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A collection of gushes

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Blessings:

     Dinner with the Towners last Tuesday, which was a good time and we didn't get washed away by the torrential rain either! It was fun to do some State Fair planning.

     Relieved to make it to payday on Friday. August brings the blessing of a three paycheck month, but that also means trying to do my best to last for four weeks on one paycheck. Glad THAT ordeal is over!

     Blessed by an idea for a Geren book 2 eBook cover, when I abruptly realized my brain had been in a rut. I abandoned my very old ideas for the 3 and 4th books, after all, so why not with number 2? And it still has Hu-Hov in it, so that's good.

     On Saturday, finally blessed to have a weekend morning in which it: A) was not raining, B) was not too hot and/or muggy C) I didn't have a commitment. So I got out for a little more biking. First over to the park and ride and back, and then off to the farmers market and back hauling sweet corn, green beans, and lettuce mix. Around 9 miles total and looking forward to doing more.

     I was typing in my journal and happened to look down when I reached the end of a sentence. What a fun number!

     Already over 25% with Geren book 5 pass 1 review, whoot!
Emotional Status:
busy busy
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Another weekend gone too fast...

     Finished the illustration 'Guided' that I'd been working on over the past few weeks. Third in a row for pictures with Geren in them, so hopefully I can get a small art post up soon. Now comes the fun of choosing what to do next, with autumn coming soon.

     Started the ball rolling with Geren book 5 edits and revisions. Did the set-up work in the evenings so I could launch into pass 1 with my Monday morning bus ride. Feels great!

     On Sunday morning I had a 7:15 appointment with the Red Cross, where I was blessed to succeed with a platelet donation. And done in good time to head over for the 11:00 church service. Very glad I succeeded.
Emotional Status:
restless restless
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So glad it's a Friday!

     This is a wonderful time of year for farmers' market goodies: I've been quite enjoying raspberries and corn on the cob lately.

     My dwarf umbrella tree 'Schleffie,' who appeared on the verge of death after I moved in May, has rebounded amazingly. I'm glad he likes his new location; though he'll need supplemental light when winter comes.

     Finally got my home phone working and all I needed was to replace the cord, of which I already had a spare, so no purchases required, yay!

     This was my 'vacation week' between finishing the fourth Geren book edits last weekend and launching into the fifth this weekend. I let myself do a little fun reading for the first time in a long time, but I'm very excited to get the ball rolling!

     Happy for some cooler nights that allow me to use the window fan rather than the portable air conditioner.
Emotional Status:
hungry hungry
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Recent joys:

     I went to town with working on my art project over the weekend, while doing other stuff during the lulls when my desktop Quartus was rendering pieces of the picture. Now, instead of looking-so-horrible-I-want-to-quit, it's pretty close to done and I am pretty pleased!

     Finished sorting through my filing cabinet during the art project lulls, with the result that I found a bunch of lyrics from old bulletins from the church I attended in early high school, approaching 30 years ago. Glad I kept them and glad I found them, as I took them to the park for a worship session Sunday before church. Can't remember the tunes for all the songs, but I remembered quite a few of them!

     During the worship Sunday, I was blessed with a plot hole fix for Geren book 5. I'd thought of it months ago but never written it down. Now it won't be forgotten! And that blessing was the motivation to spend some time hammering away at the biggest plot issue with book 5. Thank God, I think I have a solution!

     Grateful the tornadoes on Sunday completely missed my area, but they were also motivation for me to finalize my plans for my tornado shelter location and get it set up for use.

     It was so cool Monday night I used the window fan instead of the portable air conditioner!

     Saw my second fox while heading to the park and ride Tuesday. It started to run out in front of me, saw me, ran back to the yard, waited until I passed, and then ran across the road. I love how smart they are!
Emotional Status:
rushed rushed
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Workweek blessings:

     Big breakthrough Tuesday, when I realized the change made to the system to see if it impacted a performance issue, instead 'fixed' an issue we'd been fighting to understand since the upgrade in early May! Unfortunately we can't leave it the way it is, but this provided a critical clue I've been praying for for a while. Hallelujah!

     Another treat Tuesday in the form of pizza, salad, pop, and cookies to celebrate the 30th service anniversary of somebody on the downstairs team. It was fun to hear his reminiscence of going into work after the huge Halloween Blizzard of 1991!

