Thursday, May 31, 2018

Day 3080

We had a good day. Dash seemed to have a lot of energy this morning. We had a nice morning walk. He ate all his meals and took his pills without incident. He had enough energy left over to pester me as I tried to watch the new episode of The Expanse after breakfast. I'm glad the DVR has a pause button, because every five minutes Dash wanted to go outside. I was glad to see Dash in good spirits. Maybe someday he'll start wagging his tail again.

This week's episode of The Expanse captured my interest again. I still think there's way too much going on with three different sub-plots on three different ships, but I'll definitely keep watching. This is probably the best science fiction series since Farscape. Firefly was really good too, but the show got canceled way too soon. I think The Expanse could easily run for four or five seasons. Here's hoping anyway.

Janet took Dash on his evening walk because I had to go to an evening meeting. Meetings of any sort seem weird to me now. It rare for anything to be accomplished in your average meeting, but they are still an essential part of keeping a group together. It's the intangible things that are important in meetings. If the group feels good about working together, the details can usually be worked out later. Hopefully, I'm still in good graces with this group. I don't get out much, but I still care a lot about helping dogs.

Now that I'm in the process of selling one collection, I've started to think about getting rid of other things as well. I discovered the Artsy website today. I don't know why I never noticed this sooner. It's a great idea, connecting buyers, sellers, and other interested parties with great galleries and auction houses around the world. Instead of buying or selling art directly, you are dealing with very reputable galleries. The website is just a facilitator, bringing people together. I need to learn more about this concept. It might be exactly what I've been looking for.

The tree trimmers are supposed to come over tomorrow. I wonder how long this is going to take? There's really only one big branch that might be dangerous to leave as is, but I'm sure the tree guys will find more dead wood when they arrive. The last time they came to the house they took down twice as much as I had anticipated. I hope this all goes smoothly. I'd hate for one of these limbs to fall on the roof while they are cutting it down.

I probably should stay home and have my regular smoothie tomorrow. I have no idea when the tree guys are going to arrive, so it wouldn't be a good idea to go out for breakfast. Of course if I do stay home, they won't arrive until after lunch. That's just the way it goes.

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

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Day 3079

Our power went out again today. Once again there was no wind or rain. It was pretty hot though. Since the outage occurred around the evening rush hour, I suspect that everybody just came home from work and turned on their air conditioner at the same time. The power grid in our part of town is pretty old. I don't think it's up to the job anymore. When the newcomers start tearing down all the 2000 square foot homes and replacing them with 5000 square foot homes, something's got to give.

My doctor seems to think I'm in pretty good shape. I'm a borderline diabetic who needs to take statins, but other than that I'm good to go. The heart is good, there are no signs of cancer, my weight and blood pressure are under control. I just need to keep exercising and eating right. I got a pneumonia shot today and will probably get the new shingles vaccine at my next exam. Apparently, you can't take these two vaccines together. I was relieved to learn that I don't have peripheral neuropathy. The reason my fingers and toes sometimes feel numb right after I wake up is due to the way I sleep. There's a name for the condition, but basically it's just a pinched nerve.

I finally got a decent picture of a scissor-tailed-flycatcher. These birds are amazing to watch, but hard to photograph. They catch insects in mid air and can use their long forked tail to make abrupt turns and even hover like a helicopter. They are very territorial and will chase away larger hawks and other birds that invade their space. I don't know why this one was so still this morning, but now you know what they look like.

My doctor said the pneumonia shot might cause some soreness. He was right. My arm feels like someone hit me with a hammer. Oh, well. If I never get pneumonia, it was worth it. The soreness in my arm is nothing compared to all the chigger bites I've got anyway. These bites are driving me crazy. Chiggers are so small that you usually can't even see them. The bites pack a wallop though. They itch much worse than mosquito bites. The only thing worse are fire ants. We have those too. It's only a matter of time before I start getting fire ant bites.

When the power went out, I noticed that the UPS for my computer only had four minutes of back up power. It's supposed to have over an hour. I've already replaced the batteries on this uninterrupted power source once. It looks like I'm going to have to replace them again. Gasoline seems so reliable compared to batteries. I'm always replacing batteries. I've been fascinated with Tesla ever since they first appeared on the market. I don't think I'd ever have the nerve to buy one though. The car is basically a giant lithium-ion battery. What could possibly go wrong?

I hope we don't have another power outage tomorrow. It's going to be very hot. When the power went out this afternoon, the inside temperature went up ten degrees in less than an hour. A full day without power would be very hard on Dash. Years ago, we were without power for four days in the middle of July. We're all too old for that now. If it ever happened again, we'd have to move to a dog-friendly hotel.

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

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Day 3078

There was blood in Dash's water bowl this morning. Where did this come from? His gums looked good and his mouth wasn't bleeding. The clump of blood in the bottom of the bowl looked more like something he had coughed up. This certainly wasn't normal. I've watched Dash all day and he seems absolutely fine, but now I've got one more question for the vet at his next exam.

I feel like things are slowly coming together around the house. The landscaper finally contacted me and made a commitment to clean up the yard and put in new grass next week. The tree guy is coming over this weekend to remove the dead limbs from the Oak trees. Now, all I've got to do is get the roofers to come back again and finish what they started several weeks ago.

