Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I don't know if you can see it well on the TV.
(Can click to enlarge on any of these photos, BTW.)
This is a shot of Mickey's Diner in Saint Paul!
I was watching Prairie Home Companion last night and tried to grab a shot of Mickey's for all my friends and family in the Twin Cities!
From director Robert Altman comes this quirky piece of fiction based on the real-life radio program of the same name, with a wry screenplay penned by the show's host, Garrison Keillor. Supported by a high-powered cast that includes Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Lindsay Lohan, John C. Reilly, Tommy Lee Jones and Kevin Kline, Keillor also stars in this behind-the-scenes look at the mayhem surrounding the folksy program's final broadcast.
For all the lovers of the radio program, this was a great movie. Even if it wasn't the real program and there were movie stars in it and a wandering lady angel--the music and the jokes were wonderful! I was greatly disappointed that the movie didn't include one of his wonderful, hysterically funny monolgue stories!
That is my very favorite part of his show! :(
I did watch the specials on the DVD and Garrison had control of a lot and much input. Besides the actors, the rest of the people were actually from the Prairie Home Companion program and they run like a well-oiled machine! Anyways, the movie starts and ends at Mickey's Diner! Cool! Wasn't that moved a few years back?
Anybody from Minneapolis know?
I also watched a silly movie--RV with Robin Williams.
Climbing aboard their mammoth RV for a cross-country road trip to the Colorado Rockies, the McNeive family -- led by dysfunctional patriarch Bob (Robin Williams) -- prepares for the adventure of a lifetime. But spending two weeks together in one seriously small space has a way of cramping their style. Jeff Daniels and Tony Award-winning actress Kristin Chenoweth co-star in director Barry Sonnenfeld's raucous vacation comedy.
Just what I expected it to be. I watched that first--after the many gritty hours of subtitles this weekend I needed something really light. It was.
It is dark here and not one trick or treater. I have only had a little group of three the first year I moved up here in 1999 at my old apartment in Moorhead, Minnesota. None since I moved to Fargo, either. Every year I say I will not buy candy again--but every year I do. I'd just hate to tell little kids at my door that I have no candy. But, year after year, they never arrive with their giggles, high voices, outstretched arms, and plastic pumpkins or pillowcases. Then guess who ends up eating it! *sigh*
If I am going to be really good about my new SparkPeople program, I should just bring the rest over to Dagan and Leah's for the Shaklee meeting tomorrow night, right? I think I will do that. If it is not here I can't eat it. One advantage to my only ordering food once a month. Silver lining I don't always appreciate, that's for sure. I don't have a lot each month to spend, either, so by the time I am ordering I am hungry for something fresh, variety, and comfort foods! Well, for everything! CashWise delivery day is exciting for more than just the noise of piles of plastic bags for Karma and Miss Gracie! :)
I do save the bags for recycling and give them back to the delivery person each month, BTW. Leah found that out, of course. She is so good about recycling! When I had a car, I used to donate them to thrift shops.
Well, I hope everybody has a nice Halloween and the kids aren't too cold here in the Midwest! It is 28 degrees as I am writing this. A snowsuit Halloween for the little ones up here, but the 3-5 inches of snow last night did miss us--was west and north of Fargo.
Have a good night!

Monday, October 30, 2006


Am excited!
I discovered a new website last night and have been spending as much time as possible at the computer since then!
I have been trying all year to eat healthier and maybe lose a little weight. I have been eating healthier than I had been, that's for sure--but I haven't lost a pound! I have been feeling kind of unmotivated and wishing for something to jumpstart me again. I think I have found it?
It is a free webiste for people who want to lose weight and/or be healthier or who have lost the weight and/or want to stay healthy. You can sign up for free, register your goals, track your food intake, join any of the many support groups or teams, make a webpage, put up photos, blog if you want to--all free. And this place seems to be really active! I guess it has been on the news, but I hadn't heard of it, of course--not being a news watcher--hehe!
What I love is that I can enter in everything I eat and it will keep track for the day--calories, carbs, fat, etc--automatically adds it all up and shows it right next to what your range for the day is supposed to be. You can follow their meal plans if you want to and enter in what your special needs or preferences are. There's even a weekly grocery list for you to print off if you do their meal plans--and you can make substitutions. Especially helpful if you need to watch your carbs or fats because of diabetes or high cholesterol--or if you are vegetarian, etc. There are articles to read and medical experts you can email with questions...can you tell I'm excited about finding Sparks? hehe!
Living alone--well, without human companionship, anyways--with more limited physical options, well, it's difficult to stay motivated. And it's especially difficult when I only order food once a month. Fresh foods are only good for a week or maybe two. I think I can find substitutions for later in the month when the fresh stuff is gone. And frozen can be an option, regardless--ha!
I was excited that they even had two fibro support groups, too! They have all age groups and a wide variety of interest groups (I found writers, crafters, cat lovers, women over 50, etc)--and you could start a new group if you wanted to, also. The site is pretty easy to navigate and seems very busy! I still have a lot of snooping to do!
I get up today and half awake I automatically grab a couple of Reese's sticks from the Halloween bowl for breakfast. (Not much around here at the end of the month.) I almost fell over when I found out those two little stick-bars were about a third of my calories for the day! Great start, eh? But it got my attention, that's for sure! I think I will remember tomorrow that I have to enter everything I eat, you think!?
I guess I will have to re-do my CashWise online order for the 3rd--hehe! The daily meal planner gave me lots of ideas as to what the options were that were in my range--just playing around with it. Three meals and snacks. I won't starve, that's for sure. Wheat crackers are a filling snack option. Actually making myself eat breakfast will probably help, too. My downfall would be the sweet cravings that drive me crazy!
Funny! My new friend Kathy (I met on Eons) and I were just emailing about Andrew Weil's book 8 Weeks To Optimum Health. We both have the book and were just discussing being support for each other and re-reading it together. In his program you work your way up over the weeks--a gradual lifestyle change.
In Sparks, you start out in the first phase, of course. They have you graduate up to more changes--and you have online support. Just what we were talking about! I started slow. Kind of have to--but this is the push I need to try to figure out some type of moderate exercise program that I can actually accomplish without putting myself out of commission afterwards. QiGong and walking probably. I'll probably have to commit to something by phase two I bet? whew!
So, this is what I am up to right now and will be settling into the coming week. I feel like the Universe just sent me exactly what I was wishing for!! :)

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Gracie gets interrupted while eating popcorn.

