Ed Sheeran

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{Some links in this post are affiliate links. If you use them, I may earn a small commission, at no cost to you. See full disclosure here.}

No.2 Sister and I went to the Ed Sheeran concert in downtown Minneapolis last night. We were up in the nosebleed section of US Bank Stadium and we decided we should descend the concrete stairs during the opening act, so we could visit the rest room.

Darkness. Laurel. Concrete stairs. You can see where this is going, right?

I missed the last step and fell. Often when I fall, it’s WHAM and I’m just on the ground, confused. This was a slow motion fall and so many thoughts went through my head, to wit:

“I’m going down! Going down! NOT THE KNEES!”

Right knee hits concrete.

“Save the left knee! Save the left…”

Left knee hits concrete.

“OH MY GOD! NOT THE ARMS!”

Right palm hits concrete, sending a shooting pain from my wrist to my shoulder.

“NOT THE LEFT ARM! SAVE THE LEFT…”

Fall ends.

People crowd around and ask if I’m alright. I thrust my left arm in the air and breathlessly mutter, “Got an arm. Got an arm”.

No.2 Sis and the usher help me off the floor and into a nearby seat. On-site EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) visit and offer to take me to the First Aid Station, and/or the hospital. I ask for an ice pack.

Do you know how much we paid for those outrageously expensive “cheap” seats and the Uber driver to get us there? The only way they were getting me out of there before Ed had sung his last encore is if I had slammed the left arm, and then the head.

I’m saying, if I was unconscious, I wouldn’t have fought missing the concert.

As it was, we stayed through the whole concert and visited the First Aid Station afterwards. The EMTs poked around the nexus of pain, the right knee, and actually made it feel quite a bit better.

Sis and I were able to walk about 4 blocks away to call for an Uber.

Bottom line? TOTALLY. WORTH. IT.

Every penny, every embarrassment, every shooting pain. Totally worth it.

I love you, Ed!

Stay tuned…

 

Kinderdijk, Netherlands

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I returned a couple weeks ago from a three week trip to Europe. Along with some tee-shirts and coffee mugs, I brought home a raging cold. My goal for next week is to start sleeping less than 16 hours a day. Good luck, I say.

The overnight flight to our starting point, Amsterdam, was smooth. That is if you don’t count the man screaming, “Help! For God’s sake, won’t someone help me?” just as the cabin lights were dimmed for nap time.

The lights snapped back on and the flying waiters/waitresses instantly turned into EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians).

They administered oxygen to a lady who had lost consciousness after combining her medication with a complimentary cocktail. She was revived without the defibrillator that was being held at the ready, and her alcohol consumption was cut off.

Fine for her, but the rest of us had to deal with our own post-traumatic stress as the EMTs turned back into flying waitrons. Needless to say, neither I, my BFF “V”, nor No.2 Sis got any sleep on that flight.

The three of us had booked the “Great European River Cruise” with Viking Cruises over a year ago. A Viking rep met us at the Amsterdam airport and took us to the longboat “Skadi”.

THE VIKING SKADI, FORE, MIDSHIP, AND AFT

There’s a reason they call it a longboat.

We arrived in Kinderdijk (that’s Kin-der-dike, not Kin-der-dick, much to my embarrassment) the next morning. We awoke at 8:11 a.m. for a 8:15 a.m. windmill tour. Apparently, No.2 Sis had set the alarm for 6:30 p.m. instead of 6:30 a.m., and what with missing a whole night’s sleep plus jet lag…well, you get the idea.

Sis and I missed the tour, but surprisingly, “V” was able to hop on the bus at the last minute. Amazing.

Sis and I had a leisurely breakfast and then took a short walk into Kinderdijk.

RESIDENTIAL KINDERDIJK

DISTANT WINDMILLS

Not the most auspicious start to the tour, but we still had a couple more weeks onboard, and three days in a Prague hotel. So many places to go, things to see, and ways to screw up.

Stay tuned…

 

Cheeky Monkey and Blue Ball Necklace

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{Some links in this post are affiliate links. If you use them, I may earn a small commission, at no cost to you. See full disclosure here.}

I was spending time with my niece, “M”, when I called her by my niece “H”‘s name. She corrected me and I apologized.

