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Our little dog is apparently able to climb chain-link fences again. Sometimes even in the flat sections, not only at the corners which I already blocked off. With my own eyes, I've only seen her climb half-way up the fence like that, but she's gotten out of the yard several times without there being any holes dug, and that seems to be the only answer. Unless she's climbing trees and jumping ::eyeroll::

So I embarked on an endeavor, attaching 2-foot tall sections of 1/2" mesh fencing onto the entire length of the chain-link fence, in the hopes that she won't be able to get her paws though the smaller mesh, and therefore won't be able to climb it anymore. It's probably not enough to keep our big dog from climbing or jumping, but so far the big one has only gotten out 2 times, and only together with the small one. So if the small one doesn't get out, I think the big one won't have any desire to do so. Hopefully.

But before I could even finish that project, she's started digging a lot again. So I have to reinforce the bottom of the chain-link fence more, too.

That's at Qiao's place. My place is a whole 'nother project, cuz she's gotten out of my yard twice too, lately, apparently by climbing as well.

It's enough to make one despair. But so far, I've been an almost bottomless pit of optimism. Along with some hysterical laughter, yesterday, over the image of this cute little dog staring at me with her head turned slightly to the side, silently saying "aren't I wonderful?". And over the thought of how all the many metal stakes, bricks, and rolls of mesh fencing (it seems like tons) we have deployed so far, all because of this little 20 pound dog.
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I changed my browser homepage (which is a self-coded HTML file) to have this background color: #ff0080. I'd describe it as fluorescent reddish pink. It's so beautiful, especially with my links in contrasting yellow, and a browser theme in a complementary color. Having nearly the whole screen be that color has much more of a visual impact, compared to this small paragraph.


I discovered that it is much easier to pull out small tree saplings using a pair of pliers, rather than only my gloved hands. But my hands got the same achy, because instead of pulling out all the easy ones like last time, I was pulling out harder ones.

With bigger pliers, maybe I could even pull out some of the ones with bigger trunks/roots... say up to nickel-sized? Maybe there's even a special tool for that.

I spend so much of my free time doing yard work, and it feels very pointless. Other than the work it requires, it's nice to have a yard and trees and flowers, etc. But if I didn't have dogs, I'd seriously reconsider living in a place where I have to take care of a yard.


Little Secrets : dark chocolate candies with a sugar-shell coating. Yummy like M&M's, which I haven't had since becoming vegan. I hadn't remembered how nice it is to feel the crispy crunch of a thin sugar shell between my teeth. The packaging doesn't mention it, but the sea salted peanut, classic dark, and raspberry flavors seem to be vegan based on the ingredients. Some of the others include milk. Ahh.. their FAQ says they don't label them as vegan because the sugar was produced with a non-vegan refining process (ie., bone char filtered).

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I'll have to try this:

How to stop stumps from growing back, organically! - drill holes in the stump and apply epsom salts, and replenish the salt every week or so.

Another idea - after doing the above, cover the stumps with black plastic / garbage bag and weight it down with bricks, to both block sunlight, and to keep the salts from being washed away by rain.

How To Use Epsom Salt For Stump Removal - this page says to put a little bit of water in the holes with the epsom salt.

How to Mix Epsom Salts to Kill Stumps - this page says to use a one-inch extra long drill bit... Oh, that must be a spade bit.

the bee's knees

Saturday, May 27th, 2017 05:13 pm
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Ah, man. I know I'm getting old, when while pulling weeds in the yard, I think to myself "You know, I think I'll get that stool from inside to sit down on". Because bending and unbending my knees is no longer such an easy effortless thing.

faster fluff

Monday, May 15th, 2017 11:24 pm
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Today I learned that cutting down yellow dandelions right before they go all seed-heady doesn't stop it from happening. Instead, it makes it happen even faster. In retrospect, it makes sense.

I actually had wanted to gather the cut stalks yesterday and trash them after using the string trimmer to cut them down, but didn't have time. Today after coming home from work, I was surprised to see a bunch of white fluffy spheres at ground level. But at least they hadn't blown away yet, so I was still able to gather most of them up into a plastic bag.

Earlier yesterday, I had driven by a yard which was full of dandelion seed heads. When I saw that a few of mine were getting seed heads too, is when I decided that I'd better cut mine down before I had seeds all over my yard.

I like having a smallish patch of dandelions, but I don't really want a yard full of them. So I try to compromise by letting some of them grow in that one place where they've always grown, part of the year, and weeding them from the rest of the yard.

