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Entries from June 2014

Sunday Stealing: If You Could Meme


Link up here if you're playing along today!

From Sweet Memes, our friend CAT!:


Travel anywhere, where would it be? 

It's a Bucket List item to SCUBA dive on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

 Meet anyone, who would it be? 

I was going to say something silly, like my crushes Matt Damon or Ed Sheeran, but then I decided to go a little more cerebral since I'm not even remotely in a silly mood. I'm going with Einstein.

 Bring anyone dead back to life, who would it be? 

If I were being entirely selfish, I'd ask if I could pick two people who were taken far too early:  my beautiful mother, who lived just 33 years, and my darling son, who lived just 3 days. But I try not to be entirely selfish, and so I will pick my son. My reasons are multiple, but partly, I would choose Robby so that his identical twin brother, Jack, who survived their traumatic birth, would have his womb-mate and the kiddo who should be his best friend in life, his partner in crime, his other half. You're right, Jack; it's NOT fair.

(And if you, reader, try and tell me that "everything happens for a reason," I will hunt you down and kick you in bits that will make you cry the ugly cry. Because not everything does. Some things just freaking happen.)

 Be anyone for a day, who would it be? 

Well, or Queen of the Universe, or something. I'd globally mandate and/or outlaw a few things. Recycling, which should be a damn given in the year 2014, would be required for every possible thing that can be recycled. Smoking would be outlawed. Priorities would shift. Real things would matter. None of this "oh, let's not let two people who love each other get married when children are going hungry and global warming is happening" bullshit.

(Sorry, guys, I'm not in a fluffy kitten and rainbows and unicorns mood.)

 Get anything for free for the rest of your life what would it be? 

Yarn. I pick yarn. Okay, maybe there's still a little frivolity left in my spirit today, after all. But not just any old ugly, cheap yarn. Handspun, hand-painted, beautifully soft, natural yarns.

 Change one thing about your life what would it be? 

Hopefully this will be us in 2.5 years: sailing on the open ocean, to destinations varied and far, seeing the world, having amazing experiences, teaching the kids real-life stuff. Maybe it's a pipe dream, maybe it'll happen... time will tell.

 Have any superpower what would it be? 

I still dream all the time that I can fly. I would give anything - almost - to do it for real.

 Be any animal for a day which would you be? 

I'd be a beautiful parrotfish, colorful and interesting, buoyant and free... my favorite of reef fishes.

 Date anyone who would it be? 

I'd date this guy: my husband. But, I'd like him to be the guy before brain surgery, before the brain tumor, before Cyberknife made him a whole 'nother person. Can I have my husband back, please?!!

 Change one thing about the world what would it be? 

I would make it so that no one cared about what other people looked like on the outside; people would see past that - or never see it at all - to the beauty that lies within each and every one of us.

 Live in any fictional universe which would you choose? 

Not that I truly think heaven is "fictional," but I would go there. 

 Eliminate one of your human needs; which would you get rid of? 

Not to get too gross, because I have a million and one fun things I could say about it, but I would eliminate elimination.

 Change one thing about your physical appearance what would it be? 

Okay, that's beyond beyond, but I would get rid of all the extra skin from dropping 200 pounds in the blink of an eye. It's... yuckish.

 Change one of your personality traits which would you choose? 

I would turn my boundless insecurity into (merited) confidence.

 Be talented at anything instantly what would you choose? 

In my mind, I'm secretly an amazing gymnast. In reality, I'm the biggest klutz ever.

 Forget one event in your life which would you choose? 

I'd erase the the years from the time my mom died, when I was 7, until I graduated high school and went to college, when I was 17. Those ten years of my childhood, well, they really fucked me up.

 Erase an event from history (make it so it never happened) which would you choose? 

I'd erase the assassination of MLK, Jr., because I feel that he had a whole lot more to offer this country - no, this world.

 Have any hair/eye/skin color, which would you choose? 

I wouldn't change a thing.

 Be any weight/body type, which would you choose?

 I'd choose to be happy the way I am.

 Live in any country/city, where would you choose? 

I've always wanted to spend a year of my life living in New York City.

 Change one law in your country, which would you change? 

Come on, now.

 Be any height, which would you choose?  

I'm happy at 5'2".

Have any job in the world, which would you choose? 

I was going to join the Peace Corps before I started my Ph.D., but I couldn't go for various (financial and medical) reasons at the time. I'd still like to do that someday.

 Have anything appear in your pocket right now, what would it be? 

It's the end of the month, two days before payday, and we've just run out of milk for the kidoodles. A wad of cash showing up in my pocket would be nice right now.

 Have anyone beside you right now, who would it be?


I'm pretty fortunate, because I'd still choose Hubs, and guess what? There he is. ---->

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: I Feel The Earth Move

Link up here if you want. No pressure, dude.

Saturday 9: I Feel the Earth Move
(recommended by Blue County Magic)

If you're not familiar with today's song, you can hear it here

1) This song is from the album Tapestry, one of the all-time best-sellers (more than 25,000,000 copies sold worldwide). Is it in your collection? 
No, and I've never heard it. I'm just a young whippersna... no. I'm really not. I'm just not that cool, is all.

