Sunday, December 26, 2010

happy dog on christmas

Christmas was very good for dogs (and me) this year.

Rawhide to chew, lots of squeaky toys, what more could Bingo want? Tattoo is in the background—don’t know what he’s looking for. (click to enlarge)

posted by lee on 12/26/10 at 02:44 AM

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

december rose

Stanley found this rose today in the garden. It smells lovely. It will last until Slink finds it and shreds it ... but maybe if I put it up on a really high shelf ...

Twitch and the winter rose
Twitch and the winter rose (click to enlarge)

posted by lee on 12/11/10 at 02:04 AM

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

ruby, ruby

Ruby had two operations to keep her knee cap in place. I hope this one does it. She broke the band the surgeon put in to keep her knee cap aligned.

Ruby, 1st operation
Ruby after the first operation to keep the patella in place. (click to enlarge)

Ruby coned
Ruby DOES NOT like her cone! (click to enlarge)

posted by lee on 11/18/10 at 01:55 AM

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Saturday, October 02, 2010

riley rose at the cider mill

Grandma Jamie and Mama Kris took Riley to a cider mill a couple of weeks ago. They posted pictures from the trip on Facebook, and I swiped a couple:

Riley, September 2010
What a beautiful butterfly! (click to enlarge)

Riley September 2010
I love this photo, Riley in her little jean jacket and the pumpkins that she could fit inside (click to enlarge)

posted by lee on 10/02/10 at 03:33 AM

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

a long time ago

Somehow Stanley managed to go for years without getting his picture taken, except for this one known exception. This is a photo from Halloween in 1969—he was nearly 19 then. Gwen showed this to me when I finally got to meet her this summer and I begged her for a copy—which she kindly scanned and sent to me!

Halloween 1969 (click to enlarge)

posted by lee on 09/26/10 at 03:20 AM

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Friday, August 06, 2010

mid-century views

Stanley sent me a link to an interesting page on the Denver Post photo blog. The exhibit, Captured: America in Color from 1939-1943, is a collection of color photos developed from slides and is a fascinating collection. The are images by photographers from the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information. Below are two of the many interesting shots from that collection, the first by Jack Delano:

Switchman, c. 1943, Jack Delano
Switchman throwing a switch at Chicago and Northwest Railway Company’s Proviso yard. Chicago, Illinois, April 1943. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Jack Delano. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress [click to enlarge]

And this one, by Arthur S. Siegel:

Hanna Furnaces, Detroit c 1942, Arthur S. Siegel
Hanna furnaces of the Great Lakes Steel Corporation, stock pile of coal and iron ore. Detroit, Michigan, November 1942. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Arthur Siegel. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. [click to enlarge]

Rummaging around, I saw another interesting collection: From the Archive: American Cities Pre-1950. It doesn’t have as much information about the photos as other sets do, and the digitized photos are, in many cases, badly digitized, but most of the images are striking, such as this one:

Five steam locomotives, side by side, outbound from Chicago at dusk, ca. 1940
Five steam locomotives, side by side, outbound from Chicago at dusk, ca. 1940. (Courtesy of the National Archives). [click to enlarge]

Every once in a while I dive into the digital collections at the Library of Congress, getting so lost, sometimes, I forget what I started out looking for. GREAT way to lose a few hours!

posted by lee on 08/06/10 at 11:12 PM

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

setting up a new computer is hell

My laptop, less than three years old, bit the dust. The monitor puked pixels and zapped out. So Stanley hooked another monitor, which worked for a couple days before it, too, crapped out. Or rather, whatever controls the monitor crapped out. Pffffft—gone. The flowchart we found for diagnosing and hopefully fixing Toshiba laptop woes said “Shoot it and put it out of its misery.”

Fortunately, the first day of pixel death I headed to Toshiba to order a new one. Hmm, good deals, should cost me less than a grand these days. Hah. Not if you need it to do anything. Still, it ended up about $300 less than the one I bought less than three years ago, with twice as much hard drive and RAM and speed. And if I ordered via the chatline, I would get it within two or three days (off the shelf is what I ordered). Perfect. Thank goodness. Else I’d still be waiting for it.

I think setting up a new computer is like moving—it’s never gonna be as comfortable as you’ve gotten used to, tweaking stuff over the past less than three years. But I think I’m getting there, save some truly annoying quirks. I managed to find my very old version of WeatherBug, which I love (I hate the newer versions, too much crap and way, way too ugly). I found TClockEx, which makes the date thingie in the lower left corner display what I want it to. After several attempts, I managed to get rid of the godawful cartoon interface bubble bullshit that is the standard stuff for XP and Windows 7. You know, the twee look and feel inflicted upon us initially by Apple.

Most of the programs I need are installed—just a few more to go. I badly need to update Dreamweaver and PhotoShop, but can’t afford to yet. I still can’t get QuickBooks 2010 to send email properly—something about my profile that just isn’t taking in the Windows interface. Frekking annoying. And I think it’s AVG 9 that’s putting stupid green check marks on documents—gotta figure out if I can get rid of that nonsense. And Mozy backup is not working well at all—opened a case with them to figure out what needs tweaking to get it to work properly.

