Thursday, October 31, 2013

Day 1416 - Halloween

Halloween is a non-event at our house. I don't eat candy anymore, because I've got to watch my sugar intake, and all the kids in our neighborhood have grown up anyway. I didn't even buy a pumpkin for the front porch this year. I usually get a couple of pumpkins and leave them sitting on the porch until they eventually rot in mid-February. I finally realized that this is pointless. Now, the only pumpkins you'll find at our house are those that wind up in a pie. I do like pumpkin pie.

Our beautiful Fall weather has returned. When I walked the dogs this morning, the blue sky was dotted with puffy white clouds. As the sun rose, the landscape looked spectacular. This was one of the last mornings I'll be able to enjoy the Sunrise at a decent hour. Daylight Savings Time ends this Sunday and starting on Monday morning, the sun will almost certainly be high in the sky before the dogs and I venture outside.

Blue skies always put me in a good mood. The dogs had a nice long walk this morning. I finished all my work by 2 PM, and went to the gym again. Today, other people were using the basketball court, so I put on some boxing gloves and hit a punching bag for ten minutes. Much to my surprise, this was quite satisfying.

The local health food store sent me a reminder that they're having another cholesterol screening this Saturday. I just had a blood test at my doctor's office last week, but I think I'll go to the cholesterol screening anyway. I've got to confess that I've become addicted to blood tests. If insurance would pay for them, I'd have one every week. These tests are just about the only way to see if the meds I take and the many changes I've made to my diet and lifestyle are actually working. I always want to see good lab results, because I'd hate to be doing all this work for nothing.

This week has gone quickly. I've got a rare out-of-the-office meeting tomorrow, but I think I've still got time for a nice breakfast at one of my favorite restaurants. Who knows what November will bring? Hopefully, lots of interesting work and a continuation of the nice weather the dogs and I enjoyed today.

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

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day 1415

Wednesdays are busy enough when it's dry. When it rains on Wednesday, all bets are off. Today's unrelenting rain ensured that traffic would be congested wherever I drove, that Dot and Dash would be muddy wherever I walked them, and that virtually nothing I started today would be completed on time.

In wet days I wonder why I even go to these Wednesday morning networking breakfasts. I'm easily the least businesslike person in the room.  They'll probably kick me out of the group when they discover that I'm just going to these early morning meetings to eat bacon and see if my old dress suits still fit.

I had lots of writing to do today, but I managed to complete all my assignments. Hey, what else can you do on a rainy day? While I was writing, I kept the washing machine running with load after load of rain soaked clothing and muddy dog towels. The dogs still insist on a walk on rainy days. They don't like the rain, but they absolutely refuse to poop in the yard.

We kept our acupuncture appointment this afternoon, despite the rain. I would have preferred to stay home, but I think it's rude to cancel an appointment at the last minute. Dot did well in the underwater treadmill, but when the vet tried to test her balance and coordination by having her balance on a large rubber ball, she was pretty shaky. I wasn't really surprised. Dot is frequently shaky on flat, level ground these days. Nothing is going to turn Dot into a young dog again, but I still think that the physical therapy is helpful. She seems to enjoy the activity and maybe we can slow down the inevitable a bit.

Since it rained all day, they moved the dog training class Halloween party indoors this evening. Try to imagine fifty dogs in costumes inside a small room and you've got a pretty good idea what the party was like. I was amazed that there weren't more skirmishes between the dogs. It wasn't surprising that most people left as soon as the costume contest was over. With fifty dogs in a small room, you don't want to push your luck.

I'm hoping that things return to normal tomorrow. A little sunlight always puts me and the dogs in a much better mood.

Puppies are today's Dalmatians of the Day
Watch of the Day

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Day 1414

I noticed today that I've already made 25 cents from Shutterstock. Hey, it's only a matter of time before the money starts rolling in. It's kind of sad that people's creative efforts have so little value on the Internet, but that's just the way it is. Today's art directors routinely purchase fantastic stock images for just a few dollars that used to cost them thousands. At least photographers can upload a ton of images to a stock photography site and forget about them. Internet writers don't have that luxury. Writers are faced with coming up with custom solutions for pennies.

