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Entries from April 2014

The Face Of An Abuser

In public,

people think you're nice. They see you smile. They think you're helpful. 

Behind closed doors, 

you're a monster.

Would you ever, EVER, in a million years, let them see who you really are?

Would you show them your true self?

Would you let them see what you did to me?

Would they still want to know you?

Would it rip them apart, they way you shattered ME?

I will survive. Dammit, I will.


Music Monday: Battling Demons


Good Monday morning to you! I don't always remember to participate in Music Monday, but I try when I do. Link up with hosts Stacy UncorkedXmas Dolly and musical cohorts, Callie from JAmericanSpiceCathy from Cathy Kennedy’s Blogand Naila Moonat Just the Stuff Ya Know.  

This is a freebie week, so we get to share the music that we're feeling today. This is kind of personal for me, so bear with me. ;)


Some of you will already know that I'm penning my first book, which I hope will be a bit of a catharsis for me. Before I heard this song this morning (of course, not for the first time as it's been out quite a while), I was already saying I needed to battle my demons in therapy once again, this time for good. I don't usually pay attention to the lyrics when this song came on, but for some reason, today I did. The words in the chorus are the ones that really grabbed me from Imagine Dragons' "Demons":

When you feel my heat
Look into my eyes
It's where my demons hide
It's where my demons hide
Don't get too close
It's dark inside
It's where my demons hide
It's where my demons hide

Obviously, I have some things I need to work on, and I am heading back to therapy - soon.

Really, there are a bunch of other songs on my mind right now, like Billy Joel's "My Life" for example, but "Demons" is the one I really needed to put out there.

Thanks for stopping by.


Sunday Stealing: TV Meme, Part The First


Link up here if you're playing along today!

TV Meme, part one

1. TV Theme songs. Which is your favorite, and which makes you crazy enough to hit mute on the remote?  

I'll go old school and say "The Facts of Life" for favorite theme, although there are many from the 80s and 90s that I liked. As far as one I can't stand? Hmm. Just can't think of one right now, sorry.

2. The Classics. What is your favorite Classic TV show? 

I liked quite a few shows but loved Jeannie!

3. What character from a Classic TV show would you like to be? 

Chrissy Snow from Three's Company was charmingly stupid. She amused me.

4. Can you remember a line you liked from a Classic TV show? 

5. Heroes. What show featuring those who protect your country (fiction or non-fiction) is your favorite? 


6. TV Cops. Who is your favorite (past or present) TV cop? Which TV cop do you think was the most crooked, or the most inept? 


7. You need to hire a bodyguard for yourself. Which TV cop do you choose?  


8. TV Doctors. Which TV doctor would you choose to remove your appendix? Which TV doctor would you not let touch you with a 10- foot pole? 


9. TV Moms. Which TV mom would you have liked to have had for your own? Is there a TV mom you would never want as your own? 


10. TV Dads. Which TV Dad would you have most liked to have for your own dad? On the flipside, who was the TV Dad you’d have least liked to have had? 


11. Comedies. How do you feel about sitcoms? Good, wholesome fun or saccharine inanity? 

I adore sitcoms. Nothing better than a good, hearty belly laugh!

12. If your life was a sitcom, what would the title be? 


13. If you went to a comedy club on amateur night, and they gave you some jokes and a microphone, would you go onstage? 

HELL no. I could never!

14. Reality. Are you a fan of Reality TV? What’s your “can’t miss” reality TV show (or shows), or what reality TV show do you suppose the devil plays on the TV in Hell as punishment?


15. If you were given a free ticket to be on any reality show, which one would you choose?


* * * 

Well, this week's meme was a dud for me. Kinda hated it. Knew I would as soon as I saw the title. Oh well, carry on, then. :\


Saturday 9: Stuck On You

Link up here if you're playing along today!


Saturday 9: Stuck on You (2012)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This upbeat song is from a CD called The Bright Side. What is brightening your world this fine Saturday?

Well, I've been on a downward swing until today, but I am brightened by the thought of publishing my first book. Oh, it's a long way off - I've just started writing it - but I think it will be really great. That excites me.

2) Our featured artist Meiko sings, "You are the one I can see having fun with ...". When is the last time you laughed hard? Who were you with? 

I can't remember what, specifically, I was laughing about, but I know it was with Hubs. Even after brain surgery, no one can make me laugh more than he does!

3) She also sings, "I must confess when I wear this dress I feel like dancing ...". Does your mood have an impact on what you wear? 

Absolutely. In fact, to help myself get out of that afore-mentioned slump, I intentionally put on a dress and a little make-up today. I think it definitely helped lift my mood.

4) In this video, she accidentally drops one of her meatballs on the floor. Do you believe in "the five second rule," which states that if food has been on the floor less than five seconds it's still OK to eat? Or, after it hits the floor, is the next stop always the garbage? 

I'm a mother. Of course I believe in the five-second rule. I mean, duh. ;)

5) Despite her exotic-sounding name, Meiko was born in Atlanta, home of the Braves. Do you plan on going to the ballpark this season?

We already went! We saw the Miami Marlins kick the San Diego Padres' arses! It was a fantastic time.

6) Meiko recently posted a photo of herself in DisneyLand posing with Goofy. Who took the most recent photo of you? What were you doing?


Hubs took it. This picture is from Wednesday night, when we up and decided we wanted some Waffle House. The closest WF is a half-hour away in Key Largo, so we went! Who goes to the Keys just for some hash browns? This girl right here.

 7)  Are you stubborn? 

As the proverbial mule!

8) Let's visit your bathroom: What color is your toothbrush?

I use a Philips Sonicare, which is identical to Hubs' except for the thin little colored ring around the head. I I have no idea what color that is, currently, but I do know that mine is the one on the right. Don't mess with the order of things.

9) Which would we find: bar soap or liquid soap

Right now, none, because I have used up all the liquid soap and haven't gotten around to replacing it yet. So I guess the answer is bar, since that's what I'm using in its place.

Thanks for stopping by!


Off The Cuff

Just a little poetry that wanted to squeak out of me tonight. It's not great - it's a little too Dr. Seuss-y for my tastes - but I don't want to work on it any further:



I beg your pardon?

Don’t think you saw me there,

With the sad, brown eyes,

And the raspberry hair.

We had a connection

At least for a while

You sat down beside me

And gave me a smile.

You must not have noticed

The way that I cried

When you abruptly stood up.

You took it in stride.

My mind isn’t strong:

The memory’s hazy,

But you saw right through me

Like you knew I was crazy.

I’m sorry I’m weak.

I’m sorry it shows.

I’m sorry it hurts.

I’m sorry. Just go.

But let it be known:

I’m funny, I’m smart,

I’m cuter than cute,

And that’s just a start.

I love from the bottom

All the way to the top.

I feel everything you do,

But I never stop.

Yes, it hurts;

Yes, I cry.

But when you leave,

Ne’er will I.

I’ll always adore you,

Some way, somehow.

Now ask yourself this:

Who’s sorry now?



Girl, Interrupted


What we have here is another extremely personal post about me and what's happening inside my head, and if you don't want to read about that, you may as well close the window now. Otherwise, no complaining, because you were warned!

* * *

I have had a few experiences lately that have led to some major self-discovery which, in turn, led to what could either be described as a psychotic break or a psychotic fix yesterday.

