of speidies (pronounced speedies) offered. What are those? Local dialect for kabobs.

What local words do we have here? Fragels which are deep fried raisin bagels rolled in cinnamon and sugar. They have a very short self life quickly morphing into lead. When I lived in the co-op, a housemate was the night manager of The Bagel Factory, would bring us the unsold fragels that we would gnaw on. I was living on a strict budget supplemented by another housemate who would bring leftover Chinese food from the restaurant she worked at. No more Bagel Factory but another store bought their trademark and sells them near my old house.

Party Store: When we were staying in Hart, MI and found out that the local brewery featured in our brochure was closed that day, I complained to a couple from Florida that we should have stopped at the party store and bought some beer. They were confused thinking that a party store was where you buy balloons and decorations but here in da Mitten, it is a convenience store. Would we ride another 2 miles round trip to buy beer? No one wanted to get back on that bike. We already rode 20 miles more than advertised due to detours and a ride director who was weak with math. Found the Pour House so we were not beerless.

Coney Islands: Our version of an East Coast Diner usually run by Greeks. Originally where one could buy a chili covered hotdog, which is not available on the 'real' Coney Island that Steve grew up on. What we buy at the local Coney Island is lemon rice soup. I think Coney Islands now can be found in Ohio.

It is warm out. I hope to take one last long bike ride when the traffic clears as the cold comes tomorrow along with wind.

The night before, we had Miss Maya. She wanted a 'cacuzzi'. Not too relaxing with her splashing around but if she is given a task, she can focus much longer than the millisecond she devoted before to it. I have a big picture puzzle, a ten foot train, whose pieces consist of train cars with the alphabet letters. She knows all the letters but she can not answer what comes after P, which concerns me. She was able to look at the box to see which piece comes next so that's good. It took her a half hour, which is eons for her.

We are to encourage her to eat at every turn. Hard to convince someone to eat who doesn't want to. Meanwhile I want too much. Mom's group tonight so that will be a challenge. Extra fun, I am finally having a colonoscopy Monday. Part of the prep means no seeds, nuts and beans 3 days in advance. I did warn the hostess who said she will accommodate me but I hate to be 'that person'.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Investing during Trump times

new art doll with porcelain head, feet and hands with silk body. I thought it looked cool
what is this mess? new scarf
stained glass angels

Last night we went to a 'customer appreciation' dinner by invitation of our financial advisor. I was nervous about this because it could be a boring sales pitch and in the past, they have offered many temptations that I couldn't resist such as creative appetizers, etc. However, it turned out OK as the food was just so-so and, small world phenomena,  one of the Moms, unbeknownst to either of us, uses the same advisor so she and her husband sat with us. Years ago, she was my roommate when we were having our first babies. At one point, we were going to the same elementary school though I am 3 years older so she escaped my notice. Our best friends happened to be sisters though.
Should we worry about our investments because of Trump? Not so much. Though initially the market was depressed, it has rebounded with a bang so not to worry here. How about foreign markets? Well there could be great opportunities there but with much greater risk. There won't be any immediate big changes to the economy in part, because Trump needs congress to change things. There is a few things he can do unilaterally that will make big impacts like to the environment, immigration, etc but the tax code and health care he will need support.

Today we had a follow-up meeting with the pediatrician about Maya's ADHD. The special ed teacher wrote a letter saying that the staff has noticed  positive changes in her attention span since she began the drugs.. However, Maya has lost weight which is not good as she is so slim. So her dose will not be increased.

One last week of Indian summer befor a hug cold front hits us Saturday. Trying to bike as much as possible this week.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Everybody knows...

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died
Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long-stem rose
Everybody knows

Leonard Cohen
Below are my photos of Greenwood cemetery playing with colors and filters

I played my Leonard Cohen album over and over in college. He was the first one (that I know of) to write about Suzanne.

Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river
You can hear the boats go by, you can spend the night forever
And you know that she's half-crazy but that's why you want to be there
And she feeds you tea and oranges that come all the way from China
And just when you mean to tell her that you have no love to give her
Then he gets you on her wavelength
And she lets the river answer that you've always been her lover
And you want to travel with her, and you want to travel blind
And you know that she will trust you
For you've touched her perfect body with your mind

I thought there might be a chance that Trump would reach out across the ever deepening divide but then he selects Bannon. Scary times ahead.

Monday, November 14, 2016

States of America

Manhattan from Battle Hill. All of the following are from Steve's camera though some of them I took

Henry Chadwick: the Father of baseball. Note baseballs left by fans. Steve loves baseball, me not so much

Steve standing where his synagogue used to be. D train, though now maybe it is the B train, in the distance along with where he grew up, Trump Village, considerably less fancy than the residences put up by Trump, fils.There is a photo of him standing right here after his bar mitzvah Perhaps I will post it once he gives it to me

persimmons They had 4 trees of them though I thought one of the trees with smaller fruit was a kumquat

Steve thought these were unusual birds but alas, they are European starlings, probably the most plentiful bird in the US though none ever come in our yard. Still they look pretty in this photo

Stained glass inside Greenwood chapel

heron from afar

despair: how apt for our times

He was able to take better photos of the 9/11 fountain

mangled fire truck from 9/11

entrance to the 9/11 museum

reflections on the Freedom tower

You can barely make out the letters for One World Trade Center

The World trade center

Loungers on the High Line.. Just saw the HBO documentary called the Class Divide on how this refurbished rail line has completely changed the neighborhood

more High Line

looking south along the Hudson River Path. 11 years ago I went to a meeting for work and stayed in Chelsea. This is where I would run
Not the United States as we are no longer united. Scary times. Even if the election went the other way, I assume we would still be subject to demonstrations. There is such a divide among us, I don't think it will be bridged in the near future.

But I can isolate myself out here in the country. My abs are sore from renewing my sit-ups. I've been doing plenty of aerobic activity but have neglected stretching, weight training and sit-ups. Now with my balance ball and 22 square yards of rubberized floor versus 8 yards, I have no excuse.

18 less pounds of me to love after 5 weeks though I had a fancy lunch today(I did take the starchy parts home) Still a long way to go but at least I will look progressively less hideous as time goes on.

We had our first hard frost the other night killing most of my flowers except for the petunias. I will harvest my 6 giant stalks of Brussels sprouts for Thanksgiving. Kale and Swiss Chard still can be harvested too. Who wants kale?

I have to bundle up for my early Sunday bike ride. Hard to keep my feet warm though. Perhaps plastic bags? They never get cold running even in much colder temps but on a bicycle, no blood seems to get to them. 3 miles in and my odometer dies. @#$% (now works with new battery..the battery only lasted a year whereas the solar odometer I had on Josh's bike still works from 1995) No problem, I will just use the app on my phone. It refused to open. Still won't . I assume it is incompatible with all the new iOS updates (the last one was particularly annoying..it has this new 2 step authentication step which involves them sending you a special code. If you don't use this protocol by November 10, you will be frozen out of your devices. Problem is they never sent the code. I finally figured out how to shut this procedure down) I ended up plotting my route on MapMyRide.

I had a visit from Shanna and Tess the other day, a visit from Josh and Allie yesterday and Maya will come tomorrow. Lunch was with a good friend today. Julie is not enjoying late pregnancy and assumes it is due to her being 'old' (I was older than her when I was pregnant with Naomi; my hardest pregnancy was when I was 25 with Shanna). 51 days until her scheduled due date but who's counting. Maybe the baby will come early.


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