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Entries from December 2014

Sunday Stealing: The New Year Meme

Link up here if you're fabulous, darling!

The New Year's Eve Meme

 From the archives (and I'm going to spare you folks all the funny pictures today. I'm keepin' it real)!

In 2014, I gained:

all-new respect for my brain tumor-fighter of a husband.

I lost:

some excess baggage, in the form of "friends" who really weren't.

I stopped:

wondering when Hubs would recover.

I started:

wondering IF he would. :'(

I was hugely satisfied by:

my 20th high school reunion this past summer. I am so thrilled that I was able to go, and I had a fantastic time.

And frustrated by: 

our Chihuahua puppy Paco's inability to learn to pee and poop outside, rather than in the laundry.

I am so embarrassed that I: 

have such a messy house.

Once again, I:

suffered many migraines and was a frequent flyer at the local ER.

Once again, I did not:

find a suitable psychopharmacologist to help me manage my post-bariatric surgery bipolar medicine issues. :\

The biggest physical difference between me last December and this December is:

I've grown enough hair back to have had it cut several times! 

The biggest psychological difference between me last December and this December is: 

Oh, honey. I should write a book. Oh wait, I am.

I loved spending time:

with the people who loved spending time with me.

Why did I spend even two minutes: 

working on that ill-conceived fundraiser for those unfortunately-conceived, selfish people. Ugh. What a clusterf**k.

I should have spent more time: 

knitting for Stephanie's kiddo, Vinnie.

I regret buying: 

into the idea that if I weigh more, I'm worth less.

I will never regret buying... even though with that money I could have:

the girls each a bicycle with my Christmas gift card from my father-in-law, though I could have bought something for myself. I got what I really wanted, anyway.

I ...way too much.

complained about stupid sh*t

I didn’t... enough.


 ... drove me crazy.

My dad's ultra-Conservative and über-racist views...

The most relaxing place I went was:

into Hubs' arms. Especially when we were in Playa del Carmen, Mexico! Ahhhh...

Why did I go to...

so much trouble for those people, who crapped on me in return?

The best thing I did for someone else was:

for once, keep my mouth shut and simply apologize.

The best thing I did for myself was:

realize that my migraines were generated by nerve cord damage from my last c-section, nearly a decade ago.

The best thing someone did for me was:

think of me, when least I expected anything, at all, from that person.

The one thing I’d like to do again, but do it better, was:

express my sincere condolences for someone else's loss, while not mentioning my own feelings about it whatsoever. Publicly, anyway.

Happy New Year, folks! I hope 2015 is everything you want it to be.



Saturday 9: Marshmallow World

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

Saturday 9: Marshmallow World (1963)

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

1. This song likens fluffy clouds to marshmallows. What does the sky look like where you are today?

Clear and sunny, with a few wispy clouds...

2. The lyrics refer to snowballs. Have you ever been in a snowball fight?

Oh, yes. You don't grow up in Syracuse, NY, without having at least one good one every year!

3. Chionophobia is fear of snow. What phobias do you have? 

What's the fear of mustard touching you? I also don't like things (namely insects) touching me without my advanced written permission.

4. In 2004, Canadian school children raised money for charity by setting a new world record: the most snow angels made in 24-hour period. Have you ever participated in a fundraising stunt?

Fundraiser, definitely. A "stunt," no.

5. When marshmallows were first introduced, they were used for medicinal purposes. Specifically to soothe sore throats. What do you take when your throat is bothering you?

Really? That's so crazy! I usually suck on a lozenge or something tame like that... ;)

6.  Marshmallows are an important ingredient in the Rice Krispies Treat recipe. If you were asked to prepare something for a bake sale, what would you make?

I might make some delish cupcakes, decorated in some way that matches whatever we're baking for.

7. Darlene played Danny Glover's wife in the Lethal Weapon movies. Do you enjoy action movies?

They're mid-way between my favorite genre and not my favorite genre. Kind of a "meh" for me.

8. Darlene's father advised her to always "shoot for the stars." Share some good advice you've received.

My father told me to "never let anyone rob you of your joy." It's among the few good things he has said to me.

9. Will you be returning any holiday gifts?

Nah. I'm not a gift-returner. I just love being thought of enough to merit a gift!

Thanks for stopping by! :)


Sunday Stealing: Winter Holiday Meme

Link up here if you are merry and bright.

And yes, I changed the title and inner wording a bit to reflect the fact that, ya know, not everyone is celebrating Christmas right now. (Though I do, and am.)

(If you don't like it, build a bridge and get over it already!) 

(And I mean that in the nicest sense.)

The Winter Holiday Meme

From the archives!

1. Do you send winter holiday cards? 


I do, and I did. Normally, I get a generic holiday alternative for my non-Christmas-celebrating friends, but I ran out of those early and had to send these Christmas cards to some of them. And I refused to feel bad about it, just this one time, because I need to get over being so hard on myself. Meh.

Oh, and if you want one to hang on your fridge (because, c'mon, who wouldn't?), send me your address. I have more. :D

2. How soon do you start shopping?

I never really stop. I just put things I find in the gift closet all year long.

3. Who do you shop for?


It varies from year to year, but historically I don't shop for too many people outside my immediate family. I might if I were wealthy, but alas.

4. Do you put up a Christmas tree?

Normally, I love to, but we haven't done it this year and we didn't do it last year. I may just do that this year.

5. If so, is it fake or real?


I like this idea. You know, I've never had a Jell-O shot in my life. Now is probably not the time to start, either.

Um, what? Oh - fake, at least for right now.

6. Do you like tinsel?

If we didn't have pets who would have entangled, strangled intestines after ingesting it, I might love it... Nope, not even then.

7. Do you use homemade or store bought ornaments?


A little bit of both.

8. Do you put Christmas lights outside your house?

Ideally, I'd do something, but I'm not the best light-hanger-upper, and Hubs isn't able to at present.

9. Do you put lights on the tree?

Yes, but our fake tree is pre-lit, which saves mucho agravación.

10. How about popcorn and cranberries?

Turns out it's hard to find a funny picture about that.

I haven't done it since I was a kid, I don't think but I bet my kids might enjoy that - next year! ;)

11. Is there a wreath hanging on your door?


This is what is on our door right now. And yes, I do think it looks like that, which makes me giggle.

13. Do you hang up your stocking?

I do, and just to be unselfish, I hang up everyone else's, too.

14. Does your family read 'Twas the night before Christmas?

We used to. I don't know why we stopped.

15. Christmas Movie?

I dont think I understand the question.

16. Character from any Christmas Movie:

Who is better than this guy?