“No problem”, she said, “I know we’re interchangeable”.

I told her, “Of course you’re not! It’s just my old lady brain”.

“M” said, “You’re not old”.

Awww. I told her she was a sweetie and kissed her cheek.

“M” jerked away from me and exclaimed, “Ow! Your old lady whiskers poked me!”

Cheeky monkey!

Now I know where her daughter gets her sass.

LIL MS. N, DAUGHTER OF CHEEKY MONKEY

I made a necklace this weekend with a blue ball on it. It took several iterations before I was happy with it.

ITERATION 1

ITERATION 2

THIRD AND FINAL ITERATION (LATE AT NIGHT)

I don’t remember where I got the blue ball or the crystal, but the jump rings and head pins came from Fire Mountain Gems (not an affiliate link), and the other things came from Amazon (affiliate links below).

I got enough supplies to make several of these. I plan on participating in my niece “S2” kids’ Christmas Craft Show again this year. I’d better get to work.

Stay tuned…

P.S. The chain is no longer available on Amazon, damn it. And maybe I got the birds from Fire Mountain, too? I’ll link something similar from Amazon. Sheesh.

 

 

 

 

The Village Gets Audited

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As I’ve mentioned before, I live in the “Village”. It’s a townhouse/apartment community for seniors. As such, it is audited by the state once a year to determine that the landlord isn’t forcing us old folks to live in squalor.

My landlord, John, informed me that mine was one of the ten units randomly chosen for inspection this year.

John doesn’t force me to live in squalor. It just seems to be my natural inclination. To avoid embarrassing him, I cleaned the house. My BFF “C” even came over and helped me wash the filthy windows.

John was very complimentary when he came over with the auditor. I’m sure he’s never seen it that clean before. (He also rarely sees me fully dressed, but that’s a story for another day).

The auditor found one code violation. I’ve been keeping my garbage, recycling, and composting in the utility closet with the water heater. Apparently, there’s supposed to be three feet of clearance in front of the water heater, and placing recycling and composting (mostly paper products) so close to it is a fire hazard.

BLOCKED WATER HEATER

 

So I cleaned out the utility closet.

I emptied all the bins and recycled my stash of plastic and paper bags.

I couldn’t totally leave that space empty, though. It goes against my very nature. I ordered a sturdy wire shelf, which still allows air circulation and access to the water heater.

I’m totally sisterless at the moment. No.1 and No.8 are leaving for India momentarily. No.2 is in California enjoying a beach vacation. And No.4 and No.7 are busy on their farms about two hours drive from the Twin Cities.

So of course, I decided to put the shelves together by myself. (I could have asked “C” for help).

It actually went swimmingly. The shelving unit is quite compact, and it was easy to get all four legs started through the bottom shelf without an extra pair of hands.

WIRE SHELF

I also had a bar of hooks for hanging the broom and mop. I drilled the holes for the anchors. No problem. Inserted the anchors, okay. Picked up the screws…and dropped one.

I’ve looked everywhere! Apparently a portal into another dimension opened just as I picked up the screws, because the little bugger is nowhere to be found.

That means I have to go to the hardware store and match one little screw. Worse yet, that means I have to put on a bra. Good Goddess, being a woman is so constricting!

I also have to get into the car after it’s been baking in the sun all day. I was complaining about that to my adult niece the other day and she responded, “Hot car is my favorite temperature.” I love that girl.

The only really fun part of this is going to be going up to a hardware salesman and saying, “Can you help me? I need a screw.”

ONE SCREW, TWO SCREW COVERS

Okay, a week has passed. It took me all that time to get a screw. Unfortunately, I popped one of the drywall anchors through the wall while I was fastening one of the screws. The other one held fast.

That means I had a 50% success rate with this project. That’s better than usual.

Well, maybe it’s less than 50%. The hooks came with decorative screw covers. I dropped one and didn’t find it until I stepped on it later. Let’s call it a 30% success rate. That’s more like it.

