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      Friday, January 05, 2018

11:38 AM - 01/05/2018

The topic: Back in the saddle

I've been busy this past week.

There were a few pieces of software I realized I needed to add back on. Got that done. Got Quickbooks reinstalled for the business. Since I run it on two computers, with the old computer, I put the company files on a network hard drive. But I kept getting a message in the other room that it wasn't connected. Not having the patience to deal with it just then, I ended up just putting it on the main drive for the time being.

Got two and a half months of invoicing done, same for setting up customer accounts. Got the three months of reconciliations done (now, I just have December's, waiting  for the bank statement). We bought more storage boxes so now I can switch out 2016 files and set up 2018.

This morning I spent a few hours printing out all of the jpgs and menus for the crafting templates I've gotten since November. The Epson still slows down after printing so many pages. But they stayed clean and clear, so that's a good thing. Now, I just have to index them. Which will take some time, there are so many.

The weather is sunny and nice. We're supposed to get some rain next week, that will be a change.

And that's about it for now.


      Monday, January 08, 2018

03:11 PM - 01/08/2018

The topic: It’s starting to rain!

Last week, the local weathercasters advised a chance of rain this week. It's been months since we've had rain.

This weekend, they said we're for sure going to get rain, up to an inch and a half, today and tomorrow. We spent the morning getting ready.

Brian finally got rid of all of the ejunk that's been piling up on the patio table (starting with the old copy machine). When I cleaned up the office, I also put stuff out there. Old wired phones, some pc cards that were okay, but way outdated and just junk that you're not supposed to send to the landfill, but take someplace for recycling. He got it all boxed up and took it out to the car.

Then he got on the roof and started raking the pine needles off and cleaned out the gutters. He got most of the stuff off of the shadecloth that's over the patio. A lot of leaves and seed pods from the tree and the seeds filtered down through the shadecloth and I swept the patio. It's the nicest it's looked in months. Rain ready.

I washed the sofa covers and vacuumed.

Bring on the rain!


      Tuesday, January 09, 2018

10:57 AM - 01/09/2018

The topic: We had a little scare with Mario last night

He was walking really weird, holding his back end down.

My thoughts immediately ran to "he can't poop again". He pooped that morning. He's pooped every morning. He stands in the litter box with his butt hanging on the outside and drops a little love muffin on the outside of the box.

It's easy to pick up with a paper towel and I squish it, to check it's hardness.  Because hard, dry stools are why he ended up at the vet's office last month. So far, just the first part is drier than it should be.

But, he's pooping. Every day.

Why I started freaking out last night is beyond me. He followed me around, with his funny little walk. He looked at me. He meowed at me. I gave him lactulose. I fed the cats and the food was really runny last night (I add water, always add water) and put the psyllium in his bowl. He lapped it up. He lapped it up for quite a while. I gave him 120cc of lactated ringers. That would have gone a lot quicker if he'd quit moving away from me. He didn't like being stuck with the needle, well, you walk away and pull the needle out before I'm done, you're gonna get stuck again. As many times as it takes.

He didn't show any distress, other than the weird walk. I helped him up on to the sofa and he cleaned himself. And purred. Played with my hand, after the bitey play, I got a toy for him to play with and he reached for it.

He climbed up next to me in bed and since I've been having back/leg problems, caused by cats, I'm sure, all the odd ways I have to position myself to not bother them, I left the bedroom and slept on the couch. Not so many cats there. When I woke up this morning, there was Mario. Right next to my head.

Good morning, sunshine.

I got up and went back to bed, dozed off for a while. I got up for good a little after six. Had to move Mario because he'd followed me back into the bedroom, going up the stool on Brian's side and walking over to me. I put him on the pillow (he protested) and before my feet hit the ground, he was already down. He came back into the office, peed on a pee pad and then did the pooping thing.

Looked and felt pretty good. Normal.

No vet trips today!

mario    constipation    catstuff   

      Friday, January 12, 2018

09:10 AM - 01/12/2018

The topic: Brian update
For your listening pleasure....


He had an appointment with a nurse yesterday to go over the test results and options available. 

