Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Driving My Bus

I've been sitting here for 5 minutes or so, staring at the blank screen of the post editor and watching the cursor blink on and off. Something is nagging at the back of my mind and I had planned on getting it out in the open, but the more I think about it the more I realize I'm flirting with disaster if I do so.

It involves clients and suspected prescription drug abuse. These clients are very internet savvy and if I say too much and they recognize themselves I am violating HIPAA laws which could result in serious fines and the possibility of jail time for me. If other family members, who know I blog, ever stumble across my opinions regarding that situation, there will be major trouble. Sometimes it's just best to keep what I think to myself.

Lately I'm disgusted with politics and the always present keyboard activists who seem to want to fight with everyone at the first inkling their words are not agreed with 100%. This my-way-or-the-highway attitude is getting on my next to the last nerve. The only way to move our country forward is through compromise which will hopefully include the best ideas of both parties. What we have instead is a House Speaker who says that it isn't the duty of Congress to make laws, their duty resides in the repealing of laws. I'm surprised my jaw didn't break when it hit the floor.

I attended a symposium conducted by an acquaintance of mine. She's a licensed psychologist who doesn't agree with the tendency to blame our parents for all the things that are wrong in our lives. She's quite firm on taking responsibility to be a better person and to stop using our past or outside influences to be intentionally destructive in our future. She asked all of us in the beginning of her talk "Who drives your bus?" She then went on to ask if our bus is driven by our TV/computer habits. Do we pay too much attention to the things our neighbors have rather than to the things we have that fit within our individual budgets?

She's trying to address the issue of our increased use of drugs to cope with life or to sleep at night. She said that there are valid chemical imbalances that create the need for these drugs in some people, but many of us fail to accept that we aren't entitled to be happy every minute of the day so we insist on treatment for things that would pass on their own. Some depressions are temporary. Unfortunately we perpetuate those temporary depressions by treating them with one addicting drug or another.

She made me realize that I had been allowing politics and the fear of what's going to happen to Social Security and Medicare to drive my bus. I got a little bit lucky when we flooded here and I did volunteer work which gave me space to forget the fear by replacing it with activity. It was a reminder to me that while the idiots in Congress and their online cheering squad begin to bother me, I can unplug and go do something positive.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Lost But Never Forgotten

I am guilty of not paying attention to my blog. As a result, I didn't notice the profile picture that was missing nor the kitty giving the finger picture that used to sit at the bottom of my page. I thought they were uploaded pictures, but the info on those editors pages states they're the victims of "invalid urls".

My current profile picture is one I took of my own mouse pad. It's been stored in Photobucket for a few years. Since it's mine, it's not likely to be the victim of invalid url disease unless I forget and move it. I haven't been using my Photobucket in awhile, a very long while, since I lost my book in which I wrote all my passwords.

When the book accidentally got put into the wood stove, I started another one with the passwords I could remember. I couldn't remember that one. The downside of being creative with passwords when you are over 60 is they are prone to be victims of those Senior Moments we begin to have. Had I known that the internet would contribute to those moments to the degree it does, I might have passed it by. Well, probably not but it sounded good.

Anyways, I was sitting here looking at the pictures I have in there when all of a sudden I simply logged in. Out of the murky mess that is my mind, something caused a minor volcanic eruption and the information that was spit up was the correct password. To be honest, the incident occurred more like a cat hacking up hairballs with one or two attempts before producing anything. I like the volcanic analogy better.

While perusing my Photobucket I discovered there seems to be quite a few missing pictures. The important ones are there, but there are places on each page beginning somewhere around page 24 that are simply black spaces. I had posted on Blogstream a series of "Wanted" posters for various things and people. When I find something fun to do I tended to overdo it. Especially in the earlier days online.

I believe some of those are missing. I have the one I did of Scratch, Daisy and Mr Ornery's slippers, but the ones I did of Scratchy's alter egos from the cat world are gone. Of course, every single one of those silly comment graphics are all there. My artwork is all there, probably because before I lost my password book, I had moved all those into a sub album. The same with family pictures, they were moved too.

