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Entries from June 2015

Sunday Stealing: Unusual Things Meme

Stealing today, too? Link Up Here with the rest of us!


Unusual Things

Stolen from: My Random Randomness

1. Who was the last person of the opposite sex you laid in a bed with? 
Hubs, of course!

 2. Where was the last place you went out to eat? 

I'll tell you where we didn't go: I have a $40 gift card to The Cheesecake Factory and have been trying to take Hubs on a date there since Father's Day... and yet, there in my wallet it still sits. Meh.

3. What was the last alcoholic beverage you consumed? 

Sorry guys, I'm pretty sure the last time I drink was *still* the Buttery Nipple-in-Key West episode that had several of you flummoxed!

4. Which do you prefer - eyes or lips? 

Ooh, it's a close call... but I think the eyes have it!

5. Medicine, fine arts, or law? 

Law school is where I hope I'm headed, a few years down the road...!

6. Best kind of pizza? 

Ain't no pizza like a New York pizza 'cuz a New York pizza don't STOP!

7. Is your bedroom window open?

Bedroom, The Underwater Bedroom At The Water Discus Stronger Glass Big Window Funny Lamp Artistic Comfortable Bed Elegant Details : Extraordinary Bedrooms

No, but the blinds were open earlier... and GAWD, I wish that was my bedroom!

 8. What is in store for your future? 

Whilst Hubs is still recovering from his brain trauma... it's anyone's guess. Time will tell, I suppose!

9. Who was the last band you saw live? 

I haven't been to a concert in a while. I think it was the John Mellencamp / Willie Nelson / Bob Dylan one I took Hubs to a few years back, now, maybe?

But I'm taking Chloë, who will then be 14, to her first major concert in October: Taylor is her obsession fo' sho'. I'm as excited to take her as she is to go!

10. Do you take care of your friends while they are sick? 

Generally, no, they have other people for that. If they needed me to, and I could, though, well then I'd be there!

11. Any historical figures that you envy? 

Nah, envy, no. But Einstein would be my guy if green were my color.

12. How many songs are on your iTunes? 

Nope. What he said.

13. What brand of digital camera do you own? 

I love my Nikon! ♥

14. When was the last time you got a good workout? 

I don't work out. Not gonna lie. I have never done a pull-up in my life. Ever. Not proud of it ... but I'm totes gonna pick back up on my yoga and Pilates, if I ever get this living room set up the way I want it!

15. Are you experienced? 


I'm not touching this one with a ten-foot pole. Or a nine-foot Italian!

16. If you need a new pair of jeans, what store do you go to first? 


I don't recall the last time I wore a pair of jeans.

17. Are you a quitter? 


My answer: It depends. If I get more out of persisting than quitting, than that's what I do. On the other hand, if quitting serves me better, than I quit.

18. What are two bands or singers that you will always love? 

Jewel and Eric Clapton

19. Which of the seven deadly sins are you guilty of? 


Pretty much ^ ^ ^!

20. Did you just have to google the seven deadly sins to see what they were?


LOL. No. But aren't we all guilty of all of them at one point or another?

That's all, folks.


Saturday 9: I Miss You (Björk)

Link up here with the rest of Saturday 9ers if you're in love with this song, like I am!

Saturday 9: I Miss You (1997)

... because Smellyann (hey, that's ME!) suggested it

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

1) In this song, Björk knows what she's looking for in a mate, she just hasn't met him yet. If you are/were still looking for The One, what two qualities would you hope he/she possessed?

Very high intelligence and a rockin' sense of humor - and he does

2) The lyrics ask if you believe "that a dream can come true." Do you believe that dreams come true if you wish hard enough? 

No. Maybe if you work hard enough or all the cards fall luckily into place, but not just by wishing. Sometimes, maybe, but coincidentally so.

3) Björk turns 50 this year. Do you treat "milestone" birthdays differently? Or to you, is your age just a number?

I treat them differently. For me, personally, turning 40 in 15 months will be cause (again for me, personally) for epic celebration. Ever since my mom died very suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 33, I grew up believing that I would, too. Every year after 33 has been a reason to celebrate, for me, but the milestones are just that much more incredible a gift to me.

For my Hubs and kids, though, I celebrate every birthday like it's a milestone, because I find it so amazing and wonderful that they are the ones with whom I get to share this life.

4) Björk was always highly musical. At the tender age of 6 she began studying classical piano and flute. Sam is impressed because at the age of 6, she was still trying to master tying her shoes. Do you consider yourself musical?

Inclined, yes, but only slightly [vocally] gifted. My great friend Shana is a musical genius. Her brothers and sister, as well as her parents, are all musical geniuses. All of them are in music careers. Shana has played violin in concert with Josh Groban, of whom I am a huge fan, so this impresses me much more than it does her. You may have heard of her father, Todd Hobin, especially if you're from New York.

5) She was born and raised in Reykjavik, Iceland. While the city is known for its bar scene, beer was banned there until 1995. How often do drink beer?

Rarely, very rarely, and only with good [?] reason to do so. I'm not a huge fan. I once drank a Guinness, in Key West, during my college years (I was with Shana then, as it would happen). I puked my guts out immediately after that. Okay, the other beers and that last shot of tequila helped...

6) 66ºNORTH is one of Iceland's biggest employers. This clothier makes quality outdoor wear and this time of year they sell a lot of durable rainwear. Do you have a raincoat?

I ought to, given the dump of rain we get every day here in Miami from June through November, give or take six months (haha). You're lucky I own an umbrella... but I never use it. We just take our wet lumps daily!

7) In 1997, when this song was popular in clubs, Titanic was popular in theaters. Sam saw it and yes, she cried. How about you? Have you seen the saga of Jack and Rose? Did you enjoy it?

love Titanic. Love it. I saw it in the theater with, again, Shana! And my then-roommate, Jasper went along. I loved it so much and yes, I cried, too.

