Monday, May 27, 2024

May 27, 2024 Monday--5am

Good morning!

It was a week partly full of rain (and even a tornado siren on Friday) and partly full of sunny beautiful days.  Lots of Critter Cafe patrons.  Limpy partridge and friend...

...have been regular guests.
Mr. and Mrs. Mallard have also been regular guests.  They seem to know to come in very quietly, but I zoomed some pictures from back at the kitchen table.  I don't even chase them off anymore.  They have smaller poop than geese--lol!
Several red-winged blackbirds have still been hanging around.
Baby bunnies are growing fast.
I finally made it out to remove the small tables and sweep the patio well.

The tree has dressed for summer so that I can't see the little birds hiding inside it anymore.
The two little tables had to wait till I could tackle cleaning them in the shower--lol!
The ants.  I finally relented and ordered some store-bought ant poison that said it was for both grease and sugar ants.
I left them both down there for days.  Just got rid of the homemade peanut butter and borax one on Sunday.  There are barely any ants there anymore.  Finally!!  I hope I won't see any more very soon.
I had to rest my back after the patio sweeping, but then I got on the small table cleaning.
They're looking good.  Not perfectly clean, but good enough. :)
Meanwhile--all the times I have assembly-lined making my bookcards when I am sewing them together I inevitably drop the needle here and there a few times and have to search for it.  One day someone mentioned pin cushions online...  Well, that got me searching on Etsy.  I found this handmade one and thought it looked perfect for my darning needles I use for both my bookcards and when I am doing bookbinding.
Well there's a problem.  The darning type needles I use have dull points and it was awful trying to poke these into this pincushion.  I forced them in, but there's something hard inside.  A sharp needle might go through a lot easier.
But I do love how small this is and I do really like it.  The needles go through the surface brown layer easily, so I might have to try to take it apart and fill it with something else than whatever the heck is in there now.  It might not be as rounded, but that makes no difference to me.  Just like the little ceramic pot...and could actually use a pin cushion--lol!

With all the driving rain the patio door and the screen are really dirty at the bottom, so excuse the pictures...but those sneaky mallards are here quite often--lol!  If they see me coming they waddle quickly out on to the grass.  I was just as sneaky by taking pictures from the kitchen--lol!   
I can catch more pictures from the kitchen but--yes--need to clean the patio door and screen.  With rain every other day it seemed pointless, to be honest.  The water drips down from the balcony above me and splatters on my cement patio...which of course has seed on it splashing up everywhere--lol!  Such is life.  And--no--my cleaning girl from the county also does not clean windows or patio doors...or floors by hand (which are getting pretty sticky).  Won't be much longer anyways.  My final summer here. :)

Probably why I am grabbing many pictures of my visitors.  These are only a few.  Another cottontail...
...and a handsome red-winged blackbird.  I have loved seeing them around so much this year.  I wish the yellow-headed blackbirds had come by, too.  They are so very striking!
Allie looking concerned on Friday when I told her I was leaving to get my labwork done.
Dagan and the boys picked me up and waited for me in the car.  Didn't take long.  It did hurt while she was withdrawing the blood for some reason this time--not so much the putting the needle in.  I usually barely bleed but it was dripping out for a little while there so she put the dressing on snuggly.  Didn't bleed long but that was curious.
Whenever it wasn't raining people were walking past--with or without dogs--lol!  
Two grown cottontails.
Allie has gotten so she's not afraid of the big mallards anymore.  (Shows you how often they are here--lol!)
Next time McFamily comes by with the bigger vehicle I have the two small tables and the new pellet litter box all set to go to their house.  Allie has zero interest and I am not going to push it on her.  We'll see what happens after I move.
Rain and wind and feeding the critters...and seed starts to build up all around the planters.
When we finally get a hose over here from McFamily's to clean them and the patio down I will not put out seed until they are sold...for this very reason.  They get messy pretty quickly.
That won't be till next weekend probably at the earliest.  This weekend Dagan and Leah are working on the basement to get the last of the framing they have to finish up, insulation in the ceiling & inside walls, and get it completely emptied out before the drywallers arrive on Tuesday.  Whoohoo!!  I should have some "in progress" pictures next week.

Keanna comes on Tuesday.  I have my CTscans on Friday.  

Montessori school was done for the year on Thursday.  Dagan will be working from home this summer while the boys are out of school for the summer.  I suggested that maybe he and the boys could run over on his lunch break and pick me up so I could come and spend the afternoon with the boys.  Dagan said that would be great.  In fact, he has to go to get blood drawn this week anyways (on blood thinners)--so he could leave the boys with me and do that and pick up his meds.  Sure!  He thought probably Thursday.

