Howdy-ho, neighbors! This weekend's post focuses on this song, Just Because, by Elvis Presley. This is significant to me because I grew up with a dad who absolutely idolized the man (and, I'm sure, still does) and could do a mean impression of him as well. My dad could sing well, could do the moves, and even had some of the requisite attire to make the whole thing convincing. Of course, I've heard every Elvis song ever, 50,000 times over, backward and forward... right?
I had not ever heard this song before.
So, my friends, link up here if you want to join us this weekend. Read on for my answers. Thank you, Crazy Sam, for dusting this one off for me (okay, us)! Let's hit it:
1) In this week's song, Elvis complains that his girl has confused him with Santa Claus. This time of year, Santa is prominent. Did you more recently hear Santa referred to in a song, see him in a holiday decoration or ad, watch him in a film or TV show, or maybe even met him in person, ringing a bell or asking kids if they have been naughty or nice?
Yes, we've been listening to a lot of Christmas carols lately as we work through the activities in our Advent calendar. Santa features prominently in these, of course.
2) Finally Elvis just can't take it anymore and breaks up with her, just because. Is there anyone in your life who has a way of pressing your buttons and getting on your nerves?
That's probably true for everyone, I'm guessing.
3) "Just Because" is one of the last songs Elvis recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis. TripAdvisor recommends a Sun Studio tour as one of the top things to do in Memphis. Have you ever been to Memphis? If yes, what did you do?
I've only ever driven through Memphis, and also Nashville, and also half a dozen times Chattanooga. I have stayed in Gatlinburg. Memphis would be an interesting trip, though.
4) Elvis left Sun for RCA, a much bigger record label. As part of the deal, RCA negotiated for the rights to all his unreleased Sun songs. "Just Because" is one of them, and it was included on Elvis' first RCA album. Have you gotten a good deal on anything lately?
I get a good deal on just about everything. Like the SodaStream I got for Chloë for Christmas, I paid nowhere near full price, nor did I pay full price for the flavors for it, nor will I ever! And she'll be so thrilled to have it, so win-win!
5) In 1956, when "Just Because" was released, non-stick cookware was first introduced. Do you have any Teflon in your kitchen right now?
No way in hell!
6) Elvis thought peacocks were beautiful and commissioned stained glass peacock panels for his living room. Do you have any stained glass in your home?
No, but I certainly do wish! It's so beautiful.
7) He tried to keep peacocks at Graceland. One of the birds saw its reflection in Elvis' gold Cadillac and started pecking, ruining the car's expensive paint job. Elvis donated the peacocks to the Memphis Zoo. Have you ever had a bird as a pet?
Well not exactly pets, but we used to keep chickens when we lived in Idaho for the eggs, and the five of us each had "our" specific chickens that we felt we belonged to and were particularly attached to. I loved those chickens. Here, we're not allowed to have any because of our HOA rules, even though the town would allow three, which makes me want to be a scofflaw and keep ducks. They don't say anything about ducks.
8) Elvis decorated the long Graceland driveway for the holidays with blue lights. His father teased that with the airport nearby, pilots might confuse their driveway with a runway. What airport is nearest your home?
I believe the nearest major airport is Baltimore International, although we have tons of regional ones between there and here.
9) When Elvis was alive, he kept the holiday lights up until January 9, the day after his birthday. That tradition continues at Graceland today. Conventional etiquette tells us Christmas decorations should go up the day after Thanksgiving and come down before January 6 (the 12th day of Christmas). Do you think it's ever too early, or too late, for Christmas decorations?
Well, for stores and other commercial enterprises, yeah, I kinda think there is a limit for too-early/too-late. But for private families and people, I think, who gives a rat's behind? Let people do what makes them happy! So what if Joe Schmoe at the end of the block likes to keep his lights up until the end of March and put them up again after Halloween? What's it to me? I don't pay his light bill and it's honestly kind of pretty. I'm of more of a laissez-faire kind of mind about that for private citizens.
Welp, that's all folks! Back to wrapping presents with Chloë, my eldest! Seems like the job will never be done, but that's not a complaint! I'm grateful for the abundance, always grateful.
Welcome back, y'all! It's a royal ball, with hip-hop clubs and concert halls! (Sorry. Every once in a while my mind belts out that old 90s rap lyric.)
Hope you guys are still hanging in there and not going absolutely stir-crazy. I'm gonna jump right in here and get going, so make sure you link up here if you're playing along with us this weekend - and we hope you do!
1) This week's featured artists, The Intruders, sing that they don't know how their mama made it through the week without ever getting a good night's sleep. How did you sleep last night?
I had a few hours. My sleep schedule is so erratic, I never know whether I'll get any at all - or more than 12 at a time. It's ridonk.
