Have you ever wondered how old your cat was? There is an updated formula which replaces the outdated 7 human years per cat year which provides a more accurate assessment of a cat’s development. The first year of a cat’s life is equivalent to 14 human years, the second year is equivalent to 10 human years, and every year thereafter is equivalent to 4 human years. For example, a 18-year-old cat would be equivalent to an 80-year-old human.
In recent years, feline life-stages have been redefined as well to more accurately reflect their growth and development over the years. Kittenhood is defined as the period from birth to 6 months of age, a junior is between 7 months to 2 years of age, a young adult is between 3 to 6 years of age, a mature cat is between 7 to 10 years old, senior cats are between 11 to 14 years of age, and super senior or geriatric cats are 15 years old or older.
Mixed breed cats tend to live longer than purebred cats, with an average lifespan of 14 years compared to 12.5 years for purebred cats. The most common cause of death in cats over 5 years old is kidney disease, with over 13% of cats succumbing to kidney failure. Out of the 13 cats I have had over the span of 37 years, three of them passed away as a result of kidney disease, so I am acutely aware of this statistic.
However, I met two cats in the past who beat the averages, with one cat at 25 years of age, and another who was a ripe old 29 years of age. Both cats were extremely frail and only had the energy to sleep, eat, drink, and take care of excretory functions, but it was impressive to see that they were still alive at such advanced ages.
Supposedly, the oldest cat was Creme Puff, who lived 38 years, from August 3, 1967 until August 6, 2005. There are several cats who are still alive at this point, the oldest of whom is Great Grandma Wad who is 36 years old. The oldest cat who is still alive who was verified by Guiness Book of World Records is Flossie, who was born on December 29, 1995.
On May 12, 2023, I lost Kazu, my 14-year old European Burmese who was truly the most incredible cat I have ever had. She had countless adorable habits, including hopping instead of walking downstairs, performing somersaults on the stairs on a daily basis, and lying in a human’s lap on her back with all four limbs perched in mid-air, purring so fiercely that her limbs would move in rhythm with the rumble. One of my favorite things about Kazu was the fact that she would sleep next to me every night, throughout the night, and her purr motor would start up as soon as she saw my eyes open in the morning. There were also times when Kazu would be the big spoon, putting her cute little paws on my back and nestling in my hair as I slept on my side turned away from her.
Every night, Kazu would bound up the stairs to our bedroom, hop onto the bed, wait for me to settle in under the covers and lift them for her, then she would get into position so that her body would be under the covers and her head would be either on my shoulder, arm, or on the pillow next to me, with her body snuggled up right next to mine. It’s no surprise that I haven’t been able to sleep very well since she passed. What’s even more remarkable is that I had three cats in succession from 1988 through 2023 who were my bed buddies, and all of them were my “little spoons”.
The first little spoon I had was Pebbles, a tortie who was full of tortie sass, had a loud purr similar to Kazu’s which could be heard from an adjacent room, and who would sleep next to me through the night every night. She was in my life from 1988 until 2000, when kidney disease took her from me. Before Pebbles died, I got a blue silver patched spotted tabby and white Scottish Fold kitten in November 2000 and named her Sophie. Little did I know that Sophie would soon take over as my little spoon, curling up next to me, often in the crook of my arm, and sleep throughout the night that way.
My Scottish Fold Sophie…
Sophie developed polycystic kidney disease at the age of 9, in 2009, which was when I got Kazu. When Sophie died in late 2009, Kazu had not yet developed any consistent bed habits, but before long, she began sleeping next to me in bed, and became my third little spoon. Anyone who is lucky enough to have a cat who sleeps snuggled up next to them throughout the night is blessed indeed, and I had three cats do that over the span of 35 years. I certainly hope to experience that again in the future.
If you have money invested in traditional bank savings accounts, you’re doing yourself a major disservice, because the average APY (Annual Percentage Yield) is currently at 0.23% according to CNET’s sister site Bankrate. In startk contrast, high yield online savings accounts from sites such as CIT Bank offer APY’s over 4% (CIT Bank’s current rate is 4.85% APY for balances of $5,000 or more). I have parked emergency funds and other savings into high yield savings accounts for about 8 years now, and would never consider putting my money into the paltry savings vehicles which traditional banks offer.
Let’s take the APY rates of 0.23% and 4.85% to provide a comparison between traditional savings accounts and high yield onling savings accounts. If $1,000 is invested in an account earning 0.23% APY, the account balance after 12 months will be $1,002.30, while $1,000 invested in an account earning 4.85% APY will have a balance after 12 months of $1,048.54. I’m sure anyone would be happier with having an additional $48 at the end of the year as opposed to $2!
