Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Day 1750

Good grief. Flu season is here. The State Fair of Texas just started. And a guy with the Ebola virus was admitted to Presbyterian Hospital after wandering around town for a week. What could possibly go wrong? I guess it was inevitable that Ebola would make it's way to America, but did it have to come to Dallas first? This is a little too close to home. Presbyterian Hospital is only four or five miles from my house. The gym that I go to is actually owned by the Presbyterian healthcare network.

I listened to the press conference held this afternoon by the CDC. The only thing I could think of was that every single post-apocalyptic end-of-the-world movie I've ever seen starts with some government bureaucrat standing in front of a microphone telling people that there's "nothing to worry about." Every time I hear that this disease can't be transmitted through the air, I think of all the other things that couldn't possibly happen, like Fukushima and Chernobyl.

I'm sure for the next week of so, everyone who gets a fever in Dallas will think they've come down with Ebola. It doesn't help that officials are very close-lipped about the whole situation. They won't reveal the airline the guy flew here on. They won't reveal who his family is, or where he was seen in town before he arrived at the hospital feeling sick. Why do they let people from West Africa continue to fly here? This is an uncontrolled pandemic that has already claimed over 3,000 lives in a short amount of time. It is insane to keep pretending that "there is nothing to worry about."

I awoke this morning to the sound of a dog trying to throw up in the bed next to my head. I've heard this sound before, so I immediately picked Dot up and quickly took her outside where she proceeded to throw up on the back porch. It's probably nothing, but when a dog is recovering from cancer you always worry that the cancer may have returned. Both dogs have sensitive stomachs and are prone to eat crap in the park. It's not a good combination. I've been keeping an eye on Dot today and she seems completely normal. All dogs throw up from time to time and hopefully this was just a fluke.

I completed my troublesome website project today and wrote two new articles. I consider this a good day. It would have been an even better day if the stock market hadn't taken a tumble. It's depressing to toil away at the computer to earn a few hundred dollars when you're simultaneously losing thousands in the market.

The yard is rapidly becoming covered with dry, yellowed elm leaves that the dogs and I inevitably track inside. The elm tree loses its leaves first, and then the oaks and pecan trees quickly follow. Fall has definitely arrived.

Thelma is today's Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day

Monday, September 29, 2014

Day 1749

I wish there was a longer gap between the end of Spring allergies and the beginning of Fall allergies. Fall allergies are back with a vengeance and it seems like I only had a single month of relatively pollen-free peace. With literally hundreds of different plants continually shedding their seeds and spores in the park behind our house, I've just about resigned myself to a lifetime runny nose.

Since antihistamines leave me loopy, I've resorted to using those big, blue rolls of shop towels like Kleenex. It's good that I work alone, because it seems like I spend the entire day blowing my nose. I think the dogs are having seasonal allergy problems too. They've certainly been licking  their coats a lot lately. Allergies usually affect a dog's skin instead of their nasal passages, but I'm sure it is equally irritating. I've got my own skin irritations this week as well. I thought yesterday's fire ant bites would have gone away by now. Instead, the red puffiness around my knee has resolved into dozens and dozens of hard red little bumps. It kind of looks like I have chicken pox. I don't know how long it will take for this mess to go away, but at least the ant bites don't itch as much as chigger bites.

I only had one thing to do today, but the task proved so difficult that I still haven't finished everything. I'm not sure I even want to be a website designer anymore. I initially got interested in doing this type of work because it seemed well suited for a solitary guy like me. I could sit at my computer and create beautiful things without having to deal with printing companies and production managers like my print-based contemporaries. This business model worked for a long time, but lately I find myself spending very little time actually doing graphic design. It's all about Javascript, PHP, and SEO these days. The thrill is definitely gone. I don't like modifying other people's Wordpress themes either. That's what I was doing today.

I often envy the dogs. We like a lot of the same things. They like to eat. So do I. They like to smell every bush while we take our walks. I like to photograph every bush. It works out nicely. When we come home, the dogs go to sleep. I wouldn't mind going back to sleep either, but unlike Dot and Dash, I've got bills to pay. I wonder if they realize how lucky they are.

I hope I can get my website project finished quickly tomorrow, because some new writing assignments came in late in the day. Tuesday is usually when I have to update one of my animal rescue websites as well. No rest for the weary. I'm already looking forward to Friday.

Sweet Pea is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Day 1748

The golf tournament photo shoot ended well, but it certainly didn't get off to a good start. I loaded my gear in a golf cart after I arrived and was just about ready to get in the cart myself when two other golfers commandeered the cart and drove away. I had turned away for just a few seconds to talk with someone and when I turned back, my cart was gone. I told two nearby club pros what had happened and they went looking for the cart. Within five minutes I had all my gear back. No harm was intended. The other golfers just thought the cart was empty and didn't notice the stuff in the back.

