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one of those days

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's one of those days. Normally Christmas decorating the outside takes just a few minutes. I just throw the mesh lights over the shrubs, garland around the door, plug them in and I'm done. Last year the green mesh lights were on the blink. One set was used as the sacrificial set, giving up its good bulbs.

This year I tested them first (maybe not unusual for you, but it is for me). I got two sets going. Then the dog threw up and I had to stop and take care of that. I gave the dog hydrogen peroxide to help him throw up (he was frantically running around the yard trying to find stuff to eat that would help him vomit). After throwing up three times, he calmed down. Then I cleaned out his crate and hosed off his dog bed.

Then back to the mesh lights. On the third set I finally got everything except the middle section working. After testing every single bulb in the middle section and replacing what was found to be dead, it still wouldn't work. hmm. Last ditch effort: transfer all the bulbs to the sacrificial set. No luck. They wouldn't light at all. Not one. hmm. Transfer them all back and throw away the wiring from the sacrificial set. They still wouldn't light at all. Not a single one. Pack up the green mesh lights and put them back in the attic. Two sets are not enough for the large shrubs up front.

So I put up the garland around the front door, a wreath, and the red mesh sets on the two smaller shrubs and that's it for outdoors.

I started working on our mini Christmas tree inside. But I had left the attic ladder down. That allowed the cat to disappear into the attic. Stop work on the tree and go retrieve the cat. With my luck today I must be careful not to step off the rafters and poke a hole into the ceiling. Of course the cat doesn't come when called. But thank goodness she hadn't gotten too far. I did have to crawl under ducting, avoid wiring, and balance on rafters to go get her. First with a flash light in one hand, then with the flashlight and a cat on the way back. but it went without incident. I finally got the mini tree done. I just have the window garlands to put up now. The dog is fine, the cat is fine, no catastrophe has befallen, but my fingers are sore from tugging on the bulbs on the mesh lights and it's been a long day.

have some humanity, please

Friday, November 18, 2011

Regarding the issue of illegal immigration, I don't think "securing the border" is the answer. If people are fleeing from a burning building, locking the doors to keep them in is not the answer. The majority of these illegal immigrants come under very dire circumstances. History indicates that USA was founded by people who came over under very dire circumstances as well. If USA claims to be "home of the free" and land of the brave, why are we brave people afraid to bring on the immigrants? Are we not resourceful enough to make something positive of the situation, to bring in the people and have them help make us a stronger nation? If we can't put out the fire burning building, at least let the people escape from the building.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

It's been a lovely, lazy, relaxing Saturday. The weather was pleasant. It was a little blustery today, partly cloudy with pleasant temperatures. Not too hot or cold. I finally trimmed our shrubs up front today. I called myself washing my car; but I didn't do a fantastic job. At least some of the dust not knocked off.

I was searching for a song on Amazon for someone else. They heard it on the radio but didn't know the exact artist. The search was unsuccessful.

Here's an oldie that I did run across (just a sample clip at the link below): I Give You Praise by Richard Smallwood. Try listening to it on a quiet night when you're doing some soul-searching.

On a different note... Kudos to whomever invented the nail clipper. Whatever did they do prior to its invention?

that's different

Monday, October 24, 2011

traffic congestion

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

It seems to me that we wouldn't have traffic congestion if we could live close to work, or work close to home.

fun on the internet

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

draw your own stick man ... you'll be surprised


just doing chores

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Here in Texas we are in drought conditions. We did get some rain last weekend and what a welcome that was!

Today I've been busy vacuuming and mopping. I didn't do the whole house, but what I did do was plenty enough work for me. I also gave the dog a bath ... outside, of course. I'm also trying to wet the earth around the house to avoid FURTHER foundation problems. Not sure that I was able to get water 4-5 feet into the ground. Right now I have to go do some social thing. I'm not a social animal and I often do not look forward to these things. At least I don't have to dress up for this one. Anyhow, see ya next time.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

ho hum

Friday, September 09, 2011

Saw the movie "Contagion" today. It was ho-hum.

jumpstart battery

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

We bought one of these from Autozone recently. Not bad. Jumpstart your car anywhere without needing another car. Around $60 USD after taxes. We'll be taking it with us on road trips for sure.

