Coffee heat rising

Of dogs and cops and copters…

Ruby the Corgi has been under the doggy-weather for several days. She has the collywobbles, and this morning she barfed. That will mean an expensive and stressful trip to the vet…especially since veterinarians here are not letting the hoi polloi even step into their waiting rooms. You have to wait in the parking lot until they come out and collect your animal.

Picturing the terror that will inspire, I’ve already put off getting Ruby’s teeth cleaned. And I do NOT want to drag the poor beast in over an upset stomach.

Sometimes the doggywobbles will clear on its own, just as human collywobbles will eventually go away. Sometimes…not. And we have those damn rats out there…the question is, could she have picked up a bug from one of those fine disease-carriers?

Complicating matters, something made me really sick in the same department. I suspect it was some shrimp I bought at Sprouts… It didn’t seem to be spoiled, but when I opened the bag the thought crossed my mind that those tired-looking things had been frozen for an awful long time. It seems to me I let her lick the plate after I’d eaten that meal…something I normally don’t do. But I recall that one evening, in an unusually mellow moment, I set an empty plate down for her. And this was within the time frame — if the shrimp made me sick, it could’ve made her sick, too.

I still have some imodium purchased while it was legal to sell it. Apparently, you can give it to a dog. But who knows how much would be the right amount? She only weighs 23 pounds. If one tiny pill will plug up an adult human, how many shavings off one of those pills is right for a dawg? You also can give a dog Pepto-Bismol, but liquid gunk is one helluva lot harder and messier to get down a dog’s throat than a pill coated in butter or hamburger is.

Speaking of the imodium protect-you-from-yourself gambit, I see the stuff is still for sale on Amazon. How exactly that can be escapes me. It’s supposedly illegal to sell the stuff in our parts. Apparently some morons use the stuff to get high. Therefore all the rest of us must be punished.


Argha! Cop helicopter just roared in and started circling a couple blocks north and east. God, how I hate the constant cop helicopter buzz-overs. This is the main reason I daydream of moving to Prescott or Yarnell or Patagonia…places where they can’t afford to buy helicopters for the local law enforcers. Most of the time, all the doors and windows are locked — and all the exterior doors now include steel security doors with hardened deadbolts. So frankly…I’d just as soon not know when a perp is frolicking around the ’Hood.

Down at my son’s house it’s even worse…the cops are constantly overhead hollering down at perps or telling people to go inside and lock the doors.

Phoenix… What a place this is! Especially when you consider how many people move here because they think it’s going to be better than California. Six o’ one, half-a-dozen of the other, folks!

Well, I might as well go drown out the serenade of the helicopter blades with the song of the vacuum cleaner. And so, away...

A Dog in the Night…

Arghh! Ruby just had a barking frenzy, MUST GET OUT IN BACK arf arf arf arf arfety arf arf!!!!! 

{sigh} Get up. Open door.

Dog shoots out like a charging rhino. A very short rhino…

Neighbor’s pipsqueak dog is yapping. That’s prob’ly what set her off.

Chase after her. She heads straight for the rat trap, craftily arranged next to the entryway to Ratty’s nest in the cat’s-claw tangle.

DOG!!! DON’T EAT THOSE APPLES! Those are for Rattie!

Chase dog away from rat trap. Rattie can be heard hissing inside the shrubbery. Did you know rats can hiss like a cat? Oh, well…now we know she’s home.

All that hullabaloo will probably chase her away from the bait. Now it’ll be another week or two before I can set the trap to catch her. The plan just now is to lay little pieces of fruit out, arranged in a trail that leads into the cage trap. But secure the trap door open, so she gets used to going in there and eventually will be lulled into taking pieces off the small metal shelf that actually is the trap’s trigger.

She seems to like apples. But Rattie being a fruit-eating critter, last night I cut up a couple of grapes and tossed those out there. She was havin’ none o’ that.