2) It's about that glorious passion you feel when you first fall for someone. How many times have you been in love? 

I'm a highly emotional female (and no, I don't mean that in the "duh, isn't that redundant?" sense; I truly feel my emotions more strongly than most people do, per my psychotherapist - it's both a blessing and a curse), so my answer is 'more times than I can count.'

3) San Francisco radio stations briefly removed "I Feel the Earth Move" from their playlists after the 1989 earthquake. Have you ever been in an earthquake and literally felt "the earth move under your feet?"
First of all, that's f**king hilarious. Second of all, yes, but it wasn't until I looked it up online that I realized that's what it really was, because how often do you hear about earthquakes in Miami? Thirdly, funny story: My sister and I used to sneak into my parents' bedroom in the mornings and tickle his feet. One morning, he was shouting at us to quit it; only, it wasn't us but rather an earthquake waking him up!

4) Carole King is the first and only woman to win the Gershwin Prize for songwriting from the Library of Congress. Here's your chance to brag a little -- tell us about an accolade you have received.
The only woman? Sheesh. Of coures there are other amazing songwriters in possession of a vajayjay who deserve this honor! Anyway, I've mentioned my 3rd grade "Class Giggler" award countless times, so let me think of another...  For some reason that probably matters only to me, I wanted to think of something not related to my academic record. So you get this: My daughter and I made my world- household-famous chocolate chip cookies recently. I brought in a half-dozen to the girl who works at a store I frequent, and she shared them with her beau. They raved, and the next time I saw her, she was paying me to make them an entire batch. High praise!

5) Carole wrote "You've Got a Friend," which was a mega hit for her good pal, James Taylor. King and Taylor have known one another for more than 40 years, but have never been romantically involved. Do you have any platonic friends of the opposite sex?
I have a few, sure.  But I'm completely dudular in the sense that I think of most of them sexually, anyway, unless they're, ya know, ratchet. (I just love that word.)

6) Like more than 80% of the population, Carole is right handed. Are you right handed, left handed (10%) or that most rare of all, ambidextrous (less than 10%)?
Ambidextrous, like my gran'pappy before me. In grad school one time, we had to take a test that measured our degree of ambidexterity. I was the only one who equally right- and left-handed. Another weird accolade?

7) One of Carole King's earliest hits was Little Eva's "The Loco-Motion." Little Eva was the teenager King hired to care for her young children. Tell us about a sitter who cared for you when you were little.

Olive O'Rourke watched Stacey and me after Mom went back to work. We lived in Monroe, NY, and her daughter Ursula, who was just a month older than I am, quickly became our mutual BFF. Olive always thought it was funny that I ate the same thing every day for lunch: two Chips Ahoy cookies (though I snuck more when no one was around) and a PB&J (strawberry only) sammich. And I lost my shoes every. single. day, forcing a hunt every time Dad came to pick us up.
When we moved up to Syracuse 6½ years into my life, Ursula was one of the first people I called. Her New Yawk accent threw me, when she exclaimed, "Oh, my Gawd! I haven't seen you in so lawng!" and it still blows my mind that I really used to talk like that except when (a) joking or (b) excited. I'm so stoked, because we're flying up to New York next month, and I have a visit scheduled with Ursula and Olive. I haven't seen either of them in, well, so lawng!
8) Beautiful is the title of the Broadway play about Carole King's life. If we were producing your life story, what would you want us to call it?
Hmm. I have a working title for my book, but I'm not ready to share it. How about, "If You're Crazy and You Know It..."? Nah... I dunno. I'm pretty crap at naming things. That's why Hubs named all the children, and their names rock.

9) Carole wrote "Pleasant Valley Sunday," the Monkees' song about conspicuous consumption. When Crazy Sam looks at her crowded shelf of hair products (paraben-free conditioner, keratin-restoring conditioner, hair masque, hot oil conditioner …), she realizes she's guilty of it herself. Have you bought anything recently that you later decided was a waste of money?
Honestly, Sammy dear, I don't consider that "conspicuous consumption" unless you're inviting friends and neighbors in to come in and admire those products. As for a waste of money? Hmm, let's see... maybe the OtterBox Defender case I just got for my new Samsung Galaxy S5. Don't get me wrong, it's very safe and protective and all that, but I didn't do the 360º view on Amazon before buying it, and it's all ugly (read: camo) on the back, and the case blocks the swipe-to-unlock feature I frequently use. Gonna have to rethink that one.
Welp, kids, that's all from me. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday Stealing: The 90 Meme, Part The Third


Link up here if you're playing along today!

And awaaaaaay we go:

61. Do you like current pop stars?  

I lurve Bruno Mars, and I'm crushing on Ed Sheeran, so... yeah?

62. What is your least favorite chore? 

Oh ma gaw, I should totes do that!

Least favorite: Dusting. You thought I was gonna say scrubbing toilets, dintcha?

63. Last place you drove your car? 


I drove to Domino's to pick up our free pizza for the Dodgers' no-hitter MLB game. Woot!

