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Entries from July 2014

Random Snaps And Schtuff


I'm not terribly much of a flower person, historically, so it's weird to me that I find myself drawn to them since we have been living here in the County of Miami-Dade. I particularly love a huge hibiscus, and those are everywhere, but I also adore all the street - literally, they walk up and down the cars at intersections while the light is red - vendors selling bouquets of colorful roses for five bucks.

I don't get me. I'm the type of girl who finds it much more romantic for you to plant a tree for me than send flowers, but I love them here. They're just so... so... bright, and big, and colorful. And y'all should know I love color.


On Tuesday last week, I had a date with my "big brother" Marc for a mystery shop. Marc and I go back about 19 years, to my college days at the University of Miami. I was his night nurse (Marc has been a quadriplegic for longer than that, and my Chemical Oceanography TA, Beth, needed someone to take over Marc-caring duties while she was out on cruise for school), and we bonded closely in that time. Marc's a great guy, a terrific friend, and I love him dearly. It's wonderful to be so near to him and, now too, his wife and their twins.


I neglected to Instagram our shared appetizer of Ahi Carpaccio, for shame, but I grabbed this shot of Marc's Spicy Cashew Chicken before he dug in. I didn't Gala-gram my bitty crab bites, because though they were delicious, they just weren't photogenic.


Marc opted out of taking a piece of cheesecake home for later, but I bought a piece of Godiva Chocolate goodness for Rob and the kids. Um, yeah, I totally had about three bites of that rich confection before Oscar The Pouch revolted and said, "Slow down, yo." (He says it; I swear.) But holy cow, you guys. We normally get the strawberry regular variety, for Sophia's sake, but this one? Hands-down, my new favorite. I might be in trouble.


Sometime in the past week, I was on Happify doing my thang, and I was instructed to let my inner child out and do something silly and fun. I had intended to jump in the rain puddles, since the sky invariably opens up every summer day here, but wouldn't you know it? We had a sunny day. I grabbed my youngest babe and headed outside to roll around in the grass. She took this picture; not bad, eh?


Like I said a post or two ago, she's never one to shy away from lens, so of course I was inveigled into taking one of her grass-rolling, too.


I think it was that same day, we went the pool for a dip and then came home and found this scene at the row of apartments across from ours. Just glorious. I couldn't quite capture it justly, but I tried. I'm always so grateful for scenery like this; I've said it once, and I'll say it again: it makes it hard to be depressed, living here.

Enjoy your Hump Day!


Celebrating Independence Day

Okay, so I'm a little late, so sue me. I'm catching up and will make several posts in the next few hours. Been busy, been sick, been busy some more - you know the drill.

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Team Odette went about six minutes down the road from our abode to the Homestead Speedway, where Homestead was putting on a pretty huge shindig. There were attractions a-plenty, from a variety of interesting food trucks, rides and jumpy blow-up thingies (what the heck are those properly called? It's escaping me), and of course, fireworks.

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I managed to get selfies with the kidoodles, but I guess not with Rob. I thought I did? Must have disappeared into the ether.


I'd brought little money, but enough to get some food from a few of the food trucks. We got there around 1800, and none of us had eaten much during the day, so that was our first order of business. The kids each had some grub and an ice cream cone, while Rob held out for much later. I looked everywhere for the cheesy fries I adore so much, but none were to be found. Sadness. I settled for this delishamus duo of fried mozzarella from Xtreme Risotto. I can't do rice in any way, shape or form, so don't ask me what's "xtreme" about their risotto.


Sophia loves these things! Unlike their camera-shy brother, both girls are always game for a good photo op.


This bungee-jumpy doohickey was worth the long wait in line for the lady-babies, but Jack begged off. Both girls wore either a skirt or a dress, which must have been interesting for them and the ride operators, but um, we won't dwell on that.

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Jack, as you'll see in a moment, is not at all the adventurous sort. Sophia, as you'll also discover, is quite on the opposite end of the spectrum, whereas Chloë falls somewhere in the middle... but closer to Jack's end. She didn't go very high, but she had a great time nonetheless.

