Entries categorized "Mama Mia" Feed

Saturday 9: Ordinary People

John Legend | Artist | www.grammy.com

John Legend: "Ordinary People"

Hello, hello, y'all. I very nearly missed this week's questionnaire, but I pulled myself up to get it done. We've all been doing this for so long "together," and I don't want to lose that.

Awesome Happy Spring GIF - white spring flowers and glitter

Happy Spring, Northern Hemisphereans! I'm so delighted. #understatement

Not much really happened here this week that I can think of; that is a good thing! Two weeks ago, my lithium levels were way too low, and I was planning on jumping off the nearest tall building. Now that the doctor has raised my dosage, I feel so, so, so much better. It was almost overnight! And I'm so thankful, so grateful to still be here.

Let's get it done. (P.S. I was just about to post this, and then my Chrome died, closing all my windows and not returning all the content I had here. So I'm aggravated now. GAH!)

ORDINARY PEOPLE (2005)

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


1) In this song, John Legend sings that both he and his girl have "room to grow." What about you? In what areas would you like to improve?

Lyme Warrior Poem | Perseverance, Lyme, You are strong

Well, hard to do being here in a small hotel room (for yet another two months! Ugh!), but when we move into our new home I really want to make it a point to get out of bed and at least circulate with the family downstairs, every day. I'm in bed so much, some days I don't see anyone but Hubs. And the dogs are getting entirely too used to cozying up with  me all day. Something's gotta change, and I want to make the effort. I do not want the pain and fatigue from Lyme dictate what I do for the rest of my days.

2) He sings that when he hangs up in anger, she calls him back. Are you quicker to anger, or quicker to forgive?

Both! And quick to apologize, too. If someone apologizes to me, it's done, it's over.

3) "Ordinary People" was John Legend's first big hit. He originally wrote it for The Black Eyed Peas, but -- happily for him -- recorded it himself. Have you ever purchased a gift for someone else but then decided to keep it yourself?

Black Eyed Peas | Members, Music, Songs, & Facts | Britannica

Really? I love the Peas but I can't see them doing this song justice. As for me, I don't think I've ever done that, but I for sure have wished I had enough  money at that moment for a second one. Several times!

4) Ordinary People is also the title of an acclaimed novel by Judith Guest and an Oscar-winning film. Are you familiar with either the movie or the book?

Barbra Streisand, tout sur la chanteuse

Of course, I definitely knew the movie - my mother was a huge fan of Barbra Streisand. I remember that just a couple of months before she died, she took 7-year-old me and 8-year-old  Stacey (my big sister) to the movies to see Yentl. It's one of my last memories with my mom, so I cherish and love Barbra for it, too. As for the book, I don't think I had heard of it, but now it's on my "want to read" list on Goodreads. Thanks!

5) John is married to Chrissy Teigen, who gained fame as a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. When is the last time you dove in? Were you in a pool, lake, river or sea?

Lucky Peak Dam Photos – Hicken Design

 Atlantic Ocean in August and September when we first got here to Maryland from Idaho, but it was a while before that that I actually got in and swam. In the summer of 2017, I swam with the fam at the Boise reservoir. It was a good day, and we had fun, but then I came down with this horrid bacterial infection that left me wishing for death. I hadn't heard of that particular critter before; I guess it was a big enough deal for the county epidemiologist to call me up and interview me over the phone. Guess I lost my nerve after that!

6) John unexpectedly proposed to Chrissy on vacation, but he was afraid airport security would ruin the surprise when they went through his carry on very thoroughly. He worried she would see the ring box and he'd have to drop down to one knee right there at the airport! Tell us about one of your flights: your first, your most recent or your most memorable.

It was just really odd flying back here to the East Coast this past summer. The jets were sparsely populated instead of overcrowded, and there was no food or drink service, and we were all constantly reminded to pull up our masks here or that way or whatever. It was tense and scary on the one hand, but also just another adventure arrow to stick in our quivers, I guess.

7) John is currently a coach on The Voice. The other coaches are Nick Jonas, Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton. Of those four singers, which is your favorite? 

Kelly Clarkson opens up about suicidal thoughts in her early career

Gotta go with my girl Kelly! I was nursing my first newborn Chloë when Kelly competed on and won the first season of American Idol.

8) In 2005, when this song was popular, Johnny Carson died. After he retired from The Tonight Show in 1993, he traveled extensively and discovered he especially enjoyed photographic safaris in Africa. If time and money were no object, where would you go on vacation?

Pastel-colored Jupiter dazzles in gorgeous Hubble telescope photo | Space

I'd have all the money and the time, you say?! Well sure, I'd visit all the continents in turn, thoroughly and passionately. But I wouldn't stop there. I'd say hello to Moon and then head outward for a glimpse of Mars before I hovered out around my favorite planet, Jupiter. I'll end this story of mine there, though, since it's too far-fetched even for me.

9) Random question -- In your typical day, what's the longest you usually go without saying a word to another person: all day, a few hours, an hour, or five minutes?

03202021 Paco

Right now, maybe about an hour, possibly two hours. But I've always got this little guy and his chonky sister to talk to!

All right, phew, I made it and hopefully will save it in time in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1...

Enjoy your Spring beginning, y'all!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Just Because

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

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

I had not ever heard this song before.

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

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: Just Because (1956)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15 TOP Things To Do in Memphis | Attractions & Activities

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

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

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

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

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

Shock Images | Free Vectors, Stock Photos & PSD

No way in hell!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Holiday Light Displays | VisitMaryland.org

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

Have a wonderful week on purpose, everybody!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Halloween

Hello, all you ghosts and goblins - or is that your kids and grandkids and nieces and nephews this weekend?

My three kids want to go trick-or-treating this year, all as ghosts. Mind you, they are 16, 18, and 20 years old! I'm hands-off on this one. Other things to worry about and stuff. Actually I'm pretty happy that they're getting along enough to do that together at their ages!

Let's get to it.

~*~*~*~*~

Welcome to Sunday Stealing, with our host Bev Sykes of the blog "Funny the World."
 
Here, we will steal all types of questions from every corner of the blogosphere, with hopes that we will work hard to find the most interesting and intelligent questions. Link up here if you're playing along today! Cheers to all of us thieves!
 
*

Stolen from madame writer blog

 1) Have you ever played with a Ouija Board?

30 Hilarious Letterboard Quotes | The Funny Beaver | Message board quotes,  Letter board, Lettering

I have been present when one has been used/played with. I don't recall be2ing part of the game or whatever you call it.


2) Favorite horror monster or villain?

660 Edward Scissorhands Photos and Premium High Res Pictures - Getty Images

I'm going to flip it on you a little bit, I think, and say Edward Scissorhands.


3) If you were dared to spend the night in a “haunted house”, would you do it?

Haunted House ~ Silly Bunt

 

No, I don't take dares. Like, ever. If I'm going to do something, I'm going to do it anyway and don't need a dare to propel. The converse is also true.

4) Are you superstitious?

Funny Superstition Quotes. QuotesGram

Nah, not really. I'll knock wood, but it's more as a habit than any particular belief system that it's going to do anything.

5) Do you ever see figures in your peripheral vision?

What does this question have to do to with anything?

6) Ever made a potion of any sort?

Pin on Bergamont

I mean, when I was in my full-on Young Living days, I made what I called potions and concoctions all the time. But nothing like what I imagine this is referring to.

7) Do you get scared easily?

Shirley Davis Says, "Let's Define CPTSD" - 501c3.buzz

Oh, yeah. Scream, jump, the whole nine.

8) Have you ever played Bloody Mary?

No. I'd never even heard of that until my daughter Chloë, the one who is now 20, came home from Kindergarten or First or Second grade (sorry I can't remember precisely, honey!) at 6 or 7 years old (?), completely traumatized by it. And she still is to this day, even hearing the name of it. So I don't ever mention it.

