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Sunday Stealing: Interesting Confusions...

Hey there, guys and dolls! Welcome back to SSA. I've missed you! I'm hoping that by the end of November, we'll finally be in our forever home here on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

And I'm hoping that it will finally feel like home, not just our house.

Ya dig?

Keep your fingers crossed for us, you fine folks, will you?

As I'm sending good vibes to all of you as we work through fires and storms and COVID-19 and head into winter... <sigh>

Link up here to play along this weekend!


Stolen from various web sites...

1) Can you cry under water?

Crying Under Water - Akira & Anime Background Wallpapers on Desktop Nexus  (Image 1220268)

I'm not sure I could. Underwater = my happiest happy place.

2) What is the fattest thing you’ve ever done?

09072020 Chloë's 19th Birthday Cake

Admittedly, I don't entirely understand the intent of this question, but...

Oh, I definitely have a sweet tooth, so I have had trouble cutting out the sweets since they became a big problem for me. The worst is when any of us have a birthday. Rob likes a plain, unfrosted chocolate cake for his birthdays, but most of the rest of us like Carvel ice cream cakes for ours. Since Chloë's birthday is the 7th of September, and mine is the 8th, we often have... kind of a lot of it. I get sick on it every time, but does it stop me??

3) If you’re going to be arrested, what do you want your crime to be?

Anglican priest chains herself to a tree in protest of Trans Mountain  pipeline expansion in Burnaby | Delta Optimist

I've never been arrested, but I admit, I've sort of half-jokingly put it on my Bucket List. If it happens, I want it to be for some kind of protest, whether it be political or, preferably, an environmental cause.

4) When they say dog food is “new and improved” who tastes it?

How to Keep Your Dog From Eating Cat Food | AvoDerm Natural

Well, first of all, I've always had issues with that phrase, "new and improved." If it's new, then what could have been improved upon if it didn't exist before? If it's improved, then it's something old they made better, so how could it be new? 

Anyway. I figure, if they're going to find out if dog food is better, they'd better ask the experts: dogs!

5) What’s the ugliest thing you’ve ever seen?

Top Ten Evil Stepmothers - IGN

My stepmother was always sarcastic, always sneering, in this unique way that I've only ever seen one other person in my life do. Very much like Cinderella's evil stepmother, here. It was an awful expression that could drain the blood from my face in an instant, because I knew that whatever was coming next would be worse than whatever led up to that point. I don't miss that b**ch.

6.) Why doesn’t glue stick to its bottle?

An Investigation of Polymers

So there you go!

7) What historical event do you wish you’d witnessed?

Kerri Strug GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Oh my gosh, there are so many things I could have thought of, but the first one I thought of was the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta when Kerry Strug did her vault with a broken ankle. That whole Dream Team was amazing. I would love, love, love to attend the Olympics some day!

8) Who has had the best influence on your life?

50 Husband quotes: I Love My Husband Quotes Girlterest – Part 22 Best  Quotes Love – BestQuotes

I've thunk hard on it, and I keep returning to the one inevitable answer: my husband. No one else in this world has made me look inside myself and really try to be better for someone else and not just for my own sake.

9) Would you rather go into space or to Antarctica?

Assassins can fly — Fly me to the moon 🌙 gifs made by me :)

Space! Although I'd always accept a trip anywhere, almost anytime - pandemics excluded.

10) Would you rather sleep with no pillow or no blankets?

Amazon.com: I Am Crazy I Love Crazy Pillow Cases Pillowcase Couples Gift  Bedding Present Funny: Kitchen & Dining

I'd rather live without the pillow. I don't care how hot I am, I need to have certain portions of me covered with a blanket - and I can always use part of it for a pillow!

11) What's your favorite rain memory?

0612011 Sophia's 6th birthday party

Oh, whenever it rained in the summers in Virginia Beach, when Sophia was two, three, four, five years old... we would go out and jump in the puddles! That little bitty was so excited and happy when she was jumping up and down in those puddles. She was just the the picture of pure joy.

12) If you were elected president, what is the first thing you would do?

First thing I would do is declare a moratorium on fossil fuels. No more coal mines, fracking, oil drilling, none of that. Our reliance on fossil fuels has long overstayed its welcome, and it's killing all of us. That shit's got to end.

13) If you had $3 to spend in the dollar store, what would you buy?

TOP 5 Things to Always Purchase at Dollar Tree!

If I have an occasion like a birthday, the supplies there can't be beat for a buck! Ribbons, tissue paper, gift bag? Done!

14) What’s the most annoying sound in the world?

If You Hate The Sound Of People Chewing, Then You're Probably A Genius |  Prodinr

I can't stand to hear other people chewing and smacking their lips while they're eating. I have to tell my son to stop doing it constantly. Drives me crazy!

15) What natural disaster scares you the most?

Think 2020′s disasters are wild? Experts say the worst is yet to come

Fire. We had a fire in the house I grew up in, and I still have scars on my legs from that. I've lived through that, tropical storms and hurricanes, tornadoes and earthquakes, a supertyphoon... but nothing scares me like fire. I don't want to die that way.


On that pleasant thought...! I've got some work to do for this nonprofit project I'm working on, and then make a list for some shopping. Maybe I'll even get some knitting accomplished. Not necessarily in that order.

Cheers to all of you and let's hope no one's in any natural disasters today!



Sunday Stealing: League Of Extraordinary Penpals

Hey there, hi there, ho there, thieves! I'm watching the documentary series "Diagnosis" on Netflix right now - and of course, now my husband and I are going, "You need to get on that!" regarding all of my health issues - so forgive me if my answers become disjointed from distraction. I have a habit of going back later and finding I've done that!

I trust you are all well.

Link up here if you want to steal some shhhh--- today! Let's go:


1 What are your plans for August?

Josephine House

Well, August is kind of a big month. We bought this big, beautiful, modern house last June. It's in a very small town in nowheresville, Idaho. I love the house. I do. I love my freakin' house. But I hate where it is. I've tried for 14 months to just be okay here for the sake of everybody else, but I just cannot do it anymore. I've got to GTFO of this state.

So, four of us are moving into an extended-stay hotel in Boise on Monday. Chloë, who will be 19 next month, is moving out into a place of her own and staying here. (Not gonna lie, I'm having a very hard time with that.) Rob's hiring movers that will come in and pack us up, then we'll have a move-out cleaning, and then the realtor who sold us the house is going to put it back on the market for us.

The average time for a home in our area to be on the market is 9 days, so I'm crossing my fingers for good luck like that. (Please cross yours, too!)

As soon as that happens, we're paying off the remainder of our car loan and gifting the car to Chloë. Then we'll hop a plane to Maryland.

Watch for what happens next...

2 Review the first half of 2020:

40 Memes That Sum Up 2020 So Far | Bored Panda

🔼🔼 There you go. 🔼🔼

2020 is a dumpster fire: These memes nail exactly how we're feeling – Film  Daily

3 A place you’d go if money were no object:

The history of manned space flight [infographic] | OUPblog

Oh, I'd definitely go on a space flight and realize my childhood dreams.

4 Who was your childhood best friend?

7 Reasons Why Your Childhood Best Friend Will Always Be Irreplaceable

Well, it seemed like in elementary school I had a different best friend every year. Victoria... Thea... Shannon.... Ellie... different Shannon...

But from 6th grade on, I had a group of friends that pretty much stayed together. I count two of them (Lisa & Shana) as my best friends to this day. I'm lucky to have them.

5 The city or town you love most?

Types Of Palm Trees | Labels: Too Many Palms | Tropical garden, University  of miami hurricanes, Palm trees

Can I just say the entire Miami-Dade County? There are soooo many things there that I love, I couldn't pick just one municipality! Of course, I love my alma mater in Coral Gables. Then there's South Beach, of course. Then Coconut Grove... the quick drive to the Keys. I love everything about Miami!

6 How do you spend hot days?

Best Beaches in Miami | WPH South Beach

That depends... am I still in Miami, or am I stuck in Idaho? Is it a COVID year, or just an El Niño year? Given my druthers, I'd be at the beach every day, all day.

7 Are you a skilled cook or baker?


Well, I'm no expert, but I do all right. I used to have a baking business when we lived in Virginia Beach, but after one exceedingly frustrating disappointment on an order I worked terribly hard on, I kinda just... stopped.

8 One thing you wish you could currently do:

King Neptune | A frozen King Neptune at sunrise. Virginia Be… | Flickr

Hmm... Speaking of Virginia Beach, I wish I could go to the Oceanfront there right NOW! Where's King Neptune when you need him?

9 A time when you learned your lesson:

Oh, I definitely learned my lesson from buying this house here in Mountain Home: no matter how much you love the house, if you hate the town, it's not the perfect house. There are some things you just can't compromise on. So now I have my eye on this house (center, foreground) in Maryland...

10 What consistently makes you laugh?

Pin on funny

My husband, an old sailor, has an endless supply of filthy jokes. I try to act shocked, but he knows I'm amused.

11 Routines that bring you calm and peace:

Campbell River SAR rescue injured hiker in Strathcona Provincial Park - My  Comox Valley Now

Communing with nature

12 Who annoys you the most?

091419 Old Navy Rob's shirt

It's definitely this husband of mine - but I'm sure it's mutual!!

13 Describe some of your favorite household items.

04272020 Treasures 01

Last September, we drove up to Washington to visit Great Wolf Lodge for Chloë's 18th birthday. Here are our three kids' wristbands from their first visit to Great Wolf Lodge - in Williamsburg, Virginia - over a decade earlier. ♥ (Our orally-fixated pup, Tapioca, has since eaten one of them.)

04272020 Treasures 02

Here are all the pet tags from all the dogs and cats we've had who are no longer with us. ♥

04272020 Treasures 03

Here is the tape of "Wonderful Tonight" that my friends from graduate school, Heather and Mason, rearranged and did on guitar and vocals. They gave it to us at our wedding reception. I have got to get it re-recorded digitally! ♥

04272020 Treasures 05

And finally, here is just a small fraction of the pennies we've pressed over the years. We press pennies everywhere we go and have many books full of them! ♥

14 What have you gotten better at?

I believe in self improvement. For you, that is. - Lolcats - lol | cat memes  | funny cats | funny cat pictures with words on them | funny pictures | lol  cat memes | lol cats

I mean, what was the starting line? I've gotten a whole lot better at walking and talking since I started about 43 years ago, I'll you that much!