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Sophia was flipping and twisting and jumping and diving, going all over the place with her gymnastics, and generally loving life. I'm so glad I managed to get this shot, because lemme tell ya, I discarded quite a few missed opportunities before landing it!

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Jack, meanwhile, stuck to tamer things like bumper cars. What you can't tell from this photo is that I took it immediately before getting in the car to accompany him, at his insistence. Clingy little bugger! He's always been that way, since before he was born. Always nestled in my ribs like a rabbit in its den, he was. But I digress.

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Rob was hanging out with the girls on rides and in lines, while I stuck by my boy-child. He got hungry at last, so we looked at every stinkin' food truck for the second time before he settled on a piece of cheese pizza. He's picky. And he hates cheese passionately, so you know he was so thrilled when I took this picture of him.

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At long last, I convinced him to go down the blow-up Titanic, which the girls had already done a time or two. That's Jack, panicking and (okay, you can't hear it, but the entire rest of the Speedway patrons did) screaming all the way down the "deck." Hilarious, but of course, being quite the chicken myself, I empathized with him. He did not get his Aunt Stacey's thrill-seeking gene like Sophia seems to have!

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At long last, sundown was happening. We skedaddled into the arena, but we found it half-packed already. We opted to sit on the walkway at the bottom of things instead, for Rob's sake.


It was a pretty good show, as fireworks displays go. I was satisfied. Independence Day is absolutely my favorite holiday, so this is good. I did not want to miss the culmination of the event, so when dozens of folks including many Police Explorers showed up and stood in front of us, I put on my big girl britches and hollered at them to sit down. This ballsiness is very unlike me; is this what growing up is doing for me? Maybe I'm a late bloomer. Either way, they sat, and I was pleased.


For the second year in a row, I had unsuccessfully searched for sparklers and poppers for the kids to enjoy at home. So I was thrilled when, a coupla days later, I not only found them but found them on clearance (woot!) at the Walgreens right down the road. Boo-yah! They were absolutely delighted, and I got to relive a little bit of my favorite part of kidhood vicariously through their enjoyment. Perfect.

Thanks for visiting!


Iguana Go Back To The Keys


On July 3rd, I found myself having stacked up 13 mystery shops to do down in the Keys, starting from Key Largo, working our way down to Key West, and working our way back up to Tavernier (south of Key Largo). It was a law-haw-hawng day, but I managed to get a dozen of those assignments completed, missing just one lunch in Key West for which we arrived too late. So that's me, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the start of the day.


North of Key West, we stopped at our usual Circle K for a potty break and Big Gulp refill. We saw this huge-ish iguana, just chillin', you know, relaxin' and maxin' by the side of the road. I crept up oh-so-slowly to get a snap or two, but he bolted. So this was me, trying to get a good capture in one...


... two...


...three, before he escaped up into the foliage, out of sight. At the same station of gas, we found four more, much smaller iggies racing around after each other in the yard. What fun! Of course, there were the ubiquitous chickens, but none wanted to be photographed there that day.


At last, after about five or six shops to the north of Key West, we made it to the Southernmost Point. I had about five or six more shops lined up down there, and my good gosh, it was a HOT day. I was sweating, er, glowing profusely as me grammy would have said. It was a great day, however, much better than our last trip down there, and the flora were blooming mighty prettily all over the island.


Somewhere along the famous Duval Street, this rooster was busy jumping off and on a street vendor's kiosk, taking whatever bits of food was being doled out to him. We were told Mr. Cockadoodle-doo always hangs about, looking for scraps. Chickens amuse me; I don't know why, they just freakin' do.


Poor Rob was stuck walking around as we shopped our way through downtown, since parking is always hard to find and expensive when you finally do find it, but listen: it was the day before a major U.S. holiday, summertime, and might as well have been the weekend. Can you imagine? I parked as close as I could to the center of the action for Rob, but boy was he pooped at the end of the trip. Gratuitous camel ball picture just for shits and giggles.

