Monday, August 3, 2020

It's Post 3500! Where Has The Time Gone?

I truly have no idea when I first posted in my blog. I tried to look it up, but didn't really feel like spending what seemed like forever moving down listings of previously published content. Blogger keeps track of number of posts, however, so I know that today is rather momentous - Post Number 3500! 

Today is the 3500th post in my blog, so I'm celebrating 
with all of you. I write my blog six days a week most 
weeks, approximately 300 posts in an average year. That 
means I've been posting for almost twelve years now. 
I guess I can call this a habit. 

If you're astonished that I could find so much to blab on about for such a long time ... I am too. I never really thought I would start this and allow it to become a habit, but it's actually a good one for me. It allows me to clear my mind, organize my thoughts, and touch base with people. I suppose if I don't post for a few days and I haven't announced a vacation or other reason beforehand, the police should be called. LOL

The small wall at the upper right side is a new 
addition DH made on Saturday. Fortunately his 
saw made the two cuts he needed before it died. 
*sigh* It's another part of our never-ending 
fight with water and drainage and will help keep 
moisture away from our house foundations. 

DH and I worked on the woodshed for most of yesterday. He had hoped to get the roof put onto it, but we didn't get quite that far. Still, we got the rafters cut properly and affixed, and the fascia attached, front and back. I took photos and I'll share them a bit later in the week. We have the shed all wrapped up again now, and he said he'll start work on the second unit on Tuesday, weather permitting. He's never made something with a roof before, so it's a learning experience for him. 

On the lower yard, he extended the water 
system we already had worked on earlier this 
summer, pulling it across the yard and towards 
the creek. We're not sure we like this, and it 
may not have to be this extensive. We'll 
re-evaluate this and might pull it back out 
to where the final curve begins on the left. 

On Saturday, since it was supposed to be a rainy day (which barely happened), he concentrated on a small upper wall improvement and an extension to the drainage ditch that we may pull back out again. Or not. Crossing the extension is a PITA and he needs to bring wheelbarrows across regularly, so unless he builds a bridge (also on his "maybe" list), we'll probably pull the extension back out and replace the soil. 

On that note, I'm off to find pictures for this and then eat breakfast and leave for work. Have an excellent Monday and enjoy your day. Be kind, be safe, and please wear a mask. 

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Wrapping Up January - 366 Day Meme

It's Saturday and since the forecast is rain, DH and I bundled up the woodshed in blue tarps last night to protect it from the moisture. We'll be working on it all day Sunday - lots to get done before the first unit is complete. DH worked on it all day Thursday and Friday so he's got the framework done for the cubicle, as well as the roof and the floor. Since I don't know his vision, it's all a surprise to me. I'll share more photos next week. 

I'm being lazy today, and since it is the first of August, I'm going to do the final January questions for the 366 Day Meme. That'll end one month and get me one more month's worth towards being current (probably never going to happen). 

21 What genre of books is your usual favorite when you read for pleasure?
I admit, I always have a book in hand - or to be more specific, on phone. I read romance, but over the years I've read fantasy and science fiction. I like interesting characters, good plots and dialog that makes sense. 

One of my favorite series from days gone by, which I still own and
still love is the "Dragonriders of Pern" series by Anne McCaffrey.
Brilliant storytelling and a wonderful crafted world that holds together
in a deep, multi-book series over many years. 

22 Where is one place you wouldn’t ever want to be caught dead?
I wouldn't want to be caught dead anywhere, but I would prefer to not visit most of Africa. Although it's a beautiful land, I'd rather stick to Egypt and maybe South Africa and skip the rest. 

23 How would someone who genuinely likes and admires you describe you?

I've been told I'm strong and resilient with a wicked sense of humor. I can live with that. 

24 How would someone who doesn’t really like you describe you?

I'm stubborn and pig-headed, have an inflated opinion of myself, and am superficial. Maybe I am, but I'm honest. 

