Sunday, August 30, 2009

Last Day Before Heading Home

Went off my coffee hiatus since I've been here, and yesterday, with no Starbucks coffee, got a headache that would not go away. So first thing this morning, I was in Minnow, the smaller van sibling of Moby, the 15 seater, headed towards the nearest Starbucks for my double shot espresso non fat latte, and the Sunday New York Times. Back to the house, then to the community center for my half hour swim, kicking these artificial knees for all they are worth, which is a lot. Then to my sister in law's parents for lunch, and a talk with her father about how we are just in our infancy of knowing the intelligence of animals, as I was reading an article about the piano playing cat, Nora (check her out on YouTube if you haven't already). I mentioned how dogs are being trained to smell out cancer, and he sited a friend of his who has a black lab who growls at anyone who comes around and has cancer! He says he's always very grateful when the dog comes up to him calm and wanting petting.

Gibson, the next door dog, in my attempt to have him make friends with Bindi, was unappreciatively amorous with her, much to her and my dismay. He's a beautiful dog, but I don't think his owner's are up to snuff on dog training and neutering and that sort of thing. Oh well.

My sister in law ran in a small 5K marathon yesterday which we all got up and went to witness. She did well in her class, and we were all proud of her. She won a five buck gift certificate for hot wings. It was a fun event. We all came back and took naps.

Did I tell you I watched "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," on video with the family? It's very silly and stupid, but we enjoyed it, esp. Kevin James physical comedy. K. my sister in law, and I watched "Marley and Me," and I cried. I had read the book, which was more about the dog than the movie was, but still it was a decent vehicle for Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston.

On Friday night I went to Saginaw with one of my new women friends here, to meet a group for dinner at Pasong's, a traditionally Chinese restaurant, but esp. for our group that night made a special Thai menu. The owner had hand written one menu with five different dishes on it. I felt rather cosmopolitan in the group, as I think only one other person there had ever had Thai food before, and they were appreh
ensive and skeptical, although I think most were pleased with what they ordered. The coconut curry soup was extremely good, although many did not like the coconut cilantro and spices combination.

Another trip to the farmer's market yesterday with E. and T., more viewing of the downtown art frogs, and lunch at Daddy O's, A 1950s style diner in town.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bindi and Kid Feet

Today was a gathering of the homeschool moms and kids at a local park, which I attented. I met a high school aged foreign exchange student from Israel, a beautiful young woman who is Arab, Muslim, very smart and sophisticated, and we hit it off and had the best conversation. She is staying with one of the families that was represented there today. She misses her family terribly but is looking forward to many adventures as she attends a private school here, named Hemlock (shades of Hogwarts?). Unfortunate name for a school, methinks. She finds this small town too tame for her, but I think she'll be ok once school starts and she meets more students her age. She considers herself a feminist, and said her dad, a psychologist, was a supportive feminist, although her mother isn't. She's quite extraordinary. We exchanged email addresses and I hope to be of cyber-support to her throughout her school year here.
I left to go for my lap swim but decided I wanted a skim milk latte from Starbucks, so stopped by there. While waiting, I picked up a book in their magazine rack called "The Art of Racing in the Rain," by Garth Stein, a novel written from the perspective of his dog, Enzo. It captivated me, and I must have spent an hour reading and drinking coffee before I asked the staff if I could borrow the book. Amazingly, they said yes, and I'll try to finish it before I go home next Monday, so I can take it back to them.
Stopped by a yard sale and coveted a Spartan sewing machine, made by Singer, one of the first electric ones, in pristine condition. They wanted $20, I offered $10 since I would have to pay to ship it home, but they wouldn't go for it. I own a sewing machine, but it has stopped working the way it should, and tho I've had it fixed twice, it's still not what it once was. And I don't want one of those new machines with twelve thousand bells and whistles. I just want something basic.
So I never made it to the lap swim, but came back to the house and made a lime pie which everyone liked. Took a nap, then had dinner. Bindi finally met Gibson, the German shepard/chow mix puppy next door who is gorgeous, but unruly.
Got the name of a massage therapist so will get a 90 minute massage tomorrow. Yippee. Am looking into places to go horseback trail riding, but haven't gotten a return call yet. Need to check out the dog park, although Bindi has this terrible habit of being initially aggressive towards new dogs before settling down to play. When I get her into training for therapy dog status, perhaps some of these bad behaviors will be corrected.
Does anyone know how to get rid of bad doggie breath? Her teeth have a bit of tartar but she has no infection. Maybe it's the food I'm feeding her, but man, her breath could knock over a truck.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Backyard Theatre

