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Entries from October 2017

Sunday Stealing: Monster Mash

Hey, y'all, link up here if you wish to play along this weekend!

ghost: what would you like on your tombstone?


 Actually, I don't want a tombstone. Bury me at sea!


   dracula: are you afraid of aging? or death?

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That about sums it up. I never expected to live past 33, so the past 8 years have been considered "bonus time." I never pictured myself aging. It's totally surreal - and it's cool that I'm here, but the actual physical aging part completely sucks!

  nosferatu: what, as a child, did you imagine went bump in the night?

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Actually, I did not have to imagine. Plenty of real things went bump in my nights.

    godzilla: what do you do when you are angry? are you ever destructive?

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I can be. I truly like to throw shit. But when I am super pissed, I tend to yell and say a lot of bad words, until I'm able collect myself enough to go give myself a time-out in my room.


the blob: do you collect anything? if so, what & why?

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[The above photo is not mine. Most of mine are in storage right now.] I like to travel, so I collect shot glasses from wherever I go. I have about three display cases full now and will continue. Sometimes, we even get to use them! ;)

zombie: when was the last time you trusted your gut? was it successful?

Lucky Peak Beach 007

[This photo is mine: Lucky Peak Beach in Boise, Idaho.] The last time I truly had to trust my gut was when we decided it was a good idea to uproot our family, once again, and move cross-country from Miami, Florida, to Boise, Idaho. Three teens/tween, two dogs, four cats, two gerbils, and a guinea pig, plus us parents, hauled ass for four long event-filled days to get here, and it has paid off. It is beautiful here. The people are lovely. And our kids are so much happier. Whew!

mothra: what is something dangerous that attracts or fascinates you?

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You can take the girl away from the sea, but you can't take the sea out of the girl! I will always consider myself a marine biologist, no matter how far removed from that life I have gotten. Sharks. I love them, will always love them, even I shit my dive suit when I encounter a big'un like these. I'm all in.

king kong: what are some questionable choices you've made lately?

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On the contrary, I think my choices lately have improved. I've jettisoned some childhood baggage from which I have finally released myself, and relied more on my husband and family to provide my Here and Now. I've asked for help, and gotten it. Things are better. Much, much better...

alien: what is your strangest feature?

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I'll keep it clean and stick to my flaring nostrils. I can flare them on demand. I can also wriggle my nose like a bunny. Not too fabulous, but at least it's not NSFW! ;)

cthulhu: do you like the ocean? why or why not?

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Clearly, I do, and I do not quite understand folks who do not. I am almost mystically drawn to it, and I would give up everything to be a mermaid. Maybe. ;)

nessie: have you ever felt invisible to people -- the feeling of not existing?


Oh, absolutely! When I looked like this, at 340+ lbs, I was definitely invisible. Some people, of course, looked at me with disgust and loathing, but for the most part, I was ignored. People shut doors in my face instead of holding them open, no one looked me in the eyes, let alone smiled at me... but all that changed when I lost the weight. It was almost surreal.

    mutant spider: what is one of your biggest fears?

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I've already lost one of my children. It would kill me if it happened again.


werewolf: if you could change into any nonhuman animal and back at will, what animal would you change into and why?

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I think I would be an albatross, or some other large sea bird. I could spend my days in flight and draw my life from the sea. It sounds amazing.

golem: if you could make up an imaginary friend, what would they be like and why?

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They would be someone I could laugh hysterically with over the weirdest and strangest shit, someone who "gets" me and all my quirks and neuroses, and accepts me for who I am. Someone I can get into trouble with and have fun, but not any  kind of trouble that harms anyone else! (Wait, this sounds like I'm describing my husband.)


leprechaun: what is your "pot of gold" (or white whale, if you'd rather)

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Contentment and relaxation have proven to be elusive for me throughout my adult life. However, with the newest addition of Lithium to my psych cocktail, it's kind of a "forced" relaxation that I'm actually enjoying. And I am learning to be content in the individual moment, which leads to greater happiness overall. At least, for me.

sharktopus: what is something you've done that was ridiculous or a bad decision?

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One of the worst decisions I've made was when Sophia (my youngest) was entering kindergarten, Jack (now 14) was entering second grade, and Chloë (my oldest) was entering fourth. We decided to homeschool all of the kids that year for the first time - a GREAT decision, but I also let myself be talked into leading a new Girl Scout Daisy troop with far too many girls and way too many demanding, irritating parents. Sophia was in that troop. I was also the Treasurer and the Cookie Mom for that troop and Chloë's Junior troop. I was also involved in Jack's Cub Scout Tiger troop and helping him with selling popcorn. I was also doing a crap-ton of mystery shops, sometimes maxing out at nine or 10 in a day. I was deeply overwhelmed. I lost a lot of sleep and became extremely dependent on caffeine. I still am. It was a horrible number of plates to keep spinning, while attending do my wifely and motherly duties at the same time! I'm still trying to learn to say "no," though. It's hard for me.

 robot: what is a habit you do without thinking?

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I have fidgeting skillz like the best of them. I am nonstop movement. I don't know if that is why, but I have major muscle spasms in my hands and feet now, and I'm convinced I have a Restless Leg thing going on. I remember when my dad Sperm Donor was my Sunday School teacher, and he was constantly berating me to, "Stop fidgeting, Mellie! Settle down, Mellie-Ann!" I never did, though. I couldn't!


Oh, we've reached the end! Well that was fun. I have to hop in the shower now. Have a lovely!

Saturday 9: Voices Carry #ThisIsSOLastWeek

I'm doing last week's Saturday 9 because... I missed it, and I love this song. So link up HERE if you want to belatedly play along, too!

