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      Thursday, November 24, 2022

06:19 AM - 11/24/2022

The topic: So, guess what? We’re still here!


It's been a weird couple of years, for sure. I don't know if it's age or just stuff happening, but it's really hard for me to keep my focus on things. So much on my mind, none of it important.

For instance, we started watching the show Yellowstone on Paramount Plus last week. I'd tried to get Brian interested in it before, but he just kind of shrugged. Well, tired of the "well, what do you want to watch" typical evening conversation, I said "let's watch it, see what we think". Yeah, we're hooked now.

I'm mentioning that because it leads to telling you about the kinds of thoughts that fill my mind. Does Beth realize that she treats Rip the same way her father does? I mean, he would do anything for the two of them. And Jamie. Is Jamie going to end up dead at some point?  He's annoying AF, for sure. And little Tate is growing up so quickly!

So, these kinds of thought enter my mind and I get lost in them. So, hard to focus.

At least I'm keeping up with paperwork and housework! Oh, my gosh, I'm doing way better at getting the house cleaned. For a couple of years there I was starting to get worried that I really didn't care. That seems to be going away. Maybe some sort of depression? Or just getting back into the swing of things after Brian doing so much when my hip went bad? The year I couldn't walk down to the hallway without thinking my leg would give out? Or when it took me five minutes to get into the car? Because my leg/hip hurt so much? I couldn't drive, it was the right hip. I didn't trust that it would keep working when hitting the gas or brakes. Not a very fun time. Money was tight and it just wasn't the best time of my life. Then Covid hit (we are fully vaxxed at this time; the first vaccination and three boosters - we still mask up when we're in public).

But things are a lot better now.

The business has taken off. It's doing quite well at this time, knock on wood.

The Avengers are all grown up. The boys have gotten so big! I asked Steve this morning who his daddy was. He didn't answer. Natasha (mom) really isn't all that big, so the big genes must have come from daddy.

Last year, I found out I might have a half sister. Earlier this month, one of my cousins sent me an Ancestry kit so we could find out for sure. Delving into the timing, though, it wasn't possible. My dad was transferred to Greece in 1965/1966 and we were there until 1968 (I remember we came home ten days after Bobby Kennedy was shot). He had come home for his dad's funeral, so there would have been the opportunity at that time. I looked for his passport and could only find one. I found three for my mom (figures - did I ever mention what a flaming narcissist my mother was?). I remembered the book that one of my uncles by marriage had put together about the family and found that my grandfather died in 1966. The woman who was looking for her dad (the result of a one night stand - that's what times were like back then) was born in 1968. So, it wasn't my father.

And wouldn't you know, the week after I spit in the cup (for the DNA test), she gave more information to my cousin. Her father would have been from my grandmother's side of the family. She's not a sibling.

Technology. Isn't it grand?

It's that time of the year that I work on my holiday cards. Dragging my feet on it (I'm super horrible at finally starting something I want to do, but once I get started, I work on it until I'm done). I finally came up with a great idea, got all the ducks in a row. Now to see if what I want to do will work. I love the Lawn Fawn products and that's where I got my ideas. I had to fudge a little and took one of their dies and made a template for the Cameo (working with that again, as well! yay me! Remember I saved up for months to get the Cameo 4 plus, their library software was buggy and I couldn't delete files, they'd just copy, so I'd have even more I couldn't get rid of? I was so frustrated, I just said "f*ck it" and put the machine in it's carrying case and set it aside. Even after hours with their technicians trying to replicate the problem, entering my computer and Silhouette software remotely; they got the fix, but I was burnt out at that point). Over a year later, I'm back at it). So, I found a sweet background on Etsy (I'm a big fan of digital paper) and started the design. I got it pretty much figured out and I was trying to print more than one at a time. Tuesday, I fired up the old Epson R1900. And four of the colors didn't work. I guess the ink had dried in the ribbons and when I had fresh ink going through, they loosened the dried ink and it blocked the nozzles. I've been trying to unblock the nozzles, but was not having much luck. Remember when I said I start something then just keep at it? I was up late Tuesday night, working on it. At that point, none of the colors were working. I let it set overnight and after about a dozen cleanings, four of the eight colors were working, but not the other four.

