Part III Highjacked ISP + laptop demise + Birds Nest wrecked my phone service

Not to drag out this story of my technical snafus:

Hijacked WIFI…

Defunct laptop

Bird’s nest destroying my phone connection

Over the last five days various people helped me navigate the nexus of WIFI/laptop/birds/routers for which I am very grateful. I carefully ventured back onto the WIFI and internet, but…..I was having trouble connecting still. (UHoh.) Made the call to iphouse and told them that connectivity was not working.  Step by step Phil helped me reset my WAN, after we determined the Russian ip was still showing up in my router DNS address.

Notes:  Security is not always secure. Some hackers just try to ping a router to see if it will respond.  It could have been something I clicked – original theory.  However, now I know if things slow down with the WIFI connection, to check the DNS regularly to make sure it’s correct on any tool that connects to the router. This particular breech was not something that the tech person had ever seen in many years of doing support.

Yes, this is all really took place and is not a fiction.

Have a happy day.


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Part II High jacked ISP + laptop demise + Birds Nest wrecked my phone service

Well, if you read yesterday’s story about the high jacked ISP and the funeral for my 9 year old  laptop, you may be curious what the out come was with my phone company round of calls today.

After a few calls this morning, one where I was on hold on one phone and having a call on another phone (and no I am not somebody important) but seriously…no one answered from the phone company.  Anyone can tell you about phone roulette where you A) must figure out the right number to get you to the right person and B) identify every bit of information about yourself to someone who tells you their name is Kate, is a form of meditative practice or a straight track to the ER with apoplexy.  Attitude. Girl. Attitude.

Thus was the day begun, when I reached someone who was able to get rid of the order I didn’t need.  Yes.  Who then gave me to the tech people who ordered someone out to my house and they arrived around 2:30 and left 2 hours later…

Guess what? The two really nice guys, one a trainee and the other the lead, untangled the wires and rewired my set up, which was done ages ago under the auspices of another phone encounter.  Nicely done, there was still no Internet connection. So far not the modem, and not the phone as cause for terrible static and no internet connection.

The workers moved outside and after an hour and a half returned to tell me there was a bird’s nest, bees nest, and droppings eroded-wires that took much time to clean out and repair. They had called my phone, but I heard nothing.  With their trusty electronic tools testing through the modem and the wires outside – they got nothing.

More connection and reconnect then Viola!  It wasn’t the modem.  It was Nature and the Russians and …I didn’t really suffer without the internet, I felt like I had more space in my life and quiet.

To keep in line with my cooking theme here’s a link to Bird’s Nest Soup recipe, umm. It’s made with dried bird’s  spit. And “that’s the way it is.”

Lesson learned: Don’t nest in the phone lines.

Kudos to the nice phone repair guys, who cleaned out the bird poo and repaired the wires. There is good service in Minneapolis.

Now back to the kitchen.

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High jacked ISP + laptop demise = the last round-up technically

This story is true.  My internet connection was high jacked. DNS went to a Russian ISP.  Simultaneously my trusty laptop  gave up.  In the midst of this boondoggle, the phone company sold me some new plan with more megabits. That was my problem according to them. (Well, no. That is not what happened. Grrrrr.)

My ISP provider found the problem on day two. Thank you Andrew & Jordan of

It could only happen this way. They had me FireWire into the modem and find the numbers which confirmed the russian  DNS and sure enough they pronounced that my wifi was in Russia!  ( I can’t make this up!)

oh and then my laptop kept switching off. good grief. Andrew and Jordan sent me to Chip Heads with some notes and the sinking laptop.


1. Replace laptop – done

2. Hope all stuff transfers – done

3. Reluctantly consent to recycle laptop and drive a nail through the hard drive. Gak. Laptop-cide RIP.🌾

4. Have a great day.

Lessons learned: be careful what you click on…those little pop ups …

Never do a hard shutdown when machine locks up.

5. Tomorrow do battle with phone people.

And these were the high points of the story.🍎

It’s finally warm here😎

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Maya The Chocolate Labrador Retriever’s Finished Portrait

It took a week to finish the colored pencil portrait of Maya pictured here.  It is a small piece 8″ by 10″ on Bristol paper.  This is a smooth surfaced paper which works well with layering the colors.

The array of colors used in Maya's portrait

The array of colors used in Maya’s portrait

Most of the time, I use paint or pastels to create my own pieces. Using the colored pencils is a fun exercise in the use of color.

Someone stopped by my blog and commented on the drawing of Maya.  There was surprise for me when I visited this person’s blog.  There was a long post about taking drawing classes. It turned out this writer wanted to draw and paint, but suffered from terrible anxiety when it came time to start a painting class.  There were many kind responses to this post. People shared many perspectives.

