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February 2013

Entries from January 2013

(Not-So-) Wordless Wednesday: Latest Exploits

Link up here if you're any degree of Wordless today!


You may be able to figure out where we went on a mystery shop several times recently in the Outer Banks of North Carolina from the packaging in Rob's lap... Not such a flattering picture, but it makes me laugh, so here it is! I haven't been mystery shopping much at ALL lately, but when it pays well, I try to go!


Here's Chloë at Sweet Frog after the mystery shop - they look forward to going at every opportunity! Looks like we'll have to find a new FroYo place when we move to Miami, though, unless we go up to the Fort Launderdale area - sorry, kids!


Chloë's kitten, Pepper, has really been thriving after his scare in the animal ER when we first got him. Two blood transfusions later, and he now weighs exactly the same as Ginger, his twin and Sophia's kitten. Woohoo for that!


Rob, loving on Pepper and Ginger recently - we love our "grandcats" as much as the girls do!


After being sidelined for 6-8 weeks with medication issues, I'm finally back to knitting these doll sweaters for my friend Amy's Waldorf-inspired handmade dolls. She had commissioned me way back in the early Autumn, 2012, and I had been doing well, but the meds screwed up my progress for her Christmas doll deliveries. I feel terrible about that. Hopefully I can start to make up for it for her now...


Some more sweaters... You can check out Amy's dolls and her Etsy shop, Itsystitch, here - so cute!! I would love to get a doll for myself one day. ☺


That's me! A friend wanted a close-up shot, with an actual smile, after I posted about my four-year gastric bypass anniversary the other day. My full-body shot was quite candid, as you can see here, so he wanted a better view. Here ya go, folks! ;)


And finally, to celebrate my "surgiversary," we did - what else? - some eating. Ha! I was craving Chinese food, so we ordered in a bunch. I couldn't get much down, of course, and I couldn't keep it down, either, so it was rather disappointing. Ah, well. Here's a shot of the kids trying to learn how to use chopsticks, which was rather amusing in person. I love Jack's expression, haha... and yes, the kitchen has since been cleaned up and dishes washed. We are soooo lazy on the weekends, typically!

Have a great Hump Day, y'all!


Sunday Stealing: The Meme From Suburbia

Linky linky here, peepers!

1. What were you doing 10 years ago?

Well, I was enormously pregnant with our identical twin sons, awaiting their arrival and about to go into pre-term labor. That would take me on a downward spiral for the next three or so years... We had just been through a supertyphoon, in Guam (see previous post, Saturday 9), and I was declared unfit to survive on the island under those conditions. Hm. Shoulda stayed, but hindsight is 20/20.

2. By this time next year, I ...

... plan to be fully settled in Miami, proudly watching my husband go to college for the first time. Woot! I can't wait to see how it goes for him!

3. Do you think the United States will elect a female President in your lifetime? Do you think this would be a good thing?

Yes, and yes. I have a strong feeling Hill C. will be the one.

4. Which fictional TV show character you would shag anytime?

Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory - it would probably be terrible, but it would also be funny, fer darned sher!

5. Who is your greatest enemy?

Often, I would say it's me, myself and I.
6. Tell me about your most recent trip of more than 100 miles?

I went down to South Carolina a few weeks ago to allow my son to visit my dad for a week, and then dipped into North Carolina to pick him up again. Like I said, hindsight... I'm sure it'll never happen again, so I hope they both enjoyed it!

7. Which do you use more often, the dictionary or the thesaurus?

I use the dictionary more frequently, but I use the thesaurus more earnestly. Whatever the hell that means.

8. Do you have a nickname? What is it?

Look up. All the way up at the top of the screen. There it is, pal.

9. What are you dreading at the moment?

Blowing my nose again in T-minus five minutes. My poor schnozz is so sore!

10. Do you worry that others will judge you from reading some of your answers?

I used to, but I figure, they can click away as easily as I can hit the "delete" button on anything nasty anyone puts out there, right? I put lots of myself out there on the line, here and on Facebook, and somehow I still have tons of friends and "friends," so it's all right in the end.

11. If you find an outfit you love, but the size on the label is larger than you want, do you buy the outfit? Why or why not?

No. Again, I refer you to my last post, with my "before" and "four years after" surgery pictures. After going from a size 26 to a size 2-6 (depending on the maker), I don't ever intend to pay money for something that does not fit well again!

12. Even the biggest slackers are anal-retentive about something? What are you anal-retentive about?

Oh, lots of things, Hubs will tell you, but recycling everything I possibly can is probably the star of that show.

13. Out of all the books you read as a child, which one had the biggest influence on how you are today?

Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, together with The Bible

14. Which Golden Girl would you want to spend a night on the town with?

Hands down, if I couldn't hang with all four of those lovely ladies, it would have to be Estelle Getty's character, Sophia. Not unlike my own Sophia, she was a pistol!

15. What is the one product you would never buy in its generic form even if the generic is half the price?

Other than any prescription that requires the name-brand version, I would rather not buy cheese at all than by that crappy generic version. Blech!

16. How old were you when you stopped believing in Santa?

Five or six. I remember the day I found out about Santa, clear as a bell.  My sister and I found out together from our neighbor and BFF, Ursula. I don't remember being upset, just shocked that my parents would lie to me!

17. What is the one smell that turns your stomach without fail?

Infant formula puke - the smell of the formula is almost as bad, IMNSHO!

18. If someone holds out a carton of milk to you and asks you to sniff it to see if its spoiled, do you?

Without fail, I do.

19. You have a completely free day and $2000.00, what are you doing?

It depends on my starting point and if plane fare is involved, but it probably involves Manhattan!

