Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Puddles and Swings

Petoskey State Park Swings
Yesterday it was puddle jumping, today after a walk on the beach I couldn't resist the swings, as high as possible of course!  Am I reverting to my childhood or do I just have an ability to enjoy the ordinary as Mary said yesterday?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Jumping in Puddles

I walked down my driveway to my mailbox after work today, the welcome spring sun warming my face.  The snow was melting into a puddle and my feet were headed straight toward it.   I had an irresistible urge to jump in the puddle.  So I did.  Wouldn't you?

This is the Snowman that Jack Built

This is the snowman that Jack built

This is the snowman that Jack built...three months later.

Friday, March 25, 2011


I received a beautiful pen for Christmas, a gift from a friend who visited China.  The "present" was unique and lovely but the "presentation" was even more impressive.  The embroidered bag, the ornate hinged box and even the silky cushioned fabric the pen was nestled into.... you have to see it to appreciate it.

Thank you, Wendy!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Quinoa Quandary

A chinopod (like beets and spinach), quinoa is a seed, not a grain
The irony of it all.  Bolivians and other Andes South Americans have been thriving on quinoa for centuries dating back to the Incas.  But now that it's becoming a popular food worldwide for it's complete set of amino acids (complete protein) as well as many other vital nutrients it has become unaffordable to many of those same Andean people. 
Women weighing quinoa at a market in Bolivia 
I first heard of quinoa about five years ago and used it mainly as a side dish or breakfast cereal until a few months ago when I "went nutritarian" and saw its value as a complete protein in main dishes.  It turned up in the United States decades ago when NASA found it was an ideal food for long term space missions.  Until recently I could only find it in health food stores but now it's available in my supermarket.  With this increase in demand many of the farmers' incomes have risen but they either can't afford quinoa at the new prices or their children prefer noodles or rice.   While quinoa prices tripled in the last five years Bolivia's consumption of it declined almost 35% in the same time period.  What a quandary - local farmers earn more but fewer Bolivians reap quinoa's nutritional benefits!  
Reference;  Pronunciation:  keen' wa

Edited 1-25-12
For an update on this subject see this article.  Eat quinoa without guilt!

Friday, March 18, 2011


"Supermoon".  OK, so it's not a scientific term coined by astronomers but more of a descriptive term used by observers.  This phenomenon is the coincidental occurrence of a full moon and perigee, the point at which the moon  is at 90% or greater of its mean closest approach to earth.  It is at the perigee that the moon appears largest.   By the way, apogee is the furthest earth to moon distance.  From what I understand the supermoon may appear 14% larger and 30% brighter than lesser full moons but to the casual observer it may be hard to tell any difference.  When the moon is at perigee, the closest distance from earth, there is much more gravitational pull which contributes to higher tides or greater variation in the high and low tide.  All very interesting but not exactly "earth shaking".

Signs of Spring - One Day Later

Just yesterday I said the swans were not back to Spring Lake yet.  Guess what I saw when I passed the lake today.  I think they were arguing about who would enter the cold water first.  Welcome back swans!
You go first and let me know how it is.
No, you go first!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day ~~Sláinte!

I actually do have Irish heritage so maybe it's a little less crazy that I celebrated by taking Green Food to work for everyone.  I made Broccoli Spinach Soup, Kale Chips, and Zucchini Bread!  It was all gone by the end of the day.  Sláinte!
Zuke Bread, Broccoli Spinach Soup, Kale Chips

Signs of Spring, First Thunderstorm

Swans on Spring Lake April 06
 M Wild Hansen
Signs of spring near my house aren't much different from everywhere else but one I watch for every year is the return of a pair of swans to tiny Spring Lake between my house and town.  I haven't seen the swans yet but the temperature went above 50 today so I took a walk with a friend after work and breathed in the warm air and sunshine.  Now I'm sitting by a window witnessing the first thunderstorm of the year!  I love a good thunderstorm.  Let it rain and let the rain melt away the snow!
spring thunderstorm

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My First Car

My first car was an awesome Detroit worthy 8-cylinder sporty coupe with a sun roof and wide black racing stripe.  At first I thought it was a bit "boyish" but I fell in love with it, complete with its frustrations.  Like how it would stall for no apparent reason.  When I complained mechanics would shrug their shoulders and shake their heads.  Then there was the noisy speedometer I utterly destroyed one day on the freeway.  Since my brother Dave bought it from me and it was his first car too, he wrote about it almost three years ago.  Dave's original post is here in its entirety.
1974 Dodge Dart Sport

Tuesday, June 3, 2008  Some excerpts from Dave's post:

"My first car was also my sister's first car. I bought it from her in 1983 for $500. To say I was excited to have my own car is a pretty big understatement. And it was a cool sleek thing with a V8 and a moon roof. Rolling sexy, on regular gas.

The Dodge Dart Sport was a "Duster-ized" version of the shoe-box Dart. Originally called the Dodge Demon, the model was renamed to Dart Sport in 1973 after religious groups complained of the name Demon and the cute little red guy with pitchfork emblem (incidentally, why can't people just not buy something when they don't like it, why ruin things for everyone else? I really liked the name Demon).