9) Would you ever go to a graveyard at night?

Istanbul is expensive even after death | Daily Sabah

Sure, and I have. I find them peaceful and restful. Not this one, though; I believe it's in Istanbul. (Hubs has been in Turkey, but I have not!)

10) Would you rather go to a Halloween party or go trick or treating?

30 Best Wheelchair Costumes 2021 - Adaptive Halloween Costumes for Kids

If Rob could rig up this costume for me in my wheelchair, I'd totally go around the neighborhood. Shoot, what time is it???

11) Whilst watching scary movies, are you the person who yells at the characters, the person with their eyes covered the whole time, or the person who falls asleep?

I don't know, I told you I refuse to watch 'em!

12) Favorite scary book?

Why Kubrick's The Shining Wasn't as Scary as Its Marketing Campaign |  IndieWire

I remember in college, I started to read The Shining. But when I realized I was closing my eyes at all the really scary parts, I tossed it aside. I've never picked up it (or watched it) since. I did read a lot of Dean Koontz back in the day. Best I can do, I think.

13) How old were you when you saw your first horror movie?

Heh. Well.

Yentl (1983) - IMDb

The last movie I saw with my mother before she died was Yentl, at the theater, just the two of us. Mama passed away in April 1984, when I was a little girl. Not too scary, right?

Movie Review – Children of the Corn (1984) – The Revenant Review

Shortly after Mom died, within a month, Dad put Children of the Corn on HBO one night, for the three of us (my big sister, too) to watch during whatever dinner was. I couldn't leave. I had no choice but to sit there and try not to watch and just keep my head down while I ate. I was seven and sufficiently horrified.

How a Cat Inspired Freddy Krueger From 'A Nightmare on Elm Street'

And then... well, let me back up and say that if you told me my dad waited two full months after my mom was put in the ground to start dating, I probably wouldn't believe you. So by the time the first Nightmare on Elm Street came out in July or August 1984, he was already dating his 3rd or 4th woman at least - and the one who unfortunately would become my stepmother. So her two daughters (my future older stepsisters) and my sister and I were sent to the theater to watch Freddy do his thing. I was still seven, mind you. I think that was the movie where Mindy (my oldest future stepsis) put her arm in front of my face for the whole movie, or gave me her hoodie, or something, knowing I was terrified. (See, this is all one big reason why I choose not to scare myself on purpose.)

Porky's II: The Next Day (1983) - YouTube

Okay, I know Porky's II isn't a horror movie (or is it?), but hear me out. Same year. I'm still seven. (!!!) Steps are over at our house. Everyone wants pizza except my father, so that's ordered, and then future stepma starts the process of making him fried chicken. Then they queue up Porky's II on HBO because, again, watching age-appropriate television was totally a huge value for my dad. So they go back and forth between dinner prep and Porky's II. Eventually, they become completely transfixed by Porky's and forget to go back to chicken. Soon, a grease fire starts. Pro tip: If you ever have a grease fire, you should throw baking soda on it, NOT flour. Dad threw a ton of flour on it, which blew it up into huge flames. 

Seeing those flames licking the kitchen cabinets and the ceiling (right above which was my bed, my room), Dad panicked and grabbed that pan to take it outside. Instead of sanely going out the front door, he went through the garage side door, to go out through the garage. But the pan handle started to get too hot for him to hold, and he was afraid that if he dropped it, he might get some of that burning hot grease on his precious classic cars in that garage. So what did Dad do? He turned around and came back in. He made it about three steps before the handle became unbearably hot for him, and then he dropped it. Right where Mindy and I were sitting. (The other two girls managed to escape the worst of it.)

I'll skip the rest of that story for now except to say that I still have the scars from that night. Some are physical.


14) What was your first Halloween costume?

Girls Little Old Lady Costume | Party City

I'm pretty sure I was an old lady. With the curlers. And maybe a cane.

15) If you could have a spooky Halloween pet (black cat, owl, bat, rat, wolf), what would you pick?

 
248384209_385844803152684_2082300175706472697_n
I already do! Okay, so technically this little lady, Sugarplum Yogurt Fairy, belongs to 16yo Sophia, but we all love her to pieces! She's full of nonsense, whimsy, troublemaking and mischief, but not spook. And she's soft as a motherfluffer!
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
Look at that, y'all - I did Saturday 9 and Sunday Stealing in the same weekend! I haven't done that in ages. Shouldn't there be some kind of prize? 😆😆😆
 
I hope you all have a delightful Sunday and just the kind of Hallowe'en you're hoping for. Cheerio!
 
Fin.

Saturday 9: Cry

Image result for johnnie ray cry

Welcome back, S9 friends and the world beyond (since I have such a significant following)! Am I the only one who is shocked we're nearing the end of February already?!!

Link up here if you're joining us this week.

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: Cry (1952)

Unfamiliar with this song? Hear it here.

1) In this song, Johnnie Ray assures us we'll feel better if we cry. Do you agree?
 
Image result for crying
 
 I totally agree! I take meds that usually inhibit my ability to cry, so when I feel like crying, and am not able to, I actually kinda feel worse. Oh, and the other day (Wednesday) would have been my mother's 70th birthday. Since we lost her when she was 33 years old, my mom at 70 is almost unimaginable for me. I was looking at a picture of her:
 
 
... and just thinking thoughts, and the next thing I knew, I was sobbing my wee heart out. It was cathartic.

2) He also mentions waking from a dream, believing it was real. Has that ever happened to you?
 
Image result for dream funny
 
YES! All.The.Time.

3) Because this record was such a massive hit, Johnnie Ray was nicknamed "The Prince of Wails." Without looking it up, do you know who is currently the Prince of Wales?
 
Image result for the princce of wales
 
Oh, yes. No hesitation.

4) To cash in on the success of this single, 20th Century Fox cast Johnnie Ray in a big-budget musical, There's No Business Like Show Business. Today it's best remembered as a Marilyn Monroe movie. Have you seen many of Marilyn's films?
 
Image result for marilyn monroe rare photos
 
Nope. I don't think I have seen a single one. I might have to remedy that. Where should I start?

5) After graduating from high school, Johnnie worked at low-paying jobs, including bus boy and soda jerk. He found he made better tips when he began playing piano in restaurants. Have you ever worked for tips?

This Was Our Servers Shirt
 
 
6) In 1969, Johnnie was in the news a lot again because he performed with Judy Garland during her European tour and was best man at her wedding to Mickey Deans. Tell us what you wore to the most recent wedding you attended.

Image result for silver bridesmaid dresses
 
I haven't been to a wedding since my BFF Lisa got married in 2002! I was in the wedding, and all of us girls wore different style but same maker silver bridesmaid dresses. I was still breastfeeding 9-month-old Chloë then, so I had to take that situation into account when I chose mine!
 
7) In 1952, when this song was a hit, Mr. Potato Head made his debut. It was the first toy advertised on television. What TV commercial have you seen recently?
 
Image result for ashton kutcher mila kunis commercial
 
I really had to think about this one, since I don't really watch much TV, but then I remembered the Cheetos commercial with Mila Kunis, Shaggy, & Ashton at the Super Bowl. I probably wouldn't have watched, except for the Chiefs. Hubs is from  Missouri, so two in a row?! He was lovin' it. (Except, you know, for them not winning this one, and Brady, and all that.)
 
8) Also in 1952, chlorophyll was all the rage for banishing bad breath. Colgate led the way by adding it to their toothpaste. Do you use gum, mints, mouthwash, or breath strips?
 
Food-drink-smelly_food-stinky_breath-bad_breath-perspectives-personal_perspectives-shl111129_low
Very occasionally mints or mouthwash, but rarely even those. Chlorophyll?! I was not aware of that.