20. What is the most used item in your home?

I would say my iPhone, but instead I'm going to say the toilet. Because there are five of us and one measly li'l bathroom in this ramshackle abode. There. I have now stooped to discussing the commode on my blahg. Happy? ;)

Have a spectacular week, fogies!


Saturday 9: Stormy Weather


Click here to check out some other fun peeps' answers this week!

Here are mine, dudes:

1. Do noisy storms scare you?

See that? Now that's a storm - aka Supertyphoon Pongson'a, the worst typhoon to hit Guam on record, when we were there in December of 2002. And I've been through countless hurricanes. So no, a little thunder doesn't make me duck and hide.

2. Whom do you consider one of today's most beautiful women?

4 years out

Gotta toot my own horn a little bit here, because that's ME, and today is my fourth surgiversary! So today, I'm celebrating THIS beautiful woman sitting in my seat, thanky kindly! (Just don't look at my tired eyes and big, red, runny nose. I haz a code.)

3. What should you be doing, instead of answering Crazy Sam's questions?

Cleaning. Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. What the hell else is new?

4. What's the most recent addition to your spam folder?

Years ago, back in my college daze, they got to me. I think I'm still on the hook for a big, honkin' cassette tape rack. Remember those? Yeah, me neither.

5. What was the last thing you cooked?

I made four people! Four people lived in me! And you want me to cook, too? What's next, buying the food now???

6. Do you remember the lyrics to either your high school or your college fight song? Share.

Once upon a time, I did know it, though. Garsh, that was over 15 years ago now. Holy sheet.

7.  What is the derivation and meaning of your first name?


Seriously, if one of you ever calls me "Melantha," I will punch you in the eyeballs. Yep, both of 'em.

8. Which team are you rooting for in the NBA or NHL this year?

No. Just, no.

9. Gloves, umbrellas, sunglasses, keys - which do you misplace the most?

I don't lose any of those things. Ever. No, fo' realz, I put them in exactly the same place every time, and the only time I can't find them is when a certain Mister Someone ELSE uses them. *ahem*

Happy weekend, folks!


Operation: Organization, And Other Surgeries

Recently, I mentioned my friend and 31 Consultant, Debbie. I love Thirty-One!! I now have, in my hot little hands (okay, in my house, anyway) ten different bags and other containers of goodness, and I'm fixin' to have more. Lots more. Y'see, one of my 2013 New Year's Resolutions was to tame the savage beast that is my desk. Witness:


Debbie had me over on Monday night to pick up my latest order of ultra-clearanced apple-themed bags and schtuff, and I asked her about this awesomeness I recently spotted on an email blast she sent me and other 31-lovin' pals:

31 room

Can you imagine my giddy glee when I saw that?! I want it. All of it. Okay, not the teeny-weeny desk, because come on, where would I put all my shit important desky-things? I can't just throw them in a box. I mean, you have to have your tape dispenser and stapler out if you're going to be, you know, taping and stapling papers all damned day long like I seem to be. But the rest? Love it. LURVE. I must have it. I will have it. Shortly before we move to Miami, it will be mine. I gua-rohn-TEE. And then I will move, and then I will hang it up, and then I will take pictures, and then I will post them, and then you will envy me. Hee!


Operation: Let's Get Physical is also a 2013 Resolution of the me. For years - like, literally, a decade - I have been trying to get off my arse and start the Couch-to-5K program. There are two kinds of people in this world that I hate: Runners and Morning People. Why? Because I am freakin' jealous as hell of those folks! I am neither. But darned if I don't want to be. So this is the year. I can't run in the cold, because I gasp for air and then flop around on the sidewalk like a dying fish, trying to breathe, but when we move to Miami, it's on like Donkey Kong, baby! If, in fact, I start C25K and still can't run, well, then I'll break out the ol' Rollerblades and head over to Lake Osceola at the University of Miami - the place that started it all, you know, my obsession with in-line skating - and bust a move. The only thing missing will be my late dog Johnny, who died a month or two before Sophia was born, and who used to be my skating pal back in the days of yore. I'll be lonely without him... Anybody in Miami got a dog I can borrow?


The final Resolution of 2013 is Operation: Return to Vegetarianism. It has begun. I have long since (August 1995, to be precise) given up beef, pork, and other mammalian meats, but I started back on chicken and certain sea creatures, none of which I have ever studied, after having Chloë. I needed the protein, man. I was a horrible vegetarian, and an even worser (heh, my grammar, it is the BOMB in this post!) vegan in college and graduate school (USF, Tampa), and not only did I gain a lot of weight - what's that about? Welp, there is no meat in chocolate, as I liked to say - but I got very sick, too. I just didn't bother learning how to eat properly, putting the right plant proteins together and stuff.

I have quit chicken as of last week, and all I need to quit creature-eatin' entirely is one last, yum-delicious crabcake from Uncle Chuck's, down at the Virginia Beach Farmer's Market. His are the BEST on Earth, and I would know, because I am THE crabcake connoiseur. Yup. I just gotta have one more, and then I'll be good to go for at least another, gosh, that is some good stuff, um, what? Yeah. One and then done. Maybe two. Okay, we'll see, but let's just say it's a good thing we're moving away from those tasty things, or else this Surgery would be a lot harder to live up to!


Did you make any resolutions this year? Are ya keepin' 'em?


Wordless Wednesday: Babes In Toyland


Jack, 9, and Sophia, 7, playing with the Air Hockey toy I got on super-dee-duper clearance - and don't look at our card table aka the "arts and crafts" table!


Chloë, 11, pretending to be her Aunt Stacey with 'hair doodles' on her phalanges


Jack building a wooden bi-plane at his Pinewood Derby this past Saturday

Link up here if you're any degree of wordless today!


