Thursday, May 31, 2018

Ambien made me do it

This hibiscus usually spends the summer outside but it is too big to move. I liked the way the light filtered through the petals

Last night a friend invited me to a Thoretta Davis concert which was to be held outside at EMU. They moved it inside due to heat and the threat of a thunderstorm which eventually did come there but missed my house entirely despite me driving home in torrential rains

She is a local blues singer. I like her music but they didn't adjust the amps for inside so conversation was impossible

my vegetable garden in early morning. All that feathery stuff is rhubarb flowers which I had diligently cut off for a while so the plant would invest its energy into stalks. I harvested 16 cups of diced stems today, which I roasted. I've been harvesting quite a bit and as you can see I have lots more. Lettuce and Swiss chard is under fencing to deter rabbits and deer

Sweet Williams which I have lots of different colors. I planted seeds 3 years ago and got some weedy things with no flowers which came back the next year. Just as I was about to pull them out, I noticed blossom buds. My Californiz poppies will bloom all summer too


the pond

lots of planters and baskets I've made

Maya hugging Allie. They are more than 3 years apart but Maya weighs two pounds less. Doctor is concerned and will put her on some sort of appetite stimulant. Her ADHD drug wrecks her appetite. When it wears off, she becomes ravenous
selfie with my SIL Maya has one adult incisor next to a baby incisor. Looks strange

Sanofi put out a press release (unless this too is fake news) that its drug Ambien may have some undesirable side effects but turning one into a racist is not one of them. At any rate, good riddance to that coarse, vile woman. Never did like her.

Tomorrow I take off on my bike ride from Pittsburgh to Washington DC, an adventure. Unfortunately, Maryland has had lots of rain and parts of our trail is washed out so we will be doing some detours. And we will be in rain in the beginning. It will not be cold so I can pack lightly. I've been getting stuff together and stressing about things that could go wrong. I should be in shape for it.

In the meantime, I've undertook the Sisyphean task of weeding. Most will have to wait until I get back. It's been very hot and humid, not good for my running even when I am out there as the sun rises.

Most of the concert goers yesterday were about my age. All these people, will I know anyone? Turns out I did. Way back when I was a student teacher, a boy was in my class who went on to become a write for our local newspaper before it went under. Now he works for EMU. He married the daughter of my critic teacher and I worked with his mother-in-law so I did know who he was. I went up to glimmer of recognition. I said I once was his AP chemistry teacher. Oh yes, you are Miss Maiden Name. But then he said, I couldn't be because I appear to be younger than him now. All his teachers are now very old. I was 21 when he was 17 so not too much different. He took a selfie of us to show his wife (who I did run into) and his mother-in-law.

I also ran into a former colleague whose daughter was once my daughter's best friend. His wife had cancer the same time I did though her treatment was much more brutal. Then she developed a completely different cancer and thought she had beaten that too but no, 5 years later she was dead. The man is a very quiet person but I think st night he said more to me than the 40 years I had known him all together.

Maya has to evaluated because of her ADHD often. Usually I go to support them but I thought Naomi could handle it. Not a good visit as Maya hadn't eaten all day and lost weight from the previous visit when she is supposed to be growing. She is thin but not bony thin. Changes are in store for both of them

I will be lucky to have phone service while I go through the mountains. Later.

Monday, May 28, 2018

triple massage

We got to sit outside this time. Steve's brother is to the far left. He looks a lot like Steve. All this going out was not good for keeping thin so I didn't go out some of the times. I have more control in my own home
Steve's brother and sister stayed with us last week. My daughter looks more like her aunt than her mother

We went for a walk in the Arb, too early for the peonies, mountain laurel and rhododendrons but they did have this unusual dogwood

grandkids enjoying the cabana

Hannah loves the police car

The Moms went to a wine tasting out in the Irish Hills. My in-laws were invited but became too ill to go there. It was in an old school house, this view being the bell tower

