Thursday, December 01, 2016


Good Morning!  
Long time no see.
Yes, you may not have noticed but I've been away for over three weeks.  Let's just say I've been adjusting to the election results and leave it at that.  But just because I haven't been posting doesn't mean I haven't been taking pictures.  This will be a photo-laden post, so clean your glasses, grab a cuppa, and off we go.  :)
Ever since it came to me to turn the bird feeder it has made a world of difference in our own little wind tunnel.  Nothing else had to be done.  It took the birds a while to figure out how to use it, but all is well.  
Oh, and this is the best shot I could get of a passing tumbleweed.  Can you see it next to the garages?  Can click on any of my photos to enbiggen them.  ;)
  This was a pretty good sized one.  We saw them as kids growing up near prairie grass and sand dunes.  I was surprised at how delightful it was to see one of those bumbling visitors after all these years.
Okay--Miss Karma and the cone...
Well, she was just fine for a week (although not eating as much).  Calm.  Letting me help her up onto chairs.  Wearing the collar with amazing acceptance.  I took the collar off when she got her canned treats and she didn't complain when I put it back on afterwards.  Her ears and tummy completely cleared up.
Then she suddenly decided she wanted to scratch and lick...after a full week.  So we know it's not an allergy or she would have been going crazy the whole time.  It is obviously exactly what I had thought...a terrible habit that she can't stop once she starts.  Sadly, it is all in Karma's head.  She got herself so stressed out I heard her throwing up at 5am one morning...and, yes...she threw up in the cone.  I cleaned her up and the cone...put it back on her and went back to bed for a couple more hours.  But when I got up I took a good look...and the following pictures.
She had beaten her ears with the cone...
 ...and used the edge of the cone to scrape across her belly. 
She did all that damage to her newly healed skin in a day and a half.  With the cone on!!  
She won.  
I took off the cone.
But amazingly she has pretty much left herself alone and her ears and tummy look pretty darn good right now.  But she might get on another self-mutilation kick at any time.  She generally refuses to eat the calming treats I bought her, although I keep trying and she will occasionally eat one.  What has worked the best, I think, is the calming spray.  I've been spraying her cloth collar every morning.  She accepts that and she does seem less scratchy and more mellow all morning.  But if I try to spray her cat bed like they suggest...she will avoid it like the plague--LOL!  
So that's the latest update on Miss Karma.  She's coneless and doing just fine right now.  She was thrilled to be able to crawl under the covers/throw on my bed for naps again. 
She's generally been back to her old sleepy self. 
Even dozing sometimes when The Girls come to nibble just like she used to. 
Now that it's cold out the birds are here to eat more often.  I've started to put seed out in the afternoon on the ground for the grouse because they come at dusk to eat almost every single day.  :)
Dusk here is can be 3:00pm on a dark day.
(I'm sure they come at dawn, too, but I'm rarely up that early--LOL!)
Did you notice the new shovel?  Can't remember if I had it last time we chatted or not...
...but the rubber-backed shovel rug is new.  Leah found it at Costco, I believe.   
Funny aside--Karma avoids stepping on the light tan nubby rug (and the fluffy bathroom rugs, for that matter) but the new shovel rug doesn't bother her delicate feet at all--ROFL!

So what have I been doing since we last caught up?  I colored a whole bunch of Avery stickers I will be using in my new bullet journal for 2017.  I used various paints and sprays to color shorter and longer label stickers.
Drying them criss-crossed on the new red trays worked perfectly!  (In fact, I could even use some more trays!)
I also played around with inks on a couple of old watercolor blocks I had. 
Used up some of the ink samples I didn't care for in my fountain pens and added some lovely gold ink on top. 
Had no idea what I was going to do with them.  Figured I could cut the up into bookmarks or card fronts.  Decided to use one of them to cut down and insert in the clear cover sleeve for the new 2017 writing journal! 
Wild, eh?! 
Made a bookmark from a leftover trimming.  Coated it with wax so it won't get color on the journal pages.
Here's the back side. 
We were on the edge of a blizzard... 
...but only got 1 1/2 inches here in Fargo. 
Great weather for working on puttering projects I had been putting off.  I bought new hanging files and file folders for my desk files back in July.   
The old ones I've been using and relabeling since 1997.
I worked for a couple days on redoing all of them--organizing, purging what I could, color-coding properly, relabeling everything... 
 ...and got my file drawer done!  :) 
Karma sleeps through whatever I am working on in the afternoons.  Good!  I'd rather see her crashed out than mangling herself. 
 Let's see.  What else?
The state auditor came for that inspection.  I showed her the buckled linoleum, the crumbling plastic base on one side of my crookedly installed shower curtain rod, and told them about the garage door stopping a few feet off the ground and having to run it up and down till it goes up.  
