Thursday, January 31, 2013

Unleashing the Tiger and Winning Your Dog

So When Did This Become a Dog Blog Anyway? 

I've been in this house more than six years at this point.  There are immediate neighbors here on my little street.  I know them fairly well.  Some are more open than others, and some are more reserved. 

Down the block, there's this one lady who I know by face.  Actually I know her more by dog than by face.  Very sweet woman, in fact that's probably the rub, she's so sweet that I don't know her name.

Not knowing names with me is more the rule than the exception.  I am Horrendous when it comes to remembering names.  If I have offended you, I apologies here in print, but I just don't have the hardware installed in that mush I call my brain to remember a name first time out. 

In the case of the sweet lady down the way, it is more due to her dog than my insultingly bad memory.

You see, her dog is an alpha dog, and probably highly fearful.   This dog is now quite old, grey around the muzzle.  While many people believe the axiom that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, in reality I think that should be applied to the owner and not the dog.

When my neighbor would walk the dog and see another dog on the block, the entertainment would begin.  This dog would begin to growl and prance, basically freak out.  Taking the path of least resistance, my neighbor would do things like hide behind cars, and behind bushes.  Trying to block the view of her dog, she turned into a prowler of sorts, hiding behind a trash can one time.

Getting more and more frustrated, she asked me how I got my dog to behave so well.  First things first, you have to have a conversation with your dog.  You have to be able to tell the dog that certain Dog Behaviors are NOT acceptable.  Charging your neighbor's dogs is not only rude, but it can get you killed if that other dog decides that it doesn't like it and is trained "worse" than you are. 

Secondly, you have to take charge of the relationship and set boundaries.  It's said that a dog, even an intelligent one, has the brain power of a child, but it's wired differently.  You have to let that "Dogness" out at times to sniff the grass, but if you let it out too long, you'll never get around the block and you'll be late for work because you were hiding behind a trash bin and letting little fluffy snuffle that tree too long.

What I told her is simple:  You have to unleash that tiger inside and be the Pack Leader.  I said "you're one of the sweetest people I know on the Island but you have to gain control and respect of your dog or else you'll be hiding out for the rest of your dog's life". 

"Unleash that Tiger I know you have inside of you!  Grrrrr!".

Ok, so it sounds cartoonish and silly but guess what?  That silly saying clicked.  I empowered her to do the right thing for the dog. 

I explained that Cesar Millan has this thing called The Touch that he does to break the behavior.  I said that does NOT mean to slap the dog, but merely touch it enough to get her attention.  She didn't quite grasp that but I pointed at the hair on my arm and said "All I have to do with my Lettie is merely flick a few hairs and she'll snap to".  In illustration, I flicked a few arm hairs not even touching the arm and explained how I did it.

I also explained that at the start you may have to rest your hand on the dog's haunches or neck but at no time am I saying to hit the dog.  Literally all it takes with my dog is a flick not making contact with the body.  On the other hand I have a very good and deep relationship with my dog.  Best to start out light and see how that works.

I could visibly see her gather her strength and get energized.

Closing the conversation I told her that it's time for her to come out of the bushes and gain a lasting relationship with this dog.   She added that she was getting another dog in the house plus a Parrot, so she had to act fast.

Two days later, I saw her and we were able to get within about 10 feet of her dog without the dog freaking out.  She took the instruction to heart, it's not perfect, but it's getting better.  

Clearly.  Her dog would bark at us from down the block at times.  It was a bit odd, to say the least.

Some dogs are more hard headed than others.  In the case of this older Corgi and Akita mix, the dog realized that if the owner wasn't going to lead, she'd have to and this was the result.   All it wanted was a little guidance and now that it got it, she was a happy dog. 

I know my neighbor is a happier person as a result.   In fact, today we were able to actually have a conversation about current events while both her dog and mine sniffed the grass - at a healthy distance from each other.  Some day I may even learn her name!

All it takes is a gentle guidance and a tiny touch.  Tiger Not Included.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Happy Birthday Kevin - Picture

Happy Birthday, Kevin.  Enjoy your cake and here's some for tonight!

Sure, it's a quarter of a cake now.  The icing is "Commercial" and day glow orange.  It's still fresh and the good news is that there are two other layers in the freezer that can be Iced when you want more.

Scratch Cakes only stay fresh for about 2 days.  After that and you end up with something that really isn't that good.   So make up three layers, freeze two and serve one.  Three times the fun that way!

So everybody who reads this, say happy birthday to Kevin.  He'll enjoy it.  Even if you don't read this on his birthday, go ahead and wish him a happy birthday.  

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fixing Firefox When Curiosity Strikes

I'm one of those people who fixes things.  I guess that makes me a proper Geek.  I know enough how to diagnose the problems (Nerd) and how to fix them (Geek) when I set my mind to it.

Recently I was given a "dead" cordless electric drill.  The thing "Wouldn't Hold A Charge" so I was told "You like to fix this stuff, here, have fun".   I did.  I'm that wacky guy who replaced all the rechargeable batteries in a NiCd pack with old Laptop Lithium Ion Cells, a bit of solder and wire, some tub caulk to hold it all together and now I have a perfectly functional if a bit scratched up and ugly Ryobi drill.

If you have a rechargeable appliance around, they can be fixed, trust me.  Don't toss the stuff, some hacker may be able to make something of it.

The problem happened when I decided that I wanted to see if I could recover my Windows 8 install on my "Daily Driver" laptop.  This is the "Mission Critical" machine, so there's the first mistake - don't mess with your "Daily Driver" if it is important.

Dutifully, I unscrewed the bottom on the laptop, swapped in the Windows 8 hard drive, and tried to fix the permissions that broke the install.  After some "Call A Friend" help, and about 3 hours, I shrugged, said it's dead Jim, I hate Windows 8 anyway, and it gives me an excuse to wipe it and install Linux on a different laptop.

Putting the drive back in place, I screwed it all back together.  Of course I had to check the memory to make sure it was seated properly.  After all it was working but sitting there taunting me like it just NEEDED to be touched.

See where this is going?

Turn on the computer and I saw something I hadn't seen before in the 3 or more years I have been using it - Windows 7 gave me a "Blue Screen of Death".  Over the next two days, I was able to get things stabilized somewhat.  The crash was Windows telling me I have problems with the hard drive, and that's plausible.  I'll be doing a backup today.  Really.  I will.  Promise!

