Monday, February 29, 2016

Day 2267

The last thing we need is an extra Monday. I know how leap year works mathematically, but still it seems weird to add an extra day to the year every four years. Personally, I wish all twelve months had 28 days. If each month was divided into four equal weeks, it might be easier for me to remember when to give Dot her pills. It might be easier to remember my own meds as well. It's all about remembering things these days.

I think a set a record for doing laundry today. Dot pooped while she was eating her dinner. Food was simultaneously going in one end and coming out the other. It didn't seem to bother Dot as all. Luckily, I was holding up her rear end with the Help 'Em Up Harness, so the mess wasn't that bad. About an hour after she ate, Dot went back to sleep on her blanket and threw up. I actually think she just burped after drinking too much water, but it was a mess just the same. Once again, it could have been much worse. She hadn't taken her expensive Palladia pills yet, so her chemotherapy wasn't wasted. I waited another hour before giving her the pills, and so far everything seems fine.

The road repairs in the neighborhood seem to reach some sort of crescendo today. There were lots of new people on the job and several pieces of heavy equipment I hadn't seen before. Maybe all the preparations are done and they are finally ready to pave the road. Whatever they were doing, it sure was noisy.  Dash and I avoided the road on our evening walk. If tar was involved in today's activities, Dash would inevitably get some on his paws. I've already had enough messes to clean up today. I certainly didn't want to have to remove road tar from a dog's paws.

There were more website updates to make today. Most companies have finally realized the futility of putting their employees on the company website, but animal rescue websites still change on a weekly basis. There are always new animals to add and others to remove as they become adopted. It is simply astounding how many homeless animals there are. I only work with a few rescue groups in a single city, but I must have created thousands of pages to bring attention to abandoned dogs and cats who were waiting for their forever homes.

I got an e-mail today telling me that a mutual acquaintance had died. We were about the same age. People my age seem to be dying with disturbing regularity now. I'm always glad when someone takes the time to let me know. I'm not a member of any tight knit group of friends, so a lot of people I've known over the years simply disappear. I hope someone will take the time to let people know when my time comes. Nobody wants to be forgotten.

I sure wish I could get more sleep. Everything from taking care of the dogs to writing this blog takes longer now. By the time I've finally caught up with everything, it's usually near midnight. This would be fine if I could sleep until 8 or 9 the next morning, but we always get up early. Last night I couldn't get the blog to syndicate properly and had forgotten to put the spare dog blankets in the dryer. There always needs to be a spare set ready to go in case there is an accident during the night. For some reason, I couldn't find the retainer I need to wear while I sleep either. There's always something. Did I turn the dishwasher on? Did I empty the dehumidifier? Did I remember to run a test print to keep the big printer from clogging? I'm sure I'll forget something tonight. I always do.

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

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Day 2266

It was a normal Sunday. The dogs got a more leisurely walk than they do on weekdays. We had bacon and eggs with biscuits for breakfast, which is a weekend only treat. Janet went to the gym and I vacuumed the house. I updated another website while trying to decide what to do with the rest of my day. With the remnants of a stubbornly persistent cold, I really didn't feel like doing much.

I used to watch the Oscars religiously, but I haven't bothered for the past several years. Tonight I had no interest in the award show whatsoever. The only event I made an effort to watch was the Space X SES-9 launch, but the mission was aborted for the third time in less than a week due to a boat that had wandered into a restricted area downrange. It must be really expensive to scrub a launch just because a boat wandered off course.

When I was out in the yard this afternoon, I saw a squirrel that looked like it was wearing a collar. On closer examination, it appeared that the squirrel had stuck his head through some rope netting and gotten stuck. It had managed to chew itself free from the net, but still had a piece of the mesh stuck around his neck. I tried to think of how I could free the squirrel but came up with nothing. It certainly wasn't letting me get close enough to catch it. The only plan that made any sense was to set out a live trap and trap the squirrel so I could take it to a vet to remove the rope. Since there are dozens of squirrels in the yard along with assorted rats, possums, and racoons, it would be pure random chance if I managed to catch the right critter. I would probably end up trapping lots and lots of rats before a single squirrel entered the trap. I'll ask Dot's vet what to do if I ever see the squirrel again. It's probably miles away by now.

I hope the weather stays warm, because everything is already starting to bloom. The Redbud and Dogwood trees are in full bloom and I'm starting to see lots of Daffodils and even a few Wild Iris blooms. What typically happens in Texas is that all the flowers start to bloom and then there is one final hard freeze that kills everything. It is amazing how frequently we have a hard freeze sometime in March.

If I ever make it back to the gym, I'm going to have to start over. I've been feeling under the weather for so long now, that I just shuffle through the day, making as little effort as possible. Even the mild stretching exercises I do to keep my shoulder from freezing up, require more effort than I want to give. Sure, I actually did do some chores this weekend, but I pushed the Dyson very slowly and going up on the roof was a mistake. I'm still coughing a lot and still feel tired.

I inadvertently took my evening meds this morning. So, do I take my morning meds before I go to bed, or do I just skip a day?  These are the problems you have as you get older. I fell asleep after dinner, thinking that the Oscars were just about over. When I woke up again, the show was still going on. Some things never change, I guess. You could watch the entire Superbowl and still have time to catch up on several episodes of Dr. Who before Hollywood could finish handing out those gold statues. I don't have the patience to watch a show this long.