Saturday 9: Voices Carry (1985)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

This song was chosen because October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Please share this link to The National Domestic Violence Hotline. Let's spread the word that there's help out there.
1) In this song, a woman is "hushed" by her lover. When were you last told to "keep it down?" 
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Probably not since I was a kid although maybe that's just because I remember Daddy Dearest saying it to us daily, on the hour. :\

2) Her lover tells her tears are something to hide. Researchers tell us that crying can be good for us, because by releasing emotional stress, it lessens physical stress on the cardiovascular system. Are you comfortable crying in front of other people?
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No, I hate it. (Especially if I'm wearing mascara.) My nose swells up and I just look a mess. Other than that, I don't really care.

3) In this video, the woman makes a scene by speaking up in a theater. Today theater goers are more likely to be disturbed by a cell phone ringing or its screen illuminating. Are you careful to turn your phone off in the theater, church, etc.? 

4) When this group, Til Tuesday, was still struggling, Cyndi Lauper was already a star. Cyndi offered to record this song, which would have brought the group some fast cash, but only if they agreed not to record it themselves. Obviously they didn't take the deal. Tell us about a time you took a risk on yourself, and it paid off.

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Everyone thought I was soooo crazy for eloping with Rob two months after meeting him, but here we are 17 years later!
5) Til Tuesday's lead singer, Aimee Mann, went to Open High School in Richmond, Virginia. This charter high school is dedicated to helping students become "self-determined thinkers and learners." Do you recall your high school as permissive or regimented?
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Well, not exactly as regimented as military school, but it was still pretty rigid. There were some more permissive teachers, but not for the most part.
6) Aimee has been on the road through 2017 and, like most artists, sells tour merchandise. Her line includes reusable tote bags. Do you bring your own bag to the grocery store?

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Though I have tons of tote bags, no, I typically get the grocery store bags. We use them to bag up the contents of our dirty litter bags.
7) Aimee has tried her hand at acting and appeared on Buffy, The Vampire Slayer. From Dracula to Barnabas Collins to Lestat, vampires are a popular culture staple (especially in October). What do you suppose accounts for their enduring popularity?
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Hm, I'm really not sure. Lots of fantasy folks are popular in our culture. I don't know if that speaks more to our culture's obsession with fantasy, though.

8) In 1985, when this song was popular, Bruce Springsteen was at the top of the charts with Born in the USA. A massive commercial success, Born in the USA has sold more than 15,000,000 copies in the United States alone. Is it in your collection?

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No, but then, I don't really have a collection.
9) Random question: In which race would you do better -- the Iditarod, with sled dogs in Nome, or speeding in a car at 200+ mph at the Indianapolis 500?
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I would be willing to try both, but I would rather try the Indy 500!
Ahhh, it's good to be back. Thanks for having me!


Saturday 9: Monster Mash #Halloween Edition

Hey, everyone. I know a lot of you out there read this post and didn't know what to comment, which is fine. No one was expected to say anything, though I dearly appreciate what The Gal said to me. Some of you reached out to me privately, and I appreciate that, too, as well as knowing there were even more of you who just did not know what to say to me.

Let this post stand to let you all know: I am back, and I am okay. I have been deeply wounded, and I have come back, but I am still building my sandcastle because I have so much more left undone in this world. My meds have been changed once again, and it has taken me this long to get adjusted to the new cocktail. (You guys, I'll be honest: it is always hard to adjust to new psych cocktails, and this time was no different. I had to cancel homeschooling the children for a full week and had a hard time even waking up and/or opening my eyes during that week!) But I am here, and I feel renewed.

SO. Enough of that! Let's GO! Link up HERE if you wish to play along this weekend.


Unfamiliar with this week's featured song? Hear it here.
1) In your younger days, did you ever trick or treat while dressed as a monster or ghoul?

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Ew, no. To be honest, I had to look up what a ghoul was actually supposed to look like so I could say for sure. A resounding "NO!" to that one, monsters too. A typical Halloween costume for me would have been a clown, ghost, or dancer, the latter using my own dance stuffs.
2) Do you enjoy being frightened by celluloid boys-gone-bad, like Michael Myers (Halloween) or Jason (Friday the 13th)?

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Another NOPE! from me. I do not enjoy being scared. I've had enough of that shit from real-life scenarios; I don't need to intentionally scare myself. Hate it.
3) When you were a kid, did you ever TP a neighbor's house or indulge in any other Halloween acts of vandalism? (Don't worry, the statute of limitations is up.)

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No, never. I would never have done that, nor will I ever. Having said that, one year when we lived in Virginia Beach and the kids were young, I told my husband I kind of missed out on some naughtiness and felt like throwing eggs. Haha! In the middle of the night, he went outside with me and threw eggs into the middle of the road. That was it. Did that!
4) Will you be attending any Halloween parties this year? If so, will you dress up?
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Not this year; we don't know anyone having one, although we were invited to have the kids Trunk-or-Treat at our neighbor's LDS church. We still haven't even solidified our plans on where we'll be, though I think we are going to stay home and hand out candy and let the kids go out on their own this year. Now that they are 12, 14, and 16, I think they're ready for it! Eek.
5) Can you see any Halloween decorations as you answer these 9 questions?
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Nope, not inside the house. Halloween is not my "big" decorating holiday, and we still do not have our belongings back from the move. I'm pushing to have the money for that saved by the end of 2017. But I digress... no, but on the front door I have an Autumn-themed wreath, and there are five pumpkins waiting to be carved - TODAY! - on the front porch. Yay!

6) While Halloween is most popular in the United States and Canada, it isn't really celebrated at all in Japan or South Korea. How would you explain our Halloween customs to a visitor from another land?
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Oh, I think they already do know about it in Japan, actually. Judging from my Googling, anyway, it has caught on.
7) "Monster Mash" is one of Halloween's most played songs. Are you happy to hear it every year? Or does it set your teeth on edge?