Gracie doesn't understand the bright flash and is on her way to her boyfriend for comfort.

I finished this book yesterday.

This was quite the autobiography! If you ever think you have it rough--there's always somebody who has it worse. Rhodes previously had won a Pulitzer Prize--so this is written by a man who can bring you back to his childhood with him. This was his 10th novel. I haven't read anything else by Rhodes--makes me want to search some out, even if they are not autobiographical.

Anyways, also now available at www.bookcrossing.com (under soulcomfort). If anyone is interested in my TBR books (to be read) just let me know and I'll move them to the top of my stack. I'd love to do some book trading!

The guy worked on my window and the windows directly below me until 5:30pm on Friday. Spent a long time up here. Even took off some of the pieces of the eves and nailed them back on? This whole procedure really freaked out Miss Karma. She spent all of Friday in the kitchen or the hallway watching the shadows on the blinds--and waiting for them after he left. I don't think she came into the living room with me until around midnight!

Miss Gracie, on the other hand, didn't seem the least bothered by it all. She was the one I thought would be scared of the shadows and pounding--nope! Karma--still jumpy yesterday! Me--it was a bit disconcerting--just because I'm not used to something outside my third floor window. I wonder if he finished or if he'll be back on Monday?

All the pounding stirred up old dust, I think. I have been sneezing and my nose has been running since Friday. It's a little late for hayfever season, isn't it? I have that reaction to old dusty places--garages, attics, basements, old bookstores, etc. My eyes burn, too. So, that is what I have been dealing with all weekend. Seems better today? (Knock on wood.)

Yesterday I washed clothes and watched disc two and disc three of The Decalogue (1987)--the moody series by the Polish director:

Krzysztof Kieslowski's award-winning cinematic masterpiece is a riveting, profound work of supreme daring and imagination. Using one of the Ten Commandments as a thematic springboard for each film in this collection, Kieslowski bucks the trend of action-based or psychological filmmaking, exploring the lives of ordinary people flailing through inner torments, hard decisions and shattering revelations.

I had watched the first disc quite a while ago--finally got the rest of it. Had to be in the mood, I guess (hours of subtitles--dark, gritty looking films). I honestly couldn't tell which one of the commandments he was referring to in any of them except maybe one--no lie! There were usually multiple sins--hehe! That kind of distracted me when I watched the first disc--trying to figure out which one was mainly which commandment. I gave up. Just watching them each as a story--they were interesting enough in themselves and some had interesting twists at the ends. You get to view a slice of life in modern Poland, too.

Well, got an extra hour of sleep today with Daylight Savings Time "falling back". (Thanks for reminding me, Mary Lou!)

Monday tomorrow already. Hope everyone has a good week!

Friday, October 27, 2006


Gracie deserves some face time, I guess. She kind of gets the shaft when it comes to pictures. She's a lot harder to get a good picture of, actually. I'll try harder. Get her used to the camera.
I finished By The Light Of The Moon by Dean Koontz. It seemed like a pilot for a TV series--the entire set up and then you're left to fill in the future episodes. Quite the premise--I was going to tell you more but, in case you want to read it, I'll leave it alone. He's a good writer. Grabs you from the very beginning and keeps you wondering what is going to happen. As I indicated, the ending is far from a conclusion, but it is satisfying enough at tying up all the loose ends. This one is available now on www.bookcrossing.com (soulcomfort).
Any of you readers out there who are interested in trading books or passing them on to others to read--check out that website! :)
As I am writing the man is outside my window on a floating platform contraption pounding on the living room window frames. I have the shades drawn. This is not bothering Gracie, for some reason--but is really freaking Karma out. I am going to go keep her company.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Here's the tank looking better!

I've been reading this book--which will then be available at www.bookcrossing.com (soulcomfort). I don't know what it is listed under--horror, mystery, sci-fi? Strange, creepy--but with a bit of humor. I haven't read much by Koontz. I'll wait till I finish this to see if I like him a lot or not--can't imagine how he is going to wrap this up?
Well, goes to show you what four days of cleaning does to me--I was so totally, thoroughly exhausted that I laid down at 7:30pm and didn't get up until 12:30 this afternoon! I couldn't sleep--tossed and turned--dozed briefly and jerked awake--until about 3am. I was too tired to get out of bed and too sore to sleep--even with pain pills. Finally did fall asleep pretty well around 3am. I was hunched and hobbling about yesterday when Caroline came to clean--and I am the same today. Feel like I've been hit by a truck--hehe!
I do feel a little better today and I'll feel a little better tomorrow. :)
I can sit and gaze into the aquarium and look at Gracie's cage with a big grin!
My body is paying the price--but my spirits are flying!! :):)
Big internal sign of relief to be done with those two projects!
Was sooo worth it. :)
I had to pass on visiting with Maria last night tho. :(
No way was I up to company. Could hardly keep my eyes open--obviously. Next week we can have a good visit.
I am off to watch Netflix movies.
Definitely a noodle day today.
A one spoon day today-hehe!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Hard to take a photo of this, but this is the back of the tank from an aerial view. See how this acrylic tank has bowed!! Another design flaw. Kind of scary. Made me nervous about scrubbing hard on the back side of the tank. I'll just get more algae and my arm and back were really tired after three sides, so (confession) I left the back pretty much alone.
This is the Python! I'd be lost without it since I can't carry buckets with my bad arm like I did in the old days. It attaches to the faucet on my kitchen sink--you can suck water out to clean the gravel and send clean water back into the tank. You can buy the Pythons in different lengths. I was lucky I have a hole in the wall--hehe! Saved me some money. :)
Karma loves to watch the yucky stuff scoot along the hose and up into the kitchen! She remembered the hose from last time and got all spazzy excited when I unfurled it--chuckle!

