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      Monday, April 02, 2012

09:18 AM - 04/02/2012

The topic: How would you get rid of twenty cats in under 48 hours?

A woman who had many cats passed away last year.  They were a source of joy to her in her life. They meant everything to her (thinking of how much my mom loved her cats). Her husband (who wasn’t known to be nearly as fond of the cats as his wife) passed away last week. It wasn’t expected, as far as I can tell.

A couple of the grown daughters had the cats out of the home in less than forty-eight hours, on a Saturday night.

I know how hard it is for people to place one or two cats when they need to find homes for them. It can take weeks or longer, sometimes never finding new homes.

How could someone do this in under two days?  On a weekend?

The story is they were “given to a no-kill shelter and that they’ll be put up for adoption”.

I’m incredibly skeptical at this point.

      Tuesday, April 03, 2012

10:00 AM - 04/03/2012

The topic: Well, I had a first yesterday

The first time I used my sewing machine to fix Levi’s. 

Brian is really hard on his pants. Well, not so much the pants as the left knee.  Always the left knee.  I guess when he works, he goes down on that knee when he needs to do things down low. And it eventually weakens the denim and he gets these string covered holes.

When time$ were better, it was no big for him to go buy a few new pair.  We’d wait for sales at Sears, he’d go buy three or four pairs of Levi’s preshrunk, stonewashed, button fly 501s. He could get them for under forty dollars a pair.  Well, times aren’t good now and the cost of the Levi’s he prefers has gone to over fifty bucks a pair. That’s crazy.  I’ve checked the sales at Kohls, but they never have his size in “his” color. I did pick up a few at http://www.denimexpress.com for a good price, but he said they don’t fit right and he thinks they’re not as well made.  oh oh

So, for the past month I’ve been working my way up to fixing what I call his “Sunday” pants. Because they’re holey (holy, get it? Sunday? Holy?.... LOL ).  A couple of pairs are thinning at the crotch (they didn’t used to do this) and I used the worst one of those to cut patches for the holes.  Then I watched a video on youtube about darning, just to make sure I had everything I needed.  I bought the little scissors they used and this tape to keep the patch in place while I sewed. The tape washes away the first time the item is washed.

I cut out around the stringy part of the pants on Sunday and cut a patch to cover it.  I positioned the patches to the inside of the pants leg with the tape. I looked through the thread for a good color, picked out three and showed them to Brian against the denim. We agreed on a color.  Then yesterday, I set up my sewing machine.  Let me tell you a little about this machine.

It’s a basic machine, it’s my second one since we got married (I also have a third which I’ve never used, it’s for embroidery and one of these days I will use it). We don’t have lots of storage and the first one was kept in the dining room under the window. We had it in a cabinet we bought with it, particle board with a wood veneer.  Particle board doesn’t hold up well to years of cat urine. And I left the pedal on the floor.  Pedals also don’t hold up well to cat urine. And when you step on a plugged in, turned on pedal with a bare foot, you shouldn’t be surprised at the rush you get from the electricity that runs up your body from the pedal.  Really, it shouldn’t be a surprise (or should I say “shock”?). Anyway, that machine went the way of the dinosaur as did the falling apart cabinet.

And we bought my new machine at Sears.  Did more than the old machine. Then we had to get a new cabinet for it, a hundred bucks somewhere online. And the machine stayed where the cats could get to it, but this time, everytime I finished using it, it was unplugged, the pedal pulled up into the body of the machine and I’d cover the machine and cords with a big trash bag. So, you know, they wouldn’t get wet.  From cat urine. (Did I ever mention it was my dream to have this many cats? How come when you dream of something, you have a tendency to overlook the possible negatives?)

