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Progress

I’ve had a bit of a sidetrack on my recovery journey, due to some health stuff, but I’m proud to say that at my psychiatry appointment on Friday I surpassed her expectations and the goals set at my last session. *happy dance*

Last time she helped me look at the failed adoption as a miscarriage and the goals were to grieve and let go of the grief that I will never have the life I had planned for since I was a child. It hit me one day that I’ve had to adapt almost all expectations of my life all ready, due to my illness, so realistically not having children in our life together is just one more expectation to change. He and I still make a family, with the relatives and friends that support and love us as the bubble of family around us. A child isn’t a requirement to be a family. It still hurts at times to be missing out on the special moments and to not have the parenting aspect to share, but this different path gives us other opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise have, such as traveling and exploring other educational avenues.

Another goal that tied in to everything was to learn to value myself. To stand up for my needs, demand respect, and let go of toxic influences. One huge lesson was to stop trying to obtain verbal praise and validation from others for what I had done/achieved or for my personal growth. I realized that I have sought that my entire life, especially from male figures, and is also probably part of what made me an easy target for my ex. It also held me back in a lot of ways. So I’m learning to embrace my inner badass, which is a comment that my psych loved hearing. I’m a complex, flawed person, but I’m a survivor and I’m stronger for that. So yeah, I won’t use a more polite term. I’m embracing my inner badass. *grin*

In realizing that I value myself and my personal journey, it was an epiphany to me that I have sought L’s verbal validation for about 20 years, yet he’s always shown me that he values me. It’s just not his style and not an empowering way to show me that he values me, so I felt like I was lacking for years because I was so lost in trying to find that validation of value. He became friends with, admired, and married a strong woman; there isn’t a higher vote of confidence than that, really.

That realization made me feel even stronger and a few days ago I actually unpacked the adoption tote. In my immediate grief I boxed everything I possibly could that we didn’t send to Kid via the social worker. I hid that tote under a pile in the back of a closet. Last week I took the label off, threw out some of the items that can’t be donated or are too personal to share, and sorted the rest. I then packed a box for my friend to give to a couple that she knows is adopting. I even sent along my adoption tee and all of my adoption necklaces, which I wore instead of my cross throughout most of the adoption journey. It wasn’t as hard as I expected, honestly. It mostly was bittersweet to see and touch all of these tokens of hope. I seriously love that I’m able to share these with others that are holding that hope inside as well and that the items might help them through the tough times during their journey.

While sitting next to the box I realized that I was staring at the joint bookcase for Kid and I, which I had filled with some of the keepsakes I had always planned to pass down, along with my literature keepsakes. It dawned on me that I don’t have a child to pass my little treasures to, but I have loved ones that I can, so after checking with their mom that it would be okay, I also boxed up some of my book collections, like the Anne of Green Gables and Emily sets. I have three large mailing boxes to send all ready. LOL I know that my nieces will find as much joy and wonder in the books as I did, and my friend knows how much these books mean to me (they’re some of the few possessions that I truly value and wanted to pass on), so it makes me so incredibly happy to be passing my beloved books on to them. I don’t have to throw out or donate them for a library fundraiser, and know that they’ll still find life, so to speak, in the hands of much loved avid readers.

I also wrote an addendum to my will, which I’ll need to get witnessed, for the remaining treasures like fossils and collector items to be passed on to them and other kids/young adults. I’m not sure when my illness will overtake me and it is utterly heart lifting to realize that I can still pass on the few material things I treasure. I’ve always thought that passing down those little things are an incredibly meaningful way of saying “I love you”, especially if receiving gifts is part of their love language, so this all was a huge step in processing and leaving the other fork in the road behind. This progress left both my psych and I with red eyes after discussing all of it. I didn’t need that validation anymore, but the joy and hug meant a lot. So I straightened my imaginary superhero cape and walked out to L with a huge smile on my face, followed by a big thank you for showing me all of this time how much he values and supports me.

I hope this vulnerable post, and blogging this difficult journey, helps you find and celebrate your value, too, especially if you find yourself on a wildly different path than you ever wanted or dreamed of.

