Monday, May 21, 2018

Monday-1:30pm

Been a long time.  
Just looked--been five weeks!  
When I felt decent I was busy...and then recovering from being busy--LOL!  The energy yo-yo.  Dagan was over on the 4th to help me take the snow shovel and broken chair out and bring in the fans.  We had already hit the 80s by the beginning of May.
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I scrubbed down the fans, humidifiers, and the metal chair & table (you can see the metal glider chair on the left side of this photo) that have been out there since I moved in.       
I decided to move them to the garage for now.  Well, let's be honest--Dagan moved them for me--LOL!  Love them, but my patio is small and I wanted to try it with just the two brown lawn chairs this year.  
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I had Ian on Saturday April 28th and Sunday May 6th while they went to look at the Parade of Homes both weekends.  Gramma Days!!  They brought dinner over afterwards both days--so nice!  On Sunday Ian even helped Dagan and I as we switched out the chairs and brought out the humidifiers.  Ian got to push the cart out and then get a ride on the way back.
As you can see from the first couple pictures, the grouse, grackles, sparrows, and mourning doves are around every day to entertain Annie and me. 
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Leah came on the 1st and the 8th for crafts.  
She also cut my hair for me.   :)
I love our craft times!!
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Leah picked up a small table for me on sale at Target that pretty much matches the one I already had for the brown chairs--tada!  And she also picked up some flowers from Costco for my planters.
Have had them next to my bedroom window. 
Coleus and some kind of daisies--red and yellow ones. 
We are going to try and make it to Baker Nursery and do the planting tomorrow!  (I'm the questionable part more so than the boys--LOL!)  I will show you the patio when it is all put together.  Maybe I should get a before and after! 
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I ordered a Hippo journal in December.  Was a kickstarter project.  I was late into the final orders and they said it should be ready to ship in January.  Well, it finally arrived...May 16th...two days after it said it was "out for delivery".  Mangled much!  Maybe it was delivered by hippos--LOL!
But amazingly the journal was in perfect shape because it was packaged inside the thick white cardboard sleeve. 
Because it took so long they had sent out an email saying they were sending along various gift items to all the people who had been waiting for all these months--so that was nice.  There was a pen holder you could attach, but I think that comes with it.  I think my gift was the plastic page protector on the right. 
You slip it behind the page you are writing on to protect the one underneath.  Useful if you have thin pages like this Hippo has and a heavy hand--then it won't dent the next page.
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My turquoise Hippo came with two bookmarks in blue and green. 
It's smaller than a Leuchtturm but fatter.  No index or numbered pages.  Has a pocket in the back--kind of thin paper so I don't know how well it would hold up.  Cover is floppy--not a hard cover.  500 pages of, I believe, Tomoe River paper--fountain pen friendly.  But now I wish I would have ordered a blank one and not a dot grid.  I can't write on dot grid that well with my wonky eye and I'm not sure I would use this after all for a bullet journal because I'd have so much less space on each page.
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They are the same height.
But the Hippos are 3/4 inch shorter in the width of each page!
