Entries categorized "Come Sail Away" Feed

Saturday 9: Baby Love

So it's late for this posting, I understand. 10:45 PM Mountain Standard Time, to be exact. But I can explain: I spent several wee hours this morning in the hospital again, which then caused me to sleep the day away. After that, I tried to participate, but the Typepad platform was down. Finally, it's back, so here I am. I'm sure you relished that story. Anyway, link up here if you'd like to participate this weekend, and then let's go:


Saturday 9: Baby Love (1964)

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

 1) When this song was popular, the Supremes were known for their elaborate hairstyles, make up and full-length gowns. When was the last time you got dressed up?
Image result for ruth's chris meme
I guess it was when we went to Ruth's Chris here in Boise was the singular time I've gussied up much since we moved to Idaho, maybe? That was back in November.

2) "The girls," as they were known to the engineers and executives at Motown Records, were Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson and Diana Ross. They began singing together when they were high school classmates. Are you still in touch with any friends from your high school days?
Image result for facebook meme
Of course! Many of them, actually. Thank you, Facebook.

3) Mary Wilson was born in Mississippi and her family moved a great deal before settling in Detroit, where she fatefully met Florence and Diana. Were you uprooted often when you were a child? Or did you spend your school years in the same neighborhood?
Image result for Central New York meme
When I was six years old, we moved from close to NYC up to Central New York. That decision on my dad's part sucked, by the way. As a city girl, I much preferred the routine trips into Manhattan; those became less-than-annual after that move. In comparison, my children have moved far more times.

4) The Supremes began as a quartet called the Primettes. In addition to Mary, Flo and Diana, there was Betty McGlown. In 1960, Betty left the group to get married and was replaced by Barbara Martin. In 1962, Barbara left the group to have a baby. They quit trying to replace the fourth voice, soldiered on as a trio, and made pop history. Have you ever found yourself in a position similar to Betty's or Barbara's, where you had to make a difficult decision and choose between your personal life and your career?
Scan_20160902 (2)
Sure I have. Twice. The first time, in 1998, I stopped working at Mote Marine Lab in Sarasota, Florida, to help out a former friend back in Miami. Not a wise decision, but it's moot now. The second time, in 2000, I realized I did not have the passion for shark research that I thought I did and left my doctoral program to consider my options. That's when I met Hubs and decided to elope with him shortly afterward. If I hadn't made that decision, I surely wouldn't have these nutaroons, above, and that would be awful. I consider that decision the best one of my life. Today, by the by, is the 17th anniversary of our sunset beach wedding. (We eloped at the courthouse on January 2nd, but we had the beach wedding on my mom's birthdate, February 17th, in order to have my then-pastor perform a ceremony in front of a few close loved ones.)

5) Thinking of babies and "baby love," is anyone in your life expecting a baby in 2018?
Image result for pregnant duchess kate
Does reading about Duchess Kate's third pregnancy in People count as someone in my life? Because I am having a complete brain fart and can't think of anyone I know personally. Wish it was me!

6) With twelve #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, The Supremes remain America's most commercially successfully recording group, and this song (along with "Stop! In the Name of Love") is one of the most popular karaoke songs. If we handed you the mic this morning and absolutely insisted you perform, what song would you choose (any song, any genre)? 
Image result for four non blondes
I have never done karaoke. I would have to be completely smashed to do it... anyway, I would choose "What's Up?" by 4 Non-Blondes. The radio definitely gets turned up when that song comes on Bob FM in the car!

7) Original group member Florence Ballard left the group in 1967. She died of cardiac arrest in 1976 at the age of 32. Since February is National Heart Month, it seems appropriate to ask: Is anyone in your life battling heart disease?
Image result for noonan syndrome
Well, probably. But right now, I'm concerned with my two teenagers, Chloë and Jack. We learned in April last year that they have inherited Noonan Syndrome from their dad. (Sophia, our youngest, may have a few of the features - since I think they said five different genes control the Syndrome - but she's definitely not as affected as the older two.) Since it can cause heart defects, among many other things, Chloë had a full cardio evaluation last year. Everything, so far, looked perfect. Phew! Jack will be next, but the Genetics Clinic 'round these parts is extremely overwhelmed and difficult to get into, appointment-wise...

8) Florence Ballard's brother, Hank, wrote Chubby Checker's famous dance song, "The Twist." When did you last dance?
Image result for macarena gif
Hm. There was a Macarena question on Jeopardy! the other night, so I might have busted a quick move on the couch... haha. But the pain I'm in is so constantly severe now that it's rare I do a full-on dance sesh.

9) Random question: Close your eyes and visualize the most beautiful place you've ever been. Now describe it to us.
I've been fortunate to see many beautiful places; almost all of the ones near the top of my list are by the sea. (Not surprising.) But oddly, the place that popped out in my mind first was Dubrovnik, Croatia. I wrote all about that here after we got back from our Mediterranean cruise in 2008. Having been to Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Jamaica... this surprises me and makes me wonder. I think, maybe, it's because it's both so close to the beautiful water with which I connect so deeply, and because it's also a city. I do love a pretty city. Dubrovnik did not disappoint, and those narrow streets were filled with fascinations beyond my imagination. I don't know what to tell you about our experience there that I didn't cover already in that post I just linked up to, so go read it if you're really interested!
This was really fun to write. I'm glad Typepad let me in to participate tonight. Thanks, Samantha! :)

Saturday 9: Magic

I feel like I haven't blogged in ages, thanks to our move to Idaho (we're leaving in 3.5 days!), but I needed to post something - anything - tonight. Here we are! Link up HERE if you're playing along today.


Saturday 9: Magic (1980)

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

1) This 1980 video depicts Olivia Newton-John as a performer in small club. For the past few years, she's been performing regularly at the Flamingo in Las Vegas. Have you ever been to Las Vegas?

I went a long time ago once, in December 1998 I believe, with a long-ago friend. We're no longer on good terms and so that's all I want to think about that!

2) Many tourists who want to get away from the glitz of Vegas travel less than 20 miles to visit Red Rock Canyon. This national park is known for its hiking trails, which provide a view of the desert flora and red rock peaks. Tell us about a time you were impressed by natural beauty.

Image may contain: sky, tree, outdoor and nature

My phone photos of the moon never turn out well, but one thing I will miss about living in Miami is seeing the moon or the sun shine against the tallest palm trees. I try to witness and take the time for noticing the beauty of the world in every opportunity, but maybe that's more a function of my naive nature than an intentional act...

3) One of the best-reviewed restaurants in Las Vegas is Andiamo Italian Steak House. When you order a steak, how do you request it be cooked: rare, medium rare, medium, medium well or well done?

I can't really answer this now, because I haven't had a steak since early in 1995, but when I did eat it back in the day I liked it so rare it was nearly mooing!

4) Olivia Newton-John's father was an officer in MI5, the UK's secret service. Sam's most recent encounter with the law didn't have much drama or intrigue: she asked a cop for directions to the highway. Tell us about the last time you spoke to an officer of the law.

Despite my attempts to quit, I am still addicted to Diet Coke, so I see the same cluster of local officers several times a week among my multiple hops into either Racetrac or 7-11. Funny, though, I never learned any of their names.

5) ONJ was awarded the OBE -- Order of the British Empire -- by Queen Elizabeth in honor of her contributions to the arts. Here's your opportunity to boast. What is something you've done lately that you received praise for?

Not myself, since pretty much all I've done lately is sit in the middle, of this chaotic apartment life directing traffic, but my younger daughter Sophia. She hadn't ridden a horse since her Lacey bucked her off and she landed with a broken wrist last July 1st. Last night, Hubs took her for her final ride on Lacey before we leave town, and she did so well (I hear)! Her instructor told me she was "Amazing!!!" and did better than anyone expected with no problems. Sophie couldn't stop grinning and hugging me when she got back from the farm.  She half-whispered to me, "Mom, I still remembered what to do." I can't wait to get her installed at a farm in Idaho to pick back up her showjumping skills!

6) A breast cancer survivor, Olivia helped found a cancer center in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia. When you think of Australia, what comes to mind?

Visiting Australia is my Number One Bucket List item, so I think of many things: diving the Great Barrier Reef (if any is left by the time I get to go), the Sydney Opera House, the Outback, marsupials and... this is stupid... Crocodile Dundee! haha! ;)

7) "Magic" was one of the top-selling records of 1980. Also that year, Post-It notes debuted. Do you enjoy shopping for office supplies, or do you consider it a chore?

Goodess, gracious me! I love shopping for office and school supplies so much, I got a little tingle of excitement just answering this question! I'm a complete nerd, because I get a real charge about using a brand-new pen or pencil, opening a fresh pack of paper, using a new binder with dividers and labels... what's not to love?

8) In 1980, the NASA space probe returned the first photos of Saturn back to earth. Do you believe intelligent life forms from other planets are  trying to learn more about us?

I'm firmly in the I'll-Believe-It-When-I-See-It camp, but of course I do believe Earth is not the only planet capable of having intelligent life forms in the universe.whether they're trying to learn about Team Earth or not is a different matter altogether, one I'd decide by observation instead of hypothesizing.

 9) Random question: Are you more confident in your looks or your intelligence?

I'm not very confident in either! I feel like whatever I had in the past is rapidly disappearing since I turned 40 last September. It's probably psychological, but it I feel like my wrinkles are having wrinkles, and I don't mean in a good, cerebral way! Rob and I have talked about the possibility of my having the start of what will turn out to be some form of dementia, actually. It's scary knowing or even thinking that. As for my looks, eh. Every year past age 33 is Bonus Round time for me, so I don't care too much about aging. That's a total lie; I'm as van as Snow White's stepmother!


I'm going to close abruptly since Hubs' laptop keeps shutting down in the middle of this post. Thanks for stopping by!! Sayonara, in case I don't get a chance to post for a while..!


Sunday Stealing: Laundry Day Meme

Stealing today? Link up here to thieve along with the rest of us!

Cheers to all of us thieves!!! 

Laundry Day Meme

Do you know any couples that have been married for a very long time?
My grandparents were married over 50 years, but both are gone now. My father-in-law and his wife have been married over 35 years. Hubs and I just celebrated 15 years. Those are some of the longest-term marriages of which I'm aware.

What are you tired of people telling you?
"This too shall pass." I know it will, but in the meantime, I'm IN the situation, and THAT does not help. I hate trite clichés like that and the f***ing "Everything happens for a reason" that everyone loves to say. STOP SAYING THAT SH*T!

Which type of ice cream do you prefer? 
I can no longer enjoy ice cream, even froyo, or anything like that for some reason. But when I could, it was definitely chocolate with big, thick, hard chunks of peanut butter. Mmm... so good.

Do you have a little sister? What’s her name? 
am the little sister. I have a big sister, by a whopping 17 months, named Stacey. I also have a much-older half-sister, named Pamela, whom I've never met.

What was the last movie you watched on TV
That was random. I like random. Anyway, I'd have to go back 10 years at least to answer this question, and my memory is not that good.

If the internet was not available right now, what would you do instead? 
I have some lovely knitting to work on, because my 10yo is pestering me for the completed project. It will be hers...

Do you complain a lot?
I do. I'm aware of it, I try not to, and I hate that about myself, but I do. Hubs, on the other hand, rarely complains. And I complain about that!
Name a movie that your favorite actor is in. 
Oh, gosh. I haven't seen a Matt Damon movie in ages, like maybe Ocean's Ten and Ocean's Eleven. I need to see more of that scrummy boy...

Do you like your toes? 
Absolutely not. I do not have nice feet at all. My toes, like my feet overall, are short and stubby. And, by the way, I don't understand the whole French manicures on toes thing. Why is that a thing?!!

Would you rather go to an authentic haunted house or an ancient temple? 
I'm definitely not into the haunted house thang. I vote for ancient temple, all the way, hands-down please!

Have you ever had champagne? Did you like it?
Of course I have. Lots. And I love it. I prefer sec or demi-sec over brut, please.

Are there any seashells in your room? 
Not in my room, but most assuredly in my daughters' room, you'll find shells.

What was the reason for the last time you went outside? 
I had to take Hubs to the ER after he sliced his finger open with his knife. :/ He's still bleeding profusely over an hour later...

