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Saturday 9: Ordinary People

John Legend | Artist | www.grammy.com

John Legend: "Ordinary People"

Hello, hello, y'all. I very nearly missed this week's questionnaire, but I pulled myself up to get it done. We've all been doing this for so long "together," and I don't want to lose that.

Awesome Happy Spring GIF - white spring flowers and glitter

Happy Spring, Northern Hemisphereans! I'm so delighted. #understatement

Not much really happened here this week that I can think of; that is a good thing! Two weeks ago, my lithium levels were way too low, and I was planning on jumping off the nearest tall building. Now that the doctor has raised my dosage, I feel so, so, so much better. It was almost overnight! And I'm so thankful, so grateful to still be here.

Let's get it done. (P.S. I was just about to post this, and then my Chrome died, closing all my windows and not returning all the content I had here. So I'm aggravated now. GAH!)


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

1) In this song, John Legend sings that both he and his girl have "room to grow." What about you? In what areas would you like to improve?

Lyme Warrior Poem | Perseverance, Lyme, You are strong

Well, hard to do being here in a small hotel room (for yet another two months! Ugh!), but when we move into our new home I really want to make it a point to get out of bed and at least circulate with the family downstairs, every day. I'm in bed so much, some days I don't see anyone but Hubs. And the dogs are getting entirely too used to cozying up with  me all day. Something's gotta change, and I want to make the effort. I do not want the pain and fatigue from Lyme dictate what I do for the rest of my days.

2) He sings that when he hangs up in anger, she calls him back. Are you quicker to anger, or quicker to forgive?

Both! And quick to apologize, too. If someone apologizes to me, it's done, it's over.

3) "Ordinary People" was John Legend's first big hit. He originally wrote it for The Black Eyed Peas, but -- happily for him -- recorded it himself. Have you ever purchased a gift for someone else but then decided to keep it yourself?

Black Eyed Peas | Members, Music, Songs, & Facts | Britannica

Really? I love the Peas but I can't see them doing this song justice. As for me, I don't think I've ever done that, but I for sure have wished I had enough  money at that moment for a second one. Several times!

4) Ordinary People is also the title of an acclaimed novel by Judith Guest and an Oscar-winning film. Are you familiar with either the movie or the book?

Barbra Streisand, tout sur la chanteuse

Of course, I definitely knew the movie - my mother was a huge fan of Barbra Streisand. I remember that just a couple of months before she died, she took 7-year-old me and 8-year-old  Stacey (my big sister) to the movies to see Yentl. It's one of my last memories with my mom, so I cherish and love Barbra for it, too. As for the book, I don't think I had heard of it, but now it's on my "want to read" list on Goodreads. Thanks!

5) John is married to Chrissy Teigen, who gained fame as a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. When is the last time you dove in? Were you in a pool, lake, river or sea?

Lucky Peak Dam Photos – Hicken Design

 Atlantic Ocean in August and September when we first got here to Maryland from Idaho, but it was a while before that that I actually got in and swam. In the summer of 2017, I swam with the fam at the Boise reservoir. It was a good day, and we had fun, but then I came down with this horrid bacterial infection that left me wishing for death. I hadn't heard of that particular critter before; I guess it was a big enough deal for the county epidemiologist to call me up and interview me over the phone. Guess I lost my nerve after that!

6) John unexpectedly proposed to Chrissy on vacation, but he was afraid airport security would ruin the surprise when they went through his carry on very thoroughly. He worried she would see the ring box and he'd have to drop down to one knee right there at the airport! Tell us about one of your flights: your first, your most recent or your most memorable.

It was just really odd flying back here to the East Coast this past summer. The jets were sparsely populated instead of overcrowded, and there was no food or drink service, and we were all constantly reminded to pull up our masks here or that way or whatever. It was tense and scary on the one hand, but also just another adventure arrow to stick in our quivers, I guess.

7) John is currently a coach on The Voice. The other coaches are Nick Jonas, Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton. Of those four singers, which is your favorite? 

Kelly Clarkson opens up about suicidal thoughts in her early career

Gotta go with my girl Kelly! I was nursing my first newborn Chloë when Kelly competed on and won the first season of American Idol.

8) In 2005, when this song was popular, Johnny Carson died. After he retired from The Tonight Show in 1993, he traveled extensively and discovered he especially enjoyed photographic safaris in Africa. If time and money were no object, where would you go on vacation?

Pastel-colored Jupiter dazzles in gorgeous Hubble telescope photo | Space

I'd have all the money and the time, you say?! Well sure, I'd visit all the continents in turn, thoroughly and passionately. But I wouldn't stop there. I'd say hello to Moon and then head outward for a glimpse of Mars before I hovered out around my favorite planet, Jupiter. I'll end this story of mine there, though, since it's too far-fetched even for me.

9) Random question -- In your typical day, what's the longest you usually go without saying a word to another person: all day, a few hours, an hour, or five minutes?

03202021 Paco

Right now, maybe about an hour, possibly two hours. But I've always got this little guy and his chonky sister to talk to!

All right, phew, I made it and hopefully will save it in time in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

Enjoy your Spring beginning, y'all!


Sunday Stealing: The Monday Morning Meme

Hello! I neglected Saturday 9 yesterday because I had no computer available. We have finally received all of our belongings from Miami! Hallelujah! Anyway, now I'm back on my old computer (and happily so), so here I am: participating.

Link up here if you'd like to join in the fray!


We stole this from Phoenix the Blogging Mama , who stole it from Karen, who made up the questions herself.

 1. How has your life most benefitted from the Internet?

Image result for online dating meme

I met my husband on the Internet! We're almost to the 17-year wedding anniversary, so I'd say we're doing all right!

2. How do you deal with negative comments on your blog?

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They generally sting, I dwell on them, and then I usually delete them. Whatever. I ain't got time for that!

3. There’s never enough time, is there? What would you do with an extra three hours today?

Image result for moving and unpacking funny

Unpacking. I would be unpacking. I missed our stuff these past 9 months, but I did not miss the amount of that stuff!

4. The getaway car is waiting outside – where is it taking you?

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Back to Miami - to the beach! ;)

5. Who was your "arch enemy" in high school? Do you have any enemies today?

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I don't really "do" the whole enemy thing nowadays, and I can't name my "arch enemy" from high school, because I'm now FB friends with her. And I actually quite like her!

6. You’re giving the keynote address to the graduating seniors of a high school today. What’s your advice to them?

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SO I'm not really great at giving advice. I would say, fix the effing planet already! This world is yours to inherit, so take care of it. And whatever matters right now, if it's not going to matter in five years, it probably really doesn't matter now, either.

7. Thinking of words of wisdom: What's the worst advice you've ever received?

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Hmm. It probably came from inside my own mind, whatever it was. Or from my sperm donor's mouth. He's given me a number of gems on which to, um, reflect, over the past four + decades. "Maybe your body wasn't put together right to have children." "If you lost weight you'd find more friends." On my first time behind the wheel to learn to drive, with him, "Okay, turn it on. Now go," with no other instruction given. And so on and so forth...

8. Tell us about the best summer vacation you EVER had.

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That would be the two-week Mediterranean cruise that Hubs and I took aboard Holland America's MS Zuiderdam in 2008. That was an utterly epic vacation, and I loved almost every second of it. You can read all about it here.

9. What do you have to have with you when you travel? Why?

Image result for travel necessities meme

Besides obvious things? I don't know, everything I need seems obvious to me! I have to have Diet Coke available. I have to have my phone and its charger. My crossbody purse is essential, with at least 1 pair of working nail clippers in it and a good lip balm. Good facial skin care goes along, as well as an excellent lotion.  Snacks. Comfy shoes, usually Crocs. I don't know what else, but that's for starters! The rest depends on where I'm going, for how long, and with whom.

10. Would you accept $1,000,000 tax free, if it meant you had to leave the country and never come back?

Image result for a million dollars meme

Hm. I don't know. A million dollars is not what it used to be. Maybe not!

11. Do you believe the world will be a better, or worse, place 100 years from now?

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For whom? For people? I believe it will be much worse. We may not exist then! But for organisms that can adapt, survive, evolve, reproduce, et. cetera... It may not be so bad. I don't know. It's a scary thought for me.

12. Do you expect to buy a new winter coat this year?

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Not unless I can have THAT one!! Not for me, anyway. For Sophia, the kid who actually grows, probably!

13. If you could spend one year in perfect happiness but afterward would remember nothing of the experience, would you do so?

Image result for eternal sunshine of the spotless mind funny gif

I would totally go all Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for a year and then, if I have to, forget it all. Yes, I would. But preferably not where I lose any memories of wonderful things about or with my children. Even then, yes I would do it.


Welp, that was fun! Maybe later I'll do yesterday's Saturday 9, because I love it, and because I want to. We'll see. Unpacking boxes calls, though...

See y'all!


Saturday 9: Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

Image result for wham

Link up here if you're playing along today!


Saturday 9: Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go (1984)

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

1) This song was inspired by a note WHAM! partner Andrew Ridgeley left for his parents. He accidentally wrote "go" twice. What was the last handwritten note you left for someone?
I wrote a sort of "IOU," but it was more like a "U-O-Me!" to a friend for some stuffI sold her.
2) Born Georgios Panayiotou, George Michael was the son of the Greek restauranteur in East London. When you think of Greek cuisine, what comes to mind?
I think of this post I wrote in 2008, from when we were on our European cruise (oh, my God, I was SO FAT then - how did I let myself get that big?!!), and were on a port stop in Katakolon, Greece. Hubs and I stopped in a little restaurant in town, and the food was amazing. I wrote, "We ordered  a small sampler platter, and this is what we received . Those are beans in the sauce, along with some olives, some fries, some yogurt dip, some pita, some gyro  meat, some  grape-leaf-covered somethings that I liked and Rob didn't..."

3) He was a terrible driver and admitted his license was suspended a number of times. Have you ever lost your license?
No. However, I have been told that I don't currently have a valid license (?!), because they are still looking at my old Florida DL from before we moved to Guam in 2002. Of course, I currently still hold a Virginia license even after living in Florida for four years, because of exactly this problem. Hopefully, when we get to Idaho, I can get a proper state license representing my current home! (Get with the program, Floriduh!)

4) WHAM! partner Andrew Ridgeley, on the other hand, is a talented driver who got to live his fantasy by racing Formula Three in Monaco. There are companies that sell racetrack driving experiences that allow you to spin around the track at dizzying speeds. Is this something you'd like to try? 
Not really. When we were in Monaco (on that same cruise), we didn't even get near the races. Instead, Rob and I went on a tour of Nice and Eze in France, but we did get our racecar-obsessed son, Jack, a Formula I-Don't-Know (Three, you say?) shirt in Monte Carlo. It still fit, like, five years later...

5) In 1990, Frank Sinatra famously gave George Michael advice. Ol' Blue Eyes told the younger man to enjoy his fame, to remember all those lean nights traveling from gig to gig by bus and, now that he's successful, "loosen up and swing, man." Who last gave you advice? Did you take it?
I can't even remember the last time I received, let alone took, someone's advice. I'm pretty hard-headed, you know. The closest thing I can think of was the other night when Hubs asked me if my lights were on. They weren't; I switched them on. Oops.

6) Mr. Michael's neighbors have reported since his passing that he seemed to live rather quietly, and that they usually saw him when he was out walking his three dogs. Tell us about the last time you spoke to one of your neighbors.
One of our neighbors, Ed, is the weekday morning gate guard for our community. So, I spoke to him yesterday, because he was off today.

7) Fansites tell us that George Michael's favorite cereal was cornflakes. What breakfast cereals are currently in your kitchen?
I need to get more; my kids live on that stuff. But we do have some Rice Chex and Frosted Flakes, I think.