It looks like I've got a new website project. This will keep me busy during the month of June. I have mixed feelings about work now. It's good to be busy and I like to feel needed, but work is still work. Truthfully, I'm getting used to doing nothing. The older I get, the harder it is to maintain the work ethic I've had for most of my adult life. I've got nothing to prove anymore and napping with the dog seems to make as much sense as anything else I might try.

I got a call from my doctor reminding me of my appointment tomorrow. I've got to fast so they can do new blood work. Ordinarily, I would have made an early appointment and stopped for breakfast on the way home. This won't work with Dash's new schedule. He doesn't like to walk before Janet goes to work anymore so we no longer walk at sunrise. We'll walk at our regular time and I'll just skip breakfast tomorrow. This is probably the only way I can lose weight anyway. I should try intermittent fasting sometime, but it's hard to skip a meal. Eating is my primary form of entertainment these days.

It's going to be a bad summer for bugs. This always happens after a warm Winter. I knocked down some wasp nests in the back yard this afternoon. As soon as the landscapers finish putting in the grass, I'm going to treat the yard for mosquitoes. I don't know know what I'm going to do about the chiggers. This has been the worst season for chiggers that I can remember.

I hope they don't find anything wrong with me tomorrow. I feel OK, but I've grown to expect surprises. Just when I think I'm home free, someone says I need another colonoscopy or adds a new prescription to my growing list of meds. I feel like I'm in better shape than my Mom or Dad was at my age, but that isn't saying much. Until I hear otherwise, I'll just keep eating healthy food and walking everyday.

I'm not looking forward to lab work tomorrow. Last time, the phlebotomist had trouble finding a vein.  Maybe she's gotten better in the past six months. It's not a big one deal one way or the other. At least there'll be a new episode of The Expanse to watch tomorrow evening.

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

Monday, May 28, 2018

Day 3077 - Memorial Day

Both of my parents served in the Navy during World War II. Most of their neighbors, their congregation, and their co-workers were veterans as well. I think this was the last generation where military service was actually a common bond that tied people together. Only two of my high school friends joined the military. One became a Marine and the other became an Air Force fighter pilot. Most of the others had some sort of student deferment. It was pretty easy to get a deferment if you were actually going to school. We all hoped the Vietnam War would be over by the time we graduated.

I have tremendous respect for anyone who has served in the military. At the same time, I think our country has gotten involved in far too many senseless wars. The Vietnam War proved nothing. Twenty Five years of war in the Middle East have proved nothing. I've never understood why we are so quick to get involved in other people's business. Some of these people have been fighting for thousands of years. Our involvement is not going to stop them. In some cases, I think we are just fanning the flames.

It didn't really seem like a holiday today. I kept thinking it was Sunday. We should have gotten up earlier, because it was already hot by the time we walked Dash. Sleeping in is a tradition on holidays though. We always sleep in when we get a chance.

I saw a roach crawl under the bed just before we went to sleep last night. I got a flashlight and looked under the bed, but the bug had disappeared. I kept thinking that it was going to crawl over me as I slept. This morning, I pulled all the photo equipment and unused dog beds out from under the bed and cleaned all the dust away with the vacuum. The bedroom is cleaner than it's been in a long time, but I still can't find the bug. The critters are fast. It's probably in the kitchen by now.

Since I had the vacuum out, I cleaned the rest of the house as well. Then I did a load of laundry and took a nap with Dash. That's about as exciting as it got today. It was way too hot to mow the grass or go up on the roof. The only good thing about the Summer heat is that the standing water on the roof evaporates quickly.

Janet and I think the Movoflex we're giving Dash is working. The change has been gradual, but he seems to have more energy now and isn't stumbling as much when he walks. I'm not expecting miracles, but I hope he can keep walking on his own for a while longer. We've already purchased a Help 'Em Up Harness for Dash like Dot used to wear, but I'm not looking forward to the day when we have to start using it. Dash enjoys his independence.

Summer is here to stay. We're supposed to get our first triple digit temperatures later this week. I hope the air conditioner keeps working. I change the filters right on schedule, but I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop.

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

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Day 3076

Maybe it's just the nice weather, but we are encountering an increasing number of aggressive dogs in the park. These dogs are on a leash, but just barely. I still don't understand why people insist on walking their dogs in a public place when they can't control them. The woman we encountered today kept apologizing for her dog's bad behavior but couldn't seem to stop it. We watched as several other dogs narrowly avoided disaster and kept far, far away.

It's hard to blame the dog for bad behavior. Usually the owner has made no effort to properly socialize and train their pet. A well socialized puppy seldom becomes a bad dog. I've learned to keep my distance when I see a dog on one of those long flexi-leashes that won't come when it's called. When another dog approaches, the owner struggles to retract the leash like they are reeling in a fish. Jeez. A sturdy leather leash and a little training goes a long way. We safely completed another walk, but it would be nice if we could relax and enjoy the outdoors without constantly looking ahead for danger.

I may need to find a new time to go to the gym. For the second week in a row, I haven't been able to use the basketball court because a game was in progress. These impromptu pick-up games come and go, but I'm never very good at predicting when the court will be in use. I'm always a little disappointed when I can't shoot baskets. It seems like a small reward for the twenty minutes I spend on the hand bicycle.

