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A collection of gushes

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Delights:

     Happiness is Amazon credit card points I can use for a blu-ray and a dvd set!

     Checked airfare Monday to start scoping prices for visiting family in April and was blown away by some direct flight tickets at a great time and a great price. Shortest airfare search ever. What a blessing!

     So blessed by how quickly I got through (most of) my review of Geren book 1. I started on January 7th and hit the end on the 16th. Still have some tedious checks to run through at the same time as I do them for book 2, but that can happen on the weekend. So much faster than I ever expected, and now for book 2! I'm so excited that I might be ready to plunge into book 4 rewrites sooner than I expected...

     And today makes only 1 month left to my 25th anniversary of meeting t'DoL! Wow! Now for the final countdown, and so much to do and prepare!
Emotional Status:
hungry hungry
Reaching My Ears:
'Your Love Defends Me' by Matt Maher
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Recent joys:

     To my complete shock, I got a check in the mail for Jury Duty less than a week after I went in! The mileage reimbursement was more than I expected--quite nice!

     Also to my complete shock, my dwarf umbrella tree Schleffie has produced a flower stalk! I've had that plant for over 25 years, since I was in high school and it was tiny. I don't think I've ever seen a flower stalk on it before.

     Been really blessed by the favor God has given me on the job. There have been too many times in the past months where my being a klutz (running the wrong test, looking at the wrong section of code, or even just researching a completely different issue) has led to the discovery of something else that needed fixing. Friday, while testing a very scary change that has gone unnervingly smoothly, my test case produced an error for an entirely different issue I had tried and failed to replicate weeks prior. That error's been going on for months, and since I was blessed to replicate it, it didn't take long to fix it. Thank you, God!

     My picture 'Midwinter Mercy' is FINALLY done! It was supposed to be a quick fun little jaunt, but ended up taking over a month due to how hard it is for poor old Tertius to do the renders of a scene with so much snow. I had to stop one render after 98 hours since I really needed to access the internet! Hopefully my next art project will really be small and 'quick'...that is, 3 weeks or less!

     It might be -11 out there. Again. But inside I have the treat of one of my new streptocarpus and one new tiny African violet celebrating spring a little bit early. Lovely!
Emotional Status:
pleased pleased
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Recent blessings:

     Last Friday, I got a really sweet and amusing gift from my former teammate turned former downstairs supervisor, who has now left my area. She gave me a replica of a time-turner (from Harry Potter) and her note said she'd never met anyone who seemed to have a time-turner until me! That makes me laugh, because I can hear the Shado laughing at me. And because while I might appear to have supernatural powers in regard to efficiency, levelheadedness, and time on the job, I most certainly do NOT with my real work!

     A real blessing to have the Towner's minivan over the weekend. It brought the delight of going to church and it not being a 3.5 hour process, and the blessing of getting to go food shopping Saturday morning when it was -12 out and not having to walk there.

     -12, however, brought me another amazing array of frost patterns on my bedroom window, and a photo I plan to long enjoy as a computer wallpaper. God's art is so awesome!

     If the heat had to go out at my end of the apartment, what a blessing that it waited until the very end of the cold snap. I was shocked to find my place at 56 inside on Sunday morning, but thankfully they had it fixed by that afternoon.

     Wonderful news at the jury duty website this afternoon--they are done with new trials for this period so I am off the hook! Hurrah!

     Best of all, today makes only 40 days until my 25th anniversary of first meeting t'DoL!
Emotional Status:
cheerful cheerful
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New Year blessings:

     The cold continues, but it certainly has its nice aspects. One being the gorgeous frost on my windows, which I took photos of on Saturday. A second: the folks in the adjacent condo who sometimes do loud late parties on their deck did nothing of the sort for New Year's when it was -12 below, hah!

     Thanks to some wonderful and generous Amazon gift cards I received for Christmas, I was able to get myself a blu-ray player, which I've been wanting for a while. Got to enjoy that over the weekend, in which I watched four movies and put 81 miles onto the exercise bike. =)

     Got the best thank-you card ever on Tuesday, from my nieces and nephews for their Christmas gifts.

