Monday, March 28, 2022

March 28, 2022 Monday--1:45pm 71 years old today!

Good afternoon!

Yup--definitely into my 70s now.  Thank you for the cards and letters.  And thank you Janie Junebug for the beautiful miniature rose plant!  OMGosh!

I am having a quiet day with Annie.  Been a very low gear most of this past week so I am better off resting up.  You know it's low gear when I passed on an invitation to go over to visit McFamily this weekend for my birthday.  I'm not really feeling badly...just tired and a little weak.  So have been taking it easy and getting some extra sleep.  Did get a lot of letters written, though.  Had a stack of 13 set up last Monday and am down to two left on that batch.  :)  Now I need to set up the pile that's accumulated on my desk this week.  ;)  

I am SOOO glad my snail mail friends have not forgotten me!  :)

I am mainly so tired from working on the patio five days in a row.  I didn't overdo it...or I wouldn't have been able to do five days in a row...but it wore me out nonetheless.  Absolutely worth it, though!!  

Here's Annie observing before my last day of sweeping.
I've been putting out some seed on the little table and saw my second sign of spring--a robin!  (First was a grackle.)
I started watching Sketchbook Revival videos last Monday.  They do two weeks of two videos a day for free and give you some extra time to finish watching them (two more weeks till April 18).  I haven't been up to actually participating in any of the sessions but most of them are fun to watch anyways.  Some give you new ideas and techniques.  Some don't interest me so I pass on those.  This is the second week now starting today.

On Friday I had a regular checkup with my primary physician, Dr. Kessler.  Leah dropped me off and did some errands.  I made sure to thank Kessler for doing that cancer test "just in case".  I've thanked her before but I wanted to really let her know again how much that has meant to me.  I really like her.  So glad I switched to her...for so many reasons.

My blood pressure has been running on the high side.  I was on the lowest dose so she doubled that (next size dose).  I may have to go in for a quick BP check with the nurse in three weeks.  Kessler will look and see what my BP is after I go in for my infusion this Friday.  But she does want to see me in three months regardless to review how the BP medication is doing and how I am doing.  :)

We discussed Keytruda a bit.  I told her I have looked online and Keytruda only works on 15-20% of the population, so that is lucky for me.  It is a "rare miracle" for a few but the average survival rate is 26 months and some as much as 36 months.  But I told her that I don't feel like I fit into the usual people who are taking it.  My impression is that by the time people are getting immunotherapy they have been on chemo for a long time and it isn't working for them anymore...and then (in probably pretty bad shape) they start Keytruda just as a last ditch effort to keep them alive longer.  They actually call it a palliative treatment.  Well, Kessler readily agreed.  She doesn't think I fit the profile of who is on Keytruda, either.  I was so glad she agreed.  Not that I don't stay optimistic and positive, but it helps to have someone see it like you do, you know?  :)  We couldn't hug so we did elbow bumps.

Leah came in after the appointment and did the trash and such for me.  I was too tired to want to work on bookcards yet so we just had a really good chin wag as the British say.  Was marvelous!  Leah is truly a soul sister.  

One of the things I was talking to her about that I am thinking more about today on my birthday is how with the cancer I believe I am in a win-win situation.  If I don't make it...if I die sooner than expected (as so many in the family live to be in the 90s)...well, I am still old enough (lol!) and have lived truly, truly a full life.  I have learned a lot and I think I am a better person for the time I have put in here on this beautiful, crazy planet.  I have always done what I felt deep down was right for me to do--even when other people thought I was nuts, to be honest.  When situations didn't work out in the long run...well, I learned a whole lot of positive spiritual lessons from them that I couldn't have learned probably any other way.  Don't they say the lord works in mysterious ways--lol!  Things worked out in the way they were supposed to and I have no regrets.  I have always tried to very consciously make decisions--big and small.  

If I didn't and slid into something--well, then that's my own fault and I certainly learned something from that, too.  No one else to blame.  I am not a "what if" type person at all.  Always have tried to take the bigger picture into consideration...accept my life's path and my choices as my one else's.  The things one has no control Dagan having severe heart defects or my having chronic health issues for over two decades and now cancer...well, I have no control over those things happening.  Life is absolutely a crap shoot with no promises or guarantees.  I only have control over how I live through those things.  I am not unrealistic, but I also do believe in miracles and think it is a waste of precious time to give up or be negative about it and ruin today, you know?  Don't borrow trouble.  If the worst is going to happen it will happen without fretting over it and not appreciating the time you do have, you know?  

