The Truth About Itching

Mosquitoes love to make a banquet out of me. Even insect repellents don't keep the vampiric insects at bay for long.

Have you every had a mosquito bite or a case of poison ivy that threatened to drive you insane with the unbearable itching that follows?

This year, mosquito bite seem to be extra itchy. I try not to scratch. In the day when I'm coated with Caladryl, it's not so bad. At night, I seem to scratch in my sleep.

Real Relief On The Way

As frustrating as constant itching is, the itch response actually serves a purpose. It's an early warning system for the body.

Some medical conditions like cancer can cause the kind of itching that makes someone really suffer. It's no laughing matter when someone scratches until they bleed. If that happens to you, a doctor consultation should be scheduled.

For chronic sufferers of itching due to other reasons, relief may soon be at hand. Scientists have finally been able to separate the itch response from the pain response.

Up until now, the nerve pathways seemed to involve both, but now they clearly identify the itch-specific cells in the spinal cord.

In the simplest terms, an experiment was conducted with white mice that had their itch receptors "disconnected" or killed. They were then exposed to something that made them itch, but most of them didn't scratch.

Everything else about the mice was normal. Of course, who knows what might happen in a human if the itch receptor was removed, but researchers eventually may be able to use this knowledge to help humans who suffer abnormal itching.

Takeaway Truth

Slowly, medical mysteries of the human body will be solved. (By the way, Caladryl comes in a clear formulation, if you don't like to look as if you're wearing pink polka dots.)

Review: Linda Ronstadt, The Sound of My Voice

This morning as we were waiting for one of our remodeling contractors to arrive, we watched Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, one of the "free" offerings—meaning with ads—on YouTube.

The 2019 documentary film, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2019, is about American singer Linda Ronstadt who could probably sing the dictionary and make it awesome!

From the first time I heard Linda Ronstadt (and the Stone Poneys) singing Different Drum, I was a fan. I loved every genre she tackled with her own unique styling and her voice—oh my goodness, that voice!

The Voice

She sang old-time country songs written by Hank Williams and made rock fans of the 1960s and beyond embrace the mournful songs. She sang opera, the music her parents loved, Mexican love songs and mariachi songs which her family sang at home when she was growing up, and the golden age music by Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, etc. that her mother loved. 

Consequently, she made: rock albums and filled stadiums, Gilbert and Sullivan album from the Broadway hit musical she starred in, Mexican mariachi album that became the biggest-selling Mexican music album of all time, Great American Songbook with music arranged by Nelson Riddle, who had arranged the American standards sung by Sinatra and the other famous voices back in the day.

Documentary Details

Directed by Oscar-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, it features interviews with many of Linda's friends and music industry professionals. The film won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the 2019 Provincetown International Film Festival.

After the premiere, it was released to theaters and on Digital HD from Amazon and iTunes and then it went to DVD and Blu-ray. After watching it, I wasn't surprised to learn it won Best Music Film at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.

That nomination was Linda's first competitive nomination since 2006. As you will learn from the film, Linda developed Parkinson's Disease, the same as her mother.

Parkinson's may have stolen her voice, but nothing can take away the gift Linda Ronstadt made to the world. Her recordings endure. This film is also available to rent or buy from Amazon Video if you want to avoid the ads.

Takeaway Truth

If you've never heard Linda's music, watch Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice. You'll want to get her music—probably in every genre in which she sang. Enjoy!

Review: Fake Me by Bonnie Edwards

Yesterday I finished reading Bonnie Edwards's latest book and immediately posted a review on Amazon.

If you like a romance with a sweet, good-natured heroine who crosses paths with a grouchy curmudgeon who stands in her way of achieving her goal, you need to add FAKE ME to your Kindle.

About the Book

Grady is the cranky beast who has retreated from the world and doesn't want anyone to bother him. True, he has a good reason for being sour at life, but plucky heroine Farren needs his cooperation to make her dream come true. She's given up a secure job and taken a leap of faith, and she's not taking Grady's no for an answer.

Grady is angry at the world and at what he thinks is his matchmaking sister's attempt to lure him back to civilization. He hatches a plan to thwart his sister, but he needs Farren's help. Together, they agree to a plan that gets both of them what they want.

