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Archive for the ‘Whatever’ Category

Cat Toys

Penny, my sister’s cat, likes to play. But not with toys one buys from the store. Being a bouncy kitty, it’d be nice if she would. It’s difficult to find something, especially since she soon gets bored with whatever I come up with. I made fishing poles, a cloth tied to string to a dowel. The cloth had catnip in it. That was fun for her. For awhile. Then she snubbed it. Time for a new toy.
We made a paper house for her to hide behind, tapping it with the fishing pole. That was fun. For awhile.
My sister had yarn and we dangled that in front of her, making it leap and fly and she leapt and jumped too. For awhile.
I got another string and that was okay. It got her leaping again. At the moment she still likes it. Thank goodness.
The paper house left and I made a cardboard house. Home Depot has boxes for under a dollar. Anything more expensive and she would have known and put her nose up.
Too expensive. Not for me.
After Christmas, I was rummaging through the 70% off Christmas sale at Target. Lo and behold there were three small catnip toys. Turned out they were twenty cents each. Even if she didn’t like them, it’d be only sixty cents total.
Penny likes them. She grabs onto one, plops on her side and her paws go crazy. So glad that’s not my arms she’s digging into.
I hope she likes them for awhile.

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The internet is truly wonderful. At least when people use it right.
Want pointers on how to crochet? It’s on YouTube.
Need to figure out why your camera suddenly decides to not work? Check on the internet.
Which is exactly what I did, for the camera; I don’t crochet. There are knowledgeable people everywhere. Some maybe not so much, but I got answers.
My camera is having issues with focusing. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. It works find in manual mode, but I’ve gotten lazy and like automatic. Also, with my bad eyesight, it’s hard to focus properly. Still, I can use it until I find a repair person.
The Internet helped with that too.
The problem appeared when I was off on a much needed day trip. I stopped at a corner out in the country where there was this three-story business building and nothing else around except a church. The building is vacant and in disrepair. Finding it interesting, I stopped and took pictures. And then it wouldn’t work anymore. It started out with the shutter release button not working.
Disappointed, I drove home. What was the use going out if I can’t take pictures? While sad, I wasn’t in total despair, which is a good thing.
At home, using the Internet, I was able to troubleshoot the problem. The shutter release button won’t work when the camera is set to Automatic Focus (AF), but will on Manual Focus. I managed to get it to work on AF, but that quit again after I went out the next day to continue my day trip. Happily, since I knew to switch to manual focus, the trip continued. Two towns, one state park, and a lake were seen and photographed that day and now I’ve gotten quite used to the focusing manually. It’s a bit slow. Sometimes the picture isn’t in sharp focus. Tricks from my pre-digital camera have bubbled up to tackle some problems.
I’ve since learned that the lens is not communicating with the camera and a new lens is needed. It’ll have to wait a while. As long as I can use the camera, I’m happy.
I’ve used the Internet to solve computer tech problems as well. I go to forums, ask questions, and there’s always someone willing to help.
Yep, the internet is truly wonderful.

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Toilets

I write this because my toilet got just fixed and it was awful not being to use it. I realize the topic is a bit strange, maybe taboo for some, but they are everywhere and sorely missed when not available.

It made me think how I’ve been fortunate to live houses with two, two plus bathrooms, over the past years and how I got used to it. Growing up, we only had one. Imagine.

Four People.

One bathroom.

At my grandmother’s house it was four adults and two kids to one toilet. Note I didn’t write bathroom. There was no bathroom. Want a bath? Fill up the galvanized tub or head on over to the swimming hall. The next door neighbor had an outdoor toilet. It was stinky.

Since I enjoy the outdoors and go camping, the issue of toilets pop up. Naturally one desires something clean and well lit, but that’s not always the case. One would also desire it to be pest free. Also so not the case. Once, a huge hornet’s nest sent us into the men’s side. Another bug infested shed, made us one with nature.

Port-a-potties are to be avoided. I do not like those. No, I don’t. But, if that’s all there is, I’ll go. I won’t go further into that except to say I did once watch someone clean a row of them and it was interesting. We were waiting for the ferry and had nothing but time to kill.

Everyone has their toilet stories. Some, one can trot out for a general audience like how we strolled into the ladies bathroom at interstate rest stop just as a police man walked out. Or how my sister, not wanting to leave the cat in the hot car, took the carrier inside each and every bathroom even when there were signs saying no animals allowed.

As for those above the PG rating…. I’ll you image the worst.