25 If you had to teach a one-hour class with absolutely no prep time, what subject could you competently pull off?

If I had the equipment, I could easily teach basic kiln enameling. Without equipment, basic beading stitches, how to use color to best advantage, and/or different types of cloth and what can/can't be done with them. Probably other things too - after more than 60 years, I've developed some skills I could share. 

Like most people, I have good traits and bad ones. I'm always
being pulled in two different directions. I don't think I'm
particularly "special" for that, just human. 

26 What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you while out for a meal at a restaurant?

Either spilling something on myself or getting drunk on wine/cocktails. Either one is embarrassing, and something I try to avoid. 

27 What aphorism or saying is helpful for you right now?

"One thing at a time" is my mantra. I always have too many irons in the fire and juggling them can be intense at times. 

28 What’s your favorite meme? (Post it!)

I really don't have one. 

29 What is your skin care regimen?

Simple water and soap, but kind products made for sensitive skin. I have various creams and ointments for my eczema on my hands, all prescription and all rather powerful. 

Although it can be hard sometimes, working on one
thing at a time can be extremely beneficial. I don't
always manage it well, but I try often. 

30 What song are you listening to a lot right now? (Post a link?)

I am enjoying the sound of silence - not the song, the reality. In my early mornings I don't listen to music until I get to the shop. Then I'll put on my Bluetooth earbuds and listen to a "Daily Recommended" list on Spotify. 

31 What superpower best suits your personality?

Is there a juggler? I think I juggle life between my shop, my home and my artistic pursuits fairly well, and it's NOT easy. 

So there you go. On that note, have a fabulous weekend and I'll be back on Monday. Stay safe, be well, and please, wear your mask. 

Friday, July 31, 2020

The Woodshed Is Becoming Real Now

While I've been dealing with what seems like WAY too many doctor and lab appointments (all finished now, though, and all with good results), DH has been working on getting the woodshed from paper to reality. He's been planning this for years, and this was the year to tackle this project. He wants to remove the piles of cut wood we have surrounding us so that he can expand the garden and work on the upper trellis. Today's blog will be a lot of photos to show why we're building the woodshed and how progress is coming along. 

Looking behind our patio table and chairs, you can get an idea of
what I'm talking about when I mention logs waiting for the
woodshed. Let's take a closer look. 

To my left, as I sit at the table, are these logs. They have
wonderful mushrooms on the ends, and I'm sure they're
home to all sorts of interesting things, but they're a
bit oppressive too. 

Behind me, the pile continues. You can see a bit of the fencing
peering through the upper part of the photo, and that large tree
is actually on the upper terrace level and stretches over the patio
table and chairs, offering shade and protection. 

On my other side, the far side of the table, the wood pile
continues, vying for space with our lillies. I'm quite
fond of the flowers and would love a bit more space
for them. There are some very large logs standing
on end at the far left of the stacked pile. 

First - why a woodshed? Well ... we have a fireplace that we haven't used in years because getting to the wood and having the wood protected from the elements has been next-to-impossible. In the days of the old patio, it was stacked man-high in a rough-and-tumble pile along the eastern side. It made a good wind break. After the patio was constructed, DH moved the wood pile to the back of the curved walls to have it out of the way. It was never going to be the permanent home - a woodshed was always in the plans, but where to put the woodshed and how to construct it took a lot of research and thought. 

He started out by laying out the concrete blocks and leveling them. He
wasn't happy with the final two, so dug them up again and re-did them.
He had pre-cut a 4x4 into shorter sections and had a frame already made
to fit over them to get things aligned perfectly with each other. This was
how last week ended. 

On Tuesday, DH was ready to actually get
started on the construction. He was still working
on the final foundation blocks, but by the
end of the day, had done a preliminary
fitting of the frame around the
4x4 posts. 

This was the year. He tried some things last year that he wasn't happy with, so poured concrete and already prepared post holes were analyzed and largely uprooted and abandoned and a new plan was hatched with specialized concrete blocks for stability placed level in prepared soil (class 5 - remember that from earlier?) and now, bolted to within a inch of life with huge bolts. The darned shed may outlive us! LOL. 

