Bug Repellent

What’s Going On?

At the end of last week, I began to get a large number of emails from WordPress. Apparently my website login was under attack. I could not believe how many attempts were being made to sneak into my website! I need some bug repellent.

I am not sure why anyone would care much about this site. I do not sell anything, nor do I collect confidential information of any kind.

What Can I Do?

I started looking for a WordPress plugin that would make my site harder to hack. One promising candidate is apparently no longer being updated and may not be compatible with my (up-to-date) version of WordPress. That was disappointing.

Two things I did end up doing may help. First, I made the settings on my “Limit Login Attempts” plugin much more stringent. Second, I strengthened my administrator login password. I certainly hope that the brute force attacks will be reduced.

Having a No Good, Very Bad Weekend

My no good, very bad weekend actually started on Friday. I did not realize I was suffering from fibro fog until the next day. What I did see was that C. P. Pirate did not look like he was feeling well. Early in the evening, when Jim told me Pirate had just gotten sick to his stomach, I got dressed again and took him to the vet.

Dr. Core gave Pirate a thorough examination. Pirate was x-rayed, had blood and urine samples taken, and got two shots to settle his stomach. His ears were cleaned as well; the compounded cream I applied daily tends to build up. Pirate’s temperature was normal, and there was no blockage revealed by the x-ray. Although I had suspected that Pirate has lost some weight, I was shocked to learn that he had lost 12.5 ounces since late September. I took him home.

Feline Farewell

Saturday morning, Pirate would not eat, no matter how often I presented his usual food. Even Spot’s Stew did not entice him. I called the veterinary hospital to get put on the call-back list for his test results. Something told me it would be a good idea to shower and get dressed. Dr. Core called me about 2:00 PM. Although his red and white blood cell counts were normal and he still had only a slight case of anemia, the other blood test results were very bad. Despite his every-other-day fluids and an adjustment of his anti-thyroid medication, both his kidney and thyroid values had risen to alarming levels. I knew it was time to say goodbye, so back we went to Gasow Veterinary Hospital. Pirate crossed the Rainbow Bridge lying in my arms as I kept telling him what a good boy he was and how much I loved him.

C. P . Pirate
C. P. Pirate in Happy Times

Fibro Fog

I was pulling into the garage at home when I got a call from my sister Melissa. Our pastor had contacted her about the location of the bulletins for Sunday. Melissa wanted to know if I had run them and where I had put them. It was only then that I realized that I had totally forgotten to run them off on Friday when I was at work. I had never forgotten to do that before, so it hit me that I must be pretty deep in fibro fog or having a VERY long senior moment. I headed over to church and reproduced the bulletins.

When I returned home again, I faced the unhappy but necessary job of interring my beloved Pirate. I found the perfect spot, right next to his best buddy, Patch the Pirate. I spent the remainder of the day and evening trying to divert my attention to less painful matters, without much success.

Today I discovered that the fog has not lifted. There was a check that I was supposed to get cashed as I worked with the team processing the morning offering at church. I had forgotten all about it until the deposit was complete and on its way to the bank. I opened the file cabinet to store the loose coin, and there was the check.

I hope and pray that my no good, very bad weekend ends today. This is not the condition in which I am able to offer my best service to the Lord and to my church. Missing Pirate is enough of a drain on my mental and emotional resources.

It’s Official: I Am Ancient

Better Than the Alternative

It is 1:00 AM on Friday, April 17; today I officially become ancient. I don’t feel 65, but I do notice some of those nasty physical changes that happen as we grow older. I often joke that growing older is better than the alternative; then I have to explain that I do not mean it in the ultimate sense. For me, as a born-again Christian, the alternative is eternity in heaven with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. There is nothing better than that! For now, though, I am enjoying my life (for the most part) and feel I still have goals to accomplish and people with whom I value spending time.

To celebrate my milestone birthday, I am having a professional portrait taken later today. Our church is putting together a pictorial directory this year, so I asked my mom and sister Melissa to make appointments back-to-back with mine. I plan to include a few “group shots” in my session to enjoy in years to come.

Blue Cross Annoyance

One thorn in my flesh: I should have received from Blue Cross my Medicare Advantage card before April 1 when I became eligible for Medicare. Three weeks ahead of time, I called Blue Cross because I had not received the card and was told that it should arrive two weeks beforehand. No card came. I called the Blues a second time; the gentleman said that something was sent to them in 2013, but I was not eligible at that time (no kidding!). He said that the Office of Retirement Services never sent them any paperwork about my current eligibility.

My next call was to the ORS; I get a teaching pension from the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System. After a brief investigation, a very nice gentleman assured me that the ORS keeps up with its members as they become Medicare-eligible. My name was on the list sent to Blue Cross on January 2. He promised to resend my name to Blue Cross.  He also informed me that the Blues would have to send me a form on which I was to provide the numbers on my federal Medicare card, I would have to mail back it back to them, and eventually I might get my card. I still have nothing from Blue Cross. I hope I do not need any medical care until this is straightened out.

In the Lowland

Life is grand when you’re on the mountaintop, but so much of life is spent in the lowland! Missing one of my prescriptions for fibromyalgia for a couple weeks now has caused my energy level to drop more than usual. The prolonged winter does not help, either. Today Birmingham Bible Institute was cancelled because of weather conditions that made driving unsafe, an important consideration because many of our students (and instructors) come from a distance. It seems strange to have an “empty” Tuesday evening.

More than that has put me in the lowland this evening. There are indications that my life is about to change again, and I may no longer be needed in a position I have enjoyed for more than ten years. With few exceptions, I am not a big fan of change, and this change–if it comes to pass–is one I dread. I know I must trust that God has a plan for me, and that His plan for me is best (Jeremiah 29:11). I just wish that trusting Him was easier right now.