Saturday, December 31, 2011

Day 746

Another year sails off into the sunset. I've still got things on my to-do list from last July that I haven't finished yet. I guess it doesn't really matter. There's always next year. I saw something on the Internet the other day that showed a copy of an old New Year's resolution list made by singer Woody Guthrie. The list contained items like "Remember to brush your teeth" and "wear clean clothes every day." The list was all pretty basic, with the exception of one item that said "Write a new song every day," I think Woody had it right. A lot of grandiose plans never materialize. When you concentrate on the little things, however, and keep plugging away day after day, the result can be grander than you ever imagined. Life is just a collection of a million little details. I don't think anything life changing can happen until you take of the little things first.

I did a lot of little things today. In that regard it was just like any other day. Although I've made a lifestyle out of doing the laundry, photographing inconsequential things within a mile of my house and writing stories about my dogs, I will admit that there are times when my obsession with minutia goes too far. Today, I found myself obsessing about why the trash guys only took half my trash on Friday. They literally emptied exactly half of my trash container and left the rest of the trash untouched. Why? Is there some weird union rule about the number of black bags they can put in the truck? Were they being lazy? Or maybe they got distracted by my neighbor's trash. Of course there's always the possibility that they took all the trash and some some late rising neighbor dumped their trash into my container after the truck had already left. I'll never know.

Before I stop obsessing about little things that don't matter, have you ever noticed that when you start reading the instruction manual for that new electronic gizmo you just got, the first thing you are instructed to do is "Set the Clock?" Everything seems to have a clock in it nowadays. When I got a new TV, the first thing I was instructed to do was set the clock. The same thing happened with every new camera I've bought in the last five years. My phone has a clock. My computer has a clock. Today I was testing a new audio mixer, and sure enough, the first thing the instructions told me to do was set the clock. What on earth does an audio mixer need a clock for? Pretty soon I'll be setting the clock on my electric toothbrush.

I hope all you guys have a very Happy New Year. I'll probably watch a little football and I'm sure a trip to the dog park is in the cards as well.

Dot is today's Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day

Friday, December 30, 2011

Day 745

I think I'm ready to start 2012 with a clean slate. I've got the new orphans added to the animal rescue sites I manage. I've completed my watch articles. I've sent all the content for my oil and gas project off to Germany. I've even finished most of my bookkeeping and accounting for the year.

Now it's on to projects of a more personal nature. I discovered that nobody's referring me for a MRI because my doctor is on a skiing vacation. Still have to resolve that one. I need to get the furnace folks out to the house again too. The furnace is actually behaving worse after its Winter service than before. I have a feeling that I'm going to have a major problem unclogging my large format printer soon, because I haven't turned it on in over three weeks. I've just been too busy.

Janet wants to see the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DMA while it's still in town, so we may do that this weekend. We'll certainly go to a dog park. Since it's a holiday, we may even go twice. New Year's Eve itself will probably be pretty quiet. After years of playing noisy New Year's Eve parties in a rock band, I much prefer to just stay at home and watch old Dr. Who movies these days. I'm certainly looking forward to having some good champagne tomorrow evening. Although I can't drink anymore, I grant myself an exception on holidays.

I noticed that all the Adgitize widgets have disappeared on my blog today. I guess that means that Adgitize is gone for good. I'm still a bit sad to see this venture fail. I've seen so many good ideas fail over the years and so many bad ideas succeed. There's just no justice in the world sometimes.

Puppies are our Dalmatians of the Day

Watch of the Day

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day 744

I think I achieved a weird personal best today. I managed to write six watch articles in a single day. Admittedly, most of these articles are just cannon fodder for an insatiable RSS feed, but they're still not that easy to write. Usually my input is just a photograph of the watch and I have to ferret out the rest of the information by searching the Internet. It usually takes me longer to find the information I need than it does to write the article.

I also finished the last component of my oil and gas project and sent it off to Germany. I got an "out of office" message in return, which indicates that my client is on vacation. Maybe I didn't need to be in such a hurry on this project. At any rate, I'm slowly but surely getting caught up. Maybe I'll be able to start 2012 with a clean slate.

