October 29, 2014

Heidi Has a New Vet & New Treatment

As you may remember a few posts back I talked about Heidi's ongoing problem with allergies that have become worse over the past year. It was noted when I bought her from Basset Rescue (GABR), along with her medical records, that she had an ongoing allergy problem. So it is something we have been dealing with not every month but usually 6- 8 months out of the year.  Over the past year the treatment from my vet had changed from a pill to a shot. I was under the assumption it was an allergy shot, like you or I would get if we had allergies. Months ago after I dug a little deeper on the internet about the ingredients of the shot, I found they had changed from a pill for allergies to a steroid shot.

I didn't like that change so I started looking at other alternatives last spring. No one or no test could pinpoint what she was allergic to. Was it a food allergy, grass or walking through the hay field, environmental or seasonal.

I always suspected environmental because it didn't last all 12 months of the year but also occurred at different times through all 4 seasons. I had also tried different types of dry food, grain free, lamb based, duck & chicken based and even salmon based dry kibble. Last summer I tried a food supplement called Dinovite without any change in her skin problem. These past couple of months I have added coconut oil to her food with nothing really working.

No change ... so I didn't think it was food related.

Throughout the past year I had tried different antibiotic sprays, specialized shampoos with oatmeal or aloe vera. As one reader suggested I tried a solution to treat mites. Nothing improved. Last week I found some antibiotics left from Winston's script last spring and gave Heidi the last of those, which amounted to 2-1/2 days of antibiotics .... improvement.

Since her annual check up, annual shots and the steroid shot in late September I had decided for the first time in about 8 years that I was going to look for a different vet. There were other reasons to look somewhere else besides the treatment. Due to my location, plus living in a small town, there are different vets to choose from but 16-25 miles away. I do have a local vet but stopped going to him 8 years ago. I was about to chose  a vet that is my neighbor but has his office 18 miles away. He is more into the treatment of farm animals for the local Amish/Mennonite farms 18 miles away but also uses alternative treatments for dogs. For some reason I had not called his office for an appointment yet.

Heidi's skin problems came back very rapidly after the antibiotics were stopped and was in the worse shape I had ever seen. To help relieve the redness, swelling and I'm sure soreness, I gave her a bath where not only did she soak with the shampoo but also a nice soak in warm water after the shampoo rinse. She laid in the water up to her neck almost dozing off.

I had decided to call the next morning for an appointment for the new vet 18 miles away. It was after their office hours so it would have to wait till Tuesday morning before I could call. I guess timing is everything. Late Monday night I received an email from my friend that lives in that town 18 miles away, where my neighbor's vet office is located, asking if I had seen the new vet in my town. I had passed this place twice in the past month on my way out of town but had not noticed the house that had recently sold was turned into a new veterinary clinic. I had missed their sign in the front yard.

I spent a few minutes reading their website about their business, the staff, their services and treatments. They sounded like they had a good business plan along with being a paperless office. I made my appointment online, after midnight. They confirmed my appointment by email and a phone call yesterday morning. I normally wouldn't write about a vet visit in detail but in this case I am. Not a lot of detail but just a few highlights that stood out, changes from my past vet and finally some answers after years of asking if there was anything else we could do for her besides just a shot that was no longer working for a month or so but closer to 2 weeks. Was there a different kind of food I should be feeding her?

This older house had been remodeled into a vet clinic ... very nice design and workmanship. After the receptionist double checked my address, phone number and email address that I had posted online ... Heidi and I proceeded to our treatment room. Soon after the vet tech stepped inside, sat her laptop on the table where you would normally lift your dog or cat for them to inspect. But she sat on the floor to get to Heidi's level ... asking questions as she petted her. At no time was I asked to put Heidi up on the table so she would be at the vet's level. We covered a lot of information with questions and answers. The only time I saw her go to the computer was after she took Heidi's pulse and temperature. That is something I want you to remember for later in this story.

