Friday, November 30, 2018

Day 3263

I think we're ready to go. I've finished testing the photo equipment and it all works. I located the battery I need. Everything is packed in bags and waiting to be loaded into the car. The only missing link is me. I'm still tired, but I guess I passed my test as well. I made it through the day.

Pooping in the bed has become a nightly occurrence. Dash has lost control of his bowels. Since he is pooping in his sleep more frequently now, there is hope that we'll be able to slide a puppy training pad under his butt at some point. If he would sleep soundly and stay in one place, cleanup would be easy.

I thought that I got up early this morning, but tomorrow I'll need to get up even earlier. The photo event starts at 9 AM and it takes me about an hour to set things up. Add in the drive to the location and I'll need to leave the house around 7 AM. I'm not sure how Dash is going to get his walk tomorrow. We need to wait until it is light to walk because of the coyotes. I'm nervous about the coyotes this year because there is an aggressive coyote in a town just North of here that has already bitten several people. No giant earthquakes down here, but we do have a mean coyote.

The earthquake in Alaska today seems pretty major. It reminded me of the big quake in 1964 when I was in high school in Fairbanks. We weren't even close to the epicenter but the pine trees in our yard were waving around like matchsticks and all the water sloshed out of the kitchen sink. Earthquakes are weird and kind of frightening. If you've ever experienced one, you won't forget it.

I was surprised at how difficult it was to find the lithium battery I needed today. I had to go to four different stores. The battery store, which usually stocks every type of battery known to man, was out of stock.  The store manager told me that a man came in last week and bought 600 of these things. Jeez. All I needed were two.

I'll probably regret having pizza for dinner. Pizza almost always gives me heartburn. It tastes good though and neither Janet or I felt like cooking this evening. I didn't feel like cooking this morning either. As soon as I finished walking Dash, I went out for breakfast and ordered the Brioche French Toast and bacon that has become my Friday morning favorite.

None of my model trains sold in November. Damn. I was hoping that November would be a good month. December is bound to be better. Surely somebody will want a train for Christmas. I'm hoping that interest will pick up for the online Prints and Multiples auction I'm currently participating in. My consignments are bargains. They'd make good Christmas presents too. It's weird that I've become so interested in selling things these days. I'm not interested in buying stuff at all. That's definitely a first for me.

I hope I survive tomorrow's photo shoot. Just kneeling to put on Dash's socks and boots in the morning makes my knees hurt. The thought of doing this all day makes me cringe. I'm going to look on the bright side. After this weekend it's all downhill. I have no plans whatsoever for the rest of the year.

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

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Day 3262

I feel like I washed everything in the bedroom today. Dash pooped everywhere last night and made a huge mess. He's totally unpredictable. Some days are fine and others I'd just as soon forget. I don't think there's a solution. Dash has always moved around at night and as long as he's able, he's going to continue to do so. If you try to pen him in a safe area, he barks and gets very upset. When he gets upset, it can trigger a seizure. It's best to keep him happy and let him do what he wants.

As I predicted yesterday, there was no problem getting up early today. I was already doing wash, cleaning the floors, and remaking the bed at 5 AM. Getting up at night is a piece of cake. Getting any sleep at all is the problem. By the time I finished breakfast this morning I felt like I'd already done a full days work. I'm dreading this weekend's photo shoots. I have a feeling that Dash will continue to throw us a curve and I'll be worn out before I even arrive at the first location.

The cameras all check out OK, but I need to get some new batteries for the flash triggers. I should have ordered these batteries online because I couldn't find them at the grocery store and I didn't feel like driving all over town. Guess what I'll be doing tomorrow. The trip to the store wasn't a total loss because I did come home with something for dinner. I'm starting to be alarmed that I appear to be the only one buying the flash frozen Cadence Kitchen meals I've grown to love. Why aren't more people trying these things? They're delicious. Flash freezing prepared meals with nitrogen does an amazing job of preserving the flavor. You just heat the frozen nuggets in a frying pan and ten minutes later you're done. This is so much easier than those Hello Fresh meal kits and the results are just as tasty. Like most things I like, this product will probably disappear within a year or two.

An online auction I'm participating in went live today. I think I like the live auctions a lot better. Maybe things will improve, but it didn't seem like my items were getting a lot of activity. Oh, well. Beggars can't be choosers. These second tier items weren't desirable enough to be included in a live auction. I guess if they sell at all, I'll be happy. I definitely don't want this stuff back.

Dash seemed lethargic today. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether he's tired, confused, or in pain. I think he was just tired, because he was happy enough to take a nap with me this afternoon. This worked out well, because I was tired too. Naps are good but I don't think they really make up for losing a lot of sleep at night.

Jeez. Dash just pooped in the house again. He was sleeping and didn't even wake up. Sleeping poop is easier to clean up because it's all on one place. Hey, I'm going to look on the bright side. Since it's already pretty late, maybe this means that he'll make it through the night.

I've already taken this week's trash to the curb. I think I'll go back to the hotel for breakfast tomorrow. The hotel is very peaceful. Peaceful sounds good right now.

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Day 3261

Dash got a good report card today. Nobody said he was healthy, but he was very well behaved. I think the vet was as surprised as we were. Considering that Dash had to endure a number of procedures he normally hates, I was amazed. The vet was able to draw blood for a necessary test, give him a Bordetella shot, express his anal glands, and trim his nails without much of a fuss. The little guy made us proud.

