Friday, May 30, 2014

In an emergency push button 1

 I think the calls started on Wednesday.

The first one caught me by surprise.  A very earnest voice on the line told me that my computer was sending error messages to their server.
Yes, apparently these messages are serious.  Was I at my computer?
No I wasn't.  I was in the middle of painting my latest masterpiece and I didn't like being disturbed.
Well, he wanted me to rush to the computer where he would tell me what to do.  It would show how my computer was infected by a virus !!!
Now this sounded rather dodgy to me so I told him he would need to call back when my computer savvy husband was home and talk to him about it.
This went on for some while before he gave up and said he would call back.
I called Philip at work, who said it was more than dodgy and did some research.
Apparently, this is a well known scam (but not to me....I must come out from under my rock more often), where they get you to type stuff into your computer which gives them access to it.
They can get all your passwords, bank details, business and also plant a virus which they then charge you to remove.
Hmmmmmmmmmm......not very nice.
Amazingly he did call back.
Unfortunately Philip wasn't home.
He introduced himself as John.  Hmmm....John with a thick Indian accent I could barely understand.
He rattled some spiel off, but I told him I couldn't understand what he said.
"I am very well thank you," he replied.
He told me again about this nasty virus that was eating my computer.  Lots of urgency in his voice now.  It was sending messages to their server...yeah heard that last time.......
I asked him what country he was talking from.
He assured me it was the USA and, I think, said Phoenix Arizona.
I then tried to engage him in conversation about how lovely it is in Phoenix.  Oh he wasn't having any of that.
I eventually told him his fortune.
I told him he is a scam artist and could get off my phone.  I hung up with him still protesting his innocence.

I didn't expect to hear from them again.........ha ha.......I was wrong.
Yesterday, I got another one.
Ricky this time, same accent, same story.
I asked why his server would be receiving these messages.  He said that the store we bought the computer from sent the details when we bought it.  He is microsoft certified (this statement was repeated several times as if it would somehow be evidence of his veracity).
I then informed him that we didn't buy our computer from a store.  My husband built it.  I also told him I wanted to know how he had got my phone number.
He hung up.
Ha...too much for you matey.

Yesterday afternoon I had a really awful angina attack.  Probably one of the worse I have had. I almost got to the point of dialing 911 but it eventually began to fade.  A bit scary none the less.
I know it is nothing to do with these phone calls but this attack did make me feel fed up.  I don't get them all that often so when I go a while with out one I start thinking I won't have any more.
One like this gave me the hump, to put it mildly.  Plus, I know that the next day (today) I will feel washed out and achy.

But, something happened which made me feel so much better and gave me a good giggle.

So, this morning I was in the shower .........when the phone rang.
I knew.....I just knew.
I got out of the shower and answered the phone.  I was ready this time.
They are crafty though..........they had upped the ante.
This was a woman.
Same accent, couldn't catch the name as the water was running.   I moved out of the bathroom.
Oh, she was all fired up.
My computer is infected with a virus !!   It was sending error messages to their server !!!!!!!!!
Lots of urgency in the voice now.
I had to go to the computer right away and she would show me what to do !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"Oh dear," quoth I, "what shall I do? I know I will have a yodel."
This is when I put my emergency yodel button ( see picture above) right up to the phone and pressed it.
The yodel goes on for quite a few seconds and I felt sure she would be gone by the time it had finished.
I went back to the phone..........she was still there.
"By Jove I needed that.  Nothing like a good yodel when you are feeling stressed.  I think I need another." I quipped before pressing the button against the phone again.
She must be gone this time.............she was still there !!!
But all was not well in the land of Computer Hacker R Us.
"I do love a good yodel," I smirked, "Do you like yodelling?", I asked innocently.
Gone was the fired up, urgency that had been there before.

A very small voice replied, "no" and was gone.
I wonder how she will explain that one to her supervisor.

If anyone has any other ideas of how to play these crooks along when they phone, I would be pleased to hear them.
I have been trying to think of a good song I could sing (my singing is pretty awful), but maybe you have a better idea.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ground control to Major Tom

Yes...I had another "Major Tom" moment yesterday.

It all started when I saw a robin sitting in garden.  He wasn't flying anywhere.......just sitting.
Nearby was another robin.
Ah, thought I, that must be a fledgling and that is the mum watching over him.
I know that if you see a fledgling you should leave it alone as the mum is usually nearby.

A bit later, through the window I saw a boy looking over my fence at something.  I went to see what he was looking at as he picked up a stick and tried to throw it at this poor bloody robin which was still there.
I banged on the window and yelled at him so loud, I think I scared this kid half to death.
I doubt anyone has ever shouted at him like that.
I will say that in these parts, parents could do with taking note of a phrase I read....
"Children are here to be loved........NOT WORSHIPPED."

