Seven Things to love about Horse Haven

I’ve been a Horse Haven player since the old days when it was only on Facebook. Since then there has been so many great improvements!  Today I’d like to highlight seven of my favorite improvements to Horse Haven in the last few months, and especially with the current Carnival.

#7 – I’ve rated this lowest because it is sort of an anti-compliment, but I do want to include it and give the devs a big thank you for it. In the past when Horse Haven had an update, I admit to groaning and rolling my eyes. An “update” generally meant the game would be broken to the point of being unplayable for up to a week or more. That said, the last few updates have gone really smoothly. Of course there are small glitches, but nothing like “the old days” and most of them are quickly corrected over the next couple of days. Much better. Kudos. Thank you.

#6 – The new polished horses are by and large gorgeous! I especially appreciate the little nuances, such as the slight glow the fantasy horses have, and especially the sort of iridescent light effects where the sunbeams hit the horses coats while in the stable. Wonderful little touches of finesse. I am impressed. (By the way, I play both on Nox as you see in these screenshots, and on my phone)

2020-05-28 (4)

#5 – The expansion of the ability to watch a commercial in order to earn diamonds, or to skip a feeding, or skip the wait time for various things. Love it!

#4 – The new switchy button. I’m not sure how else to put it, but if you’ll look in the lower right hand corner of this screen shot, you’ll see that we can now easily bounce from the grand stable interior to the switch screen where you can switch horses from the grand stable to the outer stables and visa versa. It’s a little tweak – but I really like it. Thanks!

2020-05-28 (2)

#3 – Opportunity to earn Constellation II and Specials in the Carnival event. In fact, I’ve always really loved this one thing about Horse Haven. If you missed purchasing a special horse, sooner or later (and I have been playing a very long time) you get another opportunity to earn it through special events. Thank you!

2020-05-28 (3)

#2 -Speeding up the game. Crops grow faster. Feeds manufacture faster. And I especially love that the horses grow up faster. I dearly love being able to raise a foal to adult in (I timed it today) LESS THAN five minutes. Love it! Thank you!

#1 – Small packages!

AT LAST!!!!  For years all of the things you purchase with money at Horse Haven, have for the most part cost at least $15 and usually more. My gaming budget is small, and my discretionary income is really small, and often quite gone long before the end of the month. So especially if  something is only available for a few days in the middle or end of the month and costs $20, there is just no way I can buy it.

Once upon a time I played some other games that constantly sprinkled little specials throughout the month that cost $1 or $2. I would hate to tell you how much I spent over several years in $1 and $2 purchases! How I longed for Horse Haven to do the same.

And now, at last, they have!  $1 for a few diamonds, and a 50% increase in Carnival points for a day? I can do that! Wait – $5 for a few more diamonds and a 50% increase in Carnival points for the rest of the event? I’m in! I’ve bought several of the $1 packages just to encourage the devs to do it again! Do it forever!

2020-05-28

Thank you, Horse Haven devs for all these great new improvements to the game!

 

 

Saturday Morning Cartoons Reinvented

Pinkie over at Pinkie’s Paradise started an intriguing reinvention of the Saturday morning cartoons some weeks ago. From the inception of the series, I really liked the idea and very quickly got to work on setting that time slot aside in my own life, for the same use.

I had a crappy childhood. Saturday morning cartoons were iffy at best, and didn’t include anime to speak of because I’m that damn old. So I’m taking this opportunity to overwrite those years with some much better memories. So there, hah.

The dedicated time slot is from whenever I got up to noon. The most important aspect of the cartoons or anime chosen is they must either make me laugh or keep me glued to the screen as much as the one or two series I remember and enjoyed. And by and large, they need to appeal to a younger audience. I am trying to locate and stream some of my old favorites where I can, too.

I am also including some sort of decadent, unhealthy and fattening breakfast treat because I don’t often do breakfast at all, and I am very careful about treats due to my tendency to gain weight just looking at food. Because normally everyone was gone at work when I woke up, I actually regularly breakfasted on cookies as a child. Finding food in my house was a bit iffy, too. We were more likely to have cookies than breakfast food and almost never cereal and milk. However, these days I’m a bit gluten intolerant and I’ve always been lactose intolerant, so cereal and milk aren’t as big a treat as you’d think.

I’m three weeks in at this point, and because I’m a bit lazy about blogging I am not even going to try to blog every Saturday. Instead I’ll do a little roundup every three weeks or so. Give or take. However, I am keeping a running entry on my Penzu journal updated every Saturday so I will have that for reference.