Next the vet came in. She also sat her laptop on the table, where I would normally lift my hound for them to look out. Remember this is a paperless office so they had laptops and no folder with written files. The vet also sat on the floor at Heidi's level and gave her a thorough inspection while asking questions and giving me answers to my questions. A lot of information was covered between us. Not once did the vet go to her computer to type what was being said. She left the room after we were finished our discussion and her inspection of Heidi then came back with 3 options for me to consider based on her analysis.

Steroid shots nor allergy shots were an option.

During our discussion I was really impressed with her answers because not only where they detailed answers but the reasons why things were happening and how to treat it. They were the same questions I had asked my previous vet over the past 3 years of having Heidi treated for allergies ... only this time I had answers and not another steroid shot for the "quick band-aide" fix.

She recommended a medicated shampoo to be used only until the other meds started to work. I found out it was not a food allergy. It was not something that could be cured and gone for good, it will be an ongoing problem just as it has been the past 5+ years for Heidi. I also was relieved to find out it was not a grass or a hay field issue. It is most likely an airborne environmental issue like any person has and can be treated with medication without steroids.

What is going to be different is getting her away from those steroid shots ... which is something I wanted. It is also going to be a program where once under control, it would not be something that would flash back after 3-4 weeks causing her pain, swelling and soreness ... it would be under control. At the same time it would be a treatment only when the allergies are active.

I chose the Atopica "The Comfort Club" program. It's a modified oral capsule (cyclosporine) USP for dogs, the same ingredient you or I would be able to take for skin issues. I also left with the Antiseptic Shampoo along with 50mg capsules of Benedryl for her itching, to be used only until the Atopica took effect.

Since it was a paperless office I only walked out with the medications and a small debit card receipt, knowing my invoice would be emailed to me in a pdf file. That was nice because I am also a paperless person and always took those receipts in the past and scanned them when I got home into pdf files. I had their invoice in my inbox within 10 minutes after leaving the office.

The surprise came around 4:07pm when I received an email from the vet office and an attached pdf file named "Heidi's Health Report Card". All of the discussions with the vet tech and the vet were typed in a detailed summary. (They were paying attention to what was said). They even included what kind of dog food she eats and what the main ingredients were. They included the vital signs with temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, pulse quality, CRT, hydration, and body condition. They listed her condition in a categorized list based on their observation...even noting her ears were clean, something they mentioned at the time that they don't normally see in basset hounds.

They asked me if they could take a couple of pictures of Heidi's skin issues for their files and website, as they wanted to track improvements of her condition.

Heidi was cooperative throughout the visit, even rolling over on her back to show the vet her stomach and legpits issues ... without asking.

I'll update my leaf removal process in my next post.

October 21, 2014

More Computer Play & Leaf Removal

Not a lot has been going on since the rain stopped late last week. I continue to read blogs of people traveling, on retirement and sports. Some of the blogs on my blog list I moved to my Feedly account. That is a really good free program that I like and it's easy to keep up with all the different blogs I read.

Since late Thursday I have been having a lot of enjoyment installing, and learning about the new Apple OS update called Yosemite. For the readers that have Windows PC this probably will not be of much interest but I have a few readers that have Macs, iPads and iPhones, so maybe some information here will help them. When I have looked at the store, I haven't liked any Window changes after XP, especially not Windows 7 or 8. Their prices are tempting though for laptops.

I switched to Apple products in October 2014 after spending almost 14 years on Windows PC's. I was willing to pay more for what I have found to be a very reliable system with zero malware problems or "blue screen of death". I was having major malware problems towards the end of my PC usage and it was almost to deciding to reformat my hard drive and reinstall or buy a new computer. I chose to go in the direction of Apple and buy a new computer. Their computers have the maintenance system built in so I no longer had to spend time defragging the hard drive nor using 5 different programs to seek, find and destroy different malware. I've been running my iMac with no anti-virus and have had zero issues of any kind in my 4 years of ownership. (knock on wood)

I also have started my annual tree leaf cleanup. Due to laziness and being a dreamer, my first step is to do nothing and watch the winds, the leaves, then decide at what point I need to get outside (lol) and start by either raking and burning or use my leaf machine to blow them into a central location, then suck them into a bag that is too small and break them down into mulch material that I usually pile in the area in back that is not mowed.

