Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Light in Attic. Have a Safe and Happy New Year.

Ray came over and we started running wire for another light in my attic. We had left all the electrical tools out from yesterday, as it was something that I had been meaning to do for five years. The contractors that finished the front of the house had only put a light on one side of the attic. Being "gopher' it meant that I had to climb up and down the attic steps a dozen times for this and that, so I got my exercise today! But it is installed now, and it is great not having to poke around up there with a flashlight to look for fabric for a certain job.

We are always careful to lock the cats up before we let the stairs down, as the stairs are in the grooming room. If Pepper got up there, he would have a ball, and not want to come down.
Been there, done that, with Minkie. She jumped one storey down through an opening that goes into the workshop. The outside door was open and she got out into the yard. Fortunately I caught her.

Two loose animals, a cat and a dog, didn't fare so well on the road behind me last night, I had to call the County Barn to have them pick up the road kill. I also had to report a poor black dog that has been tied to deciduous tree with no shelter, food or water during these freezing nights. Why get an animal and treat it like that?

I bathed MaeMae and worked on the little bad place below her eye. It gets matted from a weeping eye, and I have to soak her little face with Baby Shampoo and loosen the matted clump with a special comb that has tines that turn, so that it doesn't pull and hurt. Then I can comb the mat out. When she has been brush-dried, I can clip the hair away from the bad place and put medicine on it. She is so good when I have to do this, as she knows I wouldn't hurt her for the world, and she feels so much better that she prances.

AOL Picture Storage closes tonight. Even though I have been spending a lot of time copying the pictures to other places, I did one last ditch safety precaution and downloaded them all to My Pictures on My Computer, today. Most of these are pictures of repairs and mods we have done to different RVs over the last 40 years, and I don't often need the pictures, but I thought I might have missed some. I do get people wanting to know how we did a certain repair, and the pictures are worth a thousand words. Very difficult to re-create the situation and take more, if any got lost. Some computer folks had told me not to keep all those pictures in My Computer as they take up space, then others say they don't. So I will just do it both ways and store some on Web Albums, so they can be deleted.

2008, last time to use that date today.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Wiring to Porch. All mailing done.

It started out just a little chilly, but soon warmed up.

Ray, Jay and I started on the wiring problem on the porch. Jay went up in the attic, all the way up front where there very little space, Jay was on a ladder on the porch, and I was "gopher". We run a new wire, and got rid of one more splice that the contractors had put in that line. Good thing Jay looked in the attic, as he discovered that all the junction boxes that the contractors had put up there had no covers. Jay had wired the GFIC wrong, and Ray had to install it in a deeper box. We got the halogen light fixture hanging near the plants, in case it gets very cold.
Now everything works as it should, and we didn't burn the house down.

I was picking out the 25 plants for shipping during any spare moment I had, found a box in the storeroom attic, and got them all securely wrapped and packed. I put a lot of paper around them to protect them from freezing. Then I packed up an External Drive. We got the parcels and the big keyboard in the truck, and went to town.

The Post Office was easy, but a different lady was at the UPS counter. She wanted to use a much more expensive box, and charge more for packing the keyboard. The buyer had only sent me just enough to cover everything, so we went to Sonic while we waited for the original lady to get back from lunch. She got that all straighten out, but it was still $4 more than what she had said, but the shipping was that much less, so it all came out right in the end.

Jay had brought MaeMae here this morning for me to bathe and tend to her bad eye, but I told him I wouldn't have time to do it today, so she is spending the night.

A lovely sunny day.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Oops, Back to Square One. Shipping Keyboard & Aloe

It didn't feel cold when I got up, but I turned the porch light on to look at the thermometer out there as I do every morning, to see if Bobcat can go out before her breakfast. Oops ! The lights on the porch and half the living room went out. It threw the breaker. Back to Square One, so tomorrow we are going to have to go into the attic and see what is going on. Didn't have time today.

I picked up Jay, as he wanted to go to the next town with me. He strung an extension cord from the back of the living room so that he could watch the TV in there, while I took the trash to the curb, etc. before I could leave.

One thing I needed to do was to pack up 25 aloe plants, so I could mail them off, but I found out that I couldn't do it today. Five of these particular plants are very wide, and full of aloe gel which would break the leaves if they are squashed. They can't be shipped in the regular Priority triangular tubes, so I needed a Priority Box big enough for them. I had the right size boxes in the beginning of December when I was running the ad for this size plant, but as the buyer never paid for the plants, I gave the boxes to someone who needed them. Surprise, last night they paid for the plants. I checked at both Post Offices, they were just about out of Priority boxes. So back to Square One on that, too. I'll have to find a box.

I have a piano keyboard advertised in several local places, for a neighbor. A man way down in S. TX, said he wanted it sent to Lake Charles, LA to some little church there. At first I thought it was one of those "I'll send you money plus shipping, and you send me back the shipping money" deals, but it turned out to be genuine. Now, this is a big thing, 48" x 16" x 6", and I knew that UPS was probably the best way to handle this. But I couldn't find out their packing charges online, so we stopped at their store in town. They get $11.00 for that size cardboard box!....we are in the wrong business! Packing and shipping is extra. Anyway, the prospective buyer has an invoice and my PayPal address, so we will see.

While we were in town we went to Angelic Thrift shop as I had a 50% off coupon due to expire. I had seen a lovely, white, fancy kitchen sink there last week, measured when I got home, and it was the right size, but it was gone. (My sink is not a standard size). But they had a humongous, like new, dog carrier, big enough for a Great Dane. I didn't need it, but the price was right with my coupon. One of the foster moms will be glad to get it. Jay and I picked up a few other things there. I bought a big bucket full of commercial Dishwasher Soap for $2.00, a little blue step stool, and a little pouch to go through the belt on my fanny pack. Jay got a cedar box and a big bag of various light bulbs.

We stopped at the '99cent' store as I needed some Oxyclean, where it is, of course, only 99 cents. I bought a lot of fresh veges there, some canned scallops, a pouch of Sockeye Salmon. We both picked a couple of pairs of reading glasses, too.

I read that if you soak your cellular blinds in Oxyclean in your tub or somewhere, that they come out clean, so I wanted to try it. I know that a scoop added to the washer makes the whites whiter. Some RVers I know, put their whites in a bucket with some Oxyclean, put it in the shower with the lid on, and soak their clothes as they travel. Then wash them the usual way. Now if you are going to where there isn't a washer, you can put some soap, and bleach in there, too, and the rocking of the rig will wash your clothes. Now all you have to do it rinse them and hang them somewhere.

Speaking of ladders, do you know what goes on when you are not looking ?

A lovely, sunny, warm day.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Unnecessary Trip to Town. Unexpected Repair

It got colder in the night, as predicted, and it was raining off and on. It was too cold and damp to do much outside, so it was a good day to go into the next town, and Jay wanted to go with me.

He wanted to stop at our local Kroger's to get a few things and cash a check, so we did that first. It was so chilly we just put the milk and cold stuff in the bed of the truck in a box, so we could have the heater on inside.

We went through rain and bleakness all the way to the next town, but the store I wanted to visit had changed their Sunday hours, and wouldn't be open until noon. So we just came back home.

Jay was looking for something to do, so he put the new halogen bulbs in a light fixture that I wanted to put on the enclosed porch for extra heat if needed. It takes the long T-type bulbs that you mustn't touch with your bare hands. My late DH had bought it for me years ago to put in the grooming room, but it put out so much heat, that we had to switch to fixtures that take the cool burning curly type bulbs. The only electricity out there is a porch light, so we thought we would tie into the wires at the back of the fixture and add an outlet.