17. Christmas Song:

I'm not a fan of either one, but c'mon. That shit's funny!

18. Christmas Memory:

So far this year, I've given 50 or 60 Christmas presents. Every time the recipient has been genuinely pleased with it, that is a new happy memory for me.

19. Give or Receive?

Depends - is it money? Just kidding. I would much rather give than receive. 

22. Ham or Turkey?

I prefer neither, actually! Pass the broccoli.

24. White Lights or Colored Lights?


White lights are prettier, IMO, which is odd because I normally find all-white to be bland and boring.

25. Blinking Lights or Still Lights?


I don't care, really as long as they don't suck.

26. Were you Naughty or Nice this year?

Yes. Yes, I was.

27. What do you want for Christmas this year?

I want Hubs to miraculously get all better. :'(

28. When do you open your gifts?

Whenever I'm given one and am told to open it!

29. What's the best gift you've ever gotten?

Chloë Raine,


Sophia Lorelei,


Jack River!!

(These are old Odettelette pictures, yes. But they're cute)

30. What's the worst gift you've ever gotten?

I really shouldn't say, lest the person who gave it to me reads this post!

31. Who gives you the most gifts?

If I were being spiritual about it, I would say God gave me lots of gifts. Which is true. However, Hubs gives me plenty of gifts. By which I mean, I buy them, give them to myself, and then thank him! ;)

32. Have you ever had a secret Santa?

I'm pretty sure I have, but I don't remember any of the details whatsoever!

33. Do you like wrapping gifts?

I actually enjoy it, except when the cat helps. That isn't my favorite.

34. Do you put change in those red buckets?

I haven't seen any down here, but when I pass one and have some change, sure, I'll throw it in the bucket. Around here, I see a lot of Sisters of Mercy or whatever they are, and since I don't know anything about them or what they're about, and they never seem to speak to me, I don't contribute. #SorryNotSorry

35. Do you burn a yule log?

No, I never have. And we don't have a place of fire here in Miami, anyway.

36. Can you name all the reindeer?

Yeah, but I bet I'm not the only one who has to sing the song in her head to get them all straight!

37. Do you bake cookies?

I totally want these!

Yes, I do. I plan to do it on, like, Christmas Eve or Day this year, instead of over the whole forenight week in advance. We'll see how that goes.

38. Have you ever seen your mommy kissing Santa Claus?



39. Have you ever gotten a kiss under the mistletoe?

Actually, yeah. But have you seen this video? It's pretty cool.

41. Do you drive around and look at the Christmas lights?

Yeah, we like to do that. Again, though, haven't done it down here yet. Maybe next year. :\

42. Have you ever left Santa cookies?


I think we did it once. Maybe?

43. Have you ever sat on Santa's lap?

Of course I have, sure.

44. Who do you celebrate Christmas with?

The crazy guy I married, and three of the nutty kiddos we had together!

45. Where do you celebrate Christmas?

Almost exclusively at home. One year, we didn't. Remind me to tell you about that sometime!

46. Have you ever had a white Christmas?

I grew up in Central New York. You don't know snow until you've grown up with the words "lake effect" as part of your vernacular.

47. Have you ever had your picture taken with Santa?


48. What part of Christmas do you look most forward to?

Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward Man.


 Wherever you are, however you celebrate this season,

have a joyous, happy holiday(s) with your loved ones.

And to those of you who, like us, do celebrate it:

Merry Christmas wishes Images 2015



Bzz, Bzz: Boursin Gourmet Cheese #GotItFree


So, you all know that I am a member of Smiley360, which gives regular folk (like moi) the chance to try products that we might otherwise not have, usually for free. 

For more information on Smiley360, click on over here.

I was given a coupon for a free Boursin cheese product, which was priced at $6.29 at my Publix.


Lucky-ducky me, because they were also on sale for Buy One, Get One Free this past week, too! And, I had three more manufacturer's coupons for $1.50 each, and there's a $1 Boursin rebate right now on the Checkout 51 smartphone app. Cha-ching! With all those combined, I managed to snag four tubs of this deliciousness for a total of 79¢!

Yeah, baby.

I happened to have some Crostini left over from Thanksgiving, and since I wanted to keep it simple, I decided to pair my Boursin Garlic & Fine Herbs with those.


Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

That stuff was SO good. I bought them on Sunday, and by Wednesday night, I had eaten two tubs. #WhatAPig

I hope I get to try some other varieties soon, but that's the only flavor my Publix had on sale at the time. It's definitely on my Yum List!

Have you tried it yet?


I Know This Much Is True

For starters, let me preface this post by saying that right now, everything is fine. Nothing has happened in the immediate past to cause me to post this, other than my own searching, introspection, and desire to be a better wife and mom to my family.

I'm simply writing this as a place to collect my thoughts. Writing is the easiest, most natural form of communication for me. I can assemble my ideas into obedient little soldiers in writing, whereas when speaking, my mind becomes a jumbled, impenetrable mess.


I have reason to think that I am schizophrenic. This is not a new thought; I have brought it up before to both my therapist and my psychopharmacologist in Virginia Beach, both of whom dismissed the idea. Why? Because I "don't look/seem/act schizophrenic."

Well, maybe not, but I would not claim to be something with such a strong social stigma attached to it - warranted or not, there is - without a great deal of thought and research.

Secondly, the medications I'm on are also used to treat schizophrenia. I am not willing to go off them to illustrate to my healthcare providers that, yeah, maybe schizophrenia is a possibility.

(You're welcome, world.)

I have recently been reading on the NIMH website about schizophrenia-focused clinical trials, and I have submitted myself to one such study as a possible subject.

Please don't be dismissive. And please, for the love, don't judge me. It is with great internal, personal struggle that I manage whatever façade of normalcy I may or may not be portraying.

I have been trying to "fix" myself since I left home at 17 and went out into the world on my own. To review:

My mother died very suddenly when she was 33, and I was 7. Autopsy apparently revealed diabetes, which was untreated due to my parents' being Christian Scientists.

My dad remarried a year later, because he did not know what to do with two young girls. He has often said since then, "I thought she would be a good mother to you."

She wasn't. This stepmother was a bit physically, but mostly emotionally and mentally, abusive toward me from the time I met her at age 7 until I departed for college shortly before I turned 18.

My father was also abusive, in mostly physical form. (My sister was emancipated at 16, when I was 15, because of this.) Also, Dad left New York for South Carolina, where he still resides, during my senior year of high school, leaving me alone with the stepmother.

Can you say "abandonment issues" much?

