Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Posted by Stranded in Sonoma

Today, June 19, 2013, my kitty cat Hazel died.

Hazel (because of her hazel-colored eyes) had been suffering from chylothorax (fluid around the lungs) for about 2 months. It was difficult for her to take normal breaths. We could often see her breathing in little puffs around her abdomen. When we took her to the vet, we found that she also had a hyperthyroid condition and had diabetes as well. The vet drained about 80% of the fluid from around her lungs and she got much better quickly. The prescribed treatment to combat the chylothorax is a low-fat diet and an enzyme called Rutin. Unfortunately, the Rutin had to be pulverized from a pill and put into her food. She refused to eat any food with the Rutin in it and she got steadily worse. There is no liquid form of Rutin and the pills, even cut in half, are quite large and difficult to get her to swallow. We realized that we would have to continue to pay to have the fluid drained every 2-3 weeks.

After much soul searching, my wife and I decided that even if we were able to solve the chylothorax problem, there was still the hyperthyroid and diabetes to contend with. We realized that her quality of life would be quite limited and we didn't want to wait until it was too late. We just couldn't see her suffer any longer. Besides, Hazel was 16 years old and had led a pretty good life — for a cat.

We got Hazel and her sister, Corky (real name: Corkscrew) from our friend in the summer of 1997, whose cat had just had a litter. Both parents were semi-feral and we were a bit worried that the kittens would grow up with a wandering eye for fields afar. We needn't have worried with Hazel. While her sister Corky would be missing for days and even weeks at a time, Hazel was our watch cat. You could always see her on guard duty walking around the top of the fence and protecting our house from birds and snakes and mice. Once, I remember getting up at night to investigate some noise in our garage. When I opened the door, I saw two raccoons going after the cat kibble in a cabinet. (We used to leave the garage door open a bit for the cats.) I tried to get our dog Jasmine (a Black Lab mix) to at least take a few steps into the garage and start barking. No dice. The dog was hiding behind me! Then Hazel stepped lightly into the garage, got up on the hood of our van, puffed up to a slightly impressive size, and stared down the raccoons! I made a noise grabbing a broom and the raccoons left. Hazel, proud of her medal-worthy defense of hearth and home, got down from the van and walked into the house with the quiet assurance of a job well done.

When Hazel was young, she used to play regularly with our dog Jasmine. We would see them playing and Hazel would put her entire head into Jasmine's mouth! Jasmine never bit down and just held Hazel's head lightly in her mouth like she would a retrieved bird. Then she'd let go and the two would start playing again. I would often see one of Hazel's claws caught in the loose skin around Jasmine's mouth. It never seemed to bother the dog and the head-in-the-mouth game would be played again and again. Neither tired of it and it was a source of amazement for the whole family.

One of the funniest things she would do was when you were going to the bathroom. You would be sitting on the toilet and you would hear this scratching at the door. As you opened the door, there sat Hazel, staring at you, in all of your missing dignity. She would walk towards you and look up at you. There was nothing you could do except to scratch her under her chin. It's as if she knew she had a captive audience and that you would give her a little bit of loving to forget about your undignified predicament.

Hazel lived with us at 4 houses, through 3 moves, and 16 years of unconditional love. When we got to the house we live in currently, Corky took off to live down the street because there is a wide open field for her to show off her hunting prowess. She lives with a new family now. As for Hazel, she ran the roost. Our next door neighbors had 3 cats and the cats had had full run of our property for over a year before we got there, without interruption. When Hazel showed up, somehow those other cats just knew that Hazel was in charge. She would be lying on the top of the fence (monorailing), with her back to a neighbor's cat, and she wouldn't flinch a muscle. The other cat would just turn and go back the way it had come. They would start fights with other neighborhood cats, but not with Hazel. Even as she got older, they gave her that type of respect animals seem to reserve for the elderly. Hazel would spend winter nights inside and summer nights outside. She never wandered away. Not once. As her playmate Jasmine's condition deteriorated to the point where she couldn't even climb the stairs (to sleep on her doggie bed at the foot of our bed during the night), Hazel seemed to know something was up. Sometimes, Hazel would spend the night downstairs too.

Then, in November of 2009, after 14 years of love, companionship, smiles, and finally, tears, we had to put Jasmine down. Today, it was Hazel's time. As I drove her to the vet that final time, I tried to catch all of the traffic lights red; just so she could be with me for a few extra precious moments. But I caught them all green. Every one. It's as if He was saying, "It's okay to do this and to do it quickly. You're doing the right thing." I held her in my arms as she passed and I cried, not like a baby, but I sobbed aloud like an adult that feels the loss of a loved one.

Goodbye, Hazel-bayzel. It's time to go play with Jasmine. She is waiting for you there.  


Monday, May 6, 2013

Just the music on the radio...

Posted by Stranded in Sonoma

From the Summer of 1977 to the Summer of 1978. I can still remember having some of the most memorable times of my life. Just out of high school, working, making a little money, my first car, hanging out with friends, going to parties, dating the foxes (hot babes in the 1970s vernacular), and lucky to date one in particular. We used to listen to these on the radio. This list of songs reminds me of you. Thank you for the wonderful memories.

Billy JoelJust The Way You Are
Fleetwood MacDreams
Yvonne EllimanIf I Can't Have You
PlayerBaby Come Back
Rod StewartYou're In My Heart
Bob SegerNight Moves
Jackson Browne Runnin' On Empty
Fleetwood MacYou Make Loving Fun
Johnny RiversSwayin' To The Music
Steven BishopOn And On
Roberta FlackThe Closer I Get To You 
Bee GeesHow Deep Is Your Love

Monday, February 7, 2011

Love Songs

Here is another playlist you might prefer. These love songs are very romantic and would be perfect for listening, while sharing a glass of wine (and something more) with your soul mate in front of a warm fire.

