Stripey entered two photos in the November BlogPaws photo contest, and one of her photos was picked as one of the three winners. How cool is that?
She was able to pick a prize from pet360.com. Of course, being a savvy tabby, she selected the Savvy Tabby Crinkle Kitty Holiday Gift Set in blue and pink: 10 toys to keep Stripey, me, and her papa entertained. I bet her favorite “toy” will be the box.
In case you can’t figure out which photo below is of Stripey, she’s the one doing kitten yoga. I give her a 10 for style.
I recently joined the BlogPaws Community for pet lovers. They were having a photo contest, so you know I had to enter a couple of photos of Stripey.
Here’s the photo contest slideshow. See if you can find the two pictures of @ThatStripeyCat.
And, if you’re an animal lover, check out the BlogPaws website. Very furriendly people there!
I’m not a Black Friday shopper. In fact, the term makes me really uncomfortable. Equating the “start” of the Christmas season with the money to be made just doesn’t seem very Christmas-y to me.
On the other hand, being able to buy presents online from the comfort of my own couch and have the presents delivered directly to my friend or loved one makes me very, very happy.
My Favorite Cyber Store
My one-stop shop for buying presents online is Amazon. Some helpful hints for saving money on Amazon:
If you do a lot of shopping online, it definitely pays to sign up for Amazon Prime.
- You get free two-day shipping on many items, and
- online access to free for Prime members movies and TV shows through your “smart” Blue-Ray player or TV. (It’s like Netflix, but with different programs. Amazon freebies and Netflix online movies almost never overlap.)
- You can rent and buy movies online, and
- If you buy a DVD online with your Prime membership, you often get free online access to the movies for two days until the DVD arrives.
Be sure to check out Amazon’s Today’s Deals tab. There are different limited time sales on a variety of products every day.
Cool Search Widget
Gifts for the E-cig User & Soon-to-be Ex-smoker
And, of course, near and dear to my nicotine-enabled brain are the great cigarettes offered by Vapor4Life.
The Titan beginner kit is a great place to start if (a) you want to switch to e-cigs, or (b) you know someone you would like to switch from tobacco to e-nicotine. The Titan is the most similar in size to a tobacco cigarette, so for many people it’s the easiest way to transition.
Recommendations: Manual battery, ash cap top. Get the kit with the pass-through for battery-free vaping through a USB outlet, car charger, or computer. Buy a couple of extra boxes of cartomizers in different flavors and/or strengths, and if there’s any question which strength to use, go for the stronger to prevent withdrawal symptoms and weight gain. The 24mg. is what works for me after my 20-some-year pack to pack-and-a-half a day light cigarette habit.
I had always stuck with the manual cigarettes until I got a Dial-A-Volt. You can get them in various colors and sizes. The automatic is awesome and my large batter with a full large smileomizer lasted me six and a half hours on a trip from Louisville, Kentucky to Roanoke with not refills. You can adjust the voltage to suit your taste at the moment, and its techie.
Recommendations: Yes, it looks a bit like a cigar. When you discover the taste and battery life, that ceases being an issue. Get smileomizers and fill them according to the instructions (except leave a new one soaking overnight before using it the first time.) The large batteries last longest but are bigger and require large smileomizers. The other sizes use regular smileomizers. They come in colors, too. The blue is gorgeous. I recommend the Ming Vase smileomizer tops (additional, but inexpensive). It makes the mouthpiece more comfortable for those of us who don’t smoke cigars.
The Vapor Zeus
The Vapor Zeus comes in automatic or dual mode (you switch better auto and manual by clicking the switch rapidly five times.) The batteries are about the same size as the Dial-A-Volt batteries, but the really cool thing about them is that you can vape and charge at the same time.
Recommendations: Be sure to get the micro USB charger and cable. I recommend the Ming Vase smileomizer tops for these, too.
The Vapor Zeus Cigar
For the cigar smokers out there, you can get the Vapor Zeus in brown with a brown smileomizer tip. No one will now you’re not smoking a cigar except for the lack of smell, odor, ashes, and stray tobacco leaves.
Recommedations: Get the large battery, large smileomizer, and the cigar-flavored juice. Make it as real for your cigar-smoking self or friend as possible. No Ming vase tips here!
Okay, So I Sound Like a Commercial
Sorry about that, but ’tis the Christmas shopping season, and there’s a real reason to save the money you can and get people the presents you can use. And if you can get a smoker to switch to e-cigs, that’s probably the best present of all.
Posted November 27, 2013 | Beloved Spouse, Caring for Elderly Parents, Lessons I've Learned, My Kentucky Family, My Kittehs, Today I'm Grateful for..., Welcome to My Brain, Welcome to My Life | 4 Comments
I have so many things to be grateful for that I can’t possibly cover them all in one letter. I do my gratitude affirmations almost every day, so you know the usual, but I’d like to give special thanks for a few in particular.
