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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!


Unleashed The Movie: Review And #Giveaway


Hey, everyone! Have you seen the movie Unleashed yet? It's a comedy for the furry friend in all of us!

Disclosure: I was chosen to receive a copy of the movie Unleashed in order to review it and provide a giveaway for my readers. All opinions expressed in this post are, as 100% my own. Each household is only eligible to win Unleashed via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Open to residents of the United States only.


In Unleashed, Emma, a brilliant but awkward app designer, moves to San Francisco after a massive betrayal by her boyfriend with only her beloved pets, an adorable cat and an energetic mutt, in tow. One night, drawn by the light of a Supermoon, Emma’s pets escape into the night and are transformed into full-grown men, forcing Emma to reconsider her outlook on dating and hilariously work out her trust issues.




I watched this movie with my soon-to-be 16-year-old daughter, Chloë, and we both agreed that it was a little much on the adult humor, so please use parental caution if you're going to view this with a minor.


Would you like to win a copy of Unleashed? Be sure and tweet me or shout out on Instagram whether you are #TeamDog or #TeamCat, and then come back and enter as many ways as you'd like in the form below. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

P.S. I like both, but in the end I'm always #TeamDog! ;)


Saturday 9: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

Hey everyone, welcome back to Saturday 9! Link up here if you're playing along today!


Saturday 9: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
... because Joy recommended it

1) The Beatles recorded this after they had taken a three-month hiatus from working together as a band. Do you find you're sharp after taking time off? Or does it take you a while to get back into the swing of things in your day-to-day life?
It usually takes me a while to get back into the swing of things after taking time off. I'm still mentally wherever I just left off.

2) During those three months off, John Lennon made a movie called How I Won the War. What's the last movie you watched? Did you view it at a theater, on TV, or from a device like a computer or tablet?
I can't remember the last time I watched anything on our TV. Wait, yes I can. It was the beginning of March, and we still lived in Miami. Anyway... The last movie I "watched" was LEGO Batman last night in the big field at our church. I put that in quotes because I snoozed (and snored, hahaha) through about 3/4 of it. Nowadays, when I get tired, it means I have to lie down right NOW, and that happened at the party/movie last night. So embarrassing, but oh, well. I also just received a pre-release of the movie Unleashed on a disk in the mail to blog about, I guess. I suppose I'll watch that on the laptop tonight. And this was a long answer full of babbling. My bad...
3) Paul McCartney and George Harrison both used their time off to make new and different music. Paul composed instrumentals for a movie soundtrack while George studied sitar with Ravi Shankar. Ringo Starr spent those three months with his wife and their two little boys. If you had three months to spend doing anything you wanted, and money was no object, would you try something new (like Paul and George) or just kick back and relax (like Ringo)?
I would love to do a mixture of both (why can't I?), but if I absolutely must choose one, I would definitely love to learn something new. Anything! Preferably in a new and exotic location, like somewhere in Asia or Africa. Thailand or Ethiopia, perhaps. Learning an instrument or a new dance, or how to surf (yeah, right), or something. Anything. I love learning.

4) Paul recalls what fun it was to dress up in Edwardian-era costumes for the album cover. When did you last attend a costume party? What did you wear?
Image result for half angel half devil costume
I've been to exactly ONE costume party, and I went by myself because I couldn't talk Hubs into going with me (as I remember). That was back on Halloween 2012, somewhere around Norfolk or Virginia Beach, Virginia, before we moved to Miami. I dressed as a half-angel/half-devil, with white and one wing and half a halo, and then the other half red with a horn and I don't know, maybe a trident? I don't have a photo on this computer, but this lady wears it better anyway!
5) Paul says he came up with the name "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" when Beatle friend Mal Evans told him about this great San Francisco band, Big Brother and the Holding Company. Paul hadn't heard their music yet, but he loved the sound of their six-word band name. Soon everyone would hear of Big Brother. Do you know who Big Brother's famous lead singer was?
Nope, never heard of them, but I'm about to Google it! ;) Ahhh, Janis Joplin? Very interesting!

6) Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band appeared on the Billboard charts for 175 weeks. Is this album in your collection?
WOW! I actually don't. It's from a bit before my time, and I have nothing of the Beatles in my e-collection. Perhaps I should add it?

7) The Beatles are among the top-selling artists of all time in Zimbabwe and Ethiopia. Would you like to visit Africa?
Heyyy, speaking of Ethiopia... Yes, I sure would!

8) 50 years ago, when Sgt. Pepper was first released, the average price for gas was 33¢/gallon. When did you last fill up your gas tank? Do you remember how much it cost?
I'm going to fill it up today, as soon as Hubs gets back from having his new glasses adjusted at Walmart. It's about $2.49 at the Flying J down the road, and it'll cost me about $35-40 to fill the nearly-empty tank.

9) Random question: Are most of your married friends happily married?
I would say about 2/3 are married, and among those, it's difficult to tell who is "happily" so from the outside, don't you think? I mean, in our 16.5 years of marriage, Hubs and I have gone through a lot of turmoil, both between the two of us and just from other things happening like losing our son, etc. From the outside, I honestly wonder what people think of us. From the inside, I can say without hesitation that we are happily married and are both still in love with each other. This is right now. Right now, in this instant. Ask me tomorrow, I don't know. Maybe I won't like his new glasses... Heh. I jest, I jest.
Thanks for stopping by, y'all. I'll be back tomorrow, barring my rampant forgetfulness from taking over Ye Olde Braine. Happy weekend to yas!


Sunday Stealing: The Beginning Of Bev Meme

Morning everyone! It's 4:40 AM here in Boise, Idaho! Thought I'd get started on this meme so you all can enjoy some sillies from me for the day. Thanks to Bev Sykes for carrying on Sunday Stealing for all of us thieves! Let's get started, shall we? Link up here if you're playing along today!


Sunday Stealing: The Put Your Questions in the Box Questions

1. Where were you three hours ago?

Image result for sound asleep funny

A funny (not so funny-haha as much as funny-disconcertingly-weird) thing happens to me now that I'm not what you'd call, uh, "well." I get tired and HAVE to sleep right then. Yesterday, Saturday, I decided to bake chocolate chip cookies for the family, despite the 104-degree heat. Halfway through baking, I called my husband to take over the cookies, because that sleepiness struck. It was probably about 6 or 7 PM. I just woke up around 3 AM. So to answer your question, I was sleeping, but it was an odd sort of crash-on-the-couch kind of sleep!

2. Make a confession.

Image result for nose piercing funny

I have had my right nostril pierced for 20 years now. However, I've never been happy with it and am now thinking I'd rather have my septum pierced. I've also been tossing around the idea of a tattoo of my kids' names or initials or something for about 15 years. The truth is, besides my general indecisiveness and those being rather permanent decisions, I don't want to upset my now 75-year-old father. I'll be 41 in September, and I'm holding off on piercings and tattoos so I don't upset my dad. Lame, right? :\

3. Bad habits?

Image result for OCD funny

I have OCD habits, which aren't bad so much as annoying - even to me! The one I really notice the most is getting in and out of the car to drive. I have to turn the lights on (if it's remotely dark out) and off, on and off, and on; same thing with setting and undoing the parking brake; sometimes I turn the car on and off several times, etc. I can't just get in and start driving. I keep thinking to myself, "Why did I do that? Why do I do this?" when it's happening, and yet I have no power to stop it. P.S. Trust me, I have plenty of bad habits, too...

4. Favorite color?

Image result for rainbow funny

I love every color of the rainbow, equally. I love all the colors! I say I live In Living Color, right out loud, bold and bright and (sometimes not) beautiful!

Image result for blue-green

Okay, okay, if I have to pick an absolute favorite color, it's the shade of the middle depths of the sea. Kind of like this one, above, which is really more than one. See? It's hard to pin down. Like me.

5. Can you drive?

Image result for driving funny

Not without doing all the OCD things mentioned above! ;) When I try to be, I'm a pretty good driver, I'd say. My youngest daughter Sophia, now 12, recently told me, "Mom, you drive better than Dad, but he definitely parks better than you." It's true. I suck at parking.

6. 3 pet peeves.

Image result for pet peeves funny

a. Speaking of driving, and I've mentioned this one here a thousand times, it's those people who take half a lifetime to make their right turn in front of me. I should not have to come to a full stop so you can get your ass car around the corner. Sheesh, it makes my blood pressure rise just thinking about it! ;)

b. My oldest daughter Chloë, who will be 16 in September, remembers her dreams every morning when she wakes up. And like me, she is not a succinct person. And like me, she makes it rather apparent she needs to be heard. So, I'm sorry Chloë, but this peeve is having to listen to your nutty dreams every morning - or anyone else's!

c. Having to go to the bathroom... five seconds after I've washed my hands and left the bathroom. I drink gallons and gallons of water or whatever drink every single day. I have a huge bladder - World Record material, I'm thinking - but I still have to pee constantly because it's always full. I'd like a One and Done for once, please!

7. Last person you hugged.

The last person I hugged was this schmuckatello, Hubs, who goes along with everything I ask him to do when the camera is out. LOL... I guess that makes him not such a schmuck after all. He was up in the middle of the night, too, with a horrible headache. :(

8. Something you miss.

Image result for cruise ship funny gif

It's kind of silly, but the thing I miss most about living in Miami is having the ability to hop on a cheap Caribbean cruise for three or four days, without having really to pay a ton of money or plan for months in advance. You know how many times we did that in the four years we lived there, though? Zero times infinity! :P

9. What song is stuck in your head at the moment?

Image result for miley cyrus funny gif

I have kind of a love/hate relationship with Miley Cyrus and her music, and her latest song "Malibu" doesn't change that. It just played on radio I'm streaming here on Rob's laptop, so now it'll be stuck in my head for two days. Awesome.

