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      Tuesday, September 01, 2015

03:37 PM - 09/01/2015

The topic: I’m upgrading my photo gallery

I'm bored stiff. I want to rearrange the office. I want to straighten up the extra room and be able to ride that exercise bike in there. I want to clean the bedroom and vacuum the walls and ceilings.  I want to do a lot of stuff.  It would help if it was cooler. It would help if this stupid tooth wasn't so painful (it goes away, I think it's a tooth that has a crown and had a root canal - I've had problems with it off and on for years, way more off than on, so why spend money we don't have at the dentist, you know).

I hope I don't regret the upgrade. I hope I don't lose my section themes.

Ah, who am I kidding I love doing this stuff that frustrates the hell out of me.

      Friday, September 04, 2015

09:54 AM - 09/04/2015

The topic: Back in 2011, Brian put laminate flooring

In my bathroom. I hated it from day two (which was all it took for me to realize what a cleaning nightmare it would be....) I refused to clean the damned thing five or six times a day and closing the door was not an option. I was reluctant for this flooring because of the cats and I was right. It was a frikken nightmare. I finally gave up doing anything with it. And it got worse and worse and worse as the days/weeks/months/years went by. My dream bathroom became a nightmare.

Because of the cats. When floor cleaners come with cautions about leaving liquid on laminate floors, I knew there would be a problem. And I learned a lesson from this. If Brian wants to experiment with something, he can experiment where I won't have to see it or deal with the mess (or not deal with the mess, this stuff is so bubbled up at the seams, I have to wash that floor on my hands and knees and I still can't get it clean because the cat piss has filtered into the laminate and it's all expanded and gross).

We got replacement flooring last year and he was going to put it down during the Thanksgiving weekend, but his brother and sister-in-law's surprise visit changed that. So, he's doing it this weekend. I'm so excited! I'm hoping I'll get back into liking a clean house and doing more to keep it so.

That laminate floor just depresses the hell out of me.

Me as the laminate gets pulled up ------------>141031016

      Sunday, September 06, 2015

07:00 AM - 09/06/2015

The topic: Today, I shall attempt to make a car decal

We have a couple on the back of the Escape, Disney decals. One is an orange Tigger decal, the other used to be a chrome Tinker Bell, sitting cross legged. The chrome has worn off and she's just white now. With each car washing, small pieces of these decals are coming off. I bought them right after we got the car, so it's been about five or six years that they've been on.

I looked through Disney coloring pages yesterday and found a Tigger like the one we already have, but no Tink like the one we have. And then I got the idea of making a Tinker Bell decal with different colors. I have the vinyl, when I got my first Silhouette machine, I also bought a lot of different colored vinyl. Pretty much one of every color available (grasshopper days, I tell you, grasshopper days). They've been stored in a cool dark spot and should be okay.

I picked out a light flesh color for her skin, yellow for the pom poms on her slippers and her hair, a limish green for her dress and slippers. There's also an "etched" vinyl, which I assume looks like etched glass, so I'll use that for her wings. I do need to find a nice blue for her eyes.

Not having done anything so detailed, I'm kind of nervous about it, but I think I have somewhat of a handle on it after the last couple of years shirts I did for our Disney meet.  With Brian's help in choosing, I ordered some clear colored vinyl from Amazon yesterday. One roll is ice blue, the other is a holographic blue. We might try those as wings, but I'm pretty sure we will use at least one of them for the stars. If the etched vinyl looks good for the wings, we'll use both of the clear vinyl for the stars.

The Tigger decal should be pretty straightforward.

08:54 AM - 09/06/2015

The topic: Brian got the new flooring down

In my bathroom yesterday. This morning he headed out to Home Depot and Lowe's. Lowe's for the trim (plastic trim which will be much harder for the cats to ruin), Home Depot for the toilet. A low flow toilet.

Great news on that toilet. It cost $90.00. There's a hundred dollar rebate on it. How cool is that? He needs a new toilet in his bathroom, I hope you can get more than one rebate per household.

08:56 AM - 09/06/2015

The topic: Every once in a while

But not very often, one of the cylinders that Brian sends out fails. And he will pay for the shipping back to us and send out a brand spanking new cylinder. Regardless of how old the original one is. He's even done a couple that were obviously abused.

Well, last month we shipped one out and the customer contacted him last week, telling him it leaks. These cylinders work with tractor implements and if you can't keep your implement up when you need it up and not dragging, it will cause problems; a cylinder that leaks is a bad cylinder and needs to be fixed or replaced. Brian's allowable leak down is a quarter inch per hour. Industry standard is a lot looser than that. Industry standard is absolutely not acceptable to Brian.