To compound that issue, our son Robby died after birth nearly 12 years ago, which sent me into a three-year downward mental spiral, the likes of which I hope never to see again.

At the end of that three-year period of extreme bereavement and several suicide attempts (not for the first or the last time in my life), I was finally diagnosed with Bipolar I with Psychosis.

I have done my damnedest to pull myself together and carry on, for Hubs and our other kids' sakes. Sometimes, I fail. Sometimes, I succeed. Mostly, I ride the waves between crests and valleys and hope that I stay on the upward slope more often than not.

As far as schizophrenia goes, we will see. Let it be known that I want my body - particularly my brain - donated to medicine upon my death. I don't think it is conceited to say that I think it could be useful to some researcher(s) out there who can only study mental disorders on a dissected brain.

(No, I am not suicidal. I do not feel I am at risk of causing harm to myself or any other individual. My children are safe, happy, and well-loved, if a little silly. Okay, a lot.)

I guess what I'm hoping for, if there is an eventual positive diagnosis of schizophrenia, is better, more personally-tailored treatment. With my last doctor in Virginia, I felt like all the possible psychotropic medicines were thrown up in the air and whichever ones landed on me were the winners.

Especially since my Roux-en-y gastric bypass surgery nearly six years ago, I have not felt as well-medicated. I have complained of this numerous times. My dosages just kept getting raised until the eyebrows of various drugstore pharmacists nearly blew out the tops of their heads. One even said to me, "This is the amount you take every day? Not in a week? Every DAY?!"

Anyway, as I like to say. Anyway.

If you read this, great. But please don't be alarmed. Pray for me, pray for us, think good thoughts, and send positive energy.

I am going to find a new psychopharmacologist and psychotherapist today. It's not yet 0730, so I will start the search in a couple hours' time.

And that is all.


Sunday Stealing: Have You Ever?


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

The Have You Ever Meme 

Stolen from: From My Random Randomness 

1) Have you ever gotten lost in a maze? 

An actual maze, or any modern hospital...?

2) Have you ever been attacked by a wild animal? 

No, but when I was an undergrad at the University of Miami, we were doing a survey out in the Dry Tortugas. I slipped between a bunch of mangrove prop roots and really tore up my leg. People asked what happened, and I invented all manner of shark-attack stories. I always admitted the truth, though!

{Don't they look fearsome?! ;)}

3) Have you ever ridden a camel? 

I'm somewhat embarrassed to say that I have, but I was a little kid and knew nothing of the wrongness of such. I have also ridden an elephant and my own German Shepherd dog.

4) Have you ever pet a rat? 

I had a pet rat, named Barkley, after fifth grade. I loved that little boy. He was loads of fun, even though he outwitted all my attempts to keep him contained in his cage and chewed up all my stuff. What a fun critter!

5) Have you ever been a member of a gym? 


6) Have you ever been in a helicopter? 

Last year, in April or May, I wanted to take Sophia (then eight years old) on a helicopter ride at the airport in the Florida Keys. She was all gung-ho until we got into the chopper, and the pilot starter 'er up. At that point, she flipped OUT. Way OUT. "There are no sides?!" she screamed. She's probably scarred for life now. #MomFail

7) Have you ever cheated at a test? 

Once. In AP Biology class as a high school senior, I cheated on the Plants Unit test. I blew the curve on all the other exams in the class, and my classmates hated me for it, so I was due for a lower grade than perfection. Only, the pressure was so heavy, and I just never "got" plants as well as animals, and I peeked at someone else's paper. I probably didn't need to, since I still got the highest grade, but there was one question I did not know without looking. I'm so ashamed.

(However, I studied muy hard for my AP Bio Exam, and I got the highest grade of '5,' and it earned me two semesters' worth of college credit at UM. Without cheating. If that makes any difference...)

8) Have you ever ridden a tractor? 

I have had... relations on a tractor, decades ago. And that is all I am going to say about that. *COUGH*

9) Have you ever passed gas in an embarrassing situation? 

My nickname is "Smellyann," is it not?! Surely I have.

10) Have you ever played the bongos? 

Bongos cartoons, Bongos cartoon, funny, Bongos picture, Bongos pictures, Bongos image, Bongos images, Bongos illustration, Bongos illustrations

One of the first pictures I ever saw of Hubs was of him playing the bongos the day before we met. I have played those bongos. And I'll never forget that picture of him.

11) Have you ever handled a snake?


When I was in high school, my older sister had Jade, her pet Florida kingsnake. She had several others, but Jade was the only one I actually held and let slither and writhe around on me. Her hubs was breeding cool morphs on Ball pythons until recently; they numbered in the hundreds. In their basement. Not a huge fan, myself!

12) Have you ever assembled furniture by yourself?


Hey, I've bought furniture at IKEA, man.

13) Have you ever been SCUBA diving? 

C-card-carrying SCUBA diver here (PADI OW1)!

14) Have you ever had a disastrous interview?


I think the worst thing I ever did was forget to take out my nose ring when I interviewed at the law office. Meh, I still got the job.

15) Have you ever sold your services? 

Sure, what do you need?

16) Have you ever raised money for charity? 

Raised money for charity? Only my own, CARE Package, Inc., but even I can't find a link for that now.

17) Have you ever won a giant sized cuddly toy from a fair? 

Nope. Stupid, small stuffed banana? Check.

18) Have you ever milked a cow? 

Not yet. It used to be a bucket-list item, but now? Eh. Not really.

19) Have you ever used the phrase "back in my time" to someone younger than you? 


Yes, I have used it fairly recently with my own kids, caught myself, and then slammed my own head into the wall.

20) Have you ever invented a fairly unique meal or drink?

Oh, my gosh, you have to read this page! EWWWW!!!! (But nothing is grosser than Balut, right?!)

Okay, so I know you said "unique" and not "disgusting," but my brain interpreted it as "go find a picture of mealworm soup or something."

Anyway, nothing really interesting, but when I was in college, I'd make mashed potatoes with cheese, corn, garlic, and of course the usual suspects (salt, pepper, milk, and butter). I loved it. Hubs hates it, so I don't make that anymore. Wah.

So, what about you - eaten balut yet?


It's The Thought That Counts.

At least, I hope so, because I have put a lot of thought, and not really much money*, into the kids' Christmas presents this year. '

*(And yes, I may be linking you to where you can find - and maybe even where I specifically bought - some of the presents, but I can guaran-damn-tee you I never pay full price for anything. Well, except a gallon of milk. I pay full price for the kids' milk.)


Where was I?

