Monday, November 27, 2017


I know it's hard to tell from this picture but when I put the little pillow on my lap before I reach for the lapdesk which goes on top...Annie has now taken to jumping up on the arm of the chair to snuggle up against or half on the little prevent me from reaching for the lapdesk to work on letters, of course--LOL!
She still keeps an eye on the bird party but she wants a little cuddle time.  Some days as long as she possibly can and will even spread out and fall asleep if given the chance. 
 Sorry--I can't remember who told me Annie might turn into a "velcro cat"--which I thought was impossible at the time--LOL!  But Annie is getting more and more "velcro" as time goes by.  I'm beginning to think you were right!  ;)
Well, let's see...this past week...
Caroline came on Tuesday and we teamed up to do a thorough cleaning of the kitchen cupboards.  I wiped down all the appliances she brought to me at the table while she scrubbed away.  Needed it.  :)  After she left I put together some more bean soup.
Wednesday--Mary never called or showed up to "companion".  Wonder if she will show up this week?  The jury is still out on this senior companion thing--LOL!
Thursday was Thanksgiving.  Annie and I had a quiet day--with some delicious bean soup.  
Note: Those of you who are newer to my blog, don't worry about me and holidays.  McFamily still invites me (so sweet) when they are having their family holidays but I continue to pass (multiple health reasons).  Plus, I have spent Thanksgiving and Christmas by myself now since 1999.  This is the 18th year.  I am just soooo used to my peaceful, stress-free, quiet holidays--there's the old dog and all that, too.  After McFamily is done with the holidays and all their running and visiting--we have always had our own private little stress-free, no frills Christmas--usually in January.  I am absolutely, positively fine with that routine.  And now that we've added grandkids--those boys end up with three Christmases.  What kids wouldn't love that, right?  LOL!  It's just all-around so much easier on Gramma.  :)
Oh, and I went out to the garage and brought in the Christmas bin and tiny tabletop tree, too.  (Still haven't put it up yet--LOL!)
Those of you who were around three years ago might remember how Leah made up the little Mistletoes canvases for all the grandparents and great-grandparents using Ian's footprints.  Was a fun thing to do for Ian's first Christmas.
Well, this year we are planning to make up Mistletoes with Liam's footprints on his first Christmas!  Fun!  Well, it was a little challenging--took all three of us (Dagan, Leah, and me) to manage it--but we'll be tackling painting baby feet again soon. 
Anyways, Leah needed to order canvases and supplies for this project... so we were texting and emailing off and on in preparation for ordering on Black Friday.
Black Friday.
Leah also asked me for ideas for possible card crafting supplies from SSS.  (We each have wish lists on Simon Says Stamp).  More texts and emails...she ordered but won't tell me what--LOL!  So you know she must have ordered some cool crafting supplies!!  :)  :)
All weekend I did work on letters owed--whether Annie liked it or not...(well, I did do most of the writing at the kitchen table--LOL!)  Wanted to get ready to begin on addressing Christmas card envelopes!  That's the goal for this week--get all the cards in the mail by next Monday.  At least Leah and I have them all made up ahead of time--whoohoo!  Feels wonderful not to be scrambling at the last minute to finish them.  Ahhhh!  :)
Still have been working on the brush letting practice strokes every day.  Small brush pen... 
...and large brush pen. 
I still have a terrible time going thick to thin. 
The Os are particularly difficult. 
Practice...practice...practice, right?
After this 4th week of practice strokes we are going to start with the lower case letters of the alphabet and do practice on one letter a day.  And then the upper case letters after that--which will bring us into January.  I hope I learn the thick to thin--press and don't press--with more confidence by then.
Meanwhile...back at the ranch...
Annie never tires of the daily bird parties.
Every day... 
...the flock is here. 
Annie especially loves it when it has been warm enough to crack the door open (40s!) so she can really hear and smell them.  She loves to hide off to one side of the patio door or the other...or occasionally creep slowly straight up...low and still...she doesn't even flick her tail.