I won't detail the experiences, but I'm going to talk about what they caused. Namely, for the first time ever, in my entire jacked-up life, they made me want to become better and not just managed. Healed and not just able to cope. I suppose I've thought and said I wanted to be better, but I don't think now that I ever really believed I could get there. The experiences I had showed me the possibilty existed that even I, too, could benefit from some serious self-improving and even, maybe, one day, be healed from the massive amounts of tortorous abuse I suffered as a kid.

Step One, then, was recognizing this and the fact that I need to high-tail it back to therapy. 

I hate this part. I hate finding a new therapist, especially after leaving Lynessa, my wonderful therapist with whom I really connected back in Virginia Beach. It's going to be difficult to find someone as great as she was, but I'm not going to settle for anything less, because I need that.

Step Two was doing some self-affirmation. I have extremely low self-esteem, a very poor self-image, so I needed some help with getting started. I started on Instagram and then, largely unsatisfied, made my way over to Pinterest. Odd places to look for self-affirmation, but you know what? It was helpful. I found a lot of great quotes and other pins that started me on the path toward more positive self-thought. 

Included in that was this pin I found quoting the great psychoanalytical mind, Carl Jung, which I immediately put up as my Facebook profile picture:


So powerful for me. 

A lot has happened to me, and I have hung onto it and dwelt on it for years. Decades. It drags me back, sucks me in, chews me up, spits me out, and then starts over. I am so, so sick and tired of that. I don't want to be a chew toy. I want to be able to forgive. 

Forgiveness is difficult. I mean, it's really not, not for me, because if someone wrongs me, I readily forgive them if they apologize

However, the one who hurt me, who literally broke me, has never acknowledged her wrongdoing. She probably never will, and I am far too weak a soul to actively seek that out from her. I spent ten years crying, sitting in a corner, ripping up tissues while I took her abuse, and the thought of confronting her to demand an apology brings my psyche right back to that fragile place.

To err is human; to forgive, divine.

Or so they say.

So my quest, then, is to learn how to forgive her when she hasn't asked for my forgiveness, hasn't offered an apology, hasn't acknowledged how awful she treated me.

It will not be easy. I will need help. And patience, and love, and understanding. And a whole lot of prayer.

Step Three, upon realizing all of this, was to research Carl Jung, who so thoroughly understood what it was that I needed. And I remembered his personality typing, and then I decided to take a Briggs-Meyers Personality Test. I've done it before, but this time I was taking it deathly seriously.

I took this four-question test.

I came up with the results, entirely accurate I am certain, that I am an INFP: Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Perceiving (Intoverted Feeling with Extraverted Perception), a.k.a. "The Idealist."

I'm going to talk now a little bit about what that means, but if you want to know more about it, read this page.

The good news about WHO I AM is that all of these things are true about me:

- I am focused on making the world a better place.

- I am highly intuitive about people.

- I make a good friend, with my genuine, deep well of caring about folks.

- While I'm awkward about expressing myself out loud, I am a talented writer.

There is a lot more, but those are some of the salient features of my personality type.

The bad news about WHO I AM is that all of these things are also true about me:

- I hate conflict and care more about how I feel than whether I'm right or wrong.

- I'm not terribly concerned with the mundane details of life and don't make the best housekeeper or bookkeeper.

- I care more about feelings than hard facts and logic.

- I'm a perfectionist, extremely hard on myself, and don't give myself enough credit.

- I take everything personally and think everything is a criticism of me, even when it's not.

The one thing that really struck me about what I learned, though, was the following passage:

"INFPs are usually very intense and sensitive people, and feel seriously threatened by criticism. They are likely to treat any point of view other than their own as criticism of their own perspective. If the INFP does not learn how to deal with this perceived criticism, the INFP will begin to shut out the incoming information that causes them pain. This is a natural survivalistic technique for the INFP personality. The main driver to the INFP personality is Introverted Feeling, whose purpose is to maintain and honor an intensely personal system of values and morals. If an INFP's personal value system is threatened by external influences, the INFP shuts out the threatening data in order to preserve and honor their value system. This is totally natural, and works well to protect the individual psyche from getting hurt. However, the INFP who exercises this type of self-protection regularly will become more and more unaware of other people's perspectives, and thus more and more isolated from a real understanding of the world that they live in. They will always find justification for their own inappropriate behaviors, and will always find fault with the external world for problems that they have in their lives. It will be difficult for them to maintain close personal relationships because they will have unreasonable expectations, and will be unable to accept blame." 

She later went on to say that INFPs in that situation should "seek help."

Guess what? I know! But it was still quite jarring to read it there on the screen.

So my two steps to follow are going to be to seek help... and to write. Henceforth, consider me a writer. Books will be coming. Brainstorming shall commence soon.

Ciao for now.


Sunday Stealing: The Easter Meme

Link up here if you're in the mood for thievery this weekend! ;)

The Easter Meme

{From the now-defunct blog of Tense Teacher}

What are your Easter traditions? 


Well, most importantly, we go to church and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yup, we're one of those families. 

We also do the fun stuff, but it takes a distant backseat to what is, to us, the central reason for celebration.

Do you hard-boil and decorate eggs? 

I love dying eggs!

 I aspire to try and do something new and different (for Team Odette, that is) every year. I haven't decided on this year's method yet. The ones above were from five years ago; I found them on Google Images. I'm famous, y'all.

How do you decorate your home for Easter? 


I'm supposed to do what, now?


Do you make/buy special outfits for yourself and your kids on Easter? 


That was two years ago, so yeah, we normally do. However, we had just moved here before Easter 2013, and the occasion just kinda snuck up on me this year too,... so not always, I guess?

What is your favorite Easter dish?


Well, I was going to put up a picture of an earless chocolate bunny, because DUH! but then I scrolled down and found this gem of a ... oh, good hell, what is it?!!! I have completely lost my appetite now, and I already haven't eaten since sometime on Thursday!

When did you learn the truth about the Easter Bunny? 

It must have been pretty early on, because I don't even remember. I clearly remember when I found out about Santa, though. My kids learned early, too. I didn't want to foster that kind of fictionalization of some really important concepts, ya know? Call me a mean mom...

Do you spend Easter at home, on vacation, or with family? 


It's pretty much always just the five of us at home.

First one up on Easter morning? 

Come on, you knew that was coming, amiright? 

Go to mass or church? 


I'm not Catholic, but yeah. We'll be there.

What are your favorite Easter hymns and/or choir arrangements? 


I don't really have a favorite Easter verse.

How many Easter egg hunts does your family usually participate in? 


Maybe one, if that.

Do you make deviled eggs out of leftover Easter eggs? 


I'm looking forward to it!

Are you tired of eggs by the end of the Easter Season? 


Yah, you betcha!

Are Peeps good or gross? 


I'm really not a fan of the Marshmallow Peep, and furthermore, I have always hated jellybeans. Just blargh.

What company makes the best chocolate for Easter time? 


Lindt - no contest!

Lots of candy or not? 


For about the dozenth year in a row, I think I went a wee bit overboard... :-\

What is your favorite Easter candy? 


These things are the bomb-diggity. I could eat - and then hurl - my weight in them. I abstained completely this year, 'cause my 20th reunion is coming up!

Do you find plastic Easter grass hidden in places for months after Easter is over? 


Still finding it by the time the next Easter rolls around!

What’s your favorite color for fake grass?


Green! Everything else is just... weird.

Thanks for hopping by!



Carpe Diem Natalem


Last Sunday, our baby, Sophia Lorelei, turned NINE! Holy cow. One more year, and all of our kiddos will be in their two-digit ages for the rest of the time we're together on this earth. Good Lord, time flies. "The days are long, but the years are short."