A certain amount of the writing I do is Internet-based. I'm always complaining about how low the pay scale is, but I have it so much better than some Internet writers. Some of these sites that pay for content advertise that writers can make as much as $3 to $10 dollars an article. Give me a break! This is no way to make money. I went through most of my career thinking that commercial writers should make a minimum of a dollar a word or $100 an hour. All I've got to say is that times have certainly changed.

Today was certainly a lot busier than yesterday. The dogs seemed to have regained their energy and wanted to go on a long walk. There were phone calls to answer and deadlines to meet. I paid some bills, updated a few websites, and finished another article.

I worked fast, because I was determined to get to the gym today. Working out three days a week seems just about right. Unfortunately, all it takes are a few snags in my schedule and those three days can easily turn into zero days. I lucked out today and everything clicked into place. I took Dash to the vet for his antigen shot, picked up some dry cleaning, went to the post office, and still made it to the gym before 4 PM.

I'm going to need some more good luck to make it through tomorrow. All the local weather forecasts are predicting severe weather tomorrow. I dread taking Dot to her acupuncture appointment during a thunderstorm. She gets so stressed out during storms that it would defeat the whole purpose of the acupuncture. The acupuncture session is supposed to relax you and thunderstorms have exactly the opposite effect on Dot. If the weather is bad enough, I'm just going to cancel tomorrow's appointment. If there is hail in the forecast, I'm not leaving the house at all. After Janet's car was severely damaged in a hailstorm several years ago, I've become very wary about driving in bad weather. We'll see what happens. Texas weather is very unpredictable. I could wake up to clear skies tomorrow.

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

Monday, October 28, 2013

Day 1413

Nothing big happened today. I took a small stack of documents to the new safe deposit box. I took an even smaller pile of shirts to the dry cleaner. And I picked up a single prescription at the pharmacist. Dot was tired today, so we took a small walk, instead of our regular much longer trek. I thought I was going to pick up a small puppy from animal control this afternoon, but someone else from Dalmatian Rescue had already arranged to pick up the dog before I could get my act together.

Work was equally slow. I had a meeting scheduled, but it got canceled. I made two small changes to client websites and answered a few e-mails, but that was about it. I should have used my time today to upload a large number of new pictures to Shutterstock, but I didn't. Once you get locked in a small frame of mind, it's hard to snap out of it.

I was just about to upgrade the computers to the new OSX Mavericks operating system when I saw a small notice on the Avid website saying that the latest versions of Pro Tools and Media Composer are not compatible with the new system. This always happens. Apple makes a big deal out of their flashy new system and none of the software I actually use for business works with it. Eventually the vendors come out with new, compatible versions of their software, but by then Apple is already off on another tangent. It's frustrating.

The cold front that passed through town this weekend seemed to accelerate the seasonal changes that were already underway. All the trees are changing color now and some are already dropping their leaves. Hopefully, there will be a few nice photography days before the trees are bare again. Since we have a lot of large, mature trees in our yard, there are a ton of leaves on the roof in the Fall. If it didn't rain so much, I would just leave the leaves up on the roof until Spring. A thick stack of leaves is sure to add some insulation value. Unfortunately, the leaves do get wet and turn into a soggy mess that retains water forever. For the rest of the Winter, I will have piles of heavy, wet leaves to push off the roof in addition to the standing water that accumulates year-round.

Dash has a vet appointment tomorrow, so it is questionable whether I'll be able to make it to the gym as I had planned. You'd think with the simple, uneventful life I lead, it would be easy to schedule things. Somehow, it never is.

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

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Day 1412

My brain didn't see much use today, but my body certainly did. I was up early this morning to remove the standing water from last night's rain from the roof. The dogs got a nice walk and a trip to the dog park. I even had time to go to the gym. I was surprised that the dog park was even open, since it rained so much last night. Maybe it didn't get as wet up North as it did in our part of town. The net result of all this activity are two tired dogs sleeping soundly on their dog beds and one somewhat sore guy typing out his last task of the day.

