Sunday, June 30, 2013

Day 1293

I washed the windows today. This wouldn't be a big deal if the house wasn't made almost entirely of glass. There are large windows everywhere. I remember when we first moved here I would wash all the windows every few weeks. I also washed the car a lot and frequently cleaned the brick patio with a pressure washer. It didn't take me long to realize that no matter how often I did these things, the dirt, spiderwebs, and mud dauber nests would quickly return. I initially thought I was in charge, but really it was mother nature who was in charge. With each passing year, I cleaned the windows less frequently. I could never ignore them completely though. There would always be days like today when I would look outside and realize the spiderwebs were so thick that it looked like I lived in a haunted house. Yes, I can still be shamed into honest work.

The windows sparkle now. The grass has been mowed front and back. I even took the leaf blower and blew all the leaves and dirt off the porch. This is what happens when you get up too early on a Sunday. You can end up with more time for chores than you really want.

One of the reasons we got up early was so we could take the dogs to the dog park before it got hot. This worked out well. The temperature was in the low 80's and there was a nice breeze. I think Dot might have had too much activity today though. She seemed fine at the dog park, but later in the day, she was walking with a slight limp. I think the limp started right after lunch when she was chasing some squirrels in the back yard. Dot just doesn't know how to pace herself. I walked Dash separately this evening in hopes that Dot would rest. She has had a limp before, but problems with her legs are becoming more frequent now. It's sad to see an active dog grow old.

The grass seed I planted last week still hasn't sprouted yet. I definitely don't have a green thumb. I've been watering every day, but I think all that has accomplished it to guarantee that I'll have a big water bill next month. The grass may not be growing, but my hair is. It's time for a haircut again. Maybe I'll make an appointment with Betty next week and check out the new, larger Apple store while I'm at the mall. Apple and Ann Taylor have traded places at the mall. Apple now has a huge new store, while Ann Taylor has a tiny little space. You think that a clothing store would need more space than a company that basically only has thirteen things to sell. What do I know though? The Apple store is certainly more crowded than the Ann Taylor store.

I don't think next week will be very busy. With the Fourth of July falling on a Thursday, the temptation is going to be high for a lot of folks to take Friday off as well and make it a long weekend. Whatever happens, I'm sure there will still be articles to write and websites to fix. There always is.

Tucker is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day 1292

Today was a day of inconsequential activities. I was certainly busy enough, but did any of it really matter? I cleaned lint out of the dryer with one of those Lint Lizard things you've probably seen advertised on TV. I scraped loose paint and plaster off the rain damaged living room ceiling in preparation for doing something more substantial later. I bought new bags for the vacuum cleaner at an odd little store that should have gone out of business twenty years ago. I fixed a broken latch with superglue on a VHS tape deck that I'll probably never use again. I hadn't been up on the roof for a while, so I swept leaves off the dry roof. Much to my chagrin, I discovered that wild animals have been peeing on the new white roof and leaving stains. At least I hope it was wild animals. While all this was going on, the large format printer ran its lengthy cleaning cycle and wasted a lot of expensive ink.

Probably the only useful thing I did today was get my blood tested at the local health food store's Summer cholesterol screening. Janet and I thought we'd beat the crowds by arriving before the store opened, but apparently everyone else had the same idea. There was already a line when we arrived. The line moved fast though and we were in and out in less than twenty minutes. Afterwards, we went home and had a big breakfast. A friend of Janet's had given her some fresh eggs from chickens she was raising and you could sure taste the difference. I guess the only way to get really fresh, healthy food is to grow or raise it yourself.

Every time someone tells me about the beauties of nature, I take what they say with a grain of salt. I walk through nature every day. I see sparrows chasing the purple martins away from their homes. I see ugly Johnson Grass encroaching on the beautiful native prairie behind our house. And since it's almost July, I'm starting to see bagworms again. Bagworms have destroyed countless trees in the park. They get into our own trees as well. Once these things get established, they can be very difficult to get rid of. Oh, well. At least we don't have rats anymore. The neighborhood feral cat population has grown so large that they've eaten them all.

I don't think we'll spend long at the dog park tomorrow. It's too hot. Dot and Dash still expect an outing on Sundays, but they also expect the weather to be nice when they get out of the car. Sorry guys, I can't help you with the weather. If I could, I'd have done something about these oppressive Summers years ago.

