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BTW ...

... Here are a few photos of some items I worked on yesterday, in preparation for the upcoming Indoor Market.


A pair of (probably) vintage outdoor candle lanterns. They are 16 inches tall. Note the etched 8-point star in each window.



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57 - 61 - 59 - 44 - 30

After a lovely, gentle-warm weekend that begged one to find some excuse--any excuse--to spend time outside, our late-April time-and-weather-warp continues.

Today, Monday, February 20th, the Twin Cities WILL have rain and 57 degrees. The weather folk say 100% chance of about 1/2 inch of needed rain will fall here today. Maybe thunder will roll, which will upset our poor boys. Tuesday should rise to 61 degrees. Wednesday, February 22nd, ought to see 59 degrees and a chance of a little bit of rain in the morning--probably just enough to make the morning commute more "interesting". Thursday we slide down to a cloudy 44 degrees. Friday brings us 30 degrees and a 90% likelihood of 1 to 3 inches of snow. Really: Snow!

Although I worked on Saturday and wasn't able to enjoy that bout of sunshine and spring-warp, I did get out Sunday to do a little yard work and garage organizing (read: dig around to pick out and clean up stored "stuff" for the Spring Market in a couple of weeks). Temptation is strong to believe that Winter really is over. But I must remain strong in the Force and avoid encouraging Mother Nature to hit us with ice storms and blizzards while chortling up her flowing sleeves in mischievous glee at pulling another successful trick on us deluded, gullible mortals. Friday's expected few inches of snow will help stave off dangerous hope.

[NOTE TO SELF: Must finish picking up exposed dog-gifts from the rest of the yard before they are buried under white once more.]

Last night I kind of slept through the night. Went to sleep around 9:45 p.m. or so. Didn't wake up until 3:45 a.m.! Normally, I wake up at least once, sometime between 2 and 4 hours after getting to sleep. Thus, 6 hours of sleep in a row is quite a pleasant accomplishment. I almost feel something approaching rested. ;-}

We're still functioning with only one vehicle while awaiting "the part" for Natasha's repair. Meanwhile, keeping fingers crossed and whispering strained pleas to whichever Force may be listening and feeling generous or kind that THIS repair will actually do the trick and keep her running long enough to make the financial investment of the last couple of weeks something resembling justified.

Change in Plans

MyJeff and The Boys will have to go to the dog park and do yard clean-up and do whatever else will be done without me today (Saturday).

At nearly 9:30 last night, I received a phone call asking me to work today for as many hours as I can manage. Due to an illness and a surge in appointments, we need coverage at our office. So, I'll be going in for the day.

Not the Saturday I was looking forward to, but we need the income, and the staff at our office need the help. Not to mention the customers who need their taxes prepared . . . I don't know whether we'll be able to manage the fire bowl tonight, but I suspect not.

Plans often do change rapidly in this life.

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Nattery Stuff

Thanks to all of you who participated in clicking on the freekibble.com &/or theanimalrescuesite.com activity for feeding shelter animals and all the other "greatergood" causes. From the freekibble food count of 18,899,247 scoops I quoted on Monday, today's count after I clicked was 18,909,162. BTW: did I mention that on the freekibble dog page you can find a photo of a member's dog(s) when you scroll down a bit more. And photos of cats are on the cat page. Some are great photos!

I hope you can find the time to continue clicking, and can find friends and family who can join in.

Stepping outside with The Boys at 5:30 this morning, I found that proverbial velvet sky with scattered points of glitter and glow to greet me. The air was still and about as silent as it gets here in the middle of the Greater Metro Area. Moon is still a little bit over half and shines as a still-chill beckoning beacon. Sigh. Lovely. Peaceful. Right now, our temperature outside is allllmost freezing--just a couple of degrees short by the thermometer outside my kitchen window. We are headed for just over 60 degrees F this afternoon. So they say. 60 would smash through the day's record high of 55 set in 1981; and even edge past the overall average temperature for APRIL of 58. February's average temp is 29. Change, hunh?

I think MyJeff and I have to discuss postponing the trip to the Como Conservatory again and focus on spending this weekend with The Boys and cleaning up the yard so we can do that FIRE BOWL! Saturday night. Arrow and Vinnie are so stressed over spending days without either one of us. I'm thinking we owe them a little more dedicated time. Tomorrow afternoon at the dog park would be good. For all of us.

Good thing we have those drives to and from my job to discuss things. . . . . Actually . . . those drives and the time together with nothing more than the opportunity to talk has been the one good thing about the troubles with his car Natasha.

Little Updates

IMPORTANT! The freekibble.com counter for number of scoops of kibble donated read 18,899,247 after my clicks this morning. So why don't you go out there--right now--and help nudge it up over 18,900,000? Yay!

