And a Happy Birthday!

One year ago, we returned from WalMart to discover that the stray mother cat we’d brought in from the wild had had her first kitten. The little bundle of warm fluff was so very very tiny.

And she started to grow, along with her siblings. But that growth was not steady – there were ups and downs, downturns that made us fear we would lose her, as we did indeed end up losing her siblings, and in the end, her mother.

And so, today, we are so very grateful for the wonderful luck of having such a friendly, energetic, and playful cat in our lives. Shortly before we were pretty sure she was going to survive, I was lucky enough to introduce Doreen to the movie Short Circuit, with the cute robot who manages to overcome all obstacles with the rallying cry of Johnny 5 Is Alive! And so in honor of that spirit, which our little Johnny (previously known as 3pm) shared, we named her Johnny 5.

And she makes no bones about demonstrating the fact that she is alive, and awake, and wants us to play with her!

Johnny's life in pictures - from 3 days of age to her current size
Johnny’s life in pictures – from 3 days of age to her current size

Happy Birthday, Johnny 5! And here’s hoping that despite your feline leukemia, you have more happy ones to follow!

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Pacing

I am grateful that my video editing software (Adobe Premiere Elements 15) arrived yesterday.  I have never done video editing before and am spending time watching YouTube videos about it before I even install the software.

I will be using Adobe Premiere Elements 15 for the YouTube channel we are creating.
I will be using Adobe Premiere Elements 15 for the YouTube channel we are creating.

I need to be careful to find the balance though between keeping a pace that allows me to handle what is already on my plate and not trying so hard to dot every i and cross every t before I start to create videos for our new YouTube channel that it never gets started.

My goal is to find the balance between the wisdom of “We’re all on our own journey and we are exactly where we need to be today” (found at “7 lessons I’ve learned from practicing yoga“) and Roberto Blake’s exhortation to “Just get started.”

 

Today is also the first day of my online four week Autumn Mindfulness and Meditation course with Ram Dass.  I definitely need to make time for that also.    

I am grateful for these reminders on both sides of the equation so that I don’t get too frenzied as my health suffers every time that happens but I also don’t go so slow that every passing turtle and snail yells “get out of the way grandma” at me.

 

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If at first

I had a plan.  I would focus on chores yesterday and do a lot of work on the blog today.  Feel free to choose a reply below:

  1.  “Pobody’s Nerfect”
  2. “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft a-gley.” ~Robert Brown
  3. “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” ~Woody Allen

Yep.   I had a plan.   “Had” being the operational word there.   Two household mishaps in the past 18 hours mean I am going to spend a chunk of today cleaning instead while reminding myself “If at first you don’t succeed, keep your sense of humor.”  

Oh well, tomorrow is another day.  For today, I will be grateful that I have an apartment to clean, the ability to clean it and the supplies to do so.

And two cats who help me keep a sense of perspective:

If it doesn't involve kitty food, play or sleep, Johnny is not interested.
If it doesn’t involve kitty food, play or sleep, Johnny is not interested.

 

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Talk Like a Pirate Day (or Holidays In A Virtual World)

I saw the box in the picture below while at Walmart today.   It made me chuckle because today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Seeing this pirate themed box on a pallet at Walmart on Talk Like A Pirate Day made me chuckle.
Seeing this pirate themed box on a pallet at Walmart on Talk Like A Pirate Day made me chuckle.

This is also another day for me to be very glad for Second Life, as it is the place where I celebrate most holidays (when I do) whether they be ones that someone has made up for fun like today or well established national or international days.  

I have been unable to drive since 2002 for neurological reasons, so I live a fairly quiet life.    Either Jamey or the local transport van takes me to my medical appointments and Jamey takes me out shopping as needed.   Other than that, I don’t go further than I can safely walk.   

Thus Second Life fills a very important role for me and for many like me who have real life disabilities.    It is not only the place where Jamey and I met in 2007, it is a place where real life concerns — such as the need for a wheelchair accessible apartment — become moot.   (Other than, of course, a wheelchair accessible computer area for Jamey to access Second Life and we have a large computer / electronics work station set up that he can easily wheel into and manuever around in.)

There is always a wide aisle open in Jamey's wheelchair accessible workstation so that he can easily access all parts of it.
There is always a wide aisle open in Jamey’s wheelchair accessible workstation so that he can easily access all parts of it.

It is where we can make friends from all around the world, who we can do anything we mutually agree on with from attending themed events (such as Talk Like a Pirate Day) to Jamey’s favorite thing to do – hang out with like minded folks around the world in discussion groups on various science in general and outer space in particular topics.

