Monday, December 31, 2012

Being taunted by a cat

I have a two-story house.  The front upstairs bedroom overlooks the street.  I have my sewing machine in there, but since I only sew a couple times a year, 99% of the time the room belongs to the dogs.

There is a loveseat facing the window where the dogs lay and look out over their kingdom.  Or they stand at the window and watch for intruders.  I previously posted a photo:  Bogie on guard duty  The streaks are the inevitable dog nose smudges.

If I am home when intruders are spied (usually other dogs), there is a brief spate of barking, then they will rush to me so I can see how efficiently they have done their job.  Once I assure them that they are good dogs and have done a good job, all is well and quiet resumes.


Today there was frantic whining.  I went to see what was the problem but saw no one on the street.  However, no amount of reassurance would calm the whining.

Suddenly, cacophonous barking fills the bedroom.  A cat is walking in the yard across the street.  Angel tones it down to a whine, but Bogie is baying these loud, deep bass barks.

The cat disappears behind a bush and the barking becomes whining again.  No amount of persuasion can move either dog from the window.  

The cat moves and the barking resumes.  The cat hides and the whining takes over.

Each time the cat moves out into the open, it looks at the window at the dogs.  Yes, the barking is loud enough to attract attention, but the cat does not flee.

Instead, it lingers, staring at the window.  It  appears to be enjoying the reaction it is getting.

I think it is deliberately taunting the dogs.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Very weird, vivid dream

Very weird, very vivid dream last night.

I was leading a group of 2 or 3 other women of varying ages as we were trying to hide from a threat.  The threat was a woman, humanoid, but not human - Smollet.  Yeah, I don’t know where the name came from either.  With two T's, it's a Scottish writer of adventure novels, but I had never heard of him. 

We were hiding in a building or subdivision under construction, going from room to room or building to building looking for a secure place to hide.

The Smollet had teeth like a piranha.  She was slim, had long brown hair in a ponytail, wore jeans and a button down shirt and had a bluish aura.  Other than the teeth and blue aura, she was kind of me.

While fleeing, alone this time, I ran into a workman in coveralls, carrying insulation over his shoulder, who was only nominally curious, looking at me with no real expression.

I hurried on, watching him over my shoulder, and met up with the group again.  We were still looking for a safe place to hide.

Alone again, I ran into the man laying insulation on a flooring area that must have been a roof for another area.  I looked at him and he looked at me and opened his mouth.

He was a Smollet too!  Only his aura was red and I realized he wasn't looking at me.  He was looking over my shoulder.  At the woman Smollet, sneaking up behind me.

He went to confront her.  They were circling each other like prize fighters while I fled in the opposite direction.  And woke up.

The dream dictionaries say that dreams about hiding mean I'm not facing up to a situation or dealing with an issue. 

Possibly.  The company I work for is being shopped around.  Whether a new owner would be better or worse remains to be seen. Maybe it bothers me more than I consciously realize?

Or maybe I just watch too much Doctor Who? 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I do have time to write a book

I realized today that, according to Microsoft Word, my journal for this year is 430 pages long.  It seems I have been particularly loquacious this year.  Last year's journal finished at 308 pages.

I've often thought I should write a book.  I have a couple of ideas and even a couple of chapters written.  But I keep telling myself I don't have the time.

Well, obviously I do.  Four hundred pages would have been a pretty substantial book. 

(We're ignoring quality at this moment.)

If I devoted equal time to fiction as I do chronicling the mudanity of my life, I would have a first draft completed in a year.

But I can't stop journaling.  Would you believe I had forgotten creating two stained glass projects this year until I scanned my journal?  That's how bad my sense of time is.

My memory for facts and trivia is quite good.  But I never have understood how people can remember the dates they did things on, or even the year.  

I journal to give me a place to look things up.

So any writing would have to be in addition to my journal.  The time I spend journaling doesn't seem substantial.  So maybe adding an equal amount of time to fiction wouldn't seem so ominous.  

I could journal a little less,  fiction a little more.  

It's a thought.  Maybe a New Year's resolution. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Red nose for a white wire deer

I am particularly pleased that I figured out how to modify a string of Christmas lights to have only one working bulb.

I had just rewired my last Christmas deer, converting it to LED bulbs. (Restringing an outdoor lighted deer)  But I wanted him to have a red nose like Rudolph.  I could have swapped out the tiny clear LED bulb at the tip of his nose for a tiny red one.  But what I wanted was a bigger, more impressive bulb.  Not a giant C6 bulb, but a reasonable 7mm bulb.

I can be kind of obsessive when I want something.  So I had no qualms about cannibalizing a perfectly good string of multi-color lights to make my nose.

Side note - I could have sworn Christmas lights used to be available in stores right up until Christmas.  I looked at 3 stores before I found the colored strand of lights I needed 11 days before Christmas.

Anyway.  I tested the lights and they worked just fine.  Then I cut the wires a foot from the plug.  I had coincidentally ended up with a socket 10 inches from the deer's nose. So a foot would give me plenty of wire to work with.

This was a three wire strand.  After stripping the wires, I tested different combinations of twisting the wires together, trying to get the bulb to light up again.  When I twisted all three wires together and plugged it in, there was a spark.

Thanks to the Internet, I learned that only two of the wires needed to be twisted together.  But it didn't matter which ones I twisted together.  The bulb wouldn't light.

Eventually I realized there were fuses in the plug and I'd blown them.  Helpfully, the manufacturer included one fuse in the package with the lights.  But there were two fuses in the plug.

