Saturday, December 31, 2016

Saturdday-New Year's Eve-11:30am

Happy New Year!
Goodbye to 2016.  
I hope this will be a good year for us all.
I am very happy to see the jackrabbits this past week.
They are not so skittish as the birds. 
They come at dusk and clean up anything that is left on the ground... 
...leaving little round presents in exchange.  ;) 
Leah came up with a brilliant suggestion for the bird feeder.  The complaint was focused on my hanging the feeder from the balcony above, right?  So we're going to take the bird feeder down, set it on my little metal table out there, and wait to see if they forbid that, too.  
What the heck!  
I have nothing to lose.
I ran out of the calming spray about five days before Karma did this to her ear in half a day.  How does she manage to do this with no claws?
Again...Leah had a brilliant suggestion.  The cover didn't screw off but Leah managed to pry it off, we added some distilled water, popped the cover back on, and now we have a watered down version to use till the new bottle arrives.  Karma had done that to her ear Wednesday night.  Leah came over Thursday night--and I started spraying her collar again and Karma has pretty much left herself alone and her bloody ear is healing up.  So maybe the spray is really helping?  I'll have to make sure I always have some, I guess.
Leah spent hours working on Mr. Rusty.  I know!  The problems had not been resolved.  *sigh*  So she had Dagan on speaker phone and he helped her wipe Rusty's brain.  This time I don't have windows 10 and went back to an earlier factory setting--Windows 8?  
McLap was saved, though!!  
Hurray!  I have backup!!  
It took till almost midnight before we could finally get to "the box".
Yes!!  We were like kids with a new toy!!  
Mouths hanging open in disbelief!
Eyes sparking!!
My old Cuttlebug had gotten worse over time...loosened up, I suppose.  We were used to experimenting with shims of all kinds...different plate "sandwiches"...the endless struggle to get a thin die cut all the way...and most of the time without success.  We gave up on the new thin dies a few years ago...well, and cutting very much at all.  It could still cut the circles that Leah used for her Christmas gift tags because those were Spellbinder dies (a bit thicker).  But we haven't wanted to use the Cuttlebug for mass producing our birthday or Christmas cards...well, for years.
We made a permanent home in the studio for the new Vagabond 2.
I'll be clearing off the other half of the shelf behind it because it's a handy place to set things as we are working...but this is its new home. 
We were absolutely blown away by how simple it was to cut intricate thin dies we couldn't cut before!!  And without any shims or trouble whatsoever!  Just the plates that come with it and that is that.  Whoohoo!!
Of course we had to see how it embossed, too.  We have never had such crisp embossing before!  This machine has power!
 Leah embossed some thank yous I could add on top of my Christmas thank you cards.  Took no time at all.  With no cranking and sore arms!  Just the push of a button.
I taped these all on yesterday, so now I can start working on my Thank You cards so I can get them in the mail.
Leah even made extras!
We have been just over the moon!!  Been looking up dies for our wish lists...some stamps, too...and sending links back and forth.  (Yes, the internet can be a royal pain sometimes, but don't you just love it?!)  I already had plans to buy a few dies if the Vagabond worked decently and showed them to Leah Thursday night.  Stuff we both like!  Whoohoo!  So will put in an order in January...and will show you the goodies when they arrive.  :) 
Meanwhile--I will just continue to be extra careful jumping up backwards to sit on the bed because I won't order a step until probably February.  (Priorities, you know--LOL!)  I do plan to get one like I got for Miss Karma.  Made for humans to get in and out of the bathtub, but works fantastic for her and will work for me, too.  (I tried it--LOL!) 
Speaking of Miss Karma.  I am moving my few Christmas do-dads into my Croc boxes this year and hauled them into the pantry in preparation for the undecorating (what little there is).  Of course, Karma lies next to them...since she can't lie on top of them--LOL!
She's my cat arrow--pointing--this is new, did you notice?  She pointed out the Vagabond box to me, too, until I moved it.  :)
Anyways, I couldn't let the year end on such a sour note.  Leah and I are absolutely thrilled with the new toy!!  I really do foresee a lot more card making in 2017--LOL!  Leah will be back on Monday night for crafts.  We have been bouncing ideas off of each other like crazy!
