Saturday, 31 January 2009

Windierpeg

This morning dawned bright, with a few scattered clouds in the blue prairie sky... and only a mild breeze wafting across the snow banks.

My sister, her two dogs, myself and Zoë trundled off in my truck to the local dog park for a romp through the snow. There is a creek that winds through the park, edged with reeds the colour of my dog... or is she the colour of the dead reeds? Needless to say, it is all too easy to lose sight of her as she wanders in and out of them.

Being winter here in the Centre of Canada, the creek is frozen solid. Does walking on frozen water make one holy? I have no idea, but it certainly makes for a lovely trail to wind along. And being lower down than the surrounding terrain means you are protected somewhat from the breeze that is blowing.

Despite reaching a temperature of +1C here today, the wind was still biting our faces and it felt about -10 on our walk. But the dogs ran and romped and played and had a wonderful time. My sister and I walked and chatted, stopping to visit with other dogs and their humans along the way, staying out for over an hour in the sunshine.

I was really wishing I had taken my camera with me on this walk. It was lovely walking along with the reeds tall on each side of the creek, watching the dogs gambol about with each other or on their own, eating a drink whenever they wished.

Zoë loves to eat snow and ice, crunching up chunks of the white stuff as she trots along. In the light, fluffy snow that is not packed down, she bulldozes her nose through it, occasionally lapping up mouthfuls to slake her thirst. The nickname 'SnoNoze' is quite aptly earned.

Around noon, or shortly thereafter, the wind began to pick up and the clouds rolled in. The system tracking across the Prairies was about to hit. The sky to the west darkened with rain laden clouds, and the howling commenced.

By mid-afternoon, the winds were blowing at 65 km/h with gusts reaching 80 km/h. The rain splattered the windows but was thankfully short-lived. Having experienced rain in winter and the consequences of an environment coated in stunningly beautiful but wickedly treacherous ice, I was not too pleased to see it start. And was very glad when it ended a short time later.

The house groaned and creaked for most of the afternoon, causing the dog to wander nervously from room to room, searching for a safe haven. I ignore her when she is like this... I refuse to feed her fears unnecessarily. She eventually settled and has been sleeping soundly for hours, recovering from the romp along the creek this morning.

In my front yard is a huge Colorado Blue Spruce tree. As I sat in front of the computer, chatting with friends online, I kept an eye on that tree as it convulsed and shook in the wind. And thought that it was good the wind was coming from the west, because if the tree decided to snap, it would be parellel to the houses and shouldn't do any damage. If the wind had been coming from the south, I would have been right in the line of fire.

Things have settled down now and upon checking, the wind is blowing at 50 km/h. No longer worthy of a wind warning. I can now breathe a sigh of relief, with no tree parts littering the yard (other than needles blown about) and a roof still over my head.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Sunshine Snoozes

Saturday afternoon. Outside: -33C (that's with the wind chill). Inside: +22C (where there is no wind at all, unless someone farts.)








Friday, 23 January 2009

She's not dead yet...

I have no idea how Zoë can lie like this.... She has each end of her body twisted in opposite directions. These photos were taken on two different days. This is pretty much her favourite position to sleep in.



She looks like she's been killed and tossed on the floor....

Pips, on the other hand, tends to sleep in normal positions most of the time. On occasion, she will be stretched out, especially if in the sunshine that streams in the living room window in the afternoons. But usually, she just looks like this:


Sunday, 18 January 2009

IT'S ALIVE!

Well. I am rather proud of my self. My major undertaking with this computer upgrade was a success!

Not without stress and pitfalls and hair pulling, teethgnashing, swearing a blue streak and stomping away from it, but still a success. Finally... after a few hours of not knowing if I could pull it off because of various road blocks.

But...

The patient survived and is functional. Fully... well, I don't know yet, but for the most part, yeah. I still have all my files, except for one folder of pictures of my dog.... that seems to be corrupted and causes the external hard drive to loop endlessly, for some reason, so I may have to resign myself to having lost those forever.

But I am now fast and funcitonal in Cyberland again, so I am a happy camper! Thanks to everyone for your words of support. :-)

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Closing For Renovations


Okay, here's the deal.