     Really blessed by timing, generosity, and Providence this week. Timing--I did not get called for Jury Duty Wednesday, which was very good as my teammate had to attend a funeral. Generosity--the Towners kindly loaned me their extra minivan, and that meant I could go to the worship and prayer service at my church Wednesday night. Providence--I got called for Jury Duty Thursday, and didn't find out until we were released that it had been for a three-week criminal case. But the defendant pleaded guilty and we all got to leave before noon! (I might get called back next week, but hopefully it would be a civil trial if anything.)
Emotional Status:
grateful grateful
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Hurrah for a three-day weekend!

     This week has been quite bitterly cold, and that brings its own fun (it's around -13 with a -30 wind chill out as I post this). Wednesday morning I walked out the door and then wondered if I'd forgotten to put my pants on. All I could feel warmth from was my jacket, since the sub-zero temps had instantly gone through my pants and thermal underwear like they weren't there! Thursday and Friday brought a little snow, which led to the dubious fun of the huge coach bus slithering around on black ice, and the better entertainment of squeaky fresh snow on the sidewalks. Squeaky snow is so neat!

     The microwaveable heating pad I bought years and years ago for Holly (considering it will be 12 years since she died on New Year's Eve) is as ever proving a blessing. I can heat it up and hang it around my neck for the super cold mornings, bring it to work to help me stay warm, and it is a near-permanent fixture during the winters months at home--it's under my feet as I type this. I hope the makers never go out of business but I fear they just might since their product is so excellent it lasts nearly forever!

     Happiness is getting to use a $5 gift card for the lobby shop I won months ago to get cheesy popcorn and pop to help celebrate the new year (since I am completely broke). I'm glad I remembered I have it!

     Delighted that the County website was updated by 4 instead of 5, so I could find out I do not have to report for Jury Duty this next Tuesday before I left work, rather than afterward. Very relieved about that!

     Not only does this weekend bring me to the end of horrible 2017, today brings me to only 49 days remaining before my 25th anniversary of first 'meeting' t'DoL!! 7x7 is a wonderful avarii number, so today is when I moved the countdown on my mermaid pillow to be just in days, rather than months. Excitement!
Emotional Status:
cold cold
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Delights:

     For my shopping trip on Saturday, I used some hand warmers, and that quite helped with having to haul on a cold metal cart for there and back. Having hand warmers around will be a real blessing with the deep cold coming in.

     Since they last for hours, the hand warmers were still toasty for my walk to the movie theater on Saturday as well. Got to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi and quite enjoyed it.

     Finally got 'The Deceptions of Hu-Havenn' polished up and made into a pdf. Feels good to be done with it...except I do have a bit of an urge to do a 'romantic' illustration of Heruvael and Hu-Havenn next summer...

     A treat on Sunday heading back from church. Low clouds with sunlight spilling through, and light snow falling. It was beautiful, and it blessed me because it so matched the weather in the picture I'm currently working on. I was able to make observations as well as just plain enjoy it.

     So blessed by wonderful gifts for Christmas, as well as the delight of giving gifts. And lots of amazing goodies too! And a nice time at the Towners, and the fun of watching The Grinch and The Nativity Story, along with my own personal tradition of music all through Christmas Eve night. It's a treat when Christmas falls on a Monday.

     Merry Christmas, everyone!
Emotional Status:
full full
Reaching My Ears:
Cantique de Noel (O Holy Night) by Mannheim Steamroller
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Happiness comes with:

     I found an 'Evening Solitude' throw on eBay and got it! It looks lovely on my futon--I'm so blessed by how many pieces I found this year!

     Sunlight Tuesday for my poor plants after two weeks of cloudiness. Also a little sun on Friday, and hopefully that will help them hold out until there's more next week.

     Blessed during the first half of the workweek to have no drama, nothing breaking, no tiny needles to fish out of huge haystacks either. So despite not being in the best shape due to a cold, I made huge progress on the endless list of projects at present. (AKA, cram in as much as possible before Jury Duty hits.)

     An amazing gift from heaven--my employer announced they are matching up to $10,000 for Puerto Rico aid! What a blessing to be able to make a sizable donation and double my impact!

     The tail end of this week has been all about parties. Thursday brought a party at work for all the people under my wonderful manager. Then Thursday night, a party with my singles group that was quite fun. And Friday, another party at work!

