Entries categorized "Journey With Phoenix" Feed

Saturday 9: What's New, Pussycat?

Best Buy: This Is Tom Jones: What's New Pussycat [DVD]

Welcome one, and welcome all, to the carnage carnival that is my life blahg. Sit right down and buckle up, because away. we. go! We've got another Tom Jones song on tap for you today, and even though it's not "It's Not Unusual," my mind is still doing The Carlton anyway.

So that's always fun.

I don't have much else to report in this particular post, so we're going to jump right into in. Be sure and link up here if you're joining us this week!


Saturday 9: What's New, Pussycat? (1965)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
Welcome to the first Saturday 9 of 2023.

1) In this song, Tom Jones wants to know what's new in his girl's life. Here at Saturday 9, we're concentrating on the new year. What do you hope will be new and different in your life during 2023?
I'm hoping to be - and for my house to be - more organized and thus, more productive this year. Starting with my pantry. I've purchased online a number of organizing and storage items for it, and I'm now just waiting for everything to roll in. I'm going to take before, during, and after pictures, so I don't quite yet want to show the train wreck that it currently is!
2) He sings that he has flowers for his special girl. Are there fresh flowers in your home right now?
Floral arrangement featuring an orange pincushion with dark pink roses, orange roses and green robelina palms 1
Not yet, but our 22nd anniversary was on January 2nd, and I know Hubs ordered from The Bouqs for me. I looove The Bouqs! Save 20% off your first order with HELLO20! (This is NOT a referral, and I am not an affiliate - just a happy customer.)
3) He also wants to spend hours with her. What is something you'd like to spend more time doing in 2023?
2023 Honda Odyssey Trim Levels | EX vs. EX-L vs. TouringCricut Maker-Lilac+Essentials Bundle – Cricut
This may sound really stupid, but reading manuals and finally learning how to use shit stuff I own.
4) Before his music career took off, Tom Jones supported himself by selling vacuum cleaners. Could your home benefit from a once-over with a vacuum right now?
Most of it, yeah. My youngest kiddo just did the stairs. We also need to hit our bedroom with the rug cleaner, because our deer chihuahua, who never does this, just puked in there this morning, and we just spot-treated it. He's still pukey, so we haven't gone in there with the machine yet.
5) Memorabilia from Tom's 1990 world tour was available on eBay, and the bids went up to $599 for a jacket worn by the stage crew. Have you ever bought anything at an auction (online or otherwise)?
Listia - Wikipedia
Yes, I've bought quite a bit on eBay, and I used to get things (and list them) on Listia, too. I auctioned things for a long time in my own group on Facebook, too. Wildly successful.
6) Tom's adult grandson, Alex, represented Wales in rifle shooting in the Commonwealth Games. Is there a sport you'd like to try, or get better at, in 2023?
Murderball Movie Review | Common Sense Media
Nah, murderball really isn't my thing.
7) In 1965, when this song was popular, Tom Jones made a new friend, Elvis Presley. Tom had a meeting at Paramount Studios to discuss recording a song for a movie soundtrack and Elvis was finishing a film. It was the beginning of a friendship that would continue for the rest of Elvis' life. Did you make any new friends in 2022?
I certainly did! I believe I made a group of women friends for life!

8) Also in 1965, The Sound of Music premiered and became one of the most successful movies of all time. Have you seen it?
9 Best Sound of music meme ideas | sound of music, sound of music meme,  humor
Oh yes, at least a dozen times. I love musicals. And Julie Andrews. Especially Julie Andrews.

9) Random question: Were you like those shoppers we saw on TV, in line at a retailer after the holidays to exchange a gift that wasn't quite right?
What shoppers we saw on TV? Which year? This year? I haven't watched TV - at least not live TV - since I-don't-know-when and no, I wasn't returning anything except by mail. Easy peasy! I hope you all liked any gifts you were fortunate enough to receive!
Happy day to you all!

Saturday 9: Just Because

Elvis Presley: A First-Time Listener's Guide | Billboard – Billboard

Howdy-ho, neighbors! This weekend's post focuses on this song, Just Because, by Elvis Presley.  This is significant to me because I grew up with a dad who absolutely idolized the man (and, I'm sure, still does) and could do a mean impression of him as well. My dad could sing well, could do the moves, and even had some of the requisite attire to make the whole thing convincing. Of course, I've heard every Elvis song ever, 50,000 times over, backward and forward... right?

I had not ever heard this song before.

So, my friends, link up here if you want to join us this weekend. Read on for my answers. Thank you, Crazy Sam, for dusting this one off for me (okay, us)! Let's hit it:


Saturday 9: Just Because (1956)

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

1) In this week's song, Elvis complains that his girl has confused him with Santa Claus. This time of year, Santa is prominent. Did you more recently hear Santa referred to in a song, see him in a holiday decoration or ad, watch him in a film or TV show, or maybe even met him in person, ringing a bell or asking kids if they have been naughty or nice?

Christmas Carols for Children | Christmas songs for kids, Christmas carols  for kids, Xmas songs

Yes, we've been listening to a lot of Christmas carols lately as we work through the activities in our Advent calendar. Santa features prominently in these, of course.

2) Finally Elvis just can't take it anymore and breaks up with her, just because. Is there anyone in your life who has a way of pressing your buttons and getting on your nerves?

That's probably true for everyone, I'm guessing.

3) "Just Because" is one of the last songs Elvis recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis. TripAdvisor recommends a Sun Studio tour as one of the top things to do in Memphis. Have you ever been to Memphis? If yes, what did you do?

15 TOP Things To Do in Memphis | Attractions & Activities

I've only ever driven through Memphis, and also Nashville, and also half a dozen times Chattanooga. I have stayed in Gatlinburg. Memphis would be an interesting trip, though.

4) Elvis left Sun for RCA, a much bigger record label. As part of the deal, RCA negotiated for the rights to all his unreleased Sun songs. "Just Because" is one of them, and it was included on Elvis' first RCA album. Have you gotten a good deal on anything lately?

Best Buy: SodaStream Fizzi Sparkling Water Maker Kit Icy Blue 1011711017

I get a good deal on just about everything. Like the SodaStream I got for Chloë for Christmas, I paid nowhere near full price, nor did I pay full price for the flavors for it, nor will I ever! And she'll be so thrilled to have it, so win-win!

5) In 1956, when "Just Because" was released, non-stick cookware was first introduced. Do you have any Teflon in your kitchen right now?

Shock Images | Free Vectors, Stock Photos & PSD

No way in hell!

6) Elvis thought peacocks were beautiful and commissioned stained glass peacock panels for his living room. Do you have any stained glass in your home?

The Most Beautiful Stained Glass in the World | Condé Nast Traveler

No, but I certainly do wish! It's so beautiful.

7) He tried to keep peacocks at Graceland. One of the birds saw its reflection in Elvis' gold Cadillac and started pecking, ruining the car's expensive paint job. Elvis donated the peacocks to the Memphis Zoo. Have you ever had a bird as a pet?

Well not exactly pets, but we used to keep chickens when we lived in Idaho for the eggs, and the five of us each had "our" specific chickens that we felt we belonged to and were particularly attached to. I loved those chickens. Here, we're not allowed to have any because of our HOA rules, even though the town would allow three, which makes me want to be a scofflaw and keep ducks. They don't say anything about ducks.

8) Elvis decorated the long Graceland driveway for the holidays with blue lights. His father teased that with the airport nearby, pilots might confuse their driveway with a runway. What airport is nearest your home?

I believe the nearest major airport is Baltimore International, although we have tons of regional ones between there and here.

9) When Elvis was alive, he kept the holiday lights up until January 9, the day after his birthday. That tradition continues at Graceland today. Conventional etiquette tells us Christmas decorations should go up the day after Thanksgiving and come down before January 6 (the 12th day of Christmas). Do you think it's ever too early, or too late, for Christmas decorations?

Holiday Light Displays | VisitMaryland.org

Well, for stores and other commercial enterprises, yeah, I kinda think there is a limit for too-early/too-late. But for private families and people, I think, who gives a rat's behind? Let people do what makes them happy! So what if Joe Schmoe at the end of the block likes to keep his lights up until the end of March and put them up again after Halloween? What's it to me? I don't pay his light bill and it's honestly kind of pretty. I'm of more of a laissez-faire kind of mind about that for private citizens.


Welp, that's all folks! Back to wrapping presents with Chloë, my eldest! Seems like the job will never be done, but that's not a complaint! I'm grateful for the abundance, always grateful.

Have a wonderful week on purpose, everybody!


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: Thursday Thunks On Sonntag

Summer Facebook Cover | Summer facebook cover photos, Summer cover ...

Hey there, Thieves! Welcome back! I couldn't get my post up at all late Saturday afternoon or in the evening because the plague that are migraine headaches, but better late than never, right?

Link up here to play along this week!


1 If you could be a Muppet, which would you be?

Disney Prepares to Use Its Marketing Magic to Bring Back the ...

I think Hubs and I jointly would be Statler and Waldorf, the two old guys who sit and make dumb jokes about everything around us, cracking ourselves up. I'd be whichever one was cuter!

2 Why is a chicken crossing the road in the first place??

The Southernmost Point: The "Gypsy Chickens" Of Key West

Well, as anyone who has ever kept chickens, as we have, can tell you, these are not the most brilliant animals on the planet. Also as anyone who has been to Key West even once - let alone multiple times - as I have, can tell you, they will go wherever they want to go, often in a hurry, including the middle of the road. So as for why? Clearly, the answer is: because.

3 What's your favorite muscle?

Well, that depends. In babies? I like the glutes. In a guy? I like arms - big biceps!

4 Cheerios or Rice Krispies?

Parenting - rice krispies - Funny Parenting Fails and WINs - crazy ...

I love Rice Krispies. I do not enjoy Cheerios; they smell like baby diarrhea to me. Blechhhh!

5 Is summer ever going to get here?

Global Warming—Really?

I mean, between intense climate change and the coronavirus, what are we really going to do with it? I think Earth deserves to take its time on this one.

6 Have you ever had a utility turned off by mistake or some other reason besides weather or nonpayment?

Oddly Specific - Album on Imgur

No, and like this fortune, that is oddly specific.

7 What was your "last day" of something?

03092020 Chloë L'Oreal Product Review

Hm, let's see. September 6th, 2019, was my last day of not being a parent to an adult child! (This one, that is - I never told Chloë she could grow up!)

8 If you had to be trapped in a TV show for a month, which one would you choose?

The Big Bang Theory No GIF by CBS - Find & Share on GIPHY

I'd love to be stuck on The Big Bang Theory! At least I'd feel like I was where I belonged.

9 Did you have any type of class trip, band trip, etc., in high school? Where did you go, what did you do?

Darien Lake Harvest Festival Weekends

I know there were others, but my favorite class trip was our 9th grade one to Darien Lake, in New York. We did a fundraiser, and I raised the second most, so I got a bonus from that, too!

10 Do your feet smell?

Rofl burGer on Twitter: "SMELLY FEET #meme #funny #lol #rofl http ...

No; they do not have a nose.

11 Do you know how to french braid?

Amazing Braids😍🙆👑 by Fiona Brunka - Musely

Yes, and I can both French-braid and Dutch-braid on my own hair, too. I really want to learn to do the fishtail braid, though!

12 Two guys are walking down the street. One drops his hat and reaches down to pick it up, the other kicks him in the ass. Do you laugh?

Kick Your Ass GIFs | Tenor

That depends; am I "the other"? If not, then hopefully involuntarily at least, but I'm sure I would snort!

13 You wake up one morning and dogs are meowing and cats are barking - what are fish, elephants and crocodiles doing?

Bucketlist » Raise one eyebrow without using a finger (Simon West)

Have we run out of "real" questions, then?

14 You are going to your high school reunion. What award are you going to win?


Hammiest family!

15 You find yourself stranded on a deserted island. Soon you find a laptop with a lifelong battery & internet connection, then you find a cave with an endless supply of food and a spring of fresh water. A cruise ship comes along to save you - do you get on it?

72 Best Desert island images | Desert island, Island, Cartoon

If I get to take that laptop with me and it's not during the days of COVID, then heck, yes!

16 How many shortcuts do you have on your desktop?

funny desktop wallpapers

Five. But in my defense, it's a new laptop.

17 I offer you a pie... the most delicious pie you have ever seen. You either have to eat the entire thing in one sitting or allow me to slam it into your face, which do you choose?

Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass (RYGB) | UI Health

I guess I'm getting a pie in the face, because I'm working with that gastric pouch on the right!

18 Are you a pen stealer?

Bright, Colorful Pens On A White Background Shot Overhead. Stock ...

Not usually! My pens are all the different colors of the rainbow. Everyone else? Blue or black. ::snooze::

19 A dude from China comes up and offers you German chocolate cake, French fries and a Boston cream pie... what color is your car?

2020 Honda Odyssey First Look | Kelley Blue Book

Black, and her name is Phoenix. But a little birdie told me I might be getting a new car this year, so... I'm game!

20 Sometimes you just have to tap your foot to your favorite song - which TV series season finale are you watching?

Modern Family' Finale Review: It Ends as It Began, Only Less ...

Modern Family is still in the DVR, waiting for me!


All right, y'all. I've got to get ready for the week ahead. Have a good one!


Sunday Stealing: Questions About COVID-19 on Easter Sunday 2020

First of all, as a Christ-follower on this Easter Sunday morning, I want to start with this:

Easter FB COver 2020

Now then, I don't know what y'all are doing this morning (it's 7:32 AM here in Idaho right now), but honestly, I hope you're not listening to Pr*sident Trump and going to church today. As much as it may feel that the spirit is compelling you to go, STAY HOME. SAVE LIVES.

Moving on.

Sunday Stealing: The OC 25 Meme (Smellyann Strikes Again)

Bev's got us more questions about the novel coronavirus we're all changing our lives for, over on the Sunday Stealing meme blog this week. Link up here to play along this week!

For COVID 19 Questions from SwapBot
What is something you are doing due to the pandemic that you normally don’t do? After the pandemic will you continue to so this?
Easter Eggs: Most Amazing Designs from Around the World | PEOPLE.com
Oh, gosh. So many things. It's Easter, so normally I would have gotten Spring/Eastery dresses and suits for my kids, taken all of us to church, dyed a bunch of easter eggs, had baskets full of goodies for the kids to find, baked sugar cookies in Easter & Spring themes, and so on. But we are not doing one bit of that. Life just seems so different this year. So off. I don't know what to do with myself.

What made you happy, sad, or frustrated today? List, all big and/or small, as there may be some of one or all of these feelings!
A new EOY reality? Ad strategies to survive and thrive ...
To be honest, I don't even know what I feel right now. It's very hard for me to process what's going on in the world right now, while still being able to help my three kids do exactly that. I will say, though, that I am so thankful that one of my dear friends who was infected with COVID-19 and was in the hospital for all kids of treatments over many days, was discharged yesterday. She survived, and I am so happy about it!

What is one of the first things you will do when the pandemic is over?
The Coronavirus Pandemic Will Change the World Forever
I don't know! I have a feeling that, for a while, I will be very distrusting that is actually over and that it is safe to come out again!

Are you an essential employee or do you know someone who is? Is this affecting you in some way?
can someone tell me if i'm an "essential employee" - Dr. Evil Air ...
My friend who I mentioned above was in healthcare, so she was essential. She got sick, was hospitalized, and has now retired early. Hate that it went that way for her! My daughter Chloë was working the still-open drive-thru window at Wendy's in our tiny town. The very day we got news that the first case had been confirmed in our town, we all agreed she needed to take a leave of absence for my sake. I'm extremely immuno-compromised, and she recognized that and the need for her not to work there right now, but I still feel so guilty about it all the time!

What are you doing to destress during this stressful time?
18 Memes That Describe What It's Like to Nap a Lot Due to Illness ...
Well, because of my autoimmune issues before, I was admittedly already taking a lot of naps. Now, I just take double the naps. Or longer ones. Or both.

Have you tried any new recipes during this time? Please share your recipe if you want to.
The 12 Best Sushi Spots in Oakland, Berkeley and the East Bay
Lol, no. I am having way too many food aversion issues right now to really try something new. I will share this, though: One of the things I can eat is what Rob and I have termed "Ghetto Sushi." For me, all that really means is he dices up an avocado, chops up one of those $1 packages of "crab" sticks, and gives it to me with a bowl of low-sodium soy sauce. You can see why it deserves its title, but it's edible for me, so I like it.

