Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday-11:30am: Z

What is that, many of you may ask?  Well, I'm not entirely positive but I keep hearing about and running across "Zines".  They seem to be a kind of handmade pamphlet that can display people's art, or can be a How To, or that contain people's poems.  I have come across several of them for sale on
  Not sure if there are any guidelines or rules for making Zines.  I do intend to find out more about them.  I don't know enough to tell you much more than that.  Some of you may be more familiar with them than I am--or may have even created some.  I shall have to google and see what arises from the mass of cyber information.  ;)
And that is the end of the alphabet!!  
Made it!!  
I think I need a blogging break--whew! 
A month later Miss Karma is still snoozing inside of the birthday bag Ruby brought my goodies in.
I keep moving it around from place to place and it hasn't lost its appeal so far.  Her treat ball from Tori is in there with her, too.  What a hard life, eh?  LOL!
Well, it's been an interesting and challenging month doing the A to Z in April.  Met some new folks, too.  Been fun!  Might have to do this again next year.  :)
But for now, I shall bid adieu for a short blogging break.  Till I have something to share...which is never too long with me, right?  LOL!  ;)
Have a great week!
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle."
Philo of Alexandria

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday-11:30am: Y

I want to thank each and every one of you for reading my words and perusing my pictures.  From my faithful commenters to all of you who just come by quietly to visit--whether regularly or occasionally.  
I want to thank you all!  
I never could have imagined when I started blogging for friends and family almost six years ago that I would meet all you interesting, thoughtful, generous, kind people scattered around the globe.  
Housebound in Fargo, North Dakota.  
You have blessed my life.  Some of you for decades and some of you just recently. 
You bring me smiles every day.  
Thank you so much.
Meanwhile, the chilly, windy, rainy weekend continues.  
But I took these pictures on a day when the sun was sprayed upon the carpet and Miss Karma was lazily watching...
 ...the swallow they swooped past the windows...busily building nests before the rain returned.
Karma says hi.
"May you always have work for your hands to do.
May your pockets hold always a coin or two.
May the sun shine bright on your windowpane.
May the rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near you.
And may God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you."
Irish blessing

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday-9:30am: X

July 12th I have an appointment to see my rheumatologist and I am going to ask him if we can get some baseline x-rays taken this year.  My lower back and hips, especially, just gradually keep getting worse and I realized we have no baseline x-rays to compare to should they get totally out of whack, you know? 
He may not have suggested it because it wouldn't be covered by Medicare.  If that's the's probably too expensive for me.  But I do plan to ask him about it this year.  
Maybe there's a substitute for Darvocet the pharmaceutical companies have come up with by now that costs ten times as much, too.  My rheumatologist told me that is what he's been watching the pharmaceutical companies doing--buying up smaller companies who have had cheaper, older, time-tested drugs and then discontinuing them so they can make a new, way more expensive drug that doesn't work as well as the old one and hasn't had the safety record of years of being on the market.  He's been seeing a lot more negative side effects with the newer drugs.  
Strange how things work here.  Makes you wonder if there's anything that isn't decided by profits first and foremost.  The welfare of the people comes second...or tenth...or not at all...until they're taken to court.   
  Anyways, if they're covered or if I can afford it...x-rays this summer on my aching back and hips.  That's what came to mind when I saw "X".  ;)
Only Saturday and Monday left!  Goodness!  April is almost over.  Have you learned a little more about me this month?  :)
It's a dark, cloudy day in Fargo.
48 degrees.
More like a typical spring day.
Have a great weekend!!!
"Thought is the sculptor who can create the person you want to be."
Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thursday-7:45am: W

Why, Blogger, why?
Apparently three out of four of the links in my last post don't work.  Two were links to my stories blog and two were links to this blog.  ????  That makes no sense.  I have re-entered the links to no avail.  My stories blog is not private.  Why does it say no access?!  I have undone and redone various choices in an attempt to jog Blogger's memory...nothing has worked.
Why am I still not getting all my moderated comments in my inbox?  Inevitably ones I was thinking I'd like to make a personal reply to never make it to my inbox...of course.  
I pray Blogger fixes these glitches.  
I have done what I can.
Whining over something that is free and works most of the time is futile, I know.  But it doesn't stop me.
So let's have a quick look at some sky pics.
 I loved the contrast between the dark clouds and the white clouds in the back...that glow of the sun that is just out of sight.
 Thank goodness I got my awesome new wild and crazy socks yesterday to cheer me up!  
I have the lilac pair on this morning.
I take happiness where I can find it.  :)
"Computers are like Old Testament gods; 
lots of rules and no mercy."
Joseph Campbell

