Weird Wednesday – Feb. 7, 2018 – A Cat, a Nerd, and a Bacteria Colony

Today’s Weird Wednesday features my cat – Deva Quinn (Day-vuh).
(Named after Anna/Carrie’s daughter on Banshee).

She is just about a year and a half old and she is just the goofiest thing.  I adopted her from a cat rescue about this time last year.  She sleeps in bed with me along side her two canine sisters.  IMG_1812

What’s weird about her?
Well, for some reason the “good” bacteria colony in her belly becomes “overgrown” about once a month and she becomes lethargic, poopie, and pukey.  I took her to the vet the first time this happened, which is how I got the diagnosis, and they gave her antibiotics and poop paste to stiffen that up and sent her on her way.  This cost me nearly $200. Once I discovered this was going to happen every month, I had to come up with a new (less expensive) solution.

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And this is where my total nerdiness kicked in.
I applied the scientific method and began to construct the first hypothesis I would try to prove.  That hypothesis was, “if a woman can consume Activia probiotic yogurt to maintain a healthy digestive bacterial balance, would this also apply to a cat.”

Was it safe?
I did the research on whether Activia yogurt would be harmful to my cat, and the resources I checked not only had positive things to say about cats eating Activia yogurt (although nearly all specified plain, not flavored yogurt), they also related that a lot of cats love yogurt and look forward to a small amount as a treat every now and then.

Of course, not my cat.
Deva not only doesn’t consider Activia yogurt a treat, I’m fairly certain she believes the substance is piping hot brimstone from the very bowels of hell.  My procedure for giving her a small amount of yogurt is to practically sit on top of her, hold her by the neck, dip my finger into the yogurt to get a small dab on my finger, and then proceed to pry her mouth open long enough to wipe the yogurt from my finger onto her tongue without her clamping her sharp teeth down onto my digit.  And, without her spitting it back out onto the floor.  I repeat this procedure until I’ve gotten three dabs of yogurt in her for two consecutive days.  (Please note that at all times throughout this ordeal, Deva is safe and unharmed, which I can’t always say for myself.)

Does this procedure work?
It actually does.  For the past several months, whenever Deva seems to have a relapse, I have been giving her the yogurt, and within a couple days, she’s back to her spry, crazy self.

Having proved my hypothesis into theory, I am taking my experimentation even further.
I wondered if Activia yogurt could be used as a prophylactic measure, and if by giving Deva Quinn yogurt in the same method described above BEFORE she becomes ill if this idea would keep her healthy so she didn’t have to have a couple of days of down time every month.

I will let you know if this hypothesis becomes proven into theory!

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On turning 54

Photo collage of me in my teens, 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s.

Age never bothered me until my mid-40s. 

My 20s literally rocked!!!
I spent most of the decade going with Holly to local, regional, and national heavy metal concerts.
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My Friend Holly – 1987-ish

My 30s was the absolute BEST decade of my entire life. 
I was beautiful, healthy, had just bought my own house after my first divorce, and spent most of the decade hanging out with Amys
3 at hockey games and was having an absolute ball!

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Me (left) and two of the three Amys – 1998-ish

My 40s is when it all became too real for me. 
I had just bought my own little 5 acre farm and had put up pasture fences, moved my horses in from London, Ohio, built a chicken shed and added a bunch of really awesome chickens, hand-raised two day-old peacocks, bought myself a John Deere tractor and was living the dream life I had always wanted since I was a little girl.

Life was beautiful. 
I could wake up and see my horses through my bedroom window every morning.  My two peacocks – Pete and RePete – were growing like crazy and were so spoiled that they would come peck on the sliding glass patio doors when they wanted to come into the house.  My hens were laying stellar eggs, which I collected every morning, and my dogs could run free as the wind and were also having the time of their lives.

Then cancer! 
I have to tell you, the chemotherapy and other treatments were absolutely preferable to the financial disaster the disease caused.  I lost my farm because I couldn’t keep up with my mortgage.  I had to find homes for my horses, my chickens, my peacocks, and my dogs, and it was so terribly upsetting to lose everything I had worked for since I was a child.  Then I moved back to the city to live with my second husband at his sister’s home until we got back on our feet financially.  Ugh!

All of that has come to pass.
I got divorced, had a great job, and was once again becoming financially stable.

Then, cancer again!
Fortunately, this time I had much better health insurance, was on my own, and had three wonderful nieces that took excellent care of me while I was laid up for six weeks. Once again, I’m in remission.

So, here I am having just turned 54 years old yesterday.  I don’t know what the future holds as far as any recurrence, but it is more than likely to happen.  So, I am making a huge, conscious effort to not miss another minute of my life.  Thanks to my awesome job, I am now financially secure and I have been travelling a lot, having tons of fun with my nieces and my friends, and enjoying the finer things in life!

Here’s to another year, my friends!

My Birthday Weekend!

