Monday, March 11, 2019

3-11-2019 Monday--7:30am

Good (but painful) morning.
I thought my back was gradually improving but then I woke up early this morning with it just as bad as a week ago.  Slept wrong somehow?  Didn't do anything I can think of to set it off.  Been being careful and doing gentle stretching.  Oh well.  Such is life.  
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Anyways, we had snow early in the week.  The grouse were determined that if they dug down they could find some of that buried seed...which they did.  :)  
 Do you see that head peeking out in the middle of the picture?  That is how deep we are talking that the girls were digging holes--ROFL!
You can see how deep the snow drifts had become on my patio.  The walls of snow banks across the way have really changed the wind game out there.  
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While one covey was on the patio another was waiting over under the pine tree. 
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Meanwhile, I know I mentioned in a couple of letters to people how my one eye had been watering so much but I can't remember if I said anything about it on the blog.  Well, turns out I think I also have a mild case of pinkeye.  Since I knew that McFamily had it I had been being very careful to use a clean cloth or tissue to wipe the tears from that eye and tried not to rub my eye.  But if I gave in and rubbed because it itched it was soon puffy and blood shot and pink.  I have had a little crusting in the corner of my eye--but I never sleep very long at one time so it was minor.  
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Dagan was coming over with seed from Fleet Farm on Friday so they sent me over the leftover eye drops they had...in case it was bacterial instead of viral.  So I have been doing the eye drops since Friday.  Still watering, but not as much and not as itchy or crusty.
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They're all sick again at McFamily's--or still.  Leah and Liam have strep throat and are on antibiotics.  I didn't know they sell test kits for strep throat.  Leah was getting a kit for Dagan and Ian when she picked up the meds for her and Liam.  Dagan was still coughing a lot when he was here and blowing his nose.  I haven't even heard if they tested positive for strep or not.
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Myself--pinkeye, back pain, and still stuffed up and blowing my nose.  But I have had strep years ago and it don't have any of those symptoms.  Nose doesn't hurt as much now with the new humidifiers, either, so that's something.  Very tired from lack of sleep and having to try to sleep in my chair some days.  Watching a lot of good shows.  Rented season eight of Vera (love how she calls people "pet" or "love") and Bohemian Rhapsody (which  has made me want to rent Live Aid and Woodstock).  On Netflix streaming I watched Russian Doll and Luther.  On Amazon Prime I'm still watching the British detective series from the 90s called Wycliffe.  Oh, and on Netflix streaming I am still watching Heartland little by little, too. 
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On Friday night through Saturday we had another winter storm.  The drifts on my patio gained another foot or so.  As you can see in the early morning light, I can still get the patio door open several inches to toss out seed... 
...into the valley between the 3 foot drift by the door and the next 4 foot drift.  I'm guessing...could be higher than that.  You can tell how windy it was because the empty bird feeder is now filled with snow--LOL!
The electricity was also off from about 4-9am Saturday morning.  So I switched over the clocks early since I had to reset them anyways. 
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Annie has been in a lovey mood.  I think she knows I don't feel well because our normal routine has been kind of out the window this past week.
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Yesterday digging critters and 20 degree weather started packing down the snow a bit next to the patio door. 
So odd to see a rabbit be able to stand up and check out the bird feeder.  No, I didn't catch a photo of that.  Only one rabbit checked it out--no food so no interest.  Good.  I don't want them gnawing on the wood. 
Annie can no longer see CatTV unless she jumps up to sit on the little tan recliner or on my chair with me.  This definitely frustrates Annie.  She goes up to the patio door and stares into a wall of snow...she can hear them but can't see them...suddenly she'll race around the apartment and beat up her toys with great ferocity.  Out of desperation, she's taken to jumping up on the curio cabinet in my bedroom to peek out the bedroom window.  But she can only see a small tree with maybe a few sparrows or juncos if she's lucky.  And not close up like she's gotten used to--LOL!  Annie is more than ready for some melting weather.  
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Me--I'm more than ready to be feeling better.  Snow doesn't bother the housebound much--LOL!  I have grown used to the endless lower back pain but this mid-back stuff is worse.  Sharper.  More debilitating when it is in a testy mood.  
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So, that's it from here.  No work on the book this week.  No calligraphy.  Only able to write letters...or type...here in my chair...when I am able.  So, I didn't even respond to comments last week.  :(  I read every one of them and appreciate them so much.  I still plan to at least go through and answer any questions.  Not sure if I will get around to much online this week, either.  Here I thought this week would be better...well, maybe it will be.  Things can shift around with this touchy back stuff.  I hope I am in much better shape next week when we chat.  
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In the meantime, so many good shows to watch and I look forward to reading every single comment.  Annie is happy to spend more chair snuggling time.  Have fallen in love with my heating pad.  The sun is shining.  We have critters to watch from a new angle--LOL!  Caroline comes to clean tomorrow, so she can bring my trash out for me--and Dagan brought out what I had waiting most of the week when he was here on Friday (so grateful).  So, see you next week!  :) :)
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"I felt in need of a great pilgrimage
so I sat still for three days."
Kabir