Oh, and I also heard that they give you something when you have cataract surgery so that you don't care at all what they are doing to you.  That made me feel a lot better.  Now--it's just worrying about actually physically getting to all these appointments--LOL!  But for now...I have die cutting and embossing on the brain.  Play time was the best!  Leah and I both feel recharged!  :)
This year I am doing a mini new year's ceremony again.  I plan to join in online again this year with a group of crafters doing this Ring In 2017.  It was pretty fun to watch last year.  They do have a chat room, but I don't usually chat much.  You can do projects with them if you want to.  Last year I joined in on one of the art projects.  This year I plan to use the time to organize for challenges I would like to try in 2017...picking out journals and such.  I might even work on thank you cards.  But since the group went from about 7pm till something like 2am last time (central)...I will do my little new year's ceremony earlier this year.  (Angel cards and such, for my new folks.) 
Anyways--happy new year to one and all!!  
Things are looking up already. 
Bless you and thank you for visiting us up here in Fargo.  I am grateful for every comment and every personal email and every letter all year long.  You all are my cyber family!!  Best to you in the coming year.  Love and hugs from me and Miss Karma.
Hello 2017!!
"When the waves close over me, I dive down to fish for pearls."
Masha Kaleko 

Thursday, December 29, 2016


Good afternoon.
Yes, as of a few days ago, I have seen jackrabbits for the first time this winter!!  :) 
This guy was here with the girls. 
The girls are here at least once a day... 
...and, if the temperatures are blow freezing, several times. 
 The sparrows come and go every day--more frequntly when it is colder, also. 
Thanks to three generous people this Christmas (you all know who you are) I ordered the new Vagabond 2 that came out this past summer!!!  I haven't even opened the box yet.  Leah couldn't make it Monday night because of the ice storm we had over Christmas Day and into Monday, so she's coming over tonight.  I desperately need some happy play time.  :) 
We're both very excited to have an electric die cutting and embossing machine!!  Will show you more later.
And Karma loved the box and packing paper.  Yes, she was inside there. 
You may notice a trash bag I didn't bring out (saved for Caroline who came to clean this afternoon).  I was afraid to try to skate out to the dumpster on all the glare ice after falling inside the house already on Friday before Christmas.  
Yup!  Klutzy me!  I am very short (5' 1") and my bed is extra high because I have a 4-inch memory foam mattress pad on the bed to help with pain/sleeping.  So in order to sit on the bed I have to back up to it and jump--LOL!  Not a pretty picture, I know.  Well, I was going to put on some socks and backed up to jump on to the corner of the bed...and next thing I knew I was falling and twisting in the air so as not to hit my head on the dresser...and landed flat on my back!  Couldn't move for a little bit there--whew!
Apparently I hit tailbone first, because that hurt like hell for about four days.  I twisted/hurt hips, knees, ankles, wrists, elbows, neck, shoulders...not sure how I did all that at once, but I am talented--LOL!  I spent Christmas in my recliner with a heating pad (which I am sooooo glad I finally replaced in November--old one burned out a couple years ago).  Karma loved it--LOL!  I am still not moving in any agile fashion.  
Meanehile...I had been back to the eye doctor for part two of my exam--still absorbing those new facts.  I am seeing the specialist on the 18th of January.  I smack myself up good.  We have an ice storm.  I cut my hand yesterday--not bad, but annoying, nonetheless.  And now Nazar finally showed up (unannounced) at the door this afternoon with another maintenance man to look at the flooring.  They blamed my rolly chairs for the damage (of course, even though it is only on one side of where my chair is).  Once again I was told they will look for matching linoleum or glue it down...and the older maintenance guy told me I should get a floor mat.  (Which Dagan and Leah were already planning to pick up at IKEA when they go to Minneapolis for Dagan's heart/pacemaker check beginning of January.)  This guy told me because of my chairs this will just continue to spread and damage the floor.  I told him it has been in the same area for the last five months...on only one side of where my chair is.  Didn't matter to them.  It's the rolly chairs.  (Not improperly installed or cheap linoleum, of course--LOL!)
Then, as they were about to leave...
Nazar drops the bomb.
"You have to remove that bird feeder."  
Of course I tried to persuade him...only five small eye screws are involved...only going to be up in the winter...
