Saturday, November 28, 2009

More dog and cats

The dog is at a lovely farm-like setting with friends for a few days.

The cats are glad he's gone. Our feral feline, Mr. Garibaldi, is back on the back porch twice a day, and I'm preparing a heated, insulated bed for him in the outside basement area — even though last year he rejected the heated bed and insisted on sleeping in the unheated one.

Meanwhile, a friend reminds me that you can click a link on this page to to donate food to the Animal Rescue Site. If you click once a day, it provides the value of .6 bowls of food to rescued animals. And you'll find a link to Jacquie Lawson's card site.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Oh, dog

Five cats I've dealt with before -- but five cats and a dog?

A friend of ours adopted a rescued dog a few months ago, only to discover that the dog -- a sweet, not-very-bright, large spaniel, six or seven years old -- had been neglected and was both needy and untrained. Our friend hasn't had the time or resources to train the dog to signal her when it wants to go out.

I thought this was her problem, until she had to go out of town for a week and we found ourselves with the dog. And there's simply no choice but to train it.

So, every three or four hours we take the dog out for a walk. The system is working well. The dog is happy. The house has not suffered.

As for me, I just got up at 2 a.m. to take it out in the back yard, and I have mixed feelings about this schedule.

To complicate matters, the dog is arthritic. Taking it out into the enclosed back yard means getting it up the basement stairs -- and tonight it slid all the way back down, with a terrible clatter. I have thick blankets and quilts for it in a few rooms. The dog likes to paw them into heaps before flopping down on them.

I am trying to figure out how anyone with a dog has time to do anything but walk the dog, feed the dog, and clean up what the dog has drooled on.

The dog, fortunately, barely notices the cats (four indoor, one outdoor semi-feral). The cats, for their part, seem utterly incredulous that there is a dog in the house.

I'm on the side of the cats.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A week of "suspicious activity"

Thanks to Citibank, I had to make four separate phone calls this week to insist that four routine charges on two of my credit cards were not "unusual activity." The charges were in the $20 range, and the merchants involved were major online companies. For each purchase, Citibank left two messages on my cell phone, three minutes apart. Of course, you can't hit "reply" — you have to key in a completely separate number, your ZIP code, and a special access code (that you had to write down from their message).

For the first incident, I called the number on the card itself and wended my way through the system to a live person. Why, I asked, was a renewal of my membership ($20) considered suspicious? The answer: "It's a very large company and criminals are likely to make purchases from large companies."

So the criminal sets up a account with their purloined credit card number. Wouldn't that, er, be kind of traceable? Never mind.

At this rate, it's soon going to be faster just to drive to the mall and wander around buying things the old-fashioned way. Or perhaps I should pay for all online purchases via PayPal — as far as I know, those payments don't have to be defended.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

In which much is resolved

The job at the Big Company in California was not, as I suspected, a good match for me. But I enjoyed the four rounds of interviewing.

Meanwhile, I'm a finalist for a three-month contract with an Olympia web strategy firm. If I get it, I'd be writing a large, complex website for a state agency. I find myself highly enthusiastic about the firm's approach, and think I could learn quite a bit from working with them.

Unfortunately, commuting would be a pain. I thought "No problem! Amtrak to Olympia!" But it turns out that the 7:30 a.m. Amtrak from Seattle doesn't actually go to stops in Lacey, where the only option for getting to Olympia (a mere 5 miles) is a meandering local bus route that takes 50 minutes!

I find this mind boggling. Surely there must be hundreds of Seattle-to-Olympia commuters who would switch from car to the train—if only someone ran a morning shuttle from the Lacey station to the state capitol.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

What happened?

One of the reasons I write about conventions and conferences while they're going on is because I know by now that I won't get around to writing about them when I get home.

Instead, I'll grapple with piles of laundry, try to catch up on sleep and exercise, and deal with the emails, messages, and work missed while traveling.

Tonight, instead of reflecting back on the World Fantasy Convention in San Jose, I'm dismantling the refrigerator, washing all the shelves, and throwing out lots of jars of jams, jellies, chutneys, relishes and olives whose origins are lost in the mists of time. Anyone who really wants to hear about the convention should come on over. And bring rubber gloves and baking soda.