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Saturday 9: The Christmas Song

Ozzie & Harriet Nelson | Ricky nelson, David nelson, Hollywood actor

Hi everyone! Y'all ready for Christmas? We're almost there. Just a few things left to get, a few ornaments left to put up. I'm not sure we'll have any food that day, but we'll survive. Ha!

This weekend's offering is all about "The Christmas Song" from Ricky Nelson - yes, he of "Ozzie & Harriet" fame. I love this song; it's one of my favorite Christmas carols. What about you?

Link up here if you're joining us this weekend.

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Saturday 9: The Christmas Song (1964)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
 
1) While this song was published as "The Christmas Song," many people refer to it as "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire." Have you ever roasted chestnuts (in an open fire or in the oven)?
 
A few times, yeah. We did them in our fireplace when I was a kid. Pretty good!

2) Ricky Nelson sings that turkey helps make the season bright. Many of us just had turkey last month for Thanksgiving. Do you enjoy turkey all year around? Or do you consider it a seasonal dish?
 
I no longer eat the turkey, but I would definitely consider it a seasonal dish.
 
3) He wishes "Merry Christmas" to kids from 1 to 92. Who is the youngest person you will celebrate the holidays with? Who is the oldest?
 
Physically in our house with us? I think it'll be Rob (Hubs) as the oldest at 50, and Ashe's friend Charlie is supposed to come over at some point. He's 15. We've got prezzies for him.
 
4) "The Christmas Song" is a perennial favorite and gets lots of play this time of year. Is there a holiday song that you think is overplayed, and that you hope to not hear again (at least not until December 2023)?
 
No, but I haven't been in stores much and have only listened on demand, so I'm fine with the amounts I've heard.
 
5) This version of the song is from The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, the sitcom that ran from 1952 to 1966. There were 435 episodes in all. Is there a series whose every episode you've seen?
 
Probably several. Maybe Friends, Seinfeld, Frasier, ummm... Phineas and Ferb. What? It's a brilliant show!
 
6) Life magazine coined the phrase "teen idol" to describe Ricky's popularity. In your younger days, did you have a crush on a teen idol?
 
Picture of Matt Dillon | Matt dillon the outsiders, Matt dillon, Young matt  dillon  Matt Damon - Movies, Wife & Age - Biography
 
I had a crush on Matt Dillon for the longest time after The Outsiders came out, even though I was teeny-tiny when that came out and shouldn't have seen it. I'm sure I had a torrent of crushes on "teen idols" after I saw an interview with Dillon and realized I didn't find him all that interesting. But another Matt D. - Damon, that is - is my enduring crush. He's so cute! Not to mention decent.
 
7) Do you have a funny/ugly holiday sweater?
 
No, I never did get on that trend.
 
8) Have you received many holiday cards this year? Did you send many?
 
We sent out about 65. We've gotten about 2. Which is okay; it's not about the numbers for me. (Which reminds me, would any of you like one? I still have plenty more supplies. DM me if so.)
 
9) If you were Santa, what cookie would you like kids to leave for you on Christmas Eve?
 
Santa's milk and cookies: The surprising history behind the popular  Christmas tradition | Fox News
 
I can't stand snickerdoodles, I'm really and truly not a fan of sugar cookies, and I could do without red velvet. For me, the perfect cookies will always be chocolate chip. I love them. Even the bad ones are good. AMIRITE???
 
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Until next time, dear friends! And don't forget to drop me a line here or on FB if you'd like a Christmas card! I updated my list this year because I lost previous lists, so if you've gotten one in the past, that's why it's not automatic now. Love y'all.
 
Merry, merry!
 
Fin.

Whitney Houston GIF - Whitney Houston WhitneyHouston - Discover & Share GIFs

Hey there, guys and dolls. I'm still shacking up with my lady children (wait, that sounds wrong) in a fine hotel in Ocean City, Maryland, while our guys are still back in Idaho finishing up the packing and the minor repairs.

We have been suddenly hit with all the feels missing our menfolk and furfolk this week. Maybe it's because Chloë's 19th birthday was on Monday and my birthday was on Tuesday, but we really just needed those guys this week something awful. Rob is hoping to get on the road very soon and let the realtor handle things from there. Fingers are tightly crossed!

I have mad love for Whitney Houston, so I'm glad to see that she's the start of S9 this week. Link up here to join in the fray!

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Saturday 9: So Emotional (1987)

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

1) Whitney sings that she keeps her lover's photo beside her bed. What's on your bedside table?

No description available.

Well, it's kind of a mess right now, since Chloë and I are sharing the hotel night table. We've got the hotel phone, my ubiquitous Diet Coke can and a toothpick (I'm never without), some Tree Hut Sugarlips lip scrub, both my Versace prescription glasses and my toric contact lenses for some reason, my noise-cancelling headphones, our UV sanitation bag/box/thingy, facial cleansing wipes, travel-size deodorant, cocoa butter lotion from Alba Botanica... you get the picture, right?

2) She's getting frustrated, waiting for the phone to ring. If your phone were to ring right now, who would you expect to be on the other end?

Ring / minimumble :: phone :: ring :: comics (funny comics & strips,  cartoons) / funny pictures & best jokes: comics, images, video, humor, gif  animation - i lol'd

At this stage of my life, it would probably be either a doctor's nurse or a doctor's billing department.

3) The video was filmed at Stabler Arena in Bethlehem, PA. It seats 6,200. As the nation reopens from Covid-19, would you feel comfortable sitting knee-to-knee with a stranger in an arena like this?

News about #covidiots on Twitter

Not a snowball's chance in hell!

4) This week's featured artist, Whitney Houston, appeared on the daytime drama As The World Turns. She played herself, performing with Jermaine Jackson at the Miss Cinderella contest in the fictional town of Oakdale. Have you ever been hooked on a soap opera?

Oprah Slaps The SH*T Out Of Jimmy Fallon On The Tonight Show! Seriously!  Watch HERE! - Perez Hilton

Yeah, back in my youth my older sisters watched plenty of soaps, so if I wanted to watch TV, that's what I watched, too. And when no one else was home, I was "required" to watch and then update them when they got home.

5) Whitney had a sweet tooth, and her favorite breakfast cereal was Fruity Pebbles. Do you often eat cereal for lunch or dinner?

80s gremlins GIF - Find on GIFER

I very rarely eat cereal at all anymore, even though I love it. My GI tract rejects it entirely. My favorite cereal is Frosted Mini Wheats, and I miss them!

6) At Whitney's wedding to Bobby Brown, her bridesmaids all wore lavender dresses and the groomsmen had custom made alligator shoes. Have you ever "stood up" for a friend or relative? If so, do you remember what you wore?

Real Birdy Grey Weddings | Birdy Grey mix-and-match silver bridesmaid  dresses in chiffon … | Silver bridesmaid dresses, Wedding bridesmaid dresses,  Grey bridesmaids

I wore a little pastel pink dress when my dad married my stepmother. I forget what I wore when my sister got married. (Sorry, Sis!!) and I wore a silver gown for my best friend Lisa's wedding. I remember the bosom area had to be let out, because I was breastfeeding 9-month-old Chloë at the time.

7) In 1987, the year this song was popular, Cher won the Oscar for Moonstruck. Her most famous line was, "Snap out of it!" When you think of Cher, do you first think of her movies, her TV show, or her music?

Will And Grace Jack GIF - WillAndGrace Jack XCher - Discover & Share GIFs

When I think of Cher, my first thoughts go immediately to her music in the 80s and 90s - and the costumes that went with it!

8) Michael Douglas won the Oscar that year for Wall Street. His most famous line was, "Greed is good." His character goes on to say that, "Greed in all its forms -- greed for life, for money, for love, for knowledge -- has marked the upward surge of all mankind." Do you agree?

No, absolutely not.

9) Random question: When you woke up this morning, were you ready to get out of bed? Or do you wish you could have snoozed for a bit longer?

scary gif death horror nightmare don't fall asleep cierpienie •

No, I was glad to finally wake up today. Chloë had been trying to wake me up for a while, and I was stuck in night terror the entire time. Guess I gotta up the PTSD meds tonight to keep that from happening again. #OverIt!

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It's weird, because I haven't even been awake all that long, and yet I'm already exhausted. Really had wanted to go to the beach today! We'll see. Take care, folks.

Fin.


Saturday 9: Daddy, Don't You Walk So Fast

Wayne Newton - Sentimental Journey To The 50's A Trip Back In Time

Hey, guys. I'm writing this on Friday, which is Juneteenth, so I'm mostly focused on some online events with the Movement for Black Lives. I decided to take a time out for fun to get my energy levels a little calmer for a spell.

This Saturday 9 (link up here) is about a song by Wayne Newton. When I first became aware of him, it was already the 80s and 90s. I'm not going to lie, his look has always been scary to me. I think it's that pompadour and excessive (bad) plastic surgery!

Let's do this.

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Saturday 9: Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast (1972)
... Because it's Father's Day weekend.
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This song is about a little girl who runs after her daddy. When is the last time you ran? Were you trying to get somewhere in a hurry, or playing a sport?
 
06172020 Melanie in Wheelchair
Well, this is me two days ago. Uh, the back of me. Needless to say, not a lot of running around going on these days!
 
2) This song was a top ten hit for Wayne Newton. Mr. Newton is better known for his TV work, having made more than 150 appearances since 1963. Have you ever been on TV? Or in a YouTube video?
 
 
I was on a commercial for a new carpeting store when I was a kid, but I couldn't find that on YouTube. (Phew!) So instead, here is one of my daughter Chloë's commercials from when she was a kid.

3) The road leading to Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport is named Wayne Newton Blvd. in his honor. When is the last time you were at an airport? Were you flying somewhere, picking someone up, or dropping them off?
 
05092017 Chloë and Melanie Trip to LA (1)
I think it's been a while! The last trip I can think of is when Chloë and I flew to L.A. for her last audition before she decided to walk away from acting and modeling. I love flying and can't wait to go somewhere again!
 
4) Wayne says Elvis Presley haunts Las Vegas, and believes that The King of Rock and Roll has given him performing and parenting tips from beyond the grave. When did you last see Elvis? On TV, on a t-shirt, poster or magazine cover, or as a ghostly apparition?
 
 
Well, just yesterday I had a 50s music playlist on, and the first song was "Jailhouse Rock," which I love. I sort of have a love/hate relationship with Elvis. He died before I turned a year old, but I grew up with him. My father had Elvis... everything. He sings and dances like him. Therefore, I know almost all the words to almost all his songs. But I don't talk to my dad anymore now. But that doesn't mean I can't still enjoy the King, right?
 
5) When Sam walks with her own dad, the problem isn't that he walks fast. It's that he's always stopping to pick up litter he finds on the grass. Litterbugs are his pet peeve. What's your pet peeve?
CareProdx - Handicap Button (Wired) Outdoor Model, $139.00 (http ...
Well, with having severe asthma, chronic respiratory disease, and pulmonary damage, I don't like to be around smokers - but the ones who stand in and around doors to medical establishments take the cake! However, I have a new pet peeve. Now that I use a walker and/or a wheelchair to get around, it really drives me crazy that at least all medical establishments don't have these blue buttons to hit so I can get in the door! It's the number one reason I can't go anywhere alone, and that doesn't seem too fair.

6) Sam's own father often traveled for business, and always gave her the complimentary soaps, shampoos or body lotion he got from the hotel. When she went away to college, she used her collection of little bottles and was grateful for all the money they saved her. What's something you've done recently to economize?
 
06172020 Chloë and Melanie New Glasses Coach and Prada (1)
 
Well, because of our situation, I have to be frugal in and out of every day. Since we have a lot of back-and-forth trips to Boise (about an hour's drive at 90mph most of the way), I try to stack appointments and errands out there so we can knock out multiple things at once. Otherwise it just takes up way too much time, gas, and wear and tear on the car. And it's exhausting! So for example, I had to go out there on Wednesday to get some vaccines. We've all had recent eye exams, and all of us but the baby have bad vision. (For Rob and Chloë, especially, I always pay for the highest vision coverage we can get. Same with dental.)
 
After my shots, we headed over to LensCrafters for Chloë, Jack, and me to pick out our new glasses. She picked out Prada, I picked out some Coach frames, and I have no idea what Jack picked because he wouldn't show me. Insurance paid for everything but the $20 for anti-reflective coating we each wanted. (I'm totally babbling, sorry.) And then, literally right across the strip mall was Ross, where I had a gift card. I took the girls over there to do some bathing suit shopping. 
 
And that was it! Oh, wait. We also don't have a Taco Bell in this itty-bitty town, so the five of us picked some up to eat on the way home. Okay so long story short: stacking trips out of town.
 
7) It was her father who taught Sam to drive. Are you a better student or teacher?
 
