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Entries from February 2013

Wordy Wednesday Times Two - A Look Back On February

Just because, y'know, I barely posted, and I know how much all three of you (if I even have THAT many readers left; holla if you're still here!) want to keep up with us! ;)


In the beginning, Sophie got up in the middle of the night to play with a new set of LEGO Friends


We went out for that Japanese hibachi dinner I mentioned... and I had scallops. I'm going to return to vegetarianism when we move back to Miami, if not sooner, so this was a penultimate hurrah.


I snagged a bunch of cool K'nex toys (and similar) from a friend for Jack, and the boys have spent HOURS playing and building.


We visited my buddy Saritah and had a fantabuloso time - hope to do it again soon, too!


I started "collecting" vanity plates again - this one makes me snicker.


The kiddies and I had a delishimus lunch at Panera, a longtime fave of ours.


The kiddos took their last month of instrument lessons - well, Chloë (piccolo/flute) and Jack (keyboard) did. Sophie gave up (guitar) several months ago. :\


Sophie played with the make-up set I gave her and Chloë; afterward, she ran up to me doing this, and said, "Mommy, I'm a zombie clown!" I died laughing.


Pepper-the-adorablest-cat-ever and Chloë continued their mutual admiration.


We brought Rob lunch at work and spent some lovey-dovey time together.


The girls picked out my outfit, and I actually really liked it. So we skipped to my Lou, my darlin'.


Donuts were enjoyed.


One of several visits to Sweet Frog for froyo, a NEW fave of ours


We went to Chuck E. Cheese's a couple times, a kind of guilty pleasure for me.


These boys: two peas in a pod.


This was before The Brawl That Started It All.


The girls, hanging out with their boots, as Sophia put it


Rob and I both had to do a double-take for this one! Really??!


This isn't a great picture - from another mystery shop - but Jacky looks so cute in it, I wanted to share.


And finally, I discovered a new app: Tadaa!

So. What's new with YOU?


Sunday Stealing: Another Damn Meme On A Weekend, Yo

What's up, y'all?! I'm baaaaaack. Didja miss me? I know you did. I missed me, too. Heh. Here we go:

1. First job:

Blow or ...? Oh, you mean... right. There was a lot of this:

and then there was tons of this:

2. First real job:

Blow, or...? That would be Ben. Oh, you meant... right. Well, they were all real jobs, then, weren't they? I mean, I got paid. So I'll say first really COOL job was here:

and shortly after that, here:

...back when, you know, my education was somewhat relevant!

3. First volunteer job:

That was more like "voluntold," my favorite Navy-learned term, since I was at the top of my class and had to be a mentor to lots of incoming Marine Science freshman (all of whom were convinced they were going to play with dolphins for the rest of their lives, to my utter amusement and, yes, exasperation). 

And later, this:

was the charity, CARE Package, Inc., I started and ran in my son's memory. 

4. First car:

In 1994, as a high school senior, my dad found and helped me buy a 1991 Ford Escort wagon that had supposedly only belonged to a sweet little old lady. Only after he deserted me, I was walking past it one morning and the sun hit it just right, and I could see the shape of the Coca-Cola logo. BAHAHAHA! Kills me now.

5. First record:

My sister and I knew ALL the songs, and we sang them a capella, as duets, ALL. THE. TIME.

6. First sport played:

I didn't play sports. I danced. And behold, I was good. Sad ending to that story, and I don't want to boo-hoo you to death here, so let's skip it, m'kay?

7. First concert:

A long, long time ago, this girl was the shizznat. Another sad ending...!

8. First country visited:

I remember, we went to Ottawa for one of my dad's business trips. We were walking around downtown after dinner out, and there was a street fight just ahead of us. I was about 8 or 9 years old, and suddenly someone was being thrown through a plate glass window, and there was blood and screaming and shoving... it was pretty horrifying! I still don't have good feelings about Ottawa!

9. First kiss:


That would be Kenny... at the time, I thought he was so freakin' cute. And that kiss! :::swoon:::

10. First speech:

Um, no. Not me!

11. First boyfriend: 

See #9! And then there was:


Luisito Alberto Capó, whom I met on my first Caribbean cruise in 1991, when I was 14... he was four years older and had THE most contagious, bubbly laugh I've ever heard. We sailed out of Miami, where he lived with his family, the people behind El Dorado furniture. Years later, when I moved to Miami to go to college, we met up again at a dance on campus. And he sent me a gigantic bouquet of peach-colored roses and... that was that. I chose not to pursue it for a very, very, very superficial reason. Ah, well!