15 Share a random memory.

Camel Drinking Coke Funny Picture

When I was very young, probably under three years old, my family visited a zoo of some sort. We stopped at a kiosk somewhere, and my mother bought herself a drink. She was carrying me on her hip, so when she took a sip, I begged for a sip, too. It was delicious!!! Today I might describe it as sort of a virgin piña colada. When Mom got near the bottom of the cup, she said I could have the rest of her drink. I was so excited. Then, as soon as I had the cup in hand, Mom pivoted away from the camel pen we were standing right next to. I had the cup in my hand, and then suddenly it was snatched away from me! I looked back in shock to see the camel not only finishing my drink, but eating the cup to boot! Oh, how I sobbed. That is the only thing I remember from that day.

16 How many pairs of shoes do you have?

Crocs shoes, Lovable or Horrible? | Fashion Conscious

Oh, maybe about a dozen, give or take. I'm really not sure. I do know that more than half of those are Crocs, though!

(I need those green and turquoise pairs!)

17 Who do you go to for encouragement?

boop of encouragement | /r/wholesomememes | Wholesome Memes | Know Your Meme

It depends on what I need encouragement for. I have a team!

18 References you make that others don’t get.

Michael Scott Inside Joke GIF - MichaelScott InsideJoke TheOffice -  Discover & Share GIFs

Well, if I told you about them, you would get it, and then they wouldn't really be inside jokes anymore, right?

19 What are 10 things you consider essential for you?

08092020 Whats In My Bag

a Erin Condren Lifeplanner

b colorful Tul pens

c Versace prescription glasses

d Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

e Mint & Argan lip balm from Grove Collaborative (it's seriously the best)

f inhaler, definitely

g lotion, always gotta have lotion

h hairbrush, especially now that Sophia's making me grow it out long

i some kind of hard candy, because I go hypoglycemic fairly often

j jewelry - always have a necklace and hoops of some sort on at least!

20 Is there any accent you wish you had?

As an Aussie I have actually said this exact sentence before - FunSubstance  | Funny aussie, Australia funny, Funny australian

Australian. I tend to pick up accents and languages fairly easily, but I cannot for the life of me do an Australian accent. I just can't!


Okay, I'm posting this really late because I was at the ER all morning, so no one will probably read it. But if ya did, thank you and have a great week!



Sunday Stealing: Queen!

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Hey! I'm so excited for this post, hosted by Bev of Funny the World, because my family and I are huge fans of the band Queen. And Freddie Mercury, of course. He's one of the greatest! So thank you, Bev, for this post. Link up here if you'd like to play along this week!

So let's get to it!


Questions from Joe Mazello's bitch.
Bohemian Rhapsody - What matters to you more than anything in the world?
Image result for bohemian rhapsody
My family. My husband and my "babies" are my world. They really are. They're growing up so freaking fast, and it's devastating!

Don’t Stop Me Now - What makes you feel unstoppable?
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Well, I have Bipolar Disorder. And I have bipolar I, which means I cycle up to the highest highs of "true mania," and I can sink down to the lowest lows of absolutely devastating depression. I also have a rare form of type I, which means I can cycle very rapidly up and down and up and down multiple times in a day if my meds are off. It sucks, but I have to admit, I do love being truly manic. I'm joyful, and I accomplish so much! So when I really get things done, I definitely feel unstoppable then.
[Side note: If you are not bipolar, you do not "understand" what being manic is like. It is not really a good thing for me or for anyone. It just feels good at the time.]

Another One Bites The Dust - What one thing would you wipe off the face of the earth?
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Just one thing? Oh, that's hard. But plastic. Too much plastic, choking the environment - along with the people who can still, in f**king 2019, toss their trash on the ground, in the water, out their damn windows...!! It can ALL go!

Under Pressure - How stressed are you currently?
Image result for so stressed out
I'm always stressed. I thrive on chaos. But not crises. And lately we've been slammed with crises.

We Will Rock You - What was the last concert you went to?
Image result for Red Light Challenge
Other than Taylor Swift's 1989 concert in Miami with Chloë in October 2015, I don't think I've paid to go to a concert in a while. I did win two tickets for the Amy Lee (from Evanescence) and Lindsey Stirling concert in Arizona, but we couldn't get there from Idaho at the time. And then I won two tickets to Metallica recently, but I gave those two tickets to my husband and son. So basically I like to watch Red Light Challenge, a local band by the two guys above. They're native Hawaiians, but they live here now for some reason and have gigs all over the place. They're fun!

Somebody To Love - Are you looking for somebody to love?
Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people sitting and indoor
Nope. I stopped searching on November 1, 2000.

We Are The Champions - What achievement are you most proud of?
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Many - too many - times in my life, I've picked up and started over somewhere else as a way of "fixing" my problems. But really, I was just running away from them and making new problems. So I guess I'm proudest of those times when I was afraid, and instead of running way (quitting), I stood up and faced what was scaring me the most. Even in the middle of it, when I knew I was messing up badly, I stayed put and finished. I have to channel that girl right now!

Radio Gaga - What do you think of today’s popular music?
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I like most of it. I like a lot of things. Lately I've been going back and forth between Queen and Pavarotti, so it's all good!

I Want To Break Free - If you could move to any part of the world, where would you want to live?
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My husband and I would buy a boat and live forever aboard, traveling around the world and back, experiencing all that life and all the different cultures have to offer. That would be amazing.

Love Of My Life - Have you ever had your heart broken?
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Oh, God, yes. I mean, I've loved and lost and all that... but my heart broke irreparably when my son died in my arms. Nothing breaks like a heart, right Miley?

Killer Queen - What is your favourite thing about yourself?
Blog Profile Pic
I'm not afraid to show my vulnerability.
The Show Must Go On - What is something you will never give up?
Image result for singing my heart out
No matter how much of my voice is taken from me, I'll still sing.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love - Name some of your favourite musicians.
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Dear Freddie Mercury, of course;
Image result for whitney houston
Whitney Houston;
Image may contain: 4 people, including Shana Hobin Stewart, people smiling, people sitting, people on stage and indoor
one of my best friends on the planet, Shana Marie Hobin Stewart (the one with the "fireplace" right behind her); and... let's see, 
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Who Wants To Live Forever - If you could be immortal, would you?
Image result for would i want to be immortal
Oh, God, no. No, no, no. For myriad reasons, not the least of which is that life is too fucking painful!!

Fat Bottomed Girls - What are some traits you look for in a partner?
Image result for build the perfect man
First of all, I freaking hate that song, and I hate the title. But these are my biggies: (1) smart as hell, (2) funny as hell, (3) not abusive, (4) impressive in their career maybe, (5) loves me. I think I got all that and a helluva lot more! Some good, some not - but he could definitely say the same!

I Want It 
All - If you could have anything in the world, what would it be?
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I would want to know, when I leave this life, that we are taking every necessary and possible step to protect Mother Earth so that our children can feel free and not reluctant to have kids of their own, and so on. And so other species can continue to thrive, even with the overpopulation of mankind. Then I will rest peacefully.
Ahhhh. It's 1:37 AM, but it's about to be 3 AM because of Daylight Saving Time. Gah, I hate moving the clocks ahead. I don't get enough sleep at night as it is!
So I should rest. Have a happy week, everyone!

Sunday Stealing: Conversation Starters

Howdy ho, y'all! The girls and I are re-watching old episodes of The Big Bang Theory, so I guess since I've seen all these before, it's a good time to answer some fun questions. So let's giddy-up!


What are some small things that make your day better?

Image may contain: 1 person, hat and closeup

Silliness and happiness of my kiddos! I love it when my crew are happy!

What shows are you into?

Image result for Young Sheldon funny gif

Well, in addition to TBBT, mentioned in my intro, we of course also love Young Sheldon. We also watch BlackishA Million Little Things, and obviously Jeopardy! Rob and I have had a nightly Jeopardy! date since we first got married 18 years ago. I think funny and definitely smart men are way sexier than anyone else. 😍

What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?

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An LGBTQ+ network dedicated to the needs, issues faced, and public awareness for this community. We'd watch!

Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?


Oh, maybe my 15-year-old son Jack. He's been working at a nearby McDonald's for about 9 months now, and he's just informed me, as of Thursday, that he's gotten a second raise and has been promoted to Crew Trainer! I was shrieking on the phone when he called me up and delivered this news. All of this is so exciting to me because he's on the Autism Spectrum and has learning disabilities. Go, Jack!!

What age do you wish you could permanently be?

IMG_2313 (1)

Let's see... maybe about 36, like I was here. I was at my thinnest, and because I was raised to believe that my worth (and therefore my self-worth) were inversely proportional to my weight, my happiest. I would love to get down to that size again, but meanwhile, I'm working on learning to accept and love who I am, whatever size I may be. (And age!)

What TV show or movie do you refuse to watch?

Image result for Real Housewives meme

Real Housewives of Anything

What is something that is considered a luxury, but you don’t think you could live without?

Image result for Samsung Galaxy S9 meme

My phone! I looooove my Samsung Galaxy S9... and I've loved my Galaxy since the S2! Or was my first one the S3? Hmm, I forget. Like it matters! 😂

What’s your claim to fame?

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I'm the only stay-at-home mom marine biologist I know! 😉

What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way?

Image result for baking homemade bread

I love to bake homemade bread! Which reminds me, I need to feed the sourdough starter!

What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?

Image result for romcom meme

For movies, I confess, I love a good romcom. I like a lot of different movies genres, though, so that's not all I like. As for books, I love a good novel that really makes me think and feel. I like a book that makes me laugh and makes me sob. That's the best.

How often do you people watch?

Image result for people watching gif

If I'm in public, I'm definitely people-watching!

What have you only recently formed an opinion about?

Image result for reasons for being vegan

I've become more and more strongly convicted about my (family's) decision to go vegan. I hadn't, however, considered the yarn with which I knit. So I've just decided if I'm going to talk the talk, I need to walk the walk: I'll finish whatever projects I've already begun, and then I need to cull the fibers that aren't vegan. Most animal fibers are gained in a much crueler fashion than many people know. So I'll sell the animal fibers and use that money purchase cruelty-free yarns!

What are you interested in that most people haven’t heard of?

Image result for elasmobranch ecomorphology

Elasmobranch ecomorphology, I'm guessing...

What’s the farthest you’ve ever been from home?

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I don't really have a distinct, specified "home," per se... I would say "home" is wherever Hubs is, wherever my family is. My home is his heart.

What is the most heartwarming thing you’ve ever seen?

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♥ An old couple in love ♥

What is the most annoying question that people ask you?

Image result for women's voices meme

I'm 42 years old, and I still get asked, on the phone, "Can I please speak to your mother?" Bitch, please, I am the mother!  I can't get mad, I mean, I do have a high-pitched baby voice, but it does get annoying. Especially when Rob himself called me up and, thinking I was Chloë, said, "Let me speak to your mother." 😂

What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?

Image result for infant loss

Parent bereavement and/or Infant Loss

If you were dictator of a small island nation, what crazy dictator stuff would you do?

