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Entries from July 2017

Sunday Stealing: Music, Music, Music!

Howdy, folks. Welcome back! Look at me, an early bird. I'm a Wild Card; you never know if I'll be early, late, or not show up at all.

But who cares? Let's get started. Link up here if you want to play along!

Says hostess Bev: "I really like music and so I stole this from a blog called The Green Hearth, who says that some of these are 'f*ing hard.'  And they are, but I thought they were fun.  Let's give it a try."

        1: A song you like with a color in the title:

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"Purple Rain, by the late great Prince

2: A song you like with a number in the title:

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"If I Had A Million Dollars," by Barenaked Ladies (love them!)

3: A song that reminds you of summertime:

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"Blurred Lines," by Robin Thicke feat. Pharrell Williams, because it was the hit song of the first summer Team Odette lived in Miami (2013)

4: A song that needs to be played LOUD:

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"American Woman," the version by the stunningly beauteous Lenny Kravitz... Mmm!

5: A song that makes you want to dance:

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"Kiss," again by Prince... A lot of songs fit the bill for this question, for me, but I'm going with the first ones to hit my mind after reading each question.

6: A song to drive to:

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"Summer of '69," by Bryan Adams

7: A song about drugs or alcohol:

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"The Tequila Song," by The Champs (as danced to by Peewee Herman, above; correct me if I'm wrong about the song name/band!)

8: A song that makes you happy:

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"Morning Song," by Jewel... I love to sing it to my husband when it's applicable ❤️💛💚💙💜

9: A song that makes you sad:

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"Tears in Heaven," by Eric Clapton... it's about his son, Conor, who fell from the 53rd floor of a NYC apartment building in 1991. We played it at our son's memorial service. I can't hear it now without getting choked up.

10: A song that you never get tired of:

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My current obsession is "Praying," by Kesha. I can't get enough of it. And good for her!

11: A song from your preteen years:

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"Blame It On the Rain," by Milli Vanilli... kinda! ;)

12: One of your favorite 80’s songs:

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"Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," by Cyndi Lauper... a classic 80s song.

13: A song that is a cover by another artist:

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I prefer the Dixie Chicks' cover of "Landslide" to the original Fleetwood Mac version.

14: One of your favorite classical songs:

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I adore The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi!

15: A song that you would sing a duet with on karaoke:

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"Time of My Life," from the movie Dirty Dancing, originally sung by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes.

16: A song from the year that you were born:

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"You're My Best Friend," by Queen... When I originally did the "Okay, Google" thing to ask which songs came out in 1976, I was excited to see "Bohemian Rhapsody" on the list. However, that was a boo-boo, because Rhapsody was actually released in 1975. What the what? Such tomfoolery!

17: A song that makes you think about [my] life:

"Daddy," by Jewel... I sing it to myself a lot lately. I don't know why... or maybe I do. Go ahead, listen to the lyrics, and maybe you'll see why I'm torn. It's not exactly a positive, uplifting song, just so's ya know.

18: A song that you think everybody should listen to:

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"I Can't Make You Love Me," by Bonnie Raitt... Song of my college years in the mid '90s!

19: A song by a band you wish were still together:

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"Smells Like Teen Spirit," by Nirvana... though they're no longer together for obvious reasons, eh?

20: A song by an artist no longer living:

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"The Greatest Love of All," by Whitney Houston... I used to sing the hell out of this song when I was a kid. And a young adult. And yesterday... ;)

21: A song that breaks your heart:

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"The Day (That You Gave Me a Son)," by Babyface... we played this and the songs in #9 and the first one in #22 at our son Robby's memorial service. The three of them are what I play in series when I really need a good cry.

22: A song by an artist with a voice that you love:

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Oh gosh, anything sung by Josh Groban, but especially "To Where You Are" or "Starry, Starry Night." Or wait, "The Promise." Literally anything!


Phew! Am I finished? That was a long one, but fun and worth it, IMO. Hope y'all enjoyed my song selections.

Happy Sunday to yas! ;)


Saturday 9: Angel

Hey fogies! Sorry for the radio silence this past week, but I have been siiiiiick as a dog. Hopefully that is well over.

Link up here at Saturday 9 to play along with the rest of the bunch!

Let's get started.


Saturday 9: Angel (1998)
... because Bev recommended it

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

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1) Sarah McLachlan wrote this song about someone she barely knew. She read the obit of Jonathan Melvoin, keyboard player for the Smashing Pumpkins, who died of a heroin overdose. What's the most recent news story that touched you deeply?

Well, it was about the last messages and phone calls from Princess Diana to then-little boys, Princes William and Harry. I know it's silly, that I, an American and comparatively a pauper, a commoner, would feel this way, but I do feel connected to the British princes. My blonde, blue-eyed mother suddenly at 33, shocking everyone, leaving behind two little girls. Diana died suddenly at 36, shocking everyone, leaving behind two little boys. I wanted to write to the two of them when she was killed, but I figured they'd never really get the letter anyway.
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2) Ms. McLachlan performed this in tribute to Linda McCartney at the 1999 Concert for Linda. She was expressing her hope that, in death, Linda found relief and peace after a long and painful battle with cancer. What do you think happens to us when we die?
I'm so torn on this. I obviously don't really have any idea, nor does anyone else, truly. Part of me thinks that's it, it's over, that's the end. But the part of me whose faith tells her that her mom and son are walking through Heaven together these last 14 years is stronger. As for Hell... well, all I know about that is I really do not want to go there!
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3) Daytime dramas General Hospital and As the World Turns used this song on-air after a major character died. Do you follow any "soap operas?"
When I was a tween/teen, my stepsisters were into Guiding Light, so that's what I watched, too. Didn't have much of a choice if I wanted to watch something in the family room, anyway. But not since about 1992 or so have I followed any soaps.
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Chickens 012
4) In 2007, Sarah donated her recording of this song to the ASPCA. Do you have a pet? If yes, how did you get it (shelter, pet store, etc.)?
Do I have a pet? Ahahaha, you kill me, Sam. Here's our current rundown: Two dogs (Paco, gotten from a family who couldn't keep their baby's hands off him and kept hurting him, and Tapioca, from That Black Dog Rescue in Miami); four cats (Pepper, found in the street in the middle of the night, Muffin, adopted from the friend of a friend, Sugarplum, adopted from a girl in Miami who couldn't keep kittens for Sophia's 10th birthday, and Henry, adopted through Pet Supermarket in Miami from the Humane Society of Miami); two gerbils and a guinea pig (all from the pet store); and ten chickens (one won by son at a county fair and the other purchased for a dollar each from a crazy chicken lady). So yeah... a few animals in this household!
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5) She admits she can't watch those ASPCA commercials, where her recording of "Angel" plays over sad photos of animals. Is there a TV commercial that really gets to you (in either a good or a bad way)?
I haven't watched commercials in ages, but I agree, that and those poor, sick children with distended bellies in Africa who need adopting... those things always get to me.

