Sunday, January 27, 2019

Multiples of eleven

I didn't stay up to see the red dragon moon but as it rose last week, it looked neat. Somewhere I saw someone photograph a slice of baloney that had been attached to a window and called it the dragon moon
We have been getting nice sunsets and sunrises lately. I wish I ran with my camera last week. I was running by the local lake as the sun was rising. The sky and the icy lake reflected all this orange and pink light.

some of the 'elevens' celebrating their birthdays that are multiples of eleven. They aren't the only ones in our family\y: my son-in-law, my former son in-law, Shanna's mother-in-law and her mother will all have birthdays that are multiples of eleven

Crappy winter is here with all this snow and soon temperatures will top off at minus 1. The snow and ice storms last week meant no school for Maya for two days so we were called into service. And they will probably cancel school for at least another 2 days this week as students can't be expected to stand in the cold when it is minus twenty out. I hate winter. 

More minor annoyances: the condo association sent someone to fix the leak a week ago but it didn't fix it. Even thought it is their fault they screwed up, the association is fining us. Maybe the last 'fix' will work. I haven't heard any complaints. 

And my hair which looks positively awful right now. I normally would have had it fixed in December but I was too busy to drive out to the opposite end of the county. I did set up an appointment for last week but the night before, my hairdresser texts me to tell me she is cancelling it and furthermore, won't make any appointments until March. Argh! The woman that has multiple diseases that I take care of sometimes was very excited though. She was a hair dresser before becoming ill. She will cut my hair and allegedly style it way better and flattering than it usually is. She won't deal with color anymore but will tell the supplier exactly what I need with detailed instructions on how to apply it. Naomi will do that part. We will see. The small part of me that is vain was disappointed that I couldn't get this done before I was paid a visit the other day by my old boyfriend (not the wretched Trump lover; this one was a great improvement in many ways over that one). Although we keep in contact, I hadn't seen him in person in over forty years. He grew up in Ann Arbor and had a few people he wanted to see before he died, yes die.  He has a more indolent form of leukemia that my hairdresser had but the 'cure' is the same; stem cell transplant. However he doesn't believe he will survive it or escape the wretched graft versus host disease that plagues my friend. He is also 15 years older than she was when she got the transplant though he was in pretty good shape training for marathons and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. The transplant is guaranteed severe pain whereas slowly fading away from lack of useful blood cells is not. He does get transfusions quite often and is trying a chemo that might cut down on him needing so many. He seems fairly at peace with this bad news.  I am certainly not at peace with various uncertainties I recently became aware of. I did bury my head in the sand for a while but as soon as I 'face' the music, all sorts of possible symptoms arise.

Anyway, it was a good visit though not on a particularly convenient day as it was Steve's and Oliver's birthday. I did manage to schedule it so I would have time to go out with Steve and later attend a family party for all the celebrants. 

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Snow storm Harper

My photo 3 years ago of Mendocino. Not the view I am getting outside my window now

My nieces 33 years ago
Hannah had a birthday party last week. She is waiting for the cake

I collect pug stuff. Another pug cookie jar for me

this towel came with the jar but with the upright ears, it is a French bulldog, not a pug

Harper snowing on my parade. So far about 5 inches but we still have another 2 hours to go. Hate winter.

I was talking to my DC friend the other day who was complaining about having to trod through a foot of snow with his dog (who has very short legs) as his neighbors don't seem to own shovels or know how to use them. We must have even more snow, right? Nope, no snow in 2 months! Well this suddenly changed. Extra bonus, the temps will drop below zero. I guess my fantasy of skipping winter this year was just that.

Gradually we are taking little steps to improve our life. I fixed our central vac system this week (all clogged up; it wasn't sucking) and now we are back to two cars, ageing hulks as they may be. This almost didn't happen as right before Steve and Naomi were to spend the day at the Secretary of States's office, Steve noticed a lien on the title. With the insurance money from the deer herd collision, she was buying Josh's car from him. As he was in a long work meeting, he was hard to get a hold of. Naomi could only go there on Mondays and the next Monday was going to be a holiday. It looked like I was going to be carless for another 2 weeks. Unfortunately he didn't have anything to prove he paid off the loan. We'd have to call the creditor ourselves but that proved impossible as there were no working numbers for them. They ended up going to a Ford dealer who was nice enough to spend time contacting Ford credit and arranging for the fax that would release the car so the title could be registered, an ordeal but made possible by the kindness of strangers and some flexibility of the Secretary of State. I will no longer go to the one sort of near my house.

Hannah had a party. All her cousins except Maya came. It was fun.

We went to a hand pulled noodle place. The chef takes a log of dough. Within 30 seconds by repeated pullings, he turns it into a pile of noodles. Another 30 seconds boiling and it is done served with various toppings. Yes I know, I should be avoiding white flour products. One thing we didn't have the courage to try was a dessert: snow fungus papaya. Then on to see "The basis of sex" the early days of Ruth Bader Ginsburg what she had to put up with. I did like it though some of the characters were one dimensional. Another movie I watched was "Roma" which although Mexican, reminded me a lot of the Italian movies I watched in Italy for my summer abroad.

I did go to a meeting for people who seem to be in the same boat I recently found myself in. I've been dealing with it by burying my head in the sand but sooner or later, I will need to act.

Today we are snow bound. Perhaps Steve will go out with the snow blower before the temp drops too much.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Salad turnips

I do love my new lamp though I don't have the proper stand to put it on yet. I believe the bird is a mot mot, which we saw in Costa Rica

colorful salad for out cooking class

now all mixed up

these are salad turnips. The bulbs can be eaten raw or cut up into salads. The greens can be cooked

The subject of our cooking class was 'brain food' though to me that sounded vague. Foods to prevent Alzheimer's? Fatty fish seems to be important so she cooked salmon unfortunately with asparagus on top. All the colorful vegetables and fruit is to contain anticancer ingredients thus the colorful salad with a dressing from sesame, peanut butter and orange juice that was especially tasty.

