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Decemberists Thus Far... 2018

Chickens Collage

Heyyyyy kids and bigger kids! I figured I'd try to blahg here and there, once in a while, to fill up some cyberspace with my special brand of bizarre.


We're down to 20 chickens in the backyard coop now, which sounds like a lot for city life, and that's because it is... They have grown SO much - and all 19 that survived this year's September hatching are much bigger than Athena, our only 2017 flock survivor. I'm gladdened and amazed that so many of our n00bs have done so well. Even little Waffle, our runt of the "litter," is thriving! See them up there, barging out the coop door and then peering in the window, when someone forgot to latch the door? Haaaa. Kills me. (And yes, we have more than one feeder; the 20 of them are so dumb, they never realize it.) But they are pigs! They eat a freakin' ton and a half. I need to get a bucket with a lid, because we're going to start giving them fermented feed at least once a week. Good for them and good for the pocketbook!


Mirror notes


So like, Rob and I are currently in awe of the fact that we've now been together 18 years. We had a whirlwind courtship: We met online on November 1st, 2000, and eloped on January 2nd, 2001. Two months! Throughout November, we put daily (or so) sticky notes on each others' bathroom mirrors to find when, y'know. Bathroom stuff. We took them all off at the end of the month, and now we've started over again for December. It's nice. Romantic, right? We're telling each other all the things we love and are thankful about each other. I'm surprised there are so many things about me that Rob has to say! Delightfully surprised. But I'll run out of Post-Its™ long before I run out of niceties to share with Rob. ♥

Engagement Ring


We met in person for the first time on November 17th, and by December 8th, at our second tête-à-tête meeting, Rob put a ring on it! At the end of that weekend, I drove all the way back to St. Pete from Panama City Beach, Florida, trying not to crash while I admired the ring on my finger. ♥

Xavier BearPo 


This is "BearPo," aka "Xavier the X-rated Bear" (heh), aka my engagement bear. Robert gave it to me the same night he gave me my engagement ring, but he hadn't had a chance to tie the ring around BearPo's neck 'cause I drove about 100 mph all the way to the Florida Panhandle (aka Lower Alabama). I still sleep with BearPo - and Hubs - every night. Every damn night.


Rose Gold Collage

Apropos of nothing, I'm really having this rose gold moment. It's weird, because historically, rose gold has been hovering pretty damn close to the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to my favorite metals. (Mercury is probably, y'know, rock bottom.)

In order of love, from greatest to least, here you go [please note, I have never had a relationship with platinum, so don't send me hate mail. I'm a champagne and caviar dream on a beer and silver-plated budget kinda girl, ya dig?]:

Copper, Cu > Silver, Ag > Gold, Au > Rose Gold, umm Rose Au > Cadmium, Cd > Nickel, Ni > Lead, Pb > Mercury, Hg

(Yeah, uhh, Cd and Ni had to be included because they're often the base metals in your cheaper jewelry {ahem from China ahem}, and I am severely allergic to them. So fancy it is, for me!) 😉

Anyhoo, so now that rose gold is having its moment, it kind of pisses me off that I find myself drawn in by it! I usually loathe trendy things! I despise following the trends! I'm the opposite of a fashion-follower, you know? I do my own thing. Now that everyone and their motherfecking brother has pierced their nostrils, I hate it. Hate it!

Rose gold jewelry profile pink

Rose Gold Rings a

So, that prettiful septum ring (not trendy so far, I hope?) is rose gold from here, but I don't love it because it's really poorly balanced and looks crooked AF unless I constantly adjust it. The hibiscus earring from here (yes, it's the same shop) is supposed to be for my tragus piercing, but doesn't freakin' fit in there, because the post is waaaay too short 🤬😠; it's also rose gold. And the two stacked skinny rings from here on my hand are rose gold. All from Etsy. I want more, but the budget says noooo...


Also, my sister says she misses my "shit-brown eyes," because they've been turning greener and greener as I get older (and ahem, I am not old, no matter what all this mail from AARP is trying to tell me!). I like it. She does not, apparently. I think she feels like I'm horning in on her green/blue-eyed genetics?! 😏


WorldWide Candle Lighting


On Sunday, December 9th, we observed the annual Compassionate Friends' Worldwide Candle Lighting for all the angel babies. At 7 PM, in every time zone, candles were lit to keep the wave of light going around the world. We were supposed to go to one of the downtown parks to join in communion with other bereaved families, but I was not well enough to make it that night. So Sophia, Rob and I lit candles for Robby, our little boy lost, and all the other babies in the world who are dearly missed. (Chloë and Jack were at the church youth group.)

♥ I miss my son. ♥


Rob Breast Cancer pin

Right now Rob and I are sporting these beautiful enamel Breast Cancer Awareness pink ribbon pins I bought from Jos. A. Banks, in recognition of a close family member going through this particular trial right now. We are praying and hopeful, but it's been a rough go for her. Additionally, since my grandmother had breast cancer twice, in her 30s and 50s, and my BRCA gene-testing proved to be "indeterminate" thus far, we are forever vigilant. With this and Rob's prostate cancer (with a very strong family history) along with, well, pretty much every other health problem in the books between us, the kids really have NOT won the genetic jackpot! Sorry, kiddos.




Now that it's December, of course Christmas is on my mind. Here's a little blast from the past, part of our Christmas 2013 photo shoot. Hard to believe it's been five years - but these kids have changed so incredibly much since then, I guess I have to believe!


Presents are now present! (We used to do a present here and there along the month of December, as part of our Advent calendar activities and stuff, but we didn't plan on doing that this year. We failed.):

Jack's Bike from Vineyard


Jack's been wanting to buy himself a mountain bike so he could get himself back and forth to work when Rob and I aren't able. Sometimes, he works, Chloë works, and Sophia needs to be in Eagle (a 40+ minute drive) for horse lessons. With one car and, currently, one driver much of the time while I'm down and out, the kids find themselves waiting and waiting. Jack HATES that, and I get it. So since he's on the autism spectrum, one characteristic of note is that he obsesses. He gets an idea, and he obsesses and dwells and talks and talks about it. (It's kind of annoying, but I'm used to it.) 

Anyway, he talked up his desire to buy a good mountain bike at church, too, so imagine my surprise when his church youth group leader, S, called me up to say they'd just bought him one and wanted to bring it by the house! He was so extremely delighted, it was fabulous. Yay, Jack! And thank you, Vineyard Boise! ♥

12102018 Christmas 4

Robert, so far, has gotten a new Farberware Stockpot. I had to give it to him early, so he could cook me some shizz. And the rest of the family, but whatever. He loves it! (I think; he's not the most emotive sonofagun.)

Emirates 2
Emirates 2

As for me, if Rob doesn't get me this artified Emirates diamond-encrusted private jet, I'm frankly not interested. Wait... Lindt chocolate truffles, you say? All right, let's talk.

12102018 Christmas 14

This year, we decided to put up a white Christmas tree. Chloë and I both agreed that we wanted a white tree, and I couldn't decide whether to do pink lights or teal lights. In the end, we decided on teal, but the fates did not allow. So we have... this. But I love it! I think it's so pretty. ♥ The kids decorated the entire thing themselves.

Eeyore Collage

This year, I've partnered with BSM Media to promote their Original #PillowPets campaign, and in exchange for this adorable Eeyore Pillow Pet (which I pretty much wanted for myself, but that would be super selfish, and I'm trying to avoid that ugly trait), I am sharing him with y'all and my other social media channels. [I received no other compensation. All opinions are, as always, honest and my own.] Because Jack is our resident grump (hehe), I decided to gift Eeyore to him. I wouldn't call Jack depressed nor friendless, but you get the point. Ho-hum, y'know? I think he liked it. He seems to have gotten the joke. I just hope his two bunnies don't decide to snack on it! (P.S. It now belongs to Muffin, his cat, who quickly adopted it for its softness.)

Chloë's HP Books Collage

Chloë's grandmother (Rob's mom) was always interested in making sure my kids were reading. She always wanted to know what their annual book lists were for school (we homeschool: Sweet Pea Academy is our domain). In 2014, Grandma gave Chloë, knowing I'd given the kids Kindles for school, all seven of the Harry Potter e-books for her Kindle. Oh, mah gaw! This kid devoured book after book after book, and then we bought her all the movies, and she is now berserkezoid crazy about all things Potter. So finally, after years of yearning, we've given her the book set so she can hold them, turn the pages, and feel the stories. She was ecstatic! (I had Sophia wrap them, taking each book individually out of the case and wrapping it. Hee!)

Sophie Chloë Present Massage

Sophia got a new pastel oils set that night, for her masters art class that she's doing this year. She's doing beautiful work, y'all!


Okay, that's it for this post. I'm going maybe chop Christmas 2018 up some, for brevity's sake. Yeah, 'cause I'm brief. I've never been succinct a day in my life.

Happy Chrismakkwanzah, y'all! ;)


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

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


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

Boise Pride Festival 2018 011
Boise Pride Festival 2018 020

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


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

Image result for silly resolutions

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


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

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

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


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


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

Rob Breast Cancer pin

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


What places have you visited?

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

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

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

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

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

Any new pets? Lost a pet?

Yes; critters we've lost this year:


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


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

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

04 June 30 2017
And finally, we lost all but one of our 2017 chickens, our White Silkie Athena, to a predator massacre. I was so crushed!

Critters we've gained this year:

71 September 6 2018

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

Fudge 1

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

Rocky and Jack 1

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


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

Wishful Thinking House

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


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


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


What was your biggest achievement last year?

Image result for Christian Science Cult

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


Did you get sick or injured?


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

What was the best thing you bought?

Pf changs

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

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


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

Barkbox Dogs

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


What song will always remind you of last year?

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


What do you wish you would have done more of?


My husband! 🤪😂😈

What do you wish you would have done less of?

Tears in Heaven

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


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

Image result for bob's burgers oh my god gif

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

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

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

Image result for recipes for repair

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

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

09082018 Mom's Birthday 01

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

091218 FREE Pedicure from Reginald
Also, Hubs gave me a pedicure, which he often did during my pregnancies when I couldn't reach and now often does again since my joints are so stiff and painful. Yeah, he's a keeper. (Also, pssst! Robert! I'm due for another one!)

09072018 Chloe's 17th birthday 01
Chloë's birthday (9/7) is the day before mine (9/8), so we usually celebrate together by running around collecting all the billions of birthday freebies out there. Here are some from this year:

Birthday Freebies Collage

[click to embiggerate]

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


What political or social issue stirred you the most?

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

Image result for Global Citizen

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


Who was the most interesting new person you met?

Image result for Dr. Alejandro Homaechevarria

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


What changed at your job?

Pear Flambé Pint Single $22.50 A

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


What changed in your home?

Coop Life 25 Sept 2018 (2)

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


Describe how a relationship changed.

Image result for growing up in an abusive household

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


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


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


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

Image result for the word interesting


How have people around you changed?

December 2018 Selfie Collage

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


What have you learned throughout the year?

T Rex Cmas Tree

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


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

Warm weather:


Something cool, comfortable, and hopefully, cute!

Cool Weather:

Profile Pic Ground Control
Anything remotely warm, comfortable, and hopefully cute! ;)


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

EWW Etsy Collage

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


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

Well... Before:


And now:

Week 48 of 52 Selfie

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


What are your hopes and dreams for the new year?

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

Image result for autoimmune disease

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

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

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

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

Image result for ehlers danlos syndrome

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

Image result for myalgic encephalomyelitis

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

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


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

See y'all after the happy merry!


Sunday Stealing: What IS Normal, Anyway?

Hey, pals! So did I tell you my girls and I have started a new premium, eco-conscious candle company?

EWW MacIntosh Apple Pints Smaller

Well, here's a sneak preview of some of our offerings, but like I think I mentioned in Saturday 9 yesterday. we are so not yet ready to launch. The girls and I are sitting around now, assembling wicks, containers, carefully measuring wax and taking its temperature, etc. Mostly the girls are doing that part while I supervise, make the labels, source bee-friendly, wildflower seed-impregnated, plantable paper for the business cards we intend to order, and trying to figure out how to set up our various platforms. We have a Facebook page, our own website, and an Etsy shop, but so far I just haven't made a lot of progress on those. Lots more to do!

Therefore, I feel fully justified in taking a break to do Sunday Stealing right now. Ha! So link up here if you'd like to join us this week!


1. What is your favorite animal?
Image result for mako shark
Look. So I'm a biologist. And therefore, I reserve the right to have a favorite animal for land, sea and air. I will save the reasons for each for another time, so as not to bore you. Anyway, my favorite sea animal is the shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus).
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My favorite land animal is the majestic African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana). OMG, they're so beautiful I could cry.
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And, my favorite air animal is the endangered Mexican Long-Nosed Bat (Leptonycteris nivalis). They have a special place in my heart. ♥

2. Your dream vacation?
So. This was a dream vacation I'd actually planned in my mind back in 2002, when newly-ish-wed Rob and I, and 13-month-old Chloë moved to Guam: Once I'd given birth to the twins I was carrying, we'd all fly "space-A" (space available, as in, if there's a seat on a military flight you get to go; if there's not, you don't) to Australia, dive the Great Barrier Reef, and wander around saying and eating weird shit. We'd fly space-A to South Korea, to Japan, to Thailand... everywhere. Then the twin pregnancy became too dangerous for us to continue living on Guam, and then Supertyphoon Pong'sona hit Guam, and ... none of that ever happened. We moved back to CONUS early in 2003. Fifteen-plus years later, I'm finally at a place where I'd honestly really like to go back and try again. Maybe.