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Eh. It's a "give or take" kinda thing for me.
8) This week's featured artist, Bobby "Boris" Pickett, started as a stand-up comedian who incorporated his imitations of Boris Karlof and Bela Lugosi into his act. Can you impersonate anyone?
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I can't. Though I pick up accents rather quickly, I am horrible at imitating celeb voices.
9) Dick Clark was an impossibly young-looking 33 in this week's featured clip. Are you often told you look good for your age?

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My age doesn't often come up, so I don't know if people think I look good for 41 or not! ;)

Because I Will Not Be Silent Anymore.

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*Before anyone judges me for making this extremely public, walk a mile in my shoes let alone live my entire life from birth to present. I've thought about this for long enough before being brave enough to post it. THEN come back and apologize.*
Dear Dad,
Open this link and read it from start to finish. And then read it again, only slower now, and hang on every. single. word. And because I know you completely lack empathy and are hard-headed except when it suits you, personally, print it out. Keep a copy in your wallet, your car, your briefcase, on that bulletin board in your office... Hell, keep a copy of it on your night table if you have to.
I mean, only if you want to remain a part of MY life and my husband's and our children's lives, that is.
And DEFINITELY read it again before you ever DARE send me a letter like the one I received from you earlier this month. It took me a week to even read it; I'm so fucked-up from the pain of my childhood that YOU had a great deal in contributing to that that's how long it took me to even open the envelope. And then when I actually did have the nerve to read the letter inside? The bottom dropped out of me once again, at 41 years old, so fast and so hard that I nearly killed myself. Again. Nearly killed myself, AGAIN, which I have been trying to do since I was about eight years old and have not seriously tried last since we lived in Virginia.
I'd post that letter here and pick it apart, line by line, except that it's already been destroyed by the paper shredder. You upset so much that my husband and children came running from the sound of my shrieking. My husband is angry. My children is angry. One of my kids is super-sensitive and extremely empathetic and knows my story so well, that I am now concerned for his/her own safety as much as my family is about mine.
I am shaking and crying now as I type this, and my mind is starting to want to fly off in 75 different directions, from the pain you caused me with that letter.
To put it lightly, you do not GET it. You do not understand me. You do not know me. And you clearly do not care, either.
Do you think for one moment that I have not TRIED to have a job? I know I am smart; you don't have to tell me that. Having been accepted to the Ph.D. program I wanted at 17 and getting my MENSA card at 22, I do not need your assurances any longer.
Do you think for one moment that I have not TRIED to get better? To be better? To do more, and be more, than what I am? I was a go-getter, a high achiever, a mover and a shaker in my youth. I have a doting husband and three kids who love me now, so of course I want to be the best I can for them. And for myself.
But not for you. Not anymore.
You asserted in your letter that if I would just do what you did and put a little physical separation, a little distance, between myself and my whatever-your-Christian Science-cult has brainwashed you into believing is wrong with me, then I should mentally be able to do the same, and all would be well. I should be just fine. You know, more like you.
But I'm not like you. Thank the merciful heavens I am Not. Like. You, because then I might be on the prowl for Husband #6 - or is it 7 now; I can no longer count - with kids and grand-kids all over the country who would really rather not have anything to do with me. (That last bit obviously doesn't bother you that much, though, does it? After all, you abandoned your first kid from Wife #1 for, you claim, Wife #2; beat the shit out of your second kid and saw her get emancipated at 16; and again abandoned your last kid - that would be me - at 17, alone with HER in Baldwinsville, while you forged a new life for yourself in South Carolina. Congratulations, you're a selfish douche!)
I am also not a racist, bigoted pig, like you are. (I'll bet that white hood is a lot easier to wear in SC than it was in NY.) I don't rail against all the Jewish people who ruined my life in NYC and are now ruining my visits to South Florida. Or "all the Mexicans." Or all the old people, or all the young people, or all the pick-a-color people, or all the Catholics, or all the "harmless" non-denominational people (you remember calling our church that? Harmless), or all the Muslims, or all the poor people, or all the super-wealthy people, or anyone in between who isn't a WASP like you. Don't forget they probably should not have health insurance, either, because then they also might not believe the cult propaganda you fed my mother and may actually go to the doctor when they're sick and dying at 33 and have two young kids to care for at home.
I'm thinking you're not much liking social media at present, what with all the #MeToo stuff you're having to encounter. That probably really grinds your lecherous teeth together. Put I don't really want to dip my toe into that fun pond of water right now.
Anyway, here's the thing: you want me to separate myself from the source of the problem so that I can begin to heal? Okay. We've tried this before, but I'm game to try it again for shits and giggles. Don't call me, don't text me, don't pop up on my Messenger and, if you have two tiny brain cells left to wave at each other across that massive void where your shining personality crawled out of, DON'T send me another letter like that.
Here are your walking papers. Go. And don't look for women near Idaho to hit up while you're supposed to be visiting us like last time, okay? That's just annoying, and you won't have anywhere to stay at our house.
There. I already feel better.
Wait. Except that I don't.
Picture me like a sandcastle built close to the shore, a beautiful cheery thing, except that at an age too young to understand death, some big jerk kid like you comes along and suddenly kicks that sandcastle all over the beach. And then, while the sand is still wet, still devastated from that major blow, the big jerk kid invites a bunch more jerk kids over and proceeds to poke holes in the sand, kick it around, pee on it, throw it at each other, and just laaaugh and laaaaugh at this sport. Imagine, though, that somehow this sandcastle was made of some very precious sand and, after this ten-year-long party finally ended, it was able to slowly, grain by grain, put itself back together again.
Only, the blueprints had been destroyed, and the castle no longer knew how it existed long before. Something still beautiful but a lot less cheery formed in its place. Eventually curtains were put up and shades were drawn, so the rebuilding process could be attempted while no one was looking.
And then imagine, just as it grew a little taller and a little sturdier than it had been the first time, this fully grown big jerk came along and destroyed it all over again. This time, the sandcastle, now 26, fully understood the permanence of that death, and the big jerk yelled at it, "Well, maybe you just weren't put together right!" (Remember that? I do.)
By that point, all the pieces of the blueprint had been washed away, and the only remembrance of the original was from a few Polaroids left behind. You could still imagine what the sand castle was like, and try to build a new one that looked like it, but it was never going to be the same structure inside again. It was too late. All that damage had already been done and could never be undone. Not even by the big letter-writing jerk himself. Not ever until the magic sand faded away and no longer needed to put itself back together again, because time was up.
We're not at that point right now, I hope. Not yet. I still have some rebuilding to do inside before I'm ready to meet my Maker, and I really don't want you to knock me down again. It hurts too damned much.
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Sunday Stealing: Crush Meme