Have you always lived where you do now? If not, how did you wind up in the place you currently live?
Road trip map
No, we haven't always lived here in Idaho; it blows my mind that we just passed the three-year mark here already! We came via a mad dash across the country from Miami, Florida. And we were only there four years, but that seems so much longer than our time has been here! Before that, it was ten years in Virginia Beach, and so on. We've been around the world a little, with my husband's career in the Navy, so we wanted to find somewhere that finally felt like "home" to our kids, all of whom were or were about to be teenagers. You know, provide a safe landing for them if they ever need to come back home after leaving the nest, lay down some roots for them. We came up with a list of criteria, and Idaho seemed to fit all of them. And so we came.

Where is the last place you visited on-line?
Leah Remini | Leah remini, Leah, Celebrities female
Lol, well, I know I'm a little behind the curve, but because of research I'm doing for my own book about growing up in a different cult, I've just begun watching Leah Remini's exposé on Scientology for A&E. So crazy!

What is the nicest thing anyone has ever said to you?
Rob and Mel November 2001
Well, one of them is definitely that, in our 20th year together, my husband tells me that if he knew how our life - and I - would turn out, he'd still marry me. It means a lot; I'm "complicated"!

Tell me about the last photo on your camera (phone or real camera or both!)
Well, this one was from last night, which I took on my phone. It's from our dogs' latest BarkBox that came in the mail Saturday. The theme was speakeasy-Great Gatsby-esque type of stuff, and this is what looks to us like a drunk cup with a block of ice in it. We found it hiliarious.
And now that it's taken me a ridiculous two hours to write this (in and amongst doing other things), I feel like it's time for one of those many naps I mentioned earlier. 
Happy Easter!

Saturday 9: Miss Independent

Image result for beautiful kelly clarkson

Hello there, dear readers. I am fresh out of an at-home physical therapy session at the end of an extremely busy week. (For me, this is exhausting.) But, Crazy Sam has chosen my girl Kelly Clarkson to feature this week for S9! This perks me up and brings me such joy. I've been a fan of Kelly since day one.

So, link up here if you'd like to play along today!


Miss Independent (2003)

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

1) The song begins with Kelly describing a woman who is "independent" and "self-sufficient." Are you feeling especially independent and self-sufficient this morning? Or is there a particular task on your to-do list that you wish you had help with?

Image result for broken but i'm beautiful

Actually, no, I'm not self-sufficient or independent lately. It's driving me insane, honestly. I gave up my driver's license for a while, but I think I'm ready to get it back, at least for those times I'm actually able to drive. I'm always in a wheelchair or using a walker everywhere I go. It feels like a ton of health issues just all suddenly dropped in my lap at once, and I'm still learning how to cope with all that. It's been pretty devastating. But I have a great support system, and I'm so thankful for that.

2) Kelly especially enjoys that this song was a hit, because she had to argue with the record company to even include it on her album. Tell us about a time you're glad you fought to get your way.

Image may contain: 1 person

I remember this one time in the summer, before I started 6th grade, I was sitting in the backseat of the car. Linda, my stepmother, was driving, and my dad was in the passenger seat. One of them brought up a letter they'd received from the middle school, telling me that the school wanted to put me in all Honors classes. I desperately wanted to do that; I'd already long since learned by the end of 5th grade that education was my way out. I begged for them to let me, but I went around and around with them - mostly Linda - insisting that I couldn't be in Honors classes and still get all my household chores done. She was far more concerned about the appearance of a few dirty dishes on the counter than with me getting the best education possible. I may have had to spend my entire life outside of school cleaning that damn house, but in the end, I got my way.

3) The video depicts a very lively party that spills from the house to the pool area. What's the last party you attended? Was it held indoors, outdoors, or did the revelers enjoy themselves both inside and outside?

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Well, hopefully this counts! For our daughter Chloë's 18th birthday in September 2019, we sorta "kidnapped" her and took her to Great Wolf Lodge in Washington State. GWL had been a favorite of the kids' when they were little, back in Virginia. It was just a "party" of the five of us, but she had a great time. We gave the kids a bunch of arcade tokens and sent them off to play games. While they were gone, Rob and I hurriedly blew up neon glow-in-the-dark balloons and set up every other glow-in-the-dark thing we'd snuck into the car (in a big Rubbermade bin, the contents of which we'd sorta fibbed about). When Chloë came back from the arcade, before we let her in, we turned out the lights and blindfolded her. Everything was glowing, and when we let her see, she was SO excited and surprised! The party lasted several days, and we were both inside and out. I totally forgot to blog about it!
4) The partiers are playing with "silly string." Have you ever indulged in a "silly string" battle?

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I'm sure I have, but I've never loved it anywhere near as much as my kids always have!!

5) Kelly Clarkson has a new daytime talk show. Who hosted the last entertainment talk show (as opposed to news) that you watched?

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Probably Ellen. I have her show DVR'ed so I can have some spontaneous joy if I'm in a down moment. She brings it!

6) Kelly Clarkson told a foodie website that one of her favorite foods is sushi (especially California rolls). She said she's surprised how fond she is of it, since as a kid, sushi is a food she wouldn't even try. Tell us about something you had to be convinced to try, or do, that you were surprised to find you enjoyed.

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Also me, with the sushi, in college. And when I got married, Rob had to convince me to try both avocados and artichokes. I was so scared to try them - but I loved them both!

7) In 2003, when "Miss Independent" was released, Microsoft and Sony were furiously competing for gamers' attention. Do you own Playstation or Xbox, neither or both?

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We have an Xbox One S. I got it for the kids - mostly my son - a few years ago. Then this year, he asked for an Xbox One X for Christmas. I couldn't afford it, so I asked him if it would be okay if we sold the S to help pay for the X. We were going to do that, and then - AFTER I had purchased a 3-month Xbox Ultimate membership for all the kids - he told me he doesn't want the Xbox at all anymore. 🙄 Kids!

8) Also in 2003, the best-selling cookbook was The King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion. It features foolproof recipes for old favorites like waffles, pancakes, flat breads and crackers. When you look for a new recipe, are you searching for an easier/better way to make something familiar, or are you more likely looking to try something new?

A little bit of both. I use AllRecipes.com quite a lot to find the BEST recipe for this or the BEST recipe for that. But I also love Martha Stewart's recipes (for the most part), so a lot of times something will catch my eye in one of her magazine issues, and I've gotta save that recipe for life. I have this pizza dough recipe from one such issue from when we still lived in Virginia Beach. I made it there. I made it in Miami. I made it in Boise. And now I can't find it - and with my brain fog issues, I suddenly can't just remember it, either! It's driving me crazy!

9) Random question: Which has gotten you in more trouble -- love or money?

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Ohhh, I have gotten in a lot of trouble with both over the years! Probably more love, though, because I'm the kind of person who believes knows that you can love and be in love with more than one person at the same time. (And they don't always appreciate that.)


Alrighty, then! It looks like I've got to get up early-ish (for me, for a Saturday) in the morning to drive my kid Sophia and five of her friends out to Boise to go ice skating, so I better skedaddle! Toodle-oo!


Sunday Stealing: Love Me Some Questions Meme

Howdy do, neighbors. I've made it out of bed today, just before 1400, but that's not what counts. It took a lot of effort. If my bladder didn't make it imperative, I might still be in bed. But I digress.


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I finished watching the Season 4 of Netflix's Queer Eye, and now I'm bereft as hell. I literally found myself looking through all the episodes from all the seasons, trying to see if I'd missed one. I hadn't. Boo! 😭😭

But moving along with life. Make sure you link up here if you're joining us this weekend!


These are from Love Me Some Surveys.

a. Has anyone ever made fun of your taste in music?

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Of course! His taste in music runs with the likes of Bob Dylan, right?

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And this is more my frequency. (Also, that was some shady shit, Whit.)

Ya dig?

b. Is anyone’s birthday coming up?

Yep. This boy, Robert Allen O, will be 47 in six days!!! 😳🤭🎂🎂 Happy early birthday, baby!

But that's not all! A week after that, the curly girlie on the left, Chloë Raine O, will be 18! 🎂🎂

I cannot even handle that, y'all! I just cannot.

But wait, there's more! Her mother, the lady on the right (that's me!) is turning 43 (ughhhh) one day later. (Why can no one ever remember it's 9/8/76? Easiest birth date ever, y'all!)

So yup. It's birthday season 'round here!

 c. Do you remember who you liked in grade eight?

Mike Amati

Yup. M was a cutie! He still is... but that picture there is 11 years old. Nowadays, what hair is left is mostly just stubble. Still a cutie. Whatever.

d. When was the last time you burned any part of your body?


Y'all may remember? I blogged about it back then, in January 2017. I had never cooked a real steak in my life (because making cube steaks for the dogz in my single days totally does not count, you guys), and I have not eaten beef since August 1995. No plans to restart. But my boy likes steak, so for our 15th anniversary, I thought I'd make him a proper one.

It did not go the way I planned, the HOT! oil splattered, and I ended up in the ER instead. In fact, I went in by myself so he could eat his steak, because I refused to ruin his steak dinner any further. 🤣 No lie, mesdames.

Anyway, 2½ years later, right now, it looks like this:

Burned Arm

Honestly, and I would not lie to you for one moment: it did not hurt. It did not hurt one bit, and the scarring isn't bad, is it? Truth: I used a shit-ton of straight Young Living lavender oil on that burn, raw, open, and errrrythang. Like, the whooooole bottle. Because lavender is used in burn salves, and you know what? That shit worked. And then, when it was all closed up, I used Jafra Royal Jelly to heal the skin. 

Not bad. Not too bad at all. I'd do it again.

e. If I gave you ten dollars, what would you spend it on?

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Gas. Seriously. I love our new house. Not gonna lie. Love, love, love our house. But all of my doctors are in Boise, so we're hurting for gas money constantly nowadays. Kinda sucks. Sometimes I have to cancel the week's worth of my appointments - and there are many - because there just isn't any gas to get out there. And then I get angry letters in the mail about my canceled appointments. Really?! Are you putting gas in my tank?

It's hard. I keep re-budgeting and re-budgeting, but when you're two disabled folks living on a retired enlisted veteran's pension... it's a challenge.

f. What are you most excited about right now?

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I'm excited to see what comes next for the adult version of Chloë. I know great things are in her future!

g. Does / did either of your parents serve in the military?

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My  [email protected]$$ sperm donor was in the CG for five or six minutes. He thought because he was "smart" (truth is, he only thinks he's smart, and this is from someone who actually is), he'd be able to get one of his superiors to set him up in OCS. Instead, he swabbed poop deck after poop deck and probably cried about it - literally - the whole time. How long was he in? One blink? Two blinks? Not long. Meanwhile, he tries to square up with my husband, who did 20 full years, some during wartime in the Middle East, in the Navy. And with my beloved grandfather (my mom's dad, mind you), who served in the Navy during WWII in Europe. And my uncle (mom's brother) who served in the Navy. And my FIL, who was a submariner in the Navy during the Cold War. You know? Dad. Ya weren't shit then. You aren't shit now. And ya ain't never gonna be shit.

h. Are you somewhat of a perfectionist?

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Oh, yeah. You could say that. It's taking me years, and it will continue to take many more, but I am trying to learn to accept good enough when that's all I need. It's hard going teaching Chloë this, as well.

f. Do you like sour candy?

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I don't mind it now and then, but I swear it's like one of the major food groups for my kiddos!

g. Are all nighters something you have grown used to?

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I have pretty erratic sleeping habits, so yeah, I've grown accustomed to it.

h. Do you usually wear sunglasses when you’re driving?

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I wear 'em whenever I need 'em.

i. Do you wear your shoes around the house?

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Since I have virtually no immune system, and the next major infection could very well be my last, I try very hard to enforce our strict "no shoes" policy.

j. What clothes are you most comfortable in?

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What this woman has on, I could live in. Now I want it!

k. Are you good at painting nails?

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I have no special skills. My sister's a pro, though.

j. Smoothies or slushies?

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I'm impartial, as long as the slushy contains real fruit and, if must be, a non-sugar sweetener, or if the smoothie contains almond or coconut milk or similar dairy substitute. I'm not being picky. I'm just allergic to life!


Thanks for another fun questionnario, Bev! Hope you all have a great last week of August 2019. Maaaaaan, this year has flown by!


Saturday 9: No One's Here To Sleep

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How ya doin', folks? Welcome back. Click here if you want to join the rest of the Saturday 9 gang this week!

But first, a few things:

First, Viola Davis, go on with yo' fine self.

Second, this is the first time I've been out of bed for any length of time since Sunday night, when I went out to dinner with Hubs. I have a dizzying amount of health issues, and just the simple act of having a birthday dinner (his) out has worn me out that much. I hate it.

Finally, do a Google search for The Wizard of Oz. Then click on the ruby red shoes. And then, click on the tornado. Then come back here. Fun, right?!

Now let's begin:


Saturday 9: No One's Here to Sleep (2013)

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

1) This song is the theme of How to Get Away with Murder, the legal drama that premiered in 2014 and airs on Thursday nights. Are you a fan?

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I have never watched it. Yet. Should I?

2) The song's refrain says, "I'll never catch up with you." Behind the wheel, do you carefully observe the speed limit? Or do you have a lead foot, making it hard for anyone to catch up with you?

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I definitely have a lead foot - and I have the speeding tickets to prove it! There are a lot of 25 MPH roads here in Mountain Home, Idaho, which has made the transition from Boise (and before that, Miami) particularly difficult for me. It's impossible! So the first thing I do when I leave the house is turn on the cruise control, which fortunately starts at 25 MPH in our vehicle, so that I can't get any (more) tickets here. My current peeve is that the two-lane interstate from here to Boise, or anywhere else for that matter, allows 18-plus-wheelers to pass in the left lane, but they can only go 70 MPH. Except the speed limit is 80 MPH! So we're often stuck rolling our eyes, gnashing our teeth, and gripping the steering wheel in frustration behind those Macks.

3) How to Get Away with Murder is about Annalise Keating, a law professor at a top Philadelphia university. She has a reputation for being tough, demanding and able to turn her students into successful defense attorneys. Tell us about a teacher who helped prepare you for life after graduation.

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I had many great teachers and professors, so it's hard for me to single one out. But I will. At the University of Miami, I took Physics I and II from a gent who used to write "IAEFRTGDI" on the chalkboard before every exam. And then he'd read it aloud, pointing to each letter in turn: "If all else fails, read the g-- d--- instructions!" to remind us that, if we were stuck on a problem, to do exactly that. He'd just pause for the "G-D-" parts, giving us all a giggle. But that was 25 years ago, and I've obviously never forgotten his lesson!

4) The students she feels show the most promise - and are recruited to help her solve murders - are known as The Keating Four. Did you ever sense that you were your teacher's favorite?

Melanie Ann 6yo

It was always pretty rare for me not to be the teacher's pet.

5) Viola Davis was just nominated for an Emmy for playing Professor Keating. Ms. Davis was born on a farm in SC. Have you spent more of your life in a rural, suburban or urban setting?


That's Chloë and me on South Beach (Miami) on New Year's Eve, 2015 - I had just started getting sick that year, and that night really took a lot out of me. But I digress. I'm a city girl, through-and-through. Now I live in land-locked Idaho. Or I'm dying here. Either way, I've asked Hubs to take me to the beach at least every couple of years or so. I miss it more than I could ever convey.

6) Next to Annalise Keating, Viola Davis is best known for her Oscar-nominated role as Aibileen in the movie, The Help. Have you seen it?

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I have, and while we (my daughters and I) loved it, I was a bit disappointed because it was historically inaccurate. They could have done a lot more to celebrate and elevate the true stories those black actresses portrayed.

7) In 2014, the year How to Get Away with Murder premiered, we lost two famous comedians: Robin Williams and Joan Rivers. Who was the last person to make you laugh out loud? (This means actually, literally laughing out loud, not just keystroking LOL.)

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I mean, I'm a legit nerd and don't mind it, but yes, all of these (and more) individually and collectively made me laugh aloud. In fact, I wanted to keep looking and enjoying, but then I remembered I had unfinished business here with Sam. ;)

8) The 2014 Olympics were held in Sochi. Have you ever been to Russia? If not, is it a dream destination of yours?

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I want to see the whole world, but the idea of going to Russia draws a great big "meh" out of me. Is it enough that my grandpa went there?

9) Random question: The sign on the railing says, "Wet Paint." Do you touch the railing to see if it's really wet?