Now, a bad cylinder is not the only reason the implement won't stay where you want it. Most times, it's the valves that the cylinder attaches to. And there's a way of testing that. Have the implement up and detach the cylinder from the tractor altogether. If the cylinder is bad or leaks, the implement will not stay in the same position. It will drop. Brian explained to this customer what he would need to do. The customer calls back "okay, I did that, it still leaks". Brian was skeptical that the guy had done what he was supposed to have done, but he told him to send it back and he'd fix it. It got here Friday. It was tested yesterday.

In the morning, he had a lighter weight implement attached and eight hours later, no drop. Yesterday afternoon, he changed the implement to a Gannon implement that weighs a thousand pounds. I set up the video camera. Let it run until the tape ran out, almost an hour. No drop. Brian let it set overnight. It did drop. An eighth of an inch. Well within his standards. So....the guy lied about testing the unit. Brian's a little put out because he doesn't want to be on the hook for shipping when there was nothing wrong with the cylinder. I don't blame him. He'll be contacting this guy later today.

Now, the video. Here's where I come in.

I downloaded the video to my computer. Something didn't go right and I had to do it over again. The plan was to take this video and speed it up. I have a timer plugin for my video software and I planned on running a clock with the minutes and seconds on it. It was getting late and I was getting frustrated because everytime I had it the way I wanted it to look, it would grow in size and move off of the page on the video. WTF? It's now a legacy program and doesn't have support. And that sucks. I was on my own. I finally figured out if I got rid of the keyframe option, it was static. It didn't move. Great!  This morning I also used a cutaway plugin that I could select a certain area of the video and magnify that inside of a circle (or whatever else I wanted to use).

I had sped the video up and added the timer and cutaway. I added music. I was ready to put it all together when I noticed a big problem.  The timer only lasts as long as the video. So, I started over. I'm saving the full video with timer, then will shrink it. It will be a tenth as long as it started out. I will add the text and music. And then I will put it up on YouTube and Brian will let the customer know that there is video of the test and explain that it's not the cylinder. (As in "there's nothing wrong with it, your problem is not the Fit Rite cylinder that I supplied, it's most likely the valves on your tractor that your dealer supplied, what do you want me to do?")



      Wednesday, September 16, 2015

03:38 PM - 09/16/2015

The topic: Stuff

I haven't been on much the past couple of weeks. I was working on the car decals, which was as frustrating as hell. I'm like a dog with a bone and I just keep at it until I get it right.

Last week we got hit with a pretty crummy heat wave. Lots of humidity. Wednesday, the temperature outside was 106.5°. We had the fans running night and day, as well as the air conditioner. Even though it was set at 80° we went over our CARE allotment and that ended our monthly discount for being poor.

I signed up for our utility company's offer to watch your usage online. Needless to say, it was really high. They had three days where if you used less energy, you could get a break on those hours, so we did. Along with this is the information on how much you've used each day and an estimate of your next bill. One of the things we did to drop the usage was I turned off the computer and all of the peripherals. The external drives, the USB ports, the printers, the monitor...everything was off.

And it dropped. Our usage dropped. I can't even believe how much it used. Yes, it cooled off and the fans and a/c aren't running. But without my workstation on, it dropped dramatically. So, I won't be online so much. When I have things to post, like photos or movies, I'll post them, but no more running back here to see if I have any mail. I can check that on my little tablet. And not being back here, I'm pretty sure I'll be getting more active around the house.

So, one of the things I did do was I got the Tinkerbell decal done. Well, the first one, the test one. Here's what it will look like on the car (this is the actual decal on black paper);

Her wings are made of vinyl with an etched appearance. The holographic vinyl got here and it's really nice, but it is removable. So, I'll be doing the decal as above and cutting a second set of wings with the holographic (which looks iridescent), which we'll put over her the wings. That way, if they somehow get lost, she still has her wings.

      Saturday, September 19, 2015

10:37 AM - 09/19/2015

The topic: So, it’s Saturday morning

And I'm online using my little HP Netbook that I got back in 2011. Yesterday, I was wondering if this was any faster than the Dell laptop I got back in 2004 or 2005, so I right clicked on the computer icon on the desktop for each one and wrote down the specs.

The laptop is 1.86 GHz, the netbook is 1.66 GHz, so the laptop processes information more quickly.  But the difference is negligible, so that's not a deciding factor. The harddrive (where all the programs and information go, all of those photos, all of the games, all of the things that you absolutely need - or don't - to make life easier when computing) on the laptop is 70GB. On the netbook, it's three times more. 216GB. Netbook wins this round.

