E’s computer finally bit the dust, just another last straw to add to the pile, so i’ll just talk about her while she’s offline!

december is a difficult time for her under the best of circumstances.  her four-year-old son died this time of year, after a grueling battle with disease and disabilities.  she had to be with him at all times, and no one in her family or friends helped or cared.  when he died, she was pretty much alone with her grief and the arrangements.  she had to bury him and somehow carry on, with no emotional support and bill collectors hounding her, right around christmas.  to this day, especially during the holidays, she feels it the most, and still grieves alone.  a sense of family and festivities is something other people enjoy, not her.

so she is very grateful to have my family accept and adopt her, but still not fully recovered from this loss, not to mention all the others she has sustained while transitioning.  most people would be crushed into despair by all the adversity and discrimination she has absorbed, but she picks herself up each day and trusts that one day it will all be behind her.  she doesn’t hold her breath waiting for humans to evolve and become more compassionate, because it doesn’t seem to be happening in her world.

time does not heal all wounds, especially that of losing your child, and essentially your whole family.  a lifetime of abuse and deprivation is hard enough.  but somehow she musters up faith to carry on.  i challenge anyone to face the overload of crises she has, and not have a mental breakdown.  i know i couldn’t.  i’d be a total train wreck.

it does put things in perspective.  that’s all i have for today.



erev at the nest

just some random scenes from this erev.  hmm, i wonder what dinner consisted of?  (hint: courtesy of our friends.)  so many pies, so little time.  soundtrack: bombay dub.

meanwhile, E has been refurbishing her own desk, an old secretary from way back, with battle scars to prove it.  when it’s done, i’ll photo it.  we figure, while we’re stuck here for a while, we’ll just feather the nest for the time being.

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fungus motherlode at the narrows 1

it was a warm, sunny day so we explored more of the narrows and discovered a ‘new’ trail which revealed some amazing natural wonders.  we hit THE motherlode of fungi!  i’ll have to post one set of just fungus photos alone, there were so many to choose from.  there were some amazing old trees, an old fireplace from some home that is no longer there, a big hanging (wasp?) nest, intimidating locust trees with their  huge thorns growing right out of the main trunk, and of course the always photogenic serene little miami river.  about four miles worth of walking must have burned a few calories, we hope.

here are fungi.  see ff. for more photos.

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just trying to live in a stupid world

just because, we made ourselves a TG-like meal.  the turkey was free-range, antibiotic-free, and very affordable by pre-ordering from WFM.  i roasted potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, and onions right under the turkey, with lots of fresh homegrown herbs in the marinade.  i sautéed fresh brussels sprouts in a dijon maple reduced glaze.  E roasted diced potatoes with garlic, herbs, and spices.  whole cranberry sauce on the side.  of course, beer.  no stress, no mess. my nod to a holiday commemorating genocide and terrorism toward indigenous americans.

meanwhile, E bought a used wooden desk for me at a thrift store for not very much, and she is totally refurbishing it.  she cleaned, reinforced, stained, and sealed it so that it looks like a fine piece of furniture.  she’s good at things like that, whereas i’m totally challenged.  when it’s done i’ll photo it.  at last we’ll both have our own desks.  (i’ve been borrowing hers, and she’s been improvising.)

don’t we sound boring and domesticated?  you’d never guess E is coping with multilayers of complications being thrown at her daily by ignorant so-called professionals she has to deal with to transition and survive, who just don’t have a clue about the facts, or don’t care.  she struggles to stay patient and positive as the world tries to defeat her.  all these hits take their toll, financially and emotionally, but we just tighten the proverbial belt and be even more resourceful with what we’ve got.  eventually it will all be behind us and maybe we can just live like normal people.

on a positive note, here’s a good beer.




regardless of what you may or may not think of whole foods, when you live in a frontier outpost like dayton, an actual whole foods is like an oasis of civilization.  today i introduced E to the wonders of the new (and only) whole foods in the area.  this one was like a mega-WFM, several times the size of the one in NJ.  E was like a tourist, wide-eyed at all the wonders of an alternate universe that she’s never experienced.  there weren’t even store guards at every aisle making sure no one shoplifted or camped out eating, as they do at places like kroger!  instead, there were very friendly, respectful people eager to answer our questions, something rare here but routine at WFM.

this store even had me, the jaded jersey girl, impressed.  omg, they had a microbrew bar, with growlers!!  not to mention a whole gallery of eateries–wood-fired pizza, sushi-bar, a full-service reasonably priced  coffee-bar (actual good latté), and several other culinary options.  at the cheese section they personally made each of us a sample delicacy of brie with all the fixings, which we savored surrounded by big wheels of unpronounceable (and unaffordable) exotic cheeses.  at the bakery they actually had real challahs, which no one else has even heard of around here.  when we got to the bins of beans, rice, lentils, etc. AND spices, we were ready to just move in.  the produce, as i had promised, was a revelation to E, with items we can never find at local stores.  and even the fish section, in this landlocked state, was very encouraging and the employees extremely helpful.   (WFM fish is almost all responsible/sustainable, plus fresher than the local alternatives.) even the prices, if you shop carefully, are very reasonable.

all in all, a positive experience.  E never got to enjoy such advantages growing up poor among ignorant people, so it’s a mix of emotions, like someone emerging from a bunker late in life and discovering a world she was denied.  for me, it reminds me all is not negative while we’re stranded here longer than expected.

oh, and there was an indian restaurant and grocery store down the street, so there will be another field trip in our future.

note the dramatically black and white radish for sandwiches, rarely seen at other groceries.

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close encounter at the fen

yesterday we had an up close and personal encounter with a huge beaver!  BEAVER! on a whim, we went to the fen after dinner, and the timing was perfect.  this beaver was just drifting along a channel where the boardwalk crosses it, heading for its dam, when it sensed our presence.  we all stopped, while i took photos like a crazy person, and then it decided we weren’t a menace, and continued drifting right under the boardwalk and on toward the river.  it was so exciting!  unfortunately my phone cam doesn’t zoom very well, but you can still make it out.  i also posted my fen tree, to mark the changing season.

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