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Probably. At least nine times out of 10 I would, anyway. In one of my Animal Behavior lectures, Prof told us of a study - probably by Konrad Lorenz - wherein four different species were suspended in a net that allowed the dangling of one or more legs. Initially, when a leg was dangled, it hit a surface that delivered a painful electric shock. (Ugh, I hate these studies.) Anyway, the animals studied included a cat, a pig, a dog, and a monkey. We students had to guess which animal then exhibited which behavior: one never, ever put down its leg again. Was it smart, having learnt its lesson? One waited awhile and then tried again. Another maybe waited longer? I forget. And the fourth continuously put down that leg, time and time again. Was it stupid, forgetting each time about the shock? Or was it just following its genetic predisposition to test a thing to see if something new and different would happen? I believe that last animal was the cat. (In the first case, I believe it was... the pig! Surprised?) Long story short, I am like the cat. I always need to test everything to see if it's true, or still true. The more data I can collect about Life, the more accurate I'll be, right?


Y'all have a good weekend. And FFS, please stop confusing your Batesian and Müllerian mimicry, wouldja? So distasteful. ;)


Sunday Stealing + Bonus: Provoking Thoughts, Part The Second

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Hey guys and dolls! I didn't participate in Saturday 9 yesterday because I've had another bit of health issues going on, but that's okay because I'mma jump into it right now. Here's the link if you want(ed) to join, but my little April Fools' trick is to pull out an S9 before I get into SS. 'Kay?


Saturday 9: The Fool on the Hill (1968)

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

Chosen because Monday is April Fool's Day. 

1) As an April Fool's prank, Taco Bell once announced they had purchased The Liberty Bell and renamed it The Taco Liberty Bell. Describe your perfect taco.

Chloë Taco Bell 03302019

Well, first of all, since Chloë jumped ship from Subway to Taco Bell a couple weeks ago, she's my favorite little bean burrito right here! 😉 Honestly, though, I don't like tacos. The crunch, the falling apart, everything all over the plate or your lap... no. Too messy for me. I do like a bean burrito, though. That 69¢ bit of wonder from Taco Bell is really what I need.

2) Similarly, as an April Fool's prank, the Ford Motor Co. was supposed to wipe out the national deficit by purchasing the naming rites to a beloved monument, renaming it the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial. What model car do you drive? 

Georgia Rest Stop March 2017

Here's our little workhouse 2012 Dodge Journey two years ago, on our voyage from Miami to Boise.

2019 Dodge Journey Collage

And here it is now, with all the stickers and magnets and stuff. Yup. So us. If you notice nothing else, see the "Blue Girl, Red State" sticker (me); the "PERSIST" sticker (my girls and me); and the Pride sticker on the side (my girls - and their parents, as Allies). Very us. 😉

3) In 1998, Burger King got in on the April Fool's Day fun by promoting a special "Left-Handed Whopper," designed to be easier for a leftie to hold. Describe your perfect burger.

I think I remember that. That's hilarious. Here's mine:

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The veggie burger at Elevation Burger is the BOMB. If you don't have an Elevation Burger near you (we don't, but we did in Miami), you're missing out. According to Hubs and the kids, the "regular" beef burgers are epic, too. But those veggie burgers... man. Making my mouth water right now!

4) In 1962, when color TV was still new, a Swedish station pranked viewers by telling them they could convert their black/white sets to color by cutting up a nylon stocking and stretching it across the screen. Of course, in 1962, more women wore nylons and screens were smaller. How big is your TV? Are there any nylon stockings in your home?

Samsung - 43" Class - LED - NU6900 Series - 2160p - Smart - 4K UHD TV with HDR - Front_Zoom. 1 of 6 Images & Videos. Swipe left for next.

I recently bought a new TV from Best Buy (ugh, like my least favorite store in the world), but I had to go back and look at the specs. It's a 43" Samsung Smart TV. It's really nice. It's got probably way more functionality that I don't know how to use yet, but I'm still learning. 

As for nylons, I've been getting rid of tights and stockings and stuff little by little now. I used to wear them a lot in Miami, but I don't know why. Many of us, including Chloë and me, have sensory issues with nylon. So they're exiting the building.

5) In 1957, the BBC ran an April Fool's story about how the Swiss were enjoying a "bumper spaghetti crop," with spaghetti literally growing on trees. Viewers who called the station, asking how to grow a spaghetti tree of their own, were told to place a sprig of spaghetti in a can of tomato sauce and hope for the best. Have you ever fallen for an April Fool's prank?

Also hilarious. I love it.

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Yes, I have. When I was in high school in Syracuse, New York, the main station I listened to was 93Q. They started announcing, months before April 1st, that they were switching over to a smooth music, kind of classical vibe. Everybody was talking about it; we were crushed. On April Fools' Day, they started playing "Feelings" over and over and over. By the 10th time or so, I finally figured it out. What a huge joke! The next day, they were back to normal. I felt so duped!

6) When Crazy Sam was growing up, her mother would surprise her on April Fool's Day by slipping a rubber worm or plastic spider in her lunch box. When you were in school, did you more frequently brown bag it or buy your lunch in the cafeteria line?

I love that, Sam. I missed out on that.

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I really don't know how to answer this one, honestly. I did make myself a bagged lunch to bring every day, but I really wasn't allowed to put anything in there that I wanted to eat. A lot of the time it was a big slab of greasy ham from the previous night (or several nights prior) dinner... and I have never not hated ham. So that got thrown away. I'd eat a little of the apple, maybe, and throw that away. I don't remember being allowed to have a drink. Or money. I started mooching food off my friends' trays or paper bags, which I'm sure they sort of hated and resented, until I got a job at 15. Then I could go up and buy myself a damn chocolate milk or something, if I got thirsty. That whole situation kind of sucked.

7) This week's song was an international hit for Sergio Mendes and Brasil 66. Because of the song's bossa nova arrangement, everyone assumed the lead singer, Lani Hall, was Brazilian. She was a folk singer from Chicago. Sergio Mendes discovered her at a charity benefit. Can you think of a time when doing good really paid off for you?


Sure. After my son died after three days in NICU, I began a 501(c)(3) nonprofit called CARE Package. I wanted to make layettes, such as this one, for other babies who didn't survive, as well as give out information in those same packages for the parents. I needed to give them ideas for things they could do with their their baby before giving him/her over to the people to prepare for the next stage. We didn't get to do any of that, because we were rushed, and nobody thought to tell us, "Hey, you can bathe him." "Hey, you can change his diaper and dress him." And the kicker for me, "You can get his twin brother in here and get a picture of them together." That still really stabs me in the heart. But the good thing is, I have gotten tons of letters and emails from parents and hospital staff who had received all those CARE Packages. And one day, I went in and was part of a panel at that hospital - Naval Medical Center Portsmouth - to sit with doctors and surgeons and nurses and other support staff and really, truly get to the heart of telling them how to take care of bereaved parents. Those initial steps in the bereavement process are so crucial, and NMCP did it all wrong. To have the floor in front of these people, and have them really listen to me about how to fix that problem, meant a lot for me. More importantly, I hope it was fixed for those to come after me experiencing similar things.

8) In 1968, when this record was popular, Pierre Trudeau became Prime Minister of Canada. Today his son holds that office. When did you most recently visit our neighbor to the north?

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I've been to Canada several times, but not since I was a kid. Under the age of 10 or so, we visited Ottawa last. We were walking back to our hotel from a fancy dinner, and then a street fight broke out in front of us. One guy pushed another into a store front, and they broke through the glass, which shattered everywhere. I was terrified.

9) Random question: Name three websites you visit every day.

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I like to take and edit photos, so I'm always on BeFunky - it's my favorite editing site.

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I do my grocery lists, our budget, my current medications and specialists, etc., all on Excel. So that's always open.

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And Homeschool Planet, our planner/calendar/organizer, is always open. Since we homeschool, our schedule is not a Monday-Friday 8-3 type deal. We school whenever, wherever, so I've always got to have it ready to go.


So that was fun! Thanks, Sam! Let's skip on into Sunday Stealing with Bev now. Link up here if you want to play along!


If you had to teach something, what would you teach?

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I'm not usually big on these word map thingies, but this really kind of sums it up for me. I would teach about the Environment and being responsible for the ecology where one is, locally, and also nationally and globally - and we're just not doing that as a whole.

2. What would you regret not fully doing, being or having in your life?

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Doing: I would love to get an advanced degree in something. I was thinking Law, but I'm not sure anymore. Being: I would love to be at peace with myself and feel like I am valuable. Having: I would love to have memories full of joy, new experiences, and laughter, far more than anything else.

3. Are you holding onto something that you need to let go of?

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Yes. Constant fear and terror. I have literally lived in constant terror for my entire life. Every minute. I have to learn to accept that if I relax, everything will be okay.

4. When you are 80-years-old, what will matter to you the most?

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I want to have multiple generations of our family love to come "home" to us and hang with us, and just be full of joy together.

5. When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards and just do what you know is right?

I'm not sure I'm fully capable of answering this question - pass!

6. How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?

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Probably between 80 or 90 years old. With all the meds I take, and all my chronic physical and mental health conditions... I definitely feel way older than I am right now.

7. Would you break the law to save a loved one?


8. What makes you smile?


Seeing all of my kids getting along and having a good time makes me smile!

9. When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?

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I want to learn to say "no" more. It's hard for me. I always want to take on way too much.

10. If you had the opportunity to get a message across to a large group of people, what would your message be?

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It's important to me for people to realize that the global climate change we are facing is largely man-made, and it will be catastrophic. However, I also want people to know there are small steps each and every one of us can do to rein it in and bring things back more into alignment with the way things should be. I would give them those steps and teach them where to find the how-tos. We owe it to ourselves and our children, and their children.

11. If the average human lifespan was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?

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I'd be tempted to seize the day a whole lot more, which tells me that I should be seizing the day a whole lot more!

12. What do we all have in common besides our genes that makes us human?

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I think a lot of it has to do with what we care about, and how we feel about those things. And also, that we care how others perceive us. But it's so complex; a pat answer won't do.

13. If you could choose one book as a mandatory read for all high school students, which book would you choose?

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First, I'd ask each student to read the short story "The Lottery," by Shirley Jackson. It would invite a lot of really interesting discussions among students and teachers.

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And then, it may seem cliché, but I think To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee should be required reading for every American student. There is still such a long way to go with race relations in this country, so every conversation we can have about it can help.

14. Would you rather have less work or more work you actually enjoy doing?

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I'm not going to ask for more work, but regardless, I'd want to enjoy doing it!

15. What is important enough to go to war over?

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Call me naïve or maybe even sexist, but I feel like most men are far too eager to fight over things than to sit down and have a conversation - or 20 - to come to a point of understanding and compromise. I honestly can't think of many things worth an actual war.

16. Which is worse, failing or never trying?

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Never trying is much sadder than trying and failing. I've got to remind myself of this often. I don't have a fear of failure. I have a fear of succeeding.

17. When was the last time you listened to the sound of your own breathing?

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Today, actually. My asthma is pretty out-of-control lately, and I'm wary of another bout of pneumonia (it's been over a year since I had it, y'all! WOOT!), so I listen for wheezing whenever I'm lying down quietly.

18. What’s something you know you do differently than most people?

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I think differently. I mean, I know everyone thinks differently - supposedly - but when I was in graduate school and we would have discussions on 30-page reports of scientific studies and experiments, my contributions were always so different than everyone else's. I became afraid to contribute to the class, but then when I finally did speak up, everyone was like, "ohhh, I never thought of that." It's weird and cool and scary all at once.

19. What does ‘The American Dream’ mean to you?

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I think this graph really sums up well how I feel about it. It's not about wealth or acquiring stuff. It's about freedom and opportunity.

20. Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?

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I don't know. I've never been a simpleton... but I sure would like to be joyful more often!


So it's almost 5 AM here on Sunday now (I had a long overnight snooze in the middle of this). Better late than never eh?

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: You Make Me Feel Brand New

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Hey, hey, what do ya say? I posted Saturday 9 and Sunday Stealing last week, but I was so late - by a few days - that I didn't get any reads. *sniff, sniff* So if I'm being repetitive it's because I didn't think anyone read it the first time! Heh.

But here we are again, so link up here to play along with the S9ers for this week!


Saturday 9: You Make Me Feel Brand New (1974)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

Welcome to the first Saturday 9 of 2019!

1) As 2019 kicks off, what are your hopes for the brand new year?

Vegan collage 01032019

Well, now that everyone has joined me in veganism, I'm finding it difficult to please all their palates. As a result, there is a lot of grumbling every day about there being "nothing to eat." Completely untrue, but I'm trying! So my hope for 2019 is that, one day at a time, they'll stick it out and give veganism a real shot. Everyone should, IMNSHO.

2) Just because an item isn't brand new doesn't mean it isn't valuable. Have you scored any fabulous finds at a secondhand store or website?

Xlarge bathing suit

I love thrifting! We've gotten two couches, the desk next to me, and tons of clothing for the whole family at the thrift store down the road, ReStyle. But this bathing suit, which I really needed for my physical therapy in the pool, was from ThredUp. I got lots of clothes for the kids and me there recently for a steal. Secondhand is the way to go!

3) This song is sung by The Stylistics, a group from Philadelphia. Have you ever been to Philly?


Yeah, several times. The first time was with my grandparents in probably 1981 or 1982? They took me to see the liberty bell, and I remember being really bothered by that crack and why they didn't just fix it or get another one - and my grandma having a hearty laugh over that! And I also marveled at the fact that there were hot pretzel and hot dog vendors on the streets, just like in Manhattan. Who knew?

4) This song was co-written by Thom Bell, a Philadelphia-based musician/producer who was born in Kingston, Jamaica. The average daily temp in Kingston in January is 87ºF. Do you have plans to get away this winter and go somewhere warm?


Goddddddd, I wish!! I was just looking through the photos from when we first moved to Miami in March 2013, reminiscing, maybe getting a little melancholy... I would love to go somewhere tropical and warm. Chloë is going to Guatemala this summer, and though it's not what we Americans consider an exotic getaway, I've gotta admit I'm a bit jealous!

5) The Stylistics took their choreography very seriously. As you can see from the video, they even carefully synchronized their hand movements. Do you use your hands much when you talk?


Yeah, pretty much. Sophia definitely gets her theatrical nature from her mother!

6) The lyrics tell us that the singer is grateful for a friend who will walk with him along a path that "sometimes bends." Looking back on 2018, tell us about a time that life's path took a bend you didn't quite expect.

February 8 2018a

Oh, the chickens. We had our first flock of 11 in 2017, and these were the beautiful eggs they were laying by early 2018. By summer, all but Athena were slaughtered, probably by a skunk. By September, a predator-proof (well, as much as one can get, I guess) was built in the backyard, and 21 day-old chicks were delivered from a hatchery in Iowa. Now they're all rehomed, and we are vegans. It's all just freakin' weird, man.

7) In 1974, when this song was popular, Chicago's Sears Tower opened and was for years the world's tallest building. Its elevators can carry you to the 103rd floor in approximately a minute. When were you last on an elevator?

Image result for speech cognitive therapy

I was on an elevator this past Friday, when Chloë accompanied me to my Speech Pathology appointment. I'm having a bunch of problems with... well, all the stuff on that mug, basically, and getting my thoughts to transform into sensible words and sentences, so I'm there to get some speech therapy to help with it. Gotta admit, I'm kind of anxious about it!

8) Also in 1974, the 55 mph speed limit was imposed nationwide. When you drive, are you careful to stay within the speed limit? Or do you have a lead foot?

Image result for knee slapper gif

Girl, I got two speeding tickets in 2018 alone! Both were on the same stretch of the same 35 MPH zone. I was probably going at least 60 MPH both times! I think I probably schedule some shit to do that requires us to go East on I-84, just so I can hit the 80 MPH zone and ... go 90+ MPH!

9) Random question -- It's time to pose for your Saturday 9 yearbook picture. Will you show us your right profile, your left profile, or will you look directly into the camera?

December 2018 Selfie Collage

Well, these are from a couple weeks ago now, since it's 0538 right now and I haven't showered yet... so it appears I would be showing you my left! I think that's my "good side," as if I have such a thing. I know that because the nostril piercing is barely visible, and that's on my right. ;)


Ooh, I liked this quizzy! Thanks Gal, er, Crazy Sam!

Have a great 2019, y'all. Seriously, I mean it.