About ten minutes later, I kneeled down to get a better angle on a guy teeing off and I stuck my right knee straight into a fire ant mound. Almost instantly I had hundreds of fire ants crawling all over my leg. I knew I shouldn't have worn shorts. Yikes! These little critters can really sting. One of the nearby golfers asked if I needed to worry about anaphylactic shock. Thankfully, no. Luckily, I'm not allergic to bee stings and ant bites because I tend to get stung a lot.

The day ended well and I wound up getting hundreds of nice shots of golfers, Dalmatians, and golfers with their Dalmatians. I did find myself briefly going the wrong way on a one way street while I was driving home from the tournament. It was just that kind of day. I'm glad we left the dogs at home today. As accident prone as I was this afternoon, I probably would have dropped Dash's leash and he would have run off.

It's hard to believe that the rescue group has been having these charity golf tournaments for well over a decade now. I think this year's tournament was our thirteenth. We're all older now and there aren't as many dogs in the program. Dalmatians aren't as popular as they were when the Disney movies made the breed famous. That's a good thing, because far fewer dogs are being abandoned. I doubt that we would have the energy to deal with twenty-five dogs at a time like we used to anyway.

Janet won a gift certificate for 24 Sprinkles cupcakes at the tournament silent auction this evening. At the rate we eat cupcakes, this should keep us in birthday and celebration cupcakes for another year. The birthdays are all finished for this year, unfortunately. We'll have to figure out something else to celebrate, because those cupcakes sure are good!

It looks like next week is going to be busy. I've already got several new projects queued up and it isn't even Monday yet. I could have showed you dozens of people hitting a little white ball off a tee today, but I thought the clouds overhead were more interesting. This was definitely a Texas sized sky.

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

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Day 1747

Today we declared war on fleas. Both dogs have been seen with fleas lately and we suspect that they are probably inside the house. Fleas love to hide in carpet, bedding, dog blankets, and of course on the dogs themselves. Both dogs got a bath this morning, and then to make sure new fleas didn't just crawl back on each dog, I started systematically washing and cleaning everything. I'm still not finished. I think there are enough dog blankets in our house to sink a ship.

The house needed a good cleaning anyway, so hopefully this will help. You might think it would be a lot easier to just use a topical flea preventative like Frontline, but our dogs have sensitive skin and products like these leave their skin red and raw. Personally, I'd rather deal with the fleas than with a bad skin condition.

It took forever to get the dogs washed this morning. The place where we go only has four tubs and they are often filled when we arrive. Today a mother and daughter cut ahead of us in line, saying they had an important school event to attend and were running late. The daughter, who supposedly was in such a hurry, proceeded to text her friends on her phone while she was washing her dog. She was impossibly slow. An employee was grooming a dog in one of the other tanks while we were waiting. This girl left to go on a break, just leaving her wet dog sitting in the tank. She could have easily moved the dog to one of the kennels in the back and let some of the waiting customers bathe their dogs while she took her break. She also could have finished her job before she took her break. That's what I would have done. I'd leave these people a bad review on Yelp if it weren't for the fact that, despite all the problems, it's still the best dog washing place in the neighborhood. The manager is a nice guy and keeps the place very clean. It's his customers and employees who are the problem.

I noticed that Dot's dog bed was wet this afternoon, but I couldn't tell whether she had peed in the bed again or whether she was still a bit wet from her bath. The wet spot didn't really smell like pee, but my sense of smell isn't so good, so I took the cover off the bed and washed it anyway. Once I get in a washing kind of mood, it's hard to stop me. I recorded the new Dr. Who episode on the DVR again this evening because it doesn't look like I'll have time to watch it any time soon. By the time I get all the cleaning done and charge up the camera batteries for tomorrow's photoshoot, it will be time for bed.

I saw our yard possum again this morning. Luckily, the dogs didn't. I have a feeling that the possum lives somewhere in the back of the yard, because it certainly doesn't go far. I don't know why it likes our yard so much, because their are plenty of larger and much grander yards just down the street. Maybe it feels at home here. I'll have to admit now that the St. Augustine grass is dying and the ground cover beds are full of spider webs and weeds, the yard does look like a place a possum might enjoy.

Tomorrow will be busy. I keeping thinking that I have way too many aches and pains to do sports photography anymore. Then I remember that I'm just taking pictures of golfers. It isn't all that strenuous. I just follow the players around in a golf cart and take picture of them teeing off and putting. Occasionally, I get a good shot. I know the golfers are having more fun than I am, because they're drinking beer, while I'm still just drinking water.