HOOKS WITH ONE PARTIAL SCREW COVER

Partial success = success. I’m happy.

SAFE UTILITY CLOSET

Stay tuned…

I Think, Therefore I Am

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DON'T SPEAK UNTIL I'VE HAD MY COFFEE

DON’T SPEAK UNTIL I’VE HAD MY COFFEE

Every day, I get up and make a pot of coffee. While I sip on the delicious, life-giving nectar, I read my favorite blogs (No Longer Quivering; Love, Joy, Feminism; One Hundred Dollars a Month) and play games on my Kindle.

DON'T SPEAK WHILE I'M ON MY KINDLE

DON’T SPEAK WHILE I’M ON MY KINDLE

Before I know it, the coffee-maker turns itself off with a beep. Two hours have passed.

That’s bad enough, but I usually don’t turn off the Kindle until its battery dies. That takes an additional four hours.

And I wonder why I never seem to get anything done?

So, today I decided I’d better work on my Toastmasters duties. The theme next week, picked by yours truly, is “Simplify Your Life”.

My duty is Table Topics Master, in which I prepare several questions, based on the theme, to ask various group members. They then have to speak extemporaneously for approximately two minutes in response to the question.

Simplicity is a subject near and dear to my heart. I would like to simplify my life to the point where I never have to think again. My brain is tired.

Of course, this is a highly inappropriate goal. Some philosopher (Google says it was Rene Descartes) once said, “I think, therefore I am”. If I stop thinking, I might stop…amming.

Here are a few of the questions I’ve come up with (which took a great deal of thinking).

Professional organizer Marie Kondo suggests keeping only items that spark joy in your heart. What is the item in your life that sparks the most joy, and why?

(For me, it’s my bed. It’s an antique wooden bed frame that had originally belonged to my great-great-grandparents. I had it in storage for years, and when I moved to my current cottage, I had it repaired. I then ordered a custom mattress for it. It’s comfortable, looks great, and I love it.)

BED, HASTILY MADE FOR BLOG PHOTO

BED, HASTILY MADE FOR BLOG PHOTO

In the not-so-distant past, each day was assigned a household chore. For example, Monday was mending, Tuesday was washing, Wednesday was ironing and baking, and so on. Do you have a schedule or routine that simplifies housework?

(And can you share it with me? Better yet, can you come clean my house?)

ACTUALLY, THE COTTAGE IS QUITE CLEAN BY MY ADMITTEDLY LAX STANDARDS

ACTUALLY, THE COTTAGE IS QUITE CLEAN BY MY ADMITTEDLY LAX STANDARDS

Experts say simplifying your life is easy. Just identify what’s important to you, and eliminate everything else. Do you have a time-suck activity or habit that you could eliminate to simplify your life?

(Besides playing on the Kindle? Nope, that’s pretty much it. In fact, after it recharges, I read a novel or two. Every day.)

There it is, evidence of my thinking for the day. It’s back to the Kindle for me.

Stay tuned…

p.s. I can’t find my exact Kindle cover on Amazon any longer, so I linked a similar one.

 

 

 

Washington D. C., And King Of The Pumpkins, Part 1

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It’s been in the 90’s all week.

“But it’s a dry heat”, said no Minnesotan, ever.

Some days it’s so steamy, it’s like being back in Costa Rica. Or Washington, D. C.

I spent a week in D. C. recently with No.2, No.4 and No.7 Sisters. It was hot, humid, and a lot of fun.

We visited Arlington Cemetery (John Kennedy’s grave), Ford’s Theater (where Abe Lincoln was assassinated), and eleventy-hundred museums.

WASHINGTON MONUMENT FROM ARLINGTON CEMETERY

WASHINGTON MONUMENT FROM ARLINGTON CEMETERY

FORD'S THEATER

FORD’S THEATER

My favorite “must see” was the National Museum of the American Indian.

NATIVE VEST AND BAG AT NMAI

NATIVE VEST AND BAG AT NMAI

DECORATIVE SOMETHING-OR-OTHERS AT NMAI

DECORATIVE SOMETHING-OR-OTHERS AT NMAI

I drove down to my BFF “G”‘s farm for a visit soon after we returned from D. C. That was a mistake.