My birthday weekend was absolutely fantastic!

I got to:

  • see my friend Bridgette in Cincinnati;
  • see Star Wars: The Last Jedi;
  • see Jeff Dunham: Passively Aggressive; and
  • hang out with my awesome nieces.

For my own self, I:

  • got my haircut;
  • got my eyebrows waxed;
  • got a scalp massage; and
  • got a new some new ink.

Me and my girl, Raven, 2001. I miss her so very much! She is now immortalized on my ribs.

In general:

  • I took Friday off work and got to sleep in a while,
  • played around with some of my crafty things;
  • visited my Mom for her 95th birthday; and
  • and basically had an awesome 3-day weekend.

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Bridgette and I acting completely stupid with the help of SnapChat filters!

54 DOESN’T SUCK!

 

 

 

 

 

Finally Friday – 1/26/18 – What’s on Tap?

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So, Finally Fridayis going to be a regular series here on Six Months @ A Time.
On Finally Friday, we will share what is on tap for the weekend!

So this Sunday – January 28 – is my 54th birthday! 

FRIDAY!
My birthday weekend is actually STARTING on Friday this week because I am taking Friday off of work:

1) because Friday is my Mom’s 95th birthday, so I plan to spend some of the morning with her; and

2) to spend Friday night in Cincinnati with my friend Bridgette.  We are going to dinner and then to see the new Star Wars movie (yes, I know – I’m late).

SATURDAY!
Saturday I will be driving home from Cincinnati in the morning and then going with Kelsey to her tattoo appointment in the afternoon.  She has booked a half-day appointment (3 hours) so if there is any time left, Carmelo said he’d do some more ink on me!  WOO HOO potential birthday ink!

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On Sunday – my actual birthday – Tammy, Tracey, Kelsey and I are going to see Jeff Dunham at The Schottenstein Center!  I hope he brings Achmed and Walter!  My two favs!

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YAAAAYYYY BIRTHDAY WEEKEND!

Happy Birthday, Momma!

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My Mother!  95 Years Old today!
She was born in 1923, lived through the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and “Make Love, Not War.”

She outlived her son David, her daughter Carole, her husband Lou, her brother Paul, and both her parents.

She soldiered on through my bratty elementary years, then my completely rampant teenage years.  I was a precocious child, and a wild teenager (in my defense, I was a preacher’s kid – I HAD to be wild!  It was prerogative!)  Case in point.  I must have been about four years old, and my mother sat a bowl of soup down in front of me, giving me the motherly warning, “be careful, it’s hot.”  Me, being the spoiled, mouthy child I was, exclaimed haughtily, “it’s NOT hot!”  Then, I proceeded to put a spoonful in my mouth and burn my tongue; to which I exclaimed, “it’s warm though!”

She rolled her eyes and yelled for a good while every time I brought some new animal home.  Dogs, cats, horses, ferrets, gerbils, birds, frogs, snakes, newts, fish, mice, rabbits, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and more.

She should have headed the warning she received early on that her home would be a constant influx of beasts when at two years old I asked her for a pet bird and she slyly told me that if I can catch one I could keep it — never in a million years guessing that I would actually do so.  But, one morning, in through the back door I toddled with a fledgling Robin that had just fallen out of its nest.  Of course, she didn’t let me keep it – something about lice and other grotesque propositions – and my world crumbled because she had “lied to me.”

She drove me to and from my riding lessons, dusted me off when a horse would buck me off, or when I would face plant when being unbalanced in my 2-point position over a three-foot vertical or oxer.

She planned the most awesome birthday parties for me, made crafts with me, caught butterflies with me, signed me up for summer-long classes at the Dayton Museum of Natural History (now Boonshoft Museum of Discovery)  (my most awesome summers EVER), and took me grocery shopping with her.

She also yelled at me, reprimanded me, and grounded me when I needed it; and somehow managed to not choke me out in my sleep.

I’m fairly certain it is from her that I got my loud mouth.  My father was the preacher at a small country church in the middle of nowhere – literally!  Corn fields in front, bean fields behind, and vice versa for crop rotation purposes.  We lived in the parsonage next to the church building.  One of the Elders and his family lived on the other side of us.  Small country homes and farm houses progressed sparsely up our street in a manner in which you could probably fit 2 or 3 more houses in between each.

One morning I apparently wasn’t feeding my rabbits fast enough for her and she was standing on the back porch just telling me about myself.

A few minutes later, I boarded the little country school bus, which then picked up David Gorman next door, before stopping three more houses down to pick up Mary Neatherton.  Mary boarded the bus and we always sat together.  This day, she boarded the bus just laughing her head off.  I asked her what was so funny, and she said she and her mom were standing out in the yard waiting for the bus when her mother looked at her and said, “Is that the preacher’s wife down there cussing like a sailor?”  It’s true.  I’m still not sure to this day that my name isn’t really Dammit Anyhow Lowery.