9) Random question -- Congratulations! You won a free three night/two day weekend for two in Las Vegas! The weather is predicted to be sunny and 65º each day you're there. It's 12:00 noon on your first day. Are we most likely to find you: a) gambling in the casino or b) having breakfast in bed or c) outside, enjoying the sun and the sights?

Image result for las vegas cirque du soleil

...or d. Taking in a show. I particularly love Cirque du Soleil - saw "O" once, years ago, there. I don't gamble and probably already did (b) by that point. I'll work on (c) after the show.

~*~*~*~*~

Okay, now that I did a thing, I think it's time for my first nap of the day. I hate these damn naps! Be well, y'all.

Fin.


Saturday 9: One Night Standards

Ashley McBryde will stick to the “One Night Standards” on tour in 2020 –  Algona Radio

Hello, y'all. Another weekend has snuck right on up on me. I missed last weekend entirely, seems like.

If I didn't tell you here, we put our Idaho house on the market, and within hours we had an offer for the full amount of our request. So that was exciting. Once we close on that, we can start looking for our new home here on the Eastern shore of Maryland. Woot!

Hope y'all are doing well. ♥

Link up here if you're playing along with us this weekend.

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: One Night Standards (2019)

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

1) The video for this song takes place in a motel and the story is told from the point of view of the desk clerk. Have you ever worked in a hotel, motel, or bed-and-breakfast?

I have not. But I used to have this fantasy of owning and running a boutique bed & breakfast in St. Pete Beach or Sarasota, Florida.

2) Ashley McBryde sings that she's not Cinderella, a reference to the fairy-tale heroine warned to return from the ball before midnight. When did you recently stay up until the wee small hours of the morning?

Today! I can't help it. Try as I might to get myself on a "normal" human, diurnal schedule, my body just won't comply. I always end right back up on a nocturnal schedule, try as I might to fight it.

3) Ashley had been working hard as a singer/songwriter for eleven years before she was discovered and proclaimed one of County's best new artists. What was your life like 11 years ago?

Oh, it was busy! By then I had a 4-year-old daughter, a 6-year-old son, and an 8-year-old daughter. I was a stay-home mom, but we were rarely at home. I think I had started my bakery by then and was getting orders fairly frequently; I was also still running my 501(c)(3) in memory of my living son's twin. Hubs was still Active-Duty Navy, so we mostly scheduled everything around that. I hated our house in Virginia Beach, but I loved living there - it was a great location!

4) Ashley is from Mammoth Springs, AR. One of the most popular stops on Main Street -- for locals and tourists alike -- is Spring Dipper Ice Cream. More than 20 flavors are made right there on the premises, from Jamoca Almond Fudge to French Vanilla. When confronted with such a wide selection, do you tend to order your familiar favorite or try something new?

Pistachio Ice Cream Recipe | Southern Living

It's kind of a toss-up on that.  I love pistachio ice cream, but I rarely find it anymore. So if I see that, I'm probably getting it. If it's not there, I have to look at and evaluate each and every single other flavor to see what there is. I know what I'd like and what I wouldn't. And so I whittle down my choices until I reach my answer: wait a minute! I can't eat ice cream!

5) In 2007, she moved to Nashville to pursue a music career. Have you ever relocated for a job?

Guam | History, Geography, & Points of Interest | Britannica

Well, you didn't specify that it had to be my job (although I have done that, too), so yes: in 2002, we moved to Guam on the other side of the world for Rob's next station in the US Navy. Chloë was a baby, and I was early in my pregnancy with the twins. We had a dog and a cat who flew separately from us and got lost, then were found and had to quarantine for a month or so. This all cost a pretty penny, and seemed like it was soooo much flying with a 13-month-old! So imagine how thrilled we were when we had to do it again and go back to the States four months later! (At that time I was about six months pregnant, but it was twins, and I had the same polyhydramnios - excess amniotic fluid - that I'd had with Chloë, so the flight attendants were eyeing my belly like, "Are you sure you're allowed to be flying right now?!"

6) Whenever Ashley hears a Carpenters song, she thinks of her mother, who loved Karen Carpenter's voice. Tell us a song that reminds you a loved one.

My mother loved the song "Hey There, Georgy Girl" and used to play it, almost daily, on her organ in our house in first Monroe, then Baldwinsville, New York. I just thought of it, and listened to it, now for the first time in years. I could see her so joyfully playing the organ and singing along, smiling, sounding beautiful. She had a lovely voice and was so talented.

7) In 2019, the year this song was recorded, Notre Dame Cathedral was damaged in a fire. Have you ever visited Paris?

Cours Saleya Flower Market | Flower market, Healthy lunches for kids, Fruit  displays

No, not yet. The closest I've come was the flower market in Nice. And on that same 2008 trip, we also went to Eze. Beautiful!

8) Also in 2019, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (aka Harry and Meghan) had a baby boy. Is anyone in your life expecting a baby?

Wow, I don't think so. If anyone I know is pregnant, I do not think I am aware of it yet. Been a long time since I could say that!

9) Random question: Do you always want to hear the truth about yourself?

Fragile Please Handle With Care 5" x 3" Shipping Labels - SCL536

I would like to say yes, but I am afraid that answer is actually no, not always. I'm just too sensitive. I don't know. Can I say "maybe"??

~*~*~*~*~

Well, kids, I'm off to take my brood for a spin in my new wheels. We're going all the way to the post office. Exciting!

Have a lovely!

Fin.


Saturday 9: I'll Always Love My Mama

Buy Tickets to 70's Soul with The Intruders in Santa Ana on Jul 26 ...

Welcome back, y'all! It's a royal ball, with hip-hop clubs and concert halls! (Sorry. Every once in a while my mind belts out that old 90s rap lyric.)

Hope you guys are still hanging in there and not going absolutely stir-crazy. I'm gonna jump right in here and get going, so make sure you link up here if you're playing along with us this weekend - and we hope you do!

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: I'll Always Love My Mama (1973)

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

1) This week's featured artists, The Intruders, sing that they don't know how their mama made it through the week without ever getting a good night's sleep. How did you sleep last night?
 
Perpetually Curious: Perpetually Tired
 
I had a few hours. My sleep schedule is so erratic, I never know whether I'll get any at all - or more than 12 at a time. It's ridonk.

2) The Intruders performed this song on Soul Train, a syndicated show that ran for more than 3 decades. What show do you try never to miss?
 
The Big Bang Theory Intro GIF by CBS - Find & Share on GIPHY
 
I don't watch much TV at all these days, now that The Big Bang Theory has ended its run. I have about a billion episodes of dozens of shows recorded on the DVR right now, but I never just sit down to watch!
 
3) On Soul Train, the Intruders wore solid black shirts beneath their brightly colored jackets. Black, white, khaki, navy and gray are considered neutral colors, because they go with everything. If we were to check your closet, which would we find you wear most often: black, white, khaki, navy or gray?
 
Outfit ideas. Denim shirt. White jeans. Red bag. Infinity scarf ...
 
I probably wear equal parts black and navy as my neutrals. And now that I've just upgraded to a big, bold, bright red purse kinda like this one, I foresee even more neutrals in my future!

4) Especially for Mother's Day: Access Hollywood named Carol Brady of The Brady Bunch TV's #1 mom. Who is your favorite TV mom?
 
Sophia Petrillo | Golden girls quotes, Golden girls, Girl quotes
 
Ohhh, I think Sophia Petrillo of The Golden Girls could give Carol a run for her money!

5) Mother Winters always gave Sam peppermint tea to calm her stomach. Do you have any tried-and-true home remedies to share?
 
