Sunday, September 30, 2007


My days and nights have flip-flopped again. I am finally caught up on Heroes for the next new show on Monday! Still catching up on the new season of TV programs that I taped. Have already discovered several I won't watch again--hehe! (Since I only have five channels, I check out most everything I think I might like.)

Lynnette's order from Haiying came on Saturday--so mine should be arriving shortly. Maybe tomorrow?! I will post pictures, of course.

I have been back to playing and practicing the brush painting, as I showed you.

Reading another book of Duane's called "Pawn of Prophecy" by David Eddings. It's the kind of book I'd get from Dagan--magical adventure quest. Pretty good. Been a fast read. :)

Writing letters in the bookcards. Playing with Miss Karma. There was a thunderstorm in the middle of the night last night. The usual--hehe! Just a nice weekend. :)

Friday, September 28, 2007


You'd have to click on the picture to see, but there were many moths clinging to the screens in the livingroom last night. One is by the red car and another shows up against the grass. At one time I counted eight of them against the screen. It was cold quickly last night and they were seeking the warmth, I assume. (Got down to 38 degrees last night.) Karma was glued! She sat and cried for me to do something to let her catch them.

Karma may not know what to do with a bird, but she loves to kill moths and she eat flies and other small bugs--yuck! I do not encourage it! The Japanese beetles that look like an orange lady bug--they make her sick and she barfs, but she eats them anyways! Duh!
Me--I made a few more bookcards. Actually made another one after this picture and glued the paper moulds on the front of a couple of them. Was a quiet night. :)

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Yesterday I called Leah when I got up. She gives me time to shower and dress and unthaw a little--came over with Burger King chicken sandwiches! Wednesdays are our day to do art, crafts, shopping, etc.

I had a bag all ready for her with some things so that she could practice some brush painting at home: the shell kit with the basics, extra liquid ink, felt, practice paper, and some brushes from OAS. She declined. Said she didn't think she would ever do any painting at home--that she might like to play a little with it here, but that was about it. So, I unpacked everything.

Leah is on call, of course, while she is here and had quite a few calls. While she was on the phone, I got online and was checking email. I always check to see if Haiying has any new videos--and she had a series of them! Bamboo for the beginner!

[Note: She has since added a series on orchids for the beginner!! I am thrilled! These are the two plants that I am working on all the time--trying to learn how to paint them decently.]

I was so excited!! I asked Leah if she wanted to watch them with me--she and I watched them and, afterwards, Leah decided that she wanted to try some bamboo after watching Haiying.

We spent the afternoon playing and playing! Had the best time! And Leah was standing and painting so much larger!! Me--I think cards and have always been such a small painter. Leah--she is thinking wall hangings and maybe being able to paint a scroll one day!

I was just practicing my name (Rita)--over and over--just trying to remember the strokes so I don't have to look at the paper anymore. I am getting there. Then I can concentrate on the shapes of the individual strokes after I have it memorized. Well, Leah inspired me to stand up and try a couple of larger bamboos for the very first time! Alien! Felt alien to me! But it was fun!

I didn't ask Leah if I could actually post what she had painted, so here is how much of the brown paper towel roll that she used up! She was going to town! She had the roll on the floor and was just painting and rolling up what she had done--standing--and shocking herself as to how she could hold the brush in the air and paint!
She and I both like a lot of control. I have loosened up in some little ways over the years. Just learning how to use a brush was a stretch for me. Brushes are floppy and hard to control. I had a death grip on my pencils and pens, like Leah does now, when I was younger. She had the same fears about brushes that I have had--so she totally amazed me and amazed herself yesterday!
Hehehe!! She ended up taking home most of the stuff I had unpacked! Different brushes, tho--larger ones. She paints larger and bolder! This was her very first attempt! We had so much fun! Was a wonderful, wonderful day yesterday!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Yesterday I was sleeping when the men came to fix the windows in the living room. I thought they were just fixing the ones that leaked water, so I told him I had no leakage. But I did have air leakage because I couldn't lock the windows in the winter--they were askew. So, I called the office and told them that--after I was up and showered and had time to think about it. They sent the men back and they worked on the windows until they could close and lock--tada! I have one window that is very hard to open and close and is quite squeaky and loud--but, because it isn't broken--yet--they can't do anything about it. (That is how the bedroom window was before the spring unit broke.)