Oh, yes. Advent. I started talking about our Advent season for the current year in this post from a week ago, and I have continued random gift-giving in the interim. A little catch-up is therefore due now:


Jack started us off on Sunday, December 7th. I forget why, but I'm sure I have a very good reason for that. I have a system for everything I do, after all. Is that a woman thing, or just a woman-with-OCD thing?


LEGO City is its name, and LEGO City is his game. The boy is obsessed with it. If I haven't mentioned it on this-here blahg yet, he wants a LEGO City-themed bedroom, a LEGO City-themed 12th birthday, and pretty much a LEGO City-themed life.


Sophia opened her NERF Rebelle Agent Bow, so now she and Chloë both have one. Sophie's immediate move was to put a target up on the front door and start shooting. Typical. She also nearly fell asleep with one of the arrows suctioned to her forehead, which was, you know, amusing...


We gave Chloë the Taboo Board Game, but that was kind of a fail on my part: When she read that it's for ages 13+, the other two kiddos immediately opted out of even attempting to play. And the directions said for two teams of two or more, which left us no choice but not to play that night. She was bummed, and I felt like poopy-doo.

However! Facebook friends to the rescue, as several of them gave me alternative ways to play to save the game for Chlo. We just, ah, haven't done it yet.


I think I made up for it on the next gifting occasion, when I gave her this (created) blue and white sapphire sterling silver necklace. It was, according to the Sears site, worth $200. I paid $12.50 for it. SCORE!

(Oh and yes, she loved it. I think it needs a shorter chain for her dainty frame, but she likes it the way it is, so there we are.)


I think I got this Littlest Pet Shop Walkables Exclusive Playset Black White Collection on Amazon, but I certainly didn't pay anywhere near as much as it shows now. Whew! Thank God for blogs like Hip2Save, because I'd be up a creek without them.


know I got this game, King of Tokyo, on Amazon, but again, not for the price showing now.

{Yes, maybe it's crude to keep discussing prices, but I am known for being very thrifty, and I don't want anyone thinking I just go flat-out nuts for Christmas. Hip2Save is a lifesaver, folks. READ IT. Daily.}

And no, we haven't played that yet, either. I'm expecting to on the 'morrow.

2014-12-08 (2)

Speaking of Facebook, this is my current cover photo. You may have seen it. These awesome Minecraft shirts were purchased at ThinkGeek. The kids loved them!


To further develop Jack's LEGO-themed room, I snagged this storage bin with building top (gotta love Shoprunner for free 2-day shipping, too!), and he insisted on putting it together himself right away:


Pretty cool, huh?


Chloë, who had previously seen both Sophia and Jack get headphones, was rather chagrined that she didn't have a pair of her own. What she didn't know was that I had purchased these headphones for her long ago, and that they had been sitting in my gift closet since at least October. When I found out she, too, wanted a pair, I made sure that was the next gift she opened. She was ecstatic!


Sophia received more Littlest Pet Shop sets, which I'd gotten on sale and with Buy One, Get One coupons at Target during the summertime. She's currently on an LPS streak right now, so this kid was a happy one.


Not to leave out Hubs, I gave him a staple gun. Yes, a staple gun. Don't hate. We He needed one. I mean, for all the projects he's tackling and, oh... fahgeddit.

Don't you like his head adornment, though?


Sophie told me she was not "over" her Monster High obsession of last year, but Chloë was, so I jumped on a few hot Monster High deals during all the crazy Cyber Monday sales. One day in the new year, we'll have to line up the current collection all over again.

The Monster High Freaky Fusion Cleolei Doll turned out to be pretty cool, anyway.


Another ThinkGeek buy for Jack - and if you've never read the product descriptions before, do it. You're in for a good chuckle.


I got this for less than two bucks at Amazon. I think I have mentioned that Chloë is an enormous fan of Taylor Swift's, so I snagged it for her. I warned her that "unauthorized biography" often meant "not always kind," but she was excited just the same.

Taylor Swift: Just for You on Amazon


That same night, Hubs gave me these totally rockin' Shark Slippers from ThinkGeek. I love the descriptions on the site. Have I mentioned that yet? Too funny!


This morning, I told the kids to clean up the living room, and they had it done in fewer than five minutes. Why? Because I wanted to give them another present. On further examination, both here in person and in this picture, I see that the five-minute clean-up treatment totally shows. But I don't care right now.

There were LEGO Friends for the girls: the Dolphin Cruiser for Chloë, and the Sunshine Ranch for Sophia. As I type, they are still building their sets (and watching the Taylor Swift DVD), while Jack giggles. He finished his LEGO City Arctic Outpost a long, long time ago. It's kind of his thing, after all!

Welp, I suppose that's it for now. Maybe in another week, I'll be bring you more faux conspicuous consumption, but in the meantime, stay tuned for more homeschool-related posts!


Bzz, Bzz: NESCAFÉ with Coffee-mate® Hazelnut

Nescafe product 208x208

Recently, I was selected by Smiley360 to try new NESCAFÉ with Coffee-Mate® in the Hazelnut flavor.

{I have coupons for trying the other two flavors (French Vanilla and Sweet & Creamy Original), but I haven't been able to locate the product in my Publix just yet. Maybe it's too new, or maybe I'm looking in the wrong place?}


Shortly after receiving the package from Smiley360, I gave it a try. I liked it tons, but I added extra powder from the canister into my mug to make it even creamier, as per the directions.

When my dad was here over Thanksgiving, I shared some with him. He liked it exactly as directed, without adding any extra sweetener. In fact, he was so fond of it, I had planned to give him mine, but I forgot. Sorry, Pops!

I'm really looking forward to trying the other two flavors with my freebie coupons!

Here is a coupon for 75¢ off, if you'd like to try it, too!


The Big Question: Memories

The Big Question #1

Link up here if you're playing along!

{This is a new meme for Saturdays, and this question is actually last week's, but I just found it. Maybe this week's will be later?!}


The Big Question

What is your earliest memory?

I'm not exactly sure if it's my first memory, but it's definitely one of them:

I was probably three years old, and my sister would've been 4½ or so. We were sitting at the kitchen table in our Monroe, New York, home while Mom made breakfast. I don't remember what we had for breakfast, but it wasn't cereal because it had to be cooked. It was probably "Dip-It" eggs, which is what we always called sunny-side-up eggs, into which we dipped our toast.

Dad joined us eventually, and then Mom sat down. We were all eating, and it was quiet. To this day, I am a goofball who dislikes long periods of silence and always feels the need to fill them up with some kind of chatter.

Grandma (my mom's mom) used to say that I got that "talking to hear my own voice" characteristic from Grandpa. It's true, I think.