8) Also in 1997, singer John Denver died. Name a John Denver song.

"Take Me Home, Country Roads" is probably the only one I know or could name.

9) Random question: If you had the opportunity to sky dive, would you take it?

I have had the opportunity, and I didn't take it. I don't know if I would. Never say never... but I'd probably shit my pants and swallow some on the way down when it flew up in my face! Haha... Hm, that sounds super pleasant! ;) Hubs, on the other hand, has done one jump. It was one of his favorite experiences, ever.

On that note, thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend!


Wordless Wednesday: Cooking With Jack


Jack loves to help out with cooking and baking, I think more than his sisters. The other day, he wanted to make Strawberry Shortcake from the Bisquick recipe. I directed him, but he did the whole thing himself.




I just love the look of intense concentration on his face.



He was as proud of his results as the girls were to eat them!


Did you post a picture (or series, like I usually do) today? Link up here with 5 Minutes For Mom to share with the rest of us!


An Interview With My Father

My friend Cyndi, who lost her beloved father in recent years, posted this interview on her Facebook timeline. Since my own father is now nearly 73, I told her I would jump on it and interview my own dad. Below, you'll find that interview. I enjoyed reading his answers. Maybe you will, also.

* * *

From: Melanie Odette

 Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 2:31 PM

 To: Bob Simmons



[Questions from Brendon Burchard]
1. What comes to mind when you think about growing up in Staten Island, New York?
My grandma living around the corner from us, and my frequent visits to see her
The many honorary “aunts and uncles” I had, who weren’t relatives at all, but my parents’ friends and contemporaries, who were always nice and generous to me
Our local public school. P.S. 36  (K-8) and the family atmosphere present there, thanks to a great principal, Mr. Grimshaw, wonderful teachers, and an active PTA who associated and integrated so well with the school, and the close friendships my mother developed with the other mothers of my classmates.
The small town, “everybody knows everbody,” atmosphere in Annadale.
2. What did you love to do as a kid, before high school?
I had a handful of close friends, and liked playing with them.  Was particularly close with a boy named Brian, who I pal’ed around with for several years.
We traded comic books, and I shared my quarter allowance with him.  He was more athletic than I was, but we still played sports together.
We went to the movies a mom, dad and me.
We went to the public pool in Tompkinsville, SINY, often, when I was a kid.
I loved going to Point Pleasant, NJ for almost the whole summer when my dad worked there often. That went on for several years.  We even went there on vacation when it wasn’t work related.  Beyond Annadale, it was my favorite place, growing up.
I started building models when I was 8, and built an average of one a week.
I had a girlfriend of sorts....Barbara....who I liked for several years.  She was in my class...she died of cancer in 2010.
3. What did you love to do in high school?
Look at the
Pal around with my best friend, Glenn  (who is now sickly, married for the 5th time, and living in Edgewater, FL)  We were VERY mischievious together. Played lots of practical jokes together.
Listen to rock and roll, especially Elvis.
Sneaking in some driving whenever the opportunity presented itself.
4. What do remember most about your teenage years?
I was a bit of a nerd in high school....decent student....mostly honor roll, but wanted to be thought of as “one of the guys.”  I dressed like Fonzie when I was in high school.
I hung around with 2 or 3 different crowds....Glenn and that bunch, but others from Annadale, as well.  Mostly older than me...didn’t fit in well.
I smoked then.
I liked school....fooled around a lot out of class; was strictly business in class.
Being a bit distant from my family...less interested in family outings.
Arguing with my dad over college vs, becoming a harbor pilot.  (did neither).
5. What do you remember most about your mom (my grandma)?
My mother was saintly to me. She was also very pretty. She was well liked by everyone. She was the one person I could count on to help me.
She cooked well, and kept a nice clean and neat house.  I sort of attribute my fastidiousness to her; but I was seldom pushed. I cleaned up on my own.
Grandma Simmons lived with Uncle Bill and Aunt Elsie when I came along. She was quiet and unassuming...she did jigsaw puzzles and we played dominoes together whenever we visited.  She died in 1952, in Pennsylvania, when I was 10.
Grandma Schneider lived around the corner from us.  I visited her almost daily. She was a simple woman; not worldly at all. She was a great cook; mostly German foods. She was 21 years younger than my grandfather, and raised his 2 teenage kids, who respected her as their mother.
She died in 1970, at 89.
6. What was most important to her?
To my mother?  To stabilize our home, and keep peace and harmony since my dad struggled with depression, and to see to it that I behaved decently.
She also was devoted and dedicated to her church (the church I grew up in.) and she was committed to making life as pleasant as possible for my dad.
She didn’t work outside the home, but she shouldered all the domestic duties, except taking care of the car and the yard. (My dad did that.) She managed the family finances, as it upset my dad too much to do it.
7. What do you remember most about your dad (my grandpa)?
My grandpa Simmons died in 1939, before I was born, from injuries sustained in a car accident.
My grandpa Schneider died when I was 2.  I have no recollection of him at all.
My dad was kind of serious...a shy man, publically, but had a small, but close circle of friends and contemporaries, whose company he enjoyed.
He was very protective of me (too much, really....both my parents were that way).
He liked to fix up old cars as a sort of hobby, but the cars he fixed were also his daily driver. Not uncommon to have 2 or 3 different cars in a year. We had quite an assortment over the years.   He wouldn’t let me touch his tools.  I had to watch from a distance.   He was very mechanically inclined....had an engineering mentality.....also a voracious reader.  He could read a 400 page book in a night!  We made an almost weekly trip to the library in Tottenville, SINY. He’d take out 4 or 5 books each week, and read every one of them!
He was as introverted as I was extroverted, and we turned those qualities ( also mentioned above about him) into a car buying duo by the time I was 11 or 12.
If he saw a car he was interested the paper...I’d make the inquiry calls, and we’d go look at them together, and if he wanted one, he’d nod to me, and I would negotiate the deal.   I even got to drive the new purchase home!
While the 3 of us (mom, dad and me) went to the pool in Tompkinsville as a family, quite often, I went just as often with only my dad.  That was fun.
My dad had a “green thumb,” so our shrubs, trees and flowers always bloomed and looked very nice.
8. What was most important to him?
In a nutshell...that I eventually become a Sandy Hook Pilot. That was his main and only vicarious dream for me.
He also was a staunch Republican, so keeping Democrats out of office was important to him.  He didn’t like government much, and resented any intrusion into his business, especially as it may have involved our home.
9. If Grandma and Grandpa had a message to you and their grandchildren, what do you think it is?
Do your best in life. That’s as much as you can do. Be happy with simple things.  Be content with what you have.
10. How did you meet Mom and know she was the one?
As you know, I’ve been married 5 times; but only once your mother.  I won’t discuss the other 4; there was little that was much good, that I’d care to recall, much less discuss.
I met your mother in 1970, as a result of a sort of pre-Internet dating service in Manhattan.
I bought a “skeptics’ list of 13 names, addresses and phone numbers for 20 dollars, based on criteria that I enumerated as important to me.
I dated each one, in order of appearance on the list, once each.  Your mother was about the 6th or 7th on the list.  I went no further. She was the one! We were inseparable from then on, and I proposed (and your mother accepted) on our third date. We married a year to the day after we met.  I’ve never regretted it...ever.
We just fit together like a hand in a glove....
11. How did you choose your career and what was your favorite part about it?
I didn’t choose it....I just sort of fell into it.   I capitulated to my dad, and enlisted in the Coast Guard right out of high school....much to my regret.  He wanted me to become a Sandy Hook Pilot so badly he could “taste” it.  I went along, as sort of my caste birthright.
I became involved with wife #1 midway between my active duty status, in 1961.  We were...mmm...”active” almost from the beginning...sexual roulette...really.
When I was separated from active duty in 1962, I assumed that I would begin the apprenticeship right away. My sponsor advised me otherwise, and suggested I go to school or take a job until called.
I took a job as a bank teller with a large New York bank to wait out my time, until I would be called.
