Monday, September 30, 2013

Day 1385

I finally upgraded to IOS 7 today. Janet kind of shamed me into the upgrade, since she already upgraded her own phone a few days ago and experienced no problems. I used to be the first to adopt any new technology, but lately I've been dragging my feet. When I get familiar with something now, I'd just as soon keep it forever. Now that IOS 7 is up and running however, I'm wondering what all the fuss was about. I don't particularly like the new flat page layout, or the way apps open and close, but other than that, everything seems to work just as before. They say that Siri works a lot better with the new operating system. I wouldn't know. I never talk to my phone.

Monday seems to be the one day I can always make it to the gym. I can tell that I'm getting stronger, since I can do more repetitions on the resistance machines now. There are still no signs of increased muscle mass however. If anything, I seem even thinner than before. Several people at the golf tournament yesterday said I looked way too thin. Who knows? For the most part, my doctors have applauded my weight loss, because it reduces the risk of diabetes, but maybe I've gone too far.

I continue to experiment with a variety of cloud based widgets and apps to improve the websites I manage. Today, I replaced several manually created calendars with Google calendars. I don't know why I never tried this before. Now I've got self updating calenders that I don't have to mess with. For years, one of the first things I did every month was go and create new HTML code for the sites that had calendars. These Google calendars are so much easier. I can even designate someone else to update them and add upcoming events.

It's hard to believe that it's October already. Where has this year gone? Now, there's just Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas in quick succession and the year will be over. Time goes by so quickly now. There have been a lot of superficial changes this year, but it doesn't feel like anything has changed. I still get up every morning and do exactly the same things as I did last year. Hey, the dogs are still healthy. That's the important thing.

Friends are telling me that I've become way too negative. It's weird that my own perception is so different. I just like to think that I have an perversely ironic sense of humor.

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

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Day 1384

What a busy day! I removed yesterday's rain water from the roof as soon as I got up this morning. When the roof was dry, we ate breakfast, and then it was off to the Dalmatian Rescue golf tournament. This year's tournament was held at a course where every hole was a replica of some famous golf course in Scotland. The clubhouse was supposed to be a replica of a famous Scottish clubhouse as well. You certainly couldn't have proved it by me. The golf course looked just like every other North Dallas golf course to me. There must be hundreds of golf courses scattered throughout the Dallas suburbs. They all are designed so that people can buy homes overlooking the course. Why anyone would want to live in a gated community overlooking a golf course in the middle of nowhere is a mystery to me. The club we played at today was so far away, it seemed like we were halfway to the moon.

I don't play golf myself. My job at these events is to take pictures of all the golfers and put together a slide show that the players can watch during the dinner and awards ceremony that takes place after the tournament. I get in a cart and drive from hole to hole until I have captured all the golfers doing something that looks like they know what they're doing. Some of the golfers are quite good. Others, not so much. Everyone seems to have fun at these charity tournaments though.

A lot of people bring their dogs to the Dalmatian Rescue golf tournament. The dogs are initially excited by the fresh air and large expanses of green grass. They think they are going to a dog park. When nobody will let them off leash to race around the golf course, the dogs turn their attention to the buffet table. Dot and Dash got to eat all sorts of things that aren't on their regular menu today, but they still got bored quickly. Golf tournaments last a lot longer than a dog's attention span. By the time the day was over, Dot and Dash were so tired that they slept all the way home in the car.

Occasionally, I think it might be interesting to learn to play golf, but I don't really think it's my game. I'm a lefty for one thing, and can't even hit the ball off the tee with right handed clubs. It's an expensive game as well. I can think of dozens of things I'd rather do with my money. It's definitely a game of skill, but I get bored spending an afternoon on a golf course. Even taking pictures of golfers gets boring after eighteen holes.

I'm glad today's tournament was a success. The weather was perfect. All the golfers seemed to enjoy themselves and many of them said they'd return again next year. Most of the silent auction items got bids. This is Dalmatian Rescue's big fundraiser of the year and when the event is a success, it goes a long way toward helping the group continue to rescue dogs like Dot and Dash.