3. Last person's house you were in?
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Last night, we were at the house of Celia, the leader of Chloë's knitting and sewing 4-H club.

4. Worst injury you've ever had?
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In August 1984, just four months after my mother died, about a month into my dad's new relationship with the woman I was already being forced to call "Mom" - although I call her "the bitch from hell" now - I was not quite eight years old. My dad and tbfh decided it would be a good idea if we all (including 7yo me, 9yo sister, 10yo soon-stepsister, and 12yo soon-stepsister) watched the movie Porky's II on either HBO or Cinemax. Great parenting all around, you see. Anyway, we all wanted pizza except my dad, so tbfh agreed to make him some fried chicken. Only, they got distracted by the soft-core porn we were watching and forgot to watch the stove, so a grease fire started in the kitchen. My numbnuts father decided, since we didn't have baking soda, to throw flour on the fire. That made it explode. He picked up the frying pan and carried it out to the garage to get it out of the house.
Only, his red mint condition 1971 Dodge Challenger convertible was out there, and it was too precious to risk getting damaged, so he turned around and came BACK into the house. Sister and younger stepsister had managed to get out of the way by that point, but older stepsister and I did not. The frying pan handle became too hot for my dad to continue to carry, and he dropped it, splashing burning hot grease all over both of us. Stepsister got attention for her burns because she was not a Christian Scientist, but since father, sister and I were in that f-ing cult, I did not get any attention for the burns scalding both of my legs. Rather, I was screamed at to be quiet and go outside. Stepsis was rushed to the emergency room, while I had to sit in the back of the car and muffle my crying. I still have the scars... Life was like that from then on, until I escaped to college.
5. Last play you saw?
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Last year we went to a children's theater production of The Jungle Book. It was cute, but my kids have kind of grown up too much for that genre now. <sniff, sniff>

6. Ever go to camp?
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As a kid, I was sent for two weeks to the Christian Science camp, Crystal Lake Camp, in Pennsylvania, that same summer after my mom died. That's also not a great story. But more fun was Camp Skimino, the Girl Scout camp in Virginia where my girls and I went camping. Much better memories there!

7. Were you an honor roll student in school?
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Yes, I was on the High Honor roll all through school and was inducted into the National Honor Society in high school, where I graduated 3rd in my class and appeared in the 1993-1994 Who's Who Among American High School Students book. I took five AP courses in high school (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Spanish, and Calculus), so I entered college dual-enrolled as both a sophomore and a doctoral student at the Rosenstiel School For Marine & Atmospheric Science, having fairly well aced the SAT. I made both the Dean's List and the President's List at the University of Miami. In college, I was inducted into Golden Key [Inter]National Honor Society, Beta Beta Beta National Biology Honor Society, and UM's Rho Rho Rho Marine Science Honor Society. I then aced the GRE and went directly into the Ph.D. program of my dreams. There, while at the University of South Florida in Tampa, I was accepted into Mensa, which I felt I needed to do to prove my own intelligence to myself, because for the first time in my life I was really being challenged and didn't feel all that intelligent at all. Anyway, all this is not to brag but rather to say, this is why I get so pissed off when medical doctors and other such types diminish the fact that though I am now "just a mom," I, too, possess a freaking brain. Gah.

8. What do you want to know about the future?
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I want to know if I'm ever going to get to see my mother and my son again.

9. Are you wearing any perfume or cologne?
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No, not really, but I am wearing some lemon essential oil in my diffuser necklace. Only mine says "Melanie" instead of "Olivia."

10. Are you due sometime this year for a doctor's visit?
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Only about eleventy billion!

11. Where is your best friend?
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Absolutely, for sure, tonight on this 18th anniversary of the night Rob came down 11+ hours on a Greyhound bus to get down on one knee and ask me to marry him, just 16 days after meeting online, I can say unequivocally that it's this little hot shot ninja sailor man who is sitting right next to me. I love you, Rob!!! ♥

12. Do you have a tan?
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Ha! Well, only if you connect all the many, many freckle dots that cover the outer portions of me.

13. What are you listening to right now?
Well, right now it's "Give Me One Reason" by Tracy Chapman. Before that it was "Wonderful Tonight" by, of course, Eric Clapton, and prior to that it was "If I Had a Million Dollars" by Barenaked Ladies. Now up is "Come Sail Away" by Styx, and after that will be "American Girl" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It's an anniversary night, and 18 years seems like a super long time to both of us, so we're playing the songs of our brief two-month courtship. I love him so.

14. Do you collect anything?
ell, for one, since Rob spent 20 years in the US Navy, and I am a marine biologist, we have a lot of different fish artifacts both big and small all around the house.

15. Who is the biggest gossiper you know?
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Well, if I told you, wouldn't that make me one?

16. Last time you got stopped by a cop or pulled over?
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I've had a few run-ins lately! In June, I got a speeding ticket. In July, at almost the exact same spot, I got a ticket for following too closely. In October, we were rear-ended in the rain, while I was stopped at a red light, and someone must have called the police because that became this big, whole "thing." And just tonight, Rob was pulled over for improper lane change. Sheesh. We need to quit.

17. What does your last text message say?
Scintillating conversation with my daughter, I know.

18. Do you like hot sauce?
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No, I do not. My husband does. And our son Jack does. I don't think the girls do. Funnily, our Chihuahua and Chi-mix both like jalapeños.

19. Do you need to do laundry?
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20. What is your heritage?
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I'm mostly German, English, and Hungarian. Lots of the family on my dad's side came to the U.S. via the small Caribbean Netherlands-owned island of Saba, which is where my paternal grandfather was born. We were all considered Pennsylvania Dutch. My children have some Bohemian (which is now considered Czech) from their paternal grandmother, and some Basque from their paternal grandfather. Basically we're a bunch of Caucasian mutts.
See ya soon!

Saturday 9: Sentimental Journey

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

Shoulder dislocation

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

Mom's New Wheeled Walker

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

Bugs Bunny

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

Dell PC

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

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

Saturday 9: Sentimental Journey (1945)

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Saturday 9: The Middle

Hey, folks! Welcome back! I feel like my blogging weeks run from Saturday 9 to Saturday 9 anymore, with very little time enjoyed in between on blogging. I hate that, but life with three teenagers going off in 17 different directions at once is a little more crazy than I think I bargained for! It's fun, though. I hope you all have had a great week.

So let's get started. Link up here if you'd like to join in with Crazy Sam's questions and the rest of us!


Saturday 9: The Middle (2018)

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

1) This song is about compromise. When did you recently give in a little and meet someone halfway?

You know, my mind is coming up completely blank on this one! I've racked my brain, but I can't answer. I know I have, but it's not coming to me. Is that horrible?

2) She sings that the floors are wet. Are there any floors in your home that could use a good scrub today? If you answered "yes," will those floors get cleaned this weekend?

Week 3 of 52 - Hope

Our two dogs, Paco the 5-lb Chihuahua and Tapioca the Chiweenie, have grown up puppy pad-trained. Nothing we have done has worked to train them to go outside - their bladders and their brains are just too little. ;) So we have pads down everywhere, but there is carpeting in our bedroom, and they often miss. We have bought all kinds of cleaners and desiccants and deodorizers and whatnot, but it's not going well. The last urine cleaner I bought, my son did not read the instructions and completely saturated the rug. Now it will never dry, and it's disgusting to walk on. We should get a rug doctor or something. I don't know. I'm running out of ideas... Help!

3) She also sings that the cabinets are bare. What's currently on your shopping list?

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November is a weird month for us, because so much of our grocery budget is allocated toward Thanksgiving foods, so there's not a lot of "extras" for the remainder of the month! My kids have been struggling, because I have bought plenty of milk for them, but no cereal. They're at a loss, lol. Don't get me wrong - they could cook some eggs, or have oatmeal, or yogurt, or something, but they're acting as though the cupboards are completely bare. Oh, woe is me.

4) You may be familiar with this song from Target's TV commercials. Do you often shop at Target?

I love Target, but my Tarjay shopping has kind of dropped down to a very minimal level. I can't even remember where there was a Target in Virginia Beach; in Miami, it was a good 30-40 minute drive away from us, and here it's not much closer. Most of my Target shopping is done online when I need something I can only get there, and I usually have it shipped to me. It's just too dangerous for me to go into the store unmonitored. I want one of everything!

5) The lead vocal is handled by Maren Morris, a Grammy winner for "My Church," which is all about singing with the car radio. What's the last song you sang along with?

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My daughter Sophia and I are obsessed with both the song and the star-studded video for "Girls Like You," by Maroon 5 & featuring Cardi B. We love to blast it in the radio and sing every word, including the Cardi rap, as loud as we can. Hehe. It's an amazing video, if you haven't seen it yet. Ooh, can we do this song sometime, Gal?

6) This past April, Maren married singer-songwriter Ryan Hurd and they have performed onstage together. Who is the last person you sang along with? 

Sophia Summer 2018

I sing along with Sophia in the car all the time, including last night. But sometimes when the radio is turned up loud and she doesn't feel as self-conscious about singing aloud, I stop my own singing just to listen to her. She has a beautiful voice and doesn't know it. (Though I've told her.)

7) This song was composed by brothers Kyle and Michael Trewartha. With their bleached hair and sunglasses, they look like a pair of surfer dudes -- which they are, having grown up in Huntington Beach, CA. Is there a body of water near your hometown?

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We're fortunate to have a number of beautiful waterways both in and around Boise. This year we are committed to doing a nature study at Lucky Peak State Park, and its reservoir, and have discovered many beautiful vistas - as well as some that were supposed to be but instead were showing evidence of being ravaged by fires. There are also a lot of hot springs and waterfalls around Idaho, but my health has prevented us from exploring those just yet. Hopefully soon, because I am yearning to go see!

8) January 2018, when this song debuted, we had a total lunar eclipse. When things like that happen in the sky, do you go out of your way to watch?

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Definitely. In Summer 2017, when the path of the solar eclipse passed right through Boise, Jack and I were at an appointment with his endocrinologist to check on his growth hormones. When the time came, everyone in the office passed out the protective glasses, and we all ran outside to watch. It was beautiful. (The stores were full of - and all sold out of - those glasses!) When things happen in the middle of the night, the kids and I all set alarms on our phone and go out to observe. We're really into it!

9) Random question -- They say we're all young at heart. In what way can you be childlike?

I'm a scientist by training, right? So I've heard my professors and advisors say a million times that the best scientists are the ones who are childlike and ask a billion questions. Why does it do that? How does it accomplish it? What is the mechanism for it? Etc. I am always asking questions of everything I see and feel and hear and learn. I want to know everything!


Fun questions, Crazy Sam. Thanks for doing it! ♥

P.S. Sam: It's gotten cold here. Take me to Key West with you this winter! Please??!

P.P.S. All: What's your favorite candle scent(s)? Inquiring minds want to know. ;)


Saturday 9: Alfred Hitchcock Presents

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Welcome back, S9ers!

Looks like we'll have a fun time this month. Link up  here if you want to play along with us!


Saturday 9: "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" Theme

This week's song was chosen because this is the last Saturday 9 before Halloween. Are you unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) The Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, was born in England. Name another pop culture contribution England has made.
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I got stuck on the Beatles, of course, and my brain wouldn't let go of that thought to let me think of anyone else. But then I jumped to Sir Elton John, and I had to go with him. Boy George, George Michael... I could (now) go on and on.

2) This week's song is recognized as the theme to Hitchcock's long-running TV show, but "Funeral March for a Marionette" is a classic piece written for piano in the late 1870s by Charles Gounod. Do you often listen to classical music?
♪♫♪♫♪♫... I've put that on right now. I listen to classical every chance I get. I usually put it on YouTube on my phone and then ChromeCast it to the TV in order to annoy a certain three teenagers. Of course, to annoy is not my point. I learned in 9th grade Biology that playing classical music during any kind of thinking time for students helps encourage broader and higher levels of thought processing in the brain, so I put it on when I feel the kids will least object. I prefer Vivaldi's Four Seasons the best, but lately they've wanted more Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. And they still always complain. (Now we have Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata playing.)

3) Janet Leigh's shower scene in Hitchcock's Psycho is considered one of the scariest sequences ever filmed. What's the most frightening movie you've ever seen?
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When I was seven years old, in April, my mother died. My father lost all the parenting sense he probably never had and basically forced me to watch Children of the Corn. That same month, I think if not that week! And later, all the Freddy Krueger movies. And after that, Silence of the Lambs. And more. I do not enjoy that stuff. I have had plenty of scary things happen to me in the dark. I do not like purposefully subjecting myself to more.