When wife #1 became expectant, we married (seemed like the only right thing to do.) My dad was horrified, as were most of our parents and extended family and friends.  Without any consultation with my dad or others, I gave up my place as a pilot candidate on the advice of my sponsor.
Therein began my “career” in financial services.
For me, there was little to like....but I was proud to have made it into bank management, in 10 years, without a degree. Even in the 1970s, that was an accomplishment.
Later, in the insurance business, I was proud of my sales successes in my very early years.
12. What made you successful at work?
Tenacity, and determination that I would not be precluded from management despite not having a degree.  I was very orderly and organized then, and could easily catch on to banking principles....I worked at it, and worked hard....(as opposed to long hours;  I’m a working quarter horse; not a long distance runner thoroughbred)  I skipped lunch often....took banking courses at AIB  (American Institute of Banking), and asked questions.  I was a fast learner, and I made several strategic moves, whenever I felt I was in a dead end situation.
13. What did you believe about yourself that helped you become successful and deal with hard times?
I trusted in my native intelligence to get through.  I was never satisfied to lie within a comfortable status quo.  I had wanted to become an officer in the military, and was damned if I would be denied that in business.  Once divorced from #1, and happily married to your mother, I made quantum leaps in my career.
14. What times in your life truly “tested your mettle,” and what did you learn about yourself by dealing (or not dealing) with them?
Without a doubt, your mother’s passing was undisputedly the most difficult experience of my life.  I didn’t deal with it well or intelligently, and made some very poor decisions in the aftermath of her passing.
15. What three events most shaped your life?
Resigning my candidacy as a Sandy Hook Pilot, thereby relegating me, owing to family responsibilities, to a career I would not have otherwise chosen.
Meeting and marrying your mother.  My single best life decision up to this point.
Your mother’s passing set the stage for a decline in my life’s fortunes, lasting to this day.
16. What do you remember about when each of us was born?
Stacey came first, and prior to her birth, I shared your mother’s happiness at becoming parents.
I enjoyed decorating what was to become the room you shared in the Monroe house.
Stacey was born with huge almond shaped eyes. I’ll always remember that.  She was a good baby; never any trouble.
You were born with claims of birth related problems. (leave it at that for now).  They were quickly and completely healed in Christian Science.
You seemed to be smiling all the were a very happy child; but would not go to sleep at night!  Night times were tough when you were a baby.
I remember carrying both of you in my arms and walking and talking, with both of you, often.
17. Were you ever scared to be a parent?
No....reluctant, at first, to go around again, after my first miserable foray into marriage and parenthood...but never scared.
18. What three words would you say represented your approach to parenting and why?
Loving discipline....(essential for getting along in this world),  early learning skills, for the same reasons....reasonably cordial interaction with others....again, for the same reasons.
19. When you think about {your sibling}, how would you describe him?
I have no brothers or sisters.   Only vicarious observations of you and Stacey together.
20. What message do you have for {your sibling} that you want him to always keep in mind?
Doesn’t apply to me.
21. When you think about Mom, how would you describe her?
The only spouse I care to think about would be your mother, and I thought of her as the ideal, quintessential mate for me. We interacted effortlessly.  Never any awkwardness between us, or ever any doubt that there wouldn’t be lasting happiness between us. She was smart as a whip, and innovative, supportive and helpful to me.  We had a lot of fun together. She was perfect for me.
22. What message do you have for [spouse] that you want her/him to always keep in mind?
To Rest In Peace....that I wish I could have saved you; would do things differently, if given the opportunity.
23. What three words would you say best describe who you tried to be in life and how you want to be remembered?
I like to be thought of as Humorous....funny sense of humor......Loyal to family and friends, and Compassionate  (to those I deem deserving of compassion.)
There certainly might be others, but those 3 come to mind.   Warm, Tender, Loving....might best fit as it may apply to a love interest.
24. When they think about their careers, what do you want your children to focus on?
Doing something that interests you, and that hopefully you are good at, and enjoy.  Being unscrupulously honest  (even with government and taxes, though they may not deserve that kind of integrity much of the time), and giving more than is expected and giving it cheerfully.
25. What have you learned about other people in life? 
That there all kinds.  It’s impossible to pigeon-hole people into a few small categories, accurately. Humanity is complex...changeable, yet static...vulnerable, opportunistic yet compassionate.  Human life can be hard, and some people handle the vagaries of life better than others.  Life is short....yet we fail to recognize that when dealing with our fellow man.
26. What do you think the world needs more of right now?
Leadership!  Morality!  Integrity!  Honesty!  Honoring time tested (and well proven) social, civil and financial values.  Civility....toughness....
27. What do you believe people want the most in life?
I now tend to believe that as technology evolves...faster and faster all the time, that people [silently] yearn for a slower, gentler, more predictable life. I also believe that too many people want financial equality given to them, without earning it.  I am afraid of the creeping liberalism/socialism of this age.   I’m not sure many people truly do know what they want in life.
28. What were the three best decisions you’ve ever made?
I’d say for every good decision I’ve ever made, I’ve made 3 bad or unwise ones...but, up until this point...right now....#1 would have been marrying your mother, #2 might have been this move south, in 1994,  and perhaps #3 might be to have stayed the course with Christian Science, as it has both healed me, and guided me through some treacherous times in my life....not always quickly or easily, but always with an eventual good outcome.
29. What are you most proud of in life?
You and your sister, and how well both of you have turned out in life.
30. What were five of the most positive moments of your life?
Wow! Five??   Becoming Salutatorian of my class when I “graduated” from primary/elementary school from the 8th grade.
Graduating high school in the top quartile of my class of about 250
Meeting and marrying your mother
Becoming dad to you and Stacey  (equal weight to both of you.)
Being told numerous times, by many kids, that I was the best, and their favorite, substitute teacher.
31. What message would you like to share with your family?
That these are tough, complex, difficult times for our country and the world.  Values are constantly being degraded and eroded. Morality and decency is derided as racist and a hate crime....stick to the truths and values you were exposed to growing up....learn from my many mistakes....stick with your family, and don’t believe everything you’re told.
Be compassionate and hard and be as independent as possible. Take nothing for granted and be grateful for everything that’s good in life, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.  Don’t trust government to do what is right without having to make them constantly accountable for their actions.
32. What are you most thankful for?
I want to be forward thinking, and looking, when I answer this last question.  I think that the things I have been most thankful for, in my past, have already been acknowledged several times in several questions.  Certainly I am always thankful that we, Stacey, and me, share very warm and loving family ties right now.....very very joyously do I realize that.  I’m thankful, that despite much heartache, and many tough times, I’ve managed to survive it all, and [I] live a relatively stress-free life right now....perhaps not as full and rich (beyond money) as I might hope for, but OK.....there is one special thing.....right now, though, that has brought me much peace and joy this year, since the early months of the year.  A lady I met online in 2012, who had simply been a warm and close friend, with whom I could discuss nearly anything and everything, has become my love object and very significant other.  Moreover, I think it’s safe to say that she perceives me the same way.  We share a very special and unique kind of relationship, and I have little reason to suspect that that will change....ever. It may be a bit premature to say so, but I don’t think so.  There are life details that both of us need to complete and clear up, but I see bright times and happy days on the horizon.
Right now...with all else I have to be grateful for....I’m particularly grateful for her.
* * *
Thanks for doing the interview, Dad. I enjoyed reading your answers and learning more about your background. I only wish I could get answers for Mom, too.