Saturday, May 10th was the first official Saturday morning cartoon day. As it happened the hubby had some Honey Nut Cheerios for a snack, so I snatched a bowlful of those. No milk. My wonderful hubby (he cooks) also brought to me warm, freshly baked oatmeal raisin cookies later in the morning. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMmm

Previously I had done a bit of surfing around looking for cartoons/anime that might suit my parameters of funny, missed, fascinating, nostaligia. Under the Pink influence I searched for a Pokemon series, and found Pokemon Sun and Moon on Netflix. I was looking for Yu-Gi-Oh but instead got sidetracked to Yokai Watch. I am really into yokai, so I had to chose this one. It is also on Netflix. Somewhere down the line I ran onto Wander Over Yonder and did a little research on it. I found it on YouTube and watched like ten seconds and could not stop laughing – so even though I have to search and scrounge for each ten minute or so episode – it’s on the list. Last, but hardly least was Gargoyles from Disney Plus – something I ran onto looking for something else. Overall most of these are shows either anime (which I got none of ), or that remind me of shows I actually did get to watch. More on that later.

Yokai Watch – My favorite episode so far is #4 with Hungrigramps. He makes conbini store food look good! I am getting a big chuckle out of all the ills of life being caused by yokai, and each of them when summoned has a ridiculous intro-summoning sequence that makes me laugh and at least consider hopping up and trying to learn their dance moves. But my true love, as you may have guessed is Jibanyan.

I’ve already found a plushie I MUST HAVE and of course, I want the games if I can find any that will work on any device I own.

Speaking of devices, in case you are wondering, these series also have to be on something my main laptop computer can deal with. Said computer is ten years old and has a heart attack if it sees VRV.CO in a URL, so we are restricted to Hulu, Netflix, YouTube and such. It’s good for me to watch anime away from VRV now and then. The reason is that this whiney old computer hooks up to the whiney old big screen TV so I can watch my Saturday morning cartoons on the TV. Much as all has changed and advanced, this is somehow a thing for me and it’s my Saturday morning so that’s just how it is. 😛

Wander Over Yonder is my next cartoon, and because I watch 2 to 3 episodes, I’m now up to Season 1 Episode 9 and 10 which are so far my total favorites. I dearly loved the goats and all the silly wordplay in 9, and the Lords of Enlightment episode 10 had me rolling on the floor. I am metaphysical as heck, but I do take some of the woo-woo with a truckload of salt and this episode really poked the sacred bears, so to speak. I can’t figure out why Disney ever took this off their channel, and even more so can’t imagine why they don’t have it on the streaming website. Just saying, I would absolutely buy this if the series were on DVD or something somewhere. Even though there isn’t a thing in the house that plays DVDs anymore.

Pokemon Sun and Moon I have to honestly say isn’t my favorite. It has it’s moments. I kind of have an issue with Ash being so immediately blessed by the island guardian with all the goodies. But hey, of course he is. And Pikachu is cute. I get it now. The cute little voice melts me every time. Awwwwwwwwww… I know there is better Pokemon out there, that I really think I’ll like better, but I have yet to find them on a streaming service I use.

Gargoyles on Disney. This series appealed to me on several levels. The mix of myth and scifi. And the artwork to me is reminiscent of some of my most favorite childhood cartoons. It’s cartoony but realistic. If that makes any sense. So far I’m intrigued. I have a few story issues where things aren’t realistic, but then, it’s a cartoon, relax Summer. I’m up to Episode 4 and I can’t say I have a favorite yet. I don’t hate it or anything, just haven’t fallen in love yet either.

The last couple of Saturdays I’ve had an old favorite snack – graham crackers dipped in milk. Absolutely loved it. But the milk went sour this week. Neither of us actually like milk. So yeah, this will really be only an occasional treat for Saturdays. This Saturday I was also treated to a biscuit with butter and honey from one friend (who wanted biscuits, can’t cook them in her trailer so we cooked them for her and we all shared) and a raisin bagel with cream cheese from hubby. Yes, I had a stomach ache. I think this coming Saturday I’m going to get myself a bag of those white powdered sugar donuts. I love those things. They’re awful for me.