My New Business Flickr

Hi there!  Long time, no write.  😀  I haven’t really had anything new to post, since I’ve mostly just been focusing on my health and PTSD therapy, especially since I separated out my gaming into an individual blog.  I have, however, finally had the light bulb moment that I could create another Flickr account to work as a visual portfolio of products I have made.  Once I am ever able to start working on products again and then update the website accordingly, I’ll be able to display examples of other products that I have made that I am not featuring on the website.  This allows customers to get an idea of ideas, options, and skills I have for custom orders.  I added a convenient little widget (display link) in my sidebar, but wanted to post it in an actual blog post for your convenience, in case you’d like to follow the portfolio.  I’ll include work-in-progress concepts there (WIPs), so you’ll get a little bit more of a behind-the-scenes look than I typically post on the site and often don’t blog.  (I tend to prefer to blog when something is actually done or I’ve fully fleshed out an idea.)  If you’d like to check it out or follow my business Flickr, it is https://www.flickr.com/gp/157936082@N04/jV9q0y.  I made it a hyperlink that opens on a new page and you have the option to copy/paste instead, if you prefer.

Until I next have something interesting to write about, happy pampering and best wishes! 🙂

One of my Quirks

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and although I’ve been having a lot of fun doing SL photography on my SL blog, and giving my mind time to settle, I realized that I honestly miss regular blogging. I have absolutely no inspiration or ability to create any product right now, sadly, so you’re stuck learning a bit more about just how quirky I am. *laugh*

Anyone close to me, if asked to describe me, would probably say that I’m a bit obsessed with my Celtic heritage. I totally own up to that and even bought L a machine gun toting leprechaun patch as a stocking gift even. *grin* However, it’s not limited to Ireland, Scotland, and the Druids. I love most things English, as well. Being the tech loving nerd that I am, I naturally am a faithful subscriber to both BritBox and Acorn streaming services, both with programs from across the pond, with a little Australian and Welsh thrown in.

While my favorite British quiz show, QI, is between seasons (or series, as they say), I have been exploring more of the mysteries and absolutely love Acorn’s “Queens of Mystery”. Two new episodes (they’re divided, but the second is the continuation of the first) every Monday and I have 2 delightful hours full of a bright-eyed Detective Sergeant Matilda along with her three crime-writing aunts solve a case, although the aunts are never involved if the Chief asks. *grin* With veteran actresses from amazing shows like The Bletchley Circle, Midsomer Murders (although, to be fair, I think it’s mandatory for all European actors and actresses to appear in at least one episode of that classic *laugh*), Taggart, Poirot, and one of my favorite English versions of Sherlock Holmes, it was destined to be fantastic, in my opinion. That’s some wicked talent just in the actresses who play the aunts!

There’s a continuing mystery underneath it all about Matilda’s mother’s disappearance when she was little, with very unexpected story lines, and a huge dose of charm. So if you can spare one Starbucks a month, I wholeheartedly recommend at least trying Acorn and seeing what you think about the Queens of Mystery!

So, I’m not all doom, gloom, and poison…well, they’re still murder mysteries and some poison, but this is a charming version. *grin* Although I rate at 100% as Wednesday Addams on every quiz I take, even I enjoy lighthearted shows like this (and Grease 2, Cry-Baby, and Dirty Dancing, if you happen to follow my Flickr and see my themed SL photography with those films for inspiration *laugh*). If you happen to also decide on a trial of BritBox, I recommend Midsomer Murders and The Vicar of Dibley, and maybe binge-watching/participating in QI’s trivia. I now know so much odd trivia that has actually come in handy a few times! For those that know the series, let’s all agree that Alan needs to stop saying Blue Whale. *laugh*

Anyway, that’s a little bit of random quirkiness for today. I hope this finds you all healthy and happy as you can be! 🙂

Tapeworm Education

Today’s post is going to obviously be about tapeworms, so if you’re squeamish or not interested, please pass this post by. I totally would have myself in the past if I hadn’t gone through an experience with them.

