October 31, 2003

Happy Halloween!

Posted by Valkyre at 06:34 PM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2003

Starting to Feel Yucky

I don't know if it is because of inhaling the dirty air from the fires all around us, or if it I am starting to come down with something. But, my sinuses are congested and my throat is starting to get sore. I could see where the air is getting people sick though. Mike and I had to go down to San Pedro this last Sunday. San Pedro is an ocean port town and the air was even worse down there.

Today, a firefighter died fighting one of the many blazes here in California. The toll so far: 10 fires burn in an arc that stretched from Ventura County down into Mexico. The cost so far? More than 2400 homes burned with estimated losses exceeding 2 billions dollars. Overall, the fires have burned over 634,000 acres, more than twice the size of the city of Los Angeles. Arson is suspected in 4 of the fires. I hope they catch those assholes.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:30 PM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2003

Not a Good Day to Go Outside

It seems that all of California is on fire. This is the season. The hot dry Santa Ana winds kick up. All it takes is one spark. We live around where I placed the red star. All these fires are at least 50 miles from us. But, we haven't been unaffected. The air has a thick smoky smell about it, and the sky is smoke filled. I took these pictures today:

Where there is normally a nice blue sky, is now brown and smoky. I could look directly at the sun and not get blinded, the haze was so thick.

Ashes have been raining down all day. These are two pictures of my car:

I'm not even going to bother washing it until this is all over. But, none of the fires are even under control. They fire departments haven't been able to fight the fires themselves due to the wind, so they are more or less trying to save as many structures as they can. This is a view of our street. Notice the haze:

Posted by Valkyre at 06:51 PM | Comments (2)

October 23, 2003


We watched this last night. It's based on a book, by the same name, written by Louis Sachar. I didn't know anything about the plot. But, my girls had read the book and had heard good things about the movie. So, I bought it at Sam's Club when I was there the other day. And, I was pleasantly surprised! It was a good movie! The girls said it followed the book rather well. I haven't read it yet. But, watching the movie made me very interested. Anyway, it involves a boy named Stanley Yelnats, whose family has been living under a curse for several generations. He is wrongly accused of a crime, and is sentenced to an 18 month sentence at a juvenile offenders camp called "Camp Green Lake". Except, there is no lake anymore. More like desert. The boys at this camp are forced to dig holes, to "build character". They must each dig one hole, 5 feet deep and 5 feet diameter, per day. If they find anything interesting, they must show it to the warden. If it is good, they get the day off. Well, she's not looking for fossils. While this story is going on, there are flashbacks to some other stories. All these stories get tied together at the end. I really, really liked it. It had me hooked till the very end. This is one of those that I need to watch again, just to pick up some of the things that I had missed.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:02 PM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2003

A Sure Sign of Fall in Southern California

Okay, so Southern California doesn't have the normal signs of fall.... No large quantities of trees changing colors. No frost on the windows in the morning. But, we do know when it's fall! That's when the local Tosco/Unocal refinery in Wilmington paints one of their tanks to look like a Jack-O-Lantern for Halloween. They have been doing this for decades. I remember going to see it when I was really, really little in the late 60's, early 70's. You cannot go all the way up to the tank. Just into a parking lot below it. But, they give out free caramel corn. So, we do have signs of fall! This, and the brush fires that come around this time, due to the Santa Ana winds.

Posted by Valkyre at 08:27 PM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2003

A Recurring Dream

For maybe the last 20 odd years, I have had this recurring dream. It's not every night. Usually I can't remember every dream I've had during the night. But, I do remember this one. It varies a little bit each time, but not much. It always involves me being under some kind of threat. Usually, I am about to be killed. So, I always try to find a phone to call the police. Trouble is, sometimes, I never find the phone. Or, other times, I will find a phone and it doesn't work. Last night, in my dream, I encountered an intruder in our back yard. I had my cell phone and tried to call the police. Oddly enough, I didn't try to call 911, but the number that goes directly to our local police department. (I even remembered it correctly in the dream!) I would push the numbers correctly, but the display was showing different numbers. Someone picked up on the other side, but it was a wrong number. I was just on the verge of figuring out with numbers to push to get the proper display, when I woke up.

