Life in General

Going Back

February 20, 2018

We’re moving back home!

Yep.

After a year in Charleston, we’ve decided to return to West Virginia. We have loved our time in Charleston, South Carolina but the opportunity arose to go back home and we decided to take it. I will miss the weather and close proximity to Folly Beach, but not having our family and friends close by was a huge downside.

I don’t know where we’ll end up in this life, but I’m so thankfully that we’re in the position to experience different places.

Life in General

2017 Recap

January 8, 2018
January and February

Nothing much happened in January and February. I did catch the planning bug at the beginning of 2017 and Mike bought me the Erin Condren Life Planner that I wanted. But I didn’t utilize it as well as I should have.

March

At the beginning of March, Mike and I visited the Charleston, South Carolina area for the first time so he/we could check it out in the event he was able to transfer to a store down here. Little did we know that it would be less than a month before we would be packing everything up and moving 9 hours away from our home state.

April

In the early morning hours of April 1st, we left our home that we had finally paid off the previous year, our family, and our friends to take a chance at a new life in a state where we didn’t know anyone. Mike drove the U haul packed with our stuff while I followed behind in our vehicle with the 3 kitties. Raven stayed behind in West Virginia for a little longer while she finished her sophomore year of college. The entire process was scary, stressful, and exciting. I don’t know where we’ll end up but the journey was worth it whether we stay in the area, move back home, or go somewhere completely different.

I celebrated my 37th birthday at a delicious — no seriously, they have amazing burgers — burger joint right down the road from us. I had the “Don’t Call Me Shirley” burger. So good.

May

I fell in love with Folly Beach. It’s the best beach ever where you can watch dolphins feeding as the sun sets against the backdrop of Morris Island Lighthouse.

At the end of May, my Dad and Step-Mom made the very long drive to bring Raven down here to Charleston.

June, July, and August

Spent these three months showing Raven around the area and making many trips to the beach. In June, Mike and I also bought tickets to go see John Mulaney’s Kid Gorgeous tour here in Charleston on January 26.

The Amazing, with a capital A, Nathan Fillion liked the comment I left on one of his posts. I had a major geekgasm for weeks afterwards.

The cats became obsessed with squirrels, so we started feeding them in them on the patio so Jedi, Nefarian, and Widget could watch them more closely.

September

We had our first “experience” with a hurricane, Hurricane Irma, and we were lucky because it didn’t do nearly as much damage to the Charleston area as they had originally thought. There was a lot of flooding, however.


Raven’s two friends from England flew over and stayed with us for a week. They are lovely blokes who brought me some Jaffa Cakes to finally try, they are absolutely amazing and have taken the place of Hobnobs as my favorite British treat. The three of them spent the week exploring the area.

October

I was so excited to finally get to pass out candy to trick-or-treaters since our home back in WV was too far out for trick-or-treaters.

The Terrace Theater showed the original Halloween with an introduction with David Gordon Green, director of the upcoming Halloween movie, as well as Pineapple Express, Eastbound and Down, and Vice Principals. He answered questions and talked for awhile about his upcoming Halloween movie and the Charleston area. That was pretty damn cool.

November

Towards the end of November, Raven took her first international trip, which was also her first time on a plane, to visit her friends in England for almost 2 weeks. While there, she went to a Gorillaz concert. She is planning on headed back to England as soon as possible.

Problems with my Godaddy hosting, whom I had been with for almost 10 years, resulted in them “losing” my website. Thankfully, I had downloaded a back up a few months before so not much was lost. Their whole attitude about it was the final straw and I’ve broken all ties with them. They have been a subpar hosting company for so many years, but I didn’t want to take the time to move everything to another company. But I’m kinda happy that they screwed up because it finally forced me to take action and get away from them. Though I’m still in the process of getting everything back in order on my blog.

December

This was our first Christmas in a new state hundred of miles away from our family and friends. I was/am battling a bit of homesickness. Thankfully, my Dad and Step-Mom drove 10+ hours to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas day with us.

Life in General

Christmas in Charleston

December 31, 2017

This was our first Christmas in Charleston, a new city hundreds of miles and 9 hours away from our family and friends. To say I have been homesick this holiday season would be an understatement. I don’t miss the freezing cold temperatures of winter in West Virginia, but I sure am missing my Mom, my Aunt Lois, my sister-in-law, my oh-too-cute niece and nephews, and my in-laws. Thankfully, my Dad and Step-Mom made the 10+ hour trek down to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas day with us. That helped a lot and made it feel a more Christmasy than it has been this year. If I could just scoop my family up and relocate them all to Charleston I would feel a million times better about living here, because I really do love the area, I just hate being so far away from my loved ones.

