Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Facebook is for...what now?

OK, so I'm the last adult on the planet to sign up on Facebook, and I'm still not entirely sure what the attraction is, other than having yet another place to put one's profile. But I wanted to sign up as a "fan" of the Pickens Plan, so there I am, among the hip folks, with only the tiniest clue as to what I'm doing there.

Well, I'm a late bloomer when it comes to technology (which will strike a lot of those who know me as a weird statement, since I'm the one they come to for computer help). When I was much younger, I spent six months observing other people using a CompuGraphic typesetting machine before beginning to learn it myself; and by the end of my years in small newspapers, I was using ALL the typesetting machines with ease. I piddled around in a limited way with someone else's Macintosh long before buying one myself; and later on I was considered the "Mac guru". I held off switching to a PC (for compatibility with my work docs) for years before finally taking the plunge because I wasn't quite sure I could manage MS Windows' inner workings by myself (I can); and now I'm the MS Word guru and called on to help people with many other PC functions, as well.

I had a cellphone briefly, but found I only rarely had a use for it (emergency calls for a tow truck, for instance), so I dropped it. And I have no desire to own any form of PDF, including the Crackberry.

On the other hand, I LUST after the Amazon Kindle.  :D   But I'm a voracious reader, so that's understandable.

Anyway, I'm sure I'll figure out some use for Facebook other than displaying my few little causes and periodically annoying my one friend.  :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Back from my Xmas trip...

...and catching up on my favorite blogs & whatnot. My back is slowly improving, and I'm trying to be careful so as not to aggravate it again. I missed my kitty the whole time I was gone, of course; I was very glad to see her again, and to see that her "nanny" had taken good care of her in my absence.

Monday, December 22, 2008

You know you're getting old...

...when your back locks up just bending over to tie your shoes. For the second day in a row. (OK, yesterday it happened when I bent over to pet my cat, but same principle.) Oy, misery....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Nigerian scam redux

I just received an interesting e-mail from the Federal Bureau of Investigation--that's the Effa-Bee-Eye, folks--taking a loving interest in my "illegal transaction" with some Nigerian scammer and offering to send me an ATM card full of bucks as soon as I pay a fee of my real bucks, yada yada yada, for what reason I can't tell--just because the FBI thinks so highly of me, apparently.

This is the stupidest thing I ever heard of--even more stupid than the Nigerian scam itself. What idiot would believe this line of bull? No one, I sincerely hope. But just in case you've received such a message and wondered "What's it all about, Alfie?", here's the lowdown from Snopes.

Honestly, there are some real egomaniacs out there who apparently believe people will buy anything if you just wave the possibility of free money under their noses, no matter how illogical.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Last pee entry?

I certainly hope so, anyway. I found two normal-sized pee clumps and a little one in the litterbox this morning. Hallelujah! Normalcy!  :D  I think that Feliway diffuser is helping. That, and I've stopped yelling at Minnie for getting up on the counter; I just tell her firmly to get off, and she does. No more transmitting my stress to Miss Minnie.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Minnie, Flickr, & the wonders of sleep

Minnie did fine in the house Friday--no pee in inappropriate spots. What was in the litterbox was in smallish clumps, but at least it was all in the right place. Oh, and I got a Feliway diffuser yesterday, so we'll see if that helps Minnie relax. Shee-it, those things are expensive--lucky I had a $25 gift card to cut the cost a little.

My Flickr account has been "pro", which was originally free with my AT&T Internet service, but now AT&T has changed the rules and my Flickr Pro account is going to revert to not-Pro in February--unless I want to renew Pro for 25 smackers per year. Spiffy. There go all my handy pic sets (all but 3, anyway), and apparently I won't be able to see all my pix, although they'll all still be there. (Huh? Yeah, I don't get it, either.) Guess I'll take a closer look at Picasa or hunt down some other online photo-storage outfit. Sorry, but I'm cheap when it comes to frivolities like a place to store my pix online.

The light of the full moon and the relatively mild temperature last night was too much for Minnie to resist--she wanted out at bedtime, then didn't come back before I had to zonk, so she spent the night outside. And I got to sleep until I'd had my fill. Man, it was soooooo nice....

Friday, December 12, 2008

What will I find...

...when I get home? For the past few days, Minnie has demanded to go out for a second time in the morning and wound up spending the whole day outside until I get home from work. I'm not nuts about this, but it's part of our "agreement"--I let her out whenever she wants, if the weather's anywhere near decent, and she doesn't go wacko on my furniture or person as a result of cabin fever. It's been dang cold this week--especially Tuesday--but she's doing fine outside. And, I must admit, I haven't had to worry about her peeing anywhere inappropriate.

Actually, I think she likes going out to play with her new friend, Shadow, a long-haired black cat and a relatively new visitor to my house & yard. They touch noses in a friendly way and romp around through leaves together. I don't know what else, of course, since I can't watch them all day; maybe they nap together, too. I have cat houses (well, small dog houses) with blankets in the garage for that purpose.

Today, however, Minnie wanted back inside when she heard me getting ready to leave for work. Earlier, I had noticed her sitting out by the carport as if waiting for something...or Shadow. He didn't turn up, so she wanted back in for the day.

