Entries categorized "Book It" Feed

Saturday 9: Just Because

Elvis Presley: A First-Time Listener's Guide | Billboard – Billboard

Howdy-ho, neighbors! This weekend's post focuses on this song, Just Because, by Elvis Presley.  This is significant to me because I grew up with a dad who absolutely idolized the man (and, I'm sure, still does) and could do a mean impression of him as well. My dad could sing well, could do the moves, and even had some of the requisite attire to make the whole thing convincing. Of course, I've heard every Elvis song ever, 50,000 times over, backward and forward... right?

I had not ever heard this song before.

So, my friends, link up here if you want to join us this weekend. Read on for my answers. Thank you, Crazy Sam, for dusting this one off for me (okay, us)! Let's hit it:

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: Just Because (1956)

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

1) In this week's song, Elvis complains that his girl has confused him with Santa Claus. This time of year, Santa is prominent. Did you more recently hear Santa referred to in a song, see him in a holiday decoration or ad, watch him in a film or TV show, or maybe even met him in person, ringing a bell or asking kids if they have been naughty or nice?

Christmas Carols for Children | Christmas songs for kids, Christmas carols  for kids, Xmas songs

Yes, we've been listening to a lot of Christmas carols lately as we work through the activities in our Advent calendar. Santa features prominently in these, of course.

2) Finally Elvis just can't take it anymore and breaks up with her, just because. Is there anyone in your life who has a way of pressing your buttons and getting on your nerves?

That's probably true for everyone, I'm guessing.

3) "Just Because" is one of the last songs Elvis recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis. TripAdvisor recommends a Sun Studio tour as one of the top things to do in Memphis. Have you ever been to Memphis? If yes, what did you do?

15 TOP Things To Do in Memphis | Attractions & Activities

I've only ever driven through Memphis, and also Nashville, and also half a dozen times Chattanooga. I have stayed in Gatlinburg. Memphis would be an interesting trip, though.

4) Elvis left Sun for RCA, a much bigger record label. As part of the deal, RCA negotiated for the rights to all his unreleased Sun songs. "Just Because" is one of them, and it was included on Elvis' first RCA album. Have you gotten a good deal on anything lately?

Best Buy: SodaStream Fizzi Sparkling Water Maker Kit Icy Blue 1011711017

I get a good deal on just about everything. Like the SodaStream I got for Chloë for Christmas, I paid nowhere near full price, nor did I pay full price for the flavors for it, nor will I ever! And she'll be so thrilled to have it, so win-win!

5) In 1956, when "Just Because" was released, non-stick cookware was first introduced. Do you have any Teflon in your kitchen right now?

Shock Images | Free Vectors, Stock Photos & PSD

No way in hell!

6) Elvis thought peacocks were beautiful and commissioned stained glass peacock panels for his living room. Do you have any stained glass in your home?

The Most Beautiful Stained Glass in the World | Condé Nast Traveler

No, but I certainly do wish! It's so beautiful.

7) He tried to keep peacocks at Graceland. One of the birds saw its reflection in Elvis' gold Cadillac and started pecking, ruining the car's expensive paint job. Elvis donated the peacocks to the Memphis Zoo. Have you ever had a bird as a pet?

Well not exactly pets, but we used to keep chickens when we lived in Idaho for the eggs, and the five of us each had "our" specific chickens that we felt we belonged to and were particularly attached to. I loved those chickens. Here, we're not allowed to have any because of our HOA rules, even though the town would allow three, which makes me want to be a scofflaw and keep ducks. They don't say anything about ducks.

8) Elvis decorated the long Graceland driveway for the holidays with blue lights. His father teased that with the airport nearby, pilots might confuse their driveway with a runway. What airport is nearest your home?

I believe the nearest major airport is Baltimore International, although we have tons of regional ones between there and here.

9) When Elvis was alive, he kept the holiday lights up until January 9, the day after his birthday. That tradition continues at Graceland today. Conventional etiquette tells us Christmas decorations should go up the day after Thanksgiving and come down before January 6 (the 12th day of Christmas). Do you think it's ever too early, or too late, for Christmas decorations?

Holiday Light Displays | VisitMaryland.org

Well, for stores and other commercial enterprises, yeah, I kinda think there is a limit for too-early/too-late. But for private families and people, I think, who gives a rat's behind? Let people do what makes them happy! So what if Joe Schmoe at the end of the block likes to keep his lights up until the end of March and put them up again after Halloween? What's it to me? I don't pay his light bill and it's honestly kind of pretty. I'm of more of a laissez-faire kind of mind about that for private citizens.

~*~*~*~*~

Welp, that's all folks! Back to wrapping presents with Chloë, my eldest! Seems like the job will never be done, but that's not a complaint! I'm grateful for the abundance, always grateful.

Have a wonderful week on purpose, everybody!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Potential New Boyfriend

Dolly Parton Then and Now: See the Country Singer's Transformation

Howdy, friends! Today, we've got a Dolly (do we really need last names?) Parton song for ya, and I can tell you, I've loved her since I was a fetus. So over 46 years. I think Dolly-Kenny Rogers-Willie Nelson as a trio came into my consciousness together at a very young age. But I was always very transfixed by Dolly, so I'm thrilled to see the focus on her this week. I don't know this week's song, though, so I've got to take a listen! How 'bout you - do you know it?

Make sure you link up here if you're playing along this week! Now I'm way behind, so let's jump right in:

~*~*~*~*~

Dolly Parton – Potential New Boyfriend Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

Saturday 9: Potential New Boyfriend (1983)

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

1) The lyrics tell us Dolly Parton has spotted a fella who twisted her ignition key and turned her motor on. That was in 1983. Keys are less common today, since many cars are equipped with with push button ignitions and more doors now open for those who know the key pad code or have the right swipe card. What's the last thing you used a key to start or unlock?
 
Oh gosh, I haven't used a real key in nearly four years. Here at the house for year we've lived in it, the door has the keypad, and my car is a push button starter. For the year we lived in hotels, of course, there was a key card entry - that is, when I couldn't just open our room door with my phone app. And for the year+ we lived in our Idaho house, I just had to tap on the garage door opener and drive in. No key necessary there, either. So it must have Boise, and then, I tell you what, I could not pinpoint an actual day. Hehe.
 
2) Her potential new boyfriend bought her a drink and she thanked him real sweet. Have you more recently said "thank you," or been thanked yourself?
 
How Dannon Made Yogurt Mainstream in America After Starting as a Staple for  Immigrants
 
I've more recently said, "thank you," which was probably to Hubs for bringing me a yogurt in bed. Or giving me the day's ration of meds (it's a lot!), or tapping up the heat, or any number of ways he's helped me in the last 10 minutes alone.
 
3) This is Dolly's first music video. "Potential New Boyfriend" was a top 20 country hit and made #13 Billboard's Dance chart, yet it's not well remembered today. Share a song from one of your favorite artists that the rest of us Sat 9-ers might not know.
 
Let's Go All the Way by Sly Fox (Music video): Reviews, Ratings, Credits,  Song list - Rate Your Music
 
I don't know about being one of my favorite artists, but this is one of my favorite one-hit wonders to come out of the '80s: "Let's Go All The Way" by Sly Fox. I've always loved the video for it as much as the song, too.
 
4) This is not Dolly's first song about a romantic rival. Her hit "Jolene" was inspired by a bank teller who regularly flirted with Dolly's real (not potential!) husband, Carl Dean. Have you recently fallen victim to the green-eyed monster of jealousy? If yes, what were you jealous of (someone's affections, possessions, success ...)?
 
Admittedly, yes. Someone I know seems to have the wealth enough to be constantly traveling both across the country and out of it, and the good health to do so. I'm happy to live vicariously through other peoples' adventures to a point, but then I get insanely restless!
 
5) Dolly enjoys telling interviewers she met Carl at the Wishy-Washy Laundromat in Nashville. Do you have a hamperful of dirty clothes awaiting you? Or are you all caught up with that particular household chore?
 
When I was living alone, I was always caught up on laundry. When it was just my husband me, and I had to walk, pregnant, about a mile each way to the nearest laundromat, I was always caught up on laundry. When we were in a house, and baby Chloë had joined us, I was always caught up. When Jack joined us, always caught up. Then we had our last baby, and everything went to hell in a handbasket. Laundry hasn't ever been caught up since!
 
6) Dolly Parton's Imagination Library makes free books available to children. It was begun in 1995, and by 2020, her charity had distributed 150,000,000 books! When you were a very young reader, what was your favorite book?
 
Characters — Richard Scarry
 
I'm not sure which book, or if it was just all his books that we had, but I've always loved the works by Richard Scarry. I loved how colorful and busy they are - I'm a dedicated and devout maximalist - and that there was all ways plenty to seek out and find. They were interesting, they were funny, and they kept being so after one read, after two, maybe after even five reads. I was a big fan as a little girl!
 
7) Andy Warhol was fascinated by Dolly. When he asked her what her perfect meal would include, she responded it would have to start with chicken and dumpling soup. How would you have answered Andy? What's your perfect dinner menu?
 
Gourmet Veggie and Ricotta Cheese Pizza - Beautiful Eats & Things
 
Well, of course, my perfect meal would have to include some kind of amazing pizza - NO meat on mine, please - and I'd love both a creative and delicious appetizer and dessert to share with my beloved. If you want to throw in a lime sherbet pallette cleanser and/or something for an Amuse-Bouche, I mean, that's okay, too!
 
8) Thinking of chicken ... In 1983, when this song was popular, McDonald's introduced McNuggets. Today, it's one of McDonald's most popular menu items. Are you a fan?
 
No. I sometimes have eaten nuggets over the years when I'm starving, my spoons are low, my protein is low, it's there, it's quick, it's cheap, etc. But in the last year or so, I've noticed the McNuggets (at least around here) have changed. Maybe it's the oil they use, but the taste and texture are so drastically different that it makes it not worth stepping over that vegetarian/omnivore line for me anymore.
 
9) Random question: Would you rather visit a desert or a jungle?

Where Is the Largest Jungle? | Wonderopolis

I would much rather go to the jungle. I'd rather die in the jungle than the desert, if that's the question of the day, too. So much lush, tropical foliage; more diverse species both plant an animal; always warm... that's pretty much my heaven on earth right there.

~*~*~*~*~

That was a fun one! Now I've got to check with Eldest Child to see if any of the little kiddo books we've amassed so far for her future progeny are Richard Scarry books. If not, time to add to the... amassment!

Y'all have a beautiful weekend!

fin.


Saturday 9: No Roots

Stream Alice Merton - No Roots (Vivid & OneBrotherGrimm Rework) FREE  DOWNLOAD by Vivid & OneBrotherGrimm | Listen online for free on SoundCloud

Hey everyone! I'm just back from a whirlwind 3-day trip to Philadelphia with my birthday sorta-twin, my eldest kiddo, Chloë. She turned 21, so yes, there was alcohol. She wanted more cocktails, but that will come in due time, I'm quite sure. Meanwhile, she's 4'9", so I gave her plenty of information on how to make sure she stayed safe while drinking!

I love this week's song and have since it came out. Perhaps because I identify, perhaps the beat, perhaps Merton's voice alone? Maybe everything. I think everything. Link up here if you're joining us today!

~*~*~*~*~

No Roots (2017)

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

1) This song is about a woman who has moved a lot and is always packing boxes. Do you have packing materials (boxes, bubble wrap, packing tape, etc.) in your home right now? Do you have them on hand to ship things, or are you preparing for a move?

Revolving Doors Cartoons and Comics - funny pictures from CartoonStock

Yes to all of that: boxes, bubble wrap, and packing tape (bonus points for wadded-up newspaper?). Also yes to ship things, but mainly these items were from a move. No, moves. Probably at least three: Virginia to Florida, Florida to Idaho, Idaho to Maryland. There will be NO more moves.

2) She sings that she moves from place to place, collecting memories. Would you rather travel light and travel often, or put down roots?

YES.

3) She can recall all the gates and house numbers of all the places she's lived. Does your current residence have a fence and gate? Did your previous one?

Dude! Gnarliest picket fence ever! - Los Angeles Times

The previous one did; the current one does not - yet. It was just built; finishing touches were still being put on it as we completed our final walk-through before moving in as the ink dried a year ago. Can we put in one like this, honey?? ("No." - HOA)

4) This week's artist, Alice Merton, moved often as a child as her father's job took the family from Germany to the US to Canada to England back to Germany ... She wrote this song to help her deal with feelings of loneliness and longing. When you're feeling overwhelmed, how do you work through the feelings?

15 Meme's Military Spouses Relate to - Martinsburg College

They must've been Army. Relatable. We're Navy (were?). 

Feelings. Well, I had a horribly traumatic upbringing with no healthy outlet for feelings, so I have severe mental illnesses (medicated well) like Bipolar 1 Disorder and C-PTSD, etc, and will be in therapy for the rest of my life. Inwardly I cry a lot, so I'd say that's how I work through my feelings, but my meds prevent the crying. So I try to use humor as much as possible. I write, I talk and tell funny stories and try to pester my people as little - or maybe as much - as possible with them, and...  I'll be in therapy for probably the rest of my life.

I hope for a better outcome for my kids, but I also know bipolar disorder can be heritable and that trauma can change one's DNA.

5) Alice is still on the move. Soon she'll be performing throughout Europe. Have you ever had a job that required you to travel? If yes, did you enjoy it?

100+ Hilarious Road Trip Memes & Cartoons - Truth About Family Travel

Yes, I did. I mystery shopped my way from hotel to hotel, resort to resort, high-end restaurant to high-end restaurant (and everywhere in between), in multiple states, back when the kids were much younger. It's tricky navigating that sort of job with three littles, pets, and a husband who usually who has to stay at home, but I did it and was really sought after until I got sick. I love traveling, whether by car, ship, or plane, so I think handling the kid end of things was easier on me.

6) "No Roots" is a favorite of Kelly Clarkson's, who has performed it on tour and on TV. When you think of Kelly, is at as a singer, a judge on The Voice, or as a talk show host?

Kelly Clarkson Through the Years: The Superstar's Life in Photos

I think of her - and love her! - in that order. I watched her win that first American Idol, so it seems natural that way.

7) In 2017, when this song was popular, Faye Dunaway made Oscar history by announcing the wrong winner for the biggest award of the night, Best Picture. It wasn't her fault as she was given the wrong envelope, but she's one who made the on-screen flub seen around the world. Have you recently had an embarrassing moment?

Wait a minute, how come I never heard about that, but I heard plenty about that time a similar thing happened to Steve Harvey, and that was just a beauty pageant? Sketchy.

Anyway.

No description available.

This was me in our hotel in Philly. It's called the Ritz-Carlton, you know it? Well, because of my illness, I usually take baths and not showers. I have issues with balance and fatigue among other things, so it's better for me to do that stuff sort of lying down. Well, my hair is freshly colored, and this brand tends to wash out and wash out until it's just time to dye it again. So I have to take a bath. In that. Which isn't great, but there it is. And then the tub. won't. drain. And we had to have an engineer come to the room and fix the now-pink bathtub. And because of my autoimmune/thyroid issues, I lose a lot of pink hair, too, so how much was in the drain? I don't even know. That wasn't the reason that it wouldn't drain, though, because Chloë and I tried to drain some multiple times before I even got in (it was too hot). Cringe!

8) Wonder Woman was 2017's most popular movie. She was originally introduced in a 1941 DC comic book. Comic books remain a big business. Have you ever been to a comic book store?

Big Bang Theory' Locks Up Kevin Sussman for Season 6 – The Hollywood  Reporter

I actually have not, except as, y'know, transported there in shows such as The Big Bang Theory and other such gems we all ate up over the years. I should, if only because my oldest and youngest are both into manga, but I get most of what I buy for them on the used online book store, Thriftbooks. Check it out, you won't be disappointed. Everything is always in much better condition than I'd even hoped.

9) Random question: Is your skin itchy this morning?

Do animals laugh? | HowStuffWorks

My, that is random, Crazy Sam! No, it's not, but I'll be sure and report back if that status changes!

