Saturday, April 21, 2018

Happy Birthday me

What am I doing with a parrot on my head?
The Moms took me out for Happy Hour. Later, it was finally warm enough to sit outside with some wine

Shanna had gotten this for me or Xmas. The ground finally was soft enough to put this flag up. No real tulips are blooming here though I have photos of them my birthday last year. I thought that spring was late  Ha!

I do have one lone daffodil of the hundreds I should have

my mystery serigraph. Artist Suzanne Pascal  I've had some fun researching her

Could I really be so old? I don't feel it though I know how much slower I run now than in my prime. Still I can run for more than 90 minutes without stopping, which I did earlier this week but I only covered 8 miles whereas once I could have run more than 11 miles in the same time frame. Mackinac Island is 8,2miles around its perimeter road and  ran it in a race in an even hour.  Hopefully all this running will transfer to bicycling which  will begin doing tomorrow as it will finally be warm enough.
Shall I do the Michigander this year? Everyone I did it with last year can't do it so I would be the lone rider. I'm sure I'd make friends. They will have some Mackinac days. I am still riding from Pittsburgh to DC in a month.

Never has spring been so late. More ice on the road Tuesday. It's been in the twenties on the other mornings I have run. And the roads are so damaged from all the freezing and thawing.

I had a very nice birthday lunch with Shanna yesterday, my husband today and tomorrow my son.

Suzanne Pascal was born in 1914 deaf and used art to communicate. She only very recently died. She studied in Paris under a student of Picasso's. Most of her fame isn't with her paintings but with her glass sculptures. Glass is really hard to sculpt as it usually shatters. Quite late in life she learned of an abandoned glass factory whose products were just left open to the elements for years. This factory btw is right next to the bike trail  in SW Pennsylvania we will be riding on. She tested the big clumps of glass. They had tempered such that that could be chiseled like marble. She had tons of it shipped to her studio in California and set out to sculpt quickly gaining fame. She sold one of her pieces (had lots of famous and infamous clients) for more than $3 million to a Kluge, owner of a winery in Charlottesville VA who had it placed front and center. After he died, Trump bought the winery (on the cheap) and had no interest in the sculpture. He agreed to donate to the very small town  (Dunbar) as that is where the glass came from. I am not sure whether they have been able to display it.

What I have is a limited edition serigraph. I know what was charged 25 years ago and what I paid (pretty much one hundredth of the asking price). How much is it really worth? Who knows. It's now on my dining room wall

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Entitlements

We went to Josh's house yesterday. Although she was wary as usual, she stayed on the couch with us while her dad attended to her big sister

not sure of this strange one holding her

later she brought me a book and wanted me to read it to her. Look, she's smiling, not screaming

When can I fill my pond again with fake and real flowers. Not today...stupid winter that won't end. April 17th and there is snow all over

Stamped all over the paperwork I needed to finally get Medicare is the word entitlement. Now on the surface, it seems that the word is apt: that I earned my 'benefit' so thus I am entitled but that's not what it means. The current congress sees it as some bonus that due to their largess I am receiving and btw they can take it back as I didn't truly earn it or deserve it merely by turning 65 never mind that I had paying into the system since I was 18.  After all, they need the funds to blow up empty Syrian buildings and build a useless wall along with their other empty expenditures, Annoys me.

Can't wait until mid terms to at least partially drain the swamp.

In the middle of the other night, we awoke to a very loud sound coming from our water system. Down in the basement, water was spilling all over the place as the pump kept overflowing our tanks. How to turn this mess off? Who knows? Not us ignoramuses. I tried to real the manual while Steve randomly flipped switches. Finally silence. I am trying to get him to put a sign that switch: Turn THIS off in case valve failure . He claims he will remember this time though this happened before and he forgot. Extra bonus: our laundry room flooded too. The well guy showed up promptly the next morning and couldn't figure out what was wrong. He replaced some part. Everything seems to work bt this happened during the water cycling through the softener which happens every 3 nights so we will see if Wednesday night goes smoothly. Fingers crossed. Too many systems in this house. I thought I had messed up the central vacuum system by sucking up a thick sock but it finally came out in the holding tank full of mostly my hair.