I always wear a scopolamine patch when I travel, to prevent motion sickness. I forgot that it seems to work by delaying the motion sickness rather than preventing it. Once you return home and remove the patch, you often get a day or two of extreme nausea. Suffice it to say, I was not a very good houseguest.

After I was feeling better, I got back into my art-play. I took this photo of my grandniece, “Li’l Ms. N” at a wedding last October. She had put a bit of the table’s centerpiece on her head and declared herself “King of the Pumpkins”.

LI'L MS. N

LI’L MS. N

I started sketching the photo, but I’m not happy with it.

GRAPHING ANGLES AND PROPORTIONS

GRAPHING ANGLES AND PROPORTIONS

I don’t think I even came close to capturing her impish expression. Oh well, it’s only the first attempt. I’ll see how it goes.

FIRST ATTEMPT AT "KING OF THE PUMPKINS"

FIRST ATTEMPT AT “KING OF THE PUMPKINS”

I thought I might want to color in the background after the sketch is done. Since I made the sketch on Bristol Board, I will test gelatos on the same type of paper. I’m open to doing this sketch on a different surface, so I’ll also try them on Kraft paper, watercolor paper and Dura-Lar (an acetate alternative). I’ll let you know how that goes in the next post.

(Woo-woo alert)…

I had a dream the other night that I was washing a cup. I looked up cup in The Dream Book, by Betty Bethards.

“CUP Spiritual heart of self. If overflowing you are attuned to divine love; if empty you are walling self off from love energy, life force within.”

Okay, the cup in my dream was empty, dirty and cracked. It broke as I was washing it, and I threw it away.

Subtle.

Excuse me now, I have to go pet a tree, plant a child, or hug a cat. I may have mixed up few of my verb/noun combos, because I’m a little walled off from my love energy. I hope your cup is overflowing!

Stay tuned…


Grand Rapids, Michigan

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No.2 Sis and I drove to Michigan a couple of weeks ago. We went to visit No.5 Bro and his wife, Sweetie.

We mostly hung around the house, where Sweetie encouraged us to overeat and take lots of naps. Hence, the name, “Sweetie”. We also watched the royal wedding (of course). Far too long for me, but Sweetie and No.2 Sis enjoyed it immensely.

Our big outing over the weekend was the Lake Michigan Kite Festival. We got to the lake only a half hour before they ended the festival for the day, due to lots of eating and napping taking up our time earlier. We still saw a couple of precision kite-flying exhibitions. I didn’t even know such a thing existed.

LAKE MICHIGAN KITE FESTIVAL

LAKE MICHIGAN KITE FESTIVAL

The kites were piloted (?) by teams from the police department and fire department. Not sure how kite-flying skills might translate into life-saving skills, but hey, everyone needs a hobby, right?

I had hoped to take lots of photos to use as references for paintings, but we were a bit removed from the action.

UP AND DOWN THE BEACH

UP AND DOWN THE BEACH

And the preceding pictures were the best I took. Here are the others…

WE CAN MAKE THIS WORK

WE CAN MAKE THIS WORK

FAVORITE

FAVORITE

 

 

Last, but not least, my favorite photo. See the tiny bit of kite in the upper right-hand corner?

I still have several painting ideas, but I’m quite busy procrastinating at the moment. Still in eating and napping mode, I’m afraid. For someone who can’t develop any good habits despite months of trying, the bad habits come quite easily.

I do need to get my ass in gear, though, as I have 2 more trips coming up. I’m sure I’ll have tons of bad photos from them to paint, too.

Stay tuned…

 

 

Brushos #3 And #4

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I believe I mentioned that I recently joined Toastmasters. I’ve been hoping it would give me more confidence speaking in front of, and to, strangers. This week is the first time I’ve been assigned the actual role of Toastmaster (the emcee for the entire meeting).