Do you like fruity or minty gum? 
I rarely chew gum, but when I do, I prefer the fruity kind.

Are you looking forward to any day of this month? 
PAYDAY!!! (It was Friday.)

What was the last graduation you attended? 
Probably my own from college in '97. Obviously I don't attend them very often.

Do you rummage through the $5 movie bin at Walmart every time? 
I have never done that. Ever.

What day of the week do you usually do laundry? 
Um, every day. Like, EVERY. DAY.

Do you like using air fresheners? 
I prefer to light scented candles and/or some oils (and no, I'm not an essential oils freak rep) over the aerosol fresheners.

Are your nails ever painted red? 
Actually yes, all the time! Red is my color, y'all.

When you were a baby, did you have a favorite blanket? 
Wish I'd had one like that! But yeah, I still have my blankie that my grandma crocheted for me. ♥

Ever been on a cruise? 
I have been on ... (thinking) ... six? cruises. Not counting the scientific research ones.

Would you rather go to Alaska or Russia? 
Well, I wouldn't mind seeing both, but I'd go to Alaska over Russia - in the summer, preferably!

Strawberries or bananas? 
Strawberries are my favorite fruits, so... but bananas are close behind them!

Are you wearing socks? 
No, and I hardly ever do unless I'm uncontrollably shivering from cold.

When’s the last time you went to the mall?
I think it was for a mystery shop? Definitely before Christmas. I think. I don't know. I *hate* malls!
Well, we've reached the end again. Thanks for stopping by!

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? 
  2. 182845_1697361565783_2773727_n

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?
  4. 463c82c521c6050e96372579821bb6ee
  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?
    2. DSC_0030
    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?
    2. DSC_0034
    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.


Sunday Stealing: Swiped Meme

 Link up here if you're playing along today, too!

Swiped Meme

Stolen from: Love Me Some Surveys


1. Did someone die in the last movie you watched?


Close, but no cigar. We rented Tomorrowland on DVD at the Redbox last night, and it was just as fantastic as it was during opening week at the theater. It's going on my short list of all-time favorites!

2. Are the trees pretty colors outside for you?

If you count green as a pretty color, which I do, then yes. Miami in the house!

3. Have you ever made a bad first impression on someone's parents?


Yeah. Mine.

Seriously, though, all the time! I'm bipolar and am a difficult patient to medicate, y'know? I try, though. I try, and I really do care.

4. When's the last time you video recorded something on TV?


Haaaaa, I know! I Video-recorded off the TV? What am I, [almost] 40? Oh wait, yes.

5. What is a career you wanted to have when you were younger, and still kind of want to have now? 

marine biology quotes | Not-so-funny-but-true Marine Biology "Humor":

A brief career history:

Kid: wanted to be a marine biologist

Teen: wanted to be a marine biologist

17-20 years: studied Marine Biology

20-24: was a marine biologist, working on Ph.D.

rest of life so far: quit pH.D. program, eloped, had a baby a few nanoseconds eight months later, then three more, Mom ever since, still miss being a marine biologist

6. What are your views on sunflowers?

We see them being sold - along with all kinds of other blooms - on the side of the road here all the time. I once got a bunch of bigguns for, like, three dollars = one of the awesomest things about living in South Florida.

7. What is your favorite incense or candle scent?

I like anything fruity, especially citrus and apples. I can't stand floral, pine, and vanilla scents. Seriously, they give me a migraine.

8. Caramel apples or candy apples?

Hey, thanks for this question. I've missed a lot of things since I had my gastric bypass and can't eat anything with too much fat or sugar ever since, but I never cared much for either of these. So there's that.

9.  Have you ever walked into a wall?


(Watch the guy behind Mr. Reporter, in the red shirt)

I have been a klutz my entire life. This is my specialty. It's an innate talent, don't be jealous. #HatersGonnaHate

10. Would you ever or do you make your dog wear a bandanna?




Of course. It was my furparental obligation, wasn't it?

11. Do you find dandelions when they're gone all-white pretty?


Yard work was the most frequent demand - and therefore the bane - of my childhood existence. I pulled more weeds than I have hairs on my head. And still, I forgot about this when I willingly made a wish and blew on the seed my 10yo daughter, Sophia, held out to me recently. And then I wanted to duck and hide after I remembered, in case someone was watching.

12. What makes you laugh?


Hubs. Rob makes me laugh day in and day out. He makes me angry, too, but then often while I'm pissed off, he does something hilarious to draw me out of that anger. I him so much for that!

13. The scariest moment of your life?


This is my "Twin B." When my identical sons were born in 2003, Robert William  - aka "Twin A" - suffered through four holes bursting out his lungs, countless medical interventions, and some heroic measures for which we had to give his neonatologists specific written permission. He finally succumbed to heart failure and lung collapse, caused by severe hydrops fetalis from acute Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome, on the third day after birth. It was a devastation unlike any other in my life.

A week or so later, I visited tiny 3-lb Jack River - aka Twin B, here - in the NICU. I was holding him and giving him a bottle of expressed breastmilk when suddenly he stopped breathing and turned several shades of blue. I screamed for help before gently (but truly) throwing him back into his incubator and bolting from the unit. He's 12 years old now, but he's still an itty bitty peanut. And every time he swallows wrong and splutters to fix it, for example, I feel that same terror well up in me. I can't lose him, too.

14. What’s the coolest thing you’ve bought lately?

I have enough trouble keeping milk in my kids' tummies after all the road trips we've taken lately, let alone buy cool things. But if I owned this celly case, I'd never get anything done, that's fo'shizzle.

15. What’s the worst you’ve had to do because of losing a bet? 

I never take a bet I know I won't win! I may be crazy, but I ain't stupid.

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday Stealing: Would You Rather Meme, Part The Second

Welcome back! Link up here if you're playing along this weekend!

Would You Rather Meme, Part Two

Stolen from: Sign Up Genius

Would you rather go to a movie or to dinner alone? 
Unless I'm studying, working on something, or reading a book, I have no interest in eating alone. It's boring and lonely to me. I have never been to a movie alone, but I would rather do that. At least I'm engrossed in something (hopefully), rather than feeling my aloneness so strongly.
  • Would you rather always say everything on your mind or never speak again? 

I talk way too much. I know I do. But only when I'm comfortable with the person(s) to whom I'm speaking. Take it as a compliment. I wouldn't be able to tolerate never speaking again, no thank you!

  • Would you rather make a phone call or send a text?
  • Absurdly enough, given my last answer, I would rather text than make phone calls. Part of that may have to do with the fact that I don't get a good signal inside the abode and have to go outside to make calls, which is annoying... but it's certainly not the whole story. Texting is more my comfort level.
  • Would you rather read an awesome book or watch a good movie?

  • Given the choice, historically I would rather read the book any day of the week. Lately, though, I haven't had the patience to start a book, let alone finish one. It's kind of irksome, given my "bookworm" reputation. I don't know... book, I'm sticking with book.
  • Would you rather be the most popular person at work or school or the smartest? 

I have been the smartest person at school - and at work - and I was too young and experienced to recognize the value in it. Now, I do. Popularity is fleeting. Hopefully, intelligence lasts longer. It certainly matters more.

  • Would you rather put a stop to war or end world hunger? 

That is an very tough one for me, since I hate both. I'd pick ending world hunger, however, because though war sucks and the collateral damage sucks even more, world hunger suckiness trumps even that. On the other hand, overpopulation is another problem to consider, so... hmm. Nah. I'm sticking with ending hunger.

  • Would you rather spend the night in a luxury hotel room or camping surrounded by beautiful scenery? 

 Hmm... tough one. I'd rather go camping most of the time, but being that I'm quite possibly in the worst lupus (??) flare of my life, I'm going with the luxurious hotel room. Comfort is of the utmost importance while I'm in this constant, excruciating pain. (Sorry to be a downer!)

  • Would you rather explore space or the ocean? 

Man! These are getting tougher for me! But since I have done my fair share of ocean exploration and I have dreamt my entire life, since as young as I can remember, of going into space, I'm choosing space. When can we leave??!

  • Would you rather go deep sea diving or bungee jumping? 

Oh, that's an easy one. I have zero desire to go bungee jumping. I have only been down 110 feet while SCUBA diving, which can hardly be considered "deep sea," but it was awesome enough that I reckon I'd be game to go much deeper. Given the right controls, of course.

  • Would you rather be a kid your whole life or an adult your whole life?
  •  Hmmm... Given that my childhood was NOT awesome, and that I am something of a control freak, I would have to choose being a perpetual adult. Sure, there are plenty of crappy things about responsibility, but I'd rather have the freedom and control that also comes with adulting.
  • Would you rather go on a cruise with friends or with your spouse? 

I've never been on a cruise with friends, but I have been on two or three with Hubs. I would go with Hubs again in a heartbeat. I already know I'm guaranteed to have a good time. ;)

  • Would you rather lose your keys or your cell phone? 

almost never lose my keys, because I put them in the same place every time. 99% of the the time, unless I'm rushing out the door and someone else (Ahem, I'm looking at you, family) has misplaced my keys, I would rather those go missing. They're replaceable, we have copies, and they contain far less crucial information than my cellular device. I abhor misplacing my phone.

  • Would you rather eat a meal of cow tongue or octopus? 

That's a no-brainer. I haven't eaten beef since August of 1995. I will not eat beef again for any reason. I have eaten octopus, along with squid. In calamari form, it's not bad. In whole-tentacle-in-a-salad form, it's not my favorite... but it certainly doesn't make me shudder like the thought of eating tongue of cow does.

  • Would you rather have x-ray vision or magnified hearing? 

Hearing, for me, isn't all that great sometimes. You can't un-see, but you can't un-hear either, and words can ... oh, bother. I'd just rather have the x-ray vision, m'kay?

  • Would you rather work in a group or work alone?

Oh, I would much rather work alone. Working in a group sucks. Either I end up doing all the work, or I wish I had. I don't want to rely on someone else for good results. Nope.

Thanks for stopping by!



Friday Fragments: Episode 4.17.15

Half-Past Kissin' Time

I haven't fragmented in a dog's age, but I felt like a brain dump was necessary, so here I am! These posts are for the purpose of shaking out all that loose change rattling around in our brains that isn't big enough for a whole post. Link up here with Mrs. 4444 if you're fragmentin' today!

Mike & Gail

First and most importantly, I'd like to give some birthday shout-outs to some very important people in the lives of Team Odette! Above are Hubs' twin brother and sister, Mike and Gail, who turned the big 5-0 on Thursday (yesterday). Happy half-century, you two!

Stacey 40

Also, my big sister Stacey Jean is turning the big 4-0 tomorrow, April 18th! WOW, huge milestone years for all of the siblings! Happy fourth decade, Sis; I you so much!


When Rob (Hubs) was in the hospital for eight days, I did my best to give the kids a decent passing time for that period. I had free tickets to go to the movies, so we went to see Home, which they had been talking about for a while.

All three of them agreed that it was better than Big Hero 6, but I greatly disagreed with that assessment, since I loved the Disney flick. I could have waited easily for it to come out on DVD, and the only thing that tickled me were the running gags about "My Mom..." and "going Number Three." Other than that, big fat "MEH" from me!

Have you seen it, and if so, with whom do you agree?


This was the afternoon I sprung Rob from "The Clink," a.k.a. the hospital where he was staying through the beginning of April. I had brought plenty of treats to the hospital ward for the other patients, including four dozen Krispy Kreme donuts, dozens of magazines of all kinds of genres, and a huge batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies, and this pleased me greatly to do. However, nothing made me happier than this moment, when he was released to me to come home. I lurve this guy!


Partially to celebrate Rob's homecoming, we went to the Miami Youth Fair that evening. Ohmagosh, it was hot!! I rented him a wheelchair, since he was feeling pretty dizzy (and, secret? that helps carry the bags we collect along the way, too). Here are the girls in our ticket redemption line. I do have to say, I think they look so cute in their glasses!