Since winter never ends and we've had many freeze/thaw cycles, the roads are crumbling. Naomi wrecked a brand new tire by hitting a pothole and then continuing to drive shredding the tire though they were able to repair the wheel. The 2 inches of rain and ice over the weekend has made the dirt  roads especially sloppy and difficult to run on. At least vehicles are less likely to be on them now. I ran in he snow yesterday but today, it was much windier, colder and the snow was sticking so back down to the dungeon, basement.

But at least Hannah likes me now.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

torta rustica

We had two days of spring last week. Finally the crocuses could bloom

my creation: torta rustica

a Naomi selfie  She went to a Piston game the other night. One of the players signed his shoe and threw it at her

inside the torta. I was hoping for several discrete layers of different colors Used too much spinach and not enough red peppers to see its layer

woke up to all the windows iced over

trees and streets covered too. Fortunately it started well after my guests had left

Ugh this weather. I so much wanted to run this morning or better yet, ride my bike but a thick coat of ice over everything is stopping that. It is the middle of April. We did have two days of relative warmth though they were windy.. Instead of running out and back like I usually do, I ran a big loop, big because the way the roads are around here, there are no small blocks that would work. I ended up on a road that I never had been on before. Hilly but at least some new scenery. 7.5 miles. And finally I was able to go on my bike for 21 miles, a small start in getting ready for the big ride. Yep my cardiovascular system will be able to handle the 340+ miles but a lot is getting used to the seat.

Even the juncos aka snow birds know it is still winter. They are still here though some of them have moved north. We did get a blue bird to show up. I see them out and about but never in my yard so finally. I missed it . Steve pointed it out as it flew away.

I wasted half of the nice day dealing with the secretary of state's office. Every 8 years we have to show up in person to renew our license but now they added a new twist: you need a birth certificate and if the name is different from what you use, a marriage license. Both these documents need to be reviewed by several personnel there and copied. This is so we can use our license to get on a plane in 2020. As others have to do this too, the place is very busy. They do give you an estimated time you will be served with regular text updates so you can do something else until its nearly your turn. Initial time: 2.5 hours but that ended up being stretched to almost 4 hours plus standing in various lines.

This ice storm was advertised in advance though it wasn't supposed to go down as far south as our house (it did). Maya's father, who lives fairly far north, though not as north as he originally did, already told us he won't be coming down so we had Maya for part of the weekend. She often gets night terrors so no sleep for me. At least she settled down to go to sleep much more quickly than usual. When her drug wears off towards evening, she becomes a ball of non stop movement.

I hosted the moms which means I make the main course while the others provide appetizers, salad and dessert. I try to make something healthy and different. How about a multiple layered vegetable torta? Lot of recipes around but I made up one with the materials I had on hand. I wanted to cut open  the torta to find many distinct colors but I got lots of green and white. I had an orange layer of carrots (usually people use squash) and a very thin line of red peppers (needed more) The white layer had chopped artichoke hearts suspended in ricotta cheese. The purple layer, also too small was eggplant. It tasted OK. Also made some orzo risotto dish and more roasted vegetables. And wine, we always have lots of wine. It was vey fun. I wore a skirt (all silk at that) for the first time since junior high, one of the two I had stuffed in my clearance bag at the resale shop along with yet another pair of textured hose.

In the middle of the night I hear what sounded like glass clinking...invader? It was the ice pellets pounding the window. Wasn't sure when it started but it seems people were able to drive home before the mess.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Red Rooster

this looks so cool in the dark. It will go somewhere in my kitchen which has red accents

this glass bowl is orange on the underside. I did buy a hanger in which I could put this on the wall

this oil painting is on textured paper. I like it. Too bad my reflection got on the photo

The warm, sunny, windless day perfect for biking did not happen as promised yesterday. There is a small window of acceptable weather tomorrow. My cardiovascular system is in shape but the specific muscles need training for the long ride in early June. I did go to the fancy gym the other day with a friend to use machines that work muscles otherwise ignored and to sit in the whirlpool which made me feel so much better. Yes I have my own Jacuzzi but I rarely use it. We did run into  a former "mom' that left our group years ago. I remain Facebook friends with her so I pretty much know what she is up to.

At least it is warm enough finally for the flowers to come out. It is raining as I type.

Out of boredom, I went to one of the fancier resale shops yesterday. I need to learn some restraint. Still mulling over whether I want a huge solar birdbath....

