Sunday, December 30, 2007


Here are pictures Leah took before they left for their vacation to Canada over New Years. The first picture is a straight-on shot of the lot with the trailer and workmen's vehicles. After that are the shots from left to right.

They are finally framing! TaDa!!!
How do they manage this in the middle of the winter?
Anyways, I am sure there will be more pictures sometime after Dagan and Leah get home January 2nd.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


Yestrday I received a Christmas card from Barbara in California (from the Chinese Brush Painting Yahoo group) and inside she had this beautiful little painting! I am not sure I have it lying in the right direction? It is so pretty--plum blossoms, I think?
I hope that I can paint as well some day. Thank you so much Barbara!! What a wonderful surprise! To get something hand painted is such a treat.
I have been quietly working on return Christmas letters and thank yous--and getting caught up on emails mostly. Still have more to go today. Been watching "The Wire" from HBO--all about drug pushers, addicts, and the police. I guess the thing that hooked me was that the bad guys aren't always bad and the good guys aren't always good--very human--and there's lots of political pecking order with the police, too. I will just be finishing up season one today.
Been busy making plans for the new year. Leah brought me over 3 1/2 cans of the chocolate Cinch from Shaklee. Dagan likes the chocolate and Leah likes the vanilla. Dagan quit trying the program and so she brought me the rest of his. You drink a shake you make from the powder for two meals and then eat one healthy meal and have healthy snacks. So, I have been online tweaking my order from CashWise for January the last few days. I am ordering a bunch of the frozen entrees from Lean Cuisine & Weight Watchers and some low calorie snack bars--and then the fixings for some homemade vegetable soups, salads, and some healthy snacks like apples, carrots, nuts, etc. I can do this for the one month. Planning on my one meal being lunch instead of dinner.
It is a one shot deal for me, so I thought I should give it the best shot I can, right? I could never afford the Cinch for one thing. And just buying all the frozen entrees, etc...I'll be spending more than I usually do for the month and getting less food actually. But I am excited to try it! Might just jump start me--hehe!
Which means I am going to try to get out my QiGong and other exercise tapes--and dance to music once in a while--and walk more, too. I was being really good about that for a while and then stopped--can't remember why. I think I got sick or was going thru a pain flare or something? Anyways, new year approaching--give it a try again.
I have been trying to lose weight and eat healthier for years. But--I think back at how many times I tried to quit smoking until I finally did (December 6, 1989). So, maybe one of these times it will finally work, too, eh? hehehe! Got to keep trying. If I don't try, I can be assured--absolutely positive--that it will never happen, right?
I don't worry about resolutions and starting on the first and adhering to strict rules and all that. I think of it as plans for 2008--or goals for 2008. The beginning of the year is a good time to start and the opportunity presented itself at this time--so for once I will probably be starting around the first of the year. I guess it was meant to be, eh?
So that is one of my plans for 2008. :)

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Best laid plans. I was like a balloon with all the air drained out of it yesterday. A noodle day where I feel weak all over. So, I read and watched things I had taped, etc. Karma kept me company. She slept most of the day--was tired, too. (I think she likes it when I have noodle days--hehe!)

I have still been on days--hurray! And now, today, I feel a bit better. Might actually do something artsy or crafty today. :)

Caroline is coming this afternoon. So, first--I have to go and pick up cat toys and gather the trash into one big bag.......