Saturday 9: So Into You

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


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


Saturday 9: So Into You (1977)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here

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

20180927 Chloe Tattoo

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

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

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

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

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

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

09082018 Mom's Birthday 04

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for princess diana

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

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

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


A fun one! Thanks, Crazy Sam! ;)


Saturday/Sunday Mash-Up


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

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

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

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


She Works Hard for the Money (1983) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Image may contain: Bob Simmons, closeup

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

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

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

Image result for delicious cakes

I'm better at smaller desserts more like this:

Image result for beautiful petit fours

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

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

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

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

Image result for Japan celebration

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

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

Image result for Restyle thrift store boise

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


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


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


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

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

Name three exotic countries you would like to visit:

Image result for Japan Image result for Australia Image result for argentina

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

What do you think the secret to life is?

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

Best concert: 

Image result for bob dylan baseball concert norfolk virginia

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

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

Image result for maroon 5

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

Worst movie music soundtrack or score: 

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My mind is a blank on this one.

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

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

Who was your FIRST date?

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

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

Do you still talk to your FIRST love?

Image may contain: 2 people, including Ben Peterson, people smiling, outdoor

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

What was your FIRST alcoholic drink?

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

What was your FIRST job?

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

What was your FIRST car?

Image result for 1991 ford escort wagon red

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

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

Image result for New Jersey

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

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

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

Image may contain: 4 people, including Karen Johnson and Stacey Johnson, people smiling, people standing, sky, cloud and outdoor

and this is my friend Ursula with her beautiful family:

Image may contain: 5 people, including Ursula Petricek, people smiling, people standing, child, stripes and outdoor

And yes, I still talk to both.

Whose wedding did you attend the FIRST time?

Image result for little girl in pink bridesmaid dress

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

Tell us about your FIRST roommate.

Image result for rochester

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

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

Image result for coexist


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

Back of car

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

Image result for Latin

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

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

Nope, I married this dork:

Image may contain: 1 person

 He's so cheerful!

What were the first lessons you ever took and why? 

Image result for organ lessons

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

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

Front entry

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


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



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


Sunday Stealing: Never Been Asked Meme

Welcome back! I'm hoping to get this post written before my migraine comes back, because it is a doozy. And I know it's coming back by its aura, which I'm getting because I just don't have enough health problems going on right now... :P

Anyway, link up here to play along today!


  1. First thing you wash in the shower?
  2. Image result for shampoo funny
  3. I have a set routine, and I always shampoo my hair first.

    2. What color is your favorite hoodie?

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It's brown!

3. Would you kiss the last person you kissed again?

Image result for kissing funny

Sure, I guess I'd kiss Hubs again. ;)

4. Do you plan outfits?

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Not usually, no.

5. How are you feeling RIGHT now?

Image result for migraine botox

Well, I've got this new kind of intractable migraine since a few months ago, even landing myself in the hospital for it this past Monday, and nothing helps. I've had three rounds of Botox to no avail, so I'm now considered a non-responder to that. And pretty much everything else. There's a new injection drug called Aimovig that I've just signed the paperwork to get, so I'm waiting to see if our insurance will approve it since it nears $10K a month. And I might get my tragus pierced. SOMEthing has got to help!

6. What’s the closest thing to you that's red?

Image result for big bottle of Tylenol

Currently, that would be the giant bottle of Tylenol that I keep nearby at all times. Kinda makes sense, eh?

7. Tell me about the last dream you remember having?

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I can't remember the reason, but my 13yo daughter Sophia was sorely pissed at me. She's hardly ever angry with me, and I felt fearful to see if she really was when I woke up! (She wasn't.)

8. Did you meet anybody new today?

Image result for customer service funny

Nah, not really. Wait, do cashiers and Customer Service reps count? Chloë and I went to PetSmart to get dog food, cat food, puppy pads (our two itty bitty doggos are pad-trained), and two NylaBones on clearance. Then we went to Kohl's to pick up an online order (I got a brand-new bra, three pairs of undies, and four bra hooks - to tighten the straps of my girls' brassieres - for under $23! Plus I bought a new set of measuring cups, since we lose some every time we move, on sale AND they gave me an additional military discount, AND I got $5 Kohl's Cash back for picking up the internet order. Sweet! And then we drove across the street to pick up two Target internet orders I placed a few days ago. It was the hardware for our window treatments. We've been here 17 months and still don't have proper curtains up! Until now.

9. What are you craving right now?

Image result for reese's pieces cups

Cheap chocolate. Specifically, Reese's Pieces Peanut Butter Cups - best chocolate under a dollar!

10. Do you floss?

Image result for dental floss funny

Sometimes. I floss a lot more now that I've lost a filling. Gotta get that thing replaced!

11. What comes to mind when I say cabbage?

Related image

I think of the cabbage soup diet! One of my BFFs from high school, Shana, introduced it to me in the mid-to-late 90s. I used it during my internship at Mote Marine Lab after college. Back then, the diet included lots of red meat - and I ate vegan then, so maybe that's why I failed? I loved the soup, though; it really was delicious!

12. Are you emotional?

Funny Still Emotional :)

Uh, you could say that. Just... slightly. ;)

13. Have you ever counted to 1,000?

Image result for roman numerals funny

Definitely in Roman numerals...

14. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it?

Image result for ice cream cone funny

Usually, I lick. I prefer to savor.

15. Do you like your hair?

Image result for bad hair cut funny

Not currently. It's too short to put up in a proper ponytail, and with 100°F heat, that's pretty annoying! But it's not as bad as Donald Trump's... thing... on his head, so yay!

16. Do you like yourself?

Image result for love yourself funny

I find it difficult, but I do try to hold onto those things I do like about myself.

17. Would you go out to eat with George W. Bush?

Image result for Dubya funny

Yeah, I probably would. I wasn't a fan of his presidency, but the guy himself seems like he'd make an amiable dinner companion. He'd probably crack a lot of jokes. And I am proud of what his daughter Barbara has become, and I really enjoy watching her sororal twin Jenna on the Today show in the mornings, so yeah. Hey Dubya, call me!

18.What are you listening to right now?

Image result for nylabone

I'm listening to - and watching - my 15yo son Jack play the Titan Fall II on the Xbox directly in front of me, and to my right, I'm also listening to our Chiweenie Tapioca chew on her new sirloin-infused Nylabone. She's going to town on it!

19. Are your parents strict?

Image result for authoritative parenting

I have no idea what parenting style my mom would have employed, but my dad and evil stepmother were at times Authoritarian and at times Uninvolved (which was called "Neglectful" instead, during studies of Child Development in college). I was raised in a completely different environment than the one in which I was raised. I try to be very Authoritative, with the occasional Permissiveness in between.

20. Would you go sky diving?

Image result for skydiving funny

Not even if you paid me.

21. Do you like cottage cheese?

Image result for 4% cottage cheese

Yeah, but only the 4% kind. I like to indulge now and then.

22. Have you ever met a celebrity?

Image result for Jose Canseco

Yeah, but not any huge A-listers. I helped Dave Barry, the humor columnist, numerous times when I worked at Publix all throughout college. Really nice guy. And I served ice cream to José Canseco and his lady friend once, when I worked at a gourmet ice cream shop before entering graduate school. Really not a nice guy - total douche!

23. Do you rent movies often?

Image result for Netflix funny

Almost never. We have Amazon Prime, Netflix, and frequent freebie codes for the Redbox - and I almost never use any of them! What a shame.

24. Is there anything sparkly in the room you're in?


I had a hard time finding something sparkly instead of shiny - plenty of shiny! - until I looked down at my engagement ring. There we go! (Boy, do those rings need polishing!)

25. How many countries have you visited? 

Image result for globetrotter traveler

I've been to the USVI {St. Thomas only}, Puerto Rico, and Guam, but do those technically count, since they're US territories? I've also been to Canada multiple times as a kid; Mexico twice; Bahamas twice; Jamaica; Costa Rica; Panama; Cayman Islands; Spain; France; Monaco; Italy; Greece; and, Croatia. I think that's all of them. Not nearly as many as Hubs, though!

26. Have you ever made a prank phone call?

Image result for horse manure

That may be the first (and only?) time I've posted a picture of actual feces on this blahg. I've made a prank or 17 in my day, but Hubs makes them to this day. We'll be driving along, whether around town or on long road trips, when we'll see a sign or the side of a van or something that inspires us. He manages to last quite a long time while I'm cracking up in the background. Maintains serious composure! One of the more memorable pranks was when he called different Home Depot stores around the country to ask if they sold, specifically, "horse shit." We were trying to find the most polite store, but somehow our quest got lost in the giggles!

27. Ever been on a train?

Image result for speeding bullet train

Numerous times! Both long-distance and also around big cities like Miami and Washington, DC. On one of the more memorable trips, my friend "Jenny From the Block" and I took our combined five kids from Virginia Beach to Richmond, Virginia, by train and back. That was pretty awesome. I would love to do a trip cross-country.

28. Brown or white eggs?

May I please have a combination? These are our very own eggs; I'm sure there's a more vibrant picture somewhere, but this was the first one I came across. We have five hens laying eggs at present, but I'm planning to add more to our flock in September. Of the five we have now: one lays nearly-white eggs, two lay brown eggs, and two are olive layers. I'm enamored of this whole chicken-keeping business! When I order a flat of chicks in September, I'm really hoping to get a rare layer of blue eggs. That would be so cool!

29.Do you have a cell-phone? 

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Of course - who doesn't nowadays?! All three kids and I acquired new Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphones in June; Hubs has the Galaxy S8 Active. I'm still learning all the tricks and secrets my phone possesses, but I'm already enamored of it!

30. Do you use chap stick?

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Not necessarily the Chapstick™ brand, but I am an absolute lip balm fanatic! I always have at least one in the following locations: my purse, the dashboard pocket opening in the car, and my bathroom drawer (I probably have eleven in there). I've tried just about every kind. My very favorite is the kind that the St. Luke's hospital gives out to their patients. It's the best! But a very, very close runner-up are the three kinds from Young Living: Cinnamint, Lavendar, and Grapefruit. I love that last one!


Phew! Finally finished that long one! Just in time. In addition to the headache, I'm nauseated, have blinding double vision, and heart palpitations. Good Lord, please help me and take this da** thing away!! :( :( 

Sorry for the accidental lapse in self-control, there. Forgive me? I hope you'll all have a wonderful week. Forgive me if I'm physically unable to read your posts right now. I can barely see to write my own!

TTFN. ;)


Sunday Stealing: Happy New Year

Hey, y'all! Welcome back. I'm thrilled to be back after missing the last few weeks due to illness. Glue me down, because hopefully I'll be sticking around for a while. Link up here if you want to play along this week. Let's go!


End of Year Questions

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

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I moved out West! Rob and I packed up our three kids, two dogs, four cats, two gerbils, one guinea pig, and as much of our stuff that we could fit in the remainder of our little crossover SUV, and high-tailed it cross-country from Miami to Boise in four days. It was a crazy, amazing adventure and aside from a few misadventures, I think we kind of had the time of our lives!

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

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I always make New Year's Resolutions. However, I honestly don't remember now what I resolved for 2017, so I can't say whether I kept it or not. Probably some konmari decluttering, in which case... sort of. For 2018, I'm not making any resolutions. I just aim and hope to live a healthier life from here on out, much more so than the way I disastrously ended 2017!

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

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My friend got married and had a baby boy, named Aaron! Sadly for me, I left Miami before she gave birth, so I haven't met the little love. Domenica asked me to crochet or knit something for her baby, but I've been in so much pain and stuff, I haven't had the ability to do it, yet. I think this year, I resolve to knit and crochet more again. Gotta put all the good yarn I own to good use, right? I'll make her baby something to keep him warn soon, especially now that freezing iguanas are falling all over the sidewalk in South Florida.

My brilliant mind fails me now, so I can't remember who is pregnant at the moment. Oh, my friend Lisa Keeney is expect #6, I think. But I am positive I don't know anyone who adopted last year.

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

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I don't think anyone I know personally died last year? I hope I'm not forgetting somewhat, sheesh. As far as having a serious illness or injury, that would be me. I wrote all about it in my last post. If you care, I detailed that experience here. I know there are lots of typos in the post, but I'm just not in the mood to go fix them right now, sorry!

5. What places have you visited? 

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We were invited to hang out with new friends at Lucky Peak Reservoir here in Boise, Idaho. It was intensely beautiful, just like everywhere we've gone in Idaho. I can't wait to go back again this summer and see more of it. 

6. Any new pets? Lost a pet?

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We gained 12 chickens, but after a few runaways and a couple of deaths, we're down to half that.

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Chloë also adopted a new guinea pig buddy, Alex, for her first little guy, James. Those two are SO noisy!

7. What would you like to have next year that you lacked this year?

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I will continue my pursuit of this grand idea of Contentment, rather than Happiness. I am often content, but those moments are often overpowered by thoughts of "now what? what's next? what else?" and I want to learn to be satisfied with the right here and now.

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

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Probably January 20-21, 2017. Not-my-President Trump was inaugurated (ugh! puke! barf!) and my family and I all participated in the Women's March to protest. I made three pussyhats, for my girls and me, and I was proud to wear them and represent. 

9. What was your biggest achievement last year?

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We struggled a lot in Miami after Rob retired from the US Navy, and our financial picture changed drastically for the worse. It was really hard to find housing to rent here in Boise, from Miami, and I worked tirelessly for months to do so. Home after home after home slipped through our fingers due to the three-digit credit scores of ours that, frankly, aren't so pretty right now. But we're rebuilding, and I saw this home online right after it was listed. I jumped on it, and asked to speak the Lessor by phone, rather by email or text. He agreed and ended up talking on the phone to Rob when the time came, because I had to leave for some reason I now forget. Anyway, we landed the house, and it has been perfect for us. Such a blessing, and for it I am most grateful.

10. Did you get sick or injured?

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Oops, I already answered that in #4. Scroll up if you forgot?

11. What was the best thing you bought?

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We've had a very NERF Christmas here at Casa de Odette. Except for me, everyone received some NERF hyper-powered weapons (these things take lots of batteries now?!). We finally received all of our household goods from the Miami move on the Monday before Thanksgiving, and boxes and boxes were piled everywhere. While I was trying to work on unpacking and clearing the chaos out of our house (it's still here, by the way), the rest of Team Odette were busy ambushing each other with NERF wars. Micro-teams were built, alliances were formed, people were trying to wheedle each other's secrets out of me... these people were/are intense! And crazy. They all asked for more NERF weapons for Christmas, and Mum delivered. Even Hubs has been involved. It's been a daily thing. I'm not a fan of war and weapons and fighting and stuff, but this is actually good, silly fun. I don't participate - I can't participate, because of my Fibro or whatever - but I have to admit I enjoy this nonsense.

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


Generally it goes to having experiences and creating memories. A large part of that is Sophia's showjumping lessons, which she used to do at Miami International Riding Club back in Florida, and now does at Wasatch Sport Horses here in Eagle, Idaho. I'm trying to get the other kids more involved in things, too, because it's important. Jack wants to go go-karting, so we'll do that again very soon, and Chloë wants to take self-defense classes (we are starting with a class at the local Krav Maga studio) and get involved in archery. All are coming up, but at a more relaxed pace then the frenetic one I've tried to keep up until now. 

13. What song will always remind you of last year?

I think both the songs "Woman" and "Praying" by the new-and-improved Kesha will be my girls' and my anthems for 2017. Jack doesn't really listen to music much (except for his obsession with the Imagine Dragons), and Rob listens more to Classic Rock than anything else. The girls seem to have captured my affinity for current Pop, and the three of us are all fairly decent singers. "Praying" really spoke to me, and "Woman," despite the cursing involved, really struck a cord with me increasingly independent 16-year-old Chloë and always independent 12-year-old Sophia. And me. I've been pretty much a wimp my whole life, but I have stood up for myself in 2017 in ways that I have never done before. Kinda proud of that.

14. What do you wish you would have done more of?

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I really wish my health had been strong enough to go hiking and exploring more in our new Idahome. I am going to build it up, slowly but surely, so that when warmer weather returns, I can do exactly that in 2018.

15. What do you wish you would have done less of?

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Getting sick, dammit! This shit is for the birds. Sirrusleh.

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

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We saw a number of movies - some I slept through - in the theater in 2017, but Despicable Me 3 and The Secret Life of Pets were my favorites. Yeah, yeah, we still watch a lot of movies geared more toward a younger audience, and I actually like those a lot. I like more adultish movies, too, but I'm a kid at heart and frequently love the animated ones just as much.

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

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I honestly didn't read any books last year. I read some of some books, but I didn't go from cover to cover on anything. Not proud of that. Used to be such a bookworm; what happened to me?! I'm still not making any resolutions, but I plan to change that abysmal record in 2018. ;)

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

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I turned 41 in September, and neither Rob nor I can remember what we did on or around that occasion. Must have have been a real big whoopty-doo.