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

Friday, September 26, 2014

Day 1746

There were no pretty wildflowers to photograph this morning. I didn't feel like waiting around for a sunset picture either, so this photo of my breakfast will have to suffice. You've heard about my Friday breakfasts for quite a while. This is why I like them so much. It's hard not to like a plate filled with fresh local eggs, chorizo, tortilla strips, tomatoes, onions, skillet browned potatoes and lots of savory spices. Oh, did I mention that the coffee is roasted on the premises too.

After a breakfast like this and a quick trip to Central Market to pick up something equally tasty for dinner, I'm usually ready for anything.  Fridays are typically busy, but since one of my clients has closed up shop for Rosh Hashanah, all I had to do today were several routine website revisions.

With a slow day, I had time to finish my September writer's group assignment a little early again. This month's prompt was "sleep," so I wrote about my dreams. I probably did this because I wrote something about dreams yesterday on the blog. Today's essay was a little longer, but it was essentially the same thing. When you write as frequently as I do, it's easy to feel like the well is running dry. This wasn't the first time I've borrowed from the blog to do something else, and it won't be the last.

My e-mail account has adopted a new way of identifying spam. Instead of dumping all the suspicious mail in a junk mail folder on my local computer, they keep it on the server and send me a summary once a day. I have to look through all the listings and choose whether to whitelist, delete, or block the detained mail. I know this is for my benefit, but it takes a lot more time than my old method of dealing with spam. I would routinely ignore everything in the junk folder, knowing that it would be automatically be erased when I closed my mail client. I'm sure I've lost a number of legitimate letters this way, but it sure was easy. I dread having to actually look at all the junk I get each day. On an average day there are over a hundred spam messages.

This weekend will be busy. The dogs get a bath tomorrow and Sunday is the Dalmatian Rescue golf tournament. I won't be able to go to the gym on Sunday, but shooting photos of the players on all eighteen holes of the golf course will be a workout in itself.

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

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Day 1745

I finally saw our elusive possum. I got up last night about 2 AM to get a glass of water and there he was, methodically perusing the yard right outside the living room window. He wasn't digging anything up, but he sure was looking for something. This must have been a young possum, because he was much smaller than I anticipated. It's a good thing the dogs were both asleep, because possums move really slow. I asked our vet today if these animals posed a rabies risk like bats and racoons, but she said no. They are marsupials and are not carriers of rabies. This is good to know, but I still wouldn't want the dogs to tangle with one.

I've been having strange and complicated dreams lately. Unfortunately, I can't remember any of them. When the dogs wake me up during the night, I'll often think "this is a weird dream," and then the dream just vanishes about ten seconds later. I can't remember anything at all. I wonder if I'll recall these dreams later in life. I can't remember any recent dreams, but some of my childhood dreams are quite vivid. A few are so real that I occasionally wonder if they actually happened. It's hard to tell. All these dreams are floating around somewhere in my mind, but they are only accessible after a long period of time has passed. During those fleeting moments when the dream is fading away, I often notice that Dot and Dash are dreaming too. I wonder if we're all dreaming about the same thing?

Dot had another good physical therapy session today. We're back to our regular routine of a twenty minute workout in the underwater treadmill, followed by acupuncture. The vet was happy that Dot was responding well to the Incurin treatment and I was happy that there were no embarrassing fleas on Dot this time. I'm really glad that things are getting back to normal.

Today was busier than I expected. In addition to Dot's vet appointment, there were articles to write and several last minute website revisions. The fact that I got everything done with only a half a day of actual computer time means that I'm becoming more productive again. I think it helps that I don't have to get Dot up and outside to pee every few hours now. In fact, Dot gets indignant if I try to take her out too often. She gives me this look that says "Hey, I can hold it now. Leave me alone."

There's a mosquito buzzing around my office that I can't seem to find. I know I'm going to wake up with a mosquito bite in the morning, but it's not worth the trouble to get out the stepladder and a flyswatter to get rid of the irritating bug. It's a sign that it was a pretty good day if the mosquitoes don't bother me. Hey, if Thursday was OK, Friday should be great. You guys already know how much I love Fridays.

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

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Day 1744

When I was walking the dogs this morning I noticed a bulldozer ripping up the trail we normally use. Now there is just a lot of loose dirt that will immediately turn into a mud pit as soon as it rains. I think the city is planning to replace the trail with a much wider concrete bicycle highway to accommodate all the cyclists who like to ride in the park. I'm not looking forward to this. The trail has been a nice, peaceful place to walk the dogs for many years and as soon as the cyclists arrive, it will just be another place to avoid. Bicycles and dogs on a leash don't mix. The dogs and I have almost been run over by Type-A cyclists too many times to count. When you're on the same trail together, these guys, and they're almost always guys, don't want to slow down or move over for anybody.

