Monday, April 22, 2019

4-22-2019 Monday--2pm

Good afternoon!
Busy week last week.
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Tuesday I had an apartment inspection.  Went fine.  Annie is just as scared of smoke alarms as Karma was.  ;)
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Wednesday Leah cancelled on our Craft Nite (forgot she'd double booked--LOL!).
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Thursday the stars aligned and we finally had my birthday over at McFamily's!  Worth the wait.  Had both Chinese and ice cream cake!!  (Ate leftovers for three days!) A wonderful time.  Liam is scared of me, though.  Need to get over more often.  Forgot to take any pictures...again--duh!  Got a gift card for Baker Nursery for flowers for my planters!!  A trip will be coming in May--whoohoo!!  Oh, and three cans of my french vanilla international coffee, too!  
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Friday there was a crane doing something behind the apartment building across the way.  Every time I'd see it pop its head up I'd think of a dinosaur with a long thin neck--LOL! 
 Most of the snow was already melted away.
Not long ago I couldn't see the garages or most of that apartment building.  
Spring has come on strong.  
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Saturday was Gramma Day and I had a surprise for Ian.  I found this box of puzzles on Amazon of his favorite show right now--PJMasks! 
 Twelve puzzles (5-24pcs, 5-48pcs, 2-100pcs) for under $13, so I knew they were going to be thin and he'd have to be extra careful with them so they won't bend--but I knew he would be. 
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Naturally, he was excited and want to do puzzles first thing.  Wanted me to get out the big piece of gator board.  We started with one of the easier puzzles that had 24 pieces.
Much to my surprise he finished four of those and still wanted to go on. 
He finished all five of the easy ones and also put together one of the medium hard ones with 48 pieces...which he did almost entirely by himself.  I just helped gather colors together for him.
By that time he'd been doing puzzles for a couple of hours and was ready to quit.  We had french toast bagels with butter for a snack and watched another two episodes of Our Planet on Netflix.  Since he'd arrived later because they'd gone out for lunch unexpectedly and Mama had already packed a lunch he had his packed lunch for dinner while Gramma had some of her soup.  Ended up watching a show on Curiosity Stream on the Deep Ocean with David Attenborough on my laptop at the table while we finished dinner.  (Grammas can do that--LOL!)  We took all the puzzles apart carefully and packed them in separate bags.  Lastly he wanted to do some punches for a while.  Was a good day!
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I was pretty tired and slept a long time.  Leah lent me a travel pillow that is really nice for sleeping in my chair.  I'm also trying a bottle of sinus spray for allergies that she uses before she goes to bed.  I thought I would absolutely hate spraying something up my nose but it's not too bad.  Not sure if it is making any difference yet.  Been about four nights and I still can only breathe out of one nostril at a time--LOL!  But I'll keep using it.  Seems like I might not be quite as clogged up.  ;)  Worth a try.
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Annie waiting for me to come to bed--LOL!  
Sunday Dagan, Leah, and Ian came over while Liam was taking a nap (Leah's brother Aaron was at home with him).  Yesterday was garage/patio day!!
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Before
After 
Can hardly wait till I have flowers out there.
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I'm not used to having spring fever.  
Kind of exhausting--LOL!
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They brought the tall ladder with them so they could take down the bird feeder.  Brought out the feeder, humidifiers, etc, to the garage.  Even rolled up the additional rug from the studio and Dagan carried that out, too.  
I wanted to see if the chair mats will stay put better and not buckle and slide all over the place on the flatter grey carpeting vs. having the plush rug on top.  We'll see how it goes.  Feels promising when you walk on them now.  :)
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We brought in the patio chairs and tables, the bird dish, the pot I keep the garden hose in (which broke end of last fall so I need a new hose), and my summer clothes bins.
Leah noticed the fans, too!  I had forgotten to put those on the list, but they are both inside already--whoohoo! 
Leah even cleaned them off for me.
 