I totally bought all the ingredients for an incredibly awesome arts and crafts-themed birthday party for her, but I completely neglected to plan the actual soiree in an epic parenting FAIL. So maybe we'll do that next year?!


I went to 7-Eleven that morning, for a diet soda refill. I do that all the time, NBD. Chloë grabbed her purse and came with me, so I figured she'd buy herself a little somethin'-somethin'. Instead, she surprised me by asking me what flavor of Slurpee Sophia likes best. She didn't even get herself something; she only bought her sister the Slurpee. She's a keeper!


A couple of months ago, I had purchased a deal for the Barbie Dreamhouse Experience in Fort Lauderdale, on the Groupon-like site, Living Social. A couple of months ago, Sophia was still into Barbie. She's really not anymore, not at all, but I had the thing and nothing else to give her, really, so she and I went off to have a special Mommy-and-Sophie day together.

I had no other money for anything extra, and she understood this. At Sawgrass, where the Dreamhouse is located, we spotted one of those cool spiral money donation thingamajigs. She loves them, so I gave her a penny. She was so thrilled to watch her penny go down, and I was equally thrilled to have made my baby girl smile for only 1¢.


Once we arrived at the Dreamhouse, we were told that it would be an hour wait before the next tour. We signed up for that and then headed back outside, into the sunshine. Er, what sunshine? It was starting to drizzle. But you know what? Sophia loves nothing better than to run in between raindrops and jump in puddles. And guess who she gets that characteristic spunk from? ;) We danced on the fountains together in the rain, while onlookers stared. I didn't give a fig, either. My babe was having fun, and I was having it right along with her!


The Barbie Dreamhouse Experience - we waited. And waited. An hour is a long time when you're nine, y'know?


Of course, we paused for a few obligatory selfies in that timeframe, too. I posted this one online and got called "stunning" by Stephanie of STIM fame. Cool!


Finally, it was five minutes before the tour, so we headed back into the Dreamhouse to wait. Sophia got in the Barbie doll box for a fun photo op, and I obliged her despite the multitude of warnings disallowing photography. Really? Why else would it be there? ;P


Photo Op #2 amongst the Barbie flowers


Photo Op #3 in "The Oval"

(The signs stated "Barbie's FRIENDS" were the only ones who could take pictures in there, but the hired FRIENDS didn't seem to care that we mothers were snapping pictures left, right, and center, so I felt no shame. Besides, I was friends with ol' Barb long before these kids were ever even dreamed of.)

The Dreamhouse itself was a pretty lame experience. I'm glad we didn't pay anywhere near full price for it. And I'm glad my kid is too old to want to go back again, now, but I'm even gladder that she still managed to have fun anyway.


This guy was playing Miley "Look at Me Twerk" Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" on his electric cello for tips, in the center of the mall. It took me a second to place the song, because it was so beautiful! Surprising, huh? I wanted to take a picture of him, because it was blogworthy, but I didn't think I should do so without leaving some sort of tip in his jar. I dug through my purse and came up with about 55¢, which I threw in the jar after I snapped a pic. He looked at me with utter disdain. Hey, dude, I get it, but who's the one playing to a vastly unappreciated audience in a shopping center?!


We popped into the Godiva store for a free birthday bonbon. She chose the Death by Chocolate one. A girl after my own heart!


After a brief stop to admire the spinner chimes we'd admired on the way in, we headed home. I didn't think it had been much - or anywhere near enough - for her birthday, but she officially declared it a great day. Satisfied, she slept all the way home and put herself to bed early. I did, too. Here it is, a week later, and I still have yet to make her a cake of any kind. "Birthday season," I can hear my mama-in-law insisting, and so I don't feel too terrible about it.


Saturday 9: Here Comes Peter Cottontail

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

1) Which do you prefer: colored hard-boiled eggs, chocolate marshmallow eggs, or plastic eggs with coins inside?

I prefer colored hard-boiled eggs. I'll be eating a lot of those in the coming week, I imagine! I can't believe Easter is suddenly upon us. I have some work to do tomorrow to get ready for the fun parts.

2) What's your favorite color of Peeps (yellow, purple, or pink)?

I'm not a fan at all. Sorry. Never liked marshmallows much, except those cooked over a bonfire. Now Peeps like that might be yummy!

3) All this talk of sweets is making Sam hungry. What's for lunch?

I haven't eaten anything today, and last night I had a small bag of Cool Ranch Doritos from the hospital vending machine (I spent the night in the Emergency Department, yet again). I should probably do something about that!

4) This song was introduced by country singer Gene Autry, and it's still a favorite. Please share some of the lyrics. (And you're on your own; Sam didn't include a link to the song this week.)

Well, I'm gonna pass on this one. I'm the laziest looker-upper that there ever was. Ask Hubs. He's the look-it-up guy in the family. Besides, I'm guessing everyone else will probably do it, and then my answer will be sorta redundable. Sorry, Sam! ;)

5) Gene Autry was so popular that a town in Oklahoma named itself for him. Have you ever been to Oklahoma?

I haven't really been to much of the heartland, no. I've definitely been up and down the East Coast a billion times more than I've gone inland at all. Kinda lame. I should do something about that, too.

6) In addition to singing, Mr. Autry made 93 cowboy movies. What's the last movie you saw? 

Hubs and I tried to go see American Hustle while our eldest child babysat her siblings, but she called us to come home about 1/3 of the way into it. Kinda crappish, because it was really good already. Don't spoil it if you've seen it! 

7) He and his horse Champion also had a TV show. Can you name another famous horse?

How about Gumby's Pokey? I don't want to say Mr. Ed, because I'm guessing he'll be a popular answer, and I don't like to go with the crowd. Or how about Secretariat, for a more realistic exampe? 

8) Gene Autry also recorded "Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer," and it was, of course, wildly popular, too. Who is your favorite recording artist?

I'm not good at picking such favorites. I like so many. Right now I'm crushing on John Legend, thanks to his current hit, "All of Me." I wish someone would sing that to me

9) Back to the holiday celebration at hand -- Easter is considered the season of rebirth. What leaves you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated?

A good nap, followed by a soak in a tub. I'm about to go do the latter right now. Try not to picture that; it's not pretty, people. 

Thanks for stopping by!


Key West + Friday Night + Spring Break = Insanity


I took, and confirmed with my schedulers, several assignments for Key West for Friday and didn't remember until it was too late not to go that Spring Break season is still in full effect. Good Lord, please let me kept reimbursed for parking fees!!


We stopped for a drink refill and potty break at a Circle K in Key Largo somewhere, and the ladies and I stopped for the all-imporant selfie. Or ussie, as it were?

Speaking of Circle K, they're pretty ubiquitous along the Overseas Highway. Someone must have received a pretty sweet bonus when s/he landed that contract.

Also, the soda refills, mentioned in the previous Sunday Stealing post, are even cheaper (69¢ + tax) at Circle K than at my beloved 7-11. Can you imagine? I can barely hoist my cup, it's so big, and they're almost free. I filled up about eight times yesterday.


And speaking of ubiquitous, you can hardly go anywhere without seeing or hearing a rooster crow. The further south you go, the more you see. I love those crazy chickens.


And speaking of chickens, I did a quick #cockadoodledoo search on Instagram (I'm @Smellyann there, if you want to follow) and found this gem. Rob and I laughed about poor Sally from Mile Marker 12 or so all the way down to MM-0.


