Entries categorized "Knitting Pretty" Feed

Sunday Stealing: Getting To Know You

What's up, y'all? Shall we dig into another round of Sunday Stealing? I thought so, too, so without further ado:

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If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

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I would probably eat my way through the world. I have no self-control when it comes to food. Today, Hubs and I went to the olive bar and bought over $15 worth of different olives. I ate half of mine on the way home (while he drove). I guess there are worse things I could have downed...

What’s your favorite piece of clothing you own / owned?

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I have always dressed for comfort over style. Always. That being said, this GAP hoodie I just picked up for a buck from the thrift store and am wearing today for the first time just might be my new favorite garment. Super comfy!

What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?

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I would be a nonstop world traveler. Particularly by cruising. I love ocean travel!

What would your perfect room look like?

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I expect you wanted an answer about the colors of the walls, the types of furniture in there, and all that. I don't really care about that stuff. My perfect room would be full of puppies and babies for me to cuddle all day long.

How often do you play sports?

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No.

To what fictional place would you most like to go?

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Hellooo, the chocolate factory is my idea of heaven!

What job would you be terrible at?

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Sewer worker. I would barf every single day, which I imagine would be less than helf

When was the last time you climbed a tree?

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Probably not since I was younger than Sophia, who is 12.5 years old. This kid,however, will probably be climbing them for her her entire life. The little monkey...

If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?

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I bet I could get at least a bronze for my knitting skillz, yo.

What skill would you like to master?

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Well, to continue, I would like to become an official Knitting Guild Master Knitter. I have started the program, but I got about an eightieth of the way through it before Lyme Disease stole the show.

What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

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I would love to be commissioned by NASA to travel to Jupiter. Or Mars. Or the Moon. Whatever, let's go!

If you had unlimited funds to build a house that you would live in for the rest of your life, what would the finished house be like?'

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My dream house would be completely eco-centric. I would have solar panels everywhere; high-efficiency everything; self-sustaining gardens for food and for beauty (because aesthetics are important, as well); and all the materials used to build it would be conscientiously and sustainably harvested and environmentally sound. You get the idea.

What state or country do you never want to go back to?

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Sorry, Kansas, but you get this prize. Having recently driven through Kansas on our cross-country drive from Miami to Boise, Kansas was the lowest point on the trip. It was just so utterly devoid of anything interesting to look at.

What songs have you completely memorized?

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"Kiss" by Prince; anything by Whitney Houston; old-school Madonna... okay, pretty much anything 80s. I'll always love that shit.

What do you consider to be your best find?

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Why, the Hubs of course!

Are you usually early or late?

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I hate being late. I avoid it like the plague.

What pets did you have while you were growing up?

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We had a family dog who wasn't too fond of me (and it was mutual), and for a little while, I had a pet rat named Barkley. I loved him so much! He was great fun.

When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?

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Welp, since I homeschool the kidoodles, more often than not it's Math they want assistance with.

What takes up too much of your time?

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Being in pain 24/7 is pretty shitty. I could do without some of that. Also, bite me, full moon!

What do you wish you knew more about?

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Gardening. I hate having a black thumb!

What would be your first question after waking up from being cryogenically frozen for 100 years?

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"Was I snoring?"

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Hey, everyone, thanks for stopping by! You really are appreciated.

Fin.

 


Sunday Stealing: Something Different Meme

Welcome back! Link up here if you're playing along with Sunday Stealing today. Here we go:

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Writes Bev: "Here's something different for this week.  
 
"There is a woman named "Wendy Weetabix" who wrote a blog called That's My Bix, but the last entry was from 2015.  But she has been posting random questions for the past several months on Facebook.  I went through and picked a few of them for us to answer this week."
 
1. What is a normal thing that took you an embarrassingly long time to learn?
 
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Welp, I suspect more than one person will say telling Right from Left - and me, too - but I just learned the other day that Greenland is a territory of Denmark. I either never knew that or just forgot and relearned it, but I felt stupid after learning it this time! ;)
 
 

2. In what ways are you old-fashioned?
 
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I'm not very old-fashioned in a very lot of ways, being quite a leftward Liberal. But by the same token, I've become kind of a homebody. My husband and kids are my favorite people in the world, and I get to hang out with them every single day! (We homeschool.) I bake and cook, I knit and crochet... my kids jokingly call me "Grandma" when I'm fiddling with sticks and string! And Martha Stewart is my home-making idol - no lie!
 

3. What is the best sandwich you've ever eaten? Where did you get it? What made it so delicious?
 
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(Note: This picture was not it.) When I worked as a legal secretary in St. Pete, Florida, there was a bagel/deli in the same plaza, down at the other end. I didn't go there too terribly often, but on occasion, I would venture over. They had so many choices! But I will never forget the time that I ordered a Fruit & Nut bagel with their homemade Strawberry Cream Cheese. So maybe not technically a sammich, but it was crazy-good!
 
 

4. What are you currently not bragging about that you should totally brag about? 
 
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So I'm going the opposite route here: I run this weekly online auction on Facebook, and people pick up from my house when they have won something(s) from me. Usually, I send one of my girls out (my son is pretty much scared of people) because my pain level is too high, and today it was Sophia who went out. The woman, who was new to my auction group, was very impressed by my youngest, Sophia. The woman overpaid by a dollar and refused the change I sent Sophie out with before she left. It was declined, and then the above conversation ensued. I was beaming! And so yes, I totally bragged about it. ;)
 
 
5. What food have you never tasted and are most interested in trying? 
 
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Paella! Maybe not in as gigantical a paella pan as this one, but Seafood Paella is a Bucket List item for sure! And I think it may be happening in the near future. ;) Have you ever had it?
 

6. What history facts were you surprised to learn because it was never covered in school?
 
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First let me say this: As a former public school student who now homeschools my own kids, it sometimes rankles me that we hardly covered ANY of the world's give-or-take 200 countries in my Social Studies classes. I mean, I had to learn all the, what, 17 different republics or states or whatever that made up the former USSR, but I learned virtually nothing about Latin America until I went to college and took a semester-long course on recent Latin American History.
 
BUT, as a homeschooling parent who is now studying Brazil, preceded by Canada and to be succeeded by South America, I have also come to respect that class(room) time is extremely precious. Every wasted moment on scolding for behavior or other intrusions in the schedule is a moment taken from time for actual instruction. And with 30+ kids per class these days, there are bound to be tons more interruptions than we have with just three! So that rankling dissipates...
 
So to answer this question (FINALLY!), I will say that I had no idea how corrupt Brazil's government has been since the beginning, how many times its leadership has changed over after a political coup, or just how... difficult it has been to have peace for Brazilians.
 

7. What is something that you waited entirely too long to start or stop doing? What made you say "Why did I wait so long?"
 
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It just occurred to me, four-plus years into Rob's retirement from the U.S. Navy, that I could delegate some of the responsibilities of homeschooling to him! Well, to be fair, for 21/years of that he was downed by the brain tumor, but since then! We school year-round, and it just recently occurred to me that I could have him grade math papers! DUH! That takes a huge load off my plate, y'all! Sometimes I even have Chloe grade the papers of the younger two, but that's rarer. Such a relief to have that taken care of fairly effortlessly on my part now.

8. What socially expected thing do you hate doing the most? What thing about polite society really grinds your gears? 
 
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SMALL TALK!! I suck at it, I hate the inane exchange of pleasantries. If I can't have a real, meaningful conversation with someone, I'd just as soon not bother beyond the "hi, have a nice day, thank you, bye" stuff with, like, a cashier or someone. As for what grinds my gears, it's the social construct that dictates we must always be upbeat and positive with strangers. I'm sorry, I have Chronic, Late-Stage Lyme Disease, which is not a recognized illness by most of the medical society in this country, and I suffer every moment of every day. Lately, I've been amusing myself by answering, when asked how I am, "Do you want the truth or the socially acceptable version?" Maybe I'm a whiny, over-complaining brat, but IDGAF anymore. :\
 
 

9. What is something about your city that I should know if I'm going to visit? What is the hidden "must see" that you always tell friends and visitors to not miss?
 
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Well, you should know that's it's extremely dry here. When we got here from Miami, I could barely talk, my mouth was so dry all the time. And that still happens, even though I've acclimated to it! I've actually been diagnosed with Diabetes Insipidus because of the constant drinking I have to do. I don't know the greater Boise area well enough yet, having only been here for five months, but I would say the "must sees" are all the natural wonders here and around Idaho. OMG, it's SUCH a beautiful state. The mountains! The valleys! The lakes and rivers! The mountains. Just so gorgeous, everywhere you look.

10. What do you miss most about childhood?
 
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You may remember that my mother died when I was seven years old, and that life was hell after that, so not a whole helluva lot. However, before she died, we used to gather as a family, with grandparents and aunts and uncles and friends, around the organ while she played and sang. I remember her singing well, and my grandfather, who had a charming Baritone voice, belting out the Christmas carols with her. I loved those times. I also remember my sister Stacey and I arguing over whose turn it was to play that organ, on other days, and Mom setting a timer for five minutes for us to alternate on it.

11. What "fact" did you learn in school that is not true or no longer true?
 
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That people are born as a blank canvas and are generally warm, nice, kind, sweet, and loving. The first part may very well be true, but nurture causes so many to become exactly the opposite. Okay maybe this is a cop-out, because obviously I didn't learn this in school, but it's a heartbreaking adult discovery, that is for sure.
 

12. What's your favorite piece of useless trivia? 
 
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I don't think any trivia is 'useless' if it's interesting to someone - and it's almost all interesting to me!
 
 

13. What's your best go to homemade "lazy" meal?
 
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I used to make this for myself when I was a poor undergrad, and then graduate student: I call it "Cheesy Pasta Bake." I just mix a bunch of interestingly-shaped pastas together - whatever half-box or quarter-box here and there left over in the pantry - and cook that, then throw it back in the pot with different kinds of cheeses (at least three! It's a rule), a jar or so of sauce, mix it up, then bake it on 350o for about 20-30 minutes until the cheese is melted. The girls and I adore it. The menfolk, meh, not so much.
 

14. What's the title of this current chapter in your life?
 
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"Oh, Boise!" (And LOL! Our church is located in Garden City. It's really not so bad... now, maybe.)

15. What is a habit or practice that you learned from your childhood that you didn't realize was "weird" until you were an adult?
 
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I don't know. Nothing, probably. I'm a highly self-conscious introvert. I know i'm weird. I embrace it now, at 40 years old. Finally!
 
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That was fun! Thanks, Bev. And thank you for stopping by.
 
Fin.

Sunday Stealing: The Mommy Time Meme

Sunday Stealing

I stole Bud's Sunday Stealing logo right off his blog! I clicked that instead of the ... well, long story short, it was un accidente, and now that it's there, it amuses me because it's in keeping with the idea of the meme. Sorry, Bud. ;)

Link up here with the rest of us if you're playing along this Earth Day weekend!

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Cheers to all of us thieves!

Sunday Stealing: The Money Time Questions

1. What are five passions that you have?

a.  EarthDayEve052a

These three knuckleheads. <3

b. Image may contain: 1 person, beard and drink

This chump of mine. <3

c.  EarthDayEve050aCrafting/creating/making in general; knitting, specifically.

d.  SelfiewithSophieMother Earth (and Science #FTW!)

e.  Pea falafel etc

Experimenting with food! I love to cook!

2. List up to ten random facts about yourself.

a.  Profile

I have had my nose pierced twice, but what I really want is a septum piercing. I told Hubs I would do it after my dad dies. When Hubs asked me why I didn't just go ahead and do it before Dad dies, I replied, "I don't want to kill him!" (The piercing was really hard on my father. His precious little girl... it was right as I was getting out of college, and he saw it and said, "I didn't send you to school so you could become some kind of hippie Bohemian!") lmao

b.

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I'm married to a "hippie Bohemian." Seriously, my husband's maternal family is from Bohemia, which is now the Czech Republic. So, lol to that, too!

c. 

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I've had four pregnancies and four live births, but there is not a 1:1 relationship (for those of you who know your math) there. One of those live births is now our little angel baby, waiting for us...

d.

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I have so many medical issues, my last neurologist labeled me "complicated" when trying to medicate me for migraines. The last med nearly killed me, so we're on to Botox next.

e.

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I have Lyme disease, Fibromyalgia (maybe) and, I suspect, ME/CFS. (myalgic encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for those who hate acrobreviations) ;) And that only accounts for half the shit medicine I'm on.

f.

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I also have Bipolar Disorder 1 w/ Psychosis, but I suspect it may actually be Schizophrenia - and so does my current psychopharmacologist. Thing is, the same drugs I'm on are used to treat both, I take my drugs, and I'm more or less stable (that's a myth, like a unicorn achievement, with serious mental health issues, really). I'm not going to go off my meds to find out, so we'll never know unless my chemistry raucously changes. Hey, I'm due for menopause in about 10-15 years, so...! (Hush yo' mouth, I'm not hoping!)

g.

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My surviving kids are 15.5, 14, and 12, and I'm already looking forward to being a grandmother one day. Which damn well better be in a decade or more. ;)

h.

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I'm a permanent Idealist/Optimist, despite all the trauma and abuse in my history. I'm a rainbow-seeker wearing my rose-colored glasses, I'm sensitive, and I'm splendidly naive. Please don't take advantage of me, or I will cry. And I didn't pack the waterproof mascara, 'kay?

i.

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I consider myself a Biologist, a scientist who just didn't finish her Ph.D., as well as a Christian. This throws people way the hell off. 'Specially since I curse like a sailor - since long before I married one. Pretty sure God's okay with me the way I am. <3

j.

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I have a (Young Living) essential oils addiction that about mirrors my JAFRA addiction... I'd love to share them with people, but I'm painfully shy and not at all a salesperson, so my only real clients are on the Interwebs. I keep thinking the older I get, the more my scaredy-cat nature will crack, but that's a Big Fat Nope.

3. List five people (personal, historic, living or dead) who have had a major impact on your life or the way you think.

All right, well:

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a. My mother (RIP), whom I have put on a pedestal of perfection when it comes to motherhood, since her early death at age 33;

b. My father, whom I have not with respect to fatherhood;

c. My stepmother, AKA "The Bitch From Hell," who played an enormous part in my becoming Bipolar/Schizo while "helping raise" me from ages 7 to 17 and beyond...;

d. My maternal grandparents, without whom my childhood would have completely sucked and who rescued me from my miserable home life many times (RIP, RIP, and THANK YOU!)

e. My U-Miami physics professor who, during exams, always used to write, "WAEFRTGDQ" on the chalkboard before starting. The meaning, "When All Else Fails, Read The God-Damned Question!" and which I have used many times in my own life. His surprising addition to this short list startled even me.

4. List 5 things you'd tell your 15 year-old self, if you could.

a.