Image result for no smoking

I would ban tobacco/nicotine use of any kind, make recycling mandatory, and... all food would be plant-based. 

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?

Image result for beautiful scuba diving

Go scuba diving! It's beautiful down there!


Well, that was delightful. Thanks, Bev!

Have a great week, y'all.


Saturday 9: I Forgot To Remember To Forget

Image result for elvis presley

Welcome back to Saturday 9! Be sure and link up here to join in with the rest of us this week!


Saturday 9: I Forgot to Remember to Forget (1955)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
In honor of Elvis' birthday (January 8.) 

1) Elvis sings that he thinks about this girl all the time. What person or topic is on your mind this Saturday?

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Being vegan. It's Veganuary 2019, and I suddenly find myself on this unexpected mission to do the most good I can for myself, for my family, for my family, for my fellow man, and for our home, planet Earth. I'm in the middle of writing a post about it, but I'm finding it hard to convey the right sense of urgency without an enormous dose of being judgmental.

2) He wants to forget the day he met his girl, but simply can't. Think about someone very important in your life. Did you know right away that they were going to be influential?

Victor Pareja

This is Victor, a man I went to college with at the University of Miami back in the mid-90s. We lived on the same hall of the same floor of the same dorm for a while and became fast friends. Little did I know, he would be the reason I met my husband of 18 years. Without him, I wouldn't have had our four beautiful children!

Since this week's song is about memories, let's check on how well you recall events in your own life.

3) What was the first concert you ever attended?

Related image Image result for bon jovi concert syracuse 1989

I can never remember whether it was Whitney Houston at the New York State Fair (she originally canceled during the fair, I think due to illness, and then we went to the reschedule in October when she performed despite heavy rain) or Bon Jovi, also in Syracuse, New York. Concert ticket images indicate that they may have been the same year.

4) Where did you get your first piercing? (Not only where on your body, but who did the deed and where did they do it?)

Septum Piercing
Tragus Piercing 

All of my piercings are above the neck... so far. ;) First, I got my earlobes pierced, at a place in the mall, probably, for my eighth birthday. Since then, I got a second and third hole pierced at more piercing spots in malls. I then got the cartilage in my left ear pierced at a piercing shop in south Miami-Dade County's Dadeland mall - do not do this! Go to a professional piercing artist, often at a tattoo shop - and after a lot of pain and many infections, I let it close up. I got a fourth hole pierced at that same time in the right ear. When I was 21, my then-roommate and friend Shannon and I skipped work to go get matching nostril piercings at a tattoo parlor near Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida. Finally, two decades later, I have just gotten my septum and right tragus pierced by the piercer, Tatt, at Justin Abel Tattoo in Mountain Home, Idaho. I love them!

5) What's the name of the bank where you had your first checking account?

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The evil Bank of America. Horrors!

6) Tell us about your first bicycle.

Image result for little girls bike with training wheels basket streamers

I remember it had training wheels, streamers, and a basket. I did not want to be stuck on training wheels forever, but I was having a hard time progressing past them. When I was six, we moved from Monroe, New York, to Syracuse, New York; I remember taking off those training wheels and riding around the giant moving truck, holding on to the truck when I needed to and trying not to crash into the mailboxes. That moving truck helped me succeed!

7) Who received the first text you ever sent?

18th anniversary

I'm sure it had to have been Rob, in 2003. That's when I got my first cell phone.

8) What had you been drinking when you suffered your first hangover?

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Shots of Goldschläger. I was 17.

9) Whose was the first wedding you ever attended?

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July 13th, 1985, my father married for the third time, to my stepmother the evil bitch from hell, just over one year after my mother suddenly died. I was eight years old and the youngest person in that wedding. We four girls wore coordinating dresses in pastel blue, pink peach, and lavender. I can't even remember which was mine. I don't want to.


I'm watching old episodes of Three's Company, eating vegan "mozzarella," and debating whether to get in the shower to take Sophie to her riding lesson. I really should. She's got these new breeches that fit beautifully, but I want to see how they perform for her in action!

01112019 New Breeches Dover and New Helmet Ovation Collage

Have a lovely weekend, e'erbody!


So Long 2018, Welcome 2018: Saturday 9 & Sunday Stealing

Image result for winter wonderland herb alpert

Howdy, folks! I missed the super amazing fun times this past weekend because I'm having a bunch of anaphylactic episodes due to what my immunologist termed a "full-blown autoimmune assault." So that's fun. I did an undercover assignment for several hours with my younger daughter, Sophia, and reacted there. And everywhere, pretty much. It's not awesome - especially because I missed you guys!

Fruit Salad

So I'm trying to get these two in under the radar. While eating delicious fruit salad. And watching a marathon of Bob's Burgers with Sophie, Jack, and Hubs. Funny stuff. Do you watch it? Why not?!!

Here goes Saturday 9:


Saturday 9: Winter Wonderland (1968)

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

Welcome to the last Saturday 9 of 2018! Thanks for a great year, everyone.
1) This is an unconventional take on an old familiar song. Over the holidays, do you prefer traditional carols? Or do you like to mix it up with with more contemporary fare?
Image result for ariana grande santa tell me
I like to mix it up. Along with old favorites, I love the song "Santa Tell Me" by Ariana Grande along with pretty much everything by the Pentatonix.

2) Now that Christmas is behind us, are you enjoying a relaxing week? Or do you have socializing/celebrating/chores to do?
Image result for idaho potato drop 2018
I think most of the socializing and celebrating is behind us, other than having fun times tonight with the family. I did want us to go downtown here in Boise, where instead of a ball - I shit you not - they drop a potato. A damn potato! But we're all sick, so I think we may end up just staying home and watching it on the local NBC affiliate tonight. Bummer. Also tomorrow, I wanted us to go up to Bogus Basin, where the ski resort is near us, for all kinds of New Year's Day festivities, but the two older kids have to work, which would be no fun.

3) Winter is a time for cocooning. What book or movie did you enjoy in 2018 that you would recommend to your fellow Saturday 9-ers?
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I really enjoyed the movie Dumplin' with Danielle MacDonald. We've been watching a lot of movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video lately, but I think that may have been my favourite.

4) Looking back on the past year, what was one of your happiest moments?
Week 21 of 52 -Catching Light
Two things: On April 16th, Hubs had surgery for prostate cancer. His recovery was fraught, and I hated every minute of it for him. He ended up having another major surgery and more hospital stays. As for myself, I had surgery on May 22nd, and it was supposed to be far more major than it ended up being. I was honestly scared for my life and, if that ended up being not in jeopardy, then I was scared of being in even more pain than the endless amount I've been suffering for more than 3½ years. In the end, my surgeon decided to close me up early and save the rest of the surgery for another day. So I can honestly say, in 2018, my happiest moment was waking up alive and well, and being still here to torment the rest of Team Odette!

5) What was the smartest thing you did all this past year?
Week 27 of 52 - Leading Lines
I persevered! It's worth it.
6) As 2018 comes to a close, what are you most grateful for?
♥ Smiles, joy and happiness from my loved ones ♥

7) This week's featured artist is Herb Alpert. Because of the style he popularized and the name of his band, people assume he's Hispanic. Yet his parents were Jewish immigrants from Romania. What's something we'd be surprised to learn about you?
🤦‍♀️ I dunno anymore; everyone knows everything about me! 🤦‍♀️
Vegan collage
Maybe that I've been varying levels of vegan/vegetarian since August 1995, and as of about a week ago, all five members are now onboard with giving veganism a good go! Why? Get on Netflix or some other streaming service and watch What The Health? and Cowspiracy, and that'll explain a great deal.
8) He performed an instrumental version of "The Star Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XXII. How did your favorite sports teams do in 2018?
Image result for miami hurricanes football
Oh, God. My Miami 'Canes were a disaster! They were up against Wisconsin in a rematch from last year at the Pinstripe Bowl four days ago, and we got totally trounced 35-3. What an embarrassment! Hopefully new head coach Manny Diaz can turn things around for the 2019 program.
9) Random question: When did you last check your social media feed?
I just checked my Instagram notifications a few minutes ago. I'm on it now more than Facebook, although I suppose now that they're both owned by the same people, it doesn't much matter? No, really, I like the quick-speed format of Insta much more, I think.
That was fun. Thanks, Crazy Sam! I'm going to go right into yesterday's Sunday Stealing now, so go take a quick walk around your house or the block or something as an intermission. Then link up here if you want to play along with me and the rest of the thieves, albeit belatedly! ;)
 1. Are flowers a nice gift to give someone?
purple and yellow calla lily mix 4
They are if they're a bouquet from Bouqs, like these beautiful calla lilies! I love Bouqs.

2. Do you wear any jewelry?
Yeah, and I like to change it around frequently. I really love Pandora rings (That's why I bought a bunch of inexpensive costume jewelry on eBay recently. I just got this new ring today, and I love it! Except it's scratchy...

3. Have you ever lain in a field of flowers?
I have, but it's been ages, so here's a photo from our April 2015 visit to the Chihuly exhibit at the Fairchild Garden in Miami.

4. Do you like tea?
Image result for bubble tea
I like bubble tea. Other tea is okay, as long as it's both caffeinated and flavored. Absolutely no iced tea for me, though!

5. What would you do with a million dollars?
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a. Get a good financial advisor and invest wisely, living off the interest as much as possible. b. Buy us a beautiful, elaborate, multi-roomed house like the ones I've been dreaming about my whole life. c. Set up a grantor's trust, so that the kids don't have to struggle any more than we already have and any more than what's necessary for them not to lose their work ethics. and d. Take Hubs on a whirlwind tour of the world, retracing our steps for the last 18 years (our anniversary is on Wednesday!), including here to La Calle Ramblas (with lots of beautiful architecture by Joan Miró) in gorgeous Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. e. And the whole time, I'd have The Barenaked Ladies serenade us with one of our courtship songs, "If I Had a Million Dollars"!

6. What word do you have trouble saying?
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Many, many things, but since this is one of Hubs' favorite drinks, I have to attempt to say it a lot: Arnold Palmer. I fail each and every time.

7. Favorite fairytale?
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Maybe Little Red Riding Hood, since I have fond memories of my sister and I planning out our skit of it, making props, and then acting it out in front of our grandparents and some of their friends and neighbors.

8. Do you sleep with stuffed animals?
Image result for giant teddy bear
Yes, I sleep with the huge teddy bear Hubs gave me when he gave me my engagement ring.

9. Do you prefer the city or the country?
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I am definitely a big city girl at heart!

10. Are you a big fan of makeup?
I used to be, but nowadays I usually keep it simple and just wear mascara and maybe some lip gloss.