I asked Brian what was my budget for a new wide format printer. We figured it out and my new printer will be here tomorrow. The one I'm getting has great reviews and is on sale right now (it's probably always on sale, but it makes me, the consumer, feel better thinking I'm getting $150.00 off). I'm not giving up on the old one, though. Not yet.  Just have to figure out where I'm gonna put it for the time being.

So, here's what happened when I bought it (where my time goes). I've mentioned getting points for purchase through MyPoints in the past. Save these points up and when you get enough, you can get a rewards card (this is one of the ways I saved up for  the Cameo 4 Plus).

I got two printers (shhh....don't tell Brian; I was still under budget - but there were no after market trays for the pvc credit card things for that printer). For the wide format, I'm looking at Amazon. And I find it odd that they have the same one listed with two different prices. One, sold by Amazon, was a hundred and fifty dollars cheaper than the one sold by the market place seller. So, I order that one. And the smaller one. I added a four year warranty. Done.

Then I look at the printer specs again. Wait! Wait! They AREN'T the same numbers!  Runs over to Google, type in this printer number vs that printer number...the lesser cost one is not wide format! Crap! Quickly cancel that one. Order the other one and a warranty for it. It won't be here until Tuesday!  No! I need it now!

Check Best Buy. I get points at Best Buy. Same price for both of the printers I want. Free shipping. Would be here Friday. And points! I'd get points!

Cancel the orders at Amazon. For the both of the printers. I keep the warranty, though. (They'll cover products bought elsewhere, not just through Amazon.)

Head over to the Best Buy website. Order both printers. Finish order. A message pops up letting me know when they'll be ready for pickup next week. Pickup? Next week? Go back to Best Buy. I'm able to switch the option to ship to address. Will be here Friday. But wait!

I didn't click the My Points thing! I won't get my points!

I cancel the order and start over.

So, I'm getting my printers delivered on Friday and I'm getting my points as well. And because the sales tax is a little higher at the store than it is at our house, it was five dollars less.

And I wonder where the time goes.

Pancho hadn't been feeling well and we took him into the vet last week. He had the sniffles and it was a good time to get his bloodwork updated. Well, he has kidney disease. So, he gets a phosphorus binder and subQ fluids three times a week. He's feeling much better now. He's purring again and eating a little more. Bobby gets fluids daily now. This past summer we had a couple of scares with him during the hot days (and it was the hottest summer on record). I upped his fluids to daily and it worked.

Ever since the old vet, we've gotten a deal on the cost of fluids. We started out paying $2.50 and now it's up to $5.00. This is a great deal since the regular price is $30.00 per bag. Well, last week when the vet called to give me the results of Pancho's tests, I requested additional fluids as well as the meds for Pancho. Three bags. Brian went over to pick them up Thursday afternoon and when he came home, he was upset. "You'll have to go over this with them" and hands me the invoice. They'd given us food samples of kidney food as well as the fluids and meds. The food and the total on the invoice threw him for a loop. The bill was $154.00. Whoa, there's something wrong here. I look at the itemization. Thirty dollars for each bag of fluids. There were three. It was ninety when it should have been fifteen.

I called on Friday, but the person who takes care of this wasn't in. I called again on Monday and she credited the seventy-five dollar overcharge, since we'll be using it anyway. I ordered a box of 20 gauge needles (with Pancho getting fluids, I'll be using thirteen a week).

Fun times, right?

I wish you all reading this a Happy Thanksgiving. Hoping you all have a pleasant holiday.

p.s. I really need to add photos to the album. I have a bunch.


pancho    geekstuff    craftstuff    catstuff    cameo    bobby   

      Tuesday, September 06, 2022

08:12 PM - 09/06/2022

The topic: Saying goodbye


We said goodbye to Joey today. It was so soon after Spot.