I wait for a couple of reasons. A few times in the past years during the day very strong winds have come through and basically cleaned the whole yard and blew them over the hill out of sight. I didn't have to do anything those years. I'm hopeful of that this year. The other times they will be blown to a central location where little raking is involved and I can clean them in a few hours. There are a lot of leaves on the ground today and the trees are not even half bare. So there is a chance the longer I wait the larger the leaf piles are and of course longer to clean up, then again ... there is always the chance the wind will take care of them for me.

Back to the new Apple OS X. First of all I am not an expert. I'm a common user, that reads the iMac Forum (Mac Rumors) for most of my answers or use my best friend Google Search to find my answers when I have questions on how to do things on a computer. In the past I have kind of waited for the dust to settle before doing any upgrades on my iPhones, iMac or iPad but this time I decided to go for it when it was available and if it didn't work, I could revert back to the previous OS X Mavericks via my Time Machine backup. Like any new release either in Apple or Windows you will always hear both sides of the story in either love or hatred but after 4 days of operation I can say I love all the changes including the changes to Safari.

With my Exede Satellite Internet monthly limit of 15Gb's per month, I do all my uploads and updates during the free period between midnight - 5am. I don't stay up that long but recently even before the OS change I have been staying up until 3am most nights just because I am a true night person. So the past week my sleep schedule as been all out weird to some ... but it's beautiful outside at 4am when I take a computer break.

So a little past midnight last Thursday night on the first day of availability I downloaded the free OS Yosemite and installed it as a update and not a clean install. I've never had problems in the past doing it that way so I thought I'd continue the same way. After about 3 hours I had the system installed and the fun began. I had to force myself to go to sleep at 5am and that gave me a couple of hour nap until Winston HOWLS by 730am to go outside.

Nope ... no problems at all !!

Sure, there were some changes where I might have to change the way I do things or at least do some research and find a while to make some adjustments to get some features back to the way I had them....but I like change, so I have done some major changes on the way I use my browser without keeping the same processes of the past system.

In fact Safari has improved so much on this update that I have made it my default browser and have left Google Chrome ... something that I thought I'd never do. I moved my dock to the left side from the bottom and stretched my website window down to the bottom of my monitor. I have a choice to have a list of notification on the right side such as calendar, weather, time, etc...but since I'm retired my calendar means nothing anymore and weather and different time zones don't mean enough to have the notification center open on a fulltime basis. So it's doc on the left side and all content filling up the 27" monitor.

I will say at least on my "old" iMac, i3, 4Gb ram ... that Safari is really fast. I have also tried different designs such as bringing the favorites bar back to the top of the screen, for a few days like the old days but decided to go with the new design changes in Safari and follow that. So far, I love the new changes of surfing the web.

A couple of strange bugs ... every time I start my computer the background picture on my main monitor changes to one that I used last spring. So I moved the picture I like to my lower desktop and with a couple of clicks, I reset my background picture upon every restart, hoping that will be fixed in the next update. The other thing and it might be the 'cold war' between Apple and Google ... when I open my blog there is no way to log into my blog in the upper right screen, or new post or design. I use Google Chrome to write new posts or look at the design. I have a feeling that will not change as long as Google and Apple are not playing well with each other, lately.

Last summer while I was waiting to decide whether to buy a new iPhone 6 or the 5s because I was due an upgrade and a new phone contract, I did some reading and found out that a 5s would have the upgraded features. I found out yesterday before upgrading to OS 8.1 that my 5s phone will not have the ability to use Apple Pay, which is ok with me because I'm not sure I want to use Apple Pay anyway ... I'll wait for it to be a requirement in a few years, as I am sure it will eventually get rid of credit cards as we know it, with Google, Windows, Amazon, eBay getting into the electronic payment market. All of my devices have synched without any problems. You have the choice if you want your iPhone and iPad to have the same internet history and bookmarks. I have chose to do that but I can change back later with a click and synchronize the device.