The author has crafted a romance with engaging characters who have just the right amount of emotional baggage, conflict, and attraction. You'll keep turning the pages to discover exactly what his fiancée did as well as what molded Farren into the woman she is.

With touches of humor, FAKE ME is delightful and heartwarming. It's the latest addition to the Last Chance Beach Romance series and is sure to delight. 

Takeaway Truth

Escape to the beach with this lovely romance.

Gross Facts From History

In recent reading, I came across some gross interesting facts about life during the medieval and Renaissance periods.

History of life back then is usually romanticized by most. In truth, I think we'd have had a difficult time living then.

Men's Names

It certainly would have been confusing because nearly 70% of the male population was named Robert, William, Henry, John, or Richard.

OMG, the Undergarment

Then there's the issue of clothing. This is nearly incomprehensible to our modern way of life, but women and men of the 10th centure wore an undergarment that covered them from their neck to the floor with their arms covered all the way to the wrists.

Here's the unbelievable part. This suffocating undergarment was sewn onto their bodies! Can you imagine? There was no way to remove it until it literally fell apart. Then the poor souls were sewn into a new one. The purpose behind this confining garment was to keep them from bathing as well as preventing sexual shenanigans.

Oh, my! Can you imagine the smell? Just think of how long it took that sturdy cotton to rot away. (Side Note. Considering the population grew, it appears that it wasn't a good birth control method.)

Personal Hand Warmer?

Women wore long dresses that covered everything. Men were tunics, tights, shorts. Their garments had numerous pockets sewn in. These pockets could be buttoned shut to keep out the cold winter air. In the winter, it was common to place live rodents in the pockets to help them stay warm.

Nope. I'd just shiver in the typical woman's long, flowing gown that had long flowing sleeves but no rats in a pocket. (I hope.)

Takeaway Truth

If they invent a time machine, I think I'll avoid the Renaissance in the winter.

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A New Last Chance Beach Romance

Yes, Readers, there's a new entry in the Last Chance Beach Romance line—Fake Me by Bonnie Edwards!

I'll admit that Bonnie Edwards is one of my favorite authors because she never disappoints with her exquisite romance novels.

I'm diving into this one tonight so you can look for a review tomorrow.

About Fake Me

How to fake out a meddlesome matchmaker—fake date the match!

International real estate broker Grady O'Hara, unkempt, miserable, and nursing his battered heart, is holed up in the Landseer Motel in Last Chance Beach. 

A first-class grump, Grady's appalled that enthusiastic sprite, Farren Parks wants him to open his motel to single parents looking for love. He suspects his sister has sent Farren to lure him into a romance. Again. The last one ended in disaster.

Farren expects him to tolerate children laughing, splashing, and squealing. Big no! Crowds of happy families? Bigger no!

He does not want a second chance at life. Or love.

Unless Farren agrees to fake date him to fake out his meddlesome matchmaking sister…

Grady soon plays handyman, painter, and business advisor to Farren's fledgling business, Singles Fest. The happy sound of children in the pool doesn't grate on his nerves as he expected. He sees parents making romantic connections that stir his heart.

But an old flame of Farren's has arrived and Grady wakes up to another looming loss if Farren gives her first love a second chance. The rival has brought his adorable kids to the motel. A rival who's clearly looking for a new wife…

Fake Me is a standalone novel in a new line of contemporary romances set in Last Chance Beach, written by bestselling and award-winning authors who deliver something for every romance lover.

Visit the Last Chance Beach Romance series page to view all of the books.

Takeaway Truth

If you're looking for a great escape from the summer heat or the scary CoVid world, pick up a copy of Fake Me by Bonnie Edwards. It's only 99¢, a great bargain for a great read.

When you confirm your subscription, you'll get
a download link for a free romance ebook.

Peanut Butter Uses Other Than Food

Everyone knows vinegar can be used for many different things other than pickling or making salad dressing.

Did you know that peanut butter has similar attributes? It's good for many things other than making cookies or sandwiches.

Here are some of the amazing uses for plain old peanut butter.

Note: Be careful. If you have friends who have nut allergies, don't use peanut butter on anything they may touch, i.e., your leather sofa for instance.