Joey had the same symptoms as Spot did. The intestinal cancer that grew so fast.

I believe in Joey's case, it was genetic. Monica passed from this, as did Ross. Monica was a littermate, Ross was from the litter born four months earlier. It's so hard knowing when to say goodbye.

Joey was a real trooper, but at the end, he could barely carry himself. His back and sides were just bone and his belly was almost dragging on the ground. I didn't take any photos, but just imagine a cow's belly. How big that is compared the rest of the animal.

He had a good life with us. He was always true to his feral roots and it wasn't until this past year he let me brush him (it took months to get to that point where he trusted me). We became friends. I miss him.

I took this short video of him last month. He was a very sweet cat.


Phoebe is the last of the Friends cats. Time marches on.

joey    goodbye    catstuff   

      Monday, August 22, 2022

06:31 AM - 08/22/2022

The topic: Short update


We got another cat the week after we said goodbye to Spot. An adult black short haired cat, vet guesstimates age at seven (looking at his teeth).  We named him Fury. More later.

Spent the afternoon yesterday at the ER vet with Steve, then the evening at home waiting for the okay to come get him. Vet thinks gastroenteritis due to parasites. He's better this morning, but still not back to normal.

I finally washed the bedroom floors last weekend. One of my bucket list items.  lol

Had Brian cut my hair, that's been down to my waist for the majority of my life (since marriage), to my shoulder. I like it a lot better, tired of the long stuff.

The heat is unbearable.

The laptop was super slow so I did a little cleanup using the sfc/scannow and DISM programs to fix problems with Windows, reinstalled Windows 10, got that working,  then installed Windows 11.  It took four days because I was impatient at how slow it was going and kept re-starting the computer. (The slowness was one of the reasons I was doing what I was doing.)  Stupid, time consuming thing to do. I shoulda just waited. I ended up not reinstalling programs that I never used (I have the same programs on the desktop, that is more powerful than the laptop). I only reinstalled the things that I'll use. Anyway, I'm much happier with how it runs. I did disable the wireless and attached it using an ethernet cable to the range extender. Yowza, doubled the speed. Amazing that the signal is coming from the exact same device just connected differently.

I got a new USB turntable that I'm gonna use to rip my vinyl albums to my music folder. That I will work with on the laptop. More room on the table.

Having fun downloading old shows using Playon.tv. We're rewatching Justified. Waiting for Orphan Black to start streaming on a service so I can download that. I missed it by a month, kept putting it off.

Anyway, today will be a "watch Steve" day. Yesterday was pretty scary, we were concerned he'd swallowed something and it was caught up in his intestines. He puked up breakfast, then a couple of hours later, started straining to poop and only drops of a clear, uncolored liquid came out. He panted. He threw up foam. Never in my life had I seen that and it scared me. The folks at the ER were super nice.

I have a small amount of paperwork to do and have to get out the Cameo to print and cut more labels for Brian's cylinders. Funny thing, I loved that machine so much, had so much fun with it until they updated the software and I couldn't get the library to work right. It took months to resolve, but I lost interest over that. Was so frustrated that I just walked away. I think it's time to go back.

I gave Jingles a bath last week and took video of him afterwards and uploaded it to Youtube. I do this so that the lady who gave him to us can see he's still doing well with us. She's moved up to Fresno and she worries about him. For your viewing pleasure, Little Bitty Dawg.


steve rogers    steve    jingles    heat    geekstuff    fury    craftstuff    catstuff    captain america   

      Saturday, July 09, 2022

07:39 AM - 07/09/2022

The topic: Goodbye, Spot


Towards the end of last month, I found a lump on Spot's belly. I bumped up his lactulose and fluids, hoping it was just stool in his colon.

When four/five days of this didn't work, we got  him into the vet on the 27th of June. The news wasn't good. He had cancer. He had lost four pounds from his visit in April. He was anemic and his blood tests were not good. The lump I found were actually his glands. Both the glands on his belly and in his neck were huge because of the cancer.

We brought him home, knowing that his time would be short.

