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Much to be grateful for:

     The three day holiday weekend gave me the extra time I needed to finish up my new nightstand project, then get it installed in my bedroom. (Flash and no-flash photos here.) Feels great that my staining projects are now two down, two to go!

     This ongoing heat wave has made me daily very grateful for the huge blessing of my portable AC in my bedroom. My bedroom is upstairs and so it's been getting up to 85 some days now, which means the portable AC has to run for hours just to cool it down. If not for that, I'd probably be sleeping on an air mattress in the laundry room by now. I do refrain from hugging and kissing it, but it does get an affectionate pat on the 'head' at times. =)

     When I moved in last year, I enjoyed the aesthetic blessing of underground power lines in my neighborhood. Now that I work from home half of the time, I'm even more grateful. They're so much safer when thunderstorms come through, which means I can keep doing my job despite the weather without too much concern.

     A long weekend was also quite a blessing for my Geren books final review. I'm 2/3rds through my first sweep of the third Geren book already!

     Last Friday I received the special stipend money from my employer, Monday I ordered a new desk chair, it was delivered Wednesday, and Friday (today) I started using it for my work from home setup. What a blessing!
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    hungry hungry

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Recent gratitudes:

     It felt delightful and strange at once to have a church service in the building for the first time in months. Very odd to see it so empty, capped at 250 people, with 2/3rds of the rows blocked off and people keeping distance. But good to go there again.

     I am so glad that I can ride the bus again, rather than having to drive to work. Very grateful for the reading and editing time that provides!

     The hot sticky weather is perfect for a nice batch of cold emerald soup and I have been quite enjoying it! (The soup, not the weather. ;)

     I finished my first sweep through my second Geren book this week and now I'm underway with the third book. Pleased with my progress!

     Found out my rent increase for this year, and it's pretty nominal, whew!

     I am both relieved and thankful to have passed a very large spiritual test over the past couple weeks, and blessed that it led to a good outcome also.

     Hurrah for a three-day week and functioning air conditioning of every variety!
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    hot hot

(no subject)

A handful of recent blessings:

     Shortly after my last post, a small rainstorm passed and the sun came out...leading to the biggest, brightest double rainbow I've seen in years. As it was after 8 pm, it was very high. I look a lot of photos, some come slightly close to showing how amazing it was.

     Very blessed to realize that, perhaps due to the holiday, there's an extra week in the publish schedule for July. So instead of my time off putting me behind for my config work, I actually had a couple extra days to catch up with messes and work on an extra project. What a relief!

     Enjoyed birthday gifts from my coworkers Nancy and Dawn. An adorable little succulent in a lovely grey pot, from Nancy. Delicious cheesy popcorn from Dawn, and we had our free lunch together on Thursday. Quite enjoyed it!

     The hot, sticky 'high summer' weather is rolling in, renewing my intense gratitude for my wonderful portable air conditioner. And central air as well!

     I had a 6 am work meeting today (Saturday) for a migration that wound up lasting almost 4.5 hours! Glad they didn't need me for most of that time, so I could get other stuff done and try to stay in earshot of what was happening. Hopefully future migrations will be a little quicker, too!
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    relieved relieved

(no subject)

Highlights of my five-day weekend:

     On Friday, I went for an 11.5 mile bike ride around Hastings with Cindy, Mike, and Joe. It was a lot of fun, and neat to see a barge in the Mississippi Lock & Dam 2, the waterfall and gorge on the Vermillion River, pelicans and vultures down by the river, and the town in general. The weather was fantastic and then we had lunch in Mike and Cindy's yard afterward. A great day.

     To treat myself for my birthday, I ordered chocolates from Abdallah Candies and they were delivered very quickly. They are delicious and I intend to make them last.

     Although I've been busy with my current staining project (a wooden nightstand for my bedroom) and other tasks, I'm also very pleased with my progress on the Geren books review. Up to 55% through my first sweep of the second novel!

     2020 brings somewhat different forms of birthday celebrations. For turning 45, I couldn't go to the local art fair as I like, or treat myself out to a movie either. But I could still pick up pizza for the weekend at Domino's. And I feel quite blessed that restaurants have started reopening. That meant the wonderful Towners could treat me once again to a meal at Boca Chica. It felt a little different this year--we ate outside, masks abounded, and Mary's sister and brother-in-law were not present this time. But we quite enjoyed our meal, and then our time in Stillwater afterward, checking out a new bike/pedestrian path, walking into and out of Wisconsin on the old bridge across the St Croix, and finding out from a local resident about another neat bike trail.