When we took the fixture down off the soffit, we couldn't believe what we saw. The blasted contractors who finished the front of the house, obviously had not left enough wire for the light, and had pigtailed, and wire nutted together several splices of wires, but had not put it in a junction box. So we had to jigsaw a larger hole in the soffit, and put all their mess in a junction box. We added some 12 gauge wire, ran it through some conduit to where we wanted the outlet. As there is a sink near there, we had to use a GFIC outlet. It means that the outlet will be controlled by the light switch, but that is OK. Getting all the tools and parts together meant going into the workshop, and shed several times, and the storeroom next door, so I got my exercise today.

Now, the motor home. I got an email from the owner, and he is not coming to Houston after all, so he wanted to know if I wanted my deposit back. That was the reason I decided to buy it, because he would drive it here. I told him I would see what I could arrange before I did that. I can either fly or bus to KY, and hope that the winter weather isn't too horrid for me to drive a strange vehicle the 1000 miles back here. Or get my money back and try to find another one closer, which isn't easy as all the ones that I am interesting in, are in WA or FL !!

A decision making day.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Great Day. Health and Diet Research.

It was 70 deg. when I got up around 6.00 AM, even though it was still dark. I opened all the windows again, as it is another tank-top day. But I will have to keep a cardigan handy, as it is supposed to go back down into the 40's later on in the day, and just in the 50's tomorrow.
It makes a big difference in your whole attitude for the day. I got some stuff done outside, even though there have been a few sprinkles of rain. The sun would peek out from under the cloud cover every now and then to brighten things up.

The Houston news was about early morning accidents and people that have got killed or injured in drunk driving episodes. Such a waste. Here is just one of them:
I am going to take a trip into Houston soon, but I will go at a time of day when I expect the least amount of drunks.

I have been looking up and printing out a lot of health pages about eating right, and the effects that diet have to cancer. Jay's mother, awaiting a liver transplant, now finds out that she has a spot on a lung, having just had radiation for cancer in her liver. She has never smoked, and never allows it in her house, but her diet has not always been a healthy one. White bread, instead of whole grain wheat, and other white refined foods, such as white flour, white rice, white pasta, white sugar have been staples in their kitchen for years. Eating iceberg lettuce which has no nutrients, instead of the more heathy dark lettuce or spinach whenever they did eat a salad, which wasn't very often. They definitely don't eat the required amount of fruits and veges. They consume a lot of BBQ'd beef, and they eat more than the 3 oz. a day, the size of a deck of cards, that is recommended. She feels bad all the time, spends most of her day in bed, when exercise is also important for good health. She has bought several exercise machines and has one on her porch at all times, but it just gathers dust. She is younger than I am, has always had more funds than I have, but she can hardly get out of bed. I guess you are what you eat. I hope I never get like that.

I put a deposit on a motor home today.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Lovely warm day. Just Photos

It has been a lovely warm day with the windows open, and I am wearing a tank-top again.
Bobcat could stay on the porch most of the day. So things are back to normal, for a few days anyway.

Snack has been wanting to come in the house, she is tired of Pepper wrestling and bothering her all the time, so I let her in for a while. She cautiously slunk around, and then made her headquarters under my bed in the doggie bed. When I let Bobcat in, they ignored each other.

I am still struggling with my thousands of pictures on AOL Picture Storage which is closing down. I often need to get them out of storage, back into My Computer to insert in emails, blog, or ads, so that their "Browse" button works. So I have been going through all the web picture places that I could find. Some were just too hard to navigate, and some just seized up my computer. Jim of GeeksOnTour told me that I can save my pictures in Web Albums on Picasa, not the normal Picasa, and they won't disappear when I delete them out of My Pictures on My Computer. So I have been doing that most of the day. AOL Picture Storage was so easy to use, so I am finding everything very difficult.

I can still hear people setting off big fireworks close by, I hope they don't cause any problems with fires with all these pine trees, and the needles on the ground.

We lost Eartha Kitt, singer and "Cat Woman" yesterday.

Here is a different house I came across today.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Holiday in Review.

You took a bath and got all spruced up.

Then you ate dinner with friends and loved ones.

You got into all the good eats that were laying around

You stuffed yourself until you were sleepy.

Watched some games.

You got into the drinks, too.

Then you got a hangover.
Have a Happy Day!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Visit. Reindeer are Busy Tonight.

The reindeer are busy running around all over the place tonight ! Please don't forget to leave some water out for them. Everyone leaves cookies and milk for Santa, and everyone forgets about the hard working animals that help him.

It has been a fairly nice day weather wise, warm with some sprinkles every now and then. I had the windows open and Bobcat could go on the porch.

Still messing with my photos, except I went to lunch with one of my two remaining granddaughters, Michelle, and my son's ex. We had a very nice meal at a new Chinese restaurant not far from my house. It was good to see them again, and we got caught up on the news. They gave me some English Toffee and this framed portrait of them. I had forgotten to take my camera, so it was a good thing. So I just took a picture of it.

A quiet enjoyable day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Bit Warmer, But Just Piddled on the Computer

No, I didn't mean that!

I meant that I was emailing back and forth to a friend of mine who is also looking for the "right" RV. We were discussing the advantages he would have with an RV he found with 1800 watts of solar panels. He has to start his generator if he is at a rest stop to use his computer, but with 900 watts, he could probably be able to run his fridge, use his computer, coffee maker or microwave through the inverter. If the sun wasn't shining, the engine would recharge the batteries, as soon as he left the rest stop. Inverters are a must, as far as I am concerned.

My Pictures in My Computer needed organizing a bit better, since the computer switch, especially as I have found out some more ways to do it. I also got engrossed in some tutorials by Chris of about Picasa. She sure knows her onions, as the Brits say! AOL Picture Storage is closing down at the end of the month, so I will probably move all my thousands of pictures there. I liked the way I could file them on AOL Picture Storage, and Picasa has so many advantages over the other picture places. It is fascinating to watch what Chris can do with Picasa. For me, it is well worth the $39 membership to be able watch all of the tutorials, not just some of them. She helps me a lot on their forum, too. I was trying to cook at the same time until the Smoke Detector told me that I had forgotten about the kitchen.

It did get up to the sunny 60's, after some rain. I turned the heat off about noon, but as soon as the sun went down around 5.00 PM, I had to turn it on again.

Tomorrow will be a warmer day.

'People will forget what you said,
People will forget what you did.
But people will never forget how you made them feel'.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Big Auto Dealerships Closing. Dog Manners.

Yes, it was cold this morning, so I dressed in cotton layers again, it keeps me warmer. When I took the trash to the curb it had rained, and the drops were now ice spots on the walkways, so I was careful where I walked. I never really could get warm all day. I was so sorry for the plants in their 40 deg. porch/greenhouse.

When I was in the next city yesterday, I had to go past a big Chevrolet dealership that has been there at least 30 years. Usually the lot beside the buildings has about 1000 new vehicles on it, yesterday it was absolutely empty. I couldn't believe it, so I called this morning to see if they had moved, and the recording said that the switchboard is closed. I hadn't realized how many people aren't buying new cars these days. Probably because of the credit situation. People borrow more than they should anyway, and get 'upside 'on their loans, or pay ridiculous interest on credit cards. That is no way to live!

I don't buy new, as I don't want the depreciation hit, and I pay cash, so I hadn't realized that things were that bad. Then I heard that another enormous dealership on I-45 towards Houston had gone belly up, too. No wonder the Big Three are having problems, seems they were making more than the people were needing, wanting or could afford to buy. A good comparison to the Pet Explosion. Where are all those new cars going ? There should be some good deals on them somewhere, just like RVs.