19. What political or social issue stirred you the most? 

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The #MeToo movement was a pretty powerful one, obviously, both publicly and personally for me. It stirred up some things that have happened to me, which I've never dealt with. I now realize that I need to, because they're coming out and looking to be dealt with whether I want them to or not.

20. Who was the most interesting new person you met?

Our neighbor a few houses down on the cul-de-sac, Gladys, is pretty interesting. She's elderly, has more facial hair than my husband, talks herself blue in the face, is part Native American, converted to Mormonism, and is never at a loss for words for something interesting to say. I love her. It's hard not to stare at her beard (please, God, let me have the sense to pluck that shit if I get to be 75 and that happens to me), but I love her. She brings us treats now and then, has invited us to this luau and the Christmas party at her LDS church, is just an all-around good soul. 

21. Describe how a relationship changed.

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My relationship with Hubs and the kids is ever-evolving the longer we're all together, of course. Now that Chloë is 16, she's maturing and more and more, developing a mind of her own. Unlike me at that age, she is not afraid to stick up for herself when she feels like she's been wronged. I admire her for that, and I encourage her to do it when she has a valid point. We had a tough time when she had a major depressive episode in mid-November, but it brought us more closely together as a family. And we're already a close-knit family. I think she'll be just fine. I think we all will.

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

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Definitely not. I have moved my family from the East Coast to almost the West Coast. Life is completely different here; we risked everything for it, and it panned out. It was complete culture shock coming to Boise, Idaho, from Miami, Florida, but in a good way. I planned on not getting sick anymore, but as soon as I attempted to get a job and started working, boom! I got hit with Pneumonia #7 in a year's time. I've had two more and more severe cases of pneumonia since then, and I could have died from this latest bout from which I'm still recuperating. I've learned that my daughter and I are both immunoglobulin A deficient, and while most people with this somewhat common genetic defect (lol) are asymptomatic, Chloë and I get sick quickly, frequently, and seriously. I will need to get IgA infusions, and she may, too. I've been sick my whole life, and this is the year - I hope - that I figure out all the pieces of that puzzle. Oh, and ICYMI, I stood up for myself and set boundaries with my father - something I have never in my life done. I'm proud of that.

24. How have people around you changed?

Sophia and Bing

 We all change, everyone does, every year... or so I imagine. However, I feel like I ought to shine a light on 12-year-old Sophie for this one. As the baby of the family, she's really not used to being in charge of something or someone, and she has a habit of being, I don't know, a little passive when it comes to riding. That doesn't always work with the more strong-willed horses she's ridden, and in August 2016, she badly broke her wrist after her horse, Lacey, threw her when she dodged a jump. That led to over a year's break in riding, during with both she and I suffered from a lack of confidence when we finally found her current showjumping barn, Wasatch Sport Horses.

She's ridden a couple of strong-willed mares, Sunny and Daisy, up 'til today when she rode this beautiful boy, Bing. I didn't take her; Rob did, but Sophie described Bing as being "very jumpy," with a sly smile on her face. I talked to her, and she revealed he has quite the playful personality when being tacked up and down, too, like he has a secret song in his head! Anyway, my point is, she regained her confidence and got back on the horse's back this past Fall. She didn't let the broken wrist keep her down, and she has managed to figure out - with her coaches' help - how to show dominance over both mares in order to get them jumping and following her lead, not their own. Ultimately, she and Connie (her current coach) agree that Bing is a better fit at 17.1 hands high for those long legs of hers. And she fits well with his silly, "jumpy" personality. I hope she'll get a few more tries on Bing soon, and then we may consider leasing him for her to ride whenever she wants. I'm so proud of her!

25. What have you learned throughout the year?

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I've learned that I have boundaries and how to set them and stick with that. What? Who knew?!

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

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Nope, I didn't learn anything new that was crafty. No new techniques on the old ones, either, unless you count a new cast-on technique in knitting that I didn't know before. Maybe that counts. Chloë and I want to go take a glass-blowing class soon. I keep seeing Groupon deals come up for it here in town, but I haven't jumped on it yet. I think that'll happen this spring.

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

Image result for Young Living Savvy  Minerals makeup

Well, you know how I've been peddling JAFRA cosmetics for the past 20 years or so? (Well, now you do.) I started using Young Living Essential Oils at one of my BFF Shana's urging. I've gotten a lot of benefit from my YLEOs, so when they came out with the (admittedly pricey) line Savvy Minerals cosmetics, I eventually decided to come around and give it a try. Little by little, I've accumulated more Savvy Minerals items, and I've come to love them. So much so, in fact, that I have decided to end my two-decades-long relationship with JAFRA and focus my efforts (whatever little they may be) on Young Living. I have a shit ton of JAFRA makeup that I'm selling off little by little, in order to buy more Savvy Minerals. They're perfect. They feel so clean and healthy on my skin, and I know that Young Living doesn't sacrifice quality for profits.

As for hair, I'm growing it out and have been auditioning different hair colors in the brown-auburn ranges. Regarding wrinkles, not so much, but I am getting BOTOX for my migraines on the 23rd of this month. I'm pretty vain, so I don't mind dropping a pretty penny on my various and sundry creams and serums, but not so much so that I would get BOTOX to feed that vanity. I've been offered this migraine treatment more than once in the past, but I was so self-conscious about the idea that someone might think I'm using it for anti-aging purposes, I haven't gone forward with it. By this point in time, however, my various neurologists over the past 20+ years have tried every single headache/migraine medicine on the market, and nothing stops the daily onslaught. It's BOTOX time, y'all.

28. What are your hopes and dreams for the new year?  (Some suggestions: family, travel, work, lifestyle, hobbies, pets, appearance)

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I want to be cleared from this freakin' MRSA pneumonia that totally kicked my ass all around the block last month and now, and get and stay healthier. I want to be consistent with getting the healthcare I'm supposed to get, and not be procrastinating or postponing the things I haven't wanted to "bother" with because they just didn't seem so important at the time. I want to explore more of our new home state of Idaho, and hopefully get up into a road trip up North to Coeur d'Alene, into Canada and over West to Vancouver, B.C., and south into a Seattle, Washington, and then Portland, Oregon, before coming back East to Boise. I really hope this happens.

Chloë wants to visit Niagara Falls - on both sides of the border - so maybe we'll attempt that trip, too. The childrens' passports will need to be obtained, clearly! I want to pick up my knitting habit again and learn more techniques such as entrelac. I'd like for Rob to finish building our chicken habitat - an injury to his hand caused a setback, and then snow fell, and, well, it sits incomplete in our backyard at the mo' - so we can double our six-pack of chicky babies by Summer. And I'd like to shed at least 30 of the pounds I've put on in the past two years, thanks to medication changes and complications with my 9-year-old gastric bypass procedure. Lots to look forward to!


Welp, that's mah post, you guys. Hope you enjoyed! Or at least stayed awake... ;)

Sunday Stealing: Monster Mash

Hey, y'all, link up here if you wish to play along this weekend!

ghost: what would you like on your tombstone?


 Actually, I don't want a tombstone. Bury me at sea!


   dracula: are you afraid of aging? or death?

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That about sums it up. I never expected to live past 33, so the past 8 years have been considered "bonus time." I never pictured myself aging. It's totally surreal - and it's cool that I'm here, but the actual physical aging part completely sucks!

  nosferatu: what, as a child, did you imagine went bump in the night?

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Actually, I did not have to imagine. Plenty of real things went bump in my nights.

    godzilla: what do you do when you are angry? are you ever destructive?

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I can be. I truly like to throw shit. But when I am super pissed, I tend to yell and say a lot of bad words, until I'm able collect myself enough to go give myself a time-out in my room.


the blob: do you collect anything? if so, what & why?

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[The above photo is not mine. Most of mine are in storage right now.] I like to travel, so I collect shot glasses from wherever I go. I have about three display cases full now and will continue. Sometimes, we even get to use them! ;)

zombie: when was the last time you trusted your gut? was it successful?

Lucky Peak Beach 007

[This photo is mine: Lucky Peak Beach in Boise, Idaho.] The last time I truly had to trust my gut was when we decided it was a good idea to uproot our family, once again, and move cross-country from Miami, Florida, to Boise, Idaho. Three teens/tween, two dogs, four cats, two gerbils, and a guinea pig, plus us parents, hauled ass for four long event-filled days to get here, and it has paid off. It is beautiful here. The people are lovely. And our kids are so much happier. Whew!

mothra: what is something dangerous that attracts or fascinates you?

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You can take the girl away from the sea, but you can't take the sea out of the girl! I will always consider myself a marine biologist, no matter how far removed from that life I have gotten. Sharks. I love them, will always love them, even I shit my dive suit when I encounter a big'un like these. I'm all in.

king kong: what are some questionable choices you've made lately?

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On the contrary, I think my choices lately have improved. I've jettisoned some childhood baggage from which I have finally released myself, and relied more on my husband and family to provide my Here and Now. I've asked for help, and gotten it. Things are better. Much, much better...

alien: what is your strangest feature?

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I'll keep it clean and stick to my flaring nostrils. I can flare them on demand. I can also wriggle my nose like a bunny. Not too fabulous, but at least it's not NSFW! ;)

cthulhu: do you like the ocean? why or why not?

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Clearly, I do, and I do not quite understand folks who do not. I am almost mystically drawn to it, and I would give up everything to be a mermaid. Maybe. ;)

nessie: have you ever felt invisible to people -- the feeling of not existing?


Oh, absolutely! When I looked like this, at 340+ lbs, I was definitely invisible. Some people, of course, looked at me with disgust and loathing, but for the most part, I was ignored. People shut doors in my face instead of holding them open, no one looked me in the eyes, let alone smiled at me... but all that changed when I lost the weight. It was almost surreal.

    mutant spider: what is one of your biggest fears?

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I've already lost one of my children. It would kill me if it happened again.


werewolf: if you could change into any nonhuman animal and back at will, what animal would you change into and why?

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I think I would be an albatross, or some other large sea bird. I could spend my days in flight and draw my life from the sea. It sounds amazing.

golem: if you could make up an imaginary friend, what would they be like and why?

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They would be someone I could laugh hysterically with over the weirdest and strangest shit, someone who "gets" me and all my quirks and neuroses, and accepts me for who I am. Someone I can get into trouble with and have fun, but not any  kind of trouble that harms anyone else! (Wait, this sounds like I'm describing my husband.)


leprechaun: what is your "pot of gold" (or white whale, if you'd rather)

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Contentment and relaxation have proven to be elusive for me throughout my adult life. However, with the newest addition of Lithium to my psych cocktail, it's kind of a "forced" relaxation that I'm actually enjoying. And I am learning to be content in the individual moment, which leads to greater happiness overall. At least, for me.

sharktopus: what is something you've done that was ridiculous or a bad decision?

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One of the worst decisions I've made was when Sophia (my youngest) was entering kindergarten, Jack (now 14) was entering second grade, and Chloë (my oldest) was entering fourth. We decided to homeschool all of the kids that year for the first time - a GREAT decision, but I also let myself be talked into leading a new Girl Scout Daisy troop with far too many girls and way too many demanding, irritating parents. Sophia was in that troop. I was also the Treasurer and the Cookie Mom for that troop and Chloë's Junior troop. I was also involved in Jack's Cub Scout Tiger troop and helping him with selling popcorn. I was also doing a crap-ton of mystery shops, sometimes maxing out at nine or 10 in a day. I was deeply overwhelmed. I lost a lot of sleep and became extremely dependent on caffeine. I still am. It was a horrible number of plates to keep spinning, while attending do my wifely and motherly duties at the same time! I'm still trying to learn to say "no," though. It's hard for me.

 robot: what is a habit you do without thinking?

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I have fidgeting skillz like the best of them. I am nonstop movement. I don't know if that is why, but I have major muscle spasms in my hands and feet now, and I'm convinced I have a Restless Leg thing going on. I remember when my dad Sperm Donor was my Sunday School teacher, and he was constantly berating me to, "Stop fidgeting, Mellie! Settle down, Mellie-Ann!" I never did, though. I couldn't!


Oh, we've reached the end! Well that was fun. I have to hop in the shower now. Have a lovely!

Young Living Fall Festival & Draft Horse Show 2017

2017 Young Living Fall Festival and Draft Horse Show

Hey, folks! So, being that I am all about the Young Living Essential Oils (and related products) these days, I was super gung-ho about traveling to Mona, Utah, for the second time in as many seasons in order to attend their Fall Festival. A quick conversation or three with Rob about it, and reservations and plans were made and set in place for us to head down to Nephi, Utah, to spend the night on September 30th and then go to the festival on October 1st.

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This was in or near Nephi, and let me tell you, they nailed it. Middle of nowhere, indeed! Our accommodations there were inexpensive, and it was definitely a case of "you get what you pay for."

But moving on to Sunday's visit to the Young Living Lavender Farm in Mona.

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We arrived around 10 AM, right when it opened for the day, and then proceeded to wait inside Phoenix (our Dodge Journey) for a bit while the rain was working up the urge to drop. Having decided to hold off for a (very) short while, we braved the chill and headed out. A kind driver of a large golf cart picked us up and delivered us to the Visitor's Center.

Last time I was there, with Shana in June (as written in this post), we skipped the long lines of the Visitor's Center entirely.

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With Team Odette alongside me, however, I was encouraged to head in. And look! All the pretty oils! (I mean, what else would you expect from a working Young Living farm?) Between this house and our Miami household goods' pack-out - which, no, we have not yet received - I have a good many of them, but I'd love to have them alllllll...!

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I wasn't there just for myself, however, so we didn't stick around long. The kids picked out some vanilla-cinnamon ice cream (which, it turned out, not one of us liked) and then started scurrying in 75 different directions at once around the farm. By and by, Jack noticed the existence of the paddleboats and came running to ask if he and Sophia could use them. The cost was included in our entry fee, so sure! Why not? He floated in his life vest, so I kept a close eye on them, but they had a blast!

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Utah YL Fall Festival Trip 023
Utah YL Fall Festival Trip 023

The pony rides were also included in admission price, so the kids took their turn at that, too. Sophia, cantering-sometimes-galloping, showjumping Sophia, on an itty-bitty pony was quite amusing to all five of us!

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After pony rides, while we were trying to decide what next to do, we were joined by a percheron draft team. The girls rushed over for the first of many photo ops. Beautiful horses; I think I'm a fan of the draft horses the most. Particularly the Clydesdales, maybe in part due to my many years of Anheuser-Busch-sponsored Oktoberfests in Baldwinsville, New York...

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Beautiful, majestic creatures, they were.

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This is Bandido, the Friesian owned by D. Gary Young, co-founder of Young Living. He shared a moment with Sophia, a moment so touching and emotional to her that she quickly turned to me and ran, having a good sob in my arms. It reminded her of so many such memories with Buddy, the horse she leased at Miami International Riding Club, back when we lived there. I whispered what I hoped were comforting words to her, and the tears subsided, allowing us to continue our visit with the beautiful Friesians - Sophie's favorite breed.

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More Friesians getting groomed for the upcoming draft horse show

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While visiting the Friesian barn was maybe the highlight of the trip for Sophia, Jack and Chloë were perhaps not quite as enthralled.

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Utah YL Fall Festival Trip 056
Utah YL Fall Festival Trip 056

Okay, perhaps we looked at the Friesians a bit longer than we normally might've, to escape the bone-chilling rain... ;)

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One more pose, and then out we went...!

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One is hard-pressed to deny the beauty of the lavender farm with the mountains as a backdrop.

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I'm not sure if they were Nez-Perce or another tribe, because we couldn't hear the announcements, but American Indians were performing on the property that day as well. Hopi? I honestly wasn't sure and didn't get the chance to find out.

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A perfect photo opportunity, in which Jack refused to participate - shocker! He always refuses. ;)

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Shana and I took many photos in the Olde Town section of the farm during this past visit, and the kids weren't terribly interested in it, so we largely skipped that area this go-'round.

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Hello, random camel. At least you led us to a discussion over whether you were a dromedary or a bactrian! (Former, if you're wondering, based on the one hump...)

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Oh, check it out: Jack's not so afraid of having his photo taken, after all! Heh heh heh.

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Utah YL Fall Festival Trip 080

The girls decided, next, to attempt the bull-riding thingamajobbers. Unfortunately, they rode simultaneously, so I was back and forth with photos, videos going on the camera and ended up missing the moment of truth for both girls. Dammit! But they had a blast, and that is what mattered. (Yeah, right. It's the pictures. Ha!)

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I see you seein' me, Sophia!

