Hersheypark happy-ish.

Category: Personal
Words: 730

Last Friday Alyssa, Ryan, and I went to Hersheypark with our very good friend and brother-from-another, Zimire, and his girlfriend, E. To be honest, I really wasn’t looking forward to the trip. I’m I-Don’t-Want-To-Go-To-A-Damn-Amusement-Park years old. But I knew that in order for Ryan to go and have a chance at enjoying himself without overwhelming anxiety, and for Alyssa to be able to go and have a good time with her boyfriend (who met her at the park; they then planned on going off to do their own thing), I’d have to go.

So I went.

I had a great time with the rides we went on, even though we only went on…let’s see… . Gone are the days of getting to the park the moment they open, staying until the moment they close, and riding everything I deem “rideable” at least twice each. Instead, because all of us except for Alyssa overslept, we didn’t even get to the park until nearly an hour after they opened (Hersheypark’s summer Friday hours are 10:00am to 9:00pm). Then it took us a good 15 minutes to get situated with sunscreen, bathroom stops, and tickets.

Zimire and I.

Finally, we’re in. Our first stop actually wasn’t a ride at all, but a trip to Hersheypark’s Guest Services to apply for a pass via the Hersheypark Ride Accessibility Program. While the wording of the program strongly implies it is intended for those with physical disabilities, individuals with qualifying emotional/mental/neurological disabilities also qualify for a pass. The pass entitles the rider and up to three co-riders to access rides through the Fast Track / handicapped / exit lane, thereby bypassing having to wait in long lines or traverse them. Ryan’s autism and anxiety are our reasons for applying a pass, which we’ve done ever since we started taking the kids to Hersheypark, circa 2010ish. The program process is painless, by the way. You simply scan a QR code to access an online form (or get a printed copy), fill it out, and then answer a few questions about how long the affected individual could stand in line for, what happens when it gets to be too much for them, what their concerns are, etc. From start to finish, from filling out the form to walking out the door with the printed pass (which you also have your picture taken for), the whole process takes about 10 minutes. We waited in line for the next available staff member longer than the time it took us to scan the QR code, fill out the form, answer the questions, and be on our way.

That day we rode:

  • Candymonium
  • Reese’s Cupfusion
  • Trailblazer
  • Wave Swinger
  • Skyrush (least favorite ride of the day – more below)
  • Comet
  • Great Bear
  • Coal Cracker
  • Wildcat’s Revenge (amazing, my favorite of all the coasters I rode that day)
  • Tidal Force
Zimire, Ryan, Alyssa, and I on Candymonium

So, I rode the infamous Skyrush, aka Thighcrush. I hated it, but not for the reason you think – despite being nearly 160 lbs. and bottom heavy, my thighs were just fine and escaped the ride completely unscathed. No, I hated Skyrush due to the lack of head and neck restraint. The ride rides rough and whips you through several zero-G hills, yet there is no further support for one’s head and neck beyond a high-backed seat. I spent the majority of the ride not enjoying it because I was trying so hard to keep my head and neck still (I have previously sustained a concussion on Great Bear due to my head and neck whipping about, so you could say I have PTSD from that experience!). The rest of it I spent cursing the relative roughness when you consider it’s an all-steel coaster, and usually those ride relatively smoothly.

All in all, most of us had a good day. Zimire and I finished the day with a ride on Tidal Force followed by a thorough soaking on the bridge, which was our lone water ride for the day – we skipped the water park entirely (we plan on going back in August for that).

Me, in front of Wildcat's Revenge

Ryan, unfortunately, did not have a good day. Autism and anxiety and amusement parks do not play well together, and I’ll leave it at that. It breaks my heart to see him struggle so, but I’m glad he got a little enjoyment out of the day, and proud of him for making a valiant attempt.

♥ Jenn
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2021: Year in review

Category: Personal
Words: 166

2021 was a pretty slow year, with the most action happening in the summer and fall. COVID-19 is kind of making weeks run together, and I can’t believe we’re going into our third year of it.

January: organized my kitchen, celebrated three years clean from opiate abuse.

February: discovered 1000-Lb. Sisters.

March: burned a decent amount of calories playing Beat Saber!

April: promoted the importance of vaccines, cut my hair. Dan turned 39. We managed to find a local carnival, so Ryan had an opportunity to get out of the house for a little while (Alyssa wasn’t interested in going).

May: Dan graduated HACC with his Associates Degree, and was accepted at Millersville University! ♥ I pierced my tongue.

June: I turned 37. We rescued a tiny kitten Daniel fell in love with and named Muninn. He inspired us to officially foster. I did a few more piercings.

July: We opened our doors to rescue and foster cats and kittens. Ryan turned 15. I did a few more piercings…

August:September: More rescues and fosters. More losses, this time to Coccidia.

October: I checked myself into a psychiatric facility for a voluntarily inpatient stay for severe depression and suicidal ideations. This was after two years of unsuccessfully fighting depression on my own, plus a toxic roommate situation that was dealt with, but that I still needed to deal with the mental effects of. I came home with the caution to “transition back to daily life gradually” warning echoing in my ears, only to find two litters totaling eight kittens within mere hours of my release. In the middle of the month, my mother came to stay with us for what we thought would be a few days, up to 2-3 weeks. It ended up being five weeks, but we used the time to rekindle our relationship, so it was good. ♥ No cat losses that month! Alyssa turned 17, and got her first job.