~*~*~*~*~

Take care and have a lovely Saturday on purpose, y'all!

Fin.Phil


Saturday 9: Give A Little Love

Naomi Judd Dead at 76 of Mental Illness | PEOPLE.com

Hello, friends. Well, a sad week is upon us S-9ers, that's for sure. I bet I'm not the only one who could say I grew up with the Judds on the TV now and then. RIP, Naomi.

I've battled this same demon for years and years myself, and so far, I've won every battle. Fingers are crossed I'll win every single one to come, and if any of you are along in the same boat, you'll win yours, too.

If you need help:

NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE: 800.273.8255

or text "STRENGTH" TO 741-741

or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org 

Let's do this. Link up here if you're yakking along with us this week:

    ~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: Give a Little Love (1988)

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

In memory of Naomi Judd (1946-2022)

1) In this week's song, the Judds tell us they aren't impressed by diamonds or foreign travel. If you had your choice, would you prefer a $1,500 diamond pendant or a $1,500 voucher from United Airlines?
 

 

Ten times out of ten, I'd rather go somewhere.
 
2) In the video for this song, the Judds are shown having fun on the beach. Do you have any trips to the beach planned for the upcoming summer months?
 
Toes in the Sand - Cocoa Beach, FL - Picture of Courtyard by Marriott Cocoa  Beach Cape Canaveral - Tripadvisor
 
Most definitely! We only live about 30-40 min from the ocean, so I've been biding my time for the RIGHT time. Sophia (our youngest)  wanted to take me there for her Mother's Day gift to me, but it ended up being cold & rainy, like it was for a whille before then, like it's been ever since... But as soon as the day is right, That's what we'll be doing!
 
3) Early in their career, this mother-daughter duo performed in clubs venues around San Francisco, where they called themselves The Hillbilly Women. Have you recently been to a bar or restaurant with live music?
 
Nah. We did a LOT of that in Miami, I think lastly in Key Largo, but none of that in Idaho and none yet here in Maryland. I hope to. But we left Florida in March 2017, so it would be at least 5 years since we listened to live music.
 
4) They moved to Nashville in 1979 in search of greater success. During the three years it took them to score a record contract, Naomi supported the family as a part-time nurse and occasional model. She enjoyed the flexibility so her schedule could accommodate auditions. Do you like having a pre-planned schedule? Or would you rather keep things loose?
 
Squiggle Box File | Blue Bowl
 
Okay, bear with me on this journey for just a moment. In 7th grade, my English teacher was Mrs. Trainham. And one day, Mrs. Trainham explained that some people were very much like a box in their thinking. In the box, always. They were boxy folks. Others people might be squiggles. Like, you could never pin down, never predict where they might be - maybe even while asking them, such out of the box thinkers they were. And then Mrs. Trainham explained we also can have boxy squiggles and squiggly boxes. I literally have spent my entire adulthood-plus going back and forth on which of those last two I am.
 
So anyway, for some things, for me, pre-planned is absolutely the way to go. But for many others, I love being unscheduled and having the freedom to do what I want. It's perfect... or it would be, if only I had the good health to take advantage of it.
 
5) Wynona sang the Elvis classic "Burning Love" in 2002 Disney movie Lilo and Stitch. What's the most recent Disney movie you've seen?
 
Turning Red': Pixar's taboo-busting period film leaves some men complaining  about representation | Culture | EL PAÍS English Edition
 
Chloë, Hubs, and I watched Turning Red most recently. I want to watch it with Sophia now.
 
6) In 2011, Wynona wrote her first novel, Restless Heart, about a country singer struggling with the price of fame. Have you ever tried your hand at writing fiction?
 
It's funny, I much prefer to read fiction over nonfiction, but I almost always write nonfiction.
 
7) Kid sister Ashley Judd is the only woman in her immediate family to not change her first name. Naomi was born Diana, and Wynona was originally Christina. Do you like your first name?
Glitter Text graphic | Glitter graphics, Glitter text, Melanie
 
I did not, growing up. But as an adult, I have definitely come to love my name. I still don't like my middle name, Ann!
 
8) In 1988, the year this song was popular, Sonny Bono went from entertainer to politician when he was elected Mayor of Palm Springs. Have you met the mayor of your town?
 
 
Pffft. His name is Jake Day of Salisbury, Maryland, and no, I have never met him nor any other mayor of any place I've lived. Should I add it to my Bucket List?
 
9) Random question: Were you a member of the Columbia House Record Club?

Columbia House is back and so is vinyl

Oh, you know I was - at least twice over! So funny. I haven't thought about that in years!

~*~*~*~*~

Have you guys watched "Bling Empire" on Netflix? I'm watching it now - it's great! Totally binge-worthy. Check it out.

Fin.


Saturday 9: Vision Of Love

Vision of Love | Mariah Carey Wiki | Fandom

Hey, friends.  I hope you are doing well. We're in something like our 9th week of hotel-living, and I can tell you, we are so over it!!!

But, the sale of our Idaho house is going well, and we should be closing at the end of the month. I'm thrilled it was picked up so quickly. Now, I just hope we can find a new one here in Maryland (or possibly Delaware) at such a great pace!

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

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: Vision of Love (1990)

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

1) The lyrics refer to "sweet destiny." Do you believe in destiny?

IS TRUE LOVE FATE? – Katie L Lindley
 
I don't really know what I believe there. But like this meme here, I tend to think it's some parts chance and some parts making intentional moves.
 
2) This week's artist, Mariah Carey, has something to fall back on. She studied cosmetology and worked as a hair sweeper in a salon. When you get your hair cut, do you socialize with the stylist?
 
10172020 Stacey Purple Hair
At first, as little as possible. I have to be comfortable with someone before I can get chatty; I'm an extroverted introvert. When my sister gets ahold of my hair (she's a stylist in New York; that's her up there in the purple), then of course it's a non-stop chatterfest.
 
3) She isn't likely to turn to cosmetology any time soon. Mariah is currently on the best seller list with her autobiography, The Meaning of Mariah Carey. Was the last book you finished fiction or non-fiction?
 
White Fragility”: Robin DiAngelo answers our questions
 
I've got White Fragility still in my laptop bag, and a few others I really need to get started on.
 
4) So far, more than 800 people have reviewed Mariah's book on Amazon. Do you review products/services online?
 
11 Hilarious and Funniest Yelp Reviews - Vendasta
 
I really don't do that many reviews, and when I do, I find I usually do write more negative ones - the really negative experiences - than positive ones. So I've been working on changing that. I don't know how often I'll get to the middle-of-the-road reviews, though!

5) When she was a high school student, she was nicknamed "Mirage" because she skipped class so often. Did you ever play hooky?
 
The Roosevelt Review | Unreliable People
School and work? Almost never, if not never. I never played "hooky" unless being too sick to go counted. But now that I'm sick, I'm completely unreliable. And I hate it.

6) Mariah doesn't apologize for spoiling her dogs, who have been known to travel by limo. Do you know anyone who treats their pets like people?
 
10012020 Pepper
Oh, yeah. Like, my 19-year-old daughter treats her cat here, Pepper, like her son. He's her absolute baby. She lives for that boy!

7) In 1990, the year this song was popular, Martina Navratilova won the Wimbledon Women's Singles Tournament. How's your tennis game?
 
Poor Depth Perception - TE Koza Optom
 
I liked playing, but I was never very good. I've got poor depth perception. Pretty important for tennis!

8) Also in 1990, Pope John Paul II toured Mexico. Have you ever visited our neighbor south of the border?
 
6 Unlocked Things To Do in Cozumel - This is Cozumel
 
Yes. Twice. The first, time, I was on a cruise, and my grandfather took me aside when we were in Cozumel. I don't remember anything about the location (other than that it was beautiful), because he took me to a pharmacy or two to get cheap drugs. Heh. I was a poor, struggling graduate student then, and Grandpa knew I had no health insurance but needed a lot of  meds. He'd learned that you could get them cheap in Mexico, and so he bought me a year's supply. (He seriously was the greatest.)
 
The second time, Hubs and I were on a retreat to somewhere, shortly after his brain surgery. We had a lot of semi-relaxed fun, drank a lot, and enjoyed each other's company. I know we were in Mexico, but I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the resort or the region!

9) Random question(s): There are Gofundme campaigns for many purposes. Have you ever solicited funds online? Would you?

Keeping Your Mouth Shut | Tricia's Ball of Yarn & Scott Family

Yes. For my kid's art supplies for a great class she was taking, of the Masters. (Hat tip to Sam.) Otherwise... it hasn't always gone well. I'm out of that game.

~*~*~*~*~

Hope you all have a pretty decent weekend! I'm hoping we get to look at a couple houses and maybe take a day trip somewhere. Where will the road take you...?

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: 15 Questions Más

Father's Day 2020: History, significance and celebrations - more ...

Welcome back! Look who's being a team player and coming back two whole days in a row? You're welcome, you're welcome. Shucks.

Mr. winky face - Home

1 If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes who would it be and why?

Jen Aniston dons thigh-high leather boots and NO pants in sexy new ...

Hmm. Maybe Jennifer Aniston? I don't know. I mean, look at her - rockin' body, gorgeous otherwise, rich and famous, influential, talented... what's not to love? (But she doesn't have a two decade-long marriage and a passel of amazing kids, so in the end I'd rather be me!)

2 Which celebrity gets on your nerves the most, and why?

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West Are Having Issues Quarantining Together

Easily these two. Do I really need to explain that?

3 If you were going to bury a time capsule, what would you put in it?

Replacing what was forgotten: Time capsule sealed Monday inside ...

Today's newspaper, a letter to my future self, artifacts that represent me and that represent our Idaho town, and pictures of all of us including our pets.

4 What is your saddest memory?

What is Bereavement? Plus Links to Help and Advice

It's a tie between being a bereaved child when my mama died, and a bereaved mum when my son died.

5 Would you rather be in your pajamas or a suit all day?

15 Funny Swimsuits For Women In 2020

You didn't say what kind of suit!

6 What’s the strangest place you’ve ever gone potty?

A Day Trip to Dry Tortugas National Park - Opal Unpacked

On those reefs somewhere, around the Dry Tortugas, I was doing a reef study when I suddenly got hit with a violently upset stomach. I was snorkling at the time. Ugh.

7 How old were you went you had your first kiss?

Celebs Who Had Their First Kiss On-Screen - PureWow

Five. Back of the school bus. His name was Matthew Buffalo.

8 Do you have any strange or unique phobias?

Mustard | Taste Test | Serious Eats

Mustard. It's so scary.

9 If you could bring back one toy from your childhood, what would it be?

Amazon.com: Basic Fun Pound Puppies Classic Stuffed Animal Plush ...

I loved my Pound Puppies!!

10 If you could be any Disney villain, which would you be?

Ursula (The Little Mermaid) - Wikipedia

I'd be Ursula from Little Mermaid. At least she got to live in the sea!

11 If your life was a novel, what would the title be?#

Auditing Work In Progress | SD Mayer

Actually, it is a work in progress - I have the first chapter done! But I'm not yet ready to divulge the name.

12 What do you need more of in your life?

hot air balloons on the ocean | Hot Air Balloons Ocean Sunset ...

Adventure!

13 What are your top 3 quotes?

When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel... - StatusMind.com

Abraham Lincoln Quote: “Whatever you are, be a good one.” (23 ...

33 Abraham Lincoln Quotes That Still Ring True Today

I'm a big fan of Abe Lincoln.

4 What do you want people to remember about you?

Always Care With All My Heart

I'm an empath. I care and care and care some more.

15 What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made?

Take your power back. | Quotes, Quotes to live by, Words

I gave away far too much of my power for far too many years. Now I am learning that it's okay for me to take it back.

~*~*~*~*~

♥ Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there! I've gotta spend some time lovin' on the one who made me a mom! ♥

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Keeping The Conversation Going

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

Hey there, hi there, ho there!

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

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

~*~*~*~*~

Stolen from Two Drifters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speech: Donald Trump wins 2016 presidential election - YouTube

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

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

Boom (2009) - IMDb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bimini Scuba Center | Hammerhead Shark Diving

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

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

Meditation | Wall Street International Magazine

Inner Peace

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

_DSC0639

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14) What is the glue that keeps couples together?

50 Relationship Quotes to Strengthen Your Relationship - TheLoveBits

Communication is absolute key.

15) What was your first crush?

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

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

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

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

They did not. Ever.

17) What is your greatest achievement?

Squalor Holler: Strong at the broken places

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

18) Were you close to your parents growing up?

First Church of Christ, Scientist, Englewood, Florida

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

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

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

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

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

Linux - Wikipedia

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

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

Fin.


Saturday 9: Battle Hymn Of The Republic

T.V. Variety Shows (Judy Garland)

Hey, guys. Welcome back! I hope you're all still healthy and semi-sane, at least. What more could you hope for?

I'm currently engrossed in the Netflix documentary "I Am A Killer," which has had me transfixed for several nights in a row, now. Have y'all seen it?

Link up here if you want to play along this week!

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: Battle Hymn of the Republic (1963)

Unfamiliar with Judy Garland's rendition of this week's tune? Hear it here.

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

1) On May 30, 1868, President Grant presided over the Memorial Day observance at Arlington National Cemetery. Have you ever visited Arlington Cemetery?

11202004 Arlington Tomb of the Unknown

Yes. We went in November of 2004, when I was pregnant with our youngest child. It was a moving experience through and through.

2) On Memorial Day, it is customary to fly the flag at half-staff until noon and then raise it to the top of the staff until sunset. Will you be flying the flag at your home this weekend?

Gov. DeWine orders half-staff flags after Virginia Beach shooting

Probably. My husband was in the Honor Guard in the Navy, and that is totally his domain. I defer to him.

3) Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, because flowers and ribbons were left on graves of soldiers.  Do you find solace in visiting cemeteries?

George Washington Memorial Park in Paramus, New Jersey - Find A ...

I don't, really. I feel deeply about death, and seeing and reading about all the names and dates of the folks buried there whom I haven't even met, alone, sometimes breaks me. This picture, here, is of George Washington Memorial Park in Paramus, New Jersey. My mother and grandparents are buried there. I started visiting my mother there in 1984, when I was seven years old. It was definitely not a moment of solace.

4) The lyrics to this week's song were written by Julia Ward Howe in 1861. Her inspiration was a White House visit with Abraham Lincoln. In 2020, under normal circumstances, public tours of the White House are available but you must request your ticket in advance from your Member of Congress (House or Senate). When you travel, do you plan your trip weeks before you go? Or do you decide how your days will unfold once you reach your destination?

Planned Spontaneity: Twitter's New Advertising Program

I'm definitely a whole lotta both!

5) Judy Garland performed this week's song before a live audience as a tribute to President Kennedy, who had been assassinated just weeks before. She knew Kennedy personally and considered this a farewell to a friend. While the performance was difficult for her -- at one point she flubs the lyrics -- she believed it was important, and could perhaps help the country heal. Tell us about a song that reminds you of someone you loved who is no longer with us.

This Josh Groban album came out in 2002 or so, before we moved to Guam or maybe while we were there, and I'm a big fan. So I played it a lot while I drove Chloë and me around the island to various errands and appointments, as my belly grew bigger and bigger with the twins. I continued playing it in Virginia when we had to move back. And then I had - and lost - one of the twins, and I was hospitalized along with them for a while. When I got out, I wanted to play it, but I couldn't. I was in grief therapy, which helped a great deal. But man... when I finally played this song again, I realized just how much I could cry during one song.

6) John F. Kennedy served in WWII and was awarded a Navy and Marine Corps medal and a Purple Heart. His brother Joe also served and was awarded the Navy Cross, but he received his citation posthumously, having died during a flying mission over East Suffolk, England. Here at Saturday 9, we consider everyone who serves a hero and want to hear about the veterans and active military members in your life.

  091976 Rob and Al

My grandfather served in the Navy in WWII. Pictured here are my father-in-law and my husband in September 1976 - around when I was being born, incidentally. Rob's dad was a submariner in the Navy, and of course Rob did a full career in the Navy.