     I have to express special gratitude for the weather. Aside from storms late Sunday afternoon, it's been a stretch of nice days, some quite cloudy, and most in the 70s. That made it great for getting out, doing some biking, and working in the garden too, as well as my staining project in the garage. This reprieve is going to end soon, but it was a treat while it lasted!
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    thoughtful thoughtful

(no subject)

Recent blessings:

     The weather on Saturday was fantastic! Cindy and I got out for another walk, and though we didn't see anything more dramatic than a single swan, a beaver lodge, and a snapping turtle digging a hole to lay her eggs, we still have a great time. Lots of wildflowers blooming all over--saw some wild irises and a whole bunch of wild roses.

     Oh yes, can't forget what happened earlier that same morning. I checked the radar, was startled to see rain over my area even though there was sunlight outside, then put two and two together and rushed out the door to enjoy a morning rainbow. Been a while since I've seen one!

     Back to the office Monday, and delighted to have the ice machine and vending machines working again, along with the vents in the bathroom, after those all being out of power for a few days following last week's big electrical fire.

     My first sweep through my first Geren book is already past 80%. It's been a challenge with so much upheaval to my schedule of late, so I'm glad I'm doing as well as I am.

     Glad to have a workday under 11 hours today. I was in charge of the big publish and I was able to finish and head home before 6. Not only that, but it was my excuse to treat myself to dinner from Freshii (third time's the charm with trying to pick up food there) and nothing has blown up yet! Also grateful the biggest part of the changes won't go into effect until next week at the earliest.
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    rushed rushed

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Glad to make it to the end of another very grueling and eventful work week!

     A special lunch at work Tuesday, as it combined a very belated celebration for my former boss, a celebration of another supervisor's 45th service anniversary, and also welcoming her replacement. A few watched via Zoom, but a bunch of us got to eat well separated in a big conference room. My manager's icebreaker question about 'first or worst' job led to a lot of fun stories.

     Also on Tuesday, dinner with the Towners. Because it was a rainy day, we met at their place. That meant I got to see their almost-completed deck! Amazing, after so many years of the dining room patio door looking out over empty air. It was a nice time that went too fast.

     A big surprise Thursday during the weekly Zoom meeting with the company CEO and HR head. They announced a very gradual return-to-work-downtown schedule. And because it's been so long and will be months longer for most people, they also announced a $500 stipend for everyone to get better office furniture for work-from-home! That made me so glad I hadn't bought a new office chair to replace my falling apart 19-year-old one yet, as now I can get one that's better quality. What a blessing!

     To my astonishment, some of my morning glories have started blooming already. I knew that 'Grandpa Ott' (dark purple flowers) is not nearly as fussy as 'Heavenly Blue' (what I usually grow) but the plants are hardly more than two feet tall!
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    drained drained

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Recent delights:

     Apparently, Friday was National Doughnut Day. So that was my excuse to grab some that evening with my regular food shopping. I've certainly been enjoying them!

     Saturday brought the first local Farmer's Market. The weather was nice, so I biked over there and bought asparagus and golden beets. I'm so glad Farmer's Markets are still happening despite the pandemic.

     Also on Saturday, the fun of seeing the Johnsons for the first time in a while...so long, that we exchanged both belated Christmas gifts and birthday presents! A very nice time, and the weather was ideal for eating lunch out on the deck.

     Sunday morning, before the heat and humidity started rolling in, I went for a walk around the neighborhood and explored some streets I haven't been down yet...along with two different routes through the rich neighborhood which I also quite enjoyed. Such a great time of year to enjoy people's landscaping, and the peonies and irises are in full bloom now.

     I find it slightly ironic that about a week after finally getting my second bedroom looking like a bedroom I had to move out for working from home, as it is getting too hot up there. Now I'm in the dining room, with my pantry right behind me, and wondering how I'll fare working surrounded by food!
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    hot hot

(no subject)

Though every day since May 28 has felt at times like a battle against some sort of nervous breakdown, every day has also brought blessings:

     The weather on the weekend was fantastic! Highs in the 60s and 70s, low humidity, light wind and plenty of sunlight. Quite a gift after the unpleasant weather for most of the Memorial Day weekend.