2) The Intruders performed this song on Soul Train, a syndicated show that ran for more than 3 decades. What show do you try never to miss?
I don't watch much TV at all these days, now that The Big Bang Theory has ended its run. I have about a billion episodes of dozens of shows recorded on the DVR right now, but I never just sit down to watch!
3) On Soul Train, the Intruders wore solid black shirts beneath their brightly colored jackets. Black, white, khaki, navy and gray are considered neutral colors, because they go with everything. If we were to check your closet, which would we find you wear most often: black, white, khaki, navy or gray?
I probably wear equal parts black and navy as my neutrals. And now that I've just upgraded to a big, bold, bright red purse kinda like this one, I foresee even more neutrals in my future!
4) Especially for Mother's Day: Access Hollywood named Carol Brady of The Brady Bunch TV's #1 mom. Who is your favorite TV mom?
Ohhh, I think Sophia Petrillo of The Golden Girls could give Carol a run for her money!
5) Mother Winters always gave Sam peppermint tea to calm her stomach. Do you have any tried-and-true home remedies to share?
I'm pretty sure I shared this photo in January 2017, when I had badly burned my left hand and arm while cooking. I had just recently learned that lavender oil would take the pain out of a burn injury, so I was grateful I had some on hand to put it to the test - and it worked! Once I doused this wound with liberal amounts of lavender oil, the entire thing was completely painless. It's something my family and I have since put to the test many times, always with excellent results.
6) Sam's mother always tips 15% in restaurants. Sam has worked in food service and is more judgmental, tipping between 10% and 25%, depending on the quality of the service. What's your tipping policy? Are you more like Sam or her mother? How do you handle tips for carry out or delivery during this Covid-19 crisis?
I'm definitely more like Sam in this regard. As for tipping during COVID-19, well, I guess it's pretty much been a non-issue. I don't think we've ordered food since it began.
7) When the tip of her shoelace becomes frayed, Sam's mother snips off the end and then paints the tip with clear nail polish. Good as new! Sam thinks that's crazy because you can just buy new laces for less than $2. Are you more frugal like mother or spendthrift like daughter?
I'm somewhere in the middle. I absolutely despise waste, but I also don't mind spending money for good, new things if they're worth it.
8) Mother Winters loves how french vanilla smells and burns her Yankee Candles all year around. Do you use scented candles or air fresheners?
I would rather burn candles - but only non-petroleum based ones. And never vanilla; it's a migraine trigger for me. My girls and I started an eco-conscious candle company about a year and a half ago, with only soy and beeswax candles, natural fragrances, organic cotton wicks, and so on - but it didn't catch on fast enough for the girls' liking, and so we folded altogether too quickly.
9) Sam is celebrating Mother's Day with her mother's favorite, Hershey Bars. Would you prefer classic milk chocolate, dark chocolate or chocolate with almonds?
I'd eat any of it - just no white chocolate, please! That's too much of an oxymoron for me (and also, it's yucky). I prefer Green & Black's Organic Milk Chocolate with Almonds bars, but they don't seem to be sold anywhere here in our podunk little town, so I can only get them when we go into Boise - where I invariably forget about them. Sigh...
All righty. Now I'm off to see what chocolate we DO have in this house, and assuming I'll come up empty-handed, I think I shall take a nap. Have a great weekend, y'all!
Welcome back, homeslices! 🤣 I woke up sick as a DAWG today 😞😭🤧😷, so I'm not feeling the (self) love. I know just being "here" with all of y'all will cheer me up, though, so let's bring it! 😍🤩💗💖 Link up here if you'd like to play along with us this weekend, or want to check out all the other amazing thieves among us!
What did you do last year that you had not done before?
Well, since two of my kiddos came out late last year as gay or bisexual, the three of us attended the Boise Pride Festival this past summer. It was SO fun, so loving, so joyous, and so inclusive. I loved every moment of it, and I am so proud of my girls for having the strength and courage to embrace their true selves. ♥
Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions/goals for the year and will you make/set more for next year? What are they? What are your new ones?
I'm sure I set some, but I don't remember what they were! I'll probably set more for next year, but I haven't done so yet. I'll keep ya posted! 🙃
Did anyone you know give birth? Or become pregnant? Or adopt?
My good friend Stephanie, who first was my kids' babysitter in Virginia Beach, when they were itty bitty, is pregnant with her fourth son!
And my high school pal, Lora, gave birth to her second son this year. Her kiddos are so cute! It's the year of boys! ♥ (I'm sure there are plenty more, but I'm forgetful.)
Did anyone you know die? Or have a serious illness/injury?
