Saturday, January 14, 2017

Taking down Christmas

My new Motawi tiles. A good friend gave me a beautiful Motawi tile for Christmas. Unfortunately, I already had one identical so I went in to exchange it. They were having a close out sale so I was able to get two tiles for the price of one
Hannah and I the other night
freezing rain left sparkly jewels in the early morning sun
ice droplets lit up by the full moon
Allie and Grandpa

I find taking down Christmas decorations much more annoying than putting them up. The two small trees were quickly done; all my extra decorations boxed up. All that is left is the big tree. As I hate balancing on the top of the ladder (we have a very tall tree) I will need Steve's help.

Such strange weather we are having. As I was driving home from the cooking class the other night, suddenly a bright light flashed in my face. Thundersnow! Very impressive lightning especially for this time of year. Then we were coated with ice the next day , which fortunately quickly melted. How long until spring?

I spent a fun 2 hours in the dentist' chair the other day getting 3, yes 3, cavities filled. No cavities for I don't remember and then 3 discovered last August. My insurance was exhausted for the year so I had to wait until now. Still no word whether the dentist office put in the correct code to be reimbursed by my medical insurance.

And those bastards have dismantled the ACA without a replacement in place. For me personally, no skin off my teeth as I get insurance, poorer and poorer, from my former employer but I assume Naomi will lose hers along with many low income people. My friend who was treated for leukemia, is privately insured and went well over the former cap. And as she has a pre-existing condition, good luck finding another insurance company. Her boyfriend actually voted for Trump. I hope at least he will feel guilty contributing to her misery.

Josh enjoyed his peach melba cobbler the other night for dinner. Yes I brought him other stuff. He would not settle for the easier to make crisp.

I have yet to find a fully alert Hannah. Always sleeping when I go to see her.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

My private gym

my new elliptical trainer
kitchen for the kids. need to get fake food and dishes
new vase
tiger lily hand made paper
smile or gas?

Now I have no excuse not to exercise because of freezing rain, thigh deep snow and gale force winds (all which we have had in the last month) as we now have the elliptical trainer in the basement along with my  balance balls and weights. I have rubberized floor mats, mainly for the kids, so I can do floor exercises. The fly in the ointment is that the particular muscles I need haven't been used much so I am very slowly increasing my time on it. Further annoyance, I've been so good this week but I don't weigh any less than last week.

Last night was our cooking class "Lentils for Breast Cancer Survivors'. Since Komen funds the class, she has to make some classes specific for breast cancer. How to get protein without meat and without soy? Lentils. The best dish was a pureed soup of red lentils and butternut squash flavored with smoky paprika; the worse was lentil shepherd's pie which was covered with low glycemic (or is it high; I know potatoes are metabolized too quickly) mashed potatoes. I am probably the only one in the world who hates mashed potatoes. Thee was a lentil salad too which at least was healthy.
A yoga class meets right after the cooking class. I talked to the instructor who promises not to be a drill instructor like the lady who made me quit. So I might try her for a while.

Tonight is my night to feed the adult kids. Josh wants a peach melba cobbler which I assume is not on his MIL's list of healthy things to eat. Josh has never been overweight. The rest of the dinner should be healthy though.

Did my parents come and feed me after I had babies? Ha!!!

Little Hannah is happily gaining weight.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Annual Chosen Sisters Christmas Party

ribbon aftermath
Before we opened presents. My tree topping angel, gift of one of the Moms years ago, burnt out the day before. What we forgot to do was have Steve take a photo of us for our 37, yes 37, anniversary of meeting.
unhappy Hannah
Tessa skiing at the Plymouth ice festival. Temp around 10. The Festival is over but I can go see the sculptures until they melt tomorrow
Shanna came with us to the hospital Friday and then went out to eat with us and Josh to the place that has one of the ten best burgers in the US at Josh's request. I took one bite but was content with my much smaller filet mignon sandwich, way decadent enough

Hannah came home Saturday. It has been rough trying to start a good feeding schedule. She looks so small here
We went there yesterday to deliver food. The mother-in-law emailed me to remind me what healthy food was and where I could find it if I wasn't up to preparing it myself. Feeding your children apparently is a life long commitment.  Hmmm, it's a wonder that my kids survived my incompetent parenting

We were to have our Christmas party here a month ago but the big winter storm started that morning and I cancelled. With three of the moms having out-of-state children (I used to be one), it is hard finding a good time but Saturday was it. We started meeting 37 years ago, a post partum support group provided with a facilitator from the Lamaze association. We met weekly for about 2 months then we would be free to meet on our own. There were 7 of us all with little boys except me who had Shanna. Over the years, three of the Moms dropped out though I am still friends with one of them and am in occasional contact with another. I did meet the son of the first dropout who was in tears long ago because this same son was rejecting her breast. He just happened to be at a science fair our company was sponsoring and I recognized his name. My neighbor soon joined us because I made our group sound more fun than her group, which has long since disbanded.

