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A Letter of Cheer for One

Hello my Dearest Friend,

The holidays are coming upon us quickly and the snow seems suddenly deeper to get through. I may need to pull out a pair of cross country ski’s or snowshoes soon.

I struggled with the shopping cart at the malls, in the parking lot with fresh snowfall. I believe that I even lost a glove somewhere along the way. Not too sure I want, or have the energy to go look for it!

I mailed a few cards out earlier this month, so glad that I have a few of the holiday tasks done. I believe that I have everything I need, for the Christmas dinner and the other night,I delivered a few more Christmas cards, to some friends.

I loved the walk and am sure you would’ve loved all the twinkling and colorful lights, on all the houses in the neighborhood. It was snowing and I could swear! the neighborhood looked totally magical.

A few days past, I was walking by a church and could hear the choir. They sounded so beautiful and a lot of people were stopping to listen, then nod and smile at each other, as we continued on our way. There was laughter another day, as somebody dressed as the Grinch was walking around saying, ‘bah, humbug!’ but handing out candy canes and dancing with Santa Claus. I wasn’t too sure what to make of that but definitely an unusual sight, don’t you think?


A few youths of the Air Cadets were manning the Salvation Army Christmas kettles. I gave them some change since that’s all I had in my pockets, at the time. Isn’t that a wonderful community gesture for our youths?

I bought a load of canned goods for the local food bank and one store was offering purchase of gift cards for low income children and youths. I couldn’t resist so yes, spent money there too.

I spent all summer buying gifts and believe they’ll pile higher than the tree. I’m not worried about those. All monies can now go towards helping others next to filling the pantry for holiday dinners.

A few invitations for New Year’s parties have come in also. I can’t decide where to go other than maybe make my rounds to each one? I am hoping I’ll have a seriously grand sleep through the night. I don’t think Santa will even wake me.

I know you are far away and not home my friend but you are not forgotten. I tell many people, where I can and who are interested, to make donations to a military charity. I know holidays can be tough for those without family, except their brothers-in-arms.

Take heart though because there’s quite a few of us here at home hoping that our holiday donations make it out to You, and at least one, will have your name on it. It is a small gesture from us to you but most of all, our wish is to see you return home safely, for a job well done. It is our greatest hope.

I know you keep the oddest hours and must run, my friend. I hope I sent some ‘sense’ of home to you. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Please take care and stay safe. Thank you for all you do, God Bless.

Learning in Motion

Royals share Christmas with military

Further Learning Resources

Any Soldier

Support our Troops – Care Packages

Benefits of Dancing :The most complete List

I hope you found this article informative. Please feel free to leave your comments and share your own observations or experiences. Use the ‘Ask a Question’ form and make a request about a topic of your own interest. It is FREE to subscribe to my RSS feed.

AIC| An Informal Cornr, all rights reserved. Ginsense writes articles on business skills, development, health, science, technology and society and enjoys advocating for independence, security and a better world for all of us.


Cat Litter and Toxoplasmosis at Home

Cats get Infections too

A cat can be quite a lovely creature with their lithe grace, silky fur, purrs and playful antics. They even have us trained to provide a litter box for them so they can tend to their ‘bathroom’ needs. Who can’t help but become friends with a cat?

Many people love cats aka ‘crazy cat’ lady or man. Cats do provide us an outlet to express our love and they are a source of comfort and lift our Spirits with their playful and silly antics.

Disease in our Cat

Unfortunately, they can also be a source of a disease known as taxoplasma infection aka taxoplasmosis. Now, what does a cat have to do with infections?

Infections in our cat arises from contact with a germ and those germs can thrive in various environments, wet, cold, hot, dry. As long as they have their needs met, such as, food, water and shelter they will thrive and our own bodies provide a perfect environment. It seems our own bodies can betray us, don’t it? But we are own keeper, responsible for our own bodies.

the Guilty one – cell Germ

Toxoplasma gondii a sporozoan Parasite

Toxoplasmosis begins with the germ, ‘Toxoplasma gondii‘, a sporozoan parasite, and is borne out of infected meats such as mutton, venison, pork, goat meat but also when in contact with cat feces. Careful handling and cleaning a cat’s litter box is important since we are not always aware if the cat is infected.

A cat becomes a carrier if it eats an infected mouse or rat. Studies have found infected rodents are not afraid of cats and will seek them out by scent. This is due to how it changes the behaviors of cells in the brain, ‘dendritic cells‘ secrete ‘GABA’ergic secretions which inhibits fear and anxiety.

Types of Infection for Cats and Humans

The types of infection depends on how it was acquired. Infants born with toxoplasmosis are considered as having the ‘congenital‘ form which affects the central nervous system and may cause blindness, brain defects, or death.

The ‘acquired‘ form falls into two categories, ‘lymphadenopathic‘ which resembles mononucleosis and the second version, ‘disseminated‘, which causes lesions to appear on the lungs, liver, heart, muscle, skin, brain and meninges.