Gosh, I can't think of anyone who died - I hope I'm not forgetting! Aside from myself, Hubs was diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year and had surgery to remove the prostate. The recovery was heinous for him, and he had another surgery after that to repair the perforated bladder and fix the internal bleeding happening after the first surgery and on and on... it was just terrible for him. 😢
Also, someone on his side of the family is in a serious breast cancer battle right now, and we are thinking of her all the time, wishing her well.
What places have you visited?
Well, the hospital for one - a LOT! heh heh
We visited the Boise Ronald McDonald House on multiple occasions to make donations and take tours. This is a cause that's near and dear to our hearts (Dammit, Gal, I left it off your annual charity round-up post! DUHHHHHHHH!!) because we stayed in one while Chloë was in the NICU in Pensacola for 10 days. It's an amazing place. Visit one and I guarantee your heart will melt.
We drove out to Wasatch Sport Horses in Eagle, Idaho, many, many times for Sophia's riding lessons. Our new second home!
We went to many lessons at Chloë's fencing club, until she decided not to continue at the end of the season.
Listen, y'all, I could go on and on. And on!
Any new pets? Lost a pet?
Yes; critters we've lost this year:
We lost Rob's gentle giant, Henry, to a suspected sudden asthma attack. It was very sad.
We lost both of Chloë's beloved guinea pigs, Alexander Sirius and James Theodore, on the same day to unknown causes. She feels devastated and blames herself. 😢
Jack's old gerbil, Lucy, who lived a good, long, loved life with him, passed away peacefully. She is missed.
And finally, we lost all but one of our 2017 chickens, our White Silkie Athena, to a predator massacre. I was so crushed!
Critters we've gained this year:
We got 21 new rare-breed chicks in September. There's Athena keeping watch over the new babies. Two of them have since died, so we're at a 2018 flock of 20 chickens, currently.
Jack adopted this bunny-buns, Fudge, for his 4-H project this year. He's ridiculously soft!
And very shortly after that, Jack - an extremely conscientious pet owner - adopted Rocky so that Fudge could have a playmate. The two are still in separate cages, though, awaiting their neutering so they don't fight. Rocky's such a love! ♥
What would you like to have next year that you lacked this year (doesn't have to be a physical thing i.e. love, job security, peace of mind...)?
Well, aside from improved health, obviously, I would love to buy and move into a house of our own once again - like this one!. I yearn for it!
What date from last year will remain etched in your memory and why?
April 16th, 2018 - that's the date of Hubs' prostatectomy that sucked big ass. He's still recovering.
What was your biggest achievement last year?
I try to keep it lighter in my SS posts, but that's not always possible for me. So to answer this question: I realized and acknowledged that I was raised in a cult. I was an unwilling member for almost 21 years. And I went back to therapy, where I am finally in "intensive care" to undo the effects of the trauma, abuse, and brainwashing I've endured.
Did you get sick or injured?
Well, yeah! I have a lot of new diagnoses from this year. Mast Cell Activation Disorder, ME/CFS, and (possible, waiting to be genetically tested) Ehlers Danlos Syndrome among them... and since I'm now stumbly-bumbly all the time, lots of injuries from falling. I rely on my walker or wheelchair most of the time when I'm out of the house now.
What was the best thing you bought?
Well, I don't know! Lots of things, I guess, and I'm sure I'll get this wrong. I won, this week, a photography contest, wherein I was stacked up against several professional photogs, and for the prize I could get a $50 gift card to anywhere. I opted for P.F. Chang's, which we never get. I don't know why. But I snuck a slice of cheesecake in there, and WOW! That shizz was the bomb! And this is coming from a New Yawka who knows her cheesecake. Two thumbs up!
Oh! And I signed up for Grove Collaborative to get all kinds of good-for-us and good-for-the-earth stuff, and I'm really happy with our membership thus far. Their customer service is outstanding, and the products and prices are great! I'm a huge fan. If you want to sign up here, you'll even get a free 5-piece gift set. I loved mine!
Where did most of your disposable income go (money leftover after you pay for food, medical care, basic clothing, transportation and shelter)?
You say that as though there is any disposable income! 😂😂😂 Have you never tried to raise three hungry teenagers, 20 chickens, two dogs, three cats, and two bunny rabbits - not to mention the four score and seven prescription medications I take daily - on an enlisted veteran sailor's pension? BWAHAHAHA! But if so, we tend to spoil the pets. Especially the doggos. I mean, I love to get the chickens toys and chubby mealworms and stuff, watch the cats go insane on new catnip toys, etc., but the dogs! Nothing makes me happier than watching two butt-wiggling pooches get their BarkBoxes in the mail!! And oh, they know that that box is theirs, long before it gets opened. They just know. (I highly recommend it!)
What song will always remind you of last year?