Sweet Pea is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Day 1383

I knew we were inviting trouble when we took the dogs for a bath this morning. There was rain in the forecast. A few hours after we took the clean dogs home, the downpour started. The dogs got dirty. The new car got dirty. And there is probably 800 pounds of water sitting up on the roof again. At least the roof doesn't leak anymore. That certainly makes life easier.

I doubt that the rain wouldn't even matter anymore if the dogs didn't panic at the sound of thunder. The storm got so bad this afternoon after I returned from grocery shopping that I was forced to get under a blanket with the two dogs and wait the weather out. This seems to be the only thing that works during stormy weather. Under the blanket, Dot and Dash almost immediately stop shaking and shivering. I actually welcomed a nap with the dogs today, since the only other things on my agenda involved work.

The rain eventually quit. Dot and Dash got their evening walk. I got some writing finished that I'd been meaning to do earlier. After cleaning the dogs up again, putting clean sheets on the bed, putting the groceries away, and hosing the road mud off the car, it was time for dinner.

The golf tournament is still on for tomorrow. Hopefully we will wake up to clear skies and cool breezes in the morning. You can't tell what will be happening from listening to the weather reports. Some stations say the rain will linger, while others predict cleaning skies and nice weather. We're certainly hoping for the latter.

It looks like I'm going to be paying more for gas and car insurance in the future. I got an amended bill from my insurance agent today and it seemed to take a lot more gas to fill my tank when I was running errands this afternoon. None of this came as a surprise. It was expecting the damage to be worse. Actually, there was nothing surprising about the entire day. It was just a regular rainy day with two dogs.

Spanky is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, September 27, 2013

Day 1382

I fired up Quark Express today to put together a print ad. It's hard to believe that I used to use this application almost every single day. Now, I can go months without using Quark or InDesign. Print may not be completely dead, but it certainly appears that way. Client meetings revolve around social media now and I can't even remember the last time someone I know actually ran an ad in a newspaper. Although it was kind of enjoyable to have total control over fonts and image placement again, I don't think I'll upgrade to Quark 10. What would be the point? I doubt that I'll be asked to design many print ads in the foreseeable future.

I don't know what the dogs were thinking today. They started barking for their dinner around 2:30 this afternoon, and kept bothering me until I finally relented and fed them early a few hours later. I would have appreciated a little quiet this afternoon, because I was still trying to figure out the mysteries of Wordpress. So far, I'm not a huge fan of this popular blogging platform. It's super easy to throw something together using the hundreds of readily available themes. When you try to modify those themes in Dreamweaver though, you're dealing with an entirely different animal. I haven't even tried to create my own themes yet. The frustrating thing for me is that most Wordpress files reside on the server. It's hard to show a client a local, in-progress version of a site without actually putting it online.

Whenever I try to make thing easier on myself, I usually end up making things worse. Now, I've got to go up on the roof before it rains and get rid of all the accumulated pecan shells so they won't stain the puddles of standing water that still accumulate when the roof gets wet. I've already lost the battle to keep the new roof sparkling white. Just about any form of tannin stains the white coating an ugly brown. Since dead leaves, pecan shells, and tree bark usually litter the roof, there's quite a bit of ugly brown already.

Janet wants to give the dogs a bath tomorrow, so they'll be clean for the Dalmatian Rescue golf tournament. They probably won't stay clean for long, since it's supposed to rain tomorrow. I hope the rain moves on and the skies are clear again on Sunday. We've managed to avoid rain on tournament day for over a decade. Last year, it was raining when we left the house, but by the time we actually arrived at the golf course. the skies had cleared and it ended up being a beautiful day. We need this kind of luck again this year.

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

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Day 1381

I spent most of the day wishing I could take a long nap. It wasn't excessive activity that was so tiring, it was quite the opposite. There are times when boredom can be exhausting. It certainly wasn't that there was nothing to do. I had plenty to do. Unfortunately, my to-do list was exactly the same as it is everyday.

I got caught up on all my writing assignments. I made some cosmetic website changes for clients. I did a load of laundry. The dogs got walked. I had my bowl of steel cut oats and fresh fruit and did the dishes. I tried to stretch these things out, but there was still plenty of time left over.

