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Wordless Wednesday: In Which All We Ever Do Is Eat #WW

Link up here if you're wordy or wordless today!

Again this week, I have a lot of food pictures to share, and again, I'll be a bit on the chattier side.

Let's go!


Last Thursday was a really cool day for Team Odette. We drove up to Fort Lauderdale for a quadruple-play traveling lunch-into-dinner mystery shopping tour. Here, Sophia was doing the spoon-on-the-nose trick at a semi-upscale cheesecake restaurant chain we all (probably) know. That's us, keeping it classy!


When we finally arrived home that night, we were pretty pumped and not yet ready to end the day. While Hubs and I sat outside watching the sunset, the kids rode around the neighborhood on their scooters. It's such a blast watching them whip down sidewalks and around sidewalks like they've been doing it all their lives and not just a week or two. Chloë hopped up on the hood of Miguel, our car, after sunset for one last snap.


We've been getting food delivered from Hello Fresh, on their vegetarian plan. It's awesome, because they send us everything we need to make enough meals for the week and then some, with the recipes included in the package. I love the food, but it's pricey now that our introductory offer is over, so I need to cancel it. Worth a try, though... Anyway, these black bean-and-rice cakes over a corn and pepper relish with lime sour cream were excellent.


We've also been getting all our eggs and produce from a local farm stand nearby, which is by far what I prefer to do rather than have it shipped to us. I've been trying to incorporate as many new foods into the kids' repertoires as I can, and encouraging them to choose the recipes and help me prepare them seems to make it more likely they'll actually eat those newer foods. I had guava, mango, and papaya to use, so we made what turned out to be just regular rice pudding with those fruits and some blueberries on top - but it was still really good.

(Not pictured: A delicious mango bread loaf or two we made the same night but gobbled down before I remembered to photograph it.)


I'm still really, really loving this pizza dough recipe from a recent issue of Martha Stewart's Living magazine. The latest batch a day or two ago was the best yet. I keep meaning to freeze the dough to pull out for whenever, but it kinda just keeps getting used and eaten! This first one was beautiful, both visually and gustatorially. (Is that the right word?!) I used cherry tomatoes, both red ones and orangey-yellow ones, separately blanched, peeled, and puréed to make a color-blocked sauce topped with extra virgin olive oil and coarse salt. Bits and blobs of goat cheese topped it off. That one didn't last a New York minute on the kids' plates!


The kids turned their noses up at this thinly-slivered eggplant parmesan pizza I made up next, but I still made 'em each try a bite. No go. Oh, well, introduce it six times and maybe they'll say "Yum!" on the sixth try, right? Funny story: Sophia walked in on me later that night, helping myself to a square of this pizza but tossing the eggplant before I ate it. Haha! Busted.


I don't do meat, and Rob is trying to give it up as well, but we're still using up what's been in our deep freezer for a few months. The last pizza was ALL Rob, and he found it to be quite delectable. A simple tomato sauce for the base, topped with browned spicy Italian sausage and fresh green and red peppers from the farm stand, along with mushrooms and green olives from Publix. I'd made a similar one without the peppers for him the week before, but he said the peppers really made the pizza, so we had a WIN with this one.


Jack wasn't thrilled with ANY of the pizzas, because he's pretty much a meat-and-bread boy. He doesn't like tomatoes in any form, cheese in any form, or pretty much anything else in any form. Picky, picky. I had a recipe for turkey meatballs from chef Mario Batali in a recent issue of People magazine in mind, so I offered to make some up for him. I don't like to play short-order cook, but since he's a 45-pound 11-year-old, I don't like him to not eat, either. (Put down your phone; he has pituitary dwarfism and will always be tiny!)

I made some without sauce for him and the ever-hungry Sophia, and the rest were cooked in an amazing red wine, rosemary and garlic sauce for Rob. Jack ate a whole two golf ball-sized meatballs, as did Sophia, and Rob ate a half-dozen after his meatzza. He was so full, he could scarcely walk, so he sat at the table for a while after that, completely unable to move. Hee.


Nothing local or fresh about dessert that night, but Chloë had been asking to bake some chocolate chip cookies with me for a while, so I accepted her request. We were out of flour after my pizza crust binge, and we needed milk to go with the cookies (duh), and I have been all about the eggs lately, so another trip to Publix was in order. I rode my bike while Jack and Chloë rode along on their scooters. (Sophia was having a bath and was quite annoyed we went without her.)

The kids have only ridden around our neighborhood, and they have been delighted with that because the nabe kids have been home from public school. They've made half a dozen new friends this week, and they keep knocking on our door asking if my kids can come out and play. However, a trip outside the 'hood was a new experience, and along the way to Publix and back, I heard lots of woos and shouts of, "This is exhilarating!", "I can't believe we're doing this!" and "I feel so alive!" that made for a wonderful mom-moment for me, too.

(P.S. The Publix cashier was shocked when I told her I was on my bike and proceeded to put the flour and a gallon of milk on the bottom of my backpack, and then the carton of eggs on top to ride home. But I was right; they survived just fine. Did not try this with bread!)


Still in baking mode this morning, I woke up the family around 0900 with freshly baked blueberry shortcakes and fresh Florida grapefruit halves from the farm stand. Rob laughed at me when I complained that my cream wouldn't whip, before he reminded me that I was using half-and-half and not heavy whipping cream. Oops. Publix again.


Last but definitely not least, dinner tonight was another meal provided by Hello Fresh. I roasted the onions, cherry tomatoes, yellow squash, and garlic in some EVOO while boiling the rotini. Tossed it all with some fresh basil and parmesan cheese, and voila! Rob and I adored it; I was kind of grumpy that I couldn't fit more in my little gastric-bypass pouch because it was that tasty. Simple; I'll make it again but with local food.

Thanks for stopping by!



Kinda Wordless Wednesday: What's Cookin', Good Lookin'?

Link up here if you're (any degree of) Wordless today!


We've become quite the locavores lately, shopping at the nearby fishmonger's shop and stopping at various side-of-the-road barely-speaking-English produce stands in recent weeks. I love it! Here are some things we've cooked up from our delicious, healthy, local scores:


I made homemade sesame seed buns to go with the turkey sliders I made into patties, along with yummy skin-on baby red potato salad and cilantro pickles that weren't so bad, but not nearly as good as the dill pickles I made the following week!


These silicone cupcake holders are so convenient, and they cut back on waste, which I love! I used them recently to make all kinds of tasty pumpkin and various fruit muffins.


Rob's decided, again, to join me in not eating meat that rainforests are destroyed to bring to us carnivorous Americans, but we had to use up the beef and pork in the deep freezer first. He made these barbecued ribs for himself and Jack last week.


Okay, so I didn't make these VEEV VitaFrute margaritas, but they are organic, so they'll do for this post! I got "perked" on Klout to try these out, and whoo! They are good but extremely strong. Couldn't drive for the rest of the day, for sure!


I had all kindsa plans for the fruits and veggies from the roadside stand, but Chloë saw it all in front of her and declared she wanted to make a salad. Well, who was I to stop her? I did try to convince her to squeeze some lemon juice on it so it wouldn't brown, but she was bound and determined to eat it all before that happened. You and I both know that the next day, there was plenty left, and it had all turned so brown that no one would eat it. Big bummer. :\


I served up this oatmeal, apple and I-forget-what crisp with vanilla ice cream to Rob the night I made it. Heh, I couldn't find the ice cream scooper, so I had to melonball the ice cream. Silliness.


All the organic eggs from the chickens at the produce stand gave us humongous double-yolk eggs, so they were worth the price I paid for them. This week, they're chintzy in comparison, so I'm a little disappointed to have paid the same amount. Not terribly so, though, because they're still quite yummish - and I know who laid them!


I meant to make clams with linguini, but what I really ended up with was mussels and angel hair spaghetti. Oh well, close enough!


I was inspired by a recent issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine to make some rustic, artisanal pizzas, including this heart-shaped one with fresh mozzarella. It was definitely a winner, so I've got more dough rising for another round as we 'speak'!


Another of the artisan pizzas used zucchini, red onions, garlic and cilantro - all locally sourced. I loved it, but it was a bit dry, so I dipped it in an olive oil and marinara mixture to make it go down more easily. Mmmm!


The third pizza of that batch was for dessert, and Rob really liked it. I used fresh slices of lemon, along with minced dried apricots atop a pineapple base. Really good.


Chloë and I picked up all the ingredients for these shrimp egg rolls, but I messed up a little bit. I forgot the water chestnuts entirely! I burned the oil and therefore one batch of the rolls! And I did not enjoy the shrimp in them. Oh, and I pureed the carrots and bean sprouts together, which turned them into what my dad would call "La Mush." Next time, I'll know better what to do. Egads.


Tuesday night's dinner was helped along by a food delivery from Hello Fresh and turned out to be superb: Roasted Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad with Avocado... only, my pouch rejected the quinoa, and I couldn't eat but a few measly bites. Darn!


Sophia helped me make this delicious Creme Brûlée, topped with blackberries, for dessert. I couldn't find my ramekins, so we had to run to Goodwill and spend $2 on "new" ones. Guess I better make it a few more times to get my money's worth, huh? If the kids get their way, I will - soon.

Thanks for stopping by!



Upchucking Puppies And Other Odd Schtuff


So remember Pepper got butchered neutered on January 11th, and it didn't go well? You can read more about that here

