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A collection of gushes

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Recent joys:

     Last Friday, my 'quest' for warm winter slippers finally came to an end. Of course, such a task shouldn't be difficult, except I am determined to avoid purchases made in China. And at the various stores I visited, of the slippers that were suitable, they all were. Ugh! Enter the hero of the story: Etsy! Picked out some felt slippers with wool lining made in Poland and was delighted to receive them a few weeks later. So that quest is finally over. I now have warm slippers that don't fall off my feet when I'm running up or down the stairs. Hurrah!

     Another project also came to an last weekend: finishing the bookcase I'd bought at the end of August and received in September. It took about a month and a half, a lot of supplies and a lot more time than I expected, but I hope, God willing, to enjoy it for years to come. (Here's before and after shots of the heap of boards that turned into a bookcase.) I haven't quite finished loading all the shelves yet, because there's another bookcase project ahead for the guest bedroom, and I'm not fully decided what goes where until they're both done. But at least I have two and a half more boxes unpacked and I can FIND all my adult fiction now!

     I took Tuesday off work, presumably to go on a walk with Cindy and enjoy the height of autumn color, but rain, cold temperatures, and vicious winds trashed that plan. Regardless, I did get over to the nearby laundromat to wash a big blanket; glad I was able to check it out and do some other errands as well. Also grateful Cindy will water my plants while I am on my trip.

     Best of all, I think I am finally finished with the major scene changes for Geren book 5, so pass 2 is almost done, and just in time, too! Pass 3 can be done on an airplane or in an airport, but pass 2 can not.
Emotional Status:
cold cold
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Workweek blessings:

     Found out that medical coverage costs are not going up for 2020, what a relief!

     Wednesday brought me to my 21st service anniversary at my job, which reminds me to thank God for leading me there, and the great people I've gotten to work for and with over the years.

     Quite a surprise on Thursday, with a big attached blessing. Found out my employer is shifting their pay calendar for 2020 to be one week 'in arrears.' So technically we'd all have to endure one week of pay for two weeks of work at the beginning of January--really bad timing! But instead, we're getting a free extra week of pay to make up for the schedule shift--how amazing!

     I really love how my 'Greenvale's Gold'/sixth Geren and Star autumn picture came out (just added it to my Geren art post). I realized I can use it as a sign-in image on my home computers, because I currently just have images set up for winter and spring/summer/fall. But I also discovered that I now have enough high-resolution illustrations for four seasons that I can actually make myself a 12 month calendar of my illustrations. I've been assembling a list for a couple years. Didn't expect to arrive so soon, but four of this year's pictures helped me reach it!
Emotional Status:
excited excited
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Three-day weekend delights:

     Saturday was great for making homemade granola, and the oven at my new place proved itself to be quite accurate again. Made for a delicious breakfast on Sunday!

     On Sunday I finished the art project I'd started in September. Yet another Geren and Star autumn illustration; I'm really blessed by how quickly it fell into place--the picture feels like a gift. It's also a kind of 'tradition,' since this is the sixth Geren and Star autumn illustration I've done since I first started working with Vue in 2006.

     One reason I took Monday off was because of the city doing a mandatory water meter upgrade. Thanks to being on Nextdoor, I found out through other unfortunate people that the main water valve can freeze due to never being used, so I took the time to research where it was and found it stuck. Then, thanks to Amazon, I was blessed to discover 'miracle juice,' aka penetrating oil that was pricey but had astounding reviews. Thanks to God's mercy, I started using that and vinegar on the frozen-up gate valve the moment the package arrived Saturday afternoon, and had it loosened up enough to turn off the water by Sunday evening. What a relief! Otherwise, my landlady would have to get a plumber, and coordinate with the city to turn off water to the whole building to replace the main valve, and the city is backlogged with all the other people having the same issue. More time off for me and a lot of nuisance for a lot of people...that didn't happen, thank God! The technician showed up at 5 on Monday and was done in 15 minutes, hallelujah!

     A sweet blessing on Sunday while driving home from church...heard for the first time on the radio the Francesca Battistelli song 'Defender.' To say that delighted me would be an understatement!
Emotional Status:
rushed rushed
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A plethora of delights:

     Saw the local fox for my fourth time on Friday morning. We were both tired of waiting to get across the street, apparently, since after I finally got to make my right-hand turn, it ran across in front of me. I'm never going to get tired of seeing foxes!

     Glad to finally finish the seal-coating on my interminable bookcase project, and be able to park in the garage again as the temperatures plummeted into the 40s and 30s and wet weather returned. Good timing!

     Friday also brought celebratory doughnuts for my boss's boss 30th service anniversary, brought in by her boss. Really good fresh doughnuts; I might have overdone it just a trifle...