Sunday Stealing: The Back Half Meme

Link up here if you're a thief like us! (Note to Mr. Lance: I love ya, man, but count your questions! I had to rename the meme... *wink*)

Cheers to all of us thieves!

15. How do you vent out your anger?

I yell and say a lot of four-letter words. If I'm super-beyond-pissed, I tend to throw shit. Not terribly emotionally mature of me, I know, but I'm working on it.

16. Favorite childhood toy?

I spent countless precious moments away from Auberta Lenora, Tiffany Jacqueline, and Andrea Gina, having to explain to my father that they were Cabbage Patch KIDS and not DOLLS. I mean, really!

17. Favorite season?

I'm a summa-time girl. Summa yours, summa mine, I'm a summa time girl... I bet none of you will get that reference. Usually I dole out the points in two-at-a-time increments, but I'll give you a hundred if you know from whence that came!

18. Do you ever get letters delivered by the post office?

As opposed to what, the Pony Express? All my mail gets delivered by the post office... (And yes, I'm intentionally reading that wrong. Come on, now.)

19. When was the last time you laughed hard?

Today. Someone was asking where, locally, she could get a microscope on the quick, in one of my online homeschooling forums. Someone else replied, "I'm a singer, and I got mine from ABCXYZ. It works awesome!" It took me a minute to realize that the respondent was talking about a microphone.... DER der der!

20.  What is on the floor of your closet? 

Do you know, I'm not sure? I haven't looked in there in a LONG time. Don't ask. I know Hubby has a bike or two in there, and that's all the information I need to keep out at this point.

21. Are you any good at drawing?

I'm pretty good at drawing baths and conclusions, but pictures... I'm only semi-decent. My dad is a pretty good sketcher, as is Hubs. My youngest babe, Sophia, seems to have an innate ability to draw well, too.

22. What did you do last night?

Well, this silent auction group (two, actually) I'm part of ends at midnight on Fridays, so I was up watching my bids and my sales! I sold a ton (yay) and won the two things I really wanted, so it was a rockin' night. The excitement of a 36-year-old mom just isn't the same as when I was a 20-year-old college co-ed...

23. What are you most afraid of?

No fear is worse than something happening to one of your children. I've already held one of four while he took his last breath. I never, ever, ever want to outlive another one of my babies.

24. Plain, cheese, or spicy hamburger?

Ew. I haven't eaten a hamburger in 17½ years. Like, don't have a cow, man.

25. Favorite dog breed?

Like I said last week, I've always wanted a Chihuahua puppy, but I also would love a Puli someday, too. Oh, the glorious amount of maintenance that must be done on these creatures, though! 

26. Favorite day of thee week?

Any day in which I've slept, Rob is home, and/or money arrives unexpectedly in the mail is a pretty good one, I think. Wait, I say that last one like it happens every week. Don't I wish?!

27. How many states/provinces/countries have you lived in?

I've only ever lived in the USA: New York, South Carolina, Florida, Guam, & Virginia. So, what's that, five? I can't count, all my energy is being focused on not peeing my pants right now. Okay, I give, I'll be back in a second.

******** INTERMISSION ********

Miss me? I feel better now, thanks.

28. Diamond or pearl?

If I must choose between those two things, then diamond, because duh! Diamonds and girls, you know... but I live my life in living color, and I generally abhor white. Diamonds, pearls and opals are on the bottom of my favorite "precious whatever" list. I'm so pleased my birthstones are sapphires, although I would have been happy with rubies and emeralds, too! And yes, I know, I'm a bit on the ridiculous side at times.

29. What is your wish for this new year?

I don't wish. I hope, plan, and achieve, or else I set new goals. So, at this moment, I'm in the hoping stage of finding somewhere decent and affordable to live in Miami in the next several weeks.

30. New year resolutions

That's not a sentence, let alone a question that I can answer. I'm going to take a wild guess that you're asking me if I have MADE any of those things for this year. I have, but so far I'm failing as miserably at last year at keeping the main one: Be more active. I'm just a lazy, lazy girl. I always have been. It's in my baby book, people! (Mom, haven't you ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy?! I had no choice!)

All right, I'm done here. You may proceed to the comments section to leave me something I'll love to read. Cheers!


Saturday 9: Bette Davis Eyes


Link up here if you're playing along this weekend!

1.  Has anyone ever told you that you resemble a celebrity?


Yes. That's me, right now, and that:

is Molly Ringwald, who I've heard a thousand times is the one I look like. When I have hair, and makeup on, I can see it, but right now I'm not so sure.

2. Is there an actor or actress whose movies you make it a point to see?


While I certainly haven't seen all their movies, Tom Hanks and Parker Posey are two of my favorites, and I will make it a special point to see their flicks if I get a chance!

3. We're stopping for refreshments before we go in to see the movie. What do you order?


I will order the biggest Diet Coke available, and if I must get something to eat, a hot pretzel with cheese - but only if the cheese is not at all spicy. I do not DO spicy!

4. When did you last consume an alcoholic beverage? What was it?


It was either a glass of red wine from a bottle the co-DJ of my morning radio show recommended to me at an event we both recently attended (and the partner of one of the Ringwald insistors from #1, with whom I no longer speak...), which I did NOT like, or a Mai Tai. I can't remember which was more recent, since it's been so long. I rarely drink, and never much when I do, anymore. Once upon a time, in high school on the weekends, I was quite the lush! 

5. Are you jumpy? Do you startle easily?

Do you remember that episode of Friends in which Ross promoted the concept of "unagi," that is, (paraphrasing) the ability to stay calm and not be startled when surprised? I always joke that I possess that, and the joke is, I SOOO don't! Don't ever put a gun in my hands; I'd probably have quite the itchy trigger finger! 