Well, a few years ago, neighbors down the street had a yard sale. They did this every couple of years, to clean out the stuff that they no longer needed. The had two really nice, solid wood, sewing machine cabinets.  And we bought one of them for ten bucks. I had these grand plans of sanding it down and staining it and making it all beeyooteeful, since it was such a fine piece of furniture. And it sat in Brian’s shop.  Fast forward to the economy tanking, Brian having to move his shop home to save on rent ($1350 a month for what had become a storage area was pretty financially stupid). I know I’ve mentioned this before. Mark was a huge help in getting Brian’s shop set up here at home.  And one of the first things that needed to be done was all the stuff back in the shop here at home, had to go. Like the ping pong table we never used (gave it away to a college kid via Craigslist).  My old electronics (speakers, players, etc) went to recycler.  When Mark came to the patterns for the cathouses we tried selling, Brian almost started to cry, he looked really sad.  Mark was brutal, I tell you, brutal. He had no emotional attachment to any of this stuff.

Well, they came to the cabinet, he said “well, why aren’t you using it?”  Because I have to sand it and stain it and make it beeyooteeful for the house.  He just shook his head.  “You can do that later, let’s go ahead and get your machine in it.”  Okay.  I mean, I was afraid of using the machine now because the particle board had (once again) been urinated on so badly the wheels were not stable at all.  I could see it collapsing onto my legs when I was sewing.  When they tried to attach the machine to the good cabinet, it didn’t work right. So, Mark (who’s incredibly smart and savvy when it comes to things like this) looked at both and said “this is what we need to do”.  They took the top of the old cabinet, modified the good cabinet and attached the old top to the good cabinet. The machine was attached and it works nicely. Only thing is it doesn’t roll, so it’s not like the old one where I could move it and watch tv while I was sewing.  No big deal, but everytime I got the urge to sew, I sat on the sofa and watched tv instead. Sure, I could drag it through the house, but it would be too noisy.   oh oh

So, back to the pants. I had cut out a couple of extra pieces of material to test the tension settings on the machine. I read the back of the needle’s package and made sure I had the correct needle to use with denim.

And I got to work. 

Do you know what a PITA it is to sew the knee of a pair of Levi’s?  I rolled up the bottom of the leg so that it wouldn’t bunch up in the machine. I used a wide, close zig zag stitch trying to move the material. Do you know it’s not really easy to turn the material when you don’t have a lot of loose material to turn?  I got half of it done, had to take the pants out, turn them around and get to the knee from the other side. I had to slide the waistline side up first and work my way down to the knee so I could sew the other side.  It only took about twenty minutes to do a complete patch, but figuring it out took me some thinking (hey, I never said I was a rocket scientist). I got done with four pair in under an hour and a half. Now that I know what needs to be done, it shouldn’t take nearly as long next time.

Anyway, I was about done when Brian got home and when he saw one of the patches, he was surprised that it turned out so well. I laundered them, trimmed back the patch on the inside and put them away.  He’s doing glass work today (this week, actually) and when I went into his old pants drawer (where we keep his old pants, the ones I patched) this morning to take pictures, one of the pairs was gone.  Last week he wouldn’t have worn them to a customer’s house, but I guess he feels comfortable enough about how they look that it doesn’t matter. 

Two patched knees:


How it looks:

And what I’ve learned is something I already knew, but it got lost along the way. 

I like to sew.

      Thursday, April 05, 2012

04:08 PM - 04/05/2012

The topic: Yay!

Remember last month when I was so excited about our new avocado trees? Well, guess what?


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They've got fruit! Not saying they'll grow or be any good if they do get big, but these trees work! Woohoo!

05:20 PM - 04/05/2012

The topic: Some photos…

Back on St Patty's day, before we got out of bed, DaNiece was throwing up. Just foam. At five in the morning, I gave her 60cc of lactated ringers. I force fed her throughout the day. She was just so under the weather. Her saliva was thick, she was dehydrated. I was pretty worried.

I kept taking her temperature with one of those ear thermometers and it was always high. To help her out, I got a cold pak ice thing and wrapped it in a towel. She rested her head on it.

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Later on, the fever had gone down and I put a teeshirt over her so she'd warm up. She liked it, didn't move for hours.

