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


Rita said...

My comment to get your comments! :)

Deb said...

Those Gramma Days are so much fun! I know Ian loves them too. So sorry to hear about your mom. Prayers for comfort and peace for her and your family.

DJan said...

You're right, that was a long one, but very readable and enjoyable too. I'm glad to know that Ian is taking after you in the crafts department. And I'm also glad that your mom is feeling well enough to get out and about without her oxygen. At her age, I wouldn't worry too much about that mass, as long as she can be comfortable. Hope it warms up for you soon, Rita. That's really cold temperatures! :-)

Anvilcloud said...

I am scratching my head trying to figure ot what being a school principal has to do with using the correct pen as instructed.

Far Side of Fifty said...

You survived the cold! Now they are talking about some big storm coming in next week. So glad you had a Gramma day!! Sounds like you Mom is doing okay and is still the Captain of her own ship!

Bonnie said...

I am so sorry to hear about the health problems your Mother is having but I'm sure she is happier at home now. I understand her stubbornness as we have a good bit of that in our family. It sounds like you and Ian had a fun Gramma's day! That is good for both of you!

It is sooo cold there. I hope you and Annie are able to stay warm and cuddle!

Jon said...

Your calligraphy teacher was obviously a taskmaster from the old school - which is fantastic. Fewer and fewer of them exist nowadays. I'm glad you remained with her class - the work in the photo examples is beautiful.
And I like the little crayon hearts.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I'm impressed with your calligraphy and how you saved the assignments all these years. I enjoyed this, but I could never do it, since I grip any pen too tightly and my hand soon goes to sleep.

What fun you and Ian had for Gramma day. And those Valentines and melted crayon hearts were adorable.

Wish your mom felt better, but I'm sure she knows her own body. If she needs oxygen, I'm sure she'll use it. Sorry she's been sick, though.

froebelsternchen said...

Prayers for your mom Rita!
I can see the happiness of being such a nicegranny! Enjoy!
Hugs Susi

Divers and Sundry said...

Calligraphy requires discipline, but the beauty, oh such beauty :) a real art :) I had an easel, a large art easel, when I was a child, and I got one for my kids. There's something about an easel, either a floor or table model that means serious art.

I can't imagine what it would be like to have snow and cold that lasted so long. We had a cold snap last week, but it's up in the 50s with rain now. Sweet valentines and time together. I love Wall-E!

Joyce F said...

That answered my question, Rita - have you had more snow. Hope your mom is doing okay (and doing what she is supposed to to get over the pneumonia!).

Serena Lewis said...

Sounds like you've been busy. Glad to hear that dry cough has cleared after changing your BP meds.

I enjoyed the calligraphy section of your post but you knew I would. Your teacher back then was definitely a perfectionist and she obviously was a stickler for traditional techniques. So, is a slanted board/easel recommended for calligraphy? I've still never tried an oblique nib.

We are both at different ends of the spectrum when it comes to the weather right now. You are dealing with Arctic Blasts and, after the torrential rains cooled things down a little, we are now back to melting in the heat and humidity.

Love seeing the critter pics! Had to laugh at the rabbit poop on the white strip.

Sorry to hear that your Mum is dealing with pneumonia though. The mass is worrying but, at her age, I can understand why she would refuse a biopsy. That happened with Dad. I hope she feels better very soon. Good that she isn't dependent on the oxygen 100% of the time.

Happy brothers. Ian is quite focused on the task at hand. Sweet that you got a Valentine from him too.

Feel better soon. xo

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

So much fun you have with your grandsons, I hope your mum is ok, you have talent

Unknown said...

Hi Rita, I grew up in Fargo.I look forward to your post each week. Like the connection to my hometown. I love the heart die envelope for Ian's Valentines.Do you know the name of it? I love anything hearts! Have a peaceful, happy week! Eileen

Krisha said...

WOW~! calligraphy lessons! I always thought I'd like to try it, and have bought the tools, but have never made myself sit down and learn. Yours is were a great student.
Gosh, those two boys have grown.
Hope your Mom is ok, my Mom was very stubborn too, when it came to her health.

Lady Fi said...

Cute pics of the grandkids. And the calligraphy is lovely!

Harvest Moon by Hand said...

Seeing the calligraphy pens reminded me of learning calligraphy in 8th grade. My teacher was not nearly as strict as yours nor did we do the variety of pen sizes that you did. It's too bad that it is a dying art. A computer just can't generate something as beautiful as hand-written calligraphy.

Those rabbits are huge! Can't believe they all eat together during the day. Sounds like night, though, is a different story. Much more territorial.

The Valentine's Day cards turned out beautiful. What a treat for a child to get! That's a lovely card and message in your Valentine's Day card from Ian.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

So many things to comment on in this post, Rita. I enjoyed reading about the calligraphy teacher who seemed a tough taskmaster, but the results were beautiful. It definitely seems like a lost art form and sill liik forward to seeing more now that you are returning to it. Amazing to read about these jack rabbits. The cards your grandsons helped to create were lovely, nothing like something made with love.