Then she leaps toward the screen and there's a great fluttering of wings.
She always looks disappointed after the momentary thrill is gone. 
She'll attack her feather toys in frustration--tosses them in the air and bats them under the furniture.
Annie is always expecting the flock to return any moment. 
She can be very patient. 
Usually doesn't take too long--LOL!
But when all that hunting has worn her out...Annie now knows she can come and sit in the chair next to me at the table.  Or catch a few winks. 
But she doesn't love the camera like Miss Karma did--LOL!  
So, that was the last week here at my place.  Dagan is supposed to come by after work to dump another 40# bag of bird seed into the bin in the garage for me (and dig cat toys out from under the furniture--LOL!).  Yes--already opening number two out of the three he picked up for me at Fleet Farm.  It's a cloudy, dark day--but warm!!  It's 53 degrees right now!!  Have a special week and we'll chat again soon!    
"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together."
Desmond Tutu

Monday, November 20, 2017


There are seven girls again!!  :)
I don't think the six was a different group because my grouse are well-fed, big, fat...and quite territorial.  I watched them chase off another group of smaller grouse this summer--more than once.  So...where did that one go for several days?  Off on a walkabout?  LOL!  Anyways, the seven are together again.  I am so happy.

Winter seems to have descended early and aggressively this year as far as the temperatures go.  We have two warmer days in the 40s (yesterday and today), so I swept the patio and washed down the patio door one last time while I had a chance.
I have always loved this time of year the best...from the first falling leaves to that delightful blank slate of greeting a new year.  Every year it lifts my heart and scatters my thoughts with warm memories like joy confetti!!
The cold weather has Annie investigating the tan "baby recliner" (as 6 foot tall Dagan calls it) occasionally of an evening to get off the chilly floor when I am up and down too much for her--LOL!
Oh, before I forget.  I promised a picture of McFamily with Teal'c from Stargate SG-1 when he was at ValleyCon this year.  The young man behind Leah is her brother, Aaron, who has been staying with them since he got out of the Navy.  You may recall they visited Aaron when he was stationed in Japan when Ian was around 9 months old.  :)
Cayenne pepper and I didn't agree at all.  Had almost instant heartburn that wouldn't let up so cayenne is definitely out.  The Meadowsweet for pain--can't tell much of anything so I am going to stop taking it for a while and see if I notice a difference.  (I tried that with the White Willow Bark and did not notice a thing.)  I still have a list of more kinds of supplements I can gradually try but not till next year.  Just sticking with the Turmeric for now, as that seemed to do a little something for my swollen knees.  :)
Something new!  
I ran across the brochure for Senior Companions a few weeks ago that was handed out by a couple ladies who came to visit one day during the CCC group maybe last spring.  I decided to actually call...and long story short...I had a visit from my new senior companion, Mary, last Wednesday.  She'll come over every Wednesday from 3:30-5:30pm to shoot the breeze.  So far, so good.  I'll talk more about it later.  Actually too sore to sit here for that chat this time...but I will fill you in.  :)
I have gotten a couple little projects checked off my to-do list, though.
First, I have these two little boxes/satchels filled with pens.
One holds all my brush pens. 
One holds all my drawing pens. 
Have wanted to use index cards to make up samples... I have a better idea of which pen is which when I am digging through them.
Now I can tell at a glance how fat the nibs are and, in the case of the brush pens, how easy they are to use.  Helps when you are pawing through them.
While I was working on the second project... 
...Annie played with her ball spinner toy. 
She loves it so much that when she's too tired to stand up anymore she will lie down and spin the ball--LOL! 
Anyways, you may recall weeks ago (or is it months?) I printed off all these sheets to be used in making journal inserts.  Well, I never got around to finishing all the creasing... 
...and stacking together of the pages. 
I did this while watching Time Team (British archaeologists) in case you are wondering what was on my laptop.  ;)
I had printed different colored lines...
...and dots on the pages. 