 64. Ever been out of the country? 

If I hadn't, I would consider myself much poorer indeed.

 65. Where were you the last time you used a public bathroom? 

I try to avoid it at all costs, but I did have to make a pit stop in a Burger King this afternoon after chugging a gallon of Diet Mt. Dew and getting caught in traffic during a deluge. Thank ye gods, it was clean.

 66. Could you handle being in the military? 

I've been a military wife for 13 years. That's as close as I'mma get.

 67. What is your average cell phone bill? 

It's not super bad since I get a 25% discount for being a Nielsen family. 

 68. Who or what are you thinking about right now? 

I'm wondering what witty label I'm going to put for the posts in which I reference my new Samsung Galaxy S5, now that I've upgraded from my iPhone.

 69. When was the last time you laughed REALLY hard? 

Butt Pic

Just a li'l bit ago, whilst creating this family portrait for my Facebook cover photo!

 70. How many pairs of shoes do you own? 

Like a dozen, fewer now that my feet have shrunk from a 7½ to a 5. I'm still getting rid of the too-biggies. I'm not really a shoe whore, or a purse whore, or a clothes whore... am I really female?!

 71. Are your toes always painted? 

Google "ugly feet funny" to see way gross pictures, by the way. As for my toes? Generally I do keep them painted. Right now my booboo toenail is showing black through the paint.

 72. How many piercings do you have? 


Nine. Four in each ear and one in my nose. I don't really have one in my bellybutton; I'm not a follower. Okay, so I don't really have a show-offable belly, but I still wouldn't.

 73. What are you doing today? 

Not what I should be, I'll say that. Hey, what do you want from me? That couch is comfy.

 74. Have you ever been gambling? 

I've been to Vegas and gambled with someone else's cash. I prefer things that way.

 75. When is the last time you updated your blog? 

I'm doing it right now. To quote my elder daughter, "That's kind of a duh."

 76. Do you like roller coasters? 

Do bears shit on the pope? (or something) (That would be a "no.")

 77. Have you ever been to Disneyland or -World? 

Never been to -Land. Been to WDW 3-4 times over the course of as many decades. 

 78. Do you have a favorite cartoon character? 

Just keep swimming!

 79. Last thing you cooked? 


Chocolate chip cookies that I got paid to make after a girl I know sampled a few from a prior batch and declared them, quote, "WOW." If baking counts, that is.

 80. How's the weather? 

It's full-on hurricane season here at the southern tip of Florida. What do you think?

 81. Do you e-mail more than snail mail? 

...but I still like writin' letters and sending cards and stuff.

 82. What's the funniest picture you ever took with your cell phone?  

You mean that photo up there with everyone's hineys wasn't good enough?

83. Last time you were sick? 

I'm bipolar. I'm always "sick."

 84. What states have you lived in? 

New York, South Carolina, Florida, Virginia - and Guam

 85. Do you wish you could move? 

We're hoping to live on a boat by the time I'm 40. Hubs is still recovering from brain surgery, so... he's got 2½ years to be well.

 86. Do you take a lot of quizzes? 

Oh, no more than the next blahg writer, I guess.

 87. What is your dream car? 

I'd love a Vespa. Do scooters count?

 88. Have you ever wanted someone you can't have? 

Sure, but there are no returns from Heaven, so you know... I'll wait.

 89. If you could be anywhere right now where would it be? 

I have to pee, so I guess the bathroom?

 90. Are you happy with your life?


I'm good.

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Little Red Corvette


Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: LIttle Red Corvette (recommended by Smellyann) That's me!

No link this week. Prince apparently is very strict about copyright infringement.

1) The subject of this song is frankly sexual. Do you blush easily?

Why yes, I do, despite the fact that my mind is frequently in the gutter. I hate it (the blushing).

2) Prince is his real name (Prince Rogers, to be exact). Growing up, his  relatives called him "Skipper." Do you have any nicknames within your family?
Smellyann, at you service! (This was bestowed upon me by my older sister, as a middle school joke. My dad called me "Mellie-Ann," and Stacey changed it to Smelly... but I liked it.)
3) Prince says he's "obsessed" with Mozart and reads whatever he can find about the composer. What's the last book you read?
I'm reading Just One Thing by Dr. Rick Hanson, about how to develop a Buddha Brain. It was highly recommended by my former therapist; I enjoy perusing it when I've nothing else to do, so it's not really a stay-up-all-night-reading kind of book for me.

