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Entries from January 2017

Saturday 9: Brokenhearted

Hey, everyone! I'm late, but better late than never, amirite?

Link up here if you want to play along with this weekend's quiz.


Saturday 9: Brokenhearted (2012)

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

1) This song is about a girl who is eager and anxious for her new lover to call. Do you owe anyone a call? An email? A text?

I owe my sister a call. At least, to her thinking, I am about a thousand calls behind. What she doesn't understand (and really, nor do I), is that I have extreme telephone anxiety these days. Unless it's me calling to bitch at my husband for not answering my multiple texts - which usually means he's fallen asleep and I'm stuck somewhere waiting on him - I don't call people or answer my phone. Sorry, Sis, but it's nothing personal. The only calls I make these days are usually to schedule one of multiple doctors' appointments.

2) The lyrics are peppered with the informal English exclamation, "cheerio!" What pops into your head when you close your eyes and think of England?

In my mind, when I think of England, three scenes pop into my head. First is this:

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Big Ben and a double-decker bus, in quintessential London architectural scenery; next is this:

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The changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace; and finally, this:

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English cottage gardens. However, when I think of the English people, this scene is forever etched in my mind:

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Princes William, Harry, and Charles at Princess Diana's funeral:*(

3) This week's artist, Karmin, is a husband/wife duo who met at college, and that meeting changed the course of their lives and careers. Think of someone who has had a huge impact on your life. Did you know, as soon as you met, that this was going to be a life-changing relationship?

Well, of course I first thing of my husband of 16+ years, Robert. We first met via an online dating site another friend of mine Victor, talked me into joining against my strongest desires. I had just violently (and painfully) come out of a long-term relationship and was not looking to jump into another one. So I finally agreed to Victor's relentless pestering to post an "ad" on the site, but I listed all of my faults and shortcomings on the post. Rob apparently thought this was hilarious and adorable, and so he coughed up the $40 or so to respond to my ad. I received his response via email, and after I read that first email, I thought to myself, "I'm going to marry this guy!" And two months later, we eloped! I was 24 then, and he was 28 and eight years into a 20-year US Navy career. ♥

4) Though she sings about consuming tequila, the female side of Karmin, Amy, is a big proponent of healthy eating. She recommends organic foods that are free of pesticides, hormones, food coloring and added sugar. Think about your most recent meal. Was it a good example of "healthy eating?"


Oh yes! It's not exactly gluten-free, which is what I need, but I needed some carbs, man! I put some slivers of cheddar cheese, very fresh, ripe avocado, organic, locally-grown sprouts, and locally-produced tabbouleh on a whole wheat pita for Hubs and me. The kids wouldn't eat it - their loss - but the Mister and I chowed down. It was delish!

5) Husband Nick has his own Twitter account (@NickKarmin), but he doesn't use it often. His last tweet was back in August. What's the last thing you posted to social media? (No, your blog doesn't count.)

I tweeted this a few hours ago:


6) Karmin performed "Brokenhearted" live on Dancing With the Stars. DWTS is very big business for ABC-TV. So many people vote for their favorite couples each week that their phone and text systems often overload. Have you ever voted for a contestant on American Idol, DWTS, The Voice, etc.?

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Way back in the day, at least a dozen years ago I think, I believe I called in my support for Clay Aiken on American Idol. He lost to Ruben Studdard. I think that was about the end of it for me. (Clay was robbed!!!) ;)

7)  In 2012, the year"Brokenhearted" was popular, the average cost for a gallon of gas was $3.91. In 2016, it had dropped to $2.40. When it's time to fill up your tank, do you shop around for the lowest price/gal.? Are you brand loyal and always return to the same station, regardless of price? Or do you just buy gas from the nearest station when you're running low?

I usually go to either the closest Racetrac, which is right down the road, or the Mobil just a block further. Both have about equal prices, which are the lowest in my area despite being right off the Florida Turnpike (Exit 2 for you Google Mappers out there). ;) If I'm paying cash, I go to Racetrac and use the loyalty app for points on my phone. If I'm paying with my PayPal or other debit card, I go to the Mobil so I can use my Plenti card and rack up points toward a couple bucks or so off another fill-up there, later. I'm all about those points, baby!

8) In 2012, the Space Shuttle Endeavor was retired and placed on permanent display at the California Science Center, a Los Angeles museum dedicated to encouraging excitement and enthusiasm about air and space travel. Let's say you had a long weekend to spend in Los Angeles. Would you go out of your way to see The Endeavor? What else would you like to do during your time in the City of Angels?

I was in Los Angeles with this cutie, my daughter Chloë, back in January, 2008. So that was, what, nine years ago now? I guess she would have been six years old there. She was competing as an actress in several categories, including Monologue, Dialogue, and I forget what else, as well as modeling on the runway. She was so nervous on the first day of performing, that she was getting sick with nerves and ended up dehydrated and in the emergency room for fluids. My poor dear! But amazingly enough, those nerves turned to steel the next day, and she went in and performed her heart out. This girl took home about 11 awards that trip and has acted and modeled in several commercial and national roles. I was so proud of her then, and I'm proud of her now. She's going to get back into acting, after a four-year hiatus, when we move to Idaho.

9) While we're thinking about aviation, statistics show that it's still a predominantly male field, and less than 10% of commercial pilots are women. Would you be nervous flying with a woman pilot?

Not at all. In fact, I'd love to do it myself! My son Jack wants to get his pilot's license. That's another thing I'm going to look into after the move. These kids are growing up on me!


Well, that was another fun questionnaire, thanks to our lovely Sam. Hope you comment, and I'll return to your posts later this evening or else tomorrow afternoon, when I'm able.