For context, I’m going to be providing information on the type of tapeworm that cats and dogs get from fleas, not the type from raw meat like eating raw rodents and such or contracted usually by trappers (even I couldn’t handle any of that research). Back in October we adopted twin stray nearly solid black kittens to make things all the more lively with having two older cats all ready. Zane and Izzy are now almost a year old and although I may slip and call them “the kittens”, they’re really not anymore. Just a heads up on that.

Anyway, one day as we prepared for bed (we are day sleepers since he works overnight), we noticed what looked like white rice around the backside on Zane. L held Zane and I removed them with a tissue, and promptly freaked out when one moved. Although it was way whiter than the following picture shows, here is an example.

We thought it was mucus or something until the bugger moved. Thankfully on a black cat they’re extremely noticeable and one of the few times I’m thankful that the twins tend to moon us frequently instead of keeping that tail lower. LOL After it moved L looked closer and said he thought it looked like a tapeworm, but maybe he was wrong and it was a different kind of worm. He was certain it was a worm, so I jumped into researching. After a few hours of research I discovered a lot of contradictory and even downright false information, but confirmed that the three were indeed involved with having a tapeworm. So, I wanted to provide the correct information here in the hopes that it helps someone.

Let’s start with getting to know the truth about the tapeworm itself. Usually your cat has only one infecting it and by the time they are mature, they average between 5-8″ inside the intestine, with the head latched onto the intestine. It is made up of three parts: the head that connects to poor kitty, the neck, and a long body of segments. This picture gives a great example.

Now, this worm tends to be difficult for the vet to detect unless segments have detached and the owner finds them, since it’s not detectable in a blood test and is really tough to test for in a standard fecal exam (unless the segments are breaking off). Now comes the creepy, crawly part. That segment that breaks off and passes through is actually an egg sac. First they’re a bit lively when they’re freshly out of kitty (or pup) and the nasty buggers have the ability to move around to find a host. You can even see them snake their way out of the anus sometimes (insert gagging). After exposure to the air and lack of finding an immediate host, they drop off and dehydrate.

You can find these anywhere the cat has walked, played, or slept. At this point they will not move and are waiting for a host. The important thing to know now is that tapeworms need an intermediary host, such as this variety needing to be ingested by flea larvae, which then grow into infected fleas. (Note: the dry segments/egg sacs, break open and the eggs are released, which the larvae can then infest.) The sacs can not infect you or your pet directly, even those nasty crawling ones, and they’re not going to go back into kitty’s backside. If your cat roams the house freely, you have a high chance of finding these dehydrated sacs in your own bedding as well, so don’t freak out if you see these tiny, really weird gold looking, sesame seed-like, hard sacs.

Here are the top keys to taking care of this. First, make sure that kitty is treated with a flea preventative, preferably one that kills fleas and larvae ASAP. Contact your vet and buy tapeworm anti-parasitic treatment from them (oral or liquid application, so whichever you’re more comfortable with. Since we use the liquid flea treatment, it made since to use the same for the other), and thoroughly clean anywhere kitty has been or where fleas could have gone, especially vacuuming anywhere possible. Now, I am not addressing a heavy flea infestation with this, but instead the random type. If you have an infestation, contact your vet and follow their recommendations to the “T”. Also, it is worth the extra cost of buying the tapeworm treatment from your vet instead of an OTC version, because the OTC isn’t usually as strong and sometimes doesn’t kill the worm itself, so you may get this issue all over again once that worm is at a reproduction stage again. Now, poor kitty may spend a lot of time in the litter box trying to get the irritating matter to pass like fecal matter (which won’t happen, so the poor thing is just getting kinda tortured trying to care for itself) and every so often, although it’s more common in dogs than cats, they may scoot on the carpet to remove what is irritating their backside. Thankfully Zane didn’t do that or I’d have probably set fire to that area of the carpet and just dealt with L’s anger later. *laugh*

Now, those infected larvae grow into fleas and kitty either eats one while grooming or while nipping at the itch of fleas biting, and ingests it then. Within three weeks of eating the infected flea (most vets seem to agree that the flea can still be infected even if it is dead and the cat grooms up that dead flea), the worm living inside the flea then attaches to the intestinal wall. Note: the worm MUST go through the flea to complete the life cycle, according to our vet and most documents I found written by actual vets.