12. First encounter with a famous person:

Remember Dave Barry, the syndicated humor columnist who wrote for the Miami Herald? Well, he and his wife, Michelle, lived in Coral Gables, which happens to be where the University of Miami is located. I worked down the road at the local Publix when I wasn't in class, and Dave and Michelle shopped there all the time. The first time he came in, I was floored - I had been reading his column my whole life, up in Syracuse, NY, and I absolutely LOVED him!!! It was a Sunday that day, and I quickly bought a newspaper, pulled out the section with his column in it, and stalked him around the store until his wife noticed me mousing around, and got him to sign it for me. I think - I hope - I still have it somewhere??

And then, remember Andrew Cunanan, who killed Italian designer Gianni Versace? Yeah. He made an appearance in my store between the murder and his own death, too. Not as big a thrill, I have to say!

13. First brush with death:

Apart from many suicide attempts during my youth (and beyond), the first time I almost died was when I was pregnant with Chloë, my oldest. I went into a very traumatic labor and developed severe preeclampsia. My blood pressure was something like 200/110! I was on the verge of a stroke. They did a quick slice-and-dice to GET HER OUT of me. It was horrible. Just horrible. It took me a long time to get over that awful birth experience, so unlike what I'd planned!

14. First House Owned:

It's the house we still own and need to unload right now. We bought it ten years ago, just after the twins were born, when we got here from Guam. Lots of memories in that townhouse. And I can't wait to walk away from it. Onward!

15. First film seen at a cinema:

I'm sure it wasn't really the first movie, but it was one I really remembered seeing at the theater. A drive-in, if I recall correctly. My favorite. When Chloë was a newborn, our young babysitter, Sarah, went to go see the 20th anniversary release of it - for the first time!!! First time I ever really felt old, and I was only 25 then.

16. First media appearance:

I really didn't know what image to put for this one, can you tell??

A friend of my dad's had opened a brand-new carpet store. He asked us to be in the TV commercial. We didn't get paid - but we did get some garish blue t-shirts out of the deal!

17. First hospital stay:

Well, I imagine that it was for my birth, but the next time was in Miami, when I was 17 and just a week or two into my freshman year of college. I got extremely sick and was diagnosed with strep and mononucleosis. I overheard the doctor telling my dad on the phone, "She's a very sick little girl right now." Oh, my word, I thought I would die!

18. First book you remember reading:

Yup. We were churchy folks.

19. First pet:

After I graduated college and moved out of the dorm into my summer house, the first thing I did was get a dog that looked a lot like this little guy. Johnny was a dachapoo, and he was the best. Just the best. I miss that little spazz! He died a month or so before our youngest, Sophia, entered the picture - of old age. He lived a great, long, well-loved life. Good dog.

20. First election you voted in:

I can't really remember. I think it was either to vote FOR this guy for President of the USA, or...

... AGAINST this guy for Governor of the state of Florida. Man, Jeb Bush has gotten OLD since then. And, um, er... rather bloated. Not a pretty picture. But that's beside the point.

So okay, another week gone. Time to knit!


State Of The Smelly Union

... Whatever that means.

So, people keep asking me how I'm doing, what we're up to, how the move is going, and so on and so forth. I figured it would just be easier to put it all down here and, you know, refer to it and stuff when people wanna know things. Here's what's up with Team Odette lately:

- About half our crap is STILL in the old house, yet to be moved over here so that we can then move it to Miami with us. Yes, it's been 9 months. Yes, it is ridiculous. Yes, I am extremely frustrated!

- We have not sold the old house. Nor have we shown it to anyone. Nor have we listed it with the realtors who are going to handle the sale for us after we move. Why not? See the above. Plus, the entire downstairs is covered in foam packing peanuts (thanks, Sophia), whilst the entire upstairs carpet is wall-to-wall doggy blood stains (thanks, former friend who did NOT keep her dogs away from our terrified cats as promised). So we have to pack, move, and CLEAN before anything like selling can happen.