More pages, but you lose a lot of real estate.  ;)  It's a family company and I bought one for the $33.00 pre-order because the Leuchtturm runs around 250 pages for about $20.00.  But now they're going up to $40.00 and I wouldn't ever pay that much for one.  Sorry.  Not really a thumbs up from me--unless I change my mind in the actual use.
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We have had some beautiful cooler days, too.  (My favorite, of course.)  Unlike this 80s day where I was closed up with the AC on trying to take pictures of the fluffy white clouds that almost looked fake--scattered loosely about.  Couldn't get one that didn't have the rings showing from the light hitting the screen.  Oh well, I tried.  I am easily impressed by small things.  ;)
I ordered a whole bunch of art supplies for Ian for his birthday next month...and a few things for Christmas...and some that might have to wait till his next birthday--LOL!  Can't tell Gramma is excited to be able to do crafty-arty things with Ian on Gramma Days, eh? 
I know he's old enough for some of them--like finger painting with a new smock.  ;)  Eventually little brother Liam will be using some of these, too.  
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Took pictures of some of the new goodies Leah and I have purchased this year because I realized when we got a big order we went in on together that I haven't shared pictures for a long time of the new craft stuff.
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These are stamp sets. 
Distress Resist Spray and some new adhesives. 
Leah has plans for these heart dies.  She used the one of the left for Mother's Day cards when she was here. 
Leah said this one is for gift card holders. 
We have some plans for these dies... 
...and here are Christmas dies. 
Yes, we are always on the lookout for Christmas card ideas.  ;) 
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 I also packed up three big bins with winter clothes and hauled them to the garage for the summer.  Proof I truly believe summer is on the way.  Had an apartment inspection on the 8th so I had done an extra good dusting, cleaned up the place, and cleaned off the patio.  I was so glad to finally have some energy again!  Was really getting a lot done...maybe too much.  
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Got sick again on the 9th.  Had to cancel Craft Nights and Gramma Days for a while.  Seemed like a relapse of what I had for two months--but, at least, this time I started to feel better after about a week instead of two months.  :) :)
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Funny--I think Annie prefers me being sick.  She loves the peace and quiet here soooo much that she already doesn't like it when I am buzzing about--even if my buzz is not as fast moving as it used to be--LOL!
So that's why it has been so long since you've heard from me.  But Annie and I are doing fine.  I'm getting back into being functional again.  Had a wonderful afternoon with Ian on Gramma Day.  He is practicing with real brushes and a bowl of water in his Paint With Water books.  Gramma was playing with watercolors.  If he gets the hang of how to use and hold a paintbrush...Gramma has a kids paint palette he could get on his birthday next month.  If not--Christmas is coming--LOL!  Don't want to give him supplies he can't handle and end up not being able to use them, you know?  We have plenty of time and tons of things to learn and play with.  :):)
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I have pictures and videos from Leah to go through and there will be more to show you.  Hopefully I will stay well AND not overdo it so much this time.  ;)  My tentative plan is to attempt to post once a week on Mondays.  No promises.  My whole life is tentative--LOL!  But maybe I will see you next Monday.  
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I'll leave you with pictures of Annie who likes to watch for the jackrabbits toward dusk. 
 
