Monday, September 21, 2020

September 21, 2020 Monday- 11:30am

Good morning! 
I've still been feeling a bit withdrawn and not like talking...but in a good way, I think.  Still feeling calmer and less stressed, I guess.  Just been on a resting and healing retreat...peeking my head out from under the porch.  ;)  Been catching up on letters (finally), making soup, doing laundry...nothing extra really.
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I went to McFamily's for a visit on Tuesday and then to the clinic for a blood pressure check on Thursday.  Exposure...so won't be visiting McFamily for quite a while because we are doing Caroline (cleaning at my place tomorrow) and Costco (Leah doing grocery shopping on Wednesday) and will quarantine for a couple weeks after that.  This month Dagan's work decided to pass on adding another 1/4 of the workforce at the office.  Covid on the rise here, so we are glad he can still work from home and go in after hours to fix computers.  :)
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I called my mom around 4pm on Friday and she was in an ambulance!  On her way to the hospital because of the swelling in her legs again.  But they let her go home to her apartment this time instead of keeping her overnight.  I'm sure because she is now on assisted living there--so she has a nurse and others in and out to check on her and they take care of her pills, etc.  I am soooo glad she is where she is and not down in Florida all alone.  I talked to her again on Saturday and she is happy they have some new sports on.  She can't see or hear well enough to follow a movie but she can get the gist of basketball or football.  Glad she's home again.  :)
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You may recall I forgot to get pictures of the partridges last week...well, it must have been in the back of my mind this week as it is the only pictures I took!
 I'm not sure if I have one big group or two but they are here every day...usually more than once.  I have been sweeping into the grass when I clean off the patio and they love to search for the few seeds (preferred over the cracked corn in the mix that they all eat last--lol!).
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I forgot to take a single picture when I was over visiting McFamily.  Leah forgot to send me pictures of Ian's "classroom" now with the little additions.  I know they were busy planting more trees this weekend, though.  Just one of those busy weeks over there.  Not sure how mine felt busy and flew by, but it did.  :)
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Very short blog this week.  I know--you're shocked--ROFL!
Till next week...
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"An act of love that fails is just as much a part of the divine life as an act of love that succeeds, for love is measured by its own fullness, not by its reception."
Harold Loukes

Monday, September 14, 2020

September 14, 2020 Monday- 2pm

Good afternoon!  
I've already been at this since noon going through my photos, Leah's photos, uploading a couple of short videos (second one isn't finished yet) and trying to get them all on to the blog--LOL!  A bit trickier than it used to be but I am getting the hang of it...I think.
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Myself, I didn't take many pictures at all this week, as you will see--but I got you kind of caught up on some of Leah's pics since July.  
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Caught a flock of sparrows and didn't even get a shot of the big family of partridges--even though they've been here every day. 
Just been either busy or too tired--LOL!
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Before I forget, though!  For those of you devoted letter writers, I have to warn you that something has changed besides just the mail being slower.  Remember when if you had a letter that was too fat (over 1/4 inch thick), too rigid, or an odd shape it was 70 cents?  You could stick an extra stamp on there and have covered more than enough for the hand sorting--no problem?
Well, I mailed a couple of pen refills I had ordered for Leah a bit ago (when we were isolating)...put on two stamps because it was rigid with the refills in their little container.  Leah had to pay several dollars before they would deliver the envelope!?
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Well, I thought that must have been a fluke and some cranky person in the post office made a mistake.
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Not so, apparently. 
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This envelope that came to me had an extra stamp on it, just as I had done with Leah's envelope and have been doing for YEARS.  With two stamps that is $1.10...but I got a notice that I had postage due of $3.30 before they would deliver my "parcel".     