"Girls Like You" by Maroon 5, featuring Cardi B (Gal, can we please, please, pleeeeeaaase do this song on Sat9 sometime?) is a song my 13yo daughter Sophia and I have played on the radio, YouTube, or whatever umpteen million times over and over. We sing along to every word and then, when Cardi B's part comes on, we blast it even louder and rap along to every word. I don't care how white we are, we rock that $h!t!
What do you wish you would have done more of?
My husband! 🤪😂😈
What do you wish you would have done less of?
Crying in pain (this photo is from Friday night, just hours ago, but represents many nights)
What was your favorite new TV program? Movie? Album/Songs? Or if you didn't pick up any new ones, what are you still watching/listening to? Any recommendations?
Well, I've finally really gotten into Bob's Burgers this year, and it's a good thing I did, because that $h!t is fookin' hilarious! I like to pretend I'm just like Linda, which I am, and I do both Linda's and Bob's and sometimes Tina's voices. If you're not watching it yet, why not?! You oughtta be. I DVR every episode. We all love it. Yeah. So.
Also, I recommend Ellen De Generes' new stand-up special, Relatable, on Netflix. I love her talk show, so I finally queued it up and am watching it right now. She swears, y'all! That's relatable!
What was the best book you read this year? How many did you read?
I'm reading Recipes for Repair right now, which I just started but bought about two years ago, to see if it will help any of my autoimmune disorders. It's hard. I'm having allergic reactions - sometimes anaphylaxis - to every single thing I eat lately, so I've just gotta do something! Plus, my therapist recommended I read something along these lines. I don't think I've read any other books this year! Shocking!
What did you do on your birthday and how old were you? Did you feel differently?
Well, first of all, I turned 42, and Chloë made me these birthday cupcakes. She baked Hubs' chocolate bundt cake - his favorite - too, and was really excited about doing both. Only, I was looking at these photos recently, and I just don't remember these cupcakes. I mean, I know I was there and must have taken the pictures and blown them out, but I cannot recollect them for the life of me. This is very distressing. My short-term memory has been stolen from me since I became ill in 2015, and I hate it!
Also, Hubs gave me a pedicure, which he often did during my pregnancies when I couldn't reach and now often does again since my joints are so stiff and painful. Yeah, he's a keeper. (Also, pssst! Robert! I'm due for another one!)
Chloë's birthday (9/7) is the day before mine (9/8), so we usually celebrate together by running around collecting all the billions of birthday freebies out there. Here are some from this year:
[click to embiggerate]
I'd list them out for you, but as you can see, um, it's kind of a lot.
What political or social issue stirred you the most?
I will always, first and foremost, be an environmental activist. Now, more than ever, it is crucial for denizens of Planet Earth to become acutely aware of what we as people are doing to harm the planet and what we as humans can do to remedy that.
Additionally, I am a Global Citizen, and I am dedicated to working for the causes of education for all; those that promote equality for women and girls; ending world hunger; and, bettering the health and sanitation practices around the world. I even get points for sharing the information I learn, and I've used those points to enter contests. This year alone, I've won two concerts: Amy Lee (of Evanescence) and Lindsey Sterling, which I'd entered for Chloë's sake - but I ended up winning the one in Phoenix, Arizona, and we could of course not make it there. The other concert was just recently, here in Boise: Metallica, which I sent Rob and our 15yo son Jack to. They had a blast!
Who was the most interesting new person you met?
Hmm. I don't know; I've met a lot of interesting folks. I'll say my new orthopedist, Dr. Alex Homaecheverria. Not only is this doctor smoking hot (I'm married, but I mean, c'mon! I'm not dead!), but he's relatable. Great bedside manner. And he genuinely seems interested in truly helping me improve.
What changed at your job?
Well. For one, Chloë, Sophie, and I started a specialty candle company called Every Wick Way on November 1st! I'm so excited about this! Most of our items are listed in our Etsy shop, but I'm still working on the website for Every Wick Way. Check it out! ;)
What changed in your home?
Well, we got those 21 baby chickies from the hatchery, so they would need a place to live, right? After forever and a day (seriously; we're talking over a year), Hubs and another military vet friend got together and built it basically in a day. It's not perfect, but it's pretty great, and so far we've avoided another slaughter. Whew!
Describe how a relationship changed.
Well, I'm like this ^^^ so it's completely surreal for me to read things like this. Anyway, I've been distancing myself emotionally from my father more than I ever have in my life. It's been hard. He's noticed, too, and wrote a note to me about it in our Christmas card. Such tomfuckery. I'll not have it!
Do you think you are still the same person that you were at the beginning of the year? How so?
No. Of course not. At the end of every year I hope I have grown and learned so much during that year that I am a completely new and more enlightened person by the end.
Summarize the year in three words or less. Bonus points for doing it in one word. Explain.
How have people around you changed?
