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Saturday 9: Diamonds

Second Life Marketplace - DG !Pod - Rihanna - Diamonds

Hey, y'all! I'm hopeful I'll get this post all done and on time this week. So many times, last week included, I'll start the post well in advance, get two or three answers written, and then need a nap. By the time I have the energy to come back, Saturday's all but over. Last week, and many times, it's a pain or migraine issue, but more and more lately it's straight-up fatigue.

Anyway, I can't wait to see what questions Rihanna and Crazy Sam have for us. Link up here if you're playing along with us this week.

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Saturday 9: Diamonds (2012)

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

1) In this song, Rihanna sings that when she looks at her lover, she sees the light in his eyes. The internet is filled with makeup tips for making your eyes look brighter. Drugstores sell eye drops that promise to get the red out. Are you bright-eyed this morning?
 
Open photo
 
I suppose, but I do have these eye drops right here on standby. They work great!

2) She likens him to a shooting star. Astronomers tell us that shooting stars aren't that rare at all. They occur when dust, asteroids or comets enter the earth's atmosphere, and are often visible on clear, pollution-free nights. Have you ever seen a shooting star?
 
The History and Evolution of the Three-Point Shot
 
I think I have; I'm sure I have.
 
3) In ancient Rome, shooting stars were considered good luck, especially for those going into battle, while some tribes in East Africa believed shooting stars were a harbinger of doom. Are you superstitious?
 
Fingers Crossed Hoping GIF - Fingers Crossed Hoping I Wish GIFs
 
Maybe, but only mildly. I'll cross my fingers or knock on wood, but I know that what's going to happen is already going to happen.
 
4) The singer of "Diamonds" hosted a lavish Diamond Ball to raise funds for education programs in Malawi, Senegal, and the country of her birth, Barbados. Rhianna named her charity initiative the Clara Lionel Foundation after her grandparents. If you were to name your foundation after your grandparents, what would it be called? What would you ideally like to do in their honor?
 
Employee Well-Being / Smoking Cessation
 
Both of my (maternal; I did not know my paternal) grandparents used tobacco. Grandpa smoked a pipe, but when his dentist told him there were warning signs of cancer, he quit that day and got rid of his entire extensive collection of pipes. Some very valuable.  (And when he had a mega heart attack a few years down the road and was told to lose weight, eat healthier, and get more exercise, that is exactly what he did. He even bought a Sony Walkman so he could listen to Sousa, and he would take that to different parks and do his Sousa march around the various pathways! So cute.) So he was super... "obedient" to doctors' orders when he got bad news.
 
My grandmother, on the other hand, smoked for many years and just could not get out from under that beast. She was told to quit smoking for many years, but she could not. I don't think she tried, but I was very young then, so that probably isn't a fair assessment. But when she was put on oxygen at some point, due to the emphysema, she was still unable to let it go. I remember seeing her pull out the tube and hold it far away with one hand and smoking with the other hand, or hiding a burning cigarette in a closed drawer, and other things. We all held an intervention, but it made no difference.
 
So in their honor, I would do something like, The Art and Ruth Center for Tobacco Use Prevention, Education, and Cessation.
 
5) Rhianna recently had her first baby, a boy. According to the Social Security Administration, the top names for baby boys in 2021 were Liam and Noah. Is there a Liam or Noah in your life?
 
Liam Hemsworth - IMDb
 
No, not currently, but this did give me a chance to look at Liam Hemsworth again, and that ain't bad.
 
6) When she was still in her teens, Rhianna entered a beauty pageant on a dare, and won! Can you recall a time you acted on a dare?
 
Why was the country so obsessed with streaking in the 1970s?
 
Oh. Heh. I've been known to accept a dare or two in my time. I remember once, either right before Chloë was born (she's 20 years old now, will be 21 in September), or right after (so I still had the belly!), I was doing laundry late at night. Maybe 10 PM. But our washer and dryer were in a separate building from our house, maybe 100 or 150 yards and outside the fence, through the gate, down the driveway, and in another door. As soon as I'd put the load of clothes in and gotten back to the house, I realized I still had the clothes I was wearing to put in. Aack!
 
So Hubs dared me to dash out there right away, throw my clothes in, and just streak back. I thought about it for a quick second, looked out there... it's dark, no lights, and I could run pretty fast at the time. So I did it. BUT. When I got up the porch steps to our back door, Rob was there, laughing. And he had turned on the porch light. And he had locked the door on me!
 
7) While on tour, she likes to sneak out into the audience, just to get the vibe from out there. To disguise herself, Rhianna slips on a black oversized hoodie. Are hoodies a staple of your wardrobe?
 
 
Well, I have my green one right here next to me, but I'm not photo ready quite yet, and I can't find me wearing it anywhere in my photo gallery.  So here are Hubs and Chloë each wearing one.
  
8) In 2012, the year this song topped the charts, London hosted the Olympic Games. If you won a trip to London, what would you like to see?
 
Private London Sightseeing by Luxury Vehicle 2022 - Viator
 
Are we having a raffle here? But me in for 10 tickets. But seriously, I think I would have to be a total tourist if I were to go to London. Double-decker bus, Tower of London, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey... Yes. Everything. But I'm really interested in venturing out and seeing some proper English gardens, too. Very much so.
 
9) Random question: Did either or both your parents go to college?
 
Monroe Community College | Harriman
 
As far as I know, they each did a semester or two of community college there ^ at Harriman Community College, in Monroe, New York (my origin).
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
L00k, I did the whole thing! Add me another ticked to the raffle!
 
Fin.
 

Saturday 9: Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

Bette Midler's Divine Collection Goes Up For Auction

Heyyyyyy, everybody! Long time no... read? Type? Meme? Blog? You get the picture.

Happy 2021! Link up here if you aren't already meming along with Crazy Sam and the rest of the gang, and with that, I'm gonna dive right in:

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Saturday 9: Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (1973)

Unfamiliar with this song? Hear it here.

1) Bette Midler sings that the bugle boy wakes up Company B every morning by playing Reveille. What awakened you this morning (phone, alarm clock, sunrise, etc.)? Or did you wake up on your own?
 
No description available.
 
I almost never wake up to an alarm, or on my own, or when the sun shines. It's ridiculous. I'd be Rip van Winkle if I didn't have Hubs here to rouse me. It's really a pain in the neck sometimes - but probably even more for him than for me!

2) This single was produced by Bette's arranger/piano player, who went on to have a successful singing career of his own. Do you have a favorite Barry Manilow song?
 
Barry Manilow - The BarryNet - The Shows - Classic Manilow Frame 38
 
Hmm, I used to be mildly obsessed with "One Voice," that's for sure.

3) Bette was named after Bette Davis. Her sisters, Susan and Judy, were named for Susan Hayward and Judy Garland. So now we know who Mother Midler's favorite actresses were. Who are yours?
 
Winona and another favorite of mine Parker Posey, Turks and Caicos  Screening in NY. My question is---when are they gonna do a movie together?  I'm waiting!
 
I have a lot of favorite actors, including these two: Winona Ryder and Parker Posey. Love!

4) Bette has been married since 1984 to artist Martin von Haselberg. She was 39 years old, already a star, and had never married before. Yet within six weeks of meeting him, she was so sure Martin was "the one" that they tied the knot. Have you found that love takes time, or, like Bette, have you fallen in love quickly?
No description available.
I suppose "quickly" is the answer to this question for me! Two months from the time Hubs and I met online until we eloped... and we just had our 20th anniversary, so it was definitely a case of "when you know, you know"!
 
5) When their daughter Sophie was growing up, it was Martin who taught her to cook. What was the last thing you prepared in your kitchen? Did you use the microwave, stovetop, convection oven, blender, coffee maker ...?
 
Hamilton Beach® Sure-Crisp™ Air Fry Toaster Oven | Montgomery Ward
 
I haven't done any cooking in quite a while, myself, and I miss it like crazy. After five months of hotel-hopping, I just bought us one of these Hamilton Beach air fryer toaster ovens, which the kids broke in with a frozen pizza. Not sure what's next to be cooked. Maybe some Easy Mac? Real haut cuisine, you know?
 
6) Bette says that listening and compromise have been the key to their happy marriage but adds, "Compromise is hardest of all." On what have you compromised recently?

 
Seems like lately it's nothing but, so I'd be hard-pressed to tell you what the latest one was. And I'm in pain, so thinking is out. I'll tell ya later. ;)
 
7) Bette and Martin have a farmhouse in upstate New York. She enjoys feeding the chickens (whom she has jokingly named The Kardashians) and puttering in her garden. Do you have a green thumb?

Some people have a Green Thumb. I have a Black Thumb. | Funny quotes,  Morning humor, I love to laugh

I don't. I really wish I did, but I do not. I'm going to keep trying, though! Mostly with succulents... At least they took longer to die.

8) In 1973, the year this song was popular, actor Neil Patrick Harris was born. He's best known as Barney on How I Met Your Mother, which ran from 2005-2014. Were you a fan?
 
That's So Romantic - HIMYM GIF - Romantic Romance Funny GIFs
 
On and off - casual fan. I wasn't glued to it, and I never did learn how "he" met his mother. (I know "he" wasn't NPH.) But it was entertaining when nothing else was on. 

9) Random question -- How often do you put crackers in your soup: Always, often, seldom or never?

01042020 Vegan White Bean Soup

I would have said "sometimes," but I'll go with "often" as it's one of the choices. That, up there, is some vegan bean soup that Hubs has made for me a few times. Delicious - even better with Nooch It, which is like a vegan Parmesan cheese but made out of cashews. Delish!

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Well, y'all have a great weekend, and hopefully I'll swing through and make the rounds. I have some studying up to do as I'll be lobbying with the Maryland Sierra Club next week, but I'll need downtime as well! 

Fin.


Saturday 9: Mad About You

Watch: 'Mad About You' Revival Has a First Trailer with Episode Stills |  Anglophenia | BBC America

Welcome back, pals. I hope you've had an interesting week that leans to the good side.

I wish I could say I have. Still waiting impatiently for things to start to budge on the move back East, but we're still languishing in the house. (The house I love so much is still for sale at least, so that's good.) We're constantly up in the air about what to do about sending the two younger kids back to school. And now, I have a particularly bad case of pneumonia. This is frustrating. I'm on tenterhooks about the right moment to go to the ER, but I'm not there yet.

But, I am absolutely delighted to be doing Mad About You this week. I used to watch it weekly back in the day, and both Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser were among my favorite TV actors then. Love it! Link up here if you're joining us this week.

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Saturday 9: Mad About You (1992)

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

1) Mad About You was a sitcom that ran from 1992 to 1999. Are you familiar with the show? Were you a fan?

tumblr miyv3jyE031rtg76ko1 400 - Mad About You Fan Art (40682818) - Fanpop

Yes. And yes!

2) The show was rebooted in 2019/2020 on the Spectrum streaming service. Do you have any streaming services? If so, which ones?

19 Side-Splitting Jokes About Netflix That Will Never Not Be Funny

Yep. We have Netflix and Amazon Prime. We may have more than that; I really don't know. Our Smart TV shows me things I didn't think we owned, so... LOL!

3) The series revolved around Manhattan newlyweds Paul and Jamie Buchman. They met at a newsstand, where they were both purchasing The New York Times. With so many publications online, newsstands are now uncommon. When you want to purchase a printed newspaper or magazine, where do you go?

Japanese newsstand cat (aww x post) : funny

Y'know, I don't think I've ever stopped at a proper newsstand. I have tons and tons of magazine subscriptions across a wide variety of genres, but I didn't pay anything for those. I rarely buy a newspaper anymore to read the news, but I do usually get the Sunday paper for the coupons. Walmart, Albertsons, whatever store has the paper that I'm near to, that's what I do. I know, boring.

4) Paul is played by Paul Reiser. He created the series because he believes marriage is a tough but satisfying adventure. He and real-life wife Paula have been married for more than 30 years. They met when she was a waitress at the comedy club where he was performing. Have you ever waited tables?

Review: The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club -  ilovecfl.com

Yes, but not in a restaurant, per se. I think I mentioned it last week, I was in catering at a resort in Florida while I did my Mote Marine Lab internship. I worked with a friend doing an internship in the same program, and we had a blast. Made good money, too. I often wore a tuxedo, and it was very ritzy. I did huge company getaways, family reunions, weddings... I loved it so much that later on, about four or five months, when I moved back up there to St. Petersburg, I got a job in catering at the Vinoy Renaissance in St. Pete Beach. My first day on the job there, I had a big tray of soup to serve to guests in for a company luncheon. They were all wearing fine suits. At one gentleman's side, the wrist holding the tray up gave out, and I spilled hot soup all over his new suit. It was god-awful! I ran off and cried as soon as I could, and then I was so embarrassed and upset with myself, I just quit. I think I was 21 then.

