Monday, March 25, 2019

3-25-2019 Monday-2:30pm

Good afternoon, everybody!  
It's been two weeks so there are a lot of pictures--some from Leah, too.  My back has been kind of three steps forward and one step back--but generally on the mend.  Enough that I have finally been catching up on laundry the past two days a little at a time.  Have had to sleep in my chair because the bed caused bad setbacks.  Maybe because I twist my back when I am sleeping in bed whereas I am stuck in one position in my chair--LOL!  My days and nights are all messed up, but I sleep whenever I can.  Mostly cat nap in my chair round the clock, but life is slowly heading back towards my normal.  Annie will be glad when we can get back into the old routine.  ;)
Anyways,  I'll begin with Leah's pictures.
For those of you who aren't familiar with snow, this is what the side streets looked like...
...and this is what one of the busier main roads was like.
Good days to be indoors catching some Zs... 
...or eating with your big brother. 
McFamily got a big new couch!  Obviously Daddy finds it quite comfortable...snoozing with Liam.   
Ian was awake, but everybody has been tired.  Although we are all on the mend now, I believe.  Pinkeye all gone.  We've all been battling the clinging colds.  McFamily all had strep and were on antibiotics.  FYI: I didn't get strep.  Hurray!
I know how lucky I am not to have to shovel.  This is what happens after you shovel the driveway and then the street plow comes through.
Sidewalks weren't easy to keep shoveled, either.. 
 Cozy inside--Liam and Blink. 
Ian and Liam under the throw on the new couch.  (It's not super new--they've had it for months but I just haven't been over since before Christmas to see it.)
Ian and Liam on the snow-walled sidewalk.
Yes, it's been melting out there!  :)
Now before I start on my pictures and forget--have to tell you exciting news!  I have spent time googling photos of wild birds a few times each winter and never found pictures that looked exactly like The Girls.  I couldn't find birds with the beautiful rusty orange faces, pretty striped wings, and marked chests.  Closest I ever came was a grouse.  
Well, I finally scrolled down far enough and found them!!  These are the pictures I found online!