At one point in this trip, I found myself flat on the ground, wearing a dress or skirt of some sort, on the sidewalk with all manner of passers-by gawking at me, photographing a pizza. Rob wanted to tell them this was my normal behavior, but no one said anything, because hey, it's Key West after all. Anything goes!

I raced against time to get to my last shop up in Tavernier. Traffic was against me, as there were accidents, patrols doing routine holiday weekend sobriety checks, and so forth, but I made it! I was so stoked that I actually made it and got home from a Keys trip before midnight. That, like, never happens.


Saturday evening, the 5th, found us back in the Keys for another shop. I was supposed to have dinner at a semi-upscale hotel restaurant with Hubs, while Chloë babysat her siblings, but I changed my mind and took her at the last minute. So while we sat looking at this gorgeous scenery next to us, Rob took Sophie and Jack to a nearby school playground to burn off some energy.


Sunset in the Keys, as you can probably well imagine, is just beautiful. My little Samsung Galaxy can't capture the gorgeousness substantially; one must experience it personally to fully appreciate it. So, go; put it on your bucket list if you haven't already seen it. I can't wait until, God willing, we live on a boat and get to see the sun rise and set over an expanse of water full time.

Hope you enjoyed. Thanks for popping in!


Wordless Wednesday: Meet Miranda

Link up here if you're Wordless (or not, whatevs) today!


Rest in pieces, Miguelly-welly... After a t-bone collision on Friday night, Miguel was no longer road-worthy, nor safe for transporting our progeny.

So, on a whim, we stopped at the KIA dealership near church on Sunday afternoon, just to make a "brief" inquiry...


Monday afternoon, we took ownership of Miranda, our new KIA Sedona. It took some getting used to, since it was abrupt and not at all a planned switch, but I like her. She'll do just fine.

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday Stealing: One Thing Meme


Link up here because I said so.

From: Cool Free Surveys

One Thing ..... 

that makes you smile: 


This girl! Since I could only pick one, I had to pick Sophia. She's... hysterical.

that makes you cry: 


Not much, thanks to my non-cry-making meds, but last night I got a good sob out after we wrecked Miguel! It was a good cry; I needed that. My silver lining?

that you love to do on the weekends: 


Hang out with Hubs and these twerps

that you do for only yourself: 

I would've said wipe my butt, but since I'm a mom, you know I've done that for plenty of people. So...

Aw... I asked Hubs this question, since I couldn't think of anything, and he started to boo-hoo. I asked why, and he said, "Because you're such a giving person!" Awww. (His meds, on the other hand, make him emotional. Maybe we should switch.) So, nothing to put here, I guess?

OK I got something (courtesy of Hubs' brain):

Youth Enhancing

My extensive (and I mean that) JAFRA skin care regimen/routine is just for me. But it's not even, really, because Hubs' enjoys my youthful looks, my soft skin, and everyone likes when I put smelly-good lotion on them, so...

that you have in your underwear drawer that's NOT underwear: 

Just the drawer liner. I don't have any non-undies in there. Though I DO have, like, half a dozen nursing pads still in my bra drawer. I haven't nursed a baby in, oh, 8 years. I could probably stand to eject those from my life.

that you do before going to sleep: 

I say my prayers. Okay, that's a lie, because I don't pray as a matter of routine. I pray when prayers need to be said, whether they are asking for help or thankfulness, so let's see... well, besides my extensive skin care routine (LOL), I pretty much don't do anything. I take my pills at 2200 nightly, but that has no bearing on when I go to bed. I sleep whenever I'm tired; I don't when I'm not. And that's that.

that you do within the first 15 minutes after waking: 

I go pee, and then I fill 'er back up! I drink constantly. I'm a N/A lush.

that's in your purse:


Whatever lip balm I'm using at the mo', whatever cash I prolly don't have at the mo', and my various cards and IDs. I have a teeny-tiny cross-body satchel, so that's all I can fit, really. That and the occasional receipt...

that you actually LIKE to clean: 

Kids, I had a total Cinderella upbringing, and I don't really like to clean anything. I do, however, like things VERY clean. Weird, huh? Especially since I never actually get things that way myself, and my family are all slobs. Every last one of them. Gee, I wonder why I have so much anxiety?!

