My Unwanted Super Power

I’ve always had a keen olfactory system, but over the past couple years, it has become my unwanted super power.  Or maybe it is my kryptonite.

Not only do I smell everything, but seemingly ordinary smells can nauseate me.  Last night, cooking dinner, I had to walk away from the stove twice because I was on the verge of gagging.

Gagging!  Until my forties, I had to be cleaning up vomit for my gag reflex to kick in.  Now, the smell of mayo can do it.

A Faded Ginger Licorice Breath

On a bad day, if my husband breathes within a six foot radius of me after eating licorice, it can trigger my gag reflex.  On a good day, he can eat it on the other end of the sofa.

My poor husband!  He thought I was joking when I first told him about the hyper-smell-reactivity, but now he asks me if it’s okay to eat near me.

Sometimes it’s not.

Smells I’ve always disliked now turn my stomach upside down.  The heavy vinaigrette my husband loves on salads will drive me out of the room, and hot dogs are revolting.  On the worst days, even foods I would eat, like scrambled eggs, have the same effect.

Carefully chosen, lightly scented candles have become kitchen necessities, because I do not like to wake to the aroma of last night’s dinner, no matter how good it was.  (I will never again buy a house lacking an exhaust fan over the stove.)

It’s not only food that offends me.  Last week, I made my husband throw away a bathroom waste bin because I could smell it from my seat on the sofa.  Through a closed door.  After I had thoroughly cleaned the bathroom.  I tried spraying the bin with Lysol first, but ended up with a Lysol induced headache.  So it had to go.

I refuse to go inside MicroCenter because it smells like mildew.  My husband and daughter insist it doesn’t, but I doubt they would notice the stench of old dishrags or sponges either.  (I change my kitchen linens every day, so this is an untested theory.)

I slipped my shoes off in the car the other day, only to be assaulted by my own stinky socks/shoes/feet.  The shoes were quickly on again as I exclaimed, “Oh, sorry!  I didn’t know my shoes were so stinky!”  My husband hadn’t noticed.

Unfortunately, I notice and tell him that he smells all the time.

A Faded Ginger Smoking Stinks

Other people, and their houses, smell, too, but no matter the circumstances or smells, I try not to react.  If I feel gaggy, I go home where my own family gets to hear things like:

  • Did you have onions/mustard/coffee/pickles/chocolate while you were out?
  • You can’t smell that?
  • Did you buy a new shampoo/deodorant?
  • Where did you wash your hands?  That soap is nice/spicy/perfume-y.
  • I can smell you from way over here.  You need a shower.
  • Please wash that pan; it’s stinking up the whole house.
  • Prop the door open so the washer doesn’t get stinky!
  • You smell like sunshine and dirt.  (That one is a compliment.)
  • Do I smell like bacon/garlic/smoke/curry to you?
  • How can diesel be clean when it nauseates me?
  • Put that in a ziploc and then in a container so it doesn’t stink up the fridge.
  • Your room smells.  Open the window for a bit.
  • That blanket smells like dogs.
  • Why does it smell like old cardboard in here?
  • Please brush your teeth.
  • The air smells like creosote today.

Most days I feel worse for my family than I do for myself, and my husband takes the brunt of it.  I must annoy the bejeebers out of him, but to his credit, he puts up with this new kind of weirdness.  He often laughs, but he rarely complains.


Movie Makeovers, 1958 Edition


I’m a Hitchcock fan, so when a film historian hosted an Alfred Hitchcock film series at the library, I went.  I had seen all the movies, but I enjoyed the lectures afterwards, with the little tidbits of behind the scenes gossip and film analysis.

The night we watched Vertigo, the professor (he teaches at a university) emphasized the absurdity of the Academy Award for Best Picture being awarded to Gigi that year.  Vertigo was not nominated, but is today ranked 66 on the American Film Institute’s Top 100 Movies list.  (Gigi is no where to be seen.)

There are things to be said in favor of Vertigo, but the one the professor chose was bizarre.  He bashed Gigi as an example of a frothy but chauvinistic depiction of women as objects.  There are a lot of valid arguments for Vertigo as a film, but feminism is not one of them.  I was left thinking, “Did he see the same movies I saw?”

