Saturday, August 31, 2013

Day 1355

Dot and Dash both got a medicated bath this morning. I wish our old self-bathe place hadn't gone out of business. The new place where we take the dogs for a bath is nice and clean, but the customers are so slow. The people ahead of us seemed determined to turn bathing your dog into a family entertainment event. They brought all their children with them and gave them each turns hosing down or putting soap on their dog. It took forever for Dot and Dash to get a tub, and as you know, they aren't the most patient canines in the world. I guess it was worth the effort though. Both dogs look a lot better now. Hopefully, Dot will be good to go for her water therapy next Wednesday.

I had a laundry list of things to get at Home Depot today. There was primer and paint for the ceiling, new stainless steel burner liners for the stove, jig saw blades, and a new Dremel tool with circle cutting attachments. I think I've got what I need to finish both the languishing sheet rock repairs and the cutting board project. Will I actually finish these projects in the next several days? Probably not.

When I was driving around this afternoon, I noticed that the Evoque wasn't in valet mode anymore. It seemed to have switched back to regular mode all by itself. I certainly didn't do anything. There is probably just some loose wiring somewhere and when I go over a bump, it switches back and forth. The weather's been so hot lately that I'm in no hurry to get the Defender back. I'm hoping now that Land Rover doesn't finish the repairs until Fall. The Evoque leaves a lot to be desired, but the air conditioning works great. It would be nice to go another year without any further overheating worries.

I had trouble sleeping last night, and as a result I had trouble staying awake today. Hopefully, the rest of the Labor Day weekend will be quiet and uneventful. I'm not sure what we'll be doing over the holidays. My new diet has made barbecue and beer a thing of the past, but there ought to be something fun to do. I'll ask the dogs what they want to do.

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

Friday, August 30, 2013

Day 1354

I decided to make a kitchen cutting board today. You would have thought this endeavor would have involved a quick trip to Home Depot, or better yet, an even quicker trip to Bed Bath and Beyond for a ready-made cutting board. Nope. Nothing is this easy with me. We've had trouble with cutting boards warping or splitting apart in the past, so I wanted something that was impervious to water. I thought mahogany would be a good choice, because people make boats out of the stuff. I discovered very quickly that not many companies sell select quality mahogany lumber here in Dallas. Even fewer will sell you a single small piece of wood about the size of a cutting board. After much searching, I finally found a specialty lumber company that said I could look through their scrap bin and see if I could find a piece of mahogany that met my needs.

Too bad this odd little lumber company was a long way away.  I'm glad I still have the loaner car. My Defender would have never made the journey in this heat. School is back in session and the route to the lumber company was peppered with school zones. Throw a few broken stop lights in the mix and traffic just crawled along. Eventually, I reached the lumber company and found a nice looking piece of mahogany. I'm glad I wasn't building a boat. Select grade mahogany is a lot more expensive than I'd thought. Now I've got to sand the board, round the edges, and then cut an oval hole in the center so I can fit a small colander to drain food when I place the board over the sink. Alternately, I could forget all this and just use the board like it is.

It's always something with the dogs. When I was walking the pair through some tall grass, Dash let out a yelp and acted like something had bit him. I looked at his paw and found nothing. There were no cuts or abrasions and he hadn't stepped on a thorn either. When I extended his leg, there was no sign of pain or discomfort. I don't know what happened, but Dash limped periodically during the trip back home. The boy seems fine now. Maybe he's just a big baby.

I think most of my clients have already started their Labor Day holiday. Work was non-existent today. I didn't even have any website updates to do, which is rare for me. I'd like to tell you that I did something exciting with my free time, but all I've got to show for myself is a 10x21 inch piece of mahogany. I did try something new for breakfast though. That was nice.

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

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Day 1353

I'm not a very observant person. Janet asked me this morning why I'd been washing my hair with conditioner all week. I wondered why the shampoo in the new bottle I bought last week was kind of hard to rinse off, but I never really questioned it. The bottle was the same color and shape as the last bottle of shampoo. I guess I never read the label when I threw it in the grocery cart. I wonder how long it would have been before I noticed the discrepancy myself. Sadly, I probably would have used the entire bottle without noticing that I wasn't really using shampoo on my hair at all.

