Posted in Holidays, IRL

Returning from the Cozumel Cruise

Every year, around Christmas/New Year, Syn and I get together to celebrate in some form. I also take the chance to visit Vix and Xaa while I’m there, so it’s a bit of a family get together as well.

This year, we decided to do something a little different from our standard hang around the house New Year. Syn and I went on our first ever cruise to the island of Cozumel, Mexico.

Cruising is something that’s popular among my co-workers, and apparently more popular than I knew. It’s fairly inexpensive for what all you get, and an experience that I’m glad I had.

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Our ship, Carnival Fantasy, as seen from the port in Mexico.

This was also my first time leaving America for a foreign country. So, I had to learn about getting a passport and all the things international travel holds.

I just got back in town two days ago, so I’m still trying to get things organized after being away for over a week. I wanted to at least blog some pictures I took and share a little of that cruise experience with you all!

Continue reading “Returning from the Cozumel Cruise”

Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, IRL, MMORPGs

After the Eclipse & FFXIV Moonfire Faire

I’m just getting back into the swing of things after taking a few days off from life for a mini-vacation on the coast to view the solar eclipse earlier this week. It was an extremely cool thing to see in totality, and worth every mile we drove, even in backed-up traffic.

Eclipse Adventures

Syn and I headed to the coast, where I haven’t been in quite a while. It’s sad that I live about an hour away from a popular beach vacation spot, but I never go there. We spent some time on the pier and at the shore, as well as on the saltwater marsh walk, and through all sorts of shops and eateries.

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The day of the eclipse, we had to drive a bit further south from our hotel, and traffic was a bear. The day started out cloudy and rainy, but luck was on our side.

We found a nice little park that was out of the way and fairly quiet. There was a small group of folks out there — a photography club had gathered to try and snap some shots of the event. But everyone was polite and very into the event. I laughed as someone played Dark Side of the Moon while totality grew near.

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Sunny moment at the park.

The clouds often threatened our view, and even during totality, it was a bit hazy. But we got to see what we came for.

It was pretty surreal during the totality when the sky got dark, all the lights in the park came on, and there was a perpetual sunset on every horizon.

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Darkness falls at 1:47 PM as sunset spreads on every horizon.

This lasted about two minutes, and after that, the clouds moved over us in earnest. So it held out just long enough for us to enjoy the culmination of it all.

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Syn got a better picture of the eclipse than I did.

Solar Eclipse: 10/10
Would eclipse again.

Moonfire Faire

After seeing Syn off to the airport, I came home last night, and somewhat inspired by our ocean adventures, I decided to work on finishing up the Moonfire Faire for my level 30 Alts who still needed stuff from the event.

So, I got the outfit for Ben… who looks like he feels a bit drafty…

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And Zemi, who took to it like a natural.

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Of course he would.

I still have to finish up the event on Tai tonight. He managed to snag some battered fish out of the FC chest, so he’s all set. I just need to finish up the actual quest to get his gear.

As soon as this event comes to a close, we’ll have The Rising starting up. After seeing the teaser image, I’m curious what it’ll be about this year. Looks promising!

therising

Posted in IRL

Solar Eclipse Party

Monday, the path of the solar eclipse is going to move through my state, pretty close to where I live. Syn is coming to visit in order to view it, and we’re going to have a (hopefully) chill and geek-full time.

Due to that, I probably won’t be back to blogging until sometime late next week. I wish everyone a great weekend, and if you’re viewing the eclipse, a safe time!

Posted in IRL, Kitty Korner

Kitty Korner: Unexpected Kitten Homed!

Pictured above was part of a flier that I used to advertise that the abandoned kitten I found last week was in need of a home. I printed it and posted it up around work last Friday… and what do you know? It did its job.

Late Friday afternoon, I was contacted by a co-worker who said she needed to check, but might know someone who has a place for him. I connected with her again this morning, and yes, the kitten has a new home!

I was a little sad to bid him farewell because he is an exceptionally well-behaved kitten. It was tough, but I did it. And now my life can get back to normal, instead of driving him back and forth from work, taking him to the vet, dealing with moody Spriggans, and fretting that he doesn’t have a home.

