Thursday, May 31, 2007

We Got To Get Right Back To Where We Started From

We have a problem with the sound on our Mac. We could not hear anything when using any external output devise (a.k.a. speakers and headphones) and when my husband called Apple tech support he was told to reload Safari. That he started doing right before the storm hit. When the power went off the reinstall was not completed and the next morning we learned we had lost everything we had transfered from the old computer to this computer. My husband spent part of the morning re-reinstalling Safari and re-transfering all the files. After that he found he could get sound when he plugged a pair of headphones into the output connection; which was good because the speakers in the Mac-mini sound worst than an ant band.

Yesterday afternoon the new pair of speakers my husband had ordered arrived.

The instant I saw them I knew these babies would star in my next nightmare.

Anyway, when he hooked them up nothing happened. He unhooked them and connected the headphones. Still no sound. He disconnected the headphones. The Mac mini "worst than an ant band" speakers worked fine. He called Apple again and they said the problem must be the computer and to send it back for a replacement. Which means as soon as the mailing label Apple is sending gets here we will no longer have a computer for a few days. Which means we will be right back where we started from.

Even though we have a problem will this computer I am still an Apple fan. I like the way the screen image is 100% better than the one you get with Microsoft. I like how quiet the Mac mini is. I like how helpful Apple tech support is. I am more than willing to give them another chance.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

You Don't Need A Weatherman To Tell Which Way The Wind Is Blowing

The county was under a severe weather warning along with both a tornado and a flash flood watch last night. At about 6:30 PM the storm roared in. Winds gusting up to 70 mph slammed into the the south side of our house causing the building to vibrate and papers to fly off the dining room table. I ran around closing all the windows and could see above the roofs of the houses across the alley what looked like a fog racing toward me. I ran to close the garage door. After bits of grit stung my arms and hands while I rolled the door shut I realized what I thought was fog was really dirt mixed with light rain. When I got back into the house I looked out the window and saw small tree branches, twigs, and leaves tumbling in the dirty air. The loudest noise was the roar of the wind along with the sound of leaves rattling in the trees. The trees were doing a violent dance with the wind and I worried about them crashing into the house.

Then a movement on the street caught my eye and I was shocked to see a young woman in the middle of the intersection about a block away struggling against the wind while holding a baby stroller in her arms. She was trying to run but was making no headway against the wind. I grabbed the truck keys and ran out into wind to my truck. Just as I got within half a block of the woman another car raced across the intersection and stopped next to her. The driver jumped out and helped her put the stroller and baby in the backseat of the car and then they both quickly climbed in too and the car took off. I drove back home, parked, and fought my way against the wind to my front door. When I opened it the wind blew me inside.

It was a weird wind. One that seemed to be blowing in all directions at once. When I got inside I found out the power had gone off. Since there was nothing to do but watch the wind, that is what I did. After about a half-hour the wind died down and a steady rain started falling. The thing that seemed strange at the time was how quiet it seemed once the wind stopped. A city truck came out of the alley across the street and started slowly down our alley. My husband said that anytime the town looses power the city sent trucks up and down the alleys and streets looking for fallen tree branches on the lines. It turned out we had a tree branch on the line in our alley and other fallen branch on the line that connected the power from the main line to a neighbor's house.

After a bit I heard a chain-saw and put my coat and rain boots on and went outside. The air was clean, cold and refreshing, the way it always is after a big storm. Down the alley a city "reach trunk" (the kind with a extendable basket) was stopped and a workman up in the basket was sawing through a limb that lay on a section of power-line. It is amazing how quickly watching someone saw wood becomes boring and after a bit I went home. Since there was nothing else to do until the power came back on I started picking up all the storm debris laying in my yard. When I started my yard looked like two giants had played a game of Fifty-two Card Pick-up using small branches, large twigs, and clumps of leaves instead of playing cards. When I finished I had one wheelbarrow full of green matter piled in the alley. This morning I pick-up another barrow load.

Today I found out that a tornado had passed just west of town last night. I also found out that a couple of houses had trees fall over but luckily neither tree hit either one of the houses. The sound of chain-saws was in the air for most of the day as people and city crews were busy cutting up all the tree limbs that had fallen into yards and into the streets last night. When I rode my bike around town checking out the damage I was not surprised to find most of the streets had piles of tree limbs lying near the curbs where people had dragged them for pick-up when the city can get around to it.