But the biggest thrill EVAH came Saturday May 23 because one of my all time most favorite ever childhood cartoons suddenly showed up on VRV. Wait. VRV? Yes. I crossed my fingers and took grumpy old Mingo (what, you don’t name your devices) up to VRV and wonder of wonders he conceded to actually play…

Jonny Quest!!!!!!!!!!! I loved this cartoon with all my heart. I wanted to be Jonny. Or Hadji. Or Race Bannon. Or have a grown up like Race Bannon or Professor Quest in my life. Who liked me. But I faced it now with some adult trepidation. I have a sneaking suspicion I am not going to appreciate how Hadji is treated. (In fact, I have some lurking memories of thinking I didn’t always like how Hadji was treated when I was a child. After all, he has a similar complexion to my mother and I AM a child of the 60s and we were NOT unaware of the difference in treatment based on difference in skin color…)

So this Saturday I dived into Episode 1 and 2 and… I wonder where Hadji was in Ep 1? Oh well. And just who, exactly, does Race Bannon work for? And seriously, he’s a pretty crappy body guard since Jonny saves him as much as he saves Jonny. But that’s okay because I had a BLAST. Sure, I can pick apart the facts like crazy but it’s still a fun and oh yes, so boy, romp. Okay, so I was a little boy and I still am, really. Yeah, turn me loose with a snowmobile that goes 100 mph, great idea. I remember the snow cat and snow mobile and water ski better than I do the story. Huh? Story? And I kind of think Hadji is smarter than Jonny. So there’s that. And that jet in the intro – is that an A-12? Because it kind of looks like one. In case you aren’t a super fast silent spy jet fan – the A-12 was the SR 71 Blackbird before it was the Blackbird. Which sort of fits since Race Bannon actually works for Intelligence One – which agency sounds suspiciously like the CIA. Sort of. Okay, let’s not get hung up on facts. Cool snow skimmer!

Looks like VRV won’t let me grab a screen cap. 😦

In conclusion, I am really having a lot of fun with my own version of Saturday morning cartoons. Thanks Pinkie!

And starting this week, I’m also relaxing on Sunday with my own favorite Sunday show – nature documentaries. Yep, just call me Marlon Perkins. Holy crap, I just discovered that Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom has a dedicated YouTube site with new shows… Anyway, there is no shortage of nature documentaries between Hulu, Netflix, Curiosity Stream, and Disney Plus and because I’m a horse person, I also sprang for the Equus channel on Film Festival Flix. Anyone want to ride along?

 

“A Little Shy”, They Said

I mentioned on this blog a few days ago that we had added a family member – we adopted a cat. Several folks have asked about her, and I’ve been pretty closed mouthed after the initial joy. This is why.

A local shelter announced through the news that they would be having “free” or rather “sponsored” adoptions for cats over 6 months old. A particular car dealership was actually paying the adoption fees – which are very high in this big city. I mean, REALLY high. You could buy a nicely pedigreed show quality purebred for what they charge for adoptions here.

Now from experience I can tell you I’ve NEVER had a free pet in my life. Oh, I’ve certainly adopted and rescued literally hundreds of animals in my life – but any time I’ve taken an animal that was “free” they ended up costing me a small fortune one way or another.

Hubby and I have been discussing and wanting another pet for about three years. Our beloved cat, Pearl, died while the hubby was on peritoneal dialysis. Since peritoneal dialysis, done at home, is not pet friendly, we chose to not immediately get another pet. A good decision, as it turned out. The next few years we were not in a stable position between his health changes and moving to Nevada, to take on an additional responsibility. But for about the last year we have been wanting a cat, and we feel like we are finally in a good stable position to offer a good home to a pet. So when these “free” adoptions became available, we applied and were quickly accepted.

My first surprise, in fact, is that we were accepted on the same day that we applied. No references were asked for or contacted, and apparently no check of any kind was done on the information I provided the shelter. This should have been my first clue. 

Second clue – This was a “no contact” adoption. This sounded reasonable, since we are still in Phase One of coming out of lockdown here. Also, the pandemic has really devastated animal rescue organizations, with loss of donations, and volunteer shortages, as well as being closed and having no way to do adoptions in person. But it does mean that we never met our cat until she was actually here in the house.

I provided a great deal of information to the shelter about our home and a list of several of the cats from the website we were interested in. I was told only one of our choices was still available, but she would be a wonderful match for us as she is shy (but really sweet – yeah, right) and doesn’t like other cats or dogs, so she would be happiest in a very quiet, all adult, no other pets home such as we have to offer. I took the “adoption counselor” at her word and we got really happy and excited about our new friend to be.

The next day I was told I would have to get to the shelter by 3 pm or I would lose this cat and have to start over. There was some rushing around as I found a ride other than the ride I first thought could get us there, blah blah blah, but kitty and I finally got home.

