Sunday, April 23, 2017


Good Afternoon!
Yesterday it was almost 70 degrees and today it's 44--LOL!  Spring in the North Country.
  The birds were happily bathing in the water dish yesterday.
The two mourning doves seem to love a good bath.  Even just sat in the water for a while. 
This big box came late on Friday but I waited to open it till McFamily arrived yesterday. 
My mom had called and asked me if I wanted her serger sewing machine.  Whoohoo!!  She sent it all the way up from Florida.  
Hope you can see it there with all the piles on the black table in the studio. 
She didn't have the instruction booklet and I have no experience with sergers (also called overlock machines) so will be doing searches online for information.  Be so cool if I can figure out how to use this!!  Leah is excited, too.  They can enclose and cut off the excess fabric in a seam all at the same time--like most clothes are done at factories.  Will be an interesting challenge, eh?
Ian came with his new "First Bike" that has no pedals.  Teaching him balance when he sits on it.  He does really well.
We took a trip down the walking path to the big cottonwood tree to give it a hug.  (I love the lime green helmet!)  Ian gave the tree a hug and told me the tree said "thank you".  Gramma had to turn off the video so she could give the tree a hug, too.  Ian decided that we also needed to give the tree a kiss.  So we did.  Perfect for Earth Day, eh?
Ian was very interested in seeing his shadow.  He got to bring home a piece of the bark that had fallen off the tree and a bit of small branch.  Tokens of tree hugging.
I hope everybody had a happy Earth Day!  :) :)
"Today, more than ever before, life must be characterized by a sense  of Universal responsibility, not only nation to nation and human to human, but also human to other forms of life."
The Dalai Lama

Friday, April 21, 2017


Good news!!
Well, there's a bad part, too, but I was too excited about the good part to focus on that side of it--LOL!  
Dr. Dye's office called on Monday.  He wanted me to come in so he could talk to me about what he found out about my eyes.  They were pretty booked this week--scheduled an appointment for 11:30 Thursday.  I figured it was likely not going to be good news.  Even asked Leah to come in with me (since my memory isn't what it used to be with the fibro) thinking it might be another complicated explanation and Leah could record the conversation like she did for me with Dr. Grosz, the cataract surgeon.  (Which she did.)
Well, Dr. Dye consulted with another doctor (probably the retinal specialist?).  The bad news is--I don't actually have fluid or swelling back of my right eye--it's that saran wrap type film that has kind of puffed up and away from the back of my eye.  That is what's causing the visual distortions.  They don't do anything about it until it gets really bad.  (I remember being told that a retinal specialist can go in and remove that film if it becomes necessary.)  They expect it to get worse over time.
The good news is--there's a slim chance that it might go back down on its own and I don't have to go back for a checkup till January.  So, it is obviously not something that usually changes quickly and he did say there was a slight possibility that it might just smooth back down on its own.  I am a big believer in miracles, as you know.  So I'll take any healing energy, positive thoughts, and prayers in my direction that you can spare.  :):)  I plan to do some regular energy work and visualization on my eyes for the rest of the year, too.  Think positive, right?
Sooo...that meant I could order new glasses!!  I found a pair of frames (that weren't ugly) in the medicaid drawer and my new trifocals will be here in about two weeks.  Since I hadn't gotten new glasses for like possibly 10-12 years (can't even remember) I was covered!  Awesome!
But I couldn't get glasses with clip on sunglasses like my old ones (which weren't medicaid frames)--and the light really bothers me since the surgery.  (Could even be refracting off that poofed up saran wrap, I suppose.)  Leah suggested we make a trip to off we went.  And guess what?!  I ordered a pair of prescription sunglasses--whoohoo!  Never had that luxury before in my whole life.  My new red sunglasses should be here in about a week!  Yes--I went wild and crazy with the sunglasses--LOL!  Thank you, Dagan and Leah!!!
I am so happy!!  I should be able to see close up again and no eye surgery in the foreseeable future (maybe ever)--whoohoo!  Clear wavy distortion is much better than blurry wavy distortion.  And my left eye has gotten much better with seeing a straight, unwavy line so I can always close my right eye when I need to.
Happy dancing in Fargo!!
And THEN--Leah asked me if I wanted to go look at the cheap storage bins she had found at Costco.  So we also picked up bins!!