20170112_000949
I'm pretty sure I shared this photo in January 2017, when I had badly burned my left hand and arm while cooking.  I had just recently learned that lavender oil would take the pain out of a burn injury, so I was grateful I had some on hand to put it to the test - and it worked! Once I doused this wound with liberal amounts of lavender oil, the entire thing was completely painless. It's something my family and I have since put to the test many times, always with excellent results.

6) Sam's mother always tips 15% in restaurants. Sam has worked in food service and is more judgmental, tipping between 10% and 25%, depending on the quality of the service. What's your tipping policy? Are you more like Sam or her mother? How do you handle tips for carry out or delivery during this Covid-19 crisis?
 
12 Cleverest Tip Jars - tip jar, funny tips - Oddee
 
I'm definitely more like Sam in this regard. As for tipping during COVID-19, well, I guess it's pretty much been a non-issue. I don't think we've ordered food since it began.

7) When the tip of her shoelace becomes frayed, Sam's mother snips off the end and then paints the tip with clear nail polish. Good as new! Sam thinks that's crazy because you can just buy new laces for less than $2. Are you more frugal like mother or spendthrift like daughter?
 
32 Best frugal comics images | Comics, Frugal, Cartoon
 
I'm somewhere in the middle. I absolutely despise waste, but I also don't mind spending money for good, new things if they're worth it.

8) Mother Winters loves how french vanilla smells and burns her Yankee Candles all year around. Do you use scented candles or air fresheners?
 
Parsley Lime Flame Candle $20 C
I would rather burn candles - but only non-petroleum based ones. And never vanilla; it's a migraine trigger for me. My girls and I started an eco-conscious candle company about a year and a half ago, with only soy and beeswax candles, natural fragrances, organic cotton wicks, and so on - but it didn't catch on fast enough for the girls' liking, and so we folded altogether too quickly.
 
9) Sam is celebrating Mother's Day with her mother's favorite, Hershey Bars. Would you prefer classic milk chocolate, dark chocolate or chocolate with almonds?
 
Product.Name}
 
I'd eat any of it - just no white chocolate, please! That's too much of an oxymoron for me (and also, it's yucky). I prefer Green & Black's Organic Milk Chocolate with Almonds bars, but they don't seem to be sold anywhere here in our podunk little town, so I can only get them when we go into Boise - where I invariably forget about them. Sigh...
 
~*~*~*~*~
All righty. Now I'm off to see what chocolate we DO have in this house, and assuming I'll come up empty-handed, I think I shall take a nap. Have a great weekend, y'all!
 
Fin.

Sunday Stealing: Gratitude

Sunday Stealing

Hey there. Nice to see you. Welcome back. Pull up a chair and let's get into our feelings of gratitude and thankfulness, shall we?

Link up here if you're thieving along with the rest of us this week!

~*~*~*~*~

Stolen from Gratitude Journal on Pinterest

Name a highlight of your day:

BeFunky-collage (1)

Sophia grew out her bangs several years back and suddenly decided yesterday (Saturday) to cut bangs again on a whim. I think she looks so cute!

What made you smile today?

Shh, It's a Secret {Sakura Haruno FanFic} - RainDropS - Wattpad

Some of the little gifts I ordered for Sophie's 15th birthday next week came in the mail; I really hope she loves them!

What made you laugh today?

20200306_112428

This dog. We get monthly PupBoxes and BarkBoxes for our two pooches, our tiny Chihuahua, Paco (above), and his somewhat bigger Chiweenie sister, Tapi. Because of that, they have a ton of puppy toys. Tapi, the younger of the pair, loves all her toys and regularly makes the rounds amongst them all, choosing a new favorite seemingly every hour or so. Paco, on the other hand, is loyal to just two or three, so when he finds one that he has previously tucked away for safe-keeping, he goes completely from nearly-six-year-old dog to puppy in an instant. And when we tease him by trying to pull the toy away to throw for him to retrieve, he fiercely guards it. It's pretty adorable!

Recall a time when you needed encouragement:

Pin on abuso emocional

As I've gone through my healing journey from the many horrors I experienced as a child, my husband and, now that they're older, my children have been very supportive as I go through therapy and begin the process of writing my book about my story.
They've really been great.

What is a luxury you are thankful for?

Josephine House

Oh, gosh, so many things. So many. One is this house that we bought in June last year. It's absolutely a dream come true, even if it is in a tiny town that I don't love... so far! I'm thankful for it every single day. But I have been fortunately on many levels.

Favorite childhood memory:

Mom and Me1

Well, there aren't a lot of good ones. Before my mother died, she used to put my hair up in curlers every now and then. I remember crying in the nights from the curlers and the net she wrapped around them, since they pressed into my head as I slept. But I loved the time spent with my beautiful mom, just sitting on her lap and listening to her beautiful voice.

Favorite song – and why?

Cee Lo Green GIF

Well, I don't usually do well with these types of questions, because I'm so capricious that I can never actually decide on a favorite even in any given instant. But since I just went back a few years and re-listened to Cee Lo Green's The Lady Killer album, which I've always loved, I'll say that for right now it's maybe "Love Gun." Very sing-along-able!

Where is your favorite place? Why?

University of Miami conference brings sports industry leaders to ...

There are so many places in the world that I adore, but one my absolute favorites is the University of Miami campus. That's where I lived for three-plus years after I finally escaped the house of horrors I grew up in, and it was just the balm I needed. My time there was incredible, and I absolutely cherish those memories.

What is your favorite scent?

The 12 Best Citrus Perfumes to Try This Summer

My favorite scents are the fruity ones, and I absolutely adore any of the citrus ones. Mmmm.

What is your favorite topic to talk about?

8x10 Dads Day Photo for Rob

My kids! Typical mother.

What do you like doing so much that you lose track of time?

The best nap memes :) Memedroid

Lots of things... although lately, it's just naps!

If you had 5 minutes and the whole world was forced to listen, what would you say?

Greta Thunberg es la Persona del Año 2019 según la revista Time

I wouldn't need the whole five minutes. I would just have to tell people to listen to Sweden's 17-year-old Greta Thunberg on the human-driven climate crisis, because she's absolutely right; the kids from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting/March For Our Lives on gun control, because they're absolutely right, and so on. Adults! Listen to the kids. They know and understand more than we think they do - and a lot of times, more than we do.

Whose life do you envy the most, and why?

noreliabletest-infographic

I don't envy anyone's life, but there may be certain aspects of some people's lives that I do envy: kids who grew up in a loving, nurturing environment; moms and dads who never experienced the loss of a child; and currently, as I'm nearing six years in suffering with Lyme Disease, people who enjoy relatively good health. But I know everyone has their cross to bear, so I'm a "be careful what you wish for" type!

What would you different with your education if you got a chance to start over?

Jellyfish GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I would follow my own advice, which I regularly give to my own kids and others who'll soon be striking out on their own: Whatever it is you think you want to do with your life, try to shadow somebody who already has that job. For as long as you can, in as many different situations as possible. This gives a great opportunity to really discern whether this is the "right" job for that person. Wish I'd thought to do that earlier! (In the end, though, it worked out: I've been a stay-home mom pretty much since I eloped with my husband, because I got pregnant almost instantaneously 🤣🤣 and difficult and high-risk pregnancies. I wouldn't change that!)

What would you do with your life if you had no fear?

World's Best Cliff Diving: Drop it Like it's Hot

I would listen far more to my own instincts and desires and far less to others' expectations of me. I would let go of that nagging voice in my head that worries too much about what other people think of me and stop dwelling on things I've said or done for a million years after they've happened. Oh, and I would go cliff diving.

~*~*~*~*~

That was fun; thanks, Bev!

Everyone: I hope you are healthy and keeping the covids away! Stay safe: stay home and help flatten that curve!

Fin.


Saturday 9: The Addams Family

Image result for The Addams Family Gif

BOO!