My new exercise regime seems to be working. I certainly feel stronger anyway. The one obstacle on my road back to good health seems to be my inability to get a good night's sleep. My Jawbone UP band tells me that I've been averaging four to six hours of sleep a night over the past three months. That's not enough. I've always been a light sleeper, but this is getting ridiculous. The dogs wake me up. My perpetual dry mouth wakes me up. Even bad dreams wake me up. I don't have nightmares. Just mildly irritating frustrations. Last night I dreamed that I was making the perfect hamburger. I carefully piled condiments and relish on my bun until everything was just the way I liked it. Just as I was getting ready to put the bun together and enjoy my meal, someone ran up and stole the meat from my burger and ran away with it. I was left holding an empty bun and woke up with a dry mouth.

Janet wanted me to pick up some groceries on the way home from the gym and I discovered that Sunday evening isn't a great time to shop. The store was packed. What were all these people shopping at this hour for?  Even though my list was short, it took me forever to get out of the store. Usually I go shopping at odd times like 11 AM or 2 PM when stores are empty, I'll have to remember not to go grocery shopping at 5 PM on a Sunday afternoon again.

We saw a cute Halloween costume for the dogs on the Internet yesterday. You start with one of those plastic cones that your dog sometimes has to wear when they come home from the vet. Then you attach a stick with some oversize olives to the cone and call the dog a Martini. This would be an easy costume to make for the dog class party, but we've also found some great Christmas costumes in the storage warehouse that I'd forgotten about. I know it's a little early, but Dot and Dash could go as Santa and Mrs Santa.

Thanksgiving is a lot easier to plan for. We just leave the dogs at home and go out to a nice restaurant.

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

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Day 1411

I went to the bank and got another safe deposit box today. I had let the old box lapse when I discovered that there was almost nothing of value inside. Now, I'm beginning to realize that there are still a few things that need to be protected from the paper shredder. In our house, it would be real easy to end up shredding a car title, or some other innocuous but important document, by mistake. Junk paper and important paper all look the same these days. If they weren't tucked away in a safe place, it would only be a matter of time before I accidentally shredded the car title and house deed along with all the irritating mail from the phone company and AARP.

Halloween is fast approaching and we still can't think of a good Halloween costume for Dot and Dash to wear to the annual dog training class Halloween party.  In previous years, the dogs have gone as Dorothy and the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz, a cowboy and his faithful horse, a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader and a Texas Ranger ballplayer. Dot's best costume was when we dressed her up as Cruella DeVil. Dash's best costume is anything that he will keep on for more than five seconds. After all these years, I'm out of ideas. Maybe we could turn them into poodles for the evening.

The day was filled with the usual weekend errands. There were trips to the gas station and the grocery store. The bed got clean sheets and the clothes got washed. I'm sure I could have accomplished more if it hadn't rained. The weather has been so nice lately that I've almost forgotten how disruptive a little rain can be. The dogs hate the rain and always manage to turn even a mild shower into a weather emergecy.

While Janet went to a hockey game downtown with clients, I huddled with the two storm phobic dogs on the bed and quickly fell asleep. Few things will put you to sleep faster than a warm dog on either side of you. Luckily, this was just a Fall shower, without  the usual thunder and lightning. We actually needed the rain, but it doesn't look like we'll be able to go to the dog park tomorrow. With the amount of rain we're getting right now, the park is almost certain to be closed on Sunday. I'm going to try to get to the gym again tomorrow, but my exercise will probably include sweeping water off the roof as well.

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

Friday, October 25, 2013

Day 1410

It was a good day. Nothing went wrong that I can recall, and that is rare for me. After I finished giving the dogs their morning walk, I went to the doctor to get a new round of blood work done. Hopefully, this test will be billed to the right insurance company.

Since I wasn't in the right part of town to eat at one of my regular Friday restaurants, I tried someplace new. I had a very tasty breakfast scrambler at a place that looked straight out of the 1950's. The menu was simple and hearty. I received a hand written bill scribbled on one of those little green and white pads that almost all restaurants used thirty years ago. I think the place only accepted cash, but I may go back. The food was good.

The best part of the day was the weather. So far, we have had a near perfect Fall. Temperatures have been in the mid-60's. Skies have been clear and blue. The humidity has been low. And best of all, the usual October rains haven't materialized yet. I can't complain and would love to see this beautiful weather continue through Thanksgiving.