     Friday was special for another reason as well. December 22 brings me to 42.5 years old. I feel like I just turned 40, and now I'm halfway to 45, already!
Emotional Status:
pleased pleased
Reaching My Ears:
'Emmanuel God with Us' by Point of Grace
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Yummies and joys:

     Back last Tuesday I had my monthly get-together with the Towners. I suggested Zupas so that was where we went. My second time there, and I chose the mushroom bisque for my soup and instantly acquired a new 'addiction.' It was amazing! We all had a great time there, and I wish my mom had been along to see the various flavors of creme brulee they had for dessert. Mary and I behaved, but Joe got the creme brulee cheesecake.

     On Thursday at work my boss did a pancake breakfast (though her husband actually make all the pancakes!). The motive was to have a taste test between Costco pure maple syrup, and the maple syrup she had purchased when she was up in Vancouver. We all quite enjoyed the pancakes and fruit...and the taste test came up a tie!

     On Friday I used part of my lunch break to walk over to the new Walgreens. It is at least double the size of the old run-down one, and even better, it is now accessible entirely by skyway, which will be a big blessing if/when the weather gets too bad for my to walk to my usual food shopping place.

     It was far from cheap, but I'm glad I splurged for the higher-quality paper cutter to trim the single-page calendars I'd ordered. I am really, really impressed by the design and the quality and how tiny a strip a paper I can shave off, how clean the cuts--the whole deal. So while this year got a bit pricey with the calendar project, at least I'll have it for upcoming projects.

     Yesterday I did the revising I needed for 'Deceptions,' so hopefully I will be able to review it a few more times and be done with it soon.

     Today is a special day, as it brings me to just two months left before my 25th anniversary of 'meeting' t'DoL. I may have to switch my mermaid pillow to a day-by-day countdown soon!
Emotional Status:
drained drained
Reaching My Ears:
'Shepherd's Carol' from A Festival of Carols
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Long weekend blessings:

     Did a full walk to church for my second time on Sunday. Enjoyed it, and got a treat--on a part of the Minnesota River that hadn't frozen over yet, I saw two adult swans and two youngsters (too far off to see if they were Trumpeter or Tundra).

     One good thing about living in a much smaller place--my fir scented candle makes it all smell wonderful when I burn it! And that helps make up for having no fresh tree or wreath.

     I took Monday off to use up the last of my time that I can't carry over. And I did good stuff with it. I'd scheduled a platelet donation for 8 am, which meant I could take my usual bus to work and save time not dealing with a longer walk or connections.

     My platelet donation was successful, yay! And I got quite a treat on the walk across the Robert Street Bridge over the Mississippi River. First the snow was coming down in small strange pellets that looked like styrofoam (or minuscule snowballs). Not a variety I see very often! But then it changed suddenly to jumbo snow. And by the time I got to the Red Cross building, it was jumbo JUMBO snow--biggest I've seen in a few years. Stunning!

     Blessed that my 2018 single-page calendars got delivered Sunday though I didn't know about it until 5:30 am. But that meant I could take one along when I brought gifts to the Johnson's after my platelet donation. We had a great time, and I got to enjoy some fabulous gingerbread. Very glad I was able to make it out there and they were home!
Emotional Status:
tired tired
Reaching My Ears:
'O Holy Night' from 'Majesty and Wonder' by Phil Keaggy
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Payday Friday and other joys:

     Got blessed by a feature of my auto-backup service I'd forgotten about. I'd accidentally overwritten my original 2017 calendar image when I started making the 2018 one, and thought it was lost for good. But IDrive keeps up to 10 previous versions, so I was able to retrieve the file before it got overwritten. So grateful!

     Winter made quite an appearance this week! Got to enjoy extra-long bus rides with more time for work on pass 7. And I celebrated the coming of the cold and snow by singing at the bus stop Tuesday morning--'All Is Well' from long-ago church choir days.

     Happiness is getting 'With Sound Effects!' completed Tuesday night, placing my order for the calendar images Wednesday morning, and finding out they'd already shipped them Wednesday evening!! I'm enjoying having wallpapers of my new image at work and home, and I'm eagerly anticipating the thrill of doing a puzzle with it this weekend.

     Work has been brutal of late. I was very grateful to finally have a 'quiet' day on Wednesday where I made good progress on a project, but then it was right back into the frying pan on Thursday. However, all the ghastly mishaps one after another have brought some good stuff--I've learned things and uncovered various non-functioning code I would never have found otherwise. So very, very grateful for a three-day weekend!

