Monday, February 27, 2017

Five pounds from normal

At my grandfather's house early 60s


Florida 1959

Hammondsport, NY 1957

Josh 11 and me at 40. Note lack of obesity

According to various tables, if I were just to lose 5 more pounds, I would not be considered 'overweight'. So close. However, in the photo above, I am at least 20 pounds lighter. Later that same year, my Graves' Disease kicked in and I lost another 15 pounds. In the Emergency Room, where I was sent because my heart was pounding so hard, they referred to me as 'tiny'. A first for me as you can tell from my early photos, I never was all that thin. And usually, I was the tallest kid in all my classes. It was assumed that I must have flunked a grade or so.

It's been more than two months since I took 'Prilosec and a month since I stopped using the less effective Zantac clone so I am glad for that. I haven't needed to take Rolaids either so yay!  Although I felt fine on them, the Prilosec especially is associated with lots of scary side effects so good riddance. I am left with a baby aspirin and my synthroid.

I should be in for some good luck. A flock of bluebirds flew across my path as I ran yesterday.

In a month, Steve and I will be in the warmth of the Southwest. First stop, a beautiful inn on the edge of Saguaro Nat'l Park. The owner makes some kind of call and javelinas come running. Other stops, Grand Canyon and Sedona. We have the tickets and  a place for the first 2 nights, need to plan the rest.

It was warm enough to bike today but lazy, lazy Sue. I did run, in the woods, and did the elliptical trainer.

I watched the Oscar's by myself. Lots of my friends are travelling so no Oscar's party this year. And Steve won't watch it. I did love some of the dresses like Haile Berry's and Emma Stone's but others were not so flattering. Unless one is very thin, dresses cinched at the waist just made these actresses look fat.

No word from my insurance company despite a promise to call me. I will give them a few more days.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

All the things I should be doing instead...

Doesn't this dog head add a touch of class to my bedroom? This and the shark were on quick sale. What I really wanted is the flamingo in a tutu for the 'kids' room but it was not on sale
despite my diet, I might not be able to resist this paczki stuffed with cannoli cream from the Italian market. Steve does have some paczki in the refrigerator but as they have nasty Bavarian cream inside, I can leave them alone. My brother-in-law brought the rainbow cookies from Brooklyn I like so much. Harder to resist. I had a half.
The shark is in the den. Note photo of Spud, the pug, as a puppy on the adjoining wall

Thursday morning found me in shorts and short sleeves riding my bike in the mid-50s. Later, it was close to 70 both Thursday and Friday.  My daffodils thought it was spring and grew a foot out of the ground. Hope they survive.Today it snowed on me as I ran but at least it didn't stick but it does look like winter is ending. Good. I hear the trills of the red winged blackbirds as I type. I usually don't hear them until later in March. They think it's spring.

My weight continues to drop.  42.2 pounds. One benefit of it coming off so slowly (I really hoped to be done by now) is that my skin has time to shrink with it. I was afraid that I had gained so much weight, I would have all this excess skin  if I was ever able to lose the fat. I have seen what has happened when much younger women lose, though maybe they have lost more. They are left with a big flap of skin that only can be tightened by plastic surgery. Also I was afraid that the one breast, which had been cut down to size to be the same size as the cancer breast would lose fat and end up smaller than the irradiated breast which has no fat left in it. That didn't happen either so yay for that.

What I should be doing. Vacation planning. A spring trip using the 'free' ticket I get. So far we have decided on the Grand Canyon, south rim as the north rim doesn't open until May. We will fly to either Vegas or Phoenix. Need to get cracking. I almost bought tickets to Madrid for the fall (40th anniversary) as I thought I found cheap tickets. Alas, it was a teaser rate and sold out or never existed. Not sure if Madrid is where we want to go either. Maybe Eastern Europe?

Doing that family tree once and for all. I paid for a year of the international edition so I could look up all the Europeans, at least the German and British Isles ones (the Eastern European records are very sparse). I thought I would have all this time on my hands in the winter but some how, I find things to fill it up. Will work on this in the next 2 weeks.