     I couldn't pass up that chance for some last hikes before ghastly summer heat and humidity rolls in. On Saturday morning, a return visit to the NWR, with more flooding fun and the area I wanted to hike unreachable, but the small loop I could walk was wonderful for spring wildflowers. Sunday was even better, as I hiked in the regional park, and finally made it through the entire trail that was closed all of last year. Saw two cranes on my return, and was hugely blessed by the shocking sight of an adult common loon diving for fish on one of the lakes. Can't forget loads of lupines and another bluebird photo.

     This time of year always reminds me to be thankful for air conditioning--in vehicles, in homes and workplaces, and especially for my portable AC in my bedroom!

     If I must drive to work on my days in the office instead of taking the bus, at least I enjoy the blessing of free parking in a climate-controlled ramp. That's especially nice when it's near 90 out.

     Potentially severe storms were expected Tuesday, with a good chance of hail. So I'm very grateful I could get home before they started, and evacuate most of my garden into the garage using my four-wheel dolly, which is wonderful for rolling large flowerpots around. Best of all, there was no hail, so the plants I couldn't bring in were not damaged. Thank you, God!

     My employer has been forced to shut down their buildings early this week two days in a row due to current events. I really needed to be onsite for work I can't do at home, so I'm glad I was able to get there at 6:30 am Thursday and squeeze in what I needed, then leave a few minutes before everything closed at noon to beat the line leaving the parking ramp.
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    drained drained
bad day

(no subject)

So grateful for a weekend after this week in particular.

     Blessed by a break in the ugly weather Sunday afternoon, because that's when I went on a bike ride near Joe's home with him, Cindy, and Mike. He was gentle with us--just 15.9 miles (that way we'll bike with him again!). It was very nice, his route was great, the views were lovely, and the horde of goats in the regional park clearing out invasive undergrowth was a fun treat. Had a sort of picnic dinner sitting out in the Towners' driveway afterward which was great too.

     The repainted trellis is up, the garden is planted (except for two late plants I'm waiting on being delivered), the bills are paid, and I'm finally starting to feel less buried. Very glad for that!

     Another reason I feel less buried is that book 5 rewrites and edits are DONE! Put up my announcement post Tuesday and enjoyed a little reprieve before I start back in Geren book 1.

     Very grateful for God's provision Thursday. I was at work when the company intercom came on at 1:59 to tell us the buildings were closing at 2:00 due to civil unrest...and that buses were not running. Since I take the bus to work, that was a problem! I'm so glad I remembered my failure from the last time the intercom came on for an emergency, and this time I prayed first and kept praying and asked my mom for prayer too. Then walked out of downtown to Boca Chica where I was blessed that the Towners were willing to come pick me up...except poor Mary had a blackout when they were headed out the door to help me. So I'm very grateful for their friends! They helped me move a year ago and this time Lance drove me from Boca Chica to the park and ride. Also very grateful Mary did not have to go to ER this time.

     More gratitudes: First, I did not have to work downtown today. Also, that Linda was safe last night, and Nancy was safe, and Nancy's daughter. And grateful that I live in the outer suburbs! And that God sent me a dream April 14 as a warning so I would not get complacent. (And after scouring my journals and beginning to doubt my sanity, I found the nightmare I had about riots and the buses shutting down and being trapped was way back in February of 2009. I should have written down more details, but I had no trouble at all remembering it clearly the first few years!)
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    stressed stressed

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Work week highlights:

     Thanks to finding out about it through NextDoor, I visited a new Mexican take-and-bake on the weekend and brought home lots of food that fed me through Wednesday. I'm looking forward to trying out more tasty options on a return visit!

     Since I worked from home Monday this week, I used my lunch break to visit a small nearby nursery I hadn't gotten to yet. It was amazing! It had the browallia I hadn't been able to find anywhere, and the unique variety of thunbergia also--if I'd only known, I'd have saved $10 over buying one on eBay! And they had purslane! Any nursery that has purslane (and not just portulaca) has my instant affection. The place so impressed me that I know long trips to visit the nurseries up near Stillwater are now an event of the past, as I have two great options just within a few miles. What a blessing!

     Another undeniable blessing of working from home is being able to get out at 6 am for quick errands--because that's the time when the Costco gas station opens, as well as Home Depot, and they're pretty near each other. Works great and avoids the crowds!

     My employer is back on the Fortune 500 list, after narrowly missing it last year. This year in particular, I am very blessed to work where I do. Thank you, God!

     I found out a week or so past that Freshii in the skyway system is actually open, and for long hours, too! Just my excuse to pick up dinner there on Thursday. Since they're one of my favorite places, that might become a tradition...

     Hurrah for another three-day weekend!
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    excited excited