All in all, we were lucky.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

No Post Today

Because Blogger ate it. Blogger now has an automatic save draft feature that evidently does not work all the time even if you click SAVE NOW. This on top of learning Mac has made me grumpy. I'm going away now- be back tomorrow.

Monday, May 28, 2007

You're A Grand Old Flag

-Title of George M. Cohan song
(Audio recording and lyrics)

Today is Memorial Day. A day when we Americans honor all Americans who have died in the service of our country. This has turned into a very patriotic holiday with small American flags being thrust into the ground next to almost every grave of every one of our war dead. A simple and touching way to honor the men and women who have died fighting under that flag.

My sister is back in this country and celebrating Memorial Day for the first time in many years. She has fallen in love with the flag again and wrote me this:

I'm in America and I am totally loving it and I bought cheesy velour American flag bows (made in China) and put them on the gate and front door and I bought red garland with little stars with the American flag pattern...i really do like the red white and blue American combo.

She also sent me a link to this, a printed T-shirts company, and told me to check out the patriotic section. That was an eye opener. What is considered patriotic these days makes me shake my head in disappointment. Some examples:

1. The Constitution
Humm, I did not know the words "love it or leave it" were part of the Constitution.

2. One Nation Under God
Oh My God! No pun intended. Can I get the KKK version of this?

3. Love Women
Show both your disrespect for women and the flag at the same time!

4. Gun Control

It is amazing how many people confuse being patriotic with being an aggressive, arrogant, insensitive, butt-head.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Almost Down For The Count

Still learning Mac. As you can see I now know how to save photos and get them into Blogger. This little guy was a garage sale bargain. He is about 4 inches long from ear to tip of tail and about 2 inches tall. He only cost me a dollar.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Service Temporarily Interupted

UPDATE May 23, 2007

I see the Mac people have stopped by. Mac is up and running but I'm still learning this new system. Love this Mac stuff but am still a bit lost. I would rather learn from a book than on screen so learning how this new system operates is not going smoothly for me. The good news is we finally got Firefox installed.

All my energy is focused on learning so I do not have any energy left over for blogging right now. Be back when the newness wears off some.

Today we are replacing our old IBM clone computer with a new Mac Mini. My husband always preferred Apple to IBM but since he was selling IBM clones (what people around here wanted) he thought he should use the product. Today he will be removing everything from the old computer and setting up and reinstalling files into the new computer. How long this will take is anyones guess. Be back when we are up and running again.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Things I Can Live Without

Uh Oh, you peeled away half that potato!

Tater Mitts! A pair of cheap rubber gloves that have partials of God-knows-what embedded in the palm and fingers that scrub the peel off the potato in eight seconds! Your cost- "only" $26.90 ($19.95 plus 6.95 shipping and handling).

After watching the TV commercial (go to Tater Mitts link above) I decide to pass on this product for the following reasons:

1. The price.

2. The way the gloves beat-up the potatoes.

3. The fact that you have to do the potato scrubbing under running water.

4. That stuff they put on the gloves. I would be constantly worrying about bits of it breaking off and getting in the potatoes.

5. The sixty day money back guarantee. That tells me the gloves are not going to make it to seventy days.

What I found amusing about the TV commercial:

1. The way they never mention using a potato peeler.

2. The way the announcer reads his lines. Oh no, not with a knife. That's dangerous!

3. The examples of all the different ways you can prepare potatoes. The possibilities are endless!

4. The crawl along the bottom of the screen telling you of the many different potatoes that Tatter Mitts can be used on.
Idaho...Yukon Gold...Red...New...Fingerling...Yams...Sweet Potatoes

5. The way the people using the bonus "Perfect Fries" have to really put they backs into using that thing- even when slicing cucumbers.

Although the commercial was amusing I really have no desire to abuse poor innocent potatoes.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Traveling Through Time and Inner Space

I've been sick this week with a head cold that has migrated into my ears. I am taking decongestants and antihistamines in an effort to keep any infection from developing. These medications are making me drowsy and light-headed so for most of the week have been reading and sleeping.

So far I have read Amy Patrica Meade's, Million Dollar Baby, a murder mystery set in the 1930's, Ellen Burstyn's autobiography, Lessons In Becoming Myself, and Conrad Allen's (aka Edward Marston), Murder on the Celtic, a murder mystery set in 1910.