10. Favorite quote.

Image result for funny quotes

Lately I find myself quoting everything Hubs says, whether to myself, to him, or to the kids. My favorite one seems to be, whenever something goes horribly wrong, "Welp, nothing we can do about it now!" Kind of eases the pain of whatever happened in a "yeah, that's true" way! (He's been saying that for nearly our entire marriage after an argument we had where once again I wanted him to do something he hadn't done. Haha!)

11. Favorite band.

LA Trip with Chloe 012

Aw c'mon, man! I told you I'm awful at picking favorites with the 'colors' question. I rather prefer finding random buskers on the Santa Monica Pier or whatever corner, wherever I am, who have more talent in their left pinky finger than the audio-corrected musicians on the radio who might sound like shit crap in person.

12. Something you're excited for.

Image result for Harry Potter funny

I'm hoping to have a Harry Potter movie marathon-party for my eldest's 16th birthday in September, with some also HP-obsessed friends. She'll be so excited if it works out.

13. Favorite movie.

Image result for dirty dancing funny gif

This one I can do: Dirty Dancing or Grease. They're tied for fave flicks.

14. What type of phone do you have?

Image result for iphone funny

Right now, I have a Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge. I hate the Edge-feature of it, but I looooove the rest of it. We used to have iPhones; we upgraded to something better in line with what we wanted in a smartphone.

15. Favorite animal.

Image result for majestic african elephant

Land: the African elephant

Image result for beautiful mako shark

Sea: the Mako shark

Image result for majestic bald eagle

Air: (right now it's) the Bald Eagle


Well, it's 6:00 AM now (yes, I took forever to write this post), so I guess I'd better start my day. Which consists of nothing much besides going to church at 11 AM, but I suppose that's enough.


Saturday 9: Some Guys Have All The Luck

Ahhh, 80s baby here! I used to love this song, and I'm excited it was picked! Also yes, I know it's not Saturday. Yesterday was an awful day for me healthwise, so I took it off. Anyway...

Link up here if you wanted to play along yesterday but couldn't do it. Like me! ;)


Saturday 9: Some Guys Have All the Luck (1984)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Do you consider yourself lucky?
Image result for lucky meme
Lucky? No, not me. I sometimes have seemingly "lucky" things happen to me, but to be honest, I'm not sure I truly even believe in luck.

2) When did you last risk money in a game of chance (lottery, raffle ticket, slot machine, etc.)? How did you do?
Image result for casino funny
I'm not sure, but I think the last time I took to the casino or anything like that was in October 2006, when we were on a cruise with some of our extended family. I dropped about ten bucks on chips and played the slot machine. I quickly lost that and took my leave!

3)  There's a major football game this weekend. Will you be watching? Do you have any money riding on the outcome? 
Image result for patriots vs falcons memes

We're going to a Super Bowl party at our church tonight to watch the game. I'm excited! I've never actually been to any game-watch party, let alone the Super Bowl! Maybe I'm a loser? Anyway, I hope it'll be way fun. Much less stressful than, and a great break from, all the political BS coming out of D.C. lately...
4) The composer of this song, Jeff Fortgang, is an interesting guy who's had two disparate careers: first pop musician, then Yale-educated clinical psychologist. It's possible that many of the patients who see him for help with anxiety or depression have no idea that he wrote this song. What's something your coworkers (or, if you're not working, casual friends) would be surprised to know about you?
Well, I'm an over-sharer on social media (I try to contain myself but have no real filter, so it's hard), so there would not be much. However, I do think some people would be shocked about how much I don't share. They probably think it's none, but it's way more than lots. ;)

5) Similarly, fans are often surprised to learn that this week's featured artist, Rod Stewart, is a history buff who loves reading about WWII. Is there a period of time or historic event that has captured your interest?

Image result for real life sock hop
I'd love to go back to the '50s and dance in a good, old-fashioned sock hop. What fun!
6) Rod met his current wife as the result of a dare. Penny Lancaster, then in her 20s, spotted the decades-older celebrity in a bar and only approached him because her friends bet her she didn't have the guts to talk to him. Are you, like Penny, vulnerable to peer pressure? Can your friends talk you into doing things you might not otherwise do?
Usually not. On the other hand, if I'm comfortable with the group I'm in, I ofted get amped up enough to go do shit on my own - with or without my friends' daring me to do it! 

7) Rod vividly recalls being 11 years old and going to see  Little Richard perform in a film comedy called The Girl Can't Help It. When you were a kid, did you enjoy going to the movies? What do you recall seeing?
Image result for bambi movie at the drive-in
Oh, I have fantastic memories of going to the drive-in movies with mom and dad! The first two movies, which I still love, that I can remember seeing were E.T. The Extra Terrestrial and Bambi. Stacey (sister) and I would sit in the back of the car eating M&Ms and other snacks, and when my parents thought we'd fallen asleep, they started smooching. Haha!

8) The lyrics tell of when Rod's car overheats and he calls a friend, who doesn't come through. Tell us about a time recently when you were there and helped a buddy out.
Image result for publix Frozen birthday cakes for girls
Note: This not the actual cake, but she'll get one similar to it.
My good friend, Domenica, doesn't have a car, and she needed to order a 4th birthday cake for her daughter, Emma. She was going to walk the nearest Publix and does that all the time, no problem. But she's pregnant and having some issues with that, so Chloë and I drove over to pick them up. Domenica and Emma ran with us to our local, organic CSA share farm and then to Publix to order the cake. Also:
Domenica and Chloë glommed onto the cupcake display case at the bakery and could not resist getting a couple of tasty treats for themselves! (And yes, I 'stole' a bit of Chloë's delicious cupcake, despite the fact that I can not have anything in it! Delicioso!)

9) The lyrics mention that "some guys do nothing but complain." Who do you know who is like that? Do you have a friend, relative or coworker who just always seems to find fault?

If I had a friend like that, always finding fault, they probably would not be my friend in the first place. I had enough of that growing up with my wicked stepmother. I complain, but honestly I just do it to hear myself talk! ha! I'm like my grandpa that way.


Thanks for stopping by! Have a great Super Bowl Sunday.


Saturday 9: Love Story

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: The Theme from Love Story (1970)

In honor of Valentine's Day
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) The very popular tagline for this movie is, "Love means never having to say you're sorry." Here's your chance to rewrite it. "Love means _____________________."

Good enough.

2) The movie was famous for a montage of the lovers frolicking in the snow. Do you enjoy sledding, skating, skiing, snowball fights, snowmen, etc.? Or do you just want spring to hurry up and get here?

No. Nope, non, no way, José! I hate the snow. It's been down below 50ºF here this year, and believe me, that was absolutely frigid to my already-thinned blood!

3) In the movie, Oliver asks his father for $5,000. The money is required for wife Jenny's hospital treatment, but Oliver is too proud to tell his father why he needs it. Adjusted for inflation, $5,000 in 1970 is $30,000 today. How much would you be willing to lend a friend or family member without knowing the reason?

Pffft. It depends on how much I could lend. If I was a gazillionaire, things might be different. But right now, five bucks is a lot when I'm trying to feed three kids...

4) In the movie, Jenny is the daughter of a baker who owns a little shop in Cranston, Rhode Island. Think of the last baked goods you consumed. Were they homemade? Did you buy them from a bakery, the grocery store, or a coffee shop, like Starbucks?


I've been doing a ton of cooking lately, and I also happen to have a pantry full of baking mixes for no real good reason. I decided to make a big meal with cake for dessert last night. My nearly-13yo son, Jack, wanted to help me, but since he has helped me so much already, I told him he could do it by himself while I washed the dishes. He did a beautiful job, maybe better than I would have myself! I loved the look of concentration on his face while he was frosting it. (True to form, too, he's been keeping track of how fast that thing is disappearing today!)

5) In 1970, when the movie was first released, California's First Lady Nancy Reagan said she liked it but was upset to hear Ali MacGraw's character swear. What's the curse word you use most often?


All of them!

6) Now 75, Ali MacGraw has let her famous hair go gray. She says she's glad to "look like a grown up." Do you feel your age? Or older or younger than your years?

This past year has been really tough on me, physically and to a letter extent, mentally. Right now I feel every second of my 39 years + change.

7) MacGraw and her Love Story co-star Ryan O'Neal are currently on tour in the play, Love Letters, and they're drawing big crowds of fans who remember them in their famous film. Tell us of another movie couple you felt had romantic chemistry.


I'm an 80s girl, so for me it's a toss-up between Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in Pretty Woman and Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing.

8) Red is the signature color of Valentine's Day. Are you wearing red right now?

Nope, I'm wearing this sweatshirt and gray leggings.

9) Because Valentine's Day is such a big day for chocolate ... would you prefer a large, solid milk chocolate heart or a small box of four assorted chocolates?

I don't care, as long as it's good chocolate! ;)


Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Happy Holidays!


Hey, y'all, link up here if you're playing along this weekend, too!

Saturday 9: Happy Holidays! (from the archives)


1. As you can see, Sam loved giving her annual wish list to Santa. Yet some children are reluctant to climb into Jolly Old St. Nick's lap. Did you enjoy the tradition or were you shy? Or did you by pass it altogether -- either because you wrote him a letter or because your family didn't celebrate Christmas?