Any of us could be gone tomorrow.  What is important is who you are--right now--this day--this moment.  Who are you?  Who do you want to be?  How are you effecting the people around you?  Have you let the people you love know how much they mean to you?  Can you change whatever is making you fearful, unhappy, or stressed in your life?  If you absolutely can't--then focus on how to live through it and remain true to yourself and be something positive in this world. Find it inside of you.  It is there.  And if you can change things (often we actually can but it is a scary leap of faith to do so)--do it!  Think it through--make plans--find a way to change things.

When you live your life as best you you could die tomorrow...then you are okay to die tomorrow. 

I'm not perfect.  None of us are.  I've always given it my best shot.  I have failed or steered off my inner path here and there along the way, but it is never too late to jump back on...or crawl and claw your way back on--LOL!  I always got back on that path and did my best as the flawed, slow-to-learn human being I am.  It is never too late.

I am good to go.    

And if the Keytruda does shrink the tumors and I become cancer free--that is a win!  A huge win!  Being allowed to have more days on this precious beautiful ugly world...that's an obvious win.

So see?  I'm in a win-win situation.  I cannot lose.  Happy birthday to me.  I made it 71 years so far.  I may have to make myself some Keto brownies--LOL!  ;)

Love and hugs to you all!!

Monday, March 21, 2022

March 21, 2022 Monday--11:30am

Good morning!


Let there be light!  :)

Yes, maintenance came that afternoon!  

When I first moved in here the blubs flickered and died.  I had a faulty ballast (I think that is what the part is called--wasn't the bulbs or the starter but a larger part).  That was over 5 1/2 years ago.  I totally forgot that there are four bulbs in that fixture!  Skinny ones--two on each side and they burn out together.  So I should be set for another five years or more--tada!

He fixed the faucet in the bathroom and said the washing machine needed a new seal.  He had to order it so not sure when it will arrive but he will call ahead of time and come in the afternoon.  The garage door...said he will put a new seal on the bottom and try to recalibrate the door.  He doesn't need me for that so he will do that whenever he can.  I think he might have had to order the seal for that, too.  

Anyways, I am so glad it was the nice older gentleman I have had basically since I moved in.  (No, I don't know his name--sad, but true.)  He is really nice and cleans up after himself so he doesn't leave a trace that he was here.  Even takes his dirty paper towels with him.  A real sweetheart.

Made soup.

Made a chicken and rice casserole and I finally set up letters.  Had a stack on my desk again (13).

I started on the patio but most of the mess was still embedded in ice.  Asked Leah if I could borrow their ice chopper.  She brought it with her that night--our Craft Nite.  

After doing her help-the-old-lady tasks (LOL!), we focused on cutting covers for the bookcards.  We had to cut to size for all the pre-folded signatures I had originally made from the wider than US half size papers (European and Japanese papers).  The ones on the left red tray, for example.
And the ones on the right red tray.
In the center tray is the stack of ink drop pad pages cut in half.

We discovered that the 6 inches just fits for most of the wider European & Japanese papers.  Easy to trim down 1/2 inch if we are using US sized paper.  Soooo much less waste if we can just cut them in half and get two covers per 12 X 12 sheet!  I was so excited!! 

Leah also cut the rest of the few scrapbooking sheets I had and all of that handmade paper, too.  (Her poor arm and shoulder!)

Step one in the cover assembly-line is done.  Then it's just a matter of sizing for width & length.  Then comes the folding.  Batch two has a huge start.  Whoohoo!

I have been working on the patio a little bit each day.  Chopping ice and shoveling up shells and rabbit poop into a double bagged wastebasket.
This is the view this morning.  You can see the big snowpiles that reached the eves of the garages across the way are quite shrunken down...and looks like the ice is finally melted off my patio this morning!!  (It's 54 degrees right now!)
I think I am down to the yellow patio broom and a dustpan today--hurray!
There might be a tiny bit of ice left right behind the planters, but that's absolutely nothing compared to the 4-5 inches that was there a couple days ago halfways across the patio.  Days in the 40s and low 50s will do that.  ;)  
There were much less shells and rabbit poop balls than it had appeared because the majority of what was out there was actually ice.  

Anyways, this afternoon I can sweep and sweep and get the rest of it up.  I need my gardening tools from the garage to clean off the top layer of the planters, though.  Apparently the rabbits had their late night parties up there, too--LOL!  The planters can wait.  We can't plant till mid-May.  

Okay.  Just checked my phone and we are supposed to get rain this afternoon and Tuesday, too.  So--I may have a patio break whether I like it or not.  (Gramma like!)  Our first rain for this year, I think.  Could turn into snow, but we are on the edge of it and it says the snow will probably hit in Minnesota.  