I needed to buy a new nozzle for the garden hose in the back yard today. I've bought a new nozzle every year for the past three years. Why don't these things last? I'd much rather spend $25 for a sturdy nozzle that would last a lifetime than pay $7 for a new nozzle every year. Sprinklers are even worse. Most oscillating sprinklers won't even make it through a single season.

Although I'm willing to pay more for garden equipment, I'd like to pay less for socks. Why are socks so expensive? Maybe I'm hard on socks, but I'm always needing to replace them. It doesn't take me long at all to get a hole in the heel. I went looking for socks on my way home from the gym today and a lot of them were over $20 a pair. That's ridiculous for something that won't last six months.

Dash had a good day. He's seemed a little more sure footed on his walks lately. I can tell by the sound his protective boots make on the pavement that he's not dragging his feet so much. This could all change tomorrow, but I'm always happy when Dash has a good day. I'm still confused about his changing eating habits. Dash prefers to eat later in the day now. There's no more barking for breakfast right after he wakes up. Lately, he's been sleeping through the night too. I need to stay flexible, which isn't always easy. I'm not a very flexible person.

I watched the last episode of Detectorists last night. Now what? There just aren't many shows that I like. Maybe I should start reading again. My standards are pretty high. I'm looking for books like The Milagro Beanfield War, A Confederacy of Dunces, Geek Love, Danial Martin, Sometimes a Great Notion, and The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Truthfully, I don't think they make authors like Ken Kesey, Tom Wolfe, and John Fowles anymore.

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

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Day 3075

I just received a notice that NetworkedBlogs is shutting down. Sad. One by one, all the familiar faces I have long associated with blogging are disappearing. Entrecard is gone. Adgitize is gone. I'm not sure if BlogCatalog still works. I haven't seen anything new there in years. I'm going to miss NetworkedBlogs. This is the tool I've always used to syndicate the blog to Facebook and Twitter. Maybe there are other blog syndication services out there, but there probably aren't many. Blogging just isn't popular anymore.

I'm glad I got to be a part of blogging's short lived golden years. It certainly didn't last very long. When was the last time you spent hours blog hopping? Yup. I can't remember that far back either. If you're reading today, you're probably just looking at a link on Facebook. At some point you begin to wonder if there is any point writing if nobody's reading anymore. It is becoming an increasingly quixotic quest.

It would be hard to quit writing. It's a lot like walking Dash. Our walks are painfully slow now, but they have become part of the fabric of life. Whenever we fail to walk I am filled with a sense of foreboding. The day is supposed to start with a walk and end with a blog post. That's just the way it is.

We had a nice walk this morning. I was somewhat surprised to see a single mutant flower in a field full of Mexican Hats. These upright prairie coneflowers are sombrero-shaped with drooping petals and a tall central cone. How did this explosion of petals even happen? This flower looked like it came straight from Chernobyl.

I had planned on having the trees trimmed this morning, but the tree guy called and said he'd had a couple of emergencies and he needed to postpone our appointment. It's just as well that we called this off. It rained last night and the trees were still wet. I imagine that this would have made the branches heavier and more difficult to cut. At least the trees didn't fall on my roof last night. Evidently, the storm was far worse in Far North Dallas.

Now that it's warm enough to keep the air conditioner running, doing the wash has become more difficult. Both the washer and the condensation from the air conditioner drain into the same floor drain  in the utility room. The drain needs to be plugged when the washer is running and open when the air conditioner is running. It gets complicated when both things are happening at the same time. I forgot to open the drain today and the utility room got flooded. If it's not one thing, it's another.

I wish my lone trip to the gym every Sunday was enough to build muscle mass and shed a little weight. I have a feeling that it's just a symbolic gesture. It's going to take a lot more than an hour at the gym to change anything. I'll still go tomorrow. Hey, there's nothing wrong with symbolic gestures.

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

Friday, May 25, 2018

Day 3074

I'm gaining weight. It probably didn't help that I had Beignets with breakfast this morning. I still try to eat healthy, but it's getting harder. I'm not really a Kale and Quinoa kind of guy. My diet hasn't changed all that much, but my daily activities have. When the dogs were young and healthy, we used to walk at least six miles every day. Dalmatians are active dogs and we kept a pretty brisk pace. Now there's only one dog and he is incredibly slow. Dash and I are lucky if we travel two miles these days.

In theory, there's nothing preventing me from still walking six miles a day. I could easily go on a walk while Dash was sleeping during the day. I have no desire to do this, unfortunately. Walking the dogs was a duty that I enjoyed. It was clear that the dogs needed me. When there was a problem to be solved in my professional career, I always felt the same way. I enjoyed a career as a photographer and filmmaker. Somehow doing these same things as a hobby has little appeal. When someone asks me "What do you like to do for fun?" I seldom have an answer. What is fun anyway?

