Monday, August 27, 2018

My charmed life

My fancy  sandals did come in from China earlier than expected. Now I want to get pumps before Trump raises the shipping charges

thrift store find: hand blown margarita glasses Too bad there are only 4

And a pair of mosaic vases

My friend invited me to lunch: homemade salmon salad, tabbouleh and baclava

We went downtown Ann Arbor, a place I haven't been in ages, with Josh's family. We had Maya for the weekend

Ann Arbor mural

the moms from our winery trip a few weeks ago

Naomi attempted to straighten Maya's hair. By the next morning, it was its usual giant afro

After dinner at a BBQ place, we went to a beer garden where the kids could run around. Hannah tries to imitate everything the big girls do

I am lurking over Josh's shoulder with my eyes closed

Steve's cousin's son is trying to make it as a professional photographer. I do like this of the Brooklyn Bridge

I was eating lunch the other day at my friend's house. She gave me a long look and told me how lucky I am: I can fit into size 4s, exercise at a high intensity for a long time, have great kids and grandkids, have a loving husband, have very little money worries, travel when and where I want, and have  good health. Yes she is right but sometimes I do have problems counting my blessings. Right now I cannot use my left wrist. I have no idea what I did to it but for now, weight lifting is out of the question unless I just want to use my right arm and get that popeye look.

One last week of summer.

I got up very early Sunday morning for a bike ride. There was no fog at our house, the lowest point of my ride. We are along a 2 mile long chain of lakes so the land is fairly flat. If there was going to be any fog, you'd think it would be here. But as soon as I started climbing out of our valley, I was covered in fog that didn't dissipate until 2 hours later. I have a flasher on my leg that can be seen from behind and a headlamp. I really couldn't see more than a few feet ahead. Worse was they decided to 'chip and seal' my favorite road, Seven Mile so it was covered with loose gravel and they hadn't painted the lines yet. There are stretches in which there are no lights for a mile or so, total darkness. I couldn't see where the road ended so I turned around and went back to 'my valley' until the sun came up.

I've been seeing friends and enjoying outside though now and tomorrow it is in the 90s. My run this morning was very uncomfortable due to the heat and humidity.

I really need to do more planning for our Utah trip. We got a route mapped out but trying to find more affordable lodging is a pain. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018


A good friend is helping a family of African refugees. How to keep the kids entertained while the mom deals with lots of court visits? The girl, a sweetheart, is Tessa's age and the little boy, Allie's age

We took them to the sprinkler park near me  They enjoyed it

Daniel emerged from a 6 week premature infant to this 9 year old this weekend. He seems to be fascinated with maps so a globe seemed fitting. This one lights up at night to show the constellations

His parent were gone on his actual birthday though he had celebrations before and after. But this one is at grandma's

Jacuzzis are fun

I think they snuck some more bath foam into the water. Our soft water seems to make plenty of bubbles. Ginger blossoms smell so good

our house is the transfer point between shifts of custody

It is early in the morning. Normally I would be out with my flashers running or biking but I draw the line at thunderstorms which I hear outside . I am hoping for some lightning free time later in the day though I do have an elliptical trainer in our basement. But we need the rain so I shouldn't complain.

Summer is winding down, which makes me sad as I hate the cold winter months so much. I do enjoy relaxing outside in the early morning with my coffee. Days are getting shorter but my headlamp lights up the road just fine while I am biking in the dark. I was able to come back early enough the other morning before the eastern sun blinded the cars and me and in time to make buttermilk pancakes before the kids woke up.

I was running down a dirt road the other morning which was deserted as it is at all hours. A truck stopped besides me. I panicked as again, deserted road and what did this man have in mind but he said something about how he could see me really well (or maybe he couldn't see me...hard to say, I did have a neon light blinking) I wanted to ask him why he felt he needed to blind me with his brights but didn't want to annoy him.

A few weeks ago, I ordered something online from a Chinese company which very soon sent me an email to say my item was shipped. Haven't received it. Could I track it? If only I had purchased a tracking number in advance, which I didn't know was an option. I have since read reviews about this company. Seems like I will be lucky to get this. Should read reviews ahead of time, lesson learned.

How does my garden grow?  Well lots of spaghetti squash now and my butternut squash will be ready very soon. All of my many tomato plants seemed to have disappeared. I had harvested lots of tomatoes a few weeks ago but now the plants are gone. Some virus? Zucchini still is producing but the yellow squash seem to rot while they are maturing. My cauliflower is hard to get at and now most of it is overgrown. I thought they were brussels sprouts plants which I put in the middle where I wouldn't need to get to them until everything else was dead.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

ghost bikes

these have been popping up over Michigan. It denotes where a bicyclist was killed. Some drunk in Kalamazoo managed to kill 5 cyclists at once and maim several others
I did buy these two in a week of splurges (I bought some fancy sandals on line that better fit). The lower one is green amber set in silver. Need to find a uv light to see if it's real

I love delphiniums but this year has been tough on them. Got these purple ones finally but I miss my bright blue ones

this hibiscus will need to come inside for the winter

my head pot is filling up

no matter how many seedlings I destroy, a few always manage to survive They are pretty

From my cooking class: meals in a bowl. One's starch, veggies and protein are put into one bowl. This is the burrito bowl, beans, rice, tomatoes peppers, avocado topped with greek yogurt

We had two other bowl meals: bulgur wheat topped with swiss chard, mushrooms and an egg and a Greek salad over quinoa

As it is still warm, I am still exercising before dark though today I was caught up in an earlier than forecasted rain. I am hoping that all my lights will save me from being a ghost bike and that drunk drivers tend to operate at night, not in early morning.