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Rob found an old, empty wasps' nest and threw it at Sophie. This was not well-received. Haha!

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Hey, Ma! Just hanging around...

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Jack and I abstained from the Rock Wall climbing which engaged everyone else. Chloë got a little bit off the ground; Sophia achieved much higher heights, and then the girls challenged Rob. His derring-do of younger years paid off, but not quite enough, as the wall became slippery when wet, and down he came.

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Monkey girl didn't even stop to hand off Tapioca's leash before climbing in a nearby tree!

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The girls having some bounce-house fun ... The young man-child was in there somewhere, too!

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Poor Paco was shivering his guts off all through this often-rainy day, which had all the warmth of Cinderella's stepmother on ball night, and we forgot all his sweaters! Tapioca fared a little better. A little.

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At that point, it started raining again, and we were all losing our motivation to stick around for the main event: the Draft Horse show. I was more than a little disappointed, but no one was comfortable, myself included. The kids half-heartedly played this ring-around-the-bottle game for a minute, and then we decided to call it a trip. Bummer!

So that was Utah, October 2017-style. Hopefully there will be better trips ahead!


Sunday Stealing: The Creepy Crawlies One

Welcome back! Link up here if you're playing along with Sunday Stealing this week.


Here are some questions about bugs and other things you might find interesting.  It's another of those memes I stole many years ago without copying down the location of the place where I stole it!

1. You are walking down the road and you look down. There is a bug. Do you step on it?

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No way! It's outside, for Pete's sake. Leave it alone! I don't like bugs touching me without my express written consent while indoors, but outside, I'm fair game. (Obviously. I didn't even notice when the tick who gave me Lyme Disease bit...) I'm like a Buddhist monk in that sense. I'd rather just live and let them live. Outside.

2. What is one fantasy that you want to come true more than any other?

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The one where Donald Trump is no longer ruining this country. 'Merica.

3. Someone knocks on your door. Do you look out the window to see who it is before you open it? Do you open it regardless of who it is? 

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I always look. I'm too short for the peephole, though, so I look out the window, through the sheers. I can see who's coming a mile away.

4. Have you ever eaten Play Doh?

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Actually, my dad never allowed us to have Play-Doh, lest we make a mess and it get stuck in the carpet. By the time I was allowed near it, I was too old to have any desire to eat any!

5. What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon as a child and why?

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I loved The Smurfs, because ... I don't know. It was just fun. My favorites were Brainy and Smurfette.

6. Are you a “people watcher”? 

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Yeah, I love to people watch. It's so interesting to me, to see the kinds of things people will wear, do, and say when they're out on a public stage.  That reminds me. When we lived in Miami, we were driving home from a night out in Coconut Grove on US1, back to Homestead. I reached up to adjust my nose ring, and the driver next to me clearly thought I was picking my nose. He did not waste a single opportunity for the next several miles to pantomime nose-picking for me. What an idiot.

7. I have a bowl of fruit. There are apples, oranges & pears. You help yourself to one - which one do you choose?

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I would eat the banana. I can't really keep much down anymore, in the fruit world.

8. What is your biggest pet peeve in the blogging world? 

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I hate a completely monetized blog, where you have no idea what the owner/author actually thinks anymore - it's just one giant string of commercials. Sure, I'll run a review or a giveaway now and then, but you generally know what is going inside, here.

9. What is one religion that you could just never see yourself joining?

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I would like to plead the fifth here. I don't want to offend anyone. However, I will say this: I was raised as a Christian Scientist, which by the way is completely separate and different from Scientology. However, I left it when I became an adult. Fast-forward to age 40, last year. After a great deal of thought and discussion, I have finally come to the conclusion that it's not a religious sect but rather a cult. I have had people coming out of the woodwork, since that pronouncement, saying, "Oh, thank goodness, I've always thought so!!" It's really just so weird to feel like you've been raised in a cult.

10. What word do you use far too often?

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I am a Caucasian-American, and therefore I admit to using the word "awesome" far more than I ought to! 

11. How long do you spend in the shower? 

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As little as possible, although I admit I do spend a minute or two longer in the hot water now that we live somewhere where it's not a year-round sauna.

12. If you were to write a personal ad about yourself, what would it say?

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I actually did write a personal ad about myself, after some major arm-twisting by my friend Victor. That's how I met my husband. I listed all my faults and said something like, message me if you're up to it! He was up to it. He does still remind me, nearly 17 years later, that you "did say you were high-maintenance, and you didn't lie!"

13. Your favorite flavor of soup is….? 

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I rarely eat soup, but when I do, it's almost always guaranteed to be the Broccoli Cheddar from Panera, in a bread bowl. Good stuff.

14. You are sitting on a bench in the park and a bug walks in front of your feet…. do you squash him?  (I am assuming this is a different bug from question #1)

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Of course not, you silly gooser!


That was fun. I'm watching the Momma's funeral episode of Cake Boss, and this was a much-needed light-hearted diversion. Thanks, Bev!

Have a lovely rest of your weekend. I'll be at the Young Living Lavender Farm in Mona, Utah, all day tomorrow. See yas!

Sunday Stealing: Art History Meme

Welcome back! Link up here if you want to play along with Sunday Stealing this week.

Let's begin:


  1. Do you look forward to the spring?
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  3. Oh yes, very definitely! In Miami, it didn't make much difference, but here in Idaho I suspect I will look forward to Spring with a vengeance! I don't "do" cold weather very well.

  4. 2. Which area of the sciences do you enjoy the most?
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  6. In college, I double-majored in Biology and Marine Sciences, with a minor in Chemistry, so... I'm going to have to say: Physics! Just kidding, Marine Biology is and will always be my first love.
  7. 3. If you could own a classical statue in the form of any figure from myth, religion, or even modern fiction, who would you choose?
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  9. I think I would choose Harry Potter, because my daughter Chloë is extremely obsessed with all things HP, and I would like to give this as a gift to her.

  10. 4. Do you have a good relationship with your mother?
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I wish I did...

  1. 5. What is your favorite mythological story?
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I think I will have to go with The Odyssey; this epic was definitely fun to read and learn about in my Mythology class back in high school!

  1. 6. If you put on a big feast, what would you serve?
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I think it would be fun to put on a feast with lots of vegan dishes from around the world, like this chickpea pizza, some hummus and pita, pea falafel (which I love and mentioned in yesterday's Saturday 9 post) and more! So yummy!

  1. 7. How do you have fun? (What is your favorite 'Earthly Delight'?)

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  1. I think my favorite thing to do is just hang out with Hubs and our wee gang of teenagers. I admit, when they were younger, I had qualms about having three teens. Now that our youngest is 12.5, I will say it's not so bad (so far). Sure, we definitely have our "blow-up" moments, but for the most part, I love communicating with them on a more adult level as well as seeing them blossom into their unique identities. This is fun! I can't wait to see what the future holds for them.

  2. 8. Do you often look for hidden messages and meanings?
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Guilty. Hubs is always telling me, "Don't read anything into it! It is what it is."

  1. 9. Have you ever received an award or special position?
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  3. Sure. Back when I was relevant, I won lots of awards and honors. One of my favorites was being one of the few paid interns at Mote Marine Lab i Sarasota, FL.

  4. 10. If a revolution was about to happen in your country, would you be part of it?

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  1. Well, I hope it doesn't come to this in my lifetime, but I could see it happening. I think, with all the options in current factions developing in this country, I would like to say that I'd be a part of it, but ethically speaking, I don't think I could be. I don't know what I would do, since my husband would probably answer a resounding "YES!" and I wouldn't want to leave him or be separated from any of my bebes. It's a tough question.
  2. 11. Have you ever planned an act of revenge?
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  4. Nah, I don't think so. I don't really think of myself as a very vengeful person.

  5. 12. What is the most dramatic thing you have ever done?
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  7. This announcement, which Google Images provided to me, pretty much sums it up! Rob and I eloped two months after we met online, and we learned Chloë was on the way two or three weeks after that! Pretty dramatic; tongues were wagging for sure!

  8. 13. Do you care about your weight?
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  10. Yes, and I lost a ton of weight (over 200 lbs) after my gastric bypass surgery. I'm extremely upset now, because in the last year, thanks to my combination of new meds and illness I am sure, I have gained about a quarter of that back. I am not happy about that!

  11. 14. Is your life moving too slowly or too fast?
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Yes. In one sense, it is FLYING by, because my kids are older now and I am growing more anxious about how they will fare in adulthood. However, it sometimes feels like time is dragging by, but that is usually when I am in severe pain and just want that to pass...

  1. 15. Do you prefer to stay in the shade?
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I don't necessarily prefer it, but my doctor has required it of me. I have some autoimmune issues going on, so I'm very reactive to the sun and its voodoo powers. Gotta stay in the shade, wear sunscreen every day, and use a sun hat when I'll be out in the sun for any length of time. What do you think of this one, eh?

  1. 16. If you could have any mural on your ceiling, what would it look like?
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Maybe something like this, but I would absolutely love anything Romero Britto decided to put up our ceiling. How awesome would that be?!

  1. 17. Do you enjoy the countryside?
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  3. I do; I love it. I'm very thankful that we were so fortunate to be able to see many parts of the countryside on our long drive West from Miami to Boise!

  4. 18. Are you a romantic?
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  6. Yes; and this photo pretty much sums me up to a "T." Hilarious!

  7. 19. What is your favorite historic subject?
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  9. I think I enjoyed learning about the Renaissance Period the most, and I still do enjoy it.

  10. 20. Do you prefer landscape paintings?
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  12. I can get into them sometimes, more sea-related scapes than dry land, but for the most part I prefer portraiture. Monet, though is my favorite painter, so I do enjoy some landscapes.

  13. 21. Are you interested in social issues?

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Holy cow, that is all sorts of wrong!! ^^^ But yes, I am very much into social issues. For my own sake and especially for my childrens' sakes, I care, but I even care if it's got nothing directly to do with us. There is so much to worry about these days; I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders.


Well, on that cheerful note...!! Thank you for stopping by, and have a lovely weekend!


Saturday 9: I Wish It Would Rain

Hiya, there! Link up here if you want to play along with the S9-ers today!

Let's begin.


Saturday 9: I Wish It Would Rain (1968)
... because Janelle recommended the Temptations

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

1) This week's song focuses on rain. Ombrophobia -- the fear of rain -- is fairly common in children. How do you feel about rainy days? 
They don't bother me. We actually get more rain here in Boise, Idaho, than we did back in Homestead, Florida. It doesn't seem that way, because the number of rainy days here is more spread out than the dumping deluge we got in Miami, but it's true. Anyway, I rather like them, especially a good thunderstorm.

2) Lead singer David Ruffin always wore corrective lenses. Are you wearing glasses or contact lenses as you answer these questions?
I'm wearing contact lenses. I often keep them in overnight as I sleep, because either I forget to take them out, or I'm feeling too lazy, or I just hate wearing glasses. However, I'm having a tonsillectomy in a couple weeks and will definitely have to wear my glasses then!

3) Those thick-rimmed glasses were David's trademark. When he custom-ordered a luxury car, he had the image of those glasses painted on the door. Tell us something that makes your vehicle distinctive.
That's weird. We still have a Florida plate (no front one is required there) on our car, at least 'til the end of the month, which stands out here in Idaho. And we have a lot of stickers on the back of our car, and my college and high school graduation tassels hang from the rearview mirror, so it's pretty easy to spot in a crowded parking lot.

4) David also had a penchant for mink. Rumor has it that he wore a mink-lined hat and even had that car upholstered in mink. If you could really splurge on anything right now, what would it be? Car? Travel? Clothes? Jewelry? (NO responsible answers allowed.)
I would spend it on travel all over our new home state. We want to camp, and hike, and explore, and we haven't had the money to do that yet. We will get there... eventually!

5) He sings that he badly wants to go outside. What are your plans for today? Will you be outdoors very much? 
I ran a few errands with my daughters today. They had to help me walk; I leaned on them a considerable amount. So much so that I've decided it's time to get a fold-up wheelchair to keep in the trunk of the car. I had a good cry about it.

6) The Temptations originally called themselves The Elgins because in 1960, Elgin watches were the high-end timepiece of choice. Today, in the age of cellphones and FitBits, wristwatches aren't that popular anymore. Do you often wear a watch?
Never. I have some, but I never wear a watch. That's what my phone is for! 
7) This sad song was inspired by a real-life event. Motown songwriter Rodger Penzabene discovered his wife was cheating on him. Much to his own surprise, he didn't want to divorce or even separate from her; he just wanted her to love him and only him again. Tell us about a time when you didn't react as you thought you would. (Your story doesn't have to be as dramatic as Rodger's.)
Having Bipolar I Disorder, I rarely react as I expect I would. I'm on good meds that more or less keep me "stable," but stability is a myth with me. Hm. It's hard to think of any one "fun" example.  I recently stayed in a super-fancy, 5-star hotel with one of my best friends since 6th grade. My daughter and I were with her in Salt Lake City, Utah. She said one thing that pissed me off, and we packed up and left on the spot. I wish we hadn't; I wish that hadn't happened. I feel very remorseful about it.

8) In 1968, when this song was popular, a Pittsburgh McDonald's sold the first Big Mac (two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickle and onion on a sesame seed bun). Describe your perfect hamburger.
I'm pretty good with a vegan bean burger, thanks. A bun, yes, but no condiments necessary. I also like to make pea falafel; they're so good. Might make me some for a late dinner tonight, as a matter of fact!

9) Random question: When you catch a cold, do you soldier through it? Or are you a big baby?
I don't really worry too much about a common cold. I never have given it much thought, with everything else going on. Only when it turns out to be something bigger do I start to bitch and moan about it.
Thanks for stopping by!

Field Trip: Fort Running Bear Park


On Thursday, Team Odette had the pleasure of heading out eastward in Idaho, past Mountain Home where a there is a heavier military presence, to Fort Running Bear RV Park. It seemed like a cool place to visit, so I set it up with the owners for us to come out for the day and check it out, before committing to a full overnight visit sometime.


After we were checked in, the girls were swinging happily on the deck. All was well and good. And then...


Jack started waving and pointing frantically off to the side of the deck, while I was just happily clicking along, ignoring him. Finally, he became insistent that I have a look. I'm glad I did!


There wer ea pair of hummingbirds visiting a sugar feeder there! So cute and tiny! I couldn't get too close, for fear of scaring them away. They stuck around quite awhile!


The land area around Fort Running Bear Park was gorgeous. Breathtaking, even, in some places. I'd fallen asleep while Rob drove us to the park, so I didn't get to see half the views, but it was really stunning. I wish I'd had more opportunity to snap photos!


Walking to the pool


At the pool, Sophia came rushing out of the restroom with this big ol' moth on her hand. She's our little bug girl. Right now, actually, she's obsessed with rolly-pollies. She brings a new one inside to show us every single day!


The kids had lots of fun in the pool; however, there were lots of bugs and Sophia was bitten - while swimming - by a fire ant. Twice! So beware the buggies.


Just a little bit of the view... merely a peek. Not nearly enough to do the place justice!


By the clubhouse, there was a bench with seats made out of former wheels. Or hubcaps. Rims. I don't know what the hell is what. But Sophia decided to have herself a seat, never-minding the blistering heat. Her poor rump!




There was a half-course miniature golf setup near the clubhouse, where we played after visiting the pool. They had golf clubs of all shapes and sizes, balls, and anything else one could possibly want to play the game. A few more snaps:




By the way, if you know anything about real golf, you can tell that we don't. And we suck. Par two? Pffft. That's a quadruple-triple bogey right there, baby!


Obligatory attempt at being an artistical photographess


These pretty little white fleurs were fairly ubiquitous around the Fort Running Bear property, so I had to grab a pic. And then I discovered that they were all over our own lawn a day or two later, also!


After miniature golf, we found ourselves a hand-built playground and took a ride on the swings. No bum splinters either, fortunately!


Anyone game for a little tetherball?


Giant tires used to be my favorite on my elementary school playground, myself. But what goes up...


...must come down!


How 'bout another swing, this time with Jack, hmm?


Nah, Jack preferred to push Sophia on her swing. He's not the best, um, swinger. Pumper? I don't know, it just doesn't sound good no matter what I write! ;)


Tiger lilies are my favorite flowers. These were pointed out to me by the lovely blonde lass we call Foofers, but alas, no black speckles and stuff. Just orange lilies. That doesn't matter, though - I love all lilies! 'Specially the orange ones.


Finally, we headed into the clubhouse to see what was what. What was was a huge dining room, nicely laid out with fresh flowers on each table, tons of eye-catching knickknacks, and a room at the back with more fun and games.



This, however, was not a fun find. At least for me.


But see? Eye candy! Knickknacks! Board games and more fun!

We were so tired out, thirsty, and hot by that point, that we decided to head home from the park. We cut our visit a little short, but we had the doggos at home waiting for us.


The drive home between Fort Running Bear Park was straight out of God's playbook. Idaho is beautiful country. I am super grateful to have beheld what I did that day, on the drive home. Unfortunately, you won't see it because I was actually doing the driving, which isn't conducive to Nikon-wielding. But trust me when I say that no photos and no words could do the beauty justice. One just has to witness it in person!


Well, would you look at that? Someone put this gratuitous video of a whale spouting rainbows right at the end of this post, speaking of whales... Huh?

Anyway, that's it for now. Thanks to the folks at Fort Running Bear Park for hosting us!


Lavender Fields Forever

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Last month, during the Young Living 2017 International Grand Convention last month, one of my very best friends, Shana, and I had the pleasure of touring the YL lavender fields. When I say it was amazing and inspiring day, consider that an enormous understatement.

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I did not know that D. Gary Young, founder of YL, was an accomplished and avid horseman before this trip. Because my youngest kiddo, Sophia, is also enthusiastic about horses, I may have gone a little overboard in taking horse pictures on this day. (Which was June 16th, for those keeping score.)

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I had to take a picture of the outhouses, because let's be honest: I'm immature like that!

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The first interesting thing (of many!) that we came across that day was the old-timey looking "village," where I ordered Shana about this way and that, in order to get the photos I wanted of her. It was a flip-flop for our relationship, which probably has a lot to do with the fact that she is the oldest of four, while I was basically the youngest of four. "Go stand in Jail! I need your picture in the clink!" And she did.

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"Hey, go stand by that banjo player and pretend you're in the saloon!" And she did! 

Speaking of that saloon, it's a good thing we weren't really after whatever YL-based elixir they were selling in there, because the lines everywhere, including here, were unbelievable. No patience for that, have I!

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"Hey, go stand over there by that old wagon!" and she did. With real snowy mountains in the background. In June, y'all. That kept blowing my mind more than a little bit.

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Speaking of lines... After old-timey place, we ended up in the expo tent, where we could find lots of items not available online or over at the Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake City where the rest of the convention was taking place. I ended up buying Animal Scents Shampoo, to bathe the pup and cats, and a leash-attached poopy bag dispenser. That's right, I was only thinking of the pets and no one else. Sue me!! ;) Oh, but despite the extremely long line, the staff were extremely organized and knowledgeable in getting us through the line and out the door quickly, so that was quite helpful.

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Inside this little Snack Shack, they were selling Peppermint (essential oil-infused) and Lavender (same) ice cream. Oh, how I wanted to try the Peppermint! I heard it was amazing. Shana wouldn't let me, though. We're both lactose-intolerant, so she was right to do so...

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The views, both up close and in the background, were incredible, so be prepared for a load or two of this type of pix in this post!

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The landscaping at the Lavender Farm was impeccably beautiful.

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As you can see, I couldn't get enough of the beauty and had to stop to smell the roses everywhere we roamed.

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There was another huge line leading up to... what? We had no idea. Eventually, news trickled down that it was another expo-type shop where you could buy exclusives, but neither Shana nor I were interested in that, so we skipped right on back out of the line upon hearing that. Too much to do yet!

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Instead, we hopped under this nearby tent for sniffing and sampling essential oils and other products infused with YL essential oils. Mmmm, everything - and everyone - smelled so gooood!

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Having already bought the Animal Scents shampoo, I was a little interested in the giant Animal Desk Reference nearby, but then I spotted the OOLA Oils and testers! Oh, My WORD! I want all of these oils. In a near-future post on the rest of the conference, I'll explain what the OOLA life is, but I definitely plan to add these to my next order! 

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After we sniffed ourselves silly, we wandered around until there was soon another moment of "Hey, Shana, go sit on that bech over there and let me take your photo!" And she did!

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There was a large, man-made pond (we're sure, anyway), where adventurers could paddleboat, kayak, and more - but those activities were closed for the day for some reason.

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So there was this jousting event at the Lavender Farm. I was very confused as to why there were would be such a thing at this tour, not knowing how hugely (bigly?) D. Gary Young was into horses, still, so though it was evident to me that Shana wanted to attend the jousting match, I gave her a lot of pushback as to actually going. I just didn't wanna! So off we went to do other things... for now.

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"Hey Shana, get over there and pretend you're being eaten by that dragon!" ...and she did. Y'all know the drill by now. Way to go, Shana, for being such a splendid sport about playing along with my shenanigans!

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Lunch was delicious, and the lines were pretty well organized. There were several for "regular" eaters, and then down at the end, there were two lines for Gluten-Free needs (Shana's line) and for Vegan eaters (my line). We both still had quite the spread, despite our restrictions! I had a potato and bean salad, a regular lettuce salad, a wolfberry compote of some sort, and multigrain chips and red pepper hummus. We were both too full for dessert, but neither of us probably could have partaken anyway, so there was no major loss there.

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This band, playing near the food tents, was epic. They were playing a wonderful love song dedicated to Chicken Pot Pie, which was both catchy and endearing. I need to find it on YouTube or something, because I kind of loved it myself. Hee!

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And then, we happened upon yet another musical act, which makes what? Three now? This time, they were actual bagpipers, with tartan kilts and the whole 9 yards. They were spectacular. I think I took a video, but I'm not sure it will show up here.

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We found all these flags, and it took me a minute to understand what they were all about, some being American, but many being from other... countries??

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Leaving the flags behind, we headed for a tour of the distillery. 

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"Hey Shana, go stand over here by those boiling hot stills and lemme grab your photo, eh?" And you know what happened.

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If I have to be completely honest, touring the distillery was probably my least favorite part of the farm visit. Why? Probably because it was so excruciatingly HOT in there!! I think about 1000 degrees F. No lie... ;)

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Hotter than hot.

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Actually, if you want to know why the odd color that looks nothing like lavender, it was was because it wasn't quite lavender harvesting season. Instead, they were distilling juniper. It did smell lovely in there, even if it did feel like we were down i the seventh circle of hell! HOT!

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Shana was surprised by how little equipment was in the laboratory for the distillery, because they run such stringent tests on each batch of essential oils, but I had no explanation for that. Maybe this one was just for show?

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Ahh, more flags on the outside. And then it became clearer to me. I realized that each flag must represent one of Young Living's farms or Partner Farms around the world. Which is a lot, because they go straight to the source of the best plants for the purest, most excellent oils, and so different parts of the world surely grow different oil-producing plants more ... beautifully.

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Oh, look! More horses, going somewhere! But where were they going??

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And now for a very exciting part! We caught a golf cart ride over to the lavender planting field, where we were each given our own lavender plant to bestow upon the earth over there in yonder field. You'll see.

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Shana was SO excited to plant her little baby. Truth be told, so was I! She took pictures of me planting mine as well, but I've gained some serious weight and am not happy with how I look in them, so those shots have gone "missing." ;)

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There you go, baby seedling. Grow up proud and strong, and come back to us in bottled form. LOL! ;)

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Here we are, in our Lavender Fields Forever! Soon they will be FULL of oil-producing lavender. Yay!

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At last, we finally decided to head to the jousting match, because, OH, WHY NOT?! I'm so glad we did. We climbed up into one set of bleachers that turned out to be the perfect place to land, and set to watching. Look who this is! D. Gary Young himself, prancing about with his Friesian steed, whose name was Bandito, and who happens to be  Sophia's favorite breed of horse. She was so excited when I told her about this later!

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So first, we watched the parade of horses, horse men and -women, and of course there aga
in with the American flag is D. Gary Young. So far, I was intrigued.

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And then the parade of nobility retreated, and the jousting match was set to begin.

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Mary Young, wife of Gary and co-founder of Young Living, sang the National Anthem. Shana kept whispering and pointing, "There she is, there she is!!" But I was dumb, like, "Who? What? Where? WHERE?" Until I realized she literally meant right THERE, just a handful of rows in the bleachers in front of us. Swoon...! We both were itching for a photo op with her, but the timing had to be just right.

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Mary Young was very intent on watching her husband in the jousting, though he didn't participate in any competitiveness. 

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Soon, the Lord and Lady of the presentation joined Mary Young up in the bleachers - right in front of us!

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I have a bajillion pictures of the various competitions, but I'll just share a small portion of them. In this game, the riders had to use their jousting stick thingies to catch rings of increasingly smaller sizes for points. The smaller the ring, the higher the points. I didn't know for whom to root, so I just rooted for everyone. Ha!

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We determined that this young man, who brought Mary Young a rose, was her grandson. They were very affectionate throughout the rest of the jousting match. Yeah, I was kind of stalking her a little bit. So? No harm, no foul.

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After each game, the winners would take their victory lap around the arena while everyone cheered. Woooo!

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Back to Mary. She must have known these two women, as they were talking up a storm for a while at the front of our set of bleachers. I was hopeful that this was our "in" to get a photo with her for Shana, who was gushing at the thought!

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This was the light jousting, without full armor. I think this one was when the young woman, the sole female jouster, won the match! Woot woot!

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Bandito the Friesian made another brief appearance to show his prancing dressage.

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Wait, what's this? We finally managed to get a shot with Shana and Mrs. Mary Young! Woohoo! Two beautiful women, right there.

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And now, the full-armor jousting. This was fast-paste and intense, y'all!

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Uh-oh. One of the jousters was thrown off his horse, and now he's turnt around and starting trouble. No, no, no, Mr. Jouster Man!

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What, wait, what's happening now? Threats! Threats, everyone! Take cover! ;)

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Triumph! I don't exactly know what happened, but look - pretty horses, Sophia! <3 hahaha

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And then it was my turn to geek out and get verklempt over a photo together with Mrs. Mary Young! So exciting!! Thank you Mrs. Young, and thank you, Shana, for taking the picture!

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Back to the jousting - another man down! Eek.

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Finally, the jousting show was over, but not for nothing. Shana and I were both stoked with what happened, from beginning to end, but especially with getting to meet Mary Young! That was the cream of the crop, as far as we were concerned. So thrilled!

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As the Lord and Lady left, Lady spotted my lens on her and gave me a personal wave. I don't know why, but I thrilled to that, as well.

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A few closing acts circled the arena, from a butterfly lady, to a woman on stilts, to a man with fire wings, to child play-jousters, to a man eating fire!

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Oh, we needed a few more photos of ourselves in front of the snowy mountain peaks - in JUNE! Can you tell I could not get over it? I couldn't.

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This photo was a funny one, because Shana got bumped in the back by one of the knights, who deadpanned, "Relax, lady, that's just my armor!" We all laughed, and I snapped the picture. Lots of giggling about that one!

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There was this Lavender Labyrinth that was supposed to lead to some sort of spiritual awakening, but by that point, we were just done. Shana walked in a little ways and smelled the lavender, but that was about it. My bones were aching, so I just wanted patiently. 

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This again?! Yep. You can't see her, but Shana was totally in that one right there. Hee hee hee.

Ah, I found the bagpipers' video. I thought it was longer. And, uh, better. But you get the gist. 

So that was our Lavender Farm trip, and we both loved every second of it. It was incredible. Hope you enjoyed it, too





Sundays In My City: Getting Lost In Downtown Boise

Sundays In My City

 Okay, so I have a two-days-late entry for this week's Sundays in my City, hosted By Claudya, but here I am better late than never! Right? Right??!


Ten days after we arrived in Boise, Idaho, on March 20th, we decided to drive around and get lost downtown. Well, okay, so maybe we didn't "decide" to get lost, but with me behind the wheel in a brandy-new town, it's kind of inevitable. With lots of stops at red lights, Rob and I both whipped out the Nikon real quick-like to catch a few snaps of the things we were seeing. 

So yeah, it's taken me just shy of three months to edit these snaps and share them with you, but I promise it will probably not have been worth the wait. Ha! 

The first thing we spotted, very close to home for the first time ever - whether it's when we lived in Virginia Beach and the first Whole Foods was erected on Laskin Road not near us at all, or whether it was when we lived in Homestead, Florida, and the closest Whole Foods was about 35-40 minutes' drive up to Pinecrest, I think, this is the first time we've had one within a few minutes' drive. And obviously, I was so excited about that fact that I had to take a photo!


This coppery leaf sculpture downtown caught my eye. "Quick, Rob, take the picture!" as we drove past...


This cool wall exhibit intrigued Rob quite a bit. He recently found out that it represents Snake River, nearby.


I have no idea what this giant "OCO" logo stands for, but I still aim to find out!


There are lots of amusing such signs out and about in Boise. Yesterday, even, Rob spotted one that said,  "My boss asked me to change the sign." And that was it! Haha!


While BOOO to us, because we have yet to venture out to the Boise Farmers Market nearby, YAYYY for Boise for actually having one. Color me excited!


We haven't ventured into the "World's Largest T.Rex Ever" building, but since I have freakishly short arms (or so says Rob of the freakishly long arms), this building both intrigued and amused us!


Would you look at that?!! Not only does downtown Boise boast a Whole Foods, but there is also a Trader Joe's near us! Woot woot! I have yet to make a pilgrimage, but that's only because I know I'll want to buy one of everything and wreck our monthly food budget! ;)


I'm not entirely certain why I intended to share this photo, but two things come to mind: Yay, we live in a town where Rite Aid is a thing (I hadn't had one at all near us during our four-year sojourn in the Miami area)... or maybe it was the mountains in the distance captivating me. Or maybe both?! That's always a possibility.


There are several different University systems with bases here in Boise, which is great for both Rob and Chloe.  The former wants to study for a Bachelor's degree in Fire Ecology, while the latter would like to start studying French. I'm hoping to put her in some summer or fall classes for that, at least, if not an additional class or two.


The Pita Pit!! Yay! I ran into one when we visited Charleston, SC, a few years back and fell in love with the menu offerings at that time. So happy there is one close enough to deliver to our front door! We've ordered twice now: a lamb gyro for Rob, and veggie-laden hummus for me. Mmmm, so good!!


More mountains against the backdrop of the sky... kind of hard to see from this angle of driving, but that kind of scenery is all around us here in Boise, and it is breathtakingly beautiful... sigh.


The Idaho Angler shop is just down the road from us, which I excitedly pointed out to Rob, an avid fly-fisher.


I mainly took this photo for Chloe, who wants to get into vet school and be a feline-specific veterinarian, ultimately. There are several vet clinics in the immediate vicinity, so we are hoping to get her work - even on a voluntary basis - at one of them for the experience.


Food trucks! I love seeing them out and around town, on an ordinary everyday drive and not just for special occasions. I am a big fan of the food truck. ;)


Oh yes, now I remember our goal for this day:  it was free ice cream cone day at Dairy Queen! None for me, thanks - I can't - but it surely brought joy to my four children! (What, you didn't know that 44-year-old Rob is actually a 12-year-old child trapped in a grown man's body?!!)


Rockies Diner! Rockies this, Rockies that... I love it.  We definitely live in the mountains, which is so exciting in it's novelty for me. We haven't been to this diner yet, but I am sure we'll get there. 


Ooh! Brewer's Haven is just down the road from us, and every Wednesday evening, they have a different craft brewer representative giving out free beer tastings and educating us about their particular beers. Rob and I have gone a half a dozen times or so, while the kids are at the church youth group (I know,  I know, it's a bit of cognitive dissonance there, hahaha). It's a great time for us to connect with each other, meet some new people, and of course, try out some interesting beers!


We ventured inside Brewer's Haven, kids and all. Hey. we've seen plenty of dogs coming in, so what are a few teenagers with their parents? ;) The girls and I, being extreme lovers of all kinds of cheeses, naturally gravitated toward that section of the store. Look what Chloe found! I'm going to have to pick that book up one of these fine days.


Cheese-making kits that promise to be easy!! More on that in a later, maybe the next, post... Stay tuned for a first-time cheese-crafting adventure, eh?


Living up to its' beer-centric theme, plenty of craft beers local and regional to Boise, were in stock there.


... I mean, a lot of beers...


And of course, for the home brewer, every kind of supply you might need could be found at Brewer's Haven. I've tried probing to see whether Rob is interested in doing some home microbrewing, but it just doesn't seem to interest him. Oh well. No big deal.


Now I know to head to BH if ever I get into making bottlecap art/bow-making once again!


Lots of interesting places to look inside the Haven, with an obvious focus on beer. We've picked up a few brewer stickers and decals for Phoenix, our Dodge Journey, ourselves!