I should have waited a little longer to do that little video about opening the B&H box. I got a better box in the mail today. I'm slowly and methodically making an investment that will allow me to do better and more elaborate live streaming videos like I did last May for Siemens. This was probably my best job of the year and I'd like to do more of these things in the future. Back when the stock market was more rational, investing in myself might have seemed risky to me. Now, with the market a schizophrenic mess, investing in my own company seems like the safest bet around.

Tomorrow is the last working day of the year. I've got three more watch articles to write and a couple of websites to update. That's about it. Hopefully I'll get finished in time to go harangue my doctors, who seem to be ignoring the fact that I need a MRI done by the end of the year. I think my chances of getting in for a MRI tomorrow are about the same as they are for the market going up 300 points. Not very likely!

Petey & Greta are Dalmatians of the Day

Watch of the Day

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Day 743

The year is definitely winding to a close. Nothing new has crossed my desk all week, but there are still plenty of ongoing jobs I need to finish. Just three more days and the year will be over. I can't say that I've really accomplished a lot this year. My business is a little better than it was last year, but my health is a little worse. Nobody I know seems immune to the bad economy you keep hearing about on TV. Most of my clients have a smaller staff than they did last year and I am definitely working with lower budgets than previous years. My rental property is harder to lease than it used to be and my investments aren't even worth talking about. In spite of all that, I'm still in business, I have no debt, and I'm still healthy enough to walk the dogs five miles a day. I probably ought to be counting my blessings.

The watch article marathon apparently isn't over yet. I thought everyone would want to call it quits after Christmas, but it seems that I still have nine articles to go to meet my quota. That's three a day for the next three days. Piece of cake!

Another photographer came up to me today while I was walking Dot and Dash and asked me what kind of camera I was using. The little Panasonic GF3 did look a bit odd with a big telephoto lens attached. The whole thing looks kind of like a lens with a package of cigarettes taped to the back. It works pretty good for dog walking though. I can quickly focus just by tapping on the LCD screen on the back and even with a zoom lens attached, it will still easily fit in a coat pocket. I'd never use this thing for a paying job, but it's certainly expanded my horizons while walking the dogs. I told the other photographer it was a dog walking camera and demonstrated its capabilities by taking a picture while both dogs were lunging at a nearby duck.

I noticed that Janet put some champagne in the refrigerator. Even though I'm not supposed to drink anymore, I'm going to be joining her in celebrating the end of a long and difficult year. Frankly, I'm glad this year is about over. Hopefully, next year will be better for all of us.

Dot & Petey are Dalmatians of the Day

Watch of the Day

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day 742

I guess it's back to the old grind again. I spent the day trying to resolve an assortment of small problems that never should have become problematic in the first place. I tried to get an erroneous charge erased from my credit card statement. I tried to figure out which of three different doctors is responsible for referring me for the MRI that I supposedly need. I tried to figure out how to bill a European client in Euros, even though my accounting software only recognizes dollars. I tried to make an eye doctor appointment for Dash, even though the animal ophthalmologist kept thinking he was Petey, who has already died. Absolutely nothing seemed easy today, which I guess was to be expected on the first day after a major holiday. Maybe tomorrow I'll actually get some real work done.

At least the weather was nice today. I'm still trying to take a camera with me when I walk Dot and Dash, but getting decent pictures has proved to be quite a learning experience. The dogs aren't very good as photo assistants. I can't let loose of the leash, or they'll run off chasing ducks and other critters. When I hold on to the leash with one hand though, it's hard to keep the camera steady and take the shot with the other. Today I got better results than usual. I managed to get half a dozen sharp hand-held shots of today's sunset with a long telephoto lens. It's hard enough to get sharp telephoto shots without putting the camera on a tripod. When you're trying to hold onto two Dalmatians who have their hearts set on chasing nearby ducks, it's just about impossible. My technique is gradually getting better though. Maybe someday I'll write a book about how to take good pictures while taking Dalmatians on a walk.

