Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

What is going on in your part of the country or world?  We've been experiencing mild weather and it's been sunny the last couple of days.  With the new year just a few hours away, I've been hit with a spurt of energy.   Something about a new year always gets me moving.   (BTW, the repaired Canon camera arrived today from its second trip to the Canon Factory Repair Center.  The shutter was broken, which is what I told them on the first trip to the repair center on November 29.  Grrrr)

Everything is brown mainly because it is winter but also because we did not receive a drop of rain for over 6 weeks.  It rained 7/10's of an inch on December 24.  We are grateful for every drop. Anyway, I started cleaning the "little" garden at the back of our yard.  It should be ready for compost by Monday or Tuesday at the latest. 

Check out the full blue tub, and I've cleaned only about half of the garden.  That blue tool on the right is great for getting down to the grass/weed roots and makes it easier to pull them out.  Strawberries, for sure, will be planted in this garden in January and maybe some carrots and spinach.

Maggie wants to help too, but she, unfortunately, doesn't understand where to dig.  Hubby filled this hole up yesterday afternoon.  Not only did Maggie dig out the fill, but she made the hole bigger and deeper.  We have about 10 holes of varying sizes throughout the yard.  We only had enough fill for two; both were dug out by this morning.  lol

This is the big garden.  Do I ever have a job in front of me when I tackle this one.  I want to have it completely ready by February 1 for the Natural Gardener's super duper revitalizer compost.  Last year we added 6 cubic yards to this site; this year I may up it to 8 cubic yards.   Our natural soil leaves a lot to be desired and requires a lot of amending. 

We had a delightful Christmas surprise:  two calves.  Aren't they the cutest?  We were not anticipating calves until May or June of 2011.  Apparently a bull dropped in for a visit without our knowledge.  The little brown bull was born December 18, and we've calculated that the black heifer was born within the last 4-5 days.  Generally, a cow will hide her calf for several days up to a week.  However, we saw the brown calf when it was no more than 3-4 hours old, if that.  Hubby was walking the dogs when he came upon the brown's calf mother and him.  Fortunately, Luc was off investigating something, but Maggie was right beside hubby.  They got chased by the momma  --mainly Maggie was chased-- and the rest of the cows ran over to see if help was needed. 

I hope all had a wonderful Christmas, and here's wishing you a blessed and prosperous New Year! 

Until next time, God bless.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

10 But the angel said to them,

"Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,

and on earth peace to those on whom his favor


Luke 2:10-14
Until next time, God bless.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Solstice Lunar Eclipse

I stayed up to watch the Winter Solstice moon eclipse last night.  It has been close to four centuries (others say five centuries) since an eclipse of the moon on this day.  Whether it is four or five centuries, it definitely was worth staying up late to see.  Also, December 21st is my husband's birthday.

The moon appeared in our sky in the late afternoon and grew incredibly bright before the eclipse started.  I tried to take pictures as the eclipse progressed, but my camera was not doing a good job.  I may have had more success if the Canon camera was not back at the factory repair center.  Nevertheless, I found a time-lapse video here

I may have watched a moon eclipse years and years ago, but I do not remember specifically.  While it makes sense that as the moon is blocked the stars disappear,  I was surprised to see no stars and a completely black sky. I couldn't miss an event that hasn't happened in centuries.  :D

Until next time, God bless.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Big Test

The big test for therapy dog certification by Penny's From Heaven Foundation was Saturday, December 18, at 2 PM. As you know, Luc and I have been working towards this since the end of last June.

Denise from Penny's From Heaven Foundation checks our tote bags to see that all items, such as a down mat, paper towels, antibacterial wipes, brush, bendryl, lint roller, water, water bowl, ID tags, emergency numbers, and etc. are packed.

Bosley and Weasel waiting to be tested.

Tuxon is his usual laid-back self.

And, of course, here's Luc.

And how did the testing go?  Well, Bosley, Weasel and Tuxon passed and are certified therapy dogs.  Luc passed everything but the "no kissing" part and is not certified.  He is almost there but not quite. 

Frankly, it has been difficult to train for that part because when we are out on field trips, people do not seem to understand why I'm correcting him to not lick even though I explain.  The best way is to approach a person, explain that your dog is in training to be a therapy dog, and ask them if they will pet your dog.  Since Luc is a licker, I'm then giving a little yank on his leash and saying "no lick."   It has been hard for me to ask strangers when I know his nature to lavish kisses upon any and every stranger and known persons.  I've also been hesitant to constantly work the lobby at Stay n Play for fear of being in the way.  But, that notion is over.  Charlotte at Stay n Play assured me that I will not be a pest, and it is the best place to correct this behavior because opportunities abound with people and staff coming and going and I do not have to explain. 

At this point, it was decided that we do not need to do a full retest when Luc is consistent in not licking.   Denise of Penny's From Heaven is returning to Austin in January at which time she will make arrangements to test Luc on this one item.  However, should Denise and Patsy, executive director of Penny's, decide otherwise, I'm okay with redoing the entire test. 