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday Stealing: The Ice-Breaker Meme

Here we are again! Link up here if you're playing along today.


Cheers to all of us thieves!

Sunday Stealing: The Icebreaker Questions

  1. Are you loud, outgoing or shy?

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No, see, I am all the things! It just depends on when, where, and with whom! I'm extremely introverted and shy around people I don't know or have just met, but when I'm completely comfortable and warmed up to you, watch out world! 

  1. What’s coming up where you’ll see an old friend?

 Stacy Uncorked

Coming up: After we move to Idaho, I'm totally going to have a meetup with Stacy from Stacy Uncorked, who lives in the general area! I've read her blog for years, so I'm truly excited. I think she is a kindred spirit... And she is making me wine that she crafted herself! Whee!

Carey and Melanie

Yesterday: I met Carey for the first time, after knowing her online for 13 years!! We both live in South Florida now (neither did when we met) but have kept missing each other at various times. Finally, it was meant to be at the Miami Women's Rally to stand in solidarity with the Women's March on Washington, D.C. (It was pretty epic, by the way. Stay tuned for more on that in a future post.)

  1. Are you easy to get along with?

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Nope. Next!

  1. Have you ever given up on someone, but then gone back to them?

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 Does it count if I'm talking about my father, a Narcissist in the truest sense of the word? (Like the Mango Mussolini we now have in the White House.) I have such a complicated relationship with the man. The older I get, the more I'm able to separate myself from his words and opinions that used to cut me to the core, but every so often he gets a good dig in without even realizing what a dick asshole motherfucker jerk he is to people who are no longer of real use to him. But because I lost my mom as a little girl, I have cut him out of my life only to find I really still needed a parent. Like I said,... complicated.

  1. Who was the last person that you had a deep conversation with?


This girl!! At 15 years, 4 months old, my daughter Chloë has turned into quite the logistics professor. She can be irrational - who can't? - on the odd occasion, but for the most part, she is great to have a discussion with. It's wonderful that she is turning into a feminist who stands up for herself, I think. We discussed Women and/in Politics.

  1. Are you okay with being in a big crowd?

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 I'd rather be in a big crowd than in front of one, so sure. I do not like the feeling of being trampled or having taller people (which is nearly everyone) looming over me, so I do try to keep some illusion of personal space about me.

  1. Do you believe in luck and/or miracles?

 Good luck Funny Picture

I guess. I'm feeling a little disheartened right now because of our (the United States') current political landscape, but there is a small spark of hope. I think it will take a miracle to turn this ship around. There are so many hotbutton issues right now that have people arguing, and here I am. I feel like I want to get a bullhorn and shout everywhere, "IT'S THE CLIMATE CHANGE, STUPID!" 

  1. What good thing happened during the summer? (It’s good to think about summer when you are freezing your butt off in January.)


Technically, it's Winter right now, but we don't seem to acknowledge that here in Miami. This picture is from Thursday, when we went to our community pool. My rheumatologist, who had all but forbidden me from stepping out in the daylight, gave me the go-ahead to walk in the pool close to sundown.  The exercise is necessary and good, the sun doesn't affect me as much then, and the water has been warmed by hour's worth of sunshine. Except... it wasn't. The pool was freezing!! Nonetheless, I got all the way in and even swam three full lengths underwater, despite being grossly out of shape when it comes to my respiration. I was completely worn out throughout the evening and the next day, but I could do that 2-3 times a week and yoga/pilates/meditation 2-3 days a week. How I've missed the water!

(P.S. My son would like you to know that despite her Amazonian height, he is nearly 14 and is the "big" brother to Sophia, aged 11.)

  1. Do you think there is life on other planets?

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I believe it is certainly plausible and yet remains to be seen. Or not!

  1. Who was your first crush on?

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 Dennis Boyce, in 4th and 5th grades. He was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed cutie. He's married a friend of mine now. I haven't seen him, nor really thought about him, in years.

  1. What are your bad habits?

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The mother of all my vices is that I am nothing if not self-indulgent. I'm impatient. I like what I like, I know what I want, and I want it now. It leads to many an argument that starts something like me going, "Today, maybe?" to my husband and him replying, "I did not know you meant right now." I answer, "Have you met me?!" and we're off to the races kids! I'm not proud of it. 

  1. What’s your favorite part of your daily routine?

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Getting the mail! Or a really good e-mail, even. Oh, wait, no - on Mondays thru Fridays, it's watching Jeopardy! with my husband. For over 16 years now, that has been our weeknightly date. We bet on the Final Round and everything. I wonder who's winning...

  1. Other than your significant other, who are you most comfortable with?


♥ These turdburglars, who allow me to be who I am at all times and still love me at the end! ♥

  1. Has an ex ever told you that they regret breaking up?

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Sure, if i think about it. Not really anything that matters to me now, so I don't think of it.

  1. Why should your celebrity crush drop everything to be with you?

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Look at that beautiful family! Look at mine! He should not.

  1. What would be the hardest to give up and why? Books. TV. Music.

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Music. I grew up with some kind of noise always on, whether it be my three older sisters' boomboxes (hee!) or the perpetual drone of the television. As a result, I am uncomfortable with quietude, so I always have something on for noise. However, when we move, I'm going to make an intentional effort to turn it off for as long as I can each day, or have a separate space far from my computer anyway. It's important, I recently read, for kids to have a quiet space where they can feel comfortable with the noiselessness. I'm on board with that.

  1. Do you believe in second chances?

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Sure. If they are truly remorseful and express that by more than just saying a quick, mumbled "sorry," I'm generally willing to forgive. But I rarely forget.