I honestly can't remember; I'd have to make something up!

2. Are you currently on the Naughty or Nice list? How did you get there?

Can I be on both? And can I remain mum on both as well? ;)

3. Did you ship any gifts to friends and family this year? If so, which one traveled the farthest?

Gifts, no, but I did mail out about 100 Christmas cards this year, and I would have to say the one that traveled the farthest went to British Columbia, Canada.

4. Did you buy yourself a gift this year?


Yes! It was about six bucks on Amazon, so a total, y'know, splurge. I bought this essential oil/tart burner, which I simply adore so far. My last one broke, but this one's even mo' bettah!

5. What's your favorite holiday-themed movie?

Well, my favorite Christmas movie of all time is Miracle on 34th Street, but I also love National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Chevy Chase and crew bring the funny!

6. Thinking of movies, Christmas is lucrative for Hollywood. Have you ever gone to a movie theater on Christmas Day?

That used to be a tradition in my non-traditional family growing up. I remember seeing Home Alone on Christmas Day in the theater. But we don't do that now, partly because I strive to do nothing like that family era.

7. Have you ever suffered an embarrassing moment at the company Christmas party?

I have never been to a company Christmas party. I've never been to a Halloween party, either. I've never had a baby shower, and I didn't have a bridal shower. There, now I feel like utter shit, thanks. (I kid, I jest, I josh!)

8. What's your favorite beverage in cold weather?

Mmm, warm apple cider; I wish we had some right now! (Okay, don't hate on me since it's 77º at 2120 on Christmas Day, but I'm always cold. And right now, I'm freezing!!)

9. Share a memory from last Christmas.


This is Rob (aka "Hubs") ca. Christmas 2000, the year we met.


This is Rob last year, when he was all bloated from the side-effects of his brain surgery medications and, to cap off that awesome look, his regular glasses broke. He was stuck wearing these jerry-rigged goggle-looking things, which cracked me up at the time and also made me feel sad for him.


And this is Hubs this year, feeling a lot more like himself again. Looking good, Babe!


Thanks for stopping by! Have a lovely, happy, merry, joyous rest of 2015!


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 playing along today, too!

Swiped Meme

Stolen from: Love Me Some Surveys


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


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

2. Are the trees pretty colors outside for you?

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

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


Yeah. Mine.

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

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


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

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

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

A brief career history:

Kid: wanted to be a marine biologist

Teen: wanted to be a marine biologist

17-20 years: studied Marine Biology

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

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

6. What are your views on sunflowers?

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

7. What is your favorite incense or candle scent?

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

8. Caramel apples or candy apples?

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

9.  Have you ever walked into a wall?


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

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

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




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

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


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

12. What makes you laugh?


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

13. The scariest moment of your life?


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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Beyond The Sea

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: Beyond the Sea (1959)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
1) This song mentions golden sands. When do you think you'll next visit the beach?
We were there on Monday, at the little laguna beach near our home. The kids wanted to swim after we did a photo shoot for our 2015 Christmas cards, but the beach was closed. My kids dubbed the place, Homestead Bayfront Park, "Remora Beach" after our first visit, when a remora (aka "shark sucker") visited me for quite a while. Anyway, I don't know when we'll go again, but probably once or twice before the year ends.

2) Shortly after "Beyond the Sea" hit the charts, Bobby Darin met and married movie sweetheart Sandra Dee. Her squeaky-clean image is spoofed in the song, "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee," from Grease. Can you name another song from Grease?
Ermagerd, you're talking about one of my favorite films! I can name them all! My favorite one is when Olivia Newton-John sings "Hopelessly Devoted to You." I've sung that song after many a heartache!
3) Years earlier, Bobby had an ill-fated romance with singer Connie Francis. According to Ms. Francis, Darin wanted to marry her, but her father forbade it. Have you ever had a relationship that your parents disapproved of?
Pffft. All but the first one and the last one, really! I'm completely colorblind when I date, but my WASP father is most decidedly not. And vocal about it. Ugh. It damn near annoys the crap out of me that he "approves" of my marriage.

4) Bobby was a Renaissance man: Grammy-winning singer, Oscar-nominated actor, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and an excellent chess player. Are you good at chess?
It's on my Bucket List to learn, because I have never done so. I have to soon, though, because my 7-year-old nephew, Harrison, challenged me to a chess game the next time I'm in Missouri to see him!

5) A car buff, he drove a 1960 custom car that was so unique and spectacular, it's now in a Detroit museum. The bright red paint was mixed with ground diamonds to ensure that it sparkled in the sun. Each of the four bucket seats had its own AC/heat control and radio speaker. The steering wheel was slightly squared for easier handling. What features would your dream car have?
I'll take a red Mazda Miata convertible, please. Done.
6) Beyond the Sea is also the name of the 2004 screen biography in which Kevin Spacey played Bobby Darin. Who would you choose to play you in the story of your life?
Right now, I'd pick Jennifer Lawrence, at least for my younger adult years. She's stunningly beautiful (har har, like I am), and she emotes perfectly. I'm very emotive, y'all.

7) When he was just 8 years old, Bobby Darin was stricken with rheumatic fever, and the disease left him with a dangerously weakened heart. Did you spend much time in the hospital when you were a kid?
Not a day after my birth. I probably should have, but I was raised as a Christian Scientist. No doctors. 

8) In 1959, when "Beyond the Sea" was popular, Alaska became our 49th state. What comes to mind when you think of Alaska?
Cold. Beautiful scenery, with the icebergs charging out of crystal waters. Land of the Midnight Sun.
9) In 1959, Conair introduced the first hair dryer developed for home use. Is there a hair dryer in your bathroom right now?
There should be, but Sophia, my ten-year-old daughter who inspired our family phrase for those household occurrences which might otherwise seam inexplicable "Because Sophie," probably never put it back after using it for an art project...
And thus we close. Thanks for the visit!

Sunday Stealing: Get It All Down Meme


Cheers to all of us thieves!
Get It All Down Meme

Stolen from: My Random Randomness

  • Are you a good dancer?

I'm okay at home, but I have issues dancing in public.

  • Are you a good singer?

I'm all right, but I'm no Streisand.

  • Are you a good cook?

The James Beard Foundation isn't going to come knocking anytime soon, but the rest of Team Odette seems pretty happy with it. When I'm manic, I bake and cook enough for an army. It used to be great when Hubs had an appetite. Now I have to be careful not to be wasteful. 

  • Are you a good artist?

I'm just half-decent, and that's all. Sophia, my 10-year-old, is forever artsing and crafting, though. She does some pretty cool stuff.

  • Are you a good listener?

It's not my finest attribute... :\

  • What's your favorite clean word?

I couldn't think of anything in English, so I'm saying this instead: My husband loves to drink an Arnold Palmer (half-iced tea, half-lemonade). I can't say this man's name to save my life. It's the worst tongue-twister for me EVAHHHH. I can't even say it properly in my head. So when I run to the Racetrac or whatever, and I offer him one and say it right? Major cause for self-praise.

When I'm feeling really emphatic, I like to throw out a whole conglomeration of curse words. George Carlin would've adored me.

  • What's your least favorite word?

Any kind of derogatory term for someone's culture, heritage, race, creed, you get the picture. I hate slurs.

  • What was the last film you saw?

We saw Tomorrowland in the IMAX theater a few weeks ago. It was epic awesomeness. I came away feeling completely inspired. I hope my kids did, too.

  • What football team do you support?

Gotta support the alma mater!

  • Have you ever been bobbing for apples?

Once. I was eight or nine years old, and my step-family's friends had a Halloween party.  I had forgotten about that rare fun moment during that decade of my life.

  • What's your most expensive piece of clothing?

Honestly, the name brands I wear are, like, Crocs and Old Navy. I do have a few designer items like Calvin Klein and DKNY or whatever, but I got them secondhand from thredUP. For what it's worth.

  • What's the last thing you took a picture of?

Sophia Ginger

Sophia begged me to turn her blond hair red. I didn't wanna! Hubs said she could. We discussed. End result: blondie is now a ginger. I it!

  • What's the last thing you drew a picture of?

I don't do a lot of drawing these days, but mostly I doodle botanical things, like ferns and daisies, when I'm on the phone.

  • Have you ever bought anything from eBay?

Oh, yes. Sophia (this is a Sophie-heavy post, huh?) is obsessed with all things Littlest Pet Shop lately, so my latest find was a "rare" (she says, and I did not verify, but awesomely inexpensive) LPS from either Taiwan or Hong Kong, I forget. It took 17 days to get here. She hounded the postal carrier daily for that package. Oh, the squeals, when it finally got here on Thursday!

  • Have you ever invented a fairly unique meal or drink?

Hubs says I create great, unique meals all the time (drinks, not so much), but I didn't know what he was talking about. He specified the foil meals I mentioned in yesterday's Saturday 9 post! Cooking en papillote is fantastic. (Psst, Country Dew - They're great in the oven as well as the grill, and I swear to you, you can't mess 'em up. I generally use heavy duty foil instead of parchment paper, though.)

  • Do you have any secret family recipes?

I don't think so. My grandmother was a great cook, but she died before I could get any recipes from her. I don't remember my mom's cooking at all, except for two things: Pumpkin pie, which I'm certain was the Libby's can recipe my home-ec teachin' mamacita-in-law swears is the only one to use, and Chicken a la King, which made my sister and I feign many an upset stomach. To this day, I have never eaten that.