11. Favorite drink?
Image result for diet coke funny
Hands-down, it's Diet Coke! (And for my grandpa, it was "Coke on the rocks!"

12. What’s the longest amount of time you’ve stayed awake?
Newborn Chloë
Several days in a row, once Chloë was out of the NICU. Even when she'd sleep, I had awful insomnia. Man, those were some miserable days for me! (Aside from the beautiful new baby girl, natch.)

13. Have you ever traveled outside of your country?
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Beautiful Talofofo Falls on Guam
Yes, many times, but the one I'm most yearning to return to at this point in time isn't even technically outside the United States.
14. Do you like Spring?
Image result for idaho tulips
I love Spring! It's my second favorite season after Summer. Especially when all the tulips come in around Idaho.

15. Lipstick or lip gloss?
I'll wear lipstick (like my Young Living ones) on the odd occasion, lip gloss (like the lighted mirror-containing one at the back of the picture above) slightly more frequently, but mostly lip balm.
I really like this minty one on Grove Collaborative.
16. Favorite color?
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All the blues in the sea...

17. Do you like to decorate?
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I do! My tastes run eclectic and colorful as hell, like here, which is certainly not for everybody!

18. Do you ever go barefoot when you’re outside?
Image result for barefoot on the beach
I love being barefoot! Especially when we're at the beach... nothing like it!

19. Are aliens real?
Image result for alien drinking diet coke
How the hell should I know?!

20. Does your zodiac sign fit your personality?
Image result for virgo
I don't really buy into astrology as anything more than entertainment. I find bits of myself in all 12 signs of the zodiac - and some of all the Chinese ones, too. But I do often see a lot of myself in the Virgo horoscope, like above.

21.Favorite sea animal?
Image result for tasselled wobbegong
I think right now, at this moment in time, it's the Tasselled Wobbegong, Eucrossorhinus dasypogon. Cool looking, right?

22. Are you a nice person?
Image result for practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty water
I try very, very hard to be. I don't always succeed, but I keep trying!

23. Favorite word?
Image result for fuck!
FUCK! (hee.)

24. Night or day?
Image result for night owls are more intelligent
Oh, I am a total night owl. Also, science has found that we night owls are: more creative; more intelligent; more productive; and, more successful. However, we are also more likely to be single and die early.

25. What would make you happy right now?
Image result for mast cell activation syndrome
It would thrill the shite out of me if I stopped having allergic reactions to every single thing. I mean it: everything. Every food I eat. Being too hot. Being too cold. Medications. And things are moving quickly in the wrong direction. So yeah, for 2019, which in this time zone (MST) starts in 04:12, I would really like for at least that aspect of my poor health to turn around. I just can't do it anymore!!!
So it's almost 8 PM, and I guess I better figure out the plan for New Year's Eve! Kinda late for that, but meh! Not feeling it this year.
Image result for new year's eve 2019
So, Happy New Year 2019, y'all!!!

Sunday Stealing: 65 Questions, Part The First

Welcome back to Sunday Stealing, another fun meme presented for us by Bev Sykes of "Funny the World." Link up here if you want to join us today!

Sorry for my late posting; another migraine is currently kicking my ass. But I can't stay too long away from you crew without missing you to hell and back, and so here I am. ;)


Here are questions from Savannah at The Rainbow Society
1. Do you ever doubt the existence of others than you?
Image result for alien life form funny
Well, I don't know if you meant other humans or other life forms, but I'm choosing to go with the former and say YES! For my entire life, well since I was six years old and moved from Monroe to Syracuse, New York, I have wondered how other people - even those with whom I've had close personal contact - have continued to exist when I can't be there to see them. And with 7.5 billion people on this planet?!! How can they all be going about the daily minutiae of their lives without my being there to witness it?? It boggles the mind.

2. On a scale of 1-5, how afraid of the dark are you?
Image result for scared of the dark quotes
Five. Bad things have happened to me in the dark.

3. The person you would never want to meet?
Image result for Donald Trump gif
The false "president," Donald J. Trump. I struggle to maintain my composure and manners around those whom I loathe so completely.

4. What is your favorite word?
Image result for the word pupitre
I struggle with various tics of Tourette's Syndrome, including saying random things out loud without thought, so my favorite word changes every time I spit out something new by accident! However, my long-standing most favorite word is "pupitre," which means "student desk" in Spanish. I just like how it sounds.

5. If you were a type of tree, what would you be?
Image result for beautiful red mangrove
I would be the mighty Red Mangrove tree, Rhizophora mangle, with it's millions and millions of prop roots, because:
"...The Red Mangrove belongs to the 'true mangroves'. The Red Mangrove is a strong and tough mangrove. Rhizophora mangle can handle changes in humidity, salinity, air- and water-temperature... Rhizophora mangle definitely is the most dominant mangrove on our planet. Rhizophora mangle was described for the first time in 1753 by Carolus Linnaeus."

6. When you looked in the mirror this morning what was the first thing you thought?
I thought, I wish I still looked like this from a couple two-three years ago:
Instead of migraine- and pain-laden, allergic reaction-having this:
Ugh. I look like absolute hell.

7. What shirt are you wearing?
Image result for hey baby what are you wearing
I'm wearing a white long-sleeved shirt, because I'm chilled despite the 75ºF-degree temperature outside. It's like a henley, but it's holey and open, but not too open and holey. Basically, it's comfy.

8. What do you label yourself as?
Image result for I hate labels
What Pearl B. said. ;)

9. Bright room or dark room?
Image result for funky bright room
Full brightness, day and night. Like I said, I'm scared of the dark. And I can't see. I'm both a glaucoma suspect and have just learned I've got the beginnings of cataracts in both eyes. AND I have a condition wherein the message of light and brightness are not being accessed by the brain, so I just cannot see unless every light in the house is on. It's really annoying, especially when I get the electric bill...

10. What were you doing at midnight last night?
Image result for black panther gif
I was finally watching the amazing Black Panther movie with my crew (except for Jack, who had to get up early for work today). I loved this movie! Letitia Wright, as Princess Shuri, was my absolute favorite from the cast; I felt she stole every scene she was in and looked forward to more appearances from her. Who has still not seen it? You simply must!

11. Favorite age you’ve been so far?
Mary Kay makeover
Probably 24. I got married to the absolute joy and love and light of my life, and then I met the then-second biggest joy and love and light of my life, Chloë Raine, a month early and the day before I turned 25. Marriage and motherhood are what bring me the most happiness in my life.

12. Who told you they loved you last?
002 (10)
This knucklehead, modeling his Navy issued pea coat, pretend-smoking the Meerschaum pipe he brought home from Turkey. 

13. Your worst enemy?
032 (3)

You're looking at her. I am my own worst enemy, I'm afraid.

14. What is your current desktop picture?
Week 37 of 52 - Weird
I have this capture, taken for me by Chloë, of some of our 20 newly-hatched chicks. At that time, they were being kept in a kiddie pool in our living room and learning to drink and eat from waterers and feeders. Now they've graduated to the outdoor pen. I can't wait to see what this mixed run of rare and super-rare breeds turn out to be!

15. Do you like someone?
Collage School Pix
I'm pretty fond of this crew. I am, however, not fond of their growing up entirely too rapidly. It makes my eyes wet.

16. The last song you listened to?
Image result for vivaldi four seasons
Right now I'm streaming "The Four Seasons" composed by Vivaldi via YouTube on the telly via Chromecast. Ah, technology. Before that, I was streaming a Vocal Jazz medley, but after a chorus of complaints, I switched from Jazz to Classical. There are still complaints. I am not surprised.

17. You can press a button that will make any one person explode. Who would you blow up?
Image result for green eggs and ham
I would not, could not, do that to a soul, tot... or not.

18. Who would you really like to just punch in the face?
Image result for throat punch donald trump gif
I'd really like to throat-punch this devilish duo.

19. If anyone could be your slave for a day, who would it be and what would they have to do?
004 (9)
I don't need a slave, I have these minions. And it's not just for a day, it's for LIFE. ha.

20. What is your best physical attribute? (showing said attribute is optional)
I think it depends on what my current weight is. When I'm thin, I adore my shoulders and clavicle. When I'm a bit heavier, it's my nose and eyes. I think they're okay.

21. If you were the opposite sex for one day, what would you look like and what would you do?
Image result for change is good meme
I don't even know what I'd do or look like. I guess I'd go out and get more respect at a car dealership or anywhere else considered a "man's world." And I would be pissed about it, too!

22. Do you have a secret talent? If yes, what is it?
Image result for bending the first knuckle of your fingers
Hmm, I don't know. But I can do this ^^^ on each finger of both hands. I've been doing it since I was 7 years old. I read about it just now. Apparently it's called "Swan Neck Deformity" and can be a symptom of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Both of those are concerns I might have. I guess it's better than having polydactyly, though.

23. What is one unique thing you’re afraid of?
Image result for fancy mustard
Mustard. Specifically, the smell of mustard and, even more frightening, the chance of it touching me. I just cannot even. And I make Rob watch his face and brush his teeth before he can kiss me.

24. You can only have one kind of sandwich. Every sandwich ingredient known to humankind is at your disposal.
Image result for hummus and pita
It would be a pita full of pine nut-filled hummus, sundried tomatoes, sprouts, and cucumbers. Mmm-mmm good.

25. You just found $100! How are you going to spend it?
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I'd spend 100% of the $100 on healthy, nutritious, preferably locally-sourced and organically-grown groceries for my family.

26. You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere in the world, but you have to leave immediately. Where are you going to go?
Image result for beautiful australia
Oh, I'd head straight for Australia, mate! It's long been a dream of mine and it's on the top of my Bucket List to go there.

27. An angel appears out of Heaven and offers you a lifetime supply of the alcoholic beverage of your choice. “Be brand-specific” it says.
Image result for endless mai tais
Okay, that's just weird, but I'll play along: I'd have endless Mai Tais. Mmm, so delish. I think I like them even better than piña coladas, which is surely saying something! The first time I remember having a Mai Tai was in a dive bar near the beach, when we lived in Virginia Beach. I forget what it was called, but it was for a mystery shop. Rob probably had a Colorado Bulldog, and I decided to order a Mai Tai. The bartender served it with a wedge of orange, pineapple, and a red, yellow, and orange cherry. I was hooked from there.

28. You discover a beautiful island upon which you may build your own society. You make the rules. What is the first rule you put into place? 
Image result for ban on smoking
Of course, I would ban all smoking of any kind, including vaping. No one can smoke anything. My island, my rules! ;)

29. What is your favorite expletive?
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Probably "fuck," although I have a pretty good curse-word lexicon, and I'm not afraid to use it. People may think that exhibits my stupidity, but I know intelligence has nothing to do with cursing.