Of course, when you visit the fair, you are required to eat fair food, right? My obligatory fair food is cheesy fries with excessive amounts of vinegar and, I must confess, among the five of us we shared about three large orders that day! Jack, however, is our carnivorous kid (the girls have all but sworn off the meat-eating through no attempt of mine to have them do so), so he was all about getting a turkey leg.

We laughed so hard at the enormosity (that's a word, right?) of the turkey legs at the fair compared to his diminutive size. He put quite a pretty good dent in it, too, before Daddy had to take over!


Soft-serve ice cream... yet another food from the fair in which one must indulge. I mean, c'mon. It's the fair. You're not getting a salad, people.


We mostly walked around and looked at exhibits, ate, rode rides and... played games. Wait, that's kind of a 'duh,' because that is what the fair is, after all. 

Anyway, I spent entirely too much money on games, because Sophie decided she had to win this "hippocorn," as Rob calls it, for her dad. She's a sweet kid, that girl.


Poor Jack has had a time of it lately. Between an awful dentist visit (we have known for years he has bad teeth, so this was not a surprise) and a subsequent visit to the Miami Children's Hospital Emergency Department, plenty of work was determined to be needing done. But none has been done. Our dental bills, for the five of us, are going to be astronomical. And we are triple-insured for this. SUCKAGE, y'all.


Speaking of Jack emergencies, he tripped over a rope his younger sister had tied to the bucket he wanted to use for making bubble wand mix the other day, and he landed smack on his cheekbone on the edge of the bucket.

Image result for ouch

His cheek swelled up enormously and turned black in seconds. This was on Sophie's 10th birthday, this past Monday, so quite an unfortunate accident indeed. I delivered him and his dad to the local ED for X-rays and Ibuprofen, and it was determined that nothing was broken. Phew! That poor cheek has turned 57 shades of ugly since then, though!


Rob and I went out to downtown Miami and South Beach for a fun date night a couple nights later, and that was a much needed reprieve from the stresses of previous weeks. At the one restaurant we visited, our bartendress was quite moronical. She did not know how to make anything normal. Holy cow. I'm glad Rob didn't decide to blow her mind by ordering his usual favorite stumper, a Colorado Bulldog!

In the end, I ordered this, a "No. 8," which was quite good with its raspberry-mint essence. I liked it, though I'm not a fan of mojitos or any other minty beverage. Seriously, though... as Rob pointed out, she wasn't there for her brains (quite a hottie, she was)!


At that same restaurant, our food and table service were exquisite. We had this Bufala Mozzarella deliciousness that included pine nuts, pomegranate arils, and some kind of sweet hazelnut mashy thing that we quite liked.


My scallop dinner was delectable, but unreasonably priced: I paid $36 for this plate and received three not-even-that-large scallops. Do the math. If I wasn't being reimbursed for this meal, I would have passed out!


On the other hand, our dessert was quite creative and simply amazing: a creamy topped Monkeybread concoction. What? Monkeybread?! How unusual. I loved the idea of that being on the menu at a fancy restaurant nearly as much as the dish itself. Would you order it?

041115 Pinkberry Ocean Drive FroYo

After all that food, it was such a tragedy that we still had to get some FroYo for another shop, but we went through with the horrible disaster. I didn't eat any and gave the whole thing to my bottomless pit husband. Apparently this brand, which we were experiencing for the first time compared to Menchie's and Sweet Frog, tasted a lot more like actual yogurt than, you know, ice cream? I can't say personally, though I think I might actually have liked that.


And last but definitely not least, I came up with idea for instituting a Swear Jar all on my own, since I have a HA-rrible (as I pronounce it, being from New York) potty mouth. No one forced me; I brought this upon myself. I bought a set of large mason jars - because I couldn't seem to get just one - and we hot-glued the lid shut so I couldn't break into it for emergency gas/Diet Coke/what-have-you funds.

Um. Yeah. Bad idea. The kids are making bank off me. That jar is now full to capacity after a mere three or four days, and we have to start a new one. Most of that money is from me. The kids also have to throw in a quarter (it's 25¢ per swearing offense, as well) for saying "Shut up!" or calling each other "stupid," "idiot," or such things, but unlike me, they seem to have learned their lessons quite quickly.

At this rate, we'll have the down payment for a live-aboard boat in no time. Oy vey...

Welp, I think that's enough of a brain-dump for me this week. Thanks for stopping by!


P.S. Here's a gratuitous cute picture of Spike, Rob's new kitten, having a nosh:


Sunday Stealing: Sizzle Says


Link up here if you're playing along today!

The Sizzle Says Meme

Stolen from: Ms. Sizzle
1. If money were no object, what would you be doing with your life? 

I would be visiting every corner of Earth.

2. Money is just that - an object, so why aren’t you doing it? 

Hey, I'll get there, if only in books and dreams.

3. What’s better: horses or cows? 

Image result for sharks rule


4. What do you think the secret to happiness is? 

Learn to be content with "enough."

5. When was the last time you had a dream that you either remember well or did not want to awake from? Can you share a bit? 

I tend to have either wild, outrageous dreams, or future-foretelling dreams of mundane conversations that later happen in real life. I often have a sense of déjà vu when that conversation then happens. It's so eerie. Does this happen to you guys, too?

6. When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

I wanted to be a concert singer, a famous gymnast and figure skater, a world-renowned novelist, and... oh, wait, I still do.

7. Complete this statement: Love is… 

... indescribably wonderful. When you know you have it, you just know.

8. Can you tell a good story? 


Orally, not so much. I suck at speaking the language of my native tongue. I just don't talk right! I mix up words, I'm the queen of Spoonerisms, I sometimes mentally grab the closest word to the one I really mean, and so on and so forth. I'm a much better storyteller in written form.

9. Can you remember your last daydream? What was it about?


You know what I sometimes daydream about? What it would be like to be mentally "normal." Is anyone in that category? I'm certainly not... and sometimes, all the various -oses and -isms etc. just get to be a wee bit too much. I daydream about being a regular person with regular shit on my mind.

10. If you were to thank someone today, who would you thank? 


I would thank Robert Allen Odette for taking a chance on and with me, and for creating this awesome little family with me. I love you and I love you and I love you...!

11. If you could be anyone's mojo, whose would you want to be, and why? (For those you do not know what mojo is, it's personal magnetism; charm.)

Did you not just read the last answer? Same guy! He's got my heart forever and always. Awwwwwww, shucks now.


Sunday Stealing: The One Thing Meme


Link up here if you're playing along today!

The One Thing Meme

Stolen from: Survey Haven

One Thing ..... 

 that makes you smile: 

my family being happy

that makes you cry: 

I don't cry often unless I forget to take my meds, because they prevent me from doing so. That being said, having my heart broken is a guaranteed tearjerker for me.

that you love to do on the weekends: 

Image result for JAFRA freedom to be you

Work my JAFRA business

that you do for only yourself: 

buy excessive amounts of Diet Coke. I need to quit that shit. :\

that you have in your underwear drawer that's NOT underwear: 

Nothing, just undies. Well, I think I mistakenly put my body-shaper in there, but it doesn't belong there.

that you do before going to sleep: 

Take off my makeup and do my bedtime skincare routine, ever since Conference: I learned that for every night you sleep with your makeup on, you age your skin five days. No thanks!

that you do within the first 15 minutes after waking: 

a. Look at my phone to see the time and whether I have any important messages. b. pee. c. drink a swig or three of Diet Coke. 

that's in your purse:

Image result for purse funny

I can't live without my lip balm, so I have it with me wherever I go. I have, like, six open tubes around the house.

that you actually LIKE to clean: 

I don't mind cleaning. I just don't do it very often, because I don't prioritize it in my busy life. It's always on my to-do list, though!

that you DETEST cleaning: 

My daughter Chloe's curly hair

that other people would find odd about you: 

I can't stand rubbing or scratching on fabric. If Hubs tries to rub my leg and I'm wearing pants, for example, he'll inevitably hear, "Don't rub fabric!" And scratching your legs through your denim jeans? That is a may-HAY-jor no-no in front of me! GAHHHHHH.

that you would buy if I handed you a $100 bill: 

I'd probably go crazy and buy some groceries. Hey, I got kids to feed, man!

that you feel you HAVE to do before you die: 


Buy my husband a boat. He really wants a boat. I want him to have a boat!

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Here I Go Again

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: Here I Go Again (1982)

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

1) This song originally appeared on Whitesnake's Saints and Sinners album. Are you feeling more saintly or sinful this morning?

No one's all good or all bad, and I'm definitely a healthy mixture of both. ;)

2) Whitesnake was formed by Brit David Coverdale, who now lives in Lake Tahoe, NV. Have you ever wanted to relocate to another country?

Sure. Hubs and I talk about expatriating all the time. Well, living on a boat and traveling the world while home-porting somewhere in the US isn't technically expatriation, but close enough. My dad, on the other hand, would do it in a heartbeat if he could afford the destination he desires.

3) In the song, Coverdale says he "was born to walk alone." Do you enjoy time on your own? Or do you quickly get bored or lonely?

Intelligent people should not ever get bored. Boring people get bored. I don't get bored. I love my own company.

4) During the band's 1980s heyday, Coverdale was known for his skintight leather pants. Do you own leather pants or slacks?

I try not to own leather anything. I'm not vegan anymore, not even a full-on vegetarian (more like pescetarian), so owning leather goes against my general principles. I don't own a leather coat or leather shoes, either. (Crocs are my friends.)

5) What about snakeskin?

Ditto the above response.

6) It's estimated that 20,000 people die of snake bite every year. Approximately 1,000 suffer fatal spider bites. Less than 50 are killed each year by sharks. Considering sharks, spiders and snakes, which do you find scariest?

I've swam with sharks and would do it again in a heartbeat. It's a wild thrill. I've had snakes writhe all over me, but I do not relish it. I had a spider bite on the back of my head 14 years ago, and I can STILL feel it. So... I'll say spiders? I'm not afraid of bugs and arachnids in general, but I don't want them touching me without first gaining my express written permission.

7) In 1982, when this song was popular, the world lost Princess Grace of Monaco. Before she became a royal, she was film star Grace Kelly. Have you ever seen a Grace Kelly movie?

No. Should I?

8) Speaking of movies, the top-grossing film of 1982 was ET: The Extra Terrestrial. Have you seen it?

My parents took me to see it at the drive-in theater. I was six then. It's one of the few memories I have of my mother alive, so I cherish this movie.

9) Random question: How many timepieces will you have to reset when we spring ahead this weekend?

Most reset on their own now, but I'll still have to do the van, the microwave, and the stove. Thanks for the reminder!

Have a grand Saturday, y'all!


The 2015 Miami Boat Show #Workflow

021515 Miami Boat Show NauticStar Booth

Of course, I can't tell you exactly what I was doing there, but on Sunday, I had a day-long mystery shop in downtown Miami (at Bayside Mall) and at the Miami Beach Convention Center. We were there for me to "work" at the Miami Boat Show.

Like I said, I can't say why I needed to attend, but I can tell you this: the hosts of the show itself, the sponsors (Progressive Insurance, innumerable boat-related companies, and more), and the hundreds of exhibitors spent beaucoup bucks putting on an extremely impressive event. I've been to other major conventions before, but this one was, by far, the most fantastic.


After we bought our tickets, donned our wristbands, and filled out various and sundry papers to enter the first Exhibition Tent, we meandered around looking at all the sailing-related boats and accessories. We found these awesome Spinlock Deckvests, and the kids went crazy for them. 

We had already been listening to various "Oh, we're gonna need that!" claims from the children over a WiFi-boosting antenna company, life rafts, all kinds of anchors, engines, ropes, and other necessary components of liveaboard boating, so this wasn't a surprise. However, we chose to stop and talk to the Spinlock folks, variously out of the UK and Rhode Island, about their safety vests' designs for children.

The kids were all about 'em. We asked a ton of questions. I picked up a big ol' fatty brochure. We promised to be in touch. And Sophia, naturally, wanted a pink one (which they have). Moving on...


In the same tent, the kids were captivated by this engine-in-a-tank demo set up by one of the companies on the sailboat side of things. They each got to pull the throttle and make it go, and of course we had to worry about Sophia going full-tilt and making it burst. She's always going full-tilt. Our adventurous little wild child, that one...!