Next is RAM. RAM is Random Access Memory and the more of this the better. Everything that runs on your computer uses RAM. I know in some of our older computers that I needed to install more RAM when the virus software was upgraded. The existing RAM that came with the computer wasn't even enough to install the software! And the less RAM you have, the slower things will go. The laptop has 512Mb of RAM. The netbook takes round three with four times as much RAM. 2GB.

So, last night I cleaned off the harddrive on the netbook, getting rid of the Angry Birds games, the QuickBooks software, some pre-installed bloatware, quite a few things that really aren't needed. I uninstalled Chrome (I absolutely hate that they have taken it upon themselves to prevent me from running programs that might be a danger, like the webcams and the weather stuff, excuse me, if I blow up my computer, that's on me, I don't need a net nanny), installed Firefox,  updated the virus software (taking the license from the laptop and setting that up on the netbook), used ccleaner to clean up the harddrive, ran the ccleaner registry fixer, got the Silhouette software upgraded to the latest version, installed the Make the Cut software I got a few weeks ago, and updated the eCal software (these three programs are for the cutter).

I looked up how to save my Silhouette library and with the V3 of Designer Studio that was a snap.I didn't realize, though, that all of the work I'd done on the Disney decals last week were saved to a different file on the laptop, so I had to start it up again this morning to transfer those files to the netbook. And I was thrilled when they opened right up when I checked them out.

So far, it appears that this may have been a great idea. The keyboard on the netbook is more friendly, the system is WAY more responsive than on the laptop (waiting, waiting, waiting on the laptop and not even sure if the stuff was loading) is going to help loosen the stress load. Even shutting it down was a chore. It would freeze up when I was working on cutlines and it was very frustrating at times. When it worked, it was good, but it wasn't consistent.


I can use the netbook anywhere, so this is a win-win situation. Yay! 

(Allyson, if you were reluctant to try running your cutting software on your netbook, I say go for it!)




11:11 AM - 09/19/2015

The topic: Let’s talk about Charlie for a minute

Last night, I saw some blood on him. I checked it out and between his left back leg and side, it was a nasty mess. I was able to straighten his leg out to see what was going on and it looked like the text book burst abscess. Great. He was cleaning it a lot and it was late, so I just figured to take a wait and see position.

Well, this morning it was a lot cleaner and a lot bigger. That may have been because his leg was stretched out, pulling the wound apart. I had Brian hold him down while I put some Bacitracin on it (I bought a tube at Costco a while back, less that five dollars, a lot less $$$ than at the vet's office). Then, to help him relax I put a quarter of a .25 Xanax pill into a piece of tuna for him to eat (this Xanax is Mario's prescription, I think I dumped Mario's and Charlie's into the same bottle). I thought if we had to take him to the vet, a little less stress might make him easier to work with.

I checked the medicines in the kitchen cupboard and found some liquid Orbax that was prescribed for Marco back in June. It doesn't expire until 2016 and on the side of the box - "is indicated for the treatment of skin infections (wounds and abscesses) in cats".

Charlie has gotten his first dose of this with no problem. 14110119 So, hopefully we won't have to rush to the vet's this weekend. He is eating okay and he purrs for me. I was a little concerned how much grooming he was doing at the site of the wound, but watching him more closely, he was cleaning around it. Just a short while ago, I watched him cleaning  a back paw. And I have seen him sleeping.

I did a little finger stroking of him, searching for scabs or other wounds. I did find a little scab on his neck. I don't know who he fought with or when. I didn't hear anything and there was no fur strewn over the yard (which usually occurs at the site of a fight). So, I have no idea when this happened.

But I'm hoping we've got the Charlie thing under control.

11:34 AM - 09/19/2015

The topic: My decals

Unfortunately, I don't have the right vinyl for the car. The vinyl I have is the removable kind, for indoor use. So, I found a cheap seller on eBay that had free fast shipping for Oracal 651 (not 631). My vinyl should be here today.

But none of the vinyl available flopped my mop for use as Tink's wings. The wings need to be super special. The rest of her looks okay, but I wanted her wings to be shiny and iridescent, like real bug wings. So, I spent a while on the TouchPad the other night looking for something that would fit the bill. I think I found something.

Tinkerbell's wings..... I think this will look pretty awesome. Wouldn't you agree?

And this is supposed to be here today, too! Woohoo!

Me and my adorable little netbook are ready!