The problem there is that every time I tried to launch Firefox it would run for a bit then crash.  Regularly.  It crashed every time I loaded a number of tabs at the same time.   Clearly it was not a happy camper.

There is an easy solution.  With most software you have the the option of fixing it all by reinstalling it from the "current" medium.  In the case of Firefox, I surfed and downloaded a new copy.  Once reinstalled, end of problem.  I could do this because it was only Firefox that was misbehaving because of my errant curiosity and the oncoming Hard Disc "problem".

So the moral of the story?  Don't be curious with your "Daily Driver" Computer.  Even so-called "Experts" can get in trouble.  

That and keep your old hardware.  You never know if you or someone else may get some use out of it.

Besides, I actually LIKE playing with Linux, soldering irons, old "broken" drills, and the like.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Wilton Manors Passes The Spaghetti Sauce Test

I have a test I apply to a neighborhood.

If you can't prepare dinner without getting into your car, then it fails the test of livability.

Broadly stated, it's the idea that you should be able to get the minimum services in where you live within a mile of the house.  If you take the "I'll Walk A Mile" as being the limit that you'd want to walk in order to make dinner, then Wilton Manors almost completely meets that test.

There are some small areas in the West End of town that you would have to go further than a mile to obtain groceries, and there may be other pockets here and there, but easily it is more than 80 or 90 percent of the city that is within that mile limit.

What brought this to mind is that I watched Kevin make Spaghetti Sauce this weekend.  When we make it, it's from scratch.  You need two kinds of tomatoes, oregano, basil, spices and a lot of time.  May as well make up a lot of the stuff since the recipe is excellent, so we can the resulting sauce.

All of the ingredients are within a walkable 1/2 mile from my house.  There is no reason to get in the car for that sort of thing other than the occasional weather front or laziness.  Since the crime rate here is Roughly Average for cities in the United States, I don't have to worry about having tomatoes stolen by some rogue tomato thief.

The worst thing I have to worry about is traffic.  Walking along Wilton Drive is bad enough, it is currently a raceway and there's a big discussion as to whether to narrow the Drive.  The vast number of residents are in favor of it, the businesses on Wilton Drive are largely in favor of it, and the benefits are fairly obvious.  Increased parking will pay for itself within about 2 years as well as lowered speeds on Wilton Drive mean that it's a greatly more liveable city.  The hope is that it will happen soon and that the sidewalks that are there will be widened since it can be a minefield to walk around the outdoor cafe's that are crammed in between palm trees and light poles.

What brought this to mind is that I am lucky to live in an exception in the Sunbelt.  Most areas are largely sprawl.  Unmanageable by foot since there are rarely enough sidewalks and the distances are too great to get what you need even if you have a personal shopping cart to wheel your purchases home.

When I chose to live in an area, this sort of urban or newurbanist lifestyle was one of the first things I looked for.  There are always some drawbacks, but living near shops have always given me a huge benefit as a result. 

After all these years of living like this, being able to simply walk out of the door and off to the shops when we forgot the basil or need dessert is something I don't want to lose.

I am not alone in appreciating this sort of New Urbanist lifestyle.  The property values here last year appreciated where most of the county were either "flat" or declined in a down market.  The inventory of homes for sale in Wilton Manors is so tight that prices are starting to sound more "normal" after years of major losses.

Of course each little area has its own character, this one is one I fell into.  There are other areas that have the same amenities in them, and each of those areas are more popular than those that are lacking them.

I guess that is really what they mean by the old Real Estate Maxim of "Location, Location, Location".  Luckily, we have our Location in the sun.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Painting by the Blond - Humor

Having done many hours of "Requirements Gathering" as they call it in Project Management, I can appreciate this one.   Ok, sure it's a "Blonde Joke", but I've had clients in a professional setting that were just like this.

The key is to make sure you really do understand what the person on the other side is saying.

A blonde, wanting to earn some money, decided to hire herself out as a handyman-type and started canvassing a wealthy neighborhood.

She went to the front door of the first house and asked the owner if he had any jobs for her to do. “Well, you can paint my porch. How much will you charge?”

The blonde said, “How about 50 dollars?” The man agreed and told her that the paint and ladders that she might need were in the garage.

The man’s wife, inside the house, heard the conversation and said to her husband, “Does she realize that the porch goes all the way around the house?”

The man replied, “She should. She was standing on the porch.”

A short time later, the blonde came to the door to collect her money.

“You’re finished already?” he asked.
“Yes,” the blonde answered, “and I had paint left over, so I gave it two coats.“

Impressed, the man reached in his pocket for the $50.

“And by the way,” the blonde added, “that’s not a Porch, it’s a Ferrari.”

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Hillbilly Choking Remedy - Humor

Ok, if you're looking for someone to blame or credit for this one, it's Kevin.  Going through the few joke emails I had left, I read this and it put a smile on my face.

At least the title is mine, what you'd call it is my guess!

On the other hand I wonder if this would work...

Two hillbillies walk into a restaurant.
While having a bite to eat, they talk about their pick up trucks and moonshine operation.

Suddenly, a woman at a nearby table, who is eating a sandwich, begins to cough.
After a minute or so, it becomes apparent that she is in real distress.
One of the hillbillies looks at her and says, 'Kin ya swallar?'
The woman shakes her head no.
Then he asks, 'Kin ya breathe?'
The woman begins to turn blue and shakes her head no.

The hillbilly walks over to the woman, lifts up her dress, yanks down her drawers and quickly gives her right butt cheek a lick with his tongue. The woman is so shocked that she has a violent spasm and the obstruction flies out of her mouth. As she begins to breathe again, the Hillbilly walks slowly back to his table.

His partner says, 'Ya know, I'd heerd of that there 'Hind Lick Maneuver' but I ain't niver seed nobody do it afore!'

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fairchild Gardens Walkway Display - Picture

When you are in a garden, stop to smell the Orchids.

I had not seen a Rose all day at Fairchild Gardens, that isn't their thing.  Not exotic enough. 

While I do have a Rose in the backyard, and it needs trimming, I have more orchids back there than that. Besides, Roses will grow in every State of the Union, Orchids are much more fussy than that.

The name I gave this picture is fairly bland, I don't know the sort of flowers that were growing against the trunk of that tree, but that is part of the charm of the place I guess.   There's so much going on that the Orchids are merely commonplace. 

