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Posted April 17, 2015 By LadyJai


***I received my Temptations Snacky Mouse  complimentary to test and/or review from Influenster.***

Honestly, this is such a cute little thing. I have tried my hand at something similar, though nowhere near as cute as this. I took a small water bottle, cleaned and dried. Then cut random holes in is so the kitties could get their brain exercise, their prey and puzzle solving instincts going. It didn’t look as fancy but it worked. The cats loved it so much that they ATE. EVERY. SINGLE. PIECE.

I haven’t done that in a long time. And when I received this in the mail, it was quite interesting, to say the least.

NOTE TO SELF: Don’t attempt to set it between 3 kitties at the same time!

Of course, after I turn off my camera and leave the area, Sofie goes to town batting at it and eating all the treats.

This item is that it did not come with instructions on how to open it in order to fill it, so I could see it breaking before anyone could get a chance to use it. The other thing I found was that my cats still eat it all gone in one setting. The way to combat that is not to fill it up all the way. They all love it, though. So in my book, this product is a win!


PS: If any of my writer friends would like to keep up with my writing and how my life is progressing, I’ve moved over to “Caring for My Veteran“. Please subscribe there, too. Thank you.

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#Caturday Angst

Posted August 3, 2013 By LadyJai

Theo In A ConeWhen we came back from our Mini-vacation, of course I had to go back to work. Two days at work, one day off for the 4th, and then one day back before the weekend. So, on that Friday, TheBoy thought that Theo had blood on his butt.  We took a look at it and, sure enough, he had licked a spot fur-free and there was a wound that was sort of bleeding. You know the kind, where a cat’s rough tongue can lick it raw. That’s what I thought it was. But just to be safe, we took him to the vet on the 6th. The verdict: a ruptured anal gland.

They flushed it out and cleaned him up and we were allowed to take him home after several hours. We hated putting him through the sedation and the cleaning, but the alternative would have been so much worse.

My Shakespearean cat!

My Shakespearean cat!

When we brought him back home we tried a cone I borrowed from a friend. Talk about an EPIC FAIL! Holy wow! Theo freaked so hard he bounced off walls and fell down the stairs. So, rather than add broken bones to his bill, we took it off. I found an alternate solution: paper plate.

That worked fine for about 2 weeks, until he figured out how to get around it and lick his wound, or the paper plate cut back into it. Either way, the wound was not healing and he was getting a wound around his neck (if you ever do the paper plate thing, make sure you tape up the hole for the head so it doesn’t bite into their necks like ours did).

PetsMart sold another kind of cone. It wasn’t what I was hoping for: the soft sided ones. But at least it was see-through and it was shorter so he could at least eat. I think the lack of peripheral vision is what freaked him out so bad. This new one he tolerates pretty ok.


From Shakespeare to Elizabethan, That look says it all!

From Shakespeare to Elizabethan, That look says it all!

Our other two cats don’t like him now. Sofie, his sister, has pretty much gotten used to him after all this time, but she still hisses at him on occasion. But Itty Bitty, the odd ball, my PTSD cat, has reverted to her old self.

We saved Itty Bitty from a home of bully cats. It took well over a year to get her to acclimate to our house and our other two cats. We figured with the mellow demeanor of the Scottish Folds, she’d fit right in. We never had a problem with hissing or attacking. She would even join on the bed with everyone on occasion.

Until Theo came back from the vet the first time. Now she hunkers down, low crawls and sprints away –  which is kind of an instigation, or invitation, for Theo to run after her. I’m not real sure if he means any harm to her; but she sure thinks he does and will turn on him, growling, hissing, and swatting.

She refused to come out of our bedroom for 23.5 hours of the day. She began not using the litter box and that’s *NOT* OK.  I’ve taken to picking her up and carrying her downstairs (our choke point), to the litterbox, and to the food. Each time she sees Theo she cowers and won’t do anything else. When she finally gets the nerve, she sprints back upstairs.

I love watching Jackson Galaxy’s My Cat From Hell. Most of the time, I can pick out what needs to happen to fix the situation, unless it’s medical. Most of the time it’s always one or both of the humans that need retraining. But for us, we’ve been in tune with cats for a very long time. We understand them. Problem is, some of the remedies that Jackson Galaxy suggests involve modification to the structure or purchasing high dollar items to provide a safe passage.

Our only choke point is the stairwell, really. And there isn’t a simple solution we’ve come up with to provide the safe passage. With Itty Bitty’s hips being “stiff” her jumping capabilities are extremely limited. She doesn’t get up on high places normally. So we’re at a loss with this aspect.

I’ve also purchased and began using Jackson Galaxy’s Spirit Essence. 4 drops on each cat, twice a day, for the past two weeks. Sofie has gotten over Theo for the most part. She will still side with whomever is being attacked. Itty Bitty and Theo still act the same. I’m giving it more time, though. But recently, they went into a full on cat-fight. A huge ball of cat (all three of them) slamming into everything, knocking things over, and traumatizing everyone.

