Monday, February 26, 2024

February 26, 2024 Monday--5am

Good morning!

If it is a sunny one, I hope you are enjoying it as much as Miss Allie is.  

She's my chunky monkey!  Karma was a fat cat, too.  I had one other chunky cat years ago whose name was Chakra.  Chakra and Allie refused/refuse to eat anything but dry cat food.  No canned food or people food, either.  Miss Karma ate both dry and canned cat foods and a very tiny little select bit of people food.  They never seemed to eat in excess.  Probably genetics.  Some of us are born to be chunky.  Like me--lol!

Anyways, Monday was Presidents Day.  Dagan and Leah were off work and the boys were off school, so they did some grocery shopping while the plumbers were working at the house.  Liam had an appointment with his speech therapist in the afternoon.  They asked Ian if he wanted to stay here with me.  Yes!  So Ian and I had a few hours of a Gramma Day!!  He showed me how he could draw 2D shapes vs 3D shapes.  I let him try out some mechanical pencils and a couple types of erasers from Gramma's drawing supplies.  We measured my apartment in comparison to my new one.  (Tape measures are such fun for boys but scare cats--lol!)  Finally Ian introduced me to a new cartoon show he likes where the kids have dragons.  Was a fun afternoon!

 Tuesday Keanna came to clean.  I did more cooking and baking and laundry.  But every day I have been up at the table and this wasn't a one-off for Allie!
Allie is up next to me every day.
Totally relaxed and sawing logs after while.
Happy cat.  Happy house. ;)
Something has been making a nest in one of my planters.  Pretty good sized.  A partridge?  A rabbit?  I'm kind of thinking a rabbit.  But it could be the two partridges I still see coming to eat, I suppose.  If they are brave enough to try to spend the night here. 
I've only caught a glimpse of the two partridges together.  As you may have noticed, no pics of partridges the past couple of weeks.  I am kind of afraid they are off nesting somewhere.  I've not seen the bigger covey of six.  Only the two that come together.  Last year there were the two that came all the time and never disappeared to nest.  I figured they were kind of the left-overs--lol!  Two boys or two girls that didn't have mates.  I only see the two come, but one of them is the limper so I know it is the same two.  

They very often are coming when it is too dark to get pictures anymore.  I hope they don't all think it is spring and are off nesting in February!  Who knows?  And it is always possible with this crazy spring weather that they could be right and I am wrong...but I think we could still have snow any old time.  Not sure how things are supposed to go in a brown winter with no snow to speak of.

The plumbers were there working for three days and they were done, too!  Well, like the electricians, as done as they can be before the drywall is finished.  Then they'll be coming back to finish things off...both the electricians and the plumber/HVAC folks.

I have some pictures.  They're nothing pretty yet, of course, but it is exciting to me to see what's been done.  This is the water hook-ups from the kitchen that run behind where the washer and dryer will go in the maintenance room/my laundry room--under the stairs.
From the other side you can see where the dryer vent is.  The cats will have to learn to go along under those pipes to get from my laundry room to their cat boxes and the rest of the house.  Will Allie be brave enough?  I know Blink will be.
My shower walls and floor are in!
Doesn't look like much yet, but I think it is very pretty fake tile.
Behind the right side of the shower--the wall that is shared with my studio.
There were all kinds of pictures of stuff in the ceiling--lol!  Metal tubes, silver crinkly tubes...
...white tubes, grey tubes...
...and vents.
This shot is from the living room looking at the wall where the kitchenette will be.  The doorway to the left will be my apartment door.  The doorway to the right goes into the maintenance/laundry room.  The washer and dryer will be tucked under the stairs. 
So--lots getting done.  Next will be the drywall people, I think.  I haven't heard from Leah about when they might be scheduled.  We're working around the dates we just got for Dagan's pacemaker replacement surgery (March 11-12) down in Minneapolis.  They decided to just do the replacement and not the open-heart surgery to replace the leads and move his pacemaker pocket to his chest.  Glad.

