Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Oh deer

Our herd of deer crossing through at dusk Must be 20 deer
Have 3 huge blooms of this

A dual birthday cake for Oliver and Steve. For Steve's 55th birthday, he got a grandson

I've been meaning to make this for years: limoncello tiramisu Very lemony, which is a good thing. Takes a lot of pans to prepare

Ann Arbor is now the killing field for deer. This is the third year of the 'cull' in which they close down parks particularly in the NE quadrant that we lived in and hire sharp shooters. Some of the female deer are not killed but sterilized. Last year, they were not able to kill many deer because the weather was so mild. Mild weather means no snow so they can't track the animals. And the deer were able to find food and actually multiplied significantly. Near our former house was a few blocks of woods that kids routinely used as a shortcut to from school. That was going to be closed too but the neighbors protested as it would be hard to ensure the kids wouldn't be in there. Lots of protests period as there are many deer lovers in AA.

But out here in the country, no official sharp shooters though when I was finally able to run on the side roads during our too brief thaw, I heard unreassuring gunshot. Please don't shoot me. It is not deer season but I think they always can be killed on private land. Driving at night is risky as the deer will suddenly dart in front of you. One night I encountered 3 different sets of animals in a 2 mile stretch. It made me very paranoid so I kept the brights on, slowly  scanning for deer along the sides. I remember when seeing a deer was very rare. Not any more.

Steve and Oliver had their birthday last week. We went out together the night before with the local road blocked off by police. A bank robber was caught inside Shanna's bank with 3 employee hostages. The stand off lasted 5 hours before everyone was released unharmed but terrified.

I usually make dessert for the Mom's group. I try not to repeat myself. Lots of limoncello, lots of on mascarpone cheese and a recipe I had been saving for years. Lots of work juicing lemons and grating rind making different mixes in about 5 different pans. But it did taste good. And it was enjoyable per usual being with the Chosen Sisters, our 38 anniversary of meeting this month.

Winter returned this week with a storm on Monday making running outside impossible. The roads were clear enough yesterday for me to drive to the opposite end of the county to finally get my hair done and then to meet friends to see Call me by your name which could have an hour cut out of it but as it took place in Italy, seeing the scenery was fun particularly the area around Lake Garda that Steve and I were at 3 years ago.

We finally got our Costa Rica package from the tour company. Need to organize some stuff before I go. Need sun now.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Our Seattle family

We took Steve's mom out to lunch

Her grandson is very attentive

Seattle is full of murals though the best ones I saw from the train

we went to Happy Hour downtown near where the new Amazon complex is

Liked the name of this bar. Another cool name: Biscuit Bitch

Steve and one of the Pike Market pigs

Still too cloudy to see the Olympic mountains though on the last day it was clear enough to see them. Not clear enough to see Mount Rainier which was going to receive 3 feet of snow the day we left

Add caption

cheese factory

AdUs. I walked around all day in my exercise outfit

My mother-in-law and her three kids

I cooked up some salmon for our large family dinner one of the nights when the kids were not working

Why go to Seattle during its worse month? Rain, cold...
We hadn't seen Steve's mother in more than a 18 months and at 93, she is not going to live forever though her health issues have largely resolved that caused the other place she was staying to kick her out. And at least it would be warmer there with little chance of snow and ice. It did rain a lot though I was able to find a few dry periods to exercise.

It is difficult to coordinate the wants and needs of so many people (at our dinner, we had 10 people) but things largely worked out. Lots of eating out, which is not good for my weight maintenance plan. Still trying to recover from that. All should be lost in time for my next big trip. And it was nice seeing green grass, flowers, hummingbirds, unfrozen lakes, mountains and different scenery. I did run every day mainly along Green Lake or Lake Washington though one day, we went to the highest point of her neighborhood (she must live in the lowest point: I ran there once up an incredible hill) where they have a reservoir and great views on the rare clear days to run around in tight circles during gale force winds and rain.

We all got along and there was lots of them reminiscing about their childhoods. It was not an easy life with mental illness and poverty.