Organizing my stuff. I did throw out all the stretched out granny underwear and replaced it with smaller, nicer stuff. I still have the fancy, lacy stuff from my thinner days. I thought I had more pants but I guess I gave a lot of way thinking I never would be thin again. I do have my skinny dresses still.

Brushing up on my languages which is somewhat contingent on where we are going for our anniversary trip. Steve does seem to be leaning towards Spain, where he hasn't been. I was there twice. I promised a friend that in 2018, we'd go to Italy together so I have a year to work on that.

Watching TV. I know that sounds silly but we have streaming with Amazon and Netflix and also pay for HBO. I figured in the winter I'd have plenty of time to catch up on shows as I couldn't spend so much time gardening and bicycling but so far, that hasn't happened.

Planning for the big unsupported bike ride in August. Where to stay, what to carry. Even for the ride in July, I have to deal with my broken tent. The last storm snapped a pole plus the shock cording is shot. Replace? It did last 25 years.

I am finally converting my squash  into smoky paprika-red lentil soup today. As soon as Steve returns with the missing onions, I will get cracking.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Euchre Belt

my sister-in-law and Shanna's kids

mural from the Mexican restaurant we ate at

A walk along the Huron in Ypsi
Maya and Allie
My brother-in-law as Slenderman
smiley Hannah

Another folk art doll to add to my collection

My brother and sister in laws are on their way to the airport to fly back to their respective coasts after a 5 day visit, which is part of the reason I've been missing from the blogsphere as of late. For the most part, the visit was fun full of visits with the kids and grandkids. As some of us have opposing political views (well one of us), there were some unpleasant moments. I have learned the hard way to keep quiet around here. There is no changing a closed mind.

Lots of opportunities for me to practice self control with all the eating out and drinking.  I was good most of the time but it does not take much to undo all the painstaking progress I had made.  It is so much easier when I am by myself, not in social situations. Previously, I was more than 40 pounds down but now I'm up 2 pounds. Sad face.Another week more added to my schedule. I won't be finished until sometime in April.

So the family played euchre, a game that was played around the country a hundred years ago but now is mainly confined to Michigan and a few other Midwestern states. German immigrants brought it from Europe, particularly German farmers. In Euchre, the Bauer card or the Farmer (the Jack) is the best card; not the queen or king. It is a co-operative game; two teams of two. Josh has trouble containing his frustration when his sibling partners don't make the ideal moves.

We also had a week of record highs. Yay! So we could take walks outside and early in the morning I could run or bike without getting frostbite. Winter returns this weekend but then my least favorite month will be almost over. Added bonus, longer days.

Supreme annoyance: it has been over a year since the accident in which I smashed my teeth doing a face plant. My medical insurance theoretically covers fractured teeth due to an accident but is making it impossible to be reimbursed. I have spent hours on the phone. The latest rejection was because I didn't have pre-approval for treatment. But I did. The latest round of phone calls led me to an upbeat woman who thought me getting the $2400 charges covered will be no problem and will get back to me by Thursday. We will see. Not hopeful. They covered the $8000 plastic surgeon bill with no problem

Friday, February 17, 2017

almost spring

From when I watched her Monday. Her birth hair is getting sparse. Hair is sort of reddish
Valentine orchids
I bought some tulips to brighten up the house
finally all in bloom. Another head is beginning to open up too
Maya is obsessed with the yoyo. She spent the night Tuesday
The two grandsons reading before sleeping
from the cooking class. Topic: unusual pizzas. This one is cooked in a skillet with 12 grain crust covered with lots of fennel, Machego cheese and caramelized onions. Also had slivers of fennel sausage and fresh parsley. She made two more kinds including a breakfast pizza and a deep dish pizza that was sort of like a ricotta quiche. All too tasty. They weren't ready to eat until well after my yoga class started. Do I eat or go to yoga. Eat of course
from last week's buying binge (kept out of resale shops this week). A beautiful serigraph that looks good in our master bedroom

Today Steve's siblings come from separate coasts. His brother should be on his way here now; the sister comes later in the afternoon.
I went for a run in the woods today even though it was below freezing. The roads are quite sandy so it was not slippery. It was nice not to have cars whizzing by at 65 mph seeing how close they can get to me. I saw maybe one car on the deserted roads in an hour. I could hear lots of woodpeckers calling to each other. For the next 5 days, it will be above 50. Yay!