Sparky is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Friday, June 28, 2013

Day 1291

I had the dogs out on their morning walk at 7 AM this morning. The extra hour or so makes a big difference in the temperature. At 7 AM, it's actually quite nice outside. By 8:30 AM the pleasant weather all seems like a dream. At least we don't live in Las Vegas. I hear they might experience all time record high temperatures this weekend.

I certainly didn't get any more done today by getting up early. I dawdled over breakfast and spend longer than usual getting groceries for the weekend. By the time I actually sat down at the computer to work, I was just as late as I usually am. My motto is better late than never, so I still managed to get quite a bit done. After writing two articles, updating a website, and doing a load of laundry, I officially declared the week over.

Janet and I are thinking of taking the dogs to the beach later this Fall. It's too bad there isn't a beach nearby. Padre Island is quite nice, but it's a long drive. Galveston is closer, but the beach isn't as nice. We'll see. I'm not even sure if the dogs would like a beach. Dash would probably run away if we ever let him off leash and Dot doesn't like water. Most dogs love a beach though.

There still a lot of time between now and any potential Fall trip. We've still got to survive the Texas Summer. Tomorrow, it's time for one of the periodic cholesterol screenings at the neighborhood health food store. Even though we have to fast and skip breakfast, we usually go to these things because the price is so reasonable. The only downside to these blood tests is standing in line with a bunch of old people with hard to find veins. Sometimes it takes forever.

Maybe I'll try to fixed the damaged Sheetrock in the living room this weekend. I'm getting tired of staring at the can of spackling paste and drywall tools that have been sitting on a table in the hallway for over a month now. You can only avoid things for so long. Even unpleasant tasks have to be done eventually.

On our evening walk, I noticed that a bunch of gnats and flying insects were hovering around Dash, while completely ignoring me and Dot. I tried to shoo them away, but they kept coming back to pester him. No wonder Dash has skin problems. Mother Nature just doesn't cut the little guy any slack.

Patch is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Day 1290

I had a couple of gift cards burning a hole in my pocket, so I went to one of the few remaining camera stores in Dallas to look for a carbon fiber tripod. I typically buy gear for work online these days, but I never got around to figuring out how to use gift cards for online purchases. It was actually kind of fun to go to a real store where I could see and touch things, but I definitely didn't pick the best day to be driving around town.

The traffic was unbelievably bad today and it only took me about five minutes to figure out why. About every five miles I would see an overheated car blocking traffic and slowing things down. The stranded cars were everywhere. I'm always afraid that my own car will overheat and cause one of these traffic jams myself. When the temperature is over 100 degrees, I instinctively drive with one eye one the road and the other eye on the temperature gauge. I made it to the camera store and back without incident, but it was a stressful drive. I should have just stayed home.

At home there are other things to worry about. Dot and Dash don't do well in the heat, but they still need their exercise. We take our morning walks much earlier now to avoid the heat and our afternoon walks are much shorter. Dot has gotten quite good at telling me when to turn around and head for home, but I still fret about her. The dogs won't drink water out of a water fountain either. You'd think they'd have learned that skill long ago living in Texas, but they always wait until they get home to drink.

Once we're back inside where it's cool, I worry that the air conditioner will break or the power will go out. These things typically happen several times each Summer, usually at the worst possible times. I rarely give global warming a thought during the Winter, but in the middle of a Texas Summer, it would be easy to make a believer out of me.

Work was slow again today. Probably my clients were having their own problems with the heat. I used the lull to get caught up on my to-do list. With the exception of one small writing job which I can probably complete in the morning, tomorrow is basically a free day. I don't know how free things will actually be if I don't even want to venture outside, but at least I'll start things off with a delicious breakfast. Yes, tomorrow is Friday again.

Rascal is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Day 1289

Dot gave me a scare this morning. As we were returning home from our morning walk, her rear leg gave out. I managed to catch her before she fell over, but I was worried that she had torn her ACL. A torn anterior cruciate ligament is a common injury with older Dalmatians and just about anything can trigger a tear. As I reached under Dot's belly to keep her from falling, I noticed that the leg that had buckled was stretched out behind her. This was unusual, since a dog usually holds their leg up when they have a limp. We sat and rested for about five minutes and then Dot just got up and started walking normally again.