I hope I can get this whole MRI issue resolved tomorrow. I've already met my deductible on my health insurance this year, and if they can't schedule me for the scan until next year, I know I'll end up paying a lot more. With my luck, I'll probably end up being scheduled on the same day I've got to take Dash to the eye specialist.

I know that some of you who read this blog also participate in Adgitize like I do. I was sad to receive an e-mail from Ken Brown this morning informing me that Adgitize was shutting down, because the blog advertising service wasn't making any money. I always liked Adgitize and certainly respected the way Ken Brown ran his company. This isn't the first blog advertising site to go bust and it probably won't be the last. Blogging just doesn't seem quite a popular as it was a few years ago. I'll certainly continue blogging though, even if all the widgets on my blog disappear. I enjoy blogging and I appreciate each and every one of you who have decided to make the journey with me.

Taylor is today's Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day

Monday, December 26, 2011

Day 741

Today was one of those days that just couldn't decide what it wanted to be. I'd look out the window one minute and see sunshine and then an hour or so later, I'd look out the same window and it would be pouring rain. It went back and forth like this all day. The day couldn't decide whether it wanted to be a holiday or not either. Janet got the day off, but it was apparently business as usual for many people. Just about all the stores were open, but the post office was closed. Unfortunately, I didn't discover that the post office was closed until I went there with a pile of December bills to pay and saw the sign on the door that said they'd be open for business again on Tuesday.

When I was paying bills, I discovered an erroneous charge on my Mastercard statement. One of those companies that let people see their credit report online had charged me for something, even though I had never even heard of them before. When I called the company to see what was going on, they tried to sell me on the idea that their services would prevent this sort of thing. Huh? Not the best sales pitch in the world in my humble opinion. If this company can't even find its own billing errors, how is it going to police the rest of the world's fraud and incompetence?

Dot seems much better today. Her leg appears to be pretty much back to normal and we were able to return to our regular walks. I'm really glad that her limp was nothing serious. She's an older dog now, and I know we don't have an unlimited amount of time. Almost all Dalmatians develop weakness in their legs if they live long enough. She's still healthy now though, and I guess that's all that matters. We try to feed both dogs a very healthy diet and take them to the vet whenever anything appears abnormal. What more can you do? We certainly can't make them any younger.

Dash is today's Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Day 740 - Christmas

Dot woke up this morning limping on her left front leg. I'm not sure what's wrong, since she seemed fine when she went to bed last night. I think she just over exerted herself at our gift wrapping event yesterday. It's easy to forget she's getting older now. She spent most of the afternoon standing, instead of sleeping like she usually does. Maybe it was too much for her.

The furnace didn't come on this morning either, but by the end of the day we had heat again and Dot seemed to be walking more normally. It was a simple, but satisfying Christmas. I often feel lonely on Christmas. I don't have a lot of friends and am more or less estranged from family. I probably don't show my appreciation often enough, but I'm very grateful to have Janet and the dogs. They keep life normal.

It didn't snow this Christmas, but it certainly felt like Winter. I couldn't walk the dogs together this evening because of Dot's limp, but as Dash and I tramped through the woods, it was easy to imagine a coating of snow on everything. We returned to the smell of holiday cooking and an hour or so later everyone sat down to enjoy a delicious Christmas dinner. We had ham, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes and a spicy stuffing. There weren't a lot of presents under the tree, but we don't need much at this point in our lives. I'm content.

I even managed to complete a few watch articles today. The month long writing marathon is almost over and it's not going to seem the same in January. I'll have to admit that I've learned a few things about watches and about writing this month. If I could only be this disciplined about personal projects. If I could work at the same pace on personal projects, I could have easily completed a novel by now. Personal projects are tough though. There just isn't a strong enough sense of desire pushing me onward. Maybe that's what I should have asked Santa for this year: a stronger sense of desire.

Dot is today's Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Day 739

We spent the afternoon wrapping gifts at the Barnes and Noble store in Plano, like we usually do on Christmas Eve. For the past several years, we've been bringing Dot and Dash with us to these events and I'm always amazed at how well behaved they are. I think the dogs are actually better in public than they are at home. They're both good little ambassadors for Dalmatian Rescue. We always do better with donations when the dogs are with us.