I dug through my Christmas containers until I found the fuse tester and a baggie of spare fuses.  Of course, the batteries in the fuse tester were bad and had to be replaced before I could use it.

Yep, both fuses were bad.  I replaced them both with fuses tested and proven to be good.  Replacing these is not a piece of cake. The fuses are about the size of a grain of rice.

But when the fuses were replaced, the bulb lit up!

The working configuration has the bulb line and middle line twisted together.  The outside line is only needed for stringing light strands together.  I cut that one short and taped the end to isolate it.  I taped everything together and installed it at the deer's nose.

Was it worth the trouble?  

I think so. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Odd Christmas Decoration

OK.  I'm all for gaudy and extravagant holiday lights.  But I must admit to being confused by some of the light sculptures available.  Reindeer, snowmen, elves, and angels make sense.  Penguins and polar bears kind of make sense in that they are both found in snowy climes.  Christmas moose is, I think, supposed to be a pun.

But a lawnmower?  Seriously.  And the reindeer isn't even mowing grass in the picture.  He's mowing snow.  Shouldn't he have a snow blower?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Watching the destruction

I haven't written a post yet about my doggy cams, but yesterday I discovered there is a down side to being able to watch your dogs from the office.

I watched, helplessly, as Bogie carried something into the loft and proceeded to destroy it.  The camera has no zoom so I wasn't able to get a better look at what was being rent, stepped on, and laid on.

At least I was prepared when I got home and found - a bag of bows ripped open.

A co-worker who saw my feed said I should punish Bogie.  I disagree.  People child-proof their homes so toddlers who don't understand the rules can't get hurt.  Knowing Bogie has a penchant for bags, I should have remembered to close the closet door.

So I picked up the debris, and discovered that most of the bows were undamaged.  I put them safely away in a plastic container.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Okay, just to be clear, I'm not being reimbursed for this.  But when I find a product that works for me, I like to share that information.  

I have had migraines since puberty.  One of my triggers is scent.  Mostly I'm affected by strong scents, but sometimes lighter scents can be triggers. Air fresheners and scented candles are like kryptonite to me. 

Because of this, I have problems with most household cleaners.  It was a grand day for me when Tide created an unscented variation of their laundry detergent.  But most cleaners are scented.  Some are heavily scented.  Some say they are unscented but really add a masking scent, which for me is worse than the original scent may have been.

So when my niece told me that she had found some microfiber cleaning cloths that work with just water, I was intrigued.  Skeptical, but intrigued.  I use microfiber cloths for some cleaning, and for polishing my glass projects, so I thought I knew microfiber. 

As the e-cloth website says "The best microfiber cloths on the market have between 90,000 and 200,000 fibers per square inch (MOST cloths being sold only have 25,000-75,000).  e-cloths have 1.6 Million fibers per inch

What surprised me was that there are different cloths for different cleaning actions.  I bought a multi-pack to try. When I received them, I saw that the cloths all had different textures and weaves.

I tried the window cloth first and was an immediate convert.  The cloth has a waffle texture.  It cleans windows and mirrors with only water.  And leaves no streaks.  I've discovered that having only to dampen a cloth has led me to keep the dog nose prints off my windows more diligently.

The dusting cloth was next.  It may capture more of the dust and dog hair, but I'm not completely convinced it's better than other microfiber cloths.  So I can take or leave this one. 

The furniture cloth appealed to me. I have micro-suede couches that are the worse for wear because I let the dogs on them.  I vacuumed the couches first, using a beater attachment.  Then I used the furniture cloth.  It's quite plush on one side.  The amount of dirt it removed from my couch was astounding.  I liked that I didn't need to use soap, which is hard to rinse out of a couch.  

The kitchen cloth did an amazing job removing grease from the chrome part of my toaster.  (It used to sit next to a deep fryer.)  I've tried many cleaners, but not wanting to scratch the chrome limited my options.  There is a scrubby corner on the kitchen cloth that made short work of the grease, without scratching. 

Lastly, I've tried the bathroom cloth on my bathtub/shower enclosure.  The cloth made short work of the soap scum around the tub and on the shower doors.  Granted, there was some elbow grease involved, but no chemicals. 

The website says the cloths can be washed 300 times.  I've yet to wash mine as rinsing them out has been sufficient.  Even if you washed them weekly, that would be almost 6 years. 

They're a little pricey, but when you factor in their reported longevity and the lack of chemical cleaners needed, I think they are cost effective in the long run. 

My two cents. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's not just plastic bags

I got a package from Amazon, put the contents away, and left the box, forgotten, on the office side chair. 

I wasn't concerned because, well, because it's a box.  Bogie's affinity has been for plastic bags.  

Obviously, the box intrigued him.  But I don't think it fascinated him for long.  He could have done a more thorough job of destroying it. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sweet pain

Last night, I was sitting on the bed playing solitaire on my phone.  Bogie lay at my feet with his paw on top of my ankle.

Now, in the five months I've had him, he has only been sporadically cuddly.  He loves to stand next to me and be petted, but getting him to lay or sit next to me has been hit or miss.

So I was thrilled when he wanted to touch me as he lay next to me.


His paw pads have the texture of extra coarse sandpaper.  

And gravity being what it is, his paw was sliding down my ankle.  


A millimeter at a time.


Scraping against the tender skin as it wended its way downward.

I breathed a sigh of relief when his paw finally landed on the bed.

I never once considered making him move.