30. Your house is on fire. You have just enough time to run in there and grab ONE inanimate object. Don’t worry, your loved ones and pets have already made it out safely. So what’s the one thing you’re going to save from that blazing inferno?
Image result for pretty laptop
Well, this sounds like I'm coming home from somewhere to find this fire, so I know I would already have my purse and phone with me. I always do. So... I guess I'd grab my laptop. Lots of info on there I wouldn't want to lose.
Well, phew! That was quite a long one and took me a long time to answer! But it was fun; thanks, Bev.
Hope y'all have a great week.

Saturday 9: Magic

I feel like I haven't blogged in ages, thanks to our move to Idaho (we're leaving in 3.5 days!), but I needed to post something - anything - tonight. Here we are! Link up HERE if you're playing along today.


Saturday 9: Magic (1980)

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

1) This 1980 video depicts Olivia Newton-John as a performer in small club. For the past few years, she's been performing regularly at the Flamingo in Las Vegas. Have you ever been to Las Vegas?

I went a long time ago once, in December 1998 I believe, with a long-ago friend. We're no longer on good terms and so that's all I want to think about that!

2) Many tourists who want to get away from the glitz of Vegas travel less than 20 miles to visit Red Rock Canyon. This national park is known for its hiking trails, which provide a view of the desert flora and red rock peaks. Tell us about a time you were impressed by natural beauty.

Image may contain: sky, tree, outdoor and nature

My phone photos of the moon never turn out well, but one thing I will miss about living in Miami is seeing the moon or the sun shine against the tallest palm trees. I try to witness and take the time for noticing the beauty of the world in every opportunity, but maybe that's more a function of my naive nature than an intentional act...

3) One of the best-reviewed restaurants in Las Vegas is Andiamo Italian Steak House. When you order a steak, how do you request it be cooked: rare, medium rare, medium, medium well or well done?

I can't really answer this now, because I haven't had a steak since early in 1995, but when I did eat it back in the day I liked it so rare it was nearly mooing!

4) Olivia Newton-John's father was an officer in MI5, the UK's secret service. Sam's most recent encounter with the law didn't have much drama or intrigue: she asked a cop for directions to the highway. Tell us about the last time you spoke to an officer of the law.

Despite my attempts to quit, I am still addicted to Diet Coke, so I see the same cluster of local officers several times a week among my multiple hops into either Racetrac or 7-11. Funny, though, I never learned any of their names.

5) ONJ was awarded the OBE -- Order of the British Empire -- by Queen Elizabeth in honor of her contributions to the arts. Here's your opportunity to boast. What is something you've done lately that you received praise for?

Not myself, since pretty much all I've done lately is sit in the middle, of this chaotic apartment life directing traffic, but my younger daughter Sophia. She hadn't ridden a horse since her Lacey bucked her off and she landed with a broken wrist last July 1st. Last night, Hubs took her for her final ride on Lacey before we leave town, and she did so well (I hear)! Her instructor told me she was "Amazing!!!" and did better than anyone expected with no problems. Sophie couldn't stop grinning and hugging me when she got back from the farm.  She half-whispered to me, "Mom, I still remembered what to do." I can't wait to get her installed at a farm in Idaho to pick back up her showjumping skills!

6) A breast cancer survivor, Olivia helped found a cancer center in her hometown of Melbourne, Australia. When you think of Australia, what comes to mind?

Visiting Australia is my Number One Bucket List item, so I think of many things: diving the Great Barrier Reef (if any is left by the time I get to go), the Sydney Opera House, the Outback, marsupials and... this is stupid... Crocodile Dundee! haha! ;)

7) "Magic" was one of the top-selling records of 1980. Also that year, Post-It notes debuted. Do you enjoy shopping for office supplies, or do you consider it a chore?

Goodess, gracious me! I love shopping for office and school supplies so much, I got a little tingle of excitement just answering this question! I'm a complete nerd, because I get a real charge about using a brand-new pen or pencil, opening a fresh pack of paper, using a new binder with dividers and labels... what's not to love?

8) In 1980, the NASA space probe returned the first photos of Saturn back to earth. Do you believe intelligent life forms from other planets are  trying to learn more about us?

I'm firmly in the I'll-Believe-It-When-I-See-It camp, but of course I do believe Earth is not the only planet capable of having intelligent life forms in the universe.whether they're trying to learn about Team Earth or not is a different matter altogether, one I'd decide by observation instead of hypothesizing.

 9) Random question: Are you more confident in your looks or your intelligence?

I'm not very confident in either! I feel like whatever I had in the past is rapidly disappearing since I turned 40 last September. It's probably psychological, but it I feel like my wrinkles are having wrinkles, and I don't mean in a good, cerebral way! Rob and I have talked about the possibility of my having the start of what will turn out to be some form of dementia, actually. It's scary knowing or even thinking that. As for my looks, eh. Every year past age 33 is Bonus Round time for me, so I don't care too much about aging. That's a total lie; I'm as van as Snow White's stepmother!


I'm going to close abruptly since Hubs' laptop keeps shutting down in the middle of this post. Thanks for stopping by!! Sayonara, in case I don't get a chance to post for a while..!


Sunday Stealing: The Ice-Breaker Meme

Here we are again! Link up here if you're playing along today.


Cheers to all of us thieves!

Sunday Stealing: The Icebreaker Questions

  1. Are you loud, outgoing or shy?

Image result for be all the things funny

No, see, I am all the things! It just depends on when, where, and with whom! I'm extremely introverted and shy around people I don't know or have just met, but when I'm completely comfortable and warmed up to you, watch out world! 

  1. What’s coming up where you’ll see an old friend?

 Stacy Uncorked

Coming up: After we move to Idaho, I'm totally going to have a meetup with Stacy from Stacy Uncorked, who lives in the general area! I've read her blog for years, so I'm truly excited. I think she is a kindred spirit... And she is making me wine that she crafted herself! Whee!

Carey and Melanie

Yesterday: I met Carey for the first time, after knowing her online for 13 years!! We both live in South Florida now (neither did when we met) but have kept missing each other at various times. Finally, it was meant to be at the Miami Women's Rally to stand in solidarity with the Women's March on Washington, D.C. (It was pretty epic, by the way. Stay tuned for more on that in a future post.)

  1. Are you easy to get along with?

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Nope. Next!

  1. Have you ever given up on someone, but then gone back to them?

Image result for my dad is a narcissistic sociopath

 Does it count if I'm talking about my father, a Narcissist in the truest sense of the word? (Like the Mango Mussolini we now have in the White House.) I have such a complicated relationship with the man. The older I get, the more I'm able to separate myself from his words and opinions that used to cut me to the core, but every so often he gets a good dig in without even realizing what a dick asshole motherfucker jerk he is to people who are no longer of real use to him. But because I lost my mom as a little girl, I have cut him out of my life only to find I really still needed a parent. Like I said,... complicated.

  1. Who was the last person that you had a deep conversation with?


This girl!! At 15 years, 4 months old, my daughter Chloë has turned into quite the logistics professor. She can be irrational - who can't? - on the odd occasion, but for the most part, she is great to have a discussion with. It's wonderful that she is turning into a feminist who stands up for herself, I think. We discussed Women and/in Politics.

  1. Are you okay with being in a big crowd?

Image result for lost in a crowd funny

 I'd rather be in a big crowd than in front of one, so sure. I do not like the feeling of being trampled or having taller people (which is nearly everyone) looming over me, so I do try to keep some illusion of personal space about me.

  1. Do you believe in luck and/or miracles?

 Good luck Funny Picture

I guess. I'm feeling a little disheartened right now because of our (the United States') current political landscape, but there is a small spark of hope. I think it will take a miracle to turn this ship around. There are so many hotbutton issues right now that have people arguing, and here I am. I feel like I want to get a bullhorn and shout everywhere, "IT'S THE CLIMATE CHANGE, STUPID!" 

  1. What good thing happened during the summer? (It’s good to think about summer when you are freezing your butt off in January.)


Technically, it's Winter right now, but we don't seem to acknowledge that here in Miami. This picture is from Thursday, when we went to our community pool. My rheumatologist, who had all but forbidden me from stepping out in the daylight, gave me the go-ahead to walk in the pool close to sundown.  The exercise is necessary and good, the sun doesn't affect me as much then, and the water has been warmed by hour's worth of sunshine. Except... it wasn't. The pool was freezing!! Nonetheless, I got all the way in and even swam three full lengths underwater, despite being grossly out of shape when it comes to my respiration. I was completely worn out throughout the evening and the next day, but I could do that 2-3 times a week and yoga/pilates/meditation 2-3 days a week. How I've missed the water!

(P.S. My son would like you to know that despite her Amazonian height, he is nearly 14 and is the "big" brother to Sophia, aged 11.)

  1. Do you think there is life on other planets?

Image result for life on other planets

I believe it is certainly plausible and yet remains to be seen. Or not!

  1. Who was your first crush on?

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 Dennis Boyce, in 4th and 5th grades. He was a blonde-haired, blue-eyed cutie. He's married a friend of mine now. I haven't seen him, nor really thought about him, in years.

  1. What are your bad habits?

Image result for vices funny

The mother of all my vices is that I am nothing if not self-indulgent. I'm impatient. I like what I like, I know what I want, and I want it now. It leads to many an argument that starts something like me going, "Today, maybe?" to my husband and him replying, "I did not know you meant right now." I answer, "Have you met me?!" and we're off to the races kids! I'm not proud of it. 

  1. What’s your favorite part of your daily routine?

Image result for getting the mail funny

Getting the mail! Or a really good e-mail, even. Oh, wait, no - on Mondays thru Fridays, it's watching Jeopardy! with my husband. For over 16 years now, that has been our weeknightly date. We bet on the Final Round and everything. I wonder who's winning...

  1. Other than your significant other, who are you most comfortable with?


♥ These turdburglars, who allow me to be who I am at all times and still love me at the end! ♥

  1. Has an ex ever told you that they regret breaking up?

 Image result for past relationships funny

Sure, if i think about it. Not really anything that matters to me now, so I don't think of it.

  1. Why should your celebrity crush drop everything to be with you?

 Image result for Matt Damon family

Look at that beautiful family! Look at mine! He should not.

  1. What would be the hardest to give up and why? Books. TV. Music.

 Image result for Giving up funny stuff for lent

Music. I grew up with some kind of noise always on, whether it be my three older sisters' boomboxes (hee!) or the perpetual drone of the television. As a result, I am uncomfortable with quietude, so I always have something on for noise. However, when we move, I'm going to make an intentional effort to turn it off for as long as I can each day, or have a separate space far from my computer anyway. It's important, I recently read, for kids to have a quiet space where they can feel comfortable with the noiselessness. I'm on board with that.