Library of a guy with lots of degrees svg black and white library ...
 
I'll be honest. I taught Biology to college freshmen, and I homeschooled my three kids for ten years. But... I think I am a far better student than I am a teacher. (And I don't think I'm done with my education yet!)

8) Sam's father also always asks if her car in "tip top" condition. Most recently he reminded her to test her headlights, tail lights and turn signals while the car is parked to make sure they're all working. Do you have a car maintenance tip to share?
 
Mother's Day Gift Idea #3: The Gift of Services – Mary Butler Coleman
 
Not really a maintenance tip. I've been a mom for almost 19 years, with two still under age 18. I keep wondering  when the ride I'm driving around is going to be CLEAN. The answer is: NEVER. As long as you have kids, your car will never be clean. Especially on road trips.

9) Sam's father satisfies his afternoon sugar craving with an almost endless stream of Butter Rum Lifesavers. Do you usually enjoy a between meal snack?
 
5 spectacular Installations from events across the globe ...
 
I have to admit, I am a huuuuuge chocoholic. And right now, Ferrero Rocher is in charge of that sweet tooth.
 
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Man. With a million and one interruptions, I'm finishing this HOURS later than when I started.
 
Wherever you are, whatever you're doing today, whomever you're with... I hope you'll take some time today to reflect on the word "equality" and what it means for you and for everyone in the room.
 
✌️
 
Fin.

Sunday Stealing: Keeping The Conversation Going

SpaceX Lifts NASA Astronauts to Orbit, Launching New Era of ...

Hey there, hi there, ho there!

If you were anything like us on Saturday, you were transfixed by the NASA astronauts' launch into space by the SpaceX rocket, Dragon. I swear I held my breath for a very long time (by an asthmatic's standard's, I suppose), thinking of the Challenger and the Columbia. I've always wanted to go to space. What an exciting day!

Link up here if you want to join up with the rest of us thieves this weekend!

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Stolen from Two Drifters

1) What do you think is the greatest television show of all time?

Oh, I couldn't say that. People like what they like. I myself like something one day in one mood and an entirely different thing the next day, maybe. But I tend to lean toward more subtle, cerebral humor. I've long called Larry David from "Curb Your Enthusiasm" my 'boyfriend,' if that's any indicator!

2) Would you rather win a Nobel Prize or an Academy Award?

A Fisherman in September: Thoughts on The Old Man and the Sea ...

Oh, I would absolutely love to win a Nobel. I use to imagine that I would win one in science by age 30. I was foolish, haha! But I guess it's not too late. Maybe I could win for Literature, and join the ranks of Pearl Buck, Ernest Hemingway, and Bob Dylan, to name a few.

3) What one food would you banish from this earth if you could?

I mean, there's haggis, there's foie gras, balut... you name it! If you want to look at more disgusting foods, have a look here or here.

4) What’s the scariest story you’ve ever heard?

Speech: Donald Trump wins 2016 presidential election - YouTube

Area Triangle Tree Font, Up Arrow Available In Different Size ... Area Triangle Tree Font, Up Arrow Available In Different Size ... This one! Area Triangle Tree Font, Up Arrow Available In Different Size ... Area Triangle Tree Font, Up Arrow Available In Different Size ...

5) Who is the most famous person you have ever met?

Boom (2009) - IMDb

Well, I typically say Dave Barry, but this time I'm going to say my daughter Chloë. She's seen here in the short SAG film, Boom, and has acted on TV, modeled in national ads, and so on.

6) What’s something you’ve done that most people wouldn’t know or guess about you?

When I was nine, I started dance lessons in central New York. After my first year, I was invited to attend Dance Olympus in New York City for training from some famous, international choreographers. Janet Jackson and Paula Abdul were supposed to be there that summer, but both had family matters keeping them from going. But I did get some great training from Jimmy Locust, who was my favorite choreographer there. Lots of fun!

7) You’re strapped in a rocket ship about to go to the moon. Are you thrilled? Or terrified?

Oh, I'd be thrilled. I wouldn't need to accomplish anything else. That's the ultimate.

8) What is the correct way for toilet paper to sit on the roll?

The Correct "The Right Way And The Wrong Way To Hang Toilet Paper ...

Hubs and I both agree it's the way on the left, above. I think we're in a very small minority of couples who agree on that!

9) Talk about a mistake you made, or something you regret.

Bimini Scuba Center | Hammerhead Shark Diving

Um, well, I guess I don't know that I truly believe a "mistake" is a mistake unless you learn nothing from it. But after I got my bachelor's degree,  I was recruited by a researcher at RSMAS to do a Master's degree on copepods, but after a few weeks in her lab I rejected the idea because I'd always planned to skip the Master's and go right for the doctoral, and I wasn't ready to give up that goal. And then, I wanted to do my internship at Mote in shark fisheries, but they were pushing hard for me to do the internship in chemistry. I have a strong chemistry background (that was my minor), but I just couldn't see myself being a chemist for life. I held out, and I got a fisheries internship. Sometimes my bullheaded, stubborn persistence has paid off, and sometimes my insane, rash, spontaneity has paid off. And sometimes they haven't. I've tried to learn which way to be in which situations.

10) What would be the best gift I could give you?

Meditation | Wall Street International Magazine

Inner Peace

11) What makes you feel better when you’re sad or stressed?

_DSC0639

These guys. They're it. They're everything.

12) What is the most romantic movie you’ve ever seen?

Disney Censors “Splash” with Digital Fur To Make It Family ...

Oh, there's so many. One of the first rom-coms that has really stayed with me all my life is Splash. I love those two!

13) What is the worst date you’ve ever been on?

clipart thumbs down - thumb signal PNG image with transparent ...

Back in Miami (the first time, not the second time with my family), I went on a blind date in Coconut Grove with a guy who was really weird, really not my "type" appearance-wise, and then he told me he was a devil worshipper. No second date, obvi.

14) What is the glue that keeps couples together?

50 Relationship Quotes to Strengthen Your Relationship - TheLoveBits

Communication is absolute key.

15) What was your first crush?

Matt Dillon | The outsiders, Dallas winston, Young matt dillon

When I was really young, about five years old, I had the biggest crush on Matt Dillon. I think my parents were watching The Outsiders, and I saw him and was just in love. Ha! Then much later on, I saw him in an interview with Dave Letterman, and he sounded like such an idiot. Illusion shattered.

16) When did your parents talk to you about the birds and the bees?

Autocowrecks - birds and the bees - Funny Auto-correct Fails ...

They did not. Ever.

17) What is your greatest achievement?

Squalor Holler: Strong at the broken places

Still being alive. Still being married. Having all my children truly love me as a mother. I've been knocked around, taken a lot of shit in my life, wanted to be dead many times, self-sabotaged a lot of things that were good for me... and yet I'm still here, things are still clicking, and it's hard.

18) Were you close to your parents growing up?

First Church of Christ, Scientist, Englewood, Florida

I was raised in a cult. "A cult for the cultured," they called it. So, no. No, I was not.

19) What was the most life-changing event you’ve ever experienced?

The tragedy of miscarriage and abortion 'rights' | Opinion | LifeSite

There have been a lot of, like, BIG things in my life that I could pick, and I wish that I could say something else... but it was when my son died. That was pivotal. And it was definitely what kicked the bipolar disorder into becoming clearly evident, I believe.

20) Have you ever had a falling out with a friend? What happened?

Linux - Wikipedia

Oh, of course. I'm hot-headed, I have a fiery temper, and I do a lot of really stupid things without thinking first. This one time in 1994, when I was a freshman at Miami and when my BFF Lisa was a freshman at SUNY Geneseo, we were both getting into and getting used to email and the internet for the first time. Her school used LINUX, and mine used something else. I don't even remember what else... but they were completely different systems. We were trying to describe and explain to each other over email what our systems looked like, and I didn't understand hers - and all our other friends who had also stayed in New York and had LINUX-based email systems - at all.  So they teased me and dared me to try to hack into her account and read her email, because I "couldn't do it." Only, she and I had some code words, and I got right in and figured things out. She and everyone were so pissed at me, but I was only fulfilling a dare! I still feel bad about it to this day. Silly way to end the post, right?

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It's 0522 on Sunday morning, the last day of May. I can't believe we're entering the 6th day of 2020 tomorrow. This has been the strangest year...! Can we maybe have a redo?

Enjoy your Sundays. I hope it's sunny and warm where you are!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Always Remember Us This Way

Hey, everyone. Bit of a somber mood here in the Odette household, as my father-in-law passed away yesterday. I wasn't going to join in at all this weekend, but then I decided my mind could use a short respite. 

I hope you'll all kink link(!) up here if you're joining us this weekend.

And now:

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Always Remember Us This Way (2018)

Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.

1) In this song, Lady Gaga sings about the Arizona sky and California gold. Have you visited many of our western states?

Yes, well. We live in Idaho now, so there's that. I've been in and out of Utah, California, Oregon, and Washington several times. This is Chloë hailing a cab in downtown Hollywood, in the middle of an acting convention we were out there for her. I have been to Vegas. But I have not yet been to Arizona or New Mexico.

2) She sings that she's overwhelmed and can't find the words to express herself. Do you find it easier to share your feelings verbally or in writing?

Three Bites of a Cherry: Malapropisms and Spoonerisms

Oh, definitely in writing. I am very like the Oxford professor William Archibald Spooner, constantly, absent-mindedly, and unintentionally mixing up the consonant sounds in a phrase or sentence to make rubbish. This is also like Shel Silverstein and other comic writers, although theirs were intentional.

3) Her real name is Stefani Germanotta. She took her stage name from the Queen song, Radio Gaga. Do you have a favorite Queen song?

Oh, I love Queen and enjoy, I think, their entire catalog, so it's very hard to pick! I do remember one of my BFFs, Shana and I were in her family's canoe on the Seneca River, and we were just kind of drifting along and using the oars to do the three-beat riff of "We Will Rock You." That's always been a fun memory. Probably not for the fish.

4) Her dad is Joe Germanotta, president of GuestWifi, a company that enables hotels and restaurants to offer high-speed wifi to their customers. Do you consider yourself tech savvy?

5-funny-tech-support-made-easy-cartoon | PMSLweb

I read something recently that said those of us in Generation X (that's me!) were probably the best-prepared to handle tech issues, as a general rule. That's because older generations often don't want any of it and refused to be bothered with it - now, mind you I'm saying some, not all, and just reporting on what I read. And the younger generations never had a time in their lives when there wasn't an internet, and everything has been easier and easier for them as time went along. Think "smartphones." But my generation, we grew up largely without computers and the internet, and so in order to function online, we had to rely on ourselves a lot - and yes, sometimes those maddening IT phone calls - to figure things out. I would say for myself and those I know personally, this is pretty accurate.

5) Early in her career, Lady Gaga performed songs for a children's audio book called The Portal in the Park. Tell us about the last book you finished -- did you listen to an audiobook, or read a download to an electronic device or a bound book with pages?

Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult | Books, Music, and All ...

I've been listening, here and there, to the audiobook of Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, but honestly it's slow-going for me. I never, never could stand to be read to in my entire life, and so over and over, I've tried and failed to get into the trendy audiobook thing. I think I'm just going to abort and read the bound book instead. I can't handle it.

[Speaking of books, I read Wally Lamb's book I Know This Much is True somewhere between doing my bachelor's and my doctoral degree. It's a humongous book, with over a thousand pages, but I dove in and loved every minute of it. I just saw in Us Weekly that there was to be a miniseries based on the book on HBO on Sunday - this past Sunday. It's last week's issue of Us. Aw, mannnn! I hope it's being replayed, so I can watch it. It would be a must-see for me.]
 
6) She prefers dogs to cats and tea to coffee. Do you agree with her?

Baby Animal Lover, Surrounded By Dog, Cat, Fish, Bird, Turtle ...

Largely I do, I think yes. I mean, I'm an extreme animal lover, married to another animal lover, and we've raised a houseful of more animal lovers. I honestly do love them all - with ticks and mosquitoes possibly loved the least. And I do prefer tea to coffee, though I rarely drink either. Of animals, I'm a dog person first, but I'm hard-pressed to turn down any animal. The zoo we've had over the years... it's ridiculous.

7) Back in 2015, she appeared at the Academy Awards, performing a medley to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music. The movie's star, Julie Andrews, graciously came onstage to thank Gaga for her showstopping performance. Whom did you most recently thank?

I think maybe it was this girl, Sophia, now 15. She brought me my medicine earlier.

8) In 2018, when this song was first released, retailer Toys R Us closed all its stores and went out of business. What's the last toy you purchased?

SmartyKat Skitter Critter Cat Toy Reviewed – PetCompared

I bought two packs of these cat-nip filled mice "Skitter Critters" from SmartyKat, for our four cats. They were on sale for less than half-price, and felines everywhere give them rave reviews. That counts, right?

