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      Monday, July 02, 2018

03:25 PM - 07/02/2018
The current weather is It's HOT.

The topic: One of the best feelings in the world

Is being caught up with paperwork.

The company has been so slow the past few months, I just put stuff off.  I was better at keeping the invoicing done. Not as good as at the start of the year, but a couple of times a month I'd catch up.

Same with setting up new accounts and "depositing" the money in the bank. Which, for me, means just adding it to QuickBooks.

This morning I had less than ten invoices and about the same new accounts and deposits to make. Then I caught up on bank reconciliations, three months' worth.

I was done by one this afternoon. It wouldn't have taken that long, but the twenty dollar charge the bank adds on for "analytics", that I automatically add in when I start, wasn't charged for May. I don't know why, but I didn't realize it and was off by, you guessed it, twenty dollars. I spent most of the time looking for where I input the wrong amount, but I hadn't. Which I realized after I'd rechecked everything three times.  At least it was the last reconciliation.

Anyway, all filing is done now and I can work on the store without the company paperwork hanging over my head. It's a nice feeling.

03:31 PM - 07/02/2018

The topic: What’s that smell

It's catnip flowers!  I've been trimming back the flowers a couple of times a week and they're drying in the extra room.

The fragrance fills the air in there! It's very, very strong. When these are dry, I'll add it to last year's batch, that's been dried and is in the freezer for storage.

And it will be up in the store by the end of the summer.

Good times for kitty cats.


      Monday, July 09, 2018

10:00 AM - 07/09/2018

The topic: This weather

I told Brian back in April, usually a pretty nice month, weather wise, when it was overcast and depressing, day after day, that my prediction for this year is we go from winter to summer. Bypass spring altogether.

And I was right. I can't recall very many days were it was a sun shining, cool breeze blowing, windows open, springtime kind of day. Nope.

Last Thursday was the start of the most recent heatwave. We knew it was going to be a hot one. Thursday night Brian watered the avocado trees for about an hour. We were dreading the coming days.

Friday started out nicely, the rest of the yard was well watered, the bank, where the trees are, was watered for over an hour. We need to do this to prevent the beetles from doing damage. Watering helps the tree sap resist them. We closely watched the indoor temperature compared to the outdoor temperature and as soon as it was getting close to the same, all doors and windows were shut. I hate having to do this. The ceiling fans were all on high, but we didn't run any other fans because we're trying to keep our energy usage down. If it was just the house, it wouldn't be a problem, but Brian has machinery in his shop that runs on electricity and if he's not filling orders, we're going to be in a heap of trouble.

Since the humidity was down, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. The high Friday was about 113°. That was in the shade. It was hot.

Friday afternoon, I noticed a thin hummingbird sitting on the back of one of the chairs on the patio. And she was open mouth breathing. Not something you like to see in any animal. I said something to Brian about it and he got a bowl and filled it with water and ice and put it on the table. I was outside with her and she'd move to the back of another chair if I got too close, but she stayed on the patio (we have that white shade cloth over the top). She had no interest in the bowl of water. But she wasn't moving very fast.

I walked out into the yard and picked a couple of purple clover stalks (the white clover grows close to the ground, but the purple clover grows tall). I went back to the patio, where the little winged creature was still on the back of a chair and held the clover flower up to her. She moved to the back of another chair. I dunked the clover flower into the water, letting it get pretty wet. I held it up to the hummingbird once again. She started to drink. She moved her beak around the flower head, taking in liquid. I dunked the flower again and she drank some more. The third time, she had her fill and flew off into the kiwi tree in the yard behind us. I hope she felt a little refreshed.

Saturday wasn't as hot, but we did have a thundershower. According to my weather station we received about .04 inches of rain. It was nice, but it meant the humidity was on the rise. Monsoonal moisture. Twenty years ago this stuff hit in August. Now, it's July. Yesterday was a little cooler and so far today, we just have clouds. There have been reports of rain in my area, but none here.

