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Wednesday, January 03, 2001 There's a bad fire to the east of us. Right now, about 8:15, about a thousand acres have burned. Fire is so scary. When it was first light enough to see the smoke, it was on the horizon. Now, it's over our home. There are ashes on our vehicles and it's going to get worse, as the fire is out of control. The winds are driving it, the winds being between thirty and forty miles per hour. It's been so very dry this season, not much rain to speak of. One of the things on my weather page is "Daily Data" which lists out the temperature, rainfall and humidity, just to name a few things, for the past four days, plus the current day. As it gets later, it's been pretty dry. I've been itching like crazy because of dry skin. I put a ton of lotion on last night so I'd quit sratching my shins bloody.

The winds, known as Santa Anas (for Steely Dan fans, they mention these winds in the song "Babylon Sisters"). They are worst in the morning and evening as the sun heats the air and the air cools off. They originate in the desert, the air coming over the Santa Ana mountains (that's why they're known as "Santa Ana winds") and as the winds got through the canyons and valleys of the moutains, they pick up speed. When they hit the other side of the mountains, they can be very fast. The brush is so very dry this year and it's the perfect fuel.

The fires aren't close to us, they are a good twenty miles away. But our sky is dark, our yard, home and vehicles are covered in ashes. Right now, the sun is shining in my bathroom and because of the smoke, the light is orange. That's not an exaggeration. People with respiratory problems are warned to stay inside, because of the thickness of the ick in the air. It's gotten so bad. The cats are wigging out because the light isn't right. It's about a quarter to ten right now and the wind is picking up here. According to the news, the winds keep shifting and the fires are moving back into places they were earlier. People who were earlier evacuated and had returned home are leaving again. I understand the fire started after four this morning. Five homes have burned to the ground. So far, two horses have died. One hit by a car, after the horse got out of where it was being kept and running onto the highway, the other was euthanized because it was so badly burned. Say a prayer this fire is under control soon.

Our new year's eve was pretty quiet. I went to an online party, which ended at (my time) a little after nine. I slept right through all of the new year's noise.

Monday, we went to the Sticks. Its amazing how beautiful it is up there. I forget between trips, but its so very clear. Brian started the windmill while we were there. It has a lock on it, to stop unauthorized people from running it. There was very little breeze and we walked up to the top of the property. While we were there, we looked down at the windmill. It had started to move. Brian said it was nice that we went, because when he goes with his brother, he works and doesn't get a chance to walk around. He pointed out deer tracks. I learned something I didn't know. He told me that deer poop looks like big rabbit poop. He said "about the size of peanut M & Ms". *grin* We walked to one of the gates, then came back. I noticed quite a few little trails into the brush. I asked Brian where they went. He said "down". We followed one. An adventure!! It was a pretty wide path, most likely a waterpath. But we could see animal tracks and I even saw deer poop!! When we got close to the windmill, the brush thickened and we had to be intrepid explorers to beat back the brush. *lol* There was a county marker sticking up, made no sense at all. Right in the middle of nothing. Usually, you would see these at the corner of property. Once we made our way back to the windmill, you could see where it had pumped water. While we were standing there, it started again. Brian has a bucket out to catch the water so that wild animals can drink from it. He doesn't see wasting water. He said with this water, he'll no longer need to bring water up from home. I asked if he was going to have it tested and he said yes, but he wants it to run for longer than a couple of hours. He would like to get it tested after it has run for a couple of days. I said if he did that, he should have something else to catch the water, thinking along the lines of those heavy plastic kiddy pools. He said that was a good idea, that maybe he'd get a galvanized one. Of course, he said, he would need to put a board in it so that if any little critter falls in, they can climb back out (lesson learned from when the cat fell into the pool behind us, a Benny Adventure story). I told him that I'm really looking forward to being up there with the animals. Once we're up there, I'm sure I won't miss this house.

It's almost 2:30 and the fire is still going strong, but it keeps changing direction. I guess this fire is being reported on the news, nationwide.

I'm supposed to be cleaning the exercise room so that we can once again begin to exercise. I've spent so much time watching this fire. Maybe I'll just turn on the television in there.

I had to pick up more catfood for Lola and I found out the little "living reef" aquarium I gave him for Christmas didn't have any fish. So, I called the company and they're sending me another and I'm going to take the fish out and return it. The vet thought it looked pretty neat. It would be nicer if it had all been there.