6. Do you wear a watch?

Almost never, except when I'm SCUBA diving, and then I wear one like the one above, there. But I haven't dove in over 10 years, sad to say. (I will be changing that come this Spring, when we move back to Miami, my original diving stomping grounds and where I got certified in the first place!) 

In college, I suddenly became allergic to all my jewelry, and my wristwatch was the worst offender. I can rarely wear a watch since then, without breaking out in an extremely uncomfortable rash that takes forever to be rid of. So, I typically just use my iPhone when I need a watch. It works.

7. When was the last time you tried a new restaurant?

Hmm. I think it was this past summer, for a date night with Hubs. I rode on the back of his motorcyle, and we went to a new Thai restaurant. Fun times! I love that guy; can't wait to have him all the time in a month! ♥

8. What color is your wallet?

Retro Metro Crossbody

 I don't really carry one, though I do have several, including a burnt orange one that was my mother's when she died. Instead, I carry a Cross-Body "satchel," as we've taken to calling it, that I bought from my friend and Thirty-One Consultant, Debbie. It's similar to the one above, but not quite the same; I don't see mine anymore. Mine's dark brown, but since I wear a lot of black, I need to get one in that color, too!

9. How much does your wallet have in coins right now?

I had to laugh at myself counting out change at 0415 on a Saturday morning for the sake of a blahg post! It came to $1.05, with only that last 5¢ being pennies, so not a whole lot right now. The Cross-Body doesn't like a lot of bulky change, after all, so I try to pare it down when I can.


That's it for this post! 


In Which Almost Ten Years Have Passed...

In March, Jack will be 10, and three days later, it'll be the decade anniversary of his twin's death.

If you're new around here, and want to know more about that, you can read about Robby here. I'll warn you, though, that this story has been proven to be quite the tear-jerker for many, so if you're not up to that, feel free to pass.

So why am I posting about this now, more than two months early? The main reasons are (1) It's constantly on my mind now, as we close a decade of missing our son, and (2) we will be in the process of completing a move to Miami (not San Diego, after all!), and I may find it hard to be online much at that time, between the anniversary, the move, and whatever other little crises come up between now and then. We do seem to have a lot of those.

I really don't know what to say, think, do, or feel about this major milestone since Robby died.  It has never stopped hurting, although time has softened the blow, certainly. I have stopped being angry with God for not granting the miracle I was so sure he would provide. I've stopped wanting to blame everyone for the mistakes they made at the hospital - except myself. I do still blame myself for not being a squeakier wheel; I suspect I'll never be able to stop that.  And I have even stopped seeing double every time I look at Jack, although it does still happen on occasion.

It is hard not to imagine what life would be like right now, with identical 9-year-old boys with blond hair, hazel eyes, and I have no idea what kind of temperament. All three of our living children are full of quirks, like their parents and especially me, and Jack is no exception. I wonder if Robby would have had the same or even related quirks, or if he would have manifested his own idiosyncracies. I wonder if he would still be the bigger boy, I wonder if he would have needed the daily growth hormone injections that Jack gets, and I wonder if he would have had all those delays, too.

I remember right after he died, when we had first moved into the house in Virginia Beach that we have now left behind, I would step out the front door and be amazed - no, stunned! - that the rest of the world was still living their lives as usual. How could that be? Don't they all know that my BABY just DIED?! Why isn't everyone stopping, holding their breath, freaking out, something, along with me? But no, it was business as usual for anyone outside our microcosm, and I was so deeply offended by that at the time.

Now I know, it is out of necessity, often, that people are able to pick up and move right along, even if something horrible has happened. I know this because I have to shut out the bad things that happen, especially to children (like Sandy Hook), and almost exclude them from my awareness entirely. Otherwise, my heart would break on a never-ending basis, and I am not strong enough for that.

I'm really not. People who know about the torments I've faced in my life are always telling me what a strong person I must be. I don't want to list them again, here, because then I will dwell on that and how it "looks" to be renumerating them, another time, instead of focusing on all the many blessings that have been bestowed upon me. However, I do feel that strength is not something one has, all the time, so much as something one is given at any particular time. There have been many attempts on my own life, both before and after Robby's passing, for instance. Is that strength to handle whatever God deems me strong enough to handle, or weakness not to be able to carry through? You decide.

I am such a different parent than the ones who raised me. I recently had it out with my own father, who blames his own upbringing for the way he raised my sister and me, over that very thing. I am certainly not a perfect parent to Chloë, Jack and Sophia, but I like to think that I am a much better one than my dad and stepmother ever were to me after Mom died. Why? Because I consciously and conscientiously decided I was going to be different, give them a different outcome. And when I mess up with them, I own up and apologize. So different. I have often said that if they would just do the same to me, own up and apologize for the severe damage to my psyche, it would go a long, long way toward my healing and recovery. I would be able to forgive what I can not now forget.

What does that have to do with losing Robby? Everything, I think. I felt as though, when he was taken from us, it was a punishment for past mistakes made. And others seemed to feel that way, too, judging from some comments I received in the first year afterward, when things really went haywire up in the ol' noggin.  Now, I know better. Things happen. Medical mistakes get made. People die. Life continues without them. It's not a hands-off way of thinking as much as a survival method, a coping mechanism. If I weren't a Biologist by training, I don't know that I would be able to think that way, but it is what has rescued me from completely falling into the abyss. I need to be here for my children and my husband. Robby does not need me right now, where he is.

I suppose I don't really know where this post is going, save being a place for me to get out all my thoughts crowding their way forward and down to my fingertips. Once I post these types of things, I am usually able to take a deep breath and stop obsessing so much over whatever it is.  I have learned that it is okay to obsess for a little while, but over-indulging can have catastrophic results for me and those around me. No need for that now, please.

