Here We Go Again

Y’all know I love cats and that we’re a multi-cat family; a few of our furry kids make regular appearances here. However, y’all don’t know how we became a multiple cat family. It wasn’t by design and we’ve never gone to a shelter/animal rescue to adopt a cat. We haven’t had to; the cats find us. My family “blames” me; they say I have a “cat gene” that attracts cats. While it may not be due to a gene exactly, cats do like me and will frequently seek me out.

Meet Smokey

Kenn and I recently spent a couple of an hours at a nursery researching varieties of Japanese maples. Smokey, the cat shown above, belongs to the nursery owners. According to them, she’s an old lady who is half blind and hard of hearing. However, she could see well enough to spot me across the parking lot and make a beeline to me. She allowed me to pet her before she walked away only to come back for a little more attention. Much to Kenn’s dismay, she wouldn’t have anything to do with him, LOL. She also wouldn’t let me photograph her from the front.

For a while we were members of what we called “The Cat of the Year” club. Every year, usually in June or July, another cat would show up. I rescued a kitten in the church parking lot where it had apparently hitched a ride in the engine of someone’s car. We found another in the middle of a busy road – after straddling him with our car. Fortunately, our CotY membership seemed to expire after a few years. For now, we have an aging clowder with ages ranging from 3-14. Or, that was the age range until last week.

My coworker and I were in the woods getting dirt for a research project when she stopped and said, “Is that a cat?” I listened and yes, it was a cat – a kitten to be exact – and it was yelling for us. We both dropped our shovels and went searching. Not too far from where we were working I saw a small calico face peering out of the brush. It didn’t take too long to coax her to me.

Shortly after the rescue operation

The fact that this baby was friendly in spite of being terrified means one of two things: That section of the agricultural center isn’t far from a road, so she either wandered across the road, got through the fence and got lost or, someone dumped her. Either way, she knows people.

Kenn wasn’t working that day and since we live near the agricultural center, I called and asked him to bring a carrier which he did – all while grumbling about another cat. I assured him that I just wanted to take her to the vet to make sure she was okay and then find a home for her. While my coworker and I were waiting on Kenn to arrive, other coworkers wandered by. At least two said they would have just left her in the woods. Y’all, I am just not wired that way and neither is my co-rescuer. (She has already rescued two other kittens this year.) I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I had left her in the woods.

Kenn and I took her to the vet the next day. She got a clean bill of health and her first kitten shots. The funny thing is, neither of us, not even Mr. Oh-no-not-another-kitten, have even talked about finding her another home. We just added her to our clowder. Yep, Kenn’s as big a sucker for a cat as I am even though he tries to hide it. So, everyone meet Roxie!


Do you have any pets? If so, are any of them rescues?

Listen to Me!

I have been suffering from recurring upper right quadrant abdominal pain, nausea, belching, and gastrointestinal symptoms that I won’t detail for at least a decade. After numerous trips to my general practitioner, in 2018 he decided we needed to look into possible gallbladder issues. Me being me, I researched gallbladder issues and, lo and behold, my symptoms checked all of the boxes. I felt a sense of relief since, at the time my tests were scheduled I had been sick for a month with a low-grade fever having joined the list of symptoms above. My blood work was normal, an abdominal ultrasound showed no gallstones, and the results of my HIDA scan were on the low side of normal. So, with no answers, life as normal – with frequent flare-ups – continued.

Fast forward to 2019 and another month-long flare-up with additional symptoms of the “if you have these symptoms, please see your doctor immediately” type and I returned to my general practitioner. The nurse practitioner scheduled me for another round of tests. Once again, my blood work was normal and my abdominal ultrasound showed no gallstones. There was no HIDA scan performed. While I’m not big on unnecessary tests, etc. I felt like I wasn’t being listened to. Maybe it was because the nurse who performed my HIDA scan warned me that it wasn’t uncommon to have to have more than one; she had had two. Maybe it was because I had been having the same symptoms for years and was no closer to an answer.

I continued to have frequent flare-ups and Kenn encouraged me to go back to the doctor. My response didn’t make him happy. I told him that I wasn’t going to go back to the doctor because I didn’t feel like they weren’t listening to me; I told him that when my symptoms got bad enough to send me to the ER, maybe someone would take me seriously.

