Thursday, April 30, 2009

Luckie - Home Alone: Graze or Hunt?

This Thursday morning is a hazard zone at our household. Like Sundays, Luckie will be spending a lengthy time alone. We both have various appointments during the same time period of six hours.

Despite her usual congenial disposition, "home alone" provokes a different aspect of her personality. I think she suffers from separation anxiety complex or just plain boredom.

She empties trash and garbage cans, chews up the Kleenex tissue box or her soft, fuzzy toys, and steals/eats anything that might be construed as food, like half or whole loaves of bread, Parisian donuts, frozen meatloaf, candy, or anything left within her ability to grab.

She once emptied a trashcan we keep near our coffee makers for filters and grounds. I've never figured how she did that, as its cover is step lever actuated. She shook the filters with grinds in such a manner as to cover nearby cabinets, walls and floor with coffee grinds. It must have been a lot of fun...for her. It was no fun cleaning up for me!

Our vet has advised giving her sedatives; we bribe her with a heavy serving of her favorite dog treats before we leave. I think we have that backwards -doggy treats only if she leaves the house intact!

She instinctively knows when we are leaving; she goes and sits in front of the cabinet where her treats are stored. We are shamed into giving her treats--guilt complex in full mode.

Today I hope the chipmunks [ground squirrels] and red or gray squirrels attract her attention and occupy her time. They have made their spring appearance in reduced numbers as their habitats have been diminished. We have less trees and vegetation since the 100 year ice storm.

She loves to hunt and show us her trophies, sometimes bringing them through her doggy door into the house for display. YUCK!

However, it is raining; Luckie is deluded , thinking she is made of sugar - might melt and dislikes water. Maybe she will choose a long nap in her favorite lift recliner.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday, Again - TeleCare - Volunteerism

Monday seems to come around far to soon, a reminder another week of life has past incredibly at the speed of light.

Today was my volunteer day to work TeleCare, a free daily morning phone call to subscribers. Two friends and I formed this group in response to an incident my husband regaled to me.

He delivered Senior Meals on Wheels for several years. In the course of his route he entered senior citizens' homes to deliver the meals. Some wanted the meals in their refrigerator or freezer for later consumption.

One day he entered an apartment to find the recipient on the floor, having fallen several hours earlier. He called 911 for emergency help and stayed until their arrival. During the interlude the lady told him, this was not the first time she had fallen; the last time she fell, it was two days before someone found her.

He planted this seed in our minds. We investigated what volunteers could do and organized TeleCare, loosely organized group of volunteers who work mornings 365 days a year (including holidays) to call those who are fearful of living alone. There is no age limit, but the clientele generally is above the age of 60. We have gentlemen, ladies, and married couples.

Once a year we have a light luncheon for our clientele, so they meet the volunteers with whom they've been talking. Long-time clients look forward to this yearly event.

Some volunteers are brief and there are some who chat a bit longer. The sound of a human voice is reassuring to a lonely person who never hears the phone ring. I'm on the chatty side.

TeleCare is only one tool toward helping persons live longer, independently in their homes.

Invariably, the clients cheer me up more than I probably do for them.

Our small town would be lost without volunteers, such as our Fire (Department) and Police (Department) auxiliaries, hospital and nursing home auxiliaries, churches whose members unselfishly work in our communities, and organizations like Veterans of Foreign Wars, Rotary Club, Food Pantry, Library Friends, and the unsung heroes on every block - neighbors.

There is a nationally sponsored event once a year, called Make A Difference Day. In our town we have many people who make a difference every day--and they are mostly past 50 years of age themselves.

Luckie knows we have persons who check on pets and plants alone at home, while their owners are hospitalized, tending family emergencies, shopping or simply enjoying a rare vacation! Further, she is grateful for the many volunteers who work for the Humane Society and other animal shelters!

On a different note, one of the blogs I read is having a 100th Post Giveaway. If you are interested , please check out Just Sweet Enough .

Friday, April 24, 2009

PhotoHunt Saturday - Protect(ion)

Disinfectant Wipes
Antibacterial Soap
Hand Sanitizer
Antibiotic Ointment
Adhesive Bandages

[Clorox®, Softsoap® and germ-X®
are registered trademarks of theirrespective companies.]