This envelope was that parcel.  ??
I went to the USPS website online and it still says that an envelope that is rigid, square, or odd shaped is supposed to be 70 cents.  Didn't mention about the being over 1/4 inch thick, though, under the regular envelopes.  So I looked under large envelopes (even though this was regular size as you can see and so was mine to Leah).  Well, they did have a category for over 1/4 inch thick under large envelopes--but still that was $3.80...so how did they come up with a total of  $4.40??  What a mess!
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Therefore--my days of adding in little goodies in the mail are over--unless they are perfectly flat and bendable--LOL!  Things are changing at USPS so I thought I'd give you all a heads up.  Makes me wonder if anything hand-sorted is now considered a parcel?  And are they just randomly making up prices?
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Anyways...
Monday I baked.  
Tuesday was Ian's first day of kindergarten--from home.  Even so, they took their traditional picture on the front steps of Ian...
...and both the boys. 
No backpack needed this year.
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Ian has his school area upstairs in the hallway--cleared out so no distractions. 
Little table and chair with his laptop that the school district gave him to use.
Since then Leah's added some satchels, etc, that I sent over from my place.
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I did a video chat with Ian after his first day.  He met his new teacher and was learning on the laptop how to mute, raise his hand, and stop the picture but leave the voice on...and demonstrated everything for me.  :)
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Here's pictures of the McFamily vehicles.  The big burgundy one and the new-to-them little black one...
...which is an electric car!  Nissan Leaf, I believe.  Really cute and spunky!
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McFamily has been working a lot on landscaping this summer.
The boys help, too.
They planted trees in the front yard.
This was back in July, I believe.    

Ian took over videoing.  Going to be funny to show this to him when he's older.
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They've been getting rid of weeds and putting down rocks.  This is one side of the house.
Here is pre-planting after hauling rocks along the back of the house by the deck.
Planning where all the plants will go.
Going to be so nice when they are finished to watch it all take hold and grow.
The boys are always such good helpers.
Holes dug...
...and plants planted.
Looking good!
I would like a video of a walk around the house and yard when they are all done.
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The boys have had a couple of visits with their cousins.
Harder to do the bubble with them since school has started and their parents are teachers.  More quarantining now.
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Back to my week...
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Thursday Leah dropped off a few groceries from Cashwise.  She's been doing the drive up now every week or two.  Looks quite stark at the waiting area.
But wonderful that they bring it out and put it in your trunk.  She'd go less if we got everything she asks for--LOL!  Still shortages.
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On Friday the maintenance man came with the part and spent a long time fixing my dryer.  I was praying he could fix it as I realized that I would be in deep doo-doo if he couldn't...as you can see!
I'd have to remove all those bookcases in order for him to get the dryer out of here!  Never thought about that before.  Gulp!  I hope they never have to be replaced as long as I live here.  Five years and counting...
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So, of course, I spent most of the day Saturday washing clothes and towels.  I thought I was going to go to visit McFamily on Sunday but Dagan got called in to work for a little while and Leah was doing the last day of an online weekend seminar...so we switched to tomorrow.  Ian doesn't have any classes after lunch.
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Today...blogging (good 4 1/2 hours again) and making more bean soup.  Am watching Scott & Bailey on BritBox and finally have been back to writing letters.  
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Still feel kind of on a mental/emotional vacation, spending less time online, and plan to keep it up as long as possible.  So much better than being all stressed out over things I have no control over.  Now, sending out positive energy...spreading the love...that is something I can do.  I hope you can feel it!  Won't be long and we can vote!  I'm expecting to get a ballot in the mail fairly soon.  Meanwhile...take good care of yourselves and have a good week--come what may.  Till next time, my dear friends...
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"We have a responsibility to hold to the power of love that we know to be true, and to not allow the world around us to deaden that in ourselves."
Lucas Johnson