It’s now five years since my original tests and my symptoms have done nothing except become more frequent. I can go weeks with only minor abdominal pain, etc. and then I’ll go through weeks of being sick (complete with low-grade fever). The last week of March and the first week of April of this year were two of those weeks and I had a couple of nights where I thought it might be time to make that trip to the ER. Kenn, bless his heart, has continued to harass – I mean, encourage – me about going back to the doctor.

I had done a little research and determined that if I were to talk to a doctor again, a gastroenterologist would probably be my best option. Since I am due for my once-every-five-years colonoscopy, I already had an appointment with my gastroenterologist for a consultation. I promised Kenn that I would that I would raise the issue with the nurse practitioner during my visit and I did. And, she blew my mind. I expected to have to make another appointment at a later date to discuss my ongoing issues since they are unrelated to my colonoscopy, but… no. She spent another ten to fifteen minutes talking to me about my symptoms, my history, and what tests had been done when. I left her office with appointments for a new abdominal ultrasound, another HIDA scan, and an EGD to rule out an ulcer or anything of that nature since one has never been done. I don’t know what the tests will find but it is such a relief to finally feel like someone is listening to me and not acting like being miserable is no big deal.

I understand that my gallbladder has a function to perform, even if it’s not doing it well. I’m also not an advocate of unnecessary surgery. However, I am so tired of feeling bad that, at this point, I’d like to have my gallbladder removed just to see if I’d feel better.

Have you had your gallbladder removed? If so, did your symptoms improve?

Hives and Hope

In July 2021, right before I went out of town for a few days, Kenn showed me that he had developed a few hives. We talked for a bit, but couldn’t come up with any ideas on what might have caused them. When I got back home, the hives were still an issue and were starting to worsen. He made an appointment with our GP who gave him steroids and a cream to put on the hives. No relief. Another trip to the GP resulted in no reduction in hives so Kenn was referred to an allergist. I am so thankful for the allergist; she is wonderful!

The first thing the allergist wanted to do was a full allergy test. However, that involved Kenn taking no antihistamines for seven days. He tried, but was unsuccessful. After two trips to the emergency room when his lips swelled and he had difficulty breathing, the testing was shelved indefinitely. Then began the process of finding the right mix of medications to get Kenn itch and hive free. The next couple of months were pretty miserable for him. Along the way we accidentally discovered that nylon seemed to make his symptoms worse. Do you have any idea how prevalent nylon is in clothing, etc.? Neither did we. Most of Kenn’s clothes were of the “wicking” variety which are predominately nylon. We had to replace his entire wardrobe and all of our towels and sheets, but the change, in addition to the medication, started to make a difference.

It is now 2023 and Kenn has been dealing with idiopathic urticaria, hives of an unknown origin, for almost two years. Earlier this year he was able to wean himself off of most of his meds while remaining symptom free for a few weeks. Then, the itching began again and he had to start increasing his dosages again. Thanks to a recommendation from one of my coworkers, Kenn contacted the allergist to see about scheduling an allergy test. So, last Wednesday, April 26th, Kenn had to cut out all antihistamines for seven days in order to have the test. The first couple of days were relatively easy, after that the hives, itching, and his usual seasonal allergy issues gradually worsened each day. Then yesterday, the day before the test was scheduled, he woke up with swollen lips and a number of hives. Since his lips were swollen, he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to go another day with no medication. We went to the allergist office as soon as it opened only to find that she was at a different branch. However, the admins sent her a message and told us to wait for a call back. We left to run some errands and got a call in less than fifteen minutes saying that if we could get to the other office, the doctor would work Kenn in. (Have I mentioned recently that she’s awesome?) Forty-five minutes later, we were in the office and the allergy test was underway.