The drug paraphernalia pictures from one of my blogaversary parties are also missing. The mushroom picture, the glass bongs, etc. There are others missing that I can't recall so they were probably not important and wouldn't be available on a blog anywhere since Blogstream is kaput. There are times when I miss the place, but then I realize it took over my life in a way that I didn't expect it could, and probably shouldn't have allowed it to do.

When I started I was grieving the loss of my Mom and dealing with the illnesses that eventually took my Dad. Emotional upheaval that  me into a world where I didn't have to feel the pain. It was all smoke and mirrors but it helped me avoid something that I should have faced head on. I can't claim it was a negative experience since it did allow me the time to heal enough to be strong enough to complete the process. It did prevent me from moving past the anger portion of grief, but I managed it eventually and turned out alright after all.

Too bad the same couldn't be said for Mr Ornery's slippers.

(Insert evil laughter here)

Monday, July 22, 2013

These Cats Will Be The Death Of Me Yet

As I have said before Precious Kitteh was abandoned by the guy who was fixing up the cabin beyond the treeline behind me. Last August there was some kind of trouble, sheriffs, state troopers, etc. The upshot was that Dave abandoned the property and his kitty. Since I can't see it, even from the road, I was unaware that he also had abandoned the RV he was living in.

Neighbor Ed and family live in the house beyond this property and he is separated from it by a less dense stand of trees. Also, since his home is closer to the road, he can see the driveway. He didn't think much of it when a couple battered up pick ups and some people showed up and drove up the driveway. Squatters maybe, or weekend campers looking for a place to party. We don't know.

They arrived early on Friday night and Ed had to call the State Police with a complaint shortly after midnight on Saturday because they were making a lot of noise and were setting off firecrackers in the woods. Not smart, not smart at all.

I would say that Precious went over to see who was on "his" property. After all, he and Dave lived in that RV for much of Precious's life. This poor kitty managed to keep his trusting nature no matter what he has dealt with so it wouldn't have been hard for anyone to pick him up and put him inside what was his home. At some point on Saturday, somebody did that. Nobody let him out again. They might have planned on it, but anyone using property that doesn't belong to them is suspect to me. With no respect for other's property, why would they have respect for a cat?

On Sunday morning when we started hunting for Precious in earnest, Hubby had stopped to let both Ed and Dwayne know he was missing. Ed at some point on Sunday afternoon thought he was smelling smoke so he went over to the property to make sure the fire they had burning was actually out. He said he kept hearing a cat cry, but when he called there was no answer. He thought about it for awhile and then called us to tell us that he heard what he thought was Precious.

He met us over there and we combed through the brush looking for him and calling to him. We were about to give it up when Hubby went over to try the door of the RV. It opened and Precious shot out into Hubby's arms. Hubby, Ed and Myself all started crying. Hubby carried Precious home and we spent time trying to reassure him that things were alright.

After we saw to it he had a meal and lots of water to drink, he wouldn't come near us. He'd let us walk up to him and pet him, but he wouldn't let us pick him up again. It was really hot in the RV. I was worried about heat stroke, and kept going out to check on him. He stayed in the shade but moved farther from our house down the driveway after each check up. So, I finally just left him alone.

He came in at 4 this morning for breakfast, and then again at 6:30. I should say he tried to come in at 6:30. That was an attempt that went downhill in a hurry because Butterscotch shot out the door and off the deck before I could react.

Butterscotch beat feet to the back of the house with Precious in hot pursuit. I went around the front thinking I could head them off and when I got to where I could see, I saw no cats. I freaked out. I started panicking and calling for both of them when Precious walked around a bush and sat down. I ran to him expecting to find Butterscotch and nearly lost it again when he wasn't there.

Cat people talk to their cats and sometimes we do actually get answers. I asked Precious where Butterscotch was and he crouched down and peered into the base of the bush. Sure enough, Butterscotch was hiding under the leaves. He took off before I could get to him and both Precious and I gave chase. Butterscotch went first under the deck and when he turned around to come back out Precious herded him into the wood shed. FINALLY someplace where I could block his exit and get hold of him to bring him indoors.