Dagan hasn't had major heart surgery for like 30 years!  Pacemaker replacements and minor surgery, but no open-heart surgery.  Since it is kind of a mystery to his cardiologists as to why he has done so well all this time (was never expected to live in the first place--lol!)...well, kind of feels good to leave well enough alone for as long as possible, you know?

He got his first pacemaker when he was about 12 after a life-saving surgery that his heart wasn't crazy about cooperating with how they had altered it once again. Barely beating at all--too weak and tired to sit up.  So, he had another surgery to have a pacemaker installed.  He was so young that they couldn't put it under the skin on his chest.  They had to put the pocket down under his rib cage in his abdomen--where it's been ever since.  

Those two surgeries really did change his life!  He'd never been well more than two months in a row for 12 years.  He got to be more like a regular kid after that.  (Not that I didn't treat him like one.)  But after the pacemaker when he ran a fever...he just ran a fever.  He didn't turn blue/gray and become semi-conscious (because he went into crazy arrythmias) until I could get his fever down.  We'd laugh about how much easier it was for him to be sick when he did get sick after that.  He could go months and months without catching something or another.  Usually respiratory illnesses.  It was a whole new world.

His last pacemaker replacement was only about two years ago, but his battery is dying already.  Pacemakers usually last more like 8-10 years.  Which means the leads are probably getting old and shot.  And when they cut his pacemaker pocket open last time there was so much scar tissue...he didn't even bleed.  Which is why they will need to move the pacemaker pocket to his chest one day.  They didn't think that cut would heal up last time, but it did.  We're hoping they can super glue him back together this time, too.  

So...any good wishes or prayers in Dagan's direction would be appreciated.  If anyone is a proponent of prayer and healing thoughts and energy sent, I am.  Dagan is living proof.  (I think recently I may even be living proof, for that matter--thank you all.)  We are hoping everything will go smoothly...and maybe this pacemaker will last longer than they expect.  

Anyways, meanwhile...

You'll laugh!  Best laid plans...again.  I keep thinking I am going to get finished with the birthday cards...well, I did get the envelopes all stamped and addressed, but still don't have the cards colored.  So they are still not finished--lol!  Other projects keep bumping them down on my to-do list.  You know my to-do list has to be pretty short and I have to reevaluate priorities every day.  Well, since I can now get up to the table for a length of time every day...reorganizing my rollie carts jumped up higher on the list.
I've been moving letter writing and journaling supplies over on to these two rollie carts off the kitchen.  Doing things like testing all these old VersaMagic chalk ink pads was one of them I just finished on Sunday.  They used to fill this container, but a lot of the ones I used most often and the lighter ones were too dried up.  No refill inks for these little cats-eye pads, either.  
They are the best for stamping in letters and journals because they don't bleed through the paper.  I bought them years before Covid and cancer--and they haven't been touched for probably close to four years.  Let's say these do still work.  But the ones that work the best are the darkest colors.  I have a feeling more of them will be tossed as actually try to use them (out of frustration--lol!) but I was trying to save as many as I could.  Actually was surprised any of them still worked, to be honest.

Little projects like that are what I have spent the week doing with any energy I have for "extras".  Another one this week was making beef soup/stew in the crock pot again.  (One of my favorites.) 
Allie has been wanting more time with me whenever I AM over in my chair now--ROFL!
And I am delighted that Allie is conked out next to me while I am typing here at the table.
OMGoodness!  Just looked on my phone.  Predicted to be 61 degrees today--and snow showers tomorrow morning!  Could get an inch of snow.  What did I tell you--lol!  Says will stay cold through Wednesday (below freezing) and then back into the 50s by Thursday!  Just bizarre!  

Anyways, have a really good week wherever you are and whatever the weather.  

Just...thank you.  Thank you. :)

Monday, February 19, 2024

February 19, 2024 Monday--5am

 Good morning!

First of all, the boys wanted to show me their Valentine boxes they worked so hard on.