Monday, September 07, 2020

September 7, 2020 Monday--1:30pm

Good afternoon!
Truth be told, I didn't accomplish much at all this past week but it still seemed like a busy week that flew by.  Go figure.
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The full moon was just crazy bright!  I thought I had left the outside patio light on--LOL!  (That's the shadows from my blinds on the left hand side.)
The maintenance man came by Monday, after I called about the loud broken dryer, thinking he had to get the model number of the belt to order a replacement.  Nope.  The drum was rotating.  He said he'd have to take the dryer apart to find out what was making that awful noise, but it was already 4:30pm so he'd have to come back Tuesday.
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On Monday I found out right off the bat that not all my blog comments come to my email anymore after I post them!  I read every one, but am not able to just click and comment back from my email inbox like I have for years.  So far I lost about a good third or more of my commenters between posting and my inbox.  I do not even have actual email addresses for many of you.  So if you don't hear back from me, that is why.  BUT--I have read each and every word and look forward to your comments so much.  I have no idea what will happen this week.  At least all the comments have posted.  But, sadly, Blogger has decided to not be my loyal friend anymore...
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...but to make up for it Blogger has delivered constant commenters these past many weeks (since the format change started!?) who, in very graphic terms, want to be extremely intimate friends.  Funny, even when I mark those unwanted offers of horny, naked friendship as spam THEY show up in my inbox.  Grrr!  I shall keep the moderator service on since I don't think you all want to hear the lurid suggestions I have been getting from some desperately lonely and aggressive bots.
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Google, you do know this is sexual harassment!
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Blogger is determined to mess with my blogging experience, I guess.  But messing with our communication is even more frustrating to me than trying to write the blog and get pictures in here.  :(
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Anyways, the maintenance guy came back Tuesday afternoon and took the dryer apart.  From the living room I heard him exclaim "I've never seen anything like this before!"  He came down the hallway to stand 6 feet away and hold up this metal piece that was square and flat on the bottom, had screw holes in each corner, a dome shape coming up off the flat piece, and something black dohinkie on the top of the dome.  Whatever this essential piece was it had unscrewed itself--all four corners--come loose and also broke.  He seemed truly amazed by how this could even have happened--LOL!  Dryer trolls?
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He was going to have to order the part and that could take a while--especially with the mail taking longer than normal plus the holiday weekend coming up.  So, he pushed the pieces out of my way and will hopefully come back this week.
Luckily, with as awful as I can feel for sometimes weeks at a time with fibro flares, I have long ago bought up enough underwear and nightgowns to last me for 2-3 weeks...just in case--LOL!  ;)
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On Wednesday Leah dropped off bags of bird seed.  We put two in the garage and I wheeled one inside.  They had five bonus pounds--so 45 lbs instead of 40!  Whoohoo!  Leah can order and drive up to Fleet Farm and they put them in her trunk for her.  When I get one inside I tip the big bag upright, open, then scoop and scoop until it is finally empty enough I can dump the rest into the bin.  
I am set for a while!
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Much to my delight I had what looked like a family--parents and eight young ones--show up already due to the sudden cooler weather.
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Leah also dropped off some groceries from CashWise on Wednesday.  She's been ordering online and doing the drive-up-stick-it-in-my-trunk thing every week or two lately instead of making a big monthly trip where she goes inside.  Since they're out of random items every time it kind of works out okay in the end--maybe better than one shot a month.  :)
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Leah also picked up more trees for the long weekend.  They've been landscaping most of the summer.  And Ian starts school from home tomorrow.  He's met his teacher online and had his assessment for kindergarten (did well).  I will have to include pictures from Leah soon.
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Annie's favorite spots in the morning are anywhere she can lounge in the sun.  
We face east, so she has to grab the rays while she can in the early hours.  Before I wake up she lays between the blinds and the patio glass to catch her some rays.
I have been absolutely loving the fall weather--my favorite time of year.
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I checked out the kid's rubber stamp set I had gotten for Ian long ago so I could bring that with, too, on Thursday for my visit for Liam's birthday.  Liam's old enough to play with these now, too.  The colored stamps that came with it were pretty pale and dried out quite a bit, but the black one I had purchased separately still ha some juice left in it.
Since they are water-based for kids Leah can probably mist them with water and they'll work better.  The stamps were all kinds of vehicles the boys love: train, fire truck, airplane, dump truck, etc.
Was just the best day!  A low key, relaxed birthday visit.
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Liam was so serious, slow, and careful bringing Gramma her coffee that I even got a little video.  (Those colored thermal cups so often peel, don't they?)

The secret I told Ian was that he got to go upstairs to help Mama wrap up Liam's presents.  All we had to do to keep Liam busy was put on Octonauts!

