Wednesday, October 31, 2018


This section of Utah 261 is called the Moki Dugway that seems to go straight up Cedar Mesa in SE Utah
. It's a feature on those shows Most dangerous Roads or Scariest Roads. When Steve and I approached it last
 month, we assumed there had to be a tunnel somewhere when faced with a wall of rock  It was built for uranium
miners so the area is probably radioactive 

Had 3 of the grandchildren over Sunday. This minitrampoline dispels lots of energy. I saw the other three on Friday

yesterday morning at the ranch. Usually I am out running at this time but I was waiting for it to warm up for my bike ride

on my bike ride at the local rock shop which sells lots of statuaries along with any kind of rock. I assume the pot is of the ceramic variety. I did vote yesterday to make it legal in our state. So much effort and money has been devoted to its prohibition

Will this post be saved? Our power keeps cutting out as it is storming outside early Halloween Day. This mess should stop by the time the kids go Trick or Treating later. I will pick up Maya from childcare, dress her and run her to Shanna's along with the throngs of people who target her neighborhood for its decorations and closeness of houses. We have yet to get a trick or treater at our new house due to its big lots though we now have much more school kids here now. One family says they just take the kids to Shanna's neighborhood. I do have the house decorated here with dripping orange spider lights on the  porch and orange flood lights along with my creepy witches.

My personal situation is scary too which I still can't reveal. Decisions have to be made and I am in fact finding mode. Alas the info I need seems to be lacking. This sadly affects more than me to what extent is still being investigated. Anxiety all around. Already an extremely upsetting situation revealed itself and I am left with part of the blame.  Part of me dreads having opened that Pandora's box but I should have opened it sooner as it turns out.

Our snow birds are back along with other winter birds. Still one persistent chipmunk refuses to hibernate as he raids my feeders. The last hummingbird left October 7. Leaves are finally changed but not as colorful as in years past. I have one sugar maple which is usually bright orange. It's sort of brownish. And crimson kings are more pink than red. The deer are running crazily back and forth across my running routes. It is not official hunting season but people are firing on private lands. I try to wear bright clothes.

And our country is becoming a scarier and scarier place to live especially for my multicultural family. And the Great Pumpkin in the White House spurs the hatred on.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Opening Pandora's box

monument valley Arizona
Recently they had a list of the most scenic roads in each state. The road through Monument Valley was Arizona's best. We chose not to go on Utah's best road as it was very curvy and filled with passes and we had a long way to go that day. Michigan's most scenic? M-22 which goes up and down the Leelanau peninsula. Hmmm..I think M-119 is prettier

half day of school for Maya. I took her to her cousins

Hannah was especially excited to see her

Delicate Arch -Arches

I figured that as long as it was after 8 am I was safe running on my favorite road. Wrong. Even though there were no other vehicles, driveways or other possible obstacles, I heard a vehicle slowly trailing me for a few minutes. WTF? It eventually passed me. Yes it was my tormentor again. Obviously this guy has it in for me. I decided to report him, not easy as it turns out. I live in a sparsely populated township which does not have a police force. They contract out with the county sheriff's department. I was told to report to the sub station 3 miles away and to call back if no one was there. Well when will someone will be there? (it was the middle of the weekday). They had no idea. At least there were plenty of sheriff's cars there but no one was there. The lady at the nearby township office said maybe someone will come at shift change in 3 hours. Grrrr. I called the main sheriff and someone showed up in 15 minutes. He took all the details and quickly paid my tormentor a visit at work at the apple orchard. The guy has a clean record but the sheriff could not tell if he was mentally defective or becoming senile (he's in his 70s, I never got a look at him..I assumed some young dude). He did remember seeing me and said he was trying NOT to hit me (by aiming straight at me). The sheriff doesn't believe the man has any business driving anymore due to cognitive issues so he probably will need a road test to drive. But he doesn't believe there was malice, just senility. As for aiming for me, he said it is common for drivers to be attracted to cop car's flashing lights on the side of the road and to hit them instead of veering away.