6) In 1994, Sarah was stalked by an obsessed fan. Tell us about a time you were really frightened. In retrospect, was your fear commensurate with the threat?
I had a stalker, too. When I lived in Miami, right after college, a former friend turned stalker on me. He found out where I lived, when I would be out of town and when I would be back (I know this because if I left for a long time, he'd have a package delivered in the mail upon my return, with nothing in the middle - and I didn't hold my mail, ever). He wanted to marry me and would stop at nothing to get his way. One time, at about 11 PM after work one night, I pulled into my driveway and opened my car door; I could hear some rustling in the bushes and just felt completely creeped out. I left immediately and drove over to my BFF Kristal's house. Eventually, after a while of this, I had a stalking police report out on him, and they offered to help me file a restraining order. I thought nothing would come of it, and I was wrong. He attacked me in my house later that summer. A definite "hell yes" to the question!
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7) Sarah was adopted by Jack and Dorice McLachlan. Though she has a friendly relationship with her birth mother, she always considered Dorice her mother and sees herself behaving with her son the way Dorice did with her. Is there anyone in your family that you feel you resemble, either physically or by behavior?
In looks, I definitely resemble my father, although I have my mother's and her mother's, er... rather chunky physique. It's starting to dawn on me how to accept myself this way, rather than hate every square inch of myself.  Anyway, I do not remember my mother well enough to know if I have any of her behaviors, although I'm told my silliness, giggling, and love of game-playing come from Mom. I have a few of my dad's minor habits, like playing with my earlobes while I drive or think, but thankfully I do not resemble his behavior much beyond that. Phew.
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8) McLachlan is one of the founders of Lilith Fair, a summer concert series designed to showcase talented female performers. Do/did your summer plans include an outdoor concert?
No, although we were supposed to go to a big outdoor concert last weekend. We had to miss it, because of my illness. Hopefully there will be more to come!
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9) Random question: Which of these men would you most like to be seated with at dinner -- Clint Eastwood, Prince William or Jimmy Fallon?
Well, given my answer to the first question, I think it's obvious that I would choose the prince! I have no care to talk to Mr. Eastwood, although I'm sure Jimmy Fallon would be hilarious fun to pair up with over dinner, but you know I would have a lot to talk about with Prince William. Hopefully no tears in our pudding, though.
Thanks, Sam, I really enjoyed this week's questions. Happy Saturday, y'all! 

Saturday 9: Don't Stop

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OMG. I almost forgot all about Saturday 9, and here it is 10:38 PM (Mountain Daylight Time) on Saturday night. Sheesh. What a slacker.

Anyhoo, let's get into it, shall we?


Saturday 9: Don't Stop (1977)... because Country Dew recommended Fleetwood Mac 

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

1) Since we're not supposed to stop thinking about tomorrow, let's talk about it: What are your plans for Sunday?
Church and chillaxing, pretty much!

2) Fleetwood Mac was formed 50 years ago in London. Fifty years is considered a "golden anniversary." Do you wear more silver or gold?
I wear more silver, because I prefer it, but my wedding and engagement rings are gold. And I mix them. Because I don't care. Actually, I do, and if I had it to do all over again, I might have asked for rings in silver or platinum. But I love what I have, and so that is that. (My earrings and nose ring are still silver, tho!)

3) This song is from Rumours, which has sold 40 million copies. Is it in your collection?
Nope. I can't stand Stevie Nicks. Long story there. It's not actually her but that goat-bleating voice of hers. UGH.

4) It was written by keyboardist and vocalist Christine McVie. She was born Christine Perfect, a name that earned her a fair share of teasing when she was a school girl. Do you recall being teased in school? What about?
I wasn't the thinnest kid, and I was a nerd. I had glasses and braces, too. Do the math! ;)

5) Before Fleetwood Mac, she was in a band called Chicken Shack. If you were to order out for a chicken dinner, which restaurant would you turn to?

Hmm. I really wouldn't, probably, being semi-vegetarian and all...  but my family likes KFC, so I guess I'd just pick up a bucket for them?
6) Before she could pay all her bills with her music, she supported herself as a window dresser for a London department store. Do you enjoy walking along, just window shopping? Or do you consider "looking with no intention to buy" a waste of time?

The latter... that drives me crazy! I want to know what I need ahead of time, have a list, have the money, go get it, and get out. Then I can take it home and enjoy it. None of this window-shopping shit. Seriously, I loathe it. LOL
7) When she found herself making big money, one of the first things Christine bought was a pair of matching Mercedes for herself and then-husband, John McVie. If you were handed a check for $1 million, what's the first thing you would do with the money?
Pay off all our debts and buy the Hubs a boat. Or a house. Or a motorcycle. Or a shed. Wait, I guess I could probably do all of that with that kind of change!
8) The other girl in Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks, founded the Soldier's Angel Foundation. She believes in the healing power of music, and so she's proud to provide wounded soldiers with iPods already loaded with music. When you listen to music from your phone, MP3 player or iPod, do you use ear buds or headphones?
I don't. I usually stream it live all day long on my computer (or, in these last 4.5 months, Rob's laptop while our stuff is inaccessible to us), and then I put the radio on in the car when I go out. Rob does the iPod thing, but I just could never get into that. I'd prefer headphones if I had to, though. Earbuds drive me nuts.
9) Random question: Let's pretend your high school reunion is coming up. Which classmate are you more curious about: the one who was your first date, or the one who was too cool to give you the time of day?

I'm curious about both, but I have to admit: I'm vain. And when / if I look better than someone who was too popular/cool/whatever to give me the time of day, I get a little pleasure out of it! (And that happened recently, at my 20th reunion in 2014! Yay.)


So that was fun. I gotta go check on the chicken I'm cooking for my family for tomorrow. Then maybe I'll remember to do Sunday Stealing? You never know with Lyme Brain. :P


O, Canada


As part of our schooling the first week of this new 2017-2018 year, the students at Sweet Pea Academy have been learning about our Neighbors to the North: Canada. We've done a timeline of the nation's history, completed map work, read library books with lots of cool information (which is what they're doing here), and wrapped up with a few things you'll see later in the post.

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Sophia's turn at reading aloud some cool facts about Canada

One of the most fun things we did was find a few Canadian recipes and choose one to make: Sweet Corn Pancakes. All right, to be honest, it won because that's the one for which we already had all the ingredients on hand. Heh. The first ingredient was six egg whites, whipped into shape. Chloë started off that process, which was slow going with just an immersion blender!


Sophia hurt her foot just before the making of the pancakes, so most of her participation consisted of sitting there and pouting. Poor kid - we went to the ER later in the evening and discovered she had quite the fractured pinky toe!


Jack, meanwhile, put a beatin' on those egg yolks.


Chloë was still whipping egg whites, so Jack continued with the dry ingredients. Um, funny story: I'm notorious amongst the members of Team Odette for always leaving an ingredient out of the pumpkin pie each Thanksgiving. Something different each time (but never the pumpkin, at least)! Well... I'm usually not that bad when it comes to cooking, but I was so concerned with helping the two older kids whilst simultaneously concerning myself with Sophie's foot that I forgot to have Jack put in the flour! D'oh!


Wait, why is Chloë cracking more eggs? We already used six... oh, that's right. When she finally finished whipping the whites and I wanted to take a picture, she held the bowl up and dumped out half. the. bowl. in the process! So Finnegan, we begin again.


Corn, obviously went into these Sweet Corn Pancakes... but only half a cup?! That didn't seem right to me, but we stuck with the recipe. Unlike the flour omission, that is.


Chloë finally tired of doing nothing but whipping egg whites, so Jack took a turn for her sake. Okay, maybe for his own, too.


Finally, it was time for the twain to meet. And you thought it would be never.


Chloë did the honors of dumping all the flourless ingredients into the eggy whites. What the heck? Why was it so runny? Maybe because Mom LEFT OUT THE FLOUR. (Yes, it was that big a deal.)


Poor Sophia. Bored, hurting, and left out of the pancake game.


At last, it was time to start heating up the pan and getting some oil going.


But wait, who's this joining us? Sophie, up off her booboo chair, wanting to watch and help with the pancake proceedings? Yay!


"Mama, something don't look quite right." That's not what she actually said, but look at her face. Says it to me!


Well, shall we have a taste? Let's. Jack looked rather dubious.


The pancakes received a big fat, "Meh," from the Odettelettes. Ah, well. We thought about making them again - this time with flour - but the kids decided they didn't even like them enough to try. Boo. Maybe another recipe, another time.