The murder mysteries were a journey to another time and place. Burstyn's book was also a journey but a different kind of journey- a journey into another person's inner space. The book is both a memoir and the story of her "quest for greater self-knowledge and deeper spiritual perception." I don't know if it was the effect of the drugs but reading this book was a blast of fresh air for my mind and spirit.

I just started reading Norman Doidge's The Brain That Changes Itself, described by Oliver Sacks as a book that a remarkable and hopeful portrait of the endless adaptability of the human brain. When I finish that I will go on to Sue Monk Kidd's The Mermaid Chair, a book that has been described by author Connie May Fowler as...a wonderful novel about mothers and daughters and the transcendent power of love, all the while masterfully illuminating the feminine face of God.

Reading is food for the brain and soul. This week I seem to be enjoying a smorgasbord.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Whos Says God Doesn't Have A Warped Sense Of Humor?

Only the good die young.
-Oliver Herford

First Jerry Falwell and now Yolanda Denise King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, at the age of fifty-one. I guess God had to get the taste of Falwell out of his mouth.

The New York Times wrote this about her:
She was the most visible and outspoken among the Kings' four children during this year's Martin Luther King Day in January, the first since her mother's death. At her father's former Atlanta church, Ebenezer Baptist, she performed a series of solo skits that told stories including a girl's first ride on a desegregated bus and a college student's recollection of the 1963 desegregation of Birmingham, Ala.

She also urged the audience to be a force for peace and love, and to use the King holiday each year to ask tough questions about their own beliefs on prejudice.

"We must keep reaching across the table and, in the tradition of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, feed each other,'' King said.

She was definitely her parent's child. Rest in peace, Ms King.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Death, The One Appointment We All Must Keep

...and for which no time is set.
Charlie Chan

I just heard on the news that Jerry Falwell died today. After making the announcement the reporter added, "Reverend Falwell had a history of heart problems."

Ain't that the truth.

Happiness Is

A new bike pump that actually works. Yes!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Baby You Can Drive My Car

Went to a car show over the weekend. There was quite a variety of cars on display. Everything from a 1928 Ford Model A to a 2007 Ford Shelby Cobra GT500. There were British Triumphs- a TR3 and a couple of TR7s. Whoever decided to put all of them together did not do the TR7s a favor. The TR7 is an ugly car which appears even uglier when sitting right next to a TR3. There were a lot of 1960-1970's muscle cars; Chevy Camaros and Pontiac Firebirds mostly with one Pontiac GTO Judge. I only remember this car because Paul Revere and the Raiders were pitchmen for it in a television commerical.

The two cars that really caught my eye were a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere (that thing is a boat) and a 1963 Mercury Monterey with the Breezeway Rear Window. First of all, this car's slanted three section rear window (close-up here) seemed very stylish to me when I was a kid. Second of all, the fact that you could roll that center window down any time you wanted to had nothing to do with my firm conviction that this was the car for me. Of course riding around in the rain with that window down would be nice though.

Two entries under the "others" categories included a Western Auto store Western Flyer bicycle (the one in the show was green) and some one's tricked out riding lawn mower. The lawn mower's gearshift knob had been removed and in its place was a Bud Light beer tap handle.

Now for the part that causes this story to be listed under supernatural. There were also trucks, including a 1945 Ford pick-up that had not been restored yet. The only thing that had been replaced or repaired was the bench seat in the cab. You got to start somewhere. Another one of the unrestored trucks was a circa late 1970's Chevy Silverado. I walked around this truck and as I walked past the passenger side door my eyes were focused on both the cab and the hood of the truck. Just off center in my vision I could see a young man sitting in the passenger side of the cab. He was in his late teens, maybe early twenties, sitting stiffly and glowering out the windshield. He did not look at me. He had brown hair and was wearing a dark color baseball cap pulled low over his forehead and a black t-shirt. When I turned my head to look directly at him he was no longer there.

I found the whole thing interesting and wondered if what I had seen was a ghost or if what I had seen was just left over energy provided by a young man who once had sat in the cab in a very agitated state. We do leave behind energy as anyone who has ever walked a room where two people have just finished an intense argument know. You know something has happened even if both people deny it.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

In Memory Of Our Mothers

Thou art thy mother's glass, and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime.

