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      Thursday, August 16, 2018

01:34 PM - 08/16/2018

The topic: Cake in the Instant Pot


I really wanted to bake a cake in the instant pot. I did hours of research and found you can bake a mix cake in the instant pot.

Here's what I found out.

1. Do not start with a cake mix that is twelve years old (I found a bunch the other night, didn't check the date, I mean, really, it's a cake mix in an airtight package, in the back of the pantry in the dark, how can it go bad? yeah, it can....)

2. When the batter is a lot thinner than it's supposed to be, stop. Just stop right there. Throw it away. Pour it down the drain with the disposal running.

3. When the batter smells and tastes even a little off, stop right there. Throw it away. Pour it down the drain with the disposal running.

4. When pouring into the spring form bundt pan and it leaks out the bottom, stop right there. Throw it away. Pour it down the drain with the disposal running.

5. When you put a different bottom on the spring form pan, then put the bundt lid in the bottom and pour the cake batter (which should, in reality, no longer exist, but you poured it back into the bowl to put the other bottom on the spring form pan) back into the spring form pan and even though it no longer leaks onto the counter, you can see it leaking into the flat spring form bottom when you look into the bundt tube, stop right there. Throw it away. Pour it down the drain with the disposal running.

6. If you still insist on following through with making this cake in the instant pot, cover the top loosely with foil. Instant pots work with steam. Steam collects at the top of the cooker. This steam will drip down onto the cake batter.

7. When the cooking time is done and the quick release is over, let the cake cool before throwing it into the trash.

The finished product is hard to describe. The top was a soupy mess, the entire cake, when taken out of the pan, was spongy. It was absolutely horrible. I checked the dates on the other mixes I found and they are all in the dumpster. I guess I got them on sale, ten for ten dollars. At least twelve years ago.  I really need to clean out the pantry one of these days.

instant pot   

      Saturday, August 11, 2018

05:06 PM - 08/11/2018

The topic: The past 20 hours have sucked


So, we ran the A/C yesterday, that was really nice. But when we hit the peak time, yesterday afternoon at four, I turned it off. Kept the house shut up until the temp was cooler out, than in, then opened it up.

It seemed to get warm pretty quickly.

So, I slept out here in the family room because at the beginning of the night, it's cooler than the bedroom. We hadn't caught Rocky for his meds, we're bad about that. If my hip didn't feel so bad, I'd chase him, but Brian won't. He just won't. So, no meds for Rocky. Around midnight he was on the floor and he let me pet him. I rubbed his belly and did the feeling thing we do with our cats. I found a lump on the back of one of his back legs. Not sure if it's the same leg as the granuloma was on. But it's a hard lump. Vet visit in order.

Then this afternoon, Opie started acting really weird. Puking (a fair amount of grass). Trying to poop. Runny stuff, I cleaned it off of him. And he started pant. I don't like this. Not at all. I got a couple of papertowels and wet them and ran them down his fur. He seemed to cool down and stopped panting. He ended up on the bed, it looked like he was ready to take a nap and his breathing was back to normal (as normal as it can be for a cat with COPD). Brian went into the bedroom and I asked how Opie looked. Opie? Opie's not in the bedroom.

I found him outside the family room, laying in the sun. He was cleaning his butt. I brought him inside and looked at his butt, he had a little hard stool hanging down. I removed that, then put him on the floor. He started pant again.I'm freaking out by now. I set him up in the bathroom with water bowls, a towel to lay on and a small litterbox. I also gave him 60cc of lactated ringers, because he is showing signs of dehydration. Only sixty because of the COPD. I don't want to overwhelm his lungs. I also put one of the camera in there so I can watch him.

There's a nice breeze coming under the door, the floor is vinyl, and it's probably one of the most comfortable rooms in the house right now. I just wish he'd lay down and sleep. When the sun goes down, I'll let him out and see how he does.

If he doesn't get better, to the vet's office.

Then the mail gets here. Remember I said Brian was finished with his radiation? Well, the bill showed up. The total charges were over $100,000. But our portion is $6800. I'm thankful we had the insurance, but we don't have $6800. I'm going to see about getting some financial help for that. I think we might qualify.

So, no more days like today. Today, I am thankful for Xanax.

rocky    prostate cancer    opie    doctor   

      Friday, August 10, 2018

10:28 AM - 08/10/2018

The topic: Did a little testing this morning


I really wanted to try etching the blank I'd painted red. By the time I was satisfied it was completely dry (Brian said forty-eight hours, it actually took well over a week!), it was stinking hot (I stunk), my hip was giving me fits (setting up the new television kind of did that). I did a little on my big project, which I've set aside for the time being (yeah, waiting on those beads from Hong Kong).