Wild man, Luc, has come a long way from when we started this training in June.  He was well-mannered and obedient at home, but he was wild and very hard to handle in public.  If you will recall, Luc enthusiasm was involved when I broke one of my ankle bones last December.  Nevertheless, we'll get certified soon or maybe not so soon.  Whatever.  lol

Until next time, God bless.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Photo Textures and Effects

After reading Donna's blog the other day, I decided to see what Corel Paintshop Pro had to offer in its Texture menu.   While I did an online class in Corel Paintshop, I haven't played around much with the software since the class.  Donna, Made in Heaven, inspired me to see what can be done and I had a few spare hours. 

This is the original photo.  I cut Luc out of the original photo, pasted into a new image with a transparent background, cleaned up the edges and saved.

The cut-out image.

I closed the original photo without saving the edit, i.e., removing Luc.  I reopened the photo and started playing around with various textures and artistic effects.  After I was satisfied with the background, I copied and pasted the cut-out Luc image on top of Luc in the original photo.

If I remember correctly, this is a canvas effect.    Don't know if you have the same problem but when clicking on this and on that which sometimes work and other times does not,  you forget exactly what you did to arrive at a particular point.  There is no mistaking the neon effect above or the blinds effect below.  Again, I copied and pasted the cut-out Luc original image over the textured Luc image.

This is the blinds effect.  The finished files are huge even with the jpeg export compression.  It was a fun afternoon.  :D

Until next time, God bless.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Straight Out of the Camera Sunday

It's Straight Out of the Camera Sunday time again.  There are two rules:  1) photo must have been taken by you, and 2) no tweaking.

It's ball throwing time.  How do you tell?  Notice the lone shoe and the mouthing of a pillow?  Luc will not stop gathering various articles until I put on my shoes and head for the door.  He then leaves the stolen objects to ring the bell hanging on the door.  The bell is both Luc's and Maggie's way of telling us they want out.  :D  The bell generally hits the floor from his over exuberance.

BTW, this photo was taken the first night the repaired Canon was received.  The second night's photos are a couple of blog entries down.  lol

Go here for more SOOC Sunday photos.

Until next time, God bless.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Skywatch Friday

These two Skywatch photos were taken with my Canon camera when it was working properly.  The camera was sent to the factory repair center on November 29 and returned to me on Wednesday, December 8.  The camera worked properly for a few pictures then malfunctioned, i.e., the flash did not pop up and the shutter stuck.    The camera will be on a UPS truck tomorrow to the Canon factory repair center with a request for a replacement camera.  :D

I liked taking the photos of the sky through the bare branches of the Bur oak tree.

For more Skywatch photos from around the globe, click here.

Until next time, God bless.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Camera

I sent my new Canon camera to the factory service center on November 29th.  I was thrilled when I received it back from the center on Wednesday, December 8. 

This photo was taken the night the repaired camera was received.  The flash popped up as it was suppose to do and the shutter did not stick.  Looks good.

This photo was taken tonight, the second day that the repaired camera was back in its home.  The flash did not pop up and the shutter stuck.  Doesn't look good.

This was taken today also.  The shutter stuck.  Really, really does not look good.

A disgruntled email was sent to Canon this evening.  A copy of the email and the camera along with these three photos will be sent to the factory service center tomorrow, Friday.  Since the camera was purchased in February of this year, I suggested a replacement camera.  This going back and forth to the repair center is not setting well with me. We'll see if Canon honors that request.  :D

Until next time, God bless.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Blog Background and Banner

The last day and a half has been an exercise in learning more about Corel Paintshop Pro X3 and brushing up on HTML.  For the most part, I'm pleased with the outcome.  I wasn't so pleased at 4 AM, but after some sleep and more research this morning, I was ready to tackle HTML to change what I did not like on this template  - the pink gradient across the top and centered the banner. 
Now that I've got the hang of doing a banner in Corel Paintshop, I'll be working on the next background and banner after the holidays are over.

I downloaded the banner design elements from Cajoline Scrap.  I had a hard time narrowing down which of these wonderful elements to use in the banner.  Cajoline has marvelous designs on her site. Be sure to check it out.

Until next time, God bless.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Oh Boy, Ooh Boy, Ooooh Boy

Oh boy, ooh boy, ooooh boy did I ever have a great time Saturday at the Christmas On Mercer Street fair, Stay n Play Pet Ranch, Home Depot and back to Stay n Play.  It's Luc here.  Mom took me on a field trip to end all field trips. 

First, we went to Stay n Play so I could run around on the agility equipment.  I did the ring jump, the bar jump, weave poles, climbed an A frame, walked a raised 12" board, and crawled through a dog tunnel.  The tunnel is too small for me to run standing up; but when Mom throws treats into the tunnel, I'll crawl anywhere.

Next, we went to Home Depot where I met a lot of new people.  I must have a friendly face and am handsome because when people see me they start ooooowing and aaaaawing.  In a way it is embarrassing; however, seeing and meeting people is totally awesome and exciting.  New and strange smells hit my nose from everywhere.  I'd get a kiss or two in before I hear that "enk" sound, which means no, from Mom.  At one point I got so annoyed hearing that sound that I turned my back to the object of my affection and sat down.  That showed 'em.