I’m grateful that my beloved spouse and I are learning to communicate more clearly and lovingly. We’re both growing, and I am grateful that you are opening our hearts to new ways of thinking and doing and showing love to each other.
I’m grateful for the opportunities you have given me to be of service to others this year: to clients, friends, family, and people I don’t know and help that I wasn’t aware of giving. Thank you for using me to do good in the world and for helping me repair damage I have done.
I’m grateful to you for not giving me everything I asked for but for always giving me what I needed. I appreciate all the protection you give me from myself.
I’m grateful for my brother and his daughters. It’s so wonderful to have family that I look forward to seeing on holidays and to have a brother who I would trust with my life (with legal documents to prove it).
I’m grateful for the people you have brought into my life in ways that I could never have imagined. The happy synchronicities you have arranged are beyond the scope of my understanding. I’m grateful for that, too.
I am so grateful for the prosperity you have brought into my life. Not just money, but all types of wealth – particularly the light and love with which you have filled my heart and my life.
I am so grateful for the protection, love, healing, guidance, support, and blessings you have – and are – giving me.
With love, gratitude, and thanks to the Universe and all the people in my part of it,
Some of the most popular posts on my blog have been the ones I’ve written about Dana Marie Weaver, the 16-year-old Jefferson High School student who was murdered by one of her classmates in 1949. Click here for the list of my posts about Dana Marie Weaver, her family, and how I learned about her murder.
Roanoke historian Nelson Harris has told the story – with more details that I knew from my research – in his new book, Hidden History of Roanoke: Star City Stories. It’s available for purchase on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats.
You can also read it online through Google books. I’ve included the chapter about Dana Marie Weaver below, but you can start at the beginning here. It’s a fascinating read.
Please click the link and read it online. I hit “Publish” too soon
In previous years I’ve written two posts about the Operation Santa Claus program at Catawba Hospital:
In those posts I talk about how my great-aunt Myrtle, my maternal grandfather’s sister, was committed to Catawba Hospital and lived there for some number of years before she died. I bemoan the fact that my family didn’t talk about her, and that I didn’t find out that she had been alive when we moved to Roanoke in 1967 until I saw her grave at my grandfather’s funeral in 1985. And I write about how angry that made me.
What I haven’t talked about is that, but for the grace of a loving universe, either of my parents could have ended up dying there, too.
There wasn’t any chlorine in my gene pool.
Mental illness cuts a wide swath through both sides of my family. It’s a damn wonder I’m halfway functional at all. My brother and I belong to a very small club: children who’ve had to have not one, but both their parents committed involuntarily to a psychiatric institution.
In my father’s case, he was in the late stages of usual interstitial pneumonitis / idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. He had become an alcoholic in his later years as a result of drinking cough syrup by the bottle (he bought it by the case) to quiet the awful cough he had from allergies. Then he developed Type 2 diabetes as a result of the alcoholism. He suffered a number of ischemic strokes from the diabetes and had suffered brain damage from chronic oxygen deprivation. He had dementia from that, but he’d had symptoms of paranoia and grandiosity for many years before that.
The final straw was when he was at home with agency caregivers under the care of hospice. He had convinced the hospice nurse to give him morphine even though he didn’t need it and had become addicted to it. When hospice refused to give it to him anymore, he became so violent from the withdrawal that his caregivers quit. I didn’t know what else to do, so I had the rescue squad come to the house to take him to CRMH to be evaluated. Thank goodness the emergency intake worker who evaluated him had done so several months before (another story), saw his deterioration, and agreed that despite my father’s declarations that he could go home and take care of himself, had him held for evaluation. At the hearing, my father was committed to a nursing home. Several months after that, there was An Incident (another story), and I had to arrange a transfer. He died in the second nursing home about nine months after the initial commitment. (See Last wishes for more about that.)
My mother was incorrectly diagnosed with all manner of psychiatric illnesses over the course of 45 years or so. She had a lot of physical illnesses as well. When she was my age – 53 – you wouldn’t have caught her climbing up the shelves in Target to get the last bag of kitty litter at the back of the top shelf like I did last week. You’d have seen her shuffling along with a walker as a result of a couple of hip replacements and spinal stenosis and having her food brought to her by the kind folks at S&S Cafeteria at Towers.