Unless I have an injury that makes it difficult for me to use the computer, I also like to decorate for the winter holidays on Second Life each year.   I can do far more with decorating in world than I can in real life as in Second Life I don’t have to be concerned about

  1. injuring myself as I decorate
  2. the cats harming themselves by eating the decorations.  (Yes, we do have pets in Second Life too.)

So today, Talk Like a Pirate Day, I am yet again grateful for the many types of freedom, the wide range of outlets that Second Life provides, especially for those of  us who have limitations on what we can do in real life.  In Second Life, we are almost limitless.

 

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Thank you for the music…

I did not, as some do, “grow up with music.” But music was often in the background, providing a tempo to my life. And over time, certain songs and albums have taken on special meaning for me.

I grew up listening to a certain amount of country music, but mostly, I listened to ABBA, Styx, Supertramp, Alabama, etc. Some of the songs that particularly stuck with me:

  • The Logical Song – Supertramp
  • I Touch Roses – Book of Love
  • Styx – Renegade
  • Styx – Come Sail Away
Two of ABBA's greatest songs
The two songs playing here sum up the optimism that I look for in life.

But ultimately, ABBA probably had the most influence, with two of their greatest songs:  “I Have A Dream” and, well…  the title of this post, “Thank You For The Music”

 

 

 

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Hypotension

In 10% down, I wrote about my pleasure in having lost 10% of my body weight.   There are two drawbacks to that:

How can losing weight have dangerous side effects?

The less I weigh,

  1. the more often my blood pressure drops dangerously low (hypotension), and
  2. the less fat I have to cushion my bones when I fall due to passing out because of low blood pressure

The former occurs because my autonomic system does not work properly. The latter is a problem due to my osteogenesis imperfecta (“brittle bone disease”).

 

How I deal with that

When my body sends me signals (numbness in limbs and fluttery stomach) that all is not well, I reach for the blood pressure cuff.  It will tell me if the signals mean my blood pressure has dropped or is in the process of dropping.   If it has gone too low (recent readings have included 88/60, 90/58 and earlier today 82/64), I head to the kitchen for the “safety’s sake” cup of coffee I usually keep in the fridge, heat it quickly in the microwave and carefully head back into the bedroom with it.

 

Does the Nutritarian eating plan allow coffee?

Dr. Fuhrman recommends against coffee because

  1. it raises blood pressure
  2. is a stimulant that interferes with sleep
  3. can cause you to eat more than your body needs

In “Eat to Live,” he states “One cup of coffee per day is not likely to cause a significant risk, but drinking more than one cup can interfere with your health and even your weight-loss goals.”  I rarely need more than one cup to moderate my blood pressure and passing out and falling definitely interferes with my health, so I am keeping coffee in my hypotension tool kit.

My blood pressure monitor and a cup of coffee are essential tools for me when dealing with hypotension.
My blood pressure monitor and a cup of coffee are essential tools for me when dealing with hypotension.

So that is what I am grateful for today: my blood pressure cuff (a gift from my surrogate Dad) and coffee.      

 

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Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom

Today we are grateful for the plumber.   The bathroom is not usually the most talked about room in the house but when your only wheelchair accessible bathroom toilet is having an issue, you realize quickly just what an important room it is.

For the past few days, Jamey has had to bring his wheelchair to the door of our other bathroom and then use his crutches to actually get into and maneuver in the bathroom.  That is both difficult and dangerous for him as it increases his risk of a fall.

Thankfully, the plumber was here this morning and Jamey’s wheelchair accessible bathroom is now fully functional once more.   (The cats did go into the bathroom to check it out after the plumber left but I didn’t get the shot, so this is just a plain vanilla picture of part of the bathroom showing the safety grab bars by the toilet.   The tub/shower also has extra grab bars and a wheelchair transfer bench.)

What makes this a wheelchair accessible bathroom is the wider door, room to maneuver the wheelchair, extra grab bars by the toilet and in the tub, and open area under the sink so a wheelchair can pull right up to it.
What makes this a wheelchair accessible bathroom is the wider door, room to maneuver the wheelchair, extra grab bars by the toilet and in the tub, and open area under the sink so a wheelchair can pull right up to it.

Once again, we owe a thank you to Kuni for making this happen in a timely manner.

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One step closer to our YouTube channel

We are still working towards eventually creating a YouTube channel where we can share short videos of our cats’ antics.  We are going with Adobe Premiere Elements 15 as our initial software.