that you DETEST cleaning: 

I don't actually mind cleaning my own toilet, but I'll be damned if I'm cleaning yours, m'kay?

that other people would find odd about you: 

Plenty of things, but I'll say my car dancing. More than once, I've forgotten there are people in other cars who can see me, and, well, I tried not to get too embarrassed. I love my car dancing!

that you would buy if I handed you a $100 bill: 

Nothing interesting. At this time, I would say, a tank of gas, a coupla gallons of milk for the wee folk, and I have some packages to mail. Yep. That's it. How 'bout a grand instead?

that you feel you HAVE to do before you die: 

You know what: I have to SCUBA dive on the Great Barrier Reef. I have to. I will, dammit. I've been on the top of Mt. Etna, so it could happen, right?

Which reminds me, you know where is supposed to be the best diving in the world? Micronesia. And guess who lived in Micronesia and couldn't dive at the time, because she was pregnant with twins? That would be me. And I'm still kvetching about it 11½ years later!

Welp, thanks for stopping by. Maybe this week I'll actually get something posted besides a meme?


Saturday 9: Already Gone

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: Already Gone 
(recommended by Diana)

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


1) Eagles lead singer Glenn Frey proclaims that he's "feeling strong." How would you describe yourself this fine Saturday?

The opposite: Team Odette got into a bad wreck last night, and I am absolutely aching and clinging to my heating pad tonight. The kids, especially "the baby," were scared half to death but, thank heavens, they are completely fine. Hubs is doing okay; I think I took the brunt of the impact.

2) The song begins with a rumor: "I heard some people talking just the other other day ..." Have you heard anything juicy/interesting lately? Please share!

Um, not really. Eva Mendes is pregnant with Ryan Gosling's baby... for you celeb gossip junkies?? 

3) When "Already Gone" was popular, the news was dominated by Richard Nixon and the Watergate scandal. What do you consider today's top news story?

I really wouldn't know. Years ago, at the peak of my anxiety issues, my therapist recommended I avoid the news and gave me a book, The Gift of Fear. I highly recommend it, especially for women, and I have stuck to its (and my therapist's) advice.

4) In the 1970s, Eagles Glenn Frey and Don Henley were at the center of a social circle of very creative people, including singer Linda Ronstadt, singer-songwriter Jackson Browne and actor-comedian Steve Martin. How do you express your creativity?

It varies. I have tried to express it a number of different ways, but mainly I keep going back to my knitting and writing.
5) Even though they broke up in 1980, the Eagles are currently on a reunion tour, and after knowing each other more than 40 years, Frey and Henley still consider each other friends. What quality to do you value most in a friendship? 

Loyalty. I have had some great, great friends who really "got" me and with whom I connected on a deep level, but if they don't have your back, they're not really your friends. I found this out the hard way.

6) Are there any mirrors in the room you're in right now? 

Of course. There's one right in front of me, because I am a vain person.

7) What's the last beverage you drank with ice? 

Right now, I'm drinking Dasani sparkling water on the rocks, and because it's terrible (it tastes like seltzer, which I hate drinking), I've added Dasani Drops in Pink Lemonade to it. Much better.

8) Whole, skim, 2%, half-and-half, almond or soy ... what kind of milk is in your refrigerator right now?

Right now it's 2%. The kids, who love whole milk, haven't complained, to my utmost surprise. The store was out of all but 2% and skim. Sophia, the baby, should probably be on skim or at least 1%, but the other two need every calorie they can get. Trust me, there is no use in trying to buy two different kinds of milk and expecting the kids to drink the "right" one for them.

9) Sam likes to mix sliced almonds into her salad. What do you think makes a good salad? 

Fresh ingredients,a variety of flavors, some crunch... I like a lot of salads, but my favorite is a Caesar with cheese and the best dressing on the planet: Cardini!

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday Stealing: The Patriotic Meme


Link up here if you're playing along today!

1. Are you "proud to be an American"?

Of course I am... and grateful!