I’m glad we were able to find him a place that wasn’t the shelter (I heard the shelter isn’t taking animals in right now due to an outbreak of parvo). My understanding is that he’ll be headed to a nice house on a bunch of land in Tennessee. Far better off than when I found him lost and crying along side the road almost a week ago.

Good luck, little kitten! o7

Posted in IRL, Kitty Korner

Kitty Korner: Unexpected Kitten #2

I’m not sure if this is the year of the cat or something, but I seem to be attracting way more strays that I have a right to. So here is unexpected kitten story #2.

I was pulling out of work to go and grab some lunch when I saw out of the corner of my eye a tiny marmalade stripe kitten along the road. It was acting peculiar — this is a very busy two lane road, and it was walking TOWARDS the flow of traffic, crying at the cars as if it was looking for something.

Now, there were bushes and a ditch behind it, but on the other side of a narrow strip of land is an interstate full of cars rushing 80 mph or so. So, between the busy road in front of work and that interstate, I was sure this kitten wouldn’t survive long if it was walking towards the cars.

I quickly pulled around and parked. Then I ran across the street to the bushes to try and see if it would come to me. It was scared, but it didn’t bolt on sight like a feral would, so I tried to approach it. I got within a foot of it before it ran into the bushes.

I grabbed lunch, but the kitten was on my mind. I didn’t know if it had run far away, or if it was still there in the ditch. I felt bad that I had blown my shot at catching it.

It hardly looked a month old, and it was alone. I saw no other siblings or mother cat around.

I told my boss about the kitten, since she had been part of kitten rescues around the work campus in the past. We agreed to keep watching for it, and if it showed up again, we’d call out the humane society to come out and trap it.

I looked for it on and off all day and didn’t see it again. Not until I was pulling out to go home from work.

Again, there was the kitten, walking towards the road (which was even more busy at rush hour) and crying at the cars. I did a quick swerve back into the parking lot, ran back across the road, and tried a second time.

The kitten hid again under a bush, but kept crying at me. So I meowed back (I probably speak terrible cat) in a tone I’ve heard mother cats use before. Surprisingly, the kitten stayed still enough for me to grab it. It pitched a fit, but I scruffed it and didn’t let go.

I had no idea if I had a feral who was going to go wild on me the moment I unscruffed. But I took that chance and ran him back across the street to my car.

The two of us had a moment of reckoning there in the driver seat. The kitten stared straight up into my face, in a way that an animal does when it knows people, and when I let it go, it started to cling to me rather than bite.

I calmed it down, then took it inside work since I had no way to transport it anywhere. My co-workers instantly gathered around, and in short time, he (confirmed he) began to purr. We got him some milk, a box for transport, and I brought him home.

Turns out he’s a super social kitten, and very, very sweet. He’s also a lovely kitten, but so young that his eyes are still blue. I’m trying to give him a safe calm place away from my other two jealous kitties. He’s eating and doing alright.

But as lovely and sweet as he is (and he is super, super social), I know I can’t keep a third cat. I’m hoping to home him with a co-worker or their family, but for now, I’m going to get him into the vet as soon as I can.

Posted in IRL

Another Year Gone By

Google always remembers my birthday. 🙂

This is the last year of my 30’s. I was going to spend some time browsing back over memories and accomplishments of the past 10 years… or what I could remember of them. There are a fair few.

But I’m sleepy this morning, and I don’t have the energy to drone on about RL stuff, which is usually not all that interesting. I’ll sum it up by saying that I’m sitting in a pretty good place in life right now, with lots to still work towards. My health and fitness could use a lot of work, and I have a feeling I’ll be thinking more about that this year (I say that every year, but maybe this time it will stick).

Anyhow. Just being thoughtful right now, and thankful to see another year on this earth. As always, I’ll try to make it better than the last!

Posted in IRL

Bummer Day: RIP TV :(

I usually don’t write about RL stuff, but this has been a pretty rough week, and I just need some blogging therapy. Yesterday was a super bummer day.

Vet Bummer

To start, I had to take Sebastian to the vet for the teeth cleaning that was discussed at his last vet visit. I was crossing my fingers that the antibiotics he took were enough to clear up the tooth issue, but it seems it was more serious than that.

The vet had to pull two teeth – the infected one, and a second one that had a cavity and was being reabsorbed. I knew this was a possibility, and will gladly do that for Sebastian, but it was still a $200+ vet bill in the end.