Undaunted by broken toe and sad pancake tastings, Sophia decided to actually add the flour to the remaining pancake batter and try again on her own. We still said meh after trying those and ended up scrapping the whole thing. Well, sometimes you just need to screw up a thing in order to figure out what to do next, right? In this case, what to do next would be to make something else. But for another day, another time... #LessoneLearned


To wrap up our loony adventure, the kids did a few simple but fun Canadian-themed crafts. Look - loon collages! If nothing else, this activity was worthwhile because it was artsy-craftsy and Jack admitted, "Hey, that was actually kind of fun." Not an art kid, that boy.

Canada Paper LanternsAnd there are our Canadian flag-themed paper lanterns, adorning one corner of our living room/school room. I kinda like them there. Don't know how long they'll stay there, but I enjoy them in the meantime!

Next country to come up tomorrow: Brazil. No, no one will be getting waxed.


Field Trip: Lucky Peak Beach @ Barclay Bay

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On July 7th, Team Odette headed out to a new locale, set up as a playdate for Sophia with one of her new friends from a local homeschoolers' group. We visited Lucky Peak Reservoir, also known as Barclay Bay. This is not the same as Lucky Peak State Park (for those who are sticklers); that's on the other side of the road and costs $5 per car to get in. We needed free, which worked out great for our friends, too. Ha! Another time, we'll do the State Park, but not for now.


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The scenery at the beach was amazing. Ever since we left behind our palm trees and constant sunshine, aka Miami, and came cross-country to Idaho, I have been amazed by the constant beauty everywhere we look. It's like it's just what I never knew I really needed. I love it.

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On the other hand, the water was freezing. Growing up, I spent many summers at the Jersey Shore, so I know what cold water feels like for swimming. You gotta get in, and you gotta get used to it. Acclimate. On the other hand, my Sunshine State-kiddos were a little less ready to use this approach. "Brrr!" they kept complaining. "Ah, just get in, already," was my consistent reply.

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That took awhile for them, so in the meantime, I trained my lens on various spots around the Bay, so I could remember the day in totality.

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It was nothing short of incredible, and I was blown away by it.

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Jack and Rob running around the sand

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Soon enough, Sophie's young friend, G, and her mom arrived at the Bay. I hadn't met her mom before, though Rob had taken our girls to an end-of-year homeschooling party and met her before. I'd met G at her birthday party, where both girls were invited, but it was just a drop-off situation. So we did some getting to know each other. I'm not always good at that, but it worked out nicely.

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The girls played in and around the water together, though I could tell Sophia was torn because she'd made a friend at the park before G arrived! I just sat back and let her work that out, and she did fine sharing her time.

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I don't know what this take-down of Jack by Sophia was about, but it was pretty hilarious. (Don't worry: Jack was laughing, too.) Sophia's pretty fast, faster than her older brother, so he probably tormented her a little know that she'd chase him down. Ah, siblings.

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Afterward, Sophia decided to hop up for a seat on the head of this giant purple dinosaur...

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And then, she hopped right back down again, having found that seat a little too warm for comfort! Indeed, we have had some 100-degree days here, and this day was one of those.

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Boating at the bay made for some fun waves, as the kids bobbed up and down in their wake. The buoy line was quite close to shore, so everyone was kept safe and sound.

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I'm hoping there are jet-ski and kayak/canoe rentals at the State Park side of things, because plenty of people were participating in those activities. Either way, I plan to get a family-size canoe or a couple of small kayaks at some point; seems like there are an abundance of places where they can be used around Idaho!

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While Sophie was hanging out with her buddies, Rob started trying to teach the other two to skip rocks.

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Rob (and later I) skipped rocks fairly easily, having had lots of experience finding just the right stones, flat and rounded, and knowing the flat way to toss them out onto the water.

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Chloë, on the other hand... kerplunk!

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Meanwhile, Sophie and G were busy finding their own treasures in the bay.

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Sophie plunked this gorgeous piece of driftwood down on my blanket (my Young Living kachula), telling me it looked like a snake's skin. I had to agree with her. That one came home with us.

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Soon, I realized I needed to get out of the sun (thanks to my autoimmune issues), so we didn't end up staying quite as long as I'd hoped we could. Sophie and G posed for a sweet picture for me before we packed up to head out of the park.

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The view home was just as amazing. Down there, you can kinda see the other side, Lucky Peak State Park. But look at the bluffs, with their cut-off tops! I was honestly in awe of the view.

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A closer look ... so gorgeous!

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There was one last message for us on the drive home from the park. Remember this, y'all. "Keep Your Forests Green." Yessss...

Have a lovely day!



Random Snaps From First Half Of July 2017

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Things big and small have been happening all over the first half of July, so I thought I'd make up a hodgepodge post about those things. One big one? Chloë finished 10th grade, Jack completed 8th, and Sophia is done with 6th. I made them up little certificates to celebrate the occasion.

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And here they are, after a week's respite, starting 11th grade, 9th grade, and 7th grade! That's right, one week. We school year-round. We take plenty of little breaks around the year, so it all equals out in the end. And I try to give them plenty of breaks in the daytime so that it doesn't seem like, "Oh, my God, Summer is here and we're not having any fun." ;)

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If you hadn't noticed above, Sophia is now taller than I am at 12 years old. She's about 5'2.5", giving her a full inch on me - and still growing. We think she'll be taller than her Dad at the end of the summer. And she loves to lord her height over me!

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And look how much bigger her hands are than mine!

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And her feet. Goodness. This kid knows how to grow.


Also, did I tell you already about Archimedes, the chicken Jack won at a contest in a Parma, Idaho, festival we attended? Well, she has company now...

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...AND she has a new home! The coop is so tiny; I expected it to be my height. So we'll have to add another one or something to make it fair for the growing chickens within.

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Look! Birdy-birds!

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We have a total of ten now. We think one is a rooster, so if that's the case we'll have to get rid of him and exchange for three new hens to make a complete dozen, as the law requires.

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Coop Sweet Coop

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And Jack loves his chicken; Archimedes loves him, too.

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And they have a new feeder and drinker, too. All set! For now.

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Here's an outtake from Chloë's latest photo shots for her acting profile. Her look has changed again, so it's time to update.


Speaking of her look, I just had to show a picture of when she had a super awesome hair day, thanks to the JAFRA hair products I gave her to use. Look at those perfect ringlets! I love them.


In TMI news, Rob and I have had upset tummies lately. Don't know why. But I got a selfie with my "poo" pillow out of it, so that battle isn't completely lost. Or is it? I don't know or care to figure it out.


Recently, Sophia tripped over the wall - yes, I mean the WALL - and broke her baby toe. It hurts like the dickens, poor thing. Hopefully it will heal as well and quickly as her wrist did last year.



Last week, a tiny baby bird fell out of its nest. We checked multiple resources on what to do to help it.



In the end, we made it a substitute nest and our neighbor helped us put it back up in the tree. Mama and Papa bird came and visited it frequently, so we're hoping he made it after all. No clue at this point.

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And finally, plenty of good food and bevvies have been enjoyed around here. Just tonight, Rob whipped up some dirty rice while Jack simultaneously dished up pancakes. Don't ask, but I think it's lovely that the boy is turning out to be quite a little cook!

That's it for the first half of July. At least for randomness; I have a few more posts that have too many pictures to be part of this grouping.

Have a lovely day/night, wherever you are.


Sunday Stealing: The Meme Of Firsts

Hello, fellow thieves! Link up here if you're playing along today!


Sunday Stealing:  Firsts 

First Job:

I worked as a cashier at Big M Supermarket on State Fair Blvd in Baldwinsville, New York. I LOVED that job, and my customers. We had a lot of regulars, and so I got to know them pretty well. When I graduated high school. one big lumberjack-looking dude bought me a shit-ton of lottery scratch-off tickets. It was such a sweet gesture; I didn't even care that I won nothing.

