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Saturday 9: On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe

On The Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" | National Museum of American  History

Hello, my lovelies. It's another Saturday morning, and this time we have Judy Garland singing a tune I have not heard before. I'm going into YouTube momentarily to rectify that. You should, too.

Meanwhile, I have had a busy week, medically speaking. Monday had me at a new cardiologist (I liked him, and now I'm wearing a Holter monitor); Tuesday I visited my pain management specialist, who was in rare spirits; Wednesday I missed my primary care appointment out of exhaustion (it's tough being a spoonie, I tell ya); Thursday, I tore something horribly in my right shoulder; and Friday, I saw my psychiatrist, and I scheduled surgery on my left shoulder. And behold, it was good.

It's a thrilling social life I lead. Apart from that nonsense, we have S9. Please link up here if you're joining us today! Let's do it.

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Saturday 9: On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe (1946)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
 
1) In this song, Judy Garland sings about the train whistle and wheels. What sounds make you happy?
 
Children laughing. Especially my children laughing and getting along. I like the sound of happy little birds twittering and tweeting. And I absolutely love the sound of waves crashing on the shore - together with all the other ocean sounds. Be still, my heart.
 
2) She tells us that, since she loves dreaming of train travel, she must have "a little gypsy in her heart." How about you? Do you often dream of visiting faraway places?
 
Absolutely:
 
Family Cruise: on the romantic Rhine and in the heart of the Black  Forest.Experience history and traditions in a Rhine atmosphere.Optional: a  day at Europa Park (port-to-port cruise). by CroisiEurope River Cruises
 
I've got that itch to go see more of the world again, so we've been considering doing something like a Rhine River cruise, or
 
Bermuda cruise passenger count fell 98% in 2020 | seatrade-cruise.com
 
perhaps a trip to Bermuda. Nary a decision has been made at this point.
 
3) Judy sings about a future when she's "old and gray and settled down." At what age do you consider a person is old?
 
When they start acting old, feeling old, and tell me they're old.
 
4) This song is from the movie, The Harvey Girls. Filming was a time of stress for Judy. She was appearing before the cameras by day (she sprained her ankle in a scene where she slips down a hill), recording the soundtrack by night, and dealing with lawyers regarding her divorce from composer David Rose. Yet watching the movie, none of the tension shows. Do you work well under pressure?
 
Pin on Welcome to the chronic games. May the spoons be ever in your favor.
 
These days, with #SpoonieLife, not anymore. But prior to my body deciding it didn't know how to act anymore, yeah, I was great at that.
 
5) Judy relaxed on the set by knitting and would make blankets and caps for the children of crew members. Do you knit?
 
 
It's been a good while since I knit - since before I got too sick. Look at that clavicle! I love it. That's very motivating for me. Oh, and the knitting, too.
 
6) Judy admitted she had a problem with tardiness. Do you strive to be prompt?
 
Yes, I hate being late. Sometimes I am, and I spend a week apologizing (give or take), but I absolutely hate it.
 
7) In 1946, when this song was on the radio, cigarette cases were very popular. Since these metal cases were standard issue in the Army during WWII, many soldiers got into the habit of using them and continued to after the war ended. Women often carried fabric or leather cigarette cases that closed with a clasp like a coin purse. In the 1940s, elegant cigarette cases were a fashionable gift but today, they are largely forgotten. Did you ever carry one? Do you know anyone who did?
 
Amazon.com: Women's Genuine Leather Cigarette Case Coin Purse Double Twist  Clasp Closure Zipper Pocket- Burgundy : Health & Household
 
I never did - never a smoker - but my grandmother always had one. Always. Always. Always. Until she died on oxygen, grandma was a smoker, God rest her soul.
 
8) Also in 1946, bikinis appeared for the first time on runways in Paris. How often did you don swimwear during 2022?
 
 
Not many. Two, three? Fewer than a handful of times and far fewer than what I'd like!

9) Random question: Thinking of your past romantic involvements, were you truly in love with one of them, some of them, or all of them?
 
Some of them. Many of them. But definitely not all of them. And that's a fact.
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
Welp, that's a wrap! Have a spectactular week on purpose, folks.
 
Fin.

Saturday 9: This Night Won't Last Forever

Michael Johnson - This Night Won't Last Forever (LYRICS) FM HORIZONTE 94.3  - YouTube

Hey, folks!

It's been a loooong week for me here; how 'bout you? I hope better than mine.

I confess, I don't know Michael Johnson (other than my estranged brother-in-law) or this song, but the sound is dead on my laptop, so I'll have to give it a listen on my phone or desktop later.

Let's get to it, shall we? Link up here if you're playing along with Saturday 9ers this weekend!

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Saturday 9: This Night Won't Last Forever (1979)

Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
 
1) This song begins with, "Everybody likes a celebration." Do you have any birthdays or anniversaries coming up on your calendar?
 
No description available. Open photo Open photo
 
Sheesh, not for a while. Look, Rob just turned 50 at the end of August, Chloë just turned 21 at the beginning of September, and I turned... a year older the next day. That's enough! Actually, one of my best friends is having a birthday near the beginning of October. ♥
 
2) The lyrics tell us Michael Johnson is stuck at a party while his heart is breaking. He finds it awkward and painful to pretend there's nothing wrong. Are you adept at "putting a good face on it?" Or is it easy for others to tell how you're feeling?
 
When you need to hide your emotions - Life Marbles
 
It depends where I am, who I'm with. I can hide my emotions from some people, while others get allllll the emotions coming forth. (Lucky them.) I guess it depends on my comfort level.
 
3) Michael feels like this is going to be a long night. Is there a part of your day when time tends to drag? Or when it flies?
 
The Next Inclusion Revolution: Disability in Advertising
Because of the nature of my health condition(s), I get tired very, very easily. I'm the person who is perfectly described by Spoon Theory, if you've not heard of that. I am a true spoonie. So by virtue of not just being in a wheelchair (or, occasionally, using my walker or cane), my disabilities require someone to always be with me. Even when I go out driving, it's best if someone who can also drive goes along, on the 50-50 chance I won't be able to get us home. This has happened numerous times. All of this to say, if I'm awake, and especially if I'm home, it drags, because my time does not belong just to me. I'm fully dependent on others, and I dearly miss my independence.
 
4) As bad as he feels right now, he's still hopeful about tomorrow. What are you looking forward to for Sunday?
 
Moon Phases | Moon in Motion – Moon: NASA Science
 
When they say the full moon brings out the "crazies," it's not for nothing. Just like the full moon (and the new moon) affects the pull of the tides, it affects so much else. Ask any ER nurse or attending: the Emergency Department is likely to be loaded with "interesting" cases that night. Every time, at least in populous area of the country. Likewise, my joint and muscle pain comes to a screaming maximum at both the full moon and the new moon, which we'll have on Sunday. So I am only able to do as little as humanly possible then.
 
5) When he was 13, Michael taught himself to play the guitar. He went on to take formal lessons and mastered classical guitar. What's something you would like to learn more about/do better?
 
Design star turned Master Knitter Charles Gandy creates fantastical socks -  Atlanta Magazine
 
I would love to follow in the footsteps of Master Knitter Charles Gandy, here. I actually started the master knitting program back in 2014 or so, but that's when I started to get really sick, and I just couldn't keep going. There are still many knitting skills I still want to learn, so master or not, I would love to learn them eventually.
 
6) For a time he performed with a trio known as Denver, Boise & Johnson. The Denver was John. Do you have a favorite John Denver song?
 
Photo: John Denver 5
 
I'd probably have to say it's "I'm Leaving on a Jet Plane." Love that one.
 
7) He retired to Minneapolis to be near his adult daughter. But he never stopped performing entirely. For years he delighted loyal local fans with an annual holiday concert on December 26 at Orchestra Hall. Is there a performer you've seen in concert more than once?
 
Grateful Dead | Spotify
 
Me, not so lucky, no. But before we met, Hubs was a superfan of the Grateful Dead and saw at least a dozen of their concerts. He had so many Dead t-shirts back then!
 
8) In 1979, when this song was popular, the cable channel ESPN launched. What's the last sporting event that you watched?
 
Iga Swiatek Getty 2022 US Open
 
I peeped a lot of the 2022 US (tennis) Open. It was epic, both mens' and women's tennis, but I especially loved watching Iga Świątek play. She's amazing!

9) Random question: Do you play Wordle?
 
These 21 Tweets About Wordle Are Honestly Just As Good As Playing The Game  Itself
 
I don't, know. I looked at it, but decided I already have my hands full with Words With Friends after playing that for approximately a century, now. I play constantly and am still not bored (since they throw in fun things all the time), so why give up on a good thing? But enjoy your Wordle, everyone. Does seem fun, also.
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
Well that's it, guys. Have a lovely week, if you so choose!
 
Fin.

Sunday Stealing: Interesting Confusions...

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

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

Ya dig?

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

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

Link up here to play along this weekend!

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Stolen from various web sites...

1) Can you cry under water?

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

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

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

09072020 Chloë's 19th Birthday Cake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top Ten Evil Stepmothers - IGN

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

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

An Investigation of Polymers

So there you go!

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

Kerri Strug GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11) What's your favorite rain memory?

0612011 Sophia's 6th birthday party

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

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

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

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

TOP 5 Things to Always Purchase at Dollar Tree!

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

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

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

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

15) What natural disaster scares you the most?

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

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

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

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

Fin.

 


Saturday 9: I See Love

Mike & Molly, Weekdays at 4 & 4:30pm | 45TV

Welcome back, kids of all ages! This week I'm coming at you from Salisbury, Maryland, in complete confusion about where I am and where I actually belong. This isn't a bad thing. It's that necessary reset that happens whenever we find ourselves in new surroundings that are at once familiar and completely unknown.

So because of the crazy of the last few days (my girls and I flew in on Wednesday), I totally forgot it was Friday and there were questions to answer. Must get into it. Link up here to play along this week!

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I See Love (2010)

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

1) This is the theme from Mike and Molly, a TV show that ran from 2010 to 2016. Were you a fan?

Mike & Molly Series Finale: Stars Say Goodbye | PEOPLE.com

I wasn't a fan; I wasn't a non-fan. It was the kind of show I call "filler," something I watched if nothing else was on.

2) Molly was played by Melissa McCarthy. Today she's one of Hollywood's best-paid actresses, but when she began her career, she was barely scraping by. She recently recalled the time when, as a struggling actress, she was rejected at the ATM because it only gave out $20s and she didn't have even that much in her checking account. How often do you visit the ATM? Several times a week? Several times a month? Never?

Atm Machine GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

It's probably been close to a year and a half since I've gone to an ATM, but it was monthly or so before that.

3) When she was broke, Melissa couldn't afford blueberries and avocados. Now she savors them. When you're a few bucks ahead, what do you splurge on?

Organic foods are healthier than conventionally grown foods – Texila Connect

We're not that different. Even my daughters agreed, "food," when I asked them what we splurge on if we can. That may be when I get organic produce, concentrating especially on EWG's Dirty Dozen.

**** INTERMISSION while I fall asleep and then forget I didn't finish this until 2:42 PM EST (oops!) ****

4) Mike was played by Billy Gardell. He was working at a comedy club, cleaning the bathrooms and answering the phone. He used to crack jokes with other employees and finally one of his coworkers dared him to go onstage on "open mic night." A comedy career was born. Tell us about someone who pushed you to make the right move.

NF - Leave Me Alone (Lyrics) - YouTube

Honestly, there aren't many such instances. Maybe people realize that I'm just going to do what I want to do no matter what they say? I don't know. But the one push I needed, after multiple attempts to cut my dad out of my life over the years, came from the man himself. He said, on Facebook, "Oh, just leave me alone!" and I haven't talked to him for a year and a half. It feels great. I don't miss him. WE don't miss him. And we definitely don't need him.