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I force fed her Hill's A/D throughout the day, between nine and twelve CCs at a time. She kept it down. Saturday evening, I gave her another 60cc of fluids. She was doing better on Sunday. She even ate a little kibble on her own. Although I did keep bringing her in watered down soft food. I figured she could use it to help with her hydration.

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And then there was Ronnie and Marco at the other side of the bed.

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Later that week, I saw Lorelei in a very uncomfortable position, fast asleep. She was on a computer. A computer where I placed a box of Kleenex to keep her off of it. It didn't work.

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And then I got this of Georgie later that day. He was on Lorelei's regular napping spot. The copy machine, in the sun. Which is why Lorelei found a different spot.

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Then today, I looked out and saw a bunch of cats congregating at the fence. No idea what was up there, but they were very interested in whatever it was.

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Ron, Bob, Pancho, Spot, Sammy, DaNiece (feeling lots better) and Sammy.

      Sunday, April 08, 2012

03:39 PM - 04/08/2012

The topic: Are your taxes done?

Ours aren’t.  I’m going to start on them tomorrow.  I spent Friday, yesterday and today getting things in order.

Which means I had wanted to catch up with the current paperwork before working on historical (hysterical?) paperwork.  Which means I have two business checking accounts that needed to be reconciled.  And for two months each.  The glass company was nothing to reconcile since he’s not been doing much with it.  But the hydraulics?


Completely different method of accounting than the old one. The old one, we got invoice, we paid invoices. We invoiced customers and we got paid from the customers (except for that $4000 from the one customer who told the general contractor (who we bill and who pays us) “we were quoted X over six months ago, we’re holding you to it” - lots of people lost money on that job - funny thing, they want the door handles for something Brian installed, we’ve got them, cost was under $400, but he told the general “they want them? They pay everything they owe me, I’m already deep in the hole on that job…lost money paying for material, and didn’t make a cent in labor”). The new company, Brian emails a quote and a link to a payment page.

If the price is right, the customer sends a payment via check, credit card or Paypal. Most of what Brian buys for his fabrication is paid for at the time of purchase. It should be easy, right?

It’s not.

First off, we used Paypal exclusively for the first six months.  And we paid for stuff out of Paypal. So, we’d get paid, Brian would write up an invoice for the customer that got shipped with the hydraulics.  And then I’d transfer the money to the bank account from Paypal. And nothing ever matched because Paypal took its fees. And we’d use the Paypal account to make purchase for the company.  A nightmare.

Then we set up a credit card account and it’s much easier.  More people pay with the CC than PP. And the fees aren’t so high, we get a pretty good rate from the bank.  Anyway…

I’ve got everything done, all of last year’s personal paperwork filed and tomorrow, I’ll start the taxes.

It sure doesn’t help that it’s hot here and the office is the hottest room in the house.  My allergies are screaming and I’ve got a headache, my stomach is upset and my nose keeps getting crusty with nasty stuff. Luckily, it’s supposed to be cooling down quite a bit, so it shouldn’t be too bad.

Then I’ll make all these resolutions to “keep on top of things” for next year. And next year I’ll be in the same exact boat I’m in right now. *lol*

04:08 PM - 04/08/2012

The topic: Poor kitty cats

They have to use the cat door to go outside or come inside. Unless we're standing by the door. Or unless they're Charlie and jump at the screen and just hang there.

So many flies. Not so many when the screen doors and the garage door are shut.

A couple of the cats will not do the cat door. Phoebe. Ross. Bobby. I think pretty much all the other cats do it. Bobby surprises me, I'd think would have been the first one to learn it.

      Wednesday, April 11, 2012

01:23 PM - 04/11/2012

The topic: So, our local CostCo (Santee)

Carries only Scoop Away litter. I’ve come to hate it because of the dust. I complained to the Scoop Away people and they sent me a coupon for $14.00.

I shared my complaint on FaceBook. We used to use Litter Purrfect, it’s what the Santee store carried. Then they didn’t. We used to really like Litter Purrfect. I even posted about it here in the blog.