It's funny how much you can tell about the economy and the general state of the nation by watching people shop on Christmas Eve. People aren't buying as much as they were four or five years ago, and they certainly aren't buying as many books. We wrapped almost as many Nook eReaders today as we did books.

There were definitely fewer people in the store this year than last year. The real surprise was the absence of last minute male shoppers. Usually over two thirds of the people who come to our gift wrapping counter are men who've put off their Christmas shopping to the last possible minute. They were gone this year. I don't think all these men suddenly decided to get their shopping done early. I just think they aren't buying books anymore. I don't know what these procrastinators are shopping for these days though. Your guess is as good as mine.

I woke up this morning fulling intending to get a little work done today as well. That certainly never happened. After the time we spent getting Dot and Dash ready for their package wrapping duties and the additional time we spent at the Barnes and Noble store, the day was pretty much gone. We all had a nice dinner when we got home and the dogs are already nestled all snug in their beds. I'm not sure if visions of sugar-plums are dancing through their heads, but they do seem to be dreaming about something.

Dash is today's Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day

Friday, December 23, 2011

Day 738

The week is over, but somehow it feels like the entire year is over. Most of my clients have already left for the holiday. I still have some unresolved issues with several jobs, but I have a feeling that it's going to be hard to get an answer to my e-mails until the first of the year. None of this slowed me down today, however. I kept right on writing watch articles and I think I'm finally up-to-date on most of my website revisions.

I send my last file out about 3 PM today and then went over to Culwell & Son to get that pair of shoes I've had my eye on. I really don't buy many clothes anymore, but when I do, I almost always go to this store. Most of the salespeople have been working here for twenty years or more, and they remember everything about you. I almost always walk away with something nice, because these guys won't let you leave the store wearing something that makes you look stupid. Since I often make bad sartorial choices, this second opinion is often invaluable.

I went ahead and made the little contest video about opening a B&H package. It took me longer to submit my entry on the B&H website than it took to make the video. Once I submitted my entry, I realized that I didn't have a ghost of a chance of winning. It turns out that this was another of those contests where the winner is determined by who gets the most votes online. Dalmatian Rescue has entered some of these type of contests in the past to win pet food or money to help the dogs, and it's just about impossible to win. You need to find thousands of friends to vote for you. At any rate, I've embedded the video below in case you want to hear what my voice sounds like. The rules for the contest were simple enough: just make a short video of a package you received from B&H being opened. Since you can only open a package once, the video is a one take wonder. Feel free to leave comments. I don't have any YouTube comments yet.

We gave Dot and Dash a bath this evening. They're both getting pretty savvy about baths now. Dot refuses to even get out of the car and Dash starts howling loudly as soon as he's in the stall. They're both clean now and ready for their role as Christmas Eve ambassadors tomorrow. For quite a few years, Dalmatian Rescue has done gift wrapping at Barnes and Noble stores during the holiday season as a fundraiser. We've discovered that if you bring real Dalmatians with you to the gift wrapping event, people are much more generous with their donations. We took Dot and Dash with us last Christmas Eve and they were actually quite well behaved. Of course, we took a big bag of dog treats with us to bribe them with.

Ziggy is today's Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Day 737

Where has this year gone? Each holiday seems to arrive quicker than the last. By the time I'm ready for Halloween, it's already time for Christmas. It's been that way all year. I have a feeling that by the time my Christmas spirit kicks in, it will be New Year's Eve. It just doesn't feel like Christmas yet, and it's only three days away.

I sent my oil and gas article to Germany today for approval. I hope they like it, because I'm already on to other things. The watch article marathon continues. I try to write three articles a day, but I have a feeling that I won't need to keep up this pace much longer. Watches are popular holiday gifts. I bet when Christmas is over and Hanukkah is over a few days later, the need for a continual stream of social media watch articles will diminish considerably.