In the end, no matter how deeply I feel about what happened to our son, no matter how much I think about it or yearn for him, he will still be gone. Dead. Yes, I can say it. I say it often, actually, although it's harder to type it out and see it right there in front of me, inescapable and LOUD. My son is dead. My husband is retiring from 20 years of service in the United States Navy and will soon be going to college, Chloë could hit puberty any day - year? - now, Jack will be a decade old, and Sophia's talents grow daily... but Robby will still be dead. Not a damn thing can change that.

  I just asked myself whether I would want to change that. At first, the "yes" seemed to be the obvious answer, but after really thinking about it, my answer is a resounding "I don't know!" So much about my life, our family's life, and our collective consciousness has been changed by that last gasp of breath. What would be different? Everything. What would be the same? Nothing. We might not have Sophia, for one thing, which is unimagineable. The girl makes her presence be known to all!  For another thing, so much healing about my mother's death has come about because of learning to deal with Robby's death. You don't look a gift horse like that in the mouth, even if doesn't seem like such a gift at the time, or to anyone else but me and my 'team' of psych folks.

I guess all that's left to ask is, now what? Do I stay in the CLIMB (Centers for Loss in Multiple Birth) Facebook group and continue to ignore most of the posts, lest I actually feel something uncomfortable? I don't know. Do we continue to celebrate his birthday along with Jack's? I don't know! One thing is for sure; whenever anybody notices the 'baby' necklace Rob's mom gave me, or asks me how many kids I have, the pat answer will always be, "I have three living and one in heaven." That can both be an invitation to ask more, or depending on my tone and expression, a door slammed shut. I will never deny my son's existence by not acknowledging him at all, though, in such cases. Please do not ask or expect me to; I will not. I will not.

The one thought I want to leave any of you who might still be reading this far along is, when someone you know has experienced a similar tragedy in their lives, please do not say, "I know," "I understand," or anything like that, because even if a similar thing has happened to you, everyone's path through grief is different, and the steps walked to get through it have started from different experiences and will lead there, too. Just say, "I'm sorry for your loss, and I am here for you." And then be there for them. A week, a month, even a year later. Just care.

Time to go now. I'm all out of thoughts on this for the time being. Thanks for reading.


Sunday Stealing: The 40 Random Questions Meme, Final Part

Link up here if you're a thief at heart, too!

21. What’s something you’ve always wanted?

Every year for as long as I can remember, my grandparents would ask me what I wanted for my birthday, and every year, I would ask for a Chihuahua puppy. I still haven't gotten one!

22. Do you have hairy legs?

I should say not! Unlike my fuzzy hubby, I inherited my relative hairlessness from my mom's father (same as in the question above). I hardly ever have to shave, and only then because I know it's there!

23. What does “Semper Fidelis” stand for?

Anyone who has studied a Romance language - or knows anything at all about the U.S. Marine Corps - knows that it means "Always Faithful" in Latin. It doesn't "stand for" anything, der.

24. Would you rather swim in the ocean or a lake?

Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, I'd choose the ocean. Now if I were in my 3rd trimester of pregnancy and there had just been a shark attack on the same beach the day before, I might back out and go to the stupid dumb boring lake. (Hence my being a marine biologist, and not a limnologist!) 

25. Do you wear a lot of black?

I used to, when I was super-morbidly obese. Now, I wear as much color as I can get away with. It's sort of a metaphor for my life.

26. Describe your hair.

It's about 1 cm long at the moment. A couple of months ago, I meant to trim my bangs and ended up going all Edward Scissorhands on myself. I have an ugly-shaped head that does not look good bald. I asked for a lot of bandanas for Christmas, and that helped disguise my lack of occiput!

27. Do you have Entomophobia?

The only bugs I don't like are the ones that touch me or get too close to me without my express written - and notarized, if there's time - permission!

28. Are you an adult?

Well, I'll be 37 this year, but I don't know if I'll ever reach true adulthood! I have a lot of childhood demons to exorcise first - but I'm getting there.

29. Do you own or rent?

Both, at the moment! Both have their upshots and downsides.

30. Do you have a tan?

No. It's Winter, and I don't fake-and-bake. I'm very fair, and skin cancer is not high on my list of must-haves.

31. Are you addicted to TV?

No; we don't even have television service. I couldn't begin to tell you what's on the tube these days.

32. Do you enjoy spending time with your In-laws?

More than they realize, I think

33. Are you a sugar freak?

I can't really have sugar, but it doesn't keep me from eating chocolate when I absolutely must have it. I don't know what I'd do if I were allergic to the stuff! 

34. What happened to Larry King?

Did something happen to Larry King? You tell me.

35) What sign are you?

I am the quintessential Virgo, but I make it a point not to read my horoscope.

36. What do you wish for on your birthday?

What, you weren't happy with the Chihuahua? I wish for peace and contentment in my own heart.

37. Who did you copy this from?

Well, you know the answer to that question, so let's get to the heart of the matter: Why can't the people who write memes write them well? That is, with proper English? Gah. Major peeve of mine.

38. Do you eat breakfast?

No, not anymore. I rarely eat at all anymore. I don't have time for that nonsense. Drinking is where it's at!

39. What would you name the royal baby?

Jasper Sebastian James Pendleton Forbes the First

40. Do you buy a newspaper?

We subscribe to the Sunday-Wednesday editions.


That's it for another week! Thanks for stopping by, yadda yadda. I will get back to a more regular posting habit again this week, by Jove!


Saturday 9: We Owned The Night


Link up here if ... you want. It won't hurt, I swear.