Then--the Internet was down from the afternoon until late last evening? Was down last week for four hours, also. They must be having problems of some kind? Hope they got them all fixed now. Very annoying!

Dagan and Leah have had more complications with the building of their house. Now they found out that the lot was too small to fit the house on! And they only have the average size that they are making houses these days--nothing extra. Poor planning on the part of the developers--made the cul-de-sac and/or lots too small. They will have problems with other people building there, also! Dagan and Leah were going to try to get another lot, but they had already purchased this one and it would have cost them additional money to get out of this sale on this cul-de-sac lot. So now they have talked to the contractors and have had to kind of redesign the house so that the garage is attached a little back and at an angle, if I understand correctly, (instead of the normal way straight across with the garage forward like they do now) to fit it around the cul-de-sac. It didn't even fit the normal way. Good grief! What next, eh?

Meanwhile, I got the Heroes DVDs and was watching and watching Heroes yesterday! More today! I am as hooked on this show as I was on Deadwood, but for different reasons. Love it!! I taped the new episode that was on last night--the start of season two--but have to wait until I finish many hours of season one DVDs before I can watch it--hehe! And so that is where I am headed now.... :)

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Finally got back to practicing my brush painting yesterday! Got my half of the table set up again--hehe! I practiced orchids and bamboo. They were turning out absolutely terribly, but I just kept on doing the strokes. It is still a meditative process, regardless of the outcome. :)
And...I was practicing writing "Rita" in Chinese. Right now, I am more trying to memorize the characters. My skill level is zero--ROFL! I took scribbly notes from Haiying's video. Just trying to memorize the shapes right now.
I got out the student grinding stone and the ink stick from Jerry's Artarama and--yes!--made my own ink! There is just enough room to make very small circles on the one end of the stone. I am not exactly sure what I am doing, but my stick can stand up--so I must be grinding the end properly upright?
Notice the digital timer stuck to the base of the lamp--hehe! I just have to remember to set it! Keeps me in line!
Today is supposed to get up to near 90 degrees--was mid 80's yesterday, too--but tomorrow only expected to be mid-60's. I have had to close up and put the AC on during the day--but it is chilly at night. No wonder I have a stuffy head and runny nose--besides the usual seasonal allergies and all the sneezing--hehe!
Well, I am off -- timer already went off a little bit ago...
Have a good day!

Saturday, September 22, 2007


I thought the hail was on the larger size here, but I guess we actually got the smaller hail! There were places that had baseball sized hail--broke out car windows, etc!! There was a car lot in town that had 300 cars damaged! My goodness! I thought the inch or so size here that managed to come in on the porch were plenty big enough. It was too dark and all the screens were too soaked to see anything very well from up here on third floor. But--baseball sized hail! Unreal! I don't think we had that here--loud as the hail was hitting the roof, I didn't hear any glass breaking. Did set some car alarms off, tho.

I finally crashed last night for over 14 hours. Today is a beautiful day. Have a good weekend!

Friday, September 21, 2007


Hard to see even when you click on the picture, but there are about a dozen different sizes of hail that made it thru the bottom of the screen at 3am. Wow! What a storm! Shook the whole building and pelted against the roof and my AC so sharply that it sometimes sounded like it broke something--hehe! I am surprised that it didn't tear any holes in the screen--that I could see in the dark with the porch light on, anyways.
Yes--I have been up all night. Have tried to lay down a couple of times. Oh well--I will collapse at some point in time.

