Kathy Diamond Davis

Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States

Author of the book "Therapy Dogs: Training Your Dog to Reach Others," 2nd edition published by Dogwise Publishing. Canine Behavior Series at www.veterinarybehavior.com

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Click to Calm

Tomorrow we start discussion of the book "Click to Calm" on DogRead, about how author Emma Parsons used clicker training to improve her Golden Retriever's aggressive behavior toward other dogs on outings. Should be interesting.

I'm struggling to survive summer. I keep saying each summer is my worst ever with allergies and other autoimmune problems, and then the next one keeps being worst. This one is a new record.

We got the car fixed and hubby is driving it. It looks and runs great, so we're happy with the choice to keep it rather than let it go when the insurance company totalled it. Now they have to find the title they've lost. It may wind up a salvage title, which is a shame. It was not that severely damaged, and hubby was able to drive it for about 10 days until it went in for repairs. The damage estimate was not the total valuation of the car, and the actual final repair bill was less than that. We got $4000 and it cost $4631-something to fix.

This leaves me scratching my head as to why, when it was the fault of the other driver, we wound up paying $631 to get the car fixed and having a regular title changed to a salvage title, removing the car's value for trade in. At least they should pay for the full cost of the repair. I got a complaint form from the state insurance commission. Once we get the title back, I may fill that out and send it in.

This has been exhausting and upsetting for both hubby and me, and took over 3 weeks to get this far--still no title, but we do have the car fixed. I'm glad we don't have our life savings in that car. This is such a reminder that having too much invested in something so vulnerable is not wise.

Work is hard, everything is hard. I'm trying to get more sleep, just to survive all this. Today it's 96 degrees. It may get hotter before summer is over, or it may not. Summer lasts through September here, sometimes longer. I had a big green salad for my food today, with salmon and a tomato on it. Pretty good. Seems like just about anything can be a salad.

Thursday, July 14, 2005


I'm reading Robert E. Armstrong's "Index of Suspicion," and hope to finish it tonight. It's an absorbing book, like his "Canis." After that I want to read "Bad Move," by Linwood Barclay, which I'm hoping will be a fun one. It's for a buddy read on the Murder and Mayhem list.

I just read the first 4 chapters of the book of Daniel for my daily Bible reading. The story of Nebuchadnezzar's 7 years of mental illness after glorifying himself for his position instead of giving credit to God is not new to me. But as I read it now in light of having God give me the miracle of losing 181 pounds, I'm reminded how essential it is to acknowledge that our successes come from God.

Daniel 4: 32 says "...the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world and gives them to anyone he chooses." We forget that. We certainly do.

It also amazes me that after 7 years of insanity, Nebuchadnezzar was able to get his kingdom back. You don't see that everyday. Surely that was God at work, too. Of course it was, since he decides who will rule over humans.

So many books I want to read. I'd better get back to it!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Ebay and PayPal

Among other things in this past week I've been dealing with an Ebay auction gone badly and trying to get my PayPal account set up right. I "won" a couple of Ebay auctions with the same seller whose listings said she would combine shipping. She sent me an invoice doing so, I paid it, and then after a few days she sent me another message that she had changed her mind. She wanted more money for shipping. I told her I would prefer to cancel the purchase. I don't think she would lose by it, since I was the only bidder. I don't know how she is going to handle it.

I hate auctions. Half.com and Amazon Marketplace work well for me, because they set rules and standardize payment and there's an agreed price. Sellers who do not behave honorably lose the privilege of selling there. The auctions on Ebay are too loosey-goosey. This particular seller is the worst I've encountered, but I have done very little bidding. I don't like that way of buying things. And now I like it far less.

PayPal requires you to give them a bank account number in order to keep using their system to make purchases past a limit of $2000. Clearly they prefer the lower costs of pulling money out of people's bank accounts rather than paying credit card companies their fees. Credit cards add an extra level of protection for the purchaser, though, especially gold and platinum accounts.