I loved that Liam wanted to make sure he showed me every single side of his Valentine Box.

He even had Mama make a little video to show me his secret buttons for opening and closing it--lol!
Gramma loves those little videos.  :)

The finished valentines looked like this on the front.  The name of the classmate (covered with an eraser, of course) and then their signature.  I am delighted that Ian is learning cursive!  He is really enjoying it, Leah said.  (I think Gramma needs to send him a card with a note inside--in cursive!)
The backside seals with the little flaps.
The card inside with the taped on crayon.
They can remove the card and color on it.
Ian wants to try something else next year.  (Who can blame a young man who is learning cursive, right?)  Liam might want to do the crayons again.  He's not sure.  We have a long time before next Valentine's Day.  And my studio will be available with all kinds of choices.  ;)

Well, what a week!  Leah got even worse.  Ended up in the walk-in clinic again beginning of the week.  She had a sinus infection.  Got put on antibiotics.  They had thought it was just this lingering cold/cough they all got--but Liam got worse, too.  So they all went to the walk-in clinic...I think it was Wednesday night after work.  Turned out Liam had sinus infection and an ear infection...and Dagan also had a sinus infection.  No one but Leah ever had covid, though.  Ian was okay--just the tail end of the cold/cough and nothing else.  So, three of them are on antibiotics.  Everybody is finally starting to get better.  Goodness!  They have been sick for weeks!  What a winter they've had so far.

Myself?  I have been just fine.  (knock on wood)  Just really taking it easy in low gear.  I know that by spring things will pick up and be busier and busier, so I am kind of resting up before the move.  ;)  In fact, I realized that the only pictures I took all week were of Allie--lol!  Some weeks I don't have any or almost forget her--but this week she is the star--lol!

She has enjoyed being up on her chair again.  I think she realized she could lie there and keep an eye on the birds--lol!

I was busy with all the usual puttering about...making food, doing laundry, dishes, bringing the trash out, wrote a couple of letters, and I even swept the patio again. February!  Were cold for a couple of days and now back to spring weather.  Going to be in the 40s for over a week, they predict.  Possibly low 50s!  The snowstorms have gone out to the northeastern United States.  I heard they could get near a foot of snow in places...and we have brown grass.

But Miss Allie is not used to me being up at the table here for periods of time every day.  She started to pace around and cry...a lot more..this past week.  Cats!  She doesn't really enjoy change very much--lol!  She hasn't liked me being up at the table for long periods of time, but this past week it was totally stressing her out.

You may remember back when I normally spent my days at the table and was up and about every day that both Karma and Annie would curl up in a chair with a cat bed on the top right next to my chair at the table.  Well, Allie was not keen on that idea at all.  I tried different chairs and different cat go.

Finally on Sunday I may have discovered the secret.  The sound of me scraping a chair across the floor was a problem.  She doesn't like loud noises...even more than Shy Annie!!  Would run away.  But when I picked the chair up and set it down her favorite bed with the hunk of old memory foam underneath from "her" chair...picked her up and put her in the bed...well, this time she stayed!  You can see her ears are back.  She wasn't feeling comfortable or happy...but she stayed.  
Maybe she finally figured out all her crying and drama wasn't going to get me back in my big comfy chair in the living room where she thought I belonged.  No loud scary chair scraping.  It is a comfy cat bed, after all...and she wanted to be near me.  I think she finally she gave up.  It took a good half an hour or so, but she relaxed...
...completely.  Sound asleep!  Making dream noises--lol!
Now will this be a one-off?  Who knows?  I will do the same thing each day--lifting not scraping the chair across the floor, get the comfy bed, and hope for the best.  Cats are so annoying when they pace and cry--lol!  And it is so silly!  Allie wouldn't normally even see me all day long because she'd usually be sleeping in the cat bed up on the table in the bedroom.  I guess she just can't relax to sleep in there when I have changed my routine for the first time since she came here--lol!  Got to keep an eye on her human.  Maybe once she gets used to this new routine she'll be happy to sleep all day in the bedroom again, eh?  So funny!  Cats!  They often make no sense at all.  Gotta love'em.