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


The brush hanger and the smaller jar in front are Chinese brushes. I have wrapped a lot of them with (plastic red) tape to keep the handles from splitting, as Haiying suggested. I am not sure if you need to wrap the handles that have plastic next to the brush or not? I keep forgetting to ask if I should wrap those too?
The jar in the back is filled with watercolor brushes. The two long handled brushes lying in the front are the two Leah picked out to use on her wooden boxes--and didn't want to have to search for again--hehe!
In the hall bookcase all the rest of the brushes are stored on the top shelf. Oil, acrylic, mini watercolor, crummy odds and ends brushes, and the bad brushes from Giant Panda.
The second shelf down has assorted items for the brush painting. And scattered around on those two shelves are various bowls Leah made. I am not sure we are going to use all of them for water--but the ones on the top shelf are for paint water, for sure. Have already been assigned or used for that. :)
The rolls on top of the bookcase are practice rolls and one good roll of rice paper. My goal is to get them down and use them in 2008!
Now that I have some seals/chops--I put them on a metal cover to keep them together and make it easier to move them (and the seal mud) about.
I keep them up on the shelf over the air conditioner in the corner next to the window--where the stamping stuff is kept.
Leah and I tried to make some paperweights for the brush painting at the pottery class. Several of them broke (smaller pile to the right)--not sure if they will work very well because they aren't very heavy. I am not sure if they will leave marks on the paper, either? They are rough and may need to be coated with polyurethane--IF they even are heavy enough to actually hold down a roll of paper, of course. We'll see...
I'm not sure where I'll put them in the summer when I need to take off the air conditioner cover. But maybe that will be moot point by that time...hehe! They may not be viable--who knows?
Yesterday I did set up and play with the brush painting a little!! TaDa! I was wondering if I could use the awful Giant Panda brushes for making branches. I tried about eight of them. Did not work at all. Most of them will not hold water/ink for more than a couple of inches--even full. And dry--they leave almost no mark at all. They are the worst brushes! They might not end up being good for anything whatsoever?
Of course, I have not tried to make branches before--and it is possible that I am doing it totally the wrong way. But--the brushes should still hold more liquids than they do when loaded to the max, I would think? All the liquid comes out at once, kind of. Some of them are hard to get water into them in the first place--and the ink doesn't travel down the bristles so that you can have some ink on the ends to dry brush with. Very odd brushes. Hard to describe. I am thinking they are made from back hair--that repells water, you know? Ha! Well--who knows? I just was hoping I could avoid scumbling up a new brush making branches, you know? Maybe not. I'll try again with the Giant Pandas first.
So that is what I was doing yesterday. :)
And will be doing more of today. :)
Hope everybody had a very nice Christmas!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day- 11:45am

Had a wonderful Christmas Eve! Dagan and Leah came laden with all the fixings for a ham dinner. We got the dinner going and in the oven--then I "forced" them to watch Polar Express because they'd never seen it--hehe! We ate a delicious dinner--ham, augratin potatoes (Leah made them from scratch), broccoli, and a Sara Lee Dutch Apple pie for dessert!

After dinner I opened my present from them. They got me two mice that don't have the roller balls!! A couple of cans of my favorite treat coffee--International French Vanilla Cafe--and a coffee thermos that will fit in my red bag for cold trips on the bus!
Then we had a Sacred Circle and did the burning bowl and angel cards. Talked and laughed and had a great time. They didn't leave until after midnight. A precious day to me! :)

And now today--we are each having our lazy, solitary, quiet Christmas Days. Dagan and Leah have never had a quiet day alone together over Christmas so they were really looking forward to it. Karma and I will be watching "It's A Wonderful Life" today. I watched "A Christmas Story" yesterday. :)

I remember all the years of traveling in bad weather and good--running here and there for the holidays--the trading alternate years and bustling and shopping. I am free of that anymore, really--and I do love my quiet Christmases. But it was a real treat to have Dagan and Leah here for the first time!! I have never had a Christmas with just Dagan, as he pointed out--we were always running here and there doing all the visiting like everybody usually does. Never had Christmas with my sweet daughter-in-law--ever. So, it was a special Christmas for me this year. It wasn't what we had planned, but it all turned out really great! I hope we get to do it again in a few years? Maybe they'd think about rotating me in every three years??? :)

I've been making Christmas phone calls--have a few more to make. Then I will be sipping my french vanilla coffee and taking a trip to Bedford Falls!

Merry, Merry Christmas One and All!!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve-2:15pm

Merry Christmas Everybody!!
All that has been done since the last pictures on Dagan and Leah's house is that they removed the braces/framing for the foundation and pushed the dirt back up to the concrete.
These are the current pictures.

I hope the construction company can get working on it after the holidays?
Dagan and Leah are coming over for dinner and a Sacred Circle!

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Well, because of the bad weather (ice and some snow--but mostly because of ice on the roads) we are not going to make it down to Minneapolis this year. Dagan and Leah were driving home from his dad's last night and the roads were icy and the going was slow. It is still snowing--a wet, sleety snow--from Alexandria down to Minneapolis today and it will all freeze up tonight again. Only 9 degrees for a high up here today--might be freezing out there already? Anyways, we decided to play it safe and stay home.

So, Dagan and Leah and I are going to make a dinner over Christmas just for the three of us. We will connect today and make plans. This is the first time I have actually seen Dagan over Christmas in seven years! And I have never spent a Christmas with Leah. :) So, it will be a very nice Christmas--regardless of the fact we didn't get to make it down to see my family in Minneapolis, I guess. You just never know how life will shift on you, right? We will have a really great time here, too. :)

I am hoping my sister is feeling better and doesn't overdo it over the holidays. She is still on pain pills and waiting for the kidney stone to pass. :( Take it easy, NayNay!!