My computer is 9 years old. And it is feeling kinda puny, so it is time for some upgrading.


It is a homebuilt computer, put together by my ex-husband, who is a computer geek. He's employed as an IT manager for a local architectural and engineering firm. So he knows a thing or two about computers and when he built this contraption for me, it was great! 20Gb hard drive, 512Mb of RAM, CD-ROM, floppy drive. Worked like a charm!


But now... it is very undersized. I have had to buy a 500Gb external hard drive for all my data files. All the program files remained on that tiny 20Gb internal drive, but it is now telling me it has less than 2% free space.


I can't even defrag the damn thing. You need 15% free space to do that.


So I decided it was time. Either buy a new computer or upgrade this thing. So I check out prices on new machines versus installing more RAM and a larger (much larger) internal hard drive.


The upgrades won out hands down. I actually do have a little experience with the innards of this thing as I replaced the CD-ROM when the old one crapped out. Plus I added a second 512Mb RAM modules a couple years back.


So I have purchased a 500Mb internal hard drive, a new IDE cable, two 1Gb RAM modules, plus a new webcam to replace the $20 thing that displays the fuzziest, crappiest, most off colour video that you can imagine (just look at my avatar - took that with the old webcam; I may have a pink complexion but that's ridiculous!).


For a sum total of $300.... that is all I spent on all of that. A mere $300... Canadian yet! So for you Americans, that is about $240.53 and for the Brits, it is 163.24GBP (I can't figure out how to make that cool capital L with the squiggle through it, so that's what you get.... sorry) or $180.94 Euros. For anyone else, you'll have to do your own conversion if you really care to.


So.... please keep your fingers crossed that this will work out. I have printed out the installation manual, I have read it over several times, I have asked my computer reference person (a friend) lots of questions and he has been very helpful.


So come tomorrow morning, I will have the door to the office closed (with a huge neon sign that says "NO CATS ALLOWED!!! PIPS - THAT MEANS YOU" and "DOG SPIT HIGHLY FORBIDDEN" as well as "ANTI-STATIC ELECTRICITY DEVICES IN OPERATION". I will then don gown, gloves and mask, a snorkel and fins, as well as my reading glasses and will get down to brass tacks to perform this major life threatening operation.


So if you don't ever hear from me by Wednesday..... it blew up and I am now smithereens plastered on the walls. Could someone please come rescue the dog and the cats? kthkxbye

Friday, 16 January 2009

Bum Crumbs and Pussy Farts


My beloved Zoë is now 5 1/2 years old.... she is starting to get grey hairs on her chin. She is content to sleep most of the day away. And I have noticed she leaves things lying around.


Bum crumbs.

Tiny little nuggets of poo, dried to little raisins, lying on her bed after she has vacated it upon waking from a sleep. The first few times I found these little treasures, they were on the living room carpet, right in the middle of the room. At first I thought my old cat, BB, was having litter box issues again.




BB is Manx cat. He is a Stumpy. Manx come in three varieties: Rumpies, Stumpies and Longtails. BB's mum was a Longtail, meaning she looked like any ordinary cat. His dad was a Rumpy (no tail whatsoever). His grandmother (on his mum's side) was a Stumpy. BB has a tail.... just a rather abbreviated and misshapen thing. If you take your little finger and curl it a bit so it looks like a hook, that is what his tail is like. It consists of four vertebrae and the hook curves down towards his bum. So for years... like ten.... he would have issues occasionally with a bit of poo getting stuck under that little hook of a tail. It would freak him out and he would race around the house until it fell off somewhere. If the darn thing wouldn't let go, I would have to come to the rescue when I noticed it, and get a kleenex and pull it off (he has long hair). For some reason the past few years (he's now 14 1/2) this has not been a problem, but as cats get old(er), you never know what kind of issues they are going to have.

But then I started finding the bum crumbs on Zoë's bed too, and I know for a fact that BB will not go on the dog's bed. He (for whatever reason) doesn't like even walking over it. He's a cat.... and he's old... you try and figure it out.

So then, watching where the dog slept in the afternoons.... I figured it out. She loves to snooze in the afternoon sun that streams in the living room window, where it is warm and cozy. Hence the discovery of bum crumbs in that locale.

