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June 5th, 2023 — 10:01pm

Arghh now they’re worried I’m too thin. Well, I AM too thin, it’s true, but they are worried I’ll get thinner. My appetite hasn’t been so great lately. Lots of nausea and other fun stomach tricks. Argh.

Owen is still settling in nicely. He climbed into my lap three times today. He spends a while doing his own thing, and then he finds me for a chat and some petting, and then he’s off to do his own thing again. He enjoys sitting on our wide windowsills, birdwatching, and he likes to lounge in our big leather recliners. He also wants to SCRATCH our leather recliners, so on Chloe’s advice be ordered him a tall sisal scratching post to redirect that scratching instinct. Should be here Wednesday.

I drew and drew today — a tutorial of a watercolor forest which turned out surprisingly well, and a pretty little repeating pattern of leaves and berries. Also did some blackwork.

I’d better find a bedtime snack and ingest some more calories.

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June 4th, 2023 — 4:43pm

Yesterday wiped me out. I slept until ten and I’ve been napping all afternoon.

Owen is a wonderful cat! After decompressing for a couple hours in his safe space in the bathroom, he started doing a Lonely Meow, so we went in to make friends. He didn’t hide, and he was only a little bit nervous at first, but soon let us pet him. We visited together for an hour and he purred the whole time, sweet boy. Then we went out to give him his space and go to bed, but pretty soon he let us know he was lonely again! We decided it was more stressful for him to feel lonely than to explore one more new room, so we moved him and his stuff into my bedroom for the night. He even let Dave pick him up! He slept on my bed and purred and purred when I petted him in the night (at his request). He is a lovey-dovey fellow!

In the morning he was calm and friendly and curious about the other side of my door, so we went ahead and gave him the run of the house. He was cautious but not especially nervous, and prowled around the whole house, sniffing and exploring. When he wanted to go down the spiral stairs to Dave’s basement office, he called for Dave to watch him go down the stairs! He came back up pretty fast — it’s cold down there.

When I came back into my room at 1pm for my nap, he followed and hopped up on the bed to nap with me. The purring never stops when he’s near us. *heart eyes*

He’s not interested in treats or hiding places or cardboard boxes or toys, at least not yet. He’s not obsessed with food, even wet food, though he’s eating and drinking and using his litter box. So far he’s only really interested in exploration and love, lots and lots of love. He’s the perfect friend for us. <3

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Caturday night

June 3rd, 2023 — 8:59pm

Owen is home! He’s such a sweet boy. He’s nervous still, but wants to make friends. He has a big loud purr. Exhausted, more Owen news tomorrow.

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Saturday midday

June 3rd, 2023 — 12:31pm

Forgot to say I gained a few pounds of fluid so I took my Ultra Diuretic on Wednesday. Today I weighed in at 97.8. That’s a full nineteen pounds less than my heaviest in the hospital (116.8). If you figure out what percentage of my body weight was just spare fluid… it’s a lot. Good lord. Nineteen pounds.

All that time over the last few months when I thought I was gaining healthy weight? NOPE. Just fluid. Blergh! Gross!

Owen’s pick-up time is 2:30pm! It’s only a 35-minute drive, but we’ll be leaving at 1:30 to be sure we’re early because that’s how we roll.

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June 2nd, 2023 — 4:57pm

All set for Owen!

I did a lot today and I’m fairly wiped out. Drove out to Kohl’s for an Amazon return. I hadn’t been there before. Usually I use the UPS drop-off for Amazon returns but this time it would have cost like five bucks, and the Kohl’s drop-off was free. Anyway the Amazon returns counter is wayyyy in the back of the store. I walked very slowly but my goodness it was tiring. More walking than I’ve done in weeks.

On the way home I stopped at the Asian market, on a whim, but it’s no 99 Ranch. They didn’t have any of the candy and snacks I like. 99 Ranch has bags of cooked chestnuts and those little crunchy bars of sesame brittle. Need to figure out who sells those in Portland. So again, lots of walking up and down the aisles. They do sell frozen udon noodles, so that will be a treat sometime when there’s room in the freezer.

Then to the local pet store for a litter box and litter. I signed up for a Skoon subscription but our first box won’t come till Sunday, so Owen needs an ordinary box to tide him over.