     Since my current art project is at the point where I have a bit of waiting while I test things, it was perfect for diving into a purge of some of my file cabinet, to make space. A lot of stuff is redundant now, thanks to the internet, and it was a treat to find some old essays from college days, and better yet, the notebook with original drafts of some of my old sonnets--written between 1992 and 1994-ish, before being t'DoL's Biographer became my full-time 'job.' =)

     I'm grateful for my portable air conditioner with a timer so my bedroom can be nice and cool when I get home from work and hop on the exercise bike. Grateful also for Amazon Prime free streaming so I have something to watch while I pedal. And less than a month to the Minnesota State Fair--grateful for that too!
Emotional Status:
pleased pleased
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So nice to have a break in the heat!

     After Friday's temperatures in the 90s, with dew points in the shocking 80s and a heat index around 120, such a relief to have cooler air come overnight--and my area missed the awful storms/derecho that others got, too. Saturday was so cool I was able to do the vacuuming I'd been procrastinating on for weeks, and also some organizing the guest bedroom.

     Sunday morning was around 60. Perfect to get out for my first bike ride near my new home, and start exploring the area. The icing on the cake was finding more single-level townhouses much closer to where I live than the ones I was already aware of. Looking forward to more exploration in coming weekends, and getting back to the gorgeous rich neighborhood eventually.

     It's been just about a week since I started my last review sweep through the fourth Geren book, and I've already passed the 1/3 mark. Whoo-hoo! Might actually get to start the last book before autumn!

     A nasty issue that blew up at work overnight Thursday, and has cost me a lot of time with manual workarounds, actually got its cause pinpointed through a remote meeting with Kofax. After so many ugly issues post-upgrade that have stretched out over weeks, even months, some with no resolution, what a relief to find a simple answer to this one!
Emotional Status:
restless restless
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Gratitudes:

     With the warm weather and ghastly dew points of late, I remain tremendously grateful for air conditioning of all varieties: central air, portable AC, and AC in buses and vehicles. And generator-powered AC too, since that appeared to be what my employer did on a very hot day recently. Wonderful, wonderful invention!

     Blessed by timing: I was able to wrap up editing my 'Great Wave' novella (the one I reread most often) on the weekend and swivel right back into my last review and changes for the fourth Geren novel. Feels wonderful to be moving full steam ahead on that again!

     Amazon Prime Day! A couple items on my list went on a big sale, along with stuff to purchase early for fall, or as a gift. Wish I'd had more money to take advantage of more sales, but very pleased with what I did get.
Emotional Status:
hungry hungry
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Recent delights:

     Even though it's been such a wet year so far, I haven't seen any rainbows. That changed when heading home from the park and ride on Wednesday. It was raining a little, and too early for a full rainbow, but I was able to spot the top of the second rainbow above the horizon. It's been too long!

     Special day Thursday: my boss's boss had her 50th birthday. Complete with a surprise meeting and cake that she wasn't expecting at all. Great time for her and she deserves every moment of it!

     A surprise Friday in the form of a gift of cheesy popcorn from my coworker Dawn, as a belated birthday gift since the candy store was too busy right before my birthday. I'm trying very hard not to eat it all at once!

     Cindy and I got together Saturday morning and headed over to the arboretum. I was blessed that despite the forecast, the dew point was 'only' in the low 60s and it clouded up part of the morning, so I was able to bear the heat. Had a great time seeing lots of amazing annuals, along with dahlias, Asiatic lilies, hydrangeas, daylilies, and plenty of roses too. Then afterward we had lunch at wonderful Cafe Zupas--and she treated me for my birthday!
Emotional Status:
excited excited
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Gratitudes:

     I've been wanting a new desk since I threw out my old one almost three years ago, but didn't have space for it in my one bedroom apartment. But last week, thanks to some help from Amazon gift cards, I had enough to get the desk I'd picked out in May. It took far too long to assemble, with far too many screws, but I'm pleased with the result and happy to have storage space by my computer again.

     Had a nice break from desk assembly Saturday in the form of getting out to the closest movie theater to see Spider-Man: Far From Home. Not my favorite, but it was fun!

     On Sunday morning before church blessed to have it cool enough that I could walk over and explore a short nature trail near my new home.

     Monday evening was fun, as the Towners treated me to a belated birthday meal at Boca Chica (though of course I had to do all the driving). A very nice time.

     My editor finally got back to me with my Geren book 4 questions from three months ago...so maybe I can actually have it finished by autumn!
Emotional Status:
rushed rushed
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So glad it's a payday Friday!