I was thinking about it and told him we could try it and see how I fare.  If all goes well maybe I could even come every week or twice a week for the afternoons?  We shall see how it goes.  :)

Ian heard that and was excited for me to come over so we can continue to work on my Minecraft house we had started.  I might want to make it into a farm, too--lol!  

I've been feeling better this year.  Have gone from only being able to sit at the table for 10-15 minutes in January to being able to sit here for 2-4 hours now.  Slowly building some strength back.  

Since I also sleep in my chair--I was technically bedridden for two years.  Was hardly out of my chair--no lie.  For a long time just making it to the bathroom and back felt overwhelming.  Leah totally cooked for me--I just had to nuke something quickly and needed to sit down several times to accomplish that.  A shower did me in for the day.  I am so happy and grateful to be doing so much better.  

Took a year for me to feel like I was making progress after getting off treatments.  My main focus was to do the Purging&Packing--10-15 minutes at a time...for like a year and a half!  Whoohoo!!  (Given enough time a stubborn Swede can get quite a bit done in baby steps--lol!)  I can't even express how much joy there is in making progress back to my old fibro/arthritic self-- ROFL!!  In so many small ways...but they were HUGE hurdles for the longest time.  Life is so good.  

In fact, it just really hit me that it has been three years!!  Three years since I was diagnosed.  June of 2021.  First six months I had bladder surgery and attempted chemo for liver tumors--had terrible reaction.  Then a year on Keytruda immunotherapy till the side-effects the last six months made it impossible for me to even make it in for treatments anymore.  Switched to Sandford Health system in January of 2023...found out cancer free!  Long recovery with a lot of side effects (still dealing with several), but finally felt a positive jump in progress this last November.  How lucky am I?  I have days where it suddenly hits me again (.6 % chance of being cancer free) and my eyes well up.  How blessed am I?

Six months have gone by and I am doing all the double-checking tests again.  I expect good results. :)

Anyways, let's see...what else?

Oh, I did forget another group of people for the build...the trimmers.  They will hang all the doors and do all the trim work.

I am so excited to see the progress.  Since the decision was first made...that's been almost 2 years ago!  We made the final decision on the day I brought Allie home.  Wow!  Allie's been here almost two years already?!  So she's probably around 10 years old!  Goodness.  

Well, folks...that about it from here this past week.  I hope everyone is safe and well...and, if not that well, then doing better and better. :)  I am so grateful for all of you, too.  You have all helped me make it through all of these past years.  Just knowing you were there to listen and to care.  Everyone needs someone to listen and care, you know?  I hope you know I am there for you, too.  

*love and hugs from Fargo*         

Monday, May 20, 2024

May 20, 2024 Monday--5am

Good morning!

Two big subjects this week...and a few photos, of course...bunnies still coming for nibbles and frolicking.  

Limpy and friend are regular guests.
This little bird did not look familiar.  Couldn't get the best pic, but it reminded me of a bluejay in shape.
Then...Mr. and Mrs. Mallard have not given up...
...and have returned off and on.  Seems they got over their fear of coming in behind the planters pretty quickly--lol!
Here's Allie conked out next to me on her little chair by the table.  She's taken to wanting me to be up at the table sometimes now--lol!  Cries and paces by the table.  What a goofy cat.
Rain or shine I see the partridges, so many small birds, the mourning doves, and more red-winged blackbirds than I have ever seen here before.
I wonder if Mr. and Mrs. will nest somewhere nearby?  I see them often enough to wonder.
Allie still plays in her water dish every day.  So much so that the end of her collar gets soaked every day...and the side of her face.  Such a silly girl!
But--now on to the news.

First the distressful news.  I don't want to say bad news because we are hoping it will all work out in the long run...but the boys can't go to Montessori next year.  Sounded like bad news. :(

As you know, we knew they both have learning issues.  Liam is going to a speech therapist (and also probably needs to be tested for dyslexia).  Ian was tested, has severe dyslexia, and is now going twice a week to a dyslexia coach at Haley's Hope here in town.  They both have trouble staying focused.  This is exactly why we wanted them to go to they could get the extra help they need.

Well, surprise!  There is no special help at a Montessori school.  The children have to be able to work independently...period.  Ian and Liam have trouble with that.  What the rest of the kids can do in ten minutes could take them an hour (or more, I bet--remember how I sat for two hours with Ian doing math problems).  Not that they can't do the work or understand the work... they can't stay focused.  

