Friday, February 28, 2020

#7 Life Questions

7. What kind of hardships or tragedies did your family experience while you were growing up?

Nothing too much on the family side, I guess.  Dad had the same job all the years he worked.  When Mom got the job at the bindery she worked there until she retired.  My one grandfather died when I was five and the other when I was a teenager, but they had lived long lives.  The grandmothers lived on for many years.  We lived in the same house in Fridley, Minnesota since I was five.  Mom was difficult to live with sometimes, but even that was consistent.  All three of us kids did our own thing and graduated from Fridley High School.

But on the wider through the late 50s to early 70s was a turbulent time, to say the least.  Starting in grade school with the Cold War--doing the drills where you curled up in a ball under your desk to save you if there was an atomic bomb--the world didn't seem like the safest place, but we ran around the neighborhood on our own all the time and our doors were unlocked.  They shot the charming president with the little kids--shock, sorrow, and there was nothing else on TV for three days.  We had tornadoes go through the Twin Cities in 1965--watched the roof get sucked off the Jr. High gymnasium.  The year I graduated Bobby and Martin were both shot, there was rioting across the US, and police beat protestors outside the 68 democratic national convention.  My formative years--women were burning bras, young boys were burning draft cards, we watched the Vietnam War close up every night over dinner, there were riots and protest marches going on everywhere for years.  Wasn't it in 1970 they shot unarmed students at Kent State?  There was plenty of chaos in my part of the world growing up.   

But we did put a man on the moon, there was awesome protest music, and hippies who talked about loving each other and the earth.  I am still a hippy--a flower child--in my heart of hearts.  :)

The End  

Monday, February 24, 2020

2-24-2020 Monday-noon

On the cusp today between morning and afternoon--LOL!
Was a pretty quiet week.  Caroline came to clean Tuesday morning.  She's always a pleasure to see.  But poor Liam was coughing and running a temp on Tuesday so Leah stayed home to tend to sick boy, of course.  No craft nite.
Wednesday I actually did drag out my slightly dusty bag I bought three decades ago to transport my treasured easel to class.
I set it up on the table by the window in the studio where I've been doing all my calligraphy lessons. 
It's handmade out of unfinished wood and plexiglass.  It would have cost me a good chunk more to have it made with finished wood so I opted for unfinished...but it still looks brand new after going on 30 years, doesn't it?!
Designed to hang down over the edge of the tabletop so that you are able to get up close and personal for calligraphy or artwork.  (BTW--that yellow rectangle is some reflection or another.)
I still adore my easel! 
This is how I traced over the Happy Birthday part of the lesson. 
The "procedure" came right back to me.  Taping the paper at the angle I needed (now I could use washi tape instead of masking tape we had pressed against our clothes over and over)...having to move the page gradually upward and retape ever line of two as I wrote...keeping something under my writing hand to prevent grease from transferring on to the paper (can't see it but I used a paper towel)...writing two-handed because you use your other hand to hold the paper down flat with the clean eraser end of a new pencil or the handle tip end of another nib holder...and sitting up straighter (could almost hear the soft but firm reprimands while I worked--LOL!). 
I did much better on the first four that were traced than the last two of each word that were freehand.  I was writing larger--scrawlier--on my own--LOL!
Anyways, I plan to keep using the easel as it probably is a lot easier on my shoulders and back...and because I automatically take the classes more seriously.  ;)
On Thursday night Leah came by late to cut my hair for me.  (I shall now look more decent for my appointments this week--thanks, Leah!)
Friday Ian had the fever and was home from school, so no Gramma Day this weekend.
Me--still dealing with sinus issues etc.  I truly believe that my various current health annoyances are due to oxalate dumping.  Since excess oxalate storage could be the cause of my fibro, arthritis, IBS, etc...this should all be worth it in the end.  Since I was in such absolutely dreadful shape with a swollen up leg...well, I started in a deep hole to climb out of.  Twenty years of going downhill is a deep hole.  Still feels like the right thing for me.  Some of us have problems with carbs and oxalates.
Oddly enough, even though I am physically feeling pretty miserable most days, I am still getting more done than I would have before I went on low-low carbs and do feel less overwhelmed by normal tasks like doing laundry.  So I guess I do have a little more energy than I did.  Not much, but enough to be noticeable.  :)
Anyways, today I finally go see another new rheumatologist for a checkup.  There's nothing really new on the knuckle/toe thing.  I was on the anti-inflammatory medication for two months and off the last two months with no noticeable big difference.  May even be less redness and swelling the past month or so.  Just glad I am not taking pills I don't need that didn't work for me.
Tomorrow is another new PCP (personal care physician).  She's the one who also is an osteopath at another clinic.  Going to her for the blood pressure checkup on these new pills.  I hope I like her.  Still looking for a new primary physician.  She may be the one.  ;)
So that's the few events of the past week and what's coming up this week so far--LOL!  Been sunny and warmer (near or above freezing) for a few days.  Whenever you hear dripping here you think spring...even if it is white out there--LOL!  
I have collected chipmunk and squirrel videos for Annie in a folder on YouTube and she is one happy camper.  Been catching up on letters owed--finally.  ;)  Actually getting toward the end of the stack.  Whoohoo!  :)
Leah will be picking me up in about an hour and dropping me off at the hospital clinic.  She has things to do so I am bringing a book with.  No choice as to time with the rheumatologist.  Took me two additional months to get in and had to take a new one again--LOL!  I hope she's as nice as the first one was.    
  It's sunny and 26 F--nice!  Good day to be out and about.  I hope to hear both the boys are well by now.  Have a wonderful week!  :) :)
"Look closely at the present you are constructing; it should look like the future you are dreaming."
Alice Walker