7) Memorial Day is considered the beginning of the summer season. Will you be enjoying warm weather this weekend?

I mean, it'll be okay... But not my idea of warm!

8) Berries are especially popular in summer. Which is your favorite: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or raspberries?

Oh, I'm like our youngest kiddo, Sophia, in that I'm a sucker for a strawberry! (I'll forgive you for not recognizing my hand from June 2014.)

9) If you could attend a Memorial Day picnic with any fictional character, which would you choose?

Anne of Green Gables (@anneofgreengabl) | Twitter

Oh, I'd love to sit down with Anne Shirley (of Green Gables). And I've wanted to visit Prince Edward Island my entire life!

~*~*~*~*~

Well, I'mma head back into another episode of "I Am a Killer" on Netflix again. It draws me in! And email. Back in with the forever emails...

Ta-ta.

Fin.


Saturday 9: Always Remember Us This Way

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

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

And now:

~*~*~*~*~

Always Remember Us This Way (2018)

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

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

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

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

Three Bites of a Cherry: Malapropisms and Spoonerisms

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SmartyKat Skitter Critter Cat Toy Reviewed – PetCompared

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

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

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

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

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

♥ RIP, Allen B. Odette ♥

Fin.


Saturday 9: Everybody's Somebody's Fool

CONNIE FRANCIS IS NOT STUPID | Pocketmags.com

Hey, everyone. I hope you're doing fine amidst these crazy times. I'm concerned but alive. I'm back this week because Hubs brought all my office stuff - including desk and computer - into our bedroom so I can be more functional again. Yay!

Link up here to play this Connie Francis edition of S9 with the rest of us!

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: Everybody's Somebody's Fool (1960)


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

Note from Crazy Sam: None of this week's questions mention the coronavirus. However, if you want to share how you're feeling about Covid-19 at this extraordinary time, please feel free to do so.


1) Next Wednesday is April Fool's Day. Do you have any pranks planned? Do you expect to fall victim to any April Fool's Day mischief?
 
Image may contain: possible text that says 'April Fool's Day is cancelled this year as no made up prank could match the unbelievable shit happening in the real world right now.'
 
I have no idea about anything anymore!

2) When she was a kid, Crazy Sam would fool her mom by putting bubble wrap under the bath map so there would be a POP! when her mother stepped on it. When you encounter bubble wrap, do you always indulge in a pop or two?
 
Bubble Wrap Archives | Very Funny Pics
 
Oh yes. Absolute necessity.

3) While we're using this song to celebrate April Fool's Day, it was written about another subject entirely: heartbreak. The lyrics tell us that at some point, we each get our hearts broken by someone who doesn't love us as much as we love them. Do you think that's true?
 
15 Heartbroken Memes That Will Cheer You Up | SayingImages.com
 
Definitely. Well, I'm sure there a few outliers. Maybe two.

4) In 1962, this week's featured Connie Francis published a book aimed at teens called For Every Young Heart. It addressed topics like going steady and schoolwork vs. social life. Do you ever read advice columns or self-help books?

Imgur: The magic of the Internet

Sometimes, maybe on a very rare occasion

5) Connie Francis can play the accordion. Sam has never met anyone adept at this complicated instrument -- not even in her high school band. What about you? Do you play the accordion, or do you know anyone who can?

Memebase - accordion - All Your Memes In Our Base - Funny Memes ...

I don't, but y'know, I'm not sure if I know anyone who can or not. I have a lot of amazing friends with hidden talents!

6) In 1960, when this record was popular, Harper Lee's classic To Kill a Mockingbird was published. Have you read it?

102.7 KIIS FM on Twitter: "#RIP 'To Kill A Mockingbird' Author ...

Yes, I have read it two or three times and own at least one copy of the book.

7) Also in 1960, one of Life magazine's best-selling issues had Sophia Loren on the cover. At that time, she was an international film star and considered one of the world's most beautiful women. Who do you consider one of 2020's most beautiful women?

Jessica Biel Photos Photos: Sneak Preview Of "The Illusionist ...

I've always thought Jessica Biel was ridiculously stunning.

8) A 1960 issue of Vogue acknowledged how expensive it had become to maintain a fashionable wardrobe and asked, "If you were to buy only one thing, what would it be?" If it's good enough for Vogue, it's good enough for Saturday 9: If you could purchase only one new article of clothing for spring 2020, what would you buy?

10 best women's plus size jumpsuits 2019

I'd really like to get a cute jumpsuit.

9) Random question: When someone makes you really angry, are you more likely to respond with stony silence or a big noise?

Pin by Nicole Rounds on Funny | Retro humor, Vintage humor ...

I'm really good at both, but since my natural position is to Never. Shut. Up., it's more like the latter.

~*~*~*~*~

Well, y'all stay safe. I hope you're able to hunker down inside your homes as much as possible and avoid COVID-19. Personally, I am extremely vulnerable, as I have a nonexistent immune system, so I'm doing the best I can never to leave my house. Can't say it's much of a change for me!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: The Winter Questionnaire

Hey, folks! Welcome back. I'm on my husband's piece of crap Toughbook laptop with the missing "p" key, making all my years-long keyboarding skills basically useless, so I'm trying not to start out this meme already grumpy!

Also - Hey, Bev! Whither the opening Sunday Stealing foto? I had to go back four posts just to copy one! Anyway, link up here if you'd like to play along this weekend!

~*~*~*~*~

How do you get past the gray skies during winter?

Image result for winter gray skies

It's actually really bad for me this year. I mean, unspeakably bad. We've moved to this rinky-dink little town in the middle of Idaho with NOTHING to do to take my mind off the misery of being here. I'm not doing well at all. We've recently discussed moving and narrowed it down to Guam or southern Portugal. Money is what stopped us.

Do you like snow? Why or why not?

Image result for syracuse blizzard of 1993

Good lord, no. I grew up mostly in (well, outside of) Syracuse, New York, and was there for the Blizzard of '93, aka "the Storm of the Century" (above). Our house was up atop quite a steep slope. Thing is, once all that beautiful white snow falls, the plows come through. And then the cars, so that it all turns a disgusting brown and black speckled dirty color. And it melts and refreezes and melts and refreezes, turning your entire sloped driveway, and the lawn, and many streets to sheer ice. And let's not even get into how much I despise being cold!

    What are your favorite activities to do during the winter?

Image result for hibernation

Hibernate and wait for it to be over.

    What does a perfect winter day look like to you?

Image result for gorgeous summer day

This. It looks like this.

    What are your favorite meals/food you enjoy eating during the winter?

I'm actually really not enjoying eating this winter, but lately Rob has been trying to make it work for me. He's been making me the vegan version of this Italian white bean and sun-dried tomato soup, which is really quite good!

    What is your favorite winter holiday and why?

2019Christmastree

Oh, it's definitely Christmas. I love giving gifts I hope they'll love to the people I adore!

    What is your favorite pizza flavor and toppings?

Image result for new york pizzeria pie

Oh, the first thing I have to do when I step out of Grand Central Station onto the streets of Manhattan is get a slice of a local pizzeria pie! Plain cheese is great for me, but I do love some pineapple on my peez, too.

What are some items in your daily bag/backpack?

Well, here are just some of the things I dumped out of my Vera Bradley crossbody purse: Aside from the cash, I see my oft-used asthma inhaler, and the passport that our heavy-chewer doggo, Tapioca, fished out of my purse for a nibble once or twice. There's the bouquet of hair doodles my daughter Chloe gave me for Christmas, knowing the three of us "girls" are always searching for a ponytail holder. I have a small tube of SPF 28 (so random) facial moisturizer from MyChelle Dermaceuticals, one of my favorite skincare companies.

I have some Thieves hand sanitizer and a Savvy Minerals Poppy Seed Lip Scrub, both from Young Living. I have a tiny tube of Cerave moisturizing cream, which works great in the winter! The Hello charcoal-infused floss, which I ordered from Grove Collaborative, really makes my teeth feel clean and refreshenated. (What, it's a word.) I bought the peppermint-infused C.O. Bigelow Mentha Lip Tint at Bath & Body Works, and this, I love. (I have several others, but I'm not sure where they've gotten to. Maybe Tapi ate those, too?) I've got some Scandaleyes waterproof mascara from Rimmel - the only cosmetics I'm really using these days - and some q-tips to blot my inevitable mistakes. And finally, I keep a variety of my beloved TUL pens handy. Note: I NEVER write in black ink, unless I absolutely have to.

    Your favorite snacks?

Image result for pistachios

I don't do a ton of snacking these days. Maybe a banana, or a handful of Wonderful pistachios.

Some foreign countries that you would like to visit?

Image result for beautiful world

You know, the only things stopping me from visiting every country are the world are money and my poor health. So my answer? All of them.

What things remind you of home?

Fam

Don't you know? I don't really feel like I have a physical home. Home, for me, is wherever these guys are.

If you have one, some items from your Amazon Wishlist?

Outgrowing the Pain: A Book for and About Adults Abused As Children by [Gil, Eliana]

Well, I really want - no, need - this book.

There's this olive oil dispenser I don't remember putting there, but I probably did because I am absolutely EVOO-crazy.

2 PCS Set Cute Animal Hedgehog Shaped Ceramic Cartoon Home Garden Decoration Succulent Cactus Vase Flower Pot

And, there are these disgustingly adorable hedgehog planters, because the girls and I have gone succulent-crazy lately.

What was your favorite Christmas gift?

83580678_2576275689268963_6113672644895178752_n

I loved everything I received, especially the eco-friendly produce bags Chloe gave me... but I think my absolute favorite was Rob renewing my Mensa membership. I'd gotten it way back 20 years ago and have long since let it lapse. I wanted it mostly for the card to look at when I'm feeling especially dumb, but I'd lost that. I'm thrilled!

~*~*~*~*~

Well, Rob and I are back to searching for Lyme-literate MDs near and far, 'cause, y'know, I'm trying not to die. That would be nice. Or would it?

Take care, y'all.

Fin.


Saturday 9: Go Where Baby Lives

Image result for go where baby lives strollers

Heya! Welcome back. I'm listening to the very Big Band-sounding (to me; am I right?) selection by Crazy Sam this week right now in enjoyment. My grandfather was a big fan of Big Band. And also marches, specifically John Philip Sousa. I remember after he had his sextuple heart attack and his doctors told him how to change his habits to survive after that, he got a walkman, and he'd listen to Sousa and march around the park or just their condominium neighborhood. Sometimes, when I was visiting, I'd march along with him. I couldn't hear the music, but I just liked being with him.

Getting off track much? Oops. Let's begin.

P.S. Sam: I like this ditty!

~*~*~*~*~

Go Where Baby Lives (1957)

Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here

1) The lyrics tell us that the girl of his dreams lives up on a hill. Is there a hill near your home? Or is the terrain pretty flat where you are?

Image result for mountain home idaho

I mean... this is the town in Idaho where I live, so I don't know about hills, but it's definitely not flatland! Mountains are everywhere you look.

2) Another clue to her whereabouts is that she's about a mile from town. Will you be staying close to home this weekend, or will you be traveling a mile or more?

Image result for neurological lyme disease

Not this weekend. Last weekend, I took my daughter Sophia and several of her friends to Boise an hour away, to the ice rink there. (They had fun, but there was a bit of trouble at first when Sophie's ex-girlfriend, who is a figure skater, entered the ice to practice at the same time as her group of friends. There were tears. We handled it. One of her friends held her hand as they made their way back to the rink. I thought it was sweet.)

Anyway, an outing as seemingly simple as that does me in for a week, as evidenced by the fact that this is my first time out of bed since that adventure. It sucks, but such is life with late-stage neurological Lyme.

3) Sam admits she's crazy about the sax solo. Is there a particular musical instrument that you love to listen to?

 Well, not just because one of my best friends, Shana, is a concert violinist/violist (and now a conductor), but I've always enjoyed electric violin. I'm a really big fan of Lindsey Stirling, such as here in "Shatter Me" with Lzzy Hale. Very cool artist.

4) This is the only record The Strollers made for States, a company based out of Chicago. States was only in existence for five years (1952-57) and this was the 63rd or 64 records released before they went out of business. Tell us about a business in your neighborhood that recently closed their doors.

Image result for I have no idea

I have no idea. We haven't lived here long enough, and I haven't been able to venture out enough, to find out! Anyway, there is already like, literally, nothing here. My soul is dying here. I hate it.

5) More than 60 years after its initial release, this song enjoyed new popularity when Xfinity used it in commercials for their wifi. What company is your internet service provider? Are you happy with it?

Image result for Centurylink

Ugh, no way. Our service out here in the boonies is nonexistent. I'm using a hotspot to use the internet on my computer as we speak. We're about to switch to Zito.

6) In researching this week's song, Sam googled "strollers" and was surprised to discover how many different types of baby buggies are available today. When did you most recently push a child in a stroller?

Well, I searched for an hour, and the latest photographic proof I can come up with - without spending all weekend - was on my birthday in 2007, of 2½-year-old Sophia in an umbrella stroller. We were celebrating Chloë's 6th birthday at the bowling alley, actually; her birthday is the day before mine.

7) In 1957, the year this song was released, President Eisenhower celebrated his second inaugural with a parade featuring more than 50 marching bands. The mercury never quite reached 45ºF that day. How's the weather outside your front door?

LOL. WTForecast kills me every time. What does that even mean?! Anyway, looks like were at a balmy 39ºF here in the mountains. Yay.

8) One of the best-selling books of 1957 was Peyton Place. This steamy saga of small town life launched two films, two television series, and several made-for-tv movies. Is there a book that you enjoyed that was successfully turned to a movie?

Image result for JUrassic Park

I read Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park in 8th grade or so, and I've loved that whole series of movies. What about you guys?

9) A Peyton Place-inspired question: Can a man be physically unfaithful to a woman, but still love her?

Image result for i vote yes

Definitely, yes. I can say this with surety.

~*~*~*~*~

Welp, I must eat. Nothing sounds good and I don't want a damn thing, but I haven't eaten all day and my finger sticks support that!

Have a lovely week, y'all.

Fin.

 


Sunday Stealing: The Queen's Meme

Hi everyone! Welcome back. I'm seriously not feeling well right now, so it's anyone's guess whether I'll be able to finish this post. Worth giving it a shot!

Link up here if you want to play along this weekend.

~*~*~*~*~


Stolen from The Queen's Meme

January usually has ample amounts of snowfall in parts of the world. Did you ever make snow cream as a kid?

Image result for snow cream

The only time I ever did was in my senior year of high school, when we made it one day in my AP Biology class (must have been right before Christmas break, or something). I've made it with my kids, too, while we were homeschooling.

January is one of the months with 31 days. What are you going to do with that extra day?

Image result for payday funny

I've never really considered that an extra day. That day is payday, so I'll be looking at the budget and checking off boxes that day, I guess.

What is your favorite magazine?

Image result for funny magazine covers

Growing up, my grandmother had a stash of Reader's Digest back issues here, there, and everywhere. Eventually, I think I read them all during visits. I think I have the current issue on my night table right now. She also bought the Star, Enquirer, and I think a third tabloid every week, too, and People - all of which I also read when I was there. I still read People, but Martha Stewart Living is currently my favorite. I love her!
 
If you live to be 99 years old, what would you like your life to be like in that last decade??

Image result for lyme disease funny

With Lyme, I really don't think I'll live that long. But if I do, I'd like my mental faculties to be intact, and I would like to be free of this constant, agonizing pain.

The great world of Wikipedia tells me that scientists claim 99% of all documented species are extinct. Which remaining species in the 1% category would you really like to see extinct?  And which species in the 99% category would you like to bring back?

Image result for the far side mammoth

I would love for ticks and mosquitos to be eradicated - but that would also be a bad thing (at least the skeeters). I would love to see a mammoth! (Also I had the The Far Side book this particular cartoon was in; and also, I had the weiner dog one. So funny!)