So, they basically got rejected.  Kicked out of Montessori.  Let go.  :(

The possible silver lining is that we were told that the public school does have some services that may help them.  IEP (Individualized education plan) or what back when I was in school was called Special Ed.  So, this next fall they will start in public school and we will see how that goes.  They are getting some help now--outside of school--the speech therapy and dyslexia coach.  (They each like going.)  Well, as long as Dagan and Leah won't have to be paying for Montessori it will be easier to pay for the coach and speech therapist--whew!  Another silver lining, I guess.  

They are bright, inventive, creative boys...but they are hyperactive.  It's not that they don't like to learn.  When they were here for Mother's Day Ian asked if he could have paper and a pencil and they disappeared into the bedroom.  Apparently, Ian has been trying to teach Liam what he's learned of cursive.  Ian wrote the alphabet down in printing and drew lines under each letter.  Then asked Liam which ones he remembered the cursive version of and Liam would draw the cursive letter underneath.  Liam only got a few of them and Ian admitted he didn't remember them all himself, but I love that they love to learn.  That they do things like that for fun.  I don't want to see them hate school, you know?  Leah gave them a great head start.

I remember how cursive was easier for Dagan to read, too.  Both Dagan (diagnosed in third grade) and Leah (undiagnosed) have dyslexia.  I hope they still teach cursive in public school.  But, if not--I have books and even bought beginner video classes a few years ago when my favorite online calligrapher offered them.  Plan to watch them with the boys after I move in and we can practice our cursive together.  :)

So that was the bad news.  But if they CAN get the help they need at public school--wow!  That would be the silver lining for sure.  I was really afraid if they went to public school they'd be kind of thrown to the wolves, so to speak, you know?  It's going to be difficult for them, I'm sure.  Quite a transition.  But we're really hoping for the best.  

The other big news is that Leah finally heard back from the drywallers!!  They are all set to start on May 28th!  Might be done by June 7th!  So that is exciting!!  Can't wait for pictures I can share.  Once doors go on and walls start going up it will really begin to look like a real apartment!  

Then once the walls are up the cabinet makers can install the cabinets, the electrician and plumber can do their finishing work, appliances can be delivered, and carpet can be installed down the basement stairs.  I think that is all of the "other people doing stuff" to be done, but I'm not positive. 

Anyways, after that then Dagan and Leah will be doing a lot.  Accent walls painted and all that IKEA furniture put together.  We have to go through my garage--purge and pack.  Decide what to sell and take pictures of everything in the garage and my apartment that's to be sold.  Leah does the Facebook Marketplace sales.  I need to shop for another big comfy chair for my new living room, too.  Finally will come the actual move and the cleaning of this apartment.  I am hoping I will be out by October 1st.  But whenever it is...things are moving again!  :)

Meanwhile, I actually made it into the studio this last week!  Tried following along with a YouTube artist, Diane Antone, with watercolor and ink.
I got all the watercoloring done and left it to dry overnight.
This is why I don't like these art journals I made.  The Dick Blick cheap student watercolor paper I used buckles so badly it drives me crazy.    
Even using bulldog clips can't keep it from becoming mountains and valleys--lol!  Makes it hard to paint on because the paint pools.  But the silver lining--I don't care what I make or how it looks.  Helps me be the loose woman I have strived to be--ROFL! ;)

Screen shot of her painting.
My version.  It's getting to feel a little more comfortable holding a paint brush the more I get in there and play around.

Saturday I did get outside and pull all the dead plants out of the planters and dig in the dirt so they do look much better...but my back hurt too badly by the time I got that done to finish with sweeping and scrubbing down the little tables.  Sunday was dark, windy, and maybe today?  I think I may be coming out of this long fibro flare?  (Knock on wood!)  I hope so.  I have medical stuff for three weeks in a row now again (lab, CTscans, dr).  That six months went by soooo fast!  Maybe they'll let me go a year this next time?  Well, one can dream. ;)   

This has been a year of changes and more changes.  Mostly positive ones.  A long slow shift into a new chapter in my life.  Nothing rapid, that's for sure--LOL!  But that's a good thing.  I absolutely do not move fast anymore--lol!  Till next time...thanks for stopping by and for each and every comment.  You all mean a lot to me. :)    

Monday, May 13, 2024

May 13, 2024 Monday--5am

Good morning!