Friday, February 21, 2020

#6 Life questions

6.  Have any of your family members died?  If so, explain what they died from and what you remember of the circumstances of their death.

Immediate family--I've lost all four grandparents and my father.  

My maternal grandfather died when I was only five.  I remember wondering why people seemed all hushed and sad and what in the world Grandpa was doing sleeping in a box in front of all these people.  He looked like the only person there who really happy.  I think he was in his late 70s...had dropsy at the end.  He was much older than Grandma (17,19 years?)  She lived long afterwards with my aunt and uncle and died in her late 80s.  Honestly not sure what she actually died of.  

My paternal Grandfather died in his late 80s, too, I believe.  Found out he had bone cancer (slow growing) but he heard "cancer" and that was it for him.  Quit eating, decided to die, and within a couple weeks was singing old Swedish songs in the hospital and died.  I think technically they put he died of malnutrition, but he had made up his mind to go and you don't mess with an old swede who's made up their mind.  Grandma lived independently in their house until she was in her 90s.  Went to a nursing home and lived to be 104.  By the time she died she had no short or long term memory.  (I decided I didn't want to live that long--not that I would know if I went like that--LOL!)

My dad died instantly in the car accident he and Mom were in almost five years ago down in Florida.  He was 94.  They had been retired and living in central Florida for about 35 years.  Mom recently moved back up home to Minnesota.  She'll be 91 on Thursday.  We're so glad she is closer to "home" and family in the Twin Cities!

My brother and sister and their kids and grandkids are all alive and well.  :) :)

[Note:  My Dagan, who doctors told me wouldn't live long, is 45!]