Otherwise he wouldn't have wanted to be left alone with Gramma.  Liam likes me more but he's not ready for hugs and contact, even though he watches Ian throw himself into my arms for big hugs and cuddles.
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When they watch their shows they are lost to the world.  I was like that as a kid, too.  Been trying to do that myself, actually, with all my binge-watching--LOL!  It's like a vacation from all the stress of...well everything going on.  :)
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There's the occasional smile or laugh...

...but mostly intent observation.

And they can't hear you when you try to talk to them--LOL!  Totally absorbed!
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We had dinner and then it was time to sing Happy Birthday, blow out the candles...
...and clap and cheer!
After the boys were cleaned up and the table cleared off...it was time for presents.  Ian had fallen asleep for a short time on the couch and seemed a bit groggy.  He woke up for trucks, though--LOL!
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Dagan dropped me off at home after the boys went to bed and then he headed over to do some after-hours computer stuff at the offices.  Yes, he's been called in a couple of times now that half the workforce is back.  
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Takes me a couple of days to recover, but I spent the best weekend.  Pure escapism, I tell you!  Watching Home Is Where The Art Is on YouTube (thanks, Serena!) and Line of Duty on BritBox (well, it's on Acorn, too).  I was in the mood for something light or for seeing the bad guys get caught and pay consequences.  I think my blood pressure dropped a few points--LOL!  ;)
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Somebody tossed a melon out on the lawn.  I suppose they thought the critters might eat it?  The mower guy mowed around it. (I had closed the glass door just in case he didn't and sprayed it everywhere--LOL!)  
Kind of gross and rotting.  Attracts every kid on the sidewalk and many dogs...but no birds or rabbits.  I wonder if melons will grow in the middle of the lawn next summer?  
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Well, we actually have a freeze watch up here through Thursday night, I believe--in the 30s overnight.  And yet there are heat warnings all over other parts of the United States.  Record breaking temperatures on opposite ends of the scale.  I'm really glad we are on the cold end of that scale.  ;)  I wonder if it will kill the flowers on the patio?
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Well, Annie is happy in the sunshine.  
I have been feeling a lot less stressed.  Staying away from the news a lot more.  Feeling slowly better with the change in diet.  Lovely visit with McFamily last week.  Just will get to things when I get to them.  That's how I am feeling lately.  No self-pressure.  It helps that I do so love autumn and it is chilly out with birds here frequently all day long fattening up for winter.  I'll need to do the seasonal clothing switch pretty soon if it stays this nippy.  (Never fear--I always keep a few winter things available during the summer, so I am never caught totally unprepared--LOL!)
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Till next week.  (I plan to try to keep my old Monday schedule even if I am slower and later doing it.)  Whether you are sweating or shivering--have a wonderful week!  Don't let Blogger mess with us too much.  
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"Escapism isn't good or bad in itself. What is important is what you are escaping from and where you are escaping to." 
Terry Pratchett 