Anyway, on closer inspection I saw that this bird was injured.  It was also an adult.  American robins are way bigger than British they would be wouldn't they?
I got a box and gently picked him up and brought him indoors.
His wing was bleeding.
I then had my........"Oh bugger, now what do I do?" moment, particularly relevant to someone who has 5 cats.
I put him in the upstairs, spare bedroom and shut the door.  There were 5 very interested parties sitting on the landing.
Looking online, I found that the Wisconsin Humane Society, have a wildlife rescue dept and I duly rang them and arranged to take the bird in when Philip got home.
Poor Philip.....yet another rescue....he is so kind.
He said he didn't mind taking me and the latest 'Major Tom' to the animal hospital and we arrived there around 6.30pm.
I have to admit I felt sure the bird would snuff it on the way but he did make it in there to a very nice lady who popped him in an incubator to warm him up a bit.
She said it looked like a hawk  may have attacked him and we do sometimes see a red tail hawk around.
We then made a $20 donation (Oh what am I like?) and she told us we could ring or email to see how our robin was doing.
To be honest I will be surprised if he lasted the night but who knows what a little bit of care and attention might do.
I cannot see anything suffer, be abused, neglected or in any way harmed without stepping in and doing something.
I have sent them an email.  We shall see.
Oh...then I felt bad because she said the other robin was probably his mate.  Oh I am worried about that one being alone, with babies (probably)........oh dear.

I will blog tomorrow about my ongoing saga of the computer scammers who think I am more green than I am cabbage looking.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Weekend

It was Memorial Weekend.
There were parades etc, but basically it was about remembering those who have given theirs lives in many wars.
I find it sad and such a shame.

On Saturday we had plans to shop for stuff for the garden, then get the garden organized ready for the summer.
The weather has been glorious.  We wanted to make the most of it before it gets too bloody hot.
I know, I know,.....I am never happy unless I am miserable.
But, it does get extremely hot here during our relatively short summer so you have to pick your moments to do outside stuff.
It didn't happen.
Philip was on support this weekend and he was called about 5 times Friday night to solve work related issues.
This resulted in him getting very little ( if any ) sleep.
Saturday then he was mostly sleeping.
I, on the other hand, was mostly bimbling.

Sunday, out to brekkie first and then we hit the garden centres ( I nearly spelled that 'centers' then...I have been here too long).
We bought some new garden ornaments ( one is another gnome, I love gnomes. I wanted the one with the watering can but Philip said it had a miserable face, so I had to get the one with a shovel.  Maybe the one with the shovel is planning on digging a hole for old misery guts and then stealing his watering can.......oh dear.......I really should get out more).
The afternoon was spent arranging the ornaments (finding the old ones in the garage took most of the time) and then re-arranging them several times.
I like to group them in clusters of things that I think would get on with each other.  I don't want there to be any unpleasantness between the gnomes (avec or sans shovel) and say.......the rabbit with the butterfly.  The frogs can be a bit tiresome too so I put them in the corner so they don't irritate the hedgehogs and the tortoise.
It is like a 'league of nations' out there during the summer.
The new bird bath, table and chairs all look lovely.  I am very pleased with those.  Cheap too, which is never a bad thing.

Monday we said 'sod it' and went out for a drive. We didn't know where we were going but finished up going through some nice little towns and farms.
Coming home we had ice cream sundaes and got indoors just before it started to thunder.

Today........disappointing news.
Brother ( my fave band ) are unable to be at River Rhythms this summer.

What????   No men in leather kilts !!!!!   No muscly hairy legs waving about all over the place !!!
How pants is that???

I am sure Philip will be mortified............:)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Merv - ellous

The gas men turned up with their big trucks.
That didn't scare Merv off.
I saw him sitting on his step, waiting for them.
After some discussion with a rather large gas man -
Merv showed him where he should be 'digging his hole'.

Right here !
Here is where the hole should be.
I do love Merv.
I have also had a phone call from the gas company.  The message reminded me that they sent a letter (which they did) saying they needed to do some work on the gas lines in our street.
OK so far.....then the woman said that there might be an odour of gas while they are working but we shouldn't worry about it.  Fair enough.  If, on the other hand we smell more gas odour than we think we should smell then we are to call them and let them know.
How are we supposed to know what is a safe level of gas odour and what is too much?
I wasn't worried about it at all before.  I bloody am now.

The blue bird is back....Yay.
I think this is such a pretty bird.   They don't stay around for long as the just pass through Wisconsin on their way to somewhere else but it is lovely to see them.

Finally....Donald and Daisy are still visiting every day.
They show up in the morning and then again in the evening despite the protestations of Looby Loo who watches at the window.
I can practically hear her hissing...."I hate that dook".