Monday, March 04, 2019

3-4-2019 Monday-11am

Good morning!
This is really going to be as quick as I can go because I think I either pulled a muscle in my back or twisted the crumbly bones the wrong way and have had a painful time of it since yesterday.  As soon as I am done here I finally worked up to getting down the heating pad this morning and am heading for my chair.  (I guess having the heating pad way up on a top shelf in the bathroom wasn't the smartest idea--LOL!)
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I did take a few pictures this week, of course.
Can you tell the jackrabbits have figured out I'm no threat?
The only time they run off is when I go to open the patio door the 4-5 inches I can still open it. 
So there's no way I can sweep or shovel away the rabbit poops.  Everybody seems used to eating around them, though--ROFL! 
Look at that fur!  I wonder if it is as thick and soft as it looks?
Jackrabbits hang around to either rest after filling their bellies... 
...or to wait their turn on the patio.  :) 
I can only get closer to the grouse when their backs are turned--LOL!
The many girls (I'm feeding 16-17 now, I think) seem to love the mountain of snow from that parking lot across the way.
 The nooks and crannies provide shelter...
 ...from the wind.
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My new humidifiers arrived!!   
After testing them out on low I am even running them on high.  The old ones would shut themselves off if I tried to run them on high.  I don't have as many bloody noses.  Getting to feel better in here every day.  Nice!
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On Wednesday my mom turned 90 years old!  Happy birthday, Mom!
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For my Artist's Date last week, I actually got out the pointed dip pen supplies, organized them into a box... 
...and practiced a bit of a free fancy alphabet sample from The Postman's Knock.  Used tracing paper so I can practice over and over with the same sheets I printed off. There was a video to go with this introductory practice session.
Man!  I am NOT used to trying to move my entire hand to write instead of my wrist!  Shaky and definitely not straight lines.  Will need a lot of practice with that.  Or...find a way to do it comfortably "my own way"?  LOL!
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Worked on the memoir questions--and finished another week from the book.  No links to stories.  (Didn't double check the stories blog, but I don't think I have anything in particular specific to that time period--and in too much pain to go look.) 
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Thursday Angie came for my yearly home visit (for Caroline's cleaning and shopping).  Friday Caroline brought groceries.  Leah warned me that Ian had been feeling punkish and warm and went to bed early, so I didn't know if we would have Gramma Day or not.  
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Ian still wanted to come over so we planned for a really lazy, hangin' out day.  After lunch (he didn't have much of an appetite, even for snacks) we just cuddled in the chair and watched his new favorite show on Netflix called PJ Masks.  I made an attempt at selfie-type pictures of us in the chair--LOL!
As the afternoon wore on he was dragging...flushed and hot. 
  So Mama came earlier to pick him up to go home for some Ibuprofen and an early night again.   
He was feeling better yesterday and went to school today.  Temp went away, but he's still coughing.  That darn cold that's going around just doesn't want to let go.  Leah was still coughing, too.  ;(
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Then yesterday I did something to my back.  It had been a bit more sore for a few days, but I think I pulled a muscle or twisted wrong when I lifted a heavy trash bag around to get it on the cart, etc.  No, I didn't take it out to the dumpster and try to lift it over my head to get it in there.  It will all sit on the cart till my back is better or somebody comes by to help me out.  Dagan is planning to get more seed at Fleet Farm for me on Friday--or sooner if I run out before Friday.  But I hope I can deal with it before then.  We'll see.  I won't push it.  Having a crumbly spine can be a quite literal pain sometimes--LOL!
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Anyways, hurts to cough or blow my nose...or to sit here in the kitchen chair...didn't sleep well...so my big comfy recliner and the heating pad await me on this cold gray pajama day.  May be an excellent day for a chair nap.  ;)
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Well, I made it to the end!!  Whoohoo!  I do hope you have a fine day and a great week.  Till next Monday.   :) :)
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"Between the dark sky and the dark earth
we hang a light in a dark tree
and sing of our wonder together."
Pir Elias Amidon