4) Between Prince and The Beach Boys, the Corvette is a much sung-about car. Tell us about your vehicle.
"Miguel" is an '04 Chevy Trailblazer. We had a much newer, much better Honda Odyssey, but, well, we lost "Penelope" in the midst of all our financial desperation after Hubs retired and the brain tumor drama started. Long story short, Miguel gets us from A to B, but other than that, he's nothing to write home about. Still, I'm grateful we have a vehicle.
5) In the 1980s, when Prince was popular, MTV could turn a song into a hit. In 2014, how do you hear new music?
Lamely, I mostly listen to all the Top 40 stations to get my new music. When I get sick of that, I switch around to the "classic rock" station which, to my dismay, now plays all the music of my youth. So apparently, I'm vintage now, too. I also listen to a lot of Latin music and know quite a few of the songs in Spanish. There's a French/Creole station or two that play here in Miami, but I just can't get into that music as much.
6) In 1982, when "Little Red Corvette" ruled the airwaves, Braniff Airways shocked the travel industry and threw passengers into chaos by declaring bankruptcy. When did you last fly? Did your trip go smoothly?
I don't think I've flown since our trip to Europe in 2008, but we'll be flying into New York at the end of July. I'm looking forward to it; I love to fly, and I'll see my sister and her family (and possibly my dad), along with all my high school chums. Can't wait!
7) 1982 is also the year Disney opened Epcot. Have you ever been to a Disney park?
Sure. The last time we went to Walt Disney World was in 2006, and we stayed on property for five days and visited all the parks and Downtown Disney. We've since been back to Downtown Disney several times but haven't gotten to an actual park in eight years. My kids super, rilly rilly want to go, but, y'know, it costs.
8) 1982 is the year Cheers premiered. The sitcom was set in a bar where "everybody knows your name." Tell us about your favorite local bar or restaurant.
There's a tapas restaurant in Coral Gables that I've been to at least half a dozen times "for work" since we moved here. Every dish and drink (get the sangría!) is spectacular; I've put lots of pictures of our "small plates" on Instagram (follow me: @Smellyann).
9) The 1980s were considered a highpoint in professional tennis, with Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe dominating the sport. Do you play tennis?
I have crappy depth perception, but I loved to attempt to play in high school. My serve wasn't bad, though. I'm not really the athletic type, which is a huge understatement. My sis, a Tough Mudder, got the "physical" genes.
Thanks for stopping by! Happy SUMMER!!!

Sunday Stealing: The 90 Meme, Part The Second

I'm avoiding a laundry list of housework including, well, laundry, today, which is why I'm here so early for once. Let's go! (Oops, your linkage is here.)

30. Do you read your horoscope? 

Sometimes, on the rare occasion... but just for kicks. I don't buy into it at all.

31. Where was the last place you bought something? 

CVS, this morning

32. How do you feel about your hair right now? 

I mean, it's not that bad, but I could use a shower, you feel me?

33. Do you bite your nails? 

Nope. Never was a habit of mine. My eldest offspring does it. It's the only not-beautiful thing about her physical being.

34. Do you have any expensive jewelry? 

If I did, should I tell you?

35. Have you ever been told you speak fast? 

I'm from New York; I therefore talk too fast. When I moved to South Carolina after high school, before moving on to college in Miami, I worked at a Winn Dixie. Whenever I had to call for a manager over the PA system, they never had the first clue what I had just said. I got a lot of grief over it there.

Hubs, on the other hand, talks sooooooooo slooooooooowly. I can get five conversations in before he's finished his first sentence - and I do.

36. Is your laugh usually hearty? 

In third grade, I won the Class Giggler Award. It's my proudest, er, accomplishment.

37. How fast have you driven a car? 

Over 100 mph, but I really didn't mean to go that fast. I didn't know I was... until that copper caught up to me and let me know. Oops.

38. Have you ever smoked? 

Have you met me?

39. What was your favorite subject in school? 

All of them. Except maybe Social Studies, but I aced that, too. ;p

40. Do you have cell phone provider loyalty? 

(Except for #2)

No, and we'll probably leave AT&T soon for T-mobile, because the former sucks monkey balls.

41. What type of boy or girl do you usually fall for? 

They gotta be smart, and they gotta be funny... most other things are negotiable.

42. Do you have any hidden talents? 

I don't think I hide my talents.

43. Favorite Song? 

I can't pick one, but right now I'm loving "Fancy" and Iggy Azalea.

44. Do you like to sing at all? 


45. Dream Job? 

I don't know, but it would involve water. Lots and lots of water. And fish. And, oh imagine that, I walked away from that job. #headdesk

46. Where does most of your family live? 

'Merica, Earth. Can't get more specific than that, sorry.

47. Are you an only child or do you have siblings? 

I'm the youngest of 2, 3, 4, or 5 girls, depending on how you wanna count.

48. Would you consider yourself to be spoiled? 

Mostly, no, but Hubs does spoil me too much.

49. What was the first thing you thought when you woke up? 

I don't know, but that kind of just blew my mind a little bit.

50. Do you drink? 

Yeah, some, but not uncontrollably. I'm trying to decide whether to imbibe at my high school reunion. It's cash bar. Yes, I plan way too far ahead for these things.

51. Know any other languages? 


So I'm working, always working on my Spanish. Meanwhile, my friend V who came to college with me from Colombia by way of Mexico, is learning Mandarin to challenge himself, having mastered all the other languages. I hate him a little bit.

53. Have you ever been in someone else's wedding? 

Yeah, my dad's when I was 8, and my BFF's when I was a nursing mom. I'm glad we eloped.

54. Do you have any children? 

Yeah, a few of those kids yelling outside right now belong to us...