There's quite a lot of old banker boxes I have in the hall closet...
...and also already in the garage and even in the studio closet that should go in plastic bins if they are going to be in the garage.  Keeps the mice out...and just in case the roof ever leaks.  Been meaning to do this for years but they were too expensive.  Those big bins are three for $14.99 at Costco!  The smaller ones were six for the same, I believe.  So exciting!!  Well, to organizers it sure is, let me tell you--LOL!
So what a happy, happy day yesterday!  I even went down late to the Thursday afternoon group for a few minutes to let them know that I should be able to get back to actually being able to craft with them soon.  Told them I could possibly show up with wild red sunglasses first--LOL!  As I left they were teasing me that they might have to start calling me "Big Red"--hehe!
Being able to see clearly close up--OMG!  I will finally be able to do all the various things I enjoy again--making cards, sewing, crafting, reading, name it.  And I will be able to see more clearly when I write letters and journal!  These visual limitations have been driving me nuts since February 8th!  I will still have to deal with the distortions, but being able to SEE close up...I will adapt.  Oh, and I have no depth perception.  With the 2.5 reading glasses I can't see clearly anything closer than more like 10-12 inches--not the 6-8 inches I thought it was!  Dr. Dye measured--LOL!
Anyways, things are looking up, eh?  :)
(Knock on wood!)
The mourning doves are back now, too.  
And I have seen the ground squirrel again. 
Because of the 13-striped ground squirrel I decided that once I am out of seed (which won't be too long) I am not feeding the critters for the rest of the summer.  I can't remember if I told you that already or not.   
I will put out water for them, but they will be perfectly fine all summer for food.  My main reason is that I do not want to attract the ground squirrels.  Much as I LOVE to watch them, I don't want them noticed, you know!  Don't want them hunted down and killed.  The ground squirrels hibernate all winter, so feeding the birds and jackrabbits in the wintertime (when they really need the help) will be just fine.  I'll start feeding them again in the late fall.
And honestly...the plus side to that is also that the patio won't be such a mess all summer.  Maybe Ian won't be able to recognize Gramma's patio because of the bird poop--LOL!  I was thinking of maybe getting some planter boxes--if not this year--maybe next summer.  Maybe do some outside reading with my red sunglasses?  LOL!
 I have some pictures from Dagan and Leah.
Profile of new baby McGregor safely tucked inside Mama.
And Ian went bowling!  Here he just pushed the ball one handed down the ramp. 
I didn't know they have those plastic ramp thingies for little kids!  Those are so cool!  They can aim them where they hope the ball will go, place the ball on the top, and then push it down the plastic ramp.  Seems better than the bumpers they put in the gutters.
I don't think you're really supposed to fly in the air like Superman on top of it while you watch your ball go down the alley, though--ROFL!! 
Looks like Ian got a 61!!  Not bad for almost three year old. 
Ian being silly on the floor at the bowling alley. 
 What a fun carpet, though! 
They had pancakes that day, too. 
Busy day!
Gramma is excited because McFamily is planning to come for a visit tomorrow afternoon!  So glad to be able to share some happy news.  (The bad parts...just shut one eye--LOL!)
  Have a great weekend!  :) :)
"We are never more than one grateful thought away from peace of heart."
Br. David Steindl-Rast

Saturday, April 15, 2017


Okay--let's get the bad news over and done with.
Finally made the eye exam yesterday with Dr. Dye.  No glasses for me.  Not yet.  I do not have double vision.  My vision problem is more of a bending, wobbly, shifting thing and prism lenses won't help.  He has to talk to the surgeon.
I had to take a deep breath.
Anyways, I had wondered why they were pushing the cataract surgery so fast and maybe this has something to do with that urgency?  I had swelling in the backs of my eyes and odd readings before the cataract surgery.  They did not know how much the readings may have been off because of the cataracts, but now that my lenses are nice and clear...well, I still have swelling and fluid in the backs of my eyes.  The left one has gotten much better at being able to see a straight line since the surgery, but the right one is still really off kilter.  That is the one with the weird saran wrap like film on the back, if you recall.  So the crazy jumpy warped vision issues are because of the swelling and fluid back there.  No easy fix with glasses.  No point in getting new glasses yet until this issue is dealt with.