November: Four losses due to failure-to-thrive, which isn’t uncommon for second-surge litters of kittens. My mom dealt with some apartment drama that I was unfairly blamed for. Thanksgiving was low-key, and me being out of my Abilify meant I barely participated, though the food was delicious (thank you, Daniel!). I cut my hair short.

December: My mom moved into her new apartment a week before Christmas. Christmas itself was like another day for us, since none of us had any interest in the holidays this year.

All of 2021 felt like most of 2020, and I’m sure most of 2022 will feel like this, too.



Daniel's 2021 graduation.

Daniel's 2021 graduation








♥ Jenn
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2021’s top nine Instagram posts

Category: Personal
Words: 151

2021 top nine Instagram posts (kissmykitty)

Unsurprisingly, all but two were cat-related. Then again, the overwhelming majority of my posts are cat-related, so it’s not like I give my friends and followers and random drive-by likers a lot to choose from, eh?

Starting from top left and going horizontal:

♥ Jenn
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Draco had a grand mal seizure.

Category: Cats
Words: 403

Tonight I heard Draco, one of our two foster-fail[01] special-needs[02] kittens who is experiencing post-op post-Coccidia and post-Panleukopenia (yes, both boys survived both often-fatal diseases – and Panleuk has a 92% fatality in unvaccinated kittens younger than six months!), tumble down our last couple of stairs. I ran down to check him, and found him in the throes of a grand mal seizure. I’ve seen humans have seizures, and I’ve seen Tetris, our other special-needs FFer have focal seizures (his were especially pitiful, because he’d lose control of his legs, stiffen up, and fall over into Daniel’s lap; or the few times he wasn’t able to catch him, off of his desk onto the floor), but I’ve never seen a cat have a huge grand mal seizure (a friend of mine, though, yes, and I’ve been there for a few of them). I scooped him up and set him down on the kitchen floor, where Alyssa and I stayed with him throughout the duration, which seemed to drag on and on, and on and on, and on some more. In reality the seizure was probably over in a minute, but it felt like minutes. Poor Draco. He was completely drained, banged up from the fall, and exhausted, and you could tell he was so confused, and so, so scared. Once he was able to breathe easily again, he cried, and then he whimpered. But amazingly, he didn’t urinate, defecate, or vomit, and after a little while, his whimpering subsided, he was able to sit up, and he gave us a few weak “wahs”, which are a little game we do with him. Hearing those shaky but normal little Draco “wah”s made us both tear up, I think, even if Alyssa won’t admit it (heck, she might).

Needless to say, if Draco didn’t already have a vet appointment in the coming days to confirm the exact cause of his neurological issues (back leg weakness and wobbliness), we’d be scheduling one. Even when you’re prepared for the possibility of a seizure, they are still scary as fuck to witness – worse still when you’re feeling it happen from a slight 6ish pound cat violently shaking in your arms!

Draco is the handsome Russian Blue



01 This is the term for an animal initially designated as foster-to-adoption that ended up being sniped by the fosterers because they fell in love
02 neuro issues
♥ Jenn
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Nyx is being adopted!

Category: Cats
Words: 219
Nyx, 14 week old Russian Blue foster kitten

One of our foster kittens, Nyx, is being adopted today! I’m kind of afraid to say anything about it ahead of time for fear of jinxing things, but on the other hand, the adoption seems like SUCH a sure thing – the adopter in question seems like as much of a crazy cat lady as we are! He is so excited to meet her and bring her into his family that just thinking about our conversation puts a smile on my face. I can feel the love oozing from his words, you know? So about Nyx: Nyx is a very sweet 14ish week Russian Blue who came to us after being found in the wheel well of a vehicle on a particularly cold morning in November. She spent her first few days unhinging her face and screaming at anyone and anything that came near her, but she has since quieted down and discovered that she loves nothing more than to sit in your lap or on you. Seriously, she’s happiest when she is adhered to you, purring away for hours. Not surprisingly, she is in my lap right now.

Godspeed, little Nyxy. Mommy is so happy for you! ♥

P.S. This is our first official straight-to-home adoption! Usually our fosters go from us to rescues or adoption centers. Squee!

♥ Jenn
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Rest in peace, Ziggy

Category: Cats
Words: 162

Ziggy (B&W)

The heartbreaking aspect of fostering kittens is the same heart necessary to open your home and arms to them will break with every loss. Ziggy is our latest loss. While we know that a whopping 60 percent of second-surge kittens will not survive, even if they are brought indoors and raised with the best of care (check and check), we didn’t see it coming with Ziggy. Here I’ve been so worried about his sister, because for a while she was the smallest of the litter. Yet her robust half-brother (we suspect same father) and equally robust brother both die, and only two weeks ago their mother succumbed to FIV complications.

And then, yesterday, regrettably alone, Ziggy died.

Ziggy was sweet, very outgoing, a fan of kneading and nipples, and was definitely growing into a lap kitty. He will be missed. He will never be forgotten. His life was short but as good as we could make it, and most importantly, his life mattered.

Ziggy yawning

♥ Jenn
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