I remember, that breakfast, wanting to talk to my mom and dad but not having anything to say. So, for about a hundred and eleven times, I must have said, "Mom? I love you. Dad? I love you." Lather, rinse, repeat. I wonder if they ever got sick of hearing it?

I  know I don't. ;D

Thanks for stopping by!


Bzz, Bzz: Sara Lee® Pound Cake

Recently, BzzAgent selected Team Odette to try Sara Lee® Pound Cake for free, which of course was exciting because DESSERT IS YUMMY, y'all.

{I was technically supposed to redeem my free product coupon at Kroger, but since I couldn't find one nearby, I used it at Publix around the corner. Hopefully, that was all right...!}

Because, at the time, I was homeschooling four kiddos (we're back down now to our own three chirpies), I had to give them some incentive to get their work finished that day: Sara Lee® Pound Cake to the rescue!

Sara Lee Pound Cake

I served slices of the cake with homemade whipped cream and fresh raspberries and strawberries. Rob, Chloë, Jack, Sophia, and Victoria were smitten kittens when they saw the Fiestaware coming their ways with that onboard, you guys.

We all found the Sara Lee® Pound Cake loaf (which also comes in slices!) delicious, and I'll probably use it again soon... maybe for Christmas or New Year's Eve?

Thanks for the scrumptious treat, Sara Lee® and BzzAgent!


#Homeschooling: Minecraft Units by & #GeekFamous


A week ago, I was given the opportunity to test out three different Minecraft-themed educational units from the curriculum website, Educents.

You can find those here: for only $4.99 for all three!

When they heard I was chosen, they were so excited! All three of my kiddos LOVE playing Minecraft (pocket edition on their Kindle Fires , though we are hoping to get the XBOX 360 version soon), so they could not wait to see what these units were about.

There were three Minecraft-related units:


* Perimeter & Area, which I gave to 13-year-old Chloë to do,


* Angles, which I gave to 11-year-old Jack to work on, and


* Writing, which I gave to 9-year-old Sophia to complete.


Chloë has worked on perimeter and area before (well, they all have), so it was fun for her to apply this learning to the Minecraft world they all love so much.


Jack wasn't thrilled with his study on angles, until he got to the part where  he actually got to build and work on things in his world on the Kindle. Then he said, "Hey, this is actually kind of fun!"


This is the cubey world he built for the unit. He had to build something with 200 right angles, so we figured out that was 50 blocks. He also had to find obtuse and acute angles within his Minecraft world, and this was quite abit more challenging! Really made him think.


Sophia, who is quite the little story-teller anyway, found the stories she had to write a fun exercise, indeed. She got into it!

However, only Jack finished his unit on angles. Chloë and Sophia had to be poked and prodded along, and even though I told them that I would give them a Minecraft-related Christmas present when they finished, well... they just decided they wanted to finish them later. And they will, but not tonight.

And then, it was time to whip out the promised (kinda) Minecraft presents! I thought they were all pretty cool, so I let them play "musical gifts," and whatever present they ended up with when I stopped the music was the one they had to open. Trading, as always, was an option after that (but no one ever has, to my knowledge).


Jacky opened this big ol' Light-Up Wall Torch, which I bought from ThinkGeek.


Also from ThinkGeek, Sophie "won" this Minecraft Light-Up Redstone Ore, which means nothing to me, but she thought it was cool, so hey.


Here are the "liddy-liddy" and the "middy-liddy" with their lights.


Chloë scored the "big" Minecraft prize, a LEGO "The Cave" to build, which I bought on the LEGO website.

The other two were, um, dismayed about that until they saw their own. And little do they know, I might just have more such gifts hidden away somewhere! 


It took her a while, but she finally build a LEGO Minecraft Cave, with Steve eating a sammich, a spider, a creeper, and other stuff I wouldn't know if it kicked me in the nose!

Overall, I would recommend the Educents Minecraft learning units, but be ready to provide help and encouragement where it is needed.

(And big thumbs-up to the LEGO and ThinkGeek goodies!)

Thanks for stopping by.



Saturday 9: Feliz Navidad

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: Feliz Navidad (1970)

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

1. "Feliz Navidad" is Spanish for "Merry Christmas." Can you wish us happy holidays in a language other than English or Spanish?

Check out my current blog header ;)

2. According to ASCAP (the American Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers), this is one of the 20 most played holiday songs of the last 10 years. What's the most recent carol that you heard?

The last carol I can remember hearing was this butchering by Mariah Carey of her own song, "All I Want for Christmas is You." Sad panda.

3. Which Christmas song do you hope you never hear again?

Other than the answer in the last question, um... none! I love Christmas carols! But only in small doses. On Christmas day, yes. For a month straight leading up to the actual holiday, no.

4. This week's featured artist, José Feliciano, was honored to perform this song at the tree lighting ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. If you were to win a trip to our nation's capital, which sites would you visit? 

I've been there several times, and the only thing left on my D.C. Bucket List is to actually go inside the White House and meet the sitting President.

5. As a very young child, José taught himself to play the accordion. If you could suddenly, easily learn to play any instrument, which would you choose?

I'd make like Bill Clinton and learn to play sax.

6. José says that hearing early 1950s rock on the radio made him want to become a singer. What's your favorite music genre?

American Top 40 Music. I am lamesauce, I confess. But it's fun!

(However, anymore, there are a number of songs I have to flip stations away from so my kids don't hear the filthy lyrics, and that, I don't enjoy.)

7. At 17, José had to drop out of school to help support his family. Too young to enter bars, he played guitar in coffee houses for tips. Have you ever worked a job where you regularly received gratuities?

I once worked here, at Larry's Ice Ceam Shoppe in St. Pete Beach, and I made way more in tip money than I made in my paycheck. It was suh-weet (literally!) They fired me when they found out I got accepted to graduate school, before I could quit four months later. Honest-to-God.

8. José and wife Susan have been together for more than 40 years. Who is the happiest married couple you know?


Hubs and I are coming up on our 14th anniversary. Sure, we have had our bumps in the road, but we are still madly in love. I think we'll make it to the end.

9. José wrote and performed the theme of the 1970s show, Chico and the Man. What's your current favorite TV show?

Sadly, I don't know. No TV service here. Ostensibly, it would be The Big Bang Theory, but I haven't seen that in years. Maybe soon...?

Thanks for stopping by!


Field Trip: Lion Country Safari


On Wednesday, Sweet Pea Academy took our first-ever field trip 108 miles north to Loxahatchee, Florida, to visit Lion Country Safari.

Lion Country Safari

After we checked in with our Groupon certificates at the entrance, we were given a listen-along CD and directed to the drive-through safari path toward the Las Pampas section of the drive.