8) In 1984, when "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" was popular, Murder, She Wrote premiered on CBS. Today it's still seen in reruns all over the world. Are you a fan?
Was Dick van Dyke a regular on that show, too? If not, the one episode I ever watched was when it was a new-ish shoe, and he was on it. That's all I can remember. I did enjoy Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, though.
9) RANDOM QUESTION: What's your secret to a good night's sleep?
If there is a good secret, I don't really have it. I am a notoriously bad sleeper. I tend to stay up until I'm exhausted and then crash for entirely too long. I've been doing that for my whole life.
Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend.
P.S. Thanks for letting me relive our European delayed-honeymoon, Sam! ;)

Sunday Stealing: 25 Fun

Link up here if you're stealing today, thieves!
25 Fun Meme
Stolen from: My Random Randomness
1. If you were trapped in a room with the person who asked this for 24 hours, what would you do? 
 Since Kwizgiver and I both knit, I imagine we'd sit, knit, chat, knit some more, repeat. Or maybe read.
2. If you could learn any language instantly, what would it be?
Well, all of them! I would love to know every word of every language. Arabic, Japanese, and yes, French. But I'm selecting French for this question because though I can read a lot of it, I can't speak or understand spoken French. It just doesn't sound how I expect, from learning Spanish and bits of Italian. Not phonetic. (Yes, the Romance Languages are my favorite family.)

3. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The dictionary!

4. Favorite song lyric?
Weird Al's song, "Melanie" is in my head now. Maybe because that's my name? So, "Me-eh-eh-elanie, why won't you go out with me?" But not really. I am just always hard-pressed to pick a favorite anything!

5. Favorite album?
Eric Clapton's Unplugged. Love it, love every song on it! (I don't know what happened with my formatting here. Ugh.)

6. Which time of day would you say is best for you work-wise?
About 8 PM. Total night owl, here!

7. Favorite city that you’ve visited?
I'm going to be an oddball and say Dubrovnik, Croatia. It was on our European cruise, and I was surprised to see Croatia on the itinerary. I had never heard of it. But it was beautiful, it was unexpected in so many ways, and I loved every second of every step within the old city. So thank you, Dubrovnik, for showing me many lovely surprises at every turn!

8. Favorite city that you haven’t visited?
How can I know the answer to this?

9. If you could donate $10,000 to charity, what charity would you pick?
I would give half to an environmentalist cause, like maybe Greenpeace, and half to, I think, Heifer International. I really like what they're doing.

10. What is one book you wish you could get all your friends to read?
Mine! ;) Come on, NaNoWriMo!
11. What is one movie you wish you could get all your friends to watch?
Well, Food Inc. for starters. We'll go from there.
12. What do you think people assume about you from first glance?
... the worst. I have a lot of paranoia about people talking and laughing about me. I don't like this question right now.
13. If you could play any musical instrument, what would it be?
Saxophone, definitely! And then, harp...

14. What is your favorite item of clothing?
 Welp, since I don't have an awesome dino hoodie, I'm going to have to go with the black cardigan I'm wearing right now. It doesn't button, just hangs open, and I keep it on the back of my desk chair when I'm not wearing it, day in and day out, until it can stand up on its own stank. Seriously, I gotta be the only person freezing like it's Antarctica out there, when we're still reaching temps over 80 degrees F at the end of October. #GastricBypassProblems
15. Who was your first follower on your blog? Do they still follow you?
Damn if I know.

16. If you could create one thing, what would it be?
If I could, I would create a United States that was all the best and none of the worst things that make up our 239-year history.

17. Favorite superhero?
Christopher Reeve. Oh, I mean, Superman. ;)

18. If you were to write an autobiography, what would you title it?
I don't know. Maybe: Shit Just Got Real, Y'all. 
19. If you were to have a band, what would you call it?
I think "Free Beer" sounds like a winner, personally! Except maybe let's make it "rum" or "vodka" instead of beer? I'm not much for suds.

20. What is your favorite card/board game?
Scrabble. I play Words With Friends on my phone, like, every day. I have about 27 games going right now. Might be obsessed?

21. What was the first IM service you used? Who was the first person you talked to on it?
mIRC, of course! When I was an undergrad at U-Miami, I started learning about online chat groups. I had a friend named Kevin from Kentucky or Kansas or something. He turned out to be a Nutter Butter.

22. If you could give a friendly hug to any one person, who would it be?
My Hubs' best friend, Larry, whom I've never met. We've become cronies over the Interwebs (aka Facebook Messenger), and it would be really cool to give him an actual hug.

23. Have you ever won any sort of contests? What kind?
Not a beauty contest, that's for sure. Since I'm taking my older daughter, Chloe, to her first major concert on Tuesday (Taylor Swift), I'm thinking back to when I won concert tickets to the Black-Eyed Peas. I also won tickets to take my husband to see Crosby, Stills and Nash, another year. Both were epic experiences.

24. Who was the last person you hugged? Cannot be your romantic/sexual partner if you have one.
Can it be my kids? Other than Hubs, it was probably my son Jack. He's the biggest hugger of my kids. First thing he does when he comes out of his room in the morning, and the last thing he does before he turns in for the night, is come give me a hug. 

25. If you could be skilled in any one activity, what would it be? Cannot be romantic or sexual.
First, it makes me giggle that sexual skills are disqualified. But, but...! ;) Second, I wish I was an amazing gymnast, especially on Floor. Bounding across a gymnasium, leaping, twisting, and turning? I mean, yeah, I'm knocking on 40's door, but that's always been a little secret fantasy of mine.
Welp, that's it for now. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday Stealing: Swiped Meme


Link up here if you're swiping today!

Swiped Meme

Stolen from: Get It All Down

Do you need to write down things to remember them?


Abso-freaking-lutely! If it doesn't get written down, it doesn't get done.

Do you keep a diary/journal?

You're looking at it, Sweetheart!

Are you scared of thunderstorms?

Not since I was about six. Now, I love them. Unless the power goes out for six days. That, not a fan.

Do you have any unusual fears or phobias?


You're looking at my absolute worst nightmare. If mustard touches me, If freak out. If it were all over me, like this, ohhhh hell naw.

Whats your favourite Disney movie?


Finding Nemo, of course! And yes, I did just go to Kohl's and get a Dory stuffy for my bed, because like I recently mentioned, she is so me! And she shall be my squishy.

Have you ever painted a house?


The outside? No. But I had painted the interior walls of our Virginia Beach house every color of the rainbow. Except puce and chartreuse. It's driving me insane living in a box with white walls right now, y'all.

What's the tallest tree you've ever climbed?

I used to climb the tree in our front yard in Monroe, NY, until we moved when I was six. At the time, it seemed huge... now, I'm not so sure it was much bigger than a stick. Who knows?

Do you always wear identical socks?


Dudes. I can count on zero fingers the number of times I've worn socks at all in the past year. I live for being barefoot!

Do you live by any motto or philosophy?


My motto has long been: "If you want something done right the first time, you've got to do it yourself." 

Do you lick the yogurt or dessert lid?


Of course! Isn't that the best part?!

Do you lick the spoon clean after making something sweet?

Before children, of course. After children, I have to divvy up the spoon, the beater, and the bowl amongst the three of them!

Have you ever played the bongos?


On Halloween 2000, the night before we "met" online, Hubs went as a bongo-playing beatnik to a costume party. We still have those bongos. I, of course, have played them (however badly) on numerous occasions. They are now adorned with artwork from our youngest child, Sophia, who has came out of the womb wielding crayons...

Have you ever handled a snake?


When my sister was 16, she was emancipated, and she lived with her future husband - and Jade, a Florida King snake. I used to hold Jade and let her wriggle and writhe all over me. I was 15 and probably held her until I graduated at 17. I don't think I've held a snake since then...

Have you ever assembled furniture by yourself?

I have, even IKEA furniture. When Hubs was in the hospital one of the first times with his brain tumor, we had the kids up in Fort Lauderdale with friends for the extended visit. One night, I went all gung-ho and built the girls' dressers myself. It took ALL night, but I got it done. Woot!

When did you last go to the beach?

I was in Key West on Wednesday with the family. All Sophia (our artistic youngest child) wanted to do was wade in the water. We ate dinner - and yes, I had a rather large and delicious piña colada - shopped for towels since we hadn't brought any, and walked around endlessly to look for our cars after NOT wading in the water. I think she is still holding a grudge. We'll go back to Key West in the next week or two. Need anything? Gal??

When if ever did you last go to London?


The last time I was in London was in a previous life, I guess. It's still sitting on my bucket list. I'll get there. Ain't dead yet!

What do you do to cool down when it's hot?


Listen. I'm probably the only idiot in Miami who needs a heating pad. Too hot? You must be crazy. (My gastric bypass surgery took away my ability to regulate my body temperature. It's a curse my family must live with. MWAHAHAHA...)

What's the most unusual thing you've ever eaten?

Probably sea urchin sushi, which I highly do NOT recommend. I nearly barfed.

Do you have a favorite mug?


This is my mug, and I love it. Meh.

Do you know any self-defense or martial arts?

Image result for grab twist pull testicles

Not really. When we were in high school, we learned the bare minimum of self-defense, which consisted of "Grab, Twist and Pull" the testicles of any male attacker. That's pretty much all I got out of it, anyway. I've never used it...

Who's your favorite movie action hero?


Lately it's Iron Man. I'm not really an action movie type of girl, but let's face it: Robert Downey, Jr. is HOT.

Have you ever ridden a motorcycle?


I've ridden on the back of the bike with my uncle (scary on purpose) and my husband (scary NOT on purpose). I'm not a huge fan of either, but I'm too chicken to learn to drive one myself.

Do you collect anything?


I collect shot glasses. I just had to buy my third case. And yes, I have actually used a few of them, once or twice...

Is there anything you wish would come back into fashion?


I don't know or care much about fashion. I wear what I like.

Do you stick to conventional fashions or like to try and be original?


Like I just said... I wear what I like. Haters be damned. :P 

Have you ever given someone a handmade present?

I have. Sometimes you win some, sometimes you don't. Meh.

If you could have any feature from an animal what would you want?

Wings. I want freakin' wings. I want to fly. Someday... if it's the last thing I do...! ;)
Thanks for stopping by, y'all.

Saturday 9: Careless Whisper

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: Careless Whisper (1984)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here. (As an 80s girl, I love this song!!)

1) You can't miss George Michael's gold hoops in the photo above or in the "Careless Whisper" video. Are you wearing any jewelry right now?
I had to take my wedding and engagement rings off, as well as my two beloved Daisy & Cherry Blossom Pandora rings (I had to put them on my left hand to take the picture, but normally I wear them on righty), because I had an allergic reaction to something from Panera earlier, making my hands swell up. I still have my silver hoops and nose ring in, though.
(Yes, I really am that pale. No, I'm not albino.)
Pandora Silver CZ
And speaking of Pandora Daisy rings, I am so totally wanting to add this sparkly silver cubic zirconia one to my collection. Please, Mommy, can we keep it?

2) Though the label says this hit is performed by "Wham! featuring George Michael," George Michael is the only member of the pop duo who appears in the video. Do you remember the name of the other guy who was in Wham!?
Nope. I'd have to Google it, and I'm not really in the mood! I'm sure someone will, and I'll read it on your blog later. Thanks.

3) Much of the video was filmed on Watson Island, a man-made island near South Beach. Have you ever been to Miami? 
{Rats. I spent too dang long looking for this picture of me from recently - if October 2014 is recent - in front of our home, to "prove" I live in Miami, but you can't even see more than the trunk of the palm tree behind me. I misremembered it. Oh well, carry on, nothing to see here...}
You're teasing me now, aren't you Samantha? I live in Miami, and I love it! And yes, I have been to South Beach of course, but I have not yet made it to Watson Island. I ain't that cool.