Then, I spent some time looking for a solution to a friend's dog housebreaking problem. They adopted a pound dog, just love her to pieces, but she was probably there because of her lack of house breaking. That would be fault of the person who raised her. Animals, like kids, have to be taught manners. I got engrossed in Victoria Stillwell's videos:
I can understand the different British dialects on the videos, but then I am from Britain. It was a day to stay inside, I really had chores to do, but I was playing hooky. I used to teach Dog Obedience, so I am appalled at some of the behaviour that pet owners allow, and actually live with it.

Going by my rule of eating the oldest food in the freezer first, I looked up different ways to prepare some Catfish Nuggets without doing them the Southern breaded deep fried way. This one sounded interesting and could be used with any fish: or this one:
As I was interrupted during the two hours that I do get off work in the afternoon, I didn't have time to fiddle with either recipe. So I just put the catfish pieces in a foil covered baking pan, drizzled them with Olive Oil Dressing, baked them at 375 deg. for 25 minutes in the toaster oven, while I did other chores. As I already had the Pepperidge Farm dressing out, I just made a small amount on the stove, as it is instant that way. Some veges warmed up in the mike, and I was done.

A day !

Sunday, December 21, 2008

No Work Today. Cold, So Went To Town.

Last night, I had turned the heat back on, as it was going to be cold...but I got too hot in the night, and had to turn it down again. The cold weather didn't come in until this morning. I knew that this was going to be my day for going into the next city, as the cold would probably keep a lot of folks indoors. I had no intention of being stampeded by a bunch of Christmas shoppers. I bundled up in tank-top, T-shirt, sweater and coat, ready to peel some of them if necessary. You never know here in TX, it might have gone up in to the 80's, if the sun started shining, and weathermen have known to be wrong!

Jay wanted to go with me, so we went to Walmart, Target, Petsmart, etc., and didn't get into any big crowds. I was shopping, exchanging, and 'un-shopping', for me and neighbors. I didn't have to carry the 'cold bag' today, just put the 'cold groceries' in the box in the bed of the truck, then we could run the heater inside. Wal-Mart had Eureka bagless upright vacuums on sale for $44, so I grabbed one. They were going fast. I hope they have some more though, as Jay found that there was a little knob broken on mine, when he put it together for me. It will probably be one of those one time specials, and they won't have any more by the time I can get back there, after the holidays.

This afternoon I moved stuff from one computer to the other, and I am finally back on the faster Dell, with my Picasa pictures all moved, too. I threw some wraps over two faucets, turned off and drained the line that serves another outside faucet and the sink on the screen porch, turned the lights on in the shed, and covered some outside plants in the front, for the first time this year. I am ready for tonight.

Only supposed to be one more cold day.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Several Jobs Jobbed. More Cold Weather Coming GRR!

Another nice warm tank-top day. I started out with a cardigan over it, but soon had to take it off. Bobcat spent a lot of her time on the screen porch. Then she came in and curled up in a doggie bed under the coffee table, until she decided it was dinner time and sat quietly in the kitchen waiting for her canned food.

Ray came to work, and we got lots of little jobs done. He finished painting one of the outside decorative wooden tables. We found some more nail-on feet so that it won't be touching the ground again. He moved the German Shepherd cage and it's wooden bed outside the workshop to spray disinfectant on them, waited the required 10 minutes and then hosed it off. I cleaned the inside of the truck windows, got sidetracked and forgot the driver's side of the windshield.

Jim, the mechanic down the road, has had a shoulder replacement, so he can't do much for six months. I am very honored that he offered to let me use his auto water system testing tool on the Puddle Jumper. ( As long as Jay wasn't here !!) I brought it back here, it is a Matco fancy chrome thing in a case, but none of the adapters in the set fit my radiator neck. Ray and I went back down there with the tool. Jim found another adapter, and that pump up tool is fantastic. Ray did the pumping, and in no time we found out that the water leak is in a metal line under the manifold. So it is not going to be a quick fix, as the 20 year old bolts will have rusted, and might break. He told me that as soon as we have warm weather again, as it is going to be cold again for while, he has someone who will fix it at his shop. Jim knows how I miss using my Puddle Jumper. I use it like other folks use their golf carts around the subdivision.

So Ray and I tackled a few more jobs. I have had a red, white and blue flower spray on my front door, and some of the flowers had fallen off. I have been looking for another one like it for a while, but this is the one that my late DH got for 9/11. He died less than 2 months later, so I had got some more flowers and we tried hot gluing them on, only fairly successfully, but it looks a lot better.

One of the pretty wooden hanging plant holders had fallen off the wall with the weight of a plant, and we re-installed that with mollies. We filled up a little hole in the workshop wall where some wires had been run to a 50 amp box for my big RV, which I don't have any more. We just use the 30 amp one now, so all those wires were removed, as they were using two of my house's breaker box slots for my 220 heater. I wanted to be able to use the heater again.

The workshop carpet mats hadn't been vacuumed for a while, and as Ray was doing it he got shocked by the metal handle on the Commercial Hoover. So I used the Shop Vac with extensions, and he used the little Shark with it's turbo extension. But it is not as easy as doing it with an upright. So now fixing the Hoover is on the list. We also got one of the patio door's screen door back on it's track.

I have vent shades on the truck's side windows and the passenger side one had come slightly loose at the back end. So it got glued, and taped to hold it in place for now. One of the "swizzle sticks" had come off one of my bedroom blinds, so that I couldn't turn it closed. We determined that it is broken, can't be fixed, but Ray managed to turn it with just the tiny prong that was still there. So now I have to buy 2 mini blinds, as a dog chewed up one in the dog room. Ray caulked his bathroom windows on the outside, as they are like mine, and face north. By that time the big cage was dry, so we folded it and put it back up in the dog room closet.

It is amazing how great weather gets jobs done, but we are going to have two more days in the 40's starting tonight, and it will be 27 tomorrow night. GRRR!

A busy warm day.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Can Spring be Far Behind ? I Burned My First CD!

It got pretty warm yesterday evening, and I almost turned on the AC at bedtime. This morning it was a lot warmer than it has been, and back to tank top weather. Hooray, even for 1 day !!

After packing up the Dell and some other paraphernalia in the truck, I took off back to Dobbin so that Greg could get these computers sorted out. He took the phone plug-in thing out of the Sony and put it in the Dell. He also said that my cable shouldn't be going out as often as it does, and that I should find another place to get broadband. That is great, but the one I have is the only game in town, other than dial-up.

He is not familiar with Picasa, and how it has to be transferred from one computer to the other. He took the hard drive out of the Sony and installed it next to the hard drive in the Dell, and expected my Picasa pictures to be in the Dell. They weren't. I was devastated.

He had some Internet business to take care of, he sells on as he says eBay fees have just got too high. So I had to hang around quite a bit while he did that, before we could get back to my Picasa problem. He and Mel are babysitting their two year old grand daughter, and she was getting into everything, and trying to stick screwdrivers into the open computers. He would stop whatever he was doing and play with her quite often, so I was there a long time. I can tell he isn't the same as he was before the brain surgery, but then who would be ?

Finally, he put the hard drive back in the Sony, and voila ! There were all my Picasa pictures. He took the Sony's CD slots out of it, as we could see I was going to have to back up my Picasa with CD's, so he had to get them working again. That was the whole reason my camera's CD didn't work right, so the Camera Wizard never came up. It showed on the list of programs that it was installed, but it wasn't right. Using Picasa's Import was the only way I could see the pictures that my camera took. Other photo storage places don't seem to have that importing ability. Then I could select which folders to Export to my computer, as I needed them. I know that they were in my computer all the time, or Picasa couldn't have grabbed them, but it was the only way I could delete them out of my camera, so that I could use it again. It only takes 18 pictures at a time, as I don't have one of those thingies for it. Never used all 18, as I never go anywhere, just take pictures of stuff for sale or what we are working on. He got the CD thing working, gave me an empty CD, and sent me home with both computers to work the rest of it out myself.

