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      Thursday, October 23, 2014

mrs. crabbypants
12:03 PM - 10/23/2014

The topic: Guess what?

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It's hot again!  Arrgh, this summer will just. Not. End. In the 90s today. Tomorrow. Cooling down this weekend. 

shit


catstuff
11:36 AM - 10/23/2014

The topic: For some reason

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We've had a problem with diarrhea in some of the cats. There's Jackie, Pete and Opie. Medicating Jackie and Pete is impossible. Jackie, if I could catch him, would tear me up with his claws. First I'd have to catch Pete and after the first dose, I'd not catch him again (I've tried in the past). Same thing with Opie. He's just now not running from me after having all of his teeth removed.

Last week I wondered how fiber would help them. I found some old Vetasyl and started putting it in their food at night. All three of these guys eat the wet dinner I serve up.  Since the fiber capsules were pretty old, I went online and found them for sale on Amazon. I ordered a bottle. Since I'm a Prime Member, it took two days to get here (got here on Tuesday, a day for bowels!).  

I empty three capsules in their food (two cans of Friskies with a can of water mixed in to a thick gruel type consistency) and they're eating it. It's been about a week since they've been getting it and Mystie, who's stool was soft, seems to be doing better, she's hitting the litterbox instead of outside of it. I checked this morning in the litterbox where Opie usually goes and there was some pretty runny stool in it, but it did have some formed clumps, which is way better than what it had been. Pete's is still pretty runny (and smelly). Jackie goes on the plastic rugs that are in front of the litterboxes in the garage to catch litter, usually pretty splatty, but I noticed this morning that the splat wasn't as bad (if it is indeed Jackie's poo). 

I'm hoping a steady diet of this stuff will help out all of the cats. 


geekstuff
11:00 AM - 10/23/2014

The topic: Annoying little computer issues

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My internal card reader quit working. It came with the computer, it's one of those 15 in 1 types of deals. There are four slots, I know the one for compact flash cards works, but my workhorse slot, the one for SD cards, is sporadic. There's no rhyme or reason why it won't read the card. I can read the cards in Brian's computer (he has the same make and model as I do).  They work fine using a USB adapter. I tried updating the driver but that's kind of hard when it's a generic product and there is no updated driver.

So, I went on eBay and found a replacement card reader for this computer. It was used, but the description said it was in good condition. I bought it for ten bucks, free shipping. It's been sitting here for a couple of weeks and yesterday after realizing that an updated driver wouldn't help, I changed out the old one for the replacement. It works better, but it still didn't read some of the cards (I have a bunch of cards that have the tiny flash cards that fit into adapters). I started going through every single one of my memory cards, setting aside the ones that weren't being read. They all had the same brand of adapter. And those didn't work in Brian's PC, either. 

I took the flash card out and tried different adapters. The computer saw them. 

So, those adapters (three of them) went into the trash. And now I can read my cards without having to plug in the USB adapter. 

Changing out the card reader took less than fifteen minutes. Testing each card took about a half hour. So frustrating.

Yesterday, I flipped over to the camera computer and it was frozen. Dammit, nothing ran. Well, it's been looking pretty dusty, probably running pretty hot, so I turned it off, unplugged everything and opened up the case. I pulled off sheets of lint and dust. Then I took it back to Brian's shop and used the compressor hose to blow out the dust. I warned him that it was pretty dusty so he moved the link he'd just painted so it didn't get messed up. I had to hold the hose away from the computer because it puts out a pretty strong blast of air. Man, what a mess. I did the same thing to the front cover, it was pretty bad, too.

Got it put back together, back in the house and everything plugged in, up and running smoothly. That took less than a half hour.

I'm getting good at this stuff.


otherstuff
07:39 AM - 10/23/2014

The topic: Status update

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I'm alive!

sick

I've got this weird thing that goes on in my head when I'm dreading something. I think I've mentioned it before, I become sort of emotionally paralyzed or something. So, since my last entry, I've done pretty much nothing except stare at the walls. And worry about the prep for the procedure. I wasn't worried about the procedure (beyond being killed by the anesthesia), but the prep just had my mind in a corner. I don't like lime (except squeezed in margaritas) and I'm not a huge fan of lemon. So, that rules just about everything I could eat or drink, out. 