Been another quiet week.  Able to keep up with the usual daily stuff, just not much energy left over.  I seem to be in a fibro flare, but I am hoping it is beginning to let up.  The extra project I worked on this past week was switching over the winter and summer clothes.  Took up the week's extra energy but I only have one bin left and I am done!  Little by little I can get things done even when I feel generally cruddy--lol!  Hey--I have been much, much worse over these past two years.  At least this feels more familiar and I am still functional.  It's all relative, eh?  :)

When we had drizzly rainy days the visitors to the Critter Cafe increase.

This is the pair of partridges that includes Limpy.
But I didn't expect this.  On Sunday I chased away these two beautiful but unwelcome visitors.  They were eyeing the bird seed on my patio.
I think Allie dozed off as she does by the patio door and suddenly opened her eyes and saw those geese right there looking over the planters.  Not her usual channel on Cat TV!  Allie leapt up and ran for the bedroom--lol!  That's what alerted me...Allie airborne and then racing across the room.  Those geese can be elegantly silent as they meander about.  Snuck up on us both--lol!

Those of you who have been around for a while may remember one summer when we had a Canadian goose with a broken wing hanging around until they found a place for it on a farm outside of town.  In summer I usually put a water dish out on the patio for the birds to drink and bathe--but the goose took over that water dish and was here almost all day.  I didn't even have any seed out, but it would even sit down to drink out of that dish and shoot poo out the other end at the same time.  They have that massive slimy poo.  After other people were putting water and food out for it on the patio off the commons room down the way later, I took in the water dish and had to buy a deck brush just to clean the cement off out there--lol!  [Not that the deck brush hasn't come in handy since then.  Little birds poop, too.  But not nearly the deluge that a goose is capable of--lol!]

Anyways, geese aren't very scared of people.  I had to go out on the patio for quite a long time as they very slowly made their way off to the left while keeping an eye on me, but as soon as started to make my way inside...they turned right around to head back to my patio.  I had to stay outside and even walk to the edge of the patio.  They stopped across from me for a while, but finally decided I wasn't going to let them come over so they continued on their way.  Taking their sweet time, of course.

It's a weird thing to look outside and see Canadian geese, that seem almost as tall as you, staring right at you from behind your planters just a few feet away--lol!  They are truly large birds if you've never seen one close up.

Then...not 20 minutes later...
...a mallard couple came by!  I had to shoo them away five times--lol!  Ducks are easier to scare away, quicker moving, but quite stubborn--or have short term memories--lol!  That was right before McFamily arrived.
Leah had made some peanut butter cup type treat that we all loved! 
And they brought me a Mother's Day surprise!!
Since I can't plant flowers in my planters this year, they brought over a huge self-watering pot so I could have some flowers on my patio.  Aren't they pretty?  Happy Mother's Day indeed!  Filling the planter with water from the sink took several trips--so Leah and the boys were on the patio and that finally got rid of the mallards--lol!  Dagan took out the four winter clothes bins to the garage and brought me in some more bird seed on his way back.  We had a nice visit.  Ian was the only one who's been well lately, so I gave him a hug goodbye--lol!

Has been warmer than usual.  Was 83 degrees on Saturday!  Good thing I have my summer clothes again--lol!  There was a heavy smoke haze and it smelled like a campfire all day Sunday.  Not good.  I pray you all are safe and well wherever you are.  I am grateful for another good week.  Till next time... :)

Monday, May 06, 2024

May 6, 2024 Monday--5am

Good morning!

Was not a great week for me again--body-wise.  Fibro, arthritis, IBS, allergies (but they are better now), and tired as all get out.  BUT--this is more like a normal bad week or two for me from before cancer and all that.  So--whoohoo!!  I can't complain.  I just don't get a lot extra done, but I can keep up fairly well with all the usual daily living stuff. So it was really a good week, nonetheless. :)

The week was mostly rain off and on.  Keanna came to clean on Tuesday.  Dagan quickly dropped off some foods Leah had made up for me on Wednesday.  They are still sick with the coughs, so Dagan told me to stay away and no goodbye hug.  Friday Leah dropped off a bag of cat food for Allie she picked up for me.  Again--stayed away and no hugs goodbye.  Been very much like Covid all over again for us this winter--lol!

It was a very quiet, calm week.  One of the reasons why...