- Our March 1 move-out date is now pushed back to at least the 15th, because of a screw-up with Rob's retirement leave. He actually has to go BACK to work for two stupid days after his house- and job-hunting leave ends, before starting his terminal leave. Crazy. He thinks they probably won't make him go in, but if we chance it and head to Miami instead of staying here in case they do, they could cancel the entire rest of his leave. NOT. A. BIT. HAPPY!!

- I am, well, still alive. I did not think I would be after last night. Depression is a horrible, terrible, no-good thing, and with yet another screwball medication issue on my plate for the past 2-3 weeks, my mood plummeted. I thought I hit bottom last week, yet for some reason, after a slight lift, I sunk even lower. I had every intention of "offing" myself last night, yet the same old things kept me from doing so: namely, Rob, Sophia, Jack, and Chloë. Thank God for my family, because when I woke up this morning, I could tell I was on the way back up again. I would soooo much rather be manic than in the depths of (totally unfounded) despair!!

- We still don't have a place to live yet, in Miami. I have scoured the internet for places both affordable and safe, and close enough to where Rob wants to go to college that it wouldn't negate that affordability thing, and... nothing, so far. I'm not really freaking out about it yet, because things always have a way of falling into place for us, and I know something will drop into our laps at just the right time. I'm positive.

That's really about it, I suppose. I accomplished exactly zero things in the past 8 or 9 days - I swear, I barely got up to use the bathroom until it was emergent, let alone pack, clean, knit, do the taxes, buy groceries, or a hundred other things on my verah lawng to-do list - so I'm hopeful that now I'm on the upswing, I'll start being a wee bit productive again.

Ciao, y'all. I'll return tonight for another post or two - this time with pix! Pinky promise.


Quadra-Fire Pellet Stoves Rock - And A Giveaway!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of QuadraFire for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Pellet Stoves are Awesome

I love the idea of QuadraFire Pellet Stoves, especially right now in the cold winter months, as a popular heating alternative for our drafty home. As you can see in the infographic above, they are both economically sound AND environmentally sound. Plus, Quadra-Fire Pellet Stoves are the quietest, easiest to operate, and most durable on the market!

The biggest selling point for me, as a raging environmentalist, is how great they are for the planet. Biomass can make a ton of difference - but what does that even mean, anyway?

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Saturday 9: Call Me Maybe & Pour Some Sugar On Me

So I've been quite unwell for a week and change now and am still not all put back together yet, but I'm sick of languishing in bed as if I didn't have a billion trillion jillion things to do... Here are this week's and last week's Saturday 9 entries, for your edification and (hopefully) amusement!

1. Do you owe anyone a phone call?

Heh. Yeah. About two dozen people have left me voicemails while I've been unwell, and I've pretty much not called or spoken on the phone the whole time. I think my dad is probably wondering if I'm still alive...!

2. Do you still have a landline phone?

Landline?! Gosh, no, those are so 20th century!

3. When was the last time you looked up a number in the phone book?

Phone book?! See above answer. It kind of pisses me off that those things still land on my porch! What a waste.

4. Do you receive more calls or texts?

About an equal number of each. Since I spent a fair amount of time dodging callers and hiding away from the world, either literally or figuratively, I much prefer texts.

5. Carly Rae made the Final 3 on Canadian Idol. Can you name another Canuckian import?

Isn't her mentor, the Biebs, Canadian, too? I can think of lots, but Martin Short springs to mind first. I don't know why, really, since I can't stand that small buffoon...

6. Sam grew sick of this song by hearing it too often on the radio. Where do you listen to the radio most often? Car? Work? Somewhere else?

Up until the last fortnight, when the sound suddenly stopped working on this'ere piece of crap computer, I mostly listened to it here, online. Now I'm sitting here listening to it play on my iPhone. I would say Penelope (my Honda Odyssey), but when the kids are with me (which is all the time), I usually open the DVD player in the back and let them hear the movie audio. We have headphones, but only two sets, and with three kids, that doesn't really work. We've been planning on getting a third set for about as long as we've had Penny. Procrastinate much?!

7. Mother Winters can work wonders with an iron and a can of spray starch. Every blouse and shirt she presses looks good as new. Is there a domestic chore at which you excel?

I can clean with the best of 'em - when I do clean. My standards have been reduced drastically by living with a sloppy husband and three equally sloppy offspring! Drives me nuts. I'm on a mission to change that when we move to Miami in mid-March, and I have a plan that I've already shared with the afore-mentioned slobbos. We will not live like piggies in the next place, dammitalltohellandback!