I also found out that my iMac was made right at the cutoff to use the new Apple feature called "handoff". Meaning I could start an email or work on an excel spreadsheet on my iMac and finish it on my iPhone or iPad ... not a big deal to me. My computer missed the cutoff by a .02 on their build number.

In summary for readers that use Apple products ... the new updates are nice, in my case work well without any program or computer hardware issues. One thing to note is the HD space required on the iPad and iPhone is around 5.6Gb, so some might have to delete some old unused apps, maybe some photos to a different drive, to free up space. On my older iMac I am finding things are moving faster and no "spinning beach balls".

I can't promise it will work smooth for you but I can say on my equipment both OS updates have worked flawlessly.

Yes, I have been using my Nikon D3200 camera almost daily and posting most of those photos on my Flickr account. There is a link on the blog in the upper left called "My Other Photos" if you want to see them. The hounds are great and spend a lot of time outside, except Heidi because she is the Queen of the couch and a true hermit staying inside unless we walk or her short trips for relieving her kidneys. As they say you cannot lead a horse to water, she is free to do as she pleases. After all, she's a basset hound and they are a stubborn bred at times.

I have gone back to Fromm dog food. It cost more than I like but I can see a difference in the hounds when I feed them Fromm food. Family owned for a 100 years, all products are made in the USA and they have never had a recall. They are 1 of 3 dog food companies that deal in just dog food, no other markets.

I'll add more pictures in my next post.

All is good in the 'tropics' of southern Indiana and in retirement.

October 14, 2014

Storms & Sadie Forces Her Way Onto The Couch

It's been doing a lot of this so not much has been going on except a lot of rain passing through with spots of sunshine before the next storm. Some severe weather was forecasted but as usual in my location, the severe weather seems to split at the Indiana - Illinois state line and follows I-70 toward Indianapolis and the Ohio River towards Louisville, KY. That also happens in the winter when the snow is coming from the west.

Believe it or not, my gutters are not plugged up but more rain than they can handle in this particular storm. I was on the roof last week before the forecasted rain making sure the gutters were clear and could do their job.

Needless to say, I haven't been too far from home and have spent most of my time being lazy ... as have the hounds. I was able to get some sunset pictures, and some bad quality pictures of Sadie that tells an interesting story. She never fails to entertain in any kind of weather.

These are in order and from this past week, taken without any filter, standing in the same spot every day facing due west.

Severe thunderstorm warnings plus a tornado watch until 1am this morning.. but like I said, it splits and goes in two different directions so the warnings for both were later canceled.

The leaves are starting to change a little color but nothing dynamic like the Aspens out in Colorado. 

Now to Sadie, who at times has cases of "cabin fever". We don't take the daily walk when it is raining or during thunderstorms so she will bring a ball or a bone to where I am sitting while on the computer, drop that ball or bone expecting and getting a long session of fetch.

For readers that are unfamiliar with the bloodhound breed, they have their own rules. At times Sadie will use those rules to her advantage. She is never aggressive but she tries to intimidate the basset hounds when she wants their food or when she wants their spot on the couch. You can see the "bloodhound property laws" here toward the bottom of the post.

In this case, Winston was sleeping in a deep snoring state. He isn't moving no matter what but that does not bother Sadie because she has a plan. Due to his length I am pressed to the far right side with no room to move and there is just enough room for Sadie to sit ... but as the pictures show, she isn't interested in just sitting ... she wants the couch to sleep on, with not a lot of room available. She actually would prefer that Winston and I get off "her" couch but when we don't move, Sadie goes to Plan B. My couch is longer than a love seat but shorter than a couch with two oversized cushions.

Sorry for the poor quality but I was trying to get these taken quick without waking Winston up. I was holding an iPad Mini with one hand and probably to close for clear pictures.