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While life might suck, at least you have your (relative) physical health and strength. Getting older can be quite painful!

b.

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There actually are some blessings in your life, and you should appreciate them. Some of them won't always be there.

c. 

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Yes, studying and good grades matter, but let loose every once in a while and try to enjoy yourself.

d. 

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Don't cheat on Ben. He's a decent guy, and he cares about you. And don't ever do that again, either! >:(

e.

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You're in Syracuse, New York, one of the most perfect places to learn to ski, so do it, you bonehead. One day, you'll end up in freaking Idaho!

5. What is a major strength that you have?

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My husband will disagree, but he's only right when I'm pissed: I have the ability to use logic and reason in a Euclidean sort of way.

6. What is a major weakness that you have?

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I lose my freakin' shit when I'm really mad. (When I'm happy-manic, yay, baking is happening! When I'm angry-manic, you'd better watch the F out.)

7. Describe the family dynamic of your childhood versus your family dynamic now.

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Huge pile of shit (then)

versus

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Unicorn farts... Capisce?

8. What popular notion do you feel that the world has most wrong?

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That Climate Change is not real, and Global Warming is not happening. As a scientist, this one kills me the most, I think. These are the people in charge of legislation, FFS, and they are ruining mankind for the rest of us. Oy vey. Don't even.

9. Name three things that always cheers you up when you are down.

a.

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Seeing one of my kids accomplish something that I know was difficult for her/him to do

b.

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Coming to an understanding with someone who might ordinarily not have connected with me on a mental or emotional level

c.

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CHOCOLATE!

10. Name three things would you like to be remembered for?

a. 

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Being a good mom to my bebes (and holy crap, my favorite author says what I say all the time to people, too!)

b.

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Being kind

c.

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That I did my hardest to protect the natural resources that have been bequeathed unto me.

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That was a long one, but fun!

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: The Bearded Questions

Link up here if you're playing along today!

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Sunday Stealing: The Bearded Questions

What is some of your favorite music?

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I grew up listening to Top 40 music. That was in the 80s, for the most part. I still listen to Top 40 music, to my Classic Rock-loving husband's chagrin. I still love 80s music and I not-so-secretly listen to his stations in the car, even when I'm driving by myself.

List your three favorite scents. 

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All citrus. Apples. Yeah, pretty much all fruit.

How do you ground yourself or recharge?

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Knitting or, when I need to work out some of the more intense pain, yoga

Any ways you treat or spoil yourself?

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When one of my best friends, Shana, introduced me to Young Living Essential Oils earlier this year, I didn't expect much if anything. She was doing her best to help me out of my extensive pain and misery. Little did I know, I would experience tremendous relief from those oils. So now my collection has grown to far more than the ones she gave me. Fortunately, whether it's just a placebo or the real deal, it works for me - and Hubs fully supports my using them. Whew!

Besides your blog, do you have a creative past-time? 

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I'm pretty artsy-craftsy, and I'm working on a book. But not the book that I told you guys about oh, a year or two ago. A different book that may actually see the light of day. And then we'll see if I write another.

Share something difficult you've been through. 

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I've had five major abdominal surgeries, including Caesarian deliveries for all four of my children (the middle two kids were twins). The first three came by emergency slice-and-dice operations, all prematurely. Sophia, never wanting to do anything that's been done before, decided to bake a little while longer, but my OB-GYN said her delivery was also urgent because of my high risk for uterine abruption. The surgeon also said no-way to any more babies, so she was the last. I love my children, though, and I'm grateful for the three surviving ones every single day of my life. ♥

     What helps you fall asleep?

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I'm not a good sleeper, so I pretty much have to exhaust myself before I go to bed or I'll lie awake for hours. Since I developed Fibromyalgia, though, that rarely happens anymore. When I'm in excruciating pain, Hubs massages me with Frankincense essential oil, and that knocks me out like nobody's business.

What is one strength and one weakness of yours?

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Strength: I'm pretty humble. I used to be an intellectual snob, but Fibro has cured me of that. Now I think I'm a fecking idiot, because I am much of the time.

Weakness: I have no filter between brain and mouth. None whatsoever. I say things I didn't even think yet!

Have you ever received a letter or written one to someone else?

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Of course! One of my favorite letters came from the afore-mentioned Shana, who wrote to me while I was at my grandparents' for the summer back in our high school days. Nothing in particular - except everything - stands out about that letter, it was just funny as hell. 

Another letter came in college, from a guy I had a small crush on. He wrote me a long letter after I'd moved away once, and it contained one of the best lines anyone has ever written to me: "You may not be the girl of my dreams, but you're the girl IN my dreams."  Uh, you had me at "hello"!

What makes you feel powerful, what breathes life into you? 

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I think my answer is NSFW! ;)

What's your favorite thing to do at night? 

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Again, NSFW!

If you could go back to any era, what would it be?

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I'd go to the era of poodle skirts and sock hops, drag races and ...oh okay, just put me in Grease, would you? And then bring me back to the present, because no-thank-you to being a 50s housewife. Wait, I am a 21st Century housewife, and I bake cookies and shit. Heh.

Your favorite things to wear at home? 

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Oh, you didn't know? Lady Gaga gets all her awards show outfits from my closet.

If you could be immortal or have an extremely long life span which would you pick and why? 

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Oh, I don't think I would want immortality or an extremely long life. Unless this Trump shit is just a bad dream. Then we'll talk.

Tell us about something positive you have done for yourself or someone recently.

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Well, technically, this is something Hubs did the other day, but that's okay right? We went down to Key Largo the other night, but on the way out of Miami-Dade County, I first made a pit-stop at the Racetrac on US1. (You know the one, right?) Anyway, Jack was hungry, and I was hungry, so I tried to buy something the two of us could split, being short on cash and with neither of us able to eat much anyway. He didn't want the sammich I selected, so Hubs rolled down his window and shouted at a passing homeless man, "Hey, are you hungry? Do you want this sandwich?" The guy seriously looked hungry; he took the sandwich.

One thing you like about your appearance?

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I guess my eyes are all right.

Something that makes you feel better after a hard day? 

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A hard night! Of sleeping, my friends. Sleeping.

If you have one, name a favorite book & movie. 

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Movie: it's a tie between Grease and Dirty Dancing

Book: it's a tie between Evergreen by Belva Plain and pretty much anything by Jodi Picoult

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Thanks for stopping by, kids!

Fin.

P.S. Bud: I like beards. On the right guy, I think they're quite sexy. Especially a goatee...


Sunday Stealing: Easter Meme

Happy Easter!! Link up here if you're playing along today!

Easter Meme

Stolen from: The Archives
 
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1. Five Things I have A Passion For (not necessarily in any order): 

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a. My children

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b. My husband and our marriage (you're welcome for the gratuitous additions of Chloë & Otto)

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c. Food: cooking, baking, eating...

Knit & Crochet

d. Fiber arts: all things yarny, knitty, and as I did here, crochet-y ;)

e. Environmentalism

2. Five Things I'd like to Learn Before I Die: 

a. Another language, aside from English and Spanish

b. How to spin my own yarn from raw fibers

c. Patience in all things

d. Giving up being a control freak

e. The secret to successfully growing plants - I have the blackest thumbs ever!

3. Five Things I say A Lot: 

a. "WTF?!" or "I don't know WTF you're talking about," often to Hubs, who speaks in esoteric military terms after serving 20 years in the US Navy! ;)

b. "LOL." As in, I actually say it like, "lollll." It amuses me to see my teen and tween kids roll their eyes when I do that.

c. Be "nice, kind, sweet, and loving!" is the mantra I preach to my kids, having tried over the years to instill the practice of the Golden Rule in them.

d. "Whatever." Just, whatever, dude.

e. "I love you." I say it all the time, to my kids and Hubs. ALL. The. Time.

4. Five Books and/or magazines I have Read Lately (we'll go with magazines, since books are a far reach for me lately): 

a. Martha Stewart Living magazine is my favorite!!!

b. Family Fun, which I used to devour as readily as Martha Stewart's mag; I do it a little less so now that the kids are older...

c. I really like Prevention; it's easy to read, with lots of short little blurbs that I find helpful in my daily life.

d. Reader's Digest has been my old standby favorite since I found dozens of issues in my grandparents' condo as a wee lassie.

e. People is my semi-guilty pleasure, though I haven't made as much time for it lately.

5. Five Favorite Movies: 

a. Grease, tied for first with:

b. Dirty Dancing

c. Finding Nemo, because I am sooo Dory; I cannot wait until Finding Dory comes out! I am SO there.

d. Ferris Bueller's Day Off is always a fun one.

e. I loooove Steel Magnolias.

6. Five Places I would like to Travel To:

a. Australia

b. Japan

c. Venezuela... and really, all over South America

d. Hawaii, since all I've seen of it is the Honolulu airport

e. The Galapagos Islands

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Well, that was fun. I hope you enjoyed the visuals!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Laundry Day Meme

Stealing today? Link up here to thieve along with the rest of us!

Cheers to all of us thieves!!! 

Laundry Day Meme

 
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Do you know any couples that have been married for a very long time?
 
 
My grandparents were married over 50 years, but both are gone now. My father-in-law and his wife have been married over 35 years. Hubs and I just celebrated 15 years. Those are some of the longest-term marriages of which I'm aware.

What are you tired of people telling you?
 
 
 
"This too shall pass." I know it will, but in the meantime, I'm IN the situation, and THAT does not help. I hate trite clichés like that and the f***ing "Everything happens for a reason" that everyone loves to say. STOP SAYING THAT SH*T!

Which type of ice cream do you prefer? 
 
I can no longer enjoy ice cream, even froyo, or anything like that for some reason. But when I could, it was definitely chocolate with big, thick, hard chunks of peanut butter. Mmm... so good.

Do you have a little sister? What’s her name? 
 
am the little sister. I have a big sister, by a whopping 17 months, named Stacey. I also have a much-older half-sister, named Pamela, whom I've never met.

What was the last movie you watched on TV
 
 
That was random. I like random. Anyway, I'd have to go back 10 years at least to answer this question, and my memory is not that good.

If the internet was not available right now, what would you do instead? 
 
 
I have some lovely knitting to work on, because my 10yo is pestering me for the completed project. It will be hers...

Do you complain a lot?
 
 
I do. I'm aware of it, I try not to, and I hate that about myself, but I do. Hubs, on the other hand, rarely complains. And I complain about that!
 
Name a movie that your favorite actor is in. 
 
 
Oh, gosh. I haven't seen a Matt Damon movie in ages, like maybe Ocean's Ten and Ocean's Eleven. I need to see more of that scrummy boy...

Do you like your toes? 
 
 
Absolutely not. I do not have nice feet at all. My toes, like my feet overall, are short and stubby. And, by the way, I don't understand the whole French manicures on toes thing. Why is that a thing?!!

Would you rather go to an authentic haunted house or an ancient temple? 
 
 
I'm definitely not into the haunted house thang. I vote for ancient temple, all the way, hands-down please!

Have you ever had champagne? Did you like it?
 
 
Of course I have. Lots. And I love it. I prefer sec or demi-sec over brut, please.

Are there any seashells in your room? 
 
 
Not in my room, but most assuredly in my daughters' room, you'll find shells.

What was the reason for the last time you went outside? 
 
 
I had to take Hubs to the ER after he sliced his finger open with his knife. :/ He's still bleeding profusely over an hour later...

Do you like fruity or minty gum? 
 
 
I rarely chew gum, but when I do, I prefer the fruity kind.

Are you looking forward to any day of this month? 
 
 
PAYDAY!!! (It was Friday.)

What was the last graduation you attended? 
 
 
Probably my own from college in '97. Obviously I don't attend them very often.

Do you rummage through the $5 movie bin at Walmart every time? 
 
 
I have never done that. Ever.

What day of the week do you usually do laundry? 
 
 
Um, every day. Like, EVERY. DAY.

Do you like using air fresheners? 
 
 
I prefer to light scented candles and/or some oils (and no, I'm not an essential oils freak rep) over the aerosol fresheners.

Are your nails ever painted red? 
 
 
Actually yes, all the time! Red is my color, y'all.

When you were a baby, did you have a favorite blanket? 
 
 
Wish I'd had one like that! But yeah, I still have my blankie that my grandma crocheted for me. ♥

Ever been on a cruise? 
 
 
I have been on ... (thinking) ... six? cruises. Not counting the scientific research ones.

Would you rather go to Alaska or Russia? 
 
 
Well, I wouldn't mind seeing both, but I'd go to Alaska over Russia - in the summer, preferably!

Strawberries or bananas? 
 
 
Strawberries are my favorite fruits, so... but bananas are close behind them!

Are you wearing socks? 
 
 
No, and I hardly ever do unless I'm uncontrollably shivering from cold.

When’s the last time you went to the mall?
 
 
I think it was for a mystery shop? Definitely before Christmas. I think. I don't know. I *hate* malls!
 
~*~*~*~*~*~
 
Well, we've reached the end again. Thanks for stopping by!
 
Fin.

January '16 Wrap-Up

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Black-and-white portrait of the man I love, Robert Allen Odette

So, I haven't blogged as much this infant year as I had planned, because I became even sicker than I had been all throughout the latter half-plus of 2015. That sucked. Basically, I had my iron infusion chemotherapy on December 21st and 28th, and I did not react well to it. I had a semi-kinda-fake-it-'til-you-make-it rally on New Year's Eve, when we went to South Beach for the big par-tay. And then I rested a whole bunch on New Year's Day, before we drove up to Orlando on the 2nd of January to celebrate Rob's and my 15th wedding anniversary.

Well. That sucked. That was actually for a mystery shopping assignment and fun though it was, I almost did not make it home. I had to stop and rest several times along the way, once for several hours, because I was in excruciating pain again. I never did complete that report. That was a Sunday.

By Tuesday, I was calling my father and my BFF, "Dr. Lisa," to say my good-byes. No, I did not call my sister yet at that time, because I knew she would rush down if I told her that I needed her to come help with the kids and Rob after my demise, and I was hoping for a Hail Mary.

Well, obviously, I got my Hail Mary! We still aren't sure what happened yet, because my ER lab results and my primary care doctor are calling it iron toxicity from an overdose of the chemo, but my hem/oncologist swears that I received the correct dose. So, I have no idea, other than that my death definitely seemed imminent but was clearly averted.

Whew. Anyway!

I spent a ridiculous amount of time lying on the couch recovering from that episode. I felt like I got NOTHING accomplished for the whole month other than recuperating. I did, however, manage to take a bunch of pictures of stuff, and lo and behold, as I discovered last night, that means I actually did stuff worthy (at least to me, so, good enough folks!) of that photography. I'm going to share it all here because, uh, that's kinda the purpose of this interwebular space, amirite?