4) Born Georgios Panayiotou, George Michael is of Greek descent, the son of the Greek restauranteur in East London. When you think of Greek cuisine, what comes to mind?
I think of the gyros that Hubs loves so much but which I've never had because I don't eat meat and surely won't, therefore, eat a wee little lambykins. I also think of the delicious kalamata olives, and feta, and hummus, and other yummy stuff we ate in Katakolon, Greece, when we went on our European cruise in 2008. I love Greek food. Oh! And how could I forget baklava? Mmmm....
(Ugh, I love that I documented that trip on this separate blog, but I hate looking at it because I was at my heaviest weight on that trip. Yuck.)

5) Today he lives in a tony suburb called Highgate, and his neighbors are Kate Moss and Sting. Tell us about one of your neighbors. 
Our neighbor, Francisco, left for his home in Madrid, Spain, today! He's really nice, and he brings us Cuban coffee:
... and he even gave Sophie a box of chocolates recently for her tenth birthday. However, every now and then, I used to sit out front and have a beer with Frank, but I had to stop because he developed quite a crush on me and has been trying to get me to give him a smooch ever since. No. Just... no.

6) George Michael fans can purchase officially licensed merchandise from his website, including an iPhone cover with his photo and signature. Tell us about your cell phone. Is it Apple or Android? Is it a smartphone?
It's an Android. I have a Samsung Galaxy S5 with a boring, gray Otterbox Defender case on it that I'll probably never change, because I would have destroyed that phone ages ago if the Otterbox wasn't, you know, defending it so well. I love my phone. I'm not wanting to change it for the Galaxy S6 at all. Nope, not a bit... ;)

7) George Michael sang Stevie Wonder's "You and I" for Prince William's wedding to Kate Middleton. What's your favorite love song?

It's a toss-up between Eric Clapton singing "Wonderful Tonight," which is the song Hubs and I danced to after our barefoot sunset wedding on St. Pete Beach in 2001, and this song that Hubs used to woo me with in 2000:

 Go ahead. Give The Barenaked Ladies a listen.

8) In 2014, George had a health scare. He was rushed to the hospital for tests and released the next day. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance?
Yeah, I have a few times as a patient and accompanying a patient. The time that sticks out in my mind the most is when our oldest baby, Chloë, was four months old and had a febrile seizure, and I freaked out when she threw her head back and her eyes rolled up... That was super scary.

9) Known for hard partying in his youth, George is now in his 50s and says he's quite happy to spend his evenings eating takeout and watching DVDs. Are you doing any socializing this weekend?
Hmmm. Given that Hubs just had (yet another) emergency surgery on Wednesday, and he may or may not be coming home from the hospital on Friday, I'm thinking probably not, other than with his home care nurse. I haven't even given a thought to what plans we may or may not have had!
Thanks for stopping by; have a great weekend!

Sunday Stealing: Why Do You Want To Know THAT Meme


Why Do You Want To Know That Meme?

Stolen from: My Random Randomness

1. What TV gameshow/reality show would you like to be on? 


I'd LOVE to be on Jeopardy!

2.  What was the first movie you bought in VHS or DVD? 

I have no idea, but I'm sure it was something Disney.

3. If you had one million dollars to spend only on yourself, what would you spend it on?

If I actually had to spend it, not save or invest it, I guess I would buy a house, a boat, a nicer vehicle (or two), a whole buncha yarn, and gosh... can I not buy my kids a college education or three? Sheesh.

4. One place you've visited, can't forget, and want to go back to? 


Definitely Venice, Italy... we didn't get to ride in a gondola as planned, because (a) We were short on time, (b) We were short on Euros, and (c) I was way too damn fat to get in!

5. Do you trust easily? 

I trust way too much, way too easily, way too many people who continue to let me down. :/

6. Do you generally think before you act, or act before you think? 


Historically, when it has really mattered, I'm a "Think first, worry later, apologize never" kind of person. I plan, and plan, and plan everything out, and then I just do whatever I was going to do anyway. I'm not saying I'm proud of it.

7. Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days? 

Yeah, Hubby pulled a 'sundowner' on me exactly one year to the day after his brain surgery, on Thursday, and I had to rush him back to the hospital. He got released this afternoon and is okay now, except for the broken ribs... Poor guy is in a world of pain. :(

8. Do you have a good body image? 

I wish I did, but no. I have horrible, horrible self-esteem.

9. What is your favorite fruit? 

Like my daughter, Sophia, it's the strawberry. However, unlike Sophia, strawberries are not my absolute most favorite thing on the planet...!

10. I’m always being asked…


Two things: (a) If getting my nose pierced hurt (Yes, yes it did - both times!), and (b) If I am so-and-so's identical twin. Apparently I have a lot of doppelgängers, because I get asked that all. the. time!!!

11. The last big belly laugh I had was…

Oh, this trio keeps me in hysterics every single day of my life. I'm telling you folks, they are FUNNY, funny people. Sophie in particular (the blondie on the left) is quite the amusing little lass!

12. What websites do you visit daily? 

Facebook, naturally, and Hip2Save, because I am a bit of a couponing fiend, y'all.

13. What have you been seriously addicted to lately? 

Well, I'll tell you what I'm not addicted to any longer: Lindt Peanut Butter Truffles. I used to love these things. I could only get them at a select few stores and on the Lindt website, so I usually search for them high and low whenever I go somewhere new. 

Fast-forward to last night, when we stopped in hospital gift shop to get flowers and schtuff for Hubs. We walked out, and I noticed they sold a bunch of Lindt truffles. Um, okay. That got my attention. Upon closer inspection, I counted TWELVE bags of peanut butter ones! Holy cow.

They are thankfully not cheap, or I'd have bought all dozen. The kids were squealing right along with me. I bought two bags. We went upstairs to see Daddy, and once we got all settled in, I opened a bag and distributed a couple each to their waiting hands. Rob wanted none of that. Smart man.

They must have changed their formula?! Because all four of us agreed that these were no better than Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I haz the sads... until I realized that they make me fat, and then I had no more sads.

14. What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is? 

No one tagged me in this-here meme, and I love that bay-bay!!

15. What's the last song that got stuck in your head? 

I'm loving "FourFiveSeconds" right now. LOVE. 

  16. Favorite clothing? 

I'm loving Superdry right now. Very cool gear.

17. Do you think Rice Krispies are yummy? 

Yeah, but I can't eat that anymore. I love a good ol'-fashioned bowl of cereal, but it's off-limits since my drastic bypass. Soup, too. Them's the breaks!

18. What would you do if you saw $100 lying on the ground? 

Of course, I'd keep that shiznat. Duh.

19. Items you couldn't go without during the day? 

My Samsung Galaxy S5. Take my phone, and I will hunt you down. M'kay?

20. What should you be doing right now?


Sleeping, der. It's 12:43 AM. And now that I'm finished with this post, I'm going to check the mail.

Have a lovely!


Saturday 9: Dancing With Myself

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

Saturday 9: Dancing with Myself (1980)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, a few. Let me see:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Paint It Black

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: Paint It Black (1966)
Not familiar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1) This song was chosen because yesterday was Black Friday, the traditional day of sales. Have you begun your Christmas shopping? 

I have... months ago. I pick up deals and store them in my gift closet as we go through the year, crossing my fingers that the same things will matter by Christmas that mattered when I picked them up!

2) Are there any Thanksgiving leftovers in your refrigerator right now? 

Just a few. Pfft. I couldn't squeeze a grape in there if I tried! 

3) AAA says Thanksgiving is a big travel weekend. Did you venture far from home for your holiday dinner?  

No, but we hosted my dad and Victoria (my additional homeschool student), and I took pumpkin pie to Victoria's mom, who was in the hospital having a sweet baby girl:


and we also took a plate of dinner and apple pie to our neighborhood gate guard, Rodney.

4) Keith Richards likes France but, alas, the French authorities haven't always been fond of him and his criminal record. Have you ever been to France?  

Yes, I've been to Nice and Eze. We went as part of the '08 European cruise I'm forever mentioning (you can read more about it here). What can I say, it was the trip of a lifetime for me!

5) Mick Jagger jokes that, to be polite to fellow hotel guests, he always finishes trashing his room by 10:00 PM. What kind of hotel/motel guest are you? Are you rockstar rambunctious, or are you quiet? Are you neat? Have you stolen any towels, bathrobes, etc.?  

It depends whether it's just me (and the Hubs) or if the kids are joining us. I'm neat and hate to trash the place, but my kids adore staying in hotels and get a little rambunctious themselves. I don't think I've ever stolen anything - even extra toiletries off the housekeeping cart! I always ask first.

6) Mick Jagger got his financial savvy as a student at the London School of Economics. Are you good with money?

I try to be, but I tend to be a spender, rather than a saver. :\ 

7) In the early 1990s, a then little-known actress named Angelina Jolie appeared in a Rolling Stones video ("Anybody Seen My Baby?"). Name an Angelina Jolie movie.

My favorite: Maleficent, which touched my 9-year-old (rather stoic, normally) daughter, Sophia, so much that she cried for an hour after it ended.

8) In the early 1960s, the Stones nearly avoided tragedy when their tour bus skidded off a bridge. Tell us about a near miss you're thankful for. 

Hmm. Well, yesterday, our Chihuahua puppy, Paco, nearly ran into a car that zoomed by. Instead, he got scared and turned tail at the last minute. I keep reliving that moment a little bit in my head today, because a cherished German Shepherd puppy of mine, Charoki, did get killed by a car when I was in graduate school. I am so thankful I did not have to experience that again!


9) In 1966, when this week's song was popular, CBS telecast How the Grinch Stole Christmas for the first time. What's your favorite Dr. Seuss story?

I think it would be The Lorax, with its wonderful environmentalist message.

Thanks for stopping by!

(and if anyone knows how I can stop these crazy spammers from continually hacking my account, please tell me! It's driving me ape...!)


Saturday 9: Welcome To My Nightmare

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: Welcome to My Nightmare (1975)

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

1) Tell us about a bad dream you've had.

Recently, I woke my kids up when I was screaming in my sleep. They ran out to see if I was okay. I remember the dream vividly: in it, my best friend turned on me and stabbed me to death. That's the short version. It's the first time I've actually died in a dream. I thought you weren't supposed to be able to do that?!

2) Sam is not crazy about spiders. What frightens you, or gives you "the creeps?"

Mustard. Ugh, ick, eww.

3) This week's featured artist, Alice Cooper, has always liked to dress up. Performing as Alice, he wears garish eye makeup. In his first group, he and his bandmates dressed as the Beatles. Will you be wearing a costume this weekend?

I dressed up to go to a kids' Halloween party tonight. I was Urban Smurf: black slouchy hat, black pants, and green shirt. LOL

4) Alice says his makeup was inspired by Bette Davis in his favorite horror movie, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? This Halloween weekend, will you seek out horror movies and scary TV shows, or will you avoid them?

Avoidance is the key for me, unless I want to have more very bad dreams! I am such a chicken about horror movies.

5) Born Vincent Furnier, Alice used to tell reporters that he and his band got the name Alice Cooper from a Oujia board. Have you ever tried a Oujia board?

I think maybe once? I really can't remember. I don't believe in that crap.

6) Alice and his band (also called Alice Cooper) were discovered by music manager Shep Gordon while playing in Venice, California. Have you ever visited Venice, California or Venice, Italy?

We visited Venice, Italy, on our 2008 Mediterranean cruise. I have never been to the California Venice.

7) In 1970s England, a morality campaigner named Mary Whitehouse persuaded the BBC to ban Alice Cooper. The ensuing publicity resulted in such a bump in record sales that Alice sent Ms. Whitehouse flowers. Do you believe in censorship? Or should adults be able to choose to see/hear whatever they wish?

