Posted by: shelleyjo's life beat | November 3, 2012

“Adventures” in plumbing?



Well, I must say that the past couple of days has been interesting, to say the least.

We have had leaking faucets for a very long time, and recently the kitchen faucet began to have a steady stream of water running from it at all times. It was hot water.

So, I filled out a maintenance request (again) at our complex office and yesterday the maintenance man came by to take care of the kitchen sink. He is a very sweet man, and likes my husband. It was nice to hear them chatting. Since I sleep days, I stayed in our room under the covers. He didn’t have to shut all of the water off for the kitchen sink, so I was happy with that.

I get nervous when they have to shut all of the water off for very long. Not only can we not flush the toilet with water off, but we can’t wash hands, either.

Pretty soon, Gene went out to have a cigarette and visit the guys he has daily chats with. I could hear the maintenance man working away, and wondered what was taking so long to change a faucet washer.

Suddenly, I heard a very horrible sound. A loud, crashing, thumping sound that shook the place. We are upstairs, so it really rattled the place. My heart was pounding and I was close to jumping out of bed to run and see what was going on. Then, I realized that I wasn’t sure I wanted to know. I could hear the maintenance guy fussing and sawing, hammering, pounding and all sorts of commotion going on in my kitchen, so I covered my head with my blanket and tried to take deep breaths and feign sleep.

After a while, I heard my husband come  back in and the stories began. Apparently, there’d been some difficulty turning some part of the pipe, so the guy was sawing, then hammering at it, and then the sink…yes, the ENTIRE sink dropped out onto him! Really? All of this for a washer?

Not only did it fall out, but he caught it before it hit him in the chest (thank God!,) and then held it in one hand while he tried to work with the other hand. As they chatted, it came up that our sink is really cast iron! It is covered with porcelain, so we never knew. Who’d-a thought? Must have been a seriously heavy thing for him to hold with one hand.

As they continued to talk, my sweetheart started asking how all of this took place, and it came out that he wasn’t able to turn the part that holds the washer in it, so he thought he would just cut it and the rest of the story continues…

As the maintenance man left, he told my husband that we only had hot water in that faucet, and that he would be back the next afternoon to finish it and to fix the washer in the tub faucet. To fix the tub washer, he would have to shut all the water off for the whole complex. I heard this conversation, but let my husband tell me about it to be sure I heard right. Yes, it is okay to use the sink, but there is only hot water.

Long about 4 a.m., I was winding down and feeling sleepy, so I go in and do the dishes. Suddenly, I realize I am standing in water! I mean plenty of water, like about an inch or so. I open the cupboard under the sink and see an inch of water standing in the bottom, and it flowed out onto the floor. By then I am so done with everything, and I grab a bath towel, toss it on the floor, make sure it is soaking up enough of the water on the floor and go to bed!

Later this morning, I could hear my sweetie up and stirring about in the kitchen, running water for his coffee. I realized I hadn’t told him that the sink leaks all the water out. I came out to show him and he shook his head and took his coffee out to enjoy the company of his friends out at the community area. I was relieved he saw humor in it instead of being upset. After all, what can we do, anyway? Being upset doesn’t change anything but how you feel.

He came in and shared their conversations, and said none of them want to mention their dripping faucets now! We laughed and I decided to stay up since I wasn’t sleepy anyway. We cleaned up the water mess and left the cupboard open to dry.

This afternoon, since I hadn’t been able to sleep, I was resting when the maintenance man came in to finish his work. My sweetheart showed him the mess and he was surprised that it leaked. Apparently he had forgotten to connect something and hadn’t tightened something else down. Do ya think? I was laughing quietly, and trying to ignore the mess, but I could feel my blood pressure rising, because…

there was a lot more hammering, more sawing, and then more banging ensued and then I finally hear the man in our bathroom. 10 minutes later he is finished. Phew!

After I heard him leaving, I got up to check on our bathtub and sink faucet. All seemed fine. Better than fine, actually. We have a new faucet in the kitchen! Yay! Ours was 50 years old or so, and corroded. (According to the maintenance man and manager, this place is at least 50 years old. I am not surprised since we have been here 30 of those years.)

I finally slept deeply for a few hours.

This evening, I have already done the dishes, just to play in the sink and water. I enjoyed it very much. I do enjoy washing dishes and counters. But now, I need to do a deep scrub of both the sink and the bath tub, and the walls around them. They are filthy after his work and it is ground in pretty well.

Although it seemed crazy to have so much going on to fix a dripping faucet, I am so glad to be able to shut the water off completely. It has been a very long time.