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Black-and-white profile of my sleeping beauty, Sophia Lorelei

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This is from the 8th of January, when Sophia was feeling poorly from a yucky cold virus, and I was feeling poorly from all the aforementioned whatever-the-feck. We were lying together on Rob's lap, if you can discern his camouflage trousers in my sepia tones. A selfie? I asked. Of course, she responded. Snap

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I rarely wear jeans, and never wear boots - certainly not leather ones - so when Rob pulled out my man-made pleather knee-highs from the depths of our closet, I decided to go for it and rock the cowgirl look at one of Sophia's showjumping lessons. Or something. No stetson atop my head, though. The big accomplishment here, though, is that I was up and about, ready to attend her lessons again!

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That night, I felt like crap again and learned that my recovery would not come all at once but in slow bursts and small backslides each day and night. I rested and kvetched about how miserable I was... so much so that my awesome hubs asked what he could do to make my awful night better. Five minutes later, he was giving me his first pedicure. Not a bad job, either!

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Puppy love from Otterbox (Otto von Dieter) and the Doodle (Paco)

Ussie

Rob and I, starting our 16th year of wedding bliss, are connecting on a whole 'nother level lately. Our marriage has had some really high highs and some really low lows, but right now we are absolutely soaring. It takes work, every day, absolutely. But we are both crazier about each other now than when we first began this story of true love.

January 2016

Rob and Jack both received NERF guns from Grandpa Al & Grandma Denise (thanks, y'all!) for Christmas, and Jack received several more from Ye Olde Maw an' Paw, so the boys were thirsting for an old-fashioned (water) gun fight! Okay, so that wasn't truly an accomplishment of mine, per se, but at least I got up off my duff and out the door to take some piccies!

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On Wednesday, my neighbor drove Sophia and me to see my hem/oncologist. Sophia had a lesson right afterward, and I could not drive. The visit went well, I had blood drawn, blah blah blah. Afterward, our vecino, Frank, insisted us taking to the Sports Grille next door for a bite to eat before her lesson. Selfie time for me and Sophie!

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And here's that neighbor, Frank, with me watching Sophia's lesson that day. He absolutely loved watching her ride Buddy. Frank clapped and cheered, and he called her a champion! It was really fun watching it through his fresh eyes, and it's true. On Wednesday, Sophie really did an amazing job!

~*~*~*~*~

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Sophia walking Buddy to get saddled up

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Buddy doesn't like to get his riding gear on, and he gets a little nippy. Once ridden, though, he's a gentle giant. He loves Sophia, though - and that might be due in no small part to her bringing him a treat at the beginning and end of each lesson!

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Sophia had achievements in January, too. She and buddy jumped together for the first time, and she got up to a canter, too! Way to go, kiddo!

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It looks so freeing...

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This is the only picture I have gotten of Sophie and Buddy jumping so far, but there been many perfect jumps since then. Gosh, I'm so proud of how far she's come in just four short months!

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Sweet sign made by one of the other 'horsey moms'

~*~*~*~*~

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Craftiness happened this month, too. I was bound and determined not to let the extreme pain in all my joints stop me from doing what I really love and find so calming: knitting. So... I started with this top for myself (and yes, some champagne might have been involved in a few mishaps there):

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But, they're fixable.

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I'm pretty happy with it, even though I would do a Small instead of a Medium next time, and extend the belly ribbing so it covers more of my, uh, mommy pooch... lol. But it's good. I might even wear it out one day?!

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All the kids got onboard with Mommy knitting again, and all have asked for projects for themselves. We had a bit of a cold snap there, and Sophie already loves gloves and mittens, so together we picked out a pattern that's a combo of both.

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Meet Tatiana. Yes, there are booboos and it's a bit tight, but my fingers are out of practice and frankly, my eyes just don't see as well anymore! But Sophie is happy and that's what matters. Now to work on the bottom halves some...

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Speaking of craftiness, Jack and Sophia received their Tinker and Doodle Crates for the month, respectively. Their arrival is always a fun day.

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For Jack's project, he had to build a gravity game. He really enjoys doing the Tinker Crates along with the YouTube videos for each one, so his tablet was trotted out for the assist.

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I told Jack that if he could get the ball into the 50-point hole at the end, he could have a day off from Math work. Guess who had the next day off from Math?!

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Sophia's project was about Watercolor Painting, which is something she knows and loves.

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She had to learn about color gradients, which was new and challenging for her. And then she painted some dishes, including my FiestaWare, which, um... was NOT okay with me!!! (But now I can laugh. A bit.)

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For a bit more craftiness, Sophia fashioned these awesome sandals out of fallen palm fronds. I got a kick out of it!

~*~*~*~*~

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I needed a lot of help to get out to Bee Heaven Farm this month, which is where we get our weekly CSA shares, but Rob, Sophia, and Frank were happy to help me get there and get our box of fresh, local, organic goods!

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You know what fresh food means? Cooking. This first dish, I went pretty simple: Salad. I wilted the kale first and did a stir-fry with some watermelon radish, some kind of pepper I forget the name of, and then just threw it together with pecans and shredded Colby Jack. Meh, it was all right, but Rob had to finish my dose portion.

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A made-up dish: fried egg with (also-fried) French Couscous, topped with a conglomerate of stir-fried veggies from Bee Heaven Farm. And Spanish peanuts. I guess I was going for a whole fusion thing? I dunno, but it was tasty.

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Kitchen Sink Mashed Potatoes

I don't think any of this was comfort food fare was from the farm, but that's okay. During my recuperation from the chemo debacle, I ate and ate and ate like a mofo! I've never eaten so much in the seven years post-op. And I still lost weight! It was cray-cray. Anyway, I used to make this in my poverty-ridden days as a vegetarian college student: loaded mashed potatoes. I add corn, sautéed Vidalia onions, cheese (I loves me some cheesy goodness), garlic... and all kindsa' salt, pepper, milk and butter. Mmm. So. Freaking. Good!

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I made Ethiopian food for the first time ever! This vegan Gomen Wat was soooo good, I ate like five platefuls. Okay, maybe six? I'm definitely going to make it again. And no, I didn't serve it on a beautious bed of injera, because... um. Because and that's why.

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Southwestern Chili Mac

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Chloë wanted to hone her cooking chops in the kitchen with me one night when I was too manic to cook, so I somewhat crazily guided her through the recipe from Hello Fresh for Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto with Feta and Pepitas. She somehow, despite my sabotage, managed to pull off a stellar dish! Rob and I inhaled the goodness she made. Way to go, Chlo!

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Sophia wanted to join her sister in preparing a meal the kids would actually eat, and she lovingly put together a vermicelli and sauce dinner for the three of them. (There was supposed to be garlic bread too, but Mom forgot to keep reminding her to check the oven and, well, I'm just glad we didn't burn the house down.) Well done, ladies! ♥

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I baked a scrummy loaf of bread, nothing fancy but tasty as all-get-out.

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Jack and the girls pal around with the neighborhood kids, so one day while they held yet another NERF gun fight, I baked them up some peanut butter cookies to share with their friends. That plate came back EMPTY. Go, Mom. (Yes, I did diligently check for allergies first.)

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Plátanos fritos

 I had never fried plantains before, in all my years of living in South Florida, though I sure have enjoyed eating my share of them! We did a quickie grocery trip to Publix and talked about making our own, at which point I just thought, Why not now? Some super-green plantains, a bunch of kosher salt, and a healthy squeeze of lemon, et voilá! Talk about tasty. I'll definitely be doing that again!

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One week, our CSA box came with two of the most beautiful, juicy red grapefruits you ever wished to have. Oh. Em. Gee. (NO accomplishment here, I just wanted to drool over it some more. Moving on...)

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I had planned on making these Honeyed Butternut Squashes from the CSA box myself, but after chopping up two good-sized gourds, I was petered out. Rob had to finish the cooking for me himself, and he did an amazeballs job. They ended up too sweet for my grumpy pouch, Oscar, and I experienced a lot of Dumping Syndrome. But I swear, I would've eaten them all if I could have!

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And lastly - but surely not least - on the cooking front, I made some of my favorite Artisanal Rustic Pizzas. The dough recipe comes from a back issue of Martha Stewart Living but the toppings are my creation. The kids don't like my fanciful ideas, so I made them a plain cheese-and sauce one. Only, we only had cheddar in the house and no sauce, so I had to improvise and make some sauce from scratch. Jack didn't care for it - he's no cheese fan (tha' heck?!) - but the girls devoured every last piece of Pizza #1.

Pizza #2 was the same but with a bunch of roasted organic scallions from the BHF CSA box on top. I unvented a different homemade sauce for that one. Rob is lucky he had any of that one, because I snatched up every last piece after he had his share!

Pizza #3 was way more unconventional: a third different homemade sauce, using torn-up fresh organo from the CSA box. Cheddar cheese, natch. And for toppers? I threw on chopped walnuts, pea sprouts from BHF, capers, and a drizzle of honey. I didn't think I would like that. My scale says the opposite! (Rob loved it, also.)

Whew. Now I'm getting hungry!

~*~*~*~*~

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Random January blooms in the neighborhood

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Rob and I were startled to find Jack, Sophia, and a neighborhood boy carrying a box with this "abandoned" duckling in it one day. They insisted its mother had left it and gone swimming with the rest of her brood. Of course, I had my camera with me. They took the ducky out of its box, I snapped a picture or two, and then... he waddled off, like a bat out of hell! Ahaha. So much for being helpless.

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Here, leezard, leezard... 

Just an anole visitor who ran away from me at the horse farm after I let out a belly-bursting sneeze

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Lest you were thinking you'd get away from me without sharing some puppy pix... heeeeere's PACO! ♥

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Otterbox is really a beautiful GSD, but he's hard to photograph well sometimes. Anyway, this month, Robert declared that he has chosen ME as "his person," which about blew my heart up with joy. Our previous German Shepherd, Tiger Lily, was supposed to be my dog, but she chose Rob for her person. The exact opposite happened this time. And I love Otty-bot soooo much. He was a bit of trouble at first, but now he is just the most fun, loving, sweet thing, and I'm glad he is a part of our wackadoodle family!

And that's about it for the round-up! Here's another cookie, if you read the whole danged thing.

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: The 2015 Year-End Meme

Stealing today? Link up here to join the rest of us!

*~*~*~*~~

The 2015 Year End Meme

From the archives!

*

  1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before? 
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In October, when we went up to Missouri to visit my in-laws, I took my son Jack and went to visit my father-in-law in his hotel room. For about two hours, we had a couple of beers together and talked, laughed, and really related for the first time in 15 years. It was pretty freaking great. I will cherish that time.

Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

My only resolution for 2015 that I can even remember (I usually make a few) was to look things up more. I have always historically delegated that task to Hubs, so much so that in years past I dubbed him "Look-it-up Boy." Except when I haven't been able to do it, like when I'm driving or something, I've actually kept this resolution pretty well and have been looking shit up all by my big grown-up self this year. I know. I'm so proud of myself.

I'm still chewing on what to make my main goal for 2016. I promise it'll be just as huge.

  1. Did anyone close to you give birth?
  2. My amazing friend Erin had her first baby, Alden, with her husband Brian in March. I'm still ecstatic for her. Alden is nine months old today, and he's just the most beautiful wee boy!

  3. Tell us a valuable lesson you learned in 2015?
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  5. I have no filter. I'm a blurter. I say whatever the hell comes into my brain, sometimes before I know it's there. I swear, my tongue has a mind of its own, with no connection to the actual brain up there. SO... sometimes this gets me in serious trouble, as you can imagine. After nearly four decades of living, I am finally starting to learn to shut the f*** up. It's VERY hard for me.

  6. What was your favorite new TV program?

I really don't take the time to just sit on the couch and watch television, except for my week-nightly date with Hubs to watch Jeopardy! and, on Thursday nights, The Big Bang Theory with Chloë. I have too much of nothing else to do. Ha!

  1. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

Expensive-parenting-wine

  1. Better control of our family finances. We've never been good at that.
    1. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
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    3. Maybe this past Wednesday, December 23rd. We decided to bite the bullet and lease a horse for Sophia. She's taking English riding lessons and really seems to connect with Buddy. We'll be spending lots of time at the stables in 2016!

    4. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
    5. I really did not feel well for the better part of the year, and so my achievement list is woefully short. However, there were a few times when my family, my kids, really needed me to power through those tough times and be Super Mom. And I did. I managed to do what they needed me to do, despite feeling like utter crap. So I'll give myself a quick pat on the back for that.

    6. What was your biggest failure?

    I signed on to become a Master Knitter, about this time last year. Ohhh, that was one of my other 2015 Resolutions. Yeah, I accomplished exactly zero things toward that goal. Fecking health problems!

    1. What was the best thing you bought?
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    In August, my dad took a nosedive, and it scared me half to death. Our relationship has had a lot of problems, but he's my only living parent, and I love the old fartacus. He wasn't buying any food and therefore wasn't eating any. Nothing. We pretty much flew up to South Carolina, where I promptly bought half the food at ALDI (first-timer there) and cooked for days to stock up old-man-size portions in his freezer. He's been raving about the food ever since, and I am SO happy that he's eating at least!

    1. Whose behavior merited celebration?
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    3. I'm seriously proud of all my kids, but I'm going to give this one to 10-year-old Sophia Lorelei. As the baby of the family, she is not the one used to being in charge of anyone, or anything, else. And we have tried various athletic pursuits with her, because she is an active girl and needs an outlet, to no avail. So when I got this Groupon for the riding lessons, I could see something in her right from the start. There was a new determination, a new drive to succeed that I had not seen in her previously. She did not have the ability to control a horse when she started, of course, and these are very large, sometimes determinedly stubborn
    4. animals. Not only did Sophia learn the basics of how to ride a horse in the latter months of the year, but she found something within herself that showed her the way to be firm, speak up, and take charge of a situation new to her. Way to go, girl!

    5. Whose behavior made you appalled and disgusted?
    6. Oh Em Gee, Donald Trump. Seriously, people, this guy could be our next flippin' President?!! You all have got to be out of your ever-lovin' minds to support this mother-freaking jackhole.

    7. What song will always remind you of 2015?

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    1. Probably "Wildest Dreams" by Taylor Swift. My 14-year-old, Chloë Raine, is a huge Swiftie. Last Christmas, we gifted her with tickets to T-Swizzles' Miami concert here at the end of October. When the night finally arrived, my girl was beside herself. Absolutely beside herself with excitement. That had to have been her Best Night Ever (at least of 2015), and I'm thrilled I was able to be there with her.

    2. What do you wish you’d done more of?

    Math with my homeschooled crew. Seriously. Math. With my being sick, structured schooling time was a little less... structured... and Math is what we got a little more behind in than I'm proud to admit. We will absolutely be doing more Math in 2016. Heads-up, chirren!