Then a quick trip through the Burgerville drive through for a small strawberry milkshake, then home. Whew!

Then I got Owen’s food and water and litter box set up in the bathroom, where we’ll let him decompress after his stressful journey. There’s a cupboard propped open a little bit with a special towel inside, just for him, so he can be cozy, and another special towel in a cardboard box for another hiding place. And I put a basket of our dirty laundry in there so he can get used to our smells. Chloe sent me a video about setting up a “Homebase” for your cat, with all his comfort items and plenty of “scent soakers” that he can rub on and make them smell like himself. Then we can move those to another room once he settles down, and everything will smell familiar.

Now I’m decompressing with an Art with Flo tutorial and kefir and pasta salad :)

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June 1st, 2023 — 9:24pm

Made my famous summertime pasta salad today! Did a lot of blackwork embroidery while catching up on podcasts, and finished my book — “The Intermission” by Elyssa Friedland. I just love her style.

Owen is on the truck! He’ll arrive on Saturday midday-ish at their Vancouver stop. Poor boy will be so stressed, but we’ll give him all the time he needs to decompress.

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May 31st, 2023 — 7:53pm

A tired day, and I felt a bit grumpy. Did art all day. Discovered a wonderful YouTube channel called “Bardot Brush”. She makes excellent tutorials, very clear and easy to follow. Mom wants to learn Procreate too, so I sent her this one. I watched it and learned some stuff too!

And then I did her tute on how to draw seamless repeating patterns. Wow! I’ve seen several different methods but hers works really well for me. I had to watch the tutorial twice but I’ve got the hang of it now! I’ll try something more imaginative tomorrow, maybe. Here’s mine. The left panel shows how nicely it tiles.

And here’s the tutorial:

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May 30th, 2023 — 7:56pm

Slept so much better last night, despite horrible night-sweats. Felt great this morning after about ten hours of good sleep, and did a complicated art tutorial all day. Em and Sal flew home today. Such a nice visit! My goodness, the house is so quiet now :D

I picked up some Udon soup and California rolls for lunch/dinner from Sushi Kata, a tiny hole-in-the-wall place that was JAMMED at lunchtime. It’s so close, like a three-minute drive, and so tasty!

Tired, bed early. Reading for a while (The Intermission by Elyssa Friedland) and then I’ll catch up on Love and Death on HBO.

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May 29th, 2023 — 7:00pm

Slept much better with no sneezing child on my floor. Rather tired today anyway — I’m putting it down to having two extra people in the house, easy though they are and much as I love them. Extra logistics, extra conversation, extra energy floating around. I did a big Art with Flo tutorial all day.

Sal and Em spent the afternoon with Henry and all, which gave me a chance to watch the Succession finale. It was *amazing*. Utterly perfect. Lordy I’m tired. Bed early.

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May 28th, 2023 — 6:48pm

Em sneezed all night (Portland pollen) and kept me awake so I’m super tired today, argh. She and Sal went to Henry’s to play and garden, and I did Procreate all day. Here’s mah ARTS! Read the Pixelfed caption to find out how I added texture to the stained glass.

And here are the tutes I followed today:

And also a cut paper effect one by some other dude. Not a great tute but I learned a thing.

Tonight I’m gonna kick Em out of my room so I can SLEEP. She’s gonna sleep on the floor near Sal, who is sleeping on the big airbed downstairs.

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May 27th, 2023 — 4:52pm

A whole day with Em! We got up and had breakfast, and then we did a whole Procreate Tutorial, this cute cartoony island.

Here’s a link to mine. I hope pixelfed fixes embedding someday…

We ate some lunch and hung around and I had a little nap while she watched YouTube and was self-sufficient. Now I’ve put on an episode of Taskmaster to see if it grabs her :D

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May 26th, 2023 — 9:26pm

Emma is here! Emma is here! Henry picked her up at the airport and brought her to us around 9pm.

I did Procreate all day, except I also drove to the good bagel store (Henry Higgins Boiled Bagels) for a baker’s dozen, and then Dave and I went to our local independent pet store for food for Owen. He’ll be here a week from tomorrow <3

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May 25th, 2023 — 9:39pm

Mom cleaned all our floors and tidied up the garden on the back porch and bought seedlings and planted them! All I need to do is keep them watered and cross my fingers. Tomatoes, chard, cucumbers, zucchini, nasturtiums, and sunflowers. Plus the strawberries from last year are doing great, and have spread from one to three pots.