We were supposed to go up to Disneyland last Thursday for my birthday. Brian wanted to do at least two rides, Big Thunder and the Matterhorn. And he wanted to eat at Village Haus in Fantasyland. Wednesday night I said "how about we just go on the two rides, eat, then come home?" He looked at me and asked "you really don't want to go, do you?"  No. I really didn't want to go. I wanted to sit and stare at the wall and worry about what I was going to eat on Monday and Tuesday morning. How was I not going to starve to death. I know I have a problem with things like this, I try not to obsess over them. I did get the bedroom cleaned up a little, vacuumed all of the dust bunnies from under the bed, I washed the floor and changed the sheets. I did some laundry. And I worried about starving to death. 

We went shopping and got lemon and lime flavored jello and picked up a twelve pack of cheap ginger ale. First carbonated drinks we've bought for the house in over a year. And chicken broth. Sunday we got some Life Savers. I wanted butterscotch candies but we didn't find any at Walmart. As a rule, I've never been much of a hard candy eater. Give me chocolate and nuts and chewy stuff. But we did find pineapple jello. I made pineapple jello and the lime jello on Sunday night so it would be ready for Monday. I shuddered at the thought of it. 

Saturday night we went to Black Angus, a local franchised steak house and had a great dinner. Fried zucchini, wedge salad, steamed broccoli with shaved parmesan cheese on it and a really tender filet mignon. Since I had a birthday coupon, we also got a cowboy cookie. Cooked in a six inch pie pan and ice cream for the top and since we'd gotten a "specially priced" meal, which came with a dessert to share, we also got a slice of cheesecake. We brought the desserts home and had them later that night. I had a little of the cookie, half of the cheesecake and all of the ice cream, not that there was much.  

Sunday was the first day of the prep meals. Only white stuff. We had eggs and buttermilk toast for breakfast, then I just moped around feeling sorry for myself. We had chicken alfredo on penne pasta for dinner because my noodles were all whole wheat. 

Then it was Monday. I just kind of laid on the sofa feeling sorry for myself. I tried to be upbeat about it, but damn. It's not like I mac out all the time, I get busy and I don't think about eating. But right now, that's all I could think about. How was I going to not eat until Tuesday night? I had some pineapple jello. That wasn't too bad. At lunch, I had some broth. How can that be considered food? Seriously? I've never considered soup a meal. I'm hungry an hour later. This broth was worse than that and it was nasty tasting. It needed some rice. And onions.  And chicken with a nice white sauce covering it. I kept thinking of the towels I use to wipe up kitty poo. And the brown water that happens when they're rinsed out. Nope, broth is NOT food. 

I had more jello. I ate some Life Savers.

Brian had taken his mom to her chiropractic appointment and took her to Target, where she likes to do her shopping. I asked him to see if he could find any butterscotch candies. When he walked in the door, he had the candy. Yay!

He was hungry, not having eaten breakfast and he went into the kitchen to make a sandwich. Peanut butter and jam on whole wheat bread. I was stirring my broth. I went over and smelled his sandwich. It smelled like heaven. I went back to my broth. I started to cry. Seriously, I started to cry. I knew at some level I wasn't going to starve to death, but I just felt so deprived. *lol* Thankfully, I could still take Xanax (I specifically asked on this) and I took one. 

That helped. downer

I'd prepared the MoviPrep the night before. I had to start drinking at five o'clock. I was to drink eight ounces every fifteen minutes until gone. After the last eight ounces, I was to take a Dulcolax pill followed by at least sixteen ounces of fluid. My first eight ounces wasn't that bad. The consistency was kind of thick, the taste wasn't really bad and eight ounces went down pretty quick. I didn't sip, I stood at the sink and just downed it. By the fourth serving, I was ready to be done with it. Then I took the Dulcolax and the copious amount of water that went with it. 

Yeah, you don't want to be far from the toilet. This stuff didn't take long at all to start working. Two hours later I asked Brian "how long is it going to take for me to be emptied out?" I mean, it's not like I'd had tons and tons of food on Saturday or Sunday. And I kept drinking water. One of the things that one needs to be careful of during this preparation is dehydration. The trips finally slowed down and we went to bed around ten. At four in the morning I woke up. In pain.