Anywho, we did end up getting a real Christmas tree this year, which is something I haven’t had since I was little. It was actually pretty fun picking out a tree, and the cats loved smelling it and rubbing their cheeks on the branches.

Picking out a Christmas tree.

Look at that handsome bearded man picking out Christmas trees!

You serious Clark?

This is by far my favorite Christmas decoration. Love it!

Christmas tree at the Charleston International Airport.

We picked Raven up from the Charleston International Airport (she spent 2 weeks in England) and it was decorated so nicely for the Holiday season.

Christmas in Charleston at Folly Beach.

We spent a few hours walking along Folly Beach on Christmas day. Mike ended up finding another shark tooth, which makes his total of shark teeth found since moving down here to 4.

Here Kitty Kitty

The Health Benefits of Owning a Cat

October 25, 2017

This is a guest post by Raven Flanigan

The love and support a cat provides their owner can be a calming experience; a heartwarming head nudge or a soft purr on the lap are simple affections with a lot of impact! Cats are often looked upon as being unaffectionate and selfish, but that is far from the truth. Of course, they may act selfish and sometimes only rub up against your legs when they’re hungry, but they can provide a lot of comfort when you’re feeling stressed or even so much as having an anxiety attack or depression. The love provided from a cat is a rewarding experience regardless!

Cats can offer emotional support and science can prove this statement! When a cat purrs, the vibrations given off fall into the range of offering therapeutic effects for various illnesses; the frequencies fall between 20 to 140 Hz, which is medically known to be therapeutic. For this same reason, purring can promote bone strength, as the best frequencies are 25 and 50 Hz and the second best are 100 and 200 Hz. Purring also aids in the healing of numerous injuries, swelling, and infection! Their purrs alone can provide even more medically, such as lowering blood pressure, general stress levels, and even decrease the symptoms of dyspnea. Calming cat purrs are the most effective with people suffering from PTSD and anxiety who struggle with calming themselves down. Petting the cat and feeling its reaction change teaches emotional regulation in a way that’s easy to focus on due to petting the cat in a rhythmic motion. Cats also don’t purr at every stroke, so creating a goal to strive for (petting in a way the cat likes to produce a purr) can also aid in regulating emotions.

Of course, spending time with most animals can give positive affects regardless, not just cats; however, cats play a significant role in aiding mental health, as their attitudes are quite unique! What happens when you pet an animal? Your body produces the oxytocin hormone, and can increase serotonin and dopamine levels, which all provide positive feelings and lower stress. What cats help their owner’s most with are mental illnesses like anxiety, social interaction issues, and depression. Therapists have agreed that dogs are perfect to begin therapy with, however they won’t produce the same changes that a cat can. The reason is thought to be that dogs will put up with bad behaviors whereas cats will not; this means that bad behaviors and thoughts can change, as a cat provides a more life-like human interaction than a dog due to their human-like independency. Cats serve as a guide to healthy relationships in a way that no other animal can!

Cats provide a different kind of companionship to people than other animals do. Because of their independency like previously stated, interactions with them are more human-like, and this is what makes a huge impact to people who struggle socially, have had bad home experiences, or are even suffering from a loss. When struggling with any issue, you can feel lost or even like you have no purpose, but coming home every day to a cat that you must feed a few times a day and keep an eye on their litter box often creates a routine and sense of purpose that can help ease the symptoms of emotional distress. They also offer a quality distraction, as stated before that petting them appropriately will reward you with purrs, as well as focusing on playing with them correctly (they are hunters by blood, so to see them be as active as possible, there are some techniques to the feather wand!) can offer a distraction that not many other things can.

Cats can be registered as emotional support animals! An emotional support animal is a pet that helps ease emotional distress and is a vital part of treatment to help a person’s well-being. You can consider the support cat info here to find out how you can get your cat registered as an emotional support animal for mental health! Cats can’t be registered as service animals, but fortunately if your cat can become an emotional support animal, they’ll possess more rights than an unregistered pet. This means your cat can accompany you where they usually wouldn’t be able to and prevents you from being turned away from housing that prevents pets from living there. Of course, public areas and businesses aren’t required by law to allow your emotional support animal to accompany you since they’re not service animals. In fact, may places are looking down upon those with service animals and emotional support animals both due to an influx of irresponsible owners registering their pets just to take them around; a group of reporters were able to register a stuffed dog as an emotional support animal for a plane ride. This kind of irresponsibility makes getting your pet registered even more difficult and looked down upon in public for those who truly need them. Because of this, it’s advised that you take care in registering your cat as an emotional support animal and only doing so if you truly need them for support, as this can aid in making it less difficult for those who are currently struggling with mental and emotional stress who need their cat (or any pet) registered as an emotional support animal.