By the way, most Orchids don't have a scent.  The ones in my yard don't, although I have my eyes open for a Vanilla Orchid and they do have a fragrance.  Beautiful white flowers on a Vanilla Orchid.

Definitely not native species, but still quite nice to see.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Dog's Morning Shower

The morning routine is fairly well set in stone.

I get up before six in the morning, get myself mobile and able to walk out the door.

I'm followed by my dog, so I have to gauge how mobile she is as well.  Talk to her a little bit to see if she can actually hear today since she's 12.  Yes, along with all those other problems, she's not able to hear well every day.

There are better days than others so that keeps us on our toes.

She can always hear the clink of the ice cube in the bottom of that 32 ounce iced tea glass!

It's still dark so I am standing on the inside of the door to see if there are any critters about, two legs or four, that we need to worry about.

Since the street is clear, we step through the door into the morning and sniff the air.  I'm cold, it's 57, she's loving it.  The beginnings of the morning breezes are stirring and she's reading the messages that are wafting across the yard in the silence of the dark.

I'm beginning to wonder if she's going to move out to the yard to relieve herself.  She's not exactly agile, and she's been known to root herself in a spot and just groove on things. 

It's an old dog's prerogative.

There's something not quite right.  There isn't anyone nearby so I can be relaxed with her wandering off across the street but she still hasn't moved.

And then it clicks what is missing.   It is Thursday Morning.

You see we have twice a week irrigation here.  Thursday and Sunday.

Now it is time for Lettie's Wake-up Call.

I hear it first.  The hissing of the air running out of the lines to the heads of the sprinklers in the front yard.  Lettie is looking due North toward the new construction and doesn't suspect a thing.  She's standing exactly in line with the largest sprinklers in the yard.

I'm calling to her to try to get her free of the impending doom, but it doesn't help.  Lettie gets a blast of water that shoots through her legs and out the other end all the way to the street.   She leaps into the air a full foot.

Who knew Grandma could do THAT?

Now she comes down, doing a dance over the stream and trying to get out of the chilled water and basically not getting anywhere.

Finally she extracts herself and runs out to the other side of the car with me in tow.  Since she doesn't have her leash on her at this time of the morning, I'm watching her as she walks out to the neighbor's yard.  She would walk herself at this point but that just isn't done.

Shepherding the sheepdog back into the house, it's time for breakfast. 

The fun doesn't stop there.  I prepare the first syringe of food for her, and that takes well.   The second one on the other hand ends up badly.   There was a clump of food in the bottom of the syringe and a bubble of air that compressed behind it.  Not being able to get it to go, I push hard on the syringe.   It's vertical when it finally lets go and now instead of being a fountain of water outside, we have a shower of dog food squirting into the air.

Today's project:  Clean the dining room ceiling.

Never a dull moment around here.   Hey, could you pass me the paper towels and that spray bottle?  Thanks!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fairchild Gardens Flowers in Bloom - Picture

When you're walking around in a tropical garden stuffed full of exotics, you never know what you will discover around the corner.

When I went to Fairchild Tropical Gardens, I was walking with friends and madly taking pictures of everything I found remotely interesting.   There was a riot of color everywhere, beauty literally under each rock.

I was going through my camera's chip looking for a picture to post and thought "Ooh, Pretty Purple Flowers".   Sure, that's a bit pedantic, but accurate.   Then I began to look at the picture itself.

This particular picture became a learning experience for me.  I'm learning how to use Photoshop instead of my Open Source programs like GIMP and Inkscape.   I could have made my little titles in those programs in just a few minutes, but Photoshop forced me to slow down and actually look at the play of the different colors and shading and appreciate the beauty in this clump of flowers.

Funny how Technology and my inexperience in this particular piece of software forced me to appreciate the natural.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tips for Syringe Feeding your Dog with Chronic Renal Failure

Standard Disclaimer:
I am not a vet.  I am not a health professional.  Consult your vet.  Any advice you find here that is helpful, is merely intended to be that.  Help.

I keep mentioning that "Chronic Renal Failure" simply because as a part of the progression of the disease, the patient will slowly stop eating.  They basically starve themselves to death.

This is what happened with my own Lettie two weeks ago.   She survived because we realized we needed prompt professional veterinary attention.

What happens is that when the illness flares up, the dog gets nauseous and stops eating.  Nobody will last without food and when you're not metabolizing it correctly because the kidneys are failing, there's a very short period of time that you can act.

Sunday she stopped eating and drinking, utterly.   Monday she was in the vet.   They rehydrated her with intravenous solutions, and that continued through Thursday.   Her blood numbers for the various chemicals were extremely high, the hydration helped flush that all out.  When the week was done her numbers were either normal or very slightly "elevated".

Now it is Monday as I write this, a week later.  She's just taken her first bit of solid food from me and has more energy.   Clearly she is improving.

Chronic Renal Failure means for as long as she remains alive, she will continue to have these episodes and eventually hydration will not allow her to recouperate.  She must be on a prescribed diet that is low Potassium, low Protein, and low Salt.  The prescription food is pretty much despised by dogs so they won't eat it without being tricked.

Since she's refusing food, how do you combat that?

I was told after four days of intravenous fluids that if I couldn't feed her she's at her end.   I wanted to fight for her but how?  The vet tech Danielle at the excellent Family Pet Center in Fort Lauderdale gave me a can of prescription diet and two syringes.  I was to use these syringes to insert the food into Lettie's mouth and basically make her eat. 

She is a 47 pound dog, or at least she was before she started losing weight as a result of this disease.   As a result she will need one can of prescription diet a day.   You will want to feed twice a day.   Larger dogs get more food, smaller get less.  Ask your vet how much you should feed.

The first trial I used a fabric Muzzle.   That was overkill.  Here is the list of supplies that I use:

Feeding syringes - five.  35 ML in capacity.  The opening at the end is about the size of a common drinking straw.  35 ML is about an Ounce and about a quarter.  Even if the dog or cat in question is small, you will need a large opening because dog (or cat) food is thick and won't "inject" easily.  Five syringes will fill with 6 ounces of food by weight with enough "wiggle room" so you can work with the syringes to get them filled comfortably.  For larger dogs, you can get a larger syringe to make your work easier.

Microwave safe Large Coffee mug or mixing bowl of 16 ounces or more.  