We saw all manner of exotic species, from Brazilian tapirs to Aldabra tortoises of Madagascar, the flightless rhea, and several species of ungulates.

Lion Country Safari-001

Sophia, Chloë and Jack all agreed that the lions were among their favorite creatures, but Victoria said the giraffes were hers. I loved the entire thing - no favorites for me! However, it was pretty cool to have this male lion pacing just feet in front of us, stopping to examine us inside our car, with nearby mating pairs canoodling in the rest of the Lion Exhibit.


Many places in Ruaha National Park, Kalahari Bushveldt, and the rest of Lion Country Safari had new babies on display, from these impala antelopes to squirrel monkeys and more. They were so cute!

Lion Country Safari-002

The ostriches were one of our favorite animals to watch, because they would gallop around, chasing after each other, as if to give us something fun to watch. And, like the giraffe later, and a zebra, they crossed directly in front of our car.

{My Nikon battery was not charged, so all of the photos are from my Samsung Galaxy S5; it's not the best camera, but it'll do in a pinch!}


Sophia's second favorite were the zebras in Hwange National Park. This one might have been pregnant, as she was visibly heavy on both sides, so it would not have surprised me to learn that she was with zebralet!


It was hard to get a decent picture of the chimps on their exclusive island, because of their blending in well with the habitat. They are not swimmers, so the water around their island keeps them in place.

The zoologists visit all the primates on a daily basis and give them new playthings and puzzles, to keep them active, keep them from getting bored, and keep their minds active. Usually, solving the puzzle meant a food treat for the animals, so they had great incentive to keep trying!


The white-handed gibbon was a bit camera-shy, but I managed to get one or two photos. I'm a primate lover, of course, and could have watched them all day!

Lion Country Safari-003

The giraffes walked in right in front of our car, crossing the street just a few feet from us. It was all terribly cool, and I was fascinated.


We passed these two camels in their closed-for-the-day exhibit on our way out of the drive-through section of the park. The kids were disappointed that they weren't able to ride them, but I was not!

Lion Country Safari-004

After we got out and entered the walk-through safari park, the first thing we did was find some very hungry koi that cost 25¢ to feed a handful of pellets. I gave each of the kiddos a quarter for that, and the ibises swooped in for their share of koi food.

Lion Country Safari-005

The squirrel monkey exhibit was another favorite for the kids. There were two new babies, from August and September of this year, and their antics were just precious. I could hardly tear the children away to see more of the reserve!


We found this enormous rhinoceros iguana that I would have guessed was a komodo dragon, but no! Could've knocked me over with a feather then.


We visited the Education Center after that, and Chloë marveled at the softness of the zebra pelt. We played matching games between several species of animals' skulls and their names, and I got about half wrong!


These were a variety of differently-sized eggs, from the largest ostrich egg on the bottom right, to the ruby-throated hummingbird egg just to the immediate left of that, and everything in between. Really interesting to note the various shapes among the species.


Despite their malodorous presence, Sophia insisted I take some pictures of the flamingos. She may be newly a horse-crazed girl, but she's still a bird-lover at heart.


The African Spurred Tortoises lived up to their reputations and moved soooo.... sloooowly. I got tired just watching them.


Another favorite of Sophie's, she was disappointed not to be able to get the Scarlet macaws to answer her!


Chloë and Sophia found this little mining exhibit, but we didn't buy the $5-8 bag of gems and rocks, because money's tight right now. Maybe next time. Chloë was intrigued by the idea that she could actually go mining for something, somewhere, on her own someday...


I bought a bunch of Romaine lettuce for the goats in the petting zoo and gave a large leaf to each of the four kids. Victoria thought it was so funny when a goat wolfed down her entire piece in one gulp and nearly took her hand with it! Sophie tried to rip hers into pieces to extend the experience, but that backfired when the goat moved on to larger pieces extended by the others. 

After, they entered the petting zoo to brush the goats, and we found one or two females who just had to be pregnant, themselves.



Next, I bought a feeding stick with bird seed and suet for the budgerigars (budgies) and told the kids to take turns feeding them. The attendant said the birds hadn't been fed yet that day and should swarm around the stick quickly to eat. We found them to be quite eager, indeed!


Sophie was so thrilled when a budgie landed on her stick and let her carry it around for a few minutes. The look on her face was priceless. She LOVED that!


Jack had a hard time lifting up his stick to the perched birds overhead, so I ended up having to lift him up myself. We got 'er done, and he was satisfied. All-in-all, for a $1, we definitely got our money's worth of fun.


I had tried to discourage the kids from getting wet, since the air was a bit nippy, but my protests fell on deaf ears. First, they all danced around and got damp in the mister, and then they went over to the water pump and got even more soaked. Sophie even put her head under the dumping water! *tsk, tsk* Crazy kids!


We found another photo-op exhibit where the kids took turns drumming and giving me a substantial headache... but they had fun, so I dealt. ;)


There was this giant lion statue that Jack wanted to sit on, and Chloë joined him. He was so freaked out, I was the only one he would let near him to help him down.


Sophia had to take her turn on the lion, too. Naturally.


I enjoyed watching Victoria play the drum, as she was really getting into it!


Next up, we headed over to the paddleboats, which were free to use with the cost of our admission. Sophia insisted on riding with me, Jack wanted his dad, and Chloë went with Victoria. We paddled around and around the fenced in laguna, and man, did my legs get tired! I should give up my nonexistent gym membership and just paddleboat all day...


Afterward, the four kids got on their own tween version of a party barge and paddled around in the watery paddock. That was fun... except only two people at a time could paddle, and of course they argued over whose turn it was! :\


All Victoria wanted to do was ride the Ferris Wheel after that, and so we girls made our way to the ride while the boys hung back. Victoria insisted on riding in her own gondola while the three of us girls rode in our own - and she became scared halfway through the ride! She moved into our gondola on the next opportunity.


Two or three - or maybe four - rides on this flying elephant ride followed the Ferris Wheel. They played miniature golf, but the course didn't hold their interest, so they didn't finish that game.


And that was pretty much it! We brought a picnic lunch and snacked during our field trip in the park, and then we stopped for Pizza Hut on the way home to Miami. Good times were had by all, and I look forward to returning some day!


Every Day Is A Gift.

Christmas is coming.

Every year, or just about, I try to do a different Advent calendar with the kids. Usually I make them, but this year I bit the bullet and got them each the LEGO one. Jack is an enormous LEGO fan - almost exclusively LEGO City - and the girls are LEGO Friends fans, so I knew this would be a Mom Win.