Are you getting a ton of irritating e-mail from companies and websites saying that they've changed their privacy policies? It's all because of the GDPR. The European Union's new General Data Protection Regulation has changed everything. Personally, I don't think the Europeans realize that privacy is just an illusion. It doesn't exist anymore. Artificial Intelligence needs massive amounts of data to function and your robot overlords are going to get that data one way or another. China, not Europe, holds the keys to the future. They are already using sophisticated facial recognition technology to identify billions of people. In the future, payments will be made with retinal scans, not money. Stores will know what you are going to buy before you even enter the door. I don't necessarily like this, but it's coming. Just to be safe, I've removed all remaining online forms from my websites. I don't want to be ever accused of collecting any information on anybody.

Dash and I were surprised by an unexpected thunderstorm this afternoon. The sun was shining this morning when we took our morning walk. I was expecting clear skies all the way through the Memorial Day holiday. It wasn't meant to be. Around lunch time the sky became ominously dark and I began to hear thunder. We didn't lose power, but the lights did flicker for a while. This was more than enough to throw Dash into a panic. It took a while for me to calm him down, but eventually he settled down under a blanket with me and we rode out the storm. If I had anything else to do, this would have been frustrating, but life is pretty slow now. Comforting a dog under a blanket seemed as good a way to spend the day as anything. We both went to sleep after a while and when we woke up, the rain was gone.

There is a huge sale going on at REI, but there is absolutely nothing I need. I have a feeling that this is going to become a recurring theme. When collecting things and accumulating gear I don't really need fails to give me pleasure, it's probably time to reassess everything.

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

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Day 3073

Today was slow. Who am I kidding. Every day is slow. I did manage to finish updating an animal rescue website today, but for the most part, the day was almost identical to yesterday. We completed our walk this morning without losing a shoe. Maybe I'm getting better at attaching Dash's boots, but it was probably just luck. I used a fitness app on my phone this morning to see how far we actually traveled and it told me I was on pace to run a 35 minute mile. Dash and I are really slow.

After breakfast, I watched the new episode of The Expanse that I recorded yesterday. For the first time since the series started, I was disappointed. They skipped way ahead from the previous episode to move the story arc forward. It was disorienting to see different characters doing different things with very little continuity. It was almost like the show runner knew how he wanted the series to end and was trying to cram four seasons into three. It's too bad if this is the case. This show deserves at least four seasons.

There were a bunch of calls I should have made today and I didn't make any of them. I'm tired of bothering the roofer and the landscaper every single day. I don't even think it helps. Sometimes being the squeaky wheel does more harm than good. There are also a couple of website projects on the back burner that I need to follow up on. I'm reluctant to push too hard to get these jobs because I honestly don't think a website is going to change things for either of these people. They've got bigger problems than their online profile. I'd love to have some additional work, but I hate to overpromise. A good website can't fix everything.

It's going to be a long, hot summer if I can't come up with a better way to spend the ample amount of time I seem to have. Practicing the piano went nowhere. I haven't even looked at the keyboard in several weeks. My plan to upload hundreds of pictures to my stock photo site is languishing on the back burner too. I have some old images that I think might sell, but it's hard to get interested in these things. I keep coming up with excuses why the images wouldn't get accepted anyway. People are always saying that you need to follow your passion, but the truth is that I've never been passionate about anything. I've always preferred the term "dispassionate." Why has this emotion never gained popularity? A dispassionate person is always cool, calm and able to be rational and impartial in any situation. That's a good thing, isn't it?

I've taken the trash out to the curb, but I'm not really sure what's on the agenda for tomorrow. I don't feel like going out for breakfast and household chores don't sound very appealing either. Who knows. Maybe I'll wake up motivated. If I don't, I can always take a nap with Dash.

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

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Day 3072

Dash surprised me today with explosive diarrhea. What a mess. There was a long line of liquid poop running from the kitchen to the back door. I raced to get the door open in time, but it wouldn't have mattered. It was obvious that Dash couldn't make it to the door. By the time I got everything cleaned up, Dash seemed fine again. I wish he was able to give me a little warning. Whenever Dash races to the door like this, I know that something is going to come out one end or the other.

I wish we could figure out what was causing Dash's digestive problems. He's become an incredibly picky eater. He throws up periodically. And just when we think he's getting back to normal, he has these bouts of diarrhea. If we could find something he would eat consistently, I'm sure it would help. Dogs do better on a consistent diet, but an inconsistent diet is still better than not eating at all. We haven't figured this out yet, but we're doing the best we can.

The electrician came over today and the security light in the back yard is working normally again. Hopefully, I won't get as many chigger bites now that I don't have to wade through the thick ground cover every evening to flip the switch on the breaker box to turn the light on manually. I've started to notice that the more technology is involved in a repair, the better service you get. The technician I use to repair my computers can fix almost anything I need the same day. The new appliance repairman who fixed my refrigerator usually responds in a day or two. The electrician always comes quickly and my HVAC guy is pretty good too. When no electricity is involved, things start to fall apart. It takes forever to get the roofers to make a repair and the landscaper is even worse. I'm still trying to contact that guy.

We had a tough time getting Dash to take his pills this morning. He wasn't interested in eating anything. He still wanted to walk though, and after a long, slow stroll through the park he decided to eat his breakfast after all. Every day is a cliffhanger. I never know if he's going to eat or not. We repeated this process at dinner and he finally finished everything about four hours after he started. I'd just let him wait until he got really hungry if he didn't need to take all these pills on a regular schedule. Most of the pills can't be taken on an empty stomach. This is what makes mealtime so difficult.

