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 One promising candidate is apparently no longer being updated and may not be compatible with my (up-to-date) version of WordPress.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.

An Interesting Year

It has been a long time since I have posted anything here on my blog. It has been an interesting year: three felines have departed our household, and I have learned about something called the “Romance Scam.”

Feline Losses

Cara Mia

Last July, my oldest cat, Cara Mia, lost her two-year battle with breast cancer. Participation in a study with an experimental medicine extended her life in an almost miraculous way. Cara Mia was a beautiful calico with a loud and insistent voice. She was not thrilled with my administration of her medication, but she was—for the most part—happy with her circumstances. At the end, she began to have breathing difficulties and enlarged tumors on her belly, so I said goodbye.

 

Gobblin’ Goopuss

Later in the year I noticed that Gobblin’ Goopuss had lost some weight and his appetite. Melissa took him to the vet, who did bloodwork. I was anticipating that with his thyroid under better control, the tests would reveal some underlying kidney disease. When I took him back in for the test results, I got a very unpleasant surprise: markers in his blood indicated the presence of cancer, probably lymphoma. I reluctantly bid farewell to a second cat on December 2018.

 

Charlie Chompers

My mom’s male kitty, Charlie, was the family favorite. When Jim and I brought him home for Mom back in 2003, Charlie—then about a year old—quickly charmed his way into our hearts. He had the most distinctive set of facial expressions I had ever seen on a cat. He developed a habit of coming out to Mom’s kitchen at dinner time and meowing to be allowed downstairs to visit my cats. Until a year ago, he would return home at bedtime.

Charlie had a number of health problems. He had idiopathic cystitis, an irregular heartbeat (which changed from test to test), and abnormal kidneys. He also had a nasty tendency to barber his belly. A tiny daily dose of generic Prozac took care of the barbering. He also got compounded budesonide and azithromycin cream daily. For a long time he did well on this regimen.

In his old age, Charlie was not fond of change. When Melissa and her cat, Choco Latte, moved in a year ago, he was not happy, and his idiopathic cystitis got worse. Mom and I decided that he would be allowed to go wherever he wanted to go in the house. He spent more and more time downstairs with me and my kitties.

Charlie was still doing quite well in January 2019, when he saw his veterinary internist, Dr. E. In the next month, however, he lost nearly one pound as his appetite lessened. On February 28, I took Charlie and Mitchner to the local vet. Both of them had blood tests. Charlie’s revealed that his kidney values were very elevated. Since I could not get him to eat anything by then, the family decided it was time to say goodbye. Charlie crossed the Rainbow Bridge on March 3.

 

False Love

In October I was contacted on Twitter by someone who wanted to chat with me. The chat moved to Google Hangouts—which I had never heard of before—and my “chat buddy” quickly professed his love for me. It was not long before I discovered that the name and location he gave me were not genuine. The pictures of himself he shared with me belonged to someone else. His name, age, and location changed over time. Worst of all, he had the chutzpah to request money for various purposes.

I would like to warn anyone who reads my blog to be careful with online contacts. Not everyone is who he or she claims to be. Both men and women can be targeted by romance scammers. Here are several websites that provide information on romance scams and what to do about them.

Many of these scams originate in other countries. Nigeria, for instance, is famous for a variety of types of online scams. It is a good idea to do a background check on anyone you meet online, whether it is on a dating site or other social media site. The requests for money began to make me fearful of reprisals when I refused to comply, especially since I had no idea where this person was, so I made a report to my local police. They were able to assure me that I was likely in no danger. I am certainly glad that I took these steps to discover the truth and protect myself!

Final Look

As you can see, it has been an interesting year for me. It is my hope that the coming year will be personally and professionally fulfilling, but not quite so “exciting.”

I Grieve for America

It is Ted Cruz’s defeat in Indiana and subsequent withdrawal from the presidential race that drives me back to writing poetry and posting it online, first on Facebook and now here.

I Grieve for America

I grieve for you, my native land,

Once blessed by God and free,

Our Founders’ vision pure and good

For a land of liberty.

 

But you, my fellow citizens,

Have turned from what is fine:

Ejected God from public life,

Abandoned His design.

 

He made them male and female,

Not L, G, B, T, Q;

Ordained a plan for marriage

That did not seem right to you.

 

You murder babies in the womb

And call it “right to choose”;

Reject equality and life,

Our founding values lose.

 

This year God gave us one last chance

To choose an upright man

To lead this nation back to truth

And to the Founders’ plan.

 

Instead you seek an evil one,

Love arrogance and lies,

Exalt the scandal-ridden,

Hope that our system dies.

 

God clearly has withdrawn from us

The blessing of His grace.

Since we’re no longer “under God,”

He’s turned away His face.

 

Oh, were there still a place on earth

To which Christians could flee,

With God the center of our lives

And our society!

 

Repent, America, and turn

Back to our God and Lord;

Restore your founding principles,

Or face the Spirit’s sword.

 

And as for me, what can I do,

But pray God will restore?

Write in the name of one good man

And then, go pray some more.

 

© Shawna Fenner, 2016

 

 

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.