Mine was a 1974, the last year before the introduction of catalytic converters and unleaded gas, so this thing smelled poisonous on the exhaust end. It was Lucerne Blue metallic, with a big black stripe and black vinyl half-roof. The moon roof never worked right, opening or closing it required the equivalent effort of wrangling a large steer to the dirt. And the heater linkage was broken so the heat was on all the time.
All that and AM radio...Woohoo!
...I had the Dart for a few years, and then sold it to a friend of mine for $450. He promptly got in a bad accident and totaled it.
I often wonder where my old Dart Sport is, probably rotting in some junk yard. Or, just maybe, I have since re-bought part of it in a new car, recycled into a fender or something. I hope that's the case, because my Dart is the only car I've owned that I miss. "
Pretty cool, huh?


wildmary said...
That WAS a sexy car! I LOVED that car. The moon roof and heater worked fine when I owned it. But remember the speedometer?? Remember the story behind it's uselessness? It started getting noisy, noisier, then just plain irritating. Think electronic pinball with bells and buzzers and wild whistling sounds, while the needle oscillated maniacally from left to right. So one day on my way to work on I-10 between Auburn and Midland I just PUNCHED it! There was broken plastic, a dead still needle and calming, heavenly SILENCE. End of speedometer, end of story.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Since Erich lives in Canada I cross these two bridges a lot -
                      The Mighty Mac - Mackinac Bridge         International Bridge Between
            Between Mackinaw City and St. Ignace, MI           Sault Ste. Marie, MI
                                                                                 and Sault Ste. Marie, Canada 

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Real Handwritten Letter

I'm in touch with friends and family daily through email, Facebook, blogs, telephone...but it's been a very long time since I've received a real handwritten letter.  Sue, my college roommate sent one this week because her computer had crashed and she lost all her email addresses.  She was an art major and has beautiful stylistic handwriting which made it even more enjoyable - seeing her writing on the envelope was almost like seeing her smiling face!

Disaster in Japan;
Donation Information

This was one of the four worst earthquakes ever recorded in history, anywhere.  It is the worst Japan has ever had at 8.9 which is exponentially worse than the Haiti quake of last year at 7.0 quake as shown in this graph.
 It moved an island off the coast of Japan eight feet to the east.  The resulting tsunami, travelling at more than 500mph was a 30 ft. wall of sludge, water, and debris surging six miles inland as well as heading across the Pacific Ocean toward Hawaii, our mainland west coast and the west coast of South America which it has yet to reach.
The tsunami wiped out miles of flatlands, farms, 
and the coastal city of Sendai
There were reports of the initial quake lasting two minutes or more.  Coolants are being flown from the U.S. to Japan where two reactors at a nuclear power plant are unstabel and could overheat to the point of possible meltdown.  We all know what that means.
Japan sits at the intersection of three tectonic plates and accounts for 30% of all earthquakes over 6.0.  Being an earthquake prone country they are prepared with their building codes and emergency plans  but the magnitude of this one  combined with  the resulting tsunami, fires, and looming nuclear disaster makes this situation impossible to prepare for.  It's all about search and rescue now. 
 If you want to help, The American Red Cross has set up a special designation for disaster relief efforts in Japan.  To donate  go here or text REDCROSS to 90999 to instantly donate $10 (details here).

A Long Time to Hang in the Sky

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario to Johannesburg, South Africa
At this very moment Erich is on a flight from London, England to Johannesburg, South Africa! Then he starts a tour of five southern African countries beginning with Victoria Falls in Zambia and ending up back in South Africa.


March 8, 2011
When I talked to Jen and Jim last week they told me to expect a package in the mail, an early Easter present.  They said it should arrive on Tuesday and I was instructed not to open it until they were on the phone with me.  Package in one hand, phone in the other, I could tell it was a curiosity was piqued!  They gave me the OK to open it............

Very nice book...what a nice idea, a grandparent writes all about herself in the journal and it is given to the grandchild to keep and read...... ARE YOU TWO TRYING TO TELL ME SOMETHING??  It took me a few seconds to get it.  I'm going to be a Grandmother!  My baby and his wife are having a baby!  Best.  News.  Ever.


Dave said...
Wow! Congrats to all :)
Carol Weiss said...
Mazel tov!!!! You will be the best grandmother!!!
Mary Wild said...
Take it from me........the greatest joy of your life :D

Monday, March 7, 2011

Electron Microscope

Calcium Phosphate Crystal
Dave sent me these pictures of ordinary objects magnified many times by an electron microscope.  When I was taking Biology in high school our class took a trip to Wayne State University and saw the Gross Anatomy Lab and the electron microscope among other things.  I was fascinated!  These images were a great reminder of that day decades ago and how much the experience encouraged my interest in science.
Daisy bud
Mushroom spores

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Uncommonly Cute

Meet Roxanne, the Detroit Zoo's newest aardvark, born January 8.  She will be introduced to the public this spring .  An aardvark (Orycteropus afer) is an African mammal whose name derives from the Afrikaans word "earth pig."   I'll be in Detroit visiting family next month and hope to see this strange, sweet little creature!