If you use a good flea treatment, then all traces of fleas on them, even the larvae, will be dead within 24 hours. Your vet will let you know how soon after the flea treatment that you can administer the parasitic treatment. The good thing is that a prescription based tapeworm treatment will kill the whole thing within 12 hours and only needs the one treatment! (Again, this is not the case in a heavily flea-infested environment or if your pet is able to go outside, since their exposure possibilities are nearly endless outside. Your vet will be your best instructor on this. Do NOT rely on the internet for guidance on this, please!! A LOT of the information people post is so wrong.) Also, make sure you clean the litter boxes often, just as an in-case preventative, especially while in the possible “something might still be alive” window.

At this point it is a good idea to clean thoroughly again, especially since there will be dry sacs and dead fleas in your linens and carpet. There’s contradictory information, but you can also use a cleaning spray solution such as Lysol or a bleach or borax and water solution, and spray anywhere you can’t reach with other cleaning methods. The jury is out on the safety of Lysol around cats, however, thankfully mine hate it and stay away from any wet spray, and they won’t lick dry spots either. With having a compromised immune system, Lysol helps give me an extra peace of mind, knowing that it’s killing any other germs or bacteria that may be hiding and can affect my system later, as well as making me feel confident that this is DONE.

A few more key notes now. It is extremely rare for humans to get this type of tapeworm. Basic hygiene should prevent this. You have to ingest an infected flea in order for the possibility of getting infected, so, in normal circumstances, you have nothing to worry about, even if you have a compromised immune system. Next, most vets all agree on only giving the tapeworm treatment to those that show they have been infected. As our twins have a tendency of sharing their grooming (blech!), we all agreed it was probably best to treat Izzy too, while the flea treatment was done on all four. And now the biggest thing to know. You must continue to use flea preventative all year long to prevent this from happening again, even if you have a foot of snow, since one can hitch a ride from a house that has fleas on something they bring over or on their clothing, or something of that nature, thereby bringing the infection into your house. It seems insane to treat even when the ground is frozen, everything outside is dead, and there’s snow everywhere, but if you never want to deal with these nasty buggers, it’s worth the cost of treatment. One last note that I almost forgot – if your pets roam your house freely, make sure to also vacuum your mattress pad while your linens are in the wash (warmest temps for washing and drying that the manufacturer recommends)! I don’t know how they can get around like that, but I found dry sacs on the mattress pad itself, despite us using several layers of blankets and sheets, so don’t half-ass clean (excuse the language please). For something without a brain, they’re very creative and goal oriented.

It’s up to you what flea preventative you want to use, but make sure it can also kill the larvae. Our vet actually recommends the new Revolution Plus, since it prevents a lot of other issues too that may affect kitty.

The only signs now that we had an issue is that I need to brush the twins’ fur where they had the treatment applied, since they have some funny fur patterns from the dried solution on the back of their necks, my house is way cleaner than it has been in a long time and all laundry got washed including anything the cats could have laid on, and I am out of energy spoons for the foreseeable future. *laugh* However, I was really upset that something common and so easily treatable didn’t have accurate information easily handy, despite the availability of information on the internet! I felt an obligation to help provide some accurate knowledge about this as a result. If you would like to read an actual trustworthy article, click HERE for the site that our own vet trusts.

So, other than a step back with my recovery due to using up too much energy and getting a little injured during the cleaning, and some irritated cats that hate getting their monthly treatment, life is returning to normal for our little menagerie. Zane is catching up on missed sleep from when he was kept up by his issues, the others are enjoying fresh bedding and a new heated cat bed, and all of them are super affectionate right now for some reason. I truly hope you never have to deal with this, but if you do, hopefully this helps prevent you from freaking out like I did, and also gives you a solid base of information to get this under control. Our key take away is that we will be giving year long flea preventatives with treats afterward and never dealing with this again. (And in case you wonder, nope, we didn’t have a single flea found on the pets or in the house. A great way to find out if you have an issue is to walk around wearing white socks. It’s easier to see them jumping on you and getting tangled in the material before making their way toward their food source and gives you a good idea of how bad of a flea situation you’re dealing with. With my immune issues, if there is a flea around, typically it comes after me and I react with a big red bite, or a series of them if I enter a place that has an infestation.)