Instead of using my left-over time to do something new and adventurous, I went to the gym. Going to the gym usually consists of twenty minutes on the hand bicycle, twenty minutes working through the line of resistance machines, ten minutes on one of the rowing machines, and a few minutes on the court shooting baskets. I always do the same things over and over. I haven't talked to anyone at the gym yet. Maybe I will someday, but there's no hurry. According to my doctors, I should continue a regular exercise regime for the rest of my life.

I should have finished painting the Sheetrock repairs in the living room today, but I cleaned up dog poop in the back yard instead. This gives you a good idea of how much I like painting. Sadly, there are probably a lot of repairs like this that will continue to languish on the back burner until it's time to sell the house. I tell myself that I could finish all these repairs at any time, but this is a lot like the alcoholic who tells himself that he could quit drinking at any time. Truth be known, I have simply lost interest in the house.

At least I haven't lost interest in breakfast. I'm already looking forward to my regular Friday breakfast outing tomorrow morning. I still don't know if tomorrow will be a busy day, but if I have time left over tomorrow, I need to start getting my camera gear ready for this weekend's Dalmatian Rescue Golf Tournament. It's hard to believe we have been doing these tournaments for twelve years now. Of course, there's very little that I haven't been doing for at least twelve years now.

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

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Day 1380

Even though I'm never going to like getting up early in the morning, I'm starting to enjoy the Wednesday business breakfast group. The food is great and I always learn something new. Today I listened to a presentation by the CEO of the city's largest public hospital. What an eye opener. Now I know where all my tax money is going. This hospital is huge. There are 57 operating rooms and over 900 people are admitted to the ER every day. I think the hospital has a larger budget than the rest of Dallas county combined. The really amazing thing is that only 8% of the hospital's patients are covered by normal employer health insurance plans. Almost 50% are indigent and never pay at all.

I sincerely hope I never wind up at this hospital. It all seems pretty grim to me. I'd much rather stick with private hospitals like Baylor and Methodist. Actually, I think my dogs receive better health care than most of the people I know. Dot and Dash have fabulous, extremely knowledgeable vets who always seem to have the latest techniques and equipment. My vets converted to electronic records way before my human doctors. They were the first to get advanced digital x-ray and diagnostic equipment. Now, they are already offering sophisticated stem cell therapy, while my human doctors continue to promise similar services sometime in the distant future.

Dot did quite well during her physical therapy session today. The combination of acupuncture and water therapy seems to be working. She has more energy now and for the past several days, she has actually seemed stronger than Dash. I wonder how Dash would do using the water treadmill? He might freak out when the treadmill started moving. On the other hand, he might think that the whole thing was a game and have a lot of fun. Maybe I'll bring the boy to the clinic someday just to see how he does.

I got quite a few of my writing assignments completed today. If I could convince even a few of those guys at the breakfast meetings that what I do could be valuable to them, I would have more business than I'd know how to handle. I've started calling what I do "content creation" instead of "copywriting." Nothing has really changed, but it sounds better to a world obsessed with social media and the cloud.

Wednesday has definitely turned into my busiest day of the week. Now that we have returned from our evening dog training class and the day is winding down, all I really want to do is get a good night's sleep.

Zorro is today's Dalmatian of the Day

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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Day 1379

I thought I'd catch up on my bookkeeping today. I was sure that this little task would only take about thirty minutes, but it took hours. Oops! I had mistakenly entered a few items incorrectly in Quickbooks this month and I couldn't remember what they were. Eventually, I discovered my mistakes and got everything to balance again, but the whole process was a lot harder than it should have been. I sure hope that this isn't how Alzheimer's begins.

I have a new theory about how Dash injured his leg yesterday. I watched him closely on our morning walk to see if there was still any sign of a limp. The thing that struck me was how hard Dash scratches the ground after he lifts his leg and pees. A lot of male dogs scratch the ground with their rear legs. Dash does this ritual with all four legs. Dot and I have to make sure we're out of the way, or we'll get sprayed with dirt and grass. Sometimes he hits a hard patch of ground and one of his legs gets momentarily stuck. Watching him in action this morning, it seemed like he could have easily strained or sprained a muscle yesterday. Just a theory anyway.