After an hour or so of emptying and refilling the tank (twice) to clean that gravel as well as I could, Karma had gotten quite comfy and parked herself for observation. Exhausted from running back and forth along the length of the hose chasing pieces of dead plants and fish crud.
This is how the suction is created to draw the water out of the tank. The nozzle contraption gets plugged with debris, loses suction, and has to be cleared out every so often. I think I had to do that three times during the process. When you want to fill the tank back up you get the water to the temperature you want it and twist the very bottom piece upward to stop the water flow into the sink.
Here's the hood when the pump is working. Since it is all black it was hard for me to get a picture of how close the water comes to the top edge on the back of the tank--but, trust me, it is pretty close.
I did discover a smaller hole higher up in the corner under the swivel top piece of the hood (to use instead of the larger hole you can see above the blue back of the tank). I fiddled around until I figured out how to remove that entire section of the hood so that I could run all the cords up thru that high corner hole. Luckily, I figured out how to get the top piece back on--haha! Now, maybe that will keep the cords from dripping water?? I sure hope so!!
This is the tank after it was filled. So many bubbles all over the sides that you can barely see into the tank and the water is a bit milky colored. This is normal. I'll take a picture after it clears up--takes about a day.
I was so exhausted and sore (especially from bending over the tank and scrubbing) and I hadn't gotten much sleep the night before--I was in bed by 10pm. Slept till 3:30am and couldn't get back to sleep. Took a couple more pain pills (glad I now know it is okay to take two at a time--and up to eight a day--hurray!), watched some stuff on tape in the bedroom, took a shower, and here I am in the living room with one light on in the dark trying not to annoy Gracie too much. She is FAR from ready to wake up. The tank probably looks much better by now, but the fish are zonked out, too.
Karma is up with me. She's parked in one of the chairs by the living room window watching the early birds go off to work, I guess. Cat TV.
I may be sore, drained, and tired--but my spirits are lifted! I am soooo glad to have the yearly cleaning projects done! Feels soooo good! They are much bigger projects for me to accomplish than they used to be now that my life has down shifted into low gear--hehe! But they are just as satisfying when they are completed! :)
Caroline comes this afternoon, so the place will be all spiffed up! :):) Right now I am going to go watch some stuff on tape here in the living room. Won't be too long and the sun should peek out? Me and my unpredictable hours--I might try to doze off in my chair...

Monday, October 23, 2006


Here's the new spot for the philodendron.
Here's the new spot for the asparagus fern.
I did clean a little bit last night. Scrubbed slate, the heater, and the pump.
Scrubbed down the hood.
This is the inside of the hood.The pump fits down into the big hole by Karma's head. Water is rushed across the rectangular space next to the hole (where the filter is supposed to be) and then there's a cylinder that fits in the section after that--it spins--and the water comes out the two little shutes you see sticking out below.
Just as I thought--I found nothing adjustable whatsoever on the pump to deal with the force of the water flow. Zip. Nada.
So, I am off right now to finish cleaning the tank. :)

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Here's the dirty, algae laden tank.
You can see the tube on the left hand side that is too long.
First I had to fill buckets with water from the tank so I could remove the plants and fish.
If you can see past the algae, you can see how the end of the filter sits half way buried in the gravel--preventing it from working efficiently. And you need a couple inches of gravel if you have live plants, so I consider that to be a design flaw.
That is the tube I had Dagan and Leah cut down to half the length last night.

Here's the plants and fish in the "fish only" buckets--not that you can see any of the few fish I have because they hide.
And here's the empty dirty tank. That's the submersible heater that you see in the middle of the tank. I needed to remove the live plants so I can clean the gravel decently for once! That's as far as I got yesterday.

I was so sore and hobbly yesterday I took the last three Tylenol PMs I had last night. I crashed from 1am till 3pm!! Ahhhh!!! So, I am feeling rested--just working up to moving my stiff body to hook up the Python and start cleaning the gravel. (Might have to wait till tomorrow?) I have to remove the hood & clean that--and scrub down the sides of the tank to remove the algae, or as much as I can get off. I know the tank isn't in the best spot--near the window--but I only had so many choices. I bought the aquarium shortly after I moved in here--it was a huge treat to myself with my backpay from Social Security.
I thought this new Eclipse filter in the hood system would be great--it isn't. I have had repeated problems with leaking! After the tube is shortened and the system is working faster again--I have to watch that it doesn't overflow on the backside of the tank--again. I haven't even been able to put the filters in there at all because of that problem! I have to look closely when I have the hood all apart and see if there's a way to slow down the flow manually?
Plus--I have had problems with water sliding and dripping down the electric cords!! It was already doing that--again! I discovered the dripping when I went to unplug the cords yesterday!! That is downright dangerous!! And the leakage has absolutely ruined the cabinet the tank sits on. Water ran down inside the cabinet, too, when the filter overflowed. What a mess!
So--I will clean it well, look for a way to slow the water flow down, and try it out one more time. But, from previous experience, I am fully expecting that my fish might have to live without the filter turned on at all--because even if I get the flow slowed down so the filter area doesn't overflow, there's still the dripping electric cord problem! I have a lot of live plants and few fish--so they'd be okay. And they went without a heater until this last spring when I could afford one. This sucks, tho!! There is going to be a terrible mark on the carpet when I move, too!! I have had fish since I was 9 or 10 years old and have never had leaking problems like this!
I am totally disappointed with this Eclipse system and wouldn't recommend it to anybody! In my past I have spent years working in pet shops as a clerk and as an assistant manager--and I would not recommend these tanks! I haven't checked into it yet, but I am not sure you can use any other type of hood on these acrylic tanks, either? The Eclipse hoods slide right over the top edge of the tank. I'll take pictures to show you when I get that far. :)
Last night Dagan and Leah moved things to the garage, cut the tube for me, and put up a couple of ceiling hooks for the plants. They ordered Chinese!! What a treat for me! I have leftovers to eat today, too. Thank you, guys! Especially appreciated when I am not moving around so well today--don't have to cook! :):)
Anyways, my timer hasn't even gone off, but I am outta here. So, I think I will have to take today off and work on the tank Monday--rest up a bit--let the muscle inflammation die down. But--it will look so nice when I am all finished and the fish will be happy!! :)

