Monday, October 31, 2016

Lets be on our way

pretty little town of Douglas
We went to a flute and percussion concert at the local church as we waited for the parade to start. Lots of interesting stained glass
Some of the many parade marchers. My favorite? A woman wore an enormous bra outside her clothes and stuffed it with spice bottles. What was this? A spice rack
Marching jellyfish
Mastodon being put together. We marched behind this but it was so slow, we scurried around it
French toast
Lots of anti-Trump paraders. Though Western Michigan is largely pro-Trump, this small neck of the woods clearly is not
We stayed in a custom built house full of custom built furniture and original art
Here we are, the Lesbian farmers. I am way back on the left. I didn't fully understand what we were supposed to be before hand. Recently on talk radio, that creep Rush Limbaugh claimed Obama was moving Lesbian farmers out into the heartland to make it more liberal. So we are the Lesbian farmers  (We are Farmers!!Da-ta-da, da,  da-ta-da!) coming to turn your state from red to blue.
Pretty house we stayed in deep in the forest overlooking the river
Saugatuck harbor
Gingko tree. Fairly rare in Michigan
Western Michigan is much later to change colors than our part
Oval Beach late in the day

Oval Beach, sunset
Lake Michigan

deer at dusk

So how did I happen to be prancing and dancing down a street way past 11 pm to the sound of throbbing hip hop dressed as a farmer being cheered on by the crowd along the  main street of Douglas with 10 fellow (at least one was a fellow) Lesbians (though for the record, my friend and I are, according to the local parlance, Breeders). How surreal it was!

We were in the twin towns of Saugatuck and Douglas on opposite banks of the Kalamazoo River where it empties into Lake Michigan. Both are artists colonies favored  by many Gays even though it is situated in a very conservative county. We were there by invitation of one of the mom's ex-sister-in-law who wanted our help dealing with genealogy issues. She and her partner live about 5 miles inland deep into the forest on a hill over looking the Kalamazoo River. Very spotty internet so no posting from me in a while, not that I had much time to do so.

I started off my very long day by running in my neighborhood before dawn. This was after a late night with the Moms (it was very fun). We were to be going to a gardening class on the way (how to prepare your garden for the winter, a snoozer, but I guess I learned some useful tips). We stopped for lunch in Fennville, where we had spent our last night on our bike ride. They bill themselves as where you go for cuteness and art when you can't stand the crowds of Saugatuck. We found an excellent café housed in an art gallery that served innovative food. Extra bonus, you could pick out a large pumpkin with your lunch entrée so now I have a pumpkin for Halloween (but no time to carve it) Did I want to buy a beautiful  handmade ceramic fox mask that would look so good in my living room? Enough is enough I guess.

We had a lot of time before the parade. We drove around Saugatuck where many were in costumes before eating at Douglass best restaurant (where Steve and I ate the last night we were there in December) Grapefruit martini, Hubbard squash spaetzle along with my wilted greens, butternut squash and chicken breast. Not good for my month long plan (with 5 more months to go). Bad enough that I had been at the Mom's the night before (nursing my lone wine glass for all it was worth) and eschewing starches. This weekend made me feel full of guilt. I had worked so hard..

If I had just stuck to the one martini but later wine and even later a bloody Mary. When I started to balk, I was many times do I  get to come to Saugatuck, live it up, don't be a party pooper..ugh. For the record, this is my third time in Saugatuck in less than a year. How much easier it would be to just lock myself up at home and keep away from anything social because it always involved eating and drinking. For the Moms, I usually make the desserts. I poached pears in wine and made some sort of sauce from Greek yogurt. Zero fat and somewhat nutritious.

It was a beautiful, warm weekend to be outside though it did drizzle for half my run the next morning (after not getting to bed until almost 3 am).  I took lots of photos.The colors were not as developed as I had hoped but we still got to see a wonderful sunset on Lake Michigan. I am hoping that my runs outweigh my drinking way more than I should have but they never do, even if I spend eight hours bicycling steady. Oh well, tomorrow I will be good. Have to move on.