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


What do you find hilarious, but most people don’t find funny?

Lavender Farm Day 010

Potty humor

2. What was the best year of your life so far?


Probably 2001, since that's when this crazy family began!

3. What’s your favorite thing to do on the Internet?

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I go from window to window to window... not true multi-tasking, since I don't believe that's truly a thing, but close enough!

4. What fad have you held on to even tho it isn’t popular any more?

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I try not to give into fads much, so I don't know of any?

5. What do you spend most of your time doing?

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Hubs calls me the nucleus of the family, so I guess I spend most of my time nucleating!

6. What do you spend way too much money on?

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Um, I have three teen-aged children. FOOD.

7. What event, large or small, has changed the course of your life most?

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Losing my mom at the age of 7

8. Whom do you have a hard time taking seriously?

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This guy

9. What do you judge people for most often?

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Voting for this guy - if they did...

10. What was the most beautiful view you have ever experienced?

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I've seen some pretty stuff in my life, but Tumon Bay, Guam, where we stayed in 2002, ranked high up there!

11. What is something you read or heard that has stuck with you for a long time?

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I have long been a proponent of saving the Earth's various ecologies... but especially the rainforests. So in college, when I learned that Americans are the primary consumers of the beef and other livestock that the rainforests are being destroyed to raise, I quit eating meat then and there. That was in 2005.

12. What’s your favorite thing to shop for?  Why?

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Y'all know I love my yarns. I could shop for yarn every day of my life and never get tired of it!

13. What’s the best compliment someone can receive?


I think it varies for each person. For me personally, I think it would be that my kids have turned out to be great human beings. Let's hope!

14. What’s something people go on and on about and you just can’t stand sitting through?

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I'm just not into finance or insurance stuff - I really don't have the head for it, and I'm okay with that - so when people talk about it, my eyes gloss over and I tune out immediately.

15. What’s something you can do that most people can’t?

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I have genuine Bipolar I Disorder - the kind with honest-to-goodness, REAL mania - not the kind far too many people insensitively joke that they or someone they know have, so I can spend all night cooking and baking everything in the house and then completely function the next day... and repeat! (Or whatever my craze of the moment is)

16. When was the last time you tried to look cool and ended in embarrassment?

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I could never pull off trying to look cool, so I don't even bother!

17. What is the most ridiculous rule you have to follow?

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Well, just the societal norms, now... but shortly after we were married, again on Guam, I took our pets to the Air Force base vet. Well, something (I don't remember what) went wrong, and I was pissed and acted like it. Shortly after that, both my husband (mostly him) and I were reprimanded for my bad behavior. It was then that I learned that as a Navy wife, my actions reflected completely on him, and I had to learn to control my outbursts. Heh. I'm pretty good at outbursts, y'all. (Goes with the aforementioned Bipolar...)

18. What country do you not know the location of, even though you should?

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I honestly have no earthly idea where Tahiti or Bora Bora are.

19. What do you have a hard time with but most people find quite easy?

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I have the hardest time getting coherent thoughts out of my brain and off my tongue. I just cannot speak well. I think the part of my brain that controls speech melted, or something...

20. What’s the most impressive skill you have?

I guess I knit and crochet pretty well. I should probably do some more of it!


That's the end. Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Chattanooga Choo-Choo

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Hey, party people! Welcome back to Saturday 9! Link up here if you're playing along this weekend!

Let's GO!


Saturday 9: Chattanooga Choo-Choo (1941)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1)  Chattanooga is Tennessee's fourth largest city. Have you ever visited Tennessee? If so, where did you go and what did you see?
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Yes. With my pal Stephanie and her eldest son Lucas, and my three then-teenytots, we did a mystery shop at a resort in Gatlinburg. We also visited Pigeon Forge. I have driven through Chattanooga, and there are some cool views there, coming in from the North Carolina side. I wouldn't say it's my favorite state in the Union, but I didn't hate it! ;)

Since Glenn Miller's recording of "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" was awarded the first-ever gold record, we're going to devote the next questions to your firsts.
2) What was the first award or accolade you ever won?
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Third grade Class Giggler; my proudest achievement, y'all!

3) We know about your blog. But which was the first social media site that you posted to? (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, MySpace ...)
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Pretty sure it was MySpace.
4) Where did you go on your first plane ride?
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Probably Newark, New Jersey, from Syracuse, New York, to visit the gran'parents after we moved upstate. That was a flight I made many times.

5) Tell us about your first cell phone.
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It was a Nokia candy bar phone, a lot like that one, and I got it in 2003. After we moved back to CONUS from Guam, we decided to drop the landline thing and go exclusively cellular. Never looked back; never regretted that decision! 

6) Tell us about your first tattoo: Where is it on your body? Where did you have it done? What does it depict?
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No tats for me!

