Monday, October 28, 2019

10-28-2019 Monday- 11:30am

Good Morning!
Rita's Bird Cafe has been open all week--LOL!  Loads of partridges...
...and many hungry sparrows as well. 
I'm not hanging the bird feeder because nobody really used it last year.  The small birds are the only ones that can use it and they prefer eating on the ground en masse rather than only a few at a time squabbling over perches at the bird feeder.  That's fine with me.  :)
Leah dropped off the IKEA table with the adjustable taller legs...
...which will look like this, but higher...
...and four sets of dividers for the cabinet drawers... 
....that will fit perfectly in the Alex cabinets when we get them. 
And she brought in the gatefold table...
...that will look like this...
...and will sit right where those boxes are now.  
It could be a while until they are actually put together because they've been busy moving her brother, Aaron, to an apartment near downtown Fargo this past weekend.  No rush.  Just getting these pieces here from Minneapolis is something exciting.  Leah said they are planning to try to get back down before the snow flies to pick up all the cabinets for me.  They think they will all fit in the next trip!!
Been chilly to downright cold (right now it is 29 degrees) so I can only crack open the patio door here and there.  Any time I do Annie is right there to check out the Bird Cafe--LOL! 
I'm still amazed to see such a huge number of partridges at once. 
Remember when I saw all those babies running across the lawn this summer?  Maybe these are those very babies?  Those sets of parents seemed to be raising them all in one big group so who knows, right?  And there's a smaller covey of around eight that come by.  They may be larger...or it's an optical illusion.  Could be I am feeding two coveys (was last year and didn't know it till I saw both at once)...or there's a group that splits off to come by themselves.  Regardless, I welcome them all.  :)
The early snow has thrown off those three trees.  
No casual leaf turning one at a time right to left this year.  For the first time the other two are turning together.  In fact the one on the far left seems to be winning the race.  I guess being dumped on by early heavy snow has changed the routine this year for the first time in the four years I've been here.
I ordered a little Dash waffle maker to make chaffles. 
Chaffles are keto-friendly waffles made with just egg and cheese--nothing else.  Well, you can add meat if you wish.  I have never owned or operated a waffle maker so I had absolutely no idea what I was doing--LOL!  Let's just say that I totally miscalculated and had a big mess oozing all over the counter top the first time I tried it--ROFL!  But now that I got the hang of it--love them!
Another of the cheap dies came: Merry Christmas.  
There are two left to arrive.
I made a regular Simon Says Stamp order, too.  (Can you tell I have craft studio on the brain!)  You know how I love bright rainbow colors...well, I saw this stamp and immediately saw hours of coloring ahead of me.  ;) 
They also had this mailboxes stamp and die set that I couldn't resist with all the folks I write letters to.  So cute! 
Now if I would just feel well enough to actually work on some projects...*sigh*
 The last two weeks I have been dealing with allergies--the watery-itchy eyes, stuffed up head, and runny nose that makes it hard to sleep well.  So I'm feeling kind of run down.  *she says as she sneezes and wipes her eyes*  
This too shall pass.
On Thursday I saw Dr. Blom.  The good news is that all those 34 tests came back just fine.  So still nothing definitive, but she has a general idea.  I do have Osteoarthritis so it could be an OA flare of some kind.  I also could have developed an Inflammatory Arthritis.  There are several kinds of IA, including Rheumatoid Arthritis--but, again, that is almost always symmetrical and my blood work said no so it unlikely I have RA...but there are other IAs.  And nothing explains the entire leg swelling up.  