Storm Bummer

Second, we had that really nasty line of storms roll through the south yesterday.

stormweather

Of course, this had to hit the very time when I needed to go pick up Sebastian from the vet. I’m talking the kind of you-can’t-see-in-front-of-you and they-let-schools-out-early rain and wind. It made what would normally be a 10 min drive much, much longer.

I get to the vet and all but one of their computers are down due to storm. I’m also rocking a terrible migraine that just came out of the blue (probably from the meeting I just got out of at work).

My first attempt to pay the vet bill was met with a denial. I told them I had plenty of money in my account, so they entered it manually, and it finally took.

I then had to rush my yowling cat out to the car in the downpour, soaked myself and my best pair of shoes to the skin, and struggled through the storm to drive home. Unpacking the cat was just as soaked… and as soon I arrived home, I knew something was wrong.

Power Surge Bummer

The storm was mostly rain and wind, but there was a bit of lightning and thunder. Nothing that I thought was too serious. I was wrong.

First, I noticed my surge protector/battery was beeping — that thing they do when there’s no power. But I could see power on my microwave clock in the kitchen. My place is pretty old, so it’s been known to lose power to half the house, but it usually takes a pretty good surge. I’ve never seen it happen during a storm.

Well, something had surged and popped two of my breakers off. I flipped those back on, power was restored. I started checking my stuff to see if everything was alright.

It wasn’t.

First thing I checked was my Nintendo Switch. That, my Wii U and my Blueray player were okay – as far as I can tell.

But my Roku, HDMI hub, and TV were all dead. 

I’m not much of a TV person, but this was the TV I just bought a year and a half ago… and I really loved it for gaming. It made Zelda look and sound fantastic. I was so proud of it when I got it to work with my Shield tablet here…

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And I worked so hard to try to kitten proof it when I first took in Spriggan. Only for it to get killed by a power surge. Bummer! X<

I’m kicking myself for not unplugging things before I left the house. I used to never plug in the TV when I wasn’t home, but once I got a Roku and my Wii U, I started leaving things plugged in when I was at work.

I’m still worried that I might have later troubles with my Switch on down the line. I’ve only been able to try it in handheld mode, and that seems to be running okay for what I tested it. It’s just weird that they were all on the same surge protector and some of them blew while some of them didn’t.

Oh, and the surge also killed my happy rainbow lights I strung up in my bedroom around my plushie hammock.

Ugh!

Anyhow, more money lost yesterday on a fairly new and gently used TV.

TV Replacement

I am, however, thinking more along the line of upgrading my PC monitor to something I can use as a monitor/TV combo. This is mostly because I rarely use my TV for anything but Netflix and gaming. But I use a computer monitor all the time. I definitely want some kind of bigger screen for my Switch because when Mario Kart comes out later this month, I can’t see myself playing it on the handheld mode.

Whatever I do get will need speakers – either a monitor or a small TV – and the ability to hook up to my PC along with other HDMI inputs (Switch).

At least I’m getting my tax return back and a bonus from work for my yearly anniversary. So I have money to cover all the expenses. Still a bummer.

Here… have a random Sim City track to end on a happier note.

Posted in IRL, Kitty Korner

Kitty Korner: Vet Visit

Update: After one day of taking the meds the vet gave Sebastian, he was back to eating like normal. Hopefully that means we’ve found the issue and that he’ll continue to get better.

So I know I haven’t been updating the new kitten situation in a while, as things have been more or less alright between Sebastian and Spriggan so far. But some things have come up today that made me decide that blogging a bit about my cats is probably going to be a thing going forward. So I’ve created a Kitty Korner tag for this.

Spriggan Update

The kitten is doing fine as far as kittens do. He’s still a mess and a ball of energy, constantly challenging me to find cat-proofing things, such as my desk, to protect it from prying paws.

He’s a teenaged kitty, and he’s acting like one.

You can’t tell him what to do. You can’t train him. He complains loudly until he gets what he wants. He gets into everything not nailed down.

I keep buying him toys (I should blog about some of those, eventually), but his attention span is so short, it’s hard to keep him entertained. But trust me, you don’t want him entertaining himself.