Monday, August 31, 2020

August 31, 2020 Monday noon

Well, I am here today.  
Grab a cuppa and let's chat. 
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Over 14 years of blogging and I have never needed a break before...but I'm thoroughly a believer in if you can't say something good...and I was too sad and upset to want to talk.  The state of the world and adding my own health issues on top of all that just got to be too much, honestly.  I needed to crawl away under the porch like a sick dog needing to be left alone.
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I have watched less news.  (Need to know what is going on, though.)  Oddly, YouTube suddenly quit giving me any email notifications whatsoever a couple of weeks ago.  I get all my news online because I don't have regular TV or cable. Now I have to go find my subscription list and scroll so turns out it actually helps me avoid the news--LOL!  I can focus on my narrowboaters, crafters, book binders, world travelers (now doing other things like rebuilding old RVs), bullet journalers, card makers, etc.  Fun and not stressful.  ;)
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We've had beautiful cooler days, then hot sticky ones...now back to gorgeous fall days again this past week with occasional rain/thunderstorms all along.  
I am back to being in a better state of mind, I guess...for several reasons.  I am having issues with uploading pictures on to blogger now that I have been forced on to the new format while I was gone...so these aren't in the order I would have liked them to be but I'm sure you can follow my meanderings.
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You may recall that a year ago Dagan and Leah picked up new IKEA cabinets for a studio update.  Last September I took these pictures of where the new table with two cabinets underneath would go...
...and where the new tall cabinet would go. 
Then last November Leah did get the new table put together and in place.  (Note I haven't been able to open the taboret drawers holding watercolor supplies since then because the table leg was blocking them.)
We had planned to wait until after the holidays to get the cabinets together...but we are slow and didn't get around to it before Covid hit.  (Below--shall return to this exciting subject.)  
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Annie and I spent lazy, endless, identical days where I just binge-watched The Good Wife and The Good Fight and lots of other stuff.
I made one trip over to visit McFamily before we had our mid-month exposures (Dagan to work, Leah to Costco, Caroline over here to clean) and then our subsequent quarantine.  I've not been over since.
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I was missing LIFE on my patio so I started to put out seed again.  Wasn't half an hour and a partridge showed up!
I have so missed their clucking! 
Since I started putting out a cup of seed every day a covey of eight has returned several times, a single one (that first one), and a pair. 
Gangs of noisy grackles!
And even a baby cottontail!!
I have missed them all.  I didn't realize how much.  Annie is very happy for the critter company, too.  :)
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Health...
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Well, turns out both times I was told I had a UTI there were no bacteria in my urine cultures.  And I was still having issues.  So, I had Leah check on Facebook (I'm not on any social media) in the Keto/low carb groups if anyone else has had bleeding from oxalate dumping--since I have been fiercely dumping since I started last June.  Yes!  Others have had blood in urine.  Also treated for UTIs and even scanned--nothing.  So, I decided to see if I could mitigate the oxalate dumping by adding some lower carb foods with high oxalates--like spinach, beans, almonds, etc.
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I have been making bean soup for a couple of weeks now and eating a big bowl every day.  Making it a little differently--using Leah's homemade bone broth...
...adding extra black beans... 
...and lots of roast beef! 
 Delicious!  
I have missed my bean soup.
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Already I have a lessening with the dumping issues.  May be TMI for some people--but the UTI-type symptoms are calming down--and no more blood so far (knock on wood--I had some even during and after the antibiotics).  My eyes are watering even more like they did in the beginning a year ago, but clear and not gritty.  I have had less of the hard crystals getting stuck in my tear ducts.  My sinuses are calming down and I can usually breathe through one nostril--occasionally both for short periods of time.  The crusty white buildup I have been getting inside my nose for months and months has almost quit!  (Oxalates are hard and white.)  The all-over pain that was more than my usual fibromyalgia pain has lessened noticeably and is more tolerable again.  And peeing is less irritating and cloudy.  (Big way you pass oxalates.)  All in a couple weeks of adding oxalate foods so that my body isn't trying to dump them as fast as possible--LOL!
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Funny.  When you are always adding a lot of oxalates your body chooses to store them when it can't keep dumping the excess fast enough.  Some people's bodies are better at that process than others.  Mine has pretty much had free reign to dump the storagehouse of oxalates for over a year and was going at it harder and harder.  Adding a few high oxalate foods has slowed it down for now and I should have thought of this a long time ago--LOL!  I am still dumping, never fear.  When I think of the amount of oxalates I could have in my body--no wonder I have been feeling even worse since I quit carbs and started dumping.  They may even be the cause or one of the causes of fibromyalgia and even arthritis.  Hasn't been studied enough.  Can take a person years to dump enough to be back to a normal range of oxalates and to get them out of all the places they have been stored.  And I have been in terrible shape for a couple of decades so I could have years of dumping ahead of me.  But I also could end up feeling closer to normal again after dumping enough oxalates.  Never know?!    