Little did he know that I have never made a CD in my life, so I was in a state of trepidation all the way home. I didn't know who I could ask to find out how to do it, other that searching on the web. I hooked up the Sony, and stuck a CD in it called Get Organized, to see what would happen. A Daily Planner with today's date came up on the screen, so it worked. I started Picasa, once I found the Back-Up button, and chosen Back Up All, put a CD in it's slot, it gave three choices. Burn. Eject. Cancel. I looked up 'Burn' in the glossary in my Beginner's Computing book, and it wasn't there. I had heard of folks 'burning' CD's, but I didn't know what they meant ! So I took a chance and clicked on Burn. Hey, it worked. So now I have burned my first CD, and I didn't even scald a finger.

I have never had any reason to do this before, and now I know how easy it is, I won't be scared of it again. Young 'uns have such an advantage over us old 'uns. Gee, there is so much to learn about computers when you are starting from scratch at my age. I had bought some empty CD's, but I am going to have to find a four year old just to show me how to open the plastic boxes. Thank goodness Greg gave me one.

I still have to go through the directions that AOL sent me to "Transfer Personal Filing Cabinet", before I hook up the Dell again.

Folks often say "Written On a Mac", well this is "Written on a Sony", today.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

No "Telephone Hole". Digital TV on a Laptop.

Last night, when I got the new-to-me Dell computer home and got it all hooked up, I found out that the cable was out, and the Dell doesn't have a 'telephone hole' for dial-up. So have to take it back to Greg's. I hope that he can take the one out of my Sony and put it in there.

I also found out that I can't get to my albums on Picasa unless you go through some lengthy instructions on the Picasa site. So we will have to remedy that. Gee, things are complicated ! I have been messing with this machine most of the day. I was poking around and Chris had the answer on her forum on Chris says just to click on Picasa's back-up and put them on CD's to transfer them. That sounds better.

One of the reasons that I had taken the very old Dell Latitude LM laptop to Greg's yesterday is because I have a WinTV USB2:
I had this brainwave that I could use it as a TV, and be using my newer laptop as a computer at the same time. If has a good battery in it, and it would save me from buying a digital TV for the rig, or for using in the house when the power is out. But it is so old that it doesn't have a USB2 port. It wouldn't be cost effective to get one for it, even if available. Then I found out that this WinTV thing will do a TV window, or full size, on my computer screen, so it might be an OK thing.

I took this picture of the view from my back windows in the winter, just to re-test that the Camera Wizard is working. Looks very bleak at this time of year compared to the Summer one with the pink sunset. It is great to have my Camera Wizard working, but I had forgotten to put the image re-sizer in here, so I had to do that !

I had forgotten how many things you have to do to a new computer to get it the way you want it. The printer and the new computer finally decided to make friends, thank goodness. I hadn't done all the things one has to do save their files, so I am glad that Greg didn't wipe my old one clean yet, so that can still be done. I have it all printed out how to do it, but I am sure Greg knows.

I waited all morning for some woman who was going to come to see the Piano Keyboard that I am selling for my neighbor. She emailed me in the afternoon and said "she thought she had emailed me last night to say she wasn't coming" !! Some people!!

The weather man said that it was going to be a lovely 75 deg. day with 30% chance of rain. Maybe somewhere else, but not here. In fact I think it is warmer this evening than it was during the day, and there was no rain.

Just a stay-at-home day

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Out with the Sony, and In with The Dell

It was a nice day today, but I still had to wear a sweater over my T-shirt.

Last night I had managed to get in touch with some old friends, Greg and Mel. I had tried to contact them before, but their phone was disconnected. Fortunately, I was able to find a cell phone number for them, and that is how I had got in touch. I knew that the husband had been very ill, I didn't know the diagnosis, but I really wanted to find out how he is. With a man being that incapacitated, you don't ask if they don't tell you what is the matter, you assume must be The Big Pr. Cancer. Well it wasn't.

He had 'fallen out' at work, lapsed into a coma, and it was discovered that he had cysts in his lungs and brain. They were surgically removed but he still can't go back to work, or drive. He says he has trouble remembering some things but from talking to him, I could tell that he hadn't forgotten how to work on computers.

Also I found out that their house in Montgomery (TX) had been destroyed by Ike, and that they had to move to a nearby town called Dobbin. He is selling a lot of different merchandise online now, more than he ever did, and he also sells computers. He doesn't keep them there, they are shipped by a warehouse. I was going through the ones he had for sale, and he happened to mention that he had a Dell at his house that he was going to sell. It is one that he had beefed up for his own use. I would rather get one that he has personally worked on, than one from a stranger. I didn't want a monitor or keyboard, as I have a very nice flat screen and mini keyboard. We had made a stand for the monitor, and I can push the keyboard under it, out of the way, so that I can use my desk. So I don't want the regular size clunky great big keyboard.

This morning, after doing my mail with my morning coffee, I unplugged my Sony Vaio from all it's umbilical cords. Took it, my laptop, camera, external hard drive, and another old laptop all to Dobbin. Mel and I hugged, it was so good to see her again.

I haven't been able to get the Camera Wizard to work since I had the new Windows XP put in the Sony, and it aggravated the dickens out of me. Even though I had re-loaded the CD for my camera, apparently it wasn't working right, and that is why My Camera Wizard wasn't showing up. He installed my camera on the Dell, and it worked fine.

The Dell that Greg had, has four times the RAM that my Sony has, and a Pentium 4. So it shouldn't be bogging down and hanging up like the Sony. The external hard drive has to have a driver, he said, so I have to look into that. I hope it doesn't require a CDL !! LOL.

I left the Sony with him so that he can clean it out, as I want sell it. He could have done it while I waited, but I didn't know what I might find missing on this one when I got home, so we held off for now. We did put all My Pictures that were in the Sony on a CD. Now I just have to learn how to get them in here ! All I know is how to type and push mice around ! Greg was amazed that I have a little job online as computer illiterate as I am. But as I said to him, all I have to do is type, and I have been doing that since I was 8 years old when I started to hunt and peck on my father's old manual typewriter.

Being with old friends made for a lovely day.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Seagulls, 100 Miles Inland

It was cold, in the low 30's this morning. I dressed in 'town' clothes as I intended to drive to Houston. Jay wanted to go with me, so I loaded up my 'duck & fish" food, as his house is on the way to the lake. He had some food he had for them, too, so we both went down there.

Jay had a chunk of bread and threw it way out on the lake even though there were no ducks in sight. We don't care if we feed turtles, they gotta eat too. Might even stop them from getting caught on a trot line. Even though I am 100 miles inland, there must have been one of those 'spotter' seagulls way up in the sky, because they arrived in droves. They were diving and swooping, and soaring back up again. One seagull even got that big chunk of bread. They were such fun to watch, and they hollered at each other as they fought over the food scraps. That squawking got the ducks hurriedly swimming around the corner of the cove as fast as their little legs could make it. Then it was a free for all. I don't know if the fish got anything after all that.

