May 29, 2009

An Emma report

Emma is better today. Most of the swelling in her face and neck is gone. The little stinker decided that she would not take her cheese-covered pills this morning. I think it's mainly because she is not really hungry right now. She gets a Greenie as a treat every morning and gobbles it down. This morning she carried it around for about half an hour before she finally ate it very slowly. She's drinking fine, but not eating much.
Anyway, I had to get the pills in her so we ended up doing the "trap the dog between the knees, cram the pills down her throat, and make her swallow" maneuver. I didn't like having to wrestle her mouth open with her having a sore snout, but what else could I do? Telling her that taking the pills would make her feel better did nothing. Peanut butter on the pills did nothing. She is a cheese-hound and even with lots of cheese she would have nothing to do with those dratted pills. So I had to be a meanie.
Then I gave her a bath as we'll be traveling this evening and she had gone way past whiffy-smelling to being a down right stinky dog. She hates getting a bath but likes being clean. She loves curling up on a clean bed. And she always watches carefully as I put her toys in the washer. Then she watches when I put them in the dryer. She could care less about laundry unless her toys are being washed.
After her bath, we played with the tennis ball and then had a nice brushing. Then it was time for a nap.
After I get the last bit of packing done for our trip, I plan to stitch. I'm really enjoying stitching on "The Alamo" and definitely have my stitching mojo back.
Next weekend, I'm looking forward to the IH35 Stitchtogether (where hopefully we'll see Cindy!). DH will be able to get the rest of his hunting man toys from Cabela's; he bought so much last month that it wouldn't all fit in the Jetta.

May 28, 2009

Emma's adventure

Late last night Emma was after something under the house and the something got her on the muzzle near her nose. We can only surmise that it was not a poisonous snake as she is still living. We have no idea what it was, and DH - wisely - chose not to go spelunking under the house to find out.
Her muzzle started swelling and she was in a lot of pain. So after calling the vet, we made a trip in for the emergency. Our vet clinic is staffed by three vets and one is always on site 24/7 along with a staff member. The vet looked her over, gave her three injections and then sent us home with two bottle of pills; antibiotics and pain/inflammation medications. He found a couple of puncture wounds on her muzzle.
We all ended up going to bed way past our bedtime.
Today she is not a happy dog. Her muzzle and neck are swollen and the punctures are oozy (which the vet said is normal). But she is drinking okay and eating a bit. She still wants to play with her tennis ball - she likes to chase it in the yard - but only for two or three throws. Of course, she decided to do this right before we go up to Dallas for the weekend to visit relatives. Oh well. She'll get pampered more than usual by them all.
I doubt this will keep her from further chasing of critters under the house. Once a terrier, always a terrier. Silly dog.
I am stitching today, and here is my progress. It's the center of the Alamo (like you can tell). The pattern is by Art Ventures and 123 Stitch has it. I got my copy back in the early 90's during a Hobby Lobby clearance sale. I was a beginning stitcher back then and was a bit skeered of all the color changes, but I liked the pattern.
My folks are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this weekend. I stitched them something and was going to frame it, but decided instead to make a scrapbook page and then give them a scrapbook for photos of the event. My mom is a big picture taker. It's straight on the page; my picture is wonky.
So, don't expect me back until next week. I may post tomorrow if I have time with all the pre-trip hoopla.