55. Did you take a nap today? 

Not yet, but I'm fixin' to in about 5... 4...

56. Who has the same birthday as you? 

Who knows?

57. Ever met anyone famous before? 

58. Do you want to be famous one day? 

What, like Kim K. famous, or for something good I actually did?

59. Any Pet Peeves? 

The guy in front of me who turns right about nine days after he decided to turn right

60. Are you multitasking right now? 

 I'm a woman, right?!


Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Oh! My Papa

Link up here if you're playing along today!

If you're not familiar with today's song, you can hear it here


1) Eddie Fisher starred in a popular 1950s TV show, which was sponsored by Coca-Cola. Do you have a favorite soft drink? 

Right now, I'm drinking Diet Mt. Dew. I'm trying to quit. Again. :\

2) He was notorious for leaving his famous first wife for his very famous second wife. Can you name either of the women involved in this Hollywood scandal?

Nope. Liz Taylor??
3) His oldest daughter, Carrie Fisher, is best known as Princess Leia from Star Wars. Are you a sci-fi fan?
I feel like I'm supposed to be, but no, I'm not at all.

4) Since Sam's father is particular about his footwear and likes "a good pair of Cole Haan loafers," her Father's Day present to him is a DSW gift card. If we were to give you a gift card to any store or restaurant, which would you choose? 
Ordinarily I'd say a local yarn store, but lately we're obsessing about buying our boat to live on, so, I don't know, West Marine? ;D

5) Sam's father hates it when she swears. When is the last time your cursed? 
A few minutes ago. I do it all the time. 

6) Sam's father is a voracious reader. So much so that the local librarian knows him on sight and by name. How often do you visit your neighborhood library?
It's been about a year since I was there last, but we aim to make good use of it this summer. I owe late fees.
 7) "A good used car is a better investment than a new car." That's what Sam's dad tells her when she's in the market for wheels. Share some other words of financial wisdom with us. 
"Live within - if not well below - your means."

8) Every car her father has ever owned had a pro-union bumper sticker. Do you have any bumper stickers on your vehicle?  
I have a Key West one, a Ron Jon's Surf Shop from Key West one, a different colored hibiscus for each of the 5 of us, one from our church and a U of Miami alum one. 

9) To celebrate Father's Day, Sam is giving away her father's favorite candy: LifeSavers. Would you prefer a roll of Wild Cherry, Butter Rum, Winter Green or Peppermint?
Oh, I'll have a Butter Rum, surprising even me! Thanks. :)
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the papas!

Wordless Wednesday: In Which All We Ever Do Is Eat #WW

Link up here if you're wordy or wordless today!

Again this week, I have a lot of food pictures to share, and again, I'll be a bit on the chattier side.

Let's go!


Last Thursday was a really cool day for Team Odette. We drove up to Fort Lauderdale for a quadruple-play traveling lunch-into-dinner mystery shopping tour. Here, Sophia was doing the spoon-on-the-nose trick at a semi-upscale cheesecake restaurant chain we all (probably) know. That's us, keeping it classy!


When we finally arrived home that night, we were pretty pumped and not yet ready to end the day. While Hubs and I sat outside watching the sunset, the kids rode around the neighborhood on their scooters. It's such a blast watching them whip down sidewalks and around sidewalks like they've been doing it all their lives and not just a week or two. Chloë hopped up on the hood of Miguel, our car, after sunset for one last snap.


We've been getting food delivered from Hello Fresh, on their vegetarian plan. It's awesome, because they send us everything we need to make enough meals for the week and then some, with the recipes included in the package. I love the food, but it's pricey now that our introductory offer is over, so I need to cancel it. Worth a try, though... Anyway, these black bean-and-rice cakes over a corn and pepper relish with lime sour cream were excellent.


We've also been getting all our eggs and produce from a local farm stand nearby, which is by far what I prefer to do rather than have it shipped to us. I've been trying to incorporate as many new foods into the kids' repertoires as I can, and encouraging them to choose the recipes and help me prepare them seems to make it more likely they'll actually eat those newer foods. I had guava, mango, and papaya to use, so we made what turned out to be just regular rice pudding with those fruits and some blueberries on top - but it was still really good.

(Not pictured: A delicious mango bread loaf or two we made the same night but gobbled down before I remembered to photograph it.)


I'm still really, really loving this pizza dough recipe from a recent issue of Martha Stewart's Living magazine. The latest batch a day or two ago was the best yet. I keep meaning to freeze the dough to pull out for whenever, but it kinda just keeps getting used and eaten! This first one was beautiful, both visually and gustatorially. (Is that the right word?!) I used cherry tomatoes, both red ones and orangey-yellow ones, separately blanched, peeled, and puréed to make a color-blocked sauce topped with extra virgin olive oil and coarse salt. Bits and blobs of goat cheese topped it off. That one didn't last a New York minute on the kids' plates!


The kids turned their noses up at this thinly-slivered eggplant parmesan pizza I made up next, but I still made 'em each try a bite. No go. Oh, well, introduce it six times and maybe they'll say "Yum!" on the sixth try, right? Funny story: Sophia walked in on me later that night, helping myself to a square of this pizza but tossing the eggplant before I ate it. Haha! Busted.