Deep breath.
Dr. Dye is not sure what they will want to do.  They may want to try special eye drops for a while to see if they improve.  I might have to see a retinal specialist.  They might have to go in with a needle and try to suck out the fluid...not sure what the future holds, really.  Dr. Dye doesn't know.  This is not his speciality.  (I kind of pressed him to give me an idea what I might be looking at.)  They took another scan of the back of my eyes, Dr. Dye will consult with the surgeon, Dr. Grosz, and get back to me.
There you go.
I am going to try to focus on sending healing energy to my eyes.
And wait.
Still can't see close up.  Computer is still more difficult.  I am sorry I haven't been getting back to your comments and emails.  Not sure when or even if I will, but they are greatly appreciated.  Thank you so very much!!  Like I said, I can read here and there on the computer by enlarging the print to huge, so I do read and savor them all.  And I do pop in to read blogs.  Even occasionally comment.  But things aren't right yet for me and my goofy eyes.  Looks like it may be a while.
So, in the meantime...I do want to especially thank all my snail mail friends!!!  Hand writing is easier for me to read for some reason and something I can actually do more easily in return (mostly muscle memory--but no one has complained they can't read what I am writing--over fifty years of practice--LOL!).  Since I can't really do any other kind of detail work, can't read well, or spend much time at the computer...I really, really appreciate the hand written cards and letters so very much!!  If anyone new wants to write just pop me an email and I'll give you my address.  :)
Now, on to the happy news.  
Look what I saw nibbling there on the patio!      
A regular cottontail rabbit!
These are the ones I grew up with (Mpls, Mn).  They never turn white and look at those cute tiny ears!
I had seen some when I lived in Moorhead, Mn across the river, but not since I moved to Fargo.  Was sweet to see one up close...and this is actually a pretty large one.  :)
To help the slowly failing strength in my wrists/hands I ordered an OXO jar opener (black) and Leah found me a jar seal popper (red).
The jar opener has that rubber circle piece you use to set the jar on so it doesn't move around on the counter--slides right in along the backside of it for storage.  Pretty cool!  And they both work really well!!  I am delighted! 
For two days I cleaned out fountain pens. 
You know how I usually have my trays of filled pens--LOL!  Well, I have been waiting months for them to all go empty (still had a couple that weren't but just couldn't wait any longer--too used to having a big variety of inks to use).  The plan was to fill them all with actual ink bottles I own to test them out to see if they still (or ever) worked well or not.  (I remember some drying out so quickly in fine pens that they drove me crazy--but not sure which ones.)  Some of them are 30-35 years old--a couple maybe older.  As many of you know, I have been using ink samples from Goulet Pens for years!  Time to test out my own ink bottles and any that don't behave well will go into the studio to use with art projects.  :)
I discovered that both my Mont Blanc bottles had completely evaporated and dried up.  Obviously not air tight.  Interesting.  And the only J. Herbin ink I had (about 20 years old) formed a film of some kind.  I had shaken it so I don't know if it was on the top or bottom of the bottle, but it wasn't discolored like mold would be.  No matter where I tried to fill from the bottle the film sucked stuck and plugged.  Not worth straining the bottle, in my opinion, so that got tossed out, too.  
Okay...this gives me the perfect excuse to show you my pen cabinet--for those of you who hadn't seen it years ago when this exciting purchase was made.  (It's actually some kind of a gun or hunter's cabinet, if I remember correctly--real pen cabinets were totally out of my price range and I found this on sale!)  
From left to right on the dresser: my lone serape tetra in the fish bowl (Ian comes to search for it almost every time he comes over), my printer, and the beautiful pen cabinet!
I still do have a few bottles that don't fit inside on the top there because they are too tall--my large Noodler's bottles.
On the left hand side are the Noodler's (6 years old), then two sets of six Levenger inks (20+ yrs old), three Pilot Iroshizuku inks (newest--only a few years old--already know they work beautifully), and then the odd assortment of collected bottles on the right hand side (15-35+ years old). 
  All the Levenger inks and the odds and ends bottles are now in cleaned pens!! 
I know a few of you might wonder what is inside all those drawers--LOL!  So I'll give you a quick peek...any pens in here are clean and empty.  