There are other models available. If you're not comfortable opening the car hood and hooking up to the car battery, there are models that allow you to jumpstart through the cigarette lighter. Not sure how well that works but I know they do make them. I'm sure your local automotive shop can help you pick out the right one for you.

In any case, read the manual or have the shop show you how it works--especially if you have a unusual car battery.

washing hands after using the toilet

Saturday, August 13, 2011

If our hands were truly dirty after using the toilet, wouldn't we have wiped it all over our clothes (since we have to finish getting dressed) by the time we get to the sink to wash our hands?

breaking vows

Friday, July 08, 2011

I happened upon the news of Fr. Corapi yesterday. I don't know the man, but I have heard several of his presentations back when we had Catholic radio in the area. The guy is brilliant and he can really deliver an engaging message that sticks. I think one of his presentations is entitled "The End Game" where he himself said the devil's strategy is to "strike the shepherd and scatter the sheep." Indeed Fr. Corapi as a shepherd has been struck. I do believe he has broken all three vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. I suppose if you break the vow of obedience, the rest is sure to go.

story here

Happy 4th of July to all

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy Independence Day! We like our freedom!

The following is a tribute to our troops.


Monday, June 27, 2011


Sunday, June 12, 2011

There seems to be a lot more beggars these days. Young man with sign that says he needs money to support his little brother and bury his father. Woman with sign that says she's a homeless mother of some number of children. Guys out there with crutches and back brace and such. Guy who obviously is missing limbs, sitting in a wheelchair with sign saying he's a veteran. I never know who's for real. One thing I can always give: prayer.

Sorry, we're scrounging for resources ourselves. Please get with the police and they'll point you to the agencies where you might can find assistance.

checking in

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Just checking in. I'm surprised to see that this blog still gets a few visits. I was expecting zero visitors since I've left it quite stagnant.

Sorry I have neglected to wish all a happy Easter. I think of my blog visitors often, but often do not have the time to blog. Amazingly enough, I also have hardly any time to browse the internet and haven't watched the news much.

It's a long drive to my new job. In traffic, it's easily an hour commute. Between the new job and getting the house back in order after it's been in disarray for the re-carpeting and painting, I've not much time left.  There is still some residual work left to be done as a result of re-doing the room, but for the most part I can go back to a more normal mode of operation. Most everything have been placed back in the room.

I suspect that life will continue to be busy. I've dropped the spiritual direction when I got laid off almost a year ago; but perhaps I will restart it one day. I've volunteered to help out at one of the other parishes on a certain project. That hasn't kicked off yet but it will in a week or so. At my own parish, I expect one of my volunteer gigs to be starting back as well, though I'm not sure if it is a matter of weeks or months.

The beatification of Pope John Paul II is a happy occasion.  Know that I share in your joy though I've not followed the happenings and am only vaguely aware of the event.  Easter continues for several weeks, may we all continue in the spirit of joy in light of the resurrection of our Lord.

new job

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

First week on the new job this week.  I thank all those who have prayed for me during my unemployment.


re-doing a room

Saturday, April 09, 2011

We have a little money from an insurance claim. We're going to replace a carpet. I've been busy moving all the stuff out of that one room. It's A LOT of stuff. I've got it cleared enough now to where I can roll up the old carpet and padding. I do that so that I can sweep the floor, to avoid the situation where the carpet installers just come in and lay new carpet on top of an unswept floor.

I'll try to get to washing the walls tonight. Maybe tomorrow I can sand the gloss off of the trim and paint the trim. The carpet people are coming Wednesday. It'd be good to finish painting the trim around the floor (base boards) before they arrive. After I wash the walls I can better see any surface repairs that need to be made. Then I'd spackle, wait for the spackle to dry, then paint the walls.

After I pulled up the carpet, I see a crack all the way across the floor. Uh, I think that signals a foundation problem. We're just going to ignore it for now. We have other problems at hand.


I haven't posted for a while. Been busy, I suppose.

Today I was at a drug testing place for a pre-employment screening. The plan was to get there when they open and be finished in less than an hour as I have other plans for the morning. Unfortunately, since I already gave at home, there wasn't enough to give at the lab. (For those not familiar: drug testing requires a urine sample.) I found out that once I'm there, I'm held hostage: either give a sample within 3 hours or be declared as having refused the test. I am not to leave while I wait. Fine.