I did Procreate art all day. Finished the stained glass tutorial that I started yesterday (sun and flowers), and then did another stained glass window out of my imagination (diamonds). It’s so annoying that pixelfed won’t embed anymore! Argh! But here’s a link.

Oh! I only weighed 101.2 this morning! My abdomen STILL has extra fluid but I’m so much more comfortable!! Good Zoom appointment with my cardiologist. She says I can use my own judgement and take more metolazone whenever I want, not just once a week. So that’s great, I’ll be able to remain comfortable and to eat well.

And here’s that Procreate tutorial:

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May 24th, 2023 — 10:24pm

Down three more pounds to 102! My belly feels so much better. I can eat almost a whole Kara-normal meal at one sitting, slowly. Strawberries and cream for breakfast, cream of wheat for lunch, apple and goat cheese for a snack, full-size quesadilla with tomato for dinner. Also plenty of juice and water. So thirsty (of course) but being careful not to over-hydrate.

Mom is here! She tidied up my garden area and will plant some easy seedlings tomorrow. We watched Mad Mad Mad Mad World and she ate the big slice of lemon cake I’d set aside for her :D

Finished my Jane Casey crime thriller (The Kill) and have started another book from my giant pile of library books, one of the rom-coms. Can’t remember title at the moment…

Lots of Procreate today! Learned to make a 6-sided mandala and am working through a long stained-glass effect tute. But time to sleep.

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May 23rd, 2023 — 7:23pm

So I took my mega-diuretic (metolazone) yesterday and peed all day and all night. Literally five pounds lighter today. Lol. Abdomen felt a lot less full this morning and eating was more comfortable, which was so nice. Feels like I’m filling back up, though. Oh well. My poor old organs are doing the best they can.

I did Procreate tutorials all day! It’s so much fun! Em and I just FaceTimed and did one together, an easy one that I did yesterday so I could describe all the steps to her. I like to do each one several times to get comfortable with the options and get them into muscle memory. We are gonna draw and draw when she visits on the weekend! She’s flying up here all by herself, just to spend the weekend with me. We can put a YouTube tutorial up on the TV and sit together and draw on our iPads.

Mm wow I just got really really tired. I stayed up too late last night, reading and drawing and peeing. Gonna make a quesadilla and hit the hay early. Mom will be here tomorrow!

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Monday evening

May 22nd, 2023 — 6:12pm

We have adopted Owen! We had a long and VERY THOROUGH phone interview today, his adoption coordinator checked our personal references, we signed the lengthy contract and paid the fees. He will travel by air-conditioned truck, with personal attendants and a load of other adoptees, all the way from Texas to join us on June 3rd.

Pixelfed embeds seem no longer to work. Sigh.

In other news, I drove today for the first time since hospital. Went to Roake’s, a nearby hot dog stand that has been here since 1937. I’m not wasting any more time getting around to trying out some cool Portland spots! I got the Short Dog with mustard, relish, and kraut. Delicious and flavorful, on a soft white bun. No gourmet vegan sprouted spelt flour here — good old fashioned satisfying hot dogs. The Short Dog was just the right amount of food, along with a small coffee shake from nearby Burgerville. (Roake’s shake machine is broken)

Gained 2 pounds overnight, grr. Too much fluid! So I took one of the special high-powered diuretics that I can have once a week. Been peeing all day lol. I’m still uncomfortably full-feeling but I was able to eat a bit more at each meal today.

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Monday morning

May 22nd, 2023 — 9:42am

It’s so nice to wake up, still alive, after a pretty decent night, and come out to the lounge to find my Beloved Englishman, still alive and drinking his tea. And to know we have another whole day together.

I wanted to learn something new and I really enjoy fooling around with digital art, so yesterday I bought Procreate for my iPad and have started working through the excellent tutorials on YouTube. I’ve been using SketchClub for over a decade. SketchClub is great but damn Procreate is AMAZING! Gonna go do another tutorial now. Really glad it’s not a subscription model too. One flat price, $15 or so. Otherwise I would not have bought it.