Once I got everyone squared away, I sat down and did some checking of prices at Lowes online. There will be galvanized steel poultry netting added to the inside of all the deck rails and there will be gates. I just need to have some way to slow down the escaping Butterscotch until I have time to react. I may not need it since he seemed very scared to be out there but I'm not taking any chances with him. He's an indoor kitty, he's not street smart.

It's kind of funny now, but at the time I wasn't too happy. At that hour of the morning my joints aren't working, neither is my brain. Butterscotch is such a bully to Precious indoors, I was really surprised that Precious went after him. Precious is coming in to eat and leaving as soon as he's finished, but other behaviors are back to normal, so he hasn't forgotten being locked into someplace that he couldn't get out of. This will take some time.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Tears For A Missing Precious Kitty

I don't like allowing cats outdoors. It's too big a place for them, too much to get hurt on, too many ways for them to get into trouble. When Dave abandoned Precious last year, I wanted to find him a new home. Hubby had grown attached to him and had other plans.

I tried to make an indoor cat out of him, but Butterscotch and his own nature kept getting in the way. During the winter it looked promising, since he'd stay in for hours at a stretch and he found himself a few places to sleep in that he seemed comfortable with. He simply wouldn't use a litter box so we had little choice but to let him out periodically. During the winter months he'd go do his business, and be back in the house within an hour or so. That changed when the snow melted. As the weather warmed up he started stretching that hour.

Whenever he was outside, he didn't go that far. If either of us went outside to do something, he'd be between our feet inside of 5 minutes. We could look out one of the windows and see him sunning himself or taking a bath. He'd go across the road to chase mice in the hay field, he'd travel up the road to say hello to Ed, even hang around to play with Ed's kids if they were outside. Sometimes he'd go in the other direction down the road to Dwayne's to supervise the garden work or taunt Dwayne's dog when it was outside.

When we would come home from someplace he'd appear out of nowhere and jump into our laps as soon as we'd open the car door. He'd rub his head on our neck and purr up a storm. He's a neutered male and they don't tend to travel as large a territory as a full male will. Cats are also critters of habit. They tend to want to eat at certain times.

Friday night he came in at his usual time and stayed indoors for a few hours. He knew a storm was brewing I guess, indoors is safer than outdoors during one of those. He woke Hubby up around 4 am to eat and be let out. When Hubby went to go to work, Precious climbed into the pick up truck and wouldn't get out so Hub carried him to the deck and sat him down. That was the last we've seen of him.

I swore I wasn't going to get attached to him because I was sure that this would happen. I spent months trying to convince myself that I didn't like him since he was such an ungrateful wretch. What cat in it's right mind would turn up it's nose at a lifetime of pampering and choose to spend it's time outdoors? I suspect that choice is easy for a cat that prefers it's own company over that of other cats.

I braved the mosquitoes last night to hunt for him and Hubby left at 6 to do the same. We're keeping a watch out for him just in case, but we both think he's gone. We didn't find him along the roads around here and if something happened to him in the woods, the trees aren't telling. We only know he isn't here, and there are tears. We are heartbroken.

UPDATE: WE FOUND HIM! There's an abandoned trailer up the road and someone locked him inside of it. He's eaten an entire bowl of cat food and drank half a bowl of water. He now doesn't want a thing to do with us. He'll get over that I'm sure, and in the future he'll be very wary of strangers since this appears to have been an intentional act.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

It's Only Water

My laptop died on June 26. I thought it was a virus so I took it to a local Computer tech and he tried to clean it up only it didn't work. He went online to make sure I'd registered it with Toshiba ( I had) in case I couldn't find the sales slip. Without that I'd have had to deal with Toshiba directly instead of taking it back to Best Buy in New Hartford.