Another investment alternative which actually has slightly higher yields than high yield savings accounts is a certificate of deposit (CD), but the downside is that the funds are locked up for a designated period of time. If you have money which you are willing to set aside into a CD, you might want to consider this investment vehicle. At least with a high yield savings account, you can withdraw funds rather quickly without penalty should the need arise. Some individuals who are accustomed to brick and mortar banks and traditional ATM machines won’t like this option, but I am sure that eventually, physical bank locations will go the way of the dinosaur, so it makes sense to get used to performing transactions online.
The other thing to consider is that the APY at online banks which offer high yield savings options can and does frequently fluctuate. However, accounts at such institutions are FDIC insured for up to $250,000, a comforting fact when trying to figure out how to protect one’s savings in these tumultuous financial times. At the very least, high yield savings accounts provide a means by which one’s money can keep pace with inflation.
I am sure that many of you are aware of companies which are very aggressive with their advertising on social media platforms like Instagram, and which often convince people to purchase from them. Then if there is an issue with the items once they arrive, the company will renege on their promise to honor returns, despite the fact that their return policy clearly states that customers are able to return items with no issues. I have dealt with such companies before, and without exception, the companies are always based in China.
I recently placed two orders from Bella Barnett, never suspecting that the company would give me a hard time if I needed to return anything. I made sure to look up the return and exchange policy on the website:
For all situations including that the outfits don’t fit, Bella Barnett will gladly accept returns or exchanges of new, unworn, unwashed, and unaltered merchandise with all original internal garment tags days within 28 days of the delivery of your items. There is a removable padding in all swimwear to protect you. For hygienic reasons, swimwear with no hygienic padding is unable to be returned.
Please do not return the package to the address on the waybill, that is not the return address. Otherwise no refund will be given!
It’s important to note that shipping costs are not covered by Bella Barnett when sent back, and we are unable to provide shipping labels. The return address is in New Jersey, USA. Please be sure to tell us the item that needs to be returned or exchanged and get the return address before you return it, also, you need to include your order number on the return form and give us the tracking number after sending the item back. No refunds will be given for those who cannot provide a tracking number. When we receive your returned items and determine that they are in returnable condition (new, unworn, unwashed, and unaltered merchandise with all original internal garment tags), refunds or exchanges will begin. For products with quality problems, we will take a full refund/partial refund, if you don’t want to send it back and get a refund, you may need to provide us with a picture of the product to get a refund.
Refunds are usually returned within 7 days via the original method of payment(requests for refunds to other credit cards/accounts for any reason will not be accepted), or even within 24 hours if you paid via PayPal. If the returns are not caused by our fault(quality problem, color difference, wrong shipment), we will not refund the postage.
I received one order and was happy with the item, but the second order consisted of an item which was poorly made and didn’t look like what was pictured on the website. I followed the instructions which were detailed on the website for returns and sent them an email describing the item that I wanted to return, and asked them to provide a return address. This is the response I received:
On Wednesday, April 5, 2023 at 05:14:02 PM PDT, email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Could you please tell us how does not fit？Whether it is too big or too small? We can first seek whether there are other solutions. Thanks.
By that time, I already suspected that I was dealing with a China-based company, and that they would try to convince me not to send back the item. I responded to their email by stating that the item was poorly made, didn’t look like what was pictured on the website, and looked horrible when I tried it on. Instead of honoring my return request, this was Bella Barnett’s reply:
On Thursday, April 6, 2023 at 05:18:35 AM PDT, email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Sorry to keep you waiting. Considering that shipping or cross-country shipping can be expensive, we can make an exception and provide you with an alternative solution once. You can pick another item at similar price on our website and we will send it to you for free. You do not need to return the original item either. If you want an item with a price difference of more than $5 from the original item, you will need to make up the difference.Please let me know which item you want if you accpet this solution. Once the free replacement is sent out, we will no longer accept any return requests. Please be advised. If you still want to send it back please let us know and we will send you the return address.
By that time I was pretty aggravated and didn’t want to continue to argue with them, so I told them to send another jacket which had arrived in the first order, which was actually $10 cheaper than the item I wanted to return to them. However, I also made sure to tell them that I would never order anything from them again. I honestly don’t understand why such companies are so manipulative, because I am sure that they lose customers like me pretty frequently.
To you ladies who are considering purchasing clothing from Bella Barnett, BEWARE!