Sunday Stealing: Get It All Down Meme


Cheers to all of us thieves!
Get It All Down Meme

Stolen from: My Random Randomness

  • Are you a good dancer?

I'm okay at home, but I have issues dancing in public.

  • Are you a good singer?

I'm all right, but I'm no Streisand.

  • Are you a good cook?

The James Beard Foundation isn't going to come knocking anytime soon, but the rest of Team Odette seems pretty happy with it. When I'm manic, I bake and cook enough for an army. It used to be great when Hubs had an appetite. Now I have to be careful not to be wasteful. 

  • Are you a good artist?

I'm just half-decent, and that's all. Sophia, my 10-year-old, is forever artsing and crafting, though. She does some pretty cool stuff.

  • Are you a good listener?

It's not my finest attribute... :\

  • What's your favorite clean word?

I couldn't think of anything in English, so I'm saying this instead: My husband loves to drink an Arnold Palmer (half-iced tea, half-lemonade). I can't say this man's name to save my life. It's the worst tongue-twister for me EVAHHHH. I can't even say it properly in my head. So when I run to the Racetrac or whatever, and I offer him one and say it right? Major cause for self-praise.

When I'm feeling really emphatic, I like to throw out a whole conglomeration of curse words. George Carlin would've adored me.

  • What's your least favorite word?

Any kind of derogatory term for someone's culture, heritage, race, creed, you get the picture. I hate slurs.

  • What was the last film you saw?

We saw Tomorrowland in the IMAX theater a few weeks ago. It was epic awesomeness. I came away feeling completely inspired. I hope my kids did, too.

  • What football team do you support?

Gotta support the alma mater!

  • Have you ever been bobbing for apples?

Once. I was eight or nine years old, and my step-family's friends had a Halloween party.  I had forgotten about that rare fun moment during that decade of my life.

  • What's your most expensive piece of clothing?

Honestly, the name brands I wear are, like, Crocs and Old Navy. I do have a few designer items like Calvin Klein and DKNY or whatever, but I got them secondhand from thredUP. For what it's worth.

  • What's the last thing you took a picture of?