Weather is warming day-by-day (now there's the chorus of a Broadway tune echoing in my almost-empty little head! Makes me think of Love and Jesus. *sigh* Goofy head...). We're supposed to see plenty of sunshine right through the weekend with temps in the mid-40s today and moving into the 50s the following 3 days. Maybe we should do a fire bowl on Saturday night! Although . . . the nights are dropping into the low 30s, so maybe a fire in the early EVENING before things get too chilled would be most comfy and fun. Hmmmm...

Monday is supposed to bring us half an inch of rain and SIXTY DEGREES!!!! In February!

We picked up Natasha (MyJeff's car) at the dealership for another $260-some yesterday morning about 9:30. She ran just fine all day . . . . . . . . . until about 4 pm, when she died in paroxysms of jerky movement and rattling in an intersection. MyJeff nursed her into a church parking lot nearby, but finally had to call a tow truck which showed up about 6:30 to haul her all the way to the mechanic in Big Lake (trust me, it's a long haul). There are reasons to go out there, trust me on that too. Cost for the haul: $225. Ouch. *sigh* At this point we don't have much choice. CAN'T buy a replacement. So now, MyJeff will be dropping me off at work and picking me up afterwards for a while. Again.

I'll have to email the Volunteer Specialist at the Veterans Admin AGAIN to reschedule the remainder of my re-activation. AGAIN.

Our wonderful Boys were stuck in the house for an extra long day. I didn't get home to let them out until almost 2 hours longer than usual. A WHOLE HOUR AND A HALF PAST THEIR SUPPERTIME! And, although they were barking pretty darned loudly as soon as my key scraped into the lock, they hadn't made any messes; and they waited almost politely while I dished up their suppers. We are so lucky to have our good Boys.

Work is going all right just now, although my hours will start to cut back for a few weeks of slow-down before second peak arrives in mid-late March. Learning new stuff every day.

Still trying for that lottery win . . .

QUICK EDIT ADD-ON 20 MINUTES LATER: The sunrise was absolutely GLORIOUS! Shades of pinks from intense to soft streaking and alternating with narrow bands of clouds in the prettiest blues that clouds can acquire. Oh, thank you for that beauty this morning! My day is so much better now. I'll think of that sunrise when I get to feeling down today.

Will You Click for 5 Times the Food?

Most of you know/may remember that I try to click every day on a couple of charity for shelter animals websites.

The original theanimalrescuesite.com helps support animal shelters and has links to 9 other charity partnerships. All you do is click a button to help with feeding shelter animals; feeding people; supporting literacy and the rainforest and cancer research, etc. Costs the clicker nothing. Advertisers pay--and they sell stuff.

A few years ago another site joined in. Freekibble.com also uses the click-to-feed method. But on freekibble, the click is choosing an answer to a trivia question. Doesn't matter whether the clicked answer is correct or not, a "scoop" of kibble is still donated for each click. According to the running counter, they are closing in on 19 million meals right now.

To celebrate Valentine's Day, today (Monday) and tomorrow (Valentine's Day) the clicks will do more on freekibble.com. Monday's click will provide FIVE TIMES THE USUAL AMOUNT OF KIBBLE FOR SHELTER ANIMALS! Tuesday's click will add treats to the donations of the day.

I'd appreciate your participation, if you can go to freekibble.com and click on the dog's page, then the cat's page. They also have a page to click for a cat litter donation, if you feel up to one more click. ;-)

Both websites do good for worthy causes. You may want to explore them. Thanks for letting your fingers step up and click for charity.

Let me know what you think of the sites. psssst: The answer to Monday's trivia question on the freekibble cat page is: Tonkinese.



Vinnie spent time in an over-crowded shelter, in a crate with another dog before he came to us. He'd appreciate your click to feed his fur-brothers-and-sisters in need.   (How's that for a guilt trip?)

Other Than the Weather . . .

. . . not much improvement here.

MyJeff's car is still not with us, and I'd rather not dwell on the details. We're waiting to talk to the dealership service department tomorrow morning.

Work has been busy, but I've been mostly only managing one client a day (I did complete 2--almost 3--one day). Other than that I've been doing front desk/phones/"projects". The new young receptionist apparently decided she didn't need the job, nor did she need to call in to say so. She just stopped showing up or answering her own phone. We have a very part-time mature lady who can only work a few mid-day hours, but 2 at the front desk during peak is best. Other 1st Year Tax Pros take the front desk too, but I'm the one with experience and the one who is best at dealing with the issues calls and so on. Makes sense for me to do most of it. They are also all faster at doing clients' taxes than I am, therefore ...

And, standing at the front desk so much has my bad ankle screaming its fury at me this weekend. We stopped at a Walgreens yesterday and bought a heavy duty ankle brace for night and a lighter support brace to wear at work. They've helped over the last 24 hours, although my ankle and I are not looking forward to standing much tomorrow. Actually, I refuse to stand so much anymore. Our Office Manager will understand, and the District Manager will just have to deal with it, if she comes by.