I chose to do it on the up and up, which is always the way I prefer to do things. But I learned that many buyers are not doing it that way. Instead they are using different email addresses tied with different credit cards in order to get a new $2000 limit. PayPal has a rule that they will cancel an account that does this, but it appears they haven't gotten around to catching all the violators.

People who want to sell online in a small way can get set up to accept PayPal payments less expensively than they can get set up to accept regular credit card payments, so PayPal has grown. I read somewhere that they have recently been sold. Perhaps their financial relationship with Ebay is now different.

I came across one site that is offering a merchant credit card account to sellers with no set-up fee. Apparently a typical fee to open such an account and be able to accept credit cards is about $500. Credit card companies take a percentage of the merchant's sale, and I think it's something like 5%, varying according to the specific merchant account. Usually smaller merchants pay higher rates than larger ones. PayPal charges the seller a percentage, too, somewhere in the neighborhood of 2% or so.

It looks like competition is increasing for those dollars from small vendors online. PayPal is trying to make more money, and other companies have their eye on the business. Credit card companies are doing all sorts of shady things to get more money out of every end of their business, including shooting up people's interest rates when they make one late payment.

They also lure people who don't know any better into overextending themselves with credit card debt, at a very young age. You have to wonder how many young people have had to drop out of college as a result of the debt load.

I read that Ebay is planning to set up more online stores with their sellers, so there will be more items for sale without the auction process. That could be a good thing if they will standardize the payment and shipping practices on the sellers so that buyers can know what they are getting into.

Many people are doing a great job of serving customers online. I hope that Ebay will find ways to better support the good sellers and help weed out the ones who don't treat customers right. And I hope one or more payment systems will be developed to provide both buyers and sellers with reliable and safe funds transfers at reasonable rates. At the same time, I hope to see the system stay affordable for small merchants. Small business is very good for the economy and for our overall freedom. I want it to have what it needs to thrive.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Conformation Article

My article about Conformation Showing is in the Canine Behavior Series now, and I'm pleased with it. Here's the URL:

I'm also starting a new guest author on DogRead today, Robert E. Armstrong, who writes mystery novels now and is also a veterinarian with a fabulous educational and career history. I'm looking forward to this month.

Poor Spirit, my 12-year-old crazy-dog is going to have a rough 3-day weekend. There's an air show with "the biggest fireworks display in the state." There will be lots of fireworks, starting today on Friday and certainly going through Monday July 4th. And we're having thunderstorms. For crying out loud, what more could happen to frighten a noise-phobia dog: maybe a building will explode in the neighborhood? We've been feeding her heartily the last couple of weeks, trying to get ahead for the meals she'll probably refuse this weekend. She'll eat some, but unlikely full rations.

I'm reading Elmore Leonard's "The Hot Kid," which I didn't expect to like, but surprise, surprise! it's great. I'll have to look up more of his books.

I signed off several of my email lists. It's been freeing. I have so many things to do, and limits of both time and health. I have to be selective. If something is taking more than its share of time and especially if it is harming my ability to do more important things, I have to chuck it overboard.

I've missed a ton of sleep lately, but finally slept 10 hours and got up a couple of hours ago. I feel better. My shoulder is in terrible shape with arthritis in that tendon, and has given me some nasty pain surprises over the last several weeks. Yesterday I used that arm to close my car door, and the pain was like being hit by a bolt of electricity. It seems like the tendon is inflamed or otherwise damaged on down the full length of the upper arm. Geeze.

It really feels like July, and more 4th of July than any year I can remember, due to the increased enthusiasm for holidays in our society plus the timing this year. With the 1st falling on a Friday and the 4th falling on a Monday, people are in an extreme holiday mode. I predict they'll take 4 days off, need Tuesday through Friday next week to catch up on work, then another weekend and a frantic Monday, and only the Tuesday after that will people start getting back to business. Should be an interesting time!