I never, ever thought I'd have a cell phone--but I have been very thankful for it right now--hehe!

Hope everybody is safe and warm and happy!!! :):)

Saturday, December 22, 2007


Okay--most of you have gotten your Christmas cards by now so I can post pictures.
These are tactile cards this year. I know it is hard to see, but the stencil results are raised and pliable. Made with caulking--like you'd use around your bathtub--hehe! What a hoot! :)
I forgot to get pictures of the other colors, besides these more traditionally colored ones. I also made cards in blues and purples!
You have to admit--it is different--chuckle!
Today I am doing laundry and packing for the trip to Minneapolis. Dagan and Leah are planning to pick me up around noon tomorrow. I am back on day hours the last few days, too--so that is a good thing. :)

I just went to change a load of clothes from the washer to the dryer and noticed that I had not seen Karma for quite a while--went looking for her.

I brought this black bag in from the storage area this morning--noticed that it looked a little misshapen.
I think Karma has been sleeping inside of it since I opened it up on the bed.
And she still is!

Oh well--a cat in the bag is worth two in the bush.

I will be gone and probably won't be posting until probably Wednesday.

Have a wonderful Christmas everybody!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007


My goodness! I have not been sketching for like four months. Took a break tonight and just finished off this page--finally! I am out of practice, but it felt good! I'll have more time after the holidays. :)
Merry Christmas from Karma and I--hehe!

We were watching this musical cartoon Santa and reindeer--chuckle! Karma was fascinated and settled in to watch it over and over and over. Yes--no lie! Three times--before she got bored and left.
Thanks Linny--that was fun!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I finished all the Christmas cards last night! TaDa!! This morning I can walk them down to the outgoing mail slot and hope they all fit in there--hehe! I'll put pictures up in a couple of days when most of them have been delivered. :)

I have suddenly flipped back to early days the past two days. Leah is coming over to put her Christmas cards together today--not sure what time or how busy she is. I can actually help her for once if she is really busy with the phone and computer. :)

My next project is to make the birthday cards for 2008 and some thank you cards (Christmas gifts). I can't tell you how nice it feels to be done with the Christmas cards. I was running later than usual this year, but at least they will head out today. :)

I won't have room to set up for painting until I am done with all the cards (I tend to sprawl out), but I could maybe do some drawing in my sketchbooks (been months!!!). I feel the urge to be doing something artsy, I guess. Miss Variety here. I like to change it up all the time. I've been working on the cards for weeks, so I'd like to rotate a little now. Cards and sketching--that would work because the sketchbook,pencil, and pen don't take up much room. I could even try to see if I can actually draw in my chair, I suppose. I am always afraid the perspective gets too far off when I do that, but I could try it and see how it goes. What the heck! :)

Won't be long and we should be driving down to Minneapolis (Sunday). I have been worried about my little sister, Renee. She had a kidney stone attack a couple of days ago and been going in for X-rays and is on pain pills--waiting for the bigger stones to pass--but still going to work! Stubborn Swedes, eh? She says they can dissolve them somehow these days? Not the laser blasting--some other way? I don't want to see her pushing herself and overdoing for Christmas Day at her place. She keeps saying she'll be fine, of course. Leah has been making goodies to bring down, so Renee doesn't have to worry about baking anything. I just want to see her all better and feeling well.

I hope the weather and my health hold up so we can make it down! :):)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Have been busy putting together Christmas cards and writing Christmas letters--so have not been on the computer much at all. Saving all my "spoons" or my good hours and energy for that. :) Just wanted to let you know I am fine--just busy. Should be done today or tomorrow. :)

Friday, December 14, 2007


Six degrees below zero at the moment. Leah is coming over to work on Christmas cards again today. :) I have been working on them--doing prep work yesterday. Cutting paper for layering and cutting down the sets I had done. Made another half a dozen sets, also. Going to go work on the stencil sets right now, so this will be really short today. :) I have been using up my "good" hours or my "spoons" on cards--hehe! Want to have them all in the mail by Monday--hope so, anyways--so might not hear as much from me till they are done and sealed. I am fine and Karma is feeling better. All is well in Fargo. Have a great day! :)

BTW-Not much snow at all. Was very cold and windy. Not really sure what all the winter storm warning fuss was about??