Due to my travels, I had missed some cooking classes. This time my friend was strong enough to make it. While the food is prepared, people tell their cancer stories. A lot of tears last night. One not so nice aspect is 'my tumor is bigger than yours' syndrome. A person would say they have lymphedema on one side, another would pipe in Oh you're lucky, I got it on both sides. One person actually told another she is lucky that her cancer wasn't as bad as this one's cancer and used the word 'lucky'. Lucky isn't how any cancer patient feels. Yep there is always someone who was dealt worst cards.

Someone's spouse is dealing with stage 4 lung cancer. Were they a smoker. No but are they deserving of less care if they were? What symptom sent the wife to a doctor? Coughing? Difficulty breathing? None of that. A headache. The lung cancer, not immediately diagnosed, had already spread to the brain.

People are always wondering what gave them cancer. Pollution? Bad habits? Bad genes? Bad karma? My friend, who I like very much but I do not share her religious beliefs, sincerely thinks she asked God for it. Her father had cancer (4 times now yet he is in remission now) and it caused so much stress to all involved that she prayed that she have it instead as she could deal with it. So his cancer went away and she gets cancer instead. Dad's cancer is treatable; hers much less so. And meanwhile, her mom has pancreatic cancer for one month before dying. Who asked for that?

I had Shanna's kids today. Screens keep them entertained but is it healthy? I will have them for longer Saturday.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Night riders

do I want the turquoise and lapis lazuli necklace in the center? Yes I do but don't want to pay full price for it. Next week it will be discounted 10% though I risk someone else buying it

We went to a local vineyard yesterday. True the best grapes are grown on west side of the state, particularly the NW corner but small wineries have been popping up here. They used to let us have wine tastings while us sitting on the patio. Now they make us stand which I didn't feel like doing. Still a beautiful day with friends. Just picked a wine on stuck with it. Later bought fresh corn from an honor stand

My big fashion find. Where am I going to wear all these fancy dresses though this could pass for casual. Size 4 for $4. Hmmm...looks big for a 4. Then I recognized the fancy label, Helmut Lang. Similar dresses by him go for $500. Fits perfectly though I needed help from strangers to get it zipped and unzipped. Wish my hands weren't holding an imaginary belly

A pretty rock? Nope, fancy soap. I have very pretty bars all over the place, all smelling wonderful. Do I wash my hands with them? No, prefer liquid soap (also have an assortment of pretty aromas) but Steve does. I did get him to stop using that vile triclosan soap. He has stopped getting mysterious rashes since then too.

Days are getting shorter though the temperature has yet to drop to a tolerable level. I now get up extra early in the dark to ride and run. I am not the only one. A man in my neighborhood rides with this blindingly bright flood light, much brighter than cars' brights (whose owners love to blind me with them). The main aim is to be seen without becoming road kill. Studies show that a moving light attracts more attention than a stationary one so I have a neon flashing yellow light on my calf. But this doesn't help me see much so I have a head lamp on my forehead. The downside of this is all the insects that I attract with it. I don't like running with a headlamp as I need to get it very tight around my head not to slide while being bounced up and down which is uncomfortable. I have a simple flashing light that folds over and is held in place on my right shoulder. I don't see much of the road in front of me but I am travelling much slower than on my bike and the shoulders are pretty smooth here. I did try to run with my minimal lights on a dirt road yesterday which has uneven ground. The moon is almost non existent and on the dirt roads, no extra lights so it was sort of scary.

Maya loves to comb through my vegetable garden. She found several zucchinis for her father to take home. I've been baking spaghetti squash and then covering the strands with pesto. Healthy and good. I will have a large crop of butternut squash too. I thought I put in some acorn squash but they have yet to appear. Eating a lot of tomato and basil salads.

I went shopping with my friend with the numerous health issues the other day. I offered to drive but I lack a handicapped sticker which she really needs. Walking for more than a few minutes with her compromised lungs is difficult. We went to a store that you need a hairdresser's license to enter but as long as I have her with me, I am free to buy the high end beauty supplies for more than half off.

I haven't seen my grandbabies except Maya in 2 weeks, which makes me sad but I will see some of them today so yay for that.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Summer time

swallowtail butterfly on butterfly bush. I used to grow dill right next to this. Swallowtail larvae feed on the dill family plant but the drought got to my dill first

art it's just an IKEA print but I like it anyway

hand tinted photograph Hard to get it reflection free

beautiful hand blown vase

rain was promised everyday this week but in general, the rain is a no show. It did rain for 5 minutes while the sun was out. note rainbow

zinnia close up

My favorite time of the day is early morning after I finished exercising. I stretch out on my cabana with my cup of coffee and watch the hummingbirds flit from flower to feeder. I now have 5 feeders but they still fight over them. I have my waterfall running and I am surrounded by my flowers though now my cosmos have some kind of disease. 