     Special lunch Friday too, thanks to the gift card my boss gave me for Freshii. I enjoyed it immensely.

     So cold weather and snow--yes, SNOW, coming down Friday night and Saturday wrecked my plans for the Red Wing Art festival and hiking on Saturday. But that was fine, because it provided perfect weather to stay inside and make homemade granola. My first time at my new place, and also my first time this year--I've certainly been missing it. Looking forward to eating and sharing in the days ahead!

     Can't forget: thrilled to have a three-day weekend!
Emotional Status:
hungry hungry
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Recent blessings:

     I have a renewed gratitude and appreciation for my lactose pills after I messed up and only took one instead of three with my dinner Saturday. Stomachache, lots of trips to the toilet, and lots of weird noises coming from my internal plumbing made me very grateful I don't deal with that on a regular basis!

     At the bus stop Monday morning, it was clear enough and dark enough that I was able to spot Orion and the Winter Triangle for the first time in months. Neat!

     Glad to make it through Monday without pulling out all my hair. Both of my teammates called in sick, and of course various things went wrong. Grateful I could still leave at 4, then sign-in from home at 7:30 to find the system working again and clean up some of the mess.

     After weeks of being too busy with my bookcase project, I finally got to make some art progress over the weekend. Had to change my goal because I'm short on time, but pleased by how it's coming along.

     A nice get-together with goodies Tuesday morning to celebrate my boss's 10th year service anniversary. How time flies!

     Dinner with the Towners at their place Tuesday evening. It was great, as well as fun to see Aaron's cat Teabuddy, who did not attack me. =)
Emotional Status:
rushed rushed
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Glad to make it to the end of another tough workweek!

     I have three streptocarpus. Like me, they are not so fond of summer heat as African violets, so I wasn't sure if they would survive the summer at my place. I moved them down to a breakfast tray in the dining room by the patio door, so that they wouldn't be in the hot bedroom during the day. And they made it! Brought them back upstairs a couple weeks back and they are currently blooming up a storm.

     A blessing to be able to park in my garage a couple days this week, in perfect timing for days of cold clammy rain. So nice!

     My boss very kindly gave me a Freshii gift card (I got to choose the restaurant) as thanks for having to cover extra this week when she had to stay home due to a pet emergency. So nice of her, and I'm looking forward to a delicious lunch!

     Despite my bookcase project devouring way too much of my weekends, I'm happy with the Geren book 5 pass 2 progress I've managed to squeeze in. Still on track to finish pass 2 before my vacation, whoot!
Emotional Status:
hungry hungry
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I survived the workweek! And I got paid at the end of it!

     Blessed by timing--the concrete crew made enough progress by my place that I could evacuate my garage from all my stain-project-in-progress mess and actually park inside for the first time since sometime in July. That was good as there was a tornado watch out that night, so I didn't have to worry about hail on the minivan.

     Blessed to find a large folding room divider at a very good price on Amazon. As it's too cool now for my portable air conditioner, and my neighbors like leaving their lights on all night, I need something to block the light coming through my window fan, and using my clothes drying rack with a light-block curtain draped over wasn't working well enough. This is much better, and I can use my clothes drying rack for clothes drying again!

     I love the fact that when I get a voicemail on my home phone, it sends me an email with a transcript. Impressed by how accurate the transcripts are too.

     My life is beset by construction lately. The concrete crew finally finishing working on my building to work on the next door one...just in time for the painting crew to come put plastic over the windows and work past 6 pm each night with noisy sanders and other equipment--and leave their tools and vehicles all over the place so I can't park in my garage or nearby on the street until quite late. No escape at work, either: they've been tearing up and renovating parts of the floor I work on. First the hallway walls, now the conference rooms and vending area. Plenty of racket from that too, and a very squeaky cart I yearn to violently assault with a can of WD-40. It's no fun having to hike across the floor to get ice water...but I'm very grateful they haven't closed off the bathrooms! And grateful they haven't sealed off my bedroom window at home yet either. It's gotta end someday, right?
Emotional Status:
drained drained
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Happy, happy Birthday to my wonderful mother!

     I'm so glad God chose you to be my mother, and I pray He will richly bless you today and in the year ahead. I regret not getting to be with you on your birthday, but thankfully it's just about a month now until I come out. =) Maybe next year it will be different...

     Have a fantastic day, enjoy your gifts, and don't think about numbers! I love you!

Emotional Status:
touched touched
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Sundry delights:

     Thursday was a great day. I took the day off work, and biked the Cannon Valley trail from Cannon Falls to Red Wing with Joe and Cindy--about 20 miles. We had two vehicles and three bikes and three people, and neither vehicle could carry three bikes. So sorting that out was like an SAT or GRE question! The trail itself was amazing: super level, well maintained, and straight, as it followed an old railway line. The landscape was gorgeous; there were clouds and plenty of dappled shade so the heat didn't bother me much. Afterward, Joe treated us to a fabulous lunch at the old St James Hotel, which I had never been in before. Good exercise, great company, lovely views--blessed day!