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wednesday-11:30am: V

Many of you have heard this already, so you can skip it.  ;)  I spent the summer of 1970 as a vagrant in Anoka, Minnesota.  When I thought "V"...well, I couldn't help but think"vagrant"--LOL!
After I got back from our little excursion to Canada (see H and I), I got a job at Target Headquarters (back when they only had 17 stores) in the filing department.  Ended up living with four other girls in an apartment in Anoka...until we lost it.  You can read a bit about that here (if you scroll down to the second "Strangers" story).  
 Living on the streets, I learned about priorities.  You find out what the difference is between a true necessity and a luxury.  You can survive eating every 3-4 days.  A bed, a shower are a luxury.  Sleeping inside...out of the weather...a toss up.  Depending on the weather.  In winter up here it would be a necessity for long term survival, but I was off the streets by the time the cold chill hit the air that fall.
Long time since I was nineteen.  But you should never forget who you are and where you have been.  
And joy is something you can carry with you that doesn't weigh anything at all.  ;)
I moved up here to Fargo-Moorhead from Minneapolis, Minnesota to go to college in 1999.  Wrote this for a class (English Writing major).  It was the fall of 2000...starting my sophomore year...
"If you don't know where you are going, you'll end up some place else."
Yogi Berra

"That which does not kill you makes you stronger."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday-8am: U

When I was a young waitress in 1970 working the graveyard shift at McGregor's Truck Stop in Anoka, I couldn't figure out why there was this sudden rash of truckers ordering the night?  But I'd dutifully go scoop out the ice cream from those huge round cardboard containers in that deep freezer in the corner, put together the malt ingredients, stick it on the machine, get the glass and tall spoon ready, and deliver it with a smile--proud of the fact that we also gave the customer the rest of the malted that was left in the big silver mixing cup.
One night when I had all three of the spots full on the mixer I walked over to one of my regular truckers and asked what in the world was the deal with all the malts?  He looked into my eyes and, apparently, couldn't lie to me.  "It's the uniform".  He lowered his head. 
The light bulb finally went off.  
Not quite five foot two, short uniform, leaning over the deep freeze...
I always pulled the back of my uniform down before I started--but I also knew how intensely involved I become in whatever I was doing...OMG!  They might have seen my undies for all I knew!  I'm sure my eyes flew wide open.
Shame on you! I scolded.  
There was a clammer of laughter (mine included) and a slew of red faces (mine included).
I kept a long sweater jacket on top of the freezer and tied it around my waist when I had to lean in deep to scoop.  After a few days (and some good natured whining and complaining from the guys) nobody ordered malts until the heat of summer.  ;)
I still think about this and giggle.
In honor of my naiveté, 
I have a few quotes today.
"My life has been one great big joke,
a dance that's walked, a song that's spoke,
I laugh so hard I almost choke
when I think about myself."
Maya Angelou

"If I am not allowed to laugh in heaven, I don't want to go there."
Martin Luther

"I love people who make me laugh.  I honestly think it's the thing I like most, to laugh.  It cures a multitude of ills.  It's probably the most important thing in a person."
Audrey Hepburn

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday-10:30am: T

TED, Timers, and Tons of pictures.
If you have not yet heard of TED, I hope you will go here and listen to a talk or two. 
TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.  It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.  Since then its scope has become even broader.
 I had a terrible time picking a video because I love them all, so I closed my eyes and randomly picked one.  And she was fascinating!  The talks run about 18-20 minutes usually.  If you don't want to listen to this young lady, pick something that would interest you more and give TED a listen. Maybe, like myself, you will sign up to be notified of new video talks.  Whether they are talking about science, inventions, philosophy, new gadgets...I always find myself riveted.