So far this year it seems like the mosquitoes haven't been as bad, even though the pool was more swamp like for months (one of the pipes broke and we decided to just redo everything; got new filters, pool pump, vacuum...) I have video of those little larvae at the edge of the pool, just nasty. But we do have them and I do strongly request that unscreened doors be kept closed. For some reason, Brian wants to debate this. I do not. One mosquito bite will last weeks with me, or so that's how it's been the past few years.

One morning last week, he left the door in the garage open for air flow. I like air flow. So do the mosquitoes. They flow in on it. We had a heated discussion. I said "fine, leave it open. But when I get bit, I'll be miserable. And I'll make sure you know it. For as long as it takes, you will share my misery." 

He walked into the office, then back into the garage and shut the door. Thank you.

Then I went over to Amazon and ordered one of these. It was put up yesterday morning, the cats are quickly getting used to it. The air flow isn't as strong as no covering, but there is fresh air and no bugs. And when it gets dirty, I can just toss it in the washer.

With more light in the garage, I washed the floor in the worst trafficked area and also washed the runner rugs that I have over the rubber pads (the ones in front of my storage closet and work table). It doesn't stink as badly in there now.

Like I said, it's overcast this morning, the humidity is higher. I've already had my first sweat of the day when I ran the vacuum (lots of fur gathering along the walls, under chairs and in corners - a bunch of shedding).  Part of me wants to go take a shower, because it will feel good. but another part says you'll feel just as crappy in fifteen minutes so why bother, you're not going anywhere. Good point. Maybe I'll jump in the pool.

I worked on the store last week, kind of got burned out on it. I got a great price on the last version of the upgrade for my previous store and got it installed. I had a little (ha!) bump with doing the database import export, but finally muddled through it with advice from my Facebook friends and the X-cart team.

Then the CEO of the company offered to upgrade me to the next version for free. Free? I dunno. I had to think about it. I'd gotten as far as I had with the one I just purchased and had the store looking close to how the old store looked (different files for the style sheets and I'm in no way an expert in CSS coding, but I was able to muddle my way through them and make some changes). I was reluctant, but he sold me on it.

I upgraded. Did the import/export of the database. All the stuff was there, but not all of the pictures and descriptions, because I hadn't finished with them. My coding for the look? Gone. I'd have to start over again. I didn't want to. It's work, I did it already, I didn't want to do it again. Don't get me wrong, the software was awesome, much more powerful than what I had. Too powerful, I found out.

I checked my data usage for the domain and in less than twelve hours, there were three faults. Faults are not a good thing. It means I've used more than my share of alloted whatever. And when someone uses up more than their share of something, it affects the other domains hosted on that server.

I contacted the CEO and told him I had to pass. He was disappointed, kept trying to get me to keep it, said I could move it to their hosting, but I declined. I explained to him that I hadn't sold twenty dollars total of anything in years. That it had been so long since I'd had a sale, I had to set up a new account with my credit card processor. That it was a hobby store, it wasn't going to get big and make a lot of money.

He finally got it.

The price for their hosting? The cheapest is $19.95 a month. We pay less than $10.00 a month for what we have now and there are six domains on it. Four are live, one going to be live (the store) and the other one is resting. Yeah, no thank you.

Since I deleted all of the files and deleted the database, there have been no more faults.

That's about it here at the cathouse. Life goes on.

rain    mosquitoes    lvdesigns    geekstuff   

      Sunday, July 15, 2018

11:02 AM - 07/15/2018

The topic: Etching with the Silhouette

I think I got interested in seeing what the Cameo could do as far as metal etching when I was looking at supplies for the machine over on Amazon. I didn't think much about it at the time, but as time passed, my mind would go back to the accessories. I watched some videos and was further intrigued and when I got enough rewards points for taking surveys, I got the stuff I needed to get started.There are all kinds of blanks with all kinds of prices. If you decide to try this out, don't spend a ton of money to begin with. I'll explain why after my show and tell.

First was the Chomas etching tool. Now I can start, right? Nope. I need something to etch, so I looked at what they had on Amazon and got this kit for bracelets. My first attempt was the thin bracelet. I looked through the borders I'd purchased from the Silhouette Design store and went with a dinosaur border. I had to tweak it a little to get rid of the base and  resized it so it would fit on the plate. The original design had only four dinos on it, so I just did a copy/paste twice to make it longer. And then I grouped it so I could work with just one section instead of three.

