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Entries from January 2015

Sunday Stealing: Easy A-Z


Link up here if you're playing thief today, too!

Easy A-Z Meme 

Stolen from: FYeah Surveys

A. What are your favorite smells?
Citrusy smells are my absolute faaaaavorite, followed by apples and then the other fruits.
B. Can you go a whole day without caffeine?
Not f**king likely!! ;)
C. Who knows more about you than anyone else?
Hubs, naturally.
D. What song did you last listen to?
Right now I'm listening to Taylor Swift singing "Blank Space," but I literally just changed the station from the other one's Saturday night club mix because I'm not, you know, young.
E. Do you wear socks to bed?
I never wear socks, because I live in flip-flops. Nope!
F. Can you change a car tire?
I know how, but I don't have the upper body strength to follow through on that knowledge.
G. If you could choose one color to wear for a whole year, what color would you choose?
Rainbow, because I'm far too colorful a person to stick with just one!
H. Do you cook often?
I actually haven't cooked for a while, for no good reason, but when I am in the mood I'll cook like crazy.
I. What’s your least favorite season? 
Winter. Duh. Who likes winter best? That person is so foreign to my nature.
J. Can you sew?
I can do all right by hand, but I suck at machine sewing.
K. What is your favorite fruit?
Just like my 9yo, Sophia, I adore the strawberry.
L. Are you health conscious?
Let's just say I'm a lot more careful about what foods I put in my body than what I do with it.
M. Do you think you’re very conscious of the feelings of others or more self-oriented?
What is this, Psych 101?
N. Do you curse a lot?
I curse all the fucking the time.
O. Do you remember lyrics easily?
Nope. Movie quotes and song lyrics are next to impossible for me to remember. Same with jokes.
P. Can you roll your tongue?
I can, and my daughters can. Hubs can't, and our son can't.
Q. Is there a certain food you often crave for no reason?
Sometimes I really crave a steak. I haven't eaten beef since August of 1995, but there you go.
R. What was the last book you purchased?
I use the library.
S. Where was your last vacation?
Playa del Carmen, Mexico, this past November.
T. Last movie you watched? Did you enjoy it?
Totally. I love The Hunger Games trilogy!!!
U. Think of your oldest friend. If you met them now do you think you would still become friends?
That would be Ursula, and we are still friends, though I haven't seen her in about 20+ years. I very nearly saw her this past August when we flew up to New York but alas, plans change.
V. Paris, London and New York… which one would you live in, which would you visit for a day, which would you visit for a fortnight?
I've only been to NYC, but I've always wanted to live there for a year. I would love to visit both Paris and London! Paris for the fortnight.
W. Do you usually sleep with your closet door open or closed?
I try to keep the closet door closed at all times, except when I'm in there, so Paco or one of our cats doesn't get stuck in there by accident.
X. Have you ever broken a bone? If so, how did it happen?
When I was in graduate school in Tampa, Florida, I lived in a minuscule, overcrowded apartment. I had this little dachapoo, Johnny, who jumped up and ran around whenever I stood up. There was a loud noise outside, so when I jumped up to investigate, he was underfoot, and I had no choice but to break my toe to avoid stepping on the little shit. I've broken that same pinky toe about a half-dozen times ever since. Grace is not my middle name.
Y. How do you like your eggs?
I like my eggs fried, sunny-side-up as mentioned before. When I was a little kid, my mom would make 'em just like that, and we called them "Dippit Eggs." I call them that now, too.
Z. What was your last argument about and who with?
Last night with Hubs. More of a one-sided discussion that ended with no resolution except just to go to sleep. :\
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday 9: The Best Thing About Me Is You

I completely forgot what day it was, and I forgot all about my blahg, too! Silly me. Link up here if you're late to the party, too...

Saturday 9: The Best Thing About Me Is You (2010)

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

1) What would you say is your best quality? 

I always do my best.

2) In this song, Ricky sings that he's "allergic to tragedy." Do you suffer from any allergies?

Since we got our Chihuahua, Paco, I've realized that not only am I allergic to him, but I'm developing all kinds of other food/med issues as well. It's pretty annoying, especially since it jacks up my face! 

