Category Archives: Announcements

St. Patrick’s Day is Pan’s Birthday!!

Attention PuzzlePaws Fans! We interrupt the usual blogging of reviews to bring you a special post!

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Begging posture, ~2014

Our lovely mascot, Pandemonium has turned 15! She’s been with me through all sorts of adventures and I thought it a good idea to write up her story.

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I have Mom’s Papasan and her platypus! 2015

I started rescue work when I was 14. We lived out in the country, and it was not uncommon for people to drop unwanted pets in the area. The summer I was 16, a scrawny, bedraggled looking tortoiseshell half-grown cat staggered down my driveway. She was dehydrated, dazed and had burnt the skin of her paw-pads on the hot asphalt, trying to find her way home. I ended up naming her Gilligan McGilicuddy after my mom’s old tortie and the fact that Gilly staggered for weeks with her feet wrapped as her burns healed. Gilly was Pandemonium’s grandmother.

Pan was born on St. Patrick’s Day in 2005. She was one in a litter of four, who were called Nick, Nack, Paddy, and Whack. (I apologize for my younger, dumber, racist self.) She is almost entirely black with a white spot on her neck, what is sometimes referred to as an Angel’s Kiss.

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This is my pillow! 2013

My boyfriend at the time, immediately took a shine to Paddy. She was a complete Daddy’s girl. He renamed Paddy to Pandemonium, and spoiled her outrageously. When the relationship ended abruptly after 3 years, I’m not sure who was hurt more, me or Pan, who he left with me. Don’t tell me cats don’t mourn. Pan kept me sane, and I kept her alive.

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I don’t like you, human!

For years, Pan was clingy to me, and distrustful of any men. I fostered and adopted other cats, and moved several times. Eventually, I moved to Virginia. When Spouse-Critter and I got married, Pan had a really hard time adjusting. We had a tiny apartment, and SC had a fur-son named Zane that had to adjust to living in a multi-cat household. There were cat territorial disputes, and worse, hisses and swats when SC and I cuddled. Pan did NOT want a new Dad!

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Keep petting, I may like you later. 2018

It took time and moving to a larger house, but after 7 years, Pan will let SC cuddle her and will occasionally choose to sleep on him. But she is most definitely my girl. Or I’m HER human, to be honest.

Like most pet-owners, I’ve developed multiple nicknames for my pets. I’ve always held with T.S. Elliot’s Naming of Cats, and most of Pandemonium’s nicknames are variations of a theme. She is: Pan, Panu, All-the-Demons, Pan-demon, Panna-cotta, Pan-Noodle, Pan-pan, Panda, Newds, and Noodley-o.

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Pan sleeping on my shoulder. 2018

When my disease started to get bad, Pan became my therapy cat. She’s mostly self-taught, but being a warm, cuddly, mobile purring companion doesn’t take much. Pan can tell when I’m having a flare or am overstimulated and makes a point of oozing up my body to cuddle on my lap or chest. I’m certain that there is a very special magic that cats have that allows them to go from weighing 7lbs to 30lbs or more.

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Bad Flare day, 2015

As she’s aged, Pan has gained a few health issues. She nearly lost one of her nine lives by eating thread from a sewing project I had been working on. It got caught on her tongue and tangled in her stomach. I had a wonderful vet who worked with me to save her, but Pan has had a touchy tummy since. We have to keep her from all yarn and thread, and watch her carefully for eating and drinking too much, too fast.

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Winter sweater, one of many.

You’ll often see Pan wearing outfits. She has developed an allergy to fleas (we medicate for fleas, but her brother goes on walks and sometimes brings some home), as well as over-grooming when stressed or anxious. I prefer to clothe her rather than subject her to the Cone. Besides, she looks damned cute!

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Pan is the last of her bloodline, my sister who had her half-brother lost him last fall. I’m incredibly lucky to have shared the last 15 years with Pan, and I know that every day is a gift.

Happy 15th Birthday, Pan!

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Writer’s Block and Better Days to Come

Hi guys, I’ve missed you! Blogging has taught me quite a bit about making unreasonable goals and that because I live with a chronic illness, I often don’t get much of a say in the when and where of my stop-points. I may go more in depth on my Patreon page as to where I’ve been the last few weeks, but the TLDR is that there was major family drama leading up to Christmas and then once we resolved said drama; my mom has been in and out of the Emergency Room with heart attack-like symptoms that the doctors swear they can’t figure out.

It’s been stressful. The stress was so bad that I didn’t want to write. The thought of blogging terrified me. I’m not exactly sure why.