     I couldn't work on my bookcase project Saturday, as the dew point was a ghastly 70 and the temps not much higher. So I went out to the farmers market and did a little shopping instead. While waiting for the post office to open, I was delighted to find and buy a gorgeous fall tablecloth on clearance at Bed Bath & Beyond.

     Sunday morning before church I finally got out for a walk that covered a small part of the rich neighborhood nearby that I really like, as well as some streets I hadn't been on before (which led to finding yet a few more single-level duplexes!). Set a good pace: did about 4 miles in an hour, and was glad to not bike because some areas are quite hilly. But I'd hardly even started when I got to see what must be the local neighborhood fox, hunting for breakfast. Also spotted a black squirrel later on, and getting to ogle so many exquisite houses made a gift in itself.

     On Sunday, finally finished staining the bookcase pieces! Next up is three layers of protective sealant, so who knows, I might get to actually start assembling it sometime in October!
Emotional Status:
pleased pleased
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Recent joys:

     Saturday morning, Cindy and I got together for a Costco run. Delighted to find some of the items on my list were on sale, and delighted to stock up for winter. It's a blessing to live so close.

     John Bevere of Messenger International was in Minnesota over the weekend, so I got out to hear him Saturday in person for my third time (first time this year). His books, podcasts, teachings, etc, have aided my spiritual life immensely since I was blessed to find out about him in 2015. I wasn't sure what he would speak on as he hasn't released a new book recently...but it felt like he picked the topic for me. Boy did I get nailed (by conviction)! It was really wonderful, as was the worship beforehand.

     Blessed that Sunday's weather was good enough I could make a lot of progress with my bookshelf project, catching up for the bad weather that kept me from doing anything during the workweek. And glad in general for any break from the rain.

     The return of sticky summer weather in mid-September was a perfect excuse for a final batch of cold emerald soup, and a final bunch of farmers' market corn on the cob, too!

     At work, the September publish Tuesday evening included implementing an idea of mine to automate an error process that has been particularly aggravating to handle manually. I've been looking forward to this!
Emotional Status:
excited excited
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Sundry joys and a big milestone:

     Tuesday I was blessed to receive the breakthrough I needed at work with a problem that had really been perplexing me. One project, three issues, all very different...and that morning I found that the same wrong setting created two of them. Hallelujah, I can take a break from beating my head against a wall!

     The interminable concrete project at the building where I live reached the point Friday afternoon where the only way in and out of my place was by ducking under caution tape and walking across a pair of boards to reach my garage. Haven't parked in the garage for over a month; haven't been able to have packages delivered to my door for a few weeks either. So what a joy on Tuesday to have the big cement pour in front of the garage finally take place, after so many delays. Thanks to the other cement pour happening last Friday, I can walk out my front door again! I can get packages again! I can have hope that I might get to park in my garage again before winter too!

     Another Tuesday treat was having dinner with the Towners at Hy-Vee, topped by some delicious mango key lime cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory. A very nice evening.

     Blessed on Wednesday to succeed with a donation at the company blood drive.

     Finally, this week brings a big milestone for me. Unfortunately my 1999 journal was done on paper, so it's in a box somewhere waiting for when my new bookcase projects are complete. Otherwise I'd love to look up the entry for Sept 11-12, 1999. Because 20 years ago was when I moved out of my parents' house (along with my dog Holly) to a rental of my own in a fourplex-style apartment a few miles away. To my younger self, one of the primary reasons for 'growing up' was to have a place of my own. And the year 2000 bore it out, because once I had my own place, and my own desktop, I was able to finally start picking up steam with the Geren novels. Otherwise progress had been limited largely to when I was house-sitting away from home, or my parents were away on vacation. I am so blessed to live in a culture, and earn a large enough paycheck, that I can afford the privacy I need for my life's work and my well-being. Thank you, God!!!
Emotional Status:
rushed rushed
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Recent blessings:

     Really delighted that the Minnesota State Fair set yet another all-time attendance record. Because I very much want it to live long and prosper!

     After praying about it sporadically over the past month or so, I was blessed with a picture idea for my 2020 single-page calendar. I have a fall picture to work on first, but I'm quite looking forward to starting in on it afterward.

     On Friday I had my third sighting of the black squirrel who apparently lives near the park and ride lot. Black squirrels get me excited, because they remind my strange little brain of Mirkwood and the Black Prince in my writing.

