Monday, January 28, 2008

I'm in a Foul Mood

I woke up with it. I'm frustrated. I'm overeating and I'm doing it when I'm not hungry because I'm BORED!!!! It's probably cabin fever plus BOREDOM. It's sunny outside, and it's supposed to be in the 30s today but then drop into the 10s later this week and I am SICK of it. I've got all this stuff to do around the house but that stuff is BORING too. Who wants to do housework? Not me, I've always hated it. DH is at his hunting camp (no worries, he's not hunting, he's just bored too and needs to get away, at least he has a place to go.)

I can't go anywhere, I have responsibilities, 2 dogs and 5 ducks. I can't just pick up the dogs and visit my mom again, I can't ask my neighbor to look after my ducks for 2 weeks again so soon. So I'm stuck, there is NOTHING on TV, and even if there was I'd just vegetate in front of it and EAT.

I suppose I could start crocheting the monster afghan I was working on last winter but I'm not in the mood. I should have ripped it apart when it was only 5 inches long after I realized it was about 8 feet wide. But I'd put so much work into it at that point I just kept going. I've got lost of sewing projects I could start but that takes effort and I'm not in the mood to make an effort!

Luna is limping, her rear paw has a deep cut in one pad so a long walk with the dogs is out though I know she'd want to do it anyway. Plus, she was limping last week and I couldn't find anything wrong with her foot. Guess I didn't look very well so I'm mad at myself for not taking better care of her. This morning I've applied Bag Balm to all her paws in case dry feet is what caused the crack in the first place. I've been using antibiotic ointment in the crack itself.

Perhaps I should play a nice symphony on my stereo. I haven't listened to any music lately unless you include what they play on the Weather Channel during the local forecasts. It sounds like some new age thing right now. It's not what I'm in the mood for either. Yeah, that's what I'll do, pick some classical. Build a puzzle. Turn the TV off for a while and find something to do other than surf the Internet. It hasn't been that exciting either.

Heck, it's not even February!!!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Computers, Politics, and the Economy?

Computer memory. I've been thinking about it a lot as my 7 year old PC has only 256 MB and has been causing all kinds of trouble with different browsers hanging or freezing every couple of hours. I've researched the problems and done what I can to alleviate the problem, removing plugins known to leak memory, wiping out any adware or spyware, defragging my hard drive, removing applications from start-up. In short everything I can think of or recommended by people who know more than me.

About the only thing left to save this machine would be more memory. It can hold a whopping 512 MB total, a pittance these days but when I upgraded, doubling to 256 from 128 seemed like such a smart move and all that was necessary. After all, I didn't do much more than web surf, email, post on message boards and write a couple personal web pages that didn't use fancy scripts. That's still all I do, I'm not into gaming or utube (youtube? heck I'm not even sure how they spell it!) How can I be when I live in the swamp and there is only dial-up for the likes of me? Video is not an option!

So anyway, I've been checking into buying more memory. Not easy for a machine this old. Very few companies still make the flavor of SDRAM my system needs. One site, after using their scanner, says they don't sell any.
Of course, it also claims I am already using the most memory possible for this machine. Yet elsewhere on their site is a chip that might work. (Assuming CL=2 is compatible, there is nothing on the Dell chip mentioning CL anything.)

Dell, whom I bought my PC from originally, has one that works. Costs about $55-60. To max out I could get 2. But do I really want to spend $120 when a Dell ad in the paper today showed a new machine with 1 GB of memory only costing $449 plus shipping?!! My current supper slow machine cost $1069 back in 2001 and at the time I was getting a bargain! How much money to I want to throw at it now? That 128 MB upgrade back in 2001 only cost $16 extra.

So I've been going back and forth caught in an infinite do-loop thinking yes, I'll do it, then no, don't waste the money, wait till I can afford a new machine. (Or till this one locks up permanently and I have no choice....) ARGH!!!! Perhaps I shouldn't spend any money at all, and end the aggravation of making a decision, after all, I haven't given my latest "fix" a chance to prove itself. I downloaded and installed the Opera browser only last night, thus far, no significant hanging...

Problem solved?

