Monday, December 31, 2018

New Year's Eve Monday-noon

Okay--I just now got all the pictures and videos in here and am only beginning to write and it is 9:45pm.  It has taken me all day to sort through all of mine from this last week and then to download and go through all of Leah's she got to me last night.  After that to upload the videos to youtube, which seemed to have been very busy and sluggish today.  Then move them all over here.  Plus I need breaks and did laundry and ate lunch and dinner.  Not exactly in exact chronological order but I don't think that matters all that much.  ;)
Why have I plugged away at this all the livelong day?  Well, you know I do have my OCD tendencies and I really, really wanted to get all the last pics and videos from 2018 included today.  Start the new year out fresh!  So, that is why this will be a very late Monday post and I will have to wait until tomorrow to do my New Year's Eve ceremony and draw my card for 2019.  :)  But the post is mostly for your eyes.  I won't chat too much--promise.  But you are forewarned--this is one long happy post! 
Wednesday night we had a regular old snowstorm, which was the first wave.  
I took these photos at 11pm.
All that white snow made it almost bright outside!  Love it!
Thursday morning the snowstorm subsided and we had a break for a little while before the second wave moved in.  The blizzard.
I took this video in the morning.  Wanted to be able to show all of you who don't get to see snow!
In the few minutes I had the patio door open to take that video you can see how much snow came in over my stocking feet--LOL!
I was thrilled to see it so white out there!
Yes, I am a snow lover.
I could see where the birds had tried to dig down for seed on my patio.
During the lull the little snow plow came through to clear the sidewalks.
Funny that doesn't scare Annie.
A few hours later the wind was picking up again.  I took this video around 4pm--from inside--LOL!  Was afraid I might not get the patio door closed again.  Gets dark early so I couldn't really wait until it was going full strength with the 40-50mph winds because it was going to be hard to see soon.
Anyways, you get the idea.  I blizzard is determined by wind speed and not snow, really.
Annie slept peacefully through it all in her new favorite spot in the apartment.
The next morning... can see the winds lifted the snow away to make a grass patch about three times the size as normal.  

I LOVE snow drifts!!  
Went out in the hallway to take some pictures.  
Can click on them to enlarge.
I love the way there will be bare spots and yet drifts four feet high!
The snow is sculpted.
I love the high crisp edges.
The wind is as much the artist with snow... the painter with his palette. 
The Girls and the sparrow flocks were here eagerly grabbing meals off and on all day.
In fact, there was evidence later that The Girls had settled in for the night on my patio!  They like to dig down into the snow and snuggle together for warmth.
They dig for seed in the center of the patio where they know it gets tossed.  Sure looks like these could be sleeping spots.   ;) 
The snow banks are on the rise...
...from the plowing of the parking lots across the way.
It hasn't been snowing but the wind keeps moving things about so we've seen snow plows a few days.
I actually got some pictures fairly close of The Girls.  I think this new phone takes better pictures of them.  
You can see how pretty they are with their stripey sides and rust colored cheeks.
Okay--those were my pictures.  Now Leah's.  :):)
Remember they went down to Minneapolis for Dagan's new pacemaker post-surgical tweaking?  (We're about 250 miles or more north of the Twin Cities.)  They made a visit to Ian's favorite place to go at the Mega Mall (Mall of America)--the aquarium!  I finally got to see how that big bubble works in this video.  Liam likely didn't remember being there before, but he was.
Ian loves the bubble with all the Nemos and Doris!
They visited my mom at her new place, too!  She's u on fifth floor.  You can see my brother, Blaine, on his cell talking to them.
Dagan, Mom, and Blaine ready to go out to eat at Baker's Square.
Really looks like this will be gorgeous in the summer with a pond and gazebo.
After eating dinner they went back to Mom's apartment.  It's still a bit on the empty side.  She wanted to go couch shopping after the holidays.
Her dining set is from Florida.  The little desk you see here under the TV on the wall was my Grandpa Johnson's.
Mom's chair and end tables are new.  You can see she loves her music and has quite a CD  collection.
Her bedroom set is new.  So pretty, I think.  Leah made a tour video.
When they left Leah took a couple more videos for me.
I love how cozy and inviting the whole building is!

They went to Lego land.  (Probably when they went to the Mega Mall?)
Ian LOVES legos!