Yesterday, DH kicked into high gear, heading back out
to Home Depot for some new lumber - he wanted larger
boards - and some extreme bolts. (The drillbit is larger
than his drill - a bit frightening.) When I came home last
night, this is what I saw. We're starting to get somewhere

This is my detail shot. You can see the bolts at the
bottom of the framework, top and bottom of each panel.
The drill ran out of power for the final bolt, but he
was able to recharge enough to get it in. Then he
called it quits for the night. Today the build will
progress. I have no idea what the completed shed
will look like, but it's clear in his head. 

So here you have photos of the wood we need to put into the shed (which will be three sections), and the shed as it was as of last night. We're finally getting somewhere with this project, and I'm very pleased that things are finally progressing from paper to reality. 

On that note, I'm plugging in photos and heading up for breakfast before I leave for work. Have an excellent Friday and I'll be back tomorrow. 

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Sometimes My Brain Goes to Sleep

I have a brain, I know I do, but every once in a while it gets distracted and before I know it, I've made an error. Such an error happened yesterday morning when I realized, as I washed out my oatmeal bowl, that I was supposed to be fasting for labs later in the morning. Oops! Fortunately labs are an easy thing to reschedule, so I'm on repeat for today and my teakettle is pinioned with a large sign that says "Fasting" to make sure I don't repeat a mistake. I'll bring extra fruit to work with me and have a late breakfast, skipping my usual oatmeal. 

I love oatmeal for breakfast, and during fruit season, it's
even better. I indulge and sprinkle fruit on top. So good! 

After vacillating back and forth about routes to see my dermatologist yesterday, I finally decided to go FAR to the East, then to the South, and finally head West to intersect with the proper roads. It was rather like Gandalf sitting at the junction of three choices - which road to follow that would take the Company deeper into Moria and towards that high span over the chasm. Even as he did, I chose correctly (although there was no true wrong choice). The weather was gorgeous, the traffic was light, and I had an opportunity to cross the Mississippi flood plains and look at cranes and egrets. 

The Mississippi River Gorge area is also part of the south Metro area.
The Twin Cities grew up on and across the Mississippi River, and these
waters are essential to life along the river. 

After maneuvering around Mall of America - a black hole that pulls everything towards the monstrosity - I managed to get onto the proper road and arrived at my appointment comfortably early. It turns out I'm actually doing most of the right things, but we're amping things up a bit to 2X application of my prescription meds per day. If that doesn't work, she can inject small amounts of medicine into the problem areas. I'll see her again in August, but fortunately this time she'll be at my usual clinic, an easy ten minutes from my home. 

That I was able to get everything done, despite the kink in my
schedule for the day, gave me a wonderful sense of accomplishment
by the end of the day. I was even able to have a wonderful,
relaxed convo with Aearwen - the time just flew by. 

I even was able to get all of my laundry done, as well as the grocery shopping and an expensive Target run - I decided my underwear was seriously in need of replacement, so purchased ten pairs of everyday underwear which, after washing, now reside in my drawer. My old underwear is in the trash - I don't really have a need for them as rags or anything similar, so I'll toss them. It's a shame that clothing isn't a recycling/compost item in my area, but since most things are, I'll cut the city some slack. 

On that note, I'm going to work at the computer for another hour, then head to work and then on to the clinic. Have a wonderful Thursday and enjoy your day. Be well, stay safe and please, wear a mask. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Today Will Be A Waiting Game

The old saying goes something like this: "When opportunity knocks, open the door". I had asked my primary physician for a referral to a dermatologist because it makes for a faster appointment in a very busy department. I also wanted to see an M.D. instead of the Physician's Assistant I have been seeing for the past few years. She went ahead and wrote the orders and I spent quite a while with the receptionist before getting to the next stage. No appointment yet, but pending. 

Waiting can be annoying. I don't wait well, but I always have
something I can read or a game I can play on my phone. Before
the days of cell phones, I always had a paperback book with
me at all times. If I have to wait, I might as well read the next
chapter or six ... LOL. 