5) Helen Hunt won four Emmy Awards as Jamie. Over 10 million people watch the Emmys each year. She also won an Oscar, which has an annual viewership of twice that. Therefore huge audiences witnessed Helen's acceptance speeches. Are you comfortable speaking in public?

PUBLIC SPEAKING CLASS - Cheezburger - Funny Memes | Funny Pictures

Noooooo! I have major glossophobia. I have been known to have panic attacks. Big, ugly ones. And I get the tell-tale beet red flush. So not fun for me!

6) During the opening credits, Paul and Jamie are sharing an ice cream bar. When did you most recently have ice cream?

The Original Chipwich Ice Cream Sandwich | Chocolate chip cookies, Ice  cream sandwich, Ice cream

It was almost today, but I didn't. Rob was out, and I had asked him to get me a Chipwich. I have fond memories of my grandma giving my sister and me money for the ice cream truck, and I'd usually get a Chipwich. But here in Podunk, they have some cheaper knock-off version, which he brought home. I'm a snob, and I didn't eat it, so I gave it to my kid.

7) Paul and Jamie's best friends were another couple, Fran and Mark. Eventually Fran and Mark divorced, and Paul and Jamie worked at being friends with both of them. Have you been friends with a couple who split? Did you manage to stay friends with both of them?

Ashley @a_pfeiffer13 There is a group of women getting on my flight and one has a shirt that says just divorced and the others have shirts that say divorce support group and they are all plastered. Those are the type of friends ev

I can think of several friends we've had who have split up. I can't think of a single case where, if we didn't stay friends with both parties, we stayed friends with the dude. Always stayed friends with the woman. So far...

8) In 1992, when Paul and Jamie were playing New Yorkers, real New Yorkers were following the trial of mobster John Gotti. Mr. Gotti acquired many nicknames, including The Teflon Don, The Dapper Don and Black John. Is there anyone in your life that you call by a pet name or nickname?

John Gotti - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Okay first of all, one of my best friends knew John Gotti through her grandmother. (They were Italians in New York; go figure.) As for the question, I have nicknames for everybody. Not mean, non-cerebral ones like Trump doles out; more cutesy ones. I have about a thousand nicknames for Rob, and they're all pretty silly. I just call him any other "R" name I can think of. "Rudolph? Rodolfo? Randall?" and so on. I call our eldest, Chloë Raine, a variety of things but "Chloë Rainebow" is probably my most frequent. Jack doesn't get too many now, because he doesn't like it (and since he's got ASD, I don't like to mess with him that way too much), but occasionally I'll just call him Jackson. Sophia gets "Soapy" or "Foofy," which comes from the second Madagascar flick.

Our dog Tapioca gets "Coon Pig" or "Chunky Weiner" (because she's got a racoon mask around her eyes, because she's a little porky, because she's part Dachschund), and our dog Paco gets "Doodle." I have no idea why I named him that. I think a lot of times I call people silly things because I can't think of what I meant to say at that moment!

9) Random question  -- What subject do you wish you knew more about?

Welcome Spring with a Luscious & Beautiful Garden | Better HouseKeeper

Gardening. I have a total black thumb, but I try so hard... I want to KNOW it all already and skip the learning part!

500+ Photographer Pictures [HD] | Download Free Images on Unsplash

Oh, and photography. I really want to get better and better at it. I just really haven't taken the time.

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Well. I just started watching The Wolf of Wall Street on Amazon. Have y'all seen it? I've been meaning to watch it for a while.

See you on the flip side!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Would You Rather?

A White Families' Guide For Talking About Racism - Education With ...

Hey there, y'all. Me again. I  hope you're doing well on this June Saturday evening.

I am troubled, but I am doing as well as can be expected.

You see, I am an extreme empath. I want to be an ally for everyone who is marginalized. And of course, this is the month generally allocated for Pride celebrations, and I have two LGBTQ+ daughters. And of course, we are seeing nationwide international protests and demonstrations to bring more light to the causes of white privilege and institutionalized racism. For my entire adult life and then some, I have been an ally for the Black Lives Matter movement even before it was named such a thing. I don't want to be "just" an ally anymore. Nor an accomplice. I want to be a co-conspirator.

And so that means, you might ask, why I am I doing this meme, right now, in this time, with this frame of mind? It is because, as I said, I am an extreme empath. I generally feel all the human emotions more strongly than not just the average human, but even more than the average empath. Sometimes all at once! And so I can tend to get overwhelmed and need a mental break.

This is that break.

If you are not already locked in to some part of this current movement, I ask that you find out how you can become involved. Learning about privilege and prejudice is important (if you are white, generally), and here is a good TEDx Talk to get started. But it's only a start. And I cannot promise there is an endpoint.

But for now, link up here to join in on Sunday Stealing, and I promise I will try not to make my post so heavy.

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Would you rather work in a group or work alone?

Fun group projects :: The Writing Center :: 24/7 Homework Help

I would, by far, rather work alone. I care far too much about the grade to trust anyone else to do any parts of the assignment. I don't know what's worse: having them have to make some contribution and therefore, I can count on my grade to go down because of shoddy work, or doing all the work myself and getting an excellent grade that I then have to share with someone who did nothing.

Would you rather be stuck on an island alone or with someone who talks incessantly?

berkeleymews :: island :: stranded :: message :: bottle :: comics ...

I am the person who talks incessantly. (You can ask literally anyone who knows me.) If those are the only two choices, I'd rather be alone. Both would drive me crazy, but I think constantly being interrupted would edge out the other one!

Would you rather be too hot or too cold?

Thermoregulation | Biology for Majors II

I really can't answer that. Neither is good for me. Ever since my gastric bypass surgery in 2009, my internal thermostat is broken (common), and I cannot regulate it myself. If I get too hot, because I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, I can quickly overheat and will pass out. If I get too cold, because I have Lyme arthritis and other joint issues, it becomes more painful to exist. But I don't know what that "perfect" temperature might be, and regardless, there are four other people in my house who will certainly be uncomfortable if I find it!

When you’re old, would you rather die before or after your spouse?

Bios Urn Will Turn You Into A Tree After You Die | Bored Panda

Seeing that "simultaneously" is not a choice, I'd rather go first. That man aggravates the absolute crap out of me, but I don't want to live a moment without him. And we want to turn into trees when we become old, with trunks intertwined and forever together.

Would you rather have a cook or a maid?

The Maid We Dont Have Tin Sign Wife Mom Mother Humor Home Comedy ...

I'd rather have a maid. I like to cook.

Would you rather be the youngest or the oldest sibling?

65 funny sibling memes for brothers and sisters to laugh at

I've never been anything but the youngest child, so I'm not sure. I think in any other family, it would have been great. In my case, it meant I was held captive the longest and received the most brutal treatment.

Would you rather get rich through hard work or through winning the lottery?

Heavily Discounted Gold: The Smart Way To Play The Rally ...

That's kind of a loaded question for me, because I have no real desire to be rich. On the other hand, I love a lot of things which, unfortunately, I need money to do and obtain. If I were get rich, I would prefer it to be through my own blood, sweat, and tears, and not through some way I did not really earn. And I would love to then become philanthropic. But money itself, and the accumulation of a lot of it, has never been an interest for me.

Would you rather have a 10-hour dinner with a headstrong politician from an opposing party, or attend a 10-hour concert for a music group you detest?

UNSAINTED - SLIPKNOT | •Rock• Amino Amino

I could not handle ten hours of dinner, an occasion I try to keep pleasurable and peaceful, with such a politician. Of course, I imagine Trump. Nope, no thanks. Not even if you paid me with all of his proclaimed wealth. But I think that there is always something I could find that I enjoy with most any music. I do not like heavy metal. I do not like death metal. But in October 2019, when I was driving my mostly-sleeping family home from camping at Craters of the Moon National Park, I accidentally found myself listening to the newish song "Unsainted" by Slipknot. I definitely despise their music, for the most part, but I made myself listen to it and found that this song, these lyrics, really struck a deep chord within me. So there's that.

Would you rather be an Olympic gold medalist or a Nobel Peace Prize winner?

File:Nobel Prize.png - Wikipedia

If I was born with any athleticism whatsoever, my answer might be different, but I  wasn't, so it's not: Nobel Peace Prize, please!

Would you rather have a desk job or an outdoor job?

Marine Biologist - Carnegie STEM Girls

Oh, I'd easily pick an outdoor job, 100 times out of 100. That's one of the reasons I eventually left my PhD program: I realized I'd be behind a desk working on papers, grants, etc. far more than I'd actually be out in the field. I'd rather be in the field.

Would you rather live at the top of a tall NYC apartment building or at the top of a mountain?

NYC Dream Downtown Hotel Offers Sneaker Concierge Who Can Deliver ...

Can I please have a penthouse in Manhattan?

Would you rather have Rambo or The Terminator on your side?

Terminator: Dark Fate's Linda Hamilton criticises "very ...

Neither. I'd rather have Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor from Terminator.

Would you rather be proposed to in private or in front of family and friends?

Either way is fine, as long as I still end up with my guy! ♥

Would you rather have to sew all your clothes or grow your own food?

A DIY vertical garden brings privacy and produce to a confined ...

I've tried both and wasn't instantly great at either, so I kind of gave up. I think I'd be more motivated to grow my own food, though, and I'd love to start with a stunning vertical garden.

Would you rather hear the good news or the bad news first?

image] Good news, bad news, who can say? : GetMotivated

I'd rather get the bad news first, so I can quit fretting and worrying and get on with the good news.

Would you rather be your own boss or work for someone else?

Be Your Own Boss | Funny Meme on ME.ME

It would depend entirely upon what I'm doing. In either case.

Would you rather have nosy neighbors or noisy neighbors?

Nosy Neighbors

At this point, I'd rather have nosy neighbors. Our little dogs bark at anything that moves outside, and that gets to be too much, y'know?

Would you rather be on a survival reality show or dating game show?

Dating Fails - dating game - Dating FAILs & WINs | Funny Memes ...

Oh, the latter, I guess. I'd never survive the first one, although I'd prefer it in theory!

Would you rather be too busy or be bored?

28 Bored Meme That Make You Laugh All Time - My Blog

I'm never bored. I don't know how to be bored, and I prefer it that way.

Would you rather watch the big game at home or live at the stadium?

Miami Hurricanes at Florida State Seminoles: How to Watch ...

Live is so much more fun!

Would you rather spend the day with your favorite athlete or you favorite movie star?

Tom Hanks & Johnny Depp Are America's Favorite Movie Stars ...

I don't have a favorite athlete, so...

Would you rather live where it is constantly winter or where it is constantly summer?

I've done both and definitely prefer the "always summer" plan. Can I please go back to Miami now?!

Would you rather travel the US and see the sights in a motor home or by plane?

Best RVs on the market for under $150,000 - Business Insider

If this can be our RV, then I'm all-in!

Would you rather be a little late or way too early?

Your Early 20s vs. Your Late 20s (With images) | College humor ...

I despise being late. I'd rather be early every single time, please!

Would you rather have an unlimited gift certificate to a restaurant or a clothing store?

4 Smart Ways to Organize the Clothes in Your Closet - Closet and ...

I think I'd take the one for clothes. A restaurant typically has a limited menu, and I have a very limited, specific diet. On the other hand, fashion is constantly changing, and I could never get bored. (I'd prefer it be to a thrift store, though, so I'm not supporting the environmentally-irresponsible textiles and fashion industry so much.)

Would you rather date someone you met online or go on a blind date?

Well, I've done both, and the I'm in my 20th year of marriage to the last guy I met online... so I'd say it worked out!

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Thanks for the diversion, Bev & gang! I'm going to try to swing back around later and visit y'all.

But for right now, I've got to prepare for the week ahead. Stay safe, stay well, stay abreast of current events and try to give a damn. Love y'all.

Fin.#


Saturday 9: Mighty Clouds of Joy

Image result for mighty clouds of joy bj thomas

Welcome, welcome. Grab a cup of tea or whatever is your pleasure, and have a seat. I'm a verbose one; I don't know the meaning of 'succinct,' other than to know I am not it!

Make sure you link up here if you want to join in the S9 fun this weekend!

Grab your seatbelts; here we goooooo!

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Saturday 9: Mighty Clouds of Joy (1974)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
(for the record, myself am unfamiliar, but I usually am with the songs chosen.)

1) This song celebrates serenity. Are you feeling peaceful this morning?