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

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Day 2265

When we were walking the dogs this morning, I noticed that all the neighbors were getting brand new concrete driveways. Apparently the construction crew that is fixing the street also does freelance concrete work on weekends. I can see why everyone is jumping at this opportunity. They are all getting highway grade concrete work at half the price a private contractor would charge. These guys don't need special permits from the city because they are already paving the road. They probably get quantity discounts on concrete, since a ton of concrete is already being used for road repairs. Best of all, there is no big contractor markups on the job. The neighbors just pay the crew directly. I wish I could get a new driveway for half price like the other neighbors, but my driveway exits to a different street that is unfortunately not under construction. I don't quality for this unexpected bonus.

I finally crawled up on the roof and removed last week's standing water. Half the water had already evaporated. Maybe if I had waited another week, the roof would have just dried out on its own. I think I got lucky this time. We had a very windy day right after it rained and the wind blew away all the dead leaves and a lot of the standing water. The roof only gets messy when leaves create little Beaver ponds that keep the water in place. The roof seems to be holding up fairly well this year. I didn't see any cracks in the elastomer, which was surprising. Maybe the gods have finally realized that I've had enough water problems for one year.

I typically use those automated checkout lanes at stores because they are generally much faster. Not today. When I was getting groceries, I got stuck in line behind someone who tried to stick every single credit card in his wallet into the machine before he eventually gave up, abandoned his buggy full of food, and walked out of the store. Why would you even try to use the automated check out if all your credit cards had expired? People amaze me sometimes.

It was unusually warm today and Dash tried to crash several outdoor picnics while we were walking in the park. He's got a good nose for barbecue. It was embarrassing when he was tugging at his leash to reach someone's barbecue grill. I kept having to explain to people that he was really a very friendly dog who had no manners whatsoever. I kind of hate it when people picnic in the park, because they throw their bones on the ground and I have to watch carefully to make sure that Dash doesn't find them. I've had dogs that have swallowed pork ribs or chicken bones before and it usually involves a trip to the vet.

I should go to the gym tomorrow, but it has been a long day and I haven't completely recovered from my cold yet. I think my body would appreciate a nap a lot more than a workout.

Princess is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, February 26, 2016

Day 2264

When I went to breakfast this morning, something seemed missing. The place was half empty and when I entered the building, the coffee roasters where I always got my morning coffee were gone. I was confused at first, but it didn't take long to figure out what was going on. Directly across the street there was a brand new competitive restaurant. The little coffee company that shared space with my restaurant, along with half the customers seemed to have jumped ship. I even noticed a number of familiar cars parked at the restaurant across the street. I found this all a little unsettling. Where did these people's loyalty go? Like me, most of these customers had been coming here for years. Jeez, I skip one week because of the flu, and when I return, everything had changed. You know how I feel about change. Now, every time I go for breakfast I'm going to feel torn between a sense of loyalty for my familiar meal and a sense of curiosity about what's just across the street. I would have preferred that this didn't happen.

After breakfast, I went to the nearest early voting location and voted. I still can't figure out why the early voting locations have modern touch screen ballots and the regular voting locations still use paper ballots where you select your candidate by making a black dot in front of the name with a pencil. I'm still a little suspicious of the electronic ballots, but I suppose my vote gets counted. Like I expected, there were several pages of judges to vote for. I had no idea who most of them were. Unless a judge has gotten involved in a scandal and been on the local news, I'll probably never recognize their name. I vote for judges the same way I bet on horses. I just pick a nice sounding name and go for it.

Dot did not want to go to the vet today. I had a hard time getting her in the car and when we arrived, I had an even harder time getting her inside the building. Usually, she is fine about going to the cancer center, but not today. I could tell she was nervous when we were sitting in the lobby, but I couldn't figure out why. There were no scans today or anything that might be remotely frightening. I felt bad. Dot struggled while the vet tech tried to draw blood and ended up getting a hematoma in her neck. The oncologist wants to continue her chemotherapy for another three weeks and then do another scan to measure the growth of the tumor in her liver. We'll decide at that point whether this has all been worth it.

Although voting and Dot's vet appointment ate up a big chunk of the day, I still managed to get quite a bit of work done. I completed a big website update, balanced my checkbook, and picked up something for dinner at the grocery store. That seems plenty for one day. Although it was still quite cold this morning, there's already a feeling of Spring in the air. The trees are starting to bud and I'm already starting to see some early Spring flowers. Spring flowers are always a good thing.

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

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Day 2263

I fixed myself French Toast and sausage patties for breakfast, but I think I overestimated the effect that a little infusion of variety would have on my day. Today was basically exactly the same as yesterday. I made the bed. I cleaned up poop. I took a dog to the vet. I wrote another article. That was about it. Since it was Thursday, I also gathered up the trash and took it out to the curb.