Monday, February 25, 2019

2-25-2019 Monday--10:45am

Good morning!
Hard to believe this is the same cat who arrived skittish and, shall we say, not too social--LOL!  I can reach over and rub her belly.  Not that she's the least bit more social with anyone else, but she has learned to trust me.  I think Karma would approve.  ;)
Been snowing every other day it seems. 
They barely get the sidewalks cleared and they get covered up again. 
I love all the critter tracks. 
The snowbanks are so tall. 
Somebody woke up disoriented--LOL! 
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Tuesday was the perfect day for Leah to drive down to Minneapolis to pick up the new car.  It was above zero and sunny.  She stopped to pick up her sister, Ariel, and they headed for IKEA.
 
Leah was able to pack this new vehicle quite full for the trip back to Fargo--LOL!
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Caroline came to clean on Tuesday.  She told me about some Thomas The Train movies on Hulu for Ian.  (We all got the one year for 99 cents a month Hulu deal after Thanksgiving.)  Caroline's boy, Parker, loves Thomas The Train.
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Wednesday it snowed all day and night--but quite gently...for here.  ;)  I had put out some seed that was quickly covered with a layer of fresh, fluffy snow.
Everyone was perfectly willing to dig for it--LOL!

The cotton tail was so funny.  Dug a hole down so far once that nothing but that white tail showed! 
Snowy face. 
Rare to see two jackrabbits and the cottontail eating together. 
But one jackrabbit caught the eye of the other and munched a little too close.
I caught the face off before they both stood up and scratched the air at each other and then pounded the ground...and one retreated a few yards.  Note the cotton tail ignored them both and kept right on eating.  
That little cottontail is brave as can be.  I have seen it get up on its hind legs, hold it's ground and scratch back!  Even if she retreats she comes right back.  Feisty little thing.
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Thursday I made some potato and veggie soup.  I had tried these (fake) beef tips by Gardein before and didn't care for the texture.  So I thought I'd thaw them out and cut them down to smaller chunks to throw them in some soup.  Still not a fan.  But I will eat them...this time.  
Love everything else by Gardein I've tried so far.  And am always using their (fake) ground hamburger.  Regardless, hot soup is so darn good in this kind of weather.  :)
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I was so tired of my humidifiers being on their last legs...of bloody noses...electric hair and clothes...that I finally ordered a couple new ones from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  Half the price of Amazon, free shipping, and 20% off coupon on one of them.  I can hardly wait till they arrive.  Dry skin is a problem in the winter with the heat going all the time.
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While I was making soup I went to run the garbage disposal and it just spun and backed up.  I tried letting it sit a couple of times, but same thing.  So I called and left a message for the office.  First the toilet and now the disposal.  
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On Friday while I was working on the memoir questions from the book the maintenance man came to fix the disposal.  It was fine--just plugged up.  He informed me it was the potato peelings!  ??
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All my life I have put down potato peelings, carrot peelings, egg shells, and never had a problem.  I had no idea you aren't supposed to put any of those things down the disposal.  Am I the only one?  I knew not to put down bones or rinds or anything hard...but I have always put down peelings and egg shells.   I went online and you aren't even supposed to put pasta down the disposal (not that I ever remember wasting pasta--LOL!).  There's a long list of what not to put down a disposal.  I think I need a list of what you CAN put down one--LOL!  Did you know about this?
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So this time it was my fault something needed fixing.  Not that I had a clue.  Lesson learned.
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Saturday was Gramma Day!  