Sophia Ginger

Sophia begged me to turn her blond hair red. I didn't wanna! Hubs said she could. We discussed. End result: blondie is now a ginger. I it!

  • What's the last thing you drew a picture of?

I don't do a lot of drawing these days, but mostly I doodle botanical things, like ferns and daisies, when I'm on the phone.

  • Have you ever bought anything from eBay?

Oh, yes. Sophia (this is a Sophie-heavy post, huh?) is obsessed with all things Littlest Pet Shop lately, so my latest find was a "rare" (she says, and I did not verify, but awesomely inexpensive) LPS from either Taiwan or Hong Kong, I forget. It took 17 days to get here. She hounded the postal carrier daily for that package. Oh, the squeals, when it finally got here on Thursday!

  • Have you ever invented a fairly unique meal or drink?

Hubs says I create great, unique meals all the time (drinks, not so much), but I didn't know what he was talking about. He specified the foil meals I mentioned in yesterday's Saturday 9 post! Cooking en papillote is fantastic. (Psst, Country Dew - They're great in the oven as well as the grill, and I swear to you, you can't mess 'em up. I generally use heavy duty foil instead of parchment paper, though.)

  • Do you have any secret family recipes?

I don't think so. My grandmother was a great cook, but she died before I could get any recipes from her. I don't remember my mom's cooking at all, except for two things: Pumpkin pie, which I'm certain was the Libby's can recipe my home-ec teachin' mamacita-in-law swears is the only one to use, and Chicken a la King, which made my sister and I feign many an upset stomach. To this day, I have never eaten that.

I swear by the Nestlé Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe, incidentally.

Welp, that's all for the Smellyann Sophia and Cooking Show for today.

Enjoy your day, all ye dads!


Saturday 9: Daddy's Little Man

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: Daddy's Little Man (1969)
... because it's Father's Day weekend 

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

1) This song is about an afternoon visit between a father and son. What are your plans for Saturday afternoon?
I have a hot date with the laundry, the dishes, and the rest of our pigsty house, provided Succubus (my new nickname for my illness, until it is officially diagnosed) cooperates.

2) The lyrics talks about enjoying an ice cream cone. Do you have any ice cream in your freezer right now?
Yeah, right. I can't keep it in the freezer longer than a day or two. My kids are all over frozen treats like white on rice.

3) Sam's father hates it when she swears. When is the last time you cursed?
About a half an hour ago. I admit, I have quite the potty mouth. Eh.

4) In a recent ranking of movie dads, Mufasa (Lion King) and Atticus (To Kill a Mockingbird) got very high marks. Who is your favorite movie or TV father?
I'd agree with both of those, but surely Cliff Huxtable was high on the list. Maybe not given Bill Cosby's recent... scandal?

5) Sam's own father often traveled for business, and always remembered to bring her the little complimentary soaps, shampoos or body lotion he got from the hotel. When you take a trip, do you bring back souvenirs?
Oh, yes. I have a constantly-growing shot glass collection from everywhere I've been. Some spoons from foreign countries. Various magnets, too. But mostly the shot glasses are my focus, now.

6) Back when Sam was in high school, it was her father who gave her driving lessons. Who taught you how to drive?
My father started to, before he moved away when I was 17 and a senior in high school. I had a car, but he refused to let anyone else teach me. When I moved to South Carolina after graduation to live with him before college started, the car came with us. I started "stealing" it when he was at work and joyriding around town to teach myself how to drive.
I didn't get my license that summer and went to college without my car. He ended up driving that car into the ground and selling MY car and pocketing whatever money he got for it ... this is not a fond memory for me. I did convince him to let me try the road test in his car the following summer, and I passed it on the first try. He was shocked.

7) Sam's own father is easy to buy for: every year he wants a new pair of loafers, so every year for Father's Day she gives him a DSW gift card. Would you rather receive a gift that someone chose, even though it might not be just right, or do you prefer a gift card or cash so you can get exactly what you want?
I appreciate gifts either way!

8) For family barbecues, Sam's dad dons his "Kiss the Chef" apron and mans the Weber. What's the last thing you cooked on the grill?
Probably chicken and vegetables. We haven't been doing any grilling since we first moved here to Miami, before Hubs' brain tumor took over for a long while. I aim to remedy that this summer. I like to grill en papillote, or make foil meals, as they are almost foolproof. I need that quality in my grilling!

9) Sam's father satisfies his afternoon sugar craving with an almost endless stream of Butter Rum Lifesavers. When you crave a snack, do you usually want something sweet or salty?

It completely varies. Lately, I have been enjoying a small bag of lemon-flavored plantain chips. They are super good - but it has to be just this right brand, which I've only ever found for about a buck in certain vending machines. Other brands just don't measure up.

Fun questions this week; thanks, Sam!


Sunday Stealing: Would You Rather Meme, Part The Second

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

Would You Rather Meme, Part Two

Stolen from: Sign Up Genius

Would you rather go to a movie or to dinner alone? 
Unless I'm studying, working on something, or reading a book, I have no interest in eating alone. It's boring and lonely to me. I have never been to a movie alone, but I would rather do that. At least I'm engrossed in something (hopefully), rather than feeling my aloneness so strongly.
  • Would you rather always say everything on your mind or never speak again? 

I talk way too much. I know I do. But only when I'm comfortable with the person(s) to whom I'm speaking. Take it as a compliment. I wouldn't be able to tolerate never speaking again, no thank you!

  • Would you rather make a phone call or send a text?
  • Absurdly enough, given my last answer, I would rather text than make phone calls. Part of that may have to do with the fact that I don't get a good signal inside the abode and have to go outside to make calls, which is annoying... but it's certainly not the whole story. Texting is more my comfort level.
  • Would you rather read an awesome book or watch a good movie?