A conservative suit doesn’t make a woman strong, and a pretty dress doesn’t weaken her resolve.  A makeover cannot change a person’s heart, their strength of character, or their lack thereof.  Brooding doesn’t equal intelligence, and happiness isn’t shallow.

Holding on to who you are while you pursue your dreams can be difficult, but you won’t live Happily Ever After without it.


Do you remember pet store monkeys?

Remember the days when people kept leopards and cheetahs and other exotic animals as pets?

Neither do I.

All my knowledge of big cats as pets comes from movies like Bringing Up Baby.

(If you have never seen it, you should.  Not only did Bringing Up Baby star Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant and a leopard, but it also stars Asta, the best canine actor ever.)

I am, however, old enough to remember monkeys being sold in suburban pet stores.  Nobody I knew had one, but I did have an memorable encounter with a pet store monkey once.

I was quite small, and we were there choosing replacement fish for our tank.  I’m not certain, but I think my brother and I were on our own in the shop while my mother was buying groceries next door at the A&P.  That might not be true; I suspect my various memories of that pet shop have merged into one, but in any case, I know my brother and I were in the pet store, choosing fish.

I am certain I chose an angel fish, because I never chose anything but angel fish.   Free of decision making, I could roam the store looking at the puppies, kittens, and monkeys.  That was the best part of the pet shop, the puppies and kittens.  The monkeys were a novelty, but I didn’t want one the way I wanted a kitten, which were forbidden due to my brother’s allergies.

The monkey cage was front and center in the shop, with the cash register between it and the door.  I was standing by the cage, simultaneously waiting for my brother to choose a fish and watching the door for my mom.  So my back was to the monkeys.

One of the little imps reached out and grabbed my hair!  He yanked his arm back in the cage, slamming my head against it.  Monkeys are strong and tenacious!  He was not going to let go.

I did what any little girl in that situation would do:  I screamed as if that monkey were about to eat my brains!  The pet shop man ran over and pried my hair out of the monkey’s grasp, while the monkey and I both continued to shriek in horror.

Never again did I stand near a monkey’s cage.

Also, I decided to stick with dogs and cats….or, maybe, a cheetah or a jaguar or a herd of baby elephants, like the lady in Hatari.

What about you?  If you could have an exotic animal as a pet, would you?  Which would you choose?

(Since this is make believe, pretend it is not cruel keeping wild animals as pets, and pretend nothing is in danger of going extinct.  However, do not pretend that tigers are herbivores or that monkeys won’t pull your hair or anything crazy like that.)

Mating Season?

Love was not in the air.

She is not impressed. via A Faded Ginger

These two suitors were expressing great interest,
but their lady friends were not impressed.
At least not yesterday.

Lovesick Polar Bear via A Faded Ginger

Maybe today will be their day.  I hope so.
I’d like to see baby polar bears!

Do you know the gestation period for polar bears?
Anywhere between 190-260 days.

Aren’t you glad your due date wasn’t that vague?

Alliteration: alluringly amusing or absurdly annoying?

I know, I know, alliteration makes a writer a laughing stock, but, I can’t help it, when I’m thinking of what to blog, they just come to me.

  • Foodie Friday
  • Friday Photos
  • Free for all Fridays
  • Friday Fun
  • Fashion Fridays
  • Thankful Thursday
  • Three Things Thursday
  • Thoughtful Thursday
  • Thrifty Thursday
  • Sing Song Saturday
  • Sunday Sermonettes
  • Stortytelling Saturday
  • Science Saturdays
  • Simply Sunday
  • Top Ten Tuesday
  • Tuesday Toss-up
  • Truthful Tuesday
  • Techie Tuesday
  • Trixie Tuesday
  • Mondays on Marriage
  • Movie Monday
  • Mid-life Monday
  • Makeover Monday
  • Moms on Monday
  • Mood-swing Monday
  • Monday Memories
  • Wednesday Wonders
  • Wishful Wednesday
  • Whatcha Reading Wednesday
  • Winston on Wednesday


And yet….it is Wednesday.

I’m reading Alexander McCall Smith’s latest Scotland Street book as it is published serially in the Scotsman.  It is gentle reading, and I enjoy this cast of characters.  In my One Year Bible reading plan I’m in Job (it’s a chronological plan).  Last night, I started Matthew Brzezinski’s Isaac’s Army, A Story of Courage and Survival in Nazi-Occupied Poland.

