Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Katie's World

My husband and I spent an hour yesterday morning putting temporary fencing up in our yard. We ran one fence from the north side of the porch steps to the main fence and another one from the southeast corner of the house to the alley wall.

My dog Kate is a hunting dog and as one she used to roam across acres of land in search of pheasants, chucker, quail, partridge, and dove but now the 44' by 15' rectangle we created when we put up the fences is her world. We had to build the fences to keep her way from the ornamental pear tree and a section of the backyard. These were her favorite areas to graze on what she considered tasty things to eat. She may have thought they were tasty but her stomach did not. Usually she threw up after she had eaten a meal and we would find bits of grass, twigs, and the stems and tiny fruit from the pear tree mixed in with the dog food. This would upset her stomach enough to keep her from eating the rest of the day. Slowly she started losing weight. I tried to tempt her into eating more by first heating up her dog food, then by heating up her food and adding a little water, then by heating up her food and adding enough water to turn it into soup. Each culinary tweak worked for a short time but then Kate would stop eating again. She dropped down to 23 pounds and we wondered if she was trying to tell us it was her time but then we caught her eating Duke's dog food and realized she wasn't done with eating, she was just done with eating her own dog food. I realized we had to come up with a new plan.

Last week I got a homemade rice/chicken/cod liver oil/vitamin and mineral supplement recipe from Kate's vet and started feeding her that. She loved it and started eating regularly again. I also found a different brand of Kate's kidney disease formula dog food and ordered several cans. Then it happened, yesterday morning Kate threw up her new rice/chicken mixture and we found grass along with pear berries and stems mixed in with the rice. We had been vigilante about not letting her eat anything off the ground during the day but did not realize she was also doing it at night when we let her out for a potty break.

So now the fences are up and we have had one night where Kate could not get to her yard treats. This morning she started eating her rice and chicken again. She is doing it a few bites at a time but she is eating it. Tomorrow the new canned food should arrive at the vet clinic and my husband will go pick it up. If things work out Kate will not have a chance to throw it up and will keep eating it. From my computer to God's ear.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sorry, Today Got Away From Me

Please, stop by tomorrow, I should be home.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Full Of Sound And Fury

Signifying nothing.
-a line from Act 5, scene 5, of Macbeth by William Shakespeare

The blizzard yesterday left little snow on the ground considering how long it lasted.

A good blizzard always blows the majority of the snow somewhere else.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


About three times a week I stop in at the office of an acquaintance of mine on the way to the post office. She has a four year old daughter who helps me get my mail. I bring my dog Kate with me and Caroline walks her to the post office for me, ties her to the lamp post, mails any letter I have, and then collects my mail from my box. When we get back outside Caroline unties Kate from the lamp post and leads her back her Mom's office. Then we all go inside where I spend a few minutes taking with her mother.

Today when I got ready to leave Caroline gave Kate her usual hug goodbye. As she leaned over Kate I noticed that I could see the top of her butt. I said, "Hey, I can see your butt."

She quickly straightened up and laughed at me. Saying the word "butt" is very amusing to a four year old.

"Are you going to be a plumber when you grow-up?", I asked.

Caroline shook her head no.

"Well, then, pull up your pants!"

She found that hysterical and fell on the floor holding her stomach and rolling with laughter.

Yep, I'm a big hit with four year olds.

(*Future Plumbers of America)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pink Elephant On Parade

This is way cool, CT scans of objects as art. The exhibit is here and a New York Times article about it can be found here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

The first thing I did when I went to Denver the weekend before last was to drive to my sister's office to have lunch with her. She works on the west side of the metropolitan Denver area, out where the 6th Avenue Freeway dumps into Colfax Avenue. On my way back to the east side of the city I somehow missed the South I-25 turn off and ended up on northbound I-25. That side of the highway was bumper to bumper so I stayed in the merge/exit lane and got off nine blocks later at the Colfax Avenue bridge exit. I was planning to circle around and take the Southbound I-25 exit from Colfax back down to the highway. Right before Colfax and on the ramp sat an old man who looked like a derelict Santa with white hair and full beard. He was holding a two foot wide square of cardboard on which he had written words explaining that he was too old to work, homeless, and asking for money.

Now I do not usually hand out money to the people I see begging on the side of the road. There is one man who stands at the top of the off ramp from I-25 to Colorado Boulevard who I always ignore because I get the feeling that he really doesn't need the money. He carries a sign that says he will work for food but when I offered to swing around and bring back a meal from one of the fast food restaurants that line Colorado he turned me down. But Santa, I had the feeling that what he had written was the truth so I stopped and fumbled for some bills in my wallet and pulled out three. I rolled down the window and said, "Mister? Mister?"