This is when they all were banished from the rooms, because someone (Itty Bitty, I’m sure) poo’ed on my pillow. Um, no! Not having that! They’ve now been out of our room for about 4 days.

Again, I’m so at a loss as to what to do.

Since they’ve been banished from the rooms, Sofie is sad. Her sleeping spot is on the bed, or on TheHubs (or me) on the bed. I feel bad for her. Theo is ok. Still hating the cone. And “sort of” stalking Itty Bitty. Not so much I don’t think. Itty Bitty, on the other hand, is still scared, though she’s using the litter box as I haven’t smelled pee or poo anywhere else. I do still pick her up and take her to the bathroom, though, because she doesn’t seem to leave the kitchen now. :/

Theo mere inches from Itty Bitty, backed into a corner, and her hair standing on end. 🙁

I have caught Theo still poking at Itty Bitty, but not nearly as much as before. I just wish Itty Bitty would get over it all and stop making Theo come after her with her scared stances. :/

I wonder if maybe she will get over him when he stops having that cone on him! I’ve been waiting for the vet to give us the go ahead to remove the cone. But every week we go back, they say he’s not healing quite right. And this last time, they said that the wound’s still not closed, and there’s still a mass inside. They aren’t sure what the “mass” is so gave him another round of antibiotics and told us to come back on Monday. If it’s still there, they are talking about removing both anal glands, which means even longer in the cone. 🙁

I ordered Comfort Zone with Feliway plug-ins to help with the choke points. I finally got the Feliway plug-ins on Wednesday and plugged them in, one upstairs, one downstairs. *fingers crossed*

After 24 hours, I was downstairs alone, watching TV. I had been home for a while and it was nearing my bedtime. But, this was so awesome. I’ve been playing with all of them, including Itty Bitty…trying to coax her out of the kitchen. No luck. BUT!!! As I was watching TV almost my bedtime, Itty Bitty hopped up on the back of the couch and loafed. ALL ON HER OWN!

Day two, she still remains in the kitchen mostly. But she’s venturing, little by little. I got her to play some more and I put her on my glider/rocker where she used to love to sleep when we were all downstairs. She was ok for a little while. But she did keep her eye out for Theo.

Morning of Day 3, I noticed she went to the litter box all on her own. I also managed to get her to come out into the living room playing! She’s ok with the other two cats with treats, even Theo. But she still goes back to her safe zones.

Night of Day 3, Theo began stalking her again. We can’t tell if he wants to play or what. But no matter, it’s what Itty Bitty thinks. And she doesn’t like it. She, again, did not use the litter box.

I’m so over all this angst. The anxiety is draining me dry. I want it all to be done with and get back to normal! I don’t want to have to give Itty Bitty away. But she may just be better off in a house with no other pets due to her PTSD. 🙁

I guess “baby steps” in the right direction are good. But after last nigh, I feel like we are taking one step forward and five steps back. I’m not giving up yet. I just don’t know how long to give it before we have to give her away. 🙁


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Happy #Caturday – 9 March 2013

Posted March 9, 2013 By LadyJai


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Happy New #Caturday Year – January 5, 2013

Posted January 5, 2013 By LadyJai


Peeky. Peeky. Theo wants some dinner too!

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Happy #Caturday – December 28, 2012

Posted December 29, 2012 By LadyJai

In 2012, I managed to read and write. Here’s hoping 2013 allows me to do more of each. Thirteen is a grand number!


Sofie helping me read!

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#Caturday – December 22, 2012

Posted December 22, 2012 By LadyJai

Itty Bitty admiring the Christmas tree

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Merry Christmas To Someone In Need – #LovesVoice

Posted December 20, 2012 By LadyJai

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you will know I never intended to have a Facebook account. By chance, someone else signed me up with MY email address. When I went to delete the account, I was curious and found some connections with some very old high school friends. So I kept it.

I’ve always thought that I never made enough of an impression on anyone, and you know how relationships go with time and distance. All I have are “remembrances” rather than friends on Facebook.

Merry ChristmasWell, at the beginning of December, I received a Facebook message from one of those long ago friends, a “friend” I was always afraid of and thought she hated me. She reached out to me and a couple of others asking us to pray for a Christmas miracle. She’d been having a rough year, financially and with her youngest girl medically. I sat there reading that email, praying and crying. It touched my heart on so many different levels. Maybe I was wrong in thinking I never made an impression. I don’t know.

TheHubs remembers one year not being able to have a Christmas and having the Salvation Army show up on his doorstep with presents. That is what sticks with him. I never had to go with out. I was lucky. But over the years, I’ve (we’ve) given so much to people only to wonder if it’s ever been appreciated. From such a young age, I’ve always felt taken advantage of. TheHubs too. I even had a dream about this being nothing but a big “hoax” and it made me very anxious, especially after the other “premonitory dream” I had last week.