This was the third clue – almost inevitably when you are given a time limit and often a veiled threat (“if you don’t come get them RIGHT NOW I’ll have to put them to sleep” or even “I’ll take it out back and shoot it”) – you are about to get saddled with an animal no one wants. You’re being rushed so you don’t have time to make a thorough decision. This is true, by the way, on almost any acquisition – any time you get a high pressure sales pitch, stop, back up, and give the situation a very thorough going over. If the other side freaks out and increases the pressure, back out – you’re probably doing yourself a favor.

I will call this the fourth clue – I noticed it earlier and it did make me think – but I chose to go forward anyway. So this is on no one but me. But. Looking at the one and only rather poor photo of this cat on their website, I noticed that she (like several others) was eartipped. That is, one of her ears was partially cut off. This is frequently done in TNR situations.

For those who do not know, a brief explanation. Trap-Neuter-Release is a way to care for communities of feral cats. We all know someone who feeds all the strays in the neighborhood. A responsible stray cat feeder practices TNR either on their own dime or in cooperation with a rescue group. The cats are trapped, spayed or neutered, usually vaccinated, evaluated for adoptability, and if they are quite wild – released back into their community. Cats that have been “processed” are also “ear tipped” – a bit of one ear is cut off. This is so they can be identified quickly as a cat that has been vaccinated and neutered, in case they are trapped again. They can be re-released without the expense of an exam.

So when I saw that tipped ear I wondered if this cat was from a feral colony. And if so, and if she was judged adoptable and brought into the shelter – then why did they tip her ear? Normally, you would only do that with a cat you were going to re-release. It made me a little suspicious, but after all some feral cats are simply lost or abandoned and they ARE socialized and adoptable.

In the cats description on the website, and in email with the adoption counselor, the cat was described as “a little shy”. Repeatedly. But “she will be a great match for you, and I’m sure she’ll settle down quickly once she is in your home.” I can’t even call this a clue. Most cats are freaked out in a shelter situation, and especially a cat that is of a submissive, introverted type of personality. We do have a very quiet home, with lots of human contact and reassurance and lots of cat experience and a shy cat doesn’t necessarily turn me off at all.

So I arrive to pick the cat up and end up waiting outside for a good bit of time. Meanwhile, other people were in fact going in and out of the building – which also houses a vet – so okay, maybe they were going to the vet. When the cat is brought to me, the lady (who was not wearing a mask or practicing social distancing BTW – some contactless adoption – not. Maybe that should have been a clue, too) tells me that the cat didn’t want to go and was hard to get into the box. I find out later that the cats in this shelter all co-hab in one big room.

Now, I realize that to most people this sounds more humane than little cages. But it isn’t. Not with cats that are frightened, poorly socialized, that don’t like or get along with other cats. There are also other problems inherent in this. For instance, the new cat did not eat for a couple of days. When I asked the shelter if she was a picky eater (and what food they feed) I was told “I don’t know. We just free feed all of the cats and sometimes they get some wet”. One of the very first signs of illness in a cat is refusing to eat. When I had a large number of cats, I did “breakfast”. Once a day I put out one dish for each cat with a dab of wet food. Almost no cats will refuse wet food. I then literally stood there and watched the cats eat. If any of my cats refused to eat at breakfast, I would note that and keep an eye on them. Certain cats who were real hogs would get an immediate vet trip if they didn’t eat. So this free food with no monitoring situation is not good. I’m going to also guess they are mostly volunteer staff with one or two overworked paid staff, so there’s no consistency of care. A shy cat, such as our new cat, could hide (as she does) for days at a time and no one would even realize she was missing, sick, not eating, etc. The same issues apply to the other end of the plumbing – with multiple cats in a room sharing litter boxes, you can’t tell which one of them is passing those worms in their stool, or having diarrhea. So although many cats together in one room looks more cozy and homelike to potential adopters, to an experienced animal care person it looks like, well, chaos and possible cat hell for a cat who is shy, bullied, introverted, sick, frightened, or not socialized. 

There is a reasonable alternative, which is individual cages for each cat and a period “out to play” in a large room with other cats during designated hours each day. I volunteered at a shelter that practiced this and it was ideal. There was no fighting over food, and each cats intake of food, and output of urine and feces was easily monitored. As another benefit, even if one cat became ill, it did not usually infect the whole population as it could be quickly noticed, and quickly isolated. 