8. Do you consider yourself competitive?

Heck yeah. That just reminded me, in Calculus, as a high school senior, Mamati (our class valedictorian) and I were always neck-and-neck with grades. His average was probably something like 99.9997 and mine was probably a few thousandths lower... he signed my yearbook that spring with something about that! Turd.

9. Tell us your superhero name - as determined by the color of your shirt and an item to your right. For example, Crazy Sam now fights crime as the Light Blue Coffee Mug!

Well, then, I'm the Purple Coupon, conquering sales wherever I may roam!


1. Do you have a favorite "hair metal" band?

Well, I love Def Leppard and this song, but I gotta give it to Bon Jovi. Come on. Jon Bon Jovi? Fine in the '80s, and still fine two (what, three??) decades later. Killin' me!

2. Def Leppard got their start in South Yorkshire, England.  Have you ever been to the UK?

Not yet, but I will get there one day. I'm part English, by the by.

3. Who would you rather chat with, one-on-one: Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince William, or Prince Harry?

Well, the boys are so damn hot, and I have an affinity for them as someone who also lost a mother at a very young age, tragically and suddenly. (My mom was blonde and blue-eyed, too, which seemed to matter to me at the time Diana died.) I have always thought William was gorgeous, but Harry has really come into his own - plus he's a spitfire! I choose Harry. We'd go be outrageous together, I think.

4. Do you use real sugar or a substitute?

Oh, I can't have much real sugar anymore, since my gastric bypass surgery. So it's Splenda, or Nectressé, or lately, organic agave for me...

5. Valentine's Day is big for candy sales. Did you indulge in any Valentine-themed sugary treats this week?

Not really, 'cause I can't, like I said. Oh, I ate some chocolate, but then I puked it up (sorry for the overshare). We had a homeschoolers' V-day party the day after, and we hit the sales that morning. Woot for 75% off!

6. Do you regularly balance your checkbook?

If by that, you mean, do I log into the app for our bank on my iPhone and check the balance, sure. I haven't balanced a physical, hold-it-in-your-hand checkbook for a couple-three years now. Prolly should...

7. What was your last impulse purchase?

Hmm. I'm a big planner when it comes to moolah, by necessity, so probably the biggest thing to which I can admit lately is some "extra" clearance V-day candy for my oldest girl-child to give to her little beau at the party I mentioned. Hee, they're so cute.

8. When Sam was a girl, she had nightmares about snakes under her bed. When did you last have a bad dream?

I have them all the time. Last night, I was tortured by images of... eh. I don't want to conjure them back up. It wasn't pleasant, though.

9. We're ordering pizza. Do you want deep dish or thin crust?

It depends where we are. If we're in NYC, definitely the floppy, gotta-fold-it-in-half thin crust. Anywhere else, that shit is cardboard, so it's deep dish FTW!

Have a lovely, y'all!


Random Schtuff Taking Up Space In My Brain Right Now

It's 0404 on a Tuesday morning, and I can't sleep - partly because I'm coming off a 5-day migraine in which I slept a TON, and partly because, well, I never sleep at night anyway. And I've got a lot on my mind right now, so prepare ye for a massive, totally random brain dump:


I'm really trying to rev up my Jafra business so that I can promote to Manager later this year. Really bad timing, considering we're going to move soon, but the exciting part is I have K joining my team soon! On the Saturday after next, we're having a Jafra spa party at her place, complete with smelly-good foot soaks, mud masks and way more, and whatever we earn at her party is going in to placing HER first order and getting her case. She's excited, I'm thrilled, and it's going to be a great send-off for me and instantly-built clientele for her. Yay!

Oops, I just realized I have two logos in that picture. Meh. It's a two-fer.


We visited my friend Saritah and her family last week, and we're going again the last week of February - along with Jenny from the Block and her kiddos, whom we haven't seen in ages upon ages. Trés fun! I have presents for both of them, so I hope I don't forget to bring 'em. Plus, Chloë is "in love" with older son Sebastian, and Sophia is "in love" with younger son Trevor, so Saritah and I are planning future double weddings. Sophie and Trevor have even locked themselves in his closet and smooched on the cheek already! What! I have to stop playing with that cute baby up there, Tempe, and pay attention to the rest of those rapscallions!