I plan to surprise Leah next time she is over for crafts (should just call it "creative day" or "art day" because we do so many different types of projects)--offer to give her this kit so she can play a little on her own at home. Then when she comes over here she can use my good stuff. :)
I was getting the order completed for Haiying via emails last night. Her husband leaves for The States on Sunday. What a nice guy to do all this for us--well, for his wife. :) So excited!! Been saving for two months for this order! I will post pictures of everything when it arrives, of course.
In the meantime--I got the table set up for brush painting again. I do have an ink stick I bought from Jerry's Artarama which will not be as good of quality as the ones I am getting from Haiying--(and I am not even getting the extra refined sticks that are more expensive). The ink stick I have from Jerry's was only $3.50, I think--but it will be okay to practice with. I am just a novice--a super beginner, after all. :)
I have been watching Haiying's videos and want to try grinding my own ink. My student grade stone is rectangular, so I can't really manage a nice circular motion on it--but maybe I can do an oval instead of just a back and forth motion? We'll see. I guess the most important thing is to try to be meditative while grinding. Getting into a state of relaxation, thinking about what you want to paint, and kind of warming up for the actual painting with the arm movements, too. These are the aspects that I enjoy so much about the oriental brush painting--the entire process is rather spiritual in nature--a form of meditative action, in the manner of QiGong. :)
What I need most of all right now is sleep. Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 20, 2007


No crafts yesterday. Dagan and Leah came over after signing the paperwork--so exciting! They ran over to look at cabinets--then came back to pick me up to take me over to see the lot and then we went to Taco Bell.
This is the empty space on the cul-de-sac where their house will be built.
This is the neighboring house to the left of the last photo. It is being built by contractors and no one has purchased it yet.
Here's a picture of the enterance to the cul-de-sac. Dagan and Leah's house will be the first one on the right--you can see the next neighboring house. Nothing else is under construction yet, but straight ahead in this photo you can just see the mounds of dirt that are being pushed around--so something is going up there next, probably.
Now they are getting excited! hehe!
As soon as they start digging Leah said she'd get ahold of me and we can go take pictures! Or she will and send them to me. (She will probably be over there quite often!! hehe!) These three were taken by Leah. I will have to check after I have posted them to see if they can be clicked on and enlarged like mine?
So, this is the exciting news. Not "if" any more--but "when"!! I can see why they didn't want to get excited until after everything was said and done and signed.

They also brought me more of Heroes to watch--which is what I did last night. Now I have to wait for the next ones that I ordered to come from Neflix. I should be all caught up before the second new show, I think. I believe the first new show for season two is on Monday and I will tape it. I am just as hooked as Dagan and Leah. We are all late-comers to the show, but will be very loyal watchers from now on. :)

Been dark and rainy days. We were lucky--wasn't raining yesterday when we saw the lot. Haven't been sleeping well--pain dreams--waking up tired--the usual fibro stuff. So, I am dragging and tired and sore. I am starting to think it is the dampness--setting off the arthritis? Who knows? Sometimes I lose what little control I have over my days--hehe! Oh well. such is life, eh?

I am planning on setting up the table again for brush painting today, tho! Tada! Even if I don't paint today--I am determined to get ready for it--hehe!

Have a good one!! :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Dagan and Leah are signing the papers on the house this afternoon!
It is finally happening!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


This is what I worked on yesterday. I needed to cut more sheets for the insides of the bookcards. The cutter can handle three at a time.
Then I sat and folded them two at a time with the bone folder.
This is my wooden box that I got at Hobby Lobby when my folks were here. Works out very well for storing the bookcard parts! :)
By the time I finished punching all the holes in the ivory paper, the box was full on the left side!
So, I am all set to go. The table is mostly cleared off from when I finished up last night. But--I didn't sleep well at all last night and am basically non-funtional today, as far as that goes. Can barely walk--hip is glitchy. Tomorrow will be better.

Caroline came today and cleaned. She took my garbage out for me, too, thank goodness! That is appreciated--especially on days like today--hehe! I am so grateful for the help. :)
Leah starts the pottery class again tonight. She signed up for this next session--tada! This time maybe she will be able to take advantage of mopre of the extra time, too. I guess you can go there any night of the week--besides the actual class night--and practice--and create masterpieces--hehe! Leah wants to try to make a teapot and cups this session--more the plainer oriental style. Cool! That sounds complicated to me! She had improved so much during her first session, I can hardly wait to see what she makes this time! :)
Tomorrow is our craft day! I am praying that the remote computer connections work perfectly. And that I get some sleep! :)

Monday, September 17, 2007


I finished punching the holes in the entire stack of handmade paper covers for the bookcards, as you can see.
Got started punching the inner pages (need to cut and fold more, too), but my weak arm started to burn (just from pressing and holding the ruler in place) so I had to stop.
I hope to be finished before Leah comes over on Wednesday. :)

It was warmer yesterday--got up to 78 degrees, I believe. Is warmer today, too--but raining and so thickly humid that I had to close it up and put the AC on. Supposed to be raining off and on for days, I guess.