Howdy, everybody! Welcome back to another fun edition of Saturday 9, brought to us by the wonderful Crazy Sam. Since Hallowe'en was last night, this week's question center around the theme song to the deliciously creepy show, The Addams Family. Fun!

Link up here if you're playing along today!

~*~*~*~*~

The Addams Family (1964)
Unfamiliar with this week's song? Hear it here.
 
1) One of TV's spookiest families was inspired by a series of New Yorker cartoons. What's the last magazine you flipped through?

Image result for laura dern magazine cover

When I received the latest issue of Town & Country magazine in the mail the other day, I noticed down there on the bottom right where Laura Dern was quoted as saying, "I will NOT be rich!" But, umm... after I flipped through 20-some pages of Cartier diamonds and the like, I finally found the article. She is wealthy beyond measure compared to most of us, along with talented and famous. I still can't figure out that quote.

2) The Addams' butler, Lurch, was originally conceived as a mute. But then actor Ted Cassidy ad libbed the line, "You rang?" and Lurch had a voice, and a catchphrase. Can you think of another catchphrase connected to a TV character?

Image result for joey lawrence blossom whoa gif

I had a crush on Joey Lawrence way back on first his days on Gimme a Break! and then Blossom. He was so hot! (He still is, but I think now he's so careful with his grooming that it turns me off.) Anyway, I haven't thought of this in a while, so it amused me when my first thought was his "Whoa!" catchphrase from Blossom

3) Now here's the most important question of the week: Do you prefer The Addams Family or The Munsters?

Image result for The Munsters gif

Oh, that's just not fair! But by a slim margin, I think I lean toward The Munsters. I love them both!

4) What's the scariest movie you've ever seen?

Image result for Children of the corn gif

I'm not a fan of the horror movie genre, so I don't watch many of them. I was forced to watch many as a kid, and I still have nightmares. Right after my mother died, my dad forced me to sit through Children of the Corn on HBO. I was seven. I was terrified. This entertained him. Bastard.

5) Thursday was Halloween. What goodies did you give the trick or treaters?

Related image

Hubs bought Reese's peanut butter cups and Kit-Kats, along with Dum-Dums and fun pencils so we didn't leave out the TPP kiddos.

6) Are you attending/have you attended any Halloween parties this year?

Image result for Halloween party funny gif

No, not this year. Hardly ever, really.

7) Did you carve a jack o'lantern this year?

Image result for funny jackolantern

Oh, my God! With everything we had going on last month, I completely forgot!

8) Do you eat candy corn all year around ... only at Halloween ... or never?

Image result for candy corn funny

N. E. V. E. R.

9) In 1964, when The Addams Family premiered, one of the most popular store-bought Halloween costumes was Bambi. It came with a plastic mask held on by a thin elastic band. Tell us about a memorable Halloween costume from your childhood.

Image result for ballerina halloween costume

I was a dancer until I was 15, so a lot of times when Halloween rolled around, if I hadn't come up with a costume yet I just wore something from the last recital!

~*~*~*~*~

Snow in Mountain Home 10262019

I hope y'all had a spookily fun night on Halloween. Now, onward - happy November! We've already had snow here in Idaho, as of one week ago. (And at least once more since. Have you?!)

I am not ready.

Cheers,

Fin.


Chocolate Chip Cookies For The Soul

Photo_1572056781512

The other night, I was having a late-night conversation with Chloë and Rob. Now that she has graduated from high school but is taking a gap year before heading to college, this happens frequently. Especially now that she's 18 years old🍪

At some point in the conversation, Chloë - who was wearing high-heeled black booties with dark red roses on them - stood up, took off a shoe, and jokingly drew it back as if to throw it at her father. Something I either cannot or will not name in that motion, her demeanor, her expression caused me - lying in bed, on my back - to pull my arms up around my head as a shield. I shut my eyes as tightly as humanly possible and involuntarily protected myself fully from harm that was never going to come. This time. This time, it was only in jest. 🍪

Eventually, they realized I was not fooling around and that this was a completely involuntary response to stimulus. I could not pull my arms away from my head. They had to do it. I was shaking uncontrollably. I was sort of quietly sobbing, if you can call it that, but you only have my permission to do so if you've experienced this same unwanted bodily reaction to a reminder of some prior horror. 🍪

It was the most epic panic attack I've had since September 2003, when Hurricane Isabel struck Virginia Beach and tore it up, provoking in me even more PTSD related to everything that had happened nine months earlier with Supertyphoon Ponson'a on Guam; Isabel hit 6 months after our twins were born, after the one-minute-older of those boys had unexpectedly died in the NICU. The last one that big happened during a voice lesson in high school. Understandably, anxiety this big comes from painful memories and makes new ones when it strikes. 🍪

Obviously, Chloë was shook. Beyond horrified. Beyond contrite. It's challenging to explain and assure that she did not cause that and had no control over that, because her own eyes were trying to convince her of something else. Sometimes, the truth lies deep beneath the outer façade🍪

Now, I am a stress eater. No arguing there. We've all watched my weight go way up and way down in response to stress over the years. I bet if one plotted my BMI against the course of my life experiences, the results would support many hypotheses. For example, if you compared all the photographs of me before April 9th, 1984, I went from kind of a skinny little runt to... not so much.
That's the day Mom died. She was an angel in disguise. When we lost her, many of us were immediately broken. Ruined... maybe not. But definitely broken. 🍪

{Something just occurred to me. I absolutely hate it when people complain about the words "died" and "dead," and try to force me into saying things like "passed away" instead. Those words remind me of a feather drifting down from the sky, lighly floating this way and that, and then coming to a soft landing at the end. No. I'm sorry if I'm the first one to inform you "pass away" people of this, but not everybody does that. Some people go too early, too fast, forced against their own will, violently, roughly, painfully. No passing away there, no feathery-floating with a soft, pillowy landing. You might like to think it always goes that way, but I don't even want that for myself. I've said for million years that I want to get killed being eaten by a rogue shark, but I'm sitting here in Idaho, so that probably won't happen, either. My mother died. She is dead. My son died. He is dead. Cold? No. Simple facts. Hurts me, too, but there is nothing I can do to change it. I've tried everything. 🍪}

 So, anyway, in my house I was absolutely taught - both implicitly and explicitly - that my weight was inherently tied to my worth. So when I'm feeling bad about myself, I eat. Then my weight goes up. Then I feel worse about myself. Then I struggle to get thin again, so that I can regain some sense of value. IT's funny, because they're the ones who taught me to eat when stressed in the first place. "What's wrong, Mellie-Ann? What happened? Do you want run over to Dunkin' Donuts?" 🍪

This relationship between value and physical appeal to someone to whom I may not actually want to appeal was so firmly cemented that I've subjected myself to numerous medical and surgical interventions in order to lose weight. We joke about it in this house, but I've had so many organs altered or removed over the years that we actually sometimes forget which ones I still have. My GI tract is no longer recognizable. Additionally, I've succumbed and allowed myself to be physically and sexually abused because of that, so that I could feel valued, so many times it took me until this many years old to finally realize how many more times than just the ones I've counted (two; now add maybe a couple hundred to be in the ballpark?) to finally realize it and allow myself to start forgiving myself for throwing myself away. Here. That's all I'm worth? Have at it. Take it. Whatever. I was numb to it, after all. 🍪

Right now, I'm listening to the entire discography of Nirvana. I completely, sadly understand why Kurt Cobain ended his life. I fully understand that the more you care about the world around you, the more you bear the weight of it on your shoulders. Sometimes, that weight is more than we can continue to bear.

🍪

So, when Rob asked me what he could do for me the other night after the panic attack, all I could think to say was, "I want a cookie." My being was entirely focused upon that concept. There were several problems with that:

1. What was an immediate need did not have an immediate solution.

2. Rob offered to go get me some Grandma's Cookies (eww) to stave off that need, but this was a Nestlé Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookie kind of need.

