Thursday, May 30, 2013


We've had some brief breaks in the rain...
...and glimpses of blue sky. 
But the storm clouds keep rolling back in. 
During one longer afternoon rainbreak Karma wanted to sit on the porch chair and watch the darting swallow shadows... 
...listen to the hungry babies chirp and look hopefully for bugs...
...before she decided... settle in... 
...for her afternoon nap. 
Yesterday afternoon, though, was rainy and dark.  Yet Karma got it in her head she wanted to snooze on the porch chair.  She stood in front of it and cried, but I didn't want to take the cover off and have the chair get wet.  Well, when Karma gets an idea in her head she doesn't let up--and I live in an apartment building and don't want the neighbors complaining about my loud cat.  (And she gets very loud when she's trying to get a point across.)  So I relented--but just pulled the cover up over the back of the chair so it would be simple to quickly pull it back down if it started pouring again.  
I no sooner get back inside and Karma's crying again out there.  Mind you, the porch carpet is all yuckysoaked and I wasn't happy gross-stepping across it in the first place.  But I started laughing when I saw that she was trying to climb up the back of the chair to get underneath the plastic chair cover.  She wanted to be IN the chair, but UNDER the chair cover--LOL!  Apparently she couldn't quite manage to do that herself yesterday like she was able to that one day a while back when I couldn't find her, remember?  I guess Karma didn't want to get wet, either--LOL!  I pulled the cover down over her and she slept out there all afternoon--thunderstorms and pouring rain and all.  :)
And guess where she is sitting staring at me and, shall we say, relaying her porch request right this very minute?
What does she think I am?  Her cat slave?
I confess.  
I just got up and let her out. 
Anyways...I got my results for all my tests in the mail yesterday with a note from Dr. Sleckman.  All my lab tests were fine: blood sugar, blood count, liver & kidney tests.  Normal urine & thyroid.  All good.  I do have bone spurs in my knee (probably both because they both hurt and swell--well, so do my ankles, for that matter, and hips).  And I have arthritis in the facet joints in my lower back.
I always look things up on the Mayo Clinic site.  It's what I expected--a degenerative lumbar issue usually caused by age or accident.  That fall on the cement steps over 20 years ago has definitely been an issue ever since.  First minor, but gradually increasing in annoyance--LOL!  Anyways, as I have said--it's the devil I know.  I just keep on with the stretching exercises and playing musical chairs.  When this damp weather lets up I know my bones will feel less painful and creaky.  
The sciatica...well, they don't know it's chronic unless it lasts over two months.  Just need to do those stretching exercises and wait it out.  Since I've had some issues with the numbness that have come and gone over the last year or so--who knows?  Time will tell.  But that and the damp weather have thrown me off my snail game--LOL!
It looks like it quit raining.  You can hear the smacky sound of wet tires in the parking lot and the workmen over at that apartment building.  The porch is so soaked that Karma's decided she's content to sit in the dry open doorway to listen to the babies and smell the wafting breeze.
Oh-wow!  There was just a glimpse of shadow on the carpet as the whole room lit up for a moment--a quick morning greeting from the sun.  Maybe it will visit for a while today.  Maybe not.  Regardless, it's a good day.  Hope you have a good day, too.  :):)
"When I count my blessings I count you twice."
Irish blessing