But I have to focus on the positive, see that not everyone is like that, and that what we are doing is the right thing to do. When all is said and done, it’s the action of giving that matters.

But to give to someone we know (despite the time and distance that separates the actual knowing part) who desperately needs a Christmas for their children, well, we never had the opportunity. No child should wake up on Christmas morning without something under the tree. I just wish I were rich so I could do that for everyone! But for now, we do it one at a time, when we can, and sometimes when it strains us. No matter how much we can’t afford it, we look around and realize we have so much, when others need.

I wanted so much to help her, but I didn’t know how. All the girls asked for were a couple of dolls, bikes, and a Kindle Fire to share. Being a writer, and an avid reader, I wanted to get the Kindle Fire. But, well, I didn’t think finances could allow me.

But something happened during my Christmas shopping. I managed to secure a Nook for free. It wasn’t a Kindle Fire. But it was an eReader. I brought it up to my family what I wanted to do with the Nook. Seeing as we already had 3 older eReaders already, they went for it, and more.  We packaged up the Nook, a cover and a light along with a gift card to B&N for books, and another one for Toys R Us. It won’t give them everything they asked for. But they WILL have a Christmas this year.

I just realized I spent money on books, but not for me. At least someone will be reading. I still have a couple of back logged books I still need to read, so I’m not too worried about it. I know what I did was a good thing and it makes me happy to help others, even when we have other obligations for our finances.

I remember a time where we had about $100 until my next payday. We had to fill the gas tank so we stopped at the gas station. Now, I am sure you all have been approached by someone asking for a few bucks, or they’ve said they’ve been on vacation and they need a few dollars to fill up their tank because they ran out of money (or maybe that’s just because I live in a tourist state). Well, we knew this wasn’t a scam like the previous ones. There was a couple sitting in their car with their gas cap off and doors open. The lady sitting in the passenger seat was VERY pregnant. The man was just looking dejected, worried, and desperate. He asked us if he could have a couple of dollars to get a few gallons of gas so he could get his wife to her OB appointment. We swiped our debit card and told him to fill it up. He looked like he wanted to cry. His wife did. He kept asking us what our address was so he could pay us back. We said, there’s no paying back. What you do is when you find someone in desperate need like you were, we don’t care how much money you have left in your account, you do the same as we did. Pay it forward. And he promised.

We continue to keep doing good, and believing others will “pay it forward” too. Random acts of kindness. Every bit, no matter how small, shows love. And love trumps all evil. It’s how we live with this world. My friend Andrew wrote about this in the wake of the Sandy Hook travesty. He said,


I tried to get this out to people. Asking for people to retweet the message that we need to make love’s voice louder. It won’t end hatred, but it can make love’s voice louder, so that when hatred roars, love sings above it.

So, I ask you to do the same. Get the word out. Pay it forward. Do your own random act of kindness. And let love sing louder than evil!


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I Nearly Lost My Husband to Serotonin Syndrome, Twice

Posted December 13, 2012 By LadyJai




Last week I nearly lost my husband.


I always dread when the doctors change his medicine. For some reason, despite the fact they document every medication you take each and every time you go into the office, they just don’t seem to take the time to go over those medications in order to check for interactions when prescribing new ones.

I should know better.

Back in 2006, my husband started taking a new medication in conjunction with his migraine medication and an over the counter sleep aid called Melatonin. On top of those medications, he was already on some heavy-duty stuff for his chronic pain as well. But the interaction came between his new medication, his migraine medicine, and the melatonin.

A relatively new syndrome had caught the FDA’s eye, but hadn’t trickled down to the medical community just yet, called Serotonin Syndrome. The Mayo Clinic defines Serotonin Syndrome as:

Serotonin syndrome occurs when you take medications that cause high levels of the chemical serotonin to accumulate in your body. Serotonin syndrome can occur when you increase the dose of such a drug or add a new drug to your regimen. Certain illicit drugs and dietary supplements are also associated with serotonin syndrome.

Serotonin is a chemical your body produces that’s needed for your nerve cells and brain to function. But too much serotonin causes symptoms that can range from mild — shivering and diarrhea — to severe — muscle rigidity, fever and seizures. Severe serotonin syndrome can be fatal if not treated.

Milder forms of serotonin syndrome may go away within a day of stopping the medications causing symptoms and, sometimes, taking drugs that block serotonin.

The first time this happened, we had no clue what was going on. My husband would fall asleep mid-sentence, he couldn’t stay awake most of the day. I blamed the new medication. I thought it was turning him into my image of what a strung out drug addict looked like. I hated it. It wasn’t until I came home one day from work and my son, then 5 years old, was wandering around our front yard and my husband was leaning up against a tree. I didn’t understand. I tried to talk to him. I tried to get him in the house. But there was no response. I literally had to drag him inside. But he tripped over the steps and fell into me, then onto the foyer floor. And that’s where he lay. I couldn’t wake him. I couldn’t lift him to get him to go to bed. I felt horrible for just leaving him there. And I felt like a <insert bad word here> for thinking he was “strung out.”