5) On the show, Mike's best friend was his fellow officer, Carl McMillan. Carl was not especially motivated and still lived with his grandmother, well into his 30s. How old were you when you moved out of the house for good?

Fernando Flores Life Quotes | QuoteHD

I was 17 when I finally escaped the hellish torture chamber that was my house in Baldwinsville, New York, for good. I graduated high school one day and moved out of New York the next.

6) Mike's and Molly's mothers are different as night and day and frequently did not get along. Have you ever had in-law trouble?

Shawn Spencer James Roday GIF - ShawnSpencer JamesRoday BurtonGuster -  Discover & Share GIFs

Things have not always been easy.

7) This week's song was written by Keb Mo. He switches among several different guitars when he works -- electric, acoustic and resonator. Can you play guitar?

Great Guitar Gifs | Music wallpaper, Guitar, Guitar art

No way. I wish!

8) In 2010, when this show premiered, Apple introduced the iPad. Do you use a tablet?

Old School Meets the iPad Funny Meme – FUNNY MEMES

No. I really don't feel the need. I have my celly (Samsung S20 Ultra), my desktop, and now I have a laptop (ASUS VivoBook). The kids each have a Samsung tablet, though. We defected from Apple a while ago.

9) This week's random question gives you an opportunity to brag: What's something you do better than most people?

Crochet Doily 1 Crochet Doily 2

Oh, I don't know that I could say I do anything better than anybody, but I'm not bad with sticks and string, and I'm a pretty good "hooker," too. I'm trying to get my mojo back. I've been saying that for a while...

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Okay. I've been coughing pretty badly lately, but I've got to try to get up and get out of this hotel today. No promises, children (mine, not you guys).

See you all on the flip side.

Fin. 


Saturday 9: The Love Boat

The Love Boat TV Show

What's going on, my friends? Anything exciting and new with you?

Here, we have decided to sell the "perfect" dream house and move back to the city. Frankly, it's me. I can't take it out here in the sticks. Small town = small minds. I've always known that, yet I thought I could "handle it." I couldn't. So, our house is officially going up for sale. On the one hand, I hate it, because I absolutely love this house. On the other hand, every time we go into Boise, I get a little giddy inside about coming back, so I know it's the right thing to do.

So let's love us some boat, shall we?

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Saturday 9: The Love Boat (1977)

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

1) The Love Boat ran from 1977 to 1987. It was in the Top 10 for seven of those 10 seasons. Are you familiar with the show? Were you a fan? 

the love boat gifs | WiffleGif

I was young then. I remember it was on, and I remember watching it. I remember very few details from the show, though.

2) Every week, viewers followed The Pacific Princess as she set sail to a glamorous destination. Have you ever taken a cruise? If so, where did you go? 

Five Day Trips for Your Next Mediterranean Cruise | NCL Travel Blog

 I have, and I absolutely love cruising. So far I've done these:

  • In 1991, at 14, I took my cruise with my family on the new Carnival Ecstasy. We went to San Jan, Puerto Rico, Saint Thomas, and the Bahamas.
  • I did a series of scientific cruises - shout out to the Coral Reef II crew - in college and grad school, but I'm thinking those don't count here.
  • Also in grad school, my grandpa took family on a Princess cruise. I went to Mexico, Jamaica, Costa Rica, the Cayman Islands, and Panama.
  • In 2006, Rob and I took the kids to Disney World and then on a short Carnival cruise. We only went to the Bahamas.
  • In 2008, Rob and I went on a Mediterranean Cruise aboard Holland America's ms Zuiderdam. We started in Barcelona and also visited France (Nice and Eze), Monaco, Italy (Lucca, Pisa, Civitavecchia, Rome, Sicily, Venice) three stops in Greece, and Croatia (Dubrovnik), before finally ending up in Madrid, Spain.
  • We were going to go on an Alaskan cruise this September, but the pandemic had other plans!

3) Gavin MacLeod played Captain Steubing. Born Allan See, he came up with the stage name by combining the first name of a fictional character he admired, and the last name of a teacher who influenced him. Using his formula, give yourself a stage name. For example, Sam would be Hermione Hart (Hermione from Harry Potter; Hart for her Kindergarten teacher).

Jennifer Lawrence GIF by The Hunger Games - Find & Share on GIPHY

Alrighty, I'll be Katniss O'Toole.

4) After the series ended, Fred Grandy (aka "Gopher") went on to become a Congressman from Iowa and then CEO of Goodwill Industries. If you had a bag of gently-used items to donate, where would you take them?

Restyle Thrift Store 625 S Vista Ave Boise, ID Clothes Posts - MapQuest

We would absolutely take them to ReStyle thrift shop in Boise, which benefits animal shelters and humans alike. We've donated many times there, and we've shopped many times as well.
 
5) Ted Lange is best known for his role as the ship's bartender, Isaac. But he began his career performing the classics, and appeared at Colorado Shakespearean Festival and London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Let's class up this joint. Give us a little Shakespeare. 

A Midsummer Night's Dream | Palace Opera & Ballet 2019/20 Season

My favorite has always been "A Midsummer Night's Dream," and my favorite character was Puck, that mischievous sprite. I'll say it simply: "Lord, what fools these mortals be!"

6) Bernie Kopell played the ship's doctor, Adam Bricker. Kopell first appeared on TV in 1961 and was a regular on Get Smart and That Girl, and he's still acting today. But Love Boat was, by far, his favorite role. Working on the show was "absolute heaven" because he was paid to travel the world and meet his acting idols, like Oscar winners Greer Garson, Joan Fontaine and Eva Marie Saint, who appeared on the show. When you think of the best job you have ever had, what made it so good: the pay, the location, the people you met, or the work itself?

Jose Canseco joins NBC Sports California's A's TV coverage | NBCS Bay Area

I probably have a definite favorite, but I can't pinpoint it at this moment. I'm extremely shy and introverted until I get to know people, but somehow working in customer service turns me rapidly extroverted, and I love talking to and helping customers. So I think an amalgamation of my customer-oriented jobs would be my "favorite" at the moment. I worked in an ice cream parlor, Larry's Scoop Shop, on St. Pete Beach before I entered graduate school. I think all of the above - the pay, the people, the job itself, and definitely the location - were pretty sweet at this job. I met José Canseco - which I keep forgetting whenever we have one of those "most famous" questions - and, by the way, he was a real asshole and a non-tipper.

7) Lauren Tewes played Cruise Director Julie McCoy. Today she lives in Seattle, appearing in local theater and -- between acting assignments -- working as a chef for a catering service. Have you hosted dinner for more than 8 people? If yes, do you remember what you served?

Dilapidated Colony Resort in Longboat Key slated for demolition

No, I haven't. I'm not really "host"material; I get too flippin' nervous. I really am a pile of neuroses. But I did work in catering - often in a tuxedo, sometimes on a ship - at Longboat Key's now-demolished The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort. It was very high-end and fancy back in the '90s, and then sometime between my working there and my going back years later to show the fam, I found it had been abandoned. But that was a great job, with lots of fancy foods for fancy people.

8) For the first nine seasons, the theme was sung by Jack Jones. The Grammy-winning singer says one of his career highlights playing Sky Masterson onstage in Guys and Dolls. In his late 50s at the time, had had to go outside his comfort zone, dancing and acting as well as singing before a live audience. Tell us about something new you tried recently.

FDA approves Lundbeck's VYEPTI™ (eptinezumab-jjmr) – the first and only  intravenous preventive treatment for migraine

Really? Are people doing new things right now? I'll be interested to find out. About the only new thing for me was getting an infusion of the latest-and-greatest migraine biologic, Vyepti, on Wednesday. My doctor has great hopes for this for me. So far, I'm not thrilled.

9) Random question  -- Which would you rather receive as a gift: one $500 wristwatch, or five $100 wristwatches?

07242020 Dive Watch

You know, I really had to think about this. I don't ever wear a watch, except for this Seiko dive watch I bought secondhand for twenty bucks back in 1998, after I became a SCUBA diver. It runs on my own motion, so of course, it still runs. So I thought, well, would I like to give five people a decent watch, or would I like to give one person a pretty nice watch? In the end, I decided that one person would appreciate his or her watch a bit more than the five people would combined, and for me, that meant fewer precious resources being used and possibly wasted if those watches don't get worn. So I'll take one if I may gift it, please.

~*~*~*~*~

Yairn

All right, folks. Don't have too much fun quarantined in your bunkers, now. I've gotten some new wool, so I am hoping to get a bit of knitting done this weekend - but don't hold me to it.

Fin.


Saturday 9: Uncle Albert/Uncle Halsey

Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey&quot; - Paul &amp; Linda McCartney ...

Hello, hello! Happy Saturday. I cannot believe that the next time we meet, it will be June. This novel coronavirus situation has at once seemed to make time slow to a crawl, and simultaneously it has flown by. It is the same as being a parent.

I do not know this song at all, so I am looking forward to giving it a listen after I watch the NASA/Space-X launch today. Fingers are tightly crossed 🤞 that that goes well!

Link up here if you're joining us today!

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Saturday 9: Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey (1971)

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

1) The lyrics tell us Paul believes it's going to rain. How's the weather where you are today?

It's  actually quite lovely! The city pool is/was supposed to open today, which would have been nice, but I don't think Idaho is in that level of re-opening just yet.

2) Paul sings that he is sorry because he hasn't "done a bloody thing all day." What do you hope to accomplish this weekend?

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Well, it's a payday/bill-paying weekend, so I've got to get that done. We're also finally starting to work on decorating this giant new house of ours, starting with our bedroom, so I'm interesting in doing more work and planning on that. I've bought the bedding (this "Ava" set from Fiesta), so that's my inspiration. And I am on the Paper Hugs team for the Mama Dragons, sending love and support to the "baby dragon" LGBTQ kids out there, and I'd like to put a lot of envelopes in the mail today! Aside from that, walking the dogs and maybe cooking something - anything - for my first time in this house is a goal.

3) He also references butter pie, which is made primarily with potatoes (with onions and, of course, butter). That dish is not popular on this side of the Atlantic. Last time you had potatoes, how were they prepared (baked, mashed, hash browned, french fried ...)?

Tutorial: how to make potato roses. The most beautiful thing you ...

I probably grabbed someone else's french fry from somewhere. I haven't been eating a lot of potatoes lately, but now I want to make these!

4) Linda McCartney is credited as co-writer and performer on this recording. Paul and Linda were partners in real life, too; married 29 years, they raised four children together. They often said they tried never to spend more than a few hours apart. Do you enjoy a lot of togetherness, or do you value your personal time? Has your experience with Covid-19 and quarantine changed how you feel about this?

03132020 Rob and Sophia Flowers 2

I think we're a lot like Linda and Paul. We're a pretty tight family. Sometimes I think there must be this perception that we don't fight or our kids don't act up, which certainly isn't true, of course. But above all, there is love and togetherness and support. Now that Rob is retired and both of us are disabled, we spend a lot more time together than I thought we would at this stage - but that's not a problem! Ultimately, I think we're most comfortable being our authentic selves in front of each other, and I am thankful for that.

5) Paul and Linda came from very different backgrounds. His family was lower middle class, lived in Liverpool's public housing and received government aid. She grew up in affluent Scarsdale, the daughter of a wealthy theatrical attorney. Do you think it's more important for a couple to share a common background, or to share common interests?

Pin on STEaM Education

From personal experience, I'd say you need to have some of both. Of course each should have their own interests and hobbies and will come from different backstories, but if you don't have any similar ground that brings you together,... then what will keep you together?

6) Paul is known for his work ethic. At age 78, he's still making music and performing live. What's your favorite Paul McCartney song?

Oh gosh, ask me to today and I'll tell you one thing; ask me tomorrow, and I'll tell you another! Five years ago, Paul wrote "FourFiveSeconds" with Kanye West, which they then performed with Rihanna. I really loved that collab.