1) Can you recall a time when you danced and romanced like you "owned the night?"
Gosh, high school and college were sooo long ago! Thanks for the reminder. ;)

2) Samantha Winters admits she earned the name "Crazy Sam" during her party girl days in the 1980s. But now she's in bed by 11:00 PM. Do you have a regular bedtime? 
No. It's very irregular. Many nights, I don't sleep at all, which is fantastic.

3) Lady Antebellum is one of the most popular acts in country music. Do you often listen to country music?
Never, except to quickly change stations away from it when I'm looking for something to listen to on the radio as we drive long distances. (Do people in northern North Carolina only listen to either country or hip-hop??)

4) Are you responding to this meme on a desktop or laptop or phone or tablet? 
Or... or... or, what's wrong with commas?? Desktop, for the record.  I only use the lappy-toppy when forced, like when traveling.

5) How often do you check your horoscope?
I used to check it every day as a kid, but I never read it anymore. And yes, I'm a true Virgo.
6) Congratulations! You just won a trip to Switzerland! Is your passport up to date?
It expired a few months ago. :\

7) Do you know how to snow ski?
Cross-country, but not downhill - my sister tried to teach me, but I got skeered and fell over on purpose.

8) What's the first beverage you drink in the morning?
Diet Coke, unless I don't have a dollar to my name and/or don't feel like driving down the road to 7-11. Then, chances are, coffee.
9) Are you a good speller?
Of COURSE I am! ;)
Have a loverly weekend; I may actually write a 'real' post during this one, so check back Monday!

Sunday Stealing: I've Heard THAT Before Meme, Part The First

Linkage is here. (I'm not usually so succinct. Enjoy it while it lasts.)

1) What side of the heart do you draw first? 

The left, always

2) Can you dive without plugging your nose? 

Sure can, but I can't plug my nose without diving. Huh? What's that, you say?

3) What color is your razor? 

I have three razors in there right now, a pink one, a yellow one, and a purple one. Don't ask me why; I don't rightly know.

4) What is your blood-type? 

I'm O-, the universal donor. (Gawd, I hate it when people try and tell me it's O+, like a bunch of dinguses.)

5) Who would you want to be tied to for 24 hours?

My husband. We'd probably laugh our asses off the whole time. As long as I had my medicine with me, anyway...

6) What is a rumor someone has spread about you? 

That I'm sane. Oh. Wait. No, no, they didn't.

7) How do you feel about carrots?

I suppose they'd do in a pinch, but I prefer my husband.

8) How many chairs at the dining room table?

Right now, we are still using our card table, and we have four chairs set up because I rarely eat with the family. I'm sorry, but watching people eat after I finish in two bites is not my cup of tea.

9) Which is the best Spice Girl? 


10) Do you know what time it is? 

Pretty sure I learned to tell digital time about 30-some-odd years ago, yes. It's 0144.

11) Do you know all the words to the Fresh Prince theme song? 

I know about 90% of them!

12) What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator? 

C'mon, you know I would freak the fuck out after about 2½ seconds.

13) What’s your favorite kind of gum? 

Something fruity. Anything but watermelon, though. Or grape. Yuck.

14) All’s fair in love and war?

I have no response to that. It's not even a real question.

15) Do you have a crush on anyone?

I'm crushing on Hubs at the moment. We had a scintillating conversation the other day and... wait. That's not so unusual for us.

16) Do you know how to use some words correctly, but not know the meaning?

Hmm. I don't entirely see how that's truly possible.

17) Do you like to sleep? 

I love to sleep. I wish I did it more regularly.

18) Do you know which US states don’t use Daylight Savings time?

I know Arizona doesn't. I'm not sure if any others don't.

19) Do you know the words to the song Total Eclipse of the Heart? 

Hey, only one "do you know all the words to this song" question per meme, s'il vous plaît.

20) Do you want a bright yellow ‘06 mustang?

Red cars go faster. I want a convertible Smart For Two. So cute!

That was short and sweet. Back to work for moi


Saturday 9: Brand New Me


Here's your link, in case you haven't been around for the past however long I've been doing this meme!

1) It's a brand new year! Do you have any resolutions for 2013? 
I do. I want to finally get started on the Couch-to-5K program, and I want to move out of my comfort zone and work on my JAFRA business more than I have been doing.

2) Dusty Springfield sang of feeling "brand new." What leaves you feeling refreshed and/or rejuvenated? 
Uh. Sleep.

3) Dusty's given name was Mary Catherine. If you could give yourself a brand new first name, what would it be?
I wouldn't. I would give myself a new middle name, though. I hate Ann. I would choose to be Melanie Penelope instead. I love syllables.

4) Actor Billy Bob Thornton has dismissed antiques, saying, "I'm creeped out by old stuff." Do you ever shop at estate sales, yard sales or second-hand stores? Or do you want everything brand new?
I like an eclectic mix of old and new (except produce. I pretty much like fresh produce), with lots of character in whatever it is.

5)  Are you sad to see the holiday decorations slowly disappear until next year? Or do you think they should come down on January 2?
Speaking of January 2nd, that was our 12th anniversary. And no, I'm not sad. Once it's over, it's over.
6) Do you like the picture on your photo ID?
It's all right, sure.

7) Crazy Sam shudders at the very thought of a snake. Which is your least favorite member of the Animal Kingdom?
I'm a biologist, so I like it all except when bugs land on me without my express written permission.

8) What's the most recent magazine you flipped through?
A summertime issue of Martha Stewart Living, along with about 20 others right before that. I picked them up off my floor and was looking for unexpired coupons!
9) Do you have nice handwriting?
I fancy that I do, although I have noticed arthritis is starting to take effect on that, too. Bugger.
Stick around, kids; I'll be right back with some Sunday Stealing.