I could tell that Dot has lost a little more energy when we had our water therapy session this morning. The decline has been subtle since we resumed her chemotherapy, but there definitely is a difference. It's going to be tough to decide whether to keep taking the Palladia pills or discontinue them again. I guess it depends on whether they are actually helping to slow the cancer growth. We will probably continue the pills until it's time to take another scan and measure the two tumors again. Since we have already established a baseline rate of growth, it should be possible to determine whether the addition of Palladia helps or does nothing. If the chemotherapy is working, we continue it. If the results are ambiguous, as they often are when you're dealing with cancer, we'll discontinue the Palladia. Dot is running on empty when it comes to her strength and energy level, but she still wants to live. Hopefully, with the help of Dot's oncologist, we can strike a balance that will keep her walking while continuing to fight the cancer. It's hard to make these kind of decisions, but it's not really fair to ignore them.

I read an article today that said there are a growing number of people making six figure incomes by posting pictures on Instagram and Pinterest. Evidently all you have to do is get 200,000 followers and post a continuous stream of selfies. When you develop a following, manufacturers will pay you to take selfies with their products. Somehow, all the success stories seem to involve young women taking pictures of purses and shoes. I doubt very highly that any men are making $100,000 a year on Pinterest.  I find this all a bit disheartening. I feel like Don Quixote by spending hours each day writing this blog for a few dozen readers. It's all tilting windmills.

I find myself losing interest in food. I hope this is temporary. Looking forward to meals is one of the few things that has kept me going this Winter. Most of my energy is used up taking care of the dogs and it's hard to get excited about anything else. This is when I should be writing new songs and assembling images for a gallery show. It's not going to happen though. I've just lost interest.

I am interested in going out for breakfast tomorrow. This is a good sign, since it means that my stomach has finally quit rebelling and my extended bout with the flu is just about over. I'll probably go vote after breakfast. Don't ask me who I'm voting for though. I think the old rule about no talk about politics or religion at the dinner table should extend to social media. I wish I didn't know who many of you are voting for. Sometimes ignorance is bliss. 

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

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Day 2262

Instead of lead grey skies and rain, we woke to see the sun again. Yesterday's nasty weather had moved Eastward to bother someone else. It must have really been windy yesterday, because most of the leaves in the backyard are gone. Janet noticed the difference first and asked if I'd been raking  leaves. Nope. The wind just blew them away. If we still had a lawn, this would have been a good thing, but the leaves served a purpose. Now there is a lot of exposed dirt, making it easier than ever for the dogs to get muddy. We have to replace the St. Augustine grass every year because something always kills it. Squirrels and possums dig holes in the grass looking for acorns. Grubs eat the roots. The large Oak trees suck up all the available water. It's still too early, but in March or April we'll plant new grass and start all over again.

Today was quiet. The dogs spent the day sleeping and I spent the day writing. I finished another article and sent it off to the client. I probably could have written more, but there were no hard deadlines to meet and I wanted to save something for tomorrow. I went to the vet to pick up some more Phenobarbital for Dash, but they were busier than I was today and hadn't had time to fill the prescription yet. The constant coughing has stopped and I'm finally starting to feel normal again. Hopefully, the next thing after feeling normal is feeling motivated. I haven't felt motivated for over a week.

I need to remember to find my early voting location before Friday. I think that's the last day for early voting in the Super Tuesday Primary. With all the attention these primary elections are getting, it would be a shame if I didn't cast my vote. I used to think that my vote didn't matter. Now, I'm inclined to think that the entire election doesn't matter. I always vote though. I don't want to be sitting here a year from now thinking that if only more people like me voted, then things might have turned out differently. The presidential candidates aren't the only ones on the ballot next Tuesday. The other candidates are mostly judges though. I think judges are picked by their lawyer friends. The rest of us never heard of these people. Half of the judges seem to run unopposed. Why to we vote for local judges and then let the congress and the president pick federal judges? I tend to vote for judges based on whether I like the sound of their name. If I've received a ton of junk mail or robocalls from a particular candidate, I'll almost never vote for them. Political junkies probably wish that people like me were never given the right to vote.

Dot's vet is still in Hawaii on vacation, but we'll go tomorrow for our water therapy appointment anyway. Only the vet can give Dot acupuncture, but several of the vet techs have been trained to operate the underwater treadmill. I've been watching Dot's water therapy for so long now that I could probably run the treadmill myself. So far, Dot seems to be handling the Palladia pills fairly well. Maybe she's a tiny bit weaker, but it's hard to tell. This will be the first therapy session since she's had a full week of chemotherapy, so I'm hoping that she'll still do well. On Friday, we'll determine whether to continue the Palladia for another month.

This week has been boring even by my low standards. Maybe I'll have something different for breakfast tomorrow. That ought to liven things up.

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

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Day 2261

Every time we have a day like this, it's easy for me to forget that we've actually had a very mild Winter. I'm trying to be charitable here, but I can't think of many nice things to say about today. It was nasty outside. The combination of high winds and heavy rain made it miserable to walk the dogs. Luckily, there was a short break in the rain when we took Dot on her early walk, but later when I walked Dash, we got soaked. It's been raining continuously for almost 24 hours and shows no sign of stopping yet.

I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that Dot was tired today. It could have been the rain and cold weather. It could have been the cumulative effects of the Palladia pills. It could have been further evidence of her losing battle with the aging process. I feel bad for her on days like this. She still needs to go outside and pee and do a minimal amount of walking around to keep her legs from getting stiff, but she tires easily. We took a shorter walk than normal this morning, and when we returned she was exhausted.