Adults should be able to censor their own media consumption. Except in the case of child pornography. :\

8) Today Alice has a popular syndicated radio show, Nights with Alice Cooper. Listeners all over the United States, Germany, Denmark, New Zealand, and the UK hear him introduced as, "a man for whom even Dr. Phil has no cure." Do you watch Dr. Phil?

I have, a few times, but not lately and not regularly

9) Did you get many trick or treaters this year? What candy did you give them?

We didn't hand out candy this year, and I regret it! We got maybe 2 trick-or-treaters last year, and my kids got all the rest. I didn't want that to happen again... sure enough, there were tons of kids in our neighborhood this year. Of course!

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday Stealing: Let's Talk Travel


Link up here if you're playing along today!

Ok let’s talk travel, do you like to travel? 

I live to travel. It's my mission in life to see everything I can see before I leave.

Where have you been? 

I can't say I've been to all those places, but I've been around the Caribbean a bunch, and we went on our European cruise in 2008. That was amazing. I lived in Guam and wanted to go to Australia and all around Asia, but alas, we didn't get to stay very long. I've been to Hawai'i, but unless the inside of the Honolulu airport is representative of the whole, then I don't count that. ;)

Next place you want to go? 

In mid-November, we'll be here (assuming I get all our passport stuff in order before then, d'oh!) at the Azul Fives resort on the Mexican Riviera. I'm super stoked!

What is something you MUST take with you when you travel? 

I have GOT to bring my phone with me, everywhere, every time. I can not stand to be that disconnected, but more importantly, I need to be able to be reached if something happens with our kids. This may be the first trip since Europe when we don't bring the laptop with us, though!

How do you like to travel? (mode of transportation)

I don't care how I get there, as long as I go...

With someone, or alone? 

I've actually never traveled by myself, and that is one thing that is not on my bucket list (I have a long list). I prefer companionship, so I can immediately share my experiences with someone and then remember them together down the road.

Do you dance in your car when there are other people with you? 

Of course I do! I have specific car-dancing moves for specific songs, too. Hubs laughs at me... but I think he enjoys my silliness. ;)

If you're quiet what does it mean? 

I'm never quiet when I'm comfortable. So if I'm quiet, it means I'm not.

Favorite scent?

My favorite scents are fruity, especially citrus, but when I smell the sea, it means I am HOME.

Least favorite scents: florals and that God-awful ubiquitous vanilla aroma. *gag*

Favorite store? 

I love any artsy-craftsy store, but Pearl in South Miami is the Bomb dot com! When I took my very last undergrad class at U. Miami, it was Design and Drawing, and I went to Pearl to get my supplies. That was in 1997, and I still get excited when I drive by that store, all these years later.

Say you wanted coffee.. what kind is your favorite?  

Lately, I've been getting the Venti Java Chip Frappuccino Light at Starbucks... and drinking about a third before I pass the rest to Rob or the kidoodles. I can never finish it and always wonder why I don't just get the Tall.

Favorite kind of pizza? 

My favorite pizza was this two-tone cherry tomato and goat cheese rustic pizza I made several months ago, using Martha Stewart magazine's dough recipe. It's a killer recipe, fo'shizzle. However, when I go out for it, I love a good margherita pizza.

I'm a New Yorker, though, so of course the best pizza in the land comes from there and must be folded in half!

Do you get embarrassed easily? 

I blush easily and can't stand being the center of attention - even positive attention makes me nervous. I hate that about me.

Do you mind people asking you personal questions? 

Oh, come now. I am the Queen of TMI. I just don't want to be on center stage when I over-divulge!

You have a tank of gas, $50, and the day off… what do you do? 

I'd probably head for the Florida Keys. I can be in Key Largo in 20 minutes. What do you want to do?

Favorite tv show?


Well, we haven't had TV service in at least 10 years, but if we did it will still be Big Bang Theory. I miss TV!

Song you turn the volume up all the way to listen to? 

"Kiss" by Prince, and yes I sing and dance to it, too! ;)

Something you keep in your car? 

I try to keep Miranda (our new-to-us 2012 Kia Sedona) an oasis of clean, since our house is decidedly not, so not much. Sophia, my 9yo, keeps her baseball stuff in the back, and I would be lost if I didn't keep my car charger in there. Literally. I must have my GPS!

 Highlight of your day? 

When Hubs worked, I would say it was when he came home. Since he's now a disabled, retired vet, he's always home now. But when he laughs... it makes me smile. Best thing in the world.

 Something you do everyday that you wish you didn’t have to do? 

Since I proclaimed myself the Queen of TMI, I guess it's now time to live up to it: I have a crazy GI tract and have been living in the bathroom especially since I got my gastric bypass surgery nearly six years ago. And our toilet... well, you have to flush it like 20 times to get stuff to go down. I spend a lot of time there, you know what I'm sayin'? (I wish diarrhea upon the idiot who invented low-flow plumbing facilities. GAH!)

 Do you mind if people just show up at your house unannounced? 

When I was in college, and my dorm room was always clean, I loved that. Now that I live with all these people - and animals - who apparently are untrainable in the realm of cleaning up their own crap... I hate it. Please call first. No, text. I don't like to answer my phone, either. :P

What do you do when you disagree with someone? 

I'm always right. The End. (You know that saying, "Would you rather be right or be happy?"? I have to say that to myself a lot... 'cause of course I'd rather be happy!)

Do you enjoy rain? 

I love the rain. I do. Because without it, there would be no rainbows. (It goes without saying that I love the sun shining, too, right?)

Who’s your favorite person in the whole world… besides me?


I love my hubs more than anyone on the planet. He is everything that matters to me, or he helped me create it. Even though he's dain-bramaged now, and different, and stuff... without him, I would be nothing and no one. He's my gift, and I know I got the better end of the deal in this relationship. I'm keeping him forever. Love you, Babe!

Thanks for stopping by!




Sunday Stealing: The 90 Meme, Part The First

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Here we go...

1. What was the highlight of your week? 


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

2. Whose car were you in last? 

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

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


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

4. What color shirt are you wearing? 

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

5. How long is your hair? 


About that long!

6. Are you good looking? 

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

7. Last movie you watched? 

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

8. Who were you with? 


The whole fam-damily watched together.

9. Last thing you ate? 

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

10. Last thing you drank? 

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


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

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

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

12. Who came over last? 

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

13. Are you happy right now? 

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

14. What did you say last? 

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

15. Where is your phone? 

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

16. What color are your eyes? 

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

17. Are you left-handed? 

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

18. Spell your name without vowels: 


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

19. Do you have any pets? 


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

20. Favorite Vacation? 

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

21. What do you dislike currently? 

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

22. What are you listening to? 

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

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

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

24. What is your favorite scent? 

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

25. Who makes you happiest? 


Hubs, the love of my life, forever and always

26. What were you doing at midnight last night? 


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

27. When is your birthday? 

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

28. Who has the same phone as you? 

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

29. Last time you went swimming in a pool? 


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

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Susan

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: Susan

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

1) In this song, our hero tells Susan that "no other girl could ever take the place of you." Crazy Sam feels that no other earmuffs could ever take the place of the ones she left in restaurant coat room last month. Tell us about something you recently broke, lost or misplaced.

I was frying an egg in olive oil, and I had my iPhone next to the stove to listen to music. Well, I ended up spilling hot oil all over the phone, and now I can't hear anyone who calls me. Not cool, Self! (This was days ago, and the 'rice trick' didn't work. :/ )

2) When this song was first released back in 1968, the name Susan was very popular. According the Social Security Administration, it was one of the top 10 baby girl names of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Today it's not even in the top 100. Do you know anyone named Susan (or Suzanne)?

I do, but I don't think I have any Sue-ish friends on Facebook!

3) The Buckinghams were Chicago's attempt to get in on The British Invasion begun by the Beatles. (Hence the silly suits.) But they took their name from Chicago's famous Buckingham Fountain. If Crazy Sam visited your neighborhood, what local site would you recommend she check out?

We have yet to go ourselves, but I plan to take the kids to the Coral Castle right down the road from us soon. A man built his paradise for the unrequited love of his life. It's a pretty amazing story.

4) Chicago is known for deep dish pizza. Describe your dream pizza. (Calories, carbs and gluten need not be a factor because it's dream pizza!)

There's a local pizzeria in Leonia, New Jersey, where the pizza can't be beat. It's a traditional New York-style thin crust, that you fold in half, and nothing is better than a fresh, hot slice of cheese pizza from there. If you've ever been to a Manhattan-area pizzeria, you'll know that it defies further description without being personally tasted!

 5) The Buckinghams got their big break by winning a local "battle of the bands." Do you often go to concerts or bars to listen to live music?

I haven't been to a concert in a couple years, but I adore it. I'm good with anything from a major-venue, mainstream artist to a local band playing for free at the park... Actually, if that counts, then yes ,I've heard a lot of live salsa and merengue since we've lived here!

6) The best-selling book in 1968 (the year "Susan" was released) was Airport by Arthur Hailey. It was set during a snowstorm at Lincoln International, a fictional airport based on Chicago's O'Hare. What's the most recent airport you flew to? Why were you there?

We flew from New York City's JFK International into Barcelona and back for our European cruise in 2008. I don't think I've flown since then, but we have maybe three different flying trips planned for this calendar year: back to Virginia to visit our friends there, to Central New York for my 20th high school reunion (!!!),and to Central Missouri for a visit to Hubs' family.

7) Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, Sox ... Chicago is a big sports town. What's your favorite pro team?

Now that we don't have any TV service at all, I don't really follow any major league sports. I do, however, take every opportunity to root for my alma mater. Go 'Canes!

8) Thinking of sports, did you watch the Olympics? If yes, which events?

I did not, because no TV, but the Olympics are one of the few reasons I would consider re-suscribing to a service! I adore watching the Games, normally.

9) Do you consider yourself an idealist or a pragmatist?

Oh, I have my rose-colored glasses firmly planted on my head at all times! ;)


Saturday 9: Why Don't We Get Drunk?

Hey folks... I realize I've been absent again, but once more, we are dealing with Hubs' brain situation. He had major surgery on Wednesday, which lasted all day, and I've been back and forth at the hospital since then. I'll post about that shortly, but please please forgive me for being such a bad blahgger and an even worse visit-backer!!

With that said, I'm going to play today. So let's, shall we?


Link up here if you, too, are in it to win it!

Saturday 9: Why Don't We Get Drunk?

 Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.
1)This week's song was once named the favorite love song of Bud Wiser, the godfather to this humble blog. With Valentine's Day coming up, what's your favorite love song?
That's hilarious... Mine is our wedding song (and about eleventy billion others', but so what?), Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight."
2) When this song was first released back in 1973, the "Why don't we get drunk and screw?" refrain was considered shocking. With the explicit sexual content in many of today's songs, it now hardly raises an eyebrow. When is the last time you were shocked? (Not just by a song, by anything at all.)
I was completely shocked - probably not in the way you mean, but stunned out of my gourd nonetheless - a week ago yesterday morning. After 9 months of being told my husband's brain tumor was inoperable, we sought a second opinion from a much more highly qualified neurosurgeon who told us that not only was it operable, but that it MUST be done IMMEDIATELY. Five days later, he spent 13 hours in the operating room having his cerebellum hacked into (if one can carefully "hack"). Cue the tears!
3) Buffett named his first daughter Savannah, presumably after his favorite city. Tell us about your favorite city.
I have a love of travel, so I can't. My favorite Northeastern US city is, of course, and will always be New York (specifically Manhattan). I'm not a big fan of the South, but I adore Charleston, South Carolina. It's completely charming. I haven't spent enough time in the western US to evaluate that; I'm an East Coast girl. I love my home city, Miami, to pieces. Abroad, I think Venice is the coolest, but I'm pretty fond of Nice and Barcelona, too. Hm. Tough question!
4) Mr. Buffett opened a Margaritaville Casino in Atlantic City. Have you ever gambled in Atlantic City? What about Las Vegas?
I have been to Atlantic City numerous times as a kid wih my grandparents. Grandma LOVED to play the slot at Trump Tower, usually, while Grandpa and I - and my sister, if she was with us - strolled the boardwalk and took in a show. We always got salt water taffy. I still have my playbook from A Chorus Line there. I haven't visted AC as an adult.
As for Vegas, I went there for a week or so  --  coincidentally when my Grandmother died and I therefore couldn't make it to say goodbye or go to her funeral -- with my quadriplegic friend, Marc. I was his nurse, so I had to stick by him all the time. He did let me go toss $20 or so into the Treasure Island coffers at one point, though. I had no clue how to play Texas Hold'Em at the time!
5) Saving Florida's manatees is a cause near and dear to Jimmy Buffett's heart. If we were to make a $100 contribution to any charity in your honor, which would you choose?
I'd split it four ways among diabetes research (for my mother), an environmental group, an animal rights group, and Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome research (for my son).
6) If today was your birthday, your astrological sign would be Aquarius. How often do you check your horoscope?
I don't really check it, but I do listen when my morning radio program tells what the daily Virgo 'scope is. I'm a true Virgo, and it's usually pretty accurate... but I hardly live by it or anything.
7) On this date in 1974, the show Good Times ("Dy-no-mite!") premiered and, much to Sam's confusion and chagrin, still enjoys an audience in syndication. Tell us about a pop culture phenomenon that you just never got into.
First of all, I wasn't alive when that show opened, so ha! Sorry, I'm feeling old lately, so that had to be said. ;) As for me, I could never understand the appeal of Jennifer Lopez. J.Lo may be gorgeous and a good singer, but her acting is only so-so, and I can't stand her singing.
8) Is there a home improvement project on your list of things to do?
What's with that segue?
Mainly, I need to organize, organize, organize! We still haven't finished unpacking, and we've lived here over 10 months!! Of course, with Hubs being largely out of commission during that timeframe, I have a bit of an excuse... but not much!
9) A warm-weather choice to consider on a February day: Ice cream sundae or banana split?
Neither, because even the thought of ice cream turns my stomach anymore. Here's what I'm craving right now: A slice of whole grain toast, topped with vegan cheddar "cheese" and avocado slices, drizzled with fresh lemon juice. Yum!
Thanks for stopping by. Please keep Rob (Hubs) in your thoughts and prayers. He's doing well, but we have a long row to hoe.

Sunday Stealing: The ASK Meme, Part The First


Link up here if you're playing along today!


The ASK Meme, part one 

1. What’s your favorite candle scent? 


I love all the fruity scents, but apple is my favorite!

2. What female celebrity do you wish was your sister? 


Parker Posey just seems like she'd be so much fun as a big sister!

3. What male celebrity do you wish was your brother? 

These two questions were hard for me, but I picked Drew Carey. He just seems like a really cool guy.

4. How old do you think you’ll be when you get married? 


I was 24... that's about what I figured it would be.

5. Do you know a hoarder? 

Well, no, not really. But since we've downsized into a place about a third as big as our home in Virginia Beach and have only half-finished unpacking, people might think we are!! (We're not. We're getting rid of as much as we can, as fast as we can!)

6. Can you do a split? 


I googled "Painful Split" and of course, lots of celebrities who divorced came up... along with, inexplicably. this. Ha! But no, I can't anymore. I used to be able to, but my joints are locked up tight now.

7. How old were you when you learned how to ride a bike? 


I was 7 before I got rid of my training wheels. My kids still need them; we can't afford proper bikes for them. I wish we could... :(

8. How many oceans have you swam in? 


Two: The Atlantic a million times, and the Pacific, namely Tumon Bay in Guam, like in the picture above. Yep, I was there!

9. How many countries have you been to? 

I've been on several cruises, so that ups my count a lot. Namely: USA, Canada, Mexico, Cayman Islands, Bahamas, {Puerto Rico}, {Guam}, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Panama, Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Greece, Croatia, and I think I'm forgetting one or two in there... But I've lots more to go!

10. Is anyone in your family in the military? 

My husband just retired from 20 years of service in the US Navy. My grandfather served in the Navy in WWII, and my Uncle Chris was also in the Navy. My dad was in the Coast Guard. I don't have anyone in currently, though.

11. Have you named any of your body parts? 


A long, long time ago, my boobs were Chip and Dale... lol. But no, I don't do that now.

12. If you had a child today, what would you name him/her? 


I'd give anything to have more, but that's impossible. A girl would be Victoria Jane, and a boy would be either Jasper James or Sebastian James. Jasper Sebastian is probably too much!!

13. What’s the worst grade you got on a test? 


I've never gotten an F, but I did get a D on an Ichthyology exam that I'd studied my ass off for in graduate school. That killed me!

14. What was your favorite TV show when you were a child? 


I used to love this show!!

15. What did you dress up as on Halloween when you were eight? 


Who remembers? That was nearly 30 years ago for me...

16. Have you read any of the Harry Potter, Hunger Games or Twilight series? 

Nope, nor seen the movies. It's just not my cup of tea.

17. Would you rather have an American accent or a British accent? 


I'd love to have a British accent!

18. Did your mother go to college? 


I think, but I'm not positive, that she did a semester or a year at Bronx Community College. Don't quote me on that, though...

19. Are your grandparents still married? 


All of my grandparents are gone, now.

20. Have you ever taken karate lessons? 


No, but that is something I think it would be fun to do. My parents went to one lesson when I was small, and my mom came running out of the dojo with my dad chasing after her. She'd done a kick and peed her pants! Hahaha...

21. Do you know who Kermit the Frog is? 


Sure, doesn't everybody?!

22. What was the first amusement park you’ve been to? 


I really can't remember the first one, maybe Disney World?? When I was five, with my grandparents? But I most remember Darien Lake from my childhood, in Western New York.

23. What language, besides your native language, would you like to be fluent in? 

I'd love to be fluent in ALL the languages, but especially Italian. It's so beautiful to the ears, melodious even.

24. Do you spell the color as grey or gray? 



25. Is your father bald?


Yes, and he sports a pretty bad toupee if you ask me... but he refuses to stop wearing it, and that's his prerogative. Whatevs!



Saturday 9: Come Monday


Link up here if you're feeling awesome today!

Saturday 9: Come Monday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because A Holiday Is Like The Weekend, Part II

Link up here if you wanna, folks!

This week's questions come from Academic Cog, and she wrote the questions herself because she hadn't seen a summer meme in a long time.

1.) What first tells you that Summer is here? 


I think I usually know when Daylight Savings starts. The longer days are the key for me.

2.) Name five of your favorite distinctively Summer habits or customs. 

1. Spending too much time at the beach/pool/other body of water.



3. dreaming of traveling, if I'm not doing it

4. sweating profusely, and

5. eating frozen yumminess!

3.) What is your favorite smell of Summer? 

toes in the grass, fresh-cut grass, rolling in the grass...

in other words, grassy, grassy grass!

4.) What is your favorite taste of Summer? 

Anything strawberry! 

Or watermelon

or citrus

or any fruit, really...!

5.) Favorite Summer memory? 


long, hot days at the Jersey Shore

jumping in waves

getting knocked over, tumble tumble tumble

flattened onto the shore

getting up and

doing it all over again!

6.) Extreme heat or extreme cold? Which would you choose and why? 


I would say 80-90º is okay, but I can't deal with extreme anything.

We went to a botanical garden today, and we

visited the exotic butterfly exhibit.

It was screened in, and that made it exceedingly hot and humid.

I damn near blacked out.

It was no fun... but at least I wasn't shivering!

7.) What books do you plan to read for the season? 


no books planned.

i have a stack of magazines a mile high that needs my attention first!

8.) What is your favorite part of summer? 


Independence Day is my favorite holiday, so naturally

it's also my favorite part of summer. 

I love everything about it:






late nights

E V E R Y T H I N G ! ! !

9.) What's your favorite quintessentially summer food? Least favorite? 



corn on the cob!! there is nothing better than sweet, juicy corn

least favorite:

baked beans. aka barf in a bowl. 


10.) Best beverage to beat the summer heat: 


i'll take whatever this is, please. maybe two.

11.) Least favorite/most annoying thing related to summer?

does it get any worse than bug bites?!

12.) Pick one: the lake /the beach. 

a good beach is my favorite thing on Planet Earth

13.) Most amusing summer vacation trip you've ever taken?


i'm going to take 'amusing' in the sense that it was highly interesting, and not funny,

so i'll go with our

2008 june/july mediterranean cruise.

you can read all about it here.

14.) Most ridiculous/cringe-inducing/blush-provoking summer outfit you have seen? (Bonus points if you yourself were wearing it!) 

like, really, britney??

15.) Your absolute dream summer afternoon would be: 

i actually have lain in a hammock in the summertime, at the beach, in the Bahamas, on a private island.

It was the shizz.

I'd do it again any day of the week.

Minus the Bahamas part. Not my favorite country...

16.) If you could go anywhere on summer vacation where would you go?

my husband went SCUBA diving in micronesia when we lived in guam, in 2003

i couldn't go because

i was pregnant with our twins.

it's on my bucket list - 

i'm so jealous of him!!


have a great 4th of July, my fellow americans!


Saturday 9: Aida

Welcome, 9ers! Link up here if you're playing along this week.
1. Have you ever been to the opera?
Nope, I never have. It's on my bucket list, though! I have been to the ballet...
2. Maria Callas was often called a "diva." Is that a compliment or a criticism?

Either way, it's always an earned title. Whether it's got a positive connotation usually depends on the woman's talent, whereas negative intent usually depends on the person's attitude.
3. Aida was composed by the famous Italian Giuseppe Verde.  In addition to opera, what else can the world thank Italy for?
Oh, come on! How long have you got? I think the list should begin and end with ravioli, though. Yummo!
4. Verdi was Italian, and Callas was Greek. Would you rather vacation in Italy or Greece?
Been there, done both. Equally beautiful and intriguing, though quite different from each other. I'd go back if given the opportunity, but I'm aiming for Australia and Japan!
5. The Marx Bros. starred in A Night at the Opera. What's the funniest movie you have ever seen?
You know, off the top of my head, I keep coming back to Borat. Sure, it's horrible at best, but I laughed my freakin' ass off!
6.  What's for dinner tonight?

We went out for Japanese hibachi, to use up one of our many Restaurant.com certificates before we move away from this place. Everything was awesome, except for the very beginning and the very end: My GPS couldn't find the place, so I called and was given the WORST. DIRECTIONS. EVER. And then, when it came time to pay our bill, I couldn't find my purse. We had to use Rob's card, which had just gone through the wash, and it got declined. Talk about panic! I finally found my purse and the payment went right through, but whew! I didn't quite know what to do for a minute there!
The rest of the meal was fantab, though, and I came away just loving my family and our little life.
7.  Are you wearing any jewelry right now?
Yes, my wedding and engagement rings, and my nose ring. I never take that out - I've even left it in for various surgeries and procedures (much to the anesthesiologists' utmost chagrin).
8.  Sam Winters has a scratchy throat and watery eyes. How do you treat the common cold?
With a heavy dose of complaining, a drop of kvetching, and a pinch of bellyaching! I am such an accomplished whiner!
9. Do you need your glasses (or contacts) when you drive?
Oh, hell yes. Otherwise, look out! I have admitted to my husband for the first time this night (though not for the first time to myself) that I am not such the great driver; I think my ability has declined over the past 10 years, actually. But if I couldn't see? Fahgeddaboutit!
Have a great night, y'all! See you on the 'morrow...