So, that's how the week went over here.  Hopefully McFamily will be feeling lots better now this coming week.  Already they're seeing improvements.  The plumbers are coming today!!  They think they might be able to finish in three days!?  We'd be thrilled if they can finish this week.  Keanna comes to clean on Tuesday.  I am working on the birthday cards.  The week will fly by, I expect.

What is the weather like your way?  Is it pretty normal?  Is February flying by for you, too?  In this crazy world I am glad all I have to deal with is a weirded-out cat who wants to be near me because she thinks something is wrong with me because I am not acting like she expects me to--LOL!  Hey, maybe that is why she came back to sleep more in the living room on her chair, too!  Trying to figure out why I am not acting like she has been used to.  She thought it would pass...but it hasn' the point she couldn't sleep and she started to pace and cry the last week when I was up at the table.  Non-stop!  Could be.  My life is getting better and her life went to h-e-double-hockey-sticks.  It is all perspective, right?  ROFL!!

Giggling up here in Fargo.  Have a great week!  Till next time...

Monday, February 12, 2024

February 12, 2024 Monday-5am

Good Morning!

Well, plans changed on my priority list.   Since Leah was getting worse and was sicker than anyone else in the house and couldn't make it to work on Monday she went to the walk-in clinic Tuesday morning and discovered she had covid for the second time.  They took the boys out of school and Dagan came home from work.  Nobody else tested positive.  Since she had been here and cut my hair on Thursday and she started getting noticeably sicker on Friday I tested myself, too.  Negative.  

Both Dagan and Leah can work from home, but Leah was too miserable to do that for a couple of days.  I think they are all going to be back at work and school today now.  But--meanwhile--Valentine's Day was descending upon the grade school whether Leah was sick or not--lol!  So, plans changed. :)

Those of you who have been around a long time would have seen the Valentine's Day heart crayons Leah and Ian made...was it four years ago?  Before covid, anyways.  I thought they were the most unique Valentines I had ever seen.
Before Leah got really sick she had found some of the leftover envelopes from back then that Ian had used.  He wanted to do the crayon hearts that had been her come over and die cut out more envelopes for Ian and Liam.
Ian was fine with keeping to the pastel-colored ones he already had.  Liam wanted yellow envelopes.  Current favorite color, I think. ;)  Luckily, I hadn't packed away any of my cardstock, so I had enough pastel cardstock for the rest of Ian's.  
Between Leah and I we had enough shades of yellows for Liam's.  
I located the die set and... started cutting out Ian's envelopes.
But the die was getting so rough that the paper stuck and was hard to remove.  Any of you crafters who do die cutting will know how that can happen.  As you can see on the purple one that it was getting so difficult that it was starting to tear the paper.
Searched around but I either had packed away what little bit of waxed paper I had left or had used it up.  Turned out I needed not only Leah's yellow cardstock but also some waxed paper.  (If you run the die through a couple of times cutting waxed paper it puts just enough wax on the die to help the die release the paper least for a few times--lol!)  So Dagan was sent off--masked--to pick up some wax paper and bring it to me along with her yellow cardstock.

This is what the die plate looked like before I even started cutting Liam's 24 envelopes--lol!  This plate got tossed after I finished.  You crafters know why it's always good to have extra sets of plates on hand.  ;)  
Also--to be on the safe side because of the covid I cancelled Keanna for cleaning on Tuesday and Leah cancelled the plumbers for Wednesday.  Now the plumbers will be starting on Monday the 19th and Keanna will just come in two weeks like normal.