4) Hitchcock admitted that he "never trusted birds," and he took that fear and turned it into the movie, The Birds. Is there a member of the animal kingdom that just gives you "the creeps?"
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Yeah. Home sapiens. Too damn many of us, making too damn many horrible decisions. Soon, we're going to be using up more Earths than Earth has left to give us. It's scary, and not enough people care.

5) Halloween will soon be upon us. Will you carve a jack o'lantern this year?
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Yeah, but we probably won't even get our pumpkins until Halloween itself this year. I want to do something like this skull one!!
6) What candy will trick or treaters get at your house? 

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I haven't decided yet. I give out good candy, not like apples or pennies - I got a lot of those as a kid and was not a fan! Ha. Hallowe'en, to me, is (partly) a day for kids to just let loose, have some fun, and eat a shit ton of stuff that's bad for them. Rob and Chloë say we got fewer than a dozen last year, so I really want to give out full-size candy bars this year. In Virginia Beach we got hordes of kids every year and sometimes had to put out a sign that we'd run out. And I bought a LOT of candy to prepare. That's more more fun to me.
7)  When you went trick or treating, did you prefer fantasy costumes (like a storybook character) or scary ones (like a monster)?
Whatever people wear, I prefer interesting costumes.
8)  Which candy was your favorite? Which one were you disappointed to find in your trick or treat bag?
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Let's just say, if Reese's Pieces Cups had been a thing when I was a kid, I'd be in serious trouble with diabetes right now. I never liked finding pennies and apples, as mentioned above, and I hate(d) Milky Way and 3Musketeers bars. Gross.

9) Which do you find scarier -- cemeteries or haunted houses?
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I've always found graveyards to be beautiful and peaceful. I never mined being in them. Haunted houses, on the other hand, I don't even like now. I don't like bad things coming out of the dark and grabbing me. It's terrifying to me.
And now I think we might watch Children of the Corn. Just to get that memory out of the shadows and out of my worries for good.

Saturday 9: So Into You

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


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


Saturday 9: So Into You (1977)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here

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

20180927 Chloe Tattoo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A fun one! Thanks, Crazy Sam! ;)


Saturday 9: Teenage Dream

Guten Morgen Klasse! What's the haps? I woke up around 0545 and, after using the facilities and finding a blanket (I'm insulted by the 59ºF temperature despite it being STILL SUMMER!!!), the first thing I did was queue up "Have It All" by Jason Mraz (love, love, love it) and come to write this week's edition of S9.

So welcome back! I hope you've all had a great week. Link up here if you want to join in the fun!


Saturday 9: Teenage Dream (2010)

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

1) Much of the video for this week's song takes place in a convertible and on the beach. How's the weather where you are? Would you be comfortable riding around with the top down today?
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This is funny. I was just talking about this with my 17- (!!!) year-old daughter, Chloë, yesterday. She's got thick, ringleted curly hair; I have straight, fine hair. Somehow we got on the topic of riding around in a convertible with the top down. Growing up, my dad always had at least six cars - one of them being a '71 Dodge Challenger convertible in mint condition. White, with red racing stripes. We drove around constantly, on the weekends, just for the sake of riding around with the top down. No seat belts, wind whipping my hair around so it stabbed me in the eyes, and I loved every minute of it. Loved it. I insisted she'd end up with dreadlocks in her hair after a ride like that, but she disagreed. I know I'm right, but there's only one way to prove it, and we don't have a convertible. Anyway, yes, unless there was snow on the ground, I'd be comfortable with it! It'll get up to 73ºF by 1400, and that's when I plan to steal a convertible - red Mazda Miata for me, please - to do just that. ;)

2) This video was filmed all around Katy Perry's hometown of Santa Barbara. Amtrak runs through Santa Barbara via The Pacific Surfliner. Tell us about a memorable train trip.
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When I was in my middle year of college (never know what to call it, since I graduated in three years), one of my two best friends, Shana, came down to the University of Miami from New York to see me for Spring Break. One day, we wanted to go out to South Beach, but I didn't have a car yet at that point. So we first jumped on the MetroRail to get from Coral Gables to the end of that track, in Hialeah. Then we rode the Tri-Rail from Hialeah toward South Beach. Finally, we hopped on the local bus to get down to the beach. We had a great time in the sun and surf that day, and then we did the same thing in reverse to get back to UM. The whole trip took four hours round-trip, but it was worth it, because I'll never forget that day with my girl!

3) Katy sings that her boyfriend thinks she's funny, even when she gets the punchline wrong. Do you think you're a better joke-teller or audience?
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Oh, I'm a much better audience. I suck at remembering jokes, much less telling them correctly the first time; I'm much better at making my own one-liners on the spot. Rob, on the other hand (seen here giving me a pedicure for my birthday the other day), is a master at telling jokes. He constantly has me in stitches. Occasionally, he'll tell me a story, to which I'm trying to listen intently, and it'll end up being a complete set-up for a joke he's heard. It'll take me a few beats to realize the whole thing was a joke, and I'll end up jabbing him in the ribs in disgust. But he amuses me nonetheless.

4) Her "teenage dream" lover is shown working out with a heavy bag. When is the last time you visited a gym?
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I'm not one to spend much time at the gym. I just hate it. An hour on the treadmill on the gym sounds dreadful to me; I'd much rather be going somewhere, seeing new scenery, having new interactions and encounters... anyway, technically I was at the gym Friday afternoon with my physical therapist, learning new exercises to help get my pelvis back in alignment. Does that count?

5) Katy changes her hair a lot. She's gone from long black hair to cropped blonde hair with stops at red, green and purple. Today, are you having a good hair day?
Target Beauty Box
Well, I just woke up, so not currently. Up there, in the top right, is the new Dry Shampoo by OGX, which I just received yesterday in the latest Target Beauty Box. I used it yesterday, not being up to taking a shower, and it smells soooo good! It also helps extend my shampoo out another day (or, ahem, two), so I can skip the shower and look halfway presentable for being seen in public. Have y'all ever used a dry shampoo? Which one do you like?

6) Katy thinks dimples are "irresistible" and can't help poking a finger when a dimpled friend smiles. Do you have dimples?

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I do have dimples. A few of the kids inherited them from me.
7) Two of Katy's fragrances (Meow and Purr) are sold in cat-shaped bottles. Are you wearing a scent as you answer these questions?
Charcoal + Magnesium Deodorant Stick
Not really, but I am wearing Schmidt's Charcoal + Magnesium Mineral Deodorant (also a new thing for me, from the Tar-jay Beauty Box) at the moment, and I find the scent of it delightful.
8)  Katy's favorite dessert is ice cream (specifically Cold Stone Creamery's Birthday Cake Remix). What's the last dessert you ate?

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I had some of this free cheesecake from Chili's as part of our Birthday Freebies Tour (ongoing), Thursday night. It was delicious!
9) Random question: How often do you change your bedsheets?
Ideally, every week, especially since our two pups, Tapioca and Paco, sleep under the covers with us each night... but we don't get to stick to that schedule very often. Our laundry is forever goingN nonstop...! If I had more opulent sheets like these, I might be more motivated to wash them on the optimal schedule. Now where can I find these...?
That was a fun one! Thanks, Gal... er, I mean, Crazy Sam! ;) Always good a good cuestionario from you. Hope all of you have a great weekend!

Saturday/Sunday Mash-Up


Hey kids, what are we all talking about in here? Can I join?

Well, if you came to read Sunday Stealing, you've come to the right place. Aaaaand... because I forgot what day it was yesterday, Saturday 9 is here, too. I've missed a couple weeks, I think.

We've had a lot of wildfires this summer, and my asthma was horiblé. Now that weather conditions have improved, I'm breathing easier again. (Rob totally brought me to the ER because I couldn't breathe and thought I had pneumonia, but it was an asthma attack! I felt so dumb. But in my defense, something I've had my whole life didn't get properly diagnosed until last year!)

Time to get started with this week's Saturday 9.


She Works Hard for the Money (1983) 

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

1) This song is about a woman who works hard as a waitress. What's the hardest job you've ever had?

After thinking about this for a minute, I'd have to say teaching freshman biology while I was working on my PhD at USF. That was really the first time I truly had to confront my weaknesses in academia. I found out quickly that teaching was hard. Like, hard hard. It was a totally new kind of challenge for me.

2) The lyrics tell us she has worked at this job for 28 years. What's the longest you stayed with one employer?

Other than motherhood (It'll be 17 years this Friday!), it would have to be working at various Publix supermarkets in Florida. Three different ones: in Coral Gables, in St. Petersburg, and then again in Panama City Beach. I liked it more than teaching! Heh.

3) Donna Summer was inspired to write this song during an awards show. She ducked into the bathroom and met the elderly ladies' room attendant, whose job it was to make sure the room the spotless, the complimentary hairspray and moisturizer was abundant, and there was a hot towel for every celebrity who used the facilities. "Wow," Donna thought, "she works hard for those tips." Who is the last person you tipped?

I feel like it's been kind of a while. Maybe it was the pizza delivery guy from Pie Hole? I think so. We'll go with that.

4) Early in her career, Donna was in the touring company of the musical Hair. It played in Munich for so long that she became fluent in German. What's the longest you have ever lived away from home?


Well, that's hard to say. I've never had a home that I've wanted to go back to after I left! I have no parents' house to return to when I'm sad or down and out or anything, so... I guess I'll use this concept a little loosely. When Rob and I got married, and Chloë was a wee babe, we moved to Guam for four months. Just four months!
5) Sam's dad is naturally outgoing and enjoys striking up conversations with waitresses, librarians, the checker at the supermarket, etc. Sam is always polite but more private. Are you more like father or daughter?

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Look at this guy, blowing a kiss! That's actually his Facebook profile picture! That's my dad. He strikes up conversations with everybody, too - and this lecherous old man also flirts - hard - with any cute young thing. Ugh. I'm an extroverted (but not much) introvert, so I'm more like daughter.

6) A little more than 10% of the American workforce is self-employed. Have you ever been your own boss?

I've done various things over the years. Like... back when we lived in Virginia Beach, I had a dessert business. However, I quickly learned that rather than something like this:

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I'm better at smaller desserts more like this:

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And now I want to make some petit fours! Too bad I sold off almost all of my baking tools when we moved to Miami and becoming broke was no joke!

7) Labor Day weekend may offer a golden opportunity for napping and sleeping in. Do you snore?

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I love how it's always the women complaining about their husbands snoring! Why is that a thing? LOL... Yes, I snore; my hubs rarely does!

8) Will you be attending a Labor Day picnic or barbecue? 

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Y'know, I don't think so? But we will be going down to celebrate Japan Day at the local Basque Center (just trust me), so that will be fun. I hadn't even thought about what to do after that!

9) Labor Day traditionally marks the beginning of the fall. Will you be adding any new fall clothes to your wardrobe?

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I'm sure I will. Every season we all (except Jack; he just wants me to pick out his clothes for him) go to the local ReStyle Animal Rescue Thrift Store. It's like this: they have a punch card. For every 5 donations AND 5 $10 in purchases, you get 50% off your entire next order. And every day, their great quality but already-low prices go even further down, with a different color tag being some percentage off for that day. And on top of that, we get a military discount! So I the girls shop 'til we drop and then come home and show the boys our goods. It's fun!


Well that was a good one, Sam! Thanks for the fun! I've been distracted by watching Chip and Joanna Gaines on Fixer Upper this morning. I'm very new (like, as of this summer) to their show, but it didn't take long for me to fall in love with them! He's so cute to her.


Time for some Sunday Stealing, which this week is oddly named Freaky Poptart! (Click the links to see other players' answers.)


What is one thing that you would change about yourself if you could?

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There is not a lot about me I'd keep! I'm not my own biggest fan. But I would definitely change my temper. I'd love to be more mild-mannered than I am.

Name three exotic countries you would like to visit:

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I would visit Japan, Australia, and Argentina! Oh, hell, I'll go anywhere 'long as you're buyin'!

What do you think the secret to life is?

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I think the secret really is that you have to bring joy to others. The more joy you give out, the more joy that ;,; ,mcomes back to you. It's the good kind of vicious-cycle. I try to develop that sense of joy in each of my kids. (Although it's pretty hard for Jack.)

Best concert: 

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I'd have to say it was the Bob Dylan * John Mellencamp * Willie Nelson concert at the Norfolk Tides' baseball field back in Virginia. Bob Dylan is a huge favorite of Rob's, and he really wanted to go see them play. I was so thrilled to be able to take him, and he had a great time. I even liked their opening act, The Wiyos!

Song you can listen to over and over and not get tired of: 

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That changes all the time, but lately it has been "Girls Like You" by Maroon 5; I even like the Cardi B bit, and I'm not a huge Cardi B fan. It's catchy!