He jumped up and rushed over and I thrust the bills into his hand. I am not sure if I gave him three dollars or twelve dollars but he thanked me profusely. The light was green at the top of the ramp and there was a car waiting behind me so I raced off only to have the light turn red before I got to it. I stopped and looked in my side view mirror where I could see the old man sitting back down. Something about him touched me and I felt like crying. Was it because I could see the dignity in him or was it because I felt the connection between us as fellow human beings? I knew I had to speak to him one more time and I rolled down my window again and stuck my head out, "Mister? Mister?"

He turned to look at me. "God bless you, mister," I said.

A smile as wide as sunshine lighted his face and he said with great feeling, "God bless you, too."

Tears streamed down my face as I rolled up the window.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Begins

And not a day too soon. It is more Spring like this morning with cloudy skies, temps in the mid 50's/teens, and humidity high enough to put the fragrant, musty odor of earth and grass into the air. I took my Winter wreath off the front door and replaced it with my Spring one.

What a lovey day.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Let's Not Panic, People.

I worked at the library yesterday since it was the day the rotating books van showed up. When I got there the regular librarians were pulling books in the children's section. We are going to an automated systems and have been pulling out of date books along with books that have not been checked out in over ten years off the shelves. Although I hate pulling any book our library is so small this has to be done at least once a year. We are pruning more aggressively this year since the less books we have on the shelves, the easier and faster it will be to set up the new system.

We are excited about the new system since it will make our jobs a little easier. With it we will be able to keep track of the books better. Right now we have a difficult time keeping track of them because everything is done by hand and things get overlooked. Things like which books are overdue, which need to be re-checked for people who call in to renew them (they usually do not know what date they are due), and who had been notified that their books are overdue. We sometimes accidentally check out books to people who owe fines or who have not returned books they have been notified are overdue. It can be very frustrating.

Anyway, like I said, when I got to the library yesterday the regular librarians were pulling books in the children's section. Not only were they pulling the out of date books and the ones that have not been checked out in a long time, they were pulling books printed before 1975. Our library is part of the Northwest Kansas Library System and our head librarian had been told by NKLS that all books printed before 1975 contained dangerous amounts of lead it the printing ink and that all children's books printed before that date should be pulled off the shelves. I was shocked by this bit of intelligence but my worries got pushed to the side as the van arrived and we focused our energies on those books instead.

I forgot all about the lead ink danger until I got home and started reading the newspaper. On page 5A of the Denver Post I found this article. Seems the Center for Disease Control and Prevention looked into this so called lead danger to children and found it to be minimal. As one official at the DCD said, "...on a scale of one to ten this is like a 0.5 level of concern. "

It's the Swiffer WetJet scare all over again. I rushed back to the library with my Denver Post and showed the article to the head libraian. She read it and said she was happy she had not pulled very many books at that point and asked me to make a copy of the article so she could send it on to NKLS.

Sometimes we as a people can be so gullible.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


What with working at the library, doing laundry, making green chili stew, and having my husband preparing our taxes on the computer, I have not found the time or inclination to blog today. Check back tomorrow, please.

Oh, I would like to share the fact that our printer died today. When in rains it pours. Maybe I should not have said anything. Now I am worried about our scanner.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Nic Nac Paddy Whacked

Happy Saint Patrick's Day everyone. It reached 77 degrees Fahrenheit/ 25 degrees Celsius earlier today, which means I've spent most of the day outside and plan on going back out right after I post this. Hope your day has been just as wonderful.

Monday, March 16, 2009

I've Got Good News And Good News

First, our new computer is up and running. We are now in the process of recovering bookmarks. My husband had saved a list of bookmarks about three years ago and we are starting with those. Second, as I mentioned to some people (like BW), this computer crash had a silver lining. While we were Mac-less my husband hooked my used laptop up to the modem and slowing lost his mind from frustration. My laptop is v..e..r..y.....v...e...r...y.....s...l...o...w, even s...l...o...w...e...r than the computers at the library and those are really s...l...o...w. Not that this is a surprise to me. I have been telling him for a year that my laptop needed to be replaced. Anyway, the outcome is I am getting a brand spanking new laptop and, and, AND, we are getting a faster broadband connection. Happy him. Happy me. I mean really, really, happy me.

Monday, March 09, 2009


Our computer crashed big time. Posting this at the library. It may be my last one until we get the computer back. Stay tuned.

Friday, March 06, 2009

"The Rest Of The Story"

-Signature phrase of radio commentator Paul Harvey (1918-2009)

My husband had a theater board meeting on Monday. One of the woman on the board also works for the city and told him that she had received quite a few phone calls from irate citizens in the last couple of months. All complained their city electrical bill had tripled and they wanted to know why. (I found this surprising since I knew our electrical bill had not gone up. If it had I would have heard about from my husband.) It took a little questioning but she discovered that all the people complaining had what she called "Paul Harvey heaters."