Anyway, sorry for such an icky topic, but I really hope that it’s helpful, even if it’s just education to keep in the back of your mind for “just in case” purposes. In the meantime, happy pampering and please do a little extra for me, since I’m too tired to even get out of bed right now. 😀

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh! 🙂

(And yes, it should be spelled with the letter “d” and not “t”, as “d” is the masculine.  We in the US have often made the mistake of calling the Saint by a woman’s name.  That’s today’s trivia.  *grin*)

Happy St. Paddys Day_001

Quick Note About the Blog

Hi there!  I just wanted to let you know that I created a website dedicated to my Second Life wanderings instead of posting them here, since several subscribers aren’t interested in my online gaming pictures and information.  If you are interested and would like to subscribe, my SL blog is https://breanamcdonnell.home.blog/  Thank you for all of the support and understanding in the meantime, and also for the feedback about separating my online gaming!  I promise to write a full post here soon.  In the meantime, I hope you can get your pampering on and have a wonderful day!

My First Blogger Box

Gaming Logo

 

As I mentioned before, I’ve been using Second Life photography as a creative outlet as part of my recommended PTSD therapy.  I am slowly getting better with editing, staging shoots, and uploading to Flickr.  It actually had a secondary benefit recently!  One of my favorite pose designers, ~X.T.C PoSes~, sent me a blogger’s box of poses they’ll be selling at The Chapter Four event in SL tomorrow, March 4th, for the ten days that it is open.  It included a whole set of female poses, the Sweet as Candy set, and one couples pose, Peaceful Silence.  It was totally unexpected and incredibly exciting, so I rushed out into the Grid to get creative.  After a ton of pictures, I finally picked ones taken at our recently renovated home/landscape and Backdrop City, and dragged Luke into most of them to make little scenes.  I’m really proud of my first “professional” set of SL pictures and my editing, so I decided to blog them instead of just adding to Flickr.  If you’re on SL, I’d definitely recommended checking out the company and consider joining the group.  Their bento poses work with very little adjustment, even with Bre in a Maitreya body and Luke in Signature’s Gianni.  If you’d like to look at the photostream, please check out my Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/gp/124931994@N02/pqbZ6A.  And yes, I have been in a bit of a Boho vibe and am totally obsessed with my Celtic and Elven combo body tattoo I bought at an event recently.  *laugh*

 

XTC Sweet as Candy_004

 

XTC Sweet as Candy_011

 

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XTC Sweet as Candy1_002

 

The above were all taken at home.  They are poses 3, 5, 4, 1, and 2, respectively.  (Note, the 4th pose has two hand positions and this is the first, and is also my favorite shot out of these *smile*.)

 

XTC Sweet as Candy1_006b

 

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These were taken at Backdrop City and thankfully I could drag Luke along to up the ante of the sweet poses.  They are poses 5, 3, and a second take on pose 3, respectively.

 

XTC Sweet as Candy1_047b

This is the couples pose, Peaceful Silence, that we took at home.  Note that they are poseballs, so it was super easy to move them into place over the lounger, so the limbs could hang over.  I wasn’t so sure how to set the scene for this one, so I titled it as requesting at least a five minute massage please.  *laugh*  The exhausted look to the pose seemed to call for the dark windlight and filter.

 

All in all I had an absolute blast and was so honored to get to do this, especially when it’s so therapeutic for me, as well.  It’s also a huge bonus to save money from buying more poses, so I can spend it on props for setting some scenes.  It’s a way cheaper version of retail therapy and we all know I can use whatever therapy I can get right now.  *cracking up*  I hope you enjoy seeing some of my recent creative efforts and wish you a wonderful week! 🙂

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