Monday, May 19, 2014

More Art D'Echo

This week I have finished and framed my latest Art Deco (or as I now prefer...Art D'Echo) painting for the bathroom.
I have enjoyed doing this one as I tried some more new techniques and types of paint.
I am really having fun with acrylic paints at the moment as they allow me to proceed much more quickly.
Oil paints are very easy.  I have to be honest about it.  They are very forgiving.  An art teacher I once worked with used to say that he could teach a chimpanzee to pass an Art O Level.
I think that if you taught it with oil paint then you could probably teach a hamster the same thing.

Acrylics have pros and cons.
Pro :-  They dry much more quickly.
Con :- They dry much more quickly.

I should explain.  Drying quickly is a bonus when you are really wanting to press on with a painting and it is all going well.
Drying quickly, however, is a pain in the arse when you have buggered something up.

I did, of course, have one or two dramas with this one - as I have with all of them, but I am quite happy with the final result.
I added sparkles again.  I do love a bit of glitz and it is my painting so I can if I like.

Here it is on the bathroom wall.

I am now preparing another canvas for, what I hope, will be the subject of this year's Christmas card.
If I don't bugger it up.

On Saturday we went to by new tops for the upstairs bathroom taps.  One had totally disintegrated in my hand the night before.
I think they were old.
We came back with the chairs above which are joined by a little table.

We also bought one of these bird baths and a matching, small glass table.
Luckily we did remember to buy the tap tops too.
We really should keep out of that shop.

I think we got carried away with longing for some Summer weather.
It had snowed on Friday........sigh.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

It never rains but....

Bubba with his puddle.

Monday's storms proved troublesome.   For some more than others really.
We had a tornado warning during the day but the storms continued into the night. The usual, thunder, lightning, high winds, hail, torrential rain and drips.
The drips were actually way more worrying than the wind, hail etc.
We were watching TV with Bubba, shown above, snoozing next to Philip on the sofa.
Then Philip noticed the drips.  They were coming from the ceiling.  The biggest worry regarding this was the fact that we live in a two storey house.
Therefore, there is a bedroom above the living room.
The drips were falling quite regularly but they were not making the sofa wet.  Oh no...they were forming a puddle on the still snoozing Bubba.
He seemed completely unaware.  He reminded me of the dinosaur we were taught about at primary school.
You must remember - the one that Teacher told us about - you could tread on its tail and it would take 20 mins for the news to travel to its brain to let it know it had been trodden on.
Well, the news that he was getting bloody wet had yet to reach the catatonic (CATatonic - did you see what I did there?) Bubba.  His puddle was growing.

Philip checked sign of water on the floor.  Somehow this was coming from the roof and getting into the downstairs room.   The plot thickened.

We called our hero, Marty, he of the bathroom fame, and he promised to take a look the next day when the deluge should be over.
In the meantime we were despondent.  We can't afford another huge maintenance bill.  Does it ever stop?
Marty arrived the next day, took a look, and asked whether we had cleaned out the gutters yet this year?
The top gutters!!!   We have lower gutters, over the first level, but he was asking about the top ones.  Those way up there where the eagles nest.  Those ones that you would need breathing equipment and a team of Sherpas to reach.
Those ones. 
This year?   We have never, ever cleaned 'those' gutters since we have lived here - almost 8 years.
Marty said, "Well, there's your problem." - like men who know what they are talking about always say.
He offered to lend Philip his 500 ft long ladder to do them or if Philip didn't fancy climbing up that far ( without a parachute ) , then he would come and do them.
It didn't take long for Philip to decide that he would prefer ( would rather eat a truck than climb that high on a ladder ) that Marty take his life in his hands and venture up there.
After I got home from work yesterday Marty came and said he had done them all, front and back, plus the downspouts, while I was out.
He said they were absolutely crammed full.  Even the downspouts were totally full.  He said the squirrels must have been very busy as, apart from leaves and debris, they were full of acorns.
It was a relief that they were all done but I can't help thinking about those poor squirrels and how mad they will be when they find out someone has pinched all their nuts.

Monday, May 12, 2014



Firstly well done to Conchita who won the Eurovision Song Contest for Austria.
Anyone who reads this in the USA will have no idea what it is all about but this song contest was first started by Moses as a half time show during the gladiator battles at the Colosseum in Rome.
I think that was how it started.  That or it might have been a Druidic sacrificial ceremony. Anyway, it has been going on a long time.
The rest of Europe seem to take it very seriously whereas the Brits, with their twisted sense of humour, love poking fun at all the competitors, including our own.
The more outrageous, dire, ridiculous - the better to watch and complain about.
Way better than complaining about the weather.
Being 'over here' I can no longer watch it live.  I tried the interwebs but it is no good without our commentator, who has such a good time making fun of it all.
I miss it so much.  I would love to host a Eurovision party - if only we could get it here.  Come on BBC Eurovision please.
 I did listen to it online, hosted by Ken Bruce but it isn't the same. 
Anyway, I am abso bloody lutely thrilled that Conchita won.  The dress, the beard, the "Shirley Bassey esq" song - wonderful.
But, above means that next year the other countries will go all out to be even more outrageous than a bloke with a beard in a frock.
What visions will we have from Europe next time?
I can't wait already.