My phone is starting to ask me to update to IOS 7. I don't really want to upgrade, since I'm perfectly happy with IOS 6. I'm probably out of luck though. I noticed this morning that IOS 7 had already downloaded itself through the cloud to my phone and is just waiting for me to install it. Sooner or later, I'll click on the wrong thing by mistake and IOS 7 will start installing itself whether I like it or not. That's kind of the way Apple is these days. You get accustomed to doing things Apple's way, or else.

The members of this business networking group I've started going to on Wednesday mornings encourage you to wear "Business attire" to meetings. For me, that would be a bathrobe, but to fit in, I've started digging my old suits and dress slacks out of the closet. Since I've lost so much weight this year, almost none of these clothes fit anymore. They're all too big. After a lifetime of seeing my clothes gradually become too small, I never anticipated something like this happening. I guess I could take some of the nicer clothes to the tailor and get them altered, but I'm not sure if there would be any point to this. As soon as I got the suits taken in, I'd start gaining weight again.

Scout is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, September 23, 2013

Day 1378

We got off to a late start this morning, but it didn't really matter since the temperature has cooled down quite a bit. You never know what is going to happen with the dogs. Dash started limping today on the way home. At first I thought he had stepped on a thorn or a burr, but I could find nothing when I examined his paw. Since he was limping on his left front paw, I knew he hadn't torn his anterior cruciate ligament. Something was really bothering him though. We would walk about ten steps and the stop for a while to rest. It took forever to get home again. I thought about trying to carry him home, but he's too heavy to carry very far. Since Dot was with me too, carrying Dash was pretty much out of the question. Eventually we made it home and I gave Dash a Benadryl and called the vet. After a two hour nap, Dash got up and started walking normally again. I still don't know what was wrong. Maybe he got stung by a bee.

On the way to the gym this afternoon, I stopped by the dealership and got some rubber mats for the new car. Hopefully, this will make it a little easier to clean up the mountains of dog hair. Dog hair was never much of a problem when Dot and Dash rode in the Defender, since they always rode in the large dog crate I kept in the back. While I was getting the rubber mats, I discovered that I'm supposed to put nitrogen in my tires instead of air and that there is a special button that will lower the car two inches closer to the ground to make it easier to load packages, or large dogs.

So many people I know tell me how much they enjoy things like running, cycling, zumba, and weight lifting. I have yet to discover the allure of these sweaty activities. I think I have been successful at incorporating a regular exercise regime into my weekly activities. I just don't enjoy it. I'm still waiting for the endorphins to kick in and I suspect they never will. So far, going to the gym seems a lot like mowing the grass indoors. Don't get me wrong. I thing the exercise is good for my health and I'm going to stick with it. It's just no substitute for photography or playing the guitar.

Other than Dash's unexplained limping, it was a fairly normal day. I went to the bank and the grocery store. I got some website work finished that I should have done over the weekend. Tomorrow looks like it's going to be a busy day, so I guess I can postpone painting the ceiling a little longer. Every time I look up, I realize that the Sheetrock repairs I made a month or so ago won't be complete until I re-paint the ceiling. Since painting is right up there with exercise on my list of things I could do without, finishing this little chore could take a while.

Sage is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Day 1377 - Autumnal Equinox

You couldn't have picked a better day for Fall to officially begin. Everything was picture perfect. The grass in the park is coming alive again after Friday's big rain. The sky was clear and free of haze. The temperature was in that rare sweet spot that makes opening the windows a pleasure. I just wish the days would stay this way a little longer. If memory serves, the rainy season is already just around the corner. I guess I ought to just relax and enjoy the Halcyon Days of Autumn while I can.

We had our first family drive in the new car today. Much to my relief, everyone likes the car. This hasn't always been the case. Once I bought a diesel Ford F-350 pickup and Janet and the dogs hated it so much that they refused to ride in it. I don't know what the dogs problem was, but Janet said the smell of diesel fumes made her sick. Hey, how was I to know? I always kind of liked the smell of diesel.

Janet told me that this was the best car that I've ever purchased. It shows you how long we've been together that she actually remembers four cars that came before the Defender. Dot and Dash seemed to approve as well. Finicky, car phobic Dash rode actually quite well on our trip to the dog park this morning. The only mishap was the humongous pile of dog hair in the car when we returned. I never really noticed dog hair in the Defender, since the interior was kind of the color of dog hair.  Since the interior of this car is black, the dog hair shows up quite well.