  1. What would like to do next in your life?


Successfully move all 13 of us from Miami, Florida to Boise, Idaho! Coming attractions to look for in March 2017, woot! 

  1. What’s the meanest thing that anyone has ever said to you?

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From my father after my "Identical Twin Son 'A," Robby died: "Maybe your body just wasn't put together right to have children."

From dozens upon dozens of people ever since, as though he was the booby prize or maybe Robby would have been: "At least you still have Jack."

A year after that, from a friend I have since forgiven: "When are you going to get over that 'dead baby' thing?"

All were equally devastating, but more cruel than straight-up mean.

  1. What’s the nicest thing that anyone has ever said to you?

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My daughter Chloë, was then 12, told me this: "It's okay, Mom. I understand," sometime in the weeks after my husband's 13-hour surgery to remove a brain tumor. Rob was home from the hospital by then, but he wasn't "back" yet, and it was like raising another - more difficult - child. Plus he was in pain, so I had to work to keep that at bay. And no one was helping me out with the laundry or dishes or any of that, and I just completely lost my shit one day. I excused myself to take a "time-out," and then I called them all in to apologize for my bad behavior. Her words were so kind and needed.

What a refreshing way to end, rather than on the penultimate question! Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: A Summer Place


Saturday 9: A Summer Place (1960)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This song highlights the soundtrack from the movie A Summer Place, which is about two teenage lovers named Molly and Johnny. Did you ever have a youthful summer romance? If so, what was his/her name?
Yes, with a guy named Alan. We met at the beautiful Venetian Pool in Coral Gables, FL, where I had just finished up my degree at the University of Miami. It was just a summer fling. Fun, but fleeting. I'd forgotten all about that, as it was [gasp] 20 years ago!!

2) The "summer place" of the song/movie is a resort along the Maine coast. What "summer place" are you day dreaming about this winter morning?
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I'm kind of doing the opposite. Our planned departure from Miami for the state of Idaho is about March 10th. Currently, I'm storing up images of our sojourn here in Florida from the past four years in order to help bring me to warmer days when I'm cold to the bone in Boise!

3) In the movie, Johnny was played by Troy Donahue, who is remembered as nice looking but not terribly talented. Can you think of one of today's actors who you could describe as "nice looking but not terribly talented?"
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Not really. Honestly, I don't even know who the new up-and-comers are, because I rarely pay attention to TV and movies at present. All of my choices for "nice-looking" (cough Matt Damon cough) have already proven themselves as actors, I think.

4) Molly is played by Sandra Dee, a perky blonde who was one of 1960's bankable movie stars. Two other blondes -- Doris Day and Debbie Reynolds -- joined Sandra Dee in the Top 10. The only brunette to sell a lot of movie tickets that year was Elizabeth Taylor. Do you believe men find blondes more attractive than brunettes or redheads? 
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I don't know. I guess it depends on the guy. Maybe more guys find blondes more attractive than there are guys who find the rest of us so, but it's not something I'm going to worry about at this stage in my life. By the way, I was told I would look "hotter" if I dyed my hair black (it's dark reddish-brown, so... auburn? I guess?), and I did in late November. I HATED it. Thank goodness it's back to normal-ish now that I've stripped that color out. Which do you prefer? (Lord, I am so unphotogenic. I look goofy in both pix!)

5) "A Summer Place" was by far the best-selling record of 1960. Also in 1960, two brothers in Ypsilanti, Michigan, opened a pizza place called Dominick's. That was the beginning of a chain now known as Domino's. What's the last food you had delivered to your front door?
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I don't support everything they're about in this operation, so this was definitely a work-related purchase. ;)

6) In 1965, one of the brothers sold his share of the business to his brother for cash so he could buy a VW Beetle. Tell us about a time you had buyer's remorse.

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Oh. Isn't this silly? This ^^^ is the food dehydrator I bought almost 10 years ago. I think I have used it exactly once. I'm going to sell it before we move, I think. But when I Googled for this picture, I found its current update looking much more sleek and modern:
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And now I want to buy it all over again! Ha! What a sucker for kitchen appliances I am!
7) In 1960, novelist Ernest Hemingway returned to the United States from Spain and settled in Ketchum, Idaho. Tell us about the last book you read. Was it a novel or non-fiction?

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Right now I'm reading Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice At a Time, by Rick Hanson, Ph.D. I just started it and am still on the long, long introduction, so no practices have been, um, practiced as of yet. I have high hopes!
8) In December, 1960, John F. Kennedy, Jr. was baptized in the Georgetown University Chapel. His godparents were Charles and Martha Bartlett, the couple who originally introduced young John's famous parents. Do you have godparents?
Well, now I'm going to go peep in my baby book, which is my most cherished gift that I have from my mother's things. (Well, other than the self-fulfilling prophecy wherein she wrote that I am lazy. I try to fight that every day, though. She also wrote I did not wipe my butt well during potty-training, but never mind that right now... hahaha!) So Mom said my godparents are ... Well, fudge. That book is already packed and under a pile of boxes. Guess you'll have to take a raincheck on that, because I don't know!
9) Random question: You're at dinner with a married couple who begins to fight. Would you intercede and try to make peace? Or would you just sit back stay out of it?
Oh, hell no. That is sacred ground over which I shall not cross. NO outsiders should trespass in a marriage (or any other relationship I can think of, really) unless one or both people are in any kind of pain or trouble. If one of them starts hitting the other, for example. my Mama Bear instincts would come right out, and I would have to involve myself. (With my phone. And the police. You know.) Interested to see what y'all have to say about this!
Welp, that was an interesting note on which to end, huh?  Thanks for stopping by!

