Category Archives: Announcements

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

Donation Day! Or, Sharing is Caring.

This is another of those prose heavy posts.

For the last few weeks I’ve been going through my puzzle piles. This has become incredibly necessary as yard sale season progresses. In the summer, when my health allows, I love to shop yard sales, estate sales and thrift stores.  Unfortunately, this means that the number of puzzles I have outnumbers the amount I can feasibly do.

What to do? For me, I share the wealth! I had to face my phone anxiety and call several of the local senior centers, senior homes, and our local children’s hospital. In doing so, I found which places would only receive brand new puzzles and which would happily take used ones.

SC and I sorted and photographed all the puzzles for tax purposes (Remember! Can’t pay the IRS in puzzles).

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Then everything was boxed up for transport. We spent yesterday afternoon driving to 2 different locations for puzzle delivery. One was one of our local Senior homes, and the staff was super helpful and glad of the delivery! They have clients in various states of ability, and my mixed box of puzzles was sure to be a hit.  The second location was the city-run senior center. The staff there was a little less enthused, but still helpful.

SC and I are planning to expand our search area, contacting the local Veterans Association as well as community centers and checking out locations in the next nearest city. I’m getting closer to this blog’s first year anniversary, and it seems that donation days will happen more often as I grow.

Disclosure: Some of these puzzles I bought, and some were given to me  for the purpose of review. 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!

 

Feeding the Troll, Blogging and Services Rendered.

Spouse-Critter says “Arguing with a troll is like wrestling with a pig. Both of you will get dirty, but only the pig is having fun.” He is most likely right, but I need to post this.

Back in December, I received this comment on my Day 8 Christmas post. I didn’t see it until after December 22, as I’d been in New York on family business.

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This person, hereafter referred to as Troll, chose not to leave a name or email so I could not contact them.  Now, as a point of order, I have to, in fairness, point out that there is no reliable way to convey tone within text. So the little disapproving “church lady” tone I read this comment in is entirely in my own head.

I was hurt, and at the time did not have the words to explain. So I spent a few months being alternately angry/frustrated and depressed. Never a good combo. I fought my way to the surface, spoke to my representatives at various companies, and spoke to both professional writers and other bloggers. I was introduced to a novel concept. If I’m being trolled, then I’m doing something right!

So I started blogging again. I put myself out there, solicited new companies for reviews and worked out a schedule that worked for me.

Then I woke up this morning to this:

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Sorry Troll 2.0, this time I have the words.

The thing is, every product I receive must be logged at either wholesale or retail value and I MUST pay taxes on them. The IRS doesn’t care; I cannot pay my taxes in puzzles and coloring books. I can and do sell some of the products I receive after doing my reviews, but that doesn’t generate enough income to pay taxes, much less regular bills. Other products  I donate to my local VA, senior center, and children’s hospital; because I believe in sharing.

I am disabled, but I fall in that not-so-small category of people who are in the process of applying for benefits, but not receiving any yet. Spouse-Critter works a good job, but his job doesn’t include health care or much in the way of extras. If I want to buy products to review, like LEGO® or high-end wooden puzzles, I need income to do so. That is why I have both Patreon and Ko-fi set up. If you read my Patreon, you’d see that I have it set as a way to sponsor different projects.

I’m of the opinion that if professional authors and other bloggers have Patreon accounts, then there is no reason why I cannot as well. Patreon is a platform to pay for services rendered. I write and do projects, and I recieve money for services rendered. Effectively, it makes my hobbies into a job. As for the accusation of being shameless and asking for money? Have you read my disclaimer at the bottom of each post? I’m not begging. I ask you to consider it. Being a patron is a choice!  You can choose to be one, or you can choose not to. Simple.

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!