First Real Job: 

Didn't I just address that? Hm. I guess you could say it was working as a Legal Secretary for James M. Brickley and associates in St. Petersburg, Florida. I was working at a Publix prior to that, while in graduate school, and Jim came through my line. He liked what he saw in me and basically hired me away from there - on the spot!

First Favorite Politician: 

I may get some flak for this, but I really don't give a fecking flip: Barrack H. Obama.

First Car: 

In my senior year of high school, when I still had no license, I bought a red Ford Escort Wagon. From a certain angle of the sunlight hitting it, you could see where a Coca-Cola emblem had been emblazoned on the sides, despite our being told it belonged to one owner: a sweet, little old lady. Humph. I didn't even get to HAVE that car or take it with me to college or anything. My dad kept it - after I spent over a grand on it back in 1993 - and sold it after he didn't change its oil and the engine seized up. I never saw a dime of that money, either. I may be a little bitter about it. ;)

First Record/CD: 

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I believe it was these frauds: Milli Vanilli! I don't/didn't really care, either; I still like the music! hahaha

First Sport Played: 

I am neither graceful nor athletic, but I turned out to be a pretty good dancer when I took tap, jazz, and ballet. I wish I'd continued.

First Concert: 

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Whitney Houston, at the NY State Fair, circa 1986? I miss her; but I miss her as clean and healthy.

First Foreign Country Visited: 

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Oh, Canada! We went to Niagara Falls (both sides), Toronto, and Ottawa. All on different trips, when I was a youngster.

First Favorite TV Show: 

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Perfect Strangers! Co-sin Larry Applaton! haha

First Favorite Actor: 

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Matt Dillon, from The Outsiders

First Favorite Actress: 

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Phoebe Cates in Gremlins and so many other films of that era

First Boyfriend: 

Ken, who turned out to possess a high degree of asshattery.

First Encounter with a Famous Person: 

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Dave Barry - First and Only

First Brush With Death: 

My first real brush with death was a birth, when I had a serious congenital heart defect that was supposed to require surgery, but my parents opted out of that. Another time, I was hit by a drunk driver on my way back to college in Miami. Third time was my emergency slice-and-dice C-section with my firstborn. That was the most traumatic of the three, by far!

First House/Condo Owned: 

This little townhouse with the bay window, in Virginia Beach, Virginia - first and only. Maybe one day there'll be another purchase. Who knows...?

First Film Seen: 

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The first flick I can remember seeing was E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, at the drive-in movie theater.

First Favorite Recording Artist: 

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Vintage Madonna

First Favorite Radio Station: 

93Q - the Top 40 Hits radio station we (my sisters and I) all listened to

First Book I Remember Reading: 

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It was a Dick and Jane reader in school; I know I read earlier than that, but what it was, I've no clue.

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Well, unless you count Richard Scarry picture books...

First Meme You Answered on Your Blog:

I used to participate in a weekly meme, when I first started this blog ten years ago, called "Works For Me Wednesday." Do any of you remember WFMW?  I don't know what I posted first on it, but one was supposed to post a tip, or in today's lingo, a "hack" that might help other bloggers. Obviously, I became wicked famous as a result. heh.


That was enjoyable! I hope you had a big time here. See you soon!


Field Trip: Fort Running Bear Park


On Thursday, Team Odette had the pleasure of heading out eastward in Idaho, past Mountain Home where a there is a heavier military presence, to Fort Running Bear RV Park. It seemed like a cool place to visit, so I set it up with the owners for us to come out for the day and check it out, before committing to a full overnight visit sometime.


After we were checked in, the girls were swinging happily on the deck. All was well and good. And then...


Jack started waving and pointing frantically off to the side of the deck, while I was just happily clicking along, ignoring him. Finally, he became insistent that I have a look. I'm glad I did!


There wer ea pair of hummingbirds visiting a sugar feeder there! So cute and tiny! I couldn't get too close, for fear of scaring them away. They stuck around quite awhile!


The land area around Fort Running Bear Park was gorgeous. Breathtaking, even, in some places. I'd fallen asleep while Rob drove us to the park, so I didn't get to see half the views, but it was really stunning. I wish I'd had more opportunity to snap photos!


Walking to the pool


At the pool, Sophia came rushing out of the restroom with this big ol' moth on her hand. She's our little bug girl. Right now, actually, she's obsessed with rolly-pollies. She brings a new one inside to show us every single day!


The kids had lots of fun in the pool; however, there were lots of bugs and Sophia was bitten - while swimming - by a fire ant. Twice! So beware the buggies.


Just a little bit of the view... merely a peek. Not nearly enough to do the place justice!


By the clubhouse, there was a bench with seats made out of former wheels. Or hubcaps. Rims. I don't know what the hell is what. But Sophia decided to have herself a seat, never-minding the blistering heat. Her poor rump!




There was a half-course miniature golf setup near the clubhouse, where we played after visiting the pool. They had golf clubs of all shapes and sizes, balls, and anything else one could possibly want to play the game. A few more snaps:




By the way, if you know anything about real golf, you can tell that we don't. And we suck. Par two? Pffft. That's a quadruple-triple bogey right there, baby!


Obligatory attempt at being an artistical photographess


These pretty little white fleurs were fairly ubiquitous around the Fort Running Bear property, so I had to grab a pic. And then I discovered that they were all over our own lawn a day or two later, also!


After miniature golf, we found ourselves a hand-built playground and took a ride on the swings. No bum splinters either, fortunately!


Anyone game for a little tetherball?


Giant tires used to be my favorite on my elementary school playground, myself. But what goes up...


...must come down!


How 'bout another swing, this time with Jack, hmm?


Nah, Jack preferred to push Sophia on her swing. He's not the best, um, swinger. Pumper? I don't know, it just doesn't sound good no matter what I write! ;)


Tiger lilies are my favorite flowers. These were pointed out to me by the lovely blonde lass we call Foofers, but alas, no black speckles and stuff. Just orange lilies. That doesn't matter, though - I love all lilies! 'Specially the orange ones.


Finally, we headed into the clubhouse to see what was what. What was was a huge dining room, nicely laid out with fresh flowers on each table, tons of eye-catching knickknacks, and a room at the back with more fun and games.



This, however, was not a fun find. At least for me.


But see? Eye candy! Knickknacks! Board games and more fun!

We were so tired out, thirsty, and hot by that point, that we decided to head home from the park. We cut our visit a little short, but we had the doggos at home waiting for us.


The drive home between Fort Running Bear Park was straight out of God's playbook. Idaho is beautiful country. I am super grateful to have beheld what I did that day, on the drive home. Unfortunately, you won't see it because I was actually doing the driving, which isn't conducive to Nikon-wielding. But trust me when I say that no photos and no words could do the beauty justice. One just has to witness it in person!


Well, would you look at that? Someone put this gratuitous video of a whale spouting rainbows right at the end of this post, speaking of whales... Huh?

Anyway, that's it for now. Thanks to the folks at Fort Running Bear Park for hosting us!


Saturday 9: I Will Never Let You Down

Saturday 9: I Will Never Let You Down (2017)
... because Smellyann recommended Fastball [woohoo, I'm famous!]

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
1) Fastball is a trio from Austin, Texas. Austin is the capital of Texas. When you were in school, did you have to memorize the state capitals?
I surely did, and it's funny because now that I homeschool my kids, I struggle to remember them sometimes myself! Whoops.

2) Have you ever visited your state's capital?
We live in Boise, the capital of Idaho. So... yes! And we have been to the capitol building, but we need to go again because my son Jack was too sick to go the first time I ventured out there with me girlies.
3) Fastball played dates throughout Canada this past spring. When did you last leave the US of A?
In November 2014, when we went to Mexico for a Happify convention.