I probably won't have to worry about the bicycles for quite a while. City projects move exceedingly slow. It will take at least a month for them to rip out the old trail. Then it will take another month to construct the wooden forms and place the steel rebar reinforcement before actually pouring the concrete. Sooner or later though, this bicycle highway will be finished and I'll have to find a quieter place to walk the dogs.

Life is gradually returning to normal. The dogs are healthy again and Dot's incontinence problems seem to be over. My workload has returned to a predictable mix of writing and website design. I'm busy, but not too busy. There seems to be plenty of time for a leisurely breakfast and long dog walks while still meeting deadlines. The familiar routines aren't all that exciting, but they're comfortable. As long as the dogs stay healthy, I'm OK with this.

Dot was stronger today and participated in many of the exercises at our training class this evening. Both dogs seemed to enjoy the cool, pleasant weather. Since the autumnal equinox was yesterday, the days will start to get noticeably shorter now. It's already dark by the time training class is over and pretty soon it will be dark before we even begin. The sky was clear and I recognized a few constellations overhead as Dash and I did our training exercises tonight. It made me wish I'd bought something when I went to the telescope store the other day.

Tomorrow is Dot's physical therapy day. She's still not quite as strong as she was before her illness, but she's getting close. Her progress reminds me that physical therapy actually works. I really need to get one of my doctors to refer me for physical therapy myself. It would sure be nice to have a functional shoulder again.

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

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Day 1743

Surprisingly, everything turned out well today. I walked Dash while Janet fed Dot her breakfast and when we returned, Dash just went to sleep until it was time to go to the vet. I didn't expect this, but it made life a little easier. Dash's blood was free of lipids this time, so we got a good sample for the thyroid level tests. Dot got her DHPP and Bordetella vaccinations when she went to the vet a little later, and so far she has had no adverse reactions. Hopefully, we're done with shots and lab work for a while.

Despite the multiple vet appointments, I still managed to get quite a bit of work done. There were the usual website updates, along with a new writing assignment. I didn't finish the writing assignment, since it was longer than usual, but it will give me something to do tomorrow.

I'm wondering what's so special about IOS 8. I installed it on my phone several days ago and still haven't noticed anything different. There are supposed to be hundreds of new features, but apparently none of them have any impact on the five simple apps I actually use. The camera is supposed to gain several additional features with the new operating system, but it still doesn't have the features I've been wanting since the very first iPhone. I can't understand why you can't manually focus the camera, or control the f-stop. These two things seem pretty basic to me.

One of the dog's vets was telling me today how much her kids liked Dr. Who. I'm pretty fond of Dr. Who myself, so it made me wonder if I was still basically a kid at heart. I certainly don't tend to see "adult" solutions to most of the world's problems. The world is simple to me. Unemployment? Just start manufacturing things in this country again the way we used to and there will be plenty of jobs. Global warming? If global warming is caused by man like everyone says it is, just quit having kids for a generation. The population growth will slow dramatically, nature will reclaim what it lost, and everything will be fine. Terrorism? Just don't let these guys on planes. Ever! No exceptions for anyone. Keep your oil and keep your camels and let the rest of the world get back to business.

None of this will ever happen though. Too many people still believe that globalization is a good thing and that by relentlessly promoting diversity, we can somehow all learn to get along. Not very likely. If your own family can't get along at Thanksgiving dinner, how is the whole world going to get along?  Personally, I think we have made such a mess of things that we ought to give the place back to the whales and the dolphins.

Enough with the seriousness though. It's not really part of my narrative. I prefer to talk about dogs for a reason. Dogs aren't Democrats or Republicans. They may bite you, but they'll never lie. Feed a dog and treat it properly and you've got a friend for life. People are a bit different.

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

Monday, September 22, 2014

Day 1742

I paid a final visit to the telescope store before it shuts its doors for good at the end of the month. I didn't plan to buy anything and very little of the remaining merchandise even tempted me. I guess this was more of a symbolic visit to pay homage to all the esoteric small businesses like this that are rapidly disappearing from the landscape. Maybe I was hoping to rekindle my interest in astronomy as well. It's amazing in a way that a store that only sells astronomical telescopes managed to stay in business in Dallas for as long as it did. There isn't a big market for telescopes to begin with and with all the haze and light pollution in a big city, you're lucky to see the moon on most nights.

Visiting the store was kind of sad. One of the owners appeared to be discussing financial problems on the phone and the remaining merchandise was mostly of Chinese origin. Maybe that's where good, semi-affordable telescopes come from these days, but I would still prefer a genuine made-in-America Questar. I couldn't afford a Questar when I was younger and I still can't afford one today. They still make these astronomical Ferraris though. Right here in New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Dash had an upset stomach last night and woke me up three three times to go outside. The first two times he just sniffed around the yard and did nothing. As soon as I got back in bed, he would be scratching at the back door to go out again. The third time he finally pooped and we all went back to sleep. I'm sure Dash ate a June bug or cicada again. I don't think this dog will ever learn that these things aren't good for him.