I certainly was not going to find support at work. I worked with men and although I made good friends with them, their eyes would glaze over if I ever talked about kids. The few women there did not have kids with one exception, the lady I had over here last spring. So these women were the ones with whom I shared trials and tribulations of being a mom. As an extra bonus, we all got to see each other's children grow up and attend most of their weddings. There are now 10 wonderful grand babies between the five of us. I have the lion's share for now. The oldest is in high school and the youngest is now 5 days old. As raising children is no longer our central focus, we changed our name to the Chosen sisters.

We have taken vacations together and see each other often outside the confines of the group (the confines being how hard it is to schedule time with busy, travelling people) Lots of sharing.

The hostess makes the main dishes. I do try to make different things. Also, all must be vegetarian though seafood is allowed. For dinner, I made crab cakes, though I might have served them before, Brussels sprouts that I had grown and prepared a month ago and then froze, farro with pesto and sweet potato gnocchi. We all bring wine, I had 2, count them 2, glasses. Two bring
appetizers, another salad and another desserts. For Xmas, we give very precious and thoughtful presents. Lots of fun opening them.

We met a bit before 6 and the last Moms went home well after midnight.

This has not been good for my weight loss. Up to the night of the party, I had been down over 32 pounds. I keep thinking of this program as a giant spring that I keep pulling back and back. As soon as I let go, poof, it all returns. And some did.

Back to being good.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Hannah and her sister

She is listening to some rustling beneath the holly and is ignoring us just on the other side of the window. From her coloring, she is a juvenile. The brown streaks on her chest will fade to orange and her back feathers will turn gray. She is slightly bigger than a blue jay so she is the smallest hawk. Sparrow hawks may be smaller but have been renamed kestrels as they are really falcons

the hawk even ignored squirming Maya trying to get a better look
newborn me. I am Hannah sized. I first thought that this was a nurse in the hospital but where's her cap and why the wood paneling. I do have my beaded id bracelet still on. Now they have lo-jack systems attached which start blaring if they get too close to an elevator

I should be out there running but the new coat of snow and the 2 degrees have made it less inviting. Monday our elliptical trainer arrives so at least I will be a bit more comfortable.

So my bird feeders are  bird feeders in an unwanted sense. Last week the tiny hawk swooped in causing death and havoc though flew off empty billed. She has returned. I saw her swooping down close to our breakfast nook and pointed her out to Steve. At that moment a rabbit raced by.

That's not a hawk, that's a rabbit. Captain Obvious stated.

Could the hawk be chasing a rabbit which must out weigh it by several fold? The bigger red tailed hawk would but the sharp shinned hawk specializes in chasing birds like its bigger lookalike, the Cooper's hawk (whose nest I found and I have photos of the hawks taking turns warming the eggs).

The hawk seemed to be thinking the rabbit was in the underbrush and stayed there for about 5 minutes cocking its head intently Photo op!!!. The rabbit was long since gone. Suddenly it dove down and we heard a squeal. A sparrow had been hiding but managed to escape despite being attacked.  It has come back again. Bird books say take the feeders down for a while and the hawk will hunt elsewhere and the birds will return before it does.

Meanwhile the squirrel is too fat or the pole too slippery for it to reach the feeder. It's fun watching it try.

As said many times before, I hate winter. It is screwing with my exercise routine. I went out the other day in minus 5 windchills. I did manage to lose a bit over a pound since New Year's Eve but very slow. I think I am over the half way mark finally.

We will visit Hannah this morning. Hopefully she will be awake. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A Brand New Baby

She has a bit of hair. 9#7oz. What I allegedly weighed Born at 9:51 am this morning

Here's Hannah! Not sure what that line is across her torso
Josh looking at his daughter for the first time

Hannah Eleanor entered this world on a very cold, blustery day. I wish I had taken some pains above to smooth out my wind tussled hair.

We got to the waiting room, after walking a mile in the hospital corridors, about 20 minutes before she was taken out though info was slow to be relayed to us. They spent an hour after her birth finalizing her name, which is probably a compromise. I do like Hannah. I was considering it for my 2nd or third child though Shanna and Hannah would be false rhymes. And Allie's sister being named Eleanor would mean an Allie and an Ellie.

We celebrated by going to the Fly Trap to have their delicious faux pho.

Everyone is healthy so yay!

Monday, January 2, 2017


My favorite: I blew this up for my wall

Bridges I have run across: the George Washington Bridge, Henry Hudson ,Verrazano, Pulaski, Queensboro, Marine Parkway, Willis St Bridge, 3rd St Bridge but never the Brooklyn Bridge. Well I didn't run on this one, much too crowded as you can see but I finally walked on it. Two of the races we ran covered most of those bridges.

detail  of a Central Park Bridge

Strawberry Fields near where John Lennon lived and was shot down

infinite staircase

hard to find a deserted section

Manhattan Bridge. Not sure if walkers can go on it

lower Manhattan

I spend maybe too much time in my bedroom. Aside from the feeder in which I can watch bird drama, more later, I have my fancy lights and photos on the wall. One section devoted to foreign travels, mainly Italy; an Asian section; an African section; aNew York section; an abstract art section; and interspersed, family. So there is, sort of, a method to my madness.