Anyway, one of my SoCal friends said they have it at her CostCo (she lives in Huntington Beach) and that I should see if our local CostCo will carry it.  I contacted the Litter Purrfect people last week and got an email from them.  They do carry it in some of the San Diego stores, one being in Mission Valley.  Yay!

Brian stopped on his way home from Coronado this morning and called me, told me they had it.  He wanted to know which size he should get. He got the 30# lemon grass scented litter, three containers of it. That should be enough to see if we really like it.  It’s eight bucks for thirty pounds. It’s about two cents less a pound that the Scoop away. And the container is twelve pounds less, much easier to carry around the house from litter box to litter box.  I’m happy. He checked on getting a discount, but you have to buy a truckload. *lol* Not that we wouldn’t use a truckload, but I’m sure it’s a truckload of money and where would you store a truckload of cat litter?   cwm34

So, I’m sitting here and he pulls out the receipt and said “oh, I got you a surprise”.  A surprise? For me?  “Is it in the kitchen?”  (Okay, okay, I’m crappy food driven, what can I say? I have no excuses.)  “No, it’s outside.”  I look out the door. “Did you get me a new tree?” I said, my eyes scouring the yard.  “Yes. Well, no. Well, kind of.”  I go outside, not venturing into the grass. It’s rained a bit this morning, I’m fresh out of the shower, wearing socks on my feet. Don’t want to get my socks wet. Of course, I could always take them off, but why?

I look down by the pepper plants. I see the top of another plant.  “You got me a new tomato plant!”  Now, we’ve already got four growing, got them for a buck each at WalMart the day after we got the avocado trees. And just yesterday when I was checking out the weed growth (I had most of them pulled last month), I saw a little tomato plant, coming up from seed.

So, if these guys take off this year (they didn’t last year), we should have lots of tomatoes.


02:49 PM - 04/11/2012

The topic: Sometimes I get cold

Sometimes the cool breeze feels good, other times I just want to shut the house up and roll up in a blanket.

Yesterday afternoon was one of them.

We get in the car to go to dinner. Oooo, I'm in heaven, it's nice and toasty warm. Sadly, Brian was fresh out of a hot shower and he was already toasty warm. "Do you mind if I open the window?" he asks me. "Sure, just a little bit though." I feel the breeze. I don't like it.

So, I got a great idea. I've got a couple of Snuggies I got during a Woot! off. I'm putting one in the car. Then he can open his window and I'll still be toasty warm.

I knew they'd come in handy some day.

      Wednesday, April 18, 2012

08:30 AM - 04/18/2012

The topic: I’ll be working in the computer today

I took the fan and heatsink out this week and blew the dust out of it. I've done this a few times before, but I never replaced the thermal paste, which is a must. Oops. So, I ordered some Arctic Silver, it should be here today. I have to clean the old off and put on the new. Wish me luck.

It should help keep the temps down.

Right now, it's not running hot at all, I've got the side panel off and a fan blowing into it. But as the day heats up it doesn't help much. So.....

06:46 PM - 04/18/2012

The topic: Wow. Just wow.

I used Arctic Silver 5 on my computer's heatsink this afternoon.Okay, I know I’m a nerd. And I’m a lucky nerd.

Because I’ve taken the fan and heatsink off at least three times without putting any new thermal paste down.  Took them out to the workshop in the back and used Brian’s big compressor to get all of the dust and dirt out.  Each time, the thermal paste got weaker and weaker.

Here’s kind of what I’ve figured out about the whole thing.

The fan is connected to a big metal thing that looks like wings with slots. This thing pulls the heat off of that little processor thingy (that’s so very, very important to the computer, I guess it’s kind of like the brains of the whole thing) and the fan blows it out of the computer, through the side vents. If it gets too hot, it can quit working. Most computers nowadays are made to shut down if they get too hot.