I don't do meat, and Rob is trying to give it up as well, but we're still using up what's been in our deep freezer for a few months. The last pizza was ALL Rob, and he found it to be quite delectable. A simple tomato sauce for the base, topped with browned spicy Italian sausage and fresh green and red peppers from the farm stand, along with mushrooms and green olives from Publix. I'd made a similar one without the peppers for him the week before, but he said the peppers really made the pizza, so we had a WIN with this one.


Jack wasn't thrilled with ANY of the pizzas, because he's pretty much a meat-and-bread boy. He doesn't like tomatoes in any form, cheese in any form, or pretty much anything else in any form. Picky, picky. I had a recipe for turkey meatballs from chef Mario Batali in a recent issue of People magazine in mind, so I offered to make some up for him. I don't like to play short-order cook, but since he's a 45-pound 11-year-old, I don't like him to not eat, either. (Put down your phone; he has pituitary dwarfism and will always be tiny!)

I made some without sauce for him and the ever-hungry Sophia, and the rest were cooked in an amazing red wine, rosemary and garlic sauce for Rob. Jack ate a whole two golf ball-sized meatballs, as did Sophia, and Rob ate a half-dozen after his meatzza. He was so full, he could scarcely walk, so he sat at the table for a while after that, completely unable to move. Hee.


Nothing local or fresh about dessert that night, but Chloë had been asking to bake some chocolate chip cookies with me for a while, so I accepted her request. We were out of flour after my pizza crust binge, and we needed milk to go with the cookies (duh), and I have been all about the eggs lately, so another trip to Publix was in order. I rode my bike while Jack and Chloë rode along on their scooters. (Sophia was having a bath and was quite annoyed we went without her.)

The kids have only ridden around our neighborhood, and they have been delighted with that because the nabe kids have been home from public school. They've made half a dozen new friends this week, and they keep knocking on our door asking if my kids can come out and play. However, a trip outside the 'hood was a new experience, and along the way to Publix and back, I heard lots of woos and shouts of, "This is exhilarating!", "I can't believe we're doing this!" and "I feel so alive!" that made for a wonderful mom-moment for me, too.

(P.S. The Publix cashier was shocked when I told her I was on my bike and proceeded to put the flour and a gallon of milk on the bottom of my backpack, and then the carton of eggs on top to ride home. But I was right; they survived just fine. Did not try this with bread!)


Still in baking mode this morning, I woke up the family around 0900 with freshly baked blueberry shortcakes and fresh Florida grapefruit halves from the farm stand. Rob laughed at me when I complained that my cream wouldn't whip, before he reminded me that I was using half-and-half and not heavy whipping cream. Oops. Publix again.


Last but definitely not least, dinner tonight was another meal provided by Hello Fresh. I roasted the onions, cherry tomatoes, yellow squash, and garlic in some EVOO while boiling the rotini. Tossed it all with some fresh basil and parmesan cheese, and voila! Rob and I adored it; I was kind of grumpy that I couldn't fit more in my little gastric-bypass pouch because it was that tasty. Simple; I'll make it again but with local food.

Thanks for stopping by!



Sunday Stealing: The 90 Meme, Part The First

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Here we go...

1. What was the highlight of your week? 


I've recently been able to get Radio Flyer scooters for the kids, and they've gotten proficient rather quickly on them. I love watching them zip, as a trio, around the neighborhood. I try to stand on one and can't do it, so I'm impressed with how well they've all been able to pick it up. It's wonderful watching them all getting along, too!

2. Whose car were you in last? 

Ours, which is almost always the case. I rarely ride in anyone else's.

3. When is the next time you will kiss someone? 


Sometime before the day is out, I'll have kissed everyone in my beloved family.

4. What color shirt are you wearing? 

Not that one. I'm wearing a Victoria's Secret tanktop underneath an Old Navy t-shirt, because I was too lazy to throw on a brassiere. :P

5. How long is your hair? 


About that long!

6. Are you good looking? 

I don't know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? I hate my teeth and the fact that my eyebrows are a different color than my hair!

7. Last movie you watched? 

This past week, we "forced" the kids to watch Grease one night and Dirty Dancing the next - the first time for them and about the 117th time (each) for me, since those are my favorite flicks. They all agreed they liked the former better than the latter. And they had a million questions about what was wrong with Penny in DD, so of course there was quite some discussion about some rather adult issues after that, but we don't shy away from such open discussion.

8. Who were you with? 


The whole fam-damily watched together.

9. Last thing you ate? 

We had a late-night date at The Cheesecake Factory last night. I opted for the Mac & Cheese balls. They're usually good, but last night all I could taste was excessive saltiness. Oh, and I had one bite of the strawberry cheesecake we brought home to the kids.

10. Last thing you drank? 

In an effort to curb my drinking of Diet Coke, I've found myself drinking Diet Mt. Dew instead, I said with my tongue firmly lodged in my cheek. :/ 


The last alcoholic beverage I had was a glass of dessert wine from Schnebly's, the local winery a few miles down the road from here. I didn't like it, but the avocado wine (in this photo) we bought was definitely one we'll purchase again. So delish!