Sadie sees a small spot available on the couch and even after telling her "no", she takes a seat. This is only the first step of her plan to create space for her nap. As you see there is more dog than space available.

Her usual process of intimidation is nothing more than holding her head over the hound that has something she wants, in this case she wants the space that Winston is using to sleep. He doesn't move, and doesn't wake up.

Sadie then looks at me as if I am going to wake Winston up and tell him to get off her couch or if she is lucky I would also get up to move off the couch. At the same time she is finding out if I am going to tell her to get down off the couch again or if she can proceed with her plan.

Once she sees the coast is clear and I am not going to do anything to her ... she does a slow sliding 360 to position herself in the last small space left on the couch, as I feel myself sliding to the right against the couch arm. She declared that space as hers when she jumped up on the couch. Still not enough room to lay down.

As she moves into her sleeping position, she uses her weight to push Winston up against me, thus moving me more to the right with no space available.

She continues making small adjustments by using her weight and strength, to gain just a little bit more space. Plan completed and now taking a nap just like she planned. Winston is now forced to hang his head over the edge to continue his deep slumber, due to lack of space.

That was about the highlight of my week, besides some great football games on Saturday and Sunday. It currently looks like the last part of the storm has moved east of me and nothing forecasted until Wednesday and after that a week of sunshine.

The pace of retirement living is great.

October 06, 2014

Sadie's Nose

It has become such a habit of letting the hounds outside when they want to go out, to where I have forgotten to check if we have any visitors nearby before opening the door. We go out the same door every time. I use to glance outside the door window to make sure there were no other dogs, birds, squirrels, cats or other animals in the near vicinity before opening the door .. but Saturday morning I wasn't paying attention.

I didn't glance outside before opening the door and just as I did, Sadie had already barged through the door into a full sprint at olympic sprinter speed along with those other two short legged bassets baying behind her. What ever it was had already darted from under my Toyota FJ and scaled the fence running along my driveway, and down over the hill. As soon as the (squirrel??) was out of site all three of them had to return to the scene of the crime to start their own investigation.

I was not able to take pictures of all of them and basically the only picture I came up with that was any good, is the one you see. Between scrambling to keep the hounds from taking off on me and hoping they would remain on top of the hill and not head toward the highway 100' down the drive, I didn't have a lot of time to run back into the house to grab my camera and snap pictures of all them scrambling in different directions. By the time I had my camera Sadie was the only one on the hunt.

If you look right below the silver color of the bumper you will see Sadie's nose as she is stretched out tracking the smell of what I think was a squirrel. Every time since then I have glanced outside before opening the door and will get back into the habit of doing so.

The next picture I took of Sadie late Saturday night. It's nothing out of the ordinary except being one of the first pictures I took with my new iPad Mini. I was holding the iPad out arm's length over her head so I would not wake her. I was curious how well the iPad picture would look.  I like the new Nikon DSLR so much that I almost want to take every picture with it but realize in the mode of hound spontaneity it is not possible to use just one certain camera, that you have to grab the one nearest to you.

She was into a deep loud snore at this point and had lost all interest in watching the last football game of the day/night.

Taken with an iPad Mini
It was cold (50's) with rain off and on most of the weekend. I didn't get far from the couch and never left the house for the weekend. With the cold mild winds Saturday during the day, Winston decided he wanted to spend time outside and wouldn't come back inside. He sat like this for quite a while enjoying the colder temps. I even went back inside the house and when I came back outside 10 minutes later to check on him, he was still sitting just like this, like a statue and the cool breeze blowing toward him.

Heidi has decided that she is only good for a couple of days per week getting her picture taken and was uncooperative whenever I pointed the camera at her his weekend. Funny basset.

That's all for now.

October 05, 2014

A Covered Bridge

At what point in time does a covered bridge not remain original or historic? I don't know the answer to that question since I don't follow covered bridges but the part "extensive structural renovation and replacement of timbers" made me wonder and asked myself that question.