Well, the thermal paste makes a bond between the processor and the heatsink. It increases the amount of heat the heatsink can pull from the processor, thereby lowering the running temp of the processor. The computer runs cooler and it’s quieter.

UPS didn’t show up until three and it took me under an hour to do what I had to do. Since it was my first time, I was really careful.

I had to clean off the old thermal paste from the heatsink and processor and it was time consuming. Q-tips and denatured alcohol and an old credit card and coffee filters (they don’t have lint).

And, like I said, the system is running a few degrees cooler tonight.  And the fan doesn’t start up when I run any kind of program (so far).  Last night it was driving me crazy.  The instructions say that it has a 200 hour cure rate, so it should just keep getting cooler and cooler until it’s completely cured.

I love it when I do something new to the computer and it still runs! 


      Friday, April 27, 2012

01:37 PM - 04/27/2012
We found a nickel on our walk this morning

The topic: I had a scare with Kirby this morning

Kirby is our oldest kitty who has had some health issues most of his life.  He blocked so often that the vet advised his penis be removed years ago. He hates the vet’s office (he had been in for catheterization more times than I remember, in the months before his surgery, he was in at least twice a month) and we don’t take him in. Luckily, he’s not had anything really bad going on, just a gradual downhill slide that comes with aging. He’s over seventeen right now, we got him the day before we got Benny so long ago.

Anyway, he’s a special eater. He gets special food that the other cats don’t get. Well, they get it, just added to and watered down in their evening meal. He gets it straight.

In the morning I’ll split a can of Friskies between he and Miss Elizabeth. They eat it in my bathroom on the counter with the door closed so the other cats don’t bother them (bunch of vultures). Well, Kirby has been peeing in my bathroom after he’s done. I spent over an hour cleaning the floor (that funky laminate that Brian really wanted to test out, even though I kept telling him the cats would ruin it…well, they did, I swear you could trip over the seams, but it still needs cleaning until it can be pulled up and something less high maintenance can be put in) and setting up those SSSScat cans of air.  They did a great job of keeping the cats from peeing in the corner and behind the toilet, but Kirby started peeing ON the toilet and the urine ended up next to and behind the toilet bowl.

Which is what I didn’t want to happen anymore.

Miss ate in the bathroom, started yowling “I’m done! Let me out” shortly after she’d gone in.  Brian let her out, asked “she didn’t eat much, what do you want me to do with the food?” I yelled back “give it to Georgie!” (I was feeding Kirby.) Then she went into the kitchen, walked back out and puked up her breakfast. She went back into the bathroom and started screaming for more food. I gave her a can of Fancy Feast.

So, this morning, I fed Kirby outside of the bathroom. Sitting next to me on the sofa, keeping the other cats away while he ate. This is how he normally eats the rest of the day, he finds me wherever I am, starts yelling at me to feed him and doesn’t stop yelling until I do.  Sometimes he gets A/D, sometimes he gets Fancy Feast with human tuna in it.  The mornings, though, he gets Friskies with Miss E.  He finishes eating, Brian has cooked our breakfast, we eat, we had bacon and although Kirby loves bacon and he did come over to the table, he didn’t show much interest in any. He ate a little piece then just walked off. He climbed back onto the loveseat and started to sleep.

I came back into the office and noticed George didn’t eat much of it, either.  Hmm.  Placed it on the floor for the other cats, who nommed it right up.

So, Brian has to leave and run some errands, when he’s getting his keys, I see Kirby on the loveseat.  Foam is dripping from his mouth. I’ve never, in my life, seen this on a cat who hadn’t just been pilled. I run over to him, wipe his mouth. He’s definitely not feeling well.  He tries to stand up, he’s pretty weak. OMG, this is it, we’re losing him, I think. I tell Brian to just go ahead and let Kirby rest. I check his eyes, they’re very dilated. My first thought is Lisa, how her eyes were dilated when she went blind (the same week we lost her).  I get a flashlight, shine it into his eyes, the pupil shrinks, he’s not blind.  I’ve wiped the foam from his face and give him a few tiny bits of water.  He swallows, keeps it down.  He’s having a hard time breathing, at least that’s what it looked like. He purrs for me and responds to butt scritches (arching his back). He finally settles down and goes back to sleep.  I let him, I creep in every few minutes to watch him breathe. Not labored, completely normal.