He has prostate cancer. His PSA (prostate serum antigen) count has been higher than normal for a few years now, from the first time it was taken. We were frustrated with our current insurance company at the time, trying to get a better rate for life insurance for Brian. One of the companies came out and took blood and that's when we found out there may be a problem. He was turned down for the insurance, but he started having it tested every year. It had been hanging between 3.5 and 4, but on his test last October, it was 7.4. A big, concerning jump.

We were aware that there was a concern, because they called and wanted him to come in. Eleven days later, the result had risen. It was now 8.2.  We didn't find out the actual results until yesterday. 

 Because of the results of that colon cancer home screening kit, they wanted Brian to have a colonoscopy. That was scheduled for October 30th. (Polyps removed, tested, benign.) He got a call from another department about the PSA results (we still didn't know what they were) about the same time and he made an appointment to speak with a doctor on October 31st.  And the doctor advised the prostate biopsy.  After Thanksgiving, he finally got the call to schedule the biopsy. It was scheduled for December 13th.

The doctor called with the results on December 22nd. The Friday before Christmas. Brian has cancer. Now, the question is how bad is it and what are the options. And we're back to waiting.

They called Brian last week and scheduled two appointments. One with the nurse (yesterday) and one with his oncologist (the 25th). We got a packet in the mail. Brian didn't open it right away and when he did, he tried to absorb the content, but just had a hard time with it. He asked me to look at it.

I finally said something on Facebook about it and got some input from others who had someone close who had prostate cancer and their treatments. Brian was all set to have the prostate removed, but it's not as easy as taking it out, then going back to work in a couple of days. It isn't a weekend recovery. More than one person shared that seeding (brachytherapy) was done with pretty good results. I kept this in mind as I read the material.

I compared what Brian had said about his experiences to what I was reading. His Gleason scores were two sevens and one six. The DRE (digital rectal exam, where the doc puts his fingers up the butt and feels the prostate, anyone who's had a cervical done will be familiar with this type of procedure) was normal, the doctor didn't feel any thing out of the ordinary, i.e. no lumps. So, that's a good thing. So, based on the few things I knew, I figured the cancer was stage 1. And that's a pretty good thing. Those sevens mean that watching and waiting is off of the table for options. (And the watching and waiting doesn't mean doing nothing, there would be doctor appointments and blood tests every three months.)

I tried to grasp the Gleason scores, but didn't find anything that explained it so that I completely understood it. I knew that a Gleason score of 7, that was 3+4 was a better score of a 7 with a 4+3 base. I didn't understand why. But the nurse cleared that up yesterday. Now I understand.

Yesterday, we got to see the results of both the PSA tests and the biopsy.  And she sent copies of the results as well.

The prostate is an organ about the size of a walnut. Brian's was a third larger than that. Just to give you an idea of how small it is. They took twelve samples. Two each from six different locations. A, B, C, D, E and F. Three on the left, three on the right.

Each one of these samples is given a score, from one (normal) to five (most mutated), depending on the appearance of the cancer.  (There is a graphic here that shows the varying degrees of the cancer mutations; I wish I'd found this earlier.)

The first number of the score is the more prevalent cancer cells, the second number is the smaller amount. So, 3 + 4 is better because there are more of the less mutated cells.  If the 4 was first, that means there are more more mutated cells than less mutated cells. I hope I explained that right.

Anyway, from Brian's results of the twelve samples taken, four showed cancer.  Two of the areas only showed cancer in one sample (D and F) and one area showed cancer in both samples (B). And the most that was present in any of the samples was 20% (B). So, that seems pretty decent, it could be a lot worse than it was.

Anyway, we pretty much ruled out the surgical removal because of downtime. A three to four day hospital stay, at least two weeks at home with a catheter and limited physical movement, with gradually increasing. There were a couple of radiation options, one being high beam radiation therapy where he'd have to go in for treatment on a daily basis for five to nine weeks. Where he'd have to go is about fifteen to twenty miles from home. They do have evening appointments. But, once again, it comes down to time. And then there's the seeding. An outpatient surgery. Like the biopsy.  Minimal downtime.