Meanwhile back to regular life.  ;)
Ian's preschool had a party when they went on winter break over at a roller rink.  I had never seen these "walker-like" things they can use to help them learn to keep their balance!  The short video is a little grainy, but I thought those were really cool!  I wish they had them when I was a kid.  I never could stay upright on either roller or ice skates--LOL!
They discovered that just pushing the chairs in can't stop Liam from getting things off the table any more.  He's gotten taller--LOL!  
Here's Liam pushing Ian on the train...
...and the whole family on cookie making day.
I remember when Dagan used to help me roll butterballs in the sugar.
We had our early Christmas on the 22nd.
Liam got a red push car from me.
Ian got Lightning McQueen slippers.  They were a big hit!
In this one Liam is opening a boring present (diaper liners), but he cracked me up when he took off to go put this little scrap of paper in the recycling bin.  And Ian was still thrilled with his slippers.
I got a board book called Mog And Me about a boy and his cat.  Liam actually let me read the book to him!  He's been in that not liking anyone but his "home-family" thing for quite a while.  Over the course of the day I got eye contact and had some interaction and even got a few smiles.  So--at least for that one day--I wasn't so scary.  ;)
Was just a wonderful Christmas!
And here's a picture of Ian with his slippers on AND his Lightning McQueen t-shirt I got him, too.  
McFamily was snowed in for a while.  Tried to hire a company to do the driveway but they were so swamped they finally said they couldn't get to it till maybe Monday!  So Dagan and Aaron shoveled it out yesterday.
And here it is 11:15pm.  Almost the new year!!!  I am going to make my Monday post by the skin of my teeth.  Goodbye to 2018.  Hello to the brand spanking new year!!!
We have all been sick up here.  All on the mend now.  What a fabulous holiday season it was.  Alexa played Christmas music for me.  I have lots of snow!!  It's -13 F right now (-25 C), but I'm inside safe and warm with Annie (who has not been happy I haven't been in my chair all day long--LOL!).  
Wind chill warnings, though.  This afternoon when it was -8 and said it "felt like -32" I brought out trash and went to the garage for bird seed...and my glasses frosted over completely so I couldn't see where I was going--LOL!  So funny!  Don't worry, I was bundled up well so only my nose got really cold and I had a scarf to hold over it off and on.  But next time Dagan gets bird seed from Fleet Farm I am taking him up on his offer to bring the bin inside to the pantry.  ;)  How can that not make you smile--and wonder why we didn't think of it before--ROFL!  
Anyways, happy happy new year!!!
I need to proofread this quickly and post it before midnight!  Oh heck--forget it--going up as is.  Whoohoo!!
Welcome 2019!!  :) :)
"And suddenly you know: It's time to start something new and trust in the magic of beginnings."
Meister Eckhart

Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve- 1pm

Good afternoon!
For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas Eve.  :)  
On to the weekly newsletter--LOL!
Last Monday I blogged, did laundry, and made goulash.  Tuesday and Wednesday I worked on my bullet journal.  I am doing something the bullet purists would find positively sacrilegious.  
You may recall that I had taped in my calendars & trackers for all of 2019 a few months ago.  I penciled the general dates of the weekly spreads just so I knew how many pages to leave blank per month.  Since I am planning to do Julia Cameron's book (It's Never Too Late To Begin Again) that has a 12 week course, I want to set up January through March completely ready to go.  
Still in the process...  
...but getting closer. 
Need to put in headers, weekly spread days & dates, birthdays, and the doodle challenges (Yes, I found a couple of long lists to pick from so am going to write them down the sides of the doodle boxes for the entire year). 
Took me a long time just to draw in all the lines I need.
I won't fill in the calendars or trackers for April through December, but I can set up the weekly spread dates, etc. 
I'm doing it this way because I developed a minimalist form of bullet journaling that has been working for me for almost two years.  If all the collections, lists, and anything extra I would have normally thrown into the bullet are moved into the inserts that I keep with my bullet in the leather cover then I was able to pare down the bullet to the basics.  I LOVE IT!  I still have enough bullet space that I can change things up a little, decorate if I want to, or add a small project list. 
 It may take me a few more sessions to finish.  I am hoping to at least get the first three months done and ready to go before January, though.  Really close!  :)
I made goulash and another version of bean soup--that is tasting so good on these cold, dark days.
