Thursday, May 26, 2016


Good Morning!
Lots of pics today.  :)
Leah was here on Monday for Crafts.  We started on Christmas card sets--whoohoo!!  And Leah had picked me up some raw sunflower seeds while she was at the store.  They are a huge hit!!
Especially with Little Buddy! 
And, subsequently, Miss Karma--LOL!  When I put some seed out she's glued to the patio screen waiting for Little Buddy...who usually arrives within 20-30 minutes.  And there's no rhyme or reason as to when I put out seed?  Do they have superpower sniffers?  Or does he live close by?
Anyways, today is cloudy and 64 degrees right now.  Beautiful door-open day!! 
Been seeing the pair of grouse almost every day...usually across the walkway.  They tend to graze over there lately. 
Once in a while they come by on this side.  :)
Whenever there's a sunny morning... 
...Karma's catching rays...
...and fantasizing about catching Little Buddy...
...or one of the black birds...
...or the wee sparrows that come by for a nibble.  :)
Notice the patio door was shut?  Was in the 80s for a stretch and I finally had to shut the place up and turn on the AC for a few days.  Back open today and Miss Karma is thrilled--me, too.  
Anyways...I started coloring the crazy cat holding the birthday cake stamp.  As I was working on the candle flames...
...I noticed there was a spot on the left hand side of the candles that didn't stamp well on some of them. 
So I got out some drawing pens, wrote on a piece of scratch paper, and actually held the paper under running water to see if any of them would bleed.  None of them did!!
Here are the pens in the actual order as the above testing. 
I already knew Microns were safe, but hadn't tested the rest of those.  Nice to know they're all safe to use with watercolors or markers...any wet medium.
On Tuesday replacement roses arrived.  Leah decided to order them now because she had also sent flowers to Dagan's stepmother, they're going to visit them over this upcoming holiday weekend, and she wanted to see if a new batch would be decent or not.  If Barb got bad roses, too, there'd be no point in complaining about them if we were just going to get more bad roses, you know?
That's how they looked freshly trimmed and watered.  No comparison!  These were all standing up straight and looking healthy.  They were even packaged with some gel stuff on the ends of the cut stems which had a separate little wrapping over them and the rubber bands were not so tightly wound. 
The thing is--this company kind of brags about how their flowers come directly from South America, are grown in volcanic soil, are fresher and last longer, etc.  That is why we were so disappointed with those Mother's Day flowers.  It looked like maybe they had subcontracted out or something because they were swamped for the holiday.  These roses looked like the picture on the website, Leah said.  Sure look different than what I got last time.  Like I said--no comparison!  Time will tell, eh?
We had those hot days--sunny or...  
...cloudy where the door was shut. 
Little Buddy seemed much braver with the door shut--LOL! 
I don't know if you can tell but Karma was trying to catch him through the glass--ROFL! 
If she got too lively...Little Buddy sped off. 
Karma would wait. 
The raw sunflower seeds are just too delicious!  I put out the same amount as I did with the roasted sunflower seeds that took them all 2-3 days to eat--and it was all gone in 6 hours!
Little Buddy would come back to fill his pouches.  Could have babies--never know.  Babies come out of the burrow in June, I think. 
We got some nice close up looks at his thirteen stripes down his back.  
He's sooooo cute!  
(Or she--we really don't know.) 
I had to chuckle!  You know how cats will taunt dogs on leashes? 
Payback?  ROFL! 
It sure seemed like Little Buddy was doing that to the big cat who was safely behind glass and he knew it--LOL! 
Here at the new apartment I may not see the horizon anymore or the sunrises, but I still am watching the sky and I love those white and blue days!  
Clouds have always fascinated me since I was a kid. 
 Well, and animals, too, as you can probably guess--LOL!
I was thinking yesterday about how intensely grateful I am to be here.  If it weren't for Dagan and Leah, I wouldn't be.  This is a better home than I even fantasized about!!  I was watching Karma and Little Buddy (sans camera) and just welled up with tears.  Thank you to everybody who ever said a prayer or sent good thoughts my way so that I could be right here teary-eyed over an old cat and a ground squirrel.  
Love and hugs!!
Meanwhile--back at the ranch...
I was busy working on stamping Christmas cards yesterday... 
...and I actually finally heard thunderclaps!! 
Well, between Leah and I, one hundred of the Noel cards are now stamped. 
We have to decide if we are stamping our made-by stamp on the back (probably)...but for now since I have the blue stamp pad out... 
