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Saturday 9: My Church

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

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

And away we go...


Saturday 9: My Church (2016)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Saturday 9: Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree

Welcome back, folks! Link up here if you're playing along today! Let's get right into it:


Saturday 9: Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree (1971)

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

In memory of David Cassidy, who died on 11/21/17. 

1) This song mentions celebrating the holidays in "the new old-fashioned way." What's a holiday tradition that began with you (or your generation)?

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Growing up, we always went to the Christmas Eve midnight mass at my stepmother's Catholic church, and then came home and opened our stockings. There is no Catholicism revered in my household, but we do go to the Candlelight Service on Christmas Eve at our non-denominational (Protestant) church and then return home and open our stockings. It's a treasured tradition among our wee family.

2) The lyrics include dancing, caroling and pumpkin pie. Will you enjoy any of those three between now and year-end?

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Probably all three! I made three pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving, and they were gone in a flash. The other day, my younger daughter emailed me to let me know we still had the ingredients for more pumpkin pie. Subtle, Sophie, very subtle... ;)

3) David Cassidy and The Partridge Family were intensely popular for a short period of time. For example, this song was from the best-selling Christmas album of the 1971 holiday season. Have you added any holiday music to your collection this year?

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Not yet, but I don't officially get into the Christmas spirit until December first [today], so I haven't even begun to think about it!

4) In 1971, the official David Cassidy fan club had a membership that exceeded both Elvis' and The Beatles'. Have you ever joined a fan club?

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I don't think I have? I'm not really the fangirling "type".

5) David recalled that his first hero growing up was the Yankees' Mickey Mantle. When you were a little kid, what grown-up did you look up to?


My mother. And I still do.
6) David was a notoriously bad driver. In 1990, he was sentenced to traffic school for speeding. He was late for the class because he was stopped for speeding en route. Do you have a "lead foot?"

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Yeah, I totally have a lead foot. I've probably gotten half a dozen speeding tickets, from several different states... Oops. I did get pulled over near here in Mountain Home, Idaho, for going about 38 in a 25 mph zone recently, but the detective who stopped me was on his way to a call and didn't have time to write me a ticket, so he let me off with a warning. Phew! (I probably not have learned my lesson.)

7) David's parents divorced when he was only four years old. He and his mom lived with her parents until he was 10. Have you ever lived in an extended, multi-generational household?

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wish I'd lived with my grandparents in New Jersey instead of the shitty family I got stuck with after my mom died, but nope. On the other hand, my husband's parents divorced when he was four, and his mom's mom lived with them, so. Does that count?

8) In 1971, when David and the Partridge Family were at their height, the US Mint introduced the Eisenhower Silver Dollar. Think of the last thing you bought. Did you pay with cash or plastic or your phone?

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We went to a Christmas parade tonight in nearby Meridian, Idaho, and got hot chocolates for each of the kids from Dutch Bros. Cash was paid. I haven't set up my new phone to pay with yet, for no particular reason. I think I'll do that after this!

9) Random holiday question: Let's talk re-gifting. Tell us about a time you re-gifted, or you received a present you suspect was re-gifted. 

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I always get some kind of skin care or body care for Christmas, but until recently, I was particular to only using JAFRA skincare for over 20 years. I always regifted those presents. And I don't mind receiving something regifted, if it's something I like.


Happy December, everybody! Our Advent calendar started tonight, of course, and I'm super excited about it. I can't wait to reveal all the Christmas-y fun stuff I have planned, to the kids! 


Sunday Stealing: Christmas 2016 Meme

Merry Christmas, you guys! Link up here if you're playing along today.

Cheers to all of us thieves!


Sunday Stealing: The Xmas Questions of 2016

  1. Do you send out Christmas cards and if so how many do you send?

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I sent out about 100 cards this year. I love to send our greetings to friends and loved ones, near and far. The postal workers need their jobs, after all, amirite?!

  1. Do you write and send a holiday letter to describe your year?

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No, I typically do not write a letter. In fact, I don't really know anyone who is not at least 20 years older than I am who continues this practice. I'm neutral on the braggy-letter issue.

  1. What do you think of photo cards?


Does that answer your question? :D (Those are my kids, in case you didn't know.)

  1. How about the tree thing – do you have one every year? Do you prefer a real or artificial?


There's my youngest, 11yo Sophia, showing off our [artificial] tree this year. I do prefer a real tree, but with two dogs and four cats, and living in Miami, it's just really not that practical at this time.

5. Describe your typical tree (size, decorations, type).

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OMG, I love this hanging ornaments idea! Totally stealing this next year when we live in Idaho. Anyway, what? Oh, our tree is about 7.5' tall and, this year, in memory of our dear mother (Hubs' mom, who passed away just a couple of months ago), we decided to hang almost entirely just the yearly Hallmark ornaments she sent to us. As you can see, they are numerous. If you can't see, they tell the story from Our First Christmas Together, Baby's First Christmas (several times over), Our First House, and so on... I cherish these memories and plan to continue the tradition in years to come.

6. Do you hang up stockings? Whose names are on them (and relationships)?


From L-R, those are my husband's mine, and our four kids. As you can see, our son Robby's is white (I crocheted it after his death, that first Christmas) and hangs above, as he is our little angel baby. ♥

7. Your favorite Christmas movie is?

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Miracle on 34th Street!

  1. Tell us about an Christmas movie you hate.

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I'm not a big Madea fan, so though I haven't seen this one, I'm guessing...

9. What’s your favorite Christmas song?

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It was my mother's favorite, and because she sang and played (on the organ) it so beautifully, it's always been my favorite, too.

10. What holiday song makes you want to hurl?

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There isn't one. I really enjoy them all. At least today, I do!

11. What do you prefer for your holiday meal?

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OMG, that's awful! LOL We usually do lots of snacks, appetizers, hors d'oevres, and whatever else you want to call them all day long on Christmas Day. This year is particularly barren, financially, so we're lucky the kids have milk for their cereal and that's about it. Oh well. Next year will be more fruitful; I just know it.

  1. When do you open your gifts?


It's currently 0437 on Christmas morning, and there are exactly three presents left under the tree: one for each kid, from Hubs' dad and stepmom. It's the one day we're typically early birds!

13. Do you buy gifts for your pet?

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Usually we do... but like I said, this year we could not. It's not like they know! ;)

14. What's the worst gift you've ever gotten?

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Ingratitude from the recipient of a gift I gave

15. Do you ever travel for the holiday?

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Not since I was going home to visit Dad from college, no, I have not traveled then. I don't think I could stomach the crowds, traffic, or delays.

16. Did you see Santa as a child?

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I don't even know how to answer this one!

17. Have you ever gone caroling?

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I have, once or maybe thrice, as a kid. I have never taken my kids caroling. No particular reason why, other than shyness.

18. Do you drive around and look at the Christmas lights?


We drove around to three or four different neighborhoods this year to see lights. We do it every year. I love it, but I find my aging kids are getting bored with it now that it's not, you know, on their tablets. Le Sigh 

19. Have you ever had a white Christmas?

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Oh, yes. All the Christmases up to and including my 18th Christmas were chilly and white. I don't miss it, but here comes Idaho, promising more of that. I've already informed my husband I don't plan on doing any shoveling. Hee!

20. Do you know how to ice skate? If yes, when did you skate the last time?

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I haven't been ice skating in about 20 or more years, but I have a feeling it's like riding a bike for me. We'll see.

21. Are we crazy for thinking that the holiday season is WAY too commercial?

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You're not crazy. It has gotten way too commercial. I don't know what the solution is, exactly, but I don't see anything changing. Our country is a very materialistic one. I hope I'm raising my children not to see it that way.

  1. Have you ever worked Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?

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I certainly have, but that was before I was married and a mother. I worked retail for years. I honestly didn't mind the extra holiday pay, and the days were usually shortened for the holiday.

23. What are your Christmas pet peeves?


See that apron? I gave it to my husband for Christmas this year - but on the 12th of December. See that puppy below Hubs? That's our orally-fixated Chiweenie puppy, Tapioca. Hubs left the apron out overnight, and Tapi chewed a hole as big as my hand in it that same night he received it. I can not list on one hand - or two - how many items Tapioca has chewed up this month alone. She has already had one surgery to remove a foreign item. As terrifying as it is to think of losing her to something dangerously left out for her one day, I have to say that her chewing up of our stuff is a big peeve of mine and my non-dog lover son Jack's this year!

24. What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?

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Spending it with my loved ones, especially Hubs and these three no-longer-young whippersnappers! 

25. Here's your chance to say something significant to our players. Go for it!

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Happy holidays to all of you, no matter how you choose to celebrate or with whom. Thank you for stopping by my space here on the Interwebs, even though my blogging and return visits are sparse at best. I appreciate the love and support our little community has for its members, and I wish you all a very merry, joyous, happy everything! Now go have some fun!


Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Happy Holidays!


Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and Joyous Everything Else!

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


Saturday 9: Happy Holidays! (from the archives)

1. As you can see, Sam loved giving her annual wish list to Santa. Yet some children are reluctant to climb into Jolly Old St. Nick's lap. Did you enjoy the tradition or were you shy? Or did you by pass it altogether -- either because you wrote him a letter or because your family didn't celebrate Christmas?

I remember getting on Santa's lap a time or two. I also remember that I never had much to Santa himself, because I was looking forward to getting my treat - usually a candy cane or two - from one of his elves! That was usually the only reason I deigned to wait in line so long. ;)

2. Are you currently on the Naughty or Nice list? How did you get there?

I'm always on both, and I plead the Fifth on both, too! It's not nice to share how one has behaved before Christmas, is it? Let's just say I'll be good today, and as for the rest of the year, one gets up and tries one's best.

3. Did you ship any gifts to friends and family this year? If so, which one traveled the farthest?

I sent e-cards to the nieces this year, and that's about it as far as sending gifts. I sent over 100 Christmas/holiday cards, though, because I love the tradition and don't care whether we get one back. If you didn't receive one but would like one, I still have some to send, so please email me your address. I'd love to send one! The farthest I sent one this year was to Canada. From Miami, that's a bit of a jaunt.

4. Did you buy yourself a gift this year?

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I bought myself inexpensive IKEA slippers (pardon my swollen legs & feet, ugh) and my Alex & Ani bracelets, of which I'm a new fan. Hubs usually relies on me to do my own shopping, but he did surprise me this year - just hours ago - with a cushiony new yoga mat!

5. What's your favorite holiday-themed movie?

I love A Miracle on 34th Street the best. I have to admit, though, I have never seen several popular Christmas movies.

6. Thinking of movies, Christmas is lucrative for Hollywood. Have you ever gone to a movie theater on Christmas Day?

It was a tradition for us growing up. In the family I'm raising, though, we don't do that. I bucked all the traditions we had growing up, because that time of my life sucked! My older daughter, Chloë, informed me this year that she doesn't like our traditions and will do things her way when she's an adult. Fine by me!

7. Have you ever suffered an embarrassing moment at the company Christmas party?

I have never been to a company Christmas party, but I did used to be in catering as a very young adult in Sarasota. One time, the boss and I had a rendezvous aboard ship during a cruise-to-nowhere party we were catering, and when we slipped out of the small room we were in... um, we had a few witnesses. Embarrassing!

8. What's your favorite beverage in cold weather?

I really love apple cider. My friend, Domenica, who grew up here in Miami, and Chloë, who also grew up in non-apple orchard areas, informed me that they both hate it! I was shocked, because I just assumed, having grown up in Central New York - where apples take over the place in the Fall - that everyone was a huge fan. Apparently, it's a love-it-or-hate-it kind of beverage. Who knew?

9. Share a memory from last Christmas.

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Just a couple cute snaps of my daughters, Sophia and Chloë, and one of my son with Chloë's huge Maine Coon kitty, Pepper


Thanks for stopping by! Joyeux Noël!


Christmas 2016: Advent Day 11

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Sophia Lorelei was up for taking town the baggie for this 11th day of Advent - a Sunday. A very lazy Sunday, as it turned out, because various people were napping through any given point in the day. But! At least we had candy, and we made up for it in other ways. ;)


I knew this treat would be particularly desired by Chloë, who simply adores chocolate-covered cherries ever since I gave a box to my dad and she had a sample. The other two? Not so much. So, I think Chloë garnished their treats and enjoyed a nice smackerel here and there through the day.


We were supposed to ride the trolley from downtown Homestead to Biscayne National Park for the return of their annual Family Fun Fest and THEN go to an art exhibition in North Miami, but do you think either of those occurred? Nosirree, neither did. Like I said, turns out the 11th day was for catching 40 80 1,000 winks. Fortunately, I had rented the disk for Allegiant in the Divergent movie trilogy, which was our last one. Chloë watched that with Rob and me, whilst the Littles did who-knows-what in their rooms.

(Hello, do you not want to squish and pull on all those juicy, delicious curls? I so do.)

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Last year, Sophia received a 3Doodler. It was a flop. The plastic "ink" would not feed properly through the machine, and it was just a globby, blechky mess. You know? I contacted the company and was told to mail it back, no strings attached. Welllll, it might have taken me all the way until almost this Christmas to get 'er done. I suck like that. 


When Foofers (aka Soph) received the new one in the mail this 11th day, she started working with it immediately. This is her first project. Yes, it is a blob of nothingness. No, there is no hidden meaning here. But she gave it to me, and I may keep it, just because she was thrilled the thing worked!

Only now, it seems to be jammed up in the works again, and there hasn't been much creativity with it so far. Aack. An expensive mistake.


Since it was then decided that we weren't going anywhere that day after all, thanks to Team Odette collectively playing the part of Rip Van Winkle, Rob broke out the O'Mara's Irish Country Cream for himself and moi. He poured me a rather large glass, and while it tasted great, I decided that one or two sips was enough for me. Too... too... not a huge margarita. You feel me?

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Because I am a person who gets more exciting about getting, wrapping, and giving a present than the person receiving it probably is about the getting, I like to spread out the Christmas cheer throughout the month. Long story short, we opened presents again. Well, everybody except me, because I didn't have any. And that doesn't bother me. [Shut up, Robert; it really doesn't!!!]

I have four more of these wooden pictures for Sophia in my closet, but I only gave her one because we're moving in like three months, and I didn't want her to be all, "Um thanks, but what do I do with this shiznat since I can't really hang it up on the walls for three months?" Y'know? so I will hold onto those until we are safely ensconced in a house (hopefully) of our very own (fingers crossed) in Idaho (knock wood), come April.

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Since we newly have the XBox One, I decided to get and give a few games for it to the fam. Jack and Rob were supposed to open this one together, but Rob declined and let Jack do the honors. That's completely a fake smile on Jack's face because, being 13½ and all, he has not one single clue who Tony Hawk might be. So he was kind of cranky and bummed and irritated and completely Jackish about this gift. (Never mind the fact that a few hours later, he asked to play this game and declared it "pretty fun," but whatever. Whatevs. It's cool.


Sophia decided to appease Jack by giving him a gift she'd wrapped and put into his stocking. Hahaha, it was a set of Shopkins that she no longer wanted to keep. When I saw this, I about died laughing. That Soph!

He was not, in fact, appeased by this gesture.


Because I'm a pleaser, as my beloved Spanish teacher-cum-Doctora O'Toole professor informed me tonight, I let Jack open yet another gift. He really seemed happy with the clothes he received, and as you can see, he looked beyond handsome in the outfits:

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When Chloë's turn came, she selected this long, oddly shaped package to open.

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I gave her a Shawn Mendez poster, because she has a little bit of a crush on the guy. I think you can see she was delighted with it!


Henry enjoyed the wrapping as well and crawled in to take up a spot just as soon as he could.


Robby had to get a gift, too! I gave him this present from Novica.com, where I love to shop for unique presents. His package even came with an attached "worry doll" on the wrapping. He was actually going to play along and do the thing and put it under his pillow at night, but instead, Tapoica (our chewer) got ahold of it and, well, it is no longer.


He received these two handmade serving, multi-purpose wooden knives from... Bali, maybe? I can't remember right now. Regardless, they are beautiful, and he loved them!

So there's Advent Day 11. Not what we planned, but we made lemonade out of those lemons!


Christmas 2016: Advent Day 10


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

Stay tuned for more...


Christmas 2016: Advent Day Nine


On this 8th day of Advent, Jack was up to pull down the bag and see what goodness was contained therein.


He fussed and fumbled with opening the bag, causing the rest of us to be like, "C'mon, open it already! Let's go!" but he took his sweet-ass Jack amount of time to do it the way he wanted to do it, and so it was.


The kids hit the candy jackpot that Friday, because Dove milk chocolate Promises again. Yum!


I don't remember making the decision that another present must be opened that day, but I made it, and so here we are. Chloë went first, and I think she may have been a little excited about it? Just guessin'.


Chloë received two shirts and a pair of jeans from Justice, one of her favorite clothing stores. (Forgive the mess in the background; moving is messy and stressful, y'all!) The shirts were great, and she loved them. Chlo was super excited about the jeans, but when she tried them on, they were entirely too enormous to make any kind of fit happen in them. We still need to go exchange them for something smaller. Poor itsy bitsy!


Jack, who is doing an obviously fake smile here because something wasn't going his way at the moment (Who knows what or why? It's Jack), went next.