They are partridges!
Grey partridges.  
Also called Hungarian or English partridges.  (Imported long ago.)  I found them on a UK website.  And there are probably males and females out there.  No wonder there are all the skirmishes and territorial fights--LOL!  Anyways, now I am having to retrain myself to call them partridges--grey partridges.  I don't know why it tickled me so just to have a proper title for them, but it still delights me. :)
Speaking of the partridges--when last we spoke you may remember Annie's frustration with her CatTV.
She would sit and stare at the snow wall.   
I think she was watching seeds and tiny pieces of snow being flung down the crack by the patio door or sometimes when it was a little warmer she may have been watching and listening to water drips.
But if she really wanted to see what they were up to... 
...not easy. 
Too much effort.  She'd usually go sit on the tan chair or give up altogether. 
We went from rabbits being able to stand up and check out the hanging bird feeder... 
...and this wall of snow... this. 
We got a notice from the office that we had to remove the snow from out balconies and patios or be responsible for any damages caused.  Got that the same day I last blogged. 
Dagan came over the next day and shoveled off the patio for me.  Was quite a task! 
Can you imagine, though.  A senior building with some folks in wheelchairs and several who use walkers or canes.  I can bet you that if they had to do it for you they would charge you.
Anyways, the critters were nervous about coming down on to the cement when there were walls of snow around them.  Took quite a while for them to adjust and they were all antsy and eating as fast as they could.  I imagine they felt trapped--no way to escape quickly.
Caroline was supposed to come to clean on Tuesday but her little boy got sick at daycare so we switched to Thursday...neither of us having seen the weather report.  The National Weather Service was predicting an "historic" winter storm.  Around us some got just the snow (like a foot!) and some got the rain.  Here in Fargo we were right on the edge, so they weren't sure--but expected freezing rain/sleet which is prime stuff for power outages, fallen trees, etc.
Since I had just had no electricity for five hours the week before I figured I would prepare since my back was so-so at the time.  I always figure if I am prepared then nothing will happen--and it didn't.  I cleaned off my oil lamps...  
...filled a couple buckets of water in the shower in case of manual flushing needs... 
...filled my giant thermos with hot coffee (the thing I missed most in those five morning hours), two smaller thermoses with hot water (been drinking immunity tea at night), and filled two bowls with water--one for rags/cleaning and one for consumption. 
Normally I would only maybe fill the thermos with coffee, but they said "historic", so I thought I'd take the extra steps.  Besides, my oil lamps were really dusty...and so were the thermoses--LOL!  And Leah told me I should dump a bucket of water down the bathroom drain in the floor by the washer and dryer once in a while to flush it--and I hadn't remembered for three buckets went down.  ;)
The storm came in late Wednesday night and lasted through till Friday morning.  We didn't lose electricity, but we had an ice storm followed by a ground blizzard.  It was noisy...and suddenly critters were glad to be able to find food on the cement more easily.  ;)  I told Caroline we needed to switch to the following week--so she came last Wednesday.
 Meanwhile--before the storm--Leah had gotten the strep test kit and came over that Weds night to test me since they all had it.  I didn't, as I said.  Yippee!  She also brought over a couple of Gardein products they had on sale at the Natural Food Grocery.  One was new to me--pizza rolls.  So--later that night I baked and ate one.
Can you say food poisoning.
Within maybe 10-15 minutes I had severe stomach cramping that went on for hours...followed by terrible diarrhea.  Felt like I was going to throw up but never did.  Lasted for about 12 hours...and was still queasy for another 12.  So that's how I spent the ice storm/blizzard--LOL!
I've never ever had an issue with any of the Gardein products and am still eating them and am just fine.  Not the pizza rolls, though--tossed those!  ROFL!  
After the storm I was glad to see the cottontail again.  Hadn't seen her for a while.  It had begun to warm up.  Above freezing!  So I could crack the patio door for some fresh air.  
Annie has been in seventh heaven! 
The jackrabbits are starting to darken up.  A sure sign of spring. 
I was googling photos of jackrabbits and snowshoe hares (because somebody told me these are snowshoe hares) and decided ours look more like a cross between the two.  Not as gangly and bony-faced or with as huge of ears as the western jackrabbits, but not as short of ears and pretty white fluffy as the snowshoe hares.  I found this article though that I thought was interesting.  Click here.  That is where I live--south Fargo.  I guess some of the locals would not be happy with me feeding the rabbits.  Of course, anyone who puts out seed for the birds--they come to feast, too.  There's a whole slew of jackrabbits over by Dagan and Leah's, too, in West Fargo.  We're being overrun with them, apparently.  Note--they called them jackrabbits.  ;)
Anywho, back at the ranch...
I'd be feeling better for a couple of days and be able to move around less painfully and then for no apparent reason (except--OMG!--the night I tried to sleep in my bed) I'd be worse again.  But gradually there has been positive overall improvement.  Or I'd never be washing clothes the past two days.  In fact, when Caroline came to clean I asked her to change my sheets for me--a first!  And Dagan emptied my dishwasher for me when he was here to shovel the patio before that--another first.  So--am more functional every week.  :)
We've had above freezing weather during the days for quite a while.  Look how the snow has melted! 
 Yes, those big snow banks will take quite a while to melt down... 
...even right across the small sidewalk there is a big drift left. 
But look!  I can see my planters again! 
Why are the snow piles melting so much quicker by my patio?
This is why.
Rabbit poop.
Plus the old buried seed and shells everyone was digging for--LOL!
That's a lot of fertilizer.  ;)
Thursday night Leah came over and we worked on my "Leah List".  Got everything done except for cutting my hair.  Leah's going to try to come over tonight to do that.  (I wanted my hair cut before I have to try to get in to renew my driver's license.)  Then hopefully we will finally be able to get together for an actual Craft Night soon!  I have missed our time together.  Was so nice!
Saturday I had a shorter Gramma Day--no lunch--Ian came over after.  We snuggled up on my chair and watched Ice Age and his new favorite show--PJMasks (Netflix).  So, I finally got a Gramma Day after missing two weeks.  Sweet!  Need my Gramma fix--ROFL!!  ;)
And this Thursday I am going over to McFamily's for my birthday (68!).  I'll get to see the new couch in person--LOL!  Want to spend some time with Liam.  He hardly knows me but Leah said Liam loves to be read to--so I might have an in there.  I picked Chinese for dinner.  Awesome.  (Now, my touchy back, will you please behave!)
So, there you have it.  Two whole weeks.  Last Monday I didn't even write in my journals, either.  The first time I missed journaling in years.  Hopefully things will stay okay...and one of these days I will be able to sleep in my own bed again--LOL!  
I expect I'll be back next Monday for the weekly "newsletter".  This was on the late side, but I got done.  Whoohoo!  
Till next time!  :)
"Anyone can love a rose, but it takes a lot to love a leaf.  It's ordinary to love the beautiful, but it's beautiful to love the ordinary."