These are insert covers printed on cardstock that you can color yourself.  They came with the digital dotted page format I purchased from Boho Berry online. 
You may be thinking--didn't you do something with these back when?  Yup--started well--hehe!  Colored two of them and put those together--one with dotted pages and one with lined.  
I am still LOVING my fancy journal cover from Chic Sparrow!  I have the one insert in the front...
...and then my bullet journal in the middle--my hardbound Leuchtturm1917 dot grid that I also love. 
Every day I am in these bullet journal pages... 
...and have not tired of them in almost three years now. 
 I've changed the format several times, but I have never stopped using it.  Love it more now than I did when I started because it has morphed into something that works well for me and my OCD, plain self--LOL!  And I can shift and alter any way I wish in the future--if my journaling self changes.  ;)
In the back is the other insert.  I really have it made!
And will you look at this!   
You may recall I had to pull a kitchen chair over next to me for Miss Karrma so she could be close enough for a pet or two when she wanted one.  Well, Annie was beginning to kind of bug me to move over to the big comfy brown chair so she could sit with me...but I spend most of the day at the kitchen table doing my thing.  ;)  So I wondered if Annie might like to come sit next to me, too?
 This new development has been coming about for the last few weeks.  At first, if I pulled a chair over Annie took at as a personal rejection, of course.  She thought I was trying to block her from me and would get all wound up and race around the apartment--LOL!  But I would sweet talk her and ask her I did for months with the comfy recliner.  This time it didn't take months.  She seems much happier...although she found out it is not okay to jump on the table--LOL!
I will sign off with some sweet pictures from Leah of little Liam!!  
He's growing so fast! 
Another face I love.
So, that's it for this time from Fargo.  Caroline comes to clean tomorrow and Mary comes to "companion" on Wednesday--LOL!  Today is the warmest day in quite a while.  Supposed to get up to 51 degrees!!  Plan to open the place up for a while and get some fresh air this afternoon again.  Annie will love that!  Till next time!!  :) :)
I think I've posted this quote before, but I just LOVE it!!
"As I walked down the avenue, the late afternoon sun was turning the lovely and dying sycamore leaves into fragments of brilliant stained glass, and I said to myself, 'This alone is worth the price of admission to our broken and glorious world'."
Linda Larsson

Sunday, November 12, 2017


Tons of pictures!  
Been so long since I posted that some of my plants were still green after the first dusting of snow.
We've had several dustings since, but not much more than what you see here has stuck around. 
The birds knock a lot of the seed out of the feeder, which is fine.  They're kind of feeding the grouse for me most days. 
I deliberately left the dead plants. 
They were frosty but still a tiny bit alive a couple weeks ago.
This is what I see almost all day long now--bird party! 
Funny--a couple weeks ago they mowed one last time. 
He was bundled up with parka, hat, and gloves. 
That's the last we've seen of the mowers. 
Hasn't been enough snow for them to shovel or plow yet, though. 
Just bird party...
...after bird party... 
...after bird party--LOL! 
 Annie loves it, as you can see.
This is why I left the dead plants in the planters.  The sparrows spend a lot of time in the planters now and use them as perches.
Even the girls occasionally park themselves in a planter now and again. 
Sadly, I have only been counting six grouse lately.  One of them must have been caught by the hawk or something else.  :( 
I have not been blogging lately or doing much more than what I have to every day.  Been in a long fibro flare that doesn't seem to go away.  I suppose this could be my new normal--never know.  A little extra chair time is appreciated by Annie, though.  :) 
Nowadays Annie comes running most of the time when she hears my footrest going up!  Never would have predicted that a few months ago, eh?  :)  A few weeks ago I started giving her a pet when I give her the canned food treat.  At first she cringed and ducked.  Now she sometimes waits for that pet before she starts to chow down.  And Annie used to wait until I had left the pantry and sat down before she'd enter--then she began coming in with me and hugging the wall--now she's almost underfoot on the way in.  :)
We've had just enough snow to coat the ground a couple times, but it's almost all gone again. 