I swear by the Nestlé Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe, incidentally.

Welp, that's all for the Smellyann Sophia and Cooking Show for today.

Enjoy your day, all ye dads!


Friday Fragments: Episode 5.15.15

Half-Past Kissin' Time
Bits and pieces,
Pieces and bits,
so I don't have a fit.
(It's better than rhyming "tits," isn't? My mind is in the gutter tonight - okay, always - and that was my first inclination...)
 I used to own the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack CD way back in the day, even before I'd seen the movie. I loved every single song on it, and then it was stolen from me. Man! That sucked. But I found the complete album on YouTube, and now I am again obsessed with it.
Faith Evans' "Kissing You" is on right now, and I just love it. ::SWOON::
This guy has been inpatient in the VA Hospital for the past week, ever since I posted the last Friday Fragments episode. I miss him like crazy! He should be coming home today, God willing, and I can't wait! It's too often, too long, too damned much lately.
Still no Miranda. It's probably going to take some doing to get her back, but I'm hoping it will be the beginning of June. So a couple more weeks. In the meantime, my amazing friend Shontell has been letting me borrow her car to get groceries and do a few necessary errands, and I love her for it. Thanks, girly-girl!
The length of my to-do list is, once again and lately constantly, inversely proportional to the strength of my motivation to get things done. Sucks. I really, really need to get some energy. Maybe it's time for another iron infusion and/or Vitamin B12 injections?! :/
Pitch Perfect 2 comes out today! I'm stoked, the girls are stoked, and Jack couldn't care less. Regardless, if Rob doesn't come home, I'm dragging his butt with us to go see it. I have four free tickets to see this flick, and I intend to go! Prontissimo! I know it'll be good for a much-needed laugh.
That's it for me this week! Relatively short and sweet.
Thanks for stopping by!

Wordless Wednesday: YMCA Kids' Day

Link up here with 5 Minutes For Mom, and pretty much all around the blogosphere, if you're wordless today!


On Saturday, we went to the YMCA Kids' Fair down the road from our house. The first stop was to visit the National Parks Service table, where we asked a billion questions and received tons of information. And the kids got to blow in a conch shell, which was super fun!


To promote healthy kids, they were giving out freshly made strawberry-banana, and blueberry, smoothies. I think Sophia went back three times for more, you guys. Fortunately, the ladies at the table encouraged it!


They were giving away free books at another table. The selection was a little junior to my kids' ability, but they didn't mind and have read all the books since then. My girls, especially, love to read!


The local Police Department was giving away free bicycle helmets, and Sophie snagged the last one. Lucky girl was making out like a bandit that day!


They were also giving away fresh pineapple chunks and bananas! Yum. Jack looks less than thrilled because he wanted to get on down the road to the Miami Children's Museum, but the girls had a couple servings each. Way to get our nutrition on!

Thanks for the fun day, YMCA!


Friday Fragments: Episode 4.24.15

Half-Past Kissin' Time

I'm back again! What is this, two weeks in a row? Can you stand it? I know!

Link up here if you're fragmenting today!


Silly as it may seem, this might just be my favorite thing from our field trip to the Gold Coast Railroad Museum on Wednesday. If you missed it (and you know you did), you can read more about that here.

I hear it snowed all over parts north of here today. Well, yesterday. On April 23rd. Yes, I live south of Miami, Florida, but my attitude is more of dismay and sympathy than nanny-nanny-boo-boo. And seeing as I was raised in Central New York, I have experienced this phenomenon myself. It sucks. I know. So sorry, y'all.


For Earth Day, after the railroad museum, we made a couple of stops here and there. One stop was at local Disney Store to get our free Disneynature Monkey Kingdom reusable tote bags. I love a tote bag. Save the planet, and all, you know; that's me.


Anyway, that there is 12-year-old, itty-bitty Jack piggybacking on 10-year-old baby sister, Sophia. Nope, that's not a camera trick; he really is that small! And the Yoda hat? Totally works for him.


Miguel, the Castmember at the Disney Store, was all about the enthusiasm for my camera, when I asked him to pose with my freebie tote bag. I loved it. (Not a bad looking young man, either, huh?) And, he let me make two small purchases and get two bags. I loved that, also.



We also received our free milkshakes and fruitshakes from EVOS, which serves AirbakedTM food instead of deep-fried, much of it organic. I had not heard of it before Earth Day, so this was a great marketing ploy to get us in the door and come back for more. We didn't buy anything Wednesday, but we do plan to come back soon, probably on a Kids-Eat-Free Sunday. (I love a deal, y'know?) Since they're a lot closer to Homestead than our beloved Elevation Burger, we're anxious to try EVOS food and compare the two restaurants. Have you been to either one?

(Note: It's not McDonald's. You won't be paying Mickey D's prices.)

Color Me Mine - The Art Of Having Fun


We attempted to use our $60 Groupon for Color Me Mine, for "ceramics and sitting fees" for four people that day, but lo and behold, it doesn't actually cover all the costs, only some of the costs, and there is pretty much nothing ceramical that would have cost little enough so as not to have required me to fork out any additional money. Can you say, disappointment? We were all bummed. 

Except Jack. As Jack says, "I hate Art!"

So we'll go back sometime between payday and May 1st, when the Groupon expires... but I was pretty upset that we couldn't get our Arts and Crafts on that day. Stay tuned to see what ceramics everyone ends up picking out!


I had a mystery shop at a semi-local movie theater to do that night, so in honor of Earth Day yet again, we opted to go as a family to see Disneynature's Monkey Kingdom. I cannot say for sure whether I've seen any other Disneynature films before this, but maybe Oceans...? In any event, I absolutely loved Monkey Kingdom. It was fascinating to me as a Biologist, but heart-tugging to me as a mother. Definitely a show worth watching.

(And, I thought Tina Fey did an excellent job narrating it. What is she, some kind of professional?!)

Image result for two thumbs up


Two thumbs up, all the way around!

P.S. I adore that Disneynature films donates money to the programs and communities shown in the feature, in honor of each moviegoer who sees it opening week. Yay for Team Odette and the monkeys! Have you seen it yet?


After watching the Toque Macaques' antics for the last hour and a half, my monkeys were all amped up and silly-goosing around when let loose outside the theater. Good reminder how influential screen time can be, yo.

Welp, that's it for me this week. Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday Stealing: 17 Meme


Hie thee here and link up thusly if you're playing along today!


17 Meme

Stolen from: Survey Haven
Are you a jealous person? 

Rarely. It's not a "yes" or "no" question for me, because normally I am not jealous of much. However, there have been a few instances in my life when the green-eyed monster came out and surprised me. I'm more jealous of my children getting attached to someone other than Mommy than of, say, Hubs checking out a hot chick!

When is the next time you’re traveling out of state? 

We left Miami last night and spent the night in Palm Beach, which is practically like leaving the country - does that count?

Can you write your name in a foreign language? 

"your name in a foreign language"

Yup, just did it. 

Image result for laughing emoji


My name is my Melanie, regardless of what language I'm speaking. it doesn't change from that to something else when I'm speaking another language - or writing it. However, I can't read, like, cuneiform, so maybe it would be something else in a language with other characters than English?

When you’re getting ready for something, do you listen to music? 

There are two times when I will stop listening to music: When the telly is on, and I don't want to compete with that, or when I'm listening to "IRIS" (my Samsung Galaxy S5's voice) navigate me around parts unknown.

What is your favorite day of the week? 

I'm a stay-at-homeschooling mom, and my husband is retired. One day really just blends riiiiight into the next. I often don't know which one it currently is.

What is something you did yesterday and wish you could have done today? 

Hubs and I went to a swanky French restaurant in West Palm Beach for a mystery shop last night. It was pretty amazing. I had a stellar companion, excellent service, and beautifully presented plating of our food. I would repeat that experience tonight if I could... but I would whisper in my own ear to order the gnocchi instead of the sheepshead (fish)!

If you woke up tomorrow and knew/spoke a different language, which language would you want it to be? 

All of them. I'd be a walking Altavista Babelfish.

What did you last order online? 

After I took the children to see Big Hero 6 at the theater, I immediately went home and pre-ordered the blu-ray/DVD combo pack from Amazon. It finally arrived yesterday. Woot! Such a good flick. I was extremely gratified when it won the Oscar last week.

Do you have any specific hobbies? 

Read my tagline: I blog. I knit. I crochet. I scrap. And sometimes I even parent my three young children. (Not necessarily in order of importance)

What’s a song you recently discovered that you want to tell everyone about? 

 I'm really loving "Bills" by LunchMoney Lewis. I haven't listened to this version before now, just the radio edit.

Favorite fall or winter accessory? 


I live in Miami. Your normal calendar seasons don't really apply. So I pick my nose rings, of which I have a full wardrobe. If it's the monsoon season (June through November), maybe Wellies?

What did you last eat? 


I had an onion bagel with whippity cream cheese. I put entirely too much cream cheese on it, but I like it that way. And no, that isn't a gastric bypass-friendly food choice, but I was about to eat myself, I was so hungry!

Look to your left. What’s there? 

That's about the size and shape of the morass that is my desk at the moment. Eleventy-billion things are on my left. How much time do you have?

How long does it take you to fall asleep? 

I drink about 19 gallons of Diet Coke per diem. It rarely affects me anymore if I drink 'em, so you may be surprised to find that lately, I've been falling asleep at the drop of a hat and sleeping many hours. (Note to self: ask doctor for results of B12 and iron levels from last week's blood draw...)