So. Okay. Rats don’t like grapes.

Who knew?

Actually, it may make sense. Grapes are toxic to dogs, whom domestication has rendered pretty brainless. Could be the things are toxic for rats, too…only rats have enough sense not to eat poisonous fruits.

Ruby is now determined to get out the back door and investigate the rat issue…which is a dog way of saying “…and eat those pieces of apple.”

ohhhhh gawd! On that note, I’m going to bed, already! 😮


Credit: Scottsdale Parks & Recreation

It is passing crisp here in Sunny Arizona. Yesterday it snowed in Scottsdale — a lot. And in Fountain Hills. Forty inches fell in Flagstaff, richly needed. That much snow in the high country will go a long way toward breaking the decades-long drought. KJG posted a slew of photos and videos of The Fireman and the Greyhound in the white fields of Payson…wow! VickyC and I are supposed to go up there in another ten days or so…hope it’s calmed down a bit by then.

It has been a shade on the chill side here in lovely uptown Phoenix and, as soon as the clouds clear, it’ll be bloody cold. It’s only supposed to get into the mid-30s tonight, but you may be sure that when there’s no clouds to hold the ground temps in, we’ll get a fine hard frost.

Meanwhile, it has rained and rained and rained and rained in our part of town. Two full days and nights of pouring rain, and then light sprinkles off and on (mostly on) all day today. Took Ruby the Corgi for a doggy-walk in it this morning…beside herself with corgi joy. Something there is about drizzling rain and soggy grass that a Welsh shepherd dog loves! 😀

Finished one of the Chinese engineering papers. Another awaits. Uploaded the stuff I’d finished to the Latina journal, but my system is running SO slow on Cox that a passel of errors occurred. When I have a chance, I’ll have to upload each and every goddamn paper in two iterations to the journal’s editor, by email. One email message at a time. Won’t SHE be thrilled.

What looked like a hacking attempt — with evidence that someone had access to my bank account — turned out to be User Error. How, exactly, escapes me: apparently when I sent the monthly e-payment to Cox, the system decided to pay the credit union, not the phone company. You couldn’t have persuaded me that it was even possible to set up a payment that way, much less that I would have introduced such a bizarre error into a routine transaction that I repeat month after month after mind-numbing month. Oh well.

Meanwhile, PayPal is shafting me and I haven’t even started to do business with them. They refuse to give me the money my client deposited to the new account I had to create. So it looks like I’m just going to have to write off a hundred bucks and change.

Charged today’s client considerably more than that for a considerably more difficult paper, and asked him to hold payment until I could figure out another way to remit money from China. There’s always Western Union, of course, but they’ll probably charge as much as my bill to the guy. There is, however, a service called Stripe, revealed to me by our wonderful Web guru, Grayson Bell. Transaction costs are modest — $2.90, which for a hefty bill will work out to less than PayPal’s gouge. Grayson has been pleased with it. This outfit will generate an invoice for you containing a link that the client can click to pay the bill, via a variety of credit cards. And they do operate in Asia.

So tomorrow’s first project of the day will be to open an account there and try to make that work.

To make everything perfect, I picked up a cold at Young Dr. Kildare’s office. (True, the scenery was worth it…and he did something that somehow made the back pain almost disappear. What, I do not understand, but since he enjoys lots of back pain himself, I suspect it’s something chiropractic that he’s learned on the black market…). I’m pretty sure it’s not the flu — so far no very noticeable fever. But Helle’s Belles.

I do everything I can to avoid colds or flu, because my body does NOT throw off those viruses the way normal people do. This is why I refuse to take Communion and quietly practice all sorts of other avoidance gymnastics that you would think radically neurotic if you know what I was up to. The last time I had a cold — no, not the flu, just a mild cold — the cough hung miserably and exhaustingly on for SIX MONTHS! The last time I had a real, verifiable case of the flu, I developed a depressive episode that went on for three months. La Maya picked up a real, full-out case of the flu at her doctor’s office, from front office staff who were sitting there sniffling and snorking while they were handing people paperwork and pens. Doesn’t that piss you off, when people do that? So she is one sick chickadee just now.

