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      Thursday, August 09, 2018

10:27 AM - 08/09/2018

The topic: It’s been hot

There have been five "reduce your use" days from our local energy company in the past two weeks. It you use less than X amount of energy during the hours of two and six in the afternoon, you'll get a credit on your bill. It's not much, but we do it.

But that means not running the air conditioner (which we don't do anyway, because money) and Brian basically stops working in his shop. For him, that's two hours of work time wasted (he stops at four every weekday because the cost of our energy goes up at four, what they consider "peak" usage).

But this heat has been unrelenting. We turn on the attic fan in the garage to try to get the heat out when we get up and turn on the whole house fan at the same time, to bring some of the cooler outside night air, inside. I shut them off at eight am. Because money. I'd rather order rhinestone beads from Hong Kong for ten bucks than be comfortable for a couple of hours during the day, you know? The news folk say next week this high pressure should be gone and we'll be back in the eighties. I sure hope so. I hate having the house closed up to keep the house cooler, the air is just stagnant, even with all of the ceiling fans spinning at high.

So, when it's hot, I don't feel like doing much. It's hard to concentrate. The cats seem to be okay with it, Brian keeps the shady spots in the year watered down so the cats will have cool places to hang out. They have discovered the tile floors and we'll find them laying on the floors during the day and evening.

Brian talked with an ONtrack delivery guy last night and he said "we only have two seasons now; winter and summer".  Yeah, it sure seems like that.

At least we have the pool usable. I don't go in during the day, but I do in the evenings. Just to cool off. It's nice.

10:44 AM - 08/09/2018

The topic: So, my big project

I've been moving along slowly on it. I have a few more things to do. Part of what needs to be done is gluing beads.

Now, I got some really pretty ribbon on Amazon.  I got three colors. White, light blue and royal blue.

And I ordered some beads on eBay that I thought would match the blue. The beads for the darker blue are pretty much right on, but the beads for the light blue are too green. They're more turquoise than blue.  Check it out.

I originally ordered light blue. But they weren't. So, yesterday, I checked out what the seller had available again. Scroll down on the ebay link and find sky blue. Big difference, don't you think? What was really strange is other sellers have these beads as well and what they have that light blue color sample as the sky blue and sky blue as the greenish blue. Whatever, my work is on hold for this at the moment.

If Sagwa would go lay down elsewhere and not on my work table, I'd play around with etching metal on with the Silhouette. I started it last month. I took the dinosaur etched blank and spray painted the other side red. I put on a couple of coats and it took over a week to completely dry. I played around with some text and want to etch that side to see how it looks with the silver etched area surrounded by the red. But Sagwa doesn't want to move.

I wish it would rain.

silhouette    etching    craftstuff   

      Friday, August 10, 2018

10:28 AM - 08/10/2018

The topic: Did a little testing this morning

I really wanted to try etching the blank I'd painted red. By the time I was satisfied it was completely dry (Brian said forty-eight hours, it actually took well over a week!), it was stinking hot (I stunk), my hip was giving me fits (setting up the new television kind of did that). I did a little on my big project, which I've set aside for the time being (yeah, waiting on those beads from Hong Kong).

So, I figured I'd start early this morning. I wanted to work on this yesterday, but Sagwa decided he was going to just sleep on my worktable. I moved him a couple of times, but he always came right back. I already had the design figured out and ready. While I was getting set up, Brian came in and talked me into running the air conditioner. Just for one day. If it wasn't so humid, I might not have gone along with it, but I hate the humidity. So, A/C is on, set at 80°. At least I know it will dehumidify the house, if just a little bit. It was 76° this morning outside and 81° in the house. We ran both house fans (whole house fan, attic fan) overnight, hoping to bring cooler air in, but it didn't happen. We'll have at least one day of comfort this summer. I dread the bill, though.

So, A/C is on and I've got the Cameo going, etching. (See my previous post where I share links to the websites I used for instructions.) And I'm pleased with how it turned out. It's not perfect, by any means, I have more learnin' to do, for sure. I need to figure out the fill part so the tool etches more of the interior of the design. And I need to be more mindful of the placement of the blank so the design is straight, not angled like in my test blank.

Ready to etch: the contact paper placement is lower on the mat so that I can work with the placement of the blank without roller interference. I have it two inches from the top and the blank is set between the rollers so they don't rub it when it's loading and unloading.

The design.  I did my blank placement design first, which I used to cut out the top part of the contact paper. Then I placed the design I wanted etched in the in that design. When I was okay with the design placement, I moved the outer design, the guide, if you will, off of the mat (you can see it on the right, in the grey area of my workspace - you know, click on the thumbnail and you'll end up in my photo gallery, with a much larger image available.).

