Entries categorized "Crafty Mum" Feed

Saturday 9: Just Because

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

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

I had not ever heard this song before.

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

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Saturday 9: Just Because (1956)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15 TOP Things To Do in Memphis | Attractions & Activities

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

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

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

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

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

Shock Images | Free Vectors, Stock Photos & PSD

No way in hell!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holiday Light Displays | VisitMaryland.org

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

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

Have a wonderful week on purpose, everybody!

Fin.


Saturday 9: This Night Won't Last Forever

Michael Johnson - This Night Won't Last Forever (LYRICS) FM HORIZONTE 94.3  - YouTube

Hey, folks!

It's been a loooong week for me here; how 'bout you? I hope better than mine.

I confess, I don't know Michael Johnson (other than my estranged brother-in-law) or this song, but the sound is dead on my laptop, so I'll have to give it a listen on my phone or desktop later.

Let's get to it, shall we? Link up here if you're playing along with Saturday 9ers this weekend!

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Saturday 9: This Night Won't Last Forever (1979)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
 
1) This song begins with, "Everybody likes a celebration." Do you have any birthdays or anniversaries coming up on your calendar?
 
No description available. Open photo Open photo
 
Sheesh, not for a while. Look, Rob just turned 50 at the end of August, Chloë just turned 21 at the beginning of September, and I turned... a year older the next day. That's enough! Actually, one of my best friends is having a birthday near the beginning of October. ♥
 
2) The lyrics tell us Michael Johnson is stuck at a party while his heart is breaking. He finds it awkward and painful to pretend there's nothing wrong. Are you adept at "putting a good face on it?" Or is it easy for others to tell how you're feeling?
 
When you need to hide your emotions - Life Marbles
 
It depends where I am, who I'm with. I can hide my emotions from some people, while others get allllll the emotions coming forth. (Lucky them.) I guess it depends on my comfort level.
 
3) Michael feels like this is going to be a long night. Is there a part of your day when time tends to drag? Or when it flies?
 
The Next Inclusion Revolution: Disability in Advertising
Because of the nature of my health condition(s), I get tired very, very easily. I'm the person who is perfectly described by Spoon Theory, if you've not heard of that. I am a true spoonie. So by virtue of not just being in a wheelchair (or, occasionally, using my walker or cane), my disabilities require someone to always be with me. Even when I go out driving, it's best if someone who can also drive goes along, on the 50-50 chance I won't be able to get us home. This has happened numerous times. All of this to say, if I'm awake, and especially if I'm home, it drags, because my time does not belong just to me. I'm fully dependent on others, and I dearly miss my independence.
 
4) As bad as he feels right now, he's still hopeful about tomorrow. What are you looking forward to for Sunday?
 
Moon Phases | Moon in Motion – Moon: NASA Science
 
When they say the full moon brings out the "crazies," it's not for nothing. Just like the full moon (and the new moon) affects the pull of the tides, it affects so much else. Ask any ER nurse or attending: the Emergency Department is likely to be loaded with "interesting" cases that night. Every time, at least in populous area of the country. Likewise, my joint and muscle pain comes to a screaming maximum at both the full moon and the new moon, which we'll have on Sunday. So I am only able to do as little as humanly possible then.
 
5) When he was 13, Michael taught himself to play the guitar. He went on to take formal lessons and mastered classical guitar. What's something you would like to learn more about/do better?
 
Design star turned Master Knitter Charles Gandy creates fantastical socks -  Atlanta Magazine
 
I would love to follow in the footsteps of Master Knitter Charles Gandy, here. I actually started the master knitting program back in 2014 or so, but that's when I started to get really sick, and I just couldn't keep going. There are still many knitting skills I still want to learn, so master or not, I would love to learn them eventually.
 
6) For a time he performed with a trio known as Denver, Boise & Johnson. The Denver was John. Do you have a favorite John Denver song?
 
Photo: John Denver 5
 
I'd probably have to say it's "I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane." Love that one.
 
7) He retired to Minneapolis to be near his adult daughter. But he never stopped performing entirely. For years he delighted loyal local fans with an annual holiday concert on December 26 at Orchestra Hall. Is there a performer you've seen in concert more than once?
 
Grateful Dead | Spotify
 
Me, not so lucky, no. But before we met, Hubs was a superfan of the Grateful Dead and saw at least a dozen of their concerts. He had so many Dead t-shirts back then!
 
8) In 1979, when this song was popular, the cable channel ESPN launched. What's the last sporting event that you watched?
 
Iga Swiatek Getty 2022 US Open
 
I peeped a lot of the 2022 US (tennis) Open. It was epic, both mens' and women's tennis, but I especially loved watching Iga Świątek play. She's amazing!

9) Random question: Do you play Wordle?
 
These 21 Tweets About Wordle Are Honestly Just As Good As Playing The Game  Itself
 
I don't, know. I looked at it, but decided I already have my hands full with Words With Friends after playing that for approximately a century, now. I play constantly and am still not bored (since they throw in fun things all the time), so why give up on a good thing? But enjoy your Wordle, everyone. Does seem fun, also.
 
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Well that's it, guys. Have a lovely week, if you so choose!
 
Fin.

Saturday 9: Better Now

Post Malone - Better Now ( XLNT REMAKE ) – XLNTSOUND

Hey kids of all ages, what's the haps? My body, right now, is giving me the evil eye, but I'm going to have rally by tomorrow afternoon when it's time to attend Pride Salisbury with my two LGBTQIA+ kiddos (and whomever else wants to come). I'm already exhausted. There's supposed to be a luau a few towns over tonight (unrelated to Pride), and I have always hada a luau on my Bucket List, but if it's not in Hawai'i, does it really count?

Phew, that was a lot of words! Join the rest of S9ers right here!

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just heard that the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, and I am crushed and also furious.

Will there come a day when they will rue the destructionn of Roe?

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Saturday 9: Better Now (2018)

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

1) In this song, Post Malone tries to assure his ex that he's better now ... but he's not. He's still hurting. Have you recently told someone you were fine when you weren't?
 
10 Challenges in Treating Lupus
 
Of course. All the time. I had a procedure on Wednesday - no, Tuesday - and the anesthesiologist came over and was like, "Wow! You have a number of significant disease processes going on! Did you know that blahblahblah about your mast cells is--" and I'd interrupt him and go, "Yes, I have a doctor who is an expert in mast cells at Johns Hopkins," and so on. But that is my life. For each new diagnosis, Hubs turns to me and says, "Can you please try not to have everything??" So I try not to constantly bring up all these things and be a general pain in the ass about it, unless something is NEW-new or someone asks me about it.
 
Now, I know that wasn't exactly the intent of this question, but yes to that, too.
 
2) He and his girl were so close he introduced her to his extended family, and now his aunts and uncles wonder where she's gone. Have you remained close to an ex's friends/family?
 
Absolutely Not synonyms - 208 Words and Phrases for Absolutely Not
 
Nah. I mean, I'm on friendly terms with one or two, but I don't hang out with their families or anything. I don't think it's appropriate.
 
3) He sings that he never meant to let her down. What about you? Have you recently encountered anything -- big or small -- that didn't live up to your expectations?
 
Paco Collage
I mean, yes? No? Lots? Everything? Nothing? Too much too list, too little that counts, so here are a few cute fotos of my puppo, Paco, scooting around on the heating pad. See? All better. #DogPeen
 
4) Post recently announced he will soon become a father for the first time. Do you know anyone who is currently expecting a baby?
 
85+Best Funny Baby Quotes For New Parents (CAN'T STOP LAUGH)
 
I couldn't thinking of a single person, so I went through my FB friends' list before I said "no" live on the interwebs and a close, pregnant friend read it! Could you imagine! Anyway, still no, but now I've shaved a bunch of people I never talk to and don't really know off that ol' list.
 
5) Before making it big as a musician, he supported himself as a wedding DJ. Think back to the last wedding you attended. Did they have a live band or a DJ?
 

Umm, it was a DJ. But it was not, I can confirm, Postie. Darn!
 
6) Not satisfied being a successful musician, Post has branched out and introduced his own rosé wine, Maison No. 9. Will you replenish your beer/wine/spirits this weekend?
 
Sad Face | The Dragonfly Foundation
 
I think there's already beer in the fridge for Rob, but nothing for me, please. I've proven to be allergic (to have those mast cell activation reactions, as above) to spirits - especially to red wines and rosés. Ah, wellll.
 
7) Post Malone has more than 70 different tattoos. He designs them himself and is so into ink that he has tattooed his friends. Would you trust a friend or relative to do your body art (tattoo or piercing)? Or would you go to a licensed professional?
 
Instagram Reviews ii
Welp, it's no secret that I like my piercings - no ink, though - but only a licensed professional for me, please!
 
8) In 2018, when this song was popular, Sears filed for bankruptcy. In the 1970s, Sears was known as the place "Where America Shops." As of 2021, there were only 23 Sears stores left. Did you ever shop at Sears, either at the store or through the catalog?
 
1897 Sears Roebuck & Co. Catalogue: Skyhorse Publishing: 9781602390638:  Amazon.com: Books
 
I'm sure my parents, and step-thing, must've shopped through the Sears catalog when I was a dinky little kid, and I know they shopped in the store when I was an older kid. (Mostly they seemed to shop at a place called Service Merchandise?) I shopped kind-of a lot at Sears, but more at Kohls, I think.

9) Random question: What's your favorite way to spend an evening at home alone?
 
Upworthy Screenshot
Well, I spend a lot of time on the Paper Hugs committee for Mama Dragons, discussed here by Upworthy. Did you catch that? We were #ReportedByUpworthy! That was really exciting for all 8,000+ of us, especially those of us on the Paper Hugs team. So to answer the question, I spend many an evening giving each and every Dragon - be it Mama or Baby - my love and heart.
 
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Salisbury Pride
And now, I must make some Hugs and get ready for Salisbury Pride! Have a great weekend, y'all!
 
Fin.

Saturday 9: Moonlighting

Two Characters Yelling at Each Other': Inside Bruce Willis and Cybill  Shepherd's Feud

Moonlighting | TV fanart | fanart.tv

Welcome back, ladies and gents! What a week. What a week!

Forget about what's going on in this crazy country.  Some women (myself included) may have had an online countdown to their baby's due date. Or to their wedding date (not guilty; eloped). And so on. I'm sure I'm not the only one counting down the seconds until election day. Amirite?!

Personally, even more upheaval than I talked about last week. Last time, I said we were going to sell the "perfect house" in the country and get back to the city (aka Boise). Now, we're going to sell the house in the country, the eldest child is going to stay here and carry on with her live, the rest of us are going to move back to the East Coast, and we're going to buy another house. It's crazy town.

Meanwhile, with all of my myriad health problems going on for the last several years, my doc has run a bunch of blood tests and determined, among other swell bits of news, that the mononucleosis I had back as a freshman in college has been reactivated. Which explains why I need a nap every day just to recover from the nap I just had. And then maybe another nap.

Everyone's in a tizzy about moving and packing and house-selling and house-buying, and my sleepy-@$$ is of absolutely no use to anyone. I'm doing what I do best: I'm making a whole lot of lists.

So, let's get on with things. You didn't really come here to listen to my life. Link up here to play along!

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Saturday 9: Moonlighting (1985)

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

1) Moonlighting was an award-winning comedy-drama that ran from 1985 to 1989. Are you familiar with the show? Were you a fan?

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Moonlighting

I watched from time to time. I would have been 9-13 years old then. It wasn't a huge priority, but if it was on and nothing else was, I might've watched. I'm not a huge fan of Cybill Shepherd.

2) The series revolved around The Blue Moon Detective Agency in Los Angeles. There have been countless TV shows and movies about detectives and their cases, yet Crazy Sam doesn't know anyone who has ever hired a private investigator. How about you? Have you ever had anything or anyone investigated?

First day as a private investigator] *Forgets to turn off camera shutter  sound *Gets murdered | Funny Tweeter

^^^ That would be me. I haven't hired a PI, but I have called the police to file a report a few times. I can quickly think of at least three. Fortunately for me in these situations, I'm white, so I didn't get murdered.

3) The agency was named Blue Moon because one of the owners, Maddie Hayes, was a model known as The Blue Moon Girl, famous for promoting Blue Moon Shampoo. If we were to rename their detective agency based on the shampoo you most recently used, what would it be called?

SoapBox Soaps Review + Discount Code — Writings & Worship

Well, I guess it would be the Soapbox Detective Agency. I love my Soapbox shampoos and conditioners, which I get from Grove Collaborative. (If you use that link, you'll get a free gift set.) Soapbox is great for so many reasons, from being environmentally-responsible to being philanthropic: for every product purchased, they donate a bar of soap to someone in need, either state-side or internationally. Aside from all that, it works great on my thin, baby-fine hair!

4) Cybill Shepherd played Maddie Hayes. Cybill believes we can all find romance many times and said she considers the concept of one true love as "dramatic treacle." Do you agree?

True Love : funny

I do agree with her. I think any given person can have many different soulmates throughout their life. I never subscribed to the idea that a person only found ONE "the one" in their life, and that was it.

5) David Addison was played by Bruce Willis. At the beginning of his career he couldn't support himself as a actor and held down part-time jobs as a security guard, shuttle bus driver and bartender. How many different occupations have you had?

Dude. I think I've had just about every part-time job there is. When I got my first full-time job, as a legal secretary, I finally felt all grown up! Of course, my status has been "stay-home mom/homemaker" for the better part of the last 20 years, so it's almost time to shake it up again there, too.

6) The Moonlighting theme was co-written and performed by Al Jarreau. While in college, Al planned on being a career counselor. Yet once he began performing with a jazz trio, he knew that music was where his heart was. Tell us about a time you found joy from an unexpected source.

Pressed Flower Bookmark 2

Oh, I find simple pleasures all around, all the time. I have to, maybe, as a self-preservation mechanism or else I'd go insane! ...Lately, I've been making these bookmarks to include in cards I'm sending as part of a program of support for LGBT youth. A lot of the others involved in this program have raved about how beautiful they are and have asked for one/some. I never expected that and got a nice dose of warm fuzzies out of it.

7) Moonlighting was created by Glenn Gordon Caron. ABC gave him the opportunity based on his work on Remington Steele and Taxi. Of these three shows -- Moonlighting, Remington Steele and Taxi -- which would you prefer to binge watch?

REMINGTON STEELE PIERCE BROSNAN FUTURE JAMES BOND GREAT PHOTO | eBay

Need I say more? I mean, Pierce Brosnan. SEXY!
 
8) In 1985, the year Moonlighting premiered, Coca Cola introduced The New Coke. It was not successful and disappeared from store shelves quickly. What's the most recent beverage you drank?

Trial | Cirkul

I'm still loving and sucking down my Cirkul water! (That link will get you $5 off your purchase.) They have a ton of tasty flavors, many different lines/formulations, and just something for everyone! I'm so happy Cirkul has helped me kick WAY back on my Diet Coke habit.

9) Random question  -- Each day, do you put more time into improving your mind or your appearance?

Keeping Your Mind Fit: Improving Memory as you Age | Regions

Ha! When you're as sick as I've gotten, your appearance is generally an afterthought. I rarely have the energy to care about that. I do, however, experience brain fog and memory deficits, so I'm always working on improving that. I rely so heavily on this brain; can't have it crapping out on me!

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Well, I hope you all have the day ahead that you're hoping to have. When things go according to plan - or better than we imagined - that's just the best feeling, isn't it? I wish that for you today.

Fin.


Saturday 9: Uncle Albert/Uncle Halsey

Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey" - Paul & Linda McCartney ...

Hello, hello! Happy Saturday. I cannot believe that the next time we meet, it will be June. This novel coronavirus situation has at once seemed to make time slow to a crawl, and simultaneously it has flown by. It is the same as being a parent.

I do not know this song at all, so I am looking forward to giving it a listen after I watch the NASA/Space-X launch today. Fingers are tightly crossed 🤞 that that goes well!

Link up here if you're joining us today!

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Saturday 9: Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey (1971)

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

1) The lyrics tell us Paul believes it's going to rain. How's the weather where you are today?

It's  actually quite lovely! The city pool is/was supposed to open today, which would have been nice, but I don't think Idaho is in that level of re-opening just yet.

2) Paul sings that he is sorry because he hasn't "done a bloody thing all day." What do you hope to accomplish this weekend?

100647611_250720619695531_4565569734799523840_n

Well, it's a payday/bill-paying weekend, so I've got to get that done. We're also finally starting to work on decorating this giant new house of ours, starting with our bedroom, so I'm interesting in doing more work and planning on that. I've bought the bedding (this "Ava" set from Fiesta), so that's my inspiration. And I am on the Paper Hugs team for the Mama Dragons, sending love and support to the "baby dragon" LGBTQ kids out there, and I'd like to put a lot of envelopes in the mail today! Aside from that, walking the dogs and maybe cooking something - anything - for my first time in this house is a goal.

3) He also references butter pie, which is made primarily with potatoes (with onions and, of course, butter). That dish is not popular on this side of the Atlantic. Last time you had potatoes, how were they prepared (baked, mashed, hash browned, french fried ...)?

Tutorial: how to make potato roses. The most beautiful thing you ...

I probably grabbed someone else's french fry from somewhere. I haven't been eating a lot of potatoes lately, but now I want to make these!

4) Linda McCartney is credited as co-writer and performer on this recording. Paul and Linda were partners in real life, too; married 29 years, they raised four children together. They often said they tried never to spend more than a few hours apart. Do you enjoy a lot of togetherness, or do you value your personal time? Has your experience with Covid-19 and quarantine changed how you feel about this?

03132020 Rob and Sophia Flowers 2

I think we're a lot like Linda and Paul. We're a pretty tight family. Sometimes I think there must be this perception that we don't fight or our kids don't act up, which certainly isn't true, of course. But above all, there is love and togetherness and support. Now that Rob is retired and both of us are disabled, we spend a lot more time together than I thought we would at this stage - but that's not a problem! Ultimately, I think we're most comfortable being our authentic selves in front of each other, and I am thankful for that.

5) Paul and Linda came from very different backgrounds. His family was lower middle class, lived in Liverpool's public housing and received government aid. She grew up in affluent Scarsdale, the daughter of a wealthy theatrical attorney. Do you think it's more important for a couple to share a common background, or to share common interests?

Pin on STEaM Education

From personal experience, I'd say you need to have some of both. Of course each should have their own interests and hobbies and will come from different backstories, but if you don't have any similar ground that brings you together,... then what will keep you together?

6) Paul is known for his work ethic. At age 78, he's still making music and performing live. What's your favorite Paul McCartney song?

Oh gosh, ask me to today and I'll tell you one thing; ask me tomorrow, and I'll tell you another! Five years ago, Paul wrote "FourFiveSeconds" with Kanye West, which they then performed with Rihanna. I really loved that collab.

7) In 1971, when this song was a hit, Bobby Fischer was the world's most famous and highest-rated chess player. Do you play chess?

purely decorative" | Chess board, Chess, Chess pieces

You know, I have never learned. I've never been taught, I've never sat down in front of a chess board to teach myself, I don't know how. It is on my bucket list, though, so maybe I oughtta just get myself together and do it!

8) England's Princess Anne turned 21 in 1971. The occasion was commemorated by a formal portrait, taken by celebrated fashion photographer Norman Parkinson. Who took the most recent photo of you?

I guess I did! My girls and I were fooling around, playing with Facebook's new "Rooms" feature, and we were all making different silly faces with its filters. This one tickled me, so I snagged a screenshot. Hee!

9) Random question: Do you find it more satisfying to work with your hands, or your head?

I like both. I loved Big Bang Theory, of course, as so many of us did, and I could see myself in that environment. I often wondered whether I'd be happier being the theoretical physicist or the practical one. I like being the idea "guy," but I also like being the one to execute them. Maybe I'm a start-to-finish person, y'know? Here's a sweater I knitted for my all-grown-up-now son way back in the day. Lyme arthritis has waylaid my knitting hobby, but I've now ordered yarn and buttons and am determined to get back to work!

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Happy weekend to you all. May you be safe and healthy.

Fin.


Saturday 9: The Candy Man

Image result for sammy davis junior

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?
 
Image result for willy wonka
 
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?
 
09192019 Twisted Ewe event

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?
 
Image result for meme about oatmeal
 
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? 

Image result for christian science is a cult
 
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.
 
Image result for teenage girl bent over crying
 
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: Rambling Survey

Hey there, hi there, ho there! Welcome back!

(Let me preface this post by saying I've been gone all day long and haven't had a chance even to see if I have comments - negative or otherwise - on my Sat9 post from yesterday, let alone read them. So I can't answer to those except to say that I'm nervous to read them & truly hope y'all don't hate me.)

So, then. Just gonna jump on into this SS post at the stroke of midnight on Sunday the 14th of July, 2019, and get back to that later. (I'll be gone all day Sunday, too, so I'm not ignoring y'all.) Link up here if you're playing along this weekend!

~*~*~*~*~

Questions from Sad Sleepy Survey Rambles

Have you ever been teased because of the things you like?
 
Image result for complex math funny
 
Sure, of course. Education was always my passion, and in the regular-ed, non-Honors/AP classes, I stood out and got stomped on in return. I'm a math nerd. I listen excessively to pop music (although, ahem, not only pop music, nor just current music, but also classic rock, folk music, some punk, lots of alternative, some big band - and I love JP Sousa - as well as gasp classical. As in, not even from last century, let alone this millenium. I don't only listen to "current" music. So, um, yeah... side eye ) I've been called a "such a grandma" for knitting. (Like that's an insult?!) and so on...
 
Do you hold grudges?
 
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I'm pretty forgiving if the person genuinely expresses remorse for any wrongs. Likewise, I'm quick to apologize when I realize I've committed some wrong(s).

Were there any classes you enjoyed because of the teacher?
 
Image result for high school physics class funny
 
Absolutely. Many of them, actually. In my senior year of high school, my AP Physics teacher was constantly making it entertaining, which was great for me because this particular field of science is most challenging for me. I just don't have a good understanding of spacial relationships, for one thing. And speaking of physics, my Physics II professor at university used to write "WAEFRTGDD" on the chalkboard/whiteboard during each lab and exam. Before starting, he'd point to each letter and remind us, "When All Else Fails, Read The __ __ Directions!" Cracked me up.

Was there a dress code at your school?
 
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No. Which reminds me, I have to find out if there's a dress code at the younger two kids' new high school.

Have you ever been a bad friend?
 
Image result for bad friend funny
 
Yeah...

Has a friend ever replaced you with somebody else?
 
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Yeah, but you know, you've gotta grow up and get past that stuff at some point.

Have you ever disliked something just because it was popular?
 
Image result for bellybutton piercing funny
 
Mm-hmm. For instance, I have a bunch of piercings but never did my bellybutton because everybody was piercing their navels for a while and just... I don't like to be trendy. Now that everyone and their brother has their nostril pierced, I'm glad I've got the septum done, too. What next?
 
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I much prefer belly necklaces, but I definitely don't have the body for that!

Have you ever watched a movie just because it starred an actor you liked?
 
Image result for Matt Damon in the rainmaker gif
 
Probably, sure. I think I even saw The Rainmaker in the theater. #BecauseMattDamon

Are there actors/musicians you have met?
 
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2008-02-02 18.51.41
Chloë
Well, I mean, sure. I know some. My daughter Chloë is an actor and model and has starred in movies, TV shows, commercials, print ads, stock photos... And one of my best friends is a concert violinist. =) (I'm still so jealous she played first chair for Josh Groban!)

Do you ever judge people based on the music they listen to?
 
Image result for death metal funny
 
Eh, not really, although I might judge the "music" itself - death metal?!

What about your top five music albums?
 
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Uh, what about it?

Do you remember the first album you ever owned?
 
Image result for Eric Clapton Unplugged gif
 
LOL... I can't promise it wasn't Milli Vanilli! But one of the first albums that I've owned that became an instant favorite and has remained so for 25+ years was Eric Clapton Unplugged. He's my boyfriend, but he doesn't know it. So is Larry David. (Neither of whom is my generation. Y'know?)

Do you still use an mp3 player, or just your phone?
 
Image result for mp3 player funny
 
I actually forgot I ever even owned an MP3 player. How did you know?

Do you like Elton John?
 

Most of his music, I love, and I guess I like him okay as a human? But I wouldn't really miss a few of his songs, like Crocodile RockBennie & The Jets, and maybe Rocket Man? I don't know why; I just don't enjoy those ditties as much.
 
Have any celebrity deaths hit you hard? Which one(s)?
 
Image result for Princess Diana beautiful
 
A few, like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Prince, etc. were really hard for me, Luke Perry I guess, but none hit me anywhere near as much as the death of Princess Diana in 1997. That still affects me to this day. #PTSD
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
And now, it seems I'm on an Elton John kick. What's next for me, Billy Joel?
 
I wish you all a good week. I know I ruffled a few feathers this weekend, and mine were tousled in return, but I do hope there's no bad blood among any of us.
 
Fin.

Saturday 9: Ooh La La

Image result for Britney Spears performing

Well, well, well. As she says, "It's Britney, bitch."

Welcome back, playas. It's Friday, just after 1800 MST. (Speaking of which, we've lived in Idaho over two years, and I still forget about the time change. My East Coast pals, of which I have many, are not always amused by this!)

Anyway.

Let's get started. Link up here if you want to link up with Crazy Sam and the rest of the gang this week for another fun round of Saturday 9. Sam never disappoints.

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: Ooh La La (2013)
 
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.


1) "Ooh la la" is defined as an interjection said when you think someone or something is "surprising, unusual or attractive." Looking back over this week, did you come across anything that deserves an "ooh la la?"

Image result for i stand with ravelry

I guess? Kinda? I just learned last night that Ravelry, the fiber arts (think knitting, crochet, etc.) community of which I have been a member since October 2007, has banned all support for POTUS #45. Their statement reads:

"We are banning support of Donald Trump and his administration on Ravelry. We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. Support of the Trump administration is unambiguously support for white supremacy. For more details, read this document: https://ravelry.com/content/no-trump"

I love this!  Personally, I'm with them, but the rest of the fiber community (and yes, it is immense, for those of you not in the know), is all unraveling over it. My interest in this whole situation is certainly piqued.

2) In this song, Britney Spears sings that she's eager to accompany you, even if you're not a millionaire. But let's say you suddenly become really rich. What's the first leisure trip you would take with your new funds? Who would you bring along?

Image result for Red japanese decor

I would want to head to Japan with hubs. We'd probably want to spend at least 10 days to two weeks, right? There's so much diversity; I'd want to see everything! B-t-dubbs, the photo above is my inspiration for how I want to decorate this office. Hubs is all, "It's your office, do what you want, but..." LOL but it's going to be great. I promise.

3) Britney is eager to dance with you, even if you don't wear designer clothes. Let's say you need to add a blouse (or shirt) to your wardrobe. Where's your go-to for clothes shopping?

Thredup
Have you guys tried thredup yet? OMG. I've gotten amazing clothing from there for myself, my kids, and Hubs. I've saved - no exaggeration - thousands of dollars on some really sweet great-condition, designer clothes for all of us. I've paid pennies on the dollar and almost never been disappointed. We love thredup!!

4) The video begins with Britney at the movies with her two young sons. Will you be seeing any family members this weekend?

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Just these knuckleheads.

5) This is a theme from the movie Smurfs 2. A Smurf is a little blue creature who lives in a mushroom-shaped house in the forest. Assuming that your home is not shaped like a mushroom and isn't in the forest, how would you describe your abode? (Mansion, ranch house, farm house, high-rise, igloo ...)

Josephine House

In a word, our new house is immense. It's a two-story house in the middle of Idaho (so nowhere), but it's our dream house, so I accept the trade-off. I it. I truly do. (Also, I just looked back up to the question and saw "igloo" for the first time. 😂😂)

6) Britney admits to smoking and biting her nails. What bad habit do you wish you could break?

Image result for diet coke gif

Y'all know I'm addicted to Coca Dieta. I gotta quit.

7) In 2013, when this song was popular, Pope Benedict resigned. Thinking over your working life, have you been more nervous on your first day of a job, or the last one?

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Hmm, a little bit of both, probably. Definitely the first day. I worked at the law firm in St. Pete on and off for three years, and on my last day, I left a little early to grab the bus (my car was in the shop) to the nearest stop to the courthouse. There, my love (who had also hopped a separate bus from my apartment to the courthouse stop), found me, and we ran, hand in hand and laughing and smiling, as fast as we could to the JOP to be married before close of business. We made it! But not before Hubs remembered his pocketknife and stuffed it under a potted plant outside before we went in. Best day ever! But yes, I was nervous that day. Not sure whether it was about getting married or about leaving my job... hmm, what do you think?

8) Also in 2013, golfer Phil Mickelson won the British Open. When did you most recently golf?

DSC_5713

Oh, gosh. Not for years. My pain, my body won't allow it. In December last year, I took Sophia for some fun at this place in Meridian, Idaho (technically, I was ahem working), and there was miniature golf. Alas, she had to play alone, since I could not join her. Sucks. Speaking of golf, though, how about Tiger Woods? It's weird, but I'm so proud of him, y'all!!

9) Random question -- On what part of your body was the last itch you scratched?

Image result for scratching head gif

I was actually scratching my forehead as I read that question. My bangs keep getting caught by the blowing air from the AC, and it tickles my forehead. Annoying.

~*~*~*~*~

Much fun as always, Samantha! Thanks for running this show!

Fin.


Sundays In My City: With Every Fiber Of My Being

Sundays In My CitySundays In My City
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{Originally written on June 9th; apparently I never remembered to publish! Ugh, so silly of me...}
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Heyyyyyyy. You made it back! (Or if you're here for the first time, yay! I'm glad to have you, new or old.) I haven't done Sundays in my City with (by) Claudya in ages, because frankly, my memory is crap and I forget. But I want to get back into the habit of writing/journaling/blogging regularly, and that means both spontaneous "it's just me" posts as well as participating in blog hops, memes, and carnivals. I never know what the difference is among those things, y'all. Can anyone clarify this great mystery for me? I mean, I've only been blogging for 13+ years now... 
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Link up here if you want to join By Claudya and friends for some SimC today!
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~*~*~*~*~
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2019-06-08 19.58.46.
So, we've lived in our brandy-new house in Mountain Home, Idaho, for no more than five days. Is it terrible of me that I've already got yarn and crafty things and office supplies and more strewn all over the extra bedroom?! Because I do, and I am not ashamed.
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2019-06-09 09.34.57.
I love knitting. I do. but I have not been able to do it in exactly four years because of "Succubus," which is what I've named the clusterf**k of autoimmune illnesses and serious infections I've had from a compromised immune system in that time period. I can feel pain and itching inside my bones. My joints ache and throb and burn so much, constantly, that I'm often screaming and/or in tears. My entire musculation (is that a word?) and nerve network are damaged and hurt like hell, especially during New and Full moons. This leaves me, probably unsurprisingly, feeling not much like knitting.
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{P.S. Dictionary.com says that is a word and means exactly what I wanted it to mean.}
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2019-06-09 06.25.59.
Yesterday was Worldwide Knit in Public Day 2019, and I was determined to put an end to my losing streak of not-knitting day after day after day. I love knitting. I have loved knitting since I first got the hang of it. I caught on quickly and learned a lot of tricks and techniques. In fact, every time I knit and crochet something, it has always been my goal to learn something - even the minutiae - every time. But because of the pain and stiffness in my wrists and fingers, it wasn't fun anymore. Well. Too bad, Succubus, because I am taking knitting back and you can't stop me anymore.
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Jack, Sophia, Chloë, and Rob all hauled up my full totes of yarn, my dozens of sets of knitting needles, and my fiber art accoutrements (fishing tackle boxes make for excellent storage for such things, btw).
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Chloë dumped all my yarny shizz out all over the spare bedroom floor, where I generally park my tuchus in front of the sit-stand desk (I have to sit, which was never my intention when I bought this damn thing) on a daily basis. Once semi-sorted, this allowed me to pick through all that soft and ethereal goodness (silk! cashmere! baby alpaca! I can't get enough) for just the right fiber. If you know your yarn, it might make sense to you, then, that I wanted at least worsted weight if not chunkier yarn to get my groove back. Anything finer and my hands might have cramped up and discouraged me from really getting started at all. No thanks.
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I chose to work with Ella Rae Classic Superwash, so that if and when the new mommy who's going to get this baby bunting set I'm making accidentally puts it in the regular laundry, it won't shrink and be utterly ruined. Can't have that. Problem is, I have a ton of ERCS yarn in all different colors, and I needed a set of three to coordinate for the bunting. I am not one to use baby blues (only) for newborn boys and baby pinks (only) for infant girls. Why can't a baby wear black or yellow or gray? I don't believe in that. It took Chloë and me at least an hour to match and rematch yarn colors until we found what we agreed was just right.
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2019-06-09 07.44.10
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Once the five balls of three colors were selected, I had to gather the rest of my materials: scissors, of course; eight stitch markers (yes! that meant plenty of variety during the actual knitting process); tape measure, size-7 needles and size-H crochet hook for the finishing; cable needle I ended up not needing because the yarn is hefty enough to do without; pattern, natch; and... is that really all? Seemed like I had to dig around quite a bit before getting started. Oh wait, I know why. It's just because I enjoy going through my knitty knick-knacks so much. So much joy!
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2019-06-09 07.45.17.
One can never have too many fun stitch markers. I certainly don't! I call them my "yarn jewelry." Hee.
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2019-06-09 07.45.37.
Considering how many household moves this tackle box has been through, with tiny and sometimes delicate items, they've been preserved pretty well - and often even remain in their own little compartments! Well done, whatever company makes this box. But I still see a few empty spaces in there that could use a bit more yarn jewelry, don't you?!
2019-06-09 07.46.43.
You know the movie Office Space, which parodies the necessary wearing of "flair" worn by employees at restaurants like TGIFriday's, etc.? Well. Here is some of my flair. I got it when I attended the Knitting Guild Association conference in San Diego in  2015, which is the last time I really did some knitting. Upon finding this, I found myself spurred on to continue. (Man, I keep saying that. I hope it actually sticks.)
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2019-06-09 07.51.19.
And I show it off, too. Oh, yeah, I got backpack bling. (This is a new thing for me. Maybe I do it because the bag contains about eleventy-hundred different medications for me, which I have to have with me at all times?)
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2019-06-09 09.36.10.
So I've gotten about two inches of knitting done on the bunting - with flair, natch - and that's it so far. I didn't say I was going to break any speed records, here.
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2019-06-09 09.36.19.
So that's it for me this um, two weeks ago...! Hey, do any of you knit? Or crochet? 
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Image result for tiny waving pride flag gif Have a fantastic week. Image result for tiny waving pride flag gif
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Fin.
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P.S. I was just looking around online for the local public library, hoping there were some activities appropriate for teenagers like my kids enjoyed in Boise, from where we just moved. I didn't see that, but I did find a weekly knitting group. I should go, right? Yeah. I should go...

Sunday Stealing + Bonus: Provoking Thoughts, Part The Second

Image result for April FOol's Day

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

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: The Fool on the Hill (1968)

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

Chosen because Monday is April Fool's Day. 

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

Chloë Taco Bell 03302019

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

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

Georgia Rest Stop March 2017

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

2019 Dodge Journey Collage

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

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

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

Image result for elevation burger veggie burger

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also hilarious. I love it.

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

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

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

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

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

CAREPKG Layette

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

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

Image result for Ottawa canada

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

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

1.Image result for befunky logo

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

2. Image result for excel logo

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

Image result for homeschool planet logo

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

Image result for education about the environment

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

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

Image result for feeling valuable

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

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

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

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

Image result for multigenerational family

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

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

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

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

Image result for old woman stooped over

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

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

ABSOLUTELY.

8. What makes you smile?

DSC_5533

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for shirley jackson the lottery

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

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

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

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

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

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

16. Which is worse, failing or never trying?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Conversation Starters

Howdy ho, y'all! The girls and I are re-watching old episodes of The Big Bang Theory, so I guess since I've seen all these before, it's a good time to answer some fun questions. So let's giddy-up!

~*~*~*~*~

What are some small things that make your day better?

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Silliness and happiness of my kiddos! I love it when my crew are happy!

What shows are you into?

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Well, in addition to TBBT, mentioned in my intro, we of course also love Young Sheldon. We also watch BlackishA Million Little Things, and obviously Jeopardy! Rob and I have had a nightly Jeopardy! date since we first got married 18 years ago. I think funny and definitely smart men are way sexier than anyone else. 😍

What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?

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An LGBTQ+ network dedicated to the needs, issues faced, and public awareness for this community. We'd watch!

Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?

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Oh, maybe my 15-year-old son Jack. He's been working at a nearby McDonald's for about 9 months now, and he's just informed me, as of Thursday, that he's gotten a second raise and has been promoted to Crew Trainer! I was shrieking on the phone when he called me up and delivered this news. All of this is so exciting to me because he's on the Autism Spectrum and has learning disabilities. Go, Jack!!

What age do you wish you could permanently be?

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Let's see... maybe about 36, like I was here. I was at my thinnest, and because I was raised to believe that my worth (and therefore my self-worth) were inversely proportional to my weight, my happiest. I would love to get down to that size again, but meanwhile, I'm working on learning to accept and love who I am, whatever size I may be. (And age!)

What TV show or movie do you refuse to watch?

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Real Housewives of Anything

What is something that is considered a luxury, but you don’t think you could live without?

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My phone! I looooove my Samsung Galaxy S9... and I've loved my Galaxy since the S2! Or was my first one the S3? Hmm, I forget. Like it matters! 😂

What’s your claim to fame?

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I'm the only stay-at-home mom marine biologist I know! 😉

What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?

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I love to bake homemade bread! Which reminds me, I need to feed the sourdough starter!

What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?

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For movies, I confess, I love a good romcom. I like a lot of different movies genres, though, so that's not all I like. As for books, I love a good novel that really makes me think and feel. I like a book that makes me laugh and makes me sob. That's the best.

How often do you people watch?

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If I'm in public, I'm definitely people-watching!

What have you only recently formed an opinion about?

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I've become more and more strongly convicted about my (family's) decision to go vegan. I hadn't, however, considered the yarn with which I knit. So I've just decided if I'm going to talk the talk, I need to walk the walk: I'll finish whatever projects I've already begun, and then I need to cull the fibers that aren't vegan. Most animal fibers are gained in a much crueler fashion than many people know. So I'll sell the animal fibers and use that money purchase cruelty-free yarns!

What are you interested in that most people haven’t heard of?

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Elasmobranch ecomorphology, I'm guessing...

What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?

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I don't really have a distinct, specified "home," per se... I would say "home" is wherever Hubs is, wherever my family is. My home is his heart.

What is the most heartwarming thing you’ve ever seen?

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♥ An old couple in love ♥

What is the most annoying question that people ask you?

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I'm 42 years old, and I still get asked, on the phone, "Can I please speak to your mother?" Bitch, please, I am the mother!  I can't get mad, I mean, I do have a high-pitched baby voice, but it does get annoying. Especially when Rob himself called me up and, thinking I was Chloë, said, "Let me speak to your mother." 😂

What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?

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Parent bereavement and/or Infant Loss

If you were dictator of a small island nation, what crazy dictator stuff would you do?

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I would ban tobacco/nicotine use of any kind, make recycling mandatory, and... all food would be plant-based. 

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?

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Go scuba diving! It's beautiful down there!

~*~*~*~*~

Well, that was delightful. Thanks, Bev!

Have a great week, y'all.

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: The Ask Game

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

Let's begin:

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Do you have a passion project? What is it?

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

How many languages can you speak? 

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

What was the last book you read?

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

Where in the world would you most like to visit?

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

Top 5 fictional characters?

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

Something you miss from your childhood?

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

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

What skill do you wish you had?

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

Tell us an interesting fact.

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

What was your favorite subject in school?

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

Favorite planet?

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

Which historical figure fascinates you and why?

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

Favorite mythical creature?

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

Do you believe in any conspiracy theories?

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No.

What is your favorite word?

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

Do you have any obsessions right now?

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

Do you play any instruments?

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

What’s your worst habit?

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

Do you have a collection of anything?

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

What’s your biggest ‘what if’?

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

What is your favorite fairy tale?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

Have a great week, y'all.

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: It's The End Of 2018 As We Know It

Welcome back, homeslices! 🤣 I woke up sick as a DAWG today 😞😭🤧😷, so I'm not feeling the (self) love. I know just being "here" with all of y'all will cheer me up, though, so let's bring it! 😍🤩💗💖 Link up here if you'd like to play along with us this weekend, or want to check out all the other amazing thieves among us!

~*~*~*~*~

What did you do last year that you had not done before?

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Well, since two of my kiddos came out late last year as gay or bisexual, the three of us attended the Boise Pride Festival this past summer. It was SO fun, so loving, so joyous, and so inclusive. I loved every moment of it, and I am so proud of my girls for having the strength and courage to embrace their true selves.

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Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions/goals for the year and will you make/set more for next year?  What are they? What are your new ones?

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I'm sure I set some, but I don't remember what they were! I'll probably set more for next year, but I haven't done so yet. I'll keep ya posted! 🙃

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Did anyone you know give birth? Or become pregnant?  Or adopt?

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My good friend Stephanie, who first was my kids' babysitter in Virginia Beach, when they were itty bitty, is pregnant with her fourth son!

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And my high school pal, Lora, gave birth to her second son this year. Her kiddos are so cute! It's the year of boys! (I'm sure there are plenty more, but I'm forgetful.)

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Did anyone you know die? Or have a serious illness/injury?

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Gosh, I can't think of anyone who died - I hope I'm not forgetting! Aside from myself, Hubs was diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year and had surgery to remove the prostate. The recovery was heinous for him, and he had another surgery after that to repair the perforated bladder and fix the internal bleeding happening after the first surgery and on and on... it was just terrible for him. 😢

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Also, someone on his side of the family is in a serious breast cancer battle right now, and we are thinking of her all the time, wishing her well.

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What places have you visited?

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Well, the hospital for one - a LOT! heh heh

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We visited the Boise Ronald McDonald House on multiple occasions to make donations and take tours. This is a cause that's near and dear to our hearts (Dammit, Gal, I left it off your annual charity round-up post! DUHHHHHHHH!!) because we stayed in one while Chloë was in the NICU in Pensacola for 10 days. It's an amazing place. Visit one and I guarantee your heart will melt.

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We drove out to Wasatch Sport Horses in Eagle, Idaho, many, many times for Sophia's riding lessons. Our new second home!

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We went to many lessons at Chloë's fencing club, until she decided not to continue at the end of the season.

Listen, y'all, I could go on and on. And on!

Any new pets? Lost a pet?

Yes; critters we've lost this year:

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We lost Rob's gentle giant, Henry, to a suspected sudden asthma attack. It was very sad.

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We lost both of Chloë's beloved guinea pigs, Alexander Sirius and James Theodore, on the same day to unknown causes. She feels devastated and blames herself. 😢

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Jack's old gerbil, Lucy, who lived a good, long, loved life with him, passed away peacefully. She is missed.

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And finally, we lost all but one of our 2017 chickens, our White Silkie Athena, to a predator massacre. I was so crushed!

Critters we've gained this year:

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We got 21 new rare-breed chicks in September. There's Athena keeping watch over the new babies. Two of them have since died, so we're at a 2018 flock of 20 chickens, currently.

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Jack adopted this bunny-buns, Fudge, for his 4-H project this year. He's ridiculously soft!

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And very shortly after that, Jack - an extremely conscientious pet owner - adopted Rocky so that Fudge could have a playmate. The two are still in separate cages, though, awaiting their neutering so they don't fight. Rocky's such a love!

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What would you like to have next year that you lacked this year (doesn't have to be a physical thing i.e. love, job security, peace of mind...)? 

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Well, aside from improved health, obviously, I would love to buy and move into a house of our own once again - like this one!. I yearn for it!

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What date from last year will remain etched in your memory and why?

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April 16th, 2018 - that's the date of Hubs' prostatectomy that sucked big ass. He's still recovering.

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What was your biggest achievement last year?

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I try to keep it lighter in my SS posts, but that's not always possible for me. So to answer this question: I realized and acknowledged that I was raised in a cult. I was an unwilling member for almost 21 years. And I went back to therapy, where I am finally in "intensive care" to undo the effects of the trauma, abuse, and brainwashing I've endured.

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Did you get sick or injured?

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Well, yeah! I have a lot of new diagnoses from this year. Mast Cell Activation Disorder, ME/CFS, and (possible, waiting to be genetically tested) Ehlers Danlos Syndrome among them... and since I'm now stumbly-bumbly all the time, lots of injuries from falling. I rely on my walker or wheelchair most of the time when I'm out of the house now.

What was the best thing you bought?

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Well, I don't know! Lots of things, I guess, and I'm sure I'll get this wrong. I won, this week, a photography contest, wherein I was stacked up against several professional photogs, and for the prize I could get a $50 gift card to anywhere. I opted for P.F. Chang's, which we never get. I don't know why. But I snuck a slice of cheesecake in there, and WOW! That shizz was the bomb! And this is coming from a New Yawka who knows her cheesecake. Two thumbs up!

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Oh! And I signed up for Grove Collaborative to get all kinds of good-for-us and good-for-the-earth stuff, and I'm really happy with our membership thus far. Their customer service is outstanding, and the products and prices are great! I'm a huge fan. If you want to sign up here, you'll even get a free 5-piece gift set. I loved mine!

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Where did most of your disposable income go (money leftover after you pay for food, medical care, basic clothing, transportation and shelter)?

Barkbox Dogs

You say that as though there is any disposable income! 😂😂😂 Have you never tried to raise three hungry teenagers, 20 chickens, two dogs, three cats, and two bunny rabbits - not to mention the four score and seven prescription medications I take daily - on an enlisted veteran sailor's pension? BWAHAHAHA! But if so, we tend to spoil the pets. Especially the doggos. I mean, I love to get the chickens toys and chubby mealworms and stuff, watch the cats go insane on new catnip toys, etc., but the dogs! Nothing makes me happier than watching two butt-wiggling pooches get their BarkBoxes in the mail!! And oh, they know that that box is theirs, long before it gets opened. They just know. (I highly recommend it!)

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What song will always remind you of last year?

"Girls Like You" by Maroon 5, featuring Cardi B (Gal, can we please, please, pleeeeeaaase do this song on Sat9 sometime?) is a song my 13yo daughter Sophia and I have played on the radio, YouTube, or whatever umpteen million times over and over. We sing along to every word and then, when Cardi B's part comes on, we blast it even louder and rap along to every word. I don't care how white we are, we rock that $h!t!

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What do you wish you would have done more of?

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My husband! 🤪😂😈

What do you wish you would have done less of?

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Crying in pain (this photo is from Friday night, just hours ago, but represents many nights)

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What was your favorite new TV program? Movie? Album/Songs? Or if you didn't pick up any new ones, what are you still watching/listening to? Any recommendations?

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Well, I've finally really gotten into Bob's Burgers this year, and it's a good thing I did, because that $h!t is fookin' hilarious! I like to pretend I'm just like Linda, which I am, and I do both Linda's and Bob's and sometimes Tina's voices. If you're not watching it yet, why not?! You oughtta be. I DVR every episode. We all love it. Yeah. So.

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Also, I recommend Ellen De Generes' new stand-up special, Relatable, on Netflix. I love her talk show, so I finally queued it up and am watching it right now. She swears, y'all! That's relatable!

What was the best book you read this year?  How many did you read?

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I'm reading Recipes for Repair right now, which I just started but bought about two years ago, to see if it will help any of my autoimmune disorders. It's hard. I'm having allergic reactions - sometimes anaphylaxis - to every single thing I eat lately, so I've just gotta do something! Plus, my therapist recommended I read something along these lines. I don't think I've read any other books this year! Shocking!

What did you do on your birthday and how old were you? Did you feel differently? 

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Well, first of all, I turned 42, and Chloë made me these birthday cupcakes. She baked Hubs' chocolate bundt cake - his favorite - too, and was really excited about doing both. Only, I was looking at these photos recently, and I just don't remember these cupcakes. I mean, I know I was there and must have taken the pictures and blown them out, but I cannot recollect them for the life of me. This is very distressing. My short-term memory has been stolen from me since I became ill in 2015, and I hate it!

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Also, Hubs gave me a pedicure, which he often did during my pregnancies when I couldn't reach and now often does again since my joints are so stiff and painful. Yeah, he's a keeper. (Also, pssst! Robert! I'm due for another one!)

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Chloë's birthday (9/7) is the day before mine (9/8), so we usually celebrate together by running around collecting all the billions of birthday freebies out there. Here are some from this year:

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I'd list them out for you, but as you can see, um, it's kind of a lot.

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What political or social issue stirred you the most?

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I will always, first and foremost, be an environmental activist. Now, more than ever, it is crucial for denizens of Planet Earth to become acutely aware of what we as people are doing to harm the planet and what we as humans can do to remedy that.

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Additionally, I am a Global Citizen, and I am dedicated to working for the causes of education for all; those that promote equality for women and girls; ending world hunger; and, bettering the health and sanitation practices around the world. I even get points for sharing the information I learn, and I've used those points to enter contests. This year alone, I've won two concerts: Amy Lee (of Evanescence) and Lindsey Sterling, which I'd entered for Chloë's sake - but I ended up winning the one in Phoenix, Arizona, and we could of course not make it there. The other concert was just recently, here in Boise: Metallica, which I sent Rob and our 15yo son Jack to. They had a blast!

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Who was the most interesting new person you met?

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Hmm. I don't know; I've met a lot of interesting folks. I'll say my new orthopedist, Dr. Alex Homaecheverria. Not only is this doctor smoking hot (I'm married, but I mean, c'mon! I'm not dead!), but he's relatable. Great bedside manner. And he genuinely seems interested in truly helping me improve.

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What changed at your job?

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Well. For one, Chloë, Sophie, and I started a specialty candle company called Every Wick Way on November 1st! I'm so excited about this! Most of our items are listed in our Etsy shop, but I'm still working on the website for Every Wick Way. Check it out! ;)

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What changed in your home?

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Well, we got those 21 baby chickies from the hatchery, so they would need a place to live, right? After forever and a day (seriously; we're talking over a year), Hubs and another military vet friend got together and built it basically in a day. It's not perfect, but it's pretty great, and so far we've avoided another slaughter. Whew!

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Describe how a relationship changed.

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Well, I'm like this ^^^ so it's completely surreal for me to read things like this. Anyway, I've been distancing myself emotionally from my father more than I ever have in my life. It's been hard. He's noticed, too, and wrote a note to me about it in our Christmas card. Such tomfuckery. I'll not have it!

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Do you think you are still the same person that you were at the beginning of the year?  How so?

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No. Of course not. At the end of every year I hope I have grown and learned so much during that year that I am a completely new and more enlightened person by the end.

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Summarize the year in three words or less. Bonus points for doing it in one word. Explain.

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How have people around you changed?

December 2018 Selfie Collage

Well, I don't know about everyone's internal dialogue or whatnot, but I feel like this year, as I've become even more self-aware and adulty than ever, I feel that people are changing the way they respond to and interact with me. I feel it every day. It seems like some people actually like me, which I never really thought could be true. It's delightful.

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What have you learned throughout the year?

T Rex Cmas Tree

Well, I've definitely learned that I do, in fact, have limitations. And also that getting older sucks, and I do not care for being forty-freakin'-two!

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What was your favorite outfit for warm weather? Cooler weather?

Warm weather:

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Something cool, comfortable, and hopefully, cute!

Cool Weather:

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Anything remotely warm, comfortable, and hopefully cute! ;)

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Did you learn any new crafts or techniques? What was your favorite thing you made?

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Oh yes, of course! For Every Wick Way, the girls and I jointly learned how to make soy and beeswax candles and melts, and we're taking very explicit notes so that we can duplicate everything that turns out great. And most things do, because we're just amazing like that. ;) I'm always learning something new in the craft world. Every year, I've got a new thing going. I embrace change. Love it. Adore it!

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What changed about your physical appearance? (Hair? Wrinkles? New makeup style? Etc)

Well... Before:

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And now:

Week 48 of 52 Selfie

So let's see... Since the top picture was taken a couple of years ago, I've gained a little (read: not a little) weight, my eyes are getting greener as I get older, I've at least temporarily stopped coloring my hair auburn (which I've been doing since my freshman year of college!), I started growing out my bangs for the first time ever in my live (but just got sick of it and trimmed them back to 'normal' this week, heh), pierced my septum, and pierced my tragus. Dang, when I read it back, it sounds like kind of a lot, no?

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What are your hopes and dreams for the new year?

Well, I'd love to say I wanna buy a house (but I said that already) and that I want to lose weight (but when don't I?); however, instead, I hope to bring awareness about and then somewhat defeat the health struggles constantly plaguing me:

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I have multiple Autoimmune Diseases, including: Raynaud's Syndrome, Mast Cell Activation Disorder, Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria, and Anticardiolipin/Antiphospolipid-Antibody Syndrome, for starters - but now I'm blessed with a medical expert in Asthma, Allergies, and Immunology who is doing the right tests and looking at the right things.

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I struggle with Fibromyalgia, but now I'm blessed with a medical expert who brings me in and gives me Trigger Point Injections whenever I call up and say I need them.

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I have Bipolar I with Psychosis, but now I am blessed with an expert psychiatrist who listens to me and knows what to tweak when I tell her what I am experiencing, as well as an incredible therapist who is helping me navigate the intense, childhood-long traumas that (I believe) led to the bipolar, along with severe PTSD, OCPD, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

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I have Chronic Lyme Disease and am daily trying to manage the extreme pain in my bones and joints from that, while trying to explain to every medical professional under that sun that just because I was treated with antibiotics for two weeks after I tested CDC-positive for Lyme, that I am not "cured." Some listen. Much, much more education is needed on this subject, and it is intentionally being squelched. Very frustrating!

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I probably have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, but I'm waiting for genetic testing to rule it in or out, which takes up to a year for the appointment in these parts. I have hypermobility and am constantly having dislocations and subluxations, along with just about every other symptom up there - but fortunately, I am now blessed with a knowledgeable physical therapist and a stellar (and hot - see above) orthopedist who have many tricks up their respective sleeves to try and help a girl out.

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And now, I also have Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, but I'm now blessed with an ME/CFS specialist in Salt Lake City, whom I now see every other month or so, who has made it her life's work to care about those of us with this devastating illness. 

And that's not even my whole list. So when someone (I believe from here, but I'm certainly not going to name names) tells me to "snap out of it," or when I get letters from my fng father telling me not to be a drain on society and make something of myself... well, it kinda breaks me. That is so soul-crushing. So, you guys, just don't do that to chronically ill people, okay? That is just not cool!

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Whew! That took me hours upon hours to do! Well, okay, I watched the Ellen DeGeneres Netflix special Relatable. And then the whole family sat down with me to watch the Netflix documentary What The Health? which everyone should totally watch, and they all - even JACK!!! - decided pretty much on the spot that we're all gonna be vegans now. I'm so excited about that. Okay, and then Chloë and I stayed up all night watching Titanic, and finally the girls and I just wrapped up Crazy Rich Asians, both on Amazon Prime Video. So I was a little distracted... Hee.

See y'all after the happy merry!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Sentimental Journey

Hey, guys! How're you all doing this fine Friday evening/Saturday morning? I'm doing fairly well, although it has been an eventful week. As are they all. For instance:

Shoulder dislocation

For my entire life, I have been dealing with all of my (first) major and (now) minor joints dislocating all the time, over every minor little move. The worst thing right now is my left shoulder, which my physical therapist and I have had a dickens of a time trying to correct and stabilize with any number of techniques and tools (Kinesiology tape is currently my BFF.) But I finally got in to see the ortho doc this week, and he ordered an MRI of the shoulder to see what's what. I'm also going to be genetically tested for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and since the ortho folks scored me an 8 out of 9 for hypermobility of my joints, the pieces are all starting to fit into place on what's wrong with me...FINALLY! Anyway, if the shoulder cartilage is torn from all these repeated shoulder dislocations and subluxations, then they may go in and do a corrective surgery by shoring up the shoulder joint with extra bone taken from my hip. This idea does not thrill me, not at all, but at least it's an option on the table.

Mom's New Wheeled Walker

I am now the proud new owner of a wheeled walker with a seat. As you can see, it's blue; I wish I'd gotten a red one. <sniff> Just kidding. I actually kind of like it. It really helps me. So I have a wheelchair for when I absolutely cannot go on my own steam, and now I have this for when I can go part way. As happened today at the hospital. I'd gone in, pushing the walker, to get my lumbar x-ray, but getting back proved more than I could do. Hubs was with me, so I sat on the seat and let him push me out to the car like a little baby. I was amused.

Bugs Bunny

The kids are all now involved in the 4-H program for the first time. Chloë's project is going to be knitting, Sophia is doing a poultry project with our chickens, and Jack... has gone 'round and 'round with what he wants to do. Finally, today, an opportunity presented itself for him to take possession of a bunny who couldn't stay with with his first family, so Jack went and adopted Bugs Bunny. Now Bugs (God, I hope they change that, ahem, lame name...) is acclimating to his new digs in Jack's room and will be the perfect 4-H project for him!

Dell PC

And finally, my old HP desktop bit the dust in early summer or so, and I have been stuck on a dreaded laptop. I haaaate laptops, for various reasons. Especially since this particular laptop's cord/charging assemblage was worn out, and it wouldn't charge the computer, and so actually using the laptop was this delicate, precarious adventure for all these months. I've hated it. Well! Today, Chloë got her biweekly paycheck and spent the entire thing on a new desktop for me! ♥ What have I done to deserve such great kids? I don't know, but I am so thankful. (And I LOVE it!)

SO! Anyhoo. Let's get on with Saturday 9, shall we? Link up here if you want to play along with us today!

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Saturday 9: Sentimental Journey (1945)

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

1) Doris sings that she has her bag packed. Tell us about your luggage. Is your bag easy to spot on the luggage carousel?

Well, it's kind of easy. We had a nice red luggage set, but (a) red was starting to be ubiquitous on the luggage carousel, and (b) it started to wear out, so we replaced it a few years ago. I bought these dark purple-plum-colored Samsonite spinner suitcases, and I like them. They're pretty easy to spot.

2) The release of this song coincided with VE Day, and so it meant a great deal to troops returning home from Europe. What song has sentimental value for you? Why?

 

Ohhh, so many songs. So many. But Jewel's "Morning Song" is one I've often sung to Hubs over the past 18 years. (Yes! EIGHTEEN! In fact, today, 11/17/18, is the anniversary of the first time we met in person, and he took the bus down from Panama City Beach to St. Petersburg, found me, walked over to my car, and got down on his knee to propose. I'd known from his first email to me 16 days earlier that I was going to marry this man, so of course I accepted his proposal! ♥

3) As a young girl, Doris was passionate about dance. Concentrating in the studio and performing on stage helped distract her from heartache and embarrassment over her parents' divorce. When you want to escape from what's troubling you, what do you do?

I retreat. I hide. I put myself in time-out. And in the past, when I needed serenity, I would knit. Wish my fingers would cooperate enough for me to take that up again.

4) Her dancing days came to an end when, at age 15, she was in a car accident and damaged her leg. During her recovery, she discovered how much she enjoyed singing with the radio, and was delighted to find others enjoyed hearing her. Tell us about a time you unexpectedly found happiness or success.

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Well, being disabled as I now am, I've either become unable to or lost interest in those things that excited me the most before - like creating. Knitting, especially, but other arts, too. Until two weeks ago. I decided I wanted to start a business make premium, super eco-friendly scented candles that were not only awesome in their own right but were even cooler than, y'know, "just a candle." So ultimately - hopefully by 2019 - our labels and packaging will all be made with wildflower-impregnated, bee-friendly seed paper. We're not using any artificial ingredients like dyes and additives, and definitely no paraffin. The girls quickly decided to go into business with me, and now Every Wick Way has been born. We will have a soft opening at a holiday bazaar on December 1st and hope to be fully functional by January 1st. Yay!
  
5) She moved from singer to actress in the late 1940s and was a major movie star for 25 years. She was paired with the most popular leading men of her time -- everyone from Clark Gable to Frank Sinatra to Rock Hudson. If you could share a kiss with any actor or actress, who would you choose?

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C'mon now. Matt Damon? Of course Matt Damon.

6) 1968 was a terrible year for Doris. First, she suddenly became a widow. Then she discovered that her late husband and his business partner had squandered her money and she had to file for bankruptcy. Oh, wait! There's more! She also found that, in his role as her manager, her late husband had, without her knowledge, committed her to a weekly TV series. Do you have a 1968? What year you can point to and say, "Wow, I'm glad that's over"?

The "Portsmouth house" year, as we call it, was pretty rough. From May 2012 - March 2013, we all had a pretty miserable time with one damn thing after another. I don't even like thinking about it now!

7) After retiring from show business, she became an advocate for animal welfare. She has said we should be more sensitive to the loneliness, sadness and guilt people feel when they lose a pet. Think of a time you were grieving. What words or gestures helped you through? Conversely, what's something no one should ever say to someone who is hurting?

As far as helping someone through grief, the right things to say are those such as, "I'm sorry for your loss. I'm thinking of you. If you need anything, I'm right here for you," - and then actually mean that last thing. Don't hesitate to talk to the grieving person and let them know they're in your thoughts, because trust me, the grieving person has not stopped thinking about their loss for one moment.

Conversely, there are plenty of wrong things to say to a grieving person. For me, going through losing one of our twin boys, those things included, "Well, at least you still have Jack (our other twin)," or "Everything happens for a reason." Stuff like that is the very opposite of helpful. Like, what could possibly be a good reason why ... ah, never mind. I'd go on a right rant right now if I got started! ;)

8) Doris' only child was her son, record producer Terry Melcher. Terry had a successful, years-long collaboration with The Beach Boys. Do you have a favorite Beach Boys song?

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I'm not sure I do, but if I did, it might be "California Girls."

9) Random question: What's one thing you've never done, but have always wanted to try?

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I've always, always, always wanted to go water skiing. I would probably not be as good at as this dang squirrel, but it would be so much fun!!

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Well, I enjoyed that. Thanks for the fun as usual, Crazy Sam! 

Fin.


Saturday 9: So Into You

Hey there, you! Here I am, trying to write this post for the fourth time, so give me some props for sticktoitiveness, heh? The junction where the power cord meets my laptop is worn, and I've got about eleventy pieces of medical tape holding that baby in for me. Just don't sneeze or anything, or all hope is gone.

Anyway.

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

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Saturday 9: So Into You (1977)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here


1) The singer says that he noticed the lady in question as soon as she walked into the room. Tell us about someone who made a powerful first impression on you.

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Chris, the guy who did Chloë's Harry Potter tattoo in August wearing full makeup, was definitely an interesting fella. I'm pretty sure we saw him in fierce drag at Boise Pride Festival in June - I may even have a picture of him! On Thursday, Chloë's tattoo had to be touched up, and it seemed to be more painful this go-'round. Chris suggested I play some music through his bluetooth speaker to distract her, so I put on one of her favorites. There they were, the two of them, he frowning in concentration and she frowning in pain, when suddenly both their faces lit up and started singing songs from the Hamilton soundtrack. It was kind of epic.

2) He sings that he's so into her, he can't think about other, more mundane things. Do you find you get easily distracted from your daily tasks? Or do you enjoy seeing your everyday chores through completion?

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I mean, as with this little vest I knitted awhile back, I'm definitely a little bit of both. Okay, a lot of both. I have both startitis and finishitis. My problem isn't motivation; it's giving myself permission to rest.

3) The band took their name from Georgia's biggest city. Have you ever been to Atlanta?

I've both flown through and driven through Atlanta, but I've never really stayed in Atlanta.

4) The Atlanta Rhythm Section once played the White House. President Carter's son, Chip, was a big fan and invited them to play at his 28th birthday party. How did you celebrate your last birthday?

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Since Rob's birthday is at the very end of August, and Chloë's and mine are at the beginning of September, we're still celebrating our "birthday season" as MIL used to say. You see, there's this huge list of freebies and goodies for birthday boys and girls of all ages, and I love printing out the coupons, or screenshooting them on my phone, and making a big many-page list of all the businesses to hip up for a free piece of cheesecake, or doughnut, or whatever. Also, since some lovely individual stole my old "Co-exist" sticker off our car, Rob bought me this newer and better one for my 42nd. I love it!

5) Studio One, where the band made all their recordings, was torn down and replaced by a parking lot. Can you think of a structure that you missed, after it met with a wrecking ball?

Hm. Maybe not so much a wrecking ball as, y'know, whatever kind of equipment they use to raise all those forests for "development."

6) This song hit #7 on the US pop charts. 7 is the number most often chosen as "a lucky number." How about you? Do you have a lucky number?

I do. It's 64. I picked that when I was, like, still a toddler - I swear. Very young anyway. And I love it all these years later: It's a perfect square, made up of 16x4 - also perfect squares. Love that.

7) Today the Atlanta Rhythm Section reunites with to play at classic rock concerts. What oldies band would you love to see again?

I'm not sure about a band, but I would give my left arm to see Eric Clapton in concert!
 
8) In 1977, the star of NBC's Chico and the Man, Freddie Prinze, took his own life. Is there a celebrity death you found shocking?

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Kind of all of them. I have this weird relationship with the concepts of finite and infinite, especially as regards to life. The one death that really upset me the most, though, was that of Princess Diana in 1997. 

9) Random question: What word do you always misspell?

Independence - I always want to spell it -dance at the end.

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A fun one! Thanks, Crazy Sam! ;)

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: ID Questions

Hey, you guys! You came back! Wanna hear something crazy? I had what, in these uncertain times of my health going from bad to worse regularly, I would consider a pretty decent day Saturday. I spent a couple of hours just {yes, I know} browsing Bed, Bath & Beyond with Chloë, getting absolutely nothing, and then getting a few "deals and steals" at Walgreens after that (hey, six free toothpastes ain't a bad haul, for starters), and she and I just get along famously when we're out and about together like that. And that set the tone for the remainder of my day, with multiple laughing-'til-I-cried experiences with the rest of the family after that. Yeah, I'm not talking about my physical difficulties, but that's because regardless of those, if I have a good outward day, I can ignore that stuff for a while. So I did. :)

But anyway.

I'm happy you're here for Sunday Stealing (I almost wrote "Saturday Sunday," because they're enmeshed in my brain). Link up here if you're playing along today!

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1: Three Fears ~

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a: nightmares (last night's was about scary dancing pandas - weird!); b: dying before my children are grown; and, c: of my dogs running out into traffic


2: Three things I love ~

Chloe 12th Grade 1

a: Chloë, who will be 17 in under three weeks;

Jack 10th Grade

b: Jack, 15; and,

Sophia 8th Grade

c: Sophia, who is 13 going on 19!


3: Four turns on ~

four?!! Hmm...

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a: Rob, obviously, who (since we're giving away ages here) will be 46 on the 30th;

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b: good yarn; in this case, it's Madeline Tosh merino wool in "Light Turquoise";

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c: Singing to good music turned up loud in the car with the windows down; and,

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d: Pure happiness and joy

4: Four turns off ~

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a: Smoking;

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b: Child abuse;

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c: sloooooow drivers; and,

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d: careless people who litter - & its effects on wildlife

5: My best friend ~

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I am fortunate enough to have two, both of whom I met in 6th grade and went all through the rest of middle, junior, and high school with: Lisa Joy & Shana Marie, both of whom I love with all my heart and definitely don't feel like I deserve!

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{Photo of Lisa & me in a photo booth at CocoWalk, in Coconut Grove, Florida, during Lisa's Spring Break, circa April 1997}

6: My favorite book ~

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I haven't read nearly all of these book by Jodi Picoult, but I have read My Sister's KeeperThe Tenth CircleNineteen Minutes, and Songs of the Humpback Whale (maybe others??), and I feel like all of them plus any more of her oeuvre that I'm going to read are my favorites, so can I make it her entire body of work?!

7: My best first date ~ 

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Well, obviously I think, I would have to say that was my first date with Rob! In mid-November 2000, he came down to St. Petersburg, FL, from Panama City Beach, FL, to meet me in person after an odd first acquaintanceship (is that a word?!) online. We went to a Chinese take-out/eat-in restaurant for lunch and spent a long, long time there getting to know each other. We were the only customers who were dining in, so the staff were paying us a lot of curious attention, but I don't think either of us cared. Fast-forward to a year later, and we were already married and parents of a tiny baby, Chloë Raine - with three more to soon follow! Yup, I think there was romance in my vegetable lo mein...

8: How tall am I ~

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At 5'1½", I think I'm short enough. However, my tiny little pixie girl, Chloë Rainebow, is maxed out at 4'9½" and is super cute to boot!


9: What do I miss ~ 

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Now that Chloë nearing 17 and in her senior year of high school, Jack has a job, and Sophie towers over me at 5'4" with no end in sight, I've been missing their younger years something fierce lately!

10: What time was I born ~

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Oh, I don't know, on time I guess?? ;) Since my DOB is 9/8/76, though, I like to joke that I was also born at 5:43:21 PM!

11: Favorite color ~

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Something like this would be my idea color palette, with the middle color being my favoritest fave


12: Do I have a crush ~

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Honestly? This may sound corny but after almost 18 years together, seeing Rob persevere through prostate cancer and numerous serious complications in recent months has me crushing on him all over again. Weird circumstance, but I love him with my whole heart and entire soul, and that's that.

13: Favorite quote ~

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I'm really not good at remembering quotes and jokes and whatnot, but I've always remembered this one from Dirty Dancing!

14: Favorite place ~

Totally Bamboo&reg; Idaho Destination Cutting Board

Gosh, I'm getting really cheesy again, but it's wherever my family members are. So right now, that's Idaho. (And P.S. If I had a spare $30, I'd totally be getting myself this State of Idaho cutting board. Love it!)

15: Favorite food ~

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New York-style pizzeria pizza - yummo!

16: Do I use sarcasm?

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What do you think?

17: What am I listening to right now?

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I'm watching a new-to-me rerun of Fixer Upper, a show I just starting getting into, like, yesterday.

18: First thing I notice in a new person ~

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Whether they just smile with their mouths, or if it reaches their eyes to show it's genuine

19: Eye color ~

Week 32 of 52 - JUST FOR ME

They used to be dark brown, but as I'm getting older, they're getting lighter brown with a ring of green around each iris

20: Hair color ~ 

See above; it's auburn, but I'm getting ready to dye it darker brown probably later this week.

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That was a super fun meme! Thanks for the great thievery, Bev! And thanks to y'all for reading along with me!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Along Comes A Friend

Hey, guys! You came back! I'm always excited when I (remember to) do a Saturday 9 or Sunday Stealing post on time, because it usually means I get to visit with my friends in the blogosphere. So I'm thrilled you're here.

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

And let's begin:

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Saturday 9: Along Comes a Friend (Theme from Kate and Allie) (1984)

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

1) This week's song is the theme from Kate and Allie, a sitcom that ran from 1984 to 1989. Were you a fan?

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Oh, yes. I loved that show!

2) The show was about two divorced women who live and raise their children together. Were you ever a single parent? Were you raised by a single parent?

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No, I've never been a single mom. Thank goodness, because even though I know I would find the strength, I don't have it innately. I was not raised by a single parent, either. I give single moms and dads a LOT of credit, because I know how soul-exhausting that must be.

3) Allie is proud that she can make a perfect cup of coffee: "Just the essence of the bean. No acidity." Kate is proud that she can belch the alphabet. What are you proud of?

I am proud of my ability to turn sticks and string into works of art!

4) Kate and Allie share half of a duplex in Greenwich Village. Many episodes had them doing laundry in the basement. Where are your washer and dryer?

We have a laundry room about smack-dab in the middle of our ranch-style house. Nothing special.

5) Kate was played by Susan St. James. She was familiar to viewers as the "wife" in McMillan and Wife. Without looking it up, do you know who played McMillan?

Actually, I'd never even heard of that show! :O

6) Allie was played by Jane Curtin. She was one of three women in the original Saturday Night Live cast. Without looking it up, can you name the other two?

Hm. Gilda Radner and... no. I don't know the third.

7) On the set, Jane Curtin ran a poker game for the cast and crew. Do you think winning at poker takes more luck or skill?

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I'm not sure which it takes more of, but I've played poker and know that it definitely takes some skill. But luck definitely plays its part.

8) The Kate & Allie theme was cowritten and sung by John Lefler. Years later, Mr. Lefler wrote the theme for the Pokemon show. Is anyone in your life into Pokemon?

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9) Random question: What's the last thing you whispered?

Oh, I don't know; I'm not a big fan of whispering. I usually only do it in jest.

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I fell asleep halfway through writing this, because I was just exhausted! Fortunately, I'm still technically "early" for our time zone. ;) Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Fin.


A Visit To The Twisted Ewe: The Yarny Adventure Continues

A
 So there is a really cool store in the Garden City area of Boise called The Twisted Ewe - but I didn't know about the "really cool" part until Tuesday (yesterday). I had been wanting to go, having passed the shop many times on our way back and forth from home to church, but I kind of have a huge yarn stash already and I kind of haven't been knitting much since we moved to Boise. BUT. Now that there is a newly emerging knitter in the house, I had a reason to scope out their website, at least.

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I found, from the website, that there was a Christmas in July thingamajig going down yesterday, so we went first thing in the morning. I rather expected it to be a big event, with people there, but we were virtually the only customers the entire time we were there. Which was over an hour, actually. And the "Christmas in July" thing was just one small shelf of knitting- (and crochet-related, but this is a post mostly about knitting, I guess) notions and knickknacks. That surprised me. I thought it would be, well, the whole thing. But that's okay. This "fat" dish towel amused me! #iCanRelate

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And there were several Christmas-themed knitted wine bottle warmers that were cute. Although I don't quite understand the rage about warmers for everything, including wine bottles. Don't you want your wine to be chilled??

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Chloë didn't really know much about allllll the notions that could go into knitting, so I showed her a wall full of such things. I had given her (and myself) a strict $20 budget, so I wanted her to look over the whole store to determine what she'd spend it on. And we did look over the whoooooole store, which is why it took us over an hour to be there!

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Yarns in the shop were generally grouped together by yarn weight, with a few exceptions. I appreciate this, because that's often the weight by which I decide on yarns I need - in my own stash or in a LYS (local yarn shop, for those of you who aren't yarn-obsessed but for some reason still want to read this post). LOL

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Isn't that cool? All the OMG-er in me is thinking, that's a lot of yarn I could have used for other things! Do y'all really think the whole thing is yarn?

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I like to pet yarn before I buy. Chloë appreciated this and did it too, because we both have sensory issues.

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I think for a buck each, the shop sold these cute little Asian trinket boxes. Chloë and I were surprised to see them, because one of the sellers I bought from on Novica used them, too. And keep that rack of tiny note cards behind them in mind ... you may see them again later. ;)

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I went around feeling all the yarns drew my eye, and I found a lot of new loves. I photographed the ones that I really felt needed to join my stash but for that budget limit. (You know, for later. When I actually start knitting again and run out of yarn. On the first of never.) So I just noticed, because they're different weights, that apparently I'm a fan of Juniper Moon Farm's yarns! Gonna have to make a note of that. (Sooooo soft.)

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I always like it when LYSes have sample garments using a yarn I'm interested in, instead of just a small swatch like at Michaels or wherever. And Twisted Ewe had a lot of these.

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Ohhh, and let you tell me about the Clearance Stand. You guys, it was ah-MAY-zing. There is SO much there, and some of it is really marked down. It was like an angel had descended from heaven and placed that there for me. You can bet that I spent a lot of time there.

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Isn't this cool? The shop is full of this kind of funky, fun design for its displays, and this was my favorite. The Twisted Ewe is exactly like the kind of yarn shop I'd love to have and create when I grow up. Think I'll inherit it??

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I got another couple about the "Game Over" wedding day socks. I had to explain it to Chloë, who thought they were getting a divorce. Hellew!

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I have some Cascade Yarns yarn in my stash, and I've knitted quite a few things from it, but I find regular wool kinda ... scratchy. But this Luminosa is deliciously soft! I might have to add that to the stash in the future, y'know?

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See those pompoms in the baskets? Chloë was in love with them. Super soft!  There were all KINDS of different pompoms at the shop.

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Remember when I told you in the last post that I had never washed my own hand-knitted garments before? And that Stephanie usually does it for me? Well. I do have a simple of wool wash in the toolbox I keep most of my notions in, and I do know that you need some kind of wool wash to bath your garments in. But that won't be enough for all the knitting going on in my imagination. Twisted Ewe has it covered.

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They also have candles! So many different scents for different nosey preferences. I liked the cinnamon-y one I got a whiff of when I walked by, but Chloë liked a different one. That didn't surprise me; as much alike as we are mentally and emotionally, we have entirely different preferences for... everything. Everything!

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Hmmm... I don't think I have any hemp fiber in my stash. Better start knitting, so I can add some, right??

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Well, hell-OH, my pretty! See this sea-coloured yarn by Neighborhood Fiber Co.? It's my favourite color! Every ombre part of it! All of it! I need this! Yes, I do! Even if I have an identically-coloured Madeline Tosh skein that I haven't used yet after adding it a few years ago... Ecchhh. Yeah, I really do need to knit. (The main reason I haven't is pain. It's in all my joints and inside my bones, even my fingers. But I'll come back from this, y'all. Keep the faith.)

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You know what I think about when I see this picture, when I saw this yarn shelf? That super-white yarn, though, I see a lot and I don't understand how. How do you get super-white yarn without bleach, but how do you bleach fiber without it breaking down the fibers? I don't get this. Someone explain to me how, because I don't feel like Googling it. Lolz.

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I have some Ella Rae in my stash, but again, it's pure wool, not lush merino. This stuff is SO soft, but I probably won't add it to my stash because I don't often knit with chunky, yarns. You need to buy SO much of it to make the kinds of garments I would want to make, and frankly, I'm not Miss Moneybags over here...! But I was drawn to this particular colorway since my winter coat is the same color hot pink. Now that I'm writing this "out loud," though, it seems kind of a lame reason to be drawn to something so much that I needed to take a picture and post about it. Hee!

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The shop also has fun buttons and magnetic knobs, which I didn't entirely understand because... why? To display things? I guess I just won't get that one, even if they are cool. I do, however, like the display of magnetic tin boxes on a magnetic rack, and being able to pull them off and change things around. I've wanted to do that in my house, like, forever.

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I found this amusingly-stamped sentiment on a project bag, and I totally identified with it. I'm guilty of not swatching MOST of the time; I'm also guilty of things often not working out when I omit the swatching! So, yeah. I need this bag.

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I love all the yarn bowls available at the shop. I didn't check any of the prices, but since tangling yarns as been a huge deal for me when knitting with more than one yarn, I kinda need one. So now I know where to go.

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Baskets of knit- and crochet-related pattern magazines were available, and even more pompoms! I think there were some for every species of mammal. Except primates. That might get weird.

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Artyarns!!! This is among my favourite yarn-producing company. They consistently produce high quality yarns. Here is Beaded Silk, which I've used previously, and which I'm not opposed to using again. Unfortunately, I did not find Artyarns' Cashmere, which I asked about. They don't carry it. I was showed some other brand's cashmere, but to be honest, I was not terribly impressed. It didn't feel soft and luscious like I want my cashmere to be, so I passed.

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This emerald green Dragonfly Fibers yarn was amazing. It felt great, and I loved the colour combinations. Saving this one for the future stash memory box!

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I knew I would find some Madeline Tosh yarns! They are among the best of the best, IMNSHO. I love, love, love Mad Tosh. Look at those gorgeous, brilliant colours! So thrilling.

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And there was a whole WALL of Madeline Tosh! Yum, yum, yum yum yummy. I want it ALL.

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This Katia Darling Rainbow here was nice, too. That's an understatement. It felt great, and I liked it much more than that Katia I have in my stash. ::Adds to list::

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Seriously. No lie.

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Alexandra's Cr--- something or other is... OMG. Can you stand what a gem this yarn looks like?! I cannot. I can Not.

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There's even a large, round table for knitters to come and go, knitting in the shop whenever they please. I LOVE the sense of community involved with knitting. The Twisted Ewe even hosts a Tuesday Knit Night - with snacks! - for everyone to come together and, well, knit. When the two of us really get going, you can bet your sweet patoot we'll be there!

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Ohhhh, so many pretty yarns. I need to get some. All of 'em.

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Of course, Chloë was still there, doing a little "yarn tasting" right along with me.  She was finding her own tastes and interests, too, which I loved. I want her to feel completely immersed in  knitting culture while she's creating with sticks and strings, and be involved in every step along the way.

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Also in the shop: The Naked Bee lotions and balms for those of us who like to make our skin soft and yummy to touch. See that basket of itty-bitty samples on the bottom right? They were only 99¢ each! Who could resist? Not this lotion freak. I bought a sample to try, of course, and I've used about half of it by now. However, the first thing I noticed about my sample of The Naked Bee Moisturizing Hand & Body Lotion in "Orange Blossom Honey" flavour. (Yes, I'm American. No, adding those extra "u"s are neither necessary nor my native language arts. I just like them. They amuse me.) This flavour smells very strong, and with me having daily migraines and other headaches, it was a bit too overpowering for me. We're talking instant headache.

So I contacted The Naked Bee through facebook, and I asked them if they carried an unscented version - because though the scent is strong, the lotion works amazingly well - and they responded with a link to this:

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Unscented! It's $14 for an 8-oz bottle, which is not ridiculously crazy at all. I might get some sometime. I hope it does not suck. I'm sure it won't.

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Raccoon, people. This is insane. How? WHY?

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I cannot remember for the life of me why Chloë is holding up this granny square, but here it is! Soak it in.

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Confession time: Seeing a $2 bill, even though I've seen a bunch of them, is exciting for me, too. Every time. ;)

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More Cascade Yarns scrumminess! Such soft goodies. The impulse to buy 10 of everything was becoming stronger, but I resisted. It was hard, though.

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Whaaaa?! More Cascade Yarns I need to buy. And I love the blues in this selection. I really think I see a Blue Period coming on in my future.

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I only see three of these Dragonfly Fibers Gradient Sets, but I wanted two of them. The third one was a duplicate of the greens. Maybe I want that, too. I don't know. I was shocked not to see some KPPPM at the shop, since it seems like it would really fit in here, but now I have to look up whether Koigu is even still in business. I can't imagine that they're not making bank off their amazing yarns. 

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I have knitted with some Manos del Uruguay in the past - a heavier weight than Alegria - and it is very special. In my opinion, it may even be more delightful than Malabrigos (shh!) yarn to knit with. And the colourway selection of Alegria is crazy.

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I think I found the skeins of One Crazy Stitch yarn - which adorably include a free stitch marker that varies with each skin - on the Clearance Rack. What a steal! Gotta keep that top of mind when I'm in the market for more yarn. More Yarn. More. Yarn. Oh, sorry, my mind started salivating a little bit there.

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Chloë found some yarns she reaaaaaally wanted to have, but they were outside her price range right now. It'll happen, Kiddo. It will.

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Finally, it was time for us to start gathering our desired purchases and begin the checkout process. See those note cards (again)? There are guinea pigs, sloths, hedgehogs, and other cutie McCutiepants animals on them. I really wanted one, but I had a dickens of a time deciding which one to purchase. Which do you think?

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I asked the shopgirl about cashmere, because I was wondering if they had Artyarns' version, but they did not. She showed me another brand (the name of which I forget) that they had, along with a knitted sample to feel. You guys, I did not love it. It was a little too scratchy for me. And, I'll be honest, it was outside my price constraints and I didn't want to pay for something that I didn't love.  That's good, right? Also, the shopgirl (and the shopdude) were not altogether thrilled about me having my Nikon DSLR camera in there and taking a thousand pictures, so she was not happy when I asked her to pose with it for me to snap a foto. Until I assured her that she would not be in the picture. Then she relaxed a little. Phew. 

(The shopdude, on the other hand, was really iffy about even letting me feature the shop on my blog. Really? Why?? Who doesn't like free publicity? It was definitely odd to me.)

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I did do the Etsy search, which returned a lot of fun and exciting choices for this. I want to get them ALL for her!

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At last, we were finished with our excursion! With bag in hand, we headed out to go do some mystery shops I had scheduled for afterward - but not before we took a few snaps! I think Chloë was excited about her purchase, too!

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One last snap. And then we go. Promise. Oh, but wait! You want to know what gots, yes?

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So, I bought three hanks of that Tea Rose-coloured yarn from the clearance rack, and Chloë bought the blue and purple (and there's more hidden within) cake of yarn. Hers comes with beads to string as she goes - something I've never done - and a pattern for fingerless mitts. She also got hers on the clearance shelves. To round out the purchase, I got the lotion sample, an elephant note card, and two Addi yarn needles to finish our products. Combined, we came in well under budget, so I was pumped about that!

So that was The Twisted Ewe. A super fun excursion! If you live in SouthWest Idaho, it's definitely worth the trip. Bring your wallet! ;)

Fin.


I've Waited For This Long For So Long!

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I learned to knit 15 years ago, in Guam. More on that later. In late June, Chloë decided she didn't want to do fencing anymore, and instead she really wanted to learn to knit. Whaaaa! Of course, the practical side of me thought of the financial benefits of that, but the emotional side of me was so excited to share this craft I have come to love with my firstborn!

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After a heavy-duty search on Ravelry for the right pattern for Chloë to learn on, I had the girls pull out everything in my rather extensive yarn stash.  It was a scarf; Chloë decided to make it for Sophia. I went yarn-diving in search of as many yarns as I could find that were suitable for this project. It called for a lace-weight and a fingering-weight yarn to be held together throughout the piece, so I pulled everything out that fit. This beautiful aubergine Cherry Tree Hill yarn (note the care instructions) was the first one chosen by Sophia.

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Suri alpaca, like this yarn, is made from the suri alpaca and has less crimp than huacaya alpacas. According to wikipedia, this makes it more suitable to woven goods than knitting ones, but we shall not be deterred!

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This light grey Anzula "Haiku" was the next yarn selected by Sophie, in fingering weight. The "weight" of a yarn refers to it's thickness, in simple terms. It's often measured by the number of times you can wrap it around a ruler in one inch (WPI or "Wraps Per Inch") and/or the number of stitches you can get over 4" (usually a range, depending on appropriate needle size and a knitter's personal gauge). Fingering, then, has a WPI of 14-30, whereas a laceweight yarn will be 30-40+ WPI.

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In keeping with the pattern's original yarns used, I added a merino/bamboo/nylon blend to the alpaca. Notice that everything I chose was hand-wash only; Chloë and I will have to learn to handwash our woolens together, because I used to bring everything to my pal Stephanie located in Chesapeake, Virginia, when we lived there. I haven't washed my own since living there, because I haven't really worn my handmade woolies in that time (for no particular reason)! No time like the present...

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This Alpaca with a Twist blue was added because the three of us decided that it was light enough (more cobweb weight than laceweight; cob is finer than lace) to combine with the other two and that they would fit the pattern better and blend the colours well.

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Unlike the scratchy Red Heart acrylic yarn on which I learned to knit, because it was the only thing available on the entire island of Guam where we were stationed at the time, I love that Chloë gets to start on luscious alpacas, merino, and bamboo. Oh, and silk. Forgot the silk. So yummy. For those of you who think I am a yarn snob: well, I am, but I used it so extensively during the begging third or two of my knitting and crocheting career that I developed a skin allergy to it. No fun! I had a lot in my stash, so I ended up donating almost everything with acrylic content to not-for-profit endeavors.

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In keeping with my desire for Chloë to have better yarns and better equipment and an easier learning experience than I ever did, we have another present (the first ones being sweet yarns)!

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It's a swift! A beautiful new Stanwood Needlecraft birch-wood umbrella swift to replace my last one, which is missing a part. What is a swift? Well, as explained in more detail in this Knit Like Granny post, a swift is often used with a ball winder (more on that in a bit) to knit unwieldy skeins or hanks of yarn into easy-to-use center-pull cakes.

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I plunked down a bit more moola than I did for my last swift, but the Stanwood is bigger and nicer. We quickly found it out has some cons, like the vice clamp being large and difficult to place because of that opening. Chloë (who was doing this because I want her to learn every step of the knitting process and really feel connected to the process and her finished product) had to try several surfaces before we decided on this side table.

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This swift was a big larger and stiffer than the previous one, and I was manning the camera (duh), so Rob stepped in to help open up the umbrella part of the swift. There's another con: those cotton or hemp or whatever ties at each corner catch the yarn during the winding process. But it's a beautiful swift, and I suspect that will ease with time and use.

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Just like my old swift, my old ball-winder had a missing part, crucial to proper operation. So I replaced it, and again I plunked down slightly more cash than I did for the old one. So here we are again, like the swift, with Chloë having the inaugural use.

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Because it was new, we had a few trial-and-errors with the ball winder, too. After a few tries, we were able to place it across from the swift and fortuitously at the same height as the swift. We also had to move the furniture around a bit to get the distance and tension right. Oh, the struggles of a knitter are real.

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The first yarn that Chloë wound was the Alpaca with a Twist Fino. The hank opened up to be quite large in circumference, so Rob once again stepped in to help Chloë open the swift to the right setting.

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The umbrella part was difficult to open at first because, well, Chloë and I didn't quite know what to do. This one looked similar but functioned different from the old one.

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Ahhh, finally got it there. Isn't it beautiful?

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The next step for Chloë was to untie the little bits of yarn holding the hank into a hank. She'd never done that before, with my knitting projects, because I didn't let her. Usually, I wound fine (read: expensive) hanks of yarn only, and I didn't want them to get messed up by the kids putting them on the swift incorrectly. But again, I wanted her to feel fully invested into this process, mainly so she would appreciate everything that went into her own finished product at the end. And a little bit of hard work never hurt anyone, right?

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Step Number Whatever: Learn to thread the yarn from the hank on the swift, into the slits in the ball winder. That's probably called something, but ask Rob - I don't know the names for stuff. Because this cobweb-weight yarn was so fine, this proved to be a challenging class for Chloë. It kept slipping out of the unnamed slits.

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Ultimately, we decided to tape down the end of the yarn Fino yarn onto the upright thingy in the ball winder with medical tape, and then Chloë was off and running! Er, winding.

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So as you can see, the swift holding the hank of yarn was set up, the ball winder was set several feet apart and busy winding up the yarn into a center-pull cake, and the sun was quickly setting.

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Whee!

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After a few mishaps with slightly adjusting the speed of the winding process, turning onto changing the tension between the two machines, leading to having to stop and restart after fixing the yarn, Chloë ended with a slightly hiccuppy cake with a belly button. She worked hard for it, and she deserves to be proud of it, hence the hand flare, there.

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Yay, Chloë! It really was a lot of work and took about a half an hour, so she took a short break to enjoy the glow of a new yarn cake. ;)

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Isn't it pretty? So pretty.

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After the sun had set last Wednesday night, Chloë was ready to wind hank two of yarn. We could have placed the two machines in slightly better situation, making the feed arm of the ball winder a little unwieldy while cranking the winder. Sophie stepped in to offer assistance with the feed arm, and Chloë accepted her help. I loved that this process was such a family affair!

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Much faster than the first ball of yarn, Chloë's finished second ball appeared. It was lovely - and no bellybutton this time! Chloë is a fast learner when she's interested in the subject matter.

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Then we all took a break to view the Strawberry Moon outside, the same night that the ringed, superior planet Saturn was opposite and at its closest, biggest and brightest in the sky. So exciting! I'm a bit of a star-gazer, so here is that Strawberry Moon over our little cul-de-sac.

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Back to work for the girls to wind hank three into a lovely cake. ♪ ♫ What's gonna work? Teamwork! ♫ ♪ (Thanks to Wonder Pets for that tune.)

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Cake Número Três  was quickly finished, and yay, she was done with the swift and ballwinder! She learned quickly that there was, um, a learning curve to using both. And oh, my gosh, time to learn the process of turning sticks and string into a finished piece of art!

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Mmmm, hello, my pretties. Come to Mama! Well, come to daughter, I guess, because she had done all the work and now was ready to actually use the stuff. The fancy alpaca, merino wool, bamboo, and silk stuff. I can't wait to see her go! Stay tuned for the post on that, and thanks for visiting ye olde fashioned blogge!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: The Runway Meme

What's up, you guys?! You came back?! I'm so glad to see you here again. It brings me such joy. Now let's get busy with Sunday Stealing, which you can link up to here if you're so inclined.

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This is from "Today is a Fashion Show and the World is My Runway."
 
 1. Five ways to win your heart
 
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Welp, that about sums it up! (Plus be intelligent about those stuffs.)
 

2. Something you feel strongly about

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I'm vehemently anti-smoking and am not afraid to be vocal about it when confronted with the disgustingness in disallowed places. >:(

3. A book you love

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I really love this book, and it had a very profound impact on me when I first read it, oh, 20+ years ago. I love it so much that I'm kind of embarrassed I have not read any of Douglas Adams' other books. Must remedy that!

4. Five pet peeves

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A. I'm not a fan of lying anyway, but the obvious lies drive me fucking apeshit. I mean, just don't. Really. Don't.

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B. People who do that ^^^ and then take eleventy billion years to make that right turn. Just freakin' GO already!!

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C. I like my stuff to be exactly where I last left it. I like people to ask if they want to use something, and then actually return the thing in the same condition if they get permission. When things don't go that way - and they never go that way - I get a wee big pissy.

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D. I can be very weird in that I love to be spontaneous, but I'm also a very careful planner. So when things don't go anywhere near the way I've taken my time and effort to carefully plan out, it irks me. Just a li'l bit.

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E. People who don't clean up after themselves drive me crazy. My kids, therefore, drive me crazy. Arrrghhhh!!!

5. What you ate today

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I have eaten`` sooo much candy today. Ridiculous amounts between yesterday and today. My girls and I have been at both days of Boise Pride Festival yesterday, and seriously, every booth was giving away candy. I am not supposed to have candy. But it's Pride, and so when in Rome... Also, I had some toast with organic blackberry jam when I got home. I'm not supposed to have any of that, either.

6. How important do you think education is?

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On a scale of 1 to 10, it's definitely a 23 for me. Right now, since our budget is skimpy-tight, I'm running through all our options for 16-year-old Chloë to get a stellar education for pennies. Hello, scholarship people? Call me!

7. Five people you find attractive

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A. Y'all know Matt Damon is my man. He's SO cute!!!

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B. Jennifer Aniston can do no wrong in my eyes. She's a beaut!

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C. Such the cutie is Mekhi Phifer!

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D. Eva Longoria is just gorgeous, is she not?

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E. Priyanka Chopra is stunning!

8. What you wore today

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I wore a kind of "hippie bohemian" outfit, as I'm sure my dad would call it, both yesterday and today for the festival. And sandals. And a rainbow lei, rainbow pins and stickers, sapphire and all my Pandora flower rings, and carried a rainbow flag or seven everywhere we went! So much fun.

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9. Something you always think “what if” about

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This may sound horrible, coming from a mother, but I always "what if" this one to death: Before Rob and I got married, we were insistent with each other that when it came time to have kids, we wanted one-to-one replacement of ourselves; in other words, "two and only two kids, unless the second time it's twins." Well, the second time it was twins. But one twin, Robby, didn't make it past three days. And then our family did not feel complete with only two, because through that whole 7-month pregnancy, we imagined three babies. Three little ducklings, following their mama around. It didn't feel right anymore, with just two. And so, two years later, along came Sophia Lorelei, who is incredibly awesome in every way. But... what if Robby had lived?

10. Something you’re proud of

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Speaking of our twins, this guy, Jack, is doing a superb job at his McDonald's gig. I couldn't be more proud of him. Nine weeks premature, disadvantaged and disabled in so many different ways, and I never thought he'd do as well as he has. But he's an outstanding kid and is beating all the odds. Way to go, Jack!

11. Five items you lust after

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A. The KitchenAid pasta attachments set - ohmagarsh, I could make so much yummish with these!

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B. Yarn. Very specifically, Artyarns cashmere yarn. Any color; so yummy. I actually had some once, to make myself this fuschia cashmere "Wisp":

...but I wore it to visit my sister in New York, and she loved it, so I gave it to her on the spot. That's what you do. That's what knitters do. And I'm glad I did it, because she seemed genuinely pleased. But oh, I love working with Artyarns cashmere!

I also made Rob this night watch cap with a Filatura Di Crosa cashmere/silk/merino blend, and that was lovely. But Artyarns is definitely my favorite. More, please! (P.S. I also adore all of their yarns, like the gorgeous beaded silks, but I could wax poetic about this all day. I shan't bore you with that anymore.)

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C. A yellow Lamborghini Aventador because... duh. Look at it.

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D. A chartreuse Vespa, because they are so adorably cute. I want one! I covet Vespas whenever I see one scootin' around. No joke, I would rock a Vespa. Please, santa?

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E. A vacation in Tahiti. I need to be there. Married for 17 years and never had a trip to Tahiti. What the hell, Rob? Get on the ball, man!

12. Five words/phrases that make you laugh

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Every single thing Rob says! ;)

13. A quote you try to live by

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"Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty." Also, "Be the change you wish to see in the world."

14. Something you like and dislike about yourself.

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LIKE: Physically - my nose, and hands, and feet, are all tiny and cute (so I'm told). Personality - I feel like I'm very supportive and loving and inclusive of all peoples.

DISLIKE: Physically - The rest of my body. It is not a thin one, and I honestly wish I were a 99-lb waif. Never gonna happen. Personality - Oh, where do I start? There is so plenty much. Years of abuse will do a lot of damage to a person.

15. A problem that you have had

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I've been having cognitive problems. They don't show up as much in my writing (or so I think), because I'm able to stop and think, and backspace, and correct things before I post them. But it's evident to others and it's very evident to me that something is very wrong. I have an evaluation scheduled on November 30th; we're pushing to have it brought up much sooner than that. :(

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Welp, on that note,  I'm going to eat my baked potato and think about things. Have a lovely weekend remainder!

Fin.


Saturday 9: On And On

Oh, my gosh, how is it Friday again already?! I keep meaning to write and blog, blog and write, but the weeks are passing away from me way too quick-like these days (years)! But here we are, Friday night, which means it's time to post another Saturday 9. Link up here if you want to play along this week!

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On and On (1977)
Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.

1) This song describes the plight of "poor ol' Jimmy," who caught his girlfriend kissing someone else. Have you ever spied on a romantic partner?

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A little bit on occasion, sure, but not that much, I don't think. I'm just truly not a very jealous person.

2) In this song, Stephen Bishop sings that he "smiles when he feels like dying." When did you recently put on a happy face, even though you really weren't all that happy? 

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This is my life ^^^ right here, so ... this happens to me on a daily basis.

3) Stephen Bishop always wanted to be a musician, and as a child he began playing the clarinet. Did you take lessons -- dance, art, music -- as a child? If yes, did you take them because you enjoyed them, or because your parents made you take them?

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I took voice lessons and sang for years, but I had a panic attack as a college freshman and didn't attend my choir audition there. I've always regretted that. I took electric organ lessons as a kid, because my mother played beautifully, and after she died I wanted to keep enjoying her legacy that way. I took tap, jazz, and ballet lessons for several years and was good enough to be invited to Dance Olympus in Manhattan after just one year of lessons at 11 years old, when most people had to be 12 or older and have danced for three years. I'm a semi-decent artist, but I wouldn't claim to be great at it. On the other hand, my youngest kiddo, Sophia, is quite talented in both drawing and digital art. That's one of her "self-portraits" up there. I love it.

4) When he was 12, inspired by The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, he switched to the guitar and began writing songs. Tell us about someone or something that influenced your career path.

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Which career would that be? My stay-at-homeschooling mum career? Or the Elasmobranch Behavioral Research Scientist career I began but didn't see to fruition? We'll go with that one. In my second year of college as a Marine Science & Biology major, I took the actual class named "Marine Science" for those of us with that major. There is sooo much one could cover about live  things in a marine environment, you could fill a big city's main library with books on the subject, so we didn't discuss sharks, skates, and rays much. But we had one lecture about them that had me riveted, hanging on my professor's every last word. Every fact, big and small, was intriguing and amazing to me. I couldn't get enough. (Shown above: Madison Stewart demonstrating tonic immobility in a silky shark.) That's when I knew, this was the field for me.
  
5) Stephen Bishop attended Will C. Crawford High School in San Diego. This school requires students complete 20 hours of community service every year. Tell us about an organization, cause or campaign you volunteered for, either as a student or an adult.

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This set above isn't mine, but I've made similar: When one of Hubs' and my identical twin sons, Robby, died in 2003, I was devastated. Completely, utterly, ripped apart. For a year (well, truthfully, for the past 15 years), I struggled to make some sense out of it, to find what meaning other people told me there must have been in this experience. (Fuck you people who say "all things happen for a reason" or "God doesn't give us more than we can handle" or shit like that, by the way. Those words cause immense pain to the people you're dropping such knowledge on.) Anyway. I needed to find some way to parent the son I only got to hold once, for less than an hour. I decided to take my newly-acquired knitting skills, add to them crochet skills (thank you to my late mother-in-law for re-teaching me at that point), and start a 501(c)(3) non-profit in Robby's name. I had a few volunteers help me - most notably my MIL - and some yarn companies made donations, but for the most part, it was a one-woman operation borne out of love and loss. I made tons and tons of layettes, including a hat or bonnet, a sweater or gown, booties, and blanket, and called them CARE Packages ("Calling All Robby's Elves"), which I then donated to area hospitals with NICUs. If people emailed or wrote to me about a loss, I also mailed these out. Each Package included a laminated card. One side explained who we were and what we did; the other side included a list of suggested things that parents could do with their infant before saying that final good-bye. Most of those things, I did not get to do and wished I could have or had thought of. I ran this charity for seven years, until I just needed to re-focus my efforts on raising my three surviving children.

6) In 1977, when this song was popular, Seattle Slew won racing's Triple Crown. Sam's mother has always been afraid of horses. Is there an animal you're uncomfortable with?

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Well, I played with sharks, so not too many, no... but I do require that any flying animals have my expression written permission before touching me, or I will freak the F out! ... from the surprise, of course, from the surprise. ;) Anyway, here is a gratuitous pic of Sophia on a horse, Bing, during a recent lesson. (Not the best picture, but my computer is dead in the water at the moment, and I didn't feel like scrolling thru Facebook albums to find a great one.)
 
7) Also in 1977, moviegoers waited in line for hours to see Star Wars. What's the longest line you waited in recently?

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So, Hubs gets paid his pension and other monies just once per month, on the first of each month. Once it's gone, it's gone. (Every last week of the month SUCKS.) Therefore, I have to shop for a full month's worth of groceries at once or we go hungry. I usually have to take someone with me, because I fill up at least two huge carts with food, and I can barely push one full cart anymore, let alone two or more. This past payday, a week or so ago, Sophie and I spent over an hour getting all our groceries, including about 8 or 10 cartons of ice cream. I was none so thrilled at the humongous lines we then encountered while my ice cream suffered! Fortunately, none leaked. Whew!

8) The mini-series Roots first aired in 1977. Today Americans are spending more time and money than ever to research ancestry. How far back can you trace your family tree? 

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My dad's Aunt Amy was into genealogy, and she wrote a book about my father's side of the family. On my mom's side, I know I am German and Hungarian. On my dad's side, I know I am German/Pennsylvania Dutch, and English. Aunt Amy's book tells all about how our family emigrated from Europe and settled on the then-mostly uninhabitable Caribbean island of Saba. They were all sea-going folks, like ship captains and such. (See, that's how you know the ocean is in my blood!) The island is full of Simmonses (Simmons being my maiden name) and others from our line. My grandfather was born there. Does that make me a second-generation American?

9) Random question: It's often said that nobody's perfect. How about you? What quality keeps you from being perfect?

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LOL. I have a ton of faults, so I turned to Hubs and ask him which one was my worst one. He said, "You're not very patient..." I literally say what this meme guy is saying at least once every day, so of course I had to pick this one!!

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Well, that was fun. Thanks, Crazy Sam! Time to go enjoy the amazing dinner Chloë has prepared for the third night in a row. Yum, yum, here I come.

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Art History Meme

Welcome back to Sunday Stealing! Link up here if you want to play along today!

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Classical: If you were an Olympian god, what would you be known for?

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I would absolutely be the goddess of the sea!

Byzantine: Do you prefer gold or silver accessories?

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I actually much prefer copper jewelry, but since it's rarely an option, I go for silver. I'm not into gold, but my wedding & engagement rings, and the "baby" necklace I'm wearing from my mother-in-law, are gold. I don't care; I combine my metals.

Medieval: Are you religious?

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I don't consider myself to be religious. I am spiritual.

Gothic: What is your favorite historic building?

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La Sagrada Familia, the giant work-in-progress cathedral in Barcelona. Hubs and I visited it in person in 2008, when we went to Spain on our cruise. It was mentioned on TV the other day, and my developmentally-delayed 15yo son saw it with me. I was so impressed when he knew everything about it. Love when that happens!

Renaissance: Have you ever had a time in your life when you felt enlightened or changed?

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Many times. The first time I truly realized it happening was when I was about to turn 21 and read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. My best friend Lisa gave it to me for a college graduation present, but I had put off reading it for a few months for fear of boredom. It was not boring at all. I actually had a breakdown from it changing me mentally so thoroughly, and I ran away from home for a fortnight to collect myself. I keep meaning to read it again, now that it's 20 years later, but I have yet to do so.

Baroque: Do you enjoy the finer things in life?

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Our food from the Boise Chandler's in late 2017

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Our Chandler's drinks

Oh, absolutely. I am definitely a fancy dinner and high-end hotel kind of girl. I mean, I can get by just fine with a cheap motel and Taco Bell (ugh) if I have to, but I feel much more comfortable living the high life. I grew up fairly well-off; maybe that's why? We can't always afford such a life, because kids, but that is part of why I mystery shop. It affords me the opportunity, and I get reimbursed. Win-win!

Rococo: Is your bedroom full of trinkets and pictures? If so, which pictures adorn your walls?

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It's really just full of boxes at the moment, since we still have a ton of unpacking to do. My health has made that low on the list of priorities at the moment. I'll have some pictures, including a koi print my sister-in-law gave me, and my shot glass collection, for starters. For now, though, here is a shot of some pretty paper lucky stars I made for a friend once.

Neoclassicism: If something came back into fashion, what do you hope it would be?

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I'm not really into fashion. At all. I'm into comfort. So, I don't care much, but I think I'd like one of these sumo suits.

Romanticism: Do you often see things in a positive light?

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I try to do this. Sometimes I need a little help, and sometimes I just need a little time and separation from an issue.

Pre-Raphaelite: Which book would you like to see turned into a film?

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Anything by Jodi Picoult that hasn't already been made into one. Her books are the best!

Impressionism: Do you look for details or take everything in at once?

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A little bit of both. I think I first take in the whole deal, and then when I have time to soak it in, I absorb as many details as possible.

Art Nouveau: When were you last at the theater?

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I think it was when I took my two daughters to see Pitch Perfect 3. We all love the PP franchise. Especially Fat Amy; she makes me laugh my guts out!

Surrealism: Why does the porcupine think it's a duck?

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It doesn't. You're thinking of the platypus.

Pop Art: Do you enjoy pop culture?

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I'm pretty mainstream in a lot of ways, I admit. But I'm alternative in many other regards, so... it evens out.

Contemporary: What did you do today?

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I woke up early. Took a nap. Woke up again hours later. Almost immediately took another nap. (Welcome to my life). Got myself up just in time to take the family to dinner for a work assignment. Met a couple friends afterward. Came home to sit here and blog memes while amping up the intensity of my TENS machine on my knees and ankles. I need another one to handle back, neck, and wrists at the same time. I call this my "electroshock therapy." Freaks people out.

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Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Conversation Starters

Welcome back, folks! Link up here if you want to play along today! I'm in the mood to just jump in, so let's go!

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Cheers to all of us thieves!
 

Here are some conversation starters, stolen from Conversation Starters

1. What are some small things that make your day better?

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For the past 17 years of our marriage, Hubs rubs washes my feet and puts lotion (and sometimes socks, if I'm going to get up again) on my feet. It's so sweet and loving and romantic, and he does it whenever I ask without complaining. It's not quite a daily thing, but it's frequent enough. And of course I love him madly for doing it.

2. What shows are you into?

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Big Bang Theory is a favorite...

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...as is, of course, Jeopardy! (Yeah, I'm a total nerdy-nerd)...

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... and we are starting to get into This Is Us. We've only watched S1E1 so far, but I think we'll watch more tonight.

3. What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?

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We're pretty goofy. And funny (IMNSHO). I think we should have our own channel. All Team Odette, all the time. Wait, on second thought... maybe not. ;) 

4. Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?

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Kids, especially ones who grow up poor with single mothers or some shit like that, who go on to do great things impress me. The examples, though kind of rare, come out frequently enough to make me believe that humanity is not inherently bad. I love these stories and will actually sit up and listen, take notice, when one comes across my frequency. Go Brainiacs!

5. What age do you wish you could permanently be?

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I think 35. I was at a pretty good place, both physically and mentally (ish), at 35. But I really don't want to be permanently stuck at any age. Stuck is stuck, and it's never good.

6. What TV show or movie do you refuse to watch?

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Sorry, Game of Thrones, I'm just not that into you. (I'm not a bandwagoneer, either.)

7. What is something that is considered a luxury, but you don’t think you could live without?

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I go berserkasoid when the Internet goes down. Ask my husband. I cannot DEAL!

8. What’s your claim to fame?

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I was the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Oh wait, that was a teen-aged fantasy I used to harbor. I guess nothing, then.

9. What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?

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Dude, I wish I could still angrily slam the phone down on people...! Hmm, let's see. When the floor needs to be washed, I still like to get down on my hands and knees and scrub that sucker. Of course, now that I have my minions kids, I don't clean the floors, like, ever.

10. What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?

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That would be comedy. I love to laugh. There is so much BS in this world, I just need to laaaaugh and laaaaaugh to escape it, sometimes. BTW, for this reason, I completely recommend the Pitch Perfect movies. My girls and I went to see Pitch Perfect 3 the other day, and I laughed my ass off the entire time. So hilarious.

11. How often do you people watch?

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Oh, I'm all about it, Dude. Every time I'm in public, I'm doing that.

12. What have you only recently formed an opinion about?

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Well, it's still forming, but since people are now clamoring "Oprah Winfrey for President 2020!" I'm having thoughts about that.

13. What are you interested in that most people haven’t heard of?

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I've never done it, mostly because it scares the shit out of me to think about intentionally cutting through my hard, beautiful hand-knit work, but I'm intensely fascinated by the idea of steeking a sweater. It's on my Knitting Bucket List.

14. What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?

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I mean, Guam was pretty far from the mainland United States, but it was our home for those four months. So does that really count?

15. What is the most heartwarming thing you’ve ever seen?

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A dad cuddling his baby melts me every time. Every single damn time.

16. What is the most annoying question that people ask you?

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"Can I speak to your mom, please?" when I answer my phone. I have a bit of a high-pitched, squeaky voice, so lots of times people think I'm a little kid.

17. What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?

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Forty minutes is all I have to talk about all things Marine Life?!!! ::gasp::

18. If you were dictator of a small island nation, what crazy dictator stuff would you do?

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I'd make practicing Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty a law. Recycling would be mandatory. No smoking tobacco would be allowed, whatsoever. All the food would be organic and healthful. And Trump would not be allowed in. Or on. Whatever.

19. What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?

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Go SCUBA diving! Somewhere tropical, of course. It's the most amazing thing ever. I have always wanted to dive in the Marianas, and I just missed that chance because I was pregnant with twins when we were out there. It's the most amazing diving on the planet, though, so I insisted newishly-certified Rob go take that dive. And behold, it was good.

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Why are there only 19 questions? It's a prime number. Not a nice, whole, round, symmetrical number. That agitates me.

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Oh well, I'm over it. ;) Have a great weekend, y'all!


Sunday Stealing: Happy New Year

Hey, y'all! Welcome back. I'm thrilled to be back after missing the last few weeks due to illness. Glue me down, because hopefully I'll be sticking around for a while. Link up here if you want to play along this week. Let's go!

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End of Year Questions

1. What did you do last year that you had not done before? 

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I moved out West! Rob and I packed up our three kids, two dogs, four cats, two gerbils, one guinea pig, and as much of our stuff that we could fit in the remainder of our little crossover SUV, and high-tailed it cross-country from Miami to Boise in four days. It was a crazy, amazing adventure and aside from a few misadventures, I think we kind of had the time of our lives!

2. Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions/goals for the year and will you make/set more for next year?  What are they? What are your new ones?

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I always make New Year's Resolutions. However, I honestly don't remember now what I resolved for 2017, so I can't say whether I kept it or not. Probably some konmari decluttering, in which case... sort of. For 2018, I'm not making any resolutions. I just aim and hope to live a healthier life from here on out, much more so than the way I disastrously ended 2017!

3. Did anyone you know give birth? Or become pregnant?  Or adopt?

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My friend got married and had a baby boy, named Aaron! Sadly for me, I left Miami before she gave birth, so I haven't met the little love. Domenica asked me to crochet or knit something for her baby, but I've been in so much pain and stuff, I haven't had the ability to do it, yet. I think this year, I resolve to knit and crochet more again. Gotta put all the good yarn I own to good use, right? I'll make her baby something to keep him warn soon, especially now that freezing iguanas are falling all over the sidewalk in South Florida.

My brilliant mind fails me now, so I can't remember who is pregnant at the moment. Oh, my friend Lisa Keeney is expect #6, I think. But I am positive I don't know anyone who adopted last year.

4. Did anyone you know die? Or have a serious illness/injury?

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I don't think anyone I know personally died last year? I hope I'm not forgetting somewhat, sheesh. As far as having a serious illness or injury, that would be me. I wrote all about it in my last post. If you care, I detailed that experience here. I know there are lots of typos in the post, but I'm just not in the mood to go fix them right now, sorry!

5. What places have you visited? 

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We were invited to hang out with new friends at Lucky Peak Reservoir here in Boise, Idaho. It was intensely beautiful, just like everywhere we've gone in Idaho. I can't wait to go back again this summer and see more of it. 

6. Any new pets? Lost a pet?

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We gained 12 chickens, but after a few runaways and a couple of deaths, we're down to half that.

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Chloë also adopted a new guinea pig buddy, Alex, for her first little guy, James. Those two are SO noisy!

7. What would you like to have next year that you lacked this year?

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I will continue my pursuit of this grand idea of Contentment, rather than Happiness. I am often content, but those moments are often overpowered by thoughts of "now what? what's next? what else?" and I want to learn to be satisfied with the right here and now.

8. What date from last year will remain etched in your memory and why? 

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Probably January 20-21, 2017. Not-my-President Trump was inaugurated (ugh! puke! barf!) and my family and I all participated in the Women's March to protest. I made three pussyhats, for my girls and me, and I was proud to wear them and represent. 

9. What was your biggest achievement last year?

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We struggled a lot in Miami after Rob retired from the US Navy, and our financial picture changed drastically for the worse. It was really hard to find housing to rent here in Boise, from Miami, and I worked tirelessly for months to do so. Home after home after home slipped through our fingers due to the three-digit credit scores of ours that, frankly, aren't so pretty right now. But we're rebuilding, and I saw this home online right after it was listed. I jumped on it, and asked to speak the Lessor by phone, rather by email or text. He agreed and ended up talking on the phone to Rob when the time came, because I had to leave for some reason I now forget. Anyway, we landed the house, and it has been perfect for us. Such a blessing, and for it I am most grateful.

10. Did you get sick or injured?

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Oops, I already answered that in #4. Scroll up if you forgot?

11. What was the best thing you bought?

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We've had a very NERF Christmas here at Casa de Odette. Except for me, everyone received some NERF hyper-powered weapons (these things take lots of batteries now?!). We finally received all of our household goods from the Miami move on the Monday before Thanksgiving, and boxes and boxes were piled everywhere. While I was trying to work on unpacking and clearing the chaos out of our house (it's still here, by the way), the rest of Team Odette were busy ambushing each other with NERF wars. Micro-teams were built, alliances were formed, people were trying to wheedle each other's secrets out of me... these people were/are intense! And crazy. They all asked for more NERF weapons for Christmas, and Mum delivered. Even Hubs has been involved. It's been a daily thing. I'm not a fan of war and weapons and fighting and stuff, but this is actually good, silly fun. I don't participate - I can't participate, because of my Fibro or whatever - but I have to admit I enjoy this nonsense.

12. Where did most of your disposable income go (money leftover after you pay for food, medical care, basic clothing, transportation and shelter)? 

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Generally it goes to having experiences and creating memories. A large part of that is Sophia's showjumping lessons, which she used to do at Miami International Riding Club back in Florida, and now does at Wasatch Sport Horses here in Eagle, Idaho. I'm trying to get the other kids more involved in things, too, because it's important. Jack wants to go go-karting, so we'll do that again very soon, and Chloë wants to take self-defense classes (we are starting with a class at the local Krav Maga studio) and get involved in archery. All are coming up, but at a more relaxed pace then the frenetic one I've tried to keep up until now. 

13. What song will always remind you of last year?

I think both the songs "Woman" and "Praying" by the new-and-improved Kesha will be my girls' and my anthems for 2017. Jack doesn't really listen to music much (except for his obsession with the Imagine Dragons), and Rob listens more to Classic Rock than anything else. The girls seem to have captured my affinity for current Pop, and the three of us are all fairly decent singers. "Praying" really spoke to me, and "Woman," despite the cursing involved, really struck a cord with me increasingly independent 16-year-old Chloë and always independent 12-year-old Sophia. And me. I've been pretty much a wimp my whole life, but I have stood up for myself in 2017 in ways that I have never done before. Kinda proud of that.

14. What do you wish you would have done more of?

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I really wish my health had been strong enough to go hiking and exploring more in our new Idahome. I am going to build it up, slowly but surely, so that when warmer weather returns, I can do exactly that in 2018.

15. What do you wish you would have done less of?

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Getting sick, dammit! This shit is for the birds. Sirrusleh.

16. What was your favorite new TV program? Movie? Album/Songs? Or if you didn't pick up any new ones, what are you still watching/listening to? Any recommendations?

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We saw a number of movies - some I slept through - in the theater in 2017, but Despicable Me 3 and The Secret Life of Pets were my favorites. Yeah, yeah, we still watch a lot of movies geared more toward a younger audience, and I actually like those a lot. I like more adultish movies, too, but I'm a kid at heart and frequently love the animated ones just as much.

17. What was the best book you read this year?  How many did you read?

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I honestly didn't read any books last year. I read some of some books, but I didn't go from cover to cover on anything. Not proud of that. Used to be such a bookworm; what happened to me?! I'm still not making any resolutions, but I plan to change that abysmal record in 2018. ;)

18. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you? Did you feel differently?

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I turned 41 in September, and neither Rob nor I can remember what we did on or around that occasion. Must have have been a real big whoopty-doo.

19. What political or social issue stirred you the most? 

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The #MeToo movement was a pretty powerful one, obviously, both publicly and personally for me. It stirred up some things that have happened to me, which I've never dealt with. I now realize that I need to, because they're coming out and looking to be dealt with whether I want them to or not.

20. Who was the most interesting new person you met?

Our neighbor a few houses down on the cul-de-sac, Gladys, is pretty interesting. She's elderly, has more facial hair than my husband, talks herself blue in the face, is part Native American, converted to Mormonism, and is never at a loss for words for something interesting to say. I love her. It's hard not to stare at her beard (please, God, let me have the sense to pluck that shit if I get to be 75 and that happens to me), but I love her. She brings us treats now and then, has invited us to this luau and the Christmas party at her LDS church, is just an all-around good soul. 

21. Describe how a relationship changed.

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My relationship with Hubs and the kids is ever-evolving the longer we're all together, of course. Now that Chloë is 16, she's maturing and more and more, developing a mind of her own. Unlike me at that age, she is not afraid to stick up for herself when she feels like she's been wronged. I admire her for that, and I encourage her to do it when she has a valid point. We had a tough time when she had a major depressive episode in mid-November, but it brought us more closely together as a family. And we're already a close-knit family. I think she'll be just fine. I think we all will.

22. Do you think you are still the same person that you were at the beginning of the year?  How so?

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Definitely not. I have moved my family from the East Coast to almost the West Coast. Life is completely different here; we risked everything for it, and it panned out. It was complete culture shock coming to Boise, Idaho, from Miami, Florida, but in a good way. I planned on not getting sick anymore, but as soon as I attempted to get a job and started working, boom! I got hit with Pneumonia #7 in a year's time. I've had two more and more severe cases of pneumonia since then, and I could have died from this latest bout from which I'm still recuperating. I've learned that my daughter and I are both immunoglobulin A deficient, and while most people with this somewhat common genetic defect (lol) are asymptomatic, Chloë and I get sick quickly, frequently, and seriously. I will need to get IgA infusions, and she may, too. I've been sick my whole life, and this is the year - I hope - that I figure out all the pieces of that puzzle. Oh, and ICYMI, I stood up for myself and set boundaries with my father - something I have never in my life done. I'm proud of that.

24. How have people around you changed?

Sophia and Bing

 We all change, everyone does, every year... or so I imagine. However, I feel like I ought to shine a light on 12-year-old Sophie for this one. As the baby of the family, she's really not used to being in charge of something or someone, and she has a habit of being, I don't know, a little passive when it comes to riding. That doesn't always work with the more strong-willed horses she's ridden, and in August 2016, she badly broke her wrist after her horse, Lacey, threw her when she dodged a jump. That led to over a year's break in riding, during with both she and I suffered from a lack of confidence when we finally found her current showjumping barn, Wasatch Sport Horses.

She's ridden a couple of strong-willed mares, Sunny and Daisy, up 'til today when she rode this beautiful boy, Bing. I didn't take her; Rob did, but Sophie described Bing as being "very jumpy," with a sly smile on her face. I talked to her, and she revealed he has quite the playful personality when being tacked up and down, too, like he has a secret song in his head! Anyway, my point is, she regained her confidence and got back on the horse's back this past Fall. She didn't let the broken wrist keep her down, and she has managed to figure out - with her coaches' help - how to show dominance over both mares in order to get them jumping and following her lead, not their own. Ultimately, she and Connie (her current coach) agree that Bing is a better fit at 17.1 hands high for those long legs of hers. And she fits well with his silly, "jumpy" personality. I hope she'll get a few more tries on Bing soon, and then we may consider leasing him for her to ride whenever she wants. I'm so proud of her!

25. What have you learned throughout the year?

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I've learned that I have boundaries and how to set them and stick with that. What? Who knew?!

26. Did you learn any new crafts or techniques? What was your favorite thing you made?

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Nope, I didn't learn anything new that was crafty. No new techniques on the old ones, either, unless you count a new cast-on technique in knitting that I didn't know before. Maybe that counts. Chloë and I want to go take a glass-blowing class soon. I keep seeing Groupon deals come up for it here in town, but I haven't jumped on it yet. I think that'll happen this spring.

27. What changed about your physical appearance? (Hair? Wrinkles? New makeup style? Etc.)

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Well, you know how I've been peddling JAFRA cosmetics for the past 20 years or so? (Well, now you do.) I started using Young Living Essential Oils at one of my BFF Shana's urging. I've gotten a lot of benefit from my YLEOs, so when they came out with the (admittedly pricey) line Savvy Minerals cosmetics, I eventually decided to come around and give it a try. Little by little, I've accumulated more Savvy Minerals items, and I've come to love them. So much so, in fact, that I have decided to end my two-decades-long relationship with JAFRA and focus my efforts (whatever little they may be) on Young Living. I have a shit ton of JAFRA makeup that I'm selling off little by little, in order to buy more Savvy Minerals. They're perfect. They feel so clean and healthy on my skin, and I know that Young Living doesn't sacrifice quality for profits.

As for hair, I'm growing it out and have been auditioning different hair colors in the brown-auburn ranges. Regarding wrinkles, not so much, but I am getting BOTOX for my migraines on the 23rd of this month. I'm pretty vain, so I don't mind dropping a pretty penny on my various and sundry creams and serums, but not so much so that I would get BOTOX to feed that vanity. I've been offered this migraine treatment more than once in the past, but I was so self-conscious about the idea that someone might think I'm using it for anti-aging purposes, I haven't gone forward with it. By this point in time, however, my various neurologists over the past 20+ years have tried every single headache/migraine medicine on the market, and nothing stops the daily onslaught. It's BOTOX time, y'all.

28. What are your hopes and dreams for the new year?  (Some suggestions: family, travel, work, lifestyle, hobbies, pets, appearance)

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I want to be cleared from this freakin' MRSA pneumonia that totally kicked my ass all around the block last month and now, and get and stay healthier. I want to be consistent with getting the healthcare I'm supposed to get, and not be procrastinating or postponing the things I haven't wanted to "bother" with because they just didn't seem so important at the time. I want to explore more of our new home state of Idaho, and hopefully get up into a road trip up North to Coeur d'Alene, into Canada and over West to Vancouver, B.C., and south into a Seattle, Washington, and then Portland, Oregon, before coming back East to Boise. I really hope this happens.

Chloë wants to visit Niagara Falls - on both sides of the border - so maybe we'll attempt that trip, too. The childrens' passports will need to be obtained, clearly! I want to pick up my knitting habit again and learn more techniques such as entrelac. I'd like for Rob to finish building our chicken habitat - an injury to his hand caused a setback, and then snow fell, and, well, it sits incomplete in our backyard at the mo' - so we can double our six-pack of chicky babies by Summer. And I'd like to shed at least 30 of the pounds I've put on in the past two years, thanks to medication changes and complications with my 9-year-old gastric bypass procedure. Lots to look forward to!

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Welp, that's mah post, you guys. Hope you enjoyed! Or at least stayed awake... ;)


Saturday 9: Silent Night

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Hey hey, what do you say? Welcome back. Link up here if you wish to play along this week!

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Saturday 9: Silent Night (1957) 
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) How well do you know "Silent Night?" Without looking up the lyrics, could you sing along with Elvis?
 
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I could do the whole first stanza and then manage most of the second. After that, I'm mouthing the words!

2) The Christmas with Elvis album hit the stores in October 1957. Were you already preparing for Christmas back in October?
 
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Often I am. This year, no.

3) Clearly Elvis liked a flocked white Christmas tree. Is your tree flocked, aluminum or pine green? Real or artificial? Or do you skip the whole tree thing altogether? 
 
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Ideally, I would be the type of person who had a beautifully curated, themed, and colour-coordinated tree in every room of my house. Usually, we have a fake "pine" tree decorated to within an inch of its life with ornaments and bedazzling. (lol) THIS year, however sad it may make me, we have NO tree. I was convinced we'd brought our tree with us in the household packout that just came before Thanksgiving, but alas, we must have given it away. So then, I bought what I thought was a rather nice tree out of the last of our meagre budget, from Kohls.com. It turned out to be a sad little piece of corner-tree-crapola. That was returned, and the money used for groceries. So no tree this year. Ah, well. It's not the biggest deal in the world.

4) Back in the late 1950s, Elvis left his hair its natural brown color. In the 1960s he began having it dyed black. Do you have a salon appointment scheduled between now and year end?

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No. I was going to take curly-haired Chloë and myself in for a trim, but Jack needed it worse, I cut my own bangs, and Chloë can wait. So, nope!
 
5) Have you ever peeked, looking for a Christmas gift you know is hidden for you somewhere in the house?

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I don't think so as an adult, but I know as a kid I carefully unwrapped a few presents with my name on them. That ruined the surprise for me, though, so I discontinued the process.
 
6)  Which do you prefer, candy canes or gingerbread?  
 
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Not a fan of gingerbread, except looking at prettily made houses.
 
7) Is anyone receiving a home made or do-it-yourself gift from you this year?

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I don't know if I'll get it finished in time, but I'm hoping to make Sophia (my 12yo) a Slytherin scarf like this one. She and Chloë are now both heavily "into" all things Harry Potter. (Chloë would like to gleefully point out that she is a Ravenclaw.)

8) Do you wrap holiday gifts in paper, or do you take the gift bag route?
 
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I only take the gift bag route when I have exactly ZERO time to wrap presents. I love wrapping gifts. Ideally, each separately themed tree would have a coordinating pile of gifts under it. Hee.
  
9) This time of year is big for charitable fundraising. Here's your chance to plug a cause or organization that's near and dear to you.
 
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I love Heifer International. We donate money for a bunch of bunnies, or a goat, or whatever is needed, every year. And throughout the year, we get an occasional letter telling us how our gift has been used and benefited the recipient community. I love those letters! I really think Heifer International is one of the greatest causes out there!
 
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That is all. Have a lovely, and if you're celebrating Chanukah, happy happy!