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I was thinking about posting this morning. How we are all fighting to be able to do nice, positive, and/or future-minded things for ourselves in amongst the chaos of looking after our aging family members.

Did you get to take a walk all by yourself today? Did you find a half an hour to enjoy a cup of coffee without interruption? Did you lock the bathroom door and have a bubble bath and a face mask? Did you finally finish a good book? Did you sign up for a night class that gets you out of the house? Did you go for a swim at the local indoor pool? Are you dreaming up a new home-based business at the kitchen table?

These moments seem so hard won, I think we deserve to celebrate them! I'd love to hear from you!

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So a poster just appeared in mom's building - a lady who lives here is offering beginner watercolour classes in the amenities room. As long as it doesn't conflict with anything else, I think I'm gonna sign up! I need to do something, and it won't be too far away from mom. Plus I am good at drawing but I never did learn watercolour properly....just sort of futzed around with it and wound up mainly using it with mixed media projects.

And if it's who I think it is teaching, she was good friends with an artist mentor I had almost 25 years ago (gone now, from cancer).

Mom used to be a great watercolourist, but she gave it up when she got the kidney disease diagnosis. She has spent 10+ years swearing she'll get back to it, but no luck. Maybe this will inspire her.

Plus I can use all her supplies in the meantime, lol. She shelled out for the really good brushes!  The paints might be hardened but they can still be used for years, I think, and she even brought the Ott-Lites with her when she moved here!
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Aww, yay for time off, you guys!

Mom's home support lady this evening says she works Christmas day. I never really thought about that. Now trying to imagine the life of someone who needs home support on Christmas day. I can be grateful we're not there yet.

What did I do for myself today....erm....oh yes! When I picked up the traditional Christmas spareribs to put in the freezer, I picked up a box of frozen buttercream and chocolate dessert bars and hid them in the back of the freezer, just for me!!!! No better time to eat your feelings than the holidays, lol.
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Well I got off!! Hooray! So after Costco I took lunch to my bestie, and we had a great visit. THen I went to nearby cannery outlet and stocked up, and a chip outlet and gots lots of goodies! It feel so nice to get away for a bit
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I tell you what I am doing for myself - I haven't done it yet, but I'm counting down the days...I'm taking off 2 weeks from work, so that will actually give me 17 whole days off! And if I can ever get the confirmation that my brother is coming, I'm taking off...but that's just too much to hope for at the moment, so right now, I'm just counting down the hours until 7 pm tomorrow evening!!! I'll let you know how the trip goes...
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Yay for days off! Especially at this time of year, yeesh!

I got a massage today. Being massaged is my happy place. :-D
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We are "overstaffed" at the hospital this week, so I am off tomorrow unless someone calls out sick. I have plenty of PTO and offered to "be off"! LOL My friend has had bunion surgery, and she was a blessing to me last year when I broke my ankle,, so I am going to go visit her tomorrow afternoon after a Costco run!
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Ohhh gardenia is lovely.

I made my friend with the shop take every bar of patchouli soap we had, just to get the smell out of our cars and houses! Hopefully she sells it. We mixed the colour to make it look tie-dyed, and named it "Hippie Wash!" Lol!
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Lol @ patchouli being like cilantro! I honestly would have a hard time smelling patchouli, let alone wearing it!

It’s not a soap but my perfect match as far a scents is gardenia, it’s just so soft and perfect!

I ignore everything about the soap making process but I’m sure aside from interesting it is very relaxing. Good for you Dorianne!

What did I do today for myself? I made a flan! 🍮 Love cooking, and every day I try to come up with something new to make. I added some Baileys to it and some rum..my mom has no idea about my “secret ingredients” but she loves it! ;-)
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I wonder if patchouli is like cilantro? You know how some people love it, and some people's taste buds are totally offended by it? Maybe it's similar.

I had a co-worker with scent allergies once. I got out of the habit of wearing it most of the time. It would get to where she couldn't breathe, what an awful thing to experience. :-(
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Dori I also HATE patchouli.. i also hate musk. As for my scents,, I love anything by escada! But Bath and Body Works is my daily fix.. can't wear strong scents at the hospital!
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Giving this topic a bump!