Welp, between getting the cat fixed and necessary car repairs, we didn't have the money to take him to an *ahem* real vet to get looked at, once the almost-obvious infection set in just two days later, on Monday, 13 January. I was chatting online with a friend about my concerns, and that friend - y'all, I have some amazing, terrific, wonderful friends - sent me the money immediately to get Pepper seen.
So we took him to a vet uptown, and we waited, like, no lie, five hours in the waiting room.
We made a lot of buddies in the waiting room, like this fellow, Chiquito, who licked the crap out of Sophia's face. Friendly little guy, mangy, but super cute just the same!
Then there was this little adorable Pomeranian puppy, Melody, who I wanted desperately to steal and take home with us, but alas, I don't t'ief me some puppies. Is she not the cutest thing EVAR?!
This quartet of pups, just a couple days old, had to go home without their mommy. They broke her pelvis coming out, poor thing. The dude had to go pay the vet bill and asked me if I would mind dog-sitting them for a few minutes. Would I mind?! Um, no, not hardly, sir. (I'm a dog person. We have five cats, and I'm a dog person. I was in animal-lover heaven over there, y'all.)
At last, it was our turn, after visiting with every other animal in the waiting room, and even after I went to the Publix nearby and shopped for a quick meal of bananas, granola bars, Babybel cheeses, and flavored waters. We kind of got the stink eye from other waiting room patients, but you know what? I did not care. MY babies were hungry, and I shared with the toddler-sized owner of Melody. So bite me, stink-eyers!
So anyway... Chloë and I went into the exam room with Pepper, and there we met the vet tech, whom I'll call Chuck. Chuck was super-smiley, and friendly, and caring. The vet, a woman (woohoo!), came in, and Chuck held Pepper down while she examined his poor, sore bally-sac (technical term there, ya know). Then she left, after giving me the spiel about what he needed (antibiotics) and what, thank the good Lord above, he did not need (a re-neutering, basically). 
So Chuck, who was fresh from Cuba, overheard me talking to Chloë in Spanish, and we had the following conversation in that language:
Chuck, to me, about Chloë: "Oh, does she speak Spanish, too?"
Me: "No..."
C: "But... you do...?"
M: "I've forgotten a lot, but I'm working on it."
C: "Are you from here?"
M, thinking he meant Miami, "No. I'm from New York."
C: "You're from the United States?!!?!"
M: "Yes...?"
And then he switched to English, excitedly, as if he had just made some amazing discovery: "But your accent, and your grammar, were perfect! I thought you were Latina! I didn't know what country you were from, but I thought South or Central America!" blah-zay-blah... 
Long story short, I was immensely flattered, and my head blew up to 490 times its normal size. He told me he was looking to improve his English, and we exchanged celly numbers to talk down the road and help each other out. I was pretty damn excited.
Oh, and Chuck? Actually a vet in Cuba, who had recently taken his boards to become licensed in the U.S. For whatever that's worth to ya.
The next day was a cold one. We stayed in, did school, and looked after Pepper and Rob. I say Rob, because he's had his share of medical drama lately, too. He had his MRI the same day I met Chuck, and we went to the neurosurgeon on Wednesday morning. 
As far as that goes, it turns out that he still has the TUMOR. What the what?! Rob has been going in to see Dr. Neuro by himself, while I sit out in the parking garage with the Littles, so I haven't been privy to their conversations, but... Just exactly how muddled does your thinking have to be that you can't remember the doctor telling you that you still have a TUMOR in your BRAIN? And, in fact, remember him saying that it's gone? Really, now. Pretty dang muddled, apparently. (So, for those of you who have been asking yourselves, like my dear father did recently, if Rob is all better and is ready to "hit the ground running in the new year and get a job and/or go to school," the answer to that is a big fat hell-to-the-NO.)
So he can't work, can't go to school, can't drive, can barely walk, rarely functions, sleeps 34 hours a day, and yeah. Fun times for Rob. :(
The good(ish) news is that he was ordered to start stepping down off his horrible horrible meds, but the downside to that is he feels like total crap. Crap, crap, and more crap. Bear with me while I say it once more: CRAP!
We went to Cyberknife that afternoon, per Dr. Neuro's orders, to get another consult with the Radiation Oncologist. No-way, no-how did he want to do another Cyberknife, but he and Dr. Neuro are at odds on that score. So... we're going with the Rad-Onc's wishes, but we'll be seeking a second opinion soon. He did agree about stepping off the meds, so that's what my babe is doing. Miserably, but somewhat happily so.
That Friday, I audited a grocery store down the road. It took over two hours, and you know what? After staring at food for 135 minutes, I was pretty damned hungry. I went home and whipped up my former signature mashed potatoes: along with the regular butter and milk, I added sautéed onions and garlic, corn, shredded Cheddar cheese, and maybe, after taking this Insta-pic, I added a small dollop of sour cream. So delicious. I have no business eating that many carbs, but I'm careful to eat just a tad and then pass the rest of my bowl to Rob...
Saturday, I ran up to Hialeah - a good hour's drive from home - and did a bunch of home improvement store shops. Not one of them panned out the way they were supposed to. I try to remember that it really doesn't matter, because I'm just there to report what DID happen and not really care whether what was SUPPOSED to happen did, in fact, happen, but I came home rather annoyed. When that happens, I take a nice break and calm down, so that I can report objectively. I sat outside in our beautiful, sunny Miami weather and surveyed my surroundings. And my feet. I know. I have ugly feet and minuscule toenails. In college, my friend Jorge Alarcon (Are you OUT THERE, Jorge?!!) asked me once, seeing my painted toenails, "Are you trying to show off what you DON'T have?!" Hilarious.
Sunday, I did more grocery store and home improvement audits around our hometown, and then I went off to visit my new friend Chuck. I had intended to bring him home with me, for reasons I won't go into just yet, but that didn't work out as planned, so I stayed there and practiced my Spanish while he worked on his English. We talked for, like, two - maybe three? - hours, animatedly, sometimes stiltedly, about a wide variety of rather intense topics. It was pretty great. Pretty, pretty great.
Inspired by my renewed zest for all things Spanish, I cleaned the kitchen on Monday and cooked with Mojo Criollo. Of course, I told Chuck about it, and he was all "guau!" which is, duh, "Wow!" in English.
Along with a pork loin in Mojo, I made rice and, because I didn't soak the red beans for long enough, green beans. Then I completely forgot about the red beans soaking in a pot until two days later when, in Rob's words, they turned into "a hagfish." Seriously, gross. I had to throw out the whole freakin' pot. Ugh. Good thing that was a cheap bag of beans, but I absolutely abhor waste of any kind.
While the kids hung out upside-down on Tuesday morning, I went down to the Upper Keys to do a couple more grocery store audits. Those managers weren't too happy when I showed up after a holiday weekend in the Florida Keys, as all their stock was wiped out, but I had no choice. It's lovely, always, to go into Monroe County. I love it.
What I also loved on Tuesday was that I went to work rockin' my first ponytail since buzzing off all my hair over a year before! Woot woot! It was long enough to all go in and, more importantly, stay in! Hey, I'll take any kind of victories I can get.
I worked all day Wednesday, in between giving assignments to the kids, and then I came home, took a bath, and sported a mud mask. See? Muddy, muddy mask. My face is sooo soft now! Wanna feel? Here, rub the screen.
I've got nothing else inane to report for the mo', so I'll sign off. I have to head to my glaucoma appointment in an hour anyhoo, so have a splendid day!

Blazing A Trail


Busy, busy, busy. That's what describes our life lately, and I'm nothing but pleased about it. What with the full-fledged return to mystery shopping - and believe you me, there is no shortage of work here - homeschooling, getting ready for Christmas, and keeping the house running, I guess it's no wonder that I'm exhausted lately. I feel like I've been catching up on a lifetime of lost sleep. Naps are my new BFF.

Last Thursday (I know, it's nearly a week later, but I'm tryin', y'all!), we stacked shops from morning to evening. School on-the-go is what it's about. I have a new book to read, about carschooling, to help support that need. Anyway. 


Here's Chloë, looking adorbs at one of the places we shopped. If you ever want to know the name of a good burger place that serves the best, healthiest and tastiest burgers - both beef and veggie, we can vouch - hit me up for the name. I hadn't heard of it before we moved to Miami, but I'm sure there have to be more somewhere out there.


We'd already fed the kids lunch at an Einstein Bagel (not for a shop) in Coral Gables, so they had ice cream while Rob had lunch. My lunch was next. That's how we do it without going way over budget: I'll take several meal shops and feed the kids or one or both of us in stages. It's not ideal, but we are used to it and it works for us.


I love this picture of Jacky. (Jack calls himself that most of the time, and Sophia calls herself Sophie. It doesn't bother me, but I do find it interesting the way we diminutize ourselves.) the twinkle of his eyes, the look of anticipation - was he thinking of his own ice cream cone, yet to be served, or Christmas, or...? Speaking of which, yesterday in South Miami, he talked all. day. long. about being excited for Christmas, and every time, he started running rather than walking. I thought of it, and then, as if voicing my thoughts, Chloë said aloud that it seemed he was running to make the holiday come faster. I love that she is so intuitive like that.


It must have been the ice cream he was anticipating. Look at that delight!


When the choice is Chocolate or Vanilla, I never know what Sophia will pick. She switches it up randomly, to keep us guessing. Before Halloween, I had bought three books of coupons for free Wendy's Frosty Jrs for them, and we stop regularly to use them up before they expire. Jack and Rob will always get Chocolate, but the girls, especially Sophia? One never knows.

By the way, at what age will this child stop getting her ice cream all over her face? She devours it so ardently, I imagine she'll always need a quick trip to the washroom after a frozen treat!


After the burger place, Jack hopped up on the platform for a jumping sesh with the girls. He was Grumpy McGrumpster beforehand, but the ice cream seriously pepped him up.


I don't claim to be a good photographer, not one bit, but I do try.  I think, in this case, my lighting was a fail. But still, she's cute, no?


My lunch followed Rob's, in downtown Coconut Grove. We love going there, so it wasn't without some disappointment that I had to tell the kids we didn't have time to wander around and window shop, people-watch, that sort of thing. Next time, next time.


I wasn't thrilled with the grilled artichoke, but the low-cal salmon rolls more than made up for them for me. It took me a while, but I managed to eat three of them. I can eat more these days, nearly five years out from gastric bypass, so I'm extremely conscious of everything I eat and drink. No sense undoing the surgery we went into the red for me to get!


After a long day of tagging along on my evaluations, the kids were seriously ready to let loose. I had a nice gift certificate to the Build-A-Bear Workshop across the street from the last shop, so after a whispered conference with Rob, we decided to go and let them spend it. But first, a few quarters plunked into the carousel there to get the party started...


Chloë is always in pose mode, even when I don't want her to be. She was born to model, I think. Too bad she's so petite!


It's rare to capture genuine happiness from this boy, and there is an abundance from this day's snaps. It would be wrong of me not to share!


What's that I was saying about my poseur?


Like their mom, these three can never resist a pretty fountain. Fortunately, I always have pennies for wishes!


Finally, we made it to Build-A-Bear. The kids had been there a time or two before, so they knew what to do. Sophia choose a white kitty, Chloë selected a polar bear, and Jack, a German Shepherd dog.


I love the posture here. Childlike enthusiasm at its best!


Jack, watching and waiting for his turn. [I just typed 'tern' first, which led me to remember another bird-related mix-up. Rob and I had an argument recently, and I meant to call him an @$$hole. Instead, my brain thought, "bad word," and my mouth interpreted that as "bird." "You BIRD!" I shouted. I do this sort of thing all the time, but that one had us really cracking up. Argument over, just like that.]


The kids love this part of the process. Stuffing her cat, almost finished, Soap was asked to make a wish on its heart. Who knows what she wished? They'll never tell.


Another wish, for another stuffy. 


Chloë and... Snowy? Argh, I forget. It matters to them that I know their loveys' names, so it matters to me.


I have a whole series of pictures of a smiling Jack, grinning from ear to ear, but I'll spare you most of them. He looks so much like my sister in the pictures, I think. I can really see it here.


Snowy was dressed in purple, complete with matching ear muffs. They never stay on, which annoys this girl, but she refused her father's offer to sew them on. "No," she sighed dramatically, "I'll just have to deal with it."


Jack needed help dressing Hunter, his dog, at first, but soon he took over. "I can do it!"


The picture didn't turn out well, I acknowledge, but I couldn't get it the way I wanted it anyway. Stuffies in their homes, happy kids, away we went.