Dot slept for the rest of the day while I picked up my car at the dealership and took Dash to his vet appointment. I was surprised that they fixed my car so quickly. It's a shame that the weather was so bad today. The dealer always cleans and washes my car after a service appointment, but by the time I finished driving home and taking Dash to his vet appointment, all this effort was wasted. The car was already dirty inside and out.

Dash wasn't sick, but with all Dot's problems he's been a bit neglected. I wanted to check and see if he needed his teeth cleaned. He does! He's been having digestive issues lately, so I wanted to make sure he didn't have Giardia or some other nasty parasite that could be causing his diarrhea. He has a small growth on his tail that I wanted to make sure was still benign. The vet checked him thoroughly and expressed his anal glands for good measure. Dash is OK and I feel much better now.

The awful weather and Dot's general state of exhaustion were probably one of the reasons why she pooped in the house twice today. It can take her a long time to poop on a normal day and today wasn't normal. Every time I took her outside, I could tell she didn't want to be out in the cold. To her, it probably made a lot more sense to just poop in her sleep. One of her favorite blankets appears to be indestructible. I've washed it so many times that it should have begun to fray and come apart at the seams long ago. It still looks as good as new, even though I washed the blanket twice today.

Despite all the errands I needed to run, I still managed to get quite a bit done. I finished updating a website and completed the first of three articles that are due this week. I think that's plenty for one day. I've still got a cough, but my cold is definitely getting better.

Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, February 22, 2016

Day 2260

I dropped my car off at the dealership right after we walked the dogs this morning. Amazingly, I was able to replicate the intermittent electrical problem I've been having. This almost never happens. Usually, when I bring my car in with an intermittent problem, it works perfectly for the service technician and nobody believes there is anything wrong. Sometimes, it has taken me three or four trips to resolve these frustrating on-again, off-again problems. Who knows how long it will actually take to get the car fixed, but at least everyone believed me today.

Dot had another accident in her bed last night. She managed to eat most of the evidence again too, before either of us woke up.  Yuk. I'm surprised that Dash didn't have an accident as well. Since it was raining outside, he categorically refused to go in the yard and do his business. I told him that he'd have to hold it until morning, but he didn't seem to care. Luckily, the rain finally stopped, so I think we're back to normal again. I've really grown to appreciate a day with perfect weather. When everything else is a disaster, nice weather can really help. Nope. The weather wasn't very nice today, but it would have made life easier if it was.

Work is picking up again. I have three new articles to write and several website updates to make. There was a time when I could have done all of this in one day, but not anymore. Since I'm still limping along with a nasty cold, these new jobs could take me the rest of the week to finish. It felt like I was busy today, but at the end of the day, I'd accomplished virtually nothing.

The high points of my day were almost pathetic. I used the sanitize setting on the washing machine to clean a particularly messy dog blanket and discovered that the super hot water in the waste water lines accidentally helped to unclog a sluggish shower drain. I was fascinated with the sanitize setting when we first got the front loader, but quickly discovered that it took forever to do a load of wash and wasted a lot of water. Maybe I ought to use this setting more often if it helps to keep the plumbing lines clear. On the other hand, it is possible that this super heated water caused our underground water leak. I'm not certain what the melting point of the lead solder they used to use in old cast iron pipes, but I'm sure it is quite low. The plumber did tell me that the joints in one of the cast iron sewer lines coming out of the utility room had failed when he fixed our underground leak last year.

I finally received a credit from the water company to for the water we lost during the pipe leak. Unfortunately, I thought the credit notice was a water bill and wrote a check to the water company for the amount of the credit. How was I to know?  The credit memo looked exactly like a bill if you didn't notice the tiny type that said "no payment required. Luckily, I finally did figure out what was going on while I was looking for a stamp for the envelope and I tore up the check. I guess I should have noticed that the dollar amount on the bill was negative too. I always forget that the standard way to show negative numbers is to put them in parentheses. I'm glad I noticed my mistake, because the water company would have taken my money and just sent me a larger credit notice next month.

I know you're tired of hearing about how yucky having the flu feels, so I'll quit whining about it. Eventually, I'm bound to feel better.

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

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Day 2259

Things take longer now. It takes me longer to shave. It takes longer to brush my teeth. It takes longer to make the bed. It's not just age that slows me down. I've become more particular about how I do almost everything. I wouldn't say I've that got OCD, but other people might. This odd combination of aching old bones and a mildly obsessive personality, can turn many days into a slow, plodding journey.

True to form, today didn't didn't start out like a spontaneous romp on the sun. The combination of a lingering cold and a long list of Sunday chores made the day seem like walking through quicksand. To be fair, it wasn't even sunny today, but I doubt if blue skies would have helped much. It took forever to make the bed. The dogs were slow on their morning walk. And I lingered over breakfast so long that it was almost lunchtime when I finished.

I spent the afternoon alternating between taking short naps and vacuuming the house. I've grown to hate vacuuming since we filled the house with inexpensive rugs to help keep Dot from falling over. These rugs are no match for the powerful Dyson vacuum cleaner and I'm constantly having to turn off the machine and pull a rug out of the brush after it got sucked in. The house was so much easier to clean before there were all these rugs. All you had to do was run a damp mop over the brick floors and you were done. The rugs seem to be giant dust magnets. Furniture and dog beds must be moved every time I clean, and even after a concerted effort to tame the dust, nothing looks any different. The only evidence that I've done anything at all is a full canister of dust and dog hair. I continue to be amazed at how much dirt and dog hair can accumulate in a single week. Well, OK. I admit it's been two weeks since I vacuumed. Maybe that explains it.