I still can't decide whether to make the little video about opening the B&H box. The box arrived today and I still haven't opened it, so I guess there's at least a part of me that wants to go ahead and shoot the video. I never win these kind of contests, so I'm sure it would be a waste of time. On the other hand, what have I got to lose? I could make a funny little video about how the dogs always get upset every time the UPS man comes to the door with a package and then I get upset a little while later when I discover that what's inside is broken. I don't think this would win the contest though.

I got a gift card in the mail today from one of my old retail clients. I guess it's not really a gift card, since I have to spend at least a $100 to get $50 off. Nevertheless, this seems like a real good discount. Maybe I'll go out tomorrow and buy myself a new pair of shoes.

Sisters are our Dalmatians of the Day

Watch of the Day

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Day 736

I got an early start today, since I needed to take Janet to the dentist for dental surgery. Somehow, by the end of the day, my extra hour totally disappeared. For a change of pace, I spent the day writing about process safety engineering in the oil and gas industry instead of writing about watches. A little different to say the least, but it still just comes down to putting words on a page.

I got an e-mail from B&H Photo today. It said they were having a contest to see who could make the best video of a B&H package being opened. Hmm. I ordered something from B&H recently and will be getting a package soon. I make videos for a living. Maybe I could win this contest. The prize is certainly pretty good: a Canon 5D Mark III. There's only one problem. I absolutely hate competitions and contests. This is a tough one.

I wasn't sure if Janet would want to go to dog class tonight, since she just returned from dental surgery a few hours ago. Apparently nothing can keep her away from training class though, so we all bundled up and went through the exercises in the cold, damp December air. I'm ready for Spring and Winter hasn't even officially started.

Tomorrow will be another busy day of writing. With any luck, I'll be able to finish the first draft of my oil and gas article and get back to my marathon of watch articles again. I know there are probably a bunch of little errands I need to do between now and Christmas, but if they involve fighting the holiday traffic, I'm probably just going to forget about them. Hey, the Christmas tree is up. The Santa Paws pictures are done. I've ordered gifts from Maybe it's time to relax.

Willow is today's Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 735

The pelicans returned to the lake today. I'm always amazed at how graceful these ungainly birds seem in-flight. They glide effortlessly through the air, hardly moving their wings. On the ground, it's an entirely different story. Their beak is so large that it's surprising they can fly at all. If I kept better records, I wouldn't be surprised to discover that the pelicans return on the same day every year. It certainly seems like a year since I saw them arrive the last time.

I took Dash to the vet for his antigen shot today. For a young, active dog, he certainly has more than his share of problems. The antigen shots are definitely working at clearing up his skin condition, but they are also causing him to develop big lumps under his skin whenever he receives an injection. This happened once before when there was a bad batch of the antigen, so I'm wondering if it has happened again. Dash has such sensitive skin that it appears that the antigen has to be perfect before it works at all.

I wish there was a market for dead leaves. Every year I'm amazed at how many leaves fall off our four large Oak trees. This year I'm trying to get the leaves off the roof as they fall. If I wait until they collect into a foot thick soggy mess, I'm really in trouble. These wet leaves probably weigh more than an equivalent amount of snow. They retain water like a sponge and once wet, the roof never seems to dry out. Only time will tell if my efforts to control the leaves will help reduce water damage this Winter. So far, the only thing I've noticed is that my neck is hurting again.

Now that I'm cooped up writing every day, I find myself fighting the urge to buy stuff I don't need online. I've succumbed to this urge before, mostly because it's quite enjoyable to get packages in the mail. There's nothing really wrong with this little diversion, but I'm going to have to find something less expensive to buy than camera gear. I could go broke buying camera gear just to get a package in the mail. It would be a lot cheaper to just go have a cup of coffee with someone at Starbucks whenever I began to go stir crazy. This takes too long though. Opening a package is much more efficient. It only takes a minute and it gives me a nice little lift. Then I go back to work.