They told the auditor (Navare and some other man were with her) that they had been looking for three weeks to find a matching piece of linoleum so that they can patch my flooring.  (Haven't seen them since and it has now finally torn.)  The guy that was with Navare broke the shower curtain rod altogether examining it.  (They did send our regular maintenance man out to get a new rod and he came and levelly installed it that afternoon.)  I have been to the garage twice so far and the door opened!  So--just the flooring left.  (Leah and I have talked about a cheap desk floor mat from IKEA to cover it...because who knows if they will ever fix it, right?)  
So, that's that with the inspection.  I was glad nobody said anything about the things we've installed on the walls or the bird feeder.  :):)
We've had three craft nights.  
One: Leah cut my hair for me and she finished punching holes in her Christmas gift tags so that they were done to take home (she just had to add the ribbons).  
Two: We located the fabric for the tree skirt Leah bought last year and planned how to make it.  Discovered that the buttons Leah had picked up were too big to fit in the buttonholer attachment for this new sewing machine. 
I got the tree skirt all cut out...but I've been using the table in the studio as a catch-all spot.  Can you even see my sewing machine?  LOL! 
Meanwhile...I don't do things one project at a time always.  I do them in a what-can-my-body-handle-today order..LOL!  I redid the files on the wooden desk top file holder.  So ALL the desk files are finished--tada!   
And most of these are plastic now so they will hold up better, too.  :)
My back was horrible for a few days.  The library lady came and I got the last three Cat Who books in the series and another bonus book that cracked me up!  The main character, Qwill, is a journalist and in several of the last books has talked about if he collected enough local tales he could write a book--well, that's the bonus book--by Qwill.  So funny!  I've only read about 1 1/2 of the 4 so far.
 There were daily dusk visits from The Girls. 
I finally got the table cleared off and sewed the tree skirt (except for the buttons and buttonholes). 
Karma kept me company in the studio. 
There's been a LOT of activity from our feathered friends since it's been in the 20s and low 30s. 
The Girls have often been here more than once a day.  
The sparrows decided it was time to learn how to sit on the feeder.  Below, the others wait to take turns up above and pounce on anything that hits the ground--LOL!  
I did not know that sparrows can fly straight up in the air from the ground.   
Karma and I were fascinated by our popcorn sparrows!   
Lots of wings flapping as they popped straight up and down...trying to beat the rest to a spot at the feeder...often hovering for a moment in the air like a hummingbird--when no one would give up their spot down they'd go again.  Up and down--up and down--LOL!  I am easily entertained.
When it went below zero the sparrows flocked together.  Sometimes they come with as many as 40 or more of them at once!  Really cool! 
Three: (Last craft night, if you've forgotten by now)  Leah brought the new buttons.  I will have them sewn on and buttonholes made by this next Monday craft night.
Leah helped me with Christmas decorations.  We got the tiny tree up on top of my desk.
Baby Phil is looking pretty good, isn't he?  I think he likes his new home.
I have so much stuff about that one can hardly notice the tree--LOL!
Leah put up the new lights around the patio door.  I LOVE THEM!  They are twinkling, multi-colored, LED lights.  I plan to keep them up all year round.   
We were going to put lights up around the window in the studio but had trouble with a different set of 3M clips breaking and falling off the wall (old?).  3M stuff is usually awesome?
  Anyways, there will be lights in the studio, too...all year round.  :)  I also need a couple of extension cords.  (We used a spare power strip for now in the living room.)  Leah said they have extension cords now with remote controls!!  Have you heard of them?  Leah knows about all these amazing new products!  Won't that be awesome!!
Oh, and also for the journaling folks...
I worked on setting up my new (square grid) Leuchttrum 1917 bullet journal for 2017.  No decoration or washi tape yet, but have the skeletal work done through April!!  I was listening to an audio book (Broken-13 1/2 hours) and just kept going for two days--or was it three?  LOL!
I've never used a Future Log before but I expect it could be handy.  I'm using different colored stickers for each month.  January is silver metallic acrylic paint so it's hard to see well. 
After the Future Log I have pages of the various project Goal Lists for 2017.
Most of these have been on here for at least a couple of years. 
Is that indicative of how slowly I get things done and how physically limiting my life is (especially this past year and a half with the move)...or symbolic of undying optimism and lots of things to look forward to?  I prefer the latter, of course.  ;)
I love the calendar spreads Leah made up for me... 
...and the monthly tracker grid. 
Definitely  am enjoying the expanded weeks where I have a lot more room to write. 
Life is good!
I'm ready for 2017--already!  Bullet and writing journal are prepped. I just finished addressing 58 Christmas card envelopes yesterday.  I can't remember when I have been this far ahead of the card game!  
 I have some days where...well, you know you are bone tired when you wake up in the morning from a dream about being so tired you can't keep you eyes open--LOL!
Also woke up to a smattering of snow yesterday.
Now that the birds have decided to use the feeder it won't be long and I will have to refill it for the first time.  The sparrows prefer to eat off the ground like The Girls do.  Hasn't been enough snow to use my new shovel yet, but that will come.  I have been playing classical Christmas music on Pandora while I have been writing to you.  And--yes--I have had the colored lights twinkling...sparrows are nibbling...Karma is sleeping peacefully in her chair next to me with her head against my is good!