It wasn't a Gemini Jet, so he had to fake gratitude a little bit... but when I saw him drinking his milk out of his new mug (which, by the way, I designed the mug with an inspirational quote specific to Jack on a photo of flying jets on the obverse side), he admitted that he really liked his mug. I got a thank you and a hug. Typical for Jack!


Sophia was up next. Good things come in small packages! But what?


Hey, look at that. Another Alex & Ani bracelet, this time an Aries for Sophie's zodiac sign. WIN!


Rob's always a good sport when I ask him to "woohoo" about a present, no matter what it may be!


It's a sterling serving platter, but Rob was all silly about it, acting like, "Ooh, now I can separate my food on my dinner plate without all the items touching each other!"  What a card, what a scream, that man.


That night, our Advent activities included a visit to downtown Miami for the Busker Street Festival, which I, at least, really wanted to attend. The second activity was to go to Pinecrest Gardens to frolic amongst the plants while watching Home Alone outside on the big screen. Thirdly, we were supposed to visit a participating Barnes & Noble book store for a "Harry Potter Magical Holiday Ball." Naturally, Chloë and somewhat Sophie wanted to do the third thing, but Jack and partly Sophia were really into the garden in the movies idea. We compromised by seeing if we could fit it ALL in and somewhat winging it.

Well, the whole night was kind of a fail, I'll tell you that right now. We went all the way downtown to Bayfront Park and never once found a single busker, let alone a whole Buskerfest full of performers. LAME. But everyone was starving while we there, so we stopped to nosh. The kids just wanted Auntie Anne's pretzels, which was fine by me. I found a place selling lamb gyros, which is kind of a must-do for Rob, so I bought him one while he was unaware of the happenings. Not a yum for me, but hey, whatever floats your boat, Babe.


And here I am, with my still-puffy allergy face, crossing an item off my Bucket List: I tried Bubble Tea!! From the menu, I chose Green Apple flavor, with green tea, and tapioca and mango popping bubbles. It was... interesting. I definitely got full off my meal-in-a-drink, so a lot of sharing happened. Rob hated it, but the kids pretty much bogarted my beverage, which was fine except I wanted one more bubble, and I didn't get it. Not cool, kids. Not cool.

We'll just have to try another variety again sometime!


As for the Garden exploration, we missed that entirely, so that was a bust. And then we raced to Coral Gables to the girls to the magical, mystical Harry Potter party. Oh, my God. I went around and around, trying to find parking before finally barely slowing down to kick them out of the car on the fly to go themselves, while Jack and I continued our fruitless search for a place to park. At looong last, we found a spot, just as Rob was texting me, "It's lame. The girls want to leave." Seriously?!!  So there I was, kind of lost (because the Gables' Miracle Mile area is kind of a mess for a non-directional person like myself), driving 'round and 'round with my GPS yapping at me, looking for them to pick up and swoop home. I finally found them, after blocking traffic and several somewhat, uh, illegal creative moves, and off we went.

In order to save the night for my disappointed kids - at least a little bit - we drove to McDonald's and bought five hot fudge sundaes. It helped. A small amount, but it helped. Who can be sad during ice cream time?!

Thanks for stopping by!


Christmas 2016: Advent Day Eight


First of all, look at these big blooms! Four days after Robert bought them for me, they were still going strong. I loved them!!


Back to Advent. On this 8th day, Chloë was up to pull down the day's baggie for the kids' surprises within.


What is it? What could it be? Let's see.


The treat that day was a pack of Juicy Fruit gum for each kid. I don't remember what this face was about. Perhaps she didn't like the treat? Haha, she inherited my lack of a poker face, among other things. The two of us would suck in Vegas!


After Chloë read the day's activity, which was to go an uptown public library for their arts and crafts session aimed at teens and tweens (Hello, is that not what I have?!!), it was unanimously decided amongst the trio that they had no desire to participate. My God, people. Next year, I swear I'm giving them all adult activities to do, like Co-Ed Naked Twister and stuff.

I kid, I kid. Relaaaaax.

Instead of going, Mom (that would be me) determined that we would just open another present each and call it a day.


Rob, seen here sitting at my messy desk (but I WILL get it clean one of these days, come Hell or high water!), was first to open his gift.


I gave him a personalized flask, which reads, "Go Outdoors / ROB ODETTE." He liked it, and you can be darn right if you think he put some of that Jameson from Day 2 in the flask! I don't think he's ever owned a flask before, but I thought it was a thing that a guy like Rob should have.


Foofers went next, and she opened yet another puffy package. I gave her two pairs of yoga pants, which fit beautifully, from Osh Kosh b'Gosh. She really needed pants that fit, so this was a WIN. 


Jack received another Gemini Jet that day. I forget what airline, but I'm guessing very few of you out there give a crap. This brought his total number up to three, I believe. That's the beginnings of a fine collection, friends.


The boy young man insisted I take a close-up of his jet. Still can't tell what it is. Eh.


My curly girl was extremely ecstatic over her present. Sure, she received a nice reusable bag and a stuffed elephant, but what made her giddy as all get out was the certificate showing symbolic adoption of an endangered elephant. We joked that maybe she'd receive letters and pictures from it, and we'd go visit it one day... and so on. She didn't care about the teasing, because apparently this present was on point, y'all!


Here I am, still looking hideous from allergic reaction swelling and such, but so what. Don't look at that. Focus on my wrist. Rob gave me another Alex and Ani bracelet - this time, it's the tribal-looking one kind of in the center of the other two, the Britto and the mermaid, which I'd already had. I am sooo in love with A&A right now. I love my new bracelet - thanks, Bobbo!


Later that night, we drove down to Key Largo to visit a shopping center that was having a Customer Appreciation Party. The lady babies and I had to take our obligatory "we're in the Florida Keys" selfie, so here you go. Meanwhile, the party was so fun! They had food, lots of (mostly adult) beverages, giveaways, and more. We didn't win any of the big prizes, but well, I think did, because all three of the kids - even Jack! - declared the evening a fun one. Can't beat that with a stick!

Stay tuned for Day 9!


Christmas 2016: Advent Days Six And Seven


For the 6th day of Advent, we went up to the Kendall/South Miami area to look at some houses with pretty lights. These were advertised in the newspaper, so I figured they'd be amazing.



Don't get me wrong, the lights were pretty good, but...



... for being written up in the newspaper, I expected something ... more. I remember going to a light spectacular at a home in St. Pete before I met my husband, and you could go in, walk through the maze of billions of lights, and then go in and have hot chocolate or something afterward. This was not the case here.


Not to mention, my kids were just kind of "meh" about the whole experience. So that turned out to be a dud. Oh well, live and learn. And trust me, I am so learning what it's like to do "kid-friendly" or "family-friendly" activities with teenagers who couldn't give a good gosh darn about what it is we are doing here.

So, meh. That was Day 6. This was only the first house; Rob had to drive us to the second house after I grew too sleepy to drive, and I didn't even get out to take pictures!



Our 7th Day of Advent activity was to go take the dogs to visit with and get their pictures taken with Santa at one of the largest malls in the county. If not the biggest. It turned out that none of us were really up to such a brave excursion. Wha?! They were disappointed we couldn't bring our cats to Santa - hello, scratch, scream, and run away would have been the order of the day - so they were in turn peeved at the dogs. Because, you know, that's completely the fault of canines everywhere.

Whatevs. I, who can never wait to give a gift to anybody I love, decided that instead, we would open another present, each! Robert went first.

I accidentally deleted the photo of Rob opening his gift, but it was just a couple of these Strawesome straws - I don't even know the width I ordered, because I deleted the emails of the order once I received it! Oh well. They're pretty okay, and the kids keep asking to use them, but by no means were they supposed to "WOW" him. And, no, they did not. Haha!!


It was my turn next. Forgive the puffy face and everything. Whatever my autoimmune issue is, I've been filled out like a balloon from repeat allergic reactions to some unknown off and on lately, and that day, I was swollen. But moving on...


Swollen feet, too. But regardless, Rob gave me this pair of slippers i had my eye on from IKEA the other day, because we have cold (often in need of a sweeping) tile floors. I hate walking on them. Slippers to the rescue! Thanks, Honey!


We continued opening presents in descending age order. You can see that Chloë's eye was still bothering her from surgery two days prior, but for the most part, she has done extremely well since the stents were taken out.


Because Chloë is obsessed with France and definitely all things Paris, I gave her this JAFRA gift set including our new Paris Et Moi fragrance, with a travel size spritzer to keep in her purse. She loved it!


Jack was next. See that gift tag? I bought two sets of those (you can kind of see the one on Chloë's paquete, too) on super clearance at IKEA for pennies. They were so cute!


Jack is extremely excited here, because i gave him a Gemini Jet, in this case for Pakistan International airline. The kid is mad about Gemini Jets lately and wants to acquire the entire line-up of their offerings, the airport, and all the other accoutrements that go with them. Oh, for the love, here we go...