4) Tony Scalzo is a founding member of Fastball. He's the singer in the video for this song, and that's his wife, Jennifer, playing the organizer of the speed-dating event. Have you ever gotten a job because you knew somebody?
5) In this pitch to a perspective lover, he admits he doesn't have much money. Last time you went to the ATM, how much did you withdraw?
Over a thousand dollars. Like $1200.

6) He sings that at times, his mind is hazy. Do you have a good memory for names?
I'm better with faces, much worse at remembering the names that go with them.

7) Fastball guitarist Miles Zuniga admits that he once had a crush on Carrie Fisher (aka Princess Leia). Tell us about one of your one-sided love affairs, either with a celebrity or someone you knew in real life.
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Matt Damon --- look at him! Look! How could he not be my imaginary celebrity boyfriend?!

8) Fastball's drummer Joey Shuffield is partial to drums from Pork Pie Percussion. This company was started by Bill Detamore, who began making drums as a hobby. Do you have any hobbies that, under the right circumstances, could make you money?
Yes, I have made quite a bit of money from my knitting. I don't know why I don't do it as much anymore; I think I did it so much that I (and my fingers) burnt out on it

9) The fast ball is the most common pitch in major league baseball. Now that the MLB season is past the halfway mark, how is your baseball team doing?
I haven't even had a glance at the score sheet.
Yeah, my entry was kind of boring this week, sorry. It's 97 degrees in our house with the air conditioning on the fritz, so I think my creative writing mojo has joined it.
See y'all for Sunday Stealing!

Lavender Fields Forever

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Last month, during the Young Living 2017 International Grand Convention last month, one of my very best friends, Shana, and I had the pleasure of touring the YL lavender fields. When I say it was amazing and inspiring day, consider that an enormous understatement.

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I did not know that D. Gary Young, founder of YL, was an accomplished and avid horseman before this trip. Because my youngest kiddo, Sophia, is also enthusiastic about horses, I may have gone a little overboard in taking horse pictures on this day. (Which was June 16th, for those keeping score.)

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I had to take a picture of the outhouses, because let's be honest: I'm immature like that!

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The first interesting thing (of many!) that we came across that day was the old-timey looking "village," where I ordered Shana about this way and that, in order to get the photos I wanted of her. It was a flip-flop for our relationship, which probably has a lot to do with the fact that she is the oldest of four, while I was basically the youngest of four. "Go stand in Jail! I need your picture in the clink!" And she did.

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"Hey, go stand by that banjo player and pretend you're in the saloon!" And she did! 

Speaking of that saloon, it's a good thing we weren't really after whatever YL-based elixir they were selling in there, because the lines everywhere, including here, were unbelievable. No patience for that, have I!

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"Hey, go stand over there by that old wagon!" and she did. With real snowy mountains in the background. In June, y'all. That kept blowing my mind more than a little bit.

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Speaking of lines... After old-timey place, we ended up in the expo tent, where we could find lots of items not available online or over at the Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake City where the rest of the convention was taking place. I ended up buying Animal Scents Shampoo, to bathe the pup and cats, and a leash-attached poopy bag dispenser. That's right, I was only thinking of the pets and no one else. Sue me!! ;) Oh, but despite the extremely long line, the staff were extremely organized and knowledgeable in getting us through the line and out the door quickly, so that was quite helpful.

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Inside this little Snack Shack, they were selling Peppermint (essential oil-infused) and Lavender (same) ice cream. Oh, how I wanted to try the Peppermint! I heard it was amazing. Shana wouldn't let me, though. We're both lactose-intolerant, so she was right to do so...

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The views, both up close and in the background, were incredible, so be prepared for a load or two of this type of pix in this post!

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The landscaping at the Lavender Farm was impeccably beautiful.

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As you can see, I couldn't get enough of the beauty and had to stop to smell the roses everywhere we roamed.

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There was another huge line leading up to... what? We had no idea. Eventually, news trickled down that it was another expo-type shop where you could buy exclusives, but neither Shana nor I were interested in that, so we skipped right on back out of the line upon hearing that. Too much to do yet!

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Instead, we hopped under this nearby tent for sniffing and sampling essential oils and other products infused with YL essential oils. Mmmm, everything - and everyone - smelled so gooood!

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Having already bought the Animal Scents shampoo, I was a little interested in the giant Animal Desk Reference nearby, but then I spotted the OOLA Oils and testers! Oh, My WORD! I want all of these oils. In a near-future post on the rest of the conference, I'll explain what the OOLA life is, but I definitely plan to add these to my next order! 

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After we sniffed ourselves silly, we wandered around until there was soon another moment of "Hey, Shana, go sit on that bech over there and let me take your photo!" And she did!

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There was a large, man-made pond (we're sure, anyway), where adventurers could paddleboat, kayak, and more - but those activities were closed for the day for some reason.

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So there was this jousting event at the Lavender Farm. I was very confused as to why there were would be such a thing at this tour, not knowing how hugely (bigly?) D. Gary Young was into horses, still, so though it was evident to me that Shana wanted to attend the jousting match, I gave her a lot of pushback as to actually going. I just didn't wanna! So off we went to do other things... for now.

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"Hey Shana, get over there and pretend you're being eaten by that dragon!" ...and she did. Y'all know the drill by now. Way to go, Shana, for being such a splendid sport about playing along with my shenanigans!

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Lunch was delicious, and the lines were pretty well organized. There were several for "regular" eaters, and then down at the end, there were two lines for Gluten-Free needs (Shana's line) and for Vegan eaters (my line). We both still had quite the spread, despite our restrictions! I had a potato and bean salad, a regular lettuce salad, a wolfberry compote of some sort, and multigrain chips and red pepper hummus. We were both too full for dessert, but neither of us probably could have partaken anyway, so there was no major loss there.

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This band, playing near the food tents, was epic. They were playing a wonderful love song dedicated to Chicken Pot Pie, which was both catchy and endearing. I need to find it on YouTube or something, because I kind of loved it myself. Hee!

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And then, we happened upon yet another musical act, which makes what? Three now? This time, they were actual bagpipers, with tartan kilts and the whole 9 yards. They were spectacular. I think I took a video, but I'm not sure it will show up here.

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We found all these flags, and it took me a minute to understand what they were all about, some being American, but many being from other... countries??

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Leaving the flags behind, we headed for a tour of the distillery. 

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"Hey Shana, go stand over here by those boiling hot stills and lemme grab your photo, eh?" And you know what happened.

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If I have to be completely honest, touring the distillery was probably my least favorite part of the farm visit. Why? Probably because it was so excruciatingly HOT in there!! I think about 1000 degrees F. No lie... ;)

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Hotter than hot.

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Actually, if you want to know why the odd color that looks nothing like lavender, it was was because it wasn't quite lavender harvesting season. Instead, they were distilling juniper. It did smell lovely in there, even if it did feel like we were down i the seventh circle of hell! HOT!

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Shana was surprised by how little equipment was in the laboratory for the distillery, because they run such stringent tests on each batch of essential oils, but I had no explanation for that. Maybe this one was just for show?

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Ahh, more flags on the outside. And then it became clearer to me. I realized that each flag must represent one of Young Living's farms or Partner Farms around the world. Which is a lot, because they go straight to the source of the best plants for the purest, most excellent oils, and so different parts of the world surely grow different oil-producing plants more ... beautifully.

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Oh, look! More horses, going somewhere! But where were they going??

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And now for a very exciting part! We caught a golf cart ride over to the lavender planting field, where we were each given our own lavender plant to bestow upon the earth over there in yonder field. You'll see.