My two older nieces on Thursday evening were part of a backyard theatre production that one of their sister homeschooler's has been producing for four years. "Check Under the Bed" was the name of the play, and took place on the back porch of the young producer's house. With an audience of about 50, the twenty minute mystery was well-acted and very well received. I was so proud of my two girls, the 10 year old who played a shy, tidy young woman (the joke is she isn't tidy at all!), and the older one played Dr. Sidney Brockett, a scientist/researcher/inventor. My 12 year old nephew was the videographer. The rain held off until after the performance and the reception of sweets and drinks, but then we were deluged for about 10 minutes, everyone scrambling into the garage. Very inspiring, what these kids pulled off on their own, with just a little help from some adults.

Last night I went into Bay City to have some pizza with some online friends I made. It was great fun, and the pizza was good. Tomorrow I'll have coffee with another online friend at Barnes & Noble, so I can get the New York Times. (Does anyone else hate reading it online?)

Saturday morning Buzz and I went to the farmer's market, then to look at some of the frog art on the street. I found a pair of designer jeans at a consignment shop, and Buzz was quintessentially patient for a four year old.
Sunday, Aug. 23

Had a great time at Starbucks with my two new women friends. Hopefully one of them will call me to do something else this week. It was my first cup of coffee in weeks and weeks and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lap swimming afterwards again at the community center pool, which was nicely warm, then a long hot shower in the nice facility. Went to Marshall's afterwards and bought a $7 swimsuit, a nice black cardigan, and another nightgown that fits. A stop at Kroger for chicken to make chicken soup tomorrow, and pie crust to make a not-key-lime lime pie. Have been making myself greek salads with tomatoes, cucumbers, calamata olives, feta cheese, onion, sometimes peppers.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

For Peter

Small round yellow fleshed watermelon. Light sabers on the lawn, three color sunflowers on the kitchen table. Luscious farmer's market, potatoes, tomatoes, squash, blueberries, peaches, corn. Kids on the wii. Swimming at the public pool, then being told to stay out of the sun because of the side effects of the antibiotics. Stay out of the sun in the height of summer in Michigan? Shopping for tank tops, white chili for supper. Lost cell phone found, overnighted by a friend back in CT. Baby coos, cries, smiles, nurses. Dog gets taken for a walk, fearful of going too far from the house, but working on it. Dinner in Bay City on Friday night with some new internet friends. Teaching the boys how to catch a ball. Focus, concentrate, relax, it's just the ball and you, keep your eye on the ball. They get better each time we practice. Vegetables cooked on the outdoor grill, smokey, flavorful. Aching knees if I stand too long, or walk too far. Reading a 600 page novel, set in 19th century England. Off coffee, off sugar, except for the CT salt water taffy made in Massachusetts. Girls in a play tomorrow night, getting very good at playing the piano too. Artful frogs on Main Street. Small black kittens living next door. I'd have fifty cats if I could. Camilla back home being good at taking her pills for the cat sitter. Relief. Dog has mange, vet called it demodex to spare the embarrassment. Ointment does not seem to be working. Have to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. Hope the dog can pass the therapy dog program, that's a start. Pulling weeds, sweeping the walk, husking the corn, slicing the tomatoes. Using the wheelchair privilege at the airport, gets me through security faster. False knees set off the alarms, or else the pants with too many zippered pockets. Must remember to wear socks with shoes always at the airport, who knows what bare feet can pick up in that environment. Nice person in the seat next to me. Dog is always so quiet under the seat; she exceeds the weight limit but they never check, esp. now I have a letter from the doctor. Working at my brother's computer station in the house, surrounded by StarTrek paraphernalia. Why do I even bother playing Scrabble? Always so frustrating. It's not a competition. Yawns and long pauses to make an eight letter word. Flowers planted along a main thoroughfare. Special truck comes along just to water them. Miles and miles of petunias and zinnias, healthy and vibrant. Dog likes dad's chair, rests her head on his ankle. Her bark makes the baby cry, but her sister still encourages her to touch the fur, to see the dog is not a threat, just loud. Hardy pink hibiscus boldly standing against the Wedgewood blue of the house.