Last, but certainly not least, it was Sophia's turn. I think her strategy was to go for the puffy - rather than hard - packages first, thinking those would be clothes and she could get those out of the way and arrive at the "good stuff." Hahaha! Well, I hate to think she was disappointed, but you know. We are on a pretty tight budget for Christmas this year, thanks to moving to Idaho in a few months!


Well, she was right. It was a bright pink puffer jacket for when we do make that move. Pink. Did I mention that either she newly despises, or I am newly aware of this hatred, pink?! Oh, man. She played along as best she could and even wore it out a few times, so I hope she doesn't loathe this coat entirely. She'll be needing it up there!

That's it for Days 6 & 7! More to come...


Christmas 2016: Advent Day Five


I was up early on Monday, December 5th, because I had to take Chloë in to Bascom Palmer Eye Institute for removal of the stents in her tear ducts. Surgery was scheduled early, so when I got back from getting gas and a Diet Coke, it was still dark out. These Muscovies were walking ever-so-slowly around my door to greet me when I returned. This isn't even all of them; it was like an entire flock!


Chloë was nervous - super nervous, in fact - because the surgery to put the stents into her eyes 2½ months early had gone quite badly, and she suffered greatly after that as a result. I couldn't blame her, so I was concerned myself.

She was actually quite hysterical coming off the anesthesia, and the recovery room nurse was in stitches. She informed me, when I was allowed back there, that this child was extremely talkative and emotive, and that she simply must be an actress. I agreed and filled her in on some of the acting and modeling Chloë has already done. Nurse was convinced that someday Chloë would be famous for the craft. Who knows?!

As for surgery, of course that first day there was some discomfort and swelling, but ever since then she has been doing great. Whew!!


Later that day, we finished putting together our Christmas tree. About 90% off the ornaments came from Rob's mom, who passed away in October. Every year, a box came with an ornament or two for each one of the five of us, marked with the proper recipient's name and clearly chosen with the utmost care to make sure it matched the personality and activities of that person. Sometimes, when we had a big event like a new house or something, we would received a whole-family ornament as well. For the past 16 years, and before that for Robert, those boxes have been coming faithfully. When this year's box arrived, I lost my shit. I miss my mother-in-law dearly, and her choices were just as painstaking in this final year of her life as they had been all along. I knew we had to put up our Christmas tree for the first time in several years, using all of those many years of Hallmark ornaments. I love it!


Later on, it was Chloë's turn to pull down the baggie for that day's Advent.


The treat for the day was three pieces of Dove milk chocolate Promises for each kid. Mmmm! Other than Lindt chocolates, Dove is one of our favorite chocolate brands. So good.


Because of Chloë's eye surgery, after she read the day's activity, we decided to flip-flop the activity with Tuesday's plan. So I'll post about what her paper said next, but for Tuesday, the plan was to open one present each, with Mom selecting the gift for each kid.


I gave them each the IKEA umbrella I had picked up on our visit there the day before. We're always short on umbrellas around here, and with six months of the year belonging to the rainy season, with plenty of rain in between those seasons, well umbrellas just seemed like a good idea. They were thrilled with them!


The sillies did this "All for one, and one for all" type deal with their bumbershoots. Gooses. Then, of course, we had to take them outside to give them a whirl:


Happy Advent Day 5! Thanks for stopping by. :D


Christmas 2016: Advent Day Four


So I'm a little behind in detailing our 2016 Advent action. Ah, well, that's me.

Jack pulled down the baggie for the 4th day of Advent before opening it to check what sweet treats and activity were contained within.


Happy kid, pulling out a handful of Starbursts!


I have to admit. I may have eaten half of those things. What? They're good!


The activity for that Sunday was to visit IKEA's support of the Frost Science Museum's exhibit. They were doing all things cold and chilly, but we came in halfway through one of the presentations.


There was an explosive part with a big BOOM! and subsequent cloud, but that was all that held our interest. Mostly, the presentation was for younger kids, and I am reallllly having a hard time finding those that will interest my older kiddos. So. We decided to go for a romp through the IKEA store instead, getting inspiration for whatever, whenever.

Advent Day 4-001

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I took a lot of photos of things I wanted to get for our future home, post-move to Idaho, so I could remember and "oh yeah" later on. Here are some of those goodies. Have you been to IKEA? Are you a fanatic, like I am? I bought a half-dozen or so things for the family's Christmas presents. They'll make their appearances later in the Advent countdown...

Advent Day 4

On the way home, we saw a flower vendor on the side of the road. They're kind of inescapable in certain areas of Miami. You're stopped at a red light, and the vendors walk up and down the cars, in between lanes even, seemingly heedless of the dangers of the light turning green and folks slamming down the gas pedal. So in they go, showing their wares. We had a few bucks, so Rob haled one over and bought me this beautiful mini-bouquet of white roses. No particular reason why white this time; I was just in the mood for those. Usually, my favorites are yellow.

Anyway, next up: Day Five! 


Saturday 9: O, Holy Night

Link up here if you're playing along today!


Saturday 9: O, Holy Night (1967)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
1) This beloved carol takes its lyrics from a French poem. What else can we thank the French for?
I assume you mean besides the fries and kissing? ;) How about our beloved Statue of Liberty?
2) How well do you know  "O, Holy Night?" Without looking up the lyrics, could you sing along with Ella?

 Not all the way through, but a great deal of it, I could
3) In order to get this record into stores in time for Christmas 1967, Ella had to record this in late July. So let's reverse that. Now that it's Christmastime, what do you miss most about summer? 
Well, considering we live in Miami where it's a clear 72ºF at 11:18 PM, it's not so bad here weather-wise. But when Hubs took the kids to the pool today, they swam for maybe 20 minutes before the pool closed for sundown, and they had to head home. Bummer! I definitely miss the late sunshiny nights, where the kids could stay out until 8:30 PM instead of 5:30. Their curfews are when the street lights come on and the sun is gone, you'd better be home! 

4) Sam is crazy about the open toed pumps she'll be wearing to holiday parties, but that means she needs to get a pedi. Will you be at a salon between now and year-end?
Oh, no. Not me. I just did my pedicure, but I've only gone to a salon for my nails twice in my life. It's just not the sort of luxury I really desire to spend our money on.
5) Will you be consuming any egg nog this holiday season? And if you do, will it be spiked?
Yes, and yes. I had my shot glass-full for the year, and it was spiked with rum. Hubs says I had some of the bottle with bourbon in it, too, but I clearly don't remember that! Ha!
6) Thinking of holiday cuisine, what's your favorite Christmas cookie?

For decorating, of course it's got to be the sugar cookies. For taste, nothing beats a good chocolate chip. But our new favorites are these chocolate and pistachio numbers that I could make myself sick on for a week straight before deciding to learn my lesson!
7) Sam knows she will get a bottle of red wine from her boss, because that's what he gives his staff every year. Is there a gift you can count on receiving?
Nope! I don't count on any gifts. Even the mail loses those I've purchased for myself. And I sent to my nieces each an iTunes gift card, which they wanted... only when they received it, I'd ordered Apple Store gift cards, instead. FAIL, Aunt Melanie. I don't know what to do with those except replace them and buy my youngest - the only one of us with an iPhone - some charging cords or something?
8) What one gift would you most like to receive this year? Do you think anyone will get it for you?
I would really just like the gift of good credit, which I've never had as an adult, myself. I'm working on that now. And after all these years of just wanting a clean house for my birthday and Christmas, well. I've just decided either I do it or I won't get it. So I don't get it! ;)
9) This time of year is big for charitable fundraising. Here's your chance to plug a cause or organization that's near and dear to you.
I would love there to be some big push for Fibromyalgia research, but if there is a place that's doing it, I'm not finding it. Basically, no one cares about us sufferers and thinks we are crazy, except for a few doctors who are probably suffering it from it themselves or have someone close to them who is. I'm in a lot of pain tonight, so that's where my head is.
Cheers, y'all.

Christmas 2016: Advent Days Two And Three


Sophia pulled down the 2nd day's Advent treat baggie, and passed it to ...

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Jack! We continued doing that for oh... one more day? Maybe? Before I decided to have the same person do all the things, out of frustration with remembering who did what the two days prior.


The 2nd day's treats were Christmas tree lollipops or, as Robert and half the country calls them, "suckers."

Advent Day 2 (2)

That day, a Friday, our Advent activity was supposed to be to go down the road to the Homestead Miami Speedway, where the kids could watch Daddy drive a racecar around the track for a few laps. However, because of his brain tumor surgery, Rob didn't feel comfortable driving, and no one wanted to go and just watch a bunch of strangers drive. So... we opted for Mom's back-up plan: Head to downtown Homestead for the tree-lighting ceremony.