Related image

No. (It's 8:44 PM on Friday night here, btw.) I'm feeling heartbroken at present.

2) The lyrics include allusions to sun and clouds. How does the world look where you are? Is it sunny or cloudy?

Image result for sunshine on cloudy day

It was 81ºF out during the day, albeit quite a cloudy one. It was sweltering in our house, which still gets cold at night. I had my daughter check the thermostat: it was reading 78ºF in here!

3) This week's featured artist, BJ Thomas, is in the Grammy Hall of Fame for another hit record that uses weather as a metaphor, "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head." Make up a Hall of Fame that you believe you should be inducted into. (For example, Crazy Sam has inducted herself into The Meme Mistress Hall of Fame for her service to Saturday 9.)

Image result for blue ballerina jewelry box

In recognition of "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head," which was the song my childhood jewelry box played, similar to the one above, given to me as a very young Melanie by my sweet mother; which I played repeatedly throughout my childhood; which I played over and over and over again the days after she died on April 9, 1984; which I gave to one of my daughters several years back; which said daughter quickly destroyed shortly afterward... LOL! #Classic ...I would like to create a Mother Hall of Fame and suggest my mama as the first inductee.

4) When Crazy Sam hears this song, she always sings along ... loud. Is there a song you simply cannot resist singing along with?

Image result for salt n pepa none of your business gif

Just Kidding!!!

I know almost every word to Salt 'n Pepa's "None of Your Business!" LOL. ahhh... #CollegeDaze

5) BJ Thomas has performed this song at The Grand Ole Opry. The Opry has been broadcast on the radio every week since 1925, nearly 95 years ago! Of course, back in the 1920s, radio was the only broadcast media. Today we have other choices. Is listening to the radio part of your daily routine? 

Image result for singing loud in the car with the windows down gif

 Usually in the car only - but I've gotta have noise, so if the tv is down and no one is home, I crank up the tunes on my computer speakers, y'all. ;) Yesterday (Thursday, that is) was the first warm enough day to drive around town in the car with the radio up, the windows down, our hair blowing all around, and Sophia and I singing along at the top of our lungs. That's, like, one of my favorite things on the planet to do. I swear.

6) Though their dress code is lenient, country music fans who attend the Opry for a live show are warned: "Just remember, there's one rule we take very seriously here at the Grand Ole Opry -- you must wear something." Easter Sunday is a day many of us dress up. What will you be wearing today?

Today, or Sunday...?

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I'll just say what I'm wearing now, at 1:37 AM on Saturday now (I took a break to do some errand-running): besides skivvies, I've got on black capris, a pale pink tank top, and a red and black shawl.


7) Easter is recognized as the start of the Spring season. What are you looking forward to this spring?

I know it's late in the season, but technically it will still be Spring: We're closing on this gorgeous house on June 3rd! (The other one failed inspection, in case I didn't mention it here already.)

8) Lilies are popular at Easter. Do you have a favorite flower?

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Well, my absolute favorites are the tiger lilies, but I love it when our tulip bloom in the yard!

9) Which would rather find in your Easter basket: yellow marshmallow chicks (aka Peeps) or a plastic egg filled with pennies?

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Ewwww, not Peeps! I have never liked those. Since I budget our income down to the penny, I'd rather have the latter!

~*~*~*~*~

2010 family pix 3

Another fun one, Sam! Thanks for that. Happy Easter to all who celebrate!

 


Fin.


Extra! Extra! Read All About it!

Howdy, Pardners... 

So in this post, I'm going to be giving you my recommendations for apps, products, and services that I, myself, use and love (or have in the past but, for whatever reason, no longer can). I will not endorse anything that I do not love or believe in.

I'm going to leave this at the top of the blahg semi-permanently, update it when necessary, and add/delete/change things when appropriate. Some links will be my referral links. Some will not.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Ella + mila nail Photo Collage

The first company I'm going to introduce you to, if you haven't already met their acquaintance, are ella+mila.

Ella + Mila Order

The first items I bought from ella+mila are these: the 4-oz Soy Nail Polish Remover, which is a bit surprising in that it's oilier than I expected but also works beautifully to remove every last drop of colour; the Two-Pack Base & Top Coat Duo, because duh, I need both if I'm going to have a proper mani-padi; and the Cup O'Latte polish. I  this shade! If I weren't so capricious, I'd have it on all day, every day!

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So here are some pretty epic things about ella+mila that you should know, in order to help you make your decision about whether to purchase:

They are a 7-FREE company, meaning their products do not contain:

  • Formaldehyde
  • Toluene
  • DiButyl Phthalate (DBP)
  • Formaldehyde Resin
  • Camphor
  • Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP)
  • Xylene

Additionally, ella+mila products are VEGAN & cruelty-free, which as a fellow vegan, y'all know I adore. 😍🌱💚

Hand 1 ella + mila

And finally, because I loved the Cup O'Latte and the entire manicure in general - it dries super fast and lasts and lasts, y'all, I purchased another color polish from ella+mila: Dulce Amor. It's beautiful and performs just as wonderfully as the previous products I'd tried.

Lip Scrub | Peach Smoothie

I can't wait to get lots and lots more colors of polish, and I'm really excited to get a lip scrub or two (that Peach Smoothie) one is calling my name! 

PLUS right now, you can get 40% and FREE SHIPPING with the code HIP749 (limited time!!!) - so jump on that and get yourself some goodness at ella+mila!

~*~*~*~*~*~

Full Circle Farms 1st box 02072019
Next up, we have the vegetarial (sure it's a word, because I wrote it!) goodness at Full Circle. 

I have a code for, I think, ONE person to get their first box free, a $33 value, here:

VDKHFQ5HK4

Try that first, and then if that doesn't work, and you still want to order, visit here and use my referral code:

MELA5473

CSA Share 02212019

That code will give you $15 off your first box. There is no permanent commitment, and you can cancel at any time. What's more, the boxes are fully customizable, and you can add or change or delete so. many. different. items. to your box to make it perfectly perfect just for you.

These two photos represent what's been in our first two boxes, and I must say, I have been beyond thrilled. Very high quality of fresh, organic, local to the Pacific Northwest, fruits and veggies have come our way, and IMHO, it's a terrific value. Try it today!

~*~*~*~*~

And now for some apps I use:

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For Fetch Rewards, you simply scan your receipts - mostly grocery, but from anywhere really, and you get points for doing so! If none of your items match up with point-rewarding products, you still get about 25 points for that receipt; but if you do have some matching items, you get a lot more points. I usually wait until I have 3,000 points on Fetch Rewards, and then I cash it in for a $3 Amazon.com gift card.

And now, if you use this link and my referral code: VD4KY, you'll immediately get that 3,000 Fetch Points just for starting! Whee! So what are you waiting for? You can get it in both the App Store and the Play Store.

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

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ibotta is actually a fun one, too. You scroll through the grocery, bar, hotel, and other offers (which is a lot easier now that they have added the dang search option) and add the ones for the items which you plan to purchase. Sometimes they just add when you click on them, and sometimes you have to watch a short video, but honestly? I just checked my own ibotta app, and I have gotten back $697.70 since I signed up. Totally worth it, y'know! That's not  a small chunk of change.

What you do is scan your receipt, and you can add and add and add sections for longer receipts, and then submit. Once it uploads, it will select those offers you've already chosen. Once you confirm those, you submit again, and boom! Within 24 hours - and sometimes, within 24 minutes, I swear - you have the money you've earned in your account!

If you use this link right now, you can get up to a $20 bonus - and cash that out for rewards like PayPal, Amazon, Starbucks, and lots more!

Again, ibotta is available on the App Store or the Google Play store.

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

Like I said I'll keep this post updated at the top of the blahg, so more to come...

Fin.


Saturday 9: Valentine

Image result for Willie Nelson Valentine

Hey there, hi there, ho there! Happy day after day after Valentine's Day, y'all! What better way to celebrate than to, y'know, fill out a questionnaire by Crazy Sam and hang out with my InterBuds?

Link up here if you'd like to play along today.

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: Valentine (1993)
 
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

This song was specially chosen for the Saturday 9 closest to Valentine's Day.

1) This is a love song written by Willie Nelson for his young son. Have you sent any Valentines this year to someone you love who isn't a romantic partner?

Guitar Pick Keyring

Well, not this year, but I've often given Valentines to my kiddos in previous years; does that count? Sure it does, if it counts for Willie! As for this picture, it's still a work in progress, but it's part of a Valentine my 13yo Sophia made for 15yo Jack. He just bought himself this electric guitar kit, so she made him a handmade guitar pick and guitar keyring to go along with it. There's more, but I think this alone is pretty cool!

2) Today that little boy, Lukas, is a singer/songwriter who wrote eight of the songs for the 2018 A Star Is Born soundtrack. Have you seen the Bradley Cooper/Lady Gaga big screen romance?

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Not yet! I'm waiting for next Tuesday, the 19th, when it comes out on Netflix. Can't wait!!! Right now, I'm watching Bohemian Rhapsody, another movie I've been truly looking forward to watching.

3) On Valentine's Day in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell patented the first telephone. Whom did you most recently speak to on the phone?

Selfie C

I spoke to the receptionist at a dermatologist's office. Got a few spots on my back that are concerning.

4) Penicillin was also introduced on Valentine's Day (in 1929). When you get a shot, do you look away when the needle touches your skin?

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I sure do! I'm as chickenshit as they come.

5) According to legend, a gift of red roses signifies love and romance. When did you last purchase flowers or plants? Did you buy them for yourself, or someone else?

Succulents A 2019-02-07

So we're having the kids learn about gardening as part of a study of plants this year in our homeschool, Sweet Pea Academy, so Hubs and I just bought them some succulents from Trader Joe's to start off their little personal gardens. Some are taking better care of them than others!

I want to get them this collection of succulents eventually, and a bunch of cute pots like maybe a few of these:

OR  

OR maybe even these cuties:

... but when we can afford it. 😏

6) This week's artist, Willie Nelson, can trace his family tree back to the Revolutionary War. Captain John Nelson served with the Minutemen back in 1776. If you could go back in time to witness any great moment in American history, which would you choose?

Image result for abraham lincoln emancipation proclamation speech

I wish I'd borne witness to Abraham Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg Address.

7) Before he became a musical success, Willie was a door-to-door salesman, peddling first Bibles, then vacuum cleaners. INC magazine tells us that the traits of successful salespeople include resilience and good listening skills. Do you think you'd make a good sales person?

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No way in hell. I've tried, and I'm terrible at it!

8) In 1993, when this song came out, Saved by the Bell aired its series finale. Crazy Sam likes to tease her brother because he once admitted to her that he has seen all 86 episodes of this teen sitcom. Is there a show that you believe you've seen every episode?

Image result for hilarious Big Bang Theory gif

I'm pretty sure I've seen all of The Big Bang Theory, but that doesn't stop me from watching the syndicated reruns on 

9) Random question - We're having milkshakes! What's your favorite flavor?

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No milk for me. Lately we've been drinking a lot of different vegan smoothies, so experimentation is the name of the game. I haven't gotten around to making any milkshakes with plant-based milks yet, although we've got all kinds of those milks (cashew, almond, soy, pea - unflavored, flavored, etc.) in the fridge right now!

~*~*~*~*~

So I'm still in the middle of my big Queen moment, watching the movie, adoring Freddie Mercury, and constantly listening to "Don't Stop Me Now" and others on my Beats.

Beats

Love Queen! Such a damn shame... 😭🎤🎧🎹

Anyway, y'all, have a lovely weekend! 

Fin.


Feeding Frenzy: January

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I have four hospital admissions recently: two in December, and two in January. All for different reasons! So it was with great joy when I came home from our own hens just starting to produce eggs in brown, a pale brownish-green colour, and bluish-green to a greater production of eggs. (We have some silkies and a few other varieties, like a Rhode Island Red, which is why we have such variation in our egg colours.)

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Now look at these beauties! I really need to step up my egg-eating game! We have so many eggs now that we can't keep up with our layers! Actually, we don't even have enough room in our fridge (Rob insists on washing them after they are laid, so we have to refrigerate them rather than keep them on the countertop as I'd prefer) anymore for all these eggs. The other day, Chloë went around our cul-de-sac offering our neighbors our own organic eggs. Most were delighted and took several! (The rest weren't home yet.)

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Each time I have been admitted into the hospital, I am on some sort of special diet. I am always restricted from eggs or any egg-containing food, because I am technically allergic to eggs. However, there is some difference between regular, ordinary store-bought eggs and our own pasture-raised, organically-fed chickens' eggs. I can eat those with zero reaction. So it's always with great joy that I come home and Rob makes me a delicious omelet with cheese and sautéed onions. (He's such a great Hubs; no complaints there!)