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Anyways, I am kind of experimenting right now.  So far, so good.  I am seeing improvement.  I figure that if I felt better and had less symptoms over time that it was probably oxalates but if I got worse...then it was probably something else and I needed to go back and have them find out what is going on.  But I don't think it was UTIs.
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Meanwhile, I am also finally going to see the new doctor, Kate Kessler, who is both a regular physician and also an osteopath!  You may remember I had an appointment to see her as a new client (osteopath) that I had to cancel due to Covid.  Now I have an 80 minute new client appointment set up for October 9th.  (Yes, she is that booked up and popular.)  That lifted my spirits, too.  :)
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 Leah came over on August 12th for a Christmas card planning night.  We had made up several sets before Liam was born but he's three years old on Thursday and we have used them all up.  So we planned out three year's worth that night.  I have been working on them since then and I also brought supplies with and we worked on them the one day I visited on the 16th.  Once I get done with a set of Christmas cards I can start working on sets of birthday cards for myself.  :)
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We started on the card bases.  First cutting.  Blue set.
Gold set.  We're keeping the sets on different trays to keep them organized.
Black and white set.  There are 100 in each Christmas set for Leah and me together. 
Next came the creasing to make them easier to fold. 
Then I folded.
On the blue cards--had the double-sided tape on the fronts so added those.  We have half the insides corner-punched.  Leah has the rest at her place.  Once the insides get taped in this set is done! 
Gold set.  About 2/3 the way through adding fronts and insides.  But then I have 100 green die cuts to make and glue to the fronts.  This set will likely be second done. 
This one will take the longest.  Need to black emboss the stamp on the white front piece and then color each one, then add the tape, and then attach the front and the inside piece.  This one will definitely be the last one.  Coloring while I watch TV is in my future...for some time...plan to color some birthday cards, too. 
Anyways, having projects to do and being creative (even if it is assembly-line work) lifted my spirits.  And the beautiful fall weather--my favorite time of year. 
Then--to really keep me busy (and delighted to be so after waiting a year) Leah and Ian came over for the day yesterday to work on the cabinets!!!
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I had figured that, since we are still in a tentative double bubble, we should try to finally do that while we can.  So...yesterday was a big day!  Leah, with some help from Ian, got ALL THREE of the cabinets together!!  They were here till almost 7:30pm and went home in a thunderstorm.
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Out of order, but this is what it looks like right now.  Beautiful chaos!
 The taboret is under the window table...
...and the low cherrywood cabinet is in the middle of the room for now until they both get emptied out and go to the garage.
 There is stuff piled everywhere...waiting to be sorted and find new homes.
The two new cabinets under the die cutting table!  They fit perfectly!  IKEA really does have accurate measurements, that's for sure.
The new tall cabinet fit, too.  Comes out a bit further, but I love it!
Ian had an important task that he was determined to do on his own.  He took out all the drawers in the old cherrywood tall cabinet and piled them on my bed.  Mama moved the cabinet to the hallway and then Ian put all the drawers back in by himself.
It was very exciting to see all Gramma's wooden stamps.  Each drawer he had to show me and/or Mama and talk about the treasures within--LOL!
I told him that he is old enough now that he is starting Kindergarten to start learning how to use stamps.  Soon.  I will bring over some kids stamps and ink pads I got for him like a year ago that he wasn't interested in back then when I go over for Liam's birthday on Thursday.  I hope the ink pads haven't dried up!  I'll have to check them.
Ian took his job with the drawers very seriously, as you can tell.  He was a very proud workman standing before the refilled cabinet.  ;)
A couple random pics from last night. 
  
Leah even made chaffles for dinner.  Was the closest thing we've had to a Gramma Day since the pandemic.  A very nice day.
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Meanwhile, while I was writing this my dryer broke.  Luckily the clothes were dry enough to take out, sort, fold, and hang.  I think a belt broke or something.  Scared the bejeebers out of Annie and me.  Really loud!  So, I will finish up here and call maintenance.  
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Not going to make any promises as to when I'll be back, but let's just say I am going to try to get back to my Monday posts.  Between making cards, critter cafe reopening, easing of oxalate dumping, an appointment with the osteopath, the cabinets together, and a bit of visiting...I think I have regained a lot of my positive balance...for now, anyways.  ;)  
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 I have been reading blogs, even if I hadn't been commenting for quite a while.  Been more of a lurker--LOL!  That's been changing some, too.  Crawling out from under the porch.  ;)
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Until next time.
*love and hugs*
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"Where does it all lead?  
What will become of us?...
It leads to each other.  
We become ourselves."
Patti Smith