The Moms and some husbands. Not sure what is going on with my hair here. They had live music which was fun. We narrowly missed being drenched in thunderstorms which bypassed our house

on my ride along the river this morning. If I took a photo on my ride yesterday, it would be all white as it was extremely foggy. I had flashing lights all over me so not to get run over

Tuesday morning found me in a massage chair with one man massaging my legs and feet, another massaging my hands and the chair doing the rest, thus, triple massage. I returned to this place which I had quit because it was busy and more expensive for a place marginally closer but the last mani/pedi I got was so awful administered by a bored dude who wouldn't help me pick up my things thus ruining my nails and raised their prices 30% suddenly, I went back. The owner seemed happy to see me and arranged for my special treatment. Also it is in an Indian strip mall (Curry pizza anyone?) and I needed supplies from the Indian grocer for my butter shrimp I was cooking for everyone that night.

So our guests left yesterday. Our house was full of our kids and our grandkids, quite chaotic at times. Some drama per usual and lots of time on my part preparing food and cleaning up. We had nice weather conducive to walks and being outside before the heat wave started Sunday. It is 95 and humid as I type this and expected to go higher. I've been bicycling instead of running trying to get out as early as safely possible plus soon I leave on my big bike trip so that will help. Need to iron out lots of details before that starts but at least my body is prepared.

Just two weeks ago, I was bundled up for my long training ride in cold drizzle. How things have changed! My plants are growing quickly as are the weeds which I still have yet to control. I was out there after my exercise today but the heat got to me. Out in the country, all is so fragrant with the honeysuckle, wild phlox and apple blossoms in bloom. Coupled with the heat and humidity, the air is quite floral. When I got up early one morning, a herd of deer was in our yard trimming the long grass under the trees. The fog was dense on my bike ride, I couldn't see the deer that jumped in front of me except its white flag of a tail.

It was clearer this morning. The sun was just rising and lit up some male turkeys whose feathers glistened in the golden light. Yeah I should have stopped but experience shows that as  soon as I do, they scatter

As I recently got on Medicare, all my health plans have changed. I needed more drugs.  I have to use a mail order place now which said it would contact my doctor to get the refill. I waited and waited for these things to be mailed. I finally called to see what's up, a 2 hour process. They left messages for the doctor which were never returned. Couldn't they tell me that? I called the  doctor's office. They say their policy (this is a new doctor for me) is that they don't speak to pharmacies yet no one bothered to tell me. I got them to fax a refill to the pharmacy and got the drug 5 days later. As I have no thyroid gland, I need Synthroid. I don't look forward to having to beg for it every 3 months

Monday, May 21, 2018

Who will pay for the pederast?

lots of bleeding hearts

Hairdresser's chickens. Yeah I went back but at least it was close to the Mom's group so it wasn't quite another 70 useless miles which I don't think she apologized for adequately. No eggs were offered

I have 2 chestnut trees which are in full bloom now. Hard to get to the nuts before the squirrels do plus I am not 100% sure they are not buckeyes

close up

Recently the many victims of Nassar, associated with Michigan State University were awarded $500 million. I assume at least half of that will go to lawyers but each victim should be able to clear a least $2 million a piece. At least the gymnasts at MSU were adults, adults with child bodies but adults nonetheless. He was the gymnastic team doctor and also for the Olympic program too where he did have access to children. He would do manipulations ungloved to the young girls' privates. He  never had a nurse present and was visibly aroused, a total creep. This went on for years. The school was informed on numerous occasions but did nothing. Indeed the trustees, elected by us, are still on the job. They tried to keep the whole thing quiet so new complaints would not come forward. So it is  a state institution. It as a sizeable endowment but legally that can't be touched (change the law!!!) so I assume we, the tax payers will end up footing the bill.