I'd like to think I'm a keen observer of the world around me, but the truth be known, I'm generally oblivious to most things. Probably the main reason I take nice pictures it that I'm surrounded by beautiful things and eventually I notice them.

I'm starting to notice that some machines are a lot more popular than others at the gym. I wonder if this is because certain machines give you a better workout, or because they are just more pleasant to use. I tend not to use the popular machines because I don't like waiting for them to become free. It has occurred to me that my workouts might not be doing me any good at all. I really need to take some sort of orientation class and learn what these machines are actually designed to do. One thing that has surprised me is that I actually enjoy shooting baskets. I never enjoyed playing basketball, or even watching the game, but it is oddly rewarding to sink several baskets in a row.

When I stopped at the grocery store on the way home from the gym, I took a good look at the cars in the parking lot. Even if money were no object, I have a hard time getting excited by any of these cars. I might like the Honda Element if they made one twice as big. I might like a Ford Transit Van if you could get one with a big V-8 engine, fat sporty tires, and a luxury interior with a Sat-Nav system. Where are the newer versions of my Defender? Surely, somebody must make a short wheelbase truck with a big engine, two seats, and a large, completely flat space in back where I can put a full size dog crate. Extra points if the body is made of aluminum and the engine has a manual transmission.

This week went surprisingly fast, considering that not very much happened. Work has been unusually slow this August. If things don't pick up soon, it's going to look pretty bleak when I send out my September invoices. You can never predict the future though. In my line of work, things can go from dead quiet to totally stressful almost overnight.

Duke is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Day 1352

I went to a business networking breakfast this morning. About once a year this networking group invites me to join them as a prospective member. Even though I'm not a morning person, I always go to these meetings, because breakfast at The Park Cities Club, where the meetings take place, is fabulous. Once I arrive, the group quickly realizes how unbusinesslike I am, and I don't hear from them again for months at a time. This has been going on for years. After a while, they forget and invite me to join them again.

Although I am very good at what I do, I am definitely out of my league with this bunch. Almost everybody in the group is a CEO, CFO, or COO of a major company. I guess I'm a CEO too, but my only employee is a dog. The guy sitting on my right at breakfast told me that while he was staying at his vacation home in Hawaii during the financial crisis in 2008, he noticed how far real estate values had plummeted and stared buying up distressed beach properties. His definition of a distressed property was anything under $500,000.

I'm still a bit baffled at why this group would be interested in me as a prospective member, but I could definitely learn a lot by joining. I've never seen a more motivated bunch of people in my life. Most of these guys have already made several thousand dollars before I even get out of bed in the morning. I don't know if I made a better impression than I did at previous network breakfasts, but I may actually become a member this time. They're interested in having me create a website for them.

Dot did well during her acupuncture session today, but she couldn't go in the water therapy tank because the vet said she had the beginnings of a staph infection on her skin. Evidently only blemish free dogs can go in the tank. Dot is supposed to get a bath twice a week with a special medicated shampoo until her skin clear up. This ought to be interesting. A bath once a month is once too often for Dot. She hates getting a bath.

The neighbor's dog got loose today and attacked Dot and Dash while we were walking. I knew this would happen eventually. The dog is very dog aggressive and goes nuts whenever we pass by the neighbor's fence. The dog bit Dash and was trying to go after Dot when the neighbors arrived and got the dog under control again. Luckily, no damage was done. Dash got nipped in the but, but the bite didn't break the skin and Dash was back to normal as soon as the bad neighbor dog was taken back inside.

I found some vector art on the Internet and did the print job I screwed up yesterday all over again. When I was looking for good stock images, I thought I'd apply to join one of the stock sites as a contributing photographer. I'd forgotten what a pain it was to become a contributor to a stock agency. I had to submit ten high resolution images and add lots of meta-tags and technical information to each image before I could even submit it for review. I did this once before with another stock photo agency and only made pennies from the sale of the images once they finally accepted me. Ironically, I think it will be much easier to become a member of an elite business networking group full of high powered CEO's, than to have my photos accepted by a stock agency that will pay me pennies per image at best. That's life though. I've learned over the years to leave no stone unturned. We'll see what happens in both cases.