Yesterday was one of those turning points. One moment it would appear that I was living a charmed life and then some news indicates just the opposite. As it affects more than me, that's all I can say.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

playing chicken with my life

We drained the pond last week. The resident frogs took it hard and returned twice. Unfortunately they can't bury themselves on the pond bottom. Not sure where they are now

my fall centerpiece  Put up dripping spider lights, my large cackling witch and various other Halloween things

Sadly there are a lot of mean people out there mainly young men in pick-up trucks who get some sort of thrill seeing how close they can get to an old lady without hitting her. As I ride a bike with traffic, I can't really see how close they come until after they pass. Some make a special show of revving their engines right as they pass or lay on the horn.

Last week I was running early on one of the dirt roads around here. The road is wide and visibility was good. A pick-up truck comes speeding towards me purposefully aiming for me. I had to jump into a ditch. I did see him pull into the nearby apple orchard where the asshole apparently works. As soon as I got home, I went back to the orchard by car, which was not yet open to the public, and took a picture of his truck and license plate in the employee parking lot. Do I tell the orchard owners what type of employee they have? The sheriff? I did put a notice in a neighborhood listserve. Once some one put a similar notice and got crap that bicyclists don't belong on the road because they don't pay for a license or taxes. How much road did your $30 license buy you? And the local roads are all paid for by property tax, which I suspect with my two properties, I pay a lot more than most pick up drivers. Yeah big state roads are partially funded by gasoline taxes, they pay more for them but I rarely ride on state roads.

I did have all the moms here the other night serving acorn squash smoky paprika red lentil soup from all my acorn squashes and butter shrimp over basmati rice. The other moms provide appetizers, salad and dessert.

It is cold and getting colder which does not make me happy. It will be a long time to spring. I will bike this morning once the morning rush hour clears and then see A Star is Born with a friend.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Bunny faces

Allie and Maya both chose to be bunnies at a Fire Station open house

Then on to a park. It was so cold in the morning making my bike ride not pleasant but it warmed up later

Josh pushing the girls

A frost was coming so I quickly picked what was left. I only cut down a third of the rhubarb. Should have taken it all as it is collapsed with 2 nights of frost

we've been having nice sunsets

Picked the acorn squashes before the frost. They are now part of a red lentil-smoky paprika squash soup

Went treasure hunting. I love iridescent glass

and this beautiful felted purse

I went through old wedding photos to see if I could find the man who helps at our cancer cooking class. I found him but he doesn't remember the wedding or me. This was 12 years ago, before cancer for 3 of us. Josh has since remarried. These are The Moms who will come to dinner tomorrow

I hate it when the first frost comes. All my beautiful flowers especially my dahlias are now wilted. Some effort was made digging up the dahlia tubers and the gladiolas bulbs as they are temperature sensitive. I picked a bunch of peppers and squash too. All that remains is Swiss Chard which is fairly hardy and Brussel Sprouts which I will harvest in a few weeks. What I made a mistake about was deadheading all my cosmos and zinnias. Now I have no seeds for next year. Dumb.

Even dumber was not looking where I was going on a bike ride this morning. It was sunny and clear but I was looking down. I hadn't noticed that a tree branches had fallen over the road and I hit 3 inch thick branches hard almost falling. I banged up my knee and my leg hurt for the rest of the ride but I didn't knock the wheels out of alignment or fall.

A week ago, it was uncomfortably hot to run. This has changed. I can run in any temperature as long as I am not slipping on ice but bicycling is uncomfortable below 45. I will have to find a gym. My geezer insurance pays for some of them but I would prefer a track versus treadmills.