The local hospital has farm fields and hot houses that routinely donates food to us. So we all went home with bags of turnips. Last month, winter squash.

Each day, a new annoyance arises. I've been trying to deal with each issue with grace but day after day of new unpleasant surprises is starting to grind me down. The condo we own, which Naomi 'rents' from us had plumbing issues which we finally addressed. But that unleashed a series of new problems resulting in 3 separate trips to the condo. Now we are getting a letter that they are fining us for something we took care of as soon as we heard about it. We can appeal. We have a second floor condo and an evil bitchy nag on the bottom floor. Last year she went into our private space and turned the water shut off valve off without asking our permission or even telling us. Then she refused to answer the door. We had called a plumber, which fortunately we were able to cancel as soon as we figured out the problem. Should have filed a police report as she is just so annoying.

My friend who I had been taking care of accused me of getting her sick. But I am not sick nor have I been in a year. Well you must be a carrier. I haven't managed to carry whatever I am allegedly accused of to anyone else plus I especially follow good hygiene while dealing with the immunosuppressed. I must have been forgiven because I am to resume helping her tomorrow.

Our reprieve from winter is over. I was able to bike 50 miles in the relative warmth but back to freezing glum skies. 

I did see an interesting movie, The Favourite, the other night after a sushi dinner so I've been having a little fun. And we should get our 2nd car back next week as Josh is willing to sell his car earlier than planned to Naomi, whose car was totaled by the deer herd on Christmas eve.

Monday, January 7, 2019


We had the annual Chosen Sisters Christmas party the other day. I had bought pottery medallions from the artist down the street and converted them into necklaces. I was going to find nice antique chains but that was hard. I bought a bunch of findings and chains at a craft store. Aside from the necklaces, I was able to repair some broken jewelry with my new supplies

Disgusting right? This mess was found in the attic above a spare bedroom. Now all gone and the damage repaired.

My version of a buche de noel that I made for the moms. The cream filling had chopped up amarena cherries in it along with cherries on top. I made the 'bark' by raking  through the molten chocolate on top. I used a flourless recipe which made the cake especially fragile but it worked out

Just where am I going to wear all my designer dresses? I wore it to the Chosen Sisters party, a bit much. This is an Escada costing $1200 at one point. Still pricy even though vintage.

I liked this self contained amaryllis . All it needed was light. It is about half of the size it would be if it grew in dirt but no muss, no fuss. I wish I got one for my friend who can't have soil in the house but loves plants

One of the Moms gave us all framed Motawi tiles (a local artisan)  Looks good in my breakfast nook

Two summers ago, a wet spot appeared in the corner of a spare room on the ceiling. A leaky roof? Shingles looked fine but I thought I saw a stream of insects flying in and out, too far up for me to identify them. I also detected a constant hum in the walls. Steve thought this was ridiculous. He heard nothing (he is fairly deaf). Why would the ceiling be wet? I said from the moisture in their collective breaths, which he also thought was ridiculous. When winter came, the wetness dried up leaving a stain and the invaders did not return the next summer.

A week or two ago I was cleaning the room and notices a net of dust and debris coming from the ceiling. As I tried to clear it away with a feather duster, I poked a hole in the ceiling and a bunch of insulation and hornet paper fell all over everything. How could the ceiling collapse so easily? There was no drywall left. Only a thin layer of paint had been holding up the mess. Apparently hornets can eat drywall (but draw the line at eating latex paint)

A New Year. We had a whole list of things that need fixing around here which last week we finally got around to having most of them taken care of. New bathroom fan, new garage door opener even though we don't have a car now to put in it but bonus, it has an outside keypad to open the door which the other one strangely lacked, and bonus, new drywall for the ceiling once that disgusting nest was removed.  One (or two things) that remain non functional is the electric spot lighting outside, both front and back. . I suspect rodents have ate through wires but my work person refused to tackle it. I put up solar spot lights but they aren't as reliable or bright as the electric. 

Why are we down to one car, which being in the middle of nowhere really is a pain sometimes? On Christmas Eve, a herd of deer pelted the side of Naomi's car breaking through the passenger window. I thought most of the damage could be repaired but the insurance company said no, the repairs would cost more than the car is worth. They will give her a fairly good sized settlement which is almost enough to buy Josh's car from him. But he needs his car for a few months so in the meantime she has ours. Alternatively we could give her one of ours cars and she can use the money later to replace it in a few years. We would have to buy a new car now. Maybe we will anyway as both of our cars are old.

So far, 'winter' has been relatively warm so I've been even able to bicycle. Almost 60 one of the days last week. But the crappy weather is certain to return. This is my least favorite time of year and I have no escapes planned. Can I hold out until March? I continue to study Italian though I will switch over to Dutch soon.

Last week I visited a friend in an isolation wing of the hospital. After being questioned about my health, I had to gown up, disinfect myself wear gloves and a face shield and promise not to use any facilities outside the room (nor could I use my friend's bathroom). A simple infection in about anyone else turns into a life threatening illness in compromised people just like that. She was released. As she can not walk more than a few feet without going into severe oxygen debt, I spent a day last week taking care of her. I have been visiting the kids and the grandbabies yesterday taking Allie to the park on a beautiful sunny day.

And our annual Mom's party was fun. As almost everyone travels at Christmas and has completely different schedules, January would have to do. One of the mom's got an unexpected present for Xmas, a grandchild in the making that she had been told previously would never happen.  So happiness for her.


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