From the research I've done, the seeding seems to have as good of results as the surgery. The only problem with the radiation therapy (any of the therapies) is scar tissue. Should the cancer return, the presence of scar tissue would put surgery out of the picture.

We'll find out what the doctor recommends when we see him on the 25th. 

Brian still hasn't told his brother, but now that we know more, he's more comfortable sharing this. Things like this really upset his brother, which is why he's put off telling him. But he has to tell him because now it's family medical history. 

prostate cancer    brian   

12:07 PM - 01/12/2018

The topic: Well, that’s enough fun for now

Back to work.

My file folders showed up late on Wednesday, yesterday was not a day for working, so, I've got to get started today.

Pull out 2016 AR and AP files, box them up and set up new files for 2018.

And my cabinet drawer with old tax forms is pretty full, I couldn't shove another year in there if I tried, I need to pull most of those as well.

Gee, I just love this time of the year. (Not really. I really don't love this time of the year. Well, I love it when it rains.)

Oh, and one more month of reconciliation to do so I can close out last year. It only got here a couple of days ago, so I'm not that far behind. But since I got my desk so cleaned up after setting up the new computer, I'd sure like to do a better job of keeping up with my paperwork and not have it overflow.

I'll try. Then I'll bitch about having so much paperwork in two or three months. Just wait.


      Sunday, January 14, 2018

08:48 AM - 01/14/2018

The topic: My rememberer doesn’t remember so good

I did a little bit of paperwork yesterday morning, having gotten the 2018 files set up on Friday. Did a little more this morning. Can I keep up this pace? I dunno. Probably not. I'll get sidetracked....oooh...look!....shiny....

Yesterday afternoon, I thought that maybe I'd do an entry with the cards I made last year that I never shared. First thing was to find the photos I'd taken of them.

I look. And I look. Did I lose them when I changed over computers?  Whew, no, there they are. Wait. That's it? That's all I took?


Well, good thing I kept one of each. I'll take pictures today. Maybe. But this week for sure. There are some really sweet cards. Even the card from hell.

One of the things that happened last year was we got a new water dispenser. The old one was old (probably twenty years old) and the water tasted funny. Brian didn't notice so much as I did, I drink a lot of plain water. I thought it was the bottles I reused, but even after a thorough cleaning of the bottles, the taste was still off. We couldn't get to the tank on the water dispenser and I didn't feel right about pouring bleach in it to take care of any mold or mildew. Since it was so old, Brian said to get a new one, I did some research and came up with this one. More than I felt comfortable spending, but if we can get twenty years out of it? Yeah, okay, when I look at it like that, it's not so much.

It has hot and cold water available and we've been using the heck out of it. We bought flavored oatmeal packets, we're drinking more tea and hot chocolate, now that hot water is right there whenever we want it. Since we're using more teabags, I decided to make some holders for them. I'll use the one on the far left for just plain teabags and the holder on the far right in the back for flavored tea. I have my paper picked out, on the mats and ready to cut.

I watched the tutorial video yesterday and these should be a piece of cake to make.  Very simple assembly.

But I really need to take pictures of those cards. The pictures I spent over an hour looking for yesterday. Which means I have to clean off the top of the table....



svgcuts    craftstuff   

mrs. crankypants
03:09 PM - 01/14/2018

The topic: Are you serious? Really, Dianne?

So, in a previous entry I was crowing about having caught up with my paperwork.

And I undid that. Stupidly, carelessly, I screwed up.


See, I run Quickbooks on both my computer and the laptop. The computer is wired to the router. The laptop sends and receives data wirelessly. Well, last month, you may recall I had a problem with the repeater. Even though I'd posted I got it fixed, it wasn't. I had to get a new one.

I keep my QB files on a network hard drive, so I can access them from both the PC and the laptop. But when the repeater was having problems, the connection kept dropping from the laptop and I wasn't able to save them to the network drive. I tried, but that darned connection....