Protect(ion) - Maybe?!
Luckie is our adopted shelter dog.
A joyous, loving spirit, she is very
protective of us, especially my
For information about PhotoHunt
Click here:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Have You Ever Noticed Nature's Lessons?

In the waning days of January northern Arkansas was devastated by a 100-year ice storm.

All exposed surfaces, whether structure, service line or tree were covered with one inch of ice. Most utility services were severed.

We spent 9-10 days without these services. We coped and found, even in our 70s, we could adapt to the conditions in which we find ourselves, including living in one room, cooking on a camp stove, heating with a butane bottle, without TV, computers, radios, etc. We did have a somewhat compromised cell service. Luckie, of course, thought it fun to capture our full attention, even if it didn't last.

I timidly stepped out my front door to make pictures of the winter wonderland. Trees were snapping and popping
under the weight of ice. The noise sounded like snipers on a battlefield. (see photo at upper left and right).

We lost and paid for removal of seven beautiful trees and severely topped or pruned seven others. We hired a tree service as some red oaks were more than 75' tall.

Our communities are slowly recovering. So it is with Nature, particularly the trees. Spring has arrived. The ugliness of bare, tall, naked, standing tree trunks, looking like severely elongated fence posts, is slowly changing with sprouting new growth. The severe ice damage will be well hidden on some trees; others will be moderately recovering. Some may never recover.

What amazes me is how the Great Creater and Designer of the Universe built in this capacity of recovery into all nature and ourselves.

No matter how damaged our Spirit, often due to our own destructive shortcom
ings, the Grace of the Great Creater and Designer of the Universe covers us and lifts us up beautifully refreshed and redressed!

The tree photos in this blog were all pruned or topped at the wrong time, so recovery will be more difficult.

There is an area of hills not far from us, where, reportably, Agent Orange, a defoliating and dangerous chemical was applied. Thirty years ago it was barren. It has recovered and today is covered with new vegetative growth and young trees. I have drawn many metaphors from watching this happen.

The Great Creator and Designer's plan has taken longer to recover from human destructive acts, but it has.

So it is with us. Sometimes it takes longer for the Great Creator and Designer to fix us, but everything is possible in its own time, if our time does not run out......

Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. Psalm 33.8

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Computer from Hell (CFH) Part 4 - The Final Straws -

I thought I finally had a working desktop, but three days after loading my personal programs, I booting to a black screen. OOPS! After several attempts and analysis, I felt the problem was a failed hard drive.

Thus began the round-robin of phone calls but only one target - the internationally known computer manufacturer (CM). Since the CFH history in their records of my purchase, my call received immediate high tier tech support. A nice lady agreed with my analysis and offered to ship a new hard drive, but I had to format it and return the old one. I agreed - no problem.

It arrived shortly and I formatted with operating system -- but nothing else - and returned the defective hard drive. I occasionally turn it off and on. It sat unused a few weeks.

My best friend (BF) who needed a desktop and knew the history of the CFH, asked to borrow it, for a short time until she had funds for a new purchase.

We spent a day moving it between homes, setting up, and loading her personal preferences and programs. I had no faith this was a good decision, but she loaded her financial program and records.

Three days later the hard drive crashed again.

To end my agony, I made a decision to accept the fact I made the worst purchasing decision of my life and continued to throw good money after bad, to correct it.

I fired off an e-mail to the CEO of CM, regaling the saga of the CFH, with statistics, my turmoil mental anguish, and my opinion of this model line (which still exists).

A CEO representative called to see if the CM could salvage our relationship. I firmly said, all I wanted was a box and ticket to recycle the unit FREE with their customer recycling service. Although he tried, this CM action go lost in the on-line form so I gave up.

I dismantled the computer into components, sent most to an area computer club that recycles computers for sale at the Humane Society and Salvation Army. I kept memory and CD/DVD recorder/player. The case went curbside for garbage pickup--yeah, I know, but I tried to do right, but this whole sordid ordeal needed an end.

Having opened the case several times, my intermediate computer technology determined miniaturization can be too extreme. There were only two tiny fans, one on the CPU and one on the motor. All components were packed or stacked on top of each other. The unit relied on many air holes in the case for venting.