Cats are very helpful and comforting; they possess traits that can aid those with mental and emotional distress on the path to recovery. Cats have so much to offer with their healing purrs, charming independency, and unique companionship to help those struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, PTSD, social issues, and various other emotional and mental illnesses. And don’t forget, cats can be registered as emotional support animals, so if you or someone you know depends on their cat for support, it’s recommended to take the steps needed for the cat to gain rights and be able to accompany their owner more places. Cats are truly an unrecognized blessing to those struggling and in need of help; the comfort they provide can be overwhelmingly helpful and heal the deepest wounds.

Life in General

Folly Beach, Oh How I Love You

July 18, 2017

Folly Beach is about 18 miles from our townhouse, which means we’ve become regular beach-goers. Being so close gives us the opportunity to spend a few hours splashing around in the ocean and walking along the stunning beach whenever the mood strikes us. And being/walking on the beach really does help to relax and calm you. I’m hoping it helps sparks my creativity, since that has been lacking for quite a while now.

Why I Love Folly Beach

One of the reasons why I love Folly Beach is that it isn’t overly crowded like the more commercialized beaches (I’m looking at you Myrtle Beach), and there are times when we’ve been out there and haven’t seen another soul. And you can regularly see dolphins feeding near the light house! Add to the fact that Folly is just a stunning beach, and you can easily see why it’s my current favorite.

We’ve been down here since April 1 and we typically visit Folly Beach once or twice a week, depending on our schedules. There is even a place near Morris Island Lighthouse where you can see the dolphins feeding! It’s pretty darn cool.

Along with going to the beach, there is just so much stuff to do down here. It’s mind boggling. Especially when you consider that, from where I’m from, there wasn’t much going on unless you wanted to do drugs, go to bars, hunt/fish (and I actually enjoy fishing), or hang out at the mall or Walmart. Here, there is something happening every single day. Farmers markets galore, which I love me some Farmers markets, music, art, festivals, and just so much more.

But Don’t I Miss Home?

I will say that, even though I don’t actually miss home, I do miss my mom and Aunt Lois, as well as my friends. But, at the moment at least, I’m still glad we moved. Harrison County West Virginia has all the problems of a big city without any of the positive aspects. I will always love WV, it is my home state after all and has some of the most beautiful scenery, but it has a lot of problems that I don’t think will be fixed in my lifetime. One of the biggest problems is the drug epidemic and, according to the CDC, West Virginia has the highest rate of overdose deaths in the U.S. and the rate just continues to rise. It’s gotten so bad that people are no longer shocked or surprised when they find used needles laying on the ground in populated areas where adults and children frequent. It’s beyond sad.

Life in General

Just Call Me A Southern Belle

April 20, 2017

We’ve moved! That’s right, we have left our home state of West Virginia.

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you may remember me talking about us wanting to move to South Carolina sometime in the future. Well, Mike got the opportunity to transfer to a store in Charleston, S.C. and we decided to bite the bullet and take the plunge. We rented a Uhaul, packed it full and headed down south. Mike drove the Uhaul and I followed in his truck with the 3 cats, who did surprisingly great during the entire 9 hour trip. Raven won’t be moving down until sometime in May when her current college semester is finished.

This is an exciting and sometimes scary adventure. Especially leaving an area that we have lived in all or most of our lives to start fresh in an area where we have no family or friends and don’t even know anyone. But you only live once and I would hate to go through our whole lives living in an area that we didn’t love anymore just because we were too scared to take the risks.

We’re a mere 18 miles from the beach and are currently renting a lovely town home. It kinda sucks when I think that we are now paying rent when we just got our house paid off last year. But we really were not happy in that area. Drugs (heroin, meth and pain pills) has crippled our home state, turning it into a depressing and unpleasant place. In fact, drugs are killing so many people in West Virginia that the state can’t keep up with the funerals! Add on top of that the cost of living was rather high especially if you compared it with the meager job opportunities and that the activities available were few and far between. It’s actually pretty sad when I think back on how much I use to love West Virginia, thinking that I would never move out of state. But in recent years, the wild and wonderful West Virginia that I grew up in has become a shell of its former self.

Anyway, we’re renting temporarily, don’t know for how long, until we figure out if this is where we want to stay or if there is another area we would rather call home. We still need to sell our house back home but, at the moment at least, I think we made the right decision. I don’t know if I will still feel this way after months of living here, but I am really enjoying it at the moment. The weather is amazing and there is so much to do!