Last month, I set up those new accounts, entered those bank deposits, generated those invoices, did three months of reconciliation on the laptop. Because I have more room out here than in the office. It's nice to spread out. No biggie, right? Since the new repeater is working as it should, the data saved to the network drive. The way it was supposed to.

This past week, I generated invoices and set up new accounts and entered deposits on the PC.

Then I happened to notice that the PC Quickbooks file showed about thirty one thousand more dollars in the bank account than the laptop showed.


I thought about why this would happen. Why was there a difference...then it dawned on me. The files weren't saving to the same location.

Not even thinking this through, I found the file on the PC and copied it. And I pasted it to the network drive so that when I opened QB on the laptop, it would pull up that information.

But it was the wrong information. It was pre-new account set up, pre-bank deposits, pre-invoices, pre-reconciliation. Just like I did with the Eudora mail files last month, I overwrote everything. All the new accounts. All the bank deposits. All the invoices. All the reconciliations.


Once I quit running around, found my head and put it back on my neck, I checked the work directory for the company file on the laptop. And found a backup dated January 3, 2018. I restored that to the laptop and yay! All of the old stuff was there! All I had to do now was set up the accounts that have come in this year (only five) and regenerate the invoices (only eight).

Whew. What a mess. Thank goodness I backed up to a different location. That saved my butt, for sure.


geekstuff    crankystuff    computer   

      Tuesday, January 16, 2018

11:33 AM - 01/16/2018

The topic: I just can’t stop. I can’t help myself…

Yesterday evening, I got a message from my webhost that someone was sending over 600 emails an hours, using my mail sender. They advised I get rid of the hacked files and change my passwords.

I did change all passwords, then cleaned out files. It was pretty easy, but time consuming. Since I hadn't done anything over there since before last June, anything with a newer date was suspect. The problem was finding those files in the hundreds that were there. I hope I caught them all.

There was one that was in a directory I hadn't been there. I stupidly opened up that file in my browser and started getting redirected to "you have a problem!!!" websites. I didn't click outside of that, I didn't click on anything on those pages, just tried to get out of them. I ended up closing out the browser windows and then deleted that file from my store directory. Scary stuff.

So, this morning, I start up my PC. The mouse moved on its own. I pulled the plug on the mouse. The cursor was still moving on my monitor screen.....ooookay....

Do some research. MALWARE!!!  VIRUS!!!!  ADWARE!!! Did I download something last night? Opening that link?  That only I knew about?


Yeah. Except not "darn it".

Installed a malware/virus scanner (I have decent security software, but things have been known to slip through).  Found a couple of problems. They were quaratined. Mouse still moved. Found a page on Malwarebytes with instructions.  Three software downloads, three scans later, five more problems found (nothing bad), mouse still moves.

WTF? Do some more research. Over on a Windows forum, someone said that they checked their installed devices and found that their system showed they had two mice. They uninstalled one from the devices listing and the problem went away. Could it be that easy?

Four hours later, yes. Yes, it was that easy. I uninstalled both mice, then added one back in. No more traveling mouse. Malware scanners uninstalled.

That was this morning.

Yesterday had its own problem. Well, it wasn't just yesterday. It was this past weekend. Not happy with the way my blog was rendering in Facebook, I decided to play with the code. Now that I kinda sorta knew what I was doing, after being schooled last month. (That was before I overwrote the Eudora files.) You'll notice that there's a little graphic that shows for each category. Well, those photos weren't showing on FB. That got taken care of last month. But I couldn't get the category name to appear as well, so I added that to the graphic. And removed the category name from the entries, since it showed on the graphic. Let's not be redundant, you know?

Well, I got it into my head to play with the code and see if I could get the category name to show as text. And I did! I also got a little summary of each post to show. Before, the first few sentences of an entry would show up, but that stopped happening. I have to enter a summary, but it doesn't take that much time to do. Now that the category name showed up, I no longer needed the category name on the graphic. Let's change those graphics!