The mall looked beautiful after we left the Workshop, and the kids oohed and ahhed appreciatively. I love Christmas lights. I must admit, though I'm a colored-light fan, there is a certain beauty you can only achieve with all-white lights, no?


Oh look, a selfie. No, an "usser?" I'll work on that.

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday Stealing: I Amuse Myself Meme


So I'm late and it's Monday morning. What else is new?!

Link up here if you're a late bloomer like me. ;)

01. What is something that you have lost recently?: 

When we went out Sunday afternoon, I yelled at the kids, namely Sophia, for not putting my sunglasses back on the front door shelf like I asked them/her to.  I had to eat crow hours later, when I found them in my tote bag, where I had put them. Oops. (Of course, I apologized to them.)

02. Do you own any self-help books?

I try to avoid it. I don't think I do.

03. Do you live near the sea or ocean?

I live in Miami. You could say that!

04. Have you ever spent ages making/writing something on your computer when it suddenly crashed and you lost it all?: 

Of course I have. I remember the time I was writing my final Geology paper in college and didn't save as I went. Almost finished the paper and lost the entire thing when the power went out in my dorm's computer lab. Argh! It was due the next morning at 8 AM, and this was at, like, 9 PM. I had to type furiously just to get it done. I still got an A!

05. Do you enjoy food shopping?

Yeah, for the most part. We've renewed our zeal for eating organic foods, especially meat and dairy, for our growing kids' sakes. Not to get into it right now, let's just say I'm glad the Whole Foods isn't too terribly far from home... but it is fun to go in there, amiright?

06. What are you having for lunch?

I don't know yet. Before I lost weight, I used to think about my entire next day's eating plan. I'd get so excited about eating it, I couldn't sleep! Kinda sad. I don't do that anymore. But coincidental to our GMO heave-ho, I'm on a diet and fitness kick for myself. So maybe an egg-white omelet with organic cheese and sautéed Vidalias?

07. Are you one of those people who can sleep through anything?

I'm the person who struggles like crazy to GET to sleep, and often to STAY asleep, but once I do, mannnnn, I sure hope you don't need me for anything, 'cause I am OUT!

08. Do you like love letters?

I mean, I guess. Who doesn't? I would say I like an unexpected love letter more than anything, though!

09. Have you ever received or written one?

So, yeah, Rob and I used to write them to each other before we got married, and we still have those somewhere, I think. Maybe, or maybe I decided to get rid of them before the kids found them? They were pretty naughty. But one time, ages upon ages ago, I got a letter I didn't expect, from a friend-with-benefits, and he wrote, "You're not the girl OF my dreams, but you're the girl IN my dreams." I loved that line. Obviously. We're still friends (though no more benefits, of course); I sure hope he doesn't read this!

10. How far does your nearest relative live?

I live way down there at the tippy-tip of Florida, and my dad's up in western central South Carolina. It's far, but sometimes it's not quite far enough, you know what I mean?

11. Do you like velvet?

I suppose? Sure. It's fun to rub...? Silliness.

12. What kind of art do you like?

I'm a huge, huge fan of Romero Britto's work. the giclée above hangs on our living room wall. It symbolizes so much about our marriage.

13. If you went to London, where would you go first?

Call me cliché, but I'd have to go see Big Ben! Then I could go off the beaten track a bit more.

14. If you had to pick one friend who is the most interesting, who would you pick?

Maybe my friend Shana. She's an accomplished concert violinist who has played with Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Josh Groban, and goodness knows who else. Her entire family is musical. Her dad fronted (fronts? I don't know) the band Todd Hobin and the Heat, and you may have heard some of the jingles he's written, too. Her mom used to sub in our choir in high school, and they're all just... amazingly talented. 

15. Can you think of the meanest thing you have ever done/said to someone?


Yeah. I think I've shared it here before? Maybe not. Ugh. I hate to even think about it, though it was 20 years ago.

My sister was the skinny and pretty one; I was the intellectual. She went to BOCES (New York-speak for trade school) for Cosmetology training in high school, and she came running up to me at my locker one day with her report card, all excited to tell me that she got all As and had the highest grade in her class. I immediately blurted out, "Try doing that with my classes," or something equally horrid. Her face fell, and she was completely crushed. I felt positively wicked, but there was no taking it back. Maybe she's forgiven me for that, but I don't know if I ever will.

16. What magazines do you read?

I guess sooo many magazines from free subscriptions, it's absurd. I barely have time to glance at most of them, but I do absorb every detail of People. It's my guilty pleasure.

17. What/who has been on your mind today?

For most of Saturday and all of Sunday (and, it seems, into Monday), I've had an agonizing migraine. It's entirely the reason why I didn't post here over the weekend, though I meant to. It was terrible - the puking, crying, everything. The worst one I've had in a very long time.

18. Would you be interested in ghost-hunting?


No, absolutely not. I've zero interest.

On that note...!




Sundays In My City - Autumn In Miami

Unknown Mami


Link up with Unknown Mami here if you want to show us around your town today!

It's been a fortnight since I showed any real pictures around here, so I'll take this opportunity to do just that. We're making the most of October in the Tropics by having fun Halloween-themed snacks and/or crafts every day or so. When last I mentioned it, I had made spidery devilled eggs for the first day of the month. Let's see what else I've been treating the kids with, shall we?


Another time, I made these mummy dogs for the kids' lunch. And please, don't be impressed; there are no original ideas here. I stole this off the Pillsbury site. (Mine were blind, because my kids had zero interest in mustard eyes. Blech!)


A few days into the month, we drove up to Dadeland Station in Kendall to go to Target. Wish we had one closer; ours is a half-hour away! I had two mobile coupons from Target for free watches, and I let the Littles pick one each. They were worth about $25 apiece, so it was a sweet deal. Y'all know how I love my coupons! Chloë didn't miss out, either - the coupons required a minimal purchase, so I let her pick out a couple pairs of earrings on clearance. She was happy, and I had several free Target gift cards from the Shopkick App, so the whole deal cost me nothing! Sweet!


After our shopping trip, we headed down the road to Dadeland Mall to get lunch. I've been chosen as a Chick-fil-A mom, so we indulged in some more goodies courtesy of that restaurant. The kids each got a nugget meal, and Rob and I shared some sandwiches. Well, I lie. We circled the Food Court first, where I filled up on teriyaki chicken samples from the various Asian-themed restaurants, and Oscar (my gastric bypass pouch) was done after that. So Rob had the sammies, while I sat back and rubbed my full belly!


Another time, we were at the Wal-mart down the road (figures we'd have that and not a Target, right?!), and Sophia spotted these fruits hanging on a tree near Penelope (formerly, our Honda Odyssey). I still haven't quite figured out what they are... my powers of species identification are limited when it comes to plants. Thankfully when I chose biology as a profession in my past life, Botany wasn't one of my preferences!


Can't remember where I saw these ghost bananas, but aren't they adorbs? The kids got a kick out of them, and I have to admit, I made myself a couple, too! Hey, chocolate and bananas were good enough for Elvis... Oh, wait. That was peanut butter. Whatevs.


These "Cuties" orange-pumpkins were super simple to make, but I thought they were terribly, well, cute! (I had one of those, too.)


Another idea, which I did not make up, were these ghost-in-the-graveyard pudding cups. So fun! So junky! Hey, they can't all be nutritious, but they have to be delicious, so they passed muster. I let the kids pig out and eat two apiece, too!


Now that we're having to walk everywhere [bye-bye, Penelope :'( ], Sophia and I decided to take a trolley trip to downtown Homestead to run a few important errands. I told her we'd wait 20 minutes before giving up, so she hung out on the railings (mostly right-side-up, like here) while we did. Nineteen minutes later, guess what finally showed up?


We've gotten a bunch of free Redbox rental codes lately, so I let the kids take a break from clearing out toys from their rooms (Christmas is coming, gotta make space!) to have a movie night. And yes, there are still way more toys to go... I don't know if we'll ever dig ourselves out of the girls' room. Sheesh!


Wrapping up, here's my view of Sophia from this morning, when we walked to Publix and Walgreens to do a little shopping. She loves to mix and match patterns! Does it drive you crazy? I think it's fun, and I don't care about the looks we get!

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go figure out what Halloween-themed treat I'm going to make for today!

See you around...


Sunday Stealing: Randomness Meme

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


  1. What was your first alcoholic drink? 

A shot of Goldschlager, when I was 17. I had many of them, with my older friends. I continued in college, up to a point, but I will probably never touch the stuff again! And now I can't stand the smell of cinnamon.

  1. What was your first job? 

I was a cashier at Big M Market outside of Syracuse, NY, when I was in high school. I loved that job, and I loved my customers, and I loved cashiering. I still do. That's where I met the Goldschlager friends, incidentally.

  1. What was your first car? 


A 1991 Ford Escort wagon. It looked a lot like that, only shinier and newer. It did not meet with a happy ending. (Thanks, Dad.)

  1. What was your first mobile phone? 

I'm pretty sure it was a Nokia candy bar, but I'm not certain. When we moved back to the States from Guam in 2003, we decided to go cell-only, using no landline. We signed up with nTelos, which was okay, but T-Mobile was much better until we couldn't get service in our house. AT&T service is okay, but what a rip!

  1. What is your first proper memory? 



I was three. My mom and sister were in the kitchen and living room, respectively, and I was running, shrieking with laughter, from them toward my bedroom, with my arms raised up over my head. I don't remember why I was so happy, but I was. I remember it as if I was watching myself from above, for some reason.

  1. Who was your first teacher? 


Mrs. Rabinow was my first teacher. I always thought it looked like "rainbow," though. I loved her.

  1. Which fictional character do you wish was real? 


I'm a chocolate fiend, so maybe Willy Wonka? That would be fun... I'd love to be Charlie!


  1. Where did you go on your first ride on an airplane? 


I'm not entirely sure, since I've been flying forever, but it may have been to my grandparents' in New Jersey. I used to fly back and forth from Syracuse to Newark all. the. time.

  1. Who is your first best friend? 

Her name is Lisa, and I love her to pieces and bits!

  1. What was your first detention for? 

I don't think I ever got detention, but I was in ISS once, for a couple of days! So unlike me. Our chorus class, in junior high, was split into two sections, and the first section left 10 minutes earlier. I used to leave early, even though I was in the second section, so I could get to lunch sooner. I rarely ate breakfast by then, so I was starving. I even passed out in choir once! Anyway, I got caught, and they punished me with ISS.

  1. What's your strongest sense? 

Probably my sense of touch. I get very sensitive when things (literally) rub me the wrong way. I don't know. Maybe smell...? Definitely not sight (I just found out I have glaucoma) or hearing (I'm so deaf)!

  1. Who was your first kiss? 


Again, I was in junior high, and his name was Ken. My first real boyfriend. Those kisses... unforgettable! ;)

  1. What was the first film you remember seeing at the cinema? 

The first movie I can remember seeing was E.T., at the drive-in theater. We went there a lot. I loved it - loved it!!