Then watching the news this afternoon I see that the politicians want to look as though they're doing something smart and useful for the people and the economy by giving everyone and their aunt a magical $300! Oh yes, don't get me started on the stupidity of the democrats who came up with this and the idiot republicans who went along (all of them in fear of the next election, screw the fact it is little help to the economy in the long run.) But if they're going to give me"free" money (just wait till they raise taxes as soon as the elections are over to pay for it.) why don't I combine it with that $120 memory upgrade, throw in a little more cash (I'll buy less snack food for 3 months) and get that new, fancier machine?

Yes, perhaps I should do my level best to stimulate the economy! Of course, it would have been nicer if there was a big computer company in Michigan so I could stimulate our economy instead of Texas'..... But thems the breaks!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Some Friends Lost a Dog Today

His name was Duke. He was a mixed breed, probably golden retriever and something else, perhaps labrador retriever. He was very, very fluffy. I spent about a year walking Duke and his sister Daisy and other doggie buddies daily through my woods when they were staying next door at my neighbor's house. Duke's family (my neighbor's daughter) was in the process of moving here from Washington state.

Duke was a dog who loved to retrieve and he loved attention. He had a habit of taking your hand in his mouth to get that attention. Then he'd want you to throw something for him, usually some sort of mostly destroyed stuffed animal, over and over and over.

My neighbor saw him yesterday and said he seemed fine. But today Duke was quiet and barely moving. Then he just stopped breathing, before they could take him to the vet.

Duke was only 11.5 years old.

Friday, January 18, 2008

It's COLD Outside

And it's going to get colder. The local paper said something about 12f for a high tomorrow. That's not really cold, just colder than it's been lately. Most of January has been on the warm side, mid 30s, felt more like March. But this weekend we're finally approaching the cellar as temps at night should make it to zero. I've only seen one evening temperature hit below zero this winter and that was a only a measly -1. Not very cold at all for up here.

The sun is out though and that is nice. It's been very overcast here and I've read somewhere that Michigan is the 5th cloudiest state in the country. That doesn't bode well for people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD). That's one of those mental things that make you feel less "up" in winter. Probably has something to do with my lack of motivation in getting anything done around the house. But really who wants to wash dishes whether the sun is shining or not?

The ducks aren't enjoying this cold snap as much as the dogs. The stream (more of a creek really) they've been puttering around in has pretty much frozen over except for one small spot halfway down. They've got about a 2 x 3 foot section and it probably won't be there at all tomorrow. They'll have to resort to swimming in that nifty little artificial pond DH and I made for them out of a plastic 55 gallon drum and a submersible pond heater.

The dogs actually spent the last hour laying on their beds out in the sun. Though it's only around 25f the sun was melting the skin of snow on the deck. We had another 2 inches over night and I shoveled away most of it this morning. There are still large patches here and there that are much deeper, but as I have a lot of deck (it wraps around the house) I would be shoveling all day to clear it off. Too much of it is frozen ice now anyway and I'd probably injure something trying to remove it.
I suppose though I ought to go outside and enjoy a little more of this nippy sunshine because tomorrow it probably will be gone.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The 2008 Michigan Primary

I voted in the Michigan primary today, the one where the Democratic National Committee chose to strip the party here of all their delegates as punishment for having the temerity of moving the primary up to when it might actually be considered relevant. I can't remember when it used to be, it's been 4 years after all (DH thought it might not have been till after the actual conventions, but what would be the point in that?) but it used to be a lot later than "Super Tuesday" and therefore mostly irrelevant.

The democratic candidates were also "threatened" with some sort of reprisal if they kept their names on the ballot so Obama and Edwards took theirs' off which left Clinton running unopposed except against the little guys. I guess she wanted the "win" however it looked? Of course, other people might feel that it was good that she stood up to the big, bad DNC and stayed in. Uh uh. It's really hard to run against "Uncommitted". I sure haven't heard of any reprisal against her either, although she didn't get any delegates, just a "mandate". Politicians love mandates.

So the only primary really worth watching today was the republican one. The Republican National Committee also took umbrage at this afront to the "way things have been" and while none of the candidates dropped out, the RNC still took half their delegates away. What this means for the actual convention I can't really explain but I am sure some pundit will tell us at some point. However, as both committees seem determined to make Michigan a non-entity in this race I don't see myself spending much time looking it up.

But at least I voted. Which is more than I can say for a hell of a lot of registered voters in this state. I heard (via numerous pundits on tv) that many of them were democrats who didn't bother since the DNC essentially had made Michigan irrelevant again. So I suppose they thought if Michigan doesn't matter to the DNC, why should voting matter to them? If they had come out, I wonder if Uncommitted might have had a better chance? We'll never know.