Today was busy, but I'm almost positive than in a day or two I'll completely forget what I was working on. Much of my work just isn't that memorable these days. There is a routine that almost never varies. I get up, make the bed, walk the dogs, eat breakfast, wash the dishes, and then reluctantly turn on the computer to see what I need to do for the day. I finished my web site revisions and writing assignments a little earlier than I expected this afternoon, which is why I went to the telescope store.

Tomorrow, both dogs go to the vet. Dash needs to get his blood retested to check his thyroid levels. Hopefully, with no food after 10 PM tonight, this fasting blood test will provide the vet with a usable sample. Last week's sample wasn't usable because there were Lipids in his blood. Maybe I should quit giving the dogs a little dollop of whipping cream as a treat when I make my coffee in the morning. Dot needs to get her DHPP vaccination as well, which will protect her from parvo, distemper, canine hepatitis and parainfluenza. These back and forth visits to the vet will take a lot of time, so hopefully my workload will be lighter tomorrow.

A good night's sleep would be nice tonight. I'm not counting on it though. I'm beginning to think that there's a better chance of getting a Questar telescope than a good night's sleep.

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

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Day 1741

I think the dogs are recovering better than I am. My shoulder hurt today, so I confined myself to the treadmill and other lower body exercises when I went to the gym. I have all the symptoms associated with a rotator cuff tear, although this has never been diagnosed conclusively. When things get bad, my doctor usually gives me a steroid injection and then recommends resting the arm until a full range of motion is achieved. Unfortunately, resting the arm is hard to do when you walk two Dalmatians twice a day. Usually the pain is manageable, but I probably overdid things yesterday when I cleaned up the roof and mowed the lawn. It's irritating that my life has become a daily diary of aches and pains, but I really can't complain. So many people have it much, much worse.

There wasn't much on the agenda today. Other than walk the dogs and go to the gym, I didn't do much of anything. Dot and Dash gave us a break this morning and were content to sleep in, rather than get us up at the crack of dawn like they usually do. It was nice to get a full eight hours of sleep for a change.

There was a bit of excitement last night when a cicada got inside the house as we opened the door to let the dogs back in. These loud, flying bugs are not what you want buzzing around your living room. I finally managed to catch the thing, but the dogs would have loved to get the bug first. At this time of year, cicadas and June bugs are everywhere and Dash has developed a taste for them. Like Spot and Petey before him, he loves to catch and eat the bugs alive. It's disgusting. To make matters worse, every time Dash manages to eat a cicada, he has runny poop the next day. You'd think he'd learn that these things upset his stomach. He's just like I was before I finally made the connection between pizza and heartburn.

I've been wondering where the wasps have gone this Summer. Every year, the wasps return in May or June and build huge nests under the eaves of our house. I haven't seen many wasps this year, but I found them all today. They've moved into the greenhouse. I guess I never noticed, because the only thing I use the greenhouse for anymore is a place to store the lawnmowers. I could have left the nests alone, but I've been stung by these wasps enough times to consider them the enemy. I got out a can of Raid and quickly sprayed all the nests before retreating to the house. I think most of the wasps are dead, but the remaining ones are pretty mad.

The annual Dalmatian Rescue golf tournament is next weekend. It's hard to believe that a year has passed since the last tournament. It's even harder to believe that a decade has passed since the first tournament. I guess I'll be taking pictures again. I definitely won't be playing golf. The game is a mystery to me.

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

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Day 1740

I'm beginning to feel like I'm locked in a perpetual battle with the aging process. It's not just me that's aging; it's everything. I lost two of my favorite cars to this battle this year. I just couldn't keep them running any longer. I'm losing ground on the house as well. Even though the place is extremely well built, it is almost 65 years old and nature is taking its toll. When I was up on the roof today, I saw signs of carpenter ants again. The foundation is shifting a bit, even though there are concrete piers that go all the way to the bedrock. Lord knows how long the plumbing will last. The two inch cast iron drains are no match for today's larger washing machines and dishwashers. It's amazing how quickly nature wins if you don't keep making constant repairs.

There are small victories of course. I am so happy that the dogs are healthy again. They both could have easily died this year. I can't make them any younger though, so I know this is a temporary victory. When I took over my Dad's affairs toward the end of his life, it was frightening to see how quickly things can go downhill. I need to do a better job of appreciating each additional day that I am granted. None of us really know how many we will have. The dogs do a great job of living one day at a time. I should do better myself.