Infographic: Kindness + Compassion = Greater Happiness

From the website Happify, where I am a Pioneer Plus Member, comes this awesome Infographic that has lots of great information for those who are wanting to boost their own happiness levels by being kinder and more compassionate to others, from those we care about, to those we are neutral about, to those we have negative feelings toward, to the entirety of the world's population.
It's a powerful message. Check it out:
compassion infographic 
So what do you think? Will you try it? Let me know if you sign up for Happify, and I'll add you to my community of awesome folks!

Random Snaps


Sophia brought me this gigantic hibiscus flower from the bushes outside. I can never stop this child from bringing me flowers picked from the property. Eh. Anyway, it was so enormous, I needed a photo.


Chloë's hair has gotten so long, and she just has so much of it, it starts to become a tangled mess in her sleep if we don't braid it before bed. Even though she's 15, she looks so cute and wee when her hair is in plaited piggytails, doesn't it? I love it.


Jack and Rob were making mac & cheese and sausage in the kitchen when I came in with my camera. This expression, a frequent visitor to Jack's countenance, represents his reaction of surprise and distrust. "What are you doing? Why are you taking my picture?"


It was a pretty good weekend. Tomorrow, for MLK Day, we're going to play hooky from school and go visit the Florida Everglades National Park. After all, we've never really been in the official park, and I think we should go take the opportunity for a free park day while the Everglades are right down the road. Stay tuned for pictures of that!

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday Stealing: The Very Forceful Questions Meme

Hey, y'all! Link up here if you're playing along today!


Cheers to All of Us Thieves!

Sunday Stealing: The Very Forceful Questions

Do you have/have you had any pets?

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  2. Yes. We have two dogs (a Chihuahua and a Chiweenie puppy), four cats (including Pepper, our beautiful Maine Coon), a Himalayan and a Mongolian gerbil, and a guinea pig, James.

    Do you play video games? If so, do you have a favorite video game series?
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  4. No, I don't. However, my teenage son is currently obsessed with our XBOX One S, which we gave him for Christmas. Particularly, he is consumed with playing Fallout 4, and will do chores to earn time for playing. Yo, I do not feel guilty for milking this system for all it's worth!

    3. Any unpopular opinions on anything?
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  1. Sure. I mean, doesn't everyone have them? And yes, tacos bore me. I mean... *sniff*

  2. 4. Do you have a favorite gem? If yes, has anyone ever bought you jewelry with that gem?

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My favorite gemstone is the sapphire, which is my (September) birth stone. When I was 12, my dad gave me a small ring with one, and I loved it. I wore it all the time, but the band was thin, and eventually it wore through. I lost it.


Later, Hubs found several pretty loose sapphires on eBay and purchased them. He had them set especially for me by a professional jeweler and gave them to me for an early anniversary present.

  1. 5. Favorite story genres?
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  3. I prefer mystery thrillers the most. However, I saved a few books out of my packing boxes for the Idaho move and none of them are stories. One is Carschooling by Diane Flynn Keith, and another is Just One Thing by Rick Hanson, Ph.D. I am motivated now to read both.

    6. What was once a secret that you can now share?
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  5. I support the women's rights movement, The Pussyhat Project, because I had to terminate my first pregnancy following a home-invasion rape. It was my first of two rapes that summer. F- you, Donald Trump, and those who support the overturning of Roe v. Wade and the cutting off of funds to Planned Parenthood. F- you, all day long!!! That procedure saved my life. I do not for one moment regret it, and I never have. NEVER.
  6. For more information on the project, click the link. I can't march in Washington, D.C. on Inauguration Day, but I plan to go to the one here in Miami the following day, wearing my Pussyhat. Who's with me?

    7. Do you like reading?
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  8. I adore it. I haven't made enough time for it in the past few years, but I plan to get back to it. Books open a whole new world unto the reader, and I am happy to be a book nerd.

    8. What time is it for you now, and what are you usually doing at this time of the day? 

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  1. It's actually 4:20 PM EST. I don't smoke weed, though. ;) I'm thinking about starting to manage my pain! Maybe when we're passing through Colorado en route to Idaho...? This time of day I'm... I don't know. Managing my household. Washing dishes, doing laundry, yelling at the kids to go outside. So exciting, my life.

    9. What character on TV or in film is most similar to you? You can go with looks or personality. Or you can make a quip and go to the next question.
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I've been told I look like Molly Ringwald. I don't necessarily see it, because I always wanted to look like Kristy McNichol and be like her Empty Nest character.

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  1. 10. What's something weird you wanna do?
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Number one sounds like something I would totally do. Let's go with that! 

  1. 11. Have you ever accomplished a New Years Resolution?

4 years out

Yes, I lost 205 lbs, from January 2009 to January 2011. Granted, I had surgery as a tool to help me do it, but it has been hard work keeping that weight off, y'all. My "surgiversary" is coming up on the 26th, and I will post pictures to show you whether I've accomplished that. Um, more or less, you know?

Is there any music artist you look up to?

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I look up to Lady Gaga. I really do. She battles mental health issues and fibromyalgia, like I do, and she is still out there with those amazing pipes (girl can SING) and acting on AHS. She lives her truth, however weird it may be from day-to-day, and I respect that.

  1. 13. Are you allergic to anything? If yes, what?
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  3. Yup. Lots: Percocet, Ansef (an antiobiotic that I never remember how to spell), Depakote, Buspiron. Non-organic, non-cage-free eggs. I'm lactose-intolerant. I'm gluten-intolerant. I don't eat meat. I have to get a lot of protein. I have to eat low carb, low sugar foods. I'm basically on the ice diet.