This is what an allergy skin/scratch test looks like

I think we both would have cried if the test had shown that he had no allergies. It may sound wrong to be hoping to find a problem, but when that problem may lead to a better treatment for an existing condition…🤷‍♀️So, what were the results? Kenn is allergic to all three types of pollen: tree, grass, and weed. Living in Georgia means that he is exposed to all of them twelve months out of the year. Seriously. It never gets cold enough here to make all plants go dormant so allergy season here is year round. Where do we go from here? Kenn will begin receiving allergy shots in a couple of weeks; the shots are designed to desensitize an allergy sufferer to their allergens. Of course, the allergist can’t promise that the allergy shots will completely clear up Kenn’s hives, but she is hopeful. There’s a good chance that Kenn’s constant exposure to his allergens eventually became too much for his immune system to handle and it reacted in the only way it could. We understand that the shots will take time to become effective, but we are still looking forward to discovering the impact that they will have. (Oh, he also has a slight allergy to eggs and egg whites, but it’s not at the level of severity as his pollen allergy.)

Here’s hoping that you too have some happiness and hope in your week – preferably without getting “scratched” by multiple sharp, pointy objects!

You Haven’t Changed A Bit!

When Kenn’s aunt died we, of course, attended both the visitation and the funeral. When we arrived at the funeral home for the visitation, I was surprised to see a guy I haven’t seen since we graduated from high school forty-three (!) years ago. I recognized him immediately and turned to tell Kenn “Look, it’s Scott!” (Kenn and I attended the same schools from third grade.) Just then, Scott turned and saw me. “Linda? Hi! You haven’t changed a bit!” We spoke and hugged and then Scott turned to Kenn, held out his hand, and said “And you are?” At this point, I was next to Scott so he couldn’t see me smirk. Kenn shook Scott’s hand and said “Scott. Seriously? I’m Kenn. We lived in the same neighborhood and rode the bus together.” There was a little awkwardness and then laughter all around.

Of course, all of us have changed. When we graduated, Scott’s hair was blond; it’s now gray. I’m heavier than I was then and my hair is much closer to the blonde side of the strawberry blonde spectrum. Admittedly, Kenn has changed more than Scott or I. In his teenage years, Kenn was so skinny his ribs showed and his hair was down to his shoulders. Kenn’s ribs no longer show while his hair is much thinner on top and is rarely more than half an inch in length.

Image courtesy of

Now for a different scenario. A couple of years before I retired, I was walking down the hallway in my office building. It was late in the day and there were few people around. As I approached a man headed the other direction he said “Hi Linda”; I smiled, said “Hi” and continued on my way. I didn’t think twice about him knowing my name because I supported the entire organization so a lot of people knew my name. Then I heard from behind me “You don’t recognize me, do you?” I turned and studied the man and no, I didn’t recognize him. He finally said, “It’s me – Doug!” I could tell his feelings were hurt. Y’all, Doug and I had worked together for twelve years when I was in a different part of the organization. I had not seen him in at least ten years at the time of our hallway meeting. The last time I had seen Doug, his hair was brown and it was now white. Hair color change aside, I didn’t recognize him until he gave me his name and, only at that point, could I start to see the man I knew in the one in front of me.😬

Now, I wonder what it is that makes us see someone and immediately say (or think) “You haven’t changed a bit!” and yet, in a similar situation not even recognize the individual? Any ideas?

At Last

Well, this isn’t the post I was planning for today, but that’s the joy of blogging – I can always zig when I was planning to zag. Today, I’m musing about weddings and music. Kenn and I married in 1986 and we were among the last of our friends and acquaintances to wed. One of the most popular songs for weddings during that period was There is Love, also known as The Wedding Song. Now, don’t get me wrong.There is Love is a beautiful song and you can listen to my favorite version by the Captain and Tennille HERE. The only problem was, we heard this song at so many weddings, it got to the point where we’d get the giggles as soon as it started playing. Since most people don’t appreciate people snickering during their vows, we would attempt to swallow our laughter and hope that people assumed our tears were due to the occasion and not our reaction to the music.

Over the years I’ve also come to associate the song At Last with weddings. (The Etta James version is probably the best known.) However, earlier today I was watching the episode of Bones where the main characters, FBI agent Seeley Booth and forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan married. Cyndi Lauper (yes, that Cyndi Lauper) played a small recurring role as Avalon the psychic. Cyndi/Avalon sang At Last at the wedding and I. Was. Floored. She absolutely knocked it out of the park.😮 A little research showed that Cyndi also recorded the song; if you haven’t listened to her version, I hope you do. It’s wonderful.