7) In 1971, when this song was a hit, Bobby Fischer was the world's most famous and highest-rated chess player. Do you play chess?

purely decorative" | Chess board, Chess, Chess pieces

You know, I have never learned. I've never been taught, I've never sat down in front of a chess board to teach myself, I don't know how. It is on my bucket list, though, so maybe I oughtta just get myself together and do it!

8) England's Princess Anne turned 21 in 1971. The occasion was commemorated by a formal portrait, taken by celebrated fashion photographer Norman Parkinson. Who took the most recent photo of you?

I guess I did! My girls and I were fooling around, playing with Facebook's new "Rooms" feature, and we were all making different silly faces with its filters. This one tickled me, so I snagged a screenshot. Hee!

9) Random question: Do you find it more satisfying to work with your hands, or your head?

I like both. I loved Big Bang Theory, of course, as so many of us did, and I could see myself in that environment. I often wondered whether I'd be happier being the theoretical physicist or the practical one. I like being the idea "guy," but I also like being the one to execute them. Maybe I'm a start-to-finish person, y'know? Here's a sweater I knitted for my all-grown-up-now son way back in the day. Lyme arthritis has waylaid my knitting hobby, but I've now ordered yarn and buttons and am determined to get back to work!

~*~*~*~*~

Happy weekend to you all. May you be safe and healthy.

Fin.


Saturday 9: The Candy Man

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Hey there, swell people!! What's the haps?

IWILLBESTRIKING

I'm still coming down from the high off of organizing - and attending - the #ClimateStrike here in Mountain Home, Idaho. What a moment this is! Did you go? Did you strike? If not, WHY NOT?

And now back to our regular questions, brought by the lovely Crazy Sam:

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THE CANDY MAN (1972)
Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.

1) This song is from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder. The movie was remade as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. Which Wonka did you prefer?
 
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I guess I'm old-school on this one. I love the inimitable Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka!

2) In the movie, this song is sung by Bill, the candy store shopkeeper. Think about the last counter person you dealt with. We know that he or she likely didn't break into song, but did you two engage in conversation?
 
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Yeah. Well. Last night, Chloë and I attended the "Sweater Weather Get-Together" at The Twisted Ewe, a yarn shop up in Boise. I engaged with several of the shop staff, and especially introduced myself to the young woman who runs their social media stuff, because I engage with her frequently, and I'd never met her in person. I also signed up to be a test knitter.

3) The lyrics tell us that The Candy Man can make the world taste good. What's the last thing you ate? Was it delicious, or just OK?
 
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I ate oatmeal with raisins. As you can probably guess, it was just okay. This morning I had oatmeal with flax and chia seeds. That was actually better - even though it was cold by the time I ate it.
 
4) The most popular recording of this song was by Sammy Davis, Jr. Sammy was in a horrific car accident when he was 29 years old. His cheek and nose were broken and he lost an eye. That he survived at all left him reflective and after his hospitalization, he converted to Judaism. Do you still worship in the faith you were raised in? 

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No. Not only no, but hell no. No, no, no, no, no.
 
5) Sammy was proud of the honorary college degrees he received because he never formally attended school. As a child, he performed on the road with his father and uncle. In addition to depriving him of an education, that lifestyle kept him from kids his own age. He would later describe his childhood as, "in a word, 'lonely.'" Give us a one-word description of your childhood.
 
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T R A U M A T I C
 
6) Because he spent so much of his youth on the road, living on buses, trains and hotel rooms, he loved eventually having his own kitchen and being able to cook his own meals. This weekend, will you spend much time in the kitchen?
 
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Probably not. Chloë and I are going to be in Boise all day tomorrow at the ACLU's Activist Academy, and then on Sunday we'll be watching Sophia at an equestrian competition. So maybe we'll have time to cash in on some more birthday freebies (like these delicious chocolate-covered strawberries from The Melting Pot) while we're out and about!

 7) Sammy enjoyed experimenting with clothes and jewelry. What about you? Do you consider yourself conservative in dress or are you fashion forward?
 
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Eh. Neither, maybe? I'm just me.

8) When he died, Sammy was in debt to the IRS. Do you handle your own taxes, or do you use the services of an accountant?
 
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I do 'em. Not worth much since Rob retired, though!
  
9) Random question: If you had to tell nothing but the truth (not even the tiniest white lie) for 24 hours, do you think you'd get yourself in trouble?
 
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Very much so, yes. Who wouldn't?
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
Arrright. I gotta prepare for the next thing. And then the next. Gotta remind myself of what my physical therapist, Susan, tells me: "Pacing, Melanie. Remember to pace yourself."
 
I'm not good at it, y'all!!!
 
♥ Take time for yourselves, and thank your hostess, Gal - er, Sam - she works hard for us. (I'm still sorry.) (P.S. I did know the song, of course, but I clicked the link and listened again, and then more of Sammy, and then on to some other stuff. Really light-hearted comedy and Adam Sandler and things I just truly, honestly needed right at this moment in time.) ♥
 
Fin.

Sunday Stealing: Rambling Survey

Hey there, hi there, ho there! Welcome back!

(Let me preface this post by saying I've been gone all day long and haven't had a chance even to see if I have comments - negative or otherwise - on my Sat9 post from yesterday, let alone read them. So I can't answer to those except to say that I'm nervous to read them & truly hope y'all don't hate me.)

So, then. Just gonna jump on into this SS post at the stroke of midnight on Sunday the 14th of July, 2019, and get back to that later. (I'll be gone all day Sunday, too, so I'm not ignoring y'all.) Link up here if you're playing along this weekend!

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Questions from Sad Sleepy Survey Rambles

Have you ever been teased because of the things you like?
 
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Sure, of course. Education was always my passion, and in the regular-ed, non-Honors/AP classes, I stood out and got stomped on in return. I'm a math nerd. I listen excessively to pop music (although, ahem, not only pop music, nor just current music, but also classic rock, folk music, some punk, lots of alternative, some big band - and I love JP Sousa - as well as gasp classical. As in, not even from last century, let alone this millenium. I don't only listen to "current" music. So, um, yeah... side eye ) I've been called a "such a grandma" for knitting. (Like that's an insult?!) and so on...
 
Do you hold grudges?
 
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I'm pretty forgiving if the person genuinely expresses remorse for any wrongs. Likewise, I'm quick to apologize when I realize I've committed some wrong(s).

Were there any classes you enjoyed because of the teacher?
 
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Absolutely. Many of them, actually. In my senior year of high school, my AP Physics teacher was constantly making it entertaining, which was great for me because this particular field of science is most challenging for me. I just don't have a good understanding of spacial relationships, for one thing. And speaking of physics, my Physics II professor at university used to write "WAEFRTGDD" on the chalkboard/whiteboard during each lab and exam. Before starting, he'd point to each letter and remind us, "When All Else Fails, Read The __ __ Directions!" Cracked me up.

Was there a dress code at your school?
 
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No. Which reminds me, I have to find out if there's a dress code at the younger two kids' new high school.

Have you ever been a bad friend?
 
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Yeah...

Has a friend ever replaced you with somebody else?
 
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Yeah, but you know, you've gotta grow up and get past that stuff at some point.

Have you ever disliked something just because it was popular?
 
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Mm-hmm. For instance, I have a bunch of piercings but never did my bellybutton because everybody was piercing their navels for a while and just... I don't like to be trendy. Now that everyone and their brother has their nostril pierced, I'm glad I've got the septum done, too. What next?
 
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I much prefer belly necklaces, but I definitely don't have the body for that!

Have you ever watched a movie just because it starred an actor you liked?
 
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Probably, sure. I think I even saw The Rainmaker in the theater. #BecauseMattDamon

Are there actors/musicians you have met?
 
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Chloë
Well, I mean, sure. I know some. My daughter Chloë is an actor and model and has starred in movies, TV shows, commercials, print ads, stock photos... And one of my best friends is a concert violinist. =) (I'm still so jealous she played first chair for Josh Groban!)

Do you ever judge people based on the music they listen to?
 
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Eh, not really, although I might judge the "music" itself - death metal?!

What about your top five music albums?
 
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Uh, what about it?

Do you remember the first album you ever owned?
 
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LOL... I can't promise it wasn't Milli Vanilli! But one of the first albums that I've owned that became an instant favorite and has remained so for 25+ years was Eric Clapton Unplugged. He's my boyfriend, but he doesn't know it. So is Larry David. (Neither of whom is my generation. Y'know?)

Do you still use an mp3 player, or just your phone?
 
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I actually forgot I ever even owned an MP3 player. How did you know?

Do you like Elton John?
 

Most of his music, I love, and I guess I like him okay as a human? But I wouldn't really miss a few of his songs, like Crocodile RockBennie & The Jets, and maybe Rocket Man? I don't know why; I just don't enjoy those ditties as much.
 
Have any celebrity deaths hit you hard? Which one(s)?
 
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A few, like Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Prince, etc. were really hard for me, Luke Perry I guess, but none hit me anywhere near as much as the death of Princess Diana in 1997. That still affects me to this day. #PTSD
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
And now, it seems I'm on an Elton John kick. What's next for me, Billy Joel?
 
I wish you all a good week. I know I ruffled a few feathers this weekend, and mine were tousled in return, but I do hope there's no bad blood among any of us.
 
Fin.

Saturday 9: Ooh La La

Image result for Britney Spears performing

Well, well, well. As she says, "It's Britney, bitch."

Welcome back, playas. It's Friday, just after 1800 MST. (Speaking of which, we've lived in Idaho over two years, and I still forget about the time change. My East Coast pals, of which I have many, are not always amused by this!)

Anyway.

Let's get started. Link up here if you want to link up with Crazy Sam and the rest of the gang this week for another fun round of Saturday 9. Sam never disappoints.

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: Ooh La La (2013)
 
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.


1) "Ooh la la" is defined as an interjection said when you think someone or something is "surprising, unusual or attractive." Looking back over this week, did you come across anything that deserves an "ooh la la?"

Image result for i stand with ravelry

I guess? Kinda? I just learned last night that Ravelry, the fiber arts (think knitting, crochet, etc.) community of which I have been a member since October 2007, has banned all support for POTUS #45. Their statement reads:

"We are banning support of Donald Trump and his administration on Ravelry. We cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy. Support of the Trump administration is unambiguously support for white supremacy. For more details, read this document: https://ravelry.com/content/no-trump"

I love this!  Personally, I'm with them, but the rest of the fiber community (and yes, it is immense, for those of you not in the know), is all unraveling over it. My interest in this whole situation is certainly piqued.

2) In this song, Britney Spears sings that she's eager to accompany you, even if you're not a millionaire. But let's say you suddenly become really rich. What's the first leisure trip you would take with your new funds? Who would you bring along?

Image result for Red japanese decor

I would want to head to Japan with hubs. We'd probably want to spend at least 10 days to two weeks, right? There's so much diversity; I'd want to see everything! B-t-dubbs, the photo above is my inspiration for how I want to decorate this office. Hubs is all, "It's your office, do what you want, but..." LOL but it's going to be great. I promise.

3) Britney is eager to dance with you, even if you don't wear designer clothes. Let's say you need to add a blouse (or shirt) to your wardrobe. Where's your go-to for clothes shopping?

Thredup
Have you guys tried thredup yet? OMG. I've gotten amazing clothing from there for myself, my kids, and Hubs. I've saved - no exaggeration - thousands of dollars on some really sweet great-condition, designer clothes for all of us. I've paid pennies on the dollar and almost never been disappointed. We love thredup!!

4) The video begins with Britney at the movies with her two young sons. Will you be seeing any family members this weekend?

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Just these knuckleheads.

5) This is a theme from the movie Smurfs 2. A Smurf is a little blue creature who lives in a mushroom-shaped house in the forest. Assuming that your home is not shaped like a mushroom and isn't in the forest, how would you describe your abode? (Mansion, ranch house, farm house, high-rise, igloo ...)