    1. What do you wish you’d done less of?
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    Sitting in effing doctors' offices, being traded around from specialist to specialist, giving way too much of my precious blood to find out WTF is wrong with me, and getting no real answers. That sucked. SUCKED, I say!

    1. What was the best book you read?

    The best book, hands-down, was Preston and Child's Relic. I have the next four or five books in the Agent Pendergast series to read next, and I just haven't taken the time to dig into them. There, that's one Resolution for 2016 on the list.

    1. What one thing would have made your year measurably more satisfying?
    2. Seeing a new place I haven't seen before... I really want to go to Cuba or somewhere I have not been yet in the Caribbean, because it's nearby and way more economic for us. Dominican Republic, Haiti, Saba! Rob, honey, are ya with me on the next plane?

    3. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

    From Lean On by Major Lazer:

    "What will we do when we get old?
    Will we walk down the same road?
    Will you be there by my side?
    Standing strong as the waves roll over

    All we need is somebody to lean on
    All we need is somebody to lean on..."

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    Rob is my somebody to lean on, and I'm lucky enough to have three more proven up-and-comers to help out when I really need help. Thank you, Family of Mine. Thank you.

    *~*~*~*~*~*

    And thank you all, too, for coming by here and reading these posts of mine that go off into the ether after I hit "Publish." I know I'm not the best Visit-Back Blogger lately, but that will be another Resolution for my 2016 list. I'm gonna work on it.

    Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Why Do You Want To Know THAT?! Parte Dos

Link up here if you want to play along with the rest of us thieves today!

Why Do You Want To Know That Meme, part two


25. List 3 activities that you can only enjoy by yourself. 

Heh heh heh. Oh, you probably didn't mean that... okay, so:

a. Knitting. I love to knit. I wish I had more time to do it, because Lord knows I have plenty of yarn!

b. Checking email. Seriously, this is lame... Even though my kids are older now, there is still very, very little I do alone. This is actually a very difficult question for me!

c. Drink my drinks and eat my foods... kind of a solitary activity in and of itself, right?

26. If you could live in any biome (and survive), which biome would you live in?

I would choose to live in the depths of the ocean. I swear, I was a mermaid in a previous existence.

27. How do you like being roused in the morning? 

No.

28. How was your day? What did you do? 

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I actually felt pretty good and had a decent day! I baked a bunch of cookies, and then the family and I went to the Christmas party hosted at the stables where Sophia, 10, takes her horse riding lessons. Fun times!

29. What did your last text message say? 

"Ohh, yeahhhh..." was the last text. Exciting stuff, that.

30. Do you respond to texts quickly?

It completely depends on if I want to respond or ignore. Often, it's ignore. ;)

31. Who was the last person you called?

We have a weekly CSA farm share that gets picked up on Saturdays. Only, we're supposed to pick it up between 0800 and 1500, and I suddenly realized at 1505 yesterday that I never picked it up. So... I called to let them know I was running late, and I got our box. Phew!

32. List 5 things that are on your wish list.

a. Once again being homeowners, with a big ol' large kitchen for all the cooking we do. We're working on that!

b. Towels, bathmat, and other accoutrement to go with the new sea-traveler shower curtain I bought from Kohl's

c. Some new bedding from the Fiesta line... love it!!!

d. I broke my glass Kitchenaid mixer bowl again a couple of days ago, and Kitchenaid is so supremely awesomely going to replace the entire mixer with a nearly identical one for me. However, I would really like to get a metal mixing bowl on my own, because, uh... glass and me go together like peanut butter and tuna fish. Yeah.

e. There are a lot of much more graphic photos about plastic surgery after a humongous weight loss on Google Images. I'll spare you and share this one, because after losing 200+ lbs, believe-you-me, I need a full body lift. :\

33. If you were famous, what do you think you would be famous for?

Welp, since you said "famous" and not "infamous" or "notorious," I'd like to say it's for writing a kick-ass book or four. But since I didn't win NaNoWriMo this year - I didn't even get anything done toward it except actually signing up - I'll have to try again next year!

34. Winter or summer? 

I'll live anywhere, as long as a Perpetual Summer is part of the package. Yep.

35. What is a quality that all people should have?

Compassion for our fellow human beings

36. If you could have a large collection of one item, what would that item be? 

I would have a room full of clocks. And maps. And shot glasses. Okay, maybe three rooms.

37. What have you been thinking about lately?

Sophia, our 10-year-old, has developed a passion for English horse riding lessons, and so... I've been thinking about how to fit a horse into our tight little budget. Yes. A freaking horse.

38. What is the secret to a happy life? 

Honestly, I think it is cultivating an attitude of gratitude. It's all in how you take onboard what comes your way, process it, and release it back into the world...

39. What are some phrases you say often?

I had a friend who constantly said, "Irregardless of the fact...," so whenever I want to say "regardless," I say that instead. It's kind of my calling card.

40. Favorite food? 

Pizza

Pizza, but lately I am absolutely adoring the Pizza Hut Pan pizza with pineapples, a balsamic vinegar drizzle, and baked-in asiago cheese crust. SO YUM!

41. What is your wish for the world?

I wish that people would recognize the delicate, fragile state the planet is in and work hard to protect what natural resources we have, conserve them, save them, and reverse the (especially man-made) damage.

42. What are some of your greatest fears?

Something happening to my sweet family is my worst fear. My only fear, really. They are all, they are everything.

43. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer? 

CeeLo's latest album, Heart Blanche - i'm a big fan of CeeLo Green, and I think my favorite song on this album is "Mother May I." Take a listen.

44. Most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen (in real life)?

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When Chloë Raine was born via emergency C-section 14 years, 3 months, 6 days ago. I was very sick, on the verge of a stroke among other things, due to Severe Pre-Eclampsia. They brought her over to me on the operating table, and I saw her little tiny bump of a nose. I thought to myself, "Well, that is just about the cutest thing ever," and I fell immediately in love with that little girl. And then I threw up.

45. Spicy food: Like or dislike?

I can't handle spicy food. Like, at all. My entire GI tract is problematic, and even the mere mention of spicy sends it into a tizzy.

46. Scary movies: Like or dislike?

Hate. Hate, hate, hate. Can't handle that either. I wonder if my GI tract is to blame for that, too.

47. Do you like to travel?

Oh, yes. I was born to travel. I have incessant wanderlust.

48. Any regrets?

I regret that I wasn't a squeakier wheel when I knew something was wrong with our son, Robby. I squeaked for three days, but it wasn't enough.

49. Do you like rain?

I do. It's a good thing, too, since it rains damn near every day here in South Florida, especially with this El Niño season going on. The thing I love the most is that we see an abundance of rainbows...

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Would You Rather Meme

Are you stealing today, too? If you want to join in with us, the link is here!

Cheers to all of us thieves!!!  

Would You Rather Meme

Stolen from: Would Your Rather

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Would you rather be stuck on an island alone or with someone who talks incessantly?

I am that person, and I drive myself crazy. I would rather be alone if the other person talks as much as I do!

*

Would you rather be too hot or too cold? 

I'm rarely warm enough, thanks to my internal thermostat being broken after my Gastric Bypass Surgery in '09. I would SO much rather be too warm, but alas, I am always, always cold.

*

Would you rather have a cook or a maid? 

I love to cook, but I hate to clean. That maid is a no-brainer!

*

Would you rather be the youngest or the oldest sibling?

I don't know. I am the youngest of two, four, or five, depending on how you count the offspring from my childhood. I feel like I wish I was the oldest, because I have no backbone whatsoever, and I can be selfish and petty and spoiled like a baby. But, I am what I am, and it can't be changed other than to address it head-on! (Which I do try.)

*

Would you rather get rich through hard work or through winning the lottery? 

Gotta play to win it big, and I don't play.

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Would you rather have a 10-hour dinner with a headstrong politician from an opposing party, or attend a 10-hour concert for a music group you detest?

What, like Donald Trump? Or Ben Carson? Or Marco Rubio? Or the league of other guys - and Carly Fiorina - vying to become POTUS? I couldn't handle a 2-hour dinner, let alone ten of them. No, I'd rather go to a country music concert or something else I detest. #DontGetMeStarted

*

Would you rather be an Olympic gold medalist or a Nobel Peace Prize winner?

I would obviously rather win the Nobel Peace Prize. I would have done something good for humanity. Being an Olympian - gold or otherwise - does not preclude that, but it doesn't guarantee it, either.

*

Would you rather have a desk job or an outdoor job?

I have had both. The desk job, for me, was a snooze-fest all day, every day, week in and week out. No, I need to be out in the field, communing with nature, breathing in fresh air... ahh. Yes.

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Would you rather live at the top of a tall NYC apartment building or at the top of a mountain?

I must be a stay-home mom (I am), because my first thought was, "Either way, think of the groceries I'll have to lug up there!" Ha! Living in NYC for a year is on my Bucket List; living at the top of a mountain is not, so I'll go with the Big Apple.

*

Would you rather have Rambo or The Terminator on your side?

I don't really know enough about either one; not my genre. I can't comment on it. Sorreh!

*

Would you rather be proposed to in private or in front of family and friends? 

I was proposed to privately, and it was exactly the way it should have been - for me. And then we eloped and, to get married in front of family and friends and God, we had a small, calm, quiet wedding on the beach. I wore a $17 slip nightgown from Kmart and was barefoot; hubs wore his Navy dress blues. I had an inexpensive grocery store bouquet, and my friends sang and played guitar for the music. It was very tasteful, very small, and very us. I loved it. I would not have wanted it any other way.

*

Would you rather have to sew all your clothes or grow your own food?

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 I'm a beginner at both, but I love both ideas. I could knit much of our clothes better than sew, and I'm not the best gardener, but I find both ideas very appealing. This photo shows what I just picked up yesterday from the farm that hosts our local CSA. We joined our first one this year, and I'm SO excited! I used a bit of the mizuna and some of the garlic chives to make homemade sauce last night, and it was outstanding!

*

 Would you rather hear the good news or the bad news first?

I would rather hear whichever one is the bottom line last, so that I can act appropriately.

*

Would you rather be your own boss or work for someone else?

Wouldn't everyone rather be their own boss? Actually, I don't mind working for someone else, as long as the job is right. It's a bit of a trade-off for me.

*

Would you rather have nosy neighbors or noisy neighbors? 

I would rather have noisy neighbors, which we do, over nosy ones, which we also do. Both are annoying, but at least the noisy ones leave us the hell alone! Gahhh, I can't wait until we move...

*

Would you rather be on a survival reality show or dating game show?

I don't know... I think I'd rather be on Survivor, because at least I will have gone somewhere really cool and not lived out my dating drama publicly.

*

Would you rather be too busy or be bored?

Only boring people get bored. I am never bored. I am often too busy, but I definitely prefer that over being bored. I can't remember the last time I wasn't actively - or even passively - doing something.

*

 Would you rather watch the big game at home or live at the stadium?

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 I'd rather be there, where the action is! We went to our (U. Miami) homecoming game this year, and we won! That was epic. (Sorry, Country Dew...)

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Would you rather spend the day with your favorite athlete or you favorite movie star?

You're offering me Matt Damon or...what again?? ::drool::

*

Would you rather live where it is constantly winter or where it is constantly summer?

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I took this picture earlier this month. I have lived in Syracuse, New York, and I have lived in Miami in the past. I only went back to Miami. It's a no-brainer for me!

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Perfect Storm

Playing along this weekend? Link up here with the rest of the Sat9ers!

Saturday 9: Perfect Storm (2014)

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

1) This song is about "the thrill of a lifetime" kind of love. Do you believe we each get one great love? Or do you think it's possible to fall in love more than once?
 
I do not believe there is a finite number of times one can fall truly in love. I think there are more than one of "The One" for each and every person. What if you are widowed early on in your life, or divorced for that matter? Of course you can fall madly in love again if you had experienced that before. What if you are in different stages in your life and therefore frames of mind in those times? Then, of course, your "The One" might be different at 22 than at 48, for example. I think you can fall in and out of love over and over in life, if you meet with the right circumstances.

2) Brad Paisley endured his own "perfect storm" in 2010, when he lost his guitars in the massive flood that hit Nashville. Tell us about a time when you had to clean up after Mother Nature.
 
In December 2002, we were living on Andersen Air Force Base in Yigo, Guam. I was hugely pregnant with our identical twin sons, Robby and Jack. It's damn near equatorial there in Micronesia, so you can imagine how hot we were, especially me. And then, on December 8th, Supertyphoon Pongsona arrived on Guam and brought extensive damage with it. During the eye of the storm, we went out and explored some of the damage. The entire forest was completely obliterated. Leaves and broken branches were everywhere. After the storm passed, we went out again. Our shed had been ripped away from the main part of the house, leaving only one wall, behind which our lawnmower was still cowering.
 
There were fires in the ports, so no food, no supplies, and no more gasoline could get onto the island. We had no electricity, no TV or Internet connectivity of course, no way to cook, no way to (warm or) cool our houses, no way to do laundry, nothing. 
 
In a word, it sucked. 
 
When we were back in Continental United States a few months later, I thought everything would go well. It didn't. In September of 2003, Hurricane Isabel hit Virginia Beach and caused much of the same hazardous conditions in and around our neighborhood and roadways. I was very surprised to find that I was now dealing with PTSD from the Supertyphoon experience.
 
And that, too, sucked.

3) He is married to actress Kimberly Williams, who played Steve Martin's daughter in the Father of the Bride movies. He has admitted he was a little in love with her before he met because he'd seen her on screen. Do you have a crush on anyone right now?
 
Well, Ed Sheeran an d Larry David are my boyfriends. Hubs is okay with that, but probably only because they aren't aware of it.

4) He's a passionate Cleveland Browns fan. Are you following the NFL this season?
 
Nah. The fucks I give are non-existent. Sorry.

5) Brad has developed his own line of western wear for Boot Barn, including some pricey items. (A "Perfect Storm" felt hat goes for $230.) What's the most expensive item you've added to your wardrobe recently?   
 
Probably a pair of shoes. But maybe not. Nothing really expensive. I did drop several hundred dollars on clothes for the kids recently, though. But I don't do that for myself!

6) "Paisley" is also a term for a popular print. Are you wearing a print or solid right now?
 
Well, I'll show you:
 
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7) Crazy Sam is not a big country fan, but she can sing along with this song because it played so very often at a bar she frequents. What's the last song you sang? 
 
I'm all about the new Adele song, "Hello." When that comes on, as overplayed as it already is, I turn up my radio and croon along.

8) Though Brad Paisley has recorded songs about drinking, he never touches alcohol. His favorite beverage is Yoohoo, a chocolate beverage bottled by the Dr. Pepper/Snapple Company. What's the last beverage you drank directly from the bottle?
 