 

Life in General

2016 Recap

January 2, 2017

January: Along with losing the magical David Bowie and Alan Rickman, we also lost my husband’s grandfather, who was a man like no other. We also contended with Winter Storm Jonas, which dumped 2 feet of snow on us in less than 24 hours. Despite all the heartache, January 2016 ended with a bang when season 10 of The X-Files premiered. I had been waiting for that since the series ended in 2002.

February: Mike got me a cat tree for Valentine’s Day, which the cats love. We also started watching the Netflix original documentary Making a Murderer, which was so interesting and infuriating.

March: Mike and I took an overnight trip to Pittsburgh to celebrate his birthday. I also found a product to help with Nefarian’s chronic urinary tract infections.

April: Mike and I took a second trip to Pittsburgh to celebrate my 36th birthday but we decided to stay for two nights this time.

May: We made our last mortgage payment and, after 5 years, finally own our house outright! Raven finished her first year of college. Also, Juliet Landau started following me on Twitter.

June: June was just a normal month and I can’t remember anything that happened.

July: I ended up with a horrible sinus infection that would continue to plague me for most of 2016. The neighbors who live on the hill above us left their pregnant cat behind and she ended up having 3 babies, 1 of which passed away.

August: Raven started her second year in college. She also launched her first comic on Amazon.

September: We found homes for the two kittens (my Mom took one and my Mother-In-Law took the other) and Raven took it upon herself to “adopt” the mother, making sure to take care of her, feed her and give her attention every day. She named her Ripley, after Sigourney Weaver’s character in the Alien franchise.

October: Went to our friend’s annual Halloween party. I dressed as Wednesday Addams and Mike dressed as Yukon Cornelius.

November: The election happened and this was the first year Raven was old enough to vote. She was so excited.

December: This Christmas was a lot let stressful than past ones, mainly because I got 80-percent of the Christmas shopping down in November. We were able to relax a bit and do more Christmas-related festivities. We also had our first annual gingerbread house competition and I won!

While that isn’t everything that happened this year, I think it does give a good general rundown of my 2016. Sometime at the beginning of 2016, Mike and I decided that we wanted to leave West Virginia and move down to South Carolina. We’re not sure when that will happen, but it is a goal that we are working on.

Life in General

It’s Almost Here

December 22, 2016

I cannot believe that Christmas is only a few days away and then, in a short week, we will be ringing in the New Year.

Does it seemed like 2016 has flown by way too quickly to anyone else?

Anywho, I am happy to say that this Christmas is unlike the last so many where I was rushing around trying to finish the necessary gift buying before the 25th. All of our Christmas shopping is done! In fact, I got the most important people bought for before December 1! I know, I can hardly believe it myself. But I did, thank the good Lord! So this December I haven’t been stressed, at least not anymore than normal, or worried. And let me tell you, it has been nice.

I am planning on writing the whole 2016 recap blog post that I, and just about every other blogger, does every year so check back for that, or not, you know whatever.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays!

Life in General

We Are Currently Christmas Tree-Less

November 27, 2016

This past summer I decided to throw away our Christmas tree. We have had it for way too long, something like 15 years I think, and needed a new one. But I just cannot bring myself to pay full price for an artificial tree when I know, in a few short weeks, they will be clearanced after the holidays. So, we considering getting a live tree this year. Mike and Raven have never had a live Christmas tree and I thought, if there was ever a time to have a live tree it would be now. But then I thought, how the hell am I going to keep the cats from a live tree? Pine can be dangerous for cats and, as I am sure you know, my cats are my babies and I don’t want to do anything that puts their health in jeopardy. So, I’m not sure what we’re going to do.

It seems so odd, though,  not having the tree up. Typically, the Christmas tree would be up and decorated by the first week of November. Here we are, almost into December, and we have no tree. But I really, really don’t want to spend $150 to $200 (if not more) on an artificial tree when they will be marked down by at least 50-percent the day after Christmas. I am, however, going to spend today putting up the other Christmas decorations so it will at least look a bit festive with or without a tree.

 

Life in General

It’s Election Time

November 8, 2016

I voted in the 2016 election.Despite suffering from a sinus infection and mild bronchitis, went to the doctors Friday and still not feeling any better, I dragged my big butt out to the polls to vote. And I cannot wait until this whole election season is over because, let’s face it, it’s been a horrible one. All sides have been spewing hate at each other much more easily then previous elections. And it’s ridiculous. You wanna know why kids are so disrespectful today? Because they see their parents, grown adults, calling other people horrible and just down right nasty names.

I don’t care who you voted for in this or any election, I judge you on your heart and not your political or religious choices. There are good people who are voting for Hillary and there are good people who are voting for Trump. Your choice of candidates don’t matter to me.

I just hope that, whoever wins, we as a country can heal and work together to make America better than ever.