Lexi is today's Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day

Monday, December 19, 2011

Day 734

All day I've been hearing that a major storm was headed our way. The storm had already caused blizzard conditions in New Mexico and West Texas, but here in Dallas it was just supposed to be a lot of heavy wind and rain. At any rate, when it was time to take the dogs on their evening walk, I thought I'd have plenty of time to get back before the rain started. The sky was dark, but there was almost no wind and the approaching front didn't appear to be moving fast. The dogs weren't acting like a storm was approaching either, so off we went. Oops. We all made a serious miscalculation. About a mile from home the wind picked up suddenly and within minutes it was raining cats and dogs. We headed for home immediately, but we all got soaked anyway. All my clothes were sopping wet. Even the iPhone in one of my pockets was wet. I was amazed that it still worked. It took several bath towels to get the dogs dry again and then it took several more to mop up the wet floor. At least we didn't get struck by lightning. We saw plenty of lightning on our exceedingly wet retreat back to the house.

I'm sure that Dot didn't have a great day. She had to endure two of her least favorite things today: rain and the furnace repairman. Prior to our evening walk, she barked herself into a frenzy when the HVAC guy came to the house to give our furnace its Winter service check. I'm amazed that repair people even bother to come to the house anymore. I try my best to keep Dot quiet, but it is of little avail. She has made it her mission to keep strangers at bay. I always pen the dogs in the office with me while repair folk are in the house, but that does little to alleviate the noise. If someone needs to tell me something, we generally have to go outside to talk.

Since it was a dismal day, I spent most of my time writing again. I finished a lengthy watch article and got started on my oil and gas project. If this bad weather continues, I may even get caught up with everything before the end of the year. If you happen to be suffering from writer's block, I can report with some authority that the more you write, the easier it gets. I've undertaken a lot more writing projects this year than I did the previous year, and I'm finding that the whole process of being a wordsmith is much more straightforward than it used to be. Writing has become a routine. It's just something I do everyday now, like making the bed every morning or brewing a pot of coffee.

Ranger is today's Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Day 733

Dot and Dash had fun at the dog park today, but for me it was mostly a day of catching up on neglected chores. I fixed the steering problems on my Defender 90. I swept a huge pile of leaves off the front patio into the street, where hopefully they will blow away. I vacuumed all the carpets, which were rapidly becoming covered by these same leaves every time the dogs came inside. I even found time to upload over 1 GB of video files to a client in Germany.

Luckily, I didn't have to go anywhere near a shopping mall today. All the malls that we passed on our way to the dog park were so crowded that cars were circling the parking lots like vultures, looking for that illusive parking spot. I bet it took people at least 30 minutes just to find a parking space today. I wonder why more of these people haven't discovered the joys of online shopping like I have. The crowds in Dallas are unbelievable at this time of year. I'm even driving around with a nail in one of my tires, because I dread waiting in a long line for service at the tire store. It's not that people are buying tires for Christmas, there are just more people everywhere!

Marty, my regular HVAC service guy isn't coming out to the house tomorrow. They say it's because he's too busy, but I think it's because of the dogs. Dot and Dash keep up a non-stop cacophony of barking when service people enter the house. I know Marty didn't like the dogs barking at him all the time. Probably the new guy they send out won't either. It is pretty loud. I've just gotten used to it over the years.

I sure am getting forgetful. I noticed today that I forgot to send in my third quarter estimated taxes in September. Completely slipped my mind. I don't think I'll get much a penalty for the lapse though. I have a feeling that I didn't actually make any money in the third quarter.

Alvin is today's Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 732

I cleaned the furnace filters today. You probably wouldn't guess why I felt so compelled to do this right now. You see, the furnace guy is coming out on Monday. I don't want him to get on my case for letting the electrostatic filters get dirty. I could care less if people think I'm a little insensitive to my fellow man. I definitely don't want the repair guys to think I mistreat my tools and appliances though. I think I always clean the furnace just before the furnace repairman comes over.

The weird noise I keep hearing when I start the car seems to be getting louder, so I stopped by an AutoZone store and got a bottle of power steering fluid while I was running errands this afternoon. It seems like the last time I heard this noise, low power steering fluid was the problem.