Has to come down.
I told him I would have to wait until son & DIL can do it.
I hope that after the bird feeder is gone and they realize I am putting food out on the ground and it isn't just falling out of the feeder that they don't tell me I can't put any food out at all...
I was going to wait to blog until I had something more cheery to say, but...well, at this rate who knows when that will be. 
I've been having internet issues (which means I have troubles watching some shows online) and still having laptop issues.  [Mr. Rusty is not working right and freezing, etc--Dagan hasn't had time to look at McLap yet--even the tablet isn't cooperating all the time with Chromecast.]  YouTube won't let me comment most of the time.   Sometimes Blogger won't let me, either.  :(  Is it something in the stars?  Has bad mojo descended?
Man!  I sure hope 2017 starts to turn around.
When I could sit for any length of time again I gathered all my weather stamps that I might use in the 5-year diary.  Thought that might be a fun way to add to recording the weather.
I printed them all out on to some card stock so I could see them (some are quite small)... 
...and practiced with different ink pads to see what bled through the worst. 
They all tend to bleed through the Leuchttrum paper, but the distress inks seemed to do it the least.  So now I have them all in one box...just want to get some small distress cubes that would fit in the box, too.  :) 
I printed off some freebies from Boho Berry's website.  Just fun stuff she drew for people to color.  I added these to my 2017 Bullet...framed them with washi tape  There's a Hello 2017 and a gratitude sun diagram... 
...follow your arrow... is going to be awesome... 
...and a different follow your arrow. 
I also tested out every fountain pen and ink I have going at the moment on tomoe river paper so I know which ones I can use in my new writing journal and which ones to avoid. 
I'm always changing up inks so I will keep this extra paper tucked into the journal cover to have handy as a reference and to use for testing any new inks.
So--anyways--the year has not been ending on the best note, shall we say.  Hopefully 2017 will shape up here before too long.  I foresee more arts and crafts in my future.  [I hope!  Don't want to jinx myself.]  And now things are not working right and freezing up on Mr. Rusty so I hope I can post this.  Man!  I am too tired and sore for all of this.  The Girls are here for a dusk feeding and I should see jackrabbits pretty soon.  Leah is coming and we will play!  :)
Happy New Year!!  :) :)
No quote--reached the end of my uncooperative computer patience--LOL!   

Friday, December 23, 2016


Karma wondered why in the world I woke up at 2am--LOL!
Well, I was so exhausted after part two at the eye doctor yesterday that I was in bed before 9pm.  I'm up several times every night and by 2am I couldn't get back to sleep thinking about eye surgery--awk! 
I went Monday but after an hour we had only worked on my history and the prescription for new trifocals.  So, I had to go back Thursday for part two--dilation and the whole shebang.  Turns out--no glasses for me.  I am being referred to the Fercho Cataract & Eye Clinic because I definitely have cataracts and questionable area that could be macular degeneration.  Need to investigate more.
So, I am compiling days that would work for Leah to give me a ride and have to call back.  Could take a month or two to get in--kind of like appointments for my rheumatologist.  So, will be some time in January or February, I imagine.  I don't want to go over the holidays, regardless.
Cataracts run in the family but I thought I'd be closer to 80, to be honest...not 65.  :(  My mom has AMD (Age related macular degeneration).  My Dad had and my son, Dagan, has glaucoma--but I was cleared of that.  Pressure was normal, actually.  Well, that is the bad news I got yesterday.
 Meanwhile, back at the ranch...LOL!
The girls peck machine-gun style when they first arrive...
...and then they slow down a bit.  I read that they can eat all the calories to last them a day in 20 minutes and I believe it when I see them gobbling away. 
When it was still really super cold (until about three days ago when it warmed up to the 20s and 30s) they were hanging about nearby.  So cute the way they dig themselves a nest sometimes to hunker down to keep warmer against the wind. 
They even stayed next to my patio a couple times. 
This day I caught them in a huddle out on the sidewalk there. 
But they gradually all decided to move over across the sidewalk to catch the last afternoon rays. 
Still been eight of them in my usual flock.  But one day while The Girls were here I saw another flock fly down and land across the way by the garages!  Must have been 7-9 of them, too.  If there is eight--then I might not know which flock is actually here--LOL!  But last fall I saw a second flock and The Girls chased them off with a unlikely.  But wouldn't it be cool if they got together and were one huge flock!?
