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Entries from August 2015

Sundays In My City: Otto von Dieter

Unknown Mami
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Jack GSD
These are the puppy pictures, from the breeder, of our new German Shepherd Dog, who is now 2¼ years old. He just happens to have had the same breeder as our last GSD, Tiger Lily, who passed away a few years ago.
And this is the photo of our new GSD now - the photo we fell in love with.
When Judy, the breeder, sounded the alarm for a new owner for the pooch, because his first family was suddenly moving and couldn't take the dog formerly known as Jack with them, well... I thought for a good while before presenting the information to Hubs, who has been yearning for another GSD for quite a while. He was instantly interested, as I knew he would be.
Jack GSD (2)
Since our son's name is also Jack, we decided that having two Jacks - and the training of the canine one to be a service dog for Hubs during his extensive recovery from brain tumor surgery 19 months ago - would just not work. And so, we debated during the entire trip home from Chesapeake, Virginia, where then-named Jack lived, to Miami, Florida, where we live, on a new name for this darling dog.
We had our one-year-old Chihuahua, whom we have named Paco in deference to his heritage, with us in the car, so we decided in keeping with that new tradition, we would name the newcomer something German. Here he is - with our son Jack photobombing him - in the overly-cramped minivan during the trip to his new home.
Rob and Paco with our new GSD, née Jack, lounging on our couch here in Homestead, FL. The relationship between tiny dog and enormous dog had an inauspicious start, but Team Odette is not put off by such a basic challenge.
And look, it didn't take too long at all before Paco the 13-month-old Chihuahua and the re-named 28-month-old GSD were like old buddies with a careful, yet loving, common master.
In the end, Hubs and I decided, with the kids' help, on this new name for our gorgeous German Shepherd Dog: R.A. Odette's Otto von Dieter, or "Otto" for short. He's learning his new name quickly, as such a smart breed is wont to do.
* * * * * * * *
As an aside, today is Hubs' 43rd birthday, so we're calling Otto Rob's birthday present. Here's the gorgeous "Sangria" bouquet I won from a contest sponsored by The Bouqs and sent for Rob's birthday. It's gorgeous!
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday Stealing; Well, I'll Be!


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Well, I'll Be... Meme
Stolen from: Vulgar Darling


If I were a month, I’d be: 

I'm not one of those people who thinks that my birthday should be declared a national holiday, but I have always been fond of September as a month regardless of my birthday being there. So... that's what I'd be.

If I were a day of the week, I’d be: 


I think I'd choose Sunday. I know that, globally, Monday is the official start of the week, but since here it's Sunday, and I'm a fan of new beginnings and such, that's my pick.

If I were a planet, I’d be: 

Jupiter. Not just the biggest planet of our solar system, but my favorite since at least 3rd grade.

If I were a god or goddess, I’d be: 

I'd pick the Egyptian goddess Isis. I desperately wish to fly...

If I were a sea animal, I’d be:  

This picture isn't a mako, but that's what I'd be: a mako shark. Speaking of the fast and the furious...!

If I were a piece of furniture, I’d be: 

I'd be a cushy, cozy bed, the object of many a dreamer's desire.

If I were a gemstone, I’d be: 


I'd be a sapphire. Always beautiful, often underappreciated - and my birthstone. ;)

If I were a flower, I’d be a: 


I'd be my favorite glorious flower, a Tiger Lily. I love them so much, we named one of our dogs after them. Beauties, they are.

If I were a kind of weather, I’d be: 


I'd have to be a hurricane. We live in the path of many of them, for one, but more importantly, I am a U-Miami alumna. Go 'Canes!

If I were a color, I’d be: 

I'd be my favorite color, the closest description of which I'd call turquoise, but it's the color of the middle depths of the sea. It's so beautiful, it fascinates me and draws me in like a Siren.

If I were an emotion, I’d be: 

As someone with Bipolar Disorder, my default answer would be "all of them, all at once." However, my truest answer would be "love," because though I am one who is more emotional in every guard than your average bear, love is what I feel the most strongly. Love. Yeah.

If I were a fruit, I’d be a: 

Hmm. I'd be an esoteric artichoke. Difficult to get the the center, but once there, you'll never forget how delicious was the journey there.

If I were a sound, I’d be: 


I'd be a perfectly harmonized multi-part choir. It wouldn't matter what they sang; the music would always be on point.