I called his prescribing doctor and got him an appointment the next day.

That’s when we found out about Serotonin Poisoning. It was something the FDA had recently caught wind of. Do you remember the problems surrounding a lot of the “lose weight” drugs, or Prozac, and such? All that revolved around this dangerous level of serotonin.  His doctor told us he was on the verge of dying. Had I not gotten him in when I did, I could very well have lost him. Though, really, I should have called an ambulance and had him in the ER. I beat myself up over that every day. But, we just didn’t know about this back then.

Now…I dread when the doctors say, “Let’s try this new medication.”


I am usually diligent about going through all his medications, listing them, keeping track of them, reading up about all their side-effects, and since that fateful day against the tree, going to a site that will list the possible interactions with each drug. Including over the counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. I am even leery about any “home remedy” or homeopathic anything because there is no way for me to check the interactions. I have a dear friend who tries so hard to help. She totally believes in essential oils, but I just can’t trust them. I hope she understands.

My husband has been taking his medication “cocktail” now for a few years. Last month, he went to see the doctor about the complications he’s been having with one of the stronger medications and had been considering coming off it, even if it made the pain worse. He wanted to see what would happen. But the doctor gave him a new prescription, new hope for relief.

I did my usual and memorized the side-effects and kept an eye on him to make sure everything went ok. I did not check the interactions. 🙁

Around Thanksgiving he was nauseous and feverish.  We thought it was the flu. He said it felt like the flu. But then it didn’t go away after a few weeks. In fact, it got worse. The pain. The nauseous. Feverish. Chills & sweats. Muscle twitching. Unable to think. Unable to eat. Unable to sleep.

After 4 days of him not being able to get out of bed and not sleeping at all, we discussed the possibilities. I couldn’t understand why it would take this long to “have a reaction” to the new medicine. And then it dawned on us, “what if it were building up toxins in his body?” And that’s when it hit me. I didn’t check the interactions with his existing medications.

But you trust that the doctors would do that before they prescribe you a new medicine, right? I mean, every time you go into the office they always ask you to list all your medicines. Heck, due to the new laws here in Florida, he has to bring in all his bottles and the staff have to count every stinking pill. So, you just take it for granted, I guess, that they would know. That they would check before prescribing.

But you know what happens when you assume.

And, I nearly lost him again.

Serotonin syndrome symptoms typically occur within several hours of taking a new drug or increasing the dose of a drug you’re already taking. Signs and symptoms include:

  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Rapid heart rate and high blood pressure
  • Dilated pupils
  • Loss of muscle coordination or twitching muscles
  • Heavy sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Shivering
  • Goose bumps

Severe serotonin syndrome can be life-threatening. Signs and symptoms include:

  • High fever
  • Seizures
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Unconsciousness

When to see a doctor
If you suspect you might have serotonin syndrome after starting a new drug or increasing the dose of a drug you’re already taking, call your doctor right away or go to the emergency room. If you have severe or rapidly worsening symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Luckily, though, we caught it before it got as bad as last time. He stopped taking his new medicine. We had no idea how long it takes for your body to go back to normal serotonin levels. From what I can understand it’s all dependent on your body chemistry.  We just had to ride it out. He was one step away from the final stages again.

One more thing to add to this, he had stopped taking one of his anti-depressants. All he remembered the doctor telling him was that this pill will help him wake up. So he stopped, cold turkey, because he wanted so desperately to go to sleep. When I told him it was an anti-depressant, he got really scared again. To stop an anti-depressant cold turkey is dangerous. You could die. So please, please, if you are on one, don’t ever do that. Once we got him back on that medicine, and got him to stop the new pain medication, things started getting so much better. Over the weekend, he’s been up and about, eating a little, feeling back to his old self, without the “OMG MY HEAD IS GOING TO EXPLODE” headache. Now it’s back to the normal pain he always feels. We even managed to do a few errands. I have my husband back!

The stress of the last few months has been overwhelming. I am doing my best to get through it.

Thank you for listening to me ramble. I’m sorry. It is my only way to vent and get this out. Plus, maybe it will help others know the signs of Serotonin Syndrome and help save a life.

Always, ALWAYS, check your medications. Do NOT take your doctor for granted. And never, EVER, stop taking your anti-depressants cold turkey!


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An Open Christmas Letter to Our Heroes

Posted December 10, 2012 By LadyJai
Christmas Army Boots

Yes, my husband still has his boots.