They gave me a bottle of water which I diligently guzzled down in little time. One hour passed. Now I start to worry. It's quite normal for me to go the whole morning without needing a restroom break. So I go and ask for coffee. I'm not a coffee drinker, but I know it will speed up the biological process for me. Sure enough, after sipping approximately 1/4 of the cup they gave me, I was good to go.

I'm not a coffee drinker, so the caffeine made me feel weird ... a little unwell. On top of that, my allergies/sinus seemed to have affected my eyes. My brain was awake, but I felt as if my face and eyes were still half-asleep. I wondered if I may have looked as if I was high on drugs. hehe.

So I go most of the day "doped up" with that little bit of coffee. Despite not having had breakfast, I wasn't hungry for lunch either. Knowing that I should eat, I grabbed an oatmeal bar and ate it as I drove to class. My morning plans were shot since I took too long at the lab. I had a light dinner and perhaps I'll be back to normal the next morning.

leak under kitchen sink

Sunday, March 13, 2011

We keep a bucket under each sink to catch any leaks. Saturday we were getting something from under the kitchen sink when we noticed that the catch bucket was full. Uh-oh, we have a leak.

After some time, I was able to determine that the leak was coming from the hot water supply to the faucet. After several un-install and re-install of the hot water supply line to the faucet, I remained unsuccessful in stopping the leak. I decided I would go to Home Depot on Sunday morning and get a new supply line.

As planned, I went to Home Depot the next morning and got the new supply line. Thinking that the cold water side might leak soon as well, I bought two replacement lines. The hot water side was easily replaced. Not so with the cold water side ... I couldn't even screw the new line onto the valve outlet. When I reinstalled the old supply line I had taken off, it leaked. So now I was committed to replacing the cold supply line.

Further inspection showed that the valve outlet was tapered, unlike on the hot side. When I had replaced the faucet years ago, I had gone to Ace Hardware and just grabbed two faucet supply lines. It turned out that those were for tapered outlets. I bet there was an adapter on the cold side which I unwittingly discarded when I installed the then-new lines. The taper fit the cold side just fine, and I thought they fit the hot side. If I keep the line (with the taper) fairly straight at the valve outlet, the leak was negligible. And so it went that way for years.

This time I went to Home Depot and it seems they only sell the type that is flat and not tapered. The flat type fit the hot side perfectly, but could not be threaded onto the taper on the cold side. Another trip to Home Depot and their helpful plumbing specialist pointed me the solution I needed: an adapter. The adapter converts the taper to a flat, allowing me to use the same type of supply line on both the hot side and the cold side.

So the lessons are: (1) The valve outlets on the hot supply and cold supply under your sink may not be the same: one may be tapered and the other flat (they'll look different on close inspection). (2) There are different faucet supply lines sold; if it's for a tapered fitting, it will say so on the tag. (3) If you have a leak on one side and not the other, this may be the problem. A supply line for a taper will fit a flat, but will leak. A supply line for a flat will not fit a taper (it didn't for me). (4) If one of your valves have a tapered outlet, you can get an adapter to convert it to a flat.

(photo of faucet line is from the Home Depot website)

Lent is just around the corner

Sunday, March 06, 2011

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday! (That makes this Tuesday Mardi Gras.)

We typically do no-meat Fridays anyways, and it will just continue through Lent. During Lent though, we'll get more options for fish as the local eateries add fish to their menus and the Knights of Columbus put on Friday fish dinners. I'll will fast from sweets again, since it is still a challenge for me. No cookies, candies, cakes pies, sugary drinks (soda, punch, sweetened tea) and the like. Since I am a weak vessel, I do allow fruit juice, Jell-O, and canned fruit. The goal, though is to fast from them as well ... maybe I can just limit them to certain days.

Wishing everyone a fruitful Lenten journey.

free desktop wallpapers

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I am enjoying some very nice FREE desktop wallpapers from Vista Wallpapers. In particular, I like the Nicobu and the VladStudio collections.

thrilling movie

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I saw the movie "Unstoppable" recently. It is one fantastically gripping, edge-of-your-seat thrilling movie. Very entertaining. Thumbs up!

dog cot round 3

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Here is the third attempt at the dog cot. Still 1000 denier Cordura nylon. Camo green color was on sale. I tried sewing the material and then assembling it onto the frame, but it was too loose. I had to undo stitches on one long side and one short side. Then stretching the material as tight as I could on the frame, completed the sewing. Stitches are rather large (and uneven), as can be seen in the photos. This time I didn't cut off any material but used all that was there. Sometimes that meant sewing through three layers of material.