7) How old were you when you had your first piercing?
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 I got four piercings in each ear between the ages of 8 and 20 or so. After thinking about it for three long years, at 21, I pierced my nose on the right nostril. They jacked up the piercing, though. Instead of having it repierced, I really want a septum piercing (as does my 12yo daughter, Sophia) and a tragus piercing. Just haven't had the balls time money to get those done yet.
8) What had you been drinking the first time you suffered a hangover?
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A shot of Goldschläger - or three - at the age of 17, with my much older buddies from work. That was an every weekend occurrence until I graduated high school, pretty much (with a GPA of like 4.4 btw). I can no longer drink the stuff. Ecccchhhhkkkkkk!
9) Was your first ticket for parking or was it a moving violation?
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I think my first ticket was for going over 100 mph on the Howard Frankland Bridge in Florida, going from my home in St. Pete to my grad school classes in Tampa. I was running late, but I was also blasting the tunes and singing at the top of my lungs, completely oblivious to the cruiser trailing me for many miles. That was not a small ticket.
Ah, those were some "Firsts" memories. Thanks, Crazy Sam! Have a fun Saturday, you guys!

Young Living Fall Festival & Draft Horse Show 2017

2017 Young Living Fall Festival and Draft Horse Show

Hey, folks! So, being that I am all about the Young Living Essential Oils (and related products) these days, I was super gung-ho about traveling to Mona, Utah, for the second time in as many seasons in order to attend their Fall Festival. A quick conversation or three with Rob about it, and reservations and plans were made and set in place for us to head down to Nephi, Utah, to spend the night on September 30th and then go to the festival on October 1st.

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This was in or near Nephi, and let me tell you, they nailed it. Middle of nowhere, indeed! Our accommodations there were inexpensive, and it was definitely a case of "you get what you pay for."

But moving on to Sunday's visit to the Young Living Lavender Farm in Mona.

Utah YL Fall Festival Trip 002

We arrived around 10 AM, right when it opened for the day, and then proceeded to wait inside Phoenix (our Dodge Journey) for a bit while the rain was working up the urge to drop. Having decided to hold off for a (very) short while, we braved the chill and headed out. A kind driver of a large golf cart picked us up and delivered us to the Visitor's Center.

Last time I was there, with Shana in June (as written in this post), we skipped the long lines of the Visitor's Center entirely.

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With Team Odette alongside me, however, I was encouraged to head in. And look! All the pretty oils! (I mean, what else would you expect from a working Young Living farm?) Between this house and our Miami household goods' pack-out - which, no, we have not yet received - I have a good many of them, but I'd love to have them alllllll...!

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I wasn't there just for myself, however, so we didn't stick around long. The kids picked out some vanilla-cinnamon ice cream (which, it turned out, not one of us liked) and then started scurrying in 75 different directions at once around the farm. By and by, Jack noticed the existence of the paddleboats and came running to ask if he and Sophia could use them. The cost was included in our entry fee, so sure! Why not? He floated in his life vest, so I kept a close eye on them, but they had a blast!

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Utah YL Fall Festival Trip 023
Utah YL Fall Festival Trip 023

The pony rides were also included in admission price, so the kids took their turn at that, too. Sophia, cantering-sometimes-galloping, showjumping Sophia, on an itty-bitty pony was quite amusing to all five of us!

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After pony rides, while we were trying to decide what next to do, we were joined by a percheron draft team. The girls rushed over for the first of many photo ops. Beautiful horses; I think I'm a fan of the draft horses the most. Particularly the Clydesdales, maybe in part due to my many years of Anheuser-Busch-sponsored Oktoberfests in Baldwinsville, New York...

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Beautiful, majestic creatures, they were.

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This is Bandido, the Friesian owned by D. Gary Young, co-founder of Young Living. He shared a moment with Sophia, a moment so touching and emotional to her that she quickly turned to me and ran, having a good sob in my arms. It reminded her of so many such memories with Buddy, the horse she leased at Miami International Riding Club, back when we lived there. I whispered what I hoped were comforting words to her, and the tears subsided, allowing us to continue our visit with the beautiful Friesians - Sophie's favorite breed.

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More Friesians getting groomed for the upcoming draft horse show

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While visiting the Friesian barn was maybe the highlight of the trip for Sophia, Jack and Chloë were perhaps not quite as enthralled.

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Utah YL Fall Festival Trip 056
Utah YL Fall Festival Trip 056

Okay, perhaps we looked at the Friesians a bit longer than we normally might've, to escape the bone-chilling rain... ;)

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One more pose, and then out we went...!

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One is hard-pressed to deny the beauty of the lavender farm with the mountains as a backdrop.

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I'm not sure if they were Nez-Perce or another tribe, because we couldn't hear the announcements, but American Indians were performing on the property that day as well. Hopi? I honestly wasn't sure and didn't get the chance to find out.

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A perfect photo opportunity, in which Jack refused to participate - shocker! He always refuses. ;)

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Shana and I took many photos in the Olde Town section of the farm during this past visit, and the kids weren't terribly interested in it, so we largely skipped that area this go-'round.

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Hello, random camel. At least you led us to a discussion over whether you were a dromedary or a bactrian! (Former, if you're wondering, based on the one hump...)

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Oh, check it out: Jack's not so afraid of having his photo taken, after all! Heh heh heh.

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Utah YL Fall Festival Trip 080

The girls decided, next, to attempt the bull-riding thingamajobbers. Unfortunately, they rode simultaneously, so I was back and forth with photos, videos going on the camera and ended up missing the moment of truth for both girls. Dammit! But they had a blast, and that is what mattered. (Yeah, right. It's the pictures. Ha!)

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I see you seein' me, Sophia!