We've had flood warnings the past few days.  Definite sign of spring up here.  We don't live in the flood zone so we're grateful we don't have to sandbag or worry about water damage.  Feeling very grateful every spring.  Leah's Mom's old house in Moorhead, MN (right across the river) was up on a hill that often got totally surrounded by water in the spring so they had to sandbag and use a boat to get in and out.  Whew!

Always remember to count your blessings.  
Have a week filled with blessings...large and small.  Life is a miracle!  See you next Monday.

Monday, March 14, 2022

March 14, 2022 Monday--12:30pm

 Good afternoon!

I didn't have the best week for the first part.  I told you sometimes it takes me a while to catch on to changes--LOL!  I had started a collagen powder (at only 1/4 dose) the Monday before last.  Only thing I changed.  Supposed to help your digestion--ha!  I was getting more and more miserable the week I was on it.  I've had IBS (with the fibro) for over 20 years so, as I have said, things have to get bad before I notice.  By last Monday I was definitely sick of the pain and cramping so quit taking it.  By Wednesday I was starting to feel much better--thank goodness!  Friday was my infusion day and I have never missed one.

So, I spent the first part of the week feeling cruddy and sleeping a lot.  By Thursday I was feeling considerably better (so I knew it was the collagen).  This is why I only add one supplement at a time.  My system has been even more touchy than it normally was ever since chemo. 

Finally was able to call maintenance on Thursday--late morning, so I didn't expect to see them that day.  Asked that they call ahead of time and come in the afternoon...and not come on Friday because I wouldn't be home.  So, I am sitting in a darkened kitchen typing--LOL!  Wondering if they will come this week.  Probably will.  They have been pretty good.  But this time I had four things for them to check.  (Talk about procrastinating!)  Besides the kitchen light bulbs, the bathroom sink has begun to drip if it isn't closed just right, the washer is making a heck of a lot of noise and leaking water in the spin cycle, and they never did fix the garage door.  I've never had this much for them to fix so they might not be so happy to come to my rescue--LOL! 

I did finish hand-sewing together that last tray of the first batch is done!  But I couldn't put them away because the new satchels I bought last year were way up on top of the hallway bookcase...

...along with a myriad of empty boxes and containers piled across the tops of all the bookcases.  I still don't trust my legs for climbing stools and am very short on one I had to wait for Leah to come over after the infusion on Friday.


Leah made a Cashwise pickup (groceries) and dropped it off in the morning.  She picked me up for my infusion in the early afternoon.  This time I was borderline with some kind of "absolute" (something to do with white blood cells) so McCune double checked that my numbers would be okay for an infusion.  I was okay'd.  I have to be careful not to get sick.  If I run a temp--come in to the clinic right away--etc.  But otherwise--doing well.

Had the infusion and we stopped at Wendy's to pick up dinner on the way home.  That's a real treat for me!  After we ate Leah made a trip to the dumpster and garage.  She used the Spot Bot on some Annie barf and then vacuumed.  (Eventually I will be able to do these things again for myself when my legs get better.)  

Then she got down the satchels and we set them up to hold bookcards!

2 and 3 pagers.

4 pagers.

That's only the first batch done--lots of room left.  And a whole 'nother side I could use for the larger than 4 pagers...but I don't make very many of those--LOL!

Anyways, Leah was able to leave early (7pm)...and I was so exhausted I fell asleep by around 8:30!  Woke up at 1am and then was awake all night.  Slept again all morning.  So my hours were a bit off for a while there--LOL!  

Saturday and Sunday 

Putting away the bookcards caused a cleaning and reorganizing domino effect, of course.  Annie was not happy with me spending time in the hallway reorganizing the satchels to get all the card satchels together in one area.

I knew I needed to purge and organize all my empty boxes and containers so I had asked Leah to take down all of the lot from the tops of the tall hallway bookcases.  And so it began.
I knew I had several small drawers in the bedroom dressers that were full of containers and boxes, too.  Yes, I am a sucker for storage stuff.  
So, I spent the weekend purging and sorting and reorganizing.
Pulled out boxes and containers I had forgotten I still had--LOL!
I wanted the majority of it done before today because I have no idea when maintenance will show up and my place is full enough without it being even messier--LOL!  Was good motivation for me.

In the bedroom I got four (or was it five) small drawers emptied...and then refilled--LOL!  All clean again in there.  

Got the kitchen table and chairs emptied again.
Very little at all on top of the bookcases...
...except for (temporarily) the shorter cube bookcase.
I do still have to go through the studio and look for empty boxes and containers yet, but I basically got the majority of it all done!!  Am sore and exhausted, but that's okay.  I can rest up for a couple of days.  Happily!!

And I can start using the bookcards as soon as I finish up with the Critter Cafe cards I bought a while back.  Yes, I do buy cards sometimes. 