    14. When was the last time you took a swim? Who else was with you?


I haven't swum since August 2013. I have autoimmune disorders that require me to stay out of the sun. My favorite place is the beach; I love to swim and jump in the waves. Alas...

  1. Would you rather have the ability to sleep for as long as you want, or have the ability to never have to sleep?

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My "luxurious" lifestyle allows me to sleep as long as I want right now. I would rather never need to sleep; I hate it and fight it constantly.


Thanks for stopping by!


Mis(Adventures) In The Kitchen, And Other Brain Farts.

Hello, World.

It's 0315 right now, and I cannot sleep.

So many things running through my mind. Does anyone care anymore now that my dear Mamacita (Mother-in-Law, for my uninitiated pals) has departed us?  I feel like she was my only audience who gave a rat's patoot, and now I should shaddup.

Of course, I won't, and then I remember my lovely teenage daughter, Chloë, loves to read my posts when she has time. The old ones about herself, especially. And so, for my beautiful curly girl, I will continue. (And I love you, Toots!)


So on January 2nd of this year, Rob and I celebrated our 16th wedding anniversary. I'm guessing no one who knows us personally thought we would hit this mark. There were times over the past decade-and-six that make me think I'm not sure how we did it, myself. But here we are, still kicking away at this marriage thing sixteen years in, and not I'm thinking we'll go far longer than we all anticipated. I love this guy an immense amount, and he loves me an immense amount, and that's pretty much kept us going. It's enough, y'all.

Now, let's discuss something which I rarely talk about: FASHION. (I know, right? Me.)

I know nothing about fashion, other than I'm no good at it and don't really mind that. So this should really be: CLOTHES MY KIDS WEAR.


First, there's this awesome boho shirt Chloë splurged her gift card money from my sister, Aunt Stacey, on. She got a couple pairs of leggings and a pair of cute socks to round out the total, and I had a coupon and a military discount, and it was after Christmas clearance time, so she did quite well. (Wherever the photo of Chloë actually showing us what it looks like, instead of, you know, a ton of curls... I can't find it. Oh, well.)


Next up, Señorita Wet Head is showing off her new LuLaRoe leggings and dress (Carly? I have no recollection which model). She loves these, and they look so awesome and feel so comfortable on her, I may have snagged a couple pairs myself.

I had no intention of getting in on the LLR craze. I really did not. But then I had an awesome friend, Summer from Virginia Beach (where from I did not meet her until a year or two after we moved away from there, which is crazy but awesome) gift Chloë with these two beauts following a Facebook conversation.

Not only do they look and feel great, Chloë and I both share nearly identical sensory issues with fabrics, and I find they will work for me, too. Here are the ones I've demanded requested from Summer:

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(because I love to cook and bake, duh) 


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because these just sing to me. Aren't they nice? I love 'em, can't wait to get 'em.


Speaking (constantly, at least in real life) of Idaho - oh, we weren't? - I've been collecting sales for cold-weather gear. They all now have snow pants that will grow with them, boots that will (well, who knows with the ever-growing Sophia?) fit awhile, and winter coats! Chloë is dying to go downhill skiing. I am not a skier, but maybe I'll take lessons with her if I can brace against the cold long enough. I've gone cross-country skiing, which I enjoyed, but a lot chicken about the other kind. On the other hand, Chloë is afraid of the ski lift, and I can't wait to go on that!

Sophia wants to go snow boarding, and Jack just wants to play in the snow, I guess. I don't know what he'll end up doing. I suspect I'll be nursing hot cocoa next to him in the lodge while the others frolic in the cold and snow, most of the time!


And now for another topic that is omnipresent lately: COOKING.


I don't always fail when it comes to cooking. I don't remember this so much, but I made a lot of it from the CSA share we get weekly, and none of it got thrown away! (I don't remember it because of my Fibromyalgia Fog that is making me dafter and derpier than even my usual self. It's muy frustrating.)

(If you're in the Homestead area of Miami, by any chance, check out this CSA. We get ours from Bee Heaven Farm, and the foods are organic, sustainably-raised produce. This year, we also get a small Mediterranean food share from one of the CSA-connected farms. I've enjoyed that a bunch. We have gotten Rachel's eggs from there and have even sought out more such foods at the Pinecrest Farmer's Market on Sundays. Pretty awesome stuff.)

Anyway, so sometimes I make decent stuff, and I don't get injured in the process.


And then, last Sunday night was different. As a semi-vegetarian (sometime-pescetarian here), I haven't had a steak in over 20 years. I don't know how to cook one! But I bought these sirloin steaks from Publix on the hunch that maybe extremely-picky (and tiny!) Jack would eat it and like it. In 16 years of marriage, I had never cooked Rob a steak, so I was all equipped with my Interwebs knowlij and ready to make it.

Fail. Fail, fail, fail.

Sure, I was able to 'gram the above photo of Rob's plate (that sourdough from Publix was amazeballs, btw). But then he cut into it, and that was not Pinterest-worthy. It wasn't done nearly enough. So I threw the steaks back in the searing-hot pan and started cooking it more thoroughly.

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I ended up burned and bandaged when I grabbed the hot pan a little too hastily and splashed the tiny bit of hot EVOO I was using so as not to burn the steak. That was after the apartment filled up with smoke and all five detectors starting screaming and rioting. Oh, my gosh, it's funny now, but at the time I was not laughing!

