Saturday with Elizabeth

As Elizabeth likes to say, she and I were “hanging out” today while Tara had a girls' day out with Ronica. I think Tara's was a belated birthday thing. Hers was on the 10th. Anyway, once Ronica finally called — after Tara had started to worry — I was left alone with Elizabeth.

We went to the animal shelter and donated several bags of cat food that Tara had gotten free or very cheaply. She's always doing that, and donating it to the animal shelter. Elizabeth LOVES going to the animal shelter. Then again, she LOVES going just about anywhere … except Aldi's (local discount grocery chain). She is very familiar with the shelter because Tara takes her there on a regular basis. Today, Elizabeth spent a good 20 minutes in the tree kitty room. The what? They have this room with a fake tree all the way to the ceiling where kittens play and climb and people can interact with them. I petted and talked to the adult cats in cages outside the room for those twenty minutes.

We then walked through and visited with dogs, mostly puppies, in another section. They allow people to just walk right into the enclosures and play with the dogs. They've probably found that they get much higher rates of adoption that way. I was especially surprised to find that they also let anyone find a leash and walk almost any dog they want! How cool is that?! The sad little white dog I wanted to walk didn't have a collar, which apparently means they don't want him walked. We then entered the main, very loud, big dog section where there were at least 20 dogs, each with its own cage. Very nice cages, with heated floors in the winter. Still, it's a cage. One particular dog was the loudest, apparently most distressed about being locked up. He was some sort of mix of black Lab, Doberman and Pitbull. Sounds like a bad mix now that I think of it, but he was very nice. Too strong for Elizabeth, though. Anyway, we put a leash on him and took him for a walk out back. He was lunging all over the place, he was so excited and happy to be outside. He would have dragged Elizabeth all over that yard and walking trail. When we brought him back inside, all the neighboring dogs wagged their tails and smiled at me, obviously thinking, “Ooh, take me next!” But we didn't. Elizabeth wanted to, but it was time to go.

If you happen to stumble into your local animal shelter, you might tell them that they could probably learn a lot from the one in Nashville. But say it in a nice way. 🙂 And please adopt a dog or cat, if at all possible. And locals, don't miss the Music City Mutt Strut!

We then returned home to our own three pugs and a cat, had lunch, and headed back out, this time to the library. Elizabeth said, “It's going to be a great day, Dad!” She loves to hang out with me. 🙂 Also, the library is another place Elizabeth loves to go. We were returning videos and picking up new ones. I'd left a couple behind by mistake, so now I guess they're overdue.

After the library, Elizabeth said, “And now we go surfing!” I said no, not today. We did go yesterday afternoon down at the creek. There was enough water again after the recent rains, but it wasn't too strong or muddy. It was pretty clear, actually. Anyway, what she calls surfing is just paddling on her “boogie board.” It's a lot of work for me, but pure fun for her! She was getting pretty good at doing things herself. Of course, while she's floating downstream, I'm running along behind or beside her … in the water. It's not easy running through water. 🙂 Going back upstream, I have to carry her. I probably get more of a workout than she does. By the time we got home, Tara was home from work and told Elizabeth to take a bath to get that “creek dirt” off her. Tara's right. You can't trust the health of creeks these days. But it's just so much fun! 🙂

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New Antenna

Got the new tv antenna via UPS last night. That “super saver”/”slow boat” shipping from Amazon was not very slow, after all! So, today I'll be installing it. Just wanted to mention that in case I'm killed in the process.

You'll at least know what happened to me. It says right on the packaging in several places “Watch for wires! You can be killed!”

So I'll try and avoid that. Anyway, the hope is that this antenna will finally let us receive the local CBS and Fox affiliates. We already get ABC, PBS, UXP reliably, and NBC most of the time.

UPDATE: Mission accomplished! We now get all the local channels, and then some.

FURTHER UPDATE: There's still hardly anything worth watching, but at least it's there for that “special” occasion. 🙂

Vets and Doctors

I took Chandler to the vet this morning to get his teeth cleaned. I know, it sounds crazy, but it's actually very important, just like with humans. Anyway, because of road construction and morning rush-hour, it took forever to get there. The vet eventually called Tara a few hours later and gave her an update: the cleaning went well, Chandler's fine, but while they had him knocked out they suctioned out his ears, making them cleaner than ever! Suctioned out his ears? You're saying, “WTF?!” I'm hoping it will make him hear again. Poor old dog seems to be going deaf. Probably because we haven't kept up on his ear cleaning. They have a tendency to get heavy wax build-up.

Teeth cleaning, ear cleaning! What's next, eyebrows? Bikini wax? Liposuction? I've tried to comb out the hair he's shedding lately on his hind quarters, at least. That and the occasional bath should be enough. Then again, he is my best puppy. The Chan Man. The Big Dog. The … actually, the nicknames go on forever. I'll spare you.