I almost forgot. I started a weekly cat poll at lisaviolet designs. You can vote once a day.


Saturday, January 06, 2001 One of the things I meant to mention earlier about our New Year's day trip to the sticks was our lunch. We drove into Julian and had lunch at what used to be the Firehouse. Don't go there. We both had a sandwich with salad and the salad reminded me of the bagged salad that has been left open in the refrigerator too long. The lettuce was brown. On the sandwich itself (we both had the turkey and avocado on sourdough), there wasn't really much to speak of. The cheese was a single thin slice and didn't cover the entire piece of bread and there were a few slices of turkey. The cost was $7.99 per sandwich. We won't be going back.

Yesterday, I was pretty worried about Kirby. He didn't come for breakfast and he was definitely under the weather. I gave him an amoxicillan which he threw up about an hour after he had taken it. He wouldn't eat anything. I wasn't concerned about a urinary blockage, because he wasn't trying to pee or licking himself as he usually does when he's starting to block. Yesterday afternoon, I got him to eat just a little bit of chicken and last night, he was in the garage, ready for dinner. And he ate chicken this morning. After he ate the chicken yesterday afternoon, he went outside and I watched him. He peed really good, without any problems, so I knew that he most likely had one of those fevers of unknown origin. He's back to normal this morning.

As I was sitting here doing a little paperwork yesterday, the phone rang. I watched the caller ID and it was unavailable. I don't usually answer those, but I decided to live dangerously and answered after the second ring. It was a wrong number. The woman on the other end was very gracious (so many people just hang up) and she sounded a little frustrated because she had done this earlier. She gave me a number and asked if that's what she had dialed. The number sounded really familiar and when I was trying to figure out what she'd done wrong, it hit me. She was calling Mark's number. It turns out, she was Brian's older brother's significant other. She was calling from Walmart. She had checked her messages and Mark's wife had left a message and since she hardly ever talked with her (phone tag) she figured she'd call right away. We chatted about the Sticks and I told her about me trying to sell shirts (hey, I got my first repeat customer yesterday!! Yay!!). She sounded like she knew nothing about it, which kind of surprised me, given what Brian had said last month about the people reading this diary. Had she been reading it, she would know all about the problems with the heat press and the fact that I was even selling shirts.

Anyway, she said that she had the opportunity to buy a used heat press for a hundred bucks, which is a great deal. But apparently, she's unable to get much information on it. She has a digital camera and has been taking wildlife pictures and is thinking about making shirts with those. We talked about camera quality and different types of transfers. I really like this woman, we have a lot in common. I think she'd be a great neighbor. But she lives in Colorado, too far for morning coffee visits. I told her how much I liked the Sticks. I'm sure she knows how I feel, because she left Alabama for Colorado.

The firefighters got a break because of the weather. It cooled down considerably. The fire consumed over 11,000 acres so far. But yesterday morning, we woke up to a little bit of moisture, there were clouds and it had cooled off considerably. There was no great rain, but enough to help out. We also have the possibility of rain Monday and Wednesday of next week. I'm ready.

Last night, Brian said he'd like to go out for a nice dinner tonight. I asked "where? IHOP?" He said "no, I said a good dinner". "Oh, you want to go to Denny's?" LOL!! I think he meant Black Angus or Hungry Hunter. I'm so funny, I crack me up.

I keep getting this really sharp pain at the right side of my right foot. It reminds me of a bee sting. So much so that the first time it happened I looked around to see if there was one. Ouch. I wish it would stop.

We haven't seen all of the outfront cats. The kittens in particular. I don't know if they're just coming over later, because the food is getting eaten. We've seen little guy (girl). OC comes over on schedule. I hadn't seen Angus for a while, Brian saw him last night. I thought maybe I had seen Little Black guy, but he ran off quickly. Haven't seen Possum Face since earlier this week. Cleo is around, so is Chipper (Georgie and Gracie's mom). I've seen Spot and Blue and Meezer. There's a new long haired tortie, a small one. Brian saw the little shorthaired tortie girl last night. But no sign of Mystie's twin. At first, I was thinking it was because people were putting out leftover Christmas food, but I no longer believe that. Something's going on. Last week a little girl came over on her bike, asking if I'd seen her cat, she had been missing for two or three weeks. I think she came here in hopes that we'd rescued the cat. Man, I hope the coyotes aren't back.

I'm going to be working on the Sticks website today. I want to get all of those pictures up of the windmill.