Until next time...
:) :)
"The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory."
Howard Zinn

Tuesday, November 08, 2016


This was an interesting sky one afternoon
We've had clouds and sun, fall chill in the goose-honking air, wind and calm, with a couple of gorgeous fall days around 70 degrees.  Ahhh!
Well,'s about time to talk about Miss  Karma.
She may enjoy watching the sparrows and grouse...
...and appear deceptively calm...but she does not take change well.  She started licking/pulling all the fur off her belly back when I started tearing the only home she had ever known apart (packing for the move).  She's always been an over-groomer under stress, but it has never stopped and we've been here over a year.  Her self-mutilation has become an excessive habit...has actually gotten worse these past few months.  :(  
 I've been dealing with her scratching her ears till the fur is off and she bleeds.  And she doesn't even have claws!
I have tried aloe vera on her ears and tummy...anti-tich spray and cream...but they didn't help.  I got "calming" treats...which she doesn't like much and rarely will eat.  I have "calming" spray that I have been misting her cloth collar with every morning.  That seemed to help her sleep more soundly, but she still groomed and groomed while she was awake. 
Meanwhiile she bleeds...from belly... 
...and ears.  *sigh* 
Leaves blood spots all over her cat beds, my bed...
...and the pillow I have to use when I'm in my chair when she wants to come up for a cuddle.  (Hurts when she steps on me--fibro.) 
So this month I bit the bullet and ordered her a cone collar. 
 Saturday morning the torture began with cat resignation.
I was acutally shocked that she didn't totally freak out. 
She was baffled...and had trouble navigating... 
...because she'd get "stuck" on furniture.  She'd move her head or walk into something and just freeze there till I rescued her--LOL! 
Her first trip to the litter box was quite an ordeal.  (If she thought she was stressed before, eh?) 
 She couldn't get into the litter box because she kept getting "stuck" on the edges of the opening.  So I had to show her how to move her head to guide her in.  Then she couldn't get back out--LOL! 
 She can't jump up on the furniture--or won't.  She tried and almost crushed her windpipe and that was the end of that. 
So I have a kind of handicapped cat at present. 
She even walked into the snow shovel and got stuck-- ROFL!
Luckily, Miss Karma has always liked hard pillows. 
She seems rather sad...but I am shocked at how well she is taking this on the whole.  I expected a total melt-down, to be honest. 
 She has had a lot of trouble eating.
So she hasn't been eating much at this morning I took the cone off while she ate morning treats and she was very happy.  Not happy when I put it right back on again after she was done.
Even her patio door time... a little strange. 
Leah came over last night for craft night.  Stamped return addresses on our Christmas envelopes and then she continued working on her Christmas gift tags. 
Got all the gluing done!  
Letting them dry well because the next step is cutting holes in each one so that she can string ribbon through them--and then they're done!
Here's what the backsides look like.
So, almost finished--tada!
Since we had the bleed through with the Archival ink pads I wanted to try a couple other brands and ordered a Versafine black and a Memento black.  The Versafine (pigment ink) had already arrived so we did some test of each single stamped and one stamped twice. 
And already you can see they are shadowing through the card stock.
Maybe they always have and I never noticed?  I find that hard to believe...but not impossible.  I have been known to miss a LOT bigger things--LOL!  I'll be testing the Memento that arrived this afternoon (dye ink)...and probably some other ink pads I already have.  Now I am just plain curious.  Maybe they all do this?
I'm not sure how long I will keep the cone on Karma.
I've been taking it off for her to eat her canned food treats.  (Did again while I was writing this...and she seemed to know she'd be trapped again soon so made a quick trip to the commode, too.) 
Thank goodness she's eleven and sleeps a lot, anyways.  Poor thing. 
I read online (when I was snooping around about this issue) that calicos are notorious for not accepting change well.  That's an understatement, eh?!  I hope to keep her from self-mutilation long enough for her wounds to heal up and hopefully that might break this terrible habit.  ???  But who knows.
On brighter notes...
It came to me to switch the bird feeder direction so that possibly the wind wouldn't catch the roof of it and whip it about as much.  So far so good!  Much calmer out there!!  But it hasn't been terribly windy, either.  Anyways, the stabilizing project is temporarily on hold.
 And I got these "animations" from Leah.
Ian mountain climbing...
...and tree climbing. 
Thursday morning my apartment is one of the randomly chosen apartments for an inspection by the State Auditor--accompanied by Federal Housing personnel (Navare)!  So I will be able to report the kitchen flooring...over Navare's head, so to speak.  Interesting!!  (I'll also find out if I am in any trouble for all the things we've installed on the walls--LOL!)  
Anyways, it's already dark out.  Karma had her dinner and I will now go have mine.  Hard to get a lot done with a semi-handicapped cat in the house--LOL!   I sure hope this works!  Send some calming enegy or say a little prayer for Karma.  Have a great week!  :) :)
"If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant; if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."
Anne Bradstreet