Yesterday afternoon I got a phone call from Dr Farhat's office. They had a cancellation on Friday mid-day, would I be able to make that? No, I had to work, so I had to pass. My only day off is Wednesday, so that's the only day I can get out to their location (in one of the southern suburbs). Her receptionist checked Wednesday appointments and there was an opening at 1:15 pm today. How about that one? I jumped on it. 

There's something quite sad about this Bansky wall
decal named "Waiting in Vain". I feel very sorry for
the man who has obviously been stood up. I can only
hope the delay was due to circumstances beyond
his control. 

So today my day is filled with my usual things - laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, etc., but also with labs at 8:15 am this morning at my local clinic and an appointment with Dr Farhat at 1:15 pm at the Bloomington clinic. Normally it would be a 30 minute drive to her clinic ... but EVERY road I would usually use to get there is either closed or constricted because of road construction. I've spent more than half-an-hour just trying to figure out an alternative way to her office that will avoid the worst of the construction. It's going to be a total PITA, but it's necessary. She rarely comes to my clinic, although I did have a consult with her almost two years ago about my alopecia. 

This chair/bench looks very uncomfortable for a long
wait. Fortunately, the chairs in the clinic are much
easier on the back, and easy to clean and sanitize, too. 

So, my "day off" has suddenly gotten extremely busy. I'm exhausted already, just thinking about it - LOL. I hope you have a more relaxing Wednesday than mine will be. Have an excellent day and I'll be back tomorrow, and don't forget - Be Well, Stay Safe and Wear a Mask! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

What To Say? How About More Meme Questions?

It's 5:30 am and I'm in a time crunch. Yeah ... I know that's a bit ridiculous. How can I be in a time crunch when it isn't even 6:00 am yet, and when I usually don't leave for work until at least 7:00 am? Well, after what seemed like a billion emails in my in-box this morning, I'm brain dead already. The morning has just started and I'm brain dead. This doesn't bode well for my day. But it does open the door to another bout with the 366-Day-Meme. So, I'm going to grab another 10 from January - walking slowly through the multitude = LOL. 

I grew up in the days of rotary phones similar to this one. When
digital phones and cell phones became available, and when
our cell phones became computers in their own rights, I was
hooked. I love my cellphone - can't imagine life without it. 

11 Have you ever been asked for your telephone number and you didn't want to give it? What did you do?

My usual on this one is to give a really old number, or just invent something - after all, how hard can spinning seven (or ten) numbers really be? I've had a lot of phone numbers in my life before finally settling on a great cell phone number which I've kept for more than a decade. 

12 Have you ever had a “crush” on a fictional character?

Of course. Although not a "romantic" crush as much as an "I need this person in my life" crush. Gandalf - of course - because he was the father I always wanted, the friend I never realized I had missed, and the companion with a quirky sense of humor that I realized I needed. 

13 What are your favorite pizza toppings?

Cheese - lots of cheese, and I love the standards - pepperoni, Italian sausage and lots of peppers of all kinds. I also love olives. In some cases, I'll also go with the pineapple and ham version of pizza, but just if I'm ordering a personal pizza for myself since that flavor combo isn't shared by my significant other. 

14 Who was your very first best friend? Are you still in contact or communication with them?

My very first very best friend was actually my cousin - Missy. We grew up across the street from each other. Our mothers were "Sisters From Different Mothers" the way good friends can be, and we were practically joined at the hip from the time we were babies. She moved back to Colorado a few years ago. If I ever get back to the state for a visit, I'll absolutely be visiting her and her horses while I'm there. And yes, we're absolutely still in touch with each other. 

How could anyone not want a Gandalf in
their lives. Sage, if obscure advice, a sharp
sword when needed, and a wicked sense of
humor. Drop the pipe smoking, and you've
got a perfect companion. 

15 If you could pick a new first name, what would you choose?

I always wanted the slightly fancier version of my name - Alexandra instead of Sandra. Still, I'm grateful for my mother's common sense in my name - Dad's choice of name was abandoned when I entered Middle School, never to appear again. No - I won't tell you what it was. 