I am wishing that I had not delayed maintenance on so many little things around the house, because they have added up, and now I feel overwhelmed.

I should have listened to Winston Churchill who said, “However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.

Wondering if there is anyone crazy enough to want to carry a cloned Neanderthal baby – I am thinking, yes, there probably are a whole slew of women who would volunteer, and the numbers would multiply if it got them a reality show on TV.  (Not me, if you were wondering about that.)

What are you reading or wishing or wondering about today?

Dogs on the Furniture (on Pinterest)

Do you use Pinterest?  I joined it a couple years ago, and find it just as appealing as the cut-from-catalog paper dolls I played with as a girl.

I also enter contests on it, which means I have some odd boards.

My most followed Pinterest board is one that did not win me a Kate Spade Vespa last spring.  Sometimes I delete my unrewarded efforts at winning prizes, but not usually.  This one sat unnoticed for months, until, for reasons unknown to me, people started following it this winter.

I wish the people at Vespa would notice and be impressed and give me a consolation scooter this spring, but in the meantime, I am entertaining myself with my current favorite Pinterest board:  Dogs on the Furniture.

Yes, I have a board devoted to the pictures I run across featuring other people’s dogs lounging on their sofas, beds, chairs, and sometimes tables.

Although you might not guess it upon seeing my home, I enjoy looking at design books and blogs.  When someone with a beautiful home shares a photo of their dogs on the furniture, I pin it.

Trixie Sunbathing on the Table @AFadedGingerIt makes me feel chic and stylish when I later catch Trix sunbathing on the sofa table.  (That’s her, “What, Mom?  You’re not mad at me, are you?” pose, because she really does know she is not supposed to be napping on tables.)

If you have a photo of your dog on the furniture on your blog or website, share the link with me in the comments.  I will pin your dog to my board, so you, too, can feel trendy and sophisticated when Fido takes over your favorite chair.

If you want to share, I’ll look at your favorite Pinterest board, too (G and PG only).

A New Definition of Greatness

Martin Luther King, Jr.
How do you define greatness?

How do you want to be remembered?

In his last sermon, Rev. King spoke about greatness and how he wanted to be remembered at his own funeral.  You can listen to the sermon in full, or read a full transcript here.

I hope you will, but I know you might not have time, so at least listen to his closing (abridged) thoughts. These are probably the most famous portions, where he spoke of how he would like to be remembered.

A cell phone saga that ends where it started.

In early December, my cell phone died, or the battery did.  I didn’t want a new phone, so I bought a $4 battery on Amazon.

Last Saturday, that battery died.

Near-Ancient, but beloved phone of Ginger Kay.I debated over replacing the battery again or buying a new phone.  Even if I put a new battery in it once a month, it would be cheaper than a new phone.  However, that would mean either stocking up on batteries or going without the phone for a week every time the battery dies.  Then, too, what if the batteries start dying more frequently?

The safest bet would be to buy a new phone.

I went to Costco to look at phones.  I did not really want any of the phones they offered.  I like my old Droid 2, with its slide out keyboard; I didn’t want a touchscreen only.  So I bought a Samsung Galaxy with a keypad for $50 (plus the $30 activation fee).

I hated it.

There is nothing wrong with it, I’m sure.  I know it is me.  I just didn’t want to take the time to figure out how to use it.  I hated that the phone kept guessing at the words I was typing and getting them wrong.   I hated searching for the functions I use the most.  I just hated it because it was different.

This isn’t surprising.  I’ve already admitted that I am on the low end of the tech learning curve.

My son has a newer Droid, with a keypad, so Monday morning, we went to the Verizon store to see if it was still in stock.  It was not on the floor, but they said they did have one, for $200 (plus the $30 activation fee).

No thank you.

I briefly considered abandoning a smart phone altogether and getting a flip phone.  Or seeing if my old flip phone still worked.  I think I could relearn texting on a number pad.

New Droid PhoneThen I went back to Costco and exchanged the Samsung for a new Droid, with only a touchscreen, for $70 (plus the activation fee).

Since my son was still home, I asked him to set it up to look exactly like my old phone, with the things that are important to me on the main screen and all those irrelevant but pretty features hidden where they won’t distract me.  Ten minutes later, he had it just like I wanted.  I have no idea how he did it.