I own two laptops. Will I ever buy a netbook? Not any time soon!

  • Lesson #5: Analyze bad purchase decisions earlier and honestly consider if rectifying them is a viable option or simply it is just a BAD DECISION and move on.
Oh, I almost forgot...

  • Lesson #6: If your hard drive crashes and you failed to backup recently or never, put it in your freezer for two hours, re-connect it and retrieve everything you want, or ever think you might want before it dies again.
I found this tip on the INTERNET, didn't believe it, but decided I had nothing to lose. IT WORKS!!!

THE END ......[Luckie says 'thank goodness, maybe I will get more play time.']

Monday, April 20, 2009

Interlude - Luckie says "whew, about time"

Although there is one more Part (4) to the Computer from Hell, it is not written.

I wanted to toss out the idea of a couple of extra blogs - temporarily entitled Spirituality and My Ozarks World (Photos), maybe albums; maybe my Weight Loss Journey, although that might be more personal and boring than I would like -- after all the main object is hmmm, how shall I say it - controlled starvation. I might just incorporate the weight blog, success or failure in the present blog.

Posting might be less frequent.

Spirituality would be inspiring, religious but not specific doctrine. Sometimes might be lessons I've taught in the past or ideas inspired by others or books I have read. I am a believer in the Trinity Godhead of a Supreme God, His Son, and the Holy Spirit. However, I might draw on writings of others who follow different philosophies.

My World will be photos of my Ozark world, but include trips I've taken and other places I've lived. Included in this post are shots of the fifth (5th) largest dam in the U.S. which is exactly 1 mile from my front door. In the past I
have walked it for exercise. It is 0.8 "miles round trip" but if you park a small distance away in parking areas and cross the highway across the dam, you have a mile.

These pictures show all 17 flood gates open, a rarity, only twice in its history. I've witnessed both times. I also have a slide of the gates open with water frozen in place. I need to convert it digitally.

I know these aren't unusual topics; but they are who I am. If you read my bio, maybe there are other subjects which I have not considered. Of course Luckie still is included--no option there.

Any comments???

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Saga of the Computer from Hell (CFH) continues

Upon return the manufacturer repaired Computer from Hell (CFH) had the same problem, non-functioning USB wireless network provision. Neither internationally known computer manufacturer (CM) or I could believe the repaired unit had the same problem.

Again, I began the round-robin phone call between CM tech support, ISP tech support, wireless router tech support and me. All tech supports placed blame on the other, despite my connecting to Internet with wired network on-board function and CAT-5 cable.

Finally CM authorized a second return for repair with same result - NON-FUNCTIONING WIRELESS NETWORK FUNCTION. Unbelievably stupid! [If you are counting, this the THIRD time the CFH has made the journey to the CM.]

Again the round robin of phone calls with same three tech supports, with continuing repetition of suggestions, tests and the "blame" game.

To settle the "blame" game, I made an appointment with the area ISP (phone company), who offered free troubleshooting services. With assorted luggage filled with the CFH, a laptop and wireless router I made the 24-mile round trip to the ISP's area office. In less than 20 minutes their tech support determined the problem was the CFH, not the ISP service.

I called CM tech support again. By now I had moved up the chain of command to top level of tech support. After regaling the entire long and sordid history, I was provided a replacement upgrade of same model series to be known as CFH-II, after returning the old unit. [Trip #4)

Upon arrival, every component of the CFH-II model upgrade replacement functioned so I registered it with CM.

By now my husband wanted to keep his home-built computer, spurning the CFH-II model, so after setup and personalization CFH-II sat, unused for several months.

Lesson #4. Don't give up pursuing your consumer's right to a functioning product - no lemons!
We are now into November, 2008 - 13 months from original purchase!
I donated my home-built desktop to a church resource room, and set up CFH-II for my personal desktop use, loading an office suite, financial software. personal files and photos.

Still, the saga becomes ridiculously worse. My husband and Luckie think I am far too stubborn for my own sanity...