Josephine House

In a word, our new house is immense. It's a two-story house in the middle of Idaho (so nowhere), but it's our dream house, so I accept the trade-off. I it. I truly do. (Also, I just looked back up to the question and saw "igloo" for the first time. 😂😂)

6) Britney admits to smoking and biting her nails. What bad habit do you wish you could break?

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Y'all know I'm addicted to Coca Dieta. I gotta quit.

7) In 2013, when this song was popular, Pope Benedict resigned. Thinking over your working life, have you been more nervous on your first day of a job, or the last one?

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Hmm, a little bit of both, probably. Definitely the first day. I worked at the law firm in St. Pete on and off for three years, and on my last day, I left a little early to grab the bus (my car was in the shop) to the nearest stop to the courthouse. There, my love (who had also hopped a separate bus from my apartment to the courthouse stop), found me, and we ran, hand in hand and laughing and smiling, as fast as we could to the JOP to be married before close of business. We made it! But not before Hubs remembered his pocketknife and stuffed it under a potted plant outside before we went in. Best day ever! But yes, I was nervous that day. Not sure whether it was about getting married or about leaving my job... hmm, what do you think?

8) Also in 2013, golfer Phil Mickelson won the British Open. When did you most recently golf?

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Oh, gosh. Not for years. My pain, my body won't allow it. In December last year, I took Sophia for some fun at this place in Meridian, Idaho (technically, I was ahem working), and there was miniature golf. Alas, she had to play alone, since I could not join her. Sucks. Speaking of golf, though, how about Tiger Woods? It's weird, but I'm so proud of him, y'all!!

9) Random question -- On what part of your body was the last itch you scratched?

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I was actually scratching my forehead as I read that question. My bangs keep getting caught by the blowing air from the AC, and it tickles my forehead. Annoying.

~*~*~*~*~

Much fun as always, Samantha! Thanks for running this show!

Fin.


Sundays In My City: With Every Fiber Of My Being

Sundays In My CitySundays In My City
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{Originally written on June 9th; apparently I never remembered to publish! Ugh, so silly of me...}
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Heyyyyyyy. You made it back! (Or if you're here for the first time, yay! I'm glad to have you, new or old.) I haven't done Sundays in my City with (by) Claudya in ages, because frankly, my memory is crap and I forget. But I want to get back into the habit of writing/journaling/blogging regularly, and that means both spontaneous "it's just me" posts as well as participating in blog hops, memes, and carnivals. I never know what the difference is among those things, y'all. Can anyone clarify this great mystery for me? I mean, I've only been blogging for 13+ years now... 
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Link up here if you want to join By Claudya and friends for some SimC today!
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2019-06-08 19.58.46.
So, we've lived in our brandy-new house in Mountain Home, Idaho, for no more than five days. Is it terrible of me that I've already got yarn and crafty things and office supplies and more strewn all over the extra bedroom?! Because I do, and I am not ashamed.
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2019-06-09 09.34.57.
I love knitting. I do. but I have not been able to do it in exactly four years because of "Succubus," which is what I've named the clusterf**k of autoimmune illnesses and serious infections I've had from a compromised immune system in that time period. I can feel pain and itching inside my bones. My joints ache and throb and burn so much, constantly, that I'm often screaming and/or in tears. My entire musculation (is that a word?) and nerve network are damaged and hurt like hell, especially during New and Full moons. This leaves me, probably unsurprisingly, feeling not much like knitting.
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{P.S. Dictionary.com says that is a word and means exactly what I wanted it to mean.}
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2019-06-09 06.25.59.
Yesterday was Worldwide Knit in Public Day 2019, and I was determined to put an end to my losing streak of not-knitting day after day after day. I love knitting. I have loved knitting since I first got the hang of it. I caught on quickly and learned a lot of tricks and techniques. In fact, every time I knit and crochet something, it has always been my goal to learn something - even the minutiae - every time. But because of the pain and stiffness in my wrists and fingers, it wasn't fun anymore. Well. Too bad, Succubus, because I am taking knitting back and you can't stop me anymore.
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Jack, Sophia, Chloë, and Rob all hauled up my full totes of yarn, my dozens of sets of knitting needles, and my fiber art accoutrements (fishing tackle boxes make for excellent storage for such things, btw).
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Chloë dumped all my yarny shizz out all over the spare bedroom floor, where I generally park my tuchus in front of the sit-stand desk (I have to sit, which was never my intention when I bought this damn thing) on a daily basis. Once semi-sorted, this allowed me to pick through all that soft and ethereal goodness (silk! cashmere! baby alpaca! I can't get enough) for just the right fiber. If you know your yarn, it might make sense to you, then, that I wanted at least worsted weight if not chunkier yarn to get my groove back. Anything finer and my hands might have cramped up and discouraged me from really getting started at all. No thanks.
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I chose to work with Ella Rae Classic Superwash, so that if and when the new mommy who's going to get this baby bunting set I'm making accidentally puts it in the regular laundry, it won't shrink and be utterly ruined. Can't have that. Problem is, I have a ton of ERCS yarn in all different colors, and I needed a set of three to coordinate for the bunting. I am not one to use baby blues (only) for newborn boys and baby pinks (only) for infant girls. Why can't a baby wear black or yellow or gray? I don't believe in that. It took Chloë and me at least an hour to match and rematch yarn colors until we found what we agreed was just right.
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Once the five balls of three colors were selected, I had to gather the rest of my materials: scissors, of course; eight stitch markers (yes! that meant plenty of variety during the actual knitting process); tape measure, size-7 needles and size-H crochet hook for the finishing; cable needle I ended up not needing because the yarn is hefty enough to do without; pattern, natch; and... is that really all? Seemed like I had to dig around quite a bit before getting started. Oh wait, I know why. It's just because I enjoy going through my knitty knick-knacks so much. So much joy!
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2019-06-09 07.45.17.
One can never have too many fun stitch markers. I certainly don't! I call them my "yarn jewelry." Hee.
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2019-06-09 07.45.37.
Considering how many household moves this tackle box has been through, with tiny and sometimes delicate items, they've been preserved pretty well - and often even remain in their own little compartments! Well done, whatever company makes this box. But I still see a few empty spaces in there that could use a bit more yarn jewelry, don't you?!
2019-06-09 07.46.43.
You know the movie Office Space, which parodies the necessary wearing of "flair" worn by employees at restaurants like TGIFriday's, etc.? Well. Here is some of my flair. I got it when I attended the Knitting Guild Association conference in San Diego in  2015, which is the last time I really did some knitting. Upon finding this, I found myself spurred on to continue. (Man, I keep saying that. I hope it actually sticks.)
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2019-06-09 07.51.19.
And I show it off, too. Oh, yeah, I got backpack bling. (This is a new thing for me. Maybe I do it because the bag contains about eleventy-hundred different medications for me, which I have to have with me at all times?)
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2019-06-09 09.36.10.
So I've gotten about two inches of knitting done on the bunting - with flair, natch - and that's it so far. I didn't say I was going to break any speed records, here.
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2019-06-09 09.36.19.
So that's it for me this um, two weeks ago...! Hey, do any of you knit? Or crochet? 
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Image result for tiny waving pride flag gif Have a fantastic week. Image result for tiny waving pride flag gif
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Fin.
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P.S. I was just looking around online for the local public library, hoping there were some activities appropriate for teenagers like my kids enjoyed in Boise, from where we just moved. I didn't see that, but I did find a weekly knitting group. I should go, right? Yeah. I should go...

Sunday Stealing: Thoughts Provoked, Part The First

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Aloha and welcome back! I just woke up from a much-needed nap, so maybe my post won't ramble all over the place as is my usual custom! 

Here's some news: as of late Friday afternoon, Team Odette is (are?) officially under contract to buy a house! It's big, beautiful and really sprawling. Plenty of room for us and our abundance of freakin' STUFF. Wanna see a couple quick previews? 'Kay:

Kimberly House Exterior 5

This is part of the outside of lovely house-to-be in Kimberly, Idaho, just outside of Twin Falls.

Kimberly House Kitchen 88

Here is one view of the kitchen about which I am supremely ecstatic.

Kimberly House Fireplace No 2 89

And that's the opposite view of the kitchen and dining room, with a glimpse at one of THREE fireplaces in the home. Squeeeee!!

Did I mention I'm excited?!!

Okay. I'll stop there and move along to Sunday Stealing. Sorry! Link up here if you'd like to join us today!

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These are from a site called Thought Provoking Questions..

1. When was the last time you tried something new?

03162019 Momo Nepalese Takeout

Well, the other day we used a Groupon for a new restaurant, Mount Everest Momo Café. They serve Himalayan, Nepali, Tibetan, and Indian cuisine. Rob went and picked out what we ate: the Momo special, which had two momo (dumpling-like foods) each of vegetarian, chicken, pork, and yak. I ate the first four listed, and he ate the yak and pork. We also got a side order of naan, which was out of this world! Fortunately, I have another Groupon for the same place, so we'll get something a little different next time. I can't wait!

2. Who do you sometimes compare yourself to?

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Well, I do find I compare myself to both my late mother and to my teenage daughters the most, although I am a competitive person and compare myself to pretty much everyone. I've always put my mother on a pedestal since she died early in my childhood, but only now through therapy am I realizing that she was perfectly human, and therefore perfectly imperfect, and I can stop judging myself for not living up to the standard I've felt she set for me.

As for my daughters, they are vastly different in personality, like night and day. Chloë and I feel each others' feels so completely, and we have a very deep bond. Sophia and I, as well as Jack and I, also have that bond, but it's different for each kid. So I kind of compare the relationships more than myself with each kid. Does that make sense, or was it a whole lot of mumbo-jumbo? 😂

3. What’s the most sensible thing you’ve ever heard someone say?

Well, this one amuses me:

"Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, you'll be a mile from them, and you'll have their shoes." - Jack Handey

But I'm also tickled by this one (and many others):

“If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. No use being a damn fool about it.” - W C Fields

4. What gets you excited about life?

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When my five natural senses are titillated, I find myself thoroughly exhilarated. Like this gorgeous black and white calla lily display, for instance, or for that matter any bouquet from The Bouqs. I'd buy flowers from them weekly if I could afford it! (Have you heard of them? I won a $50 bouquet from them once, and it was stunning. I'm thinking of starting a once-a-month flower subscription to The Bouqs when we get settled into the new house!)

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... or the smell I love the most, citrus fruits! ♥ Mmm, so fantastic and fresh!

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... or what about beautiful and classical, or fun and lively, or any other kind of music that moves us? Sometimes music can be so electrifying, amirite?!

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... Furthermore, what about all of the gustatorial pleasures of the earth? For instance, I pulled a few pictures of some of the decadent food and drink we had on our European cruise (which you can read about here), and it gives me a bit of a thrill, even now that it's more than a decade later, to imagine the tastes of these again. I had the sangria in Barcelona, Spain; the "Sprite" was from Nàfplio, Greece; the pizza was eaten in Dubrovnik, Croatia; and the pistachio-spiked cannoli were eaten at a restaurant on the top of Mt. Etna in Sicily!

Wisp collage

...And as for the sense of touch, I could say something like the physical connection with my husband or hugging my kids, of course, but I feel like that's a gimme. Instead, this one of our five sense invokes the sensuous experience of knitting with the fine cashmere yarn produced by Iris Schreier of Artyarns, a luxurious fiber art company and probably among the top of my faves! I used their #3 cashmere in the fuschia colorway for the "Wisp" scarf, above, that I made myself just over 11 years ago. So soft and delicious! When the kids and I drove up from Virginia Beach to Jamestown, New York, the following winter to visit my sister and her family, Stacey was gushing about how much she loved it when she saw it (and felt it!) on me. So I took it right off and gave it to her. Now that I'm writing about it again, I'm feeling the itch to make myself another one! That idea certainly gets my juices flowing. 😉

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The Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy

I could name a plethora of other things that make life worth living for me, so maybe I'll just list a few but without the graphics: falling in love; traveling and seeing ancient architecture like Rome's fountains and the Colosseum; standing in holy places like Vatican City (even if it doesn't align with my own spiritual journey); meeting people from all over the world and getting a wide-eyed view of the United States from them as well as direct insight into their cultures; skipping and laughing with one or more of my children...