Only, we're going to call this plan a Fail, for three reasons:

  • We were late, and the tree was already lit when we got there,
  • This lady's rather voluminous arse was bent down in front of the tree for so many minutes, I finally gave up and took the picture anyway... and the photo was blurry, and
  • The event was otherwise lame.

Oh well, can't win 'em all, right?

Advent Day 2

Except for Rob. He won it, because I gave him a bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey (and also a bottle of spiked eggnog). He stumbled into bed that night (morning??) at God-knows-what hour and woke me up, whispering all kinds of filth into my ear. It's funny now, but at the time, I wanted to slug him! Ha!



On Saturday last week, Chloë pulled down the third day of Advent's baggie.


The treat of the day was blueberry candy canes for all the kids, and I'll get to the activity in a moment. But first...


So this wasn't part of our Advent, but it happened that day, so I'm including it. Chloë, my frequent traveling companion, and I went out to Bee Heaven Farm here in the Redlands Farming area of Homestead. We get a weekly Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) share from Bee Heaven, and it's always wonderful. The food is organically produced, and fresh food is always needed 'round this house! We also get, besides our small share of veggies, a Mediterranean share. The first year it was Lebanese ful, which was delicious, and this week it was hummus. Also amazing, but I ate it before I took the photo. Oops!!


Back to Advent: The night before, Rob and I snuck out to the store to pick up some salami, a cheese log, and Triscuit crackers (two of the kids' favorite!), along with a bottle of sparkling grape juice. After the farm trip, I set it up while no one was paying attention to me (what else is new?!) and then called them over to partake of it.


They loved it!! The kids said a toast to Christmas and Advent and each other first. We even let them use the good wedding crystal from our friends Lisa and Faris. That was a bonus. Lucky duckers.




Christmas 2016: Advent Day One


I haven't been blogging for a while, and I'll explain why later... But it has been so long since I did, I almost forget how!

"Fibro(myalgia) Fog" has overtaken my brain so much that I often forget how I got to bed the night before or any number of other things, so I can't remember what we've done for Advent since we've lived here in Miami. I love planning activities and giving treats to the kids in celebration of The One whose birth we are recognizing, so this year I put together a last-minute (though not-exactly slap-dash, as much planning and care went into it) Advent tree. With a huge amount of help from 15-year-old Chloë for the first time this year, on November 30th after Jack and Sophie went to sleep, we glued and packaged and assembled this-here Advent calendar. Voilà!!


Sophia pulling the first day's baggie down from the Advent tree

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I decided to ask Chloë actually to open and disperse the contents of said baggie.

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Today's treat was a pack of bubblegum for each kid. And then **drumroll, please** the reading! As you can see from Jack's face, somethin' exciting was about to happen!


This year, we decided to flip Christmas upside-down and give the kids their big gift on the FIRST day of Advent, rather than on Christmas Day. And why not? Who says we can't? Nobody, that's who! So, what was it?

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XBOX ONE! With the Minecraft Bundle! The kids ALL wanted the Xbox One for purposes of updated game-playing, and both girls really wanted to play Minecraft. That seems to be a craze that is not going anywhere anytime soon. So, yay! And that's genuine joy on Jack's face!


I wasn't able to get a photo of Jack with the big game he wanted, because he ripped it open so fast and accidentally ripped off the cover in his haste to start playing it. Boy-child LOVES his Farming Simulator on his tablet, and he wanted the '17' for Xbox exceedingly much. Trust me, this child has been asking to play this game as often as he breathes. School? What school?

(Just kidding. To his chagrin, there must still be school.)


But why did we flip Christmas upside-down this year, you might ask? (Well, even if you didn't, I'm still gonna tell ya.) Because... I bought this 3-month Xbox Live Gold membership (if I said that wrong, it's because I'm a total gaming n00b, so forgive me) (see, I know that much), and I accidentally redeemed it when I bought it. Heh heh! So... I kind of forced myself into giving the gift early so as not to waste any of those three months! Silly me!

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THE UNBOXING! Woohoo! Let the games begin!


I haven't been blogging for over a month, because I feel like I've lost my audience and because of that, my voice. You see, I started this blog over 10 years ago to keep our far-flung family and friends apprised of our excruciatingly important (ha) goings-on. Mainly, my audience consisted of the rapt attention of my dear mother-in-law.

A couple of months ago, Mamacita as I fondly called her, passed away.

I'm crying even as I write this, because even though I wasn't her child by birth, and I was often the problem child by marriage (trust me when I say that I am difficult and I know that I am difficult), I loved her. I loved her and her involvement with our family and with the kids' upbringings.

She sent decorations for Christmas (from Missouri, where she lived until moving to Louisiana to be closer to Rob's sister Gail in the last year). She requested the kids' homeschool reading book lists each year, and each year a box would come from Amazon with many of my selections inside, waiting for the children when the time was right. She sent her love, she sent her heart, she sent her spirit, with every box that came.

And I loved her.

And I miss her dearly.

Love you, Mamacita...



Sunday Stealing: The 2015 Year-End Meme

Stealing today? Link up here to join the rest of us!


The 2015 Year End Meme

From the archives!


  1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before? 
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In October, when we went up to Missouri to visit my in-laws, I took my son Jack and went to visit my father-in-law in his hotel room. For about two hours, we had a couple of beers together and talked, laughed, and really related for the first time in 15 years. It was pretty freaking great. I will cherish that time.

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My only resolution for 2015 that I can even remember (I usually make a few) was to look things up more. I have always historically delegated that task to Hubs, so much so that in years past I dubbed him "Look-it-up Boy." Except when I haven't been able to do it, like when I'm driving or something, I've actually kept this resolution pretty well and have been looking shit up all by my big grown-up self this year. I know. I'm so proud of myself.

I'm still chewing on what to make my main goal for 2016. I promise it'll be just as huge.

  1. Did anyone close to you give birth?
  2. My amazing friend Erin had her first baby, Alden, with her husband Brian in March. I'm still ecstatic for her. Alden is nine months old today, and he's just the most beautiful wee boy!

  3. Tell us a valuable lesson you learned in 2015?
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  5. I have no filter. I'm a blurter. I say whatever the hell comes into my brain, sometimes before I know it's there. I swear, my tongue has a mind of its own, with no connection to the actual brain up there. SO... sometimes this gets me in serious trouble, as you can imagine. After nearly four decades of living, I am finally starting to learn to shut the f*** up. It's VERY hard for me.

  6. What was your favorite new TV program?

I really don't take the time to just sit on the couch and watch television, except for my week-nightly date with Hubs to watch Jeopardy! and, on Thursday nights, The Big Bang Theory with Chloë. I have too much of nothing else to do. Ha!

  1. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?


  1. Better control of our family finances. We've never been good at that.
    1. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
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    3. Maybe this past Wednesday, December 23rd. We decided to bite the bullet and lease a horse for Sophia. She's taking English riding lessons and really seems to connect with Buddy. We'll be spending lots of time at the stables in 2016!

    4. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
    5. I really did not feel well for the better part of the year, and so my achievement list is woefully short. However, there were a few times when my family, my kids, really needed me to power through those tough times and be Super Mom. And I did. I managed to do what they needed me to do, despite feeling like utter crap. So I'll give myself a quick pat on the back for that.

    6. What was your biggest failure?

    I signed on to become a Master Knitter, about this time last year. Ohhh, that was one of my other 2015 Resolutions. Yeah, I accomplished exactly zero things toward that goal. Fecking health problems!

    1. What was the best thing you bought?
    2. 20150813_175851

    In August, my dad took a nosedive, and it scared me half to death. Our relationship has had a lot of problems, but he's my only living parent, and I love the old fartacus. He wasn't buying any food and therefore wasn't eating any. Nothing. We pretty much flew up to South Carolina, where I promptly bought half the food at ALDI (first-timer there) and cooked for days to stock up old-man-size portions in his freezer. He's been raving about the food ever since, and I am SO happy that he's eating at least!

    1. Whose behavior merited celebration?
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    3. I'm seriously proud of all my kids, but I'm going to give this one to 10-year-old Sophia Lorelei. As the baby of the family, she is not the one used to being in charge of anyone, or anything, else. And we have tried various athletic pursuits with her, because she is an active girl and needs an outlet, to no avail. So when I got this Groupon for the riding lessons, I could see something in her right from the start. There was a new determination, a new drive to succeed that I had not seen in her previously. She did not have the ability to control a horse when she started, of course, and these are very large, sometimes determinedly stubborn
    4. animals. Not only did Sophia learn the basics of how to ride a horse in the latter months of the year, but she found something within herself that showed her the way to be firm, speak up, and take charge of a situation new to her. Way to go, girl!

    5. Whose behavior made you appalled and disgusted?
    6. Oh Em Gee, Donald Trump. Seriously, people, this guy could be our next flippin' President?!! You all have got to be out of your ever-lovin' minds to support this mother-freaking jackhole.