The End

Monday, February 17, 2020

2-17-2020 Monday-12:45pm

Good Afternoon!
Another week already--wow!  
Well, I never made it for the BP check due to IBS issues so I decided that since I have appointments at the end of the month with both a new regular doctor and another new rheumatologist that I think I will just wait till then.  No more constant dry cough from the old BP pills, no dizziness or anything.  They'll be checking it two days in a row in another week.
Okay--lots to cover this week and lots of pictures.  Skip what doesn't interest you.  Grab a cuppa and here we go!
Leah came over on Tuesday night.  She finished the virtual baby shower cards for her youngest sister, Ariel...while I got out my old binder from my italic calligraphy class I took back in the early 90s to find the practice sheets I want to use after I finish this first beginner pointed pen class.
I found them (although only the smaller versions are good for pointed pen calligraphy)..and had a sweet trip down memory lane.  :)
I took a 6-week adult night class from a older lady who had been a professional calligrapher all her life working for card companies and places that made wedding invitations--that kind of thing.  Sadly, her profession was rapidly being replaced by computers.
The first night we had seven students.  The second week we had four, I think.  By the last class there were three of us.  She was a strict perfectionist and, obviously, most of the students didn't care for her stern exactness.  We were there to learn how to use a dip pen for a basic italic calligraphy alphabet.  
Here's the upper case.  
She insisted we learn to write on an easel and our classroom had built in easels on certain desks.  (We never had such a fancy art room when I was in high school.) 
She was very detail oriented.  First we did endless practice drills and then endless letters. 
After a few weeks, this is the kind of homework we had. 
 Hard to see because it's in pencil but she stood over your shoulder and made slant lines and circled things we needed to improve on.  As soon as she moved over to the next person I tried to write down notes on what she had said next to her corrections.
I loved her as a teacher.  She really pushed you to try to make perfectly even lettering and to conquer these new skills.  I never was even near perfect in my consistency, but she privately told me I had potential.  
[Note: kind of funny now because these days they want some imperfection so that it doesn't look like some font off a computer.]
This grey-haired lady was a starched, proper, and no nonsense...but you could tell she had some pain standing through the entire class and a bit of trouble hauling all her bags to her car.  After the second class I quickly packed up my equipment and just walked over and picked up her heaviest bag.  I figured if I had asked her she would never have said yes--and she did protest, but I can be pushy, too.  I was young and strong back then.  I carried her bag to her car after the rest of the classes and it gave me time to ask her questions on how to improve, etc.  In the parking lot...I even got to see her smile! 
I LOVED learning how to do this calligraphy.  I even found out who hand-made her fancy easel for her and bought one of my own.  I'll show it to you when I get it out.  (I know--she would have admonished me that I should be using it right now!)  Maybe I should get it out this week...
The last couple weeks we had homework that she wouldn't put pencil marks on.  Kind of like our final projects.  We had to learn centering...    
...and how to switch up sizes/pen nibs. 
This was the final project for our "graduation" assignment. 
I remember I was a little surprised she had a sense of whimsy--LOL!
I have been asked the difference in the types of calligraphy.  These pens are the typical calligraphy pens you can buy.   
They have the squared off tip on the nib. 
That is the type of nib we used for her class.  She NEVER would have allowed the use of a calligraphy pen like these.  In fact the one and only male who showed up had a calligraphy pen and she insisted he had to have the supplies she had indicated--pen holder, nibs, ink bottle, etc.  He proclaimed he was a school principal, gathered up his stuff and walked out five minutes into the first class.
Anyways, I still have those nibs but didn't want to go dig them out and grabbed my "cheater" pens to show you the squared off nibs.
The beginner calligraphy class I am taking right now is a pointed pen class.  The kind where you press up and down to get fatter and thinner lines.  There are many types of pointed nibs, too.  This one is in a straight holder...   
...and this one is in a oblique holder. 
Ignore the dirty nibs. 
Anyways, this type of calligraphy is very different than the squared off nibs that you just hold in one position to write with that automatically make thinner and thicker lines because of the flat-ended nib.  I hope that explains the difference a little.  
Of course then there's brush lettering...LOL!  That a whole 'nother thing.  But more closely related to pointed nib because of the pressing up and down.  I bought some classes on that, too.
Well, let's see...Wednesday we had another blizzard.  50 mph winds all day but not much snow.  Just blew around the snow we already had and made for white out conditions especially in the country.  Had an "Arctic Blast" follow the blizzard so that it was -20 degrees overnight.  The critters were glad when I could finally get the frozen patio door open in the afternoon.
Oh, this is proof of how crazy these rabbits fight after dark!  I keep my screen door open all winter so it doesn't get frozen shut or so packed with snow you can't get it open.  (The office actually sent out notices for us to do that in order to be able to get out to shovel patios and balconies.)  Anyways, that white strip is the edge of the screen door...and do you see that?!  There is rabbit poop smeared on the inside?!  That high up!?  
Somebody really got the shit literally scared out of him (or her) as they hit the glass door--LOL!
Everybody hangs around a lot more when it is below freezing out there. 
Then I found out that Mom was really short of breath and Blaine and Kathy took her in to emergency on Wednesday.  She had a scan and she has pneumonia and a mass on her lung.  She refused a biopsy on the mass.  They kept her overnight--antibiotics, lasix, oxygen--and she came home on Thursday with pills and oxygen.   
I talked to her for quite a while on Friday.  Once she got the oxygen she felt better and was annoyed that they couldn't send her home with oxygen without her staying overnight.  She kept denying to me she had pneumonia--saying she just needed oxygen.  Ignored me when I asked about the mass.  Insisted that she will never consent to surgery when she feels fine. 
Ahhh--the stubborn swedes.  (Of which I am one so I can totally relate.)  Mom said she went out for breakfast with my sister on Friday and didn't take her oxygen with her.  Said she doesn't need it all the time and can go for quite a while without it.  But she did say she has been using it when she's at home and at night.  She didn't sound out of breath.  Just got annoyed she couldn't hear me very well even with her better ear so she wanted to go watch what she could see of her sports.  That's my mom.  ;)
I sure appreciate everything Blaine and Kathy do for her all the time. 
On Friday I finally did a Soul Comfort long distance session.  Not sure if I know what I'm doing, but I plan to keep trying.  :) 
Funny how when it's so cold the rabbits can get along better during the daytime. 
There's still a little chasing, but it's not nasty and violent. 
The partridges are around more, too.  They can chase each other around the yard, too, but they never actually DO anything to each other, you know?  I don't find feathers on the patio, but I find tufts of rabbit fur. 
So it's quite a pleasant sight to see them all getting along.  :) 
 Meanwhile...Leah sent me some pictures.  Here's the brothers having fun cuddled up on the floor under a throw. 
Ian worked on his Valentines with great purpose. 
Mama had die cut out a ton of hearts.  She put dots of glue on the envelopes and Ian added the hearts. 
This is what the outsides looked like when they were all folded up.  Ian signed his name on them.
Inside they put this insert--a melted color crayon heart stuck on to a piece of card stock with a roll of washi tape.  They did the crayon hearts last year, too.
A lot of work but Ian loves doing crafty things like this now.
And what did I find in my mail box on Valentine's Day?  An envelope with this inside!
They fold up and have a built in closure. 
But instead of a heart crayon--Gramma got a dictated letter from Ian that he signed! 
He said next Gramma Day he wanted to watch Stinky and Dirty and he wanted to make hearts and cut them out.  :) 
And we had a Gramma Day--finally--on Saturday!!  He drew hearts, colored them with markers, and then cut them out.  Then he colored some paper and he used a single heart punch to punch some out.  And THEN I let him color some paper and we used the die cut machine to use the multiple heart die that Mama used to cut out many of the hearts he had used on his valentines.  He even got to use the sharp pokey tool Mama and I use to get pieces that are stuck out of the dies--under very close supervision, of course. 
Then we cleaned up all the supplies and Ian changed his mind about what he wanted to watch.  Since we now have Disney Plus--he wanted to watch Wall-E.  And then we watched half of Cars before Mama came to pick him up for dinner.  I think Ian got more of a kick watching Gramma react to the movies because he has seen them so many times and Gramma hasn't seen them for at least a year or more...and everything shows on Gramma's face, I I have been told all my life--hehe!  So there was a lot of questions about why I looked concerned...or laughed...or worried...or!  Lots of talking during the movies.  ;)
Was a wonderful Gramma Day!  Had been a month.  I really missed us having our time together.  :) 
So, that is how the week went.  My head is still stuffed and I am still taking Musinex here and there when it gets too bad to try to sleep.  Been through most of another box of Puffs.  But am doing okay.  Maybe this week I will get out my easel and show it off--hehe!  Mrs. Heidenreich would be proud of the fact I still have it, treasure it, have kept it in immaculate condition...and maybe that I have used it for various calligraphy (and art) projects over the years  I think she'd forgive me for the art projects--LOL!  ;) ;)
Till next time! 
Enjoy each day!!  :) :)
"Teaching should be such that what is offered is perceived as a valuable gift and not as a hard duty."
Albert Einstein