So far, these things have been tiny nuggets and have all been dry. I sure hope they don't get any larger or messier.... or she will have to start wearing panties when I am not home.



Pips has other issues. She has gas. There is nothing... and I repeat NOTHING... more deadly than cat flatulence. There is absolutely no warning. At least the dog toots audibly most of the time when she farts, so you know it is going to stink in 3.. 2... 1... now. But those pussy farts will knock over an elephant in an instant. I think the FBI could bottle those things and use them as a secret weapon to subdue enemies at a very low cost.

And of course, her favourite time to let one pfffft, is just after she settles down on my lap for a snuggle. The first time she did this, I looked around for the dog. Zoë happened to be in another room... and I know I didn't fart.... so there could only be one culprit. Good gawd! I had to get up and leave the room in a hurry! It actually made my eyes water! GAK!

This little cat is only two. She just turned two at the beginning of this month. How many years will I have to put up with pussy farts? At least I know the bum crumbs have a time limit. Bullmastiffs have an average lifespan of 8 - 10 years, so the dog is a bit past the halfway mark, but the cat.... Well, I have known cats to live to over 20. I have had two live to 18, and it looks like BB is well on his way to that marker, being over 14 and going strong. So I could have a couple of decades of pussy farts but only a couple of years of bum crumbs.

I think I will have to invest in a gas mask.....

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Back in the Swim of Things

Many years ago, I used to swim competitively. And I mean... many. Like when I was 12 and 13 years old... you do the math.

In the mid 1990's, I swam for exercise. I also ran, worked out in the gym, and rode my horse as well as my bike and roller blading. Damn, I was in great shape then! I found the zone when running and loved it.... that runner's high was addictive.

Then Life took over... a crappy life that saw bad relationships, stress, overeating... and getting away from all the exercising. So I was no longer in great shape and no longer finding that natural high.

Well, over the past year and a half, my life has been turning around and I have dropped about 35 pounds just through walking and kind of paying attention to what I eat. And I have kept it off.

But there is still a bit more to go. And I have been at a plateau for months now. I realize it is time to up the ante and expend a bit more energy to shave off those last 15 or so pounds.

So I went and bought a pass for the local pool and swam laps today. I was in the pool for about 15 minutes, maybe a little bit longer. I managed to swim 20 laps, stopping at the end of each one to catch my breath and let my muscles recover a bit. Walking just does not prepare you for the total body workout of swimming!

But it felt good.... it felt very good.... to be back in the water, back at the repetitiveness of laps that I know will eventually lead to that natural high. And eventually I will be swimming 100 laps each time I dive in, which will be three times a week.... three times a week of endorphins pumping through my body, giving me a glow I know will shine right through to the world around me.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Invention Update

Well, it is working wonderfully!

Over the past couple of days that the Manitoba Moisture Maker has been in operation, the humidity in my house has climbed from a mind boggling (and body desiccating) LO to about 40%.

I am tickled pink! And no longer flaking quite so much.

When I am home, the large canning pot sits on the stove on medium heat, steaming away but not boiling. I check it periodically to top up the water contents. When I am not home, and at night when sleeping, I turn the stove off and just let it sit open to allow evaporation to take place on its own accord.

The cats are thanking me for not getting their noses and paws zapped when I pet them. The dog just doesn't seem to notice....

I have my application for a patent all ready to be sent in....

Proof of Existence

video

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Hi Tech Humidifier


Here in the land of the frozen tundra... and frozen everything else... we have issues with dryness. When the air is bitterly cold, it doesn't hold much moisture. So 73% humidity at -30C is much, much drier than 73% humidity at, say, +2C.

And because most houses are heated with forced air furnaces, that heat dries what little moisture existed completely out of the air. My programmable thermostat has a humidity reading on it.... well, it used to, but now just reads low. I have seen it at 14%, so I am assuming that the cut off is 10%.




So, to combat the cats getting their noses zapped with blue sparks (ow!) everytime they sniff something, and the chronic nosebleeds that tend to occur when all your mucous membranes are dessicated beyond belief, I have some up with a high tech solution. I don't have the funds to have a central humidifier installed on the furnace, so I had to be creative.