Diet Coke, of course. Guilty of not trying to quit. Again.

9) Random question from a Sat9er: What's your favorite handmade item?
 
I actually just received them. When we were in Missouri last month, my mama-in-law showed me two sweaters that her mother had knitted for her. I found them stunningly beautiful and, as a fellow knitter, could tell they were extremely well-made.
 
Some time after we returned home to Miami, MIL mailed those sweaters to me. I cried my eyes out! I haven't worn them yet - I don't know if I'm supposed to! - but I want to. They are soft and gorgeous, and I was super touched to have received them.

Thanks for stopping by!
 
Fin.

Sunday Stealing: 25 Fun

Link up here if you're stealing today, thieves!
25 Fun Meme
Stolen from: My Random Randomness
1. If you were trapped in a room with the person who asked this for 24 hours, what would you do? 
 Since Kwizgiver and I both knit, I imagine we'd sit, knit, chat, knit some more, repeat. Or maybe read.
2. If you could learn any language instantly, what would it be?
Well, all of them! I would love to know every word of every language. Arabic, Japanese, and yes, French. But I'm selecting French for this question because though I can read a lot of it, I can't speak or understand spoken French. It just doesn't sound how I expect, from learning Spanish and bits of Italian. Not phonetic. (Yes, the Romance Languages are my favorite family.)

3. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The dictionary!

4. Favorite song lyric?
Weird Al's song, "Melanie" is in my head now. Maybe because that's my name? So, "Me-eh-eh-elanie, why won't you go out with me?" But not really. I am just always hard-pressed to pick a favorite anything!

5. Favorite album?
Eric Clapton's Unplugged. Love it, love every song on it! (I don't know what happened with my formatting here. Ugh.)

6. Which time of day would you say is best for you work-wise?
About 8 PM. Total night owl, here!

7. Favorite city that you’ve visited?
I'm going to be an oddball and say Dubrovnik, Croatia. It was on our European cruise, and I was surprised to see Croatia on the itinerary. I had never heard of it. But it was beautiful, it was unexpected in so many ways, and I loved every second of every step within the old city. So thank you, Dubrovnik, for showing me many lovely surprises at every turn!

8. Favorite city that you haven’t visited?
How can I know the answer to this?

9. If you could donate $10,000 to charity, what charity would you pick?
I would give half to an environmentalist cause, like maybe Greenpeace, and half to, I think, Heifer International. I really like what they're doing.

10. What is one book you wish you could get all your friends to read?
Mine! ;) Come on, NaNoWriMo!
11. What is one movie you wish you could get all your friends to watch?
Well, Food Inc. for starters. We'll go from there.
12. What do you think people assume about you from first glance?
... the worst. I have a lot of paranoia about people talking and laughing about me. I don't like this question right now.
13. If you could play any musical instrument, what would it be?
Saxophone, definitely! And then, harp...

14. What is your favorite item of clothing?
 Welp, since I don't have an awesome dino hoodie, I'm going to have to go with the black cardigan I'm wearing right now. It doesn't button, just hangs open, and I keep it on the back of my desk chair when I'm not wearing it, day in and day out, until it can stand up on its own stank. Seriously, I gotta be the only person freezing like it's Antarctica out there, when we're still reaching temps over 80 degrees F at the end of October. #GastricBypassProblems
15. Who was your first follower on your blog? Do they still follow you?
Damn if I know.

16. If you could create one thing, what would it be?
If I could, I would create a United States that was all the best and none of the worst things that make up our 239-year history.

17. Favorite superhero?
Christopher Reeve. Oh, I mean, Superman. ;)

18. If you were to write an autobiography, what would you title it?
I don't know. Maybe: Shit Just Got Real, Y'all. 
19. If you were to have a band, what would you call it?
I think "Free Beer" sounds like a winner, personally! Except maybe let's make it "rum" or "vodka" instead of beer? I'm not much for suds.

20. What is your favorite card/board game?
Scrabble. I play Words With Friends on my phone, like, every day. I have about 27 games going right now. Might be obsessed?

21. What was the first IM service you used? Who was the first person you talked to on it?
mIRC, of course! When I was an undergrad at U-Miami, I started learning about online chat groups. I had a friend named Kevin from Kentucky or Kansas or something. He turned out to be a Nutter Butter.

22. If you could give a friendly hug to any one person, who would it be?
My Hubs' best friend, Larry, whom I've never met. We've become cronies over the Interwebs (aka Facebook Messenger), and it would be really cool to give him an actual hug.

23. Have you ever won any sort of contests? What kind?
Not a beauty contest, that's for sure. Since I'm taking my older daughter, Chloe, to her first major concert on Tuesday (Taylor Swift), I'm thinking back to when I won concert tickets to the Black-Eyed Peas. I also won tickets to take my husband to see Crosby, Stills and Nash, another year. Both were epic experiences.

24. Who was the last person you hugged? Cannot be your romantic/sexual partner if you have one.
Can it be my kids? Other than Hubs, it was probably my son Jack. He's the biggest hugger of my kids. First thing he does when he comes out of his room in the morning, and the last thing he does before he turns in for the night, is come give me a hug. 

25. If you could be skilled in any one activity, what would it be? Cannot be romantic or sexual.
First, it makes me giggle that sexual skills are disqualified. But, but...! ;) Second, I wish I was an amazing gymnast, especially on Floor. Bounding across a gymnasium, leaping, twisting, and turning? I mean, yeah, I'm knocking on 40's door, but that's always been a little secret fantasy of mine.
Welp, that's it for now. Thanks for stopping by!
Fin.

Friday Fragments: Episode 5.1.15

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Look at me, fragmentin' three weeks in a row! Link up with Mrs. 4444 here if you have to brain-dump today, too.

IMG_20150429_195131

Welp, Hubs has been hospitalized yet again, this time for surgery to remove an abscess that grew from nothing to absolutely enormous practically overnight. He's in horrendous pain and can't get comfortable, and I really feel for the guy. His retirement has completely sucked so far, these past two years. I hate that for him!

Nevertheless, as high as he was when I took this picture, he's still able to crack jokes and whoop my arse at Jeopardy! which pisses me off to no end. ;)

In addition to Rob having emergency surgery on Wednesday, this week has overall been a huge load of crap for our family. Instead of dwelling on that, though, I'm going to focus on cheerier, more pleasant things in this post. So here I am with just a few random thoughts.

Scan_20150430

I've been following Kathy B.'s Art Projects For Kids website and blog for years now, and we have done many of the projects she, an elementary school art teacher, puts forth on the site. This week, we chose to take it easy on school a little bit because of all the awfulness that's going on, so we opted to do this tropical fish watercolor painting assignment.

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The top one is Sophia's, and this one is Chloë's. Not surprisingly, both girls jumped right in and got started. Chloë, true to herself, worked slowly and carefully, sticking close to the original form of the APFK assignment's detailing. On the other hand, as usual, Sophia went in her own direction and opted to do different species of fish of her own choosing and not exactly listen to my instructions. Haha! I love the flounder!

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And here is Jack's. What impresses me the most about this is that, despite his constant proclaiming of "I hate Art!" (as you may remember from last week's entry) and all the tears he shed at the beginning of this assignment, he still did it anyway and turned out a not-too-shabby piece of work! He may be a cantankerous soul, but he is also a persistent one.

Wollmeise

Speaking of websites and blogs I've followed for a long time, The Loopy Ewe is another one of them. I have been knitting ever since I was pregnant with the twins in Guam and found out I was going to be delivering the babies in the middle of winter in Virginia instead of near the equator. I thought I better learn the craft, to keep my three-babies-under-three warm myself, since there is absolutely no store selling warm clothes in Micronesia, y'all.

Anyway, back to The Loopy Ewe. Every week, Sheri (who I have actually had the pleasure to meet while shopping at her bricks-and-mortar yarn store, back when they were still based in St. Louis, Missouri, instead of Colorado) posts a store update with new yarns, on the blog. When I read it this week, I was instantly covetous of this orange Wollmeise, once one of the most highly sought-after yarns in the world. I actually scored a skein once, but we had, I think, eight (eight!) cats at that time, and sadly it didn't fare so well. Sigh. But I refrained from pulling out my debit card, because the knitting occasions happening around here lately have been few and far between. (It is soooo lovely, though.)

DSC_0123

Please be sure and check out my post pinned at the top of this blahg, about Maria Bailey and her 5 Trades Away project. I still have this to swap - it's free, and I'll ship it to you! - and would love to trade it up for something for Maria to auction for the pregnant woman of Uganda. Thanks!

Oh, and I actually did have some good news this week. I've been seeing an OB/GYN for the past two months for these painful ovarian cysts that keep rupturing off my left ovary. I've had a hysterectomy, but they left me that so I wouldn't go into menopause at 31 years old. Anyway, they found a huge mass measuring about 9x5 cm, and he wasn't sure it was benign. My tests all came back Wednesday: every tumor marker was negative, and they didn't see the mass on my last ultrasound. It hurts like hell, but it must have been another cyst that finally ruptured. Hallelujah!

Well, that's it for me, this week, and for April. I'm looking forward to seeing what flowers May brings, because April sure had its share of showers for us.

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Funky Twenty-Five Meme

 

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Funky Twenty-Five Meme

Stolen from: The now-defunct Tense Teacher
 
1. Most unflattering hairstyle you ever had? What made it so unflattering? 

IMG_3078

When I shaved my head 2½ years ago in a fit of bipolar mania, that was pretty unattractive. Unless no-hair doesn't count as a hairstyle. I think it should. I have no occiput, which makes the shape of my head non-conducive to going bald. Ugh.

 2. Favorite movie(s) that were made in the 90's? 

Image result for titanic

"I'll never let go, Jack." - Titanic, probably my favorite 90s movie.

3. Do you rent movies? If so, from where? 

We have Amazon Prime, Netflix streaming and, when that's just not enough, we rent movies from the ol' Redbox down the road. I have a billion codes for free movies, so I only pay for them when I forget to return them by 9 PM the next night. Which is always.

4. Do you like cookies better when they're just out of the oven or after they've cooled? 

If the chocolate chip cookies make it out of dough form, IDGAF whether they're warm or cooled. Get in my belleh!!! (and the kids wonder why I don't bake more often. I never met a CCC I didn't love.)

5. Do you still talk to the person who gave you your first kiss? 

No. And I would, except his wife blocked me on Facebook, because she's apparently deluded into thinking he's actually a "catch." Um. Not.

6. Did you go to pre-school? If so, what was the name of it? 

Nope, I was advanced and went straight to kindergarten. Don't hate. ;)

7. How do you take your coffee? 

Enough cream to make it the color of Bambi - flavored, please, but I prefer hazelnut over peppermint, for the love - and depending whether it's a Grande or Venti (because Tall is for weenies, amirite) - three Splendas. I can't do real sugar, 'else I would.

Really, if I go to Starbucks, more likely than not, I'm getting a Grande or Venti Java Chip Frappuccino "Light" with coconut milk. That shit is GOOD. I still only drink a third of it before I get pukey, so the kids usually finish the rest.

8. Do you like fuzzy things? 

 

I'm a fan of Albert Einstein, so picking this image was a no-brainer. Of course I like fuzzy things. It's the opposite of, say, coarse sandpaper. Which is my least favorite thing on the planet. Eww.

9. Favorite kind of chocolate? 

White chocolate is dead to me. Dark chocolate is okay, but MILK CHOCOLATE IS WHERE IT'S AT, people!

10. Are you more optimistic or pessimistic? 

I'm definitely an idealist, and that does not translate well to pessimism. The few times I'm cynical about something, it's "write this down on the calendar" noteworthy!

11. What about peopleofwalmart.com? Do you think the site is mean, funny, or both? 

I have this motto: "Anything is okay, as long as it's funny." However, I don't find something that denigrates other people to be the standard by which humor should be measured, so it is not okay in my book. NOT funny.

12. Do you like fat sandwiches? If so, what does your favorite one have on it? 

I have a small jaw, so not too fat, please. My favorite sandwich is tuna from Subway on an Italian herbs and cheese roll. I put on Provolone cheese, lettuce, cucumbers, and oil and vinegar. Heavy on the acetic acid.

13. One restaurant you'd never been to but would like to go to?

There's a restaurant here in Homestead, Florida, called Mario's that is something of a fixture. They serve Cuban cuisine. It comes highly recommended to me, but I have yet to go. Soon, I hope...

14. Last time you got a haircut? Do you need one? 

I just got one at the beginning of the month. I was overdue. I'm good now. My stylist asked me to model for his web page when get it to the length and exact cut we want. Cool, huh? Little ol' me?!

15. What's your favorite pattern for clothing (stripes, plaid, etc.)? 

I like mixing patterns, but truth be told, my favorite pattern is paisley. I've never owned a single paisley thing. Why not? Gonna have to get me some. And not Brad.

16. What's your age backwards? 

I'll be 39 years old on my next birthday. I'm kind of stuck on that fact and couldn't get around to actually reversing the digits. When did I get so old?

17. When you see typos in a survey, do you correct them? 

Of course I do. I'm a Grammarly fan, aren't you?

18. When was your last vacation? Did you go someplace special? 

We went to Playa del Carmen, near Cancun, Mexico, in November. It was our first getaway as a couple since, I think, 2008. I guess you could call that special! We had a good time. Drinks were included, so of course it was.

19. What's your favorite kind of pancakes? 

I prefer Belgian waffles. With blueberries. Or strawberries. Or bananas. Or... okay, I can't lie. I can't eat them regardless. Too many carbs.

20. Do you like movies with computer graphics, like Avatar?

 

Burn! And unless it's Pixar or something, then I don't think I do?

21. Do you know how to sew? 

I sewed these shorts for Jack and Sophia when they were itty-bitties, when I was going through my sewing phase. I went a little crazy sewing at the time. Let's just say, thank goodness I knit better than I sew. I just couldn't really get the hang of it!

22. Are you good at wrapping gifts? 

I can be when I want to be, and usually I want to be.

23. Do you like flavored yogurt? 

Yes, but if it doesn't have strawberries in it, I pretty much don't want it.

24. How old will you be in December of 2015? 

We covered that already. 39 years old. I'm busy keeping 40 at bay, here.

25. What's the age difference between you and your siblings?

 

My oldest half-sister, Pamela, is... I have no clue how many years old. Maybe 50? I really don't know. I've never met her, and I probably never will. My sister, Stacey, just turned 40. She's 17 months older than I am. I'm the baby of the family. I'm pretty awesome, but I can be a spoiled, self-indulgent brat. I'm not my own biggest fan...!

Now that I'm finished, I'm going to go pop a Tramadol. And then probably another Fioricet. Pain sucks. I wish I could get off this merry-go-round; it's no fun!

Thanks for stopping by.