May 27, 2009

No Lowe's please

Cool! There are those of you out there who only wear or mostly wear your favorite jewelry sets. To hear it from female relatives who shall remain nameless, I am the only one on the planet who indulges in such weirdness. HA! I'm NOT alone - some of y'all are as weird as I am! Same-jewelry-wearing sisters unite!
DH worked like a fiend on redoing the six windows on our addition this weekend. He got four of them done. He probably could have finished all six if we could have stayed out of Lowe's.
Back last summer, after rebuilding an inside wall on our house while using a hammer, DH expressed the desire to buy a pneumatic nail gun. He didn't want to spend a lot because he didn't think he'd use it a lot (I knew better). It's inconvenient for us to rent small tools due to the one hour drive time to town and back. So he found a generic one on eBay and bought it. With shipping, it was $135.00.
It worked fine on several projects. This weekend, it died. I figure it lasted through about 36 hours of use, so it cost us about $3.75 per hour to use. A good deal. However, it died when DH needed it, so I talked him into getting another one of better quality because he was using it a lot more than he thought he would (I knew he would).
FYI, you just about have to use a nail gun when nailing Hardi-plank. The darn stuff is so hard that you can't pound a nail through it without drilling pilot holes; the stuff is made of concrete!
So we went to Lowe's and DH studied all of the nail guns for a long time and then bought the one that had the features he wanted most. He brought it home and right out of the box, the darn thing wouldn't work.
Back to Lowe's we go. DH stood in front of the nail gun display and studied some more. He carefully read labels. While he was doing this, a small and deeply tanned man walked up and stood beside him. He pretended to study the nail guns. After about 10 seconds of pretending, he asked, "Hey buddy, you buying a nail gun?" DH said yes. Then the guy stood there for about 20 minutes and told DH everything he could possibly want to know about nail guns, including what brands worked the best and lasted the longest. Turned out he's a framing contractor. (He was in Lowe's because his wife was looking at wallpaper and he wandered over to the tools to look at something more manly.) So DH bought a nail gun that worked right out of the box, had lots of power, and was he was a happy man.
A note from my stitching chair: I managed to stitch quite a bit this weekend on the "The Alamo." I'm not far enough along for you to tell anything, so I'll not post a picture. Here's a picture of the pattern, however. This pattern was designed in 1985 and is hand-charted. It was printed on a huge sheet of paper that would not fit on my copier without a lot of folding. So I just made a working copy without enlarging it. The hand-drawn symbols may cause me to go blind!

May 25, 2009

Providence and a finish

I am not a typical woman; never have been and never will be. For example, I can't stand diamonds. I think they're the ugliest rocks on the planet. They should stay buried. No, I don't have a wedding ring with diamonds. I have a plain gold band that I'm very happy with.
My preferred gemstones are blue in color. My favorite is the sapphire, followed by lapis lazuli and turquoise. I pretty much like any blue-colored stone.
I also rarely change the jewelry I wear. I have a pair of sapphire stud earrings that DH gave me for Christmas long ago. I have a necklace with a gold heart with a sapphire that DH gave me at another Christmas long ago. They are my favorites; I wear them all the time and rarely take them off.
Last week, I was particularly vexed when I thought I had lost one of my earrings. I've lost one three different times in the past, and DH has replaced it.
I was getting something off a shelf in Wal-Mart when it slipped and whacked me on the side of the head. On the way home, I realized an earring was missing. I put two and two together and figured I'd lost it during the head whacking maneuver. DH went by the store on his way home to look for it and ask in lost and found, but no luck.
I was really ticked off. I didn't want to spend money replacing my earring, but I really like to wear them. DH insisted. He figures my track record of three lost over a period of nearly 20 years isn't so bad seeing as I wear them all the time. Most women don't wear their jewelry all the time. He planned to go by a jeweler on Tuesday to see about getting a new earring for me.
This morning, as I was tossing a load of laundry in the dryer, I noticed something odd in the dryer lint filter. Yep. It was the missing earring! It must have fallen in my clothes and survived the trip from the laundry through the washer and then through the dryer! I was a very happy camper!
And...I stitched yesterday and finished "Boo Y'all." I'm still not in the mood to stitch my MIL's HBP, so I've decided to stitch "The Alamo" by Art Ventures next. I've had it in my stash forever and it's calling me.

May 23, 2009


DH will be spending the weekend working on fixing the six windows on our addition. He is correcting the bad work of our contractor (May the fleas of a thousand camels infest that man's armpits.).
The framing around the windows was put on in such a way as to allow bugs and the weather access to the edge of the windows themselves. It was also put on crooked and wonky. DH and I don't care much for crooked and wonky.
So, DH removed the framing and discovered something that really ticked us off. The contractor had put strips of OSB under the outer frame piece to bring it level with the window. A big no-no. If OSB gets wet, it swells.
DH removed it and put it where it belongs in regards to window applications.
DH is doing it correctly and is having to really finagle things to get them right. And Hardi-plank is very hard to saw through. Oh well - what else have we got to do this weekend? But after all is said and done, we'll have beautifully framed in windows that are weatherproof, not to mention straight and non-wonky.