Ah, and last time I checked, the pundits declared Romney the winner.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

How About Some Photos?

I'm trying to find some decent recent photos on my computer but with the days being so gray most of them are rather lackluster. This one is kind of nice though, it was taken shortly after dawn a couple days after Thanksgiving 2007. Luna seems to be having a good time leaping about the swamp. I'm surprised the photo came out as well as it did as my digital camera is not very fancy and rather old. I tried brightening it up with a photo editor but it took out too much of the lovely pink sky. So you'll have to squint to get a really good look at my pup.

In this photo the ducks are spending New Year's Day in the stream that exits their frozen pond. There had been so much warm weather that the stream thawed and it's staying open as it's running high from the excess rain we've also had. They've been spending every day in it and waddle on back to their pen at desk every evening. I don't even have to shake the can of food to entice them any more.

And here is my dignified, if sleepy Rocket Man laying on the air mattress I was sleeping on while visiting my family this past Christmas. I don't know why but on that night he chose to sleep with me rather than on his bed like he normally does. Homesick perhaps?

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Thaw is Over

Today's high temp was 36f. But it was sunny (though windy). We haven't seen the sun in days and it sure felt good. I walked the dogs twice, played Frisbee with Luna, and Rocket played soccer with his big plastic ball. He's definitely feeling better though when Luna yanked his tail while he stood on a sheet of ice, sending all 4 of his legs akimbo (and making him whimper) as he tried to spin around and stop her, you could tell he wasn't a spring chicken. Poor boy .

Tomorrow the temps are supposed to fall into the 20's for the next 5 or 6 days. And now we've been issued a Winter Storm Watch for Thursday night into Friday for a possible 6 inches of snow. It figures, as I now have a dentist appointment for Friday morning. (Woke up with a toothache today.) Maybe I'll get lucky and the storm will fizzle, it happens a lot. Or maybe I'll be luckier and my tooth will get better. Fat chance of that, teeth don't seem to improve without spending a lot of money on them.

But I can't really complain, I like winter. I spent 14 years in southern California and never made peace with its lack of seasons. I like my 4 seasons and a snow storm here and there is kind of fun as long as no one gets hurt and my power doesn't go out.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Amusing Myself, Vet Visits, and January Thaws

I guess I've been amusing myself the last few days, if you count taking the pups to the vet for shots, grocery shopping and taking down the Christmas decorations as amusing pastimes. I got the decorations all down and put away in one day, a new first. Of course, I had no tree to take down this time as I spent Christmas in my old hometown with my family. Not having to take down an 8 foot tree makes quite a difference in time saved.

We've been having a bit of a January Thaw as well which allowed me to take the lights off the gutter much more easily than in other winters. The ice dam on the roof was gone after 3 days with temps in the 40s, as is most of the snow. It was nice not having to chip the lights out of the ice. I don't like leaving the lights up year round or even until spring, it just bugs me to see holiday lights ringing peoples' homes months after Christmas is over. Looks a bit forsaken and forlorn.

The vet trip was mostly uneventful, just expensive. Three shots for each dog, exams by the vet and then a blood test for Rocket to provide a baseline against which future blood tests will be compared now that he's been put on an arthritis pill (half strength). That is one expensive pill!!! 15 of them cost me $50!!! If he has to take a whole pill a day that would be $100 a month. He's been on this one before (Deramaxx) for a short time and half a pill seemed to work quite well. I just hope his being on it long term won't cause health problems. Hence the blood work. I must say though, after one day, he seems peppier, he was actually prancing through the woods on our walk this morning. We'll see if that was just coincidence tomorrow.

Other than poor Rocket getting old, his health is good, his eyes are cloudy, but his weight is remaining about 102 pounds which is good for his size. Luna, on the other hand, is a tubby little girl. Seventy four pounds! I have not really been able to get her weight down, she scavenges and eats everything in sight, steals her buddies' biscuits and just makes a little pig of herself. The vet suggested she would probably be one of those dogs whose weight would just remain a problem. I just hope I can keep her from becoming obese. It seems to happen to a lot of Labradors. I refuse to let it happen to her. Maybe I'll get her a treadmill.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Odd Numbers, Odd Days?