Stay tuned for Part 4 - The Final Straws

Saturday, April 18, 2009

PhotoHunt Saturday - Purple

A cheap, sloppy purple sweater, bought at a local dollar store has been resilient to rough-and-tumble wash-and-wear. It has been more comfortable than several more expensive versions.
For more about PhotoHunt see link below:

Saga of the Computer from Hell (CFH), Wireless Problems Begin - Part 2

Part 2 of the saga begins after returning home with the exchanged Computer from Hell (CFH). Again we set it up and I put it through its paces. The DVD-CD ROM recorder/player worked. However, it would not connect to my Internet Provider, no matter how I configured the integrated USB wireless G network provision.

The immediate suspect was the USB Wireless on-board provision. I call integrated motherboards the All-In One (AIO) motherboards. The only repair is replacement of motherboard.

I began a round-robin of long-distance phone calls, some toll-free, beginning with the big box store (BBS). This call alerted me to the unwritten uselessness of the warranty extension/maintenance agreement I purchase at a hefty price.

One provision was "in-home" repair. I was informed it only covered a 40 mile radius of any store in its large chain. No store was within 40 miles of my home. And "NO, I cannot ship the unit to any store--too many liabilities to the store," a limitation not written in the contract, nor orally explained to me.

I felt deceived, so I made additional calls up the BBS chain of command to the executive level officers (XO), reminding them, their customers and advertising extended more than 40 miles outside their location. Every response was a cold " it's our policy!" The last phone call I reminded the XO of the exponential effect of one person's dissatisfaction regaled to seven other persons who told seven other persons.

Since the manufacturer's warranty was one year and still in effect, I contacted the internationally known computer manufacturer (CM) with whom I had registered the computer's serial and model numbers. This action began a round-robin of phone calls between the CM, Internet service provider (ISP), wireless/wired router tech support and me. After I successfully connected to the Internet with a wired network provision also integrated on the motherboard, CM accepted the computer for repair (replace motherboard).

[Luckie doesn't compute - impatient when I ignore attempts for attention or food is on menu!]

Next: Saga continues...this should be a book!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Saga of The Computer from Hell (CFH), Purchase, Problems, Part 1

Luckie does not like this saga as the frequent trips described, resulted her her being boarded at the local veterinarian kennels which she dislikes.

The saga includes references to a big box store and an internationally known computer manufacturer. After reading an article in the NEW YOUR TIMES, the big box store will be named BBS and the computer manufacturer, CM.

In October, 2007 I decided my husband needed a new desktop computer to replace one I built prior to Windows XP version and upgraded to XP. Nothing was wrong the home-built version, except it was not VISTA compatible. (After two years of Vista this purchase was doomed from the start!)

In this time frame we had frequent appointments at the VA hospital in Little Rock (LR), Arkansas [300 mi. round trip] for my husband's medical problems.

I ordered a slim computer from BBS's website to be delivered to BBS's retail store in LR. The slimmed down model's small footprint seemed ideal for my husband's computer nook with limited desk real estate.

At pickup I purchased an in-store 2-year warranty extension/maintenance agreement and memory upgrade, approximate total price, $600. The warranty extension/maintenance agreement was an in-store subcontractor service.

So far, here are lessons learned from mistakes, #1, #2 and #3 in this story:
  1. Never buy a new model on-line without intense research.
  2. Never purchase an in-store warranty when you are 300 mi. round trip away from store.
  3. Read fine print and ask seemingly stupid questions, like if defective, can I ship it to store.
We made this trip in one day, arriving home late evening, so we did not unpack the CFH until the next day. When we did, the DVD-CD ROM recorder/player was defective, the insertion door did not open; it did not initialize on boot.

Frequent long-distance phone calls to the BBS were fruitless; I was told I had to return it to the store for exchange, another 300 mi trip.

Fortunately, my husband had another appointment at VA; we planned a 2-night stay at a motel. I exchanged the unit; the warranty extension/maintenance agreement was transferred to new unit.

At this point estimated costs of our motel and Luckie's boarding, 300 mi. of fuel (not counting original purchase), long distant phone calls, and dining equaled or exceeded the original purchase. I am beginning to seethe.

The saga only gets worse.

Watch for Part 2.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


In previous posts I mentioned a couple of things that need updating:

1. My friend's computer did not have a Conficter virus, just a corrupt operating system. Despite all her efforts to avoid using her recovery disks (which is essentially re-formatting hard drive and re-installing operating system), that is what she finally had to do. She is still restoring her programs and personal files.