Well, I don't know about everyone's internal dialogue or whatnot, but I feel like this year, as I've become even more self-aware and adulty than ever, I feel that people are changing the way they respond to and interact with me. I feel it every day. It seems like some people actually like me, which I never really thought could be true. It's delightful.
What have you learned throughout the year?
Well, I've definitely learned that I do, in fact, have limitations. And also that getting older sucks, and I do not care for being forty-freakin'-two!
What was your favorite outfit for warm weather? Cooler weather?
Something cool, comfortable, and hopefully, cute!
Anything remotely warm, comfortable, and hopefully cute! ;)
Did you learn any new crafts or techniques? What was your favorite thing you made?
Oh yes, of course! For Every Wick Way, the girls and I jointly learned how to make soy and beeswax candles and melts, and we're taking very explicit notes so that we can duplicate everything that turns out great. And most things do, because we're just amazing like that. ;) I'm always learning something new in the craft world. Every year, I've got a new thing going. I embrace change. Love it. Adore it!
What changed about your physical appearance? (Hair? Wrinkles? New makeup style? Etc)
So let's see... Since the top picture was taken a couple of years ago, I've gained a little (read: not a little) weight, my eyes are getting greener as I get older, I've at least temporarily stopped coloring my hair auburn (which I've been doing since my freshman year of college!), I started growing out my bangs for the first time ever in my live (but just got sick of it and trimmed them back to 'normal' this week, heh), pierced my septum, and pierced my tragus. Dang, when I read it back, it sounds like kind of a lot, no?
What are your hopes and dreams for the new year?
Well, I'd love to say I wanna buy a house (but I said that already) and that I want to lose weight (but when don't I?); however, instead, I hope to bring awareness about and then somewhat defeat the health struggles constantly plaguing me:
I have multiple Autoimmune Diseases, including: Raynaud's Syndrome, Mast Cell Activation Disorder, Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria, and Anticardiolipin/Antiphospolipid-Antibody Syndrome, for starters - but now I'm blessed with a medical expert in Asthma, Allergies, and Immunology who is doing the right tests and looking at the right things.
I struggle with Fibromyalgia, but now I'm blessed with a medical expert who brings me in and gives me Trigger Point Injections whenever I call up and say I need them.
I have Bipolar I with Psychosis, but now I am blessed with an expert psychiatrist who listens to me and knows what to tweak when I tell her what I am experiencing, as well as an incredible therapist who is helping me navigate the intense, childhood-long traumas that (I believe) led to the bipolar, along with severe PTSD, OCPD, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
I have Chronic Lyme Disease and am daily trying to manage the extreme pain in my bones and joints from that, while trying to explain to every medical professional under that sun that just because I was treated with antibiotics for two weeks after I tested CDC-positive for Lyme, that I am not "cured." Some listen. Much, much more education is needed on this subject, and it is intentionally being squelched. Very frustrating!
I probably have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, but I'm waiting for genetic testing to rule it in or out, which takes up to a year for the appointment in these parts. I have hypermobility and am constantly having dislocations and subluxations, along with just about every other symptom up there - but fortunately, I am now blessed with a knowledgeable physical therapist and a stellar (and hot - see above) orthopedist who have many tricks up their respective sleeves to try and help a girl out.
And now, I also have Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, but I'm now blessed with an ME/CFS specialist in Salt Lake City, whom I now see every other month or so, who has made it her life's work to care about those of us with this devastating illness.
And that's not even my whole list. So when someone (I believe from here, but I'm certainly not going to name names) tells me to "snap out of it," or when I get letters from my fng father telling me not to be a drain on society and make something of myself... well, it kinda breaks me. That is so soul-crushing. So, you guys, just don't do that to chronically ill people, okay? That is just not cool!
Whew! That took me hours upon hours to do! Well, okay, I watched the Ellen DeGeneres Netflix special Relatable. And then the whole family sat down with me to watch the Netflix documentary What The Health? which everyone should totally watch, and they all - even JACK!!! - decided pretty much on the spot that we're all gonna be vegans now. I'm so excited about that. Okay, and then Chloë and I stayed up all night watching Titanic, and finally the girls and I just wrapped up Crazy Rich Asians, both on Amazon Prime Video. So I was a little distracted... Hee.
Hey, pals! So did I tell you my girls and I have started a new premium, eco-conscious candle company?
Well, here's a sneak preview of some of our offerings, but like I think I mentioned in Saturday 9 yesterday. we are so not yet ready to launch. The girls and I are sitting around now, assembling wicks, containers, carefully measuring wax and taking its temperature, etc. Mostly the girls are doing that part while I supervise, make the labels, source bee-friendly, wildflower seed-impregnated, plantable paper for the business cards we intend to order, and trying to figure out how to set up our various platforms. We have a Facebook page, our own website, and an Etsy shop, but so far I just haven't made a lot of progress on those. Lots more to do!