I came in after visiting my sister-in-love and her new baby bird, a Parotlet and I was so happy that I divided up some flowers and took some downstairs to the older woman who lives there. She’d been sitting on the lower step of our staircase when we came home from our visit. She sits outside to have a cigarette and some alone time. We each hugged her and came up to our place. I saw the bouquet that I had been given by our pharmacy staff last evening. I just had to give some to grandma.

She has lost her dad, whom she was caring for, and her son, all of her brothers and now her great-grandson. Her great-grandson is one neighbor who had been shot by a young man in a gang. He was killed. He was so beautiful and had a beautiful baby daughter and a toddler daughter. It was a very sorrowful loss.

“Grandma” lives with her daughter, grand daughter and many kids, and whomever comes and goes in that little apartment. She is miserable with her sorrow, but tries to not complain, and to make the best of things. I am not sure of her age, but I think she is older than my mom, or near her age, which is mid-eighties.

When she saw the pretty, bright flowers and realized they were for her, she cried and kept telling me she loved me forever and ever and ever. Ha-ha! She hugged and kissed me so much she made me cry. I wondered if she had ever been surprised with a few flowers “just because”.





Once before she had told us she loved Chinese food, but she never has any these days, so the next time we ate Chinese food we  brought her some. That was before my unemployment money ran out. We haven’t been able to do much more than love on her since. When I was given these flowers, I decided to share them and spread the joy and color. I accidentally deleted the photos of the bright, deep pink ones. The one I took downstairs was huge! And it was so perfect. I loved it very much. It was just the right one to perk up her place.

Teri and Buddy


Teri and Buddy


Teri and Buddy 

Teri learning to whistle in the pitch Buddy likes and responds to. This little guy is making her work for bonding. He was sure showing off tonight for company, though. He took to my husband right away, which is expected. My husband is loved by all kinds of animals. Buddy finally got all sassy and played for Teri, too. He is so cute!

I wasn’t able to send the video clip of him responding to my husbands whistling. I wish I could show you how adorable he is.

Running hot water, no dripping, no leaks, a new faucet, a visit with my sister-in-love, a sweet little 4 month old bird and lots of love from my neighbor. How much better can life get?

All in all, a happy evening.

God is so very good, isn’t He? He sends all kinds of happy things into our daily lives, no matter what is going on.




Posted by: shelleyjo's life beat | October 23, 2012

The Day After…

Amazing day after first fall rains.

Wow! We had a wonderful amount of steady rain through the night, but not destructive. It smells so very good out!

My body always favors rain and winter weather, and I can breathe easier today than I have in weeks, perhaps months.

I am going to post a few pictures from our city and surrounding towns and areas that were taken today. A twister actually touched the ground in a nearby town. I remember driving a bus full of passengers with one following me in that very area one year. It seemed like it was turning corners to follow me that year! My brother, Myke drove with one following him the year before, and I was a passenger (instructor)  in his bus at that time. It is a different perspective on life, safety and how you really feel about storms.

I hope you enjoy the pictures. I think they are so beautiful!

After the night of rains.

Day after rains.

Tornado touches down.

Isn’t it amazing? I love stormy weather. Of course, I prefer no damages or disastrous fires from lightening strikes, but still I enjoy the storms and weather so much this time of year.

I happened to sleep through so much of this today, as I finally went to bed at about 2:00 this afternoon. I usually don’t sleep nights, but tend to be in bed by 6-9 a.m. For some reason I was wide awake and energetic all morning! Probably the good bath our little piece of the world got.

I did remember to put together some zippy bean soup in the Crock Pot and dinner was very yummy tonight!

Tonight’s supper: Zippy Bean Soup. Yummy!

This is the leftover soup, a 3 cup container and another cup in the little container. We had huge mugs of this with french bread sandwich rolls that were warmed and spread with butter. Perfect autumn weather meal.  Mmmmmm!

I hope you enjoy the photos!

Posted by: shelleyjo's life beat | October 22, 2012

Glorious Rain!!!

Myke’s rose bush from Tawny.

Hello, lovely readers!

I was sitting here at midnight with the patio door open, the wind blowing more gustily than I have heard or felt in so long. I have had a lifting of my spirit with this refreshing wind. Then, suddenly at half past 12, I heard it. Rain!!! Then the smell wafted into my living room, the glorious smell of rain cleansing my neighborhood, my patio, my senses. I am so grateful for this small rain and the gusty winds that I am moved to tears.

I am one of the odd folks that favor autumn AND winter weather.

I do understand that winter can bring a stripping that is unpleasant, but somehow I welcome that, too…though admittedly not as much as I favor the refreshing and the washing part of the seasons.