On January 14, 1986 motorists were required for the first time to wear seat belts? Do you always buckle up? Why or why not?

Image result for seat belt funny

Man, I remember when that changed. My father pitched a fit - and he still doesn't wear them! I always wear them, and if I'm driving, the car doesn't go until everyone is buckled up. Why? Because I appreciate their purpose and also the data that backs up the fact that they save lives.

Why did the cow jump over the moon?

Image result for cow jumped over the moon tattoo

I don't know - to get to the other side?

Have you said anything in the last 24 hours that you regret?

Image result for regrets meme

Not this time! Ask me tomorrow.
 
Have you ever written anything on your blog that you wish you could take back?

Image result for can't unsee

No... There have been some interesting moments after a few things I've posted, but I wouldn't take any of it back. All of the past stuff has been mostly written and forgotten. When we lived in Miami and Chloë started reading it, she would exclaim over this or that that I wrote. It was fun reliving some things!

Are you the blabber or the blabbee? Tell us your most embarrassing blabbermouth moment.

Image result for no filter

Oh, I'm definitely a blabbermouth with NO filter. I've had a ton of "oops, I shouldn't have said that" moments. Probably a lot of them happened with my mother-in-law. I've always been certain that our baby, Sophia, who looks just like me and nothing like Rob - unlike Chloë, Jack, and presumably Robby (Jack's identical twin) - has been suspected of having a different father by my in-laws. I've always wanted them to request a DNA test, because I KNOW he is the father. No one else could be. Once, on the phone with my MIL, I joked, "Just do a DNA test! I have no fears! Besides, she's the wrong color if she did have a different dad!" ...crickets...

How important is a cell phone in your life?

Image result for cell phone culture

Once upon a time, there were no cell phones... Yeah, I depend on it pretty hard. Right now my phone isn't holding a charge, and I can't get it above 8% or so. It's frustrating because most of what I do is on that phone! I've got to trade up PDQ, I guess.
 
A "cuisine" is typically influenced by and named after geographical regions and cultures. Pretend your blog is a country. What is the name of your cuisine?

Image result for Crazy Fusion

Crazy Fusion cuisine

You are the Blog Paparazzi! Which blogger's real photograph are you most interested in getting?

Janice and Susan

Hmm. Well, all of you, since we've been doing this thing together for so many years, but I think I've been following the blog 5 Minutes for Mom the absolute longest. I'm "friends" with Janice and Susan on Facebook, and Janice and I have chatted a few times. Maybe when we sail out of Vancouver, B.C. for our Alaskan cruise in September, she'll meet me at the airport for a selfie?!

Are you always on time or just a tad late?

Image result for tick tock funny

I'm usually early. Before I got married I was always very prompt. I still abhor being late. In the Navy (and I presume with every other branch of the military), being 15 minutes early is "on time," and being on time is considered late. So with that in mind, and having four kids in 3½ years, we learned to s.c.r.a.m.b.l.e. for appointments!!

Can you think of a time when you were late for something and it was REALLY a big deal?

Image result for teenage girl crying

Well, yeah. Lots of times. For choir, we obviously had to be at the school - or wherever our performance was - dressed and ready to go well before showtime. My stepmother made it a point to screw with me, trying to destroy everything in my life that was important to me. She screamed at me every single day for something - even things she had to invent if there was nothing she could see. On concert days, she screamed about three times as long, to make sure I not only walked in extremely late, but I'd be a mess from crying, and everyone was staring at me. And I hated attention.

If you were on your way to work and had five minutes to get there, would you stop in the road to rescue a crossing turtle?

Image result for gopher turtle Florida

Sure, and I have done this many times - especially in Tampa when I was on my way to one of my grad classes or teaching the lab.

When you are having a really good day, what usually makes it good?

Image result for list funny

Hmm. Usually it's a productive day, with many things crossed off my to-do list. (By the way, here's the rest of that list, above; it's worth a read.) Maybe I got a nice compliment that carried me through the day. Or maybe a good package came in the mail. But productivity is pretty key!

What is the most annoying Christmas song?

Image result for Grandma got run over by a reindeer

Growing up, my dad always got a big kick out of "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer." Now I hate it.

You are Snow White. Which dwarf is your favorite and why?

Image result for seven dwarfs

I hate to be cliché, but I think Dopey. He's sweet, and he tries really hard!

~*~*~*~*~

Well, y'all, speaking of productivity, I have a few things I'd like to do before my brain shuts down and tells me it's time for the first nap of the day.

I hope you're all having a great weekend!

Fin.


Saturday 9: No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)

Image result for no more tears enough is enough

Hey, y'all. It's the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and we are sooo not ready. I haven't been around much - either here or in real life - because right now, I'm fighting Lyme more than ever before. It's knocked me down a peg or nine, that's for sure! But enough about that. Let's get on with it! 

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

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) 1979

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

1) These lyrics use weather as metaphor for romance. Here at Saturday 9, we're more literal. How do the skies look where you are this morning?

Right now it's a chilly but very sunny 46ºF. I don't have the blinds open or anything to really see that, though, because I have a migraine. And that sunlight stabs me right in the eyeballs!

2) According to Merriam-Webster, "enough is enough" is what you say when you want something to stop because you "can no longer accept or deal with it." When did you recently say -- out loud or to yourself -- "enough is enough"?

Image result for Devin Nunes

Well, first, I would probably have more likely said the equivalent in Spanish: "No puedo soportar más." And I don't know exactly when it would have been, but certainly regarding the impeachment trials going on in the US right now, maybe regarding this latest news by Lev Parnas implicating Devin Nunes in the Ukraine scandal.

Or maybe it was pain from the Lyme. Yeah, maybe that.

3) Grammy winner Luther Vandross began his career as a background singer and performed on "No More Tears." Tell us about one of your early jobs.

Image result for university of miami alumni relations

I've worked a lot of jobs here and there. For a while, when I was an undergrad at the University of Miami, I worked three jobs while going to school full-time, often taking the max amounts of credits I could take (20 per semester). For my work-study job, I worked in the UM Office of Alumni Relations. Part of my duties included locating alumni (this would have been starting in 1994, so technology didn't make that as easy then as it would be now), making sure we had their current contact information, and then asking them to make a donation when the request came in the mail. I hated that job. So now that I'm on the other end of those phone calls, I try to make it as easy as possible on the poor schmoes who are calling me!

4) Both Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand made slight changes to their first names. Summer was christened "LaDonna," while Streisand's parents spelled her name the more conventional "Barbara." When she was in high school, meme mistress Samantha Winters went from "Sammy" to "Sam." Did you ever make a similar change to your first name?

Image result for meaning of the name Melanie

No. Why would I? That description fits me to a "T." I used to hate it, but now I find it to be a beautiful name and not so common that I personally know 20 other people with the same name. Plus, my mother changed my name from my father's mother's name (Eleanor) to Melanie on my birth certificate when he was out of the room. Love that, too!

People do try to bastardize my name and call me Melodie or Melody, though. It doesn't bother me as much when they misunderstand what I've said, but recently, I honestly quit a writing program important to me wherein someone in my committee read my name, and then wrote back to me, writing "Melody" instead. I was honestly not so much offended by that - because, let's be honest, I'm used to it - as by the ludicrous notion that I would want to be affiliated with a program putting such illiterates in with me. Call me elitist, but you should always strive to get someone's name correct when you're reading it right there in front of you. Am I right?

5) Hair was higher maintenance in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Streisand and Summer are both sporting styles that would require chemical treatment, like a perm or relaxer. Today's looks are less rigidly styled and tend to be smoother or slightly messy. How often do you change your look?

Melanie Piggies

I'm pretty fickle capricious. I change my look a lot. I never look the same at the end of the year as I did at the beginning of the year. (This picture is from January 2019.)

6) In 1979, it seems every kid was asking Santa for Star Wars toys. Some things don't change, since the Star Wars franchise remains popular with children and toymakers after more than 40 years. What book or toy did you love as a child that remains popular today?

Image result for Anne of Green Gables

Oh, lots of things, probably. I was a huge fan of the Nancy Drew books, and I read the Anne of Green Gables series again and again. And now, I feel like reading it again!

7) Thinking of things that endure ... In 1979, the #1 show in the ratings was 60 Minutes. It's still on, every Sunday night, and in the summer of 2019 it came in at #4 in the Nielsen ratings. What's the most recent show you watched? Was it news, sports or entertainment?

Image result for ellen funny

I've been balancing out my news coverage with the latest episodes of Ellen and Jeopardy! Thank goodness for DVR! (BTW, I made Hubs really sad the other night when I told him I don't want to go on Jeopardy! anymore. That's been a life-long Bucket List item since before I had a Bucket List. But now that I'm really sick, and Alex Trebek is really sick... it doesn't look so good for either one of us. If I live long enough to enter remission, he probably won't be the host anymore. But if he is... we'll revisit these thoughts.)

8) In 1979, the price for a dozen eggs averaged 85¢. Today, it's about twice that. Are you more likely to use eggs to prepare a main course (like an omelette or Eggs Benedict) or as part of a recipe (anything from a cake to a meatloaf)?

Image result for beautiful vegan food

Neither - and not just because I'm allergic to eggs (which makes getting some of my vaccines a challenge). #vegan

9) Random question: You’re alone in your car, driving through your neighborhood on a bright, sunny day. You get a flat tire. You have a spare and a jack in your trunk. Would you fix it yourself or call for help?

Image result for changing a tire funny

I know how to change a tire, and I have done it before, but right now I just do not have the strength. Thankfully, we finally now have AAA for that - and we have used them!

~*~*~*~*~

Take care, you guys. I'll be back later for some Sunday Stealing. Y'all in? 

Fin.


I Completely Fell Apart Last Night.

 

God! You know, at my age, I still feel like such a child, a complete idiot, for not being able to just "get over" things that hurt me to my core, even if it's been years and years since the thing happened.

Everyone, especially those from the Boomer generation (is it offensive to you if it's true?), scoffs and says that to me about everything that still hurts me. These are the people - the scoffers, not all Boomers - who know nothing about child development, of course. Deep wounds that are cut early sometimes never heal.

But, like lovely Jewel, I'm sensitive, and I'd like to stay that way.

Last night, I was doing some research for a so-far-secret new project and was peeping at an Instagram account I didn't even know I was following. (By the way, I mean no harm or negativity to or about the people involved, whom I will mention momentarily, but as it's the current vogue trend to say, I was absolutely "triggered."

Image result for snowflake

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

DESERT DAD MODE: UNLOCKED. ✅🔥🙌🏼 This is the second night in a row that I’ve spent the night shift with my little prince @taztripp. 🌙 I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not known for my ability to burn the proverbial midnight oil, I’ve definitely always been a “I need to get at least 8 hours” type of guy, and leading up to Taz’s birth we were unsure how I’d be able to handle having a little party animal that keeps us up at night. Well, in the past two days since we’ve been home with our little man, I’ve wanted to break my sleep weakness and care for Taz so @sassyredlipstick can get much needed and well deserved sleep. After all, just days ago she pushed this nearly 9 pound, broad-shouldered boss baby out of her body unmedicated and is still healing from that, not to mention she’s breastfeeding this little guy like twenty times a day because he’s got the appetite of a champion and I think it goes without saying that her nips are more than a little tender... you get the picture. Mothers are the ones with all the difficult responsibilities so I’m very intent on taking as much off her plate as possible in this new venture as parents. 💙🙏🏼 The first night I stayed up with a crying Taz was scary and a little frustrating trying to decipher what he needed. But even just 24 hours later we’re starting to get the hang of what this little guy needs. 😌 So in the wee hours of this morning, Sarah spent an hour breastfeeding Taz in our bedroom until she couldn’t keep her eyes open. I took him into the nursery and he did the same thing as last night, crying until 3am. But this time I did not panic. I changed his diaper, I swaddled him tight just like @sassyredlipstick and @shan.tripp taught me, then I went into the kitchen and prepared a bottle of Sarah’s liquid gold breast milk that she had pumped earlier in the day using the luxury, state-of-the-art @willowpump that literally looks like a pair of robot breasts from the future. After testing out the temperature on my wrist like I see the nice moms do on TV, I fed my beautiful boy until he drifted off to sleep with the cutest, milk drunk smile. (Swipe to see the video.) 🍼🥰 What a wonderful night. 💙 #TazTripp #DesertDad

A post shared by ROBBIE TRIPP™ (@tripp) on

So, like I said, I wasn't aware I was even following this verified blue-checked (for whatever that's worth) @Tripp dude on the 'gram, and I know virtually nothing about him, but I probably got there by going down yet another rabbit hole. (Probably, my arse. I just figured it out, but never mind.) Irrelevant. I was doing that research and landed on this particular post about his second night up with his new son @TazTripp, who is darling, of course, so that Mr. Tripp could let his wife Sarah aka @sassyredlipstick (whom I now also follow out of temporary heightened curiosity to see whether I like or am not fond of their overall presence on the platform. I'm leaning toward the latter, but like I said, it isn't personal, just research) rest from giving birth.

Kudos to him for that. Hands-on daddies are the best. I know this because I watched Rob do it multiple times, and yes he was definitely the best.

[Can you follow all my punctuation plot-changes? Because I've always done that. I've also always had to re-read each thing 30 times to make sure it made sense, at least in that instant. My mind is so annoying.]

Okay, that's great! I'm all about babies; I've said endlessly over the years that I would have had a hundred more if I could have, and just spent all my days picking up one and loving on him or her, then putting that babe down and picking up the next one, and so on. Sarah's breastfeeding, and I'm 100% supportive of that, too. Full-on love affair with breastfeeding, nature's perfect mammal baby food. She's also curvy, confident, and they're both very body-positive, which is still incredible even as we head into 2020. So I mean, while I don't get their "desert fortune" vibe even a little bit, just from what I've seen after a somewhat brief perusing is genuine, sweet, true love. And I applaud them for that.

But this was n.o.t. really about the Tripp family at all.

In the post above, when I got to the line where Tripp writes, " just days ago she pushed this nearly 9 pound, broad-shouldered boss baby out of her body unmedicated and is still healing from that," I was suddenly hit with an emotional grenade. My lungs suddenly forgot how to breathe, and I don't think I was aware of anything my five senses were doing at the moment, either. I remember I got up out of my chair in the office here, brought something that needed to go downstairs out to the ledge in the hallway, and then I just didn't move.

Or couldn't move, I really don't know.

And then I became aware that I was about to start sobbing the cries of a woman who desperately wanted this thing, this one thing in her whole damn life, to go even remotely according to her plan... and it didn't resemble that plan at all. Not the first time. Not the second time. Not the third.

It was so long ago now - after all, Sophia is 14½ years old now! - that I didn't want anyone to hear me. I didn't want to have to explain that yes, I am yet again crying over something from the past.

Silly, stupid fucking me.

Except, I'm the only one in this house who feels that way. Why? Because I've let so many elders in my life get inside my head and tell me that that's how I'm supposed to feel. Ashamed of my pain, dumb for not being able to just grin and bear everything. Boy, for being part-English, I did not ever have that stiff upper lip.

So, I stood there and hurt without making a sound. I don't know for how long. Maybe it was 45 seconds, or maybe it was five minutes, but for me it didn't matter because once again, time had stopped. I felt the sobs coming from the core of my being, so deep inside there that the origin isn't even really substance or matter but rather an energy of pain and the most profound disappointment one can imagine.  I could feel myself shaking, but it was still early enough in the evening and the rest of Team Odette were still up and about, so I kept it in.

Sometimes, my private pain is just that. Meant only for me to pick up and feel and then be able to put down for a while.

Except, irony is the master mother here, and as I should have expected if it wouldn't have made that oxymoronical, that isn't what happened.

Just as I was trying to gather myself, go back in the office, get my tissues to dry my face and blow my nose, and sit back down to do more research... I don't know. I must have lagged one split-second too long.

Just then, Rob came walking up the stairs at the precise moment Chloë came out of the bathroom right behind me.

I was not in my usual location, I wasn't in a usual position, and I knew the jig was up.