Etching is finished.

And the finished product. You can see why I have to play around with the fill more. The inside of the text still has too much red in it. And you can see why I have to be more mindful of placement on the cutting mat. My mom would tell me "a galloping horse wouldn't notice it", but I'm no galloping horse. I don't care for the downward angle of the text.

The backside of the blank. My dinos.

silhouette    etching    craftstuff   

      Saturday, August 11, 2018

05:06 PM - 08/11/2018

The topic: The past 20 hours have sucked

So, we ran the A/C yesterday, that was really nice. But when we hit the peak time, yesterday afternoon at four, I turned it off. Kept the house shut up until the temp was cooler out, than in, then opened it up.

It seemed to get warm pretty quickly.

So, I slept out here in the family room because at the beginning of the night, it's cooler than the bedroom. We hadn't caught Rocky for his meds, we're bad about that. If my hip didn't feel so bad, I'd chase him, but Brian won't. He just won't. So, no meds for Rocky. Around midnight he was on the floor and he let me pet him. I rubbed his belly and did the feeling thing we do with our cats. I found a lump on the back of one of his back legs. Not sure if it's the same leg as the granuloma was on. But it's a hard lump. Vet visit in order.

Then this afternoon, Opie started acting really weird. Puking (a fair amount of grass). Trying to poop. Runny stuff, I cleaned it off of him. And he started pant. I don't like this. Not at all. I got a couple of papertowels and wet them and ran them down his fur. He seemed to cool down and stopped panting. He ended up on the bed, it looked like he was ready to take a nap and his breathing was back to normal (as normal as it can be for a cat with COPD). Brian went into the bedroom and I asked how Opie looked. Opie? Opie's not in the bedroom.

I found him outside the family room, laying in the sun. He was cleaning his butt. I brought him inside and looked at his butt, he had a little hard stool hanging down. I removed that, then put him on the floor. He started pant again.I'm freaking out by now. I set him up in the bathroom with water bowls, a towel to lay on and a small litterbox. I also gave him 60cc of lactated ringers, because he is showing signs of dehydration. Only sixty because of the COPD. I don't want to overwhelm his lungs. I also put one of the camera in there so I can watch him.

There's a nice breeze coming under the door, the floor is vinyl, and it's probably one of the most comfortable rooms in the house right now. I just wish he'd lay down and sleep. When the sun goes down, I'll let him out and see how he does.

If he doesn't get better, to the vet's office.

Then the mail gets here. Remember I said Brian was finished with his radiation? Well, the bill showed up. The total charges were over $100,000. But our portion is $6,800. I'm thankful we had the insurance, but we don't have $6,800. I'm going to see about getting some financial help for that. I think we might qualify.

So, no more days like today. Today, I am thankful for Xanax.

rocky    prostate cancer    opie    doctor   

      Thursday, August 16, 2018

01:34 PM - 08/16/2018

The topic: Cake in the Instant Pot

I really wanted to bake a cake in the instant pot. I did hours of research and found you can bake a mix cake in the instant pot.

Here's what I found out.

1. Do not start with a cake mix that is twelve years old (I found a bunch the other night, didn't check the date, I mean, really, it's a cake mix in an airtight package, in the back of the pantry in the dark, how can it go bad? yeah, it can....)

2. When the batter is a lot thinner than it's supposed to be, stop. Just stop right there. Throw it away. Pour it down the drain with the disposal running.

3. When the batter smells and tastes even a little off, stop right there. Throw it away. Pour it down the drain with the disposal running.

4. When pouring into the spring form bundt pan and it leaks out the bottom, stop right there. Throw it away. Pour it down the drain with the disposal running.

5. When you put a different bottom on the spring form pan, then put the bundt lid in the bottom and pour the cake batter (which should, in reality, no longer exist, but you poured it back into the bowl to put the other bottom on the spring form pan) back into the spring form pan and even though it no longer leaks onto the counter, you can see it leaking into the flat spring form bottom when you look into the bundt tube, stop right there. Throw it away. Pour it down the drain with the disposal running.

6. If you still insist on following through with making this cake in the instant pot, cover the top loosely with foil. Instant pots work with steam. Steam collects at the top of the cooker. This steam will drip down onto the cake batter.