    7. What song will always remind you of 2015?


    1. Probably "Wildest Dreams" by Taylor Swift. My 14-year-old, Chloë Raine, is a huge Swiftie. Last Christmas, we gifted her with tickets to T-Swizzles' Miami concert here at the end of October. When the night finally arrived, my girl was beside herself. Absolutely beside herself with excitement. That had to have been her Best Night Ever (at least of 2015), and I'm thrilled I was able to be there with her.

    2. What do you wish you’d done more of?

    Math with my homeschooled crew. Seriously. Math. With my being sick, structured schooling time was a little less... structured... and Math is what we got a little more behind in than I'm proud to admit. We will absolutely be doing more Math in 2016. Heads-up, chirren!

    1. What do you wish you’d done less of?
    2. IMG_20151221_084043

    Sitting in effing doctors' offices, being traded around from specialist to specialist, giving way too much of my precious blood to find out WTF is wrong with me, and getting no real answers. That sucked. SUCKED, I say!

    1. What was the best book you read?

    The best book, hands-down, was Preston and Child's Relic. I have the next four or five books in the Agent Pendergast series to read next, and I just haven't taken the time to dig into them. There, that's one Resolution for 2016 on the list.

    1. What one thing would have made your year measurably more satisfying?
    2. Seeing a new place I haven't seen before... I really want to go to Cuba or somewhere I have not been yet in the Caribbean, because it's nearby and way more economic for us. Dominican Republic, Haiti, Saba! Rob, honey, are ya with me on the next plane?

    3. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

    From Lean On by Major Lazer:

    "What will we do when we get old?
    Will we walk down the same road?
    Will you be there by my side?
    Standing strong as the waves roll over

    All we need is somebody to lean on
    All we need is somebody to lean on..."


    Rob is my somebody to lean on, and I'm lucky enough to have three more proven up-and-comers to help out when I really need help. Thank you, Family of Mine. Thank you.


    And thank you all, too, for coming by here and reading these posts of mine that go off into the ether after I hit "Publish." I know I'm not the best Visit-Back Blogger lately, but that will be another Resolution for my 2016 list. I'm gonna work on it.


Saturday 9: Happy Holidays!


Hey, y'all, link up here if you're playing along this weekend, too!

Saturday 9: Happy Holidays! (from the archives)


1. As you can see, Sam loved giving her annual wish list to Santa. Yet some children are reluctant to climb into Jolly Old St. Nick's lap. Did you enjoy the tradition or were you shy? Or did you by pass it altogether -- either because you wrote him a letter or because your family didn't celebrate Christmas?

I honestly can't remember; I'd have to make something up!

2. Are you currently on the Naughty or Nice list? How did you get there?

Can I be on both? And can I remain mum on both as well? ;)

3. Did you ship any gifts to friends and family this year? If so, which one traveled the farthest?

Gifts, no, but I did mail out about 100 Christmas cards this year, and I would have to say the one that traveled the farthest went to British Columbia, Canada.

4. Did you buy yourself a gift this year?


Yes! It was about six bucks on Amazon, so a total, y'know, splurge. I bought this essential oil/tart burner, which I simply adore so far. My last one broke, but this one's even mo' bettah!

5. What's your favorite holiday-themed movie?

Well, my favorite Christmas movie of all time is Miracle on 34th Street, but I also love National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Chevy Chase and crew bring the funny!

6. Thinking of movies, Christmas is lucrative for Hollywood. Have you ever gone to a movie theater on Christmas Day?

That used to be a tradition in my non-traditional family growing up. I remember seeing Home Alone on Christmas Day in the theater. But we don't do that now, partly because I strive to do nothing like that family era.

7. Have you ever suffered an embarrassing moment at the company Christmas party?

I have never been to a company Christmas party. I've never been to a Halloween party, either. I've never had a baby shower, and I didn't have a bridal shower. There, now I feel like utter shit, thanks. (I kid, I jest, I josh!)

8. What's your favorite beverage in cold weather?

Mmm, warm apple cider; I wish we had some right now! (Okay, don't hate on me since it's 77º at 2120 on Christmas Day, but I'm always cold. And right now, I'm freezing!!)

9. Share a memory from last Christmas.


This is Rob (aka "Hubs") ca. Christmas 2000, the year we met.


This is Rob last year, when he was all bloated from the side-effects of his brain surgery medications and, to cap off that awesome look, his regular glasses broke. He was stuck wearing these jerry-rigged goggle-looking things, which cracked me up at the time and also made me feel sad for him.


And this is Hubs this year, feeling a lot more like himself again. Looking good, Babe!


Thanks for stopping by! Have a lovely, happy, merry, joyous rest of 2015!


Sunday Stealing: Christmas Q&A

Link up here if you're stealing on Christmas this weekend! 

Christmas Questions Meme

{From the archives...}

1. Have you been naughty or nice this year?

I guess it would depend on whom you ask!

2. What do you want most for Christmas?

Call me cheesy if you want to, but what I really want is for my family to be happy, my house to be clean (har har, that'll never happen while I live with these folks), and Peace on Earth.

3. What is your favorite Christmas movie?

Miracle on 34th Street; I haven't seen it in years! I wonder if it's on Netflix?

4. How many Christmas cards do you normally send out?

I sent out almost a hundred this year. It's one of my favorite things about the holiday preparation. I still have some to send; would you like one?

5. Do you still get a stocking?


That's all 12 of ours this year, hanging on the wall around our Christmas "tree." Yes, we each get one (including our angel son, Robby, whose white one on the bottom left I crocheted the year he died, and also including our six pets)! I yearn for the day when we own our own decent-sized house once again and can put up a true tree with stockings not, you know, tacked to a wall.

6. What is your favorite Christmas song?

"The First Noël," because my mom sang it beautifully, and that's a wonderful memory I have of her.

Following that, "Gloria in Excelsis Deo," because my grandfather and mother did a gorgeous duet of it around the piano annually.

Good times. Good times. *sniffle*

7. What is your favorite Christmas tv special?

Charlie Brown Christmas, because its message is heartwarming. ♥ 

8. What is your favorite way to wrap gifts?

Theoretically, I would love to use entirely natural and around-the-house found objects to wrap all the presents. In practice, it never works out that way, and I invariably rely heavily on store-bought paper. This year, since I have been so weak, Chloë has taken over the vast majority of the present-wrapping duties - even her own. Kinda sucks, and it breaks my heart not to do it a little bit, but it is what it is.

9. What do you look forward to most at Christmas?

Joy. Simple, simple joy.

10. What did you do for Christmas this year?

Well, it's ongoing. We do Advent all month long. I haven't posted too much about that, because of the aforementioned energy issues, but I have a little bit. We're most looking forward to the candlelight Christmas Eve service at church. It's a favorite.

11. Who do you want to kiss under the mistletoe?


I'll take this cutie every day of the week! #LoveMyHubs

12. What kind of Christmas tree do you have?

One day, when I can have a themed tree in every room, I'll have a turquoise-and-pink one like this beauty, here. In the meantime, it's the wall tree we have above. Thank you, Pinterest!

13. Did you take part in a Secret Santa?

Not in the past few years. Maybe I'll just have to organize one myself, for next year! I've never done that...

14. Did you go to any Christmas parties?


Yep. We went to the party at my daughter Sophia's horse stables this year. It was super-fun. I didn't faint this time, like I did at the Halloween party, so much less embarrassing. A good time was had by all, I think!

15. How early do you wake up on Christmas morning?

Whenever. We roll with the flow 'round here when it comes to waking up, y'know?

Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, Yule, Festivus, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and all the rest! Enjoy!


Saturday 9: Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer

For realsies, y'all: LINK UP HERE to play along this weekend!

Saturday 9: Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer (1979)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
* * *
1) According to a marketing research firm, this song is both one of the most played and most hated songs of the season. Do you like it?
Meh. I used to love it as a kid, but now, I could take it or leave it.

2) In this song, Grandma's troubles start when she drinks too much eggnog. Do you like eggnog?
Pretty much the same as the last answer; however, a fortnight ago, Hubs asked me to buy some rum for his eggnog when I next ran to Publix. Obligingly, I ran into the Publix liquor store to do that very thing, and I found this bottle of Evan Williams Original Southern Egg Nog waiting for me there instead. The shopkeep told me, and I quote, "It'll knock you on your ass. It's damned good." So I bought some. I'm here to say that he was right on both counts.

3)  In the song, Grandpa recovers from losing Grandma by drinking beer and playing cards with Cousin Mel. Will you be celebrating the holidays with cousins?
Sadly, no. I'd love to, but I don't know if the feeling is mutual. I didn't grow up around any of my three cousins, and now my kids are having the same unfortunate experience. Kind of a boo-hoo maker, but... it is what it is, I guess.