Mom was put on nearly complete bedrest for a few weeks and Hime is only 11. Someone had to take care of the pets and get Hime to school and make sure Mom rested. Being a caretaker is exhausting. I have a new appreciation of SC when I’m not well.

So while I dreaded writing, I went back to the hobbies that kept me sane. I colored for the fun of coloring. I assembled puzzles that made me smile. I joined World Puzzle Days and have completed 3 puzzles for that with numbers 4 & 5 in various stages of completion. I played a LOT of Fallout 4 with the Spouse-Critter. In short, I took care of me.

The sun is showing its face more each day, Mom is getting better, and I have one of my favorite conventions coming up. It’s time to get back to doing what I love, trying out new things and sharing them with folks like myself.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Down, but not out

SC here, Puzzlepaws just got back from her birthday trip.  While she got some awesome stuff for the blog, she brought home an unwanted bit of con swag…”con plague”.  Nothing major, just a miserable cold.

With her disease, her immune system is compromised (it is too busy attacking her body to defend it.)  The “good” news: while she’s sick, she’s not in pain as her Fibromyalgia goes into remission while her body attacks this cold instead of her.  The “bad” news: Puzzlepaws has to take some pretty strong medicine to beat the cold down, so she’s essentially bedridden (and asleep) while she recovers. (Thus why I’m here.)

Thankfully, “pretty strong medicine” is available Over-the-Counter (OTC), with ID.  Why “with ID”?  Puzzlepaws (and myself) are part of the (large) subset of humanity for whom phenylephrine simply does not work.  Unfortunately, NyQuil® stopped including pseudoephedrine HCL years ago (because yahoos use pseudoephdrine HCL to make methamphetamine).  Walgreens® to the rescue!

Walgreens® makes a “Night Cold & Flu” that is what NyQuil® used to be.  (You can’t feel a cold if you’re in a coma.)  Unfortunately, it works just like NyQuil® used to: You take your dose, wait 10-30 minutes, then wake up 10-12 hours later. You feel better, but you lose the night and part of the day.  Rinse, repeat as needed until you can function again.  If you need this medicine, you have to ask for it at the Pharmacy (no buying it online), then you have to produce ID (Federal Law) before they will sell it to you.  (And then you can only buy so much in a month…which varies by state.)

While this is only a cold, it brings up a good point.  Diseases like what Puzzlepaws has are the reason for a thing called “Herd Immunity”.  This is what happens when people who are otherwise well get immunized (Eek, Needles!).  In a well-immunized society, a preventable disease has a hard time getting a foothold because most of the population is immune to the disease.  Thus, individuals like Puzzlepaws (those with compromised immune systems) have a lower chance of getting truly nasty diseases because those around them can’t get those diseases.  So we protect the most vulnerable individuals in our population by being immunized against the diseases that might kill them. (Example: The flu for me is 2-4 days of misery, then all better!  As for Puzzlepaws, she is looking at 10-21 days of misery.  That misery is extended if she gets complications like: bronchitis, pneumonia, or other incidental infections.  Any of these complications could hospitalize or kill her.)

If you’re going to haul out the “vaccines cause autism” (or any other similar argument), don’t bother.  You won’t get the argument you want, but you will get blocked.  If you can’t say something nice…

NyQuil® is a Registered Trademark of The Proctor & Gamble Company.

Walgreens® is a Registered Trademark of the Walgreens Company.

Disclosure: The opinions are my own.  All links are direct; I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

#walgreens #nyquil

It’s My Party….And I Had a Blast!

Today is my birthday. Officially, I’m older and presumably wiser. I’m not sure I’m convinced of that, as I’m currently paying the price for a weekend of excitement and excess. I came home from my trip with a hellacious head cold that has confined me to bed for the last few days. Was it worth it? Absolutely! Would I do it again? Absolutely!

So…definitely not grown wiser this year. But I’m out living my life and enjoying the heck out of it; despite my disabilities and health.

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It started as a question. Would I be interested in going to a Book Fest that my Bestie’s boyfriend was going to be speaking at? Such a silly question! I had never been as far west as Nashville, Tennessee.  So I did research, and found that The Southern Festival of Books was in it 31st year, and was a celebration of local authors, historians and readers. It’s a program presented by Humanities Tennessee, and as a veteran of many conventions, this was a treat to visit!

Nashville shuts down an entire street from the Nashville Public Library to the State Capitol Plaza. There were booths for everyone! The children’s section was closest to the library. Performance tents were tucked to the sides of the plaza and self-published authors were cheek-to-jowl- with both large and small press houses.