  1. What's the largest amount of money you've ever won? 

  2. I just won a $10 gift card to Dollar General, does that count? I never play the lottery...
  3. What's the largest amount of money you've spent in one spree? 

Five grand, recently, but it was all on bills and debts. I'm not sure I've gone on a real shopping spree, ever, but maybe a couple hundred bucks in that case.

  1. If you had a warning label, what would yours say? 

Maybe, "CAUTION: Not for the faint of heart"

  1. Have you ever gotten sweet revenge on anyone?

  2. What's that they say? "The best revenge is living well"? Well, I may not be living high on the horse, but I've got a happy family now, and so that's my version.
  4.  Have you ever been to a live concert? 

Sure, I have. A bunch. Blue Man Group was awesome, so they came to mind first.


  1. Have you ever been to see stand up comedy? 

Hubs and I share a love of Steven Wright, and we got to see him "in concert" way back when Jack was a babe, so maybe in 2004 or so, in Norfolk, VA. Hee-larious, even though not much of the material was new to us. 

  1. Have you ever needed stitches?



With three C-sections, a hysterectomy, and gastric bypass under my belt (ha! pun not intended), I've needed more staples than stitches. I can't even remember a smaller cut where I've needed stitches. Some close calls, but not quite.


Welp, that's all folks! Have a great weekend. 


Aloha Friday: You're Full Of Crap

Aloha Friday Blog Hop on @PamelaMKramer

So, I'm going to level with you folks: I crapped my pants today. Maybe twice, I'm not sure.

You see, ever since I had gastric bypass surgery over 5 years ago, I get an awful lot of "upset tummy" issues. And, sometimes... well... like they say in bypass orientation, "Never trust a fart."

{I've had a total of five abdominal surgeries, and musculature isn't what it used to be, so I often pee my pants, too. Hey, as long as we're getting into personal issues today, you know...? But I'll be seeing a urologist next month for that issue! ANYway...}

I was in Walgreens with Sophia, my 8-year-old, this morning, and it happened. I totally sharted. I didn't know what to do - I was wearing a skirt, and rushing to the bathroom would have accomplished nothing much - so I quickly finished my shopping trip and headed for home. Unfortunately, our car was removed from our possession the other night, so that required walking home.

It was not my most stellar moment.

This brings me to my question for you fine folks this week:

What would you have done, in this situation?

What did you think, I was going to ask if I'm the queen of TMI? We already knew that!!

Have a great week, y'all.


Good-Bye, Navy Gravy Train. Hello, Retired Life.

Friday, May 31, 2013, was Rob's last day of Active Duty service in the United States Navy. Woohoo! Congratulations, PR1 Odette! (He loves being called that - just ask him.)

Also, Pride-Tradition-Service immediately made me think of PTS... Post-Traumatic Stress. Just sayin'. Anyway.


 To commemorate the occasion and because we had to, our first stop of the day was at t he DEERS office of Homestead Air Force Base for new retired IDs. Everyone but Sophie got one; she's not old enough yet, and this was no minor annoyance to her! I put on zero makeup for the occasion, since I have enough crap on my face what with the trillion bazillion freckles I'm currently sporting.

We headed for IHOP for lunch, since someone said something about pancakes for breakfast. Rob was all about it and turned the steering wheel in that direction. Only, there was a wait (imagine that, IHOP, busy?), and I didn't feel too well, so we went to Golden Corral instead.

Uh, dumb and dumber.

I'd forgotten that Golden Corral is like the Walmart of restaurants. Ugh. Also, they have, according to the manager, changed their corporate policy on gastric bypass patients. Have you ever gone to a buffet with someone who has a gastric pouch the size of your thumb? Not very cost-effective. They used to let us get the buffet at the kids' price, but no longer. Dumberer. And Chloë and I both became sick during eating. Coincidence? You decide.


Try to ignore the gross mattress, which will soon be replaced, because ew. After Golden Corral, we got home and Rob put together the girls' bunk beds. Finally; we've been here two months and it was about time. Chloë's been sleeping on the couch, and Sophie's mattress has been on the floor. So they're excited, a wee bit.


Soap took a nap after that. Guess the excitement got to her. Mm, look at those luscious lips. I lurve them. So smooshy! And I know, I know, she needs to stop with the thumb, but seeing it reminds me that no matter how big she gets, she's still my itty bitty baby!


Here's Jack with Hunter. Or is it Lucky? Hucky? Lunter? I don't know. They're SO cute, but I am really tired of having these kittens around. It's officially on Rob's agenda for later today to drop them off at the no-kill shelter. They gotta go. We might even pare down the pack further; it's been discussed. It's on the table.


Since everyone still wanted pancakes - except me. I don't really DO pancakes; it's not such a gastric bypass diet food, y'know? - we took Rob out for his retirement dinner at IHOP after all. They all had pancakes. Rob had a billion other things, because he is NEVER full, you guys, and I had an egg and cheese and spinach and egg omelet. It was delishamus.


I had an iced coffee, too. Yeah, I'm one of those annoying iPhonographers who Instagrams everything she puts in her mouth. Because you know why? It's fun. Have you heard that Nickleback-parody song about Instagram? Rob played it for me, and that's SO me. Too funny.

Speaking of Instagram, have you guys seen Projecteo? So cool: you get a little wheel with 9 of your Instagrams, and it comes with a projector to shoot them up on your wall or whatevs. How fun is that? Instagram party, anyone? I'm up for it. Too bad we don't know anyone here yet! At least not in homestead. Our closest pals are, like, a 45-minute drive on the Turnpike.

Hi, I babble.


Chloë got sick for the second time at IHOP. So maybe it was just a coincidence we both did at Golden Corral? I don't know. I asked Mamacita and Dr. Lisa what that might be about, and Doc suggested reflux. She had it really bad as a baby, so that could be. Poor kid. It seems to have passed now, though, but if it recurs, I'm putting in a call to a pediatrician pronto. I have GERD (acid reflux disease), and it is NO fun to suffer with.

I swear this post was going to be about Rob retiring. It's fun to ramble, though, you know?

So what have you guys been up to lately? No one ever tells me; I don't know why I keep asking!


Sundays In My City: Homebound In Homestead

Unknown Mami

It may be Monday, but no matter, because I'm always late. I'm linking up again with Unknown Mami and her posse on Sundays in my City, so come along as we explore what Team Odette did all last week when lack of gas - and funds - kept us around the ol' Homestead homestead. I promise to visit and comment back, too - though it may take me a month, I'll do it! Swears.


Cooking. Did I show these already? I forget. Sorry, if so. Anyway, I promised to take the load off Rob - and give Chloë something to tally on my side of her chart - so last week I made some seasoned vegetables for all of us and this:


pork steaks, for the rest of the family, 'cept me. (I don't do mammals. Somehow, some way, I'm going to become a full-on vegetarian again by the end of 2013, but it's hard when I have such high protein requirements, thanks to my gastric bypass surgery.)

We had no salt, no seasonings (the veggies came pre-seasoned, heh), and no fat, oil, lard, margarine, butter, you name it, you got it? So I quickly texted my former home-ec teacher of a mother-in-law, who suggested I cut the fat off the meat and render that first, then cook the meat in it. Brilliance! It worked like a charm. And even in that state, Rob pronounced it delicious and entirely edible enough to make again. Thanks, Mamacita!


That was Sunday. On Monday night, we came home from I-don't-know-where hungry, and I whipped up some healthy lettuce and chicken salad spinach wraps for Rob and me, while he made some pasta for the mouths under the kids' upturned noses. Poo-poo on them; the wraps were delishamus.


We've been walking every day still, and each day we encounter new flowers. This flower, on Tuesday, was the first yellow hibiscus I'd seen. It was the 29th anniversary of my mom's death that day, but I was determined not to cry. Guess what, I actually succeeded, thanks to my drugs I'm guessing.


Every day, we go down to the lake across from our place. Well, almost every day. Rob wants to fish here, but the sign says no way, José. I don't think he'll listen. And gators? No way can my kids walk down to the lake by themselves. I've already lost one kid; I'm not giving the rest away.


Some of the eggs have hatched! This mama Muscovy duck had 12 ducklings. Twelve! 


Chloë and sibs have been determined to spot a gator since we moved down here. Fortunately, they've been unsuccessful so far. I want to go down to the Everglades and rent an airboat. I've never done that before, and I know it's fun. Surely we'll spot some gators that way.


It took me a week, but I finally spotted an ibis. I was the last one. Why is this significant? The mascot of my alma mater, U-Miami, is Sebastian the Ibis, of course!


We have seen several instances of Muscovies mating, so we've had to explain, yet again, all about the birds and the bees to the kids. It's an ongoing conversation, and we have an Open Door policy where that is concerned, so it's cool. I found it interesting to note that the drake bites the female on the back of the neck while he's mounting her, much like a male shark bites a thickened part of flesh on the back of a female during their dance of looove.


And not to be outdone, this Mama Muscovy sported no less than 20 following ducklings that afternoon. Twenty!!


On Wednesday, the hibiscus turned out to be a beautiful pink rose. And not only that, but:


check out the gorgeous orchids on this tree! Real ones, too, no matter how fake they looked; I checked. We diverted from our usual path that day and walked to the next neighborhood over. I was bored to tears and dying for a change of scenery, after all.


Knitting. I've kept up my pledge to knit for the highly-allergic Vinnie, though I don't have much yarn with me until our stuff gets here on Tuesday from the movers. A little colorwork this time, using an unraveled coat I never finished making for Sophia four years ago, and some yarn of Stephanie's that was used in another project for her boys.


On Thursday, we decided to take the short walk up the road to get some free groceries with coupons I'd gotten. We stopped along the way to peer into the canal, where we spotted turtles, fish - and numerous shopping carts. Who throws a shopping cart into a canal, for Pete's sake?!


I was aMAZED at the Publix, where not only did I get my items for free, but the coupons scanned above the cost of the items, and I got overage. I figured they would just make me buy something additional to eat that up, but no! They totaled it out, opened up the cash drawer, and gave me the money! Hello, ring-a-ding-ding! That's so unusual, and I bet you dollars to donuts it's not the official coupon policy of the store, but arguing was useless with them. So I took it and clicked my heels together with glee. 


Sophia, wearing my straw hat from Miss Lisa, picked up what she called a blade of wheat and said, "Look, Mama, I'm a cowgirl!" Oh, the cute.


On our way back home, we spotted these palm trees full of coconuts. Except, on closer inspection, they weren't coconuts at all, I guess. I don't know what the hell they are, but ... palm fruit, I guess?


So this was my haul: A $6.59 bag of organic sugar, a $5.99 bottle of organic raw blue agave, two Michael Angelo's family-size meals, and a large Diet Coke from the deli - all of which, they paid me over a dollar to take home. Nice, huh?