I'm sure I probably missed something with two trips back and forth and all of us carrying or pushing the cart--LOL!  Having many hands make short work of a big project.  So thankful they help me out like that!!
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After they left to go home for dinner I took a bucket out and scrubbed down the chairs and the little tables...just so I could sit outside and read Marie Kondo's ebook on my tablet.  I told you spring fever is exhausting--LOL!  It was really windy, so I had to go get on a lined hooded jacket but I collapsed and read until my fingers were so cold I could hardly swipe the next page because the tablet didn't recognize me as a living creature--ROFL!   
So--busy week.  Oh, I also worked on the book and finished the next week/chapter in Julia Cameron's book--1989-1993.  Those were the pet shop assistant manager years, decision Mike would be the last boyfriend, and the arm injury at the printing factory.  (I thought I needed a job with better pay and benefits.)
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In the book she asks questions like what sound brings you back to that time period and what smell--for me the sound was of a pet shop--birds, puppies, and the door bell dinging and the cash register.  Smells--both dirty cages/aquarium gravel and hot glue/paper by the printing presses.  Funny when you think about the answers that come to mind first.  I think I have three more weeks to travel back through time and end up right here.  ;)
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Annie loves the patio door being opened when it is warm enough, but I think she misses the birds eating out there.  They do come for the water though already.  :)
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Any minute I should see people wandering by on the lawn.  It is almost 3pm.  I thought this was interesting on our weekly activity list.
They've never asked the residents (seniors) to come out and help clean up the yard before.  The mowers will be starting their weekly visits pretty soon.  My back is in no shape to do all that bending.  I'd need one of those grabber thingies--LOL!  Dealing with laundry day will do me in today for a good long rest.  Later tonight Leah should be coming over to finish her invitations (and I'm hoping be up to cutting my hair).  She won't be here until 8:30-8:45pm, so I have a few hours to put my feet up after I get done folding and hanging clothes...which will be soon.  
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So, folks!  That's it from Fargo for this past week.  I am so happy to have the patio ready for reading, fans at the ready for hot weather to come, and the clothes bins are in, too.  I finished reading Marie Kondo's book through the first step--clothing.  So this week I plan to start on that purge.  Be searching for joy in my t-shirts, I guess--LOL!  One odd silver lining to having the touchy back is that I can take my time going through a big pile of clothes on my bed because I am not sleeping in there anyways--ROFL!! 
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From Annie and I--have a memorable week and search for your joy!  Till next time...
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"Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow."
 Helen Keller

Monday, April 15, 2019

4-15-2019 Monday 12:45pm

Good afternoon!
The grackles are back...
..and I saw a mourning dove, too, before the... 
...blizzard we had on Thursday. 
No birthday visit to McFamily's again--LOL!  I was home feeding the birds and rabbits who braved the horizontal snow for meals.  They came all day--fur and feathers pushed backwards and getting splattered with heavy, wet snow.  Half the time I couldn't even see the apartments across the way.
Within a couple of hours I couldn't really see outside very well anymore with all the snow sticking to the patio doors and screen.
I forgot to show you all the birthday cards I added to the frig.  :) 
By Friday the snow had melted off the patio doors. 
The world was white again. 
Snow plows were busy. 
My patio was white again... 
...and covered with footprints.  
Everybody was hungry... 
...and the snow was melting fast. 
I had a Gramma Day with Ian on Saturday.  After lunch we watched another two episodes of Our Planet.  This time it was jungles and coastal waters.  After that he wanted to watch a few more episodes of his PJMasks show.  (I forgot to take pictures again--duh!)  I'm glad Ian doesn't mind quiet days with Gramma when she's not up to much more than that.  ;)
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I even got back to the Julia Cameron book this week!  TaDa!!  This memoir period was 1982-1989--the Roger years in Wisconsin.  Country music, band practices, beer, visiting his Red Owl produce departments, the studio, sang three songs with the band a couple times...working at a handicapped school, Melissa, day care teacher (with the problem kids), adult mentally ill rec person and transportation...stone house in the woods by a creek, mobile home, the farm... 
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Answering the memoir questions is always interesting.  Like going over another lifetime every week--LOL!
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It's been above freezing every day...   
...so this is what it looks like today.
No snow left on or around my patio at all...but a few raindrops. 
Not much evidence left of the blizzard. 
That's good.  I actually have spring fever this year. 
Probably because of being forced to be so inactive for so long this winter between being sick and back issues.  I have flowers on the brain and am thinking all the time about sitting on the patio reading.  I've even been looking on Amazon for a headset to use for audio books.  Leah is helping me.
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In fact, this morning I scrubbed down the humidifiers and left them to dry so they're ready to go to the garage until next winter.
The bird feeder needs to come down (McFamily has to bring over the tall ladder), chairs and small tables back out to the patio, garden hose and the water dish for the birds to drink and bathe.  But--I am not planning on feeding the critters this summer.  I know--shock.  They eat waaaay less, other people feed them here, and I really want a cleaner more inviting patio this summer.  I am determined to spend some actual time outdoors this spring and fall.  Summers are too hot and sticky for me to stand it out there, so the opportunities are brief and I want to take advantage this year.  
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Also need to haul in the bins with my summer clothes.  When I do, I am planning to do a Marie Kondo--LOL!  I'll be going through all my clothes to see what brings me joy.  ;)  Or, more likely, see what actually fits and I have actually worn in the last couple years--LOL!
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Spring fever, I tell you.
And I am one of those people who normally hates to see the end of winter. 
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We're supposed to be in the 40s and 50s this week and possibly hit 60 by next weekend.  The snow banks won't last much longer.  I need to get my patio in order soon!  :) :)
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Till next time.  :) :)
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"One can never consent to creep
when one feels an impulse to soar."
Helen Keller