Worst movie music soundtrack or score: 

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My mind is a blank on this one.

A song you wish wouldn't get stuck in your head but always does: 

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Have you heard the Wayfair jingle on their commercials? There's a ton of them every commercial break on HGTV, it's so annoying... but also catchy.

Who was your FIRST date?

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It was this guy, Ken, who was a year ahead of me in school. We went to the movies. I don't remember what we saw. Soon after that, we met up at this mall near my house, which was a total ghost town by that point... my first kiss. Now I know he is the biggest a-hole, but eh. You gotta know what bad is before you can realize how good good is, right?

Image result for heart And Rob is GOOD. Image result for heart

Do you still talk to your FIRST love?

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Yeah, Ben and I are still Facebook friends... although I guess I've been asleep at that wheel, because it appears he just got married?!! I'm so shocked!

What was your FIRST alcoholic drink?

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In my Senior year of high school, my older friends from work used to take me out a lot wherever they went - including to bars. I mean, I was only 17, so their trick was to get me drunk on shots of Goldschläger at one of their homes before going out to drink some more. We had a lot of fun times, and we made a lot of memories, but I obviously don't recommend that! I have more than one Goldschläger story. So, I don't like the smell of cinnamon much anymore! Image result for winky face

What was your FIRST job?

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I did a lot of babysitting first, but my first actual paycheck was from BigM market in Baldwinsville, New York. Fun times; I loved it and, for a while, my best friend Lisa worked in the deli while I ran the cash register. (I've worked in a lot of grocery stores! Winn-Dixie, too, in South Carolina - oh and also, for two days, Fred Meyer here in Boise!)

What was your FIRST car?

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This picture almost makes me cry. I bought a red 1991 Ford Escort wagon in September 1993, when I was starting Senior year. My father basically stole it from me. It's not a happy memory.

Where did you go on your FIRST ride on an airplane?

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Hm. I've been flying since birth practically, so I don't even really know! When we moved to Syracuse from Monroe, New York, we started flying back and forth to my mom's parents in New Jersey a lot. But I think we I had to have flown since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.

Who was your FIRST best friend & do you still talk?

My first two best friends were my sister Stacey our babysitter's daughter, Ursula. This is my sister with her (now about grown) daughters:

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and this is my friend Ursula with her beautiful family:

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And yes, I still talk to both.

Whose wedding did you attend the FIRST time?

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It was my dad's to his new (now ex-) wife a year after my mother died. (They started dating three months after Mom died, and he still says my mom was his real true love, etc. Right, right.) My dress was pink; I think Stacey's was peach, Aarin (younger step-sister) had a blue one, and Mindy (older step-sister) wore purple. All matching but different pastel colors. Gag me. (Maybe that's why I hate pastel so much!)

Tell us about your FIRST roommate.

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That would be Jen from Rochester, when we were freshman dorm-mates at the University of Miami. We hit it off right away and had a lot of fun. We are not still friends.

If you had one wish, what would it be (other than more wishes)?

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I wish I didn't have to live in a world where my neighbors didn't keep taking the COEXIST sticker off my car! Because, y'know, they're the people that need to read it and heed it. (And then I wish we had a house of our own, again.)

Back of car

What is something you would learn if you had the chance?

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The girls and I are learning Latin together this year. I thought I would have a disadvantage over them because of speaking Spanish, but I really don't! In fact, Chloe is beating both of us, and Sophie is neck-and-neck with me. If I could, I would learn every language spoken in this world.

Did you marry the FIRST person you were in love with?

Nope, I married this dork:

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 He's so cheerful!

What were the first lessons you ever took and why? 

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These probably weren't my first lessons but the first ones I remember. After my mom died, she left her electric organ, like this one, behind. I couldn't bear to see it and let it just go to waste, so to help me keep my mother alive in my heart, I begged my dad to let me take lessons and use it. I did for a couple of years, but I never got terribly good at it. Then my stepmother came along, decided she didn't want it around anymore, and bought a sleek baby grand piano to put there instead. And she couldn't even play! F**k her.

What is the first thing you do when you get home? 

Front entry

The first thing I do when I walk in is hang up my keys on "the fish." See that arrow? Same thing, every time. On the other hand, when Rob drives, he never hangs up the keys, and they are often missing after that. Also, that fish is supposed to be for keys. Not multiple baseball hats, not multiple dog leashes, but keys. Although now that I have one of my girls' leis from Boise Pride hanging on my hook, I guess I can't say too much!


Ahhh, finally done. That was fun, but because I'm distracted by Fixer Upper, it's taken me forever! Man, I wish we could afford a fixer upper. And Chip and Joanna Gaines, of course.



Shout out of thanks! It was so unexpected when something from our daughter's Amazon wishlist, for her spendy Art program this year, showed up in the mail from you! I was moved to tears, so touched I was. Sophia was shocked, too. Thank you so much for doing that! Our fundraiser has kind of stalled out at $50 donated, and we still have several supplies and about $200 for the course left to go, so we were absolutely grateful for the help. You know who you are - you rock!


Independence Day Foto Album

Okay, so maybe this post is about a month late, but that's about how my life is running these days. And okay, so, maybe I hardly even remember the Fourth of July this year, but my best-laid plans had to be abruptly changed at the last minute when Jack ended up having to work that whole day, and my short-term memory is all but gone lately. All this to say, forgive me for making this mostly Show and not a lot of Tell. I'm including some out-takes just for funsies:


Sophia, 13; Jack, 15; and Chloë, 16


Yes, yes, Sophia is getting tall. She really is that tall. I don't know how it's happened. I ask her damned near every day!



004 There I am. Hiding.


Lookit us, all matchy-matchy. Independence Day is my favourite day of the year, and if I can't have things go the way I planned, at least I can make people dress in red, white, and blue for one day. Thankfully, my people humor me.


No, that is not a real smile. Not even a good fake one. But it's not a scowl, so close enough. ;)


She even humored me on the pigtails. I think it'll be the last time. That's a LOT of hair!


Ahhh, three teenagers... make it stop! Dear Father Time: SLOW. DOWN.


Mom and Dad. Husband and Wife. 


It was a super hot day in Boise that day, and with my illness (aka Succubus), I don't handle the heat well. Mostly, I just sat under a shady tree (I in my wheelchair? But I truly don't remember) while the kids ran around in the fountain. Here they are leaving. See 'em?


It looked very refreshing, no?!


Hi, girlies!


I so wanted to join them, but... I did not feel like being soaked. And frankly, I didn't want to get my camera wet, either!



Chloë and Sophia yet again. Jack was harder to nail down in one place, but he's out there. Somewhere.



THERE he is. My trio. My group. My babies. 

Fun by the fountain



Jack doesn't like it when I tell him he's gotten pretty buff. But, um, he has gotten pretty buff!


There's my guy!   He's been channeling Bob Ross lately with that curly mop!


The beautiful, hot day soon turned into a beautiful, hot evening. We should do this more often. You know, without the crowds. And the food trucks.


Soon, my favorite part of my favorite day began. With a bang. Duh.


Boom. Boom. Pop! BOOM! Yeah, yeah, you know how it goes.


Fireworks Show

The show was okay, and there was of course the obligatory patriotic music, but overall I felt like the fireworks show was kind of a let down. If you're an American and you want to know where to find a really fantastic fireworks show on July 4th, I'll tell you the best I've seen: Hands down, it was in downtown Panama City, Florida. So good. 


Once the show was over, we grabbed our gear and headed out of Ann Morrison Park for home. As usual, I'd bought little poppers and firecrackers for the kids to do at home (nothing that would blow off a finger or anything), so the kids and Rob spent some time outside making noise at far too late for (I'm guessing) our neighbors' liking! Oh, well.


So that was it! Good day, good evening, and good night! (Literally.)


A Visit To The Twisted Ewe: The Yarny Adventure Continues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Seriously. No lie.

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Boise Pride On Parade

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On June 15th, a couple weeks ago, Chloë and I went to check out the haps at Boise Pridefest 2018. Rainbows everywhere!! Following will be a lot of pictures, so go grab a cup of coffee or something while this page takes it's sweet time to load... ;)

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Because Rob and I were prepared ahead of time, when two of our kids came out to us as belonging to the LBGQT+ family, I browsed on over to the Rainbow Depot to get some supportive gear for us and the kids. Here's me on Friday the 15th, right before Chloë and I left the house. Forgive me for the crap look; my hair was still wet.

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Posing with Chloë on Friday the 15th, at Boise Pridefest downtown near the Capitol Building, we were just about ready to see all the booths


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This was the 30th year of Boise Pridefest, and the city was pretty decked out in rainbows. It was awesome to see this in the community.

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All of the Idaho counties were represented on the poles as well.

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Scenes from the 'fest

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I had read about the Diversity Tree on the Pridefest website, and so I was eager to particpate along with Chloë.

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The Diversity Tree

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Mike's Hard Lemonade was representin', and I got two or three free samples of their flavored drinks. I'd never had Mike's before, so I was a little surprised to catch a quick buzz!

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Chloë, of course, could not have drink samples, but she did snag a Mike's Hard Lemonade lip balm!

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A shot of the bandstand

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This says it all.

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I just liked the shirt, y'know?

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Me too!

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I was invited to join the Boise Women's Chorus that day. I really want to! I just need to wait for my voice to come completely back; I haven't had it fully since my September 2017 tonsillectomy. Sucks!

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Just gathering ideas for next year's festival - so cool!

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Planned Parenthood was there, and they made us take water, for necessary hydration, and snacks for energy.  Free food? Yes, please! (Also yes to the sentiment.)

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Relaxing, listening to the music

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Because what's a festival without a guy on stilts?

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Hey, free totes from Albertson's!

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Lots of vendor booths had wheels to spin for prizes. Chloë and I took full advantage, even if it was just to win a mini candy! We were all-in at Pride, just for the fun of it.

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Just a cool tree I saw at the park, I guess ;)

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Feeling blue?

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More street views

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Ol' Blue Hair happy and cheerful from a successful first day at Boise Pride!

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As the sun went down in Boise, we relished the feeling of camaraderie and community support. Now for the lighting up of the Capitol Building and some fireworks! #LoveIsLove

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Capitol Building, full moon, Pride... It was a full feeling, being there. One just felt... full.

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Nighttime at Pride

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Idaho Capitol Building

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Chloë wanted one of these pride flags to wear as a cape, like we saw so many doing at Pride. Except, she wanted that one for Sophia and the bisexual one for herself:

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Woot, found the Boise sign! ;)

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Heartening to see the bike rental place pretty empty... that means people are using them instead of cars! I love Boise!

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Sculptures in Downtown Boise

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You can see peeks of Pride in some storefront windows, even.

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At home, Chloë was desirous of making her hair even more blue, and we were down with that, so... here it is! So blue. Aaaand, maybe a little bit green.

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Sophia hanging out with the butterfly glo stick I won at one of those spin-the-wheel games

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Whoo! On Saturday, June 16th, Chloë and I were up and at 'em for the Pride Parade. First, we had to drop Sophie off at Pony Club camp far, far away, so we were a bit tired when the festivities began. However, with all the rainbows and love just pouring out of every face and edifice, it was totally worth it!

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YAY! Good times, good times.

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Pride wouldn't be pride if... well. You know.

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Horses, because...?  Who knows. And who cares, it's a parade?!

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Rainbows everywhere! I loved it!

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Oh, my!

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I'm a big fan of all the corporate sponsors at Pride. Woot!

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Check it out! Chloë scored a Pride flag! There was a wait list on the bi-pride one, though, as they ran out. Still waiting...

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We had so many flags by the time all these people giving out flags passed by us! Never mind that there were only two of us. We had plenty!

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Sophia, meanwhile, was at Pony Club camp learning and doing so much about horses. But, she ended up being finished earlier than planned, so we raced out to get her and bring her back to experience a little bit of Pride for herself. Here she is, all decked out in the flag "cape" that Chloë got her. Looking FABULOUS, Sophie!

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Mm-hmm, work it, girl.

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They gave her some balloons from one of the floats, too!

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See? I don't even think this was all of those flags! LOL

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Look at all that flair! What a fun festival and community to be a part of!


All in all, I'm so glad we went to the 2018 Boise Pride Festival, and I'm so proud of my girls for having the courage to speak up.

TTFN, y'all.



Sunday Stealing: The #Movies

Hey, guys! Thanks for coming back week after week to see the weird sh** I've written this time, or thanks for popping in if this is your first time! ;) I'm late as usual on Sunday Stealing. This time, it's because I had to take my daughter Sophia (aka "Foofie") to her showjumping lesson in Eagle, about 45 minutes away:

Sophia on Sunny

Sophia on Sunny

So anyway, let me get started, eh?


  1. Have you ever had a movie both totally captivate and complete confuse you?

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  1. This happened to me the first time I watched Ocean's Eleven. I watched it at least three more times after that, which helped straighten things out for me. There is another, more recent, movie that I've watched that repeated this pattern, but I can't think of it now.