PretendersIf There Was A Man
Chris De BurghThe Lady In Red
Mary-Chapin Carpenter Not Too Much To Ask
Juice NewtonAngel Of The Morning
EnyaFlora's Secret
BerlinTake My Breath Away
BanglesEternal Flame
Richard MarxRight Here Waiting
Art GarfunkelAll I Know
Vanessa WilliamsSave The Best For Last 

Romantic Sunset

Posted by Stranded in Sonoma

I don't know if you'll find these as romantic as I, but they're good to listen to when you watch a sunset over the ocean with that special someone.

HolliesThe Air That I Breathe
Simon and Garfunkel Bridge Over Troubled Water
Bee GeesHow Deep Is Your Love
BreadMake It With You
Dan FogelbergLonger
Bobby VintonI Love How You Love Me
Art GarfunkelI Only Have Eyes For You
The Everly BrothersLet It Be Me
Herb AlpertThis Guy's In Love With You
The AssociationNever My Love
CarpentersFor All We Know


Friday, January 7, 2011

Playlist for 60s Music

Well, since I posted my playlist for the 70s, I thought I would post the one I have for the 60s.

Roy OrbisonOh, Pretty Woman
The DoorsLight My Fire
CreamSunshine of Your Love
The BeatlesCome Together
Creedence Clearwater RevivalBorn on the Bayou
SantanaEvil Ways
The AnimalsThe House of the Rising Sun 
SteppenwolfBorn to Be Wild
The Chambers BrothersTime Has Come Today
Jefferson AirplaneSomebody To Love
Johnny RiversSecret Agent Man
Neil DiamondCherry, Cherry
Van MorrisonBrown Eyed Girl
Lovin' SpoonfulSummer in the City
DonovanSunshine Superman
Scott McKenzieSan Francisco
Simon and GarfunkelScarborough Fair/Canticle
Jefferson AirplaneWhite Rabbit
The Rolling StonesRuby Tuesday
The Beach BoysGood Vibrations
The BeatlesStrawberry Fields Forever
Tommy James and the Shondells Crimson and Clover
The YoungbloodsGet Together

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

You mean it's not "Jose, can you see?"

To start with, I dumped Windows Media Player a while ago in favor of WinAmp. If you haven't, you should. If you have, bravo! WinAmp is much better and customization is more robust. It is free, but the pay version is recommended. It does have one drawback; I was never able to get the album art view to work as I like. I was willing to live with that limitation. Until I found...

Minilyrics! This is a great utility that works with many different media players. You can choose a theme that matches your choice. Since I use WinAmp, the Minilyrics window looks just like WinAmp. When you play a song with Minilyrics active, it searches it's own website for a match to your song and downloads the most highly rated lyrics that match. You can keep the default or search for and download others. There is also a built-in lyric editor that allows you to change the downloaded ones or create your own.

At first I just used a bar across the top. It worked but something was missing. My album art! When I rip an MP3, I go to Album Art Exchange to see if someone has uploaded an 800x800 version of the album art. I search Wikipedia to find the original album for the song. I own greatest hits collections but I when I edit the details of the MP3, I always try to enter the correct information on the original album. I then use Mp3tag to embed the artwork. Mp3tag also allows for the editing of all tags so you can set the year, track number, comments, etc., for any of your songs. You can also do this in batch mode (you can select multiple songs) to change items on more than one song at a time. I do NOT recommend the use of iTunes for any of these functions due to the fact that iTunes does not set the ID3 tags properly.

Back in Minilyrics, I've set the screen so it shows the album art as the window background and I have the lyrics show over the album art as the song plays. Very nice! A new addition to MiniLyrics is that when you use the album art as a background, the window will scale the artwork automatically.

I've never found a tutorial for Minilyrics, maybe I'll create one for YouTube one day. It's pretty easy and once you get the hang of it, you'll see. If you want my lyric files, look for the ones created by TooMuchTime.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Off and running.

First blog, first post.

So, I think I'll start with...disco. Why is it that when people discuss music from the 1970's, they invariably end up at disco? Don't get me wrong, I think the Bee Gees were great. I just know there is more to the 70's than disco. My son attended a school dance that had a 70's theme; almost all the music was disco!

Just to let you know that more than disco happened during the 1970's music scene, here is my playlist from my MP3 player for the 70's. Great stuff. I like my playlists to flow from one song to the next. It must be a Type-A thing.

BostonMore Than A Feeling
BadfingerNo Matter What
Bachman-Turner OverdriveTakin' Care of Business
Tommy JamesDraggin' The Line
Gordon LightfootSundown
AmericaVentura Highway
Creedence Clearwater RevivalHave You Ever Seen The Rain
Steely DanRikki Don't Lose That Number
Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet BandOld Time Rock and Roll
Johnny RiversRockin' Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu 
Commander Cody and his Lost Planet Airmen Hot Rod Lincoln
Dire StraitsSultans of Swing
Gerry RaffertyBaker Street
EaglesHotel California
The Rolling StonesBrown Sugar
The Doobie BrothersChina Grove
Elton JohnSaturday Night's Alright for Fighting
Electric Light OrchestraDo Ya
The CarsJust What I Needed
The Steve Miller BandThreshold/Jet Airliner
The DoorsLove Her Madly
Three Dog NightShambala
Fleetwood MacRhiannon
Linda RonstadtYou're No Good
Blue Oyster CultDon't Fear The Reaper
HolliesLong Cool Woman (In a Black Dress)
BreadGuitar Man