I feel much better now that his nails have been trimmed. They grow rapidly since the protective boots keep them from being worn down on walks. I remember how much he bled the day he ripped his dew claw out and I don't ever want that to happen while he's taking blood thinners.

Now that Dash has survived his trip to the vet, I need to start thinking about this weekend's Santa Paws photos. I tested my back-up camera today and began charging batteries. I'll continue checking equipment for the rest of the week so everything will be ready by Saturday morning. My equipment is getting older now and I don't entirely trust it. I'd hate to have to replace something at the last minute, but hopefully everything will last for one more year.  I hope I last for one more year as well. I'm not very agile anymore and photographing pets is hard on my knees and shoulders.

The good news is that we're only doing two events this year. We used to do more, but the volunteers and I are all getting older. The Santa photos are still quite popular, so we should have a good turnout. In recent years people have started bringing their children as well as their pets because they say we are much better than the shopping mall Santas. It's amazing how long we have been doing this for Dalmatian Rescue. The team we've put together over the years is very good. I'm probably the only grumpy one in the bunch.

Christmas is definitely on the horizon. In addition to preparing for this weekend's Santa Paws events, I put our Christmas tree up this afternoon. We haven't bought any ornaments for quite a while, but luckily very few of the ornaments have broken. I don't think I broke anything today. Everything on the tree is a Dalmatian. We used to buy Dalmatian ornaments whenever we would see one, but we ran out of room on the tree a long time ago. If we break ornaments now, we can always get a smaller tree.

Our vet had never seen the slip-in bandages Dash wore to his exam before. She was interested in getting some for the clinic. It weird that Janet and I have inadvertently become experts at protecting a dog's feet. I guess necessity is still the mother of invention. It's too bad we haven't come up with a way to make Dash's legs stronger. If he could walk normally we wouldn't need all the protective gear. Amazingly, we may even need more gear in the future. The vet detected some instability in Dash's left knee today. He may need to wear a brace on both rear legs at some point.

I watched the latest episode of the National Geographic Mars series after I finished my chores today. The story arc is still pretty interesting, but I don't like the show's format. They continually switch back and forth between the present and the future in an effort to show that the Earth could wind up like Mars if we don't quit screwing up the planet. Everything they say is true, but the show is far too preachy for my taste. Dr. Who has become the same way. Can't we have a good old fashioned adventure without all the social justice and environmental lessons?

Janet said that we have to get up early tomorrow because she has to leave the house at 8 AM. Piece of cake. Dash has been waking me up early for months now. Just pick a time. I'll probably already be up cleaning up poop.

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Day 3260

It must have gotten below freezing last night because there was frost everywhere on our morning walk. It's hard enough to keep Dash upright on dry ground and the frost on the grass made things slippery in places. My rubber boots weren't getting much traction and neither were Dash's. We made it home in one piece but I'm already looking forward to Summer.

Dash's paw started to bleed again today. Luckily, this was a very minor cut. I wish he didn't have to take blood thinners. It's so easy for him to get scraped up. At least I know how to get the bleeding controlled now. Dash drags his feet and bumps into things a lot, so rehabilitation is a slow process. We're getting there though. His paws look a lot better than they did two weeks ago.

I wish I could say the same for my office. I tried to do some cleaning this afternoon, but I can't see much difference. I threw away a lot of old magazines and catalogs and went through a huge stack of unopened mail. I hate to deal with mail these days. The vast majority of it is junk. Medicare generates  a lot of junk mail. So do banks and brokerage houses. I should bite the bullet and go paperless because when I eventually do open these letters, I already know the contents. Everybody has a website and anything important is usually on it.

I could get more enthusiastic about cleaning if it made a difference. I threw away a big black trash bag full of paper today and nothing looks different at all. The office is still a mess. Jeez. I'd have to do this every day for a year to make any real progress. At least I've stopped buying things. When you don't have any business you definitely don't need additional business equipment.

I wish I could find some shoes that met my needs. I've been wearing these rubber slip on rain shoes when I walk Dash now but I've already worn out three pair. Sure, the shoes are cheap and made in China, but they should last longer than this. I need something that I can slip on instantly, lasts forever, has good arch support, and doesn't have those Vibram soles that instantly become caked in mud. I can see this shoe clearly in my mind, but nobody makes it. Story of my life. Nobody ever makes the things I'm looking for.

I hope Dash's exam goes well tomorrow. Mostly we need to get his dew claws trimmed before he rips them out again, but I'd really like to know what is causing all the shivering at night. The doctors at the cancer center don't seem to have an answer. Maybe his regular vet can tell us something. We'll be wearing protective boots to the vet this time. I won't make that mistake twice.

The Insight Mars Lander appears to be working perfectly this morning. Wouldn't it be nice if everything worked perfectly.

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

Monday, November 26, 2018

Day 3259

I did a lot of laundry today and watched the Mars landing on NASA TV. That was about it. Of course there was poop to clean up, a walk in the park, and a large smoothie to drink, but these things happen every day. Mars landings and major cleaning efforts happen much less frequently.

I started watching Mars landings when the Spirit and Opportunity rovers made their debut in 2003. When I look up at Mars at night, it seems amazing to me that we can send things to this distant point of light. Traveling to a different city seems complex to me. It's hard to even imagine traveling 300 million miles and still arriving right on time. Maybe if I understood orbital mechanics a little better I might not have not have wound up in advertising. What I do definitely isn't rocket science.