If I were an element, I’d be: 


I think I'll opt to be mercury. I'd have many facets to my "personality," or better, my behavior, and sometimes I may be difficult to handle, but I'm very necessary.

If I were a place, I’d be: 


I'd be my favorite ecosystem, the rainforest(s). Delicate, fragile, and worth far more than most people realize.

If I were a taste, I’d be: 

It may be glaringly obvious and cliché, but I'd have to choose 'sweet.' Because ultimately, who doesn't want to be sweet, even when our exhibited behavior is anything but?

If I were a scent, I’d be: 


Human, puppy, or any other newborn baby. Ahhh, breathing in the smell of a newborn is utterly delightful.

If I were an object, I’d be a: 

No. I would never be "just" an object. I object!

If I were a body part, I’d be: 


I'd be the eyes. Looking into them, you can see the soul. Looking out from them, you can see all the beauty of the world.

If I were a song, I’d be: 

I'd again have to mention the Sirens, and their songs. So liltingly beautiful, it would lure the sailors... but instead of looming death, I'd have to just let them be my audience for as long as they liked. Ain't tryin' to kill nobody, y'all.

If I were a pair of shoes, I’d be:


I gotta admit it: I'm a huge Crocs convert. Nay, I'm a fanatic. I wear several different pairs of them, almost exclusively. To answer the question in its intended spirit, I'd pick Crocs because they can be both sexy and as comfortable as air at the same time - a great combination.

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Viva La Vida

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Saturday 9: Viva la Vida (2008)

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

1) The song refers to the singing of choirs. Have you ever been in a choir or a vocal group? 

Throughout my formative years, I was in both the main choir and, in high school, the girls' choir. I wanted to audition in college, but I chickened out on the day of my appointment. I've regretted that since.

2) Chris Martin sings of when he "ruled the world." If you were in charge and had infinite power, what would you change right away?

You know I would have to outlaw the use of tobacco products and make recycling mandatory. That's a no-brainer, if you know me.

3) Chris used to be married to actress Gwyneth PaltrowUSA Today, The Washington Post and The Daily Telegraph have all run articles about how Gwyneth seems to annoy so very many people. What celebrity gets on your nerves?

The Donald, always and especially currently, is as asinine as they come, amirite?

4) Coldplay's first big hit was, "Yellow." What color are you wearing right now?

I'm wearing all black clothes, with silver jewelry:


5) Sam remembers when she used to hear this song everywhere and can't believe that was 7 years ago! When is the last time you had a similar "my, how time flies!" moment?

When I saw that this song was seven years ago, also! Daaaaaang!

6) In 2008, when "Viva la Vida" was popular, John Grisham's latest legal thriller, The Appeal, was jumping off bookshelves. What have you read this summer?

I just finished Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child's Relic on the recommendation of a friend, and I loved every word of it. I've already bought the next three books in this Pendergast series, and I can't wait to start reading Reliquary!

7) Thinking of books: Let's say a biographer has taken the task of writing your biography. What would you title your life story? 

Hmm. I'm writing a book that's largely an embellished, fictionalized autobiography. You'll have to wait for a title. ;)

8) 2008 is also the year Paul Newman died of cancer. Name a Newman movie. 

I couldn't. I'm sorry. I'd have to do a Swagbucks search (that link should be good, CountryDew, if you want to try again) to find one.

9) Random question: Do you like garlic?

I've got two words for that: HELL. YES!

Thanks for stopping by!


Glad To Go, But Aiken To Leave

Unknown Mami

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So on August 8th, after a conversation with my dad, I became sufficiently panicked about there being a life-or-death situation happening in his home that I booked a hotel room for that Monday-thru-Friday for myself and the rest of Team Odette. I booked, then informed Rob that we had to go to South Carolina. Such is not like me, but I was desperately concerned and not sure what I would find. Long story short, my dad was severely depressed, barely eating anything, suffering from a bad case of shingles, and so on and so forth. I was, to put it mildly, worried.


I had two priorities for my visit to see my dad last week: Get him to go to a doctor, for maybe the first time in his entire life, and cook enough to fill his freezer full of delicious and easy-to-reheat meals. He is a major meat-and-potatoes guy, whereas I'm mostly vegetarian, so this presented somewhat of a challenge for me.