In the other roles during the meeting, such as evaluator, or timer, or even speaker, you get up once, say your piece, and sit down. As Toastmaster, you introduce each person as they get up to do their schtick (TTT = technical Toastmaster’s term), so you are in front of the group over and over throughout the meeting.

And if that isn’t enough pressure, you have to tell little stories or anecdotes between schticks (TTT) that are related to the theme of the day. And therein lies the crux of my high anxiety over taking on the job of Toastmaster this week. The theme.

The theme of this week’s meeting is, “Thanks, Mom” in honor of Mother’s Day.

Did you know I was raised by wolves?

Okay, technically I had a mother. It’s just that she was missing for most of my childhood.

She sunk into a deep depression by the time I was 4 or so. This was before antidepressants were developed, so the doctor gave her tranquilizers.

“Oh, you’re feeling sad and crying all the time? Here, take these incredibly strong downers.”

Mom took the downers, locked herself in her room, and I didn’t see her for 10 years.

So what charming anecdotes can I come up with for Mother’s Day? This is going to be tough, folks!

Well, just like Scarlett O’Hara, I’ll think about that tomorrow.

Today, I’m continuing to experiment with Brusho Crystal Colors and watercolor.

I’m making (very) slight progress towards making something presentable.

This was a photo I took at the Como Conservatory’s Spring Flower Show.

ROSES?

ROSES?

First I drew it in watercolor pencil, so there wouldn’t be any graphite lines.

LINE DRAWING

LINE DRAWING

And here’s my first attempt at painting it.

ROSE WATERCOLOR BEFORE BRUSHO

ROSE WATERCOLOR BEFORE BRUSHOS

 

Then I added the Brushos to the background. I’m still having a LOT of trouble controlling them.

BRUSHOS #3

BRUSHOS #3

Maybe if I zoomed in a little closer to focus on only one flower? Then I waited until the watercolors were totally dry, and wet only the area in which I wanted the Brushos.

BRUSHOS #4

BRUSHOS #4

Improving, but not great. Maybe I’ll go back to pencil drawing for a bit, to try to rescue my artist’s self-esteem.

Stay tuned…

 

Live Long And Prosper (Chakras)

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LIVE LONG AND PROSPER (CHAKRAS), PEN AND WATERCOLOR, 7 X 8 .5

LIVE LONG AND PROSPER (CHAKRAS), PEN AND WATERCOLOR, 7 X 8 .5

 {Some links in this post are affiliate links. If you use them, I may earn a small commission, at no cost to you. See full disclosure here.}

I’ve been trying to whip myself gently encourage myself to get into shape. I’m taking a tour of Washington D.C. in a couple of months and there will be a lot of walking. I want to be able to keep up with my sisters!

I was taking a few laps around The Village the other day to try to build up my endurance. I was talking to myself, as one does.

“Don’t just fling your feet out ahead of you like they’re not attached to anything! Use your ass muscles to move you forward!”

Then I started laughing. Ass muscles. That’s an oxymoron if ever I heard one.

I looked to my right and saw a neighbor sweeping her front step. She pointedly avoided making eye contact. Do you think it’s the talking to myself, or maybe the laughing? Oh, well.

I realized later that I haven’t been keeping up with my metaphysical health and hygiene very well either.

What did our mothers always tell us? “Twice a day, wash your face, brush your teeth, and clean your chakras.”

I’ve been very lax in regard to chakra cleansing, so I made this little watercolor to remind me. I looked on Pinterest (Fount of All Wisdom) and found this Ask-Angels blog post on how to clean your chakras. I’m definitely a fan of DIY method #1.

Simple and easy, that’s me. I mean, that’s for me.

SKETCH

SKETCH

First I sketched the shapes on watercolor paper, then inked over the pencil lines. After erasing any pencil marks still showing, I just colored in with watercolor paints. I trimmed the paper a bit smaller, too.

WATERCOLOR

WATERCOLOR

The crown chakra is supposed to be violet, but it almost looks brown. I had a hard time mixing up a good purple. And no, I haven’t signed up for painting classes yet.

Maybe I can put some white-out over the brownish purple and try again? Hmmm…

Stay tuned…