Monday, February 27, 2017

A stencil from Daiso and Green Ink

Today Mom had some blood tests, and hopefully they get what they needed to start the new chemo soon.

I had a short day at work, and felt like buying something random so I went to Daiso.

I've figured a trick to start the Red car, now that I know it wants to stall, but it's letting me know that soon I won't be able to do that, so I don't like to make too many trips.

I bought some artistic papers and things and gifts.
Mostly I just wanted to get out of the house.

One thing I saw that caught my attention was some paper for absorbing oil from fried foods.
It had an interesting texture.

Another thing I found was a flowery plastic mat for draining dishes.

It was just the size of my 9x12 sketchbook page.

I thought it would be really nice to make a stencil.

One side is perfectly flat and the other has nubs, to allow the dishwater to drain under it.

I laid the flat side onto the paper, but in retrospect I should have had the nubs down.

I sprayed it with different inks and a little powdered pigment.

I had ink almost the same color as the mat.

Here's when I realized I should have laid the bumps face down onto the paper and left the flat side up:
It was perfect for making a reverse print!

I pressed a piece of card stock (dull side down) onto the wet mat:

Of course, the little bumps made it hard to smooth down the paper.

It still made a really cool print!

The mat still had a lot of ink left.

I pressed a piece of the oil-absorbing paper on it, too.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Things are moving slowly.

This week I didn't do much art.

Mom's condition has not changed much, but that's a good thing.
We had some issues with the insurance approving her chemo drug, so she hasn't started yet but hopefully by the end of this week.

I did a lot of gardening, mostly pruning and pulling weeds, but didn't take any pictures.
The caterpillars are still there.
Hopefully they turn into cocoons soon, because the aphids are going to kill the bush.

The other day I went to Classic Industries.
They have a huge catalog of parts for old GM cars, but they also have a warehouse in Costa Mesa.

The warehouse has a a show room with a counter.
It is full of things I don't need, like T-Shirts and chrome badges for your car.

Last year I bought carpet here, to re-upholster the green car, but it's still in the box.
It comes pre-cut, so all I need to do is take out all the seats, etc.
(Or find some kid to do it for me)

The middle of the warehouse has a big shiny car.

I don't expect my own car to be this shiny when it's done, but I can dream!

They also have a big screen TV that plays car restoration shows from cable, so you can watch while you're waiting for your order.

I went because the painter asked me to get some rubber seals that go around the side windows.

Also an outer door handle, it was missing a tiny spring in it that keeps the handle from rattling.
Nothing very expensive.

I called the painter yesterday to see if he needed the parts yet, but he said, he was soon to apply the sealer (which I think is the primer, not the clear coat yet) and to check back with him Wednesday.

It's possible he hasn't worked on my car since I saw him last, but least I know he's started on it.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Weekly report.

Taking care of Mom seems to be taking up most of my time.
I think she needs more care than ever before.

Every time she goes into the hospital, everything gets cancelled and has to be started over.
We are working to get her a nurse to come to our house again.
A few nurses came to evaluate her this week.

Thursday is her visit with the Chemo doctor; we'll see if the insurance approved the new treatment or not.

I painted a few pages in my journal:

I had a dream that I went to my high school reunion.
(My 20 yr reunion was two years ago and I did not go.)
The dream was about picking out a dress. And a guy I had a crush on, who ignored me.
I was wearing a lacy, sky blue dress and I felt fat.

The same day I had another dream where I was selected to be on a talk show with Harrison Ford!
I don't know why him? Probably cause he's in the news.
I was going to give him an award. But I also had to pick out a dress.

This time Mom was in the dream. She said don't wear light blue, it doesn't flatter you.
I knew she had a lot of nice dresses because she always had good taste in clothes.
To my dismay, all the dresses in her closet were eaten by moths, and had holes.

Over the weekend, I bought another "butterfly bush" so the caterpillars could have more to eat.
The plant they had been laid on, didn't look very healthy.
It looks like they mostly moved over to the new bush.

I did some other gardening as well this week.

Sam (the cutest dog ever) So happy that I ventured out of the house this week.

I didn't go to Best Buy yet, to try to revive my portable hard drive.

I decided to see how the guy with the surf videos was handling the recent storms.
I don't like his new YouTube handle, "Man Of Water."
But I still think his videos must be the closest thing to getting in the water...