Aside from that, he gets along with Sebastian well. I’m still trying to bond with him, though, as he’s so flighty, it’s hard for him to sit still long enough to make a more affectionate connection.

Sebastian’s Loss of Appetite

So, on to the reason for this article. My older cat, Sebastian, hasn’t been feeling well.

He is a cat of habit. He also has a duty to ensure all food is properly disposed of (in his mouth) as catly possible. So when I see things out of the ordinary, I know something is wrong.

Last week, he wasn’t eating his wet food, which he gets every morning. At first, I wondered if he was just being picky about the flavor or the texture. He’s not usually a picky eater, but with cats, you can never tell.

Spriggan tested some of the wet food for himself and ate it without problem. Sebastian was eating dry food, so I just kept re-introducing the wet food each morning until it finally got eaten.

Everything was okay Saturday.

Sunday was the first morning I saw trouble. He didn’t meet me at the bedroom door first thing in the morning (to let me know he’s hungry) like he always does.

Second, he was doing something odd — tilting his head sideways, licking out the corner of his mouth. From time to time, he’d hunch over as if he was trying to cough something up, but he never did. I was concerned, but thought maybe he was chewing on a toy and got something in his throat. So I fed him, he ate, and he acted fine the rest the day.

Yesterday, I woke up and he was acting the same way – head tilting, licking, gagging. I started getting worried. Two days of him acting that way was more serious. I fed him and he wasn’t interested in wet food again. I left it out for him, though, to see if he’d eat it while I was at work.

He did eat it by the time I came home, so he was eating and drinking. He acted okay the rest the night.

Today, I didn’t see signs of head tilting or licking, but he wasn’t interested in wet food. Nor had he eaten the food I’d left out for him.

Vet Visit

I decided that was enough of that, and I called the new vet, who had taken care of my kitten’s shots and surgery. This is not Sebastian’s normal vet, but his vet is often so overbooked, there’s no hope to get an appointment with them on the fly.

Last year, he was having trouble throwing up food, and they weren’t very helpful – just telling me to let him eat the dry food if he was only throwing up the wet, or to change the food brand. Eventually, they said it was probably hairballs, and gave me something for that, but they didn’t have time to take my concerns seriously. But that’s a grouch for a different time.

The new vet got him in immediately this morning. I’m very glad I took him in.

They did a thorough check-up for my cat. Instantly, the vet noticed that Sebastian had an inflamed gum and maybe infected tooth. That would explain a lot, if that’s the cause of his head tilting, licking and lack of appetite.

But then, he dropped a bomb I didn’t expect. He told me Sebastian has a heart murmur. I was floored. I’d just taken him in for shots and a check-up at the other vet in December… how did they not catch that then?

Anyhow. This is not good news. But it’s also not the end of the world because…

  • Sebastian is still fairly young (only 6-7 years old).
  • We caught it early. The vet rated it a 3 on a scale of 1 to 6.
  • X-rays showed that his heart has not enlarged, so there’s not much damage done yet.
  • It’s going to be costly, but it can be treated. I will have to take Sebastian to a cardiologist.

It’s likely he’ll be put on medicine when he gets older to prevent heart damage. But the vet seems to feel Sebastian can still live a long life.

For now, though, Sebastian is on antibiotics and steroids to treat the tooth. He’ll be going back in two weeks for a tooth cleaning and deeper inspection. If that problem tooth needs to be pulled, that will be determined then.

If that doesn’t help his appetite, we may have to run blood tests on him to investigate other issues.

Somewhere down the line this year, I will have to get him pre-tested at my vet, and then take him to the cardiologist, which is in a larger city about an hour away. I’m more worried about taking him on a long drive like that… he has a fit about a short 15 minuet drive across town!

And yeah, this is all going to cost money. But Sebastian is my cat-buddy and my literal spirit animal. I’ve not had a cat, or any pet like him, that I’ve connected to so closely. I’m willing to pay what it takes to keep him healthy and feeling well.

At least I finally have a vet that’s listening and taking my concerns seriously!

Posted in IRL, Kitty Korner

Kitten Chronicles – Almost a Month

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written about my adventure with the new kitten, Spriggan. Two days ago, he went in for his neutering surgery and final kitten booster shots. Everything went well, and he’s recovering like a champ. In fact, he had no down time as far as I saw at all.