  1. Do you believe in second chances?

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Sure. If they are truly remorseful and express that by more than just saying a quick, mumbled "sorry," I'm generally willing to forgive. But I rarely forget.

  1. What would like to do next in your life?


Successfully move all 13 of us from Miami, Florida to Boise, Idaho! Coming attractions to look for in March 2017, woot! 

  1. What’s the meanest thing that anyone has ever said to you?

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From my father after my "Identical Twin Son 'A," Robby died: "Maybe your body just wasn't put together right to have children."

From dozens upon dozens of people ever since, as though he was the booby prize or maybe Robby would have been: "At least you still have Jack."

A year after that, from a friend I have since forgiven: "When are you going to get over that 'dead baby' thing?"

All were equally devastating, but more cruel than straight-up mean.

  1. What’s the nicest thing that anyone has ever said to you?

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My daughter Chloë, was then 12, told me this: "It's okay, Mom. I understand," sometime in the weeks after my husband's 13-hour surgery to remove a brain tumor. Rob was home from the hospital by then, but he wasn't "back" yet, and it was like raising another - more difficult - child. Plus he was in pain, so I had to work to keep that at bay. And no one was helping me out with the laundry or dishes or any of that, and I just completely lost my shit one day. I excused myself to take a "time-out," and then I called them all in to apologize for my bad behavior. Her words were so kind and needed.

What a refreshing way to end, rather than on the penultimate question! Thanks for stopping by!


An Interview With My Father

My friend Cyndi, who lost her beloved father in recent years, posted this interview on her Facebook timeline. Since my own father is now nearly 73, I told her I would jump on it and interview my own dad. Below, you'll find that interview. I enjoyed reading his answers. Maybe you will, also.

* * *

From: Melanie Odette

 Sent: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 2:31 PM

 To: Bob Simmons



[Questions from Brendon Burchard]
1. What comes to mind when you think about growing up in Staten Island, New York?
My grandma living around the corner from us, and my frequent visits to see her
The many honorary “aunts and uncles” I had, who weren’t relatives at all, but my parents’ friends and contemporaries, who were always nice and generous to me
Our local public school. P.S. 36  (K-8) and the family atmosphere present there, thanks to a great principal, Mr. Grimshaw, wonderful teachers, and an active PTA who associated and integrated so well with the school, and the close friendships my mother developed with the other mothers of my classmates.
The small town, “everybody knows everbody,” atmosphere in Annadale.
2. What did you love to do as a kid, before high school?
I had a handful of close friends, and liked playing with them.  Was particularly close with a boy named Brian, who I pal’ed around with for several years.
We traded comic books, and I shared my quarter allowance with him.  He was more athletic than I was, but we still played sports together.
We went to the movies a lot...my mom, dad and me.
We went to the public pool in Tompkinsville, SINY, often, when I was a kid.
I loved going to Point Pleasant, NJ for almost the whole summer when my dad worked there often. That went on for several years.  We even went there on vacation when it wasn’t work related.  Beyond Annadale, it was my favorite place, growing up.
I started building models when I was 8, and built an average of one a week.
I had a girlfriend of sorts....Barbara....who I liked for several years.  She was in my class...she died of cancer in 2010.
3. What did you love to do in high school?
Look at the girls...lol
Pal around with my best friend, Glenn  (who is now sickly, married for the 5th time, and living in Edgewater, FL)  We were VERY mischievious together. Played lots of practical jokes together.
Listen to rock and roll, especially Elvis.
Sneaking in some driving whenever the opportunity presented itself.
4. What do remember most about your teenage years?
I was a bit of a nerd in high school....decent student....mostly honor roll, but wanted to be thought of as “one of the guys.”  I dressed like Fonzie when I was in high school.
I hung around with 2 or 3 different crowds....Glenn and that bunch, but others from Annadale, as well.  Mostly older than me...didn’t fit in well.
I smoked then.
I liked school....fooled around a lot out of class; was strictly business in class.
Being a bit distant from my family...less interested in family outings.
Arguing with my dad over college vs, becoming a harbor pilot.  (did neither).
5. What do you remember most about your mom (my grandma)?
My mother was saintly to me. She was also very pretty. She was well liked by everyone. She was the one person I could count on to help me.
She cooked well, and kept a nice clean and neat house.  I sort of attribute my fastidiousness to her; but I was seldom pushed. I cleaned up on my own.
Grandma Simmons lived with Uncle Bill and Aunt Elsie when I came along. She was quiet and unassuming...she did jigsaw puzzles and we played dominoes together whenever we visited.  She died in 1952, in Pennsylvania, when I was 10.
Grandma Schneider lived around the corner from us.  I visited her almost daily. She was a simple woman; not worldly at all. She was a great cook; mostly German foods. She was 21 years younger than my grandfather, and raised his 2 teenage kids, who respected her as their mother.
She died in 1970, at 89.
6. What was most important to her?
To my mother?  To stabilize our home, and keep peace and harmony since my dad struggled with depression, and to see to it that I behaved decently.
She also was devoted and dedicated to her church (the church I grew up in.) and she was committed to making life as pleasant as possible for my dad.
She didn’t work outside the home, but she shouldered all the domestic duties, except taking care of the car and the yard. (My dad did that.) She managed the family finances, as it upset my dad too much to do it.
7. What do you remember most about your dad (my grandpa)?
My grandpa Simmons died in 1939, before I was born, from injuries sustained in a car accident.
My grandpa Schneider died when I was 2.  I have no recollection of him at all.
My dad was kind of serious...a shy man, publically, but had a small, but close circle of friends and contemporaries, whose company he enjoyed.
He was very protective of me (too much, really....both my parents were that way).
He liked to fix up old cars as a sort of hobby, but the cars he fixed were also his daily driver. Not uncommon to have 2 or 3 different cars in a year. We had quite an assortment over the years.   He wouldn’t let me touch his tools.  I had to watch from a distance.   He was very mechanically inclined....had an engineering mentality.....also a voracious reader.  He could read a 400 page book in a night!  We made an almost weekly trip to the library in Tottenville, SINY. He’d take out 4 or 5 books each week, and read every one of them!
He was as introverted as I was extroverted, and we turned those qualities ( also mentioned above about him) into a car buying duo by the time I was 11 or 12.
If he saw a car he was interested in..in the paper...I’d make the inquiry calls, and we’d go look at them together, and if he wanted one, he’d nod to me, and I would negotiate the deal.   I even got to drive the new purchase home!
While the 3 of us (mom, dad and me) went to the pool in Tompkinsville as a family, quite often, I went just as often with only my dad.  That was fun.
My dad had a “green thumb,” so our shrubs, trees and flowers always bloomed and looked very nice.
8. What was most important to him?
In a nutshell...that I eventually become a Sandy Hook Pilot. That was his main and only vicarious dream for me.
He also was a staunch Republican, so keeping Democrats out of office was important to him.  He didn’t like government much, and resented any intrusion into his business, especially as it may have involved our home.
9. If Grandma and Grandpa had a message to you and their grandchildren, what do you think it is?
Do your best in life. That’s as much as you can do. Be happy with simple things.  Be content with what you have.
10. How did you meet Mom and know she was the one?
As you know, I’ve been married 5 times; but only once happily....to your mother.  I won’t discuss the other 4; there was little that was much good, that I’d care to recall, much less discuss.
I met your mother in 1970, as a result of a sort of pre-Internet dating service in Manhattan.
I bought a “skeptics’ list of 13 names, addresses and phone numbers for 20 dollars, based on criteria that I enumerated as important to me.
I dated each one, in order of appearance on the list, once each.  Your mother was about the 6th or 7th on the list.  I went no further. She was the one! We were inseparable from then on, and I proposed (and your mother accepted) on our third date. We married a year to the day after we met.  I’ve never regretted it...ever.
We just fit together like a hand in a glove....
11. How did you choose your career and what was your favorite part about it?
I didn’t choose it....I just sort of fell into it.   I capitulated to my dad, and enlisted in the Coast Guard right out of high school....much to my regret.  He wanted me to become a Sandy Hook Pilot so badly he could “taste” it.  I went along, as sort of my caste birthright.
I became involved with wife #1 midway between my active duty status, in 1961.  We were...mmm...”active” almost from the beginning...sexual roulette...really.
When I was separated from active duty in 1962, I assumed that I would begin the apprenticeship right away. My sponsor advised me otherwise, and suggested I go to school or take a job until called.
I took a job as a bank teller with a large New York bank to wait out my time, until I would be called.
When wife #1 became expectant, we married (seemed like the only right thing to do.) My dad was horrified, as were most of our parents and extended family and friends.  Without any consultation with my dad or others, I gave up my place as a pilot candidate on the advice of my sponsor.
Therein began my “career” in financial services.
For me, there was little to like....but I was proud to have made it into bank management, in 10 years, without a degree. Even in the 1970s, that was an accomplishment.
Later, in the insurance business, I was proud of my sales successes in my very early years.
12. What made you successful at work?
Tenacity, and determination that I would not be precluded from management despite not having a degree.  I was very orderly and organized then, and could easily catch on to banking principles....I worked at it, and worked hard....(as opposed to long hours;  I’m a working quarter horse; not a long distance runner thoroughbred)  I skipped lunch often....took banking courses at AIB  (American Institute of Banking), and asked questions.  I was a fast learner, and I made several strategic moves, whenever I felt I was in a dead end situation.
13. What did you believe about yourself that helped you become successful and deal with hard times?
I trusted in my native intelligence to get through.  I was never satisfied to lie within a comfortable status quo.  I had wanted to become an officer in the military, and was damned if I would be denied that in business.  Once divorced from #1, and happily married to your mother, I made quantum leaps in my career.
14. What times in your life truly “tested your mettle,” and what did you learn about yourself by dealing (or not dealing) with them?
Without a doubt, your mother’s passing was undisputedly the most difficult experience of my life.  I didn’t deal with it well or intelligently, and made some very poor decisions in the aftermath of her passing.
15. What three events most shaped your life?
Resigning my candidacy as a Sandy Hook Pilot, thereby relegating me, owing to family responsibilities, to a career I would not have otherwise chosen.
Meeting and marrying your mother.  My single best life decision up to this point.
Your mother’s passing set the stage for a decline in my life’s fortunes, lasting to this day.
16. What do you remember about when each of us was born?
Stacey came first, and prior to her birth, I shared your mother’s happiness at becoming parents.
I enjoyed decorating what was to become the room you shared in the Monroe house.
Stacey was born with huge almond shaped eyes. I’ll always remember that.  She was a good baby; never any trouble.
You were born with claims of birth related problems. (leave it at that for now).  They were quickly and completely healed in Christian Science.
You seemed to be smiling all the time....you were a very happy child; but would not go to sleep at night!  Night times were tough when you were a baby.
I remember carrying both of you in my arms and walking and talking, with both of you, often.
17. Were you ever scared to be a parent?
No....reluctant, at first, to go around again, after my first miserable foray into marriage and parenthood...but never scared.
18. What three words would you say represented your approach to parenting and why?
Loving discipline....(essential for getting along in this world),  early learning skills, for the same reasons....reasonably cordial interaction with others....again, for the same reasons.
19. When you think about {your sibling}, how would you describe him?
I have no brothers or sisters.   Only vicarious observations of you and Stacey together.
20. What message do you have for {your sibling} that you want him to always keep in mind?
Doesn’t apply to me.
21. When you think about Mom, how would you describe her?
The only spouse I care to think about would be your mother, and I thought of her as the ideal, quintessential mate for me. We interacted effortlessly.  Never any awkwardness between us, or ever any doubt that there wouldn’t be lasting happiness between us. She was smart as a whip, and innovative, supportive and helpful to me.  We had a lot of fun together. She was perfect for me.
22. What message do you have for [spouse] that you want her/him to always keep in mind?
To Rest In Peace....that I wish I could have saved you; would do things differently, if given the opportunity.
23. What three words would you say best describe who you tried to be in life and how you want to be remembered?
I like to be thought of as Humorous....funny sense of humor......Loyal to family and friends, and Compassionate  (to those I deem deserving of compassion.)
There certainly might be others, but those 3 come to mind.   Warm, Tender, Loving....might best fit as it may apply to a love interest.
24. When they think about their careers, what do you want your children to focus on?
Doing something that interests you, and that hopefully you are good at, and enjoy.  Being unscrupulously honest  (even with government and taxes, though they may not deserve that kind of integrity much of the time), and giving more than is expected and giving it cheerfully.
25. What have you learned about other people in life? 
That there all kinds.  It’s impossible to pigeon-hole people into a few small categories, accurately. Humanity is complex...changeable, yet static...vulnerable, opportunistic yet compassionate.  Human life can be hard, and some people handle the vagaries of life better than others.  Life is short....yet we fail to recognize that when dealing with our fellow man.
26. What do you think the world needs more of right now?
Leadership!  Morality!  Integrity!  Honesty!  Honoring time tested (and well proven) social, civil and financial values.  Civility....toughness....
27. What do you believe people want the most in life?
I now tend to believe that as technology evolves...faster and faster all the time, that people [silently] yearn for a slower, gentler, more predictable life. I also believe that too many people want financial equality given to them, without earning it.  I am afraid of the creeping liberalism/socialism of this age.   I’m not sure many people truly do know what they want in life.
28. What were the three best decisions you’ve ever made?
I’d say for every good decision I’ve ever made, I’ve made 3 bad or unwise ones...but, up until this point...right now....#1 would have been marrying your mother, #2 might have been this move south, in 1994,  and perhaps #3 might be to have stayed the course with Christian Science, as it has both healed me, and guided me through some treacherous times in my life....not always quickly or easily, but always with an eventual good outcome.
29. What are you most proud of in life?
You and your sister, and how well both of you have turned out in life.
30. What were five of the most positive moments of your life?
Wow! Five??   Becoming Salutatorian of my class when I “graduated” from primary/elementary school from the 8th grade.
Graduating high school in the top quartile of my class of about 250
Meeting and marrying your mother
Becoming dad to you and Stacey  (equal weight to both of you.)
Being told numerous times, by many kids, that I was the best, and their favorite, substitute teacher.
31. What message would you like to share with your family?
That these are tough, complex, difficult times for our country and the world.  Values are constantly being degraded and eroded. Morality and decency is derided as racist and a hate crime....stick to the truths and values you were exposed to growing up....learn from my many mistakes....stick with your family, and don’t believe everything you’re told.
Be compassionate and caring....work hard and be as independent as possible. Take nothing for granted and be grateful for everything that’s good in life, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant.  Don’t trust government to do what is right without having to make them constantly accountable for their actions.
32. What are you most thankful for?
I want to be forward thinking, and looking, when I answer this last question.  I think that the things I have been most thankful for, in my past, have already been acknowledged several times in several questions.  Certainly I am always thankful that we three....you, Stacey, and me, share very warm and loving family ties right now.....very very joyously do I realize that.  I’m thankful, that despite much heartache, and many tough times, I’ve managed to survive it all, and [I] live a relatively stress-free life right now....perhaps not as full and rich (beyond money) as I might hope for, but OK.....there is one special thing.....right now, though, that has brought me much peace and joy this year, since the early months of the year.  A lady I met online in 2012, who had simply been a warm and close friend, with whom I could discuss nearly anything and everything, has become my love object and interest....my very significant other.  Moreover, I think it’s safe to say that she perceives me the same way.  We share a very special and unique kind of relationship, and I have little reason to suspect that that will change....ever. It may be a bit premature to say so, but I don’t think so.  There are life details that both of us need to complete and clear up, but I see bright times and happy days on the horizon.
Right now...with all else I have to be grateful for....I’m particularly grateful for her.
* * *
Thanks for doing the interview, Dad. I enjoyed reading your answers and learning more about your background. I only wish I could get answers for Mom, too.