Is there a TV in the room you are in? 

There is one television set in our abode and yes, it is in this room. It is considerably smaller than the hole in the entertainment center, which drives my OCD-having self bonkers.

What comes to your mind when I say "red"? 

Image result for red lips


"Lips," but if you said it to Chloë, 13yo daughter, she'd probably think of the album by T-Swizzle (a.k.a. Taylor Swift).

Name something you think is pointless?


I couldn't think of anything at the moment other than the turn signals on the cars of most Miami drivers (hey, I use mine, and I even told the kids earlier that when they learn to drive and see that most people here neglect theirs, they should use them anyway), so I polled the room. Here are the responses:

Hubs: Cummerbunds (I disagree)

Sophia, 9: Haz-mat suits (I disagree)

Chloë: Thin socks (I kind of agree!)

* * *

Well, that was fun. Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday Stealing: 2014-2015 Meme, Part The First


Link yourselves right up here if you're feeling it today, folks! I am!

2014/2015 Meme, part one 

Stolen from: German Language Rocks 
1. What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about?


Hubs and I just celebrated our 14th anniversary, so that's on my mind. I'll definitely be telling the grandkiddos about how we met and eloped two months later!

2. If you had to describe your 2014 in 3 words, what would they be?
Brain Tumors Suck... yeah that pretty much sums up 2014!
3. What new things did you discover about yourself?
I've realized that I am stronger than I thought myself capable of being.
4. What single achievement are you most proud of?
I am, historically, a very wussy girl when it comes to standing up for myself to my dad. But when he came down to visit us for Thanksgiving, I did it. I stood up for what I thought was right, and I survived. Yeah!!!
5. What was the best news you received?
I was pretty stoked to hear my great girlfriend, Erin, is with child! Woot!
6. What was your favourite place that you visited in 2014?
In November, Hubs and I visited Playa del Carmen. It was gorgeous. The whole trip, overall, was pretty rockin'.
7. Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?
Perseverance. I have pretty kick-ass stick-to-it-iveness!
8. Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?
I would like to be able to say that it was Hubs, because it usually is, but when they cut out part of his brain... it defaulted to the answer being the other person in this picture with him. So one or the other of us is my final answer! Take it or leave it. ;)
9. Which new skills did you learn?
This is going to sound silly, but I learned to perfect the way I cook my sunny-side-up eggs and make toast at the same time, so it comes out exactly, perfectly, the way I want it to be. It's the little things sometimes, okay?!
10. What, or who, are you most thankful for?
Oh, come on, now. You know I'm supremely thankful for my darling, beloved husband. Yes, he's different now, but he's still here. And that is everything.
11. If someone wrote a book about your life in 2014, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else?
I am certain it would have to be a comedy of errors. 
12. What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2014?
I learned that I am entitled to my feelings, have always been entitled to my feelings, and will always be entitled to those feelings - haters be damned!
13. Which mental block(s) did you overcome?
I decided I was ready to take the next step, at the end of 2014, in my knitting. I have always been afraid of success, but I am ready to pursue something that I believe I can really, truly great at. Hubs encouraged me to sign up for The Knitting Guild Association's Master course in Hand Knitting, and I did! Literally, just yesterday, I printed out the Level 1 coursework. I can't wait to join the ranks of master knitters. 
14. What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with?
Hubs, of course, and our three babies, naturally. For #5, I'll add my BFF, Dr. Lisa, with whom I visited at our high school reunion over the summer. Good times!
15. What was your biggest breakthrough moment career-wise?
Breakthrough: realizing that I don't have to finish my book by the end of the year, or even within two years. I can take my time to get it just right. Whew! (Because I'm nowhere near finished.)
16. How did your relationship to your family evolve?
A very important event happened within the boundaries of my extended family, and I'm not ready to share about that just yet... but it affected me profoundly. I'm still reeling a bit, trying to recover from it, and preserve those family relationships. It's tough.
17. What book or movie affected your life in a profound way?
I took my 13yo daughter, Chloë, to go see the movie Laggies. It affected us both differently and opened us up for a lot of deeper conversation on the way home. I watched it from the perspective of a mom, of course, and she watched it subjectively from the daughter's viewpoint. It wasn't the most profound story in the world, but it made me see that, even though I f**k up, I am a pretty damned good mom to these kids.
18. What was your favorite compliment that you received this year?
My dad told someone I was brilliant, and that the kids would get a stellar education under my tutelage. I was shocked; he's usually the guy who says the most jacked-up shit. It meant an enormous amount to me for him to say that!
19. What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?
I love all my children dearly, and I have no favorites, but Sophia, the youngest at 9, is deliciously amusing. She cracks me up on a regular basis with the things she cooks up. Pain in the butt though she is, she's absolutely worth the trouble! ;)
20. What cool things did you create this year?
Most of my 'creations' involved yarn, I guess. Maybe not so cool to you, but I think it's pretty amazing what one can create with just sticks and string!
21. What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)?
Stressed is definitely the winner! And, sad to say, I'm a stress-eater, so I have gained a few pounds. I am going to remove them in the current year, by gosh!
22. Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?
Hmm... that's a toughie! I've been thinking, and I can't come up with anything cool. Uh, I attempted to ride my kids' scooters (fail), and I pretended I was a planet (win)? Sheesh, I hope 2015 is more exciting when it comes to firsts.
23. What was your favourite moment spent with your friends?
Definitely the high school reunion!! I'm soooo glad we were able to get up there for it!
24. What major goal did you lay the foundations for?
The Master Knitter program, as mentioned above. Wheee!
25. Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?
Yeah,... pretty much all of them! Worry is such a time-suck for me. I gotta stop that nonsense.

Welp, as always, thanks for stopping by!

Sunday Stealing: Fictional Favorites Meme


Link up here if you're feeling thievish today!

Favorite Fictional ? 

1. Favorite fictional couple?  

I still love Ross & Rachel from Friends. Favorite lines: "I'm over you!" "When were you under me?"

2. Favorite fictional character

I guess I'm old school, because Jack Tripper from Three's Company was the first character I loved who came to mind.

 3. Favorite fictional TV show

 Kinda goes without saying, doesn't it?

4. Favorite fictional movie? 

I loved Jennifer Gray and Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing!

 5. Favorite fictional villain? 

Angelina Jolie in Maleficent really touched my heart.

 6. Favorite fictional hero? 

Nobody did Superman like Christopher Reeve did. RIP!

 7. Favorite fictional pet? 

I really am old school, 'cause I'm going with Sprocket on Fraggle Rock.

 8. Favorite fictional setting/universe? 

Again, I guess it goes without saying, because I was a big fan of Fraggle Rock!

 9. Least favorite fictional couple? 

I was never a big fan of Chandler and Janice on Friends.

 10. Least favorite fictional character? 

Sorry, but having been subjected to numerous episodes of Disney's That's So Raven by my kiddos, I have to say that Raven Symone was WAY over-acting on that show. I don't think it's her fault, though; Disney seems to encourage such "talent" in its actors.

 11. Least favorite fictional TV show? 


I'm certain I won't be the only one picking Barney for this answer!

 12. Least favorite fictional movie? 

Any Ernest Goes to... movie gets seventeen thumbs-down from me!

 13. Least favorite fictional villain? 

I love Disney's The Little Mermaid, but I always hated Ursula, the sea witch who took Ariel's voice. Demon!

 14. Least favorite fictional hero? 


I never really understood the point of Batman's sidekick, Robin.

15. Least favorite fictional pet? 

I can't think of a single one! Gonna have to pass on this one.

 16. Least favorite fictional setting/universe?

I'm not a fan of Sci-Fi and just never could get into the whole Star Trek thing, sorry!

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!


Wordless Wednesday: Vacation Days

Link up here if you're Wordless today, too!

We're on a getaway in the Orlando-Kissimmee area this week, so here are a few snaps from our trip so far:






(This is a CocoVino wine from Schnebly's Winery in Redlands, near where we live in Miami. It's coconut-flavored and super-delish!)



Fun times!

Thanks for stopping by ;D


Product Review: "What's In The Bible DVD"

I was selected for participation in this review and given the What's in the bible DVD as a member of The Homeschool Lounge Review Team. All thoughts and opinions are my own.



A little while back, we were given this DVD: Volume 1: In The Beginning / Genesis from the "What's in the Bible" series to review. It's taken us a while to watch the DVD because our machine broke, and then the laptop wouldn't read the disk properly. Argh! We finally had a chance to view the 60-minute DVD Monday night, after I figured out how to get it to play in the afore-mentioned laptop. At last!!


You may or may not be able to read that top-right corner, but it tells us that this series is from Phil Vischer, the creator of VeggieTales®, of which we are huge fans! Indeed, I recognized several voices from VT, so it was a little bit of familiarity embedded in something novel for us.

All three kids sat transfixed throughout the hour-long, two-part DVD, and they erupted into giggles many times in that time. Volume 1 covers the structure and purpose of "the world's most important book," along with who wrote it. Covered topics include Adam & Eve and Noah and the Great Flood, amongst others. A bonus short section,"Quacky's Questions," answers "What is kindness?" My children watched the entire DVD, and then we discussed it.

Jack, my 9-year-old son, was exhausted by the time it was over, so he (as is typical for him) claimed not to have enjoyed it or learned anything from it (though I know he did both) and went straight to bed when it was over. Well! That left the girls.