Now I am back adjusting to Michigan before going to Central America. Fortunately we had a brief warm spell when I could run on the backroads and bike. This ends tomorrow.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Women's March

Not me, but I liked her sign. Lots of fun signs Like Grab them by their mid-terms, etc
This is me at the gathering of the Women's March in Seattle with my new pussy hat, thanks to one of the Moms who knit it for me. I put a cat pin on the rim to add extra bling

lots of Native Americans who seemed to hijack the march encouraging all of us to shout "you are living on stolen land"  Not what I came for

So my first march in a long time. I did the 1983 (30 year?)Martin Luther King in DC. People marched all over the country. Almost half of the 'marchers' in Seattle were men. I put marchers in air quotes because the march seemed to be a very small part of the gathering. Lots of standing around in the cold and the rain waiting for something to happen other than uninspirational droning speeches that we could barely hear. After more than and hour and a half with no promised start to the march, we gave up as we were so, so cold. But it was fun people watching. Lots of people unhappy with what is going on in our country. Today I read some quote by our scary vice president that no one needs health care. They need Jesus. If you would just attend church, God will take care of all your health needs. So even if they get rid of Trump, we get that, who is arguably worse. I guess it is evil to wish something bad to happen to Pence's health but I would like to see him pray himself healthy.

We ducked into a downtown Mexican restaurant attracted by a firepit. So, so cold. I warmed up eating an enormous bowl of tortilla soup and more coffee. We Ubered our way back home.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Michigan Meteor

Things I haven't seen in a while: flowers in bloom outside' unfrozen lakes and hummingbirds
The rhododendron belongs to my sister-in-law. Also in bloom, roses and petunias

This path follows a peninsula that juts out into Lake Washington. Lots of old growth Douglas firs in the interior. Lake full of mergansers and unusual ducks
. An eagle flew by on my run though I was too intent on looking ahead. My mother-in-law lives a mile south of this park overlooking the same lake

male Anna's hummingbird. Hard to take with an iPhone. It helps that he is twice the size of the ones we have. These stick around during the winter even though it snows occasionally. In the spring, there are also calliope, rufous and black chinned hummingbirds, the latter being the Pacific version of our ruby throated kind

On the night before we flew to Seattle, I was sitting in my friend's living room drinking wine after seeing The Post (liked it, Meryl Streep was great). Suddenly the house shook. It sounded as if a giant was treading down her street. WTF? we said. Turns out at that moment, a meteor had streaked across the sky 25 miles away and exploded setting off an earthquake. Lots of videos on line. We were facing south so we didn't see it but Naomi out of an east window did but assumed it was a winter thunderstorm. Pieces of the meteor on top of frozen lakes have been retrieved all week. The meteor went directly over Josh's house shaking it severely. Steve thought I had returned early from my night out and was walking my roller bag on the roof but there my already packed suitcase sat and no sign of me. Local excitement.

On to Seattle. Our super cheap fares netted us both middle seats  with me in between two morbidly obese ladies whose flesh was oozing over into my space. Added bonus, the ventilation system wasn't working so it was a toasty 95 degrees. And the person in front of me decided to recline into my lap. Fun times. Fortunately our return flight was much better and shorter. Usually we rent a car in Seattle but it is especially expensive there plus they recently built a light rail system that would get us 75% of the way to Steve's sister's. In a few more years, it will go all the way there. It was clean, fast and efficient both ways and relatively cheap, even more so once you are 65, which will be in 2 days for one of us. Steve's brother and his wife flew in the night before and now have their own space 6 miles north. Despite how far north Seattle is relative to us, it has a very mild climate. All was green with a few flowers out. At the Audubon center, the guide told me about the many birds they have there at Seward Park. They had about 6 Anna Hummingbirds fighting over the feeders. Lots of brown eyed juncos which look much different from the ones we have. Chickadees are smaller and more chestnut colored. I told her that the main bird we have is the Northern cardinal. She had never seen one before. Must never have crossed the Rockies as they are quite common.

So I was able to run a lot though many times through drizzle and once with very strong winds. No ice. Days are shorter there due to how north it is so the first morning I ran with a head lamp on around a lake. Strange to be running in total darkness though lots of other runners were out. Occasionally a dog walker would go by with no lights on, just the reflections of my light in the dog's retinae. There had been a windstorm the night before knocking down branches so I would occasionally get tangled in them. I slowed down quite a bit as I am so afraid of tripping but on the other days, I ran much faster maybe being so close to sea level.
Lots of photos of course to follow.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The road not taken

Movie night with some of the Moms. The Shape of Water.  Interesting

This is the other theater recently restored that belongs to the same organization

lights so pretty in downtown Ann Arbor. Why so blurry? Need new wipers

No thanks to an ice storm, she had no school and her dad couldn't come to pick her up. More Maya time. I have lots of costumes that appeal to little girls

So far, this winter has been quite brutal. If it isn't below zero, then it's ice. We had one warm day: it went up to 60 only to plunge that much the next day. I did take my bike out on the warm day though it was very windy. Lots of puddles and grit on my path. I returned home covered in mud. Even got mud through the ventilation holes of my helmet. So I haven't been out much. Fortunately I have my basement gym back.