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Leah is on her way over. I have made some card sets this morning already. Haven't had a lot of sleep. Have been up since 1:30am--was in bed at 8pm.

There are winter storm warnings out for tomorrow already? Just heard the beeping and read the banner on the bottom of the screen. They usually don't have warnings out that far ahead of time. Guess I should check out the weather on the news today, eh?

There has been such bad weather all over the United States lately. I hope everybody is safe and warm this holiday season. :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Caroline just left--the place is cleaned up. We were talking about books today--her dad sells used books. I sent another book with her today to leave someplace. :)

Before Caroline came I completely cleaned out Karma's catbox. I had let the kitty litter get way down so I could empty it out completely and scrub it down. I threw out the carpeting on the bottom and put the other clean piece I had saved from when we carpeted the porch--cleaned and scrubbed her little poop house and her pooper scooper. With the scoopable kitty litter, I only have to do this about once a year or so.

Since I was doing the extra cleaning job, I decided to wash the bedding--all of it--the mattress pad, pillow covers, blanket, etc. Been meaning to do it, but I keep forgetting to do it when I don't have the normal washing to do. This means I won't get a lot of card work done today--using the good hours and the bad arm for other things--hehe! But I have planned both cleaning jobs for some time. Be nice to have them done. :)

Miss Karma has a little bit of a cold, so I haven't been letting her out on the porch for three days and she is not happy about it. She hasn't been begging to go out that often, tho, so you know she hasn't been feeling quite up to par. Been sleeping a little more than she usually does--which, of course, means she is sleeping most of the time--hehe! She looks better today. Hasn't sneezed for a couple of days and the little bit of discharge she had in the corner of her eye is almost gone now. Silly girl--wanting to go out all the time when it is below zero outside--duh!

I have been working on Christmas cards off and on. My new Levenger calendar arrived today, so I have been working on that this afternoon--writing in birthdays, appointments, budget, etc. Leah is coming over Wednesday and Friday this week, she said. We want to get our cards done soon. :)

Right now I need a good break (timer went off and I am already feeling it from all the activity today). I am going to go watch Shrek 3--and just deal with the laundry for a while while I watch. :)

Monday, December 10, 2007


The paint pots Leah made have the small cut chunks embedded into the bottom of the pot to rub your brush on for cleaning.

This should work pretty well--especially for acrylics. :)
I emailed Leah and asked her for a photo of her beautiful larger pot she made to use as a plant pot--bad news!! It wasn't there when she went to pick up her pottery. :(
Either it broke in the second firing process or was taken by somebody else?
All that hard work.
And she had the two pieces with the silver grey glaze I already showed you that were badly damaged.
I sat with polymer clay last night and tried to see if I could add something to the bottom to salvage them.
Was not successful at all.
Making pottery can be hard on the heart.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


This is what I have been slowly working on. Don't want to show exactly what is on the Christmas cards, but here is what I can show of the process. You tape down the stencil on to the paper. Spread the caulk on to the stencils...(this will be the front of the card)
(this is the saying that will go on the inside of the card)
...then you peel the stencil off the paper, scrape off the excess caulk off of the stencil--and then have to quickly wash everything off and dry it for the next one.
It is a slow process. If I am lucky I can get four sets done in my timed hour. A contemplative process. :)

I had a request from my dear friend Ruby to see my old rag doll Cookie that I got on my first birthday!! I had a picture of her in my computer files--only because I used her as one of the Everyday Matters drawing challenges earlier this year. (Good thing--as I am sure there is a mound of snow in front of my garage door right now and it is 4 degrees at the moment--hehe!) Snapped a picture of her in my garage against the plastic bag that held my little Christmas tree. She'll be 56 years old in March!
Here's my attempt to draw her--my constant childhood friend! If you click on the picture you should be able to read the story of how she got grease on her face--about about 45 years ago.
Which reminds me--I should get back to the EDM challenges after Christmas, too. :)
Just need to finish a lot of cards first....hehe!

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Good morning!
Without showing too much, this is some of the prep work I have been doing on the Christmas cards. Some will be the traditional colors of red and green, but some are going to be non-conventional purples and blues. Yup! Just for the heck of it! :)

Have been up all night. Tried to lay down twice. Going to go read for a while again...