Monday, March 11, 2019

3-11-2019 Monday--7:30am

Good (but painful) morning.
I thought my back was gradually improving but then I woke up early this morning with it just as bad as a week ago.  Slept wrong somehow?  Didn't do anything I can think of to set it off.  Been being careful and doing gentle stretching.  Oh well.  Such is life.  
Anyways, we had snow early in the week.  The grouse were determined that if they dug down they could find some of that buried seed...which they did.  :)  
 Do you see that head peeking out in the middle of the picture?  That is how deep we are talking that the girls were digging holes--ROFL!
You can see how deep the snow drifts had become on my patio.  The walls of snow banks across the way have really changed the wind game out there.  
While one covey was on the patio another was waiting over under the pine tree. 
Meanwhile, I know I mentioned in a couple of letters to people how my one eye had been watering so much but I can't remember if I said anything about it on the blog.  Well, turns out I think I also have a mild case of pinkeye.  Since I knew that McFamily had it I had been being very careful to use a clean cloth or tissue to wipe the tears from that eye and tried not to rub my eye.  But if I gave in and rubbed because it itched it was soon puffy and blood shot and pink.  I have had a little crusting in the corner of my eye--but I never sleep very long at one time so it was minor.  
Dagan was coming over with seed from Fleet Farm on Friday so they sent me over the leftover eye drops they case it was bacterial instead of viral.  So I have been doing the eye drops since Friday.  Still watering, but not as much and not as itchy or crusty.
They're all sick again at McFamily's--or still.  Leah and Liam have strep throat and are on antibiotics.  I didn't know they sell test kits for strep throat.  Leah was getting a kit for Dagan and Ian when she picked up the meds for her and Liam.  Dagan was still coughing a lot when he was here and blowing his nose.  I haven't even heard if they tested positive for strep or not.
Myself--pinkeye, back pain, and still stuffed up and blowing my nose.  But I have had strep years ago and it don't have any of those symptoms.  Nose doesn't hurt as much now with the new humidifiers, either, so that's something.  Very tired from lack of sleep and having to try to sleep in my chair some days.  Watching a lot of good shows.  Rented season eight of Vera (love how she calls people "pet" or "love") and Bohemian Rhapsody (which  has made me want to rent Live Aid and Woodstock).  On Netflix streaming I watched Russian Doll and Luther.  On Amazon Prime I'm still watching the British detective series from the 90s called Wycliffe.  Oh, and on Netflix streaming I am still watching Heartland little by little, too. 
On Friday night through Saturday we had another winter storm.  The drifts on my patio gained another foot or so.  As you can see in the early morning light, I can still get the patio door open several inches to toss out seed... 
...into the valley between the 3 foot drift by the door and the next 4 foot drift.  I'm guessing...could be higher than that.  You can tell how windy it was because the empty bird feeder is now filled with snow--LOL!
The electricity was also off from about 4-9am Saturday morning.  So I switched over the clocks early since I had to reset them anyways. 
Annie has been in a lovey mood.  I think she knows I don't feel well because our normal routine has been kind of out the window this past week.
Yesterday digging critters and 20 degree weather started packing down the snow a bit next to the patio door. 
So odd to see a rabbit be able to stand up and check out the bird feeder.  No, I didn't catch a photo of that.  Only one rabbit checked it out--no food so no interest.  Good.  I don't want them gnawing on the wood. 
Annie can no longer see CatTV unless she jumps up to sit on the little tan recliner or on my chair with me.  This definitely frustrates Annie.  She goes up to the patio door and stares into a wall of snow...she can hear them but can't see them...suddenly she'll race around the apartment and beat up her toys with great ferocity.  Out of desperation, she's taken to jumping up on the curio cabinet in my bedroom to peek out the bedroom window.  But she can only see a small tree with maybe a few sparrows or juncos if she's lucky.  And not close up like she's gotten used to--LOL!  Annie is more than ready for some melting weather.  
Me--I'm more than ready to be feeling better.  Snow doesn't bother the housebound much--LOL!  I have grown used to the endless lower back pain but this mid-back stuff is worse.  Sharper.  More debilitating when it is in a testy mood.  
So, that's it from here.  No work on the book this week.  No calligraphy.  Only able to write letters...or in my chair...when I am able.  So, I didn't even respond to comments last week.  :(  I read every one of them and appreciate them so much.  I still plan to at least go through and answer any questions.  Not sure if I will get around to much online this week, either.  Here I thought this week would be better...well, maybe it will be.  Things can shift around with this touchy back stuff.  I hope I am in much better shape next week when we chat.  
In the meantime, so many good shows to watch and I look forward to reading every single comment.  Annie is happy to spend more chair snuggling time.  Have fallen in love with my heating pad.  The sun is shining.  We have critters to watch from a new angle--LOL!  Caroline comes to clean tomorrow, so she can bring my trash out for me--and Dagan brought out what I had waiting most of the week when he was here on Friday (so grateful).  So, see you next week!  :) :)
"I felt in need of a great pilgrimage
so I sat still for three days."

