Johnny’s newest bed

Yesterday I wrote about Johnny’s penchant for sleeping inside of my night stand and knocking the few books I keep in there out unto the floor so that she could spread out.   Last night, I came up with a solution.

When we got our new dryer a few weeks ago, we removed the “milk crates” that the old one had been resting on.   I had been trying to figure out what to do with them.     I realized that since there were two of them already tied together and fairly sturdy, I could use the top one for a book case for the few books that I keep in the bedroom and turn the bottom one into an additional cat bed.    

As the picture shows, Johnny approves.

Johnny has given the newest "cat bed" her seal of approval.
Johnny has given the newest “cat bed” her seal of approval.

So today’s gratitude is for repurposed items, especially ones that bathe more than one bird in the same bath.    (I always use a variation of the phrase “bathe more than one bird in a bath” rather than the common one regarding killing multiple birds with a stone as I firmly believe that given a choice in the matter, any bird would rather have a bath than be killed.)

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mongrosity

I have always loved words.   I especially love word play such as

  • alliteration (the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words, such as “She sells sea-shells down by the sea-shore”), 
  • onomatopoeia (the naming of a thing or action by a vocal emulation of the sound associated with it, such as babbling brook, buzzing bees, crackling fire) and 
  • portmanteaus (word blending the sound of two different words) such as slithy (slimy and lithe) in Jabberwocky).

We are in the United States but today is National Poetry Day in Britain.  Thus I based this post on a portmanteau as Lewis Carroll was a British poet and the person who coined this meaning of portmanteau.   (It had already been in use since the 1580’s to refer to a travelling case for clothes, etc.)

In Alice in Wonderland (1871), when Alice asks the meaning of the poem, “Jabberwocky,” Carroll has Humpty Dumpty explain:

Well, “slithy” means “lithe and slimy”. “Lithe” is the same as “active”. You see it’s like a portmanteau — there are two meanings packed up into one word.

 

Portmanteaus are still used today, such as:
  • animatronic – animate and electronics
  • Bollywood – Bombay and Hollywood
  • brunch – breakfast and lunch
  • chocoholic – chocolate and alcholic
  • cyborg – cybernetic and organism
  • glamping – glamour and camping
  • infomercial – information and commercial 
  • internet – international and network
  • malware – malicious and software
  • modem – modulation and demodulation
  • smog – smoky and fog
  • telethon – television and marathon
  • workaholic – work and alcoholic

 

What is a mongrosity?

Mongrosity is a blending of “mongrol” and “monstrosity” and is my own portmanteau for our one year old cat’s (Johnny) antics at times.   Such as when I try to stop her from doing something that could be dangerous (such as chewing on charging cords) and she reacts by kicking off of some part of my body with her very sharp and powerful back claws so that I end up with a deep enough cut that I am left with a lasting scar.   I have several scars of that type from her.

It also applies to some of her other shenanigans such as when despite all of the cat beds in the house, she decides to sleep inside of my nightstand instead and in the process knock out the books I keep there because they are in her way.

With all the places she has to sleep, she chooses under my nightstand and knocks my books out to make room for herself.
With all the places she has to sleep, she chooses under my nightstand and knocks my books out to make room for herself.

Nonetheless, despite the surplus of new gray hairs we have both acquired since Johnny came into our lives, if we had it to do all over again knowing that we would get Johnny out of it, we would do so in a heartbeat.   She can definitely be a mongrosity at times but our lives (Jamey’s, Night’s and mine) are far richer for having her in them.   

So today’s gratitude is for unexpected blessings as when we initially trapped Johnny’s mother, we didn’t even know she was pregnant (or Feline Leukemia positive) and were just expecting to do a standard feral cat “trap-neuter-release” (after holding on to her long enough for her to heal from her spay first).   We were appalled when the vet said that not only was she pregnant, she was just a few days from delivery.    If we had not gone through that very stressful time, we would not have the blessing of Johnny today.   

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We now have a YouTube channel

We now have a YouTube channel. We only have one video up so far and have a whole lot to learn about properly editing videos but the only way we are going to get better is to keep creating new ones and learning as we go.

Given how long we have been in the planning stage for our channel, it felt good to get an email from YouTube yesterday with a note saying:

Way to go, We Are Grateful For!
Your video is now on YouTube.
Our first thumbnail for our very first YouTube video. Clicking it will take you to the actual video.
Our first thumbnail for our very first YouTube video. Clicking it will take you to the actual video.

Once we reach 100 subscribers, we can get a custom url which will be much easier to remember than our current YouTube channel url of https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaootiG0s5bgCWPHTzfPi5g.  Since our YouTube channel is linked to our blog, we have named the channel “We are grateful for cats” and hope to get that for a custom url.   Mostly it will be videos of our two rascals but we may occasionally feature other cats on there also.

If you get a chance to check out our channel, we would be grateful for any feedback as it will help us improve.   Neither of us has ever done video editing before so we are learning as we go.

We started out with a music track on the video but took it off as it seemed too loud to me and there doesn’t seem to be any way to reduce the volume of it in Adobe Premiere Elements 15.  How important is it to you for a video to have music?

We are grateful for our new venture because

  1. we love sharing what our cats are up to with others
  2. the challenge will be good for both of us.   It is easier to keep doing what you already know but it is when you learn new things that you force your brain to create new pathways and that keeps it much healthier.

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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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