My butt cheeks were screaming. I've never in my life felt them hurt like that. It was so bad, I got out of bed and went into the tv room. It hurt to sit on the couch. The pain started to radiate down my legs. This wasn't good. You know the little test you do on a cat to see if she's dehydrated? You pinch up a little skin and see if it tents up or if it springs back into place? Well,  you can do the same test on your hands. I did it on the back of my left hand and the skin did not spring back into place, it just stayed tented up. So, I drank about thirty ounces of water. Within a half hour, the pain started to subside. But it was back to the bathroom for me. Holy smokes, how long does this go on? And I have to take my second dose of the MoviPrep starting at six? Where is all this stuff coming from? At this point, I'm starting to wonder if I'm losing little pieces of my intestines and bowels. Because I know damned well there CAN'T be anymore solids in there. I just know it!

I'm starting to get a little concerned. 

So, I do the six o'clock dosage (the MoviPrep tasted much nastier than the night before), take the Dulcolax, drink the water and fifteen minutes later, I'm back in the bathroom. WTF? I'm gobsmacked. I don't know where it's all coming from. Three hours later, it subsides. Finally. I lay on the sofa and start to cry again. Dammit. I can't stand this. I haven't eaten anything since eight Monday night and that was the rest of the pineapple jello. I'm hungry. I think about what I could eat. I'm not that hungry. The thought of sweet food just turns my tummy. Chips and ranch dip would be lovely right about now.  I take a Xanax instead. It kicks in, the self pity starts to subside.

 I look at the clock and start counting down the hours. I can't have anything four hours before the procedure. That's at three, I'll drink my last water right before eleven. Then I'll take a shower, let my hair dry and braid it. I need to shave my legs. I put out my clothes that I'll wear, heavy stuff that I know will keep me warm (I got incredibly cold during this whole thing). I take the shower, get out, put on warm clothes. Wait a minute. This is TOO warm. I change into a teeshirt. 

Soon, it is time to leave. Brian gets on the phone. I don't understand why he does this, why he picks up the phone and starts calling people ten minutes before we're supposed to leave. It makes me crazy. I'm ready to go, he's on the phone. I go into the tv room and turn on the television. I'm beyond irritated at this point. He finally gets off the phone and we leave. Traffic is light, we get to the facility with just one small wrong turn (into the parking lot) and we're in the building and I'm checking in, we're only five minutes late. They call me back almost immediately.

I had to take off everything (well, I could have left my bra on, but I didn't wear one) and put on their special socks with the skid free coatings and the nice gown. The nurse took my vitals and asked me questions and got the needle in my hand, ready for the IV. The doctor came in and introduced himself. Then the nurse asked me if I wanted to say goodbye to Brian wink before I went back. No chance to read the book I'd brought. It was way earlier than my scheduled appointment. I told him "no", thinking let's get this over with.

I was wheeled back by two nurses, one asking me my name and date of birth. They asked me again when they wheeled me into the procedure room. They asked me a third time when they were rolling me over and positioning my butt for easy access. I looked at her (pretending to be alarmed) "don't you have that information?" And then I told her again who I was, when I was born and why I was there. They connected the things to my chest for monitoring my heart rate and other stuff and then I was out.

I heard a woman talking, I thought it was a dream, then I heard Brian's voice. I started to open my eyes, the the woman's voice came back and I closed my eyes. Brian's voice came back. I opened my eyes all the way and turned over, Brian was standing there. Yay! I'm done! It's over! I can eat! I turned out I had two small polyps that were removed and sent out for testing and some diverticula, nothing to be worried about. When I was able to stand up without tipping over, I got up and got dressed and I was put in a wheelchair and taken outside to wait for Brian to bring the car over. I got in and we left for home.

We hit traffic on the way and it sucked. Brian talked and I tried to doze off. I was so over this. 

We got home and I headed to the sofa. I laid down, knowing I was still under the influence. I remember sucking on a butterscotch candy, I remember Brian having to leave (he had to go pick up parts) and I remember that "uh oh" feeling and I got up and headed to the bathroom, where I threw up the stuff in my belly. Probably the anesthesia. Anytime I've been put under, I end up throwing up later. But after that I started feeling better. Brian made breakfast for dinner, scrambled eggs with cheese melted on the top and fried potatoes with cheese on them. It was pretty yummy. And that's all I remember about Tuesday.