At this point in time I suspect what she was telling me was it took four people chasing the cat around a room full of cats for thirty minutes before they finally cornered her and grabbed her.  I won’t count this as a clue, as many cats are frightened and suspicious when you start trying to grab them and put them in a box. It’s pretty reasonable if you figure most of the time when we’re catching them and putting them in a box they’re going to the vet! But this fairly chaotic and hysterical situation can also be avoided with individual cages. As simply as, “someone is coming for this cat today, so don’t put her out with the others”. No fuss, no muss, no panic for anyone or cats.

I get the kitty home. She is introduced to her food and water bowl and litter box. She sits in my lap for a few hours being petted, and in hubby’s lap being petted. But she doesn’t purr and she’s almost motionless. She isn’t comfortable and happy, but frozen solid with fear, although she does give a few head butts and chin wipes. When she finally goes exploring she finds the closest hiding place and disappears. That spot was not someplace she ought to be, so we pulled her out and closed it off (boy did she sulk). She glares at us for a while, then goes and finds another hidey hole. And that’s it. She spends about 24/7  in that hidey hole, unless we literally drag her out for a repeat of the frozen cuddle for a little while, then back to the hidey hole. She did not eat or drink or use the litter box for two days. Well, that’s not all that weird for a new cat in a new place. It’s a bit extreme, maybe.

It’s been nearly a week now, and now I am quite sure based on my experience with many, many cats from every situation from dearly loved to born and survived wild to adulthood that this is a formerly feral cat. An adult feral cat who has no socialization. Her only experience of humans is being trapped, vaccinated, spayed, and thrown in a room with a large number of strange cats, with different, strange humans going in and out probably several times a day. That is, she has gone from being feral to being traumatized.

At best, many adult ferals never become socialized to humans. She is beyond feral at this point. The best I can say is if you reach into her hidey hole and drag her out, she freezes with fear instead of attacking. I think this is due more to her shy, basically gentle personality rather than any socialization.

They sent us this cat, knowing that my husband is disabled and has health issues. To tell you the truth, I am pretty pissed off. Not to jerk your heart strings- but my husband was not supposed to live past his 20s, he is now 54. We wanted a sweet, lovable cat to join our family for love, cuddles, playing, and companionship. We got – a wild animal who barely accepts our presence. My husband may or may not have years for her to maybe accept us. We are sharing a 26 foot RV with her. Right now the cab is set up as her private apartment and luckily that is fairly convenient for us all.  But what if hubby is hospitalized and I have to ask someone else to care for this wild animal? And not to be really mean, but she costs as much to keep as a friendly kitty would. We are not rich.

Thinking strictly of ourselves – this is not a cat that we want to have right now. And it is in the contract that we can return her within 30 days for any reason. It is tempting.

But.

Again, from my experience. She’s going right back into her own little version of hell. Big room. Lots of cats. Lots of strange people in and out. Constant chaos. Depending on this particular shelter’s policies, once she is returned she may be automatically killed as “unadoptable”. This is not to my knowledge a no-kill shelter. Or she may go through several homes, each told she is “a little shy” and because she freezes rather than fights, less experienced cat people may believe that. So can I bring myself to send her back to that?

Not really.

We’ve had a long discussion. Several, in fact. We have a couple of alternative solutions that don’t involve her going back to hell. Since she is not aggressive or destructive (so far), she can go on as she is. Naturally, we will do our best to encourage her to accept us. This hardly makes us feel like we have the pet we desire, however. So we plan to be patient, but also to have an eye out for a nice kitten. I didn’t really want to raise a kitten, but here’s my point on that. I think as a mature female feral, this cat has no doubt raised one or two litters of kittens per year of her six years of life. I think she may accept a young kitten as non-threatening and even adopt the kitten as her own, making s/he a good companion for her. This means that Misty (our new name for our new cat) will have a feline companion she does accept, even if she never accepts us, and we will have a feline companion that accepts us, even if Misty never does. Misty may also be influenced to accept us since the kitten does.

But I am still pissed. We did not want to raise a baby kitten – although Misty will help by providing companionship, and influence in using the litter box properly. We will have extra expense, not just for two cats instead of one, but since the other will be a kitten we will need the full series of shots, licensing, and spay/neuter when the time comes. All of which is, you guessed it, very expensive here. One of the reasons it took us so long to decide we were ready for a new pet was that we don’t have a whole lot of money above and beyond day to day living expenses. I had planned on a single (large) adoption fee covering all the vet and licensing expenses for at least the first year, including the monster fee for spay/neuter. Basically, now all these expenses will be doubled, and I was cautiously hopeful of being able to afford it once.