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Rob found an old, empty wasps' nest and threw it at Sophie. This was not well-received. Haha!

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Hey, Ma! Just hanging around...

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Jack and I abstained from the Rock Wall climbing which engaged everyone else. Chloë got a little bit off the ground; Sophia achieved much higher heights, and then the girls challenged Rob. His derring-do of younger years paid off, but not quite enough, as the wall became slippery when wet, and down he came.

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Monkey girl didn't even stop to hand off Tapioca's leash before climbing in a nearby tree!

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The girls having some bounce-house fun ... The young man-child was in there somewhere, too!

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Poor Paco was shivering his guts off all through this often-rainy day, which had all the warmth of Cinderella's stepmother on ball night, and we forgot all his sweaters! Tapioca fared a little better. A little.

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At that point, it started raining again, and we were all losing our motivation to stick around for the main event: the Draft Horse show. I was more than a little disappointed, but no one was comfortable, myself included. The kids half-heartedly played this ring-around-the-bottle game for a minute, and then we decided to call it a trip. Bummer!

So that was Utah, October 2017-style. Hopefully there will be better trips ahead!


Sunday Stealing: Getting To Know You

What's up, y'all? Shall we dig into another round of Sunday Stealing? I thought so, too, so without further ado:


If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

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I would probably eat my way through the world. I have no self-control when it comes to food. Today, Hubs and I went to the olive bar and bought over $15 worth of different olives. I ate half of mine on the way home (while he drove). I guess there are worse things I could have downed...

What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own / owned?

Melly Selfie

I have always dressed for comfort over style. Always. That being said, this GAP hoodie I just picked up for a buck from the thrift store and am wearing today for the first time just might be my new favorite garment. Super comfy!

What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?

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I would be a nonstop world traveler. Particularly by cruising. I love ocean travel!

What would your perfect room look like?

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I expect you wanted an answer about the colors of the walls, the types of furniture in there, and all that. I don't really care about that stuff. My perfect room would be full of puppies and babies for me to cuddle all day long.

How often do you play sports?

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To what fictional place would you most like to go?

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Hellooo, the chocolate factory is my idea of heaven!

What job would you be terrible at?

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Sewer worker. I would barf every single day, which I imagine would be less than helf

When was the last time you climbed a tree?

Utah YL Fall Festival Trip 117
Probably not since I was younger than Sophia, who is 12.5 years old. This kid,however, will probably be climbing them for her her entire life. The little monkey...

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?

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I bet I could get at least a bronze for my knitting skillz, yo.

What skill would you like to master?

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Well, to continue, I would like to become an official Knitting Guild Master Knitter. I have started the program, but I got about an eightieth of the way through it before Lyme Disease stole the show.

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

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I would love to be commissioned by NASA to travel to Jupiter. Or Mars. Or the Moon. Whatever, let's go!

If you had unlimited funds to build a house that you would live in for the rest of your life, what would the finished house be like?'

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My dream house would be completely eco-centric. I would have solar panels everywhere; high-efficiency everything; self-sustaining gardens for food and for beauty (because aesthetics are important, as well); and all the materials used to build it would be conscientiously and sustainably harvested and environmentally sound. You get the idea.

What state or country do you never want to go back to?

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Sorry, Kansas, but you get this prize. Having recently driven through Kansas on our cross-country drive from Miami to Boise, Kansas was the lowest point on the trip. It was just so utterly devoid of anything interesting to look at.

What songs have you completely memorized?

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"Kiss" by Prince; anything by Whitney Houston; old-school Madonna... okay, pretty much anything 80s. I'll always love that shit.

What do you consider to be your best find?


Why, the Hubs of course!

Are you usually early or late?

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I hate being late. I avoid it like the plague.

What pets did you have while you were growing up?

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We had a family dog who wasn't too fond of me (and it was mutual), and for a little while, I had a pet rat named Barkley. I loved him so much! He was great fun.

When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?

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Welp, since I homeschool the kidoodles, more often than not it's Math they want assistance with.

What takes up too much of your time?

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Being in pain 24/7 is pretty shitty. I could do without some of that. Also, bite me, full moon!

What do you wish you knew more about?

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Gardening. I hate having a black thumb!

What would be your first question after waking up from being cryogenically frozen for 100 years?

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"Was I snoring?"


Hey, everyone, thanks for stopping by! You really are appreciated.



Fall Fun At Linder Farms

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So on Tuesday of this week, Team Odette headed out to Linder Farms in Meridian, Idaho, for their fall funness. That's a word, right? We went on Tuesday, because admission was half-priced, and I am all about a good deal. I also bought the kids each an all-day wristband for the rides and attractions at the farm, and $20 worth of tokens (each worth a buck, but you get two extra with that package). The whole deal cost us about $55, which I'm still debating whether it was worth it.

The kids were really looking forward to the Zipline attraction, but honestly it was just about the length and excitement-level of the one at our nearby Terry Day Park, which they can ride for free any day of the week! The only difference was... it was on a farm instead of in a public park. They had a bit of fun, but it became so crowded, we quickly moved on to the next thing.


Sorry for the tush shots of the girls, but they moved so quickly that my hobbling arse could hardly keep up with them.  They have loved the bouncy houses and similar stuff since they were knee-high to grasshoppers, and yet somehow the novelty has never worn off. They did this for a few turns and then decided they'd had enough.


All the kids were moving in different directions, so I followed the lady-babies while Rob followed Jack around. That would explain the dearth of Jack pictures around this place, since we usually follow that M.O. I think Jack headed to the swings while the girls came here, to the climbing wall. This was pretty lame in that the other end of the rope supporting the climber was held by a not-very-strong-looking lass who made barely any effort to pull it. Nevertheless, Sophia was able to get about halfway up the climbing wall before losing her footing and flying back down to a soft landing.