I'm getting quite a few new LinkedIn connections, considering that I've totally ignored the place since the dawn of social media. My LinkedIn connections seem to fall in three distinct categories: former co-workers who connect as a courtesy to acknowledge that we are both still alive, sales professionals who would connect with an octopus or jar of peanut butter if it helped their rankings, and delusional Europeans who somehow think my company is bigger and more important than it actually is.

Dot was strong and full of energy today. I guess I will just have to accept that she has good days and bad days now. I'm grateful for the good days. Dot and Dash were happy campers and seemed to be enjoying the exceptional weather. For my part, I managed to get caught up with all my work assignments and will start the weekend with a clean slate. It would have been nice if I'd gotten a big check in the mail this afternoon, but at least I've gotten most of my October bills paid. I know I'm not the world's most appreciative parson, but at least for now, life is good.

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

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Day 1409

I got accepted as a Shutterstock contributing photographer today. I'll be interested to see if Shutterstock is any different than iStockphoto. I've been a contributing photographer with iStockphoto for five years now and only make a few dollars a year. Granted, I haven't made much of an effort, but it's just so much trouble to get photos accepted. I wish these stock photo agencies would let you upload a big batch of photos and not require you to add titles and keywords until after the photos were accepted. I can't even tell you how much time I've wasted writing elaborate descriptions of photos that didn't make the cut.

Even though the amount I currently make from stock photography and Google AdSense ads is miniscule, I'm still intrigued with the idea of passive income. It's all a matter of scale. Right now, I only have 10 photos on iStockphoto and another 10 on Shutterstock. If I had the patience to upload a minimum of 1000 photos, I might actually start making some real money. In theory, this is certainly possible. I certainly have thousands of decent photos in my files. So far, it just hasn't been worth the effort to upload them. The photos aren't doing me any good just sitting on my hard drive though. If I could bring myself to move them all from the hard drive to the stock photo servers, it might turn into a nice little retirement income someday.

Dot was very tired today. We didn't even get halfway through our morning walk before she wanted to turn around and go home again. Her condition varies from day to day. Some days she is active and full of energy. On other days, she is so stiff that she can hardly move. When we got home, Dot slept for the next four hours. When she woke up again, she was fine. We took our evening walk after dinner, and Dot had no trouble keeping up with Dash. Something is obvious wrong with the girl, but it isn't anything that shows up on X-rays, MRI scans, or blood tests. Her vital signs look extremely good for an older dog.

It was a busy day. I got two websites updated and finished all my writing assignments. Since I finished my work with time to spare, I went to the gym as well. Tomorrow, I've got to remember to get some more blood tests done before I go out for my Friday breakfast. When the blood work is finished, I'll celebrate by having some bacon.

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Day 1408

I've been pleased to discover that most of my old dress suits still fit perfectly. I haven't worn some of these suits for decades. When I put my phone in the pocket of a grey Armani suit this morning, I realized that the last time I wore this suit, the iPhone hadn't even been invented yet. I guess the suit hadn't gone out of style though, since one of the sharp dressed lawyers at this morning's breakfast meeting shook my hand to say hello and said "nice suit."

I had to answer several complicated questions via e-mail after I returned from the meeting and began to long for the day's when  my clients preferred to talk on the telephone. A wide variety of things that you could explain in five minutes over the phone seem to inevitably take thirty minutes of typing to get the same point across.

Dot seemed slow and stiff on her morning walk. I don't think she has arthritis, since the stiffness comes and goes. She doesn't limp or have an ACL tear either. Some days she has lots of energy and still seems like a young dog. On other days, she can barely walk from one end of the house to the other. By noon, Dot was completely back to normal, so we went ahead with her scheduled water therapy session. The short movie we made today shows how well she extends her legs underwater. Since the water makes her buoyant and takes a lot of the weight off her legs, it gives her a much wider range of motion than she would normally have. The video is in slow motion so we could study her gait.