I made a new whatever-is-in-the-freezer/frig/pantry-soup. 
 Frozen diced onions, sliced celery, crinkle cut carrots, mixed veggies, and baby spinach.  Cut up some potatoes.  Better Than Bouillon vegetable stock.  Large can of crushed tomatoes, two cans of black beans,  and some orzo pasta.  Salt, pepper, and some Herbs de Provence.  So good!  I forget about orzo pasta!
You will laugh when you see what came inside of this box!
One Lamy EF nib!   
It came just like this.  
Nothing whatsoever else in the box.  LOL!
Anyways, I have had these two Lamy Safari pens for...must be somewhere around 35 years.
 Lamy Safaris came out in 1980 (just googled it) and I know they'd been around a couple years before I bought the red one.  That was my first non-disposable fountain pen and I used it a lot.  So much so that I bought the blue one shortly after so I could have two colors of ink cartridges.
I bought them with EF nibs.  But I was used to my death grip on my ball points.  I loved Flair pens with their felt tips but could destroy and smush them in no time from pressing so hard on the paper.  Needless to say my EF nibs became almost broad nibs over time...a short time--LOL!  For years I have been wanting to switch the old nibs out for new ones...and I finally did it!
New EF nibs.  I bought one in silver and one in black to see if there is any difference over time.  They had both been black before.
These days I know how to write with a soft touch after years of using fountain pens.  So nice to have my trusty old Lamys back in the game again!
Speaking of fountain pens.  The first FP I saw was my dad's.  It didn't use a cartridge.  Had to use the lever on the side to fill the bladder from an ink bottle!  I used to beg Dad to let me watch him do it.  He used that special pen to write in his small five year diary every night. 
Funny thing is, I was just talking about Dad's diary with Leah our last craft night a couple weeks ago.  (She didn't make it this last week because they lost electricity in their neighborhood and manually opening their garage door is a real pain.)  Anyways, I was joking about if I ever had one I know I would keep track of the weather because I think it would be interesting to be able to glance back five years on that day to compare.  But if I ever had one I would want to use FPs like Dad did...and it is hard to find FP friendly paper.
So--it was two days later I find out that Leuchtturm has come out with a five year journal!!  Leuchttrum is the brand I use for my bullet journal and have tested the paper so I know most of my inks and FPs will work well on their paper!  So--yes--I ordered one.  :)     
It's called Some Lines A Day: The 5 Year Memory Book.  
I'm not sure what I will keep track of besides the weather, but I have a week to figure it out.  There's not much room.  Maybe a highlight of the day, gratitudes, diet, health...who knows?  But I will be writing with a fountain pen and will be thinking of my dad.  :)
I've also been setting up my new Bullet for 2017.  Got birthdays and the usual monthly things entered--and added some washi tape for the pages of each month.  
Yup--have four months set up--whoohoo!  And with the washi tape and sticker color coding it makes it easier to know which month I'm on. 
This bullet will only last about 9-10 months and normally I just finish a writing journal whenever and start the next starting a new bullet, a new writing journal, and now a 5-year diary all at the same time--whoohoo!  Probably will never happen again.  :)
 While I was working on lists for the front of my new bullet journal...well, I was hunting up old links I had saved for free classes to see if they were still available or not since some of the links are like 2-4 years old.  I clicked on one and...well, let's just say I messed up Mr. Rusty.  Apparently there was a virus attached to that old link.  Dagan was over and got Mr. Rusty back in working order for me.
Okay, here's the really, really embarrassing part.
I thought I remembered the name of that bad guessed it.  I clicked on it again.  But this time I was on McLap!!   
So Dagan stopped by to pick up McLap over his lunch hour on Wednesday.  (He didn't even made fun of me--LOL!)  You may remember that Dagan and Leah are not as familiar with Mac products...but he thought he could maybe save my old McLap.  (You suddenly can't close anything and boxes pop up all over the place that they want you to click open--but I didn't.)  I haven't heard the fate of McLap yet.  Let's just I thought I had computer issues before--LOL!  And then I am still having internet issues, too.  *sigh*
While Dagan was here he shoveled off my patio for me.  After it would warm up and then freeze every night there was a crust built up that I wasn't strong enough to get through.  Thank you, Dagan!!    
