Tuesday, May 21, 2019

I'm Finally Me Again!

Finally, I’m starting to feel more like myself again. Boy, that migraine was a brutal one! But it seems to be over now, so I can get on with my life. There’s quite a bit going on right now, too.

First: Bryan has a dental appointment today. Normally that’s not exactly a note-worthy event. But for Bryan, who is deathly afraid of dental work, it’s a huge issue. He has to be sedated for it, which means I get the joy of driving him home when he’s drugged out of his gourde. I’ve done it now three times already. The first time, he made a few nonsensical announcements (once he shouted “KLUNK! very loudly) but mostly just slept. The second time, he tried to dance in his cowboy boots on the way to the car, but again promptly fell asleep once he got sat down. The third time, it took a good half hour to wake him up once I got us home. I thought I’d have to leave him in the garage for the night almost! He’s too heavy for me to carry. I’ll let you know how this fourth time goes.

Second: Mother is having a fence built on our new property to separate us from our neighbors out back. At first, I was not too happy about that; I thought the back yard was just fine the way it is. But now that I’ve seen the fence posts – which got installed a few days ago so they could cure in their bed of concrete – and have a better idea of how it will look, I’m thinking maybe it won’t be so bad. The final pieces of the fence are being installed today, so by the time I get home it should all be done. There was a brief moment of upset this morning, however, when Mother thought that Bryan’s truck was left in the way of the fence company’s access to our back yard. We had already left for work in my car, so she was not able to move it. A few phone calls between her and Bryan, and apparently all is well after all.

Third: plans for my Catio are coming along nicely! I’m so excited to have one finally, and I’m sure that Viktor & Naldo will love it. Right now, when Mother wants the cats outside, she has to put them in these tiny 3-foot square cages. They do well enough out there in them, but it will be nice to give them room to jump and play – plus they can come and go at their own pleasure. Bryan has researched all the different ways to build catios, and is finally ready to jump in and begin. He’s even blocked off the weekend for the task!

Fourth: I traded my old kindle in for a new one. Amazon sent out an email telling me about their trade-in program where I could get a percentage off the new one based on the condition of the old one. My old one was in good condition still, so I ended up with about $67.00 off my new one! I was so excited when it finally came (I had to send the old one in first, so was without for a good month); I quickly loaded my books onto it and started to read. And it promptly lost its charge over night! That should NOT have happened, but it was easily cured by simply charging it back up. THEN – for some bizarre reason, it lost all my books! I have no idea why – and now am gun-shy about it, only loading two or three books at a time in case it decides to dump them all again. I have organized my “cloud” storage such that I can easily tell which books are to be read –vs- which ones are done, but it’s still a hassle – and I can’t help but wonder why I gave up a perfectly good kindle for this new one that doesn’t even work.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Today is not a good day.

To be honest, however, neither was yesterday. This darned migraine just will not ease up.

I’m so exhausted my eyeballs hurt, my brain is trying to wade through waist-deep molasses, and what little math skills I had the day before are completely gone.

On the plus side, however, I get to nap with my Viktor and play fishy with my Naldo. That is always a good thing!

And once I feel better, I can start in on my stack of new books to read: Bryan gave me four of them!

One Good Dog, by Susan Wilson
Women Talking, by Miriam Toews
The Binding, by Bridget Collins
The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, by Andrea Wulf

That last one will be a tough read because it’s like reading a comic book – which I am not particularly fond of. But the subject matter is totally fascinating, so I’m hoping it will be okay.

Which one do I read first?

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Hello Again! I'm Back...

I’ve been meaning to revive this blog for quite some time now; my birthday just seemed like a good day to begin. Not that I have all that much to say at first – but at the very least, this will get me going.

But first: a brief update on my life.

I moved back to Palmer finally! It only took me - what, 25 years or so? Let me tell you, it feels great. I love being back home where my family is and where I can “drop by” anytime I feel like it. The house we’re in is actually Mother’s new house; Bryan and I moved in with her. The plan is to save up for our own property while at the same time helping her out with things. It’s a win-win for both of us!

We’re still working in Anchorage, however, which means commuting each day. It’s not ideal, by any means, but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. Bryan and I work very close by each other, so we are able to carpool. Eventually, my goal is to quit and get a job in Palmer – and Bryan will somehow magically convince his employer that he can work for home, maybe going in to the office just one or two days a week.