The parade was very fun. Lots of interesting costumes; lots of joking around. And her sister-in-law and partner were wonderful, interesting women. Long, long talks. (thus little sleep)

And soon, we will be on the road again and arrangements have to be made.
But tonight trick-or -treating. We will have Ms. Maya. At least it is somewhat warm and not raining.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hottubbing with Grandma

The princess
Maya was so excited to watch the sunrise. The sky was pink, orange and blue. We took a walk around the property to better see the sun
sunrise from the front of the house. Notice orange spider lights hanging on the porch
sunrise reflected in the window

in the jacuzzi
last night
doing her flips. From a bridge position, she can flip her legs over her head and end up on her feet. Much harder than flipping into a bridge position. Maybe I will sign her up in a real gym

It is day 3 of Maya on drugs. She no longer balks at swallowing the pill. Although she is still very active, a good half hour last night was running around in our yard doing flips and cartwheels, she is no longer so antsy. As she was settling down for the night, she no longer was continuously kicking. She also could stay focused on various tasks for more than 5 minutes. She is on the smallest dose right now. What counts more is if she can focus in school. The chief side effect is lack of appetite but so far so good. She is so thin, she can't afford to lose weight.

I took her to school today. She is a full head taller than most of the class. Only one boy even was close to her height. True she is the oldest and many of the students are Asians, who tend to be smaller.

She had looked forward to the Jacuzzi, her reward for taking the pill the first time She is not clear on the concept of relaxing and wanted to try to swim in the tub.

I am feeling guilty because I didn't run today. It was warm and calm this morning but soon a cold front moved in with lots of rain and cold. I was dealing with Maya this morning and then met with a friend to go shopping and have lunch. I did take half of the lunch home to have for dinner instead of snarfing down the entire order as I have in the past. Fun to be out and about with friends.

Maybe a double workout tomorrow.

Monday, October 24, 2016

A hard pill to swallow

a sugar maple in the golden hour right after dawn
bits of sumac

One of the many horse farms I ride by
tunnel of trees. For a dirt road it was quite smooth. However I should have looked at a map before turning onto it as it was a mile shorter than I needed

There are several medications for ADHD: once a day capsules, twice-a-day crushable pills and a patch. We assumed Maya would pull off the patches; the twice a day pills would be hard to schedule leaving the once a day capsule. As it costs way more than the short lasting pills, the insurance balked at paying for them. But after 2 weeks, Maya was finally ready for her medication. Except she refused to swallow it. She was taken to the school nurse who had a few tricks and finally success. Will she take the pill tomorrow and the next and the next? We will see.

Such a beautiful weekend! I took two long bike rides. Today it was back to running. I ran the furthest I have in more than a year. My weight loss is not as fast as the first week but slowly is coming off. Will I be able to be good when I am not at home?  A minivacation this weekend followed by a trip to NYC next week. It will be tough. When a friend came over, I was able to limit myself to a half glass of wine. For snacks, we had desiccated snap peas.

Josh and Allie came to watch UM beat Illinois. Now number 2. It was fun being with him. Today I spent a bit of time with Shanna and Tessa.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

A drive into the country

many faces of Tessa.
Sharon Mills County Park
the River Raisin

milkweed pods The monarch butterfly larvae feed on its leaves. Presumably there is a shortage of milkweed but I see it everywhere 

crimson maples on my bike ride
one of our 3 crimson king maples. The sugar maple has only 25% turned

My hairdresser lives in the southwest corner of our county whereas I live in the northeast. Thus it is quite the drive to see her. I don't mind as it is so pretty. I took the county roads going there. As I was too early, I went to the nearby county park to take photos. Long ago, this was a fording place for the Native Americans across the River Raisin. Then a series of mills operated years ago for the tiny settlement of Sharon Hollow. About 20 years ago, I came across these mills by then turned into a winery, on my bike. We stopped to sample the wine. Bad idea as it is very difficult to ride after drinking. Now the whole area is a county park.

Usually I am given fresh eggs but hawks and eagles have taken their toll on her chicken flock.
It was 37 when I bundled up to take a bike ride today. I was warm but battling the strong north wind was tiring. The sun lit up the fall colors. So pretty.

Game day yet again. As Julie is out of town, Josh and Allie are coming here to watch the game. Hopefully I can get Steve to get my Halloween lights up by then.