 3) Benadryl, the popular allergy medication, is sometimes used to treat insomnia. What do you do when you can't sleep?
I just do something else. I don't have a regular sleeping schedule at all, and I've accepted that. What do you do if you're allergic to Benadryl?

4) The lyrics to this week's song encourage us, "Don't wait until mañana." Are you a procrastinator?

I'm the best kind of procrastinator: I wait until the last minute, and then I whip out a kick-ass job.

5) Ricky Martin is a judge on The Voice ... Mexico, aired on Mexican television. When you watch competition shows like The Voice, Dancing with the Stars or American Idol, do you usually agree with the judges? Or do you think you could do a better job? 

I don't watch them currently, since our TV is still in the box, but mostly I agree. I think. I dunno; it's been a while.

6) Ricky tells interviewers that when he was very young, he'd sing in the family kitchen, pretending a wooden spoon was his microphone. Crazy Sam admits to lip synching into a black Magic Marker. When you gave imaginary concerts, what did you use as a microphone? 

I never used anything. I just leaned back my head and belted it out.

7) Ricky began working at the tender age of 9, performing in commercials. How old were you when you received your first paycheck?

I was 15, working at the Big M market on State Fair Blvd outside of Syracuse, NY. Good times.

8) Ricky does yoga to stay in shape. Have you ever tried yoga?

I love yoga! It's been a while since I've practiced, but getting back into it is on my to-do list.

9) Ricky is of primarily Spanish descent, with a little French mixed in. When you think of French cuisine, what comes to mind?

Escargot - which I actually tried once and liked!

Thanks for stopping by.


Saturday 9: Zing! And Stuff...

Saturday 9: Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart (1939)

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

1) This song is about love at first sight. Do you believe that immediate attraction lasts?

I do, yes. Absolutely, I do.

2) The lyrics mention "a breath of spring" and robins singing. Now that we're deep into winter, what do you miss about spring? 

I live in the land of almost-perpetual sunshine, near-constant warmth, and ubiquitous palm trees. It doesn't suck. I'm not complaining.

3) Though the world knew her as Judy Garland, this week's featured artist was born Frances Gumm and her family called her "Baby." Does your family have any pet names for you?

Since I've been asked about a thousand times here, and all over the Interwebs and Social Media about my "Smellyann" username, I'll have to share the whys and wherefores of that again:

My real name is Melanie Ann. My dad always called me Mellie-Ann. My sister, showing the font of love that comes with being middle school siblings close in age, change it once to "Smellyann" to tease me with it. The joke was on her, though - I liked it and kept it!

(And no, I don't stink. Well. Usually.)

4) Because she was petite - just 4'11 - it was obvious when Garland gained even a few pounds and consequently she battled her weight her whole life. Now that we're in the new year, have you made any resolutions about your own diet?

I'm not much bigger at 5'2", so it becomes glaringly obvious on me, too. I've put on about (no lie) 20 pounds since we've moved here, and no matter what I do, they don't come off. So I'm either settled in my comfort zone or else I just need to get off my ass and MOVE more. I'm going to try the latter, along with a much more restrictive diet, as soon as I'm feeling motivated. (Migraines have sucked lately...)

5) The year this song came out, 1939, was the year Garland's most famous movie, The Wizard of Oz, was released. Which of her three traveling companions is your favorite: Scarecrow, Tin Man or Cowardly Lion?

Toto. ;) He knew they belonged together from the beginning and fought to stay there.

6) Barry Manilow enjoyed Judy's performance of this song so much, he did a "dream duet" with her and included it in his recent CD. What performer who is no longer with us do you wish you could have seen in concert?

Michael Jackson. I did see Whitney Houston in concert once, in her prime, or else I'd have named her.

7) Judy had a terrible problem with tardiness. Are you usually prompt?

It depends on how eager I am to do whatever it is. Right?

8) During World War II, Judy worked tirelessly to entertain the troops. Tell us about a cause that's near and dear to your heart. 

Animal welfare, the environment, and exposing - and eliminating - the abuses of children.

 9) The American Film Institute lists Garland as the 8th greatest movie star of all time. Who is your all time favorite actor or actress?