I kept absolutely still - except maybe those silently quaking sobs - while I tried to think real fast to come up with a lie. A quick, harmless story about what I was doing, what might be wrong beside what actually was wrong, and then back out of the situation.

Pfft. Nah.

These people, these two, do know me best in the world, after all. One lived in me; the other put her there. Ha! Sorry. Even in sadness, my mind is half in the gutter...

They both asked, "Honey/Mom? What's wrong?" at the same moment, and all hope for an easy exit was out the door the way I wish I was.

I turned around and then the hopeless, helpless blubbering began. I rushed into the office to get my tissues.

I didn't know what to say. I didn't know where to start! It's become quite the cliché to say, "I have all the feels" or whatever, but that's legitimately what I had right then. ALL the feels, none of the words. (Shocking for me, I'm aware.)

Where do I start? When do I start? What do I say?

I sat there and poured my heart out for a good long while, unable to stop the competing flows of words and tears, as Rob and Chloë sat next to me on the floor and empathized with what I was seeing, reliving in my mind as I tried to explain why I was crying.

And maybe tomorrow, or... maybe in my book that I'm starting on November 1st for NaNoWriMo 2019, I'll try to explain it to you, too.

Tumblr_pynwv9HiLJ1qd8ab4o1_1280

For now, though, the takeaway is: I'm keenly aware that while my heart has been broken into smithereens a thousand times over the span of four-plus decades, and I've experienced sorrows I may never share with another soul, I'm also beyond fortunate to have the love that I do in my life - Rob and the kids, and some other family, and my friends, and my tribe - here to put it back together again a thousand and one times.

Call me lucky, call me blessed, call me whatever you want, but I am, and I know it, and when that pain is eased by their love and caring, it can't possibly compare with the amount of gratitude I feel when it happens - and long after.

Until next time, America.

Fin.


Saturday 9: Shake It Off

Related image

Welcome back, y'all! Well, as you can see I didn't die from my excessively-busy weekend last week (although, as predicted, no comments on my late-entry Sunday Stealing, lol). It's been another busy week as I've kept up and pushed through for the sake of my newfound purpose: Activism. Giving a damn just feels good, you know? Not that I didn't before, of course, but now that I give a damn AND am learning more and better tools to do something about it, it feels really validating.

Anyhoo. My then-14yo daughter Chloë and I saw Taylor Swift perform "Shake It Off" at her 1989 concern in Miami, in October 2015, so this is an exciting one for me. I'd like to think this is a special present to me from Crazy Sam, therefore, but we all know better.

Let's get on with it then, shall we? Link up here if you're a wacky joiner, like we be.

><> * ><> * ><> * ><> * ><>

Shake It Off (2014)

Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.
 
1) This song makes Crazy Sam want to dance. What song inspires you to get on your feet?

Image result for lou bega mambo no 5 gif

So, so, so many songs. Back in grad school, it was Lou Bega doing Mambo No. 5. Love that song!

2) Paul McCartney met Taylor Swift at the SNL 40th Anniversary special and told her he really enjoys playing and singing this song. What's the last song you sang along with?

Related image

I've been playing Hamilton nonstop for the last several days. I haven't had my singing voice in 2+ years, much, but I still can't help it when it comes to Lin-Manuels words. The girls and I would DIE to be able to go see Hamilton in real life!

3) The lyrics tell us Swift "shakes off" nasty gossip and unfair criticism. What about you? Do you worry about what others think of you?

Image result for criticism funny

I've always been one to take to heart - forever and for all my days - the harsh words (and thoughts I imagine) that others have had for me. I turned 43 on 9/8, though, and I feel like this is finally starting to become my time to "shake it off." 

4) Her parents are big music fans, and were going to name their baby (boy or girl) "Taylor" after their favorite artist, James Taylor. Can you think of a singer that your mom and/or dad really enjoyed?

Image result for Ronnie McDowell

This is a painful question for me. When my mother died in 1984, she and my dad had three Ronnie McDowell tapes on pretty heavy rotation in the car. I knew (still know) all the songs. We even went to a Ronnie McDowell/Conway Twitty concert in Syracuse shortly before her death, which I remember pretty clearly for a 7yo.

When I was in college and "home" at my dad's for the first summer, I went snooping through his old pictures and things. I found those three Ronnie McDowell tapes and "liberated" them, 😏 along with a gazillion pictures of my mother.

Then, coming up on one year ago, I happened to find some Ronnie McD songs on... YouTube? Amazon? I don't even know. I gave a listen to them and found myself disgusted by much of the overtly sexist, somewhat predatory lyrics on a song or three. I posted what I thought was a rather innocent update about that on the book of faces, and my dad lost his shit about it, basically about what a liberal treehugger I have become (have always been, hate to break the news to ya, Pops). I told him I was sorry he'd been so foolish to buy into Trump's lies, and he said the immortal words to me, "Just leave me alone."

I haven't spoken to him since. (P.S. No great loss. That narcissistic, abusive, sexist louse is a Trump wannabe through-and-through, and I'm better off not giving a damn what he thinks of me or what he thinks, period.) But intensive therapy ensues.

I5) She grew up on an 11-acre Christmas tree farm. Do you get a fresh tree every year, or do you have an artificial tree, or do you not put up a tree at all?

DSC_5486
We usually do an artificial tree. It's just easier with all the dogs and cats and their excessive curiosity. At some point, I'd like to put up at least three in this house - but I don't think we'll have the budget for it just yet this year. This white flocked tree was last year's.


6) Taylor Swift is 5'10". According to the CDC, the average American woman is 5'4" while men are, on average, 5'9". Are you taller or shorter than average?

20190916_185639
At 5'1½", I'm shorter than average. But I've got 18-year-old Chloë beat. Like her paternal grandmother, she is maxed out at 4'10".

7) She enjoys good, old fashioned mysteries, especially those by Agatha Christie. Are you currently reading a book for pleasure?

Image result for quotes from holding up the universe

I'm just getting into Holding Up the Universe, by Jennifer Niven.
 
8) Her brother Austin is a freelance photographer who took the official pictures for her 2008 concert tour. Who took the last photo of you?

20190922_145700 (1)

That would be Christine Vorobieff, one of the other equestrian moms from Sophie's Pony Club, last Sunday.

9) Random question: What's your go-to comfy outfit?

Image result for comfy clothes quotes

Sweats and a t-shirt, I guess. Now that illness rules the day, I dress for comfort; rarely for "cute."

><> * ><> * ><> * ><> * ><>

Thanks for the fun meme, Ms. Sam o' the Cray. Thanks for all you do for us!

Next steps in tackling the Climate Crisis involve this. Whatever you do, do something.

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Swap-Bot Questionnaire

Welcome, welcome, kids of all ages!

Thanks for all the well wishes about my eardrum rupturing Friday. It definitely wasn't fun, but I've had problems with that ear since we came up from 0' above sea level in Miami to ~2500' above sea level in Boise over two years ago. That ear just did not want to make the trip! The constant Val Salvo maneuver is my life now. When I do it now, the air screams out of that hole in my eardrum so loudly that Rob and the kids can hear, too. It's weird.

Anyway!

Link up here if you want to play along with the rest of us this weekend.

~*~*~*~*~

Swap-Bot asked people to post questions they would like to answer.  Bev copied them all and put together this brief selection.

What do you enjoy about summer?

Image result for carefree summer

I like the carefree, mostly-unscheduled nature of it, the freedom, the warmth, everything. It seems like the most "come as you are" season of the year.

Do you like snow? Why?

Image result for snow memes snow funny

haaaaate snow. I grew up in Syracuse, New York, the lake-effect snow capitol of the world. I've done my time! If that isn't 'nuff said, then also, it means I'll be c-c-c-cold, and being cold causes me intense pain nowadays. Then there's the blackish-brown crap that gets all over everything after the street cleaners come through the place. That's three reasons, but I could go on.

What do you think about dogs?

Related image

I am a dog lover, through and through. (But then, I love all animals!)

Have you ever gotten lost?

Image result for getting lost funny

Oh, I'm the genius who perpetually gets lost outside her own driveway - especially if she tries to "wing it" and turns off Google Maps to get there. I have no sense of direction!!

What are your favorite type of socks?

Image result for hospital socks funny

This is gonna sound like I'm joking, but I promise you I'm not: Most of my socks are hospital socks. I have texture issues, and the socks from the hospital don't bug those at all. In fact, my friend Gwyn sent me a boatload of her husband's old hospital socks upon hearing this, and I love her for it! I always keep my hospital socks when I've been there.

What is your favorite style of shoes?

Crocs.

Angle

I used to wear these Crocs Cypress heels a lot, but I can't wear heels anymore now that falling is a constant risk for me.

Pair

Now I wear almost exclusively Crocs, but it's more like these Patricia sandals, which I have in several colors. I had to give my Navy ones (above) to Sophia, though, because they stretch out over time and were no longer snug enough on my size 5½ feet.

What would you name your boat if you had one?

Image result for Sweet Pea

It would be the Sweet Pea. Didn't even have to think about that one.

What common misconception do you hate to hear repeated as fact?

Image result for theory of evolution

I worked on the concept of "novice theory" for my graduate thesis, especially as it pertains to the Theory of Evolution. Note the caps on the latter presentation of the word, versus the former. And that's the crux of it: Most people don't understand the concept of Scientific Theory vs. the theories we bandy about day-to-day, in our normal, non-scientific lives, and suppose are correct. That of Evolution is well-founded in example after example, able to be observed by the human eye in a short time period, and is well-replicated inside and outside the lab. This is true whether it agrees with our own ideas of what religion should dictate or not. Sorry if you don't like it, Joe Schmo, but that's just the way it is.

What was the last shop you went into and what did you buy?

_DSC0508
I've been a couponer since birth. My mother taught me. After she died, my sister Stacey would cut all the coupons, and I would sort them into their respective categories. I continued doing that as I went to college, and on into adulthood. Now, things have gone high-tech, and I could teach Mom a thing or two! Chloë is a girl after my own heart: she loves to save a buck and cringes when she sees someone needlessly paying full price. I love to give away our haul to battered women's shelters, the families at the Ronald McDonald House, etc. So we thought we'd take $150 and see what we could get from Walgreens, Rite Aid, and CVS. I'm not sure which one was the last one we went into, but we ended up with well over $1,000 worth of merchandise.

What's your favourite thing to do to pass the time?

Image result for reading the classics

Back in the day, I easily could've said "read." Now, I don't know... waste time online? When I was pregnant with Chloë, my aim was to spend the time, having hyperemesis gravidarum, catching up on the classics. Except, I stumbled across Sidney Sheldon works in the library and read all of those books instead. Quite a different thing! Since motherhood, I haven't exactly given myself permission to sit and read. I really need to re-learn how to allow myself that.

What is a way to die that scares you the most?

I would not like to suffocate or drown. The thought terrifies me.

Travel or homebody?

Image result for travel the world

Oh, I may be trapped in my body, but my body is not one to be trapped in Idaho. Plenty of World left for me to see!!

Have you ever gone to a Bingo hall?

Image result for Bingo funny

I have not.

What is the longest plane trip you have taken?

Related image

Listen, you've never flown long-haul until you've moved from Panama City, Florida, to Guam whilst pregnant with twins, with a one-year-old child. And then flown back four months later... 🙄

Do you text more or call more? Why?

Image result for phone anxiety

I much prefer to text over calling. I have severe phone anxiety. So do several other members of my family. It's a thing. If you don't have have it, lucky you, but please don't let that diminish your capacity to understand that others do. (I'm a "yes" to all, btw.)

~*~*~*~*~

Well, on that cheerful note, I'll say buh-bye! LOL Tonight, after all, is the Matador dinner with Hubs, finally, after I felt like shit all day Saturday. Tequila!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Not 5,000 Questions, Part The First

Welcome back. 🙋‍♀ I am stuffed! I just finished half a small plate of popcorn shrimp, which Chloë made, and shortly before that, a banana that I did not share with Paco (my 5-year-old Chihuahua), much to his chagrin. I had a tofu stir-fry that Rob made for dinner, and then Jack and I went out for more soy sauce (for the leftovers), some school clothes for him, and some other stuff. Upon our return, we ate ice cream cones (I had a chocolate-dipped cone with Talenti pistachio gelato - such an indulgence!). And I had two chocolate croissants from Walmart, which I bought on impulse when I saw them; they're just like smaller versions of the ones Panera used to sell before replacing them with some crappy new thing that I hate. Anyway, my point is, I feel like I have not stopped eating since I got up today.

Sunday Stealing time. Link up here if you're playing along today! So, full belly, dry diaper, here we go: 

~*~*~*~*~

Have you read anything by C.S. Lewis?

Related image

Yes. For my college graduation gift, my BFF Lisa gave me his book Mere Christianity. When I read it, it was a complete 180º from where I was, still heavily stuck in the cult in which I was raised (Christian Science, which I now realize is completely evil). I had epiphany after epiphany whilst reading it, and it was an awakening for me. I think I shall read it again; once I unpack it and find it! And we listened to the audiobooks of the Narnia series when the children were younger and we took lots of road trips.

What is your favorite movie with Jack Nicholson?

Image result for Jack Nicholson in as good as it gets gif

Oh, God. That's a tough one; has he had any roles I don't like?! I think As Good As It Gets, since that's one of my favorite movies of all time anyway.

What rhymes with 'orange'?

Image result for things that rhyme with orange

⬆Welp, there you go!⬆

Have you ever swallowed an object by accident?

Image result for terrare

I'm no Tarrare. I can't think of a single weird thing, save for the occasional piece of eggshell.


Is your eyesight 20/20?

Image result for funny things about vision

Nooooo way. It's about 20/200. I'm very near-sighted, like my mother was.

Have you ever had insomnia?

Image result for insomnia funny

I have chronic insomnia; I've been like this my entire life.

Does it bother you when people touch you?

Image result for fibromyalgia does it bother me to be touched?

Oh yes. Currently, I suffer from at least numbers 2, 3, 4, and 6 above. Sucks!!

Is it better to get too much or too little sleep?

Related image

I don't function well on too little sleep. I'd much rather have too much.

What gets your adrenaline pumping?

Related image

Fear. You know, I grew up in constant terror, and now I don't know how to turn that off. I don't know how to relax. I honestly have no clue how one does it. So my heart rate is consistently at 100 beats per minute, or more.

Do you ever talk about yourself in the third person?

Image result for talking to yourself funny

I talk to myself in second and third person quite frequently. I personally think I'm hilarious, and I always tell my husband, when he's falling asleep and I'm still chattering away, that he's "missing all the gems."

What's your favorite radio station? What kind of music do they play?

Image result for bob fm funny

I don't even know. I listen to a variety of things, although I don't like talk radio and never listen to NPR. I listen to a lot of pop, some classic rock, Bob FM when I don't know what I want to hear, etc. I'm all over the map. I just want it to be something I can sing to; I'm not a huge fan of a lot of instrumentals.

Do you believe there is anyplace still undiscovered in all the world?

Image result for unspoiled nature

I was actually thinking about this earlier today!! I was thinking that there must be some places where people can't get to, and I took joy in that until I realized that if we don't know about it, where it is, what it looks like, and its properties... how will we humans know how to save it when we wreck it?

Ever caught a fish?

Image result for dolphin fish

Yes. As a marine biologist, I've caught plenty. Once, when I was aboard one of the scientific vessels, a lot of the crew and my fellow scientists and students were fishing off the back of the ship, for dinner. Someone caught a large male dolphin (the fish, aka mahi mahi), which everyone but us vegans and vegetarians wanted to eat. They let this majestic creature flop around on deck, struggling to breathe, until they started stopping it in the brain to kill it and put it out of its misery. It was a horiffic scene - and so many of them were laughing about it still being alive! It is a terrible memory of mine. On one of our first dates, I told my husband that story. He hasn't eaten mahi mahi in my presence in the 18 years since!

Were you ever in the first row of a concert?