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

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Day 1351

Some days are a lost cause. I thought today would be a good time to finish a print job with a looming deadline. I don't do much print design anymore, since most of my clients have forgotten what it is. I fired up Quark Express and proceeded to re-learn all the things I'd forgotten since the last time I'd used this software. As it turned out, I'd forgotten quite a bit, but it all started coming back to me after a couple of hours of fumbling around. Eventually, I had a nice looking design and I started reading the printer's file upload instructions. Oops. This printer couldn't handle halftones. They wanted line art only, and unless I wanted to pay a huge setup charge for multiple spot colors, they wanted single color files only. I should have read all this before I got started. Oh, well. All I've got to do is throw away all the photos, find some line art vector files that look kind of like the photos I threw away and re-do the entire design using Adobe Illustrator instead of Quark Express. Piece of cake.

In the dumb and dumber department, ABC news sent out a tweet today saying that Neil Armstrong had just died. I felt sad reading the tweet, thinking that pretty soon none of the men that walked on the moon would be left. But wait a minute! Neil Armstrong was already dead. He died last year. Just goes to show that you can't believe everything you hear on the Internet, or on the evening news.

The weather was so nice this morning that I started looking for signs of an early Fall. I didn't find any, of course. By mid-afternoon the temperature was up over 100 again and it was clear that Summer wasn't quite finished with us yet. I always look forward to Fall. As the days shorten and grow cooler, I start to see beautiful sunsets that tempt me to carry a camera with me at all times. I get to quit mowing the grass for another year. And a blanket of leaves covers up the landscaping mistakes. If I'm lucky, the bugs disappear as well.

I got a letter from my historian sister who refuses to use the Internet. I learned that she'd gotten a post office box because a truck knocked over her mailbox and she didn't feel like fixing it. That she'd  fallen off a tall ladder and was walking with a cane. And that after having half a dozen books published, she'd lost interest in writing. Sounds like everything's normal.

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

Monday, August 26, 2013

Day 1350

The trouble with working is that I'm too busy to get started on any of my ambitious bucket list projects and not busy enough to make any real money. I feel like I'm treading water at times, but I guess this is still better than drowning.

When I find the time, there's all sorts of things I'd like to try. I've been meaning to hook a camera up to a Meade Cassegrain telescope I acquired at a charity auction. I bought the necessary fittings to attach a camera about three years ago, but still haven't found the right opportunity to photograph anything. There are only about three or four days a year when the sky is sufficiently free of haze to take advantage of this super telephoto lens, but so far there has either been a dog emergency or a client crisis whenever the ideal day arrives.

I need to make a cutting board for the kitchen. For some reason, all the wooden cutting boards I've seen available in cooking stores are the wrong size. I found a local specialty hardwoods lumber company on the Internet, but have never found the time to spend several hours searching for a perfectly proportioned piece of rosewood or mahogany. It doesn't help matters that I will also have to buy a router and learn how to use it in order to create the kind of cutting board I really want.

I'd like to put rock sliders on the Defender 90, build a model train layout, and start recording my songs again, but I'll openly acknowledge that some of these things will never happen. There are always practical necessities like painting the house and caulking cracks and crevices so bugs can't get in that supersede the fun stuff. I guess I could start on some of my bucket list projects if I didn't go to the gym several times a week, but the workouts have become a practical necessity as well. Too many of my friends have already had heart attacks. I don't want to be the next one.

When I was walking the dogs this morning, one of my neighbors brought me up to date on the Summer's ongoing neighborhood disputes. I'm glad I really don't keep up with these things. I try to pretend that the park behind my house is out in the wilderness somewhere, and it is always distressing to realize that it is just a small patch of green in the middle of a big city. I would like to live in the middle of forty acres of land with no neighbors at all. The trouble with this type of arrangement though, is that there are seldom good veterinarians nearby.

When I was at the gym today, I discovered something else that is murder on my carpel tunnel hands. The gym has a really nice basketball court, so I thought I'd shoot a few baskets while I was there. Yikes! This used a few wrist muscles that I haven't moved in a while. My hand-eye coordination isn't what it used to be, but I did manage to dunk a few.

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

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Day 1349

I think the dogs had more energy than I did today. Although we schlepped them all over town, they seemed to take it all in stride. Even though it was hot as hell at the dog park, they still enjoyed the outing. They were both great little ambassadors for Dalmatian Rescue at the PetCo store rescue event this afternoon. They even had enough energy left over to take a pretty decent evening walk.