3. We all know Nestlé is a pretty evil company, whilst I am currently on a personal Know Better, Do Better campaign. Nevertheless, this need persisted.

4. The need dictated that these NTCCCs be the ones baked my me. I try not to pat myself on the back too much when it comes to the kitchen. (That was my mother-in-law's domain; when I had a question, I called/texted/emailed her. I miss that.) But we've all mutually agreed here that the ones I bake are the ultimate. However, I am not physically up to kitchen duty at the moment.

5. I have not baked these cookies since we lived in Miami, before we moved. I remember the occasion. I had learned that the two young men, Thomas and Kyle - my favorite kids who worked there - at the nearby Racetrac station were also motherless, and no one had ever baked cookies for them. Whaaaa? I immediately went into nurture mode. They were jump-up-and-down ecstatic when Chloë and I brought them two heaping plates of cookies just for them. There may have been tears. There were definitely smiles. I never baked them when we lived in Boise. And I have no experience with our oven here in Mountain Home.

20170219_230553

20170219_232133_001
6. We didn't have the ingredients on hand, either the eponymous ones or the brown sugary ones. And we really didn't have the funds to allocate to acquiring them.

7. I'm trying my damnedest to strictly adhere to my vegan lifestyle, but NTCCCs are definitely not vegan. And so on... 🍪

And so I went to sleep, once I fully calmed down. When I woke up, there were brown sugar and chocolate chips on the kitchen island. A stick of butter was softening on the counter. Prep work had been done. My heart softened along with the butter. 🍪

When Jack woke up and saw that yellow bag of goodness, he offered to - no, asked if he could - bake the cookies. He's actually pretty badass in the kitchen. It must be in the genes. His uncle, my brother-in-law, is a renowned chef in Columbia, Missouri, and beyond. 🍪

Pictured in the photo at the top are cookies from Jack's first tray in the oven. One of the many things I love about this kid is that, despite having Noonan Syndrome and being on the Autism Spectrum, he still invites me into his thoughts as we discuss how to do this or that and how to analyze what went well, what didn't go well, and adjust accordingly. So he kept tweaking the baking time after deciding these were a little crispier than he wanted them to be. He's not stupid. He thinks he is, and some people who don't know him very well treat him as though he is, he's definitely not. I blame the sugar for the crispiness of this batch, though I absolutely believe him that he followed the recipe, down to the molecule. 🍪

Despite never having made chocolate chip cookies by himself (he and I, just the two of us, had done them together numerous times in Miami - and also in Virginia Beach), these were OUTSTANDING. ' Nuff said. 🍪

Rob had bought a 24oz bag of chocolate chips. The experienced bakers among us will immediately recognize that as enough for a double batch. So, all told, Rob found a way and went out to get the ingredients for the thing my id said I needed, but which my superego tried to hush. Realistically, thankfully, my ego allowed me to be thankful and gratefully eat - sharing far more than I took myself, like a "good girl" - those cookies, no matter what my sense of morals dictated. Chloë and I chatted about that in a way, all while we were continuing our discussion of the way people whom we don't know yet begin to engage us online. She'll be going out in the world where I can't protect her soon, so it's very important that she be guarded and careful, as we enjoyed Round One of Jack's cookies. And for Round Two, after she'd finally awakened and come downstairs, Sophia baked the cookies for which Jack had created the dough. 🍪

I've learned many painful lessons in my life, but I've also been fortunate enough to recognize (albeit not always immediately) that I've learned some very beneficial ones along the way. One of those is to accept it when others love you and show that through kindnesses like these. Accepting that is extremely challenging for me; I struggle with it. But here, Rob and our children reinforced that lesson. My inner being, which thought I needed cookies, learned that what I really need is to be able to accept the love of others that I probably don't deserve. Phew, that's painful for me to even write! 🍪

My takeaway: angels don't always have wings. Heroes don't always wear capes. 💞

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Deep Thoughts Meme

Hey, all. Welcome back. Quiet weekend here in Idaho - and COLD - so I'mma hunker down and get started here. Join us here if you'd like, wouldja?

Cheers to all of us thieves!

><> *  ><> * ><> * ><> * ><>

 

These are questions suggested by Markandangel

If you could instill one piece of advice in a newborn baby’s mind, what advice would you give?

Must-Know Tips for Breastfeeding a Sick Baby

I'd whisper into her ear, "Hey, little baby. If you could drop the nipple and let mama sleep once in a while, I promise you she'll be a much happier mama." (At least it was true for me!)

What is the most desirable trait another person can possess?

Image result for kindness

☼☼☼ kindness ☼☼☼

What are you most grateful for?

Enhance (1)

When our son Robby died, suddenly and unexpectedly, in 2003, I was lost. Like, my mind was completely elsewhere. It was gone for three years. For those who haven't heard this story before, I liken it to this: When I was a small child, we spent summers at the Jersey Shore. My parents, in large part, were neglectful. If you've ever been to the Shore, you know those waves get humongous, and they will knock a toddler down in nothing flat. For many long seconds - a full minute, maybe - I would roll along the bottom of the seafloor, tumbling and tumbling along underwater, until the ocean finally saw fit to spit me out up on the shore. (No parent of mine ever came running.)

For those three years after Robby died, that's what I felt like. Just underwater, tumbling, not coming up for air. Somehow I managed to mother Chloë, who was 18 months when the twins were born; and Jack, who was Robby's identical twin (this was perhaps the hardest aspect); and Sophia, who we decided we needed to complete our family and fill the hole left by her older brother.

But it was on this day, pictured above, that woke me up. It was the exact day of Sophia's 1st birthday. She was playing and tumbling around with the four bigger kids where we were, but when it was time to do the cake, I dressed her in her very special birthday dress that I'd bought off of a friend of mine. And when I was done, I stepped back and looked at her. And seeing her, I don't know what it was about that scene, woke me up. The ocean finally spat me out on shore. And I'm so thankful.

Is stealing to feed a starving child wrong?

Image result for starving child

Is not feeding the starving child wrong?

What do you want most?

Image result for Lyme disease facts

I want to live to see the future for my kids, maybe their kids, the world... perhaps not suffering in agony every second of it.

Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?

Image result for may the odds be ever in your favor gif

I'm usually equally worried about both things, with some variety in there for things of greater or lesser import.

What has life taught you recently?

Image result for we are the ones we've been waiting for

Life has taught me to DO SOMETHING about those things that have mattered to me - and about which I've been vocal but less active - my entire life. Age and health issues have taught me that I'm running out of time, so that time is NOW.

What is the one thing you would most like to change about the world?

Image result for unfuck the world

So, humans have fucked up the world. Everything we did in the name of money, greed, and power, has fucked the world. Everything we've tried to do to unfuck the previously-fucked things has fucked the world. Now we're on a desperate timeline. What would I do? I would drastically slow down that timeline so that the right people can do the right things to try to help fix it.

Where do you find inspiration?

Image result for greta thunberg

Right now it's her, and youth like her the world around. Including my own.

Can you describe your life in a six word sentence?

I had to come, but stayed.

If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?

Image result for criticism

I think a lot of that comes from the fear of criticism, whether from within or without.

What impact do you want to leave on the world?

Related image

I used to want to be known - like, Nobel Prize-known - for some great scientific discovery. Now, if I'm remembered at all, I'd like to be remembered for giving a big enough damn to make as big a difference for the future as I could, sick, in constant pain, and in a wheelchair and all.

What is the most defining moment of your life thus far?

Image result for fun elopement pictures

Oh, that's always an easy one. Running tail-over-teakettle to get to the courthouse in time to elope with a guy I'd known for two months, laughing the whole way... that's the moment. That takes the proverbial cake.