On Easter weekend in 1999, she was in Lewis-Gale for one of her many admissions – so many that I don’t remember what that one was for. But, while there, she started gorging on everything anyone brought her, tottering into other patients’ rooms on her walker, and writing on her face with the white board marker from the board in her room. The lovely folks at the hospital told me to go down to the Salem Magistrate’s office and file for a Temporary Detention Order (TDO). It didn’t take anyone too long to figure out that she was going to have to be moved to The Pavilion, which is a nice name for the old Psych Center. While I hadn’t had to testify at my father’s hearing, I had to show up and testify at hers on the Monday after Easter. She was committed until deemed fit for release and finally correctly diagnosed with bipolar disorder, manic phase.
Her health was so bad that she couldn’t be put on lithium, the first drug of choice for treating bipolar disorder, but the doctor did get her on some meds that, by the time she was released, produced someone resembling the best parts of the mother I remembered from my childhood. That didn’t last long, though. She had become addicted to Darvocet – and to being unable to do anything but demand things from other people – for so long that she badgered her shrink into taking her off the very medication that she needed.
Less than a year later, I had to have her committed again. That time the police had to come to the house and carry her out into the squad car. There’s nothing quite like seeing your mother being carried away kicking and screaming to make you wonder what planet you landed on.
My brother met me at the hospital and we sat with Mom in the secure waiting area, which didn’t prove to be all that secure. When an officer brought her the glass of ice water she had requested, she ripped the radio microphone off his uniform, kicked my brother, and threw the glass of water in my face. Another trip to the Magistrate’s office, another hearing after she was taken to the psych center, and then I refused to answer the phone when she called, so she left messages on our answering machine that were so awful I finally refused to listen to them. Again she was released. Shortly thereafter her health deteriorated to the point that she couldn’t do much damage to anyone when she got manic, so we just listened to her scream a lot.
After a while, the excess of carbon dioxide in her blood served to sedate her into a more or less manageable state. At one point she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but she didn’t have Alzheimer’s – just plain ol’ dementia, caused in part by the raft of horrible psychotropic medications the doctors in the 60s and 70s had put her on.
We were lucky. Her mother had left her enough money that she we were able to keep her at home until she died of pulmonary acidosis (and its complement, renal alkalosis) as a result of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). You can read about that in For the highest good of all.
So you see…
The treatment of the mentally ill with money is bad enough. The treatment of those without money is worse.
Please click here or on the image of the brochure to learn more about how you or your organization can help the elderly mentally ill patients at Catawba Hospital have a merrier Christmas than they would otherwise. Most of these people have no family and no money. What they get from donations is quite likely all they will get.
I donate every year: In memory of my great-aunt, who I never met because she was at Catawba and no one thought to mention it, and in memory of my father and mother, who didn’t end up there only because they had money to pay for other care and children who made sure they got it.
And I donate because I worry, just a little, that one day it might be me in there.
…I’m also prone to express annoyance.
However, I don’t think I’ve ever before complained about this – awake or asleep.
I know I’ve complained about snoring (my beloved spouse’s, my cat’s, and even my own), but until last night I never had occasion to complain about anyone sucking hair in through his ear holes.
I hope that never happens again.
There I was, minding my own business, when I got a call from Tom Field, owner, publisher, and chief cook and bottle-washer of Valley Business FRONT, asking me if I would write a column about e-cigs for the magazine. I wrote the monthly netFRONT column for Tom and Dan Smith (co-owner and editor at the time) for two years, but had to quit a couple of years ago because I was so busy.
Tom had noticed my Facebook posts about e-cigs and wanted to include an article about them in the magazine. How cool is that?
So I set about writing one. It was hard to do it from a third person point of view since I’ve been blogging about my own experience, but I got a fun, fact-filled article (my description ) to Tom within a couple of days. He did some judicious editing, got a quote from another Roanoke e-cig user and a photo of a local tobacco store with a quote from its owner, who says that e-cigs account for about 20% of his business.
Ready to check it out? You’ve got options!
Check out the whole magazine, but flip to page seven for my photo, pages 30-32 for the article, and page 68 for my bio.
- If you’re using a browser than can display Flash, [ click here ].
- If you’ve got a speedy Internet connection, [ click here ] to download the 8.9 MB PDF.
- If you’d got an iPad, download the free Valley Business FRONT app and read it on your iPad.
Or, if you just want “the good stuff” (just kidding, Tom), [ click here ] or on the photo below to open a shorter PDF with just my stuff in it.
It was fun to write the article. Many thanks, Tom, for thinking of me. I’m glad I don’t have to write in third person for a living, though!
I am a Vapor4Life affiliate. I am not paid to write about e-cigarettes, the company, or the products, but I do get free stuff to try and to review here on my blog, and I get a commission if you buy something through one of my affiliate links.
At least my beloved spouse says so. He said that in the early hours of the morning last Saturday I said, while very much asleep but very clearly:
What, we ask ourselves are “miscellaneouses” and how many fit into a packet? Inquiring minds want to know….