Tablespoon to blend the food until all large clumps have been smoothed out - or alternately use a blender.  I found a tablespoon and a large latte or coffee mug to be perfect.

Microwave - you will warm the food to around "body temperature".   Warm food that is around 100F or 40C will be easier flowing.   Colder food tends to be more firm.

Large light color plastic mat.   You will be feeding the dog on the mat and you will be on the floor.  Why?  Psychology.  You are big, the pet is small.   If you are "on their level" they will be more relaxed.  It really is all about the pet.  Your comfort is secondary, you are saving their lives.  The goal is to be at eye level or close to it with your pet.

Oh the light color is so that you can find any mess later.  A towel can be used but washing a towel after every meal twice a day gets tedious.

Sandwich sized Plastic Bag with a corner cut out.  You want a small, drinking straw sized hole cut in the corner of the plastic bag so that you can work with it like a pastry bag.

Scissors to cut a hole in the plastic bag.

Bowl of water.   The dog may need water during feeding.  You would have a beer or soda with your pizza right?

Dog Collar and Leash.  I find my own Lettie tries to wander off.   Keeping a leash "at hand" slows her down.  When she wanders, you can gently guide her back to task.  She doesn't really want to eat, you have to help her along.  I basically sit on the leash and reel her in when need be.

Any medicines or pills that need to be added to the food.  

Assembly and Process:

Open the can of food.  I'm currently using Hill Diet I/D food.  She also has Pancreatitis on top of her kidney problems.   The food looks like a pate or a chopped liver paste.

Spoon 6 ounces (1/2 can) into the coffee mug.

Warm the mug and food for approximately 20 seconds.  It should feel warmish to the touch, but not hot.  Remember, you will be working with the food and you don't want to burn your pet's mouth as well as your hands.  The food will thin out a little bit and make it easier to work with.

Use the tablespoon to mix the food and break down any large clumps.  It should be smooth when you are done.

Spoon the food into the plastic bag and seal the bag. 

Tamp the food down toward the opening that you cut.   You will be using the plastic bag like a pastry bag.

If you are adding a pill to the food, you can add it after partially filling a syringe, then dropping the pill in the syringe, then finishing the fill.   Make sure the pill is broken small enough to easily run down the nozzle of the syringe.  You're killing two birds with one stone here by sneaking the pills in the food.

Fill the syringes until you have a little more than one ounce in each syringe.  You will do this by squeezing the plastic bag and letting the food run into the body of the syringe.  Basically you're decorating a cake.  

Tamp the food down to remove air bubbles.  Squeeze more food into the syringe if you have any leftover room.   I find that 6 ounces fill 4 1/2 35ML syringes.  Place the syringes on the mat.  Make sure the first syringe you feed is the one with any medicine.

Put the collar and leash on the dog and walk her over to the mat near the water and the syringes.  Place the muzzle near the syringes.

Sit down and talk to her.  Most importantly you will want to make sure your "energy" is calm and cool.   If you are hyper and bouncing around, your pet will definitely be the same way.

The muzzle may be used at this point if you have a bitey dog.  My own Lettie is fearful and she is a fear biter, but I was able to do this without using the muzzle and no biting.   If you do use the muzzle, remember to leave it loose enough that the dog's mouth can be slightly opened.   You will need to get the opening of the syringe in that little gap.

Since I am not using a muzzle, here's how I do it.

Seated on the ground, I gently hold Lettie's head from under the jaw.  I show her the syringe and tell her "Hungry" as she understands that to say it is time for food.  Aiming the syringe, I get her to open the lips on the side of her mouth. 

There is a spot directly behind the main Canine teeth, the fangs, that there is a gap. 

Placing the opening of the syringe at that gap, I squeeze a little bit of food into the gap.   At this point the dog's reflexes will take over.   If your dog really truly hates this process, she'll clamp her mouth shut or snap at you prompting you to use the muzzle.   In my case, she opens her mouth slightly.   This was the signal for me to push the plunger on the syringe so that she got a slow but steady stream of food into her mouth.  

At this point she would begin chewing and accepting the food.   If you are pushing too quickly, the food will gather in the cheeks and she'll back away.  This is one of those things in life that you have to "finesse" and find the right speed.   Watch your dog closely. 

I am able to actually get the syringe into the cavity of the mouth and empty each syringe one at a time while she's eating.   This is after about 3 days of twice a day feedings.

After five days her energy is improving.  She won't ever be perfect again, she's just not going to recover.   This will buy some time with her but I understand that there will be another relapse and eventually The Final Decision will have to be made when I walk her to The Rainbow Bridge.

At least this gives us time to adjust.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Martin Luther King and his Last Speech

Even though the shops are trying hard to turn this into a day off so that you can go spend money, the intention of having this day is to contemplate the progress of Civil Rights in this society.

If you aren't planning on doing a Habitat for Humanity project or feeding the homeless, at least you can have access to the speeches of Martin Luther King.

I was a wee brat when the Civil Rights Struggle was happening, and at that age, you're more interested in cartoons.   In a way, it meant that I would have a better appreciation for the speeches as I'd visit them as an adult.

This particular video is his last speech, and is probably one of the better ones to present here since it is of only 3 1/2 minutes.  If you want to pursue, this one video has a lot of good links on it.  If not, well at least I have presented it here.  

As I'm writing this, I'm listening to the entire I Have A Dream speech in background.   The man was an amazing orator and well worth a listen if you have the time.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mama's Bible - Humor

How about an uplifting story about a little old lady and her four successful children?  Knowing that it is coming from our own Diane Cline here in Wilton Manors, you are in for a treat.

Four brothers left home for college, and they became successful doctors, lawyers and businessmen.

One evening, they chatted after having dinner together. They discussed the 95th birthday gifts they were able to give their elderly mother who had moved to Florida.

The first said, "You know I had a big house built for Mama."

The second said, "And I had a large theater built in the house."

The third said, "And I had my Mercedes dealer deliver an SL600 to her."

The fourth said, "You know how Mama loved reading the Bible and you know she can't read anymore because she can't see very well. I met this preacher who told me about a parrot who could recite the entire Bible. It took ten preachers almost 8 years to teach him. I had to pledge to contribute $50,000 a year for five years to the church, but it was worth it.

Mama only has to name the chapter and verse, and the parrot will recite it."

The other brothers were impressed. After the celebration Mama sent out her "Thank You" notes.

She wrote: Milton , the house you built is so huge that I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house. Thanks anyway."