Left: $3.00 Preppy pens accumulated over several years because I wanted to try the Goulet ink samples but didn't want to spend money on pens.  Right: the under $5 China pens from Amazon.
Left: rag, syringes, and brushes for cleaning.  (Oh, the bulb syringe for cleaning doesn't fit in a drawer so that is what you see in the front left hand corner of the very top with the bottles.) Right: some old calligraphy pens (none of which work very well) and my two Rotring Art Pens and a Parallel Pen for drawing.  
 Left: a red Metropolitan that didn't work but I kept in case I can fix it and the supplies for writing with invisible ink.  Right: three Noodler's pens and my Waterman (none of which work well at all), another rag, and my set of Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph pens for drawing (awesome!).
 A big drawer full of odds and ends--pen cases, a smaller bulb cleaner, different type of syringes, etc.
This big drawer has dip pen/calligraphy supplies.  All that special paper in the back left corner is blotter paper I pre-cut to fit my beloved wooden blotter.
Said bloved blotter...
Lastly, the bottom big drawer is filled with ink cartridges, converters... 
...pen parts and special tools. 
If you had any doubts about me being a pen/ink/paper/writing know now for sure that you were not mistaken--LOL!  (Tip of the iceberg??)
I spent a few hours filling cleaned pens with all those bottles.
Well, not all.  I still have my Noodler's ink bottles to test after these begin to empty out.  :)  How many pens are currently inked up in the trays?  Confession...26!! 
I may have to write letters in segments, but they are a different color each time I pick up a pen.  And yes--my OCD side does keep track.  You may be able to see a highlighter in each of the three trays.  I use those as place holders to keep track of where I left off--LOL!  And I keep a record of which pen has which ink in it using a small spiral notebook...with post-it tabs to keep track of which pen to use for my daily journaling (red tab), which pen to use next for letter writing (yellow tab)...and I divide up the three trays with the blue tabs on the bottom.
I started a brand new notebook, too, as long as I was at it and starting fresh.    
No crossed out colors at the moment.  Pristine.  For now.  ;)
Let's see...I at least managed to get all the stuff off my bedroom floor and on to the bathroom shelves.  Also got a few things from the pantry up there, too.  (Have not exactly been a bundle of energy.)
I did make a trip to the garage to bring out the patio snow shovel and the bird feeder, etc.  Brought in the bird water dish...and they were so happy to see it back! 
I was admittedly bummed out last night with the bad eye news...but this morning April the giraffe finally had her baby!  So stinking cute!!  
And then--look what I saw on the patio this morning!! 
I was thrilled!!
A thirteen striped ground squirrel!! 
I was soooo excited to see one.  But also scared for it.  Just pray that nobody else around here notices it because if they complain again...the maintenance people will hunt it down and kill this little beauty.  :(
I was finally able to make it down to a library day on Tuesday (checked out an audio book) and to the Thursday "coloring" group (just visited).  Nobody has seen me around here for over a month or more--LOL!  Guess what I found out!?  We have a new part-time activity coordinator!!  Her name is Pam.  Whoohoo!!
  They are going to be trying out a bunch of new things--Meals On Wheels, a breakfast group once a week, a walking group, Cinco de Mayo taco night, Cookie Make n' Take, a community garage sale in May...goodness!  Things are looking up!  I am so excited to see this even if I can't go to most of it.  Just wonderful!!  [Only problem is I heard Nazare is trying to use Pam as his personal secretary/assistant--but that's another story.  She's new and I have faith that she will get her bearings and give him what-for.]
Made some bean soup while I was chatting with you--LOL!
Even had some leftover rice to toss into the pot this time.  Yummy!  Time to eat dinner.  I'll be back when I have something to share.  Thank you for being my friends.  :) :)
"A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere.  Before him I may think aloud."
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Saturday, April 08, 2017


Been a long time.
The jackrabbits are slowly turning dark again. 
I actually emptied the bird feeder and have it set to go out to garage for the summer.  The grackles are back...along with an assortment of small dark little birds...some of which are half the size of the house sparrows that stay the winter.  
Been hearing the geese passing through for many weeks...and what have I been doing?  Not much at all.  Been sick.  First I had a cold for over a week and then I caught a stomach flu that lasted over two weeks...finally slowly on the mend the last couple days.  Which means I had to cancel twice on the eye exam.  After the second time I just told them I'd call when I was well enough to make it...hopefully this coming week (Tues or Weds).  Facebook was kind enough to inform me that I was sick last year on my birthday, too--LOL!