I'm part of Michael Angelo's team of taste-and-tell bloggers, so they provided me with the coupons for the free products to try. We got the chicken parmesan and the vegetable lasagna, both of wish were SOOOO good. I kid you not. Have you had their frozen foods? I would definitely buy these again, but you know me, they gotta be on sale and have a coupon to match! ;)

Chloë Raine 011

One of Chloë's agents back in Virginia called Thursday to say they wanted to submit her for a lead role in a TV show! They said she was perfect for the part, and you know, I may be biased but, I wouldn't doubt it! The kid has charm and personality to spare. Look at that sass!

Chloë Raine 017

And she looks so much like her daddy, it's nonsense. Fingers crossed, Chloë!!


Friday was not my day. It was payday, yet my card kept getting declined every where I went. Turns out there was fraud on our account... I had to cancel about a dozen mystery shops for the weekend, along with a host of other plans. Big bummer. We had to hang around the 'hood even more. Here's silly Sophia dressing up as both her mom and her dad, simultaneously.


For the first time in January, while he was visiting my dad, Jack had a grapefruit. Surprisingly enough, my picky boy LOVED it with a heavy dose of sweetening, so he kept prodding his sisters to try one, too. (Neither Rob nor I are big fans of the fruit.)  So when we grocery shopped Friday morning - after, of course, having to call the bank yet again to release the hold on my card so I could pay for mah dang groceries - I bought them each one to try. What would they think? I wondered.


That was Sophia's reaction to her first bite. Ha! She cracks me up. So went Chloë's first bite, too. Needless to say, the grapefruit is now wrapped in Saran wrap in the fridge, since Jack only wanted a few bites. And yes, I sweeted it with that better-than-free organic sugar ;)


Meanwhile, on Saturday night after Rob made us omelets for dinner, Jacky helped out with the dishes. Since he is a Little Person, he needs to jump up on the counter in order to reach the faucet. I'm so proud of this kid; nothing holds him back from doing what he aims to do, despite his small stature!


And finally, since we're still more-or-less homebound, here is one last shot of "The Tweens," Cupcake and Muffin, acting as bookends over the kitchen sink. Pretty girls, they.

As always, thanks for stopping by! See you again real soon, y'hear?


(Not-So-) Wordless Wednesday: Latest Exploits

Link up here if you're any degree of Wordless today!


You may be able to figure out where we went on a mystery shop several times recently in the Outer Banks of North Carolina from the packaging in Rob's lap... Not such a flattering picture, but it makes me laugh, so here it is! I haven't been mystery shopping much at ALL lately, but when it pays well, I try to go!


Here's Chloë at Sweet Frog after the mystery shop - they look forward to going at every opportunity! Looks like we'll have to find a new FroYo place when we move to Miami, though, unless we go up to the Fort Launderdale area - sorry, kids!


Chloë's kitten, Pepper, has really been thriving after his scare in the animal ER when we first got him. Two blood transfusions later, and he now weighs exactly the same as Ginger, his twin and Sophia's kitten. Woohoo for that!


Rob, loving on Pepper and Ginger recently - we love our "grandcats" as much as the girls do!


After being sidelined for 6-8 weeks with medication issues, I'm finally back to knitting these doll sweaters for my friend Amy's Waldorf-inspired handmade dolls. She had commissioned me way back in the early Autumn, 2012, and I had been doing well, but the meds screwed up my progress for her Christmas doll deliveries. I feel terrible about that. Hopefully I can start to make up for it for her now...


Some more sweaters... You can check out Amy's dolls and her Etsy shop, Itsystitch, here - so cute!! I would love to get a doll for myself one day. ☺


That's me! A friend wanted a close-up shot, with an actual smile, after I posted about my four-year gastric bypass anniversary the other day. My full-body shot was quite candid, as you can see here, so he wanted a better view. Here ya go, folks! ;)


And finally, to celebrate my "surgiversary," we did - what else? - some eating. Ha! I was craving Chinese food, so we ordered in a bunch. I couldn't get much down, of course, and I couldn't keep it down, either, so it was rather disappointing. Ah, well. Here's a shot of the kids trying to learn how to use chopsticks, which was rather amusing in person. I love Jack's expression, haha... and yes, the kitchen has since been cleaned up and dishes washed. We are soooo lazy on the weekends, typically!

Have a great Hump Day, y'all!


Saturday 9: Stormy Weather


Click here to check out some other fun peeps' answers this week!

Here are mine, dudes:

1. Do noisy storms scare you?

See that? Now that's a storm - aka Supertyphoon Pongson'a, the worst typhoon to hit Guam on record, when we were there in December of 2002. And I've been through countless hurricanes. So no, a little thunder doesn't make me duck and hide.

2. Whom do you consider one of today's most beautiful women?

4 years out

Gotta toot my own horn a little bit here, because that's ME, and today is my fourth surgiversary! So today, I'm celebrating THIS beautiful woman sitting in my seat, thanky kindly! (Just don't look at my tired eyes and big, red, runny nose. I haz a code.)

3. What should you be doing, instead of answering Crazy Sam's questions?

Cleaning. Cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. What the hell else is new?

4. What's the most recent addition to your spam folder?

Years ago, back in my college daze, they got to me. I think I'm still on the hook for a big, honkin' cassette tape rack. Remember those? Yeah, me neither.

5. What was the last thing you cooked?

I made four people! Four people lived in me! And you want me to cook, too? What's next, buying the food now???

6. Do you remember the lyrics to either your high school or your college fight song? Share.

Once upon a time, I did know it, though. Garsh, that was over 15 years ago now. Holy sheet.

7.  What is the derivation and meaning of your first name?


Seriously, if one of you ever calls me "Melantha," I will punch you in the eyeballs. Yep, both of 'em.

8. Which team are you rooting for in the NBA or NHL this year?

No. Just, no.

9. Gloves, umbrellas, sunglasses, keys - which do you misplace the most?

I don't lose any of those things. Ever. No, fo' realz, I put them in exactly the same place every time, and the only time I can't find them is when a certain Mister Someone ELSE uses them. *ahem*

Happy weekend, folks!


Saturday 9: White Christmas

Link up here if you want to play along today!
1) Do you ever suffer the blues during the holidays? 

To an extent, yes. I lost my beloved grandmother on the 23rd of the month, and of course it's always a time for some people to remember the loved ones who aren't there to share the holidays with us. I don't dwell too much on that during the Christmas season, though.

2) More than 18 million visitors have toured Elvis' home, Graceland. Have you ever been there? 
No, but I plan to take my dad sometime, since he is probably the biggest. fan. ever.
3) Elvis dyed his naturally light brown locks black. Do you dye your hair?
Colorful hair.
For the first time since April, 1995, my hair is its natural colour, and only because I buzzed it all off. My husband wants me to let it grow out naturally to see if I have any grays (I insist that I don't, yet), while others are daring me to dye it platinum blonde or shocking pink. I'm most intent on proving Hubs wrong, though!
4) He also insisted his young girlfriend, Priscilla, dye her hair jet black. If your lover asked you to change your hair, would you?
I would take it under consideration, but I would have retain final veto power, natch.

5) Elvis served his country at an Army base in Friedberg, Germany. Have you ever been to Germany?
No, but I am 2/3 German/Pennsylvania Dutch. I'll get there one day. 

6) Elvis famously had an affair with Ann-Margret during the filming of Viva Las Vegas. Have you ever indulged in a dalliance with a coworker?
I have more than a few things in common with Elvis.
7) Thinking of his movies ... Elvis was, by and large, unhappy with his film career and once said, "The only thing worse than watching a bad movie is being in one." Are you happy with the way your career is going/has gone?
Once upon a time, I was on the fast-track to becoming a prominent marine biologist. Now I'm one of the two most important people in three wonderful peoples' lives. It's not exactly what I had in mind when I was 20, but I wouldn't change it for a minute. And who knows what I'll end up being when all is said and done... though I do plan on being a family court judge one day.
8) Elvis lost "the battle of the bulge" toward end of his life. Are you happy with your weight?
Before Gastric Bypass:
After Gastric Bypass:
You be the judge!

9) As a teenager, Elvis worked as an usher at a movie theater. What was your first job?
This was my life from 12-17, essentially. Almost comically similar. Almost.

Advent-ures 2012, Days 1-3

Hoffler Creek

So three days of our Advent 2012 calendar in, and it's kind of a half-fail. December 1st, the activity on the calendar was "1. Nautical Holidays – make your own nautical-themed ornaments @ Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum 10 AM – 5 PM AND/OR Games, Arts & Crafts, etc. @ VA Sports Hall of Fame 11 AM – 3 PM AND/OR Make Holiday Crafts @ Hoffler Creek Wildlife Preserve 2-4 PM."

So. Chloë had her piccolo lesson at noon that day:


(and yes, she technically was supposed to be taking flute lessons, but she's a wee pixie, and the flute was too big for her, so for now, it's the piccolo).

After her lesson, I ran a few much-needed errands, so by the time we got home, it was after 1400. I offered up the activities on the list to the kids, and they chose to just go to the Hoffler Creek Preserve to make crafts. Okay, fine.

Rob took them to the preserve sans moi, because I was exhaaaaaausted and needed a "nap," (which turned out to be a marathon catch-up sleep session), and there turned out to be nary a craft at the preserve. They were all, "What crafts?" and had nothing. Um, that's cool, so whatever. Rob and the kiddos went for a hike out on a trail in the woods intead, but do you think he took any pictures for me? Of course he didn't. Boo.

They had a great time anyway, crafts or no, and saw some ducks. I don't know what, if anything, else they saw, but I did hear tell that apparently three kids in the woods are generally too loud to see much else, because they scare away the aminals? Yeah, mine don't shush well. So. That was Day One.


On the 2nd day of our 2012 Advent calendar, the activity was: "2. Learn to knit, do origami, and/or do fun Christmas print-out activities!" However, I had to do some, uh, shops of the mystery variety down the upper stretch of the Outer Banks, so we rented a bunch of movies from the Redbox, put the kids in the car, and went, figuring on doing the activity(ies) upon our return to the homestead.


Here's my man getting gas. We needed some. I took a picture. There's that story.


And if you look hard, you can see him in the 7-Eleven there, getting me a Diet Coke refill. We did that a bunch during our annual OBX pilgrimage, too. I found it interesting, and commented many times during the drive, that SO MANY NEW THINGS have sprung up down in that place. I thought it was cool to see all the new things, but on the other hand, a little sad that Big Box has taken over the "mom-and-pop kitschy-beachy" feel of the Outer Banks quite a bit. Progress? You decide.


The kids watched Arthur Christmas and 12 Dogs of Christmas during the drive; as you can see Sophia was locked onto the screen during their little viewing party. I rented four movies, but we haven't gotten to the two others yet, and I haven't returned them to the Redbox. Yay, late fees. Arthur sounded like a really fun flick, from my driver's seat hearing position, and even Rob enjoyed it, so I recommend that if you have and your kiddos haven't seen it yet! Hubs and I talked to each other a lot during the other movie, so I can't really comment on that, but there was a lot of "awww"-ing from the back of the van, if that helps.