Before the movie the other night, we went to a very popular ramen shop on campus. Tasty but pricey. We were the oldest there by about 30 years. Had an interesting drink that was a mix of vodka, earl grey tea, grapefruit juice and ginger. Mute lady falls in love with a sea creature that is set to be destroyed by some sadistic military person. Wonderful photography; crazy plot.

I've spent two days de-Christmasing my house though we still have snowflake lights setting off seizures on our porch.

When I was a sophomore in college, I met my old boyfriend.  He remains the smartest person I probably ever knew at least in math. He had some holes in social skills. We were with each other for 3 years and were set to get married. Things were far from perfect however and just as well that we split up though I found it very traumatic at the time. He just disappeared. I tracked him down about20 years ago and then he disappeared again. He does have a very common name.

Suddenly he appeared again last week and we've been in contact. OMG, he is a Trump supporter. Again, he might be a math genius but a few light bulbs are out in other parts of his brain. Yep Trump is great because his stock portfolio is doing great. And the 'sh*thole" comment? Is this possibly defensible? Yep, it is refreshingly honest and a sign to his racist supporters that he is still with them. And the countries are 'sh*tholes' as he had gone to one and it smelled like it.

How to become a 'sh*thole" country? Abandon all environmental measures so our rivers and lakes are full of toxins again. Increase the gap between wealthy and poor so the poor will be forced to live in favelas. He doesn't see it.

So glad we parted and I bet my babies ended up way cuter.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018


close up of the dragon's mouth

Hannah pretending I'm not there

Instead of the highs being only 10 degrees as for the last 2 weeks, it will be 50, yes 50 in 2 days. Maybe I will be able to bicycle if it isn't pouring rain. I exercise best in the morning and it was still too icy out there to be safe today. Fortunately I have my indoor system.

I was so stressed about various things in the last few days, I had this sinking feeling in my stomach especially as our time in the court house came close. I even forgot to take my drugs. And as anxious as I was about things, I knew it was tenfold for Naomi. 

No cellphones are allowed in the courthouse which I was already aware of. My boots set off a metal detector. I was told to take them off. Really. We were surrounded by muddy puddles. Fortunately they had some crocs available so at least my feet wouldn't get wet. I was not allowed in the mediation session though I gave Naomi notes so she would make sure to cover certain points. Fortunately the mediator was on her side most of the time. The last time, not so much. They can never see the same person twice. Most of what I was afraid of never came up. The main issue was whether Naomi is responsible for any of the driving between visits. She said No as moving 150 miles away was done without the court's permission. However in court 2 months ago, the judge, and he is the only one that they can ever see, had said something about how they should share equally as it is important for a child to have a father in their life. From the peanut gallery, I gasped and started to say something, but a lawyer warned me I would be kicked out. Naomi was too dumbfounded to say anything. Don'tae wouldn't let this go saying the judge agreed with him. The mediator said the judge would not had he known all the facts of the case. So they were at an impasse. The mediator said that something had to be decided or back to the judge (and more filings and paperwork). How would the judge rule? Naomi couldn't risk it and agreed that twice a month, she would drive Maya back half way.

So it could have been worse. The last two weeks I have been obsessed with worse case scenarios over the 3 main issues that I was dealing with. And now that things are mostly resolved, I feel a bit ridiculous. I can relax a bit for now but there is always something not the least being the bozo in the oval office.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Technically alcohol is a solution

The Birthday girl lets the other grandma hold her

She looks so much like my baby boy here though he had a lot more hair and didn't recoil in terror if I tried to hold him

What am I to  do with this? She patted it a bit and let the frosting ooze through her fingers but eating it wasn't what she considered

I saw the title of this post today on a beaten up sign on the way to my son's house to celebrate his daughter's first birthday. I thought the sign apt. It was up in the air whether we would even go to this party but yesterday a big family issue seemed to temporarily be resolved and the seas parted. Not sure what machinations went on behind the scenes but sometimes you don't need to know how the sausage is made.

Now if I can just get through tomorrow. A big mediation meeting is scheduled between two very far apart sides. Serenity now!

Temps were above zero today. Yay but so windy, I stayed inside. I did go out when it was an even zero yesterday as it was calm. Did I say how much I hate winter? We went by a huge flock of cold turkeys today digging through the snow for food.