     Happiness is finishing a picture, because not only do I get a new wallpaper to enjoy at home and work, I also get a new image to use with my puzzle software. Very glad 'Bad Move' is done, also because that means I can dive into the next illustration.

     My workday Wednesday ended on a high note. Ever since the upgrade, my team and the engineers have been wrestling extensively with some incorrigible issues. I've started thinking of them as 'dragon problems' because they've dragged on for weeks and every attempt to defeat one leaves us scampering away in humiliated defeat, like we got flamed by a dragon. Well, on Wednesday afternoon, I slayed one, even if the solution was embarrassingly simple, at least THAT dragon is gone!

     I was having fun on my exercise bike Wednesday evening pedaling away as I watched the extended version of Independence Day. Heard a bunch of noise that didn't sound like it fit the movie soundtrack, so looked out my window to see the high school marching band going by! Must have been a practice run for the parade on the 4th...

     And that's another treat about my new location. I could walk half a block to watch the local parade. I had my umbrella along and stood under a tree, so I was set for rain and sunlight, of which there was some of both. Half the fun was the attire of the hundreds of others who came out to watch, but I quite enjoyed the marching bands, horses, and some of the other displays.

     Wednesday on the drive to the park and ride I saw a deer cross the road in front of me (thankfully not too close). But Friday was even better: spotted a fox waiting at the street corner on the sidewalk until I and the car behind me had passed, then it crossed the road. So neat!
Emotional Status:
determined determined
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Gratitudes and joys:

     With the sticky, hot weather of late, I'm not only grateful for my wonderful portable air conditioner, but that it has a timer, so I can have it kick off in advance of coming home, to cool down my bedroom for exercise or just the sake of my plants.

     Pleased overall with how well my small garden is doing. I planted some torenia in the ground and it's growing pretty good too. The spirea bush next to it is also blooming, so they're even prettier together.

     Dawn and I went out to see Toy Story 4 together on Saturday, and to our amazement, we had the theater all to ourselves! Fun time.

     Hot summer weather was the perfect excuse to make some nice cold emerald soup.

     Also due to the weather, and it being the end of June, I drove to a park Saturday evening. The same park where I watched lunar eclipses in prior years turned out to be a perfect place to see hundreds of fireflies this weekend. It was a fun way to see something beautiful and relive memories of catching fireflies as a kid.

     Hooking up Starfish to my projector to stream movies from Amazon for my exercise bike fodder is working great!
Emotional Status:
busy busy
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So glad it's Friday!

     Nice to make it this far into June before the nasty sticky really hot summer weather rolled in. I was glad to get out for a couple walks during the month, and to sit out on my patio for devotional time a few mornings when the gnats weren't too bad.

     Massively enjoyed my wonderful mother's homemade chocolate mint brownies this week!

     Pleased to get more LED lights this week, and that the spotlight bulbs fit perfectly.

     Delighted to do an art project that went more smoothly than I expected and I'm pleased with the result. 'Bad Move' is the illustration for the eBook cover of my fourth Geren novel, and now I'm hoping to make a landscape version I can enjoy as wallpaper at home and work.

     Dawn treated me out for lunch Thursday to celebrate my birthday. We had a great time with delicious food from Asian Express.

     I'm loving living in a place again where I have an attached garage and my own laundry area!
Emotional Status:
grateful grateful
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Lots of blessings around my 44th birthday:

     Thursday evening I treated myself to a Hillsong concert in downtown St Paul. Since it didn't start until 7:30, I was able to take the bus to Trader Joe's beforehand, shop, then stash my purchases in my cooler. The concert was amazing...saying 'concert' is a misnomer, since it's more a worship service with over 10,000 singing along! Very, very glad I went.

     I took Friday off as I knew I'd be getting home quite late Thursday. It was a perfect day to do a lot of errands. I got to check out a nearby home decor store that makes Home Goods seem small--that was a lot of fun. Also used coupons for ACE Hardware and Kohl's, along with a gift card for Kohl's I received for Christmas!

     I got a blessing from heaven Friday that I will remember for a long time, aimed right at my heart. One of the best 'birthday presents' ever.

     Saturday was my birthday, and aside from phone calls, I spent the day with God. A great time of worship, thanksgiving, prayer, online message, more worship--and more phone calls too. Perfect way to start off a new year of my life.