Yes, tons of pictures today.
The dark sky...
...that would break up... give us glimpses of blue sky this weekend. 
Timers.  You know how I have to set my timers for an hour so I don't overdo...well, timers were going off all weekend--LOL!  I have one by the loveseat, one on the art table, and one on the craft table.  I was going to dive back into Cathy Johnson's watercolor workshop again but nothing was working right.  I was trying to just copy her hanging bell example (because I couldn't think of anything different to do on my own--sad, but true).
You know how sometimes you go to do something and your hands don't work right and everything misses the mark?  Awk!
The timer went off.  Whew!  Done with that exercise.  So I went to sit and rest my back...thinking about the next thing to play with--watercolor pencils.  
Timer went off.  Rest time over.  Back to art.  
I gathered up my watercolor pencils and crayons--and, since my hands didn't seem to be cooperating, I thought--maybe I'll make color charts!  I've wanted to do that.  My hands don't have to be having a good that was the plan.
The front stack are the three watercolor pencil sets and the back stack are the three watercolor crayon sets.
You may remember that this Cretacolor set was the big set of 72 I got on sale about ten years ago and was afraid to use until this year.
I sat and organized these by the color number on the pencils.
Then my Staedtler Karat Aquarell set of 24 I've had maybe around 20 years.
When you only use them for coloring in small areas on cards they last a long time.
The Caran D'Ache set of 12 metallic pencils.
Not much of a shimmer, so have barely used these at all.
Then the watercolor crayons.  Another big set of 84 Caran D'Ache Neocolor II that I got on sale about the same time as the big set of watercolor pencils...and was afraid to use because they were too nice.
I think I finally broke them out, too, a couple years ago.  Note: you have to keep in mind that I was buying up supplies for decades when I had no time to use them.  I just knew some day I would finally be able to get to them and be thrilled I had them.  I was right.  ;)  Not in the way I expected, but I am thrilled to have them and so glad I have been collecting these goodies for so long.
My older set of 24 Lyra Aquacolors I've had so long I don't remember when I bought them...
...and the wrappers started to fall off so I striped them all clean of paper.  I know it doesn't look like it from the picture but I have used these a lot!  I would color in rubber stamps with a waterbrush.  You just rub the waterbrush on the crayon and then paint away. 
I had picked this small set of 10 Caran D'Ache metallic Neocolor I crayons years ago at a Michael's, I believe.  
The small tin got stuck away and I never used them.  
All day Saturday timers were going off and I was working on making charts of rectangles...
...and coloring in about a third on the left side.
Timers and rulers and pencils and a Micron pen and white eraser...I got the watercolor pencils set charts done and colored: Cretacolor...
...Staedtler and Caran D'Ache metallic.
Timers and breaks and watercolor crayons: Caran D'Ache Neocolor II...
...Lyra and Caran D'Ache Neocolor I metallics.
The timers were beeping...the breaks got longer...until I finally stopped about 11:30pm.
Sunday was the fun part!  Adding the water.  I moved to the craft table and dug in! 
Cretacolor.  The big set of watercolor pencils didn't melt as easily with the application of the wet brush... the smaller old Staedtler set did.  The Caran D'Ache metallics were about like the Cretacolors.  Okay, but didn't dissolve quickly.  
We did get some sunshine on Sunday.  Karma soaked up some rays on the porch...but it was too chilly to sprawl.  ;)
Timers and even longer breaks on Sunday.  (After doing so much on Saturday my back and shoulders weren't in the best mood--LOL!)  Moved on to the watercolor crayons.  Caran D'Ache Neocolor IIs--some dissolved quicker than others, but they were not as creamy as... old Lyras!  And do you notice anything?  ROFL!  Never assume and read the packaging.  The Caran D'Ache Neocolor I metallic crayons...well, I went to wet them and nothing happened at all.  Ahem.  They are wax pastels!!  LOLOL!  So funny!  Just because they were the same company and in crayon form...never assume.  Still makes me giggle.
Anyways, that's it for today.  But I did finish the color charts this weekend.  At least I did something and got to play, even if I didn't do much with Cathy's class...still!  LOL!
May this be a special week!!  :):)
"Trifles make perfection, and perfection is no trifle."

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Saturday-7:30am: S

Socks, Scared, and Stymied. 
First of all, I have been hanging on to my birthday money from my folks until I knew exactly what I wanted to get with it.  As you know, I already ordered some art supplies for future mixed media play, have new plants and fish for the aquarium, only normally leave the house once every month or two so my clothes will do, have been so slow with the reading lately I would feel guilty ordering more books, already have a lot of ink samples to play with...and then the email arrived yesterday from Solmate Socks with 10% off my entire order.  Well, you know how I love those crazy socks!  The taller ones are a bit snug and warmer, but I will wear them in winter.  I like the ankle socks the best.  Wear them all the slippers!  I'm sad when I have no clean wild socks to wear and have to wait till I wash clothes.  Well, I ordered me some more wild socks!  Thanks, Mom and Dad!  :)
I was working on writing owed letters the past few days.  Yesterday the building's fire alarm went off.  Karma immediately slunk off under the bed.  But then the alarm quit.  Was off for a minute and blared again for a while.  Off.  On.  Off.  On.  I relaxed, because I figured they were just messing with it for maintenance or something...but Karma was freaked out.  She HATES the fire alarm.  Scares the hell out of her.  (Probably kills her ears--soooo loud!!)  
I didn't want to let her think I had forgotten her safety, so I stuck her in her stroller...just in case.  Rolled her over next to me at the craft table where I was writing letters and parked her where she could see me.  She calmed down.  
Karma's used to our routine.  When alarms or sirens go off she goes (fairly willingly) into her stroller and is zipped in.  For the fire alarms we struggle down the stairs and have to wait outside in my garage (I have a chair in there) where I park her so that she can see me.  When the sirens go off for tornadoes, in the stroller she goes and we do the same thing in the bathroom here.  So, sitting in the stroller where she can see me and I can occasionally rub her head pressed against the mesh screen...then she feels relatively safe.  (Proof that she trusts me more than she cares to admit.)
We waited for a good while after the last time the ear-piercing alarm went off and then I let her out.  She went over and sat in the hallway looking at the door for about an hour.  (?)  I moved her stroller out of the way, but didn't put it back in the bedroom.  So, of course, it was interesting.  Or maybe she wanted to be on the safe side?  LOL!
 Karma snoozed inside of it...
 ...all afternoon.
 I moved it next to the couch in the evening and it became instantly interesting again.
Karma had a Scary day yesterday.  ;)
Since I was forced to the new Blogger format now some of my blog comments show up in my emails--but some don't.  I can read them before I post them, they seem to be posting on my blog, but then they just disappear into cyberspace.  Which means if they don't show up in my inbox then I can't email a private comment in return.  Some of which have been new people...with questions!!   Grrr!  Aggravating!  
I thought maybe it was because I had recently changed my comments setting from "anyone" to "registered users".  I wanted to try that because I have never gotten anything but spam in an anonymous comment.  But--I switched back yesterday--thinking maybe that would help--and still a couple of my comments didn't show up in my emails already this morning!?  
I searched in this new Blogger format and it says that my comments will be sent to my email address.  I couldn't find anything to change or re-set.  So, if you don't hear from me when you ask a question, that is why.  I am so sorry and I do apologize.  Maybe Blogger will get itself sorted out in the next couple days.  Apparently all of us laggers have all been forcibly switched at the same time and maybe it boggled Blogger's brains.  I hope it just fixes itself...soon!
Meanwhile...have a great non-scary, non-aggravating, warm tootsies Saturday!  :)
Quote for today?  
Okay.  I'll try.
"Thanking heaven even for our difficulties and misfortunes is the best way to transform them.  You will see your difficulties in a different light, as if you had wrapped them in a film of pure gold."
Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday-8:45am: R