"Marvin, I am too old to travel. I stay home; I have my groceries delivered, so I never use the Mercedes. The thought was good. Thanks."

"Michael, you gave me an expensive theater with Dolby sound and it can hold 50 people, but all of my friends are dead, I've lost my hearing, and I'm nearly blind. I'll never use it. Thank you for the gesture just the same."

"Dearest Melvin, you were the only son to have the good sense to give a little thought to your gift. The chicken was delicious. Thank you so much."

Love, Mama.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Stroke Indicator

I guess with all the dog drama I've had lately, I am finding health tips more appealing.

Velma had sent me this "helpful hint" about how to detect a stroke a while back and today is the day.  It reads quickly, and you may just save a life with the information here.

Stroke Indicator

FYI...again, but helpful...


Stroke has a new indicator.  It has been said if you email this to 10 people, you stand a chance of saving one life.  Will you send this along?  Blood Clots/Strokes They Now Have a Fourth indicator, The Tongue

STROKE: Remember the 1st Three Letters….S.T.R.

        Stroke Identification:

During A BBQ, a woman stumbled and took a little fall – she assured everyone she was fine (they offered to call paramedics)…she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes.  They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food.   While she appeared a little shaken up, Jane went on went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening. 

Jane’s husband called later telling everyone that his wife was taken to the hospital. – (at 6pm Jane passed away.)  She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ.  Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Jane would be with us today.  Some don’t die; they end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead.  It only takes a minute to read this.

A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke…totally.  He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough. 

        Recognizing a Stroke

Thank God for the sense to remember the ‘3’ steps, STR.  Read and learn!
S* Ask the individual to Smile
T* Ask the person to TALK and Speak a Simple Sentence (Coherently)   i.e. Chicken Soup
R* Ask him or here to RAISE BOTH ARMS, if she or he has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.

New Sign of Stroke -----Stick Out Your Tongue

NOTE: Another ‘sign’ of a stroke is this:  Ask this person to ‘stick’ out his tongue.  If the tongue is ‘crooked’, if it goes to one side or the other, that is also an indication of a stroke. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fairchild Gardens - A Bunch of Orchids Picture

Remember what I said about South Florida being a place you can just stick exotic plants just about anywhere and they'll grow?

Walking around Fairchild Gardens taking pictures, and trust me I have quite a few of them, I happened to spot this little display.

Mind you, Fairchild is well planned and a large exhibit of tropical exotic beauty.  The thing is that to my New Jersey born and bred mind, the idea of having a cluster of Dendrobium Orchids tucked in the ground next to some sort of Philodendron plant is amazing to me.

Here, lets just put these plants in the ground in an unassuming spot and let them grow.  They're common enough that they'll do well here.  Oh those plants?  They're just a cluster of orchids that would cost a couple hundred dollars in the stores. 

That's just one more thing to love about South Florida.  Nothing's particularly subtle here.   When you have an "Exotic" it's going to be properly exotic.  Beauty is all around us, all you need to do is look. 

I suspect that is a metaphor for anywhere, after all.  Sun coming up over the tundra on the North Slope can be beautiful, if a bit forbidding to me personally.  Amber Waves of Grain in the Midwest.  Sand dunes in the Desert.  Moonrise over the lake, which ever lake you choose, can be spectacular.

Just stop and look.  Nature's beauty is all around you.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lettie's Satellite - Chronic Renal Failure Relapse

They warned us that it would eventually relapse.  It did finally happen.

When I took her in for a "Tune Up", they said that this time she may either not recover or the time to next relapse will be less than the 10 months we got this time around.

That's the summary I guess.

Saturday night we thought something was "off" but she's an old dog and we thought it was possible that it was just her being "her".

Sunday she refused almost all food and water so Monday we knew we needed to take her into the Vet for a checkup and rehydration.

This Renal Failure thing is a difficult thing to work with.  It makes a dog feel ill and nauseous. Not wanting to eat only compounds matters.

The vet did blood work and found that all her blood levels were elevated above where she was when she had her last episode.  She also has the beginning of Pancreatitis.

The course of action was three days of intravenous fluids, anti nausea medications called Cerenia, and more tests at the end of the week. 

Since she's a very strong willed dog, that also means that she's on sedatives.   That smile you see on her face is there as a result.   When we got her home last night after "doggy day care" she lay on the cold tiles not moving unless helped to her feet.

So this weekend is a watch and see weekend.   She will decide if she makes it.   I've been offering so much food to her that she's getting wary of my approach.   She hasn't eaten any of it so it all just piles up.

Day two of the three day tank up is in progress.

These Canine Chronic Renal Failure articles get read by people who are going through the same thing that we are.  Your prognosis will be similar - basically the challenge is convincing the dog (or cat) that they want to eat.   Each time they get sick, they will refuse food and lose weight.  That sets up a cycle where the next time will be sooner and more severe until eventually you have to make The Decision as to whether keeping your pet alive is more cruel than kind.

And that, my readers, is where we are.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Want Chocolate? Here's A Cacao Bean

I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for some good chocolate.

When we were wandering around the grounds at Fairchild Gardens, I was a bit surprised to find it in front of me, growing.

Now granted, that's stretching the truth a bit, but it was a Cacao plant with beans on it.  Add sugar and milk and a lot of processing and you might be able to get a little snack out of this particular bean when it is ripe.

It was growing indoors so I am guessing it is one of those "Full Tropical" plants that will only grow under certain conditions in Miami.  Things like Cacao and Durian won't grow if the temperature drops below 40 or 50 and while we don't freeze here, we get close.

That freeze line is only 15 miles North, in Boca Raton.  They're welcome to it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fairchild Gardens Random Orchid - Picture

Funny topic for this one right?

Random Orchid?

I'm calling it that simply because I'm not an expert in orchids.  This being South Florida, you can tack a box to an old tree, drop some leaf litter or bark into it and a seedling of an orchid and it could be happy there.   Assuming it gets watered correctly and isn't attacked by Iguanas or some other critter, you can reasonably expect it to grow and bloom.

It isn't that Orchids are unremarkable, they just do quite well here with minimal care.

I think that attitude was evident at Fairchild.  There were many trees there, all with little signs saying what the Linnean name was, where they were from, and a common name if they had them.  At least one in a group would be labeled.  If you didn't have a sign, you had a helpful volunteer who usually knew.  