It seems that the solution to minimize stretching of the material under weight is to double the material. If this round doesn't work, maybe I'll order two yards of material the next time so that I can double it. On the back side in the middle is a strip of the left over "awning" green I had on the first go. I stuck it in the middle to try and minimize the stretching.

The pipe photo is a 12-inch tailpiece extension. It seemed to be of a very hard plastic. I cut off the part with the larger diameter. The remaining part I wrapped a few turns of duct tape in the middle and inserted it into the pipes that made the long sides of the cot. The duct tape made it a very snug fit and kept it positioned inside the larger pipe. The inserted extensions prevented the long pipes from overly flexing under the tension of the nylon fabric.

The second attempt was short-lived. I broke two needles in the second round. I had tried using a rug and it failed miserably under load. Additionally, I had skipped the part about screwing down the corners. Doggie managed to work up a corner and tore that particular corner.

In this third round I've learned my lesson and screwed down the corners, using as many existing screw holes as possible. I did have to make one new screw hole.

The stitches are rather large. This morning, doggie was working on one of the stitches with his teeth. With the nylon tensioned so tightly, it was like a drum so every time the thread slipped from his teeth, it'd make quite a bit of noise. A little scolding and he is now snoring away. That stitch has not given away yet, but if he keeps working on it, it will break.

Else so far so good. The fabric stretching has been minimal. But it's only been in use for one night.

I consider doggie our "special needs" child in the sense that his things need to be super rugged. One time I got him a stuffed toy and he tore it apart in minutes and was happily unstuffing it. He also had a ballistic nylon bed at one time and within minutes, tore apart the plastic zipper and was working on unstuffing it. It was a very expensive lesson for me. I had to throw it away after I was unable to get the smell of urine out of it. That smell probably came from the "stop chew" spray that I had put on it. Spray is useless against this dog. I once threw a bananna peel outside to see what he would do. He chewed it and ate it. I cannot understand how Labrador Retrievers can be the most popular dog in the country. They seem to be incredibly destructive, and unless you're an hunter, why have one of these things? I would never ever recommend a Lab for a first-time dog owner.

March 15, 2011: Cot is working fantastic; no problems whatsoever thus far.

September 23, 2011: Cot still ok. It helps that it's in his crate, where he can't get to its sides or flip it. When it's outside, he can flip it and he does chew on the legs. The legs are replaceable if need be but right now they're holding up. Photo below was taken in the morning, when the grass was still wet from dew and hence the marks left on the cot from wet paws.

June 08, 2012: I've had to re-stich. The giant stitches were big enough for him to pick at with his teeth and eventually break. The nylon has stretched and the bed does sag somewhat.

a winning movie

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

I truly enjoyed the movie "The King's Speech." Witty dialogue and great heroes in the king, his wife and his therapist. This one is a winner.

crazy movie

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Just saw the movie "Black Swan." It's crazy. I don't watch horror movies. This one is not a horror movie, but it's "horror" enough for me. *shudder*

footnote: A big screen is not necessary for this movie.

uncontacted tribe

Friday, February 04, 2011


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I have enjoyed snacking on these: Nabisco yogurt pretzels, Nature Valley chocolate granola thins, Blue Diamond wasabi & soy sauce almonds. I don't necessarily need the yogurt pretzels in 100 Calorie packs, but that's how they come. The granola thins are really crumbly so I typically devour one as I stand over the sink. They also come as peanut butter granola thins, but I haven't tried those. The wasabi almonds have a little (just a very little) kick and is just something different. I also enjoy sweet potato fries and would recommend that you get them when offered on the menu. Enjoy!

hand lotion

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hand lotion for around $1 USD. I like it. Not too heavy, not too light, non-greasy and works well enough. I wash my hands frequently and this lotion is what I use when my hands cry for lotion.

It'd be nice to give to homeless people, but the tube is not sealed and they'd be leery, I think.

best online Catechism of the Catholic Church

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The best online Catechism of the Catholic Church is Hosted by Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Mississippi. It is searchable, includes the index, and also has mobile device formats. May you enjoy!