I tried to make the most of today by downloading and installing IOS 8 on my phone, removing a small mountain of cracked pecan shells from the roof, mowing the grass, and making sure that the dogs had two nice walks. It was surprisingly warm today for so late in the year. I guess since we've already had some very pleasant Fall days, I expect them all to be that way. It might have been too hot for me, but I think the dogs enjoyed the warmth. They spent quite a while sunbathing out in the back yard this afternoon.

I set the DVR to record the latest episode of Dr. Who before walking the dogs this evening. There will be no mini-revue tonight because I haven't even watched the show yet. Perhaps this will give me something to do while I am preparing the bed for Dot a few hours from now. Although she hasn't had an accident recently, I still can't bring myself to declare victory over the incontinence. Better safe than soiled is my new motto.

I saw more Christmas trees when I was doing my shopping this afternoon. They were artificial trees, of course, but there's still something wrong with seeing Christmas stuff for sale in September. When I was walking the dogs, I notice several yard signs announcing the annual DADA Fall Gallery Walk. I used to never miss this art walk. The fact that I am more interested in going to the gym than going on gallery tours probably tells you all you need to know about my changing priorities. Yep. I'm going to the gym again tomorrow, and after I burn off a few calories, I'll go to the store and buy some tasty sausages.

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

Friday, September 19, 2014

Day 1739

Since most stores are already overflowing with an abundance of pumpkins, can Thanksgiving and Christmas be far behind? It still seems a little early to be thinking about Halloween to me, but apparently that's not how it works anymore. For the next three months we will be continually reminded that there is nothing more American than conspicuous consumption. I've already seen Christmas lights on sale in a few stores. These holidays come and go so quickly now that I already feel like 2014 is almost over. It has been an interesting year, but definitely not one of my favorites. I sincerely hope that the dogs stay healthy in the year ahead. There were way too many medical emergencies this year.

I must have gotten up early this morning. I had a leisurely breakfast at my favorite restaurant, retrieved some equipment from the storage warehouse, picked up groceries at Central Market, and was still home by 9:30 AM. It was good that I got an early start, because work was busy today. I finished my writing assignment first and then got started on a complex Photoshop job. The client loved the photo, except they wanted me to replace the eyes on one model with a different set of eyes, eliminate blemishes on another, and completely replace the head of a third model. It all had to look natural and believable too. I thought I did a good job, but the girl with the new head might be a bit surprised with the finished shot.

The new iPhone 6 went on sale today and I didn't buy one. That's a first. I haven't downloaded IOS 8 either. I must be slipping. Usually, I can't wait to try something shiny and new, but this time my old phone seems just fine. Truthfully, my interest in all types of gear is declining. I don't think I've purchased a new camera, lens, guitar or watch this entire year. It's just as well. I don't have any money anyway.

Today was a chemotherapy day for Dash. Dot is finishing her loading dose of the Incurin pills and we'll begin decreasing the dose this weekend. Between me and the dogs, it's amazing how much time is consumed dealing with meds. There is always something that needs to be renewed or reviewed. I picked up two prescriptions for myself this afternoon and am still trying to figure out which pill is giving me a runny nose. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the days when I took no meds at all. Then I remember that I am much healthier now. I tend to forget that before I made a concerted effort to get things under control, I had already had a minor stroke, a bleeding ulcer, and my blood pressure often hovered around 160 over 110. There is a reason for all these pills.

I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend. The weather is getting cooler. The dogs are getting healthier. Fall is finally here.

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

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Day 1738

Very little went as planned today. A persistent telemarketer called over and over again at ten minute intervals until I finally figured out how to block the call. I got a past due notice from a vendor I had parted company with and paid in full over two years ago. I also almost threw away a check from a client because the envelope looked like it contained junk mail.

That was just the beginning. All the links suddenly went dead on a website I had just uploaded a few days ago and thought I was finished with. I have no idea what went wrong, but it took me quite a while to fix the mess. The only thing I can think of is that the server reverted to an older backup copy of the site which contained code that I had subsequently changed. Another client gave me the name of a new product they wanted me to write something uplifting about. I did a little research and discovered that they had named their product after an aircraft that had crashed, killing 73 of the 76 passengers on board. Somebody didn't do their homework.

Dot had a small accident last night because we went to bed late and forgot to take her water bowl up. She tanked up on water around 11 PM and just couldn't hold it. I still think her Incurin pills are working. This was our fault. If I drank a ton of water just before I went to bed, I couldn't hold it all night either. 