An Open Letter Of Thanks To #Campbells

Dear Campbells,

I tweeted you on Twitter recently about my experience at a local Publix grocery store about a month ago: I had purchased some Campbell's soups, and when I got home to open one of them (because broccoli cheese soup is YUM), it was gross and moldy inside.

Someone from your company promptly responded to my tweet, with an offer to make it right if I'd message back with my mailing address. So, of course, I did, though I'd already gotten my dollar back for the soup and no one was hurt in the process.

I didn't really know what to expect, but what I got in the mail was three $2 coupons and one $1 coupon for any items in the Campbell's family of products.

I was extremely grateful for the $7 in Campbell's products, and I want you to know why.  I was able to go to Walmart a day or two later and get a carton of Swanson chicken broth, two Homestyle cans of Campbell's soup, and a can of Cream of Chicken condensed soup. Not only did I get this for free, but I got change back since Walmart allows overage (26¢, to be exact).

Why did this mean so much to me? you may be wondering. And I'm going to tell you, so you can understand the extent of my sincerest gratitude.

My husband retired from 20 years of service in the U.S. Navy in May of this year. He went on terminal leave in March, and we moved from Virginia to Florida at that time. He has been searching for a job ever since, here in Florida. We are a family of five, with three kids under 12, so there are plenty of mouths to feed.

Once the Active Duty pay stopped and retirement pay kicked in on June 1, reality hit, and it hit hard.  Military pay rates are available for public knowledge, so if you want to know, look for retirement pay for an enlisted sailor at E6 with 20 years of service.

It's not a lot. It's really paltry, and a little bit shameful and pathetic, if you ask me. But you didn't, so I won't dwell on my feelings about it. Suffice it to say, we can pay our rent but really don't make enough money for anything else. In August, for example, I had exactly $100 to pay for food for the entire month.

In the middle of this current job hunt, my husband's previously-harmless brain tumor started exhibiting symptoms that necessitated several hospital stays and five treatments of Cyberknife Radiation Surgery. He's fine now, thankfully, but it was quite scary there for a while. Our insurance no longer covers co-pays, so we can't afford his follow-up MRI to see how the tumor has changed since the Cyberknife treatments, but we're confident things are going well in that head of his.

This is a long story, I know, but I wanted to tell you all of this to illustrate how very important that simple-to-you-but-not-to-us gesture was, of sending $7 in coupons, during this time of dire need for our family. We are so grateful for your help, since you provided a meal for each of my kids' hungry bellies.

I thank you, and my husband thanks you.



Dearly Beloved, Episode I Don't Know

Yep, it's time again for another edition of letters-to-whomever; I just hope I can remember everyone I wanted to address, because I store these things in the ol' cranium until I spit them out here on this page. So, with that, let's have at it, shall we then?


Dear Next-Door Neighbor,

You know, leaf blowers have to be the stupidest invention ever, but think about it: We live in connected townhouses, and the grass that you've mowed in your postage-stamp size front yard that you're now blowing OUT of said yard? Um, guess where it's going? Right. MY driveway and yard. I don't really give a feck, because leaving grass clippings on the lawn is good for it, and it'll rain in five minutes and wash away off the driveway anyway, but still. What if we had one, too? Where do you think it would go? Shall we play dueling leaf blowers? Gah. Give it a rest. It's bad enough you share your lovely ciggy smoke with us and keep me from leaving my windows open for some fresh air.


The Chick Who Always Looks at You With One Eyebrow Raised


Dear Clueless Drivers,

For the LOVE OF GOD, it's now Hurricane Season, and the downpours have begun in Hampton Roads; turn on your damn lights!! There's nothing I love more (not) than not being able to see you until it's almost too late to keep from crashing into you, or vice versa, because you're too stupid to realize you're practically invisible in a deluge without your headlights ablaze. Turn. Them. On.


Woulda Failed You on Your Driving Test


Dear Thoughtless Drivers,

It's late Spring, which means the growing families with their multiple ducklings and goslings are all over the neighborhood, especially by the lakes. I realize they don't always get out of your way fast enough, but have a heart and don't mow them down. There's a special place in Hell for those of you who intentionally swerve your car to hit a Mallard or Canada goose who isn't moving fast enough for your tastes. And while I'm on the subject, the nabe speed limit is 25, not 50. Kids abound in these streets and sidewalks. Take it down a notch, will ya? This ain't the autobahn.


Would Rather Not Find ANY Offspring Squished in the Street, Thanks


Dear 7-11 Lady,

I realize tactfulness is not a prominent trait amongst Asians and Hispanics alike, generally speaking, but telling me "You've gotten fat! You gain a lot of weight! Look at my body, I have five children and my body never change!" is not exactly the way to win people over. And FYI, it's not fat, it's called a HERNIA. I have no control over my belly sticking out, until I get it fixed. Geez. Thanks for ruining what was otherwise a pretty swell day.


Taken Aback


Dear Morning Radio DJ-ess,

The Dude carries the show. Have you ever listened to yourself? Every other so-called comment out of your mouth is, "Mm-hmm!" Really? Give me the job. I can think of a few more things to say than that 87 times an hour.


The Dumb One Who Listens to You Anyway


To My Bosom:

Pick a hemisphere, preferably the Northern one, please. And while we're talking, can I just say, would the two of you decide whether you're going to pop out the top of my bras or the bottom? Not knowing where you're going to show up next is disconcerting at best.