I can't say the same for myself. I think it was mowing the grass after we returned from the rescue events that did me in. I don't care what you say. I still think mowing the grass burns more energy than anything I do at the gym. I use an electric mower now, and even though it is much lighter than the old gas mower, it is not self-propelled. Pushing that thing up a hill is probably all the cardio exercise I need. The yard does look much better now though.

I discovered that there's a name for the numbness I often feel in my toes. It's called Peripheral neuropathy and I actually wish I hadn't learned about it. I used to think the numbness was just caused by the Carvedilol I was taking to slow down my heart rate. It made sense that since my heart wasn't pumping as fast, the circulation to my feet wouldn't be as good as it should be. Now it appears that numbness and tingling sensations in the toes and feet can be caused by any number of things, including diabetes, Hepatitis-C, and vitamin B deficiency. What this means for me is that my doctors will never agree on a cause and they'll all propose different treatments. I guess it doesn't really matter, since there is no cure for Peripheral neuropathy anyway.

I finished my monthly writers group assignment this evening. Lately, everything I write is starting to feel like an assignment. Whatever happened to writing for the sheer joy of it? I'd like to imagine that I used to write for the sheer joy of writing, but I suspect that I've mostly just written for money. About the only thing I do for the sheer joy of it anymore is eat things on my forbidden list. Bacon anyone?

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

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Day 1348

We went to see The Rich Tones and Street Corner Symphony at the Eisemann Center this afternoon. I wasn't always a fan of acapella music, but I've grown to like the genre. Janet has a friend who sings with the Rich Tones, so we've gone to quite a few of these concerts. The Rich Tones are hard to describe. Imagine 100 women singing "Born this Way," with more energy and better harmonies than Lady Gaga and you get the idea. Street Corner Symphony were pretty amazing as well. These guys were the runners up on Season 2 of NBC's "The Sing-Off" and their acapella rendition of Train's "Hey Soul Sister" sounded even better than the one you always hear Patrick Monahan singing on your car radio.

I discovered today that the touch screen on the Range Rover Evoque isn't broken after all. A valet parking guy just put the car in Valet Mode and I don't know how to get it back to Normal Mode. Evidently Valet Mode locks the screen so the parking guy can't see your travel history on the GPS or your telephone contact list. Way too fancy for me. Valet Mode on the Defender 90 consists of me asking the parking attendant if he knows how drive a stick shift without a synchromesh transmission. Most guys say they know, but it's easy to tell they're lying when they grind the gears as they drive off with your car.

Not surprisingly, I didn't get all my Saturday errands finished today. Going to a matinee concert in Richardson took up a lot of time, but it was definitely more fun than mowing the grass. I did manage to get clean sheets on the bed, but that's about it. Maybe tomorrow. Or then again, maybe not. Tomorrow is a busy day as well. There a trip to the dog park on the agenda, and then later in the day Dot and Dash get another chance to be ambassadors for Dalmatian Rescue at a "meet and greet" event.

Truthfully, I"m not in a big hurry to  mow the grass. It's still way too hot outside. Maybe if I try to get a head start on some writing assignment tomorrow, I can postpone the outdoor chores a bit longer.

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

Friday, August 23, 2013

Day 1347

Dot has resumed taking normal walks in the mornings again. Dash's condition seems to have stabilized as well. I still feel a need to check in on the dogs while I'm away though, so I set up a laptop to monitor Dash in lieu of the still non-functional nanny cam. By the time I arrived at the cool restaurant for breakfast, the dogs were already asleep on the bed. For the time being at least, things are back to normal.

Yesterday I contacted various customer service departments with a laundry list of questions. It's always surprising who responds and who doesn't. A video equipment manufacturer responded within an hour with helpful suggestions about how to find a replacement quick release plate for their discontinued fluid tripod head. The French nanny cam company responded within a day, saying they were still working on the server problem. The GPS watch company never responded at all.

I made it to the gym again today. I seem to be able to manage two days a week, but it seems next to impossible to find time for a third day. I would think I'd be starting to see some increase in muscle mass now that I've been working out for a while, but I can't see any difference. I'm definitely stronger, since I can do more repetitions on the machines now, but I'm still way too skinny. With all the things I have wrong with me, there could be a dozen reasons why my muscle mass is not increasing the way I'd like. I'll continue the workouts though. At least they make me feel stronger.