I think I will have to apply for a patent on this invention. I call it the "Manitoba Moisture Maker".... what do you think? Will I get rich from it?

Breakfast on the Run

The other morning, all the animals gathered at the living room window, with intensity and anticipation.




Okay... the cats were intense... the dog was anticipating something but didn't know what. She's not the brightest creature around. Lovable yes; smart... well, not always. She's not stupid but just doesn't always catch on.



So I wandered over to see what was so interesting.



Right outside the window was the resident bunny, chowing down on the branches of bushes I neglected to prune back in the fall. Perhaps my laziness in gardening has become a bounty for this bunny. Anyway, it is doing the pruning for me and staying alive in the meantime.



BB had to be content with standing up on his hind legs to peer out the window on occasion, as Pips had the best seat in the house on the kitty condo platform. Actually, BB hates going on that thing (why, I do not know) so really, it belongs to Pips.





Zoë sat in front of the window, gazing about, obviously wondering what had the cats all atwitter.





Now, Zoë knows what the word 'bunny' means. When we lived on the farm, there was a rabbit who lived there as well, who would taunt her into chasing it. Usually when you come across a rabbit in the open, it will hunker down, flattening its ear along its back to disguise its profile. This one would deliberately stand up on its hind legs, ears straight up, looking at the dog, as if to say 'come and get me, you big galoot!'



Over time, the dog picked up on the word bunny - we would spot the silly rabbit standing up, I would say 'go get the bunny!' and off she would charge.



Zoë weighs in at about 100 lbs. She is very muscular and powerful, but agile? Not so much. Certainly game to give this bunny a run for its money, as every time she saw it, she would bolt after it.



Often the bunny would wait for her to get fairly close (say about 30' away) before zipping off straight ahead. Just when Zoë thought she was closing in, the rabbit would exit stage left (or right, as the case may be) and disappear into the bush.



Only once did the dog make the mistake of trying to turn while going full tilt. It was not a pretty sight.... at all. Thankfully, she didn't tear or dislocate anything as she tumbled ass over tea kettle through the grass! The last thing I needed was another huge vet bill.



So, now, when the local bunny visits the front yard diner, if I say 'where's the bunny?', she is up and looking intently everywhere except down. She hasn't quite figured out that she has to basically put her forehead on the glass and look straight down to see the rabbit. I've tried to show her.... Pips demonstrates that maneuver quite well... but Zoë is a little slow on the uptake.



BB prefers it when I stand in front of the window and hold him, so he has a bird's eye view of the bunny.



Pips, who has been a hunter outside in her past life and probably tasted baby bunny from the menu, has bonked her head on the window on many occasions in her attempts to pounce on that hopping hors d'oeurve.



The only thing BB has ever killed in his life has been moths. And only if they are unfortunate enough to fly into the house.


Of course, I neglected to save the photos I took of the rabbit....


Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Brought to you by the letter T...

I stopped by Eros' blog this morning and saw he was doing a meme on the letter S, passed on to him by Snooze. Well, by almost 11:00 p.m., no one had dared to leave a comment, so I figured I would give in and do the next letter. I will not, however, pass it along. I think it just gets silly after a while, kind of like those good luck emails that make the rounds over and over and over and over...

If you want to do it, just follow along the alphabet with the next letter. But I won't be assigning a letter to any commenters, so have no fear.

So... my letter is T. Here are my ten favourite things that start with the letter T:

Tinsel: The old-fashioned thin strips of silvery stuff that we used to hang all over the Christmas trees. I don't think you can even buy it anymore. I am sure it was banned for being environmentally unfriendly, not to mention feline unfriendly as well. I am sure there are many cats running around in kitty heaven who ran out of their nine lives by eating that stuff. But it was gorgeous and made the Christmas tree just perfect. All the lights reflected off the silvery slivers that danced with the slightest air movement of people passing through the room.