9) Random question: How has social media made your life better?

The History of Social Media - Where did it all start?

Well, in multiple ways, I've benefitted from social. I was a young newlywed of 24 when I really started getting going on message boards. I started out on the one for now-defunct Jane magazine, formerly called Sassy when I was reading it in high school. Those were not my community, so I left after being told how to make my own hummus. Then I joined the Twins e-List when I was pregnant with our twins, after our older daughter was born. When we were living on Guam, I asked the TwinsList a million and one questions during my pregnancy. Once we moved to Virginia Beach, I kept them posted here and there. My last post was to say good-bye to the list after they were born and one twin passed away; staying and hearing all about what their twins were doing was far too painful. I stayed friends with one of the moms, though, and met her and her kids in Norfolk, Virginia. We're friends on Facebook to this day. I joined the message board for Parents magazine a year after the twins were born and stayed through trying to conceive our younger daughter, that pregnancy, and maybe half of her first year. Eventually I joined MySpace when it was new, before skipping over to Facebook. I'm all over now; such a social media whore darling.

So one thing I gained from all of that was the power to be more discerning about who my "real friends" were. Through the ups and downs of our roller coaster life, people have come and people have gone. The ones that have gone, sometimes that hurt. Sometimes. But I did become, I think, more resilient because of that and figuring out how to "act" online. It's hard for me, both online and in real life, since I have absolutely NO filter. And people don't always want or need to hear my every thought!

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Thanks Sam/Gal. I appreciated this week's questions immensely, and like I thought, they provided a stellar diversion.

♥ RIP, Allen B. Odette ♥

Fin.


Saturday 9: The Sweet Escape

Hi, you guys!! I'm going to get into Saturday 9 in a moment. But first, let me say:

Image result for Happy 18th birthday

to this young lady today:

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Can you guys believe it? My kids have practically grown up in front if y'all on Saturday 9 and Sunday Stealing, and here now as of this very day, my firstborn is an adult! I swear, I'm in absolute shock. Happy birthday, Chloë Raine!

Okay. On to Saturday 9. Link up here to play along with us today!

(And I may jump in and do last week's, which I missed due to illness.)

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The Sweet Escape (2006)

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Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.
 
1) This song begins with, "First of all, let me say I must apologize ..." Who most recently apologized to you?

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Actually, it was this girl. We bumped heads or something, and she immediately apologized. Chloë, like her mother, is an over-apologizer. People ask us to stop, and we just can't! It's annoying for us, too. Just so you know.

2) Gwen Stefani sings that she acted like "sour milk on the floor." Is there milk in your refrigerator right now? What about non-dairy creamer?

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I'm pretty sure there is cow's milk in the fridge for the kids' cereal right now. We do need to pick up some more almond milk for me, though.

3) In the video, Gwen wears several different pairs of stiletto heels. What are you wearing on your feet as you answer these questions?

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Great for those who can and want to wear stilettos, high heels, and all that - but I can't and never really wanted to. I've worn stiletto pumps a few memorable times, but I can rarely find any, let alone a billion pairs, that make me think, "Yeah, I'd rather wear those shoes, put that dent in my wallet, and sacrifice my foot health." It just doesn't happen. So right now, I'm barefoot. I usually am.

4) Mrs. Stefani named her daughter "Gwen" after a stewardess in the book/movie Airport. Who was your favorite character in the book you just read, or movie you most recently watched?

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Okay, so it's neither a book nor a movie, but I'm watching "Dear White People" on Netflix lately, and I adore the Samantha White character. She's sassy and smart - and stunning!

5) Gwen is a distant cousin of Madonna's. Are there any performers in your family?

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Well, Chloë started acting and modeling at 5 years old, but about 10 or 11 years later, she decided she wanted to take an extended break from it to focus on other things. (The rejection is tough!) And Sophia is now in the marching band (percussion) - her first parade is today! - and competes in equestrian events. Jack is nooottttttt the performing type!

6) In high school, she joined the swim team not because she enjoys swimming but because she wanted to lose weight. Are you doing anything (dieting, participating in an exercise regimen) in order to shed a few pounds?

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I want to, but I'm not sure what to do. I've been all over the map weight-wise, and now that I've gained back a fair number of lbs from the medicine I take, I admit, I'm depressed. I decided to try the keto diet in July, to disastrous effects. It really messed up my blood sugar stability, and I had severe hypoglycemia every day. And I'm dealing with gastroparesis now, and all sorts of things, so I just don't know what to do, honestly.

7) Before she became successful, Gwen worked at the makeup counter in a department store. What was the last thing you purchased? Did you buy it online or at a store?

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I bought this pair of shoes for Chloë from Amazon. I didn't really pay for them, though; I get free items as an Ambassador for a company, in exchange for my honest reviews. I hope they fit her!

8) Gwen has gotten a great deal of publicity for her romance with country star, Blake Shelton. What's your favorite Blake Shelton song?

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Gah, they're so cute together, aren't they? I hope they last and stay happy. I love his song, "God's Country," ever since I saw him debut it on The Voice last Spring.

9) Random question: Which of these compliments would make you the happiest: to be called fascinating, or brilliant, or gorgeous?

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Well, I think that, like this sapphire engagement ring from Lauren B Jewelry, it's possible to be all three in the same moment. Likewise, I think all three may last a lifetime or be fleeting and momentary. That being said, if I could only be one, and even if would only last a moment, I would want to be thought of as brilliant. I'd choose that option 10 times out of 10.

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That was fun, Sam, thanks! Might come back later and do some catching up from last week but for right now, I've got some more birthday planning to do! See ya later on the blogiverse.

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Rambling Survey

Hey there, hi there, ho there! Welcome back!

(Let me preface this post by saying I've been gone all day long and haven't had a chance even to see if I have comments - negative or otherwise - on my Sat9 post from yesterday, let alone read them. So I can't answer to those except to say that I'm nervous to read them & truly hope y'all don't hate me.)

So, then. Just gonna jump on into this SS post at the stroke of midnight on Sunday the 14th of July, 2019, and get back to that later. (I'll be gone all day Sunday, too, so I'm not ignoring y'all.) Link up here if you're playing along this weekend!

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Questions from Sad Sleepy Survey Rambles

Have you ever been teased because of the things you like?
 
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Sure, of course. Education was always my passion, and in the regular-ed, non-Honors/AP classes, I stood out and got stomped on in return. I'm a math nerd. I listen excessively to pop music (although, ahem, not only pop music, nor just current music, but also classic rock, folk music, some punk, lots of alternative, some big band - and I love JP Sousa - as well as gasp classical. As in, not even from last century, let alone this millenium. I don't only listen to "current" music. So, um, yeah... side eye ) I've been called a "such a grandma" for knitting. (Like that's an insult?!) and so on...
 
Do you hold grudges?
 
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I'm pretty forgiving if the person genuinely expresses remorse for any wrongs. Likewise, I'm quick to apologize when I realize I've committed some wrong(s).

Were there any classes you enjoyed because of the teacher?
 
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Absolutely. Many of them, actually. In my senior year of high school, my AP Physics teacher was constantly making it entertaining, which was great for me because this particular field of science is most challenging for me. I just don't have a good understanding of spacial relationships, for one thing. And speaking of physics, my Physics II professor at university used to write "WAEFRTGDD" on the chalkboard/whiteboard during each lab and exam. Before starting, he'd point to each letter and remind us, "When All Else Fails, Read The __ __ Directions!" Cracked me up.

Was there a dress code at your school?
 
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No. Which reminds me, I have to find out if there's a dress code at the younger two kids' new high school.

Have you ever been a bad friend?
 
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Yeah...

Has a friend ever replaced you with somebody else?
 
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Yeah, but you know, you've gotta grow up and get past that stuff at some point.

Have you ever disliked something just because it was popular?
 
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Mm-hmm. For instance, I have a bunch of piercings but never did my bellybutton because everybody was piercing their navels for a while and just... I don't like to be trendy. Now that everyone and their brother has their nostril pierced, I'm glad I've got the septum done, too. What next?
 
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I much prefer belly necklaces, but I definitely don't have the body for that!

Have you ever watched a movie just because it starred an actor you liked?
 
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Probably, sure. I think I even saw The Rainmaker in the theater. #BecauseMattDamon

Are there actors/musicians you have met?
 
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Chloë
Well, I mean, sure. I know some. My daughter Chloë is an actor and model and has starred in movies, TV shows, commercials, print ads, stock photos... And one of my best friends is a concert violinist. =) (I'm still so jealous she played first chair for Josh Groban!)

Do you ever judge people based on the music they listen to?
 
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Eh, not really, although I might judge the "music" itself - death metal?!

What about your top five music albums?
 
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Uh, what about it?

Do you remember the first album you ever owned?
 
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LOL... I can't promise it wasn't Milli Vanilli! But one of the first albums that I've owned that became an instant favorite and has remained so for 25+ years was Eric Clapton Unplugged. He's my boyfriend, but he doesn't know it. So is Larry David. (Neither of whom is my generation. Y'know?)

Do you still use an mp3 player, or just your phone?
 
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I actually forgot I ever even owned an MP3 player. How did you know?

Do you like Elton John?
 

Most of his music, I love, and I guess I like him okay as a human? But I wouldn't really miss a few of his songs, like Crocodile RockBennie & The Jets, and maybe Rocket Man? I don't know why; I just don't enjoy those ditties as much.
 
Have any celebrity deaths hit you hard? Which one(s)?
 
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A few, like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Prince, etc. were really hard for me, Luke Perry I guess, but none hit me anywhere near as much as the death of Princess Diana in 1997. That still affects me to this day. #PTSD
 
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And now, it seems I'm on an Elton John kick. What's next for me, Billy Joel?
 
I wish you all a good week. I know I ruffled a few feathers this weekend, and mine were tousled in return, but I do hope there's no bad blood among any of us.
 
Fin.

Saturday 9, Memoral Day Version: God Bless America

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Happy weekend, everybody! I hope you've all a wonderful weekend. I'm glad you've found your way here, but if you'd like to see what all the other Sat9ers posted, please go here, too.

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Saturday 9: God Bless America


Unfamiliar with Deanna Durbin's rendition of week's tune? Hear it here.

Memorial Day is the federal holiday designated to honor American service people who died in battle.

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1) Memorial Day was introduced after the Civil War. Originally called Decoration Day, this is when memorials, as well as the graves of veterans, are to be decorated with flags and flowers on this day to show our appreciation. Is there a war memorial in your neighborhood?

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So, not exactly in our neighborhood, but modeled after the Vietnam Memorial in D.C., Boise has Veterans Memorial Park. We haven't been there yet, but we've been to M.K. Nature Center right near it. Maybe on Monday, that park is where you'll find us.
 
2) Andrew Johnson, our 17th President, was in office the first time Memorial/Decoration Day was celebrated. Have you ever met one of our 45 Presidents? 

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I have not. But I would not mind meeting President Obama, of any of them! Or Carter. I think I'd really hit it off with both of them. You know, once they got past my excessive chattiness and my neuroses!
 
3) According to the AAA, more than 30 million Americans will hit the road this weekend and drive more than 50 miles. Will you be traveling far from home this weekend? 

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No, not really, because we're closing on this house on June 3rd. We really need to save our pennies for that!
 
4) Memorial Day kicks off the summer season. What's your favorite picnic food? 

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Well, you know what, I couldn't decide between a beautiful, fresh fruit salad, or sandwiches. In the end, I decided to go with some delightful vegetarian finger sandwiches. I love finger sandwiches. Reminds me of the times I had high tea aboard a Princess Cruise while going through the Panama Canal. After we move, I think I've got to elevate our picnic game.
 
5) As you answer these questions, is there an air conditioner or fan on? 

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I think either it's no to both, or the heat may be on low. I can't believe we're still using the heat when it's almost freakin' June! And I think there is still plenty of snow on the mountains. Why did you people let me move to Idaho?!!
 
6) Though she's belting out one of America's best loved patriotic songs, Deanna Durbin was born in Canada. Is there anyone in your family or circle of friends who wasn't born in the USA?
 
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I have friends from all over. Some from living in the multi-cultural epicenter, Miami, for both college and then again from 2013-2017 with my family. Some from being a military wife - although none we've kept in touch with from our four short months in Guam, I do have many from the Philippines and, of course, more places. And yes a few Canadian friends are in the mix, plus some from all over the States. This friend, here, is my girl Kristal from Trinidad and Tobago. We met in Geology class at the University of Miami, where I basically was a class clown and learned to taste rocks and minerals to see if they were a salt, like halite, or something else. (Meanwhile, in every other science class I've had, the rule was: Don't put anything in your mouth!) Kristal eventually came to nickname me "Comic Relief," because we never got a lot done together but always had a ton of laughs.
 