  • Given the choice, historically I would rather read the book any day of the week. Lately, though, I haven't had the patience to start a book, let alone finish one. It's kind of irksome, given my "bookworm" reputation. I don't know... book, I'm sticking with book.
  • Would you rather be the most popular person at work or school or the smartest? 

I have been the smartest person at school - and at work - and I was too young and experienced to recognize the value in it. Now, I do. Popularity is fleeting. Hopefully, intelligence lasts longer. It certainly matters more.

  • Would you rather put a stop to war or end world hunger? 

That is an very tough one for me, since I hate both. I'd pick ending world hunger, however, because though war sucks and the collateral damage sucks even more, world hunger suckiness trumps even that. On the other hand, overpopulation is another problem to consider, so... hmm. Nah. I'm sticking with ending hunger.

  • Would you rather spend the night in a luxury hotel room or camping surrounded by beautiful scenery? 

 Hmm... tough one. I'd rather go camping most of the time, but being that I'm quite possibly in the worst lupus (??) flare of my life, I'm going with the luxurious hotel room. Comfort is of the utmost importance while I'm in this constant, excruciating pain. (Sorry to be a downer!)

  • Would you rather explore space or the ocean? 

Man! These are getting tougher for me! But since I have done my fair share of ocean exploration and I have dreamt my entire life, since as young as I can remember, of going into space, I'm choosing space. When can we leave??!

  • Would you rather go deep sea diving or bungee jumping? 

Oh, that's an easy one. I have zero desire to go bungee jumping. I have only been down 110 feet while SCUBA diving, which can hardly be considered "deep sea," but it was awesome enough that I reckon I'd be game to go much deeper. Given the right controls, of course.

  • Would you rather be a kid your whole life or an adult your whole life?
  •  Hmmm... Given that my childhood was NOT awesome, and that I am something of a control freak, I would have to choose being a perpetual adult. Sure, there are plenty of crappy things about responsibility, but I'd rather have the freedom and control that also comes with adulting.
  • Would you rather go on a cruise with friends or with your spouse? 

I've never been on a cruise with friends, but I have been on two or three with Hubs. I would go with Hubs again in a heartbeat. I already know I'm guaranteed to have a good time. ;)

  • Would you rather lose your keys or your cell phone? 

almost never lose my keys, because I put them in the same place every time. 99% of the the time, unless I'm rushing out the door and someone else (Ahem, I'm looking at you, family) has misplaced my keys, I would rather those go missing. They're replaceable, we have copies, and they contain far less crucial information than my cellular device. I abhor misplacing my phone.

  • Would you rather eat a meal of cow tongue or octopus? 

That's a no-brainer. I haven't eaten beef since August of 1995. I will not eat beef again for any reason. I have eaten octopus, along with squid. In calamari form, it's not bad. In whole-tentacle-in-a-salad form, it's not my favorite... but it certainly doesn't make me shudder like the thought of eating tongue of cow does.

  • Would you rather have x-ray vision or magnified hearing? 

Hearing, for me, isn't all that great sometimes. You can't un-see, but you can't un-hear either, and words can ... oh, bother. I'd just rather have the x-ray vision, m'kay?

  • Would you rather work in a group or work alone?

Oh, I would much rather work alone. Working in a group sucks. Either I end up doing all the work, or I wish I had. I don't want to rely on someone else for good results. Nope.

Thanks for stopping by!



Saturday 9: American Pie

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

Saturday 9: American Pie (1971) ... because Country Dew suggested it

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

1) In the lyrics, Don McLean refers to having once been a paper boy. When you were a kid, what job or household chores did you do for spending money?

I started babysitting when I was about 12 or so. Before that, I cleaned the house for money. After that, I was required to clean the house for free. Eh.

2) Them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye. What's the last drink you ordered?

The last two back-to-back alcoholic drinks I had were a Buttery Nipple shot and then a big ol' cup of Pirate's Punch at Captain Tony's in Key West, last week.

3) He drove to the levee but it was dry. When is the last time it rained where you are? 

Hee. It's hurricane season here in Miami, and it rains hard every day. Not all day, thankfully - if it did, I wouldn't be able to tolerate the bellyaching of my offspring.

4) When McLean was working on the song, he wrote the lyrics out in long hand. It took him 16 pages of lined notebook paper. Today it's a laptop/smartphone/tablet world, and Sam can't remember the last time she hand-wrote anything longer than a sign on her front door that read, "Bell broken. Plz knock." What about you? What's the last thing you wrote with pen or pencil?

I wrote down the number for the Rheumatology Clinic at the University of Miami Hospital, with which I'm currently on hold, because I believe I have Lupus and need diagnosis and treatment. :\

5) McLean's most recent CD is called "Addicted to Black," in reference to Olivia in The Twelfth Night. Quick! Without looking it up, name another character from Shakespeare.

Othello was the first one that came to mind. Does that say anything about me, or at least my current state of mind?

6) Don was born in New Rochelle, New York, which was named one of The Best Walking Cities in America by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). What about your neighborhood? Is it easily walkable?

Sort of, but it's a small condo/apartment community, part of a larger neighborhood. People drive like nutjobs around here. It's a South Florida thing. Love the climate; hate the whack drivers!

7) In 1971, the year this song was popular, Walt Disney World officially opened. Have you ever been to DisneyLand or Disney World?

I've never been to Disneyland, but I've been to Walt Disney World two or three times. I'm not fiendishly fanatical about Disney, but I do quite like it. It's a good time.

8) Also in 1971, Mattel introduced Malibu Barbie. This doll was a "sun-loving California girl" and had a distinct tan. Have you ever used a tanning bed? 

Oh, God, no. Nor will I ever. Hazardous to one's health, that practice. Just don't do it!

9) American Pie is also the name of a 1999 movie. Have you seen it? 

Yeah, but I'm not overly impressed with the sophomoric humor. Just not my style.

Thanks for stopping by!