We took him in on Thursday to say goodbye.

There were no vets at the vet's office, the regular vet has Covid (along with her six month old daughter). The other vets that come in weren't available. The first opening was 1:45 Friday. Brian would be out of town.  Knowing that Spot was miserable and was quickly going down hill (it was very hard for him to walk and he had the hundred yard stare), we knew it was time.

I called the local emergency vet but their number was continuously busy. I called the practice that the receptionist from our vet had moved to at the beginning of this year. (I also texted and called her, leaving a message.) They referred me to a couple of walk in clinics after letting me know they weren't taking new clients. Our friend didn't come in until eleven that day. I called the closest walk-in and was told as long as we were there by 4:30, they could perform the euthanasia.

I hung up and told Brian. If this is what we had to do, this is what we had to do.

The phone rang. It was our vet's office. One of the techs is licensed to do the procedure, but they wanted to get the vet's okay before letting us know. We could bring Spot down at anytime.

We were there before noon. His passing was quiet and peaceful (we were the only clients there).

It had been ten years since his PU surgery. We almost lost him that year (look back to October 2012). We figure we had an extra ten years with him.

I miss him so much.

goodbye    catstuff   

      Saturday, June 04, 2022

06:09 AM - 06/04/2022

The topic: Super busy week


Boy, one of those rare weeks just about every day was spent in the office. Just nuts. I shut down yesterday around 3:30, headed back to my broken down section of the sofa (reminds me of my mom  - she had her beer and cigarettes, I have my water and remote control), turned the television on, set to Castle on Lifetime and promptly fell asleep.

What I did was rip over four hundred CDs to the Plex drive (remember this post from last summer? I'm finally working on finishing up). Last year I got the various artist compilations ripped. This week I got the pop/rock and easy listening/smooth jazz sections finished. I still have country, soundtracks and holidays to do. That will only take a couple of days at the most, but I'm kind of burned out on it right now. I am looking forward to having all of my music available on the Plex drive. Which I can access from just about any device in the house, so that's pretty cool.

In my last entry, I mentioned motion sprinklers at the back fence. Because we wanted (well, me, it was me, I wanted) to see what was going on I tried to get my old Foscam cameras set up and could not get them set up properly. I don't know what the problem was, if I did I'd have set them up, but after hours of working on it, I threw in the towel and got a fairly cheap wifi cam that would work with Blue Iris (so I could watch it from my cell phone or tablet). It's not an outdoor cam, so I used the globe that was originally on the roof cam (that Brian moved to the other side of the roof recently, a better view than just a tree - check out the weather page for the roof cam view, a new image every fifteen seconds). Brian affixed the sheet of metal that had been over the globe on the roof cam to keep the sun from overheating the new camera. The problem with the globe is reflections of the camera lights. And I have to clean the globe because of the spray from the motion sprinkler. Which doesn't go off that often now, the cats have kind of figured out to stay away from that part of the yard. Escape has not been a problem.

I turned off the night lights on that camera because of the reflection. I ordered a set of outdoor, solar, motion sensor lights from Amazon and got a crazy good deal, 40% off, with tax it was under fifteen dollars. No electric needed. They have three settings, on all night, on at motion and on all the time, but brighter when there's motion. We're going with option three. I mean, solar, right?

The camera is a wifi camera. It connects to our wifi. The problem is placement. Too many obstructions (building with a bunch of machinery inside) for the signal to reach. I tried all of the signal extenders I had and none of them worked consistently. I ended up getting a new router for a better signal (I will never buy another Netgear product, just too many signal dropouts). And I got a stronger wifi extender. Brian figured out a way to get power to them from the light fixtures at the back of his shop and all is good at this point.

So far, I like the new router, but being a different make, it took some getting used to. I'm still figuring things out. One of the reasons I got this model was it has, like my Netgears had, a USB port that will work as a shared drive on all the computers. A network drive. A "readyshare" drive. So, I don't have to be in the office to access Quickbooks or my photos or Silhouette files, things I work with on the laptop in the other room. This office is miserable hot in the summer. Anyway, I was having problems with saving Quickbooks files and was confused about why I couldn't save my work. It was a shared drive with read/write access for everyone. This should have been a breeze.