9 Amazing Uses for Creamy Peanut Butter

1. Put a dab on a piece of cotton cloth and rub to remove a sticky adhesive label.

2. Dogs love peanut butter. If your dog must take medication, coat a pill with a dab of it. Just make sure the peanut butter does NOT contain xylitol which is toxic to dogs. (This is also a useful trick to get a child to swallow a small pill.)

3. If your kid has chewing gum stuck in his/her hair, massage the gum with a little peanut butter.

4. Use peanut butter to rub on garden tools including the wood handles. It acts as a cold weather preservative.

5. Coat pinecones with peanut butter and roll in coarsely ground cornmeal. Hang from trees to feed the birds in winter.

6. Stick a dab in the bottom of an ice cream cone so the melting ice cream won't leak out.

7. Use a small amount on a clean cotton cloth to clean and polish leather.

8. Eliminate cooking odor from fish with peanut butter. When you're finished cooking the fish, put a spoonful of peanut butter in the pan and "fry" it for a couple of minutes.

9. Remove craft glue from your hands with a bit of peanut butter. Simply massage the peanut butter onto your hands, and the glue will slough off.

Takeaway Truth

Does talking about peanut butter bring back memories of childhood and PBJ? Go ahead. Give in to the impulse to have a PBJ for lunch. (My favorite PBJ combination is Laura Scudder's Old Fashioned Smooth Peanut Butter and plum jelly.)

9 Ways to Beat August Heat

Yes, it’s hot outside, but there are ways to be more comfortable if you must be outdoors or just like to be outside.

Some of you may live in climates that are unusually hot this summer. Except for one year in South Dakota, I’ve lived in hot climates all my life. I've got some tips for you.

First though, allow me to give a warning. Always make sure there are no pets or children in your car when you park and lock up the car.

Sure, this may seem unnecessary, but tragedies of children dying in locked cars happen every year. Always check the backseat before leaving your vehicle.

9 Ways to Beat the Heat

1. Drink fluids all day long even if you don’t feel thirsty. How much to drink? A rule of thumb is to take your weight and divide by 2. The resulting number is the number of ounces you should drink each day.

Did you know when you get older, your body retains less water? So it’s even more important to intake adequate fluid in hot weather.

2. Avoid drinks that are dehydrating. Examples of these are alcoholic beverages, caffeinated beverages like sodas, and high sugar drinks.

3. If you work in the heat—I see roofers working in triple-digit temperatures and am amazed at their fortitude—be sure you have an adequate supply of water and take frequent breaks.

4. If you want to exercise in the hot sun, drink a couple of glasses of cool fluids every hour. My Darling Hubby likes to say, “Pre-hydrate, hydrate, and then post-hydrate.”

5. Always wear a hat and sunglasses. You’d be surprised how much difference that makes. Go ahead. Be daring. 

Channel your inner Indiana Jones or Justified's Raylan Givins. You can get every kind of hat online from an Aussie Outback hat to those worn by popular television and movie characters.

Ladies, if you haven't discovered the allure of a stunning sunhat, you're missing something stylish that will protect your skin from sun damage.

6. Take a cool shower or bath rather than a hot or even warm one.

7. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Think salad for something that’s refreshing and makes you feel cooler.

8. If outside, stay in the shade as much as possible. (Remember, wear a hat. That way you carry your shade with you.)

9. Use one of those reflective sunshades over your car windshield if you must park in the heat.

Takeaway Truth

Hot fun in the summertime is a real thing. Just ask someone who grew up in a hot climate.

Become a Happy Dog Parent

Isn't Freddie handsome? He's posing because he got a haircut to beat the summer heat.

Back in January, I told you how Freddie ate something he shouldn't have and had to get the canine version of  stomach pumping. Not pleasant for him or his humans.

I blogged about the plants which are toxic to dogs

Recently, I received an email from Dr. Leslie Brooks DVM, MPH, who is a Vet Advisor to @betterpet. She had read my post about toxic plants.

She told me that had added a great article for those who want to be dog owners and asked me to tell my readers.

I'm happy to pass this link on to you. The post is a comprehensive look at the responsibilities, time, and expense that accompany becoming a dog parent.

Dash over to BetterPet and read/bookmark this post:

11 Little-Known Facts About Owning a Dog.

CoVid Dog Adoptions

Last year when CoVid stay-at-home began, many rushed to animal shelters and adopted dogs. I was horrified to read many of those dogs have since been abandoned because people had no idea that dogs required time, energy, and, yes, money to become happy, healthy additions to the family.