Not-So-Wordless Wednesday: Ernest Hemingway House

Link up here with 5 Minutes for Mom if you were any degree of wordless, uh, yesterday! ;) 



(Oops, I didn't get a chance to finish the post yesterday. Forgive me.)

Last week, we went on a field trip overnight to Key West, so that we could visit Ernest Hemingway's house there on Friday. 

{Full Disclosure: The staff gave my family of five courtesy passes to visit the property, in exchange for this post. No other compensation was provided. As always, all opinions in this post are solely my own.}

As a lover of literature in general, and big fan of Hemingway thanks to Old Man and the Sea, I was super excited to visit the property. As cat lovers, the three kiddos were delighted about all the six-toed Hemingway kitties roaming around everywhere there. Hubs was thrilled for both reasons and for the history lesson, to boot.

Anyway, I'll try to be less wordy here, and just post some snaps of the awesome sights and scenes we witnessed at the Hemingway House:




















This guy was very photogenic, and he LOVED having his picture taken!









The kids were enamored of all the six-toed kitty paw prints in the cement!









My favorite photo of the day








Hemingway's writing studio was the most wonderful vignette seen this day. Amazing!









We all had a great time visiting the Hemingway House - even Jack, who just did not want to smile anymore for the camera - and are truly grateful to the staff for providing us with the complimentary passes to visit it.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed the photos.


A June Morning In Key West With My Son


This past Friday morning, on our overnight in Key West, only Jack and I woke up early. I decided to take him around the other side of Roosevelt Blvd to the IHOP for breakfast.


He's a beautiful boy. I could admire my children all day long. Maybe I'm biased, just a little bit?


After we ate and went back to our hotel, we found the rest of Team Odette still deep in slumber, so we decided to venture across the street for a mini photo shoot. Jack is not a fan of the camera lens being focused on him, so for him to agree to such a thing was kind of epic. He's not a natural in front of the camera like his sisters, so my vague "do whatever you feel like doing" instructions were not well received. Nevertheless, we got a few nice snaps of this gorgeous child.


To get a genuine, natural smile out of Jack, I have to tease and poke fun of him. Telling him to imagine funny things doesn't really work, but being silly? Worked like a charm.




After about 5 photos, Jack asked how many I wanted to take. I said, "I don't know, a hundred?" This was his, "Nooooo.... can we GO?" face. Rats. Done, already?


Across the street, Jack found himself witness to a bi-plane taking off from the nearby Key West airport. This kid loves airplanes!


This child conned me into getting him a chocolate ice cream cone before 0900. Eh, why not? He could use a few extra calories!


Everybody was still asleep when we got back to our hotel room, so I asked Jack if he wanted to go over to the airport to look at the planes taking off and landing. Uh, yeah! So we parked and meandered around to do just that. Jack was in seventh heaven.




Jack thought the propellers in the shop were pretty cool.


"Look, Mom! Hey, get in closer so you can see what I'm pointing at!"


Yup. It was a plane. He decided the other day that he wants to be a pilot. We shall see...!


"Mom, get a picture of the control tower." He started to like this picture-taking thing, huh?


I can't remember what he was pointing at, but he wasn't impressed with it, whatever it was. Hee.



This was his resigned, "Guess we're not going to see too many planes today," face. And he was right. Ah well, we still had some good quality time together.


One more pose for Mama in front of the tile mural that adorns the front of the Key West airport.


Heading back to our car


That face! Ha! He smelled something that didn't agree with him, back at our hotel.



Investigating the trash chute on our hotel floor


Back in our room, everyone was still asleep, so Jack and I continued hanging out, watching a little TV, and talking about whatever came into his precious head. Mostly plane stuff, of course.


Paco was glad we had finally returned.



This cutie is endangering my Jack-centric photo shoot...


Chloë finally decided to join us in the world of the awake, but it didn't last. She gave her 2¢ and went right back to sleep.




Rob wasn't quite awake yet, but Paco found himself trapped in Daddy's arms. Back to Jack...



This boy, my darling son, and I had a fantastic morning together. I loved every minute of it.

Thanks for stopping by!


Sundays In My City: Key West In June

Unknown Mami
We went to Key West overnight from Thursday into Friday last week. More about that in a later post, but here are a few snaps from around our hotel and downtown for your viewing pleasure:
Okay, so technically this isn't from Key West proper. The last Circle K gas station outside of Key West is where we always make one last rest stop and, usually, get a few beverages before we reach our destination. I require myself to take a picture of at least one rooster every time we go there. Sometimes, we'll see a large iguana or two as well, but not this time.
There were turtles in the pond outside our hotel. Some were so tiny, I could have swallowed them whole!
We walked across S Roosevelt Blvd from our hotel to go visit the bay. Hello, mangroves.
Compared to Saturday back in Homestead, when it was proven to us that the 2015 Hurricane Season had, indeed, begun, Friday was a gorgeous day in the Florida Keys.
We stayed here for the first time. Barring the stifling heat in the elevators and lobbies, it was lovely.
Jack River in the hotel pool
All the kiddos wanted to do was swim in the hotel pool, so we let them do that until it was time to watch Jeopardy!
The kiddos on our balcony between Jeopardy! segments
Don't worry. We didn't.
My little guy, Jack River, on the balcony
We've probably been down to Key West a couple dozen times since we moved to the Miami area, but this is the first time I actually took them to Southernmost Point. I had been there myself when I was in college at U. Miami, but the experience was new for the remainder of my clan! Of course, I forgot to bring the Nikon, so you get a sucky camera phone pic from a nearby visitor with whom I traded the favor.
Never fails to amuse me that there are bins for trash, for recycling, and for coconuts. That's the Florida Keys for ya!
Hubs and I ventured downtown, leaving Chloë in charge of babysitting duties, for a couple drinks. We each had a shot (okay, maybe I had two) of Buttery Nipple while we listened to Jack Wolf sing covers of various tunes. I recognized all of them. He gave us a CD, and I didn't even have to show him my boobies. Hey, that's a win.
Hubs on Duval Street
It should surprise no one who knows I am a huge fan of Romero Britto's work that the vibrant color in this "Conch Town" piece immediately grabbed my attention as we window-shopped our way around Mallory Square.
An early bloom on Friday morning
A selfie in the mirror... hee!
This shop downtown had a clever way of indicating that they were closed. I thought it was cool, anyway...
The old lighthouse, across from Ernest Hemingway's property
Someday, we'll take this tour ourselves, instead of watching the Conch Train go by endless times...
The chickens, if you aren't aware, roam freely all over the lowest key. They never do answer me when I ask why they crossed the road, either. The kids crack up every time they crow. I admit, it never gets old for me, either.
This is it, the end of the road.
Thanks for visiting!