This morning Merv supplied me with more blog fodder.
There are a couple of workmen kicking around.  We had a notification that they would be messing with the gas mains soon and it looks like these guys are measuring up for whatever they are planning. least they are trying to measure up.
It isn't easy when you have a 'sidewalk supervisor'.....and we have one of the best.
Take a peek.

That isn't even outside Merv's house.
He was obviously pointing out what they were doing wrong but the very best bit of this photo is the young chap who has obviously had enough of Merv and his instructions and was ready to tell him what he could do with them.
Dear Merv -  you do keep me amused.

Lastly, a big ole thank you to our Tootsie.
Last night I was sitting at the computer when she came rubbing around my legs.......nothing unusual about that.
"Oh come on then," quoth I as she often likes to squish up behind me on the chair.
Then she started shrieking at me.  She was squealing and meowing, really loudly.  This is not at all like her.  She is a big girl but she is always so very quiet, not like some of our others.  She barely ever makes a sound.  What was wrong with her?
I leaned forward thinking she wanted more room to jump up and as I did noticed a bloody great wasp/hornet thing on the back of the chair by my shoulder.
I was out of that chair blooming quick I can tell you.
We got a glass and caught the thing.  Philip put it outside, but Tootsie spent the next 15 minutes on the chair searching for it.
So, Tootsie is my hero.  She, most certainly saved me from being stung by that horrid thing.

We have withdrawn our application to foster that other cat.  They don't seem as desperate as I thought and we have agreed that, as they don't know if she gets on with female cats and we have quite a few, that it would be best if she went elsewhere.
We are very fortunate with our girls.  Females don't always get along and I don't want to cause a problem here.

I was supposed to be going swimming this morning with my friend but we are currently under a 'severe thunderstorm warning' so we have decided to put it off until Friday. Severe thunderstorms here have a habit of turning into a 'tornado warning'.

Isn't 'Hodgepodge' a glorious word.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Nailed it.

Got the results of my Archaeology course.
I passed......yay!!

I got 98.7% which I didn't think was too shabby.  
I have signed up for another one on Animal Behaviour.
I hope I find it as interesting as this one.  It starts on June 2nd. 
The Archaeology one was run by Brown University, which I am told, by my dentist, (and he should know) is an "Ivy League" university.
I have no idea what "Ivy League" means but when he saw my look of puzzlement, he said, "You know like Harvard."
Well, I still don't know but it does sound rather posh so I am very happy with it.

I went swimming with my friend on Monday.
She is lovely really.......apart from the car thing.
I told her about the blankets I have been knitting for the cats in the shelter so she took me home and gave me a load of wool she had spare.

I told her our new car was Australian.
She said, "Oh, that's alright then."

Oh, and in a weak moment I offered to foster a young cat that is going to be homeless in 10 days time.
Strictly FOSTER !!!!  Not keeping.  She is from the shelter that we got Sally from.
They take cats from animal control where they would be put to sleep.
I won't know for a few days if she will be coming to us as I said I would take her if no one else stepped up.

I think I shall have to call this one.........' PASSING THROUGH

Friday, May 2, 2014

Fairy lights

Firstly - Art Deco ish picture finished.
It has been sparkled and framed and is now in the bathroom.
I am quite pleased with the result.
The hardest thing was keeping it simple.  I now plan to do another painting for the other wall in there.  I have a picture forming in my mind, so it is just getting it on to canvas next.
That sounds so simple if you say it quick.

I love the lights at Christmas and I have been gradually adding lights to the house that are year round.
I just find them cheerful and relaxing - all at the same time.

I have these in the kitchen.
It is hard to see in this picture but there are fairy lights and flowers. 
I love them.
I should have tidied up before I took a photo really, sorry about that.

This is the main window in the living room.
They are little flowers too.
Ha ha....just realised this looks a bit like a sacrificial altar.....
It wasn't meant to.  

These ones, as you can probably see, are at the bottom of the stairs.
The table they are on was made by my dad about 20 years ago.

These ones are by the front door.   Another altar by the looks of it.
This one must be to the Wolf God.

 Dining room this time.

Yes yes....I know what it looks like now.
I have never thought about it before.
These are inside glass spheres and give quite a nice effect I think.
Until I went round taking this photos I never realised how many little fairy lights I have.
Pagan altars and Christmas there's a combination.