Sophia, seven, told me she learned that it's important to always try to be good and obey her mom and dad, and God, and not be bad. She learned what sins were, and she learned about Noah and the flood. She said she was glad that God promised not to flood the entire Earth again, and she also learned that God separated people and gave them different languages to speak so there would be less sinning in the world. (Hey, I'm just telling you what my baby said; take what you will from it.)

When asked if she learned anything additional, Chloë, 11, told me that she learned that the Bible is the most important book in the world. We've talked previously - earlier in the same day, even - about respecting The Good Book and not losing or mistreating it (or any other books, but especially this one), so it didn't surprise me that she had this to say.

Both of my daughters said they loved the DVD and thought it was really funny, especially when the characters spoke in silly voices. They were surprised to learn that we get to keep the DVD instead of "renting it back," as they say, and also that it was given to me for us to review. Chloë said, "I thought you bought it for us as a fun surprise! Can we get more of them?"


Indeed,  I think it's possible this will make a great set for Christmas, and I know they - and the like-minded amongst you out there - will be thrilled to receive it!

If you visit the site, you'll see there are some great **free** resources and activities to go along with the series, including coloring pages, Bible flashcards, a Study Guide, and more!  Let me know if you end up getting the set or any parts of it, and what you think, too!

Thanks to The Homeschool Lounge review team and the series for providing us with this excellent jumping-off point for discussing all things Biblical!


Saturday 9: Self Esteem


Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: Self Esteem

1. How was your self esteem growing up?
It's never been very high, but it was especially low as a kid.
2. Do you ever have a hard time with morals?
Sure, I've come up against some situations that make me stumble, in that regard. Yes.
3. Do you eat in bed? If yes, what?
Occasionally, and if I do, I suppose it's whatever I'm in the mood for.
4. What was the last movie you hated and why?
I rarely hate a movie, so I can't even really think of a recent one. I took my oldest to see the Pirates movie that Hugh Grant had a vocal role in, a few weeks ago, and I was so very bored for the first half. That's unusual. It got better, but it wasn't great. (They had me when Chuck Darwin came on the scene, but I didn't love the way he was portrayed!)
5. Have you ever felt that you lost it all? If yes, explain.
Hmm. Mentally lost my shit? Yes, I have. But lost it all, as in hit rock-bottom? I don't think so, no.
6. Have you ever been stalked?
Yes, I have. The most frustrating part of that is the authorities' refusal/inability to act until you're harmed. I was harmed, though, and to be completely honest, I still have my bad-daydream-fantasy-thing that he's going to show up at my door and shoot me.
7. Do you believe in 'self help' for problems, or do you prefer therapy?
I'm in therapy, and it's great - because I've found an excellent care provider. I've been with 'bad' therapists, so I think it completely depends. I don't think this should be an either/or question, though. Why can't one do both?
8. What celebrity do you think should make a run for office?
Ayyyy, uh, um.... no?
9. Do you believe in happy endings? (We do. That's why this is the last question!)
Of course. I'm the eternal optimist, right here.

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up with here with Mrs. 4444 if you've got bits and pieces floating through your brain today!

Right off the bat, I have to say I'm excited that tomorrow is the day I'm spending ~8 hours getting my iron transfusion! It's my first one, and it's not unusual for gastric bypass patients to need them. I'll probably be getting my first of many Vitamin B12 shots, as well. My hemoglobin levels are abyssmally low, which means it's a struggle and a chore just for me to make it through the day, every day, let alone cover everything that's on my plate. I've been dropping a lot of balls lately, admittedly, and I'm hoping this will make a huge difference for me - and my family, who have to put up with me. Hopefully, too, I'll be able to stop consuming the massive daily amounts of caffeine that I do to stay functioning and focused. So, yay!

The only downside is I won't be able to knit during the procedure... but I have about eleventy-billion magazines to catch up on, so I'm covered there. And I can always nap. What I'm wondering about now is, when do I pee? And eat? (I'll let you know. Hee.)

In awesome news, my kids have been focusing on their reading in our homeschooling so far this new year, and they have progressed dramatically. My oldest, a fifth grader, had to write her first book report, after much gnashing of teeth over it, and she did a splendid job. I had to make just a few corrections - all mechanics - but the content was fantastic. I was so pleased!

As for the two Littles, my son is in 3rd grade and came out of 1st grade public school hardly literate at all. So I remediated him from the Kinder level with our K-2 Hooked on Phonics program, and he just "graduated" from the program! It only took him a year and a half to do all three years' worth, so that's pretty great. Yes, I'm proud of him, but even more incredible is how visibly proud of himself he is! I love it!

The youngest, a first grader who was a late bloomer with regard to reading (she's the most active, physical of the lot), has suddenly pushed through the block and is now almost to the 2nd grade level of the program. So go, kids!! Starting next week, we'll slow down on so much all-reading, all-the-time, and focus more on math, with which all three of them also need remediation. No child left behind, my butt! But the buck stops here. :)

We were supposed to go on a field trip to the Food Bank with our two respective Girl Scout troops today, but I found out two hours before the trip that they had to reschedule it. ARGH! I had no choice but to cancel our regular meeting, since I have it planned to have a guest speaker come in, and there was no way to get her on such short notice. It was pretty stinko (my word of the month), and I was bummed, since we're behind where I wanted to be in my Daisy troop at this point. But with the iron deficiency, I have to say, I wasn't too terribly disappointed to get a reprieve! Just sayin'.


We've had Sophia to the Emergency Department 3-4 times this past week, as her breathing struggles have suddenly kicked back into high gear. It's not the weather, since it's barely cold here, and it started in the summertime anyway (in 2010!). We've seen 8 or 9 different doctors and gotten just as many "suggestions" about what it could be, with no real answers. It's frustrating for me, as her mom, to watch her go through this, so I can only imagine how much of an annoyance it is for her. My husband thinks it's entirely stress-induced, but I disagree. That may be a component, certainly, but since it frequently comes on when she's just sitting around, doing nothing remotely upsetting, how can that be?? I just wish I could help her.


A local-but-online-only friend of mine is a potter, and she fashions these awesome, funkadelic business card holders that I've been coveting for a long time. Last week, she made this red one, and I KNEW it was the one I had to have. It arrived today. Do you love it?! I do! So cool. Check out Lisa's Etsy shop for more awesome clay-mations!


We drove up the Eastern Shore of Virginia on Sunday (here's my view out the windshield of the Chesapeake Bay), for a high-paying mystery shop. Great, except I kind of screwed it up a little, and now I don't know if I am going to get paid for it. Argh. Well, if that happens, at least we had a fun trip and enjoyed lots of interesting scenery, right?


This is the kids in the back during the trip, watching Judy Moody and the Not-So-Bummer Summer, which they've been waiting for me to rent from the Blockbuster kiosk for ages. I waited until it dropped to $1, so I could get it for free (lots of codes out there, folks!), because I'm cheap like that!


Speaking of mystery shops, Rob and I finally went out for a nice dinner - with the kids, so it was only semi-romantic! - to celebrate the 11th wedding anniversary we shared on the 2nd of this month. Here's my Appletini. The kids love cherries and all clamored for mine, but um, no. Not the ones all soaked in Smirnoff, kiddos! It was really strong, and I got drunk very quickly. I drink maybe once a month, if that, and wow. I'm such a lightweight since my surgery!


And here's me, that night (tipsy), showing you my hair in its awkward growing-out phase. I can't stand my hair right now. I want it to be long NOW. I'm half-tempted to just chop it again, but it grows soooo slowly, I may never have another ponytail. Is 35 too old for ponytails, anyway? Not around the house, or in the summer at least, right? ;)


Last week (which I can tell ya, because I skipped FF then, sorry), we totally kept the kids up and took them to the 12:01 AM first showing of the newly re-released Beauty and the Beast in 3D. It was AWESOME. I think I had as good a time as the kids did. It cost a small fortune; I had sticker shock, but it was worth it for the "cool mom points" I earned, I think. At least Rob managed to stay awake during the whole thing - he'd had a nap first to make sure! Have you seen it? It was great.


Lastly, speaking of Etsy, I have to share this story. I bought this gorgeous yarn on clearance from Summer of Perfectly Handmade, and the whole situation quickly turned into a comedy of errors: First, she accidentally sent me the wrong yarn, and then she sent me the correct yarn after I mailed it back (and she was GREAT through this whole process, and I totally recommend her, so don't think I'm speaking too badly of her). Well, it was badly skeined, and when I wound it into center-pull "cakes" with my swift and ball winder, it took about two hours vs. the 10-15 minutes it should have, because it was such a mess. I finally got it, though, and managed to knit ONE hexipuff for the Beekeeper's Quilt I'm making before going to bed for the night. Well, I stupidly left that troublesome-but-lovely yarn out overnigh, and our two kittens decided to make it their plaything overnight. When I woke up early, before the kids, I went to go knit another puff with it... and it was GONE. So I instantly knew "the twins," as they are, were the culprits and headed upstairs to look for it. I found two 8mo kittens, each with a shred of the yarn hanging out of their mouths and looking at me guiltily. They immediately dropped it and went to go hide under my son's bed! Then I searched around and found the yarn strewn all over my older daughter's room, some of it chewed it into short strands, some of it just a gnarled, knotty mess, but all entirely wrecked. GAH!!  However, I kept plugging away at it, and look! Up there! I managed to eke out 13 or 14 hexipuffs out of the yarn, which I eventually sorted out, and they'll look great in the quilt. But what a pain!!