I’ve been dealing with a lot of stress lately, both at home and at work. This is my life. I have not been writing on my novel because of it. I feel sad, tired, and just downright horrible. But when I got a break at work the other day, I managed to put together a blog post about my son turning ten. While this was not any progress on my novel, it was writing. And it felt good.

With things getting more and more stressful in my life, I needed a release of some sort. I’ve managed, again, to write. This time, I’ve composed a Christmas letter to our heroes and plan on sending it out to them. (I didn’t plan my time very well.) While it may not make it to the Red Cross on time, I wanted to post it here for anyone happens upon it and needs a little encouragement.

My Dearest Service Member,

Today I wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year.

I know you may not feel like you could enjoy this time of year right now. In fact, you are probably struggling with your recovery each and every day. You have a long road ahead of you and you don’t think it will get better.

You will have your ups and downs. And right now, you may be having more downs than anything. But please remember, everything happens for a reason. I don’t know if you believe in God or not, but He has a plan. If you don’t believe, then there is always a reason why things are as they are. You may not realize it now. Or a month from now. Or even a year.

Remember to look for the positive in all of it. No matter how small. The positives are what will get you through. Even if it’s just that the sun is shining and you are breathing. That is always a positive. Tomorrow is another day.

Being negative is easy. It is what brings us down, and keeps us there. When we are down, there are no amount of positives that seem to bring us back up. That is why I charge you, no matter what, to put on a smile (even if it is fake) every day. Look at the world and find the smallest of the smallest of positives. It will only take you two weeks to form a habit of this, and you will eventually start to SEE the positives for just that, positive. And you will find that smile is no longer fake.

Every day, I want to thank you for being a hero! You may not think of yourself as such. But there are plenty of people who look at you that way.

My husband is also a disabled vet. I try to remind him he is a hero, just as I’ve told you. But he refuses to believe it. He feels that he’s never gone to war, sacrificed a part of himself, or come home draped in a flag. He thinks THAT is what a hero is. You may have over visions of what a hero is. Everyone has their idea. Do not brush it away. Accept it as a compliment. You are a hero. Selflessly giving up your time, your family, and even a part of you, to protect our freedom, to fight for America, to keep us all safe.

My husband’s dream since he was five was to be a soldier. He achieved that dream and served for thirteen and a half years. During his time in the service, there were several accidents with the last one being in Kosovo, which left him broken, internally. He suffers chronic migraines, chronic neck pain, depression, and PTSD. It’s all cyclic, and each feeds the other. There is not a day he goes without pain and sadness. He struggles daily. But I am there to remind him to look for the positive, no matter how small.

Visible disabilities are easier for the masses to sympathize with. It’s those disabilities that are hidden, buried inside us, that the world cannot understand. Please do not think you are ever alone in this. Whether you are physically or emotionally disabled, it’s a struggle just the same. Never feel less than human because of it.

The pain is what keeps us human.

ALWAYS REMEMBER THERE IS HOPE, HELP, LOVE, AND SUPPORT. Even if you can’t see it. Remember that tiny bit of positive you find every day. Cling to it. And it will get you through.

If you falter, because some days will be harder than others, let this letter be your guide to finding something positive, if nothing else.

You’ve given so much for your country, for our freedoms, for me. Thank you and God Speed.

Merry Christmas


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Premonitory Dreams & A Decade of Awesome!

Posted December 4, 2012 By LadyJai

TheBoy had his 10th birthday party this weekend.


OMG I can’t believe how much he’s grown, how much time has passed, and how little time with the best thing I’ve ever created I have left.


Minecraft Creeper Cake

Minecraft Creeper Cake

I had been stressing about this party since Wednesday–since I woke up at 3am freaking. There I was sitting at Jump!Zone with NO CAKE. I couldn’t go back to sleep. But I tried to shake it off. Didn’t think much about it until Saturday morning when I went to go pick up the cake from my friend who was making it. She was falling behind because she spent half the night with her dog in the emergency ER. Poor baby broke her toe. And I felt really horrible.

All day Friday I asked if there was anything I could do to help out. But she said no. But no one knew an accident would happen.

Here I was 10:30am with NO CAKE. I had to get my son to his party. And there I sat, at Jump!Zone with NO CAKE!

And yes, I was freaking out.

TheHubs stayed behind to help out our friend get the finishing touches on it. It was a surprise for TheBoy. All he knew was Ms. Liz was making his cake. But we had no cake.

They started the party and within a few minutes, TheHubs shows up with the cake! YAY! And OMG was it the best looking cake as well as the best tasting cake! Not from a box. Homemade. It was a total hit!

Out of the 15 kids, plus adults, we ate the whole head. We still had the body and feet to go. And I thought we would be eating cake for weeks to come.

Not with TheHubs’ sweet tooth. We now only have the feet to eat.