  2. 2. When watching a movie, do you prefer things all laid out or to have to 'hunt for your own clues' along the way?
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Occasionally I don't mind a puzzle-piece, Easter egg type of hunt in a movie, but I generally don't prefer it.

  1. 3. Do you want an ultimate ending to your movie or do you prefer to have it open for conjecture and discussion.
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  3. I like both. Can I have it both ways? Or sometimes one way, sometimes the other? Tough, I'm taking it.

  4. 4. Do you talk during a movie (preferably one in your home, not in the theater)?
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I try to avoid it, and it drives me apesh*t when other people do it incessantly. (Ahem, I'm looking at you, Chloë!) ;)

5. Have you ever seen a blockbuster movie and not get what was so great about it?

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No. I don't think so, really. However, I will take this opportunity to rant one more time about this non-blockbuster (I think? I hope) franchise, the "Ernest Goes to ...XYZ." I saw the "Camp" one in North Carolina when I was about 12 or 13, with my sisters, and ugh. It was "Oh, my God" stupid. I'm sorry, but there are plenty of movies in the "stupid humor" category (Hi, Chris Farley! Hi, David Spade! Hi Adam Sandler!), and it's just not my genre. So I guess yes, after all, haha. All the "dumb movies" that appeal to the baser elements of society just do not interest me at all."

6. What book frightened you as a young person?

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Stephen King's The Shining  scared the crap out of me as a kid. I tried several times to read it, but I kept closing my eyes at the scary bits and really, that's counterproductive when reading.

7. If you had to become a ‘living book (i.e. able to recite the contents of a book cover to cover upon request – reference Fahrenheit 451), what book would it be?

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I really had to think about this one, because there aren't many I could or would want to memorize at this current stage in my life, but then my mind landed on one: Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams (and Mark Carwardine). Love this book so much. I've read it half a dozen times. It's worth a gander.

8. What movie or TV show scared you as a kid?

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Aside from all the Freddy Kreuger movies I was "forced" to see, that would be Children of the Corn. My unthinking father put it on, kind of as a babysitter, for both my sister and me verrrrry shortly after our mom died. I was seven years old. Poor choice, Dad. One of hundreds, though.

9. What movie (scary or otherwise) will you never ever watch?

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I have never watched and never will watch Poltergeist. No, thanks.

10. Do you have any phobias?

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I mean, sure, who doesn't? My phobias include touching mustard, hearing sandpaper, and rubbing fabric. Eek!

11. What's the happiest thing to ever happen to you?


This guy! Pretty fond of the doggos, too.

12. What's the saddest thing to ever happen to you?


When my mother died very suddenly and inexplicably at the age of 33 - when I was 7½  - I thought there wasn't a whole lot in the world that could make me any sadder than that. And not very much still can. But when our son Robby died after a 3-day struggle in the NICU - when I was 26 - I found I was wrong. It's just not the natural order of things. Parents are not supposed to outlive their children. Parents are not supposed to bury their babies. It's just wrong.

13. What's the thing that got you the most angry in your life?

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Oh. This was when I was 17, and about to graduate high school and move to South Carolina to live with my dad for the summer before heading to college in Miami. My lovely (read: sarcasm) stepmother had informed me in about March or April that I needed to condense the entirety of my belongings to what I could fit into my rather small Ford Escort Wagon, because it would all go in there. So I spent the next several whiles selling off all of my (very nice) matching furniture, including my bed and headboard, my dresser, its mirror, my desk, and its bookcase. I also sold various knickknacks and thingamabobs - anything for which I could get money, to which I was still quite attached (some, anywho). Stepmother also hadn't allowed me to have my dad's phone number, and email wasn't really a thing then, so I had no contact whatsoever with my dad for months on end after he ahem abandoned me ahem in December of that school year...

So when Dad showed up with a big Uhaul truck to move me and all my belongings to South Carolina with him the day after graduation ceremony, I absolutely saw red. I was beyond furious with her. She pulled shit like that all the time, but I sold things that meant something to me, and she probably just sat in room and cackled over her evil plan. Bitch. I had so much adrenaline from that incident that I could lift up and move heavy things I otherwise could not have from the driveway into the garage, out of the rain that started, and then I powerwalked several miles away to the family for whom I babysat routinely, sobbing angrily the whole way. The only thing that calmed me was knowing I was about to be away from her and rid of her evil ways for good.

14. What's the most frightening thing to ever happen to you?

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So I don't really want to talk about the actual thing(s), so I'll go with riding in the back of the Pirate Ship ride at Darien Lake Amusement Park or any given fair. I don't like to be scared on rides. I hate it. But my three older sisters often insisted I join them on rides (I put my foot down on roller coasters; not an easy thing at the time!), including the dang Pirate Ship. But not in the middle, oh noooo. Always at the back of either side so that the slope of our descent was the steepest.  And scariest for chickeny-chicken me. Eckkkk. I hated it. Still kinda do!

15. What's the most unbelievable thing to happen to you in your life?

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So many things! But I think the biggest shocker for me was when I spent a year kind of "auditioning" to work on my Ph.D. in Dr. Phil Motta's lab at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and then finally, I got a letter from Dr. Motta that I got in!! I got in! I literally gained 50 lbs and about 2-3 ulcers stressing over that the previous year, and then I was accepted. Oh, my gosh, I was in a campus computer lab when I found out, and I screeched and squealed right in the middle of the lab. And I didn't care at all, because WHOOOOO! I was so surprised, even though I'd worked my whole life up 'til then for that very moment. Excited was not the word!!


Well that was fun. I think I started this about 4-5 hours ago, but I've been interrupted so many times in the process. Oops! Still Sunday here, though, so it counts. ;) Thanks for the fun post, Bev! ;)


Saturday 9: High Noon

Howdy! Welcome back, neighbors. ;) I'm so MAD at myself for getting hardly any blogging done when there has been plenty about which to blog, but... life and illness keep getting in the way. But not this time! I'm here to have fun and hope you'll stick around awhile...


Saturday 9: High Noon (1952)

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

1) What will you be (or were you) doing at high noon on Saturday?

Well, there are choices! First, I haven't slept tonight, so I may actually be taking a snooze. Hoping that doesn't happen. Second, the weekly Farmer's Market meets downtown from 0900-1300, so I'm hoping to visit it for a little while to see who has what, even if I don't buy anything. There's a grilling event at Cabela's that we'll probably skip since Jack has to work at McDonald's tomorrow. And finally, the Boise HempFest is from 1000-2200 Saturday, and I'd love to check it out!

2) In this song, Tex Ritter sings he doesn't know what fate awaits him. How strong is your sense of intuition? Tell us about a time you knew what would happen before it occurred.

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My sense of intuition is strong when I listen to it, and not my constant worries about everything. When I  first met my husband online, quite by accident, I thought to myself, "I'm going to marry that man." And two months later, we did just that!

3) This song was the theme of a hit movie western by the same name. It starred Gary Cooper as a small-town sheriff. When did you last interact with a member of law enforcement? 

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Two months ago-ish. I have a lead foot when I'm driving. I had to go an hour away to another town for an oil change mystery shop. When I reached the town, I was still driving interstate speeds and not small town speed. Oops. An officer pulled me over and gently, politely asked me to please slow down in town, informing me of the speed limit and when and where it changed throughout my route. He was kind and not at all like all the rogue officers portrayed in the news lately. He then let me go. I thanked him and then sped off - just kidding!

4) Grace Kelly co-starred as the "fair-haired beauty" mentioned in this song. Four years later, she gave up films to become Her Serene Highness, Princess Grace of Monaco. Which job seems like more fun -- movie star or royal?

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I think I'd enjoy the royal life more, maybe. It seems like there's an awful lot of protocol to learn! Maybe being an island princess would be right for me... Yeah, Princess Melania.

5) Though he cultivated a "just plain folk" persona, this week's featured artist, Tex Ritter, was really cosmopolitan and highly educated, earning a degree in economics from the University of Texas before going on to study pre-law at Northwestern. Do you think the "real you" is consistent with the image you convey?

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I think I'm pretty honest about who I am. I'm an open book; I just can't hide the real me.

6) Tex Ritter was the father of Emmy-winning comedic actor, John Ritter. John is remembered fondly as the voice of Clifford, the Big Red Dog. Clifford appeals to children because he is "gentle, friendly, loyal, lovable and clumsy." Do any of those adjectives apply to you?

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I would like to think they all do, but like all folks, I stumble sometimes and am not always all of those things. But those are definitely attributes I strive to portray.

7) Tex is also the grandfather of Jason Ritter, star of ABC-TV's Kevin (Probably) Saves the World. If you followed one of your grandparents into their line of work, what would you be doing?

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I used to go to my grandpa's work with him, when he had to go in after hours for this or that, and admire all the giant factory equipment there. He was an industrial laundry facility installer. I didn't really understand it then, but now I know that he was so strong because of his job. That man was like steel! But sweet as they come.

8) In 1952, the year "High Noon" was popular, Stopette, the first antiperspirant deodorant spray, was introduced. Do you use a deodorant spray, stick or roll on?

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I use Young Living Mountain Mint (stick) Deodorant, because it's aluminum-free and therefore less dangerous to me and mine. It's not perfect (ie, the stick part starts falling out towards the end of the stick, which is annoying), but it works and is safe, lol. 

9) Random question: What's something you have always wanted to own, but never have?

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Oh, it's still a pipe dream of ours to buy a boat and live aboard twelve months of the year. We're in our 40s now; it could still happen, right?


It's 0747 now; I started about five or six hours ago and kept falling asleep and walking up to do bits of blog before falling asleep again. Weird night, but fun post. Thanks, Sam! And thank you to all of you who have stopped by!


Saturday 9: Nights On Broadway

Hi everyone! Welcome back. I'm in the midst of a few different projects right now, so I'm going to get right to the point: Link up here if you want to play along today!

Saturday 9: Nights on Broadway (1975)

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

1) It's estimated that there are more than 200 separate streets called "Broadway" in the United States. Does your town have a Broadway? 


Jack looking surly for the camera right before his job interview, because he is not a fan of my pointing the camera lens in his direction!

Actually yes, and it's just a few minutes from home. And speaking of our Broadway Ave, my newly-minted 15-year-old son Jack just got a job at the McDonald's on that street today! I'm so stoked for him, because he's "special needs" in more than one way and has lots going on medically, so this was really an important step for him. I couldn't be more proud of him! 

2) Think of the last time you celebrated well into the night. What street were you on? 


I think the last time I can really say that was New Year's Eve 2015, on South Beach's Ocean Drive. So much fun that night; very memorable!

3) The Bee Gees blame it all on those songs that go straight to the heart. What love song always makes you go, "aw ...?"


Right now I think it would be "Someone Like You" by the very talented Adele.

4) Even though their sound depended on tight harmonies, all three Bee Gees were heavy smokers, which is not good for the throat. What habit do you have that wish you could break?

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It's been a problem for the entirety for my 41.5 years, so I don't imagine things will ever change at this point, but I would love to become a diurnal person instead of being a clear-cut nocturnal human. It's annoying, especially when I desperately need to make phone calls to 9-to-5ers!

5) In addition to the three Gibbs who sang this song, there was a fourth brother, Andy, who also had hit records. But did you know the Gibbs' had a sister, Lesley? Your turn: share some trivia that's rattling around in your head.

Tater Tot

We have been feeding our chickens - including six hens and our singular rooster, Tater Tot, oyster shells for extra calcium for nice and strong, hard eggshells. We had heard through the rumour mill that feeding them their own eggshells for calcium supplementation could lead to them attacking their own whole, freshly laid eggs. Apparently, that's an old wives' tale, and it's more than fine to feed them their dried, broken up eggshells for this purpose. Additionally, they should be fed these in a separate bowl from their regular feed, so they can choose what to eat. I read that not only is it harmful for the roosters and young poults to have too much calcium if it's mixed in their feed, but it can lead to kidney problems. And egg-laying slows in the winter not because of the cold vs. laying returning in the spring due to warmth, but rather the length and number of daylight hours. I'm learning so much about chickens lately!

6) "Nights on Broadway" was recorded in Miami. When you think of Florida, what comes to mind?


I guess the first thing that comes to mind are all those quick trips into the Keys we made all the time. We were in the Keys more than we were home, seems like. I loved going to the beach whenever we wanted!

7) In 1975, when this song was popular, Sony introduced the Betamax and JVC gave us the VCR. Sam admits she was glad to see VCRs go because she never could program hers. What about you? Do you adapt easily to new technology?

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I adapt fairly easily compared to many adults, but I do admit that our TV setup confounds me. When one of the kids changes the setup to play on the XBox One S and forgets to switch it back to normal TV mode, I have to call them in for help! It's so aggravating. At the same time, I figure out computer stuff much more quickly than they do at this point.

8) The Bee Gees' greatest success came two years later, in 1977, with the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever. Have you ever seen the John Travolta movie?

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I've seen it once, but I have to admit, I like Grease far better!