I couldn't find them. I couldn't find them to modify them. Sitting at the laptop, I looked in the external hard drives. I looked on the C drive. They were no where. I found my old information for Copernic, a PC search engine. I figured maybe that would work. Problem was, this was Sunday and after I'd installed it on the laptop and entered my serial key, that I was out of activations. I'd have to wait for them to respond. They didn't work on the weekend. But Monday morning, I had my activation back and got it set up and running. I had it index all the network drives as well as the C drive.

It ran all day. It ran all night. And this morning, it was done indexing. Over 7,000,000 key words. Over a half a million files. I do my search (I know the names of the files.) They weren't there. Well, they were, but not the ones I was looking for. Not the ones I did when I updated the graphics on this weblog.

Damn it.

So, this morning, when I'm back here on the PC, setting up a new customer account, letting my system know that a bank deposit had been made, generating an invoice, and watching the mouse move by itself, I had an idea.

I turned on Paint Shop Pro. And what was there when it came up? My graphics. The ones I'd been looking for. I checked their location. On the C drive. Of the PC. Where the laptop search engine would not find them.

They've been copied over to a network drive.

What I don't understand is why didn't I do that to start with?

Hopefully, this stuff is over with now. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.



search engine    lost files    geekstuff   

      Sunday, January 21, 2018

10:00 AM - 01/21/2018

The topic: So, in my last entry, I had been notified

That something was vulnerable in a website and someone was sending massive amounts of spam email, through my website email server. I've been screwing with this ever since.

The usage was usually low. These aren't big ticket websites, there's just my little store and Brian's company website. And a couple of other domains that never did much. One I'd never set up, there was just an index page and the benny website that had one page that sent you to a different place. One page each. Then there's another website that's private, password protected, with some old movies on it. Nothing major, just some friends and family stuff that no one else would be interested in.

The physical memory usage ran around 35-40MB a day.  I have a limit of 1GB. So, usage has been well under limit for years. Since last weekend, the usage has been running a little under 370MB. Ten times as much as normal.

Not so this past week. That limit was reached at least twice. The question was why. And that's what I've been doing all week long.

Files had been added to a couple of directories. The two one page directories. Checking my logs, there were thousands of hits and referrals to other websites. Prescriptions. How tos. Best ofs. Lots of wordpress links. It was all new to me. And I started deleting. That was the easy part.

Then there was the code that had been added to PHP files. Usually the files named "index.php".  If there had been no "index.php" file in the first place, something put one there. What a nightmare this has been. I was able to get rid of most of those files, only one was needed for the store, none were needed for the company website and the one program that did have a fair amount of index.php files, has been taken off line. I've contacted the developers about this.

I've changed passwords with a password generator. I can see it now, I'll have to do a password reset every time I want to enter a site. I have them in a safe place, but what a nightmare.

This technology stuff has been pretty much non-stop since we got the new computers last year. I need a break from this, but I can't stop until I'm sure the store and the business website are secure. I'm just worn out right now.

One of my opinions about this stuff is the emails Brian gets about raising the company visibility in search engines. Offers with guaranteed results. I think I know how they do it. By doing what's been done to our websites. They add the code, the search engine crawlers find the links, and with those links, those webpages go up in the search engine standings. It's the only thing that makes sense to me.

So, I've done dozens of re-directs. When those crawlers reach those folders that were added or files that were changed, they get redirected to google.com. Let the search engines crawl the search engine.

I'd rather be cutting paper or taking pictures of paper I've already cut and assembled. I don't want to be up at one in the morning because I can't sleep, upgrading software for hours. This really sucks.


spammer    hated it    hackers    geekstuff   

      Saturday, January 27, 2018

02:14 PM - 01/27/2018

The topic: It’s been a hairy couple of weeks

I was contacting my provider a couple of times a day.

When code had been added to a file that should have been safe, I freaked out. When a new index.php had been added that same day and I knew damned well it hadn't been there the day before, I sent a fairly long message.

Besides the two issues above, I also mentioned the fact that the memory usage was still much higher than it had been before the attack. I got a response that this was being checked into.

Sometime, overnight, the usage dropped back to normal, where it's been ever since.

I deleted a bunch of very old files, files that should have automatically been deleted by the mail program, temp files. Almost two gigabites.