7. When the cooking time is done and the quick release is over, let the cake cool before throwing it into the trash.

The finished product is hard to describe. The top was a soupy mess, the entire cake, when taken out of the pan, was spongy. It was absolutely horrible. I checked the dates on the other mixes I found and they are all in the dumpster. I guess I got them on sale, ten for ten dollars. At least twelve years ago.  I really need to clean out the pantry one of these days.

instant pot   

      Friday, August 17, 2018

09:34 AM - 08/17/2018

The topic: Conversations

Brian watered the back lawn with a sprinkler that he moved a few times yesterday. This morning, he asks if the garden needs watering. It does. He sets the water, it ran for about fifteen minutes. The catnip needs harvesting, the flowers are turning brown and it's just time. But there are a lot of plants that need to come up for drying.

Me: I need something to put the catnip on to dry.


Me: Not something that will catch, like the back of a vinyl tablecloth.


Me: And not something vinyl, the plants need air to dry.

Him: Okay.

Me: Well, I need something.

Him: Use one of your old sheets.

Me: My old sheets! No!

Him: Why not? I'm sure you have at least one in there you'll never use.

Me: My old sheets have sentimental value! (Cross my arms over my heart.) How can you expect me to use something that I'm emotionally attached to?

Him: ("Really?" Even though he doesn't say the word, I can tell that's what he's thinking, I see it in his eyes.)

Me: (leaving room...I hate my linen closet, it's stuffed, needs to be dealt with..."emotional attachment"?....not really...it's fright...of the linen closet...but as an argument, it sure sounded good in my head...I don't think it worked)



conversations    catnip   

      Monday, August 27, 2018

08:36 AM - 08/27/2018

The topic: This was a hard one

Fourteen years ago, there was a small litter of kittens out front. Born under our bedroom window on August 3, 2004.  On September 11, 2004, we got the three kittens and trapped their mom. She was taken to the vet's for spay, we brought her home and we all lived happily ever after.

She passed years ago, never tamed down, feral to the death. It was her kidneys. But her two litters of kittens did well. We only kept two from her first litter, Rachel and Ross. The second litter finished out the "Friends" litters, with Joey, Phoebe and Monica (Chandler was one of the cats that somehow got into the yard.)

Phoebe tamed down nicely, but Monica and Joey did not. Over the years, I've done my best to let them know we're not monsters and this year, they were coming around. I was able to pet Monica and just recently, stroke Joey when I was feeding and have now gotten to a point where I can just walk up to him and give him a pet and scritches behind the ears and on his chin. He purrs, he likes it.

Monica came along more easily this year. Always greeted by a little hiss, I'd say "hi, right backatcha" and she'd do her little dance and I'd rub her face and sides, gently scratch her back down by her tail and she'd raise up her back end for more. And she purred. When I petted her and loved on her, on her times, I would sing to her. Always the "You Are so Beautiful" song.

I sang that to her for the last time yesterday. Hard to sing through tears. She was sedated and she knew I was there, she lifted her head up when I sang to her.

She hung out over by the litter boxes, there are some nice soft places to lay there and a cat tree that she liked. She'd be on the bottom, I'd walk out, see her and ask her if she wanted some scritches and if she did, she'd jump up on a higher level of the tree where I could easily get to her and she'd meow at me to hurry up. She'd rub and purr and headbutt and knead and just totally love the attention. I was always a little sad that this came so late in her life, but she was finally allowing it and she loved it.

Saturday, she didn't jump up. Saturday, she tried to run when I leaned down to try to pet her between the ears. She had a hard time running. I was able to catch her and I picked her up (red flag right there) and took her into the bathroom. She wasn't hungry, she wouldn't drink water and she had a very, very hard time standing. I thought at first maybe she'd hurt her back, but running my hands along it, gently squeezing her spine, well, there wasn't any obvious "OMG, that hurts!" moments. She did let me pet her belly, but that sucker was big and hard. This scared me. This scared me a lot. Maybe she was just constipated and I tried to remember how Mario had been when he had been constipated. And it wasn't close at all. She showed no signs of discomfort when I rubbed the belly.

My mind went back to Jackson and then to Mystie. They both had big bellies and could barely walk. I pushed the thoughts away. I didn't want to go there.

We went to a movie, I figured it might help her if it WAS just a hurt back to rest for a few hours without my constant supervision. When we came home, the first thing I did was go to her. She wasn't any better. I told Brian "we need to take her to emergency".

We signed in, waited a few minutes then were taken back to an examining room. Gave her history, then she was taken into the back and a doctor checked her over, then came in to speak with us. Her temperature was close to 106° and she was severely dehydrated and her big belly was a definite concern, she went over the tests they wanted to do. She left and the guy who did the quick check with us came back with an estimate. They wanted to keep her over night and run the tests. The bottom estimate was over $3,000, the high was $4,400. There was just no way. After some back and forth with the doctor, we decided that they would do what they could to stabilize her, we'd bring her home and take her to our vet this morning. They would first do an ultrasound to check her stomach. If it was FIP, we'd say goodbye. If not, they would give her fluids, a strong antibiotic, then we could take her home, keep her comfortable for the night.