However, thanks to The Big Bang Theory (the tv show, not BigBang the K-pop group) Kenn and I now get the giggles whenever any version of At Last plays. Barry Kripke, a recurring character on The Big Bang Theory, suffers a speech impediment which causes him to have problems pronouncing the letter L. When characters Sheldon and Amy Farrah Fowler (finally!) get married, Kripke performs At Last at the end of the wedding. Kripke’s version will now and forever be my favorite version of this song.

The song is near the end of this video

What songs do you associate with weddings?

The Great Toilet Conundrum

A couple of years ago we updated our master bathroom which, among other things, included replacing the hand-painted toilet and sink. (The original owners had hand painted flowers on the cabinet doors and carried the theme onto the sink and toilet.) While I appreciated the effort and love that had gone into the painting, the overall effect just screamed “SEVENTIES!” So, we put the old sink and toilet in the basement to deal with later, as one does. By the time later actually rolled around, we had added a second toilet to the collection as we had replaced the plastic toilet in our travel trailer with a ceramic one.

The day eventually rolled around when Kenn asked The Question: “What should I do with those old toilets? Sit them out by the road?” My answer was a resounding NO! I refuse to be those people that have a toilet (or in this case, two toilets) sitting in their yard. Admittedly, at our last house, someone might have picked them up but I still wouldn’t have put toilets in the yard. Our current neighborhood is a little nicer and in all the years we’ve lived here, I haven’t seen a single free-range toilet in search of a new home. Toilets also seem to fall under the definition of “household debris” that the city won’t pick up. So, we left the toilets in the basement to ignore a while longer.

Kenn is the one who ultimately came up with the solution to our excess toilet situation: Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. He had helped his brother find a “gently used” replacement sink for his office at a ReStore so, hey, maybe they would take our old bathroom fixtures. We loaded up the truck and drove to our local ReStore where there were a few raised eyebrows at the flowers, but they took everything. Whoo hoo! (Thank you Habitat for Humanity!)

Fast forward to this year when we are updating our guest bath. One of the first things to go was the hideous green toilet with its even more hideous wooden toilet seat.🤢 (At least the green tub/shower unit can be hidden behind the shower curtains.)

Goodbye and good riddance

One weekend we went full Beverly Hillbillies, loaded the toilet in the bed of the truck, and headed out to run errands. The toilet accompanied us to the recycle center, Goodwill, the grocery store, and finally to the ReStore where we learned that even “gently used” has its limits. The green toilet was so bad that the good folks at the ReStore refused to take it!😂 So, we took ourselves out to a late lunch – still with a toilet in the truck bed – then went home to regroup.

My suggestion for dealing with the green monster was to take a sledge hammer to it and dump the pieces in the city trashcan for pickup. (The old “there’s more than one way to skin a cat” method.) Once again, it was Kenn to the rescue. We both have part-time jobs at a local agricultural center which happens to have a convenient dumpster. The next time I worked, I drove straight to the dumpster and called Kenn who came and helped me offload the toilet into the (also green) dumpster. Less than an hour later, the dumpster was emptied and the Great Green Toilet Saga was concluded. Sweet, sweet success!

So, tell me dear readers, how would you dispose of a toilet?

The Earworms from Hell

Wow. It’s been over a month since my last regular post.😲 I knew I had been busy but didn’t realize I had been that busy. Side note: I have also learned that working at an agricultural center in Spring means that all of the things have to be done at once. Walking eleven miles over the course of two days kind of brought home how much we were doing. However, I digress.

Merriam Webster defines an earworm as “as song or melody that keeps repeating in one’s mind.” In my opinion, some songs are more earworm material than others. I once had Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk stuck in my head for six days; to make it worse, I don’t even know all the lyrics.🤷‍♀️Kid’s songs are perfect earworm material; they’re short and catchy with simple, repetitive lyrics. (Don’t even get me started on the lyrics that make absolutely no sense. “Here we go looby loo, here we go looby light.” What does that even mean? And why is it just on Saturday night? Never mind. I don’t really want to know.)