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So when I've been home, I like to cook. I'm not always up to it, but I do love to make a nice meal with a pretty presentation for my family - especially the Husbeast. The kids don't always appreciate the gourmet meals I prefer to cook, so Rob usually does the more day-to-day, mac-and-cheese sort of stuff, while I like to really go wild. It's for that reason that I'm fond of the various meal subscription services that have come into play in recent years. I've tried Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and one or two others; now I'm into Sun Basket

I like the meal delivery services because it's a chance to expand my cooking knowledge, expand my food awareness, and also because I can be picky about what foods come in my meal selections. This meal, above, is Turkish Lamb Köfte with Tahini Sauce and Smashed Cucumber Salad and was obviously chosen only for my carnivorous (well, omnivorous, really). He seemed to enjoy it quite well, and I liked preparing it. I got a little heavy handed with the black pepper, though. Oops! Sorry, Rob.

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Here are some of the ingredients for the next recipe I created. You can click to embiggerate the pictures, if you're impatient to read the book and don't want to scroll down to see what it was!

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This delicious beauty was Tuscan Vegetable Soup with Ciabatta Croutons. So much yum in this dish. Everyone in the house tried it, which is a rare thing for one of these meal delivery service recipes. The kids usually turn up their noses at it. I think everyone pretty much enjoyed it, but Rob and I loved it. Unfortunately, I can't really eat a lot of soup (thanks to my gastric bypass surgery), so in the end, Rob ended up with four bowls of soup to down. Honestly, though, it was delicious!

DSC_0595

The day after I cooked the Tuscan Soup, I was back at it with the third and final Sun Basket meal in that week's delivery. (I usually only get it one week per month, because it's spendy.) Here's some minced garlic and chopped onions.

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Beautiful, rinsed red lentils

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Sliced limes - yummy!

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Something's simmering!

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The finished product: Red Lentil and Chickpea Dal with Butternut Squash and Pita. It was scrumptious! I ate every bite of mine. Rob thought it was "all right," but he's not much for showing enthusiasm. (Trust me; for 17 years, I've urged him to show more emotion, give me more "oomph" about something I felt he should feel strongly about, but he just... doesn't. It's so frustrating for an over-emoter like me! Haha!) I especially liked the added touch of Coconut Milk poured over the whole thing, once it was in the bowl. Mmm... delish.

One thing I really like about Sun Basket is that, unlike the other services we've tried, they include a full recipe book of all the recipes they've shipped out, to us and everyone else, whether we chose those meals or not. So if I was torn between adding two dishes to our shipment, I could still make both if I wanted to. I think this is a fantastic way to let us try way more than just those for which they've sent us the ingredients.

Wait 'til you see what we're getting this Wednesday! Everything looks so scrummy!

Thanks for stopping by, y'all!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Getting To Know You

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

Image result for eating my way through the world funny

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

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

Melly Selfie

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

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

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

What would your perfect room look like?

Image result for roomful of puppies and babies and Image result for roomful of babies

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

How often do you play sports?

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No.

To what fictional place would you most like to go?

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Hellooo, the chocolate factory is my idea of heaven!

What job would you be terrible at?

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

When was the last time you climbed a tree?

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

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

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

What skill would you like to master?

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

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

Image result for Adventure Funny

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

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

Image result for dream house funny

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

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

Image result for Kansas funny

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

What songs have you completely memorized?

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

What do you consider to be your best find?

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Why, the Hubs of course!

Are you usually early or late?

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

What pets did you have while you were growing up?

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

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

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

What takes up too much of your time?

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

What do you wish you knew more about?

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Gardening. I hate having a black thumb!

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

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"Was I snoring?"

~*~*~*~*~

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

Fin.

 


Sundays In My City: Backyard Surprises

Sundays In My City
Hi again! I'm playing two weeks in a row, y'all! This must be a record for me. Link up here if you want to play along with Claudya and the rest of the SiMC gang this week!
This weekend, I have not been feeling well at all, and after going out for a quick mystery shop/dinner date with Hubs, all my spoons were gone. (If you're not familiar with "The Spoon Theory" by Christine Miserandino, this will help explain it. In the article, the writer has Lupus. I have Lyme Disease, not Lupus, but everyone initially thought what I had was Lupus... so I imagine my chronic pain must make the same amount of sense between "spoonies" and "non-spoonies," you know?)
Anyway, when we got home from dinner, my 15-year-old Chloë excitedly told me we had persimmons growing on the big tree in our backyard. We had guessed much earlier on, right after moving here to Boise, Idaho, that it was a persimmons tree, so it was about time! I sent her out with my Nikon to take a few snaps, because I just couldn't do it: no more spoons. Here are her photos:
Pics by Chloe 001
See 'em?!!
Pics by Chloe 003
Squee! They're so green and tiny!
Pics by Chloe 002
And there are SO many! I can't wait until they turn orange. I've never eaten a persimmons; have you?
Oh, and Chloë left me one last picture on the camera as a surprise:
Pics by Chloe 009
It's faint, but it's definitely there - can you see it? I love rainbows. They cheer me up considerably.
It was enough to give me back one of my 'spoons.' Good job, Chloë!!
Thanks for stopping by. Happy weekend!
Fin.
P.S. I so hate when Typepad re-formats my posts for me. Gah! I do leave spaces between paragraphs so it's not one long braindump. Sorry, peeps.

A Walk With My Curly Girly

Flower Walk

Today, I needed some caffeine and rustled up enough change to go get some kind of diet cola from someplace. Chloë decided to go with me, so we could have a little mommy-and-me time. It's harder to come by now that she's 15½, those moments are harder to come by. I brought my camera along for the walk, expecting to capture a few things of interest, starting with these pretty purple tulips and the lilac tree of a couple neighbors.

Parked Trailer

Found this unhitched green trailer inspiring on Virginia Ave, heading out of the 'hood.

Chloe Pallet Fence

On Victory Road, one neighbor had just ONE section of a pallet fence up, so I decided it would be a perfect backdrop for a Chloë shot. There is a lot of traffic on that road and no shoulder or sidewalk, so I had to take a car-free moment and grab a quick snap!

Chloe Bridge

This walk turned into a little mini-shoot for Chloë, as I found her my inspo most of the time! The neighbor next to single-pallet-fence house had this wee bridge over the tiny creek-let underneath it, so I had her hop on it and let me grab another quick shot.

Mailboxes

Phlox and old mailboxes at the corner of Triumph and Victory. I dig it.

Flowery Home

A particularly flowery neighbors' house

Old Truck

Old truck. I like it.

Chloe RR Tracks

No train was coming from either direction, but Chloë was still a bit reluctant to stand next to the train tracks. If it were Sophia, she'd be doing cartwheels up and down the rails! But Chloë is more demure and dainty than her baby sister.

Chloes Curls

I know Chloë doesn't quite fully embrace her curls yet, but I am a bit obsessed with them. I can't get enough of them. They're so beautiful and springy. And yes, I am an annoying person who "boings" them when she's washing the dishes and can't stop me. Heh heh heh. So I snagged this pic while she was walking and didn't know the lens was on her.

Chloe Moutain view

Chloë with the mountains behind her... they had snowy peaks this morning, but by this time, they were definitely showing signs of Spring!

Chloe OverpassCrossing the overpass was a little scary for Chloë - and, I must admit, I was afraid, too - but I thought it looked cool criss-crossing with Federal Way and the shadows. I loved the interplay there.

Tumbleweed

Tumbleweed; we are a tiny bit TW-crazy!

Fabric Joanne's

We ended up getting a 1L of Diet Coke at Walgreens with my change and Balance Rewards points and then starting back home. Only, we were walking with the wind at our backs on the first leg of the trip. On the short leg from Walgreens to Joann's Fabric at the return, the wind was a wall of sheer opposing force in our faces and on our bodies.

Chloë and I could not here each other speak when we were inches apart, so we decided to have Rob pick us up instead of walking into that the whole way home! Weenies, yes we are. Also, Joanne's had a lovely variety of fabric and all-around crafty stuff, so we were not impatient in waiting for him to get us at all!

Rob Ride

And soon, there he was: our knight in shining armor, riding in his black coach to retrieve us and tease me about being a quitter. ;)

Chloe's CurlsOne more shot of Chloë... because those juicy curls just speak to me!

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Walking In A Boise Spring Evening

I am SO behind on my blog, as usual, but the past two weeks have seen me in incredibly intense pain.

Nevertheless, Chloë and I went for a brisk walk earlier this evening, and I brought my trusty camera with me to see what I could capture.

1504 roses' Tulips

Here are some pinky tulips surrounding a rose bush that hasn't bloomed yet, in our front yard. There are quite a lot of tulips in our yard, actually, but I'll only show a few bunches here.

1504 Far Yard Tulips

Whoever lived here before planted all different colors, as you can see - I think they're beautiful! Though I might have done it a little differently. But, we'll be here long enough to make whatever changes are necessary...

1504 Pink Orange Tulips

I adore these orangey-yellow tulips in the far corner of our lawn. So colorful!

Neighbor Yellow Tulips

A neighbor of ours has his tulips all color-specific in large bunches like this, which I think I prefer.

Gladys' House

Our neighbor-lady, G, doesn't have many flowers in her front yard, but I still love it. It's so kitschy-chic, if that's a thing. ;) She brought us cookies our first week here, which was really cool of her!

Neighbor Daffodils

I adore monocotyledons more than dicots, and daffodils are amongst my favorites of flowers. Another neighbor's yard sports this gorgeous bunch!

Tree Nest

Look! A robin's nest! Spring is definitely on its' merry way!

Spring Lawn

Such a pretty yard, with lots of tulips and little tiny phlox-y looking things. My botany knowledge is severely lacking, so please forgive me for that!

Empty Lot Tulips

In an empty lot around the corner from us, tulips even grow. I love this!

Phlox Blank Lot

More... phlox??... in that empty lot. Lovely!

Robins

Walking toward home, we spotted a number of little red-breasted robins. A definite sign that Spring is here.

Neighbors' White Tree

I don't know what kind of tree this is - anyone know - but it was lovely!

Oil Spill

I took this photo of the rainbow-effect of an unfortunate oil spill just because it will serve to remind me of a conversation between Chloë and me about beauty in even the worst things, like environmental damage seen here, and how we can use our voices to protect Mother Earth when few seem to notice or care...

House For Sale

A modeled house for sale nearby - anyone want to be our neighbors here in Boise? ;)

Rawr Attack Frogs

This neighbor, with dinos and attack frogs, obviously has a sense of humor! I like.

Neighbors' Pretty House

Another neighbor's pretty front walkway Beautiful Neighbor Tulips

On the other hand, from what I said earlier, this clump of multicolored tulips is rather pretty, too. Maybe I do like it that way. I dunno.

Hail on Chloes Arm

And then, as we were rounding the corner for home, it started hailing! Here's some hail on Chloe's arm. Hailing in the midst of all these flowers blooming. That's Spring for ya.

Welp, that's it for that walk. It was too cold to continue!

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.

~*~*~*~*~

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.


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

Hello, World.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(because I love to cook and bake, duh) 

AND

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

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

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

Fail. Fail, fail, fail.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*

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

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

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

*

A few final Saturday morning fragments:

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

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

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

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

*

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

Fin.


Christmas 2016: Advent Day 10

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Saturday, the 10th day of Advent, saw us going out to Bee Heaven Farm again for our weekly local, organic produce share. That ratatouille in the bowl in the bottom center was just eh, okay, for both Rob and me, but the rest of the food was delicious goodness!

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After I returned, we did our daily Advent opening. Gingerbread lollies were the treat of the day. Chloë had opened the bag that day, and she dropped Sophie's lollipop when handing it to her. Immediately, she picked it up and said she would take that one, since she broke it. That's just the kind of thoughtful girl she is!

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That day, we decided to start baking our Christmas cookies. The kids are really growing up now, and so I thought I could just direct the baking activity from afar while they did the work. Pain and suffering, you know... but that plan quickly flopped, and I had to apron-up and get involved!

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Here are Sophia and Chloë working in concentrated cooperation to pour the pistachio-laden batter of my favorite new cookies into a baggie for pouring into dots on the baking sheet. Yeah, I know the batter looks like baby diarrhea, but trust me, it was really good. And now you can't stop thinking about baby diarrhea, can you? Sorry...