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I had to laugh.  After Leah had dropped Ian off she was helping me online with something before she left while Ian got settled in for lunch...and then we heard a slightly sorrowful..."I thought this was going to be Gramma Day."  Ian thought maybe Mama was staying again like she did for the valentine making--LOL!  I guess he likes our time together.  ;)
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I do, too!  :)
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Ian seemed pretty tired.  He wanted to just chair-cuddle and watch shows after lunch.  Didn't even want to do puzzles or any artsy stuff--just wanted to watch Maru, Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street, Katy and The Big Snow (thanks Joyce F.), and one of the Thomas The Train Movies.  He was fighting sleep for a while there, but stayed awake until Mama came to get him for dinner.
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The rabbits are much braver than the birds about seeing us inside the apartment.
Ian got to get some real close up views. 


Was a fun, lazy, hanging out day with Ian.
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Then yesterday we had a ground blizzard.  No snow, just the high winds to blow it all around.  For those of you who don't get snow or don't get this kind of wind I took a couple short videos.
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Annie was really wound up over the snow swirling on our patio.  She'd stare, race around the apartment, and beat up her toys.  Was so funny!
This one was a couple of hours later, but pretty much the same view outside--LOL!
Today...things have calmed down.  Everyone has eaten their fill twice over and one covey of grouse have settled in for a snooze over on one of the growing snow piles.
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My memoir questions for this past week were about the time period from when I had Dagan until we didn't live with his dad anymore (1974-1978).  Also a turbulent time.  Dagan's diagnosis.  Jerry and I were married, separated, divorced, moved in together once more, and finally split up.  
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Dagan was born with a rare series of heart defects (only one girl was still alive at five in France at the time--rest had died before two years old--most in the first few months and days).  The only thing I have written about that time is Soft Breaths.  We had split up when Dagan was about nine months old.  Dagan and I were living in an older apartment building in Fridley.  
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College (2001) creative writing class assignment.  Supposed to write memoir piece.  Well, I was at a loss as to what to write because I had too many choices--LOL!  My professor suggested--have you ever had an epiphany moment?  
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Several!
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I picked this one because it was a core issue for me and had longer reaching effects than I would have ever guessed.  
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When I made this decision I fully expected to be shortening Dagan's life, but I wanted it to be a good life--however long.  Always was more concerned with who he was while he was here than how long he lived.  Sometimes you just can't possibly know what results you might get from following your gut feelings about what is right.
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Confession: 
That story has been published four times in literary magazines and my professor asked if he could use the story in future classes as an example of something or other.  Was the first story I ever got money for--won a first prize at the college for $60.00.  Whoohoo!  (Lit magazines pay you in copies.)  First time I ever felt like an "author".  :)
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Speaking of writing...I have a couple of people I have owed letters to since Christmas--sorry.  Been a real snail snail-mailer this year.  You will hear from me--eventually!  
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Anyways, that's it for this week. 
Thanks so much to any of you who have been reading the stories.  Even if you haven't, thanks for stopping by and/or commenting.  Means a lot to me. 
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Here's to epiphanies!!  :) :)
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"The trick, it seems, is to be able to hold both things very close--the gratitude and the misery--and then, with a semblance of faith, to let them fly."
Elizabeth Aquino