Friday, December 07, 2007


Leah dropped off the pottery. Took a long time for these to get fired.
The two larger pots with the wild rims are water pots for painting. She made the rims like that for easily setting paint brushes across them anywhere.
In the front are two sets of bowls for Miss Karma--light green and brown. Water bowls are taller and scooped inward to prevent splashing.
The reddish low dish is a treat dish for Karma.
The two small, low white-ish dishes were an experiment-to be used as little mixing dishes for painting.
On the right down front is my rice bowl!!
The rest are just an assortment--no designation in mind.
Leah kept the larger one she wanted to use as a planter. I forgot to ask her to send me a picture of it.
Karma was momentarily baffled by the new bowls.
Two of the pots had to be chipped off the kiln. Leah said he told her it was from too much glaze.
Notice these two have the same silvery-grey glaze on them, tho?
I thought I might try to see if I could add polymer clay around the bottoms to salvage them?
Might be worth a try.
The larger dish has a crack running up the side, but it could be used for dry things, I guess.
Such a shame. I saw how beautiful they looked after the first firing.
All about the learning process, I guess, eh?
Of course, I had to have some leftover rice and veggies in my beautiful, new rice bowl last night!
I guess I could use some nice chopsticks, eh? I bought a big package at ToChi's of the disposable wooden kind they use in restaurants. I like them because they are rougher and the rice sticks to them easier. I'd probably buy myself a nice laquered set and not be able to eat with them--hehe!
I have just been sleeping (thank goodness) and working on Christmas cards. :)

Thursday, December 06, 2007


This shows you how quiet Karma and my lives are--this was the big excitement yesterday. I brought in the chair cover from the porch--and a lot of clean white snow on my shoes--hehe!
Karma couldn't believe the snow from the porch was actually inside on the rug in big chunks!
She licked some of it up and then noticed the chair cover...
...that has ties/strings on it! She loves to chew anything with strings.
Luckily these were too thick for her tastes and she lost interest in them shortly. The snow kept her busy until it disappeared into the carpet. And even then she'd walk on the wet spots and shake her feet--hehe!
I guess it is no wonder Karma has become antisocial to most other people. She even hissed at Dagan last time he was here. Probably because he kept his coat on and was acting "unpredictably"--hehe! Well, 98% of the time it is just me and Karma. We live a quiet, boring life--hehe! I have turned her into a little old lady cat--because she lives with a slow moving me who hobbles about half the time and am here with her basically 24/7. Karma is used to a predictable life with just one human being to deal with. She and I get along just dandy and know each other very well. Apparently she has grown less and less tolerant of other people who don't fit into her quiet world, I guess. I have never had an antisocial cat before and it feels quite odd to me. But, I have also never spent all my time at home, either. I suppose I'll get used to her behavior--or she will change back. This has just happened over the last six months or so. I love her regardless, of course. :)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wednesday- 10:15am

Sunrise-8am-this is basically the same shot as I took last night in the dark.
Was minus 11 degrees. Crispy! But it has stopped snowing.
My apartment is on the top floor at the end of the building behind the pile of snow--hehe!
Good morning all! :)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Here's a chuckle!
Obviously, I am no photographer.
If you click on the photo you can barely see the huge mound of snow in front of the building from the plowing of the parking lot. They pushed it all in the middle of the yard. You can kind of see the outline of the snow pile--way taller than I am--hehe!

The kids have been having fun playing in the snow and, as you can see, it is still snowing. We got seven inches that night and they are predicting that we will accumulate a few more inches. I am one of the few people who really loves to see snow! This big, fluffy snow is my favorite kind. Love seeing it drift down at night--tried to get a shot of it, but my picture didn't exactly work out--hehe! Makes me feel Christmasy!! :)

Sunday, December 02, 2007


This is what Dagan and Leah's house construction looked like Friday after the concrete was poured (and before the snow yesterday).

They have to wait for the concrete to "cure" before they can begin with the framing. So, it might be a while before they can start. I don't know how long that might take with the weather being so cold? (It is 8 degrees right now as I am writing.)

We had enough snow yesterday that the plow came late and was out in the parking lot until almost 1am.
Here's what the porch looked like at 11am. The snow had been very light until then--but it picked up.
Karma loves to go out and lick snow. She was bugging me to go out over and over again, but it was so cold she only lasted a couple of minutes. She is worse than a child. You can reason with a child--hehe! All I can do is leave her out a few minutes longer each time until she decides it is no longer prudent to venture outside. :)
This is the view of the parking lot--11am.
Here's what the porch looked like by 3pm.
And the parking lot by 3pm.
So, we have had our first real snowfall that might stick around for a while. :)
I am glad I am indoors and warm and no longer have a car to shovel out. I guess there's a silver lining to everything, eh? :)