Well, let's see....I love my bluetooth! Will be using my cell phone most of the time now that I don't have any headset for the portable phone anymore. I have had people ask why I have both. Well, Dagan needs a land line phone for his pacemaker checks--to be able to use the machine that sends the information over the telephone. He and Leah do not have a land line (both have cell phones) and I did. So, I am keeping mine and they are paying for my cell phone on their family plan. Does that make sense? Does to us--hehe!

And Leah told me, that since she is using her cell for work, she added more free minutes to their plan. So, she said I can use my cell phone to make appointments and such during the day--where I would have had the headphone when you are waiting and using all the various buttons to get a human being--hehe! I can talk to anybody who has a Sprint phone for free any time of the day or night, I guess. But, I don't think I know anybody who has Sprint--except for Dagan and Leah--hehe! That's okay. After all the years I have lived up here in the North Country (since 1999) away from most of my friends and family, I am not accustomed to using the phone like I did when I lived in Minneapolis, anyways. I am still trying to remember that I CAN call long distance for free at certain times--hehe! Old dog and new tricks...

Leah is taking the pottery class again and starts tomorrow! She is hoping to try to make a teapot this time. That is a complicated piece to make! She had improved so much last time during the course of the class--and this time she might be able to get over there more often, too. I think they can go there any day during the week (besides the class day) when they are enrolled in the class. She might be able to take advantage of that more this time. :) She said she is going to make Karma a set of bowls since Karma loves Leah's handmade bowls so much-- we're not sure why, but she does. Nice of Leah.

Haiying is back home in Australia from her trip to Beijing. She put up some short videos--you can hear the joy in her voice! Going home always refreshes the soul.

Here's the man who carved the seals for us:
And where she bought brushes and paper:

She has many new videos about her trip--snoop if you find them interesting! Myself, I am fascinated! The gigantic ink stone blew me away! And the bookstore with aisle after aisle of art books! Her bike trip down the alleyways--meeting her teacher again from when she was a child--showing the shops and streets--can't help but intrigue a girl from Minnesota, you know--hehe! I just saw she has added more, too!

When her husband comes to the United States later this month he will mail us our orders. You can bet I will have pictures on the blog! hehe!

Well, I guess I had best get back to punching holes if I am ever going to get the table cleared off so I can get the brush painting supplies set up again, right? I haven't even begun to practice writing my I'd better get busy...bye!

Saturday, September 15, 2007


The last three days in a row I have been able to get a lot of sleep, glorious sleep--good sleep--with good dreams! (Those of you with fibro or other sleep interrupting health issues know how precious sleep can be.) Been sleeping a total of around 10 hours a night--tada! Feels absolutely wonderful--but it is causing me to sleep around the clock again. Oh well. I'll take the sleep. Just got up an hour ago, as a matter of fact.

Have a great evening! My day is just beginning--hehe! :)