So, I figured I'd start early this morning. I wanted to work on this yesterday, but Sagwa decided he was going to just sleep on my worktable. I moved him a couple of times, but he always came right back. I already had the design figured out and ready. While I was getting set up, Brian came in and talked me into running the air conditioner. Just for one day. If it wasn't so humid, I might not have gone along with it, but I hate the humidity. So, A/C is on, set at 80°. At least I know it will dehumidify the house, if just a little bit. It was 76° this morning outside and 81° in the house. We ran both house fans (whole house fan, attic fan) overnight, hoping to bring cooler air in, but it didn't happen. We'll have at least one day of comfort this summer. I dread the bill, though.

So, A/C is on and I've got the Cameo going, etching. (See my previous post where I share links to the websites I used for instructions.) And I'm pleased with how it turned out. It's not perfect, by any means, I have more learnin' to do, for sure. I need to figure out the fill part so the tool etches more of the interior of the design. And I need to be more mindful of the placement of the blank so the design is straight, not angled like in my test blank.

Ready to etch: the contact paper placement is lower on the mat so that I can work with the placement of the blank without roller interference. I have it two inches from the top and the blank is set between the rollers so they don't rub it when it's loading and unloading.

The design.  I did my blank placement design first, which I used to cut out the top part of the contact paper. Then I placed the design I wanted etched in the in that design. When I was okay with the design placement, I moved the outer design, the guide, if you will, off of the mat (you can see it on the right, in the grey area of my workspace - you know, click on the thumbnail and you'll end up in my photo gallery, with a much larger image available.).

Etching is finished.

And the finished product. You can see why I have to play around with the fill more. The inside of the text still has too much red in it. And you can see why I have to be more mindful of placement on the cutting mat. My mom would tell me "a galloping horse wouldn't notice it", but I'm no galloping horse. I don't care for the downward angle of the text.

The backside of the blank. My dinos.

silhouette    etching    craftstuff   

      Thursday, August 09, 2018

10:44 AM - 08/09/2018

The topic: So, my big project


I've been moving along slowly on it. I have a few more things to do. Part of what needs to be done is gluing beads.

Now, I got some really pretty ribbon on Amazon.  I got three colors. White, light blue and royal blue.

And I ordered some beads on eBay that I thought would match the blue. The beads for the darker blue are pretty much right on, but the beads for the light blue are too green. They're more turquoise than blue.  Check it out.

I originally ordered light blue. But they weren't. So, yesterday, I checked out what the seller had available again. Scroll down on the ebay link and find sky blue. Big difference, don't you think? What was really strange is other sellers have these beads as well and what they have that light blue color sample as the sky blue and sky blue as the greenish blue. Whatever, my work is on hold for this at the moment.

If Sagwa would go lay down elsewhere and not on my work table, I'd play around with etching metal on with the Silhouette. I started it last month. I took the dinosaur etched blank and spray painted the other side red. I put on a couple of coats and it took over a week to completely dry. I played around with some text and want to etch that side to see how it looks with the silver etched area surrounded by the red. But Sagwa doesn't want to move.

I wish it would rain.

silhouette    etching    craftstuff   

10:27 AM - 08/09/2018

The topic: It’s been hot


There have been five "reduce your use" days from our local energy company in the past two weeks. It you use less than X amount of energy during the hours of two and six in the afternoon, you'll get a credit on your bill. It's not much, but we do it.

But that means not running the air conditioner (which we don't do anyway, because money) and Brian basically stops working in his shop. For him, that's two hours of work time wasted (he stops at four every weekday because the cost of our energy goes up at four, what they consider "peak" usage).

But this heat has been unrelenting. We turn on the attic fan in the garage to try to get the heat out when we get up and turn on the whole house fan at the same time, to bring some of the cooler outside night air, inside. I shut them off at eight am. Because money. I'd rather order rhinestone beads from Hong Kong for ten bucks than be comfortable for a couple of hours during the day, you know? The news folk say next week this high pressure should be gone and we'll be back in the eighties. I sure hope so. I hate having the house closed up to keep the house cooler, the air is just stagnant, even with all of the ceiling fans spinning at high.

So, when it's hot, I don't feel like doing much. It's hard to concentrate. The cats seem to be okay with it, Brian keeps the shady spots in the year watered down so the cats will have cool places to hang out. They have discovered the tile floors and we'll find them laying on the floors during the day and evening.

Brian talked with an ONtrack delivery guy last night and he said "we only have two seasons now; winter and summer".  Yeah, it sure seems like that.

At least we have the pool usable. I don't go in during the day, but I do in the evenings. Just to cool off. It's nice.

      Tuesday, July 31, 2018

07:13 AM - 07/31/2018

The topic: Pancho and the bad teeth


Pancho has been having problems with his mouth. Last week I made an appointment for a dental. I found out our regular doc, the man who owns the clinic has pretty much retired.

In the past few years, he's been grooming other vets to take over. I guess he finally got the right mix and felt comfortable enough to let them take over. So, a new vet did the work on Pancho.  Brian took him in since I'm having a hard time getting anywhere.

Pancho had lost weight since his last visit four years ago. One of his readings was high, indicating an infection. We spoke a little before the cleaning and I gave the okay to do it.