Monday, May 27, 2013


I know this is not new, but it's been so long since I've been participating over at the Artist's Playroom and this week was "rainbow" so I couldn't resist.  :)
Immediately thought of my very first (and only so far) mixed media wall art piece.  Haven't been on top of my art game lately and just missed being included.  I hope they will forgive me.  Looks quite rainbowish, don't you think?
And I actually did the zendala dare for this week. 
Just my own doodles while I watched TV.  Nothing fancy.  :) 
This was several days ago when we had sunshine. 
Karma was in her prayer pose soaking up rays. 
I realized I forgot to show you I got a couple of carving blocks and a little carving tool.  Those little blades you see are kept inside the handle.  Have wanted to try to carve some simple stamps of my own.  Very simple.   
Sad to report that, in my excitement, these are not mini-folders.  :(
They are just kind of index cards like you might use to separate recipe cards. 
I still like them okay and they will work for what I planned to do with them...but they aren't as super cool as I thought they were.  ;)
The garages are now going up by the new apartment building.
I suppose it won't be too long now and it will be finished and people will be moving in.
I went to Dr. Sleckman's on Thursday.  He put me on low-dose blood pressure medication.  I had blood and urine tests done--and x-rays of my lower back and left knee (that one happened to be the one that was more swollen on Thursday so it won photo contest rights).  They have a new system where we can get our test results online even before the doctor sees them.  I saw the blood and urine results, but I'll wait till I hear from him.  Nothing on the x-rays yet.  Probably this week.  I'll let you know when I hear from Dr. Sleckman.  these days it might be an email--LOL!
The blood pressure cuff that wouldn't work till she switched to a smaller cuff but went up and down like four times--set off my bum arm.  Just being out and about for 3 1/2 hours is a killer for me--and then trying to lie on my back and hips on that steel table--owie! owie!  So I was very, very sore for a couple days, but am quite a bit better now today.  
Oh, and no more back up pain pills for me.  Well, I do have Tramadol, but they are like sugar pills for me.  Trouble is, I have bad stomach reactions to anything related to morphine, which includes codeine, so I can't take the middle ground variety and yet anything higher up the narcotics scale he doesn't usually prescribe and I don't want to be addicted to, you know?  So, I am on my own.  Meditation--mind over matter--trying not to set off my cranky body if I can help it--the usual.  ;)
It was just pouring out a few minutes ago.  Rain predicted for the next couple of days.  Karma's asleep under my desk.  I've been very slowly puttering about with art stuff.  Collage and gesso on one project and then cutting out pictures for the critter/nature art journal for that first workshop in 21 Secrets.  Not on any kind of artistic roll yet, that's for sure.  But am heading in that direction.  Pictures.  I will have to remember to take pictures.  ;)
I hope you all had a good weekend.  We had a long one here with the holiday so it feels like Sunday today.  I'm still feeling a bit off my game, but tomorrow should be better--because today was better than yesterday.  ;)
I hope to be back sooner next time.  :):)
"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