Friday, September 14, 2007


My headset died last Thursday and I needed a new one--can't hold the phone with my bad arm (and that's my good ear--hehe!) They don't seem to sell the headsets with the two padded ear pieces anymore. Leah now has a "blue tooth". (I had no idea what in the world that was!) She thought it would work well for me and let me try hers. Here's Leah wearing her blue tooth ear piece.
Leah stopped a couple places for me and couldn't find anything like my old one, so we had agreed she'd pick me up a blue tooth if she couldn't find the old one. She charged it up for me at home and then stopped by last night with it after the smokes run--close to 10pm, I think it was. I am shocked that this little contraption can transmit your voice from the side of your head? Leah spent a couple of hours last night teaching me how it worked. We played with it until I got comfortable--calling each other, etc. Got the charger set up with my phone charger on my headboard--and the cords pulled up and away from Karma's teeth (she often sleeps under the bed). Ha! I never even thought I would ever have a cell phone--now I have this Star Trek looking earpiece! Never say never, right? Will take me two months to pay them back. I think it will be worth it. :)
Anyways, to catch up--my folks were here back on Wednesday the 5th. We had a nice visit. Leah could come over for the day this time and be on call. We met Dagan at Denny's for lunch. I actually ordered from the "senior" menu for the first time in my life. Was weird! Could have last year, actually--hehe! Mom and Dad got a kick out of their daughter ordering from the senior menu and teased me a little.
On the way home Mom saw Hobby Lobby and had never been to one before--so Mom, Dad, Leah, and I wandered around Hobby Lobby for a long time. Leah and I had been meaning to go to pick up a few things, anyways, so we got our shopping done. Came back to my apartment and played with plaster of Paris--hehe! What we wanted to use it for didn't work--long story. Was fun, tho--and we have some other new things to play with.
We used this service I didn't know they had up here--a taxi-type service that will go pick up meals at restaurants that don't normally have delivery and bring it to your door. ?? You order online--certain restaurants are involved--we ordered from Bennigan's. You can tell them when you want the food delivered--and we had food shortly after Dagan got here after work. Mom and Dad had to drive back to Perham and Dad can't drive after dark, so they wanted to get going by 6pm--so they ate and ran--hehe!
The next day I woke up sick and was sick for days. Finally feeling better and then had company--chuckle! The blog went by the wayside there for a while. My former Spanish professor from Concordia and I have remained friends (she doesn't work there anymore)--Maria came over for the day on Tuesday the 11th. I sat way too long in the chair by the window--forgot to set my timer--my own fault. We had a such a nice time! Been a long time since we had hours to spend together! Was great!
Then on Wednesday Leah and I had planned our first Craft Day--tada! Dagan had planned to come by for lunch and then after work for dinner--since Leah couldn't connect remotely to her work computer and their home computer for some reason. If she couldn't--she couldn't come over on Wednesdays for Crafts! :( Dagan played around with it and got it to work! TaDa! So, hopefully it will work next Wednesday and from now on! :)
Those two--they are so casual about things! They calmly told me that they are going to be able to build the house!! I am so excited for them!! I was the one practically jumping up and down--they just stand there and smile--hehe! Supposed to break ground in a couple of weeks maybe? Leah was busy getting insurance on her way here that day. I am so happy for them! This is what they wanted. :)
Leah and I didn't actually get much chance to talk that day. The Internet was down in India and so then she gets all the calls until it is up again--but it was just nice to have her here--and great to see Dagan, too! Loved it! :)
Company both days was wonderful--but it doesn't take much to wear me out--hehe! All I could muster yesterday was to wash clothes. Today I am washing sheets and towels. Feeling a little more energetic today since I slept 10 hours!
Let's see, other than that--I made a few more bookcards. I started getting the parts ready for more when I need them. Folded all the handmade paper in half while Leah was here on Wednesday. Plan to punch holes in the covers and a big stack of paper--then all I have to do is pick how thick I want the book and sew it together. I want to get most of the bookcard stuff done and off the table so I can set up for painting again.
Since Leah and I plan on Crafts every Wednesday--she will have a side of the table designated for her use from week to week. :) Her first project is to paint and laquer a set of boxes she bought at Hobby Lobby. I got a box, too--different kind than hers--and have to decide what I am going to do with it--paint, stain, etc? I am going to watch her and might do mine the same technique as she is doing--deep reddish color.
Anyways, sadly that is pretty much it for catching you up for over a week of my life--hehe! I watched some movies--got hooked on Heroes (Dagan and Leah told me about it and are watching the first season on DVD from Netflix and sending them over to me after)--wrote some letters--pretty quiet over here in Fargo, as usual. I love my quiet life! It's about time--hehe! Later....