7) No longer a household name, Ms. Durbin was once one of the biggest stars in the country. One of her most popular films was 1937's One Hundred Men and a Girl, which was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Recommend a movie that you really like, but don't think many Saturday 9ers have seen.
 
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Hmm. Have y'all seen Hidden Figures? Excellent movie. I took my daughters to see it in the theater in 2017, shortly before we moved here to Idaho, and it is one that imprints on the memory. Also, I've never seen The Help, though, but I just watched my first episode of the Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart collab (I forget what the show is called, but it's that cooking show, y'know?), and Octavia Spencer guested on it. Long story short, now I think I'm going to watch The Help on Amazon Prime. (Happy birthday, Octavia! You're the same age as my husband!)
 
8) Back in 1938, Deanna Durbin had her handprints cemented in front of the TCL Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd. Have you ever visited that Los Angeles tourist attraction?
 
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I have not. Yet. I've been in and out of L.A. a few times (above, in 2008, when my now-17yo daughter Chloë participated in an international acting convention and won several awards), and I've seen the Hollywood sign and the Walk of Fame... but I have not made it here yet. I always leave a "yet," because I decided as a young child that I wanted to visit everywhere in the world before I'm dead. Might have to live forever, though; it's a big world!
 
9) Random question: What food did you hate as a child, but enjoy now?

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Artichokes! Avocados. Beans. Oh, my, it looks like I could go through the whole alphabet with vegetables, here. (It's amazing I've been a vegetarian, or vegan, or pescetarian at least, for over 23 years, seeing as vegetables were not very important to our family when I was growing up!) I have three artichokes in the fridge right now - huge ones! - that have gone brown on the tips. I completely forgot about them, dammit. I'm considering giving one a go right now... but it's 6:18 AM here. Would you?

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Thank you guys for stopping by. I love it when you do. Have a good weekend. A safe weekend. But most importantly, if you're American, please stop and remember those who fought and died while in the military while you're picnicking, swimming, and enjoying the unofficial start to Summer. ✌️

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Saturday 9: Treat You Better

Hey, pals. I'm exhausted and have to get up in fewer hours than I'm actually gonna wanna sleep, so we'll see how interesting this gets. Link up here if you want to play along today!

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Saturday 9: Treat You Better (2016)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here



This song was chosen because October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Please share this information about The National Domestic Violence Hotline. Let's spread the word that there's help out there.

1) In this song, a young man advises his neighbor to stop wasting her time with a guy who makes her cry. What is something you regret wasting time on? (It doesn't have to be a romance.)

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Seems like I waste far too much time pushing my stack of papers this way and that - drives me nuts!

2) Much of this video takes place in a very sparely-decorated apartment. Because Shawn Mendes and the girl he’s singing to both appear young, it’s easy to assume they are both in their first apartments. Tell us about the first place you ever rented.

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When I moved from Miami to St. Petersburg, Florida, after college, my goal was to get into the Tampa/St. Pete-based school, University of South Florida, for my doctorate program (which I did, a year later). I had never been to St. Pete before, and it was about a four-hour drive, so I had to figure out the rental situation from a distance. Back then there was no Facebook, of course, so I found an offline apartment rental guide at the grocery store and set up a two-bedroom apartment for myself. Then I found a roommate-matching service and, through that, found my first apartment mate, Janet. She was cool; I liked her. 

3) It's clear he can hear his neighbors' conversations and arguments through the walls. Are your neighbors quiet? Do you consider yourself a quiet neighbor? 

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I guess we're all right, but we could probably do better with the yard maintenance. Our neighbors who always blocked our driveway with their 50 billion cars and ... stuff... moved out on Monday. Hubs is relieved; I guess I am, too, although I'm also sad because the older boy is my son's BFF.

4) This song received a lot of attention and airplay because it was used in a Southwest Airline commercial. When you last visited an airport, were you traveling yourself or meeting someone?

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The last time I flew anywhere was a year and change ago, when Chloë was beckoned to audition for another movie in Los Angeles. The industry is so last-minute with its calls like that, that the airfare is prohibitively expensive. Good thing I have a friend who works for Delta!

5) This week's artist, Shawn Mendes, was a serious skateboarder during his high school years. Sam has never even set foot on a skateboard. How about you? 

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I have. And I promptly fell right off.

6) Shawn is happy eating cold cereal with milk for every meal -- breakfast, lunch and dinner. He prefers cereal with almonds in it. What about you? Do you have a favorite cereal?

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It's a toss-up between Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch and Frosted Mini Wheats.

7) He says he started eating cereal beyond breakfast because it's convenient, and it helps him avoid "junk food" when he's in a hurry. Do you often order your food "to go?"

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We try to avoid it, but it happens occasionally.

8) In 2016, when this song was popular, a German short-haired pointer named CJ won Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show. Is there a dog who holds a special place in your heart?

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♥ Our 5½-pound chihuahua, Paco, and our 17-pound chiweenie, Tapioca, are my bebes. ♥

9) And this week, we're trying a random fill in the blank: I wish someone would create an app that would allow me to take pictures of all my clutter spots and link me to the perfect decluttering, organization solutions. I'd so buy into that.

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That was fun! And I made it without taking a nap. Go me! ;)

Fin.


Saturday 9: The Nanny

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Heyyy! The Nanny! This used to be one of my favorite shows from the '90s. I still know most of the theme song. My favorite lyrics are toward the end: ♪ ♫ "She had style! She had flair! She was there! That's how she became... The Nannyyyyy!" ♫ ♪

Glad to have y'all back again this week. Link up here if you're playing along today!

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Saturday 9: The Nanny (1993)

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

1) This week's song is the theme from a sitcom that originally aired from 1993 to 1999. Were you a fan?

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Oh, yes. I watched it all the time. And I had a huge crush on Mr. Sheffield!

2) The song tells us that Fran once worked in a bridal shop. Have you ever worked in a retail setting?

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Oh, yes. Besides working for a number of years in three or four different successful grocery store chains, along with a stint at a gas station (which sucked), I was the dive shop manager for the dive operation on Key Biscayne, Florida, where I received my Open Water SCUBA certification. I did it all. 

3) The kids in the Sheffield household appreciate their nanny's "joie de vivre," which is defined as "exuberant enjoyment of life." Are you feeling joie de vivre this morning? 

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I'm trying, I'm really trying, but I do have this agonizing tooth pain for which I'm on painkillers and antibiotics. I want them to just pull that eff-er! Hell, pull 'em all and give me dentures! I'm down with it! ;)

4) "The Nanny" is the colorful one, the one who wears red when everyone else wears tan. What color do you think you look best in?

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I definitely feel like I look best in RED, but I think BLACK is my color, too. But I wear all kinds of colors, because life is too short for me to wear bland clothing. :P

5) The TV show, The Nanny, was the brainchild of actress Fran Drescher. She got the idea while visiting an old friend in London. Her friend's pre-teen daughter enjoyed having Fran as a confidante and shopping buddy. Do you enjoy shopping as a leisure activity? Or would you prefer to just dash into a store, grab what you need, and get out and go home?


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I prefer to dash and go, but if I have the money to spend, I don't mind browsing a little. I don't want to be in there looking around all day or anything: BORING!

6) The friend Fran was visiting in London was Twiggy, who was the world's most famous model in the 1960s. Name another famous model.

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Ms. Tyra Banks, for one, is quite lovely to behold.

7) The Nanny: The Complete Series is available on DVD on Amazon. It consists of 19 discs and takes 55 hours to watch, start to finish. What TV show have you recently binge watched?

I'm kind of going back and forth between two shows that I'm binge-watching:

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The always-hilarious Bob's Burgers, and:

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Cake Wars, which, if nothing else, serves to remind me how much talent and skill I did not possess during my stint as a cake shoppe owner! And it makes me hungry for cake. ;)

8) The Nanny theme was sung by Liz Callaway. Her father, the late John Callaway, was a long-time Chicago newscaster. Have you, or has a loved one, ever been on TV?

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Yeah, my daugher Chloë has been on a number of things on TV, most notably an episode of A Haunting, which you can rent to watch on Amazon.com if you wish. ;) She's been in lots of other things, and she could probably "hit it big," but she's decided she no longer wants to act.

9) Random question -- Which of these adjectives comes closest to describing you: sexy, sophisticated or down-to-earth?

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In the past, I'd have liked to have said "sexy," but I no longer feel that fits. Definitely not sophisticated. I guess that leaves down-to-earth for me! I think I am pretty approachable...

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Thanks for a fun meme, Crazy Sam!

Fin.

P.S. We have a small GoFundMe account, wherein we are trying to raise the funds for the courses and material supplies for my younger artist daughter, Sophia, for this coming homeschool year. We need just $300 more to purchase everything that's left, including the courses. More information can be found here:

https://www.gofundme.com/ArtEducationSupplies

OR, the Amazon Wish List for the supplies can be found here:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/giftlist/2O3KE65XHFJTJ

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So if you have a look at either, we'd be grateful if you could either donate or share with your followers. Thank you!!


Saturday 9: I ♥ Lucy

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Today's episode of Saturday 9 is all about that lovable redhead, Lucille Ball. At least I think so: I don't read the questions until immediately before answering them. Should be lots of fun! Link up here to join all the other S9ers in the fun this weekend!

And away we go:

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Saturday 9: I Love Lucy (1951)
 
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Before today, did you know that the "I Love Lucy" theme had lyrics?

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Actually, no, I heretofore did not. Interesting!

2) Since its premiere in 1951, I Love Lucy has never been off the air. Are you a fan?

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I wouldn't call myself a superfan by any stretch. I usually won't watch it unless literally NOTHING else but infomercials is on the air. And then maybe I'll still watch the infomersh. ;)

3) On the show, Ricky Ricardo supports his family by performing in a nightclub. Do you know anyone in show business?

So my 16-year-old daughter, Chloë (latest full-body shot, above), has been an on-again, off-again model and actress since she was five, although she has once again decided to take a step back from the business to focus on other things. Also, my 13-year-old daughter, Sophia, has expressed interest in acting and now is represented by the same agent who reps Chloë. She's gotten several requests for auditions so far but hasn't gone further than that yet. And finally, one of my very good friends is the wife of a gent who owns a very famous and well-known acting & modeling agency that I can't mention for privacy reasons. OH! And one of my best friends, Shana, is a talented musician and music instructor, and she has performed on stage with many famous names. So, a little.

4) Lucy and Ricky's best friends are Fred and Ethel, their landlord and his wife. Are you friendly with your neighbors?

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EW, haha! Say, I didn't know Fred & Ethel were their landlords! I guess I haven't watched as much as I thought I did. 

5) One of the most popular episodes has Lucy and Ethel working on the conveyor belt at a chocolate factory. When did you last have chocolate?

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I had, um, three of these 2-packs in the space of this week. I'm a stress-eater, and I'm also an Aunt Flo-eater (TMI, sorry). Although I've had a hysterectomy, I still get the hormonal upheaval from that. So between that and being very stressed out recently, I gobbled down three packages in three days. Shame on me!! Also, if you haven't tried these yet, you simply must. They're very good - and I hate cheap chocolate, so I don't say that lightly.

6) Another famous episode has Lucy promoting Vitameatavegamin. This tonic is made with vitamins, meat, vegetables -- and 23% alcohol. Do you read the ingredients statement before you take an over-the-counter medication? Or do you trust that it's safe because it's on the store shelf?

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Oh, that sounds so nastay!! I'm a label reader. There are so many ingredients I, myself, as well as a couple others in my family cannot take, so it's a must. (Plus we have kids, and there are things not safe for kids, although by age most meds are now okay.)

7) I Love Lucy was filmed before a live audience. Desi Arnaz (Ricky) always maintained he could identify the chuckle of his mother-in-law, who attended every taping. Do you know anyone who has a distinctive laugh?

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I know the Capó family who own the El Dorado Furniture store in Florida; I met Luis Capó and his family on a cruise when I was 14 and he was 19. My three sisters and I all paired up with brothers and cousins of the Capó family on that cruise, and I've been friends with him ever since. Anyway, his laugh was so bubbly and contagious; I still remember it 27 years later!

8) The show ended when the Lucille Ball/Desi Arnaz marriage ended. Have you ever had to choose sides when a couple broke up?

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Yes, and it is super awkward. I prefer not to take sides and be neutral, like Switzerland.

9) Random question -- You must eat the same dinner, every day, between now and Labor Day. An identical menu, no deviation. What will you be having?

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I would start off with a giant, salt-rimmed margarita (y'know, for sharing) ;) to drink...

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... I'd eat nothing but New York-style pizzeria cheese pizza for dinner...