Stupid premonitory dreams! TheHubs kept reassuring me that it wasn’t my fault. Accidents happen. But I still freaked. I felt bad for making Ms. Liz make the cake. I felt bad that I couldn’t help. I felt bad she missed her Vet appointment because she was finishing up my cake. I just felt really horrible all around. I just can’t help it. And I am still struggling to control it.

Have you ever had a premonitory dream?


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I’ve been almost non-existent lately. Not sure anyone really noticed, but I wanted to explain why. Things have been very stressful lately, so much so I became overwhelmed and my strength faltered. I needed to ask for help. I never ask for help. But I’m SLOWLY learning that it’s ok, that it’s not a sign of weakness, and that I’m not burdening anyone.


Growing up, I was known as “Cry Baby Jamie.”

Yes, it hurt.

Yes, it affect me emotionally as a child.

Did it change me then? No. I couldn’t help myself. When my feelings were hurt, I cried. And when they called me “Cry Baby,” I cried.

I wore my heart on my sleeve, so to speak.  I still do.

Does it affect me as an adult? Yes, it still does. I think it’s why I don’t like to share my problems with anyone. I think it’s why I cry in private now. I think it’s why I don’t want to cry on anyone’s shoulders, despite the fact that I DESPERATELY want a hug from someone who will tell me everything’s going to be fine.

I do my best to keep it inside. Be strong. When you cry, you’re not strong, right?!

Most people don’t know the situation of my home life (that could require a book, or at the very least, another blog post, if you’re interested). I don’t talk about it much. Because, really, when you say the word “disabled vet” the majority of people need to SEE that disability in order to understand and feel empathy. In our lives, that disability is PAIN, DEPRESSION, amongst many other things that spur from the PAIN. When I tell people we can’t do something because of it, they just look at him and I see the sarcasm in their eyes, “He looks fine to me.” 

We just carry on, ignore that look, and that’s why we tend to have no friends, I guess. They either don’t understand the complexity of it, or just don’t want to. So, I keep my mouth shut. I don’t want to burden anyone with my problems. My problems are nothing compared to everyone else’s. Besides, I’d much rather help people than make them think I can’t help by dumping on them. And another thing, they either wouldn’t understand, or maybe even care.

I used to think this way. Seriously. I still do, even. I’m trying to break myself of this nasty habit. But it’s so hard.

See, I’ve had problems with friends all my life. It’s not that I don’t want them. God knows how much I crave friendship. I’ve just never really quite fit in any circle of people growing up. Making them. Having them. Keeping them. I meandered through my school years from groups to groups, never really having one group, or even one person that was considered THE one. I don’t know how to approach people and be the conversation starter. But if someone approaches me, I jump all over it. It was always me who wanted to please, wanted to give 200% to the relationship, hoping they would return in kind, or even just half that. But it never happened. I was always there for them, their shoulder, their pillar. I brought them up from the pit of despair. But when I needed them, they were never around, or told me to suck it up. It felt like they wanted to keep me down, which made them feel better about themselves, so I gladly welcomed it.

I guess.

(St. Paul Pioneer Press | Brandi Jade Thomas)

Even the strongest support beam can hold only so much weight before it buckles. It’s not all at once. Over time, the steel cracks and buckles. Eventually the whole thing fails. And your life tumbles out of control.

This has been me over the last month. I can only support the weight of two people for a few years before I crumble.

I am recovering, rebuilding those steel support beams. Getting myself back up to keep strong for myself and my husband.


Everything always goes slowly. Doesn’t it?

But this time, I did what I’ve never been able to do before. I reached out.

I asked for help from my friends. Over the past year, I’ve met a quite a few wonderful people and some I’ve connected with on a much deeper level than just writing. I’m very thankful for that. Even though the only friends I have are online friends, I cherish that friendship. Even though they aren’t here to give me a hug, they still tell me everything’s going to be alright. Their positive attitude, their prayers, the way they listened. They weren’t like the “friends” I ever had before.

courtesy: pixdaus.com

What is a table with only one leg? The more support pillars you have, the sturdier you become, right?

I want to thank them for allowing me to lean on them when I need it. It gives me the strength I need to continue to be my husband’s pillar.

I also want them to keep reminding me that it’s OK to do so.  Because I tend to fall into my old way of thinking if I am not constantly re-enforced. Does that make me needy? I sure hope not, because then I WILL go back to bottling it all inside and never letting it out.

Quietly crumbling until I can’t pick up all the pieces.


Because I am supposed to be the strong one.


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#Caturday — Itty Bitty Ready for the Attack

Posted September 8, 2012 By LadyJai
Itty Bitty Ready For The Attack

Itty Bitty Ready For The Attack

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#Caturday: Itty Bitty, Our Folded-Fold

Posted August 4, 2012 By LadyJai
Itty Bitty - Our non-Oxymoron cat

Itty Bitty – Our non-Oxymoron cat

March 2011, a friend of mine saw a post on Craig’s List that said they needed to find a new home for their Scottish Fold. She had 6 other cats and they were just bullying her to the point where she had to live her life in their bedroom. She didn’t want to give her up. She loved her. But she knew it was best for her.