About 5 miles outside of the entrance to Key West, where US1 turns into Roosevelt and you can only go either left or right - you know the place, right? - I had to stop and take a nap. I hadn't slept much or maybe at all the night before, and it's a 6½-to-seven-hour round-trip. The caffeine stopped being enough 2¼ hours in. Anyway, the girls decided to pass my naptime by making faces, which I only know because evidently I took this picture. I kind of don't remember a little bit.


After we got into the most westward of Florida Keys, I took Chloë with me on my first assignment. Jack and Sophia were supposed to be wandering around that strip mall with Rob, but they all pretty much hung out in the car the whole time. With the windows down. I had the only car keys, so they had to sweat it out. Methinks we oughtta get a copy made. Or two.

Finishing up job #1 some 45 minutes later, Chloë and I piled back into the car and headed to Duval Street to look for parking. I knew it would be a nearly impossible task, so imagine my surprise when I found a parking spot near the action! Of course, the fee was gigantic, so after I parked and found out how much, we quickly vacated the spot for the guy who was so patiently waiting for that gem.

Little did I know, I shouldda kept that spot. I ended up 0.6 miles from the action, which is nothing, or would have been nothing, except that meant over a mile of walking back and forth to get things done. Rob walks with a cane. (NO, we still haven't gotten the disabled person placard... shoot.) You do the math. The cost wasn't horrible, so we forked it over. 

I grilled Rob as to whether he was well enough to stay with the girls while Jack and I did the shop. He insisted, and seemed lucid enough to say so, that he was. Nevertheless, I gave Chloë specific instructions for what to do in case of Daddy Emergency of any kind. She understood. Jack and I left.

Unfortunately, I was rushing too much and forgot to pay attention to the cross streets where I parked. I had done a walking navigation route to my destination, but when I later went to get reverse directions back to my origin, where the car was, it wouldn't work.


So, Jack and I did this assignment as quickly as possible while still trying to have some semblance of a good time. Fortunately for me, he was pretty scared and ran through many of the exhibits, so I didn't have to feign a reason to have to leave earlier than I wanted to.


Jack's not much of a selfie-taker (ussie), and it took four tries to get this one halfway-decent shot, so he was more than exasperated with me by the time I let him climb those stairs! Also, will that other front tooth grow the rest of the way in, please? He looks ridonkulous.


After we finished my Job #2 of the day, we headed back in the general direction of the car. I thought I knew exactly where I was going, well give or take, more or less, so I wasn't terribly worried. I took a picture of this sign at Rick's on Duval because it's so... severe compared to the general Key West atmosphere, y'know? So serious. So ... strict! I mean, it is still a night club, you guys. Please.

So then, I got a text from Rob insisting that he was okay, but that he fell. He and the girls were just going to sit in the car. I had given him the keys, in case they needed to get back in car for any reason, so I knew they could at least have air conditioning. I hoped, anyway, that after he'd hit his head, he wouldn't forget that part.

I couldn't find the car. I text him. No answer. I called him. No answer. I texted, called, texted, called, and grew ever more frantic. Finally, he returned my call and told me they were on Applerouth.

Now, even if you know Key West, you probably don't know Applerouth, because it's really just a short alley way and not really a full street at all. I walked the length of it with Jack about six times, but no sign of a parking lot, let alone our car.

I texted Rob. I called. No answer. Text, call, text, call. "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE BLAST THE HORN FIVE TIMES IN A ROW!!!" I finally sent through the airwaves. But no answer.

A sense of deep dread came over me. I imagined him and the ladies, passed out, possibly dead from heat exhaustion in the car. I was terribly afraid of what I would find. Jack reassured me that the girls were smart enough to get out of the car if they grew too hot. I had to believe him. And yet... and yet.

So I found this tapas place, which doesn't bill itself as much but really is, called 2¢ on Applerouth. A man came out, and I inquired quite vehemently as to whether this was the only Applerouth on the island, or was there another stretch of it somewhere. He gave me a short answer, affirming it was the only one, and I thanked him and turned away.

A tall, blond man came out. My guardian angel must have sent him. (Thanks, Mom.) He told me his name was Chris, he was the owner of 2¢, and asked my name. And Jack's. And said I was looking pretty frantic. And offered to help me.

To say I pinned all my hopes in the world on this one man would have been an understatement. I was picturing my daughters and husband dead in the car, people!!

I told him the problem, and he said something like, "Are you sure he didn't say, 'Angela,' because it sounds like this little parking lot on Angela."

You guys, I had never heard of Applerouth Drive before. It's a really, seriously weird name, in my opinion, and there was really no mistaking that Rob had told me Applerouth. I had even gotten Chloë on the phone, before Rob's phone died and he didn't have the wherewithal to realize that and plug it back in to recharge, and asked her to tell me what she could see, so that I could find them.

"There's really nothing here, Mom," she had insisted then.

"Chloë, this is very important. What can you see? Anything! A street name, a building, a really big tree, anything! WHAT. CAN. YOU. SEE??!"

"There's a small white building. Centennial Bank." 

"Thank you! I will find you!"

And yet, I couldn't, because the closest Centennial Bank I could find on Maps was somewhere way the hell up in Miami-Dade or Broward County.

So when Chris told me he knew where the parking lot was, and Centennial Bank, and that my husband must have said Angela, well, I followed him frantically and prayed the prayer of a woman who did not not want to lose two daughters and a husband, you know what I mean?

(By the way, Jack, famous for being a complainer, was a real trooper. I can count on NO fingers the number of times he complained about the heat, the walking, the being lost, etc. Not one complaint. The kid could sense Mom was in a panic, I guess, and to have complained would have compounded the issue.)

Chris led us the stretch from Duval and Applerouth, which is where Rob insisted he was, up to Angela and Whitehead. And he pointed out a parking lot ahead. And I recognized it, along with the attendant. Oh, my God, I recognized it.

I thanked him - I'm sure I thanked him - and then I took off at a dead sprint for the car.

I'm not a runner, folks. I don't run unless someone scary is chasing me, or I'm about to miss a bus. But I ran as hard and fast as I could. Thankfully, Jack followed me.

And I opened the car door, and looked inside, and there sat my husband, blinking back at me. And I looked in the backseat, and there sat my daughters, blinking back at me.

And all the dread and fear and worry of the past 70 minutes came flooding in, and I don't know exactly what I said, but I do know one thing: I was LOUD.

Panic over, relief set in, I made sure everyone was fine, and then I did the one thing I could do at that moment, other than yell.

I took another nap. For an hour and a half. Maybe two hours, I don't recall. I slept.

Thank you, God, thank you. My babies are alive. My husband is alive. <----- Last thought before falling asleep, first thought upon waking up again.

I missed Job #3 because of the fear and the nap, but I was determined to go do Job #4. I had to go by myself, which sucked, but this time, I made damned sure I knew exactly where the car was at the time. And I gave Chloë her dad's phone.


This time, this walk, I could enjoy the sights and sounds of beautiful, zany Key West. Like this chicken crossing the street. (No, Julie, I didn't ask him why he did it.)


Like these shakes, a Strawberry Banana Protein no-sugar one for me, and a Nutella Espresso one for Rob, at a local café instead of the Haagen-Dazs across the street. Because local is so much better than big box, y'all.


Like this barefoot musician and his faithful dog, playing Pearl Jam for tips on a Duval sidewalk. The sticker there reads, "Wag more, bark less." I loved this whole little vignette.

And then I was finished. The kids were all right. Rob was all right. 

We headed home. It took three hours. I drove straight through, stopping only for potty breaks and refills.