...I'm working on set number two.  Going to say Happy Holidays on the front of these.
 And look at the roses this morning!!
By day two the other ones were flopped over and dying. 
These are opening--looking and smelling great!
Well, I hope you enjoyed our little visit.  I am just absolutely thrilled to be feeling decent enough to be able to have a big pot of bean & veggie soup simmering on the stove, have written a blog, and am still going to be able to work on cards today.  Life is good!!!  
For all of you in the US--have a safe holiday.  
May your life be filled with sunflower seeds and sunshine--LOL!
Chat again soon!  :) :)
"Every time we feel satisfied with what we have, we can be counted as rich, however little we may actually possess."
Alain De Botton

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Good Morning!
Well, last time I had pictures galore and this time I have forgotten to take hardly any--LOL!  The geese walked by a few minutes ago, but by the time I got the cell phone out they had already glided past.  Same with Little Buddy, who showed up late yesterday afternoon...while Miss Karma was awake.  He was scrambling to stuff as many sunflower seeds in his cheeks as he could before the big cat got too close.  (Seems aware that danger lives inside now.)  The pair of grouse were wandering along by the garages a couple days ago...but some dog walkers came by and they were on their way.  There's a lot more foot traffic on the walkway now with the nicer weather, so the critter spottings are fewer and briefer.  Putting out a bit of sunflower seeds now and then seems to assure the occasional visitor.  :)
This is my favorite writing and computer stuff spot.
Karma is either glued to the patio when it's warm enough to open the door... 

...or snoozing in her chair next to me at the kitchen table (should call my office--LOL!).
Before I forget...the roses were crispy-dead in a week.  They may look just saggy, but they were dry as a bone...
...and most had not ever opened. 
Leah complained to the company.  They sounded quite concerned and offered a replacement or credit (note--not a refund, but at least it was something).  Leah sent pictures of both bouquets.  So, if my anonymous gifter wishes to complain you could try another bouquet.  Please--send it to yourself!  I would love to think of such kindness being rewarded by a spectacular flower display like the first one I got last year.  I think Leah opted to get the store credit and wait for a while to try again when there's no holiday--just a random day.  Anyways, the company was really good about it.  I'll let you know when we use the credit.
McFamily was here on Saturday.  I knew Leah planned to pick up a few things on sale for me from CashWise and drop them off, but the whole family went, picked up lunch, and came over to visit for a while.  Sweet!  On the QT I asked if it would be okay to watch a little more of the new nature show Ian has been glued to when he comes to Gramma's.  Yup!  So I asked Ian if he wanted to watch some more "Africa"?  He ran to the little recliner, climbed up, and sat facing the TV with a big grin on his face.  He does love his nature shows!  (So does Gramma.)
Leah ended up needing to change from Monday to Friday for crafts this week (so will probably shift next week to a different day, too, rather than come so close together on Monday again).  We're going to start on Christmas card stamping next.   
Tuesday was the first day for the library outreach program and I got to see Pam again!!  Been such a long time!  She even came over briefly to see my apartment, too...was so impressed and happy for me.  So nice to see her.  After this it will be the volunteer, so we got in several hugs that day.  From now on they will be coming on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month.
I checked out one book that Pam brought with for me.  
We had connected via email before they came on Tuesday and Pam still knew where I had left off with Anne Tyler and the Lilian Jackson Braun Cat Who books.  I like to read an author in chronological order even if they are unrelated stories.  It's fun to see how they have progressed as an author, you know?
The trouble is that the next two of the Cat Who series are inter-library loans and, now that I am part of a building's outreach and not my own personal outreach like I was at West Winds, the system works differently.  Before Pam could call me and tell me a book was in and drop it off.  Now they only come out on the two days a month.  Inter-library loans are regulated by the other libraries and have a shorter time limit on them.  So say the book came in right after they had been here and has a one week limit--it would be due back before they could even get it to me.  And if it is due back before they come back--there are fines from the other libraries.  Bummer.
They came in carting a whole table of books, DVDs, and audiobooks for people to look through.  I guess that is how they usually do it.  You can put in a request and that works great if it is from their library, but not if they don't carry it.  Whole different system.  And they mostly bring in large print books.  (Not that I don't mind a larger print, mind you--LOL!)  But it's just a little different.
Speaking of changes...
