Last night I tried something new with cousin MJ and sister Melissa: a class at The Community House in Birmingham entitled “Paint Your Pet.” After arriving we each got a canvas with a light pencil sketch of our chosen pet (based on photos we had sent in ahead of time). Our teacher gave us instructions for painting, first the background and then the details. She went from person to person to suggest appropriate techniques for the animal each was attempting to capture on canvas. We really enjoyed ourselves, even though we were not 100% satisfied with the quality of our labors.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Wikipedia article on “Romance Scam”
- The Federal Trade Commission
- Cybercrime Support Network
- The FBI news report on romance scams
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!
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.”
It has been exactly one year (to the day) since I last posted to this blog. Happy Anniversary to SweetMewsic’s Musings!
The last year has, for the most part, been a happy and productive one. There are two exceptions to this worth noting:
- My handsome orange polydactyl, Pawscar Awesome, had to have his right eye removed in June 2016. The pressure went out of control, and he had no vision remaining. A laboratory examination could find no explanation for the eye problem, which made me glad I had not agreed to a risky procedure to remove and analyze fluid from his eye that had been recommended some time ago. In the next few months we struggled to keep the pressure in his left eye in the normal range and cope with the diabetes which resulted from long-term steroid use for his eyes. In November, Pawscar’s left eye experienced the same rising pressure, and it seemed that I might soon have a blind kitty. Then I noticed the feel of “bubbles” under the skin of his hindquarters. I took Pawscar to Dr. R., who was able to remove some fluid under the skin for analysis. By the next day Pawscar was clearly miserable, unable to use his litterbox without pain. I made the difficult decision to let him cross the Rainbow Bridge on November 16, 2016. It was only when I returned home that evening and got a Facebook notification email that I realized that November 16, 2012, was Pawscar’s “birthday”: the day I first met him at Gasow Veterinary Clinic and determined to adopt him.
- My husband, Jim, injured his back in the summer. One morning in late August he awoke and was not able to get out of bed, even with my help. He had a fracture in his back, which was repaired surgically. The surgeon said he could come home, but our internist wanted to wait a day. By then, Jim was weak and not eating well. So began five months during which Jim alternated between a nursing home (with rehab at first) and the hospital. Finally, on January 20, 2017, Jim passed away. I am now a widow, like my mother and my sister Judy.
On this last day of the year, I look back on 2015 as if it were an object in the rearview mirror of the orange Dodge Dart I usually drive. The year has had more ups and downs than usual, it seems.
The Good in 2015
I am pleased to say that there were no losses in our human family. I still appreciate sharing a home and companionship with my mom, who is the best in the world; and working with my sister Melissa on two jobs and my cousin MJ on a third.
What is more, I am feeling better than I have for quite some time. A decision to take my thyroid problems to a new doctor led to a change to Nature-Throid and a new vitamin/supplement regimen which has improved my energy level quite a bit. I am still not a “morning person,” but I am able to arise at 7:00 AM and make it to work by 9:00 AM on a regular basis, for which I am truly thankful.
I have very much enjoyed my work at church and at Birmingham Bible Institute. I love being the webmaster of three websites, accomplishing tasks in the church office, and teaching adults who want to know something about biblical Greek and/or Hebrew.
I am also glad to be back in the church choir again. I joined up on a whim in the summer, but have continued faithfully since then. I have always enjoyed singing (even when it is with only the cats as my audience), but choir is an opportunity to “make a joyful noise unto the Lord.”
My long-standing friendship with Nancy continues to be important in my life. Even when we can’t get together for several weeks at a time, I know she is there for me (and I am for her).
I have also enjoyed learning more about WordPress. I have taken–and continue to take–a number of online courses through Udemy, a great resource I discovered early in 2015.
The Bad in 2015
Probably the worst part of 2015 for me was the loss of four beloved cats: Revelly in March, Patch the Pirate in May, and both C. P. Pirate and Allicat (aka Googlie Girl) in November. Googlie was the oldest of my kitties; she had been with us since December 1998, when we adopted her as a one-year-old stray.
I also miss my chat buddy, Karen. We used to meet up on Yahoo Messenger for long talks on a regular basis, but since her granddaughter was born we no longer do.
Coming in 2016
I am assuming new responsibilities and more hours per week in my job at church. I am honored and humbled by the confidence placed in me, and desire to glorify God by doing my best in every task. I know I can rely on Him for strength and guidance.
I also have a new feline family member to get to know in 2016. His name is Rascal Spatz, and he came to us in December as a nine-month-old kitten. He has already managed to terrorize and harass several of the other cats with his rough play habits. He seems to lack the “fear gene.” He does loves his humans and has a loud purr.