Of course, it rained. It rains every time we drive home from Key West. Every. Single. Time. But this wasn't a driving rain, and it didn't last the duration of the trip. Just a sprinkle from Key Largo to Homestead.

When we arrived home, I had to go pee, and the kids were all asleep. I ensured Rob was all right, and got them into the house to go to bed, and then I went to use the bathroom. 

When I came out, Rob was still outside, so I went to help him into the house. He was sitting in the parking spot next to ours, stunned. He'd fallen again, and this time he said he'd hit his head on the grass. 

Dammit, damn, damn, damn.

I'm glad it wasn't the concrete, but...

I helped him unsteadily to his feet and led him inside, to the couch. He's been up to pee and get meds since then, but otherwise he hasn't moved. I will be calling to make us both a doctor appointment first thing on Monday morning. 

Speaking of insanity.

This is how our life goes.


Sunday Stealing: The Bonus Questions Meme


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

Bonus Questions Meme

From Friday 5Bonus Questions


What’s your favorite frozen treat on a stick?


No stick needed!

Once in a while, I will still cave in and have one - maybe one a year - but then I get really ill afterward. So I wait until I forget just how sick, and that takes about a year, before I have another. [P.S. Homemade are better.]

What’s your favorite lollipop?


I'm not really a fan of hard candy in any form. I have to be hard up for something sweet to go that route. Espcially now, when sweets are few and far between for me.

When you passed notes during class in high school, who was mostly often the recipient?

I'm offended that you think I'm too old for having texted my way through school instead of doing that ^^ - not. I kid.

Usually it was my good pals, Dr. Lisa, Shana, Stacey K. or others. Girls. Rarely would I pass notes with a guy, but it happened! ;)

Who among your high school friends was the first to get his or her own car?


I got my car first, I think, amongst my group of friends. However, I never got to drive it without permission! That's another twisted story that illustrates how dysfunctional my family was. If I haven't shared it before, I will have to get to that another time, because I'm in too good a mood.

Who’s the black sheep in your family?

We used to say it was my sister, Stacey, because she was so different than the other three of us. However, I'm the only one who doesn't still talk to everyone else (except her of course), and maybe that means it's me. You know what? I'm fine with that. I've jettisoned away from all that negativity.

Who’s the family historian?


Again, that would be me. I like to keep track of everything and encapsulate each moment. I hope that my children will appreciate that some day, the way I love looking at pictures of my parents and their youths, and sometimes, even my own.

What was the last thing you sprayed from a spray bottle?


Probably Windex - and I need to do it again. My bathroom mirror is 'sgustin'!

What was the last thing you sprayed from an aerosol can?

Maybe not this brand, but it was definitely sunscreen. We went to the beach twice while Rob's brother and his kids were here last week. No, wait, I think I sprayed the toilet with some gunk a night or two ago. It stains easily and looks gross, and I clean it at least twice a week because of that.

When did you last make reservations for something?


I have to do it fairly regularly for my shops, so I think it was the last time I went to the tapas place. Good stuff, that.

What’s your next upcoming appointment?

I have to schedule an MRI for this week. I mentioned it in Friday Fragments a few posts down, but a CT scan revealed a lesion on my left temporal lobe, and we need to find out what, exactly, it is. I'm not freaking out. I'm not freaking out. I'm not freaking out.

What store’s departure from your preferred shopping mall most saddened you?

Maybe I'm not normal, but it would sadden me more if such a silly thing saddened me. Really? I don't even get this concept.

What’s good to eat at your preferred shopping mall?


Dude. I don't even have a preferred shopping mall, let alone know what's good to eat there.

I'll tell you this, though: When we go to a mall, almost always for a shop, we (my family) enjoy making the food court circuit and getting a hundred samples to eat. It's a free, full meal for me and the tiny kids, and it's a good snack for Rob and Sophie.

What services (as opposed to goods) do you pay for at your preferred shopping mall?

What's with all the mall questions? I'm, like, getting a headache and stuff.

Okay, my attempt at answering this question will be: no, can't do it. I'm not a girl who gets her hair and nails did at the mall, and I can't think of any other mallular services.

What’s a store you’ve never been inside at your preferred shopping mall?


Ten points if you can guess how I arrived at this ^^ picture!

I've probably mystery shopped 95% of the mall stores of which you've heard, and I've probably been in the other 5% of mall stores of my own volition. Oh, I know! I've never been inside the smoke shop. A store just for tobacky? Kill me now Count me out!

What kind of store would you most welcome in your preferred shopping mall?


My ideal mall doesn't exist, but if it did, it would be unrecognizable as a mall. I don't know what kind of person I am, to give you an easy label, but generally speaking, if it fits in at a regular mall, I probably wouldn't go there.

What did you most recently purchase at an office supply store?

Office supplies. "That's kind of a 'duh'!" as my older daughter would say. (But it was probably printer ink. I go through a lot of it.)

What did you most recently purchase at a book store?



Well, I won't "duh" you and say it was a book. I'll tell you: it was an SAT study book, thick as anything and full of potential, for Hubs. Then he got sick, and, well, that $30 book is probably never going to get used now. You want it?

What did you most recently purchase at a drugstore?

Drugs, duh! 

Last night, when we were in Key West, I got hungry. I went into the Walgreens there and got some Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers. I knew I wouldn't eat them all, and I wanted to get something I knew the kids would enjoy.

What did you most recently purchase at a convenience store?


That's my home-away-from-home, I swear. I'm currently re-addicted to caffeine and diet soda. For $2.66, I can get an enormous 52-oz bucket cup refill and four yummy mozarella sticks with marinara dipping sauce. I get some every day, sometimes a half-dozen times. Today though, after Key West, I'm poor, so I just got the 99¢ soda refill on my way home from church.

What did you most recently purchase at a thrift shop?


Hey looky, I made it through a Sunday Stealing images post without a "KEEP CALM AND..." picture! You're proud of me, I know.

Hmm. I love thrift shops. I'm currently looking for a cool, matched-or-not set of chairs to replace the ones that we currently don't have. Huh? you say. We have two or three wooden ones at our table for six, but I don't know what happened to the rest when we moved. We currently use folding chairs from the card table set, and I'm super tired of that.

Thanks for stopping by, y'all!




It's Not Easy.

Superman Lyrics

from America Town

    I can't stand to fly
    I'm not that naive
    I'm just out to find
    The better part of me

    I'm more than a bird, I'm more than a plane
    I'm more than some pretty face beside a train
    And it's not easy to be me

    I wish that I could cry
    Fall upon my knees
    Find a way to lie
    Bout a home I'll never see

    It may sound absurd but don't be naive
    Even heroes have the right to bleed
    I may be disturbed but won't you concede
    Even heroes have the right to dream?
    And it's not easy to be me

    Up up and away away from me
    Well it's all right
    You can all sleep sound tonight
    I'm not crazy or anything

    I can't stand to fly
    I'm not that naive
    Men weren't meant to ride
    With clouds between their knees

    I'm only a man in a silly red sheet
    Digging for kryptonite on this one way street
    Only a man in a funny red sheet
    Looking for special things inside of me

    Inside of me, inside of me, yeah
    Inside of me, inside of me

    I'm only a man in a funny red sheet
    I'm only a man looking for a dream
    I'm only a man in a funny red sheet
    And it's not easy, it's not easy to be me

    Saturday 9: I'll Be There For You

    I'm thinkin' these are going to be some good questions! Join me here, won'tcha?