I'm not sure if the solar panels have deployed yet, but the Insight mission appears to be a success. So few things in life work perfectly that I'm always impressed when anything goes exactly as planned. So many things could have gone wrong today, but they didn't. If my car worked as well as a Mars lander it would probably last 100 years. The space program proves that we actually do have the capacity to do things right. The reason that we don't have lawn mowers and cars built like the Insight lander is that nobody could afford them. Even though the space program is horribly expensive, it's cheap compared to all our senseless wars. I'd like to see fewer aircraft carriers and more Mars landers. Hopefully, I'll see a lander with a person in it while I'm still alive.

Dash was frustrated that he couldn't sleep on the bed while everything was being laundered today. Janet took the big, heavy comforter to a laundromat and I washed everything else at home. Everything looks crisp and new again. Even the pillows look good. It would sure be nice if Dash doesn't poop in the bed tonight. We need a few days to enjoy things the way they used to be.

The weather continues to be confusing. It was 34 degrees when we woke up this morning. Just a few days ago the temperature was almost 70. We'll probably go back and forth like this for the rest of the Winter. I just hope we don't get much snow. When I see the blizzard conditions in other parts of the country, it makes me glad I live in Texas. Dash had to wear a sweater this morning under all his other gear. He wasn't happy. It wasn't easy to get the sweater on because he wouldn't relax his legs so we could slip them through the armholes. I'm sure he doesn't enjoy all the time we spend dressing him to go outside, but it is necessary. The little guy likes his walks but he's pretty fragile these days.

Dash has a vet appointment scheduled on Wednesday, but I'm not sure what we'll do tomorrow. I certainly don't have much on my schedule. I'll have to say that I enjoyed watching the Insight landing today. I don't think I missed much by not being there in person. I wish there were more events like this. Watching a talented group of people accomplish the impossible is uplifting to me. It sure beats watching congress accomplish nothing.

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

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Day 3258

I was right about the leaves. It was very windy last night and a whole new batch of leaves have fallen. Oh, well. I kind of hope that the wind continues and blows all the leaves off the trees before the next rain. Dry leaves are much easier to remove from the roof. If I'm lucky, maybe the wind will do the job for me.

Dash almost made it through the night. Close is not always good enough unfortunately. By the time I cleaned up the poop, it was time to get up anyway. Janet stayed home and fixed breakfast while I walked Dash this morning. Lately, Dash won't go anywhere without Janet leading the way, but today was the exception. He was eager to hit the road this morning and didn't even notice that she wasn't with us. Dash really enjoys the cold more than I do. I thought the strong wind might blow him over, but he held his own and did just fine.

By the time I left for the gym after breakfast I felt like I'd already had a workout. Cleaning up poop isn't all that strenuous, but it feels that way sometimes. Lack of sleep is tiring. I couldn't really blame Dash for my restless night. Dash woke me up once. The other times were because of heartburn. I probably should have asked my doctor to schedule an endoscopy to examine my esophagus. Something isn't right. I've had problems with GERD in the past, but I thought that was all behind me.

There were some younger people at the gym today who made my own efforts to stay in shape seem pitiful by comparison. I'm always surprised that most people I see at the gym really seem to enjoy working out. When do the endorphins kick in? I'm persistent, but I never find much joy in exercise. Usually what sustains me is the thought of taking a nap when I get home.

I actually did take a nap today. It was the only way I could get Dash to settle down. He would follow me into the shower and then slip on the tile floors. He would try to get under my desk like he used to do and then get stuck. Usually when Dash follows me everywhere, he is tired and wants me to rest with him. He does not like to be alone anymore. Resting with Dash seemed like a fine idea today. It would have been an even better idea last night.

Later this afternoon I watched the Insight landing press conference at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Damn. I could have been asking questions at this press conference. Maybe someday. I shouldn't get discouraged about not making the cut for this NASA event. The timing wasn't right anyway. I'd still like to be a space groupie though. Hopefully NASA won't cut funding for these unique opportunities for bloggers like me to become reporters for a few days. I still remember my trip to Vandenberg Air Force Base and would really like to do this again sometime.

I fell asleep at the computer again. It's time to go to bed. Hopefully, the weather is a little warmer tomorrow.

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

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Day 3257

I was in a pretty good mood today until I went on the roof. What a mess. I haven't been up on the roof for over a month. It was covered with wet, soggy leaves. The leaves sopped up some of the standing water from recent rains, but this didn't help matters much. Wet leaves are much heavier than dry leaves and are difficult to remove. I've been avoiding this task because it is so pointless at this time of year. Many leaves have already dropped from the Oak and Elm trees in the back yard, but many more are still on the trees. All it will take is one windy day to put me right back where I started.

After I cleared the leaves and standing water from the roof, I looked for the source of the leak. I couldn't find anything. The repairs the roofers made this Summer still looked pretty good. The water is coming from somewhere though. I wonder how long it will take me to get the roofers back again? I'm probably not their favorite person right now.

With the grass mowed and the leaves off the roof, I hope I can forget about outdoor chores for a while. I just don't have the energy for this stuff anymore. Just climbing up on the roof is a chore. I don't use a ladder, since there are decorative indentations in the brick walls. It's kind of like rock climbing to get up there, but it's hard on the shoulders these days. I need to remember that I injured myself rock climbing back in college. It's a tiny climb to reach the roof, but it would still be a nasty fall if I slipped.