I watched a bit of the Emmy Awards on TV while we were eating dinner this evening and was appalled at the number of nominated shows I'd never even heard of. I guess I don't watch TV much anymore. I mostly watch TV to go to sleep at night and 50 year old shows like Perry Mason are perfect for this purpose. Just about the only current shows I enjoy are the British version of Top Gear and Dr. Who.

Even though I should have spent the entire day outdoors enjoying the near perfect weather, I did spend some time in the office, cleaning the large format printer. As I often do, I waited too long to run the cleaning cycle and ended up wasting half the new ink I bought last week. This printer always reminds me of the futility of so many things I attempt. I haven't given up on the printer though. I haven't given up on anything.

Sadie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Day 1376

What a beautiful Fall day. We woke up to blue skies and temperatures in the 70's. Best of all, it has stayed this way all day. Fall is my favorite time of year. The dogs don't get overheated on their walks. There is an abundance of interesting things to photograph. Occasionally, the weather is nice enough that I can actually open the windows in the house.

I made breakfast while Janet walked the dogs this morning. I wonder why I like breakfast so much? I never eat lunch and dinner doesn't interest me all that much either. Just about eery recipe I know is a breakfast meal. I was trying to think this morning when the last time I attempted to cook dinner and I couldn't even remember. It's been a long time. Breakfast was good. I made one of those skillet scramblers with eggs, pork sausage, sauteed vegetables and grated cheese.

There's nothing like a new car to make me aware of how bad drivers are in Dallas. They say that 20% of the people on the road in Dallas are driving without a license and I certainly believe it. Everywhere I turned today, I was confronted by people who looked like they wanted to hit me. Of course, the roads weren't any different than they ever are. I just had a different perspective on things.

We're doing another casino night to help Dalmatian Rescue this evening. The rescue group has been doing these casino parties long enough now that many of these events reoccur year after year. This is the third or fourth year we've been invited to put on a casino party for the organization that hired us tonight. This party usually takes place at a country club in an older part of town and there is frequently an Elvis impersonator. I need to remember to eat something before we go, since I don't think the hired help can eat the food at this event.

If our spectacular Fall weather continues, the dogs should have a great time at the dog park tomorrow. I wonder if Dot and Dash would enjoy a ride in the new car?

Rowe is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, September 20, 2013

Day 1375

I said goodby to the Defender today. I've had this car for seventeen years and it's hard to imagine life without it. There has always been a full size metal dog crate in the back. Frequently, the crate was used to take Dot or Dash to the vet. Other times it was used to transport recently rescued Dalmatians from the pound. When it wasn't full of dogs, the crate was often full of photo equipment. I got a lot of use out of this fabulous car.

As regular readers are well aware, the Defender also spent a lot of time in the shop.  As the car grew older, the problems gradually became more serious. I finally decided I'd been towed to the dealership one too many times. I knew I had a window of opportunity where the car was still desirable, even though it wasn't all that reliable anymore. I knew it was time to move on. I'm driving a new car now, with all the bells and whistles that people expect in 2013. I doubt that the new car will last for seventeen years though. I doubt that I will even want to keep a car for seventeen years again. Hell, seventeen years from now, they probably won't even allow me on the road.

I'd forgotten how many papers you have to sign when you buy a car. Cleaning out  the old car and getting it ready to trade and then doing all the paperwork at the dealership to get me into the new car took the better part of the day. I wasn't in any hurry though. It was pouring rain when I arrived at the dealership this morning and I was hoping the rain would stop before it was time for me to drive away. I didn't really want my very first trip in the new car to be a rain soaked obstacle course full of stressed out texting Dallas drivers determined to beat every red light. There are lots of accidents when it rains in Dallas.

I got lucky. It took so long to get all the paperwork signed that the skies were already clearing by the time I got behind the wheel and took the new car on its inaugural drive home. I wasn't so lucky with the roof last night. Sometime during the night we were all awakened by the loud crash of a tree limb hitting the roof. It sounded like a large limb and indeed it was when I climbed up on the roof this afternoon to assess the damage. The good news was that this particular branch wasn't dead and still had lots of leaves on it. The leaves cushioned the blow and I don't think the roof sustained any damage. The bad news was that the branch was awkward and quite heavy, so I had trouble getting it off the roof.