Of course, I could be completely anthropomorphizing the situation. But it's kind of a sweet thought, that Minnie might have found a buddy to play & nap with. I'm afraid her mom isn't a very interesting playmate--the old broad gets tired.  :)

Anyway, I hope being inside all day doesn't activate Minnie's peeing problem just as it was backing off again.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Another stab at fitness

Believe it or not, we have an exercise report today: I did an hour of it last night. No kidding. If I keep doing this new thing for a month--instead of quitting after two weeks, like I usually do--I'll go into it more here. Otherwise, I'll just hang my head in shame and slink off into the sunset, casting a rather wide shadow.  :)

"Whatcha readin'?"

We have two more books in progress. My breakfast book now is Just After Sunset by Stephen King, a collection of his short stories. I like short stories, and I like ol' Steve, so how could you go wrong? OK, sometimes he could use a bit more editing--as famous as he is, it sometimes seems that editors are afraid to touch his Immortal Prose. But this is a good batch of stories by a mostly excellent author.

BTW, if you used to like King, but feel "his cheese done slipped off his cracker" in the last decade or so, you might try Blaze, a fairly recent publication--it really is very good, like his earlier work (not surprising, since it's based on an early short story that was chucked in the drawer for ages). The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is also very good, with plenty of realistic texture.

At bedtime, I've been reading Chiefs by Stuart Woods, my first encounter with this author. Those of you old enough may recall that Chiefs was made into a TV miniseries way-long-years ago. I liked the series then, and I'm enjoying the book now. I may have to look up some more of this author's work.

Reruns, oy...

Well, spiffy, we're back to tiny pee clumps in the litterbox and frequent urgency on Minnie's part. Lord, I hope she doesn't start peeing on the couch/carpet again. I sure wish I knew what she's so stressed about--it's not like I had repairmen in again over the weekend. She's still taking antibiotics from the first round of this nonsense; maybe it's time to add a Feliway diffuser to the mix.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Let us now praise...Freecycle!

Freecycle is one of the coolest Internet ideas ever. It works through Yahoo! Groups, so it's a mailing list, and its purpose is to keep good stuff out of the landfills that could be reused by someone--basically, "one man's trash is another man's treasure." If you have something you don't need that could still be useful to someone else, you offer it on your local Freecycle Yahoo! Group list. If you want something, you ask for it on the list. Like this:
  • OFFER: baby clothes OR mop head OR rocker/recliner OR just about anything else (Location)

  • WANTED: women's size 8 boots OR music stand OR queen size bed OR whatever (Location)
I've seen anything and everything offered or requested on my local Freecycle group: furniture, clothes, old magazines, bikes, cars that don't run, cars that do run, machines that sorta run, Halloween costume parts, concert tickets, canning jars, dishware, cookware, whatever-ware, even pets (although you should be very careful about that, to make sure your pet finds a good home). You list your location in parentheses at the end of your subject line so people know generally where they'll have to go to pick up your offered whatsit. Sometimes people post pictures of the whatsit they're giving away, but more often they don't (it's not eBay, after all).

Members who are interested in what you have to offer reply to your email and you arrange a time for them to pickup your whatsit. Or if you spot an offer you're interested in, you reply to that person to see if it's still available, and if they pick you (because other people may be emailing about that whatsit, too), you ask when you can pick it up. All very easy. It can be as secure as you want, too--you can always arrange to deliver your Freecycled whatsit at a neutral location rather than at your house.

Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer (bless 'em!) and membership is free. To sign up, search Yahoo! Groups with keywords "freecycle" and the name of your town, or go to the main Freecycle website at and either type your city & state in the search box or click "Browse Groups" above the search box.

It's a great way to get otherwise-useful crap out of your house! And, hey, if there's not a Freecycle group in your town, maybe you can start one. Go to to find out how.  :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Clean winner

This is the stuff that worked--my couch no longer smells like cat pee, hallelujah! It doesn't smell too badly of chemicals, either, which is a nice plus. And that smell will fade, I'm sure. It's Woolite carpet & upholstery cleaner for pet stains/odors + oxygen--some great long name like that.

Minnie continues to improve. There were no pee clumps in the litterbox this morning, which is back to normal for her (Minnie prefers to do her business outside).

Update 12/7: Turns out there was a lot more stinkiness on the carpet around the couch, so I had to shove the whole works to the other side of the room and use one of those spray carpet cleaners on it that you vaccuum up after it sits awhile. NOW the smell is gone!

Monday, December 1, 2008


Minnie's bathroom problem is much improved after almost a week on antibiotics. There were two normal-sized pee clumps in the box this morning.

Everycat tells me that bad stress can prompt an inflamation of the bladder in girl kitties, and Minnie's problem did arise immediately after I had the repairmen in to work on the furnace. Her favorite hiding place is under the furnace, so I guess she thought she had nowhere safe to go. Silly cat, there are two beds in the house, plus a couch with a nice hiding space behind it! Maybe she needs something she can crawl into and (figuratively, anyway) shut the door behind her, something well padded to block out some sound, with a flap or something she can burrow under. I've probably just invented something that doesn't exist, but I'll research cat furniture for something that looks like a portable hidey-hole.

The couch Minnie peed/leaked on has also improved, although I'll reserve final judgment on the remedy until I've had a chance to flop on it for a while this evening. Alas, the Nature's Miracle did not cut the mustard (or the stench), so I tried something else by Woolite. I'll let you know if it really worked.