When we got back here, it was decided that we would go do our big grocery shopping trip together, so the Advent activities were pushed back even further. Note that the girls both wanted to learn to knit, but Jack absolutely did not, no matter what we tried to convince him; no one wanted to do origami; and, everyone wanted to do fun Christmas printables.

001 (2)

Knitting took a pause for a later date, as it was lay-hay-ate by the time we got home from the shopping, but I did allow the kids to do the printables. There were mazes, dot-to-dots, word searches, bookmarks with jokes, and so on, which I searched for all over the Interwebs, so no linkage, sorreh. They're easy to find, however. Remember to use Swagbucks for your searching, to rack up those rewards! Anyhoo, the kids really enjoyed that and kept asking for more, so I guess that part wasn't a fail. (Eek about all the paper and ink I used, but nevermind that.)


On the 3rd day, the Advent activity was: "3. Holiday Lights at the Beach – Military Mondays 20% off!"

The plan was to go after Jack's Cub Scout meeting, but, uh, while the boy and his father were gone, I fell asleep and didn't wake until a few hours ago; 0230 to be precise. The kids were a bit disappointed, but I'll bump that to later in the month, so we won't entirely miss out on that, an annual tradition for us.

I did accomplish something, though. Normally, Rob does all the dinner cooking, especially in this house, since I hate the kitchen, half our crap is still at the old house, and did I mention I hate the kitchen?? However, I got a bug up my arse to actually accomplish some housewifery yesterday, and I washed the humongous pile of dishes that were taking over the sink and half the nation, so I could give The Bob the night off from cooking and make a delicious dinner that would be ready for him when he got home, exhausted from work. (The kids helped: they dried and put away the dishes and did some other various and sundry tidying-up chores while I prepared the sup.)

Dinner was a pork loin, cooked on the stovetop in a pot with the usual roast veggies: potatoes, onions, and carrots, along with a bunch of garlic thrown in for good measure, salt-and-peppered to who-knows-who's taste, since, natch, I don't eat pork (mammal-free since 1995, give or take a few lapses I won't mention now) and wasn't about to sample my own cooking. 

I decided to make dessert, too, and opted for baked apples, which I'd never done before but had long wanted to try. I used this recipe as a starting point, with the addition of oats to the hollowed-out Granny Smiths, and a cooking time of 30 minutes rather than 15.

The chiquiniños watched me make dinner and dessert, and they thought the addition of butter to the apples was disgusting!! They were vehemently opposed to trying the apples on the before side, but when I served the baked cinnamony goodness alongside their roasted pork an' veggies, they decided the after was quite edible, indeed. Jack didn't eat too much, having filled up on pork (he's my meat kid; Sophie's my fruit kid, and Chloë is my picky, depends-on-the-moment kid), so I ate some of his (in addition to my hummus dinner), and it was delicious!


I don't normally eat with the family anymore, since my gastric bypass surgery (nearly four years ago, wow!), because I'm finished eating in approximately 13½ seconds when Oscar-the-pouch is full, and it's incredibly agitating to me to watch everyone eating for another ten, twenty, thirty... you get the drift...  minutes, when I have so much else I could be (and would rather be) doing. It's kind of sucky on my part, which I realized in full when the kids were so ecstatic over my joining them for the recent Thanksgiving repast.

So I sat with them today, to watch them enjoy the meal I'd made, because I do love so when I cook and it turns out well, and the eaters of such like it and compliment the food and so on and so forth. I normally am quite horrible at accepting compliments, but because of my stepmother's excessive criticism about cooking-related everything during my formative years, I live for cooking-related accolades! And all four of them loved the meal (though the girls kept thinking the pork was chicken, not that I cared, as long as they ate it), so I was well-pleased. Well-pleased was I, yes.

And then, while I was washing up the dinner dishes, the boys readied themselves for their den meeting, and Sophia did Sophia things, Chloë, who was helping dry and put away said dishes, said to me, "I hope tomorrow is just like today."

Of course, I asked the inevitable, "What do you mean?"

And do you know what that child said to me? She replied, "I mean, I hope you cook a yummy dinner again, that's ready when Daddy gets home from work, and sit down with us for dinner. I really liked that."

You could have knocked me over with a feather, when she said the part about dinner being ready for Daddy when he got home from work. Seriously? It was a revelation for me. It was a total 1950s moment, kinda, but I mean that in a good way. I envisioned what tonight looked like from the kids' perspectives, compared to my usual snubbing of dinner, and wow. It meant so much to them, that I cooked, and joined them, and all, and I felt great about having done so. (I'd had my meds, so I was able to turn off the "I feel like crap about every other day" thoughts that tried to push in.)

So yeah. We didn't do the lights on the beach, but that happened, and it was pretty awesome, so I'm calling Day Three a mostly-win. Okay with you?

And yes, I'm going to cook dinner tonight, and probably the next, and yes, the week's menu plan was already in my head eleven seconds after Chloë said that. And I'm feeling a weird feeling I don't often get, and I think it's what they call "happy."

Stay tuned for more Advent-ures!


Sunday Stealing: The You Don't Know Jack (And Other Cheese) Meme, Partes Uno Y Dos


Jes' like I skipped out on Saturday 9 last weekend, I did the same with Sunday Stealing, so likewise I'm fixin' ta do both week together in this-here post and uh muh guh I've been reading too much Tom Sawyer to the kiddos at night...!

Sunday Stealing: The Who Are You Meme

1. What is your biggest pet peeve?

At the moment, it's Typepad. I had a long answer written out, but it randomly deleted itself. I'm not going to repeat it, because, as I once told my deaf sister and husband, "I don't repeat myself for you." Ha, I'm SUCH a B!TCH!

2. Where and when were you born?

Picture it: Sicily, 1926. Oh, wait, that's The Golden Girls. RIP, Estelle Getty. Anyway, where was I? Oh, yes. I don't mind sharing that my DOB is 9/8/76 which, IMHO, seems like it should be awfully easy to remember. "Should" being the operative word. I was born just outside of The Big Apple.

3. Where did your parents meet?

They met online before there was online: through a dating something-or-other, like a service or something. Yeah, that's it, a dating service. IN The Big Apple, from whence they both came.

4. Do you have any siblings? What are/were they like in four words?

I have a half-sister whom I've never met, a full sister, Stacey, who merits the occasional mention here on Ye Olde Blahg, and formerly two step-sisters with whom I no longer speak. In four words: Stacey wins by default. Hee!

5. Where do you live now, and with whom?

I live in what's known here as "America's First Region," a term which always up-cracks me, formerly known as Tidewater but now known as Hampton Roads. Futurely known as "The Place Smellyann Once Graced." Heh. I live with an almost-retired Navy sailor, aka Rob, aka Hubs, and ¾ of the children we produced together. Oh, and of late, SIX DAMN FELINES, now that I've gone and rescued these two cuties from the middle of the road in the middle of the night at the middle of ... yeah, I'm out of middles. ::Looks down:: Wait, no, I've plenty of middles...


The new babehs' first bath! Awww. (No, they didn't like it, but they both pooed all over themselves, ewww.)

6. What is your occupation?

I'm a stay-at-homeschooling mother of the afore-mentioned kids, one of whom just officially started middle school and has the attitude to match! Oy to the vey.

7. Write a full description of yourself.

I have. It's called this damn blahg. Read more of it and you won't need me to answer this question, dangit.

8. To which social class do you belong?

Go f*ck yourself. That one. Heh. I'm klassy, see? See?

9. Do you have any allergies, diseases, or other physical weaknesses?

I don't know why, but this question made me laugh out loud. Okay, so, you really want to know? All righty, then, let's have at it:

Allergies: I answered that yesterday. Scroll.


10. Are you right- or left-handed?


11. What does your voice sound like?

It's high-pitched, like, shrill and stuff. When I Viggle, erm, nothing, just to rack up points, and I talk through the Viggling process, three times now it's come up with Jersey Shore as the show I'm watching. No, I'm not bragging. Heh.

12. What words and/or phrases do you use very frequently?

They all have four letters.

13. What do you have in your pockets?

Nothing, unless you count my hands, checking, a coupla seconds ago.

14. Do you have any quirks, strange mannerisms, annoying habits, or other defining characteristics?

Quirks: I tried asking my husband to list them, because I know I have a lot, but he's a freaking dumbass who can't wrap his feeble mind around the concept of limiting it to the called-for length of this post. Does that help?

Strange mannerisms: "What's the difference between a Strange Mannerism and a Quirk?" asks Hubs. I have to agree.

Annoying Habits: "You HAVE to be right, at all costs." - Hubs

"That's not true, we're still married. And I am always right." - Me

Other Defining Characteristics: "Cute as hell, smart as shit, and funny as all get-out." - Hubs. Again, I have to agree. (See, I'm funny.)

Sunday Stealing: Who Are you? Part 2–The Growing Up Meme

15. How would you describe your childhood in general?

 It sucked ROYALLY after my mom died when I was seven. Before that, it was pretty blissful. She was an angel. I have her on The Pedestal of Maternal Perfection. After that, I buried myself in school to get away from my craptastic family. 

16. What is your earliest memory?

I'm three years old, happy as can be, running and laughing with my arms up in the air all the way down the hall to my mommy. I don't remember why.

17. How much schooling have you had?

I have a New York Regent's diploma from high school. I have a B.S. with a double major in Marine Science (our honor society, no lie, was Rho Rho Rho, which I absolutely loved!) and Biology (Beta Beta Beta), and a minor in Chemistry, from the University of Miami. Graduated with Honors and in the Golden Key Society.

I did an internship in Fisheries Biology at Mote Marine Lab before working for a year and a half on my Ph.D. in Biology studying the functional and ecological morphology (aka "Ecomorphology" (a wiki link, which is of great humour to me!) of elasmobranch fishes (aka sharks, skates & rays) with the premier scientist in the field, before realizing I wanted a life more than the constant publish-or-perish and writing for grant money stress, so I left, to many peoples' shock and chagrin. Plus, I felt inadequate, so it was then that I joined Mensa to re-establish myself - to myself - as an intellectual, empirically academic individual, and yes, sadly, I needed to pull out that card and look at it almost every day.

I worked on the (sickeningly - to me - less rigorous) Master's in Science Ed. program at the same school for a semester after leaving my prestigious doctoral program, but I lost my scholarship in doing so, so I needed to take some time off to earn money to return. It was during that time that I met Rob. We eloped two months after meeting and got pregnant on our wedding night, so I've never gone back. I plan to go to law school and practice Family Law until I get a judgeship in that field, once the kids are grown.

Whew! Oh, and I'm CPR-certified. Hee.

18. Did you enjoy school?

Did you read the above? Yes, it would be quite untrue to say anything less than that I adored it. I'd be the Perpetual Student if I could afford to be.