2. Favorite Founding Father?

3. Favorite president?

4. Biggest "Patriotic Moment"?

I don't even know how to properly answer this one, sorry! Pass.

5. Favorite patriotic song?

6. Favorite American cuisine?

Funny story: the first time I made a lattice-top apple pie was for my dad's birthday. I was proud of my efforts; when I held up the pie, somewhat vertically, so Dad could take a picture of my creation, all the liquidy insides slid out of the pie and splattered all over the floor in front of us. Oh, how we laughed...!!!

7. Happiest political moment of your life?

I feel a bit differently now, but when Obama was first elected President in 2008, I was so excited and happy for 'Murica, I cried and cried...!

8. Best fireworks display you've ever seen?

This is Panama City Beach (aka the "redneck riviera"), but in Panama City in 2002, we went downtown to the pier to watch the fireworks show. It was A-MA-ZING! Best show EVER, and since Independence Day is by far my favorite holiday, that is saying something. They put on a really good show, with great fireworks set in time to awesome music. I loved it. Oh, and then I backed into someone's car. Didn't love that.

9. America's gift to the world?


10. Favorite Bill of Rights right?

Freedom of Speech. I'm with Voltaire on this one.

11. Favorite American Holiday?

I love me some Independence Day! ;)

12. Favorite D.C. monument?

I'm not sure. And not because it's so phallic, but because it's so iconic, it's a toss-up between Washington and Lincoln.

13. Your dream for America's future?

I don't dream for America's future. I dream for the future of the Earth, of mankind as a whole, and that of my own family. Is that a total cop-out?!

Welp, thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Yankee Doodle Dandy

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) 

1) This week's song was performed by James Cagney in the famous movie of the same name. Do you plan on going to the movies this holiday weekend? 

I went to see Maleficent with my daughters, Chloë and Sophia, this past Tuesday. Does that count? It was an excellent movie. Sophie, who rarely expresses her emotions, cried and said the movie really touched something deep inside her. This moved me, too. Go see it!

2) Though known for his larger-than-life screen presence, Cagney was only 5'5". How tall are you? 

I'm on the shorter side at 5'2".

3) During the Revolutionary War, General Washington celebrated the 4th of July by giving his troops a double ration of rum. Will you imbibe any spirits this holiday weekend?

I have a mystery shop in Key Largo tomorrow night, and I am not sure whether ordering alcohol is required yet since I haven't read the specifics. If so, I'll have a rum runner. (I did 12 mystery shops in the Keys on the 3rd alone, so this is not unusual.)

4) American history was one of Crazy Sam's best subjects in school. In which class did you earn your best grades?

I'm a marine biologist by education, so it makes sense that science was my best subject, followed closely by mathematics (oh, I loved Calculus!), followed by Spanish... and then everything else. History was my least-best subject; sorry, Sam!

5) The Fourth of July means we're in the middle of summer. Are you careful about applying sunscreen?

I'm not as careful as I ought to be, since I'm a fair, freckle-faced chica. I've had more than one skin cancer scare, and I've got to go see the dermatologist again for a black spot on my lip, so... I'm a stubborn ass in this regard.

6) Mosquito bites can be a major summer annoyance. Are you scratching any itches right now?
My kids were just asking the other day why there weren't any mosquitoes in Florida. Um, hello? They found out at the Independence Day celebration at our local speedway tonight that there are, indeed, plenty of 'skeeters in Miami. And yes, I am scratchin'!
7) Emergency rooms report an increase in wrist injuries in summer, with people falling off bikes and skateboards and jamming their wrists catching hard-hit softballs. Have you ever had a sports-related injury?
Not really, unless bruising my butt or twisting an ankle during dance class counts?
8) New York is home to Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest every year on the 4th. Will hot dogs be consumed in your household this weekend?
We generally don't deign to eat them, but Sophia talked me into a hot dog (for her, definitely not for meat-free me) at the race track tonight. She ate it with gusto. :\

9) Atlanta hosts a 10K Peachtree Road Race every 4th of July. Are you a runner?
I'm a wannabe runner, I say, scoffing. I try; I can't. I envy those who can.

Thanks for visiting!