May 22, 2009

Ladies, I do it every year

Do you? I went and had my annual mammogram today. EVERY woman should have this done yearly along with her regular check-up which should include a pelvic exam and PAP smear along with blood work.
While certainly no fun, these simple tests could save your life. No insurance? Hard up for cash? You can find free clinics in just about any area; call your local hospital to find them.
After I endure these life-saving tests, I allow myself a special treat. I buy stash or indulge in a favorite dessert. Today, I decided to try a Starbucks Java Mocha Chip Frappucino. It was very good, although heavy on the coffee flavor (duh.).
I'm normally not a coffee drinker unless I can put 1/4 cup of cream or more and at least a tablespoon of sugar in it. DH has been telling me that I just HAD to try one of these, so I did. I liked it enough to add it to my list of "infrequent indulgences."
My brother and sis-in-law are avid coffee drinkers. They buy it by the bean and grind their own. They are connoisseurs of coffee.
One day, my brother was telling me that I would just love this new brand of coffee they were using; it was pricey but very, very good. I told him that me drinking his special coffee would be like casting pearls before swine as I would have to adulterate it with much creamer and sugar. Since he and SIL are coffee purists and drink their coffee black, he shuddered and didn't offer the coffee to me again. ☺
No, I'm not stitching, but I'm enjoying a new Star Wars book. Someday soon, I'll come back to my universe and pick up my stitching.
I'll leave you with a picture of Emma investigating the new bathtub while DH was trial-fitting it into place. She just hopped right on in and started sniffing around. I guess she knew there was no water in sight and there was no chance of the dreaded BATH! Normally, you can't get her in the bathtub without physically putting her in it.

May 20, 2009

A netbook and progress

I received my little laptop in the mail late last week. The darn thing is kind of cute and is about the size of a hardback book. I'll be mostly using it to read my CPAP data as the OS is Windows XP. I don't know how anyone can do any serious typing on such a little keyboard. I guess it's called a netbook because people mainly use it to surf and not type much.
I don't seem to be stitching much of late. Oh well. I've been reading a lot. Oh well.
DH is making slow progress on the new bathroom. He did a partial "plumbing take off" on it last Saturday. He sat in the bathroom with a pad of paper and a tape measure muttering to himself and scribbling for about two hours. Then we went to Lowe's with a list. Once there, he stood around in the company of other muttering men with lists in the plumbing area and tried to find things. We got most of what we came for and DH put several of the items we bought in the wall later that day.
Remember those cabinets DH made for me that are going to go in the office area that I was keen to paint? Well, they are still waiting for paint. The weather conspired against me - cold, then rain, then horrible humidity. DH's work buddy, Billy, was supposed to paint them for us, but his paint sprayer was broken and he didn't have time to fix it. Billy has a wife and seven kids and is very busy. Go figure.
Anyway, Billy's brother borrowed the paint sprayer, and fixed it before he used it. So now, Billy can paint my cabinets! DH took them up to work and they are going to stay late and paint on them. Whee-e-o!
Another by-product of the fixed paint sprayer is that we will finally get the outside of the renovated side of our house painted. However, DH will have to stop working on the bathroom to get it ready to paint over the upcoming three-day weekend.
Our "lovely" contractor did a horrible job on framing in the windows. He did a REALLY. HORRIBLE. JOB. DH wants to redo them properly. We didn't want to paint until the window framing was redone as everything is framed in and sided with Hardi-plank siding. Hardi-plank is basically a form of concrete made into siding. It's very tough and durable and termite proof. But it's hard to work with. Anyway, DH is hoping to get all six windows reframed this weekend so Billy can paint the outside.
I was going to do the painting myself the old-fashioned way with a roller, but if Billy is available, I'll bow out in a heartbeat. Billy can do in half a day what it would take me a whole week to do. That'll give me more time to read (or stitch!).