Saturday, May 18, 2013


Good Morning!
A vast assortment of pictures today--including some baby pics of Miss Karma.  Karma was almost three months old when she picked me at the local pet shop on the edge of town.  I had looked at the humane society and other pet shops but none of the cats and kittens felt "right".  It had to be a cat that would get along with birds because I had Miss Gracie at home.  I've had many cats and birds together and trust that I will just feel it and know when it's the right cat.  I haven't been misled so far.
Karma didn't vie for attention.  In fact, I had to go to her--the unwanted, gangly, too-old kitten--who purred and purred in my arms.  She was the last kitten I picked up, but I knew she was the right one.  An odd ball of regal attitude, fear, and love.
But Karma was one sick kitty.  The vet said she probably was born with the parasites and bacterial infection.  She ate and ate like she was starving (and she was) but remained a bag of bones.  Does that forlorn, blank expression look familiar?  I just saw her looking like that again recently, as you know. 
But with lots of medication and tender loving care Karma got well...
...and started to fill out.
Swallows built a nest on top of the light out on our balcony...  
...and Karma spent most of her days either glued to the screen door... 
...or sitting in the bedroom window entranced by all the bird activity.  See the parent swallow sitting on the railing?  Karma was more interested in those babies crying for food--LOL!
But she never did the I-want-to-sink-my-teeth-into-that-feathery-morsel teeth-chattering thing that many of my cats have done (even some of the ones who knew not to touch "family" birds in the house would yearn for a taste of outside birds).  Karma always had a calm fascination--almost an adoration--for birds.
And--speaking of--here's Miss Gracie.  This is the best picture I have of her. 
I have very few.  She was so difficult to photograph because she was one of those emotionally disturbed birds that pace endlessly and when you came close to her she, more times than not, threatened to bite you.
Here Gracie is on top of her mansion.  You might be able to see the sheet of clear plastic I hung off that lamp so she couldn't jump over onto the bookcase.  (Gracie was also a notorious chewer.)   
After Gracie left...these were cleaned and put in the garage.  She had that playpen (on the right) in my bedroom because Gracie truly loved her alone time.  I haven't been able to get rid of them all these years because it would be like saying I'll never have a bird again...and I'm just not sure.  Even though right now I'd have no room to put one anymore--LOL!
Just like my bike in the garage.  Even though it hurts too much for me to ride it I can't get rid of it.  It's like saying I will never get any better.  I know it's dumb--but the bike and bird cage will still stay in the garage for now.  ;)
Miss Karma today.  She definitely grew into that long tail and those big ears--LOL! 
That's the nostalgia photos for the day...but there's more!  LOL!  I noticed an orange tag on this car in the parking lot that hasn't moved an inch almost all winter.  I had wondered why the office never had it towed away.  Looked like maybe they were finally going to remove it.
I thought I'd show you how I dry my roses with hangers and clothespins.  Here's one dozen...  
...and the other dozen. 
Over on the left on my desk hutch... can see a bouquet of dried Mother's Day flowers from years ago.  They're still beautiful!  I think this is two years worth.    
 When I was over at Dagan and Leah's I asked Leah if she had a vase she didn't need for these roses when they are dried.  She sent me home this orange vase--and I stuck the greenery fill in there for now.  
But the tiny lavender pieces are falling everywhere.  I think I am going to put them in a plastic bag and strip them of all those teeny flowers--to save for paper making.  ;)
Leah also sent some experimental sample lotion bars home with me. 
Just used some silicone muffin tin liners for now. 
I didn't even know there was such a thing as a lotion bar!  Cool!  I'm thrilled to be a guinea pig!  Leah's thinking about maybe making some of these for when we start the etsy shop up again.
After I noticed that orange tag on that SVX car in the parking lot, I saw a woman stop in the morning to read the notice.  She stood there a very long time.  She did not look happy.  She looked angry and worried.
Later on I noticed this young man reading the notice and opening and shutting several of the doors with a key...but he did nothing, removed nothing...and walked away.  He seemed baffled.
Then in the misty afternoon rain it looked like the woman (in the long dress) was maybe the mother of that young fellow.  There was a man, too--maybe the father?  They walked around the car.  Stood by the car.  Finally pushed the car out into the middle of the parking lot and did a lot more of what you see here...standing and looking puzzled. 
They opened the hood and hooked the SVX car up to what looked like a portable charger right in the middle of the parking lot...for about five minutes.  But then they unhooked it...and stood around looking perplexed again.
Finally they pushed the car back and forth (barely missing two separate cars) until they got it headed out...
...and off they went... 
...around the corner of the garages. 
Next thing one of them came with a different car and drove it into the empty spot that the SVX car had held all winter and spring.  I have no doubt they had a tricky time pushing that dead car into a garage somewhere over there. 
On rare occasions I have seen cars towed out of here.  (A few have been obvious repossessions.)  But I have to admit it was interesting to see three people dealing with this crisis who seemed to know even less about cars than I do--LOL!  They were successful at removing the car in the end, though.  Kudos to them.  ;)
The warmer weather has brought out the noisy young male car jockey gang.  I counted a dozen yesterday.
Me.  I've been working on sewing together the journals since I saw you last--and they are DONE!! 
I finished the final one last night.  It feels so good to have made my own.  Very happy!! 
But Karma was even happier.  She was absolutely thrilled that I was done tormenting her.  There I sat endlessly whipping thread around--over and over again--taunting her--and she was not allowed to so much as touch it.  She got yelled at and even swatted once because she just had to see if I was really serious.  Absolute torturous hell in a handbasket, if you ask Karma.  She was pouting off and on for two days.  ;)
The temperature finally dropped into the 70s when the clouds and drizzle rolled in yesterday.  We had a grande old thunderstorm last night around 4am.  (We need rain!)  Today is dark, cool, damp, and there's drizzle if we're lucky--same as yesterday.  The dampness has me aching all over (arthritis) from jaws to toes, but I am loving this 70 degree weather!!
I know you can't get as much of a kick out of seeing baby Karma as I do, but I hope you enjoyed it some.  I was brand new to a digital camera and this was my new home in 2005.  Sometimes it seems like just yesterday.  Well, hope you are enjoying your weekend, too!  :) :)
"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have."
Frederick Keonig