So, that was my day. There a is new car in the driveway and a large old Oak limb out by the curb. I hope I made the right decision getting a new car. You never know with cars. The Defender fit my needs and my personality like a glove. I loved that car, but I've also had my share of lemons over the years. We'll see how this new one works out.

Rosie is today's Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Day 1374

Why do doctor visits take so long? For every minute you actually spend with the doctor, you spend an additional ten minutes sitting in the waiting room. Sometimes, just to create the illusion that something is happening, you are moved from the outer waiting room to a second inner waiting room. It's still a waiting room though, complete with three year old magazines and posters on the wall detailing the symptoms of diseases you never want to catch.

I guess today's verdict was worth waiting for though. I'm still hanging in there. No biopsy required. Just some blood tests and the doctor telling me to keep on doing what I'm doing. The new treatment I've been waiting for won't be approved by the FDA until January 2014 at the earliest. I'm apparently good to go until then.

Since my doctor visit took twice as long as I thought it would, I got behind on everything else. Although I managed to get quite a few things started, nothing really got finished. I dropped some things off at the storage warehouse on the way to see my hepatoligist and got some prescriptions filled at the pharmacy on the way back. That was about it. I'll get caught up on my website work tomorrow. At least I hope I will.

Someone wants to buy my Defender before I trade it in on a new car. Although I might make more money selling the car to an individual, the whole idea makes me uncomfortable. I guess I've heard too many Craigslist horror stories. The dealership knows the car well, since they've been the ones who've worked on it all these years. What they're offering me is realistic. I've afraid that an individual would have buyer's remorse as soon as they discovered the realities of living with a car that has 112,000 miles on the odometer. The truth is that I wouldn't even be considering getting a new car if driving
the Defender was as cool as some people think it is. It's a very old car.

Dash almost caught the armadillo in the yard this morning. I don't know what he'd do if he actually caught the thing, but I don't want to find out. So far, I haven't figured out an effective method of keeping the critter out of the yard. It can dig its way under the fence with ease. Maybe the rain will keep the armadillo away for a while. It's pouring outside now, and of course, Dot is under my desk, convinced that the sky is falling.

Rhett is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Day 1373

I don't seem to be cut from the same cloth as other business people. I don't know what to talk about at these new Wednesday morning networking meetings. The younger folks are talking about their bicycles and upcoming 10K races while the older folks are talking about vacation homes in Hawaii. Everyone is focused like a laser about making new contacts. Jeez, I forgot to even bring any business cards with me this week. I did join a conversation with several guys who wanted to drive a Tesla. Hey, I'd kind of like to drive a Tesla too. Today's presentation was about leveraging the power of your LinkedIn contacts. Hmm! I don't even like LinkedIn and seldom spend any time on the site. The LinkedIn fans didn't understand why I preferred Twitter and Google+. We could probably learn something from each other. I have way more social media contacts than these guys, but they seem to actually be making money from theirs. Money is usually just the accidental result of doing something else for me. I've never been focused on making money.

Like I said earlier, I could learn a lot from these early morning meetings. When it comes my turn to make the morning presentation, I'll have to resist the urge to present topics like "How to make just enough to get by while dressed in your underwear," or "brainstorming while walking Dalmatians." I dread the day I have to bring a guest. I don't know anyone who would get up this early. Well, that's not entirely true. Janet gets up this early every day, but she would never go to these type of meetings.

Dot had a much lighter workout today, since she stumbled and fell on her walk yesterday. Her physical therapy session started with acupuncture to relax some tenseness in her back and then progressed to a slow, almost relaxed, workout in the water therapy tank to stretch her leg muscles. So far, I think Dot has spent more time at the gym this week than I have.

My chronic indecision might not be good for buying a car, but it sometimes works to my advantage in the stock market. My broker recommended that I sell several stocks yesterday and I told him I'd think about it. Today, the market had a great day and the stocks that the broker recommended selling went up like a rocket. Three more days like today could pay for my new car. It will never happen though. Probably the market will reverse direction tomorrow and all of today's gains will evaporate.