Today I set up an android emulator on my laptop so I could play Angry Birds without squinting at my phone, lol.
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Bookworm and GA - I had the same reaction as GA to sitting in a park, lol! It's only -1 C (about 30 F I think?) but it just feels...brrrr!!

Rosses - when I looked up pics from Nicaragua, I saw a lot of Spanish colonial furniture as well as modern....maybe people just refuse to give it up to flea markets? I have grown succulents successfully at my own place, but I face south and mom faces east. I do love them! And this is such a dry, hot part of Canada in the summer that I can put them out on my south-facing balcony in summer. Best guy friend has some hens and chicks that are descended from his grandma's plant. I might take a snippet and see how they do here in the windowsill.

What did I do for myself today....I feel like I never stopped today! But that's because I was making soap with BFF. Which was actually quite fun! We have a friend who would like handmade soap to sell in her store, and her usual supplier has stopped making it, so we thought we'd give it a whirl. We used melt and pour soap (glycerin-based), but I think the experience has taught us that we'd like to try making real cold process soap. You can do so much more with it, especially where colour is concerned.

We bought some essential oils to scent our soaps. We both cursed and cursed our friend for her love of patchouli. That stuff is RANK. Of course, a lot of her customers (she runs a metaphysical store) apparently love, love, love their patchouli. Which is why we included that oil in our purchases. But I just don't honestly get it. If I could make a custom scent for me, it would be crisp greens and citruses, light spring florals, and woody undertones.

What is everyone else's "perfect" scent? You don't have to know what's in it, but do y'all have a favourite perfume? (I like 2, both by Alfred Sung: Jewel and Shi.)  Or maybe a favourite aromatherapy scent?  (I like ylang ylang and sandalwood.)

I swear I won't judge you if you say patchouli, lol!
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@GardenArtist, the one thing I don’t miss at all from the US is the cold and snow! I’ll send some warm thoughts infused with sun rays to Michigan! :)
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@Dorianne, we are in Managua, the capital, but most people go for a more modern style, pretty simple lines. It’s what most stores sell. But there are also talented furniture makers, beautiful wood products, that’s what I’m trying to get into, but I’m limited with time and transportation.
Although we do have family that live here unfortunately I cannot count on anybody’s help (part of why i decided to move here to take care of my mom).

On a different note, I meant to suggest to you to try growing succulents, they’re beautiful and relatively low maintenance, orchids too, many people say they cannot keep them alive but they’re really good plants. Plants always make life a little happier.

As far as what I’ve done today, I called a dear friend of mine in the US for her birthday and it was nice to still feel connected to my ‘former life’.
I also had a good day with my mom, we didn’t do anything special but she was in a good mood. We both even laughed when she almost fell face down on her bed as she was going to seat down! It wasn’t a dangerous situation, just funny. It had been a long long time since I laughed with my mom! :)
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Bookworm, I LOVE your flapper poster - it's so lovely!

I shuddered when I thought about sitting in a park. Winter has at last arrived, as has the cold weather. Poking my head out to get the mail is all right, but anything farther than that induces an uncomfortable chill.

Hot chocolate is the order of the day in this section of Michigan, so my thermos will be filled with that when I venture out to go visit my father.
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Yesterday we celebrated our grand daughter's 1st Birthday. We all went to the park. The kids and my other older granddaughters were there. we had a beautiful cake and we all celebrated Savannah's day. It was so nice to breath fresh air, watch all the kids and some adults play :-). My husband and I were able to relax and enjoy a day without all the demands of my Mom.