In the haste of your daily life, what are you not seeing?

Image result for sick from late-stage chronic Lyme Disease

Bruh. I have late-stage Chronic Lyme Disease - amongst other debilities. There is no "haste of my life" anymore.

If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?

Image result for snowball effect meme

I suspect the former question has to do with the snowball effect. Take the road less traveled.

Image result for the almighty dollar

Well, of course I can't answer for everybody, but for me, not doing so many things I love to do (read: travel) comes down to not having enough money to do it.

What lifts your spirits when life gets you down?

Image result for ozzy crazy train gif

Family, obviously. Beauty in nature. And music. Right now I'm blasting Ozzy's "Crazy Train." Bet you didn't expect that from me...

Have you ever regretted something you did not say or do?

Image result for thelma and louise off the cliff gif

Of course. But right now, I don't have the energy to dwell on them.

Has your greatest fear ever come true?

Scan_20160324

Yes. My child, my son, one of my identical twins, died after three days. Every time I hear the word "twin" - even if it's about beds!! - or every time I see paperwork listing him as having been "stillborn" (he was not) or that Jack was the twin who died... and understand, I could go on and on... I go back under those waves for just a moment.

And it's a fucking wonder I didn't murder all the people who told me, "Everything happens for a reason." I swear to God.

Why do we think of others the most when they’re gone?

Image result for angel babies

Well, of course, I can't speak for you, and I don't want to. My mother died at age 33 (I was 7). I'm a motherless daughter, and my mother never got to see her grandchildren. And I'm a bereaved mother. I have some very empty arms. Mostly, over the years since Robby died, I've wondered if he stayed an infant as an angel, or if he grew up like his twin brother Jack. And I wonder if my mother rocked her grandson when I couldn't. And if she helped him toddle in heaven. And if, when he was a young kid, she held his hands while the explored. Stuff like that...💔

What is your most beloved childhood memory?

Mom and Me1

I don't have very many good memories from my childhood. And I have very few memories of my mother at all. I cherish every detail I can remember about Mom, even this one. She was putting curlers in my hair for me to sleep on that night. I hated those curlers; sleeping was impossible. But did I look adorable in my First Grade picture the next day? Yes. Yes, I did. 😍

><> *  ><> * ><> * ><> * ><>

Welp, you can probably guess this post took a lot out of me. There have been tears. But remembering is good. It means I can still do it. Sometimes I can't!

Thank you, Bev, for running this thievery. Love to you.

Fin.


Saturday 9: Shake It Off

Related image

Welcome back, y'all! Well, as you can see I didn't die from my excessively-busy weekend last week (although, as predicted, no comments on my late-entry Sunday Stealing, lol). It's been another busy week as I've kept up and pushed through for the sake of my newfound purpose: Activism. Giving a damn just feels good, you know? Not that I didn't before, of course, but now that I give a damn AND am learning more and better tools to do something about it, it feels really validating.

Anyhoo. My then-14yo daughter Chloë and I saw Taylor Swift perform "Shake It Off" at her 1989 concern in Miami, in October 2015, so this is an exciting one for me. I'd like to think this is a special present to me from Crazy Sam, therefore, but we all know better.

Let's get on with it then, shall we? Link up here if you're a wacky joiner, like we be.

><> * ><> * ><> * ><> * ><>

Shake It Off (2014)

Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.
 
1) This song makes Crazy Sam want to dance. What song inspires you to get on your feet?

Image result for lou bega mambo no 5 gif

So, so, so many songs. Back in grad school, it was Lou Bega doing Mambo No. 5. Love that song!

2) Paul McCartney met Taylor Swift at the SNL 40th Anniversary special and told her he really enjoys playing and singing this song. What's the last song you sang along with?

Related image

I've been playing Hamilton nonstop for the last several days. I haven't had my singing voice in 2+ years, much, but I still can't help it when it comes to Lin-Manuels words. The girls and I would DIE to be able to go see Hamilton in real life!

3) The lyrics tell us Swift "shakes off" nasty gossip and unfair criticism. What about you? Do you worry about what others think of you?

Image result for criticism funny

I've always been one to take to heart - forever and for all my days - the harsh words (and thoughts I imagine) that others have had for me. I turned 43 on 9/8, though, and I feel like this is finally starting to become my time to "shake it off." 

4) Her parents are big music fans, and were going to name their baby (boy or girl) "Taylor" after their favorite artist, James Taylor. Can you think of a singer that your mom and/or dad really enjoyed?

Image result for Ronnie McDowell

This is a painful question for me. When my mother died in 1984, she and my dad had three Ronnie McDowell tapes on pretty heavy rotation in the car. I knew (still know) all the songs. We even went to a Ronnie McDowell/Conway Twitty concert in Syracuse shortly before her death, which I remember pretty clearly for a 7yo.

When I was in college and "home" at my dad's for the first summer, I went snooping through his old pictures and things. I found those three Ronnie McDowell tapes and "liberated" them, 😏 along with a gazillion pictures of my mother.

Then, coming up on one year ago, I happened to find some Ronnie McD songs on... YouTube? Amazon? I don't even know. I gave a listen to them and found myself disgusted by much of the overtly sexist, somewhat predatory lyrics on a song or three. I posted what I thought was a rather innocent update about that on the book of faces, and my dad lost his shit about it, basically about what a liberal treehugger I have become (have always been, hate to break the news to ya, Pops). I told him I was sorry he'd been so foolish to buy into Trump's lies, and he said the immortal words to me, "Just leave me alone."

I haven't spoken to him since. (P.S. No great loss. That narcissistic, abusive, sexist louse is a Trump wannabe through-and-through, and I'm better off not giving a damn what he thinks of me or what he thinks, period.) But intensive therapy ensues.

I5) She grew up on an 11-acre Christmas tree farm. Do you get a fresh tree every year, or do you have an artificial tree, or do you not put up a tree at all?

DSC_5486
We usually do an artificial tree. It's just easier with all the dogs and cats and their excessive curiosity. At some point, I'd like to put up at least three in this house - but I don't think we'll have the budget for it just yet this year. This white flocked tree was last year's.


6) Taylor Swift is 5'10". According to the CDC, the average American woman is 5'4" while men are, on average, 5'9". Are you taller or shorter than average?

20190916_185639
At 5'1½", I'm shorter than average. But I've got 18-year-old Chloë beat. Like her paternal grandmother, she is maxed out at 4'10".

7) She enjoys good, old fashioned mysteries, especially those by Agatha Christie. Are you currently reading a book for pleasure?

Image result for quotes from holding up the universe

I'm just getting into Holding Up the Universe, by Jennifer Niven.
 
8) Her brother Austin is a freelance photographer who took the official pictures for her 2008 concert tour. Who took the last photo of you?

20190922_145700 (1)

That would be Christine Vorobieff, one of the other equestrian moms from Sophie's Pony Club, last Sunday.

9) Random question: What's your go-to comfy outfit?

Image result for comfy clothes quotes

Sweats and a t-shirt, I guess. Now that illness rules the day, I dress for comfort; rarely for "cute."

><> * ><> * ><> * ><> * ><>

Thanks for the fun meme, Ms. Sam o' the Cray. Thanks for all you do for us!

Next steps in tackling the Climate Crisis involve this. Whatever you do, do something.

Fin.


Saturday 9: The Candy Man

Image result for sammy davis junior

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

IWILLBESTRIKING

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

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

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

2) In the movie, this song is sung by Bill, the candy store shopkeeper. Think about the last counter person you dealt with. We know that he or she likely didn't break into song, but did you two engage in conversation?
 