I had to admit, it was definitely an effective demonstration.


This woman, talking to the girls about where to jump on the trampoline aft of one of "her" luxury TradeWinds yachts, was April. April was super-nice, pleasant, professional, and helpful - I even admitted to her exactly what we were doing there. I never do that.


April recognized Sophia for the party animal she is, and she remarked that she'll join us on our $10-15,000 TradeWinds cruises and jump with Sophia on the trampoline - and off, into "the drink" (as my beloved Grandpa always called it).


Chloë preferred to lounge on one of the adjustable pads a bit forward of the trampolines, but April persuaded her to do a smidgen of jumping, too. There was quite a bit of cajoling and hand-holding involved in that scenario.


Jack, ever the chicken (like his Mama!), could neither be persuaded to jump nor to completely relaxed. As you can see from my shadow, I stuck by him. Heh.


Paco joined us on this venture. He's a seven-month-old weenie when it comes to us leaving him at home, which is fine for short escapes. However, he has had severe separation anxiety since we adopted him, and if we leave him alone for a lengthy amount of time, he freaks out and tears up his wee little nosy! :( So we brought him with us.

"Pax" was invited up onto all the kabillion-dollar yachts we toured, in and out of exhibition tents and buildings, onto the shuttle bus to ride between the two major sites, and everywhere else. Of course, Rob pointed out that no one batted an eye primarily because one of us carried us the entire time. He was the hit of the show! Everyone wanted to know him. Indeed, he was the key to our introduction to April and her cohorts at the TradeWinds booth. Several folks nominated him "most spoiled dog of the boat show," and I could not disagree. He has us wrapped around his tiny paw.

Anyway, we couldn't find what we were looking for at the sailboat side of things, and then April looked it up on her handy-dandy laptop for me and realized that we were supposed to be in Miami Beach, not downtown Miami. D'oh! She promptly sat us down and, teamed up with her fiancé-partner, gave us a very hard sell on the cruise of a lifetime. Uh. It was then that I realized exactly why she was being so helpful: huge commissions were in her mind from our booking!

I would love - LOVE! - to take the whole fam-damily on a beautiful TradeWinds cruise to St. Maarten, St. Barts, and wherever else that itinerary goes, but it's just not in the budget right now. I told a little white lie to let April know this wasn't going to happen right now, and she and the beau exchanged a deadly glance. Boom. Friendliness gone, class dismissed.

I still feel awful about wasting her time, but c'mon, she knew why we were there! Gah. Anyway.


Sophia and I sat together on the shuttle bus over to the Convention Center, which turned out to be a good half-hour ride. All of Team Odette fell asleep except for moi, and even I started nodding just before we reached our destination.

(Chloë picked out my sunglasses, by the by. Do they look okay? She said I definitely had to get the silver ones to match my nose ring, haha!) (Also, if you look closely at the side of Sophie's hair, you can see the pink streaks she put in it earlier in the morning. She wants you to see that. You can, yes?)

021515 Miami Boat Show Everglades Booth 1

We toured several boat brands on the powerboat side of things. The Everglades 30' we visited was quite nice. Jack spent most of his time playing captain, "steering" her around aggressively. He plays so many different flight/driving/boating simulators on his Kindle, he is probably already a better driver than I'll ever be! (Shh, please don't tell him that. For a little guy, he sure has a big ego about his 'skillz.')

021515 Miami Boat Show Intrepid Booth

We also toured a 50' NO SHOES ALLOWED! yacht by Intrepid. Rob estimated its worth at $1.5 million. It was, in a word, gorgeous. When we went below decks to look at the cabins and other living spaces, the kids breathed in unison, "It's beautiful...!" Sophie begged and begged for us to buy it. She pouted when Daddy asked her if she was writing the check. Seriously, kiddo?! Your 'rents aren't Bill and Melinda Gates, darlin'!


Lastly, we visited an unnamed (by me) boat that was nice and all, but the least impressive of the bunch. The kids were nonplussed. Jack continued "driving" and working the controls, and Chloë pulled up a bench to lie down.


Sophia joined her sister on the port side of the boat. I think this one actually did fall asleep. I know we all wanted to!


As for Hubs, he did very well at the boat show, but it definitely tired him out more than he's been used to. There was a lot of walking involved, not to mention all the climbing and maneuvering around the boats and docks. He's not the spry ninja he once was pre-tumor, but he's getting there! And rapidly, I would say; however, he walked a lot more slowly and carefully by the end of the day than he did fresh out of the box. I'm proud of where he was a year ago and where he is now, but I told him not to overdo the efforts to the detriment of his recovery.

Anyhoo... it was a great, big, fun day. We didn't spend a dime on the many food and beverage offerings there, much as I'd have loved to, because we brought our own food. Probably saved us many dollars, so I'm glad we did that...  The Boat Show ended today, but there is always next year if you wanna go!


Saturday 9: Dancing With Myself

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

Saturday 9: Dancing with Myself (1980)

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

1) This song is one of Billy Idol's biggest hits. Can you name another?

 Sure, you're talking to an 80s girl, here. There's this one ("Mony, Mony"), "Rebel Yell," "White Wedding"... I can remember shouting the dirty lyrics to this one when it came on at the skating rink, too!

2) When is the last time you danced around your home? 

I dance around my house for Hubs' entertainment (okay, for my own as well) almost every day! What I lack in grace and coordination, I make up for with enthusiasm! Hee.

3) In this song, Billy says he dances with his own reflection. Is there a mirror in the room you're in right now?

There was... until a few days ago. Hubs knocked it down when he fell off the ladder, trying to change a light bulb. Um, no, I did not authorize that project. (Yes, he's okay. But the mirror is no more.)

4) Dancing with Myself is also the name of Billy Idol's 2014 autobiography. Let's say you're going to write your life story. What do you title it?

That remains to be seen... I was going to name it Passages: A Series of Vignettes, but that seemed cheesy, and I changed the styling of the book. So I'll let you know when I know, m'kay?

5) This month, Billy resumes his 2014-15 concert tour in New Orleans. Have you ever been to Louisiana?

At least twice, yes. Hubs' sister lives there, so we visited her once when I was preggers with #1, and then we drove to New Orleans when I was preggers with #2 and #3 to ship our car out to Guam (and SIL met us there, too). I loved Nawlins! Great city. I'd love to go again.

6) In 1980, when "Dancing with Myself" was first popular, VHS players were all the rage. Do you still have yours?

No way, but we can't seem to get the Blu-Ray player to work right, either. We're stuck in DVD-land for now, I suppose.

7) In 1980, The Love Boat was getting good ratings. Have you ever taken a cruise?

Yes, a few. Let me see:

In August 1991, just before I turned 15, I took my first cruise, an Eastern Caribbean on Carnival. We went to Nassau, Bahamas; St. Thomas in USVI; and San Juan, Puerto Rico

In 1999, my late gran'pappy took some of us on my second cruise, a Western Caribbean on Princess. We went to Cozumel, Mexico; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Grand Cayman Island; Limón, Costa Rica; and through the Panama Canal.

In 2006, Hubs and I took our littles to Disney World and then met up with my Dad and his then-wife for a short Carnival cruise to the Bahamas. I didn't love Nassau the first time, and I loved it even less the second time, but hey, the cruising itself was a good time!

In 2008, Hubs and I went on our oft-mentioned latent honeymoon cruise to the Mediterranean on Holland America line. We flew to Barcelona and cruised from there to France, Monaco, several ports in Italy and Greece, and Croatia. We flew from Venice back to Madrid to fly home. You can read about that spectacular trip here, if you so desire.

Four cruises? Is that all? Seems like there were more. I guess I'm thinking of all the scientific, non-pleasure cruise time I've spent as well!

8) Sally Field won her first Oscar in 1980 for the movie Norma Rae. Five years later she won a second Oscar for Places in the Heart and delivered one of the most quoted acceptance speeches in Academy history. Do you remember what she said?

Something about, "You like me, you really do like me," right? Isn't that the one? I was only nine then, so forgive me if I'm mistaken.

9) In 1980, People magazine named Stephen King one of the most intriguing people of the year because he had two big paperback bestsellers - The Dead Zone and The Shining. Do you have a favorite Stephen King book?

Haha. No. I tried to read The Shining, but I didn't get very far because I kept shutting my eyes at the scary parts. That habit doesn't work too well with books, you feel me?

Thanks for stopping by!


Iguana Go Back To The Keys


On July 3rd, I found myself having stacked up 13 mystery shops to do down in the Keys, starting from Key Largo, working our way down to Key West, and working our way back up to Tavernier (south of Key Largo). It was a law-haw-hawng day, but I managed to get a dozen of those assignments completed, missing just one lunch in Key West for which we arrived too late. So that's me, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the start of the day.


North of Key West, we stopped at our usual Circle K for a potty break and Big Gulp refill. We saw this huge-ish iguana, just chillin', you know, relaxin' and maxin' by the side of the road. I crept up oh-so-slowly to get a snap or two, but he bolted. So this was me, trying to get a good capture in one...


... two...


...three, before he escaped up into the foliage, out of sight. At the same station of gas, we found four more, much smaller iggies racing around after each other in the yard. What fun! Of course, there were the ubiquitous chickens, but none wanted to be photographed there that day.


At last, after about five or six shops to the north of Key West, we made it to the Southernmost Point. I had about five or six more shops lined up down there, and my good gosh, it was a HOT day. I was sweating, er, glowing profusely as me grammy would have said. It was a great day, however, much better than our last trip down there, and the flora were blooming mighty prettily all over the island.


Somewhere along the famous Duval Street, this rooster was busy jumping off and on a street vendor's kiosk, taking whatever bits of food was being doled out to him. We were told Mr. Cockadoodle-doo always hangs about, looking for scraps. Chickens amuse me; I don't know why, they just freakin' do.


Poor Rob was stuck walking around as we shopped our way through downtown, since parking is always hard to find and expensive when you finally do find it, but listen: it was the day before a major U.S. holiday, summertime, and might as well have been the weekend. Can you imagine? I parked as close as I could to the center of the action for Rob, but boy was he pooped at the end of the trip. Gratuitous camel ball picture just for shits and giggles.

At one point in this trip, I found myself flat on the ground, wearing a dress or skirt of some sort, on the sidewalk with all manner of passers-by gawking at me, photographing a pizza. Rob wanted to tell them this was my normal behavior, but no one said anything, because hey, it's Key West after all. Anything goes!

I raced against time to get to my last shop up in Tavernier. Traffic was against me, as there were accidents, patrols doing routine holiday weekend sobriety checks, and so forth, but I made it! I was so stoked that I actually made it and got home from a Keys trip before midnight. That, like, never happens.


Saturday evening, the 5th, found us back in the Keys for another shop. I was supposed to have dinner at a semi-upscale hotel restaurant with Hubs, while Chloë babysat her siblings, but I changed my mind and took her at the last minute. So while we sat looking at this gorgeous scenery next to us, Rob took Sophie and Jack to a nearby school playground to burn off some energy.


Sunset in the Keys, as you can probably well imagine, is just beautiful. My little Samsung Galaxy can't capture the gorgeousness substantially; one must experience it personally to fully appreciate it. So, go; put it on your bucket list if you haven't already seen it. I can't wait until, God willing, we live on a boat and get to see the sun rise and set over an expanse of water full time.

Hope you enjoyed. Thanks for popping in!


Sunday Stealing: If You Could Meme


Link up here if you're playing along today!

From Sweet Memes, our friend CAT!:


Travel anywhere, where would it be? 

It's a Bucket List item to SCUBA dive on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

 Meet anyone, who would it be? 

I was going to say something silly, like my crushes Matt Damon or Ed Sheeran, but then I decided to go a little more cerebral since I'm not even remotely in a silly mood. I'm going with Einstein.

 Bring anyone dead back to life, who would it be? 

If I were being entirely selfish, I'd ask if I could pick two people who were taken far too early:  my beautiful mother, who lived just 33 years, and my darling son, who lived just 3 days. But I try not to be entirely selfish, and so I will pick my son. My reasons are multiple, but partly, I would choose Robby so that his identical twin brother, Jack, who survived their traumatic birth, would have his womb-mate and the kiddo who should be his best friend in life, his partner in crime, his other half. You're right, Jack; it's NOT fair.