Since today was Dot's acupuncture therapy day, I had the vet examine her leg when we went for our appointment. There seems to be no damage whatsoever.  Dot had definitely not suffered from an ACL tear. This was very good news, but I still wondered what had happened. The vet suspected that Dot had experienced a sudden leg cramp, which she said was not uncommon in older dogs. Although Dot seems fine now, I feel like there is now one more thing to worry about.

It was a slow day compared to yesterday. I still had some website revisions to complete, but I spent most of the day doing routine bookkeeping and organizing records. Since today's bookkeeping efforts had more to do with investments than with the business, there wasn't much to cheer about. The market sucks this year. Usually, when stocks go down, bonds, gold, or commodities go up. This year, there appears to be no safe haven. There are days when absolutely everything goes down together. Life was much simpler when you could just buy a six month CD and earn 8% while waiting for the market to turn around. Now, even real estate is a fickle investment. I don't think I will ever buy real estate as an investment again.

Janet had to work late tonight, so we didn't go to dog training class. Since it was another 100 degree day, I don't think the dogs minded skipping class. I guess I could take one dog to class when Janet is late, but I never do because the dog that gets left behind seems so disappointed. Even when I take one of the dogs to the vet, the other seems disappointed, and they don't even like going to the vet. I guess they're just like people. You always end up wanting what you can't have.

This month has gone really quickly. When I was scheduling Dot's next acupuncture at the vet's office today, I realized that next Thursday was the Fourth of July. I think we're invited to some sort of dog parade on the Fourth of July. Or maybe it's just a regular parade. I can't remember. Personally, I'd rather just go out for breakfast.

Derrick is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Day 1288

Sometimes life reminds me of one of those hamster wheels. No matter how fast you try to move, you somehow always end up in exactly the same place. Summer seems to accentuate this feeling. It's hot. It's monotonous. To conserve energy, you tend to reduce everything to a series of simple repetitive actions. Around and around you go, just like a hamster on an exercise wheel.

I seldom feel like doing anything new when the temperature is over 100 degrees. By the time I get up in the morning, it is already hot. By the time we have finished our morning walk, it is often unbearable. When we return, the dogs immediately lie down on the brick living room floor to cool off and I warm up the computer to begin another work day.

The house is kept cool because Janet and the dogs like it that way. I can never seem to find the right temperature. I'm always either too hot or too cold. I often wear a jacket around the house in the middle of summer because it's too much trouble to constantly be resetting the thermostat. Sometimes I think there is something wrong with my ability to regulate my own body temperature. Other times I think I'm just impossible to please.

Today was a website update day. There were a lot of things to change and the updates kept me busy most of the day. Website maintenance is a bit like a hamster wheel too. You change out a bunch of photos and text and then when you're all done, you find yourself with exactly the same website you started out with. The different words and pictures are important to clients, but I just see textures. It all looks the same to me.

I thought the road in front of our house was finished, but I was wrong. Today the paint striping trucks were here, painting white lines on the road. I found myself trapped in the driveway again for a while, because the last thing I wanted was white paint on my brand new tires. The paint seemed to dry very quickly. Who knows? Maybe it was even dry when it was applied. At any rate, I waited an hour and then took Dash to the vet for his regular antigen shot. Dash had a new nurse give his shot today. I wanted to ask for his regular nurse, but I forgot her name.

By the time the dogs and I took our evening walk, it was so hot outside that we didn't even attempt to go very far. As soon as Dot and Dash had done their business, we turned around and went home. It looks like more of the same scorching weather tomorrow, and according to the weather forecast, for the rest of the week. It's kind of ironic. If I had just waited just one month to put on the new roof, I wouldn't have had any rain problems at all.

Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Monday, June 24, 2013

Day 1287

I went to the tire store today to get a nail removed from my left rear tire and returned a few hours later with five brand new tires. Yes, I even had to get a new spare tire. This definitely wasn't what I expected, since my tires still have plenty of tread on them. I have a warranty on my tires that gives me free lifetime repairs and I have used it many times to get flats fixed and nails removed. This time I was told that the life of a normal tire was about six years and that I had outlived my lifetime warranty. The tire guy showed me several places where the rubber on my twelve year old tires was starting to crack and told me that the tires could explode at any moment. Since the tire guys refused to work on my old tires, and I didn't really want them to explode at any moment, what choice did I have?  I got new tires.