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Of course, I was right. They were doing a countdown to Advent for a week before we started, having seen the calendars arrive in early November. On the first of December, they were up early, begging to open the first day's slot.


I managed to get a shot of one of the girls' calendars before it was opened. (They are both the same, and I thought about having them share one, but that's not really fair...)


My dad put together this three-shelf case when he was here last week, and it's supposed to go into the girls' room for books when they get it clean enough. For now, though, it is acting as LEGO Advent Calendar holder. I don't know where I'm going to put them when they get that room clean, but the way that is going, I have nothing to worry about.


Putting together the first day's treat


Sophie showing off her "Mia" minifigure


That same night, Monday, I told the kids if they did something homeschool-y (I know that's vague, but I can't remember what it was), I'd let them open a present of my choosing. I find it so hard to resist giving presents early! Naturally, they wanted a present and achieved whatever goal it was, so I arranged the four of them on the living room rug to open their gifts.


The girls love the NERF Rebelle series of toys, so I gave them these rapid-fire toy guns, "Rapid Red." They haven't been put away yet, so I guess that was a good choice!


Jack's reaction looks lukewarm, but really it was the camera operator's error. He was stoked, having wanted earphones for an age and a half!


Indeed, my little blond boy has been using them with his Kindle ever since.


Victoria's reaction to this aquarium actually was rather lukewarm, until we put batteries in it and the fish lit up and started "swimming," and then she seemed more into it. I hope she was...

I gave her little sisters, Belén and Melodie-Grace, their presents that night also, but I didn't get photos of those. Belen was given some Frozen-themed activity books, and Melodie-Grace got "Baby's First Christmas" booties.


I couldn't resist the great deal I got on yet another Advent calendar, this time from Starbucks. That came on the 3rd day of December, so we had some catching up to do! (No Longer Available?)


So far, every day has had a chocolate piece in it, and you know what? Rob and I don't mind a bit.


On Thursday, the 4th, I let my kidoodles have another present. I just couldn't resist, you know? It's hard.

Chloë chose to open a big one, which turned out to be another NERF Rebelle toy: the "Agent Bow" and arrow set. It was hard for her at first, but once I watched her and realized she was letting go of the arrow but not the bowstring, she's been Katniss Everdeen-ing around the house ever since.


Just a bit ago, during the writing of this post, she shot at the table full of recyclables. Um, oops?! (Turns out the kid has good aim!)


Jack, who clearly needs a haircut beyond badly, chose his smallest visible present: This quad-copter hover-crafty thing that is as cool as it is small. (It's tiny!)


Jack says it flies really well. He's completely enamored with it. If you have a mechanically-inclined, remote-control vehicle-lover on your gift list, I heartily recommend this one!


Ever since Jack opened his matching blue headphones, Sophie has been asking begging for a pair of her own. Little did she know... so I steered her toward that package Thursday night, and she was delighted when she opened it!


Like Jack, Sophie has also been living in her headphones ever since, every chance she gets.


Last night, I gave them these Minecraft Creeper keychains I had made for them by a maker on Etsy. I was trying so hard not to give them anything else before we actually started our Twelve Days of Christmas on the 14th, but alas, I fail at gift-withholding. I didn't think they would be super excited about these small trinkets, but they all were! Yay!

(Note to self: turn off the flash, so the kids don't blink and look less enthused than they really are!)

That's it for now. I haven't photographed the daily Advent openings, but I'm hoping to get a shot of everything all at the end, on Christmas Eve.


Sunday Stealing: The "Are You?" Meme

Link up here if you're joining us this weekend!

The Are You Meme 

Stolen from: From My Random Randomness 

1) Are you psychic in any way?

I don't know what I believe about that sort of thing, but I will say this: I get deja vu a LOT. I dream inane, mundane conversations and things that end up really occurring the next day or soon thereafter, all the time. It's so odd.

2) Are you a good dancer?

I dance sillishly to be funny now, but I was a dancer in my kidhood, and I was apparently pretty good... That was ages ago.

3) Are you a good singer?

I am a good back-up, choir-type singer. Lead singer material, I am not, though I have always wanted to be. I had strep several times in sixth grade, and it ruined my vocal chords for good.

4) Are you a good cook?

People seem to like what I make, usually. That's good enough for me.

My brother-in-law is a chef at his own restaurant, Sycamore, in Columbia, MO. You should go; the food is excellent.

5) Are you a good artist?

Not in the fine art sense of the word, but I'm pretty good with artsy-craftsy stuff. I do believe, however, I could be a decent artist with some training.

6) Are you a good listener?


No, it's something I continually need to remind myself to do. I'm a good interrupter, a good chatterer, but listening is hard for me. #TheStruggleIsReal

7) Are you a good public speaker?

Uh, no, not at all. I do not like attention focused on me, whether it's positive or negative attention, and I have panic attacks. Crying, shaking, the whole nine. Not a good scene.

8) Are you a good babysitter?

I love babies! BAAAAABIEEEEEES!!! (I think so?)

9) Are you a good mechanic?

Not in any sense of the word!

10) Are you a good diplomat?

I try very hard to be diplomatic, fair, and tactful. Sometimes I fail, but it's important to me.

11) Are you a good employee?

I love Dilbert! ;)

I am a very good employee. My one failure is timing. I hate being late, but sometimes I am.

12) Are you a good dresser?

It's not something I really care about, so probably not.

13) Are you a good swimmer?

I'm decent, but not great. Grandma made sure that I could tread water indefinitely when I was four or five years old, though! My sister, Stacey, and I were always in the community pool when we visited her and Grandpa, and it was important to her that we could swim and tread water so we could be in the pool by ourselves if she wasn't feeling it. She watched like a hawk, though!

14) Are you a good skier?

I've never gone downhill skiing. I used to like cross-country in P.E. back in high school. We certainly had enough snow and hills in Central New York, but I didn't go out for downhill ski club. Too afraid, I think I was... 

15) Are you a good gift giver?

Yes, I am! But I do appreciate appreciation in return. I recently gave a gift, and the recipient said, "Why did I get this? I wanted that!" Really? I was disgusted. Thankfully, it wasn't my own child who said that.

16) Are you a good musician?

Not really. I try, but I am pretty horrible at sightreading music. It just doesn't come naturally to me. I envy my good friend Shana's skillz, because she is a natural.

17) Are you a good comedian?

I've been told I'm funny and should do stand-up, but alas, that is like comic public speaking and... NO. Never gonna happen without drastically altering my state of consciousness.

18) Are you a good cleaner?