There's more to this story, about how the dandelions are like my christmas tree, but I need to go to bed.
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I replaced my refrigerator's evaporator fan motor, because the old one was intermittently squealing, and I had a feeling it would stop working altogether in the near future.

I should know better than to start a task like that at 9:30pm when I have to get up for work the next day. I finished around 2am. The new motor and fan are working, and are sounding good.

Much of my time is spent looking up information on the internet, to make sure I do it right. Sometimes I find useful information. Sometimes I don't, and decide to bite the bullet and do it the way I think is best. Some of the time was cleaning gunk out of the freezer compartment, while I had all the shelves removed and out of the way. A good bit of the time was deciding how to handle the wire connections, since they were different on the old and new motor.


When I order stuff from Amazon, I often have it delivered to my mom's house, as delivery people are sometimes scared of the dogs at my house. My mom was telling me of a package that had been delivered. She said the return label said it was from Amazon Fulfillment Services. Then she asked me if it was something sexual. LOL. She's fluent in English, but it isn't her native tongue. Maybe she's been wondering that every time I got a package from them, and finally asked.

Today she tried to convince me that people in the South pronounce Augusta (Georgia) with an "N" in front, like "Naugusta" or "Nugusta". I've never heard it spoken that way (unless they are saying "in Augusta"). But she says everyone here pronounces it that way. I'm still dubious. There's a North Augusta on the South Carolina side of the border. Maybe some people refer to North Augusta as Nugusta? But I didn't find any mention of that online.


This weekend, I:

- mowed my lawn
- washed out my garbage bin as had gotten gunky inside. I don't like stinky garbage cans. I took a photo of the bin's number, so that if it happens again, I'll know whether my bin was accidentally switched with the neighbor's or something. (Although it's mainly for curiosity's sake. I wouldn't actually go up to the neighbor and say, "Hey, I think our garbage bins were switched, because mine was clean inside, and this one isn't.")
- did more work on securing the fence against Serena at Qiao's house. This involves a lot of brick moving, and some pounding of stakes. It's about half done.
- cleaned Qiao's shower stall in order to apply tub grip to the floor, and then did the latter.
- watched Dirk Gently
- did some yardwork at Qiao's house
- turned on the heater for the first time this season and let it air out with the windows open.
- replaced fridge evaporator fan
- ordered Culture Club tickets - they are scheduled to play in Augusta in November

Other things I need to do soon:

- look up info on the non-presidential candidates for the upcoming election
- choose a doctor for myself

odds, ends

Sunday, June 26th, 2016 05:12 pm
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The house's side door has a motion-activated light fixture mounted by it. The lights always attracted moths and other flying insects. To prevent the bugs flying into the house, I always had to slip inside the door and shut it quickly, but sometimes moths still got in. Now I've replaced the two bulbs with LED bug light bulbs. It's amazing the difference that makes. Light! And yet absolutely no bugs flying around in the light! The light is yellow, but that's no problem. I should have done this years ago.


Qiao bought a set of lithium battery-powered yard tools. At first the hedge trimmer looked scary to me, with all the sharp teeth. But it is easy to use. So easy that I have to remind myself to be careful with it. It's so much easier than using clippers to cut individual stalks, especially for the jessamine bushes on the fence.


Cyber bank robberies... North Korea to blame?

North Korea Linked To $81 Million Bangladesh Bank Heist
Obama strikes back at North Korea

...or maybe not North Korea, exactly?
Vietnamese bank hit by cyber heist
North Korean Cyberhacking Redux: The Bank Heist Cases


The unstoppable march of the upward inflection?
High rising terminal
(aka "upspeak")

A lady was talking on TV a while back, and I wasn't interested in whatever she was talking about, but was fascinated by her manner of speech. Her sentences kept ending on a rising note, as if she was asking a question even though she wasn't. It was much more pronounced than the audio samples on the first link above. When I recently came across that page, I realized that maybe it wasn't a peculiarity to her, but a common way of speaking, where ever she was from.

Then I realized the similarity of that to another manner of speaking which at first struck me as odd. Some people insert phrases like "you know what I mean", "you get me", "you know what I'm saying?", "you know?" in the middle of each sentence and/or after each sentence. They don't necessarily pitch it as a question, nor even slow down waiting for feedback - it just seems to be how they are used to speaking.