When I got back home, I found out that some people had paid, through PayPal, for things that I have advertised, and so I thought I better get the items off in the mail today. The two doggie sweaters were easy to pack up in boxes, but the aloe wasn't. The boxes that Jay had pre-cut just didn't fold properly into the triangle tubes, and tuck in right, so I had to start all over again making a new template. By the time that was done, the aloe packed up and all the packages addressed, it was too late to start out for Houston, so we just went into my town instead.

A quick stop at the local Post Office, even though there was a line, as they had all three registers open today. That is a rare sight.

A couple of other stops, and then home for the day.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Oh, Oh, Cold Again For The Next Few Days.

It was nice this morning and Bobcat could go out on her screen porch. BUT, the news said that a front was coming in from the Northwest very rapidly, and that it would get very colder during the day. It did, and I had to turn the heat on, and bundle up again. The open-down-the-front fleecy was too warm to wear when I took the trash out this morning, but I was grateful for it this afternoon. It is supposed to be 31 deg. tonight and we even have ice pellets forecast again. Gee, what is causing all this so early in the season?

This cold spell is supposed to last for three days, gradually warming up back into the 70's again. That's a lot better than staying this way all winter like the folks up north. I am grateful for that.

The dog cage and bed that needed washing and disinfecting are still in the workshop, as they didn't get done yesterday in the nice weather. They are little bit heavy for me to handle, and Ray wasn't here.

I have a collection of food for the ducks and fish at the lake, so I will brave the elements and drive down there tomorrow. But I was worried about the yard birds, so I filled the feeder.

I had intended to go to Houston this morning, but I wasn't going to go in this weather.

A stay at home day.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Modern Parable. Spoiled Cats?

A Modern Parable. Just in case you haven't already seen it:
A Japanese company (Toyota) and an American company (Ford Motors) decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River.
Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race. On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.
The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate the reason for the crushing defeat.
A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action.
Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the American team had 7 people steering and 2 people rowing.
Feeling a deeper study was in order; American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion.
They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat, while not enough people were rowing.
Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 2 area steering superintendents, and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager.
They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 2 people rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called the 'Rowing Team Quality First Program,' with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rowers.
There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses.
The pension program was trimmed to 'equal the competition' and some of the resultant savings were channeled into morale boosting programs and teamwork posters.
The next year the Japanese won by two miles. Humiliated, the American management laid off one rower, halted development of a new canoe, sold all the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment.
The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses.
The next year, try as he might, the lone designated rower was unable to even finish the race (having no paddles), so he was laid off for unacceptable performance, all canoe equipment was sold and the next year's racing team was out-sourced to India.
Sadly, the End.

Here's something else to think about: FORD has spent the last thirty years moving all its factories out of the US , claiming they can't make money paying American wages.
TOYOTA has spent the last thirty years building more than a dozen plants inside the US.
The last quarter's results: TOYOTA makes 4 billion in profits while Ford racked up 9 billion in losses.
Ford folks are still scratching their heads, and collecting bonuses...

It was lovely first thing this morning, 60 deg. on the screen porch. Bobcat could go out there, I could open up the windows in the house, and wear a t-shirt again, without covering it up with a turtleneck and cardigan, and sometimes even a coat and scarf !
I was more enthusiastic about using the washer and dryer, as the workshop was warmer. Yesterday we had cleaned the little rugs that are over the open mesh floors of the dog kennel cages. They are to make it more comfy for their little feet. Today I washed all the little dog beds. Here is Pepper checking it all out before I put the door back on again to keep him out of there.

He has his own beds, one inside his house on right, and one outside his house, on top of Snack's house. He loves to sit up there and watch TV, and he can see the traffic going along the road behind the house.
Snack prefers to stay in her house, as you can see. Peculiar cat. Maybe it is because she can see the TV from there ? But she does go to her other one under Pepper's cage, sometimes.

Do you think that they are spoiled ?

A quiet sunny, warm Sunday.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Just Carpet Cleaning. Hayley's Hints.

Started out chilly, but the sun warmed it up to the 60's by midday. Tomorrow it is supposed to be back in the mid 70's. That's more like normal winter weather around here.

Ray arrived and we cleaned the carpets. Just two rooms of carpet here, the living room, and my bedroom, the rest is linoleum. I moved stuff out of the way, and Ray used the carpet machine. We even put some little plastic nail-on feet on a wooden filing cabinet, so that it could be put back in place, even though the carpet felt dry. I had sprayed some carpet cleaner on any spots, so he just rinsed the carpet, and sucked it very dry with the machine. It took all morning.

Before we shampooed I vacuumed with this old Bissell Upright that Jay swapped out for my old Panasonic, and I wasn't too impressed with the way the hose worked. So I looked in Consumer Reports for the reviews on vacuum cleaners. One brand and model seemed to stand out and had very good reviews. I was expecting to see Kirby, but was a Eureka, so I found a factory refurbished one on eBay.
At my age I don't buy anything new, as I can't take it with me, and my kids have everything they need. They each have big motor homes, too.

PBS had a program on today about Hayley's Hints and Cleaning Hints. It is amazing what you can do with ordinary households products, instead of having a cupboard full of chemicals. Like anti-fogging a bathroom mirror for a month with a quarter's size of shaving foam smeared over it. Then you have to really rub it off with some paper towels, but it works!
That is a good RVing tip, as they have small bathrooms.

Then I use this tip all the time. Put clothes, towels, blankets, pillows, etc., in clear plastic bags, I have a little Shark vacuum for the RV, and I put the hose in between the things, and turn it on. The bag sucks down to a really flat shape, twist it shut quickly getting the hose out at the same time, and secure with a rubber band. I keep my RV packed down with it's linens at all times, and they stay fresh and are ready to use whenever I do take the RV out.
My late DH always said I could pack 10 lb of stuff in a 5 lb bag.
Easy if you are not packing air too!

Haley mixed up three things, but I didn't get the recipe, (I know it had Dawn and Ammonia), and it really cleaned a dirty rug. He had put it in one of those little bottles that makes foam, as the foam is all you use. My rugs are clean, but the fringes on the ends look a grubby off-white, so I ordered the book off eBay, too. I contribute to PBS already, as I like their Ask This Old House, and Antique Roadshow.

A real cleaning day.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Sunny Day, So I Went Un-Shopping

It was still freezing early this morning, so I wouldn't let Bobcat out on the 40° porch. I was thinking that it is nice not to have to wrap up in a big thick robe to take dogs out first thing on a freezing morning.

I got ready in 'town' clothes, as I knew that I had to go into the next town today. I had put it off long enough. I was almost ready to leave when Ray came to work.

I had already vacuumed the big German Shepherd cage of all it's spilled dry dog food and torn up newspaper. Those two young dachshunds loved to play in there, as the door was open. But we didn't move it just yet, Pepper got locked up in it, as he has to get in the big middle of everything that you do. If you open a drawer, he jumps up into it, and wants to see everything. Snack was in her other hiding place, not her big cage, so we cleaned both cat cages. They spill dry cat food and litter in there, so Ray vacuumed them both and the carpeted Kitty Condos. Snack didn't like the noise of the shopvac, so she hid in the closet. I got their cages all set up with clean dishes and new bedding, then we folded up the very big dog cage, and Ray took it, and the heavy wooden dog bed, into the workshop. It was still cold outside, so we will disinfect and hose them down tomorrow when it will be in the 70's again. Hurray!

We got caught up on some of the 1st of the month stuff. Put new filter stuffing in the two air cleaners, vacuumed the ceiling fans, and the tops of door frames. As we were doing this the temperature was rising outside, and so Bobcat was able to go out on the porch. Ray went home, and I got some aloe plants ready to ship. I do that on the porch, I have everything I need out there to measure plants to see which ones I need to ship, and to pack them up. Bobcat doesn't bother the plants out there, not like Minky did. I am not going to start letting Pepper out there, I wouldn't have any plants left to sell.