Therefore, I feel fully justified in taking a break to do Sunday Stealing right now. Ha! So link up here if you'd like to join us this week!
1. What is your favorite animal?
Look. So I'm a biologist. And therefore, I reserve the right to have a favorite animal for land, sea and air. I will save the reasons for each for another time, so as not to bore you. Anyway, my favorite sea animal is the shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus).
My favorite land animal is the majestic African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana). OMG, they're so beautiful I could cry.
And, my favorite air animal is the endangered Mexican Long-Nosed Bat (Leptonycteris nivalis). They have a special place in my heart. ♥
2. Your dream vacation?
So. This was a dream vacation I'd actually planned in my mind back in 2002, when newly-ish-wed Rob and I, and 13-month-old Chloë moved to Guam: Once I'd given birth to the twins I was carrying, we'd all fly "space-A" (space available, as in, if there's a seat on a military flight you get to go; if there's not, you don't) to Australia, dive the Great Barrier Reef, and wander around saying and eating weird shit. We'd fly space-A to South Korea, to Japan, to Thailand... everywhere. Then the twin pregnancy became too dangerous for us to continue living on Guam, and then Supertyphoon Pong'sona hit Guam, and ... none of that ever happened. We moved back to CONUS early in 2003. Fifteen-plus years later, I'm finally at a place where I'd honestly really like to go back and try again. Maybe.
3. Last person's house you were in?
Last night, we were at the house of Celia, the leader of Chloë's knitting and sewing 4-H club.
4. Worst injury you've ever had?
In August 1984, just four months after my mother died, about a month into my dad's new relationship with the woman I was already being forced to call "Mom" - although I call her "the bitch from hell" now - I was not quite eight years old. My dad and tbfh decided it would be a good idea if we all (including 7yo me, 9yo sister, 10yo soon-stepsister, and 12yo soon-stepsister) watched the movie Porky's II on either HBO or Cinemax. Great parenting all around, you see. Anyway, we all wanted pizza except my dad, so tbfh agreed to make him some fried chicken. Only, they got distracted by the soft-core porn we were watching and forgot to watch the stove, so a grease fire started in the kitchen. My numbnuts father decided, since we didn't have baking soda, to throw flour on the fire. That made it explode. He picked up the frying pan and carried it out to the garage to get it out of the house.
Only, his red mint condition 1971 Dodge Challenger convertible was out there, and it was too precious to risk getting damaged, so he turned around and came BACK into the house. Sister and younger stepsister had managed to get out of the way by that point, but older stepsister and I did not. The frying pan handle became too hot for my dad to continue to carry, and he dropped it, splashing burning hot grease all over both of us. Stepsister got attention for her burns because she was not a Christian Scientist, but since father, sister and I were in that f-ing cult, I did not get any attention for the burns scalding both of my legs. Rather, I was screamed at to be quiet and go outside. Stepsis was rushed to the emergency room, while I had to sit in the back of the car and muffle my crying. I still have the scars... Life was like that from then on, until I escaped to college.
5. Last play you saw?
Last year we went to a children's theater production of The Jungle Book. It was cute, but my kids have kind of grown up too much for that genre now. <sniff, sniff>
6. Ever go to camp?
As a kid, I was sent for two weeks to the Christian Science camp, Crystal Lake Camp, in Pennsylvania, that same summer after my mom died. That's also not a great story. But more fun was Camp Skimino, the Girl Scout camp in Virginia where my girls and I went camping. Much better memories there!
7. Were you an honor roll student in school?
Yes, I was on the High Honor roll all through school and was inducted into the National Honor Society in high school, where I graduated 3rd in my class and appeared in the 1993-1994 Who's Who Among American High School Students book. I took five AP courses in high school (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Spanish, and Calculus), so I entered college dual-enrolled as both a sophomore and a doctoral student at the Rosenstiel School For Marine & Atmospheric Science, having fairly well aced the SAT. I made both the Dean's List and the President's List at the University of Miami. In college, I was inducted into Golden Key [Inter]National Honor Society, Beta Beta Beta National Biology Honor Society, and UM's Rho Rho Rho Marine Science Honor Society. I then aced the GRE and went directly into the Ph.D. program of my dreams. There, while at the University of South Florida in Tampa, I was accepted into Mensa, which I felt I needed to do to prove my own intelligence to myself, because for the first time in my life I was really being challenged and didn't feel all that intelligent at all. Anyway, all this is not to brag but rather to say, this is why I get so pissed off when medical doctors and other such types diminish the fact that though I am now "just a mom," I, too, possess a freaking brain. Gah.
8. What do you want to know about the future?
I want to know if I'm ever going to get to see my mother and my son again.