So, we went into the waiting room and waited for the test results. Twenty or so minutes later, we were called back. Not FIP.

Cancer. The ultrasound found cancer. A huge mass with a lot of cavities. There was no discussion of treatment. They took her into the back, catheterized her and brought her back in to us to say our goodbyes. It was rough.

The doctor administered the final solution and Monica passed away. 

Their charge for cremation with remains returned was twice what our vet charges, so we asked about bringing her home. She spent the night in the shop refrigerator. Brian took her to the vet's office a little bit ago and they'll take care of her cremation.

You know, it's going to take me a while for this one. It was so quick and we were making such headway. Every time I go to my craft cabinet, I'll be looking for her. When we got home from the vet, I went looking for her. I so wanted her to come lay beside me on the sofa. I was working for that. And now it will never happen. I did lay with her on the bathroom floor, petting her and petting her and rubbing her on Saturday. I'm so glad that we'd made such headway, I'm glad she was in our lives. I'm going to miss the hell out of her.

monica    goodbye    catstuff    cancer   

      Wednesday, August 29, 2018

10:50 AM - 08/29/2018

The topic: Pancho problems

At the end of last month, Pancho went in for a teeth cleaning. Came back with canines. The rest were pulled because of stomatitis.

He was on meds for ten days and all seemed well until this past week. A couple of days ago, I started bringing him into the bathroom with some people tuna. The first couple of days, he didn't do too badly, yesterday he actually ate quite a bit.

I had a flareup of an occasional intestinal problem that started Monday night and I spent the day on the sofa yesterday. The gardener was here and working in the backyard (pulling the out of control weeds - the ones Brian wanted to pull a few months ago and I'm all "but the birds....the birds like the weeds!!") I called the vet to see when we could get him in and the vet called back, he was going on vacay starting Thursday, could we drop Pancho off tomorrow?  Yeah, we can. So, Pancho spent most of the day cuddled up against me. Because he was taking care of me? Or because he didn't feel good? I got a pretty clear answer this morning.

I took him int the bathroom with tuna and he ate a little, then started pawing at his mouth. I let him out and he ran outside. I had been told to drop him off between eight and ten, the vet would fit him in between appointments and call me back when he had checked him over.

Brian wanted to wait until nine to take him in, he comes inside "let's get him".  It took twenty minutes to catch this cat. His poor little heart was beating so fast. I took him from Brian and every time Brian tried to pet him, he jumped. I told Brian to quit touching him. I sat on the sofa with him on my chest, lightly holding him down and talking quietly and gently to him while stroking him. He finally relaxed a little and I got him in the carrier.

And then they were gone, Pancho crying all the way.

The vet called around 10:30, Pancho can go home after noon. It was definitely a relapse of the stomatitis. Pancho will be getting steroids to suppress the immune system (stomatitis is an immune problem, where the body goes into overdrive trying to kill perceived infections, usually hitting the mouth, attacking normal bacteria), stronger antibiotics and for the first few days, pain meds.

If this doesn't work, the vet will have to put him under, take x-rays and look for remnants of tooth roots and extract those. Since his teeth were removed last month, there shouldn't be this problem right now, but he had been so bad and his body had started to re-absorb the roots, there's a possibility he didn't get everything.

So, cross your fingers for Panch.

He's our youngest kitty. Did you know that? I'd like to have him around for a while more.


stomatitis    pancho    catstuff   

      Friday, August 31, 2018

06:43 AM - 08/31/2018

The topic: Life gets back to normal

Tuesday,  I started moving things around in the garage. Monica was the only kitty who slept in that corner.  The last kitty who spent time over there was Gracie, so it's been a while.

I took all of the blankets off of the table Monica had slept on when she could get up there (thinking back on it, she really didn't sleep there a lot the past few weeks, I just wrote it off to the heat). I got rid of one of the litter boxes, swept that area  and moved the cat tree that was by the table where the litter box had been. I moved a few other things and I figured that now I would use the table for craft stuff storage, things I have in plastic containers that I don't often use. And the Big Shot Plus was moved over there as well. The embossing folders were moved out of the storage closet and are now next to the Big Shot for easier access.

Moving these freed up space at my little work area and now my under construction projects aren't in the way, but I have quick access to them. It really doesn't sound like much, but there's a big difference.