We had Maya all weekend entertaining her with visits to cousins, Shanna's family Saturday and Josh's family Sunday. In between this, I tried to help her read. There is a list of 500 words she needs to know on sight by the end of 2nd grade. At best she knows 30% of them. I did go to her parent teacher conference. No behavior issues at all, a sweet girl but about a year behind academically. She does have good handwriting. I did like the teacher. So far, she has gotten good teachers. She goes to the same school my kids did though some of my kids' teachers were awful.

Subject of this month's cooking survivor class Meals with spiralized vegetables. I had a very cheap spiralizer which required more effort than it was worth. I now will have the same one the teacher has. We spiralized zucchini, yellow squash, butter nut squash, carrots and cucumbers  fairly quickly. We could make flat noodles or spaghetti of different thicknesses. As part of my maintenance diet is to avoid starches, these will replace that.

Tomorrow I will host the Moms'. Butter shrimp is on the menu.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Between innocent and not guilty

I've spent some time editing my photos, getting them printed and hanging them up. Zion from a moving bus

Also buying art while looking for frames

I liked these dog collages made from pieces of maps and documents

do I need more glass plates? But these are so pretty
The newly cold weather means some plants had to come inside. The  hibiscus hates cold

We have her for the whole weekend as her dad is training somewhere and her mom works. She loves putting on my boots and shoes

We visited Chewy the hamster but Maya was so excited to see her cousins, she ignored him

Years ago, I had jury duty for district court. Before we would be empaneled, the judge would ask each of us three questions to make sure we understood the difference between guilty and not guilty. The third question: If the preponderance of the evidence does not overweigh any reasonable doubt, how do you find the defendant?

Correct answer: Not guilty
Fellow juror's answer: Innocent

The judge told him that it wasn't correct. The juror said: innocent, not guilty...same difference. The judge tried to explain the difference but gave up. And yet this guy was empaneled with me. He had been complaining bitterly how much showing up there was inconveniencing him. You'd think not understanding a simple premise would get him excused but no. And once he was on the jury in which I was appointed foreperson as I was the only woman just to see what the judge would call me (who speaks for the jury? as it turned out), it turned out he knew the defendant and his family, another no-no. He told us fellow jurors that the whole family was rotten. Of course we were asked in advance if we knew the people in the case and he lied. As the foreperson I suppose I had the duty to report to the judge that we were poisoned by this man but then I polled the jurors to see if this changed their minds. Not really. One man said he had a criminal brother himself and would hate to  be judged because of that.

But my stupid fellow juror probably didn't have the advantage of his rich daddy buying him an Ivy League education so he might be excused on not understanding the difference between innocence and not guilty. Do I think Kavanaugh was guilty? Yes I do but not in a legal sense as it boiled down to he said-she said so no preponderance of evidence as the book his friend wrote about that and similar incidences was hearsay but he is hardly innocent as the Orange Clown kept trumpeting. And his demeanor as a blustering teenager caught in a lie should have shown he was not judge material.

The new these days is so depressing but the worst part is so many drinking the Kool-Aid.


Fall has began with its cold mornings. OK for running but hard to bicycle. Usually Sunday mornings are my long bike ride days but I will have to wait a bit or get frost bit. In the meantime, we have Maya who is very sweet but very demanding.

I did finally have the opportunity to wear one of my fancy dresses the other night (the one pictured in the About me section though I wore some fancy black fishnets with it and red heels) at a Thank-you dinner for supporting the Cancer Support Center. Steve chose to wear a t-shirt so we were a bit mismatched. I thought I would see some of my fellow classmates there but no except a man who comes to help the   instructor cut up vegetables. His wife has stage  4 lung cancer despite never smoking. He did bring his wife though. When I met to meet her, it was clear we knew each other. She was the mother of my son's first wife's best friend so she had been at my son's wedding and the wedding shower before that. Small world. First wife: Julia Second wife: Julie. Confusing?

Also there and on the board for the organization was the husband of my yoga instructor Momma Sunflower who died of breast cancer. I told him how much his wife meant to me.