Dash was in good spirits this morning and wanted to walk down by the shoreline again. I'm amazed at how much energy he has sometimes. These longer walks are murder on his protective boots, but that's OK. We've ordered more. I still have no idea why some days are better than others with Dash. He slept well last night and managed to make it outside to poop. Knock on wood, but so far today there has been no poop in the house at all.

My grocery list was small this week. I kept thinking I was forgetting something, but all I came home with was fresh fruit for my breakfast smoothie. It seems weird that I'm gaining weight because I'm really not eating that much. I should probably eat less, since dog walks can no longer be considered exercise. Dash walks so slowly now that the walk sometimes doesn't even show up as activity on my Fitbit.

I'd be out in California now if NASA had selected me to write about the Mars landing. It's just as well that things worked out as they did. Even though Janet has retired, I don't feel comfortable about leaving Dash for several days. The trip would have been expensive and with a monster snow storm brewing in other parts of the country there is a good chance that flights could be disrupted early next week. OK. I know I'm just making excuses. Some day, I'll resume participating in these NASA social   media opportunities. For the time being, I can still watch the Insight landing on my computer.

I definitely need to go to the gym tomorrow. It will probably take more than one trip to completely erase Thanksgiving dinner, but I've got to start somewhere. Dinner was delicious, but I've felt sluggish all day. I thought removing the leaves from the roof would provide all the exercise I needed. I guess I was wrong.

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

Friday, November 23, 2018

Day 3256

It was unusually warm today. I didn't need my Winter coat on our morning walk and I didn't need a coat at all later in the day. Is this normal for November? Or were the chilly temperatures we had last week normal? It's hard for me to tell anymore. Texas weather is all over the place.

As much as I would have rather done nothing today, I knew I needed to take advantage of this opportunity to finish up some outdoor chores for the year. I reconnected the battery to the lawn mower again and charged it up for it's final run in 2018. I'm almost certain I won't need to mow the grass again this year because it has already gone dormant. I should have gotten a new battery several months ago, but I wanted to wait until Spring. The battery won't hold a full charge anymore and I was barely able to trim the front yard before the mower died.

With this task completed, I raked some leaves, cleaned the front porch, and got ready to use the touch up paint I'd bought earlier for the car. I don't know why I thought I'd be able to make a perfect repair. These little automotive touch up kits don't work that way. You basically have a tiny vial of paint that you apply like nail polish. Even if you are really careful using the applicator, there is almost always some overlap. I did pretty well, but my hand/eye coordination isn't what it used to be. I could have used a finer brush as well. From more than three feet away, the scratch is gone. If you look closely though, it is apparent that this paint job isn't auto body shop quality.

As I predicted, I was still too full from Thanksgiving dinner to go out for breakfast this morning. I just stayed home and made a smaller version of my normal morning smoothie. It definitely didn't feel like Friday. I guess yesterday didn't feel like Thursday either. I didn't remember to take the trash out to the curb until almost midnight. Hey, at least I remembered. It's always a mess when I forget trash day.

Maybe we just got lucky, but Dash's paws didn't bleed at all today. The cut is starting to scab over nicely and hopefully we can avoid further mishaps until it is completely healed. The paw bandages we got from a veterinary supply company seem to provide better protection than the socks we normally use under his boots. They are meant to be disposable though and can only be worn a few times before you have to use a new pair. This could get expensive, but hopefully we can go back to using his regular socks when the cuts have healed.

This afternoon, Janet and I went to the new storage warehouse to gather up the gear we'll need to do this year's Santa Paws photo events. I don't know where everything is in the warehouse yet, since the movers helped me put everything back on the shelves. I told the movers to put the heavy things on the bottom shelves and the light stuff on top. Unfortunately, they didn't always follow my instructions. These guys were young and strong, so probably everything seemed light to them. Eventually we found what we needed. It's too bad that all this stuff will need to go back in the warehouse when the photo events are over. I'm really tired of moving heavy stuff.

I've got a weekend of Fall chores to look forward to Hopefully the weather stays nice until I get finished with the outdoor stuff. Who knows. If Dash doesn't let me get some sleep tonight, I'm going to be too tired to do chores anyway.

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

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Day 3255 - Thanksgiving

Even when the world is sliding toward the abyss there is always plenty to be thankful for. Dash is still with us and still appears to be enjoying life despite his many problems. Janet and I have both successfully navigated the world of work and arrived at retirement in one piece. Knock on wood, but my doctors still think I'm relatively healthy. Janet has survived cancer. We're not rich, but we're not going to starve. Basically, life is pretty good.

I hope I can remember this in the years ahead. It's not always easy for a grumpy curmudgeon to be thankful. Complaining is easy. Realizing that you are surrounded by good things takes a little practice. Sometimes it takes a relaxing day like today to put things in perspective.

The weather was beautiful today and Dash was in good spirits. His paws are finally starting to heal. The combination of special slip-in bandages and some medication recommended by a Facebook friend is helping us turn the corner. I'm sure there will be more bleeding as long as Dash is taking Plavix, but we know what we need to do now.