2. Breath Busters®, Luckie's healthy (?) treat, is again available at my favorite big box store. I received a phone call this morning. Since I did a "stuper" ( and left my purse in a shopping cart (not the first time , either), I have to go pick it up today as all my important "identity" info is in this little black bag. There are still some very honest people in this world, who turn things in to courtesy desk after finding them in carts on the parking lot!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Foodaholics Anonymous - Membership of Two

Our household has two foodaholics, Luckie and me. From all indications we will always be members of our own Foodaholics Anonymous. We are insanely preoccupied and addicted with food of all kinds, but mostly those unhealthy, cholesterol ridden, waist-expanding varieties.

This addiction is why we're perennially "on a diet!"

Luckie doesn't know she is on a diet...but maybe she does.

This morning's feeding frenzy is one example: I decided to get up later, like 7 a.m., when a wet nose and quiet, impatient bark awakened me. Before I completed my coffee-making routine, my underweight husband arose. Accompanied by Luckie, he went out to smoke a cigarette (no smoking is allowed inside house or car) and retrieve the area morning newspaper.

Meanwhile, I completed the coffee routine, setting the ON button on the second coffee maker, the signal to Luckie, her breakfast will be served. I feed her a meager half cup of kibbles plus a tad of cheese wrapped meds.

On days like this, I tried to sneakily fool her by quietly preparing everything. However, to no avail yet, she hears the kibbles hit the bottom of her metal bowl. She impatiently paws the door until my husband lets her in; then it's a "hot to trot" to her bowl.

And I am contemplating what breakfast will be...a piece of fruit or more substantial fare. I favor the latter, but will probably choose the former. Ah, such is life in Foodaholics Anonymous!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Morning Coffee Routine Frustrations

It seems age makes simple tasks, originally automatic zombie functions, require more alertness... like the morning coffee-making duties and Luckie's breakfast.

Lately I've awakened earlier than Luckie's wake-up clock. Today the coffee routine was filled with booby traps. We have different coffee preferences around here. My husband wants a 6-cup pot to drink all day--black with no additives. Ugh! By afternoon it is too bitter for me. I prefer coffee made one cup at a time with Splenda sweetener and 1/2 cup fat-free milk, or 3 tsp. Lite Carnation Coffee Mate.

The household has two coffee makers, a multi-cup and one cup. This morning I messed up the routines so both had grinds in the finished product-Yuck! I had to strain both brews.

Further, the carafe for the multi-cup coffee maker was not placed correctly under the drip basket, so it deposited part of the coffee and grinds on the warming burner and counter--a messy clean up.

Meanwhile Luckie is awake, pacing the room for morning buffet-doggy style. She has memorized my routine, and knows she is fed after I finish preparing and pressing the start button of the one-cup coffee maker.

Today, the mess of the multi-cup coffee maker required immediate attention. She went back to bed in frustration. As soon as I rattled her soft cheese bites bag (used to disguise her morning medicines) she came running, dancing and prancing for her buffet. All is forgiven. That's why I love dogs!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Shopping Frustrations & Luckie's Treats

Wednesday, I set out for the nearest shopping mecca, 17 miles from my small Ozarks home. Replacing three rooms of carpet, and new trees headed my list and a trip to Wal-Mart.

At the flooring outlet, my usual cheerful, friendly co-owner was ill. I had to deal with her husband who tried to sell me everything, except what I wanted---Berber carpet. I patiently let him try to sell me everything he had in stock, a somewhat meager selection, and every kind of carpet pad he had. I finally said, "No, I want Berber for all three rooms."

Then I was told the carpet installer, who lives near me, and used previously, is no longer on their list of sub-contractors. However, the owner added I was free to buy the carpet and use any installer I wanted. I finally left with samples and total cost estimate--just no warranty since I would not use their sub-contractors.

Then I stopped at large home improvement chain store, Lowe's, to look at plants with the prerequisite someone else would plant them. No help there. Later I stopped at a nursery which informed me the practice of offering to plant and warranty trees had been discontinued by all but two nurseries.