(And if you, reader, try and tell me that "everything happens for a reason," I will hunt you down and kick you in bits that will make you cry the ugly cry. Because not everything does. Some things just freaking happen.)

 Be anyone for a day, who would it be? 

Well, or Queen of the Universe, or something. I'd globally mandate and/or outlaw a few things. Recycling, which should be a damn given in the year 2014, would be required for every possible thing that can be recycled. Smoking would be outlawed. Priorities would shift. Real things would matter. None of this "oh, let's not let two people who love each other get married when children are going hungry and global warming is happening" bullshit.

(Sorry, guys, I'm not in a fluffy kitten and rainbows and unicorns mood.)

 Get anything for free for the rest of your life what would it be? 

Yarn. I pick yarn. Okay, maybe there's still a little frivolity left in my spirit today, after all. But not just any old ugly, cheap yarn. Handspun, hand-painted, beautifully soft, natural yarns.

 Change one thing about your life what would it be? 

Hopefully this will be us in 2.5 years: sailing on the open ocean, to destinations varied and far, seeing the world, having amazing experiences, teaching the kids real-life stuff. Maybe it's a pipe dream, maybe it'll happen... time will tell.

 Have any superpower what would it be? 

I still dream all the time that I can fly. I would give anything - almost - to do it for real.

 Be any animal for a day which would you be? 

I'd be a beautiful parrotfish, colorful and interesting, buoyant and free... my favorite of reef fishes.

 Date anyone who would it be? 

I'd date this guy: my husband. But, I'd like him to be the guy before brain surgery, before the brain tumor, before Cyberknife made him a whole 'nother person. Can I have my husband back, please?!!

 Change one thing about the world what would it be? 

I would make it so that no one cared about what other people looked like on the outside; people would see past that - or never see it at all - to the beauty that lies within each and every one of us.

 Live in any fictional universe which would you choose? 

Not that I truly think heaven is "fictional," but I would go there. 

 Eliminate one of your human needs; which would you get rid of? 

Not to get too gross, because I have a million and one fun things I could say about it, but I would eliminate elimination.

 Change one thing about your physical appearance what would it be? 

Okay, that's beyond beyond, but I would get rid of all the extra skin from dropping 200 pounds in the blink of an eye. It's... yuckish.

 Change one of your personality traits which would you choose? 

I would turn my boundless insecurity into (merited) confidence.

 Be talented at anything instantly what would you choose? 

In my mind, I'm secretly an amazing gymnast. In reality, I'm the biggest klutz ever.

 Forget one event in your life which would you choose? 

I'd erase the the years from the time my mom died, when I was 7, until I graduated high school and went to college, when I was 17. Those ten years of my childhood, well, they really fucked me up.

 Erase an event from history (make it so it never happened) which would you choose? 

I'd erase the assassination of MLK, Jr., because I feel that he had a whole lot more to offer this country - no, this world.

 Have any hair/eye/skin color, which would you choose? 

I wouldn't change a thing.

 Be any weight/body type, which would you choose?

 I'd choose to be happy the way I am.

 Live in any country/city, where would you choose? 

I've always wanted to spend a year of my life living in New York City.

 Change one law in your country, which would you change? 

Come on, now.

 Be any height, which would you choose?  

I'm happy at 5'2".

Have any job in the world, which would you choose? 

I was going to join the Peace Corps before I started my Ph.D., but I couldn't go for various (financial and medical) reasons at the time. I'd still like to do that someday.

 Have anything appear in your pocket right now, what would it be? 

It's the end of the month, two days before payday, and we've just run out of milk for the kidoodles. A wad of cash showing up in my pocket would be nice right now.

 Have anyone beside you right now, who would it be?


I'm pretty fortunate, because I'd still choose Hubs, and guess what? There he is. ---->

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday Stealing: The 90 Meme, Part The Third


Link up here if you're playing along today!

And awaaaaaay we go:

61. Do you like current pop stars?  

I lurve Bruno Mars, and I'm crushing on Ed Sheeran, so... yeah?

62. What is your least favorite chore? 

Oh ma gaw, I should totes do that!

Least favorite: Dusting. You thought I was gonna say scrubbing toilets, dintcha?

63. Last place you drove your car? 


I drove to Domino's to pick up our free pizza for the Dodgers' no-hitter MLB game. Woot!

 64. Ever been out of the country? 

If I hadn't, I would consider myself much poorer indeed.

 65. Where were you the last time you used a public bathroom? 

I try to avoid it at all costs, but I did have to make a pit stop in a Burger King this afternoon after chugging a gallon of Diet Mt. Dew and getting caught in traffic during a deluge. Thank ye gods, it was clean.

 66. Could you handle being in the military? 

I've been a military wife for 13 years. That's as close as I'mma get.

 67. What is your average cell phone bill? 

It's not super bad since I get a 25% discount for being a Nielsen family. 

 68. Who or what are you thinking about right now? 

I'm wondering what witty label I'm going to put for the posts in which I reference my new Samsung Galaxy S5, now that I've upgraded from my iPhone.

 69. When was the last time you laughed REALLY hard? 

Butt Pic

Just a li'l bit ago, whilst creating this family portrait for my Facebook cover photo!

 70. How many pairs of shoes do you own? 

Like a dozen, fewer now that my feet have shrunk from a 7½ to a 5. I'm still getting rid of the too-biggies. I'm not really a shoe whore, or a purse whore, or a clothes whore... am I really female?!

 71. Are your toes always painted? 

Google "ugly feet funny" to see way gross pictures, by the way. As for my toes? Generally I do keep them painted. Right now my booboo toenail is showing black through the paint.

 72. How many piercings do you have? 


Nine. Four in each ear and one in my nose. I don't really have one in my bellybutton; I'm not a follower. Okay, so I don't really have a show-offable belly, but I still wouldn't.

 73. What are you doing today? 

Not what I should be, I'll say that. Hey, what do you want from me? That couch is comfy.

 74. Have you ever been gambling? 

I've been to Vegas and gambled with someone else's cash. I prefer things that way.

 75. When is the last time you updated your blog? 

I'm doing it right now. To quote my elder daughter, "That's kind of a duh."

 76. Do you like roller coasters? 

Do bears shit on the pope? (or something) (That would be a "no.")

 77. Have you ever been to Disneyland or -World? 

Never been to -Land. Been to WDW 3-4 times over the course of as many decades. 

 78. Do you have a favorite cartoon character? 

Just keep swimming!

 79. Last thing you cooked? 


Chocolate chip cookies that I got paid to make after a girl I know sampled a few from a prior batch and declared them, quote, "WOW." If baking counts, that is.

 80. How's the weather? 

It's full-on hurricane season here at the southern tip of Florida. What do you think?

 81. Do you e-mail more than snail mail? 

...but I still like writin' letters and sending cards and stuff.

 82. What's the funniest picture you ever took with your cell phone?  

You mean that photo up there with everyone's hineys wasn't good enough?

83. Last time you were sick? 

I'm bipolar. I'm always "sick."

 84. What states have you lived in? 

New York, South Carolina, Florida, Virginia - and Guam

 85. Do you wish you could move? 

We're hoping to live on a boat by the time I'm 40. Hubs is still recovering from brain surgery, so... he's got 2½ years to be well.

 86. Do you take a lot of quizzes? 

Oh, no more than the next blahg writer, I guess.

 87. What is your dream car? 

I'd love a Vespa. Do scooters count?

 88. Have you ever wanted someone you can't have? 

Sure, but there are no returns from Heaven, so you know... I'll wait.

 89. If you could be anywhere right now where would it be? 

I have to pee, so I guess the bathroom?

 90. Are you happy with your life?


I'm good.

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Oh! My Papa

Link up here if you're playing along today!

If you're not familiar with today's song, you can hear it here


1) Eddie Fisher starred in a popular 1950s TV show, which was sponsored by Coca-Cola. Do you have a favorite soft drink? 

Right now, I'm drinking Diet Mt. Dew. I'm trying to quit. Again. :\

2) He was notorious for leaving his famous first wife for his very famous second wife. Can you name either of the women involved in this Hollywood scandal?

Nope. Liz Taylor??
3) His oldest daughter, Carrie Fisher, is best known as Princess Leia from Star Wars. Are you a sci-fi fan?
I feel like I'm supposed to be, but no, I'm not at all.

4) Since Sam's father is particular about his footwear and likes "a good pair of Cole Haan loafers," her Father's Day present to him is a DSW gift card. If we were to give you a gift card to any store or restaurant, which would you choose? 
Ordinarily I'd say a local yarn store, but lately we're obsessing about buying our boat to live on, so, I don't know, West Marine? ;D

5) Sam's father hates it when she swears. When is the last time your cursed? 
A few minutes ago. I do it all the time. 

6) Sam's father is a voracious reader. So much so that the local librarian knows him on sight and by name. How often do you visit your neighborhood library?
It's been about a year since I was there last, but we aim to make good use of it this summer. I owe late fees.
 7) "A good used car is a better investment than a new car." That's what Sam's dad tells her when she's in the market for wheels. Share some other words of financial wisdom with us. 
"Live within - if not well below - your means."

8) Every car her father has ever owned had a pro-union bumper sticker. Do you have any bumper stickers on your vehicle?  
I have a Key West one, a Ron Jon's Surf Shop from Key West one, a different colored hibiscus for each of the 5 of us, one from our church and a U of Miami alum one. 

9) To celebrate Father's Day, Sam is giving away her father's favorite candy: LifeSavers. Would you prefer a roll of Wild Cherry, Butter Rum, Winter Green or Peppermint?
Oh, I'll have a Butter Rum, surprising even me! Thanks. :)
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the papas!

Sunday Stealing: The 90 Meme, Part The First

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Here we go...

1. What was the highlight of your week? 


I've recently been able to get Radio Flyer scooters for the kids, and they've gotten proficient rather quickly on them. I love watching them zip, as a trio, around the neighborhood. I try to stand on one and can't do it, so I'm impressed with how well they've all been able to pick it up. It's wonderful watching them all getting along, too!

2. Whose car were you in last? 

Ours, which is almost always the case. I rarely ride in anyone else's.

3. When is the next time you will kiss someone? 


Sometime before the day is out, I'll have kissed everyone in my beloved family.

4. What color shirt are you wearing? 

Not that one. I'm wearing a Victoria's Secret tanktop underneath an Old Navy t-shirt, because I was too lazy to throw on a brassiere. :P

5. How long is your hair? 


About that long!

6. Are you good looking? 

I don't know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? I hate my teeth and the fact that my eyebrows are a different color than my hair!

7. Last movie you watched? 

This past week, we "forced" the kids to watch Grease one night and Dirty Dancing the next - the first time for them and about the 117th time (each) for me, since those are my favorite flicks. They all agreed they liked the former better than the latter. And they had a million questions about what was wrong with Penny in DD, so of course there was quite some discussion about some rather adult issues after that, but we don't shy away from such open discussion.

8. Who were you with? 


The whole fam-damily watched together.

9. Last thing you ate? 

We had a late-night date at The Cheesecake Factory last night. I opted for the Mac & Cheese balls. They're usually good, but last night all I could taste was excessive saltiness. Oh, and I had one bite of the strawberry cheesecake we brought home to the kids.

10. Last thing you drank? 

In an effort to curb my drinking of Diet Coke, I've found myself drinking Diet Mt. Dew instead, I said with my tongue firmly lodged in my cheek. :/ 


The last alcoholic beverage I had was a glass of dessert wine from Schnebly's, the local winery a few miles down the road from here. I didn't like it, but the avocado wine (in this photo) we bought was definitely one we'll purchase again. So delish!

11. When was the last time you had your heart broken? 

It's been a while. I'm good.

12. Who came over last? 

Now that the public schools are out for summer, and my kids are out on their scooters all the time, it seems they're making a lot more friends. Yay! So they're always bringing someone new over to meet us - and our cats. lolz

13. Are you happy right now? 

I had to post the shark one after yesterday's meme post, right?! Yes, I'm happy. I'm content.