Beforehand I had joked with Brian that they should give you an option for the prep. Appetite suppressants. He told me yesterday that I said that to the nurse when I woke up, but I didn't say appetite suppressants, I said "meth". *lol* I guess she wasn't amused.  But it would seriously help out with the hunger problem. Seriously. 

I did spend part of Tuesday morning looking at other peoples' experiences and other websites about making prep easier. Coffee is considered a clear drink. I could have had coffee, but I was afraid of the acidic  properties on a sensitive stomach. But what most things don't say is that colas are also clear liquids. That would have been nice to know. I could have had root beer. I love root beer.

So, for the next procedure (and I will do this again, because it's for my own good), I've learned two things.

Make the appointment for the morning. And buy lots of root beer.

And I'm back!

Brian told me the procedure itself took twelve minutes. They took me back at 2:10, they called him to be with me at 3:10. Figure ten minutes before I was taken back, fifteen minutes for procedure and transport and thirty-five to come out of the anesthesia. Amazing, isn't it?


      Wednesday, October 15, 2014

otherstuff
07:17 PM - 10/15/2014

The topic: Went to CostCo late this afternoon

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Getting low on stuff. Got a bag of yellow onions, some bread, cheese, Brian picked up another pack of shop towels, the total was under ninety-five dollars. Great, right?  Well....

I also had to pick up my prescription stuff that I have to take before my "procedure" next Tuesday. When the clinic first called about it, I requested generic because this stuff was sixty-five bucks when Brian got it a while back. The woman I spoke to said she thought it was around eighty dollars now. Holy crap, right?

So, I wait in the pharmacy line while Brian finishes shopping. Next in line, I give the clerk my name. She brings out the box. It's not generic. I can tell. I said something about having requested the generic version. I asked how much it was. Around eighty dollars? She looks at the paper and back at me. Shakes her head. $103.00. Seriously? She checked on getting generic, but it seems they can only sell what the doctor requests. They can't substitute this stuff. She asked if I had insurance. I said "yeah" and called Brian over and got his card (mine is just a slip of paper and his is much more professional looking). I handed it to her and she walks into the back with the bag.

She comes back.  "Who is Patricia?" 

Thanks, mom and dad. See, dad didn't want me being called "Pat" since that's a boy's name. So, we'll just call you by your middle name and cause you major confusion throughout your entire life. It will make banking and legal paperwork a spitload of fun. You're welcome. (And this is why most of the stuff that IS legal is by my full name, no initials.)

"I am. Patricia Dianne. Would you like to see my license?"  She shook her head. She walks away. She's gone a few minutes, and comes back in.  "Eighty dollars and seventy-eight cents."  Well, that's a little better. It would buy us a meal. She tells me "you'll need to speak with the pharmacist". Really? Do I ever get to go home?

I follow her down to the pharmacy window. She calls out to the pharmacist. He walks over. He looks at the box. He said "when you take this, stay within one room away."  Okay, stay close to a toilet, I get it. "And make it the night before so it will be really cold. Cold icky stuff is better than icky stuff." 

And that was the extent of the pharmacist discussion. Since my "procedure" is in the afternoon, I'll drink one liter of this stuff Monday night, the other half Tuesday morning. As well as taking a Dulcolax tablet with each liter.

I'm glad this isn't something that needs to be done every year.

Meh.


      Tuesday, October 14, 2014

geekstuff
07:54 AM - 10/14/2014

The topic: I don’t know if this would be

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 Categorized as geekstuff. I think a better category would be stuff I have too much fun with that wastes a ton of time. But it is kind of geeky, so we'll just put it here.

Over on the forums at meh.com, people use a lot of GIFs. A GIF (Graphic Interchange Format) is a little animated graphic. Like a cartoon. When I first came online and eventually  started playing with graphics, GIFs were mostly rotating banners. A series of images showing one after the other. Back then, you didn't see a lot of real life movies in the GIF format. They took up quite a bit of bandwidth (back then we spoke of kilobytes, not terrabytes, my first computer wasn't even a full GB). And the more bandwidth, the slower they loaded.

But now that things are way faster and there's a lot more bandwidth allowed, GIFs are no longer a big deal. Lots of little snippets of film and stuff, in the repeating, looping mode. The same thing over and over.