     Dawn and I did lunch together Friday...we got food at Arby's! Next time our schedules won't be so tight and we'll be able to go somewhere better, but it was a good time.
Emotional Status:
thoughtful thoughtful
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Sundry sorts of treats:

     I have been quite enjoying some of the Trader Joe's goodies I got two weeks ago. In particular, having their canned Mandarin oranges from Spain as part of my lunches again, and also the tiny frozen blueberries from Canada that I love to add to my oatmeal or cereal.

     A week ago, riding the bus back from church, I saw that the bike/foot bridge across the Minnesota River appeared to be open (there's been construction going on there on and off all year). So that gave me the chance to try something I've been wanting to do: walk to church. Google says it's 4.7 miles, and it went well. What I really appreciated was getting away from cities and suburbs for a little bit, getting to enjoy crossing the wetlands and seeing the low river bluffs, since I can't escape by car at present. A blessing to have such nice weather on the weekend, and to be able to take buses home after church.

     On Sunday I also walked to the movie theater to watch Justice League, which meant my walking that day probably totaled 8 miles. Since my expectations were low, I enjoyed myself immensely...and personal biases definitely played a role!

     My single-page calendar project for 2018 has experienced some interesting setbacks. Not so much with file corruption or memory overruns (this time) thankfully. Instead, the place where I order the calendars each year--well they quit providing that template. So that left me scrambling to figure out how to make one of my own and come up with a new strategy. Nothing like necessity to trigger inventiveness! I used Walmart's same-day print option to print a 12x18 draft version. Then I had to get there...and that worked out by getting off the bus at the ramp, walking there to pick up my order, walking back, and taking a different bus to get closer to home. I think I just walked around 2 miles that way, which sure beats the 4+ it would have been by not heading back to the ramp. Especially appreciated in windy drizzly weather!
Emotional Status:
tired tired
Reaching My Ears:
'Coventry Carol' by Point of Grace
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So glad for a weekend!

     The workweek was brutal. It felt like 'whack-a-mole' (the game in my avatar) because it was just one mess after another all week long. Every day brought new issues, some quite bizarre. I feel like I definitely added to my grey hairs collection this week! Glad that I didn't have to stay late until Friday (because my boss is now in Canada and on Pacific time and needed help). And an ironic benefit too--got stress levels so high that my body didn't even notice I was fasting on Wednesday until I went home!

     Very grateful that after layers upon layers of fixes for a certain project, when I came up against a sporadic issue that completely stumped me, God led me to an answer within a day. Now we might actually be able to leave it alone until January!

     In pondering my monthly summary post for November and thinking over my story 'Deceptions,' I was blessed with a revelation. I knew the moment I wrote the ending that the story was flawed. So I put in another scene before the ending, but knew that wasn't enough. This week I was blessed to realize that the second-to-last scene needs to be the first scene; that the Heruvael point-of-view parts 'bookend' the story. I'm not looking forward to getting back into it, and I'm still wondering why God wanted me to write that tragedy, but I'm very grateful to have a solution. Thank you, God!

     Last December I impulsively bought a warm white Starfire Sphere Christmas decoration at Gertens, and during the winter months I really enjoyed having it sitting in Schleffie. So this year I wanted to get another, but have no car with which to drive to Gertens. Took to the internet and was delighted to find that they make a version that is plug-in rather than battery powered and then found a place that had it at a good price. I like the stars better on the battery one, so now my plug in one stays with Schleffie, while the battery powered one tickles me as I have a bowl full of stars (My video shows the stars blurry and far less pretty than they really are). Really enjoying them!
Emotional Status:
relieved relieved
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A handful of delights:

     On Thanksgiving morning, to my immense delight, I found that someone had put up an Evening Solitude bell pull tapestry up on eBay. That was the main reason my Evening Solitude search has been running the past couple years, so I was delighted to pounce on it. And it already showed up in the mail Monday and looks great!

     A real treat for a lot of people, especially travelers, to have it be mostly sunny with above average temperatures around Thanksgiving.

     Headed to church Sunday and was thrilled to discover that the interminable construction project that has been dragging on since June is FINALLY done. That means I can catch the bus directly behind church, which will be a real blessing when winter rolls in.