14. What did you say last? 

Hubs isn't feeling too well today, so I asked him how he was feeling now.

15. Where is your phone? 

It's always right next to me, and if it's not, I panic just a li'l bit. Between that and my satchel, everything is in there but the fam!

16. What color are your eyes? 

According to my blond, blue-eyed sister, my eyes are "shit-brown." They have rings of green around the edge, which is getting wider as I age. What will she call them when they're all green? 

17. Are you left-handed? 

I'm pretty evenly ambidextrous, like my grandfather. There are certain things I can only do righty, but certain things I can only do lefty. I'm left-eye and left-foot dominant, in case you were wondering that, too.

18. Spell your name without vowels: 


Sometimes people spell my name, Melanie, and forget the "L," which always amuses me.

19. Do you have any pets? 


We have two cats, including this Maine Coon, Pepper, who is just a love and a mush. We also have Muffin, who is a right pain in the ass. She clawed me on a vein recently, and I'm sporting an enormous, ugly bruise on my leg now. But I have love for her, too...

20. Favorite Vacation? 

It will probably always be the Mediterranean cruise Hubs and I took in 2008. We started in Barcelona, then cruised to Venice. We visited Nice and Eze in France, stopped in Monaco, visited Lucca and Pisa in Italy, and we took a tour of Rome and stopped in Vatican City. We visited three ports in Greece and fell in love with Dubrovnik, Croatia, to my surprise. I wanted to ride a gondola in Venice, but I think we were broke by then! We flew out of Venice to Madrid before heading home, and that was interesting as well. That trip was just unforgettable. I blogged all about it here, if you're interested.

21. What do you dislike currently? 

No personal offense to anyone who smokes, but I do not, and it really irritates me when people go outside to smoke and then stand RIGHT by the entrance/exit of wherever they've left to go do it, forcing the rest of us to walk through that noxious crap in order to get in/out of whatever hospital, or restaurant, or wherever. Really? You can't walk 20 feet further away?! My youngest, Sophia, is extremely vocal to these people. I tell the kids to hold their breath as we're passing through a cloud of The Gross, but she'll wave her hands around and grump about it. I don't stop her... #SorryNotSorry

22. What are you listening to? 

I'm a pop music junkie. Right now MY song is playing, "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. It's my theme music.

23. If you could have one thing right now what would it be? 

Right now, Hubs and I are in the serious preparation stages for living on a boat by the time I'm 40 in a couple of years. I'd give my left {Insert body part here} to have that life now! Even if it is currently thunderbooming and lightning...

24. What is your favorite scent? 

I'm a fruity-scent girl, especially the citrus ones. Can't stand vanilla or the floral scents, blech, so not me.

25. Who makes you happiest? 


Hubs, the love of my life, forever and always

26. What were you doing at midnight last night? 


Driving home from our date with this in a box for the Littles

27. When is your birthday? 

September 8th, which, with that year, should be easy to remember, right?! (Think about it...)

28. Who has the same phone as you? 

I have an iPhone 5. I hear it's popular?

29. Last time you went swimming in a pool? 


We went the other day. The kids were so mad when we had to leave because a baby puked in the pool. There's a much longer story in there about that, but I don't feel like going into it at the mo'. 

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday Stealing: Hey 19! #Meme


Link up here if you're tired of not linking up.

Here we go!...

1 )Where would you retire to? 


Technically, you have to be employed to retire, I think. However, Hubs retired last year from the Navy, and we moved here to Miami. Furthermore, we're looking at houseboating in 2½ years' time, if not sooner. It's our dream to sail around the world, schooling the children as we go in various exotic ports of call, and having an amazing adventure. We shall see how it goes!

2) What are your best physical features? 


My face, except for my teeth, is passably acceptable. Anything below that is a lumpy, bumpy catastrophe.

3) What are your best characteristics? 

I'm a daydream believer. Cheer up!

4) What kind of books do you like to read? 

I'm a fan of most kinds of novels, not too much a non-fiction fan unless it's amusing in some way. I did like Ellen deGeneres' autobiography, My Point, and I Do Have One... way back 20-some years ago. That was a hoot!

5) What are you reading now? 


I haven't read a book in quite some time. Hopefully a year hasn't passed. I get dozens upon dozens of free magazines each week, and it's all I can do to keep up with the ones I have an interest in reading. I'm looking to the latest issue of Family Fun, which came today.

6) Where would you want to retire to? 

Pretty sure we answered this one at the jump...

7) What is your favorite time of the day? 

Anytime I feel like that ^^^ is a good time! I try to get a little of that every day. Lively music helps!

8) Where did you grow up? 


In Zone 4, CNY, outside of Syracuse.

9) How far away from your birthplace do you live now? 

It depends on how you want to measure - time elapsed while driving or walking, or distance in kilometres or inches or...? Anyway, from outside New York City to Miami, however you count it.

10) Are you a morning person or a night owl? 

I don't understand you morning people. Honestly. Right up there with people who run for fun.

11) What inspires you? 

I find inspiration everywhere. I like lots of bright, eye-popping colors. That always gets my juices flowing. 

12) Can you close your eyes and raise your eyebrows? 

Is that a thing? Because who can't do it?!

Do you have pets? 


We have our beloved Maine Coon kitty, Pepper, and another cat of my son's, Muffin, who is not a fan of mine. It's mostly mutual.

14)How many rings before you answer the phone? 

I usually let it go to voicemail... I hate answering the phone. Or the door. I think it's my social anxiety working there.

15) What are some of the different jobs that you have had in your life? 

I was a fisheries biology intern here, in Sarasota, Florida;

 I scooped ice cream and made delicious treats here, in St. Pete Beach, Florida;


I worked in the dive shop, Diver's Paradise of Key Biscayne, Florida, where I was PADI certified back in 1998... amongst others.

16) Any new and exciting things that you would like to share? 


I've been channeling Carmen Miranda?!

17) What is most important in life? 


Family, to me, is the most important thing in the world.

18) Did you dream last night? 


I always have the most vivid dreams.

19) Do you remember your dreams? 


Fairly routinely, I do, but the one that stuck with me from last night is not repeatable in a public forum! 

Welp, that's it for me. I have a $5 Starbucks gift card that needs spending, and the clock's ticking.

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Blues In the Night


Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: Blues in the Night (1952)

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

1) Was last night a good night for you? Or were you singing the blues?

Last night was pretty good. I finally saw the neurosurgeon, who said the lesion in my brain was probably a birth defect, a cyst that developed while I was a fetus, and nothing to worry about. I have to get it re-checked with another MRI in six months, but he didn't expect any changes. PHEW! I was so happy and relieved to hear that, and it set the tone for the rest of the day.

2) In this song, Rosemary Clooney sings about hearing "big talk" she didn't quite believe. What's the last fib, tall tale or out-and-out lie you heard?

It was probably one I told, and that's all I can or will say about that! ;)

3) Rosemary Clooney has a well-known nephew -- George, the Oscar winner and frequent People magazine cover story. Do you have any nieces or nephews?

I have several. I have two nieces from my sister, and one of each from both Hubs' brother and half-sister. They're all wonderful and beautiful kiddos!

4) Ms. Clooney married the same man twice. They married, had five children and divorced. Then three years later, they tried again ... and divorced again. Have you ever been tempted to give it another try with one of your former loves?

Sure I have. My high school boyfriend, Benji, and I tried again while I was in college. It wasn't meant to be; we're just two very different people. We are still friends, though.

5) Singers as diverse as Linda Ronstadt, Bette Midler and Amy Winehouse have said they admired and were influenced by Rosemary Clooney. If you could meet any artist (singer, writer, actor, director, painter, musician ...), who would it be?

I'm gonna list one for each of those listed categories:

Singer - Right now, I'm crushing on Ed Sheeran, not necessarily (just?) for looks but for his artistic bent.

Writer - Not only because of proximity to his beloved Key West, I'd go with Ernest Hemingway.

Actor - I have a thing for Matt Damon, so he'd be my choice. He lives near here, too, but I shan't stalk him, don't worry! ;)

Director - I'd love to pick the brain of Sofia Coppola.

Painter - It would be great to get to really know, as if anyone could do that, the great Vincent van Gogh, because we are similar in personality. I won't cut off my own ear anytime soon, but we have the same Personality Type. I'm self-sabotaging and am doing my damnedest not to die the same way he did.

Musician - Eric Clapton, hands down, whom I've loved for a couple decades now.

I'll add Romero Britto, my favorite fine artist, who ALSO can be found 'round these parts. He's probably the one I stand the best chance of actually meeting one day, too! Wish me luck and stuff.

6) 1952, the year this record was a hit, is also the year the "Big Bang Theory" was introduced by physicists Ralph Alpher and George Gamow. That is too lofty a topic for this humble meme, so instead we'll just ask: Do you watch the TV show of the same name? 

Hahaha... I was all getting ready to discuss the theory, too. BAZINGA! The show is (was) my favorite and what I miss terribly about not having television service for the past four or five years. I'll have to catch up online one day, I suppose. Right now, though, I'm binge-watching Dexter, and I'm on Season 6. I really connect with Dexter and have my own dark passenger, but this one doesn't want to harm anyone but my own self. :\

7) Sam Winters just broke her right thumbnail. While she won't go so far as saying it has her singing the blues, she must admit it bugs her. What little annoyances are you dealing with today?

My chin is breaking out, and it's driving me crazy. Not just because I'm 37, but hello, I've always had great skin. I don't want to start dealing with that crap now, FPS.

8) The house next door to Sam's has a FOR SALE on the lawn. Are you contemplating a move?

We just moved a year ago, so no plans anytime soon for another move. Hubs and I still retain our pipe dream of living on a boat, though. He'll have to get much better healthwise, though, before that can happen... and so will our bank account! ;)

9) What's your search engine of choice: Google, Bing, Yahoo or Ask? 

None of the above. I always use Swagbucks, so that I can get money back from my searches. I get about $10 in Amazon.com gift cards each month, which helps!

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: I'll Be There For You

I'm thinkin' these are going to be some good questions! Join me here, won'tcha?

1) This song begins with, "So no one told you life was gonna be this way …" What do you wish you knew five years ago about your life now?

I wish I knew how hard it was going to get. I might have prepared better. I might not have, probably wouldn't have... but now I'm not prepared at all for this.

2) This is, of course, the theme from Friends, which is frequently shown back-to-back on TVLand and TBS. Have you ever "binge-watched" a show, catching episode after episode?

Dexter, a few years ago on Netflix, and The L Word. I think that's it, but probably not?

3) On the show, Monica and Rachel shared a beautiful 2BR/2BA Soho apartment with a private balcony. It's estimated that such a pad would cost at least $3500/month in today's real-life New York. Describe your dream home.

Mobile, because I'm a nomad, and always close to water, because I was a mermaid in a past life - and it would come with a cleaning crew, because I've turned out to be quite a crappy housekeeper :(

4) Of the six main characters, only Chandler was an only child. Do you have any siblings? 

I have an older half-sister I've never met, and an older sister I love dearly. I had two step-sisters for 10 years, or 15 depending on how you count the time. I don't talk to those two anymore. Toxic.

5) Gunther was the barista at Central Perk, the coffee shop where the Friends hung out. He had an ongoing, unrequited love for Rachel. Are you crushing on anyone right now? Does he/she know? 

I'm married. 'Nuff said.

6) Currently Matt ("Joey") LeBlanc stars in the Showtime series Episodes, playing a character named Matt LeBlanc. If there was going to be series based on your life, who would play you?

I don't think anyone but me could play me. I wish someone else would take over for a while, though. I need a break from me.

7) Courtney Cox, who portrayed Monica, has the Twitter handle @CourtneyCox and has 628,000 followers. What was your last tweet?

@Smellyann: "I walked 15,000 steps today and got a badge with Fitbit! http://www.fitbit.com/user/2FQ2WS #Fitstats"

8) The creators of Friends were massive soap opera fans. They named their characters after recurring characters on All My Children and had Joey appear on Days of Our Lives. Have you ever been hooked on a daytime drama?