We went out for Thanksgiving Dinner again. We found a place that has a wonderful Thanksgiving  Brunch several years ago and have been going back ever since. As usual, I ate way too much. I think it's just fine to drink champagne and eat too much food ocassionally. I'll get back to normal tomorrow. Over indulging is always part of the fun on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving doesn't typically fall on November 22, but when it does I always remember where I was when Kennedy was shot. It seems such a long time ago now. I was in high school in Alaska at the time. There was no live network television in Alaska in 1963, so we didn't see the tapes of Kennedy's funeral until several weeks later. I never thought I'd end up living in Dallas back then, but here I am. I've visited Dealey Plaza several times on November 22 but I didn't go today. There used to be large crowds, but the day is slowly being forgotten. I didn't hear a single thing about Kennedy on the news today. Someday 9/11 will be the same way. You only remember history if you've lived it.

I don't think I'll go out for breakfast tomorrow. I'm way too full. Right now, a piece of toast and a cup of coffee seems like all I'll need. I will need a walk in the morning. So will Dash. I can't imagine living in a place where you can't walk along the shoreline of a pretty lake every day. This is one more thing to be thankful for.

I hope I get some sleep tonight, but if I don't I can always take naps. Dash sleeps right next to me and when he moves I wake up. It's OK. I'm glad the little guy is still with us even if he does poop in the bed. I'm hoping that he'll still be here with us next Thanksgiving, although I know that's a long way away. We can't make long range plans anymore, but each additional day is something to be thankful for.

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

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Day 3254

My eye exam went better than I expected. I still have 20/20 distance vision and while my close range vision has deteriorated, the doctor said wearing readers was normal for someone my age. I wish I didn't need the readers. You don't realize how nice it is to be able to focus your eyes from two inches to infinity until you lose this ability. Years ago, I use to think I could strengthen my eye muscles by alternately focusing on close and distant objects while walking the dogs. The plan didn't work. Almost everybody loses some close range vision as they get older.

I show no signs of macular degeneration, which is a good thing since my Dad already had macular degeneration at my age. There were no signs of diabetes related damage either. The only bad thing is that I've started to develop cataracts. The doctor said that it would be at least five years before he would recommend surgery, but eventually I would need it. Fair enough. Evidently, it is very common for older people to develop cataracts. Considering that I haven't had an eye exam in almost twenty years, I was happy with today's results.

I do wish I didn't need to have my eyes dilated for the exam. The drive home from the eye doctor was interesting to say the least. There is a new high-tech machine called an Optomap that makes eye dilation unnecessary, but this clinic didn't own one. Janet's eye doctor uses one of these scanning laser ophthalmoscopes and she loves it. I can see why. It's been over four hours since my exam and my eyes still aren't back to normal.

I'm not worried about my eyes anymore, but I am worried about Dash's paws. It's turning out to be very difficult to keep them from bleeding. The combination of blood thinner medication, the vertigo associated with vestibular disease, and the neurological problems that are making his rear legs weak are really making a mess of things. We can get the bleeding to stop, but almost anything can open up the cut again. The rear paws are the problem, but he even managed to hurt one of his front paws this morning when he fell.

Dash pooped in the bed again last night. We're going to try disposable puppy training pads tonight, but I'm not very optimistic about their success. Dash still moves around at night. If we put a pad under his butt when we go to sleep, he'll be using it as a pillow when we wake up. Luckily, we've got a good washing machine. I never dreamed that the super hot 'sanitize' cycle would turn out to be so useful.

I received another auction payment today. It still seems curious to me that some objects hold their value while others don't. I wish I'd held on to childhood toys and baseball cards. When you are a kid, you never think that baseball cards will be worth money when you are an adult. They were just pieces of cardboard wrapped with bubble gum inside. Most of my art was just pieces of paper too. Why do these things still have value and my old computers are worthless? My warehouse space is filled with old computers that were state-of-the-art when I bought them. Now they are just door stops. The movers literally used one of the computers as a doorstop while they were moving my unit last week.

It's hard to believe that it's Thanksgiving tomorrow. This year is almost over. We've been going to the same Thanksgiving Brunch for five years now. I hope the food is as good as it was last year.

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Day 3253

I got a letter saying that I needed to change my pharmacy to continue getting the "preferred rate" on prescription drugs. This has happened before. I wonder what goes on behind the scenes at insurance and pharmaceutical companies. Prices and procedures are always changing with no explanation. Are generic drugs really the same as their brand name equivalent? Why do Dash's pills cost substantially less than mine? Often he takes the same pills that humans do. All I know is that healthcare has become way too complicated and is much more expensive than it needs to be. Jeez. I don't want to change my pharmacy for some stupid bureaucratic reason. I like my pharmacy. I need to check and see what this "preferred rate" really is. It may be nothing. The government always likes to scare you into doing things their way. I'm always willing to pay a little more to do things my way.

I was surprised to see that half the junk I took out to the curb yesterday is already gone. All the metal objects are gone. People drive by and scavenge the bulky trash piles. I guess they sell the metal at recycling plants. The city seems more than happy with this practice because there is less trash for them to pick up. The whole thing seems kind of sad to me, but what do I know. You know the old saying: one man's trash is another man's treasure. I did haul some pretty heavy metal objects to the curb yesterday. There was no copper though. It was only steel. Can you make money scavenging steel from trash piles? Like the true cost of prescription drugs, this is probably something I'll never know.