Oh. Apparently I could go on and on about this question! And that is a good thing, really - at least for me if not for you - so I can refer to this when I'm sinking down into the deep depressive states of my bipolar disorder. I'll just have to pull up this post and remember all the things, such as these, that bring me joy. ♥

5. What life lesson did you learn the hard way?

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It's only recently that I've realized my usual "fight or flight" response is flight, and so I end up running away from my problems all over again. Thinking back, I've been doing this since at least the age of 15 or 16. Thankfully, I'm working on my life history in intense therapy with a highly-qualified therapist, so I'm aiming for the heart of the beast now. Finally.

Also, this is a good lesson to learn:

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6. What do you wish you spent more time doing five years ago?

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Laughing!! We were smack-dab in the middle of when Hubs was going through his brain tumor & surgery stuff, and that was definitely not a fun time.

7. Do you ask enough questions or do you settle for what you know?

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Enough questions? Are we discounting the idea of too many questions? I've been told by several teachers and professors that I was going into the right line of work, as a scientist, because I have the natural inquisitiveness of a child. I'm always asking questions. I laugh and say, "Sorry, I'm just nosy," when I feel like I'm doing it too much, but honestly I just really like finding things out. People, things, events, facts... they interest me!

8. Whom do you love and what are you doing about it?

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In addition to a mighty bunch of great friends, I love these kiddos of mine (gratuitous photo of them as much younger kiddos below) - 

Christmas 2008

  • I love these kids!! And...

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...and, I'm pretty much cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs for this silly man!

What I'm doing about it is working on improving myself more and more, physically, mentally, and emotionally, so that I can be the best mom, wife, and friend I can be!

9. What’s a belief that you hold with which many people disagree?

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I'm not touching that with a 10' pole! No way.

10. What can you do today that you were not capable of a year ago?

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I can see and understand a lot more things about myself that I just couldn't see this time last year - or maybe ever?

11. Do you think crying is a sign of weakness or strength?

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Neither; it's a sign of being human. Of being alive. Of being a sentient creature.

12. What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

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I'd express my sillier, goofier side more in public.

13. Do you celebrate the things you do have?

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Oh, most definitely! I've talked about many of my rich blessings already on this post. Plus I have loads of delicious yarns with which to knit, and occasionally crochet. I do try to keep the positive perspective!

14. What is the difference between living and existing?

I seem to be a bit of a Meme Queen, so that's how I'll sum up my feelings on the matter:

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15. If not now, then when?

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Now. Definitely, now.

16. Have you done anything lately worth remembering?

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Well, we celebrated our twin boys' 16th birthday two days ago, the same day our offer was accepted on a new house, so yeah! I guess so!

17. What does your joy look like today?

Puppies!!

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Pretty calm, quiet day. My body let me sleep in today, well past noon. We're all sitting around, relaxing, binge-watching NCIS: Los Angeles, and canoodling with our various pets. Paco and Tapi (our puppies, above) are going back and forth between Sophia and me. Chloë is petting her gorgeous cat, Pepper (also above). And Jack is cuddling with his Rex rabbit, Mocha, who is crazy-soft. He feels like velvet!

18. Is it possible to lie without saying a word?

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Of course it is.

19. If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow this person to be your friend?

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Hopefully not very long. I'm very hard on myself, all the time. Cruel, even. I'm working on that.

20. Which activities make you lose track of time?

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Many things, but most of all, communing with nature. If I didn't have to live in a house, I wouldn't. I guess technically, I could do without a house, but none of the rest of Team Odette would go along with that!

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That was fun. But long! Phew! I'm glad y'all stopped by. I actually wrote it down on my "To-Do" list to come around and visit all of you, but it may take me the full week. I hope I accomplish it, because I miss doing that!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Conversation Starters

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

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What are some small things that make your day better?

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

What shows are you into?

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

What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?

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

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

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

What age do you wish you could permanently be?

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

What TV show or movie do you refuse to watch?

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Real Housewives of Anything

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

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

What’s your claim to fame?

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

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

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

What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?

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

How often do you people watch?

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

What have you only recently formed an opinion about?

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

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

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Elasmobranch ecomorphology, I'm guessing...

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

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

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

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♥ An old couple in love ♥

What is the most annoying question that people ask you?

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

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

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Parent bereavement and/or Infant Loss

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

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

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

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Go scuba diving! It's beautiful down there!

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Well, that was delightful. Thanks, Bev!

Have a great week, y'all.

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: The Ask Game

Hey, everyone. I missed Saturday 9, because I was weak and tired and in bed all day, but maybe I'll add it to the end of this post just to add in the fun. ;) It's 2:57 AM on Sunday now, so we'll have to see if the little bit of energy I have holds out 'til then. I hope y'all are well!

Let's begin:

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Do you have a passion project? What is it?

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Well, we've kind of stepped back from our candle business a slight bit, now that the holiday season rush is over, but I guess kinda-sorta still that. When my newborn son died in 2003 - Robby, who was the identical twin of our Twin-Twin Transfusion Syndrome survivor, Jack - I started a nonprofit to knit and crochet layettes (blankets, booties, hats, and a gown or sweater) to give to other bereaved parents experiencing infant loss. Our charity, CARE Package, Inc., received handmade donations from all over the US, and sometimes international donations came in, too. After about 7 years, I wound down the charity to concentrate on other things; namely, homeschooling Chloë, Jack, and Sophia. We're still doing that; I'd love to be knitting all the time still, but my body is rebelling, and I just can't.

How many languages can you speak? 

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I speak Spanish, although I'm not quite fluent, and I'm learning Latin with my girls this year. I speak bits and pieces of several other languages, including French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese... and I'm forgetting some.

What was the last book you read?

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I'm still into Recipes for Repair, which promises to help those who have Lyme Disease. I'm not far into it yet, so I'm hoping it will do what it says it will!

Where in the world would you most like to visit?

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Hands down, I want to visit the Great Barrier Reef the most. I just hope it's not too late, by the time I can get there!

Top 5 fictional characters?

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Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, Caesar Flickerman, Effie Trinket, and Haymitch Abernathy - all right, I admit I have a bit of a love for The Hunger Games series!

Something you miss from your childhood?

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I miss my grandparents something awful! They were among the very few good things about my childhood - no, they were the best!

(P.S. It's 6:25 AM now, and I just woke up. Again. So much for my energy holding out!)

What skill do you wish you had?

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I wish I could really belt it out when I sing. I mean, I can sing well, carry a tune, and all that, but I don't have a lot of power behind my voice. Maybe from being sick a lot as a kid, but I just don't have a voice that can carry to the back of an auditorium without a microphone, y'know? Beyond that, I wish I were an incredible gymnast!

Tell us an interesting fact.

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I don't know if you meant about me or not, but my head immediately goes to sharks - still! Like many animals (Hubs likes doing it to our dogs and cats), sharks - even Great Whites! - will go into a state called "tonic immobility" if you turn them upside down. They are vulnerable and helpless in this state. As they age and grow, they move up to the top of the food chain, just below Orcas and the greatest enemy of all animals: mankind. Some Orcas have developed an ability to put these adult Great Whites into tonic immobility, so that they can feast on only their highly-nutritious livers.

What was your favorite subject in school?

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All sciences, of course, but since I am a biologist, it's gotta be Biology. But I loved school. All school. Even Social Studies... although, I did not and do not like learning about war.

Favorite planet?

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Big, beautiful Jupiter, with it's giant red spot and dozens of moons...

Which historical figure fascinates you and why?

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Mahatma Gandhi, because with his peaceful protests and non-violent resistance, he was on the forefront of changing prejudicial and unjust laws without military might. I admire that.

Favorite mythical creature?

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I love mermaids. In fact, I even admitted in my article on LinkedIn that I think I was one in a past life! ;)

Do you believe in any conspiracy theories?

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No.

What is your favorite word?

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That one. Oh, I thought for some reason you said favorite curse word. hahaha! I really did. Well, maybe for me it's the same? Even though I have an extensive vocabulary, I do find the word f*ck so very useful.

Do you have any obsessions right now?

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Yeah. I'm obsessed with Bob's Burgers, and I've got it on my DVR so I can catch up on as many past episodes as possible. If you're not watching, and you like to laugh, you should totally start.

Do you play any instruments?

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I play a mean harmonica! I took lessons playing the organ my mom played and can do a little keyboarding/piano still, but not much. I'm just horrible at sight-reading music; it doesn't come naturally to me.

What’s your worst habit?

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I stay up long past the state of exhaustion and then can't bring myself to bed. When I eventually do get to bed, I'm so tired I can't get up when it's time. I completely collapse. This habit started in college, where I quickly learned that you either got great grades - or you slept. Now that I have this capricious illness that lets my body either slightly function or not function at all, I take those functional days and don't want to let them goooooo!

Do you have a collection of anything?

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I have a pretty big shot glass collection from all over. I also collect magnets. I have part of my grandmother's spoon collection and part of my mother-in-law's spoon collection, which I love. I used to collect interesting keychains from my travels, too, but I've stopped now that I see how useless they were to me. Just heavy!

What’s your biggest ‘what if’?

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That would probably be "what if" I hadn't abruptly quit my Ph.D. program at the University of South Florida and, instead of taking a little time off to think about my goals in life, eloped with a guy I'd just met off the Interwebs and then quickly found myself pregnant with our first little girl... What if that hadn't all transpired? But it doesn't matter to me to think about these things, because there is nothing I would change about what I did do!

What is your favorite fairy tale?

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Is it any wonder that The Little Mermaid is my favorite fairy tale - Disney-fied or not?!

Have you ever dyed your hair? Is there a color you’d like to dye it?

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I have dyed my hair black (once), and I have died it various shades of auburn for years and years... but right now it's undyed. Now I'm seeing all kinds of gray - no, actually, they're pretty shiny silver - but I call them "extra blonde" hairs, even in my eyebrows and lashes!, and I am not really loving it. I'm trying to decide whether and what to dye it next. This, in the foto, is my younger daughter, Sophia. She has just died her naturally-blonde hair this interesting shade of blue. I love it! She has also dyed it turquoise and fuschia in the past. I wish I had her guts!

If you could learn one language overnight, which would you choose?

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Italian. In a heartbeat. So I could go live there and eat my way through the country. You know, in a vegan way, so... cucina povera-style.

What’s the most useless thing you know how to do?

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I can think of a lot of things I can do, but I can't think of any I would term 'useless'! Even cooking meat- and dairy-based dishes is useful to me now, in vegan cooking, because I can take what I have learned and transform my favorite recipes (and new ones!) into something vegan. So... I don't know?

What’s the most important change that should be made to your country’s education system?

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(First of all, look at this graph. It makes me proud of my origin state, New York, because they know what's up! It does make me sad for many of the other states. I have lived around the country enough to know that spending dollars = higher achievement for students. So c'mon, United States! Get with the damn program, already!) Anyway, the most important change I think the US needs to make for the educational system is to PAY EDUCATORS MORE! I think there is fear that if we grant educators a higher salary, we'll be stuck paying higher wages to the same (and I'm absolutely not saying that all current educators are) mediocre teachers. I know the exact opposite will happen. The good teachers, the ones who care and bring knowledge of how to reach our kids, are getting burnt-out and leaving the profession for, often, something that pays more. Mediocrity is what gets left behind. A higher wage will attract better teachers who are able to provide our students with a more robust education. It will. There is no doubt. It just needs to happen. (And we need to get rid of the idiotic Betsy DeVos!)