I’m flummoxed.

Then I see the towel that covers the arm of the loveseat (and the front of it, to prevent scratching).  There is puke all the way down it.  A little puddle on the floor under the towel. And it dawns on me.

There was something wrong with that can of food.  Miss throws it up first, George won’t eat it and then Kirby puked it up (the foam was probably the funky puke taste in his mouth).

Damn it. We’re a quarter of the way into the box and nothing like this happened with any of the others, so I’m hoping it was one bad can.

Poor little Purr Kitty.

      Sunday, April 29, 2012

11:12 AM - 04/29/2012

The topic: Why do I have to make things so difficult…

Yay! I figured out what I was doing wrong when trying to allow myself access to my user account on the Win7 pc from the WinXP pc.

I took some video last year at Disneyland and couldn’t find the cassette. Spent hours going through every one I had with no luck. Started before noon yesterday.  (I keep them in a different room than the computers.) I did find one from the end of last year with a lunar eclipse on it and Disney’s World of Color taken from a hotel room. So I knew that I changed to a new cassette before taking that lunar eclipse, which I took here at home, so it had to be here somewhere. It wouldn’t be in luggage or left at a hotel or in the car.

For some reason, I can’t capture video to the XP. I know it’s a driver problem, but I can’t find the right driver so I capture the video on the Win7 machine.  I was using Corel’s VS5 to look through all of the cassettes and it wasn’t on any of them.  I did find a camera I forgot I have looking for any stray cassettes in the camera bags and pulled out the compact flash card and tried to view it (just to see what was on it) and I needed a different card reader and it had something stuck in it (cheap reader). I reached for a paperclip and in the office, behind some clips, on a desk lamp stand, I found two cassettes! And one of them was the right one! Yay!  Over seven hours of my life gone forever! But I’ve got my tape!

Now I just need to get it onto the hard drive and transferred over to the XP, where all of my graphic and video programs live (Sony DVD Architect, Corel VideoStudio 5, DVDIt, DVD Factory, DVD Workshop 2, NewBlueFX plugins, Magix, Sony Vegas Movie Studio…).

Problem was there were some problems with it and it kept stopping when I used the VS5 program to capture.  I did a little research and found that the Windows Movie Maker captures the entire tape without marking scenes, just what I needed. What sucks is I knew that MM plays nicely, yet I spent a couple of hours trying to get VS5 to work. Anyway, I got the full hour captured onto the computer into my user file on the Win7 machine, now just needed to transfer it over to the WinXP machine. I finally shut it down at eleven last night. I’m tired…..yawn….

Took about an hour to figure out why it wasn’t working, I mean, I saw the folder on the network (all of our computers are on our home network, makes it easier for me to work with them), I just couldn’t access it. Watched the little MS video help and nailed it!  File is transferring as I type. Woohoo!

Oh, I figured out why the cassette was in the office, not the extra room.  The last ten minutes of the missing tape had ten minutes of lunar eclipse on it.  So, I changed it here in the office and just set it aside when I put in a new tape to finish recording the eclipse. Which is one of the things I told Brian over dinner.  When I can’t find something like that, I start thinking about my standard operating procedure. I rarely tape over anything, I just start a new tape. I found four that had under five minutes of recording on them.

One of these days, I’ll get them all transferred over to disk and use one of those carousel things to store the disks. Probably when we redo the office and open up some room. (What worked for us twenty years ago, isn’t working for us now. Our “desks” are glass attached to the walls on three sides of the room.)

Anyway, I’m waiting for one more set of photos and I’ll have no excuses left to make the annual video of our yearly visit.  I sure have fun doing it.

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lisaviolet is seventy 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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