Recruitment Services Picture 2

(holy huge picture that won't let me scale it down... awesome)

We're supposed to be moving to Miami right around March 1st, and I'm kind of totally freaking out about it, because we are not even remotely ready. Still to do: clean up this house, our rental, so we can move the remaining at-least-half of our crap out of the old house, which we still own, into it; get the old house cleaned up and listed for sale post-haste; set a date for the movers to come; freakin' FIND a place to live in Miami - hello, apartment managers? Returning my phone call and/or email requests for information would be a good thing, 'kay? - and, gosh, that's enough for starters. Rob thinks we won't move in time. I'm stubborn as hell about that March 1 deadline, but I'm starting to agree with him. Cue major sad face.

Oh, and considering each of us is something of a medical marvel, once we do find a place to live, I have about 27 bazillion doctors to find and appointments to make!

I have a cold. Make that aNOTHer cold. Like, my third in 2013. Plus, I'm coming off a five-day migraine (post-publish read-through realization: oh. I told you that already. Meh. It's another two-fer) in which I did a lot of lying around in bed and not much else. With that, moving, building my business and everything else, it's like, WHAT homeschooling?! so far this month. I feel pretty shit-tastic about that. Well, we'll be making up for it by doing lots of school this summer, in between beach visits and dips in the pool. 

Rob's last day in the United States Navy is on Valentine's Day! Squee! We're not having a party, since no one could be bothered to come to his 40th birthday party in August, but don't think we won't be celebrating. Horizonta---um, TMI. ;) He has been counting down the days by telling me how many times left he has to shave, cut his curly locks, press his uniforms, and so on. I think the man is excited, y'all! 

Every Sunday, we have a family meeting. Someone different runs it each time, but the agenda is always the same:

1. Calendar, wherein we go through everyone's plans for the upcoming week,

2. Compliments and appreciation, wherein every person goes around and pays everyone else some C and/or A,

3. Allowance, which is everybody's favorite part,

4. Snack, which almost always involves a drive (for me) to 7-Eleven, and,

5. Fun activity, which for the last two weeks has been a gross-out contest!

Anyway, at this past Sunday's Family Meeting, my #2 for Rob was thanking him for 20 years of service to our country, and congratulating him on his terminal leave, which starts Friday. Chloë responded by throwing her arms around Daddy and sobbing happy tears. It was a very touching moment.

I have been super busy teaching coupon classes this month. So far, I have taught one at the library, 3½ "personal sessions" at various folks' homes, and taken one friend and her daughter on a shopping trip to see how I do it in real life. Total women taught so far: eight! With at least that many more to go before we move. I'm not charging much, either, so the personal satisfaction I get from imparting my money-saving knowledge and helping these women and their families out is what's really paying me. Warm fuzzies all around!


This is just a gratuitous kids-in-the-sun photo, because I like to close with an image. There's more on my mind than all this, but that seems like enough to dump on y'all for the time-being. Can ya keep some good thoughts for us that we'll be able to get out of here and move to Miami as close as possible to our self-imposed deadline? For my sanity's sake? Thanks. Much appreciated.


Weekend Double Header: Saturday 9 AND Sunday Stealing

Yeah, I'm a sucky, neglectful blogger. I thought December was a busy month - February is just cray-cray! So my promises to be a more prolific poster here have gone by the wayside in lieu of Living. I will catch up soon. Um, I promise?

Here is this weekend's Saturday 9: The Way We Were.

1. In honor of Valentine's Day, what's the most romantic movie you can think of?

Hmm. It's pretty cliché for my generation, but c'mon, what beats The Notebook??

2. The Way We Were was a tearjerker. Do you think most real-life love stories end in heartbreak? Or do you believe in happily ever after?

Heh. Well, the side of my Odyssey has a cutesy family decal of us and four of our six cats, and arcing over that are the words, "Happily Ever After," so that answers that question!

3. What's your favorite love song?

It's obviously not a romantic love song, since Eric Clapton wrote it for his son who passed away, but even before my own son died and we played it at his memorial service, "Tears in Heaven" moved me beyond words. What greater love is there than the one a parent has for his child?

4. In 1993, Barbra Streisand married actor James Brolin, who first became famous as Dr. Steven Kiley on Marcus Welby, MD. Who is your favorite TV doctor?

Dr. Carter, played by Noah Wyle on E.R. And the fact that he was cute as a button was just a bonus!