4) When did you most recently drink a beer? Was it in a bottle, a can or a glass?
I had a can of Coors Light at the U. Miami Alumni Avenue Homecoming Party last month. I never used to be much of a beer drinker; I can count on my fingers the number of times I've even sipped one in my life. However, after the (MUCH) better part of four decades, I think I'm coming around to that barlish and hopular elixir!

5) The lyrics refer to "pudding of fig." In "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," the carolers demand figgy pudding. Yet despite its popularity in holiday songs, Sam has never tasted fig pudding. Have you?
I've never been given the opportunity. However, I've also never been offered mincemeat pie. Given the choice, I'd much rather the former. Now, blood pudding, on the other hand, is completely out of the question. 

6) Thinking of holiday sweets, would you prefer a gingerbread cookie or slice of pumpkin pie?
Pumpkin pie, DUH! (Gingerbread: not a fan of me, nor I of it.)

7) This song was recorded by a duo named Elmo & Patsy. It occurs to Sam that she has never met anyone named Elmo. How about you? Any Elmos in your life?
I, like many other parents of Generation Z'ers, have entirely too much firsthand knowledge of Tickle Me Elmo. Otherwise, no Elmos in my life, either.

8) Do you need snow to get "into the spirit?"
Listen up, y'all: I grew up in Syracuse, New York, where scenes like the above occurred every year for about all year save one day (which is barely an exaggeration). I need sun, palm trees, and warmth to forget about that particular "need."

9) Random question: Are you going to get/have you gotten a flu shot this year?
I did. It was quick and painless. The allergic reaction from my hyperactive immune system for the next umpteen days was less fun!
  • * * *

That was fun. I plan to get around to visiting some of you back this week, so, uh, comment and I'll comment back. (Don't hold your breath, though, because I suck at that. I'm making it one of my New Year's Resolutions for 2016, though!)


Christmas: Advent Day 10 Video

Yep. We started opening presents on the 9th, five days in advance of our 12 days of Christmas

But so what? We're having fun. The kids are loving it. It's all good.

I hope you'll enjoy this video of our Day 10, the second day we opened presents.

Stay tuned for more Advent posts!


Wordless Wednesday: Christmas 2015 Starts With A Video

I decided to do a little something different this week for Wordless Wednesday and make a little video representation of our afternoon. I hope you'll watch it and enjoy a little lighthearted fun!

Feeling short on words today, too? Make sure you link up here with 5 Minutes For Mom to join in the fun!


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

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


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

  1. a. Bake Christmas cookies with my family,

b. Go to Christmas Eve candlelight services together,

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

d. Get everyone's Christmas presents wrapped, and

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

  1. What color are your pants?


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

Favorite motivational quote:


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

When was the last time you drank coffee?

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

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

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

  1. My favorite land animal is the African Elephant.

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

      Favorite song:

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

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

    Any turn-ons?

Nicole nailed it - in that order, too!

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

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

Gabourey Sidibe in Precious really meant a lot to me.

  1. The two most important people in your life right now?
  1. 20151201_183107
  2. IMG_20151203_043657
  3. No. I cannot do just two. It's these four folks: Rob, Jack, Chloë, and Sophia. They are my life!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What are some songs that always make you feel better?

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


Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Black Is Black

Playing along today? Make sure you link up here to join in the fun!

Saturday 9: Black Is Black (1966)

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


1) Black is this week's signature color because Friday, November 27th, was "Black Friday," when retailers cut their prices and consumers flock to the stores. Did you score any "Black Friday" bargains?


Well, I never do. But for the first time at Zero Dark-Thirty this morning, I took my daughter Chloë out to score a couple of things she wanted to get her dad for Christmas. We went to Kohl's, but the two things together were out of her budget, and she didn't want to get just one. I told her we could wait until Cyber Monday and try again. She did end up scoring a great deal on a laser toy for our four cats, though. Hee!

Oh! And then, I got a bug up my ass to start decorating for Christmas - which I insist on not doing until Thanksgiving is over - so I took my other daughter, Sophia, out to Michael's. I had seen that their Christmas décor was 50% off, and I had a 30% off coupon on top of that, so we got some garlands and a tree topper thingy to make a tree for our wall. We raced there at 0140, knowing they closed for the night at 0200, and got 'er done.

DSC_0001 (4)

Back at home, I got my girls and my son Jack together to help me construct a "tree" out of the garlands. I nailed it to the wall after setting the three of them to work making their first-ever popcorn and cranberry garlands, and then we unwrapped and hung some of our many ornaments. I think it's beautiful, and I love it! 

2) WalMart, Best Buy, Toys R Us and Target have all heavily advertised their "Black Friday" sales. If you could have a $50 gift card to one of those stores, which would choose? What would you spend the $50 on?

Definitely not Walmart or Best Buy. Ugh. Probably not Toys 'R' Us, since the toys my tween- and teen-aged kids want now are way over fifty bucks. I guess that leaves Tarjay. It's my favorite of the four stores anyway, though I prefer shopping at small businesses over the Big Box stores...
Hm. If I couldn't use coupons and had to shop for some Black Friday doorbuster, in the spirit of the question, I would use the $50 off $100 purchase I saw advertised for Target today and get Sophia the motorized scooter I saw advertised for $90, with a 20% Cartwheel, bringing this $250 item down to $72... and then I'd get $28 worth of Littlest Pet Shop toys for her to bring my total up to the requisite hundred bucks. In the end, after my gift card, I'd have paid nothing but a few dollars' tax. Now I wish I'd done that! Haha!
3) Star Wars items are predicted to be big sellers this Black Friday. Are you a big sci-fi fan? Are there any sci-fi fans on your holiday gift list? 
I am not. Not at all. But Chloë is enormously into Harry Potter right now (she's on book 6 of 7 but has not seen any of the movies yet), so I'm sure her Christmas presents will largely focus on that. ;)

4) Feasting and football are also popular Thanksgiving weekend pastimes. Do your Thursday-Sunday plans include pigging out or watching a game?
Having had gastric bypass surgery, there is no pigging out going on for me, ever again. I had intended to watch my alma mater (U Miami) play against Pitt today, but I napped through the whole thing! Ah, well. At least we won! #GoCanes #AllAboutTheU!

5) At Thanksgiving dinners, Crazy Sam's homemade gravy is always a hit. (Probably because she's so generous with the cognac, which gives the gravy a nutty taste.) Do you have a signature dish?
I didn't do any cooking or baking (my specialty) this year for Thanksgiving, sadly. I've been getting sicker and sicker since May, and now my energy is completely depleted while my pain is often unmanageable. Rob had to cook the whole dinner, which was great, but he does not bake. So, we didn't have any pie, because I refuse to have store-bought when it just doesn't meet our high gastronomic demands. I'm hoping I'll be doing great by Christmas, after a transfusion, and will shine then!
Also, that gravy sounds enviable! I want some!

6) What did you give thanks for on Thanksgiving 2015?
My family, of course. They accept me and support me no matter what. Without their love, I might not be here still.
7) Monday is Cyber Monday, when shoppers can save big online. Do you shop confidently over the Internet, or do you worry about security breaches and identity theft? 
I have actually been the victim of identity theft through Walmart's (surprise, surprise) website. I loathe that store anyway, so I just avoid shopping there online or at the brick-and-mortar stores at all costs. If I have to go, I pay cash.
Because of the repeated security breaches at Target, I don't shop online there, either. I get a little more skeered each time some news comes out about another incident, but for the most part, I don't worry too terribly much. I check my bank account incessantly, though!
8) This week's featured band, Los Bravos, was international. Their members came from both Germany and Spain. If you could travel to any foreign country in the world, which would you choose?
That's an easy one: Australia. I'd give anything. Even being sick, I'd go right now.

9) The band's name, Los Bravos, can be translated to mean, "The Brave." Do you consider yourself gutsy?
Not in any sense of the word. Because I'm still fighting after everything I've gone though, people constantly call me "strong." I disagree. I just feel like it's the only option I have, to maintain my integrity to continue. Is that gutsy? I really don't know. It's not for me to decide. :)

Saturday 9: Beyond The Sea

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: Beyond the Sea (1959)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
1) This song mentions golden sands. When do you think you'll next visit the beach?
We were there on Monday, at the little laguna beach near our home. The kids wanted to swim after we did a photo shoot for our 2015 Christmas cards, but the beach was closed. My kids dubbed the place, Homestead Bayfront Park, "Remora Beach" after our first visit, when a remora (aka "shark sucker") visited me for quite a while. Anyway, I don't know when we'll go again, but probably once or twice before the year ends.