Here's how it looks a few days later (scroll past quickly if you're squeamish or cranky about boo-boo pictures):


The amazingly miraculous thing was, I used my Young Living lavender essential oil on the burn, as I had read was a THING, and you guys, it totally took away the pain. I had zero pain after that, none after the bandages came off, none ever. It blows my MIND.

(I haven't even talked much about my Young Living oils on this blahg, because I don't want to be coming off as the scientist who lost her marbles, but I am totally having an epic experience with the essential oils. I don't even care if it's a placebo effect but they help me. I lurve them.)

So yeah. Good lavender oil on a burn is a thing. Who knew?


I have returned to the kitchen successfully since then, though. All the small ingredients fell to the bottom of the bowl, but this Tablespoon recipe for Copycat Olive GardenTM Pasta e Fagioli turned out well. I subbed a lot here and there:

  • I needed lots more olive oil.
  • I used two 13-oz (I think) packages of Hillshire Farms Turkey Sausage instead of ground Italian sausage.
  • I had no celery, so I just put in extra diced onions. Why not?
  • I didn't have the Great Northern beans, so I put in small red beans and red kidney beans as requested.
  • I didn't put in dry pasta, because we had leftover orecchiette in the fridge. It turned out far paste al dente, of course, but it was fine for this time.
  • I had no chicken broth, so I put in water and some Lipton onion soup mix. Maybe don't do that, but it was fine.
  • I didn't have Parmesan, so I grated fresh Romano on it, instead.

I had mixed results with the kids, but Rob loved it and had eaten the whole pot (and it was a bigg'un!) by lunchtime the following day. I'll try this one again sometime, for sure.


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Meanwhile, I had ordered some $90' worth of Harry & David Royal Riviera Pears (not having paid nearly that much, but still) after Christmas that arrived looking less than regal. The replacements are being sent out to us, but in the meantime, that's a whole lotta sweet pears to use up! 

Since they had been frozen in shipment sometime and were wrinkly and um, subdued, I decided to cook with them.


Jack and I decided to try the Crockpot Pear Sauce recipe from the Pretty Hungry blog. Jack did all the work himself, while I just called out steps to him to do from the computer screen. We pretty much followed the directions verbatim, and it was a good one. This recipe is, to me, perfection. We loved it. Speaking of this, I think I'll go have some more after we wrap this post!


A few final Saturday morning fragments:


Rob and I had a good short visit with Anne-Marie from Miami International Riding Club, where Sophia took lessons until breaking her wrist following a fall (her mistake) this past July 1st. (Sophia misses horses and riding desperately and will continue after we move to Idaho.) I had made horse show bows for one of Anne-Marie's young equestrian students, and she came by to pick them up. Lovely girl. Too bad Sophie was already in bed and missed her. We'll go say our good-byes before we go, of course.


Our foster-fail Chiweenie puppy, Tapioca, is just a few months shy of a year old now. She was rescued by That Black Dog Rescue, Inc. after a tough start with a litter-eating mama and too-early weaning from her bottle by the initial rescuers. She's done well except for her major chewing problem, and now she's starting to exhibit more aggression toward Rob and Jack. We'll probably end up getting her doggy therapy in Idaho. Poor thing.


And finally, I'm going to miss my subtropical South Florida flowers and balmy winter weather after we move! This photo was from earlier this month.

However, I am excited for our look forward now that moving date is just over a month and a half away! Packing has not yet begun here at Chez Odette, but we will soon start in earnest. I plan to jettison a lot of my belongings to which I am no longer feeling a strong emotional attachment. A fresh start is just what the doctor ordered.


Well, if you read this far, thanks for sticking with me through it all! I hope to keep up more regularly and redevelop my readership and my blogging mojo. Famous last words from me, but I'm gonna try.


Saturday 9: Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

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Link up here if you're playing along today!


Saturday 9: Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go (1984)

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

1) This song was inspired by a note WHAM! partner Andrew Ridgeley left for his parents. He accidentally wrote "go" twice. What was the last handwritten note you left for someone?
I wrote a sort of "IOU," but it was more like a "U-O-Me!" to a friend for some stuffI sold her.
2) Born Georgios Panayiotou, George Michael was the son of the Greek restauranteur in East London. When you think of Greek cuisine, what comes to mind?
I think of this post I wrote in 2008, from when we were on our European cruise (oh, my God, I was SO FAT then - how did I let myself get that big?!!), and were on a port stop in Katakolon, Greece. Hubs and I stopped in a little restaurant in town, and the food was amazing. I wrote, "We ordered  a small sampler platter, and this is what we received . Those are beans in the sauce, along with some olives, some fries, some yogurt dip, some pita, some gyro  meat, some  grape-leaf-covered somethings that I liked and Rob didn't..."

3) He was a terrible driver and admitted his license was suspended a number of times. Have you ever lost your license?
No. However, I have been told that I don't currently have a valid license (?!), because they are still looking at my old Florida DL from before we moved to Guam in 2002. Of course, I currently still hold a Virginia license even after living in Florida for four years, because of exactly this problem. Hopefully, when we get to Idaho, I can get a proper state license representing my current home! (Get with the program, Floriduh!)

4) WHAM! partner Andrew Ridgeley, on the other hand, is a talented driver who got to live his fantasy by racing Formula Three in Monaco. There are companies that sell racetrack driving experiences that allow you to spin around the track at dizzying speeds. Is this something you'd like to try? 
Not really. When we were in Monaco (on that same cruise), we didn't even get near the races. Instead, Rob and I went on a tour of Nice and Eze in France, but we did get our racecar-obsessed son, Jack, a Formula I-Don't-Know (Three, you say?) shirt in Monte Carlo. It still fit, like, five years later...