Do yourself a favor. Read 11 Little-Known Facts About Owning a Dog.

Takeaway Truth

Do everyone a favor. If you ever have a pet and realize you're in over your head, call an animal rescue service and make arrangements to surrender the pet for adoption. Abandoning a pet is cruel and inhumane.

Care for Humanity in the Time of CoVid

As I write this, I ask readers to do 3 things.

Regardless of what you believe about who or what unleashed this pestilence called CoVid upon the world...

Regardless of what your  political beliefs may be and/or who you blame that was/is in power

Regardless of who you think is responsible for CoVid still hanging on...

There are 3 simple things you can do to make a difference.

#1 Please get vaccinated.

If you haven't, why not? Millions have been vaccinated without problem. No one has turned into a genetic mutant as some seem to fear.

I grew up in an era where children had to be vaccinated before being allowed to attend school.

That requirement changed over the years due to parental pressure—from parents who themselves had been vaccinated when they were children so they could grow up without fear of polio, smallpox, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, measles, mumps, and rubella.

By getting vaccinated, you are showing that you care for your family, your friends, and humanity in general. 

#2 Please wear a mask in public.

What's the big deal with the mask? By wearing one, you can help prevent the spread of CoVid which has exploded again. I'm vaccinated, and I still wear one in public. Something as simple as wearing a mask can help you stay healthy. 

I don't understand those who think wearing a mask violates their rights. I DO know they don't have to right to go unmasked and possibly spread this disease.

#3 Please stay away from events that draw large crowds.

Every event that draws a huge crowd seems to result in a mass CoVid explosion. Stop and think. You may be young and think you're immortal, but no one is. You may get CoVid and recover, but how will you feel if you give it to someone you love who dies from it?

I'll add a fourth thing, a personal plea, you can do for me.

#4 Please pray.

For all who have CoVid.

For Melanie, our older daughter, who has CoVid pneumonia—the Delta variant. In today's world, nothing is scarier than having someone you love with an illness like this. 

For all who suffer from other dire illnesses.

Takeaway Truth

Together we can all do these simple things to beat this awful scourge.

Note: Don't send your hate mail to Comments. I'm monitoring Comments for this post.

Hot August?

Wow! It's been hot lately, hasn't it? I read the perfect quotation about August heat.

Sue Monk Kidd said: "The month of August had turned into a griddle where the days just lay there and sizzled."

I know what she means. I walked to the mailbox today, and I felt as if I were on a griddle and sizzling.

Takeaway Truth

What's your August weather like so far?

Heat Lightning Now a KU Free Read

Trying to get back into the swing of things. A lot of items on my To Do list fell by the wayside while I was busy moving.

Just enrolled my romantic thriller HEAT LIGHTNING in Kindle Unlimited.

Get it today for a free read if you're a KU subscriber. If you're not a subscriber, it's only $2.99 for a thrill ride set in Outlaw Ridge, Texas that will leave you breathless.

About Heat Lightning

Secrets, lies, passion. What Tessa doesn't remember may be the death of her.

Her husband found her, claimed her, rescued her. David’s touch makes Tessa throb. Desire flashes between them like heat lightning on a summer night. Her body knows David, but when she looks at him, he is a stranger to her. Not a flicker of memory is left of him or their life together since she awakened from a coma.

Amnesia has left her with nothing but questions. Who is she? Why does David seem to hate her even as he pulls her into his arms? What is he hiding? How can she trust him when her gut says, Trust no one?

As her love for David grows, so does her feeling of foreboding—as if something awful is watching and waiting.

Reviews for Heat Lightning

Lots of Heat, Lots of Tension
M. Watson Review
5 Stars

This book started from the get-go with action and amazing conflict. I enjoyed the characters very much, plus their obvious love for each other kept me turning the pages. I highly recommend this book!

NetGalley Review
5 Stars

This is a keeper!
Fast Short Read!
Bookzilla, Top 500 Reviewer
5 Stars

Interesting storyline with descriptive writing. Believable dialogue and characters with distinct personalities. I am always interested in works by this author!

Takeaway Truth

Grab this hot romantic suspense today—free read on KU.