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And I'd have New York-style cheesecake every time, for dessert. (Yup, you can take the girl out of New York, but you can't take the New York out of the girl!)

And now, I am sufficiently hungry and can eat nothing but a protein shake. At least it's chocolate?!

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That was a fun one! Thanks, Crazy Sam!

Fin.


Saturday 9: My Church

Hey, everyone! I hope you're having a jolly December so far. We have been, but in a delightful turn of events, I have another, mostly-unFacebooked rash of illnesses and things going on, AND I'm "good ol' regular sick" on top of that, so I'm feeling like poo today. And we have a Christmas party to go to at a neighbor's church, which I am so not feeling, but I'm going to muster up the effort to get in the shower and get ready for it soon. 

ANYway, link up here if you'd like to join in today's Saturday 9!

And away we go...

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Saturday 9: My Church (2016)

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

1) This song is about a woman who loves singing along with her car radio. Is that something you enjoy?

So this is a video we made - it's utterly ridiculous and awful, and we know it - a year or two ago. I think two. Yeah. Anyway, I believe we sing along to the radio in some of it. Yes, it is one of my true loves, actually!

2)  The video begins with Maren Morris finishing her cigarette before getting behind the wheel. Do you allow smoking in your car?

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Ha. Yeah, right. If it were up to me, there would be no smoking allowed in the world. Period!

3) In this song, Maren admits she's lied. What's the last fib you told?

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I just lied about an hour ago, to a mystery shopping scheduler. I lied about the recent I didn't get a shop's report in on time. Heh.

4) She mentions having her radio on the FM dial. Are you loyal to a single radio station? Or do you spin the dial?

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In the car, I change the station all the time. I can't stand listening to people jabbering on radio. In the house, I generally keep it streaming on one station on my computer all the time, wishing I could change stations when the jabbering starts!

5) Maren was inspired to write this song while on a long car trip from Nashville to Los Angeles. When do you get your best ideas?

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I've always maintained I do my best thinking in the shower. It's true!
  
6) She performed this song on Saturday Night Live last year. The host that week was John Cena. Do you follow professional wrestling?

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That ^^^ is in response to all the WWF memes I tried to explore before settling on this fact that I didn't understand a single one of them! Because no, I don't follow it.

7) In 2016, when this song was popular, Alex Rodriguez played his final Major League Baseball game. He has embarked on a second career as a broadcaster. Would you be comfortable on camera?

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No, not me! But my 16-year-old daughter, Chloë, has been acting since she was five years old. She's as shy as I am in real life - maybe more so - but when the camera turns on her? She's a natural. (This is from a short film she was featured in in 2009, called Boom.)

8) A 2016 study revealed that 43% of Americans own mutual funds, many in their 401(k)s and IRAs. Are you involved in the stock market? 

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Nope. I've often thought about educating myself on such matters - financial matters are not my intellectual forte - but then I see things go so badly for so many people very quickly and think, "nahhh."

9) Random question: You have something awkward and embarrassing that you simply must tell a pal. You know your friend will not be happy with the news. Would you prefer to deliver it by email, in a phone call, or face to face?

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Email or text. Or Facebook messenger, whatever. I get anxious with face-to-face and phone conversations. C'est la vie!

Welp, time to go get ready for that party. I'm feeling a little bah-humbuggy about it, but only 'cause I'm sick...

Ciao.


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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

 

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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.

Fin.


Whirlwind Trip To Los Angeles

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Last week, Chloë was requested to come audition in Los Angeles. It was a spur of the moment request, ten days earlier than the official posted audition dates were to begin, so I guess they really wanted her. However, we had no way to get her there and figured that would be that. But no! At the 11th hour, my longtime friend Tiffany, who now works for Delta, stepped in with stand-by tickets to get the two of us from Boise to LA! We set it up, dyed her beautiful curls red for the part, and found ourselves on standby at the Boise airport early the next morning!

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Once we arrived in Los Angeles, we hopped in the shuttle to our hotel and found that... we actually did not have a hotel room, after all. They had nothing for us. Desperate and freaking out, because it turned out all our bank account funds were frozen for the duration of our trip, another longtime friend - my BFF Shana - stepped in to save the day. Soon, we were in our room, where Chloë took a nap and I waited until it was time to catch a Lyft from our airport hotel into downtown Hollywood for the audition.

In the Lyft car, our driver was really nice... and overly chatty. Chloë wanted nothing more than to rehearse her lines with me, but he kept interrupting to ask about her role, her history with acting, and so on. Argh! We did get a few run-throughs in, and soon she had her "sides," the part of the script that she had to know for the audition, memorized.

The audition itself went really well. The casting director was zenlike, and the whole thing was fairly chill. Chloë and the young man with whom she auditioned did some deep breathing exercises together before delivering their lines, and the director seemed quite pleased with her. We were asked for all of our contact information, and Chloë gave only hers, so I've kind of been all over her to check her email constantly! I did get the feeling they wanted to hire an LA local, though, so I'm not sure how that will go. It was certainly worth the effort to get her name in the hat, though.

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After the audition, my phone was dead, and we had no way to get a Lyft back to the hotel or anywhere else. Oops! So we took a long walk down Hollywood Boulevard until we found a busy cross street with many businesses on it. I figured somewhere along that route, we could both get something to eat, and I could charge my phone long enough to get our next ride. 

Having decided to grab sandwiches from the 7-Eleven we found on that other street, the cashier let me charge my phone while we ate. Really nice! Chloë was starving and ate a ton, so that gave me long enough to charge in order to secure a ride for us. We had the whole day in front of us, though, and while she had napped in our hotel before the audition earlier, I had done some poking around to figure out what we might be able to do. I had decided to take her to the famed Santa Monica Pier and have some fun at Pacific Park, and she agreed it sounded like fun!

 

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We all like fair food, right? My favorite thing is cheesy fries, while Chloë loves nothing more than a good funnel cake. That's what she wanted, so of course when we found this stand in Pacific Park, that's where we headed. The wait took forever and then it was a little overcooked, but neither one of us cared by that point. We were starving!

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Yum!! Chloë was wholly undecided about whether to put strawberries or just powdered sugar or what on her funnel cake, but in the end we decided to keep it simple. Good thing, because though we put a fairly good-sized dent in the thing, we threw out a good portion of it!

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I like this pic, because you can really see how red her hair was at that time. A lot of it has already faded out, so she's mostly back to her natural golden brown. We're glad for that, because though Rob and I liked the reddish hue, she hated it with a passion! Oh well. I say, she changed her hair for a movie role; doesn't that make her more of an actor than ever before? Hee.

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There were lots of sights and sounds to enjoy while we were on the Pier, including a billion and one pigeons stalking all the crumb-droppers everywhere. They were brazen, as you know those city birds often are, and this little guy was no exception. "Flying rats," my husband calls them.

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I was interested in this man, who surely was homeless, having his entire belongings on his bicycle and leaving the whole shebang next to a coffee shop while he went inside to procure for himself a beverage. No one so much as glanced at that bike, let alone messed with it, despite it not being locked up. I felt pretty good about that and wished I could have bought him some food myself.

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Another frequent sighting on the Pier were the buskers. This guy, Ben Bostick, had a really interesting voice which I enjoyed. I recorded him playing, but I don't think you can hear him that well with all the passersby going up and down the pier:

Loved him! Throw a couple dollars in his case for us the next time you're on the Pier! ;)

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And you can check her out on YouTube, too:

Clare Means was another busker on the pier that day, and Chloë and I both really enjoyed her singing. Check her out!

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It was a cold but sunny day that afternoon, so there weren't a whole lot of sights for me to photograph. Hence, you get Mr. Seagull here! :D

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We walked to the end of the pier, where there were a few souvenir shops to take advantage of, and that we did.

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With the beach right next to the pier (duh), we longed to go in, but it was just frigid that day. Not a chance of that happening!

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My beautiful, lovely woman-child admiring the sea

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I don't know why, but this sign grabbed my attention. I can't explain it.

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Buoy

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We've collected pressed pennies for years, at least a dozen of them, so naturally we had to press some in the machine at the end of the pier. I had tons of change, so we made all four:

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The view of Pacific Park from the end of Santa Monica Pier

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Get your kicks on Route 66! So now, we've been all the way West on 66 and all the way south, to Key West, on Route 1.

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One last view of what we saw leaving the pier, before heading to meet our next Lyft back to the hotel

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The two of us crashed in the hotel room that night and woke up an hour before check-out the following morning. We had nothing to do but spend all day at the airport, and so we did! Chloë became powerful hungry once we reached our terminal, so we stopped at this French bistro-esque place. She really wanted some crêpes, but apparently we missed when they were available. Booo... I had to adjust her order to Brie and Gruyère grilled cheese, and she didn't much care for that. The apple juice and Moodibars I brought her seemed to make up for that, though!

Right after I took this picture, I attempted to open my Diet Pepsi (blech). However, it started spewing carbonated soda all over our table, our food, ourselves - and the two young Frenchmen at the table next to us! Oh, my gosh, I was mortified! The two of them jumped up immediately and fetched a wad of napkins to help us clean it up, and they weren't upset at all. They were so nice and smiling, so that was a blessing. I felt horrible for soaking them, though - and I swear I never shook that bottle!!

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The ceiling in the bistro was covered in lights. COVERED! I had to snap a pic.

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Just another selfie (ussie) with my Share-A-Coke for Herrera. Who knows a Herrera?

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Our pizza in the airport that night was only about six or seven bucks, but now I can say I've eaten at a Wolfgang Puck restaurant!

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As we walked to our final gate, or so we thought, Chloë informed me that I said, "Ooh, nice balls" right when a strange man passed us going in the opposite direction. Hee!

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One last beverage before we were told to switch gates for the third time - always in a different terminal!

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At 5'1" for me and 4'9" for Chloë, we certainly don't fit the Dutch profile, eh?

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When we finally boarded for Boise, we were bumped up to First Class! It was Chloë's first time, so she was super excited!! All in all, even if she didn't get the role, she still deemed this her most fun trip to LA so far. I call that a win.

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Mama Can't Buy You Love

Happy Mother's Day to all of you moms out there! Link up here if you're playing along this weekend.

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Mama Can't Buy You Love (1979)
 
Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.
 

1) This week's artist, Elton John, was made an Office of Arts and Letters -- one of France's highest honors for people who have contributed significantly to the arts. What's the most recent compliment you received?

Well, the most recent one was kind of NSFW filthy. So I'll just keep that one to myself. Maybe the one before that: I think you're up to the challenge!

  2) In 2013, Elton had to cancel an international concert tour because he had an appendectomy. Do you still have your appendix?

I don't even know! As far as I know, I've never had it removed, but the last time or two I've had abdominal scans, they haven't seen it. Weird, right?
 
3) In 1979, Elton John was the first Western rock star to tour the Soviet Union. Would you like to visit Russia?

Not really on my list, no.
 
4) Elton and his mother hadn't spoken in years but he reached out to her and healed their breach in honor of her 90th birthday in 2015. Who is the oldest person you know?
 
My dad and my father-in-law, both in their mid-70s now.

5) Flowers and plants are popular on Mother's Day. How is your yard or garden? Is it green and/or blooming? 
 
Idaho is really weird in Spring, we are discovering. For several weeks, we had tulips everywhere. When those died, we had bright green grass. Now new flowers are threatening to bloom. And it was 85oF on one day and in the 40s the following, this past week. Strange place!
 
6) Mother's Day is a big holiday for card shops. So are birthdays, weddings, and St. Patrick's Day. Hallmark sells greetings for everything from "Congratulations on Your New Job" to "Happy Retirement." Who received the most recent card you bought? 
 
One of the best friends on the planet, and one of my longest: Shana, whom I've known since 6th grade and whom I'll be seeing in Salt Lake City next month. She's kind and generous, and I love her. 

7) Sam's mother is very careful when she unwraps presents because she likes to save money by to reusing wrapping paper and gift bags. Tell us one way that you economize.
 
I'm a major couponer. I have a big ol' binder and make lists and read sales blogs and the whole nine yards. I couldn't feed my children without couponing!
 
8) Mother Winters used to scold Crazy Sam for leaving her dirty dishes in the sink. Sam admits it: as a grown up, she still leaves dirty dishes in the sink. How about you? Is your sink or dishwasher empty?
 
I have three teenagers. It's never empty, but it's rarely my job to do them for the time being! We rotate chores on a weekly basis, and washing dishes seems to be the most hated job. I don't know why; I don't mind it so much.

9) RANDOM QUESTION: What size mattress do you sleep on -- twin, full, queen or king?
 