For months, Dad had been singing the praises of Aldi to me, but the one time I tried to go, I was not aware ahead of time that I needed a quarter to rent a shopping cart or that I needed to bring my own bags and boxes, so I never even made it inside the store. This trip, however, Dad was determined to get me inside the store, and so I took my father shopping at Aldi in Aiken.


I went up and down each aisle with my dad, who normally subsists on unhealthy convenience foods, explaining about olive oil being a much healthier alternative to other vegetable-based oils and extolling the virtues of getting a well-balanced diet with well-rounded nutrition for his aging body's needs. He mostly smirked in his "Sure, I"ll humor you, Mel" way, but I think some of it got through.


We arrived on Monday, checked in to our craptastic Howard Johnson motel on Whiskey Road in Aiken (if I could give it negative stars on Trip Advisor, I totes would), and I met up with my dad to do the shopping. On Tuesday and Wednesday, I cooked pretty much the whole day. I had to remember he wanted ground beef in his lasagna, so that was different for me. I promise I didn't cringe; I'm a non-judgemental veggie. I did his roast chicken and his pot roast in the crockpot his ex-wife had left behind. I made a shrimp scampi, baked cheesy artichokes with a lemon aioli dip for him to share with Rob one night, and so much more.

The most tempting for me, though, were the giant blackberries in the impossibly enormous muffins I made him. Whilst they cooled, I eyed those things ferociously, but I quickly popped them individually into the freezer before I took a nibble or ten. However, you can bet your sweet patoot that I bought some blackberries yesterday, and I plan on a repeat of that recipe for Team Odette in the extremely near future. My mouth is officially watering!


On Tuesday, while I cooked up a storm and dirtied every pot, dish, and utensil in Dad's meager kitchen, I dropped off Rob and the kids at Richardson's Lake down the road from the house. Despite my urgings, Hubs took not one single photo, so I had to steal this one off of Google Images. The kiddos had the time of their lives, swimming, jumping and diving, while Rob watched from his position in the sand. And still, I cooked, bagged, labeled, and froze the food for Dad.

Equine Rescue 031

Unfortunately, the kids forgot (and Rob didn't remind them) to reapply their sunscreen, so a week later, all are still suffering the effects of sunburnt faces. They look cute with some pink coloring on their faces, sure, but we all know that such damage is no bueno. There's Sophia on my dad's loveseat. I took a few pics inside his beach-themed home to help practice on his little digital camera, with which he was itching to become acquainted.

Equine Rescue 003

Chloë, who probably got the worst sunburn of them all, relaxed in Dad's living room after the visit to the lake. The kids fell asleep, all of them, on the living room floor while I fixed the shrimp scampi for their dad and grandfather.

Equine Rescue 028

Jack, of course, is never one to enjoy getting his photo taken. I don't know why; he's as cute as a button, but whatevs. Paco was happy to oblige me, right?!

* * * * * * * *

Equine Rescue 005

On Wednesday, before I got into the big cooking job of the day, Dad wanted to take us down the road from his house to the Equine Rescue of Aiken. They have about 70 rescued horses, among other animals, on acre after acre of beautiful pasture. Forgive my lack of proper terminology here, because I don't really know horse lingo too well, but I was wholly impressed by this privately-owned operation.

Equine Rescue 008

We were given a private tour of the facility by Caroline, who was extremely knowledgeable not only about the horses but also the ins and outs of running the Equine Rescue. I hadn't brought my wallet with me to the shelter, but I definitely plan to make a pilgrimage back to the Rescue every time we go visit my dad from here on out and, not just but partly because Sophia is such a huge horse lover, support their efforts.

Equine Rescue 011

 We had suspicious about why some of the horses were wearing these blinder-thingies, but we were all wrong; it was to help keep the flies out of their eyes.

Equine Rescue 018

I can't remember this woman's name, but she came up to us and offered assistance. Before our complimentary golf court tour with Caroline, she educated us on horses near the parking area. She was great with horses and kids alike, and she took it in complete stride when Sophia pointed out some kind of injury or infection on this horse's leg. 

Equine Rescue 024

On our tour, Caroline took an abundance of questions, mostly from me, with a great degree of both patience and knowledge. She also stopped frequently to let the kids off and pet the horses that were approachable. This one was so sweet; Sophia and Chloë bounded up the fence - and would have gone over it - to visit this guy!

The Aiken Equine Rescue visit was incredibly impressive. I'm so thankful my father had the idea for the field trip. We'll definitely be back! You can follow them on Facebook here, especially if you're near the Aiken/Augusta area of the world.