     Greatly enjoying birthday goodies made by my wonderful mother and gift cards to spend on Amazon! My place was full of incandescent light bulbs and I'm very eager to keep replacing them with LEDs.
Emotional Status:
rushed rushed
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Recent blessings:

     I got out to the regional park for a couple wonderful hours of hiking Sunday morning. The rain was taken out of the forecast and it was cloudy for a while, which made it just about perfect. I've never heard so many bullfrogs croaking as I did that morning, while walking past the various lakes and marshes they were in. Saw plenty of deer too.

     It feels wonderful to be done enough with moving stuff that I can kick off an art project for the first time in a few months. Also glad it's going as well as it is.

     Pleased to find I could use a curtain rod and my green curtains from Aldamar to hang across the stairway at my new place. That keeps the light from the front door window from bothering me in the evenings, and also helps block all the hot air from going to the bedrooms in warmer weather. And I didn't have to buy a thing!

     Rather funny to be excited about getting my electric bill today, but I am, because that means I didn't miss it when my mail was a mess. Whew!
Emotional Status:
excited excited
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The good and the yummy:

     Delighted to discover recently that the bush right beside my door is a weigela. It's got lots of gorgeous deep pink flowers that remind me a little of azalea. Quite a treat!

     After being here nearly a month, it appears that the mess with the mail is finally wrapping up. Talked to a supervisor at the post office Monday, got a vacancy form Tuesday, started receiving mail again, and on Friday got the USPS change of address confirmation with welcome kit I've been waiting on for weeks. Some great coupons in there, hurrah!

     My dwarf umbrella tree, Schleffie, has been through a lot with my move, between being massively pruned and later suffering cold damage from being out one night below 40 at the Towners. But he is hanging in there and has recently started growing lots of new leaves. What a relief! I've had him at least since high school, so more than 25 years, and I'm very glad not to lose him.

     The golden beets I bought at last weekend's farmers market were delicious chopped and roasted in the oven along with some onions. And no messy red stains or 'pink pee' either!

     Bought Aquaman for sale on Amazon with credit card points and had a blast watching it while I pedaled 19 miles on my exercise bike today. Though it's such a gorgeous movie it really deserves a much larger display than my projector.
Emotional Status:
hungry hungry
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Recent blessings:

     Last Thursday at work, came in to find the fluorescent lights had been replaced with LEDs. They are wonderful!

     Delighted to discover that an HDMI/mini USB cord I bought years ago and had no use for then, is perfect now to hook Starfish up to my projector. Since my projector and exercise bike are on the second floor, and my desktops are on the first, I can't use a long HDMI cable like I did in my small apartment. What a blessing!

     Farmer's market season has begun. I got out to the Saturday farmer's market, which I now live much closer to than at my old place: 1.7 instead of 6.1 miles!

     Fun with the Towners Sunday: picked them up, took them to see my new home, and then we went out to Coldstone Creamery to use the gift card I've had for a year and a half. I'm not an ice cream lover, but I really enjoyed my smoothie, and Joe loved his ice cream. Then we went to a special K9 event in my old neighborhood, a lead-up to the certification the handlers do with their dogs. That was fun and the weather got beautiful too.

     I had Monday off so I could apply for a new driver's license. That took multiple attempts to get all the documents I needed. But thankfully the rest of the day was a lot better: Cindy and I went for a hike in the NWR by the Minnesota River, then out to lunch at Cafe Zupas, and after that came Costco shopping. The weather was magnificent and we had a great time.

     Back to work, but that brought fun as well, as my department did a big 'Taco Tuesday' event that was a lot of fun. Got to catch up with Dawn and stuff my face; can't beat that! ;)
Emotional Status:
hungry hungry
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Recent joys:

     The yearly war against summer light and heat due to my seasonal depression always takes a new shape whenever I move. This time, I was blessed I could modify some of my existing light-blocks to fit my bedroom window, thanks to shims and duct tape to keep them from folding up. Unfortunately, light still comes through the window fan fan-blades area and that's unavoidable. But I discovered recently that I can set up my clothes-rack, hang a blackout curtain over it, and at least block the view from my bed. Better yet, the nights I can switch from window fan to portable air conditioner are fast rising, and on those nights my defenses are almost perfect. That means I can defer my crazy strategy involving pvc pipe and makeshift scaffolding for curtains until the fall, ha ha!

     It's another summer and I haven't mentioned yet how grateful I am to HAVE a portable air conditioner. One of my best purchases yet, especially now with my bedroom on the second floor!

     So I got outside to enjoy a devotional time on my patio one morning before it got too buggy out. I'm looking forward to more of that come autumn...