I feel a little better today, although Janet keeps telling me that I probably have pneumonia. I doubt that I have pneumonia since I got the pneumonia shot this year at the same time I got my flu shot. I don't have a fever. I just have a nagging cough. Chest colds like this must be quite common, or there wouldn't be all those irritating Mucinex commercials on TV. We had been planning to go to an open house in the neighborhood this afternoon, but Janet decided that she didn't want to go at the last minute. She was probably concerned that I would break into violent coughing spasms and scare the Realtor and any potential buyers. I'm still a little curious what the interior of this house looks like, since I've walked by it for years while walking the dogs. I must not have been that curious though, because I certainly don't regret missing the little home tour. Hey, maybe the change of plans proves that I'm spontaneous after all.

I've got to remember to take my car to the dealership tomorrow. I made the service appointment so long ago that I've almost forgotten what's wrong with the car. It's one of those intermittent electronic problems, so when it isn't actually driving you crazy, it is easy to forget. I hope they don't give me another Evoque loaner car. The engine in these cars automatically shuts off every time you pull up to a stop sign. This is supposed to be a feature, but it drives me nuts. After a lifetime of having cars that stall out at stoplights for no particular reason, having a car that does this on purpose just seems wrong.

Wow. I just noticed that it's pouring rain outside. I guess we need the rain, but I've grown fond of our long stretch of dry, low humidity days. I haven't had to go up on the roof and remove standing water for a long time. I've given up on having a nice lawn. I think if there was enough water to take showers and flush the toilet, I could go without rain for a long time.

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

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Day 2258

I'm still under the weather. My nose is red. I've got a persistent cough. My fever has subsided, but I've added a bad headache to my laundry list of symptoms. All I really wanted to do today was sleep, but when I lie down, sinus drainage quickly clogs my nasal passages and fills my throat with phlegm. Basically, I'm a mess. I still don't know how I managed to come down with the flu, since I avoid crowds at all costs and can't think of anyone in my small circle of friends who is sick. It's a mystery.

I'm so tired that I haven't been waking up when Dot has to poop at night. Even in the best of times, I had to be very quick to get her outside before she made a mess. Last night I didn't even notice when Dot struggled to change position during the night and ended up pooping in her bed. By morning, there was almost nothing left, because Dot had eaten the poop. I find this disgusting, but Dot's vet says it is completely normal. Mother dogs routinely eat the poop of their puppies to keep their bedding and immediate surroundings clean. Dot has always been a clean, tidy dog. I'm sure she just thinks she's doing the right thing.

I need to let Dot's oncologist know about this situation. I know that you've not even supposed to get anywhere near a dogs poop during their chemotherapy treatments. The poop turns toxic. I guess when your dog has cancer, you don't want it to be incontinent as well. There's not much I can do about the situation. I'm pretty sure that the oncologist will tell me that while picking up poison poop is not ideal, to just live with it and do the best I can. What else could I do anyway.

This flu has killed my appetite. I just ate a tiny amount for breakfast and didn't feel like eating much for dinner either. My stomach still feels kind of queasy, so there's no point in eating a lot and just throwing it up again. Hey, maybe I'll lose some weight. The most foolproof way to lose a lot of weight in a hurry is to get real sick. The only times I can remember losing ten pounds in less than a week was when I had a horrible cold.

I was sorry to see Bernie Sanders lose the Nevada Caucus. A lot of Bernie's economic plans seem like rainbows and unicorns fantasies to me, but at least the guy is honest and sincere. I can't say the same for Hillary. Hillary and Ted Cruz are my least favorite candidates. Actually, I don't like any of the candidates very much. Where is this generation's John Kennedy? Sadly, I don't think we could elect Kennedy today. We've become too polarized and politically correct.

Jeez, Dot just pooped in her bed again. I've washed her favorite blanket three times today and her schedule is completely out of sync. Why is this happening? I'm very, very tired. It's time to give Dot and Dash their nighttime meds and call it a day. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

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

Friday, February 19, 2016

Day 2257

My stomach vetoed going out for breakfast this morning. After we walked the dogs, I just ate a leftover frozen waffle I found in the refrigerator and went back to bed. I don't know what kind of bug I caught, but it's a lot more persistent than I anticipated. The first day was a runny nose and a sore throat. The second day was aching joints, night sweats, vomiting, and a mild fever. Today things seem to have settled in my chest. I'm coughing more and still feel tired. I think I'm getting better, but it's hard to tell. The aches and pains keep moving around.

Did I mention I'm a hypochondriac? I rarely get sick, but when I do, I always think I've come down with something much worse than I really have. Now, I'm wondering if the tick that bit me a few weeks ago caused this. It's highly unlikely that I have some strange tick-borne disease, since my symptoms seem exactly like the flu, but that's how my mind works. A mild case of the flu usually lasts about three days and a more serious case can last up to a week. My flu shot obviously didn't work, but maybe it is helping to keep things from becoming worse. There's got to be some reason why I keep getting these flu shots year after year.

