Monday, July 23, 2007

Hanging Up on Dial-Up

We got high-speed wireless internet access installed today! We have endured dial-up for more than seven years. For the past five years, Qwest has been promising we'll have DSL "in a few months" but it still hasn't happened and I doubt it ever will.

We started with a small, locally-owned ISP, La Plaza. After a couple of years, they were struggling and were bought by another ISP which shall remain nameless. Everything was fine with them until a couple of weeks ago, when we began to have problems logging on. Sometimes it would take 10 or 15 (or more) tries before we would be connected. I finally called and talked to one of their tech support people. His main advice was, "Get DSL. Dial-up is obsolete." Umm, yeah. I would love to get DSL, but it's not available where I live. He ended up giving us a new username and that helped tremendously, but I was tired of dial-up and tired of nameless ISP.

That left wireless or satellite. After doing some research, we settled on wireless through Kit Carson Telecom. I called Thursday, they came out Friday to make sure we had line of sight, and came first thing this morning to install the equipment.

The young guy who did the installation (as well as the line of sight check) was great -- friendly and a fast but careful worker.

It's so great to have high-speed internet access! The web pages load so fast and files download so fast.

There have been some freelance editing jobs I wanted but couldn't even apply for because one of the requirements was high-speed internet. Now that door is open instead of closed.

Plus we can do fun stuff like watch some of those video news stories on and

We hooked up a router to one computer and have a wireless adapter plugged into one of the USB ports on the other computer. Now we can both be online at the same time if we want.

Good-bye, dial-up!

Friday, July 20, 2007

7 Random Things About Myself

Yikes, I've been tagged! I've been reading blogs for a couple of years, so i know about these memes. And now that I'm writing a blog, I've been tagged by Elle. It took awhile to thing of 7 Random Things about myself, and I don't have anyone to tag, but this has been fun.

1. I've recently become addicted to the HBO show Big Love. It's about polygamists. Some of them are good people, your typical next-door neighbor. Some of them are definitely bad and some are somewhere in between.

2. I love eating peanut butter straight from the jar with a spoon, but only if it's Jif Reduced Fat. I can't stand the regualr Jif anymore; it tastes like shortening.

3. When I was a kid, my best friend gave me two white mice to have as pets. I thought I could keep them a secret from my mom, but of course that didn't last long. She made me get rid of them, but that was O.K. They weren't especially affectionate and I hadn't bonded with them.

4. I collect recipes from magazines, cookbooks, and websites. I have more "new and untried" recipes than I could ever make in a lifetime (plus the old favorites I make repeatedly), but I keep collecting more.

5. I hate shopping. At the grocery store or Wal-Mart, I go in with a list, get what I need, and get out as fast as possible. I'm definitely not a recreational shopper, for clothes or anything else.

6. I takes me a long time to fall asleep at night. It always has. I just don't know how to turn my brain off.

7. I love milk. I drink it with everything, even spaghetti or pizza. I've worked my way down to 1% (even 2% tastes like cream now), but I can't do skim. It's just too watery.

This has been fun. Thanks again, Elle!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Princess is the latest addition to our family. She joined us in October, right after Shadow died. I wanted to wait awhile after she died before we got another cat, but Winston had other ideas.

Poor Winston. He was miserable without Shadow. To make matters worse, the day after Shadow died, Ron and I went away for a long weekend with some friends. It had been scheduled for months. That left Winston all by himself (we put the dogs in a kennel). Poor Winston, I say again. He must have thought we'd taken Shadow with us. He was happy to see us return, but he obviously was looking for Shadow. He kept calling for her (step, step, meow, step, step, meow). He was pitiful.

The next day I went to our vet clinic to talk to one of the vet techs. She does cat rescue and cat fostering and I hoped she would know of a cat who needed a good home. She did! Princess had been brought to the vet clinic, rescued from an abusive home by a neighbor. The woman brought her in, but never came back and ignored repeated phone calls. Poor Princess. She had numerous injuries, including a broken pelvis. Most of her tail had to be amputated, too, leaving her with a little three-inch stump.

When I talked to M, Princess had fully recovered and was living at M's, but M was glad to see Princess go to a good home. A few days later, I brought her home. She's a beautiful cat with long reddish-gold fur, big reddish-gold eyes, and the longest whiskers I've ever seen on a cat. She's so sweet, too, very affectionate. The best part is that she and Winston are so happy together! They're both young and playful. They wrestle in a playful (not fighting) way. Their favorite game is chasing each other all through the house at top speed. There's nothing like the sound of galloping kitties! It's such a happy sound. It lessens the pain of missing Shadow and Panther.

Friday, July 13, 2007

A Brief Rant

I'm all in favor of the Food Stamps program, so that people can buy nutritious food, but I think there are a few bugs in the system. The woman in front of me at the grocery store this morning bought ice cream, soda, and candy (and nothing else) and paid for it with her food stamps card. I was a little ticked off at that and I think the cashier was, too. She didn't say anything, of course, but she rolled her eyes and gave me a look that spoke volumes after the woman left.

I didn't think food stamps paid for that kind of food, but I looked it up on the official website after I got home. Food stamps will pay for pretty much any kind of food, but not pet food, alcohol, or paper products.

I'm not saying that the food stamps program should only cover rice and beans, but I don't think it should cover foods with absolutely NO nutritional value like soda and candy. At least the ice cream has a little bit of nutritional value. A very little bit.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Desert Summer Days

You know you've been living in the desert for too long when 25 percent humidity feels muggy. I grew up near Washington, DC, where a typical summer day is 90 degrees (or more) and 90 percent humidity. The nights aren't much cooler. When I moved here almost eight years ago, I was amazed that the difference between the high and low temperature in one day could be 40 or 50 degrees. The night air feels so cool and crisp after the heat of the day! Getting used to single-digit humidity was definitely a big adjustment. It feels like the moisture is being sucked right out of my skin as soon as I walk outside.

For the past few days the temperature has been in the 80s, which is comfortable, but the humidity has been about 25 to 30 percent and that's starting to feel muggy. Maybe it's just perception. I've gotten so used to the clear blue skies the humidity produces. But for the past few days, the skies have been decidedly gray and hazy. This is only because of the smoke from the wildfires in Arizona and Utah, but it gives the perception of humidity-caused haziness.

I should go outside and close my eyes so I don't see the haziness. I'll just feel the moisture being sucked out of my skin.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Winston the Wise

I love this picture of our cat Winston. He has such a wise expression on his face.

Of all our animals, Winston is my favorite (except when he's whining because his food bowl is empty). We have a bond that I don't have with the other animals. I can talk to him about things and he looks at me with an expresson on his face that seems to say he understands.

He's a lap cat, with me at least, and has been from the very beginning.

He was rescued from the streets of Santa Fe. His owners were moving to Florida and couldn't take him along, so they just put him out on the streets to fend for himself. He wasn't very good at it and got in fights with other cats. A mutual friend took him in, but she couldn't keep him and was about to take him to the shelter. That would have been certain death for him, since people go to the shelter wanting cute little kittens, not an adult cat, even a one-year-old with huge green eyes.

So Ron brought him home, surprising me. We needed a second cat. Our beloved Panther had died a few months earlier and we wanted Shadow to have another cat to play with.

Ron came home from Santa Fe one evening and without any warning, plopped Winston into my lap. Completely delighted, I petted him and loved on him and welcomed him to the family. He settled down and made himself comfortable in my lap, curling up and going to sleep. He stayed like that for about two hours and would have stayed for longer, but finally I had to get up. That was a little more than three years ago and I'm still completely delighted to have him in our family.