I had a doctor's appointment myself. A follow-up after the biopsy. Apparently, I'm going to live, after all!

First Full Week

… of kindergarten! Tara's getting Elizabeth ready now. Elizabeth has been ready to go, already jumping into bed with us, then jumping out almost immediately, I guess because she couldn't sleep.

Tara will usually be taking her in the morning and I'll be picking her up after.

Yes, she could take the bus, but hell no we're not going to throw her to the wolves like that. Not yet, anyway.

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Lucy’s Birthday

Today’s my sister Lucy’s birthday. She must be having a good one, because she has not replied to anyone’s email birthday greeting. The previous weekend was our nephew Daniel’s 2nd birthday party in Smyrna. That kid partied until it was almost dark!

In other birthday news, we drove all the way to Smyrna again ( miles away) to get a free birthday dinner for Tara at a new-ish Mexican restaurant called Mi Tierra. [Now Chago’s] It was Tara’s birthday on the tenth and they give you a week’s grace period. Dinner still ended up costing $26 after tax and tip. Tara had to study the receipt to make sure we really did get her portion free. The food has been good there both times we’ve gone, but the service has never been that great. But then, in at least half of all restaurants we’ve ever patronized the service is almost never very good.

You tell me if this is unreasonable: I like a waiter who attends to us promptly after being seated, then leaves us COMPLETELY alone after the food arrives unless we specifically flag them down. We don’t like them “checking in” every five minutes, usually when I’ve just put something in my mouth. The food needs to arrive reasonably soon after ordering. They then need to bring us the check when we’ve finished eating and COME BACK so we can pay it and leave. So often, when we’re ready to leave, we can’t find them.

In happier news, we finally got rid of that mouse that had, thanks to our worthless cat, been living with us the past few weeks. Tara had suggested putting the trap behind the refrigerator, because that’s where we kept hearing him. It was a “live catch” type because I hate to kill things unnecessarily. Besides, I don’t want dead things in the house. The trap wouldn’t fit between the wall and fridge, so I put it next to it back there. Sure enough, it finally worked. There had been so many false alarms with that trap (it would close by itself), that it was almost a fluke that I bothered to step outside this time before opening it. As soon as I did, the mouse startled me when it leaped out, landed on the grass five feet below and scurried off into the taller grass next to the fence.

It’s been a couple weeks now since we cancelled our Dish Network subscription. No cable or satellite TV. I surprised us both by being the one who missed it the most. As soon as it was gone, I’ve been fairly obsessed in getting television on our screen again, first via the Internet, then over the airwaves thanks to an antenna. Remember those? This one looks like a spaceship with rabbit ears. Anyway, I apparently wanted what I couldn’t have. Typical guy behavior, I think. I learned something about myself, I guess: I’m a typical guy … sometimes.

Today, after a lot of research I finally ordered an outside antenna that will purportedly receive HDTV, UHF and VHF signals. I was prepared to buy the $60 one at Radio Shack, but this one online (through Amazon) only cost $35 or so. I used the “super saver” (super slow) shipping to avoid paying for shipping. Hopefully, once installed we’ll finally get channels 5 and 17 (CBS and Fox, respectively). Turns out, most of our favorite shows are on CBS or Fox. If we were getting 5 and 17 already instead of 2 and 4 like we are now, I would not have bothered with an outside antenna. We get Telemundo now, too, so I’m hoping to catch the occasional soccer game that I never got through pay TV except during the World Cup. Maybe I’ll learn Spanish in the process. 🙂

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Burn Your Bra

… after you remove it, of course. Apparently, they cause cancer. No kidding!
Here's the link:

  • Women who wore their bras 24 hours per day had a 3 out of 4 chance of developing breast cancer (in their study, n=2056 for the cancer group and n=2674 for the standard group).
  • Women who wore bras more than 12 hour per day but not to bed had a 1 out of 7 risk.
  • Women who wore their bras less than 12 hours per day had a 1 out of 152 risk.
  • Women who wore bras rarely or never had a 1 out of 168 chance of getting breast cancer. The overall difference between 24 hour wearing and not at all was a 125-fold difference."
  • Here's another link: Ditch the bra

    Never Re-elect Anyone

    Fresh start! Reboot! Recycle! Whatever you want to call it.

    Sure, the 5% who are good will have to find a real job for 2-6 years, but they can run again next time. It'll keep them from screwing up the economy because they know they will soon be back in it.

    It's the best way to stop the corruption, also known as “cronyism.” Government (especially military) departmental heads (not just the Directors) need to be recycled in between every presidential election (straddling both administrations for basic functionality assurance).