Dot and I both had a very a busy day. Dot not only did well at her therapy session, she did equally well at dog training class this evening. For my part, I managed to answer all the questions I was asked in several lengthy e-mails, as well as make some website updates that were long overdue. Tomorrow is another day. I've got a several writing assignments tomorrow and a pile of bills to pay, but at least I won't have to get up early.

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

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day 1407

Another wayward website client came back to the fold today. It's nice to have the business again, although I'm not sure how long this is going to last. I guess I really shouldn't waste too much time fretting about the permanence of clients. I'm not very sure how long any of them are going to last.

The Apple product announcement today was interesting. The new operating system is free again, which is a nice change from the recent past. The Mac operating system always used to be free in the old days. There a danger in free though. If I don't have to pay for an upgrade, I'm much more likely to install it before I'm ready and screw up everything. I seldom install a new operating system because I really need the new features. It's a lot more likely that I'll install it on a day when I'm really bored. That's always when I get into trouble.

I'd like to get one of the powerful new Mac Pro desktops that are coming out in December. Do I need something this awesome? Probably not. If I still did a lot of video editing, I could pretend that I really needed this thing. Since I just use Microsoft Word most of the time, it's a bit of overkill. If I got this futuristic computer that looks like a shiny black trash can, I'd need a new monitor too. The new ultra high resolution 4K monitors this thing supports probably cost more than the computer. Oh, well. It's something to think about. Maybe I'll get a big video job between now and December.

Since I've been having trouble syndicating the blog to Facebook and Twitter lately, I decided to  install HootSuite. This was probably a mistake, since every time I've installed something to reduce the time I spend on social media, it has always seemed to increase it instead. Maybe HootSuite will simplify things though. I spend about an hour a day keeping up with a laundry list of social media accounts and that's way too much.

The dogs would much rather have me spend my time with them. Now that the weather has gotten cooler. we've started taking long, meandering walks along the shoreline. Both dogs like to smell things near the water's edge and I know Dash is going to fall in the lake one day. Dot is a bit more sedate, but she definitely has more energy than she did during the Summer heat. For the time being, we're all enjoying ourselves.

Much to my surprise, I managed to make it back to the gym today. Maybe Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday is doable after all. If I could find the time to workout three time a week, I might actually start to see some progress.

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

Monday, October 21, 2013

Day 1406

There are occasional benefits to dumping everything in the storage warehouse instead of just throwing it away like a normal person. While I was taking some things to the storage room today, I noticed some dusty old coats hanging in one corner. Among the coats was my favorite leather motorcycle jacket. This jacket was fairly snug even when I used to wear it in the 1970's. I haven't been able to get into the thing in decades. On a whim, I tried the jacket on again, and lo and behold, it fit. I know I've lost a lot of weight, but I didn't think that jacket would ever fit again. I dusted the coat off, put it on and continued my errands feeling younger than I have in years.

Although there were no new assignments today, there was still plenty to do. I have a long wish list from website clients that I'm still not sure how to fulfill. Whenever I have some extra time, I do a little research and see what I can learn to make these mostly odd wishes come true. I used to think I knew everything about the web, but increasingly I'm feeling like a stranger in a strange land. A lot has changed since 1995. I try to keep up, but I think I'm probably still a few years behind.

Dash saw a loose dog in the park this morning and panicked. Ever since he was attacked by another dog in the park several years ago, he gets extremely nervous whenever he sees a large dog off leash.  He has good reason to be afraid, since the other dog almost killed him during the attack. I feel terrible when I see how fearful Dash has become, but there isn't much I can do. I can't keep the dogs cooped up in the house all the time and Dallas is full of idiots who think it's perfectly fine to let their dogs off leash, even though there are sign ever 100 yards saying that it is illegal to do so. I just try to stay very aware of what's happening up in front of us and change direction if I see a loose dog.

I tried to make a doctor's appointment today and kept getting a message that said "due to unusually high call volumes, your wait will be longer than normal." I guess never is a lot longer than normal. They never did pick up the phone. I suspect that there never were high call volumes in the first place. It's a lot more likely that the receptionist just didn't show up for work this morning.

That bad thing is that other than driving across town to resolve the problem in person, I'll probably have to repeat this exercise in futility tomorrow. I still need to make the appointment. I did manage to get my toll tag account changed to my new license plate number though. Now, all I got to do is remember what this new number is. It took me years to remember the number on the old Defender plates.