I don't have one. I have favorites from each era, but I'd be hard-pressed to come up with an all-time favorite. There's always someone new coming out who impresses me, like Jennifer Lawrence. Maybe it's a good thing I'm not voting for any awards?

Thanks, as always, for stopping by!


Sunday Stealing: The 2014/2015 Meme, Part The Second


Link up here if you're playing along today!

2014/2015 Meme, part two 

Stolen from: German Language Rocks 

26. What experience would you love to do all over again?
Eloping with Hubs was the best, most wonderful experience I've ever had. I would do it every day of my life it were feasible!
27. What was the best gift you received?
Motherhood, four times over!
28. How did your overall outlook on life evolve?
My dad and stepmother taught me how not to be a person. I pretty much raised myself to be the way I am. Can't claim I did a good job, but I did do the job, at least.
29. What was the biggest problem you solved?
If we are not talking about math, then it probably involves that whole "how to be a person" stuff from the last question.
30. What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it?
Probably not funny to anyone else but Hubs and me, and maybe our kids, but the funniest thing to come out of 2014 for us was my telling him to "Rest your voice." We say that to each other instead of "shut the hell up" at least daily, now!
31. What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever?
Welp, for 2014 at least, it was upgrading from the iPhone to the Samsung Galaxy S5. The Galaxy does everything I ever wished the iPhone was capable of, and more. Love it, love it, love it!
32. What one thing would you do differently and why?
I would tell those asshats to run their own damn fundraiser and cut them the hell out of my world much sooner than I did.
33. What do you deserve a pat on the back for?
Probably not murderizing anyone. I'm good about that.
34. What activities made you lose track of time?
Nothing. I'm always acutely aware of what time it is. In the "not" tense.
35. What did you think about more than anything else?
Ain't even gonna try to lie. I'm a  hot-blooded woman in the prime of my life, and my husband just became disabled. I'm a little bit going crazy right now!
(Yup. I went there.)
36. What topics did you most enjoy learning about?
I learned quite a lot about brain surgery... but enjoyment was not part of that plan.
37. What new habits did you cultivate?
I have OCD. If I could cultivate new habits, it would be a fargin' miracle.
38. What advice would you give your early-2014 self if you could?
Maybe not encourage Rob to have that brain surgery quiiiiiite so quickly. :\
39. Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year?
Refer to the previous answers and you'll figure it out.
40. What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year?
I'm going to say that it was my good friend (and concert violinist, violin instructor, etc., hence the reference), Shana. We rekindled our friendship, and it meant a billion, trillion things to me.
41. What do you want the overarching theme for your 2015 to be?
Hubs' complete recovery would be ideal. At this point, I'll even take a quarter of that. ;)
42. What do you want to see, discover, explore?
43.Who do you want to spend more time with in 2015?
44.What skills do you want to learn, improve or master?
45.Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen?
46.What do you want your everyday life to be like?
47.Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of?
48.What do you want to achieve career-wise?
49.How do you want to remember the year 2015 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now?
50.What is your number one goal for 2015?

Saturday 9: Dancing With Myself

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

Saturday 9: Dancing with Myself (1980)

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

1) This song is one of Billy Idol's biggest hits. Can you name another?

 Sure, you're talking to an 80s girl, here. There's this one ("Mony, Mony"), "Rebel Yell," "White Wedding"... I can remember shouting the dirty lyrics to this one when it came on at the skating rink, too!

2) When is the last time you danced around your home? 

I dance around my house for Hubs' entertainment (okay, for my own as well) almost every day! What I lack in grace and coordination, I make up for with enthusiasm! Hee.

3) In this song, Billy says he dances with his own reflection. Is there a mirror in the room you're in right now?

There was... until a few days ago. Hubs knocked it down when he fell off the ladder, trying to change a light bulb. Um, no, I did not authorize that project. (Yes, he's okay. But the mirror is no more.)

4) Dancing with Myself is also the name of Billy Idol's 2014 autobiography. Let's say you're going to write your life story. What do you title it?