Tires are a lot more expensive than they were the last time I bought some. Of course that was in 2002. Everything was less expensive in 2002. All in all, my tires have served me well. I have traveled well over 100,000 miles in the Defender on only two sets of tires. With any luck, this new set should last me as long as I still have the vehicle.

It's taking me too long to make fresh juice. If I had anything better to do, I would have stopped this time consuming practice already. Juicing does save money though. Especially when the alternative is freshly squeezed juice at the Central Market juice bar. I just wish Navel Oranges were quicker to peel and that the juicing machine was easier to clean. Apples and pineapples are much quicker to juice, but I've always liked the taste of orange juice. At any rate, I made enough juice today for the rest of the week, so I won't need to complain about juicing for a while.

I think I may have bought the wrong kind of grass seed to fill in the patchy areas in the back yard. I was initially pleased to find seed that was encapsulated in a mix of mulch and fertilizer. This stuff is pretty fool proof to grow. I forgot that the dogs like to lie in the grass though, and the fertilizer component of the mix may be irritating Dash's skin. He sure is itching a lot today anyway. On the other hand, he is always itchy after a bath, so maybe it's that.

I thought I got a call from a client a few minutes ago. Much to my surprise, when I picked up the phone, there was a telemarketer on the line. I looked at the Caller-ID again and realized that I'd transposed the letters of the first and last name in my mind. The call was clearly from someone else entirely. I've always suspected that I have dyslexia and I guess things like this more or less prove it.

Rio is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Day 1286

I discovered why there were all the warnings about wearing gloves and protective eye wear on the can of expanding foam insulation I used to fill cracks in the house this morning. The stuff is nasty. Since I am growing increasingly clumsy, I followed all the directions on the can and dressed accordingly. I hate working with this stuff, but it's still the best way I know to fill the cracks and crevices where bugs can get into your house.

After sealing several dozen potential entry points, I accidentally discovered where the bees were coming from and successfully removed the small but growing hive.  It was a tiring, but successful morning.  I didn't get stung and only managed to get a small amount of the gooey foam on my arm.  The instructions said to let the foam dry on your skin and it would wear off.

The dogs loved their trip to the dog park, since they hadn't been in several weeks. The fun was short lived though, because it was just too hot outside. Even though we brought our own water with us, we only ended up staying about half as long as we usually do. The heat made the bath that came afterwards somewhat of a welcome relief. Dot and Dash usually hate getting a bath, but today they seemed to welcome the cool water flowing over them.

I waited to take my own shower until later, because there was still work to be done. I mowed the grass and sowed some new "deep shade" seed in an effort to fill the patchy areas are are already starting to appear in the grass we put in this Spring. When I had the landscape guys over last week to remove the large limb that had fallen, I asked them why the grass was looking so patchy. They looked genuinely puzzled. The grass should be growing well. The soil was prepared properly. The grass was watered and fertilized properly. There are no insects in the soil as of yet. It's just not growing well. I'm beginning to think that our yard is some kind of Bermuda triangle for horticulture.

This weekend really went quickly. Tomorrow, I'll go back with a serrated knife and cut the rough edges off the expanding foam after it has fully cured. Then, after I paint the stuff, you won't even know it was there. If I don't have a lot of writing work on Monday, I might go out and price some new tires for the Defender. I've started noticing that the slow leak in the rear tire is getting worse, and it's time for new tires anyway. Buying tires is right up there with putting on a new roof when it comes to satisfying ways to spend money. Oh, well. As Mick Jagger says, "You can't always get what you want..."

Dot and Dash have the right idea. They certainly didn't try to turn this weekend into a chore marathon. Right now, they're both taking a snooze on top of the bed's freshly laundered comforter. I'll think I'll join them.

Boo is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Day 1285

The first rule of home improvement should always be that after you buy the tools and supplies you need, you should never wait ten years to use them. I waited too long and none of the projects I started today turned out well as a result. I went back to Home Depot and got more supplies, but by then I was too tired to do the work. Oh, well. Probably these new supplies will suffer the same fate as the old ones I replaced.

Janet took me out for a birthday dinner tonight. She's been so busy that this was the first time she's had the time to go out in several weeks. We had a lovely, relaxed meal. It was probably as close as we've come to having an actual date for a long time. I had Wagyu Bavette with an arugula salad, asparagus, new potatoes and jalapeƱo cornbread. Wagyu Bavette is a lot like Japanese Kobe beef and is absolutely delicious. I drank sparkling water while Janet enjoyed a Cosmopolitan, but it was a small price to pay for having a functioning liver.