I am an awesome cleaner. I don't half-ass it, I clean until it's clean. However, I have 3 slobby kids (and a slobby husband), and we homeschool (and he's retired), and I do not like to waste my effort! So please don't pop in unannounced! ;)

19) Are you a good actor?

I recognize good and bad acting when I see it, and I recognize in myself that I would probably not produce the good kind.

20) Are you a good writer?

I like to think that I am, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, isn't it? 

I have a book or nine in me. I just can't seem to draw them out. I think I'm afraid of success more than I am of faillure. Time will tell.

Well, howdy doody, I'm at the end!



Thanksgiving Week, 2014

DSC_0394 (2)

So, it's been busy around here, and Thanksgiving was over a week ago, but here I am posting about it just the same.

Let's see, what happened? 


My dad came to visit from South Carolina. Only, instead of arriving on Wednesday night like he had originally told me, he got here on Monday afternoon! Eek!

Victoria came to stay with us for the same week as well, because her mom, Veronica, was in the hospital giving birth to this little cutie:


Melodie-Grace, born 25 November 2014

I was kind of a wreck during that whole week (but I dutifully took my bipolar meds and tried my best to keep myself together), because:

1. We all had the flu,

2. Chloe ended up with pneumonia,

3. My dad was visiting us in Miami for the first time,

4. He's a total neat-freak,

5. My house is a perpetual mess,

6. I had a ton of cooking and baking to do for Thanksgiving,


7. There's this humongous side-drama bullshit going on simultaneously that few people know about, but I don't really want to go into right now.


It was fun, to say the least...


All Dad wanted for the week was some beautiful Miami weather, as a respite from the 30s he was experiencing back home in Aiken. Tuesday, he got his wish, so we went over to Biscayne National Park, which my kids have nicknamed "Remora Beach," and had a little bit of fun and a photo shoot.


Victoria joined us at Remora Beach, and the kids really just wanted to play in the water. Dad did not: it was pretty cold! And, like me, he is not fond of the cold. So, we did a little of that and a little walking around the park as a compromise to the children.


Despite having pneumonia, Chloe felt well enough to get off the couch and go with us. That day, anyway, was not bad... but I shouldn't have let her. She spent the next three days after that in complete misery, crying and barfing and aching and not eating and ugh! She lost a full pound, and for a tiny 13-year-old, it was a pound she could ill afford to lose.


We walked around the whole lagoon area, and the kids stopped and exclaimed multiple times over the fishies swimming in and around the mangroves. Sophie tried to tell me that she saw a barracuda, but having snorkeled with them myself many times, I simply did not believe her. I'm glad I didn't say as much out loud, though, because I would have eaten my words:


It was only a juvenile, but there it was, in living color, right in front of me! Oops. Sorry, Sophie.


Dad wanted me to take photos of him for his online dating profile. He's looking for his soulmate in his 70s, and I agreed to help him out!


On Wednesday, we were going to go to the pool, but it turned a little chillier, and Chloe became sicker, and I needed to bake my pies. We didn't, therefore, go.

Thursday, of course, was Thanksgiving Day. We don't have television service, so we couldn't begin my favorite way and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. However, my high school alma mater's current marching band performed in the parade, and they were pretty good!

It's actually C.W. Baker High School, not Baldwinsville HS, but close enough, eh?

We had a pretty good Thanksgiving feast with homemade everything. Can I tell you what it was, for posterity's sake? Good, I'm gonna:


  • Mimosas, for the adults (OJ for the kids)
  • Bacon & eggs
  • Banana Muffins with Sugar & Spice Butter
  • Lemon-Raisin Scones with Cranberry-Orange Butter


  • Spinach Ricotta Dip on Crostini
  • Pickle & Olive Plate
  • Mixed Cheeses and Crackers
  • Chocolates
  • Mixed Nuts


  • Rob's Famous Turkey and Gravy
  • Wine/Sparkling Grape Juice
  • Stuffing
  • Corn
  • Cranberry Relish
  • Potato-Leek Casserole
  • Cheddar-Pepper Biscuits with Thyme-Shallot Butter
  • Broccoli Custard


  • Dutch Apple Cream Pie
  • Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream
  • Strawberry Mascarpone Custard

I have to give credit to the November 2014 issue of Martha Stewart Living for several of the recipes, as well as for the front door decoration at the top of this post.

I love that woman!

Anyway, Dad left with a cold of his own (sorry, Pop!) on Friday morning instead of Saturday as planned. Maybe he'll come back, maybe we scared him off? I don't know.

All I know is, I am now hungry and all that yummy food is gone.

I hope you all had a lovely holiday with your loved ones, too.


Saturday 9: Lucky Star

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

Saturday 9: Lucky Star (1983)

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

1. Have you ever wished upon a star?

Yeah. I used to wish I would drop dead suddenly, when I was 8-17 years old. I never did, dammit, and it used to piss me off greatly! I don't wish that - or anything else - on stars anymore.

2. In the 1980s, Madonna considered her wrist bangles one of her fashion trademarks. What's one of your fashion trademarks?

My nose ring, of course! I took it out to get an MRI the other day, and it took my family 2 days to notice. I keep forgetting to put it back in...

3. Though she got good grades, Madonna could be disruptive at school, known for turning cartwheels in the halls between classes. Can you do a cartwheel?

I used to be able to, but I can't anymore thanks to arthritis.

4. Her high grade point average earned her a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan, home of the Wolverines. Do you follow college football?

Meh, not really. I mean, I try to keep track of my University of Miami Hurricanes, but that proves to be difficult without TV service! However... I think we're getting it again soon after years without out. Woooo!

5. Madonna co-starred in the movie version of Dick Tracy. Do you enjoy comics?

I used to, when I was a kid. It's just not something I really take pleasure in as an adult.

6. She played Argentinian First Lady Eva Peron in the biopic, Evita, and directed a movie about Wallis Simpson. What famous 20th century woman do you wish you could meet/could have met?

Hmm... So many! And everyone I can think of is still relevant in the 21st century. Oh, bother, I'll still choose one: Martha Stewart. I love that woman!

7. Madonna authored a children's book called The English Roses. Tell us about a book that had a big impact on you when you were a kid.

I loved the Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

8. One of Madonna's "vocal idols" is Ella Fitzgerald. Who is your all-time favorite female singer?

I think Alanis Morisette is my favorite female singer. I do love Madonna too, though!

9. Madonna once did a Pepsi commercial. What beverages are in your refrigerator right now?

I don't remember that! In our fridge, we have Diet Coke and milk. And Lactaid. I think that's it.

Thanks for stopping by! Come back soon, I have oodles more to post.