Sunday Stealing Double Play: Triple Threat & Mixed Bag Memes


Linkage is here if you want to read answers better than mine! ;)

Sunday Stealing: The Triple Threat Meme

Three names you go by, other than your given name:

Smellyann, its predecessor Mellie-Ann, and Mom

Three screen names you've had

Dillaboo, Smellyann, and my real, full name, which was an accident and became a big joke amongst my friends...

Three things you like about yourself

I'm creative, I'm intelligent, and I'm freakin' hilarious.

Three things you don't like about yourself

Being bipolar, being too self-indulgent, and being too shy/mousy with new people & situations
Three parts of your heritage

I'm roughly 2/3 German/Pennsylvania Dutch, 1/6 Hungarian, & 1/6 English.
Three things you are wearing right now

A purple bandana to cover my slightly-more-than-stubbly head, now, a striped long-sleeve t-shirt, and tight gray pants that I can't stand to wear because I hate the feel of them against my skin.

Three favorite bands/musical artists

Eric Clapton, Jewel (the old stuff), and, um,... Kelly Clarkson. Yeah, I love that kid.
Three favorite songs

Okay, we'll go with ones by each of the above: "Tears in Heaven," "The Morning Song," and "My Life Would Suck Without You"
Three things you want in a relationship

Total honesty, scintillating conversation, and tons of laughs
Three things about the preferred sex that appeal to you:  

Muscular arms, eyes that crinkle when he smiles, and a sharp wit (SCORE!)

Three of your favorite hobbies

Knitting, paper-crafting, and, duh, this blahg

Three things that scare you

Losing another child, speaking in public, and leaving my children without a mother like I was

Three of your everyday essentials:  

 Diet Coke, Internet, & my children's laughter

Three places you want to go on vacation: 

Australia's Great Barrier Reef, Japan, and Hawai'i
Three careers you have considered/are considering

Family court judge, marine biology (check!), and teacher (check!)
Three things you want to do before you die:  

See the whole world, go to a gay bar, and visit Times Square for New Year's Eve, brrrr

Three things you want to do really badly right now

Clean up this house, sell the old house, and move to California!



 Sunday Stealing: The Mixed Bag Meme

1. How many songs are in your library?

Ugh. I lost my entire library when my computer crashed. I've got, like, five albums' worth now. Boo.

2. Do you like Christmas music? 

Yes, but only for a week or two. Then I am so over it!

3. What magazines do you have subscriptions to?

I get so many free mag subscriptions, it's ridiculous. I have everything from People to Forbes, Martha Stewart Living to U.S. News & World Report, Essence to Latina (though I'm neither black nor Hispanic!)... and sooo many more.

4. What is your favorite scent?

Citrus smells - lemons, limes, and oranges, are my favorites.

5. Do you give money to charity?


6. What is your theme song?

"Crazy," by Gnarls Barkley - it's my ringtone for my therapist, which I find very amusing, and so does she!

7. What's in your wallet?

I don't really carry a wallet so much as wear a little satchel, so I'll tell you what's in that instead: spare coinage, cards of the debit, ID, insurance and voter varieties, cash when I have it (two bucks right now), my kids' gift certificates to Build-a-Bear Workshop right now, a small gold business card holder with a few of my cards in it, and occasionally, I'll stuff my iPhone and lip balm in there. 

8. Do you generally think before you act, or act before you think?

Most anyone who knows me - even a little bit - will tell you it's the latter, unfortunately. Sometimes it's served me well, though. 

9. Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days?

You mean like our finances being in the shitter?? That's about it.

10. Do you have a good body-image?

How could I? I don't have a good body. :/ 

11. How are you spending your holidays?

At home with my family, as per our usual. I like it just that way.

12. What have you been seriously addicted to lately?

Getting rid of as much stuff as possible, in preparation for our cross-country move and an expected down-sizing of our abode!

13. Tell us a secret?

It's not a really a secret - I have few of those, y'know - but in grad school (and now, on Facebook), a girl whose father helped develop Universal Product Codes (UPCs) and their scanners was my pal. 

14. What’s the last song that got stuck in your head?

Thanks to my girl-crushing 11-year-old daughter, "I Knew You Were Trouble" by Taylor Swift. Hey, it's catchy. At least it's not Justin Bieber. 

15. What’s your favorite item of clothing?

I don't really pick favorites like that. I'm an equal-opportunity everything. I love that I can fit into lots of my very-skinny hubby's clothes now, but I'm the type of girl who gives preferential treatment to my left hand as much as possible, because I feel guilty when I don't use it as much as my right. Yeah. Can you say "OCD"? 

16. Do you think Rice Krispies are yummy?

They're okay, but my cereal days are pretty much over now, thanks to my cranky pouch.

17. Is Santa real?

I'd like to be my usual rose-colored glasses self and be all, yeah, the magic, blah blah, but no. No. I told my children the truth about Santa long ago, when they were still quite young. (Not because I wanted to dash their sweet Christmas dreams; rather, they were quite disrespectful of the things we worked hard to provide for them, and I wanted them to develop a respect for their property - and ours - by knowing from whence they really came.) 

18. What should you be doing right now?

Knitting, and now I shall do just that.


Saturday 9 Double Play: Same Auld Lang Syne & Happy Holidays


Of course, if I'm going to play catch-up from the last several weeks, it's easiest to start via meme, and that's just what I'm going to do. ;) Linkage is here if you are also late to the party or want to check out some other players.