Saturday, October 21, 2006


I spent the entire day working on cleaning Miss Gracie's cage--the complete overhaul type of cleaning! This job was way overdue and I am thrilled it is finally done!

The trays and grates removed and spiffed up. All the toys!! Cleaned and drying. Perches and cuttlebones.
Wiping down every single bar from the inside and the outside and getting every nook and cranny clean--reassembling and picking some new toys (I like to change things around and rock her world a little, but I can't have it too different or it would freak her out)--took me till 12:30am! Gracie was sleeping in the bedroom on her playpen. When I got the cage together and brought her out to see her newly remodeled home--she could have cared less! She was tired and cranky and just wanted me to cover her up and let her go back to sleep.
So, I took these when she got up today and was in a better mood. All clean!!!
I am trying a flexible perch on the outside to see if Gracie would ever use it to go inside on her own. She doesn't seem to be inclined to ever go back inside once she's out for the day. May be a dumb idea and just another spot to drop poop, but I thought I'd see what she does. She might not go near it! (Notice fan ready to go to garage today.)
There's a different mirror on the top of the cage and it caused Gracie to hesitate for a minute until she recognized that mirror from last time I did a big cleaning job. Gracie runs up the ladder to greet her boyfriend and sing sweetly to him when she comes out of the cage every day.
She was really giving him the once over today!!
I thought she was going to touch her eye on the mirror!!
And now--I am hobbling off to clean the aquarium. Pictures tomorrow--hehe!

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Last night I watched a special on PBS--Bill Moyers on America--about the Internet. This is what I gleaned from the program. I had no idea that we in the United States are dropping like a rock in the global Tech World! The telephone companies collected billions of dollars in the 90s promising to get us connected into the fast lane on the Internet highway (fiber optics) and so far have done absolutely nothing. Cable companies are using copper wire cables that are currently on the ancient list. Their excuses are that it would be too expensive to replace all the exisiting cables and install fiber optics--but they have made promises, collected money, and done nothing. "Took the money and ran." And they have tried to stop the few towns who have decided to build their own fiber optic networks for telephone and cable television. (I think the example they had was in Lafayette, Tennessee? Check with http://www.pbs.org/moyers/moyersonamerica/index.html. Can even watch the entire show from the website and get the information first hand instead of second hand from an old lady in Fargo--hehe!) The telephone and cable companies sued the town, delaying construction, and costing the town a lot of money--but some, like Lafayette, have finally been able to proceed. And they are going to be way ahead of the rest of us!

The telephone and cable companies are lobbying to get laws passed that will enable them to give the good fast new service to companies that can pay additional high fees to get it. There would be a fast lane and a slow lane--and only the people with the money would get the fast lane. That would push the smaller businesses out and make it difficult for anybody to access smaller websites--even blogs like this one, etc. The Internet's level playing field would not exist anymore in the United States. We wouldn't have the home start ups happening again like Yahoo, Google, and EBay in our future---but other countries with equal fiber optic access, everyone there will have that democratic opportunity (like Japan).

They explained that the difference is not like the difference between dial-up speed and broadband speed. It would be the difference between a download that would take 85 years (current dial-up) vs. 45 seconds (fiber optic)!! They said that we have not had this level of problem in the United States since the days of the robber barons and monopolies of the 1900s. The government broke up the monopolies/favoritism back then to assure equality. The telephone and cable companies are trying to push this legislation through congress before we are made fully aware of it--the program mentioned that we should be worried about the next session, but I missed when that was? Obviously I don't follow politics closely.

Maybe many of you already know all about this, but it was all news to me! It was an eye-opening experience for me! All the little people who dream of starting up an Internet company or putting their small company on the Internet--those dreams would be crushed! You'd have to move to Japan or Lafayette or one of the other countries that are eons ahead of us. Makes you wonder if maybe there's more to why these big corporations have been making the move to outsource to these other countries in recent years than we might have ever imagined? Maybe there's a premptive Internet access reason for them to move those calling centers??

That's my rant for today.

On a lighter note--watched the Louis Anderson:Live at The Guthrie (1989) last night:

Comedian Louie Anderson serves up hilarious commentary about his oddball family and wacky childhood memories in this hourlong stand-up performance. Anderson's gut-busting jokes take aim at his redneck father, gabby mother, whiny younger brother and life's little absurdities, keeping the audience in stitches throughout the show. Comedy Central named the portly funnyman one of the 100 Greatest Stand-Up Comedians of All Time.