    1) This song begins with, "So no one told you life was gonna be this way …" What do you wish you knew five years ago about your life now?

    I wish I knew how hard it was going to get. I might have prepared better. I might not have, probably wouldn't have... but now I'm not prepared at all for this.

    2) This is, of course, the theme from Friends, which is frequently shown back-to-back on TVLand and TBS. Have you ever "binge-watched" a show, catching episode after episode?

    Dexter, a few years ago on Netflix, and The L Word. I think that's it, but probably not?

    3) On the show, Monica and Rachel shared a beautiful 2BR/2BA Soho apartment with a private balcony. It's estimated that such a pad would cost at least $3500/month in today's real-life New York. Describe your dream home.

    Mobile, because I'm a nomad, and always close to water, because I was a mermaid in a past life - and it would come with a cleaning crew, because I've turned out to be quite a crappy housekeeper :(

    4) Of the six main characters, only Chandler was an only child. Do you have any siblings? 

    I have an older half-sister I've never met, and an older sister I love dearly. I had two step-sisters for 10 years, or 15 depending on how you count the time. I don't talk to those two anymore. Toxic.

    5) Gunther was the barista at Central Perk, the coffee shop where the Friends hung out. He had an ongoing, unrequited love for Rachel. Are you crushing on anyone right now? Does he/she know? 

    I'm married. 'Nuff said.

    6) Currently Matt ("Joey") LeBlanc stars in the Showtime series Episodes, playing a character named Matt LeBlanc. If there was going to be series based on your life, who would play you?

    I don't think anyone but me could play me. I wish someone else would take over for a while, though. I need a break from me.

    7) Courtney Cox, who portrayed Monica, has the Twitter handle @CourtneyCox and has 628,000 followers. What was your last tweet?

    @Smellyann: "I walked 15,000 steps today and got a badge with Fitbit! #Fitstats"

    8) The creators of Friends were massive soap opera fans. They named their characters after recurring characters on All My Children and had Joey appear on Days of Our Lives. Have you ever been hooked on a daytime drama?

    My mom used to watch AMC. My grandmother, she liked game shows more. My sisters all liked Guiding Light, so I watched that. I couldn't care less, really, and I probably haven't watched a daytime soap in 20 years.

    9) The band who performed this song, The Rembrandts, took their name from the famous Dutch painter. Can you see any artwork from where you're sitting right now? Tell us about it (and yes, a school painting by your 7-year-old nephew counts).

    I can see the Britto. It's a giclée we bought on our long-awaited honeymoon, a Mediterranean cruise, in 2008. As soon as we saw it, we knew it was so "us," though we didn't know who Romero Britto was at the time. "Deep Night Romance" depicts two fish underwater, smitten with each other. I was a marine biologist before Rob, and he's a retired sailor, so saltwater runs through our veins instead of blood, and the sea connects us to each other. I'm a huge Britto fan now, and I'm delighted to find myself living in the city decorated from Britto's touch on everything from payphone booths to ATM machines to huge sculptures in South Beach... LOVE.


    Friday Fragments, Version 4.11.14

    Half-Past Kissin' Time

    Hey folks! I haven't fragged in a long, long time, since I've been such a horribly inconsistent blahgger during this past Year of the Brain Drama. So, welcome back, if you're visiting here from Half Past Kissin' Time and, somehow, still remember who I am. If not, welcome! Stick around, I'll be posting here again soon. Like, within a month, I swear. ;)

    Link up here if you're playing along today - and read the post to see how you can win some cool prizes, too!

    It was the weirdest thing, y'all: I got stung by a pissed-off bee? Wasp? Hornet? I don't know. Some kind of flying black insect with a nasty sting and a bad attitude. He dropped dead shortly after injecting me right below my left eye with his venom, and part of me cheered his demise while the biologist in me felt bad for helping to hasten it.

    ANYWAY... it hurt like hell, but by the time I finished the drive home from Tampa to Miami, the swelling had gone down and it didn't hurt a bit. So it was with my surprise that I realized, the next morning, that the swelling had not only returned, but my left cheek was numb as well. This went away, and returned, and went away, and returned, repeatedly over the next few days, until Monday afternoon when my friends insisted I go to Urgent Care and get it checked out. Steph (of Stim fame) urged me to go immediately, and so I went.

    After hearing my tale and seeing my left-side-droopy face, they sent me to the Emergency Department at the nearby hospital. The PA there diagnosed me with Bell's Palsy, completely unrelated to the sting, and ordered blood tests and a CT scan.

    While I was getting my blood drawn, the lab techs informed me that my room was ready. "Room? What room?" I asked, puzzled. Long story short, my bloodwork was fine except for dehydration, but my CT showed a lesion in my left temporal lobe. What? Seriously? The doctor said it could be anything from nothing at all to an old infarction (a stroke? a temporary ischemic attack? Who knows?) to a tumor. They ordered an MRI for the next day and told me to sleep. 

    Short story long, and I suppose this is now about three fragments too long for this post, they cut me loose the next day and told me to have an MRI as an outpatient. I'm getting it next week. I wasn't worried until I started losing some of my memory and partial sight in my left eye tonight, but I'm still not too terribly panicked. Hubs and I can't both have brain tumors, amIright? That would just be insane.

    Having had a craniotomy to remove his tumor on February 5th, Rob is doing, well, not much better. He still uses a cane and, sometimes, even needs to revert to his walker. He sleeps all the time. However, we can carry on a semi-normal conversation now, and he can still make me laugh like nobody else. I guess when they remove mineralized bits of your brain and dig around inside your skull, it's pretty amazing to think you should have been all better by now (had it not been for last year's Cyberknife procedures). I won't rush him.

    You know what I hate? When the po-po are out cruising on the Turnpike and going 5 MPH under the speed limit. Are they playing games with us, or what? Of course, everyone stays behind the police car for fear of getting a ticket... everyone except me. Ain't nobody got time for that! I always pass the officer, going no more than 5 MPH over the speed limit, yet keeping a careful eye on my mirror. I mean, I've only gotten *mumble, mumble* speeding tickets in the last 20 years. #scofflaw

    Speaking of the Turnpike and weird things happening, guess what? I live in Miami, right? One of the biggest, busiest, most heavily-trafficked cities in the nation? So imagine how much I laughed when I had to divert my path off the Turnpike today because several cows - yes, cows, like, moo-moo - were wandering around, blocking the cars. HEE-larious.

    I had this conversation with 11-year-old Jack and 12-year-old Chloë today:

    Chloë: "Mom, I stubbed my toe on that levitated thing between the bathroom and the bedroom. It hurts!"

    Mel: "I'm sorry. But, 'levitated' means floating in the air...'

    C: "Oh, so what should I say? 'Elevated' is the right word, right?"

    M: "You could say that. I would just say 'raised'..." (I always trail off, it seems.)

    Jack: "Wait, what was levitating?"

    C: "Nothing was!"

    J: "No really, what was levitating?!"

    C: "UFOs, geez!"

    M: **laughs**

    {End scene.}

    Wednesday was the 30th anniversary of my mom's death at age 33 from untreated diabetes. I was seven years old. It was the worst thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life, and mine have not been an easy 37 years. So you'd think, after three decades of asking my sister and me on the phone, "Do you know what today is?" my dad would get the clue that no, we will not ever forget the day.

    (Get yourself checked out regularly, folks. Senseless deaths like hers ... sigh.)


    So, tomorrow we drive back down to Key West. I have lots of work to do down there. It's great because, hey, money... but I have no jobs to do on the way down or back, and it's a good three hours each way. And it always rains on the way back. Never fails.