I'm still looking for a form program that's fairly simple to use (for the declaw and link submissions pages). I've tried three different ones now with no luck.

Well, the new aquarium got here yesterday. I pulled the fish out, then I have to send the thing back and get a refund on the second one. What a pain in the butt.

Brian's working on his tractor today. He has to tear it apart to find out the exact problem. Hopefully, it won't cost more than a couple of hundred dollars to fix.


Wednesday, January 10, 2001 I'm bored. There's supposed to be a big storm headed our way, supposed to be the biggest storm in four years, which wouldn't take much. The weatherman this morning said that it would be heaviest late at night. The winds are supposed to be 40-60 mph. Impressive. I wonder if I can stay awake. I like to listen and watch, but it seems whenever we get measurable rain anymore, it's when we're in bed, fast asleep. The weather radar on my backyard page doesn't show anything, but it's a couple of hours old. I'm seriously considering leaving the computer on tonight, so I can see when the rain fell. Hey, I found my weather station for forty dollars less than I paid for it. On Heartland America. I get their catalog.

The dog behind us was barking this am and I had to see what she was barking at. It was in the yard next door and I saw that one of their beagles was having a hard time walking, looked very disoriented. Recalling that her owner mentioned her having had seizures, I went over there to calm her down. I could see the area where she had been kicking the dirt and there was quite a bit of saliva. Poor girl. She was shaking, didn't seem to know me. I let her sniff me, then started to gently stroke her head and her sides. I stayed with her until she seemed to come out of it and she walked back inside the house. I came home and called and left a message, just in case she had hurt herself. Now, an hour and a half later, she sounds like she's back to normal, barking up a storm. Hey, maybe she'll make it get here sooner!! *grin*

We've seen all of the cats/kittens out front with the exception of the little black one. They all seem to be doing fine, getting back into a routine. I'm sure it was the Christmas/New Year's holidays that had them off balance.

The stinking hawks have been hanging around here. I hate that. I don't think they could grab one of the bigger cats, but I don't think the kittens would be all that hard for them, so I'm keeping them in.

I found out the other day the I can record two CDs at the same time. Cool. By making duplicates, Brian can have one, I'll take the other. Too bad I can't do the covers as easily.

I had a kinda sorta surprise visit yesterday. There's a retired vet, who posts by the name of "davet" at the Acme Dog Health board. You may have seen the page on my site regarding euthanasia, well, that came from him. I've tangled with him in the past about declawing. Nothing personal, just discussion and debate, albeit heated at times. Anyway, somebody was posting someplace about breeding polydactyl cats and I had recently read a post from davet that pertained to this post. I posted to him, asking for his help in researching the post at hand, doing what I could to talk this person out of it. He emailed the information. A couple of weeks ago, he sent a mail to people on his mail list, telling them he'd be gone for a while, on vacation to California. I emailed him back asking where and when he said the Los Angeles area. I said "well, if you're in the San Diego area, give me a call". He did. He called from Capistrano yesterday and he and his wife came on down. He's a super nice guy. The cats could tell we had good people in the house, because they found new laps. Mr Sunshine (DeeJay) stretched out in the doc's lap and his wife had the pleasure of Georgie, Mickey, and then Lola. Mystie played fetch with Mousie. It was a nice visit and I was sure glad I had vacuumed and dusted Monday. I only had to clean my bathroom and scrub the toilet.

Um.....what else? Let's see, we started exercising again Monday. Today is my mom's birthday, I'm taking her to lunch tomorrow (she's having plumbing work done today). I guess that's about it. I have some shirts I have to make, so I'll go get started on those and hopefully get them sent out tomorrow morning.


Monday, January 15, 2001 See what happens when all is going fairly well? I have nothing to write about. I'm not complaining, mind you.

Last Thursday, after Brian brought home the paperwork for the new racks for his new truck (it's going to be the worktruck and he's having glass racks made) I gave him a bad time about having to spend the money, but in a good way. He said "since you don't deal with it, you don't understand how important they are". I grinned said "Oh, yes I do." I said it in a way that meant *and there are things that *I* need that you don't understand*. He said "is there anything you need to upgrade?" and I said "no" because there wasn't. Well, damn, wouldn't you know, I left the office during the afternoon, for just a couple of minutes and when I came back, the monitor had little tiny dots of stuff. I wash them off, thinking it didn't look like cat spray, that maybe somebody sneezed. Then, the monitor starts to go dark. Huh? I mess with the controls with no luck. I turn it off and on. Nothing. If anything, it's getting darker. I moved it so that it was facing more up and cat urine came running out of the bottom. I have no idea how they peed up into it, but they did. So, I page Brian. He got home, he had been dropping Mark off at home when he got the page. I told him "remember when you asked if I needed anything upgraded?" He wanted to take the monitor back under warranty, but knowing what most likely killed it, I didn't think that was a good idea. And you know what he said when I told him? "It's to be expected." He wasn't mad or angry or anything. Like I said, things are going well.