I got to meet Karen Abbott, the author of Ghosts of Eden Park, which was the one book I desperately wanted for my birthday.

That was Friday, and started the whole weekend on a high note!

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The Nashville Public Library is both beautiful and ginormous! On top of using it’s various learning spaces for the many scheduled author talks, they also hosted their annual book sale in the lobby. I won’t lie, I came home with a duffel bag of used books & movies.

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My Swag haul of books for review.

Now, I didn’t just live in the library all weekend. Brian Allison, who wrote Notorious Nashville and Murder and Mayhem in Nashville was able to guide me to some of the fun landmarks within walking distance of downtown.  We mutually geeked out about local history and murder.

My favorite place was the infamous men’s bathroom of the Hermitage Hotel. It is an Art Deco wonder! The entire hotel is beautiful, but that bathroom is amazing.

Overall, it was an amazing weekend. There was awesome company, great people to talk to and a new city to explore! I hope to visit again next year!

Disclosure: The opinions are my own.  All links are direct; I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Razer Lives!! ….Mostly Back on Track

Hey gang, I’ve good news. Spouse-Critter managed to diagnose and fix most of the issues wrong with my baby and I’m back into blogging this week. It wasn’t easy, I found myself more than a little depressed and cranky with a disrupted routine, and SC had to make time in a week full of on-call emergencies.

Most of the issues stemmed from the fact that my Razer (a Razer Blade 17″ (2012)) was used by someone not terrible tech-savvy (SC: He knew enough to be dangerous, but not enough to fix what he broke.) before I got it. My battery which had been failing, gave up the ghost. I was performing the new Windows update, lost wall power to Razer, and nearly totally corrupted the hard drive (SC: software corruption). So, until we can afford a new battery, I’m tied to the power cord (and the couch) because every unplug means Razer dies immediately (and I have to reset the BIOS, and hope the hard drive isn’t corrupted again).

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Razer, my couch/workspace and Energy Drink! I’m ready to work!

We were concerned that the hard drive had also had a physical crash and ended up replacing it with a spare SC had in his gear. Most of my data transferred, but I’ll be the next few weeks replacing all of the photo editing, video editing, and writing apps I had had installed. (SC: The hard drive is fine after a format, so the issues were ALL software.)

Thankfully, my birthday is coming up, and both a new battery and an SSD hard drive have been added onto my list.

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Razer on a clean puzzle board with piles of puzzles ready to be done in the background.

The blog will be back tomorrow with reviews and cats and silliness!

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Shark Week Blogiversary!! One Year of PuzzlePaws. Giveaway inside!

Last year I started this Blog on July 28th by watching Shark Week and assembling a Shark Puzzle by EuroGraphics.  It started as a way to write about my hobbies as I battle my chronic illness; but has morphed into a way to fight for the much needed recognition for people with invisable illnesses amongst the big names in the toy/hobby industries.

I’m watching Shark Week via Amazon Video this year, so each day’s post will include my thoughts on the episodes from the previous night.  Each day’s post will also feature a different shark or ocean themed review!

For my first every Blogiversary, I reached out to Eurographics. They sent me two puzzles to give away to my followers!

Prize 1 is a copy of my first ever review puzzle, 1000 piece Sharks!

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Prize 2 is is a copy of the same Sharks puzzle in 100 pieces, along with a copy of Mindware’s Color Counts Glitter Under the Sea.

To enter the giveaway, click on the Rafflecopter link!

 

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Apologies and a quick update

Hey gang,

I’m sorry that my blog post did not go up as planned yesterday. It has been a very strange and stressful week.

Originally, I had planned to head north to Massachusetts later this week to spend time with my Boss and his family, do our yearly inventory, and work at ConnectiCon. Unfortunately, SC and I had some financial scheduling issues, including tenants that were several months behind on rent. We had to go to our family for assistance in making our mortgage payment. I had canceled my trip, rescheduling it so that it fell after SC’s next paycheck.

Late last night, my boss called me, asking “How soon can you get here?” I was/am still flabbergasted. My train ticket is covered. I have less than 24 hours to pack. I LOVE my boss. While he won’t ask it of me, I plan to work my tail off.

So, the month of July is going to be incredibly busy. I have Fourth of July with the Boss and family (fun!!), Inventorying tons of t-shirts and plushies, and ConnectiCon. Then I come home with just enough time to do laundry and kiss SC before heading to Otakon. While at Otakon, we have my Blogiversary and Shark Week! So very busy! Lots to do, lots to share with all of you!

Best,

PuzzlePaws