My mom used to watch AMC. My grandmother, she liked game shows more. My sisters all liked Guiding Light, so I watched that. I couldn't care less, really, and I probably haven't watched a daytime soap in 20 years.

9) The band who performed this song, The Rembrandts, took their name from the famous Dutch painter. Can you see any artwork from where you're sitting right now? Tell us about it (and yes, a school painting by your 7-year-old nephew counts).

I can see the Britto. It's a giclée we bought on our long-awaited honeymoon, a Mediterranean cruise, in 2008. As soon as we saw it, we knew it was so "us," though we didn't know who Romero Britto was at the time. "Deep Night Romance" depicts two fish underwater, smitten with each other. I was a marine biologist before Rob, and he's a retired sailor, so saltwater runs through our veins instead of blood, and the sea connects us to each other. I'm a huge Britto fan now, and I'm delighted to find myself living in the city decorated from Britto's touch on everything from payphone booths to ATM machines to huge sculptures in South Beach... LOVE.


Sunday Stealing: The Fast Dozen Meme

I'm not feeling well (food poisoning, I'm quite sure, so I'm doing my first post from my iPhone. Apologies for any weird formatting!)

1. What is the last book that you passed on to someone else to read?

The Hunger Games, before I read it, sadly. I didn't know how into it I was going to be!

2. The one song you secretly (or not) want to sing at karaoke?

I've never done karaoke. It's on my bucket list to get drunk and belt out "What's up?" by The Four Non-Blondes

3. If you had to pick a new name for yourself, what would it be?

I like Melanie, but Ann is boring. I need something more colorful, like moi. Maybe Melanie Penelope Wilhelmina Caliope Gutierrez???

4. What do you wish your boss would notice?

I am my own boss, so I wish she would notice how hard I work and give me some slack!

5. What is your biggest pet peeve?

In driving, it's being behind someone taking the sloooooooowest right turn ever. In a crowded mall, it's people with their baby stroller who stop and bend over to check on the tot in the middle of the walkway. Really?? Move to the side! In general, it's smokers smoking around doorways (of restaurants, hospitals, whatever I'm passing through) and children. Get a clue. No one wants your stank-ass air-cancer.

6. What holds you back from pursuing your biggest dream?

A combo of fear and lack of funds

7. Why do you think you are a lovable person?

Oh gosh. That's actually a hard one for me. I struggle with that. I guess I have to say that it's simply in the wanting to be, and the trying to be.

8. If every day had an extra hour in it, what would you do with it?

More of the same shit I do now, I guess! I'm not limited by time much right now.

9. What was the last song you turned up in your car or house?

Car - Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody"

House - Nikki Williams' "Glowing"

10. What is your secret talent?

I'm a good kisser, and I can balance a spoon on my nose.

11. What's your favorite thing to do outside when it's not too cold in Winter?

I live in Miami, so I love to go to the beach and thumb my nose at the calendar!

12. How do you respond if someone asks you an inappropriate or nosy question?

In theory, I make like Ann Landers and ask, "Why do you need to know that?" But in practice, I usually stammer my way through a real answer.


Sunday Stealing: The Fast Dozen Meme

Gawking At Rich People's Houses


On Sunday, we went to downtown Miami, to Bayside Marketplace. I had taken another mystery shop up there and another nearby, so we all went and had some fun at the open-air market.


As with the first time we had gone, back in April, there was a salsa band playing lively music in the bandstand area. I can do a little merengue, but I can't salsa, so although my hips wanted to wiggle and shake as we walked past the band, I kept it all in my head. Others danced, though, and I enjoyed watching them!


I had gotten a Groupon for the five of us to take a boat tour around the bay, so Rob and Chloë went in search of the tour company while Jack, Sophie and I looked out at the water and the nearby ferries and other boats.


You can see the iconic flukes of a Carnival cruise ship there in the distance. Bayside is near the Port of Miami, from which the cruises set sail. I've sailed out of there twice on Carnival myself! When we saw these flukes, Jack started asking when we were going to take another cruise. Um, no plans, son...


Jack loves to look at any kind of vessel, whether it travels on land, by sea or in the air. Meanwhile, Sophia's hair is getting so long!


I was dying of thirst, but the only place I could find in the immediate vicinity of the bandstand was the "let's make a daiquiri" bar. So, okay, I got a virgin daiquiri for the kids to share, and a piña colada for Rob and myself to enjoy. So good. I love a piña colada when it's made correctly!


When Rob and Chloë returned, we went down to the Island Carousel to ride the horses. Chloë's using my older camera now that my Nikon DSLR has been replaced (the original was stolen from inside our house in Portsmouth, Virginia, much to my long-term dismay!), but I had to coax and cajole her into using it to take pictures. She seemed to think it was just a neck decoration. That, or it was just too complicated for her to figure out...


The Carousel, which was the original purpose of our visit there, was beautiful. There was one we frequented in Virginia Beach as well, so it was pretty interesting that we found one here, too. Always a fun time.


Jack didn't want a punching balloon, but the girls each got one. They're not that good at it, but as I posted on Facebook, I personally ROCK the punching balloon. If this were the Funger Games, I said, the punching balloon would be my weapon of choice. (I'm a wee bit Hunger Games obsessed at the moment!)


Chloë's hair is growing in nicely, and now at 12, she looks just like she did for her three-year-old portraits. It's the same length, and her face and smile are exactly the same. Every time she poses for me, I remember those pictures from nine years ago!


I keep looking at Rob now and thinking how unrecognizable he is compared to when he left the Navy back in March. He's a completely different man, between growing out his hair and beard and the extra weight from his brain tumor steroids. People keep saying how "healthy" he looks, which blows my mind a little bit as it's not a healthy weight gain, and he's super uncomfortable and in tons of pain. He walks with a cane! Not exactly healthy... but managing all right just the same.


We stopped and had a bite of pizza before boarding our tour cruise around the bay. When this crow landed nearby, the kids were exclaiming about it, and I saw it as an opportunity to fiddle with the new camera. This one was my favorite picture of said bird.


Finally, we headed over to the Miami Aqua Tours booth to redeem our Groupon and board the Island Princess. What surprised me the most about this ride was that the kids were so fearful and trembling at the beginning. They were scared of the boat and plank moving during boarding, and they were scared of sitting near the window. These are our kids?! By the time the ride ended some 90 minutes later, though, even Jack had to admit that it was worth the trip and he was glad we went!


I'm pretty sure this is the casino boat to the Bahamas that I keep hearing advertised on the radio. The fares are incredibly cheap, so maybe I'll take Rob sometime. Neither of us cares a lick about gambling, which is great, so we could just enjoy the ride and the views. We don't have a babysitter for the kiddos yet, though, so that's a back-burner plan for the time being.


Here comes that Carnival cruise, setting sail for points south of Miami. I thought they usually departed on Saturdays, but apparently I was mistaken. Bon voyage!


It was a grey, overcast day, but the harbor still looked beautiful full of boats and gentle waves as we started our tour.


Oops! It took me several tries to get the setting right so that I was taking pictures of the houses of the Rich and Famous, instead of my fellow passengers' heads and cameras. I'll have to skip ahead a few pictures so you don't have ten more of the same... which is fine, since I can scarcely remember who owns these first few houses and most of the rest anyway.


Bye-bye, Miami skyline!


I do remember this house with the large windows was owned by George Clooney. I'm sure there is much more than meets the eye, as these houses are on exclusive man-made isles, like Fisher Island, which can only be reached by boat.


I'm going to post more of the houses in case any of you out there are gawkers like me. I'm not generally in awe of stars and their riches, but I do appreciate gorgeous homes with the best of 'em!


I think our tour guide said this yellow one is owned by Will Smith. Or Hulk Hogan. I can't remember. Ugh. I tried committing them all to memory using mnemonic devices, but apparently they're failing me now. So much for that.


I think this is owned by Marc Anthony, the singer and former husband of Jennifer Lopez.


It's not really my fault I'm having trouble remembering, you know. Our tour guide spoke VERY fast in both English and Spanish to describe the back-to-back-to-back homes, and he kept passing the microphone back and forth to a Chinese man who was translating the tour into his own language for his large party. I could understand the tour guide better in Spanish than in English, which is not unusual for me since the accents are sometimes so strong, the English words make no sense to my ears.


Simply put, I adore the architecture of these expensive Miami homes, but I find most South Florida architecture appealing to my sensibilities. I just love everything about this place!


Argh. I can't remember the name, but I do recall the guide saying that the property here extended vastly beyond what you can see from water's edge. You can see a peek of it there on the left.


Anything looks good when surrounded by palm trees, in my opinion.


The beautiful Miami sunset


The Carnival ship, making its way out of the bay


There's nothing special about this dinghy; I just wanted to play with the camera and make a more artsy photo. I think it turned out well - do you?


Just... beautiful.


Like I said, I don't covet their wealth, but this sleek silver yacht certainly grabbed my attention!


Sophia and Jack, sitting on either side of me, kept jabbering in my ear while I was trying to listen intently to the tour guide's spiel. I wanted to get my money's worth, after all, so I had my camera lens trained on the celebs' houses the whole time. Except for this, when Sophia insisted I look at her, MOM!


I'm going to stop posting pictures of houses now that I can't remember a single one other than the Clooney property, but if you'd like to see the rest of the photos, please do let me know in the comments. I'm going to turn off the spam filters after posting this, since I'm getting hardly any comments anymore. People just hate the captchas!


As we re-approached the dock, the sun had gone down and the lights were ablaze across the skyline. Too bad it was raining; this could have been a lovely shot.


We were heading back to the parking garage after disembarking from our tour when I spied the Haagen-Dazs shop. Well, come on. Ice cream is ice cream, but Haagen-Dazs? Yes, please!


The kids each ordered a waffle cone, and I decided to go for the fat-free, sugar-free froyo twist. Rob didn't order anything, which was smart, because he knew he'd end up eating someone's ice cream. He was right.


Chloë and Sophia managed to eat their cones, but two bites into his and Jack was finished. Enter Rob. (Literally!) It wasn't that huge of a surprise moments later when Jack complained of an upset tummy, but he ended up moaning and crying all the way home - a long trip - and going straight to bed. Rob thought he'd eaten too much junk during the day, but I don't know; he seemed more in pain than nauseous. Regardless, he woke up just fine the next morning, which was a huge relief to his mama.


And that was our Sunday. How's your week going?


Saturday 9: Come Monday


Link up here if you're feeling awesome today!

Saturday 9: Come Monday

Thanks to AuntieM4Cabs for recommending the Buffett theme!
1) What will you be doing come Monday (Labor Day)?

Schooling my kids! We homeschool; they're in 3rd, 5th and 7th grades this year! So exciting. 
2) This song is about a performer who is "heading up to San Francisco for the Labor Day weekend show." When you think of San Francisco, what's the first thing that comes to mind?

To be perfectly honest, I think of an abundance of gay men (not that there's anything wrong with that), their choir, and all the rolling hills. I've never been there - is that obvious?! 
3) As he sings, Buffett tells us he's wearing Hush Puppies casual shoes. What's on your feet as you answer these nine questions?

I'm barefoot, as per usual when I'm in the house!
4) So many Jimmy Buffett songs take place on or around the water. When was the last time you were on a boat?

Hmmm... It's been a while. I think the last "boat" I was on was the MS Zuiderdam. We took a Mediterranean cruise five years ago for a long-awaited honeymoon. 
5) Everyone knows Jimmy Buffett can write music, but he also has more than half a dozen books to his credit. What's the last book you read?

I can't remember her name, Kate something, and I think it was called Here We Go Again. I was underwhelmed by it. Not terribly good writing, there.
6) Jimmy's persona is that of a simple beach bum, but in reality he's a conglomerate, with his own beverage company, more than a dozen restaurants and a couple hotels. He's so successful he has several homes, including a luxury mansion in the Hamptons! If you, like Buffett, could just take off and spend Labor Day weekend anywhere, where would you go? Who would you take along?

Well, we live here in Miami now, and we've been down to Key West a few times but haven't revisited South Beach since 2007... so maybe we'll have to go there. ;) I'd go with Hubs and the kiddos, of course!
7) This weekend may offer a golden opportunity for napping and sleeping in. Do you snore?