Don’t get me wrong, though.  She was an awesome Mom!  She fed us, kept a clean house, took great care of me and dad, doted on me when I was sick, and loved to laugh.  At everything.  She’s hilarious and quick witted.  She has the dry, sarcastic wit that I’m so famous for.  Guess that’s where I get it from.

I can never in my 54 years remember that woman EVER being sick – like cold or flu sick.  I remember her getting food poisoning once from a bad fast food breakfast burrito, but never random illness.  I’m sure she did, but she would never let that stop her or let us know she didn’t feel well.

She had a hip replacement in her early 80s and a heart valve replaced in her late 80s, but that is all I can ever remember of her being down for any amount of time.

She is now in a wheelchair on the skilled nursing floor of the facility where she lives.  She loves the place, but says she’s bored out of her mind.  They take great care of her and I know she is safe and well looked after.

Her mind is hit or miss.  Most days she’ll ask you the same question 5 times, and I just answer her every time like it’s the very first time she’s ever asked.  She can, however, remember crap that happened 30 or 40 years ago with so much detail and clarity.

At 95, she’s still an awesome mom, even though it’s me taking care of her, and I love her more than anything.

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Mom and Val and MacKenzie and Ashley – July 2017

 

 

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Here is my mom receiving a Jefferson Award for volunteer service – 2000-ish?

 

 

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My Sissy

Today, my sister would have been 73 years old. 
Carole Jeanne was born in 1945.  My sister was 19 years older than me – old enough to have actually been my mother – and I believe sometimes she thought she was.  My mother gave birth to her while my father was stationed on Saipan and/or Tinian, or one of those Northern Mariana Islands during World War II.  I remember seeing the actual telegram sent to my father overseas announcing the birth of a bouncing baby girl.  STOP.

I didn’t see my sister often.
She was married to a civil service guy, Tim, who was stationed either at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi; or Eglin Air Force Base near Crestview, Florida; for most of my childhood.  But, my mom and dad and I always drove down from Ohio for Christmas.  It was always awesome.  I loved spending time with my nieces, who were so much closer in age to me than my sister – Tammy (4 years younger than I); and Tracey (6 years younger than I).  These two were like my sisters growing up – and still are to this day.

As an adult, I saw her more often.
After Sissy’s divorce and our father’s death, I would drive my mother down to my sister’s house in Panama City, Florida, every winter, where my Mom would stay until I would fly down to get her in the spring and drive her back.  No way she could fly down and back because my mother would pack her car with everything under the sun to take with her, including her sewing machine – a cabinet one, not a portable; nearly all of her clothes; and food for days.  Oh, and apparently they don’t sell dog food in Florida.

I called her Sissy, even as an adult.
If I ever addressed my sister as Carole, I have absolutely no recollection of it.  Eventually, Sissy was shortened to “C,” which is actually the last syllable of sis-sy, although my mother thought I called her C because it was her first initial.

We became good traveling buddies.
We would traipse around the United States (mostly Florida and Tennessee) and have a good ol’ time.  My favorite thing was to plan a surprise get-away and mail her a tour “brochure” I would put together.  I would make her call me so I could hear her read the tour brochure out loud so I could hear the excitement in her voice (no Skype back then).

Two of the most memorable vacays we took together were Orlando and Tampa.  The Orlando trip included a luau, Epcot, Pirate’s Dinner Theater, and most-memorably, Discovery Cove, where we got to swim with the dolphins.  Being able to touch and interact with a live dolphin is still one of the most profound experiences I’ve ever had – even to this very day.  My sister was terrified of fish her entire life, so imagine my surprise when she walked right into the ray pool, where you could swim alongside the rays at your leisure.

The Tampa trip included a Bay dinner cruise and Busch Gardens and Animal Kingdom.  SO.MUCH.FUN

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My sister was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992.
She was 47 years old.  I don’t recall ever knowing the details of her breast cancer – the type of tumor, the stage of the tumor, whether it was triple negative or not – but I remember she had to undergo chemotherapy, radiation, and mastectomy.  I believe she had hormone therapy, but I’m not certain.  She still lived in Florida, so I didn’t have a lot of detail.

Her second diagnosis was in 1999 when she was 54 years old.  I believe she went through all the same treatments she did with the first go around ending in another mastectomy.  Again, she was still living in Florida, and I didn’t have much knowledge of her treatment.

In February 2006, at the age of 61, my sister passed away from pancreatic cancer, which the doctors believe had metastasized from her previous bouts.  She had moved to Ohio by then and lived with me on my little 5 acre farm.

When they told her about her prognosis, she didn’t want to “go through all that again” and to just let it “play out.”  So, she lived her final months of her life being her happy-go-lucky self, spending time with my horses, and laughing heartily at everything funny.

I really miss her.

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Me and my sister – Christmas 2001

 

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My sister at some point in high school – late 1950s or early 1960s.