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Meanwhile, our table had ALL THE THINGS on it necessary for hours and hours of baking. Unfortunately, I didn't get as much baking finished as I'd have liked before getting tired, and so this is how our table looked for like, ummm, a week! :O

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Meanwhile, Jack played Farming Simulator 17 on the XBox One, as he has tried to a little bit of each and every day. Henry watched - can you see him on the orange ottoman?

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Sophia and I made Lemon Tassies together, from the Martha Stewart Cookies cookbook. I absolutely adore that book, a gift I received a while back from Rob's sister Gail. She was being very careful to make sure each crust cup had equal amounts of filling.

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These were amazingly delicious. The kids kept asking for "one more." And "one more" and "one more" and "one more" later, we were out of Lemon Tassies. Those, I'm afraid, will not be gifted to our friends this year. Oops.

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However, my heart belongs to these pistachio-and chocolate layered squares that are, in no uncertain terms, incredible. Unbelievable. Amazeballs. 

They are EVERYTHING. And no, we didn't save anything for gifting from these, either. #WeArePiggies

Stay tuned for more...

FIn.


Sunday Stealing: Easter Meme

Happy Easter!! Link up here if you're playing along today!

Easter Meme

Stolen from: The Archives
 
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1. Five Things I have A Passion For (not necessarily in any order): 

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a. My children

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b. My husband and our marriage (you're welcome for the gratuitous additions of Chloë & Otto)

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c. Food: cooking, baking, eating...

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d. Fiber arts: all things yarny, knitty, and as I did here, crochet-y ;)

e. Environmentalism

2. Five Things I'd like to Learn Before I Die: 

a. Another language, aside from English and Spanish

b. How to spin my own yarn from raw fibers

c. Patience in all things

d. Giving up being a control freak

e. The secret to successfully growing plants - I have the blackest thumbs ever!

3. Five Things I say A Lot: 

a. "WTF?!" or "I don't know WTF you're talking about," often to Hubs, who speaks in esoteric military terms after serving 20 years in the US Navy! ;)

b. "LOL." As in, I actually say it like, "lollll." It amuses me to see my teen and tween kids roll their eyes when I do that.

c. Be "nice, kind, sweet, and loving!" is the mantra I preach to my kids, having tried over the years to instill the practice of the Golden Rule in them.

d. "Whatever." Just, whatever, dude.

e. "I love you." I say it all the time, to my kids and Hubs. ALL. The. Time.

4. Five Books and/or magazines I have Read Lately (we'll go with magazines, since books are a far reach for me lately): 

a. Martha Stewart Living magazine is my favorite!!!

b. Family Fun, which I used to devour as readily as Martha Stewart's mag; I do it a little less so now that the kids are older...

c. I really like Prevention; it's easy to read, with lots of short little blurbs that I find helpful in my daily life.

d. Reader's Digest has been my old standby favorite since I found dozens of issues in my grandparents' condo as a wee lassie.

e. People is my semi-guilty pleasure, though I haven't made as much time for it lately.

5. Five Favorite Movies: 

a. Grease, tied for first with:

b. Dirty Dancing

c. Finding Nemo, because I am sooo Dory; I cannot wait until Finding Dory comes out! I am SO there.

d. Ferris Bueller's Day Off is always a fun one.

e. I loooove Steel Magnolias.

6. Five Places I would like to Travel To:

a. Australia

b. Japan

c. Venezuela... and really, all over South America

d. Hawaii, since all I've seen of it is the Honolulu airport

e. The Galapagos Islands

~*~*~*~*~*~

Well, that was fun. I hope you enjoyed the visuals!

Fin.


January '16 Wrap-Up

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Black-and-white portrait of the man I love, Robert Allen Odette

So, I haven't blogged as much this infant year as I had planned, because I became even sicker than I had been all throughout the latter half-plus of 2015. That sucked. Basically, I had my iron infusion chemotherapy on December 21st and 28th, and I did not react well to it. I had a semi-kinda-fake-it-'til-you-make-it rally on New Year's Eve, when we went to South Beach for the big par-tay. And then I rested a whole bunch on New Year's Day, before we drove up to Orlando on the 2nd of January to celebrate Rob's and my 15th wedding anniversary.

Well. That sucked. That was actually for a mystery shopping assignment and fun though it was, I almost did not make it home. I had to stop and rest several times along the way, once for several hours, because I was in excruciating pain again. I never did complete that report. That was a Sunday.

By Tuesday, I was calling my father and my BFF, "Dr. Lisa," to say my good-byes. No, I did not call my sister yet at that time, because I knew she would rush down if I told her that I needed her to come help with the kids and Rob after my demise, and I was hoping for a Hail Mary.

Well, obviously, I got my Hail Mary! We still aren't sure what happened yet, because my ER lab results and my primary care doctor are calling it iron toxicity from an overdose of the chemo, but my hem/oncologist swears that I received the correct dose. So, I have no idea, other than that my death definitely seemed imminent but was clearly averted.

Whew. Anyway!

I spent a ridiculous amount of time lying on the couch recovering from that episode. I felt like I got NOTHING accomplished for the whole month other than recuperating. I did, however, manage to take a bunch of pictures of stuff, and lo and behold, as I discovered last night, that means I actually did stuff worthy (at least to me, so, good enough folks!) of that photography. I'm going to share it all here because, uh, that's kinda the purpose of this interwebular space, amirite?

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Black-and-white profile of my sleeping beauty, Sophia Lorelei

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This is from the 8th of January, when Sophia was feeling poorly from a yucky cold virus, and I was feeling poorly from all the aforementioned whatever-the-feck. We were lying together on Rob's lap, if you can discern his camouflage trousers in my sepia tones. A selfie? I asked. Of course, she responded. Snap

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I rarely wear jeans, and never wear boots - certainly not leather ones - so when Rob pulled out my man-made pleather knee-highs from the depths of our closet, I decided to go for it and rock the cowgirl look at one of Sophia's showjumping lessons. Or something. No stetson atop my head, though. The big accomplishment here, though, is that I was up and about, ready to attend her lessons again!

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That night, I felt like crap again and learned that my recovery would not come all at once but in slow bursts and small backslides each day and night. I rested and kvetched about how miserable I was... so much so that my awesome hubs asked what he could do to make my awful night better. Five minutes later, he was giving me his first pedicure. Not a bad job, either!

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Puppy love from Otterbox (Otto von Dieter) and the Doodle (Paco)

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Rob and I, starting our 16th year of wedding bliss, are connecting on a whole 'nother level lately. Our marriage has had some really high highs and some really low lows, but right now we are absolutely soaring. It takes work, every day, absolutely. But we are both crazier about each other now than when we first began this story of true love.

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Rob and Jack both received NERF guns from Grandpa Al & Grandma Denise (thanks, y'all!) for Christmas, and Jack received several more from Ye Olde Maw an' Paw, so the boys were thirsting for an old-fashioned (water) gun fight! Okay, so that wasn't truly an accomplishment of mine, per se, but at least I got up off my duff and out the door to take some piccies!

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On Wednesday, my neighbor drove Sophia and me to see my hem/oncologist. Sophia had a lesson right afterward, and I could not drive. The visit went well, I had blood drawn, blah blah blah. Afterward, our vecino, Frank, insisted us taking to the Sports Grille next door for a bite to eat before her lesson. Selfie time for me and Sophie!

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And here's that neighbor, Frank, with me watching Sophia's lesson that day. He absolutely loved watching her ride Buddy. Frank clapped and cheered, and he called her a champion! It was really fun watching it through his fresh eyes, and it's true. On Wednesday, Sophie really did an amazing job!

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Sophia walking Buddy to get saddled up

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Buddy doesn't like to get his riding gear on, and he gets a little nippy. Once ridden, though, he's a gentle giant. He loves Sophia, though - and that might be due in no small part to her bringing him a treat at the beginning and end of each lesson!

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Sophia had achievements in January, too. She and buddy jumped together for the first time, and she got up to a canter, too! Way to go, kiddo!

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It looks so freeing...

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This is the only picture I have gotten of Sophie and Buddy jumping so far, but there been many perfect jumps since then. Gosh, I'm so proud of how far she's come in just four short months!

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Sweet sign made by one of the other 'horsey moms'

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Craftiness happened this month, too. I was bound and determined not to let the extreme pain in all my joints stop me from doing what I really love and find so calming: knitting. So... I started with this top for myself (and yes, some champagne might have been involved in a few mishaps there):

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But, they're fixable.

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I'm pretty happy with it, even though I would do a Small instead of a Medium next time, and extend the belly ribbing so it covers more of my, uh, mommy pooch... lol. But it's good. I might even wear it out one day?!

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All the kids got onboard with Mommy knitting again, and all have asked for projects for themselves. We had a bit of a cold snap there, and Sophie already loves gloves and mittens, so together we picked out a pattern that's a combo of both.

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Meet Tatiana. Yes, there are booboos and it's a bit tight, but my fingers are out of practice and frankly, my eyes just don't see as well anymore! But Sophie is happy and that's what matters. Now to work on the bottom halves some...

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Speaking of craftiness, Jack and Sophia received their Tinker and Doodle Crates for the month, respectively. Their arrival is always a fun day.

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For Jack's project, he had to build a gravity game. He really enjoys doing the Tinker Crates along with the YouTube videos for each one, so his tablet was trotted out for the assist.

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I told Jack that if he could get the ball into the 50-point hole at the end, he could have a day off from Math work. Guess who had the next day off from Math?!

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Sophia's project was about Watercolor Painting, which is something she knows and loves.

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She had to learn about color gradients, which was new and challenging for her. And then she painted some dishes, including my FiestaWare, which, um... was NOT okay with me!!! (But now I can laugh. A bit.)

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For a bit more craftiness, Sophia fashioned these awesome sandals out of fallen palm fronds. I got a kick out of it!

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I needed a lot of help to get out to Bee Heaven Farm this month, which is where we get our weekly CSA shares, but Rob, Sophia, and Frank were happy to help me get there and get our box of fresh, local, organic goods!

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You know what fresh food means? Cooking. This first dish, I went pretty simple: Salad. I wilted the kale first and did a stir-fry with some watermelon radish, some kind of pepper I forget the name of, and then just threw it together with pecans and shredded Colby Jack. Meh, it was all right, but Rob had to finish my dose portion.

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A made-up dish: fried egg with (also-fried) French Couscous, topped with a conglomerate of stir-fried veggies from Bee Heaven Farm. And Spanish peanuts. I guess I was going for a whole fusion thing? I dunno, but it was tasty.

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Kitchen Sink Mashed Potatoes

I don't think any of this was comfort food fare was from the farm, but that's okay. During my recuperation from the chemo debacle, I ate and ate and ate like a mofo! I've never eaten so much in the seven years post-op. And I still lost weight! It was cray-cray. Anyway, I used to make this in my poverty-ridden days as a vegetarian college student: loaded mashed potatoes. I add corn, sautéed Vidalia onions, cheese (I loves me some cheesy goodness), garlic... and all kindsa' salt, pepper, milk and butter. Mmm. So. Freaking. Good!

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I made Ethiopian food for the first time ever! This vegan Gomen Wat was soooo good, I ate like five platefuls. Okay, maybe six? I'm definitely going to make it again. And no, I didn't serve it on a beautious bed of injera, because... um. Because and that's why.

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Southwestern Chili Mac

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Chloë wanted to hone her cooking chops in the kitchen with me one night when I was too manic to cook, so I somewhat crazily guided her through the recipe from Hello Fresh for Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto with Feta and Pepitas. She somehow, despite my sabotage, managed to pull off a stellar dish! Rob and I inhaled the goodness she made. Way to go, Chlo!

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Sophia wanted to join her sister in preparing a meal the kids would actually eat, and she lovingly put together a vermicelli and sauce dinner for the three of them. (There was supposed to be garlic bread too, but Mom forgot to keep reminding her to check the oven and, well, I'm just glad we didn't burn the house down.) Well done, ladies! ♥

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I baked a scrummy loaf of bread, nothing fancy but tasty as all-get-out.

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Jack and the girls pal around with the neighborhood kids, so one day while they held yet another NERF gun fight, I baked them up some peanut butter cookies to share with their friends. That plate came back EMPTY. Go, Mom. (Yes, I did diligently check for allergies first.)

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Plátanos fritos

 I had never fried plantains before, in all my years of living in South Florida, though I sure have enjoyed eating my share of them! We did a quickie grocery trip to Publix and talked about making our own, at which point I just thought, Why not now? Some super-green plantains, a bunch of kosher salt, and a healthy squeeze of lemon, et voilá! Talk about tasty. I'll definitely be doing that again!