I was reminded of the earworm-ness of children’s songs last week when we spent a few days helping out with our grandkids while our daughter-in-law recovered from surgery. The twins just turned one and are big fans of Ms. Rachel. Ms. Rachel and her Songs for Littles is currently the hot show for children four and younger. (When my boys were young, it was Barney & Friends.) Over the course of our visit we watched a few hours of Ms. Rachel. Sadly, Ms. Rachel came home with us in the form of persistent, annoying earworms. I’ll share my “favorites” below. (I’m using “favorite” sarcastically here.) Play at your own risk.

The Banana Song is the first song in this hour long video.

Trust me, having “Peel bananas, peel, peel bananas” on repeat in your head is enough to have you searching for something, anything to take its place. I was relieved to get in the truck to go home from work, turn on the radio, and hear Walk The Moon’s Shut Up and Dance. Ahhhhh. Sweet relief and a replacement for the Banana Song… at least temporarily.

What are your favorite and least favorite earworms? Is there even such a thing as a favorite earworm?

Excuse me, my faux pas are showing

definition from

I have recently discovered that I have committed a couple of wedding-related faux pas. However, I am also of the opinion that the behaviors deemed terrible by some are merely violations of unwritten rules, which begs the questions: who decides which unwritten rules are important and if the rules are unwritten, how is everyone supposed to be aware of them?

Two of the unwritten rules I grew up with are:

  • You shouldn’t wear white after Labor Day. I think this one is finally dying a quiet death, but seriously? Who even decided this? Why did everyone else go along with it? Disclaimer: I never wear white. I am not accident prone or messy – until I wear white. Once I don white, something will happen to that article of clothing requiring it to be disposed of. But, if I do decide to wear white again, I will make sure it’s after Labor Day just to be annoying.
  • Redheads shouldn’t wear red. I heard this one all the time and always thought it was stupid. When I asked why, I was told “It will clash with your hair.” What? Why is it okay for blondes to wear yellow and brunettes to wear black and brown? I have always blown this one off and, I look fabulous in red. Just sayin’.

So, what are my wedding-related faux pas? No, it wasn’t the ultimate sin of wearing white to a wedding because that’s the sort of thing that destroys friendships and breaks up families. (Why do weddings come with so much drama?) My mistakes deal with the color of the dresses that I chose. At one point, black was not to be worn to a wedding because of it’s association with death and funerals. Apparently, it’s now acceptable – at least in some circles.🙄 I have no idea whether or not it was deemed acceptable when our oldest son and daughter-in-law married. However, I wanted something special to wear in my role as the mother of the groom and was excited to find a beautiful black dress with gold embroidery; I loved it and felt beautiful in it. Some would believe that by wearing black to the wedding, I was making a dig at my daughter-in-law and expressing my dislike of her. Some would need to get a life. I adore my daughter-in-law and always have. There was no ulterior motive to my choice other than that feeling of “this is the one” when wearing that dress.

My black faux pas wedding dress circa 2008

My most recent wedding faux pas was last October. Did you know you’re not “supposed” to wear a red dress to a wedding? Neither did I.🙄🙄 The dress code for the wedding was “cocktail attire” which meant a shopping trip since Kenn needed a new suit and I own exactly two dresses, neither of which qualify as cocktail attire. I visited several stores with no luck and then… I found it. The perfect dress. I even bought it without trying it on since the store dressing rooms were still closed due to COVID. Once I got home and tried it on, I knew that I had found my dress and proceeded to wear it to the wedding. No one passed out,but who knows? They may have been gossiping about me behind my back.🤷‍♀️(It was also a Halloween wedding and the bride wore a white dress with a black veil and the decorations included skeletons and sugar skulls so I think my red dress fit right in.)

I still think I look fabulous in red.

Oh, why aren’t you supposed to wear red to a wedding? Because red is the color of harlots. (Who even uses the word harlot these days?) And, apparently in some cultures, wearing red to a wedding means you had sex with the groom. (Ew!) I would have lived the rest of my life without knowing these “rules” without reading some wedding related posts on Reddit.

What are your least favorite so-called rules?

Talking in Your Sleep

I woke up with Talking in Your Sleep by the Romantics playing in my head – probably because I’ve been planning to write a post about somniloquy. Of course, I had to take a few minutes and watch the linked video and I have to say it – there’s no hair like 80’s hair.