Like I said; lots of interesting eye candy here!


This "Buy Local" display pleased me greatly, being somewhat of a locavore myself. Actually, lots of places to shop for foods and beverages around Boise stress what's local in their marketing displays. I can appreciate that!


Knitted wine bottle cozies! I bet I could knit up a few cute ones for our own wine bottles when they get cold in the wintertime, myself. haha!


And at last, Vista Avenue. We spent a while in Brewer's Haven for sure, seeing what's to see, but eventually it was time to make our way back home. If you're looking to visit us, Vista is one of our nearest cross-streets leading into our cozy little neighborhood. Come on by! ;)

Thanks for your visit. Drop a comment, won'tcha?


Sundays In My City: Getting Lost In Downtown Boise

Sundays In My City

 Okay, so I have a two-days-late entry for this week's Sundays in my City, hosted By Claudya, but here I am better late than never! Right? Right??!


Ten days after we arrived in Boise, Idaho, on March 20th, we decided to drive around and get lost downtown. Well, okay, so maybe we didn't "decide" to get lost, but with me behind the wheel in a brandy-new town, it's kind of inevitable. With lots of stops at red lights, Rob and I both whipped out the Nikon real quick-like to catch a few snaps of the things we were seeing. 

So yeah, it's taken me just shy of three months to edit these snaps and share them with you, but I promise it will probably not have been worth the wait. Ha! 

The first thing we spotted, very close to home for the first time ever - whether it's when we lived in Virginia Beach and the first Whole Foods was erected on Laskin Road not near us at all, or whether it was when we lived in Homestead, Florida, and the closest Whole Foods was about 35-40 minutes' drive up to Pinecrest, I think, this is the first time we've had one within a few minutes' drive. And obviously, I was so excited about that fact that I had to take a photo!


This coppery leaf sculpture downtown caught my eye. "Quick, Rob, take the picture!" as we drove past...


This cool wall exhibit intrigued Rob quite a bit. He recently found out that it represents Snake River, nearby.


I have no idea what this giant "OCO" logo stands for, but I still aim to find out!


There are lots of amusing such signs out and about in Boise. Yesterday, even, Rob spotted one that said,  "My boss asked me to change the sign." And that was it! Haha!


While BOOO to us, because we have yet to venture out to the Boise Farmers Market nearby, YAYYY for Boise for actually having one. Color me excited!


We haven't ventured into the "World's Largest T.Rex Ever" building, but since I have freakishly short arms (or so says Rob of the freakishly long arms), this building both intrigued and amused us!


Would you look at that?!! Not only does downtown Boise boast a Whole Foods, but there is also a Trader Joe's near us! Woot woot! I have yet to make a pilgrimage, but that's only because I know I'll want to buy one of everything and wreck our monthly food budget! ;)


I'm not entirely certain why I intended to share this photo, but two things come to mind: Yay, we live in a town where Rite Aid is a thing (I hadn't had one at all near us during our four-year sojourn in the Miami area)... or maybe it was the mountains in the distance captivating me. Or maybe both?! That's always a possibility.


There are several different University systems with bases here in Boise, which is great for both Rob and Chloe.  The former wants to study for a Bachelor's degree in Fire Ecology, while the latter would like to start studying French. I'm hoping to put her in some summer or fall classes for that, at least, if not an additional class or two.


The Pita Pit!! Yay! I ran into one when we visited Charleston, SC, a few years back and fell in love with the menu offerings at that time. So happy there is one close enough to deliver to our front door! We've ordered twice now: a lamb gyro for Rob, and veggie-laden hummus for me. Mmmm, so good!!


More mountains against the backdrop of the sky... kind of hard to see from this angle of driving, but that kind of scenery is all around us here in Boise, and it is breathtakingly beautiful... sigh.


The Idaho Angler shop is just down the road from us, which I excitedly pointed out to Rob, an avid fly-fisher.


I mainly took this photo for Chloe, who wants to get into vet school and be a feline-specific veterinarian, ultimately. There are several vet clinics in the immediate vicinity, so we are hoping to get her work - even on a voluntary basis - at one of them for the experience.


Food trucks! I love seeing them out and around town, on an ordinary everyday drive and not just for special occasions. I am a big fan of the food truck. ;)


Oh yes, now I remember our goal for this day:  it was free ice cream cone day at Dairy Queen! None for me, thanks - I can't - but it surely brought joy to my four children! (What, you didn't know that 44-year-old Rob is actually a 12-year-old child trapped in a grown man's body?!!)


Rockies Diner! Rockies this, Rockies that... I love it.  We definitely live in the mountains, which is so exciting in it's novelty for me. We haven't been to this diner yet, but I am sure we'll get there. 


Ooh! Brewer's Haven is just down the road from us, and every Wednesday evening, they have a different craft brewer representative giving out free beer tastings and educating us about their particular beers. Rob and I have gone a half a dozen times or so, while the kids are at the church youth group (I know,  I know, it's a bit of cognitive dissonance there, hahaha). It's a great time for us to connect with each other, meet some new people, and of course, try out some interesting beers!


We ventured inside Brewer's Haven, kids and all. Hey. we've seen plenty of dogs coming in, so what are a few teenagers with their parents? ;) The girls and I, being extreme lovers of all kinds of cheeses, naturally gravitated toward that section of the store. Look what Chloe found! I'm going to have to pick that book up one of these fine days.


Cheese-making kits that promise to be easy!! More on that in a later, maybe the next, post... Stay tuned for a first-time cheese-crafting adventure, eh?


Living up to its' beer-centric theme, plenty of craft beers local and regional to Boise, were in stock there.


... I mean, a lot of beers...


And of course, for the home brewer, every kind of supply you might need could be found at Brewer's Haven. I've tried probing to see whether Rob is interested in doing some home microbrewing, but it just doesn't seem to interest him. Oh well. No big deal.


Now I know to head to BH if ever I get into making bottlecap art/bow-making once again!


Lots of interesting places to look inside the Haven, with an obvious focus on beer. We've picked up a few brewer stickers and decals for Phoenix, our Dodge Journey, ourselves!


Like I said; lots of interesting eye candy here!


This "Buy Local" display pleased me greatly, being somewhat of a locavore myself. Actually, lots of places to shop for foods and beverages around Boise stress what's local in their marketing displays. I can appreciate that!


Knitted wine bottle cozies! I bet I could knit up a few cute ones for our own wine bottles when they get cold in the wintertime, myself. haha!


And at last, Vista Avenue. We spent a while in Brewer's Haven for sure, seeing what's to see, but eventually it was time to make our way back home. If you're looking to visit us, Vista is one of our nearest cross-streets leading into our cozy little neighborhood. Come on by! ;)

Thanks for your visit. Drop a comment, won'tcha?


Sunday Stealing: The High School Questions

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


Cheers to all us thieves!

Sunday Stealing: The High School Questions
1. Did you date someone from your school?

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Yep. Ben was my high school sweetheart, but we broke up just before my senior year.

2. Did you marry someone from your high school?

Rob Odette Profile
Nope, I married this old fart from someone else's high school. Does that count??

3. Did you car pool to school?

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No, rarely. I rode the school bus nearly every day.

4. What kind of car did you have?

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In September 1994, my senior year of high school, I bought a red '90 Ford Escort Wagon. Red. Turned out to be an old Coca-Cola car - I could see the shiny logo when the sun hit it just right. However, I didn't get my license until a couple of years later, so I rarely drove it and most of the time "stole" my own car to drive illegally around town!

5. What kind of car do you have now?

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Now I drive a black 2012 Dodge Journey. However, ours is not this shiny, and we have stickers and decals all over the back. ;)

6. It's Friday night...where are you now?

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Well, this past Friday found me playing "HORSE" basketball in the pool with my family, at Boise Racquet and Swim Club. (Girls against boys; we lost.)

7. It is Friday night...where were you then?

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Usually on a Friday night, I'd be out bowling and playing darts with my older friends from work. And at 15-16-17 years old, I was usually drinking Goldschläger with them beforehand, too. #JuvenileDelinquent


8. What kind of job did you have in high school?

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I worked as a cashier at Big M Market on State Fair Blvd in Baldwinsville, New York. And I was awesome. ;)

9. What kind of job do you do now?

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Wife and Mom to these four knuckleheads ;)

10. Were you a party animal?

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No, never. I had a brain and was the studious type. I aced high school, despite my weekend drinking binges.

11. Were you considered a flirt?

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I've always been a flirt, yes. 

12. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir?

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I was a First Soprano in the Choir from 6th through 12th grades.

13. Were you a nerd?

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14. Did you get suspended from school?

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No, never.

15. Can you sing the fight song?

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Nope, I never could.

16. Who was/were your favorite teacher?

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I had several, but probably Mrs. (now Dr.) O'Toole, my high school Spanish teacher, was my absolute favorite. We're still friends.

17. Where did you sit during lunch?

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Wherever the hell my friends were sitting after I got out of PE. I only had lunch half the days.

18. What was your school's full name?

Charles W. Baker High School

19. Where did you party the most?

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I already told you that - I never partied. Ever.

20. What was your school mascot?

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We were the B'ville Bees.

21. Would you do it again?

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No way. School wasn't so bad, but I wouldn't repeat those awful home life years for the world.

22. Did you have fun at Prom?

Image result for prom dress meme

I went to my Junior Prom with Ben, and that was fun. I skipped my Senior Ball. My boyfriend then was Michael, and he was black. No way in hell would my parents have gone for that. :\

23. Do you still talk to the person you went to Prom with?

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Ben and I still talk and are friends on Facebook, yes. We went out to dinner when I went up for my high school reunion in 2014.

24. Are you planning on going to your next reunion?

Image may contain: 6 people, people smiling

I went to the 20th three years ago. I'm not sure another one will be planned, but I'd love to go!

25. Do you still talk to people from school?

Absolutely - so many of them!

26. What are/were your school's colors? 

Image result for red and white school colors

Red and White


Well, that was fun. Blast from the past and all. Thanks for stopping by!



Our 4-Day Sprint Across The Country #MiamiToIdaho

So this journey started with Rob being busy selling off all our furniture that wouldn't fit in the U-Haul U-Boxes that we had rented and filled to the brim with all our household belongings... while I was stuck in the hospital with my fifth bout of pneumonia in a year.

The highlight of my three-day sojourn in Homestead Hospital was the fresh fruit I received every day, particularly the strawberries. Hey, you have to find your happiness somewhere!

Last Tuesday morning, March 7th, I had to take one last hibiscus picture by which I could remember my beloved South Florida. 

Bye, Caribbean Isles! Bye, Oasis! Bye, Homestead, and Miami, and Florida! Awaaaaay we went!

Florida is such a looong state to drive, so it was with great joy we finally crossed into Georgia! From citrus to peach country.

Onward we went: Me driving; Rob in the passenger seat holding our pups Tapioca and Paco; each child holding a cat on his or her lap, plus either a gerbil or a guinea pig; and one more cat in the back area, packed in with boxes but not in such a way that a fast rescue wouldn't be possible, should the need unhappily arise. We were packed to the gills both inside and out, and with seven pets in travel carriers, we were in a race against time to get to Idaho!

Tapi and Pacqui waiting for Daddy to come back from a rest stop

Everyone was uncomfortable. We had so much STUFF - cold weather gear, kids' school backpacks, kitchen stuff, blankets and sleeping bags - one of which met its demise when it fell off our car before we'd even gotten out of Homestead - purses, camera bag, pet supplies, and oh, my gosh, SO much homeschooling stuff. We fit more than I imagined we would, due to careful packing of the cabin and roof a la Tetris. Oh yeah, and three suitcases full of clothes and towels.

To say we were squished would have been an understatement!

We stopped somewhere in Tennessee for the first night, and it was quite chilly compared to the balmy subtropical weather we'd left behind in Miami. Chloe was SUPER excited to be needing her coat and gloves. She's been wanting colder weather with snow and all the fun it brings for four long years.

In the morning, the doggos were all over me to get started during a gas fill-up. They, too, were eager to get out of our enclosed, rolling box.

After we left Tennessee, we eventually hit Missouri after going through Kentucky and Illinois, and it was there that I hit my breaking point. Rob was driving, well, like Rob. I was exhausted, the pets were miserable, and the girls' and my ankles were starting to swell badly. I had two pairs of compression socks, so Chloe and I wore them while we all did our best to walk around as much and as frequently as time allowed. We were supposed to go see Rob's brother and my friend in Missouri, but in the end we had to bow out of both visits for the pets' and kids' sakes. It just wasn't fair to them to stop and prolong the agony! We caught quite a bit of heat for that, but we did the best thing for our family at the time. So.

After we got started again on Day 3, we drove through Kansas for what seemed like eleventy billion hours. It was dreadfully boring to drive through, at least in the wintertime. There was nothing but empty, dried up fields and wind farm after wind farm. I have to admit, those were pretty cool. But the vast emptiness made for little to look at after awhile, and we were all just... bored, I guess. And needing gas. And a restroom. And we found neither for-freakin'-ever!

Finally, finally!!! We found this gas station with a restroom inside. Look how old-timey it was! Hee! Inside, there were taxidermied bobcats, foxes, deer, and more. They charged a dollar to use the restroom - pffft! - and in the back by that area, there were three elderly men drinking and playing poker. It was quite the experience. Definitely a change from Miami!

The view across the street from the old-timey station of gas

Figures. Not even one mile past that gas station, we rounded a bend and found a rest stop. Can you even?! I cannot. There was a real working water pump there, the mechanics of which Jack, naturally, had to check out before we got back on the road again.

Finally, after another long stretch of Kansas roadage, we made it to Colorado. Yay! Now, the super-fun part of the trip was at hand!

Contented little pupper-doggos on Daddy's lap

Not long into Colorado, we stopped at a local mom 'n' pop grocery store in Limon to get some lunchous foods. Not wanting to get yogurt and chocolate milk spilled in the van, we decided to have a quick picnic somewhere. Five minutes later, we found this empty park. Perfect! Everyone was thrilled to get out and stretch their legs, have a bite to eat, and even have a little fun in the process.

Once we were back on the road again in Colorado, heading toward Denver, the open road seemed much more thrilling than it had in Kansas. We just couldn't wait to see mountains - and if you look reaaaaallly carefully and closely in the distance, you can start to see them here!

There they were, off in the distance, against the background of the Great Plains where we still were. Beautiful, breathtaking, and awesome!

The higher we climbed into the mountains, the closer the clouds came to feeling like we could just reach out and touch them. It was pretty incredible.

We climbed higher and higher, ears popping and plugging all the way, around the city of Denver and headed into Wyoming. Rob needed to stop for a moment on the side of the road, so I grabbed this picture of the buttes as we ascended even further. This was near Green River, Wyoming.

Coming through the mountains and buttes in Wyoming, we saw purple mountains! that inspired Rob and I to burst almost in unison into song: "America the Beautiful" of course was the tune. Later in Wyoming, we stopped yet again at a rest stop called Little America. If you've ever been to Wyoming, I'm sure you've heard of it if not stopped there. That was a pretty amazing place. We stopped for potty breaks for everyone next to this pretty white birch just as the kids finished up singing Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" because they were so excited to be seeing SNOW!

And yes, oh yes, we stopped for those 75-cent ice cream cones for the kids, who were nuts and wanted to eat ice cream when they were already old. Crazy knuckleheads!

That night, we stopped to rest right in the mountains after I had to pull over and throw up - not even kidding - from the altitude change I was feeling. We were used to 3' above sea level and suddenly found ourselves 2500' or more above sea level, and it really messed with my ears and head. Rob tried to drive a little, but the winds were 40 MPH or greater and our top-heavy van was being whipped around. No fun. And so, we slept until I could continue the drive on Friday, Day Four.

After a bit more driving in Wyoming, we headed into Utah. Last state before Idaho! And what a relief it was!

And finally, after Utah, at last we made it into Idaho!! Woohoo!! We all cheered and were in good spirits by then. This was the happiest we had been on the trip, with everyone talking and shouting excitedly at once.

A little longer, and we were finally at our new home in Boise, Idaho! And we loved it right away. The backyard is pretty big, which is great. The kids are loving that, and so are the doggos. Especially Tapioca, who tears around at breakneck speed among all the kids. 

Our new landlord met us shortly thereafter, and she immediately jumped out of her car and ran to hug all of us, before she opened the back of her car and brought in groceries for us. So nice! Everyone here in Idaho is lovely, and we can see trains and the mountains from our backyard, and... it's just great. We all really love it here. It feels like HOME.

Thanks for stopping by!