Then I was finally ready to leave. Bobcat wanted to stay out on the porch in the sunshine, but I made her come in, you never know if it will turn cold again. She just loves the bed we made for her, and wants to stay out there as much as she can, unless it is cold.

There was a lot of traffic on the freeway, I guess everyone was waiting for the weather to warm up before they ventured out. First things first, so I mailed the aloe. Then I thought that I would run into the nearby BigLots. I found they were have a store wide clearance sale, as the building has to be torn down to make a new off ramp for the widening being done to I-45. I picked up a few bargains, and then went to the paper recycling bins outside one of the thrift shops.

Everyone puts their old newspapers in the back of the Puddle Jumper so that when I am in our town I can drop it off at the local school's recycling bin. What the neighbors don't know is that there is a new school being built, and the recycling bins have been taken away. So I have to move it all out of the Puddle Jumper (which isn't fixed yet), put it in the truck and take it to the next town.

As I was right there, I went to the thrift shops on that road, and bought a Japanese antique china plate to go in my Willow collection, a sconce shaped basket, funnel, cutting board, ruler (with big numbers on it), a magnetic towel holder to go on the fridge, aqua shoes, Joneswear shirt, and an open-down-the-front sweater made out of a red fleecy. That should be cozy, and will be easy to take off as the temperatures rise during the day this winter.

I had overbought the clear vinyl shower curtains that we used for enclosing the screen porch, on purpose. I didn't know if we would ruin one or something. I had also bought several more that were a lot cheaper and thinner. I am glad that we used the thick ones as I am sure they are keeping the temperature up in there on these freezing nights. Target can be 'funny' about returns, even though I have my receipt, so I wanted to get that done as soon as possible. The stores and parking lots are going to get worse before Christmas, and if I can, I don't want to go back there in all that turmoil. I had other things to 'un-shop', but didn't get it done.

By the time I had made a quick stop at our local grocery store to do some banking and get a few things, it was dusk, and I hadn't done everything on my list.

Another busy, sunny day.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

East Houston Paralyzed By Snow!

It was cold when I got up, and as I drank my coffee and read my mail, I was watching the news about more than 500 wrecks in east Houston this morning, as it was covered in snow. The roads were icy and major arteries were closed down. Traffic was backed up for hours and they even showed tractor trailers on their sides on the icy overpasses. It was still dark then, and all you could see were miles of red tail lights stopped in place. Snow is a big news item here.

It hadn't snowed here, but it was very cold in upper 20's. News said there hadn't been weather like this here since 1944 on this date. The porch was at 40 deg. this morning, so the plants were OK. I had remembered to plug in the shed, and the two light bulbs in there were keeping the paint and caulk from freezing. I have been wanting to go into the next town since Mindi's dogs went home, but I wasn't going to take a chance on slippery roads for the second day.

We had 'ice pellets' yesterday, never heard of them, maybe it is a new term for little hail ? Bobcat sat looking out of the bathroom window overlooking the road, as I wouldn't let her go out on the screen porch, but there wasn't much traffic for her to watch. Texans, that includes me, kinda think that it isn't safe to go out unless the sun is shining. Probably just as well, as they don't know how to drive unless the roads are dry, and often not even then. I do, as I have lived in England, Kansas, and Washington State, but I can't see the sense in it, if it isn't necessary.

Finally today, with the sun shining, it warmed up enough that Bobcat could go on the screen porch, especially now that it is enclosed with clear vinyl. She was really stomping at the bit yesterday.

I thought that Ray would be here, or I would have dressed in "town" clothes and spent a few hours there getting things on my list, and some exercise in the stores. I got busy and tried to do some of the jobs by myself, but managing some of the heavy stuff will wait until Ray or Jay, is here. No sense in having a dog, and barking yourself, and putting my back out. The German Shepherd cage and it's heavy wooden bed need be sanitized for the next dweller, and put up, and stuff like that. I had already swept, vacuumed and mopped the grooming room and Middle Room floors to get the doggie smell out of there, so the cats would have both rooms to play in. I was hoping someone would work today and get the carpet steamer out of the attic, as it is time to clean the carpets in the house. I try to do Spring cleaning on the cold winter days, Spring is too nice to stay indoors cleaning.

I messed around on the computer and found some interesting sites which have a lot of good info about pet care, where to get low cost spay and neutering, 10 people foods that can be deadly to your dog, and other interesting items.
There are low cost spay and neuter clinics all over the country. Look at the for one. There is another organization called SNAP.
Did you realize that one cat makes 400,000 cats in 10 years. One dog makes 50,000 dogs.
There should be no excuse not to get your pet fixed.

Just stayed indoors today.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How Does This Happen? Genetics & Bloodlines.

So about this life-threatening collapsed trachea that Sheba has.

It is a congenital, (hereditary), defect. Just like overbites, under bites, slipping stifles,(Luxated Patella), hip dysplasia, and lots of other defects in the canine anatomy. It comes from Back Yard Breeding, or Puppy Mills.

What is the difference between buying from a Back Yard Breeder or Pet Shop (who buy from Puppy Mills), and buying from a reputable breeder ?
The 'real' breeder has studied the bloodlines of their breed for sometimes 10 generations before they ever let a sire and dam procreate. They study genetics, and make sure that there are no bad recessive genes in the backgrounds of each dog which, if on both sides, would come out in their progeny. They study the disposition, conformation and with some breeds, the color, of all the ancestors, as a dog is the total sum of it's ancestors. The closer the show dogs, and champions (written in red on the pedigree) are to your dog, the better it will be. But, it depends if someone introduced some inferior defective Pet Quality bloodlines since the champions, though.

There are several pedigree services available, you don't have to pay a premium and get one from the AKC, unless you really want to, though you KNOW that theirs will be correct. But unless you just want one for curiosity's sake you only need it IF you have a Breeding or Show Quality bitch that you are going to breed to some Breeding Quality or champion stud. The owners of that stud want to know what her background is, so that there won't be more Pet Quality, inferior pups born, especially with their stud's name on the litter papers.

A dog cannot be shown if it's knee joints, (stifles), slip or pop, or if it's teeth are under or over shot, or monorchid, (, or any other defects. It has to have a great disposition to act properly, and concentrate on what it is doing around crowds, and other dogs. It also has to have a great disposition to let strange judges feel their bone structure, as that is what makes conformation. And great conformation is what makes a great gait. A big breed dog with Hip Dysplasia doesn't move right. Any large breed used for breeding should be OFA certified. ( You have seen them leading the dogs around the ring, the judge is watching how they move. It is just like horses, if the bones are all at the right angle, the horse has a lovely smooth gait. The old nags just clop along.

The Back Yard Breeder is often someone who bred Fifi to Pierre down the street just because they were both registered as the same breed. That AKC registration paper is only as good as the people who signed the papers to get that litter registered. Being AKC registered is just supposed to assure you that your dog is purebred, and some Traveling Salesman didn't get into the mix. It does not make it Breeding Quality. If it is Pet Quality it needs to be fixed, and not make pups with defects, that will cause the owners medical problems later on.

This is why there is Breed Standard for each breed recognized by the American Kennel Club, so that the reputable breeders can aim for the standard of excellence for their breed.
Look for your breed, and see how it measures up.

I have a suitcase full of show ribbons in my attic. I bred, and showed Show Quality Poodles, all three sizes, for many years. But when I found out how many homeless, neglected and abused dogs there are in the world because people won't get their pets fixed, I gave up

Millions of animals are 'Put To Sleep' every year, as there are not enough homes for them.