On the other hand most of these trees had an orchid on or near them.  You got to expect them like they were part of the background flora.  But they were not really the reason for this garden, the trees were.  Great stands of rare tropical trees, some highly endangered, were given pride of place and labeled so everyone could know what they were. 

Having visited botanical gardens before, they had a feeling of being a Tree Museum.  This one certainly was.  We were told that this stand of palms were Haitian Oil Palms, and that this was the only stand anywhere in the world and that efforts to bring back the species were being made.

After all extinction is forever.  Once gone, those trees won't be there to support the random orchids whether they're really random or not.
If we don't protect the trees, they'll go into a tree museum and paradise will get paved for that parking lot.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Air Temp 80F, Water Temp 73F - Picture

You know...

When you're out stuck in traffic, look right out the window on a day like this, you reach for the camera.

While the rest of the world is shoveling snow and complaining about the bad weather, we've had a warm winter.

80F, 73F Ocean Water Temperature at the beach in Fort Lauderdale.  If you're curious, that link is to Fort Lauderdale Ocean Rescue and you can get the 8am conditions at the beach any time.

I can hear the family up North groaning at that one.   Actually, we could use a good cold snap.  The Iguanas are having a resurgence.   When we have a cold snap, highs in the 50s, the iguanas can't handle it and fall from the trees.   That's a good thing.  Iguanas are an invasive species.  The Whitefly are starting to harm the Ficus hedges that were doing well last year too.

But the picture says it for itself, the weather this weekend has been amazing.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Generally Rude Things To Say - Humor

Some of these are tag lines from movies.   Others I've heard people spew when they were in a not particularly generous mood.   Since they're all "Safe For Work" if a bit edgy, here you go folks.   It had me giggling at the list.

Generally rude things to say

Any similarity between you and a human is purely coincidental!
Anyone who told you to be yourself couldn't have given you worse advice.
Are your parents siblings?
As an outsider, what do you think of the human race?
Better at sex than anyone; now all he needs is a partner.
Calling you stupid would be an insult to stupid people.
Did your parents ever ask you to run away from home?
Do you ever wonder what life would be like if you'd had enough oxygen at birth?
Do you want people to accept you as you are or do you want them to like you?
Don't you have a terribly empty feeling - in your skull?
Do you still love nature, despite what it did to you?
Don't you need a license to be that ugly?
Every girl has the right to be ugly, but you abused the privilege!
Go ahead, tell them everything you know. It'll only take 10 seconds.
Have you considered suing your brains for non-support?
He has a mind like a steel trap - always closed!
He is living proof that man can live without a brain!
He is the kind of a man that you would use as a blueprint to build an idiot.
He's not stupid; he's possessed by a retarded ghost.
Here's 20 cents. Call all your friends and bring back some change!
Hi! I'm a human being! What are you?
How did you get here? Did someone leave your cage open?
I'd like to see things from your point of view but I can't seem to get my head that far up my ass.
I bet your brain feels as good as new, seeing that you've never used it.
I bet your mother has a loud bark!
I could make a monkey out of you, but why should I take all the credit?
I don't consider you a vulture. I consider you something a vulture would eat.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Boy Is Getting Ready - Humor

I have to warn you, this one is a groaner!

A boy is getting ready... take his girlfriend to the prom.

First he goes to rent a tux, but there’s a long tux line at the shop and it takes forever.

Next, he has to get some flowers, so he heads over to the florist and there’s a huge flower line there. He waits forever but eventually gets the flowers.

Then he heads out to rent a limo. Unfortunately, there’s a large limo line at the rental office, but he’s patient and gets the job done.

Finally, the day of the prom comes. The two are dancing happily and his girlfriend is having a great time. When the song is over, she asks him to get her some punch, so he heads over to the punch table and there’s no punchline.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bill and Marjory Share a Seat at Fairchild Gardens - Picture

If you are walking around a large public area and happen across a seat, you're going to borrow it for a bit even if you don't necessarily need it.

If you own that public area and want to tell a story, put a piece of public art there.   It will engage people, tell that story, and give them a chance to learn more about your story.  

That's all rather common, people have done that sort of adornment for as long as there have been people.  Cave paintings started it all, and we have progressed from that.

In the case of the bench, this is a bit more than a random occurrence.

I told my cousin Bill when we had our visit to have a seat next to the little old lady and we'll get a picture of you for when you go back home.  A digital souvenir.  Bill doesn't like having pictures taken of him, something I can understand.  I tend to be that guy behind the camera and not in front of it, which is why you see very few pictures of myself on this blog.

So we had our curmudgeonly grumblings back and forth and didn't see a sign explaining why there was a bronze representation of a little old lady under a giant Gumbo Limbo tree enjoying her morning, but eventually we figured we'd find some rather insistent volunteer who would tell us all about her.

It turns out that this particular little old lady absolutely deserved the honor of place and presence.

She was the writer of the book that drew the rest of the world's attention to the beauty of the Everglades and was responsible for Florida becoming the tourist attraction it is today.   If you visit Florida, love or live here, it is in part because of this woman.   She was Marjory Stoneman Douglas, who worked as a writer, Secretary for Fairchild Gardens, and quite a long resume of works for the public good.   Certainly deserving memory and a visit from us and the attention that she gets every day at Fairchild Gardens.

A rather pretty spot to sit down, have a regroup, and a sip of water from your canteen under the shade of a spreading tree.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

What To Do When The Caffeine Works Too Well

Oh yes, I love my coffee in the morning.
I also love my Iced Tea in the morning.

Why not both?  Iced tea is weaker than coffee right?

I have mostly Decaf coffee for starters.  Over a year ago, I was given for Xmas a large mug.  This thing is amazing.  It started out green but riding through the dishwasher turned it silver as the green bits melted off.   No problem, still works like a champ!

Why is it so amazing?  It's a mug that I can use like a French Press.   Add three scoops of my own home roasted espresso ground coffee, three packets of sweetener, two level teaspoons of creamer.  Add roughly 16 ounces of boiling water.   Stir for four and a half minutes.  Top off with four ice cubes.  Replace plunger.

It's a French Press that you can drink directly out of.  Neat trick, huh?  The ultimate travel mug.

So I don't end up bouncing off of walls and redesigning the layout of my house as a result, it is one scoop real and two scoops decaf.  Tastes real to me...