* * * * * * * *


Armed with the knowledge that the Odettelettes are major animal lovers, my dad suggested another great field trip for Thursday. I wanted him to take it easy and not feel like he had to entertain us, since he was feeling awful and I was there to take care of him, but he insisted he was up to it. And so, we ventured out the the Aiken SPCA (here is their Facebook page).


All three kids are enormous cat lovers, so of course they were in seventh heaven the moment we walked up and saw several in the windows. Before we got there, I warned the kids at least twice but maybe thrice that NO PETS WOULD BE COMING HOME with us to Miami!


I loved this sign. It warmed the cockles of my heart.


I don't know who was more active in there, the kids or the animals wanting to be adopted. Photography was not ideal. I don't like the motion setting on my Nikon, so... what you get is what you get.


Chloë will grow up to be (and frankly already is) a crazy cat lady, I have no doubt. She wants to be a cat-specific veterinarian, and I'm quite certian she would marry her Maine Coon, Pepper, if interspecies weddings were legal!


Stupid comment, maybe, but I just think itty-bitty Jack with a normal-sized watch on his wrist makes for a super cute image...


"Hi there, please adopt us?"


Sophia had a blast playing with this trio of kitties. They were in a display room that could be seen from outside, and once we discovered we could actually enter the rooms that didn't specifically prohibit it, oh ma gaw. The kids were giddy with excitement.




My dad and one of the SPCA residents, which is funny because he's notoriously not a cat lover


I'm partial to white cats myself. I'd love a Persian or Himalayan someday, but yeah. The expense is something I can't stomach!


The kids get their love of cats from Hubs. He would adopt ALL THE CATS if his wife would allow it.


Oh, somebody discovered El Gato Blanco.


These three puppies got out when we were trying to get in. Hysterical puppy chasing ensued. The volunteer in that area was less than amused. Don't worry; I made up for it.


That's Sophia for you, making friends everywhere she goes!


Finally, we got those puppies back in their room. I stayed outside to help corral them when Chloë and Jack emerged from their playtime!


Oops, my corralling efforts were to no avail! At least the volly was in better humor about the escape artists the second time!


I can't remember this pup's name, but she was beautiful, I thought. She was definitely eager to find a new family and home!


This nine-year-old pooch is Mitsy. I fell in love at first sight when I saw her. She needs me. SHE. NEEDS. ME. If she's still there when/if we move to the Space Coast next Spring, count on an adoption!


Another playful pup


Rob is much more a cat-person than a dog lover, but he's an all-around animal lover like the rest of his nonetheless. He prefers large dogs, which makes his deep affinity for our Chihuahua, Paco, all the more strange.



This employee came into the canine quarters to let me visit with Mitsy up close and personal. Holy crap, did we bond. I loved her, she loved me... she NEEDS me, people!!!


Sophia wanted to get into this room, but these two dogs were SO excited by her visit, they started getting jealously snarly with each other. I made her exit the room post haste.


A much calmer resident


We weren't allowed to visit or, if we had wanted to, adopt this guy. I don't know what kind of broken home he came from, but apparently he did not have auspicious beginnings at the shelter. Poor dude. I hope his situation improves.


Jack: "Look at these three puppies, Mom! Can we take them home?"

Me: "NO."


Sophia wanted to visit the trio, too. She implored similarly to Jack. My answer was the same: NO!


There were a number of thought-provoking quotes on the walls of the shelter. This is the one I loved the most.


Remember the three escape-artist puppies from earlier? Their escapades wore them out. It's possible they got even cuter!


On our way out of the SPCA, we noted the kittens were equally, er, fatigued. Three Odette kiddos will do that to ya!

* * * * * * * *


I don't remember ever having been in a Hobby Lobby in my life, but Dad wanted to visit and get some Christmas ideas for the kids. WOW! I'm not sure I agree with their politics, but I found lots of great inspiration for decorating our next home in there. As for Jack, he found what he wanted for Christmas. The boy, he looks his flying machines.


When we passed the art prints, the girls picked this one out of a myriad of images and almost in unison exclaimed, "We did this in Art class!" Indeed, they did make their own versions of this famous Kandinksy work, and I was proud and pleased that they remembered it!

082314 Chloë, Artist Kandinksy

Here was Chloë's interpretation of the above Kandinksy. I had encouraged them to put their own unique flair in their assignments, and clearly Chloë ran with the idea.