She originally wanted a single cat home. But after telling here we already had 2 other Scottish Folds, explaining their easy personality, the fact they were about the same age, and that we didn’t think there would be a problem with them getting along, she agreed to meet with us. We had to drive to Georgia, about an hour away from home. We prepared everything for bringing her home, just in case, including the “fee” she wanted.

Once we got to her house, interacted with all her kitties, she knew. She knew it would be ok. This is what she told us. I offered the fee to her and she waved it off. She also told us that every time she’s given away any of her kitties (she saves and fosters), she always cries. This time, she was happy, she said.

It’s always good to know what others think of you, especially strangers and those trusting you with their life, or their heart. 

So, we brought her home, and we were now a 3 kitty family.

It has been a very long, and slow process to win her over. I believe we finally have. At least, as much as she will allow.

She is not a lap cat. And she definitely does not like to be picked up. But she likes to be close to me, in particular. She will follow me where ever I go. She talks to me. I invite her to come with me. And she knows when it’s “night night time” and will come upstairs with me.

Lounging Itty BittyHere is a letter I just sent to her previous owner:

It’s been one year since we picked up Itty Bitty! Amazing how much she’s changed in that year! When we first brought her home she wanted nothing to do with any of us. Now she helps me dress for work in the morning, greets me when I come home, talks to me all the while! She knows when it’s bed time and she needs no coaxing to go upstairs. she has her days with the other two, a hiss every now and again (even though Theo really wants to play) but the other two get in their spats too and they are brother and sister. Right now, as I type this, she sits in my lap. I call her name and she answers. She doesn’t sit in the lap as nearly as often as I would like. But I will take anything I can get. I knew it would be a long, slow process, but one well worth the wait. She’s happy here. So no need to worry! She’s loved and accepted. And the most important thing, she returns it all! Thank you.


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Black Raven AdventuresWe wanted to do something fun as a family again. We don’t get out much on account of The Hubs’ pain levels and such. And we wanted to do SOMETHING while The Boy was still on summer vacation. I found this cool 1.5 hour Pirate cruise down in St. Augustine called The Black Raven Adventures. Every Saturday and Sunday, before the evening cruises, they cater to the kids and have a treasure “hunt”. This sounded fun, despite my sea sickness. And it was PIRATES! HELLO??! How could it NOTbe fun? Anyway… The day started out overcast, at least where we lived. And then it cleared up by the time we left at 11am. We celebrated with the new “rum”.

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum...er RedBull

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum…er RedBull

It was an hour drive to St. Augustine. Plus we had to find parking, and we wanted to be there early. We figured that would give us a good amount of time to sit and relax while we waiting for the boarding time. Oddly enough, we got down there and picked up our passes (and a hat for The Boy) and only had 20 minutes to spare. If we left any later, I don’t think we would have made it. So thankful, The Hubs said, let’s go early. It was a surprise for The Boy. He had no clue where we were going. He’s usually too smart for his own good but we managed to keep it from him, despite his constant “Where are we going?” Driving in the historic district of St. Augustine is very nerve-wracking. Pedestrians everywhere! Uncontrolled kids! Horses. Scooters. Just people! Everywhere! Sunday is free parking day along the streets. However, you have to get their early enough, like 8am. We did not. So, rather than trying to find a parking spot close to the marina, we opted for the safety of the Information Center Garage at $10 per day. Safer, and we knew where we parked. 😀 Boarding the Black Raven It was only about a 20 minute walk to the Black Raven Gift Shop, where we would pick up our boarding passes. The walk took up passed the Castillo and the Marina. We pointed out the pirate ship and The Boy exclaimed, “Aw, cool!” It wasn’t until we were in the shop, picking up our boarding passes, when I said, go ahead and pick out a hat if you want, that he realized we were going. I think he was excited a little. At least until we started walking down the docks to the boat. Then he got scared. I think it was more that the dock floated and you could feel, and see, it rising and falling with the waves. Before we boardedI started getting worried about him and whether or not he will enjoy himself. Once he got used to it, though, he was starting to worry us, by peering over the edge of the dock to look at the fish, sea turtle (Barnacle Bob), and the jellies that would come around. The other children that were in line became a bit pushy, so that grated on our nerves as well. All in all, it worked out in the end and we boarded the ship. We sat in the forecastle of the ship (the upper deck on the bow of the ship). Pretty good seats really. We only had 10 people up there with us, 4 of them children. The Boy was happy we weren’t on the poop deck. 🙂 Although we weren’t in the thick of the entertainment, we had a good view of the water, shore, and the pirates down below.

View onto the main deck

View onto the main deck from the Forecastle

The first matter of order was to train the crew up for some sword fighting.