Blogger forced me over to the new format today.  It's taken me half an hour just to get these five pictures on the blog in the order I wanted them.  For six years I have had to load them bottom to top, five at a time.  I could rearrange them if I messed up the order after they were on the post (cut and paste).  I know I heard some of you can add pictures one at a time and they pop up wherever you have the cursor--well, that has never worked for me.  No matter where my cursor is, they always popped up at the top.  At least I could cut and paste them elsewhere.
Now they go from top to bottom (I forgot that, of course) and if you don't have them in the exact order you want them the first time--well, you're screwed.  Or I am, anyways, until I figure out if there is some other magical, secret way to move them around.  Since Blogger worked differently for others before, this new format might work differently for you now, too.  Maybe it's because I have a Mac?  I don't know.  
Once again (which is why I switched back to the old version the time I tried it) even though I click cancel on the pictures (because they were in the wrong order) the pictures remain right there and never go away.  I can delete the entire post so that I can try to start over--and the pictures are saved and will pop right back up--still in the wrong order, of course.  I have to delete everything and shut down the laptop and reboot to get rid of the pictures that I screwed up on in the first place and get a blank slate again.  Aarrgggg!!!
There is probably something very, very simple I am missing.  I don't know.  But now we are really stuck with this new version.  I feel like I moved to a new town while I was sleeping and I don't know where anything is anymore.  Don't know what this has to do with google+, either??
Anyways, if I have pictures out of order in the future, you will know why.  ;)  But I struggled this morning to get my sky pictures first--where I like them.
 Been a struggle up there, too, between blue skies and clouds...between sun and rain.
 Karma says hi.  
(She's begging to go out on the porch as I am typing this.)
 I've been puttering about making more envelopes.
 I am leaving them plain like this so I can decide as I pick them how I want to use them.  I can leave them plain (as just envelopes)--or sew in the pages--embellish, trim, punch, round corners--whatever I feel like at the time.  
These were easy enough to make while I watched TV...or the crows out playing in the big parking lot puddle.  I do so love it when the crows drop by.  :)
Let me know if those you holdouts, like me, were forced over to the new format today, too.  I know I will figure this out.  I just have a difficult time with computer change, as you know.  *sigh*  
Well, it is free.  As far as I can tell my blog looks the same.  Maybe I will learn to love this new dashboard.  *sigh*
Rant over.  ;)
"One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time."
Andre Gide

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thursday-8am: Q

The one on the right is a true hand-cut quill pen, but it is the one on the left that is my ultimate favorite of all my dip pens...or nib holders to be technical, I guess. It looks like a quill with a brass nib holder.
I love the weight of it in my hand. The slight wisp of air as I write...with my favorite nib (Tape).
Q is for my sweet quill pen. ;)
The sun is rising these days over by the water tower.
Last night I had one of the handmade candles going I got from Tori... the handmade candle holder that Leah made for me in her pottery class. Nice!!
Handmade gifts are the best, aren't they?
Happy Thursday!! :):)
"When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too."
Paulo Coelho