     An amazingly bright and lasting sunrise to savor during the bus ride to work Monday...and then a deliciously wispy delicate pastel sunset with color all over and the half-moon appearing swathed in silk. I love God's work!

     Delighted to find that the boots I've been ogling went on sale at 40% off for Cyber Monday. What a blessing!
Emotional Status:
busy busy
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Recent blessings:

     A wonderful Thanksgiving with the Towners. Aaron picked me up on his way over, and then I stayed the night and took the bus from the nearest park and ride--worked out great! It was a great time and the food was fabulous.

     Thanks to David and Aaron's great idea, we shared our Thanksgiving Bible passages by conference call this year. That was great, instead of having to make multiple phone calls, because everyone got to hear everyone else's.

     I am very grateful this workweek just had three days in it, because so many things went wrong or broke that it was crazy and stressful enough to feel like six days. Very very grateful for a weekend, and that most of the broken stuff is working again.

     Really delighted that the prints place I use just started offering shipping in a tube. That saved money, and my second attempt at printing 'Shelter from the Storm' to hang in my room is spot-on, while my first "small" (18x13) trial print of 'Laughter' is looking good too. Now I just need to figure out the frame and save up...and maybe I'll have the big print done for my birthday a year late, ha ha.

     A lovely clear morning for my walk to do food shopping, and delighted to get crazy delicious Lotzza Motzza pizza over 50% off.

     So very relieved--last night my elderly overworked pc Tertius pulled off a render of half of my 2018 calendar picture, containing t'DoL and three hyarmi cubs--and it did not explode or go corrupt. Whew! I actually have a chance of pulling this off! (Aiming for seven cubs in separate stages--though more would be nice I'm not that delusional--see how far I get!)
Emotional Status:
grateful grateful
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Blessings during a four-day weekend:

     I have a warm winter coat and some very light jackets, but I've been missing the in-between for 20s and 30s type of weather. So I was delighted to spot a good lightweight coat in a Costco sale ad and I ordered it online--only $40! It came and I got to wear it over the weekend as well as chilly windy Monday morning, and it is just what I needed!

     Been absolutely LOVING my mom's wonderful pumpkin bread with homemade applesauce!

     On Saturday I used my new coat and walked over to the movie theater to see the latest Thor movie. Not only was it a lot of fun, it was free because I'd saved up enough points on my theater card. What a treat!

     t'DoL's birthday made the perfect excuse to put the coat on again and fetch myself a bunch of Domino's pizza on Sunday (I love their pick-up only coupons). It will be nice to have the leftovers for lunches next week too!

     Monday was t'DoL's birthday, hence why I took it off. But a definite part of the fun that day was getting out to the new Woodbury Costco and Trader Joe's with Cindy. The new Costco is less than a mile from the apartments where I grew up--amazing the change in the last 30+ years. And I'm ecstatic that I could get all the Trader Joe's items I've really been missing of late--should last me a couple months!

     Feels great to not be behind with nearly as many things as I was going into the weekend. The art project for the 2018 calendar is giving me trouble, but at least I made a good start with Geren book 3 changes in pass 7 work. And Thanksgiving is coming!
Emotional Status:
rushed rushed
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The good and the delicious:

     I know I've posted about it before, but I am again quite grateful in these carless months that my bus pass is a fixed pre-tax payment by month, regardless of how often I use it. Case in point--this weekend between my platelet donation on Saturday and church on Sunday, I rode eight different buses!

     I think (I hope) that I finally made it to the finish line (barring editing) for 'The Deceptions of Hu-Havenn.' I thought I was finished Sunday night but realized a scene had to be added on Monday. I am ready for a break from that story!

     Made another batch of applesauce Monday evening to enjoy with the fabulous pumpkin bread my mom sent me--of course the reward was EATING SOME. Looking forward to more!

     Had a great evening with the Towners Tuesday, after taking the bus to the nearest park and ride. Delicious food, a good time, and fun making Thanksgiving plans too.

     Today makes 3 months and 3 days to my 25th anniversary of first 'meeting' t'DoL! Excitement is rising!
Emotional Status:
pleased pleased
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Blessings of various durations:

     I'm far from alone in not enjoying darkness by 5:30 now that Daylight Savings is ended. But I am enjoying the brief revisit of seeing sunrises on my way to work. Friday's in particular was amazingly vivid--made me think of the Changer though I'm sure he's say HE was brighter. ;)

     It has been great fun re-watching the first two seasons of Disney's Gargoyles while on the exercise bike over the past few months. A nice revisiting of a favorite from my college years, and great to see them in order, too!