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

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Day 1405

Dot seems to grow older by the day. She still likes to go to the dog park, but she's never active anymore. She mostly just moves slowly from tree to tree smelling things. She seemed exceptionally tired today and we didn't stay at the park very long. When we returned home, she slept for most of the afternoon. The girl still has her moments though. She bounced back after dinner to bark at the neighbor dog and was still eager to go on her evening walk.

I know exactly how Dot feels. On most days I feel exceptionally tired as well, but so far, I still seem to bounce back when the occasion calls for it. At least I don't have to go to work on Sunday, like Janet did today. I pulled weeds in the garden beds while the dogs were resting in the back yard, but that was about it. I try not to even think about websites and writing on Sunday.

I did think about going to the gym again this afternoon. It turns out that Sunday afternoon is the perfect time for me. For the second week in a row, the facility was practically empty and every machine was open. The basketball court was empty as well, so I didn't need to worry about taking up some young hot shot's valuable court time. Janet likes to take group classes at her gym, but I prefer to have the place to myself. I never did anything important on Sunday afternoons anyway, so this new activity is working out pretty well. I still don't know why I'm the only person who likes to work out on Sunday afternoon, but I'm not going to spend much time questioning things. I'll just enjoy this pleasant situation while it lasts.

The Wednesday business group I joined recently seems to think LinkedIn is important. I never cared much for LinkedIn myself, but I've started building up a connection list just to go along with the flow. I'm not going to get very far with this group by telling them that LinkedIn is worthless. Truthfully, the more time I spend with social media, the more useless all of it seems. Facebook is where I look at pictures of Dalmatians and see which of my high school friends died over the weekend. Twitter is where I relentlessly spam people with my writing and stories. Instagram is where I take pictures of my food. Google+ is where I find out what new technology I'm going to be wanting next. I'm not sure what I'll use LinkedIn for. I can't imagine the place actually bringing me any business.

I hope I get some sleep tonight. I'm a light sleeper anyway, and lately every time Dot or Dash coughs, I wake up thinking they might be having a seizure. Last night I woke up five times. The dogs were fine. I've got to get beyond this, since there isn't much I can actually do during a seizure anyway. We'll see what happens tonight. I'm tired enough that I ought to sleep like a log.

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

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Day 1404

The permanent plates for my new car arrived today and when I went up to the dealership to have them put on, I notice that my old Defender had a place of honor on the showroom floor. They'd waxed and polished the Defender 90, so it positively gleamed. You could have sworn that it was a brand new car, instead of one that was 17 years old. If I hadn't just sold this car a few weeks ago, it would have been very tempting to buy it. The Defender was, and still is, a very cool looking car.

The dogs are loving the near perfect Fall weather we've been having lately. The brisk, cooler temperatures have renewed their interest in taking long walks. On days like these, Dot thinks she has more energy than she actually has and I have to be careful not to let her walk too far. Dalmatians have no concept of moderation. They'll go full speed ahead until they get tired and then decide to go no further. This usually works pretty well, unless they decide they're tired when we're three miles from home.

After I got my license plates, I went to the grocery store and got gas. You won't hear me bragging about the new car's gas mileage. It gets terrible gas mileage. I spend the rest of the day doing little chores around the house. I vacuumed. I polished shoes. I cleaned the sheets and washed the car. It has finally gotten cold enough that I no longer need to mow the grass every week. One of the best things about Fall is that I seldom need to start the lawn mower.

After dinner this evening, Janet and I went to a neighborhood art show. One of Janet's friends turns her business into a gallery one a year and hosts new local artists. There was a nice crowd at the show, but I didn't recognize many people. I told Janet that I saw the lady who runs the local dog washing place we use, but when we went up to say hello, it turned out to be our mailman instead. I'm not very good with faces.