It looks like a busy weekend. Janet and I are going to a concert tomorrow and on Sunday Dot and Dash are going to be ambassadors for Dalmatian Rescue again at a rescue event. There's always a trip to the dog park if the weather cooperates and I'm sure there will be grocery shopping and errands to run as well. I hope I don't have computer problems this weekend. I upgraded one of the computers to Mountain Lion today. I hate system upgrades, but some of the work applications I use regularly are starting to require this system. If Mountain Lion doesn't cause a mountain of problems on the laptop, I'll eventually upgrade the other computers as well.

It's hard to believe that September is just around the corner. It's not like anything exciting happens in September, but at least the weather will be getting cooler.

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

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Day 1346

When I went to my doctor's appointment today, my blood pressure was low. I wonder what that's all about? My blood pressure has been on the high side for as long as I can remember. Low blood pressure would definitely be a new wrinkle. My test today was to determine how elastic my arteries were and whether they were filled with plaque. I think I did OK on this test. The images on the screen were mostly blue anyway. I've had these tests before. Blue is usually good and red is bad.

Dot thinks she is better now and wants to resume her regular life. When I got Dash ready to go on his morning walk, Dot stood right by the front door and started slapping her leash with her paw. She was determined not to be left behind again. Since it's always hard to reason with a Dalmatian, I took both dogs on a shorter, non-strenuous walk. The walk seemed to put the dogs in a better mood, and the rest of the day was quite peaceful.

My new nanny cam quit working today. Par for the course, I guess. The camera works fine when I'm actually in the room with it, but the signal drops out as soon as I leave the house. This severely limits the usefulness of the gizmo. There was a cryptic message on the company website that said they were experiencing server problems. I'm just guessing, but the server appears to be in Sweden. Maybe that's part of the problem.

Land Rover still hasn't finished repairing the Defender 90. When I took the car in, they told me they'd have it fixed in two days. When Land Rover says two days though, they really mean two weeks. I suspect the car will be ready at the end of next week. I'm actually in no hurry to get the Defender back. The air conditioning work great on the Evoque loaner car, even though nothing else seems very reliable.

I'm really glad that Dot's condition is improving. Life seems to be returning to normal. It looks like I'm up to date on website updates and all the pending articles in my queue have been written and submitted. I even remembered to take the garbage out to the curb for tomorrow's trash pickup. Now, I just need to decide what to have for breakfast tomorrow.

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

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Day 1345

Dot's veterinary trifecta is over for the week. She definitely came away a winner today. I was amazed at how well she did at her physical therapy session. The vet assured me that the water therapy wouldn't hurt her injured leg, so Dot got a combo of acupuncture and water therapy at today's session. She even tried the balance ball for a short time, but she's got to get stronger before she can do anything strenuous. The good news is that all her vets seem confident that Dot will make a full recovery. If you've got an older or geriatric dog, you really ought to consider physical therapy. Even though she has had her setbacks, physical therapy has made Dot visibly stronger and has improved her confidence.

I was so impressed with Dot's progress that I decided to go to the gym myself. I really didn't have time today, but it looks like I'll have to find a way to make the time if I want to see any real improvements. Last week I was so busy that I only made it to the gym once. That's not really enough to make much of a difference.

I finally made it to the grocery store to pick up some things for dinner as well. One of the downsides to eating fresh food is that you've got to go to the store a lot more often. No more picking a six month old can of tuna fish off the shelf and making a tuna and mayo sandwich on white bread for dinner.

There was lots of website work to finish today, but it all went fairly smoothly. I even had time to finish another article, although I was running late all day. By the time I got home from the gym, it was already time for dog training class. We debated whether it was wise to take Dot to class this evening, but she likes to go, so we went and just had her do the easy, non-strenuous exercises. Dash did all the exercises, and even did a few of them well.

One of my faithful readers reminded me this morning that yesterday was actually Tuesday, even though I'd written that I'd done pretty well for a Monday. It's been that kind of week. I don't know what day it is. I just keep moving along, in hopes that Friday will eventually arrive.