But it wasn't.

Well, this week I figured I'd move the photos I've taken from the memory card over to the readyshare drive and I couldn't. I kept getting an error message. I tried using the laptop. Same problem. I ended up doing a tech chat with Asus and the problem was escalated to another support tier. This started around nine in the morning. Hours with level one, no resolution, now I'd have to wait until the next level could talk to me. Not text but on the phone. I was given a 24-48 hour window of when they'd call. I had to fill out a form with my system information and send them lots from my router. The most frustrating thing was when I had to change the login and password before saving the logs and that stupid ass CAPTCHA thing really got my blood pressure up. Changing the login/password was a two step process. First, you change your login name. Then you have re-login. CAPTCHA! You login with the new login name and old password to get back into the router dashboard but that stupid ass CAPTCHA keeps telling you you're wrong. And then you see that something is wrong with your login/password. I tried so many times I had to wait for five minutes to try again.

It didn't help that the autofill box on Firefox kept blocking access to the boxes where I needed to type in the new word. I ended up using the Edge browser. Since I don't usually use it, I don't use autofill. Made what I was doing much easier.

Anyway, as I was waiting to hear back from support, I kept trying things. I kept looking for information on the error message I was getting. I finally tried something that was so simple, so easy, that it should actually be a part of the tutorials on this.

There are all sorts of advice on settings, formatting the drives, but not one of them mentioned setting the permissions on the readyshare drive before attaching it to the router. You know how on memory cards there's a switch on the side so you don't overwrite something? How it "locks" the information? That's the only analogy I can think of to explain what was going on. I disconnected the readyshare drive from the router. I attached the readyshare drive to the computer. I set the permissions to read/write for the entire drive. I disconnected it, then reconnected it to the USB drive.

Tried to make a new folder. It worked! Moved a photo to that drive. It worked! No error message.

Took less than five minutes. It was seven hours later and the fix took less than five minutes.

I cancelled the support call. Told them they could close the ticket and how I'd resolved the problem.

That was Thursday.

Another problem with the router was I couldn't get the print servers to work. I had been using print servers for the UPS label printer and my old Epson R1900 printer. What a print server does is turns a USB printer into a network printer. There's an adapter, you plug the printer's USB cable into the print server device and use an Ethernet cable to attach that to your router. There are some settings and voila! You have a printer that you can access from any network computer, not needing to leave one computer on for the access. I ended up getting a new USB label printer, I got the old one over ten years ago and it was no longer supported by the manufacturer. I'd been having problems for a while with the UPS site not seeing it. I had to reinstall the software every other use. Now with the new router, I couldn't access it all. I'd started printing out labels on the laser printer and cutting them out with scissors.

So, new printer gets here, set up was icky, print server wasn't working. the Epson was no longer working. Hours later, I just decided to hell with it, I'll run both of these printers as USB printers. Took way too much of my day.

Brian saw a Mint Mobile commercial on television. "We should check that out."   We. We should check that out. Meaning me. So, I did.

Neither of our phones are compatible. We'd need new phones. The deal is you don't pay monthly. You pay in advance for the plan you choose, either three months, six months or twelve months. The fifteen dollar deal? That's for new customers, three months only. Then the rate goes up, depending on how many months you choose. We're not doing it. But at least we know.

And I filled out my ballot after doing my research. Brian copied my work. So, we voted yesterday.

And at 3:30 yesterday afternoon, I shut down my computer and walked out of the office.

Carol has been climbing a tree. The North Island Pine.  She was almost to the top (about forty feet) a couple of times. She didn't have problems coming down, but it was slow going. Brian ended up trimming off the bottom branches and putting up a barrier to keep her out of it. And he moved the tractor. 

It's just been a busy couple of months here. I need to get laundry started (weekend, less expensive electric).

geekstuff    catstuff   

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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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