On cold winter nights I can see a light off into the SW distance across the plowed fields and through the trees with no leaves. I know that is the covered bridge. It is a nice covered bridge.

Also on Friday or Saturday nights when it's quiet I can hear kids hanging out over there. It's has enough space for cars and trucks to pull over, has a few camping spots along a creek that looks to be about 50% low. The water is muddy so any swimming would be out of the question.

Late Wednesday afternoon I decided to run over and take some photographs. I debated whether to take the bag that held the other lens or take the 2nd leans by itself ... I took neither ... bad decision.

I mounted the 55mm-200mm lens and took off. I wasn't even finished with the first shot when I wished I had brought the 18mm-55mm lens. I drove the shortest distance, parked and didn't realize until I had walked through the bridge that I had parked and started my photographs on the backside of the bridge.

Even with the renovations I found it to be a pretty neat bridge, plus it's nearby. Due to the amount of traffic I left the hounds at home.

I'll be hibernating this weekend, more than normal. At least I can head south today to replenish the food supply and miss all the traffic from the east and west that will fill this small town for their annual Apple Festival. It will end Sunday with a parade featuring the high school band. With the high school's small number of students, they do not play football therefore this parade is just one of the few highlights for the band.

I'm not a festival person, wasn't even as a young child. My mom would take me along with my sister to festivals, she loved them, but even as a 5-6 year old I would walk the around the festivals thinking of the football games I was missing on tv ... in those days there were only a couple of games on Saturday's whereas now they will be showing 5-7 games at one time and then slim down to 2-3 after 10:30pm eastern time. One word can describe the reason for the increase of televised games ... money.

I went to the festival the first year I lived here. I couldn't believe the amount of traffic backed up on the highways coming from the east and west. The local police department, county sheriffs' and temp deputies direct traffic. So ... from 1998 onward I have not attended the popular festival. Too many people for me walking around. I'll hide out with the hounds instead, watching college football.

That's it for today.

October 03, 2014

A Year Ago Today & Other Thoughts

One thing about using a blog as a journal of sorts, it is easy to go back to certain times of the year or a particular month to see what was going on with you, where your mind was and what was going on.

Since my weather here in the "tropics" of southern Indiana turned south last night, with it raining every since, at times very windy and hard rain .. I thought I'd get some blog reading done in my busy retirement schedule at a little past noon.

Ironically it was a year ago yesterday, October 2, that the weather also changed for the worse but that wasn't the big news going on. The big news going on was after a couple of weeks of RV ownership and only 1 long shake down cruise with the hounds included ... I had found an oil leak. If interested you can read about it here.

I can say now, that one small incident poured a lot of doubt into my mind ... enough to put the RV up for sale a few days later just to see what kind of feedback I would get. Also the site I listed it on had a special that day ... list it until it sold for ~$20. So it basically was listed through the winter before selling in early April.

When my eyes picked up that small drop of oil dangling from the hose connector, my first thought was not about the problem but the first three answers I got when I asked five people years before "What do you think or know about RVs?". Three of the five had the same answer ... "They are money pits". All three had owned an RV from all different categories...the Class A, an older Class C and an older Class A.

I guess some people just get lucky and rarely have problems ... or they don't blog about them.

Anyway that was my first thought as I moved my finger up to touch that drop of oil. I spent the next few days around my daytime job, replacing those lines with OEM lines from GM. I'm not a mechanic so to me it was a pain in the ass to do the repair. I wasn't thrilled about the situation. After the test drive all things ran smoothly with no oil seen underneath the RV.

Still those thoughts of having more repairs waiting for me around the corner at unexpected times didn't give me any warm and fuzzy feelings, just a lot of doubt. It is also when I started thinking that the tow vehicle and a trailer might be the best combination for me.

I've gone through all of that in the past, so for new readers you can check the past blogs on the right sidebar if you are curious what went on. Once you open up the "month" link, the posts are listed with the oldest on the bottom.

Now on to just general rambling.