The high point of the trip was the Christmas on Mercer Street! 

People, strollers, horses, rides and food were all over the place.  Bands and singers were belting out Christmas music from the stage.  I walked through the crowd without embarrassing my mom.  Also, I'm getting the Christmas spirit and am wondering what Maggie and I will get for Christmas, maybe some special treats and a new toy or two.  Maggie doesn't particularly like toys, but I do!  Balls are my favorite.

Tents and vendors lined 4 blocks along Mercer Street -- that's about 1 block in New York or Houston speak.

After the Christmas music, some local dance studio students performed on stage.  One group was doing some kind of a dance with fans, but Mom couldn't get her camera out of her purse quick enough to take a picture.

Kids (eye-candy to me) were riding ponies.

This is me in my uniform behaving myself but inwardly drooling over the eye-candy (kids).  I like nothing better than to cozy up to a kid except chasing a ball .  Kids smell strange but exude so much energy. 

This is a weird looking ride but the kids seem to enjoy it.  The thing pulling it looks just like the riding mower Mom uses when cutting the grass at home.

Our local fire department was there along with a couple of sheriff's deputies.

Now this is the biggest, four-legged animal I've ever seen.  Thank goodness my mom did not get me real close.  I may not have been able to control myself to not bark and lunge at it.  That is one big, big horse and I don't think it would have reacted in the same way that the cows do...........i.e., run away.  It looks like it would have stood its ground and I would have looked very foolish giving my most fierce bark while it simply looked at me.  And besides, we might have been kicked out of the fair for making a commotion because a couple of deputies were standing a few feet outside the picture frame.

Lastly, we went back to Stay n Play for a Canine Touch seminar.

Donna showing Mom and others how to use a touch technique to redirect energy and tension to reduce stress and pain that we canines' experience and cannot tell our companions where it hurts.  I can understand a lot of words spoken by my human but for some reason my human cannot understand what I'm saying.  Hrrrrump, humans think they are soooooooo smart; but, to tell the truth, I wonder.

Emmett, who is shy, reluctantly volunteered to be part of the demonstration. He looked a little nervous at first when peering over the table to the floor, but after a while he settled down when Donna started working on him.  

This is Chopper who is really a neat guy.  He is enrolled in the next therapy dog class and I am looking forward to getting to know him better.  He's my kind of guy because he likes to hang his tongue out on the side of his mouth just like I do.

This is Otis, the biggest, darned German Shepherd I ever laid eyes on.  He makes me look like a shrimp, but he is a gentle giant and the nicest dog you'd ever want to meet. 

Well, that's it for one of the most exciting days ever.  It was an oh boy, ooooooh boy, oooooooooh boy kind of day.  But, as mentioned before, I have to sneak into the computer room when Mom is out of sight; so, I'd better click on the publish post and get away from here before caught.

Until next time, God bless.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

SOOC Sunday Addendum

Here are the promised photos of this magnificent horse that was at the Christmas on Mercer Street fair in Dripping Springs, Texas.  Up close this horse is incredibly sleek and glistening.  I cannot get over the star burst pattern in his coat.    On the practical side, though, I couldn't help but think of the amount of feed and hay needed to keep this horse.  lol 

I would have taken a carriage ride and wanted to get closer but dared not since Luc was with me.  I hope to see this vendor at the next fair. 

For Straight Out of the Camera Sunday photos, click here.

Until next time, God bless.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Straight Out Of The Camera Sunday

It's Straight Out Of the Camera Sunday, a meme by Murrieta 365.  There are two rules:  1) Photo must be taken by you, and 2) no tweaking.

Isn't this the most beautiful horse?  He was at my town's Christmas on Mercer Street fair today.  I used a Nikon Coolpic camera since my Canon is at the factory repair center.  I'm so glad the Coolpic is still in working order even though the photos are not as nice as the Canon's.  However, a camera that works is better than not having a camera at all.  :D

There will be more photos of this magnificent horse in a blog entry later in the week.  For more SOOC Sunday photos, click here.

Until next time, God bless.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Just Another Lazy Day in the Texas Hill Country

The most exciting thing to happen today is a new kitchen faucet was installed.  The old one, maybe 4 years, has been a constant irritation since almost the get-go.  We'd have to position it just right or it dripped; and when you you use rainwater for household use, every drip is precious, particularly when you are in the Texas hill country where we may have a drought one, two or three years in a row.



This one is much more complimentary to the backsplash than the other faucet.  I actually bought that one before choosing the tile.  Not very good planning, I admit. 

Then for a little levity, I took a picture of Maggie relaxing in her chair.  Poor thing, Luc makes sure I give most of my attention to him.  :D  

You might have noticed that all my furniture is covered with something.  Why?  Because it is washable and I don't fret over the fact the dogs are on the furniture.  I also removed the bedspread from our bed and replaced with washable (kind of ugly) blankets/covers.  There was time I freaked out if a dog jump on the furniture; but as life goes on, one mellows out.  BTW, Maggie was kind of indecent....hope you like the flowers.  lol

Until next time, God bless.

PS:   This is the 399th blog entry!  I didn't know there was so much to write about.