Friday, February 14, 2020

#5 Life questions

5.  What kind of work did your parents do?

Well, I don't look ahead at these questions--LOL!  

I already mentioned that my dad was a lithographer.  Being a perfectionist, he was a good one.  

My mom was basically a stay-at-home mom in the 50s like most of them were, but she was always trying to figure out a way to make a little extra money if she could.  She delivered photographs for a photography studio for a while.  I remember us three kids in the back seat for hours while she drove around the Twin Cities...before most cars had air conditioning.  I used to park myself on my knees at the back window to wave and smile at people.  The most challenging were the grumpy ones.  I could usually get a smile or a grin out of them in the end before the light changed.  I liked feeling like I had lifted up somebody's spirits.

I remember her washing, cleaning up, and bundling green onions with rubber bands in the basement...and me being old enough to help her.  Must have been for a grocery store, I suppose.

She sold Avon for quite a while and Shaklee.  Seems to me I am forgetting a couple of small jobs.  

But when we were teenagers she got a job in the bindery at a printing company and worked there until she retired.  She worked the graveyard shift and they put together the TV Guides for the five state area.  We always had deformed TV Guides at home that were either cut wrong, had a section missing, had a folded-in corner or something else wrong with them--but you could still read everything important.  I grew to love the TV Guide and actually paid for them for many years after I left home.  

[Note: that bindery was my very first job--on the graveyard shift with my mom.  I could keep up filling the page racks, was an efficient pallet stacker, and even got to feed covers eventually.  But I quit to work at a pet shop in our hometown in Holly Center.]

Even after my folks retired and moved to Florida Mom used to periodically get bussed to Disney World with other seniors to work part time for a few weeks at various restaurants clearing tables, etc.

