Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The swallows return to the ranch

This large lithograph graces my hallway now

sunny and dry for our Easter egghunt. We used to separate the boys (older) from the girls. Aside from giving Hannah a head start and an egg finding coach. it was each kid for themselves. Allie can keep up with the older kids. Spent some time the night before stuffing eggs.

My Easter birthday. Shanna made a raspberry pavlova for me 

my bird tile complete with a nest of eggs

My father used to have an enormous amethyst geode worth hundreds. Of course that scoundrel squatter left in house after he died ran off with it along with  a lot else. But I did recently buy a sizeable chunk

lots of birthday/Easter flowers Now the orange vase is full of mums and pink roses too

Even some in my crowded guest bathroom

and more in the kitchen

Second grade concert last night. Her triangle playing companion cracks me up. He looks straight out of my elementary school in the 60s
We sit on the porch in the evening with the barn swallows swooping close to our heads. Yep they are back. They like to nest on top of our front door. Still to return are the hummingbirds. I will make nectar tomorrow in anticipation. The chipping sparrows are back too though not the crowned. Weird birds have been finding our yard: turkeys, cranes and ducks. Yes we are surrounded by wetlands full of them all but they usually don't enter our yard.

A lot of my daffodils are in bloom now and there are tiny leaves on the trees. So much less depressing. I ran in shorts today.

We had nearly a week of rain and strong winds. But all was sunny and calm finally on Easter. I was out on the bike as soon as there was a bit of light. I would have biked for hours but I had to prepare brunch for 12 people. It's your birthday Sue! Do you have to be cooking? Well I am much more efficient at it and no one volunteered. More annoying, I had to do most of the considerable clean up. That I would have liked a reprieve from. But I am blessed with the grandbabies who had fun playing and doing the egghunt. I did go out with some of my friends before and after my birthday so that was nice.

I will have some surgery in a few months that hopefully will save me from something awful. I am not afraid of the surgery as much as the recovery. I do hope that it will go much quicker than the 4 weeks it could take. I will give it two days.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Easter Birthday

This is my sister-in-law's photo of Skagit  Valley in NW Washington. Aside from the daffodils here, there are spectacular fields of tulips too. Would love to see them in person. We will be in Holland too late for them. I do have a few frozen daffodils herein Michigan

A vegetable soufflé I made for the Moms. Should have made a sauce as it was sort of dry

The Moms decorating bibs for two new grandbabies, one who popped out 2 days after this photo. Naomi is here too as we had Maya for the weekend and I asked her to be there while I entertained. How long have I had my Danish modern table? 41 years. I think it is the only piece of furniture from our very first house that we still use. It's a bit newer than the 140 year old marble topped chest adjacent to the far right

a glass pretty to add color to the continuing drab
Although we have had a few warm days, winter still continues. I ran through snow yesterday though at least it didn't stick. Endless rain and wind make it difficult to bicycle although I am in good enough shape for the easy riding coming up in Holland and Belgium. Our snowbirds, juncos, are still here. According to the migration map, our hummingbirds are at the Michigan border. One appeared here April 28th last year. I will be ready.

Having a birthday relatively late in the season, makes for few Easter birthdays, though Naomi born on an Easter has had three already. I did have one when I was four which I remember clearly. It was a warm sunny day, unlike most April days cold and wet that we had in the Finger Lakes region of New York. I wore a new pink puffy dress and my mom made a special lamb cake for me decorated with coconut and colored eggs. As she was quite pregnant with my brother, this must have been an effort. But more than 60 years later, I am having another one, a double Easter as the Orthodox one happens to fall on this day too, usually later. How will I celebrate? I will make an Easter brunch and have an Easter egg hunt for 5 of the grandbabies. Some of my friends are taking me out before and after my birthday.

I set all these tasks for myself for the cold winter months when I can't exercise for so long or garden. Sadly not much has been done. I have spent much time learning Dutch. I have run errands for my sick friend. She is ending a relationship with her boyfriend, her principal caretaker so she will need much more help in the future. I went to my cancer survivor cooking class, an emphasis on one pan 'easy' meals. Still lots of slicing and dicing. The local hospital has a farm and hot houses, which generally donates vegetables for us to take home. This month we got bags of fresh spinach, which I later put among other vegetables, in my soufflé for the Moms that I cooked several days later. As it is artichoke season (not here in the tundra)I made the Moms artichokes too. I also experimented with making drinks with elderflower syrup, much more popular abroad than here. It has such a subtle flavor that most additions drown out the flavor. I had fun experimenting at least.

Two of the moms are having grandbabies: a girl and a boy so we decorated presents for them. It was fun.

Tomorrow I go see a doctor finally to deal with lessening my health risks. Ugh. This was a box I wish I had not opened.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Grandpa blue

A belated birthday for Tessa She and her siblings all wear glasses now

We took a walk along the river in Dexter. The boardwalk goes over wetlands. You can see the peepers' airsacs inflate just below us. In the spring here, there is a constant drone of peepers in wet areas. Song sparrows were merrily singing. Finally spring

the town, now a city I see, has numerous sculptures around

another one

it's just water under the bridge

With the app that came with our new car, I can track down where it is.

A warm Sunday. We took this one to the park

my Easter wreathe
A few months back, I went out car shopping with Josh. He wanted last year's model, which would save him about $3K. He could only find two left;  a silver one and a blue one with their plusses  and minuses. When he was explaining to his wife the choices, she said Oh no, is it Grandpa Blue? Apparently this dusky bluish gray only appeals to people of a certain age. And indeed it does. Shortly after a good friend ( a grandma) bought the same color. And Steve upon seeing it said was the best color by far.

We were down to one car, a situation I found intolerable as we are out in the country. Steve thought we could hold out until the fall (when presumably prices fall and the model we wanted would be improved) I feel insecure relying on a 9 year old car. And although Steve doesn't have a heavy schedule, we managed to need the car at the same time last week. So he had to drop me off and later come pick me up. About twenty extra miles of driving. And I like to travel particularly in the summer but I really can't leave him stranded. In a 6 week period, Naomi managed to total 2 cars, not her fault. She had purchased Josh's not so old car, a considerable upgrade for her. And she could give him more than the dealer would so win-win. Until some lady ran a red light into her The insurance did pay her more than she had paid for the car but what could she buy? We sold her one of our cars, a car that we had sort of promised to sell to  her ex husband in the fall leaving us down to one car.

I really didn't want to wait so last week, we went car shopping. Not difficult as we get a considerable discount at my son's company so there is no negotiation.. As no one wants sedans anymore (do they think gas is always going to be cheap?), they are discounted still. We were left to decide between a hybrid and a traditional engine and colors. We could get a silver traditional engine (not desirable by us at a deeper discount0 or get a hybrid in any color we wanted. So Grandpa Blue it is . The hybrid will take 4-5 years of driving to make up the cost difference but at least we are polluting a bit less. And if gas goes sky high, we'll make up the difference even quicker.

I continue to learn Dutch, which is becoming more difficult. Crazy, crazy grammar. In 6 weeks I will be biking in the Netherlands. And it is it is warm outside. So bicycling is easy (except for a day I went out in 30 mph gusts, not fun) and more running. Some of my flowers are out. We can sit outside in the evening with wine. Hope winter is gone for good.


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