I had to leave the house for a meeting at noon today. Once again, it was hard to get ready in time. By the time I clean up all the poop, make the bed, walk Dash, eat breakfast, and take a shower, it is almost always noon. It's getting harder and harder to do more than one thing a day now. Today's meeting wasn't even necessary. My business bank wants to start selling me investments now that I'm retired. I keep telling them that I already have all the investment advice I need, but they are persistent.    I wonder why they don't understand that I want from them is the kind of service they were giving me fifteen years ago. Unfortunately, nobody wants to provide the type of service they offered fifteen years ago. That ship has sailed.

How do you prescribe bed rest for a dog? I'm having a hard time getting the cut on Dash's paw to heal, because he is always scraping the scab that is trying to form. He wears socks in the house now, but they are always falling off. The boots are too heavy to wear around the house, but the boots are what keep the socks on. At least the wound is trying to heal now. Dash just isn't a very good patient.

I woke up to find poop in the bed again last night. Dash didn't even wake up. Sometimes when the poop is firm I can pick it up with a poop bag without leaving a stain. I did this last night and just went back to bed without waking anyone up. I did wash the bedspread in the morning, but it still looked pretty clean. I don't know if I'm becoming better at cleanup or just more casual about poop. When stuff like this happens every night, it's hard to get very upset about it.

I've got my eye exam tomorrow. I think my eyes are still pretty good, but I have a tendency to rationalize my body's slow deterioration. I guess it wouldn't be the end of the world if I needed to wear glasses. I just hope I never have macular degeneration like my Dad.

Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, November 19, 2018

Day 3252

I think bulky trash pickup is tomorrow, so I thought I'd join my other neighbors in piling old junk on the curb. I certainly have enough junk. Hmm. Should I start in the back yard, the greenhouse, or the utility room? There was a heavy steel cargo carrier I used to use with the Defender that I wanted to get rid of, so I thought I'd start with the utility room. This thing attached to the trailer hitch receiver on the Defender, so there was no way Janet or I could use it with our current cars. Neither of us has a trailer hitch installed. I can't believe I used to haul heavy St. Augustine sod and buckets of river rocks with this carrier in an attempt to do my own landscaping. I remember spending three days a long time ago transporting tons of smooth river rocks to create decorative areas around the base of our Oak trees. How did I manage to do something like this? Now, even the empty steel carrier seemed almost too heavy to drag to the curb.

I managed to get rid of quite a few totally useless things, but the utility room still seems full. Where did this stuff even come from? There were bags that attached to the lawn mower to catch grass clippings. I never used those things even when new. The lawn mower they belonged to is long gone anyway. There was a huge sacks of old towels that must have had something to do with animal rescue at some point. Why didn't I throw these away years ago? There were lots of disintegrating canvas tote bags and old paint cans. Eventually I gave up. There was just too much junk. Hey, I made a start. If I do this every month before bulky trash pickup, someday it will all be gone.

Dash did a lot of pooping in the house today. Some days are better than others. Dash tries to head for the back door, but I don't even think he's even aware that he needs to poop until about two seconds before everything comes out. I try to be optimistic. At least he didn't poop in the bed last night.

Since I'd already started the day by cleaning up poop, I thought I'd tackle a few other loathsome tasks as well. I cleared out a slow shower drain and cleaned the filters on the bathroom sink faucets. A few weeks ago, I listened to a program on NPR about all the microscopic creatures that live in our houses and cleaning suddenly seemed prudent. Evidently tiny creatures live in our water pipes, our air vents, and even our hot water heaters. The scum that forms on your shower head and tiles is called a biofilm and it provides nutrients for the little critters. Our house must be a luxury hotel for these organisms. because there are biofilms everywhere.

I'm almost caught up watching the National Geographic Channel show about Mars. The show has become a little preachy for my taste, but it is still very interesting. I wonder if we'll ever get to Mars? It's so easy to get distracted by problems right here on Earth. I hope I live to see the first humans on Mars. It's a long shot though. At the rate we're going, we might not even make it back to the moon.

I did my best to apply a disinfectant to Dash's gums today. His teeth are terrible and I worry that he's going to get periodontal disease. Dash hates the medication, so it is very difficult to do this everyday. Janet distracted him with a cookie while I cleaned his mouth. I need to do this every day. I need to clear away a little junk everyday too. There are so many things that need to be done and none of them are particularly pleasant.

Jasper is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Sunday, November 18, 2018

Day 3251

Today was a catch up day. I didn't accomplish much, but I did finish the things I was supposed to do yesterday. There were no peaches when I went to the grocery store after breakfast. Unlike strawberries and blueberries, peaches seem to disappear when the season is over. I like peaches and when I can't find them in the store anymore it is officially Winter.

A lack of peaches wasn't the only sign of Winter today. It was very cold. Strong winds made it feel a lot colder than it really was. Despite the chilly weather, Dash was still eager to walk this morning. We bundled up and off we went. Dash now seems to understand the importance of protecting his feet and has finally learned to stand still while we fit his leg brace and put on his shoes and socks.

Dash an I are both hard on socks. I bought some more today on my way to the gym. My socks would probably last a lot longer if I didn't wear them as shoes around the house. Why would anyone wear shoes inside?  Spending the day in your socks is much more comfortable.