Everyone will come over tonight except Maya. I will be lucky to get her early Sunday. She spent the night with us for the first time in a long time so Naomi could enjoy Valentine's Day with a date. I wish Naomi remembered to get cards for Maya to pass out. She was the only one without them. She is much easier to take care of since she has been on her ADHD drugs. I can have her sit still for various projects for a much longer time.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Nothing tastes better than skinny

I finally received the results of my son's family's photo-shoot. How hard would it have been to include the tops of their heads? They are a beautiful family.

I did watch the baby yesterday while her mama had a doctor appointment. I tried to capture her smiles but failed. She is now 6 weeks old. Tempus fugit. Today we will watch Tessa in the afternoon and Maya in the evening.

The title is an alleged quote from a model. Kate Moss? Not sure but I have been struggling to adopt it. Last weekend's challenge was Philly cheesesteaks Steve brought into the house. Again, one step forward and two back. I am almost 40 pounds down now. I now weigh only slightly more than Naomi. True she is taller and bigger boned. I am fitting into 15 year old jeans of mine. Aside from my running and biking (only once was I able to bike this month and I froze my feet doing so), I've been working out on our elliptical trainer and lifting weights. All of this is time consuming. But warmer weather is coming so there will be more biking, especially as I need to be in shape for my self supported tour through 5 states (if you count DC as a state) in August.

Steve's family is coming at the end of the week. Should be fun. We will have a houseful of people.

We went to see Lion last night. Excellent photography and a wonderful story. In the past month, I've gone to more movies than I had seen in a decade.

Thursday, February 9, 2017


two of the 4 amaryllis flowers are finally in bloom plus another head of blossoms is about a month away from blooming. A bit of brightness during these drab days
stylized clay cat bought today. Will go in the kitchen with my other red stuff

I read yesterday that they have this new device used during breast lump incisions that can distinguish between cancer cells and normal cells. It will beep if it detects cancer cells so the surgeon can keep cutting until the beeping stops. The device costs $1000 and can only be used once. There are no false negatives (good) but there are some false positives. Insurance will not cover the cost of this device even though it drastically cuts down on re-incisions. The current rate of re-incisions is 30%; the average cost 9-16K. Even if ignore the human costs, the usual risks involving anesthesia and surgery and the stress of and pain of going through it, from a pure economic sense, using this device would make sense.

I was one of the 30% who needed a second surgery as poor margins were obtained in the first surgery. My tumor had doubled in size since it was first detected a month prior. If they had just ultrasounded it right before surgery, then she would have known to cut more. A few years later, UM said they would do a pathology of the excised tumor and surrounding tissue on the spot to determine whether they should keep cutting. that would make sense. What took them so long to consider that? And it the second surgery, they took so much tissue I didn't have more than half a breast left. If I knew they were going to do that , I would have gotten a mastectomy.

So the Orange One has lived up so far to thinking people's worst fears. OMG. Why do people vote for someone who does not have their best interests? The Hidden Brain podcast had a good story on that.  woman from the most liberal corner of the country (Berkeley, CA)went to the opposite end of the spectrum (rural Albama) to try to figure out why people who needed and got so much federal aid would favor someone who would cut it? And those liberal Berkeley folks, why would they vote for someone who would be against their self interest (higher taxes for so-called entitlement programs). She concluded there must be a deeper reason, which she dubbed the Big Story. The poor look down the social economic ladder to find the source of what they perceive to be the source of the ills: poor blacks and Mexican immigrants. The liberals look up to find the source of evil: big banks, deregulation. Sort of simplistic. I always wondered how the few slave owners managed to get the many poor white sharecroppers to fight for their cause.