This morning 12-11-2017

I got up early and sat quietly reading my Bible and Devotionals. I got to do that and enjoy a cup of coffee...before anyone was awake :).
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Well, I had a big bad set of painful muscle spasms in my injured leg this weekend, and I didn't really get to do anything for myself! So....pizza with best guy friend Saturday because I'd already promised, but nothing else to report except sleep, when it finally came.  I will probably be up half the night now, after so much sleep!
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Rosses - so what is the home decorating style like down there? Now I'm very curious how people decorate their homes! You said you're in Nicaragua, right? (I think?) Are you in a small town? Maybe there is a neighbour or a family friend who could stay with your mom for part of a day while you check out bigger cities and furniture makers?

I just looked up "Nicaragua home decorating styles" on Google image search, and there does seem to be a real diversity of furniture styles! So there must be second-hand stuff somewhere!
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@Dorianne, no markets here, other than supermarkets! :-/ it’s amazing how you can’t find anything antique here, it’s like if there is no history, I don’t get it. just kind of old stuff without character. That’s why I’m trying to come up with “my own pretty” with my furniture design idea. We’ll see how that goes. So far I haven’t gotten too far because haven’t been able to leave my mom to go where the furniture makers are (about an hour away from where I’m).

And you definitely scored with that jar for six bucks!! Doesn’t it feel great to find those deals? That type of findings make ones day for sure.
If you ever go to NY I can give you ideas of flea markets that are awesome, but dangerous if one doesn’t stick to a budget..been there, done that unfortunately!

For my antiques I always gravitate to lamps, chairs, interesting prints and empty picture frames..oh, and my weakness, mirrors!! I realized that when I moved. Sold a bunch of mirrors and still have about four that I simply couldn’t part with! Some things you cannot let go of ;-)
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Today while mom was at dialysis, I visited best guy friend.  He wanted to show off his new plants.  After, on a whim, I went to the nursery and bought myself two little ivy plants for my east-facing bedroom window sill at mom's.  I mean, if chain-smoking, rock guitar-playing, bachelor-in-perpetuity best guy friend can buy new plants. so can I!!

Mom has NO greenery here. I tried to get her some when she first moved here, but she kept killing everything from neglect. I NEED living plants. I went from living in peace on a tree-lined riverbank, to being six floors up overlooking a dang shopping mall, staying here at mom's. Blech.

Also I took myself over to BFF's when home support arrived tonight and didn't come home till nearly 11:30! Fortunately mom was in bed when I got back. I HATE being asked, at 49, "Where have YOU been?" Ugh. *insert many swear words here*
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@Rainmom - I find tattooing such a fascinating art. Mother of BFF's grandchild is a tattoo artist. I never had the money to do one before, but I've always wanted to. This might sound weird, but for decades I've wanted a tat of....Pippi Longstocking hoisting Wonder Woman in the air. :-P

@Rosses003 - what's it like for markets where you are? Like for used furniture and things? Are there any flea markets at all? Here in Western Canada I haven't found anything near what there is back east either, as far as Euro-style antiques...but I've found a lot of cool old things of Chinese and Indian origin, as Chinese and Sikh immigrants came to BC the same time as European immigrants. I've got a thing for hunting down old green glazed ginger jars. I found one with the lid AND the original label once and just about wet myself with excitement - SIX BUCKS! Lol.

@beejaycee - that sounds like a lot of fun! No guilt! You are an adult! :-D
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@ycatsms - For the mineral spirits, just keep a little bit of it in a jar beside you while you work. Dip a brush or a q-tip (yes!) in and brush or smear it over the parts of the coloured pencil on your paper that you want to blend. Brushes and q-tips will give different results. Also the MS will get dirty with use, so just put a little in the jar and change it every once in awhile.  Your paper MIGHT buckle slightly if it's thin, but I've used it on regular Strathmore drawing paper and never had a problem. Plus you can flatten the paper easily - just spray the back with a tiny bit of water, sandwich it between glass and put some books on top.