9) Random question -- Your mail carrier is very attractive, and flirts with you each day when dropping off the mail. Would you a) ignore it or b) let the carrier know, firmly but politely, that you're not interested or c) complain to your local post office or d) subscribe to more magazines and order more stuff to guarantee that the mail carrier comes every day? 

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I mean, if I wasn't married, that would definitely be choice (d)! ;) But I am, so it would have to be (a) or (b). Probably not (c) unless it persisted.


So that's it for this week! I have a lot of posts to catch up on, so hopefully that'll happen this week! Stay tuned...


Saturday 9: Danny Boy

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Welcome back, everyone! It's still early afternoon Saturday here, so I'm right on time, if not early, yes? This week, Crazy Sam chose "Danny Boy" in honor of St. Patrick's Day today. Haven't heard it before? I love this version; we sang it a capella when I was in choir in high school, too, so I love the tune and think it's a fitting choice for the day!

Let's get started. Link up here to play along!


Saturday 9: Danny Boy (1956)

"Danny Boy" was selected in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1) This is a sad song of farewell. Who is the last person you said "goodbye" or "so long" to?
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Well, I'm sure there are better or more recent examples, but when we left Miami one year + one week ago, we said a lot of good-byes. I think the hardest hit person was our 12yo equestrian, Sophia, who left behind the horses and her people-y friends at Miami International Riding Club. She met her best friend in the entire world, Helaina, there. But the good news is, she's found a new barn (and is riding right this minute, actually), and Helaina and her family also just moved West - to Seattle! It's not the shortest trip in the world, but it's definitely doable. She's so excited!

2) According to the 2000 Census, Massachusetts is the state with the largest percentage of residents of Irish descent. Have you ever been to The Bay State?
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I was going to say no, but then I remembered that my mother took me up to Boston when I was very little, maybe four or five years old, on the train. We visited the Mother Church of my then-religion, Christian Science. I don't remember anything about that trip except riding the train and that my mother, who didn't wear a watch, asked a stranger on the sidewalk if he had the time. I had no understanding of what that question meant at that time.

3) "The wearing o' the green" is one way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Will you wear something green in honor of the day?
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I was going to wear a green shirt, but it's rainy and  38 degrees out, and that shirt is short-sleeved. I'm already sick. So no. I've got on purples and blues.
4) What color makes you look best?
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I insist red is my color.

5) Will you drink something green in honor of the day (like a Shamrock shake or a green beer)?
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I think I may have had green beer once in my life before, in Sarasota, Florida, when I was out at a bar with friends for St. Pat's day. I was doing my fisheries internship at Mote Marine Lab there. Anyway, no, I don't see any need to repeat the experience!

6) A four-leaf clover is considered good luck. Do you have a lucky charm?
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I'm not very suspicious and don't have any good luck charms, but... I do pick up pennies when I find them. One could always use a little help!

7) Though she's singing an Irish ballad, this week's featured artist, Joni James, is of Italian heritage. Can you think of a song as identified with Italy as "Danny Boy" is with Ireland?
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The first song that came to mind was "That's Amore."
8) Soda bread and potato bread are popular in Ireland. Are there any rolls or bread in your kitchen right now?
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Are you kidding me? With three teenagers in the house, they'd starve if I didn't keep us well-stocked in milk and cereal, and bread and sammich stuff. There is tons of bread in our kitchen (most of it in the deep freezer).
9) Ireland is known for its whiskey. Do you enjoy Irish coffee (black coffee, whiskey and whipped cream)?
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I've never had it. I don't guess I probably will; with all the medications I'm on now, I strongly limit my alcohol intake. However...
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...when the (MIRC) horsey moms and I went out to Coconut Grove to watch the movie Bad Moms came out, we all went out drinking afterward. Someone gave me a shot of Jack Daniel's Black whiskey. I liked it so much, I had another. That was my first and only experience with whiskey thus far. So you never know about the coffee. ;)
That's it for me. Thanks for stopping by, and happy St. Paddy's Day if you're celebrating! Please be safe out there.

Saturday 9: Baby Love

So it's late for this posting, I understand. 10:45 PM Mountain Standard Time, to be exact. But I can explain: I spent several wee hours this morning in the hospital again, which then caused me to sleep the day away. After that, I tried to participate, but the Typepad platform was down. Finally, it's back, so here I am. I'm sure you relished that story. Anyway, link up here if you'd like to participate this weekend, and then let's go:


Saturday 9: Baby Love (1964)

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

 1) When this song was popular, the Supremes were known for their elaborate hairstyles, make up and full-length gowns. When was the last time you got dressed up?
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I guess it was when we went to Ruth's Chris here in Boise was the singular time I've gussied up much since we moved to Idaho, maybe? That was back in November.

2) "The girls," as they were known to the engineers and executives at Motown Records, were Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson and Diana Ross. They began singing together when they were high school classmates. Are you still in touch with any friends from your high school days?
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Of course! Many of them, actually. Thank you, Facebook.

3) Mary Wilson was born in Mississippi and her family moved a great deal before settling in Detroit, where she fatefully met Florence and Diana. Were you uprooted often when you were a child? Or did you spend your school years in the same neighborhood?
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When I was six years old, we moved from close to NYC up to Central New York. That decision on my dad's part sucked, by the way. As a city girl, I much preferred the routine trips into Manhattan; those became less-than-annual after that move. In comparison, my children have moved far more times.

4) The Supremes began as a quartet called the Primettes. In addition to Mary, Flo and Diana, there was Betty McGlown. In 1960, Betty left the group to get married and was replaced by Barbara Martin. In 1962, Barbara left the group to have a baby. They quit trying to replace the fourth voice, soldiered on as a trio, and made pop history. Have you ever found yourself in a position similar to Betty's or Barbara's, where you had to make a difficult decision and choose between your personal life and your career?
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Sure I have. Twice. The first time, in 1998, I stopped working at Mote Marine Lab in Sarasota, Florida, to help out a former friend back in Miami. Not a wise decision, but it's moot now. The second time, in 2000, I realized I did not have the passion for shark research that I thought I did and left my doctoral program to consider my options. That's when I met Hubs and decided to elope with him shortly afterward. If I hadn't made that decision, I surely wouldn't have these nutaroons, above, and that would be awful. I consider that decision the best one of my life. Today, by the by, is the 17th anniversary of our sunset beach wedding. (We eloped at the courthouse on January 2nd, but we had the beach wedding on my mom's birthdate, February 17th, in order to have my then-pastor perform a ceremony in front of a few close loved ones.)

5) Thinking of babies and "baby love," is anyone in your life expecting a baby in 2018?
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Does reading about Duchess Kate's third pregnancy in People count as someone in my life? Because I am having a complete brain fart and can't think of anyone I know personally. Wish it was me!

6) With twelve #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, The Supremes remain America's most commercially successfully recording group, and this song (along with "Stop! In the Name of Love") is one of the most popular karaoke songs. If we handed you the mic this morning and absolutely insisted you perform, what song would you choose (any song, any genre)? 
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I have never done karaoke. I would have to be completely smashed to do it... anyway, I would choose "What's Up?" by 4 Non-Blondes. The radio definitely gets turned up when that song comes on Bob FM in the car!

7) Original group member Florence Ballard left the group in 1967. She died of cardiac arrest in 1976 at the age of 32. Since February is National Heart Month, it seems appropriate to ask: Is anyone in your life battling heart disease?
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Well, probably. But right now, I'm concerned with my two teenagers, Chloë and Jack. We learned in April last year that they have inherited Noonan Syndrome from their dad. (Sophia, our youngest, may have a few of the features - since I think they said five different genes control the Syndrome - but she's definitely not as affected as the older two.) Since it can cause heart defects, among many other things, Chloë had a full cardio evaluation last year. Everything, so far, looked perfect. Phew! Jack will be next, but the Genetics Clinic 'round these parts is extremely overwhelmed and difficult to get into, appointment-wise...

8) Florence Ballard's brother, Hank, wrote Chubby Checker's famous dance song, "The Twist." When did you last dance?
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Hm. There was a Macarena question on Jeopardy! the other night, so I might have busted a quick move on the couch... haha. But the pain I'm in is so constantly severe now that it's rare I do a full-on dance sesh.

9) Random question: Close your eyes and visualize the most beautiful place you've ever been. Now describe it to us.
I've been fortunate to see many beautiful places; almost all of the ones near the top of my list are by the sea. (Not surprising.) But oddly, the place that popped out in my mind first was Dubrovnik, Croatia. I wrote all about that here after we got back from our Mediterranean cruise in 2008. Having been to Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Jamaica... this surprises me and makes me wonder. I think, maybe, it's because it's both so close to the beautiful water with which I connect so deeply, and because it's also a city. I do love a pretty city. Dubrovnik did not disappoint, and those narrow streets were filled with fascinations beyond my imagination. I don't know what to tell you about our experience there that I didn't cover already in that post I just linked up to, so go read it if you're really interested!
This was really fun to write. I'm glad Typepad let me in to participate tonight. Thanks, Samantha! :)

Sunday Stealing: HodgePodge

Welcome back, party people. Link up here to play along this weekend. Let's get started!


  1. January was National Mentoring Month. Have you ever had a mentor? Been a mentor? How would you rate the experience?
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  3. I was a knitting/crocheting mentor for a while. I even have a pin to show for it. I've attempted to teach dozens of students. Some are still doing it and improving their skills; I'm proud of everyone who tries it!

    2. What current trend makes no sense to you?
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  5. A year into his atrocious and disastrous first (and hopefully last, if not foreshortened) term as PUSA, there are still Trump apologists. I don't understand these people; I just don't. I know some of them, and they just refuse to listen to reason. Some are educated, rather intelligent people, too. WTF?!!

    3. I saw a cartoon on Facebook highlighting a few 'weird' things that make you happy as an adult. The list included-writing with a nice pen, having plans cancelled, freshly cleaned sheets, eating the corner brownie, cleaning the dryer lint screen, and sipping coffee in that brief time before anyone else wakes up. Of the 'weird' things listed which one makes you happiest? What is one more 'weird' thing you'd add to the list?
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  7. I love writing with a nice pen that writes smoothly with no gaps or scratchy marks. I'm favoring BiC Gel-ocity pens at the moment - especially since they write in many colors. I love colorful pens and try not to use black at all unless there is no other choice. I don't like the corny brownie - I'd rather have the center one! Canceled plans usually irritate me; freshly clean sheets are nice but not a dealbreaker unless I'm in a hotel, and I rarely drink coffee. My caffeinated beverage of choice is still Diet Coke. The kids do the laundry, so I don't clean out the lint trap anymore. To add to the list, I'd have to explain that I have a ridiculously, enormously large bladder capacity, so taking a weewee takes up about five minutes for me. That's very satisfying. ;)

  8. 4. What's the last good thing you ate?
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  11. I don't eat a lot these days, but the last satifying thing I had was a tasty omelet from our own hens' organic eggs, with plenty of cheese and sautéed onions. Hubs makes them for me, and they're so good!

    5. Describe life in your 20's in one sentence.
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  13. In my naïve 20s, I eloped with my husband two months after we met, and we immediately started our family of four kids. 

    6. It's that time of year again...time for Lake Superior University to present a list of words (or phrases) they'd like to see banished (for over-use, mis-use, or general uselessness) in 2018. This year's top vote getters are -- unpack, dish (as in dish out the latest rumor), pre-owned, onboarding/offboarding, nothingburger, let that sink in, let me ask you this, impactful, Covfefe, drill down, fake news, hot water heater (hot water doesn't need to be heated), and gig economy

    Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word not on the list you'd like to add?
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  15. I would like to add "basic," as in, describing someone as basic if they do or don't do certain maybe unsophisticated things. I hate this usage.

    7. What's something you need to get rid of in the new year?
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  17. This yellow, flowered couch. I like it, even though it's not my normal style. And it's comfortable as hell. However, Tapioca (our half-rabid Chiweenie), has eaten large portions of it, so it's now an eyesore. I'd like to replace it ASAP, but first I have to buy Jack a new bed. He's been sleeping on the floor for nearly a year!

    8. Where do you feel stuck?
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I feel stuck physically. Healthwise, I am on my fourth TENS unit, having burned through my first three and having spent hundreds of dollars on those. I haven't tried the new one yet, but it's got good reviews on Amazon, so I'm crossing my fingers that it'll help all the leg and wrist pain I experience daily from my "Fibromyalgia" (it's really Chronic Lyme Disease). I tried to get a job, but I ended up with my 8th pneumonia within a year. Months later, I'm stuck inside much of the time, I use a wheelchair and handicap parking placard occasionally, and I take a shit ton of medications to manage my illnesses. I would really like to be freer physically. At 41 years old, I don't feel like I should have to live this way. :(

  1. 9. January is National Soup Month. When did you last have a bowl of soup? Was it made from scratch or from a can? Your favorite canned soup? Your favorite soup to make from scratch on a cold winter's day?
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  3. It's difficult for me to have soup, because with my gastric bypass surgery, I'm not supposed to have solids and liquids at the same time. I have to drink broth now, though, because I'm not getting enough sodium content and was recently in the hospital to boost my super-low sodium levels. And I try to eat as little chicken and seafoods as possible, but I consider myself pescetarian because my protein needs are so high, so... I usually, by myself, will eat cream of chicken soup out of the can when I need a protein and calorie boost. If Rob makes his famous chicken and dumplings soup, I'm all over that. It's so good.

    10. Tell us one thing you're looking forward to in 2018.

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Trump's impeachment. Need I say more?!


Thanks for stopping by, y'all! I hope to get to everyone's tonight or tomorrow!

Saturday 9: Boat Drink

Hey, guys! It's 7:30 PM here, which means it's still Saturday, and I'm not late. For once. Link up here if you're playing along today!


Saturday 9: Boat Drinks (1979)

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

1) Jimmy Buffett is singing about his bandmates watching hockey in a sports bar. Since it's Super Bowl weekend, our first question is: In cold weather, which sport to you watch most: football, hockey, or basketball?
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I watch my Hurricanes play football, when I can find it way out West here. Tonight on our mystery shop dinner date, I watched the Boise State Broncos play UNLV. They were winning, last I saw. I want to watch the Super Bowl tomorrow, but I'll probably forget.

2) Jimmy sings it's just 20º outside. How high will the mercury reach where you are today?
60ºF on February 3rd! Yet Climate Change isn't real. Right.
3) "Boat drinks" are mixed drinks designed to enhance the enjoyment of a boat ride or time on the beach. Popular boat drinks include The Tequila Sunrise, Cuba Libre, and Mimosa. When did you last sip an alcoholic beverage? Was it a boat drink?
I had to go back really far in my Instagram account to December 1st, before I got sick with a severe case of pneumonia for two months (and counting), to discover that it was, again, at Texas Roadhouse: A sangria. I do remember that I initially ordered a Rum Runner, and the young bartender asked, "Rum Runner? What's that? What's in that?" #Dumbass.
Oh wait, I think I had a sip or two of some champagne for our 17th anniversary on January 2nd. No pictures as evidence, apparently!

4) Jimmy met his wife, Jane, in Key West at a bar called The Chart Room. Have you ever been to Key West?
Girl, you know I've been to Key West a billion times (give or take)! I first went when I was an undergrad at the University of Miami, circa 1996. I last went in October of 2016 with my family. I took a bunch of photographs, but this portrait of Sophia in the sunset at Southernmost Point was my favorite from that trip.

5) Have you ever met anyone worth knowing at a bar?
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So this was Palm Beach, Florida, not Las Vegas, Nevada, but... let's just say Hubs and I met a very interested bartender at a resort one night. We had a good time with him. #NuffSaid

6) While Keith Richard and Paul McCartney have made cameo appearances in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Jimmy Buffet has not. Producers have asked him, but he's always had to decline because of his touring schedule. Have you seen any of the Pirates/Jack Sparrow movies?
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I have not. It's been on, in my presence, but I didn't watch. Not my genre.

7) When Jimmy gave the commencement address at the University of Miami, he showed up in flip-flops. How many pairs of flip-flops do you own?
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He did?! That's so cool. Wish I'd seen that! I own about at least half a dozen pairs of flip-flops, which now sit unused half the year. I wore my Crocs flippers year-round in Miami, though. Today, I had to wear tall black pleather boots for our date night. I couldn't zip up the sides when I first got them, because I have enormous calves anyway and had put on some way. After four hospital admissions between December and January, though, they now fit loosely.

8) Jimmy has his own station on Sirius Radio. Do you subscribe to Sirius?
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We actually don't. I prefer to listen to regular FM radio. We had one car with it, until the free trial expired. I didn't renew.

9) Random question: What trend or fad from your youth do you hope never makes a comeback?
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The high hair with a full can of hairspray in it was pretty gross. I didn't go this extreme, but I got a little there. Ugh, what a pain!
That was fun, thanks Crazy Sam! Stay tuned for more from me: Sunday Stealing is coming up next!

Sunday Stealing: It's Beginning To Look Like A Meme

Hello, Internet Friends! Welcome back. I'm sick as hell, so I have no fun intro thoughts right now. I'll try and save all my witticism for the actual questions. With that, link up here if you're joining us this week!


Last week we talked about things that bug us.  This week (and maybe next), how about things that we like about the holidays.  

1. What’s your favorite thing about the holidays?

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Of all the things we - personally, as a family - do during the month of December, the best favorite thing about it is family together time. When we're not, you know, arguing over stupid bullshit. LOL.

2. Do you send out Christmas cards and if so how many do you send?

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Yes, I always send out cards. It's a thing I must do. This year I'm late and just got them in the mail yesterday. Except for the dozen or so still sitting here because I've run out of stamps and haven't bought more yet. This year, I'm sending out 75, which is about par for the course for us. Wanna get a card from us? I'd love to send you one. But I need your address. Promise I'm not a stalker. ;)

3. Be honest: holiday newsletters. Love ‘em or hate ‘em?

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I hate the ones that are like, brag brag brag, with an extra-heavy dose of brag. You feel me? I've never written one, but every year I'm tempted to send one and just be real with shit. For example, and this is all not related to this year, "In January, I forgot to pay the electric bill and we damn near froze to death... In July, Sophia was riding her horse who decided to turn at the last moment and bucked Sophia off, breaking her wrist..." etc. You know? Funny, because it's real.

4. Be honest: photo cards. Love ‘em or hate ‘em?

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This is ours this year. Obviously, I'm in the love 'em category. However, admittedly, this one was not my best work. For one, Chloë was cropped out of the picture in the top left, which sucks big time. Secondly, it's just kind of meh and boring. But it got done, I could cross it off my list, and so there's that. But yes, I really do like getting (and sending) them.

5. How soon do you start shopping?

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I start shopping whenever I find a hot deal on something I know a person wants and I concurrently have the dollahs to do so. Like my Christmas cards, I started a bit late this year.

6. Real or fake tree?

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Well, ideally, I'd love to have a real Christmas tree. However, I don't think in all our years of marital bliss that we have had anything but a pre-lit artificial tree. And we have the cats. And the puppies. So planning our tree placement is rather difficult. This year, no tree (so far, but I'm working on it, Zippi!), so no problems! (But real would be nice.)

7. When do you put up your tree?

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It's against my religion to put up the tree before Thanksgiving is over. Preferably, the first of December or later for me. I don't really care when everybody else does it, though, and I enjoy looking at everyone's Christmas décor!

8. When do you take down your tree?

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Ideally, by New Year's Day. I'm not a Scrooge or anything, I just don't like dragging things out forever and a day.

9. Describe your typical tree (size, decorations, type)

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It's usually about 7-8 feet tall, pre-lit, chock full of ornaments that represent our entire life histories - both separately and jointly - and usually strewn with that tinsel stuff you have to blow upward to get to the top of the tree.  I try, annually, to collect a new angel-themed ornament in memory of my son Robby, and those must always go toward the top of the tree. We also have an angel Christmas tree topper. All of this is in a box somewhere (or three boxes, or maybe four), because we haven't really gotten our Christmas on this year in a big, showy way.

10. What do you top your tree with?

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I already answered that, oopsy. An angel. It changes, though.

11. Do you put Christmas lights outside your house?

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Usually, but that's a job delegated to Hubs, and I haven't been able to get Hubs to do that deed this year. Yet.

12. Is there a wreath hanging on your door?


Right now, we have this bell thingamabob on the front door in lieu of a wreath. It'll do for this year, its second or third appearance for us, but I think I'm going to get a nicer, real wreath next year. I get bored of things like this, shown over and over.

13. Do you hang up stockings?


These are ours, right now, at this moment. So yes. I made the white one. That's Robby's.

14. Your favorite Christmas Movie(s):

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I don't even really know. I've never sat down and watched ElfA Christmas StoryIt's A Wonderful Life, or much else that makes me feel like a bad... Christmasser. OH! WAIT! I know. It's Miracle on 34th Street. I adore that flick.

15. Be honest: A Christmas movie you don't like:

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I liked Home Alone, but I've seen it umpteen million times and now I'm sick of it. So I guess I'll choose that one.

16. Favorite Christmas Song(s):

Drummer boy

Really, my favorite Christmas song is The First Noël, because that was my mother's favorite, but Rob's is Little Drummer Boy. I stumbled across this African tribal version last night and absolutely loved it. I suggest giving it a listen!

17. Be honest: If I hear this/these Christmas songs again I will throw up:

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I haven't really heard it this year (yet?), but I have memories of lots and lots of Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer from my childhood, which mostly sucked, and so I'm no longer a fan. That's pretty much it. I actually love Christmas music.

18. Give or Receive?

December 3rd Advent

I definitely prefer to give! The above collage is from December 3rd of this year, because I had things to give, all wrapped up and waiting... If you know me, I just about EXPLODE with anticipation and giddiness over giddiness, and so... we opened everything we had already in the house so far in the year on that date. I'm trying so hard not to do it again! Hee.

19. Eggnog or Mulled Cider?

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I used to be an eggnog girl all the way, but now... I'm more into the mulled cider. Yum!

20. Ham or Turkey?

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EWW, ham. Never liked that crap even before I became a strict vegetarian in 2005. Ew EW EWW! Sorry if you're a fan. Turkey is not as obnoxious (to me), but obviously I can't eat that, either. So give me some hummus and we'll all be happy, 'kay?


Well that was fun. I'm feeling festive now. Except for looking at that ham and bananas crap (who does that?!). Here's hoping y'all have a lovely Sunday!

Sundays In My City: Advent Days 1-9

Sundays In My City
Here in Boise, my family and I are going through our 2017 Advent calendar. So far, of course, we've completed activities out and around Boise since the first.
Every year, I assemble an Advent calendar with a treat and an activity for each day. This year, I had to enlist help from Hubs with assembling it. He went to the store and bought all the mini stockings for me, while I bought the candies and spent hours combing the Interwebs and our past calendars to come up with the 24 activities.
Sixteen-year-old Chloë started us off with a smile and a yank! of the first stocking.
December 1st Advent{Click to Embiggerate Collage}
On December 1st, we headed to nearby Meridian, Idaho, for their annual Christmas parade. It was so fun! We were freezing, though - I don't think Team Odette, collectively, have quite adjusted to the fact that we will be in real, honest-to-God WINTER here and not balmy Miami winters, heh. But it was fun, hot chocolate was enjoyed, and home we went.
Jack took over the Advent calendar for Day 2. It's hard to capture a real Jack smile on camera, and honestly, I'm not sure if this is one!
December 2nd Advent
For December 2nd, we went to a fun Christmas activity at Zoo Boise. To be honest, we have visited some amazing zoos as a family, and Zoo Boise was the least impressive. But since we often tease Chloë about her two chubby guinea pigs being capybaras, it was certainly fun to see a few of those at the Zoo!
Chloë with Alex and James
Sophia took over for Day Three of Advent.
On Day Three, we hand made snowglobes. Super fun activity; we all really enjoyed it a lot, and Chloë (in red) said she wants to do lots more like this in the future. Yay!
December 3rd Advent
Ultimately, that night, we also hemmed and hawed about whether to open all the presents that had arrived thus far in the house and... giddily, we decided to open everything. Christmas on December 3rd? Why not? 
December 4th Advent
On December 4th, Team Odette visited "Winter aGlow" at Idaho Botanical Gardens. OMGosh, you guys! It was so beautiful, with the plants and flowers so intricately lit and designed. We loved it. There were free cookies, along with free cocoa and hot cider, which really helped control the chill of the evening. (Because holy heck, Idaho is cold in December!) Totally worth every moment we spent there!
December 5th Advent
On December 5th, we had a Day of Remembrance for the loved ones we have lost. Individually, Rob, Chloë, Jack, Sophia, and I each lit candles for our son Robby (Jack's identical twin), Rob's mom, my mom, and others whom we are missing this year. It was a solemn evening, but definitely necessary and cherished by all of us, I think.
On that evening, I let Jack open a gift that I knew he really wanted and would enjoy. He hadn't received much other than tons of SOCKS and a few other small things on the 3rd, when the girls had a lot to open, so I knew he was feeling a bit disappointed. I gave him the Xbox One version of the game "Halo 5," which had been on his wishlist. I think you can tell that this is a genuine Jack smile.
On December 6th, we had options: there was going to be a Basque Christmas concert at the capitol building's rotunda, but that clashed with the timing for the kids' youth church. Instead of the concert, all of the kids opted to go to church instead. So that's what they did!
December 7th Advent
On December 7th, we went to Downtown Boise (just a hop, skip, and a jump from home) for their First Thursdays event. There were goodies galore, some shopping, and plenty of eats. We went to The Stil Ice Cream Shop and had a beer-and-ice cream flight. The kids and Rob each had a different ice cream, while Hubs and I shared the beers. Pretty damn good, I must say. We'll have to go back there. We had delicious chocolates from a truffle shop, and Hubs gave me an "Idahome" decal that I wanted for the car. Fun night!
December 8th Advent
 On Friday, December 9th, we were supposed to go out to Eagle, Idaho, for a Christmas event, but that's when I started feeling like absolute crud. Instead, we decided to stay in and have fun playing games on the XBox. Chloë really wants to use her Just Dance game, but I guess you need your cell phone to use it, and she has killed three phones in just as many months, so I was in no hurry to loan her mine! 😂 You know? Understandable, I hope. So she and Sophie played Minecraft, and Jack played his Halo 5 game. I think I... slept. Probably.
December 9th Advent
Last night, December 9th, we were invited to our neighbor Gladys' LDS (Mormon) Church's Christmas party! It was a ton of fun, if not a bit unusual for us, since we are not LDS. There was SO much food - yummy stuff (have y'all ever heard of Funeral Potatoes? Gladys made those, and it is essential that I get her recipe!), and even picky Jack got his fill. As we were leaving for the night, the girls even grabbed a second plate of cheesecake each. Ha! There were two women who played the Japanese harp, the koto, which was absolutely beautiful, and several people sang. Santa came, and since my children have long since believing, they refused to go up and partake of that. Darn, I wanted pictures! ;) We had a great time, and despite my being sick, I'm so glad we went.
SO that's it for our area this past week and change in Boise, Idaho. Looking forward to "visiting" some of you also posting on Claudya's blog! Thanks for hosting, Claudya! 