I've been busy between training and doing lots of gardening. Aside from lots of weeding and pruning, I got most of what I want planted. The most disgusting job was cleaning the pond, about half the size of a bath tub. Steve thought he sealed it tightly but he was wrong. It was an extremely vile smelly gemisch of decaying chipmunk and mole bodies. We pumped out most of the water after I shoveled the carcasses out (yuck, yuck) leaving just a few inches of wormy putrid water which I scooped out and then scrubbed everything thoroughly. Not fun.

After my second attempt at a haircut (at least it looks good), I went to the Mom's group at her farm. We sat on her deck overlooking her pond having a great time and eating (too much) and drinking (too much). I made an Italian cheesecake with rhubarb sauce for dessert. I processed quite a bit of rhubarb last week. Will make roasted rhubarb scones for my guests coming tomorrow and perhaps a rhubarb pie.

I have much less orioles now than last week. They were not amused at me being near their feeder as I did my many chores. They made their angry squirrel clucking noises as they did their fly bys hoping I would leave.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Local art

this beauty from a local glass artist I got at a church sale for a fraction of its price. I have little lights behind it so it glows at night

Some of my hairdresser's chickens who were there to greet me when I showed up to my hair appointment today. Who wasn't there? My hairdresser! I was so irritated as it is a 60 mile round trip. Today was the best day to get it done. She seems sorry for messing up. Maybe she should give me some of these girls' eggs..
Naomi overlooking Los Angeles

Catalina Island

I helped Allie make slime the other morning

She likes to wear her turtle outfit

I bought this cool tile from an artist down the road

My cousin's entry to the Holland Tulip Festival quilt contest. She's quite creative

Mother's Day flowers from Shanna

and from Steve

White bleeding hearts. Have several sets of pink ones in bloom too

Apres moi, la deluge!  Rain, rain, and more rain for the past 4 days. Thunderstorms greeted me when I awoke to do Sunday's big ride. I awaited until they went away leaving a steady cold drizzle. My loop usually has 2.5 miles of dirt roads which I imagined would be impassable. As the sun never shone, I could head back east on the paved roads. Hard to avoid the water that swamped some of the low lying areas. I was a muddy mess when I returned even though I wasn't on dirt roads.

I probably had ten orioles, most of them Baltimores but probably some of the smaller orchard orioles too. It was difficult keeping them fed. The constant rains would wash away the jelly. They would empty the humming bird feeders (fortunately for the hummers I have suitable flowers for them). And the catbirds would eat all the fruit put out for the orioles. Other birders reported the same strange oriole attack too. One said that scarlet tanagers came with the orioles, a person who lives only 3 miles from me. I have my eye out for them but so far, no tanagers. I never have seen a scarlet one, our alleged local variety. I've see the summer kind out west and the lilac ones in Costa Rica.

Many of the orioles seemed to have moved on. I still have 4 or so eating the oranges.

So less biking than I would like. I've been running in between storms.

For Mother's Day weekend, I saw most of the grandbabies. I've done more gardening. Getting the vegetables in was my first priority followed by the summer bulbs. I will eventually finish with flowers.

Today I had planned to have my hair fixed, a long drive but she does a good job. However she needs a better appointment minder!! So annoyed that she wasn't there. I try again in a few days. Grrrrr.

Went to a local art show. Years ago, the main artist who sponsors the show and has a studio 1.5 miles away had a friend in common with me. This friend would farm sit her farm (about 4 miles away from where I live now) As she was nervous staying out in the country by herself, I would keep her company. I hadn't met the owner until a few years ago. We both aren't friends anymore by the friend in common. Her husband makes fanciful life sized sculptures. I had photographed his blue giraffe in Grand Rapids ArtPrize not realizing it was made just down the street where it now stands in the parking lot.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Oriole photography

female rose breasted grosbeak

The pair was on the feeder at the same time. Alas the male was spooked but I could see his underwing red which I hadn't seen before

so I did get some plants, mainly vegetables which I've spent hours putting in

A bit of whimsy amongst my newly blooming lilacs. They smell so good

new orchid

new frame for my blue and orange room

I've seen five orioles today at once: two full pairs and either an immature male or a brightly colored female