Give a home to one who is already born, then don't make any more.


Off my soapbox for today.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

AC in Dec!! Preparing Sheba for Rainbow Bridge.

Right at midnight, poor Sheba started coughing again. It was too soon to give her any of her meds. As a last ditch resort I turned the air conditioner on, that seemed to soothe her, and she went back to sleep until about 3.00 am. Then I could give her the meds, and she went back to sleep until about 6.30.

I got up, made coffee, and took them all outside to do their thing, put the big ones back in the dog room, and got dressed. As I was giving them their breakfasts, Ray came over to do his time sheet. Time worked comes off his rent and utilities. We are late doing it this month. After their breakfast the dogs all had to go out again, I got them all back in and settled back down, gave Sheba her 9.00am cough medicine and pill, then we continued with our bookkeeping.

In my humble opinion, if Mindi does the right thing, she will send Sheba to Rainbow Bridge, as soon as possible. Those of you who have lost a pet know about this wonderful place. But for everybody, here is a new version:

I figured that if Sheba had just had both her meds that I could give her a touch-up groom so that she would be pretty to go on her journey. I quickly clipped her face, feet, and tail, and gave her a gentle brushing. I knew a bath and the heat of the dryer would be too much for her. I didn't quite finish, as she needed to go back to bed to rest, so I started working on Jakey.

I got Jakey bathed and groomed while Sheba slept. When she woke up, I took them all outside, and it was time for her cough medicine again. Then I groomed her a little bit more, and cut her long nails. I cut Precious' and Caesar's, too.

When Mindi picked them up just after 4.00 pm, I immediately let the cats out of their big cages. Pepper had been so anxious to be loose, but knew that the dogs were dangerous. He very cautiously wandered around the dog room, looking in every corner, then decided it was safe to chase around again. Snack just stayed in the Middle Room, as always.

I love Sheba, but I hope I don't see her again. What a relief to have her back in her "Mom's" care.

Only 3 little dinners tonight !

About 60 deg. sunny, but a sad day.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Busy With Sheba

I was up a lot of the night with Sheba. Poor little thing, the coughing wouldn't stop. I gave her some more medicine, and finally she went to sleep for a couple of hours.

Then the coughing started again. I called Mindi and asked if I could take her to the vet to see if there was anything else that could be done.

Mindi had supplied an insulin syringe for drawing up her cough medicine and told me to fill it to the '2' mark. Well, I know that insulin syringes are marked at 1/10th of a cc, and the bottle said she should have 2cc. Our local vet couldn't fit her in today, but finally the vet in the next town north, who had originally diagnosed the collapsed trachea, returned my call, and I took her up there.

The vet said that her lungs are clear, that was our concern. Sheba was given a shot, and they dispensed more of the narcotic cough syrup. And yes, it was to be 2cc, and every 6 hours. Also they said to give her pills twice a day, instead of once.

She must not be around any smoke, fireplaces, candles, cancer sticks, and must be kept quiet in a carrier. She must not walk, and has to be carried outside to do her thing. I don't have a humidifier, but they said that when she gets really bad to put her in a bathroom with one for about 15 minutes. There was no way I could leave her to go buy one, and came up emtpy when asking neighbors.

I did put her in a carrier for her ride to the vet, but I knew that when she is zonked out on that medicine she doesn't move around, so I just kept her in my bedroom. I knew that Mindi wouldn't keep her in a carrier anyway.

She ate well, drank water, and then just went to bed.

I tended the other animals, but I just concentrated on Sheba today.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Anniversary of Pearl Harbor, 1941.

It is a nice sunny, but cool day. Bobcat has been staying on her big shelf at my bathroom window during the day. Once she knows the dogs have been put to bed in the grooming room, she tiptoes into my bedroom, and peers around, looks under the bed, then creeps around to make sure that none of Mindi's dogs have been left in there. Then Bobcat will go to sleep at the foot of my bed. Jakey, on right, used to bark and chase her. He has got that out of his system now, but Bobcat is still wary of that little old dog that weighs half what she does. Jakey is Sheba's son, and they are the two smallest poodles, and they don't like to be jostled around by the other ones which weigh 4 times what they do. Bobbiecat doesn't worry about MaeMae when she is here, as they lived together for many years, so they just ignore each other.

After the dogs had their breakfast and spent some more time outside, Sheba and Jakey came in the house, and Sheba just zonked out. I kept on checking on her to make sure she was still breathing. Here she is looking at me in the mirror of the closet door. There are other bigger beds that she could go to, but this one seems to hold her collapsed trachea at the right angle, and she didn't cough for hours. I tried to be quiet as I didn't want her to get up and start that terrible honking cough. (That's my excuse for sitting at the computer, and then trying to take a nap) When she did get up and start coughing I took all the dogs outside for a while, and got some more of her medicine down her.

Time to serve eleven little dinners all in a row.
They each have their own dish so that I know how much to put in each one. The blue one is Caesar's but got chewed up by Suggy when she was a pup. He doesn't like any other dish.

Today, 67 years ago, was the attack on Pearl Harbor.
I am old enough to remember "a date which will live in infamy."

Just taking care of the dogs and cats today.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

12 Little Breakfasts. Snack & Pepper Portraits.

Well, I have a houseful. Mindi's neighbor's dogs didn't come, as her mother got back in town and is going to take care of them. I am glad really, as I have enough to do to take care of the 11 critters that are here.

The minute I got up, I turned on the coffee maker, I only make 2 mugs at a time, as I don't like old coffee. By the time I had turned on the computer, and donned a thick robe, I could carry a cup outside with me when I took the dogs out for their "first call". When I got them back inside, I turned on the dog room TV, opened up the blinds in there to let the sunlight in. As soon as I was dressed, it is still T-shirt and turtleneck weather, it was time to start on all twelve little breakfasts. Mindi's 8 eat one thing, Bobcat eats another, MaeMae another, and then Snack and Pepper (cats) another. 12 little dishes all in a row ! Sheba had to have her medicines, and then I took the dogs outside again. They always seem to have to 'go' after they eat. Sheba wanted to be in the house with me, so I let her lie on my bed while I got other things done. If she lies still, she doesn't cough.

I was answering emails when the doorbell rang, that got Sheba stirred up, so she started coughing again. It was Jay, and their neighbor. Jay was back from Houston, and said his Mom was coming home, so he had come to pick up MaeMae. So my little black poodle boarder is gone, for now.

I was just going to groom little Jakey, as he is looking straggly, when the phone rang. It was Kenya asking me to bring Snack and Pepper to Petco in the next town. A professional photographer had offered to take pictures of the fosters awaiting adoption, so that their pictures, and history, can be listed on Once they get on there, folks ask about them, and the pets can be brought in for Adoption Day for viewing, so that is a start in the right direction. I quickly took all the dogs out again, counted noses twice as they came in, and got myself ready. I called Jay to see if he wanted to go, and he did.

I got the two carriers ready, and Jay helped me load them in the back seat of the truck. Snack didn't want to leave her big cage and get in the smaller carrier, so I had to do the upside down trick....... Put the carrier with the door facing up, and put the cat in, feet first, and shut the door. Works every time !

At Petco they didn't want to pose. Pepper wanted to be away from the Christmas setting they were using as a backdrop, and chase around the room. Snack just glowered in front of the camera, with her eyes as big as saucers, and wanted to slink away to a corner. Neither of them got their way. I think they got some shots that will be OK.

There was just enough time to get to a couple of thrift shops before they closed at 3.00pm. I found a couple of comfy dresses. Jay got a long sleeve T-shirt and a cutting board. We hadn't had any lunch, so we stopped at McKenzies BBQ, and had chopped beef sandwiches.