When Brian picked Pancho up from the vet on Wednesday, Monica's remains had already been returned. They have a new service now and this quick of a turnaround was pretty amazing. They also charged less. And the bag that held her urn had other thoughtful things in it. Her paw print, a couple of Rainbow Bridge cards, and a certificate I didn't open up. I assume it says she was cremated. All kitties are back home.

Pancho is happy to be home. But he is incredibly resistant to being medicated, just like Rocky. Rocky will hide under a tractor, so at least we know where he is. One of Pancho's safe places is under the pool pump.

This led to a bit of a heated argument yesterday. Mostly by me and I used a certain four letter word in my diatribe, more than once. I've been after Brian for years to block access to this area. When he redid the pool area earlier this year, he promised he would. He did not. When I asked him about it he said "if we need to get a cat out, I'll crawl under there and get it". Okay. So, with Pancho, I'm holding him to that, right? Pancho gets meds twice a day. Because of my hip, it's really painful for me to get on my knees, lay on my belly to look under the pump deck to see if Pancho is under there. Or, I can walk down the stairs (painful) and squeeze between the fence and this little decorative area with plants, to squat down (painful) to look under that deck.  So, even if Pancho is not there, I'm still hurting from looking.

Yesterday morning was my breaking point. I once again reminded him that I had wanted it blocked. He fought back. I reminded him, in very strong language and with an, um, slightly raised voice, in fairly salty language, that he's the one who had promised to block it off, so don't try turning this around on me.

And I still wasn't able to grab Pancho for his meds.

But, after he'd taken his shower, he left to go get  what he needed to block it off. Just a piece of plastic lattice, nothing fancy or special. And by the end of the day, he admitted it was hard for him to get under there as well. He has a bad shoulder and reaching hurts. He was resistant because the cats like to go under there and it's a nice cool spot. Like there's no other nice cool spot in the yard. We have the bank full of ferns, places to get behind metal drums, under the tractors, in the catnip, in the garage, geez, even in the house. They'll get used to not having access.

Pancho spent a great deal of the day next to me in the house.

Speaking of the heat, it's back. Nights were nice a few days the evening breeze a welcome relief after the heat of the day. We don't have lawn furniture, Brian's never been a lawn furniture type of guy. We have a cedar swing, but it's old and we dare not sit on it. Wood rots, yanno?  My dad was. It makes me smile thinking about dad and all of his lawn chairs. He'd move them during the day from one side of the house to the other,  following the shade.  He had at least six or seven chairs that he'd move. But then, my parents were social people and we often had folks dropping by. We don't.

We have this really big liquid amber tree and it's in full foliage. It puts out a lot of shade (and those killer spiky pods as well). Yesterday morning, I went to the Walmart online store and searched for lawn furniture. I found some nice lounges and Brian says "too much money" and settled on a couple that were on sale. For $70.00, you get two. I ordered. Brian grumbled "now I'll have to move them when I mow the lawn".  (Yeah, like he didn't move that heavy assed two piece cedar swing every time him mowed.) The estimated arrival date would be next Tuesday. I checked on it this morning and they'll be here today!  Yay! I know where I'll be when the sun goes down tonight. Depending on the time of day they're delivered, maybe even earlier! 

And my blue beads finally got here yesterday. They are perfect!  Now, I can finish part one of that project. The Silhouette Design store is having a half price sale this week, I took advantage and bought a file that I hope will work for part two. I need to take photos.

And guess what? I'm behind in paperwork again!  Hahahahaha! I started on it Tuesday and was going to work on paperwork while the Cameo did some test engraving (I found another tutorial for the fill in etching), but Sagwa insisted on laying next to me on the work table. I was able to get stuff ready for invoicing, but never got to the invoicing part. I still have accounts to set up and bank reconciliations to do, but business has been slow, so that shouldn't take long, once I get started. And if the weather doesn't get really hot again, it should be easier to do.

Last week, I got fed up with having to move that Ninja cooker every time I needed to use the stove (I made a meatloaf in it last week, the best one I've made in years, it was so good), so I started pulling old appliances out of the pantry storage. I kept at it and made room for the Instant Pot as well. Added to the recycle pile was a Hot Diggety Dogger (hot dog cooker), a small deep fat fryer (cooked twelve potato chips at a time!) and the outside portion of a rice cooker (from my mom's house, I'm pretty sure there's more to it somewhere).  Slow going, because walking. Now there are no appliances on the counter. I miss being able to keep appliances on the counter, but we can't because cats. They have this annoying way of marking their territory.

It looks a lot cleaner.

And that's about it for this week. Summer is quickly coming to an end. Is the heat? I dunno. I hope so.

I have work to do and paper to cut. I'm looking forward to it all.

the yard    storage    pool work    instant pot    craftstuff    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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