Image result for black eyed peas concert gif

No. But one of the closest experiences was being within Fergie at a Black Eyed Peas concert in Virginia about ten years ago. She was within reach of me and the two girls I'd taken with me after I won the tickets from a radio show. I was so pumped!

Do you have any autographs?

Image result for Dave Barry funny

Just... somewhere around here, I have an autograph on the Miami Herald column by Dave Barry. He came into the Publix in Coral Gables, at which I worked for a few years while in college. I was a huge fan, since my early childhood when he was published in the Syracuse Herald-Journal on Sundays. He was in the store with his wife Michelle. I saw him and ran and grabbed a Sunday paper, found his column, and started very timidly stalking him around the store, aisle by aisle. Finally, Michelle Barry noticed me and said to Dave, "I think this girl is trying to talk to you." He turned around and signed my paper. I was gushing effusively the entire time, like an idiot. He came in many times after that. One time, he bought about 20 Publix gift certificates for full turkey dinners at Thanksgiving time from me, for some of the junior staffers I'd guess.

~*~*~*~*~

That was fun. Lots of good memories. Except for the fish one. Hey, don't do that. Be a good person this week. Spread kindness!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Curiosity And The Queen

Welcome back! I saw a few of you guys left comments, but I haven't had a chance to read most of them yet because of being suuuuuper tired. I was already dealing with exhaustion, and then I had to go the ER for pain relief last night. We got home as the sun was coming up! Needless to say, I'm hitting the sack early(er) tonight!

Link up here if you're playing along with us this weekend!

~*~*~*~*~

Questions from Durward Discussion

Thanks to Kwizgiver for the suggestion.

 
 
1. What is the nearest book to you?  Your Kindle does not count.
 
Kelloggs Books IGd
 
These are the latest ten books we received for free from Kellogg's "Feeding Reading" program this month. I have the book Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven next to me, atop the printer. I've already ordered Book #11 and can't wait to get all 20!

2. When was the last time you took a "me" vacation?
 
Image result for napping funny gif
 
Does naptime count? If so, then I just woke up an hour or two ago...

3. How many telephone numbers do you have?
 
 
Me, personally? I just have one. But with five people in the house, each with a separate cell phone number, and then individual phone numbers for each of the kids' tablets... we have eight.

4. If you could fix one thing in the public school system, what is the one thing you would do immediately?
 
An Infographic About Teachers Infographic
 
There are so many big things that need fixing with our educational system, but I think the number one thing is money. I would pour it in, to raise the annual teacher salaries and to buy excellent curriculum. There is no reason in the world why the U.S. shouldn't have the best educational system one could find.
 
5. Are you a big tipper?
 
Related image
 
I tip appropriately.

6. Do you watch reality shows?
 
Related image
 
Nowhere near as much as I used to be, but I did watch the entire latest season of The Voice, and I picked Maelyn Jarmon (shown with the legendary Sara McLachlan) out as the one who had to win during her first appearance, in the Blinds. If you don't watch, treat yourself to a screening of her singing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" in the finale, or Fields of Gold in her blind audition. I could watch and listen all day long. And, she's deaf!

7. Who is your favorite sports team player?
 
Image result for who's the guy who took a knee in the NFL?
 
Maybe Steph Curry or, here, Colin Kaepernick, who wasn't afraid to take a stand (sorry) on a desperately important issue when he took a knee. #BlackLivesMatter

8. If you could travel in a spaceship to any planet, which planet would you like to visit and why?
 
Related image
 
After I quick detour to Jupiter to reassure him that he's still my favorite, I'd head to Pluto. Gotta show the little guy some big love.

9. When was the last time you sat in a church?
 
Related image
 
Probably Easter, if not the candlelight service on Christmas Eve. Can't miss that! I hate that we've turned into "holiday Christians," but if we can't find an LGBTQIA-accepting church here in Mountain Home, then that's the way it's going to have to be right now. Hurts.
 
10. Are there any aspects of blogging that annoy you?
 
Image result for funny blogging
 
Two things, mostly: one, when I write up something really meaningful to me, and there are crickets. Two, my own ability to make/find/have time to comment back on an your lovely pages with any kind of frequency.

11. When someone follows you on their blog or subscribes to your Facebook page, do you automatically follow and subscribe back?
 
Related image
 
Hee. This actually applies to me more on Instagram and Twitter. I try to be descriminate and not follow back anyone whose stuff I really don't want to see, but most of the time that doesn't happen, and I do. One thing that drives me away: the inane "ItWorks" products and their proponents. Just a waste of time, space, and energy for me!
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
All right. And now back to working on our August 2019 budget. Whoopty-do!! (Thanks, Bev & Kwizzy!)
 
Fin.

Sunday Stealing: Book Of Questions

Hey, there! Wheeeewwwwww, I'm exhausted.

Rob, Chloë and I spent all day Saturday driving up to get Sophia from camp and then, upon returning to the Boise area, running a billion errands. On our way back to Mountain Home, we stopped and picked up Sophia's girlfriend, another S, who is spending the rest of the weekend with us. I took a nap as soon as we got home, ain't gonna lie, and woke up with an extreme migraine. At the ER, I got pumped full of meds and barely remember anything after that. It's going on 2 PM now; I just woke up. I hope all of you had a more relaxing day than did I on Saturday!

Let's jump in, m'kay? Link up here if you'd like to play along with the rest of us thieves!

~*~*~*~*~

Image result for the book of questions

Questions from The Book of Questions

1. Do you think the world will be a better or worse place 100 years from now?
 
Image result for toto we're not in kansas anymore
That depends on your perspective. From a humanistic view, definitely worse, based on our actions today! But for the world as a whole? I think it'll just be different. Things are changing, some irrevocably, and things will once again evolve to a new stasis.

2. Would you accept $1,000,000 to leave the country and never set foot in it again?
 
Related image
 
I'm the first guy. Yeah? You promise? I'm outta here!!

3. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the body or the mind of a 30 year old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
 
Image result for angry fingers tapping gif
 
Oh, geez. I don't like either choice. Must I pick one? (fine: mind)

4. What would constitute a “perfect” evening for you?
 
Image result for napping meme
 
I really don't know anymore. I'm sure a nap is involved. (Sometimes I take three naps in a day - and recently, I hit four! ME/CFS can bite my arse.)

5. Whom do you admire most?  In what way does that person inspire you?
 
_DSC9258
 
Rob, before tearing up at Chloë's graduation ceremony
 
This may sound really corny, but I think it's Hubs. He's been through entirely too much, both emotionally and physically, and yet he rarely complains. He just gets up, keeps going, keeps trying harder, keeps doing what needs to be done without bitching about it (mostly; I mean, he is human!). He's very much like my grandfather in that regard. With all that I've got going on health-wise these days, he serves as a good role model for how I want to be, at least on the few days my ^&*(() body will even let me. (See? There I go!)

6. Do you prefer being around men or women?  Do your closest friends tend to be men or women?
 
Related image
 
At least when I was single, I hung around guys more than gals. Most of my friends were male. The scene above was similar to many I had around my college years. That being said, most of my best friends - then and now - are women.

7. If you could use a voodoo doll to hurt anyone you chose, would you?
 
Wait, could it be Trump?
 
Related image
 
But seriously folks... no. Unless it could be used for kindess. Maybe not like the bridal version seen above, but what about one where I could stick a pin (or whatev) in the place(s) where the person hurts, and it takes away their pains? Yeah. I could get on board with that.

8. What is your most treasured memory?
 
07212019 Babies Necklace
 
Well. I have dozens of treasured memories. One that I will treasure forever and ever happened after my son Robby died. I was absolutely devastated, completely heartbroken. There truly are no words to describe my level of despair. My mother-in-law came to visit and help us through it, make the arrangements, etc. I remember during that visit, I went up to take a shower and started sobbing under the water. Hubs told me she'd said to him, "I think your wife needs you right now." He came up and got in the shower with me, probably fully dressed, to hold me while we both cried... But that's not it. During that same visit, in a quiet moment, she gave me the "come here" finger wave and had me sit on the stairs next to her. She pulled out a small box. There was this necklace inside, with a sapphire baby girl represent Chloë, an angel representing Robby, and an aquamarine boy representing his identical twin, Jack (the boys were March babies). It's my most cherished possession; I could not possibly convey the feels I felt in that moment. I just looked at her, started crying, and we hugged. It was our warmest moment together, probably.
 
P.S. After Sophia was born, Mamacita (my MIL) said, "Well, I guess you better give me that necklace back!" And that's when my little diamond girl joined the team.

9. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?  Is there anything you hope to do that is even better?  (Let’s exclude raising children, if you have them)
 
PhD choppy choppy
 
Hmm, I don't know. There have been a lot, but I worked really hard to get into ^^ this ^^ pretty exclusive lab, and I made it in after much hard work on my part.
 
Even better? I don't know, I have learned that things aren't always "better" or "worse" but more like, just, different. You know? I'd been watinging since my pregnancy and first year with Chloë - who will turn 18 in September - to go to law school when my kids were all grown, but with my brain injury, I don't think that will be possible now. So, author it shall be. eek Fingers crossed!! 🤞🤞🤞
 
10. If you went to a dinner party and were offered a dish you had never tried, would you want to taste it, even if it sounded strange and not very appealing?
 
It totally depends. Three things I would NOT eat, no matter what:
 
5657545-Monkey_brains_for_sale_at_Market-0
Monkey brains - actual
 
Image result for balut
 
Balut
 
Image result for haggis
 
... and haggis
 
Three things I have eaten in my non-veg days:
 
Image result for beautiful frog legs dish on a cruise ship
 
frog legs - on a cruise
 
Image result for beautiful escargot dish on a cruise ship
 
escargot - on another cruise, or maybe the same?
 
Image result for beautiful sea urchins sushi
 
sea urchin sushi - in Virginia Beach Town Center
 
By the way, Rob and I ate that sushi on a date for our anniversary one year, and we both agreed it was among the most DISGUSTING things we'd ever eaten!!! Have y'all had it? 
 
11. Do your close friends tend to be older or younger than you?
 
Related image
 
They're usually the same age or older. I can think of few friends of mine who are younger.
 
12. How do you feel when people sing Happy Birthday to you in a restaurant?
 
Related image
 
It's not my favorite thing in the world, now that I'm no longer eight years old (!!), but if dessert's involved I'm game. I'd rather it be a plate of fruits or even an extravagant fruta loca, though:
 
Related image

13. When you tell a story, do you often exaggerate or embellish it?  If so, why?
 
Image result for mark twain quote about embellishment or exaggeration
 
Yes. I do "edit" my tales sometimes. In short, I say, "I do it for the LOLs." For the longer version of that, I'll borrow from a 2014 article I just found on HuffPost:

"Some people are born storytellers. Other people struggle to hold your attention.

"The difference between a boring story and an interesting one usually boils down to three things: emotions, embellishment, and authenticity.

"Boring stories go in a linear fashion. Poor storytellers repeat every fact and detail with no particular emphasis on one element or the other. They tend to focus on getting every single inane detail exactly right.

"The 'one boring fact after another' technique is a favorite of literalists, who typically tell less than stellar stories.

"Great storytellers, on the other hand, provide interpretation. They help you understand what the story means by drawing your attention to the most interesting parts, which sometimes requires a bit of exaggeration.

"Mark Twain once said, 'Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.'

"[I] not only tell stories, [I] embellish them."

14. If a friend were almost always late, would you resent it or simply allow for it? Can you be allowed to be on time?
 
Image result for being late funny
 
I grew up needing to be excessively punctual. When I got to college in Miami, I learned what it meant to be "on Cuban time" or various other Caribbean cultures' time. That meant: late. Always, always late, so I became very forgiving of them in a hurry!
 
Image result for being late funny
 
As for me, I don't prefer it, but being part of this family necessitates my understanding that, almost always, I will be late!

15. If you could have free, unlimited service for five years from an extremely good cook, chauffeur, housekeeper, or personal secretary, which would you choose?
 
Image result for housekeeper funny
 
Rob is an extremely good cook, and I'm not bad. The kids are learning to hold their own (Jack is the best). Neither Rob nor I mind driving; in fact, we generally like it (although it'd be nice if even one of the kids got their license, finally). I enjoy being the personal secretary of the fam. This one was an absolute, hands-down, no-brainer: Housekeeper. I'm really good at cleaning and alla that, but my body no longer permits it. Rob and the kids share the tasks now, but I'm never super thrilled with the job!
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
Welp, it's after 1530 now, meaning I've gotta get to some of that "secretarial" work! I do hope y'all will have a lovely week.
 
Fin.

Sunday Stealing: For The Love Of Surveys

Welcome back, my pretty babies! It's still Saturday night here, which means that, at least, I'm starting both Saturday 9 and SS on time. In this time of major health issues for me, that is nothing short of a miracle. But hold your applause until the end of this post - you may change your mind! 😉

So let's get down to business; here is the link if you'd like to join us this weekend!

~*~*~*~*~

If you could build a second house anywhere, where would it be?

DSC_0207

If I were being selfish and only thinking of myself, that house would be built in or near Key West. I miss the culture of the keys and particularly downtown Key West. The random chickens everywhere is quintessentially representative of every trip (of many) I've taken down there. I don't think that place could be duplicated anywhere else. But...

Image result for beautiful mountain lodge

... if I were thinking of my husband, we'd build a nice lodge in the mountains somewhere, and live off the grid.

What are your favorite articles of clothing?

DSC_5675

I don't have a lot right now that I would consider a favorite of mine, but these "onesie" jammies of Sophie's, which we gave her this past Christmas, are so adorable on her. She's such a goof, too, and wears them out in public occasionally!

The last CD you bought or downloaded?

Image result for jason mraz have it all gif

I'm not sure which was the last one: The Have It All album by Jason Mraz, or a re-purchase of The Lady Killer by CeeLo Green. {We should totally do one or both of those on Sat9 sometime, Laurie!}


4. What time do you generally wake up in the morning?

Image result for nocturnal funny

I'm nocturnal, so if I wake up when it's still morning, I consider it put-in-on-the-calendar worthy.

5. What is your favorite kitchen appliance?

Image result for red valentine kitchenaid mixer

That would be my Candy Apple Red KitchenAid Artisan Design Series 5-quart Stand Mixer. She's a beauty! Hubs gave it to me one year for Valentine's Day, back we still lived in Virginia Beach. And we don't even normally do Valentine's gifts!

6. If you could play an instrument, what would it be?

Image result for electric violin gif

In about 1997, I think, I went back to New York to visit friends. One night while there, I watched one of my very best friends, Shana, play electric violin and viola in a gig she and her cover band-mates were playing. She had the electric violin solo in "Ants Marching" by Dave Matthews Band. And she was badass! I've always admired her tremendous musical skill, but that night really made an impression on me. I'd love to learn.

7. What is your favorite color?

Bahamas_-_MERIS_-_24_January_2004_large

Right where that arrow's point is situated is my favorite color. I describe it fondly as "the middle depths of the sea."

8. Do you believe in the afterlife?

Image result for the afterlife funny

I have to believe that I will see my mother and my son, both gone far too suddenly and far too soon, again.

9. Your favorite children’s book?

Image result for anne of green gables quotes

I loved the Nancy Drew books as well, but I think it would have to be Anne of Green Gables and the following books in the series that I loved the most. Maybe I'll read them again sometime soon. Sooo many good quotes from them, but I had to pick this one because I'd like to believe there are many - maybe? - among you guys whom I could consider kindred spirits.

10. Can you juggle?

Image result for juggling gif

Definitely not. My brother-in-law can; I've seen him pull out the trick a time or two for the kiddos.

11. What’s your favorite day of the week?

Related image

When my husband was still in the Navy, I would say it was any day of the week that he was home. Now that he's out and medical problems abound, I could probably safely say it's any day I'm not in a doctor's office!

12. Which do you prefer, sushi or hamburger?

Related image

I haven't had a hamburger since high school, thank ya very much! And while I am proud of that facth+++, I have to admit defeat in Round Two of my attempt to be - and remain - a vegan. Seems like after being a strict vegan for two months, my body just overcorrected, and I turned into a voracious [pescetarian] carnivore. Hopefully that'll balance back out soon, because the treehugger in me is laying down a huge guilt trip.