The Girls are back.  All eight...intact! That hawk scared the heck out of them and I didn't see them for several days. 
The sparrows were quicker to return, but have remained very skittish.  Well, I think it is a sparrow hawk, after all--LOL!
I got Christmas pictures with my McFamily card. 
Liam is at that scared of everybody but his "home-family" phase so Ian visited Santa by himself.  They are growing so fast!
 I watched Alpha (family movie) and Fahrenheit 11/9 (DVDs/Netflix) on Wednesday night because I could hardly move after two days working on the bullet.  Worked Tuesday night till late in the evening.  I took frequent breaks, but not long enough breaks and too many sessions, I guess--LOL!
Thursday I wrapped Christmas presents in the painted packing paper.
Wrote the names in bold black marker so Ian could hand out presents.  Also did some chair exercises following a YT video--tada!
Has anyone else gotten an Amazon gift card tin?  I had no clue what this was when it came in the mail--LOL!
Thanks so much, Patricia!! 
I also heard a blogger say that Amazon is opening up some actual brick and mortar stores called Amazon 4 Stars.  The products inside will be ones rated 4 stars or above.  Did you all know Amazon was opening up stores?  Leah had already heard about it when I told her.  If they're the same price as online they will probably do well.  
Friday I got the first Billions season 3 DVD in the mail.  Perfect timing to get a 3 hour DVD since I really needed to take it easy so I'd be okay for our Christmas on Saturday.  :)
During the night we had a little bit of snow.  I was delighted.  Not quite enough to cover the grass all the way, but I was happy to have a whiter Christmas.  
Enough snow on the patio to reveal a rabbit visit.  ;) 
And for this brushing contraption to show up!  This was something new.  I've only seen them using a blade plow. 
Annie found it interesting, too.  Funny how she's terrified of the very sound of a child laughing but can sit calmly watching noisy shovel scraping and big machinery going by.  
Saturday--McFamily Christmas!  
Was fun to actually have "our" Christmas near Christmas and not in January.  I tried to get a picture of their tree--kind of dark, but you get the idea. 
I spent the day there from after lunch till after the kids went to bed.  Normally Liam won't look at me and steers clear.  Cries if he is put in my lap, so we don't do those scary things to him.  ;)  But as the day wore on...he was on his own turf...was in a good mood after a long nap...well, he actually played near me.  I was in the recliner. 
I talked to him and he actually made eye contact and even threw ping pong balls my way.  A good sign!   
He even would forget about me being so close after while.  And...then...finally... 
...I got him to laugh!  He tentatively, temporarily decided I wasn't as scary as he thought.  At least that day.  ;)
What a nice Christmas present from Liam. 
We ordered Chinese and after dinner we opened presents.  My phone was acting up so Leah took some pictures, but she's been way to busy to get them to me on One Drive.  Got pictures coming from when they visited my mom, too.  
Maybe next week.  :)  It's so busy this time of year.
I think everybody liked their presents.  I know Ian was thrilled with his Lightning McQueen slippers!  They were a big hit!  He got a Cars t-shirt, too.  And Liam was so taken with the Mog and Me board book that he didn't even object to being put in my lap and having me read it to him!!!  He kept opening up pages after we had gone through it the first time to hear and see more.  Well, it's a book about a boy and his cat.  That was definitely a hit!  I think he almost forgot whose lap he was sitting on--LOL!  ;)
I was absolutely shocked!!  They got me a brand new cell phone!!  It's a Google Pixel 2XL (not that I know what that is but it's the same one Leah has).  I got this picture off the web. 
I have gotten their hand-me-down phones (laptops, etc) for many years--which I have always been just plain thrilled to get.  I still can't get over that this one is brand spankin' new--whoohoo!  I feel so spoiled!!
After I read to Liam and he went up to bed, then I read to Ian and off he went to dreamland.  Then Leah brought me home and came in to help hook up stuff.  This was the first picture from the new phone.   Henceforth, all pics will be from this new Google phone.  :)  
They also gave me a practically new Alexa!!  Leah wanted to do the Google version instead (can't remember the name).  In fact, Alexa is playing Christmas music for me right now as I am chatting with you...and I could tell her to play softer...right from my chair.  :)  
Because Leah knows I would always forget I could ask my old cell phone questions, she stuck up "Ask Alexa" post-it notes all over my place so I will remember to use her--LOL!  