11. When was the last time you had your heart broken? 

It's been a while. I'm good.

12. Who came over last? 

Now that the public schools are out for summer, and my kids are out on their scooters all the time, it seems they're making a lot more friends. Yay! So they're always bringing someone new over to meet us - and our cats. lolz

13. Are you happy right now? 

I had to post the shark one after yesterday's meme post, right?! Yes, I'm happy. I'm content.

14. What did you say last? 

Hubs isn't feeling too well today, so I asked him how he was feeling now.

15. Where is your phone? 

It's always right next to me, and if it's not, I panic just a li'l bit. Between that and my satchel, everything is in there but the fam!

16. What color are your eyes? 

According to my blond, blue-eyed sister, my eyes are "shit-brown." They have rings of green around the edge, which is getting wider as I age. What will she call them when they're all green? 

17. Are you left-handed? 

I'm pretty evenly ambidextrous, like my grandfather. There are certain things I can only do righty, but certain things I can only do lefty. I'm left-eye and left-foot dominant, in case you were wondering that, too.

18. Spell your name without vowels: 


Sometimes people spell my name, Melanie, and forget the "L," which always amuses me.

19. Do you have any pets? 


We have two cats, including this Maine Coon, Pepper, who is just a love and a mush. We also have Muffin, who is a right pain in the ass. She clawed me on a vein recently, and I'm sporting an enormous, ugly bruise on my leg now. But I have love for her, too...

20. Favorite Vacation? 

It will probably always be the Mediterranean cruise Hubs and I took in 2008. We started in Barcelona, then cruised to Venice. We visited Nice and Eze in France, stopped in Monaco, visited Lucca and Pisa in Italy, and we took a tour of Rome and stopped in Vatican City. We visited three ports in Greece and fell in love with Dubrovnik, Croatia, to my surprise. I wanted to ride a gondola in Venice, but I think we were broke by then! We flew out of Venice to Madrid before heading home, and that was interesting as well. That trip was just unforgettable. I blogged all about it here, if you're interested.

21. What do you dislike currently? 

No personal offense to anyone who smokes, but I do not, and it really irritates me when people go outside to smoke and then stand RIGHT by the entrance/exit of wherever they've left to go do it, forcing the rest of us to walk through that noxious crap in order to get in/out of whatever hospital, or restaurant, or wherever. Really? You can't walk 20 feet further away?! My youngest, Sophia, is extremely vocal to these people. I tell the kids to hold their breath as we're passing through a cloud of The Gross, but she'll wave her hands around and grump about it. I don't stop her... #SorryNotSorry

22. What are you listening to? 

I'm a pop music junkie. Right now MY song is playing, "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. It's my theme music.

23. If you could have one thing right now what would it be? 

Right now, Hubs and I are in the serious preparation stages for living on a boat by the time I'm 40 in a couple of years. I'd give my left {Insert body part here} to have that life now! Even if it is currently thunderbooming and lightning...

24. What is your favorite scent? 

I'm a fruity-scent girl, especially the citrus ones. Can't stand vanilla or the floral scents, blech, so not me.

25. Who makes you happiest? 


Hubs, the love of my life, forever and always

26. What were you doing at midnight last night? 


Driving home from our date with this in a box for the Littles

27. When is your birthday? 

September 8th, which, with that year, should be easy to remember, right?! (Think about it...)

28. Who has the same phone as you? 

I have an iPhone 5. I hear it's popular?

29. Last time you went swimming in a pool? 


We went the other day. The kids were so mad when we had to leave because a baby puked in the pool. There's a much longer story in there about that, but I don't feel like going into it at the mo'. 

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Walk This Way

Link up here if you're playing along today!

If you're not familiar with today's song, you can hear it here

1) This song is about a young man who takes advantage of his "big chance at a high school dance." Share a memory from your high school years. 
My 20th reunion is coming up in NY this summer. We're going. Am I that old?!  Let's see... I can sing okay, but I suck at sight reading music. My BFF, Dr. Lisa, convinced me to try out with her to sing at our graduation. She was insistent, so, without any practice, I got up there (really brave for me!) and sang with her at the auditions. We were singing a capella, and she kept tapping a note on the piano to bring me back to the melody. (I was a Soprano; she was an Alto.) I completely blew it, but thankfully, I didn't ruin her chances, and she got to sing.

2) Lead singer Steven Tyler is the son of a working mother (mom Susan was a secretary). Did your mother work outside the home?
She did for the last couple years of her life, but honestly, I don't really remember that. I don't remember her being gone; I just remember the moments she was home.
3) Onstage, Tyler takes colorful scarves from around his neck and drapes them over the microphone. Do you accessorize your outfits with scarves and belts? Or do you prefer to keep things simple? 
I hate belts, but maybe I'll wear them if I ever get the abdominoplasty I so need. I have a bunch of scarves, but I rarely wear them. Except when I cut off all my hair, and then I used them to cover my bald head.