     I've been slowly collecting Christmas decor over the years of an image called "Evening Solitude" to match my lighted tapestry. Last year I got a table runner and talked myself out of a throw pillow since I wouldn't be around for Christmas anyway. But this year I didn't have that excuse...and planned to get the one on eBay. To my amazement, when I took a quick look around the internet, I found one for less than half the price because it was on clearance. Got it in the mail Friday, and with the metallic gold threads and green back it's just as well-made as the tapestry. What a treat!

     The pillow wasn't the only treat in the mail Friday. This week brought the amusing fun of my parents and I both mailing each other "care packages" and them both arriving on the same day! I'm really looking forward to savoring the goodies I got. =)

     Out the door by 8:45 and took two buses and 1.5 miles of walking to get to my 10:15 platelet donation earlier than I expected. And my iron was high enough! Since I was down there, I treated myself to lunch from Afro deli, including some fried sweet plantains, yum!
Emotional Status:
drained drained
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Recent joys:

     The announcement was a few weeks back, and the reality showed up faster than I expected. Shared refrigerators at work! I'm looking forward to having it as a resource if I need to buy something cold and bring it home.

     Got my third Geren book edits back from my wonderful editor on Friday, so been mulling over that and getting ready for pass 7 work.

     Saturday morning it was too cold to want to bike, so I did my food shopping by foot with my new folding cart (that has stair-climbing wheels). It worked great--just carried the cart under my arm heading over so I could move at 4 mph or better. Also great because I can fit more in there than on my bike, and heading back went well too.

     Found a bus I can take after church that will really help once the interminable construction is ended. I feared when the paths got full of snow and ice that I would have to wait at the mall for an extra hour and have lunch there, but this bus gets me to the next bus in perfect timing--and I won't have to be sneaking out when the service runs late either. What a blessing!

     Gradually adjusting my schedule during the week before Daylight Savings ended really paid off once again.

     So thankful to God that I've been able to keep moving ahead with 'Deceptions.' Didn't write much Monday night, but at least I got all the lunar calendar conversions done so all the dates are dealt with. And I know why they chose Hileko's name! That's something I've wondered about, off and on, for a long time. Really hoping I can make it to the finish line by the end of the week...
Emotional Status:
busy busy
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Plenty of joys and unexpected delights during my internet fast:

     At work, all of the small monitors in my area got swapped out last week. I'm loving my new big screen with a native resolution pretty similar to mine at home--seeing my art as wallpaper images so much bigger is a great delight!

     October 27th was amazing. It SNOWED! Nearly all day long. Didn't pile up where I live, alas, but what a sight for October!

     October 27th was also amazing because Dawn brought in her homemade-from-scratch simply fabulous apple pie. And she'd kindly warned me the day prior so I could bring a container to work to take an extra slice home. Fantastic!

     Saturday was dreary and chilly--perfect weather for making homemade granola and having the oven going. My notes on oven temp and timing are now spot-on, so the cooking goes very smoothly. And now I get to ENJOY it!

     Best of all, I was finally able to get some traction with the story 'Deceptions' that I've been struggling with since July. Managed a few days of progress between Saturday and Wednesday and actually got my totals past 10,000 words. I really hope I can keep it up, but I'm so glad for how far I've gotten.
Emotional Status:
excited excited
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Recent treats:

     Did some short bike trips on Sunday. First a trip to Kowalski's to get a few items not at Cub, my first time going there via bike. There was no wind heading over, which I really appreciated, and I got to see an albino squirrel while heading back!

     Later in the afternoon I biked to the movie theater for my first time. That brought a few treats--I got free popcorn due to a promotional, I got my movie points up high enough for a free ticket next time, and I quite enjoyed seeing Only the Brave (and was wise enough to bring tissues!).

     The publish Monday went faster than I expected, considering there were ten batch classes total having changes. I got to head home at 5, and that gave me a chance to make applesauce in the evening. Always a real treat to end up with more time than expected!

     My least favorite time of the year is rapidly approaching, so I'll be signing off the internet (except for obligations like paying the rent) until sometime in wonderful November...
Emotional Status:
drained drained
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