After a few months I am enjoying my internet satellite service ... the speed ... but I am not enjoying the part of trying to stay within 15Gb's per month, it's hard to do. That's my monthly allowance with Exede (prior Wild Blue). I always knew that watching any kind of videos were data suckers but I found out something the other night that changed when I would upload my pictures from my computer to Flickr.

That uploading of pictures also took more data than I thought. So I have to decrease my daily usage the rest of the month to keep within the limit of 15Gb's. The company stated that unlike others, once you reached the limit you would NOT lose internet access but would just have a slower connection. I found out last month when I ran my account to 15Gb with a couple of days to go on purpose, that nothing would load....so it did run slower I guess but you could do nothing as far as the internet. I wanted to see what happened if I hit the limit earlier than 30 days.

Data plans remind me of the new war declared this past week when AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint all came out with new data plans, offering to double your data now for a new contract and a new phone. Nina over at Wheelingit has a very good detailed description of the different plans on her blog today.

If any of you are at the point of changing internet plans while on the road or thinking about it ... I'd take a look at her post today and look at Nina's detailed options available.

A few days ago I did the "devil" of upgrades for my Apple iPhone and iPad. The news was full of horror stories about what would happen if you did the upload at 8.0, but like I said the other day the 8.0.2 seems to be great ... I have no problems a few days later. Sure I have to find and learn some new ways of doing things but that's ok ... I'm happy with the update.

I noticed recently the blog is kind of turning away slightly from RVing posts. Readers have decreased about half from what I use to have before announcing that I wasn't going anywhere. Strangely enough the #1 post searched and read of all time on this blog of three years ... is about the Lil Snoozy Trailer. I get readers looking for information on that trailer on a daily basis and at times it is the most read of all the posts that day. If I were depending on affiliate income with ads all over my blog that decrease in traffic would be a concern ... but as it is, I understand why some people stopped and it has no affect on what I write now or in the future.

The hounds decided to slow down their number of photo shoots and have taken a couple of days off. With it raining outside both basset hounds will get no further than the roof overhang and the bloodhound will sit next to me outside with a look as if "what are you taking me outside for, I'm not going out in that weather".  So there is a break in dog photos, but they will return soon.

So like I was saying the RV posts have kind of decreased lately. I haven't been looking at any trailers for sale nor glancing on Craig's List for RVs that are local. I moved my large folder of RV bookmarks back to the general bookmark population and off my favorites bar that runs across the top of my screen .. so out of sight. I still read all the blogs along my left sidebar on a daily basis.

I still have urges to hit the road. But what in? When I saw Tom's blog up in Alaska yesterday and his weekly forecast posted on his blog, I commented that I would pack up and leave with that forecast. Yet, those temps are nothing close to what what we will experience in the main months of winter. I already can feel I don't want to put up with that kind of weather.

So the travel bug still lingers deep inside the brain cells.

October 01, 2014

Eye Level Pictures, iOS 8.0.2 Update & Picture Storage

I had a comment from Tom a couple of days ago, that his best pictures of his dog were taken at below eye level. He even mentioned that might be hard to do with Heidi ... I found out yesterday it was doable but interesting laying on the ground looking up or close to eye level with two basset hounds. During the process I may have taken "the best" picture I have ever taken of Winston after 10 years. Here is that picture.

Of course when I got down on the ground with a camera in one hand, all three hounds thought I was either hurt or playing, and either way they were all going to run to me and make sure I was ok or find out what the playing strategy was. I mean it was three hound heads right on my face and Sadie's paw in the middle of my chest.  lol

I got back to my feet, took Sadie over to where I could connect her to her anchored rope. Of course that made her quite curious on what was going on because both basset hounds were able to walk or run freely. She was confused right before I walked over to hook her up, at least she stayed there to pose for a picture.

As soon as Heidi saw that Sadie was hooked up and she could get out of Sadie's range, she took off sprinting ... it surprised me enough that I didn't have the camera ready to take a really good picture but did take one that was a little blurry.