This summer has been so hot. If I sweat too much, the controls of my iwatch become impossible to operate. This didn't even happen at all last summer though it did when I ran in the heat of Costa Rica. The days are getting shorter so I leave before the sun comes up with my flashing lights on. A man returns from his even earlier bike ride equipped with a bright flood light  just as I am going out. He must be one of the new neighbors.

I've been seeing friends and keeping myself amused. We got to a winery Saturday.  The lazy days of summer.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Pig roast

Someone gave me several hibiscus in my cooking class 3 years ago. One thrived and is covered in blossoms now

the sky this morning. I was finished with my un already, mostly in the dark, trying to escape the heat. Warmest morning yet though it isn't really hot now

Josh sent me this photo of Hannah

Both he and Hannah are 19 months here  He has a lot more hair but they are very similar

My friend likes to grow hops. He offered one of the plants but I don't have a suitable trellis

Every year the man who I attempted to bike from Pittsburgh to Washington DC has a pig roast. I miss a lot of them as they are 2 hours away or the timing is wrong but as he is moving away for a while, I decided to at least say goodbye.  Several of my former co-workers show up too so it is fun to see them. A couple who I worked with want to join us in 3 years when we try the bike ride again, hopefully not in monsoon season, the more the merrier.

What a difference being on the west side of the state is! Everything is all green whereas we are in a drought. Stories about how the overflowing Kalamazoo River messed up their commutes. We have had one good rain in the past month. The one forecasted today seems to be fizzling out yet again.

Many chemists like to try to brew beer and my friend is no exception but with his move, no home brew. He had an assortment of tasty Michigan brews to sample.

I was glad I went.

Arg this heat! I've been doing a lot of biking instead.

Last year I found a half grown raccoon swinging on my suet feeder. He is back but now is huge. If I don't take it down plus the hummingbird feeder, he bangs against the window. Hard to scare him off.

Tonight I will finish the rest of the Handmaid's Tale

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Since I've been back

Lots of flowers though the drought has been tough on many of them

she loves bugs

this zucchini is huge next to a normal sized one. Lots of squash, tomatoes and peppers now. Even the cauliflower looks good

my glass tile from the gallery up north

Murano glass from the upscale resale

hummingbird moth. From the side, looks like the bird

naomi, wish she did not dye her beautiful red hair black
lots of hummingbirds battling it out 

wish I seen this but didn't: Chalk art fair

my friend took this

a friend from the past visited me today. Hadn't seen her since college. Hadn't been friends since 6th grade. She really looks very much the same as she did as a 11 year old

I've been back from my bike ride for almost 2 weeks now but I have managed to keep busy. To beat the heat and traffic, I start my bike rides  in the predawn darkness going on the smooth shoulders of the nearby road covered with flashing lights. Bonus, a mile of my path was repaved while I was gone so more smooth road. But the rides are not so pleasant as the spring. Instead of spring blossoms, wild phlox, sweet grass, I smell road kill. Today on my run, I came across a momma turkey and about ten of her babies. No sign of the rest of the flock.

One night I saw a play in Chelsea with some of the moms about Rosie the Riveter and her co-workers. Interesting. I've had a lot of meals out which is not good for self control. At home, I do much better. We had a Mom's group one night which is always nice and I've had lunches out with friends. I have also seen all my grandbabies at one point or another.

We took Josh's girls swimming last weekend. Hannah up to now, hates the water but this time she seemed like she wanted to try. She got bolder and bolder clearly enjoying herself. Soon she thought she was ready to swim all by herself, which she is not. Not happy at being restricted.

Almost done with that dystopian Handmaid's Tale, sadly relevant these days with the fake religionists..

I was a very awkward elementary school student. Always had bad clothes, some of which I had inexpertly sewed myself. Chubby, too tall, hair that wouldn't stay combed, nerdy glasses.... a mess. Still I managed to have friends including a girl my age two doors down. We were die hard Beatle fans and would make up stories mostly them leaving their beautiful girlfriends and falling in love with our awkward 11 year old selves. I didn't realize my friend has these things written down though she couldn't find them today to bring them too me. She however was always pretty whereas I was repeatedly told, good thing you are smart because the way you look, you will have to support yourself. She always had boyfriends but at that age, boyfriends didn't speak to the actual girlfriend, just their intermediaries. I was that person. Boys were comfortable with me but it was clear, I was not girlfriend material. Luckily as I got older, there were enough men who didn't get the memo.

We stopped being friends in junior high. I assume I was just too nerdy but we have been communicating via Facebook. So we met for lunch today and had a great time.

What's up for me? Going to a going away party for my biking buddy and a trip to Utah in 6 weeks which is unplanned except for airline tickets. A late fall trip in someplace exotic? Must think.


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