16 What is your favorite board game?

I despise board games, but if I had to play one, it would probably be "Monopoly". I really don't do games, unless they're on-line ones. 

This ancient photo is my cousin Missy, her older brother
David, and me. I'm quite sure I wasn't much older than
six years old at this point, which would make David
seven or so, and Missy five. 

17 What self-care things do you find helpful to ground yourself or “talk yourself down from the ledge” when you’re overwhelmed by your feelings or by stress?

I'm always semi-overwhelmed by stress, but music and my computer (and e-books - always e-books) are lifelines for me. My on-line friends have lived through depressive episodes with me before, but I usually bounce back relatively quickly - sometimes with new cracks in my armor, but also new plates and rivets to re-enter the battlefield. 

18 What is the most extreme weather you have ever experienced?

I remember a torrential rainstorm that hit Denver when I was a child. Dad and I were at the local library and when we left, we were driving through streets that were roaring rivers. I was terrified. 

I am a trained Pipe Carrier for the Lakota Oyate and I do take
that responsibility seriously. I worked underneath the tutelage
of my brother for more than a decade. Once the responsibility
is accepted, it cannot be set aside. 

19 Do you operate out of any particular faith system that informs your actions? Do you intentionally NOT have a faith system, and if so, what beliefs or ideas inform your actions?

My faith system is very much an individual thing, honed through years of fine-tuning and teachings from Spiritual Leaders of various faiths. I suppose, if I entitle it, it would be more Native American Red Road than anything else, but it's tempered with so much else that it doesn't walk that straight Red Road at all. I can still do what's needed in Circle, though, and I'm still a Pipe Carrier - I won't abrogate that responsibility. 

20 When you go to a fancy coffee shop, what’s your go-to order?

I'm afraid I'm rather boring - my favorite is a Cafe Americano with one or two packs of artificial sweetener. I like the fancier drinks, but I think the prices are ridiculous, and I'd rather spend the money on more books. So, I drink tea at home, brewed coffee at restaurants, and spend the fancy coffee money on reading materials. 

So - there we have it - the next 20 prompts for January. There are LOTS of prompts left in the 366, so another day, another set. In the meantime, have a wonderful and happy Tuesday and I'll be back tomorrow. 

Monday, July 27, 2020

Sunday's Focus Was Rock Without The Roll

DH and I started our Sunday out by driving east to Patio Town and getting fancy dirt. At least that's what it seemed like to me. DH was short on Class 5 Landscaping Rock, but he didn't need the quantities that the professional supplier he usually uses requires, so Patio Town was a good second choice. We also needed more large river stones to edge the drainage ditch expansion. 

Patio Town has three centers around the Greater Metro area. The eastern
center isn't too horribly far from our house, so they're a good option
for top soil, loose rock and pavers. We also get our natural slabs for
our step stones from here. It's a family owned business into at least
a second generation now. Good people. 

But, when we arrived at the location and backed into the appropriate area, we were told there was a problem with their front loader. Good thing we only needed 1/6th ton or so. Two young guys shoveled that into the back of our pickup without much problem. We added a bucket of large river rocks to our Class 5 and we drove out of there spending less than $20. Five wheelbarrow loads to the lower yard later, we were set for the coming week's work. 

DH was very happy with the quality of the Class 5 Limestone we
got from Patio Town. We didn't need a minimum of 1/2 ton
this time, so we couldn't get it from our usual rock source. Still,
this will do just fine so that he can continue working on the
wood shed. 

We relaxed for the rest of the day. Originally it was supposed to resume raining (pretty much what had been happening for the past 24 hours), but that kept getting pushed off and pushed off, so we had a really pleasant afternoon on the patio before returning to the inside to watch "Guardians of the Galaxy 2". I had forgotten how much I enjoy the GotG series - so good! 

Today will start out busy - an 8:20 am doctor appointment for my annual "wellness" check-up, then work for the day, and back home to "relax". All things considered, a "normal" day isn't all bad. I hope your day is wonderful - filled with color and smiles. Be safe, stay well, and don't forget to wear your mask. I'll be back tomorrow.