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Penny’s Playland

When my sister came to South Carolina, Penny, the cat, accompanied her. In Texas, she was an indoor/outdoor cat. Now she’s indoor. We were worried how she’d adjust as she’s an active kitty. I wasn’t quite prepared for it. It means dangling her favorite toy and me running around the house. It means having her chomp on cardboard boxes and drizzle bits of it around the carpet. It means have a squirt bottle handy to thwart the sharpening claws on carpets.

We are learning to adjust.

And Penny is adjusting too.

We got her to stop using the couch as a scratching post. She knows when we shake the squirt bottle, to stop whatever she’s doing. She’s okay, so far, with staying indoors. Being still a young kitty, we can’t expect her to stop playing so we’ve gotten used to dangling toys, throwing toys, and shining a red light on the floor.

One day, I was talking with some neighbors who live with a young beagle. What a handful he used to be, always barking. Now he walks along placidly. We discussing training pets, getting them to behave. I told them about Penny’s Playland, i.e. our house. They understood.

I’m hoping that playland will be eventually downsized, but so far it doesn’t look like it will. Penny’s now appropriated my favorite sitting spot.

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Highways of Hell

My sister is moving. She’s texting me updates. The last text said she was twenty miles west of Slidell on I10, close to Mississippi. It made me think of US84/US98 in Mississippi, a road I’ve traveled twice and put on my list of Highways of Hell. It’s not really bad, but it’s so long and boring and in some stretches you don’t see another car for miles.

Driving those roads is like you’ve been transported into the Twilight Zone. It feels as if you’ll be driving along the road forever, until you die. It’s different kind of feeling than US378 in South Carolina, the road I refuse to take to Myrtle Beach. Every single time I’ve driven on it, my eyes start closing and I start fearing I’ll fall asleep. I’ll go thirty-forty miles out of my to avoid that one.

Some Highways of Hell are pretty interesting. Lake Ontario State Parkway is like driving through post apoctolyptic America. Weeds grow out of cracks in the highway and there was no one, serious, no one, on the road except me. The highway in Mississippi just stretched forever and forever and forever… you get the picture.

There’s a bit on I10, in Louisiana, that feels like it, on the bridges. My sister said thunderstorms raged when she drove it. Anyone who’s familiar with that area, knows there’s no place to stop and wait out the rain. It’s miles of bridges over the swamps. It’s even worse for her because she hates to drive over bridges.

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Audio Book Ads

In the past months, I’ve seen ads on TV for audio books. Which is pretty cool. People stroll around with happy faces as they listen to books. It’s nice to see those enjoying literature. The thing I have trouble with is where these people are – in pretty, scenic places. Like, there’s a man on the beach, staring out at the ocean. As much as I like books, I’d prefer to listen to the ocean roll in and hear the gulls overhead. Then there’s the shriek of children having fun.

Then there’s the person walking or jogging, I forgot, and I thought of how, when I walk early in the morning, I don’t start listening to music until there’s a lull in the singing of the birds. It’s so nice to listen to them, trying to spot the bird up high in the tree.

When I went to walk Hadrian’s wall one year, I brought along music to listen as I hiked. I only turned it on when I was at the hotel. I couldn’t bear not listening to the local sounds even if it was mostly cows and sheep. There’s just something about listening to nature be it the babble of the brook or a bird in the forest. Or even the wind through the branches in the forest.

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Animal Encounters

It being a warm day, the 5th of February and north of seventy degrees, I went walking. Rounding a curve, I began to think of last spring. There I was, chugging away, and as I am about to turn a corner, not this one, but another, I slow. There’s a cat on the road. How nice.
There are a number of feral cats in the neighborhood. Some of them are quite big, maybe pets gone wild. They slink away when I get close, eyes wide. Today, as I take a few steps closer, I spot movement to the side.
Bunnies. And the cat’s not eyeballing them. Strange. The last time I saw a bunny/cat encounter, my sister and I were taking a walk about the neighborhood. We’d spotted a rabbit and stopped to admire it.
Awwww, we said. How cute.
Bang.
Live bunny. Dead bunny. We were left with our mouths hanging open, not believing what just happened.
Back to my walk. I took another slow step forward, thinking the cat will be running off, scared off. The bunnies on the lawn step off and I see they are not rabbits. Kittens. This is even better.
But.
Wait.
I finally figure out this is not a cat, but a gray fox. I’ve heard there are foxes around, but I’d never seen one here and I was thinking more red fox because those are the only kind I’ve seen in the wild myself.
The fox looks at me. I think maybe I better start backtracking. The fox begins to lope toward me. Now, I really think it’s time to vamoose and thoughts of rabies and whatnot is going through my head. How fast can I climb a tree? Can foxes climb trees? I think yes.
Will the fox stay by it’s kits? It does.
After I get calmed down, I have to marvel at my encounter. Next time, though, I’ll be a bit more cautious.

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