Dot is still a little sore from the rabies and leptospirosis injections she got on Tuesday, but she still did very well during her physical therapy session. She was able to go fifteen minutes on the underwater treadmill, which was much better than I expected. The only downside to today's visit was that the vet found several fleas on her. Fleas are always a problem, since we live so close to a large park filled with feral cats and other critters. Both dog have sensitive skin, so we can't use Frontline or other topical products. I actually thought her heartworm pills would guard against fleas, but the vet said they only prevented the fleas from reproducing and didn't kill live ones.

It looks like the city is going to tear up one of the trails the dogs and I like to use and replace it with a much wider concrete walkway designed for bicycles and joggers. I'm not looking forward to this. I liked the park a lot better when it was largely abandoned. Now that the park department considers the place an entertainment destination and keeps adding new things to attract more people, the place is turning into a zoo. There's not much I can do about this though. It's not my park. I guess I was lucky that the place lay dormant and unused for so long.

I'm really glad that tomorrow is Friday. From the way things looked today, this week couldn't be over soon enough.

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

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Day 1737

Dash went to the vet to get his blood tested today. Unfortunately, we will need to repeat the whole process next week. Dash's blood sample contained lipids, which meant the thyroid test he was having would show inaccurate results. Dash needs to fast for at least 12 hours next time so the lab can get a better sample. When I have problems with lipids, the doctors refer to it as bad cholesterol. When a dog has problems with lipids they just call it fat in the blood. I guess it's more or less the same thing.

Ever since my doctor convinced me to start taking Foltanx to improve cognition and prevent memory loss, I have been having very active dreams. I haven't noticed any difference whatsoever during the day, but my dreams are much more complex now. This isn't exactly what I wanted. I think my cognitive abilities are just fine. I make my living using them. The only reason I went along with the doctor and started taking the drug, which is basically just an expensive multi-vitamin containing Folate, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin B12, was that I'd read it was effective at combating some forms of neuropathy that cause numbness in your extremities. I still feel numbness in my feet occasionally, so I really don't know if this stuff works at all. There are lots of reasons for weird dreams, including waking up five times each night to see if Dot has peed in the bed. Maybe this is just one more junk pill that does nothing.

The trouble with meds is that you have to trust the person who prescribed them for you. Unfortunately, doctors don't agree on much and some of them are nuts. Pick just about any drug and you'll find ten different opinions about it. It's frustrating to say the least. Is Niacin a great way to lower bad cholesterol, or will it just increase your chances of getting diabetes? Why am I taking Carvedilol to slow my heart down when it's ticking pretty slow already? Some doctors think Statins can cause memory loss. Other doctors think Statins actually help with brain function and are prescribing them for Alzheimer's patients. I just wish everyone could get on the same page.

A paid some bills today and did a little bookkeeping. As usual, I made a few incorrect entries in Quickbooks Pro and couldn't get everything to balance. I wish there was some equivalent of spell-check in Quickbooks that would warn me about entering payments incorrectly. Sometimes it takes me fifteen minutes just to find a fifty cent error.

Dot seemed tired today. Maybe it was just a reaction to the rabies shot she had yesterday. We all went to training class this evening, but Dot mostly sat on the sidelines and watched Dash and I go through our paces. I think Dot still enjoyed being included in the activities. She seemed happy just sitting in the grass and watching the other dogs. Dash did pretty well, but I think he would have preferred to sit in the grass as well.

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

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Day 1736

It's almost inevitable. When I'm busy, I always wish things would slow down. Conversely, when things are slow I wish I was busier. In the Summer I can't wait for Winter and as soon as the cold weather arrives I want it to be Summer again. I don't know why it is so difficult to just accept things the way they are, but it's been this way for a long time. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.

I only mention this because I was busier than usual today. There was a small website crisis that needed to be addressed immediately. There was a new writing assignment that needed attention. And of course, Dot had her annual exam at the vet. Back in the day, a schedule like this would have seemed like nothing, but I think I've slowed down considerably. I still like to stay busy, but I think my definition of the term has changed.

Dot got a glowing report at her exam. Her vets are just as impressed with her progress as I am. If you didn't know better, you could easily mistake Dot for a much younger dog. The only time Dot seems like a senior citizen is when she is sleeping. She sleeps so soundly now that I have to look carefully to make sure she's still breathing. Dot got her three year rabies booster today, along with her annual Leptospirosis vaccination. We'll give her the DAPPV combo shot next week, just to make sure she doesn't have a bad reaction from getting too many shots at once.

When Dot's nurse asked me how she was doing today, I started to bring her up to date on Dot's incontinence and physical therapy issues. "Oh, I know all that already," she told me. "I read your blog." This happens frequently now. I tend to think my readers are just the small group of people who leave comments regularly. In reality, a much larger group of friends and acquaintances seem to read with some consistency. They just don't tell me about it.