After cleaning up Dash's messy diarrhea, a lot of other unpleasant chores seemed easy. I cleaned the toilets and then tackled the grease stained wheels on my car. I was just about ready to clean all the spiderwebs off the back windows, but then I decided that enough was enough. There's always tomorrow, or more likely, next month.

I recorded tonight's episode of The Expanse and will watch it tomorrow. I've been hearing that there might not be a Season Four of this show. I hope that's not true. So far, this show, a series called Detectorists on BBC, and ancient black and white Perry Mason episodes are the only television I enjoy watching.

I hope that Dash can keep it together tomorrow. I'm tired of cleaning up vomit and poo.

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

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Day 3071

As usual, Dash was not a model of good behavior this morning. He barked at the vet and pooped in the lobby. Dash used to be so well behaved, but now he's old and cranky. I'm glad everyone is patient with us. We couldn't trim his nails this morning, because Dash wouldn't let anyone get near his paws. We did get all his vaccinations though, and that's what we came for. Dash's vet was pleased at how well he was responding to the antibiotic, but warned us that it wasn't a good idea to take Rimadyl with blood thinners. This was our fault. Actually, Dash's other vet did recommend stopping the low dose aspirin when he initially prescribed the Rimadyl. All this got forgotten because we didn't give Dash the Rimadyl anyway and tried the safer Movoflex supplement instead. When Dash's blood clot appeard to dissolve and disappear, the doctor wanted to continue the Plavix and low dose aspirin combination because it was working. When Dash became painful, we remembered we already had the Rimadyl, and forgot the complicated path we took to get where we are. No harm was done because Dash only took the Rimadyl for three days, but it was a good reminder to check and re-check everything when it comes to a change in medication.

I thought that Dash would be tired after his trip to the vet, but he was surprisingly active. Even though it was later in the day and things were starting to warm up, he took a very long walk. He was actually a little too active, because we lost a shoe. I eventually found the rubber boot, but it was hard to get Dash to turn around and retrace our steps. It was important to find the missing boot, because these little things are way to expensive to leave them lying around in the park. I've got to figure out a better way to keep the boots secure. As his rear legs grow weaker, Dash seems to loose these shoes more often.

I looked like a dork this morning. I wore both the Fitbit and Jawbone trackers on my right wrist to compare the way they counted steps. After wearing them together most of the morning, they were only about 75 steps off. The surprising thing was that my Apple Watch counted over 1500 extra steps. It was way off. I would have thought that the watch would be the most accurate but that didn't appear to be the case. Since your natural arm movement is part of the algorithm that is used to calculate distance, I wonder if any of my trackers are even close. When you are holding on to a dog leash, your arms don't tend to move back and forth at all. With an active dog, they are often straight out in front of you.
Our mild Winter has been a bonanza for biting insects. I don't think I've ever gotten so many mosquito and chigger bites this early in the season. I have to worry about spiders too. When I leave my dog walking shoes outside to dry after our walks, I always check to make sure no spiders have crawled inside before I put them on again. The spiders are everywhere. I dream of a place with cool, dry air, infrequent rain, and an absence of insects. I wonder where that would be?

I'm looking forward to a new episode of The Expanse tomorrow. This shows just how slow and uneventful life has become. I shouldn't be waiting all week for an hour of TV. Oh, well. That's the way it goes. I suspect that waiting for your favorite TV show is a lot more normal than spending the morning comparing fitness trackers.

Dash has been in good spirits all day. Maybe being bad at the vet was fun for him.

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

Monday, May 21, 2018

Day 3070 - Dash's Birthday

Dash is a trooper. Despite some serious medical problems, we made it through another year. Dash is not as strong or as agile as he used to be, but he is still a happy dog. On a good day I think Dash will be with us for many years. On a bad day, I wonder if he'll make it through the night. Luckily, his birthday was a very good day. Dash ate well today and took two walks. He didn't stumble too much and really enjoyed the little party we had for him after dinner.

Janet and I used to bake and decorate special cakes for each of our dogs. We don't have the energy now, so I just went to Sprinkles and got him some Pupcakes. He seems to like these just as well. Hopefully, we'll be able to celebrate again next May. Tomorrow morning we have a vet appointment so he can get his annual Leptospirosis vaccination. We'll find out whether the infection on his lip has cleared up and if we can discontinue the antibiotics that upset his stomach. Next month, we will see a different vet at the cancer center for a follow up exam and an echocardiogram. It's not surprising that Dash doesn't enjoy going to the vet anymore, but he wouldn't be alive today without the excellent care he receives.

I got a surprise in the mail today. It was a rather large bill from the roofer. There aren't supposed to be any bills for repairs necessitated by defective materials. The roofers have been out many times before to repair the faulty elastomer coating and this is the first time I've received a bill. The roofer eventually agreed that I didn't have to pay the bill, but I could tell that he's getting tired of dealing with me. Hey, you and me both. I'm not really enjoying this either. Now, I'm wondering if the roofers will ever come back and finished the rest of the repairs as they promised. Today was definitely a setback.