-William Shakespeare

(My mother on the left, my husband's mother with him on the right)

Friday, May 11, 2007

Still Playing Catch-up After Trip

Will be back on Monday. Everyone have a great weekend.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Austin Trip Highlights

* We saw a Coral Snake in my brother-in-law's front yard and Eastern Rat Snake in Zilker Park.

* We went to Sixth Street and saw Ester's Follies. Great fun. I really enjoyed the audio experience provided by the bars we passed as we strolled down the street after the show was over. Each bar had a live band and the sounds all overlapped one another.

* Stopped in at the Driskill Hotel (hotel photos here) and then took a carriage ride through the Warehouse District.

* We took a long walk down Town Lake Trail on the day of the Peace Officer's Memorial Parade. We were lucky enough to find the Austin Police Pipe and Drum Corp practicing for their part in the parade.

*While on the trail we stumbled across the Opossum Temple and Voodoo Pew on the north bank of Shoal Creek. The Smithsonian Art Inventories Catalog describes it so:
Title: Opossum Temple and Voodoo Pew, (sculpture).
Other Titles: Voodoo Pew, (sculpture).
Dates: 1993.
Medium: Iron, cast concrete, stone.
Dimensions: 2 units. Opossum Temple: approx. H. 10 ft. x W. 30 ft.; Voodoo Pew: approx. 3 ft. 10 in. x 8 ft. 3 in. x 2 ft. 6 in.
Inscription: (On back of Voodoo Pew) T. Paul Hernandez 93 (On back of Voodoo Pew, bottom right:) Voodoo Pew signed
Description: Site installation consisting of a gazebo entitled "The Opossum Temple" and a bench inside the gazebo entitled "Voodoo Pew". The gazebo is a metal structure supported by eight posts which create arched entrances on all four sides. The top of the structure is formed by parallel and perpendicular metal strips, creating an open-aired "roof". Above the three main entryways and at certain places of the open ceiling, are areas inset with thin sheets of metal with abstract floral patterns cut out. Inside the structure is a rust-colored concrete bench placed against a pre-existing rear rock wall. The bench is shaped like a church pew. The arm rests of the bench are cast to resemble pieces of alligator skin. The top of the ends of the bench, and parts of the center, are "worn" and reveal an interior filled with crawfish.

* We wandered under the Congress Avenue Bridge to see if we could get a glimpse of the world famous bats. Did not see even one. No surprise since it was 11:30 in the morning.

* We did what every visitor to Austin must do and drove out to the The Salt Lick Restaurant for true Texas BBQ.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Home the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.
-Robert Frost

We are back (husband, dogs, and me), we are hungry (husband, dogs, and me), and we are tired (husband, dogs, and me). We (me) are also surprised by how many people sneaked in and left comments here while we (me) were away. We (me) will reply to said comments as soon as we (husband, dogs, and me) are feeling up to snuff. That should be sometime tomorrow. Oh- and we (husband, dogs, and me) had a great weekend.

Friday, May 04, 2007

I'm Going To Austin This Weekend

Will I fit in?

You Are 24% Texas

You're as welcome in Texas as a skunk at a lawn party.

Uh oh, I think I'm in trouble.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

They Call Me Mellow Yellow

(Quite rightly)
-song lyric from Mellow Yellow by Donovan

Something a little frivolous today to take the taste of the bad stuff out of my mouth.

Your Inner Color is Yellow

Your Personality: Life's too short not to have fun. Your bright energy brings joy and laughter to those around you.

You in Love: A total flirt, you need a lot of freedom to play. But you'll be loyal to that one person who makes you feel safe.

Your Career: You love variety in a job, and you probably won't stick with one career. You would make a great professor, writer, or actor.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Ugly

Last Thursday my next door neighbor came home for lunch and on her way into her house stopped to talk to me as I was working in my yard . We talked a bit and then she asked me if I had heard about Scooby. Scooby is the chocolate lab who lives at the other end of the block. I said no and she said Scooby had died earlier in the week. I could not believe what I was hearing. Scooby was five-years-old and the idea that she had died stunned me. I asked my neighbor what had happened and she said Scooby and her son Tank and been shot and Tank was now up at the Vet clinic badly hurt.