We don't see them as often since it got warmer out.  
There are also only two pairs of grouse who come around since it got nice out.  The duos come separately and do not like each other...which means we get to watch some rapid-footwork-chasing back and forth on occasion.  They never hurt each other...just race about chasing each other.  Silly grouse.
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That's it for now.  You're basically all caught up with the big stuff.  :)  I have been around to read blogs even if I haven't commented all the time.  I hope you are having as lovely an afternoon as we are here.  Till next time!  :) :)
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"For happiness, how little suffices for happiness! ...the least little thing precisely, the gentlest thing, the lightest thing, a lizard's rustling, a breath, a whisper, an eye glance--little maketh up the best happiness.  Be still."
Friedrich Nietzsche

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Thursday-3:30pm

Good afternoon!
Annie is thrilled to have the patio door wide open almost every morning.  We've suddenly been having 50s and 60s for highs!
Do you see what is left of the snowbanks? 
They used to be higher than the garage doors! 
Maybe spring is finally here to stay?
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 Annie was rolling with joy in the sun and breeze.


I should have hit video, but this will have to do--LOL! 
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It won't been too long (mid-May) and we can go to the nursery and buy flowers again for the planters!  Dagan and Leah gave me a gift certificate for my birthday for Baker Nursery where we went last year.  :)  I'm bound to have a day good enough to go pick out flowers by then.
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I've had some days where I have felt better--had some energy--felt more clear headed.  So I get a few things done while I can...and pay for it the next day or two--LOL!  Kind of borrowing against future spoons, so to speak.  ;)  But that's okay with me.  I had none to borrow for a long time there.  
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I put together a few pocket inserts from 12 X 12" scrapbook papers.  This wild one is already inside the cover... 
...to hold the stack of ink/drawing pen/marker/watercolor/etc testing that I did quite a while back on the Leuchttrum paper and some other bullet related odds and ends. 
I had a few bad eye days where I needed the blinds and my sunglasses.  Annie wasn't happy but turned them into secret spy days. 
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Something I have been enjoying this month is doing writing prompts and lettering challenges.  Having just a few minutes every day to be creative is good for the soul.  I wasn't crazy about the writing prompts because they were geared more toward working folk, but I loved copying the quotes challenge (even on days my hands weren't working so well) and the lettering challenge of the month was the names of Broadway plays.  I've just been doing them in my daily writing journal...so I covered up the journaling to show you an example of the quotes and Broadway play lettering.
I decided to search for the actual playbills and try to imitate the lettering they used.  Definitely been a challenge--but the funny (but very creepy) part is that google now thinks I am interested in Broadway plays!
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 Anyways, I decided to look for some challenges to continue on in May and decided that--besides doing a quote or saying to copy and lettering challenges--I wanted to add a daily doodle challenge.  I've seen people doing doodle challenges on youtube.  They are just simple line drawings and don't have to be great, you know?  But it forces you to draw a tiny bit each day.
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So I found some challenges.
I don't mind doing the lettering in my writing journal, but I really didn't think I wanted to do doodling in there.  Probably in my bullet.
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I had already set up my bullet journal for May...so I decided to add squares to the left of each day for a doodle challenge.  Going to try that out, anyways.
That's what I have seen--people using small squares.  
I'll let you know how it goes.
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But as long as my energy is limited, this is a fun way to do a little something every day.  I think it has helped this month...and even motivated me.  One day when I felt better I even FINALLY finished the brush lettering alphabet drills that have been waiting since...what?  January?  February? 
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Little by little I am seeing improvement--tada!  I am not zombie-woman every day anymore.  Knock on wood!  ;)
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Oh, that reminds me!!  Had to send my fitness tracker back to Amazon.  I knew something was wrong the second day when it counted 722 steps in three hours while I was watching TV.  Also, if I got up during the night it could never tell I went back to bed.  It just couldn't determine if I was awake or asleep!  Okay, I know I am not that active, but come on!  And by the fourth day I had apparently died--0 steps, 0 sleep and only a working clock.  Oh well.  I'm not sure if I'll try another one.
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Annie has lazy days, too.  Sometimes she sits in the hallway staring into the bedroom for a long time before she decides to go sleep on my bed.  Maybe she's working up to the jump?
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I didn't see any grouse from the time it started to melt until Monday when two of them showed up.  Only the two young ones have been here about once a day.  The grouse have probably moved out to the fields for laying eggs and such.
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The loud, battling grackles have returned...along with the mourning doves and an assortment of small birds I don't know the names of...all dark colors and cute as can be.
The birds love it that I brought in the water dish from the garage and am now filling that with fresh water every morning.  There is much drinking and bathing to entertain Annie...and me, too.  ;)
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No Gramma Day tomorrow again because Ian has a birthday party to go to!  Last week they were recovering from the trip to Minneapolis and Gramma was pretty shot, herself.  Probably this coming week.  We always play everything by ear. 
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I'm very happy that I seem to be having 2-3 good days a week where I can manage to do something besides get dressed, hang out with Annie, and feed us all--whoohoo!  At least I am getting dressed almost every day now.  
Life is good!  :)
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Happy spring for all of you who have been waiting for the shift.  Or happy fall for those of you way down south on this earth.  Have a good one!!  :):) 
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"Do we really need much more than this?  To honor the dawn.  To visit a garden.  To talk to a friend.  To contemplate a cloud.  To cherish a meal.  To bow our heads before the mystery of the day.  Are these not enough?"
Kent Nerburn