     Had to work from home Sunday afternoon as part of upgrade testing, but thankfully the actual work took less than an hour. It was good practice at setting up laptop and spare monitor at the dining room table and seeing how it all worked.

     I love movies that are suspenseful and get a lot of adrenaline flowing, yet aren't too dark or ghastly, as they are the best exercise bike fodder. This weekend brought a winner--after having the Netflix dvd for over a month and a half while I was too busy with moving and my blu-ray player was in storage, I finally got to watch 'Searching.' Wonderful!
Emotional Status:
rushed rushed
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Recent delights:

     Friday I wrapped up my first run through the fourth Geren novel with pass 7. Can't do anymore until I hear back from my editor. Pleased with my progress and glad for a little break.

     Saturday when I went to the Johnson's to pick up the houseplants they'd been taking care of for me, I was blessed that they also had a garage sale going. So I got a couple items that were on my long-term purchase list but would have cost a lost more at regular price. Also got a quesadilla maker I'm eager to try out. And my plants are happy too--what a blessing!

     A blessing to have two beautiful days of the three day weekend, with the crazy amounts of rain and damp cold this month. Perfect weather for garden shopping, some planting, and...

     Sunday morning before church I headed out to visit a regional park I'd never been to before. It's quite big, and thankfully has good maps. Did about two hours of hiking, glad to see some spring ephemerals, and photograph a bluebird and a trumpeter swan. Looking forward to going back!

     Monday was the rainy day, all day long. But it had great stuff too. Started out with a successful blood donation in the morning. Then had a wonderful indoor Memorial Day 'picnic' at the Towners, with Joe grilling in the garage. Wound up being 15 people there in all!
Emotional Status:
rushed rushed
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Recent good stuff:

     Did not expect to have to use the furnace at my new place so soon, but it was 40s Sunday with a low near freezing, so I got to put it on Monday morning. Good to know it's ready for next winter.

     Blessed that I have options for trying out different park and ride locations and timing.

     I was in charge of the monthly publish for May at my job Tuesday, and I'm grateful it went smoothly overall and quickly enough that I could leave at the usual time.

     After three weeks of waiting, finally got the deposit remainder for my apartment. All they deducted was water/sewage costs since the last quarterly bill--hallelujah!

     I have so many storage locations in my new place that I've started a spreadsheet so I can keep track of what goes where!

     Looking forward to a three day weekend!
Emotional Status:
lethargic lethargic
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Lots of good stuff lately:

     While staying at the Towners, quite enjoyed watching their bird and squirrel feeders. Regulars included goldfinches, house finches, chickadees, cardinals, blue jays, grackles, cowbirds and even crows. Also got to see white-breasted nuthatch, downy woodpecker, red-winged blackbirds, chipping sparrows, a pair of rose-breasted grosbeaks...and a female mallard who came over to eat the corn the squirrels dropped. Some rabbits did the same, and I spotted a thirteen-striped ground squirrel once too. All the squirrels were grey squirrels, but it was neat to spot differences between them, and see my first dark brown squirrel that wasn't black. Couldn't decide if the coat color reminded me more of Holunn, Hullek, or Hu-Hovingen from my novels!

     While taking a walk in the park near the Towners house last Monday evening, I watched a great blue heron on the edge of a pond who was nervously watching me. The moment it started to fly away, it was dive-bombed by an immature bald eagle! It was an amazing sight and I'm glad the heron got away unscathed.

     Wednesday after work was the lease-signing. And Thursday was moving day! Despite some storms early that morning, and the weather getting sticky and hitting 80 for the first time this year, it proved a very good day. I was hugely blessed by all who helped me: Joe, Mary, Aaron, Mary's sister Carol and her husband Dale (up from Texas on a visit), Lance and Robin from the Towners' church group, and Cindy. Thanks to all the help, and the 15 foot U-Haul I rented, we got everything out of storage and over to my place by 1:30. Then nearly all of us celebrated with a big meal at Cracker Barrel..which I live a lot closer to now. =)

     Speaking of U-Haul, I'm grateful that driving something that size for my first time went as well as it did. Really appreciated Joe jumping out and directing me whenever I had to back up to a garage door or storage locker door, and also his help at the gas station.

     Been doing loads of unpacking since then. And noticing little details about my new place. White appliances in the kitchen, whoot! My microwave matches perfectly and I'm glad to have an escape from stainless steel since that doesn't fit my taste in looks or maintenance.
Emotional Status:
exhausted exhausted
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