I tore one of the fitted sheets while I was making the bed recently, so I picked up another set of sheets while I was running errands too. Jeez, when did sheets get so expensive? Like just about everything else I've purchased recently, the price for a set of fitted sheets seems to have doubled since the last time I looked for these things. All those people who say inflation isn't a problem are nuts. Inflation is a big problem! My haircut yesterday cost more than it did the last time. Gas prices seem to be going up again. The price of my favorite coffee beans are going way up. It's ridiculous.

When I went up on the roof today to get rid of the leaves, I didn't expect to find water. There it was though. Another little lake of water to sweep away. Where did all this water come from? I don't even think it rained yesterday. At least it was warm this afternoon. No dog coats to struggle with and just a light jacket for myself.

I was feeling pretty good until one of my doctors called today and told me he thought I needed a MRI. Evidently when the radiologist evaluated the CAT scan I had done last week, he saw something he didn't like. They can take all the scans they want. It's what comes after the scans that I don't particularly want to deal with.

Duke is today's Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day

Friday, December 16, 2011

Day 731

I couldn't have picked a worse time to get a haircut. Trust me. At 4:30 on a Friday afternoon just before Christmas, the Northpark Mall is a zoo. I though I'd get a terrible haircut, since it was the end of a long, hectic day, but Betty was in surprisingly good spirits and gave me one of the best cuts I've gotten all year. After I got my hair cut, I still had to go to Central Market for some groceries and pick up my dry cleaning. By the time I got home to walk the dogs, it was completely dark.

Why didn't I do all these errands earlier, you might ask? It's just that time of year. I just can't seem to get caught up. I spent most of the day transcribing all the video clips from my interview with the oil and gas executive last Tuesday. It was a tedious job, but it was absolutely necessary. My memory is like a sieve. Some stuff sticks, but most short-term memories float right on through and are quickly forgotten. Luckily, what I captured on tape was pretty good, so I think I'll be able to turn this into a reasonably decent article. While I was transcribing the interview, more website revision and watch article requests arrived, so I'll have plenty to do next week. If I was more ambitious, I'd have plenty to do this weekend, but I think I need a break.

I've got most of my Christmas shopping finished. Since I buy almost everything online these days, Christmas shopping is not nearly as onerous a task as it used to be. It's hard to imagine what I did before came along. Thank you Amazon for making my life a little easier.

The dogs need a bath this weekend. They don't smell bad or anything, but they're both starting to itch and scratch again. Dalmatians have sensitive skin and they seem allergic to just about everything. Maybe I'll get some good pictures this weekend. I've started carrying a very small camera with a large sensor around with me on our walks and it is starting to produce results. We startled a flock of birds this morning and I don't think I could have ever captured them flying away with my iPhone.

Hannah is today's Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Day 730 - Blogiversary

Year three begins now. When I started this blog two years ago today, I thought my life was boring and uneventful. I began wondering if paying more attention to what was actually happening each day could somehow change the way I thought about life. I can now report that it has.

What started as a simple diary gradually became a way of life. I've always been a reasonably good observer, but the more I looked and the more I wrote, they more I found. My life wasn't really less interesting than other people's lives, it was just different. Different didn't mean better or worse anymore, it just meant different. In a small world encompassing two spotted dogs and a green urban park, I rediscovered life. By sharing this small world with you, I think I made it a bit larger.

I don't think my life would make a good reality show. Nothing really happens. I don't go to the A-list parties. I'm no longer a world traveler. I don't have famous friends. And I'm certainly not rich. Actually, I'm probably a lot like many of you. We go through our lives just trying to get from one day to the next. Maybe by re-examining my own simple life, I've caused one or two of you to take a second look at yours. Hopefully, I've been able to convince some of you that everybody's life is rich and intricate, whether you spend it jet-setting around the world or sitting in a small room typing away with two dogs under your desk.

It rained again today. As we were walking this morning, we passed an old gnarled tree that I see almost every day. The tree isn't tall, but it has a million branches, each spiraling out from the trunk in a different direction. When I look at this tree I occasionally see my life. So many forks in the road. Each branch a different choice to explore. But here's the strange part: with each different branch I take, I'm always firmly rooted in the same spot.

Jasper is today's Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day