By the time we got home, it was time for me to start all over again with 11 little dinners.

Another busy, sunny day.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Porch Didn't Freeze. Boarders Coming

When I got up it said it was 40 deg. on the porch, but according to the Weather Channel, it was below freezing outside, so I think the plants will be fine out there. As it is all enclosed now and no wind, Bobcat wanted to be out there for a while, until it was her breakfast time.

These are the five aloe plants that I brought in from the outside aloe trough yesterday, look how well they root out there !

Here are parts of the porch, with the vinyl installed. I can see out, and it is a comfortable temperature in there. It took Ray and me quite a while to get everything put back in order. It didn't go much over 50 deg. but it was comfy out there.

We made Bobcat this little wooden bed, so that she could sit in her usual corner. She is watching the birds at the feeder in the first picture.

We set up the big German Shepherd kennel in the grooming room as I have a mess of boarders coming tonight. At least 8 of Mindi's dogs, and also her neighbor's two, while they all go to Vegas. The neighbor's dogs haven't been around Mindi's dogs, as they are separated by acreage, so I will keep them away from Mindi's, in the kennel cage until I know that they are all going to get along.

Pepper and Snack (cats) will have to stay locked up in their big cages in the middle room for the couple of days that the dogs are here. Snack will be quite content, but Pepper will be very upset, as he loves to run the whole length of the grooming room and middle room, when the dutch doors are open. He runs so fast that the area rug in the Middle room is always in pleats, I think he has his skidding techniques all worked out. He is a little character !

A sunny, busy day.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Getting Ready for a Freeze. URRGH

It is early for us to have to get ready for winter, I hope that this isn't an omen for a hard winter.

MaeMae went to play at her "Mom's" neighbor's house, and as she was going to be outside I put this little coat on her. As she is so tiny it is difficult to find a coat for her, but this one is made out of a baby's sleeper. He let her in her Mom's house, so that she could see that her Mom wasn't there, and maybe she could understand why she was having to stay with me.

It is supposed to freeze tonight, and so Ray and I have been getting ready for it. This morning we wrapped the long trough full of Aloe Vera for winter again. It goes all along my back fence and into another part of the yard behind Ray's. (Top right, first picture.) Some were so tall that we couldn't wrap them up properly, so they were uprooted and brought onto the porch to be potted.
Then we had to do something with the screen porch. Normally I just try to cover the shelves of plants, and bunch the rest on the table and cover them up. But even though I haven't brought any more plants onto the porch, there seemed to be so many more this year. First we stapled some plastic on the inside, and it looked horrid.
The screen porch is in front of my living room, and I knew that plastic would block the view, as well as look tacky. I called Target, and made sure they had several heavy duty, mildew resistant, clear vinyl shower liners in stock, and off I went to the next town while Ray had his lunch. I have used them before on some lattice, they have been up for years and haven't aged a bit, so I wanted to get some more just like them. I really wanted to put up acetate or Plexiglas removable panels, but this winter being a month or so early, caught everyone off their guard.

We moved the shelves, actually baker's racks, off the porch into my living room, and stapled up the vinyl with screen molding, in that corner. Then we had to move the tables, chairs, and BBQ cart, to do the front and the other corner. Fortunately it was in the 60's, and sunny, while we were doing all this. It took quite a while, up and down ladders, and by the time we had it done, it was 6.15 pm, and our knees and backs were telling us to quit. So my living room looks like a green house until tomorrow.

And tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Beautiful Day. Virus. B+ RVs

It started out warm, and Bobcat was out on her porch at 6.30am. It went all the way into the high 70's, and wasn't humid. Only just now did I close the windows and drapes, at nearly 7.30 pm.

MaeMae still keeps on running to the door wanting to go out. I know she wants me to take her for a ride in the Puddle Jumper, but it's leak is not fixed yet, and she is too small to see out of the truck windows. Tomorrow she is going to stay with Jay's mother's neighbor for a while and play with their dog, Muffie. She doesn't actually play with Muffie, as she considers Muffie a dog, and MaeMae doesn't think that she is one !! But it will be a change for her, she misses her "Mom".

I mostly did jobs around the house, laundry and mundane stuff like that. I complained to a company about their cat litter, and I was researching the different things that manufacturers put in litter that is bad for cats. Suddenly it flashed on my screen that my computer had caught a virus, and Microsoft wanted me to pay $49-79 to get rid of it, and keep my computer protected. Then a bell sounded, and a popup said that McAfee had got rid of the virus. Gee, I have never had that happen before, does Bill Gates need a new sports car, or something ?

I do spend some time each day looking for a different RV online. After all my years of fixing leaky RV's, I know that I want a molded fiberglass one, or at least one with a fiberglass roof cap that comes over the sides. Then all you have to do it maintain the roof and fridge vents, etc. The sticks and aluminum ones just turn me off, I have worked on too many, and seen the devastation that water can cause. I like the sleek rounded look of the fiberglass ones, too.

The first picture is a Chinook, and the second is a BornFree. I still have to have a door at the rear, as a side door would be too difficult to use as the MH would be at the back of the three-sided RVport. It is so much easier for me to back it up to a trailer by myself, looking out the back door. Though I would rather have a rear bedroom. This is a picture of the inside of a Chinook. But all the rear door RV's are the same floorplan that I already have in my old B+.

Turning colder tomorrow, so made the best of today.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Freezing to 69°. That's TX Weather for you !

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As a big surprise, it went down to around 32 deg. last night. The shed wasn't plugged in with the two big light bulbs to keep the paint and caulk from getting too cold. The plants on the porch or outside weren't covered. Bobcat couldn't go out on the porch first thing like she usually does. So she made it very obvious that she wanted me to pull up the mini-blind so that she could sit on the window sill in my bedroom, as the sun was coming in there. That didn't last too long, as the sun, or rather the world, moved around. But she went out on her sunny porch this afternoon.

Jay and I had already installed the soffit vent covers on the north side of the house. Yes, I know an attic is supposed to breathe, but it has lots of other places to breathe on the south side, and that attic also has an opening into the really tall garage/workshop. I need to keep the cold from the north out of my attic as all my plumbing, and water heater is up there, even though it is all wrapped. The roof on this house was made extra high so that the garage could be for an RV, but the contractors that finished the front part of the house only put in a regular garage door. By the time they did that, I had already built a tall three-sided RVport with two car spaces, on the other side of the house. I meant to build an upstairs storey in the garage, which would be part of the attic, but it never got done.

First, Ray and I fooled with one of my toaster ovens. The numbers had all worn off, and we marked them very carefully with a fine Sharpie, using the picture in the manual, and put clear contact paper over them. The company doesn't have new decals that you can buy.

Finally, I got up the courage to start the motor home, hoping that the gas cap found out in the yard didn't mean that someone had sugared the tank. If any gas had been syphoned out of it, it didn't show up on the gauge. It started up and ran fine, so now it is back in it's RVport out of the cold north winds. Phew, that is a load off my mind.

It was time to send off some aloe plants, and the boxes that Jay had cut to make triangular shipping tubes weren't cut right. They wouldn't fold in the right places as the folding V-shaped flaps on each end, didn't line up. I even chucked the stiff cardboard up into the WorkMate Table, and tried to get them to fold that way. These are long plants so I couldn't use my shipping tubes made out of cat litter boxes. So, I had to use regular shipping tubes, and make a special trip to the Post Office, so I didn't make much on these plants.

The truck radio said it was now 69°, it turned into a lovely sunny day.