My routine never varies at the gym. Unlike people who try to push themselves, I'm just looking for consistency. I'd like to sink every shot on the basketball court. If only my hand eye coordination were more consistent.  I try to complete a mile on the treadmill in exactly the same amount of time it took the previous week. Usually I'm only off by a few seconds. I can guess my heart rate pretty accurately now as well. Consistency makes me feel like I accomplished something. Overachieving seldom does.

We're keeping socks on Dash in the house now. It seems to help. His paws need time to heal and he's constantly scraping them on something. We bought some medicine that will help the cuts heal, but he's got to stop opening old wounds. If these small cuts were on his back, everything would be better by now. The paws are always problematic. When Dash tore out a dew claw, it seemed to take forever before he was back to normal. I'm sure glad that accident happened before he was taking blood thinners.

Since yard work was out of the question on a cold day like this, I watched another episode of the National Geographic show about Mars. This kind of seems to be a show about what happens if Elon Musk succeeds. I keep wondering if the guy in charge of the Mars program in the show is supposed to represent an older Elon Musk. I wonder if I'll be alive when humans finally set foot on Mars. Probably not. It's still hard to believe that 50 years have passed since we went to the moon. This means 50 years since I was in college as well. Time flies. Back then I thought the world would have been a lot different by now.

Another weeks begins tomorrow. I'm looking forward to overeating on Thanksgiving. My appointment with the eye doctor, not so much.

Puppies are today's Dalmatians of the Day
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Saturday, November 17, 2018

Day 3250

I spent my day taking pictures of kids holding snakes. This was a big animal rescue event with all types of puppies, kittens, ferrets, and birds, but the kids seemed fascinated with the snakes. The smaller the children, the less fear they had of snakes. Often, their parents wouldn't go near the reptiles, but the kids loved them. I heard a lot of "Mommy, can I have a snake?" during the afternoon. I didn't hear one parent say yes.

A lot has changed in the last five years. There wasn't a lot of interest in my little photo booth, but everyone wanted to take selfies with the animals. People don't need a photographer anymore. They make their own movies and share their own pictures. Most of the children had their own phones. Even small children were walking around with iPhones. I predict that there will be a lot of pictures of people holding snakes on Instagram today.

I'm not a big fan of snakes myself. I hate seeing them in the park because I can never remember which ones are poisonous. I pretty much quit using my kayak when I saw a big water moccasin swimming along side me one day. I always worry that one of the dogs will be bitten by a snake. Often dogs don't have the sense to keep away from them.

I'm glad I don't do many photo events anymore. They are too tiring. I still do a few Santa Paws events during the Christmas season, but not nearly as many as I used to do. I think we only have two Christmas events scheduled this year. Today's event was meant to educate kids about animals. I'm not sure what the kids learned, but I learned a few things. The big snakes eat rabbits. The snake handler buys frozen rabbit meat which he cooks as needed. He feeds his large snakes a rabbit every two weeks. Some of these snakes weigh as much as 75 pounds.

I was lucky today. I didn't have to bring my lights and backdrops. All I had to do was show up with a camera. I think I got some cute pictures. I'm not sure what the organizers plan to do with these pictures but they seemed pleased with the results.

Dash pooped in the bed again last night. I guess this is the new normal. I with I could use puppy training pads with him like I did with Dot, but I'm not sure they'd do any good. Dash is still fairly mobile. Whenever I wake up, he's in a different place than he was when I went to sleep. Doggie diapers won't work at all. Dash's rear legs are so weak that diapers would essentially cripple him. This is still a work in progress. I'm sure we'll figure out something.

I didn't have time to get groceries today, so I guess I'll do that tomorrow. I'm not sure that I'll go to the gym. If it's as warm as it was today, it would be a good time to mow the grass one last time. It would also be a good time to take a long nap. We'll see how I feel in the morning

Puppies are today's Dalmatians of the Day
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Friday, November 16, 2018

Day 3249

It's been quite a challenge getting Dash's paws to heal while still continuing to walk him. The least little scrape causes them to bleed again. Even walking around the house is starting to cause problems. I found some extra soft socks and we are only using new boots now. Mostly the bleeding has stopped, but I still see little drops of blood on the floor from time to time. The cuts are minor and will definitely heal over time, but cuts like these are much more problematic when you are taking blood thinners.

Even though Dash doesn't stay still at night, I'm going to try placing a puppy training pad under his butt before I go to sleep. It couldn't hurt to try. It's really getting old cleaning blankets and bedding every day. Dash didn't even wake up when he pooped in the bed last night. This is actually a good thing. If he starts staying asleep when he poops, I can put a puppy pad under him and cleanup will be easy.

It was a little warmer this morning, which made our morning walk chilly but pleasant. I'm enjoying this weather. For the second day in a row there wasn't a cloud in the sky. After checking to make sure Dash's paws were OK after our walk, I left for breakfast. Even though I almost always order the same thing, I'm still enjoying going to the hotel. It's pleasant there. The staff knows me by name now. Since most customers are travelers, I'm one of the few regulars.

A trip to the bank was on my to-do list today. I had to clear up a snafu that I probably caused myself by not listening carefully when I opened a new account several months ago. I thought I had one kind of account, but I actually had another. I could have sworn that I opened an account that had no fees associated with it. Nope. I've started noticing fees and charges I wasn't expecting. Eventually I managed to get the fees removed but they shouldn't have been there in the first place.