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That was interesting. And long for me. Hopefully it made sense, since my pain and fatigue levels are off the charts! Ugh.

Have a great week, y'all.

Fin.


Saturday 9: Sentimental Journey

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

Shoulder dislocation

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

Mom's New Wheeled Walker

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

Bugs Bunny

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

Dell PC

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

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

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Saturday 9: Sentimental Journey (1945)

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fin.


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.

Anyway.

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

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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.

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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?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~*~*~*~*~

A fun one! Thanks, Crazy Sam! ;)

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: ID Questions

Hey, you guys! You came back! Wanna hear something crazy? I had what, in these uncertain times of my health going from bad to worse regularly, I would consider a pretty decent day Saturday. I spent a couple of hours just {yes, I know} browsing Bed, Bath & Beyond with Chloë, getting absolutely nothing, and then getting a few "deals and steals" at Walgreens after that (hey, six free toothpastes ain't a bad haul, for starters), and she and I just get along famously when we're out and about together like that. And that set the tone for the remainder of my day, with multiple laughing-'til-I-cried experiences with the rest of the family after that. Yeah, I'm not talking about my physical difficulties, but that's because regardless of those, if I have a good outward day, I can ignore that stuff for a while. So I did. :)

But anyway.

I'm happy you're here for Sunday Stealing (I almost wrote "Saturday Sunday," because they're enmeshed in my brain). Link up here if you're playing along today!

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1: Three Fears ~

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a: nightmares (last night's was about scary dancing pandas - weird!); b: dying before my children are grown; and, c: of my dogs running out into traffic


2: Three things I love ~

Chloe 12th Grade 1

a: Chloë, who will be 17 in under three weeks;

Jack 10th Grade

b: Jack, 15; and,

Sophia 8th Grade

c: Sophia, who is 13 going on 19!


3: Four turns on ~

four?!! Hmm...

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a: Rob, obviously, who (since we're giving away ages here) will be 46 on the 30th;

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b: good yarn; in this case, it's Madeline Tosh merino wool in "Light Turquoise";

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c: Singing to good music turned up loud in the car with the windows down; and,

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d: Pure happiness and joy

4: Four turns off ~

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a: Smoking;

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b: Child abuse;

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c: sloooooow drivers; and,

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d: careless people who litter - & its effects on wildlife

5: My best friend ~

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I am fortunate enough to have two, both of whom I met in 6th grade and went all through the rest of middle, junior, and high school with: Lisa Joy & Shana Marie, both of whom I love with all my heart and definitely don't feel like I deserve!

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{Photo of Lisa & me in a photo booth at CocoWalk, in Coconut Grove, Florida, during Lisa's Spring Break, circa April 1997}

6: My favorite book ~

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I haven't read nearly all of these book by Jodi Picoult, but I have read My Sister's KeeperThe Tenth CircleNineteen Minutes, and Songs of the Humpback Whale (maybe others??), and I feel like all of them plus any more of her oeuvre that I'm going to read are my favorites, so can I make it her entire body of work?!

7: My best first date ~ 

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Well, obviously I think, I would have to say that was my first date with Rob! In mid-November 2000, he came down to St. Petersburg, FL, from Panama City Beach, FL, to meet me in person after an odd first acquaintanceship (is that a word?!) online. We went to a Chinese take-out/eat-in restaurant for lunch and spent a long, long time there getting to know each other. We were the only customers who were dining in, so the staff were paying us a lot of curious attention, but I don't think either of us cared. Fast-forward to a year later, and we were already married and parents of a tiny baby, Chloë Raine - with three more to soon follow! Yup, I think there was romance in my vegetable lo mein...

8: How tall am I ~

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At 5'1½", I think I'm short enough. However, my tiny little pixie girl, Chloë Rainebow, is maxed out at 4'9½" and is super cute to boot!


9: What do I miss ~ 

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Now that Chloë nearing 17 and in her senior year of high school, Jack has a job, and Sophie towers over me at 5'4" with no end in sight, I've been missing their younger years something fierce lately!

10: What time was I born ~

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Oh, I don't know, on time I guess?? ;) Since my DOB is 9/8/76, though, I like to joke that I was also born at 5:43:21 PM!

11: Favorite color ~

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Something like this would be my idea color palette, with the middle color being my favoritest fave


12: Do I have a crush ~

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Honestly? This may sound corny but after almost 18 years together, seeing Rob persevere through prostate cancer and numerous serious complications in recent months has me crushing on him all over again. Weird circumstance, but I love him with my whole heart and entire soul, and that's that.

13: Favorite quote ~

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I'm really not good at remembering quotes and jokes and whatnot, but I've always remembered this one from Dirty Dancing!

14: Favorite place ~

Totally Bamboo&reg; Idaho Destination Cutting Board

Gosh, I'm getting really cheesy again, but it's wherever my family members are. So right now, that's Idaho. (And P.S. If I had a spare $30, I'd totally be getting myself this State of Idaho cutting board. Love it!)

15: Favorite food ~

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New York-style pizzeria pizza - yummo!

16: Do I use sarcasm?

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What do you think?

17: What am I listening to right now?

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I'm watching a new-to-me rerun of Fixer Upper, a show I just starting getting into, like, yesterday.

18: First thing I notice in a new person ~

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Whether they just smile with their mouths, or if it reaches their eyes to show it's genuine

19: Eye color ~

Week 32 of 52 - JUST FOR ME

They used to be dark brown, but as I'm getting older, they're getting lighter brown with a ring of green around each iris

20: Hair color ~ 

See above; it's auburn, but I'm getting ready to dye it darker brown probably later this week.

~*~*~*~*~

That was a super fun meme! Thanks for the great thievery, Bev! And thanks to y'all for reading along with me!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Along Comes A Friend

Hey, guys! You came back! I'm always excited when I (remember to) do a Saturday 9 or Sunday Stealing post on time, because it usually means I get to visit with my friends in the blogosphere. So I'm thrilled you're here.

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

And let's begin:

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: Along Comes a Friend (Theme from Kate and Allie) (1984)

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

1) This week's song is the theme from Kate and Allie, a sitcom that ran from 1984 to 1989. Were you a fan?

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Oh, yes. I loved that show!

2) The show was about two divorced women who live and raise their children together. Were you ever a single parent? Were you raised by a single parent?

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No, I've never been a single mom. Thank goodness, because even though I know I would find the strength, I don't have it innately. I was not raised by a single parent, either. I give single moms and dads a LOT of credit, because I know how soul-exhausting that must be.

3) Allie is proud that she can make a perfect cup of coffee: "Just the essence of the bean. No acidity." Kate is proud that she can belch the alphabet. What are you proud of?

I am proud of my ability to turn sticks and string into works of art!

4) Kate and Allie share half of a duplex in Greenwich Village. Many episodes had them doing laundry in the basement. Where are your washer and dryer?

We have a laundry room about smack-dab in the middle of our ranch-style house. Nothing special.

5) Kate was played by Susan St. James. She was familiar to viewers as the "wife" in McMillan and Wife. Without looking it up, do you know who played McMillan?

Actually, I'd never even heard of that show! :O

6) Allie was played by Jane Curtin. She was one of three women in the original Saturday Night Live cast. Without looking it up, can you name the other two?

Hm. Gilda Radner and... no. I don't know the third.

7) On the set, Jane Curtin ran a poker game for the cast and crew. Do you think winning at poker takes more luck or skill?

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I'm not sure which it takes more of, but I've played poker and know that it definitely takes some skill. But luck definitely plays its part.

8) The Kate & Allie theme was cowritten and sung by John Lefler. Years later, Mr. Lefler wrote the theme for the Pokemon show. Is anyone in your life into Pokemon?

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9) Random question: What's the last thing you whispered?

Oh, I don't know; I'm not a big fan of whispering. I usually only do it in jest.

~*~*~*~*~

I fell asleep halfway through writing this, because I was just exhausted! Fortunately, I'm still technically "early" for our time zone. ;) Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

Fin.


A Visit To The Twisted Ewe: The Yarny Adventure Continues

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Seriously. No lie.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fin.


I've Waited For This Long For So Long!

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I learned to knit 15 years ago, in Guam. More on that later. In late June, Chloë decided she didn't want to do fencing anymore, and instead she really wanted to learn to knit. Whaaaa! Of course, the practical side of me thought of the financial benefits of that, but the emotional side of me was so excited to share this craft I have come to love with my firstborn!

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After a heavy-duty search on Ravelry for the right pattern for Chloë to learn on, I had the girls pull out everything in my rather extensive yarn stash.  It was a scarf; Chloë decided to make it for Sophia. I went yarn-diving in search of as many yarns as I could find that were suitable for this project. It called for a lace-weight and a fingering-weight yarn to be held together throughout the piece, so I pulled everything out that fit. This beautiful aubergine Cherry Tree Hill yarn (note the care instructions) was the first one chosen by Sophia.

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Suri alpaca, like this yarn, is made from the suri alpaca and has less crimp than huacaya alpacas. According to wikipedia, this makes it more suitable to woven goods than knitting ones, but we shall not be deterred!

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This light grey Anzula "Haiku" was the next yarn selected by Sophie, in fingering weight. The "weight" of a yarn refers to it's thickness, in simple terms. It's often measured by the number of times you can wrap it around a ruler in one inch (WPI or "Wraps Per Inch") and/or the number of stitches you can get over 4" (usually a range, depending on appropriate needle size and a knitter's personal gauge). Fingering, then, has a WPI of 14-30, whereas a laceweight yarn will be 30-40+ WPI.

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In keeping with the pattern's original yarns used, I added a merino/bamboo/nylon blend to the alpaca. Notice that everything I chose was hand-wash only; Chloë and I will have to learn to handwash our woolens together, because I used to bring everything to my pal Stephanie located in Chesapeake, Virginia, when we lived there. I haven't washed my own since living there, because I haven't really worn my handmade woolies in that time (for no particular reason)! No time like the present...

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This Alpaca with a Twist blue was added because the three of us decided that it was light enough (more cobweb weight than laceweight; cob is finer than lace) to combine with the other two and that they would fit the pattern better and blend the colours well.

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Unlike the scratchy Red Heart acrylic yarn on which I learned to knit, because it was the only thing available on the entire island of Guam where we were stationed at the time, I love that Chloë gets to start on luscious alpacas, merino, and bamboo. Oh, and silk. Forgot the silk. So yummy. For those of you who think I am a yarn snob: well, I am, but I used it so extensively during the begging third or two of my knitting and crocheting career that I developed a skin allergy to it. No fun! I had a lot in my stash, so I ended up donating almost everything with acrylic content to not-for-profit endeavors.

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In keeping with my desire for Chloë to have better yarns and better equipment and an easier learning experience than I ever did, we have another present (the first ones being sweet yarns)!

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It's a swift! A beautiful new Stanwood Needlecraft birch-wood umbrella swift to replace my last one, which is missing a part. What is a swift? Well, as explained in more detail in this Knit Like Granny post, a swift is often used with a ball winder (more on that in a bit) to knit unwieldy skeins or hanks of yarn into easy-to-use center-pull cakes.

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I plunked down a bit more moola than I did for my last swift, but the Stanwood is bigger and nicer. We quickly found it out has some cons, like the vice clamp being large and difficult to place because of that opening. Chloë (who was doing this because I want her to learn every step of the knitting process and really feel connected to the process and her finished product) had to try several surfaces before we decided on this side table.

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This swift was a big larger and stiffer than the previous one, and I was manning the camera (duh), so Rob stepped in to help open up the umbrella part of the swift. There's another con: those cotton or hemp or whatever ties at each corner catch the yarn during the winding process. But it's a beautiful swift, and I suspect that will ease with time and use.

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Just like my old swift, my old ball-winder had a missing part, crucial to proper operation. So I replaced it, and again I plunked down slightly more cash than I did for the old one. So here we are again, like the swift, with Chloë having the inaugural use.