Meanwhile--I had to take a picture of this!  So silly!  That one bottle of fountain pen ink was all that was in this big Amazon box!  No padding of any kind--nothing.  Good thing it was wrapped well with bubble wrap.   
None of any of this mattered to Allie.  She just wants her food, litter box scooped, cuddling when she is in the mood, and for me to feed the birds for her--lol!
I managed to locate on my laptop (rarely ever go "inside" of it-lol!) the card that goes inside of the Valentine envelopes where Leah had stored it...
... and printed off what they needed.  They use rolled up washi tape to attach the heart crayons to these cards.
I also sent home with Dagan some plain washi tapes for the boys to have.
I find I rarely ever use my plain washi tapes.  I use printed ones to decorate paper for letters but never seem to go for the plain ones.  The boys will gladly use these up, she said.  I have some more for them, too, after they do.

Could tell the birds knew bad weather was coming.  Windy, drizzle turning to ice and then snow on top of that.  I put out extra food because they come more often and gobble it down.
I was thinking how smart some animals can be.  As soon as these partridges can scrounge around to eat what they normally would eat (whatever they find in the brown grass and dead weeds in the fields) they go eat that before they come for a handout.  Probably healthier for them.  But as soon as it gets really cold where they need more fuel to stay warm or it snows or there's an ice storm...they are here several times a day.  I can go from a cup or two of seed a day to eight or ten cups a day.  This being such a generally brown winter, they mostly came when it was below freezing for so long and when we had ice.  Even with the little snow you see on the lawn--they will dig with their feet and beaks to get to the grass.  If I toss seed out on to the grass they will go out on the lawn to hunt down the seed out there first before they come to eat so easily right there on the patio.  I have tested that theory out--lol!  Smart partridges.  
Anyways, they kind of warn me before I even check the weather--lol!  Yup--we had ice to snow again.
I must say the flock of 30-40 sparrows/small birds are great opportunists, though, and will come all year round if you want to feed them--lol!  They are quite charming...and flighty nervous.  (We do have some kind of small hawk around here I see occasionally.)
While I finished cutting the envelopes, Allie was on "her" chair.  It wasn't a one-off.  See her ears are back from being disturbed.  How did she know I was silently taking a picture of her?  Psychic?  
Miss Allie has apparently gotten used to these wood pellets being mixed into her litter.  Has at least started to bury her business again, anyways.  But in different spots and not all at one end of the box like she always has done.  She might be just looking for a new spot without the lumps--ROFL!  Good luck, Allie. ;)
I really hope this will work and we can switch her over to the hardwood pellets before we move.
This huge bag is so much less expensive than the bags of kitty litter.  But it must feel so weird to them on their little feet--lol!  Blink switched over no problem.  But Blink was a lot younger.  We'll see how it goes with Allie.
Well, luckily Ian already had his bookboard fair at school before covid happened.  This was his poster...
...from this book titled What Kind of Book Am I?  
He decorated a shirt to wear with it for the fair.
His bookboard all finished.  This was taken up in their schoolroom at home.
And here he is at the bookboard fair in the gym.  Nice job, Ian!
They also spent time up in their old schoolroom working on their Valentine's boxes.  (Note: those bookcases that go around the corner and along the wall are the same Billy bookcases I will have on one side of my studio when I move.)
Here they are working on addressing and signing all those Valentine's.
Leah had a brilliant idea!  She used some washi tape to create lines for the boys to follow on their envelopes.
Since it is washi tape it peels right off easily when they were done.  The boys really appreciated having lines to follow.

The crayon hearts are so cute!

Here's one taped to that inside card.
They make them by using some silicone candy molds.
They break up crayons into pieces and put them into the molds.  Then they put the molds on a tray and put them into the oven to melt them down.  When they are cooled off they just pop them out.  Easy peasy!

Leah forgot to get a picture of the finished Valentines or their Valentine boxes.  She's still not feeling great but maybe she can get them for next week...for posterity. ;)  That's kind of my entire blog--like a letter with pictures--for posterity--lol!

So now this week--the priority is working on the birthday cards--lol!  Life is slow in my world.  But it is such a nice place to be.  Allie and I say bye-bye for this week.  Till next time.  Thank you so very much for stopping by!!  :)