Getting my bank account straightened out was easy compared to getting a new TV remote from AT&T. I don't know why you can't get a TV remote at an AT&T store. That would be too easy. I had to talk with an offshore customer service representative who couldn't speak English very well. At first he tried to change my U-verse plan. Then he tried to sell me a TV remote. It took forever to explain the my remote was broken and he needed to send me a replacement for free. Who knows if I will get a new remote in the mail. I'm not counting on it. I could barely understand this guy.

I wrote a letter to my sister this afternoon and watched another episode of Mars. I was hoping that this series would be like The Martian. The script isn't nearly as good as Andy Weir's novel. This is definitely not something i could binge watch. After a single episode, I was ready to start repairing dog boots again.

I'm still tired a lot, but I'm sleeping better now. I don't know what has changed. Dash continues to wake me up every night. I'm just getting back to sleep a lot quicker.

Alvin is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, November 15, 2018

Day 3248

Dash got some good news today. The doctors could find no evidence of a blood clot on his echocardiogram this morning. It's been three months since the clot was visible. Since this was the second time in a row that the search for the clot in his heart has turned up negative, Dash's vet was convinced that it was finally gone. This is great news.

Unfortunately, Dash still needs to take Plavix to prevent these clots from reoccurring. The blood thinners are bad news since Dash bleeds so easily. The folks at the cancer center got a chance to see just how easily Dash bleeds when he walked across the parking lot to go pee in a patch of grass on the other side. When we returned to the clinic, the tops of both rear paws were bloody. Dash's rear legs are very weak and his rear paws knuckle under whenever he takes a step. It doesn't take much to scrape them up. We used to skip the socks and boots on trips to the vet, but it was pretty evident today that he'll need to wear them everywhere.

I was hoping that we'd get an answer about the tremors Dash has been experiencing at night, but the vet was as puzzled as we were. We didn't really learn how to prevent the bleeding either. I guess we'll just have to be very careful. We'll return to the cancer center for another echocardiogram and exam in January. A lot can happen in a month and a half, but I'm cautiously optimistic. Dash's appetite has improved dramatically and he hasn't vomited in a long time. The incontinence is messy and he has some pretty severe mobility problems, but things could be a lot worse.

Dash's exam took a long time, so I didn't get much done today. Breakfast was so late that it was more like lunch. I need to make a mental note not to drink my smoothie after 11 AM. The concoction is so filling that it spoiled my appetite for dinner tonight. I should have taken a long nap, but I paid some bills and went to the grocery store instead. I don't know why I felt like I needed to pick up something for dinner. I wasn't hungry.

I watched another episode of the National Geographic Mars Series this afternoon. I need to see if this thing is available on iTunes. I'd pay just to avoid the commercials. Lots of shows will let you stream old episodes for free, but they are almost always filled with commercials. By the time I've watched five different  commercials in a row, I've forgotten what the show is about.

The trash has been taken out to the curb and the last load of wash is in the dryer. Dash's paws have stopped bleeding, but we've got to be really careful. I don't want to be looking at a bloody bedspread tomorrow morning. I'm still hoping that Dash will poop before I go to bed tonight. I could really use some sleep.

Honey is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Day 3247

I closed out my account at the old storage warehouse and said goodbye to the place. I never would have made the deadline without the movers help. I don't know why I thought I could make the move on my own. I didn't even come close. The deed is done though. I hope I won't need to move anything else for a long, long time.

I also hope this cold wave we've been having is over soon. It makes life difficult. It was 27 degrees when we woke up this morning. Dash still needs to go out at night, but he doesn't like the cold. After I let him out to pee last night, he started shivering violently. We went back to bed, but he continued shivering even after I wrapped him in a blanket. It was almost an hour before he was calm again. Tomorrow Dash has another big exam at the cancer center. Hopefully they can tell us what these night tremors are all about. The shivering is almost a nightly occurrence now and it seems to be getting worse.

I'm amazed that Dash still enjoys walking. He does OK if he keeps moving forward, but he stumbles a lot at home and is having trouble getting up on the bed. I wish I could convince Dash to sleep on the floor, but he is very stubborn. It's sad seeing him going downhill like this. He definitely doesn't want to give up, but with each passing day he seems a little slower and weaker.

I got my first payment from an auction house today. This was reassuring. Maybe this whole process is going to work after all. You have to be patient when you are consigning things. I started this journey last June and the final auction won't take place until next June.

I watched another episode of Mars on the National Geographic Channel this afternoon. I wonder who's idea it was to combine a science fiction story with a lot of present day interviews with people like Neil deGrasse Tyson and NASA astronauts? I find the back and forth structure distracting and wish I could watch the story about the 2033 Mars landing all by itself. I've never liked multi-tasking, even if it's just watching a TV show. A simple little adventure is all I want at this point.

The sky was clear today, but there is still rain in the forecast. It's strange that Texas gets all the rain these days and California is in the middle of a multi-year drought. The wildfires in California keep getting worse and worse. The last time I spent time in Northern California I never would have dreamed that one day entire towns like Paradise would end up burning to the ground. I used to live on the West Coast and always thought that Texas was the place with terrible weather. I know I complain a lot, but with every passing year Texas is looking better and better.

The only thing I've got to complain about today is a paper cut on my left index finger. It's hard to type. Otherwise, things are looking good. Dash did well today. My back is feeling better. The roof is drying out. I was even able to get back to sleep after taking Dash outside last night. A few more days like this would be welcome.

Puppies are today's Dalmatians of the Day
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