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

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Day 1344

If you didn't know any better, you'd probably think I operated a pet taxi service. The day was spent carting Dot and Dash back and forth to various vet appointments. I'm happy to report that Dot's condition continues to improve. She's moving around fairly well now, and although the Rimadyl she's currently taking to reduce inflammation in her leg might be partially responsible for her seemingly overnight recovery, it does appear that she suffered no serious damage last weekend. All Dot's vital signs looked good at her annual physical today. If I can keep her calm for a few more days while her leg continues to heal, I think she'll be walking normally again.

When I got Dot back home again, it was time to take Dash to the vet.  Nothing was really wrong with Dash this time. He just needed his bi-weekly antigen shot. There's one more vet appointment with Dot tomorrow, and then it's time for me to go back to the doctor again. A new ultrasound test one of my doctors wanted me to take got approved by insurance today, and I made an appointment to get the test done on Thursday.

The touch screen display quit working on the Evoque loaner car this afternoon. Now, when you touch the on-screen buttons, nothing happens. I can't believe that so many things are broken on a car with only 6,000 miles on the odometer. Of course there is always a chance that the odometer is broken too. I may be driving an older car than I think. I'm definitely never going to buy one of these things. The entire car is just a giant electrical problem waiting to happen.

Even though I was continually driving around, running errands, getting prescriptions filled, and taking dogs to the vet, I still managed to get quite a bit done today. The web-servers that were down for repairs yesterday were running normally again, so I was able to upload quite a bit of new material to client websites. There was a rush article that needed to be written in a hurry, as well as some pictures that still needed to be edited in Photoshop. I may have forgotten one or two things, but I think I did pretty well for a Monday.

I didn't have time to go to the gym today, which meant I didn't have time to stop at the grocery store on the way home either. Although there was nothing to eat for dinner in the refrigerator, there was plenty of soup in the cupboard. Janet loves soup. No matter how forgetful I am about grocery shopping, there is always plenty of soup to eat.

I'm hopeful that Dot's condition will continue to improve and that after tomorrow's vet appointment, life will return to some semblance of normality. If two dogs leave me with a feeling that I have a full plate, I wonder how people with small children and busy lives manage at all. Maybe they all have nannies.

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

Monday, August 19, 2013

Day 1343

One good thing about having so many veterinarians as clients and friends is that Dot and Dash always get excellent medical care. Dot went to her emergency vet today to get X-rays and make sure she hadn't seriously injured her leg. Tomorrow she goes to her regular vet for her annual physical exam. Then, on Wednesday she goes to see her physical therapy vet. I'm hoping that seeing three different vets on three consecutive days will help us find a conclusive answer to the problems she's been having with her rear legs. Today's visit was encouraging. Her spine and hips look remarkably good for a dog of her age. There were no visible signs of Spondylosis or pinched nerves on the X-rays either. She still might have a partial tear of her anterior cruciate ligament, but it doesn't look like she suffered a full tear, which is much more serious.

Since Dot was in no immediate danger and Dash's condition seems to have stabilized, I was able to take care of some of my own medical needs. I took copies of some new blood work over to my Hepatologist. I guess I could have just faxed the records, but there were so many that it seemed easier to drive them over to the hospital. Next, I got another doctor to approve a new cholesterol medication that a third doctor wanted me to start taking. My own medical team might not be as friendly and accommodating as Dot's, but dealing with them is just as complex. I've discovered that getting three or more doctors to agree on anything is next to impossible.

Today was Janet's birthday. We didn't have a huge party with an open bar and a rock band, but we did have some delicious Sprinkles cupcakes. Dot and Dash got to enjoy some Sprinkles doggie cupcakes as well. My favorite new Sprinkles flavor is S'mores. Somehow, they taste exactly like the Graham crackers with melted marshmallows and chocolate that are mandatory on any camping trip. Yes, I know that I'm not supposed to eat any sugar, but I probably won't eat another cupcake until the next birthday party. I think I'm OK.

It's a good thing that work was slow today, because I doubt that I could have met any deadlines today anyway. After I got all my medical errands out of the way, I did have time to update a couple of websites. I couldn't upload the changes though, since one of the sites was moving to a new server. With Dot's annual exam and Dash's antigen shot tomorrow, I hope my workload continues to be slow. After Wednesday is over, you guys can start piling it on again, but let's hold off for a little while. I've got sick dogs to deal with.