5) In 1990, Frank Sinatra famously gave George Michael advice. Ol' Blue Eyes told the younger man to enjoy his fame, to remember all those lean nights traveling from gig to gig by bus and, now that he's successful, "loosen up and swing, man." Who last gave you advice? Did you take it?
I can't even remember the last time I received, let alone took, someone's advice. I'm pretty hard-headed, you know. The closest thing I can think of was the other night when Hubs asked me if my lights were on. They weren't; I switched them on. Oops.

6) Mr. Michael's neighbors have reported since his passing that he seemed to live rather quietly, and that they usually saw him when he was out walking his three dogs. Tell us about the last time you spoke to one of your neighbors.
One of our neighbors, Ed, is the weekday morning gate guard for our community. So, I spoke to him yesterday, because he was off today.

7) Fansites tell us that George Michael's favorite cereal was cornflakes. What breakfast cereals are currently in your kitchen?
I need to get more; my kids live on that stuff. But we do have some Rice Chex and Frosted Flakes, I think.

8) In 1984, when "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" was popular, Murder, She Wrote premiered on CBS. Today it's still seen in reruns all over the world. Are you a fan?
Was Dick van Dyke a regular on that show, too? If not, the one episode I ever watched was when it was a new-ish shoe, and he was on it. That's all I can remember. I did enjoy Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, though.
9) RANDOM QUESTION: What's your secret to a good night's sleep?
If there is a good secret, I don't really have it. I am a notoriously bad sleeper. I tend to stay up until I'm exhausted and then crash for entirely too long. I've been doing that for my whole life.
Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend.
P.S. Thanks for letting me relive our European delayed-honeymoon, Sam! ;)

Sunday Stealing: The Shipwrecked Meme

Happy New Year guys and dolls! Link up here if you're playing along this week!


Cheers to all of us thieves!

Sunday Stealing: The Shipwreck Questions

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You are shipwrecked with friends (your group can include real life or virtual life or both). Think about it and pick some friends to truly enjoy your cruise, and tell us why you assembled the group by just telling us...

Who would throw the wildest parties, and why did you pick them? 

Shana, one of my BFFs in the whole world. I met her back in 6th grade and had NO idea then that she'd end up being chosen for this one! She'll be 41 on Monday. I don't know how, at our ages, she still manages to enjoy quite a party while still holding multiple jobs (she's a musician and music instructor) AND running her family of four. She amazes me.

Who would always fall asleep on the couch, and why did you pick them?

Hahaha, that would be Rob. If I didn't know better, I would call my husband narcoleptic. He's always asleep on the couch.
Who would enter to be in a talent show, and why did you pick them?

My other BFF in the whole world, Doctor Lisa. She auditions without all the perilous qualms that I have about failing, and she does well and often gets chosen for stuff, like singing at our high school graduation ceremony. Maybe Shana could harmonize with her and accompany her on any of the billion instrument she plays.
Who would try to get out of doing their chores and why did you pick them?

That would be my 11-year-old youngest child, Sophia Lorelei. She is always doing exactly that. Of course, I am breaking the rules a bit and naming my kid and not a friend, and no I am not that parent who is friends with their kids, but what kind of mum would I be not to want my kids there with me? (And I truly do.)
Who would accidentally set the kitchen on fire whilst cooking and why did you stupidly pick them?

Ha, that would be my 15-year-old oldest child, Chloë Raine! She's never done this (yet), but she is always starting a pot of water to boil on the stove top, or putting something in the oven, and then walking away, out of ear shot or sight of it.

Who would try to domesticate an island pet and why did you pick them?

So far, this has been the hardest one to answer. I would pick my friend Gaddy from grad school. He is one of the most genius guys I know, loves animals of course, and he'd help us get out of there with his giant Professor-from-Gilligan's Island brain.
Who would make the others carry their bags on a shopping spree and why did you pick them?

What kind of shopping spree can you have when you're shipwrecked somewhere? To me, that means there are no island inhabitants to help you get home! No. I think this one is a trick. If not, I pick Harriet! I think she would be fun to watch on such a spree.
Who would throw the first person off the boat and why did you pick them?

I don't have friends who would throw another friend off the boat! No. Wait, I'd bring my friend Erin for this, because if she needed to, she might at least discuss doing this with me before she did it! ahaha!
Who would be the best caregiver when someone got sick & why did you pick them?

Well, she is mad at me at the moment, because I am dumb and we got snarky with each other on FB, but I would pick my soon-to-be nurse friend, Pamela. Because, duh.

Who would try to force the another to play sports with them & why did you pick them?

My sister, Stacey. She's a die-hard Tough Mudder type (I think she's done it twice?), and she's always trying to get my lazy arse to join her in stuff when we're together. I think she secretly wants to giggle at my feeble attempts.

Who would have the best holiday ideas for your space on the island and why did you pick them?

That would totally be my good and idol friend Martha Stewart. (No lie, when she was imprisoned, I wanted to go visit her. I should've.)
Who would need to clean out someone other's stuff to make room for their own & why did you pick them?

That would be me, myself, and I. I'm forever having to dig a corner of the (house, room, you pick) for myself, with Hubs' "man shit" everywhere. I will admit to being a bed hog, though.

Who worries about how they will look when they’re older & why did you pick them?

Hmm... Everyone, I'm sure, thinks about this. Female someones, anyway. Don't we??

Flashes everyone when they walk by after taking a shower alone & why did you pick them?

Again, I am picking Hubs. Rob does this and he is already on the boat and besides, why would I choose a person to join me on an excursion such as this, based on this criterion? That's just strange.