I got a Fitbit today and when I went to set it up, the app said I already had a Fitbit account. Hmm. This was confusing, since I don't think I've ever owned a Fitbit before. Maybe I have though. These activity trackers don't last very long and I've owned quite a few. When I was setting up the device, I remembered why I started using Jawbone trackers in the first place. It's too bad that Jawbone made poorly constructed, flimsy equipment and went out of business. Their software was always the best.

Dash drags his rear legs so badly now that repairing his rubber boots has become a full time job. I hope I'm not pushing him too hard, but it's really important that he keeps moving. I wish he would let me take him for water therapy in the underwater treadmill like I did with Dot. Unfortunately, riding in the car has become too stressful for him. We limit car rides to essential vet visits now. There's just no point in stressing out a dog with a bad heart.

I called an electrician today but he told me that it would be two weeks before he could come out and fix my backyard security light. Hey, two weeks is fine. If he actually arrives in two weeks, this will be the fastest repair I've been able to arrange this year. I'm still trying to get the landscaper and the tree trimmer out here and it appears that all bets are off with the roofer.

All in all it was a good day. I had some frustrating encounters with suppliers, but Dash had a great birthday. He's sleeping it off now. Hopefully, we'll both sleep well tonight and be ready for another day tomorrow.

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

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Day 3069

Today was dominated by the weather. We watched as a surprise storm approached from the West as we were walking Dash this morning. Dash doesn't have a high gear anymore, so we kept inching along as the rain got closer and closer. We almost made it. The rain arrived when we were about 200 yards from the house. We all got wet, but it wasn't so bad. Now that the temperature and humidity have increased, a little cool rain felt kind of nice.

I went to the gym, even though I knew the car would get muddy. There is very little to do around the house on a rainy day. I'm sure there were things to be done, but my brain goes into hibernation when it rains. I didn't feel like thinking today. Exercise is a good substitute for thinking, so off to the gym I went. I was a little disappointed that there was a basketball game underway when I got there, but the game concluded by the time I was ready to shoot free throws, so all was well.

I stopped at the REI store on the way home to look at activity trackers. Should I get a Fitbit or a Garmin?  I'm still irritated that I can't glue my Jawbone UP3 band back together, but I've just about concluded that repairing this thing is a lost cause. Maybe I should just calibrate my Apple Watch. I learned you can do this today by syncing your watch to your phone's GPS for 20 minutes using the workout app. Who knew? It's weird that I'm so interested in activity trackers since I'm not much of an athlete. I guess I just like to track things.

I watched a documentary called Elizabeth at 90 while Janet was fixing dinner this evening. It was basically watching 50 years of the queen's private home movies. What a fascinating life the royals lead. They aren't like ordinary rich people. Unlike typical people of privilege, the royal family seemed very disciplined, polite, and in private led unassuming, seemingly normal lives. Maybe we need more people like the queen and fewer people like our own celebrity royalty.

I need to call the electrician. Every evening I wade through the thick ground cover in the back yard to turn on the security light manually and in the process get eaten alive by mosquitoes and chiggers. It's going to be a bad mosquito season this year. I am convinced that there are snakes hiding in the Asian Jasmine too. I definitely don't want to run into a snake at night.

Tomorrow is Dash's birthday. We need to do something really nice for him.  He's such a great dog. For most of his life, tasty food gifts were the preferred choice around our house, but I'm not so sure this year. You never know what Dash is going to eat on any given day. He might even turn up his nose at a doggie birthday cake. Who knows? Maybe we'll have a good day tomorrow. Today was certainly encouraging. Everything went well with Dash today.

Harley is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Day 3068

Janet enjoys watching royal weddings the same way I enjoy watching NASA launches. I think we've seen most of them. It doesn't seem that long ago that Charles and Dianna got married. It's easy to forget that William and Harry weren't even born then. Now, they're both married themselves. It's things like this that make you feel old.

I remember watching earlier royal weddings on a big, heavy Sony Trinitron with a CRT tube. The Internet and flat screen TV's didn't exist yet, but the queen looked the same and the cathedrals looked the same. Even the queen's royal Rolls Royce and the palace guards looked the same. I wish we had some traditions that stayed the same for thirty years. It doesn't take thirty minutes for something to change in this country.

I should be used to change after spending all these years taking care of Dot and Dash. Every day is a new day with Dash. I never know what he's going to eat, or when he's going to have enough energy to walk. Dash didn't eat much today, but at least he didn't throw up. We decided to try to finish his antibiotics, even though they might make him nauseous. If we stop the antibiotics now, they won't do any good. We've only got a few more days to go anyway. I though that it might be easier to feed Dash now that Janet is home, but she's having just as much trouble as I did. He's become an incredibly picky eater.

I went up to the Land Rover dealer this afternoon to get my oil changed, but the service manager said it would be better if I just waited until July when my next major service is due. "But the little sticker on my windshield says it time to change the oil now," I said. Apparently, the sticker means nothing. "Your oil is good for a year," the guy said. "Just come back in July. It's just as well that I did nothing today. The price for an oil change has doubled since the last time I had this done.

I'm going to have even more questions when I return in July. Why do I need a 90 thousand mile service when I've only got 47 thousand miles on the car? Apparently, the dealership wants to charge me a lot of money at least once a year whether I drive the car or not. I've only driven 3 thousand miles since my last major service. That isn't very much in a year. They need to have a special plan for low mileage drivers like me. I'll be dead before I put 90 thousand miles on this car.