We were to have a lantern launch but it was too windy. I do have a lantern to set off one night to amuse the grandkids. Meanwhile it was nice to be out dressed up.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

When life imitates art

the baby pictured here is my aunt with my grandparents. This is the only photo I have of my mother's father. This aunt died last week at age 97.5. She was lucid to the end but her heart gave out. How did I find out? Facebook. I called the daughter of the only remaining aunt to get details. No one had told her or her mother. Are they having a funeral? Who knows. I feel bad because I didn't see her this summer. I kept dropping broad hints to my cousin but stopped short of inviting myself.

Allie turned five and had her party at a place full of playground equipment. 

the birthday girl looking the clone of her mom. Baby Hannah is more like Josh

We made our annual pilgrimage to Grand Rapids for their art competition. Every year less and less art. Now they will have it every other year. Still had fun walking around

these amethysts were part of a huge art work

This hand woven top was in a museum shop and is pricy. Still I want it. I am always buying thrift store stuff. Shouldn't I have something nice? I have plenty of black outfits to throw it over

Looks like a painting right? All embroidery with silk thread

some art was along the streets; some in the museums. Hotel lobby art

They had ten or so plastic crocs along the water. Art?

A MeToo political statement This is that pig Weinstein who forced himself on actresses if they wanted jobs. The lady in black has pepper spray at the ready as he tries to seduce the young one in white while grabbing his crotch

I haven't seen a praying mantis in 20 years or so. She cocked her head quizzically as I tried to take her photo. Where was she?

on the nearest joint of this praying mantis sculpture. Embiggen and maybe you can see her

this is as close as she will get to Poppa Steve

apple orchard time. I will have Maya all weekend. We will go here
I've been back nearly two weeks now from our SW adventure and trying to get back to normal. Still uncomfortably hot. I was dripping in sweat long after I finished running this morning. The days are shorter so I have to leave much later especially while biking. It is now been two years since I decided to do something about my obesity. How am I doing? Not as well as I would like but I guess it is a minor miracle that I was able to pull it off. Still people's first guess is that I must have some sort of scary wasting disease, not will power. As I type, I am 3 pounds over my lowest point last year. I would like to be 4-5 lower than I am now and I will shut up about it. Should be easy right? I was close before our vacation. Even though meals were far between, I couldn't exercise at my usual intensity.

Last week I had my 'welcome to Medicare' physical in which I had to answer all sorts of questions. Can I dress myself, feed myself? etc. My favorite: do I practice 'safe sex'? I left that one blank. I was asked to draw a clock complete with hands indicating a specific time. Also I was to memorize 3 words to recall 5 minutes later. Had an EKG. They said I had bradycardia. What's that? She said slow heart beat. I knew that: what's the cut-off? 50. Mine is 45. Well then you can't accuse me for being hyperthyroid (my TSH was low). Other than a low white blood count (???) I am the picture of health. Still I discussed genetic testing. Naomi's doctor thinks I was remiss for not testing for the BRAC1/2 deletion which is associated with the type of breast cancer I had especially as she is Jewish (and I am not) This partial test indicated that I may be a carrier for the BRAC2 gene which scared the life out of me but then I read about all the false positives. This will  be settled once and for all.  The BRAC1 is more associated with Jewish people but the BRAC2 with Scandinavian. Ancestry just refined its testing and as it turns out, I am much more Scandinavian than Irish. BRAC2 is an autosomal dominant gene which means one of my parents had to have it. It appears that if they did, it didn't manifest itself. If I do have the gene, each of my kids has a 50% chance of getting it from me. I could say they are all Steve clones with nothing from me but with their luck, they got this. And they could give it to their children. If they had it, what would it mean: 70% chance of breast cancer (and the aggressive kind I had) and 40% chance of ovarian which is impossible to detect until it's too late. The men are on the hook for the aggressive type of prostate cancer and somewhat of a risk for pancreatic.