There are bees in our yard again. I don't know where the bees are coming from this time, but they sure seem to know how to find me. I've looked all over for the hive, but can't seem to find it anywhere. I wore long pants and a jacket in the 100 degree heat to avoid being stung while I was working on the house this morning, but the bees still hovered around, looking for an opportunity. Why is nature so adversarial? I always seem to be faced with stinging bees, grubs eating the grass roots, or poisonous snakes slithering through the yard. Oh, and then there are the cockroaches. I can't even begin to tell you how irritating the cockroaches are. When there are millions of them outside, there seems to be no way of preventing a certain percentage of them from getting inside.

From time to time I wonder about where I'd like to live next. I'd like a place filled with serene beauty, without being hassled by critters and bugs. Living on a beach would be nice, if it weren't for hurricanes. Living in the mountains would be nice, if it didn't get so cold. Living in a beautifully appointed high rise would be nice, if it weren't for the disagreeable homeowner's associations that come with these types of buildings. Been there, done that. I don't want a disagreeable homeowner's association questioning every move I make ever again. Maybe Shangri-La doesn't even exist. The sad truth is that I need to start seeing the glass as half full instead of half empty, and that's very, hard for me to do.

Tomorrow is dog park day. Dot and Dash have no problem enjoying simple pleasures like a trip to the dog park. Of course, they also have no problem abjectly hating simple chores like getting a bath. Maybe we aren't all that different. Life never gives you everything you want.

Kirby is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Friday, June 21, 2013

Day 1284 - Summer Solstace

I was faced with a dilemma this morning. I could either get fresh tar all over my tires, or I could wait forever for the slow moving convoy of paving machines to make its way past my driveway. I was hungry, so I opted to get ahead of the machines and drive through the wet tar. Driving through 300 yards of tar to get to a clear patch of road proved to be a good decision, since I wound up having something new and delicious for breakfast.

A combination of boredom and hunger sent me back to the cool restaurant, where I found over-easy eggs, served on a bed of smoked brisket to my liking. As I ate, I watched people re-fueling their electric cars at a quick charge station across the street and wondered if hospital scrubs had become the new working man's overalls.

After breakfast, I did my grocery shopping for the weekend, which basically amounted to picking up a bunch of pre-cooked items from the Central Market deli counter. I like to eat, but I'm not terribly fond of cooking. By the time I got home, the paving machines had moved down the block and I was able to get in my driveway again.

I had quite a bit of writing to finish today, but it all worked out well, especially since it was far too hot for the dogs and I to spend much time outside anyway. Today was officially the first day of Summer, although here in Texas, it seems like Summer has been with us for quite some time. I often wonder why I live here, since I'm always complaining about the weather. It's a climate of extremes and always seems to be too hot, too cold, too wet, or too dry.

The dogs get a bath this weekend. Usually, we're pretty good about keeping them clean and presentable, but I don't think they've had a bath in several months. Between Janet's travels, my own travels, the roofers, and the wet weather, there just hasn't been a good time. I'm not very particular about dirty dogs, but even I'll admit that they've both become filthy.

Janet helped me get the tax exemption on the house straightened out. It turns out I had downloaded the wrong forms yesterday and was actually applying to defer my real estate taxes until after I died. Oops. Not exactly what I had in mind. Jeez! Why would anyone want to do this, unless they really wanted to make their heirs angry?

I'm hoping for an uneventful weekend, filled with lot of sleep, leisurely meals and trips to the dog park. I imagine that Dot and Dash are hoping for something similar.

Barley is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Day 1283

The road crews were back in front of the house again this morning. This time it was paving machines, re-applying the same sort of asphalt surface they had scraped away a few weeks ago. Is this progress? Sadly, in today's world, I suspect it is. Millions of tax dollars were spent to fix a road that was never broken in the first place. Meanwhile, dozens of nearby side streets are still full of potholes and will probably never be fixed.