What have I been up to during my absence from the Blogsphere? Not attending to the many little things I should be doing. After a weekend of eating maybe like a normal person, I am back to deprivation so weight loss continues. I know it is not recommended to weigh oneself daily as one misses the big picture, but for me, skipping a day turned out to skipping a decade to no good effect. But I get sad when the numbers are bigger and happy when they get smaller. At the moment, they are smaller so for the moment, I am happy.

I went back to yoga. I met the instructor a few weeks ago and she promised to be reasonable. Alas, she was ill last night when I went to her class but the sub was good. I hope to work on flexibility and balance. I saw the Pats win at a Super Bowl party Shanna had. Actually we left when it looked like the had no chance in hell but continued to watch the game at home. Boston was our adopted home for a while. No love for Atlanta.

The ice finally melted on our street so it is somewhat safe to run there now until another snow hits. I have not been able to ride my bike since late January.  If it is suitably warm, it is raining.

I bought more stuff during super senior day. This time I went too far so I will take a break. I have the stuff hidden in the garage for now.

Today I make the long trip to the opposite corner of our big county to have my hair fixed.

Sunday, February 5, 2017


I thought this mermaid would look great in the green and purple room. Alas, wrong shades. Would it look good in Tessa's purple bedroom? Not appropriate as it is topless. Will end up over the door to my beach themed bathroom
this cow doll looks great in the green and purple room
my 1 month old doppelganger
I started to organize some of the many things that need to be done. This photo was taken July 4, 1896 in Troy, Ohio. My almost  6 year old grandfather is on his father's lap. He looks big for a 6 year old. All are redheads except dad and the oldest boy. Mother Eusebia had her last child at age 42. I think the room would look better without all the fur pieces on the floor.
Maya on her way to the long awaited birthday party. She was so excited. She does not get to go to many non-relative parties. The last one she missed because her father forgot to take her. We made sure this didn't happen again. Unfortunately her parents are feuding again so I had to pick her up
Another hand-made doll complete with a chintz chair to plotz in. $5.
Tessa was here Friday. Always cheerful

Maya received her invitation to a classmate's party over a month ago. She became obsessed with this party. She would look through the toys I have wondering aloud if her friend would like this or that for her birthday (pronounced birdday by her). No her mama would buy something new for her. She could select a special card (I had bought Naomi an assortment for such occasions) for her friend though.

The party was at a bouncy castle place east of me. Her dad's place is on the west side of Ann Arbor. Naomi worked until almost the time of the party so I picked her up. I overestimated the time it would take to select thistle seed at the big box store near him (though flower seeds were 10 cents a packet, hopefully some will germinate) so I ended up going to a somewhat over priced consignment shop out there. I have bought a few things though, that are good deals from then. I found my arty dolls and a reclining cherub. My friend who is battling all kinds of crud wants a reclining angel (if there is such a thing) I sent a photo of the cherub. No reply (turns out she was too ill to lift her head up). If she wants it, I will go back and negotiate a better price.

Near their snack area (I was offered ginger chocolates) was a photo of the da Vinci horse (I have 2 photos on my wall I have taken of said horse). A man sitting in the snack area said he was an expert on this horse as he was from Grand Rapids where a full scale replica of the 600 year old horse is at Meijer's gardens. I said I was in Milan where the original was supposed to be (da Vinci had a clay model there that Napoleon's soldiers destroyed by using it for target practice) and despite what he thinks, there are several models of this horse world wide including one in Pennsylvania. He immediately checked this out on his computer he had set up there. Yeah I am right. We got to talking. I had said I used to work for a big pharmaceutical company. As a sales rep? he guessed wrongly. Ha!   I am so far from being in I look polished? No basic research..way behind the scenes. Turns out he is in a clinical trial company associated with the University. Somehow we clicked. What we have in common is this..he has the same 10 foot marlin on his wall that I had retrieved from the trash a few months ago. What are the chances. My marlin is quite banged up (it is resting in the basement). He said it could be restored for $100 or he might buy it from me. Who needs two marlins? I guess they are quite pricy. The store had a used northern pike that was only 2 feet long for $350 . Impressive amount of teeth. Do not take the hook out of that one by hand.