5. In 2012, Streisand renewed her contract with Columbia, where's she's been recording since 1963. So she's been with the same label for fifty years! Where have you worked the longest, and how long was that?

Y'mean besides Casa de Odette, where I've been HMFIC for the past 12 years? I guess that would have to be the Law Offices of JMB in St. Pete, Florida, where I was a legal secretary on-and-off for 2½ years, throughout grad school. Yeah. My résumé rocks.

6. Sam Winters once worked as a hostess in a chic bistro in Worcester, PA. That's why she frequently gets  frustrated by bad service in restaurants -- she's certain she could make it run more smoothly. Where do you find yourself getting annoyed most often?

Welp, similarly, I worked in grocery retail for ages. Wait, I guess that would be my longest job, but whatevs. Anyway, I quickly moved up to the customer service desk and then ran the front-end of a large grocery store chain location, so I know what it takes to provide good customer service - and when I don't get it, I get pissed - pissed!!

7. Have you ever taken a polygraph test?

LOL... No. And that's the truth!

8. Crunchy, smooth, or organic peanut butter?

Since when is "organic" a texture? Pffft. Organic smooth for me, please, so it doesn't tear up my bread!

9. Describe your favorite sweater.

Hand-knit by me, the most glorious shade of sea blue-green, delightfully textured, perfectly fitted to my body - and as-yet imaginary. I haven't had the time yet to make it!

And now for a little something different:

Link up here if you're playing along today!

21. Would you swear in front of your parents?

I actually try not to, because I feel weird about it and don't like my dad's "tsk, tsk," but I have on occasion. Last month, I actually cussed my dad out - but in all fairness, he totally deserved that shit. Oops, there I go again.

22. Which continents have you been on?

North America, South America, Asia (if Guam counts as Asia?), and Europe. It's not enough, though I woudn't be disappointed if I missed Antarctica...

23. Do you get motion sickness? Any horror stories?

I've spent a lot of time at sea and usually have no problems whatsoever with motion sickness there or anywhere else - except once. We were in the middle of a research trip in the Dry Tortugas, and there was a huge storm producing 10' swells. Our little 80' research vessel was tipping all the way over on its side, back and forth, back and forth. I didn't puke, but I came damn close. I was one of the few who didn't.

24. Why did you name your blog whatever you named it?

Because I'd already had a blog, on some obscure website - oh yeah, it's called MySpace - but I recognized that site as doomed before it really was doomed. I started it up again here, in a much different and more public way. I like this version better.

25. Would you wear a rainbow jacket? A neon sweater? Checkered pants?

That actually sounds like my perfect outfit! I'd wear it all at once. Which I am not, because right now I am sitting here in nothing but yellow-and-green striped knee socks. And that's a fact, Jack.

26. What was your favorite cartoon growing up? Post a picture if you can.

I can't. Google Images refuses to load for me right now. Bastages! I used to love The Far Side, and Calvin and Hobbes. I have a Far Side book where the entire alphabetical index is blank, except for the letter 'T' - all the cartoons are listed under "The One about..." this and that. I love it; it cracks me up. And that was way before Friends stole the idea, folks!

27. In a past life, I must have been a...

Sloth, because truthfully, I am really freakin' lazy. No one believes that, because I actually do accomplish quite a bit, but I am. I could sit on my ass and watch the world go by for days on end. And servants - I would love to have lots and lots of servants. (Well, I do - my kids are my minions. They do not love that.)

28. If you had to look at one city skyline for the rest of your life, which would it be?

I could not do that. Mine is a nomadic soul. I'd go nuts. Well, nuttier.

29. Longest plane ride you've ever been on?

We flew from Florida to Los Angeles to Honolulu to Guam, pretty much straight through, in 2002. And then straight back, except here to Virginia, four months later. With a toddler. And I was pregnant with twins. Talk about awesome. (Actually, it wasn't too bad. Thank God Chloë was a ridiculously easy baby by that age!)

30. What's the longest you've ever slept?

I think it was my very recent 22-hour nap, during an illness. Pretty unusual for me.

31. Would you buy a sweater covered in kitten pictures? Would you wear it if someone gave it to you for free?

Hell-to-the-no, but if they handmade it, I might. If it was well-made and comfy. But gosh, really? So not my style.