Floor! ;) Our stuff hasn't made its way to our house from Miami yet. So either the couch or the floor for now. Chloë, my 15-year-old, and I went to Los Angeles for her to audition for a movie role earlier this week. We slept in a hotel overnight, and oh, my gosh! I did not want to get out of bed the next morning. Best sleep I've had in two months by a long shot.
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
Thanks for stopping by!
 
Fin.

Saturday 9: Brokenhearted

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

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

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Saturday 9: Brokenhearted (2012)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I tweeted this a few hours ago:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Wordless Wednesday: Magic Hour Shoot

Link up HERE with 5 Minutes for Mom if you're Wordless today!

The other morning, we took advantage of Magic Hour, that sunrise/sunset time when all [the lighting] is right in the photography world. Chloë needed new photos for her acting profile, and the timing was right. Here are a few of the photos we took.

Chloë Body Shot

Chloë Head Shot

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The last one was just for fun. The first two were what I submitted to her actors' profile. Did I choose right? 

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: The "Are You?" Meme

Link up here if you're joining us this weekend!

The Are You Meme 

Stolen from: From My Random Randomness 

1) Are you psychic in any way?

I don't know what I believe about that sort of thing, but I will say this: I get deja vu a LOT. I dream inane, mundane conversations and things that end up really occurring the next day or soon thereafter, all the time. It's so odd.

2) Are you a good dancer?

I dance sillishly to be funny now, but I was a dancer in my kidhood, and I was apparently pretty good... That was ages ago.

3) Are you a good singer?

I am a good back-up, choir-type singer. Lead singer material, I am not, though I have always wanted to be. I had strep several times in sixth grade, and it ruined my vocal chords for good.

4) Are you a good cook?

People seem to like what I make, usually. That's good enough for me.

My brother-in-law is a chef at his own restaurant, Sycamore, in Columbia, MO. You should go; the food is excellent.

5) Are you a good artist?

Not in the fine art sense of the word, but I'm pretty good with artsy-craftsy stuff. I do believe, however, I could be a decent artist with some training.

6) Are you a good listener?

What?

No, it's something I continually need to remind myself to do. I'm a good interrupter, a good chatterer, but listening is hard for me. #TheStruggleIsReal

7) Are you a good public speaker?

Uh, no, not at all. I do not like attention focused on me, whether it's positive or negative attention, and I have panic attacks. Crying, shaking, the whole nine. Not a good scene.

8) Are you a good babysitter?

I love babies! BAAAAABIEEEEEES!!! (I think so?)

9) Are you a good mechanic?

Not in any sense of the word!

10) Are you a good diplomat?

I try very hard to be diplomatic, fair, and tactful. Sometimes I fail, but it's important to me.

11) Are you a good employee?

I love Dilbert! ;)

I am a very good employee. My one failure is timing. I hate being late, but sometimes I am.

12) Are you a good dresser?

It's not something I really care about, so probably not.

13) Are you a good swimmer?

I'm decent, but not great. Grandma made sure that I could tread water indefinitely when I was four or five years old, though! My sister, Stacey, and I were always in the community pool when we visited her and Grandpa, and it was important to her that we could swim and tread water so we could be in the pool by ourselves if she wasn't feeling it. She watched like a hawk, though!

14) Are you a good skier?

I've never gone downhill skiing. I used to like cross-country in P.E. back in high school. We certainly had enough snow and hills in Central New York, but I didn't go out for downhill ski club. Too afraid, I think I was... 

15) Are you a good gift giver?

Yes, I am! But I do appreciate appreciation in return. I recently gave a gift, and the recipient said, "Why did I get this? I wanted that!" Really? I was disgusted. Thankfully, it wasn't my own child who said that.

16) Are you a good musician?

Not really. I try, but I am pretty horrible at sightreading music. It just doesn't come naturally to me. I envy my good friend Shana's skillz, because she is a natural.

17) Are you a good comedian?

I've been told I'm funny and should do stand-up, but alas, that is like comic public speaking and... NO. Never gonna happen without drastically altering my state of consciousness.

18) Are you a good cleaner?

I am an awesome cleaner. I don't half-ass it, I clean until it's clean. However, I have 3 slobby kids (and a slobby husband), and we homeschool (and he's retired), and I do not like to waste my effort! So please don't pop in unannounced! ;)

19) Are you a good actor?

I recognize good and bad acting when I see it, and I recognize in myself that I would probably not produce the good kind.

20) Are you a good writer?

I like to think that I am, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, isn't it? 

I have a book or nine in me. I just can't seem to draw them out. I think I'm afraid of success more than I am of faillure. Time will tell.

Well, howdy doody, I'm at the end!

Fin.

 


Sunday Stealing: Shop On The Corner Meme

Link up here if you're thieving today!

Shop On The Corner Meme 

Stolen from: FYeah Surveys

What kind of job did your mom have when you were growing up? 

She died young, when I was 7 and she was 33, back in 1984. She was home with us, as far as I can remember, but my dad tells me she had been working as a secretary when she died. I just don't remember that. He says she would have loved computers, though... but they weren't really around back then.

 Have you ever known anyone who’s been on tv, including you? 

My daughter, Chloe (that's her page on IMDB), is an actress. She has been in several films as well as the "Dark Dreams" episode of A Haunting on the Discovery Channel. She's done other stuff (modeling in the Dollar Tree ads several times, etc.)... but she hasn't worked since we moved to Miami and Hubs got sick. She's in demand back up in Virginia, so I should probably work on finding her an agent down here!

(He's looking in at my daughter in this scene, but I couldn't find a screenshot of her...)

 What was the most interesting animal you have seen in the wild?

When I was in graduate school, I was doing a reef survey out in the Dry Tortugas. A juvenile nurse shark - one of the most docile sharks - kept swimming in and out of my survey plot during the course of my work. She was sweet, and it was the first time I swam with a shark. Even though I knew she had no plans to harm me, it was quite a rush!

 What holiday do you enjoy the most? 

I enjoy everything about Independence Day (America's); it's my favorite day of the year.

 What was the first video game you ever played? 

When my mom was still alive, she was a big fan of Atari's Frogger. I seem to remember that was my first video game. We had Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, and all those original games, but I was never as good as Mom and my sister. I still suck at arcade games!

 What is the one thing you own, that if it got lost, you would be bummed?

Everything, and nothing. I don't like it when my stuff goes missing, but in the end, it's all really just stuff. And that just doesn't matter so much.

 Do you have a favorite breakfast item? 

I eat a lot of eggs since my gastric bypass surgery. I don't eat meat, but I have high protein requirements, so the eggs help. I eat them all the time. (Truthfully, a cheese Danish is my favorite, but I can't really go eating those anymore now, can I?)

 What do you find yourself buying all the time? 

Eggs, for reasons that should be clear now, and milk. My kids are whole milk fanatics.

 When was the last time you got a real letter in the mail? 

I can't even remember, but my kids get the occasional penpal letter. Sophia just sent her latest one out yesterday.

 Do you have a most prized piece of jewelry?

My wedding and engagement rings mean the most to me. I have to take them off all the time because my fingers swell up when I get hot, which is constantly, and I hate that. Putting them back on when I get cold again is the best!

 Do you own any board games? 

Yeah, we have a few. Lately we've been playing the family edition of Trivial Pursuit. That's probably my favorite game, even though I keep getting all the ridonk questions!

 What chore seems the most daunting right now? 

Cleaning up my desk. It's the most never-ending task. Everything just seems to land right. Here.

 Were you born in the state you live in? 

I'm a native New Yawka, but no, I live in Florida now. Again.

 Have you ever lived in a house that has been broken into? 

When we lived in Portsmouth, VA, before moving here, our house was burgled several times. My daughter's brand-new bicycle was taken, my Nikon DSLR, Hubs' fishing stuff... ugh. It makes me sick to think that we lived there. What a mistake that was.

 What is your favorite cheese? 

love cheese so much. All cheese except maybe Limburger. But I think Meunster is my favorite.

 Who do you know that watches the most sports? 

 

Too many people to count! I am not a sports nut, nor did I marry one, and for that I am thankful. I'm forever thinking to myself, "It's JUST a game!!!"

And that is all. 

Fin.

 


Saturday 9: Hey, Soul Sister

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: Hey, Soul Sister

1) The video was shot on a street corner in Echo Park in central Los Angeles. If you saw a film crew making a video in your neighborhood, would you stop to watch? Or would you just keep walking?

Well, I would probably stop for a moment, see what was going on, and then carry on with my walking. Having been on film sets with my actress daughter, I know they can be kind of boring. I haven't met anyone super-famous yet, but the likelihood and the allure, for me, are both low at this point!

2) The singer says he remembers his girl in every dream he dreams. Do you remember if you dreamed last night?

I didn't sleep last night, but I did nap most of the evening after a stomach bug claimed much of my Friday. I don't remember dreaming anything, which is rare for me.

3) The band Train is from San Francisco. Have you ever visited The City by the Bay?

I never have, but it's definitely on the Bucket List!

4) Lead singer Pat Monahan got his start in a Led Zeppelin cover band. Can you name a Led Zeppelin song?

"Stairway to Heaven" is probably the most well-known - and my favorite - LZ tune.

5) In doing research for this week's Saturday 9, Crazy Sam discovered a publication called Trains, The Magazine of Railroading.What's the last magazine you flipped through? 

The October 2014 issue of Glamour, only because I receive probably five magazines a day and that one was on top of the pile. I'm forever giving away magazines!

6) Do you consider yourself a leader or a follower?

I'm really not sure. This is a question I have asked myself for about 35 years now. I used to think one had to be one or the other, but I do my own thing and don't really follow any person or trend, per se. However, I don't think of myself as having great leadership qualities, either. I'm kind of my own thing, whatever that is, I guess.

7) Scholars tell us that "To be or not to be" is Shakespeare's most quoted line. Give us another one.

"Romeo, Romeo, Wherefor art thou, Romeo?" (Or is it "wherefore?") I love Romeo and Juliet.

8) How do you listen to music on the go? Car radio? CD changer? iPod/mp3 player? Your phone?

I stream the IHeartRadio app through a LuguLake wifi speaker at home, via my Samsung Galaxy S5. In the car, I listen to the car radio unless Hubs is driving, which he can't do anymore, in which case he'd probably be using the auxiliary adapter to play his iPod music.

9) Are you a convincing liar?

I'm a terrible liar. And I have obvious "tells" that are a dead giveaway. No, I'd never make a decent poker player.

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Our First Annual Pilgrimage to Virginia

So, I disappeared from this-here blahg for a few weeks. Here's a brief timeline:

31 January 2014: We meet with neurosurgeon Dr. Jacques Morcos for the first time and are told that Rob needs immediate brain surgery to remove his cavernoma.

5 February: Thirteen hours of operating later, the cavernous hemangioma, along with a goodly portion of mineralized brain tissue (read: gelatinous goo) are gone from Rob's head.

Remainder of February: Lots of ups and downs in this long road to recovery.

1 & 2 March: Team Odette decides to make a trek up to our former homeland of Hampton Roads, Virginia. We had planned to go in April, to visit the numerous friends we had made over the prior ten years of living there, but a request for Chloë to audition and do a photo shoot prompted us to change the dates quickly and, sadly, ill-advisedly. 

Traveling wasn't kind to Rob, who pretty much vomited the entire 20-hour trip up to the Norfolk area. I called Dr. Morcos to explain what was going on, and while he had approved this travel, he also said it might necessitate an emergency room trip. He changed Rob's med dosage over the phone, and that seemed to settle things down. The rest of the trip, Rob did GREAT and even walked on snow and ice without his walker. Maybe not the smartest idea in the world, but you know, he did okay!

That same day, Sunday the 2nd, I went to a big meet-up of lots of friends I met in the six or so months before we moved here to Miami. It was great, and I even made about as much money as I needed to cover gas for our trip!

Afterward, my good friend Lisa and her husband hosted a fantastic cook-out for Team Odette. I met people I'd only known before online, and we hung out for hours with great, great folks. I had a blast and was so grateful Lisa made it happen.

3 March: The day of the supposed audition, our formerly balmy Virginia weather turned vicious. Roads were closed, and the snow and ice prevailed. We skipped the audition entirely and spent the whole day in our hotel room. Big. Huge. Bummer. That night, we were supposed to have lunch with Stephanie, Tim, Luke, and Vinnie, but no sooner did we get on the road and get down to the corner, but the car started spinning and spinning on the ice, out of control. Though I grew up in Syracuse, NY, I never actually drove in that crappilicious weather, so I was ill-equipped to handle it. I really learned how to drive here in Miami while attending college, so I can handle the driving rain, but ice? No way! We turned around (and around and around) and went back to our hotel.

4 March: We drove down to northern North Carolina to hang with my pal Saritah and her family.

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Here's Sarah's youngest baby, Charlotte, who is the cutest little Cabbage Patch Kid, right? 