     Saturday morning was perfect for a hike. I went back to the regional park to walk through the portions I hadn't visited yet (part of which are closed most of the summer due to rare songbirds nesting in there). What I found was that it was very woodsy and quite hilly--not tall hills, but up and down over and over again--a fantastic workout! Just as I reached the part of the trail that's closed in the summer, I heard an owl hooting at me and was able to get a photo of a Barred Owl before he flew away. Neat!

     Started the ball rolling this weekend with both my unfinished bookcase project, and my second pass through the fifth Geren novel. Now I just need to keep it up!
Emotional Status:
rushed rushed
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Labor Day weekend highlights:

     I made a return visit to the State Fair on Saturday and had a wonderful time. The weather started in the upper 50s and got to low 70s, and it was cloudy most of the time, and not humid. So that was a huge blessing! I enjoyed plenty of food, including my crepe, corn on the cob, falafel, trying out some new feta bites, a smoothie, and cookies of course! Got to watch a South American band using some neat panpipes, also a demo by 'Helping Paws' that train assistance dogs in a two-year program. That was really neat. Can't forget the fun of seeing the orchid and bonsai displays, and a friend's daughter had some entrees in the baked goods contest.

     A 40% coupon proved a great excuse to get a bunch of pizza to celebrate the weekend and beyond.

     Very blessed to find my Bible in my church's lost and found closet on Sunday, after leaving it the previous Sunday.

     I think I finally have all the supplies I need for a big craft project I hope to kick off soon.

     Labor Day was a perfect day to finish pass 1 in my fifth Geren novel. As pass 2 is the hardest and can only take place at home, I get a week off and hope to start next weekend. Whoo-hoo!
Emotional Status:
tired tired
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Glad to make it to another three day weekend!

     So thankful to God that Hurricane Dorian largely 'side-stepped' Puerto Rico. They did not need another strike so soon after awful Maria.

     Lots of pastries at work Thursday, due to a part-time student leaving as she goes back to school. So that meant a lemon scone in the morning, a mini muffin mid-afternoon, and carrying off a very large delicious brownie to have for dessert Thursday and Friday. I do love brownies!

     It was cool enough this morning I had oatmeal for breakfast--the first time since the end of May. Wonderful!

     Very pleased with my progress on pass 1 in Geren book 5 rewrites. Approaching 90% already, and I only started on August 10th!
Emotional Status:
pleased pleased
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Lots of joys lately:

     Thanks to another cool morning, I got out on my bike for more exploring Sunday before church. Checked out an area with some single-level townhouses, then biked over to some parks that I'm quite looking forward to visiting again. And I saw an albino squirrel!

     A big blessing and gift from God at the church service Sunday.

     Monday was special--the Towners and I went to the State Fair together. We picked the first Monday of the fair because that's when the Stock Dog trials take place. Thankfully, the rain held off until the afternoon, so the morning was cloudy and fantastic. I got some shopping done, and riding with Joe on the Sky Glider was another high point--haven't done that in years. Also grateful I brought along a change of clothes, socks, and shoes to the Towners' house, because I was quite soaked by the end of it.

     I should have mentioned this on my previous post, but I had another 'providential blunder' at work Friday. I grabbed some random pages that didn't have any private data on them to test a change I'm building, and thereby uncovered an issue that nobody was aware of. What a blessing!

     Got together for lunch with my former boss and we had a good time, though half of it was spent talking about the State Fair. I'm very much looking forward to my return visit!
Emotional Status:
excited excited
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Recent gratitudes:

     I was in charge of the monthly publish for August at my job. Aside from a little stress over changes with security resources, it went quite smoothly. I didn't get home until after 6, but it could have been worse. So far, no reports of anything breaking, whew!

     August has turned out to be rather cool, and a real treat to enjoy low humidity at the end of the week. Another side-effect from the amazing weather: the Minnesota State Fair for the first two days creamed the old attendance records. Wonderful!

     Good timing for me--in my pass 1 work, on Friday I reached the middle parts of Geren book 5 where I'm incapable of stopping. And I was able to dive in early enough in the evening that I didn't too badly mess up my bedtime. Pass 1 is past 60%. (And t'DoL and I are having a dispute because my knowledge of physics is likely quite inferior to his. Learning opportunity!)

     Thanks to it being cooler, I got back to the regional park Saturday morning for the first time since the middle of June. Enjoyed a nice hike and lovely views in the prairie areas in particular, thanks to the blessing of it being mostly cloudy. Autumn is coming, yay!

     I'm glad for Amazon Prime streaming that's provided me lots of 'Numbers' episodes to rewatch as my exercise bike fodder over the past weeks. Thanks to my decrepit memory, it's like seeing them for the first time all over again!
Emotional Status:
nerdy nerdy
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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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