In honor of my advancing age, I fell on my butt and sprained my wrist while doing yard work. I was tugging on a large vine, trying to get it out of a tree. When the vine snapped, down I went. Oh, well. Now my right wrist matches the other one I'm always complaining about with the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

I got a ton of social media birthday greetings yesterday. Most of them were from people I'd never actually met. At least I had a vague idea who most of the Facebook greetings were from. I didn't have a clue who sent me birthday greetings on Google+. Not only did I fail to recognize the people, in many cases, I didn't even recognize the language the greeting was written in. For the record, I received no greetings at all from actual family members. They probably learned years ago that it just wasn't worth the trouble.

I wasted quite a bit of time today trying to apply online for a legitimate and well-deserved exemption on my real estate taxes. The powers that be couldn't have made the process more difficult if they tried. After I finally assembled and filled out the required forms, I noticed a little note at the bottom of one form that said everything had to be notarized. Why have an online form at all if it has to be notarized? It kind of defeats the whole purpose. I guess I'll finish this task another day.

Dot had very little energy on our morning walk. Even though we started out earlier, while the weather was cooler and there was still a breeze, I could tell she was getting too hot. We turned back well before our usual halfway point and made it home safely, but I'm really starting to worry about the old girl. She still loves to walk, but one of these days, I'm going to have to carry her home. That's not going to end well for either of us.

I've already taken the trash out to the curb for tomorrow's weekly trash pickup and am starting to salivate, thinking about my Friday breakfast outing. Staying on my wheat, sugar, and salt free diet forever is not going to be easy. I can still have meat in moderation though and I'm hungry for meat. I see a tasty, meat filled omelet in my future tomorrow.

Alamo is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Day 1282 - My Birthday

How did this ever happen? I've got a Medicare card in my wallet. I'm 65. My advancing age is somewhat confusing, since, at least in in my own mind, I'm still 19. Let's face it. A career in advertising and the absence of children in my life is not conducive to maturity. In many ways, I'm the boy who never grew up. I find myself in a weird sort of Twilight Zone. I have little in common with contemporaries who now share pictures of the grandchildren their own grown children have bestowed on them. I have even less in common with the current crop of young folks. They weren't even born when the seminal events of my life took place. Neil Armstrong's famous words, Ken Kesey's acid tests, and Jimi Hendrix's remarkable performance at Woodstock are all ancient history to them. They look at these things they way I look at Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

I'm certainly not crying in my beer about the situation though.  Oh, wait!  I can't drink beer anymore. My resolve to give up alcohol and change my diet has actually managed to turn back the clock in an odd sort of way. I feel much better than I did this time last year. I've lost twenty pounds. I have a lot more energy. And according to my doctors, my overall health has improved by just about any objective standard. There's even a much better treatment for hepatitis-c on the horizon, so maybe I can put eventually that behind me as well

I wish Dot wasn't so excitable. She got herself so worked up while the landscaping guys were here this morning sawing up the downed tree limb with their chain saws, that she tore a dewclaw. The vet got Dot patched up during her acupuncture appointment a few hours later, but she's got to learn to calm down. This wasn't the first nail she has torn or ripped out.

Like most birthdays in recent memory, this was just another work day. I completed a big update to an animal rescue website and wrote an article about watches. I didn't have to go up on the roof, because it was quite nice today. The dogs enjoyed their walks and so did I.

After dog training class this evening, Janet and I has a birthday celebration, complete with some delicious Sprinkles cupcakes. The dogs got little dog cupcakes as well. Yeah, I know. Cupcakes have sugar in them. I did forgo the alcohol though. I think I'm all set for another year.

Inky is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Day 1281

I needed to pick up a paint pen today to repair some gear. Paint pens are handy little tools for touching up nicks and scratches on camera lenses and just about the only place you can find them is in a hobby shop. Have you been in a hobby shop lately? I'm always amazed when I go into one of these places on a normal work day and discover it is filled with grown men who appear to have never worked a day in their life. They are all busy contemplating the latest radio controlled cars, or busy buying a new paintball gun. I think the only time women venture inside a hobby shop is when they are buying a birthday present for small boys. The rest of the time, these places are filled with grown men. I found my little paint pen and left, but it was hard to resist the urge to buy some sort of model myself. Hey, all guys like model cars, don't they?

While I was working this morning, I heard a loud noise outside, followed by flickering electricity for a moment. I though maybe another electric transformer had failed in the neighborhood. It wasn't until a few hours later that I discovered that the source of the noise was one of the large Oak trees in our back yard. Wind and rain had weakened one of the limbs and it had come crashing to the ground. I didn't notice the limb immediately because it landed vertically and looked like another tree had suddenly appeared inside a patch of ground cover. It's a good thing the dogs were inside when the tree limb fell. It landed right where Dot usually pees.