Who wakes you to asks weird questions in the middle of the night & why did you pick them?

Haha. Myself, because I do this. On this trip, I am apparently much better friends with me than I am in real life! (Lady Redundant Woman!) ;)

Who will constantly ask you “what are you thinking about?” & why did you pick them?

My awesome friend Cyndi, because we often have these "what are you doing?" conversations on FB Messenger. We met online, have met once or twice in real life (she adopted our elderly German Shepherd Dog years ago, when we could not maintain her medical care any longer!), and now we keep in touch online again. 

Which of your friends on this island might being too touchy-feely while you interact, & why did you pick them?

We all are! That's why we get along so well. Next!

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Oh, so that's the end. Now I want to go on a cruise. Well, technically, I am always ready for a nice cruise, so let's go already!

Thanks for stopping by, y'all! See you here next week.


Saturday 9: A New Day Has Come

Listen up, y'all! It's a royal ball, with hip-hop clubs and concert halls!

Sorry; I don't know if I've ever written that here before, but it pops in my head every single time I do this weekly meme!

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


Saturday 9: A New Day Has Come (2002)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

Welcome to the first Saturday 9 of 2017!

1) This song is about a new day. Here we are celebrating a new year. What do you hope for in 2017?
I am trying not to have a heavy heart today, the day of the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport shootings and with the pending inauguration of gulp <How is this real> gulp #NotMyPresident Trump... but I am afraid. So, in 2017, I hope for my own personal health to improve. I hope for a safe, relatively easy transport to and settling in Idaho. And I hope, above all, that this feeling of unease about my country's future is proven to be for naught.

2) Ms. Dion has said this song was influenced by the events of 9/11, and how a new day dawned after tragedy. Looking back on 2016, did something happen that you're glad to leave behind and move away from?
Mehhhh no, not really in my personal life. Yesssss, the November election was, in my opinion, a tragedy for all Americans. 
3) In the video, Celine serenades us from billowy white clouds. Describe the sky where you are as you answer these 9 questions.
Well, it's almost 1 AM here in Miami now, but this is what the sky looked like before the sun set on Friday night
Sophia, my 11yo, took this one outside our apartment, and shortly afterward:
I took this one at the little strip mall we went to down the road. The Florida sunsets will definitely be missed by me!

4) This video was shot in West Palm Beach, FL. When settlers arrived in the late 1870s, the town was called Lake Worth County. OK, your turn. Tell us something about your hometown.

11-33rd ACC D-I
9-63rd ACC D-I
I grew up outside of Syracuse, NY, but Miami was my alma-mater in the mid-90s. So when the two teams play, I enjoy rooting for Miami to my many Syracuse friends, but when we lose, as we did to Orange on Wednesday,... I still count it secretly as a win. It would be either way! ;)
As far as Homestead, where we live now in the bottom of Miami-Dade County, as close as you can get to the Keys without being IN the Keys, well, it was nothing but a blip on the map back when I was in college. Fast-forward 20 years to now? (Holy shit, I graduated COLLEGE 20 years ago this May?!!) It's quite big and well-developed, actually.
5) Celine Dion's native tongue is French. Dites-nous quelque chose en Français.

Though I can't speak or understand spoken (much) French, I can read it fairly well thanks to my study of Spanish and other Romance languages. However, I did go to Google Translate to help me tell you this:
Je déteste la moutarde!!!
6) Celine's mother, Therese, is known in her Quebec neighborhood as a terrific cook. Think about your own domestic talents. Where do you excel? (Food prep, house cleaning, laundry, scheduling, etc.)

For a stay-home mom of 16 years, I'm a pretty crappy housekeeper. Don't get me wrong; I can clean with the best of them! But now that my three are teens and 11-going-on-19, I am trying as much as I can to have my crew take over the task. Retired husband, too, now that I am in pain all the time, hell. But nothing gets done unless Mum orders it done, and even then... I have learned for good enough to be good enough. I wouldn't say I excel in the kitchen, but I'm pretty good at that. (My mum-in-law, who passed away in October 2016, was a home-ec teacher, and I still called upon her for help well into last year!) I guess scheduling is my best and brightest spot. Until my mind completely goes blank, I will still carry the "nucleus" mantle that Hubs has bestowed upon me. What I need, dear 9ers, is a staff to do my bidding! :P
7) Growing up, Celine and her siblings often performed in her family's piano bar. Where did you most recently enjoy an adult beverage?
Right here at home. We still have a bottle and a half - out of two - of bubbly from our New Year's Eve "celebration," as it were. Plus some of Hubs' Irish Cream that he hasn't finished from Christmas, and a wine cooler left from a 6-pack somewhere in between. All at home. We aren't big drinkers anymore. I don't drink out, and then drive home.
8) In 2002, when this song was popular, Kmart was in the news because the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. What department store to you shop at most often?
Hmm. None most often, but maybe Kohl's. If I have to pick one, that's the one, because they are right around the corner (where that above second sunset photo was taken place).
9) Random question: It's time for a midnight snack and you have your choice of one of these three -- a slice of sausage pizza, a bagel with lox and cream cheese, or a piece of carrot cake. Which will you have? And what shall we bring you to drink?

Well, before the New Year, I'd have chosen the carrot cake. But I did choose some, and I ate it, too, and I have put on a little weight in the last few months. So I will abstain from all, unless I can get that lox on the side and not eat it, and only half the bagel, please. Sigh... I guess water to drink. NO! Diet Coke! F**k it!
Thanks for stopping by! Happy New Year! I hope to be around to yours sometime this weekend, but right now I have 650 new emails glaring at me and must go attend to those. Cheers.