Medical Definition
  • Congenital – present at, or existing at birth
  • lymphadenopathic, enlarged lymph nodes
  • disseminated, scattered, or distributed over a considerable area

Miller-Keane Encyclopedia & Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing & Allied Health

Research studies of changes in a ‘host‘ have found, that people with various psychiatric disorders, are found to be infected with toxoplasmosis. There is evidence infection may be found in people who are extroverted or exhibit risk taking and aggressive behaviors.

Rate of Infection and Symptoms

Analysis of records suggest that up to 30% -50% of the global population may be infected, with 60M infected in the US (CDC). Humans have lived with this parasite for a long time.

Initial infection may cause ‘flu‘ like symptoms and then disappear into a ‘dormant’ phase and depends upon the strength of one’s immune system. It can be fatal for those with weaker immune systems (HIV/AIDS) or the unborn fetus.

Inflammation of the choriod and retina aka ‘chorioretinitis‘ eventually occurs in the congenital or chronic form with symptoms of pain, light sensitivity, blurred vision, black spots.

Diagnosis of toxoplasmosis is difficult and expensive. Bloodwork is drawn and stored for comparison purposes. Biopsy’s of cysts, and swollen lymphs may also provide visual changes.

vet cat care
vet cat care- Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

Treatment and Therapy for Cat and Owners

Humans ; Treatment is effective with a combination of drug treaments and Folinic acid (a derivative of folic acid used to treat folic acid deficiency)with the following;

  • Pyrimethamine (Daraprim), and sulfadiazine or triple sulfonamides for a total of thirty days and reserved for those with weak immune systems.

Newer drugs are proving effective and may also, be additionally used. Inflammation of the eyes may be treated with corticosteroid, anti-parisitic or antibiotic drugs, dark glasses, and may include laser surgery to remove lesions.

Prevention of this disease, is done with emphasis on avoid eating raw meat, that may contain ‘cysts’, avoiding contact with cat feces, and ensure visits to your Veterinarian for your cat. Best practices when handling raw meat, do not cross-contaminate your knives and other utensils in the kitchen, or with other foods or liquids.

Use disposable gloves, face mask and disinfectant, when cleaning the cat’s litter box. Make sure to wash the area where the litter box is placed too.

Cats ; A Veterinarian specializes in caring for animals and will treat your cat. Like humans, blood work must be done first to verify the presence of the t. gondii germ. Cats will normally develop an immunity after their initial infection and shed germs for approximately 24 days. They can still get infected from eating raw meat with tissue cysts (bradizoites stage) or passed from mother to kitten while pregnant for both felines and humans.

Adult cats immune systems are strong enough to overcome the infection but not kittens. They will have symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, coughing, difficulty breathing, sneezing, and runny nose. Severe illness in cats will have seizures, uncoordinated gait, leading to death. They can be treated with antibiotics, anti-convulsants and if weakened by the infection, they will remain at the Vet’s office for fluids and intravenous feeding.

Life of t. Gondii germ

The stages of the Toxoplasma gondii germ are as follows;

  • Tachyzoites, fast growing stage, able to cross Placental barrier both pregnant felines and humans.
  • Bradyzoites, tissue cyst form, cause damage to organs and tissues, hard to remove
  • Sporozoites, in oocytes stage, immature form

Absolute care must be taken when handling raw meat and importance of not cross- contaminating other dishware and work areas with used knives or cleaver. This germ can be cleared with the following steps;

  • Soap and water does kill these germs so do ensure washing your hands, work surface and utensils.
  • Cook meat at 153 degrees Fahrenheit (67 degrees Celsius) – thoroughly.
  • Freeze meat at 9 degrees Farhenheit ( – 13 degrees Celsius)
  • Avoid tasting food while cooking

Another method found to kill this t. Gondii germ is with gamma radiation. I’m not sure where ordinary folks would find that but good to know?

Feeding your Feline

Owners of cats, me included, may love the ‘routine’ their cat sets in regards to meals. I wake in the mornings and get immediately met with yowling, purrs and body rubs from my cat, and he walks me to the kitchen straight to his bowl. Yes, cats do develop a personality.

Food for your cat should consist of canned, dry cat kibble or cooked food. Cleaning of the litter box should have you wearing a disposable mask and gloves. Wash the litter box with disinfectant and I go an extra mile, spritz rooms with disinfectant spray plus turn on the HVAC air exchanger. It’s good practice to have good hygiene habits.

Learning in Motion

Further Learning Resources

The history of Toxoplasma gondii–the first 100 years

Garden veggies and poopy parasites

Pathology & Laboratory Medicine

I hope you found this article informative. Please feel free to leave your comments, Share the post with friends and family. Use the Ask a Question form and make a request for a topic that interests you. It’s FREE to subscribe to my RSS Feed.

AIC| An Informal Cornr, all rights reserved. Ginsense creates and posts articles online about business development, second income idea’s, health, science, technology and society.