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Because it was new, we had a few trial-and-errors with the ball winder, too. After a few tries, we were able to place it across from the swift and fortuitously at the same height as the swift. We also had to move the furniture around a bit to get the distance and tension right. Oh, the struggles of a knitter are real.

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The first yarn that Chloë wound was the Alpaca with a Twist Fino. The hank opened up to be quite large in circumference, so Rob once again stepped in to help Chloë open the swift to the right setting.

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The umbrella part was difficult to open at first because, well, Chloë and I didn't quite know what to do. This one looked similar but functioned different from the old one.

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Ahhh, finally got it there. Isn't it beautiful?

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The next step for Chloë was to untie the little bits of yarn holding the hank into a hank. She'd never done that before, with my knitting projects, because I didn't let her. Usually, I wound fine (read: expensive) hanks of yarn only, and I didn't want them to get messed up by the kids putting them on the swift incorrectly. But again, I wanted her to feel fully invested into this process, mainly so she would appreciate everything that went into her own finished product at the end. And a little bit of hard work never hurt anyone, right?

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Step Number Whatever: Learn to thread the yarn from the hank on the swift, into the slits in the ball winder. That's probably called something, but ask Rob - I don't know the names for stuff. Because this cobweb-weight yarn was so fine, this proved to be a challenging class for Chloë. It kept slipping out of the unnamed slits.

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Ultimately, we decided to tape down the end of the yarn Fino yarn onto the upright thingy in the ball winder with medical tape, and then Chloë was off and running! Er, winding.

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So as you can see, the swift holding the hank of yarn was set up, the ball winder was set several feet apart and busy winding up the yarn into a center-pull cake, and the sun was quickly setting.

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Whee!

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After a few mishaps with slightly adjusting the speed of the winding process, turning onto changing the tension between the two machines, leading to having to stop and restart after fixing the yarn, Chloë ended with a slightly hiccuppy cake with a belly button. She worked hard for it, and she deserves to be proud of it, hence the hand flare, there.

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Yay, Chloë! It really was a lot of work and took about a half an hour, so she took a short break to enjoy the glow of a new yarn cake. ;)

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Isn't it pretty? So pretty.

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After the sun had set last Wednesday night, Chloë was ready to wind hank two of yarn. We could have placed the two machines in slightly better situation, making the feed arm of the ball winder a little unwieldy while cranking the winder. Sophie stepped in to offer assistance with the feed arm, and Chloë accepted her help. I loved that this process was such a family affair!

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Much faster than the first ball of yarn, Chloë's finished second ball appeared. It was lovely - and no bellybutton this time! Chloë is a fast learner when she's interested in the subject matter.

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Then we all took a break to view the Strawberry Moon outside, the same night that the ringed, superior planet Saturn was opposite and at its closest, biggest and brightest in the sky. So exciting! I'm a bit of a star-gazer, so here is that Strawberry Moon over our little cul-de-sac.

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Back to work for the girls to wind hank three into a lovely cake. ♪ ♫ What's gonna work? Teamwork! ♫ ♪ (Thanks to Wonder Pets for that tune.)

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Cake Número Três  was quickly finished, and yay, she was done with the swift and ballwinder! She learned quickly that there was, um, a learning curve to using both. And oh, my gosh, time to learn the process of turning sticks and string into a finished piece of art!

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Mmmm, hello, my pretties. Come to Mama! Well, come to daughter, I guess, because she had done all the work and now was ready to actually use the stuff. The fancy alpaca, merino wool, bamboo, and silk stuff. I can't wait to see her go! Stay tuned for the post on that, and thanks for visiting ye olde fashioned blogge!

Fin.


Saturday 9: On And On

Oh, my gosh, how is it Friday again already?! I keep meaning to write and blog, blog and write, but the weeks are passing away from me way too quick-like these days (years)! But here we are, Friday night, which means it's time to post another Saturday 9. Link up here if you want to play along this week!

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On and On (1977)
Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.

1) This song describes the plight of "poor ol' Jimmy," who caught his girlfriend kissing someone else. Have you ever spied on a romantic partner?

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A little bit on occasion, sure, but not that much, I don't think. I'm just truly not a very jealous person.

2) In this song, Stephen Bishop sings that he "smiles when he feels like dying." When did you recently put on a happy face, even though you really weren't all that happy? 

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This is my life ^^^ right here, so ... this happens to me on a daily basis.

3) Stephen Bishop always wanted to be a musician, and as a child he began playing the clarinet. Did you take lessons -- dance, art, music -- as a child? If yes, did you take them because you enjoyed them, or because your parents made you take them?

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I took voice lessons and sang for years, but I had a panic attack as a college freshman and didn't attend my choir audition there. I've always regretted that. I took electric organ lessons as a kid, because my mother played beautifully, and after she died I wanted to keep enjoying her legacy that way. I took tap, jazz, and ballet lessons for several years and was good enough to be invited to Dance Olympus in Manhattan after just one year of lessons at 11 years old, when most people had to be 12 or older and have danced for three years. I'm a semi-decent artist, but I wouldn't claim to be great at it. On the other hand, my youngest kiddo, Sophia, is quite talented in both drawing and digital art. That's one of her "self-portraits" up there. I love it.

4) When he was 12, inspired by The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, he switched to the guitar and began writing songs. Tell us about someone or something that influenced your career path.

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Which career would that be? My stay-at-homeschooling mum career? Or the Elasmobranch Behavioral Research Scientist career I began but didn't see to fruition? We'll go with that one. In my second year of college as a Marine Science & Biology major, I took the actual class named "Marine Science" for those of us with that major. There is sooo much one could cover about live  things in a marine environment, you could fill a big city's main library with books on the subject, so we didn't discuss sharks, skates, and rays much. But we had one lecture about them that had me riveted, hanging on my professor's every last word. Every fact, big and small, was intriguing and amazing to me. I couldn't get enough. (Shown above: Madison Stewart demonstrating tonic immobility in a silky shark.) That's when I knew, this was the field for me.
  
5) Stephen Bishop attended Will C. Crawford High School in San Diego. This school requires students complete 20 hours of community service every year. Tell us about an organization, cause or campaign you volunteered for, either as a student or an adult.

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This set above isn't mine, but I've made similar: When one of Hubs' and my identical twin sons, Robby, died in 2003, I was devastated. Completely, utterly, ripped apart. For a year (well, truthfully, for the past 15 years), I struggled to make some sense out of it, to find what meaning other people told me there must have been in this experience. (Fuck you people who say "all things happen for a reason" or "God doesn't give us more than we can handle" or shit like that, by the way. Those words cause immense pain to the people you're dropping such knowledge on.) Anyway. I needed to find some way to parent the son I only got to hold once, for less than an hour. I decided to take my newly-acquired knitting skills, add to them crochet skills (thank you to my late mother-in-law for re-teaching me at that point), and start a 501(c)(3) non-profit in Robby's name. I had a few volunteers help me - most notably my MIL - and some yarn companies made donations, but for the most part, it was a one-woman operation borne out of love and loss. I made tons and tons of layettes, including a hat or bonnet, a sweater or gown, booties, and blanket, and called them CARE Packages ("Calling All Robby's Elves"), which I then donated to area hospitals with NICUs. If people emailed or wrote to me about a loss, I also mailed these out. Each Package included a laminated card. One side explained who we were and what we did; the other side included a list of suggested things that parents could do with their infant before saying that final good-bye. Most of those things, I did not get to do and wished I could have or had thought of. I ran this charity for seven years, until I just needed to re-focus my efforts on raising my three surviving children.

6) In 1977, when this song was popular, Seattle Slew won racing's Triple Crown. Sam's mother has always been afraid of horses. Is there an animal you're uncomfortable with?

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Well, I played with sharks, so not too many, no... but I do require that any flying animals have my expression written permission before touching me, or I will freak the F out! ... from the surprise, of course, from the surprise. ;) Anyway, here is a gratuitous pic of Sophia on a horse, Bing, during a recent lesson. (Not the best picture, but my computer is dead in the water at the moment, and I didn't feel like scrolling thru Facebook albums to find a great one.)
 
7) Also in 1977, moviegoers waited in line for hours to see Star Wars. What's the longest line you waited in recently?

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So, Hubs gets paid his pension and other monies just once per month, on the first of each month. Once it's gone, it's gone. (Every last week of the month SUCKS.) Therefore, I have to shop for a full month's worth of groceries at once or we go hungry. I usually have to take someone with me, because I fill up at least two huge carts with food, and I can barely push one full cart anymore, let alone two or more. This past payday, a week or so ago, Sophie and I spent over an hour getting all our groceries, including about 8 or 10 cartons of ice cream. I was none so thrilled at the humongous lines we then encountered while my ice cream suffered! Fortunately, none leaked. Whew!

8) The mini-series Roots first aired in 1977. Today Americans are spending more time and money than ever to research ancestry. How far back can you trace your family tree? 

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My dad's Aunt Amy was into genealogy, and she wrote a book about my father's side of the family. On my mom's side, I know I am German and Hungarian. On my dad's side, I know I am German/Pennsylvania Dutch, and English. Aunt Amy's book tells all about how our family emigrated from Europe and settled on the then-mostly uninhabitable Caribbean island of Saba. They were all sea-going folks, like ship captains and such. (See, that's how you know the ocean is in my blood!) The island is full of Simmonses (Simmons being my maiden name) and others from our line. My grandfather was born there. Does that make me a second-generation American?

9) Random question: It's often said that nobody's perfect. How about you? What quality keeps you from being perfect?

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LOL. I have a ton of faults, so I turned to Hubs and ask him which one was my worst one. He said, "You're not very patient..." I literally say what this meme guy is saying at least once every day, so of course I had to pick this one!!

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Well, that was fun. Thanks, Crazy Sam! Time to go enjoy the amazing dinner Chloë has prepared for the third night in a row. Yum, yum, here I come.

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Conversation Starters

Welcome back, folks! Link up here if you want to play along today! I'm in the mood to just jump in, so let's go!

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Cheers to all of us thieves!
 

Here are some conversation starters, stolen from Conversation Starters

1. What are some small things that make your day better?

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For the past 17 years of our marriage, Hubs rubs washes my feet and puts lotion (and sometimes socks, if I'm going to get up again) on my feet. It's so sweet and loving and romantic, and he does it whenever I ask without complaining. It's not quite a daily thing, but it's frequent enough. And of course I love him madly for doing it.

2. What shows are you into?

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Big Bang Theory is a favorite...

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...as is, of course, Jeopardy! (Yeah, I'm a total nerdy-nerd)...

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... and we are starting to get into This Is Us. We've only watched S1E1 so far, but I think we'll watch more tonight.

3. What TV channel doesn’t exist but really should?

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We're pretty goofy. And funny (IMNSHO). I think we should have our own channel. All Team Odette, all the time. Wait, on second thought... maybe not. ;) 

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

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Kids, especially ones who grow up poor with single mothers or some shit like that, who go on to do great things impress me. The examples, though kind of rare, come out frequently enough to make me believe that humanity is not inherently bad. I love these stories and will actually sit up and listen, take notice, when one comes across my frequency. Go Brainiacs!

5. What age do you wish you could permanently be?

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I think 35. I was at a pretty good place, both physically and mentally (ish), at 35. But I really don't want to be permanently stuck at any age. Stuck is stuck, and it's never good.

6. What TV show or movie do you refuse to watch?

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Sorry, Game of Thrones, I'm just not that into you. (I'm not a bandwagoneer, either.)

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

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I go berserkasoid when the Internet goes down. Ask my husband. I cannot DEAL!

8. What’s your claim to fame?

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I was the youngest person ever to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Oh wait, that was a teen-aged fantasy I used to harbor. I guess nothing, then.