Kenn has always talked in his sleep. He stopped for several years but over the past year or so he has started again. It’s not uncommon for me to be awakened by one of his middle of the night conversations. Unfortunately, it’s usually just a few words here or there, not enough for me to determine what he’s dreaming about or who he’s talking too. He rarely has a recollection of any of these nocturnal chats.

Image courtesy of

The weird thing is, I’ve started talking in my sleep as well. Prior to the past few months I might cry out in my sleep if I were having a bad dream and Kenn would wake me up, talking to me long enough to (hopefully) keep from going back to the same dream. (I don’t often have bad dreams, but when I do, they usually involve spiders.) Several times in the past few months I’ve woken myself up while yelling at someone in my dream. (I rarely yell in real life. I guess I get it out of my system in my dreams, LOL.) Last week I dreamed that I was pregnant (!) and that Kenn had intentionally made plans to be somewhere else when the baby was due. I woke myself up telling him quite clearly “If you aren’t here when this baby is born, I don’t think I can forgive you.” My pronouncement did not awaken Kenn, who would like to go on record as saying that he would never do anything so terrible.

My subconscious must have been working overtime. In addition to my morning mental musical selection, Kenn said I woke him up this morning talking in my sleep. He said I was carrying on a full conversation with someone. I didn’t wake myself up this time and don’t remember what I was dreaming so I have know idea what I was discussing.

It seems there is no definitive cause for somniloquy and while it is definitely not anything to be concerned about, I do find it interesting that both Kenn and I are now sleep talkers. I wonder if this is one of those ways in which long-time partners take on similar characteristics?🤔

Do you talk in your sleep? If so, is this a lifelong tendency?

Crunching The Numbers

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I used too, but I never stuck to them which then caused me to beat myself up for my presumed “failure”. (Don’t worry. I used to be the Queen of Negative Self-Talk. Nowadays, I’m more like a lady-in-waiting.) The only exception to this rule is setting a goal for the number of books to read in my Kindle app.

I am an avid reader and have been as long as I can remember. If you had asked me several years ago if I would ever make the change from physical books to ebooks, the answer would have been a resounding NO. However, the transition began slowly before I retired. Trying to juggle a purse, lunchbox, and book among other things when going from the car to the office and back was a pain. Since I’ve always got my phone, converting to reading using the Kindle app was sort of natural. Eventually, I noticed that the app tracks what I read (duh) and prompted me for a “reading goal” at the beginning of a new year. Not having any idea how much I actually read, my initial goals were guesstimates at best.

According to my Kindle app, my reading stats for the past few years are as follows:

  • 2019: 41 titles read (no goal set)
  • 2020: 160 titles read with a goal of 45. It seems I don’t estimate well, LOL.
  • 2021: 156 titles read with a goal of 100. Better estimation, but still on the low side.
  • 2022: 114 titles read with a goal of 125.

2022 is the year I learned that the Kindle app does not give you credit for re-reading books. (Seriously Kindle? What’s up with that?) Since I did a lot of re-reading in 2022, it’s time to crunch the numbers and find out how many book I actually read in 2022. *cracks knuckles*

  • Two new books came out in Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series, so of course I re-read the first 13 books in the series in preparation.
  • A new book came out in Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling Trinity series so I re-read 14 of the 15 books in her Psy-Changeling series and the first 5 books in the Psy-Changeling Trinity series. (I skipped one book in the original series because I really don’t like the hero in that book.)
  • A new book came out in Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series so I re-read the first 12 books in the series.
  • A new book came out in Faith Hunter’s Soulwood series so I re-read the first 5 books in the series.

Side note: I don’t always re-read a series when a new book comes out. It kind of depends on how long it has been since I read the series or since a new book released.

So, let’s see:

  • 114 books counted by the Kindle app
  • 13 Guild Hunter books
  • 14 Psy-Changeling books
  • 5 Psy-Changeling Trinity books
  • 12 Mercy Thompson books
  • 5 Soulwood books
  • 163 number of books actually read in 2022

Booyah! Take that Kindle app! Yes, my competitiveness is making itself known, LOL. Just for giggles, I set my reading goal at 125 titles again this year. However, based on the computations above I may bump it up to 150.

So, are you a reader? If so, do you set any sort of reading goals? And, ebooks, physical books, or both?