I'm really getting sick of having heartburn. I found an old bottle of Protonix and took a pill this evening. I'll ask my doctor if it's OK to start using the Proton-Pump inhibitor again for a while. I took the drug for over ten years and it worked great, but new research indicates that long term use can cause bone density problems in older people. It's always something. I can't even remember what I started eating to make the heartburn go away. It was probably something I hated.

They say we're having the warmest May on record. I can believe it. It was really hot this afternoon. It's a shame that the weather isn't being cooperative. We have a hard enough time walking Dash in cold weather.

Holly is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, May 18, 2018

Day 3067

Janet is back. I think Dash and I did OK on our own, but taking care of this dog is definitely a team effort. We certainly had our hands full today. Dash isn't eating again. It was really hard to get him to eat enough this morning so he could safely take his pills. He didn't finish the rest of his breakfast until around 3 PM. Right around sunset, his appetite seemed to return, but then he threw up everything right after we finished a short evening walk. It is really frustrating that there doesn't appear to be a solution to this ongoing problem. He'll seem fine for a week or two and then he'll start throwing up again. I guess we could keep him on the Cerenia anti-nausea pills indefinitely, but there's a downside to that as well.

Dash has reached the point where everything he does can have serious side effects. The antibiotic he's taking to clear up the skin infection on his lip appears to be working, but one of the side effects is vomiting. Do we continue the antibiotic? Who knows. I'll contact his vet and see what she thinks. Dash sleeps so much now that he really needs the limited walks he gets to maintain his mobility. He's so fragile though that every time we walk I worry that he is going to injure himself. Maybe I worry too much, but I think I'm just being realistic. Dash is a very high maintenance dog.

I was sad to hear that Tom Wolfe died this week. You could not read something by Tom Wolfe and not be influenced by it. He was one of the most prolific and talented writers I have ever encountered. To this day, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, The Right Stuff, and Bonfire of the Vanities remain in my top ten list. John Fowles is gone too. I used to eagerly await anything new from these two authors. Maybe John Kennedy Toole would be right up there with them if he hadn't committed suicide before A Confederacy of Dunces was published. I wonder who the amazing writers are these days? Sadly, I don't read much anymore.

My friend in Kentucky has finished making an inventory of my collection. Seeing everything on paper makes me realize that I had assembled a much better collection than I realized. I was well suited to being a collector. I had good taste and enjoyed the process of finding a needle in a haystack. It's weird though. The process of collecting had a lot more meaning for me than the objects themselves. Once I stopped collecting things, the objects lost their meaning. Over time, the collections just became a lot of dusty, useless stuff.

I've got to find something to replace all the things that kept me so busy when I was younger. How did I ever find the time to do so much reading, collecting, and exploring new boundaries? Today I'm just tired. A lot of my friends have died. And every time I turn on the TV, I realize that the world has gone to hell in an handbasket. I'm still curious though. That's why I keep writing. Maybe that's why you keep reading too.

Skippy is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Day 3066

Dash has the weirdest eating habits imaginable. I feel like I'm feeding him little mini-meals every ten minutes. He never eats the same thing twice, but by the end of the day he has eaten just as much as he used to when he was younger. Janet thinks Dash always wanted to eat this way, but ate quickly because he was always afraid that Dot would grab his dinner. Dot would have too. Now Dash doesn't have any competition for food. He eats a little, then goes back to the bedroom and sleeps a little, then comes back and eats a little more. This is how we spend our day. It's all eating and sleeping around here.

Dash has been surprisingly good about walking while Janet is away. We walk right after we wake up in the morning, while it's still cool outside. It's a little hard to get his protective boots on, but we manage. Somebody needs to make a better boot sock for dogs. The boots aren't waterproof and when the grass is wet the moisture causes the socks to come loose and bunch up in the bottom of the boot. Today the entire boot came off before we had gone 500 yards. I was able to get the boot back on again, but I still need to come up with a better solution. Dash is becoming an expert at losing his shoes.

I was going to call the roofers again today, but I was glad I didn't. I just noticed that there are thunderstorms in the forecast for next Monday. There's no sense being a pest if it's just going to rain anyway. I wonder what it's going to take to get an entire week without rain? That's what I really need. Of course, all the roofer's other customers probably want exactly the same thing. Fickle weather is one of the main reason that it's hard to pin a roofer down.

I think I'm going to have to call an electrician. The security lamp in the back yard isn't coming on automatically at sunset anymore. The sensor is probably just covered with spiderwebs again, but I don't want to climb up on the pole and clean them off. The lamp is mounted dangerously close to where the electricity comes into the house. I'm clumsy and I definitely don't want to electrocute myself clearing away spiderwebs. Too bad I've gotten hooked on having this lamp working normally. Without it, I can never see where Dash is pooping at night.

I'm hooked on too many things I never thought I needed. It's looks like I'm going to have to get a new fitness tracker because my attempts to repair the silicon band on my Jawbone tracker have been abysmal. I wish I could get my money back on the special silicon glue I ordered. It doesn't work at all. I've been reading reviews about other trackers and nobody seems to be happy with theirs. Either the heart rate monitor is too slow, or the gadget doesn't count the correct number of steps. Some people say their tracker still counts steps while they are sleeping. Others, like me, use two different trackers and can never figure out why they don't agree. I really like my UP3 tracker. Too bad the build quality is terrible and they only last about six months.