Last summer, a group of us were to bike from Pittsburgh to Washington DC but someone blew out their knee. I agreed to try again this summer. Now this same person just was diagnosed with lung cancer despite being very fit and never smoking. So a smaller group, maybe just two of us, will go. It will be very early summer. Hopefully I can get in shape in time.

Tonight, mindless entertainment, the Golden Globes. My mind does need a rest.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Cyclone bomb

They have since refurbished the artsy theater . Now divided into 4 mini theaters with the downstairs being a store. I remember it as a kid when it was full size
We had her for a good portion of this week

too much time on my hands?

my art museum party centerpiece starting to bloom with the smallest blossoms ever

bought more art glass

my friend just gave me the large potpourri holder that I put way on top of my cupboards

The weather people seem to be making up new terms each year. Two years ago, all of a sudden we were having polar vortices. Now a cyclone bomb though technically not us, just the east coast with the epicenter in Boston. Still the weather sucks here. Today's high: 6 degrees. Even colder tomorrow but with less wind so maybe, maybe I will run outside.

My dreams of having a fancy gym to workout in this month were dashed yesterday when they took my free month away saying I didn't qualify because I used the gym once before. Hardly seems fair. They did let me stay yesterday so I got a full workout and then some. I have since sicced the woman on them who had given me the pass. She is very forceful so I think there is a chance I will get that pass back. Meanwhile, I could use Steve's barebones gym for a week or  sign up for the Y. We finally got the elliptical trainer fixed down in our basement so I have that and all my weights.

Still can't wait for spring or warmth of any type. I weigh about the same as I did before our big trip but that was still 2 pounds above where I want to be. 

Lots of Maya as school is out and Naomi has to work. She is starting to refuse her medication. She came here the other day unmedicated and was crazy running through the house at full speed slamming the doors. While the drugs kicked in, I tried to siphon the energy off by having her ride the Ziggle down in the basement. She eventually mellowed. Of the three big issues worrying me preventing any inner peace, one has been resolved; two remain.

I did see "Three Billboards in Ebbings, Missouri" Yeah I know, a silly title. I did like it though. Lots of complex issues and Frances McDormand was excellent. We subscribe to so many streaming services. Do I use them? Not often but as I have been confined here, maybe I will.

Have some trip planning to do which I keep putting off. I did spend the afternoon yesterday with a friend who is battling so many health and personal issues, my minor problems seems so trivial so I keep quiet about them.

I just saw a robin in my tree. What can it eat? It is so cold that only the woodpeckers have strong enough beaks to drill through the frozen suet cake though the blue jays certainly try. I do seem to have less variety than during the last winters. No nuthatches or titmice. Only 2 pairs of cardinals versus about 6. Would hate to be a bird or any living thing that must be outside.

Monday, January 1, 2018

2017 in photos

We started the new year with a new baby 

during the cold months, we amused ourselves with having movie nights. This is the Michigan theater

ice storm

2016 xmas party delayed due to blizzard until January 2017

Maya and I decorated this

escaped winter in February by going to Arizona

stellar blue jay

Indian ruins

costa hummingbird

old mission

Grand Canyon

cactus flowers

birthday girl

where we went for my birthday

Mackinac island escape in May

cherry blossoms Saw these same trees laden with cherries 2 months later

the arch

e hosted Steve's cousin for brunch. Made rhubarb scones from my garden

beaded top find from my thrift store hunts

hummers returned

I loved sitting in the morning with my water features on amid all my flowers

she learned how to ride a bike so we had bike rides together

Naomi got to go to New Orleans

When I reached my initial weight loss goal after 9 months. Went on to lose 12 more pounds

my peony Also visited the peony gardens

Father's Day bbq


predawn double rainbow on my training ride

6 day bike ride up north

Sutton's bay

Mom's meetings

the eclipse

the boys

a trip to Holland (MI) to visit my relatives and a friend

my friend collects kites

swallowtail larvae ate all my dill I let one of them pupate
Add caption

Shanna's family in Chicago
sun flowers on my bike rides. Alltogether I rode 2350 miles this year
late rainy summer
a visit with my aunt and cousin in Northern Oakland county
Steve's brother and wife visited us in the fall
2 visits to this winery
Grand Rapids
November trip to NYC

cranes at the beach we visited several times

Watched grandkids while Shanna celebrated 10 years of marriage

fancy dinner at the Henry Ford Museum

40 th anniversary trip to Spain Madrid



And our favorite: Barcelona

My grandfather's former house was on the list for top 4 expensive properties sold this year in our county
Christmas 2017

me for a pre New Year's eve eve party


Blog Archive