The rising pitch is similar, in that the speaker sounds like they are asking the listener if they understand or agree with what is being said, except without adding any extra words in.

Then again, maybe that is just my biased impression of it, and not what is actually intended by the speakers.

Vocal fry register : Speaking in the lowest register of your voice, where it makes a creaky grating sound. I do that sometimes, and didn't realize there was a term for it.

Apparently there's been a lot of criticism of how young women speak these days.

From Upspeak To Vocal Fry: Are We 'Policing' Young Women's Voices?

From the audio samples given in that NPR broadcast and elsewhere, women using vocal fry in their speech sounds totally normal to me, and not bad. The upspeak can be a bit disconcerting to me, but not much so. That one lady I mentioned hearing speak on TV had a much more pronounced and unusual version of it, which is why it fascinated me so much. I wish I had written down who the speaker was.


Monday, May 30th, 2016 08:43 pm
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13 mosquito bites on my calves and 3 on my right arm, within a few minutes. I should know better than going into the back yard without covering up, especially in the evening. Even when I think it's only going to take a few minutes to pull up those 5 dandelion plants that I've been eyeing from inside for days now, thinking I should bag them before all the fluff-ball seeds get blown away.

I need to cut down all the other junk that's started growing back there since I had the tree cutting last year. But not tonight.

and pinecones

Sunday, February 28th, 2016 01:43 am
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Revisited the crawlspaces today.

At my mom's house, I removed the electronic air cleaner front panel. The prior owners did get rid of the cells; the inside was empty except for a thin disposable filter. It was very dirty (reasonably so as my mom hadn't replaced it since moving into the house). My mom had bought a new one, so I replaced the dirty one with the clean one. With the front panel off, I could see into the return ducts. One of them appears to have insulation on the *inside*. It looked very dirty.

I removed the snake skin by the HVAC system, and found another snake skin by the exterior wall. It was next to an opening through which cables connect to the outside A/C unit and phone box. So that is likely where the snake(s) got in. My mom will close it off.

At the other house, I went down below to take another look at the humidifier I saw last week. I found the label with the model #, but no humidistat and no obvious way to power it off. I tried to turn off the water valve to it (because of the mold, we want to reduce the humidity in the house, not increase it), but then the valve started dripping, so I put a bucket underneath for now.

Maybe the house's mold problems is caused by the humidifier putting too much moisture in the air. Today with the heater on, the house smelled quite unpleasant to me again. Of course, now I'm envisioning a dirty moldy humidifier that may not have been cleaned out in ages, blowing mildewy air into the house, even though I have no proof yet that the unit is dirty inside.

Then I picked up pinecones and branches from the yard - last week was very windy.

Then I put up a pet gate in the house to keep the dogs away from the bedrooms. I'm unsatisfied with the gate though. It has 2 design flaws compared to the one at my house. The bottom catch doesn't work right (other people have mentioned the same problem in their reviews), and the whole gate occasionally lifts out of the hinges. Unfortunately the better model was discontinued and is no longer available. Now I'm considering getting a different brand instead, but that can wait. Maybe I'll get used to this one, or find a way of fixing the flaws.


I also voted in the democratic primary today. I'm disappointed that Hillary won over Bernie, and by such a large margin. But I'd much rather have Hillary win than Trump or the other Republican candidates.

the weekend work

Monday, October 26th, 2015 12:20 am
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Yesterday I washed a section of the garage wall that had gotten moldy, with bleach. Boxes had been pushed up right against the wall, not allowing enough ventilation. This is the 2nd round of bleach on it, as after the first round a week or so ago, it still smelled musty from somewhere. I hope there isn't mold on the inside of the wall. It's plain unpainted plyboard.

Then, as I was doing bleach anyway, I mopped down (up) the sun-room ceiling too, as it had accumulated a bunch of mildew spots from the frequent moisture in there.

I looked up info on adjustable beds, as Qiao is planning to get one. Currently he switches back and forth between the bed and the recliner at night, trying to get comfortable. His foot hasn't been hurting him much the last few days though (hallelujah!).

Today I washed the dogs. They really needed it.

Then I tried to figure out why the kitchen sink drain was suddenly (since yesterday) making glug-glug-glug noises, even though the water was draining fine. Suspecting a blockage in the drain vent, I got out the ladder and went up on the roof to check the vent. There wasn't anything blocking it up on that end, and water I poured into the vent seemed to be draining fine / not backing up.