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Today is a gauzy, filtered-sun morning, but we had several that looked all blue and white since we last spoke.
Several days ago this awkward, skinny, green crane was working over at the emerging apartment building.  Doesn't it look like a praying mantis or a walking stick or some other exotic, extremely thin creature? 
And this is for Iggy.  The orange cones were gathered up last weekend...looks like they were having two very separate parties.  Could there be division in the ranks?
Sunday I couldn't leave a window cracked for very long because it was so chilly.  Monday it was 93 degrees!  Yup--93 degrees!  We've had so very few days one could open the windows so far this spring that I didn't want to shut the place up and put on the AC.  Instead I gathered my three fans, one by one, from storage and the garage...suffered through the worst part of the day...not realizing what the heat would do to the roses!
Woke up the next morning and all but two of them had collapsed.  They didn't survive the heat blast.    
Been in the mid 80s every day since (have resisted the AC), so the final two roses had given up the ghost by the next day.  They are now all hanging upside-down in the closet drying and will make a sweet bouquet that will last for years.  
Meanwhile--this gimpy snail-woman finished gluing the covers.  Pressed them overnight with waxed paper in between so they didn't stick together.
I have already learned so much with this project.  
  1. Thin papers do not work well on covers because they pucker, buckle, wrinkle, and are very difficult to manipulate into the proper position.  
  2. I have to take the thickness of the cover board into consideration when chopping corners for mitering.  
  3. The davy board was really difficult for me to cut evenly with my bum arm so I think I'll wait to use the rest of it until Leah has her saw and tools set up in their garage--LOL!  
  4. But--I remembered a lot!  Especially--how to actually do the coptic stitch without having to go back and look at the video 150 times!  
  5. I was much better with the glue (had a stack of newspapers at the ready and a wet cloth for my fingers) so that I had much less random, shiny glue blobs on the covers in the end.  
  6. And I just plain totally enjoy bookbinding, even if I am not that good at it...yet.  ;)

Another huge benefit to having messed up so many things in my learning process...these journals (the smaller four) have so many flaws that they are not intimidating to me!!  Whoohoo!!  Plus, having finally been using the small green one I made years ago, I have already learned that there's no way to keep them clean and tidy no matter how hard I try.  The misters and various paints just seem to get loose and escape the confines of the page spread at hand every time.  Maybe I am just too juicy when I work--LOL!  
I also trimmed the one torn edge on all the signatures, organized them, then used the various templates and punched all the holes.  They're sitting here on the table waiting to be sewn together...and I already have the waxed threads picked out, measured, and cut.  They aren't even finished yet...but I can tell...these four don't scare me.  :)
BTW--I have a heavy plastic sheeting that protects the craft table that's always on the table, so that's the glare you often see in my photos.  Without it, my wooden table would have been a disaster years ago.  
Anyways, what was Karma doing on these hot afternoons?
Trying to catch her 1,040 winks.
But she cannot resist tracking the swallows... 
...who are loudly and cheerfully...
...building a home... 
...somewhere very close to our balcony.  
All the ruckus makes it difficult for a snoopy, bird-lovin cat... get in her five hour nap--ROFL! 
She manages, though.  ;)
Karma really does like birds.  We had a mean little emotionally disturbed cockatiel when Karma was little.  Karma would sit by her cage and gently try to put her paw in the big bird home--and Gracie would lunge at her.  (I'm sure Karma had probably been bitten at some point early on in their relationship, but that didn't deter her from wanting to play with her nasty, only friend.)  Every time Gracie flew down on the floor Karma would follow her all over the place (at a safe distance) meowing to beat the band...begging Gracie to play with her.  Gracie would be strutting about squawking--get this cat away from me--I hate her!  I hate her!
  Gracie hated and was terrified of everybody.  I've managed to tame nasty, frightened rescue birds in the past, but after five years Gracie drew blood on me one too many times so that I finally gave up and gave her to a breeder.  Gracie was only happier being with other birds--but the breeder said Gracie didn't seem to like boys, either.  Luckily the breeder didn't care.  She was with the bird society up here and had several cockatiels who just all hung out together and never paired off.  Gracie was happy, but still not very nice--LOL!  I always hoped Gracie learned to at least trust other birds, poor thing.
Anyways, I digress.  
Dagan, Leah, and I have all been waiting for Dexter to come out on Netflix.  We made a pact that whoever got disc one of season seven first--we'd watch it over at their place because they have the big TV screen.  It was supposed to arrive at my place on Tuesday, but no DVD.  Came yesterday, though.  So, Leah picked me up after work and we had a Dexter marathon last night!  I actually got the first two DVDs--so you know what I'll be watching today.  Dagan is going to come by tomorrow and pick up the second one so they can watch it.  I don't want to wait--LOL!  (And they obviously don't either since I don't even have BlueRay--ROFL!!)
Well, we went from winter to summer, I guess.  Possible rain and thunderstorms every day through Sunday is predicted.  I've been hearing geese all morning.  And here I just mentioned to Leah yesterday how I haven't heard many geese lately and maybe they had all passed through already.  Not so.  Endless honking geese this morning.  Love their flight choir.  :)
Sore from my visit, but contented.  
Off to watch my favorite serial killer... 
Summer has apparently arrived.
Can the mosquitoes be far behind... 
Have a wonderful, safe weekend.
"If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room."
Anita Roddick