If I am presenting an Inflammatory Arthritis it could slowly disappear (never to be seen again, hopefully) or I will see it showing up elsewhere.  She asked me if I have seen people with the gnarly-lumpy-stiff-jointed hands, for example.  Could show up in other knuckles or finger joints or toes.  Don't really know.  One of those "time will tell" situations.
I could have had a steroid shot in my knuckle, but I passed.  I had a kind of extreme reaction to the shot in my knee and then being on steroids felt so exhausting...I couldn't imagine dealing with any of that again right now.  Besides, I have gotten back 80-90 % of the use of my hand (depending on the day) despite the swollen red knuckle.  I have adapted to pain.  After all, I've had a lot of practice--LOL!  ;)  If it is still the same in three months...I'll try the shot.  
Dr. Blom was behind schedule that day so a little more rushed, but she still pulled her chair right up across from me and looked me in the eye when she spoke to me.  I really like her.  She put me on a prescription anti-inflammation medication (meloxicam), said it was slow to work (if it does), and she wants to see me in three months.  This medication is once a day and a bit stronger than Ibuprofen or Aleve but not as hard on the stomach...but still take it with food.
We talked briefly about diet.  I told her I do feel better on the low-low carbs but am also suspicious of dairy because of the chronic sinus issues (nothing to do with the allergies where I was wiping my eyes while I was talking to her--LOL!).  She said she'd had chronic sinus, herself, until she gave up dairy.  But she found she can eat a small yogurt a couple times a week and not have any issues.  Each person has to listen to their body and find out what does and does not work for them.
So, my "diagnosis"...
...some kind of arthritic flare.  Time will tell.  Keep doing what I am doing.  I told her I plan to work up to giving up dairy.  I go back end of January...unless something additional pops up, of course.
Then Thursday night Leah came over but we didn't do any crafting.  I filled her in more on what Dr. Blom said and she filled me in on how Dagan's visit with the liver specialist went...and that Aaron was moving out on Sunday.  Was a nice, sitting at the table, chatty night.  :)
Dagan hasn't shown any signs of liver problems but apparently it is a common issue for people who have had the fontan procedure.  And that's definitely not good.  Let's just say that you wouldn't qualify for a donor liver with a bad heart...and you wouldn't qualify for a heart transplant with a bad liver.  So you would have to have them both at once...or nothing.  So they are just being proactive.  Dagan has been doing so well for so long where so many others haven't.   
So, Dagan will go in for bloodwork and a liver scan up here in Fargo.  They will keep an eye on him.  So far, so good.  We are expecting the best.  :)
Meanwhile, Annie and I have company every day.
The covey has gotten so comfortable here that, if I don't walk around or Annie doesn't try to scare them, they hang about sometimes on the lawn and come back for more helpings.  Love it! 
When Ian was here on Saturday for Gramma Day he threw out some seed for the birds and later the big covey came.  We counted 20 of them!  I was glad they came while he was here so he could see them all.
We had a great day.  He read to me from his school homework books.  He brings home a pouch full of "books" that he has to read to someone.  Leah sent me a short video of him reading the "a" books to them.