That was a fun day, because Team Odette adores Team Branham, and the feelings are mutual. [However, it wasn't all sunshine and puppy kisses, because Sarah filled me in on some un-fun things that I cannot tell you about here...]

5 March: On Wednesday of that week, we went and had lunch with Stephanie and her kids, to make up for the failed dinner attempt on Monday night.

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Sophia was so cute. She went out in the backyard with Stims' dogs, Rosie May and Wazowski, and she was dancing with Rosie:

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Steph and I took a selfie together while the kids watched Frozen on her iTunes account:

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We gathered up our five children and had a photo-op on the couch. Of course, it's hard to get five kids to cooperate for pictures, so this was my best shot:

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Vinnie, the little allergy baby, is near and dear to my heart because I knit for him and he has such a great, sweet little attitude despite being physically miserable so much of the time. Steph nursed him to sleep:

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and then I held him while she did some things around the house:

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After our visit with Stephanie, we had planned to go out to the Virginia Beach Farmer's Market to visit my favorite fishmonger, Uncle Chuck, and get some of his crabcakes. They're the best in the world, and I know, because I'm something of a connoisseur! However, we didn't get a chance, because it was to head to another awesome friend's house for dinner. 

Kassandra made spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread, and we brought a salad. Before dinner, her little girl, Ava, played with my kids. Sophia, who never went anywhere without making an instant friend, played with Ava in her room, so sweetly:

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And of course, Kassandra and I took a selfie together:

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Us and our piercings, lolz...

That night, it was a redeux of Steph and Tim (Stim) and the boys, as they brought bathing suits for Team Odette. We all had a jolly good time at the hotel pool (which was decidedly NOT heated as advertised, but hey, the hot tub was hot enough for both of them!):

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Tim with Lucas & Vincent

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Rob and Jack in the hot tub

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Steph cuddling Jacky

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Sophia floating in the brrrrr-cold pool

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After we got back to the room, dried off and warmed up, I snapped this photo of Team Goetsch, minus Luke. Luke was SO cute, telling me all kinds of adorbs little four-year-old things, and we had a great time hanging with everyone that day and night.

6 March: I snapped this photo of Jack and his dad in the bed after we went down for breakfast while the girls continued to snooze:

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I was supposed to have lunch with a sweet friend at the Olive Garden that day, and then go to Uncle Chuck's before heading back to see Lisa and some more friends that afternoon, but a necessary trip back to North Carolina prompted me to have to cancel the remainder of our plans. I can't say that trip ended well for everyone, but we headed back here Florida on Friday, March 7th, and we arrived back at home in the morning on March 8th. I napped about six times on the way home, since Rob can't drive and I was super tired.

All in all, it was a fun-filled, eventful trip back north, but I probably should have waited and gone in April as planned after all. I do think we were brought there for a very good reason, though, and that will have to speak for itself... 

Thanks for stopping by; have a wonderful day!

Fin.


Double Whammy: Saturday 9 & Sunday Stealing

"Wow, I can't believe Smellyann is late with her memes," said no one ever. :\

Link up here if you're late on Saturday 9, like I am!

 
1) Sam has affection for this song because, when she was very young, she tap-danced to it for a Christmas recital. Her parents told her she was wonderful. Do you have any memories from a school/church program or pageant -- either as a child onstage or an adult in the audience?
 
I have lots of them. My first really big show was as the Caterpillar in a 5th grade production of Alice in Wonderland. My stepmother sewed me a kick-ass costume with lots of arms and legs (hey, no one is 100% evil), and I completely stole the show when I came out. I sang, I danced, I won over the crowd. It was awesome. I'll have to find a picture of that some day.

2) Ok, she admits it: After too many cups of holiday cheer, Sam did a few steps of her "Jingle Bell Rock" routine at last year's company Christmas party. Have you ever done anything at a co-worker get-together that you now regret?
 
I've never been to an office holiday party. However, I have done some things with my boss(es) at various jobs. I was unattached at the time, but... they weren't! :\ I think I will keep the rest of those stories to myself. For now.

3) Since that unfortunate Christmas 2012 incident, Sam can't even look at a cup of egg nog. How about you? Do you like egg nog?
 
I like egg nog, always have, but I've never had it spiked. I can no longer drink Goldschlager for a similar reason, however, after having to live with the smell of puked-up cinnamon schnapps outside my college dorm window (I didn't quite make it OUT the window and had no way to clean up the mess) for an entire semester! Blergh.

4) For special events, Sam slips on her favorite piece of jewelry: a charm bracelet that once belonged to her grandmother. Do you have a special treasure from a previous generation? 
 
I have all of my mom's vintage costume jewelry. My dad held onto it for over 25 years after she died and finally gave my sister her "good" jewelry and me the costume pieces. I can remember her wearing some of them, which is wonderful because I have so very few memories of her at all. ♥

5) The only Christmas card Sam has received so far in 2013 is from her insurance agent. How about you? Have any holiday cards arrived yet?
 
I just have one from Jafra HQ and one from the University of Miami Alumni Association. I sent out our cards early, knowing no one would have our new Miami address yet, but.. it doesn't seem to have mattered. It doesn't matter. I still love sending them to our loved ones!

6) Because of the chill in the air, Sam gave her dog his Christmas gift -- a sweater -- early this year. He's already gotten compliments on it. Are there any pets on your gift list?
 
Our three male cats need to get neutered, but I'm putting that off until 2014. Getting your nuts whacked off isn't much of a gift, after all. We did get our five cats some catnip treats, which we've already given them, and they went appropriately crazy for them!

7) Do you need snow to get "into the spirit?"
 
Fortunately, no, because it'll be a sad thing if we get snow down here! I do like the lights, trees, music and all o' that, though. Just no schnae, please. ;)

8) Are you going to get/have you gotten a flu shot this year?
 
I got one in September. I confess, I totally got it just so I could get a 20% off coupon for my entire shopping trip!

9) December is an important fundraising month for charities. Here's your chance to plug a worthy cause that means a lot to you.
 
We donated several dozen toys in our son's memory to U. Miami's Holtz Children's Hospital this year. We'll donate more for Robby's birthday in March, too. We also donated oodles of toiletries, along with coffees and sugars, to the local Ronald McDonald House, which I'm glad for because we stayed at the one in Pensacola when our oldest daughter, Chloë, was admitted to the NICU for ten days in 2001. And finally, I donated more toys to the Toys For Tots bin at a local retailer a couple weeks ago. All great charities. Thanks for the chance to plug them!
 
* * * * * * * *
 
And now, link up here if you're playing along with Kwizgiver and the gang today!
 
The Blerp Meme
 
from Lucy B.'s Surveys

When you get a headache do you take painkillers right away or try to wait it out?  
 
Generally, I treat as soon as I recognize an oncoming brain pain. If I don't, mine almost always turn into full-blown migraines. They almost never just go away on their own.

 Is there a really funny YouTube video you’d like to recommend to me?  
 
I'm not much of a YouTuber unless I need directions for a knitting or a baking technique or something. I rarely watch it just for kicks. 

Did you watch Sesame Street when you were little?  
 
I did, along with my sister and our then-BFF, Ursula. Her mom babysat us, and we watched it every morning!

What’s the last thing you touched, other than your computer?
  
 
I just put the plate from the cheese-and-onion omelet Hubs made me into the sink. Delishamus!

When was the last time you talked to your best friend?
  
 
We chat on Facebook more than on the phone anymore, except when I have a medical question and she's not online. Which isn't all that infrequent, but I don't think since Summer. I'll have to call her for Christmas and remedy that!

How often do you listen to music?
  
 
I always have the I Heart Radio playing on my iPhone while I'm sitting here at my desk, which is daily, and the same station on the car radio whenever I'm driving. Rob and I have a rule - whoever is driving gets to pick the station.

What color is your cell phone?  
 
It's white, but the Otter Box covering it is pink, because they were out of Orange and Green (go 'CANES!!), boo.

What is the last non-alcoholic beverage you drank?
 
I made a 7-Eleven run tonight with Chloë. I refilled my Enormous Gulp and my Super-Humongous Gulp with Diet Mt. Dew. It's better than Diet Coke, but not much... I drink the organic stuff when I can, but that shit's 'spensive, and I chug a LOT.

Do you like to wear sweatpants?  
 
I do, but you know what? Apparently it's not cool to wear them in public. I didn't really know that until the interwebs told me. And to think I wore them with Tevas, t-shirts and a ponytail in my college days, along with all my designer label-wearing co-eds. Heh. (Toldja I wasn't very cool.)

What song are you currently listening to? Who sings it?  
 
I've got Katy Perry singing "Hot N Cold" in my ear at the mo'.

Have you ever gotten a black eye? 
 
I have walked into my share of things, but I've never gotten them from a fist, fortunately!

What caused it?  
 
Oh. See, I never read ahead. I like each question to be a surprise. I did have an ex break my two front teeth, once. Smelly's no stranger to violence, but thank God it isn't something my children experience, let alone on a regular basis. The buck stopped here.

How many times have you checked up on your ex?  
 
The aforementioned chops-busting ex isn't even on my radar, even though a mutual friend informs me about his life on the regular. I really don't care to know. I did care, however, when I learned he was tracking me! I had to put a stop to that with some Facebook blockage. As for others, I'm still friends with several of them, and the few that aren't in my life aren't worth mentioning.

If you had to get a tattoo what would it be?  
 
I can't imagine a scenario other than being in a concentration camp where I would be required to get a tat, in which case I wouldn't have much of a choice, so I'll have to plead guilty to not understanding this question. HOWEVER, if I wanted to get a tattoo, it would probably be a sirrusly artistic rendering of my four children's initials.

How many tabs are open right now?  
 
On Chrome, I have three - this one, the Sunday Stealing one, and the Saturday 9 one. I also have three tabs open on Internet Explorer, which I prefer but which doesn't allow me to do everything blahg-related that Chrome does. I hate Chrome in most cases, though, which is why I refuse to use it most of the time. Don't even speak to me of Firefox!

Are you scared of needles?  
 
Nope. I have no qualms. Which is good for the Red Cross and the local bloodmobile, since I'm a proud donor of my O-neg blud, as often as I'm allowed. It took me months upon months to find a place to donate here in Homestead, but I'll be back every 56 days, like clockwork, now that I know where to go! (Okay, I admit, even I have to turn my head away while that big, fat needle is going in my arm.)

Do you believe love can last forever?  
 
Of course I do. Rob and I have been together 13 years now, and I know we're going to grow old together and turn into trees, rooted into the ground, with inseparable branches. Our grands and their grands will have picnics under our shade! ♥

Are good-byes easy or hard for you?
 
Oh, very hard. I suck at good-byes. Hellos are much more Smelly-friendly. I'm one who says, "So long, see ya later," rather than "Good-bye." :) 

Would you rather sing or dance?
 
I can do both fairly well, but I'd rather be exceptional at both - and frequently, I daydream that I am!
 
Here's to another fun week ahead! Tomorrow, I have to pretend I'm the richest of the super-rich, which should be fun, since the most expensive thing I own probably comes from Old Navy. Ha!
 
Fin.

Sundays In My City: Homebound In Homestead

Unknown Mami

It may be Monday, but no matter, because I'm always late. I'm linking up again with Unknown Mami and her posse on Sundays in my City, so come along as we explore what Team Odette did all last week when lack of gas - and funds - kept us around the ol' Homestead homestead. I promise to visit and comment back, too - though it may take me a month, I'll do it! Swears.

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Cooking. Did I show these already? I forget. Sorry, if so. Anyway, I promised to take the load off Rob - and give Chloë something to tally on my side of her chart - so last week I made some seasoned vegetables for all of us and this:

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pork steaks, for the rest of the family, 'cept me. (I don't do mammals. Somehow, some way, I'm going to become a full-on vegetarian again by the end of 2013, but it's hard when I have such high protein requirements, thanks to my gastric bypass surgery.)

We had no salt, no seasonings (the veggies came pre-seasoned, heh), and no fat, oil, lard, margarine, butter, you name it, you got it? So I quickly texted my former home-ec teacher of a mother-in-law, who suggested I cut the fat off the meat and render that first, then cook the meat in it. Brilliance! It worked like a charm. And even in that state, Rob pronounced it delicious and entirely edible enough to make again. Thanks, Mamacita!

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That was Sunday. On Monday night, we came home from I-don't-know-where hungry, and I whipped up some healthy lettuce and chicken salad spinach wraps for Rob and me, while he made some pasta for the mouths under the kids' upturned noses. Poo-poo on them; the wraps were delishamus.

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We've been walking every day still, and each day we encounter new flowers. This flower, on Tuesday, was the first yellow hibiscus I'd seen. It was the 29th anniversary of my mom's death that day, but I was determined not to cry. Guess what, I actually succeeded, thanks to my drugs I'm guessing.