They fixed something in the control panel so I could access old backups on the server. Unfortunately, it only started working when it was set up. They'd given me a list of backups available, so I had them give me the oldest one, dated the first weeks of January, before the hit. I downloaded that and now, if something happens, I have a working backup. There's nothing new on the page, so, that's not a concern.

I'm waiting to reinstall the photo gallery and the store, to see if things stay stable. I sure hope they do. I have to be honest, I'm nervous when I boot up in the morning. Not sure of what I'll find.

Nothing is best.

hackers    geekstuff   

      Monday, January 29, 2018

01:01 PM - 01/29/2018

The topic: And we have pictures!

I mentioned having a couple of projects on the line way back on the 14th. Geez, it's been a long time. Anyway, last week I finally made them.

In between checking out the website a couple of times an hour, (which, thank goodness, looks to be fixed. As soon as I'm comfortable with it, I'll add back in the things I removed), I cut some card stock and glued it together to make some pretty cool items. I think they're cool, anyway.

The two on the sides are from SVGCuts, the name of the kit is Tea for You and Me.

The one in the middle is from Snapdragon Snippets Silhouette online store and the assembly instructions can be found here.

The SVGCut files are for the larger foil wrapped teabags. The Snapdragon Snippets dispenser holds the smaller Lipton type teabags.

For this one, I tweaked the strips on the bottom a little bit. I cut out two different colors and used an EK edge punch to get a lattice type design and placed that over the darker color.

Now, my only problem is where to put them so that the cats don't ruin them. Yeah, they mark everything. Right now, they're in a cupboard in the kitchen, behind closed doors.


tea dispenser    craftstuff   

03:15 PM - 01/29/2018

The topic: And from earlier this month

I've mentioned the cards I made last year that I never uploaded pictures of.  Well, I still intend to do that, but I thought it might be nice to share what else I've done.

The card in these photos is from the SVGCuts kit Harvest Mail. It was pretty fun to put together. I liked the paper so much, I bought more! You never know when they'll discontinue the stuff you like.

And when I got my friend a gift card, I remembered a freebie gift card holder from Dreaming Tree.

I used the same paper as I used in the card above.

I modified this from the Dreaming Tree version. I removed the holly berrys and leaves and in their place, cut out "Happy Birthday". And under the cut outs, I placed gold foil cardstock, to tie it all in with the gold in the cardstock.

svgcuts    dreaming tree    craftstuff    cards   

      Tuesday, January 30, 2018

10:53 AM - 01/30/2018

The topic: The last of mom’s things has been taken care of

Last year when Brian set up the new Kobalt storage cabinet, I had to move the Sterlite chests that were there. I emptied them out, saved or tossed things as I found them. (My stuff, they were empty when I brought them home, she had clothes in them and those were all donated.)

One chest still had mom's stuff in it. I just moved it to a differerent area of the garage. I had started looking through what was in it, but nothing was really interesting. Just little tchotchkes she'd gathered over the years, little knick knacks she'd been given or gotten for herself because they made her smile. I have no place for them. I have the curio cabinet we got decades ago where I put my cat things so they're safe from the real thing, and the cabinet is full. Not much room left.

I told Brian last weekend, to just throw the whole thing out. I was tired of it taking up room. Today is trash day and he was going to take it out, but decided to go through it first. Just in case there was something of value.

Brian thought maybe some of the things were silver, but they weren't. But he unwrapped each and every one of what was in the drawer. There were some adorable little blown glass elephants, a set of three and not a trunk to be found - broken off at some point. Little things that had no value, monetary or emotional. Out they went.

But, as he unwrapped one small piece, my face lit up. Gimme!  I held it in my hand, grinning from ear to ear.

Have you guessed what it is yet?  It's an ashtray (my mom smoked)!  My very first craft project!  I made it in elementary school. I'm pretty sure we lived in Salt Lake City at the time (dad was in the USAF).

And she'd kept it all of those years. Through all of our moves, she kept it. And now, it's back with me.

I told Brian "just imagine, I started crafting when you were only three." And I'm still hooked.

photos    love it    craftstuff   

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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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