Now what? I've got my design done, how do I get it on the bracelet? The great thing about crafters is they like to share their knowledge. I found a plethora of information and videos. I went with this one from Our Crafty Chaotic Life on YouTube. In this video, she uses an older model Cameo. She has a short followup video of tips for using the Chomas tool with the Cameo 3. Make sure you view this one if you have a Cameo 3.

So, I got my contact paper, my double sided tape (did you know that tape gets old and doesn't pull from the dispenser, just rips in your hand? I didn't....) And I followed the instructions on the video. And here was the result.


Now, I don't why the dinos look like they are dark in the picture above, maybe just the shadow of how I took the photo. If you look at the one below this, you can see that they aren't dark at all. You can also see the paint on the inside where I did try my hand at filling the etched area in. I tried Sharpies, an ImpressArt enamel pen  (I had the whole set of five on my wishlist and realized before I got them all, I should try just one; I'm glad I did, the Sharpies did a better job and that's not saying much) and I even tried just slathering on acrylic paint, letting it dry and wiping off the excess. Nothing worked. Unless you had the bracelet at the right angle, you couldn't see the design.

In the above photo, you will see scratch marks at the top right side (click on the photo to go bigger, click that photo to make it even larger - to get the full size for better detail, click on the little magnifying glass at the top right of the image). This is addressed in the video about using the Cameo 3. The Chomas tool can't be all the way down in the holder when etching, or scratches happen.

Because I couldn't see the dinos to my satisfaction, I started researching different types of blanks. Anodized aluminum (I got some samples of this type of blank, I haven't tried them yet) and another blank by the name of Alumamark, which is black where it's there is etching (more samples waiting to be tested). But, seriously, there has to be something more cost efficient. Back to scouring the interwebs.

Then I found out about filling in text. And I watched videos. Once again, Our Crafty Chaotic Life came to the rescue. And here is the new bracelet.

I need to practice more, do some fine tuning of the fill, but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Using the tips for the Cameo 3. the extra scratches are gone and this would be something I wouldn't be embarrassed to give to someone. If you see the finer point Chomas Creations tool, don't bother getting it. The research has been done and the one here does a great job, no need for a finer point.

One of the things I found during my research that intrigues me is spray painting the blanks before etching. There are many available colors. The Krylon Shimmer line has piqued my interest, but for now, I'll just try the paint we have here. I've got gold and Brian has two greens, black, grey, red and orange back in his shop.

So, that's one of the things I've been playing around with. My big project is on hold right now because something I ordered back on the third is just sitting in post office limbo somewhere.

silhouette    etching    craftstuff   

      Tuesday, July 31, 2018

06:18 AM - 07/31/2018

The topic: It’s been kind of busy here

Nothing really big, just lots of stuff that took time.

The week of July 8th, one of the websites I hang out had it's fourth birthday. There were contests and prizes. I don't know how I did it, but I "won" nine mystery bags through the week, after having purchased one. It was fun interacting with the community.  I spent more time playing there than doing anything else (that I can think of).

Anyway, the following week, the mystery bags started to show up. I got some pretty nice stuff, I can't complain. There's not much there I'll use and I know I can't keep it just because it's really neat. I have a lot of "really neat" that I've never played with, so, at my advanced age, reality finally kicked in and I'll keep a couple of things, like the nice Food Saver system, but the rest, like kids socks, decks of cards, camera lens kits for smart phones, an expensive facial kit, a fancy air brush (I don't blow my hair dry, ever), headphones, ear buds, just all kinds of things, will be taken over to the vet's office for the guys there to play with. They have younger kids and I'm sure a lot of this will end up at their houses. Going through it all kept me busy.

Then, the color on our television got really bad. It's been going out for a while, but it finally caved. I did the research (the actual size of the television is an issue, we have an entertainment center and it has to fit) and found one that would work nicely. I researched the television and went through a list of things I'd need. It got here last Wednesday afternoon and Brian took the old set out and got the new one installed. I started my work when he had finished.