Monday, April 08, 2019

4-8-2019 Monday-1:30pm

We've had melting temps during the days.  By Friday I could see first floor again across the way... 
...and a car in the parking lot. 
At one point I couldn't see all of third floor the snow was piled so high...what? two weeks ago?  We have had a sudden shift into spring.  Have even had light, drizzly rain a couple of days.
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This entire week has been a sleep recovery one for me.  I still can't sleep in my bed but I am sleeping better and longer in my chair, anyways.  I managed to do laundry and make goulash and some soup.
I even had a Gramma Day on Saturday!  Ian and I watched a couple episodes of the new David Attenborough series called "Our Planet" on Netflix streaming.  Was so nice to be back to watching our nature shows.  Ian and I will be learning about how the earth is changing and how it is effecting the wildlife and plants.  He ate goulash with me and we took apart the big jigsaw puzzle together.  We always have such a good time.  :)
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 Yesterday I saw it had gotten up to 61 degrees!  Goodness!  This is what it looks like right now.
The walls of snow are shrinking away.
Brown grass is uncovered.
 (And a lot of rabbit poop--LOL!). 
It's a fluffy cloud day. 
I've spent most of the week having pajama days, so I don't have much laundry to do today.  The dryer is rolling along.  The patio door is wide open (58 degrees) and the bedroom window.  Grackles are arguing on the patio.  Annie is sleeping in the chair next to me by the table.  I am hopeful for this coming week.
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Last week I never got back to the book, but maybe this week.  I did catch up on letters for the first time this entire year--tada!  So today I can start on my birthday thank you cards.  :)  Leah is planning to try to make it over for a Craft Nite tonight--whoohoo!  I really hope she can make it.  
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I'm tentatively planning to try to make it over to McFamily's for my birthday ice cream cake and a nice long visit on Thursday.  We'll see how this week goes.  :)
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After reading Djan's post today (here) about the Five Buddhist Remembrances...well, I keep thinking about how grateful I am for my life.  How lucky I was to have almost drown when I was 10; to have watched the roof being ripped off the junior high gymnasium during a tornado when I was 14; and to have been snatched off the street walking home, beaten, raped, and told they were going to kill me when I was 17.  Lucky because I learned early that life can change or end in an instant.  I experienced on an intensely personal level how precious life is and how grateful I am to be here.
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True.  I didn't realize what blessed gifts those events truly were for years, especially the rape.  But they forced me to make important life choices early on.  
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We choose every day.  
We choose who we are and how we will live.  We have this day, this moment...and isn't it delicious?  We can choose to carry fear and hate with us or to carry love and joy.  We choose.  And when it is so difficult to free ourselves of the hate and fear--we can choose to work at releasing it...to lean a different direction...right now, this moment.  If we keep at it...if we keep wanting to choose love and joy and kindness and patience...if we practice...we move toward it...then it becomes a part of us.  Fake it till you make it--LOL!  What you truly desire becomes a part of the very core of you.  And it's never too late.  Ever.  To choose.
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Having those experiences even helped me later to know that a child was not "mine"...was not a possession...but a miraculous gift...to do the best I could with as caretaker for however long.  
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I think I was a better mother of a baby I was told wouldn't live.  Because I had already moved into a present moment state of being long ago and could appreciate every day on its own...every moment.  But also to teach him to be aware of his choices in his life...of who he was...right now...no matter the future...no matter his age.
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Yes, we all grow old, have illnesses, die, and change is inevitable.  I love the fifth remembrance:

My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand.  