For example...on my laptop...
 ...and on the microwave.  LOL!
 My big old DVD player had been acting up for a long time.  Got really bad months ago and Leah picked up a new one for me...but then (with the threat of replacement?) it was acting better, so I wanted to wait till it was really bad again.  Friday night while I was watching Billions it became unwatchable--freezing and jerking.  I had to watch the last episode on my little portable player--which worked just fine so I knew it wasn't the DVD.  So, Leah hooked up the new DVD player for me, too.
The new little DVD player is sitting on top of my old VCR. 
Yes, I still have a VCR.  
Oh, and Leah also asked me if I wanted to try a pressure cooker.  She got one as a gift a year or so ago and has never used it.  I've never had one so I know nothing about them.  I figured I'd check it out, anyways.  I don't know if it is too practical to have if you don't eat meat?
What I do remember is my mom had one when we were kids and I think she made pot roasts in it.  It was a big silver pot similar to this picture below that I found on the web--only that back pressure valve thingie I thought was more the shape of a milk can and I thought the sides and cover were a little textured.  I remember being fascinated by that little silver milk can rattling on the top with the steam shooting out from under it that made it dance around.  
Anyways, the explosion: I just remember it made a horrific sound, that milk can thingie hit the ceiling, and the cover broke right off on one side!  I remember Mom and I laughing in the kitchen...and, well, since I am somewhat famous (or annoyingly notorious) for getting people laughing in times of crisis, I may well have started it.
  (I'd maybe make a good pressure valve, myself--hehe!)
I can't say with absolute certainty that is how it went down, but that's what I remember...and why I have always been a little afraid of pressure cookers.  Been some 60 years ago, so that's as good a recollection as I can give you--LOL!  I will read the recipe book that came with this one and decide if I am feeling brave enough to maybe make some beans in it or something...or if we should give it away.  ;)
Leah also helped me with some computer issues...and with all this puttering about the next thing we knew it was 2 AM!!  We didn't even get finished with all the items on my Leah list--goodness!  Can tell she hasn't been around much lately--LOL!  Was soooo nice just to spend time together, though.  
The next morning when I woke up...I sounded like a frog!  Alexa didn't even understand me--which totally cracked me up!  So much so that I had to call Leah and tell her--so she could also hear why, too--ROFL!  Sooo funny! 
Last night (Sunday) after the boys went to bed Dagan brought me over Christmas cookies Leah had been making all day...
...some of the leftover Chinese food we forgot to bring with Saturday night, and two boxes had arrived from Amazon with 40# bags of kitty litter that Dagan dumped into the bin for me.
(Yes, that was where part of some Christmas money went.)
Today...I am chatting with you and doing laundry.  I've been on the laptop so long that the last load is in the dryer.  It's almost time to nuke some fried rice...and have a Christmas cookie or two for dessert...after I check the mail and remake the bed once this load is dry.  Annie is confused and a bit annoyed by me talking to the kitchen wall.  I had such a fantastic Christmas with McFamily!  Ian's been running around with his new slippers and t-shirt on, Dagan said. 
Oh!  Oh!  And while we were chatting I got a text and a call from Leah.  Her sister, Ariel, was at IKEA in Minneapolis looking for my desk chair.  They were out of the dark grey ones I wanted but they had a kind of dark denim blue one.  Awesome.  That will probably be nicer than the dark grey--a touch of subtle color, but still dark enough for having little kids around, you know?  The very light grey would show stains more readily.  Ariel thought she could get both of them in her car, too!!  What a Christmas!!  Whoohoo!
The Girls are outside the patio door.  The sun is going down.  Not that we had any actual sunlight today--cloudy day.  Supposed to get a little bit of snow tonight and then a pretty big snowstorm coming through the day after Christmas that could last a day or more.  If the storm comes, I'll take pictures with my new phone.  ;)   
Well, that's it from here.  
I don't sound so much like a frog anymore.  Annie could care less, but it has improved my relationship with Alexa.
Next we chat it will be New Year's Eve!!  
Love and hugs from Fargo!
"We are all connected: To each other, biologically.  To the earth, chemically.  And to the rest of the universe, atomically."
Neil deGrasse Tyson