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wednesday-2:15pm

First of all, Dagan's surgeries went well!! 
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The were running way behind with the surgicals yesterday.  Must have been some emergencies or something.  (Someone always has it worse, right?)  Was texting with Leah and Dagan's didn't start till almost 3pm.  He was done around 5:30pm and a couple hours later they were back at the hotel!  The boys were very good--for all those hours!  Leah's youngest sister, Ariel, came to help with the boys while they waited during surgery.  All went well.  I was tickled to get a Google Hangout call last night!  :)  Ian showed me the stuffed cat toy he got at Ikea...named Blink, of course.  ;)
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Dagan's follow-up checkup this morning was A-okay.  His pressures were good with the heart cath...was all good.  Of course, he's a little sore...but he wanted to come home today and not wait until tomorrow.  With two little boys in a hotel room, I guess I don't blame them.  Got another Google Hangouts call before they left.  :) :)
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So, they are on the road by now on their way home to Fargo.  And spring has finally sprung, it seems.  We're supposed to be almost 50 degrees today and in the 50s for the next week!!  The snowbanks are shrinking!  I just looked--it is 49 degrees right now--whoohoo!
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So, thank you to everyone who said a prayer or sent positive thoughts and well wishes.  Things went as smoothly as they possibly could have.  Hurray!!  Dagan can't lift those boys for 7-10 days, though.  That's going to be a trial--LOL!
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So, today--Washed a quick load of clothes (always like to wash up all the cleaning rags after Caroline has been here to clean my apartment, which she was yesterday while we were waiting for them to take Dagan into prep).  I got the last two DVDs from Netflix in the mail for Outlander's season three and I am ready to snuggle up with Annie and wait to hear McFamily is home safe and sound.  ;)
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This is why it is so difficult to take pictures of black cats--LOL!    
 Annie ends up looking like a shiny black blob most of the time. 
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Oh,--and Bubble's--I think the 17th--has not been looking good the past week or so.  Laying on the plants or the bottom of the bowl--struggling to get to the top to get to his food and sometimes not even caring about his food at all in the mornings.  Acting old and tired.  Already!  :(
Obviously I have had a lot of bettas if this one is the 17th.  They don't usually live very long--but they usually last 1-2 years.  This Bubbles hasn't even been with us for a year yet.  I have had them die in six months before, but that's more unusual.  I'm trying to remember when we got this Bubbles?  I'll have to search on the blog or my five year diary.  
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So I cleaned his bowl again yesterday.  Thought it might perk him up.  For an hour or so he was trying to swim around, but then went back to lying about mostly.  Poor guy.  
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Oh, that bright yellow you see is the top of a fish food can sitting behind the bowl.
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Anyways, had to pop in and let you know all is well.  
Dagan's mom is happy these surgeries are behind him and, of course, that there's no negative heart news.  :)   
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We parents always remember them being as little as his boys are now, don't we?  ;)
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Have a marvelous day!!  :):)
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"A good life is when you smile often. dream big, laugh a lot, and realize how blessed you are for what you have."  Unknown