Chloë, meanwhile, couldn't seem to grasp the handholds and footings of the rather poorly-designed rock wall at all, so she never made it past... well, the bottom. Poor chiquiniña!


After this, we caught back up with the menfolk, and all three kiddos headed up the big pile of hay bales to go through the tube slide at the top. I love this photo so much, because I actually caught Jack freely having fun. Those of us who know my son the best know that he is largely a negative Nancy, so having a genuine smile on his face - while dancing in public, no less! - was quite the capture. It soothes my soul.


Sophia looking stunned after coming through the tube slide... hee! (She was fine.)


The giant tires were not much of an attraction at all for the tween/teen set, I guess, because no sooner had they gotten there when they decided just as suddenly to leave again.


Joy on Chloë's face as she exited the tube slide


I think everyone in Team Odette knows that my favorite part of a pumpkin farm is the hayride! At this particular farm, the hayride led out to the pumpkin patches, of which there were three separate divisions. At the first one, the giant orange gourds could be found, and all four of the rest of my fam wanted one of these. Jack picked out this one, and he was in the middle of saying something about it being too heavy to carry when I snapped the shot. Well, son, pick a smaller one, then! That did not seem to be an option, so onto the wagon it came with us.


Sophia was all smiles as she hefted her prized pumpkin onto the haywagon.


I think Chloë looked completely beautiful as she chose and posed with her pumpkin of the year. It's been 16 years, and I still can't get enough of her curls!


Rob picked his pumpkin from the first patch, too, but I neglected to take a pic of that monster at the time. You'll see it later... I was holding out for patch #3. Number two held the odd, wart-covered gourds and pumpkins - you know, the novelty type you see at all the stores come Fall.  None of us stopped at this patch. I do love those kind, but I spotted some nicer-looking ones at Fred Meyer for a much lower price per pound, so I may snag some there for our Autumn décor. (P.S. The pumpkins we chose cost us another $37! Yikes.)


Before we headed out for the night, we had those $22 in tokens to spend. I planned on using them to feed everyone, but first, the chirren jumped into the enormous corn kernel pit for some freewheeling fun. I didn't get a shot of Chloë, though you can be sure many kernels made their way home with us in that mess of curls atop her head! Jack and Sophia had a ton of fun, however, and I was okay with it so long as no one decided to eat any! Eww...


Sophia having an absolute blast as Jack buried her in corn kernels


Finally, to spend our tokes, we stopped by the Concessions booth to fill everyone's tummies. We bought a few orders of the mini donuts, which really were quite delicious, some nachos, and an icky-looking chili dog for Rob. They were out of hot apple cider, which was a HUGE bummer for 3/5 of us, because it is so beloved, but we made do with hot chocolate. 

All in all, it was a decent if over-priced evening of fun. There was another choice in farms we were thinking of going to instead, but bad reviews for that one and good reviews for Linder Farms led us to the latter. I'm not sure we'll make the same choice next year, but it's not outside the realm of possibility. We'll just have to see in 12 months' time!


See my little white pumpkin? Isn't it so cute? I lurve it.

Happy Fall, everyone!


Saturday 9: Turn Me Loose

Welcome back, y'all! I'm a little early - hey, stranger things have happened - but that's only because I'm between making corrections on Jack's horrible writing prompt (sorry, but the written word is not his forte) and grading Chloë's and Sophia's math tests. So let's go, shall we?

Saturday 9: Turn Me Loose (1959)

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

1) In this song, Fabian sings he has change in his pocket. Every evening, Sam puts her change in the piggy bank on her kitchen counter. Do you do anything special with your coins? Or do they just jingle/jangle in your wallet or pocket until you spend them?
Pretty much the latter. Speaking of coins, did I ever tell you guys about the time, when we lived in Miami, when I tried to institute a "Swear Jar" with that extra change in order to curb my insane potty mouth? Yeah, that didn't stick. Why? Because I practically could have taken my entire family on a Disney cruise after the first week! I couldn't afford to quit. That's my freakin' story and I'm fecking sticking to it. ;)

2) Fabian got his start because his neighbor in Philadelphia owned a record label and thought 14-year-old Fabian had the looks to be a teen idol. Tell us about a time recently when you were in the right place at the right time.
When we lived in Virginia Beach, I entered a newspaper contest to win a car. I was a finalist, so I went to the event where whoever had the key that fit into the ignition won the car. I didn't win, but I stuck around long enough to see who did. Afterward, a radio station also in attendance was giving away tickets to the upcoming Crosby, Stills and Nash show. No one wanted them - except me, because Hubs is an enormous fan of the band. I was jumping up and down, screaming, "Me! Me! Me!" and they called me over. It turned out to be a great show!

3) His record label paid Fabian $30 a week to study singing after school. What jobs/chores did you have when you were in high school? Did they prepare you for your eventual career?
In high school, I worked at the small grocery store across from where my dad's office was. I used to take the bus there after school instead of going home, so I applied for a job at the store. I worked at several groceries after that, including Winn-Dixie and several Publix stores, and more recently Fred Meyer down the road, but I didn't really make a career out of it. However, I worked in customer service at Publix, which taught me a lot about relating to people in a diplomatic manner. (They also had the rule, "Don't pass it up; pick it up," with regards to garbage and debris on the store floor. I've been trying to teach my kids that ever since...)

4) In 1959 he appeared on the cover of now-defunct magazines like Teen Screen and Dig. Who and what did you read about when you were a teenager?
My awesome friend, Shana, and I both read the magazine Sassy, which was pretty cutting-edge as far as being, um, to use a term I actually loathe, not "basic." When Sassy later went under, its' Editor-in-Chief Jane Pratt started a new magazine, Jane. I read that one, too, although I didn't really relate to it so much. I'm not on the cutting edge of anything and have never been a part of any kind of fashion/music/any "underground" scene. I kind of wanted to be, but I didn't even do so well on the "Jane Boards," an early message board started by the magazine. I was blasted regularly for being lame. I'm scarred for life, people. Not really.