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I am feeling okay again. Just had company yesterday and have more coming today. Will fill you in when I am able. :)

Monday, September 10, 2007


Puttering while I was recovering. Got out the dip pen and ink supplies. Using a dip pen is a slower process from a slower time--was such a nice change. I am a blatant pen fanatic!
Made a couple more bookcards. Been using them up one by one and sending them off in the mail.
Watched a movie called Tully that just warmed my heart! Had that MidWestern farmer thing going--so some people might not like it, but I was glued, and cried! I thought the acting was excellent and that they captured the nuances of those unspoken emotions. Interesting storyline and great characters--to a MidWesterner, anyways--hehe!

Through the eyes of eldest son Tully Coates Jr. (Anson Mount), this drama explores a legacy of love and deception among a family of men and the fateful events of one summer that change their world forever. When Tully discovers a long-buried secret that now threatens his family and their farm, he decides to confront his father about the ghosts of a past that have pushed them apart.

Watched another Independent film while I was laid up that I really liked--Rory O'Shea Was Here:

Although he has muscular dystrophy, Rory O'Shea (James McAvoy) refuses to surrender to the desperation of his life and instead embraces the potential in every day. When he moves into the Carrigmore Home for the Disabled and befriends the deeply bored Michael (Steven Robertson), a young man with cerebral palsy, Rory infuses his pal's life with renewed hope even as he struggles with his own demons.

Not often you see a film where the two main characters are in wheelchairs--one of them you can't even understand when he talks (but Rory becomes his interpreter--he has the "gift" to be able to understand Michael). I found it realistic, funny, touching, and uplifting.

For you animal lovers out there, I watched Never Cry Wolf. Needless to say--was really good:

Carroll Ballard's adaptation of Farley Mowat's autobiographical novel follows Mowat (Charles Martin Smith) into the tundra, where he's supposed to study the harm that wolves inflict on the caribou herds. As he struggles to make it in the harsh surroundings, he comes to the conclusion that the caribous' worst enemies are not the wolves at all. Hiro Narita's cinematography is spectacular, and the evocative sound was nominated for an Academy Award.

Enjoyed them all! I do so love Netflix and being able to find these little non-mainstream gems!!

Glad I had such wonderful movies arrive while I was sick and glad that I am feeling better now. :)

Friday, September 07, 2007


Woke up sick on Thursday...back when feeling more human. :)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Was a long lazy holiday weekend. The sun is shining. It was very cool when I woke up--again. And it is supposed to get very hot today--again, so I will be closing the place up by noon. Was 93 degrees yesterday--but it has been in the lower 60's at night.

Caroline is coming to clean this afternoon. I was too sore to wash sheets last time I washed, so I am doing them now. Nice to be on days--knock on wood! :)

Short and sweet today. Hope everybody had a nice Labor Day weekend! :)

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Sunday- 7:30am

I am surprised that these little birds are landing and sitting our railing when I have the screen there? They were back again early this morning to sit in the rising sun.
Hard to get pictures of them with the screen floating back and forth in the breeze, but you can see their shadows.
At one point there were five of them sitting on the railing. Karma just sits up like this and twitches her tail like crazy--but doesn't really know what to do about them. She has been trained not to attack birds, of course, growing up with Gracie--or to try not to. She knows I don't want her to hurt these little birds, and I doubt she could do a single thing to them with the screen inbetween, regardless.
They are babies. They open their mouths at each other as if wanting somebody to feed them. So much for the maintanence man believing they do not nest later in the year. They are little swallows, I believe. They have come to find these taller apartment buildings perfect for their reproductive needs. I am sure glad that I have the screen up. The first spring here I had a nest of them right on top of the porch light. I didn't disturb them--but what a mess to clean up by the time they left! I put up the screen and they haven't been able to nest on my porch since then. But I see them flying all over the place around the building. So, I am glad I have the screen for many reasons, I guess. Keeps Karma in and the birds and mosquitoes out--hehe! :)

Saturday, September 01, 2007


A few more bookcards.
Yesterday was used up with the sorting in the garage and washing clothes. Was in bed last night at 6:30pm! Such crazy hours! So, I have been up since 2:30am. Put some bookcards together. Played with Karma. Read a little. CashWise is coming later today. Still very dark at 6am these days--summer is over. Right now I am going to go watch a movie.... :)