I finally figured out how to get my new phone paired with my car again. This Bluetooth connection is really handy because you never have to take your phone out of your pocket. If you get a call, you hear the phone ringing on the car radio and answer by touching a little green button on the steering wheel and just start talking. I couldn't figure out why it was so difficult to pair the phone, but I was determined not to go to the dealership for assistance on something so simple. I eventually remembered, as is often the case with Apple, that I needed to power down the phone completely and then turn it on again before the pairing process would work properly.

I think I might have been just busy enough today. I managed to get everything on my list done without stressing about it. Tomorrow, I will take Dash to the vet for another periodic thyroid test. I'm sure there will be other things to do as well. With any luck, I may be able to keep my life in balance for two days in a row.

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

Monday, September 15, 2014

Day 1735

Did you realize that while you were sleeping, U2 downloaded their entire new album to every iPhone in the entire world. I didn't believe this until I looked at my own phone and sure enough, there it was. I didn't buy or download the album myself. It just appeared on my phone. The same album was on Janet's phone and on every other iPhone in the world. I don't know how much it cost Apple to pull off this little stunt. I don't even know how it benefits them. I will admit though that this was pretty impressive.

Today got off to a slow start, which wasn't surprising since it was a Monday. By the time I had finished walking the dogs and eating breakfast, it was already 10:30 AM. It must have rained at some point during the night because Dash got exceptionally muddy walking through the soft ground. I usually clean the dogs paws with a damp rag before I let them inside. This mud was too much for a rag though. I had to hose him down. Since this is Texas, by the time I took the dogs out again for their evening walk, the ground was almost completely dry.

The lab work I had done at Baylor last week came back completely normal. My liver is doing just fine. Now I have no excuse to discontinue the Statins and Niacin. I'll be the first to admit these drugs are probably effective in controlling cholesterol. I just don't like the side effects of waking up with a dry mouth in the middle of the night feeling like I'm on fire as the Niacin dilates all the tiny blood vessels near the surface of my skin. Also, ever since I've been taking these new meds, my nose has been dripping like I've got a low level cold. It's irritating, but I guess it's better than a heart attack.

I only had one website to update today, so it was a good day to do some bookkeeping and pay bills. I don't know how economists can continue to say that we have low inflation. The cost of virtually everything I use on a daily basis has gone up. Often it has gone up a lot. Food costs more. Utility bills are higher. Gasoline is higher. Insurance is higher. I could go on and on. Just about the only thing that is cheaper are consumer electronics, but how many flat screen TV's do you need?

Dot really seems to have turned the corner. She has been accident free for almost a full week now. I'm starting to let her sleep wherever she wants now as long as I'm in the house. This is probably a mistake, since dogs are so unpredictable, but Dot is a lot happier having free rein of the house. Janet says I spoil these dogs. Of course I do.

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

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Day 1734

Dot ended an impressive five day accident-free streak by throwing up shortly after she woke up this morning and then frantically trying to eat leaves and grass in the yard. I don't think the vomiting had anything to do with her cancer, but it was still a bit unsettling. When a healthy dog vomits, you immediately suspect that the upset stomach was caused by eating something dead and disgusting in the yard. When a dog that has had cancer vomits, you always suspect the worst. I think Dot is fine though. We gave her a Pepsid AC and she went back to sleep for another hour and was completely normal for the rest of the day.

I don't usually work on Sunday, but since I always like to start the week with a clean slate, I finished my remaining writing assignments and made a few website revisions before going to the gym for a long overdue workout.

I had the usual aches and pains associated with my infrequent visits to the gym, but at least I'm still going. A lot of the runners and cyclists the dogs and I see in the park everyday seem to genuinely enjoy their exertion and activity. To me it's just a necessary evil. While I don't enjoy exercise, I would like to avoid diabetes, heart attacks, and further deterioration of my aging body. I'll have to admit that I do enjoy the fact that I can still wear the same size 32 jeans I wore in college.

I picked up some food for the week on my way home, but I may have to rethink my plan of stocking the refrigerator every Sunday afternoon. For some reason, Central Market always seems twice as crowded on Sunday, but that's not the real problem. I am discovering that fresh food won't stay fresh all week. I had to throw out some of the groceries I got last Sunday toward the end of the week, because they had spoiled already. No wonder people eat so much crap. Eating healthy is time consuming. It's so much easier to just grab a frozen pizza from the freezer and warm it up.

Dot is going to have a busy week. She has her long delayed annual exam on Tuesday and then returns for another physical therapy session and acupuncture on Thursday. We postponed the exam while she recovered from surgery because she is due for another three year rabies booster shot. I think she also needs the DAPPV combo shot this year, as well as her annual Leptospirosis vaccination. Dash will be glad that he can just stay home and take a nap.

It's hard to believe that September is already almost half over. Wasn't it August just a few days ago?

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