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Manda

Life in General

2017 Recap

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

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

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.