We choose. 
Our words.
Our actions.
Our beliefs.
Who we want to be. 
How we treat others.
How we treat ourselves. 
(still can be my own worst enemy) 
What we say and think.
(still working on loving thoughts toward certain, shall we say, "public" people)
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We are all a work in progress.
I feel blessed and lucky to have had this life of mine.
Grateful beyond belief.
I keep working on trying to choose well...every moment.
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Till next week, my friends.  :) :)
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"In the evening of life,
we will be judged on love alone."
St. John of the Cross

Monday, April 01, 2019

April 1, 2019 Monday-4pm

Good afternoon!
With the bad back the past few weeks my days and nights got switched around--well, when I could sleep.  That's gotten a lot better, too.  Am sleeping longer, but from dawn till afternoon--LOL!  I'll gladly take it, though!  ;)  On the mend!
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Annie misses sleeping in the bed as much as I do.  I finally tried it last night (learned not to sleep on the sore right side) and Annie was stuck to me like glue.  She's not as fond of me sleeping in my chair but I might be doing that off and on yet for a bit.
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I got a sparkly birthday scrubby from Connie over on Far Side of Fifty.  I had never had one before I got one from Connie.  Ian and I use that one for scrubbing paint off things when we do art projects.  Now I have one to actually use for dishes--tada!!  Thanks, Connie!  :)
And thanks to everyone who remembered me this year.  I didn't make it over to McFamily's for Chinese because Dagan came down with influenza (clinic tested him and gave him something to try to shorten it)...and then Liam got it...and then Ian.  Leah never did--as of yesterday, anyways.  
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I wasn't feeling that great anyways.  Even though my back has been improving--the lack of sleep, napping and crazy, random hours has me all thrown off kilter.  I told Leah we could just pass, but she wanted to postpone.  So--eventually--when we are all finally well and feeling decent--I told her I wanted ice cream cake--LOL!  Forget the Chinese.  I don't know why I was thinking of it (other than maybe comfort food) but I was remembering having some from Dairy Queen like 30-40 years ago.  We were group texting (Dagan, Leah, and I) and Dagan thought that sounded really good, too!  So, that's the plan--eventually--ice cream cake.  At the rate we've been going this winter it could be summer before we're all well at the same time--ROFL!
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Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
I have wanted to do a jigsaw puzzle ever since Ian and I worked on his little ones.  I ordered one from Amazon a while back and finally decided break it out this past weekend.
I used a piece of gator board to hold it and so I can move it around.
I bought one of the huge pieces of gator board many years ago at the art store in town and then they would cut it down for you into several boards to use for painting watercolors.  This half size piece (24" X 32") will hold a full size sheet of watercolor paper--but I have never been brave enough to paint anything that huge so it is still pristine and perfect for holding a puzzle.
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I had them cut the other half of the gator board into four 12"X18" pieces.  More my favored size to work with.
 I had never heard of gator board until I was in art classes in college up here.  It is awesome!  Very lightweight.  Like a crusty foam sandwich.  The outside layers are kind of hard with a dense foam in between.  I don't know if you can tell from the photo above but you can staple the watercolor paper right on to the gator board and use it over and over again.  Plus you can use both sides of the board.
Anyways, definitely not using it for the purpose for which it was intended--LOL!
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Because of my back issues I did sorting in my chair with the box and cover and a couple of zip lock bags.  Then I would sit and join pieces at the table until I had a good size chunk to insert.
Worked well up until the end when I had to do a lot more standing.  Then my back complained... 
...but I had SO MUCH FUN!!! 
I finished at about 3:30am last night...or should I say this morning.  Got to bed about 5:15am.  Yup--hours are flipped.  I need to get back on days!
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But--my back keeps getting better.  Everyone is on the mend again at McFamily's.  The snow keeps melting (we are now on flood watch).  I saw my first grackle on my birthday.  You can hear geese passing through.  The rabbits are turning brown again.  Sure signs of spring.
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Hard to believe it's already April!  Time to do all my banking stuff today and tweak my monthly grocery list for Caroline.  I caught up a lot on my letter writing last week--tada!  A little less brain fog as my sleep is improving.  Maybe this week I can finally get back to Julia Cameron's book?  We'll see how the week goes.
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Lastly, I'll leave you with a video Leah sent me of Liam and the jiggly train track. 
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Gramma loves getting videos!
Till next week!  :) :)
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"Gratitude is the capacity to stare doubt, loss, chaos and despair right in the eye and say, 'I am still here'."
Diana Butler Bass