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Every day, we go down to the lake across from our place. Well, almost every day. Rob wants to fish here, but the sign says no way, José. I don't think he'll listen. And gators? No way can my kids walk down to the lake by themselves. I've already lost one kid; I'm not giving the rest away.

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Some of the eggs have hatched! This mama Muscovy duck had 12 ducklings. Twelve! 

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Chloë and sibs have been determined to spot a gator since we moved down here. Fortunately, they've been unsuccessful so far. I want to go down to the Everglades and rent an airboat. I've never done that before, and I know it's fun. Surely we'll spot some gators that way.

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It took me a week, but I finally spotted an ibis. I was the last one. Why is this significant? The mascot of my alma mater, U-Miami, is Sebastian the Ibis, of course!

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We have seen several instances of Muscovies mating, so we've had to explain, yet again, all about the birds and the bees to the kids. It's an ongoing conversation, and we have an Open Door policy where that is concerned, so it's cool. I found it interesting to note that the drake bites the female on the back of the neck while he's mounting her, much like a male shark bites a thickened part of flesh on the back of a female during their dance of looove.

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And not to be outdone, this Mama Muscovy sported no less than 20 following ducklings that afternoon. Twenty!!

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On Wednesday, the hibiscus turned out to be a beautiful pink rose. And not only that, but:

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check out the gorgeous orchids on this tree! Real ones, too, no matter how fake they looked; I checked. We diverted from our usual path that day and walked to the next neighborhood over. I was bored to tears and dying for a change of scenery, after all.

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Knitting. I've kept up my pledge to knit for the highly-allergic Vinnie, though I don't have much yarn with me until our stuff gets here on Tuesday from the movers. A little colorwork this time, using an unraveled coat I never finished making for Sophia four years ago, and some yarn of Stephanie's that was used in another project for her boys.

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On Thursday, we decided to take the short walk up the road to get some free groceries with coupons I'd gotten. We stopped along the way to peer into the canal, where we spotted turtles, fish - and numerous shopping carts. Who throws a shopping cart into a canal, for Pete's sake?!

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I was aMAZED at the Publix, where not only did I get my items for free, but the coupons scanned above the cost of the items, and I got overage. I figured they would just make me buy something additional to eat that up, but no! They totaled it out, opened up the cash drawer, and gave me the money! Hello, ring-a-ding-ding! That's so unusual, and I bet you dollars to donuts it's not the official coupon policy of the store, but arguing was useless with them. So I took it and clicked my heels together with glee. 

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Sophia, wearing my straw hat from Miss Lisa, picked up what she called a blade of wheat and said, "Look, Mama, I'm a cowgirl!" Oh, the cute.

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On our way back home, we spotted these palm trees full of coconuts. Except, on closer inspection, they weren't coconuts at all, I guess. I don't know what the hell they are, but ... palm fruit, I guess?

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So this was my haul: A $6.59 bag of organic sugar, a $5.99 bottle of organic raw blue agave, two Michael Angelo's family-size meals, and a large Diet Coke from the deli - all of which, they paid me over a dollar to take home. Nice, huh?

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I'm part of Michael Angelo's team of taste-and-tell bloggers, so they provided me with the coupons for the free products to try. We got the chicken parmesan and the vegetable lasagna, both of wish were SOOOO good. I kid you not. Have you had their frozen foods? I would definitely buy these again, but you know me, they gotta be on sale and have a coupon to match! ;)

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One of Chloë's agents back in Virginia called Thursday to say they wanted to submit her for a lead role in a TV show! They said she was perfect for the part, and you know, I may be biased but, I wouldn't doubt it! The kid has charm and personality to spare. Look at that sass!

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And she looks so much like her daddy, it's nonsense. Fingers crossed, Chloë!!

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Friday was not my day. It was payday, yet my card kept getting declined every where I went. Turns out there was fraud on our account... I had to cancel about a dozen mystery shops for the weekend, along with a host of other plans. Big bummer. We had to hang around the 'hood even more. Here's silly Sophia dressing up as both her mom and her dad, simultaneously.

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For the first time in January, while he was visiting my dad, Jack had a grapefruit. Surprisingly enough, my picky boy LOVED it with a heavy dose of sweetening, so he kept prodding his sisters to try one, too. (Neither Rob nor I are big fans of the fruit.)  So when we grocery shopped Friday morning - after, of course, having to call the bank yet again to release the hold on my card so I could pay for mah dang groceries - I bought them each one to try. What would they think? I wondered.

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That was Sophia's reaction to her first bite. Ha! She cracks me up. So went Chloë's first bite, too. Needless to say, the grapefruit is now wrapped in Saran wrap in the fridge, since Jack only wanted a few bites. And yes, I sweeted it with that better-than-free organic sugar ;)

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Meanwhile, on Saturday night after Rob made us omelets for dinner, Jacky helped out with the dishes. Since he is a Little Person, he needs to jump up on the counter in order to reach the faucet. I'm so proud of this kid; nothing holds him back from doing what he aims to do, despite his small stature!

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And finally, since we're still more-or-less homebound, here is one last shot of "The Tweens," Cupcake and Muffin, acting as bookends over the kitchen sink. Pretty girls, they.

As always, thanks for stopping by! See you again real soon, y'hear?

Fin.


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments
Listen up y'all, it's a royal ball, with hip-hop clubs and concert halls! Okay, not really, but link up here if you've got itty bitty li'l pieces of blahggies floating around that need a home!

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Sunday & Monday, we got hit by Hurricane Sandy, but not too bad. We still don't have TV service, so it's not until the last couple of days that I've become aware of the damage she caused elsewhere. We weathered the storm fairly well with just some major flooding in the street, but we're fine. If any of you were more severely affected, my heart goes out to you, and I hope things improve quickly for you!

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Hmm. All the text disappeared. Let me try again... On the eve of Halloween, I went to a costume party at a local club to listen to the band formed by employees of the store where the kids take their music lessons.

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There they are! Long story short, I passed out onstage after they performed, because I gave blood earier & then drank a rum cocktail on a very empty stomach, er, pouch, and boy those lights were hot... it happened onstage in front of the entire packed club! Mortifying. But I did end up winning the trivia contest for which I was called up there, so hey. Yay and stuff.

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On Halloween, Rob got paid, so we ran a bunch of errands and did some necessary shopping before being REALLY late for Trick-or-Treating, where we only got one house before giving up and going home. When we got there, Rob was holding Pepper (the kitten above), saying he was very sick and needed to go to the vet right away. It's a good thing we brought him; he had two paws in the grave and needed immediate treatment, including two blood transfusions and warmers because he was so cold... It was $$$, but when asked, Chloë said he was worth a million dollars, and we all agree he was worth it. Poor sweet kitteh.



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On Thursday, we were out again, and Chloë's Richmond agent called me, asking for updated quick shots of all three kids.

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I don't know very much about the project, and neither does the agent, but it's for filming in Los Angeles...

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Even Jack, who is normally anti-social when it comes to such things, got on board when I told him he could use part of the money he earned to add to his Lego collection! Haha.

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Last night, poor little Pepper was able to come home, and his mommy, Chloë, has been nursing him back to health night and day ever since It's really sweet how well she's taking care of him. I'm pretty proud of her!



So that's been our week! Today, I wasn't feeling well, so we took it easy. Tomorrow will be busy, busy, busy, so must go rest... Have a great weekend!



Fin.


Sunday Stealing: The Imaginary Meme Conclusion

Sunday Stealing

Argghhhh! I was to the LAST question when Typepad ate my whole post! Dammit! WHY did they stop doing the awesomeness that was auto-save? Uh, what I mean is, link up here if you're playing along this week! ;)

Cheers to All Us Thieves! 

181. What's the BEST rock band that you have seen live?

They ALL have been great, but I absolutely LOVED the Blue Man Group concert. So. Cool.

182. Could you image being in a situation where you would run from the police?

If I was in a developing country, I could think of lots of scenarios for that. Here in the US, not so many, since I'm (fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your viewpoint) white... unless I were a baddy. But I'm not a baddy.

183. Have you ever been asked for an autograph?

Sure, every time I use my credit card. I did dream the other day that Chloë was, though! (I seriously do wonder if she'll ever reach the stage where she's recognized as, "aren't you from that...?" though!)

184. What would you change about your living room?

I'd move the furniture from the old house into it, for starters! Larger would be nice, too, of course...

185. Do you drink out of glass or plastic most of the time at home?

I drink out of my plastic keg most of the time... AKA my 7-11 Xtreme Gulp. Diet Coke FTW!

186. Last hug?

From Sophia, about 1½-2 hours ago... she's a hugger, especially of late.

 187. Have you ever had to make up your mind?

Yeah, like whether to answer dumb meme questions.

188. What is on top of your refrigerator?

I had to go look: Several First Aid kits, Jack's box of shot needles (um, that's probably redundant, but I don't care), and our popsicle kit. Quite the menagerie.

189. Did it work out for you in terms of kids? (Meaning how did it work out & are you  happy? In other words, from “Have none, wanted none” to “8 kids & 3 grandkids)

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Yes and no. From the outset, Hubs and I agreed that we wanted "two and only two, unless the second time it was twins." Well, the joke was on us, because the second time it was identical twin boys! Only, Robby died after three days, and after that, our arms felt so... empty... so we proceeded to have #4. Now neither of us can have any more, but I'd have another 10 or so if I could! Time will tell if we're meant to have more another way...

190. Are you afraid of the dark?

 At 35+, I always have been and remain so. I'm not ashamed to say it, either! Scary things can and have happened in the dark. (I didn't say I wasn't afraid of broad daylight, either... ;))

191. What if you had three wishes – what would you wish for?

I'm the hippie tree-hugger type, so right now, I'd wish for: (a) peace in all lands, (b) peace and contentment within my own heart, and (c) global smoking bans and recycling mandates. Ask me tomorrow and I'd probably have three different answers, though.

192. Do you feel sad often?

Well, as many of you know, I have Bipolar Disorder, so not sad so much as, well, depressed, obviously, and also completely and totally broken-hearted beyond words. I feel my emotions more strongly than most, both the good and the bad. It's a blessing and a curse, a total double-edged sword. But I'm babbling. Next!

193. Have you ever been in lust for an extended period of time?

Another blessing/curse of mine, yes. I struggle, admittedly, again...

194. Do you shower daily?

More like five or six times a week. I could not 'go European' in that regard! The only reason I miss that 7th day is usually out of pure laziness.

195. Have you ever prank called someone?

Short answer long, yes, and I'll happily admit that Rob and I will still do it when we think of something that amuses us terribly. One that comes to mind is from when we were at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival a few years back. The hotel where we were staying displayed a sign advertising that they accepted pets. Rob called up and deadpanned, "Do you take sheep?" He kept it up for a while, too, with me in hysterics next to him!

196. If you have a garage, is it cluttered?

Dude. Not here, but we have a shed at the old house, and that is wholly Rob's domain. I won't even venture to look in it. Too skeered. *shudder*

197. You are about to die. What do you do with your worldly possessions?

Mostly, I don't care and Rob can decide - I'll be dead. There are a few things, though: Chloë, who missed sharing my birthday by a day, will get all my sapphires. Sophia, my April baby, will get all my diamonds. Stacey, my sister, will get everything that once belonged to our dear, departed mother. Science will get my corpus. I hope my brain holds the answers to some secrets for them!

198. Tell us about the first time that you bought a car.

Ford

It's not my favorite story, and it doesn't end well. I don't feel like getting cranky, so you'll have to ask me for The Rest of the Story later. Anyway, it was my dad's policy to give each of us four girls $1,000 toward our first cars, and I had money saved up since I started working at 15. My dad's car-savvy, so he did the scouting for me. It was September of '93, and he found me a red 1991 Ford Escort wagon. Not bad! It was supposed to have belonged to a little old lady, but I discovered soon after we bought it that when the sun hit just right, you could see the outline of the Coca-Cola logo...hee!

199. What is your favourite type of music?

Everything but country (sorry, y'all), but I'm a BIG fan of the über sing-alongable pop music. Is that lame? (That was rhetorical.)

200. What's your family like?

I have a wonderful husband who is about to turn 40 (the countdown is on and the party scheduled - wanna come?) and who will retire from the Navy in about 8 months! I have four kids, including Chloë, almost 11 (!!), Robby (my angel baby), Jack, 9, and Sophia, 7. We have four cats: Tinkerbell, Star, and the twittens (twin kittens, lol), Cupcake and Muffin. We put the "fun" in dysfunctional, fo' sho'! (My growing-up family was also dysfunctional after Mom died when I was 7, but there was absolutely no fun in that. :\ )

Whew! We've reached the end!! Have a great week, peeps!

Fin.