While up there, I cleaned out the sun-room gutters. Zorro chose to stand directly in the path of the falling dirt and debris. It occurred to me that I had just gotten her all nice and clean... Yelling at her didn't help any, but I finally managed to sweet-talk her into moving away.

I debated whether to go to the hardware store to buy a drain auger. I had tried pushing some cable wire down the vent, but it wouldn't go further than the bend at the bottom of the vent. But I didn't really want to go to the store.

I left the kitchen faucet running and checked the drain pipes in the basement. They were vibrating from the glug-glug-glugging. After a while, there was a change in sound - a larger rushing of water as if someone had dumped out some water into the sink. Whatever had been clogging it must have unclogged itself, as the glugging noise was gone.

While in the basement, I saw that water had leaked in during the flood-storm. It was absorbed into the dirt and didn't look too bad, but I carried a fan down there to help dry it out.

After the fact, it occurred to me that I could have simply tried using the sink plunger instead of going up to the roof and down to the basement.

I took advantage of the remaining daylight to cut down a branch that had cracked in the storm and which was leaning down on the shed. I had to use the extendable pole saw, with it extended to the maximum height.

And I washed 2 loads of clothes/towels, and made brownies. Finally.

Next, sleep-sleep-tired-tired.


Monday, July 20th, 2015 10:47 pm
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A big piece of our cedar tree fell down in the storm yesterday. It clipped the corner of the house and damaged the gutter. I should get the roof checked; from down below it looks like only one shingle got chipped.

That wasn't one of the trees I was planning to get cut down.

live scum oh what am i

Thursday, July 16th, 2015 09:01 pm
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Google totally fails to answer the question "what is a live installer?". It is a small install program that downloads the bulk of the actual software to be installed as part of the install process itself (so that the install won't succeed unless you have an internet connection available during the process). Right? For a moment I wasn't certain. Now maybe this answer will come up if someone else searches on it.


The small pond at work is at a low level, due to the heat and not much rain. As I was driving by on my way home, it looked like young green grass growing out of the pond scum on top of the water! Yet I walked by the pond at lunch time and didn't notice anything then. Maybe I wasn't paying attention? Maybe it's some quick-growing fungus? Google fails me there too.


I decided which trees in the yard to get cut down. A few are half-dead. A few are simply making the back yard too shady, dark, dreary, and mosquito-ridden. Yet they do also block some of the view of the neighbors' yards which is a positive thing. And even the half dead ones... I actually like the look of bare gray limbs... on one tree, that is even more aesthetically pleasing to me than the leafy parts. And my wonderful Japanese Cherry Tree with the beautiful blossoms in the spring-time! It's half dead, but also still half alive. Am I making a horrible mistake??? I told Qiao he'd better hurry and call up some people to get quotes for the work, as otherwise I might change my mind. I'd been considering this for a while, but probably would have put it off longer had the neighbor not also mentioned trees needing trimming.


Next post about pronunciations! But Windows wants to reboot first.

day done did

Sunday, June 14th, 2015 02:18 am
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Changed the sheets.
Washed 2 loads.
Washed dishes.
Watched a double episode of Criminal Minds (wasn't planning to, but got caught up in the story while Qiao was watching it).
Took a shower, cleaned the bottom of the shower curtain.
Figured out how to lift up/remove the front porch handrail so that I can reattach it to the brick (I need to replace the screws that used to hold it in place).
Transplanted some border grass from a place it doesn't need to be growing to a bare spot by the fence.
Went out to eat Indian for dinner, shopped at an Asian grocery - got some fresh Methi (Fenugreek) leaves and a can of Tangerine Schweppes.
Looked up info on kalira as we had seen them in a painting at the restaurant and not known what they were.
Browsed the internet.
Played Words With Friends.
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note to self:

Always put on socks and regular shoes when raking. Even if it looks like a 5 minute job, because it almost never ends up being a 5 minute job. Regular shoes with socks will reduce blisters and reduce the number of times I have to pull the shoes off to shake out irritating debris that is jabbing into my feet. It will also keep the shoes from getting as sweaty.

unintentional harm

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013 11:27 pm
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A couple weeks ago there was a lizard in the garage, in one of the round plastic bins. I thought maybe it had gotten stuck there, not being able to climb back up the walls of the bin. So I took it outside. But it behaved oddly. It didn't scurry off, and it moved its body oddly. The next day, it was still in nearly the same spot, dead.