They're talking "something" coming Sunday and Monday.  100% chance of something--LOL!  Freezing rain, snow...just sounds bad.  Starts on Christmas Day, too.  So I hope everyone who will be traveling in this area will be safe.  Drive and walk carefully, folks.
I called Nazar again over a week ago about gluing the flooring down.  Left a message, I should you know he doesn't answer the phone much.  Well, he actually called me back this time--the same day--shock!  Told me he had contacted a flooring company but had not heard back from them.  I asked if he could give me some warning as to when they were coming.  No...not with a third party, he said.  (I knew it was probably too much to ask...and he probably wouldn't do it anyways--LOL!)  No...haven't had anyone show up yet.
BUT--there actually WAS a notice on the Community Room door that the library lady was sick on the second Tuesday!  Shock!  AND we got a sheet/newsletter in our door this month that was all cheery about the new (and final) building being open now with some information about the new Media Room and Exercise Room in the third building.  No signature as to who wrote it.  If it was Nazar, maybe he is trying to turn over a new leaf?  If they hired a new activity director you'd think they would have introduced themselves, right?  Could have been calendar lady, though.  Who knows?  Anyways, it was nice to get a kind of a newsletter...and a cheery one, at that.  
So, that's about it from up here.  I'm still letting it sink in about the eye specialist and possible eye surgery.  Karma and I will have our quiet, peaceful Christmas.  (She is still barely self-abusing.)  I will watch It's A Wonderful Life and A Christmas Story at some point as I always do.  We'll have our little private Christmas with McFamily some time in January.  Dagan has his annual heart and pacemaker checkup in Minneapolis beginning of January and then his dad's side of the family is having Christmas in northern Minnesota after that, too.  I'm sure glad I don't have to drive all over for holidays anymore, to be honest.  Been there. Done that.  ;)
Well, have a wonderful holiday!  
Be safe!  
Think positive about the coming year!
Love and hugs from Fargo.  :) :)
"We must not wish for the disappearance of our troubles but for the grace to transform them."
Simone Weil

"Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind.  To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas."
Calvin Coolidge

Thursday, December 15, 2016


Good Afternoon!
We've had cold and snow and wind up here.  More cold and wind than snow, but I'll take it.  (I do love the white stuff.)  The snow plows are beginning to pile up the parking lot snow banks.  The snow is dry so the wind keeps drifting it about and they have to keep shoveling parking lots and sidewalks.
Many of you have asked how Miss Karma is doing.  Here she is taking a normal cat bath... 
...and , as you can see, her belly is all healed up. 
But don't tell her I posted such an unflattering bath shot--LOL! 
Her ears are looking good, too.  I am almost out of the Feliway spray and didn't realize when I ordered it from Amazon that it would be coming from Taiwan--LOL!  I think I have enough to last till it gets here...or there will be a test time to see if that is really helping or not, eh?  LOL!
Since it has been so awfully cold I have seen a lot more of the sparrows and The Girls.   
They have even decided to just settle in nearby some days. 
Karma likes to see them visiting, too. 
They look huge because they keep their feathers fluffed out as far as possible against the cold. 
When they get scared they stand tall, their feathers smooth down, and they are half the size--LOL!
You can see how much traffic I am getting here... all the footprints.  Some looked like possible jackrabbit...but I haven't seen those again.
I called Medicaid in North Dakota to find out what was covered for eye exams and glasses.  (They are my supplemental insurance.)  What a joke.  All she could tell me was "usually" they will cover extensive exams for glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts (all of which run in my family) but it all depended on which procedures they did and what codes they used to submit--AND some procedures need prior authorization.  But she couldn't tell me the codes or what procedures need prior authorization.  They have no list of places that take Medicaid for eye care like they do for dentists...oh, and plus she warned me that before I go to the dentist next time to double check because they lost a lot of dentists this summer.
So, I worked at compiling a list of eye doctors.  We have four phone books up here, believe it or not.  Then just called around.  