I was supposed to mail order and buy a door handle, and some rubber window sills this week, for the Green car, so the painter could attach it when the car was finished.

The car should be done any day now, and I didn't do the ordering!!!

Meanwhile I've figured out how to get the Red car to start.
(It needs a new fuel pump or something related.)
Now that I know it's going to try to die unexpectedly, when I start it, I just rev it up a lot and that keeps it alive, and I haven't had to use the starting fluid all week.
But I am still scared to drive it very far away.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

I lost a hard drive but found a caterpillar


Today I was transferring files from my portable hard drive when it began to make a clicking sound and froze.
The computer wouldn't recognize it anymore!

I have another portable hard drive as a backup, but I hadn't backed it up since November 2015!

This isn't the first time I've had a hard drive crash, so I don't really feel too attached to anything.
It was mostly photos and some music files.
I take a lot of pictures and don't use them, and I don't buy digital music so I still have the CD's.

The pictures from this blog are saved in the cloud.

2016 was a lousy year, anyway.

My dad suggested going to Best Buy and see if they can recover the data, so I will do that after work.
Also, I have a cracked glass on my phone, and I'm sure they can fix that, too.
I'm a little worried about driving a car that won't start half the time...

Meanwhile I wandered around my yard taking pictures.

Last year I bought a "butterfly bush" and it did attract butterflies to my garden.
Today, I noticed there were a lot of aphids on it.

To my surprise, there was a Monarch butterfly caterpillar!

I've never seen one of the caterpillars, except in pictures.
(There were actually 3 or 4 more smaller caterpillars, too, but my phone battery died.)

I wonder if the plant will survive that many bugs?

The sun came out just before it set, and turned the church a pretty color:

I guess the pretty sunset kind of makes up for some of the pictures I lost.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Waiting for rain. 20's inspired jewelry.

Yesterday and today, we took Mom to various doctor's appointments.
The family has decided to try a different kind of chemo.
It has been very stressful.
The insurance agencies don't help, because every time she goes into the hospital, everything changes, and everything needs approval again.

The news has been predicting a big storm, but it hasn't really started raining as of 2 pm.

Yesterday I put some paint on some pages in my journal.

Watercolor with salt:


It didn't go anywhere.

Today I was throwing away a Smithsonian magazine and I saw this cool, 20's style necklace in an ad.
I didn't have the long dark beads, but I had some teardrop shaped black beads.

I ended up with this necklace and matching earrings:

When I put them on, though, the earrings were too much.

I copied these white earrings (not home-made), and made a different pair of earrings with a smaller black bead:

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ten more days.

Yesterday afternoon, I was getting ready to take a nap when I got an unexpected call.
It was Roberto, the painter.
He said he had started work on the green car at last!
He wanted me to come and look at it.

I arrived to see my green car sanded down and covered in green paint powder.

Roberto was also covered in green from head to toe! This is why I like the guy.

He had sanded and or filled all the dings and dents, and wanted me to see it before he put the primer.(Also he wanted money)

He had removed all the bumpers, mirrors, lights etc. Just like I hoped.

(All the parts are inside the car so they don't get lost)

91 and 92 Firebirds have a distinctive front end.
It is not straight but pointed, and it doesn't look right with a license plate.
On another car I had, I was able to get away without a front plate for many years, until one day I got pulled over for having a loud muffler and the police made me fix it and the front plate, too.

I asked Roberto to fill in the holes from the license plate, and I'll see how long I can get away without one again.

This poor car had 8 holes in the front bumper!
I would only need to drill 2 holes to attach a license plate, if that day comes.

I asked Roberto when he thought it would be done, and he said "10 more days."

As I was leaving, the red car decided to pull its old trick of not starting again.
Luckily I was in mechanic country.
While I was on the phone with Don, whose shop is a mile away, Roberto's friend pulled out a can of starting fluid and sprayed the injectors and the car started right up.
"It's the fuel filter or fuel pump," they said.

I went to Don's shop.
He was still working on the same black car he'd been working on all month.
I was glad to see he was in good health.

Don had a fuel filter laying around and he put it in, just in case that's what it was, but the old one wasn't bad.
It looks like it will be the fuel pump, which we dreaded.

This will be a job that takes all day, because the fuel pump is located in the gas tank behind the rear end gears, so the whole rear end has to be removed.