13. What is your favorite flower?

Related image

Historically, it has always been the gorgeous tiger lily, the abundance of pulchritude of which I always admired as a kid growing up in Central New York. But now I think that I have bumped it to the Number Two slot for these guys:

Related image

There are several hundred species of hibiscus, and I'm pretty sure I love them in all their ostentatious-bordering-on-meretricious glory.

14. What is your favorite meal?

Image result for nobu new style sashimi

First, a little story: after Rob and I eloped, I got pregnant like a minute later. I tried to work, but I had hyperemesis gravidarum and could not. At the same time, I devoted myself to being the best wife and mommy I could be. I started cooking meals I would never eat (#BecauseBeef), and I became a dedicated fan of Martha Stewart's show. We still cook several recipes I loved from that show; Hubs has the Thanksgiving turkey and gravy recipe memorized by now. Anyway, one day, renowned Chef Nobu was on the show, and he taught Martha how to make his new-style salmon sashimi. I made it only a few times, when now-17-year-old Chloë was just a wee baby. I haven't made it since those days; don't really know why. Obviously it left an impression on me, so I think maybe soon it's gonna happen.

15. Describe your ideal weather?

Weather meme

It would be quite warm and sunny but not blistering hot, with a light breeze. And of course, it almost goes without saying, I'd be on the beach.

16. What is your favorite ice cream?

Image result for cannoli with pistachios

No can do on the ice cream anymore. I'll just have cannoli. For me, please make it that the cannoli Hubs and I ate in Sicily that time, at the top of Mount Etna, with the chopped pistachios... so much yum.

17. What is your favorite breakfast?

Image result for giant homemade blueberry muffin

Hmm, I don't think I've ever thought about that before. It would probably have to be a giant blueberry muffin, cut in half, with a schmear of good butter, like Président or Kerrygold... I think we have some fresh blueberries. Guess what I'm gonna make?

18. Where did you meet your spouse or significant other?

Image result for online dating funny

We met on the Interwebs and eloped exactly two months later.

Bonus: something you’d like to do that you’ve never done before?

Related image

I'd love to go waterskiing. Hey, if this six-month-old baby can do it...!

~*~*~*~*~

That was fun, Bev - thank you!

And now, I have some muffins to make. Ciao!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing + Bonus: Provoking Thoughts, Part The Second

Image result for April FOol's Day

Hey guys and dolls! I didn't participate in Saturday 9 yesterday because I've had another bit of health issues going on, but that's okay because I'mma jump into it right now. Here's the link if you want(ed) to join, but my little April Fools' trick is to pull out an S9 before I get into SS. 'Kay?

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: The Fool on the Hill (1968)

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

Chosen because Monday is April Fool's Day. 

1) As an April Fool's prank, Taco Bell once announced they had purchased The Liberty Bell and renamed it The Taco Liberty Bell. Describe your perfect taco.

Chloë Taco Bell 03302019

Well, first of all, since Chloë jumped ship from Subway to Taco Bell a couple weeks ago, she's my favorite little bean burrito right here! 😉 Honestly, though, I don't like tacos. The crunch, the falling apart, everything all over the plate or your lap... no. Too messy for me. I do like a bean burrito, though. That 69¢ bit of wonder from Taco Bell is really what I need.

2) Similarly, as an April Fool's prank, the Ford Motor Co. was supposed to wipe out the national deficit by purchasing the naming rites to a beloved monument, renaming it the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial. What model car do you drive? 

Georgia Rest Stop March 2017

Here's our little workhouse 2012 Dodge Journey two years ago, on our voyage from Miami to Boise.

2019 Dodge Journey Collage

And here it is now, with all the stickers and magnets and stuff. Yup. So us. If you notice nothing else, see the "Blue Girl, Red State" sticker (me); the "PERSIST" sticker (my girls and me); and the Pride sticker on the side (my girls - and their parents, as Allies). Very us. 😉

3) In 1998, Burger King got in on the April Fool's Day fun by promoting a special "Left-Handed Whopper," designed to be easier for a leftie to hold. Describe your perfect burger.

I think I remember that. That's hilarious. Here's mine:

Image result for elevation burger veggie burger

The veggie burger at Elevation Burger is the BOMB. If you don't have an Elevation Burger near you (we don't, but we did in Miami), you're missing out. According to Hubs and the kids, the "regular" beef burgers are epic, too. But those veggie burgers... man. Making my mouth water right now!

4) In 1962, when color TV was still new, a Swedish station pranked viewers by telling them they could convert their black/white sets to color by cutting up a nylon stocking and stretching it across the screen. Of course, in 1962, more women wore nylons and screens were smaller. How big is your TV? Are there any nylon stockings in your home?

Samsung - 43" Class - LED - NU6900 Series - 2160p - Smart - 4K UHD TV with HDR - Front_Zoom. 1 of 6 Images & Videos. Swipe left for next.

I recently bought a new TV from Best Buy (ugh, like my least favorite store in the world), but I had to go back and look at the specs. It's a 43" Samsung Smart TV. It's really nice. It's got probably way more functionality that I don't know how to use yet, but I'm still learning. 

As for nylons, I've been getting rid of tights and stockings and stuff little by little now. I used to wear them a lot in Miami, but I don't know why. Many of us, including Chloë and me, have sensory issues with nylon. So they're exiting the building.

5) In 1957, the BBC ran an April Fool's story about how the Swiss were enjoying a "bumper spaghetti crop," with spaghetti literally growing on trees. Viewers who called the station, asking how to grow a spaghetti tree of their own, were told to place a sprig of spaghetti in a can of tomato sauce and hope for the best. Have you ever fallen for an April Fool's prank?

Also hilarious. I love it.

Related image

Yes, I have. When I was in high school in Syracuse, New York, the main station I listened to was 93Q. They started announcing, months before April 1st, that they were switching over to a smooth music, kind of classical vibe. Everybody was talking about it; we were crushed. On April Fools' Day, they started playing "Feelings" over and over and over. By the 10th time or so, I finally figured it out. What a huge joke! The next day, they were back to normal. I felt so duped!

6) When Crazy Sam was growing up, her mother would surprise her on April Fool's Day by slipping a rubber worm or plastic spider in her lunch box. When you were in school, did you more frequently brown bag it or buy your lunch in the cafeteria line?

I love that, Sam. I missed out on that.

Related image

I really don't know how to answer this one, honestly. I did make myself a bagged lunch to bring every day, but I really wasn't allowed to put anything in there that I wanted to eat. A lot of the time it was a big slab of greasy ham from the previous night (or several nights prior) dinner... and I have never not hated ham. So that got thrown away. I'd eat a little of the apple, maybe, and throw that away. I don't remember being allowed to have a drink. Or money. I started mooching food off my friends' trays or paper bags, which I'm sure they sort of hated and resented, until I got a job at 15. Then I could go up and buy myself a damn chocolate milk or something, if I got thirsty. That whole situation kind of sucked.

7) This week's song was an international hit for Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66. Because of the song's bossa nova arrangement, everyone assumed the lead singer, Lani Hall, was Brazilian. She was a folk singer from Chicago. Sergio Mendes discovered her at a charity benefit. Can you think of a time when doing good really paid off for you?

CAREPKG Layette

Sure. After my son died after three days in NICU, I began a 501(c)(3) nonprofit called CARE Package. I wanted to make layettes, such as this one, for other babies who didn't survive, as well as give out information in those same packages for the parents. I needed to give them ideas for things they could do with their their baby before giving him/her over to the people to prepare for the next stage. We didn't get to do any of that, because we were rushed, and nobody thought to tell us, "Hey, you can bathe him." "Hey, you can change his diaper and dress him." And the kicker for me, "You can get his twin brother in here and get a picture of them together." That still really stabs me in the heart. But the good thing is, I have gotten tons of letters and emails from parents and hospital staff who had received all those CARE Packages. And one day, I went in and was part of a panel at that hospital - Naval Medical Center Portsmouth - to sit with doctors and surgeons and nurses and other support staff and really, truly get to the heart of telling them how to take care of bereaved parents. Those initial steps in the bereavement process are so crucial, and NMCP did it all wrong. To have the floor in front of these people, and have them really listen to me about how to fix that problem, meant a lot for me. More importantly, I hope it was fixed for those to come after me experiencing similar things.

8) In 1968, when this record was popular, Pierre Trudeau became Prime Minister of Canada. Today his son holds that office. When did you most recently visit our neighbor to the north?

Image result for Ottawa canada

I've been to Canada several times, but not since I was a kid. Under the age of 10 or so, we visited Ottawa last. We were walking back to our hotel from a fancy dinner, and then a street fight broke out in front of us. One guy pushed another into a store front, and they broke through the glass, which shattered everywhere. I was terrified.

9) Random question: Name three websites you visit every day.

1.Image result for befunky logo

I like to take and edit photos, so I'm always on BeFunky - it's my favorite editing site.

2. Image result for excel logo

I do my grocery lists, our budget, my current medications and specialists, etc., all on Excel. So that's always open.

Image result for homeschool planet logo

And Homeschool Planet, our planner/calendar/organizer, is always open. Since we homeschool, our schedule is not a Monday-Friday 8-3 type deal. We school whenever, wherever, so I've always got to have it ready to go.

~*~*~*~*~

So that was fun! Thanks, Sam! Let's skip on into Sunday Stealing with Bev now. Link up here if you want to play along!

~*~*~*~*~

If you had to teach something, what would you teach?

Image result for education about the environment

I'm not usually big on these word map thingies, but this really kind of sums it up for me. I would teach about the Environment and being responsible for the ecology where one is, locally, and also nationally and globally - and we're just not doing that as a whole.

2. What would you regret not fully doing, being or having in your life?

Image result for feeling valuable

Doing: I would love to get an advanced degree in something. I was thinking Law, but I'm not sure anymore. Being: I would love to be at peace with myself and feel like I am valuable. Having: I would love to have memories full of joy, new experiences, and laughter, far more than anything else.

3. Are you holding onto something that you need to let go of?

Image result for constant terror

Yes. Constant fear and terror. I have literally lived in constant terror for my entire life. Every minute. I have to learn to accept that if I relax, everything will be okay.

4. When you are 80-years-old, what will matter to you the most?

Image result for multigenerational family

I want to have multiple generations of our family love to come "home" to us and hang with us, and just be full of joy together.

5. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards and just do what you know is right?

I'm not sure I'm fully capable of answering this question - pass!

6. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

Image result for old woman stooped over

Probably between 80 or 90 years old. With all the meds I take, and all my chronic physical and mental health conditions... I definitely feel way older than I am right now.

7. Would you break the law to save a loved one?

ABSOLUTELY.

8. What makes you smile?

DSC_5533

Seeing all of my kids getting along and having a good time makes me smile!

9. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

Image result for NO

I want to learn to say "no" more. It's hard for me. I always want to take on way too much.

10. If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?

Related image

It's important to me for people to realize that the global climate change we are facing is largely man-made, and it will be catastrophic. However, I also want people to know there are small steps each and every one of us can do to rein it in and bring things back more into alignment with the way things should be. I would give them those steps and teach them where to find the how-tos. We owe it to ourselves and our children, and their children.

11. If the average human lifespan was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?

Related image

I'd be tempted to seize the day a whole lot more, which tells me that I should be seizing the day a whole lot more!

12. What do we all have in common besides our genes that makes us human?

Image result for what does it mean to be a human being

I think a lot of it has to do with what we care about, and how we feel about those things. And also, that we care how others perceive us. But it's so complex; a pat answer won't do.

13. If you could choose one book as a mandatory read for all high school students, which book would you choose?

Image result for shirley jackson the lottery

First, I'd ask each student to read the short story "The Lottery," by Shirley Jackson. It would invite a lot of really interesting discussions among students and teachers.

Image result for to kill a mockingbird

And then, it may seem cliché, but I think To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee should be required reading for every American student. There is still such a long way to go with race relations in this country, so every conversation we can have about it can help.

14. Would you rather have less work or more work you actually enjoy doing?

Related image

I'm not going to ask for more work, but regardless, I'd want to enjoy doing it!

15. What is important enough to go to war over?

Related image

Call me naïve or maybe even sexist, but I feel like most men are far too eager to fight over things than to sit down and have a conversation - or 20 - to come to a point of understanding and compromise. I honestly can't think of many things worth an actual war.

16. Which is worse, failing or never trying?

Image result for if at first you don't succeed meme

Never trying is much sadder than trying and failing. I've got to remind myself of this often. I don't have a fear of failure. I have a fear of succeeding.

17. When was the last time you listened to the sound of your own breathing?

Image result for asthma medicines gif

Today, actually. My asthma is pretty out-of-control lately, and I'm wary of another bout of pneumonia (it's been over a year since I had it, y'all! WOOT!), so I listen for wheezing whenever I'm lying down quietly.

18. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?

Related image

I think differently. I mean, I know everyone thinks differently - supposedly - but when I was in graduate school and we would have discussions on 30-page reports of scientific studies and experiments, my contributions were always so different than everyone else's. I became afraid to contribute to the class, but then when I finally did speak up, everyone was like, "ohhh, I never thought of that." It's weird and cool and scary all at once.

19. What does ‘The American Dream’ mean to you?

Image result for the american dream

I think this graph really sums up well how I feel about it. It's not about wealth or acquiring stuff. It's about freedom and opportunity.

20. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?

Image result for worrying funny

I don't know. I've never been a simpleton... but I sure would like to be joyful more often!

~*~*~*~*~

So it's almost 5 AM here on Sunday now (I had a long overnight snooze in the middle of this). Better late than never eh?

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Young And Beautiful

First of all, I have not heard of this song before, and I'm kind of out of the loop as far as entertainment news goes, so I had no idea Lana Del Ray was on the soundtrack for The Great Gatsby!! Very cool. It had already piqued my interest, so I think I'll definitely have to read, and then see, it now. Woot!

Image result for lana del rey great gatsby

{The formatting is so weird for Typepad sometimes. Apologies in advance for anything confusing to read!}

Link up here if you want to play along today. Seems like it should be a fun one!

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: Young and Beautiful (2013)
 
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

***

1) Lana Del Rey wrote this song for the soundtrack of The Great Gatsby. She wanted it to reflect the feelings of Daisy Buchanan. Have you read The Great Gatsby?

Image result for the great gatsby meme

Admittedly, I have not. It's on my must-read list, though. I don't know why I haven't gotten around to it. Maybe because raising three kids has left me too busy to even read a magazine? But one day I will.

2) In the 1970s, Robert Redford portrayed Jay Gatsby. In the 2013 version, Leonardo di Caprio played the part. In real life, both "Gatsbys" have helped raise funds for the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). Are you careful about recycling and conserving water/electricity?

#MoveTheDate
Oh, goodness, yes! Very much so. I'm teaching the kids more about the environment and ecology this year in our homeschool, and of course, there are always intersections with each topic and the concepts of conservation, preservation, the five Rs:

Image result for the 5 Rs of recycling gif

Although the "R"s do vary considerably from site to site. Most say  "Refuse - Reduce - Reuse - Recycle - Rot," but you probably get the point. I am an absolute stickler for reducing waste and for recycling like a maniac. If I find a recyclable item thrown away in the garbage can, I go a little berserk about it. But it's extremely important to me that the kids learn to be the guardians and shepherds of the world they are inheriting, not its destroyers. I think they are learning well. We play a fish game every few months that dramatically explores and explains the concept of conservation. It's really interesting; let me know if you want the (free) link to it!

3) Lana admits that she dropped out of college because she simply could not get the required math credits. When confronted with basic addition, subtraction, multiplication or division, do you do it in your head? Reach for pencil and paper? Or do you take advantage of the calculator that's on your desktop or phone?