They were ignoring the oranges. Let's try blueberries and figs

catbirds like blueberries too

It is a cold rainy day today. Mrs. Oriole looks waterlogged

May is bird month here. Only in May (and into a bit of June) do we see the chipping sparrows, the crown sparrows, the orioles, grosbeaks and once the above blossoms turn to fruit, cedar wax wings. Usually I see one of the orioles at a time even though I know I have a pair but while I was drinking my morning coffee, the feeder was covered with 4 of them. Later five could be seen at a time. They are nervous around humans so they are a bit hard to photograph. I tried to get photos with them all on the feeder at once but that turned out to be impossible. I got two at a time. The male grosbeak however continued to feed while I planted flowers a few feet away though he was giving warning chirps.

So much to do to get these gardens going. I've got most of the vegetables in though the place I went to didn't have the summer squash I wanted. And I should have looked at my beds before buying as some of the Swiss chard reseeded. The kale finally died. It lived through 2 relatively mild winters but last winter was a killer. I didn't eat it. I just harvested it for a friend.

A big cloud going into the week was my annual mammogram. Even when they don't find anything wrong, they have trouble angling my seroma just right so it matches up with the previous mammogram. Very painful. The seroma is the size of an egg and is very hard as it is a mass of calcium salts. On the mammogram. it looks identical to a tumor but as it is either hollow or filled with fluid, by ultrasound, it is not a tumor plus they have biopsied it in the past, a stressful and expensive procedure. I had a very sweet technician who kept apologizing for causing me pain. Other women who got there after me left way before me. They called me back, not a good sign. They wondered why the seroma now was a larger portion of my breast. Did I, by chance lose weight and if so, did I do it on purpose? I thought I had lost most of the weight before last year's mammogram so I didn't mention it.

It is strange that when people notice  have lost weight, the first thing they think is that it could be cancer though while having cancer, I gained most of my excess weight. Recently my former daughter-in-law noticed a recent picture of me and asked Josh if my cancer came back. I guess they wouldn't consider me disciplined enough to do this on my own. But eventually I got the all clear. Yay! So I don't have to deal with them for another year. Yay!

A plus, they replaced those nasty hospital gowns which I never could adequately tie despite all my experience with them with spa robes. One woman was so enamored, she walked out wearing one. She quickly came back for her street clothes saying it was a hectic week. A bigger plus, I had scheduled this close to my cooking class so I came early and they took me early so I got to the class on time. Subject: alternatives to dairy. We tasted milks from rice, almond, peas, goats, and coconut plus dishes made with them. Non dairy macaroni and cheese sucks especially with gluten free pasta. Cream of cauliflower soup was good however.

Still fine tuning our big trip. Big snag: Amtrak lets only so many bikes on each train. They are at their limit! We could check them in as luggage which means buying special packing boxes and partially disassembling them. We do have train reservations but we might cancel them and rent a truck. I have been able to bike a lot but he cold and rain came back. Sigh.

Monday, May 7, 2018

spring at last

new doll

my frog prince

Naomi ziplining

I've been seeing lots of these guys. Not my photo though

6 weeks late, my Easter flowers finally bloom

lots of tulips too

Shanna and Tessa bowling

The boys at a mother/sons dance

I should wear gloves I know. Now my hands are open blisters from trying to manually remove dandelions from our 2 acres. There seems to be close to zero tolerance here but now, no heads can be seen and we aren't poisoning our aquifer and birds. I've planted my summer bulbs and seeds. Need to buy vegetables for my garden. I've spent hours in the last few days but still much needs to be done.

Now we have three hummers: the new one the female.

Naomi is back from her adventures so less time now with Maya. It was especially hard yesterday as we had a power outage: no water either.

It was so nice not to have to bundle up as the sun came out to do my 32.5 loop. Extra bonus: no wind. This is half the distance of our longest day. True we won't be on paved roads but I am definitely getting stronger. Went by several Canada geese families with newly hatched goslings.


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