I was just informed last time Leah was here that she has been being the guinea pig (for us and their friends) with this new google cell phone system called Project Fi and that I will be getting a different smart phone.  They're going to order me a used one because the new phones are like $600!!  (I had no idea how expensive cell phones have become because I usually get Dagan or Leah's old ones.)  Anyways, I guess this phone can use other systems (Sprint, Verison, etc) so that I could maybe get better reception and it's less than $35 a month for me because I don't use up much gigs (or whatever it is) so would be on the lowest plan.  And when you use less you get credit back towards the next month.  ??  Do I sound like I know what I'm talking about or what?  LOL!  Hey!  I'd just be glad to be able to use my phone and not have to stand right next to the patio door some days.  ;)  Sounds like a new phone company might be happening in June.
For any of you who might care about such things (like moi)...
today is the first ever National Notebook Day!
You can click here for more information.  :)
So now we know about National Fountain Pen Day and National Notebook Day--LOL!
I know I am feeling lots better when I wake myself up giggling!  That happened yesterday and I realized it had been a long time since I woke myself up because I was laughing.  Ahhh!  Nice!  Even Caroline said the same thing Leah did--that I seem more awake and alive than I have for some time. 
True!  True!  
*she said, giggling*
It's 76 degrees with blue skies and white clouds.  Karma has fallen asleep next to the patio screen while hoping to see the Canadian geese waddle past again.  It is now lunchtime on this beautiful day so I'll say bye for now.  Hope you have an intriguing day filled with wonder.  :):)
"No matter where life takes you the place that you stand at any given moment is holy ground. Love hard, and love wide and love long and you will find the goodness in it."
Susan Vreeland

Friday, May 13, 2016


Good Morning, Ladies and Gentlemen!
Well, it's a nippier one today.  Dark and cloudy with freeze warnings tonight, but it's a sweet morning, nonetheless.  Been actually busy since we last spoke...yes!  Busy!!  ;)
My one big special purchase for May was the big set of Tombow markers!  (Caught it almost $30 cheaper than Dick Blick on Amazon--you know how Amazon's prices fluctuate.) 
So excited to see these! 
And to see the pair of grouse again a couple of times. 
I have noticed Karma sleeps more soundly now that she has finally picked a favorite spot here at the new place.  (The kitchen chair next to my spot at the table.)   
We've had days I can have the patio door open wide; days where it can only be cracked open; and days where it is too chilly to leave it open more than a few minutes (like today). 
Me?  I have been busy coloring.  With two brands of new markers now it was time to get crackin'.  I colored the trio of cupcakes birthday stamp...
...added some shimmer to the frostings with a clear Wink Of Stella pen and a bit of gold on the tops with a metallic marker. 
Then I started on the stamped birthday cake stack. 
I figure out how I want to color them and then go through all 70 of them one color at a time.  I started with the yellow candle flames.   
I have to take lots of breaks so for two days I puttered about cleaning off the studio tables little by little.  I forgot to get a before picture--but let's just say admit that you could no longer see the table tops--LOL!
The art table by the window is now ready to go! 
The black table is down to the supplies for current projects. 
I worked away while I watched Netflix on my laptop...(that's FBI Files.) 
...and Karma slept.
I finally finished the coloring of the birthday cake set, too! 
Still needs a little something, but I can add to it before I put the cards together.  These are all just pieces of card stock that will be cut down and glued or taped to the front of actual card bases.  Just coloring all the fronts first.  Have one more set that is stamped up and ready to color--that wild, crazy cat holding the flaming birthday cake--so that's next.
 Latest Wild Kingdom news:
So exciting!  Had a brand new visitor scooting across my patio on Mother's Day afternoon.  A thirteen striped ground squirrel!!  Was so hoping to see it again.  I tossed out some sunflower seeds on the cement patio, but had only seen birds come to eat them and the wind blow them away.
Finally saw our little friend dash past again a couple days ago, took a chance...tossed out some more sunflower seeds...and look who came to fill its pouches!! 
I was smiling--ear to ear... 
...snapping pictures... 
...trying not to move. 
But guess who was awake this time--LOL! 
Karma was stalking it...low to the a lioness on the new David Attenborough's series "Africa" that Ian and I are watching.  ;) 
Our new little neighbor was so busy filling those cheeks that it paid no notice of the predator...only a screen between them.  (Karma is just a poser...but our little buddy doesn't know that.)
When he turned his back, Karma scooted right up to the screen...mere mesh between her and her fantasies.  Little buddy turned around... 
...and poof! 