Now, here's the weird part.... Yesterday, when I was at Sam's Club, there was this woman who was taking the same path I was through the store. The whole time she was following me, she was yakking rather loudly on her cell phone. She was telling the person on the other end that she had an intruder in her backyard recently and had to use her cell phone to call the police. So, I am thinking that maybe that conversation carried through into my dream later that night. Strange......

Posted by Valkyre at 08:27 PM | Comments (1)

October 19, 2003

"Swiffer" duster

These things really work great! Cory decided a couple of days ago, that he needed to kill my old feather duster. My daughter was on her way out of the house and noticed the pile of feathers all over the couch. She called me to tell me about it. I actually started to bust up laughing. Anyway, obviously, it needed to be replaced. I spied these things when I went shopping at Sam's Club today and decided to give them a try. I liked the idea that they actually "captured" the dust instead of just moving it around. For the grand experiment, I found an empty shelf that was covered with several years worth of dust. It did fine! It took it all up no problem. I highly recommend these. I'm also going to look for the same brand in the dust mop, so the girls can do the restored wooden floor in their room.

Posted by Valkyre at 07:11 PM | Comments (2)

October 16, 2003

Scary Stuff

As I write this, there is a police helicopter circling overhead. It's shining it's very bright light into our yard and other surrounding backyards. There are police cars out front in the street. Our own city police and other police cars from the surrounding jurisdictions. Also, there are some unmarked police cars. I didn't want to hang around the front to find out what's going on. Obviously, with this type of turn-out, they are looking for someone. Probably someone dangerous. So, we locked all the doors and my daughters closed the windows to their rooms and we sit and wait. I wonder if the newspaper will have anything about this tomorrow?

Posted by Valkyre at 09:44 PM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2003

Happy Late Blogaversary to Me!

I just realized that I missed my year anniversary of blogging. My first entry was on October 9, 2oo2. For me to stick with something like this, this long is quite an achievement. I usually lose interest after awhile. The one thing I quit doing was trying to add a quote after each entry. I had my Bartlett's Quotations book next to my computer. I was just going to open to a random page and find a quote that I liked and add it under my entry for the day. Trouble was, I usually couldn't find a decent quote. Other than that, I kept at it. Here's to hoping I can go another year with this!

Posted by Valkyre at 06:30 PM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2003

I Didn't Do Everything on Today's List...

But, I still feel like I got a lot accomplished. I made a list of things that I needed to do today. I did manage to start one of the tasks, but I ended up doing things that weren't even on the list. So, I feel real good about that. The one task that was on my list was to clean out the girls old playhouse. They have long since outgrown it. And, over time, it became the final resting place for a lot of junk. So, I dragged a trash can over there and started tossing stuff. Some things will be recycled. There were old broken VCRs, CD players and even a broken LaserDisc player. Along with ancient computers. There is a place near here where we can take all the old electronics and they will recycle them. Which is a good thing. A lot of that stuff ends up in the landfills. I haven't finished cleaning out the playhouse, but I made a significant dent. I will work on it more tomorrow, if time allows.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:25 PM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2003

I'm So Glad This Week is Finally Over

Usually, I am in no hurry to rush through life. But, this week was so hectic. I am glad that it is over. Usually, I get Sunday off. But, since I needed Monday of for the Grand Jury thing. Then on Tuesday, Teresa got out of school early. So, I had to take an extra long break from work so I could go pick her up and drop her off at home. Then, I had to go back to work and finish up. Which means I got out of there at 5:00pm instead of my usual 3:00pm. Then on Wednesday, Teresa got her braces off. I had to leave work early again, take her to the orthodontist, then go back to work. That day, I didn't get done until 6:00pm. Thursday was "Back to School" night for both Amanda and Teresa. Mike went to Amanda's and I went to Teresa's. That meant I went home straight after work, took a shower and then went back to Teresa's school until around 8:30pm. Friday, fortunately, was a pretty normal day. Except, I was exhausted at work and was a little slower than usual. Today, I worked and didn't get out until 6:30pm. I did a lot of extra little jobs around the place. I also did some things I pushed off during the week due to time restraints. Oh, and a Shih Tzu, who no one knew was pregnant, decided to have her litter of 5 pups in the run. So, we had to hurry up and set up a bed in the puppy room for her and her pups. And to top this all off; every evening for the past two weeks, Mike and I go to Mike's brother's house to take care of his cats while he is on vacation. That has taken about an hour and a half each evening on top of everything else. His brother comes back tomorrow, so things should be back to normal next week and relatively calm.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:53 PM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2003

Well, The People Have Spoken

The votes are in. And, it looks like Governor Gray Davis (or is that Ex-Governor?) is out, and Arnold is in. We'll just have to wait and see how it goes for him. Mike and I and Helena walked to the polling place this evening and I was surprised at the turnout. It seems a lot of people turned out for this one.