4) Tyler confessed to having a massive crush on Jennifer Lopez, his fellow judge on American Idol. Do you think a coworker has ever had a crush on you? 
Oh, I know it!

5) Aerosmith lead guitarist Joe Perry says seeing The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 inspired him to go into music. How did you end up in your chosen profession?
I'm a mom now, but in my previous life I was a marine biologist. My whole life, I've been a huge animal lover and have been infatuated with the ocean, so I put them together. When I was in college, I remember one particular lecture cemented my desire to study shark behavior.

6) Perry's hobby, breeding horses, is very lucrative. What are your hobbies?  
Decidedly not very lucrative: I knit. I read. I sing. I rollerblade and ride my bike. I write. Perhaps that last one will prove more fruitful.

7) Aerosmith performed before their biggest-ever TV audience when they played the Super Bowl halftime show in 2001. Are you a football fan? If so, do you prefer college football or the NFL? What teams do you root for?

I'm not a humongous fan of football, but I do root for my UM Hurricanes.
 8) Now that we're into summer, the days are longer. When is the last time you watched the sun set?  
Yesterday. It was a glorious finish to a wonderful day with my family: We had a traveling lunch-into-dinner up in Fort Lauderdale, for my work, and it was really fun. When we got home, we sat outside and hung out on the sidewalk. I loved every minute of it, except for getting bitten on the boob by a fire ant. :\

9) What time did you go to sleep last night?
Early. I think it was about 2130; I know it was before 2200, because that's when I take my bedtime pills, and I didn't take them until I woke up after midnight for a sec.
Thanks for stopping by!

Kinda Wordless Wednesday: What's Cookin', Good Lookin'?

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


We've become quite the locavores lately, shopping at the nearby fishmonger's shop and stopping at various side-of-the-road barely-speaking-English produce stands in recent weeks. I love it! Here are some things we've cooked up from our delicious, healthy, local scores:


I made homemade sesame seed buns to go with the turkey sliders I made into patties, along with yummy skin-on baby red potato salad and cilantro pickles that weren't so bad, but not nearly as good as the dill pickles I made the following week!


These silicone cupcake holders are so convenient, and they cut back on waste, which I love! I used them recently to make all kinds of tasty pumpkin and various fruit muffins.


Rob's decided, again, to join me in not eating meat that rainforests are destroyed to bring to us carnivorous Americans, but we had to use up the beef and pork in the deep freezer first. He made these barbecued ribs for himself and Jack last week.


Okay, so I didn't make these VEEV VitaFrute margaritas, but they are organic, so they'll do for this post! I got "perked" on Klout to try these out, and whoo! They are good but extremely strong. Couldn't drive for the rest of the day, for sure!


I had all kindsa plans for the fruits and veggies from the roadside stand, but Chloë saw it all in front of her and declared she wanted to make a salad. Well, who was I to stop her? I did try to convince her to squeeze some lemon juice on it so it wouldn't brown, but she was bound and determined to eat it all before that happened. You and I both know that the next day, there was plenty left, and it had all turned so brown that no one would eat it. Big bummer. :\


I served up this oatmeal, apple and I-forget-what crisp with vanilla ice cream to Rob the night I made it. Heh, I couldn't find the ice cream scooper, so I had to melonball the ice cream. Silliness.


All the organic eggs from the chickens at the produce stand gave us humongous double-yolk eggs, so they were worth the price I paid for them. This week, they're chintzy in comparison, so I'm a little disappointed to have paid the same amount. Not terribly so, though, because they're still quite yummish - and I know who laid them!


I meant to make clams with linguini, but what I really ended up with was mussels and angel hair spaghetti. Oh well, close enough!


I was inspired by a recent issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine to make some rustic, artisanal pizzas, including this heart-shaped one with fresh mozzarella. It was definitely a winner, so I've got more dough rising for another round as we 'speak'!


Another of the artisan pizzas used zucchini, red onions, garlic and cilantro - all locally sourced. I loved it, but it was a bit dry, so I dipped it in an olive oil and marinara mixture to make it go down more easily. Mmmm!


The third pizza of that batch was for dessert, and Rob really liked it. I used fresh slices of lemon, along with minced dried apricots atop a pineapple base. Really good.


Chloë and I picked up all the ingredients for these shrimp egg rolls, but I messed up a little bit. I forgot the water chestnuts entirely! I burned the oil and therefore one batch of the rolls! And I did not enjoy the shrimp in them. Oh, and I pureed the carrots and bean sprouts together, which turned them into what my dad would call "La Mush." Next time, I'll know better what to do. Egads.


Tuesday night's dinner was helped along by a food delivery from Hello Fresh and turned out to be superb: Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad with Avocado... only, my pouch rejected the quinoa, and I couldn't eat but a few measly bites. Darn!


Sophia helped me make this delicious Creme Brûlée, topped with blackberries, for dessert. I couldn't find my ramekins, so we had to run to Goodwill and spend $2 on "new" ones. Guess I better make it a few more times to get my money's worth, huh? If the kids get their way, I will - soon.

Thanks for stopping by!