I found this photo and had to show it to Rob. I need this in our house! I tease him all the time about his apish, freakishly-long arms, and he returns the teasing about my freakishly-short, T.Rexian limbs. This, therefore, elicited quite a few laughs from us!

* * * * * * * *


Finally, despite a light drizzle (which we're used to during the six+ months of rainy season here in South Florida), Dad suggested we go down to the Augusta Riverwalk to walk around and burn off some steam. In all the 21 years and change that he has lived in Aiken, surprisingly I have never visited this riverfront spectacle. Dad knows I'm never without my camera, so he obligingly posed for some photos alongside the kids.


Rob, Chloë, and Sophia looking out over the Savannah River


There was a fountain in the street near the Riverwalk, and since they were already being rained upon, I relented and let them go run over and indulge themselves in further soaking. They didn't want to come out, it was so much fun. They wanted to go in again when we circled 'round and headed back to Miranda (our minivan), but I declined. No towels in the van = no dice.


Also at the Riverwalk was an amphiteater for concerts and other performances. The girls ran up and down the stairs in a vignette that reminded me of Heath Ledger in the movie 10 Things I Hate About You. Am I alone here in remembering this scene?


A soaked Chloë by yet another watery feature


There were plaques memorializing those from the area who fought and died in various conflicts. We read them in silent respect, as our family is steeped in military history. My dad, a former member of the Coast Guard, paused for a photo.


Sophia had a mouth booboo, blisters on her feet, and a headache by that time, so instead of lingering, we headed back to the van at last. The Riverwalk isn't big on things to do, per se, but it more than makes up for that in beautiful scenery. I'm glad we went!

* * * * * * * *


On Friday, we drove home from South Carolina. I was feeling as miserable as Sophie, or we might have visited throughout the day before leaving, but I was eager to get on the road. I had even gone to the Emergency Department in Aiken the night before with a severe migraine I couldn't bring under control with my meds, and added to that a very upset tummy, well... let's just say the normally 9½-hour trip took several hours longer! Paco and Henry, our youngest kitty, were certainly glad to see each other again. I think the cats missed us, too...


Sunday Stealing: The Birds Are Chirping

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Birds Are Chirping Meme

Stolen from: Angel's Survey Blog

Name a product you buy mostly because it has a cool package. 


I don't think this is applicable. I'm rarely swayed by such superficiality. If it's not a great product with high functionality and a stellar price, I walk away from it.

  1. What flavor cake do you like for your birthday?  

I have a major sweet tooth, but I just can't get behind cake. It's probably the one sweet I can do without. Oh, I know - ice cream cake! ♥ Love ♥

  1. Have you ever been in love with someone much older or younger than you?  

When I was 21, I was seeing my 42-year-old boss on the down-low. That's a big age spread, right? Hubs is four years older than I am, and that's about as extensive at it gets nowadays.

  1. Have you ever had a job you loved? 

I have. I have had few jobs that I did NOT love. Staying in a hated job is just not in my wheelhouse.

  1.  Have you ever been in a building that was on fire?

When I was nearly eight years old, we had a grease fire in our house. Long and traumatic story later, I got burned in the fire all over my legs. I did not get any treatment.

  1. Are you in an argument with anyone right now?  

Not at the moment, but I have an argumentative nature, so give me a minute.

  1. Would you change your hair color to something outrageous if you would get paid to?  

Hells yeah! I want to do it anyway, so please, pay me! ;)

  1. Have you ever written a poem for someone?  

I used to write poems for my sister to give her boyfriend(s) back in school. I've written one published and cash-awarded poem, in college. Other than silliness, I don't think I have composed any poetry since then.

  1. What is a place where you've vacationed and where you would like to return?

Our Mediterranean cruise was stellar. I would re-do the entire thing. I especially enjoyed... oh, gosh, all of it... but I would definitely like to revisit Venice and Madrid.

  1. Do you eat samples at the grocery store?  

I do if they're within my dietary needs. Whenever I order cold cuts at the Publix deli, they give me a sample to try and assess the thickness of the cut. I never eat the meat ones, because duh, I don't eat meat. This seems to be personally offensive for many of the deli personnel, so I usually take someone else from my family with me!

  1. What do you absolutely have to have to make your birthday feel special?  

I don't need anyTHING, but to be surrounded by my family and friends is superb.