I got off to an extremely slow start this morning, but I eventually finished my writing assignment and turned it in. The only other thing I did today was go to the grocery store and pick up something for dinner. I didn't feel like eating anything hot, so I got some chicken salad, potato salad, and broccoli slaw. I probably shouldn't have gotten anything, because I wasn't really hungry.

So far so good with Dot. She's only taken one round of chemo pills so far, but there doesn't seem to be any obvious adverse reactions. She still has a good appetite and enjoys her walks in the morning. Since Dot is tired and weak anyway, it might be hard to detect a subtle further decline. She gets her second set of pills tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes. I'm hoping that the new lower dose and extra day of recovery will help prevent the weakness that was obvious the first time we tried chemo. If this works, the Palladia pills could add significantly to the amount of time we still get to share with her.

I think I'm going to skip some of my usual Saturday errands tomorrow. What's the point. There's nothing I do that can't wait a few days. I think the priority now is to shake off this cold and get better. I hate to take decongestants or cold pills, so the only thing that makes sense to me are some extended naps with the dogs. The house may get a little dirtier, but I think the dogs will understand.

Spot is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, February 18, 2016

Day 2256

I'm still feeling under the weather, but things are improving. Yesterday was horrible. Today was just kind of yucky. One benefit of feeling extremely tired is that you apparently sleep better. For the first time that I can remember, my activity tracker said that I had an entire night of deep sleep. This wasn't entirely good news though. The tracker also said that I woke up at 4:30 AM. If you're wondering what could wake me from a deep sleep, Dot pooped in her bed and Dash had to go outside to throw up simultaneously. This was actually the second time that Dash had to go outside last night. Janet said I slept through the first commotion. I briefly wondered if Dash and I were suffering from the same ailment, since I threw up yesterday too. I don't think so. Dash eats horse poop and disgusting dead things he finds in the yard. I don't.

Although I still spent a considerable amount of time napping with the dogs today, I did manage to get a few things done. I did some bookkeeping, paid a few bills, and got started on a new article. This is only a fraction of what I would do in an ordinary day, but at least I could hold my food down today and am starting to feel better. It's surprising how much the dogs seem to enjoy me taking naps with them. They seem visibly calmer and less restless. Since they both spend half their life sleeping anyway, my extended naps probably just make me seem more like a dog to them.

I'm getting so sick of political advertising. Every day our mailbox is stuffed with fliers from local politicians who want my vote. I've never heard of any of them. Don't they realize that these fliers are junk mail. 90% of the people who receive them just throw these postcards and fliers away without reading them. Cable news is even worse. It doesn't matter whether you are listening to MSNBC or Fox, the reporters love politics. Probably the only thing they'd love more than an election is another OJ Simpson trial. It's not surprising that outsiders like Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have attracted so much attention. I think a lot of people are starting to realize that it really doesn't matter who you vote for. The political establishment has become so entrenched that it probably would take a genuine revolution to change things.

I kind of think politicians should be selected the same way as we select juries. I'm convinced that ordinary citizens could do just as good a job as the folks we've got now. If we had a system where anyone could be selected for political service, just like they are for jury duty, many of today's problems would go away. If you were selected, you would receive a decent salary for your service, but you could not run for reelection. Sure, you might end up with a few idiots in congress, but we've already got more than a few idiots in congress. I think political experience is overrated. People with long political careers usually just wind up with a more comprehensive knowledge of which lobbyists and special interests will take care of them.

I don't know if my stomach is ready for a spicy breakfast at my favorite restaurant yet. The jury is still out. I didn't throw up today, but I didn't eat much either. Here's hoping that I wake up feeling good as new tomorrow. I'm hungry and I've got a lot of work to catch up on.

Bailey is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Day 2255

I was wrong. I don't have a cold after all. I have the flu. I don't know how I came down with the flu, since I got my flu shot this year. It sure feels like the flu though. When I woke up this morning, my bones ached and I was extremely tired. I thought about canceling my dental appointment, but ultimately ended up keeping it because I wasn't coughing or sneezing anymore. We walked the dogs like we normally do and then I sat down for breakfast. I drank about half of my morning smoothie and then I knew I was going to throw up. I couldn't even make it to the bathroom in time. So much for breakfast. I cleaned up my mess, took Dot outside to pee again, and then took a short nap.

When it was time to leave for my dental appointment, I was feeling fine again. I don't think anybody even realized how bad I felt earlier in the day. I didn't cough. I didn't sneeze. I didn't do anything out of the ordinary. The dentist took new x-rays and his hygienist cleaned my teeth. Everyone said I had been taking very good care of my teeth and then they sent me on my way.

When I got home, I realized I was tired again. I fed the dogs their lunch and then took a nap. Dash curled up next to me and I don't think either of us moved for hours. When I finally woke up, it was time to feed the dogs their dinner. I must have waited too long with Dot, because almost immediately after I got her up, she needed to poop. I tried to get her outside as fast as I could, but I was still sleepy and I couldn't get her harness on fast enough. By the time we made it outside, she had already left a little trail all the way from her bed to the back door. She made a mess in her harness too, so I had to take it off, hose it down outside, and then put it in the wash. Getting Dot to pee without her harness was a challenge, but somehow we succeeded.