On March 25th, when my cold was better and right before I came down with the flu, McFamily and Aaron came over to install the shelves in my pantry and bathroom that you may remember Leah had mentioned would be a great addition back when I moved in.  Well, she dropped them off on the 24th--whoohoo!!  Happy birthday to me!!
Before pics:
Could use extra shelves on the right hand side of the pantry--and an extra brace on that bottom shelf they forgot to install. 
An extra shelf up high on the other side for things not used often... 
...and the same high up in the bathroom over the washer and dryer. 
Leah, Dagan, and Aaron worked on installing the shelves while Ian and I watched Finding Nemo.  (Don't I have it good!)
After pics: 
Two extra shelves on the right hand side of the pantry--and an extra brace on the bottom shelf. 
Another shelf up high on the left hand side. 
And another high shelf in the bathroom.
And I bet those shelves don't bend for you when you look at them--LOL!  They do for me--in the pictures and in real life.  Freaky!  Yup--still dealing with the double vision and all the rest.  Hope all that will be resolved soon!  Very soon!
Things were kind of shifted about for installation.  I came down with the flu the next day after the shelves went it took me almost a week just to move this stuff off my counter and stick it just anywhere in the pantry. 
The bathroom stuff...well, it is still stacked on my bedroom floor.  I decided that blogging won out on the priority list today, too--LOL! 
Meanwhile--I had thought I was better for a couple of days--no temp (but it returned)--so Leah made it over on a Thursday night for crafts.  She's doing everything because I cannot see to do any detail work--blurry and things moving about on me--LOL!  So, Leah has been working on the pattern pieces for us to make more ladies pads and panty liners.  First we draw around them and then go back and cut out all the pieces. 
We have quite a ways to go since I've had to cancel craft nights, too.  I just hope I didn't give this awful flu to any of them!  So far so good.
I got four Amazon gift cards for my birthday from generous people (you know who you are!!)--so I was able to order this Tonic guillotine cutter (easier on my wrists and hands)... 
...and a couple more of the caddies!!  You can see that first one I purchased off in the background there on the left.
We LOVE them and they are so easy to move about with that big handle.  Can stack and clip them together if you want to, also.  So those are my Amazon birthday presents for 2017--whoohoo!  Thank you so much!!  These are both so helpful for my weakening arms and wrists (and occasional arthritic thumb acting up now, too)--LOL!
Want to thank everyone who has hand-written me letters and cards.  Handwriting is still easier to read for me than print of any kind and handwriting via muscle memory is easier than typing (and one thing I can pull off without being able to see clearly--LOL!).  I can read nice long emails or blogs on Mr. Rusty because Leah showed me how to enlarge the print really big...but it is still easier for me to hand write back.  Hopefully this will all change pretty soon.  If I can get in for the exam finally this coming week I should get my glasses within about a week after that...of course, then my eye doctor warned me not to give up on the new glasses for a few weeks to a month because it will be a big adjustment for my eyes.  *sigh*  BUT--I can finally see a light at the end of this long, blurry, warping tunnel!  :) :)
This is why I haven't been around much lately.  Easier still for me to enlarge the pages and read than to I have mostly read blogs...but have managed to toss out comments here and there.  I still have emails I haven't responded to yet.  Sorry.  Just the way things are lately.  :(
I recently binge-watched the new season of Better Call Saul (one of my favorites now!) and Grace and Frankie.  Been peeking for a few weeks at April the giraffe's live feed to see if she's had her baby.  (Should be pretty soon.)  Now that I'm finally on the mend it won't be too long and I'll be able to begin reorganizing the pantry and bathroom shelves.  ;)  Not sure when I'll pop back in, but hopefully there will be no relapse or catching anything else (my immune system seems to have crashed since the surgeries) and life will get back to normal here pretty soon.  Whew!  What a year!  
Thanks to everyone who stopped by, wished me well, or even had a passing kind thought.  I appreciate it all--you all.  Blessings!!  :) :)
"Can you see the holiness in those things you take for granted--a paved road or a washing machine?  If you concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul."
Rabbi Harold Kushner