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

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Day 1342

Now Dot is having problems. She stumbled getting out of the car at the dog park this morning. At first I thought her slight limp was the result of landing too hard as she jumped off the car seat. After a few minutes, she seemed just fine at the park. Later in the day though, she had periods where she seemed unsteady and confused. Occasionally she would have trouble getting up. Once, when she was standing, she almost toppled over and I had to rush to catch her. For the most part however, she seemed absolutely normal, with no limp or side effects whatsoever. I started to wonder if her neurological problems had returned and shortly after dinner, my fears were confirmed. After taking a nap, she couldn't get up at all.  I helped her stand and she tilted to one side like she had vertigo. I'm almost certain that she's had another seizure.

It's stressful knowing that either dog could have a seizure at any time. Dot's seizures are completely different than the ones Dash has too. His are quite violent and hers seem like someone just temporarily switched off her brain. When Dot has episodes like this, she has a vacant, non-responsive look and appears totally confused.  The vet says she may be experiencing vertigo during these episodes and loses her sense of balance. I'm going to try to get her to see a vet tomorrow and find out if the problem is in her legs, or in her brain.

If it weren't for all the dog problems, it would have been a nice, relaxing day. The weather was unusually cool for this time of year and I'm more or less caught up with work projects. Since Janet has a birthday coming up, I did some shopping and package wrapping while Janet kept an eye on the dogs. Janet had to go to a meeting later in the day and I stuck to doing things where I could keep Dot at my side. She's resting peacefully now, but I think she might have problems when she tries to go out to pee just before bedtime. The last time she tried to get up, she was really shaky.

I hope things return to normal tomorrow. It was going to be a busy day already, but if Dot's condition doesn't improve with rest overnight, it's going to get a lot busier. Hopefully, I can get her in to see the vet in the morning, although I'm not certain if there's anything that can be done at this point. I wish the dogs were younger, since many of the problems that come with old age simply can't be reversed. I wish I was younger for exactly the same reasons.

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

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Day 1341

Today was a bit different. Janet and I went out to eat at a nice restaurant and then went to a friend's birthday party. The dinner menu at Central 214 featured items like Kobe beef pot roast, bacon wrapped rainbow trout and dinosaur kale. The party afterwards was a little more elaborate than the Sprinkles cupcakes and dog biscuits we typically celebrate with as well. There were at least seventy-five guests, an open bar, tons of food, and a fabulous band called Spector's Gun Collection. The name must have been a reference to the Phil Spector murder trial, but the songs were pure British Invasion. When I closed my eyes I could have sworn I was listening to Eric Clapton or The Who.

I was a bit nervous leaving Dash alone for so long, but it was nice to get out for a change. I felt a bit out of place pulling up at the valet park stand behind a Porsche, a Lexus, and a Mercedes. Then I realized I was still driving the Range Rover loaner car, so I guess I fit right in. If my memory was better, I probably would have recognized more of the guests. I probably worked with a lot of these people twenty years ago, but other than the birthday boy and his wife, I couldn't remember who anyone was. It was still a fun party though, even though we mostly just stood around aimlessly, ate cake, and listened to the band. It's a shame I can't drink anymore. The liquor was flowing pretty freely at this party.

Although the day ended with birthday cake and loud music, it started pretty simple. I was up on the roof at 7 AM, sweeping off yesterday's rain water while Janet walked the dogs. The weather was nice and cool this morning, so the dogs got a nice long walk and I got a dry roof. After breakfast, we went up to the Dalmatian Rescue kennels and took pictures of Logan, our newest member of the rescue program. Rescues are doing well this Summer. The pair of dogs we photographed last week have already found a home.

Hopefully, after a week on phenobarbital, Dash will have stabilized a bit and be able to enjoy his trip to the dog park tomorrow. Last week was a disaster, but he's seemed completely normal all week. Here's hoping for the best, anyway. The dog park is usually Dash's favorite event of the week.  I'm cutting it pretty close tonight with all the festivities this evening. Looks like I'm going to make my deadline though. Still haven't missed a day.