Am I on a roll? This is my 3rd post for this blog and so far all three have appeared on odd numbered days. I very much doubt this will last for long. I had no plants to post anything today but I was getting bored and boredom leads to eating junk food. Typing lots of words on this keyboard in my loft keeps my fingers from moving food to my mouth. (I don't keep food up here.)

And there is so much tasty junk food lurking downstairs! Chocolate covered creams, Good 'n Plenty, tortilla chips, peanuts, almonds, caramel popcorn, Lindt truffles, Ritz crackers and assorted cheeses. I could go on, but I don't want to drool into the electronics. Once most of these munchies are gone I'll no longer have the holidays as an excuse for buying this junk and the fridge will start filling with things like yogurt and lettuce and cucumbers.

I should probably re-title this post Junk Food, since that is what it's morphed into but as I've listed an odd number of food items, I think I won't. In fact, soon it will be time to find a bad movie on TV (SciFi channel always has a bad movie on Saturday nights) and make some air popped popcorn. It's healthier than the caramel coated stuff. I even mix the melted butter for it half and half with olive oil to sort of cancel out the bad fat. The creative rationalizations one will make to keep eating what one wants can be fascinating! Someday I may expound upon them.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Okay, So I Updated My Profile

I thought I'd better create my profile since I'd actually had TWO viewings of it. I used a photo of my 5 ducks instead of one of me, the ducks are cuter. I thought the random questions were stupid so after 3 attempts at finding a decent one I skipped it. Since I am still using dial-up (yes, Virginia, there is no broadband in the swamp) it was taking too long to refresh anyway. In case anyone thinks I'm a republican from the fact I was in the military, wrong-o buckwheat, that's what you get for making assumptions. Too many people, the media included (MOST definitely them!), make assumptions based on too little information and often nothing. Neither am I a democrat so flaming liberals and right wing conservatives will probably be annoyed with me since I don't kowtow to their party lines.

But enough of politics, there are more than enough idiots out there spouting party rhetoric without thinking to bother trying to argue. I'll let the few intelligent idiots do that for me.

Instead I'll mention that it's cold outside. It is warmer than the 1 degree Fahrenheit it was this morning (maybe 5ish?) so it's probably time to let the ducks out of the garage so they can go swimming in their heated pool. I suppose first they'll tromp down to the frozen stream to find it really is frozen and then I'll have to herd them back up to the garage and their lovely heated pool. (I'll post a picture! There it is!) The pool is actually a 55 gallon plastic drum turned on its side with the top and bottom half cut out. We left the center section intact for stability. I purchased a pond heater to keep the water liquid. They do seem to enjoy it. And one other thing I should mention before I head out, my dogs, though they are essentially duck retrievers, do not touch my ducks. They are very good dogs and though little Luna wants to play occasionally by running into their midst and scattering them, she is very good about letting them be. Rocket also stopped drooling when he looks at them months ago. Just a happy little pack are we.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

Hello from the swamps of northern Michigan!

It's cold outside. And very white. Most of last night's snowstorm seemed to be downstate. I've noticed since I moved here 7 years ago that most of the big mid-western snowstorms seem to stay downstate. All we got up here was a dusting. Fortunately, we already had snow, so no biggie. (yes, I admit, I like a good snowstorm now and then, especially when I've no plans to go anywhere!)

I decided to start the new year by creating this blog. I've got another one, somewhere, on one of those competing sites that can't seem to get its act together so I figured I'd head on over to blogger and see what mayhem I can create here. Not that I'm big on mayhem, mostly that's wishful thinking. I have yet to get too controversial on line, but you never know, I may lose my head one day.

So where in northern Michigan (MI) am I? Let's just say, south of Alpena, north of Oscoda and slightly west of Lake Huron. Find a map, find a swamp, and I'm somewhere inside. Just me, my dogs, my ducks, and my husband.

I've lived in 3 other states and visited several others. I've lived on both coasts and in one state slightly to the south (but still on the east coast, so I'm not sure that counts).
I like it up here. There are 4 seasons, winter being one of the longest, though not as long as in the UP (Upper Peninsula of MI). The mosquitoes aren't as bad as I thought they'd be, it's the deer flies that get nasty! The dogs don't much like them either. I am considering ways of dealing with them next summer, however.

I haven't anything earth shattering to say today, just wanted to say something rather than leave a new blog blank. Perhaps later on I'll post a picture. That could be fun!