But while I'm doing that, I've learned how to rightsize a glass of Iced Tea.  To a quart mason jar, add 5 grams (rounded teaspoon roughly) of tea leaves.  Add 2 cups (1 pint) of boiling water.  Cap the jar and give it a couple shakes.

Except... the tea is Assam tea.  Think deep dark tea.  Slightly astringent.  Rich Flavor.  As much caffeine as regular coffee or a shot of espresso.

WHEEEEE!  32 ounce glass of the stuff...

You see the longer you brew your tea, the more caffeine leeches out of those little leaves that look like lawn clippings.  I brew the coffee and the tea at the same time and the tea usually sits on the counter for about an hour.  Or more.  Depends if I am going out back to look at the orchids or the pool or the Mango tree.

Ooooh Mango!

This stuff has twice the amount of caffeine as the mass market tea you get out at the shops.

I have a 1/2 Kilogram Bag of the stuff.   It's a bit more than a pound.   I got it when I couldn't find my Oolong at a decent price.

Actually I got that, a different Oolong, and a box of Gunpowder Green Tea at the same time.

Who can drink 1 1/2 Kilograms of Loose Leaf Teas?   Yours Truly.  Always buy in bulk when you get a good price!

So if you see a big blur running around town today, say hi.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fairchild Gardens Water Lily Picture

I am normally disappointed with the concept of a Botanical Garden. 

Oh grant you, the beauty is amazing, the education opportunities are many, and they serve an incredible purpose. 

I always find myself wondering "Where can I get THAT?" when I leave.   It is like window shopping when you are in another city and you've left your wallet at the hotel.

I had been resisting going to Fairchild Botanical Gardens for quite a while.  Finally with my cousin in town, I had no excuse to not go so I went along. 

The place is simply put, breathtaking.   Absolutely worth a visit.  We walked into the front gate after being asked why we weren't members.  Cousin Bill found that they were not in a Reciprocal Agreement with the botanical gardens in Omaha, Nebraska. 

After we managed to get past the volunteers, we entered a little court yard.  The building was being guarded by a hand sized lizard with a red head, grey body, and white rings that I had never seen before.  It wasn't too happy with my trying to get a good view and focus on it with that little camera of mine.   I really do need to get a proper digital SLR one of these days.

Stepping under the breezeway, we saw the water feature.   In the feature were these water lilies.  If you have the plant in bloom, and you get the right angle and light, it is next to impossible to get at least a "good" picture of a water lily.  Playing with the angle with my digital camera and zooming in, the sky reflected back as an inky darkness into which the pinks and yellows of the blossom of this plant shown.

Looking at the Lily Pads I realized where they got camouflage patterns from.   It looked like we borrowed this right from the leaves of the plant in order to be able to hide in plain sight.  The inky dark of the water looking like motor oil that is just about ready to be changed, and the natural purples and greens of the plant showing off against the reflections of the palm trees and the clouds made for a view that had me stop and ponder the scene.

Sometimes it's a good idea to sniff the roses.  Even if they are water lilies.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mai Kai Grotto - Picture

When the family comes in from out of town, get off your high horse and do some touristy things.

Here in Fort Lauderdale, there's a One Of A Kind gem of a restaurant called Mai Kai.  It's one of the last few large scale Polynesian themed restaurants in the nation.   They were all over the place in the years after the Second World War, but faded away.  Tastes changed, and it's labor intensive to do it right.

Mai Kai does it right.  Complete with stunning Polynesian dancers in grass skirts.   The food is simply put, amazing.   I have a speed bump on their menu since I always get their Pork Tenderloin - I just can't get past that pork!  I also have a rule that I will not order a meal in a fine restaurant that I can make at home as well as they can.   Their pork melts on my fork which is why I have it.

When Cousin Bill arrived from Nebraska, we were sitting around debating where to go for dinner that night.  We wanted to go somewhere that you just can't find anywhere else and absolutely no chain restaurants.   Mai Kai absolutely fit the bill.  Or the Bills since there were two of us. 

The thing is that when you are in a restaurant that has tropical gardens that are strewn around water features, tiki torches, icons and statues, and a "Chinese Oven" that cooks your food in a wood fired chimney you will want to bring your camera. 

When we go, we always sit outside.   The show is amazing, but the idea of being able to sit next to a waterfall and watch the skies go from blue to black over the palm trees is a rare show that you should not pass up.   It's also much more private since the gardens are not what the place is known for.

It is easy to get obnoxious with a camera.  To get the pictures "right" in low light you really do need a tripod.   On the other hand, since it's dim in there half of the challenge is seeing the scene and setting up the shot.  That makes the actual picture secondary.

After all, your dinner will be waiting once you get back to the table and that is why you came.   Try the pork tenderloin.  It's amazing too.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Never Do Two Things At Once While Baking - Picture

Really, when you are trying to do too many things, you end up deflating your sandwich rolls.

The last week I had house guests.   I found someone with the same name as mine.  First and last.  We corresponded for about a year and met when he was in town on vacation.   This last week he returned and spent a couple days bumming around South Florida. 

I'm definitely a creature of habit.   I was making a sandwich earlier in the toaster oven and turned the toaster off.  Or so I thought.  Actually I turned the temperature down.

When the dough was formed into rolls, I set the cookie sheet up high to let it rise.  You guessed it, the rolls were on top of the toaster.   Would have been fine had I actually turned the thing off.  It was baking at 325 without realizing it.  I probably killed the yeast by "prebaking" the rolls.

Oh well, three of them turned out fine.

So think of the little yeasty children!  When you bake, make sure you have plenty of clear counter space and don't have to go outside to check on the sprinklers!

As for my house guest - we figured we're related through our great grandfathers being brothers.  He's had a great time here in Paradise going around visiting all those touristy places.  I guess it takes finding a "lost to us" wing of the family to make a Local turn into a Snowbird for a week.  Sometimes, it's best to step out and remember why you moved to a city.   It will take a cousin from Nebraska to do it. 

I have one, you get your own.  Nice guy.   Shares a name with me. 

Now think about it.  If you have a rare name like my family does, you're related.  It's bound to be.  When you're watching them do a purchase, it's a bit strange to see "your name" on their credit card.  Never had that in my life.

Just like Les Nessman said in WKRP in Cincinnati - Nebraska!  Oooh Nebraska!  I've often dreamed of going to Nebraska!  