Saturday 9: Beer Barrel Polka


It cracks me the eff up that we're doing a polka-based meme! If you feel the same way, by all means, link up here!

Saturday 9: Beer Barrel Polka

1) Have you ever danced the polka?
If the Chicken Dance counts, then I sure have!

2) Frankie Yankovic was a stellar accordion player. What instrument have you mastered, or would like to learn?
I would love to play electric violin. Or the sax. I think I'd be a killer sax player. Yeah, that's the ticket.

3) When Frankie died in 1998, his obituary proclaimed him as "America's Polka King." Lucille Ball was "The Queen of Comedy" and Michael Jackson was "The King of Pop." What royal title do you deserve?
Duh, I'm the self-proclaimed "Queen of TMI."
4) Do you like light beer? 
I hate beer. When my husband pointed out that the wine coolers I occasionally enjoy were technically beer, I was in fits. Fits!
5) In 1901, daredevil Annie Taylor successfully went over Niagara Falls in a barrel. She was badly bruised but otherwise fine. How much money would it take for you do to do something that dangerous?
It wouldn't take money. It would take me going off my meds for a couple days, tops.

6) When was the last time you visited a pet store?
Couple weeks or so, I guess. I like to pick up treats for my therapy dawg.

7) What's your favorite salad dressing?
It used to be Italian as a kid, but now I love Ranch. Though nothing, but nothing, is better than Cardini's Caesar dressing. Yum, yum. OMG, I could chug-a-lug that like y'all drink beer.
8)  Sam Winters is crazy about her smart phone. She uses it to take pictures, record videos, listen to tunes, answer emails and surf the net and, oh yeah, she even uses it to make calls. How indispensable is your mobile phone in your day-to-day life?
I sleep with my phone. In my hand. I lurrrrrrve my iPhone!!
9) "Kocham cię" is "I love you" in Polish. Can you say "I love you" in a language other than English (and Polish)?
I can say it in Spanish, Italian, French, German, Japanese, ASL and Pig Latin. That counts, right?
It bothers me that there's no question mark there...
Have a great weekend! Yay, December!

Sunday Stealing: The OC 25 Meme


Link up here if you're playing along today! Happy Easter/Passover to all who celebrate!

Sunday Stealing: The OC 25 Meme

1. What is your origin of your first name? What about any nicknames?

My mom just randomly came up with it. I was supposed to be "Eleanor" after my dad's mom, or "Clayton" if I was a boy, but when my dad wasn't in the room, my mom quickly put down "Melanie" instead. Hee! I've come to appreciate that, although my elementary school BFF was Eleanor, so of course I had wanted that to be my name then. My middle name is Ann, so my dad always called me "Mellie Ann," which my wonderful older sister changed to "Smellyann" at some point. And there you have it.

2. Have you any claims to fame?

Apparently, I'm meant to be a writer. In college, I came in second (or third?) in a huge poetry contest - you've probably seen the ads for it - and my published poem was analyzed in the front of the anthology in which it appeared. I was supposed to have my boys' and my story published in the Chicken Soup for the Twins Soul book, but apparently they decided it was too sad and took it out later on, which is fine with me. And more recently, my "Works for Me Wednesday" pets edition blahg post was published in a book called That Works For Me! or something like that; I had to give the proper permissions and all that. I've always been a pretty decent writer and thought I've had more poetry and maybe a novel rattling around in there, but I haven't been able to get started. We'll see if that ever comes to fruition.

3. If you were famous, how would you introduce yourself to someone who had never heard of you?

The same way I do now, I suppose: I'd have the head of my huge entourage do it. Heh.

4. Which of your country's achievements do you hold in highest regard?

Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation couldn't have come soon enough; I think it just edges out winning the American Revolution. JMHO

5. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

First, I wanted to be a teacher and librarian. As I grew up, though, I wanted to be a marine biologist. And until I got married, I was one. For a brief time, I was livin' the dream I grew up having. Now, I'm happier things worked out this way. I wouldn't change a thing, except for maybe a fatter wallet..

6. What was your most prized possession as a child? Do you still have it?

It was my red-and-white stuffed puppy dog named Snowflake, who eventually was missing an ear. The other ear had holly leaves and berries on it. I loved that puppy. I don't know what happened to her.

7. What would you change about yourself, if you could?

Pfft. What wouldn't I? That would be a shorter list. I would take away the Bi-Polar Disorder from which I suffer (as do those around me, I'm afraid), and I would give myself more strength of character. People who know the sorts of things I've been through always tell me what a strong person I am, but I don't feel that way. I feel like a weak, meek little mouse. My therapist tells me I am progressing though - she told me recently that I was "individuating," since I am no longer seeking my father's approval. I laughed and said it was high-time at 35, but she says she sees people much older than I am who haven't gotten that far and wow! I am babbling! Anyway, physically, I'd get my plastics to remove the skin I have hanging around (literally) after my 200+-lb weight loss.

8. What are you obsessed with?

Yarn. Picking at myself. My husband's nuts. Jafra. Couponing. And more yarn.

9. What is your greatest achievement so far, or the high point of your career?

Oh, I've received my fair share of academic accolades, but my proudest achievement was winning "Class Giggler" in 3rd grade. I still have the certificate!

10. When/where were you happiest?

January 2, 2001: The day we eloped was the most blissful day in my life. I'll never, ever forget that high.

11. And the lowest point in your life thus far?

March 25, 2003: The day I held my older twin son as he shuddered taking his last breath. Nothing is worse than outliving your child.

12. What was the best decision you ever made?

Marrying Rob! He is so good for, and to, me. We both have our share of shortcomings, but I definitely ended up with the better end of the deal. God knew what he was doing when he brought me this man.

13. If you have any body modifications, which was most painful, or which do you regret the most? If you haven't got any, do you have any planned, or would you ever consider getting any?

Other than four piercings in each ear, I have a nose ring. So that was the most painful. I haven't fully decided on getting a tattoo, but if I do, it'll be a joint one with Rob, honoring our four children together.

14. What is the most idiotic thing you have ever done while intoxicated?

We don't have to go there, do we? Let's not. Maybe the next time I get that intoxicated, which will be never, I'll share that story with y'all. ;) Let's just say I'll probably never drink Goldschläger again!

15. What is your favorite joke?

I am so terrible at remembering things like jokes and movie quotes. Asking me to tell a joke is putting me on the spot. I like stupid jokes anyway, like this one:

Knock Knock?

Who's there?

Little old lady.

Little old lady who?

I didn't know you could yodel!

16. What is the coolest/most impressive thing you own?

You mean aside from my iPhone? (You know I love that dang thing.) Okay, let me think on it a minute... probably the Britto. We bought a limited edition giclée of his called Deep Night Romance on our Mediterranean cruise, and it sums up our love for each other beautifully.

17. When did you last cry, and why?

I cried a little bit last night, thinking about this coming Monday. It'll be the 28th anniversary of my mom's death, and I always get a little weepy.

18. What's the best piece of advice you've ever had?

Surprisingly, it came from my dad. I'll paraphrase: "Don't let anyone rob you of your joy."

19. Similarly, what's the nicest thing anyone's ever done for you?

A semi-anonymous benefactor helped me pay for my college degree, the day I was going to get kicked out for non-payment of my classes. Biggest relief of my life!

20. Have you any vices?

I'm too self-indulgent.

21. Do you regret anything?

No regrets. I live for today, and tomorrow. There are things I wish I'd done differently, but I didn't, and I have learned and grown from them.

22. What is the best invention ever?

Hello?! The iPhone! lol

23. How would you describe your relationship with your family?

I have a very small living family. My mom is gone, my dad and I aren't speaking at the moment, and my sister and I are as close as we can possibly be from a distance. I love that broad! ♥

24. Who is your biggest inspiration?

Anyone with deep emotional fortitude, who can come through a tragedy and not completely fall to pieces. Well, falling to pieces isn't the thing, but someone who can pick up those pieces and make life work again - that's inspiring to me.

25. What are you going to do when you've finished Sunday Stealing?

Work on my April/May Jafra newsletter, a week later than I'd planned. Oops.

Happy Easter!


Sunday Stealing: The Eve Was Framed Meme

Sunday Stealing

Link up here if you're a dirty, dirty meme'er like me.

Cheers to all of us thieves!
1. Why is your favorite color your favorite?
It's the color of the clear sea in the medium depths of the Caribbean, the most beautiful color I've ever seen, and reminds me of what I love in the world.
2. Do you prefer dogs or cats or do you just hate animals, and want to kill baby seals?

That question made me snort! I prefer itty bitty little puppy doggies, but I love all animals. Even the ugly ones.
3. How much time do you spend on the computer?

4. Not including porn, what do you do on the computer?

This meme is cheeky, eh? I do everything, a little of this, a little of that, a little of s'more stuff... nunya, mostly.
5. Are you a clock watcher?

Rarely. Only if I'm bored, which I try not to be.
6. What did you look for in a partner?

Intelligence and a good sense of humor, decency and kindness, love and passion.... and obviously not height. Sorry, baby. Hee.
7. What type of clothing do you prefer?

Whatever I look good in and disguises my 7-to-10-year-old baby belly!
8. What is your favorite type of music?

I can't lie. I like my Pop music best. I know it's lame, but it's so... singalongable, mostly!
9. Do you believe in the paranormal, ghosts, ESP, levitation, spoon bending?

Not right now, nope.
10. The most important question: Do you have a innie or outie belly button?

I've got a way-the-hell-innie.
11. What kind of car do you drive?

C'mon, I've got three kiddos. A minivan. 2010 Honda Odyssey. I've had it a year and a half, and I still miss my old van.
12. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun or The Boys Are Back in Town?
The former!
13. Camping or the Ritz?
As much as I love the great outdoors, I'm more at home in a fancy hotel.
14. What food are you craving RIGHT NOW . . . did you eat it?
I don't know, but no, because whatever it is, we don't have it. Oberweis cottage cheese, I think. It's the best!
15. The most thrilling place you've ever visited. Why?
Oh, gosh. I'm hard-pressed... Okay. Our 2008 Mediterranean cruise was pretty awesome. I love culture, I love travel, I love being on the water... and I was with my darling husband. The only downside about that trip was that I was still mighty big (I had my surgery the following January), and we couldn't do a few of the excursions we'd planned because of my size.
16. If you could slip into the skin of one public figure--celebrity, artist,--who would it be?
Does Matt Damon's wife count? Then he could slip into my skin. Did I just say that?
17. Look up from your computer. What do you see first?

The Britto we bought on the aforementioned cruise!
18. Sum up your philosophy of life in one sentence. You can borrow it from someone else, if you'd like.

You take the good, you take the bad, you take it all, and there you have the facts of life, oh, the facts of life... sorry. I'm in a singing mood.
19. Name the one thing you just don't understand about kids today.

No. The kids, I get. It's their parents I don't often get!
20. If you could steal one work of art from a museum or gallery, which would it be?
Dalí's The Persistence of Memory has always captivated me.
Have a stellar week, kids!

Sunday Stealing: The 99'er Meme, Part The Third

Sunday Stealing

Link up here if you're playing along late this week(end), like I am.

Cheers to all of us thieves!

51) Do you tend to hold grudges against people who have done you wrong?
Yeah. Unless they apologize. Then I'm easily forgiving.
52) What's your astrological sign? 
Virgo. Unless we're talking Chinese, and then I'm a Dragon.
53) Do you save money for anything? What?
54) What's the last thing you purchased?

Cat litter. Whew, we were desperate. Four cats who all prefer ONE box? Yick.
55) Have you ever had a relationship that you realized was lust not love?