Sunday, April 8, 2018

A lost spring

If I want to look at flowers, I have to depend on the few things I have inside. Normally our yard would be full of blooms at this time but nature has played a trick

This is what it looked like in southern Michigan Friday morning. The snow melted fast. This photo is from a Facebook friend who lives near the river

It is early Sunday morning in which I can depend on the roads being free of traffic, the best time for a long bike ride. No wind either. The fly in the ointment is that it is 17 degrees out. I can bike for a few miles when it is in the 30s but soon various parts go numb. I hear the birds outside singing as if it is spring.   Back to running outside as at least it is dry.

Not an eventful week. Made all the reservations necessary for the big bike trip and arranged with my DC friend a place to stay right before we catch a train  to go back to our car in Pittsburgh.

I made a big pot of black eyed pea soup from the left over Easter ham, along with ham salad. I had a friend over to lunch on it.


I have not done any genealogy, which I told myself I should do when it is cold. I did organize a few of my belongings but the kitchen needs to be reorganized. We still have boxes of unpacked stuff in the garage. I've been reviewing Italian as there may (may) be a trip in the fall and now am at the same level as my Spanish, which I am forgetting. Italian is much more complicated but for some reason, easier to understand when spoken.

Steve is now covered in scabs. The dermatologists remove a bunch of lesions with liquid nitrogen. A few months ago she said there were too many to remove so he was to poison them first which reduced the size somewhat. When I was treated for breast cancer, the resulting baldness enabled me to see a large black spot the size of a nickel on my scalp. Why was it so black when it never was exposed to sun? It was biopsied and found to be benign but then she burnt off less suspicious lesions with liquid nitrogen. Some of them came right back but primary doctors keep assuring me they are nothing to worry about. Good thing I can grow bangs as they are ugly.


Thursday, April 5, 2018

color on a colorless day

Salvation Mountain covered in paint in SE CA. A friend's daughter lives about 100 miles from there so it is her photograph

Shanna's kids are on spring break. To the Henry Ford Museum where everything is car themed including the hotdogs

Not so colorful. I enlarged this print of this strange sculpture found in the Mezquita's treasury room in Cordoba I put it close to Steve's side. Perhaps I should enlarge the corresponding female sculpture and put it on my side

I liked this little oil painting for our bedroom

I love my new shoes. Hopefully they will lessen my chances of being roadkill

mounted tile for my tile collection

A beaded pretty a Mom brought back for us from Guatemala

All winter I've been telling myself that if I could just hold out to mid-March, then the sun and warm weather will return and thus happiness. And to make the time go faster, we took a few breaks from our bleak winter by going to warmer places.Well the joke is on me. Spring will never come or at least not for another week. I ran again this morning with the temps in the low 20s while it lightly snowed but at least the 30 mph winds of the day before had died down.

My friend and I have made travel arrangements all week for our big bike ride in just 7 weeks (and no I haven't been bicycling). Suitable places are few and far between so we needed reservations. Only one place has yet to answer the phone.

Aside from that, not much going on. Eagerly awaiting spring.




Monday, April 2, 2018

April Fool's Easter

Easter wreathe

Easter chandelier
Naomi made this fruit plate for our brunch. Pretty.

The grandbabies minus Maya who was with her father

Yeah I have a trampoline in my family room to burn off grand kid energy. Even Hannah was trying it out


I do have plenty of tables and  chairs but people seemed to want to eat on the floor
My fool:  Roy Lichtenstein sculpture that I took on the Barcelona waterfront

When will winter ever end? Instead of running right now, I am waiting for it to go above 20 so I can run without gloves and also not have the rising sun in my eyes. At least it got to just above freezing yesterday in time for the outdoor Easter Egg hunt in our yard: the boys in the backyard and the girls in the front yard. I hid a few eggs in plain sight for Hannah inside who still didn't grasp the point of it though she used the eggs as rattles and enjoyed the necklace. I had gotten some Mardi Gras necklaces to hide along with the candy.

I got up early to make the ham, which was huge. Even giving a lot of it away, we still have plenty left. And the big bone will be used to make soup in a few days. lentil or black-eyed peas. I know most would use it for split pea but I don't like it. We also made mimosas for the brunch.

Yesterday my traditional insurance expired. I am now on Medicare. Not looking forward to lots of form filling out when I have to use it.  Still it will be cold in the near future and I need to be training for that early big bike ride. I do have to make a big scheduling decision today which is either to do our trip over less days or drive all night at the end. We will take a train in DC back to Pittsburgh. It goes early in the morning or late in the afternoon, nothing in between.

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