That remains to be seen... I was going to name it Passages: A Series of Vignettes, but that seemed cheesy, and I changed the styling of the book. So I'll let you know when I know, m'kay?

5) This month, Billy resumes his 2014-15 concert tour in New Orleans. Have you ever been to Louisiana?

At least twice, yes. Hubs' sister lives there, so we visited her once when I was preggers with #1, and then we drove to New Orleans when I was preggers with #2 and #3 to ship our car out to Guam (and SIL met us there, too). I loved Nawlins! Great city. I'd love to go again.

6) In 1980, when "Dancing with Myself" was first popular, VHS players were all the rage. Do you still have yours?

No way, but we can't seem to get the Blu-Ray player to work right, either. We're stuck in DVD-land for now, I suppose.

7) In 1980, The Love Boat was getting good ratings. Have you ever taken a cruise?

Yes, a few. Let me see:

In August 1991, just before I turned 15, I took my first cruise, an Eastern Caribbean on Carnival. We went to Nassau, Bahamas; St. Thomas in USVI; and San Juan, Puerto Rico

In 1999, my late gran'pappy took some of us on my second cruise, a Western Caribbean on Princess. We went to Cozumel, Mexico; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Grand Cayman Island; Limón, Costa Rica; and through the Panama Canal.

In 2006, Hubs and I took our littles to Disney World and then met up with my Dad and his then-wife for a short Carnival cruise to the Bahamas. I didn't love Nassau the first time, and I loved it even less the second time, but hey, the cruising itself was a good time!

In 2008, Hubs and I went on our oft-mentioned latent honeymoon cruise to the Mediterranean on Holland America line. We flew to Barcelona and cruised from there to France, Monaco, several ports in Italy and Greece, and Croatia. We flew from Venice back to Madrid to fly home. You can read about that spectacular trip here, if you so desire.

Four cruises? Is that all? Seems like there were more. I guess I'm thinking of all the scientific, non-pleasure cruise time I've spent as well!

8) Sally Field won her first Oscar in 1980 for the movie Norma Rae. Five years later she won a second Oscar for Places in the Heart and delivered one of the most quoted acceptance speeches in Academy history. Do you remember what she said?

Something about, "You like me, you really do like me," right? Isn't that the one? I was only nine then, so forgive me if I'm mistaken.

9) In 1980, People magazine named Stephen King one of the most intriguing people of the year because he had two big paperback bestsellers - The Dead Zone and The Shining. Do you have a favorite Stephen King book?

Haha. No. I tried to read The Shining, but I didn't get very far because I kept shutting my eyes at the scary parts. That habit doesn't work too well with books, you feel me?

Thanks for stopping by!


The Ballerina In A Blue House

Blue ballerina

When I was about four years old, my mother gave me this mostly-blue jewelry box. I thought it was the most special thing, and I adored it.

After she died, when I was seven, I would wind the music box and play the "Raindrops Are Falling on My Head" song and watch the ballerina twirl, endlessly, for hours upon hours.

The box started to fall apart during my many moves back and forth to college dorm rooms, and in years after that. But I still cherished it.

A couple years ago, when Sophia was seven, I decided to pass the box on to her. She needed one for her treasures, and I thought I had outgrown it.

Well, Sophia... is not the most careful child ever. Also, she's very active in her wakefulness, and even when she's asleep. Love that child to death, but if she's not creatively and constructively involved in something, she tends to default to destructive behavior. It's not intentional, or malicious, and she's outgrown it a bit now at nearly ten, but it's still a salient characteristic of hers.

So, that box was utterly destroyed. I tried to pretend - to myself and to her - that it was just a "thing" and that things don't matter.

But, sometimes, they kind of do, you know?

I've tried hunting all over the Interwebs for even just a photograph of that box. They don't seem to ever have existed, based on the search results. Nothing on eBay, nothing on Google Images, nothing anywhere...

Except the picture at the top of this post. I don't really want to replace the jewelry box. I just want a photo of it. Guess I'll need to hunt through my billions of photographs to see if there is a glimpse of it in any of those.

And now I'll go throughout my day with "Raindrops" going through my head...


Sunday Stealing: 2014-2015 Meme, Part The First


Link yourselves right up here if you're feeling it today, folks! I am!