At the meh forums, I realized that I could make my own GIFs! I've always had the capability, but I used it for making banners (like the one for Fit Rite that shows up on the tractor forums, the ones where we pay for advertising). But I have a lot of little cat movies that might lend themselves to cute GIFS. And yesterday, I tried my hand at making them.

First I tried re-installing an old software program I'd bought. It ran, but I couldn't activate it to remove the company's watermark. They are no longer in business. Damn.

Then I found that one of my other programs, my go-to programs for video, AVS4you (you can buy a bundle that has ALL of their programs for under a hundred dollars and you have lifetime upgrades...one of the best deals I've ever come across in my time online) has the capability to convert to GIF. I tried it out and I liked the result.  Now that I knew I could do it, I opened up my Corel Video Studio VI Ultimate (I have version 7, but my older NewBlueFX plugins don't work properly with it, so I don't use it) and found the movie I wanted, saved it in AVI format and converted it with AVS4You video converter.

For my first GIF, I chose the California Screamin' video, the one where the coaster goes around the loop. The one that I edited so that it looks like it's going around and around. (You can see it over on my YouTube channel.) Which is pretty much the concept of the GIFs. Unfortunately, the actual video was inside of a bigger black box and I wanted to crop the video out of the box. I couldn't figure out how to crop it with AVS4You or VS6. Then I did a little checking and I found that my Alchemy Mindworks GIF Construction Set would give me that ability. (This was my go-to banner making software way back when and I've kept up with updates throughout the years.) lt also makes resizing the GIFs a lot easier. Okay, I'm liking what I'm seeing here. 

Now, to watermark my work. I could have tried doing it at the start, with the original looping AVI video that I started with, the one in VS. But I thought it might be better to do it as the last step. I'm sure there's someway to do it in all of my software, but I don't feel like figuring it out. I do a search for watermarking GIFs. I found some online watermarkers, where you upload your GIF and they watermark it. But the ones that I tried really messed up with the quality of the images. Then I found one that I could buy (ack!). It watermarks most kinds of photos (BMP, GIF, JPG, PNG). The ones I've got on my computer will watermark a GIF, but only the first image. I want them all to have the watermark.  The software I found is called WonderFox. It was normally $39.95, but had a $10 discount. Damn. More than I want to spend. I do more searching, but this time I'm searching for promotional codes. I find one. Fifty percent off! I got it for less than fifteen dollars. Yay!

I run into a problem. It's not running on my system. Crap, crap, crap. I didn't want to bother with it anymore last night (it was late, we saw St. Vincent, then back on the computers when we got home). This morning I tried it again, still had problems, then tried running it as administrator and it ran like a dream. Yay! We're in business.

So, here are the two that I've done so far. I like them. I'll do more. (I can see many hours scouring my little MOV files....)

The roller coaster:

 

 

and Charlie:


otherstuff
07:51 AM - 10/14/2014

The topic: Yesterday afternoon

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After I got out of the shower (movie night), I asked Brian about a great idea I had, if he'd be willing to work with me. He asked what I wanted.

"Well, it's about next Tuesday" and he said, without any hesitation, "I won't take your test for you".  

"No, no, that's not what I wanted to ask. What I wanted is to get a red Sharpie and have you draw a target on my butt!"

He declined. He said "do you really want a doctor laughing while he's doing what he's doing?"  

Well, sure, why not?

I thought it sounded like a fun idea. 

Shot down again.


      Monday, October 13, 2014

otherstuff
01:28 PM - 10/13/2014

The topic: Ah, isn’t life grand?

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Closing in on sixty-one years.  Next week, is my "procedure". A procedure that is recommended for those over fifty. You might remember the one my doctor was so enthusiastic about me getting. 

I get my information packet in the mail a couple of weeks ago, I skim through it. The operational word being "skim".

I've been obsessing over not being able to have decent food for a week before the "procedure".  I re-read the paperwork this morning. Whew. I can only eat white stuff two days before (no fiber rich products) and clear stuff the day before. Well, clear stuff that isn't red. Like strawberry jello.

The only seven day warnings, things that are off-limits are certain medications. Like Aleve, Motrin, Excedrin, aspirin. No anti-inflammatories for one thing. But Tylenol is okay.

Yanno, I've taken Tylenol before and I think if I have a headache or a backache, I'll try a Tic-Tac.  I'd still be in pain either way, but with the Tic-Tac, at least my breath would be fresh.


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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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