    Thanks for stopping by! Maybe, just maybe, I'll see you again here next week for more fragments. (My grandma always told me the road to hell was paved with good intentions, which I never really understood as a kid because I thought she was telling me I should have bad intentions!)


    Go Fish!




    I gotta hand (heh, heh) it to my great pals, Marc and Jenna (aka Team Fried): they gave us a terrific gift recently! Marc works for the University of Miami - Diabetes Research Institute, and sometimes he's able to score wonderful things like tickets to the MLB's Miami Marlins vs. San Diego Padres game during Opening Week. They have young twins, so they can't be out until midnight like we were Saturday night. Team Fried gave us those tickets, and off we went to have a great time. It was UM family night, so naturally, I had to paint my nails orange-and-green, amiright?!


    We arrived at the appointed hour of 1700, for the UM family activities. See all those balloons over there? That was our destination. Sophia willingly posed for this picture, right before we realized the sun was blazin' and Chloë had forgotten her ballcap back at the car. We went back for left-behind items maybe two more times.


    After getting our faces tattooed with Sebastian the Ibis on one side and the "U" on the other, my lady-babies and I posed for this selfie. The official UM shutterbug insisted on photographing this selfie moment and asked permission to use the pictures. Of course I said yes, but I felt a little silly holding my iPhone up there for two minutes while he took 37 snaps!

    (Speaking of selfies, I love that song by The Chainsmokers. Cracks me up every single time, and then I can't stop saying, "That's so ratchet" about EVERYTHING!"


    I don't know if UM or the Marlins put out the bouncy thingies, but my kids killed an hour playing, which was good, since we had that much time to waste before taking our seats inside the stadium. Rob and I sat in the shade. Did I mention how hot it was?! We actually bought a $4 bottle of water for everyone, and you know that killed me, right?


    Oh, all right, some of us (me) had more than water. I love that Family Night included, in large part, a bar. Really? No soda for Hubs, but plenty of alcohol. Oh, but look! UM-themed silly bandz! I haven't taken mine off yet. (I'll admit it, I love my alma mater.)


    Sophia, who will be freaking nine on Sunday, looking beautiful and every bit as old as she is


    I look better in the selfie-with-ladies pic, so please, just look at Jack here. Jack, who needs a haircut and is sporting 70s-style wings, is much cuter, no?


    Chloë and Sophie wanted to pose with a couple of Marlins cheerleaders dancers Energy Team girls, and we started a huuuuge line of followers. Who says I'm not leader material?! (Me, that's who.) 


    Our game tickets included meal vouchers for 'dogs, drinks and chips, so Team Odette ate on the cheap, at least, thanks to Team Fried. Of course, I don't eat frankenweenies, so I had a hot pretzel. It was terrible. This ain't Philly, after all.


    I behaved myself and did not take any photo or video during the game itself, unlike many a fellow fan. However, I will give you a few salient details about that part:

    1. Baseball players are hot. Hello, José Fernandez, I'm your newest fan!

    2. I somehow did not lose my voice while helping to cheer the Fish to a 5-0 shutout against the Padres. WOOT!

    3. My dad remains, and my grandparents were, huge fans of the Mets. I grew up going to games at Shea Stadium. Dad always fell asleep next to the television, newspaper in hand, reading glasses sliding down his nose, while games were airing, too. All that being said, Saturday night's game was the most exciting one I have ever watched. It was so fun!

    4. Jack grumped about wanting to go home after Inning Four, but even he had to admit that we all had a blast.

    5. Did I mention the players' butts? Oh em gee. So cute! Shh... I can look.


    I tried forty-nine three times to get a clear picture of this girl from The Clevelander. She was on mega-high stilts and dancing like she was barefoot. I wonder how long she had to practice before she stopped falling on her face? She got everyone's attention. No one could get out the door, because everyone was gawking - myself included!



    Rob, still visibly affected by the steroids he's taking, and moi in yet another selfie


    Thanks for the super-awesome fun night, Marc and Jenna! We you guys!


    Sunday Stealing: For Old Times' Sake


    Link up here if you're a latecomer, like Yours Truly!

    From For Old Times' Sake 

    The For Old Times' Sake Meme

    When was the last time you swam in a pool? 

    March 5th or 6th. It was cold, in Suffolk, VA, with an unheated indoor pool. I preferred to jump into the pool, warm up in the hot tub until I was about to pass out, then lather, rinse, and repeat. Ah, good times.

     Do you like to party? 

    I didn't go to a single frat party during my years at the Universities Miami and South Florida. I studied hard, and I worked up to three jobs at a time, besides. Apologies in advance to all you Greeks, but I don't like to be told with whom I can be friends, what parties and games to attend, and what guys to date. And I didn't want to check my brain at the door and share the community one. So nope, I didn't rush, pledge, or whatever those sorority girl-types do these days. Ah, I've waited a long time to say that "out loud." (I mean, uh, no.)

    Describe the shirt you're wearing? 

    It's green, with a peek-a-boo slit where you would be able to see my cleavage - if I had any.

    What is one feature film that you don't like?

    If Ernest went there, I hated it.

    Would people describe you as happy? 

    OMG, is anyone else sick of being told to Keep Calm yet?! Anyway, long story short, yes, I am generally considered to be happy. So much so, my dad called me "Joyous" as a kid. Nowadays, though, I need to take my meds like clockwork in order to be anything but a total $%^&* bitch. Sad to say.

    Sleep with or without clothes on? 

    I generally crash in whatever I've been wearing for the day. I have about four sets of PJs that haven't touched my skin, other than to be moved from drawer to box and back again, in ages.

    Oh, and don't do a Google Images search for "sleep naked" with kids around. Consider yourself warned. (*ahem* I don't know whether to apologize or say "you're welcome" to my 11-year-old son now...)

    Does it bother you if people swear around you? 

    Are you kidding me? I'm a native New Yawka, my husband is a sailor, and... no. I don't mind. I'm trying to quit, but truth be told, I'm not really trying as hard as I could be.

    Do you prefer Wednesdays or Thursdays? 

    My favorite day of the week used to be any day that Hubs was home from work, spending the day with us. Now that he's retired, every day sucks. Haha! I kid, I kid.

    Like to travel? 

    Is the Pope Catholic?

    Does a bear shit in the woods?

    Do I like to swear?

    Yes, dudes. I live to travel.

    Think you're attractive? 


    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. You tell me.

    Are or were you a good student? 

    I didn't get a 100 average in high school; I got a 119. I'm 37 years old now and other than this silly ol' blahg, no one in the world cares anymore. It was important at the time. I went into college as a mid-year sophomore and graduated from a 5-year program in 3 years with a double major and what would have been a triple minor if I'd gone another year. 

    Yeah. I was a good student. But who cares? (ME, obviously! ha.)

    Are you currently happy? 

    So my husband left his critically-important medicine at the ballpark last night (why he brought it there is beyond me), and now he's retching between sobs. I feel bad for him. It's hard to be happy at this juncture.

    Colored or black-and-white photo? 

    I mean, there are great color pictures that would lose their grip in B/W, and vice-versa, but as for me? I live my life right out loud, in living color, every single day. Give me turquoise, give me fuschia, give me chartreuse any day of the week. I'll take the brightest, noisiest colors you have. (Oh, was this question not supposed to be metaphorical. My bad, yo.)

    Do you consider yourself the life of the party? 

    Not without major chemical assistance, no

    Do you drink? 