Due to the surgery, I’m keeping him separated for a few days from Sebastian. When they’re together, they tend to rush around the house like mad cats, and I want Spriggan to take it easy and heal up first. I’ll probably re-introduce them again this weekend. I’ve heard that neutering sometimes makes the kitten smell like a new cat, so I want to make sure I have plenty of time at home during this process.

Before that, I was still keeping Spriggan in his own room at night and while I was at work. I allow the two of them to romp when I’m home and all day on weekends.

Sebastian’s attitude has significantly improved over time. While he still does dominate over Spriggan when he gets in the mood, most of their interactions are chasing and playing. In fact, there’s almost too much cat energy going on around my house! When I have to focus on stuff, like art or raids, I separate them. Usually, Spriggan is pretty patient if I put him in his room for short times… just as long as he gets to romp again later.

Right now, he’s fussy because he wants out, and I’m not letting that happen.

The cats are still working through ownership of things. The cat tree by the window, for example, tends to be Sebastian’s spot all day long. Spriggan instantly took to it, so sometimes Sebastian gets whiney that his spot was taken. I’m going to have to invest in another cat tree, it seems.

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They’re sharing the cat tree for the first time!

I’m also working on catifying the guest bedroom. I’ve made it so that this little cat condo I bought is set up in that window for the kitten to use. This has gone over well.

I have an old, rickety desk that I need to get out of that back room to make more space. I’d also like to change out the curtains in there since the drapery is super old now, and quite enticing for a kitten to climb. Some of this is going to have to wait until tax returns, though! But it’s a project for sure.

Posted in IRL, Kitty Korner

Kitten Chronicles – Week 1 Edition

I still can’t get a good picture of the new kitten because every time I try to approach with a phone, he gets up to rub on me. Anyhow, I decided it was time for another kitty update!

I’m still rolling ideas for a name in my head. I’m thinking about “Puck” as in the character from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The kitten is certainly enough of a troublemaker!

Nope. Ended up going with Spriggan. As in FFXIV Spriggan:

ff14-spriggan

I’m slowly introducing Sebastian and Spriggan for a few hours each night when I get home from work. Spriggan has been enjoying the use of the many toys around the house, and I got him a new collar (seen in above picture) along with a new scratching post and such.

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Both kitties love this toy!

I wish I could say that the introductions have gone completely without incident, but that’s not true. There’s not been a full-out cat fight of any sort, but Sebastian is serious about letting the kitten know who’s the alpha.

Sebastian’s a rather jealous and sensitive cat to begin with. Any little change can send him into a fit of crying. Last night was the worst I saw him. He spent a good half an hour to 45 minutes just complaining loudly about the unfairness of kitten’s existence in his house.

Through these fits, Sebastian psychically asserts his domination over Spriggan by scruffing the kitten’s neck and holding him down on the floor. This doesn’t hurt the kitten, but it does dominate over him.

This is a behavior I’m familiar with through caring for ferrets. Back when I owned several, I had a very alpha male that would go through this same domination ritual whenever I introduced a new ferret to the household. It took a few days for the pecking order to work out, but eventually it did. Afterwards, the ferrets were best friends.

I’d probably be freaking out if I hadn’t seen this happen before. But I know that as long as the kitten isn’t getting hurt, it does more harm than good to interfere too much.

However, last night, Sebastian was just being a whiny-butt in general and not letting up on things. So, eventually I scolded him and told him to stop his behavior. He vocally complained at me in response, as if I should see what all the wrongs of his world were, but eventually chilled out over time.

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A kitten asking for trouble…

I did some reading about this domination behavior, and apparently while it can happen with cats, it’s pretty unlikely. Figures that I just have a weird cat.

Thankfully, Spriggan takes it in stride and usually just sits there in submission. If Sebastian does get too rough, I’ve seen the kitten take a swipe at him to let him know. Sebastian is a big scaredy cat in the end, and runs away.

With the weekend coming up, I can bring the two together for larger tracks of time as I still don’t want to leave them alone when I’m asleep or at work. I hope a few full days of dealing with one another will calm things down more.

Also, in a few weeks, Spriggan will be getting fixed. I don’t know if that’ll make a change in things, but it can’t hurt.