19. Stop and count, since you were born until today; how many homes have you
lived in?

Nineteen, not counting moving in and out of the same places multiple times. The number would skyrocket exponentially if I did that.

20. While growing up, did you have any role models?

My three or four best friends' seemingly normal, unconditionally-loving parents, and my grandparents filled that position.

21. While growing up, how did you get along with the other members of your family?

Heh. I may be in therapy forever thanks to my upbringing. It's a wonder I'm "only" bipolar and not schizophrenic, or have Multiple Personality Disorder, or something... although I'm always waiting for the other shoe to drop. :/

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

Forever, I'd wanted to be a marine biologist. And for a while, I can say I was...

23. What were your favorite activities 3 years ago?

Let's see. Probably: Hanging out with my family, wasting time online, and, okay, rapidly losing massive poundage, since I'd just had my surgery!

24. As a child, what kinds of personality traits did you display?

I was and remain painfully shy around those I didn't/don't know well. I'm horrible at small talk; I think it's the dumbest thing ever, sorry. I was and remain freaking hysterical around my kindred spirits. ;) I was probably bipolar from my tween or early teen years on, although it's only been six years since I was finally diagnosed. I was and remain impulsively suicidal when the slightest things go wrong, though a good cocktail of meds now help to control those impulses. As a very young child, until Mom died, I was joyous, sweet, kind, loving, and an all-around great kid. I'm in therapy to return to being that person, whom I believe I was born to be.

25. As a child, were you popular?

The smartest and funniest people in the room gravitated toward me. Especially when I was by myself.

26. When and with whom was your first kiss?

Kenny, when I was 14, at Tri-County Mall in B'ville, NY. It. Was. Awesome.

27. Describe any influences in your past that led you to do the things you do today.

I talk to my therapist about that. You don't have the time. TRUST ME ON THIS! You've already had an eyeful here, anyway. ;)

28. What’s next?

Next, Hubs retires, and we skip town the beginning of March, to wend our way westward to San Diego. He'll begin nursing school, and we'll all begin exploring our newfound surroundings. I simply cannot wait!!!!

Well, that was quite sobering for me. Reflective. Memory-lane tripping. I'm off to get a Diet Coke refill and a hug from Hubs, if I can wake his narcolepic arse...

See y'all next week!


Saturday 9: Always The Last To Know


Link up here if you're playing along today!

1. When was the most recent time that you felt that you were the last to know something important?
Just now at CVS. They changed their coupon policy on me again. This morning. Would have been nice to know before I put in all the effort of getting them together. :\
2. Have you ever had a good thing in your life that never ended?
I'm hoping this marriage thing falls into that category... going on 12 years now. ♥
3. Do you have any nasty habits?
No, but I do fart a lot. Hahaha... it's true, I can't lie. Or even claim that it started after the gastric bypass surgery. :P
4. What is something that you still do that you thought you'd outgrow?
Blush and panic when the attention is on me :(
5. Have you lost any of your dreams as time went by?
Lost, no... changed, yes.
6. As you've grown older, what ways do you still act and think the way you did as when you were younger?
I'm a total "Type A" personality, always have been, and I epitomize that... so I stress and fret and worry and hyperanalyze everything to death.
7. Is there a person in your life who still treats you as the same person you were when younger? Do you like it?
Until VERY recently, and sometimes still, my Dad has and does. No, I don't like it, but I guess he probably always will. But I finally got some cajones and stood up to him in a very big way a few months ago, and I think it made him realize I'm not seven years old anymore.
8. Have you let yourself go wild in any aspect of your life?
Yes, and that's all I'm going to say - and probably need to - about that. ;P
9. How do (or did) you parents feel about what you do for a living?

My dad was on the fence about me being a Biologist, especially with my keen interest in Genetics and Evolution, etc., because of his beliefs. The first time I ever remember him telling me he was proud of me was when I got married and became a mommy. I've been "just a mommy" ever since - but not because he said that!

And that's all we got kids! Thanks for stopping by, enjoy the rest of the show. Don't forget to enter my giveaway (scroll down) by midnight EST tonight!


Saturday 9: Moves Like Jagger


Well, it is Sunday and I did miss this one, so I wasn't going to do it, but when I saw what album was covered, well, come on! Adam Levine...! So. the link is here, if you want to check it out. And let's begin:

1. Who makes the best moves in your life?

Well, it's my life, right, so that would have to be me. I make some pretty dumbass moves, too - don't get me wrong... but I've made some pretty awesome ones, too.

2. Tell us about a time where you had to be selfish with your time, and felt guilty about it (whether it was time taken from your children or a significant other).

Well, I "selfishly" take time for me every day, because I have to or I'd go COMPLETELY insane, and I'm already close. But I don't feel guilty for that. When I did feel guilty was when I was pregnant with the twins, and Chloe was only a year old... she had to play by herself a lot then and became pretty independent. And then again when I had Sophia, she nursed constantly, and I had to put the older ones on hold a lot. I felt bad about that, but we made due.

3. Do you feel that you can create more sex appeal or that it's just a given?

I do think it can be created, and also learned, when there is none. I don't think you're either born with it or you're not, and I do believe some people need to be taught! But definitely, it can be vamped up, right?

4. Do your religious beliefs really influence your behavior?

Yes, but perhaps not as much as they should...

5. Do you feel there are some things in a significant other that you can't change because of their sex?

Absolutely. Men and women are differently wired; it's a fact.

6. Do you see a younger, less secure person when you gaze in the mirror?

No, but after losing all that weight (over 200 lbs), I do still get surprised by what I see in the mirror. I expect to see a much fatter version of me and sometimes, even still, I forget!

7. If you have ever been pregnant, or have been with a woman who was, how did it affect your sex life?

We went from all the time to not at all. LOL Poor Hubs! We had our babies back-to-back-to-back, too, so he was... SOL. I have NO libido when I'm pregnant.

8. What would you like to work on to become a better person?

Ohmigosh. How much time do you have?? I'll leave the answer to work on during therapy, thanks.

9. When did you think that you understood the sacrifices that people in the military make on behalf of their country?

Probably not until I married my husband at 24. He had 8 years in the Navy at the time. He'll retire next year. In the past 12 years, I've learned what it means, for real.  Not just through my own family, but through my military family on the whole. It's pretty intense at times.


Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

Link up with Mrs. 4444 if you're playing along this week!


That's all I have to say.  Not, you know I have more.

So, you may or, more likely, may not have noticed I haven't fragmented again in a few weeks. Our lives are always, well, let's be honest, chaotic at their calmest, but things have been even crazier lately. For example, this week:

Monday: Rob had the day off, and I was exhausted, so I slept much of the day away. Nothing newsworthy there. But...

Tuesday: We decided to move.

Wednesday: I hunted around and found a potential place.

Thursday: I met the landlord inside the house with the kids, decided to go for it, signed the lease, paid the rent and security deposit, and got the keys.

Friday (today): We can move in.

I'm a little dizzy, but that's how we roll. Well, that's how I roll, anyway. Hubs is a tad bit freaked out by the whole thing, but we'll be aiight.


I'm still on Project Vanity Plate, and this is today's find. Hopefully they're talking about God and aren't egomaniacs! If you missed it, I posted a whole bunch of them on Wednesday here.

Today, in addition to checking out the house and stuff, was total nutballs. I took Rob to work at the buttcrack of dawn, and then I was supposed to take the daughters o' mine to the dentist, but I ended up konking out on migraine medicine and missing that appointment. Gah! I woke up just in time to shower and go meet our new lord of the land.

After the new house visit, I stopped to get the kids a semi-celebratory lunch (thank you, Wendy's Dollar Menu), zoomed home to update Chloë's résumé and grab her new headshots, and then dropped Sophie and Jack off at Jenny From the Block's house before racing to Chlo's audition. I didn't get to watch the actual audition, but I'm still tremendously proud of her. I was a nervous wreck for her, shaking and trembling, but she was confident and relaxed. How?! I don't know; she didn't inherit that from me, but hopefully her nurturing has had something to do with that poise.

Anyhoo, it's for an episode of a TV show I can't name at the moment, but we'll find out Wednesday if she got the part. Fingers, toes and eyes crossed! She really wants the role. I'm highly biased, but I think she was the cutest kid there, and she did great practicing her scenes for me. Stay tuned!


After the audition, I raced to pick up the Littles before heading to pick up Rob, two hours late, from work. We headed over to the BMW place to pick up his supposedly 'fixed' motorcycle, a month after it was put in for repairs. After a freakin' MONTH, you'd think it'd be in excellent shape, right? Ha. More on that in a mome.


We went straight to a Thai restaurant for a semi-celebratory dinner (not really; we just have not much food in the house currently, and we had a gift certificate to use there). Aren't these roses so cute? They were the straw wrappers atop each of our drink straws. Love!


We ordered family-style. This was my dinner. Well, that and a wee Spring roll. It may not seem like a lot, but apparently it was too much for me, because I didn't keep a single bit of it down, dang it. Um. It tasted better the first time. I probably could've kept it down, but I had the Jasmine rice with cashews, and, stupid me, I should've known better. I can never eat rice. It just looked so good. Anyway....

All was well and good after dinner. Rob hopped on his motorbike, the kids and I buckled into the van, and off we went toward home. Only, I zipped into a 7-11 on the way home to refill my giant keg of Diet Dew and, well, hurl, and he followed me into the parking lot. By the time I restarted the van, his bike was smoking and leaking more fluids than a ... ah, skip that. Every metaphor I can think up is gross and graphic. Awesome. So not only was the BMW not fixed, but a freakin' panel was missing off the side, too! Really?! I'm way disenchanted with the place that had it for so long. They can bite me hard, right on my hindquarters.

So, short story long, we sat there for an hour while Rob yapped on the phone to our insurance company, who basically solved nothing, and then watched him make the necessary repairs himself. I've dated some pretty useless guys before, and lemme tell you single ladies this: Marry a handy guy. I don't care what else you like about him, you will appreciate this advice. The other day, our toilet handle broke, and My Guy fished one out of his "pile of crap," as I not-so-tenderly call it, and fixed it on the spot. Pretty good. Back to the bike. While he was working, I went back into the 7-11 and bought a big bag of White Cheddar Popcorn. The kids pretended they were watching a movie while they ate it - and Dad was the show. I don't know how he felt about that, but I was entertained, and that's what counts, y'all.

I don't know what else to tell ya. I have a million and one anecdotes I could share, but (a) you probably don't care, and (b) I should probably start packing. To move. Because we're doing that. Eek.

Have a fab weekend, folks!


Sunday Stealing: The OC 25 Meme


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

Sunday Stealing: The OC 25 Meme

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

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

2. Have you any claims to fame?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. What are you obsessed with?

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

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

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

10. When/where were you happiest?

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

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

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

12. What was the best decision you ever made?

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

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

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

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

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

15. What is your favorite joke?

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

Knock Knock?

Who's there?