Fall Fun At Linder Farms

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So on Tuesday of this week, Team Odette headed out to Linder Farms in Meridian, Idaho, for their fall funness. That's a word, right? We went on Tuesday, because admission was half-priced, and I am all about a good deal. I also bought the kids each an all-day wristband for the rides and attractions at the farm, and $20 worth of tokens (each worth a buck, but you get two extra with that package). The whole deal cost us about $55, which I'm still debating whether it was worth it.

The kids were really looking forward to the Zipline attraction, but honestly it was just about the length and excitement-level of the one at our nearby Terry Day Park, which they can ride for free any day of the week! The only difference was... it was on a farm instead of in a public park. They had a bit of fun, but it became so crowded, we quickly moved on to the next thing.


Sorry for the tush shots of the girls, but they moved so quickly that my hobbling arse could hardly keep up with them.  They have loved the bouncy houses and similar stuff since they were knee-high to grasshoppers, and yet somehow the novelty has never worn off. They did this for a few turns and then decided they'd had enough.


All the kids were moving in different directions, so I followed the lady-babies while Rob followed Jack around. That would explain the dearth of Jack pictures around this place, since we usually follow that M.O. I think Jack headed to the swings while the girls came here, to the climbing wall. This was pretty lame in that the other end of the rope supporting the climber was held by a not-very-strong-looking lass who made barely any effort to pull it. Nevertheless, Sophia was able to get about halfway up the climbing wall before losing her footing and flying back down to a soft landing.


Chloë, meanwhile, couldn't seem to grasp the handholds and footings of the rather poorly-designed rock wall at all, so she never made it past... well, the bottom. Poor chiquiniña!


After this, we caught back up with the menfolk, and all three kiddos headed up the big pile of hay bales to go through the tube slide at the top. I love this photo so much, because I actually caught Jack freely having fun. Those of us who know my son the best know that he is largely a negative Nancy, so having a genuine smile on his face - while dancing in public, no less! - was quite the capture. It soothes my soul.


Sophia looking stunned after coming through the tube slide... hee! (She was fine.)


The giant tires were not much of an attraction at all for the tween/teen set, I guess, because no sooner had they gotten there when they decided just as suddenly to leave again.


Joy on Chloë's face as she exited the tube slide


I think everyone in Team Odette knows that my favorite part of a pumpkin farm is the hayride! At this particular farm, the hayride led out to the pumpkin patches, of which there were three separate divisions. At the first one, the giant orange gourds could be found, and all four of the rest of my fam wanted one of these. Jack picked out this one, and he was in the middle of saying something about it being too heavy to carry when I snapped the shot. Well, son, pick a smaller one, then! That did not seem to be an option, so onto the wagon it came with us.


Sophia was all smiles as she hefted her prized pumpkin onto the haywagon.


I think Chloë looked completely beautiful as she chose and posed with her pumpkin of the year. It's been 16 years, and I still can't get enough of her curls!


Rob picked his pumpkin from the first patch, too, but I neglected to take a pic of that monster at the time. You'll see it later... I was holding out for patch #3. Number two held the odd, wart-covered gourds and pumpkins - you know, the novelty type you see at all the stores come Fall.  None of us stopped at this patch. I do love those kind, but I spotted some nicer-looking ones at Fred Meyer for a much lower price per pound, so I may snag some there for our Autumn décor. (P.S. The pumpkins we chose cost us another $37! Yikes.)


Before we headed out for the night, we had those $22 in tokens to spend. I planned on using them to feed everyone, but first, the chirren jumped into the enormous corn kernel pit for some freewheeling fun. I didn't get a shot of Chloë, though you can be sure many kernels made their way home with us in that mess of curls atop her head! Jack and Sophia had a ton of fun, however, and I was okay with it so long as no one decided to eat any! Eww...


Sophia having an absolute blast as Jack buried her in corn kernels


Finally, to spend our tokes, we stopped by the Concessions booth to fill everyone's tummies. We bought a few orders of the mini donuts, which really were quite delicious, some nachos, and an icky-looking chili dog for Rob. They were out of hot apple cider, which was a HUGE bummer for 3/5 of us, because it is so beloved, but we made do with hot chocolate. 

All in all, it was a decent if over-priced evening of fun. There was another choice in farms we were thinking of going to instead, but bad reviews for that one and good reviews for Linder Farms led us to the latter. I'm not sure we'll make the same choice next year, but it's not outside the realm of possibility. We'll just have to see in 12 months' time!


See my little white pumpkin? Isn't it so cute? I lurve it.

Happy Fall, everyone!


Sundays In My City: Spirit Of Boise Balloon Classic

Sundays In My City
Hey, y'all! Make sure you link up with Claudya over on her blog today to show off your hometown, so we can travel the world together!
So, here in Boise, Idaho, there is an annual hot air balloon festival, called the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic.
This year, the event lasted from August 30th (which happened to be Hubs' 45th birthday) through this morning, September 3rd.
On Friday, September 1st, we all woke up at the buttcrack of dawn for the morning balloon launch. Let me tell you what: Team Odette is not a morning family! The kids were all grumbling about being tired, moving poky through their morning-rush routine, barely wanting to go. Meanwhile I, who have an extreme adoration for hot air balloons, was chomping on the bit to just get there already!
When we arrived at 6:45 AM, before the sun was really sure about whether it was even going to be making an appearance that day, there was absolutely no parking to be found at Ann Morrison Park in downtown Boise. I was just about to say f*** it and park illegally somewhere when we finally happened upon a legit spot in Bumfecking Egypt. Let me tell you what else: because of my Lyme Arthritis, or whatever the hell you want to call it, my body does not like to walk that far. I told Rob he'd have to swing by and pick me up after it was all said and done, because I was a hurtin' puppy!
When we arrived at the balloon area of the surprisingly large park, plenty of people were already gathered. Many were standing, like we ended up doing, while others were sitting in chairs or on camp blankets. A family near us even brought a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts and a gallon of milk! Apparently this was not their first rodeo, and they actually came prepared. Unlike ourselves.
After that first balloon was launched - which, to be honest, we didn't understand because we were so far from the announcer that all his words were a jumbled mess to our ears - we waited and waited a while before anything else fun happened. The kids were still grumbling about being bored and why did we have to get up early for this, and the whole nine. And then... the field around us started showing us billowing colorful fabric everywhere we looked.
Some of the tie-down ropes for the tops of the balloons had an interesting thing here and there, but this one balloon behind us had many countries' flags on there. We could only guess that maybe that was all the places where the balloon had been.
CapEd, a local credit union, was one of the major sponsors of the event. I guess they ran some contests for kids, but all of mine were too old to participate in them so I didn't do much research into those.
As the sun was rising and the balloons joined in, the kids' grumbling waned. They were just as enthralled by what was happening all around us as I was, methinks.
Pretty rapidly, the balloons started filling up with air and then, one by one, filling up the sky.
Behind Rob, there's that balloon with all the flags on it, getting ready for lift-off.
I don't know about you, but I have always been excited by hot air balloons. Looking up in the sky that Friday morning, I was as giddy as a kid in a candy store!
Sigh... They're so beautiful!
No more grumbling on the kids' part by this time. They were as enthralled by the spectacle as I was!
Chloë and her dad ran over to the nearest balloon to ask a few questions, but the basket was up in the air juuuuust before they arrived.
A few interesting characters made an appearance, too. Can you spot them?
It is absolutely on my Bucket List - since before I'd ever heard of a Bucket List - to ride in one of these doohickeys before I die. Maybe next year, we can make plans to do just that. It's a bit spendy, though: these ballooners pay tens of thousands of dollars for their lighter-than-air aircraft and have to pay that off somehow!
C'mon, Darth, get on up there with the rest of them!
My favorite was Yoda. Since I inadvertently speak backward like Yoda, as Hubs frequently points out to me, he's kind of my hero.
Chloë really liked the owl one, and I had to admit, it was pretty cool.
Up, up where the air is clear, up in the atmosphere...
Well, shucky duck, right back at you, Road Runner!
Everywhere you turned, there was beautiful eye candy. It was impossible to capture the whole event in one snap; the field was immense and bursting with color!
Fairly soon, almost all the balloons were up in the air. This one was the last holdout.
None of us could make heads nor tails of this crazy creature. For heaven's sake, who would pay that much for such a fugly thing? What even is that? It had a bloody finger in its "mouth"! Ew. Of course, ugly or no, it warranted a snap from my Nikon.
Chloë, Jack, and Sophia went to check out a gorgeous German Shepherd Dog nearby, but then here they came running back as fast as their little legs would carry them.
So that was our bit of fun on Friday. Jack and Rob went back again this morning, the last day of it, but apparently parking was absolute madness. I'm glad I opted out! It brought me absolute joy to go the one time we all did, and I'm thoroughly pleased we went. What a fun festival!
Well, I've shown you mine, now show us yours!

My Favorite Guy Is 45!

Hey, hey, I'm proud to say, my hubby Rob is 45 today!

Rob's Birthday Socks

Over the course of the month of August, I managed to get a present here, a gift there, for Rob. In 16 years of celebrating his birthdays, I have never ever been able to hold on to his gifts all the way until the end of the month. Not once. I always get too excited to give him presents, and he gives in and accepts my over-eager ways. Hee!

So what my honeybuns really wanted this year were wool socks. He put them on his Amazon Wishlist, writing "lots!" for the quantity. I don't know if four pairs counts as "lots!" but that's what I bought him first. Paco wasn't as thrilled about Daddy's socks.

Rob's Bday Socks 2

Another time, I got a deal on a six-pack of white crew socks, so yay, what a joyous present that was! 

Rob's Birthday Cookware
After that, Macy's had an online deal on some awesome cookware, and so I jumped on that lickety-split. Next day later, after I went to pick it up, Rob received a big griddle pan, and an enormous wok with two handles and a lid. After several uses on these with a metal spatula, it was apparent he also needed the following:

Rob's Birthday cookin' implements

I got, of course, another deal for this silicone pancake flipper and spatula-spoony-scrapy thing. No more potential scratches in the new nonstick cookware!

Rob's Birthday Calculator

As for the Texas Instruments scientific calculator, that was a "must have" more than a "nice to have." Rob's taking some math classes now in order to prepare for his upcoming matriculation at Boise State University, and he needed some calculation tools. His Samsung Galaxy has that ability, somewhat, but those are not allowed during tests. Of course. I'd been saving up my Swagbucks points for a big Amazon gift card, so as soon as I could, I spent them on this helpful tool. Yay for edumacation!


Today, Sophia made chocolate cupcakes for her dad's birthday, with my assistance. Since we still don't have most of our household goods, we only have a 6-hole silicone muffin pan. That means the batter that makes 24 cupcakes is being done in batches, right now as I type this post. No matter; delicious is delicious!


Sophia set up the six cupcakes from the first batch in a flower arrangement, and then I decorated them. Rob hates frosting on his favorite birthday chocolate cake, so we never put it on for him. Okay, I lied; many times I have made his cake in Bundt pan, and I have not been able to resist decorating it with some kind of frosting. Which he hates. For his birthday. Crap! Now I feel rotten about all those times! Anyway, this year, I polled the room and asked who wanted frosting. All three girls were a yes, while Jack eschewed the idea of any adornment to his chocolate cake. Also, we only had a "4" candle from Jack's recent 14th birthday celebration, but no "5" candle; instead, I used the "4" and five regular birthday candles to make up the "45" for my guy's big moment. Hey, it works.


Happy birthday, my love! I hope you have many more years left, during which I will probably continue to annoy the shit out of you. Love you so!