Love to get the personalized ones so I can add my own saying to them.  I saw all these birds and couldn't resist.  (Sorry so dim but no light in the kitchen--lol!)

Anyways, bookcards!  Will be using them again soon!!  

They are fun to write in.
People have told me they are fun to get, too.  Like a little handwritten book--LOL!  Oh, and BTW--feel free, any of you crafty recipients, to cut them apart and use the cover paper for whatever you want.  :) :)  

I can hardly wait to start on the next batch--and use the handmade (store-bought) paper and the ink drop paper pads (gorgeous!).  I'll probably be getting low on paper by the time I finish the second batch and will actually need to start keeping an eye out at the paper stores online again.  Been years!  What fun!

Been warmer and supposed to be above freezing during the day all week.  I tested but the shells and rabbit poop are still embedded in a layer of ice.  I am hoping it will melt down to the cement this week so I can shovel and sweep up that mess out there.  (Don't worry--if it is too much for me I can let Dagan and Leah know and one of them can come and help me, Leah said.)  I'll be resting up for a couple days anyways.  So maybe by Wednesday...???  

Well, another week in this world.  For good and we are.  All the bad makes the good even more precious...and much more obvious.  Love, kindness, compassion...shine like stars in a dark sky.  Treasure them...celebrate them...and keep spreading them around everywhere you can.  Till next week...

Monday, March 07, 2022

March 7, 2022 Monday--12:30pm

Good afternoon!


As you saw the boys were here for a short visit.  :)  Discovered I had suddenly lost my BritBox account.  Contacted them via email and they fixed the problem in just a few minutes--wow!


Katie came to clean.  I think I chattered her ears off--LOL!  So nice to have good news to share.


Worked on bookcards...folding covers and pairing them up with signatures.

I wanted variety in the number of pages.  Some days aren't great energy-wise and a shorter letter would work better.  Some people write longer letters than others.  You know me--just plain like variety--LOL!

So I have some with 4 pages (or 16 little pages both sides)...
...some with three (12 little pages)...
...and some with two (8 little pages).

Leah came over earlier than usual and we did get the tables cleared off in the studio!!  Well, as cleared off as I want them--LOL!  The die cutting machine table is all set to go.
The table by the window is mostly for art journaling so I have some paintbrushes, gel medium, gesso, etc, that is right at hand all the time.
The little red-legged table got completely cleared off and we moved all the bookcard trays in there.  Nice!!
And then since it was still early enough...Leah punched holes with the new wooden punch cradle and I picked out embroidery thread colors for the sewing.  So the first batch was all ready to be sewn together!  Whoohoo!
All the various paper scraps went home with Leah for the boys.  They like to use punches, cut them up, glue them together, scribble or draw on them.  So they won't go to waste.

Laundry day, sewed together two of the trays (2 & 3 pagers), 
and the other bulb went out in the kitchen ceiling.  I've been procrastinating about calling maintenance.  I will have to do that today.

I have one last tray to sew together.
I save the embroidery thread scraps.
In the past I have cut them up into little pieces and added them to handmade paper.  So cool!  Looks like confetti.

Saturday & Sunday
I totally reached a wall again.  Been asleep before 1am and yet don't get up until 11am-12pm.  (Which is why I haven't called maintenance yet today.)  This does seem like how it goes.  I have a while where I can get some things done and then I crash.  So, I just sleep if I need to sleep and rest if I can hardly move--LOL!  That's part of the healing, I think.  Annie actually prefers me to be less active--ROFL!  

I loved these pics from Leah!  She has my sewing machine over there and she was teaching Ian how to repair the feet on his pajamas.

Looks like Liam tried a little sewing, too.

And here's a pic of the huge snowbank from when they plowed the church parking lot behind McFamily's house.  A great place to take sleds!!  Even if it is crusty, icy snow--this is a magnet for the neighborhood kids.

Well, I still have zero energy.  Maybe I'll call maintenance tomorrow.  Yes, some days are just like that.  I don't feel like getting dressed or getting my mail--just taking it easy.  If I do anything I might sew together the rest of the bookcards from the first batch.  I have a couple DVDs of Inspector Lewis to watch.  Yes, I have had Netflix since before they had streaming and I just could never give up the DVD side.  I can get things I can't on streaming and some of the newest movies or seasons in a series.  After I watched Inspector Morse I wanted to watch Inspector Lewis and Netflix DVD was the only place I could find it.  Shocked that it wasn't on Acorn or BritBox.  That sounds about my speed for today--watching DVDs in my pajamas with Annie on the footrest.  One more night in a dark kitchen won't kill me--LOL!

Till next week...
May the world stand tall and surprise us in wonderful ways.  One can hope and pray.