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Threes Meme

 

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Threes Meme

From Remember the Stars

1. Three things that scare me: 

a. Losing another one of my children

b. Being laughed at and rejected by people I care about

c. Being laughed at by complete strangers


 2. Three people who make me laugh: 

a. Larry David (he's totally my unaware boyfriend)

b. Hubs (hysterical!)

c. My children, every single day


3. Three things I love: 

a. hearing children laugh

b. not being able to control my own laughter

c. homeschooling my kids


4. Three things I hate: 

 

Aw, only three?! ;) Okay:

a. being behind a slow, bad driver

b. people who think my homeschooled kids must be awkward and weirdly unsocialized people (they're not... any more than awkward and weird public-school kids, anyway)

c. intentional litterbugs. (P.S. If you're a smoker and toss your finished butts on the ground, THAT'S TOTALLY LITTERING!!!)


5. Three things I don't understand: 

a. Republican values

b. people who have their head in the sand and don't understand global warming and global climate change are real and really happening. but let's not get me all worked up about it, shall we?

c. intolerance, racism, and pretty much all -isms of that ilk


6. Three things on my desk: 

Business cards

a. my beautious new bilingual business cards for JAFRA (they look better than the scan, heh)

b. a can of Diet Coke

c. my ubiquitous Samsung Galaxy S5

7. Three things I'm doing right now: 

a. this blahg post (duh)

b. moderating my auction page on Facebook

c. sneezing (this cold sucks butt)


8. Three things I want to do before I die: 

a. SCUBA dive Australia's Great Barrier Reef

b. gain forgiveness and compassion for the woman who broke my brain

c. quit drinkin' the damned Diet Coke!!!


9. Three things I can do: 

a. knit, and well

b. bake, and well

c. drive, and uh...


10. Three things I can't do: 

Image result for parking funny

a. park my car well, especially when parallel parking is involved. thankfully, I nailed it on my road test 20 years ago!

b. design my own knitting patterns that work

c. sit still and relax


11. Three things you should listen to: 

a. ME, when I talk about the important issues like those mentioned above (get yer heads out of the sand, already!!)

b. "Uptown Funk" by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars (and just try not to bounce around to it)

c. your conscience


12. Three things you should never listen to: 

a. people who tell you that you can't

b. people who tell you what to do when you know better and haven't asked for their advice

c. the metal band Cannibal Corpse - it's horrid


13. Three things I'd like to learn: 

a. how to relax and, in tandem with that,

b. how to be patient

c. how to design my own awesome knitwear!


14. Three favorite foods: 

NEW YORK-style all of the following:

a. pizza

b. cheesecake

c. Italian bread


15. Three beverages I drink regularly: 

a. Diet Coke (duh)

b. fruity, girly rum drinks (but usually only when I'm being paid to evaluate a bar or club)

d. a Cosmopolitan (when I'm evaluating a classier bar. Hee.)


16. Three shows I watched as a kid:

 

a. The Cosby Show (shame about Bill, isn't it?! Ugh)

 

b. Perfect Strangers (who didn't love Balky and his "dance of joy"?!!)

c. Full House (because Uncle Jesse, mmmm)

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: 17 Meme

 

Hie thee here and link up thusly if you're playing along today!

 

17 Meme

Stolen from: Survey Haven
 
Are you a jealous person? 
 
 

Rarely. It's not a "yes" or "no" question for me, because normally I am not jealous of much. However, there have been a few instances in my life when the green-eyed monster came out and surprised me. I'm more jealous of my children getting attached to someone other than Mommy than of, say, Hubs checking out a hot chick!

When is the next time you’re traveling out of state? 

We left Miami last night and spent the night in Palm Beach, which is practically like leaving the country - does that count?

Can you write your name in a foreign language? 

"your name in a foreign language"

Yup, just did it. 

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My name is my Melanie, regardless of what language I'm speaking. it doesn't change from that to something else when I'm speaking another language - or writing it. However, I can't read, like, cuneiform, so maybe it would be something else in a language with other characters than English?

When you’re getting ready for something, do you listen to music? 

There are two times when I will stop listening to music: When the telly is on, and I don't want to compete with that, or when I'm listening to "IRIS" (my Samsung Galaxy S5's voice) navigate me around parts unknown.

What is your favorite day of the week? 

I'm a stay-at-homeschooling mom, and my husband is retired. One day really just blends riiiiight into the next. I often don't know which one it currently is.

What is something you did yesterday and wish you could have done today? 

Hubs and I went to a swanky French restaurant in West Palm Beach for a mystery shop last night. It was pretty amazing. I had a stellar companion, excellent service, and beautifully presented plating of our food. I would repeat that experience tonight if I could... but I would whisper in my own ear to order the gnocchi instead of the sheepshead (fish)!

If you woke up tomorrow and knew/spoke a different language, which language would you want it to be? 

All of them. I'd be a walking Altavista Babelfish.

What did you last order online? 

After I took the children to see Big Hero 6 at the theater, I immediately went home and pre-ordered the blu-ray/DVD combo pack from Amazon. It finally arrived yesterday. Woot! Such a good flick. I was extremely gratified when it won the Oscar last week.

Do you have any specific hobbies? 

Read my tagline: I blog. I knit. I crochet. I scrap. And sometimes I even parent my three young children. (Not necessarily in order of importance)

What’s a song you recently discovered that you want to tell everyone about? 

 I'm really loving "Bills" by LunchMoney Lewis. I haven't listened to this version before now, just the radio edit.

Favorite fall or winter accessory? 

 

I live in Miami. Your normal calendar seasons don't really apply. So I pick my nose rings, of which I have a full wardrobe. If it's the monsoon season (June through November), maybe Wellies?

What did you last eat? 

 

I had an onion bagel with whippity cream cheese. I put entirely too much cream cheese on it, but I like it that way. And no, that isn't a gastric bypass-friendly food choice, but I was about to eat myself, I was so hungry!

Look to your left. What’s there? 

That's about the size and shape of the morass that is my desk at the moment. Eleventy-billion things are on my left. How much time do you have?

How long does it take you to fall asleep? 

I drink about 19 gallons of Diet Coke per diem. It rarely affects me anymore if I drink 'em, so you may be surprised to find that lately, I've been falling asleep at the drop of a hat and sleeping many hours. (Note to self: ask doctor for results of B12 and iron levels from last week's blood draw...)

Is there a TV in the room you are in? 

There is one television set in our abode and yes, it is in this room. It is considerably smaller than the hole in the entertainment center, which drives my OCD-having self bonkers.

What comes to your mind when I say "red"? 

Image result for red lips

 

"Lips," but if you said it to Chloë, 13yo daughter, she'd probably think of the album by T-Swizzle (a.k.a. Taylor Swift).

Name something you think is pointless?

 

I couldn't think of anything at the moment other than the turn signals on the cars of most Miami drivers (hey, I use mine, and I even told the kids earlier that when they learn to drive and see that most people here neglect theirs, they should use them anyway), so I polled the room. Here are the responses:

Hubs: Cummerbunds (I disagree)

Sophia, 9: Haz-mat suits (I disagree)

Chloë: Thin socks (I kind of agree!)

* * *

Well, that was fun. Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: 2014-2015 Meme, Part The First

 

Link yourselves right up here if you're feeling it today, folks! I am!

2014/2015 Meme, part one 

Stolen from: German Language Rocks 
 
1. What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about?

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Hubs and I just celebrated our 14th anniversary, so that's on my mind. I'll definitely be telling the grandkiddos about how we met and eloped two months later!

2. If you had to describe your 2014 in 3 words, what would they be?
 
 
Brain Tumors Suck... yeah that pretty much sums up 2014!
 
3. What new things did you discover about yourself?
 
 
 
I've realized that I am stronger than I thought myself capable of being.
 
4. What single achievement are you most proud of?
 
 
 
I am, historically, a very wussy girl when it comes to standing up for myself to my dad. But when he came down to visit us for Thanksgiving, I did it. I stood up for what I thought was right, and I survived. Yeah!!!
 
5. What was the best news you received?
 
 
 
I was pretty stoked to hear my great girlfriend, Erin, is with child! Woot!
 
6. What was your favourite place that you visited in 2014?
 
 
 
In November, Hubs and I visited Playa del Carmen. It was gorgeous. The whole trip, overall, was pretty rockin'.
 
7. Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?
 
 
 
Perseverance. I have pretty kick-ass stick-to-it-iveness!
 
8. Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?
 
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I would like to be able to say that it was Hubs, because it usually is, but when they cut out part of his brain... it defaulted to the answer being the other person in this picture with him. So one or the other of us is my final answer! Take it or leave it. ;)
 
9. Which new skills did you learn?
 
 
 
This is going to sound silly, but I learned to perfect the way I cook my sunny-side-up eggs and make toast at the same time, so it comes out exactly, perfectly, the way I want it to be. It's the little things sometimes, okay?!
 
10. What, or who, are you most thankful for?
 
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Oh, come on, now. You know I'm supremely thankful for my darling, beloved husband. Yes, he's different now, but he's still here. And that is everything.
 
11. If someone wrote a book about your life in 2014, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else?
 
 
 
I am certain it would have to be a comedy of errors. 
 
12. What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2014?
 
 
 
I learned that I am entitled to my feelings, have always been entitled to my feelings, and will always be entitled to those feelings - haters be damned!
 
13. Which mental block(s) did you overcome?
 
 
 
I decided I was ready to take the next step, at the end of 2014, in my knitting. I have always been afraid of success, but I am ready to pursue something that I believe I can really, truly great at. Hubs encouraged me to sign up for The Knitting Guild Association's Master course in Hand Knitting, and I did! Literally, just yesterday, I printed out the Level 1 coursework. I can't wait to join the ranks of master knitters. 
 
14. What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with?
 
 
Hubs, of course, and our three babies, naturally. For #5, I'll add my BFF, Dr. Lisa, with whom I visited at our high school reunion over the summer. Good times!
 
15. What was your biggest breakthrough moment career-wise?
 
 
 
Breakthrough: realizing that I don't have to finish my book by the end of the year, or even within two years. I can take my time to get it just right. Whew! (Because I'm nowhere near finished.)
 
16. How did your relationship to your family evolve?
 
 
A very important event happened within the boundaries of my extended family, and I'm not ready to share about that just yet... but it affected me profoundly. I'm still reeling a bit, trying to recover from it, and preserve those family relationships. It's tough.
 
17. What book or movie affected your life in a profound way?
 
 
 
I took my 13yo daughter, Chloë, to go see the movie Laggies. It affected us both differently and opened us up for a lot of deeper conversation on the way home. I watched it from the perspective of a mom, of course, and she watched it subjectively from the daughter's viewpoint. It wasn't the most profound story in the world, but it made me see that, even though I f**k up, I am a pretty damned good mom to these kids.
 
18. What was your favorite compliment that you received this year?
 
 
My dad told someone I was brilliant, and that the kids would get a stellar education under my tutelage. I was shocked; he's usually the guy who says the most jacked-up shit. It meant an enormous amount to me for him to say that!
 
19. What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?
 
IMG_7496
 
I love all my children dearly, and I have no favorites, but Sophia, the youngest at 9, is deliciously amusing. She cracks me up on a regular basis with the things she cooks up. Pain in the butt though she is, she's absolutely worth the trouble! ;)
 
20. What cool things did you create this year?
 
003
 
Most of my 'creations' involved yarn, I guess. Maybe not so cool to you, but I think it's pretty amazing what one can create with just sticks and string!
 
21. What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)?
 
 
Stressed is definitely the winner! And, sad to say, I'm a stress-eater, so I have gained a few pounds. I am going to remove them in the current year, by gosh!
 
22. Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?
 
 
 
Hmm... that's a toughie! I've been thinking, and I can't come up with anything cool. Uh, I attempted to ride my kids' scooters (fail), and I pretended I was a planet (win)? Sheesh, I hope 2015 is more exciting when it comes to firsts.
 
23. What was your favourite moment spent with your friends?
 
 
 
Definitely the high school reunion!! I'm soooo glad we were able to get up there for it!
 
24. What major goal did you lay the foundations for?
 
 
The Master Knitter program, as mentioned above. Wheee!
 
25. Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?
 
 
Yeah,... pretty much all of them! Worry is such a time-suck for me. I gotta stop that nonsense.

Welp, as always, thanks for stopping by!
 
Fin.

Sunday Stealing: The New Year Meme

Link up here if you're fabulous, darling!

The New Year's Eve Meme

 From the archives (and I'm going to spare you folks all the funny pictures today. I'm keepin' it real)!

In 2014, I gained:

all-new respect for my brain tumor-fighter of a husband.

I lost:

some excess baggage, in the form of "friends" who really weren't.

I stopped:

wondering when Hubs would recover.

I started:

wondering IF he would. :'(

I was hugely satisfied by:

my 20th high school reunion this past summer. I am so thrilled that I was able to go, and I had a fantastic time.

And frustrated by: 

our Chihuahua puppy Paco's inability to learn to pee and poop outside, rather than in the laundry.

I am so embarrassed that I: 

have such a messy house.

Once again, I:

suffered many migraines and was a frequent flyer at the local ER.

Once again, I did not:

find a suitable psychopharmacologist to help me manage my post-bariatric surgery bipolar medicine issues. :\

The biggest physical difference between me last December and this December is:

I've grown enough hair back to have had it cut several times! 

The biggest psychological difference between me last December and this December is: 

Oh, honey. I should write a book. Oh wait, I am.

I loved spending time:

with the people who loved spending time with me.

Why did I spend even two minutes: 

working on that ill-conceived fundraiser for those unfortunately-conceived, selfish people. Ugh. What a clusterf**k.

I should have spent more time: 

knitting for Stephanie's kiddo, Vinnie.

I regret buying: 

into the idea that if I weigh more, I'm worth less.

I will never regret buying... even though with that money I could have:

the girls each a bicycle with my Christmas gift card from my father-in-law, though I could have bought something for myself. I got what I really wanted, anyway.

I ...way too much.

complained about stupid sh*t

I didn’t... enough.

exercise

 ... drove me crazy.

My dad's ultra-Conservative and über-racist views...

The most relaxing place I went was:

into Hubs' arms. Especially when we were in Playa del Carmen, Mexico! Ahhhh...

Why did I go to...

so much trouble for those people, who crapped on me in return?

The best thing I did for someone else was:

for once, keep my mouth shut and simply apologize.

The best thing I did for myself was:

realize that my migraines were generated by nerve cord damage from my last c-section, nearly a decade ago.

The best thing someone did for me was:

think of me, when least I expected anything, at all, from that person.

The one thing I’d like to do again, but do it better, was:

express my sincere condolences for someone else's loss, while not mentioning my own feelings about it whatsoever. Publicly, anyway.