When I checked Amazon for it Tuesday, I was quite happy to find that it was Amazon’s Gold Box deal of the day.  I love synchronicity!   We picked it up for 50% off of the regular price, bringing us one step closer to creating our YouTube channel.

It is due to arrive September 21st.  Between now and then, I will continue to spend time watching tutorials on YouTube both on

  1. specifically how to use Adobe Premiere Elements 15, and
  2. starting a YouTube channel.

 

I am grateful to Amazon for the 50% off sale and to all of those who do videos on YouTube to help beginners like myself learn. Most of all,  I am grateful to our cats, without whom we would not have an incentive to begin a new endeavor.   We may be biased, but we believe others will enjoy their life stories and antics.

Johnny's reaction to learning that we are planning a YouTube channel featuring the antics of our two rascals.
Johnny’s reaction to learning that we are planning a YouTube channel featuring the antics of our two rascals.

 

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10% down

Today I am very grateful to have lost 10% of my body weight.   I still have more to go but this is definitely a major step in the right direction.

My plan is to

  • continue with my nutritarian  eating style, making sure I get my GBOMBS (greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, seeds) daily
This is approximately what I eat each day (plus extra fruit) on the Nutritarian plan. You can make fancier meals but I am content with plain ones.
This is approximately what I eat each day (plus extra fruit) on the Nutritarian plan. You can make fancier meals but I am content with plain ones.
  • increase my daily exercise as the weather grows cool enough that I can safely walk outside more often
  • take a hint from Johnny’s play book and make sure I relax as cortisol increases belly fat and relaxing (especially laughter) decreases cortisol
Johnny knows what her priorities are: food and relaxation
Johnny knows what her priorities are: food and relaxation

 

My next goal is to reach 20 pounds lost (so far I have lost 15).   By the time I have my next set of fasting blood work in November, I am hoping my results will be so good that I can come off of my statins and blood pressure medicine.  That will really be something to celebrate.   In the meantime, I will continue to move forward one day at a time, knowing that each day brings me closer to my goals.

 

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Pictures of Johnny saying “If I …, it’s mine”

Today I am grateful for the times I have the camera handy at just the right time to catch pictures showing life with our cats including Johnny’s versions of two internet memes:

1. If I want it, it’s mine.
Johnny is a firm believer in "If I want it, it's mine."
Johnny is a firm believer in “If I want it, it’s mine.”
2. If I see, it’s mine.

Johnny is determined that the bird she sees in the video will belong to her.

 
3. If I can claim it, it’s mine.
Johnny laying claim to my foot
Johnny laying claim to my foot
4. If it can cuddle me, it’s mine.
Night cuddles Johnny, therefore Night belongs to Johnny
Night cuddles Johnny, therefore Night belongs to Johnny
5. If it can be sat on, it’s mine.
Just a few of the places that Johnny has claimed as her seat
Just a few of the places that Johnny has claimed as her seat
6. If it can pet me, it’s mine.
This happens if Johnny is awake and Jamey or I give Night any attention. I am not sure if this is because Night raised Johnny as "her kitten."
This happens if Johnny is awake and Jamey or I give Night any attention. I am not sure if this is because Night raised Johnny as “her kitten.”
7. If it can be eaten, it’s mine.
10 month old kitten taking adult cat's food
10 month old Johnny takes over Night’s food
8. If I can play with it, it’s mine.
It doesn't matter who originally had it, if Johnny wants to play with it, it is hers. (The only exception is when she chooses a "toy" that could harm her if chewed or swallowed.)
It doesn’t matter who originally had it, if Johnny wants to play with it, it is hers. (The only exception is when she chooses a “toy” that could harm her if chewed or swallowed.)
9. If I can sleep on it, it’s mine.
From L to R, Johnny's pillows are keyboard, scale, Jamey, my arm, Night, my legs
From L to R, Johnny’s pillows are keyboard, scale, Jamey, my arm, Night, my legs
10. If I am asleep and don’t notice you have it, you may borrow it until I wake up and want it again
Yes, there are really times when Johnny does sleep
Yes, there are really times when Johnny does sleep
Note: Night has a very different personality than Johnny does.   She knows she is loved but I think that emotionally there will always be a part of her that will remain the skinny, frightened feral cat I first met. We do make sure she gets as much love and play time as she wants, either by making use of the time when Johnny is asleep or one of us distracting Johnny while the other spends time with Night.  It is also a daily occurrence for Night and Johnny to come spend family time with Jamey and me, during which all four of us hang out and relax together.

 

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