I remembered to take the trash out to the curb this evening. I've got lots of reminders so I'll remember to give Dash his pills in the morning. I'm not sure I'll go out to breakfast though. Breakfast isn't as appealing as it used to be. Maybe I should start eating little mini-meals too.

Susie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Day 3065

I voted today. I don't always vote in primary elections, but I took this opportunity to vote against the candidates who irritated me the most with their incessant robocalls and spammy brochures. I still don't understand why politicians of the same party spend so much time trashing each other in primary elections. Both parties do this. All it does is leave voters trusting nobody when it's time for the general election.

Dash is still getting used to our new schedule. I was pleasantly surprised that he stayed still enough for me to put his leg brace and boots on by myself this morning. He was actually eager to go on his morning walk. Unfortunately, he wasn't so eager to take his pills and eat breakfast when we got home. This was equally surprising because usually a nice walk will give Dash an appetite. I had to experiment to find something he would take his pills in, but eventually we succeeded. He didn't seem very hungry this morning, but eventually he finished his breakfast around 11 AM.

It looks like we're going to have clear skies for the next week. There is no rain in the forecast at all. Now, all I've got to do is get the roofers to come back and finish the job before the next thunderstorm arrives. I tried to contact the foreman and schedule something but I kept getting a message saying "mailbox full" and the call would hang up. It's like pulling teeth to get these repairs completed. I feel certain that when the roofers eventually do return, it will rain the next day.

I went to the grocery store this morning to buy some more Chicken Tenders. When everything else fails, Dash will still usually eat Chicken Tenders. He'd probably like a bucket of KFC too, but I've got to draw the line somewhere. The store was out of Chicken Tenders, so I got some Steak Fingers instead. They might not taste the same, but they certainly look the same.

The temperature was in the 90's this afternoon. I didn't even try to take Dash on an evening walk. He just can't handle the heat anymore. As the temperature warmed up, I could tell he was reluctant to even go out in the back yard and pee. Thank goodness it is still cool around sunrise. We need a cool morning breeze or we won't be able to walk at all.

I set the DVR to record tonight's episode of The Expanse. I might as well just watch the show live. There isn't much else to do this evening. We've still got to take our evening pills. I'll do fine with mine, but I'm not so sure about Dash. He certainly wasn't very enthusiastic this morning.

Liberty is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Day 3064

Dash and I have a new schedule for a little while. Janet is traveling and I need to remember to do all the things she usually does. Janet usually prepares Dash's meals and gives him his pills. The meals are a guessing game, since you never know what he's willing to eat on any given day. No matter what his mood is, he always has to eat something early in the morning, because he can't take his phenobarbital on an empty stomach. Dash used to take his pills in a dog food meat ball, but now we have to resort to more exotic temptations. Today, I hid the pills in soft slices of banana bread with a little peanut butter on top. This worked pretty well. Meals are just as challenging. I opened three different cans this evening before I found something he would eat. When a dog turns up his nose at fresh chicken breasts, you know you are getting desperate.

Luckily, we were able to give Dash a good walk early this morning before Janet left for the airport. I knew I would have trouble with the afternoon walk, and even though I tried, we didn't even make it out of the back yard. Dash turned around and threw off one of his rubber boots before we even reached the back gate. When I got the boot back on again, he refused to move at all. Hopefully, he will still walk with me in the mornings. Morning walks are an essential part of the feeding routine. Without a walk, he rarely has much of an appetite.

It's not normal for a Dalmatian to lose interest in food. Something is definitely wrong, but so far his veterinarians have not been able to pin down a cause. We've done every type of test imaginable and so far the only plausible cause for this loss of appetite is the nausea that is commonly associated with vestibular disease. So far, we've always been able to get Dash to eat something, but it's getting harder and harder.

I think I got lucky with the roof. The rain that was supposed to arrive today never materialized. The area the roofers patched yesterday has had a full 24 hours to cure, so I think the elastomer coating is stable now. We may still get some rain later tonight, but if the roof stays dry, my next job is to get the roofers back to finish the rest of the repairs.

I paid some bills this afternoon and picked up the new antibiotic that is supposed to cure the infected area on Dash's lip. Hopefully, this pill won't interact with any of the other pills he's already taking. Dash takes so many meds now that it gets complicated. I always hope that we'll be able to reduce the number of pills at some point, but that's probably being realistic. Dash hasn't had an epileptic seizure in year, but he will always need to take phenobarbital to prevent them from reoccurring. Even though the blood clot in his heart has seemingly dissolved, he will need to continue taking Plavix to keep new clots from forming. The list goes on and on. He has to take thyroid medication because he doesn't have a thyroid anymore and he takes blood pressure medication for the same reason I do.

I think we're going to go to bed early tonight. Why not? We've both finished our dinners. Dash has taken all his evening meds. And I'm almost finished with tonight's blog post. We're probably going to need a good night's rest. Tomorrow might be challenging.

Sadie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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