Monday, March 04, 2019

3-4-2019 Monday-11am

Good morning!
This is really going to be as quick as I can go because I think I either pulled a muscle in my back or twisted the crumbly bones the wrong way and have had a painful time of it since yesterday.  As soon as I am done here I finally worked up to getting down the heating pad this morning and am heading for my chair.  (I guess having the heating pad way up on a top shelf in the bathroom wasn't the smartest idea--LOL!)
I did take a few pictures this week, of course.
Can you tell the jackrabbits have figured out I'm no threat?
The only time they run off is when I go to open the patio door the 4-5 inches I can still open it. 
So there's no way I can sweep or shovel away the rabbit poops.  Everybody seems used to eating around them, though--ROFL! 
Look at that fur!  I wonder if it is as thick and soft as it looks?
Jackrabbits hang around to either rest after filling their bellies... 
...or to wait their turn on the patio.  :) 
I can only get closer to the grouse when their backs are turned--LOL!
The many girls (I'm feeding 16-17 now, I think) seem to love the mountain of snow from that parking lot across the way.
 The nooks and crannies provide shelter...
 ...from the wind.
My new humidifiers arrived!!   
After testing them out on low I am even running them on high.  The old ones would shut themselves off if I tried to run them on high.  I don't have as many bloody noses.  Getting to feel better in here every day.  Nice!
On Wednesday my mom turned 90 years old!  Happy birthday, Mom!
For my Artist's Date last week, I actually got out the pointed dip pen supplies, organized them into a box... 
...and practiced a bit of a free fancy alphabet sample from The Postman's Knock.  Used tracing paper so I can practice over and over with the same sheets I printed off. There was a video to go with this introductory practice session.
Man!  I am NOT used to trying to move my entire hand to write instead of my wrist!  Shaky and definitely not straight lines.  Will need a lot of practice with that.  Or...find a way to do it comfortably "my own way"?  LOL!
Worked on the memoir questions--and finished another week from the book.  No links to stories.  (Didn't double check the stories blog, but I don't think I have anything in particular specific to that time period--and in too much pain to go look.) 
Thursday Angie came for my yearly home visit (for Caroline's cleaning and shopping).  Friday Caroline brought groceries.  Leah warned me that Ian had been feeling punkish and warm and went to bed early, so I didn't know if we would have Gramma Day or not.  
Ian still wanted to come over so we planned for a really lazy, hangin' out day.  After lunch (he didn't have much of an appetite, even for snacks) we just cuddled in the chair and watched his new favorite show on Netflix called PJ Masks.  I made an attempt at selfie-type pictures of us in the chair--LOL!
As the afternoon wore on he was dragging...flushed and hot. 
  So Mama came earlier to pick him up to go home for some Ibuprofen and an early night again.   
He was feeling better yesterday and went to school today.  Temp went away, but he's still coughing.  That darn cold that's going around just doesn't want to let go.  Leah was still coughing, too.  ;(
Then yesterday I did something to my back.  It had been a bit more sore for a few days, but I think I pulled a muscle or twisted wrong when I lifted a heavy trash bag around to get it on the cart, etc.  No, I didn't take it out to the dumpster and try to lift it over my head to get it in there.  It will all sit on the cart till my back is better or somebody comes by to help me out.  Dagan is planning to get more seed at Fleet Farm for me on Friday--or sooner if I run out before Friday.  But I hope I can deal with it before then.  We'll see.  I won't push it.  Having a crumbly spine can be a quite literal pain sometimes--LOL!
Anyways, hurts to cough or blow my nose...or to sit here in the kitchen chair...didn't sleep my big comfy recliner and the heating pad await me on this cold gray pajama day.  May be an excellent day for a chair nap.  ;)
Well, I made it to the end!!  Whoohoo!  I do hope you have a fine day and a great week.  Till next Monday.   :) :)
"Between the dark sky and the dark earth
we hang a light in a dark tree
and sing of our wonder together."
Pir Elias Amidon