Don thinks it might also be a screen-like sock around the pump, because in his experience the pump usually just stops working altogether, and my problem seems to be intermittent.

Even worse, the car began making a strange whirring, sound.
Don traced it to the water pump.
The water pump has something like a gear, and once that goes bad, then water will start leaking out everywhere.
When that happens, the car will overheat.
But I'd still be able to drive it to the shop.

Don gave me a half-empty can of starting fluid, so at least I have a way to keep from getting stranded at the store, for instance.

I asked Don when he'd be finished with the black car he was working on, and he said "10 more days."

I'm just grateful that all this happened on my day off, and on a day when Mom is doing OK!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

bits and pieces

Today I got up early again.
It was foggy. I didn't take any pictures.

I made some collages in my sketchbook.

I started with a grid.
I didn't really care what it was, I just wanted to put something on the page.

Some of the paper was from a surfing magazine that I was throwing away.
I felt like it needed text, so I used some text from one of the articles.
I wrote it in different directions.

I made another grid.

A small roll of graph paper made its way home with me from the hospital.
I was using to write on when I didn't have any paper.
It has a lot of uses, for instance in this collage.

I added text the same way as I did on the other one:

I thought about the cool chain mail jewelry I made last year.
I wonder when I will do that again?

At least I did something, today.

Mom has more doctors appointments on Thursday and Friday, which tend to make me grumpy.
Also I might be going back to work on Friday night.
But I'm looking forward to the big rain storm we'll be getting.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Mom's back home. I've got lots of free time.

Yesterday the doctors decided Mom is well enough to come back home, and she's back home.
She will be taking steroids again, which will reduce her tumor temporarily.
It will also make her legs swell up and her blood sugar go up.
But at least she will be able to interact with us.

The doctors gave us some treatment options.
She has had 3 kinds of chemo treatments so far.
The last one was a pill she took at home for a few days each month, and we think that one wasn't working.
We are going to try the previous chemo, which requires her to spend the day at the hospital.
We might also try radiation, but it will be hard to focus the radiation on a certain part of the brain compared with other areas of the body.

Yesterday I took some pictures of the sunrise, from Mom's hospital room.
I'm not usually a morning person, but there was nothing else to do.

The same mountains and freeway, later in the morning:

I took the next few days off from work.
Mom can't be left alone, because she might do something.
That gives me plenty of time to sit around and make crafts.

I started out this morning by sorting out some jewelry projects that didn't go anywhere.

I finished the earrings inspired by the Chinese New Year fireworks.
I removed the large chains and replaced them with a smaller chain I found.

This necklace and earrings were something I made last year:

I was trying to copy something I saw in the Sundance catalog.
In the end I thought the result was too clumsy.

Today I looked at it, and decided to remove the chain, take apart the earrings, and connect the red beaded parts.

I didn't know what kind of bead to put in between.

In the end I made this necklace:

I decided it would be a Valentine's day present for Mom.
I made it long so she can slide it over her head.

The dragonflies will be earrings (for me since it isn't practical for Mom to wear them.)

They remind me of the red dragonfly I saw by our fish pond in the summer.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Room with a view

Friday morning, I happened to be awake to see a brilliant sunrise.

Mom had not been doing well.
When her tumor grows, it presses on her brain and has stroke-like effects.
In this case, she was sleeping all day and not waking up.
Even when the nurses pinched and prodded her, and she would only open her eyes a bit.

We took her to the ER Friday afternoon, and now she is in the ICU.

It was a difficult 24 hours.
Her doctors wanted to put her on a feeding tube immediately, because they couldn't wake her up to take medicine.

After a few hours of treatment, the steroids took effect, and she is alert and eating.
It was tricky for awhile, because she had to be awake to answer the doctors' questions, otherwise they were determined to do the feeding tube.
But she is doing just fine, for now.

I wanted to take a day or two leave from work.
Since I can't predict my schedule to let the others know in advance, I took the whole week off, instead!
That will be interesting.

The ICU has the nicest views, from the top floor of the new building at UCI.

I got some nice views of Chapman Avenue.

Mom will be moving out of the ICU soon, so I won't get to see the sunset from this window, but I heard it is nice.

I'm on my way over there to relieve Dad, who stayed for a while so I could get some sleep.

I brought  something to read and something to draw with.