I love fresh snowfalls.  As long as it is this cold (we've even been in the single digits already) we should have some more of that beautiful white stuff!  :)
Speaking of--it was so cold for Halloween that they couldn't take Liam around.  Never got above freezing for a high that day.  I wasn't feeling that well, so I stayed home--but Leah sent me some pictures.
Ian was Thomas The Train.
 Liam was a skeleton.
Their front steps... 
...had their skeleton sitting on them (might have to enlarge to see)... 
...and the cool pumpkin light... 
...that changes colors.  (I love that thing!) 
The weekend before Halloween was ValleyCon.  Dagan and Leah's group always does a Stargate suite.  I love the way they fix the door so you have to enter through the Stargate portal. 
The bar and tables and benches. (That's what was stored in my garage.) 
Looks pretty cool! 
This year the guest star was Christopher Judge who played Teal'c on Stargate SG-1 so they made up an appreciation plaque to give him. 
He was my favorite character on the show. 
I know McFamily got a picture with him but I don't have a copy.  If I get one I will pop it in the blog so you can see it. 
I have an assortment of shots from Leah.
Big brother Ian helping Liam sit up. 
Sleeping Liam. 
Ian and Liam together in Liam's play mat. 
This picture cracks me up.  They look so alike. 
Another day--Liam fell asleep on the play mat--surrounded by so many fun things. 
I am always glad to have visits and Gramma time with the boys!  Forgot to take pictures all day, but grabbed a video of Liam before he went to bed, too.  He had been smiling like crazy--before I got the camera out, of course.  He makes lots of little noises just like Ian did.
With daylight savings time plus my sleep being hard to come by some nights I have actually been up for sunrise a few times.  Highly unusual--LOL!
For about a week I didn't even really work on letters.  
Mostly been watching the hungry birds...
...and some great TV shows.  ;)
In the mornings while I am at the kitchen table doing journaling and catching up online Annie was wanting me to go to my chair--silly girl.  So I decided to start rolling over a chair by me with a cat bed on it in the mornings--like I did for Karma all those years so she could feel closer to me while I was at the table.
Annie, of course, at first took it as a rejection.  That I was trying to block her from a few drive-by pets.  She'd race around the apartment having a cat hissy fit--LOL!  But eventually she caught on.  And now she sometimes comes up and sits next to me in the chair where I can easily reach over to pet her and give her some attention.
And she can see the birds better, I think, too--LOL!  Every so often she bullets off the chair to the patio door.
Let's see--I did order some new ink for dip pen calligraphy and got rid of the old thicker india ink from the early 90s.
I had pre-ordered another Brush Letting book a month or two ago and it finally came.  That's all I need now.
This one groups together letters of the alphabet by the similar strokes.
Has a lot of step-by-step instructions.
Shows the basics of the bouncy lettering everyone is using these days.
How to embellish them a little.
A very simple alphabet...lower case...
...and upper case.  And a lot of practice worksheets at the end of the book.
And I started the daily brush lettering drills again on November 6th.  Serena and I are doing them together--halfway around the world apart--LOL!  (She's in Australia.)
I'm using the tracing paper this time.
As for the pointed nib dip pen calligraphy (which I am going to wait a while to work on learning until I have learned the large and small brush pens half-ways decently)--I did order a few nibs to play with.
But that may be a while yet before I start on the dip  pen calligraphy.
Dagan turned 43 years old on the 2nd of November!!  (Those of you around four decades ago will be just as amazed and delighted as I am.)
Well, I may be more tired and sore, but am very contented and have nothing to complain about.  (Not that I couldn't, of course--LOL!)  I guess that's it for today.  Mostly pictures and not much chatting.  But at least I posted--LOL!  Been meaning to every day for over a week!  Hopefully will be back sooner next time.  But if not, don't worry about me.  Annie and I are just fine and dandy.  :) :)
"Never be so focused on what you're looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find."
Ann Patchett