...was that I left both litter boxes with the two kinds of litter in the pantry for Allie.  She is happily using her old stainless steel litter box with her old familiar litter.  Yes, I moved some poo over into the pellet box.  I am leaving her favorite box to get really dirty.  Another suggestion I read about online.  Going to try that...for as long as my OCD tendencies can stand it--lol!  I tried spraying the pellets with water.  But if I mist them they just get hard again when they dry.  If I get them too wet they do turn to sawdust and fall down between the slots into the bottom of the litter box.  Turning the box didn't make any difference, either.  (She knew what it was for--went in it at first--one time--and hated the feeling of the pellets sliding against the plastic bottom, I think.)  I plan to search a little more online for suggestions, but if it doesn't work for doesn't work.

Allie went through a lot and we don't know what all happened to her.  But me just being upset with her...well, she needed reassurance like crazy for days!  She was glued to me--cried and rolled around at my feet on the floor when I was up, needed me to be petting her, talking to her, or keeping a hand resting on her at least when I was in my chair with her.  I couldn't even write letters.  It was like she was so afraid I didn't want her I wasn't going to love her she'd lose me and be alone again?  

Therefore, I will try what I can, but I am not taking her litter box away again.  There are no issues whatsoever if it is there for her.  Her reaction was way, way more stressful than I ever expected.  Which made it stressful on me, too.  She basically quit eating and held her poop for over a day...and the pee for like a day and a half!  

So Allie can have her familiar litter box.  She's always been a good girl.  I don't want her to be any more stressed over this move and all the changes than she needs to be.  Going to be big changes coming.  I'll try for a while to see if she will use the new box, but if she doesn't...I am not going to push it.  I remember how she was half the size and felt so boney when I got her from the rescue center.  She had completely shut down.  Wasn't eating (obviously) and they said she just sat in a corner for two weeks and then in this one cat bed for two weeks.  Which was where she was when I met her...back to the room...curled into a ball...wouldn't move even when I petted her.  Wouldn't even turn her head to look at me.  But she purred quietly...without moving.  And she had been dumped at the pound for a month before the rescue place saved her from being put down.  I don't ever want to see her shut down like that again.  Allie was so very worried.  Wanted to be assured she was back in my good graces...that we were okay.  

It's taken an entire week before she has gone to sleep in the bedroom.  But she wasn't conked out like she usually is in there.  She was on alert, as you can see.

So, if Allie needs her familiar litter box and if Blink prefers that litter to dig in, too, and it costs us more...well, that's life.  There are a lot of bigger things to worry about in this world, right?  

Vegas odds are Blink will soon get a nice new big pellet litter box (she has the smaller version) and Allie will move with her familiar stainless steel one. ;)

With all the light rain, drizzle, and steady rain popping in all week...been a lot of dark days.  Then I see more critters during the day.  Like the big cottontail (Mom or Dad?).

We've had the baby bunnies eating and playing on the patio.  They were the one thing that would get Allie away from my lap--lol!
Mourning doves are back for the summer.  Love to hear them!
The two faithful partridge visitors.  One is Limpy--who has survived the winter! :) :)
I do love seeing when a variety of critters are all out there together sharing the feast.

When the rain would stop...I do love to see the blue skies and big white clouds.
The sky looks different in the warm months than the gray of winter skies.
Oh, and I did doodle until I got tired of it.  Was a fun thing to do while watching the boob tube--lol

Like I said, I am a dabbler who just enjoys having fun.  Not a watercolor artist like one of my pen pals, Doug.  Got a surprise on the back of his envelope a couple days ago.  

I was trying to remember how long we've been pen pals.  Was before I was ever a maybe 20 years or more.  I wonder if he remembers?  It's been so long I can't remember if we started writing before I moved up here in 1999 or after.  A long time, anyways.  He has become a wonderful landscape artist and sold his paintings.  Makes me smile.  Kudos!  

Me--I'm just so happy to play.  Used to worry about not making things well enough and all that.  Now, I am more into the process and having a good time.  It's much more a meditative process for me the past decade or two than it ever was in the past.  Even card making or whatever I decide to play with...not so much plagued by the perfectionist's critical eye, you know?  

Sunday--sunny day and 70 degrees.  My allergies are much less of a bother.  Leah sent over some of this nasal spray for allergies with Dagan.  I've been doing this morning and evening.  Works for me!  Whoohoo!  
Allie's here wanting to know we're okay and I love her.  We are and I do. :)  We are good.  She is loved and safe.  And she loves me even if she probably thinks I was being really dreadfully mean to her by taking her box away for no known reason.  Animals are more forgiving than humans, I find--lol!  

Anyways, until next week, my friends.  May you keep all your favorite things around you and have peaceful days...or as calm as life allows. ;)