74  days, at most, until we meet grandbaby number 6.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fall colors

We haven't enjoyed the fall colors as much as we did last year. We finally went for a drive the other day. Unfortunately, I think they already peaked
We started at the Dexter Cider Mill which was closed. 34 years ago I ran my first race along the Huron River starting in Ann Arbor finishing here going the opposite direction as the more famous Dexter-Ann Arbor. I had just started my running program 6 weeks before to lose the weight  gained having Josh. Despite dropping all the weight and then some, I kept running and was winning some races. Now I am so slow. Maybe I will speed up a bit when my excess is gone
Delhi with a traffic light
at least one maple with leaves
The big bend of the river. Several egrets and swans were there but did not have the good camera with me. How many times have I run and biked along this stretch?
back to buying 'art' It is is hanging in my green and purple room. I don't know why the walls don't appear their sage color here
this will hang in our master bedroom window as soon as I figure out how. Two bucks
who doesn't need an Italian marquetry musical sewing table? (plays O solo mio). Principal wood appears to be mahogany. Research indicates it to be about 40 years old

My maple trees have not completely changed colors yet. True the Crimson Kings, if that's what they are, are reddish green but the sugar maple hasn't completely turned orange red.  Running through the woods early in the morning is very pretty though a lot of the trees there are oaks and hickories, not known for pretty colors. Until today, it has been very warm maybe that's why the colors aren't so nice this year.

I am slowly shrinking. Not as fast as I would like but probably as fast as medically safe. It has become somewhat easier to ignore my hunger pangs. Not drinking (one beer in 3 weeks) has helped.

Aside from our leaf peeping, Steve and I went shopping. I rarely go into 'new goods' stores anymore. What did I buy? Parrot tulip  and Asiatic lily bulbs. Hopefully they don't become expensive squirrel food though I don't have the numbers of squirrels as I did at the old house to dig up bulbs. And they had a beautiful stained glass lamp I wanted but as I bought a used one the week before, I couldn't justify it. But my favorite purchase was of lights. Shanna has a rotating disc that broadcasts moving ghosts on her porch. I got one that shows falling orange and yellow leaves. It even looks good in my 'orange' living room. They had a light that shows falling red and blue snowflakes for Xmas. To hang on the high hooks of our porch, I have dangling flashing orange spiders for that touch of class. Perhaps today I can persuade Steve to hang them.

Yesterday was Maya's IEP. New school; new personal. I do have much more confidence in this team than in the one at her old school. Extra bonus, she should be here for the next 6 years. Who was there besides Naomi and myself? Well not Don'tae. He forgot. We had her classroom teacher, speech therapist, occupational therapist, social worker, school principal, special ed teacher and an occupational assistant. Yep it takes a village to deal with Maya. I especially liked her classroom teacher who seems to be a good fit for her. I know the husband of the special ed teacher so it was fun sharing stories about him ( he wants me to volunteer as a science teacher for the system; I had done demos in the kids' middle school where he used to teach)

Two interesting terms from yesterday: code switching and sensory breaks. I listen to a podcast on NPR, Code Switching. Basically it is a series of reporters from different cultures explaining what they need to do to fit in with the 'dominant ' culture. Last year, the speech therapist was concerned that Maya's use of dialect (talking black) was getting in the way. This year's therapist is African-American (as is the principal and the social worker) and has no such concern. She says as Maya matures, she will know when to Code Switch.

Sensory breaks: Due to Maya's severe antsiness, they recognize that after sitting still for more than a few minutes, she needs to move. So they allow her to go due her back bends and cartwheels (she is extremely flexible) to blow off steam. She especially has trouble in the afternoon, so she is taken out of the classroom. She gets lessons while playing catch. Hopefully once her drugs are approved, her restlessness will decrease and her attention span increases.

In the classroom, she is not behind for current grade level. I keep comparing her to my other grandchildren (and children) so perhaps I need some perspective; the others are probably exceptional. She has made lots of progress just in the 6 weeks she's been at the new school, which is the neighborhood school the kids went to. Even out he in the boonies, the kids here ae assigned that school.

How can any one vote for that sleaze ball Trump? I assume his main base is lower class, uneducated white racists but then on my bike rides in fancy neighborhoods, I see his signs. So he won't accept the results of the election. What does that mean? He will orchestrate a coup with his thugs?


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