I'll have more to say about Mom on Monday.  She's got pneumonia and came home from the hospital yesterday with oxygen, but she's doing okay, I guess.  She'll be 91 on February 27th.  Love you, Mom!  :) 

The End

Monday, February 10, 2020

2-10-2020 Monday-10:30am

Good Morning!
I don't want to jinx it (knock on wood) but I just might be starting to feel more functional human the past couple days.  Climbing my way out of the Musinex/Puffs hole?  We'll see.  Fingers crossed.  :)
This weekend (despite still being in pajamas) I managed to do laundry (mostly pajamas...or loungers, really), do some cooking, write a few letters, run the dishwasher and the little vacuum.  So there is maybe a light at the end of the snot tunnel--LOL!
Been keeping the covey fed in the freezing weather.
They are grateful to pick seed between all rabbit poops. 
Yes, the rabbits are becoming more desperate, too, and are here in broad daylight most days. 
They even occasionally share food with each other.
Sharing with the birds never bothers them.
But sharing with other jackrabbits is usually an issue.  They fight more after the sun has set.  Sometimes I hear them hit the patio door so hard I am sure they are going to break right through the glass!  I have opened the blinds, pulled the door open and scolded scattering bunny behinds to quit the fighting...several times.  If any of the neighbors have heard me they probably think I'm absolutely nuts--LOL! 
But--then again--somebody has tossed lettuce and an apple on to my I am not the only one who feels sorry for the hungry rabbits.  Either that or they like to hear me yelling at them in the dark to knock off the fighting--LOL!  ;)
Annie has not lost her interest in her reality Cat TV programming, as you can see. 
We had a couple of warm days and some days with sunshine (usually an either/or situation) so the snow banks have sunken down some. 
The rabbits have dug down to the grass out in that low snow area I always have due to the wind funnel that occurs outside my patio.  The partridges will also take advantage of some of that old grass the rabbits have so generously revealed. 
Well, I managed to do more of the calligraphy lesson by Thursday. 

You can see why I use tracing paper over the sheets I printed off.
That way I can use them over and over again... 
...which I really need to do more of... get used to this frilly alphabet--LOL! 
The last section of this lesson I'll hopefully get to this week has some practice words and then copying the entire alphabet.   
What I should do is look to see if I still have the blank calligraphy practice tablet with the slanted lines on the pages and try to freehand this alphabet style.  I know I had a tablet years ago...hummm...I'll have to search for it.
 Friday Dagan stopped by after work to dump 40 lb. bird seed and kitty litter bags into my big pantry bins for me.  He stayed for a short visit.  Always a pleasure for Mom.  :)  But I completely spaced on doing the life questions blog.  Totally forgot.  Not used to the new self-imposed schedule yet, I guess--lOL!
I wasn't up to a Gramma Day again, either.  :(  That's three weeks!  (Once it was them being sick and the past two weeks it's been me.)  So, Leah was stopping by yesterday with some food and supplements for me...and brought Ian with!  They stayed for a visit for quite a while.  Gramma got some hugs and conversation--nice!!
I actually have finally gotten back to writing letters this weekend, too!  (You know I am not feeling well when I am not even writing letters.)  Had a stack of 13 and I think I am down to 8--so you patient pen pals will be finally hearing from me, I promise.  :)
Annie seems to be doing okay. 
No more vomiting, anyways. 
But she has been clingier.  Even following me into the bathroom half the time??  Not sure if she's just worried about me or annoyed I'm getting out of my chair so that her heating pad has up and left her--LOL!  Funny how much more lovely cats can get in cold weather.  ;)  If she had her way I would only move to get her food, clean her cat box, brush her, pet her, scratch her neck, and put on her Cat videos--ROFL!
I think maybe it is time to declutter and organize my frig this week.  Goodness!
I must be feeling a little better if that even came to my attention as I was sitting here chatting with you, eh?  That's a good sign, I guess.
Well, tomorrow the plan is for Leah to pick me up after Liam has his lunch (so maybe he'll take a car nap) and drop me off at the clinic for that random BP check now that I'm on these new BP pills.  (I'm not coughing all the time on these--hurray!)  Looks like the best day this week since they are talking another winter storm coming through on Wednesday.    
Well, there has been some general health progress late in the past week.  Fingers crossed this will be an even better week.  (Annie would be voting against that, but too bad--LOL!)  Meanwhile, I am watching shows, listening to audio books, and writing letters with a happy cat sprawled on the footrest between my legs--LOL!  Till next week, my precious people!  :) 
"A good deed doesn't just evaporate and disappear.  Its consequences saturate the universe and the goodness that happens somewhere, anywhere, helps in the transfiguration of the ugliness."
Desmond Tutu