32. Do you pluck your eyebrows?

Hell yeah! Those things would otherwise run amok all over my loverly face. I didn't start until I was 25 and a mom, though. What was I thinking? People compliment me on my eyebrows at least 2-3 times a year. I'll keep plucking 'til I'm dead or too senile to care.

33. What's your favorite kind of bean?

Garbanzo! As in, chickpeas. As in, hummus - yummus!

34. How far can you throw a baseball?

Oh, at least a good three feet. I am SUCH a wimp!!

35. If you had to move to another country, where would you move?

I hear St. Baart's is nice, but we're not wealthy enough, and Canada is too cold, so... I don't know. Anywhere Rob went, I'd follow.

36. Have you ever eaten Ethiopian food? Vietnamese? Korean? Nepalese? How was it?

No. Yes. Yes. No. Good. How's that for concise?

37. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a ... no. I hate this question too much to even finish typing it out!

Y'all go out and have a kick-ass week, m'kay?


Sunday Stealing: The Basically Obscure Meme

Better late than never, right? Linkage is here.
1. Do you notice a person's eye color?
Generally, yes - it's rare that I don't.
2. White, milk, or dark chocolate mocha?
I'm trying to get into the habit of eating the darkest chocolate I can stand, because it's better for you, but I love my milk chocolate too much to give it up entirely. White chocolate... isn't. Gross.
3. If you could get a tattoo for free, would you do it? What would it be?
I really don't know. I'm not inked yet, but I've thought about it for a long time. My husband has 8 of them, and we talked about getting a joint one that would be an artistic feat of matching up our arms or legs to, together, make up our four kids' initials, embedded in a huge oceanic wave. I'd have to see the artist's workup first to be sure!
4. Did you grow up in a small or big town? Did you like it?
Until I was six, I lived in New York's Hudson Valley region, and then we moved up northwest of there, to a small town outside of Syracuse. I liked it at the time, but I'm a city girl at heart, and I really hate the small-town, backwards-thinking mentality of a lot of people who remained there. I prefer progressive types. ;)
5. Who was your favorite adult as a child, besides your parents?
Well, my mom would have been that person, but my dad and stepmother? Huh, no. Not even close. I guess it would have been my grandparents. They were the shining stars of an otherwise terrible, traumatic upbringing. If it weren't for Grandma and Grandpa - my mom's parents - I would have had very few happy moments.
6. What kind of smoothie sounds really good right now?
A sugar-free strawberry banana protein-boosted one from Tropical Smoothie Café
7. Most embarrassing moment from your elementary school years?
I can't think of anything that embarrassed me then. I didn't know enough to be embarrassed!
8. Most embarrassing moment from your middle school years?
That would absolutely be the time in 7th grade when I was on the computer in the library and didn't want to give up my spot. I sat there so long, I ended up peeing my pants, and the popular kids noticed it! I endured a lot of nasty teasing for it. Three of my good friends walked, surrounding me while I clung to the wall on one side, down the the Principal's office with me so I could call home for a change of clothes. Love those girls!
9.  Most embarrassing moment from your high school years?
The time when I unexpectedly got my period wearing white shorts. Ugh!! How mortifying. Thank God the home-ec teacher had a spare change of clothes for me to wear while I washed them in her room.  Why do all my most embarrassing moments involve my underwear?!
10.  Have you ever fired anyone?
No, but I did get fired myself once. I was working at Larry's Ice Cream Shoppe in St. Pete Beach, Florida, between college and graduate school. They found out I had been accepted to start my Ph.D. and decided to fire me before I could quit. Really? Higher education is grounds for termination?! I was livid.
11. Have you ever climbed a tree more than 20 feet off the ground?
I've never seen a tree more than 20 feet off the ground. Isn't part of the intrinsic nature of a tree being rooted into the ground?! Heh, heh.
12. Did you like swinging as a child? Do you still get excited when you see a swingset?
I'm glad you clarified what you meant there, because I was not a child swinger, no! ;) Anyway, yes, I have always loved to go on the swings. When I was in college, my friend Kristal and I often drove from Miami out to South Beach - in the middle of the night sometimes, even - to go rollerblading and to ride the swings on the beach there. Good times, good times.
13.  If you could have any pet in the world, illegal or not, what would you get?
My mommy had a pet monkey when she was a kid - really! - and I always thought it would be cool to have a chimp until I learned what terrible pets they really make. I'll stick with my yearning for a Chihuahua puppy, thanks.
14. What's your favorite place to relax?
In bed, in Hubby's arms - best place in the world.
15. What's your favorite part of your personality?
It's hard for me to admit to liking anything about myself, since I grew up with so much self-hatred, but now I do appreciate that I have good qualities, too. I like that I really do care about other people and try my best to help them in whatever way I can.  And I love my giggly, silly nature!
16. Madonna or Lady Gaga?
I admit, I like both, but the Material Girl is a longtime favorite of mine.
17. Have you ever watched the Super Bowl all the way through?
I don't think I have ever - ever! - watched any part of the Super Bowl. Call me un-American, but it just doesn't interest me much.
18. Have you ever watched any major sporting event live?
Yes, we went to Shea Stadium in NYC and watched the Mets play the California Angels, when I was a kid. That was when Darryl Strawberry and other famous guys were on the team. And if college football games between the Miami Hurricanes and our biggest rivals, the Florida State Seminoles (f**k you, Seminoles!) count, then plenty of those, too.
19.  What's the most delicious food you've ever eaten in your life?
The entire meal I ate when I was a Junior in high school at the Inn Between, halfway between Camillus and... Dewitt (??), in Central New York. There I was with three other folks in their late 20s, who had taken me along for a pricey ($100 a pop, maybe?) Valentine's dinner out, because they were the coolest folks ever and knew I had a terrible home life. I can't remember everything we ate, but I know there were some creamy, buttery, garlic mashed potatoes that were to die for!
A close second are the amazing lump crab cakes I get from Uncle Chuck's seafood shack at the Virginia Beach Farmer's Market. Before I return 100% to vegetarianism this year, I hope I get one more chance to have a crabby patty or two from there!
20. Margarine or butter? Which did you grow up with?
I grew up with both, but I'd much rather have real butter now than plastic, er, margarine...
Welp, that's the show, folks! Have an outstanding day, and I'll be back tomorrow with some photos.