With the two bassets now in a relaxed mode, I was able to lay at the base of a very small incline in the yard. That position got me close to their eye level. After I looked at the pictures I had to agree with what Tom said, I thought they were much better pictures when taking them at below eye level or in the basset hound's case ... "close" to eye level. It could be hard to do that the majority of the time though.

As you see, after a few short weeks from receiving an allergy shot, Heidi's skin rash is coming back on her lower rear legs and all four feet. They are worse this morning as I type this. I have a couple of new things to try that fellow readers have suggested. I will try those separately to see if/what works and hopefully will not do any more shots.

After a little more reading about Picasa 3.9, Flickr, and iPhoto, I found some information on a blog that made it very easy to understand. I found out that I was wrong what I thought about Picasa 3.9. I understood the process, which I don't like having it download every picture you have ever had on your computer even after deleting them, but I was wrong thinking where it was. I found out that it is on YOUR HARD DRIVE, and isn't web based like Picasa Web Album ... or like Flickr. I found out that Picasa 3.9 was just like iPhoto or my new Nikon ViewNX 2 ... to edit and store pictures.

I knew it was a picture editor and storage but I thought it was located on the web, not on my hard drive.

After playing around with Picasa 3.9 some more, I decided to stick to the web based Flickr. I like the program a lot. The main reason I was looking for a different storage program for all of my pictures to begin with ... I wanted them stored "off location" in case my computer crashes or I have a problem with the external hard drive backup.

It is a long process uploading them to Flickr and I found out yesterday it sucks up a lot of my monthly internet data limit of 15Gb's per month. Just like any other website when you are uploading files, it uses a lot of data. I do have a free period of unlimited data I can use between midnight and 5am, so I will do my Flickr uploads after midnight.

I'm sure most of you have heard in the news about all the trouble Apple is having with their latest iOS 8.0 update. They came out with a fix to those problems in 8.0.2. I did some reading online at MacRumors Forum to find out what the geeks were saying and as well as the normal users like me. I normally hold off before doing any new updates to the iOS, but I wanted to check out this new Health program that Apple has doing ... it basically can track about everything imaginable about your health, even your sleep routine, without any wrist devices.

With a lot of users not having problems of any kind and after a lot of reading, I thought it was safe to do the updates to my iPhone 5s and my iPad Mini. There is the option of doing these downloads (huge file) via wifi but I was reading on that geek forum, it was recommended to do the following simple steps:

For Apple devices only !!!

1. Do not use wifi, plug your device into your computer and use iTunes to update.
2. Download only ... do not do the download and install option.
3. After the download is complete, back up your device to your computer, not iCloud.
4. In your device settings, under the general, reset, click "reset all settings".
5. Install the update
6. Set up device like a new devise.
7. Then restore from backup.

One important thing is NOT to sign up for iCloud Drive yet. That causes a big problem of losing documents in some cases if you have saved your documents to iCloud Drive. It will not work until the new OS update for Mac comes out in a few months, called Yosemite.

Now, once that OS update does come out for iMacs, Macbook Pros and Mac Air .. called Yosemite ... and you activate iCloud Drive ... you will be able to use the Office programs in all three devises and even start an email or work on one device while finishing it on your other device.

Right now I think the iOS 8.0.2 is worth it, just to be able to use Apple's new "HealthKit"....which is called just "Health" once that program is automatically uploaded during the update.

After my updates to both devices, I've had zero problems and have seen nothing going on with my two devices that i have heard on the news. At least in my case iOS 8.0.2 works great.

For Window readers, what I have just said will probably confuse some. I am not sure what PC users have the ability to do with these new Apple apps because I don't have Windows PC. For Apple readers, I hope this information helps.

To close this post that has turned out longer than I planned ... I thought my iPhone took great pictures when using it most of the time for the past couple of years. As it should, the Nikon D3200 takes so much better pictures it's hard to describe. I am really happy that I made the camera purchase.

That's all from southern Indiana.