I plan to buy some raw sunflower seeds in June just for the critters.  I could get in trouble with management for putting out bird seed that might start growing odd plants around my patio--LOL!  But should a shelled sunflower seed ever grow it will be big enough for me to see and pull.  ;)  Sunflower seeds are small enough for the sparrows and other birds to eat, too.  Win-win.
Karma has never tried to "stalk" the jackrabbits.   
They're bigger than her! 
I caught one yesterday just resting for a long time by the sidewalk.  Remember when they did this last winter before they were all white and they looked like boulders in the snow?  
One of the reasons I was motivated to clean off the Studio tables was I had my first Federal Housing inspection here at the new place yesterday afternoon.  Bob has now retired.  I have had inspector Bob every year since I moved up here to go to college in 1999!  Just the sweetest man.  So this time I had a new guy--James--who was also very nice (and quite handsome).  He was telling me he had a 30 year reunion coming up, so he's just a pup and should be around for a while.  ;)
Then Leah came over last night for Crafts.  First we went over my ongoing McFamily list (weird computer issues and things like that I write down so I don't forget when she or Dagan comes over) and we got up my patio door brace!!  I've had it since last fall but there was no rush to get it installed once winter arrived.  But now that we have days where it's nice out... 
We put it right across where some of the window pane frames are so that you can hardly notice it. 
So now at night I can leave the door cracked open like this with the blinds closed and never worry anyone could try to come in.  If I ran to get mail or bring out garbage or went to an activity for a couple hours I could leave it cracked open and feel safe with the brace on, you know?   
I know--may seem silly to be so cautious, but right before I moved here there was a broad daylight home invasion a block or so away from here--when the husband, wife, and kids were at home!  So it does just make me feel a little safer, I guess.  And it looks better than the bright orange rough stick that was left here for me to use when I moved in that they wrote "don't throw away" on in sharpie marker--LOL!  I was afraid Ian would get slivers!
Anyways, even though it was way too chilly to leave the door cracked this morning, Karma has to have her morning sniff--LOL!  Probably looking for Little Buddy! 
Oh!  Turns out the roses I got on Friday before Mother's Day were apparently sent anonymously!??  So I have no clue who they were from.  The ones I got on Saturday were marked as coming from McFamily.  The ones on Friday were from "someone who cares"...  So--thank you, whoever you are!!  How sweet!!
But I have to confess that Leah has already contacted about the poor quality of the roses this year.  These roses were no different than the disappointing roses we have gotten from places in town.  They are drooping, falling over after just a couple days, edges are turning black, and many have never opened.  It is like they have come from a different company!  No lie!  The ones I got last year were absolutely gorgeous--remember?!!  Huge blooms, fat stalks, smelled wonderful, and lasted for weeks!!   
Not that these aren't nice flowers, mind you.  But they sure aren't lasting long, don't smell, thin stalks, and not all opening.  
And--yes--I trimmed the stems, used the powder, and have been faithfully changing the water...apparently, to no avail.   
What a shame.  That new company seemed to be so wonderful.  Mother's Day is absolutely the busiest time for florists, so we wondered if they subcontracted out or something?  Leah said she will try them once more on a random day--no holiday--and see what we get.  There is absolutely no comparison to the first flowers we got from them.  But they're still much appreciated gifts--from McFamily and someone who cares.  :) :)
Lastly--I had people asking me about the perpetual calendar stamp I bought that I just LOVE.  It's made by Waffle Stamps.  I found it in a few places online for a little cheaper than Amazon, but when you added shipping at the other places...was cheaper for me to get it with my Amazon order.  You can try the Amazon link here or search for Waffle Flower Crafts Clear Calendar Stamps.  And it looks like my well-used set:
There are seven different 31 day calendars for starting on each day of the week.  You can either have a Sunday-Saturday or a Monday-Sunday calendar--whichever you prefer.  They've even got the circle for circling days.  For the months shorter than 31 days, all you have to do is carefully wipe off the ink from any days you don't need that month before you stamp.  I haven't had any trouble doing that so far.  This is just so perfect for my Bullet journal that it's the best planner stamp I have ever purchased.  Was spendy, but I can use it forever!!  :)  So glad when I buy something online and it is exactly as (well, even better than) expected.
So, that's it from Fargo for this chat.  Karma's crying for some canned food and I have coloring to do.  Miss Karma and I will be keeping an eye out for Little Buddy!  Have a marvelous day!!  Chat again soon.  :) :)
"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous."