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Saturday 9: Two Black Cadillacs

Carrie Underwood | iHeart

Welcome, welcome one and all (or is it both?). I've been trying to log in to Typepad for HOURS, but something has stopped that connection. Here I am, finally, at 1513 on Saturday. What a relief.

I don't like much in the way of Country music, but I do like Ms. Underwood, so I'm glad to see this one. And I already knew this song!

Link up here if you're playing along this weekend. Let's go:

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Saturday 9: Two Black Cadillacs (2011)

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

1) This week's song is about two women who share a very dark secret. Are you good at keeping secrets?

Not usually. I have zero filter, pretty much.

2) Carrie Underwood's favorite author is Stephen King. In fact, she credits King's Christine as an inspiration for this song. Have you read much Stephen King, or seen movies based on his books?

Some. I'd say I'm a fan, but not, like, a mega-fan.

3) Carrie first came to America's attention when she won on American Idol. Prior to competing on that show, she'd never been on an airplane. Crazy Sam takes at least one round-trip flight every year and pays using the miles she accumulated from credit card purchases throughout the year. Do you try to earn miles, points, or cash back when you make purchases?

Oh, yes. I'm always trying to play the game and earn points here to spend there.

4) Black is this week's signature color because November 25 was Black Friday, when retailers historically have slashed their prices and the holiday shopping season begins. Have you begun your gift shopping?

Yes. I'm welllll into my gift shopping - and wrapping!

5) Black Friday began as a local event initiated by store owners in Philadelphia back in the early 1960s. When you think of Philadelphia, what comes to mind?

Well nowadays, I think of my trip there with Chloë for her 21st birthday, just this past September. Fun times!

6) Black Friday always comes after Thanksgiving, a day of feasting. What was the best dish at your holiday table this year?

I think it was the pies (we had 5). For the first time in years, I was able to come downstairs and help guide the children to make my pie recipes, if I couldn't do it myself. They were wonderful and were devoured quickly. Good job, kids!

7) Thanksgiving is also a big day for watching football. Did you watch any games?

Nyet.

8) What are you thankful for this year?

Oh, I'm soooo thankful for being able to come downstairs, help make those pies, and just generally be with my family for the whole day of Thanksgiving. It was a treasure. And so much more than that, but it would be a very long list. I keep that list in my planner.

9) Random question: You're in a public restroom and have a choice between paper towels and a hot air hand dryer. Which do you choose?

I'd choose the hot air. Why would I use natural resources I don't need to use when there is an alternative right there? Go tree-free. Go more sustainable (because paper just isn't, really). Yes, there is the source of the electricity, but that's more negligible than the processes of getting the paper towel to that bathroom, and using it. No, for me, it's the hot air hand dryer. Good question, Sam.

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Now I'm listening to The National on NPR Tiny Desk Concerts - those are the best; I'm obsessed - which the Carrie Underwood tune moved to after the one by Andrew Bird on YouTube. Give them a listen, if you haven't already!

Happy holiday season, y'all!

fin.


Saturday 9: Potential New Boyfriend

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

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

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

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Dolly Parton – Potential New Boyfriend Lyrics | Genius Lyrics

Saturday 9: Potential New Boyfriend (1983)

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

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

Where Is the Largest Jungle? | Wonderopolis

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

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

Y'all have a beautiful weekend!

fin.


Saturday 9: In And Out Of Love

DIANA ROSS & SUPREMES - in and out of love / i guess i'll always love you -  Amazon.com Music

Hey, party people! What's the haps? It saddens me to say that this will be our last meeting of Summer 2022. It's Bike Fest weekend down at the beach right now; some 100,000+ motorcycles are deafening the wildlife in Ocean City right now, so I'll have to wait until that's over to attempt one last summer beach trip down there. Cross your fingers for me?

One thing I feel like I must address: some of you may have noticed some "off" comments on some of my posts. I'm being cyberstalked, cyberbullied, harrassed, you name it, all of the above. I don't know who the person is, but on many other platforms as well as this one, they are leaving unkind, often lewd messages for me. I unpublish them as soon as I see them, but please don't pay them any mind. I do not know who the person is, and I don't want to give them any more attention than I have to. Thanks!

Moving forward, let's get to today's song, which I just listened to for the first time. Link up here if you're playing along, too!

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Saturday 9: In and Out of Love (1967)

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

1) In this song, Diana Ross is disappointed that she hasn't yet found lasting love. Do you think you can fall out of love? Or do you believe that if you fell out of love, it wasn't true love to begin with?
 
When a broken heart is actually broken - News | UAB
 
I believe for sure you can fall out of love. If you can fall INTO love, you can fall out. Love is something you have to work out, you have to nourish and tend to. But both parties have to commit to doing so, and if one isn't, then it's possible the love will be neglected and wither away.

2) When is the last time you literally fell, tripped, or stumbled?
 
Pin on Running
 
Probably today. I have balance issues, so I fall or nearly fall daily!
 
3) This record was a hit with American Bandstand viewers. For weeks it was voted the song they most wanted to dance to. Did you watch American Bandstand?
 
American Bandstand (Series) - TV Tropes
 
Hmm. My sources tell me it ran until 1989, which would have made me 13, but I can't specifically remember watching it. I was a fan of Dick Clark and know I watched him on Pyramid, listened to his various countdowns on the radio and watched the annual New Year's Eve one, but I can't remember watching Bandstand.
 
4) This is one of the last Supremes songs that featured the most successful hit-making line-up: Diana Ross, Mary Wilson, and Florence Ballard. Florence's great-nephew, Christian Ballard, was a football star at University of Iowa and briefly played pro ball for the Vikings. The 2022-23 NFL season just kicked off. What team do you root for?
 
Patrick Mahomes Kansas City Chiefs | National Football League, News, Scores, Highlights,  Injuries, Stats, Standings, and Rumors | Bleacher Report This Patrick Mahomes stat should be the main offseason concern for the  Chiefs
 
I don't really have a horse in the race when it comes to pro foot ball. Everyone knows my team is NCAA level. Soo, I root for the team Hubs roots for: Patrick Mahomes. I mean Kansas City Chiefs. But they're doing pretty well together, so it's fair to say.
 
5) Mary had a connection to sports, too. She donated her time and talent to raising money for Figure Skaters of Harlem, an organization that helps young people train for the Winter Olympics. Tell us about a charity you support.
 
Download
 
One that is near and dear to my heart is the Center for Biological Diversity. Biodiversity on Earth is a critical measurement of how healthy life on Earth, in general, is. So it's critical to support rehabbing those species whose numbers are dwindling and on their way out, as well as those whose numbers are approaching that line. Remember, humans are animals too (yes, we are), and what affects them also affects us.
 
6) There's a children's playground in New York's Central Park named for the last surviving member of this trio, Diana Ross. It has swings, slides, a rope bridge, and a fountain that kids are welcome to splash in. If you were suddenly little again, which would you play on first?
 
No description available.
 
That's Chloë a week ago on our birthdays (hers is on the 7th, mine is on the 8th) in Love Park, in Philadelphia - in the fountain park area. I'm just like her; I'd go for the splash park first, 10 times out of 10, if I was a kid. Hell, if I wasn't in a wheelchair, I still would!
 
7) Diana owns an estate in Greenwich, CT, with lush gardens, a tennis court, and a pool. While the grounds are spectacular, she maintains the house itself is "nothing special" because the kitchen hasn't been renovated in more than three decades. Could your kitchen benefit from a makeover? Or are you fine with it as it is?
 
Edible House Crickets - BBQ Flavour - Tasty healthy snack
 
Heh. crickets. Our kitchen is smallish, and generally untidy. I don't think I've taken a single picture of it since the day we moved in. And since we're STILL unpacking and moving in, kinda, a  lot of the boxes and packing materials end up around it, making things look generally awful. Makeover? I don't know about that. I'm eager to do something to it, once I can see it, maybe.
 
8) In 1967, when this song was popular, the best-selling camera was The Polaroid Swinger. When did you most recently take a photo? What was it of?
 
No description available.
 
On Thursday, I took my son hamster shopping, and there was this one little dude just hunkered in his little habitat, looking chill but also looking at us like, "You wanna piece o' me? Eh? You wanna piece o' me?" So I took a picture because I did not, in fact, want a piece of him.
 
9) Random question: Come clean! Are there dirty dishes in your sink right now?
 
Absolutely. But Rob is actually doing them right now.
 
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Welp, that's the week that was. And now the water closet is calling my name. See y'all!
 
Fin.

Saturday 9: Moody Blue

Elvis Biography | Graceland

Hello, weekend friends. I deserted you again, yes, for health reasons. Ugh. Let's jump right in. For 9 interesting questions jumping off from Elvis' "Moody Blue," link up with Saturday 9 HERE.

And here we go:

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Saturday 9: Moody Blue (1977)

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

1) This song was recorded in the special studio Elvis had built in the Jungle Room of Graceland. During the pandemic, have you made like Elvis and worked from home?

No longer applicable to me. I used to do various things to have multiple streams of income, but my health has depleted my ability to do any of that now.

2) Elvis sings that his girl is completely unpredictable. Which quality to you find more attractive: spontaneity or dependability?

Oddly enough, I find myself choosing "dependability." I suppose that was always what the answer was all along, but with me being Bipolar 1, when mania struck, I've always begged for a bit of spontaneity from everyone else, too. What, it's 4 in the morning? So? And?

3) He only performed the song once in concert. In February 1977, shortly after the record was released, Elvis sang "Moody Blue" live in Charlotte, NC, but had to rely on lyric sheet. Crazy Sam can sympathize because she seems to forget passwords as soon as she sets them. Do you often struggle with your memory?

I do, and it's killing me. I never did struggle, but now I seem to have no memory at all. Even what should be important things are lost in the ether. When I'm able to pull something out of my memory, even just a word, we cheer.

4) "Moody Blue" was the final hit of Elvis' lifetime, only getting to #31 in the US but reaching #3 in the UK. What's your favorite Elvis song?

Oh, man. That's a HARD one for me. I grew up with a dad who absolutely idolized Elvis. I have several and am finding it impossible to narrow down to one. May I please have two? My dad was always singing "Jailhouse Rock," so that must be a finalist.


And I'm sure "Hound Dog" must have been one of the first songs I learned to sing. With inflection and charisma and all that, even. But not with the hips and other dancing, like my dad.

5) We're focusing on Elvis this week because January 8 would be his 87th birthday. He enjoyed celebrating his birthday by renting the Memphis movie theater and watching the latest movie with an invited group of friends. What's your favorite way to celebrate your birthday?

DeBug All Terrain Chair Rolling Beach Stainless Steel Wheelchair

On my birthdays, four months earlier than Elvis', I love at least dipping my toes in the water - even if it has to happen this way.

8) For his 11th birthday, young Elvis asked for a rifle or a bicycle. His mother deemed the gun too dangerous and the bike too expensive and instead gave her son his first guitar. Tell us about a memorable birthday from your youth.

I actually can't.

7) Elvis loved horses and kept them in the stable at Graceland. His favorite was a palomino named Rising Sun. To honor both horse and rider, Elvis' daughter has always kept a palomino in the stable whose name includes "sun." The current resident is Tuscan Sun. Known as "Tucky," he's lived at Graceland for more than 20 years now and is a favorite of Alene Alexander, who maintains the stable and reports he has "attitude and knows he's prettier than everybody else." Tell us about an animal who holds a place in your heart.

Open photo

Shortly after we bought our house in Idaho, we adopted our kitten and named her Periwinkle. She  loved to play and have fun with the other, grown, cats, but she had such a serious expression all the time! We used to say, "Serious kitten is a serious kitten." Well, as it turns out now that Peri has grown up a bit, "Serious kitten is a serious adult!" But she's sooo soft and sleek, with her extra-large frame and tail to match. Her outer shell is velvety gray, but her inner shell is quite white.

8) Throughout his life, Elvis had trouble sleeping. As a preteen, he was a sleepwalker. As an adult, he battled insomnia. Is sleep an issue for you?

Journal: Insomnia Cure Funny Insomniac Will Not Sleep Black Lined Notebook  Writing Diary - 120 Pages 6 x 9: InGENIUS Publications: 9781087318479:  Amazon.com: Books

It absolutely is. Has always been.

9) Random question: Do you wear your shoes inside your house?

Sunday Stealing: Making A List Meme (Smellyann Strikes Again)

Nope! We have a chest by the front door called the "shoe box," which somehow never actually gets used these days, but no one comes further inside the house than that with their shoes on.

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Hey, look at that! May be ten minutes 'til four (PM), but I finished! Let's have a party.

Have a good week! Get that shot, y'all!

Fin. 


Sunday Stealing: League Of Extraordinary Penpals

Hey there, hi there, ho there, thieves! I'm watching the documentary series "Diagnosis" on Netflix right now - and of course, now my husband and I are going, "You need to get on that!" regarding all of my health issues - so forgive me if my answers become disjointed from distraction. I have a habit of going back later and finding I've done that!

I trust you are all well.

Link up here if you want to steal some shhhh--- today! Let's go:

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1 What are your plans for August?

Josephine House

Well, August is kind of a big month. We bought this big, beautiful, modern house last June. It's in a very small town in nowheresville, Idaho. I love the house. I do. I love my freakin' house. But I hate where it is. I've tried for 14 months to just be okay here for the sake of everybody else, but I just cannot do it anymore. I've got to GTFO of this state.

So, four of us are moving into an extended-stay hotel in Boise on Monday. Chloë, who will be 19 next month, is moving out into a place of her own and staying here. (Not gonna lie, I'm having a very hard time with that.) Rob's hiring movers that will come in and pack us up, then we'll have a move-out cleaning, and then the realtor who sold us the house is going to put it back on the market for us.

The average time for a home in our area to be on the market is 9 days, so I'm crossing my fingers for good luck like that. (Please cross yours, too!)

As soon as that happens, we're paying off the remainder of our car loan and gifting the car to Chloë. Then we'll hop a plane to Maryland.

Watch for what happens next...

2 Review the first half of 2020:

40 Memes That Sum Up 2020 So Far | Bored Panda

🔼🔼 There you go. 🔼🔼

2020 is a dumpster fire: These memes nail exactly how we're feeling – Film  Daily

3 A place you’d go if money were no object:

The history of manned space flight [infographic] | OUPblog

Oh, I'd definitely go on a space flight and realize my childhood dreams.

4 Who was your childhood best friend?

7 Reasons Why Your Childhood Best Friend Will Always Be Irreplaceable

Well, it seemed like in elementary school I had a different best friend every year. Victoria... Thea... Shannon.... Ellie... different Shannon...

But from 6th grade on, I had a group of friends that pretty much stayed together. I count two of them (Lisa & Shana) as my best friends to this day. I'm lucky to have them.

5 The city or town you love most?

Types Of Palm Trees | Labels: Too Many Palms | Tropical garden, University  of miami hurricanes, Palm trees

Can I just say the entire Miami-Dade County? There are soooo many things there that I love, I couldn't pick just one municipality! Of course, I love my alma mater in Coral Gables. Then there's South Beach, of course. Then Coconut Grove... the quick drive to the Keys. I love everything about Miami!

6 How do you spend hot days?

Best Beaches in Miami | WPH South Beach

That depends... am I still in Miami, or am I stuck in Idaho? Is it a COVID year, or just an El Niño year? Given my druthers, I'd be at the beach every day, all day.

7 Are you a skilled cook or baker?

DSC_1458

Well, I'm no expert, but I do all right. I used to have a baking business when we lived in Virginia Beach, but after one exceedingly frustrating disappointment on an order I worked terribly hard on, I kinda just... stopped.

8 One thing you wish you could currently do:

King Neptune | A frozen King Neptune at sunrise. Virginia Be… | Flickr

Hmm... Speaking of Virginia Beach, I wish I could go to the Oceanfront there right NOW! Where's King Neptune when you need him?

9 A time when you learned your lesson:

Oh, I definitely learned my lesson from buying this house here in Mountain Home: no matter how much you love the house, if you hate the town, it's not the perfect house. There are some things you just can't compromise on. So now I have my eye on this house (center, foreground) in Maryland...

10 What consistently makes you laugh?

Pin on funny

My husband, an old sailor, has an endless supply of filthy jokes. I try to act shocked, but he knows I'm amused.

11 Routines that bring you calm and peace:

Campbell River SAR rescue injured hiker in Strathcona Provincial Park - My  Comox Valley Now

Communing with nature

12 Who annoys you the most?

091419 Old Navy Rob's shirt

It's definitely this husband of mine - but I'm sure it's mutual!!

13 Describe some of your favorite household items.

04272020 Treasures 01

Last September, we drove up to Washington to visit Great Wolf Lodge for Chloë's 18th birthday. Here are our three kids' wristbands from their first visit to Great Wolf Lodge - in Williamsburg, Virginia - over a decade earlier. ♥ (Our orally-fixated pup, Tapioca, has since eaten one of them.)

04272020 Treasures 02

Here are all the pet tags from all the dogs and cats we've had who are no longer with us. ♥

04272020 Treasures 03

Here is the tape of "Wonderful Tonight" that my friends from graduate school, Heather and Mason, rearranged and did on guitar and vocals. They gave it to us at our wedding reception. I have got to get it re-recorded digitally! ♥

04272020 Treasures 05

And finally, here is just a small fraction of the pennies we've pressed over the years. We press pennies everywhere we go and have many books full of them! ♥

14 What have you gotten better at?

I believe in self improvement. For you, that is. - Lolcats - lol | cat memes  | funny cats | funny cat pictures with words on them | funny pictures | lol  cat memes | lol cats

I mean, what was the starting line? I've gotten a whole lot better at walking and talking since I started about 43 years ago, I'll you that much!

15 Share a random memory.

Camel Drinking Coke Funny Picture

When I was very young, probably under three years old, my family visited a zoo of some sort. We stopped at a kiosk somewhere, and my mother bought herself a drink. She was carrying me on her hip, so when she took a sip, I begged for a sip, too. It was delicious!!! Today I might describe it as sort of a virgin piña colada. When Mom got near the bottom of the cup, she said I could have the rest of her drink. I was so excited. Then, as soon as I had the cup in hand, Mom pivoted away from the camel pen we were standing right next to. I had the cup in my hand, and then suddenly it was snatched away from me! I looked back in shock to see the camel not only finishing my drink, but eating the cup to boot! Oh, how I sobbed. That is the only thing I remember from that day.

16 How many pairs of shoes do you have?

Crocs shoes, Lovable or Horrible? | Fashion Conscious

Oh, maybe about a dozen, give or take. I'm really not sure. I do know that more than half of those are Crocs, though!

(I need those green and turquoise pairs!)

17 Who do you go to for encouragement?

boop of encouragement | /r/wholesomememes | Wholesome Memes | Know Your Meme

It depends on what I need encouragement for. I have a team!

18 References you make that others don’t get.

Michael Scott Inside Joke GIF - MichaelScott InsideJoke TheOffice -  Discover & Share GIFs

Well, if I told you about them, you would get it, and then they wouldn't really be inside jokes anymore, right?

19 What are 10 things you consider essential for you?

08092020 Whats In My Bag

a Erin Condren Lifeplanner

b colorful Tul pens

c Versace prescription glasses

d Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

e Mint & Argan lip balm from Grove Collaborative (it's seriously the best)

f inhaler, definitely

g lotion, always gotta have lotion

h hairbrush, especially now that Sophia's making me grow it out long

i some kind of hard candy, because I go hypoglycemic fairly often

j jewelry - always have a necklace and hoops of some sort on at least!

20 Is there any accent you wish you had?

As an Aussie I have actually said this exact sentence before - FunSubstance  | Funny aussie, Australia funny, Funny australian

Australian. I tend to pick up accents and languages fairly easily, but I cannot for the life of me do an Australian accent. I just can't!

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Okay, I'm posting this really late because I was at the ER all morning, so no one will probably read it. But if ya did, thank you and have a great week!

Fin.

 


Sunday Stealing: The Winter Questionnaire

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

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

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How do you get past the gray skies during winter?

Image result for winter gray skies

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

Do you like snow? Why or why not?

Image result for syracuse blizzard of 1993

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

    What are your favorite activities to do during the winter?

Image result for hibernation

Hibernate and wait for it to be over.

    What does a perfect winter day look like to you?

Image result for gorgeous summer day

This. It looks like this.

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

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

    What is your favorite winter holiday and why?

2019Christmastree

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

    What is your favorite pizza flavor and toppings?

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

What are some items in your daily bag/backpack?

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

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

    Your favorite snacks?

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

Some foreign countries that you would like to visit?

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

What things remind you of home?

Fam

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What was your favorite Christmas gift?

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

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

Take care, y'all.

Fin.


Chocolate Chip Cookies For The Soul

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The other night, I was having a late-night conversation with Chloë and Rob. Now that she has graduated from high school but is taking a gap year before heading to college, this happens frequently. Especially now that she's 18 years old🍪

At some point in the conversation, Chloë - who was wearing high-heeled black booties with dark red roses on them - stood up, took off a shoe, and jokingly drew it back as if to throw it at her father. Something I either cannot or will not name in that motion, her demeanor, her expression caused me - lying in bed, on my back - to pull my arms up around my head as a shield. I shut my eyes as tightly as humanly possible and involuntarily protected myself fully from harm that was never going to come. This time. This time, it was only in jest. 🍪

Eventually, they realized I was not fooling around and that this was a completely involuntary response to stimulus. I could not pull my arms away from my head. They had to do it. I was shaking uncontrollably. I was sort of quietly sobbing, if you can call it that, but you only have my permission to do so if you've experienced this same unwanted bodily reaction to a reminder of some prior horror. 🍪

It was the most epic panic attack I've had since September 2003, when Hurricane Isabel struck Virginia Beach and tore it up, provoking in me even more PTSD related to everything that had happened nine months earlier with Supertyphoon Ponson'a on Guam; Isabel hit 6 months after our twins were born, after the one-minute-older of those boys had unexpectedly died in the NICU. The last one that big happened during a voice lesson in high school. Understandably, anxiety this big comes from painful memories and makes new ones when it strikes. 🍪

Obviously, Chloë was shook. Beyond horrified. Beyond contrite. It's challenging to explain and assure that she did not cause that and had no control over that, because her own eyes were trying to convince her of something else. Sometimes, the truth lies deep beneath the outer façade🍪

Now, I am a stress eater. No arguing there. We've all watched my weight go way up and way down in response to stress over the years. I bet if one plotted my BMI against the course of my life experiences, the results would support many hypotheses. For example, if you compared all the photographs of me before April 9th, 1984, I went from kind of a skinny little runt to... not so much.
That's the day Mom died. She was an angel in disguise. When we lost her, many of us were immediately broken. Ruined... maybe not. But definitely broken. 🍪

{Something just occurred to me. I absolutely hate it when people complain about the words "died" and "dead," and try to force me into saying things like "passed away" instead. Those words remind me of a feather drifting down from the sky, lighly floating this way and that, and then coming to a soft landing at the end. No. I'm sorry if I'm the first one to inform you "pass away" people of this, but not everybody does that. Some people go too early, too fast, forced against their own will, violently, roughly, painfully. No passing away there, no feathery-floating with a soft, pillowy landing. You might like to think it always goes that way, but I don't even want that for myself. I've said for million years that I want to get killed being eaten by a rogue shark, but I'm sitting here in Idaho, so that probably won't happen, either. My mother died. She is dead. My son died. He is dead. Cold? No. Simple facts. Hurts me, too, but there is nothing I can do to change it. I've tried everything. 🍪}

 So, anyway, in my house I was absolutely taught - both implicitly and explicitly - that my weight was inherently tied to my worth. So when I'm feeling bad about myself, I eat. Then my weight goes up. Then I feel worse about myself. Then I struggle to get thin again, so that I can regain some sense of value. IT's funny, because they're the ones who taught me to eat when stressed in the first place. "What's wrong, Mellie-Ann? What happened? Do you want run over to Dunkin' Donuts?" 🍪

This relationship between value and physical appeal to someone to whom I may not actually want to appeal was so firmly cemented that I've subjected myself to numerous medical and surgical interventions in order to lose weight. We joke about it in this house, but I've had so many organs altered or removed over the years that we actually sometimes forget which ones I still have. My GI tract is no longer recognizable. Additionally, I've succumbed and allowed myself to be physically and sexually abused because of that, so that I could feel valued, so many times it took me until this many years old to finally realize how many more times than just the ones I've counted (two; now add maybe a couple hundred to be in the ballpark?) to finally realize it and allow myself to start forgiving myself for throwing myself away. Here. That's all I'm worth? Have at it. Take it. Whatever. I was numb to it, after all. 🍪

Right now, I'm listening to the entire discography of Nirvana. I completely, sadly understand why Kurt Cobain ended his life. I fully understand that the more you care about the world around you, the more you bear the weight of it on your shoulders. Sometimes, that weight is more than we can continue to bear.

🍪

So, when Rob asked me what he could do for me the other night after the panic attack, all I could think to say was, "I want a cookie." My being was entirely focused upon that concept. There were several problems with that:

1. What was an immediate need did not have an immediate solution.

2. Rob offered to go get me some Grandma's Cookies (eww) to stave off that need, but this was a Nestlé Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie kind of need.

3. We all know Nestlé is a pretty evil company, whilst I am currently on a personal Know Better, Do Better campaign. Nevertheless, this need persisted.

4. The need dictated that these NTCCCs be the ones baked my me. I try not to pat myself on the back too much when it comes to the kitchen. (That was my mother-in-law's domain; when I had a question, I called/texted/emailed her. I miss that.) But we've all mutually agreed here that the ones I bake are the ultimate. However, I am not physically up to kitchen duty at the moment.

5. I have not baked these cookies since we lived in Miami, before we moved. I remember the occasion. I had learned that the two young men, Thomas and Kyle - my favorite kids who worked there - at the nearby Racetrac station were also motherless, and no one had ever baked cookies for them. Whaaaa? I immediately went into nurture mode. They were jump-up-and-down ecstatic when Chloë and I brought them two heaping plates of cookies just for them. There may have been tears. There were definitely smiles. I never baked them when we lived in Boise. And I have no experience with our oven here in Mountain Home.

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6. We didn't have the ingredients on hand, either the eponymous ones or the brown sugary ones. And we really didn't have the funds to allocate to acquiring them.

7. I'm trying my damnedest to strictly adhere to my vegan lifestyle, but NTCCCs are definitely not vegan. And so on... 🍪

And so I went to sleep, once I fully calmed down. When I woke up, there were brown sugar and chocolate chips on the kitchen island. A stick of butter was softening on the counter. Prep work had been done. My heart softened along with the butter. 🍪

When Jack woke up and saw that yellow bag of goodness, he offered to - no, asked if he could - bake the cookies. He's actually pretty badass in the kitchen. It must be in the genes. His uncle, my brother-in-law, is a renowned chef in Columbia, Missouri, and beyond. 🍪

Pictured in the photo at the top are cookies from Jack's first tray in the oven. One of the many things I love about this kid is that, despite having Noonan Syndrome and being on the Autism Spectrum, he still invites me into his thoughts as we discuss how to do this or that and how to analyze what went well, what didn't go well, and adjust accordingly. So he kept tweaking the baking time after deciding these were a little crispier than he wanted them to be. He's not stupid. He thinks he is, and some people who don't know him very well treat him as though he is, he's definitely not. I blame the sugar for the crispiness of this batch, though I absolutely believe him that he followed the recipe, down to the molecule. 🍪

Despite never having made chocolate chip cookies by himself (he and I, just the two of us, had done them together numerous times in Miami - and also in Virginia Beach), these were OUTSTANDING. ' Nuff said. 🍪

Rob had bought a 24oz bag of chocolate chips. The experienced bakers among us will immediately recognize that as enough for a double batch. So, all told, Rob found a way and went out to get the ingredients for the thing my id said I needed, but which my superego tried to hush. Realistically, thankfully, my ego allowed me to be thankful and gratefully eat - sharing far more than I took myself, like a "good girl" - those cookies, no matter what my sense of morals dictated. Chloë and I chatted about that in a way, all while we were continuing our discussion of the way people whom we don't know yet begin to engage us online. She'll be going out in the world where I can't protect her soon, so it's very important that she be guarded and careful, as we enjoyed Round One of Jack's cookies. And for Round Two, after she'd finally awakened and come downstairs, Sophia baked the cookies for which Jack had created the dough. 🍪

I've learned many painful lessons in my life, but I've also been fortunate enough to recognize (albeit not always immediately) that I've learned some very beneficial ones along the way. One of those is to accept it when others love you and show that through kindnesses like these. Accepting that is extremely challenging for me; I struggle with it. But here, Rob and our children reinforced that lesson. My inner being, which thought I needed cookies, learned that what I really need is to be able to accept the love of others that I probably don't deserve. Phew, that's painful for me to even write! 🍪

My takeaway: angels don't always have wings. Heroes don't always wear capes. 💞

Fin.


Saturday 9: The Candy Man

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Hey there, swell people!! What's the haps?

IWILLBESTRIKING

I'm still coming down from the high off of organizing - and attending - the #ClimateStrike here in Mountain Home, Idaho. What a moment this is! Did you go? Did you strike? If not, WHY NOT?

And now back to our regular questions, brought by the lovely Crazy Sam:

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THE CANDY MAN (1972)
Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1) This song is from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder. The movie was remade as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. Which Wonka did you prefer?
 
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I guess I'm old-school on this one. I love the inimitable Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka!

2) In the movie, this song is sung by Bill, the candy store shopkeeper. Think about the last counter person you dealt with. We know that he or she likely didn't break into song, but did you two engage in conversation?
 
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Yeah. Well. Last night, Chloë and I attended the "Sweater Weather Get-Together" at The Twisted Ewe, a yarn shop up in Boise. I engaged with several of the shop staff, and especially introduced myself to the young woman who runs their social media stuff, because I engage with her frequently, and I'd never met her in person. I also signed up to be a test knitter.

3) The lyrics tell us that The Candy Man can make the world taste good. What's the last thing you ate? Was it delicious, or just OK?
 
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I ate oatmeal with raisins. As you can probably guess, it was just okay. This morning I had oatmeal with flax and chia seeds. That was actually better - even though it was cold by the time I ate it.
 
4) The most popular recording of this song was by Sammy Davis, Jr. Sammy was in a horrific car accident when he was 29 years old. His cheek and nose were broken and he lost an eye. That he survived at all left him reflective and after his hospitalization, he converted to Judaism. Do you still worship in the faith you were raised in? 

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No. Not only no, but hell no. No, no, no, no, no.
 
5) Sammy was proud of the honorary college degrees he received because he never formally attended school. As a child, he performed on the road with his father and uncle. In addition to depriving him of an education, that lifestyle kept him from kids his own age. He would later describe his childhood as, "in a word, 'lonely.'" Give us a one-word description of your childhood.
 
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T R A U M A T I C
 
6) Because he spent so much of his youth on the road, living on buses, trains and hotel rooms, he loved eventually having his own kitchen and being able to cook his own meals. This weekend, will you spend much time in the kitchen?
 
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Probably not. Chloë and I are going to be in Boise all day tomorrow at the ACLU's Activist Academy, and then on Sunday we'll be watching Sophia at an equestrian competition. So maybe we'll have time to cash in on some more birthday freebies (like these delicious chocolate-covered strawberries from The Melting Pot) while we're out and about!

 7) Sammy enjoyed experimenting with clothes and jewelry. What about you? Do you consider yourself conservative in dress or are you fashion forward?
 
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Eh. Neither, maybe? I'm just me.

8) When he died, Sammy was in debt to the IRS. Do you handle your own taxes, or do you use the services of an accountant?
 
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I do 'em. Not worth much since Rob retired, though!
  
9) Random question: If you had to tell nothing but the truth (not even the tiniest white lie) for 24 hours, do you think you'd get yourself in trouble?
 
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Very much so, yes. Who wouldn't?
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
Arrright. I gotta prepare for the next thing. And then the next. Gotta remind myself of what my physical therapist, Susan, tells me: "Pacing, Melanie. Remember to pace yourself."
 
I'm not good at it, y'all!!!
 
♥ Take time for yourselves, and thank your hostess, Gal - er, Sam - she works hard for us. (I'm still sorry.) (P.S. I did know the song, of course, but I clicked the link and listened again, and then more of Sammy, and then on to some other stuff. Really light-hearted comedy and Adam Sandler and things I just truly, honestly needed right at this moment in time.) ♥
 
Fin.

Sunday Stealing: Love Me Some Questions Meme

Howdy do, neighbors. I've made it out of bed today, just before 1400, but that's not what counts. It took a lot of effort. If my bladder didn't make it imperative, I might still be in bed. But I digress.

First:

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I finished watching the Season 4 of Netflix's Queer Eye, and now I'm bereft as hell. I literally found myself looking through all the episodes from all the seasons, trying to see if I'd missed one. I hadn't. Boo! 😭😭

But moving along with life. Make sure you link up here if you're joining us this weekend!

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These are from Love Me Some Surveys.

a. Has anyone ever made fun of your taste in music?

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Of course! His taste in music runs with the likes of Bob Dylan, right?

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And this is more my frequency. (Also, that was some shady shit, Whit.)

Ya dig?

b. Is anyone’s birthday coming up?

Enhance
Yep. This boy, Robert Allen O, will be 47 in six days!!! 😳🤭🎂🎂 Happy early birthday, baby!

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But that's not all! A week after that, the curly girlie on the left, Chloë Raine O, will be 18! 🎂🎂

I cannot even handle that, y'all! I just cannot.

But wait, there's more! Her mother, the lady on the right (that's me!) is turning 43 (ughhhh) one day later. (Why can no one ever remember it's 9/8/76? Easiest birth date ever, y'all!)

So yup. It's birthday season 'round here!

 c. Do you remember who you liked in grade eight?

Mike Amati

Yup. M was a cutie! He still is... but that picture there is 11 years old. Nowadays, what hair is left is mostly just stubble. Still a cutie. Whatever.

d. When was the last time you burned any part of your body?

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Y'all may remember? I blogged about it back then, in January 2017. I had never cooked a real steak in my life (because making cube steaks for the dogz in my single days totally does not count, you guys), and I have not eaten beef since August 1995. No plans to restart. But my boy likes steak, so for our 15th anniversary, I thought I'd make him a proper one.

It did not go the way I planned, the HOT! oil splattered, and I ended up in the ER instead. In fact, I went in by myself so he could eat his steak, because I refused to ruin his steak dinner any further. 🤣 No lie, mesdames.

Anyway, 2½ years later, right now, it looks like this:

Burned Arm

Honestly, and I would not lie to you for one moment: it did not hurt. It did not hurt one bit, and the scarring isn't bad, is it? Truth: I used a shit-ton of straight Young Living lavender oil on that burn, raw, open, and errrrythang. Like, the whooooole bottle. Because lavender is used in burn salves, and you know what? That shit worked. And then, when it was all closed up, I used Jafra Royal Jelly to heal the skin. 

Not bad. Not too bad at all. I'd do it again.

e. If I gave you ten dollars, what would you spend it on?

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Gas. Seriously. I love our new house. Not gonna lie. Love, love, love our house. But all of my doctors are in Boise, so we're hurting for gas money constantly nowadays. Kinda sucks. Sometimes I have to cancel the week's worth of my appointments - and there are many - because there just isn't any gas to get out there. And then I get angry letters in the mail about my canceled appointments. Really?! Are you putting gas in my tank?

It's hard. I keep re-budgeting and re-budgeting, but when you're two disabled folks living on a retired enlisted veteran's pension... it's a challenge.

f. What are you most excited about right now?

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I'm excited to see what comes next for the adult version of Chloë. I know great things are in her future!

g. Does / did either of your parents serve in the military?

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My  p---y-@$$ sperm donor was in the CG for five or six minutes. He thought because he was "smart" (truth is, he only thinks he's smart, and this is from someone who actually is), he'd be able to get one of his superiors to set him up in OCS. Instead, he swabbed poop deck after poop deck and probably cried about it - literally - the whole time. How long was he in? One blink? Two blinks? Not long. Meanwhile, he tries to square up with my husband, who did 20 full years, some during wartime in the Middle East, in the Navy. And with my beloved grandfather (my mom's dad, mind you), who served in the Navy during WWII in Europe. And my uncle (mom's brother) who served in the Navy. And my FIL, who was a submariner in the Navy during the Cold War. You know? Dad. Ya weren't shit then. You aren't shit now. And ya ain't never gonna be shit.

h. Are you somewhat of a perfectionist?

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Oh, yeah. You could say that. It's taking me years, and it will continue to take many more, but I am trying to learn to accept good enough when that's all I need. It's hard going teaching Chloë this, as well.

f. Do you like sour candy?

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I don't mind it now and then, but I swear it's like one of the major food groups for my kiddos!

g. Are all nighters something you have grown used to?

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I have pretty erratic sleeping habits, so yeah, I've grown accustomed to it.

h. Do you usually wear sunglasses when you’re driving?

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I wear 'em whenever I need 'em.

i. Do you wear your shoes around the house?

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Since I have virtually no immune system, and the next major infection could very well be my last, I try very hard to enforce our strict "no shoes" policy.

j. What clothes are you most comfortable in?

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What this woman has on, I could live in. Now I want it!

k. Are you good at painting nails?

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I have no special skills. My sister's a pro, though.

j. Smoothies or slushies?

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I'm impartial, as long as the slushy contains real fruit and, if must be, a non-sugar sweetener, or if the smoothie contains almond or coconut milk or similar dairy substitute. I'm not being picky. I'm just allergic to life!

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Thanks for another fun questionnario, Bev! Hope you all have a great last week of August 2019. Maaaaaan, this year has flown by!

Fin.


Sundays In My City: Sunday Sundaes

Sundays In My CityBy Claudya
Hey, guys! Welcome to another edition of Claudya M's Sundays in my City, Smellyann-style. Be sure and link up here when you've posted yours for this week, too!
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So currently, my daughter's girlfriend is spending two nights this weekend at our house, because her parents have gone of out town. I happened to know that Sydney loves ice cream, and I wanted to make sure she enjoys her stay, so I suggested we have sundaes on Sunday. Naturally, everyone jumped on that idea! We haven't done a sundae bar in yeaaaaaars.
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My 16yo son Jack had the brilliant idea of putting a chocolate-dipped cone upside-down on his sundae, which everyone wanted to then copy. But brilliant move, Jack, because then there was only one cone left, and no way that was going to be joyfully split amongst five more of us! He relished it with gusto, too.
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Here's my non-traditional banana split. Having worked at the sundae shop Larry's on St. Pete Beach, Florida, back in the day, I know full well that this ain't right. But it looked and sounded delicious, which is all that truly mattered to me! Being the glutton that I am, I put a small scoop of Talenti pistachio gelato on one end, chocolate ice cream in the middle, and a scoop of Talenti mint chip gelato on the other end, atop half a split banana. The chocolate was topped with peanut butter sauce, while the gelati were topped with chocolate sauce. A generous helping of juiced strawberries, more than enough whipped cream, and a smattering of chopped nuts finished the job, with the requisite cherry on the summit.
It was a diabetic's worst nightmare. Seriously: My blood sugar was already at 96 right before I dug in; we checked. One scoop of gelato (and associated toppings) in, and we checked again: 192! That didn't stop me, as I still knew that deliciousness awaited me. But I didn't get very much further before I started to feel awful. Just awful. We checked it again: 220!! I was full by then, so Rob agreed to take on the burden of eating mine, too, if someone would stick it in the freezer. I passed out shortly after that.
Lesson learned? I doubt it.
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17yo Chloë followed suit, sharing the other half of my split banana. She used three maraschino cherries on her alternative banana split. Maaaaaan. I should've done that. Mmm-mm. Who doesn't love those things?
I remember doing a mystery shop at a bar called... BJs or something? ... on Virginia Beach's Rudy's Inlet. A little locals' dive bar. This one bartendress made me a tequila sunrise with three cherries: one red, one orange, and one beautiful. That was years ago, and I still remember it as one of the best sunrises of my drinking career. Those cherries must've had some impact!
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14yo Sophia continued the banana sundae trend, making this ... monstrosity. I don't know what to call it, but she enjoyed it - after mixing everything UP - so I guess that's all we care about. Mixing it up, though?! What the deuce? I want to be able to see all my ingredients.
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Here's Sophie's adorable 15yo girlfriend, Sydney, who also had some kind of banana sundae. I'm such the trendsetter.
The girls met this past May. Both of my girls came out around December of 2017 or January of 2018, which didn't faze me in the least: Sophia as a lesbian, Chloë as bisexual. As you may know, we lived in Boise, Idaho, at the time, which is the most liberal of this very red state. Meaning, it's difficult to be gay for anyone in the state of Idaho, let alone a teenager. Last year, Pride 2018, was our first time attending this event. I was so excited to finally be able to go to Pride "legitimately," as an Ally, and feel somewhat like I belonged to this cool and unusual crowd. I hope my daughters felt the same way.
And then in May, I urged them to go to the Pride Prom. Sophia was going to wear a jumpsuit, but she ended up finding a dress she loved at the thrift store we frequent. Shocked the shit out of me! But she kept to her usual Sophie self by pairing it with a matching set of high-top Chuck Taylors:
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Chloë looked beautious, too:
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Anyway, so toward the end of the night at the prom, Sophia spotted this young girl standing alone, and went over to talk to her. I like that about my girls; inclusivity is the name of the game. And that, my friends, was the start of a beautiful relationship:
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Do I digress much? Enough? I think so. I think so. But anyway....
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So while Sundae Fun-day was great and all (before I passed out and then Rob and the teenagers played Guesstimation without me), I just did want to say that, yes, it's hard to be gay in Idaho. It's all well and good behind closed doors, safe in our loving and accepting home, but Sydney tells me that she gets bullied mercilessly at school about it. Now that Jack and Sophia are going into public high school, I'm afraid for Soph, too. And she's a brawler! Eek. 
I mean, in a state where - even in "liberal" Boise - I get my "COEXIST" and "Blue Girl in a Red State" stickers ripped off my car, I worry about my kids' sense of self in coming out to the world. About their safety, too. About being hurt physically and emotionally by people who call themselves Christian yet commit bad acts against them. It's a tough world. So I'm proud they've taken this step. As I say...:
K
Amen. So cheers to you, Sydney, and Chloë, and Sophia, for being your authentic selves. Maybe someday instead of sundaes in Idaho, we'll be toasting with tequila sunrises in Virginia Beach!  🍹🍹
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I showed you mine, now show me yours.

Share your city/town/suburb/you name it! Think of this as a photography hop that lets you share your part of the world and lets you travel virtually. If you link up, please link back or post the Sundays In My City button either in your post or sidebar to let people know that other bloggers are sharing their communities too. Happy trails!  

Let’s travel the world together!

 

By Claudya

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Book Of Questions

Hey, there! Wheeeewwwwww, I'm exhausted.

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

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

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Questions from The Book of Questions

1. Do you think the world will be a better or worse place 100 years from now?
 
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That depends on your perspective. From a humanistic view, definitely worse, based on our actions today! But for the world as a whole? I think it'll just be different. Things are changing, some irrevocably, and things will once again evolve to a new stasis.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?  Is there anything you hope to do that is even better?  (Let’s exclude raising children, if you have them)
 
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Hmm, I don't know. There have been a lot, but I worked really hard to get into ^^ this ^^ pretty exclusive lab, and I made it in after much hard work on my part.
 
Even better? I don't know, I have learned that things aren't always "better" or "worse" but more like, just, different. You know? I'd been watinging since my pregnancy and first year with Chloë - who will turn 18 in September - to go to law school when my kids were all grown, but with my brain injury, I don't think that will be possible now. So, author it shall be. eek Fingers crossed!! 🤞🤞🤞
 
10. If you went to a dinner party and were offered a dish you had never tried, would you want to taste it, even if it sounded strange and not very appealing?
 
It totally depends. Three things I would NOT eat, no matter what:
 
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Monkey brains - actual
 
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Balut
 
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... and haggis
 
Three things I have eaten in my non-veg days:
 
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frog legs - on a cruise
 
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escargot - on another cruise, or maybe the same?
 
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sea urchin sushi - in Virginia Beach Town Center
 
By the way, Rob and I ate that sushi on a date for our anniversary one year, and we both agreed it was among the most DISGUSTING things we'd ever eaten!!! Have y'all had it? 
 
11. Do your close friends tend to be older or younger than you?
 
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They're usually the same age or older. I can think of few friends of mine who are younger.
 
12. How do you feel when people sing Happy Birthday to you in a restaurant?
 
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It's not my favorite thing in the world, now that I'm no longer eight years old (!!), but if dessert's involved I'm game. I'd rather it be a plate of fruits or even an extravagant fruta loca, though:
 
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13. When you tell a story, do you often exaggerate or embellish it?  If so, why?
 
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Yes. I do "edit" my tales sometimes. In short, I say, "I do it for the LOLs." For the longer version of that, I'll borrow from a 2014 article I just found on HuffPost:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 9: I Learned From You

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Happy Father's Day weekend, y'all! Things are going well here in the new house, and Hubs took the girls to Boise Pride both yesterday and today, and we had a sleepover last night, and we have lots of fun gifts for my main squeeze tomorrow, and... <pant, pant, pant> we have Chloë's high school graduation tomorrow afternoon! No one is coming so we decided to forgo the party and, as usual, have it just be the five of us. That's fine...

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Link up here if you want to join the rest of us Saturday 9ers (yes, it's late and probably well after dark for some of you already!)...

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Saturday 9: I Learned from You (2007)
... Because it's Father's Day weekend.
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
 


1) This song is a duet by the father/daughter team, Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus. Is your family musically inclined?
 
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Partially; my sister, parents, daughters, and I can/could all sing well. My grandfather used to sing in church a lot, and he sang at my sister's wedding, too (I'd forgotten that!). My husband... can not carry a tune in a bucket.

2) This song is about life lessons. Who has been a major influence on your life?
 
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OMG, that's hilarious. Umm, I couldn't limit that down to just a handful of people if I tried! So I'm going to say that I've been influenced by everyone I've known, people I've only heard about but don't know personally, and everyone else in the entire world.

3) Miley's given name is "Destiny." Her nickname as a baby was "Smiley," which is where Miley came from. What's something that can always be depended upon to make you smile?
 
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This child. Sophia, now 14, has been making us burst out laughing her entire life.
 
4) Miley's father, country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, has 5 children in addition to Miley (6 in all). Are you the oldest, the middle or the youngest sibling? Or are you an only child?
 
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I was the youngest of 2/3/4/5, depending on how you want to slice that cake.

5) Sam's own father often traveled for business, and always remembered to bring her the little complimentary soaps, shampoos or body lotion he got from the hotel. Tell us about an inexpensive but treasured souvenir from a trip you've taken.
 
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I get a shot glass from everywhere I go. But I rarely use them.

6) Back when Sam was in high school, it was her father who gave her driving lessons. Are you patient when teaching someone something new?
 
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It really depends on both subject and student.

7) Sam's father is easy to buy for: every year he wants a new pair of loafers, so every year for Father's Day she gives him a DSW gift card. Is there anyone on your gift list that you find it easy to buy for?
 
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Penny loafers? I generally find it easy to shop for those in my immediately family and super-hard for anyone who doesn't live with me!

8) For family barbecues, Sam's dad dons his "Kiss the Chef" apron and mans the Weber. What's the last thing you cooked on the grill?
 
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I generally don't like grilled food, but I enjoy making meals en papillote from time to time. I used to do that a lot years ago, when we first got married. SO easy!

9) Sam's father satisfies his afternoon sugar craving with an almost endless stream of Butter Rum Lifesavers. When you crave a snack, do you usually reach for something sweet or salty?
 
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Oh, it varies for me from hour to hour. ;) Sometimes I want something totally junky; other times, it's gotta be a banana or something. Doesn't it vary for everyone? I just had Chloë bring me home a Caramello after craving one for days. It was disappointing. Don't you hate that?!
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
That was fun; thanks, Sam! Hopefully I'll be much more prompt when it comes to Sunday Stealing! ;)
 
Image result for tiny waving pride flag gif Cheers, y'all. Image result for tiny waving pride flag gif
 
Fin.

Sunday Stealing: For The Love Of Surveys

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

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

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

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

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

What are your favorite articles of clothing?

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

The last CD you bought or downloaded?

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


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

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

5. What is your favorite kitchen appliance?

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

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

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

7. What is your favorite color?

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

8. Do you believe in the afterlife?

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

9. Your favorite children’s book?

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

10. Can you juggle?

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

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

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

12. Which do you prefer, sushi or hamburger?

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

13. What is your favorite flower?

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

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

14. What is your favorite meal?

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

15. Describe your ideal weather?

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

16. What is your favorite ice cream?

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

17. What is your favorite breakfast?

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

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

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

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

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

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That was fun, Bev - thank you!

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

Fin.


Sundays In My City: Creativity

Sundays In My City
Hey, guys! Happy Sunday evening to you! It's been a while (seems like my M.O.) since I joined Claudya on her Sundays in my City funtivity, but I'm feeling inspired to write on my blahg, and write in general, more lately.
If you want to show us what's going on in your neck of the woods, link up here!
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Melanie's Middle Eastern Falafel & Couscous
I feel like creating again lately, but I'm easing into it slowly. Having a nasty chronic illness (actually, more like 20) has kind of put my ability to be creative on the back burner, but that's gotten staid and boring.
Anyway, so the other night, I "unvented" (word borrowed from the amazing knit-queen, Elizabeth Zimmermann) a meal recipe that I was hankering for but for which I couldn't find online. So I made it up, typed it all up with big words and silly words, printed it and laminated it, and then handed it over to Hubs to cook for me. (Hee! Yes, but, in my defense, standing up at the stove for long periods of time is extremely difficult for me now.)
Between the two of us, we created Lentil Falafel with Yoghurt and Spiced Couscous. It's delicious! Hit me up if you'd like me to send you a copy of the recipe.
***
03172019 Robs Homemade Monkey Bread
So maybe this doesn't fall under the umbrella of "creativity" so much (at least, not ours) since I sent Hubs this recipe from the blog "The Kitchen Magpie." All he technically did was follow the recipe and omit the raisins. But look at it! I appreciate it as a visual work of art and titillation for my taste buds. And so it's included.
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The rest of the entries in this post are from my youngest child, 13-year-old Sophia. This is my foot. One night, she and I were sitting around alone at home together, when she went and got all the dry-erase markers. An hour or two later, she and I were covered in her works of art. Unfortunately, my favorite thing was the hibiscus she drew on her own right hand, but because it was dry-erase, she ended up having to wash her hands before I got a picture of it. It was beautious!
***
Rose Stamp Collage
The main library here in Boise, Idaho, is pretty cool. They have all kinds of fun programs for kids and teens. Sophie went to the one last week for the first time (I'd just found out about it) and came home with this rubber stamp for a rose that she'd carved herself. Pretty cool, huh?
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03072019 Meme Machine Sophie's Neon Sign
This is another result of a different program at the same library. Sophia made this neon sign that reads "meme machine." I love it! I think it's hanging up in her bedroom window right now.
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03122019 Impressionistic Monet Tree
And finally, this Impressionistic tree that Sophia painted (and she says that she cannot paint!) was her final assignment for the Claude Monet unit in our homeschool art program. It's called Meet The Masters, and each week, she (and I) learn about another master artist, and then she practices the style of each. I'm so proud of this one, partly because I do think it's so good, and partly because she really does claim no painting ability. I'm afraid I have to disagree!
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So that's what's up in Boise. I'd love to see your part of the world!
Thanks, Claudya, for hosting this fun romp-around.
Fin.

7th Gen Wipes

Recently, the fine folks at Seventh Generation, the makers of all kinds of eco-friendly household goods like cleansers, disinfectant sprays, dish liquid and oodles more good stuff, sent me these three freebie sample packets of their Free & Clear baby wipes. Now, as you might know, my "babies" are all now teenagers (sob 😭), but I did give birth to four of them not all that long ago, so I know a thing or two about such things as diapers (Seventh Generation also makes these) and wipes. I swear.

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Now, if you can read the package for yourself, you don't need me telling you this, but just in case my site graphics are too much for your device (which is entirely possible if you tend to keep as many screens and apps open at any given time as I do!), I'll reiterate for you.

Seventh Generation Free & Clear Wipes:

  • are safe for baby, hands and faces
  • {Side note: I don't have a baby tush to clean, but I did use the wipes to wash the makeup off my face, and they were soooo perfect for that! I also washed my dirty feet from walking around outside barefoot - yes, in the winter, because I'm stupid and/or stubborn - with the wipes, and they did a stellar job}
  • are fragrance free

{Side note: I can vouch for this! Definitely no icky artificial scents here!}

  • Contain NO alcohol
  • Contain NO Parabens
  • Contain NO Phenoxyethanol
  • {This is a now commonly-used paraben-alternative used as a preservative in many cosmetic items, the Environmental Working Group states this can be a lung, eye, or skin allergen, can cause harm to immune systems, and can cause non-reproductive organ toxicity. Since I have several immunodeficiencies and autoimmune disorders, I really don't want to encounter much of that!}

This, altogether, means that these wipes are great for sensitive skin which, not surprisingly, I have - and I did not have any kind of irritation or reaction after using them. WIN!

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Now there is a LOT of information on the back (click the picture to embiggerate if you can, so you can read it more easily) of the wipes package, so I'm just going to highlight some of the goodness here.

The Seventh Generation Free & Clear Wipes:

  • are made from plant-based materials, which as a newly-bornagain vegan, y'all know I adore!
  • are not tested on animals which, duh, big ++++ there!
  • are safe and highly effective (I can vouch for this!)

Now, the ingredient list is on the package, but you can also shoot me a comment and I'll write those down for you, as well.

If you want to contact Seventh Generation on social media, you can find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest! Check out their website, too, for all the great environmentally-friendly products Seventh Generation makes.

"Join us in nurturing the health of the next seven generations."

Full Disclosure: Seventh Generation provided these three packets of Free & Clear baby wipes for me to sample and also share with my friends. I received no payment or any other compensation. In this post, as with all my product reviews, all opinions are and will always be my own honest thoughts on the product.

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Speaking of plant-based goods, have you signed up for Veganuary yet? Run over here and sign up to take the pledge and give it a try! It's not too late - it's never too late!

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Also, if you want some recipe inspo, be sure and follow my Instagram account for what we're cookin' up now that we're all vegans. Something super tasty is coming up later today!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Storywise

Welcome back! We're in the middle of watching the Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I movie, so if my answers end up seeming a little sketchy, blame Katniss Everdeen. I love this series!

Link up here if you'd like to join us this week!

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1. The strangest place you've ever been:
 
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There were a lot of close contenders, but I chose walking around in thigh-high water after Tropical Storm Gordon hit us at the University of Miami in 1994. That was a strange and new experience for me. I didn't realize all my shoes and clothes were going to mold after that, but I learned quickly. That helped me save my wardrobe countless times in hurricanes after that!
 
2. Unusual food combinations you enjoy:
 
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I don't know how unusual it is, but when I wasn't vegan, I used to like my mashed potatoes with lots of butter and milk, a ton of corn, sautéed onions, garlic, and lots of cheddar cheese. I'd squeeze a heavy dose of fresh lemon juice on top and enjoy!
 
3. Your best cure for hiccups:
 
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I haven't figured that one out yet.
 
4. Something you have never done but would like to try:
 
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I want to try waterskiing. Hey, if a squirrel can do it...
 
5. A routine you do every day without fail:
 
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I always clean my face with a simple cotton ball moistened with witch hazel when I wake up.
 
6. Something new you've recently learned:
 
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That I can heal.
 
7. Your keenest sense:
 
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Maybe you meant one of my five physical senses, but I'm going to say my sense of empathy. It's strong with this one.
 
8. Whether you prefer cooking or cleaning up:
 
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Oh, I much prefer making a big beautiful feast and letting someone else do the work of cleaning it up!
 
9. Where were you the last time you saw the sun rise:
 
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I don't know, somewhere in Boise. I'm more of a sundown person than sunrise.
 
10. A recent time you were embarrassed:
 
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You know, it's funny. I used to be embarrassed all the time. Now, I can't think of a time recently.
 
11. An everyday sound that delights you:
 
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When we head toward the bedroom, that's the signal for the dogs to come to bed. They love bed, so this delights them so much, they start energetically romping and tearing around the bed together. Cracks me up. Sometimes we do it early just to see this, then go back out to the living room only to do it again later. Hee.
 
12. The last conversation you had with a stranger:
 
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Hm. Yesterday, on the phone, I was making an appointment for my 17-year-old, Chloë, to get her traveling shots before going to Guatemala this coming summer. The receptionist on the phone was delightfully cheerful, as are most people in this sort of profession in Boise. Such a friendly place. That's one of my favorite things about it.
 
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That was fun, Bev! Thanks for the interesting new questions!
 
Fin.

Saturday 9: You Make Me Feel Brand New

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Hey, hey, what do ya say? I posted Saturday 9 and Sunday Stealing last week, but I was so late - by a few days - that I didn't get any reads. *sniff, sniff* So if I'm being repetitive it's because I didn't think anyone read it the first time! Heh.

But here we are again, so link up here to play along with the S9ers for this week!

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Saturday 9: You Make Me Feel Brand New (1974)
 
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

Welcome to the first Saturday 9 of 2019!


1) As 2019 kicks off, what are your hopes for the brand new year?

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Well, now that everyone has joined me in veganism, I'm finding it difficult to please all their palates. As a result, there is a lot of grumbling every day about there being "nothing to eat." Completely untrue, but I'm trying! So my hope for 2019 is that, one day at a time, they'll stick it out and give veganism a real shot. Everyone should, IMNSHO.

2) Just because an item isn't brand new doesn't mean it isn't valuable. Have you scored any fabulous finds at a secondhand store or website?

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I love thrifting! We've gotten two couches, the desk next to me, and tons of clothing for the whole family at the thrift store down the road, ReStyle. But this bathing suit, which I really needed for my physical therapy in the pool, was from ThredUp. I got lots of clothes for the kids and me there recently for a steal. Secondhand is the way to go!

3) This song is sung by The Stylistics, a group from Philadelphia. Have you ever been to Philly?

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Yeah, several times. The first time was with my grandparents in probably 1981 or 1982? They took me to see the liberty bell, and I remember being really bothered by that crack and why they didn't just fix it or get another one - and my grandma having a hearty laugh over that! And I also marveled at the fact that there were hot pretzel and hot dog vendors on the streets, just like in Manhattan. Who knew?

4) This song was co-written by Thom Bell, a Philadelphia-based musician/producer who was born in Kingston, Jamaica. The average daily temp in Kingston in January is 87ºF. Do you have plans to get away this winter and go somewhere warm?

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Goddddddd, I wish!! I was just looking through the photos from when we first moved to Miami in March 2013, reminiscing, maybe getting a little melancholy... I would love to go somewhere tropical and warm. Chloë is going to Guatemala this summer, and though it's not what we Americans consider an exotic getaway, I've gotta admit I'm a bit jealous!

5) The Stylistics took their choreography very seriously. As you can see from the video, they even carefully synchronized their hand movements. Do you use your hands much when you talk?

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Yeah, pretty much. Sophia definitely gets her theatrical nature from her mother!

6) The lyrics tell us that the singer is grateful for a friend who will walk with him along a path that "sometimes bends." Looking back on 2018, tell us about a time that life's path took a bend you didn't quite expect.

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Oh, the chickens. We had our first flock of 11 in 2017, and these were the beautiful eggs they were laying by early 2018. By summer, all but Athena were slaughtered, probably by a skunk. By September, a predator-proof (well, as much as one can get, I guess) was built in the backyard, and 21 day-old chicks were delivered from a hatchery in Iowa. Now they're all rehomed, and we are vegans. It's all just freakin' weird, man.

7) In 1974, when this song was popular, Chicago's Sears Tower opened and was for years the world's tallest building. Its elevators can carry you to the 103rd floor in approximately a minute. When were you last on an elevator?

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I was on an elevator this past Friday, when Chloë accompanied me to my Speech Pathology appointment. I'm having a bunch of problems with... well, all the stuff on that mug, basically, and getting my thoughts to transform into sensible words and sentences, so I'm there to get some speech therapy to help with it. Gotta admit, I'm kind of anxious about it!

8) Also in 1974, the 55 mph speed limit was imposed nationwide. When you drive, are you careful to stay within the speed limit? Or do you have a lead foot?

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Girl, I got two speeding tickets in 2018 alone! Both were on the same stretch of the same 35 MPH zone. I was probably going at least 60 MPH both times! I think I probably schedule some shit to do that requires us to go East on I-84, just so I can hit the 80 MPH zone and ... go 90+ MPH!

9) Random question -- It's time to pose for your Saturday 9 yearbook picture. Will you show us your right profile, your left profile, or will you look directly into the camera?

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Well, these are from a couple weeks ago now, since it's 0538 right now and I haven't showered yet... so it appears I would be showing you my left! I think that's my "good side," as if I have such a thing. I know that because the nostril piercing is barely visible, and that's on my right. ;)

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Ooh, I liked this quizzy! Thanks Gal, er, Crazy Sam!

Have a great 2019, y'all. Seriously, I mean it.

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Food, Glorious Food

Well, look at that: you came back! Thanks for that; I missed last week and so I missed all of you, too. 

Link up here if you want to play along this weekend. Let's go!

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1.  Do you like pie?

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love pie!!! My favorite is what I grew up calling Dutch Apple Cream Pie, although I've seen it with different names. So, so good.

2.  Italian or Mexican?

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I never really liked Mexican food until I got married, but it's among my husband's favourite cuisines, so I've learned to eat it more. I love that Mexican restaurants always have a vegetarian section, so that's what I look for first on the menu. I adore Italian food and try to eat mostly a combo of Mediterranean and SE Asian diets when I can. My husband's and daughters' favourite meal that I cook is lasagna, but I hardly ever cook it anymore since I lost my best recipe! I know it almost by heart, though, so that's really no excuse. I prefer to make manicotti, even though, like, what's the difference? It's more challenging, and I like a challenge. I have never once put meat in either dish, yet I have never attempted a vegetarian lasagna. I'm afraid no one else will like it. Holy crap, I babbled a lot for this answer, eh?

3.  Can you bake? If so, what are your favorite things to bake?

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Oh, I love to bake! In fact, I had this little baking business when we still lived in Virginia Beach. I loved doing it, but one time I had an epic fail in the summer, when I had gone to great lengths to make a really elaborate cake, and it was beautiful. I went to deliver it, and by the time I arrived at my destination - even with the AC on full blast - it had melted completely. What a disaster. I quit doing it after that.

4.  Do you use cook books or do you try to find recipes online?

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The first year we were married, in Panama City, Florida, in 2001, my sister-in-law Gail gave my husband this book for his birthday or Christmas. I think. I devoured that book; I really love cookbooks and have a small collection. But I do find I tend to look things up online more often than not.

5.  Do you own a KitchenAid mixer?

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Yes, I do! My husband gave it to me for Valentine's Day one year when we lived in Virginia Beach; maybe around 2010. I've got this red one. I've broken that glass bowl and replaced it two or three times - usually by warranty so no charge - and we finally just switched me over to the stainless steel one! lol

6.  Ever cooked a meal for more than 15 people at one time?

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Well, if you count a potluck or "share a dish" party, then yes, I have done that. Otherwise, I think the most I have cooked for was nine, manicotti actually, last summer for our friends and us.

7.  Do you like hospital food?

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This is hospital food in Japan, not mine. I love the little bento box style tray! I'd love that... Here in Boise, at St. Luke's, the food is not so bad when I've actually been able to eat it over the five times I've been admitted in the 16 months we've lived here. In Homestead, FL, it was quite terrible.

8.  Favorite fast food restaurant?

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I know it's more like fast casual than fast food, but Panera's broccoli cheddar cheese soup in a bread bowl is my favorite - my girls', too!

9.  Any picky eaters in your family?

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We all are, myself included, except for my husband. He'll pretty much eat anything. I like that about him.

10.  Soda or Tea?

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I'm trying to quit again (again!), but I basically survive on Diet Coke (or Kroger's version of it), crunchy ice chips, and chocolate protein shakes. Eating is kind of a horribly difficult situation for me lately. I hate doing it anymore. :(

11.  Hot chocolate?

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I can only have the sugar-free kind now, but my three kids adore the regular. If it's there, they want it. Two cups, please, with marshmallows or whipped cream!

12.  Favorite holiday dish?

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This guy! 

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13.  What is the most tasteful strangest looking thing you have ever tasted?

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Uni (sea urchin). Rob and I went out for an anniversary dinner to a new sushi restaurant in town (Virginia Beach town center), and we ordered a bunch of things including the uni. We both agree, to this day, it was hands-down the worst thing we'd ever eaten!


14.  Fries or tater tots?

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I'm kind of over French fries. They don't love me, and I'm very picky particular about what fries I'll actually eat, so I usually try not to indulge. We don't get tater tots too often, either in to cook our take-out or whatevs, but I prefer them.


15.  Do you like cheese? If so what kind?

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I like every kind of cheese I've ever tried except Limburger. My mother-in-law liked limburger, and she had it once on a visit to our house in Virginia. She let me try some... and I was not a fan!

16.  Homemade or can soup?

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When I need the protein and am willing to eat meat, there's nothing in the world like Rob's homemade chicken and dumplings. No can can touch that! The first year we were married, I watched Martha Stewart's show every day, and I came out of it with so many good recipes and ideas. Rob's soup recipe was one of those. Thanks, Martha!

17.  Do you like to eat out?

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I definitely do, and when we're somewhere nice, I'm one of "those" people who likes to Instagram the food, too! :P

18.  What kind of food is popular where you are?

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Well, we do live in Idaho, and it is kind of world-famous for its potatoes, as my daughter Chloë pointed out. Would you believe, I had to ask my family this question because I couldn't think of anything?!! #BrainFog

19.  Do you like cotton candy?

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Neither Rob nor I ever really have liked it, but our three kids love it. Go figure!

20.  Turkey or Chicken?

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Neither - fish! Yes? Or shrimp. Or crab. Or even Krab. But not chicken or turkey much anymore; I can't eat it.


21.  Hamburger or tuna helper?

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Gross. No. But my kids would love it if I made it more! Weirdos.

22.  Raw or cooked veggies?

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Either, depending on how it's served. I like raw carrots and cukes and stuff, but I don't enjoy (and can't really eat) raw cruciferous veggies. Those have to be cooked, for me.


23.  Do you like salad? If so, what is your favorite kind of salad?

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Caesar salad is my favorite, and Cardini's dressing is the best!


24.  Favorite pizza topping?

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Pineapple! (Or if we're sharing and you can't handle that, just cheese is fine too.)


25.  Do you like meat loaf?

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No. Obviously, since I don't eat meat. Rob really likes it, but I've only made it exactly once since we got married. I feel guilty now! LOL... Right now, because of this post, it's a huge family discussion!

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I don't think I did a single funny meme-ish picture on this post, did I? Apparently I'm serious about food! 

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Feeding Frenzy: January

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Beautiful, rinsed red lentils

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Sliced limes - yummy!

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Something's simmering!

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

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

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

Thanks for stopping by, y'all!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Heartbreak Hotel

Welcome back, everyone! I had to do another disappearing act midweek to go into the hospital again for the third time in a month, and can I just say -- that's enough?!! Because it is. I'm home again now, and my fingers are crossed that this time it sticks.

Link up here if you want to play along this week. Let's go!

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Saturday 9: Heartbreak Hotel (1956) 

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

1) Elvis checked in to the hotel at the end of Lonely Street. Where was the last hotel or motel you stayed at?
 
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We went to the Young Living Fall Festival this past October at their lavender farm in Mona, Utah. We stayed in this little hole-in-the-wall rinky-dink hotel somewhere near there (I don't even remember the town), and we skedaddled on out of there just as soon as we could in the morning! Not our most comfortable night ever.

2) He sings that Heartbreak Hotel is always crowded. The fear of crowds is so prevalent that it has four names (enochlophobia, ochlophobia, demophobia and agoraphobia). Are you comfortable in a crowd?
 
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I'd rather blend into a crowd than stand out on my own. I'm fine with crowds.

3) The desk clerk at Heartbreak Hotel is dressed in black. Do you often wear all black?
 
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I don't know about often, but occasionally. I like dressing in black, but I gotta have some color somewhere.
 
4) The song was written by Mae Boren Axton, who said it was inspired by the story of an anonymous young man's suicide in a hotel. She said she read in The Miami Herald that the John Doe left behind a note that said, "I walk a lonely street." What's the last note you handwrote? (Hopefully it was more upbeat.)
 
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I called my kids' pediatrician today to get one daughter a referral and make an appointment with the doc for the other, so I jotted down the appointment info before transferring it into my phone's calendar.

5) When Elvis was 11, his parents bought him a guitar. He had asked for a rifle, but his mama convinced him a guitar was a better idea. Tell us about a time one of your parents was right about something. 
 
When I was three or four, my mom, sister and I were grocery shopping. I spotted what looked like a bunch of spilled sugar on one aisle floor, and I've always had a big sweet tooth. I got away from my mom and found that aisle, and I actually went and ate some off the floor before Mom found me! She told me it was laundry detergent, and I shouldn't eat that.
 
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Turns out she was right...
  
6) Not long before "Heartbreak Hotel" was recorded, Elvis' father recommended he give up the guitar and become a truck driver. Tell us about a time one of your parents was wrong about something.
 
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Oh, my dad is always trying to talk me into not using modern medicine and coming back into the Christian Science fold again. Yeah, that's not happening.
 
7) There are many stories about Elvis' manager, Col. Tom Parker. One anecdote, about his career before Elvis, has the Colonel painting sparrows yellow so he could sell them as canaries. Have you ever been ripped off?
 
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When I was in college, I was headed from the main U-Miami campus, where I lived, to class at the marine science campus. My ratchet car broke down on the Rickenbacker Causeway, and I was stranded. My best friend Lisa was actually down from New York during her Spring Break on a visit, so thankfully I wasn't alone. A man with a toddler was walking along the causeway, and he said he could fix it but needed to get some parts or something first (I think it was the spark plugs). We gave him all the cash we had on us to go get those parts. To a complete stranger. In Miami. SO STUPID!!! Of course, he never came back.

8) Speaking of birds, Elvis once owned a peacock. It damaged his cars, so he gave it to the Memphis Zoo. In earlier days, it might have been dinner, for peacock was considered a medieval delicacy. What's the last poultry you prepared?
 
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I don't remember the last actual meat I cooked that was poultry, but do our own eggs from our own backyard chickens count? If so, then I had some before I went in the hospital. Delicioso!

9)  Random question: You and a friend have dinner at a restaurant. Your friend left her wallet at home, so you pick up the entire tab of $62, including tip. A few weeks later, you two meet for lunch and when the bill comes, she puts down half. Do you remind her that she still owes you $31 from the last time you dined together?
 
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I would have had that all sorted before we even got to the restaurant, so that it wouldn't be a problem!
 
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That's it for now. Thanks for stopping by; have a great weekend!
 

Sunday Stealing: Something Different Meme

Welcome back! Link up here if you're playing along with Sunday Stealing today. Here we go:

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Writes Bev: "Here's something different for this week.  
 
"There is a woman named "Wendy Weetabix" who wrote a blog called That's My Bix, but the last entry was from 2015.  But she has been posting random questions for the past several months on Facebook.  I went through and picked a few of them for us to answer this week."
 
1. What is a normal thing that took you an embarrassingly long time to learn?
 
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Welp, I suspect more than one person will say telling Right from Left - and me, too - but I just learned the other day that Greenland is a territory of Denmark. I either never knew that or just forgot and relearned it, but I felt stupid after learning it this time! ;)
 
 

2. In what ways are you old-fashioned?
 
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I'm not very old-fashioned in a very lot of ways, being quite a leftward Liberal. But by the same token, I've become kind of a homebody. My husband and kids are my favorite people in the world, and I get to hang out with them every single day! (We homeschool.) I bake and cook, I knit and crochet... my kids jokingly call me "Grandma" when I'm fiddling with sticks and string! And Martha Stewart is my home-making idol - no lie!
 

3. What is the best sandwich you've ever eaten? Where did you get it? What made it so delicious?
 
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(Note: This picture was not it.) When I worked as a legal secretary in St. Pete, Florida, there was a bagel/deli in the same plaza, down at the other end. I didn't go there too terribly often, but on occasion, I would venture over. They had so many choices! But I will never forget the time that I ordered a Fruit & Nut bagel with their homemade Strawberry Cream Cheese. So maybe not technically a sammich, but it was crazy-good!
 
 

4. What are you currently not bragging about that you should totally brag about? 
 
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So I'm going the opposite route here: I run this weekly online auction on Facebook, and people pick up from my house when they have won something(s) from me. Usually, I send one of my girls out (my son is pretty much scared of people) because my pain level is too high, and today it was Sophia who went out. The woman, who was new to my auction group, was very impressed by my youngest, Sophia. The woman overpaid by a dollar and refused the change I sent Sophie out with before she left. It was declined, and then the above conversation ensued. I was beaming! And so yes, I totally bragged about it. ;)
 
 
5. What food have you never tasted and are most interested in trying? 
 
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Paella! Maybe not in as gigantical a paella pan as this one, but Seafood Paella is a Bucket List item for sure! And I think it may be happening in the near future. ;) Have you ever had it?
 

6. What history facts were you surprised to learn because it was never covered in school?
 
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First let me say this: As a former public school student who now homeschools my own kids, it sometimes rankles me that we hardly covered ANY of the world's give-or-take 200 countries in my Social Studies classes. I mean, I had to learn all the, what, 17 different republics or states or whatever that made up the former USSR, but I learned virtually nothing about Latin America until I went to college and took a semester-long course on recent Latin American History.
 
BUT, as a homeschooling parent who is now studying Brazil, preceded by Canada and to be succeeded by South America, I have also come to respect that class(room) time is extremely precious. Every wasted moment on scolding for behavior or other intrusions in the schedule is a moment taken from time for actual instruction. And with 30+ kids per class these days, there are bound to be tons more interruptions than we have with just three! So that rankling dissipates...
 
So to answer this question (FINALLY!), I will say that I had no idea how corrupt Brazil's government has been since the beginning, how many times its leadership has changed over after a political coup, or just how... difficult it has been to have peace for Brazilians.
 

7. What is something that you waited entirely too long to start or stop doing? What made you say "Why did I wait so long?"
 
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It just occurred to me, four-plus years into Rob's retirement from the U.S. Navy, that I could delegate some of the responsibilities of homeschooling to him! Well, to be fair, for 21/years of that he was downed by the brain tumor, but since then! We school year-round, and it just recently occurred to me that I could have him grade math papers! DUH! That takes a huge load off my plate, y'all! Sometimes I even have Chloe grade the papers of the younger two, but that's rarer. Such a relief to have that taken care of fairly effortlessly on my part now.

8. What socially expected thing do you hate doing the most? What thing about polite society really grinds your gears? 
 
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SMALL TALK!! I suck at it, I hate the inane exchange of pleasantries. If I can't have a real, meaningful conversation with someone, I'd just as soon not bother beyond the "hi, have a nice day, thank you, bye" stuff with, like, a cashier or someone. As for what grinds my gears, it's the social construct that dictates we must always be upbeat and positive with strangers. I'm sorry, I have Chronic, Late-Stage Lyme Disease, which is not a recognized illness by most of the medical society in this country, and I suffer every moment of every day. Lately, I've been amusing myself by answering, when asked how I am, "Do you want the truth or the socially acceptable version?" Maybe I'm a whiny, over-complaining brat, but IDGAF anymore. :\
 
 

9. What is something about your city that I should know if I'm going to visit? What is the hidden "must see" that you always tell friends and visitors to not miss?
 
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Well, you should know that's it's extremely dry here. When we got here from Miami, I could barely talk, my mouth was so dry all the time. And that still happens, even though I've acclimated to it! I've actually been diagnosed with Diabetes Insipidus because of the constant drinking I have to do. I don't know the greater Boise area well enough yet, having only been here for five months, but I would say the "must sees" are all the natural wonders here and around Idaho. OMG, it's SUCH a beautiful state. The mountains! The valleys! The lakes and rivers! The mountains. Just so gorgeous, everywhere you look.

10. What do you miss most about childhood?
 
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You may remember that my mother died when I was seven years old, and that life was hell after that, so not a whole helluva lot. However, before she died, we used to gather as a family, with grandparents and aunts and uncles and friends, around the organ while she played and sang. I remember her singing well, and my grandfather, who had a charming Baritone voice, belting out the Christmas carols with her. I loved those times. I also remember my sister Stacey and I arguing over whose turn it was to play that organ, on other days, and Mom setting a timer for five minutes for us to alternate on it.

11. What "fact" did you learn in school that is not true or no longer true?
 
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That people are born as a blank canvas and are generally warm, nice, kind, sweet, and loving. The first part may very well be true, but nurture causes so many to become exactly the opposite. Okay maybe this is a cop-out, because obviously I didn't learn this in school, but it's a heartbreaking adult discovery, that is for sure.
 

12. What's your favorite piece of useless trivia? 
 
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I don't think any trivia is 'useless' if it's interesting to someone - and it's almost all interesting to me!
 
 

13. What's your best go to homemade "lazy" meal?
 
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I used to make this for myself when I was a poor undergrad, and then graduate student: I call it "Cheesy Pasta Bake." I just mix a bunch of interestingly-shaped pastas together - whatever half-box or quarter-box here and there left over in the pantry - and cook that, then throw it back in the pot with different kinds of cheeses (at least three! It's a rule), a jar or so of sauce, mix it up, then bake it on 350o for about 20-30 minutes until the cheese is melted. The girls and I adore it. The menfolk, meh, not so much.
 

14. What's the title of this current chapter in your life?
 
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"Oh, Boise!" (And LOL! Our church is located in Garden City. It's really not so bad... now, maybe.)

15. What is a habit or practice that you learned from your childhood that you didn't realize was "weird" until you were an adult?
 
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I don't know. Nothing, probably. I'm a highly self-conscious introvert. I know i'm weird. I embrace it now, at 40 years old. Finally!
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
That was fun! Thanks, Bev. And thank you for stopping by.
 
Fin.

Random Snaps From First Half Of July 2017

Diplomas 004

Things big and small have been happening all over the first half of July, so I thought I'd make up a hodgepodge post about those things. One big one? Chloë finished 10th grade, Jack completed 8th, and Sophia is done with 6th. I made them up little certificates to celebrate the occasion.

First Day of School 2017-2018 008

And here they are, after a week's respite, starting 11th grade, 9th grade, and 7th grade! That's right, one week. We school year-round. We take plenty of little breaks around the year, so it all equals out in the end. And I try to give them plenty of breaks in the daytime so that it doesn't seem like, "Oh, my God, Summer is here and we're not having any fun." ;)

Sophia's Too Damn Tall 008

If you hadn't noticed above, Sophia is now taller than I am at 12 years old. She's about 5'2.5", giving her a full inch on me - and still growing. We think she'll be taller than her Dad at the end of the summer. And she loves to lord her height over me!

Sophia's Too Damn Tall 003

And look how much bigger her hands are than mine!

Sophia's Too Damn Tall 006

And her feet. Goodness. This kid knows how to grow.

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Also, did I tell you already about Archimedes, the chicken Jack won at a contest in a Parma, Idaho, festival we attended? Well, she has company now...

Chicken Coop 001

...AND she has a new home! The coop is so tiny; I expected it to be my height. So we'll have to add another one or something to make it fair for the growing chickens within.

Chicken Coop 003

Look! Birdy-birds!

Chicken Coop 004

We have a total of ten now. We think one is a rooster, so if that's the case we'll have to get rid of him and exchange for three new hens to make a complete dozen, as the law requires.

Chicken Coop 006

Coop Sweet Coop

Chicken Coop 007

And Jack loves his chicken; Archimedes loves him, too.

Chicken Coop 009

And they have a new feeder and drinker, too. All set! For now.

Chloe headshots 029

Here's an outtake from Chloë's latest photo shots for her acting profile. Her look has changed again, so it's time to update.

IMG_20170708_174255

Speaking of her look, I just had to show a picture of when she had a super awesome hair day, thanks to the JAFRA hair products I gave her to use. Look at those perfect ringlets! I love them.

IMG_20170713_162255

In TMI news, Rob and I have had upset tummies lately. Don't know why. But I got a selfie with my "poo" pillow out of it, so that battle isn't completely lost. Or is it? I don't know or care to figure it out.

IMG_20170714_025728

Recently, Sophia tripped over the wall - yes, I mean the WALL - and broke her baby toe. It hurts like the dickens, poor thing. Hopefully it will heal as well and quickly as her wrist did last year.

20170707_155434

 

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

 

20170707_155450

In the end, we made it a substitute nest and our neighbor helped us put it back up in the tree. Mama and Papa bird came and visited it frequently, so we're hoping he made it after all. No clue at this point.

BeFunky Collage

And finally, plenty of good food and bevvies have been enjoyed around here. Just tonight, Rob whipped up some dirty rice while Jack simultaneously dished up pancakes. Don't ask, but I think it's lovely that the boy is turning out to be quite a little cook!

That's it for the first half of July. At least for randomness; I have a few more posts that have too many pictures to be part of this grouping.

Have a lovely day/night, wherever you are.

Fin.


Saturday 9: Listen To The Music

Last week, I was out of state at a Young Living convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, so it turns out I haven't posted on this blog in 10 days. Oops! Must catch up... Join up here if you're like to play along with this fun meme!

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: Listen to the Music (1972)
Because Zippi requested it.

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

1) The lyrics say, "What the people need is a way to make them smile." What song lifts your spirits and makes you smile every time you hear it?

Related image

"Kiss" by Prince has to be cranked up every single time I hear it. In more recent music, I'm liking Sam Hunt's "Body Like a Back Road," Train's "Play That Song," and also Julia Michaels' "Issues." All need to be blasted in the car and sung at the top of ones' lungs! (Can we do one+ of these? Pretty please?)


2) Lead vocalist/composer Tom Johnston reports that he's made a lot in royalties because so many radio stations use this as a jingle. Tell us a jingle that sticks in your head.

For decades, literally, I have been singing the Flinstone Kids' Vitamin jingle while I take my showers. Almost every time! Baby voice and all, LOL..!


3) The Doobie Brothers got their start in San Jose, California. San Jose is the largest city in Northern California, thanks to all the tech companies that have headquarters there. Let's talk about the device you're on right now: are all your applications up to date? 

I guess so? I'm on Rob's (Hub) laptop, and I don't really fool around with his settings as much as I can.
 
4) When they were still a local band, the Doobie Brothers had a strong following among bikers. Are you attracted to biker culture?
 
Image result for harley davidson gif
 
Hubs is; he rode a BMW sport bike until very recently, but honestly I'm not too terribly enthralled about the "biker" thing. Scooter on the other hand,,, I am attracted to. I wouldn't mind this: 
 
Image result for vespa gif
 
I would so drive a turquoise or mint green retro Vespa around town. But that's completely different, right?!

5) This week's song is from Toulouse Street, which is considered their "breakthrough" album. Tell us about a moment in your own life that you consider a "breakthrough."
 
I really can't answer this question meaningfully. All of my breakthroughs were therapeutic and cathartic, having been dealt with through therapy. I don't want them out there for public consumption, really. Sorry Sam!

6) In 1987, the Doobie Brothers did a benefit performance for Vietnam Veterans at the Hollywood Bowl. Next to the Beatles, it was the fastest-selling ticket in Hollywood Bowl history. Which group do you listen to more often -- the Doobies or the Beatles?

Image result for the beatles gif
 
Though I'm not a super-huge fan of either, I ended up listening to far more Beatles than Doobies. I think!
 
7) In 1972, when this song was popular, Wranglers were America's best-selling jeans. Are you brand-loyal to one jeans manufacturer?
 
No, but my daughter Chloe is obsessed with Old Navy jeans. Actually, we did buy her some others recently at a Vanity Fair outlet in a mall of such shops, Lee's or Levis or something. We can't find them right now so hmmm....??? Wait:
 
 
They turned out to be Wrangler brand jeans. Go figure!
 
8) Grocery stores saw seafood prices fluctuate wildly in 1972 because of a series of confrontations between the United Kingdom and Iceland regarding fishing rights in the North Atlantic. (Iceland won.) What was the most recent seafood dish that you enjoyed?
 
Shrimp stirfry
 
I made this shrimp stir-fry a couple weeks ago, that for some reason attracted a larger quantity of fans (aka "Likes") than I ever expected (on Instagram).People kept asking me for the recipe. Basically it was, get some shrimp and veggies - whatever you have on hand - and rice, and cook 'em in a wok. 
 
9) Random question: Which of these "top ten" lists would you prefer to be on -- the sexiest, the smartest or the richest?
 
Image result for smart and sexy gif
 
I'd prefer to be on the Smartest list, which could quite definitely place me on the Sexiest as well. I don't give a damn about riches. I just want enough to live on comfortably and maybe be able to support a few causes that give us meaning.
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
Well that was fun. Hope you have a great Saturday, y'all!
 
Fin.

Sundays In My City: Getting Lost In Downtown Boise

Sundays In My City

 Okay, so I have a two-days-late entry for this week's Sundays in my City, hosted By Claudya, but here I am better late than never! Right? Right??!

039

Ten days after we arrived in Boise, Idaho, on March 20th, we decided to drive around and get lost downtown. Well, okay, so maybe we didn't "decide" to get lost, but with me behind the wheel in a brandy-new town, it's kind of inevitable. With lots of stops at red lights, Rob and I both whipped out the Nikon real quick-like to catch a few snaps of the things we were seeing. 

So yeah, it's taken me just shy of three months to edit these snaps and share them with you, but I promise it will probably not have been worth the wait. Ha! 

The first thing we spotted, very close to home for the first time ever - whether it's when we lived in Virginia Beach and the first Whole Foods was erected on Laskin Road not near us at all, or whether it was when we lived in Homestead, Florida, and the closest Whole Foods was about 35-40 minutes' drive up to Pinecrest, I think, this is the first time we've had one within a few minutes' drive. And obviously, I was so excited about that fact that I had to take a photo!

045

This coppery leaf sculpture downtown caught my eye. "Quick, Rob, take the picture!" as we drove past...


045

This cool wall exhibit intrigued Rob quite a bit. He recently found out that it represents Snake River, nearby.


045

I have no idea what this giant "OCO" logo stands for, but I still aim to find out!


045

There are lots of amusing such signs out and about in Boise. Yesterday, even, Rob spotted one that said,  "My boss asked me to change the sign." And that was it! Haha!


045

While BOOO to us, because we have yet to venture out to the Boise Farmers Market nearby, YAYYY for Boise for actually having one. Color me excited!


045

We haven't ventured into the "World's Largest T.Rex Ever" building, but since I have freakishly short arms (or so says Rob of the freakishly long arms), this building both intrigued and amused us!

055

Would you look at that?!! Not only does downtown Boise boast a Whole Foods, but there is also a Trader Joe's near us! Woot woot! I have yet to make a pilgrimage, but that's only because I know I'll want to buy one of everything and wreck our monthly food budget! ;)


055

I'm not entirely certain why I intended to share this photo, but two things come to mind: Yay, we live in a town where Rite Aid is a thing (I hadn't had one at all near us during our four-year sojourn in the Miami area)... or maybe it was the mountains in the distance captivating me. Or maybe both?! That's always a possibility.


055

There are several different University systems with bases here in Boise, which is great for both Rob and Chloe.  The former wants to study for a Bachelor's degree in Fire Ecology, while the latter would like to start studying French. I'm hoping to put her in some summer or fall classes for that, at least, if not an additional class or two.


055

The Pita Pit!! Yay! I ran into one when we visited Charleston, SC, a few years back and fell in love with the menu offerings at that time. So happy there is one close enough to deliver to our front door! We've ordered twice now: a lamb gyro for Rob, and veggie-laden hummus for me. Mmmm, so good!!


055

More mountains against the backdrop of the sky... kind of hard to see from this angle of driving, but that kind of scenery is all around us here in Boise, and it is breathtakingly beautiful... sigh.

062

The Idaho Angler shop is just down the road from us, which I excitedly pointed out to Rob, an avid fly-fisher.


062

I mainly took this photo for Chloe, who wants to get into vet school and be a feline-specific veterinarian, ultimately. There are several vet clinics in the immediate vicinity, so we are hoping to get her work - even on a voluntary basis - at one of them for the experience.


062

Food trucks! I love seeing them out and around town, on an ordinary everyday drive and not just for special occasions. I am a big fan of the food truck. ;)


062

Oh yes, now I remember our goal for this day:  it was free ice cream cone day at Dairy Queen! None for me, thanks - I can't - but it surely brought joy to my four children! (What, you didn't know that 44-year-old Rob is actually a 12-year-old child trapped in a grown man's body?!!)


062

Rockies Diner! Rockies this, Rockies that... I love it.  We definitely live in the mountains, which is so exciting in it's novelty for me. We haven't been to this diner yet, but I am sure we'll get there. 

068

Ooh! Brewer's Haven is just down the road from us, and every Wednesday evening, they have a different craft brewer representative giving out free beer tastings and educating us about their particular beers. Rob and I have gone a half a dozen times or so, while the kids are at the church youth group (I know,  I know, it's a bit of cognitive dissonance there, hahaha). It's a great time for us to connect with each other, meet some new people, and of course, try out some interesting beers!

068

We ventured inside Brewer's Haven, kids and all. Hey. we've seen plenty of dogs coming in, so what are a few teenagers with their parents? ;) The girls and I, being extreme lovers of all kinds of cheeses, naturally gravitated toward that section of the store. Look what Chloe found! I'm going to have to pick that book up one of these fine days.

068

Cheese-making kits that promise to be easy!! More on that in a later, maybe the next, post... Stay tuned for a first-time cheese-crafting adventure, eh?

065

Living up to its' beer-centric theme, plenty of craft beers local and regional to Boise, were in stock there.

069

... I mean, a lot of beers...

071

And of course, for the home brewer, every kind of supply you might need could be found at Brewer's Haven. I've tried probing to see whether Rob is interested in doing some home microbrewing, but it just doesn't seem to interest him. Oh well. No big deal.

068

Now I know to head to BH if ever I get into making bottlecap art/bow-making once again!

072

Lots of interesting places to look inside the Haven, with an obvious focus on beer. We've picked up a few brewer stickers and decals for Phoenix, our Dodge Journey, ourselves!

073

Like I said; lots of interesting eye candy here!

074

This "Buy Local" display pleased me greatly, being somewhat of a locavore myself. Actually, lots of places to shop for foods and beverages around Boise stress what's local in their marketing displays. I can appreciate that!

075

Knitted wine bottle cozies! I bet I could knit up a few cute ones for our own wine bottles when they get cold in the wintertime, myself. haha!

076

And at last, Vista Avenue. We spent a while in Brewer's Haven for sure, seeing what's to see, but eventually it was time to make our way back home. If you're looking to visit us, Vista is one of our nearest cross-streets leading into our cozy little neighborhood. Come on by! ;)

Thanks for your visit. Drop a comment, won'tcha?

Fin.


Sundays In My City: Getting Lost In Downtown Boise

Sundays In My City

 Okay, so I have a two-days-late entry for this week's Sundays in my City, hosted By Claudya, but here I am better late than never! Right? Right??!

039

Ten days after we arrived in Boise, Idaho, on March 20th, we decided to drive around and get lost downtown. Well, okay, so maybe we didn't "decide" to get lost, but with me behind the wheel in a brandy-new town, it's kind of inevitable. With lots of stops at red lights, Rob and I both whipped out the Nikon real quick-like to catch a few snaps of the things we were seeing. 

So yeah, it's taken me just shy of three months to edit these snaps and share them with you, but I promise it will probably not have been worth the wait. Ha! 

The first thing we spotted, very close to home for the first time ever - whether it's when we lived in Virginia Beach and the first Whole Foods was erected on Laskin Road not near us at all, or whether it was when we lived in Homestead, Florida, and the closest Whole Foods was about 35-40 minutes' drive up to Pinecrest, I think, this is the first time we've had one within a few minutes' drive. And obviously, I was so excited about that fact that I had to take a photo!

045

This coppery leaf sculpture downtown caught my eye. "Quick, Rob, take the picture!" as we drove past...


045

This cool wall exhibit intrigued Rob quite a bit. He recently found out that it represents Snake River, nearby.


045

I have no idea what this giant "OCO" logo stands for, but I still aim to find out!


045

There are lots of amusing such signs out and about in Boise. Yesterday, even, Rob spotted one that said,  "My boss asked me to change the sign." And that was it! Haha!


045

While BOOO to us, because we have yet to venture out to the Boise Farmers Market nearby, YAYYY for Boise for actually having one. Color me excited!


045

We haven't ventured into the "World's Largest T.Rex Ever" building, but since I have freakishly short arms (or so says Rob of the freakishly long arms), this building both intrigued and amused us!

055

Would you look at that?!! Not only does downtown Boise boast a Whole Foods, but there is also a Trader Joe's near us! Woot woot! I have yet to make a pilgrimage, but that's only because I know I'll want to buy one of everything and wreck our monthly food budget! ;)


055

I'm not entirely certain why I intended to share this photo, but two things come to mind: Yay, we live in a town where Rite Aid is a thing (I hadn't had one at all near us during our four-year sojourn in the Miami area)... or maybe it was the mountains in the distance captivating me. Or maybe both?! That's always a possibility.


055

There are several different University systems with bases here in Boise, which is great for both Rob and Chloe.  The former wants to study for a Bachelor's degree in Fire Ecology, while the latter would like to start studying French. I'm hoping to put her in some summer or fall classes for that, at least, if not an additional class or two.


055

The Pita Pit!! Yay! I ran into one when we visited Charleston, SC, a few years back and fell in love with the menu offerings at that time. So happy there is one close enough to deliver to our front door! We've ordered twice now: a lamb gyro for Rob, and veggie-laden hummus for me. Mmmm, so good!!


055

More mountains against the backdrop of the sky... kind of hard to see from this angle of driving, but that kind of scenery is all around us here in Boise, and it is breathtakingly beautiful... sigh.

062

The Idaho Angler shop is just down the road from us, which I excitedly pointed out to Rob, an avid fly-fisher.


062

I mainly took this photo for Chloe, who wants to get into vet school and be a feline-specific veterinarian, ultimately. There are several vet clinics in the immediate vicinity, so we are hoping to get her work - even on a voluntary basis - at one of them for the experience.


062

Food trucks! I love seeing them out and around town, on an ordinary everyday drive and not just for special occasions. I am a big fan of the food truck. ;)


062

Oh yes, now I remember our goal for this day:  it was free ice cream cone day at Dairy Queen! None for me, thanks - I can't - but it surely brought joy to my four children! (What, you didn't know that 44-year-old Rob is actually a 12-year-old child trapped in a grown man's body?!!)


062

Rockies Diner! Rockies this, Rockies that... I love it.  We definitely live in the mountains, which is so exciting in it's novelty for me. We haven't been to this diner yet, but I am sure we'll get there. 

068

Ooh! Brewer's Haven is just down the road from us, and every Wednesday evening, they have a different craft brewer representative giving out free beer tastings and educating us about their particular beers. Rob and I have gone a half a dozen times or so, while the kids are at the church youth group (I know,  I know, it's a bit of cognitive dissonance there, hahaha). It's a great time for us to connect with each other, meet some new people, and of course, try out some interesting beers!

068

We ventured inside Brewer's Haven, kids and all. Hey. we've seen plenty of dogs coming in, so what are a few teenagers with their parents? ;) The girls and I, being extreme lovers of all kinds of cheeses, naturally gravitated toward that section of the store. Look what Chloe found! I'm going to have to pick that book up one of these fine days.

068

Cheese-making kits that promise to be easy!! More on that in a later, maybe the next, post... Stay tuned for a first-time cheese-crafting adventure, eh?

065

Living up to its' beer-centric theme, plenty of craft beers local and regional to Boise, were in stock there.

069

... I mean, a lot of beers...

071

And of course, for the home brewer, every kind of supply you might need could be found at Brewer's Haven. I've tried probing to see whether Rob is interested in doing some home microbrewing, but it just doesn't seem to interest him. Oh well. No big deal.

068

Now I know to head to BH if ever I get into making bottlecap art/bow-making once again!

072

Lots of interesting places to look inside the Haven, with an obvious focus on beer. We've picked up a few brewer stickers and decals for Phoenix, our Dodge Journey, ourselves!

073

Like I said; lots of interesting eye candy here!

074

This "Buy Local" display pleased me greatly, being somewhat of a locavore myself. Actually, lots of places to shop for foods and beverages around Boise stress what's local in their marketing displays. I can appreciate that!

075

Knitted wine bottle cozies! I bet I could knit up a few cute ones for our own wine bottles when they get cold in the wintertime, myself. haha!

076

And at last, Vista Avenue. We spent a while in Brewer's Haven for sure, seeing what's to see, but eventually it was time to make our way back home. If you're looking to visit us, Vista is one of our nearest cross-streets leading into our cozy little neighborhood. Come on by! ;)

Thanks for your visit. Drop a comment, won'tcha?

Fin.