And if you are wondering, um, no, I won’t be going to any other rescue operation here. One more section of society in the U.S. where I see lying has become the default rather than the exception. I’ll be watching out for a (Goddess help me) “free” kitten. Actually, the Goddess has dropped many kittens on my porch steps (or under them) in my life, so that could happen.

Bottom line; an animal shelter took advantage of the pandemic to offload at least one, and probably several (because she isn’t the only one on the website described as “a little shy”) purely wild, feral, unsocialized cats on an unsuspecting public who were kind enough to open their home during this situation. They’re taking advantage of the sponsor as well. And I am almost positive that if I contacted them again with my issues, I would be guilt tripped into feeling it is our fault somehow that we are mean and can’t be bothered to keep this poor cat and deal with her issues (on top of our own, may I add) although I have to admit, that is just my suspicion. I can’t bring myself to send her back to what I suspect is a hell situation for her. (Instead I let her create a less than perfect situation for us – but maybe it will improve) I also have a sneaking suspicion that they saw we do have experience with many difficult cats, and expected us to have this dilemma when we figured out she was feral. Because surely they didn’t think we would be fooled beyond the first day or two.

At least she is with people who have dealt with ferals before, and many cats with many different personalities and difficult pasts. Mind you, dealing with rescues and ferals when you’re in your twenties, and both working with good incomes is a very different situation than dealing with it as seniors with a considerably smaller fixed income and health issues. Yes, we can deal with her and offer the best possible solution FOR HER at this time. Truly, the best situation for a feral cat is to leave it where it is – in a cat community they are comfortable in, a place they have chosen and are comfortable in and especially if it is a TNR community being responsibly cared for. It isn’t ideal, but neither is this. Perhaps they had to capture and remove the feral cat community for some good reason, or perhaps someone misconstrued her frozen in fear reaction for gentleness or some socialization. I’d like to think we were all really doing our best in any given situation. Really, I would.

So. Here we are. We have a cat. But really, we don’t. We are harboring a wild animal that may possibly someday accept us. We’d still like to have a PET. Sigh.

I’m blocking comments for this post. Our decisions are based on our situation, and our experiences and are not open to discussion or anyone else’s criticism. I’m not going to argue about this. I’m already pissed. I just wanted to get this off my chest. Maybe something here will contain a nugget of wisdom that will help somebody else, or at least warn them, or make them think. I’m not naming the shelter because I don’t need a lawsuit and really, it isn’t that important at this point.

 

Update: I started out to check if the shelter involved was a no-kill, in case we decide in the next 30 days that we cannot deal with her and send her back. What I discovered is that this shelter has a lengthy record of news stories, problems with fraud, money, and multiple allegations by volunteers of terrible conditions for animals and people – including a couple of severe maulings by “socialized” dogs on volunteers. Clearly, there is no way I’m sending Misty back. And, as i suspected, there are also reviews where the return of an animal is met with quite a nasty reaction and guilt tripping, as well as black listing of the adopter.

Here is my takeaway on that. Don’t make the assumption that an animal shelter, even one associated with a well respected national association, is truly a good and trustworthy organization. Like any acquisition, an animal adoption needs to start with thorough research on any organization you may choose to be involved with. Not just their puff website, but an open search on their name for any reviews, news stories, petitions for change or investigations by the District Attorney (!), and so forth. If I had seen these articles first… well, I might have adopted just to SAVE an animal from what amounts to a horrific hoarding situation. So, we do have that to hang on to. We have saved Misty from a miserable life of fear and neglect. (Never mind that it would have been going on in a “shelter”)

 

 

Breaking the Tyranny of the Streak

Or…there’s streaks, and there’s streaks.

 

Harvard Streaker Glitch
not that kind of streak

Recently I’ve been a bit frustrated by my inability to continue streaks on certain software that I enjoy. After some thought I decided to ignore all their exhortations, encouragement, and pokes and prods and release myself from the tyranny of maintaining a streak on a number of things.

At first, I felt like I was a bit… not worthy. Less than. Online you see so many people who have blogged every single day for years – writing great articles every single day. Or who sketch every single day, or take photographs every single day. For some of these things it seems like it’s really not a big deal to remember to spend maybe five minutes on a quickie – although of course, more time is better for some things. So why can’t I manage to journal in my private Penzu journal every day, and make even a quick sketch a day – even after I put sketching apps on the phone so I sketch even on days when we aren’t home very much. Not finding time for a few minutes of Japanese study – even though that app barely nags (or rewards) is a particular frustration for me. I mean, I really DO enjoy and want to learn Japanese.

But here is my biggest stumbling block. I have actual responsibilities. Three days a week my hubby has a 3 1/2 hour dialysis treatment. When we ride the Transit bus they pick us up about two and a half hours early, and can drop us off as much as three hours afterwards. Which is one of two reasons we no longer ride the Transit bus. (The second is that they are not enforcing masks, and are actively making it impossible to social distance – so we get to pick someone up at the hospital, then sit less than 2 feet away while he hacks and coughs and sneezes for two hours. Complaints are answered with “you should be grateful for this service”). Now that we are back to riding the public bus, the transportation time is a little more reasonable so at least we are not gone from the house for up to 10 hours for a 3 1/2 hour treatment. Still, we often arrive home sick, tired, and very out of sorts. Both of us – even though only he had to undergo the treatment. At any rate, 3 days a week are quite focused on one thing.

The other four are the only time I have to go grocery shopping, walk down to the machine (about 1 mile) to refill water bottles, pick up prescriptions, go to the bank, do laundry, cleaning house, or any of a dozen or so other responsibilities I simply have to do. The fact that we no longer have a vehicle means that everything entails an hour or two or more of walking or riding the bus on top the of actual errand time.

Hey, I’m not complaining. I do have a 180 day streak going on the pedometer app! We walk a lot. It’s very healthy for us. This is a good thing. So I’m about half on half on – those are excuses, and nope, that’s just life.

After some more thought, I realize I have to give myself credit for those things that there is no app for that I do have a “streak” on.

I wash the dishes by hand. Every single day. Some days, twice. Admittedly, I often skip that duty on dialysis days because it’s too late and/or I’m too tired when we get home. We also tend not to make as many dirty dishes those days so I figure that’s okay.

I manage to take vitamins every single day. Yeah, I’m kind of a health and wellness freak. I’d rather take vitamins every day than a bunch of prescriptions drugs, and then drugs for the side effects of the drugs, and so on.  I also nag the husband to take his, poor guy. Then again, he is in remarkable health for someone who has been on dialysis for ten years. That’s not me bragging, that’s what his dialysis nurse and his nephrologist say. I’d guess our streak on this one is literally years without a break.

Every single day I pray, meditate, and make offerings to the gods and goddesses. Every single day I spend a few minutes to connect and send reiki healing to any of my friends who may need it. Every day I do some little accupressure treatments on the hubby that help with various little things like blood pressure or anemia or pain. Again, streaks that are years long.

A few days ago I added to my daily chores; feeding, watering, and cleaning a litter box for the new family member. She pays in purrs. It’s a more than fair deal!

So you know what, I’m tossing out all the frustration and the guilt for the streaks I can’t seem to keep up. And giving myself a little credit for those I do.

I hope by sharing this that maybe if you are feeling a bit of guilt, or like you are not as good as someone else because you just can’t keep a streak of daily whatever going that you will take a second look at your life and realize that we are all doing the best we can do with what we have and where we are at in our lives right now. We have to set our own priorities over those things we need to accomplish, and however “good” it might be to journal or sketch or practice our second language every day, there are things that can simply be set aside for things that simply must be done. There is no shame or guilt in that. In fact, you probably deserve some kudos for taking care of business. (That often is a lot less fun than journaling, sketching, etc.)

So there, hah.

Blessedbe.

Sketch A Day check up

Last week I did six sketches and got 58 likes. I did break my streak though. Actually, I broke all streaks yesterday for a very good reason. We adopted a kitty. She deserves her own post, of course, so let’s see if this bright idea I had works to make it easier to get the sketches into this blog.

Not Found

Prompt – accept. Pencil on paper.

Not Found

Prompt – wander. Digital. Looks like I’m pretty settled on Autodesk Sketchbook on the phone.

Not Found

Prompt – snap. I had far bigger and better plans for this drawing, but for some reason my phone was not tracking finger strokes very well that day. So, yes, digital, on the phone.

Not Found

Prompt – hoop. Colored markers on paper, which I settled for because of time. I wandered off and watched Navaho Hoop dancing videos for a while (blush) This is the Navaho Medicine Wheel.

Not Found

Prompt – bloom. Another finger sketch on the phone. To my amusement, this flower that I whipped up in like two minutes is the champion for number of likes. You just never can tell what people will like…

Not Found

Prompt – Identify. Pencil on paper. Somewhere down the line it lost a lot of detail.

Now we post and see if this system worked to get the pictures from phone to blog.