Almost 30 pounds are gone. I think of a pound of fat as a pound of butter so imagine 30 pounds of LandO'Lakes carved off of me. When I read recently the medical report of my reconstruction, it says a 150 g sample of my left breast was delivered to the pathology lab in which it is described in rather unflattering terms though the most important was that it was 'normal'. A third of a pound of butter right there. Not sure if that was all that was carved out of the mega boob, I would have guessed a pound but there you have it.

But there is more to lose. I am hoping without all the holiday parties and situations, things will go faster, Finally though, I have lost enough that people notice. The two months last year of not being able to lift more than 5 pounds had left me rather untoned so in between my runs and bikes (and soon an elliptical trainer), I lift weights. Flexibility has never been my strong suit so I am stretching much more. Also I am weaning myself off of Prilosec, which presumably has negative effects such as bone loss. I started on it during chemo as my stomach lining failed to repair itself. But obesity and alcohol aggravate heartburn too. With most of the fat and alcohol gone, I should be able to live without it. My stepdown drug will be Zantac and in a pinch, rolaids. If I stop using aspirin and coffee, it might be easier but the aspirin has too many alleged preventative qualities to ignore and I need my coffee.

Josh and Allie were over yesterday. Did I drink any alcohol on New Year's Eve? he asked accusingly. Yes I did. A glass of prosecco at midnight and some red wine before that and another glass the day before, so shoot me.

If I have the willpower to push my flagging body through marathons, certainly I can abstain from overeating, right? It has gotten easier.

Shouldn't I resolve to be a better person? Maybe, I will work on that later. Trying not to sweat the small stuff is hard enough. I want to travel more. I need to brush up on my Italian. Perhaps I should learn how to properly pronounce German (I took scientific reading for my chemistry degree, a rather different vocabulary. I know the words for urea and nitrogen (harnstoff and stickstoff) but not for common menu items).

Meanwhile a new grandbaby will be born Wednesday morning. I was banished to some distant waiting room last time. At least I want to be in a closer waiting room. At Shanna's hospital (much smaller but highly renown. Small world buddy Soulmate trained there) I could sort of watch through a series of reflections what was going on, panicking as I watched but did not hear Daniel struggle to breathe with masks over his little face (though a nurse looked up and give me the thumbs up sign). Oliver I heard much sooner than expected on the other side of the unit. I rushed over and could see his wiggly body being lifted screaming from Shanna. No such luck in this massive chop shop Julie seems unduly attached to. Extra annoyance: it is far away (though not as far as Cambridge Massachusetts).

Bird drama: I was lounging away per usual doing my puzzles. I had just put out fresh food for my flock. Suddenly panic as the birds in a frenzy tried to fly away as fast as possible.  What was left was a blue jay sized bird in my service berry tree. All that fuss over a bird the size of a mourning dove? But it was a hawk, a tiny one. I climbed in the bathtub with the fancy camera to ID it but it flew away without lunch. A sharp shinned hawk which looks like a tiny Cooper's hawk. Unfortunately, in the frenzy, a male cardinal and a chickadee flew hard into the window. The chickadee dead and the cardinal just lying in the dirt. I picked it up and placed it in the bluebird feeder (which has yet to feed a blue bird, I keep hoping) so it at least had a roof (protection from the hawk)  Nothing seemed broken and gradually the cardinal perked up. Another male joined him. For moral support or to see if there was some food there. When I went out ten minutes later to provide bedding, he flew off.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Oh the places I have been in 2016

ghost forest Mendocino County



Eureka, CA

Glass Beach, Ft. Bragg, CA

Sea lions, Newport OR

Sundial Bridge, Redding, CA

Superbowl 50 celebration, San Francisco

Ferry Building, San Fran

surfer, Santa Cruz

downtown Northville, MI

Country Dairy, Hart, MI

near Newago, MI

Muskegon River on which we kayaked lit, barely, by a full moon

Lewes, DE

Rehoboth Beach, DE

outside of Livermore, CA



Mono Lake, CA

near Coulterville, CA

Japanese Gardens, Golden Gate Park

Hidden Stairs, San Fran

flock of pelicans, Pillar Point, CA

Grand Rapids

Ypsilanti, MI

Letchworth St. Pk, NY


Corning, NY glass museum

Freedom  Tower, NYC

Prospect Park

Coney Island

Greenwood Cemetery

I have skipped over many of the places we visited. Hoping to expand my territory next year. Stay tuned! Happy New Year to All.


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