I called at 3:45 to see how it went and Pancho had the okay to come home. Brian went down to pick him up and during that time, the vet called here to go over the results. I missed the call. But I figured he could tell Brian in person.

So. Pancho has stomatitis (a lot of that here). He lost all of his teeth but his canines. The infection is up into his jaw, he's on metronidazole and clindamycin. And pain relief for three days. Poor guy. He got lots of loving last night, as much as he wanted. Usually, he's so damned hot I push him away from me, but last night, I let him lay on me as long as he wanted. And when I had to get up, Brian took him. I'd come back and Pancho would be right back on me.

This morning, he purred for me. The vet said there was swelling, but it would go down in a couple of days. Poor kitty.

stomatitis    pancho    catstuff    bad teeth   

07:01 AM - 07/31/2018

The topic: And some really great news!


Brian finished his radiation therapy the last part of April.

He was told to get another PSA test in ninety days. And then make an appointment to speak with his doctor.

They called to remind him a couple of weeks ago. Last Monday, he went down to Kaiser and got his blood taken for the test. Now, to wait for the results.

Tuesday morning, I had an email from Kaiser, the results were in. His PSA was 1.4!  It had been over 4 for over ten years. Four was the high end, the door to the danger zone. It was wide open. And the last one (October) he'd had, before the biopsy, before the radiation therapy, was 8.2.  This was absolutely the best news.

He sees his doctor tomorrow. He'll find out if he needs to get another PSA test in three months or six months.

But this was the best news we've gotten in a long time.

cancer    brian   

06:18 AM - 07/31/2018

The topic: It’s been kind of busy here


Nothing really big, just lots of stuff that took time.

The week of July 8th, one of the websites I hang out had it's fourth birthday. There were contests and prizes. I don't know how I did it, but I "won" nine mystery bags through the week, after having purchased one. It was fun interacting with the community.  I spent more time playing there than doing anything else (that I can think of).

Anyway, the following week, the mystery bags started to show up. I got some pretty nice stuff, I can't complain. There's not much there I'll use and I know I can't keep it just because it's really neat. I have a lot of "really neat" that I've never played with, so, at my advanced age, reality finally kicked in and I'll keep a couple of things, like the nice Food Saver system, but the rest, like kids socks, decks of cards, camera lens kits for smart phones, an expensive facial kit, a fancy air brush (I don't blow my hair dry, ever), headphones, ear buds, just all kinds of things, will be taken over to the vet's office for the guys there to play with. They have younger kids and I'm sure a lot of this will end up at their houses. Going through it all kept me busy.

Then, the color on our television got really bad. It's been going out for a while, but it finally caved. I did the research (the actual size of the television is an issue, we have an entertainment center and it has to fit) and found one that would work nicely. I researched the television and went through a list of things I'd need. It got here last Wednesday afternoon and Brian took the old set out and got the new one installed. I started my work when he had finished.

Thursday night, Friday, Saturday and Sunday were filled with getting everything up and running. I was pretty darned close on what I'd need, except what I had been looking at for connections for devices wasn't what I'd found during my research. I had to order a couple of things. More HDMI cables, three foot and six foot lengths. The Roku Express wasn't strong enough to pull in a decent WiFi signal so I ordered a new Roku. But the new Roku did not have a second output for audio, just the HDMI. The television set has one audio output. An optical audio thingy. I don't have any of those. Our receiver is an old one, but it works, it does the job. We get our surround sound with it. Not anything like they have available nowadays, but it works for us.

It only has RCA. And what I did a long time ago, was get an RCA switchbox and each one of the devices plugs into that and I can chose which device to send to the receiver so that we can listen to it. Last week I made the labels for it. Blu-Ray (an old player), Roku, cable, DVD (the six disk player, the one we most often use) and the television. By Sunday night, I was almost done. I ordered a couple of adapters from Amazon Sunday morning (for the Roku and the optical audio for the television and the three foot HDMI cables) and they got here fairly late in the afternoon. We watched some television, Brian went into the office to do a last check on emails so I had him pull out the entertainment unit and pulled the stuff through that I needed and he pushed it back in. He went to bed and I was up until almost midnight getting the sound to work correctly on what we used (like the Bluetooth headsets when we were watching something where the sound was really loud during car races and gunfire, but when people were talking, you couldn't hear them).

And then, I couldn't sleep. My hip was killing me from climbing the stool the previous days and it's been hot and sleep did not come. I took to Advil PM and I slept for maybe an hour and a half, then woke up. Wide awake. It's not that my mind was busy, I just couldn't get comfortable. So, yesterday was pretty much wasted. I did have to reset up all of our streaming accounts (did you know on Vudu you're only allowed eight devices? I found that out...I had to remove some from the account online, Rokus that had been replaced). But I slept like a baby last night.

And that's been the past couple of weeks.

Now I can get back to crafting!


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lisaviolet is sixty something, married with no kids, takes care of lots of cats, likes taking photographs, loves Southern California weather and spends altogether too much time avoiding her responsibilities.

In her spare time, she makes pretty things to sell in her store.

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