  1. What’s the last tourist area you visited?  




Probably the Augusta Riverwalk while we were visiting my dad last week. Well, we stopped in Daytona on the way home for a gas and tummy fill-up, but we didn't really visit, so I won't count that.

  1. Where do you go out to eat for a special occasion? 

Next week starts birthday season in Casa de Odette, wherein Hubs will turn 43, Chloë will turn 14 (!!!), and I will be 39 (also !!!). We have had plans for over a month to have a joint birthday dinner - with the other two kids, natch - at The Meltin Pot. I can't WAIT... but I might be the only person in our party who actually gets full off that meal and doesn't need to hit a drive-thru after we leave! 

  1. When was the last time you went to a post office? 

I went and dropped off a package yesterday. It had been sitting, languishing, unbeknownst to me by the front door for nearly a month. I got nasty-grams from the eBayer buyer of it, which spurred me to do a look-about. I felt completely chagrined when I actually found it. #OOPS

  1.  Is there an item you are saving up to buy right now?  

Yes, we are saving up for a down payment on a house. It's not really public knowledge (well, until right now), but we plan to move from Homestead, Florida, to the Cape Canaveral area come Spring, when our lease is up. I have several reasons for wanting to move, and move there, but you didn't ask. I'm looking forward to it, though!

  1. Are you psychic in any way?  

I don't really believe in psychic talent, but I often dream mundane, everyday things that subsequently happen. I get deja vu quite frequently as a result. Chloë appears to experience the same phenomenon.

  1. Do you prefer a laptop or desktop? Which are you on now?  

This pretty much summarizes what I think about laptops: useful as a nutcracker. I freaking hate laptops with a passion. I'm a desktop girl. I do have a tablet, but I can count on one hand the number of times I've used it in the past year.

  1. Have you ever received a gift and truly did not know what it was?  

Well, no, I don't think so. I did, however, receive a gift I thought was a joke, and I expressed as much to the giver. Turns out, it was not a joke, and the person was extremely incensed at my lack of gratitude. Embarrassment much? Much.

  1. What’s your homepage? 

The Swagbucks Search page is my homepage, because I get tons of gift cards when I redeem my Swagbucks. Sign up here if you're interested in giving it a try!

  1. Is there a thing you enjoyed doing, but quit because you were not good at it?

I really, really wanted to be good at sewing, and I started trying and stocked up on a bundle of patterns, fabric, and notions, but alas. I need serious hands-on training, because it just does not come naturally to me like knitting and crocheting do.

  * * *

Welp, kids, that's the shizzy for now! Thanks for visiting!



Saturday 9: Hello, Dolly!

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: Hello, Dolly (1964)

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

1) This song is about a woman returning to the town where she was happiest. How many towns have you lived in?
I'd have to count: Monroe, NY; Baldwinsville, NY; Aiken, SC; Coral Gables, FL; South Miami, FL; Sarasota, FL; St. Petersburg, FL; Tampa, FL; Panama City Beach, FL; Panama City, FL; Yigo, Guam; Virginia Beach, VA; Portsmouth, VA; and now Homestead, FL. So what's that...14?

2) Crazy Sam played Ernestina in her high school production of Hello, Dolly! and still remembers one of her lines: "Hey, you with the big ears! What are you doing after the show?" Tell us something that you memorized for school that is still rattling around in your brain.
I played the part of Interjections in our Parts of Speech play in fifth grade. I sang a solo: "Interjections always say it in a nutshell. They're so very useful every day. So when you want to say, "HI!" in the warmest way..." But I forget the rest.

3) This week's featured artist, Louis Armstrong, got his start entertaining diners on riverboat dinner cruises. Have you ever taken a dinner cruise? 
In Sarasota, I worked at a fancy catering gig and did dinner cruises a few times, but as a guest, only once or twice. I remember for either Father's Day or his birthday taking Hubs (with the kids, so maybe Father's Day) on one in Va Beach... It was definitely not our scene. I prefer a longer-term cruise.

4) Armstrong took his nickname, "Satchmo," from "Satchel Mouth" -- a slang term for someone with a wide mouth, which Louis believed was his most distinguishing feature. What do you think people notice first about you?
I'm really not sure. I have been told numerous times that I have a nice smile, so maybe it's that?