I still missed the keypad from my old phone.  However, I could find everything on the new phone, so I accepted that I’d just have to hurdle this learning curve and get over it.

Tuesday morning, I woke early to see my son off.  My new phone was dead!


I told my husband, and he mentioned it had been lit up all night while charging.  What?

The charger killed the battery!

Did it kill my old phone, too?

I’d been using this charger from at least two phones ago for, let’s say, at least seven years, because it has a really long cord.  All the phones I’ve bought since have had short cords, so I just kept using the one that nicely reached up to my night stand.

Who knew phone chargers could go bad?

So I charged both my new and my old phones with new chargers, and they both worked fine – negating the need for a new phone.

Thursday, embarrassed and hoping that a different employee would be working the phone kiosk at Costco, I went back to return the new phone and re-activate my old one.  I did indeed find a different employee, but I ended up telling the complete saga anyway.  He had never heard of a battery charger killing a battery, but said that most people don’t keep those things for years and years.

He also said that most people are happier getting a new phone than getting back their old one, but he was friendly and non-judgmental.  I promised that when I was ready for a new phone, I’d buy it at Costco.
Stealing the Sunlight | A Faded Ginger

Lessons Learned:

  • Do not use the same charger for more than five years.
  • Do buy your phones at Costco.
  • Do not hesitate to return a phone to Costco.
  • Cheap batteries from Amazon do work.
  • Twenty year olds can do with a phone in minutes what would take you weeks.
  • If you put a chair in the sun for a photo shoot, it becomes a dog portrait session.

The Early Bird Gets What?

All my life, I’ve been an Early Bird.

However, that does not mean what it used to mean.  It used to mean waking up and immediately starting my day.  Lately, it means I wake up, get out of bed, take care of the dogs, then curl up under a blanket on the sofa, barely awake for the next two hours.

It’s pathetic.  I do not stay up any later than I ever did, and I am “waking” at the same time, so I know I am getting enough sleep.

Saturday night, I went to bed thinking that I should bake a cake and make macaroni and cheese before going to church on Sunday.  Our service starts late – 10:30 – so I have plenty of time in the morning.

Sunday morning, I was sorely tempted to curl up on the sofa with my laptop, but I wanted to go to the Botanic Gardens in the afternoon.  The downside to such a late worship service is that it’s past noon by the time we get home.  I needed to have lunch ready when we got home.  So I baked the cake.  Then I made the mac and cheese.  I still had time to goof off online, too.

Not only was I not tired, I wasn’t cold, either, because instead of sitting on my butt, I was moving around.

Like I used to do every day.

The truth is, I’ve become idle in the morning because I can be.  I don’t need to get chores out of the way before starting the school day.  I don’t have little ones who need my care in the morning, or anyone that needs to be coaxed out of bed into action.  I don’t have to drive anyone anywhere in the morning, and I don’t need to get myself ready for work.

I am no longer in the habit of being productive before 9:00am.

This morning, inspired by my new insight, I decided to start the day with productivity and clean bathrooms while my daughter was getting ready for school.

She left the house without saying good morning or good bye!

She’s never done that before!  Ever!

When I’m sitting on the sofa with my blanket and laptop, she always comes in to say good morning, ask a question or two, and always shouts out an, “I’m leaving, Mom!” before walking out the door.   I always shout back, “Have a great day, Sweetpea!”

Since I was busy, she left without a word.

So my bathroom is clean, but my heart feels a bit empty.  Not a good trade.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll be sitting on the sofa with my blanket and laptop.

How do you start your day?

Free Books, Anyone?

I am a reader.  I love reading.  I love talking about what I’ve read.  I love hearing about what others have read.  (Unless it is trash.  Just being honest.)

So, when I heard about World Book Night, imagine my excitement.  They want to give away free books, and they are looking for people who want to help.

I want to help!  Pick me, pick me!

Take a look at the twenty-three titles they’re printing this year, and pick your top three, then fill out the application form.

The deadline to apply is January 25th, so don’t dawdle.

If I get chosen, I’ll be sure to tell you all about it. There’s no guarantee, though, as they try to spread the books out both geographically and by availability of the books requested.

For my readers in the UK, here is the World Book site for you.