Posted by Valkyre at 10:43 PM | Comments (4)

October 06, 2003

Grand Jury Fun!

So, I get a summons a few weeks ago. I am ordered to go to the downtown Los Angeles Courthouse. They are selecting a grand jury. Grand juries are different from regular juries. They are used in "high profile" cases, where they don't want the press hanging around and leaking possible evidence, etc. And, they are also used in other cases where witnesses might be reluctant to testify, or possibly in danger, if they do. The prosecution presents evidence and witnesses to the grand jury, and it is up to them to decide whether or not there is enough evidence to go to trial. No defense lawyers are present during this time. Everything is all secretive and hush-hush. They called in people from all over the county, and they will select 14 jurors from that pool. They have to serve for a month. (You don't have to show up every day. You can call in to see if you are needed.) So, I had to drive into downtown Los Angeles this morning. I wasn't looking forward to it. I haven't commuted into downtown for about 20 years. And, I figured that the traffic would have to be much, much worse. But, it wasn't too bad. Except that some things never change. There is this one offramp. Gage Avenue; 20 years ago, traffic would always slow down there. Well, it hasn't changed. This is taken through the windshield. Traffic may look like it's moving, but barely. You can see the brake lights as people start to bunch up. I was probably moving all of 5 miles an hour when I took this.

So, I was hoping to get some nice images of the downtown skyline, but it was too hazy. I could hardly see the buildings. I did get this one of the street in front of the courthouse. (Notice the plate on the Cadillac in front of me? It's a lawyer.) Right when I snapped, an LAPD car drove by:

Posted by Valkyre at 09:01 PM | Comments (1)

Toy Fox Terrier Puppies

I charged the batteries and took my camera again today. Unfortunately, a lot of the pictures didn't come out. I am going to have to experiment more with the camera to get the best quality light. Anyway, I managed to get these pictures of some Toy Fox Terrier puppies. I forgot to check the date they were born, so I could give an exact age. This is how Cory would have looked when he was a puppy. I guess more like the larger one with the floppy ears. Normally, their ears should be pointy like the other two. They are all so cute!

Posted by Valkyre at 12:06 AM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2003

It Figures....

I brought my camera with me to work today. I wanted to take pictures of the different puppies and post them in today's blog. After I was all done, I brought my camera into the puppy nursery. I was going to start out by taking a picture of a Shih Tzu puppy that is so adorable. I opened his enclosure, got him to stand still, and then turned on the camera. The lens came out, it made all the usual noises. I checked to see if the flash was on.... I pushed the button.... The lens rolls back in. Nothing.... What? Okay, sometimes I have the bad habit of hitting the on/off switch, instead of the trigger. I try again. Same thing. *sigh* I think I knew what the problem was. I managed to get it to turn on again and I looked closely at the display, before I pressed the trigger. Sure enough, in the upper right corner was the "battery low" symbol. The day I finally remember to bring my camera to take pictures of the pups, and the batteries go dead. They are charging now, so I should be able to take some tomorrow.

Posted by Valkyre at 06:54 PM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2003

A Nightly Visitor

I've posted previously that I am terrified of spiders. But, I just had to take a picture of this girl (I am pretty sure it's a female) who has been spinning an orb web outside our kitchen window every night. You have to admire her diligence. Every night she spins this huge web. And then at dawn, she removes it. This must be "spider season" for these types. I have been seeing them everywhere. And, one has to be careful. A couple of nights ago, I walked into one of their webs that they were spinning across the porch. Fortunately, the spider dropped onto the ground and stalked off, and didn't drop onto me.

Posted by Valkyre at 07:22 PM | Comments (0)