Corgis, however, are immune…




Things That Go Bump in the Night…

Well. Not “bump” so much as “rustle rustle rustle” or “munch munch munch.” It’s three in the morning — what most of us would call the middle of the freaking night — the hour that my internal alarm clock has, of late, designated as the dawn of a bright new day. The dogs are conkered out, they being vulnerable to no such metabolic failings. I’m laying there thinking about my best friend in junior high school, Sandy.

Sandy. What an eccentric! We were perfectly matched.

Sandy loved horse racing. Every Saturday morning we would meet at my house to watch the races on TV. Yes. In those days, Saturday morning television (at least in San Francisco) went not to the cartoons but to the races. We loved to watch the races.

Sandy’s hero was not Elvis but Eddie Arcaro, probably the greatest thoroughbred jockey who ever mounted a horse. So I’m laying there thinking — what else? — whatever happened to Eddie Arcaro? Naturally, I have to roll out of the sack (why waste time at three in the morning, eh?) and look him up. Now I’m sitting here, reading up on Eddie, when…comes from the roof (attic???) this weird little sound. At first I think it’s a light rain: could be tapping on the skylights. A sprinkle hitting the glassoid?

But it’s not quite like rain. It doesn’t sound like Ratty dancing across the attic beams. Quite. WTF? Scritch scritch scritch scritch… Something digging in the leaves that have blown onto the roof in the summer’s winds? Something gnawing on the drywall?

The skylights appear to be dry, but it’s hard to tell, because of course it’s mighty dark outside.

I get up and go look out the back door. The motion-sensitive lights have not come on. I can’t see a thing out there.

Open the door and hear rassle rassle rassle! The sound of something running away? I don’t hear anything more. I don’t see anything. And I sure as hell ain’t goin’ out there.

Probably Ratty, I figure. Though it could be a racoon. But I doubt if a raccoon would bother with climbing on the roof. Ratty can scamper up a block wall as easily as she can stroll across a field of grass. Yeah: almost certainly Ratty…

Or was it?

A couple hours pass. The dogs arise and demand a doggy walk. Along about 6:15 we get back, and eventually we wander out to police the backyard. Having performed the morning pool inspection, I amble back and find…


Did you know that a corgi can go on point?

Who’d’ve thunk it? That dog was pointing like a fine little vizsla…into the rocks filling a drainage ditch off the patio.


So I approach cautiously (rattlesnake? wh-a-a?). She doesn’t budge. Literally: she does not wriggle, so fixed is she on whatever the target is.

From beneath the stones, we can hear the same sound: Scritch scritch scritch scritch….

What the heck? Whatever it is, it ain’t a raccoon and it ain’t Ratty!

I call Cassie, who’s smarter than either of us. She’s not the slightest bit interested.

I try lifting some of the stones, never having heard of a rattlesnake that could go scritch scritch scritch scritch.

This isn’t exactly a ditch: it’s actually a French well. So it’s several feet deep, and it holds a LOT of river rock. Under the first layer of rock, I find…nothing. Eventually the scritching stops.

Was the 3 a.m. scritcher inside the house? I doubt it. But…how could it scritch loudly enough to be heard through the roofing, through the attic insulation, through attic flooring, through the ceiling’s drywall? In both cases, the sound was rather soft. The volume seemed about the same. And in the wee hours, it distinctly sounded like it was on the roof or on a skylight.

The mystery has yet to be solved.

Hmh. Wonder if I could train this little dog to hunt Mearn’s quail? It appears they have, on occasion, been used as bird dogs. Innaresting.

Today’s header image: Preakness Stakes. By Maryland GovPics – Flickr: 139th Preakness Stakes, CC BY 2.0,