Now I have a reason!   Some day I will!  We already planned confusing people in the small town he's lived most of his life by sending me into places introducing myself with my/our name and letting them tell me no.  "Of course I am!  See, the State of Florida says so!".  Seeing that it's a small town, word will get around quickly so we'd have to do those things the first day.   I don't see getting away with it the second day.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Conversation In Heaven - Humor

You know, it's nice to think of an afterlife where you can sit on a cloud listening to harp music and getting in touch with old friends about good times.

Or is it?

A Conversation In Heaven

Hi! Wanda.

Hi! Sylvia. How'd you die?

I froze to death.

How horrible!

It wasn't so bad. After I quit shaking from the cold, I began to get warm & sleepy, and finally died a peaceful death.
What about you?

I died of a massive heart attack. I suspected that my husband was cheating, so I came home early to catch him in the act.
But instead, I found him all by himself in the den watching TV.

So, what happened?

I was so sure there was another woman there somewhere that I started running all over the house looking. I ran up into
the attic and searched, and down into the basement. Then I went through every closet and checked under all the beds. I kept this up until I had looked everywhere, and finally
I became so exhausted that I just keeled over
with a heart attack and died.

Too bad you didn't look in the freezer
---we'd both still be alive.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Dear Tide - Humor

Aww bless her heart, it's a letter to the people at Tide saying how good their product is.  Of course there is always a wrinkle when you're washing your clothes!

Dear Tide,

I am writing to say what an excellent product you have! I've used it all of my married life, as my Mom always told me it was the best. Now that I am in my fifties I find it even better! In fact, about a month ago, I spilled some red wine on my new white blouse. My inconsiderate and uncaring husband started to belittle me about how clumsy I was and generally started becoming a pain in the neck. One thing led to another and somehow I ended up with his blood on my new white blouse! I grabbed my bottle of Tide with bleach alternative, and to my surprise and satisfaction,all of the stains came out!

In fact, the stains came out so well the detectives who came by yesterday told me that the DNA tests on my blouse were negative and then my attorney called and said that I was no longer considered a suspect in disappearance of my husband. What a relief! Going through menopause is bad enough without being a murder suspect! I thank you, once again, for having a great product

Well, gotta go, have to write to the Hefty bag people.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Need a Calendar? Got Printer and Lots of Ink?

There is a website connected with NASA that puts out some amazing pictures.  The Astronomy Picture Of The Day, or APOD, is one of my visits each day.  Quite a few of those pictures ended up in the directory that my computers read for the desktop background rotator I run here.

They put together, each year, a calendar full of astronomical wonders.  A link to the discussion on their page is here if you should like to read through all the wonderful geekiness.

If you aren't into all of that, a direct link to the calendar in PDF is here.

Furthermore, if you need a nice basis for a calendar of your own graphics and have access to Microsoft Publisher, they were kind enough to place a link to the .PUB file.  You can then modify things as you wish.

Since there's a lot of black in space, you're going to need new printer cartridges or do what I do - refill them!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Big Scary Pitbull - Picture

The barking starts about a block away. 

Being a creature of habit, we walk the block clockwise.  There's a view of this gate from the corner, probably 6 houses down the street.  The dog isn't there every day, but every day he is, he barks.

You are probably afraid of him.  He's a pitbull.  Full white, big powerful dog, barking and showing his teeth.

You would be wrong.

Look closer.

The tail is wagging at you as you approach the gate.  The teeth are showing in a "Doggy Smile".

Say hello.  I dare you.

The dog barks more frantically.  The closer you get the more rapid fire he barks trying desperately to get your attention.

Standing at the foot of the driveway you say hello to the big scary pitbull and he responds.

He crouches down in the universal symbol of Let's Play! by being on the ground in the front, rear in the air, tail wagging, and springing up to greet you.  There's a playful yip! as he's being paid attention to.

No, the worst thing this dog would do is lick you as he'd bring what ever toy was laying around so you could play fetch.

I have been told that the big scary pitbull doesn't necessarily react like this to everyone but he is doing his job.  Being cute.

We actually look forward to seeing this dog greet us.   He's an ambassador for the breed, being given air in a small courtyard in front of the house.  He's also acting like he's bored out of his mind.  There isn't a dog around that wouldn't benefit from more walking around the block, including my own as I head on away from the big friendly guy.

Just like a light switch, he goes quiet once we're out of sight, waiting for the next familiar face.

All the while I keep hearing "It's not the breed, it's the owner" as we say good bye to our friend.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cold Climate Walk In Freezer Space - Humor

I was talking with my cousin from Nebraska earlier today and he reminded me of a little trick we used to do up in Pennsylvania.

Can't do it here.  I'm in Florida.  You see it went all the way down to 60 yesterday.  My pool is hovering in the high 50s now. 

We would do our shopping in bulk.  I aggressively shop the coupons and the "deals" at the big box warehouse stores.   Doing that has managed to cut our food budget down by about a quarter to a third depending on whether or not we're needing something that I'd call derisively a luxury.

The problem with shopping coupons is that it is what THEY want you to get.  Farmer Douglas has a good year and too many chickens are raised so you get a special deal on roasters at 1.19 a pound.  There's a glut on corn so there's another brick of 8 cans in the pantry. 

You know that sort of thing.

I also bake, so if there's a good season for fruit, I'll be making jams and jellies and baking cookies.

That means the freezer gets stuffed.

You can tell when someone buys too much in a cold climate.  Look out back, the yard is covered with snow and cans of soda.  The cooler went out back in November and was filled one year with chicken parts, frozen ravioli, snow and a block of concrete would be set on top.  Since I was in an urban area it would keep the critters out, both two and four legged.

So now my mind is going a little nutty.   I have a pool in the back yard.  Nice big Cement Pond since I moved to Bev-er-lee with Granny on the roof of the car.  Now, I'm looking for a net bag.  There's a six-pack of soda that's getting tossed into the pool and will get tied up to the ladder in the deep end so nobody will freak out when they see cans floating around.

It's been a long holiday weekend and my refrigerator is stuffed.  If it were Pennsylvania, I'd be getting that cooler out of the basement again and filling it with snow and leftovers and so on.

Come to think of it that chicken from last night was particularly excellent.  Hey?  When's lunch again?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year 2013

Happy New Year!

Thanks for letting me bend your ear, I'll try not to bore you in 2013.

I kind of like how that pic turned out... may have to keep this one around.  :)