Many of us from Minnesota were able to watch this special on PBS. I didn't realize that the special was a deal struck between Louis and local Twin Cities PBS. The special was only shown on PBS in the Twin Cities for their funding promotions, but Loius retained the rights to sell it to cable. He sold it to ShowTime--and after that HBO did two of their own HBO specials with him.

Louis is a Minnesota boy and I love his type of humor. I learned the previous information from listening to the commentary he made for the DVD. This was his favorite performance--before the fame came. He said he was 34 years old and didn't know how to dress. I laughed and laughed watching it!

Then I watched an independent film made by brothers called The Puffy Chair:

When Josh (Mark Duplass, whose brother Jay directs) finds the perfect birthday present for his father, he decides to deliver it in person. But with his high-maintenance girlfriend Emily (Kathryn Aselton) and granola brother Rhett (Rhett Wilkins) along for the ride, Josh's simple road trip turns into a much bigger journey than anyone anticipated. This indie romantic dramedy was an audience favorite at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.

Definitely an odd, yet entertaining little film. They had a raw documentary style--trying to be ultra realistic, I guess. Slow moving, younger actors, often roaming camera work, and the humor came across better for me than the seriousness they tried to portray. I watched some of the extras--deleted scenes, promotional videos, shorts they had also made, etc. I wonder what they will accomplish in time??

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


This is the cutest pumpkin. It's outside the door of an apartment just down from me. We aren't supposed to have anything outside our doors on the floor--not even a mat--so I wonder if they'll let them keep the pumpkin out there? They have so far. It's been there close to a week, I think. They have informed us that they can remove anything left outside on the floor and charge us for the removal. I hope it stays till Halloween.
Hansel and Gretel got so carried away a few days ago that there were more small papers than ever before! The shredded paper and pieces of a cookie package from the vending machine downstairs had trailed the entire length of the hallway and even down the stairwell? This afternoon when I went down to get my mail there was a notice posted from the office about the "high volume of shredded garbage being found throughout the hallways and stairs"--also asking people not to place their garbage on their balconies because the wind blows the trash out onto the yard. So, Hansel and Gretel have been warned. Wonder if it will do any good--or just inspire them?
I have never been able to figure out why people are not appreciative of the gift and favor of being able to live in low income apartments? Dagan and I lived in them a couple of times when he was little and saw the same kind of disrespect and vandalism. I just don't understand it--never have. And it's not just an apartment living problem. I have lived in apartments most of my adult life and, yes, people can be messy and noisy--but almost all the actual vandalism I have seen has been in low income apartments. Even the very cheapest regular apartments I lived in didn't ever have the abuse given them that these low income units get. ??
It has always made me think that the residents feel ashamed to be here--that probably their own self-hatred comes out in this destructive manner. ?? They had four large stuffed chairs down on the main floor when I moved in here (and the building was only a couple of years old at that time) and one of them had a broken back. That one was repeatedly abused until the top edge of the back sagged so badly into a V that they finally had to remove it altogether--and they often pull the remaining three (one of which I think has a broken back now, too) all over the foyer down there.
There used to be vases and baskets of fake flowers on the tables in the entryway and hallways. They were repeatedly torn apart and thrown on the ground--till they were finally removed. Somebody placed an ugly old Christmas vase on our table up here outside the elevator and they have basically left it alone. They've twisted the wire ribbon up several times, but I haven't seen it on the floor--yet.
They have stolen and destroyed things people have hung outside their doors. (Glad nobody wants my flower painting-hehe!) I have found the pumpkin in the middle of the hallway already once. (Thank God they didn't smash it! Knock on wood!)
Two different end/corner garages have been driven into and smashed in--dreadfully! The people couldn't use their garages for many, many months until they finally repaired them. Looked awful--the worst one was right as you drove in behind our building.
There's always trash blowing about in the yard and parking lot. Trash is scattered across the field that they're grating behind the far garages. Some of that comes out of the dumpster--from the people who do not close up their trash bags like they are supposed to. Not a rule to take lightly up here with the North Dakota winds! People do set their smelly trash bags and muddy shoes/boots outside in the hallways at night--I know because I am usually up late and often walking down to slip movies in the out box in the middle of the night.
But--me--I am so grateful to be here!! I love it, to be honest. I have an elevator for my bad knees and that allows me to move things myself with my cart. I rent a washer and dryer to make my life easier--right in my own apartment. I have made an enclosed porch out of my balcony and they allowed me to do that! I love the huge windows (grateful mine aren't leakers, as I recently discovered) and all the light I get here. I have a pantry, a storage area on my floor, and a garage (which I was allowed for storage even tho I don't have a car!). All the appliances are newer. Anything I have needed repaired they have responded to quickly. They even replace the long flourescent light bulbs in the kitchen if they go out!
Maybe it is because the majority of the residents are young couples with children? Maybe they are so filled up with unfulfilled dreams and are more resentful of the crushing they are enduring? I don't know. It has always puzzled me. But then--people often puzzle me. I have often been overwhelmed with this desire to just put my arms around people to hold them and comfort them--to let them know that things aren't so bad--they are okay--God/The Universe loves them--don't be so afraid/angry--material things aren't as important as they think they are.....it is like being able to feel the internal wounds of others. I spent years trying not to feel them--to feel their pain. I have tried to surround myself with protection--and it works pretty well. (It was often overwhelming when I was young--and I felt it off animals, too.) But I feel the pain as I walk down to the mailbox at 3am and see they've started carving on the walls by the elevator buttons and on the elevator door. For a moment it fills me with a sadness....a hurt.
Anyways, not to leave on a dark note today. I have to find places for plants before Saturday. The hangin plant that was behind the porch chair outside is now inside in the corner by the porch door.
The philodendron that was in that corner spot is now waiting on top of a bookcase in the living room.