I studied painting, drawing, photography, lithography, etching and learned countless crafts to teach in school settings.  With each phase, there was what I called the first day of the lesson. All the unknowns would be revealed – the teacher, the students, the lessons.  I wanted to learn.

In my first figure drawing class in college, my professor told me that I drew “like a barbarian”.  As I looked at the drawing he was looking at I realized he was correct.  It took two years of drawing, for four days a week, to learn to draw with expressive lines that I could control.

After studying to be an art teacher and watching students evolve in art classes, I came to believe two very important things: First that anyone who wants to can learn to make art. Second: all it takes is the desire and discipline to learn with an open beginner’s mind.  That means (to me) Be there to try things out and don’t be afraid to fail.  Every learning in life takes practice.

When I learned how to make lithographic prints, I had one of the top lithographers in the country as a teacher. He was very strict. You cannot fudge a process like lithography, which takes many steps before you have a completed print.  In the beginning of my two years of practicing this technique, I made every mistake in the book.  It was a slow process of learning, that taught me the value of learning from my mistakes. The perspective I gained gave me a sense of humor about being human and not giving up.

This attitude has kept me going with my cooking experiments, this blog and anything new that’s worth learning.  I tell myself , “Just show up and see what comes to you.” That’s life.

Many thanks to the people who stop by my kitchen! You keep me inspired.

Four Stages of the portrait process of the pencil drawing of Maya the labrador Retriever

First Stage of pencil portrait of Maya © Ckatt 2-18-15

First Stage of Pencil Portrait of Maya © Ckatt 2-18-15

Second Stage of Maya's Portrait 2-19-2015

Second Stage of Maya’s Portrait 2-19-2015

Third Stage of Maya's Portrait 2-21-2015

Third Stage of Maya’s Portrait 2-21-2015

Last Stage of Maya the Chocolate Labrador Retriever's portrait by CKatt 2015

Last Stage of Maya the Chocolate Labrador Retriever’s portrait by CKatt 2015

Keep on keeping on…woof woof!

Fiesta Friday

Fiesta Friday


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Portrait of Maya = The challenges of foreshortening + Red Wing Mall

On Saturday, I was part of a craft bazaar at the Redwing Pottery Center. It was a fun day and I met some really sweet crafters. The organizer, Ronnie is a very forward-looking person who wants to encourage The Redwing Pottery center to give crafters a local place to sell their merchandise. Retrieved February 18, 2015

There is a candy shop, a Godfather’s Pizza, several really nice antique shops and a potter. Well, I had to stop by the candy shop, Tickle Yer Fancy which is owned by Susan Jasko. They sell Abdallah’s Candy. It was Valentines Day! The woman behind the counter asked me what brought me to the center. “I am here for the bazaar to promote my pet portraits and sell the cards I make.”

In that moment, a connection was made. Susan explained that she really wanted a portrait of her Labrador retriever that she had taken in to her home. A dear friend had suddenly passed away and the lovely four-year old dog was sadly left with out her person. The portrait was a gift for the mother of the friend who died, who loved and missed the dog.

Maya is a large, chocolate Lab and a sweetheart dog. I took photographs of a very wiggly, friendly Maya. Most of the photos had the problem of foreshortening making the dear Maya’s nose look gigantic. Fun for laughs, she was staring at the carrot I was holding over my head! (It’s all about food!)

Maya foreshortened view © CKatt 2-18-15

Maya foreshortened view © CKatt 2-18-15

At the last minute, I took a couple of shots with Susan holding her for me. And snagged a better view. (Phew.)

Making art and cooking have some similarities of process. As time and my research into cooking have taught me it’s the quality of the materials (foods) and the skill of the artist/cook that makes the difference. Preparation and good tools are important to any plan. This brings to mind, when Zen Master Dogen wrote “Instructions to the Cook”, a guide on the duties and responsibility of the head cook in the kitchen, he was giving guidelines not only for the cook but also for life. He recognized the essential nature of preparing food was taking care of one’s life. It could be done thoughtfully.

Instructions To The Cook


by Eihei Dogen zenji

translated by Anzan Hoshin roshi

and Yasuda Joshu Dainen roshi

In the meantime, I am shifting my focus to making art again. Here is the first phase of Maya’s portrait.

The progressed beginning view emerges, after deciding what paper, pencil colors, and lighting to use this is the first phase of drawing.  To start, deciding the layout and the building of color layers for the next stage is essential.

First Stage of pencil portrait of Maya © Ckatt 2-18-15

First Stage of pencil portrait of Maya © Ckatt 2-18-15

Second stage Maya © CKatt 2-18-15

Second stage Maya © CKatt 2-18-15

Second progression bringing the colors into balance.  Details start to emerge.

To be continued… Retrieved February 18, 2015.

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