Image result for math funny gif

I can most certainly do that all in my head, but sometimes I write down the multiplication or division when it gets out to several place values - but only if I'm too tired to guestimate by rounding. Occasionally I'll use the calculator, but that's very rare and usually only when I am in a hurry and MUST have the exact right answer. Short answer? It depends.

4) She enjoys Kurt Cobain, Eminem, Elvis and Sinatra. Which of those four gentlemen did you listen to most recently?

Image result for here we are now entertain us gif

Oh, gosh. I've honestly listened to all four of them recently, but I do think that Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was the very last song of one of these fellas that I heard on the radio. Aaaaand... now I'm gonna have that in my head all day!

5) Speaking of Sinatras, she has described her high maintenance look -- big hair, long nails, elaborate eye makeup, full lips -- as "Gangster Nancy Sinatra." How long does it take you, on an average day, to prepare to face the world?

Well, again, that depends. I used to mandate (to myself) that I had to take a shower, do my hair, do my makeup, and generally have matching (and hopefully cute) clothing on before I left the house. Nowadays, NONE of that applies!  I'm lucky to get 3 or 4 showers or baths a week (because of my myriad illnesses), and then I usually just comb out my hair and let it air-dry. If I put on makeup, it's minimal; usually just mascara will suffice for me these days:

Melanie 2

However, the other night 13-year-old Sophia wanted to play with my (expensive, fancy, high-quality) make-up, so I let her. But she wanted to give ME a makeover. Needless to say, I did not leave the house after this one:

Sophia did my makeup
I think I'm pretty much guaranteed not to be America's Next Top Model!


6) She's a big soccer fan, and her favorite team is Liverpool FC. Here in the US, college basketball fans are currently obsessed with March Madness. What's the last sporting event that you watched?

Karen Joyce Collage

I don't really watch sports, per se, but when my Hurricanes are playing (particularly football, basketball, and sometimes baseball), I try to stop and at least pay attention to the scores. I don't have a whole lot of interest in most mainstream team sports; my family and I are not particularly athletic! On the other hand, my beautiful niece Karen, above, is a superstar when it comes to soccer and track! She's now in her freshman year playing on the team at SUNY Fredonia; I don't know if she continues with track, however. She's smart and beautiful, to boot! Her younger sister, Hanna, is just the same. 

7) Her younger sister, Caroline, studied photography and is responsible for some of Lana's publicity pictures. Have you ever gotten a job because of a relative?

Image result for nepotism funny

Nope; I got all of my jobs based on my own merits. Unless you count a babysitting job here and there because an older sister wasn't available; I don't.

8) In 2013, when this song came out, Pope Francis became the first pope from a Latin American country. Latin America generally includes Mexico, most of Central and South America, and in the Caribbean, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. What's the farthest south that you've ever traveled?

This was a tough one for me; I actually had to check the latitude of two places in particular:

Guam 13ºN
When we lived on Guam, part of Micronesia and close to the countries of the Philippines, Japan, Korea, Australia, etc., from October 2002-February 2003, we were about 13ºN of the equator. A lot of the tiny island is beautiful, with its clear blue lagoons (the picture above is where we first stayed before getting into base housing, in Tumon Bay near the capital), waterfalls, and lush green foliage everywhere. Some wasn't, but mostly I feel like I would have had a much more delightful time if I wasn't enormously pregnant with a high-risk twin pregnancy! Hot, damp, huge... not a good combination! 😏

Boys' 16th Birthday Collage

[By the way, shout out to those aforementioned twins: yesterday was Jack and Robby's 16th birthday!]

Holland America Panama Canal 9ºN
However, even closer to the equator, at around 9ºN of the equator, I was on a Princess Cruise with some of my family as we went through the Panama Canal! That was a special memory, definitely. 

I have yet to make it south of the equator. What the hell; I guess I'd better live at least another 42 years so I can do all this traveling that's happening in my mind!

9) Random question -- What button would you prefer your life to have: rewind, fast forward or a pause?

Image result for plead the fifth funny

So that's, like, a completely impossible question for me to answer honestly! I'm in a three-way deadlock with those choices; 33.3333% of the time (mostly my childhood) I would gladly have taken the fast-forward button. Another 33.3333% of the time, I would hit rewind so I could go back and have my babies be actual babies again and not these big-ass teenagers I can't get used to just yet! (My youngest may be turning 14 next month, but I still sit and oooh and ahh in the baby clothing and shoe departments at various stores!) And now that I have so many chronic illnesses which contribute to a massive amount of brain fog, I'd hit that pause button constantly to give myself a chance to pick my words carefully while others don't try to supply them for me. It's so hard to form a cohesive thought sometimes, so I'd need that for the final third of the time!

~*~*~*~*~

Phew! That took me a lot longer than I anticipated! Not Sam's or anyone's fault, really. Between birthday "doings" with Jack last night, my computer giving me the blue screen of death not once but twice in the middle of it, and finding myself getting busy with 1700 other things, it's a wonder I finished at all! But that's not to say I didn't enjoy it - I always do! Crazy Sam, you write some great questions. Sometimes I ponder whether I'd ever be good at this duty if you were to step down, and I always come to the same conclusion: Nope. I could not measure up.

Hope y'all have a great weekend, and I'm delighted to finally be able to wish you all a very happy SPRING!

Related image

Fin. 


Sunday Stealing: Bookish

This week's SS is all about books, my least favorite meme topic. That, coupled with the fact that I've just had a huge argument with my husband, may mean this isn't my most fun post. However, I'm gonna give it a go, just the same.

Link up here if you'd like to play along this week!

~*~*~*~*~*~

This is a set of book questions I found a long time ago on A Striped Armchair, which had not posted since 2015.

Which book do you irrationally cringe away from reading, despite seeing only positive reviews?

  1. Image result for just one thing
  2. My therapist from years ago recommended I read Just One Thing by Dr. Rick Hanson, and I bought it right away... but I haven't really read much of it at all. I just can't seem to 'force' myself to keep reading it, since I don't want to... I don't know, not benefit from it and fail my therapist, maybe?

    If you could bring three characters to life for a social event (afternoon tea, a night of clubbing, perhaps a world cruise), who would they be and what would the event be?
  3. Image result for mad hatter
  4. The Mad Hatter - because what an interesting and fun dude he'd make for all of that!
  5. Related image
  6. Willy Wonka - because of all of the above AND hey, candy!
  7. Related image
  8. And hey, how 'bout Grindelwald, because who doesn't like a bad boy now and then? ;)

    You are told you can't die until you read the most boring novel on the planet. While this immortality is great for awhile, eventually you realize it's past time to die. Which book would you expect to get you a nice grave?
  9. Image result for War and peace
  10. I expect I'd find Tolstoy's War and Peace dreadfully boring.

    Which book have you pretended, or at least hinted, that you've read, when in fact you've been nowhere near it?
  11. Image result for not a damn thing gif
  12. I don't lie about silly things like that.

    As an addition to the last question, has there been a book that you really thought you had read, only to realize when you read a review about it/go to 'reread' it that you haven't? Which book?
  13. Image result for not a damn thing gif
  14. Still a big fat NOPE!

    You've been appointed Book Advisor to a VIP (who's not a big reader). What's the first book you'd recommend and why?
  15. Image result for bronte sister books
  16. Hmm. I've read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, and Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. All were amazing; I'd recommend any of them!

    A good fairy comes and grants you one wish: you will have perfect reading comprehension in the foreign language of your choice. Which language do you go with?
  17. Image result for Beautiful greek alphabet
  18. Maybe Greek? I'd really like to be fluent in every language, but let's start there!

    A mischievous fairy comes and says that you must choose one book that you will reread once a year for the rest of your life (you can read other books as well). Which book would you pick?
  19. Image result for douglas adams nonfiction book
  20. Definitely Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams - everyone should read it!

    9. What's one bookish thing you 'discovered' from book blogging (maybe a new genre, or author, or new appreciation for cover art-anything)?
  21. Related image
  22. I'm not a book blogger and really have no desire to be... ;)

    That good fairy is back for one final visit. Now, she's granting you your dream library! Describe it. Is everything leather-bound? Is it full of first edition hardcovers? Pristine trade paperbacks? Perhaps a few favorite authors have inscribed their works? Go ahead-let your imagination run free.

Image result for beautiful library

Absolutely NO leather-bound books for me, please (#Vegan)! First edition hardcovers would be amazing, though. Signed by all the authors, of course.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Welp, that was... fun? But at least it's done. Heh! Thanks, Bev.

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: The Ask Game

Hey, everyone. I missed Saturday 9, because I was weak and tired and in bed all day, but maybe I'll add it to the end of this post just to add in the fun. ;) It's 2:57 AM on Sunday now, so we'll have to see if the little bit of energy I have holds out 'til then. I hope y'all are well!

Let's begin:

~*~*~*~*~

Do you have a passion project? What is it?

003 (2)

Well, we've kind of stepped back from our candle business a slight bit, now that the holiday season rush is over, but I guess kinda-sorta still that. When my newborn son died in 2003 - Robby, who was the identical twin of our Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome survivor, Jack - I started a nonprofit to knit and crochet layettes (blankets, booties, hats, and a gown or sweater) to give to other bereaved parents experiencing infant loss. Our charity, CARE Package, Inc., received handmade donations from all over the US, and sometimes international donations came in, too. After about 7 years, I wound down the charity to concentrate on other things; namely, homeschooling Chloë, Jack, and Sophia. We're still doing that; I'd love to be knitting all the time still, but my body is rebelling, and I just can't.

How many languages can you speak? 

Related image

I speak Spanish, although I'm not quite fluent, and I'm learning Latin with my girls this year. I speak bits and pieces of several other languages, including French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese... and I'm forgetting some.

What was the last book you read?

Image result for recipes for repair

I'm still into Recipes for Repair, which promises to help those who have Lyme Disease. I'm not far into it yet, so I'm hoping it will do what it says it will!

Where in the world would you most like to visit?

Image result for Great Barrier Reef

Hands down, I want to visit the Great Barrier Reef the most. I just hope it's not too late, by the time I can get there!

Top 5 fictional characters?

Image result for Katniss and Peeta

Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, Caesar Flickerman, Effie Trinket, and Haymitch Abernathy - all right, I admit I have a bit of a love for The Hunger Games series!

Something you miss from your childhood?

Image result for I miss my grandparents

I miss my grandparents something awful! They were among the very few good things about my childhood - no, they were the best!

(P.S. It's 6:25 AM now, and I just woke up. Again. So much for my energy holding out!)

What skill do you wish you had?

Image result for singer belting it out gif

I wish I could really belt it out when I sing. I mean, I can sing well, carry a tune, and all that, but I don't have a lot of power behind my voice. Maybe from being sick a lot as a kid, but I just don't have a voice that can carry to the back of an auditorium without a microphone, y'know? Beyond that, I wish I were an incredible gymnast!

Tell us an interesting fact.

Image result for great white shark in tonic immobility

I don't know if you meant about me or not, but my head immediately goes to sharks - still! Like many animals (Hubs likes doing it to our dogs and cats), sharks - even Great Whites! - will go into a state called "tonic immobility" if you turn them upside down. They are vulnerable and helpless in this state. As they age and grow, they move up to the top of the food chain, just below Orcas and the greatest enemy of all animals: mankind. Some Orcas have developed an ability to put these adult Great Whites into tonic immobility, so that they can feast on only their highly-nutritious livers.

What was your favorite subject in school?

Related image

All sciences, of course, but since I am a biologist, it's gotta be Biology. But I loved school. All school. Even Social Studies... although, I did not and do not like learning about war.

Favorite planet?

Related image

Big, beautiful Jupiter, with it's giant red spot and dozens of moons...

Which historical figure fascinates you and why?

Related image

Mahatma Gandhi, because with his peaceful protests and non-violent resistance, he was on the forefront of changing prejudicial and unjust laws without military might. I admire that.

Favorite mythical creature?

Image result for gorgeous mermaid gif

I love mermaids. In fact, I even admitted in my article on LinkedIn that I think I was one in a past life! ;)

Do you believe in any conspiracy theories?

Image result for funny conspiracy theories

No.

What is your favorite word?

Image result for Fuck!

That one. Oh, I thought for some reason you said favorite curse word. hahaha! I really did. Well, maybe for me it's the same? Even though I have an extensive vocabulary, I do find the word f*ck so very useful.

Do you have any obsessions right now?

Image result for bobs burgers gif

Yeah. I'm obsessed with Bob's Burgers, and I've got it on my DVR so I can catch up on as many past episodes as possible. If you're not watching, and you like to laugh, you should totally start.

Do you play any instruments?

Related image

I play a mean harmonica! I took lessons playing the organ my mom played and can do a little keyboarding/piano still, but not much. I'm just horrible at sight-reading music; it doesn't come naturally to me.

What’s your worst habit?

Image result for staying up until i'm exhausted

I stay up long past the state of exhaustion and then can't bring myself to bed. When I eventually do get to bed, I'm so tired I can't get up when it's time. I completely collapse. This habit started in college, where I quickly learned that you either got great grades - or you slept. Now that I have this capricious illness that lets my body either slightly function or not function at all, I take those functional days and don't want to let them goooooo!

Do you have a collection of anything?

Related image

I have a pretty big shot glass collection from all over. I also collect magnets. I have part of my grandmother's spoon collection and part of my mother-in-law's spoon collection, which I love. I used to collect interesting keychains from my travels, too, but I've stopped now that I see how useless they were to me. Just heavy!

What’s your biggest ‘what if’?

Image result for University of South Florida logo

That would probably be "what if" I hadn't abruptly quit my Ph.D. program at the University of South Florida and, instead of taking a little time off to think about my goals in life, eloped with a guy I'd just met off the Interwebs and then quickly found myself pregnant with our first little girl... What if that hadn't all transpired? But it doesn't matter to me to think about these things, because there is nothing I would change about what I did do!

What is your favorite fairy tale?

Related image

Is it any wonder that The Little Mermaid is my favorite fairy tale - Disney-fied or not?!

Have you ever dyed your hair? Is there a color you’d like to dye it?

DSC_6115

I have dyed my hair black (once), and I have died it various shades of auburn for years and years... but right now it's undyed. Now I'm seeing all kinds of gray - no, actually, they're pretty shiny silver - but I call them "extra blonde" hairs, even in my eyebrows and lashes!, and I am not really loving it. I'm trying to decide whether and what to dye it next. This, in the foto, is my younger daughter, Sophia. She has just died her naturally-blonde hair this interesting shade of blue. I love it! She has also dyed it turquoise and fuschia in the past. I wish I had her guts!

If you could learn one language overnight, which would you choose?

Related image

Italian. In a heartbeat. So I could go live there and eat my way through the country. You know, in a vegan way, so... cucina povera-style.

What’s the most useless thing you know how to do?

Image result for useless talent

I can think of a lot of things I can do, but I can't think of any I would term 'useless'! Even cooking meat- and dairy-based dishes is useful to me now, in vegan cooking, because I can take what I have learned and transform my favorite recipes (and new ones!) into something vegan. So... I don't know?

What’s the most important change that should be made to your country’s education system?

Image result for changes to US education system

(First of all, look at this graph. It makes me proud of my origin state, New York, because they know what's up! It does make me sad for many of the other states. I have lived around the country enough to know that spending dollars = higher achievement for students. So c'mon, United States! Get with the damn program, already!) Anyway, the most important change I think the US needs to make for the educational system is to PAY EDUCATORS MORE! I think there is fear that if we grant educators a higher salary, we'll be stuck paying higher wages to the same (and I'm absolutely not saying that all current educators are) mediocre teachers. I know the exact opposite will happen. The good teachers, the ones who care and bring knowledge of how to reach our kids, are getting burnt-out and leaving the profession for, often, something that pays more. Mediocrity is what gets left behind. A higher wage will attract better teachers who are able to provide our students with a more robust education. It will. There is no doubt. It just needs to happen. (And we need to get rid of the idiotic Betsy DeVos!)

~*~*~*~*~

That was interesting. And long for me. Hopefully it made sense, since my pain and fatigue levels are off the charts! Ugh.

Have a great week, y'all.

Fin.