9. Are you wearing any perfume or cologne?
No, not really, but I am wearing some lemon essential oil in my diffuser necklace. Only mine says "Melanie" instead of "Olivia."
10. Are you due sometime this year for a doctor's visit?
Only about eleventy billion!
11. Where is your best friend?
Absolutely, for sure, tonight on this 18th anniversary of the night Rob came down 11+ hours on a Greyhound bus to get down on one knee and ask me to marry him, just 16 days after meeting online, I can say unequivocally that it's this little hot shot ninja sailor man who is sitting right next to me. I love you, Rob!!! ♥
12. Do you have a tan?
Ha! Well, only if you connect all the many, many freckle dots that cover the outer portions of me.
13. What are you listening to right now?
Well, right now it's "Give Me One Reason" by Tracy Chapman. Before that it was "Wonderful Tonight" by, of course, Eric Clapton, and prior to that it was "If I Had a Million Dollars" by Barenaked Ladies. Now up is "Come Sail Away" by Styx, and after that will be "American Girl" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It's an anniversary night, and 18 years seems like a super long time to both of us, so we're playing the songs of our brief two-month courtship. I love him so.
14. Do you collect anything?
ell, for one, since Rob spent 20 years in the US Navy, and I am a marine biologist, we have a lot of different fish artifacts both big and small all around the house.
15. Who is the biggest gossiper you know?
Well, if I told you, wouldn't that make me one?
16. Last time you got stopped by a cop or pulled over?
I've had a few run-ins lately! In June, I got a speeding ticket. In July, at almost the exact same spot, I got a ticket for following too closely. In October, we were rear-ended in the rain, while I was stopped at a red light, and someone must have called the police because that became this big, whole "thing." And just tonight, Rob was pulled over for improper lane change. Sheesh. We need to quit.
17. What does your last text message say?
Scintillating conversation with my daughter, I know.
18. Do you like hot sauce?
No, I do not. My husband does. And our son Jack does. I don't think the girls do. Funnily, our Chihuahua and Chi-mix both like jalapeños.
19. Do you need to do laundry?
20. What is your heritage?
I'm mostly German, English, and Hungarian. Lots of the family on my dad's side came to the U.S. via the small Caribbean Netherlands-owned island of Saba, which is where my paternal grandfather was born. We were all considered Pennsylvania Dutch. My children have some Bohemian (which is now considered Czech) from their paternal grandmother, and some Basque from their paternal grandfather. Basically we're a bunch of Caucasian mutts.
Hey, guys! How're you all doing this fine Friday evening/Saturday morning? I'm doing fairly well, although it has been an eventful week. As are they all. For instance:
For my entire life, I have been dealing with all of my (first) major and (now) minor joints dislocating all the time, over every minor little move. The worst thing right now is my left shoulder, which my physical therapist and I have had a dickens of a time trying to correct and stabilize with any number of techniques and tools (Kinesiology tape is currently my BFF.) But I finally got in to see the ortho doc this week, and he ordered an MRI of the shoulder to see what's what. I'm also going to be genetically tested for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and since the ortho folks scored me an 8 out of 9 for hypermobility of my joints, the pieces are all starting to fit into place on what's wrong with me...FINALLY! Anyway, if the shoulder cartilage is torn from all these repeated shoulder dislocations and subluxations, then they may go in and do a corrective surgery by shoring up the shoulder joint with extra bone taken from my hip. This idea does not thrill me, not at all, but at least it's an option on the table.
I am now the proud new owner of a wheeled walker with a seat. As you can see, it's blue; I wish I'd gotten a red one. <sniff> Just kidding. I actually kind of like it. It really helps me. So I have a wheelchair for when I absolutely cannot go on my own steam, and now I have this for when I can go part way. As happened today at the hospital. I'd gone in, pushing the walker, to get my lumbar x-ray, but getting back proved more than I could do. Hubs was with me, so I sat on the seat and let him push me out to the car like a little baby. I was amused.
The kids are all now involved in the 4-H program for the first time. Chloë's project is going to be knitting, Sophia is doing a poultry project with our chickens, and Jack... has gone 'round and 'round with what he wants to do. Finally, today, an opportunity presented itself for him to take possession of a bunny who couldn't stay with with his first family, so Jack went and adopted Bugs Bunny. Now Bugs (God, I hope they change that, ahem, lame name...) is acclimating to his new digs in Jack's room and will be the perfect 4-H project for him!
And finally, my old HP desktop bit the dust in early summer or so, and I have been stuck on a dreaded laptop. I haaaate laptops, for various reasons. Especially since this particular laptop's cord/charging assemblage was worn out, and it wouldn't charge the computer, and so actually using the laptop was this delicate, precarious adventure for all these months. I've hated it. Well! Today, Chloë got her biweekly paycheck and spent the entire thing on a new desktop for me! ♥ What have I done to deserve such great kids? I don't know, but I am so thankful. (And I LOVE it!)