He was so excited when he got here that we did that first thing.  He read me the "i" books and I got to sign the form for him that he had read them to his Gramma.  He also read me the Mog and Me book that he brought with.  We put out bird seed, watched some DinoTrux...
...made chaffles with diced ham, and chatted away. 
He did look tired to me and he "rested" lying down in the chair for a while while he watched TV.
He still has that rash on his cheek and they're going back to the dermatologist.  Ian seems to have a mystery disease, too.  We had a good day and he was extra huggy saying goodbye and even gave hugs to Mama.
I guess he's been acting out after Gramma Days the last couple times.  :(  Been good here, but then throwing tantrums afterwards at home.  Not a one-off...and not acceptable behavior.  So, no Gramma Day next week.  He might have one the week after that--but he'd be on probation.  We'll see how it goes.  Ian has always been easily frustrated, often automatically contrary, and crumbles easily.  But he is also helpful, kind, charming, silly, and loving.  Growing up is hard work.
  With everything going on I forgot to ask Leah what the Halloween plans were for this year...if they need me to hand out candy, I mean.  Meanwhile, I had a bevy of sneezes while I changed the clothes to the dryer, AnnieGirl thinks I have spent entirely enough time at the table typing (it's almost 2:30pm), and I think I have about covered the highlights for the past week, anyways.  Time to go.  I will try to be better answering comments this week.  Allergies have been dragging me down.  With it being so cold now you'd think that wouldn't be an issue much longer.  I hope I don't have to wait till the snow returns and stays on the ground--LOL!  
Have a sneeze-less, productive, exciting week, my friends.  Bless you all for hanging in there with me.  Been a rough several months, but things are going better and I expect them to continue to get even better.  We'll chat again next week.  :) 
"This universe is much too big to hold onto, but it is he perfect size for letting go."
Sharon Salzberg