After I walked Dash, it was time to give Dot her Palladia pills. I had forgotten how much trouble this is. I first have to pen Dash in a different room, so he won't inadvertently eat the pills himself. Then I put on rubber gloves and make a little meatball with the two pills hidden inside some wet dog food. Then I clean the gloves and anything else that touched the pills and put everything away. Hopefully, since Dot is taking a smaller dose and we are waiting an extra day between treatments, she won't be as uncomfortable as she was before. After three treatments, we go back to the cancer center and evaluate her progress.

Today wasn't a good day. I've known for a long time that Dot is frail and doesn't have much energy in reserve. What I didn't realize was that I don't have much in reserve either. The flu knocked me out. I need to have my wits about me to take care of Dot. When I spend as much time sleeping as the dogs, everything falls apart. Hopefully, I'll feel better tomorrow.

Lexi is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Day 2254

Two vet appointments in a single day is probably too much. I basically spent the morning taking Dot to her physical therapy appointment and the afternoon taking her for a reevaluation at the cancer center. Dot was tired and so was I. Dot did well during the therapy session, as she always does, but the big news was that her blood pressure has returned to normal. The blood pressure medication she's taking appears to work. We'll recheck her urine and blood work in a week or so, but I'm not quite so worried about kidney failure anymore.

I am still worried about the cancer. Dot's oncologist wants to resume chemotherapy on a trial basis. We're going to try a smaller amount of Palladia and add an extra day between treatments to help her recover. We'll try this until next Friday and see how well she tolerates the new treatment schedule. The oncologist agrees that quality of life is more important than longevity at any cost. If Dot tolerates the Palladia, we'll continue the treatment. If it makes her miserable, we'll quit.

Hopefully, we'll have better luck with chemotherapy this time. I'm not looking forward to it though. It's a nuisance to put on the purple rubber chemo gloves every time you give her a pill and since Dot's poop will be mildly toxic during chemo, an accident in the house will be a bit more consequential than it was before. Incontinence and chemotherapy are not a good combination. As always, we'll do the best we can.

I'm coming down with a cold, which is rare for me. I can avoid colds almost indefinitely as long as I stay away from other people. I could have gotten the cold anywhere, but I have a feeling that I  caught this particular bug while I was at the photoshoot last weekend. Ironically, this is also where I probably got the nail in my tire. Maybe I should stick to photographing inanimate objects. I frequently get a cold when I'm doing holiday pet portraits for Dalmatian Rescue. If I'm photographing children, I'm toast. At least this is just a garden variety cold and not the flu. I woke up with a mild sore throat and spent the day sneezing, but that's about it. I should be fine in 48 hours.

I can't believe its been a year since I had my dental work done. It's already time for my annual checkup. In my prior life I would have ignored these annual checkups, but last year's dental adventure finally convinced me that I need to take care of my teeth. I want to keep the teeth I have left, so I'll do anything the dentist wants these days. I use a Sonicare toothbrush now and floss with a Waterpik before I go to bed each night. Hopefully they won't find any cavities when they clean my teeth tomorrow. The less time I spend in a dental chair, the better.

It would have been a good idea to go to bed early tonight, except that it's already late. That's the way it goes. The days are long and very little is accomplished. Now, if I could just remember where I put the cough drops the last time I had a cold.

Joshua is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, February 15, 2016

Day 2253

I wasted most of the morning getting my tire fixed. I can't complain though, because I didn't have an appointment and the dealership was nice enough to work me in on a busy day. There was plenty of time to drink too much coffee and look at cars on the showroom floor that I can no longer afford. I probably could have left the nail in my tire for quite a while, since it wasn't leaking. I didn't want to take a chance though. I have to take Dot to two different vet appointments tomorrow and a flat tire along the way would really make a mess of things. I guess it was worth the wait. I wasn't charged for the repair and they filled my tire with nitrogen, which no garage in the neighborhood would have been able to do. The unfortunate thing is that I could run over another nail tomorrow. Dallas streets are full of nails and sharp debris.

Some days I get lucky with Dot. Other days, not so much. I did a lot of laundry today. I took Dot outside again and again, but it was only after I brought her back inside and got her settled in her bed that she decided to poop. This happened several times. It takes a lot of patience to deal with an incontinent dog. Dash is testing my patience as well. He is eating something in the yard that is giving him diarrhea. I saw him eating bark the other day and he's been known to eat cat poop. I've got to find what he's been getting into soon. It won't be easy to find since his disgusting treasure is probably hidden under a huge pile of leaves.

I was hoping that I could stream the Grammy's tonight on my computer while I was writing the blog, but it was just too much trouble. I found a live stream of the red carpet before the show which I wasn't interested in. I found backstage interviews during the show. I found selected clips from the show. I found everything except the broadcast itself. Never mind that the show was already playing on a TV in another room. With all the time I wasted trying to find a free streaming broadcast, I could have just walked across the house and watched the show on TV. I did see bits and pieces of the show. I had looked forward to Lady Gaga's tribute to Davie Bowie, but the whole thing seemed overproduced and a bit weird. Adele seemed to hit a few flat notes during her performance. How could that happen? I forgot that Don Henley played drums with the Eagles. Hey, it's been a long time. Why did I think he played guitar? I did like the tribute to BB King. Bonnie Raitt was fabulous. I guess I liked most of what I saw except for Justin Bieber. Alice Cooper probably should have stayed in retirement too.