My house in Anchorage is rented out to 3 young people. They’re paying their rent on time and seem to be good renters. I will keep that going until we buy a place, then will sell to use the equity to pay down on the new place. Or maybe I keep on renting it to generate a monthly income. Who knows…

Thing and Djuna both passed away a few years ago; Djuna from kidney failure and Thing from cancer. I saved up my money and got myself two kittens from Arkansas (there just are not any Devon breeders up here to buy locally from) so now am happily sharing my home with Viktor and Naldo, brother and sister. They are the cutest kittens ever! I say kittens, but honestly their 2 years old now. I think that qualifies as at least Teenagers.

Mother has her cat as well; Bailey is a grumpy old guy who is quite overweight. It took some time integrating them all, but they seem to get along quite well now. Bailey seems to purposely seek the kittens out and will sit with his tail strategically placed so as to entice them in to playing with it so he can whop them a good one.

Monday, April 18, 2016

A Much Needed Retreat

The timing could not have been better from a mental point of view; my sweet little Djuna had only just passed away and I was still very sad. From a financial point of view, however, it was not so good. It was another $300.00 added to my credit card bill after all. But, it was so nice to retreat from the world for a while and leave all my troubles at home.

Bryan drove me out to Wasilla Thursday night after work. I had packed everything up the day before so I was ready to go almost as soon as I got home from work. It was hard leaving my Thing, however – she is not taking Djuna’s death very well at all. Bryan offered to stay at my house to keep her company while I was gone, so I felt better about that.

Once we got to the Pioneer Ridge Bed & Breakfast, Bryan helped me haul everything in and get set up in my room and at my table. He got the grand tour of the place since he’d never been there – and then headed on back home, leaving me to my crafting overdose.

There were only 5 people there that early, and thankfully my friend Tammy was one of those people. She and I sat across from each other so we could chat while doing our craft work; she does actual scrapbooking while I make my cards. Friday afternoon saw most everybody else arriving, bringing the total attendance up to around 12 people (give or take a few who came and went).

My typical day at a scrapbooking retreat is: I get up at 6 and make my first cup of tea and then sit down at my table and start crafting. Eventually everybody else wanders in and joins me, but since they typically don’t go to bed until the wee hours of the morning, it’s usually a bit later. Lunch is typically served around noon, which I eat at my table. We all continue to do our crafting while gossiping about whatever comes to mind and listing to music. Dinner is served around 6:00 or so, which I eat at my table while others actually gather at a communal dinner table away from their projects. Eventually, around 10:00, I head on back to my room to go to bed, only to repeat the process the next day. Once in a while somebody suggests a walk outside to stretch our legs, but for the most part I spend my time making cards. And I love it!

This time, my total card count came to 42. I came home with only 32 however, since I actually sold 10 of them there at the retreat. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

My Little June Bug

We took her to the vet on Saturday: a new one she hadn’t seen yet. Dr. Coyne is so VERY nice: she spent a good hour talking to us about all the options available, and was sincerely caring and concerned for Djuna’s health. She was also taken by how sweet Djuna is, and made several comments to that effect.

Here is a quote off the website for The Pet Stop:
Dr. Kathryn Coyne received her veterinary degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She practiced in New York for a year before moving to Alaska. Her special interests include emergency medicine, pain management, endocrine and infectious diseases, and working with pet owners to manage behavioral issues that affect quality of life and the human-animal bond.

Basically, Djuna’s potassium levels are alarmingly low. Dr. Coyne recommended adding it to her IV bag to replenish what her kidneys are losing.

Also of great concern is her heart. Apparently a cat’s normal heart rate is around 200 beats per minute – Djuna’s was about 60 beats per minute! Dr. Coyne did say that the low levels of potassium were most likely the cause and the added amounts in her IV bag should help bring that back up.

Djuna’s lack of appetite is to the critical point: she simply does not want to eat anymore. The doctor gave me some anti-nausea meds in case that was the issue, and I’m continuing with the vitamin B12 shots. Sedating her and inserting a feeding tube was briefly discussed: just long enough for me to say “No”.

And, last but certainly not least, my little June Bug is severely dehydrated:  she’s no longer eating so is no longer getting that extra boost of liquids that I have been putting into her food. This means that her IV treatments have been increased to every day rather than just twice a week. I have to admit, this is taking a toll on both of us. Djuna hates it and I hate having to make her do it.

That all took place on Saturday; it’s Tuesday now, and she still has not eaten but maybe a bite or two. I have her set up on my bed with an electric blanket and wooly babies blanket over the top of her. She is happiest when she’s with me and still wants to be held if I’m at home. Bryan is a fair second choice, but if she sees me, she starts crying until I hold her.

I’m sorry I have no good news – it’s only a matter of time now, I think.