But I’ve got Pandora set up and managed to retrieve all my Firefox settings, apps, and bookmarks, so it’s starting to get more comfortable. I think I’ll be able to get some real work done Tuesday.

Aside from my computer woes, I discovered something wonderful tonight: Blue Moon Pear Ginger Sorbet. Intense pear flavor, a hint of ginger, so good. It cost $5 for a pint—a shocking price, but there are four servings in it ... (she rationalized). Ingredients: pear, water, pure cane sugar, ginger puree, lemon juice. That’s it. One hundred calories per serving (which is half a cup). I’d be hard pressed to choose between the pear ginger sorbet and a Butterfinger Blizzard. Now I want to try the other flavors, like Lemon Zest and Peach Melba.

Until we head to Oscoda. July was godawful, hot enough to kill brain cells, computer broke, lost a contract, got really sick. August is starting out better, weather has improved some, new computer arrived, work is still on the busy side, and I feel better.

But we really, really need a break and we miss Dad and the Michigan division of the family.

Our motel room is already booked for the trip out there, my new suitcase arrived a couple of days ago (I won’t get into why I needed a new one except to mention that cats can be evil creatures), and we ordered an audiobook to listen to on the trip out (Star Island by Carl Hiaasen) We’re ready already.

posted by lee on 08/03/10 at 03:36 AM

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Friday, July 23, 2010

on the river queen

Kristine posted photos on her Facebook page—had to snag some of them because I love them so much. Jamie, Kristine, and Riley were up in Oscoda (where we’ll be, if all goes well, this time next month!) visiting Dad and on July 16, took a trip on the “River Queen,” a paddle-wheel boat on the Au Sable River.

I’m not sure in this case if “River Queen” refers to the boat or to Riley! At any rate, here are some of the photos—I’m not sure who snapped ‘em.

Jamie, Kristine, and Riley, River Queen, July 16, 2010
Jamie, Kristine, and Riley, River Queen, July 16, 2010

Jim Fleming on the River Queen, July 16, 2010
Papa Jim on the River Queen, July 16, 2010 (click to enlarge)

Jim Fleming and great grandchild Riley Downey
Papa Jim and Riley tell the boat where to go ...  (click to enlarge)

Jamie Skipworth and grandchild Riley Downey
Granny Jamie and Riley (click to enlarge)

Kristine and Riley Downey
Mother and daughter on the River Queen

Jim Fleming and Riley Downey
Papa Jim and Riley (click to enlarge)

posted by lee on 07/23/10 at 03:20 AM

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Tuesday, July 06, 2010

i saw the new hhs find-some-health-insurance website

And I was appalled. It’s here:  Not that it doesn’t work well or isn’t well on it’s way to completion (in October, apparently, we’ll be able to see the prices). Nope. I was appalled that we even need it.

But William Blum says it better:

Another thing Americans have to be thankful for on July 4

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has a new feature on their website called “Find Insurance Options.” You just provide certain information about your family size, your age, your employment situation, your financial situation, whether you have certain disabilities or diseases, whether you now have Medicare or some other health insurance, or how long you have not had health insurance, whether you have been denied insurance, whether you are someone’s dependent, a veteran? an American Indian? an Alaskan Native? etc., etc., etc. ...  and the site gives you suggestions as to where and how you might find health insurance that might suit your particular needs. The head of HHS, Kathleen Sebelius, tells us “This is an incredibly impressive consumer tool,” adding that the site is capable of providing tailored responses to about 3 billion [sic] individual scenarios. “This information can give folks choices that they just didn’t have any idea they had available to them.” *

Isn’t that remarkable? Where else but in America could one have such choice? Certainly not in Communist Cuba. There it’s only one scenario, one size fits all — you’re sick, you go to a doctor or to a hospital, and you get taken care of to the best of their abilities; no charge; doesn’t matter what your medical problem is, doesn’t matter what your financial situation is, doesn’t matter what your employment situation is, there’s no charge. No one has health insurance. No one needs health insurance. Isn’t that boring? Communist regimentation!
* Washington Post, July 1, 2010

Our rate from Oxford Health Care Small Business went from $890 per month for a couple to $1,129. And that’s for a shitty plan that doesn’t even pay for anything until we’ve kicked in three grand. Aren’t we lucky.

posted by lee on 07/06/10 at 07:23 PM

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Thursday, July 01, 2010

just ‘cause i love the photo

Riley got her first haircut yesterday, and Kris posted the photos on Facebook. For the Facebook challenged (like PapaJim), I snagged my favorite one to post here:

Riley, here with Grandma Jamie, just got her first haircut. I think they both look pretty darned good! (click to enlarge) photo by Kris Downey

posted by lee on 07/01/10 at 01:46 AM

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