Review: Lying and Stealing

Recently, Darling Hubby and I happened upon a bargain to beat all bargains: a Samsung 65" TV at a mind-boggling low price. We didn't hesitate and scooped it up.

Now, this behemoth sits on top of my dresser in the bedroom. It spans the top of the dresser, leaving only 3 inches from each end.

Wow! It's turned our bedroom into a theater room. *LOL* The first movie we watched was Lying and Stealing, a Netflix offering.

The movie was blurbed this way: "An art thief who steals from L.A.'s elite finds a kindred criminal spirit in an aspiring actress who has a knack for disguises."

To our delight, the movie, released in 2019, is clever, suspenseful, and compelling with sound characterization. There's a backstory that's an emotional mine field, and a nice twist ending that is satisfying even if you see it coming.

Movie Info: The Cast

One critic labeled the cast as "second tier," but there's nothing second tier about the actors led by Theo James as Ivan Warding, an art thief taking from the movers and shakers in LaLa Land, not just for the coin, but for a deeper more personal reason.

Emily Ratajkowski is Elyse Tibaldi, an actress who's on a Hollywood producer's blacklist and is a surprisingly smart cookie.

Ebon Moss-Bachrach is Ray Warding, Ivan's brother for whom rehab is a swinging door. He's funny and damaged all at the same time. Great portrayal by this actor. As you'll learn, both brothers share the same emotional baggage.

Fred Melamed is Dimitri MaropakisIsiah, the big baddie of this story.

You'll recognize the other actors in lesser roles. All in all you'll enjoy this caper flick.

Production Credits

Directed by Matt Aselton
Written by Matt Aselton and Adam Nagata
Produced by Mohamed AlRafi, Naomi Despres, and  Michael Costigan
Cinematography by Corey Walter
Edited by Geoff Hounsell
Music by Sonya Belousova and Giona Ostinelli
Production Companies: Cota Films,   50 Degrees Entertainment, Voltage Pictures
Distribution: Vertical Entertainment and DirecTV Cinema
Released: July 12, 2019 in the United States
Movie Language: English

Behind the Stars Details

In case Theo James looks familiar, it's because he's been in several popular movies like the Divergent series. He was also named as "the new face of Hugo Boss" in 2015.

Ebon Moss-Bachrach has a long list of credits including Damages, The Punisher, Person of Interest, the Law and Orders, and many other popular and critically acclaimed series.

Emily Ratajkowski is a model who stepped into show biz in a Maroon 5 video.

If you're not a Netflix subscriber, you can rent or buy Lying and Stealing from Amazon. It's definitely worth $2.99 to rent. You can buy it for only $4.99.

Takeaway Truth

It's hot outside even at night. Stay inside. Put this on your watchlist, pop some corn, and have a movie night.

Honey, I'm Home!

I'm back!

No, I haven't been on a vacation. I've been moving which isn't nearly as much fun as a vacation.

Life is all about change, and the decision to sell our two-story home and buy a one-story has been a huge change.

New Adventure

Darling Hubby and I made the decision to do that last year. It took us a while to get motivated, but by April we'd committed to the change because of my increasing vision problems that may lead to blindness. I didn't want to be living in a two-story if that happened.

From January through April, we "polished" our home until it sparkled like a diamond. It went up for sale on May 2. Within a week, we had sold it. We spent the rest of May and June shopping for a one-story house, but had no luck. 


At last, we found a one-story. We began to pack up the house. We closed on the home we sold. Ten days after finding our one-story,  we closed on the home we bought. 

The morning of July 13, remodeling began. The new hardwood floors were finished July 15, and movers brought our furniture the next day.

The rest of July has been overseeing the remodeling, waiting for contractors to show up, and staring at the mountains of boxes stacked in every room. 

We won't unpack until the electricians are finished and the painters have done their thing. It was difficult to leave our perfect home and take on another remodeling project, but sometimes, you have to take a leap—even though you know it means a lot of work.

Need Some Help With Life Changes

There are books that address every topic. If you're stressed or depressed by life changes, try one of these books.

Transitions: Making Sense Of Life's Changes by William Bridges

Making Peace with Change: Navigating Life's Messy Transitions with Honesty and Grace by Gina Brenna Butz.
Takeaway Truth

The only constant in life is Change. It's never too late to learn how to accept Change or at least not let it destroy your peace.