2014/2015 Meme, part one 

Stolen from: German Language Rocks 
1. What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about?


Hubs and I just celebrated our 14th anniversary, so that's on my mind. I'll definitely be telling the grandkiddos about how we met and eloped two months later!

2. If you had to describe your 2014 in 3 words, what would they be?
Brain Tumors Suck... yeah that pretty much sums up 2014!
3. What new things did you discover about yourself?
I've realized that I am stronger than I thought myself capable of being.
4. What single achievement are you most proud of?
I am, historically, a very wussy girl when it comes to standing up for myself to my dad. But when he came down to visit us for Thanksgiving, I did it. I stood up for what I thought was right, and I survived. Yeah!!!
5. What was the best news you received?
I was pretty stoked to hear my great girlfriend, Erin, is with child! Woot!
6. What was your favourite place that you visited in 2014?
In November, Hubs and I visited Playa del Carmen. It was gorgeous. The whole trip, overall, was pretty rockin'.
7. Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?
Perseverance. I have pretty kick-ass stick-to-it-iveness!
8. Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?
I would like to be able to say that it was Hubs, because it usually is, but when they cut out part of his brain... it defaulted to the answer being the other person in this picture with him. So one or the other of us is my final answer! Take it or leave it. ;)
9. Which new skills did you learn?
This is going to sound silly, but I learned to perfect the way I cook my sunny-side-up eggs and make toast at the same time, so it comes out exactly, perfectly, the way I want it to be. It's the little things sometimes, okay?!
10. What, or who, are you most thankful for?
Oh, come on, now. You know I'm supremely thankful for my darling, beloved husband. Yes, he's different now, but he's still here. And that is everything.
11. If someone wrote a book about your life in 2014, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else?
I am certain it would have to be a comedy of errors. 
12. What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2014?
I learned that I am entitled to my feelings, have always been entitled to my feelings, and will always be entitled to those feelings - haters be damned!
13. Which mental block(s) did you overcome?
I decided I was ready to take the next step, at the end of 2014, in my knitting. I have always been afraid of success, but I am ready to pursue something that I believe I can really, truly great at. Hubs encouraged me to sign up for The Knitting Guild Association's Master course in Hand Knitting, and I did! Literally, just yesterday, I printed out the Level 1 coursework. I can't wait to join the ranks of master knitters. 
14. What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with?
Hubs, of course, and our three babies, naturally. For #5, I'll add my BFF, Dr. Lisa, with whom I visited at our high school reunion over the summer. Good times!
15. What was your biggest breakthrough moment career-wise?
Breakthrough: realizing that I don't have to finish my book by the end of the year, or even within two years. I can take my time to get it just right. Whew! (Because I'm nowhere near finished.)
16. How did your relationship to your family evolve?
A very important event happened within the boundaries of my extended family, and I'm not ready to share about that just yet... but it affected me profoundly. I'm still reeling a bit, trying to recover from it, and preserve those family relationships. It's tough.
17. What book or movie affected your life in a profound way?
I took my 13yo daughter, Chloë, to go see the movie Laggies. It affected us both differently and opened us up for a lot of deeper conversation on the way home. I watched it from the perspective of a mom, of course, and she watched it subjectively from the daughter's viewpoint. It wasn't the most profound story in the world, but it made me see that, even though I f**k up, I am a pretty damned good mom to these kids.
18. What was your favorite compliment that you received this year?
My dad told someone I was brilliant, and that the kids would get a stellar education under my tutelage. I was shocked; he's usually the guy who says the most jacked-up shit. It meant an enormous amount to me for him to say that!
19. What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?
I love all my children dearly, and I have no favorites, but Sophia, the youngest at 9, is deliciously amusing. She cracks me up on a regular basis with the things she cooks up. Pain in the butt though she is, she's absolutely worth the trouble! ;)
20. What cool things did you create this year?
Most of my 'creations' involved yarn, I guess. Maybe not so cool to you, but I think it's pretty amazing what one can create with just sticks and string!
21. What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)?
Stressed is definitely the winner! And, sad to say, I'm a stress-eater, so I have gained a few pounds. I am going to remove them in the current year, by gosh!
22. Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?
Hmm... that's a toughie! I've been thinking, and I can't come up with anything cool. Uh, I attempted to ride my kids' scooters (fail), and I pretended I was a planet (win)? Sheesh, I hope 2015 is more exciting when it comes to firsts.
23. What was your favourite moment spent with your friends?
Definitely the high school reunion!! I'm soooo glad we were able to get up there for it!
24. What major goal did you lay the foundations for?
The Master Knitter program, as mentioned above. Wheee!
25. Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?
Yeah,... pretty much all of them! Worry is such a time-suck for me. I gotta stop that nonsense.

