Working Our Way Back To Normal

We are not out of the woods yet but things have definitely improved since last week. Kuochun is still in pain but his appetite is much better and although he has continued to stay in bed most of the time, these past couple of days he has ventured out on very short trips such as to Walgreen's, returning books to the library and walking Margot half the time. This coming Tuesday afternoon will be the follow up visit to the cardiology lab in Mount Prospect. I have been through a similar protocol with Mother, we had a great experience at the cardiology lab, the physician's assistant was so knowledgeable Mother thought she was the doctor. Hopefully things will go as well with Kuochun. The main question he would like answered is if he is recovering properly, he feels that his recovery has been slow.

Mother has taken a step to improve her health, we will see her primary doctor on Friday. Her abdomen keeps getting larger from when she fell on her oxygen machine last September. Her primary doctor felt the swelling would go down in about six months. It has been six months now but it has unfortunately gotten worse. Mother needs a knee replacement and wants to make sure it is safe to do so, given this condition plus all of the other medications she is on. It is a catch-22, she needs to move more but is in too much pain from her knee to walk very far.

We did take a little time out on Sunday to visit the new HomeGoods at Randhurst which opened on Thursday. The store is 24,000 square feet and is in a portion of the of the former Carson Pirie Scott. It was just crawling with people, way more than I have ever seen in a store of this type. However I would go back again and again once the novelty wears off with the community because it is such a nice store and loaded with great items. It is definitely a much needed positive addition to Randhurst. I always find myself looking for jewelry displays and photography props when shopping and this time was no exception. I was looking for an elongated piece of wood that I could pair with one of the new Replica Surfaces I just received, Aged Copper. I really liked the way they staged this jewelry photo. I found an elegant long-handled cutting board for $9.99 and the color is perfect. It is by Lipper and made of acacia wood. I will give it a try and see how it looks with a group of jewelry displayed on it, I am not going for a jewelry in the kitchen look!

Replica Surfaces had just come out with a new collection while I was in Scottsdale and I purchased five of them - Aqua Washed Wood, Picnic Bench and White Wood and duplicates White Brick and Natural Walnut to keep there. I had racked up $127.00 in rewards and combined with the bundle discount that helped a lot with the cost. Claire has Natural Walnut on loan right now and it is such a great surface, everything I have photographed looks amazing on it. I shipped the studio to Scottsdale but it did not arrive until I was already back home. I will now have to wait until November to try it but I think it will be great for shooting photos on the back patio. I thought I was set for a while then Replica Surfaces decided to release a new collection in collaboration with Amazon which had three must-haves for me. They were full price and I did not earn any rewards but they were delivered the next day. I have so many Surfaces now, I really need to put together the rolling rack I bought on Amazon to store them so they are easier to access.

I have been waiting for four months for an Etsy seller to make a custom order of round wood jewelry props, I have square ones but it is impossible to get them straight. They always look crooked in the photos. I ask for an update on my order once a month but he has not had time for me. Then it dawned on me - coasters are round! I spent some time looking at coasters on Etsy and found so many great choices. I narrowed it down to a few and by chance none of the makers are in the US. I ordered from Estonia, Ireland, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Mother was pleased that I am getting something from Estonia, it was one of her all-time favorite countries to visit. The photos from the Turkish items are gone but they are three different sets of kilim fabric coasters. It turns out that the photos are going to be a lot more interesting than they would have been with plain wood rounds. I am looking forward to trying to be creative and doing some layering with different textures. I think it will make for great first product photos. I will not contact the seller again about my order but if he ever gets to my project I will not say no.

Mother bought a bunch of quality drawer organizers by MadeSmart at HomeGoods, we have used organization products from this brand for years. They are plastic but have a great modern look. The ones she found were two-tone grey. MadeSmart is a woman-owned company which is very cool as well. While in Scottsdale, we picked up popcorn in a red bag at the local TJ Maxx but only bought one because we did not know how it was going to taste. It was actually excellent and only 33 calories per cup. I believe it is made with coconut oil. We went back to buy the rest of the bags but they were gone. We could not remember the brand to try and find them somewhere else but Mother spotted four bags at the Randhurst HomeGoods and snapped them up. I am doling them out to her at the rate of one bag per week, otherwise she would have them gone in two days. Popcorn is one of her very favorite foods. The photo is above, I do not crave popcorn like Mother does but I thought it was delicious.

Among other errands, we checked out Wild Fork which is a stone's throw away from Randhurst. Wild Fork is new to our area and is a market with high-quality frozen meat and seafood. They also have appetizers, side dishes, desserts and other meal ideas. The folks on the Nextdoor app raved about it. We loved the store, it is very clean, well-organized and modern. It was a pleasure to shop there. The employees were helpful without being annoying. I thought Mother picked up a lot of good food for $163.00. I did not get anything because my meals are all taken care of on Seattle Sutton but Mother wanted to treat Kuochun and bought him some items she thought he would like, such as hot dogs, jambalaya and cream puffs. Kuochun is a total seafood lover and they have three large case sections dedicated to seafood. I did not want to choose seafood for him although it was tempting to get him the mixed seafood to put on pasta or rice. They have exotic meats as well, he might be willing to give some of them a try. I will go with him when he is ready.

Currently Mother is on Seattle Sutton 4 days a week which I think will work better for her than full-time, it gives her some flexibility. Kuochun is going to start Seattle Sutton next weekend, he is going to try the 3 day weekend plan but not for weight loss. My understanding is it is the same food but in larger portions. It is a good compromise for Kuochun as well, it will reduce his salt intake and ensure he has a heart healthy diet at least part of the time. Hopefully the food from Wild Fork is good as it is an easy way for them to make wholesome meals. Mother reports so far that the hot dogs are very good and she is a hot dog connoisseur!

I met with Claire once again as she finished setting up another round of jewelry for me, this time high-end vintage Mexican silver with a retail price of $400 and up. I gave her two more shoeboxes with vintage Mexican silver with retail prices in the $200-$300 range. Items retailing below $200 will go to the jewelry caravan. In preparation for the meeting with Claire, I spent some time sorting the pre-owned silver jewelry into categories - estate pieces, Native American (vintage and new,) Southwest Style and Mexican. I am about 80% through the project which is real progress. The next step will be to make sure the jewelry all has new tags or labels. They are so much easier to read than the handwritten dumbbells which have faded over time and will reduce cashier errors.

I have a bunch of beautiful jewelry that I brought back from the Tucson Gem Show including fabulous amber and pieces from Mexico and Bali. It is on the short list of things to do to get them priced and ready to go before the busy season starts for estate sales.

I posted the above lot which features Native American jewelry without stones (except for the peyote bird naja necklace which has turquoise chip inlay.) Most of these pieces came back from the local gallery. The necklace was kind of in sorry shape and I was able to take it to Old Town Scottsdale for repair. It was worth the investment as it sold right away. I really like saving vintage pieces by having them repaired. The salesperson at the jewelry store really loved the necklace which I take as a huge compliment as she has been a collector for 40 years and has seen it all. Many of the items did sell but there are eight pieces remaining. They have just been added to the online store - the three-row cuff bracelet is in the Vintage Mexican Silver Jewelry category and the rest are in New Native American Silver Jewelry. The Native American pieces are not brand new, I estimate they are mostly from the 1990s.

The break from estate sale paperwork is coming to an end but I still plan to finish my jewelry organization and continue to post items to the online store. It is very easy to add new items to the website but much more time-consuming to export them to eBay and Etsy. There are so many settings that have to be updated for each site.

That is all for this week, see you next time!