Later, it occurred to me that maybe it had eaten some of the roach bait/poison I had put in the garage. Or maybe it had eaten a roach which had eaten the poison. That made me feel bad.

Last week, while using the trimmer to mow the lawn, I accidentally hit a cockroach. That made me feel bad too. It looked like I cut its head open. I didn't know whether I should stomp on it to put it out of its misery, or if that would make it worse. I never know.

There seem to be a lot of bugs scurrying around in the grass when I'm mowing, lately. Maybe because of all the rain. I've been having to mow the yard each and every week.

I have a new trimmer with a lithium battery which works much better than my old trimmer with the nickel-cadmium batteries. The old batteries took a long time to charge, and lost their charge pretty quickly. The new batteries charge in under an hour, and the new trimmer has a speed setting. At first I thought it was best to keep it on the lowest setting, so that the battery would last longest. But then I realized that using a higher speed lets you mow faster. You can swing the trimmer back and forth faster, whereas with a lower speed, you have to move slower in order to cut the same amount of grass. I was beginning to enjoy the higher speed settings, as I could get the same amount of grass mowed in less time. But then I hit that roach. And then I thought, maybe at a lower speed, the line would be less dangerous. Or maybe, with me moving more slowly on the lower setting, the bugs would have more time to hear me coming and to get out of my way.

I decided not to put roach bait in the garage anymore. It's too cruel. The bugs out there don't bother me much. It's not that big a deal to have to vacuum up their mess once in a while, compared to the alternatives.


Sunday, May 19th, 2013 03:09 pm
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Jeez. One little miscalculation while pulling up a dandelion can result in dirt flying everywhere, sticking to sweaty arms, legs, and face; getting into mouth, gloves, and shoes. Now I need to take another shower.

Using a dedicated weed-pulling tool does work much easier than a shovel though.

yellow beauties

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 10:55 pm
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I got the blister while uprooting dandelions in the yard of Forestfen's new house. Dandelions are so beautiful. I never feel pleased about mowing them down or disposing of them as weeds.

This is them, 4 days after having been pulled from the earth and tossed on a pile. You'd expect them to be limp and dying. But see how bright yellow they are, and how their stems have curved upwards to the sky?

There's an empty corner lot on one street, absolutely full of blooming dandelions. So gorgeous.
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Working in the yard last weekend, I got a blister right in the palm of my hand. I was wearing gloves, and the blister was popped open already by the time I noticed it. (Jeez, my hand is feeling achy. I better check to make sure I'm not getting a blister... D'oh!)

*But* I had the bright idea to try out these waterproof bandages. They are wonderful. I can wash my hands without the band-aid getting all wet and coming loose! The first one of these that I put on lasted about 10 hours before coming loose. The 2nd one lasted nearly 24 hours before coming loose. If I hadn't been vacuuming and trimming grass, they probably would have lasted even longer.

The bandages themselves are rubbery-feeling, translucent and quite inconspicuous.
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Note to Self:

When attaching a spray nozzle to a hose, always wrap the threads of the hose with several layers of teflon tape first, to avoid leakage between the hose and nozzle. Simply having a new washer in the nozzle does not suffice. Wrap the tape in the right direction, so that it will tighten rather than loosening, when the nozzle is screwed on.
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Yay! The Richland County Recycling webpage has finally been updated with the new items that are accepted for curbside recycling. Unlike the Twitter announcement last year, it doesn't mention aluminum pie pans. But the rest of the items seem clear. They're even taking glass in the curbside bins now, wow.

Oh... Just found this news article from November on The State website:

Early next year, Richland County will begin to phase in larger recycling rollcarts, expecting to collect more reusable materials such as plastic, cans and glass.

To start with, only two areas of unincorporated Richland County will see changes in service.

By 2015, however, all of the county’s 88,000 customers will convert from 18-gallon bins to full-sized recycling rollcarts.
Starting in February, service will change significantly for about 19,000 homes in the north-central part of the county and in the southeast:

• Yard waste, such as leaves and twigs, will have to be put in containers.

• Materials to be recycled will be picked up every two weeks, instead of each week.

I wonder what they mean about putting yard waste in containers. When I rake leaves, the pile gets pretty large, even when it is pressed down to compact it. I hope that bagging leaves won't be mandatory; that seems to me to be a waste of plastic. I've always liked how the trucks use a big suction tube to take in piles of leaves; although I've also seen workers with pitchforks sometimes.