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Shana was SO excited to plant her little baby. Truth be told, so was I! She took pictures of me planting mine as well, but I've gained some serious weight and am not happy with how I look in them, so those shots have gone "missing." ;)

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There you go, baby seedling. Grow up proud and strong, and come back to us in bottled form. LOL! ;)

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Here we are, in our Lavender Fields Forever! Soon they will be FULL of oil-producing lavender. Yay!

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At last, we finally decided to head to the jousting match, because, OH, WHY NOT?! I'm so glad we did. We climbed up into one set of bleachers that turned out to be the perfect place to land, and set to watching. Look who this is! D. Gary Young himself, prancing about with his Friesian steed, whose name was Bandito, and who happens to be  Sophia's favorite breed of horse. She was so excited when I told her about this later!

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So first, we watched the parade of horses, horse men and -women, and of course there aga
in with the American flag is D. Gary Young. So far, I was intrigued.

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And then the parade of nobility retreated, and the jousting match was set to begin.

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Mary Young, wife of Gary and co-founder of Young Living, sang the National Anthem. Shana kept whispering and pointing, "There she is, there she is!!" But I was dumb, like, "Who? What? Where? WHERE?" Until I realized she literally meant right THERE, just a handful of rows in the bleachers in front of us. Swoon...! We both were itching for a photo op with her, but the timing had to be just right.

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Mary Young was very intent on watching her husband in the jousting, though he didn't participate in any competitiveness. 

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Soon, the Lord and Lady of the presentation joined Mary Young up in the bleachers - right in front of us!

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I have a bajillion pictures of the various competitions, but I'll just share a small portion of them. In this game, the riders had to use their jousting stick thingies to catch rings of increasingly smaller sizes for points. The smaller the ring, the higher the points. I didn't know for whom to root, so I just rooted for everyone. Ha!

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We determined that this young man, who brought Mary Young a rose, was her grandson. They were very affectionate throughout the rest of the jousting match. Yeah, I was kind of stalking her a little bit. So? No harm, no foul.

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After each game, the winners would take their victory lap around the arena while everyone cheered. Woooo!

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Back to Mary. She must have known these two women, as they were talking up a storm for a while at the front of our set of bleachers. I was hopeful that this was our "in" to get a photo with her for Shana, who was gushing at the thought!

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This was the light jousting, without full armor. I think this one was when the young woman, the sole female jouster, won the match! Woot woot!

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Bandito the Friesian made another brief appearance to show his prancing dressage.

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Wait, what's this? We finally managed to get a shot with Shana and Mrs. Mary Young! Woohoo! Two beautiful women, right there.

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And now, the full-armor jousting. This was fast-paste and intense, y'all!

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Uh-oh. One of the jousters was thrown off his horse, and now he's turnt around and starting trouble. No, no, no, Mr. Jouster Man!

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What, wait, what's happening now? Threats! Threats, everyone! Take cover! ;)

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Triumph! I don't exactly know what happened, but look - pretty horses, Sophia! <3 hahaha

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And then it was my turn to geek out and get verklempt over a photo together with Mrs. Mary Young! So exciting!! Thank you Mrs. Young, and thank you, Shana, for taking the picture!

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Back to the jousting - another man down! Eek.

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Finally, the jousting show was over, but not for nothing. Shana and I were both stoked with what happened, from beginning to end, but especially with getting to meet Mary Young! That was the cream of the crop, as far as we were concerned. So thrilled!

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As the Lord and Lady left, Lady spotted my lens on her and gave me a personal wave. I don't know why, but I thrilled to that, as well.

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A few closing acts circled the arena, from a butterfly lady, to a woman on stilts, to a man with fire wings, to child play-jousters, to a man eating fire!

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Oh, we needed a few more photos of ourselves in front of the snowy mountain peaks - in JUNE! Can you tell I could not get over it? I couldn't.

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This photo was a funny one, because Shana got bumped in the back by one of the knights, who deadpanned, "Relax, lady, that's just my armor!" We all laughed, and I snapped the picture. Lots of giggling about that one!

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There was this Lavender Labyrinth that was supposed to lead to some sort of spiritual awakening, but by that point, we were just done. Shana walked in a little ways and smelled the lavender, but that was about it. My bones were aching, so I just wanted patiently. 

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This again?! Yep. You can't see her, but Shana was totally in that one right there. Hee hee hee.

Ah, I found the bagpipers' video. I thought it was longer. And, uh, better. But you get the gist. 

So that was our Lavender Farm trip, and we both loved every second of it. It was incredible. Hope you enjoyed it, too





Independence Day 2017

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Independence Day has long been my favorite holiday. I love the coming-togetherness of Americans that day, unlike any other day which usually divides us and keeps us, at least in these latter years, at a heightened sense of all our differences. On July 4th, everyone is an American. Aside from that: fireworks. I love them. We opted not to go this year, for reasons that include our dogs and chickens (we have chickens!! more on them in another post) and all the animals' well-being, so we had to come up with some other fun ways to spend the day. And that, we did!


For starters, Jack had a sleepover camp-out in the backyard with his friend, D. They ended up in a vastly different location in the yard from where they started, so who knows went on in the night? But they had a good time, so that's all that matters.



Also, there was pie for breakfast! This one was the cherry pie, from freshly grown, local cherries. Super amazingly delicious. I got it from this recipe on (using this recipe for the crust).



But why stop at one pie? We had to have apple, too! I made homemade whipped cream for the cherry pie, but I ducked out while the apple pie (from this recipe) was baking, to get some BOGO pints of Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream. All the recipes for dessert-for-breakfast were winners which I'll have to make again someday. 


As everyone was showering and getting ready for the next phase of our day, I put on an imPRESS manicure set from this collection. I love these nail sets for two reasons: They're inexpensive, and I'm a cheap bastard frugal mom; and also, they don't last that long, so I don't have to commit to having longer nail than I am used to with my own non-growing ones. I really can't stand long nails, but I like the look on my hands, so this is just right for me. Anyway, enough about the informercial... ;)


When everyone was ready, we headed to the movies to see Despicable Me 3. It was mildly amusing, and of course those Minions kept trying to steal the show. The kids laughed a ton, which made Mom happy. Money not wasted!

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Returning home from the movie, we grabbed D again and did some Pop-Its out in the driveway. The kids seem to like them more than my old favorite, sparklers, so I deferred to their preferences this year. Observe:

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They get a charge out of throwing a whole handful down at once. Meh. It's like gunpowder-meets-bubble wrap for me, and at 40 years of age, I guess I no longer see the appeal of either more than the odd rare occasion.


The goofballs and their Jolly Rancher popsicles... funny thing about those pops! Chloe had been wanting to try them for quite a while, but since I'm, uh, frugal, I didn't want to spend the money. Finally, for the holiday, I bent to her desires. And guess what? NONE of the kids really even liked them! Ha. Well, that settles that.


Later on in the evening, since we weren't going out the fireworks show, I decided to break out all the 4th of July glow sticks and such. My family know that I am always trying to get them to do ridiculous things for the camera, and usually they don't play along too well. That day, they did! I love this photo!

Enjoy the show!


Happy birthday, America!


Sunday Stealing: The Beginning Of Bev Meme

Morning everyone! It's 4:40 AM here in Boise, Idaho! Thought I'd get started on this meme so you all can enjoy some sillies from me for the day. Thanks to Bev Sykes for carrying on Sunday Stealing for all of us thieves! Let's get started, shall we? Link up here if you're playing along today!


Sunday Stealing: The Put Your Questions in the Box Questions

1. Where were you three hours ago?

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A funny (not so funny-haha as much as funny-disconcertingly-weird) thing happens to me now that I'm not what you'd call, uh, "well." I get tired and HAVE to sleep right then. Yesterday, Saturday, I decided to bake chocolate chip cookies for the family, despite the 104-degree heat. Halfway through baking, I called my husband to take over the cookies, because that sleepiness struck. It was probably about 6 or 7 PM. I just woke up around 3 AM. So to answer your question, I was sleeping, but it was an odd sort of crash-on-the-couch kind of sleep!