Welp, as always, thanks for stopping by!

Saturday 9: Kentucky Rain

Link up here if you want to play along with this awesome meme, too!

Next Thursday, the 8th would be Elvis' 80th birthday, so we're celebrating The King. Here is this week's song.

1. In this song, Elvis hitchhikes across Kentucky. Have you ever hitched a ride?
No, I don't believe I have, though I have picked up a couple. Shame, shame, everybody knows my name!

2. Elvis received his first guitar for his 11th birthday, even though he'd asked his parents for a bicycle. As an adult, how often do you ride a bike? 
I have a bike. It is parked near our front door. I've ridden it maybe two or three times. Um... yeah. Time to remedy that!

3. When Elvis was a child, his family was very poor, often living in rooming houses or public housing. His classmates teased him for being "trashy," which left him shy. Were you more shy or outgoing as a kid?
Definitely shy. I remember clinging behind my mom's legs when we would visit people she knew, and her being unable to coax me out. I still feel like doing that sometimes!

4. While in high school, Elvis mowed neighbors' lawns with a push mower and a sickle. According to The Home Depot, one of today's most popular mowers is a gas-powered Cub Cadet with a self-mulching feature. Tell us about your lawn mower.
It's electric (boogie woogie woogie!), but we have never used it. And our lawn proves this fact. I have never mown a lawn in my life, and Hubs is currently unable to do it, so... I guess it's about damn time I figure it out!

5. In the 1950s, Frank Sinatra dismissed Elvis as, "deplorable." Yet by the time of Elvis' death, he had revised his opinion and said, "Elvis was the embodiment of the whole American culture." Tell us about something or someone you changed your mind about.
Mostly parenting stuff. If I had it to do over again, I would have used cloth diapers instead of disposable, and I would not have had our living son circ'ed...

6. After Elvis was discharged from the Army, his first performance was on a Sinatra TV special, sponsored by Timex. Do you wear a watch? 
Nope. My Samsung Galaxy S5 (my verysmartphone) serves as my timepiece. I can't really wear a watch, since I have allergic contact dermatitis.

7. Coinciding with Elvis' 80th birthday, there will be an auction of Presley-related memorabilia at his home in Graceland. One item up for bid is a plush toy he gave to an Army buddy's wife in 1958 for the baby she was expecting. Do you know anyone who is looking forward to a baby in 2015?
Yes!! My very good friend Erin, whom I adore, is having her first baby. I have waited a long time for this to happen (as has she, I'm guessing?), so I am SOOOO excited. My only sad thing is that she's in New York, way the hell far away from me in Miami. So... I will have to love baby boy B from afar!

8. None of the items being sold at the Graceland auction actually belonged to Elvis at the time of his death. Everything left to daughter Lisa Marie remains in her possession. Do you have something you cherish that was given to you by a close relative?
Yes, I have my mother's costume jewelry, which my dad gave to me last year. I can still remember her wearing some of the pieces, which is pretty cool since I was really young when she died. I cherish those.

9. The US Postal service sold more than 500 million of the Elvis commemorative stamp. According to the Census Bureau, that was two stamps each for every man, woman and child in the United States. When is the last time you visited the post office?

Friday. Ugh, I had scheduled a package pick-up, but I got a notification that the postal worker (who is NOT my favorite person on the planet, y'all) did the pickup, when in fact she actually had not. So I had to drive the packages down to the Post Office. I know, I know... #FirstWorldProblems!

Thanks for stopping by!