Found a couple of them.  Decided on the nicest phone person and the closest place.  I go this coming Monday.  Leah offered to give me a ride.  I plan on getting to the dentist in January.  About time.  I am overdue to all appointments and hope to get to them before spring.
We've had several thinner layers of snow.  Been too cold to melt.  Can you see some of The Girls under and in the tree across the way?
I've been giving them extra ground food since it's been in the teens and below zero.  They seem to really appreciate it. 
Miss Karma, waiting for her morning treat, is less impressed with my bird seed generosity because it comes before she gets her canned treat--LOL!  She's patient, though annoyed. 
But her latest favorite place to sit and snooze has become the chair by the window where she can watch the birds all day.  So she is appreciating all the interesting Cat TV even though she pretends she's not interested--LOL!   
After the last snowstorm we got a nice drift out there to block the wind a little... 
...and The Girls dig with their feet and make a snow nest to hunker down into against the wind.  So cute! 
When we had the wind chill warnings yesterday (-25 to -37 below wind chills)... 
...The Girls huddled together in a clump.  I couldn't get a better picture without scaring them away. 
They're more used to Karma moving about by the window and much less used to me. 
Leah's brother, Aaron, was discharged from the Navy a week ago Wednesday and he's living with McFamily for a while.  Last Saturday they all came over for a visit.  (And I forgot to get any pictures--duh!)  We made dinner here.  Ian did some paint with water and coloring.  Dagan, Aaron, and Leah tried to get my printer to work.  (Yes, now old Mr. Rusty and the new printer are having communication issues.)  Could be the intermittent internet problems I've been having forever adding to it because the printer uses wifi, too, I guess--to print wirelessly.  I think they plan to bring over one of their routers to hook up and see if that fixes the problem or not.  (All Greek to me, of course.)  Was a really nice visit and they stayed way past Ian's bedtime...but I still got big hugs and "I love you, Gramma"s down the hallway.  :)
Leah came for crafts on Monday night and messed with the printer some more.  Finally just unplugged it again and said to try it the next day.  We do that sometimes and say up a quick prayer to the techno-angels to come and fix it (or techno-fairies--ask both--don't know which--don't want to offend.) 
Leah had bought these plain white ceramic ornaments last year she had planned to do something with.  On Monday she painted them with this shimmery acrylic paint.  They look even better in person.
The paints are the Pebeo Dyna Studio acrylics.  
I absolutely love our Craft Night/Girl's Night.  
I plugged the printer back in and tried it on Tuesday.   Was able to print something!!  The mechanically inclined angels or fairies did their work...for now, anyways.  ;)
 Yesterday a maintenance man (not our usual one--the fed housing guy) knocked on the door to check my washer hoses.  He didn't realize that I was one of the flooded.  I was so tickled that they were going around door to door and checking ALL of the gaskets!!  Made my day and I told him so with much enthusiasm!  I had been wondering about the apartments above me and if I might get leaking from the ceiling.  What a relief!!  :) :)
Today...instead of the usual half dozen there were eight Grouse Girls who came earlier!  I couldn't get a picture...well, I didn't try...because they were quite jumpy due to the two new members of the flock.  The new girls are low in the pecking order and got chased a little bit from this one and that one.  But they all left together.  I'll be curious as to whether they stay a group of eight now.  Cool!  
Oh!!!  Oh!!!  Leah and Ian went to the Natural Grocery Store and picked me up a bunch of non-dairy items to try AND a whole bunch of Gardein products a couple of days ago!!  OMG!  I had fake breaded fish fillets with fake mayonnaise...and then the next day had fake slices of meatloaf!!  Delicious!!  Been years!  I haven't been this excited since I discovered the Quorn brand of meat substitutes!  I have all kinds of fun things to try the rest of the month.  Seventh heaven, Baby!!!    
Right now it has warmed up to 4 degrees and the wind has died down quite a bit.  Nice!  The sun is out.  The ground is white.  Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer is playing on Pandora.  The colored twinkling "fairy" lights are blinking and warming the atmosphere.  Karma is over on her chair sound asleep.  (I think she likes it when I play music.)  A huge flock of sparrows are gobbling up seed on the patio.  I am just so friggin' happy.  Content.  I just love-love-love this time of year.  :) :)
Peace and good will.
Spread love wherever you go.
"Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present."
Jim Rohn