Sunday Stealing: Would You Rather? Part The First


Link up here if you're playing along today!

Would You Rather Meme, part one

Stolen from: Sign Up Genius
  • Would you rather go into the past and meet your ancestors or go into the future and meet your great-great grandchildren? 

I would rather meet my future great-great-grands. I could find out and learn things about my ancestors, but I won't ever know anything about my future relatives, really. Plus it would let me know a little about how my own offspring turned out.

  • Would you rather have more time or more money? 

  • Would you rather have a rewind button or a pause button on your life? 

Given that rewind or pause are my only two choices, I would choose rewind. I'm in excruciating pain right now, and I don't wish to stay this way!

  • Would you rather be able to talk with the animals or speak all foreign languages? 

I've said to myself, and sometimes other people, a thousand times that I wish I knew all the languages in the world! I love languages. So, I choose the latter.

  • Would you rather win the lottery or live twice as long? 

I would rather win the lottery. It will never happen, though, since I don't play.

  • Would you feel worse if no one showed up to your wedding or to your funeral? 

I'd rather have an awesome turnout at my funeral, for a big ol' party celebrating how fantastic I was. ;) Wedding, eh, we eloped and then had a small wedding in front of a few people. That was good enough for me.

  • Would you rather be without the internet for a week, or without your phone? 

Oh, geez. Put me between a rock and a hard place, why don'tcha?! Um... I can't choose. I guess the Internet. At least I can do other stuff with my smartphone aside from get on the World Wide Web, right?

  • Would you rather meet George Washington, or the current President? 

Hmm. I'd rather meet Obama. I'd meet both of them, given the chance, though. I am an Obama fan (don't hate), and he seems like a cool guy (don't hate), so I think it would be way interesting to hang out with him.

  • Would you rather lose your vision or your hearing? 

I would rather be deaf than blind. Seeing all the colors in the world is of critical importance to me. I could live without the various sounds and noises, but not the colors. That would be intense suckage for me.

  • Would you rather work more hours per day, but fewer days or work fewer hours per day, but more days? 

What's the saying? Do a job you love, and you'll never work a day in your life. I love my "jobs," which means I don't ever work, y'see.

  • Would you rather listen to music from the 70’s or music from today? 

I'd rather listen to current music. I like pop culture. I like some - no, a lot - of 70s music, but I prefer today's more.

  • Would you rather become someone else or just stay you? 

I'm still learning how to be me; I don't think I quite have time to learn to be someone else!

  • Would you rather be Batman or Spiderman? 

Superman. I'd rather be Superman.

  • Would you rather be stuck on a broken ski lift or in a broken elevator?

I've never been on a ski lift, but of course I've been on plenty of elevators. I'd choose the broken ski lift, since it would mean I'm trying something new. Just, please remind me to dress warmly before I go!

  • For your birthday, would you rather receive cash or gifts?


If someone gave me cash for my birthday, that would be a gift, right? So, a cash gift is what I'd choose, in most cases. What's behind Door Number Three?

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: You're No Good

Link up here if you're playing along!

Saturday 9: You're No Good (1974) ... because Harriet suggested Linda Ronstadt

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

1) This week's featured artist, Linda Ronstadt, turns 69 next month. Will you be celebrating any family/friend birthdays this summer?

Yup. My dad turns 73 at the end of July, and Hubs will be 43 at the end of August. My oldest kiddo, Chloë, will be 14 on September 7th, and I'll turn 39 a day later.

2) Linda sings that she's learned her lesson and it's left a scar. Tell us how you got one of your scars. 

I have three scars, one on top of the other but not exactly in the same line, from my three emergent c-sections.

3) This song is about a lover who is, obviously, no good. Let's be more positive. Who is the nicest person you know? 

Hmm. I know plenty of people who are really nice a LOT of the time, but I don't know anybody who is really nice ALL the time. Is anyone?

4) Linda says that she grew up on Mexican music, which was sung by her entire family. Do you speak any Spanish?

Yes, quite a lot, actually.

5) She toured often throughout her career and is quoted as saying, "They haven't invented a word for that loneliness that everybody goes through on the road." Are you missing someone right now?

I'm always missing people, but right this very second, at this moment in time, I'm all right with that.

6) Ms. Ronstadt was once involved with George Lucas of Star Wars fame. Who is your favorite Star Wars character?

I like C3PO and R2D2 best.
7) In 1974, when this song was a hit, The Magic 8 Ball was still a top-seller at toy stores. It retailed for just $1.99, and promised that all you had to do was gaze at it, concentrate, and wait to learn your fate ... "if you dare!" If you could get an answer to one question about the future, what would you ask?

I would ask if I have an autoimmune disorder, as it seems likely that I do... but we'll find out soon enough.

8) 1974 is the year when Mikhail Baryshnikov defected to the United States. Have you ever been to the ballet? 

Really? I thought that happened in my lifetime. Yes, I have, to see The Nutcracker.

9) Random question: What's your shoe size?

It's about  5½-6 Women's, depending on the brand of shoe. I have silly-small feet.

Thanks for stopping by!