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One week, our CSA box came with two of the most beautiful, juicy red grapefruits you ever wished to have. Oh. Em. Gee. (NO accomplishment here, I just wanted to drool over it some more. Moving on...)

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I had planned on making these Honeyed Butternut Squashes from the CSA box myself, but after chopping up two good-sized gourds, I was petered out. Rob had to finish the cooking for me himself, and he did an amazeballs job. They ended up too sweet for my grumpy pouch, Oscar, and I experienced a lot of Dumping Syndrome. But I swear, I would've eaten them all if I could have!

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And lastly - but surely not least - on the cooking front, I made some of my favorite Artisanal Rustic Pizzas. The dough recipe comes from a back issue of Martha Stewart Living but the toppings are my creation. The kids don't like my fanciful ideas, so I made them a plain cheese-and sauce one. Only, we only had cheddar in the house and no sauce, so I had to improvise and make some sauce from scratch. Jack didn't care for it - he's no cheese fan (tha' heck?!) - but the girls devoured every last piece of Pizza #1.

Pizza #2 was the same but with a bunch of roasted organic scallions from the BHF CSA box on top. I unvented a different homemade sauce for that one. Rob is lucky he had any of that one, because I snatched up every last piece after he had his share!

Pizza #3 was way more unconventional: a third different homemade sauce, using torn-up fresh organo from the CSA box. Cheddar cheese, natch. And for toppers? I threw on chopped walnuts, pea sprouts from BHF, capers, and a drizzle of honey. I didn't think I would like that. My scale says the opposite! (Rob loved it, also.)

Whew. Now I'm getting hungry!

~*~*~*~*~

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Random January blooms in the neighborhood

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Rob and I were startled to find Jack, Sophia, and a neighborhood boy carrying a box with this "abandoned" duckling in it one day. They insisted its mother had left it and gone swimming with the rest of her brood. Of course, I had my camera with me. They took the ducky out of its box, I snapped a picture or two, and then... he waddled off, like a bat out of hell! Ahaha. So much for being helpless.

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Here, leezard, leezard... 

Just an anole visitor who ran away from me at the horse farm after I let out a belly-bursting sneeze

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Lest you were thinking you'd get away from me without sharing some puppy pix... heeeeere's PACO! ♥

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Otterbox is really a beautiful GSD, but he's hard to photograph well sometimes. Anyway, this month, Robert declared that he has chosen ME as "his person," which about blew my heart up with joy. Our previous German Shepherd, Tiger Lily, was supposed to be my dog, but she chose Rob for her person. The exact opposite happened this time. And I love Otty-bot soooo much. He was a bit of trouble at first, but now he is just the most fun, loving, sweet thing, and I'm glad he is a part of our wackadoodle family!

And that's about it for the round-up! Here's another cookie, if you read the whole danged thing.

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Why Do You Want To Know That?!

Link up here if you're stealing along with the rest of us today!

***

List 5 things you want to do before the year ends:

  1. a. Bake Christmas cookies with my family,

b. Go to Christmas Eve candlelight services together,

c. Get our veritable mountain of laundry washed, dried, folded and put away for once,

d. Get everyone's Christmas presents wrapped, and

Buy more groceries and make sure we use up these ^^^ veggies & tilapia from the farm where we get our weekly CSA shares!

  1. What color are your pants?

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They're a bit more red than in this picture, but cherry red not tomato red, on top, and black on the rest.

Favorite motivational quote:

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I have this posted on my wall, here in my little office area of the living room. Whenever I'm feeling like poo, I look up at it and remind myself to BE the good, etc.

When was the last time you drank coffee?

  1.  Last night, Chloë and I made a run to Starbucks. She ordered a Java Chip Frappuccino, I ordered an Egg Nog Frapp "Light" with Coconut Milk (minimal dairy for me), and I brought home a Café Mocha for Rob. Technically, I don't think there was any coffee in mine, but I probably had some earlier in the day... maybe?

    What was the last thing you ate?
  2. I've been eating a lot of ice chips lately, so that was the last solid "food" I consumed. I'm not eating much else aside from the ice! It took me a few days to realize I probably have Pica from being extremely anemic. :\
  3. Favorite animal:

So, my favorite overall animal is of the sea: Shortfin Mako Shark.

  1. My favorite land animal is the African Elephant.

    1. And my favorite animal of flight is the soaring Bald Eagle.

      Favorite song:

  1. "Near You Always" by Jewel - though I adore that entire album!

    Last movie you watched?
  2. Well, I rented five movies (for FREE!) from the Redbox last night, but we only managed to get two watched (Paper Towns and Shaun The Sheep), but the one I'm really looking forward to watching today is the newer Vacation movie! Yes, I'm totally allowing my kids to watch it. C'mon, it'll be fun..! ;)

    Any turn-ons?

Nicole nailed it - in that order, too!

  1. Any turn-offs?
  2. Arrogance, lack of sense of humor, and stupidity are my major turn-offs.

    List 4 big words off of the top of your head.
  3. Okay... extraneous, superfluous, garrulous, expediency
  4. What are some meaningful movies?
  5. Jodie Foster in The Accused, and

Gabourey Sidibe in Precious really meant a lot to me.

  1. The two most important people in your life right now?
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  3. No. I cannot do just two. It's these four folks: Rob, Jack, Chloë, and Sophia. They are my life!

    What are 3 things you want for Christmas?
  4. I really, really want the Cards Against Humanity game!

  1. THIS new printer, which Rob already gave me, because I desperately needed it, and

  1. OF COURSE I want peace on Earth. Please, please, please, let there be peace.

    When was the last time you read a good book?
  2. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Book 1 The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto: A Novel Gulliver's Travels: A Signature Performance by David Hyde Pierce A Confederacy of Dunces Boo: A Novel
  3. These are the five books I just purchased from Audible. I hope I have time to listen to all of them in the next few months!

    What was the last thing you studied?
  4. I studied the ecological and functional morphology of the pharyngeal jaw apparatus of elasmobranch fishes, with this guy:

  1. Dr. Philip J. Motta, at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
  2.  
    Do you have any nicknames?
  3. Aside from Smellyann? It's pretty much "Mom," or "Honey."

    Favorite kind of perfume?
  4. It changes. Right now, I'm really digging my JAFRA blends, which have some fruity elements, a little bit of floral, and a little bit of ... allure. I can mix and match which one(s) I use, depending on my mood. Love them!

    Do you have any international friends / friends who live out of state?

Yes, of course I have tons of friends (and family) from out-of-state, but I also have lots of international friends. Some of them, I have never even met. I'm hoping to meet Pammy, here, in the next few months. I have "known" her since 2004. She lives in Canada; I shall have to pack warm!

  1. 20. What is something unique that you do every single day?

I'm in a lot of pain these days, so I am trying to do gentle yoga as much as possible. Sometimes, it's a simple stretch or two. Other times, when I'm having a better day, I get more active. But I have a ways to go before I look this beautiful whilst doing it!

  1. If there was a movie based on your life, what would it be called?
  2. It would be called Does That Make Me Crazy?

  3. When was the last time you bought a gift for someone?
  4.  
  5. I bought a drift fishing trip for Rob and Jack for Christmas, last. Shhh, don't tell Jack!

    Are you a shopaholic?
  6. In-store, not so much, but online... I have to be careful!

    What are some songs that always make you feel better?

The #1 song to get me in a good mood, up and dancing on my feet is "Kiss" by Prince. Guaranteed.

***

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Would You Rather Meme

Are you stealing today, too? If you want to join in with us, the link is here!

Cheers to all of us thieves!!!  

Would You Rather Meme

Stolen from: Would Your Rather

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Would you rather be stuck on an island alone or with someone who talks incessantly?

I am that person, and I drive myself crazy. I would rather be alone if the other person talks as much as I do!

*

Would you rather be too hot or too cold? 

I'm rarely warm enough, thanks to my internal thermostat being broken after my Gastric Bypass Surgery in '09. I would SO much rather be too warm, but alas, I am always, always cold.

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Would you rather have a cook or a maid? 

I love to cook, but I hate to clean. That maid is a no-brainer!

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Would you rather be the youngest or the oldest sibling?

I don't know. I am the youngest of two, four, or five, depending on how you count the offspring from my childhood. I feel like I wish I was the oldest, because I have no backbone whatsoever, and I can be selfish and petty and spoiled like a baby. But, I am what I am, and it can't be changed other than to address it head-on! (Which I do try.)

*

Would you rather get rich through hard work or through winning the lottery? 

Gotta play to win it big, and I don't play.

  *

Would you rather have a 10-hour dinner with a headstrong politician from an opposing party, or attend a 10-hour concert for a music group you detest?

What, like Donald Trump? Or Ben Carson? Or Marco Rubio? Or the league of other guys - and Carly Fiorina - vying to become POTUS? I couldn't handle a 2-hour dinner, let alone ten of them. No, I'd rather go to a country music concert or something else I detest. #DontGetMeStarted

*

Would you rather be an Olympic gold medalist or a Nobel Peace Prize winner?

I would obviously rather win the Nobel Peace Prize. I would have done something good for humanity. Being an Olympian - gold or otherwise - does not preclude that, but it doesn't guarantee it, either.

*

Would you rather have a desk job or an outdoor job?

I have had both. The desk job, for me, was a snooze-fest all day, every day, week in and week out. No, I need to be out in the field, communing with nature, breathing in fresh air... ahh. Yes.

*

Would you rather live at the top of a tall NYC apartment building or at the top of a mountain?

I must be a stay-home mom (I am), because my first thought was, "Either way, think of the groceries I'll have to lug up there!" Ha! Living in NYC for a year is on my Bucket List; living at the top of a mountain is not, so I'll go with the Big Apple.

*

Would you rather have Rambo or The Terminator on your side?

I don't really know enough about either one; not my genre. I can't comment on it. Sorreh!

*

Would you rather be proposed to in private or in front of family and friends? 

I was proposed to privately, and it was exactly the way it should have been - for me. And then we eloped and, to get married in front of family and friends and God, we had a small, calm, quiet wedding on the beach. I wore a $17 slip nightgown from Kmart and was barefoot; hubs wore his Navy dress blues. I had an inexpensive grocery store bouquet, and my friends sang and played guitar for the music. It was very tasteful, very small, and very us. I loved it. I would not have wanted it any other way.

*

Would you rather have to sew all your clothes or grow your own food?

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 I'm a beginner at both, but I love both ideas. I could knit much of our clothes better than sew, and I'm not the best gardener, but I find both ideas very appealing. This photo shows what I just picked up yesterday from the farm that hosts our local CSA. We joined our first one this year, and I'm SO excited! I used a bit of the mizuna and some of the garlic chives to make homemade sauce last night, and it was outstanding!

*

 Would you rather hear the good news or the bad news first?

I would rather hear whichever one is the bottom line last, so that I can act appropriately.

*

Would you rather be your own boss or work for someone else?

Wouldn't everyone rather be their own boss? Actually, I don't mind working for someone else, as long as the job is right. It's a bit of a trade-off for me.

*

Would you rather have nosy neighbors or noisy neighbors? 

I would rather have noisy neighbors, which we do, over nosy ones, which we also do. Both are annoying, but at least the noisy ones leave us the hell alone! Gahhh, I can't wait until we move...

*

Would you rather be on a survival reality show or dating game show?

I don't know... I think I'd rather be on Survivor, because at least I will have gone somewhere really cool and not lived out my dating drama publicly.

*

Would you rather be too busy or be bored?

Only boring people get bored. I am never bored. I am often too busy, but I definitely prefer that over being bored. I can't remember the last time I wasn't actively - or even passively - doing something.

*

 Would you rather watch the big game at home or live at the stadium?

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 I'd rather be there, where the action is! We went to our (U. Miami) homecoming game this year, and we won! That was epic. (Sorry, Country Dew...)

*

Would you rather spend the day with your favorite athlete or you favorite movie star?

You're offering me Matt Damon or...what again?? ::drool::

*

Would you rather live where it is constantly winter or where it is constantly summer?

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I took this picture earlier this month. I have lived in Syracuse, New York, and I have lived in Miami in the past. I only went back to Miami. It's a no-brainer for me!

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Friday Fragments: Episode 5.8.15

Half-Past Kissin' Time
 
 
♫ "Another day, another dollar, another war, another tower went up where the homeless had their homes..." ♫ 
 
Oh, hi, there! Sorry, I guess a little Jewel needed to bust out of me instead of what I meant to write. That ever happen to you?
 
Anyway, here we are at Friday again. TGIF! Though, when you are a stay-at-homeschooling mom of a retired husband, all the days kinda blend together, and it doesn't make a lick of difference much whether it's Tuesday or Saturday. At least some weeks. And this is one of those weeks.
 