The spider plant from the porch is now hanging in the bedroom in front of the window.

And the asparagus fern that had been in that spot is now waiting--draped over it's relative--on top of one of the dressers in the bedroom. It doesn't look as happy as the philodendron. Doesn't get any light there.

Maria made it over last night!! It was so good to see her. Maria always lifts my spirits. Since her young son has practice (I forget what sport), she will come again next Tuesday night for a short visit. A short visit is better than no visit at all, right?! She's always so busy. Maria is a shining, sensitive soul!

Well, I am going back to work on a secret project for Dagan and Leah for Christmas. Can't say anything about it or put pictures up till after Christmas, of course. They rarely ever read my blog (they are too busy and tell me they hear everything, anyways), but they do occasionally peek at it. You are the most boring to those closest to you, I guess--chuckle! I am just chatty Mom to them! They have already heard most of my stories over the years, too, so they aren't too interested in reading them, either. The chatty mother syndrome put me in mind of Louie Anderson a couple of days ago--I got one of his specials from Netflix to watch today! :)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Been puttering and taking it easy the past couple of days. Dark, rainy, chilly days--good sleeping weather. And--amazing--I have been sleeping at night and up in the mornings before noon for the past couple days! Actually up at 7am on Monday!! This fact has thrown me off of my normal schedule--hehe! Has thrown off the critters, too. :)

Dagan stopped by over lunch today. I needed help getting more room on the computer. He knew right what to do of course. :) Always nice to see him. This is the first time he's seen the porch chair inside the apartment--and it is so much more comfortable to sit in. He and Leah are coming on Saturday to help me with a few things. One of which is to take the gold chair out to the garage.

Tonight my former Spanish teacher, Maria, from Concordia is supposed to come for a short visit! I haven't seen her for sooo long and she is such good company!! I hope she can find the place easily with my directions because our time is limited. :)

As I am writing this I am watching James Spader on the Ellen show. I have always found him absolutely fascinating and he cracks me up! I think he's sexy, too--young, older, thin, heavier--doesn't matter. He is the reason I watch Boston Legal. He has a strange, warped sense of humor. Kind of like Christopher Walken--who I also love to watch and fell in love with when I watched The Deerhunter (but don't find sexy) and wish he was pickier in the movies he chooses, but he just does movies for fun and profit, I think. They both take such delight in making fun of themselves and what they do, I guess--like they are laughing at private jokes all the time. Just tickles me. He was telling Ellen that he and William Shatner are dressed up as women in their Halloween show. James thought he made a pretty looking woman--and added that was really more important to him than an Emmy, with a raised eyebrow and a smile. Cracks me up!

Last night I watched Secrets and Lies:

A family confronts shocking secrets and long-forgotten lies in this bittersweet drama. With no man in her life, single mom Cynthia (Brenda Blethyn) finds life with her sullen daughter, Roxanne (Claire Rushbrook), one big disappointment. But everything changes when Hortense (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) shows up claiming to be the daughter Cynthia gave up for adoption -- a revelation that shakes Cynthia's entire family. Timothy Spall also stars.

It was really good and didn't make the situation overly sentimental at all--very realistic. I loved Marianne Jean-Batiste's performance. She is so excellent with the constrained emotional response--very subtle actress. She's the black actress currently on Without A Trace. Brenda Blethyn played a very distressed, whiny lady in this one--she's always good in any role, I think.

Saturday I watched The Grapes of Wrath from 1940--they had little for a description on this one:

Based on Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1939 novel, Grapes follows the Joad family's exodus from the Oklahoma Dustbowl to California's fruit harvest.

It was wonderful--still! I don't think I had ever read the book before, or if I did I forgot. They did change a few things and skipped a lot from the book. The Joads came across as nicer than they actually were in the book--more sanitized, I guess. In the book the pregnant daughter was whinier, the kids (especially the younger daughter) were not quiet little angels, and the grandma and grandpa were a quarreling twosome. The movie focused mainly on the relationship between the mother and son (Henry Fonda). There was so much more in the book, of course--but it is still an excellent movie. :)

Possible snow flurries tonight. No snow on the ground at present.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Ah! Another beautiful white baby mushroom! I saved this new one (on the top) in the frig.

Last time I used Banchu tea and natural turbinado sugar. And did the tea ever taste good this time!! Didn't even have the bite to it that makes me pucker. It's actually delicious! I drank twice as much when I got up today.
I had already put together the tea for this week. I used the Banchu tea and brown sugar this time, so we'll see how that turns out next Friday?

The last two days I read Rosie's book. She's one of those people that you either like her or you don't. I like her. I don't agree with her all the time, but I admire her struggle to just be herself within the craziness of fame. She's just is--take her or leave her. Those are my favorite people--public or private people. (Why I always liked Bette Davis, Katherine Hepburn, Jimmy Stewart--and Oprah, Drew Barrymore...I have an odd list--hehe!) I don't have to agree with them--but I like people who are true to themselves. Of course, just like most of the rest of the world, I tend to like people who think at least partially like I do, better than those who don't--hehe! Just like openess and honesty.

Rosie also has a generosity of soul and a childlike joy that I find refreshing--and she will admit her faults and when she is wrong. To those of you who can't stand her--fine--just don't write to me about it, please. We won't change each other's opinions, anyways.

If my opinion is changed, it will be changed by Rosie. Kind of like Mel Gibson--I used to like him when he was younger, before he got preachy. His recent drunk & nasty--showing his true colors, as they say--was the final straw for me with Mel. He's been on an escalating ego trip for years and he'd have to exhibit a whole lot of genuine humility for a good long time for me to believe he's changed, I guess. Not that he couldn't, of course.