2) Shortly after "Beyond the Sea" hit the charts, Bobby Darin met and married movie sweetheart Sandra Dee. Her squeaky-clean image is spoofed in the song, "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee," from Grease. Can you name another song from Grease?
Ermagerd, you're talking about one of my favorite films! I can name them all! My favorite one is when Olivia Newton-John sings "Hopelessly Devoted to You." I've sung that song after many a heartache!
3) Years earlier, Bobby had an ill-fated romance with singer Connie Francis. According to Ms. Francis, Darin wanted to marry her, but her father forbade it. Have you ever had a relationship that your parents disapproved of?
Pffft. All but the first one and the last one, really! I'm completely colorblind when I date, but my WASP father is most decidedly not. And vocal about it. Ugh. It damn near annoys the crap out of me that he "approves" of my marriage.

4) Bobby was a Renaissance man: Grammy-winning singer, Oscar-nominated actor, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and an excellent chess player. Are you good at chess?
It's on my Bucket List to learn, because I have never done so. I have to soon, though, because my 7-year-old nephew, Harrison, challenged me to a chess game the next time I'm in Missouri to see him!

5) A car buff, he drove a 1960 custom car that was so unique and spectacular, it's now in a Detroit museum. The bright red paint was mixed with ground diamonds to ensure that it sparkled in the sun. Each of the four bucket seats had its own AC/heat control and radio speaker. The steering wheel was slightly squared for easier handling. What features would your dream car have?
I'll take a red Mazda Miata convertible, please. Done.
6) Beyond the Sea is also the name of the 2004 screen biography in which Kevin Spacey played Bobby Darin. Who would you choose to play you in the story of your life?
Right now, I'd pick Jennifer Lawrence, at least for my younger adult years. She's stunningly beautiful (har har, like I am), and she emotes perfectly. I'm very emotive, y'all.

7) When he was just 8 years old, Bobby Darin was stricken with rheumatic fever, and the disease left him with a dangerously weakened heart. Did you spend much time in the hospital when you were a kid?
Not a day after my birth. I probably should have, but I was raised as a Christian Scientist. No doctors. 

8) In 1959, when "Beyond the Sea" was popular, Alaska became our 49th state. What comes to mind when you think of Alaska?
Cold. Beautiful scenery, with the icebergs charging out of crystal waters. Land of the Midnight Sun.
9) In 1959, Conair introduced the first hair dryer developed for home use. Is there a hair dryer in your bathroom right now?
There should be, but Sophia, my ten-year-old daughter who inspired our family phrase for those household occurrences which might otherwise seam inexplicable "Because Sophie," probably never put it back after using it for an art project...
And thus we close. Thanks for the visit!

In Which My Kids Are So Adorable, I Can't Stand It

I know. As the person who, you know, they inhabited for 7-8 months (36 weeks, 31 weeks, and 38½ weeks, respectively), I may just be a little bit biased. But I think that my children are adorbs and quite photogenic!

All of their visible clothes came from Osh Kosh B'gosh, which I love. We get great customer service from our local outlet center store reps, but I am simply a happy customer. This is not a sponsored post. Shout out to Vivian and Idalia from Florida City's store!)

Anyway, I got started on their Christmas/Holiday 2015 portraits a bit earlier than usual this year. Why? Because (a) I had a significant amount of OKB rewards to use up and didn't want to miss having access to the clothes represented here when I saw them a few weeks ago in the store, and (b) the codes for great deals on photo Christmas cards are coming out earlier than usual. So there is that.

Anyway, without further ado, here are some of their photos. I'm not a trained photographer, just a hobbyist, so be nice to me, please! ;)


Christmas 2015 Card Portraits


Christmas 2015 Card Portraits-001

Why yes, 14-year-old Chloë can be that sassy in her attitude at all times at home. And so it begins...

Christmas 2015 Card Portraits-002

Meanwhile, Sophia, who is only 10, wants to be a little kid and a teenager at the same time, sometimes within the same hour, so we are definitely IN for it with these kiddos! Haha!

Christmas 2015 Card Portraits-003


This is the lone picture of Jack I could get that day, because he does not like to be photographed. He just doesn't cooperate when he is DONE, and he was done before we got started. So, I knew we would need another outing of the Christmas outfits to get my trio together. Fast-forward two days to last night at Homestead Bayfront Park.

Christmas 2015 Card Portraits-004

The only thing worse for Jack than being photographed is being photographed having his sisters loving on him. Oh, my!

Christmas 2015 Card Portraits-005


See what I mean?! Still, this is one of my favorite photos. Silly boy.

Christmas 2015 Card Portraits-006

We moved to the water, to make use of the natural lighting and photography's "Magic Hour" at sunset. I did my best not to enhance the photos at all.


When I told the children they were nearly finished with our little photo shoot, they did not need any encouragement when asked to jump for joy! Heh.


This unexpected gem was Sophia's idea, who did that and called me as I was turning away, saying, "Mama! Mamaaaa, look!" I asked the other two kids to do the same thing, and I love how it turned out!

I hope you enjoyed the pictures. Which will I choose for our cards? HALP a mama out!

Thanks for stopping by!


How The Little Entrepreneurs Were Born


For Christmas, my sister Stacey went a different route this year than her usual gifts and sent the kids a joint Tie Dye kit, complete with a brand-spankin' new T-shirt for each of them. They have been seriously asking me five times a week, "Can we do the tie-dye kit today? Please? Can we? Can we?"

Well, finally on Saturday night, far too late for it to be sensible, I said yes. SQUEEE! Their excitement was boundless.

Mind you, I had never tie-dyed anything before in my life. Nor had Robert. So... I knew it would be a bit of a challenge the first time, and I told them not to expect grand results.


I read the directions three, no four, times before starting to tell them how to proceed. (My kids have no patience for reading the damned things themselves, and I'm a bit of a perfectionist anyway. And a control freak. So there's that.)


Sophia was first out of the gate. She decided to do a swirl pattern and quickly rubberbanded her shirt in a twisty vortex of 100% cotton. She selected her colors from the kit confidently and went right to work.

(Yes, we pre-washed the shirts. That waiting was THE hardest part, you guys. You remember what it's like to be nine, yes?)


Jack, exhibiting his characteristic blue- and green-heavy preference some more, chose precisely those colors for his shirt. He opted to do the bulls-eye pattern.


He saturated the crap out of that thing, too. It's a wonder the rinsing water ever ran clear!


Chloë immediately set about doing a rainbow swirl pattern. I was not surprised; she's a girly-girl through and through. She has also inherited her mother's Type-A, perfectionistic qualities, good or bad, and so her process was as methodical and intentional as that of the other two was chaotic.


Sophie's, which reminds me of sherbet or maybe a creamsicle, turned out awesome, no? I think she got more of a bulls-eye than a swirl, but that's okay, because it's cool. She was sound asleep when the eight-hour wait for the dye to set was finished, so she woke up long enough to rinse her tee and get Mommy's picture needs out of the way before crawling back into her bunk.


For someone who has hardly any creativity in his bones, Jack's turned out pretty cool, too! I loved it. And amongst the colors was my favorite, the teal blue-green of the middle depths of the sea, so what's not to like?


In fact, he enjoyed the creative process so well, he hunted in his pile of laundry for another white t-shirt to dye immediately after finishing the first one. I don't know what you'd call his lack of pattern, but can you tell the kid really likes the color green?


Chloë's rainbow outing turned out vivid and funky. I loved it, and so did she. Very happy with the results despite also achieving a bulls-eye instead of a swirl. (I'll have to Google methodology to determine where we went astray.)


In fact, Chloë dove into her own pile of laundry and decided to dye a matching pair of capris! I was surprised at this, since the pants were relatively new, but since she bought them herself with her earned babysitting money, I certainly wasn't going to tell her no! She donned the clothes after they were watched and dry, and yes, she looked quite the hippy. Adorable. I'll have to get a picture later today when she wears them fer realz.

All of this excitement led to one DUH! and one WOW! To-wit:

They didn't sleep pretty much at all until Sunday morning. Which means now our school schedule for the week is fecked. I'm gonna have to work on that all week long. Sweet. :\

Also, they decided to pool all their savings and some money that both parents invested in the project, to start their own tie-dyeing business! Even Jack bought into the project! We went to the hated Walmart and bought all manner of dyes and materials for dyeing, and throughout the wee hours, the kids set to work. 

think they have decided to name the enterprise "Two Tweens and a Teen," but it's not carved in stone yet. They're all gung-ho and have dollar signs in their eyes, so I'm hoping their wares sell. I will set up and take pictures later after everything is clean and pressed, giving them space on Etsy, and perhaps Facebook, and maybe Instagram, too. We're a multi-media operation here, folks.

So this should be fun. My dad suggested we tie this into a 1960s-70s American history lesson about those transitional times, too, which I think is a stellar idea. Now to bone up on that (hey, I wasn't there)...!

Thanks for stopping by!