Do any of you use Shutterstock? I"ve been submitting photos to iStockphoto for quite a while and thought I'd give Shutterstock a try as well. So far it's been an exercise in frustration. You have to get ten pictures accepted before you can become a contributing member. I typically get eight or nine accepted and then have to wait two weeks before I can submit again. You have to start over from scratch and submit ten more pictures with captions and keywords. You can only submit pictures that are 4 MP and larger. Usually my favorite pictures end up being 3.9 MP and are not eligible. The login process to the submissions site uses those irritating Captchas as well. I hate Captchas. I'm beginning to wonder if it's even worth the trouble to join Shutterstock. You certainly don't make a lot for each stock image you sell.

Tomorrow looks like it will be a carbon copy of today. This means Dash will get his wish and we'll all be going to the dog park again. I may try going to the gym again on Sunday as well. This certainly worked out pretty well last Sunday.

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

Friday, October 18, 2013

Day 1403

Dot does not have a brain tumor. This is very good news. She still has seizures, of course, and we're not quite sure what's causing them, but seizures can be controlled. Although there's still something very wrong, it's reassuring to know that Dot's brain is as normal as a Dalmatian's brain can be. I'm always fascinated with MRI images. They're so clear and detailed. The imaging technicians took hundreds of images of Dot and if you put them together in sequence, you would have a detailed movie of what's going on inside her head. Some of these images show the eyes and the optic nerve. Others show the tongue and the esophagus. This slice seems to be centered in the middle of her head and shows the spinal cord attaching to the base of the brain. It was a stressful day, but everything is back to normal now. Dot recovered so quickly that she even wanted to take her evening walk.

Since the Animal Imaging Center isn't located nearby, I spent quite a while transporting Dot to and from her MRI appointment. The scan itself took less than an hour, but since she had to be anesthetized for the procedure, she was at the imaging center for most of the day. The place is pretty amazing. They have one of the most advanced MRI machines in the entire country. It is one of a small handful of MRI machines in the world that is large enough to accommodate horses. The facility is located in an equestrian center because most of the clients are horse owners. Lots of top race and show horses come to the facility to have injuries evaluated. Under ordinary circumstances Dot likes being around horses. Today was different though. She had no interest in horses. All she wanted to do was come home again.

Anesthesia often causes nausea in both people and animals. Dot woke up feeling a little under the weather and the trip back home during rush hour traffic didn't make things any better. She threw up in the car and seemed to feel better afterwards. I guess it was only a matter of time before one of the dogs threw up in the new car. If you have a dog and you have a car, the dog is going to vomit in it sooner or later.

The artwork of the Dalmatian without any spots came out very nice. I picked up the life-size image at the printer today and I think this will make a cute game at the children's carnival. We'll make the spots out of peel and stick black vinyl and let the kids choose where to place them on the dog. I guess we need to name the dog too.

I was lucky that there were no pressing deadlines today. I certainly didn't have a lot of time to write or make website revisions. I know that some of my clients read the blog, so maybe they just cut me some slack today. I'm hoping for an uneventful weekend. We all need a little rest around here.

Little Petey is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Day 1402

Today was an odd assortment of obscure tasks. Since the skies finally turned blue again, I went up on the roof and swept away a slurry of decaying leaves, pecan shells, and brownish water. I keep thinking that if I can keep the Fall leaves from turning into a big compost pile, the new roof will last longer. I could be wrong though.

Later in the day I found myself taking all the spots off of a vector art illustration of a Dalmatian. I needed to create a large image of a Dalmatian without any spots, so children at a Fall carnival could add the spots back one at a time and create their own Dalmatian. I sent the outline of the dog off to be printed on a 36" square sheet of plastic. Small kids should have fun putting the spots on a Dalmatian, shouldn't they? Hey, maybe it's a silly game, but it was all I could think of for our booth at this event.

Since work was unusually slow today, I found time to go back to the gym again. Three visits in one week is pretty good for me. I am still baffled by people who love to exercise. I don't find my workouts any different than vacuuming the floors, or mowing the grass. There's no endorphin rush for me. It's just another kind of work. I will admit that I enjoy shooting baskets on the gym's basketball court. Who would have thought? My Dad would have been pleased to see me pick up a basketball. It was his favorite game.

I just remembered that I left six of my favorite CDs in the Defender 90's CD changer when I sold the car. If the car is still up at the dealership, I should go up and get the discs while I can. You may wonder why it took me three weeks to remember that I'd misplaced my favorite CDs. I guess I don't listen to music much anymore. I certainly don't play CDs very often. Music is just files on an iPhone now.