GRRRRR...why do businesses offer services and merchandise, but when I am ready to use or buy them, they have been discontinued?

After two rebuffs, I headed to Wal-Mart for groceries and general merchandise. Luckie likes Pedigree products (guess she dreams she is a pedigree--how delusional can sh
e be!)

Since her breath is a tad fowl, their Breath Busters were a staple in her treat cupboard. Now Wal-Mart has discontinued those in favor Good Bites for Oral Care, not nearly as big and more expensive, comparatively speaking!

Two Breath Busters 17.5 oz. (about 30 pieces = 15 servings) vs. 10 Breath Bites 5 oz (45 pieces = 4.5 servings): seems like another marketing strategy: higher price for less return.

Pedigree's web site shows Breath Busters still listed as a product in their line.

The grocery section still had Pacific Rose Apples, an apple only available in my area for a short season, but no tangerines--I guess season is over for tangerines. so will try a tangelo. All fit in my WW program.
[This morning was weekly WW weigh-in on line and surprisingly one additional pound lost for a total of 19 pounds.]

In Wal-Mart I always run into friends; today was no different, so at least there were a couple of positive moments today!

P.S. I have to return carpet samples next week when Luckie is due a Phenobarbital blood level check. Hope my friendly co-owner lady is back-to-work!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Catch-up Weekend and Luckie's Latest Sins

The week begins with well-laid plans but ends with items moved forward day by day, so Saturday, and to some degree, Sunday become the days these tasks are completed.

Earlier, I mentioned my window box house plants were root-bound and haven for ants. Saturday I destroyed every plant and applied ant killer to every seam around the box. I put my German Shepherd Dog statues of glass, brass and ceramics perched on a shelf and a scaled down collection of mortar and pestles.

The window box looks barren; the sun heat beats in since we lost seven beautiful shade trees in a recent, disastrous ice storm. The trees outdoors and the indoor plants shielded the kitchen from the southern exposure heat.

Then I prepared
a Pot Luck Pasta Salad posted on WW, 12 servings (3 pts./serving), for my Sunday Life Group meeting. At least there would be one dish I could eat along with four meatballs sans sauce. Fortunately, among the lovely desserts was a strawberry, kiwi and apple salad I used for "dessert." I surely missed the taste of coconut pie, caramel iced bundt cake, and some tarts.

Meanwhile, while we attended Sunday services and Life Group afterward, back at the house, Luckie discovered my husband's stash of caloric goodies, he keeps out of my sight. He left the door open to the closet and the door to the room. She removed a box of six Parisian cinnamon rolls, eating them all, leaving the box in our pathway.

Quite content, she was at the gate, wagging her tail, when we arrived home. Somehow, I think she was smiling, thinking, "I foiled their attempts to keep me out of the food chain, again."

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Digital Deliberations - One benefits Luckie's shelter home

Last Friday my best friend (BF) called me to visit her and wipe a desktop hard drive clean in exchange for a fried fish dinner. My husband was included in the invite, but not Luckie.

My BFs have multiple cats and presently only one dog. Over the nearly thirty years I've known them, they have only had one pure breed dog. However, I've lost count of the dogs and cats they've adopted, mostly strays, but some shelter animals, too.

The old computer was going to a local computer club which refurbishes them and gives them to the Humane Society or Salvation Army, whichever the donor chooses. Since BF selected the Humane Society, I was overjoyed to help the cause. It seems the economic downturn has spike sales of used computers, especially at these two charitable organizations.

I plan to add a box full of parts I've collected and no longer need in building or repairing (0ccasionally). I figured my helping prepare her unit for resale in the Humane Society's shop, in some small way may return the joy Luckie has brought into our lives.

The last few days a Silver Sneakers exercise friend tried to exorcise her desktop which she maintained was possessed by a demon. After several phone calls with e-mails with suggestions, and little improvement, I read the signs of having the Conficter worm which has been tormenting the computer world. I sent her a site to read about it and went fishing...hmm...better relabel that a windy boat ride on area lake.

Two phone messages were waiting for me, when I returned home: Send her the patches because she could not download them, nor access Microsoft website, two signs of the dastardly worm. I have not heard the end of this saga as of tonight. Stay tuned for the rest of the story.