You (Don't) Lift Me Up


Dear Stupid People,

You know who you are. Oh, wait. You probably don't. I guess it really isn't your fault, then, so let me just paraphrase Shakespeare and say I'm not going to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent. When you hear me going, "Yeah. Uh-huh. Mm-hmm," like a certain afore-mentioned radio DJ, that's me really thinking, "You're too much of an idiot to warrant a proper retort from me."


Rolling Eyes Heavenward


Dear New Neighbor Lady,

Yeah. You have neighbors now, and have you seen our driveway? It's a nightmare, but still, you don't own it. For Pedro's S8ake, PLEASE pull forward, or park somewhere else, anywhere but the exact point where I can neither get in nor out without ripping something off the bottom of my van. I swear, if you're parked thataways again today when I bring over another load of household wares, you're going to see me knocking on your door with a saccharine smile, asking you to Move. It. Now. And that won't be a basket of muffins I'm carrying. Just sayin'.


Really Now.

Dear AT&T Tech Support Guy,

You are my new hero. When my iPhone went down for two days, and I was stuck borrowing Chloë's Crapberry, it was sheer misery. I hated every second of it. All of y'all out there using a Blackberry who have never had an iPhone, I pity you. I do. Do yourselves a favor and switch, because your phones suck hairy butt. And that is not fun.


An Apple A Day Keeps The BlackBerry Away

On that note, I have to do something that involves all the prunes I ate last night, ahem, so I'm going to close this edition and, uh, grab a magazine. Hee!


Dear Mr. So-And-So

I've tried about 15 times to go lie down and get to sleep, but I can't seem to get there, so I thought it was time for another long-awaited episode of open letters to whomever I think of next. Ready? Set? Go!

Dear Mamacita,

Happy 72nd birthday! Thank you for being such an inspiring and informative woman, but, more to the point, thank you for giving birth to the one and only true love of my life. He, and thus you, are the source of all happinesses I have experienced in the past eleven years.

May it be a blessed, fantastic year ahead for you.



Dear Sheriff Who Pulled Me Over on the Way Home From the Hospital Tonight,

You kick big butt. Thank you for letting me off with a warning, after I blocked an intersection in my hurry to get home and pick up the kids from Jenny From The Block's house. It was the best possible thing that could have happened today, other than not getting pulled over at all. But, since I was going 65 in a 40 on the way to the hospital earlier, I'm lucky, grateful, and glad.


Not The Best Driver (But Don't Tell My Husband I Admitted It) (or my insurance co.)

P.S. Thank you, too, to the nice lady who let me back in the crazy Effingham-to-tunnel traffic instead of making me sit there 'til Kingcom Come. You rock, too.

Dear Cavernous Angioma in My Husband's Cerebellum,

Oh hai. Go away. You freak me out, you cause me untold amounts of stress, and I am terrified you're going to start bleeding and make all sorts of trouble we don't even know is possible yet. Thanks for being benign and stuff, but since that doesn't necessarily mean you're not harmful, I use the word "thanks" loosely. Now. Hie thee away and don't come back.


The Frantic Wife

P.S. Take all those lecunar infarctious dotty-spotties with you, eh?

Dear BFF a.k.a. Dr. Lisa a.k.a. "House,"

Thank you. If it weren't for you and your smrats, I wouldn't have insisted Rob come home from work last Friday and get to the ER, and who knows what may have happened if he hadn't? I love you, I love you, and I love you.



Dear Rob,

I'm glad you're alive. Of course I am. But I'm even more glad that, despite your strokes-or-whatever-they-are, benign brain tumor, and other cranial ailments, you're here for me to laugh with and enjoy. Remember that time you were in the hospital room with three other guys ranging from you to the quiet guy next door to the skirt-chasing Senior with whom you used to work to the gin-craving O5, and you wanted me to close the curtain so I could do naughty things to you? I wish I had. You totally deserved it. Hee. I'll getcha later. ;)

Dear Dad,

Facebook is for sharing important information, like the fact that your husband is going through the above-mentioned crises, so that the people who care can find out and, hopefully, pray. Having a stroke is not "too private an issue" to share there, IMHO. Also, have you met me? Few things are relegated to that category in my world. Also, pbbbbttthhh.


Your Disagreeing but Loving Daughter

Dear Current Doily On Which I Toil,

You're ugly, and your mama dresses you funny. As soon as I get back to you, I'm ripping you out. It might hurt, but I will be ruthless and relentless in doing so. Besides, you were meant for greater things. No, no, don't cry, it wasn't meant to be. We shall meet again, on a more suitable project. In the meantime, back to the bin you'll go.


Fearless Craftylady-type

Dear Cold From Which I Currently Suffer,

You SUCK. NOW?! Really? I needed you now? You SUCK!!

In Kleenex' Name,


Dear Hospital Kleenex,

I appreciate your three-ply softness and strength, but what is UP with that awful smell? I mean, you're meant for noses, albeit stuffy ones, so maybe come up with a non-disgusting odor for those of us who have to use you sixteen hundred times while visiting patients. Also, what's up with the design on the INSIDE ply? What purpose does that serve? Inquiring minds want to know.


Prefers Puffs Plus

Dear OOPSY on Hanging With Friends,

I beat you once. I'll do it again. It might take me another six months, but consider yourself warned.


The One Who Beat You Once Out of 75 Games :P

Dear Jenny From The Block,

Thank you for keeping my babes for me so I could visit Rob-Bobbert in the hospital. You're made of Awesomesauce, as our fellow Turtle, Donny, would say. That is all. You know I loves ya, girlfriend. Now drive safely on up to H, and be fearless in dealing with her son. You can do eet!



P.S. I hope you get to watch her surgery!!

That's all I can think of for now, and they're completely different that the 19 or so I've composed in my head since last week, so maybe I'll be back sooner than you think with another go-round.

Ciao for now!


Dearly Beloved: Part The Third

Dear Christmas,

I didn't get pictures taken this year, and I didn't send out any cards. We didn't put up any decorations and only got about a quarter of the ornaments on the tree. I didn't bake a single cookie or place a speck of glitter anywhere. And yet, you still arrived, and behold, it was good. Thanks for showing up despite my sad lack of preparation.


Remembering The Reason


Dear Robby,

It's Mama. Listen, Honey, before you were born, Daddy was "Robby." And then you came... and went, and that's what we called you since before you were even conceived, so the epithet went with you. I never called Daddy that again, because it belonged to you. But it's been almost eight years, and I've suddenly started using it for your dad again. I can't explain why. I hope you don't mind.  I'm thinking we'll be cool as long as I don't start calling him "Baby A," though, right?




To the bitchy lady in the 7-11 parking lot,

Listen, Toots, I'm sorry that my face connected with your car door that night. I'm sure it really put you out that I smashed my cheek and forehead into the door you opened up all the way, right behind me, so that I had no choice but to run into it when I turned around. But, really? Your reaction - was that so necessary? "You're the one who ran into MY car!" My face has been swollen and bruised for over a week since then. Pretty sure your car's just fine. I'm thinkin' maybe a little compassion wouldn't kill you. Might crack that tight face, though. Just sayin'.


No I'm NOT Okay, Thanks


Dear Massive Amounts of Snow Sitting Outside My Front Door,

I seriously hate you. You're keeping me from my Diet Coke and chocolate. Go away!


Thanking God for Coffee


Dear Checking Account Balance,

Stop being so negative already. Think positive!


Broke as a Joke


Dear Readers,

You rock. You're awesome. All dozen of you. (I know, I'm loaded with fans!) I could use a little pick-me-up right now, so maybe leave a "hi" in the comments for me? I swear it will help.





Dearly Beloved, Parte Dos


Dear Miami Hurricanes,

Please don't suck against the FSU Seminoles tonight, like you did a few weeks ago against the Ohio State Buckeyes. I'm sorry I'm not there in person to root for you in this game of games, but please, don't let me down.  Now that I've decided to keep up with you again, get out there and kick some boo-tay!


A Loyal Alumna


Dear Seminoles,


Also, this.


A Loyal Talla-hater


Dear Contact Lenses,

It really doesn't work when you jump out of your cases and get mixed up. Then I can't even see to fix you. Well, unless I close one eye and cross the other, tilting my head a little to the side. And you know what? I really can't drive that way.


The Moron Who Refuses To Take Responsibility


Dear Father of Two Cute Boys,

You're handsome and all, and I know I'm pretty much adorable right now, but I saw that ring on your finger. Did you see the one on mine? Keep it in your pants.


Not Gonna Happen


Dear Diet Coke,

I'm going to leave my husband for you, and we'll make beautiful babies together. It'll be historical, a human-carbonated beverage mating. Our kids will probably be sterile, but delicious. What do you think?

Yours Truly,

The Addict


Dear Hubs,

When you run out of gas once, it's understandable and forgiveable.  When you run out of gas the second time in the same week, it's a lot more annoying. And then the third time, an hour after the last time, when you're on your way home for my shrink appointment, that I'm now going to miss? Maybe you shouldn't be so surprised when I'm a little bit pissed. I'm just sayin'.


The Ol' Ball and Chain

P.S. I totally waited over a half-hour for the kids to wake up, before I came to rescue you. Sorry.


Dear Money,

Please jump into my wallet.


Broke Mama


Dearly Beloved, Parte Uno

Dear Self,

Please remember to put clothes on the children - especially shirts on the girls - when you want to take pictures of them to post here on le blahg, so you don't have to do this in Paint:



Also, it's probably a good idea to start thinking about switching out the Summer clothes for Fall, now that it's almost October. Just sayin'.




Dear Navy,


I LOVE this uniform on the hubs. Thanks for making the switch.


Amorous Housewife


Dear Rob,

Wear the hat when you come home, too. I promise you won't regret it.


Heh Heh Heh


Dear ALL Men,

Was I invisible when I had an extra 200 pounds on me? Because I swear you all didn't run to open doors for me like you do now. I mean, I appreciate it and all, but chivalry doesn't stop over a certain BMI, you know?


Former Chubster


Dear New Therapist,

I can tell you're seriously great at what you do and all, but can you try to be a little less judgy in the process? It's not exactly what I'm going for.

Also, would it kill you to crack a smile when I'm making my stupid jokes, once in a while? I promise I don't really duct tape my children to their beds at night.

And one more thing: Seriously? You got stuck in traffic three out of the last three times I had an appointment with you? My time is valuable, also. Maybe leave earlier? Just a thought.


The One Who Cries Nonstop


Dear Beautiful Progeny o' Mine,

Honestly, we don't care WHAT you eat, just please, for the love of God, EAT IT IN THE KITCHEN or don't complain when you see bugs in your room!!!!


Exasperated Mom & Pop

I think this may become a new feature for me. I've been writing lots of mental notes lately.