We ordered takeout from Chili's tonight because neither of us felt like cooking. This is becoming increasingly common. I think that the older you get, the less appealing cooking becomes. It just isn't worth the trouble on a regular basis. Truthfully, a lot of things aren't worth the trouble on a regular basis. I try not to let that stop me though. If I only did what was appealing, I wouldn't do much at all.

Lucky is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Sunday, February 14, 2016

Day 2252 - Valentine's Day

We got to sleep in until almost 8 AM this morning, which is almost unheard of. Both dogs slept soundly. There were no accidents during the night. And best of all, after our morning walk, we had bacon for breakfast. Who could ask for more. I didn't make it to the gym today because I had to catch up on a lot of Saturday errands that got postponed by yesterday's photoshoot. It was no great loss though. I didn't really feel like going to the gym anyway.

When I was out running errands this afternoon I noticed that I had another nail in one of my tires. Damn. It's almost impossible to avoid getting nails and screws in your tires in Dallas. Janet has had three nails in her tires during the past year and I've had two. I don't know where these nails come from, but they're everywhere. The situation has gotten so bad that I've even thought of investing in a set of run-flat tires. I can't imagine changing a tire on the side of the road in this city. The traffic is so bad that you'd probably get killed. The tire is still holding air, but getting it fixed is the first thing on my to-do list for tomorrow.

I'm apparently not the only one who has made Sprinkles Cupcakes a Valentine's Day tradition. Every time I go to the store on this day there is a huge line out front waiting to place their order. The wait wasn't so bad today, because it looked like it was going to rain any minute and even though the cupcakes are delicious, they are not worth getting wet for. I didn't even have to pay for the cupcakes today because Janet discovered a gift certificate she won in a charity silent auction quite some time ago. I thought the certificate had probably expired, but the store honored it and even told me that I could redeem the gift certificate a little bit at a time since I really only wanted four cupcakes today, plus another two small ones for the dogs.

I received an e-mail from a veterinarian this afternoon asking if I was still interested in designing a website for him. I had initially contacted this guy over two years ago and then just assumed he wasn't interested because I never heard back from him. This just goes to show that some things take time. I'm always delighted when these sleeper cell jobs come back to life. I've made tons of contacts over the years, but I just don't have the energy or inclination to make cold calls anymore. There are certainly a lot more people out there that I haven't heard from in a long time. If even half of them still remembered me, I could be busy for a long, long time.

Dot is ageless. I took this Valentine's Day portrait of her quite a few years ago, but she still looks absolutely the same today. Dash looks pretty young too, but that's probably because he actually is a lot younger than Dot. We're all getting older though. Now Janet is the only one in hte family who isn't taking blood pressure medication.

Tomorrow is President's Day. Is this a holiday for all the presidents, or just the ones like Washington and Lincoln who used to have their own holidays? It's a weird holiday. The post office is closed, but FedEx and UPS are still making deliveries. Some banks are closed, but others remain open. Mattress stores seem to love this day, because they always seem to have huge President's Day sales. For me, it's just another day, I hope I can get my tire fixed.

Dash is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Day 2251

The photoshoot went well today. All things being equal, I might not have chosen to place a lot of cats in a big pile of sand. As you might expect, the cats immediately thought the sand was a catbox. It might have been better to select dogs that weren't scared to put their head through a hole in the painted backdrop too, since the whole concept was based on animals putting their heads through cutout holes in the backdrop. These were minor things though. You can't really expect animals to anticipate what the art director had in mind.

The team I was working with was great and eventually we were able to make everything work as intended. I'm glad I was only taking the images today. Since the animals didn't really want to take a group shot, we had to photograph them all individually and will reassemble the group portrait in Photoshop. If the animals had been cooperative, this afternoon's photo would have been a piece of cake. Now, it's going to take someone a long time to recreate the illusion of animal harmony through the magic of Photoshop. I wonder what people did before Photoshop? It has saved me again and again.

The bird was fairly cooperative. Maybe the art director can change the concept to feature the bird. I was able to get lots of shots of the bird sitting exactly where he was supposed to be. This still leaves three dogs, a large cat, and lots of puppies and kittens who had no interest in being where they were supposed to be. When these animals are eventually composited into position, I think the photo will make a cute promotional poster. I'm still not sure how they'll use the photos of the kittens pooping in the sand though.

Since I spent most of the afternoon at the photoshoot, I wasn't able to finish my normal Saturday errands. It looks like I'll be doing the grocery shopping tomorrow instead of going to the gym. I wish I had time to get Valentine's Day cupcakes today. We always get cupcakes at Sprinkles on Valentines Day and I'm sure there will be a huge line at the store tomorrow. I could always just pick up some cupcakes at Kroger, but it wouldn't be the same. You could tell the difference immediately.

Janet left this evening in a long dress to go to some special work event. I think it was some sort of awards show. By the time she returns, the rest of us should be asleep unless Dot refuses to poop. I've taken her outside three times already this evening and she appears to be just as stubborn as the dogs at the photoshoot this afternoon. I'm tired and would really like a good night's sleep, so I'll take her outside a few more times before I give up entirely. The night is young.

Tessa is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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