5) In the 1960s he moved from singing to acting. In 1965 he appeared in Ten Little Indians, a screen adaptation of an Agatha Christie mystery. Have you ever read an Agatha Christie book? 
Not even one.

6) In 1973, in an attempt to jump-start his career, he appeared nude in Playgirl magazine. By the time it hit the newsstands, he regretted it.  Tell us about a time you were very embarrassed.
When I was in 7th grade, I peed my pants in school; one of the popular girls noticed and pointed it out to the whole world. 'Nuff said!
7) In 1959, when this song was popular, most women wore nylons on a daily basis and the average price per pair was $1. What socks or leg wear -- if any -- do you have on right now?
I have on one gray hospital sock and one yellow hospital sock. If it weren't for hospital socks, I practically wouldn't own any!
8) 1959 also saw the premiere of The Twilight Zone on CBS. 58 years later, you can still see the show in reruns. Are you a fan?
  I'm a total chickenshit when it comes to the horror/suspense/chiller/thriller genre(s). So, not really.

9) Random Question: While we're talking about TV ... Sam finds it disturbing that her brother claims he's seen every episode of Bad Blood, a show devoted to family members who have murdered their relatives. Do you enjoy "true crime" reality shows?

Surprisingly, yes, I do. Does that negate my answer to Question #8? Although we don't have TV service right now, because for the life of me I can't find a provider within the entire state of Idaho that doesn't consist of DirecTV. Freakin' DirecTV can bite my arse.

On that note, I have more papers to grade, so off I go... TTFN!

Sunday Stealing: The Creepy Crawlies One

Welcome back! Link up here if you're playing along with Sunday Stealing this week.


Here are some questions about bugs and other things you might find interesting.  It's another of those memes I stole many years ago without copying down the location of the place where I stole it!

1. You are walking down the road and you look down. There is a bug. Do you step on it?

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No way! It's outside, for Pete's sake. Leave it alone! I don't like bugs touching me without my express written consent while indoors, but outside, I'm fair game. (Obviously. I didn't even notice when the tick who gave me Lyme Disease bit...) I'm like a Buddhist monk in that sense. I'd rather just live and let them live. Outside.

2. What is one fantasy that you want to come true more than any other?

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The one where Donald Trump is no longer ruining this country. 'Merica.

3. Someone knocks on your door. Do you look out the window to see who it is before you open it? Do you open it regardless of who it is? 

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I always look. I'm too short for the peephole, though, so I look out the window, through the sheers. I can see who's coming a mile away.

4. Have you ever eaten Play Doh?

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Actually, my dad never allowed us to have Play-Doh, lest we make a mess and it get stuck in the carpet. By the time I was allowed near it, I was too old to have any desire to eat any!

5. What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon as a child and why?

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I loved The Smurfs, because ... I don't know. It was just fun. My favorites were Brainy and Smurfette.

6. Are you a “people watcher”? 

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Yeah, I love to people watch. It's so interesting to me, to see the kinds of things people will wear, do, and say when they're out on a public stage.  That reminds me. When we lived in Miami, we were driving home from a night out in Coconut Grove on US1, back to Homestead. I reached up to adjust my nose ring, and the driver next to me clearly thought I was picking my nose. He did not waste a single opportunity for the next several miles to pantomime nose-picking for me. What an idiot.

7. I have a bowl of fruit. There are apples, oranges & pears. You help yourself to one - which one do you choose?

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I would eat the banana. I can't really keep much down anymore, in the fruit world.

8. What is your biggest pet peeve in the blogging world? 

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I hate a completely monetized blog, where you have no idea what the owner/author actually thinks anymore - it's just one giant string of commercials. Sure, I'll run a review or a giveaway now and then, but you generally know what is going inside, here.

9. What is one religion that you could just never see yourself joining?

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I would like to plead the fifth here. I don't want to offend anyone. However, I will say this: I was raised as a Christian Scientist, which by the way is completely separate and different from Scientology. However, I left it when I became an adult. Fast-forward to age 40, last year. After a great deal of thought and discussion, I have finally come to the conclusion that it's not a religious sect but rather a cult. I have had people coming out of the woodwork, since that pronouncement, saying, "Oh, thank goodness, I've always thought so!!" It's really just so weird to feel like you've been raised in a cult.

10. What word do you use far too often?

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I am a Caucasian-American, and therefore I admit to using the word "awesome" far more than I ought to! 

11. How long do you spend in the shower? 

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As little as possible, although I admit I do spend a minute or two longer in the hot water now that we live somewhere where it's not a year-round sauna.

12. If you were to write a personal ad about yourself, what would it say?

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I actually did write a personal ad about myself, after some major arm-twisting by my friend Victor. That's how I met my husband. I listed all my faults and said something like, message me if you're up to it! He was up to it. He does still remind me, nearly 17 years later, that you "did say you were high-maintenance, and you didn't lie!"

13. Your favorite flavor of soup is….? 

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I rarely eat soup, but when I do, it's almost always guaranteed to be the Broccoli Cheddar from Panera, in a bread bowl. Good stuff.

14. You are sitting on a bench in the park and a bug walks in front of your feet…. do you squash him?  (I am assuming this is a different bug from question #1)

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Of course not, you silly gooser!


That was fun. I'm watching the Momma's funeral episode of Cake Boss, and this was a much-needed light-hearted diversion. Thanks, Bev!

Have a lovely rest of your weekend. I'll be at the Young Living Lavender Farm in Mona, Utah, all day tomorrow. See yas!