Anyways, for those of you who like Rosie--it's an interesting book. Let's you get a peek into her heart and soul. If you'd like to read it--you can contact me at www.bookcrossing.com --my bookcrossing name is soulcomfort. :)

I watched some movies last night.

The Italian Job (2003):

Charlie Croker (Mark Walhberg) leads a gang that manages to pull off a major heist and steal a carload of gold stashed in a safe that they've stolen from Charlie's former crony (Ed Norton), who filched it from Charlie in the first place. But can they get away with the heist -- for good? Charlize Theron, Seth Green and Donald Sutherland co-star.

and Heavenly Creatures:

From the director of the Lord of the Rings comes a chilling true-life drama about an obsessive friendship that led to murder. In 1950s New Zealand, introvert Pauline (Melanie Lynskey) befriends self-confident Juliet (Kate Winslet, in her film debut); soon, the two are inseparable, retreating to an imaginary world. Their relationship intensifies in the face of opposition from their families ... opposition that ultimately has bloody consequences.

I thought I had seen the old Italian Job from years ago, but after seeing this version I wasn't sure. I will probably have to see if they have the old movie at Netflix. I don't think this version was meant to be a "remake"--seemed more like it was "based on", you know? But it was good! So many good actors! Fast moving--and the action keeps going till the very end. Oddly, you realize that you are actually just siding with one set of thieves over another-ha! :)

Heavenly Creatures was a very strange movie. It says that it was actually based on a true story. In the beginning it said that the movie was based on the actual diaries of Pauline--one of the two girls in the story--and at the end it tells you what happened to them (arrested, sentenced, etc). The story was quite an odd one--that gradually got creepier and creepier! These two young girls became kind of addicted to each other's company and they hinted at a lesbian connection. It was set between 1952-4, I think, in New Zealand. Pauline and Juliet were both lonely, unhappy girls who had medical issues and were outsiders in school. The parents were trying to split the girls up and the girls concocted the idea to murder Pauline's mother who wouldn't give parental permission for a passport--apparently so that Pauline could run away with Juliet to Hollywood. How they figured that killing one parent would assure her father of signing for a passport, I don't know--but teenagers have strange logic sometimes and these two were extra weird to begin with. Pauline's diaries convicted the both of them. They both lived in this fantasy world half the time--a world they were writing in a novel--with characters they made out of clay--all very strange, but very well done. The girl who played Pauline now plays Rose, the obsessive neighbor of Charlie Harper on 2 1/2 Men. And this was Kate Winslet's first film, too.

I have The Grapes of Wrath to watch today!!

And I am washing clothes and have to go fold... :)

Friday, October 13, 2006


This is the new setup in the living room. The gold chair will be moved to the garage, but for now--Karma thinks I have placed it there strictly so she can have a more comfortable spot to be near me while I am at the computer.

I sometimes put Gracie on her playpen in the bedroom and shut the door. Gracie likes the change of scenery, looking out the bedroom window, and the peace and quiet, I think. Karma often sits outside the door when Gracie is relaxing in there. Karma fell asleep outside in the hallway. I am not sure that she actually misses Gracie--I think the main fascination comes from being shut out.

She looks so funny the way she likes to curl up her feet.

I watched a movie tonight about Bobby Darin--Beyond The Sea:

Kevin Spacey directs and stars in this film biography of singer Bobby Darin, a hipster in the Frank Sinatra mold and singer of pop hits such as "Splish Splash" and the titular tune. Darin eventually moved on to performing jazz standards that culminated in his signature gigantic hit, "Mack the Knife." Kate Bosworth plays Darin's wife, the movie star Sandra Dee. John Goodman, Bob Hoskins and Brenda Blethyn co-star.

It was done in a part factual and part musical/fantasy portrayal--which seems fitting for Bobby Darin. I remember all the problems Bobby had with knowing who he was and who the people really were in his life. To me--he did seem to use his career as a sort of escape from reality. I am amazed at how well Kevin Spacey can sing!! I honestly couldn't tell when it was Kevin and when it was Bobby!! You can tell that Kevin Spacey really admired Bobby Darin and this film was a loving homage.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


What a surprise! I got this beautiful angel from my friend, Bonnie, in Hibbing--(and a set of six plastic tumblers!) She is the Angel of Good Health and is supposed to bring me an abundance of health and happiness! She is now residing on top of my writing bookcase where I can see her every time I am sitting at this computer. :)
Thank you so much, Bonnie!!!
Last night Karma was so enthralled with the porch chair being inside that she never left it for over four hours!

She is always so fascinated with any changes to her world!

She finally got hungry.

Leah's Shaklee order came today and she stopped by briefly to pick it up this afternoon--and picked up a gallon of milk for me, too. (Thanks, Leah!!) She does the cigarette run (filling the machines) for her second job on Thursday nights lately--besides working/being on call every other weekend for that job. She took off from her office job today--she and Dagan are still trying to be ready for their booth at Valley Con this weekend. It's no wonder she's so tired all the time--she is always go-go-going. I guess she feels she's had more energy since being on the Shaklee, tho.

I'll be waiting to hear how some of the new items work for her. She got the dishwasher soap, hair products, and some facial products, too! How exciting! She has problems with being allergic or having irritation with many products, so this will be a good test.

There is still some snow on the ground, but quite a bit of it has melted--or evaporated in the strong winds is more likely! We have a wind advisory today. It was a night to put the heat on last night, finally. And a good day today to be inside and warm.

I'm not good at remembering to eat breakfast. Now I am eating my 1/4 cup of Fiber Crunch with milk in a little dessert bowl when I wake up--trying it as my "cereal" breakfast. I am amazed that it doesn't taste bad (kind of like small harder rice crispies) and at how filling it is! You can sprinkle it over cereal or other foods, but I am just chewing it down with milk.