I am not sharing to Instagram or Facebook as much because it’s such a pain in the ass for me to type any text on the phone to identify the prompt and media. So if you are one of the two or three people who care at all, you might find it best to follow it on the blog 😀

Blessedbe

Summer Foovay

Sketch A Day Stats Check Up

Sketch a Day (here at the Google Play Store) offers me a daily challenge. I ran onto it while looking at different drawing programs. Mainly I need a new program to replace my old Paint Shop Pro 9, which no longer works quite right with Windows 10 after a gazillion updates on my ten year old (give or take) laptop computer. Since I had to pry my mind open to even consider a new drawing program, I managed to decide I would also at least consider one on the phone. And then I saw Sketch A Day and thought it would be a great little motivator to keep me moving forward as I try out different programs to find another that I not only like, but can learn in less than another decade.

Today (a Tuesday) Sketch A Day surprised me with what I guess will be a weekly check up and stats, along with the images of the sketches from last week. Now the whole thing is set up to share my sketches on Facebook, and I normally go ahead and put them on Instagram since that’s easy from my phone. Whether I do the sketch “analog” with old fashioned pencil and paper, or whether I make it on my phone,  I post it from my phone’s photo gallery. But I have been sort of wanting to post them on this blog as well, although there is no really easy way to do it, since normally I blog from my old laptop. When I got the once a week stats thingie, I thought it might be a good reminder to put them on the blog once a week. Tuesday is a good day as I am normally home long enough to wrangle photos from the phone to the computer to the blog.

Monday/Wednesday/Friday are dialysis days for the hubby. With the time spent on the Transit bus, and the general exhaustion an empath feels after a day in a dialysis clinic, well – it’s a good day to sketch from the phone. So far I’ve been through three different sketching programs on the phone and I don’t much like any of them. Ibis Paint did the lovely sketch on Monday, then on Wednesday suddenly would only allow me to draw with a white brush on a white background. Yeah. Uninstalled. Wednesday I tried Pocket Paint – meant for little kids. I thought that would mean I could use it, too. It was nicely intuitive to draw with – but for unknowable reasons switched from white background to black background when the art posted – vanishing my outlines in the process! Also vanishing some details I considered necessary. Friday I went back to an old friend, Autodesk Sketchbook, which I used to have on the Kindle Fire. Not a good friend, but one I could rely on when I had limited time to draw before the deadline.

Now it appears that I cannot look back at the week except that one flash of stats, and neither Sketch A Day nor my phone will put the sketch photos in one single album for access. That would be too easy. After an hour and a half fighting websites and programs and phone and gallery and computers – here’s last weeks sketches with prompts and notes.

Ow. My head hurts from pounding it on the desk. My hubby is making homemade oatmeal and raisin cookies. Next week this will hopefully be easier.

Assemble, for some unknowable reason, garnered the most likes – ten of the total 28 for the week. I suspect that it has to do with all of us having opened one of those boxes marked “some assembly required” at some point in our lives – and despaired.

Identify was my submission today and I think it might actually be on next week’s stats. So what is missing? Fuck if I know and I can’t face trying to figure it out. I sketched seven days in a row. Done. 😛

(Fiction) Moonlight Encounter

 

As always, he slept outside the city walls under the stars, lightly concealed by a fallen tree and high grass. He heard the whisper of her passing and, curious, he rose and followed her. Together they made no more noise than the brushing of the wind through the leaves.

She stopped in a circular clearing in a grove of ancient oaks and there she set an athame in the ground. It glowed silver in the light of the full moon. With a rustle, she dropped the robe from her shoulders and became skyclad. Raising her face and hands to the moon, she sang.

He recognized ritual and knew he should not be there, gazing on the silvered outline of her body. Still, he could not help but stay for a moment, to feast his eyes on such beauty revealed in the moon’s pure white light before he silently slipped away and returned to his den of the night.

It was only a short time later that he heard her coming through the grasses. She paused and he knew he had been spied. His eyes were still closed, to not let a gleam of moonlight reflected give away his wakefulness. Suddenly he felt a frission of energy pass over and through him and knew she had taken a moment and spared the energy to bless him in the light of the moon before she turned and went on her way. In his thoughts he gave her thanks – and heard her feet pause for only a second – and then go on.

After all, nature lovers both, they were not so different.

And soon they’ll be off to adventure together? Hmmm..one of those middle of the night – okay, right at bedtime – ideas that insisted I get back up and note it down about a year ago now. Anyone want to know what happened next?

Original work, copyright 2020 Summer Fey Foovay, etc etc etc. All legalize aside, I really am a witch, and karma works.