SO! Anyhoo. Let's get on with Saturday 9, shall we? Link up here if you want to play along with us today!
1) Doris sings that she has her bag packed. Tell us about your luggage. Is your bag easy to spot on the luggage carousel?
Well, it's kind of easy. We had a nice red luggage set, but (a) red was starting to be ubiquitous on the luggage carousel, and (b) it started to wear out, so we replaced it a few years ago. I bought these dark purple-plum-colored Samsonite spinner suitcases, and I like them. They're pretty easy to spot.
2) The release of this song coincided with VE Day, and so it meant a great deal to troops returning home from Europe. What song has sentimental value for you? Why?
Ohhh, so many songs. So many. But Jewel's "Morning Song" is one I've often sung to Hubs over the past 18 years. (Yes! EIGHTEEN! In fact, today, 11/17/18, is the anniversary of the first time we met in person, and he took the bus down from Panama City Beach to St. Petersburg, found me, walked over to my car, and got down on his knee to propose. I'd known from his first email to me 16 days earlier that I was going to marry this man, so of course I accepted his proposal! ♥
3) As a young girl, Doris was passionate about dance. Concentrating in the studio and performing on stage helped distract her from heartache and embarrassment over her parents' divorce. When you want to escape from what's troubling you, what do you do?
I retreat. I hide. I put myself in time-out. And in the past, when I needed serenity, I would knit. Wish my fingers would cooperate enough for me to take that up again.
4) Her dancing days came to an end when, at age 15, she was in a car accident and damaged her leg. During her recovery, she discovered how much she enjoyed singing with the radio, and was delighted to find others enjoyed hearing her. Tell us about a time you unexpectedly found happiness or success.
Well, being disabled as I now am, I've either become unable to or lost interest in those things that excited me the most before - like creating. Knitting, especially, but other arts, too. Until two weeks ago. I decided I wanted to start a business make premium, super eco-friendly scented candles that were not only awesome in their own right but were even cooler than, y'know, "just a candle." So ultimately - hopefully by 2019 - our labels and packaging will all be made with wildflower-impregnated, bee-friendly seed paper. We're not using any artificial ingredients like dyes and additives, and definitely no paraffin. The girls quickly decided to go into business with me, and now Every Wick Way has been born. We will have a soft opening at a holiday bazaar on December 1st and hope to be fully functional by January 1st. Yay! 5) She moved from singer to actress in the late 1940s and was a major movie star for 25 years. She was paired with the most popular leading men of her time -- everyone from Clark Gable to Frank Sinatra to Rock Hudson. If you could share a kiss with any actor or actress, who would you choose?
C'mon now. Matt Damon? Of course Matt Damon.
6) 1968 was a terrible year for Doris. First, she suddenly became a widow. Then she discovered that her late husband and his business partner had squandered her money and she had to file for bankruptcy. Oh, wait! There's more! She also found that, in his role as her manager, her late husband had, without her knowledge, committed her to a weekly TV series. Do you have a 1968? What year you can point to and say, "Wow, I'm glad that's over"?
The "Portsmouth house" year, as we call it, was pretty rough. From May 2012 - March 2013, we all had a pretty miserable time with one damn thing after another. I don't even like thinking about it now!
7) After retiring from show business, she became an advocate for animal welfare. She has said we should be more sensitive to the loneliness, sadness and guilt people feel when they lose a pet. Think of a time you were grieving. What words or gestures helped you through? Conversely, what's something no one should ever say to someone who is hurting?
As far as helping someone through grief, the right things to say are those such as, "I'm sorry for your loss. I'm thinking of you. If you need anything, I'm right here for you," - and then actually mean that last thing. Don't hesitate to talk to the grieving person and let them know they're in your thoughts, because trust me, the grieving person has not stopped thinking about their loss for one moment.
Conversely, there are plenty of wrong things to say to a grieving person. For me, going through losing one of our twin boys, those things included, "Well, at least you still have Jack (our other twin)," or "Everything happens for a reason." Stuff like that is the very opposite of helpful. Like, what could possibly be a good reason why ... ah, never mind. I'd go on a right rant right now if I got started! ;)
8) Doris' only child was her son, record producer Terry Melcher. Terry had a successful, years-long collaboration with The Beach Boys. Do you have a favorite Beach Boys song?
I'm not sure I do, but if I did, it might be "California Girls."
9) Random question: What's one thing you've never done, but have always wanted to try?
I've always, always, always wanted to go water skiing. I would probably not be as good at as this dang squirrel, but it would be so much fun!!
Well, I enjoyed that. Thanks for the fun as usual, Crazy Sam!