Years ago, we went deep sea fishing in Florida on a extremely choppy day which caused all of us to be very seasick. My father's friend's son caught a baby barracuda (18 inches; adults are 6 feet long).He was so excited, he did not get sick (he couldn't even ride in a car without vomiting). It cost $150 to get that thing stuffed way back in the mid 60s. He has that thing in his office to this day.

I had to leave my new friend to pick up Maya. We've since been communicating m email.

Maya is a year old than most of her classmates plus she is very tall for her age so she towers over all of them. Two little boys would not leave her side. Apparently she hangs out with them at recess. At her check-up a few weeks ago, the doctor was pleasing with the glowing reports from her teachers about her drug induced concentration. Bonus, she hadn't lost any more weight. Still she weighs only 4 pounds more than Allie, more than 3 years younger.

Friday the Moms got together at one of the houses deep into the country 2 miles  (seems like so much more) down a dirt road that is covered with a sheet of ice this time of year. It was very nice just gabbing away. I didn't prepare a homemade dessert as I thought I would be babysitting more than I did. I brought a chocolate babka.

As for my diet, one step forward, two steps backward. Friday found me more than 37 pounds down so I got brave and tried on my 15 year old pants a size smaller. They fit! but with some bulge over the waistband. I considered wearing them as a reminder not to make the bulge bigger but back to my baggy pants. Maybe in 2 weeks I will wear them comfortably. In boxes somewhere, I do have more of my smaller clothes. Hopefully this obesity will be a thing of the past.

On tonight's agenda: superbowl party at Shanna's. Tomorrow: watching a movie with the Mom's.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Spending time with MY granddaughter

She was alert for most of my visit so I could finally bond with her
Hannah does not look like her older sister. I assumed she looked much more like her father than her mother but staring at those eyes, I realize it is ME whom she looks like
week 8 of waiting for this amaryllis to bloom
sun and snow
me at ArtPrize. So much less of me now
from the internet. How do you see yourself?

My kids do not look like me for which I am grateful. They were beautiful children and now good looking adults. They have a good looking father.. I do see different aspects of their personalities that are similar to mine, especially with Josh. They are quite different from each other though Josh and Shanna look very similar. I relate to each one in a different way. And between the three of them are 6 grandbabies. Do I see my children in them? Not much though Tessa reminds me of a more feisty Shanna.

Josh and his wife made a will after Allie was born. What would happen to Allie if the two of them were to disappear? Go live with one of her aunts(that would make sense) No. Allie would live with the other grandma, a single woman who is older than me and still working. Does this make sense? Josh told me I could have the next baby which would be Hannah. Of course they should not be split up though Allie right now thinks that would be a good idea as she is tired of being a big sister and resents that Hannah gets carried around.

Allie has some sort of strep infection. They do not want the baby to get it and have divided the house into two zones: Allie and Hannah's. They also need separate caregivers so I was assigned Hannah yesterday (Steve went there today and got Allie) Thus I got plenty of Hannah time. She is now 4 weeks old.

The roads were covered with fresh slippery snow going there about 12 miles to the north. It melted there while I was there so I assumed I could run once I got home. Wrong. We had much more snow and it did not melt. Annoying. And today, it had turned to ice. Spring isn't coming soon enough.

I saw my friend today who is the battling the effects of a stem cell transplant and drove her to one of her many appointments as she is too weak to drive. Cold air sets off an asthma attack. I prewarmed the car for her but in the 10 seconds she was exposed to the 20 degree air, it set off an attack.

After mulling this over for the past week, I decided I will do the bike ride from Pittsburgh to DC through the mountains. I thought it would only go through Pennsylvania and Maryland but no, it swings into West Virginia and Virginia too along with DC of course. The Pennsylvania leg is all uphill. At least I will have less fat to haul up (but more equipment). 


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