(Oh, look, it would appear I'm in full-on babble mode today...awesome.)
 
Link up here with Mrs. 4444 if you're fragmented today, folks. If not, just leave a comment so I know you were here. I comments!
 
 
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So, this sucks, and I haaaaate even writing about it, but I'm gonna anyway: Our van was towed away in the middle of the night yesterday. I am not sure where it is or why it got towed, but I suspect being behind on the payments by a couple of months is to blame. Heh. (It's not entirely my fault. Our bank account is messed up, like, permanently, and our online bill payment function is currently disabled. I tried to pay the bill, but I was unsuccessful.) Instead of staying on top of it, though, I put it in my "I'll get to that...later" file, and later never came. So I do take most of the blame. 
 
Either way, it completely sucks butt, and I am terribly disappointed right now. I'm going to get Miranda (the van) back, but it might be a couple of weeks. In the meantime, I tried to rent a car yesterday, and let's just say that was a big FAIL. I'm trying again today. Oh, and Enterprise? You are dead to me.
 
 
I can't get this post off italics, and it's driving me crazy. Try to ignore it.
 
 
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While we were waiting for our new couch to arrive - our last one bit the dust utterly and completely - the girls broke out my old college Organic Chemistry model set and started building molecules. My oldest kid, Chloë (in the purple, on the left), actually said to me, "Mom, I wish you hadn't lost the book. I want to learn more!" About Orgo, people. 
 
I love that. LOVE. (And not just 'cause I have a minor in Chemistry...)
 
 
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There was much cheering and joy happening in Casa de Odette when the couch of newness was delivered. We were sick of sitting on a mattress on the floor, y'all. I had three criteria: No leather (being pescetarian, it wouldn't do), easy to clean, and cheap-but-nice.
 
Welp, two out of three will have to do, because it's a leather blend. It was on sale, the price was right, and hey, we needed a damn couch. We aren't Moroccan, after all. Floor pillows are cool... for like, a day. After that, it just hurts your tushy.
 
(And yes, it's I-hate-it beige, but I figured that would be more easy to accessorize than the University of Miami-orange I very nearly chose instead of this one. I mean, we didn't *all* go to UM, after all. Sad to say.)
 
 
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Remind me to tell you how "Turnt Up!" became my catchphrase for a night, last year. That's a post for another day. I'd get turnt up just talking about it, right now!
 
Anyway, I did a mystery shop this week at a national retailer's local outlet, and when I spotted this shot glass, I knew it would have to be what I made for my required purchase item. I have an extensive shot glass collection, I'm turnt up all the dang time, and here she is at home. What a beaut!
 
 
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Pepper, our Maine Coon kitteh-kitteh-cat, has grown quite large of late. At 2.5 years old, he still has some growing to do (this breed is considered full-grown at about three years of age), but man! He is, as Jack says, "one large cat."
 
To remind you, this was Pepper when we found him wandering the middle of the road in October of 2012:
 
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He'd just had a bath, obviously, because he was ravaged with fleas and nearly died from flea anemia. We thought he'd be sickly for life. Boy, were we wrong! He is quite healthy now, strong as an ox! I bet he's pushing 15 pounds. And still room to grow...? Oof!
 
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In other kitty news, Sophie's kitten, Sugarplum, is adjusting to life without her littermate, Spike. Pepper has taken to her, and he bathes and snuggles with her. It's quite sweet.
 
 
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This is my home pharmacy right now. Kind of ridiculous. What's even more so is that I have all these meds at my disposal, and I'm in pretty much near-constant pain. My entire skeleton throbs and aches, 24/7. It sucks. I'm resigned to the fact that yet another thing is wrong with me, and I'm pretty sure it's an autoimmune issue. Once Hubs is done with the daily in-home nursing care, and his surgery wound is all healed up, I'm going to make an appointment to get a referral to a rheumatologist. What's the opposite of thrilled? That's what I am.
 
 
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To kind of have a chill evening, after the stress of Miranda being "stolen" from us, Chloë and I walked to Publix nearby and rented a couple of movies. The girls didn't last through the end of The Book of Life (which has an awesome soundtrack, by the by), and Jack was passed out there on the floor well before the end of The Boxtrolls. We opted to turn it off and finish watching it another time, when they're, y'know, awake and stuff.
 
 
Untitled
 
I would be remiss if I let the month go by without mentioning that May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month. Since Hubs' cerebellar cavernous hemangioma and the subsequent craniotomy to remove it - and bits of surrounding, healthy brain tissue along with it - in February 2015 have set the tone for the past two years, I've made this my Facebook profile pic for the remainder of the month.
 
Go Gray for May! #BTAM
 
 
Back to the Roots - Product Specifications
 
So this week was not without some good - no, really, really great - news. A random post on a blog I read mentioned that this organic mushroom farm by the spectacular company Back to the Roots (which was new to me at the time) was on sale on Amazon. Since environmentalistm, local/organic/sustainable eating and living are big passions for me and somewhat for the rest of Team Odette, I did some poking around on their website.
 
Long story short, they were looking for Regional Brand Ambassadors for diferent parts of the country, with Florida as its own "region" on the list. They asked for résumés and cover letters from interested applicants. I bucked the trend and just shot them an email instead, with all of my reasons for why I'd be great as their Florida RBA.
 
Well, days went by. Then weeks. And then, almost a month later, this week, I received an email back, stating that I sounded absolutely PERFECT to represent Back to the Roots for Florida. I don't want to jump the gun and congratulate myself just yet, since they'll be talking to me more when they expand into Florida this summer, but I was crazy excited when I got that message! Woot woot!!!
 
 
And that,  my friends, is that for this week. Have a lovely!
 
Fin.

Sundays In My City: Chihuly At Fairchild, A Garden Of Glass

Unknown Mami

Link up with Unknown Mami HERE if you want to play along, and "share your city/town/suburb/you name it! Think of this as a photography carnival or photography meme (with or without words) that not only lets you share your part of the world, but lets you visit other parts of the world virtually. If you link up, please link back or post the Sundays In My City button either in your post or sidebar to let people know that other bloggers are sharing their communities too."

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On Sunday night, from 6-9 PM, we went to Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden to visit the Dale Chihuly blown glass art exhibit. Disclosure: We were given complimentary passes to the Garden in exchange for this blog post. As always, all opinions on this post are 100% my own.

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This was the first exhibit we encountered. That's all glass, floating in the water! How cool, no? You can read all about artist Chihuly here.

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The sights and scenery were breathtakingly beautiful throughout the garden.

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This exhibit brought new meaning to the term "party boat" for me.

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We craned our necks to look at this bird. Heh. See what I did there?

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I really thought the White Belugas looked more like the crane than the whale, but what do I know? They were still Teh Awesome.

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I hadn't realized the scientific name of Coffee before, but it makes sense in both generic and specific form. To me, anyway, and I drink a lot of the stuff.

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♫ "Walking along. Singing a song. At the bottom of a beautiful, blimey, shimmery, shiny, sea..." ♫

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Chloë thought the central blue starry thingy was more like a porcupine, but I was team sea urchin all the way. What do you think?

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Please, no jokes about blue balls. I wouldn't dream of making one myself, either.

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My girls, especially, seem to have this odd fascination with lily pads. I don't know what it is, but personally, I think they're pretty cool, too.

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Electric blue

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To me, these flowers in Spanish moss look like baby birds in a nest. Do you see it?

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Chloë had to visit the restroom, and we were next to the garden café at the time. I got in line after seeing they had handcrafted tropical fruit sodas. I saw myriad flavors and guessed that the children would probably want to share the mango flavor, since they all positively adore all things mango. I guessed correctly, they affirmed when returning from the bathroom. As for me, I can't stand mangoes or anything flavored thusly. Just not my thing...

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I find that plenty of vignettes, such as this one, found in the garden were objets d'art in and of themselves.

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The koi pond was a beautiful location for this installation.

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I think the blue koi pond, combined with this Chihuly piece, was my favorite, favorite part of the whole showing.

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I hope I get an invite!

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(Psst: probably my least favorite of the Chihuly pieces. Hey. Everybody's got to have one.)

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"Mmm. Chocolate." (...said like Homer Simpson and his donuts.)

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That's just bananas!

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The edible garden was quite cool. No, we didn't actually get to partake of any fruits.

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Got any colada for that piña?

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Aguacate! YUM.

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The honeybees, they matter. Keep 'em around, you guys.

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I swear my grandma had this much aloe on her window ledge in her New Jersey apartment. No lie. I remember, like, every summer, at least one of us (my sister or I) would get a bad sunburn at the Leonia municipal pool, and we would break off a piece of aloe to rub on the burn.

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This reminds me: I miss our compost bin. It was usefully huge (for our sizable family) and hugely useful. We left it behind at the house in Virginia Beach. Wah.

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Speaking of mangoes...!

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I love these camo pants on Sophie. Just sayin'.

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There are so many different species of palm trees, I swear! I should probably go look up how many. Hang on a sec...

☼ Intermission ☼

I'm back. Holy crap, according to this Palm Wiki, there are about 2600 different species. Whoa!

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Just a spider doing important spider things...

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That guy in the hat, admiring the Icicle Tower, was wearing a utilitarian kilt. The kids wanted to ask him about it, but they dared not, so I had to suck it up and ask for them. He got it in Washington State, it's a Utilikilt, and he's not entirely Scottish. He was, however, quite terse, and so that's all I learned. His wife was far more friendly, and she was wearing a pretty butterfly skirt.

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I like the name "Buccaneer Palm" better, personally.

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"Here, lee-zard, lee-zard!" We saw a rather lot of rather large lizards, including one iguana, at the garden last night.

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*ahem* Phallic! *ahem*

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That one on the bottom reminded Rob of Stevie Wonder in his beaded-hair days, but I was immediately thinking of Bob Marley, myself.

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Love this pic of Sophie carrying her OLDER brother Jack on her back! Love it, love it, love it!

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A statue of the great Marjorie Stoneman Douglas, speaker for the Everglades, holding Sophia's hand. Well, maybe vice-versa, but you know what I mean.

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Oh say, can you see?

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This raccoon was just ambling along, nose to the ground, with nary a care in the world that we were standing there watching him, exclaiming, taking pictures, and otherwise carrying on about his nonchalance.

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The Bird of Paradise, one of few tropical plants I can properly identify. Gee, I wonder why?

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Sophie tried to get in the fountain, as she is always attempting to do. She has, at times, succeeded. That's life with Sophia!

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Team Odette, just being silly, pretending to land tush-first on a giant cactus

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A lady, speaking to me mostly in Spanish, asked for "the one that looks like a Christmas tree." I don't know who told her that, but apparently someone did, about this one. I don't see it at all?

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I love you THIIIIISSSSSS much!

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Jack was pretending to be a statue on a bench, like the one of Marjorie S. Douglas, but to me he looks more like a zombie. Silly.

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Deserted.

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I joked that this large ball cactus was almost as big as Chloë's enormous head. She indignantly exclaimed, "Hey! No, it's not!" Ha. Hahaha.

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"The Trash Heap has spoken!" Who remembers Fraggle Rock?

Gotta watch this, whether you do or whether you don't:

 

Right? D'ya see it??!

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The "Apple Blossom" Amaryllis is a monocotyledon. I prefer monocots to dicots. I said so aloud. This brought on an instant Science lesson about the differences in leaf striation between the two, when other people started gathering around to listen, and I got embarrassed and started walking away. Which reminds me, we really need to do a big ol' Plants Unit soon. I've sort of been avoiding it like the plague.

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This piece reminds me of a bonfire explosion. Or something. I'm not sure. But I like it.

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Back to the back!

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"Talent is a flame. Genius is a fire." - Bernard Williams

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We interrupted an engagement party, at which all the guests wore white. It looked soooo lovely, and what a beautiful setting for the fête! I had to know what was in all the goody bags everyone had, so I stopped a woman on the way out. She hadn't even looked in hers yet, so she didn't know! Can you even?! I made her look. She giggled and went right ahead and looked. I know there was a book about Chihuly and some chocolates, but I forget what else. Either way, it was cool to be semi- a part of things. ;)

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Chloë, ever the dramatic child...!

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We didn't, but we did visit the gift shop. It was quite the coolness. I didn't get pictures, but they had blown glass cnidaria ("jellyfish") inside more glass of another color. I wanted one. I dared not ask how much.

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We loved this scene spread before us near the entrance/exit, so of course we had to take the photographic opportunity. I tried to get the kids to sing the "Farewell" song from The Sound of Music, but since they've never even SEEN it, they didn't know the song. Yes. I have failed them that much, apparently, since it's among my five top favorite films. Sadness.