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May 21st, 2023 — 5:18pm

Nice quiet day, no visitors. Over the first half of the day I ate another bagel with cream cheese and tomatoes and capers and smoked salmon (for the protein, I don’t love it). I have a tremendous appetite and food tastes really good again, I just can’t eat much at once because my abdomen is still full of fluid. I haven’t lost any weight in three days, despite the endless peeing. Probably because I have a constant burning thirst. Body trying to get rid of hospital drugs? Might be time for the optional Ultra Diuretic tomorrow.

Lots of embroidery, and catching up on Survivor, and reading, and audiobooks.

Phone interview tomorrow with Owen’s rescue organization, 3LP, to see if we’re all well-suited. 3LP rescues homeless and abandoned animals in the Houston TX area and adopts them out to northern states where there’s less of an unwanted animal problem. They’ll send Owen to us in an air-conditioned truck with personal attendants, if we get to adopt him. Pretty amazing! People are wonderful when they’re not terrible. Lol.

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May 20th, 2023 — 6:04pm

Look at the previous post! I wrote up my amazing cake recipe!

Scott came over at 10, bringing bagels, cream cheese, capers, olives, onions, tomatoes, and smoked salmon. He wanted to bring lox but didn’t know where to get any in Portland. I promised to acquire some and try it. He says it’s briny, and I like briny things!

The whole Henry tribe came over too. We ate and the kids ran around and played and met their great great uncle! A happy time was had by all and I am EXHAUSTED and going to BED. :)

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Lemon Chiffon Cake

May 20th, 2023 — 5:08pm

Oh god this is good. So light, so fluffy, so lemony. I tinkered with all the recipes until they were just right. You’ll need a lot of lemons and a chiffon cake pan, the kind with a tube in the middle and little feet to rest on when you flip it upside-down. I got mine at the Goodwill for like $3.

I did this in several stages because I’m tired. Cake one day, wrapped up well and waiting in the fridge. Lemon Goop the next day. The rest of the filling the next day. Then assembled on the fourth day.

Don’t be intimidated! Everything is easy. Just read it all very carefully before you begin.

First make the filling so it can chill:

Kara’s Lemon Cake Filling

Enough light yummy lemon filling for a big three-layer cake. Lighter than traditional cream cheese frosting; richer than plain whipped cream. You’ll need a lot of lemons! Tip: keep a bag of lemons in the freezer.


Lemon Goop
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/6 cup cornstarch
1 c combined lemon juice and water, half each, more or less. The more lemon, the better.

Whipped Cream/Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz cream cheese cold (1/2 block)
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 c heavy whipping cream cold
pinch of salt


Lemon Goop
Whisk all ingredients together in a small saucepan, adding liquid a little at a time to avoid lumps. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Cool completely and refrigerate.

Whipped Cream/Cream Cheese Frosting
In stand mixer bowl, using paddle beater, beat cream cheese until soft. Add sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat until thoroughly mixed. Use a scraper to scrape the bottom and make sure it all mixes together well. Work fast so it stays cold. Now switch to whisk attachment and add heavy cream by drizzling it down the side of the bowl while the machine is running. Beat until very stiff peaks form.

Now add the Lemon Goop in dollops while beating a little more. Don’t make butter!
Refrigerate until ready to use. Same day if possible.

Lemon Chiffon Cake

1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
6 egg yolks
1/2 c lemon juice
1/4 c water
6 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup white sugar

One batch of Kara’s Lemon Cake Filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/2 cup sugar. Add oil, egg yolks, lemon juice, and water. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth.

In a small bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until peaks form. Gradually add 3/4 cup sugar, and beat until very stiff and shiny peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into the batter, then quickly fold in remaining whites until no streaks remain. Turn batter into ungreased 10-inch tube pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 50 minutes (a little dry. try 47?) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Invert cake and cool completely in pan. When cool, loosen edges and shake pan to remove cake.

To Assemble Cake: Slice COLD cake horizontally into 3 equal layers. Spread each layer with 1/3 of filling. Leave a half-inch margin so it doesn’t all squoosh out. Spread remaining filling on top.

Original recipe said to bake for 60 minutes but mine was well-done after 50. Your mileage may vary.

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