May 12, 2009

More information than you probably want

Lynn asked me about the type of CPAP machine I have. I have a Respironics Auto APAP with Aflex. It is fully data-capable, which means it records useful and important data while I sleep, and I can access this data myself and use it to make sure my therapy is going in the right direction. Or I'll be able to access the data again once I get my used laptop with Windows XP in the mail; the software is not Vista 64-bit compatible. Phooey.
Auto-adjusting or APAP machines are truly the jack of all trades and can change as the patient's needs change. They can be set to straight CPAP - one constant pressure. Or they can be set to CPAP with C-Flex - one constant pressure with exhalation relief. They can be set to APAP - varying pressure that responds to the needs of the patient at any given moment, with or without exhalation relief. You can get them with only compliance data (hours of use), or you can get them fully data capable.
APAPs can also be used to correct or determine the right pressure for a person, but having the data available is essential for this to work.
After getting absolutely no help with questions or information from my regular doctor and the ENT "sleep doctor" I saw for a consultation, I hit the internet and found CPAP Talk, a forum for CPAP users. It was there that I learned why a data capable machine is a beautiful and essential thing.
Ultimately, my therapy is my responsibility. I did not want to be one of those people who fails to adapt to CPAP therapy (failure rate is over 50%!). By being able to see my data, I know if my therapy is effective. It tells me if I am having apneas, or if my mask is leaking too much, or if I'm having mouth leaks where all the air is going out my mouth instead keeping my airway open, or if I'm having hypopneas (apnea wannabees). Without the data, I might think I was doing fine when in fact I'm really not. At this stage of the treatment, I'm not yet "feeling fine" as I have too many years of sleep deprivation to catch up on. If I didn't have the data to tell me I'm doing good, I might get discouraged and not keep on keeping on.
Of course, experienced hoseheads get to the point where they know if things are going okay without checking their data based on how they are feeling and functioning. But still it's nice to be able to get concrete empirical data.
A lot of the hoseheads I know over at CPAP Talk also use oximeters to check that their blood oxygen level is staying at the proper saturation. Sleep apnea tends to cause low blood oxygen levels which can cause tons of health issues (besides killing brain cells). An oximeter is a little gadget that clips on your finger and reads your blood oxygen levels - no needle is involved.
So if you've made it reading this far without your eyes glazing over, I commend you. Just remember, if you have sleep apnea, and you are not getting treatment, it WILL eventually kill you one way or another. Now on to other topics...
No, I haven't been stitching much lately. I've been on a reading jag. After I finished reading the newest Star Wars saga, I decided to go back and read all of our Star Wars books. Sometimes another galaxy is better than our own. But I'm sure I'll find my stitching mojo soon.

May 10, 2009

What a week

Well, I pretty much spent the week getting my new computer up to snuff. I got all the programs loaded that I use. Vista is weird, but I'm getting used to it. I love my new honkin' big monitor. I love my new Logitech Wave keyboard. And after years of being on dial-up, I am now using an AT&T "air card." I can connect to the 3G network and enjoy a speedy internet connection. And I haven't stitched a lick.
The one program that I loaded but couldn't get to work on the new computer is the software for my data card for my CPAP machine. Turns out it's not compatible with Vista 64-bit. Lovely. I need to be able to read my sleep data every day so I'll know how my therapy is going.
So, I found a refurbished mini-notebook at a good price that is loaded with MS Windows XP and ordered it. I'll be able to use it to read my data card. I was not really happy about having to spend money due to a software problem. Let's see, Vista has been out for how long? And Windows 7 is coming out when? And Respironics, the company that makes my CPAP machine and is international, has done nothing to address this problem? Idiots.
DH and I worked our backsides off yesterday working in the yard. It's been raining like crazy off and on for a month and the temperatures have been warm. However, it never dried out enough or stopped raining enough for us to mow. Poor Emma was disappearing in the knee-high grass. DH manned the weed-whacker and I mowed with both the push-mower and the riding lawnmower. At least we can find the dog in the yard now.
We also had to put our AC window units back in. When we took them out last fall, we hoped things would progress to where we'd have our central HVAC installed by now. Oh well. Soon.
Emma likes to go outside and lay in the sun until she gets all hot and pants, then she comes in the house and cools herself off; she knows exactly where the AC blows.