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Sunday-7:30am

Hello!  Hello!
Finally able to pop in for a catch-up.
I started at 7:30am and it is already 10am now before I am even starting any actual writing.  Took that long to sort through photos and post some short videos.  I am slow to begin with and YouTube was even slower than I am this morning--LOL!
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The jackrabbits say hi.
Been a cold snowy attempt at spring so far.
April has looked like this off and on.
I thought I'd show you what the other side of the building looks like.  This is the side door I go out to bring trash to the dumpster (that is right behind that big snowbank there in the yard and across the parking lot).
I've basically been pretty much the same, but have a little more energy than I did a couple weeks ago.  Annie likes our chair time, though.  
She's so funny.  She started leaning into the pillow and lapdesk when I was writing and really liked that I could put my hand on her chest.  She can't tolerate too much petting, our prickly Annie.  If a cat can be autistic--Annie is autistic.  She can only take so much stimulation--touching, sound, sight.  I watch her personal signals and have always tried not to overdo and freak her out.
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  Now when I'm not writing and yet she wants to be closer...well, she kind of pretends the pillow is there between us.  She comes up on the arm of the chair, turns around, and leans practically into my arm pit and then gradually wiggles down until she is laying on my left leg.  Annie doesn't want to believe she is actually on my lap because that would stress her out.
Annie definitely has issues--ROFL!  But I am learning how to adapt to them and she is learning to trust me more and more.  Prickly Annie is quite happy, I think.
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Decided to take a picture of the last batch of soup before it was all gone.
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Now you know you're getting old when your hand hurts, you look down and can't even remember how you did this to your finger.  I had a bad sprain.  
Twisted it somehow.  It was red and swollen and hurt like heck for a couple days.  Mystery injury.
We had a really beautiful snowstorm.  It's so seldom with the wind we have up here that I get to see snow coming almost straight down instead of at some severe angle.  
Was gorgeous!
I had to chuckle at the lone grouse and jackrabbit out digging for food while the storm was in full swing.  (I've been putting seed on the grass for a while--tired of the poopy patio--LOL!)
They got a thick layer of snow on their backs.  The grouse shook and ruffled it off and the jackrabbit rolled about in the snow before it took off.  
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Oh, I can't remember if I mentioned the grouse BFFs--two girls who travel about by themselves--and that one of them had an injured leg over a month ago?  Well, her BFF has never abandoned her and stayed by her side and she is still hopping about last I saw her.  I'm glad, but I was hoping the leg would heal.  Well, she's made it this long.  I keep an eye out for her to see if she is still around.
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When Leah was here for a Craft Night back in March I forgot to take pictures of what we were doing.  You may remember I bought up a set of Distress Oxide ink pads...well, we played and played.  
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Dabbed the ink on to non-stick mats, spritzed with water, and kind of dunked and swiped the paper into the colorful mess.  Lots of fun!  We tried out different kinds of paper.  These are Tim Holtz alcohol ink papers and the larger couple on the left are watercolor paper.  
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These are Leah's.  She rubbed most of hers down with the Distress Glaze--which makes the color pop and gives them a shiny surface.
Here's mine.  I ran out of steam and didn't do the glaze so you can see how the distress oxides alone have this chalky, matte look.  
I will go back and play some more with them later.  I never even played much with the spritzing them with water yet.  They will make nice background for card fronts, I think.
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Oh--we did find out--do not try them on yupo paper because they never seem to dry.  No lie!  A month later and they will still smear with a fingertip. We don't know what to do with them.  Trying to use the distress glaze just smears them.  May try a fixative spray when it gets warm enough to do that outside.
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The still damp yupo sheets...these are Leah's.  Yupo will buckle when you use a heat gun on it (top right) so don't try that, either--LOL!
Mine.  My third sheet was so pale that since I heard you could wash yupo off sometimes--I tried it.  Worked!  It is like I never used it.  Forgot to put it on the tray to show you, but it's just plain again, anyways. 
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I have been having Friday Gramma Days alone with Ian now since March 23rd!  We would have worked into it the beginning of the year but we all got sick--LOL!  Then I have been pretty poorly since--but I am using up my spoons and borrowing against spoons so that I can have Craft Nights, Gramma Days, and McFamily visits.  Priorities, right?  :)
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I made it over to their place to visit twice in March and once, so far, in April for a family visit.  Have to get over there so I can see Liam and Dagan!  :)  Leah and I had one more Craft Night this last Tuesday.  And I have had Gramma Days every Friday!!
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Ian is finally old enough for me to be able to physically handle spending time alone with him.  He's 3 1/2 now so less carrying, he can wash his hands and go to the bathroom without much or any assistance--more independent.  Will be a couple more years before Liam can come spend Gramma Days, too.  It always broke my heart that I couldn't babysit him all these years--so I am just thrilled to have some Gramma and Ian time.  I'm still pretty much in extra low gear so we've been watching Mr. Rogers, Sesame Street, his movies, nature shows, and reading.  Hope to be doing some artsy stuff pretty soon.
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Absoposiloutely worth waiting for.  :) 
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Woke up this last Tuesday to no hot water--and since they had to unhook the water altogether we were running out of cold water, too, from the top floor down.  (Lucky to be on the ground floor that day.)  The mechanical room is kitty corner across the hall from me.  Behind that big water heater in the back there's a guy hooking it up.  I didn't know if he wanted to be on some crazy old lady's blog so I grabbed a shot while he was safely hidden.    
We got water back late in the afternoon.  Leah came over that night for Crafts and we worked out a new set of Christmas cards.  We use the three-trees die to cut the green plaid paper and the white paper.  Then swap and inlay them.  Attach them to the card bases and add a die-cut frame to the one with the white front.
So--that will be our next big project--mass producing about 100 cards--50 of each.
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I love when I see all the critters getting along out there.