I must admit that I do... but not as badly as I did with an extra 200 lbs on me! 
8) Labor Day was introduced to celebrate the achievements of the American worker. Yet this Recession has taken its toll on many of us laborers. Sam's brother, a movie projectionist, hasn't worked full-time in his chosen profession in more than a year. Is anyone close to you struggling with unemployment or underemployment? (If so, they are in our thoughts this weekend, too.)

Heh. Yeah, you could say that. My husband has been out of work and actively looking for several months with no luck. We are hurting puppies! :\
9) Onto something happier ... Labor Day traditionally marks the beginning of  the new school year. When she was a kid, Samantha was crazy for her brand new box of 96 Crayola Crayons. It even had a sharpener in the back! What do you remember about preparing to go back to school? If you're a parent with school-age kids, are they ready?
I loved getting new school supplies, too. I still do! Even if they're for the kids and not myself, now. We're beyond ready. We started our 2013-2014 homeschool year a month ago. We pretty much go year-round, and since last year was a bomb all the way around, we definitely have to make up for lost time this year.

Saturday 9: Battle Hymn Of The Republic

Link up here if you're a fun one!
Memorial Day was introduced to honor the men and women who died while serving the in the United States Armed Forces. We want to make sure that message is not forgotten this weekend.

1) This recording was made live at St. Patrick's Cathedral, during Sen. Robert Kennedy's funeral. While both of Bobby's older brothers were decorated war heroes, he served too - enlisting in the Navy in 1943. Are you a veteran? Are there veterans in your family? (We are grateful and want to hear about it.)
In one week, my husband will be retired from 20 years of Active Duty in the United States Navy. I'm SO proud of him. My grandfather served in the Navy in WWII. My uncle was in the Navy, and my dad, the Coast Guard.
2) Memorial Day also kicks off the summer season.What's your favorite picnic food? 

Oh, gosh. Let's see... Hm. I like a wine, cheese, and crusty bread picnic. Does that count? ;)
3) Name a scent that reminds you of someone special in your life.

Gosh! These are making me have to think this week! Okay, I got it. Old Spice cologne. Grandpa (the WWII vet) always wore it. Every single day. The one in the cream-colored bottle from back in the day.
4) When was the last time you had your hair cut or trimmed?

I shaved my head in December or January. It is maybe an inch or so long now. My hair grows sooooo slowly. Hopefully I won't ever have another Britney Spears moment again!
5) Crazy Sam runs on Dunkin'. Are you loyal to a particular brand of coffee?

No, but I tell you what, I can not STAND Seattle's Best. The best cup of coffee I ever had came out of a Nespresso boutique recently. I talked about it for DAYS. Literally.
6) If money was no object, what home improvement would you like to make this summer?
If money were no object, we'd buy that boat and sail the world. No home needed.

7) What was the last thing you bought purely for your own enjoyment?
Chocolate, yarn, and NERF water guns. We're having a water gun party tomorrow - I can't wait!
8) When was the last time you rode a bike?
Not since the summer of 1996, I don't think. It's been a very long time.
9) Sam worries that many of her song selections reflect her decidedly Baby Boomer sensibilities. Is there a song or a performer that you'd like to see featured in a Saturday 9 this summer?
Ooh! Do Bruno Mars! I adore him. I'm soooo pop music. Lame choices would come out of me. Keep on doin' what you're doin!

Not-So-Wordless Wednesday: Earth Day 2013


It's super-annoying that Typepad doesn't seem to wanna auto-save anymore, and I lose almost an entire kick-ass post when the screen freezes. But anyways...

While I was going about my business preparing for our Earth Day picnic on Monday, Rob came out wearing this Navy-issue peacoat, with the Meerschaum pipe in his mouth, saying, "Picture me on the bridge of our boat, steering across the Atlantic..." and I totally could. Can you? Course you can. It's still our dream, y'know. In a heartbeat, we would...


I had been searching on the old innernet for Earth Day activities and crafts when I came across The Nature Conservancy's All Hands on Earth picnic website. The idea, in a nutshell, is to foster sustainable food-eating practices by buying local and in-season to reduce, you know, gas and energy consumption from the production and distribution of worlds-away, out-of-season, uh... I said that way better the first time, but you get the gist, right? Right.

I had no fundage available at the time to run out to the Farmer's Market and pick up some deliciousness, so I figured I'd just use what we already had on hand to reduce waste, live frugally, and other great things we try to practice on a daily basis. I had cooked a bunch of chicken tits in the Crock-Pot the night before and still had half a -Pot left, so I tore that up and added some gorgonzola cheese crumbles leftover after our salad fixin's were used up, along with some apples I diced to add some sweetness and crunch. Along with some seasonings and Miracle Whip (Rob's fave), it was aces all around. Total yummo.


We chose Biscayne National Park as the nearby destination for our picnic because, despite the fact that it's too far to walk or ride a bike for us, the idea of Earth Day connotes (to me, anyway) surrounding oneself in the beautiful precious natural resources of our planet, and so it seemed a fitting locale. The last time we were there, I'd gotten a wicked bad sunburn from being too stupid to put on SPF before lying down on a towel with my library book. I just discovered what appears to be a melanoma - for which I'm going to the doc in about 7½ hours - on my chinny-chin-chin Monday morning, so I wasn't taking any chances with those harmful UV rays. We took along everything from SPF 30 all the way up to 85+. Although, really? Is that fo'real?


Aside from our afore-mentioned chicken salad on both spinach and sun-dried tomato wraps (also already on hand), we had mango cubes (I'd searched for a YouTube video on cutting them perfectly:


and it was spot-freakin'-on. Worked like a charm, after many failed attempts on my part.)

Plus, I threw in a bunch of bagged cereal for snacks, and Sophia snuck in half a pound cake for good measure. We served everything on reusable napkins and wrappers, and a pitcher of fruit punch was served in regular ol' plastic kids' cups. Leave no trace, leave the place better than when you found it, and all that.


When Jack dropped a piece of his cereal, this duck walked boldly up to him and looked askance. Not in the "how dare you?!" sense of the word, but "how dare you not feed me?" sense. He stayed there, quacked a few times, and made Jack squirm and squeal a whole bunch. It was hilarious.


We really laughed out loud a moment later when the two ducks on the bottom and left waddled up in perfect unison, speeding zip-zip along the sand to get their pieces of the proverbial pie. They didn't get any from us, although I noticed Sophia "accidentally" dropped one or two their way. Soon a fourth joined the flock, and by then we were surrounded by Muscovies looking to join our Earth Day picnic. Fun times.


After lunch, I sent the kids off on a Nature Treasure Hunt geared for kids aged 8-11, which, hey, is perfect since that's what range my kids all fall into, hey? The first one (of ten) was: "Find a place where an animal made a home," so off they went toward the mangroves to find nests or burrows. The three quickly spotted deep, wide holes in the ground and decided something had dug its way in, and I couldn't argue with that, so I gave them credit.


The second one directed them to make fairy homes out of natural objects, so Sophie had the idea to make teepees out of dried-out palm leaves. Chloë and Jack quickly followed suit; all but Chloë got them to stand without being held.

3. Find a seed - Easy! They just had to look up at the big palm trees everywhere to find them hanging out like so many, um, testicles. (What can I say? It's where the mind automatically goes.)

4. Make a tool, like a hammer or drawing stick. Jack, not being terribly imaginative, picked up a stick and started drawing. Okay, fine. Sophia, surprisingly equally unimaginative, picked up a stick and started hammering the top of her fairy teepee. Okaaaay, Chloë? She picked up a stick and pretended it was a screwdriver, driving, er, screws into the dirt. Better, but totally uninspired. Still, we moved on.

5. Find or name two things that all living things need to survive. The kids shouted out things like, "A home!" "Air!" "Food!" "Water!" etc. This one was too easy for this age group, IMO.

6. Listen for five sounds, including both human ones and otherwise. They listened to birds singing, people shuffling their feet on a nearby path, folks talking, boats' engines starting up at the marina next to us, and the wind whispering through the trees. That last one was my favorite.

7. Find a place where a plant-eater would be happy. Again, in a national park, way too easy.


The eighth one was super-cute. They had to spy on a bug. Jack crouched down first and watched an ant go ten ways to Sunday, all over the sand. Sophia and Chloë traced their own insects, and soon they all met up, head-to-head, with their daddy. I was thinking he probably wished he had a magnifying glass to light 'em on fire, because that's just the kind of Bob he is, but maybe I'm wrong. Maybe.

9. Find a pattern in nature. They all came up with A-B-A-B-A-B patterns, so I challenged them to find something other than that. Jack was the first to do so; he found spirals projecting out from the center vein of a leaf, and I was proud.

10. Find something other than an animal that can live in water. First, they named about 3400 different animals before noticing us crossing our arms over our chest, tapping our feet and rolling our eyes all over the place. "Ohhhhh! Like seagrass?" Yeah. Duhhh.

We were done with that, and rather than do sunprints, they decided to go swimming again. Fine and good, but I was freezing and wasn't joining in. The lifeguard came over to speak at us about letting them go too far out without a parent right there (in zero waves, with a lifeguard spitting distance away, but whatevs), so Rob went in while I lay in the sun and fried a little more. My SPF 85+ was failing me, y'all! I reapplied.


Then, Rob rigged up his fishing poles and took us to go fishing. Well, took the kids, while I followed along for some Instagramography of whatever they caught (big fat nothin', it turned out). But check this sign - crocodiles?! In Florida? Gators, sure - we'd seen an 8-footer the last time out, in the canal near our house - but crocs? Who knew? Not I, not me, not us. Jack was determined to find one, but we didn't.

Also, I'm pretty sure they stole that croc drawing from Peter Pan.


Rob didn't have any bait, so he used a Sabiki Rig to try and catch some. He cast waaay far out, and then near, and then far again... but not even the pinfish were biting. So the kids and I went exploring while he kept trying.

We went up to the end of the walk, which culminated in, like, a pier, and looked out at the water. Another fisherman was next to us, so they meandered over to him to see what he was doing. "Fishing." What do you have on your hook? "Bait." He amused me. The kids kept pressing. My kids are pressers. So we learned this about him: He was originally from Ithaca, New York, now lived in Texas, and was here in Miami on temporary extra duty. He had never fished here before and insisted that pinfish couldn't be used to catch snapper, grouper, or larger fish, but Rob taught him how to rig the baitfish for better success (not that he was having any, but he had on previous outings, after all). He was fishing with live shrimp. I had about seventy-nine more facts about him on the tip of my brain, but they all just scattered because of course, I need them right now. Oh, and he gave Rob a beer. That was nice. Maybe it was a consolation prize, since neither man was having any luck with the fishies that day.


Rob gave up for a while, and just then, a manatee came into view, swimming toward the harbor. Another, smaller (I'm guessing female) sea cow swam toward him, and they met nose-to-nose for a few moments before the female turned, and they both swam away in the direction of the marina. It all happened too fast, just like with alligator the other day, for me to get a good picture, so all I have is this one of the four of them looking and pointing. It was SO breathtaking, Chloë was near tears, Sophia couldn't stop exclaiming, and my heart was racing. What wondrous things we've seen in our month here so far!


And then, if that weren't enough, a pelican flew in and landed near us. The kids thought that was just fantastic; they walked over and got in the big bird's face, not knowing how aggressive those things can be. They want fish, and they want it now. The pelican squawked, flapped its wings, and moved toward them. They yelped and jumped back, while I laughed. A third fishergent caught a pinfish - at last! - and threw it in the center of the pier. The kids gawked while the pelican stormed over there and gobbled it up. Only, the fish was spreading its rays, and the bird couldn't swallow it. We all watched, helpless, as it gagged and regurgitated the fish repeatedly, struggling to get it down its gullet with no success. What to do, what to do? Call a park ranger? Finally, with one loud gulp, the fish was choked down and bulging in the pelican's neck. Whew! What a relief.

We went home, exultant in our beautiful day, reliving all the amazing sights we'd seen.

Hope you all had a happy Earth Day, recycling and reusing and reducing. Remember to link up here if you're wordless - or not - today, too!