Back in late August of 2019, I purchased a Dell laptop computer after doing extensive research to determine what the best laptop would be for my needs. I used the computer with no issues until late September of 2021, which was one month after the warranty expired. Basically, my computer would not start up, so I contacted Dell technical support and was informed that I would have to pay for of warranty charges to have the unit repaired. The IO/daughter board and main logic board had to be replaced, and the operating system reinstalled, which wiped out everything I had stored on the device. Then by the end of October of that year, the battery died and I had to purchase a new one.
It didn’t surprise me when the Dell laptop could not be booted up on December 19th, 2022, because I was already wary of its reliability based on what had happened in 2021. The following day, I called Dell and was literally scolded for having a computer which had no active warranty, but I insisted on getting some assistance, and was transferred to tech support. The technician initially believed it was a software issue, and informed me that once I paid a $99 fee for the software installation, he would arrange to call me the following day to assist me in installing the software. The technician failed to call me on the 21st, and there was no call on the 22nd, so I called Dell on the 23rd inquiring about the scheduled software installation.
A Dell technician assisted me during that call and attempted to have the software installed, but determined that the issue was with the hardware, not the software. He informed me that I would be refunded the $99 I had paid previously, but that I had to pay a separate $59 for the shipping box to be sent to me, and that the payment had to be made through a link in an email which would be sent to me. I agreed to this and clicked on the email once it was sent over, only to discover that Dell completely butchered my shipping address and phone number. When I called to inform them of this, they told me the mistakes could not be corrected via phone, thus leading me on a wild goose chase in which I had to send numerous emails to rectify the situation.
When I received the shipping box in which my laptop would be sent to Dell, I noticed that the manner in which my shipping address had been corrected was with a Sharpie marker. I reluctantly sent the computer to Dell and waited for the diagnostic team to ferret out the problem with my system. I finally received an email on January 6th informing me that the hard drive had to be replaced, and the driver and operating system had to be reinstalled, meaning that I once again would lose all data on the computer. I was prepared to pay for the repairs, but I was unable to authorize the work without informing Dell that once again, my shipping address and phone number were incorrect. What then ensued was a stream of emails between Dell and me in which someone from Dell would partially correct my address, then when I indicated that the address was still incorrect, the person changed my address back to the completely incorrect one. This occurred THREE TIMES, and when the address was finally corrected, my phone number was changed back to an incorrect number. It drove me completely batty. The idiots at Dell actually were trying to reach me by phone, but guess what? They were attempting to call me via the incorrect phone number!
By that point I had already ordered another laptop (an HP) because I just didn’t trust the reliability of the Dell laptop which was being repaired. I received my repaired Dell laptop in late January, then noticed that I had never received the $99 credit from December 20th, so I called Dell again, unprepared for the nightmare call which would transpire. I was on the phone for over an hour, and was transferred FOUR TIMES. On top of that, three of the individuals I spoke with mentioned that I was out of warranty, as if that was a pertinent fact in my pursuit of the refund which they owed me. When I was transferred to the fourth representative, I told him that I never received any refund, to which he replied that he had record of it being received, and that my bank was wrong, then hung up on me without even saying goodbye. I was livid.
I ended up having to get my bank involved, and finally received the $99 refund in February. Incidentally, the bank was NOT wrong, Dell was.
All of my experiences with Dell have been so upsetting that I will never purchase a Dell product ever again. The incompetence and rudeness of the representatives I spoke with was astounding, and to be honest, the repaired Dell laptop is little more than a paperweight at this point.
There has been a recent movement on social media platforms like TikTok to post negative critiques of overpriced products in an attempt to sway followers away from purchasing them. This “deinfluencing” trend is supposedly meant to dissuade followers from indulging in impulse purchases and overspending, since the individuals who create such posts are not being compensated for the products they are reviewing. The assumption is that the person is being honest with followers, even if that person recommends another product instead, effectively encouraging followers to shop for something.
However, even if another product is not being suggested as a replacement for the product which is being criticized, the social media person posting the review technically still is influencing. I mean, if I trust the opinion of someone I am following, and that person tells me not to waste my money on something, then I have been influenced, right? And that, in turn, gives that person more credibility in my eyes, thus boosting his or her power as, you guessed it, an influencer.
I simply cannot get over how dazzling this makeup look turned out for UK based makeup artist Holly Murray, who was inspired by Doja Cat’s look which she donned at Schiaparelli’s Couture Spring-Summer 2023 show. While I am not a fan of the rather frightening effect of Doja Cat’s red body paint and 30,000 Swarovski crystals, I absolutely adore how Holly’s rendition turned out. She spent 27 hours affixing 13,000 Swarovski crystals on her face, head, neck, and decollette. It truly is breathtaking.
If you like following premiere makeup artists, be sure to follow @hollymurraymakeup on TikTok!