      Sunday, September 20, 2015

07:04 AM - 09/20/2015

The topic: The vinyl arrived yesterday

And there've been some changes in the colors for Tink. I ordered a couple of different greens and yellows so I had a more options. I'm not really thrilled with the selections available for the skin, but you work with what you can get. I guess there's just not a big call for flesh colored outdoor vinyl. So, beige it is. There's a lighter yellow for her hair and a lime green for her dress. The other green was more of a regular green.

Because I'm cheap, I couldn't see buying just one thing of the metallic vinyl, because shipping. So, I'd also gotten another glitter vinyl, just to have on hand. Surprise! I think it will make the better wings. Brian agrees. It's very glittery.

I'm excited about this.



mrs. crankypants
07:14 AM - 09/20/2015

The topic: Summer can be done at any time, thank you

We're in for another week of sucky weather. Yay. From the local newspaper:

"The rest of the county should start to see the clouds and feel extreme mugginess early Monday morning. By midday, the first of what could be several rounds of intense showers, with some lightning and thunder tossed in, should hit from the coast to the desert. Showers are possible through early Wednesday morning."

Temperatures are expected to be in the 90s.

Save me from this summer. At least I finally got some cheap bathing suits so I can spend some time in the water when it's so miserable hot. The pool water temp has dropped quite a bit and now that the pump is running at night, the water stays cooler during the day because it's not being circulated. I was in there three or four times yesterday. I can see more pool time this coming week. Cloudy or not.

      Sunday, September 27, 2015

09:17 AM - 09/27/2015

The topic: I hate cat scares

Friday, I couldn't find Autumn. She's one of those cats you only see if you look for her. She stays mostly in the garage. Since we stopped getting the cats in at night (thanks to Rocky), she wanders outside a little. Not much, but a little.

So, Friday, I look all over for her. She's not in the garage, she's not in the house under the sofa or loveseat. I looked all over for her outside and didn't see her. Finally, mid-afternoon, I found her in a cathouse on the bank. She looked pretty bad. I was able to get her out of it without incident and brought her inside. She was pretty shook up, she peed while I carried her (which is something she does, she's very nervous and frightened).

I got her to lap up some tuna juice and eat a little tuna, but I was concerned about her being dehydrated. Yesterday morning, I gave her 60cc of lactated ringers. I would have given her more, but I don't know how her heart is and I didn't want to put pressure on her lungs in case there's a problem there.  And I set up one of the IP cameras I bought earlier this year, the one I'd wanted to put up in the shop. I was happy Brian never got around to it. It took me over four hours to get it done (it should have gone a lot more smoothly than it did, but I just couldn't connect to it wirelessly). I set it up in the garage and have all of my devices able to see it, even my basic cell phone. I've moved it as she moves. The infrared is a Godsend, since I could watch her during the night. Her breathing was alarming to me, it was way too fast.

And every time I watched her, she wasn't asleep. But she's doing much better this morning and the last time I checked on her (via camera) she was sleeping and her respiratory rate had dropped considerably. She did poop during the night and it was awful. It was a dry as an old twig, so thinking along the lines of dehydration.

Anyway, I'll be keeping an eye on her, just to be sure she keeps doing better. If she doesn't, it will be off to the vet.

09:32 AM - 09/27/2015

The topic: And some good news…

No, some great news.

I was in the bedroom last evening and looked out front. There was a cat pooping in the yard. It was Gem! Yay!

The last time I saw him, in front of the garage, I noticed that his testicles didn't seem so big. And we haven't heard him callling in months. I'm thinking he does have a forever home even though they don't keep him inside. But they did get him fixed and now, he no longer has those urges and is much quieter.

Brian said the poop looked pretty good (he saw it this morning).


      Monday, September 28, 2015

11:27 AM - 09/28/2015

The topic: Took Autumn to the vet this morning

She seemed a little better, but just wasn't right. So, I took her in.

I explained what was going on, about her breathing and maybe her dehydration. I had told the tech when she was doing the prelim about how Autumn's tummy felt kind of big.

So, the vet took an x-ray and there is some fluid in Autumn's abdomen as well as around her heart. He ran an EKG and her heart walls are thickening.

She'll be on three different meds a day and that should make her feel better. Hopefully, this will help put off the inevitable a little longer. I asked about her quality of life and he said she should feel fine after the meds kick in. I'll be taking her in on Thursday for a followup x-ray.

He told me that we caught it early.

I hate not having the money to take a cat in when I think the cat should be taken in. I hate being in a position where I have to decide to spend the money or take the wait and see approach. I can get along being broke, but I hate how I feel about a kitty not feeling well. I just hate it. I'm glad we have a little plastic funds.

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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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