So, we go to CostCo and I got a new 19" monitor (18" viewable) Sylvania monitor for about $260.00. I remember when I got my first large screen monitor, it was close to five hundred dollars. They've sure started dropping in price. While we were there, I also got a new answering machine for the house. It also has a portable phone, as well as a headset. I still have to set it up, but the range on the phone is much better than our older model, it doesn't cut out between rooms.

Ciara has been so affectionate lately. She wants to be held, she wants to snuggle. She grooms me and gives me little headbutts. And she purrs. She's never been much for purring. I just love it. It's pretty hard for me to get anything done with Ciara on my lap and Mystie on my shoulder.

The glucosamine does wonders for Rusty. There's a definite difference in how he walks and acts when he's taking it. I have to crush it and put it in food for him, otherwise he won't touch it. He even seems to rest more comfortably.

Last week, the backyard cam picture got really bad. The inside of the globe had moisture in it and you couldn't see anything. It finally dried out and the picture is back to normal.

Since the rains, it's been on the cool side, as well as a little breezy. I think we might even have a little windchill going on. *grin* The cats don't really care for it at all. They want to be outside, but when the figure out it's chilly, they come back in. Poor Pete, in and out all day.

Brian wanted to drive up to Ramona to look at water troughs and then go to the property to see how much pipe he would need to bring water to the clubhouse. Then we were going to go up to Julian and have lunch or dinner. Unfortunately, I felt a little cramping and found out that hag Aunt Flo was back after having been gone since October. I hate her. Anyway, Brian went without me. When he got home, he told me about the pricing on the troughs and I don't have a problem with that, because it's going to water the wild animals for right now and we'll always be able to use it later. He said the one he liked was three hundred dollars. I figure we're going to need it and we do have a little money now. Spend it when ya got it. When he got home, we watched some television and Anna and the King was on, the one with Chow Yung Fat and Jodie Foster. I made bean and cheese burritos (with onions, salsa and sour cream). Yummy.

Friday night, I made chocolate pudding from scratch. It was pretty good. I asked Brian to feed the outfront cats and he didn't want to, because he had done it the night before. But I was stirring the pudding and couldn't stop, because I didn't want it to get ruined. He fed them under protest. We started alternating nights last week and he wasn't happy to do two nights in a row. Thursday night, I saw all of the kittens/cats except the little black one. I haven't seen him in a while. Possom face is just adorable.

Yesterday, we went to a seminar on log home building. We got the tickets earlier this month, because they were twenty dollars less as a couple. It was boring. So, so, boring. Brian learned two things. One, that we don't do seminars and two, that small houses don't sell magazines (it was put on by Log Home Living Magazine and I guess people at these seminars complain that the magazine usually shows homes that are out of most people's financial reach; like the one where they had to shave $50,000 of the cost of remodeling a bathroom *koff*). Check in was between 8:30 and 9:30 and we had a short break, then lunch from 12:30 to 2:00, then one more hour, then we came home. They had a special for people who went to the seminar at Anthony's Fish Grotto, but we're not fish people. We went to a nearby deli and had turkey and avocado sandwiches. When we got home, we opened the doors to let the kitties out and Brian said "there's no place like home".

I'm washing the bedclothes today. Ciara peed on me again Saturday morning. *sigh* And she got the bottom sheet, so it went through to the mattress pad. Bed is stripped right now, pad in the dryer and the blankets are in the washer.

Good news about Lola. She's not eating A/D at all anymore. She's completely on what the other guys eat. She won't even touch A/D. I'm glad, but I still have more than a case of it in the garage. That's almost fifty dollars. Hopefully, I won't need it for a long, long time.


