Crossword Puzzle

Some health issues are slowing me down so I have been turning my desktop on only a few times a week and then often only for essential things such as budget and bills.    I hope to experiment with doing blog posts on my Chromebook, if I can find a way to create images on it.   My Chromebook is easier for me to use than my desktop computer, so if that works I can try to go back to almost daily blog posts. 

I am on my desktop today.   Since that is where my graphics software resides, I wanted to get a quick blog post up.

When not on our computers, Jamey and I share various activities from reading out loud to each other to doing crossword puzzles together.   (We used to do jigsaw puzzles together before Johnny came into our lives but to put one out now would be asking for trouble as it is an absolute certainty that she would see it as a new cat toy.)

We enjoy working crossword puzzles together
We enjoy working crossword puzzles together

Since I am a decade older than Jamey, it is fun to do crossword puzzles together as we often find that we fill in the gaps well in each other’s knowledge on some topics.   On others, such as modern entertainers, movies and TV shows, I am almost completely clueless.    I love ones based on the 1960s or earlier though as Jamey and I both have a decent working knowledge of history.  The crossword above had a “hippie generation” theme.

So that is what I am grateful for today – non computer based activities that Jamey and I enjoy sharing.

 

Cheap Cat Toy

I love to watch our cats play. There’s the fun of seeing them come begging for morning snacks, then a quick swipe by one or the other (usually Johnny) starts the morning chase and wrestling session down the hall and into the front room. Sometimes, there’s the fun of putting a ball or squeaky mouse on the upper levels of the cat tree, and watching Johnny jump up and grab it, and going trotting off across the room showing that she got it!

But one thing that often gives them lots of fun is the cheapest thing I’ve found for a cat toy. I don’t count Amazon boxes, even though they seem to find those pretty fun for jumping in and gnawing on, since you have to buy the contents of those boxes.

No, the toy I’m talking about, you can pick up just about anywhere on a card with a couple of dozen for just a couple of bucks.

Johnny with Hair Tie
Johnny About To Pounce The Evil Hair Tie!

Johnny particularly loves to play with my hair ties – especially after I’ve worn them for a while. She sends them skating across the floor, and under doors, and then spends quite a bit of time trying to reach under the door and snake them back out.

Night sometimes gets in on the action as well, though they haven’t quite caught on to the idea of playing hockey with them. I’m sure they will get that down soon enough. Sometimes, I use the handle of one of the other toys we have for them to catch one of the ties and send it zooming down the hall – and then I get to watch Johnny slip and slide while she tries to run after it, and then comes the slide when she pounces on it and starts smacking it around!

So, yeah, I’m very grateful that such a cheap little toy provides our kitties so much fun!

Superphoto

While healing from another back injury this past week, I have been mainly using only mobile devices rather than my desktop which is why there have been no blog posts.  

One of the things I did on one of my mobile devices (my Amazon Fire) is to have some fun with the Superphoto application.

I find it hard to get good pictures of Night since she is almost completely black.   I pulled a picture of her sitting next to a cat toy into the Superphoto app and came up the following ways of portraying my favorite black cat:

The Superphoto application allowed me to portray my favorite black cat, Night, in some creative ways.
The Superphoto application allowed me to portray my favorite black cat, Night, in some creative ways.

While at it, I snapped a picture of Jamey while he was on the phone with my surrogate Dad and had some fun with it.   Since Jamey is (by anyone’s definition of the word) a Geek and proud of it, I used a Rubik’s Cube as the backdrop for his photo.

my favorite Geek on a Rubik's Cube
my favorite Geek on a Rubik’s Cube

So today, while I am still recovering from my most recent back injury*, I am grateful for my mobile devices and the many things I can do with them when I am not up to using my desktop computer.

Yes, today is Sunday and should be Jamey’s day to post but he is asleep and I have not posted all week so I am posting today instead.  I am including the Jamey’s post tag on this one even though I am writing it as it features a picture of him and talks about why he is not doing one today.

*Due to my osteogenesis imperfecta, my spinal column is collapsing (which is why I am down to 4’6″) and I am very susceptible to back injuries.  

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A Little Black Silhouette

We don’t keep the apartment lit up super-bright. So, it’s really kind of interesting to watch our cats wander around doing cat things. Especially with one of them – Night – often appearing as little more than a black hole in space ghosting through the apartment. It’s hard to explain, but their purity of movement, and especially Night’s appearance at times as just the essence of cat, smooth curves and silent steps, reminds me that cats chose to move in with humans, to provide us with their silent wisdom and comforting warm purring.

Of course, Night, having been brought in from the wild to live with us, is not quite the cuddler, at least not with me. Still, watching her curled up on Doreen’s bed, or slipping down the hallway, just emphasizes the elegance that is Cat.

Night contemplates the drink of water she just took.
Night contemplates the drink of water she just took.

And I always appreciate and am grateful for the beauty that is cats.

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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.

If you would like to read our (almost) daily gratitude posts, please see the follow us options on the left side of the post.  If you are using a mobile device, please click the three lines at the top right to see the options for following us.   Thank you very much.

 

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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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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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.

 

If you would like to read our (almost) daily gratitude posts, please see the follow us options on the left side of the post.  If you are using a mobile device, please click the three lines at the top right to see the options for following us.   Thank you very much.