1) This week's song is the tale of an accidental holiday encounter between former lovers. (Hear it here.) They sit in her car and spend hours catching up, then she gives him a chaste kiss and they never see one another again. Is there a past love who still has a special spot in your heart, despite the years or the miles since your relationship? 

I suppose there is, though I don't like to discuss it, and especially not here!
2) This week's song includes a play on the traditional Scottish song, "Auld Lang Syne." Have you ever visited Scotland?
No, and although it's not high on my must-see list, it would still be nice to go. I do want to visit every corner on Earth before I die, after all!
3) Mother Winters has long told Sam that if she has a glass of water for every glass of champagne she drinks on New Year's Eve, she'll feel better on New Year's Day. Do you have a favorite hangover prevention tip or cure?
Don't drink.

4) Do you like champagne?
Heck yeah! Not dry, though; I can't stand it dry. I need some sweet!

6) This year at midnight, Crazy Sam will kiss the nose of her puppy, Chico. Will you be kissing anyone when the clock strikes 12?
Hubs had to stand the 1600-2400 watch on New Year's Eve, so it was just me and the kiddos for a group hug and cheek smooches. He got home about 15 minutes after the ball dropped, and I got my kiss then.

6) The Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy was the runaway publishing phenomenon of 2012. It was so successful that the publisher, Random House, was able to give its employees massive bonuses this year. Have you read it?
Not yet, but I'm told that I simply must.

7) Year-end is a time for newspapers, magazines and websites to run lists. According to, Jennifer Lawrence of The Hunger Games is the at the of the year's "Most Desirable Woman" list. People magazine has declared Channing Tatum "The Sexiest Man Alive -- 2012." Do either of these two set your pulse racing? If not, who is your celebrity crush?
I wouldn't know Jennifer Lawrence if she were sitting right in front of me - haven't seen the flick yet - and Tatum really doesn't do anything for me. Matt Damon, now... phew!
8) Pasadena, California, is known for hosting the traditional Rose Parade. It begins at 8:00 AM on January 1, so the people who watch it live must be there very early. Does the thought of getting up and dressed to sit in the California sun, bright and early on New Year's morning appeal, to you?
I suppose once we live in Cali, it would, but I haven't watched the parade on TV since I was a teen.

9) Sometimes aches and pains that aren't serious can still really hurt. For example, Sam just dropped a can of tomato paste on her foot and the little red mark it left is making her crazy! Are you suffering through a bump or bruise or cut right now?
Not really, but I do have an interesting injury. I forget the full name for it (something ab igne), but I've been warming myself this winter by resting my feet on the mini space heater under my desk, and uh, well, basically my left leg is cooked. Like, it's gross. I didn't even realize that's what the nastiness was from until my BFF, Dr. Weezie, pointed out the obvious to me. And yes, it hurts. Now. (Yet I haven't stopped! Can you say, "idiot"??)
Christmas HappyHolidays


1. As you can see, Sam loved giving her annual wish list to Santa. Yet some children are reluctant to climb into Jolly Old St. Nick's lap. Did you enjoy the tradition or were you shy? Or did you bypass it altogether -- either because you wrote him a letter or because your family didn't celebrate Christmas?
I found out the truth about Santa when I was about 5 or 6 years old, and honestly, I really can't remember what I did before that. Lame answer, I know.

2. Are you currently on the Naughty or Nice list? How did you get there?
Naughty. Because I'm naughty, duh.

3. Did you ship any gifts to friends and family this year? If so, which one traveled the farthest?
I guess the gifts I haven't sent yet - and have, also - to my nieces in New York were the farthest? It's not a time for us to be sending lots of presents, though, financially speaking...

4. Did you buy yourself a gift this year?
Um, yeah. It's kind of a sore spot between Hubs and me right now, still, I think, but I replaced my dysfunctioning iPhone 4 with the iPhone 5 a month or so ago, without checking with him first, while he's still doddering along with his from two models ago. Hey, I'm rougher on my phones, I suppose, but I've got this one fully ensconced in armor now. ;)

5. What's your favorite holiday-themed movie?
It's always been Miracle on 34th Street. Do you know I've never watched It's a Wonderful Life all the way through in my 36 years?!

6. Thinking of movies, Christmas is lucrative for Hollywood. Have you ever gone to a movie theater on Christmas Day?
Yes, it became a family tradition when my father remarried, so from when I was 8 until... they split, I guess.

7. Have you ever suffered an embarrassing moment at the company Christmas party?
I haven't ever been to one. However, when we I was pregnant with the twins and we lived in Guam for Thanksgiving, 2002, we went to the squadron turkey dinner. Needless to say, my various mental disorders were untreated thanks to pregnancy (and not being fully diagnosed yet), and my hormones were running rampant with the double whammy inside me. I brought our dish into the building, where I knew nobody except Hubs and our toddler, and not a soul looked up, greeted me, told me where to put the food, or any damn thing. I stood there like a fool for five minutes before furiously stomping out of there and refusing to return. I'm still embarrassed, but our makeshift little dinner at home together, with the barest bones food, was way better anyway!

8. What's your favorite beverage in cold weather?
I don't care if it's 50º below, I'm still gonna love my Diet Coke!

9. What will you remember most about 2012?
Moving out of our house of 9½ years and preparing for Hubs' retirement in our "halfway house" is the most salient thing about, well, last year now.
Speaking of Diet Coke, I'm fixin' to run out to 7-Eleven for a refill of my 'keg,' and then I'll be back for two episodes of Sunday Stealing. Stay put, y'all!

I Have Returned.

Hi there, friends! Medical issues and a strong desire to spend the holidays with Team Odette required me to take a little sabbatical from the blahg, but I'll be back shortly to play catch-up. 

January 2013

Meanwhile, from my whole family to yours, Happy New Year!