Thursday, January 18, 2001 Poor Brian. This weekend, he started getting those bad headaches. Remember his trip to the dentist and the dentist couldn't find anything wrong? Well, it was hurting again. So, Brian ended up going to one of the Urgent Care clinics in the area. The doctor looks in his mouth and says "you've been to the dentist?" Now remember, too, the dentist also took x-rays. The doctor said "how could he have missed this?" and poked at a hole in one of Brian's molars. Ouch. Anyway, Brian told me that he had felt something crack off during the day. The doctor also asked Brian about the red spots on his forehead and now Brian has an appointment with a dermatologist. The doctor said they looked to be pre-cancerous. Caught early enough, all they have to do is burn them off. Brian's been wearing a hat for seven years now. I can imagine how bad it would be if he hadn't been. Anyway, back to the tooth. Brian made an appointment with the dentist and got in yesterday at 4:30. And guess what? The tooth is cracked so deeply, the tooth has to be pulled. There's nothing that can be done to save the tooth. Damn. I don't want him walking around with a hole in his mouth and he doesn't look forward to that, either. So, I think he'll be getting an implant. He has to go to one place to get the screw or whatever it is, down into his jaw. Then it has to heal, probably about six months. Then, he gets fitted for a crown. And we don't have dental insurance. Poor Brian. He's going in next Tuesday to have the tooth pulled. The rest of the day will most likely be useless for him.

Geez, it's after eleven and I've got nothing done except turned on the dishwasher.

Lonee really let me pet her up the other day. She loved me and rubbed against me and even gave me face loves with hers. She was really happy because she was really close to drooling, her nose was really wet. Red's been the same way. And his tail gets so big when he's happy and it almost touches his head. As a matter of fact, quite a few of the cats have been very happy, wanting to be held. DeeJay, Rusty, Mystie (as usual), Ciara, Red, Lonee....I wonder if the cold weather has something to do with it.

I didn't see too many of the outfront cats last night. One of the neighbors brought me over a check to help offset the cost of fixing them. I'm not going to deposit it until we do something.

I have so much I have to do. The house is a disaster, doesn't take long. I haven't input invoices since last month, I have no idea how much money is in the bank, and I just want to sit here and do nothing. *sigh* The longer I put it off, the harder it is to start. I do have a load of laundry in. I should go make the bed. I guess that's it for today.


Tuesday, January 23, 2001 Wow, it's Tuesday already. It really does fly when you're having fun.

Brian had me change his dental appointment to this morning. He can't believe how much his gum is bleeding. The price of the implant scares him (now, come on, what's more important, the clubhouse or a missing molar? no brainer, gimme teeth) but I told him it would be a lifetime investment. My mom also is seeing the dentist this morning. She hadn't gone for a while because of the cancer and the followup treatments. And she didn't like her dentist. Same office Brian and I go to, it used to be a father/son business, but father resigned. Anyway, her dentist was the old man and I guess he just had a really cavalier attitude. She didn't like the way he spoke to her so she just quit going. When I found out last year that he had retired, I told her. She mentioned him to the women in the office and they told her that he had lost quite a few patients for them, people who wouldn't go back because of him. She likes the son. Brian's brother went yesterday. Gee, it's dentist week. When Brian got home, he showed me the gauze the doctor gave him to help with the bleeding. He was in the bathroom, spitting out the blood. It was sickening. He also had another prescription, so I went down to Rite Aid and got it filled for him. Vicodin. He took a pill and then went to work. I told him he had better not drive, let Mark do it.

Boy, what an exciting life, eh?

We've upped our exercise to twenty-five minutes this week and next week, we'll go to a half hour each morning. Brian also said something about exercising in the evening, but the problem with that is that we may not be able to get to sleep. If we can do it early enough, well, fine by me. Last week, that last five minutes took forever. This week, it's not so bad. I can't figure that one out.

Brian drilled a hole for the patiocam this weekend so now I can shut the door all the way. I was worried that it would damage the cord. Now, we have to figure out which new lens to use for the roof cam. Maybe this weekend, if it's not raining.

I got a new program for links yesterday. It's up and running. So, if you have a favorite cat link or even your own cat website, feel free to add it.

I revamped the order pages at lvdesigns. I guess the size vs color was confusing. So, now it's by color and each color lists out the sizes available. I wish there were more colors available in the larger sizes.

Did I mention it's supposed to rain tomorrow?

My feet are cold.

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lisaviolet is fifty something, married with no kids, takes care of lots of cats, likes taking photographs, loves Southern California weather and spends altogether too much time avoiding her responsibilities.

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