In case you don't know that heck about which I am speaking:

 

On that note, adieu! And merci for stopping by.

Thank you, again, to Director of the Garden, Dr. Carl E. Lewis, and to Brooke LeMaire and the Marketing team at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden for sending us the free passes to visit the garden. We had a wonderful time seeing the Chihuly exhibition and will definitely be back! As always, all opinions are completely mine in this post.

Fin.


Redland Blues & BBQ Festival #Miami

On Saturday, April 11th, Team Odette ventured out to the Fruit & Spice Park, located in the Redlands area of Homestead. I had gotten super-cheap tickets for the Redlands Blues & BBQ Festival on Groupon and, despite at least one of us (moi) not feeling up to par, we went. We saw. We conquered!

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We have been to the Fruit & Spice Park before, at least twice, but I never noticed this directional sign having the "Robert Is Here" entry before Saturday. What the what? I didn't know anything about it, other than obviously we needed a photograph of Rob next to it. Right?

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Naturally, Sophia had to pose in the Park's "Kodak Moment" stand. She loves those things!

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Once we entered the Festival, our first stop was to this soft-serve ice cream and tropical fruit station. Holy cow, it was awesome. Serving only fruits actually grown there in the park, some native to the area and some exotic, we paid a mere $3 per well-filled cup of whatever fruits we wanted atop our ice cream. The girls went for it, and Rob had some, too, I think. 

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Chloë was the more adventurous of the girls, as Sophia only wanted her beloved mango in her ice cream. Chlo opted for all kinds of fruits we had no experience with or knowledge of, and an edible flower on top to boot. So... what did she think of all this?

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Yeah, no. Not so much. Heh heh heh. But I admired her for her willingness to try new things, as I am a big proponent of such!

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After that, we visited a stand selling bags of fresh pecans and macadamias - my favorite - shipped directly from Hawai'i. We all got a chance to crack the macs out of their tough, thick shells (which I'd never seen before, wow!), and sample the goods. I didn't buy anything at that time, but as promised, I did buy a bag of the yumminess on our way out of the park!

Jack hammered them all open for me here in the abode, since he's a strong little munchkin, and I devoured the entire bag myself. Well... I think Chloë snagged one?

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Of course, since it was a BBQ fest, and Rob is from Missouri where BBQ is, you know, kind of a thing, I wanted him to partake of the goodness there. This stand purported to have the "Best Ribs," so I urged him to get 'im some o' dat. He, being quite the connoisseur of ribs, said it was "okay." This is often about as enthusiastic as the boy gets, so I took it as pretty dang good. In any event, he ate the whole plate of 'em.

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And, really? THIS is a thing that exists? We had a good laugh about that. Really, though?!

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Not a fan of the Conch Fritters, personally, but they offered crabcake sliders at this shack. Speaking of fanatical foodies, I'm all about the crabcakes, so I grabbed a plate. It took me ages, and I had to take it off the bread, but I "managed" to choke the two on my plate down. ;) I kind of expected an allergic reaction to something in them or the dipping sauce, but nothing. Guess that phase is over now, too. Anyway... 

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Delicious... but still, nothing I've encountered compares to the crabby patties I've gotten from Uncle Chuck's, the fishmonger in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Y'all seriously just don't know until you've had it!

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I enjoyed the Blues music that was being played in the park, and Rob seemed to enjoy it as well. As for the kids? I asked them each, in turn, and all of them were highly negative about their opinions of it. Oh, well; we tried.

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The kids had no interest in crabcakes, or conch fritters, or BBQ ribs, or any of that such stuff. However, they were all about some Dippin' Dots ice cream, and despite having bought them the tropical fruit-covered stuff at the beginning of the outing, I decided to go ahead and let them have it. It was a boiling hot day, after all, and I wanted them to keep cool. So, I spoiled them a little bit. Why the heck not, anyway?

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So, this is a Jackfruit. It's pretty much bigger than our 12-year-old son, Jack. I find that kind of... heh.

So that was a fun excursion of the food and of the music. Mostly enjoyed by the parents, but the kids got ice cream twice, so not so horrible, right?

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Random Snaps And Schtuff

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I'm not terribly much of a flower person, historically, so it's weird to me that I find myself drawn to them since we have been living here in the County of Miami-Dade. I particularly love a huge hibiscus, and those are everywhere, but I also adore all the street - literally, they walk up and down the cars at intersections while the light is red - vendors selling bouquets of colorful roses for five bucks.

I don't get me. I'm the type of girl who finds it much more romantic for you to plant a tree for me than send flowers, but I love them here. They're just so... so... bright, and big, and colorful. And y'all should know I love color.

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On Tuesday last week, I had a date with my "big brother" Marc for a mystery shop. Marc and I go back about 19 years, to my college days at the University of Miami. I was his night nurse (Marc has been a quadriplegic for longer than that, and my Chemical Oceanography TA, Beth, needed someone to take over Marc-caring duties while she was out on cruise for school), and we bonded closely in that time. Marc's a great guy, a terrific friend, and I love him dearly. It's wonderful to be so near to him and, now too, his wife and their twins.

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I neglected to Instagram our shared appetizer of Ahi Carpaccio, for shame, but I grabbed this shot of Marc's Spicy Cashew Chicken before he dug in. I didn't Gala-gram my bitty crab bites, because though they were delicious, they just weren't photogenic.

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Marc opted out of taking a piece of cheesecake home for later, but I bought a piece of Godiva Chocolate goodness for Rob and the kids. Um, yeah, I totally had about three bites of that rich confection before Oscar The Pouch revolted and said, "Slow down, yo." (He says it; I swear.) But holy cow, you guys. We normally get the strawberry regular variety, for Sophia's sake, but this one? Hands-down, my new favorite. I might be in trouble.

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Sometime in the past week, I was on Happify doing my thang, and I was instructed to let my inner child out and do something silly and fun. I had intended to jump in the rain puddles, since the sky invariably opens up every summer day here, but wouldn't you know it? We had a sunny day. I grabbed my youngest babe and headed outside to roll around in the grass. She took this picture; not bad, eh?

Sophia

Like I said a post or two ago, she's never one to shy away from lens, so of course I was inveigled into taking one of her grass-rolling, too.

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I think it was that same day, we went the pool for a dip and then came home and found this scene at the row of apartments across from ours. Just glorious. I couldn't quite capture it justly, but I tried. I'm always so grateful for scenery like this; I've said it once, and I'll say it again: it makes it hard to be depressed, living here.

Enjoy your Hump Day!

Fin.


Kinda Wordless Wednesday: What's Cookin', Good Lookin'?

Link up here if you're (any degree of) Wordless today!

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We've become quite the locavores lately, shopping at the nearby fishmonger's shop and stopping at various side-of-the-road barely-speaking-English produce stands in recent weeks. I love it! Here are some things we've cooked up from our delicious, healthy, local scores:

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I made homemade sesame seed buns to go with the turkey sliders I made into patties, along with yummy skin-on baby red potato salad and cilantro pickles that weren't so bad, but not nearly as good as the dill pickles I made the following week!

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These silicone cupcake holders are so convenient, and they cut back on waste, which I love! I used them recently to make all kinds of tasty pumpkin and various fruit muffins.

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Rob's decided, again, to join me in not eating meat that rainforests are destroyed to bring to us carnivorous Americans, but we had to use up the beef and pork in the deep freezer first. He made these barbecued ribs for himself and Jack last week.

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Okay, so I didn't make these VEEV VitaFrute margaritas, but they are organic, so they'll do for this post! I got "perked" on Klout to try these out, and whoo! They are good but extremely strong. Couldn't drive for the rest of the day, for sure!

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I had all kindsa plans for the fruits and veggies from the roadside stand, but Chloë saw it all in front of her and declared she wanted to make a salad. Well, who was I to stop her? I did try to convince her to squeeze some lemon juice on it so it wouldn't brown, but she was bound and determined to eat it all before that happened. You and I both know that the next day, there was plenty left, and it had all turned so brown that no one would eat it. Big bummer. :\

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I served up this oatmeal, apple and I-forget-what crisp with vanilla ice cream to Rob the night I made it. Heh, I couldn't find the ice cream scooper, so I had to melonball the ice cream. Silliness.

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All the organic eggs from the chickens at the produce stand gave us humongous double-yolk eggs, so they were worth the price I paid for them. This week, they're chintzy in comparison, so I'm a little disappointed to have paid the same amount. Not terribly so, though, because they're still quite yummish - and I know who laid them!

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I meant to make clams with linguini, but what I really ended up with was mussels and angel hair spaghetti. Oh well, close enough!

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I was inspired by a recent issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine to make some rustic, artisanal pizzas, including this heart-shaped one with fresh mozzarella. It was definitely a winner, so I've got more dough rising for another round as we 'speak'!

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Another of the artisan pizzas used zucchini, red onions, garlic and cilantro - all locally sourced. I loved it, but it was a bit dry, so I dipped it in an olive oil and marinara mixture to make it go down more easily. Mmmm!

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The third pizza of that batch was for dessert, and Rob really liked it. I used fresh slices of lemon, along with minced dried apricots atop a pineapple base. Really good.

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Chloë and I picked up all the ingredients for these shrimp egg rolls, but I messed up a little bit. I forgot the water chestnuts entirely! I burned the oil and therefore one batch of the rolls! And I did not enjoy the shrimp in them. Oh, and I pureed the carrots and bean sprouts together, which turned them into what my dad would call "La Mush." Next time, I'll know better what to do. Egads.

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Tuesday night's dinner was helped along by a food delivery from Hello Fresh and turned out to be superb: Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad with Avocado... only, my pouch rejected the quinoa, and I couldn't eat but a few measly bites. Darn!

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Sophia helped me make this delicious Creme Brûlée, topped with blackberries, for dessert. I couldn't find my ramekins, so we had to run to Goodwill and spend $2 on "new" ones. Guess I better make it a few more times to get my money's worth, huh? If the kids get their way, I will - soon.

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.

 


Friday Fragments, Version 10.25.13

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Mrs. 4444, keeper of the fragments, would love for you to link up here with the rest of us!
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We finally got around to doing our Banana greenhouse project from DuneCraft, which we redeemed for in August or September from our Labels For Education account. (We homeschool, so our school can benefit from this wonderful program. Not so Boxtops For Education, boo...)
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It was a really cool project, because not only did it involve the science aspect of planting our li'l terrarium, but the instructions included lots of information about the history of bananas. We needed to do math to set things up properly, and everyone read a bit aloud from the paper, too, to make for a Language Arts inclusion. We learned a lot from just the planting, and there are still many more lessons to learn before we're finished. We enjoyed it so well, I would love to get more DuneCraft projects for us to do!
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My friend Saritah posted a recipe for a pumpkin roll on Facebook yesterday, and it looked really good, but I didn't keep the link. (Besides, sharing recipes on social media sites is usually wrong, so I did that on purpose.) I couldn't get it out of my head, though, so I finally did an Internet search for a similar recipe and found one that required ingredients I already had in the house.
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Oh, my gosh, y'all. This cake was so delicious, I woke up early this morning and ate the second half that we didn't finish last night all by myself. Which was quite piggy, I know, but damn! Everyone else lamented it so much that I have second one chilling in the icebox right this second. You've gotta try it!
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And finally, I am a big lover of my Crockpot when there's no time for dinner. Now, I can't claim not to have time lately, but I can promise you I often forget to stop doing school long enough to make dinner! I had Rob pull out a package of pork chops the other day, and last night, I threw it into the Crock after looking up yet another recipe.
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Since I don't eat most meat, and definitely not any four-legged creatures, I can't test many of my own dishes. Apparently, though, this recipe was a huge hit. In fact, Rob kept sneaking pork chops out of the fridge all day today - and Sophia asked for a second helping at dinner! (She's not a meat lover.) Thankfully, it was a ten-pack, and I'd doubled the recipe. 
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Around six or seven Thursday evening, tummies started rumbling, so I was grateful to have that part of dinner already done. I just warmed it back up in the oven and quickly fixed up a box of cornbread stuffing and some Green Giant green beans with almonds. Dinner was ready in seconds! This isn't an advertisement for anything; I'm just so glad it only took five minutes to pull together our dinner.
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Tomorrow, I'll have a chicken breast recipe in the Crockpot. I haven't chosen it yet; any suggestions?
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Welp, that's all I've got for today. Time to go serve up that second pumpkin roll! Okay, okay, it'll be good tomorrow, though. ;)
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Fin.