May 6, 2009

Protected and transferred

Well, I went to DH's work and downloaded the full AVG 8.5 program in five minutes with DSL - it would have taken over nine hours on dial-up if my ISP hadn't kept timing out. Then I got home and checked the mail and the AVG CD was in it. At any rate, I got my new computer all protected and up and running.
Those little thumb-sized flash drives are great. I got a 2G one for about eight bucks. I recall that the first computer I bought about 15 years ago had a "huge" hard drive at 540MB. How things change.
I used the flash drive to transfer pertinent files from the old computer to the new. I'd store them on the flash drive, plug it into the new computer, and then run a virus check on all the files. I had to spend a lot of time figuring out what files to transfer. It's amazing how you can let files junk up your hard drive. I had a virtual cleaning frenzy!
Now I am killing my old hard drive with a program from Then I will box up old the old computer pieces and send them back to Dell. Dell has a free old computer recycle program. When you buy a new computer from them, they'll send you free UPS labels to mail off your old one.
I didn't find Vista too hard to adapt to. MS Office 2007 is new and improved and somewhat annoying, but once I get my tool bars set up, I'll be fine.
The only thing about my new computer that I didn't like was the keyboard that it came with. It looks like it came out of a gumball machine. Very minimal and I don't like the feel of it. My old keyboard came with my original computer of 15 years ago as I've never seen the need for a new one. DH persuaded me to get one of the newer fancier ones, so I picked the Logitech Wave.
I'm a big Logitech fan as they are the only folks that make a quality trackball mouse with a thumb ball. I'll go into deep mourning if they ever stop making them. I love trackball mice!
And no, I haven't stitched much lately.

May 4, 2009

The day began with a resounding thud.

Saturday, DH and I went to Austin for the monthly IH35 Stitchtogether. I stitched and DH went to Cabela's and bought himself man toys used for hunting. We had a good group and had a lot of fun stitching and eating and discussing everything as usual. DH found such a good sale on his man toys, that they would not all fit in the Jetta and he will have to get his tree stand during next month's trip. We did come home with the deer feeder in the back seat. My hobby takes up less space and is less expensive than his!
While walking up our muddy driveway to the car on Saturday morning at the crack of dawn, I had a mishap. DH had placed some pieces of OSB board over some of the biggest puddles in the dip, and as I stepped on one to get across the puddle, it broke and I fell like a stone. I wasn't hurt, just completely muddied up and had to trudge back to the house to wash and change clothes. This made me grumpy for awhile.
Last Friday, I was successful in setting up the new computer. However, I could not download the virus software I wanted due to our dial-up being so slow; it kept timing out. So I am going to go to town to see if I can download the program to a thumb drive from DH's work computer. I don't want to get on the internet at all until I can get the new computer protected. In fact, I am posting this from the old computer.
I have finally reached the end of my rope with dial-up. We are investigating getting broadband out here; rumor has it that it is available. If so, we're getting it. I waste a lot of time at the computer waiting on stuff to download.
A note from my stitching chair: I've been stitching sporadically. I just need to stitch the "Boo Y'all" words on my WIP and I'll be done with it. The fabric is a Solo I got from Silkweaver.

May 1, 2009

The Navasota River...

...overflowed its banks yesterday north and east of us. DH was very concerned as we are in the 100-year flood plain for it. So I spent the morning moving things close to the floor farther away from the floor. Whee.
We have been absolutely inundated in rain here. Both ends of our road flooded at one point, and the county had to repair one end (the end we don't have to drive on to get to our house). We are very tired of cloudy, rainy weather and wet and soggy terrain. And boy hidey are the mosquitoes loving it! I got bit about ten times yesterday walking up the driveway from my truck by those mosquitoes whom I could not swat unto death.
Tomorrow, DH and I will travel to Austin for the IH35 Stitchtogether. Whee-e-o! I'm looking forward to it.
And today, I will be setting up and using my NEW COMPUTER! It arrived Wednesday evening, but I didn't want to debox it and put it all together that late at night. Yesterday, I didn't do it because of the possibly imminent flooding. But today is the day!
After deboxing it, I have to install the modem. I could order a modem separately, but not pre-installed with this "level" of computer. Luckily, I am well-versed in modem installation. Then I have to download the full AVG protection software (which will take several hours with my dial-up) before I do anything else. But hopefully, I will have it up and running by this evening. Then I just have to get used to MS Vista.
I always get the newest OS about a year or so after it comes out. Then I install it and get used to it. I figure I'll be doing that for the rest of my computer-using life, so why not just do it and get it over with. Whining doesn't help and a Mac isn't an option for me. But I reserve the right to vent!