Monday, October 21, 2019

10-21-2019 Monday--5pm

I don't know whether to say good afternoon or good evening--LOL!  One of those sleepless nights so was late out of the gate and am just plain moving slowly today.  Got to reading an ebook on Keto and almost forget to blog!  Plus daydreaming about changes in the studio...goodness!  But here I am on this dark, drizzly day.  Washer and dryer are going.  Sparrows are chowing down.  Annie asleep on my chair...waiting for me, I think.  (Funny how cuddly cats can get when it gets colder--LOL!)   
It's been a good day already.  :)
I quick took a picture of the three trees before it gets too dark.  
Not much happening with them since the blizzard.
By Tuesday, the day after I blogged, most of the snow was gone.
The snowbanks were slower to recede.  Much to my delight I saw two crows playing on one!!
There were three of them, but I only caught a picture of this one that wasn't blurred.  The two danced and picked at something interesting in the snow.  Oh, I wish they would come back every day!  I do so love crows.  The other one came up near the patio eyeing the seed but was too timid to come that close to the building, I guess.  He tried twice, but panicked.  
 Maybe he could me standing silently back toward the kitchen...or Annie sleeping on the floor inside the apartment?  
Annie Girl missed the entire near-visit of a bird we haven't seen here before--LOL!  They are smart and remember things, though.  Maybe they'll come back for some seed when the pickings get lean?
Rita's Bird Cafe.
I haven't seen the jackrabbits anymore and the cottontail hasn't been here for quite a while now, either.  Not that I've seen, but they are more nocturnal.  Once winter comes we'll be able to see tracks.
Meanwhile, I finally finished cleaning and filling the last two trays of fountain pens! 
I've never cleaned all of them at once--whew!  I usually check one tray at a time so I am cleaning and refilling as I go so I rarely have more than 2-4 pens at a time to deal with.  Feels so good to have them back! 
They don't take up much room stacked in their trays. 
As long as I am showing pens...this IKEA cart I pull over to the table every day when I do my journaling.  No fountain pens in there--LOL!  But I do use them for the doodle challenges in my bullet.
These are all drawing pens, highlighters, brush pens, markers, felt tip pens and the like.  Mostly for art and lettering. 
On the shelf below I keep my fountain pen trays and stack of journals (minus the bullet that is usually out on the table for easy access).
Yup--and can you believe I have a lot more pens elsewhere!  Crazy pen lady!
I love that the partridges are getting more comfortable here.  They often eat, then wander out to sit on the lawn for a while... 
...and then stop back for second helping before they all take off.  I see them 2-4 times a day.  Usually hear their gentle clucking first if I have the door cracked open.  :) They always make me smile.
I don't remember if I ever showed you what the weight of several feet of snow last year did to the one plastic planter on my patio?  Big crack on the side there.  If it survives this coming winter maybe I will have to tape it up or something.  Not sure how to fix it...but I haven't asked Leah, our tool girl, about that yet.  I'm sure she forgot all about it.  I did--LOL!
The geraniums struggled back to life after the snow melted, but the coleus gave up the battle.   
I'll be out there to cut back everything once they have all given up the ghost.
Two more of my cheapie dies arrived.  Birthday ones--a happy birthday and balloons. 
Let's see--Caroline came to clean on Tuesday.  Wednesday Dagan came over and got my air conditioner cover in from the garage for me because Thursday afternoon maintenance was coming around to install all our AC covers.  ??  I've never lived in apartments that did that before.  Probably because it's a senior building?  But I've been here over four years and this was something new.  I like it cooler, so that just means I will be cracking the patio door more often.  ;)
Thursday Dagan made a bird seed run and filled my bin in the pantry.  Friday McFamily headed for Minneapolis for a long weekend because Dagan had an appointment with a liver specialist today.  He hasn't had any problems.  His doctors apparently are being proactive since so many other heart patients have had liver issues.  I will hear the results of the consultation later on after they are home and settled in tonight.
Meanwhile--IKEA has raised their delivery prices a lot so Dagan and Leah picked up what they could fit in their car of the furniture for me.  They got the high legged table for the corner of the studio and the gatefold table for the living room!  Leah said they are planning to make another trip down before winter and should be able to get all the rest then.  How exciting!!  :)
We can set up the high table for the die cut machine and put it over the old cabinet and taboret that are there now.  Will be easier on our backs when we do our die cutting--whoohoo!
This Thursday I go back to see Dr. Blom for the test results.  I've had 34 different blood tests since June--from four different doctors--19 of the last ones were Dr. Blom's.  Should be interesting.  
Well, Annie thinks I should go settle into my chair like I usually do every evening. 
She's probably chilly (have the patio door cracked open) and wants her human heating pad back.  LOL!   Oh--and I hear the partridges have come for their final meal at dusk!!  Love that sound.
Time to go fold and hang clothes and then be Annie's heating pad..hehe!  Till next week.  Have a fantabulous week everybody!  :):)
"Nothing is worth more than laughter.
It is strength to laugh and to abandon oneself, 
to be light."
Frida Kahlo