We could split up the majority of the population into two main groups: those who are consistently punctual, and those who are always late to everything, whether it be work, meetings, appointments, family gatherings, or concerts. I am definitely in the first group, and make sure to be on time regardless of where I need to be. In addition, if some unforeseen circumstances arise, such as a traffic accident which puts a snag in my commute, I always let the person I am meeting know that I am in a rare situation in which I am running late. My father, in stark contrast, was always VERY late, like an hour or more. He would often show up to family gatherings 3 hours late, only to discover that dinner had already been served, and that some relatives were already heading back home for the evening. It got to the point where my siblings and I would tell my dad that a 4 pm family barbecue was taking place at 2 pm, just so that he would show up close to the designated start time. What was especially interesting was that he never seemed fazed by the fact that he was always showing up extremely tardy.
A Harvard study conducted in 2019 found that people who had a tendency to run late experienced less stress, had lower blood pressure as well as longer lifespans than individuals who were punctual. I wouldn’t say that this fit my dad’s demeanor, because he dealt with enormous amounts of stress, had high blood pressure, and died at the age of 85 after acquiring a laundry list of medical diagnoses (coronary artery disease with heart attack and bypass surgery, high cholesterol, gastric ulcers, degenerative disc disease, cerebrovascular disease, diabetes). However, I find the Harvard study findings quite interesting, and wonder if people who are always late have just resigned themselves to the fact that they will always be late.
As a punctual person, I honestly don’t understand why it is seemingly so difficult for someone to map out departure times in order to arrive at a destination at the designated time. It takes only a small amount of planning, as easy as mapping out a route on Waze or Google Maps and saving the route. I do this frequently and very rarely run into issues with getting to a meeting or appointment on time. Also, a person who is late to meetings and larger events such as weddings is often perceived as inconsiderate and rude. No one should ever expect an event start time to be delayed simply because someone shows up late, even if that person is the central focus of the event. Some folks would argue that such behavior reveals a sense of entitlement and a general lack of regard for other people’s time.
However, this article is not meant to bash people who struggle with the concept of showing up to appointments and events on time, but rather, to discern possible explanations for such behavior. One idea is that some individuals grapple with honoring other people’s expectations of them and may act out by arriving behind schedule for many or most events. Dr. Neel Burton in The Psychology of Lateness (Psychology Today) states, “Angry people who behave with almost exaggerated calm and courtesy might nevertheless express their anger through passive means, that is, through (conscious or unconscious) resistance to meeting the reasonable expectations of others.”
Another possible explanation for constant tardiness is that perhaps people who are late don’t value themselves highly enough, so they show up late, thinking that their presence doesn’t matter. The irony is that tardiness is often so disruptive that the person’s presence (or absence) becomes achingly prominent. Such individuals often struggle with depression and anxiety, and frequently procrastinate in many areas of their lives. Even if there are dire consequences for being late all the time, some individuals don’t heed the warning signs and continue to display the same behaviors.
There also appears to be some correlation between lateness and ADHD, since those who have ADHD can be impulsive, inattentive, and often completely unaware of the time. However, responsible adult behavior includes honoring time commitments, so regardless of whether someone has ADHD or not, a repatterning of habits seems to be in order. I am by no means picking on those with ADHD, especially since I have numerous close friends with the condition, but the majority of them somehow manage to show up on time. Repercussions for constant tardiness could eventually convince someone to change habits and utilize tools such as calendars, phone alarms, GPS mapping programs in an effort to practice punctuality as a learned skill.
I figured it was time for me to provide an update on my current workout regimen, especially since people who don’t know me personally might assume that I have abandoned my regular exercise habits since retiring from competing in the bodybuilding world. While I don’t train for 4 to 5 hours a day like I used to when ramping up for a contest, I still consistently weight train 5 to 6 days per week, every week. There are some weeks in which I cannot resist adding a seventh day, which is usually a day in which I exclusively train abs.
I typically train legs 2 to 3 days a week, and I split my upper body workouts into three separate routines: back and chest, arms (and I will often throw abdominal training in on arm days), and shoulders. My workouts range from 45 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes, and are almost exclusively performed in my home gym, which is equipped with the following (a partial list):
285 pounds of weight plates for the Multi Gym and numerous barbells
In the three years since I have had a full home gym, I haven’t missed the commercial gym setting at all, and I love the fact that I can just head downstairs and get a workout in without fighting for equipment. I always say that consistency is key, and I have never slacked off on regular weight training. Whenever I hear people talk about abandoning weight training for months or years, it just blows my mind. The best road to success is to stay the course, and I have certainly done that since 1989.