    I prefer to drink when they pay me to do it (my job has its perks), but yeah. And, I seem to imbibe a lot more frequently since Rob had his brain surgery. Coincidence?

    Do you make fun of people?


    Never say never, but I generally try to be nice. On the other hand, that girl at the store tonight should not have been wearing that strapless dress with all her bacne. I'll stop there.

    Do you think dreams eventually come true? 

    I think I'm some special kind of psychic, because I often have realistic dreams about mundane conversations or real-life situations that, the next day or a week later, actually happen. Does that count? And is this just moi?

    Also, sure they do, or else I have been an idealistic daydreamer for nothing my whole life... and I refuse to allow for that possibility!

    Favorite fictional character? 

    I'm rather fond of Anne of Green Gables, but that's just the first name that came to mind... (P.S. It occurred to me, just before hitting "publish," that I only thought of characters in books. Interesting little factoid to probably no one, huh?)

    Go to the movies or rent? 

    Remember the days when your parents used to take you and your sister to the drive-in in your paneled wood station wagon, and they'd put the seats down in the back and buy you candy and popcorn, and there would be a cartoon before the feature started? And then you two would fall asleep, or at least that's what your parents thought before they started smooching, and everything was all right with the world?

    Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, I'll pick the theater, if only because it brings me back to that place over three decades ago.

    Have you ever moved? 

    Follow me: Monroe, NY ► Syracuse, NY ► Aiken, SC ► Coral Gables, FL ► Warrenville, SC ► Coral Gables, FL ► South Miami, FL ► Coral Gables, FL ► South Miami, FL ► Coral Gables, FL ► Sarasota, FL ► Coral Gables, FL ► St. Pete, FL ► Tampa, FL ► St. Pete, FL ► Panama City Beach, FL ► Panama City, FL ► Hagatna, Guam ► Yigo, Guam ► Norfolk, VA ► Virginia Beach, VA ► Portsmouth, VA ► Homestead, FL ► ???

    Have you ever stolen anything? 

    I stole a Koosh Ball once, quite by accident. I walked out of the store with it, forgetting it was in my hands, until I got back to the car. I didn't return it. I felt so guilty, I just stuffed it into the back of my closet. I don't know what became of it after that.

    How's the weather right now? 


    Last time you cut your hair? 


    On March 9th, I got this haircut. I like it.

    Last person you talked to on the phone? 

    A scheduler for a mystery shopping company called me to have me do an evaluation. 

    Last time you showered? 

    The water pressure in our shower sucks butt, so I prefer to take baths. Normally, I hate baths, so this irks me. I did shower a couple days ago, though, because it is faster, and I was in a hurry. Hey, you asked.

    Loud or soft music? 

    When I'm alone in my car, I love listening to loud music. I turn it down for the kids' sakes, though.

    McDonalds or Burger King? 

    I prefer Panera.

    Night or day? 

    You saw what time it was on the weather question, right?

    Number of pillows? 

    One if it's firm, two if it's so squishy that my head hits the mattress. I mean, what are the point of those?!

    Piano or guitar? 

    My friend Shana plays (among other things) the electric violin. I think that's pretty cool.

    Current longing? 

    I just want Hubs to...

    Current disappointment? 

    I was hoping for an avocado-on-toast, with cheese and lemon, sammich. I forgot we were out of the cheese and avocados, though. Bummer.

    Current annoyance? 

    Jack, my son, is watching Gravity behind me. He's talking through the entire freakin' thing. (Yes, he's awake at this hour. They all are. Our sleep patterns are all messed up this past year of Brain Drama.)

    Last thing you ate? 

    I'm eating sunflower kernels right now, since the last disappointment.

    Last thing you bought? 

    These are free at Walgreens this week, so I "bought" six. I drank three already, and I'm not wired.

    Pick a lyric, any lyric or a song...

    When I hear John Legend singing "All of Me" on the radio, it makes me question why no one's ever written a song like that for me. And sung it to me. I've always wanted to be serenaded outside my window in the middle of the night. Or ten o'clock. Because, you know, neighbors...

    But Hubs can't sing. And he can't dance. However, no one makes me laugh harder than he does. And behold, that is good.

    Pick a movie quote...


    ... But my favorite line in Dirty Dancing is, "Just put your pickle on everybody's plate, College Boy, and leave the hard stuff to me."

    I actually say it all the time, when the moment's right. Crack myself up, I do.

    Well that was fun. And long. Speaking of pickles...


    Saturday 9: Can't Buy Me Love

    Link up here if you're playing along today!

    50 years ago this week, The Beatles made history with this song (hear it here). They became the first and only act in history to hold all 5 of the top slots in the Billboard Hot 100

    1) In this song, Beatle Paul offers to buy his girl a diamond ring. Do you wear rings?

    Yes; on my left ring finger, I wear my engagement and wedding rings, always. The other fingers may sport various other rings at other times, but not often and not many. Right now, on my right middle finger, I'm wearing a silver and peridot ring I won on Listia. Peridot is Hubs' birthstone, which is why I got it.

    2) This song was written by boyhood friends John Lennon and Paul McCartney, who went on to become the most successful songwriters of the 20th century. Tell us about your best friend from "the old neighborhood." Do you know where she is today?

    The old, old 'hood? That would be Ursula. Aside from my big sis, Ursula is my oldest friend in the world. Her mom babysat Stacey and me until we moved away from Monroe, NY, to CNY (Syracuse) when I was 6½. Ursula is also a mother of three now, a school nurse, and my Facebook friend. I haven't seen her in so long, though!

    3) The Ed Sullivan Theater, where the Beatles first performed to a mass American audience, is now the home of The Late Show with David Letterman. Do you have a favorite late night talk show?

    I might, if I had TV, but I don't... I like Conan, Letterman, and the Jimmys. Couldn't stand Leno, ever. Glad he's gone.

    4) In 1964, when this song became #1, one of top TV shows was My Favorite Martian. Do you believe in life on other planets?

    It's not really a question of if I believe in it or not. Of course, it's possible. It's a matter of when they'll find it. That, I have no idea.

    5) In those days, homes had rotary dial phones, often affixed to the wall, with the receiver always tethered by a curly cord. Does your home still have a landline phone?

    Big fat NYET! We haven't had a landline since 2002 or so.

    6) 1964 was the year GI Joe first appeared on toy shelves. Tell us about one of your favorite childhood toys. 

    It used to drive me crazy when my dad called them Cabbage Patch "dolls." "They're KIDS, Dad!" I always insisted. I had three, which I've given to my daughters: a redhead, Auberta Lenora. A black one I insisted on getting when I was nine (foretelling the future, much?), Tiffany Jacqueline. And a cornsilk redhead whose name I changed from Andrea Gina to Andrea Jeanine (sp??), simply because I wanted to change a name for once.

    7) Ringo was the first Beatle to become a grandfather. His granddaughter, Tatia, is now a rock musician. If you were to follow your grandfather into his chosen profession, what would you be doing now?

    I would be setting up and maintaining commercial laundry systems for Tingue Brown & Co.

    8) Paul McCartney admits he enjoys watching MasterChef. What show do you go out of your way to catch?

    Not applicable, sorry

    9) The paparazzi have often caught Paul pedaling a bike around Martha's Vineyard. What's your favorite form of exercise?

     I love to rollerblade, and I plan on doing some in the morning. I haven't gone since I wiped out badly, showing off for my son, a month or two ago. Haha, that still makes me laugh... at 37, I was doing stunts on my 'blades!