Monday, October 14, 2019

10-14-2019 Monday--9:30am

Good Morning!  
Lots of pictures of birds, snow, and pens this week.  So funny now that I was afraid I wasn't going to have any birds to feed this winter!  Early in the week I was excited to see this covey of seven.  (But just wait!)
I spent the week cleaning fountain pens.  You may recall I was too sick to keep up with my fountain pens, ran them all dry, and piled them in that little shoe box to be cleaned later.  Well, I finally grouped them up mostly by brand...
...and have been slowly cleaning a batch a day.
Take them apart, clean out the cap with a brush, shoot water in a syringe through the converter, squeeze water through the nib with that blue bulb thingie, do several five-minute rounds in the new jewelry cleaner, rinse the parts with water again and (if  the water is clear) leave to dry.
I haven't been able to do a batch every day, so I still have a couple left yet.
Yes, I am a real pen nerd.  I showed my FP trays a long time ago, but for anyone new:
I rotate through approximately 35-40 FPs in 5-6 little stacking trays.  I write daily in three journals and write to about 30 people total (about a dozen quite regularly).  I use different  colored old highlighters (see the yellow one fourth from the left) to keep track as to where I am in the rotation for journals and in letters.  
I keep a notebook that's divided by tray number tabs...
...where I keep track of which ink is currently in which pen.
I mainly need to know that because I love to buy up ink sample vials from GouletPens.  The vials hold more ink than will fill a single pen converter so I keep the leftover ink over on my desk in one of these wire drawers... alphabetical order so I can use the rest of the ink up in the proper pens.
Yes, I am most definitely a pen nerd--ROFL!  ;)
Okay--back to the partridges!
They were predicting possible snow for late Thursday night through Saturday.  We were on the edge of the storm's path and the edge of freezing so weren't sure how much of it  we would see here.  Well, the birds knew it was coming!  
I suddenly had this covey of 15 partridges show up for food!  They came back every couple of hours!!  It was awesome!!
When Leah came over Thursday night it wasn't snowing yet but by the time she left she said there was a slush on the car.  No crafts this week.  When I went to turn on the TV Sunday night... Smart TV wasn't connected or my YT-TV had disconnected--I wasn't sure what happened but I told Leah I could watch on my laptop till Thursday--which was just fine.  Well, it turned out that the Smart TV had somehow reverted back to factory settings?  I don't know what I could have done or if Dagan and Ian did something when they plugged in my humidifier back there on Sunday or if the TV lost it's very smart mind--but out of the three scenarios I pick the latter--LOL!  ;)
Needless to say, that's all we did all night was to reprogram the Smart TV.  You have to log in to each program you use (Netflix, Prime, etc).  Something you only think you will have to do once, you know?  I thank Leah for her patience and technical expertise.
  If it weren't for their help I would definitely need a dumb TV. 
Woke up Friday morning to a thin layer of the white stuff on the grass, but the snow was melting as it touched down on the streets and sidewalks.  All the seed was gone so I tossed out a couple cups...and within minutes had company.  :)
Notice Annie peeking out the cracked patio door.  :)
Even the vole came for a quick bite.
The  humongous covey kept coming back again and again.  (I counted 17 a couple of times and last night there were 20!!)
I had gotten this far cleaning pens but had to take a long break because I had pushed it with the KT situation.  
My knuckle was at the top end of red, swollen and painful right when I woke up...and the toe was also plus feeling like I had a stone underneath it.  I  didn't want to push myself into a bad flare so I waited till the next day to even fill them and have left the rest alone since.
(The KT situation has improved with taking it easy on them and is much better by  today.)
Anyways, I took a short video of the pretty snow falling before the blizzard arrived.
As the wind and snow picked up the covey stuck around and ate like crazy.  I was putting out more seed every 2-3 hours.
Flocks of sparrows were here, too, of course.
Annie was really enjoying it all--the snow, the birds, the smells.
I kept the patio door cracked open as long as I could.  
Really wasn't that cold but the wind had picked up so that we moved into blizzard conditions.
The heavy, wet. sticky snow was plastered on the screen and window.
I could barely see out, but enough that you could tell the birds had all retreated for the duration of the storm.
Saturday morning I woke up to this.
The covey had been there digging for seed, so I tossed out some more right away.
Looks like winter, doesn't it?
We had bird company within a couple minutes.  Makes me wonder if a few of them were hunkered down nearby.
By Sunday afternoon the snow was already melting.
It was Gramma Day and Ian got to see 17 partridges on the patio.  See how fast the snow was melting!
Ian (snacking on cashews) wanted to watch... 
...Mighty Machines!
Gramma really enjoys that show because you always learn something new about how things are made or done.  At the end of our  afternoon we did watch some PJMasks, too.  A fun afternoon--chatting and learning.  :)
This is what it already looks like this morning.
Melting quickly.  All that green grass being revealed once again. 
The one tree across the way has turned reddish brown.  Still hasn't lost leaves even under the weight of the ponderous snow!  I wonder if this early freeze will throw off the progression of our trio? 
The weight of the snow broke big chunks of my begonias off in the planters and shriveled up the geraniums and coleus.  They all took a beating.
While I was typing just now the giant covey arrived, had lunch (12:15pm), and wandered off again.  Yes, I paused to watch.  ;)  I would love it if they stayed together all winter!  Safety in numbers, right?  There is a hawk living somewhere nearby, after all. 
Well, that's the news from this past week.  All the snow should be gone in another day or two, but what an odd thing to see when the leaves haven't even all turned, let alone fallen, and the grass is bright green.  Seems early to hear plows and shoveling and see snow piles.  Have you had unseasonable weather where you are?
Till next week...from the crazy pen lady--LOL!  It is such a delight to have most of my fountain pens back in action!  They aren't expensive pens, but there are a lot of them.  I am more into the inks than the pens, I suppose.  Have a great week!!  :) :)
"Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together."
Vista M. Kelly