P.S. Summer sent me some more yarn as a gift, for all my troubles. So if you're a "yarnie" like I am, don't hesitate to check her out!

I'll leave you on that note. No, this one: "All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

RIP, Dr. King.


Jack In 100 Years


We stopped into the drugstore the other day, and when Jack walked next to this old-guy Halloween statue thingy, I had myself a good laugh. "Jack!" I called. "Come stand next to this thing!" He's good-natured about his stature (for the couple of you who are new here, my 8-year-old diminutive son is growth hormone deficient and takes a nightly shot of HGH, but he's still the size of an average 3-4 year old), so he played into the joke willingly. He thought it was pretty funny himself, actually!

Just thought I'd share.


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Mrs. 4444 is the brainpower behind Friday Fragments, so be sure and link up with her if you're in pieces this week!

So, despite the fact that:

 - We still have some fleas and our natural solution (sprinkling diatomaceous earth everywhere) isn't working well,

- we still don't have AC in the house OR in my van,

- last year's housefly problem has returned,

- pigeons have invaded our attic, and

- my bipolar meds are in need of tweaking, apparently, because my moods are all over the map lately,

I'm having a pretty decent week. I'm feeling happy, content, and grateful for my wonderful life. It's not a feeling I've experienced often in my mixed-up life, so I'm holding onto it this time with all my might.


Our monthly Bunco night was Wednesday, and I was the "host" (although it's always held at T's house now). These are the prizes I brought, and they were pretty well received. I love getting Bunco prizes and always put a lot of thought into it. I actually kicked butt this month and won TWO prizes, so I brought home the chunky red necklace from Torrid that I liked, and the Salt Water Taffy that my kiddos had been eyeing since I picked it up. Steph subbed in this month and snagged a couple herself!

Btw, see those cards with the elephants on them, near the top left? Made with real elephant poop. Awesome, right? :D


Speaking of Bunco, I wore this pendant that I reviewed on my giveaway blog, Fishing and Wishing, and it got raves! Check it out if you'd like one for yourself. ;)

And not only that, but I'm thisclose to my goal weight and very definitely plan to reach it by the time I hit the 1½-year post-gastric bypass-surgery mark on the 26th, so my new figure got a lot of attention at Bunco night, too. I purposely dressed up in my LBD (Little Black Dress) to show it off a little, hee.  Two of the other ladies were talking, and they told me that I should be a spokesperson for the surgery! Another one even called me "skinny," which is, like, the awesomest compliment I can get right now.

Love those girls, MWAH!

I had my 18-month follow-up with my surgeon (Dr. C, thank goodness; I think the other guy is a complete @$$) this morning, and he was full of praise for my progress.

He doesn't want me to lose much more at all, actually. I'm at about 152.5 lbs, and he'd like to see me go no lower than 150 lbs, even though I'm only 5'2" and my "ideal" BMI-chart weight is about 125 lbs. He said that a frame that can hold 341 lbs (I know!! Shame on me) just would not look good at 125, and I would probably feel terrible. I asked him to elaborate on that, and he just said I'd feel completely miserable. (Wouldn't I like to test that theory, though?!)

So, I know I will go substantially lower than 150 when I get my jiggles and stuff cut off, which I plan to start doing as soon as our still-outstanding tax refund comes in, but maybe the 120s aren't the destiny for me. Eh. I got called a "MILF" by two hot guys recently, so what more do I need?! :D

Oh, also, I asked Dr. C. about the fact that almost every time I stand up, I get so light-headed that I almost black out. It's a major nuisance. I wasn't sure it was related to the weight loss, but he confirmed that it definitely is and is very common.

The problem?

My blood pressure is too low.

Which is a switch, considering I used to be on meds for my very HIGH pressures.

The solution?

I need to add more muscle mass, since I've lost a considerable amount of that, to help bulk up my weakened blood vessels, and I have to add more salt to my diet. (You don't hear that often, eh?) And hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, of course, which I am always conscious of, but it's especially hard in the current heat.

He promised that it would stop when my weight loss finally levels off, and that is one thing I am looking forward to. Having to stop and hold on to something for 10-20 seconds every time I get up is a major pain in my arse!


Tonight was fun. With the Amazon.com gift cards I've been racking up with my Swagbucks, I was able to get a free Ice Cream Maker, and it arrived last night. Rob went out for the extra ingredients we needed tonight, and we made some awesome organic vanilla soft serve. I can't really have any, but I did steal a few spoonfuls of the finished product. Oh, my stars, it is GOOD. GOOD!!! Next time, I forewarned them that we'll be making me some sugar-free strawberry sorbet, so Mama can actually enjoy some frozen goodness. I can't wait!

(Those pictures are from my shutterbug-in-training, Chloë.)

I had two free passes to see Toy Story 3, so I bought two more tickets and took the kids to see it at the local theater today. What a great flick! I actually cried my eyes out at the end. The kids loved it, too, and they talked about it all evening. Have you seen it?

That's it. I didn't record any Cute Kid Quotes this week; hopefully I'll get some for next time!

Have a great weekend, y'all!


Our Day In D.C.


On Saturday, La Familia Odette made the nine-hour round-trip up to Washington, D.C. so that Chloë could reshoot part of her role in the short movie Boom. The director, Olivia, had received a grant to rework the film a bit, so fortunately, our trip and Chloë's acting were paid for this time by the grant. W00t!

The trip up was fine and ordinary. I started out driving but didn't even make it to Richmond before I became too drowsy to drive. I hadn't slept much the night before, and in any case, it seems like driving for any distance puts me to sleep anymore. It really sucks, since I actually like taking road trips.

So I napped for a while and then woke up to navigate Rob into the city. It was our first time actually driving in the District, and we were both, I think, a wee bit nervous. Last time we went, when Sophia was still in utero, we stayed outside the city and rode the train in and around town. At first, Rob claimed that it was really no different than the kind of traffic we see here in Hampton Roads, but later he admitted that no, it was a bit more complicated than that. I drove out of the city and was pretty at ease about it, but then, I really did most of my learning to drive in Miami, while at the same time figuring out how to drive a stick shift!


I had put Rob in charge of bringing the food for our time in the car, and, well, he really didn't bring that much. Everyone was starving. Fortunately, there was food on set, but I don't think Olivia meant to feed my entire family for the day! Um, oh well. Here's Jack on a pile of chairs, eating a cup full of grapes.


Everyone was pretty restless, as we waited about 3 or 4 hours while Olivia and the crew shot other scenes. We tried to keep them calm and quiet, but that was a pretty futile effort. Thankfully the crew members didn't make us feel bad about the noise; they just quietly shut the door to the conference room we were in and went about their business.


Sophia was pretty stoked when I let her have a Sprite. Of course, that meant the other two had to get one, too. As for me, um, I had some M&Ms and a piece of doughnut. Exactly the sort of thing I should be eating, right? But I'm 2.8 lbs away from my doc's goal for me, so hey. (I'm going to try to lose that last 2.8 lb before my check-up with him on Thursday, so it's nothing but protein shakes for me this week! Bleh.)



At some point, I put down the knitting I was working on and fell sound asleep, facedown on the table. Somehow, Rob was able to get Jack to take a nap in the chair, but Sophia was another story. Jack napped and napped!

And then it was finally time for Chloë to Do Her Thing.  Rob had to stand in as an extra, but Olivia really didn't laugh when I told her he'd only do it if he got a credit on IMDb, too. Hee.

I was shut in the conference room with The Littles while they were out there filming, so I have no idea how it went. And when they were finished with Rob and ready to do her close-ups (closes-up?), he joined me. So it was with immense pleasure that we took the following commentary from Olivia: "Chloë really has tremendous camera presence. She is a natural. Whenever we did a take, I didn't even have to ask the crew if it was a good take, because we all could just feel that it was." That's not exactly what she said, but pretty close, so we are quite proud of our little actress!

After Olivia told us that, and we were walking out of the building to return to Vanna, I asked Chloë, "So, do you want to be an actess, honey?" She said to me, "No, I am an actress." Well, you go, girl!


We were in the MidCity section of D.C., and it was really a beautiful and interesting area. Rob and I had a great deal of fun looking at all the colors and styles of the area's architecture. There was so much to look at. I could really see myself living there. We just loved it.


There were so many flowers and lovely plants and gardens in each of the townhouses' front yards, too. Everyone looked so content, walking around town, enjoying their little MidCity lives. It was fun being one of them for a day.


For a special treat, we decided to take Chloë out to dinner. She wanted Subway, but we couldn't find that, so we ended up at Point Chaud Café & Crêpes, which had every kind of crêpe one could possibly imagine. The kids all had to use the bathroom, so I chose several different kinds of crépes for them off the menu, figuring they could nibble on a little of this, and a little of that.


A lady at the next table over saw me photographing the family, so she volunteered to take a family picture of us. And here we are.  Sophia's face cracks me up!  (Can you tell I have no boobs? hehe)


Point Chaud had real Coke, made with real sugar, in glass bottles: Rob's favorite. So I got him one. He was well-pleased. Now if only those folks would make some organic Coke...!

  Sophia loved that she could stand up on her chair and watch the "cookers" make our crêpes through the window. She kept reporting back to us on their progress: "Ooh, now they're using Nutella! They're putting some kiwis in! Ew, what's that green stuff?" etc.


I thought I knew my kids, but apparently I don't: I ordered three bottles of apple juice, and all three handed them back and asked for OJ instead. But Mama knows best, because the juice tasted nasty to them compared to the wonderful stuff we've been getting delivered to our house each Wednesday afternoon!