Tomorrow is the day I check my mushroom tea in the pantry. I haven't looked at it for a couple of days, but it had been growing another baby on top and looked okay?? I'll sure be downing some strange stuff in the mornings: my protein & prebiotic powder shake, all my supplements, my Fiber Crunch cereal bowl, and a glass of kombucha mushroom tea--oh, and my coffee, of course. Used to be just the black coffee.

AHA!!! I just thought--maybe I should switch the Fiber Crunch cereal to late at night when I get hungry and probably shouldn't be eating. Since it is so filling--might work? Hummm??? I might try that tomorrow??

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


It's way too early in the year for snow!
This is what has come down in the past hour!

I actually took the cushioned chair and ottoman from the porch inside the apartment--and the two endtables. I want to move the gold chair to the garage for the winter, but I'll need Dagan and Leah to help me with it. We can set it on the little green cart, I think, and roll it out. The gold chair is not the most comfortable to sit in or to get out of. The porch chair is way more comfortable, actually, so why not have another chair inside that I will actually want to sit in, right? It will be much more comfortable for company, too. :)

Already snow accumulating on the porch railing--and Karma had to go out and lick some snow off the carpet, of course. Funny how when the snow hits the carpet you can see where the boards lie under the carpeting.

I finished reading The Grapes of Wrath today and it makes me want to order the movie from Netflix. When I get done blogging here I am going to go see if they have it.

Yesterday was a movie day for me. I watched Click:

Workaholic architect Michael Newman (Adam Sandler) stumbles on a universal remote control that allows him to pause events in his life or fast-forward through them. But things get really bizarre when the gadget develops a mind of its own and takes control of Michael's viewing choices, causing him to see how much of his family life he's sacrificed for his career. Christopher Walken and Kate Beckinsale co-star in this high-concept comedy.

And The Notorious Bettie Page:

Although she longed to be an actress, an unassuming girl from Nashville, Tenn., would ultimately become the nation's first bona fide bondage queen. Provocative filmmaker Mary Harron delivers an intimate biopic about 1950s pinup girl Bettie Page (Gretchen Mol), who whetted many a male appetite with her raven locks and sadomasochistic poses before becoming the target of a U.S. Senate investigation and converting to Christianity.

Click was a typical Adam Sandler movie for me. There are always aspects that I can barely tolerate (fart jokes, dogs humping stuffed animals--Adam's type of really off-color, juvenile humor), but there's also a touching aspect with a moral in the end--if you can get thru the rest of the movie. It was okay, I guess--an Adam Sandler movie. Had a good message in the end. But with his movies I do find myself wondering if the end justifies the means, you know?

I had heard of Bettie Page and seen some of her pin-up shots, but didn't know a lot about her. The movie was well-done and the nudity was appropriate, naturally, for her pin-up life. I think Gretchen Mol really captured her odd combination of innocence and sexiness. The movie showed how she kind of fell into modeling and what her young life was like. You could see how she felt she was posing in "costumes" to get by while she pursued her acting career--basically, no one knew much about bondage in that time period--especially Bettie! There's some nudity, but it is not a racy movie, by any means. Has more of a documentary flavor. I thought it was very interesting and done tastefully--or as tastefully as you can do a pin-up model's life story--ha!

Well, stay warm! I feel like I should be hearing Christmas carols!!

Monday, October 09, 2006


Okay--here's the silly scrapbook pages I was playing with. I not only feel like a kid while I am cutting and pasting--but it really looks like a kid did this--hehe! Doesn't matter--it is just plain fun and relaxing to do. :)

This morning I moved everything out of the porch. I nailed down the far end of the carpet so, hopefully, it won't keep buckling up in the wind. I had to do the front end by the door right away--almost couldn't get the door open the day after we laid it out there because the wind flipped it up. The far end has kept flipping and buckling, even with the furniture on it! I hope the wind doesn't rip thru the smaller nail heads, but that was all I had. They have held on the end by the door--but then there was all that give on the other end--ha! I have battened down the hatches for the winter--hehe! We'll see how well it holds over the violence of the North Dakota winter winds.

Before shot.

After shots.

This is the cleanest the porch has been since we put the carpeting down! I vacuumed every inch of the carpet and got everything back out there and wiped down. Dagan stopped by after he had lunch with Leah this afternoon and he helped me get the hanging plants in the apartment. Looks pretty barren without them and the little bird cage, but it is supposed to get really cold and now I don't have to worry about killing the poor plants.

Dagan and Leah went to the wedding and took some pictures for me. I wish I could have gone, but I am glad I stayed home. I don't think I would have handled the trip very well yet. I really slept this weekend, too--10.5 hours on Friday night and 11 hours on Saturday night! I am hoping to make it down sometime this winter--Dagan has his yearly heart check-up in Minneapolis sometime soon.

Last night I didn't get much sleep because I got up early for the fixing of the windows. I decided to call the office this afternoon and find out if they were really coming today. Come to find out--they will be working here for maybe a month! First they are working on the outside of the building on all the livingroom windows. Then they will be coming inside to each apartment--and they will be starting on the first floor she thought. So, who knows when they will finally make it to the inside of my place? But--they told her that we don't have to have everything pulled away from the livingroom windows for them like she thought, so it won't matter so much when they come if I don't have to worry about that part of it. I'll just keep my robe handy in case I am still sleeping when they come knockling on my door. Odds are I won't see them for a week or two. They did start on our building first and not the other one. I would imagine they will do the complete outside of both buildings first, if it's been getting so cold out. Get that over with, you know? But, I am not going to worry about it now. She said they will move any furniture that needs to be moved, so I am good. :)

I'm glad we got the plants in. It is supposed to get down to 33 degrees tonight!

Stay warm!