Monday, February 18, 2019

2-18-2019 Monday- 12:15pm

Good afternoon!
Once again--a ton of pictures from both Leah and myself.  I'll try to have them in some kind of sequential order, but I am draggin' today.  Or should I say a little more than my usual draggy self--LOL!
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Oh, and if you're not interested in the pictures you can skip to the bottom for some more of my life...the memoir stuff.  ;)
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The girls crack me up digging holes to get to seed or grass after it snows.
The two coveys exchange members now and then...
...but they are never all here at the same time.
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Okay--funny!  I took a picture to show big the snow pile has gotten...
...and a little while later...
...here came a front loader...
...to dump more snow behind the garages!
Can't see the first and most of the second floor apartments over there anymore.  The snow was missing us for a few years but not this year!  LOL!
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Ian said he had a surprise for me.  
I told him I had a surprise for him, too.
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I had ordered him some kids jigsaw puzzles!
Nemo...
...and Cars.
There are three small puzzles in each box.
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Ian had worked on finishing up his valentines at home for his party last Thursday.  Pictures to follow when I get to Leah's pics and a video.  Sorry--too tired to move them around--LOL!
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Dagan came over on Tuesday to fill the seed bin.  The Prius was totaled so they needed to buy a new car.  The Galant started up with a new battery.  I was going to take Ian after school on Friday so they could go car shopping...but that was cancelled because Leah already found a car.
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In Des Moines, Iowa.
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She wanted a small SUV type of vehicle so they'd have more room.  As it was with the Prius it would only hold two adults in the front and the two car seats in the back.  If her bother Aaron wanted to go out to dinner with them they had to take two cars.
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BUT--Leah wanted a hybrid again.  Better for the environment.  And they wanted a used one.  That was the nearest one.  The dealership agreed to drive it 250 miles to Minneapolis and meet her half way.  They'll be doing that tomorrow.  Leah will drop off the rental car in Minneapolis.  The new vehicle is a 2015 Toyota Highlander Hybrid.  Can seat seven!  Whoohoo!
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I talked to Ian on the phone when Friday was cancelled and he told me my surprise was a crayon heart.  He assured me it will still be a surprise...even though he told me.
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When he came over Saturday I found out how Ian does surprises now.  I got a valentine, but NOT with a crayon heart.  It was a heart he had colored and Mama had cut it out for him.  He put it on my refrigerator for me--LOL! 
I assure you there is a valentine envelope under all the magnets and that's the heart he colored above it.  Ian obviously loved my new magnets I bought to put up his artwork.  (I put cards and other assorted stuff up on the frig, too.)
Leah says he does things like this now for surprises.  Like he'll say he is going to get ready for bed and put on his train pajamas and then come down with a different pair on--surprise!
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Ian and I spent all day after lunch putting together the puzzles.  I had him work on the Nemo ones and then surprised him again with the Cars puzzles!  We cuddled up in my chair and watched Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and then an episode of Mighty Machines all about snow removal.  Then it was time to go.  Another fun Gramma Day!
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Meanwhile--the Galant died again.  Dagan had a friend come over who knows about cars and they found a bad wire to the battery.  Only $7.00 to replace it.  It's running again!  So, now we hope it is fixed and will keep running.  :)  They have really had a time of it lately!
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Ian and I had just watched one of these big snow blowers on Might Machines.  This morning was the first time I have seen one here!  I knew something strange was happening because I saw grouse and sparrows dart away across the sky and rabbits fleeing for their lives.  I ran to the window to see this huge machine coming down the sidewalk blowing snow across to the snow piles.  It stopped.  I grabbed the cell phone to take pictures.
He got out to try to pull up the orange pole that was put in to show where the sidewalk to the building is.  Yes, he was in a short sleeved t-shirt and it was -2 F...-25 wind chill.
He pulled and pulled.  No luck.  Threw up his hands...
...pulled up his pants...
...got back into the snow blower...
...continued to inch his way along the sidewalk...
...and part of the grass, too!
Spraying snow all over the snow piles along the way.
Almost looked like a huge water hose...
...but that was snow blasted out and over.
This is where the orange stick ended up.  Can you see it in the middle of this picture of the side of the snow pile?
Didn't take the girls too long to return.
Man--between the rabbits and the grouse they have really dug up my pretty snow drift--LOL!  Rabbit poop like confetti--ROFL!
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Okay--I asked Leah to get some pictures of Ian working on his valentines!  He was still getting over pinkeye and the cold/cough.  
Oh, and he told me he wants to grow his hair out long like Mama's so he can tie it up so Liam doesn't pull on it.  Will there be a man-bun in Ian's future?  LOL!
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The crayon hearts were attached to that card with a circle of red washi tape.
The card says "Hope your Valentine's Day is colorful!"
When you pull off the crayon inside the heart outline it says "Color Me!"
Ian learned a lot about assembly line craft/card/art projects--LOL!
Leah had a brilliant idea.
Being new to writing, Ian was having a hard time knowing where to write on a blank piece of paper.