However . . . The weather is lovely. Sunshine and temps close to 40 F. More of the same and similar coming over the upcoming week with temps supposedly flirting with 50 F by the end of the week. I'm not convinced that Winter is over yet, but he might be on the run. Which would be the earliest I remember Winter going away.

MUTTUMPF! HUMPFTTER!

Remember my hope of picking up MyJeff's HHR Natasha after work yesterday? *sigh* Nope. The replacement engine was damaged while being installed and fixing that damage is taking a couple more days, at least. No extra charges for the extra repair-work, of course. Just extra inconvenience. But we can live with that...mutter mutter muttumpf...

I had my six month checkup with the cardiologist this morning, so took this afternoon off too. I was only scheduled for 3 1/2 hours of work anyway. Simpler that way when MyJeff needs to use The Mighty Steed for his courier work. The doctor scolded me for not keeping up with my exercising and for gaining back too many of the pounds I'd lost. I knew he would. He was right to do so. I do it myself. Just about every day. But I tune myself out way too often when I'm saying the Right Things. Mostly, I listen when I'm saying BaaaD things. So ... I had a salad for lunch and about an hour ago I put on a Pointer Sisters CD and danced for a while. Didn't quite manage the half hour I'm supposed to do every day, but it's a start in the right direction. Tomorrow will be the tricky part. Getting in another workout and eating at least a bit more healthy food each day, like I need. Then Friday will be even more tricky. And the next day and so on. But, I can do it. I know I can.

...........

Jus' don' wanna .......

Mama always said: Whiners never win. Chin up and keep up.

Well, no, actually...she never said that precise thing. But she was never impressed with whining.

I'll stop now.

Thanks for listening.

Mutters, Humpfs, and a Bright Spot

MyJeff's car is still in the shop and the mechanic seems to be unwilling to return his calls. Yesterday MyJeff dropped me off at work and used The Mighty Steed of Smoke and Shadows for his job. At the end of the day, he went home, took care of The Boys, loaded them up, and came to get me. We had hoped to go on to Big Lake to pick up his car, but no such luck. Today will go similarly, although hopefully the end will bring Natasha home and running again.

Work was manic and extra long--only partly due to awaiting my ride. Two or three appointments were No Shows. One other called to reschedule and wanted a time when I wasn't available so will go to another tax pro. The two clients I worked with both took quite a while, both had strange issues that I needed help handling, both were missing needed info/documents, neither managed to finish, and I'm not certain whether either will return to allow me to finish their taxes. If not, the uncompleted returns have a negative affect on my job statistics.

I am tired.

On the way home last night, we talked about Valentine's Day--which, of course, we can't afford to do anything much about, even if we REALLY got into that. But we need some kind of positive change. Some Bright Spot to look forward to. So we'll probably go to the Como Conservatory to wander among the plants and flowers and beauty for a little while on one of the weekends that bracket Valentine's Day. The Conservatory just asks for a minimal donation to enter, so we can manage the couple or few dollars that will cost. Won't be able to bring The Boys, though. I'm thinking we might want to bring a little picnic, although I'm not certain that will be allowed.

Looking Ahead...

...I see that my first "flea market" of this season is only a month away. And, of course, I haven't done a single thing with any of my flea marketing preparation since I came home from last year's version of this same market. Working at the tax office took up the rest of March and April of last year. Then this little hitch of heart bypass surgery wiped out the rest of the year as far as flea markets were concerned.

The first weekend in March will be the 2nd indoor Spring market and craft show held at the VFW in Coon Rapids where I normally participate in 2 or 3 outdoor markets and one Christmas season indoor one each year. Now, I'm adding this Spring one--although, if sales aren't better this year than last, I may not do so again next year. I certainly hope they do improve.

I'll be putting a few rootlings in pots and taking them and extras from last year to take along. I think last year I probably sold more baked goods than anything else, so will certainly take a couple/few different comestibles along. I'm thinking lemon bars, strawberry bars, and cereal (Rice Krispie Plus) bars with peanut butter. The lemon bars I took last year were surprisingly popular and I think the novelty of strawberry ones might be a good addition. Besides, the bright lemon next to pretty pink should look appealing. Cereal bars seem to have wide appeal, too. Anyway, that's what I'm thinking.

Will also need to go through my packed tubs and the items I scavenged last Spring before the surgery put a stop to that, and select things I think might sell early in March. I'm thinking at least one of the two picnic baskets, women's broad-brimmed hats, some jewelry, and a couple of little table-top cabinet pieces to start. Some cute Easter-y stuffies and vintage tin eggs, and maybe a giant stuffy panda. Since I've paid for 2 tables, I'll have room for a good bit more than that and need to double check what I have available.

Any suggestions? What type of thing would YOU be looking for and willing to shell out for at a Spring flea market? Other than garden seedlings, since I'm NOT good at those.

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