Thursday, April 07, 2016

Summer Hiking Schedule

I got inspired last weekend: not only was the weather just absolutely gorgeous (don’t look now, but I do believe that summer might actually BE HERE!) but we got to attend a talk up at the Eagle River Nature Center on Sunday on Hiking in Alaska! 

The speaker was Susan Beeman Sommer, a freelance writer and editor for the Alaska Magazine.

She has a blog documenting her hikes: True North Alaska

She has her own website, as well: Alaska Writer

She showed pictures from a few of her favorite hikes that she’s been on these past few years. She talked about how to plan for the hike, what gear to bring, and even how to determine when you should just turn around and go home. From the sounds of it, she goes on a lot of hikes and is a pretty hard core hiker. Kind of like what I would LIKE to be, but sadly am not.

Best of all, she totally motivated me to create our schedule for the summer. I scaled back considerably this year, though. Last year I put way too many hikes on the calendar and ended up doing barely half of them. This year I’m being more realistic and have only 7 hikes planned – always allowing for more, should the mood strike us, of course.

So here’s the plan:
May 28-29: Caines Head Trail
April 11: Hilltop trail System
June 17-18: Spencer Whistle Stop
July 9-10: Byers Lake
July 31: South Fork Eagle River
August 7: Reed Lake up in Hatcher Pass
August 12-14: Blueberry Picking up at Denali

The more observant of you have no doubt noticed that several of these have multiple dates listed. We will be camping out on those hikes; either car camping or packing the tent in and finding a spot somewhere along the trail.

It’s going to be a great summer!

Monday, March 07, 2016

Writing a Blog

It’s actually a lot harder than I thought it would be.

Not that choosing a topic is all that difficult; life is full of stories if you know how to spot them. 

The hard part is starting the story. How in the world to you begin? Quite literally, what are the first words to be used? I struggle with that every time.

My strategy, for the most part, involves just diving in and typing whatever comes to mind. More often than not, I have to go back and edit what I’ve said.

I look for grammatical errors, typos, and duplicate words – that sort of thing. I don’t normally use a thesaurus, relying mainly on my own vocabulary – but once in a while I will check it to see if it comes up with a better word.

Eventually, I have something “good enough” for posting. Not by any means perfect, but good enough.

What are some of your tips for a good story? How do you deal with the opening statement? Do you have any advice for an aspiring writer?

Scary Stuff

I’ve made a few decisions lately that are more than a little bit scary.

The first one is that Bryan and I are going to live together. Now, I have not lived with another person (my brief disastrous stint with a roommate doesn’t really count) for well over 30 years, so this is no small decision – but I think it’s a good one. If anybody can put up with me, it would be him. It remains to be seen whether I can put up with him!

The second one is that he and I are going to build our own house! These plans are a lot more fun since it involves me getting to design our Dream House complete with a Craft Room for me and a Shop/Garage for him.

In order to make these two plans work, we’ve come up with The Plan.

Step One: He has to sell the house he’s currently in.
        This involves a lot of remodeling and fixing up, as it is not in very good shape right now. Tentatively I’m giving him until fall of this year, 2016.

Step Two: He will move in with me in my current house.
        The money that he has been putting in to his house payments will be put instead into a bank account to be used as a down payment on the Dream House. I will continue to make payments on my house as usual with no change for either of us on money going out. A year or so will give us a fairly hefty down payment for the new house.

Step Three: We then start looking for property.
        Okay, I admit it: we’re already looking at property. We want more than 5 acres of wooded property with a creek running though it, preferably out in the valley. We’ve found some really nice plots up Buffalo Mine Road and off of Fishhook, just to name a few.

Step Four: We start building our Dream House
        By this time, we’ll have the plans nailed down (Hahahaha!) and will have an idea as to how it will set on the property. We want it to be as “off the grid” as possible, with solar panels, in-floor heating, the whole works. I’m hoping to be in the house by the by mid 2018, assuming all goes well (which it never does).

Step Five: We figure out the job situation
        I would very much like to quit working entirely or at the very least get a part-time job in Palmer; if I rent out my house in Anchorage that would provide a monthly income for me. Bryan is hoping to be able to work from home as well, with perhaps a drive in to the office once or twice a week.

Step Six: He gets his woodshop up and running to build all the furnishings
        He said he’s always wanted a Wood Shop, so I’m taking him at his word. I’ve got a list (of course I do) of all the bookshelves, cabinetry, tables, dressers, shelving, and whatnot for him to build. We can save quite a bit of money off the price of the house this way, and he gets to make things for me!

So. That’s The Plan… as I said to begin with, it’s scary stuff!