I have an appointment with my hepotologist tomorrow. I hope my liver is still functioning as it should. I'm eating all the right foods now. I'm exercising regularly. I'm keeping my weight and blood pressure under control. I don't know what else I can do. I wonder if the new treatment they've been promising me has finally been approved by the FDA?  This new treatment has been delayed even longer than Land Rover's new Defender 90 introduction.

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

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Day 1372

I guess if you snooze, you lose. The car I was thinking about buying was sold to someone else today. I wish I was quicker about making these kind of decisions, but I'm not. I've always gone back and forth about big decisions. There's a good chance that the next car I find will be snapped up by someone else as well. Eventually, I'll find something I like though. I always do.

One of my doctors keeps submitting bills to the wrong insurance company and then I get billed for the entire amount when the insurance company says they never heard of me. I call and get things straightened out, and then a few weeks later the same thing happens all over again. I am slowly losing faith in people's ability to do anything correctly without having the luxury of a "do over." Sometimes I think the whole world has become incompetent.

One of my favorite rescue dogs passed away today. Connor was one of the lucky ones, because he found a wonderful second home. I just wish he had been given a little more time, because he was an amazing dog. Our canine friends just don't live long enough. I am reminded of this every day as I watch Dot's steps become slower and slower. She stumbles easily now and I have to be careful where she walks. Dot does the best she can and I do the best I can to take care of her. Hopefully, this will give us the additional time we both still need.

Dash is still a young dog, but he has his own health issues. He was back at the vet again today for his antigen shot. Along with the phenobarbital he is taking for seizures, he will probably have to continue these bi-weekly antigen shots for the rest of his life. If controllable epilepsy and skin problems are all Dash has to worry about though, he's doing pretty well. I have seen so many dogs who have had to deal with far worse.

I'm so tired of dealing with health issues that I suspect this is one of the reasons I want a new car. I can't guarantee that the dogs will stay healthy any more than I can guarantee my own health. When you realize you can't make yourself new again, and even the prospect of making your house new again seems remote, maybe making your car new again might be as good as it gets.

I need to remember to get up early tomorrow for my Wednesday morning business networking breakfast. I hope getting up before sunrise once a week eventually becomes second nature to me, but the desire to "rise and shine" certainly hasn't kicked in yet.

Connor is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, September 16, 2013

Day 1371

It was an unlucky day for a lot of people. Before I even heard about the mass shootings at the Navy Yard in Washington DC, I saw a man fall off his bicycle after an apparent heart attack while I was walking the dogs in the park this morning. The good news was that it only took paramedics about four minutes to get to the scene with an ambulance. The bad news was that the fellow cyclists who tried to administer aid on the scene probably made the man's condition worse.

Later in the day, I saw a cement truck run into a Mini Cooper. You can guess who won that confrontation. The cement truck driver seemed very distraught. I don't know if he was worried about the other driver, or that the cement in his truck was going to harden, because he had to stay at the scene until the police finished their accident investigation.

In between these calamities, I managed to get a lot of work done. I'm still making steady progress on the new website I'm currently developing for a client. I ordered more ink for the large format printer. I paid my third quarter estimated taxes and got a check in the mail to the IRS. Since there weren't any writing assignments due today, I even found time to go to the gym. For the first time, I managed to score three baskets in a row while I was waiting for one of the weight machines to become free.

I still don't know whether there's a new car in my immediate future. I think I've narrowed things down to two choices, but there is nothing decisive to swing my decision one way or the other. If it weren't for the fact that the Defender could fall apart at any minute, I might not make any decision at all. I know the time is right through. I have a feeling that sometime within the next several weeks, I'll be driving by the dealership and buy something on impulse.

Tomorrow looks like another busy day. I've already got several requests for website revisions and Dash needs to go to the vet again. One of my doctors has been sending bills to the wrong insurance company too. I've got to get that straightened out as well. At least the weather is improving. I saw the first hints that leaves are starting to change color today. Could Fall be right around the corner? Maybe it's time to buy some pumpkins and put them on the front porch.