Of course. I'm a hot-blooded American female. ;)
56) In a relationship?

That is not a complete sentence. Are you asking if I'm in one now? If so, yes, I'm on my dozenth year of marriage. Is dozenth a word?
57) How many relationships have you had?
Too many to count. See my answer to #55.
58) What do you want to tell us about your day?

I took my nearly-9yo son out with me to run errands, including shipping a bunch of boxes at the post office (using the automated machine), 7-11 for Diet Coke and a reward snack for him (and to pick out something for his sisters, too), and the grocery store for the afore-mentioned cat litter. He was a perfect little gentleman: without asking, he held open the P.O. door for me when my arms were full of packages, and since had my keys and likes to lock and unlock the van doors, he did so and then opened my driver's door for me, just because. I was very touched and impressed. He's so sweet! ♥ (And he put a lot of thought into what his sisters would enjoy, too.)
59) Where were you yesterday?

I'm going to answer this as if "yesterday" was Saturday, so I'll tell you that. In the morning, my daughters and I went to a Girl Scout event wherein they learnt, on real sewing machines (something I've been wanting to do but haven't yet...) how to make drawstring bags. The bags will be given to Operation Smile and filled before being sent to cleft palate and other oral surgery patients overseas.
Then we dropped off a couple Valentine's Day cards I had made for some nearby friends (we were far-ish from home) before stopping at a few stores to play with the iPhone (and Droid?) apps CheckPoints and shopkick, where you get points and then rewards for checking into stores and scanning the designated products. It's fun and addicting. And me like prizey.
(If you're into TV and want rewards for checking into TV shows, check out Viggle as well. Even if you don't watch TV, like me, you can still rack up quite a lot of points in other ways, so it's worth having.)
60) Is there anything interesting within 10 feet of you?

A mirror. No, for serious, there's tons of interesting things, in my opinion. There's the Britto, Deep Night Romance, that we bought on our Mediterranean cruise 3½ years ago, which speaks volumes about my hubs' and my love for each other. Then there's Hubs himself, who is a wonder of wonders. I'd go on, but you're practically snoring and drooling over there, so never mind for now.
61) Are you wearing socks right now?

No, and 9 times out of 10, I won't be. I love bare feet.
62) What's your favorite animal?

Sharks, but my favorite land animal and a close second are elephants. I've always been fascinated by elephants.
63) What is your secret weapon to get someone to like you?

I wish I knew. I mean, I'd tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

64) Where is your best friend?

Sleeping on the couch 5' away.

65) How did you end your last relationship end?

We lived together. We got in a fight. He shoved me into a bookshelf, breaking my two front teeth. I kicked him out. The end. (Wow, I made a long story short, imagine that!)

66) What is your heritage?

I'm 2/3 German/Pennsylvania Dutch, with some English and Hungarian, and I'm sure a smidge of "mutt."

67) What were you doing last night at 12 AM?

I believe I was actually sound asleep for once. Rare for me, at that hour. I was tonight, too, but I woke up wide awake at 0200 (it's 0311 now) and that was it. Maybe I'll sleep more later, maybe not. I sure hope so.

68) What's new?

I can't really answer that. If this is your first time here, then everything is new. If not, you pretty much know everything. I got the Girl Scout cookies my girls have sold so far today, and so I'm like a mother bird sitting on her nest now, protecting them from the snack-thieving Sophia. I guess that's news? LOL

69) What is the key to seduction?

Leaving more to the imagination than is revealed, at least at first...

70) What was the weirdest thing that happened to you this week??

My usually-grumpy psychopharmacologist, who prescribes my bipolar and anxiety disorder meds, smiled genuinely at me after I complemented him on his nice sweater. I nearly fell over from the shock.

71) You are walking down the street on your way to work. There is a dog drowning in the canal on the side of the street. Your boss has told you if you are late one more time you get fired. What do you do?

Get fired.

72) You are at the doctor’s office and she has just informed you that you have approximately one month to live. a) Do you tell anyone/everyone you are going to die? b) What do you do with your remaining days? c) Would you be afraid?

(a) I'd tell some people, but I wouldn't have it, like, emblazoned on a t-shirt.

(b) I'd try like hell to get to Australia and Japan, and finish up as much else on my bucket list as I could.

(c) No. I've never been afraid of death. Honestly, I'd be excited about seeing my mommy and my baby boy again.

73) You can only have one of these things: trust or love.

F**k you. Oh, are you asking me to pick? Wow. That's a tough one. Um, love, I guess. I'd rather be madly in love and always suspicious than completely trusting and have someone betray that. So, love.

74) What's a song that always makes you happy when you hear it?

Lots of songs do, but the first one that comes to mind is "Mambo No. 5" by Lou Bega. Can't help but dance!

75) Who has your cell phone number (other than family)?

Half of North America, it seems like. Lots of people. LOOOOTS of people. (We don't have a home phone line, so it's all I have.)

Well, I'm off to 7-11 to get me another Diet Coke. Yes, I realize it's the midding hours, but I'm fairly well immune to the caffiene-keeping-me-awake properties of the stuff by now. If I'm meant to sleep, I will, worry not.

And with that -


Aloha Friday


Link up with Kailani if you're playing along today!

My question for you this week is:

Are you allergic to anything? What?

I don't think I'm allergic to anything... anymore. In 2008, I suddenly had allergic reactions to all sorts of things: the yarn I was knitting with, chlorine at the pool, strawberries and apples and other foods, medications I was given... it was really bizarre. And then, that summer, we went to Europe, and all of a sudden, the constant reactions stopped as suddenly as they had started. It was so weird, but I was grateful!

Moral of the story: Europe - it's the cure for what ails ya! Ha!


Britto 'N' Burpee Love

Or should I say "Burpee 'n' Britto"?

Anyway, here's what I'm talkin' 'bout:

Britto luggage

I happened across this luggage collection at Heys USA via OK! Magazine. (Why I get that magazine, I don't know, but it was free, so hey. And it seems to be the only one I make time for lately, out of all my subscriptions - free and otherwise - so... okay!)

Thee luggage ist drool-worthy, no? I am coveting it.

For those who don't know, Rob and I bought one of Romero Britto's works of art on our European cruise two years ago, so this was quite cool to see. If I could afford a $300 piece of loogage, I would definitely snatch one or four pieces right up!

(My birthday's in September, if you're reading this, Mr. Trump.)

As for the Burpee love...

our seedy seedies arrived today! Pretty colorful, huh? Compared the Britto, these packages kind of put me to sleep.

But that's okay, because the goodness contained within will brighten up our backyard this summer, with the bright red tomatoes, purple peppers, yellow squash, orange carrots and... so much more.

I can't wait!

(Mr. Trump, I need some money for the wood for our raised beds, the soil, some tools, a compost bin... all in the name of education, you know.)


Not a particularly exciting day in Casa de Odette, I'm afraid. But that won't keep me from sharing all the details that I know you love so much. Both of you.


Someone on Freecycle posted 7 boxes of Annie's organic mac & cheese, so you know I snatched those babies right up! Even better, she lived right around the corner from us. Rob made some for the kids for dinner tonight. The girls LOVED it and Jack, who rarely loves any food that doesn't have sugar as its frst four ingredients, said he prefered the 'dark orange stuff instead.' Two out of three ain't bad.


Speaking of organic (because I never do that), Jack and I went on a leetle shopping spree at Harris Teeter today. The sales start on Wednesdays, so I took a look-see to figure out what they might have on sale that's actually organic. I think there were TWO things in the whole ad, which was sucktastic. But we were out of milk (because some unknown elf left out an ENTIRE half-gallon of organic leche, which made me want to weep), and Jack doesn't like his oatmeal prepared with water. Oatmeal snob! I had a bunch of coupons from Organc Valley's website, and a few others for organic stuff, so I figured we might as well go see what was to be had.

I bought about $72 worth of stuff for $50 with my coupons, which isn't too bad for organic. We picked up something like four half-gallons of milk, some cheese, yogurt, the above pizzas (I had some of the Spinach Feta for dinner, and it was okay, but weirdly spicy), and some chocolate ice cream. That shit was good!! I had about four small bites, and while I wanted more, I didn't really feel like summoning the Dumping Syndrome fairies, so I let it be.

I'm still enjoying this organic mess, though. It's expensive, but that'll be another challenge for me to overcome: finding room in our budget to eat all local, all organic, all the time. With Burpee's help, we should do just fine.

Or we'll starve to death.

You'll see.


I got all of this knitting done tonight, between dance class and sitting with my two "we're not sleepy" imps who fell asleep within minutes after I started playing the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales on Audiobook for them, courtesy of my iPhone. Well, except for the first two rows, which I did during dance class last night. (Would have been more, but I messed up the count and had to frog and restart.)

I'm not sure I'm loving this project. I don't even think I have enough yarn to finish it, but that actually adds to the excitement for me. Will she or won't she? Only one way to find out. (Okay, there's more than one way to find out, but I prefer to fly by the seat of my pants on these things.) Just in case, I'm keeping every last inch of my snippings, in case I need them!


See those pants I'm wearing? They're jammies, and I think it embarrasses the hell out of Chloë that I wore them to the bus stop. But that's beside the point. The point is, I bought them around Halloween '09 (hence the skulls), and I could not get them up past my thighs at that point. Now, they not only fit, but they are loose-ish and very comfy!


with them, I'm wearing one of Rob's size M Harley t-shirts, just because I can. I think he likes it. I know he likes it, actually, when his girl wears his shirts, so I'm excited that for the first time ever, I can!


just for kicks, I put on a pair of his zip-and-button-up shorts - no elastic in the waist - while I was doing laundry today, and I could button them!!! I had to shove my saggy belly all down in there to do it, but hello! Have you seen my husband? He is a very thin man!


While wearing this ensemble, I went out to get the mail, and a neighbor across the street called out, "Are you on a diet? You've gotten so skinny!"


So yeah, I'm all full of my SKINNY self at the moment, thankyouverymuch.

And on that note, I have shop reports to do.


P.S. Oh yeah. Rob took Jack to see the doc at the ADHD therapy clinic, you know, where Chloë goes? To see about the pediatrician's diagnoses of ADHD and ODD. The doc pretty much observed him for the hour and questioned Rob, and then summed it up with, "So why are you here?" In other words, he has neither, in that doc's opinion. We're going to go with that one. Joy!

P.P.S. The girls and I went to the library tonight after dinner. Sophia got her own library card and picked the first three books off the shelf to borrow. Chloë picked three more chapter books (she finished two in a week, so I figured she could handle a third this time), and I picked three more books related to teaching and homeschooling. Never mind that I still haven't read the last three. Never mind, I said!


Nine Years

On Saturday, Rob and I celebrated our ninth anniversary. Nine wonderful years:

In November, 2000, we met online. We lived in Florida then.

In January, 2001, we eloped!

In September, 2001, we had our first baby, Chloë Raine.

In August, 2002, I became pregnant with our identical twin boys, Jack River and Robert William.

In October, 2002, we moved to Guam.

In December, 2002, Guam was hit by the worst supertyphoon on record. Because of a complicated twin pregnancy, I was declared "unfit" to live on the island.

In February, 2003, we moved back to the States, to Virginia.

In March, 2003, our sons were born 9 weeks early. Three days later, Robby died. Something in me broke. I would not be "myself" again for about four more years.

In July, 2004, I became pregnant with our baby, Sophia Lorelei.

In April, 2005, we welcomed Baby #4 to the world.

In October, 2006, we took a family trip to Disneyworld!

Around that same time frame, I was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and the medication trials began in earnest. My weight gain started to be out of control from the meds. I hated myself.  It was an awful two years for us, while I tried to get the weight under control and qualify for gastric bypass surgery.