So she took a post it note that is sticky on the whole back and cut a rectangle for him to write inside.
A lot of work. 
After he signed them all... 
...he put the cards with the crayons inside...
...and then folded them up and sealed them with the tabs.

The bigger heart stamp was under the flap.

Kind of fat with the crayons in them but the tape kept the crayons secure.

He had 24 of them to make.

Did a really good job!
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Well, I did finish week four on the book last week.  Took me three different days to write about the memoir part.  Let's just say that from graduation (1968) to when I was married to Jerry and Dagan was born (1974)--OMG!!  Was one crazy roller coaster ride!  It started with being raped a month after graduation.  Kind of changes your life trajectory, shall we say.  I wrote something one day on my blog when I was reviewing a movie.
Rape and Love
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It messed me up more than I knew.  I was wounded, aimless, suicidal and self-destructive.  Trying to pull myself together.  My escape--learned how to drink, smoke grass, pop pills, and swear.  Didn't think another living soul cared whether I lived or died.  Was deeply, deeply saddened and yet touched to my core by human beings.  Looking for purpose.  Even tried running away to Canada to start over and join a commune.  (On our way north we heard that somebody was murdered at the commune so we changed out minds about our destination--LOL!)
   
Helpful Hooker (Running Away To Canada-Part One)

Innocents On The Road (Running Away To Canada-Part Two)
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Was even a vagrant in Anoka the summer after Canada.  Had several jobs: waitress, sales clerk, factory, bindery, pet shop...and lived in many places.  (People wrote me in pencil in their address books--lost count at around 30 in the early 90s).  So many stories.  Many different people and circumstances...many different lessons.  I have felt since I was a child that I was on some kind of spiritual quest.  Many of my spiritual lessons were hard earned.  Tough but wonderful.  Silver linings I couldn't see sometimes for decades.  Having a sense of humor, optimism, and living in the present moment has gotten me through.  I always found things to laugh about--even if it was sardonic much too often.  Was focused on survival and the big questions--the whys. 
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Oddly, when I thought my life had reached the worst end ever...being unable to support myself any more with my body being a daily pain trial...that has turned out to have a silver lining, too.  I have had the most peace and moved the least in my entire life since I have become disabled.  Truly turned out to be a blessing!  Nothing better than calm, boring days of joy and gratitude.  :) :)
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So, until next week...look for the silver linings...look for the lessons that are the gifts from the hard times...appreciate any love in your life...keep laughing.  That's the only advice I can give you today--LOL!  ;)
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"Life is a shipwreck but we must not forget to sing in the lifeboats."
Voltaire