I found the receipt after picking up the laptop from Vinny and debated about going the 22 miles to Best Buy but it was storming so hard I could barely see to drive home from the shop. I decided I'd go Friday the 28th when I wouldn't have been driving in a torrential downpour, only Ma Nature had other plans.

In order to get from my home to Best Buy in New Hartford, I'd have to come off the hill down to River Rd. and travel the distance to route 291. From there I'd be heading for Oriskany Boulevard and then on to Commercial Drive. A trip I've made numerous times since Best Buy is in the same shopping plaza as Michaels.

Something made me turn on the TV for the news the morning of the 28th and that was when I discovered I was going to be without a computer for a much longer time frame than I had planned on. That torrential downpour had continued all night practically and by 6 am, almost every road I needed to travel on to get there was closed due to flooding. This was Oriskany Boulevard.

Driving on that was not going to happen. And then there were all these other pictures I found on the local news site which happened in my area.

The squares in the middle picture are the rooftops of cars in an apartment house parking lot. The road I live on sustained damage to some of the culverts we need to drive over to get from driveway to road. I'm far enough up the hill to have been fine, those towards the bottom had the culverts wash out on the 4th day of rain. We were beginning to wonder if someone had ordered an ark because it was beginning to look like we'd need it.

In Oneida, Herkimer, Chenango and Madison counties the Red Cross and local Salvation Army have been truly wonderful. The Red Cross opened shelters and the Salvation Army set up mobile units which are delivering food, beverages, and clean up kits to those who are cleaning up and trying to dry out the homes that didn't sustain structural damage. Some people had their homes knocked off the foundations and they are looking for other places to live until they find out if they will be able to find the money to rebuild.

FEMA aid will be available for the state, however it will not be in the form of grants to displaced homeowners to help in the rebuilding and recovery. The money is only for the infrastructure repairs to roads and bridges damaged in the flood. The only hope for many is that they had flood insurance and we've been finding out that doesn't pay for everything. For instance, insurance will pay for electric meters, circuit breakers and the boxes they go in but not for the thousands of dollars worth of wire needed to hook these homes back up to the utilities. Many probably will not be able to rebuild.

We're a nation whose focus is on defense. Congress can find money for the Air Force to blow 1 billion dollars on a computer system upgrade that simply won't work and has now been scrapped. It can fund the Pentagon so that 34 million can be spent on a state of the art headquarters building that the Army didn't want built in Afghanistan. A building that no one can use will be torn down when our military returns home.

The pocketbook is always open for the military whose job it is to keep the people safe from our enemies. It's just not open for the very people who elect our leaders and to whom they should be responsible. Somehow I can't help thinking that something needs to change. The government charged with the safety of it's people seems to be intent on killing off our American Dream in favor of those who control the wealth.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Never Rains But It Pours

My 6 week old laptop has a bad hard drive, it's in the possession of the Geek Squad and we're waiting for recovery media from Toshiba. Due to the flooding in my area it took me 4 days to get the computer there. We now must wait 7 to 10 days for the recovery media to arrive in my mailbox and then I must take it to The Geeks and wait 7 to 10 more days for new hard drive installation and recovery. Toshiba charged me for the recovery flashdrive claiming it isn't their product. Wouldn't need it if they'd built my laptop correctly but they won't listen to that.

I'm not complaining even though I have limited access to the internet because I am not among the hundreds of people who are homeless locally waiting for the flood waters to subside so I can go home to the mess of cleanup and repairs. Real life has become dangerous here, even for me and I live in an elevated area.

The ground is so saturated from the heavy rains that happen daily that although we aren't flooding, our roads are washing out, bridges are washing away and sink holes are appearing. Thee is so much water in ditches that with every rain rocks are being washed up onto road beds and shoulders are wearing away. It's hot, humid and every day it rains.

I've been volunteering at local shelters and Red Cross kitchens and am not sur3 how much longer these conditions will prevail. When this is all over and I get my computer back I'll be returning to my regularly scheduled nonsense, but in the meantime will you all hold a few good thoughts or prayers for the people in Central New York who are dealing with the loss of their  homes?