I have to take Dot to the imaging center for her MRI first thing tomorrow morning. She's not going to be a happy camper when she discovers that she can't eat breakfast. Dogs live to eat and missing a meal is a big deal to them. She has to fast though, since they will be giving her anesthesia for her brain scan. I'll be glad when this is over with. I don't like to be anesthetized myself, but at least I know what's happening. The dogs have no idea what is going to happen to them, but I'm sure they blame me when they wake up again. They always give me one of those "how could you" looks when I pick them up after the procedure. This needs to be done though, so I hope Dot will be safe.

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

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Day 1401

I continue to be surprised at how much I'm enjoying these Wednesday morning networking breakfasts. By all rights, I shouldn't be enjoying them at all. I'm not a morning person. I'm not very businesslike. And I'm definitely not very good at small talk. Perhaps I just enjoy breakfast in all of its myriad forms.

Today's presentation was from a trial lawyer member of the group about how to prepare yourself to give a deposition. This seemed to be useful information for almost everybody in the room, which just goes to show you what a litigious society we live in today. I found the entire presentation fascinating and wish I knew this information six months ago when I actually might have needed it.

Dot did very well at her physical therapy session today. She was strong enough to start using the underwater treadmill again and seemed to enjoy the exercise. She had an acupuncture session as well. I can't imagine being as relaxed as Dot with several dozen needles in me, but the treatment seems to be effective. I never though I'd see the day when Dot looked forward to a vet appointment, but she likes her physical therapy vet. On these Wednesday trips, I don't have to coerce her to get in the car at all.

The weather is still cold and rainy. So far, I've avoided turning on the furnace, mostly because it would be nice to have at least one month with reasonable utility bills. The day to inaugurate the furnace is coming soon though. I may turn it on tomorrow if it's as cold as it was this morning. Hopefully the furnace still works. Sometimes it fires right up and other times it needs a little help.

A cold house does keep me wide awake though. I didn't even come close to falling asleep at the computer and breezed right through my website and writing assignments. I noticed that the clouds seemed to be lifting a bit towards the end of the day. If it clears up tomorrow, I'll need to go up on the roof again and clear the water away. I'd rather go to the gym again instead of just pushing the big broom around on the roof, but we'll see how the day goes.

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

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Day 1400

The rainy season has officially started. It is often this way in late October. It will rain for days at a time. This is typically not good for The State Fair of Texas, which occupies this rainy time slot. I remember going to a Rolling Stones concert at the Cotton Bowl late in October and it poured throughout the entire concert. I thought that Keith Richards was going to get electrocuted playing out in the rain, but the weather didn't seem to faze the band. They were all much younger then, of course.

Dot and Dash hate the rain. It messes with their doggy instincts. If they were practical dogs, they would just go out in the back yard and poop quickly on rainy days. Nope. They can't do this. They have to go on their regular walk, where they get wet and muddy. Light rain makes them mad and heavy rain sends them into a panic. You just can't win on rainy days.

Everything got dirty today. The dogs got dirty, The car got dirty. The floors got dirty. I felt like I spent half the day doing laundry and drying the dogs off. I did manage to get some articles written and got caught up on correspondence, but personally, I would have much rather just taken a long nap. I know there is a ton of standing water up on the roof, but I'm not even going to bother to go up there until I see the sun again.

When I took Dash to the vet for his antigen shot today, he took an unhealthy interest in some guinea pigs that were up for adoption in the lobby. I don't know whether he thought the guinea pigs were small cats or large squirrels, but he definitely though they were meant to be chased and barked at. Sometimes Dash can be embarrassing.

It would be nice if I woke up to a crisp and clear Fall morning tomorrow, but I'm expecting more rain. Although driving in the rain is one of my least favorite things, there are lots of places to go tomorrow. I'll start the day with a tasty omelet at the Wednesday business breakfast meeting. Then I've got to demonstrate a website prototype, and take Dot downtown for her acupuncture session. I have a feeling I'll be wishing I could take a long nap tomorrow as well.

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