Toby is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, August 16, 2013

Day 1340

It had to happen. My nutritionist and my physicians are at odds with each other. The doctors now want me to stop taking all the supplements the nutritionist recommended to improve my liver function. The doctor's say these supplements and herbal medications are the only unexplained variable that might be contributing to my elevated liver enzyme levels. Not surprisingly, my nutritionist doesn't agree with this assessment. He says the enzyme levels would be even higher without the supplements. Either party could be right, but I'm inclined to go with the doctors on this one. After a very extensive Google search, I could find nothing that convinced me the recommended supplements even worked at all.

It's obvious to me that the food we eat has a huge impact on how healthy we are. What's not so obvious is why the medical community and the nutritional experts can't seem to get together on this fundamental issue. It's frustrating. Would it be too much to ask for everybody to be on the same page when it comes to diet, exercise, supplements, and meds? It' probably never going to happen though. Nobody agrees on anything these days. Pick any subject at random and you will find diametrically opposed and deeply held views.

It is my deeply held view that the technology gods were angry today. My fancy new Range Rover Evoque loaner car wouldn't go in reverse this morning. At first I didn't know what to do, since there is nothing mechanical on this car. Then I remembered what I always do with malfunctioning computers: I switch them off and then turn them back on again. I tried this a couple of times with the Evoque and it worked like a charm. As far as I'm concerned it's pretty pathetic when you have to re-boot your car to get it out of the driveway.

Later at breakfast when I tried to check on Dash using the nanny cam, there was a big red warning message on my phone that said "We are not able to establish a connection with your baby." I bet this message has made a lot of worried parents rush back to check on their baby in a big hurry. Instead of rushing home, I remembered how I'd gotten the car to go in reverse an hour earlier. I turned off the iPhone and then turned it back on again. The next time I checked the nanny cam, it worked perfectly. Dot and Dash were sleeping peacefully on the bed, just like they always do.

I still haven't gotten the standing water of the roof. It was a very busy day.  In addition to my doctor's appointment, there were photos to edit and color correct, websites to update, and two more articles to write. Somehow, I managed to squeeze in my Friday breakfast outing as well.  I don't know how peaceful the weekend will be, but there will definitely be fewer pills to take. I'm going to follow my doctor's recommendations and cut out the supplements for now.

Pogo it today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Day 1339

My photo shoot went well today. Taking pictures of a giant industrial machine wasn't the most exciting thing in the world, but I think my client will be happy with the images. The only thing that went wrong during the shoot was that I got grease stains on a nice new pair of shoes.  I should know by now that proper attire for taking pictures in a factory is always something you wouldn't mind being ruined. It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks though. I always try to wear something nice when I meet a client. I spend so much of my life in ratty clothes only the dogs ever see, that I find myself actually looking for situations to look presentable.

When I was driving around today, I noticed something new about the Evoque. Not only does this car have a rear view camera, it has a total of five different cameras, including one pointed straight down at the road to make sure you are driving between the white lines. I found all these cameras more than a bit distracting. Shouldn't you be spending your time looking through the windshield?

I was so busy with work today that I didn't even bother to sweep last night's rain accumulation off the roof. That's one of the nice things about having a roof that doesn't leak anymore. The water can just stay up there until it's convenient for me to remove it. Granted, this is an odd way to look at the whole situation. It would be much nicer if the water just drained off the roof all by itself. I guess that's too much to ask though. I've never seen a flat roof in my life that really drained properly.

After I made some changes to a client's website this morning, I noticed that the new content we added was already there. I looked at the date stamp on the files I discovered and was a bit chagrined to realize that they had been sitting in plain view for over two years. The client and I had both just forgotten they were there.

I was having trouble making a restaurant reservation tonight and Janet told me to use Open Table instead. Sure enough, even though the person I talked to on the phone said they were completely full, I quickly and easily made a confirmed reservation at exactly the time I wanted using Open Table. Obviously somebody is wrong about how full the place is, but I guess we won't find out who it is until we arrive.

I have another doctor's appointment tomorrow. If things go according to plan, I'll spend my time describing real and imagined side effects of the meds I'm currently taking, while the doctor writes out new prescriptions for even more meds. I'm not nearly as enamored with prescription drugs as most doctors are. I'm convinced that some of the stuff I'm taking now will eventually wind up on one of those "1-800-BAD-DRUG" commercials twenty years from now. I'll be the first to acknowledge that some medications do exactly what they ware supposed to do. I just don't know which ones I can trust.

Freckles is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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