I didn't fit the guidelines when I was first diagnosed as I was a bit too old but now they changed the guidelines.

Today I went to a fashion show at this club for rich University women that my grandparents belonged too. My grandfather was a successful physician and did teach at UM Medical school. I hadn't been there since he died. We were the youngest women there by far. We sat with a woman who was a neighbor of my grandfather's . Small world. They were just reminiscing about him lately. He would have been 128 years old if still alive. They called his house Mount Vernon not Tara as I had read about it. All of the other houses in their fancy neighborhood were designed by innovative architects whereas my grandfather made a house out of sugar cubes and told the architect to make it like that.  As for the clothes, they were nice but pricy. I do buy them at the fancy thrift store as they seem to have some partnership deal with them but I wasn't going to share that with the rich ladies.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Who do hoodoo love

A full moon early in the morning. I had gotten up to pee at 4:30 am, when I returned to our bedroom Steve had already packed up and was ready to go. I made breakfast and we were on our way for a very long day

more antelope than people

hoodoos of Bryce

It was quite chilly in the morning. We were at 9000 feet. In a single day we went from 34 to 100

this is Red Canyon about 10 miles from Bryce

the road in Arizona on our way to Las Vegas


bathroom inside the Paris Casino. We also ate there (not in the bathroom)

saw the dancing fountains at the Bellagio

a whole store devoted to rice pudding

on our way to the airport

Of the National Parks we visited last month, I had been to Bryce, Zion, and the Grand Canyon as a child though I can't remember which rim we visited. I know we stayed in Flagstaff before near the south rim but I can't believe we'd go to Zion without going to the North Rim. I think I would have remembered Arches. I do know my father has several photographs of it. I do remember going to the Petrified Forest in Arizona too. No time for that on this trip though I think I found some small pieces of petrified wood at Goblins.  I remember liking Bryce the best with all its bright hoodoos. Zion was boring except for its tunnel though it is much more popular than Bryce. I think mainly because it is closer to Las Vegas. So Bryce still remains my favorite.

It was a few hours before sunrise that we left on our long, long day. Lots of miles to travel. How to get to Bryce. I could see a much shorter path but I was cautioned online against it as the road was at very high elevation and involved lots of passes and twists and turns though it was purported to be beautiful. Not so much in the dark. So north we went to catch a straighter, faster road south. No one was out but as the sun came out, numerous critters ran in front of the car bothering Steve. At one point, the road was blocked by twenty antelope. Photo op!  I had seen antelopes on this and our other trip to Arizona but Steve kept missing them. These he could not.

We got to Bryce before it opened. No problem except the bathroom was locked up. Went to a campground to find an open one. Then we did the long but beautiful hike to the bottom of the canyon though they say it isn't really a canyon (no stream) but an 'amphitheater'.  Very nice. Then we took the car to a variety of lookout points.  Lots of bicyclists on the road with various touring companies. Probably hard to ride so high above sea level. My next big ride in May will be at sea level if not below.

We ate lunch at some boring place in Bryce Village and we were on the road again. Next stop: a hike through Red Canyon. Also pretty. Then the freeway to Vegas with the temperature steadily climbing as we dropped in elevation. From no cars for miles to a huge traffic jam as the major freeway was being rebuilt. We stayed a long block from the Strip. As the sunset, we did our long walk to the Strip and on it. Due to all the traffic at intersections you had to cross at bridges. Some had working escalators but many times we had to climb stairs. My watch keeps track of all the floors I go up. Between Vegas and climbing out of the Queen's Garden in Bryce, it was 70 floors. We ate at a cute bistro in the Paris themed casino. Lots of costumed showgirls walking around wanting you to pay them for a photo with them. I wish I got a better photo of these two obese showgirls wearing only tiny pasties on their huge udders going up an escalator while checking their phones.

We were plenty tired.

Next day: back to Michigan


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