Happy New Year, folks! I hope 2015 is everything you want it to be.

Fin.

 


It Started With A Sweater.

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Yesterday was Friday, November 7th, 2014. We've had a busy week of homeschooling! I'm going to start backward from Friday because, as any busy mother will understand, what's easiest on my tired brain is what wins right now. I started the day with this unfinished hoodie sweater for Stephanie's son Vinnie who, as you may remember, is allergic to, like, practically everything on the planet. Including the planet. So when I can, I knit for him.

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After Victoria was dropped off by her mom, Veronica, we did the kids' weekly spelling test before running off to Publix for supplies for lunch. When we returned home, I packed lunches while the kiddos watched their daily Math-U-See lesson. I printed off their practice work to do in the car - hey, carschooling is a thing! - and then off we went for an hour-long drive to downtown Miami.

We were in search of the site of ancient Tequesta ruins, found over the past year among the high-rise office buildings, hotels, and condominiums that make up much of the city. I read article after article about the findings, but I could not for the life of me find the exact location of the excavation, which is still underway. So I warned the kids that while I hoped we would find it, we might not see a darn thing.

I drove to the hotel mentioned in one article, the J.W. Marriott Marquis, and lo and behold, there was this site cordoned off by fences and barricades. I was terribly excited, knowing in my heart of hearts that that was the place. And so, for eight bucks an hour, I parked in the closest garage I could find... and mentally crossed my fingers.

The kids were kind of under a microscope in the city, this being in the middle of a busy workday in a huge office building as we rode down the elevator. One lady stepped on and couldn't keep herself from saying aloud, "Well! This is interesting!" to my amusement. I cautioned them to behave, hold hands when crossing streets, and above all, be completely respectful of the site if we had, indeed, found the ancient Tequesta burial grounds.

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This woman, a Mrs. Carr whose first name I didn't catch, was looking at the five of us curiously when we approached the site where workers were... digging and hauling artifacts. She walked to her car nearby and then, I took my chance. "Excuse me, ma'am?" I called out to her. She hesitated, looked around, and then came over. "Is this the site of the Tequesta burial grounds?" To my utter delight, she confirmed that it was! We found it on the first go!

Not only that, but she turned out to be the wife of the internationally famous archaeologist, Robert Carr, who also came over and introduced himself to us! Of course, I had to explain who the heck we were and what we were doing there. Dr. Carr surprised me by first telling me about his book, Digging Miami, which can be found here on Amazon.com, and then telling the Mrs. to bring over some artifacts to show the children! 

Yeah, folks. We struck homeschool field trip GOLD. Fo'reals.

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Mrs. Carr told the kids about the Tequesta way of life. She explained, as we had previously read over the past week, that these native people were not farmers but rather hunters and gatherers, relying on fish and other seafood that pretty much came right to them, allowing for much leisure time - a rarity amongst the whole of American Indians. Here, she was showing them a piece of pottery, made mostly of sand. No clay is found in the Miami area, y'all.

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The hundreds-of-years-old bone of a turtle was shown, explaining yet another part of the Tequesta diet.

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Dr. Carr's wife also brought over a fossil conch shell to show the kids that not only did the Tequesta feast on the plentiful mollusk, but they used the shell for digging and scooping as well.

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After the kids learned quite a bit of cool information about the Tequesta from Dr. and Mrs. Carr, and handled some ancient artifacts, we were left alone to peaceably observe the excavation. We bowed our heads and took a moment of silence, out of respect for the people who exist no more. Solemnly, yet excitedly, we headed back to the car to discuss what we had just experienced. The kids were curious and respectful, and I was just utterly full of awe and gratitude.

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By that point, everyone was starving, so I found nearby Gibson Park for lunch. We feasted on turkey and Meunster sammiches, a variety of fruit, juice boxes, and Pepperidge Farm cookies. Hey, guess what was on sale at Publix today? However, I quickly discovered that we were in an area of Miami called Overtown, and... well, it is well-known as not the safest place to be if you're of the paler skin persuasion. We were surrounded by children who kept their distance but stared at us the whole time.

I don't have a racist bone in my body, so I didn't feel scared, but I will admit to feeling uncomfortable there. Out of place, if you will, and kind of unwanted. Speaking of under a microscope...! Fortunately - or not? - three of us seriously needed to use the bathroom, and we could not find a restroom in the park. So we left, with my promises that we would go home and find a park closer to Homestead.

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After stopping at the Overtown Winn-Dixie to use the facilities, the five of us headed home. The math papers were not finished; the kids chose to snooze or chatter about Tequesta people on the hour-plus drive home in the Miami rush hour traffic. We picked up Rob and Paco at home before heading to a nearby park where Chloe is supposed to be having her Cheerleading practice.

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There was a gated-in area where the kids could play, so I took the kids in there while Rob and Paco sat on a bench outside. Paco hadn't seen Mama all day, though, so all he wanted to do was be near me.

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Poor, but adorable, Paco... but oh, the cute!

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The girls really enjoyed this half-swing, half-jump feature of the playground. Every time I turned around, one, two, or three of them were on there again. Jack got a chance or two at it, but not many!

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He found this curious structure in one corner of the park, with a hole in it. Expecting there to be something on the other side of the park where his voice would come out to a passerby, he hollered, "HELLO!!!!!" into the hole.

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A second later, his own voice returned the hello.

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I managed to capture this, "What the heck?!" look on his face when he heard the echo. It was pretty fun. He yelled a whole bunch more into it and twisted his voice each time, to make different sounds. Yup, I see more visits to this park in the near future!

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Soon, it grew dark, and I missed my hubs and my dog. So I announced a 10-minute, and then a 5-minute, warning before we headed home. I had asked Veronica if Victoria could stay for dinner, and she agreed. 

Back at home, I had the kids blog about the Tequesta field trip on their own personal blogs (they're password-protected, so if you want to read their posts, you'll have to ask me for the deets) while I made a dinner of baby artichokes and turkey sliders. No cheese for Jack, please!

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For the second time in a week, I gave the four kidoodles a cup of vanilla and chocolate pudding for dessert. They all ate a great deal for dinner and dessert; between the field trip and the park day, I must have worn them out and hungered them up but good!

After dinner, they finished their blog posts and then wanted to work on our Astronomy lessons, but I was waaaaay too tired to keep doing school. The six of us played the family edition of Trivial Pursuit instead. It was fun and full of laughter, and we all had a great time. Sophia won for the first time, and man, did she let us know it!

I took Victoria home after that and crashed soon afterward... but only for a little while, as you can see it's not even 0400 and I'm sitting here posting on this little bitty blahg.

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Oh... and now, the sweater has its hood. Next up: SLEEVES!

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.

 


Sunday Stealing: 13 Things Meme

 

Link up here if you're playing along today!

1. Outside my window… 

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Well, it's 12:13 AM right now, so you can't see it, but this is the picture I took around sunset last night, in our neighborhood. 

 2. I am thankful… 

... that this crew got to go up to New York this past week for my high school reunion. It was a great time, and I'm glad we went!

 3. In the kitchen… 

... well, my kitchen is a disaster at the moment, and we have few groceries. I should probably remedy that soon! But this picture, above, is from my pallie-girl Shana's house (she of the Josh Groban concert violin-playing mentioned in yesterday's Saturdday 9 post). We spent Saturday night there a week ago, and she was a perfect hostess.

 4. I am wearing… 

Well, I just got out of the tub, so I'm not wearing a whole helluva lot right now, but this is what I wore to my reunion get-together last Friday night. That's me on the far right, wearing something I never would have thought I'd have worn!

 5. I am creating… 

...hopefully, memories and connections my children will cherish for years to come!

 6. I am going… 

... to miss this sister of mine, right, during the year before we go back up to New York!

 7. I am reading… 

 

... up on my Native American history, because that will largely be the focus of our coming school year here at Sweet Pea Academy. I can't wait! If you have any personal connections, I'd love to talk to you about them!

8. I am learning… 

 

... how blessed I am to have such great friends in my life, like Dr. Lisa above (my BFF)!

9. I am pondering… 

... whether I should let me 9yo, Sophia, get permanent pink streaks in her sweet blond hair, since these have already faded. I think they're tres cool.

 10. A favorite quote… 



 11. One of my favorite things… 

... is my lovely little trio of babes.

 12. A few plans for the rest of the week… 

... involve doing a lot of damage to this stash, since I haven't done any knitting in about 10 days, when I'm not cleaning this icky house and working on this year's curriculum.

 13. A peek into my day…

 

... involves posting silly things like this picture on Instagram (@Smellyann) when I'm not doing the above-referenced planning, cleaning, and knitting. I'm insta-happy.

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.

 


Sunday Stealing: A Movie Meme

Link up here if you're a thief today, even as we celebrate moms! ;)

A Movie Meme


1. What is your all-time favorite "costume" movie or period piece?

 

Ahhh, this movie. I love it in book form, I love it in audiobook form, I love the movie... *sigh*

2. What classic film would you nominate for a remake?  

Casablanca is ripe for a do-over, I think.

3. Name your favorite femme fatale.

Jessica Rabbit

4. Name the best movie with the word "heaven" in its title.  

Really, I don't know. A Google search reveals I haven't seen any such movies, it would appear. Shocker!

5. Describe the worst performance by a child actor that you’ve ever seen. 
 
 
 
I really can't think of any, but I was just thinking last night that I don't think Julia Stiles is a terribly good actor. Sorry, Jules.

6. Who gets your vote for most tragic movie monster?  
 
 
I would have to actually go for Charlize Theron in Monster, which probably isn't what was meant, but I know from real-life monsters...

7. What is the one Western that you would recommend to anybody?
 
 
It's just not my genre, sorry!

8. Who is your ideal movie-viewing partner? 
 
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That would be Hubs, my partner in life!

9. Has a film ever made you want to change your life? If so, what was the film?
 
 
I always wish I could go Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and undo some of the things that have happened to me, and unknow some of the people in my life.

10. Think of one performer that you truly love. Now think of one scene/movie/performance of theirs that is too uncomfortable for you to watch.  
 
 
I can't think of anything that makes me uncomfortable by itself, but it was uncomfy to watch Thelma and Louise with my dad, because he kept saying things about Geena Davis having "good BJ lips," and gross stuff like that. I was 18, for heaven's sake, and it was just the two of us!

11. On the flip side, think of one really good scene/performance/movie from a performer that you truly loathe. 
 
 
I'm not a fan of Jennifer Lopez in general, nor as an actress, nor as a singer, but I thought she was decent in Enough.

12. What movie has the best soundtrack? 
 
 
 
I sing songs from it all the time! Just the other night I was singing "It's Raining on Prom Night," a lesser known track from the flick.

13. Favorite actor with a mustache?
 
 
I mean, come ON. Of course.

14. Shadowy film noir from the 1940's or splashy colorful musicals from the 1950's?  
 
I'll take the musicals any day. Film noir is okay for some, and I like it at times, but I have already had enough darkness, you know?

15. Favorite classic Disney?

That would have to be Peter Pan. The flying inspires me, and I don't want to grow up, either!

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.

P.S. For Kwizgiver, an updated shot of the knitting I'm doing, with just the sleeves left to go:

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Saturday 9: Your Mama Don't Dance

 

 

 

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Your Mama Don't Dance (1972)

 
Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.
 
1) This song is about how the older generation often doesn't understand what the younger generation is up to. Do you keep up with trends?
 
Woman, I am the trends! Okay, not really, but I would say I do. I'm only 37, FPS, not old enough to be the "older generation," but obviously too old to be the "younger generation." I'm fine in the middle, but I would say I much more identify with what the kids are doing.
 
2) This song was in the top 10 in 1972, which is also the year HBO was introduced. Do you have any premium cable channels?
 
Netflix is our only TV service, so no. And speaking of Netflix, I have a date with Dexter after this and getting through all my emails. I'm going to binge-watch Season 6 while I knit the rest of this adorbs baby sweater for an acquaintance who is literally fittin' to pop!
 
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3) Mother Winters taught Sam how to kill the lingering food smells in her microwave (take a bowl of water, add a few drops of vanilla extract, and heat it in the microwave). Do you have any useful household hints to pass along?  
 
I'm gonna try that, thanks, Sam! My useful hint for keeping a house spotless at all times? Don't get married and have a boatload of children. Husbands and kids are MESSY.
 
4) The French word for "mother" is "mère." What other French words do you know?  
 
I know a lot of French words, and some Creole, too, so I can greet and chat with the Haitian people I encounter here in Miami. I love learning new languages and can speak bits and pieces of more than a dozen. New research shows that speaking more than one language staves off the onset of Alzheimer's, and since I'm always concerned with my mental health, I'm all about it!
 
5) Flowers and plants are popular on Mother's Day. How is your yard or garden? Is it green and/or blooming?
 
Oh, God, no. Since Hubs has had all these issues with his brain tumor and surgery to remove it in February, and I do not know how to mow the lawn (never got taught), our yard hasn't been mowed a single time since we moved in here a year ago. I just got us a new electric Black & Decker mower off Listia, though, so that beastly yard will soon be tamed by one or the other of us. As far as gardening? Surely you jest. I have the blackest thumb possible.

6) Mother's Day is a big holiday for card shops. So are birthdays, weddings, and St. Patrick's Day. Hallmark sells greetings for everything from "Congratulations on Your New Job" to "Happy Retirement." Who received the most recent card you bought?  
 
I don't buy cards; I make my own. Unless you want to count gift cards, and then that would probaby be my niece, Hanna Leigh. She's soon to have another birthday, next week, so she'll probably gain another one from me, too! As for store-bought cards, I just got one for Mother's Day myself, from my dad, and the sentiment was so touching it actually made me tear up. Way to go, Dad!
 
7) Have you put away your winter clothes yet?
 
Have I mentioned we moved to Miami? I'm still working on unpacking and getting rid of things we no longer need, but winter clothes were among the first things to be given away! (Which was kind of a shot in the foot when we recently visited freezing-cold Virginia back in early March. All our friends were scrambling to clothe the five of us - but they did it!)
 
8) Mother Winters used to scold Sam for leaving her dirty dishes in the sink. Sam admits it: as a grown up, she's still a bit of a slob. Do lean toward "neat" or "messy?"
 
I lean toward being a neat mess. I compartmentalize wonderfully, and as for chores, I get around to them when I get around to them. I'm more messy than my upbringing would have dictated, but I'm far neater than any of the rest of the slobs I live with, and that drives my anxiety through the roof.
 
9) To celebrate Mother's Day, Sam is giving away candy bars. Would you prefer classic milk chocolate, dark chocolate or milk chocolate with almonds?
 
Well, as you read, I like to keep up with the latest research, and that dictates that an ounce or so of the darkest chocolate every day is good or many aspects of one's health. However, since it's Mother's Day, and I'm a mother four times over, I'm going to pick out on an entire milk chocolate with almonds bar, please and thanks!
 