Little old lady.

Little old lady who?

I didn't know you could yodel!

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

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

17. When did you last cry, and why?

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

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

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

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

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

20. Have you any vices?

I'm too self-indulgent.

21. Do you regret anything?

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

22. What is the best invention ever?

Hello?! The iPhone! lol

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

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

24. Who is your biggest inspiration?

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

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

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

Happy Easter!


Sunday Stealing: The Eve Was Framed Meme

Sunday Stealing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday Fragments

Friday Fragments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

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

RIP, Dr. King.


Saturday 9: Lies


Link up here if you're playing along today!

1. “Everybody lies. But it's alright because nobody listens.” is one of Bud's Law's. What do you lie about?

I'm not really big on lying, but I've come up with some doozies in my time. None that I'm willing to share with you (mainly because I can't remember at the moment. I need caffeine. Sorry to disappoint you!)

2. When you purchase a DVD, what besides the the movie itself, what do you enjoy the most? Is it the director's commentary, the deleted scenes, the bloopers or the behind-the-scenes documentary?

I rarely watch anything but the movie, but once in a while, if I'm bored or whatever, I'll watch the deleted scenes, outtakes, director commentary, and all that jazz. Only if it's a really good flick though.

3. What would you most like to accomplish before the year is over?

Getting our financial house in order. And our physical one, while we're at it!

4. What is your current percentage of online shopping? Is it going to be more this year than last?

I do probably about 60% online. I love shopping online and finding great deals, and what's more fun than packages popping up in the mail?

5. What's left to do at your place (or where you are going)? Is the tree up? ...or maybe you're just happy you found that fave Christmas coffee mug and are calling that good?

Everything's left to do. I think we're planning on setting everything up on Sunday, but maybe it'll be the following weekend. I'm hoping for Sunday, though!

6. If you could get worry-free, cost-free plastic surgery, would you? If yes, where?

Hell yeah. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: I have major excess skin from losing ~210 lbs, so I'd have all that removed, and get a full body lift. Boobs are high on the list but not my body. Ha.

7. Do you think the child you were growing up, would like the adult you've become?

Good question. I think the child I was before Mom died (when I was 7) would be saddened, while the child I became after the evil stepmonster came on the scene would be proud that I'm finally working on these issues.

8. What will you miss about 2011?

Co-op was really fun this past fall. I'm disappointed we won't be going back, at least not to that particular one. I've said good-bye to a few friendships, but that was the right decision. Mostly, I'll miss Summer. We didn't go to the beach even ONE time. Ridick!!

9. What is something you'd love to see invented?

Those flying cars we were "promised" by the Jetsons when I was a youngster. I'd love that!

Have a happy weekend, y'all!


All About My Arse


You see this picture?

Well, it makes it look like the coccyx, or tailbone, should curve inward, toward the middle of the body, doesn't it? Mine doesn't do that. At least, for all appearances, it doesn't. It seems that it juts out, and it has become more and more prominently, uh, jutty, the more weight I've lost.

Now, I'm not the most active human being, at least when I'm home, and I spend a good portion of my time sitting down in my little comfort zone.  I haven't felt well this past week or two, so I've been sitting more than usual.

I guess that was enough to do it. My tailbone poked straight through and is now sticking out of my body.

Okay, okay, I made that up. But I do have a pressure sore from my jutting coccyx, and I had to go to the emergency room to have it treated today.

Here's me in the exam room:


Except, I was lying down on the bed, making sure my curtain completely covered the doorway each time. What else is there to do?! When you've got a sore in your "butt canyon," as my friend Jenny From the Block made me burst out laughing by saying today, you pretty much gotta bend over and spread 'em. Not the best hour I've ever spent in my life.

So the nurse packed my butt canyon sore full of squishy bandages, for maximum comfort, and now I have to sit on a 'roid pillow or other comfy cushion for the rest of my life, if I don't want this to worsen or recur. Awesome. I've been advised numerous times, including by the ER doc again today, against having the coccyx shaved down. I guess it's a pretty nasty surgery to have and from which to recover, and really, when you think about where they'd have to go in from and all the things they could run into while they're in there, I'm guessing they know what they're talking about.

So, fun times ahead.

Hemorrhoid cushion

Are those Eeyore hemorrhoid cushions? Hello, Christmas is coming!

And thus ends the post about my poor, sore hiney. Hope you enjoyed it.


Friday Fragments


Link up here with Mrs.4444 if you're feeling fragmented today!

Happy Autumn! Good-bye, 100º days with NO air conditioning, hello, well, 65º days so far... Much more tolerable. Better get the HVAC fixed soon, though, or we'll (I'll) be miserable come Winter!

Check out my Aloha Friday question on the previous post for a special offer! I'm running a Jafra promotion for my blog readers only and it ends in one week, so hurry!

Wednesdays are homeschool co-op days for Team Odette, and while the kids are in their classes, I'm in the kitchen all day teaching cooking to children from age five to 14. Last week was the first week and quite chaotic (but fun); yesterday went much more smoothly and was a blast. Still, it wears me out. I had more errands to run and finally crashed before midnight, and I slept late late late today. We were supposed to spend the day up in Yorktown for their homeschool days events, for which we had tickets, but I was just too pooped. I think we'll have to think about taking Thursdays off from doing school, because last week was the same. Can always make it up Sat & Sun, though technically, we "do school" ALL the time, if you count the lessons the kids learn on-the-go, in the car, at the store, and so forth. Yeah. Let's count that.

Tomorrow, we WILL be going up to Jamestown for the kids' classes, since Jamestown/Yorktown Homeschool days end this weekend and I want to get our money's worth, but since we already went to J-town last week, we might either go early or stay late (or both, what the hey) and venture over to Yorktown. We've never seen Y-town, and it's unlimited free admission during this event, so I'd like to go check it out. Have y'all ever been to the "Historic Triangle," as they call it (Colonial Williamsburg is included in that)?

Saturday is free museum day! Learn about that here and get your two free tickets if you haven't already! We plan on going to the Children's Museum of VA in Portsmouth until Jack has to go home and get ready for his Cub Scout popcorn show & sell (a booth sale, as we Girl Scouts call it), and then a friend's having a birthday party for her husband after that, so... another busy weekend!

Oh yeah, and the Girl Scout Fall Product sale (candy and nuts) starts on Saturday, too. Phew, it never stops. My dad always complains that our life is too chaotic and hectic. I guess he can't seem to remember what life was like with four teenaged girls going in all different directions all the time?

If you want to read about my trip with Chloë to D.C. for her 10th birthday celebration, read the two posts prior to my Aloha Friday one. We had a grand weekend at American Girl, taking the train, going to the National Zoo, and staying in a hotel in the middle of the District. And I left her alone for her very first time while I slipped out and did a mystery shop at a restaurant and bar with a friend who lives there. Chloë did great, except she was upset that she couldn't get the laptop OR the TV to work, so she ended up taking a bath to calm down and missed my check-in phone call. By the time I got back, after watching the Mayweather-Ortiz fight at the restaurant, she and her AG doll, Faith, were sound asleep in their bed. (Speaking of the fight, did you see that? I kept cringing while the men cheered; it's the mother in me, I guess!)

I'm back in therapy at least twice a week now, and it's helping considerably. I adore my therapist and think it's the best-working relationship I've ever had with one (and I've had a bunch).  My psychopharmacologist, "Paypal," has changed up one of my meds, from Side-Effexor to Pristiq, and it's not going so well... plus he was out of town and unable to take any of my "what should I do?!?!" phone calls. Luckily, my therapist was there and able to help me cope. I ♥ her.

So, my 8yo son, Jack, had his latest appointment with the new pediatric endocrinologist this week, and that went as expected, with the medication refill put in and new needles ordered. However, apparently we're supposed to be physically seen in the office every 4-6 months - as opposed to the 12 we've been asked in the past - and he's supposed to get an IGF-1 test every other visit or so. Now, like you I'm guessing, I'd never heard of this test, so someone has been dropping the ball. At least this new endo is on top of things. Basically it tells us whether his med dosage is correct, according to liver function after taking some marker meds. I love finding this kind of thing out after, what? Five, six years of being following for his growth hormone deficiency? Nice. (In the "good news" category, though, he's grown 8½ cm since Feb. 2010, which is fantastic! It would be 0 cm without the meds, more than likely.)

Chloë, at age 10 and smaller than her 6yo sister Sophia, weighs less than 50 lbs and has barely grown herself, so at the end of the endo visit, I asked the doc if she should be re-evaluated. She'd been checked a few years ago and was "borderline" for the condition, but I remained concerned. He took a height check on her and then pored over her medical records. Doc called me himself within the same day and told me that, yes, she definitely needs to be seen again and will probably end up taking the shots herself. I broke the news to her a little while later, and she was fairly calm about it, saying she kind of knew that was coming. She just doesn't want her shots "in the butt" and asked if she could have them in her arms and legs instead. I don't know, but since she's not very meaty in those places, I'm guessing that'll be a "no."

{Note to Grandma: her appointment is October 18th at zero-dark-hundred.}

Since we're talking medical stuff now, I visited my PCM myself this week to ask for referrals for both a new sleep study (do I still need the CPAP, which I don't use anyway, for apnea since I've lost 205 lbs??) and for the breast cancer gene test. Normally, they don't approve the gene test unless there is a "strong family history," which to Tricare means a mother or sister with the disease. Well, my maternal grandmother had it both in her 30s and 50s, and my mother died too young, at age 33, to know whether she would have gotten it. Since Sis and I have both had lumps checked out, I was able to talk my way into getting the referral submitted. I found out tonight that I've been referred out for an oncologist-geneticist appointment. Woot! (Meanwhile, the sleep study referral is still "under review," which I think is ridick. Whatevs.)


At Jack's Cub Scout pack meeting tonight, he earned belt loops for Gymnastics, BB-gun shooting, and Archery, along with his first Popcorn patch for this current sale, and his Wolf badge, which he somehow didn't get last year. (He's a Bear now.) We don't know what those arrow point-thingies are for, though. Grandma, help?

Ehh, I guess that's way more crap than you really wanted to know about me/us this week, so I'll shut up now. I really need to go do some cleaning, since we're having house guests (a friend and her three doggies) all next week. With four cats, this should prove interesting!


Six-Word Saturday: Fat Legs?


Link up here if you have something to say today!

My six words this week are:

Dwelling on that 'big leg' comment...



When I went to see the plastic surgeon recently (note: I've lost ~205 lbs after gastric bypass surgery 2½ years ago, and I have tons of extra skin I want him to remove), he made an off-hand remark that even with the removal of my inner thigh skin, "I still have pretty big legs there," or something similar. I have been dwelling on it ever since. So, here are my thighs, in a sitting down position on my chair right here. Do I have big legs?? Really? Because they seem okay to me, minus the afore-mentioned inner thigh skin.

I guess I need the reassurance that I'm not still a Gigantor.

Thanks and happy weekend!