Touch: I am very much a touchy-feely kinda girl. I touch people I am fond of when I talk to them, I hug family and close friends when we meet, my pets all revel in the petting, scratching and caressing that happens when they snuggle with me. And with a lover, I want to be close; to feel connected through touch, through tactile sensation. Of all types, be it a hug, a kiss, just sitting close, a caress, making love, sleeping snuggled together.... it is all good.

Turtles: These creatures are so cool! I have had three red-eared sliders, all at the same time, and I was in my 30's. The biggest one was named Zenobia. I got her first and she was actually quite tame. I could feed her with my fingers and she never nipped me. The other two would grab fingertips along with food, so I had to resort to toothpicks to feed them things like grapes. When Zenobia became ill and I have to have her put down, I actually kept her in the freezer, trying to find a taxidermist who would stuff her for me, but no such luck, so I eventually buried her in the back yard. I also had a snapping turtle in the 1980's. His name was Chuckie (not after the doll in the movie...) and he grew very large. He and my orange tabby cat would battle it out through the glass of the aquarium on an almost daily basis. It was amazing to see how fast he could snap his head out - you could not follow it with your eyes at all. And we fed him live goldfish. He would hunt them down, you would see a blur and then there would only be half a fish in front of him. He ended up being given to a zoo.

Thunder: The booming and cracking of thunder excites me. Along with the flash of lightning, the sound of thunder is awesome! I love prairie thunderstorms, especially if I have a covered porch to sit on and enjoy the show! I've had dishes rattle in the cupboards from the crashing of thunder... and dogs try to climb into my skin, they were so terrified! And yes, Thunder, my horse, also.... Okay, that doesn't sound right. The horse is not afraid of thunder, that's just his name... He could care less about the noise.

Tools: Okay, this one may seem strange for a woman, but I like tools. Hand tools and power tools. I actually have a well-equipped toolbox and know how to use all the tools I own. What can I say? I hung around my dad a lot when I was a kid, and obviously some of it stuck with me. I have actually pulled the starter out of an old Datsun 510, taken it apart, replaced the brushes, reassembled it, reinstalled it... and it worked!

Tabby: This is my favourite kind of markings on a cat. I love striped cats, especially orange tabbies. I've had many tabbies over the years and just love how unique looking each one is. Like fingerprints, no two are the same.

Trails: For hiking, for horseback riding... nothing beats heading out on a trail, with a companion and your dog, for a trundle through nature, whether it is on a trail in a city park, or out in the Canadian Shield, it is wonderful. The plants and trees, birds and wildlife, and other hikers/riders that you meet along the way. I find it very peaceful.

Talking: Nothing beats communication. Nothing. There is idle banter, serious debate, exchange of information, noisy chatter, lover's whispers, children's natter. All to communicate how and what we feel, think, want, need. All important and all too often neglected.

Trips: Whether it be a road trip with a girlfriend for the day, a three week excursion taking in the sights along the way, flying to a tropical destination or a never-before explored foreign country, trips are stupendous! If I could afford it, I would travel several times a year. I have a very long list of place I would like to go and things I would like to see and do.

Tack: As in horse equipment. For some reason, people who own horses also own way too much tack. I have one horse and I have multiples of almost everything: saddle pads, blankets, halters, bridles, bits, you name it. Granted, at one time, I did have multiple horses too, but while they have dwindled down to the one, the tack collection did not do the same. Go figure.

So there you have ten things beginning with T, from me.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Name Change Only

Upon being advised that my other blog could not be viewed on computers with certain setting constraints in place, I decided it was time to change the name from Ponyg!rl Ponderings to something a little less BDSM... hence Ponita in Real Life.

I discovered a couple of months after I started the first blog that Ponyg!rl had a meaning that I had not been aware of... one with x-rated characteristics that meant my blog would be blocked by certain systems that filter that kind of stuff out. Like some people's computers at work.

I only know this because someone I know told me. But I had been quite disconcerted about the alternate meaning of Ponyg!rl for some time, as that was totally unintended by me. I even wrote a post about it.

So... a new beginning. Same Ponita, same kind of stuff, same everything. I will figure out a way to transfer the old posts into the archives to preserve it all.

As I will be using this one regularly now, please be sure to bookmark the new me if I am on your blogroll. And I will go around to all my regular haunts to pass on the new change.