Finally our crêpes arrived, and they were YUMM-O!! The kids really had no interest in the kiwi or the turkey and cheese ones, but they were all about the Nutella and banana one. Surprise. I liked my egg, cheese and spinach crêpe, and Rob's mushroom, tomato and Swiss was pretty good, too, although he didn't really like the whole wheatness of it. I liked mine, though.

So that was our little trip. We meandered the short distance back to Vanna and counted about 38 CVS Pharmacies on our way out of the District. I made it almost all the way to Richmond this time, before surrenduring the driver's seat to Rob.

So now, we wait for the release of Boom, and I couldn't be more excited to see it!






Things On My Mind

So I'm behind again; what else is new?

There has been lots going on.

Of course, as usual, I have been driving myself crazy with the mystery shopping. I did get a new shirt out of that, though, and I've had a couple high-paying ones that were worth the incredibly boring effort.

I went and had my Quick Start training for being Sophie's Daisy Scout troop leader next year. I learned a lot and feel much more prepared to begin that endeavor, even while simultaneously beginning to homeschool the three kids. I will feel even better after I pick up my Leader guide. Kim, the trainer, gave me lots of good hints and tips for running the troop smoothly.

She (Kim) also has a very petite daughter, so when she saw Chloe Friday night at the "She and Me" pre-registration event for next year, and Chloe introduced herself as a rising Junior Girl Scout, she offered to break out her daughter's old Junior petite uniform and pass it along to me. Great! Any way to save a buck.

On the one hand, I want to save each uniform especially for the girl who wore it and earned all the patches, but on the other hand, in order to save money, I ripped all the Daisy petals off Chloe's Daisy uniform so that Sophia can wear it.  From now on, now that I know the girls will have lots of patches sewn on, I won't do that anymore. But I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth; if she wants to pass on the old Junior uniform, who am I to say no?

Speaking of that She and Me event, who can resist laughing at this picture of Sophia clowning for the camera:


I dare you to try. Every time I look at it, I can't help but grin, at least!

The event was lots of fun. The girls made lotions (cherry and orange), painted a clay magnet, strung beads for bracelets and necklaces, colored pictures, made tissue paper flowers, and more. I have lots of pictures - too many to post here. As it was the beginning of Sophia's Scouting journey, of course I had to bring the camera.

Unfortunately, that meant there was no camera for Rob to take along to Jack's Cub Scout sleepover at the Sports Hall of Fame in Portsmouth. Rob and Jack spent the night there on Friday with the pack. I heard it was lots of fun. There was a scavenger hunt. That's about all I know, since Rob's iPhone battery died, and he didn't even get i-pics of the event. Suck.

Also, in case you haven't been reading the Sweet Pea Academy blog, Friday was Jack's first official day as a home-schooler! I pulled him out after, well, you can go read it for yourself if you're interested. Cute pictures there of him making pancakes, too.

So naturally, home-schooling has been at the forefront of my consciousness just about constantly lately.  I'm not going to do a whole lot with the boy, aside from get him tested to gauge his baseline for right now. We'll take the rest of the year pretty easy and do fun things together with his daddy, and then start up again in August or September when the girls are ready to join us. That will take a lot of pressure of me for coming up with a last-minute curriculum, which is a huge relief.

In the meantime, I have made up Sweet Pea Academy ID cards for Rob and myself, as home educators, and for Jack, as a student. Then we can use those cards for teacher discounts at TAPS, Michaels, AC Moore, Barnes & Noble, etc. They're pretty cute, too (the cards). I like 'em.

So what else...

Oh, so the kids went to the Lowe's Build and Grow Clinic Saturday with Rob, to build a Mother's Day trellis planter. They each made one, and they all had a FANTASTIC time. It's a really cool program, if you haven't heard of it. Both Lowe's and Home Depot run these workshops for kids, teaching them all kinds of skills and making lots of projects. I've known about it for a long time, but this is the first one I actually signed them up for because I have no clue why. They can't wait to go again, though. The next one is in two weeks, and they're going to build a catapult! I don't think HD is running any this month, at least not here.

Also on Saturday, there was a big drawing at the local mall for a big package that I desperately wanted to win: a fitness package, spa package, and MAID SERVICE!!! All to one person. Oh, how I needed that. I came close, too. Chuck from the Morning Point (the radio station I often listen to) chose a paper and said, "Does anyone have a first name that starts with "M"? Do you live in Virginia Beach?" But alas, it was another M in VB. 

I did win a small garden prize, though. They had a separate game, a roulette wheel-type thing, and I put my piece on Kelly Clarkson. KC came up when the wheel was spun! I didn't know what I won, but of course, I was all full of the glee and stuff. It turned out to be some nice gardening gloves and a hat, and blueberry soap. The girls were with me, and they were even more excited than I was. They took our picture, but I don't know if it's going to be on the radio's website or what; a quick search there turned up nothing. Let me know if you spot us!

Hm, so on Thursday, Chloe went to her weekly therapy session. L called me in for the session, too. She wanted to talk about a picture Chlo had drawn the week before. I don't want to get too far into Chlo's psyche here, but let's just say that there were some very strong feelings about Robby, babies dying, and such. I was absolutely in tears. I felt terrible that she's having any kind of hard time with that. I guess all these years, I have been focusing on how Jack is going to grow up feeling about losing his twin, and I just haven't worried too much about any impact on Chloe for losing her baby brother. Or Sophia, for that matter. They've always been free to talk about him, but ... I don't know. It just took me a bit by surprise. I feel kind of stupid about that, now.

So there is a lot of anxiety on her part. We are supposed to make her feel as comfortable and safe as possible, and give her as much control as we can. Those anxious feelings can masquerade as ADHD, too. L was surprised when I told her we took Chlo off the med, but she didn't seem to have too much of a problem with it, like her pediatrician did. But I don't want to get into that again, right now.

Saturday night, we watched "The Business of Being Born" with the kids. That may surprise some people who think that kids that young have no business learning and seeing so much about human birth, but I honestly have zero problems with it, especially when it's done as tastefully as in that doc. It's nature, it's biology, and I am a very strong proponent of being completely honest with your kids, as long as that honesty doesn't harm them in any way. Half the time, they were bored watching it. They have had SO many questions - especially the girls - about giving birth lately, that I thought it would be helpful for them to see that, in fact, most babies are NOT cut out of their mothers' bellies and are delivered in a much less scary way. (Holy run-on.) I think it helped. Hard to say. Sophia still thinks babies all come by c-section, I think, but she also realizes that they are born vaginally, too. I don't think she quite gets it yet.

And of course, I was impacted by the movie, too. So was Rob. I feel strongly that anyone who is pregnant or thinking about it should watch this doc. I can't say for certain that things would have gone any differently for us (I had two emergency and one "emergent" c-sections), but I know that I would have started out, at least, with a midwife and a planned home birth if I knew what things were really like in the OB world. I thought I needed an OB/GYN because I wanted "someone who knew what they were doing" or something like that. Ha! I feel the fool for feeling that way about it, but what did I know. I was 24, scared and clueless.

There's little I can change about the horrible way my births went, but there is a lot I can change about the way my family eats. On my own, I also watched "Food, Inc.," a documentary about, well, the food industry in America, especially farming. I feel even more strongly than ever about changing our diets to reflect my/our concern for the environment, our health and nutrition, and the world in general. I can't wait to get that garden planted, so we can eat fresh food straight from our backyard. Whatever we can't grow ourselves, I want to supplement from the Farmer's Market (as much as possible) and the organic section of the grocery (as little as possible). I know it will cost, but hopefully the money we save on growing our own produce will offset the cost of buying non-genetically modified milk, for instance.  I definitely recommend y'all watch this one, too.

And I don't plan to let my kids eat another hamburger or pork chop. Certainly not from McDonald's or, say, Sonic. No more fast food, and no more fast food mystery shops. Rob will probably balk, but I'm going to stand firm on that. I'll probably let the kids watch Food, Inc. when the disk comes in the mail from Netflix, so we can talk about exactly why I want to implement these changes in our diets; it really wasn't that grotesque or anything like that. I didn't find it to be too graphic at all, and I was watching it from their standpoint the whole time.

It makes me more eager than ever to get out of this house and get a place on a nice lot, where we can maybe have a goat and some chickens, too. Fresh eggs! Fresh milk! It would be grand, so nice. If the boat plan doesn't happen for now, I definitely want to move out of here as soon as possible. We planned on being here about five years, and it's been over seven now. I hate it!! The house is to small (it's a townhouse), our neighbors are right on top of us, and forget about the nitpicky homeowner's association that drives us crazy.  I dream of living where Nikki lives, Chloe's troop leader - it's exactly the kind of place I want. A sprawling ranch with a huge yard and a garage... sigh. Maybe. Maybe.

Well, I could say a thousand more things, but I really must get this desk cleaned up.

Oh! One more thing before I forget:


I finished Luke's wool shorties for Stephanie. I started them about two weeks ago, but she commissioned me for them literally months ago, maybe even before he was born! So it's about dang time I got them done. I didn't do a drawstring, but that will be quickie-quick. I just don't know if she wants one yet, or what kind or color she'd want. But yay! Cute, right? I hope they fit, since they were custom-made to his measurements.

I guess that's it. Happy Mother's Day to all you moms and grandmas out there!


P.S. I watched Revolutionary Road, too, with Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Have you seen it? It was good, but it was no Titanic! Quite the opposite, quite quite.