5) In 1936, Louis became the first African American to get featured billing in a Hollywood movie. Have you seen any of this summer's big movies? 
I'm not really a summer blockbuster type of girl. My kids are still young enough - but not for much longer - that Disney's Inside Out was a big grab for them, and they really liked it. (My BFF, Dr. Lisa, had an entirely different experience with her poor sensitive kids!) For me, Disney's Tomorrowland and Disneynature's Monkey Kingdom were far more enthralling.

6) When "Hello, Dolly" composer Jerry was growing up, he was close to an aunt named Belle who encouraged his love of music. Tell us about one of your aunts or uncles.
My favorite aunt was actually my dad's Aunt Amy. She was never married and was a secretary for Exxon, living in an apartment in Manhattan with another old spinster (we're not truly sure of their relationship, but it doesn't matter). She grew quite wealthy and always had treats for us when we visited her from Syracuse, which was often. Aunt Amy was full of pep up until the end, when a stroke took away her mojo. My dad adored her, and I loved her completely, too.

7) Though famous for composing the scores of Hello, Dolly!, Mame and La Cage Aux Folles, Jerry Herman can't read music. Can you?
I sang in choir for many years, and I took organ lessons for a while, but reading music was always my downfall. I can do it, but very slowly. It's like those who hunt and peck when typing, instead of learning to type properly. Reading music just doesn't come naturally to me. #TheStruggleisReal

8) Now retired, Mr. Herman lives in Miami. This is Miami's "wet season," which lasts into October. When did it last rain where you are?
I know you're teasing me; I just know it. I live in Miami, too. Should I go stalk Jerry Herman?! (Actually, our rainy season lasts into November!)

9) Random question: Have you suffered a sunburn this summer?
I'm normally very careful with my fair skin, but when I was sitting at the San Diego airport a few weeks ago for some eight hours (long story for another day), I went outside and took a nap on top of my suitcases for a while. That was dumb. I was wearing a skirt, and I have multiple burn lines on my thighs from that skirt changing position as I slept. I burned half of my face that day, too. I looked, in a word, absurd!
* * *
That's all for now, kids. I'll post about our visit to my dad's in Aiken, as well as Sunday Stealing, later this evening. I know you're chomping at the bit to read those! ;)

Sunday Stealing: I Want You To Be Free Meme


Hey, y'all, come over here and link up if you're playing along, too!

I want you to be free from me Meme

Stolen from: Everything Goes To Hell


Are your nails painted a dark or light color? 

My fingernails aren't painted at all. I tend toward keeping them bare and short, because I type and knit and use my hands so much. My piggytoe nails, on the other hand, are orange. Go 'Canes! ;)

Have you ever order pizza online?  


I order pizza online ALL. The. Time. I prefer to make it by hand, though there isn't always the length of time needed by the amount of hunger present!

What color was the last candle you lit? 

I'm not sure. It's been a while. Probably something maroon-y, though.

 Is there something written on your shirt right now? 

 I'm wearing a dress. There are no words. No words.

Is there a bookshelf in your room?  


I think we have a bookshelf in every room. Hubs and I always agreed, before we got married, that the things we'd spend too much money on were books and travel. And, we do.

Do you own a treadmill?  

Shhh! We're not supposed to talk about that. Hubs bought me one once, for, like, $700 from Sears. I used it to hang laundry and amuse the cats. Never mind about that...

Have you ever signed up for a gym membership?  

We bought a YMCA membership in... May? And have not used it. It's right down the road. I fail. (I'm going to cancel it. Eventually.)

Is there a garbage can in your room? What color is it?


There's one right next to my right foot. It's beige.

Have you ever read in the bathtub?  


Yeah, but I'm not a big fan of it. I have historically hated baths because I feel so lazy and have a billion things I need to do, but now I take one almost every day. Why? Because our water pressure sucks butt. There's your useless little tidbit of information about me for today.

Have you ever had to wear a hairnet?  

I have volunteered time to prepare food donations for food drops overseas, and we had to wear hairnets for that. I usually just ponytail it when I cook.

Do you know how many pages the last book you read had?  


This is what I'm reading right now. I don't care how many pages it has, but it's a fantastic book. So good that I bought the audiobook version of it to keep "reading" while I drove to South Carolina this past week. Reliquary is next, and I can't wait for it!

What day of the week does the laundry usually get done?  

You're kidding, right? I have three teen- or tween-aged kids among other living beings here. Laundry gets done?! Surely you jest.