Thanks for stopping by!
 
Fin.

Sundays In My City: From Here To The Everglades

Unknown Mami

Link up with the Unknown Mami if you want to show us around your place today!

It's been a while since I've participated in SimC, but since Rob (Hubs) is back in the hospital as of this morning, for at least a coupla days in the Neuro ICU, I'm sitting at home twiddling my thumbs [read: avoiding housework] and thought I'd catch up. Here goes:

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I'm supposed to be taking a break from knitting doll sweaters for Itsystitch and returning to real-life person sweaters for my friends' son, Vinnie, who's allergic to everything. He can't wear anything but pure wool, cashmere, silk, and ... I forget the fourth thing. But nothing synthetic, no plant fibers, and not very many from Kingdom Animalia, either. He's an expensive kid to dress and feed! So I help Steph out where I can. I found a good deal on yarn, she bought it, and it just arrived. It's really orange and blue, not purple as it looks, and I have bunches of the latter. I'm going to make him a sweater and hat, or socks, or something, and send the remainder to her for another person to make his longies (long pants). I just find that sizing longies isn't my forte, so I'm happy to pass along that job.

Oh, but my point is (and I do have one, to quote Ellen D.), of the billion cajillion needles I have, none will work for this jobby. Suck! I bought a new one, but it's still too long. Have I mentioned lately how much I hate knitting in the round?!

In case you're thinking, well, that's nice and everything, Smelly, but what's that got to do with your city? um, to you I say, there's our front patio. Heh. Moving on...

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We got some real, honest-to-God produce and, for everyone but me, meat in the house recently (food has been scarce 'round here, but we should be fixed up for that now), so Rob stuffed peppers with (what else?) rice and ground cow flesh (sorry) (not really) for himself and Kid3. They actually tried it, to my utmost surprise. I'd rather have given them purty purple and orange and red bells, rather than everyday green, but Wal-Mart seems to be lacking on that front.

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I got a birthday card (only about 2½ weeks late, but I'll take it) with a free drink offer from the Dunkin' Donuts down the road (ah, now we're getting somewhere!), so I took Sophie with me to go do that and run a coupla other errands. (First up was Michael's, the arts & crafts store, where I'm sloooooowly stocking up on supplies for her planned artist-themed birthday shindig in April; I spent a whopping 83¢ on a plastic paint palette, if you're keeping track of our finances...) (and yes, I know I ramble, but at least it's written down, so you can't call it intelligible) (doing it on purpose now) (I know I'm obnoxious) (at least I don't use hashtags on this-here blahg) (where was I? Oh, yeah) So when we got to DD, she figured she'd be getting a doughnut, right? I mean, she is a normal 8-year-old American girl.

Only, Mom had just spent 83¢ out of her last dollar, so doughnuts were not to be had.

She pouted.

It was 7:45 PM, and closing time was 8 PM... meaning, everything made had to be tossed or taken home by employees soon, I'm guessing.

Can you believe, after pouting instead of cheerfully accepting her fate, the shopkeep rewarded her with a bag full of various MunchkinsTM? After telling her that making pouty faces wouldn't get her a doughnut?

She did thank him a billion times and, in return, reward him with huge smiles, but... well, I think I've made my point.

So let's shove off that topic, shall we?

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Speaking of that Sophia, once she got home and divvied up the MunchkinsTM with her siblings, she was, natch, on a sugar high. No sooner did she finish her dinner then she went diving into the cache of Halloween costumes from years past. She doesn't even remember the show JoJo's Circus on The Disney Channel, but you do, right?! So this was her outfit for the evening, wherein she pretended she was being French. Only, she spoke in a British accent. Because French is HARD,  people!!

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Later, she came out wearing my former Mrs. Incredibles costume from back when I was still super-morbidly obese. And the JoJo wig. Ha! This kid, if you could have seen her, would have made you laugh and laugh. She is hysterical. I promise.

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And now, we come to the heart of the matter: We finally visited the Florida Everglades! A mere 10 minutes away (at least, the southern tip), yet we hadn't quite ventured down the ol' South Dixie Highway to get there as a team yet. (I'd been there long ago, with my then-college summer-housemate, Dr. Jasper Lament of The Nature Trust of British Columbia, now, and Ducks Unlimited fame, formerly.) ANYWAY, it was free on Saturday, so we finally made it. Woot!

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We started at out the Ernest Coe Visitor Center way down at our end of Miami-Dade County, where there were lots of neat-o mosquito interactive exhibits, a photo essay on the dangers of the changing climate, and of course, a gift store. We made nary an expenditure there, however (see aforementioned 83-cent splurge).

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That's my super-cute son, Jack, finding our very first (and, so far, last) geocache! We did all kinds of research on Geocaching.com the night before, set up Rob's Garmin GPS, downloaded the free version of the app on my iPhone, yadda yadda, only to have none of the stars align after we found this cache. I brought along a notebook and recorded The Find, did the same in the app, and did a little happy dance with the kiddos before exchanging some swag from the box for a trinket of our own. The exhilaration was shortlived, though, because the app no longer showed us any more hidden cache locations, and Rob couldn't get the GPS to register the lat and long he was inputting. We decided instead to hike some trails, which of course, is not a bad Plan B!

Only, THIS mom fell asleep in the van before we found any trails and was deliriously tired when awakened to join in when one was finally discovered. The 'Glades is a huge park, y'all, and lots of stuff is going on there. I just... didn't see any of it yesterday. No matter. There will be more chances.

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That's me. I know, not city-related either, but I'm here and I'm typing and that's what you get. 

You see, Rob (the Hubs) was feeling quite dizzy again this morning, and the last time that happened, we (meaning his neurosurgeon) discovered a cerebellar hemmorhage (yikes!!), so I called said doctor and was told to delivered him back to the hospital post-haste.

I did that, forgetting to grab my purse along the way. We arrived at the hospital and discovered the omission, which meant I could neither obtain a visitor's pass nor pay for parking. SUCK. I had no choice but to drop Rob off and head back home: a two-hour tour, round-trip.

I've been pretty much sitting here ever since, alternating between putzing around on the computer and playing with Sophia, while Jack and Chloë take extended naps. And that's when I got looking at the hair on my head and thinking it was looking rather shaggy.

Bring on the scissors!

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Yep, I did that. The last time I took a pair of scissors to my head, in November 2012, I ended up bald. No lie, bald. So I think it's pretty awesome that I ended up with this boyish little pixie instead of, you know, a wig and a ballcap like last time, amiright?

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Sophia's reaction was to say, "Why did you DO that? Don't you know long, blond hair is 'in' this season?!!"

She kills me. She makes me die. I die, I die, I die, I'm dead.

(Name that flick.) (Yeah, I paraphrased that, too.)

Fin.

P.S. Thanks for stopping by, and yes, I know, I am weird. Aren't we all? 


Knitting For Itsystitch

Last fall, I started knitting doll sweaters for my friend Amy's incredibly beautiful handmade, Waldorf-inspired, diminutive dolls, branded under the name Itsystitch. I knitted until just before we moved from Virginia to Florida, and then I took a long break to focus on my family and other projects. 

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Now that the cooler weather is coming for many parts of the country, Itsystitch dolls are needing sweaters again! Amy shipped some beautiful Cascade 220 wool yarn my way, some of which are seen above, to get back to knitting sweaters.

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Between the two of us, Amy and I have tweaked that pattern so many times to ensure the perfect fit for her gorgeous, amazingly well-crafted dolls. Here's a recent one, prior to even more tweaking.

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I wanted to churn out the sweaters for Amy's in-demand Itsystitch dolls, so I even brought my yarn swift and ball-winder to the hospital while Rob was there, so I could wind the twisted hanks into workable balls of yarn. Hour after hour, day after day, I sat next to Rob's bed in the hospital, knitting these tiny sweaters.

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Here's another sweater, largely knitted while sitting at Rob's bedside.

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I had some of Amy's red and some green left from previous Itsystitch sweaters, but not enough of either to make a full sweater. I suggested a striped number to Amy, and she thought it sounded like a great idea for a Christmas-themed doll. I'll be interested to see how that turns out!

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On Friday, I got to the post office just in time to ship the latest batch of sweaters, including the Christmas stripe from above, to Amy's house in Arizona where she works on her dolls.

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Here's Amy's gorgeous daughter, Stella, with one of Amy's latest creations. You can see one of the sweaters I made there, in yellow, if you can take your eyes off beautiful Stella!

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Here's another of Amy's dolls, sporting one of the sweaters I knitted for her. She further accessorizes the sweaters with buttons and other embellishments, creating the perfect touch for her sweet creations.

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All of Amy's Itsystitch dolls are made with high-end materials and take hours to create. They come in a variety of skin tones and arrive perfectly packaged with names, birth certificates, and personalities to fit their style. You can find Amy's dolls on Etsy here.

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You can also find Itsystitch on Facebook for all the latest doll updates, previews, and other new information from Amy. "Like" her page to follow along and get the latest news.

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I hope you'll follow along on Etsy and Facebook for all the latest Itsystitch news. These are truly high-quality dolls, made with the best materials and the ultimate in love and care. I crave one for my own, but while Sophia is Miss Destructo, I'm afraid that's just a pipe dream!

Let me know if you decide to snag one in the future!

Fin.


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Friday Fragments, Episode 6.14.13

Unknown Mami

Link up with Mrs. 4444 Unknown Mami, who is taking over for summer, if ye be fragmentin' today!

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Is it seriously Flag Day already? Holy cow. Where is this month going? It's flying by, that's for sure. For you, too?

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I was talking with Rob (Hubs) in the car today about Kate Middleton and how I enjoyed following the Royal Windsor (right?) family ever since I watched Lady Di marry Prince Charles back when I was five years old, in 1981. He was surprised I remembered it. Who could forget this:

I've long been a fan and was honestly crushed when she died in 1997. Here she was, in her 30s, blonde and blue-eyed, dying suddenly and tragically, leaving behind two young children of the same sex... hm. Similarities to my own story much? Anyway. So I have followed Prince William's marriage and the baby bump story and all that with keen interest.

Rob posited that the Di/Charles story was a bigger one than the William/Kate one, on the world stage, as far as news stories go. I heartily disagreed. So I thought I'd ask you guys. What do you think? Is Kate as big a fairy tale story as that of her departed mother-in-law? I say equal.

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So sorry for the shameless begging request, but could you please comment on this review post? I don't have a huge ton of readers and need to get back to my sponsors with some feedback from folks. Thanks, y'all rock for helping me out! I promise I'll be a good little blahgger and visit back this week, too. No slacking for once, swears!

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Didja get your free donut on at Dunkin' Donuts, Krispy Kreme, or anywhere else on Friday? It was National Doughnut Day. Yup. We partook. I didn't eat a single bite, though; I am behaving so I can stay put in Rob's jeans! 

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The kids were sent books and pens (because you write in books?) by my dad on Saturday, and the girls dove right in. Jack just rolled his eyes and sarcastically said, "Oh, yay, another book." He's picked up reading a little more in the last couple-three months, but I definitely wouldn't call him a bookworm yet. We've instituted Family Reading Hour as of yesterday, and so far it hasn't stuck. We'll keep at it, though. It's important to us.

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We made Pillsbury Cresent Rolls the other day, and Sophia took the ends off the tube and turned herself into a housefly! I loved it. She's so fun, so creative, such a happy-go-lucky girl... I do adore her so, like all the children, but Sophie really has a knack for making us laugh!

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I took the kids to the $1 movie on Tuesday for Regal Cinemas' summer movie program. Used to be a free one by AMC or Cinemark or something too (nope, I just checked; it was Regal itself that used to be free), but apparently they're all a dollar now.  It's a bit of a hike to get there, too, or we might have gone back for The Three Stooges on Wednesday. We saw Ice Age: Continental Drift this week, and it was really pretty good for a multiple-sequel flick! I'd brought my knitting along, expecting to be buried in it, but I actually didn't get that much done because of having my eyes on the screen. I can't wait to go again next week. Looks like we'll have to choose between Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days and Parental Guidance for next week. We've seen the first, and isn't the latter not for little kids??

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The rain actually let up for once today, so we headed out to a park we haven't been to before this. Of course, as we made our way there, the sky completely opened up and down it came. Rob and the kids sat in the van when we got there and, hopeful, applied some sunscreen. Finally, the downpour slowed to a trickle and they got out to fish (the boys) and rollerskate (girls) while I stayed inside to knit. My nausea and dizziness returned with a vengeance after a few days off today, plus it's no fun to knit with wet yarn, or I'd have been happy to join them.

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I actually did come out temporarily when I got bored of being by myself, and the whole fam-damily was all gathered on the fishing platform. I caught up with them as they watched a turtle chug down some shrimp left behind by a previous fisherperson. {As for Rob, he was using some crab legs that we'd gotten from Omaha Steaks for bait. I gave him my blessing to do that because I really didn't care for it the first time we tried it; I don't think I'll order from them again, since they're pricey and yet, a letdown! If we ever order frozen food to be delivered again, I already known Schwan's is the way to go - at least for Team Odette!}

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After a spell, with no fish biting, we decided to make our way over to the restaurant at the park marina for dinner. The kids ate French potaters and mozzarella sticks - too much fried food, anyone? - while Hubs and I noshed on spinach and artichoke dip (meh, it was okay, but I wasn't wowed by any stretch) and tilapia sandwiches (total blech. I took two bites and ran to the bathroom, overcome with nausea). Rob will finish my sandwich, and I'll gladly be returning to full-on vegetarianism after this, I think!

We all shared chocolate mousse cake and Key Lime cheesecake for dessert, and I remained underwhelmed. For our limited budget to be spent on a dinner that I didn't find terrific, I was bummed. I know the grille at the park we usually visit will cook your catch and provide sides for just seven bucks a plate, so I'm planning on Rob catching some fish in the future! I won't eat it, but I can still proudly Instagram him doing it, right?

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Speaking of today's failed fishing venture, Rob managed to catch his karaoke kabuki suzuki sabiki rig on the bottom and get it stuck. He ran over to the van and got out his dive booties, so he could jump in and retrieve it. I was just looking on with interest until he said, "There are no crocodiles around, right?" Duh, Melanie! We were RIGHT NEXT TO the croc warning sign, and yet I'd forgotten about them. Instantly, I freaked out on him and refused to let him jump in, despite his protests about what we could do with his life insurance funds if he got eaten. Um, no thanks. Twelve-and-½ years ago I swore I didn't care if we were poor and living in a shack with nothing but each other (and our future children), and I meant it, dadgummit!

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Well, that's enough, I'd say. Nothing else in my brain rattling around right now. Lucky you - I'm finished! Have a good weekend, folks.

Fin.