Gopher reacher repair

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Several years ago I bought a Gopher reacher tool. I think it was around $20 USD, from either the grocery store or Walgreen's.

In a very short time (I'm guessing in a matter of weeks) it broke at the bend pivot. The pivot point was all plastic construction. Not wishing to discard it after so little use, I bought an aluminum angle from Ace hardware in the neighborhood. I used a hacksaw to cut the angle to the length I wanted and also to cut the notch to straddle the pivot. Several photos are included to show how the splice was made. I used some sort of industrial glue to glue it onto the Gopher. That worked out just fine. The Gopher no longer folds but that's okay.

Eventually the cups on the Gopher fell off. The problem was that the threads on the cups were plastic (see photos of the black cups). I tried to patch it up a few times with whatever household glue I had. Eventually I lost a screw and attempted to replace it with a screw I had in my scrap collection. Finally I lost the other screw as well and it sat unrepaired.

Thanks to a reviewer on Amazon, I was clued in to Arcmate. They offered replacement cups (the blue ones in these photos) with free shipping. I just received the cups today and the Gopher is repaired and ready for service once again. The cups aren't exactly as pictured on their webpage; there is no fancy shoulder on the bolt side of the cup. they should still work fine, though.

Home Depot had a reacher that I considered, but it felt too heavy and the angled pick-up end could be a problem in tight spaces and is difficult to maneuver at any other than the ideal angle. We lost the remote to our old stereo set. It has a large cylindrical dial for the volume. With the reacher I can grab that dial and rotate to adjust the volume. That sort of rotation would be very difficult if the pick-up end were angled.

Reachers are fun to use. I'd recommend that everyone have a reacher in the house. There are a variety of reachers on the market so you have options.


information overload

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Job hunting is one huge information overload. There is a glut of free advice for the job hunter.  Here are some broad categories to name a few:

Tools and advice for ...
   1. determining a career path
   2. how to go about finding a job
   3. writing a cover letter
   4. writing a resume (one for machines one for when you actually are invited to submit a resume to a real live person)
   5. preparing for a phone interview
   6. preparing for an interview
   7. how to use the internet for the job search
   8. how to network

And each of the above has its own bucket of research. You have to research the company, the job and you have to research yourself. Cover letters and resumes should be geared towards the specific job you're applying for. You'd have to pick through your past and communicate experience befitting the job.

If we're supposed to have prepared answers to interview questions, how about if the company would send us the questions at the time the interview is offered and say, "Be prepared to answer these questions."

Sometimes the advice is inconsistent among the various experts, and a choice has to be made as to which opinion you'd go with.

With all this glut of information, the HR folks are expecting us to know this stuff. We appear completely dufus, careless, or ignorant if we fail to do what is "basic." (Duh, surely you are prepared to answer basic questions such as "What motivates you?" and "What is your greatest weakness?" and "Where do you see yourself five years from now?" and so forth.) With all this required research, application and practice, it's no wonder that it may well take over a year to master the game and get a job.

The professional side of me says I understand. The softer side of me says I might not want to be that wound-up, polished, ambitious candidate for a high-pressure company who is unforgiving to a little mistake.

In the meantime, I'll march on and pray that God grease the skids and help me to land in the right place.

random thought

Saturday, January 08, 2011

There used to be a television commercial that asks, "Do you snore?"

It seems to me that you wouldn't know the answer to that question unless someone tells you.  How else would you know whether you snore in your sleep?

Happy New Year

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year 2011 to all!

Up until a year ago, I didn't do new year's resolutions. After hearing my spiritual advisor comment, "aim for nothing, get nothing" I figured I can give it a try. Last year's resolution was to finish reading one book. I did that, finishing The Shack and just recently, a career-related book.

This year I will try for two resolutions: eliminate the word "stupid" and eliminate profanity from being issued forth from my mouth.  I think today I've already broken both, but I will try again tomorrow. My dog is not stupid, he's ornery. And it's not "f--ing NO" but perhaps an "emphatic NO." Kinda hard when you live with someone who just won't take a simple "no" for an answer and I have go banannas and yell and curse before the message gets through. And then I get the "why are you yelling at me" response. We'll see how it all works out.