Phantom is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Day 1370

There wasn't enough time to take the dogs to the dog park we like in North Dallas this morning, so we went to another one right in the neighborhood. This park wasn't as well manicured as its North Dallas cousin. The dogs were a bit scruffier too. Dot and Dash certainly didn't seem to care. As long as they got to run around and smell things off leash, they were happy campers. It would certainly be easier to take the dogs to this nearby park, but I've seen fights break out when people brought aggressive dogs to the park, and our vet told us that one of her patients caught Leptospirosis from stagnant water in the park. If we can keep the dogs safer by driving a bit further to a cleaner, more polite dog park, it is well worth the effort.

I mowed the grass for the last time this season. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm sure I'll be mowing the front yard for several more months. There is a slight leak in one of the front yard faucets and I startled a few frogs who had made the damp grass around the leak their Summer home. I wish frogs were all I had to worry about in the back yard. The armadillo has returned every night this week and is making a mess of things. I discovered a large hole that the critter had dug under the fence to get in and out and filled it up with dirt again. Maybe this will keep the armadillo out, but I doubt it. If an armadillo can dig one hole under the fence, it can probably dig another.

I thought I'd install a webserver on my laptop so I could show my client the new Wordpress site I've been building. Much to my chagrin, I had to read the installation tutorial all over again. In less than a week, I'd already forgotten how to do the installation. I had a general idea how to do the installation, but that wasn't good enough. Servers and databases just won't work unless you have all the passwords and permissions set correctly. I finally got everything working properly, but as I have mentioned many times before, I'm not really a detail person.

I keep vacillating back and forth about buying a new car. Some days I feel like keeping the Defender and finding someone who could retrofit a new engine. Other days, I feel like taking money out of savings and getting myself something plush and extravagant. Today, I felt like getting a car just like Janet's. Her car is quite nice, somewhat affordable, and it's certainly been more reliable than mine over the years. If I wasn't obsessed with having something totally unique, this whole process would be a lot easier.

I don't know why I went up on the roof today. It hasn't rained in weeks. What I saw surprised me. The entire roof was covered with a layer of broken pecan shells from the neighbor's pecan tree. I knew the squirrels liked pecans, but I didn't know they liked them this much. I must have swept ten pounds of cracked pecan shells off the roof. Doing this little chore now will save me a lot of trouble later. Pecan shells will turn a puddle of standing water the color of iced tea. There are a lot more pecans that are still hanging on the pecan tree though. It is almost inevitable that by by this time next year, my nice white new roof will be the color of iced tea as well.

Spot is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Day 1369

I'm getting closer to buying a new car. I went back to the dealership this afternoon and got real prices on three different alternatives. It's been a while since I've done this, but one thing hasn't changed over the years. The actual drive-away price is quite a bit higher than the price you initially anticipate. By the time the dealer adds tax, title and license charges and an extended warranty, the sticker prices is suddenly thousands of dollars higher. If you're foolish enough to ask for something extra, like a towing package or a roof rack, all bets are off. I still think the time is right to trade the Defender while it still runs and the trade in value is high. I may need to rethink my original plan, however. I might not have the money to get the car I really want.

I don't know why I'm surprised. Given a choice, I'll always choose the most expensive, extravagant thing in the room. If wishes were horses, I'd be shooting all my videos using a Red Epic and stills with a Hasselblad H5D. Should I throw caution to the wind and get what I really want? Or should I be practical? This should be an easy decision, but it's not. On one hand, I could save my money for something more important in the future. On the other hand, if the money sits in the investment account too long, it will eventually find its way to another worthless stock that drops like a stone. At least a car could provide some temporary enjoyment.

Dogs don't seem to have these dilemmas.  Janet and I went up to photograph a new Dalmatian today, and the only thing this friendly girl seemed concerned about was where her next dog treat was coming from. I'm not sure if I got any good pictures. It was a hot day and the more pictures we took, the longer the dog's tongue seemed to get. I told her that she'd look much prettier with her mouth closed, but she didn't seem to agree.

It doesn't look like I can avoid mowing the grass much longer. This is the time of year when I try to convince myself that I'm mowing the grass for the last time this season. It usually keeps right on growing though. Sometimes I'm still mowing the grass in December.

Tomorrow, the dogs get their weekly trip to the dog park. There isn't much grass left at the dog park in September, but the dogs don't seem to care. They'd rather dig holes in the dirt anyway.

Nicholas is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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