2. Make a confession.

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I have had my right nostril pierced for 20 years now. However, I've never been happy with it and am now thinking I'd rather have my septum pierced. I've also been tossing around the idea of a tattoo of my kids' names or initials or something for about 15 years. The truth is, besides my general indecisiveness and those being rather permanent decisions, I don't want to upset my now 75-year-old father. I'll be 41 in September, and I'm holding off on piercings and tattoos so I don't upset my dad. Lame, right? :\

3. Bad habits?

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I have OCD habits, which aren't bad so much as annoying - even to me! The one I really notice the most is getting in and out of the car to drive. I have to turn the lights on (if it's remotely dark out) and off, on and off, and on; same thing with setting and undoing the parking brake; sometimes I turn the car on and off several times, etc. I can't just get in and start driving. I keep thinking to myself, "Why did I do that? Why do I do this?" when it's happening, and yet I have no power to stop it. P.S. Trust me, I have plenty of bad habits, too...

4. Favorite color?

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I love every color of the rainbow, equally. I love all the colors! I say I live In Living Color, right out loud, bold and bright and (sometimes not) beautiful!

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Okay, okay, if I have to pick an absolute favorite color, it's the shade of the middle depths of the sea. Kind of like this one, above, which is really more than one. See? It's hard to pin down. Like me.

5. Can you drive?

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Not without doing all the OCD things mentioned above! ;) When I try to be, I'm a pretty good driver, I'd say. My youngest daughter Sophia, now 12, recently told me, "Mom, you drive better than Dad, but he definitely parks better than you." It's true. I suck at parking.

6. 3 pet peeves.

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a. Speaking of driving, and I've mentioned this one here a thousand times, it's those people who take half a lifetime to make their right turn in front of me. I should not have to come to a full stop so you can get your ass car around the corner. Sheesh, it makes my blood pressure rise just thinking about it! ;)

b. My oldest daughter Chloë, who will be 16 in September, remembers her dreams every morning when she wakes up. And like me, she is not a succinct person. And like me, she makes it rather apparent she needs to be heard. So, I'm sorry Chloë, but this peeve is having to listen to your nutty dreams every morning - or anyone else's!

c. Having to go to the bathroom... five seconds after I've washed my hands and left the bathroom. I drink gallons and gallons of water or whatever drink every single day. I have a huge bladder - World Record material, I'm thinking - but I still have to pee constantly because it's always full. I'd like a One and Done for once, please!

7. Last person you hugged.

The last person I hugged was this schmuckatello, Hubs, who goes along with everything I ask him to do when the camera is out. LOL... I guess that makes him not such a schmuck after all. He was up in the middle of the night, too, with a horrible headache. :(

8. Something you miss.

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It's kind of silly, but the thing I miss most about living in Miami is having the ability to hop on a cheap Caribbean cruise for three or four days, without having really to pay a ton of money or plan for months in advance. You know how many times we did that in the four years we lived there, though? Zero times infinity! :P

9. What song is stuck in your head at the moment?

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I have kind of a love/hate relationship with Miley Cyrus and her music, and her latest song "Malibu" doesn't change that. It just played on radio I'm streaming here on Rob's laptop, so now it'll be stuck in my head for two days. Awesome.

10. Favorite quote.

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Lately I find myself quoting everything Hubs says, whether to myself, to him, or to the kids. My favorite one seems to be, whenever something goes horribly wrong, "Welp, nothing we can do about it now!" Kind of eases the pain of whatever happened in a "yeah, that's true" way! (He's been saying that for nearly our entire marriage after an argument we had where once again I wanted him to do something he hadn't done. Haha!)

11. Favorite band.

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Aw c'mon, man! I told you I'm awful at picking favorites with the 'colors' question. I rather prefer finding random buskers on the Santa Monica Pier or whatever corner, wherever I am, who have more talent in their left pinky finger than the audio-corrected musicians on the radio who might sound like shit crap in person.

12. Something you're excited for.

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I'm hoping to have a Harry Potter movie marathon-party for my eldest's 16th birthday in September, with some also HP-obsessed friends. She'll be so excited if it works out.

13. Favorite movie.

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This one I can do: Dirty Dancing or Grease. They're tied for fave flicks.

14. What type of phone do you have?

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Right now, I have a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. I hate the Edge-feature of it, but I looooove the rest of it. We used to have iPhones; we upgraded to something better in line with what we wanted in a smartphone.

15. Favorite animal.

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Land: the African elephant

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Sea: the Mako shark

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Air: (right now it's) the Bald Eagle


Well, it's 6:00 AM now (yes, I took forever to write this post), so I guess I'd better start my day. Which consists of nothing much besides going to church at 11 AM, but I suppose that's enough.


Saturday 9: The Joker

Hey everyone! That mask freaks me out. I'm not a fan of masks. One time, in the first year of our marriage, I was pregnant with Chloë and taking a shower. Rob decided it would be a good idea to put on his dive mask and peek in the shower at me. When I turned around, I screamed bloody murder. Terrified, I was! I cried so hard, he hopped in the shower fully dressed to comfort me. So yeah. No masks.

So let's get to it, shall we?


Saturday 9: The Joker (1973)
because Stacy recommended it. 
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) In this song, Steve Miller claims he's a picker, grinner, sinner, lover, smoker and joker. Do any of those six words describe you?
I'm definitely a grinner. It's hard not to find me grinning unless I'm in excruciating pain. And even maybe then sometimes. Sinner, Lover, Joker - all me. The other two, nah.

2) He maintains he's still a midnight toker. When's the last time you got high?
Unless it's been via prescribed medication, nunca. Jamas! Never. But as for medically high... last night/a little bit still right now.
3) The lyrics include a reference to peaches. Name your favorite fruit.
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Oh gosh. That's a tough one! I love fruit, especially strawberries, canteloupe, and honeydew melon. But then there are oranges, lemons and limes; pineapple... oh, gosh. I think I like it all expect mangoes. Those do nothing for me!

4) This song had a big impact on the character of Joey on Friends, who had an imaginary friend named Maurice with the occupation of space cowboy. Did you ever have an imaginary friend? 
Nope, I never did. Also, I did not know that about Joey, etc. Huh!
5) Steve Miller is the pride of Milwaukee, WI. What else is Milwaukee famous for?
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The first thing I could think of was beer!

6) Steve Miller considers himself a serious blues guitarist. When did you last feel like singing the blues?

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About two hours ago. Full moon = full-on excruciating Lyme pain. All of us Lymies feel the same way right now: 10 is a number we blew past long ago, on the pain scale. I was crying the blues last night.
7) In 1973, when this song was popular, you could buy a portable 8-track tape player for $44.50. On what device do you listen to music most often?

Either on the laptop I'm borrowing from Rob or my desktop. Whichever I'm on, I stream music therewith.
8) A Curious George book packaged with a Curious George plush toy was a big seller at Christmas 1973. Tell us about a toy -- either given or received -- that brightened a holiday or birthday for you.
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I had several Cabbage Patch Kids, but when I was about 8 or so, I wanted a black CPK desperately. Don't ask me why; my dad (the racist) gave me plenty of pushback, but I was insistent. I actually received one for that Christmas! Her name was Tiffany Jacqueline; I took the most extra special care with her, like she needed my protection and love the most.
9) M*A*S*H was one of TV's top-rated shows in 1973. Who is your favorite M*A*S*H character?

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I can't do it. I hardly remember it; M*A*S*H was a bit before my time. Sorry!


Thanks for stopping by! What are your plans for this weekend? We may be going to a Lavender Festival later this weekend. We shall see!