I have been meaning to blog on the memorial of my brother, Michael (Myke). I can’t explain what I go through when I look through the pics. It is positive, but somehow runs so deep in me, in a way that I can’t put it in writing. If this continues long, I will blog a photo-blog of it without words.

One thing that I loved was the planting of the rose bushes for him. He loves rose bushes, and planted one for each great love of his life in the last house they lived in before this one. He wanted roses at this home, too so we felt it was a way to honor his life.

Tawny, halogirl1’s awesome sister honored Myke’s life with this one. The close-up above is from this one. He would love this!

Tawny not only bought and delivered this bush, she also dug the holes for all of the rose bushes planted! Isn’t she awesome?!

Myke’s rosebush from mom.

This one needed better tending before purchase, but I wish you could see a better photo of the lovely color and shape of these roses. Mom bought it for Myke. She really wanted to be part of this so much. It is completely the wrong season in our area for rose bushes, and some places wouldn’t even sell them now, but these were flowering which makes my heart happy.

Myke’s rosebush from mom.

Tim planting Myke’s rosebushes

Special thanks to Tim (my nephew) and Fred (his dad) who made sure the rosebushes were planted for us in a way that would last.

There was also a wonderful rosebush sent by halogirl1’s workplace that is more like a tree with the roses all in a round ball shape at the top. I just realized that I didn’t get a photo of it. The blossoms were dried up, but it will be amazing this spring and summer.

Tonight’s rain is just the right kind to refresh the roses for Myke. Enough to make a difference, and gentle enough to do no harm.

Well, I am surprised and delighted that I could do this much of a blog on it. I really do want to share more, I just seem to be jammed up at the moment and this is encouraging that I will “unblock” soon.

Blessings upon your beautiful heads and everything underneath them. Much love your way.

Posted by: shelleyjo's life beat | October 4, 2012

Day 2 of sketching with ink only

Well, here I am again, trying to sketch with ink only. I have learned straight off that ink is unforgiving, especially black.  ha-ha!

I had a hard time dealing with how the pawn turned out the other day, so last evening I started sketching the outline of the same pawn image again.

I realized that it would have a better chance to look decent if I started with the outline. So I did that.

I also thought I’d mark where the highlights and shadows would go so that it would be easier when I was filling in with ink.

As I looked at the photo, I saw some things I wanted to adjust, like the bottom edge, so I tried for some forgiveness.

And, after the photo, still didn’t care for the bottom edge, among other things, so I tried for forgiveness again. ha-ha!

At this point I realized I am only making things worse and needed to start on some fill in and highlights. But, again, working with only one color of ink is so different. I remembered the other day that someone talked about cross hatching, and when I had looked at their pictures, it seemed to be making some lines down and some across to color without filling in altogether.

On the first pawn image I had tried some cross hatching, or what I think is meant by that. It is hard to get used to the look, but I thought it worked. So, today when I was working on the fill-in of the pawn I sketched last evening, I tried for it again. The only thing I liked better about the first sketch of the pawn was the light color that the cross-hatched area turned out to  be. Today, I was heavier handed.

There was, however, a reason. The unforgiving factor of ink. I would decide I didn’t care for something, then try to make it better, and ended up with the lighter areas being darker on this one. I think I liked that part lighter.

Overall, though I am the most happy with this second one. I think the shape turned out better. I am not liking it as much as I’d hoped, but it is an improvement, which is a good thing, right?

I did the fill-in of the pawn today, and much of it was while sitting at a fast food burger place waiting for Halogirl1 to get there for her lunch break. It was a great table and had decent lighting. Plus, I liked the background music. The atmosphere actually seemed to relax me, though there was much going on all around me. At the table across from me, a man who was pretty ragged was talking with his invisible friend. At first I thought it might be an ear piece for his phone, but it turned out he was “transmitting” some data about me, my sketch, who I was waiting for, the person at the next table and the employee who brought his food.

This sounds strange to some people, but I felt quite at home, relaxed, and somewhat amused since he didn’t seem agitated or suffering from his “company”. And well, I felt like I was back at work.

I finished this piece at home, after speaking to my pastor about my brother so that if I have a weepy episode at the memorial service he can tell the people what I would have said. I am still having spacial problems, as well as shadow and light, but I think I got better, which is a start. I need to learn how to cast the shadow off of it, but didn’t want it to blend in with the pawn, itself. So, lots to learn and getting braver to tackle it with joy.