Just a couple days ago I saw my first robin--caught this pic--and my first grackle.
This is what it looked like on this very gray morning.  
Snowbanks and brown grass...
...and rabbit poop dotted all over my grass--LOL!
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Okay, folks--I will end with Gramma time!
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I promised the short videos from Leah last time and I have a few more pictures, too.
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Liam--laughing smiley baby.
None of us can believe how totally mellow Blink is!!  This proves it.  She was purring the whole time Liam was "petting" her.  (Watch to the surprise ending.)

Liam scoot-crawling at 5 months. 

That's Ian (on the right) enthralled at a real hockey game!!  
Liam sitting up on his own.


If you remember, Liam has wanted to stand for a long time.  He's been pulling himself up to stand against the furniture for quite a while already.
Ian likes banging whatever he can find together to make music and sometimes sings songs in his own made up language, I guess.  Here he has some plastic pieces to rub together that make a washboard effect.

Liam got his first solid food at 6 months.  He wasn't sure what to think of it, but he's gotten the hang of it quickly, of course.
Liam was only 7 months on April 3rd and yet he pulls himself up to stand against almost anything.  Here it's the frig.
Oh, and here was Ian at Gramma's birthday party eating the blue frosted chocolate cake.
Ian at home with his rabbit ears and basket for the Easter egg hunt.
We'll end with the family picture--Easter 2018.  Blink included.

They're all in the car right now--driving down to Minneapolis--and will be back Thursday.  Dagan is having two surgeries at once on Tuesday 11am.  He's getting his pacemaker battery replaced and having a heart cath at the same time.  (He wanted to get them both over with.)  Mom will be waiting for a text or call on Tuesday, of course, to hear all went well.  
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Later today they are going to the big aquarium at the MegaMall.  Ian told me sharks swim over his head there. :)  They'll be going to Ikea tomorrow and swimming in the pool at the hotel.  (Leah's brother Aaron is here taking care of Blink, BTW--would have been no room for him in the car--LOL!)  And Leah's youngest sister, Ariel, who lives in Mpls will be coming to wait with Leah and help her with the boys at the hospital.  All the bases are covered...but it's at times like this I feel especially useless, you know?  Sending good energy and prayers has to be enough.  
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I miss weddings and new babies and funerals...and surgeries.  But--face facts--I am not of much use even if these things were right here in town.  I don't even make the boys' birthday parties--LOL!  It's just times like this make you remember when you could, I guess.  No need to dwell on the past.
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I am just tickled to have my Gramma Days now.  Means the world to me.  You have to appreciate and be grateful for what you have in life.  :)
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So, you can join me in long distance positive energy and prayers for my boy on Tuesday if you'd like.  I do absolutely believe in that power.  And Ian will tell me all about sharks and swimming and being at the hospital on Friday.  ;)
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Have a fantastic week!!  :) :)
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"Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way."
Native American proverb