Sunday Stealing: Bud's Last 40 Questions

Hey, everyone! Happy Independence Day weekend! Link up here if you're playing along this weekend. Let's go!


Cheers to all us thieves!

Sunday Stealing: Last The 40 Questions from Bud

1. My uncle once:

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... took me for a wild motorcycle ride, right after I'd been in a bad car accident. Both were quite memorable, but the sum was greater than the parts!

2. Never in my life:

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...have I, nor will I, go bungee jumping!

3. When I was seventeen:

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... I graduated high school, moved 2,000 miles away, and started both my undergraduate and Ph.D. degrees. Lotta good that has done me. ;)

4. High School was:

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I don't know, not so bad, I guess. I wouldn't go back, but I enjoyed school.

5. I will never forget:

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That time 2-year-old Sophia ate a pound of raw bacon.

6. I once met:

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Humor Columnist Dave Barry, who used to come into the Publix where I worked throughout college. He's awesome!

7. There’s this girl I know who:

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...used to be my sworn enemy from high school, and now we are great FB friends. I might go as far as saying she's super nice now - and I love that!

8. Once, at a bar:

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there was standing room only, and this one woman on the other side of Hubs was being a HUGE bitch. I was on a mystery shop and couldn't leave, but I was getting super Turnt UP! also, that was the first time I said I was "turnt up!"

9. By noon, I'm usually:

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...waking up. 

10. Last night:

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My daughters slept outside in the backyard, under the stars. Tonight, Hubs and Jack plan to join them. I'll be lonely in this house all by myself. Oh, wait. No I won't.

11. If only I had:

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... a billion dollars. I would do so much good with it. Like feeding my three teenagers to their hearts' content, for once!

12. Next time I go to church:

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I'll pay for my coffee this time. No more free coffee coupons. (If you've friended me on FB, you might know what I'm talking about.)

13. Susan Boyle:

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... is just kind of 'meh' to me.

14. What worries me most:

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... that something bad will happen to one of my three living kids, or that they don't thrive in adulthood.

15. When I turn my head left,I see :


...our two snoozy little pups.

16. When I turn my head right, I see:


My old man building a campfire for their sleep-out tonight. I offered to go get stuff for S'mores or buns for their hot dogs, but he didn't take me up on either. Fine with me!

17. You know I’m lying when:

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hahaha! When my story gets all detailed and extravagant, you know I'm telling a fib. ;)

18. What I miss most about the eighties:

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The music! I love 80s pop! (definitely not the fashion, lol)

19. If I was a character in Shakespeare, I’d be:

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Puck from A Midsummer Night's Dream - because I'm mischievous like that.

20. By this time next year:

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I hope we'll finally have our stuff and be unpacked!

21. A better name for me would be:

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Melanie Penelope! Much better than Melanie Ann... so boring to me!

22. I have a hard time understanding:

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why people take 90 billion years to make a right turn when there is absolutely no visible reason it should take more than 5 seconds. GO ALREADY!

23. If I ever go back to school, I’ll:

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I want to be a family court judge, maybe after the kids are all grown.

24. You know I like you if:

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I actually talk to you! A lot.

25. If I ever won an award, the first person I’d thank would be:


Hubs and these three munchkins for putting up with me!

26. When I compare 80’s rock to 90’s rock:

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I actually don't compare them. Totally different stuff.

27. Take my advice, never:

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...make a big deal about stupid shit today, that won't matter 5 days from now. Ever.

28. My ideal breakfast is:

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Um, this, I think! I totally have to make this sharky fruit salad! haaaa.

29. A song I love, but do not own is:

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I don't "own" any music anymore. I just stream it for free whenever I feel like it.

30. If you visit my hometown, I suggest:

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...immediately leaving. Ugh!

31. My favorite Beatle is:

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...definitely John Lennon.

32. Why won’t people:

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...excuse me when I fart doing yoga? I can't help it!!

33. If you spend the night at my house:

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...expect dogs barking, cats meowing, piggy squeaking, chickens squawking, and three teenagers and their mother being in a general state of chaos 24/7!

34. I’d stop my wedding for:

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...well, nothing, except for Matt Damon parachuting in and stating an objection on the grounds of his undying love for me. Okay, not even that.

35. The world could do without:

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Donald Trump, in any capacity, but especially as PUSA. UGHHHHH.

36. I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than:

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No. I will never do that.

37. My favorite blonde is:

SelfiewithSophieThis little blonde baby of mine, along with my blondie son, Jack River.

38: Paper clips are more useful than:

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This guy. Remember this guy? Oooooofffff course you do.

39. If I do anything well, it’s:

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this. Pretty much this. ;)

40. And by the way:

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Welp, y'all have a great holiday, and thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Yankee Doodle

Hey Saturday 9'ers! Link up here if you're playing along today!


Saturday 9: I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942) 

1) This week's song was performed by James Cagney in the famous movie of the same name. Do you plan on going to the movies this holiday weekend? 

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Yes! We went yesterday to see Despicable Me 3 in our local Boise theater. It was semi-mildly amusing, but I think I really only laughed out loud once. Jack, sitting next to me, was rolling, though, so that was good. Guess it really was meant for kid consumption, eh?

2) Though known for his larger-than-life screen presence, Cagney was only 5'5". How tall are you? 

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I'm 5'1.5". My youngest child, Sophia, has juuuust reached my height at 12 years, 2 months of age. The older two are shorter, however.

3) During the Revolutionary War, General Washington celebrated the 4th of July by giving his troops a double ration of rum. Will you imbibe any spirits this holiday weekend?

I had two sips of Hubs' Oregon's Original Full Sail Amber yesterday and received quite the buzz off just that little bit. That'll be all; I'm not planning on drinking much at all anymore, because it just doesn't go well with having Lyme disease. (That beer did not live up to it's "Ridiculously Tasty" catchphrase, in my opinion. But it was very hoppy, and I do not like hoppy beer.)

4) American history was one of Crazy Sam's best subjects in school. Science was her worst. In which class did you earn your worst grades?

I didn't really earn any poor grades, but I was probably the flip-flop of Crazy Sam.

5) The Fourth of July means we're in the middle of summer. Are you careful about applying sunscreen?

I'm pretty careful about applying it to my face, but only because there is SPF in my JAFRA Royal Jelly skincare routine. I'm generally horrible about applying it anywhere else, though this is a consciously-stupid decision.

6) Mosquito bites can be a major summer annoyance. Are you scratching any itches right now?

Yes, but on my neck, so I think my essential oil diffuser necklace is irritating it. It's not from a bug bite.

7) Emergency rooms report an increase in wrist injuries in summer, with people falling off bikes and skateboards and jamming their wrists catching hard-hit softballs. Have you recently been to the ER or Urgent Care?

I went twice in June to ER - once here in Boise, and once in Salt Lake City, Utah recently - for chest pains. I'd rather I had been doing something fun!
8) New York is home to Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest every year on the 4th. Will hot dogs be consumed in your household this weekend?
Yes, but not by me: Years ago, about 18 months into my vegetarianism, they were selling Boar's Head hot dogs outside the Publix where I worked. That was 50 cents' worth of pure hot dog heaven. I went back for another, and then I went to the deli and bought myself a whole package! After that, I returned to vegetarianism... but to make a long story short, those are the hot dogs I decided to buy my family for their Independence Day munchies. I forgot buns, though, so I guess I better return to WinCo for some of those!

9) Atlanta hosts a 10K Peachtree Road Race every 4th of July. Are you a runner?
Hahaha! Hahahahaha!! No. No, not at all. There are a few cases in which I'll run: my child is about to run into traffic, I'm late for the bus, someone is chasing me, and... that's about it. I am no runner.
Happy 4th of July to my fellow Americans! Thanks for stopping by!