Training the crew for sword fighting

After that, they had face painting. The Boy came back looking so much older, and pirate-y! 😀

Our little pirate, Arrrrg!

After we had a few rounds of singing, (no drinking, this is a family trip), the kids gathered round to plot their strategy. It was heard that Captain Blackbeard or Captain Hook had been seen in these here waters and the crew of the Black Raven wanted their treasure back. 😛

Practicing their threatening stanceThe trick here was to hide their swords and when Blackbeard or Hook tried to come on board, the crew would yell the secret word and the kids would raise their swords in a threatening manner.

And now that we have the practice session down, commence looking for the Queen Anne.

Looking for the Queen Anne, Blackbeard and Hook

Thar she blows! Over by the Castillo!

Spotted The Queen Anne

Time to hoist the Pirate Flag!


The Boy assists with hoisting the Pirate Flag! The Pirate Flag's a flyin'

And so is the Queen Anne’s!

The Queen Anne flying her pirate flag

It’s Captain Hook AND Blackbeard, I see. Gangin’ up on us. But we shall prevail! 😀

It's Captain Hook AND Blackbeard! Gangin' up on us, I see!

Uh oh! Better watch out. We’re gearing up for a battle.

They’ve fired on us!

They've fired on us!

 Of course, we fired back!

We fired back!

Threatening to come aboard. I think not!

Trying to come aboard. I think not!

I’ll trade ya rum for booty!

Trading rum for booty! Arrrrg!

SUCCESS! We won our booty! Now, to open it!

Arrrrg! We gots our booty!

The treasure….

The treasure!

Of course The Boy got his share for helping scare away Captain Hook and Blackbeard!

The Boy's share of the booty!

What’s in the treasure chest?

The Boy's share of the booty!

The rest of the time was spent singing and lollygagging around the decks until we docked and the show was over.

I’ll leave you with an earworm, something we’re still humming/singnin’ in our home:

What do you do with a drunken sailor?

Here’s to our pirate mateys:

Ron Pearlman as Oly Mackerel

Ron Perlman as Oly Mackerel (not really, but that’s all I could think of the whole cruise! Hellboy gone pirate! He was a blast! Love him!)

I’m so sorry, but I didn’t get these two pirates’ names! And they aren’t listed on the Black Raven’s web page, either. But they were so happy, cheery, and lively! Loved them!

The other guy!

The other guy!

The Wench! <3

<3 The Wench! <3

The weather ’round here has been awfully busy. Tremendous heat, with the heat index in the 110-120 range, and our normal afternoon summer showers. We were very thankful that the rain stayed away so we could enjoy our Pirate adventure.

Our Welcome Home!

Our Welcome Home!

At least it had the decency to stay away until we were done!

At least it had the decency to stay away until we were done!

Silly me, I forgot additional water, sunscreen, and ginger. I think I got the worst of it. My face, chest and shoulders were red. And on Monday, I just had absolutely no energy. I tend to suffer heat exhaustion a bit too easily.

Me and The Boy

Me and The Boy

The Hubs & The Boy

The Hubs & The Boy

I also don’t like a lot of my pictures, but today must have been a good day. So, I am sharing with you the pictures I’m happy with. Hope you’ve enjoyed our adventure. Wish you could have been there. It was so fun. If ever you get a chance to come to St. Augustine, I would recommend this. They also have an adults only cruise as well, if you don’t have kids.

Me in a Hat

Don’t like hats but this was a decent picture 🙂

Let me know what you think!


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Theo came from the same litter as Sofie.

He is our tender soul.

It was such a sweet gesture when Lizz said we could take him along with his sister. But when we came to pick them both up, Theo freaked so bad he tore Lizz up. We were so afraid he would not work out. But we were determined to make it work. We met on neutral ground the second time. Lizz brought him to the cat show with her and he stayed in his carrier. We met her there and did a quick change-up and brought him home. It wasn’t as bad as the last time.

When we got home, we just opened the door to the carrier and let him come out on his own terms. He had been without his sister for a week. Lizz had said when she left, he cried for her every night. But when he saw her at our house, it was like he didn’t remember her. After a few hours, Theo had ventured out and made his way to his “safe spot” in our room. It didn’t take too long for him to get used to us, but he freaked at any sudden movement.

It’s been a few years now, and Theo has warmed nicely to us. He’s not a lap cat, really. Although he will get in our laps at the computer, or in my rocker, or on the couch. But on his terms. And he doesn’t stay for very long. He also likes to come and sleep on me around 4am for a few minutes. He doesn’t like to be picked up much, and he still freaks at any loud noise. But he is such a loving cat. Like I said, he has such a tender soul. He wears his heart on his sleeve. We love him and will take care of him forever.

Theo and The Drinkwell! 2 hours we spent laughing and cleaning up. He just didn’t understand the flowing water!

Read about our other cats here:


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