Saturday 9: Aida

Welcome, 9ers! Link up here if you're playing along this week.
1. Have you ever been to the opera?
Nope, I never have. It's on my bucket list, though! I have been to the ballet...
2. Maria Callas was often called a "diva." Is that a compliment or a criticism?

Either way, it's always an earned title. Whether it's got a positive connotation usually depends on the woman's talent, whereas negative intent usually depends on the person's attitude.
3. Aida was composed by the famous Italian Giuseppe Verde.  In addition to opera, what else can the world thank Italy for?
Oh, come on! How long have you got? I think the list should begin and end with ravioli, though. Yummo!
4. Verdi was Italian, and Callas was Greek. Would you rather vacation in Italy or Greece?
Been there, done both. Equally beautiful and intriguing, though quite different from each other. I'd go back if given the opportunity, but I'm aiming for Australia and Japan!
5. The Marx Bros. starred in A Night at the Opera. What's the funniest movie you have ever seen?
You know, off the top of my head, I keep coming back to Borat. Sure, it's horrible at best, but I laughed my freakin' ass off!
6.  What's for dinner tonight?

We went out for Japanese hibachi, to use up one of our many certificates before we move away from this place. Everything was awesome, except for the very beginning and the very end: My GPS couldn't find the place, so I called and was given the WORST. DIRECTIONS. EVER. And then, when it came time to pay our bill, I couldn't find my purse. We had to use Rob's card, which had just gone through the wash, and it got declined. Talk about panic! I finally found my purse and the payment went right through, but whew! I didn't quite know what to do for a minute there!
The rest of the meal was fantab, though, and I came away just loving my family and our little life.
7.  Are you wearing any jewelry right now?
Yes, my wedding and engagement rings, and my nose ring. I never take that out - I've even left it in for various surgeries and procedures (much to the anesthesiologists' utmost chagrin).
8.  Sam Winters has a scratchy throat and watery eyes. How do you treat the common cold?
With a heavy dose of complaining, a drop of kvetching, and a pinch of bellyaching! I am such an accomplished whiner!
9. Do you need your glasses (or contacts) when you drive?
Oh, hell yes. Otherwise, look out! I have admitted to my husband for the first time this night (though not for the first time to myself) that I am not such the great driver; I think my ability has declined over the past 10 years, actually. But if I couldn't see? Fahgeddaboutit!
Have a great night, y'all! See you on the 'morrow...