I got the mineral spirits tip and lots of others from this book, which I found years ago at the public library (I own it now): https://www.amazon.com/Encyclopedia-Colored-Pencil-Techniques-Step/dp/0762401176

I also own this book, which is completed drawings and "paintings" - VERY inspirational, also found at the library at first:  https://www.amazon.com/Best-Colored-Pencil-No-1/dp/1564960498

I don't know how to message offline with people in the forum - no contact info. Did you mean private message? Or we can go ahead and start that Creative Arts thread!
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I had a fun afternoon playing mah Jongg with friends. My mom told me I have been gone a lot this week, and for the first time in 2 1/2 years, I didn't feel guilty. She exaggerates!! 😍
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Dorianne,

My love for design and antiques also live on a budget! I used to live about half and hour away from Manhattan and used to spent most of my weekends at the wonderful NY flea markets, that’s where most of my beloved antiques came from. That’s a big part of the fun, to “score” finding great pieces at great prices!! :)

But all that seems to be part of such an old, old, old life..! that’s I guess why I’m trying to adapt what I like to what I have.

And Rainmom, I love the deep meaning of the phrase you’re getting tattooed, very appropriate for us caregivers who many times lose hope and feel like life has nothing else to offer; yet there’s always hope, and therefore instead of longing for what is gone, we need to open our lives to what may come, which may very well be much more rewarding than what we have had and lived!

Thank you for sharing that, and I so hope we could see pictures here!!
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@Dorianne - OFF-TOPIC thanks for the pointers on the blending of Prismacolor pencils!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE MINE...and have recently fallen off the deep end into Bible Journaling!! It's FANTASTIC! There are Bibles specifically for this, and you can illustrate the verses that are important to you - as you SEE them (I'm also an ADULT COLORED PENCIL ENTHUSIAST, and I buy individuals at CheapJoes.com, so I can get the ones that I need individually so I don't have to buy the whole set bc at this time I have 3 boxes of pencils...but when I do order individuals, I still end up ordering a ton of them, anyway, lol!!) Anyway, I would love to talk offline about what you do to blend the colors - right now I use the light colors for the same one (sky blue for the dark blue, pale pink for crimson red, etc) or WHITE, and that helps, but I'm always looking for a new techniques to enhance my journaling.

Anyway, back to TOPIC, I got my nails done and had one of the best pedicures out there (I do this every month, but usually I take my Grandmother with me, so this time I didn't have to worry about her being restless or impatient)...so it was DEFINITELY FOR ME!
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Thank you, Dorianne. I’m pleased with it so far.

I got my first tat about twenty three years ago - before it was so trendy, I might say - it was a symbolic gesture to celebrate my divorce.

I always planned to add on to it but as the great John Lennon said “life’s what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”

Finally, last spring I decided to get back to doing things that I wanted to do.

First, I did a tat that is a memorial to my parents. Mainly it’s for my dad - but I did include a nod to my mother. It’s really beautiful- turned out better than I had hoped for even. How often does that happen? Lol!

After that tat healed I moved on to giving my old tat a facelift and to do the additional art I had been thinking about for over twenty years. It felt good - getting back to thinking/doing what I want - instead of putting EVERYONE else first.

The project keeps getting bigger - but I don’t really know how to explain it - with each visit to my tat artist, I feel more free. Just free. Considering tattoos are a relatively permanent commitment- it’s a weird contradiction. But there it is.
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That sounds lovely, Rainmom!  Wish we could share photos here on the forum!

Rosses - I find decorating and design interesting too! But I'm more the Queen of Budget Decorating, lol. I never had much money, but I used to love to haunt thrift stores and doing things to improve my space.  Kinda let my own apartment go a little since moving mom here, and especially now I am staying with her. 

Today I spent the afternoon with BFF while mom was at dialysis. We went to a couple of out-of-the-way stores we'd been talking about, and also saying all the complain-y things about our elderly mothers that we can't say in front of other people, lol.
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Dorianne- it’s a large piece that I’m having done - beginning to end it will be a year in the making. Yesterday I had this part done - a small part from a loooooong poem by William Wordsworth:

“Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower,
We will grieve not, rather find strength in what remains behind”.
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Rosses: Yes, thanks for such an uplifting post!
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Dorianne: Wow! I hear you! I hope I don't do that same thing to my daughter. Good for you on that lovely drive!
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