It rained again this morning. It's been raining so much lately that mushrooms are starting to grow in the new backyard landscaping. I'd really prefer grass to mushrooms, but I guess you can't have everything. I'm going to have the landscaping guys come over tomorrow and haul away the broken tree limb. Maybe they can tell me why the grass still isn't growing very well after all the work they did. I suspect they will tell me that a few more tree limbs need to fall, so the yard can start getting some sun.

I had quite a bit of writing work to finish today. I kind of envied those guys at the hobby shop with nothing better to do than play with radio controlled cars and helicopters. I've never bought a radio controlled car, but I'd probably have fun with one. I could attach a GoPro camera and photograph squirrels in the backyard. I remember years ago I had a fashion shoot at the home of Ozzie Osborne's drummer. When this guy wasn't on tour, all he did was play with radio controlled cars in his driveway. I kind of envied him too. Of course at the time, I had the job most guys wanted. I photographed fashion models.

Today, it's just me and the dogs in a quiet room with a powerful computer. I finished all my writing work and went up on the roof to clear away the rain water. The roof doesn't leak anymore, but it still doesn't drain well. I'm disappointed that after all the money I spent that I still have to climb up on the roof at all. Tomorrow is my birthday. I suspect that it will be a lot like today.

Rugby is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Monday, June 17, 2013

Day 1280

Janet is home again. The new roof has been paid for. I didn't even get stung by a bee today. For the most part, all is well with the world.

The day did start off with a humongous Summer rainstorm, but the dogs and I are learning to adjust to these storms. Instead of walking the dogs right after I get up, as I usually do, we all had our breakfast instead. Dot and Dash love to eat, so postponing their walk was no big deal to them. I am so slow fixing my own breakfast that by the time I was finished eating and had done the dishes, the rain was over. Problem solved. The sudden downpour cooled things down by at least fifteen degrees, so we actually had a very enjoyable walk. Our afternoon walk was another story entirely. Once the sun broke through the clouds, the moisture in the ground turned to steam and the air became a sauna.

Considering that it was a Monday, I was surprisingly busy today. I completed a couple of website revisions and wrote an article or two. I remembered to pay my quarterly estimated taxes too, so I can cross that off my list. I was actually so productive today that I feel I should be entitled to take Tuesday off. That will never happen though. There is always work to do on Tuesday.

Janet's flight was delayed by weather this evening, so I found myself out at the airport watching the bags go round and round at the baggage claim carousel. I like bags and it's always interesting to see what other people are carrying. At least half the bags are dull, utilitarian looking Samsonite models, but occasionally I see something interesting. My favorite bags are made by PortaBrace. These distinctive blue bags are made by hand in Bennington, Vermont and used almost exclusively by film and video production crews. I frequently use mine as suitcases. They are almost indestructible.

I wish tomorrow was Friday. It's not like the workload is all that terrible this week. I think I'm just getting tired of oatmeal for breakfast. Even mixed with strawberries and blueberries, it's still oatmeal.

Bali is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Day 1279 - Father's Day

My Mom used to tell me that I was her Father's Day gift to my Dad, since my birthday periodically coincided with Father's Day. I don't think Dad was all that happy about this situation, since I was frequently a thorn in his side. Although we were never really close, I always thought my father was a good Dad. He was a loyal, honest man who never forgot his family. Although I've never been a Dad myself, I suspect that this is exactly how a Dad ought to be.

I got stung by another bee today. In the process, I discovered where the bees were coming from. A group of them had made a home in an old stepladder that I'd been using to fix some things on the house. No wonder I was getting stung. You'd think I would have noticed the bees before I started using the stepladder. Nope. Sometimes, I don't notice much of anything.

The bee sting didn't stop me from doing some much needed Sunday yard work. I mowed the grass, front and back, and then did some weeding in the yard. Now, the house looks just as good as all the other houses in the neighborhood. I removed the remaining water from the new roof, because I wasn't patient enough to wait for it to evaporate. The cheap broom I bought at Sam's Club yesterday worked a lot better than the much more expensive professional broom I had purchased earlier at a builder's supply store. Go figure.