Paul Harvey was a very well respected man out here in the red states. He thought the same way most of the people here do and they trusted him . They also believed everything he said about any product he endorsed on his radio show.

The "Paul Harvey heaters" are made by a company called EdenPure. In his radio ad Paul Harvey tells us that we can cut our heating bills up to 50% by using the heater. Now, I am sure most of the people in town who bought these heaters on Paul Harvey's word did not go to the company website but dialed the number provided by Mr. Harvey in the ad.*

 If they did go to the website main page they would not have found this disclaimer at the bottom of the page :
The EdenPure and SunTwin Heaters are ELECTRIC appliances. When purchasing the EdenPure / SunTwin heater, please keep in mind that the unit may save UP TO 50% on your heating (Propane/Natural Gas) bill. These savings are based on your specific kilowatt price charged by your electric company. If you currently use electric heat, please be aware that the heater may not produce the savings desired.

This disclaimer is only on the heater information page. You can order the product from the main page and that page contains the exact same information as on the heater information page but, mysteriously, without this disclaimer.

So, if you placed your order from the main page you would have no idea that the 50% savings claim only applied if you were heating your house with either Propane or Natural Gas. As several naive people in town have found out, you could end up with an electrical bill that is three time higher than any bill you ever received before if you depended on this product for your heating needs.

What I find sad about all this is that, for the people in town who bought these heaters, this ripoff will be their final memory of a man who they respected and thought they could trust.

*In the snippet provided by EdenPure the end of the commercial is cut off since you are already at the website.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Attention Women, If You Drink Alcohol You Will Die!

L’Absinthe by Edgar Degas (1893)

This story was all over the news last week saying if you drank even one alcoholic drink a day you would increase your risk level for cancer. But before you really start to panic, read this.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Going Retro

Found this striking ad for the Royal Gorge Bridge in the 2008 Official Visitor Guide for Colorado Springs, Colorado today. Much better than this retro ad for Amtrak.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

In Space No One Can Hear You Scream

I was in Denver over the weekend for my niece's birthday. Driving home on Sunday I was feeling emotionally ragged. Part of this was because I have not been getting enough sleep. My dog Kate has reached the point where the time between her brain telling her she has to empty her bowels and her body actually doing so can sometimes be less than thirty seconds. She is also getting up several times in the night to pace. Since we cannot tell "I need to get outside" pacing from "I am pacing for no reason" pacing my husband and I take turns letting her out. I have not have an uninterrupted night of sleep in weeks.

Then there is roller coaster ride we are on with Kate and her health in general. Whenever she starts doing badly we know that she may not pull out of it. We know her kidneys are getting worse because her breath sometimes smells of urine, which is a sign that waste products in the blood are not being completely filtered out by her kidneys. The wait for what is coming has been very stressful.

Some of feeling the way I did was caused by being around too many people over the weekend. Although being in Denver is wonderful at the same time it is exhausting for me. Here in my little town everything moves at a slower pace and people are generally relaxed. In Denver everything speeds up and people tend to be stressed out. Unfortunately, I sometimes tap into all this chaotic energy. First I feel antsy then like a steam cooker under too much pressure. This I could handle if underneath it all wasn't a feeling of great sadness and weariness.

Anyway, I was driving across the eastern plains feeling emotionally raw and wanting to cry. When I tried to I could not. Trying to do so only made me feel more tired and under more pressure. The pressure was so great I thought about pulling over and slamming my head against the steering wheel a few times. Then I thought why not scream. No one would hear. I was out in the middle of nowhere speeding along in my own little cocoon of steel. I could not be any more alone at that moment than if I had been in outer space. But I was afraid to do it. It was stupid. It was foolish. It was scary. Letting go like that was scary but I knew that my being scared to do so was really the best reason for me to do it at all.

I took a deep breath and screamed. The sound that came out of me startled me and at the same time thrilled me. I was surprised by how loud I had screamed and by how exhilarated I felt doing so. I also felt as if some of the pressure I was under had been released. I decided to scream again and took another deep breath. This time I screamed even louder and longer. The pressure was gone but the need to cry was still there so I screamed one more time. I felt better still and sat for a few minutes in the following silence. I was feeling good, almost at peace. I wondered if I should scream one more time. What the hell, it couldn't hurt. I screamed. That last scream was almost overkill but I could feel the last bit of sadness blow away while I was in the middle of it. I was tired but in a good way- like the way you feel after strenuous manual labor. Tired but with a feeling of accomplishment at a job well done.

Sometimes, a woman's got to do what a woman's got to do.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting

Those kicks were fast as lightning
- Kung Fu Fighting

Looking at old photos and found these of my husband practicing his moves. He studied Karate for about 12 years starting in junior high school.