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

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Dude, I wish I could still angrily slam the phone down on people...! Hmm, let's see. When the floor needs to be washed, I still like to get down on my hands and knees and scrub that sucker. Of course, now that I have my minions kids, I don't clean the floors, like, ever.

10. What’s your favorite genre of book or movie?

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That would be comedy. I love to laugh. There is so much BS in this world, I just need to laaaaugh and laaaaaugh to escape it, sometimes. BTW, for this reason, I completely recommend the Pitch Perfect movies. My girls and I went to see Pitch Perfect 3 the other day, and I laughed my ass off the entire time. So hilarious.

11. How often do you people watch?

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Oh, I'm all about it, Dude. Every time I'm in public, I'm doing that.

12. What have you only recently formed an opinion about?

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Well, it's still forming, but since people are now clamoring "Oprah Winfrey for President 2020!" I'm having thoughts about that.

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

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I've never done it, mostly because it scares the shit out of me to think about intentionally cutting through my hard, beautiful hand-knit work, but I'm intensely fascinated by the idea of steeking a sweater. It's on my Knitting Bucket List.

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

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I mean, Guam was pretty far from the mainland United States, but it was our home for those four months. So does that really count?

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

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A dad cuddling his baby melts me every time. Every single damn time.

16. What is the most annoying question that people ask you?

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"Can I speak to your mom, please?" when I answer my phone. I have a bit of a high-pitched, squeaky voice, so lots of times people think I'm a little kid.

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

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Forty minutes is all I have to talk about all things Marine Life?!!! ::gasp::

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

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I'd make practicing Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty a law. Recycling would be mandatory. No smoking tobacco would be allowed, whatsoever. All the food would be organic and healthful. And Trump would not be allowed in. Or on. Whatever.

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

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Go SCUBA diving! Somewhere tropical, of course. It's the most amazing thing ever. I have always wanted to dive in the Marianas, and I just missed that chance because I was pregnant with twins when we were out there. It's the most amazing diving on the planet, though, so I insisted newishly-certified Rob go take that dive. And behold, it was good.

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Why are there only 19 questions? It's a prime number. Not a nice, whole, round, symmetrical number. That agitates me.

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Oh well, I'm over it. ;) Have a great weekend, y'all!


Saturday 9: Piano

Welcome back, guys!

[For those keeping score: I'm still here, not in the hospital, which is a fantastic thing. I did expect to get the PICC line out of my arm this past Wednesday, but my infection numbers just haven't come down enough, so I'm still receiving IV antibiotics through the PICC twice a day. But I'm home with my family, on the upright side of the dirt, and I prefer to focus on that!]

Now, then. Thanks, Crazy Sam for another entertaining questionnaire for us to play with this week. If you want to join us, link up here!

Let's get to it:

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Saturday 9: Piano (2013)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.


1) As she sings, Ariana muses about the songs she could compose on her piano. Do you play the piano?
 
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Yes and no. My mother played an electric organ much like this one in the 70s and 80s, right up until she died in 1984. Afterward, when it was time for me to learn an instrument, I chose to take lessons on Mom's unused organ. I did okay at it, but just okay, since I sucked at sightreading music. I still do.

2) She compares love songs, saying there are sad ones about how hard love is, and happy ones that make you want to dance. What's your favorite love song? Is it sad or happy?
 
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I think that honor would have to go to "If I Had a Million Dollars" by the Barenaked Ladies. It's such a fun, funny, silly, and yet romantic song! It perfectly encapsulated Rob's and my whirlwind 2-month courtship in 2000, before we eloped, and Rob gave me that album for that Christmas. It's the best ever.

3) Ariana's mother always told her that they took her name from Princess Oriana in the 1988 movie Felix the Cat. Who is your favorite cartoon character?
 
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Definitely Dory from Finding Nemo (and Finding Dory, but that movie was a let-down for me). She embodies me completely! I am so Dory. So Dory.

4) Ariana's favorite board game is Monopoly. What's your favorite board game?
 
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Monopoly here, too! Though with Hubs, it would be Scrabble.

5) She relaxes by baking. When you feel keyed up, what do you do to relax?
 
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Generally, I like to knit. I haven't done a ton of it in the past few years, because of Fibro pain and whatever. But I told Sophia (my 12yo youngest) that I will knit her a Slytherin (Harry Potter reference) scarf, and so I have about two rows cast on for that. I will finish it this month. I will!
 
6) She is a huge Florida Panthers fan, even though once, as a little girl, she got hit by a puck. Now that the NHL season is underway, how's your favorite team doing?
 
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Nope. Not a hockey fan.

7) In 2013, when this song was popular, the NHL reached an agreement with the players union and averted a strike. Have you ever belonged to a union?
 
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I don't know. I may have, when I worked for years at Publix, but I don't even remember. That would have been the only time.
 
8) Also in 2013, Pauline Philips died. Ms. Philips was better known to millions of readers as "Dear Abby." At its height, her advice column appeared in 1,400 newspapers across the country. Do you still read a printed copy of your newspaper?

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Sort of? I typically get four copies of the local paper on Sundays and that's it, but I get them for the coupons. The kids read more of the paper than I do, these days. I get my news fix online.

9) If you could get the answer to one question about your future, what would that one question be?
 
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Will I - and humanity on Planet Earth - survive long enough for me to meet and enjoy my own grandchildren?
 
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I don't know about you, but the possible answers to that question scare the shit out of me.
 
Welp, that'll be all. Apparently I was feeling GIFfy. Thanks for stopping by!
 

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!

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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)? 

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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.)

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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!

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


Sunday Stealing: The Simple Life

Welcome back, my loves! I'm sooo sleepy today for some reason, so I'm going to get right into things. Link up >here< if you're playing along this weekend!

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What are five things you would like to do more?
 
In no particular order, my answers are:
 
1. Image result for knit
 
Knit. I haven't been doing enough of that at all lately.
 
2. Image result for make love
 
Spend passionate time with my husband. Always want more of that! ;)
 
3. Image result for exploring the outdoors
 
Spend LOTS more time exploring our newfound outside world.
 
4. Image result for ganesh
 
Exploring my spiritual side and learning more about other religions.
 
5. Image result for traveling the world
 
Travel the world.
 
 
What is your quote to live by?
 
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I have several, but this is by far my favourite.
 

What was the best thing that happened this week?
 
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I had a lovely, romantic dinner at our local Ruth's Chris Steakhouse with Hubs for the 17th anniversary of our meeting. Not our wedding anniversary, which is upcoming in January... but we had a fantastic time!

What is something you are stressed about?
 
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Our finances. Always with the $%^&* finances!!! >:(
 

What book has influenced your life?
 
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I read the book I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb in college or grad school, and I will never forget it. In fact, I think about parts of it quite often.
 
Also, honorable mentions to: 
 
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The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy, which I read in high school, and:
 
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Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, which my BFF Lisa gave me for a college graduation present and which had a profound impact on my psyche.

Share a childhood memory:
 
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For several years, when I was very young, like 3-4-5 years old, I would be sent to my bed for bedtime but could not sleep, because I kept hallucinating the walls were collapsing in on me, that my bed was a dangerous place and was also going to collapse on me, and that I was basically unsafe in bed, in my room, in my house. I would scream and sob and run to my mother's bedside. She would try to get me into bed with her to cuddle, but I adamantly refused to touch their bed either. My father tried the same, but I wouldn't even go near him. Eventually, it always ended in my mother taking me out to the center of our living room, away from any walls, and sitting on the floor in her lap, rocking me and singing softly to me to comfort her.  I have no idea what precipitated all of this, but I start with a new therapist in a couple weeks and aim to explore it further.
 
What fictional character would you most like to be?
 
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Alice in Wonderland, for I, too, like to think of impossible things..!

What is something you are proud of?
 
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Despite our sometimes-tempestuous union, I'm proud of our 17 years of togetherness and the young family we have forged together! <3

What was the last thing you celebrated?
 
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Same thing. Seventeen years of Team Odette! ;)
 

What are weird things you like?
 
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I have tons of quirks. Our whole family does. I don't even know where to start. Two things: I like it when the doggos lick my feet, and I like when Sophia, my 12yo daughter, and I sing shrilly to Sam Smith songs...
 
What is your favorite song to sing?
 
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If I ever have the nuts to get drunk and do karaoke, I will belt out "What's Up?" by 4 Non Blondes! #BucketList
 

Name three things you do well.
 
1. Image result for making plans
 
I'm great at making plans. I hate when they fall through!
 
2. Image result for being spontaneous
 
Being optimistic. Despite lots of incredibly horrible things happening in life, I always believe something good is around the corner.
 
3.Image result for being spontaneous is amazing
Being spontaneous! I know all these things seem a little mutually exclusive, but that's how I roll!
 

What are your priorities in life?
 
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1. Family
 
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2. Travel - I want to see everywhere there is to see!!
 
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3. This: Happiness, contentment, and inner peace.

What is something that scares you?
 
Death of a child at any age. Missing my son.                                                                                                                                                                                 More
 
Losing another child. The first one was an epic pain. I could not live through it again.

Best book you read this year?
 
 
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I'm still reading it, but Recipes for Repair is a great book for promoting health and healing through dietary changes.
 
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Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!

Saturday 9: Get Down Tonight

Hey everyone! I'm home alone with the two younger kidlets tonight while Hubs and Chloë are headed to Utah to volunteer for a big Quidditch match. Chloë is really into Quidditch and all things Harry Potter, so there they be. Anyway, let's get to it! Link up here if you're playing along this weekend.

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Saturday 9: Get Down Tonight (1975)


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

1) Tonight, KC has three things on his "to-do" list: do a little dance, make a little love and get down. Tell us three things you'd like to accomplish this weekend.

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Well, I'd love to do those three things tonight, too, but I don't think Hubs would appreciate it while he's out of town! hahaha! So instead I'd like to get caught up on all my reports, get my clothes all organized and put away, and organized all my yarns (and maybe even use some!). Super exciting.

2) This week's song is considered emblematic of disco, a genre that had as many detractors as fans. Is there a kind of music you simply cannot stand?

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I can abide by and even adore almost every kind of music except for country. Not a fan. Never will be.

3) Before becoming a musician, KC, aka Harry Casey, worked in a record store. In those days, record stores were very popular. Peaches, Coconuts, Sam Goody and Tower Records are four store chains that once dotted the landscape but now are gone. Today, if you wanted to purchase a CD, where would you turn?

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I wouldn't! These days, all my muzak is digital.

4) One of his duties at the record store was unloading the big corrugated shippers filled with LPs. What's the heaviest thing you've lifted lately?

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The groceries. All $530 worth of groceries at once. Okay, I'm a little prone to exaggeration, but...

5) KC is proud that he's lived his entire life in Miami-Dade County. Do you expect to change your address in the next year or so?

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Oh, now I'm gonna do the ugly cry! I'm really missing Miami like crazy this past week or two!! We moved here to Boise from Miami. Wahhhhhh!

6) In 1975, the year this song was popular, former Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa disappeared, never to be seen again. Many theories flourish about what may have happened to him. Is there a famous criminal case that has a hold on your attention?

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You mean like this one? Yeah. #IMPEACH

7) Jaws was the most popular movie of 1975. Are you afraid of sharks?

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Hell no. I would love to swim with sharks again and I'd go RIGHT NOW if I could. Beautiful, enthralling creatures. Even if I did crap my pants in the sea the first time I dove with them... but we've told that story before! ;)

8) Actress Angelina Jolie was born in 1975. People magazine once named her "most beautiful." Who is the most beautiful woman you can think of?

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I've always had a thing for Alyssa Milano, ever since her young teen days on Who's The Boss?

9) Random question: A wizard offers you a choice -- would you like your life to stay as it is right now (in terms of your health, your career, your relationships and your finances) for the next 5 years, or would you like to take a chance that the future will be brighter?

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I would always take the chance on a brighter future!

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Super fun, Crazy Sam! Thanks for the questionnaire! ;)

Cheers, y'all.