In June-July, 2008, we finally took our honeymoon, the trip of our dreams, a two-week European cruise, without the kids. It was an incredible trip. We were so happy.

In January, 2009, I finally had my gastric bypass surgery. I had ballooned up to 341.3 pounds. My husband still loved me, despite the weight, although we had a rocky next couple of months while we sorted out the major ups-and-downs of the previous eight years. We went to marriage counseling. Everything worked out well, and we are now stronger than ever before. We realized that sometimes it takes a crisis to appreciate how much we love each other.

And now, in January 2010, we are celebrating nine years of marriage, four children, one child's death, a few bumps in the road, and my having lost (so far) 155 pounds since surgery. (I weigh 14 pounds less than when we met!) We are completely in love. He is my everything. I hope I am his.


For an anniversary present, Stephanie offered us a free night of babysitting.  In our marriage counseling sessions, we were "ordered" to have a date night once a week. We did that at first but can't really afford it regularly anymore, so we jumped at the chance! It wasn't until we were actually ON that date that we decided exactly where we were going to go.

We had a Restaurant.com certificate to Taza in the Westin hotel in Town Center, but when we arrived, it turned out that Taza was gone, and Lucky Star was in its place. After some conferring, the manager of Lucky Star decided he would honor our certificate, but because the restaurant portion was closed and only the bar area was open, we decided to eat somewhere else. It just wasn't the ambiance we were looking for tonight.

We headed out into the freezing cold night to find somewhere else to eat. I thought about Ruth's Chris, but since we've eaten there several times before, I didn't mention it. We stopped in at Sonoma Wine Bar & Bistro next to Ruth's Chris, where we ate one time with the kids, although it's most definitely not a kids' restaurant. It would have been more than satisfactory, but they were completely booked.

So we decided to head down to a new place where we hadn't been before but had seen on the drive over: Zushi Japanese Bistro. It was a great find! We were greeted immediately by a man who seated us and took our coats. He pulled out my chair, and pushed it in for me when I was seated. He recommended the spicy soup to us, since it was so cold out, to warm us up.


Rob took him up on the soup offer. It was REALLY spicy. When the server took his drink away to refill it and forgot to bring it back - the only slip in the otherwise outstanding service - he had to steal some sips from my Diet Coke!


The tableware was really cool. I loved the silver chopsticks!

We ordered a LOT of sushi. Far too much. I don't know what we were thinking, other than we LOVE sushi.  This wasn't even all of it - there was another plate I forgot to photograph!  So when we were finished, and I asked for a box for more than half the food, the sushi chef came over and showed genuine concern for our satisfaction. "Everything is all right? Lot of food came back to the kitchen!" I assured him everything was great and that we were just full, and he laughed and said, "Yes, only two of you!" Lucky us, though, there were plenty of leftovers for snacking later!


Rob felt brave enough to try the sea urchin. Like I've said, he'll eat anything once. I took a scoop of the orange stuff. Blech. In my past life as a marine biologist, I dissected enough sea urchins to know there's nothing in there that makes me go, "Ooh, I wanna eat that." Rob didn't like it either. Our assessment? Don't order it!


The server took our picture. I thought we looked pretty good tonight! Except for my red chest, from the allergic reaction I'm currently having to who-knows-what.

The server, the chef, and the host checked on us multiple times during the meal. When we were finished, the host immediately went to retrieve our coats for us.  We weren't near the garage where we'd parked, so I stayed behind while Rob ran to fetch the van for me. The host asked what he's driving and said he would keep an eye out for him for me. When Rob pulled up, the Host walked out - in the freezing cold, without a coat, with me and opened the car door for me. I was very impressed by that; I almost wanted to give him a hug! So if you love sushi and appreciate good service, do check out Zushi in the Town Center of Virginia Beach!

After dinner, we drove two minutes down the road to go to the movies. We saw It's Complicated, with Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin.  I'd heard it was hysterically funny from beginning to end, so I really wanted to see it. I'd heard wrong. There were a few funny moments, including one absolutely hilarious scene that had me going, "Oh no! Oh no! Oh no!" but it was no all-out laugh-fest. It was okay. I could have waited for the DVD to come from Netflix. Maybe we should have seen Avatar instead, after all!

All-in-all, it was a pretty good date night for us. We came home, and Steph and Tim were there with their baby Luke asleep in Tim's arms, our three kid still up and running around after eating THREE times in our absence (!!!), and two more sleeping charges of Stim's on the couch.  A full house. The other two kids' mom was coming in a half-hour to pick them up, so we sent our chirren to bed and then hung out with Stim for the rest of the time. I held Luke the whole time. I just love that kid, as much as I love my own kids, which is saying a lot for me because I don't tend to like other peoples' kids, in general! He's beautiful and sweet and perfect, and I'm so happy for them.

And now... I'm waiting for Rob to go upstairs and clean the tub and all his crap off our bed, so we can go have a spa night together, with a good, hot soak and massages and... ;)



☺You Never Know Where You'll Find A Lava Rock☺


First Day of School
So this morning was a little rough on my schoolchildren! I woke up just fine, thankfully (and Rob called me to wake me up, which makes him a heckuva guy), but the kids did not. I opened the door, sweetly called out, "Jaaaaack! Chlooooooëeee!" and waited. No answer. I went in, started rustling up my boy, and he cried, "I'm too tired!" "Come on, buddy, it's time for school! Your first day! Kindergarten!" "I don't wannnnnaaaaaaaa."

I had less luck with Chloë.

When they were finally in a standing position, both buried themselves into my chest and sobbed.  I comforted them as long as I could, and then left them to get dressed while I called their father.

R: Hi, honey.

M: Hey baby.

R: What's up?

M: I just wanted to let you know, bedtime has officially been moved up one hour! These kids are whiny crybabies this morning!

Then, of course, came the flurry. Go get your socks, put on your glasses, let's eat some breakfast, who wants what? Nope, no sandals, you have to wear sneakers. Wrong feet, buddy, switch your shoes! Pick out a hair doodle, Chlo, we gotta do something with that hair. C'mon, finish your breakfast Jack, you won't get anything to eat at school today!

Finally, it was time to go to the bus. I forgot two things. My camera, as stated in the earlier post, and the name badge that Jack's required to wear around his neck for the first month of school. D'oh! I wouldn't have remembered, but we had a cute little girl kindergartener at the bus stop who was wearing hers. 

I gave Chloë explicit directions for where it was, and sent her running. One door down, two, three, uh-oh, there's a truck in the way, she doesn't know which way to go, "C'mon Chlo! Hurry up!" She made it around the truck and disappeared into the house. One minute, two minutes... still no bus, pleeease don't come... five, and she's out! And running this way! And she's got something yellow in her hands!

Whew. She found it. And then we waited another 15 minutes for the bus to come. Don't they practice the routes the week before?? It was already over 90 degrees outside by 8 AM. We were dying.

Finally, it showed. The instant it pulled up, Jack dashed ahead of everyone else and sprinted up the steps. He was excited! But I guess he got confused, not being on the special bus and having his own carseat, because he held up the line for a few minutes. Things got squared away, and as instructed, Chloë sat with her little brother. And off they went!

I shuffled back home and, because Sophia was still sound asleep, went to lie down on the couch. After checking emails, of course. The doorbell rang an hour or so later, the dog barked, and it was a freecycler to pick up all the small boxes I'd accumulated in the office. Still, no sound from Sophia, so I went back to sleep.

I dreamed about a certain cute boy I had a crush on in junior high (JK, Erin!). It was my first day of school, in 8th grade, and we were to choose secretly who we wanted to sit next to for the  year. I chose him, and he chose me! As soon as that was announced for seating, my alarm went off. Dang, I didn't want to goooooo.... oh, yeah, Jack.

I got up and waited and waited and waited, once again, for his bus. I waited 25 minutes, not having an exact idea when it would arrive and where it would drop him. I sat just inside the door to cool off in between going outside to check, and finally, I heard the rumbling of a school bus.

I forgot about the new little girl, so I was surprised when the bus stopped three doors ahead of mine, even though I was waving at the bus driver. Out Miss Cuteness hopped. Oh, yeah. I thought she was going to pull up, but then Jack came running out. No smile, no look in my direction, no 'Hi, Mom!' as he tore into the house. Just like that, he was gone, while I stood at the end of the driveway like a dumbass.

Good thing. The bus driver pulled up in front of me and told me she'd have forms for our cell numbers and such for tomorrow, saying something about Chloë, and mentioning she was glad I was feeling better now. Um? I swear I have never seen this person before in my life, but okay, yes, I'm feeling fine now, thanks.

Once inside, I had Jack go wake up Sophia, and she came down for breakfast while he had a snack. And then they had more snacks. And more. They were hungry little beavers. Some of it was healthy, and some of it was not so much, but whatev.

After a spell, I had Sophie run and put on some clothes, and we all put on our shoes. I had made an appointment for that afternoon with my prescribing shrink, because I was ... uh-oh, I still am, thank God Walgreens is open all night! ... out of my mind meds. We hustled out, got down the road, and made it just in time.

Dr. Pal was actually not an ass this time, even though I was bringing along twice my usual number of children. He kept his mouth shut, anyway, as I think he could tell I was not at all stressed out, and they were in good control today. At any rate, he quickly prescribed my meds, set my next appointment date, and sent us packing.

Back home again in the space of 45 minutes, well in advance of Chloë's bus, it was time for some fun. Dress-up fun! Sophia came running in with just unnerpannies, and I asked where her clothes were. "I'm going to put on my tutu, Mawm!"

Only, she's not the giggling little creature who came running out in the tutu!

Instead, she wore  one of Grandma's purty contributions to the dress-up box.  And she's looking so cute in ponies and piggies lately!

Today, on the message board I frequent, I was given a link for making a tutu. I'm so totally going to do that! If it turns out, I'll  make more. Maybe sell them! I can't wait. Tutus are very popular right now.

Let's see... soon Chloë was running in from her bus.  I couldn't get a whole lot out of them about what happened in  kindergarten and second grade (!!!!) today. I still cannot believe that child is in second grade! And is going on seven! And has a loose tooth, and another growing in!

Anyway, Jack was in high spirits all day after school, so I'm guessing it was great, although he won't actually admit to having been there. "I didn't go to school! I went to the dentist," he says. The one thing he did say was that none of friends were there. Aw, buddy. He'll make new ones soon, I hope.

Chloë was in a great mood, too. She told me her favorite part of the day was lunch, because she was so hungry. She did eat all her breakfast, though. As for the rest, I have no idea what either of them did! Apparently no one went to PE, or art, or music, or the library, so your guess is as good as mine?

The kids went upstairs to rest after that, while I farted around all afternoon online, and worked on cleaning up my desk (a constant work in progress), and went through the kids' backpacks and folders. Daddy came home, but I can't remember anything special that he did.  Chlo soon returned from Quiet Time, and then Jack, but Sophia was sound asleep. Sleepy girl today!

Rob made dinner when I reminded him that they had to go to bed an hour earlier tonight. Nothing special, chicken breasts, mixed veggies, and tater tots, but they all ate a great dinner!  Rob gave them ice cream for dessert and then whisked everyone upstairs for baths.

I took that time to finish up the little dress for Carolynn, Steph's niece.  It has a few little imperfections (just in the evenness of the assembly) but for the most part, it turned out cute, right? I have a feeling it's going to be too small, though. I couldn't find a suitable stuffed critter in the house to model it, so we shall just have to see. I believe I made this dress for Sophie when she was  a tiny baby.
DCP_2178 Nope, but I  did make it for the charity, and here it is! Much tinier than the current one, though.

Well,  two weeks after we arrived home, I finished blogging the Europe trip. Check it out and leave comments, please!

That is all. Tomorrow, I will  remember to take pictures of the kids' , er, um,  second first day of school!