Without our usual Sunday trip to the dog park, the day seemed a bit empty. I guess it wasn't really a big loss. It was so hot that Dot and Dash had little interest in going outside anyway. We watched a movie on Hulu instead. I think we've finally reached an agreement on how to share the bed. There was no barking or commotion during the movie anyway.

Tomorrow, it's back to work again. I need to remember to pay my quarterly estimated taxes as well. I'm going to try to get up early, so I can walk the dogs before it gets too hot outside. Early in the mornings, it's still quite nice. Later in the day is another story. The dog days of Summer are definitely here again.

Harshey is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Day 1278

I wonder why my weekend chores took so long today? Maybe the heat and humidity sapped my strength. Maybe Janet usually does some of these chores when she's home. Maybe I just took an unusually long time fixing breakfast. I got a lot done, but it still seemed like a wasted day. At least there are clean sheets on the bed and my checkbook is balanced. The spackling paste and trowels I got for repairing the damaged Sheetrock in the living room are still sitting on a table in the hallway. I'm not up for that loathsome task yet.

It must have rained again last night. The sky was clearing when I took the dogs on their morning walk, but the ground was wet and everything was covered with dew. I didn't have the heart to look up on the roof, but I did buy another push broom with softer bristles when I was out shopping. The first broom I bought just isn't going to work.

I wonder if anyone still reads blogs anymore?  I've been getting hundreds of new followers every day on Google+ but it's been months since I was blessed with a new blog follower. Many of my favorite bloggers aren't posting as much anymore. Some of them seem content with the occasional Facebook update and don't update their blog at all. I think that's a shame, but who am I to judge. Since establishing a dialog was never a big concern to me, I'll continue doing what I've always done. My posts are kind of like throwing notes out to sea in a bottle. Maybe someone sees them, maybe they don't.

The dogs seemed determined to hog the bed last night. You'd think with one less person sleeping in the king size bed, there would be plenty of room for everyone. This is always when Dot and Dash stretch out to their full length, unfortunately. The two dogs seemed to take up the entire bed by themselves.

Since it was one of those cloudy bright mornings just after a rain, today would have been a great time to do some flower photography. I did take a few pictures with my phone while I was walking the dogs, but I didn't have the energy to return to the scene with professional equipment. It was just too humid outside. The air felt like a sauna and I felt like returning to the air conditioning. I'm getting soft. To think that there was a time when I actually wanted to be a National Geographic photographer.

Maybe tomorrow will be cooler. Most of the chores are done and the flowers are still in bloom. We'll see what the dogs want to do. They usually set the day's agenda anyway.

Shadow is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Friday, June 14, 2013

Day 1277

Fridays are somewhat ritualized. After I walk the dogs, I go out for breakfast and order something more interesting than oatmeal. This is usually a high cholesterol meal with several eggs, but I figure that one day out of seven with too much cholesterol is a lot better than the seven days out of seven that used to be the norm for me. After breakfast, I go to the grocery store and buy groceries for the weekend. Then I come home and try to finish the week's work so I can start my weekend free and clear of obligations.

I woke up this morning with a throbbing pain in my right leg. I momentarily thought I might have deep vein thrombosis or something equally foreboding. Then I remembered that I was stung by bees yesterday. I seem to be a lot more sensitive to bee stings than I used to be. This was one heck of a sting. Maybe the dreaded killer bees have finally arrived in Dallas.

It keeps getting hotter. The temperature was over 100 degrees at some point this afternoon. Maybe I'll finally get a tan this Summer. I've lost to much weight recently that I finally don't feel bad about walking the dogs without a shirt in the Summer. I certainly don't look like a young lifeguard, but it's better than it used to be.

I never like driving in Dallas in the Summer. The old Defender has a tendency to overheat and when I'm stuck in rush hour traffic I can literally see the temperature gauge on the dash inch upwards as I sit stranded at a traffic light. I've had to pull over to let the engine cool before, and it will probably happen again. It certainly takes the fun out of driving when every drive is a race against the clock to get home again before the engine overheats. Today, I needed to get some more ink for my large format printer. I did the smart thing. I just had my ink vendor drop ship the ink to me via UPS. I never though I'd use UPS to send things across town, but sometimes it makes sense.

I took Janet to the airport again this afternoon in 99 degree weather. It definitely made sense to take her car. No matter which Land Rover I drive, the airport is about as far as I ever go these days.

Daisy is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day