Scooby and Tank, so named because he is a big lug of a dog, had got out of their yard and traveled across town to the yard of a man who lived behind the bus barn just east of the high school. This man had a chicken coop and Scooby and Tank dug their way into it and killed six seven-week-old chickens. The man found them and stepped into the coop with a .22 pistol. He shot Scooby three times and Tank once. When he was done he called the Sheriff. When asked why he had done it he said it was because the chickens were his daughters pets. The Sheriff called Scooby and Tank's owner. When "Dave" got there Scooby was dead and Tank bleeding heavily. The Sheriff took Scooby's body and buried her while Dave rushed Tank up to the Vet Clinic.

First of all, as two women who I talked to about this said, no one around here raises chickens as pets. Second, he did not have to shoot the dogs. He could have blocked the hole the dogs had dug trapping them and then called the Sheriff. Third, this man is an heartless SOB. He is know for shooting any cat that is unlucky enough to be on his property. Lastly, he shot the dogs because he knew he could get away with it. There is no law against shooting any animal that is trespassing on your property if your property is outside the town limits. His house is at the edge of town.

Later, the same day I heard of Scooby's death, I saw Dave out in his side yard and went down to his house to talk to him. When I got closer I was delighted and surprised to see Tank. It turned out that Tank was not hurt as badly as I had been told. The bullet had gone through his back leg without hitting the bone and he was doing fine. I knew Dave would be devastated by the loss of his dog and so I was not surprised when he told me had cried off and on for the previous three days. He said the it had been hard telling his two boys that Scooby had been killed. He was still dazed by it all and could not understand why the man had shot his dogs. He told me that he would have gladly paid for the chickens. He was really having trouble understand how someone could shoot a dog over some chickens and blurted out, " A chicken brain is nothing like a dog brain."

Scooby left behind eight puppies. She was still feeding them before she died and Dave had been worried that they would not be able to make the change to baby formula. Fortunately the puppies took to the formula without any problems. Having the puppies there is making the loss of Scooby a little easier for his boys. He told them that they could pick whichever one of Scooby's puppy they wanted to keep. Out of the five black and three chocolate brown puppies they picked one of the chocolate brown ones. She looks just like Scooby.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Bad

My little dog - a heartbeat at my feet.
-Edith Wharton

During the week of March 19th I took my dog Kate to the Vet because she had been having trouble keeping her food down, seemed to be in pain, and was loosing excessive amounts of hair. The Vet drew blood and when the report came back he discovered that Kate was in the beginning stages of renal (kidney) failure. When I heard those words I thought, "Oh no, not again."
We had to put Emma down because her kidneys had quit functioning after she had been poisoned by antifreeze and hearing those words again felt like a kick in the stomach. Kate's kidney problem was diagnosed right after the pet food recall had been announced. Since we had not been feeding her any of the food on the list we thought it was pretty ironic that she would be diagnosed with the major consequence of eating the contaminated food. Then on March 30th Alpo Prime Cuts in Gravy was put on the recall list.

We have always had problems with Kate's arthritis pain medications upsetting her stomach and as a consequence it had been difficult to get her to eat. We usually only feed our dogs dry dog food but we decided to put some canned (wet) food in with her dry to see if that would stimulate her appetite. We started buying cans of Alpo in late January and would put one to two tablespoons in with her dry food. It worked, she started eating again. Then in March she started throwing-up again. We thought that the pain meds we had switched her to were tearing her stomach up just like the other meds she had been on so took her off of the pain medication and try a new chewy type of glucosamine, creatine, MSM supplement. At the same time we switched her to a sensitive stomach dog food formula and quit putting any additives of any kind (no people food, no Alpo) into her food. Both changes seemed to work for about a week and then she started throwing up again. That is when we took her to the Vet clinic.

The Vet started Kate on a something called Calcitriol. Calcitriol is an oily liquid that helps balance the calcium levels in Kate's blood. She is also on a low protein dog food since protein is hard for her damaged kidneys to process. She just had her blood checked again and the Vet said everything looked good. This was not a surprise to me because there had been such a change in her since we started this new regime. She no longer looks uncomfortable, her eyes are brighter, her coat looks healthy, she wags her tail more, and she is very playful. All signs that she feels better. The Vet said that it looks like Kate will be fine but she will be on this new medicine for the rest of her life and if her kidneys get worse other medicines will by added. Damaged kidneys cannot repair themselves.

The thing that bothers me the most about this incident is not that we got caught in the pet food recall, although I wish we had not, but that I unknowingly fed my dog something that hurt her. I am pretty sure this is the reaction of all pet owners who were affected by this.