Thursday night, Friday, Saturday and Sunday were filled with getting everything up and running. I was pretty darned close on what I'd need, except what I had been looking at for connections for devices wasn't what I'd found during my research. I had to order a couple of things. More HDMI cables, three foot and six foot lengths. The Roku Express wasn't strong enough to pull in a decent WiFi signal so I ordered a new Roku. But the new Roku did not have a second output for audio, just the HDMI. The television set has one audio output. An optical audio thingy. I don't have any of those. Our receiver is an old one, but it works, it does the job. We get our surround sound with it. Not anything like they have available nowadays, but it works for us.

It only has RCA. And what I did a long time ago, was get an RCA switchbox and each one of the devices plugs into that and I can chose which device to send to the receiver so that we can listen to it. Last week I made the labels for it. Blu-Ray (an old player), Roku, cable, DVD (the six disk player, the one we most often use) and the television. By Sunday night, I was almost done. I ordered a couple of adapters from Amazon Sunday morning (for the Roku and the optical audio for the television and the three foot HDMI cables) and they got here fairly late in the afternoon. We watched some television, Brian went into the office to do a last check on emails so I had him pull out the entertainment unit and pulled the stuff through that I needed and he pushed it back in. He went to bed and I was up until almost midnight getting the sound to work correctly on what we used (like the Bluetooth headsets when we were watching something where the sound was really loud during car races and gunfire, but when people were talking, you couldn't hear them).

And then, I couldn't sleep. My hip was killing me from climbing the stool the previous days and it's been hot and sleep did not come. I took to Advil PM and I slept for maybe an hour and a half, then woke up. Wide awake. It's not that my mind was busy, I just couldn't get comfortable. So, yesterday was pretty much wasted. I did have to reset up all of our streaming accounts (did you know on Vudu you're only allowed eight devices? I found that out...I had to remove some from the account online, Rokus that had been replaced). But I slept like a baby last night.

And that's been the past couple of weeks.

Now I can get back to crafting!


07:01 AM - 07/31/2018

The topic: And some really great news!

Brian finished his radiation therapy the last part of April.

He was told to get another PSA test in ninety days. And then make an appointment to speak with his doctor.

They called to remind him a couple of weeks ago. Last Monday, he went down to Kaiser and got his blood taken for the test. Now, to wait for the results.

Tuesday morning, I had an email from Kaiser, the results were in. His PSA was 1.4!  It had been over 4 for over ten years. Four was the high end, the door to the danger zone. It was wide open. And the last one (October) he'd had, before the biopsy, before the radiation therapy, was 8.2.  This was absolutely the best news.

He sees his doctor tomorrow. He'll find out if he needs to get another PSA test in three months or six months.

But this was the best news we've gotten in a long time.

cancer    brian   

07:13 AM - 07/31/2018

The topic: Pancho and the bad teeth

Pancho has been having problems with his mouth. Last week I made an appointment for a dental. I found out our regular doc, the man who owns the clinic has pretty much retired.

In the past few years, he's been grooming other vets to take over. I guess he finally got the right mix and felt comfortable enough to let them take over. So, a new vet did the work on Pancho.  Brian took him in since I'm having a hard time getting anywhere.

Pancho had lost weight since his last visit four years ago. One of his readings was high, indicating an infection. We spoke a little before the cleaning and I gave the okay to do it.

I called at 3:45 to see how it went and Pancho had the okay to come home. Brian went down to pick him up and during that time, the vet called here to go over the results. I missed the call. But I figured he could tell Brian in person.

So. Pancho has stomatitis (a lot of that here). He lost all of his teeth but his canines. The infection is up into his jaw, he's on metronidazole and clindamycin. And pain relief for three days. Poor guy. He got lots of loving last night, as much as he wanted. Usually, he's so damned hot I push him away from me, but last night, I let him lay on me as long as he wanted. And when I had to get up, Brian took him. I'd come back and Pancho would be right back on me.

This morning, he purred for me. The vet said there was swelling, but it would go down in a couple of days. Poor kitty.

stomatitis    pancho    catstuff    bad teeth   

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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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