My husband actually noticed that I was sketching and came over to see it. (Has never happened. He is not interested. Not that he doesn’t care about me, mind you. He does. His mom was a top-notch artist, teaching art teachers, so he has been surrounded with the best all of his life.)  The most amazing thing is that he was able to tell me immediately what it was (he is visually impaired, legally blind). He didn’t say what he thought about it other than that, but I wasn’t expecting that. It was just so awesome that he checked it out, and that he could identify it! Isn’t that a happy spot? It sure is for me!

I hope you all have had a wonderful day, as I have. And if there is some kind of hardship or sorrow in your life today, I pray that God give you someone who appreciates even the smallest things about you and wants your company, like my Halogirl1. And, I pray that there is something, however small, familiar or new that will bring you some challenge to take your mind off of the happenings in your life. I pray for joy in this and for someone who enjoys hearing you tell happy stories about people you love, as Pastor Buck did for me today.

God bless each one of you with love, peace, fulfillment and joy!

Posted by: shelleyjo's life beat | October 2, 2012

Sketching through sorrow

Hello, everyone!

I have not been able to come up with any words while my brother was dying, or since his death.

His memorial service is this coming Saturday. I am not good with this sort of situation on any condition, but especially since this is the first loss of my immediate family members. I am just taking it one breath at a time right now.

The good and happy part of all of this, is that my sister-in-love, Halogirl1 is close with me, and we are as tight as we ever were. That is a treasure, since quite a few people have asked me if she will remain my friend now that Myke has passed, or if she will still want to be part of the family. She is hurt by this, as she has been with my brother for 28 years or so. We are her family. It is that simple. And she is ours. Together for life, and we are all happy with that.

The other great and happy thing about all of this is that I have seen more of my family in the past 2 years than we have seen in a very long time. And, for the memorial we will see most of them again. I love them. We are a fun lot, and we can find laughter, fun and funny things in any circumstance. We seem to fuel each other the minute we are together. We all need each other right now. I am so looking forward to the fun ahead with them.

In the  meantime, I realized I had just stopped creating altogether and didn’t want that to be the case. So, a week ago I went with Halogirl1 to our favorite scrapbook store in Marysville, Ca.

Before we went to our store, Elliot’s Photography in Marysville, we stopped in Yuba City on the way and split a burger and fries at Red Robin. I love that place. Always a wonderful burger, and the best french fries around. Then, on to our store.

While she spent hours choosing the right paper colors, textures and patterns for the scrapbook of their wedding pictures she is working on, I decided to try to finish the sketches that were half done from the Craft Olympic days. Mind you, some of these faces are scary! I did learn that I should look at something to draw, as my own interpretation was not so good.

How do you like her little nose ring? (Ha-ha-ha!)

Do you remember the girl with the right side of her face smeared as I tried to erase it? And then the one with the left side smeared?

And the baby Budda face I never put hair on? Well, I sat in that sweet shop in the crop room and finished them as I was surrounded by so many friendly and sweet ladies.

One thing we love in that little shop is that the people who work there, the customers and croppers are always so friendly and supportive, no matter what you are doing. I finished my horse filet crochet in there one day, and worked on my bead projects in there on other visits. They don’t mind a bit and always love to see what I am making as much as they love to see what Halogirl1 is doing with her photos and pages.

Yesterday, I saw a post about a woman who posted a 75 day challenge to sketch only in ink, no pencil. I have never done just ink, without pencil first, and nothing but calligraphy in just ink, so I was interested in this. I haven’t decided if I am accepting the challenge as I am so green with art, and not even sure of how to know where to put shadows and light, which is important if you can’t shade the way you can in pencil.

But, in spite of my lack of knowledge or training, I decided tonight to sketch from the cover of an excellent book I had just finished. It is by Steven James and is a thriller called Pawn. He has a series titled after chess pieces. I have never played chess, but the book was excellent. He weaves a good story. I finished it in 2 days. I borrowed the book from Halogirl1, and will borrow the next one when I take this one back. It was a good diversion from real life for a bit.





Sketching with ink-only is very different. It’s scary! I just used an old sketch pad from the dollar store, and a Uniball 207 pen that I use to write checks. It has black ink.

I also realized that I still have the same problem I did when I started learning to write in ink. I am left handed and tend to smear my pinky finger into the ink and leave marks on the page. (laughing here.) Actually, in looking at the pencil sketched faces, I do that in pencil, too!

I think it is time to pay attention to where my hands are, don’t you think?

Have you ever tried to sketch with just ink? Or ink and watercolors. (I did notice some used watercolors with their ink. Just no pencil lead.)

How did it work for you?

Did you like it?

What did you like about it, and what did you not like about it?

This is a new world for me, and I would like to know your experience with it or interest in it.

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