Do you use the Facebook chat often?  

I'm using it right now, in fact. That's why this post is taking me so long to write. But wait, you didn't know that, did you...

Do you have any baby pictures of yourself on your computer?  

Scan_20150621 (2)

This one, yes. I'm the one in the green dress. That was probably 1979.

Do you eat onion rings?  


Yeah, but I can't really DO fried foods, so maybe only once or twice a year, now. I am a big fan, though.

What flavor of tea did you last have?

Just lemon and honey in regular tea. I'm not a big tea drinker, really. Again, once or twice a year...

 Do you own a bathrobe?  

Cover Photo


Yeah, from last year's Christmas picture outfits. I never EVER wear it, though. Pretty much only Sophia wears hers.


Did you have coffee or some other form of caffeine today?  

I've had approximately 3 gallons of Diet Coke so far, and I'm still chugging.

Do you have a mailbox, or do you collect your mail from the post office?  


We have a community mailbox. I can't wait until we can move into our own house again someday, hopefully maybe next year?? and not share any of our walls with our neighbors and... and what? Oh yeah, and have a mailbox of our very own.

What was the last animal you saw, and was it a pet? 


Two minutes ago, I saw our two wee kittens, Sugarplum and Henry, sprawled out asleep together on the living room floor.

What was the last documentary you watched focusing on?


I don't remember, but I'm probably due for my annual viewing of Food, Inc. Have you seen it yet? (I've met and had a book signed by Joel Salatin, by the way. I even have my picture with him. It was a cool moment, even though ideologically we only agree on food-related issues!)

 Is there anything you need to remember to do before the day ends?

Yeah, I need to remember to open all the mail from the past week. Sheesh, there's a lot.

 Is your car messy, or do you like to keep it clean? 


Um, both! It's hard to have neat-freak genes in a messy-gene family!

Are you the type to wake up before the sun has even risen?


I'm the type to stay up all night to see the sunrise. Certainly not a morning person, but if it comes while I'm enjoying the night, then so be it!

Do you get uncomfortable when people stare at you?

Yes, I'm extremely self-conscious about it. Forget it if they laugh!

 Have you ever been admitted to the hospital for a long period of time?


I was in the hospital for two weeks as a freshman in college with a seriously bad case of strep throat and mononucleosis. I wanted to DIE, man. The second-longest was a week after I gave birth my twins. Wanted to die then, too.

On that note, long live me! ;)


Saturday 9: Stay With Me

Link up here to play along, party people! ;)

Saturday 9: Stay with Me (2014)

... because Kwizgiver recommended it

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

1) Sam Smith explains that this song is about just not wanting to wake up alone. How about you? Are you comfortable being by yourself? 
Listen. I've had a handful of kids and dogs and cats with Hubs.  I'm at the life stage where going to get a gallon of milk by myself is a treat. So, yes?

2) Last year a lawsuit filed by Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, who maintained that "Stay with Me" was really just "I Won't Back Down." Petty and Lynne won. Have you ever served on a jury?
No, I've never been called! I don't know why; luck of the draw, I guess.

3) Smith performed this on The David Letterman Show. Did you watch Dave's final episode last May? 
I honestly can't remember whether I did or not! Must have been awesome.

4) Smith says his style was influenced by ladies with "massive voices," including Adele, Amy Winehouse, Chaka Kahn, and Whitney Houston. Of those four, which do you listen to most often? 
I love Adele. I'm glad she took time off to do important mom things, but I do hope she comes back BIG time!

5) Speaking of style, Mr. Smith is a smart dressed man who looks comfortable and dapper as he walks the red carpet in a tux. Do you enjoy getting dressed up for special occasions? 
For the most part, I do. Lately it's all about finding the right brassiere for me to match the outfit. Really?!

6) "Occasions" is a word that makes Crazy Sam stumble because she can never remember how to spell it correctly. Are you a good speller?
I'm a champ.

7) Sam Smith was born on May 19, which makes him a Taurus. When did you last check your horoscope?
I mean, if I run across my horoscope (Virgo), then I might have a look at it, but I don't seek it out or anything.

8) Tauruses are supposed to be reliable, organized and ambitious. Do any of those three adjectives describe you?
I would like to think all of them do, but not all the time...

9) Random question: Look at the floor. Do you see carpet, rug, hard wood or tile?
Tile. Lots and lots of Fiestaware-breaking tile. Le sigh...