09192019 Twisted Ewe event

Yeah. Well. Last night, Chloë and I attended the "Sweater Weather Get-Together" at The Twisted Ewe, a yarn shop up in Boise. I engaged with several of the shop staff, and especially introduced myself to the young woman who runs their social media stuff, because I engage with her frequently, and I'd never met her in person. I also signed up to be a test knitter.

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

Image result for christian science is a cult
 
No. Not only no, but hell no. No, no, no, no, no.
 
5) Sammy was proud of the honorary college degrees he received because he never formally attended school. As a child, he performed on the road with his father and uncle. In addition to depriving him of an education, that lifestyle kept him from kids his own age. He would later describe his childhood as, "in a word, 'lonely.'" Give us a one-word description of your childhood.
 
Image result for teenage girl bent over crying
 
T R A U M A T I C
 
6) Because he spent so much of his youth on the road, living on buses, trains and hotel rooms, he loved eventually having his own kitchen and being able to cook his own meals. This weekend, will you spend much time in the kitchen?
 
JPEG_20190914_181717_767740960686058889
Probably not. Chloë and I are going to be in Boise all day tomorrow at the ACLU's Activist Academy, and then on Sunday we'll be watching Sophia at an equestrian competition. So maybe we'll have time to cash in on some more birthday freebies (like these delicious chocolate-covered strawberries from The Melting Pot) while we're out and about!

 7) Sammy enjoyed experimenting with clothes and jewelry. What about you? Do you consider yourself conservative in dress or are you fashion forward?
 
09172019 Selfie
Eh. Neither, maybe? I'm just me.

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

Sunday Stealing: For The Love Of Surveys

Welcome back, my pretty babies! It's still Saturday night here, which means that, at least, I'm starting both Saturday 9 and SS on time. In this time of major health issues for me, that is nothing short of a miracle. But hold your applause until the end of this post - you may change your mind! 😉

So let's get down to business; here is the link if you'd like to join us this weekend!

~*~*~*~*~

If you could build a second house anywhere, where would it be?

DSC_0207

If I were being selfish and only thinking of myself, that house would be built in or near Key West. I miss the culture of the keys and particularly downtown Key West. The random chickens everywhere is quintessentially representative of every trip (of many) I've taken down there. I don't think that place could be duplicated anywhere else. But...

Image result for beautiful mountain lodge

... if I were thinking of my husband, we'd build a nice lodge in the mountains somewhere, and live off the grid.

What are your favorite articles of clothing?

DSC_5675

I don't have a lot right now that I would consider a favorite of mine, but these "onesie" jammies of Sophie's, which we gave her this past Christmas, are so adorable on her. She's such a goof, too, and wears them out in public occasionally!

The last CD you bought or downloaded?

Image result for jason mraz have it all gif

I'm not sure which was the last one: The Have It All album by Jason Mraz, or a re-purchase of The Lady Killer by CeeLo Green. {We should totally do one or both of those on Sat9 sometime, Laurie!}


4. What time do you generally wake up in the morning?

Image result for nocturnal funny

I'm nocturnal, so if I wake up when it's still morning, I consider it put-in-on-the-calendar worthy.

5. What is your favorite kitchen appliance?

Image result for red valentine kitchenaid mixer

That would be my Candy Apple Red KitchenAid Artisan Design Series 5-quart Stand Mixer. She's a beauty! Hubs gave it to me one year for Valentine's Day, back we still lived in Virginia Beach. And we don't even normally do Valentine's gifts!

6. If you could play an instrument, what would it be?

Image result for electric violin gif

In about 1997, I think, I went back to New York to visit friends. One night while there, I watched one of my very best friends, Shana, play electric violin and viola in a gig she and her cover band-mates were playing. She had the electric violin solo in "Ants Marching" by Dave Matthews Band. And she was badass! I've always admired her tremendous musical skill, but that night really made an impression on me. I'd love to learn.

7. What is your favorite color?

Bahamas_-_MERIS_-_24_January_2004_large

Right where that arrow's point is situated is my favorite color. I describe it fondly as "the middle depths of the sea."

8. Do you believe in the afterlife?

Image result for the afterlife funny

I have to believe that I will see my mother and my son, both gone far too suddenly and far too soon, again.

9. Your favorite children’s book?

Image result for anne of green gables quotes

I loved the Nancy Drew books as well, but I think it would have to be Anne of Green Gables and the following books in the series that I loved the most. Maybe I'll read them again sometime soon. Sooo many good quotes from them, but I had to pick this one because I'd like to believe there are many - maybe? - among you guys whom I could consider kindred spirits.

10. Can you juggle?

Image result for juggling gif

Definitely not. My brother-in-law can; I've seen him pull out the trick a time or two for the kiddos.

11. What’s your favorite day of the week?

Related image

When my husband was still in the Navy, I would say it was any day of the week that he was home. Now that he's out and medical problems abound, I could probably safely say it's any day I'm not in a doctor's office!

12. Which do you prefer, sushi or hamburger?

Related image

I haven't had a hamburger since high school, thank ya very much! And while I am proud of that facth+++, I have to admit defeat in Round Two of my attempt to be - and remain - a vegan. Seems like after being a strict vegan for two months, my body just overcorrected, and I turned into a voracious [pescetarian] carnivore. Hopefully that'll balance back out soon, because the treehugger in me is laying down a huge guilt trip.

13. What is your favorite flower?

Related image

Historically, it has always been the gorgeous tiger lily, the abundance of pulchritude of which I always admired as a kid growing up in Central New York. But now I think that I have bumped it to the Number Two slot for these guys:

Related image

There are several hundred species of hibiscus, and I'm pretty sure I love them in all their ostentatious-bordering-on-meretricious glory.

14. What is your favorite meal?

Image result for nobu new style sashimi

First, a little story: after Rob and I eloped, I got pregnant like a minute later. I tried to work, but I had hyperemesis gravidarum and could not. At the same time, I devoted myself to being the best wife and mommy I could be. I started cooking meals I would never eat (#BecauseBeef), and I became a dedicated fan of Martha Stewart's show. We still cook several recipes I loved from that show; Hubs has the Thanksgiving turkey and gravy recipe memorized by now. Anyway, one day, renowned Chef Nobu was on the show, and he taught Martha how to make his new-style salmon sashimi. I made it only a few times, when now-17-year-old Chloë was just a wee baby. I haven't made it since those days; don't really know why. Obviously it left an impression on me, so I think maybe soon it's gonna happen.

15. Describe your ideal weather?

Weather meme

It would be quite warm and sunny but not blistering hot, with a light breeze. And of course, it almost goes without saying, I'd be on the beach.

16. What is your favorite ice cream?

Image result for cannoli with pistachios

No can do on the ice cream anymore. I'll just have cannoli. For me, please make it that the cannoli Hubs and I ate in Sicily that time, at the top of Mount Etna, with the chopped pistachios... so much yum.

17. What is your favorite breakfast?

Image result for giant homemade blueberry muffin

Hmm, I don't think I've ever thought about that before. It would probably have to be a giant blueberry muffin, cut in half, with a schmear of good butter, like Président or Kerrygold... I think we have some fresh blueberries. Guess what I'm gonna make?

18. Where did you meet your spouse or significant other?

Image result for online dating funny

We met on the Interwebs and eloped exactly two months later.

Bonus: something you’d like to do that you’ve never done before?

Related image

I'd love to go waterskiing. Hey, if this six-month-old baby can do it...!

~*~*~*~*~

That was fun, Bev - thank you!

And now, I have some muffins to make. Ciao!

Fin.


Butterfly... Flutter By

Related image

“Just when the caterpillar thought,

'I am incapable of moving,'

it became a butterfly.” 

Annette Thomas

This post is a very personal one for me. It may be long.

                    I've experienced a lot of pain, abuse, and trauma in my life. My beautiful mother died of untreated diabetes when I was a little girl of seven years; she was just 33 years old. Prior to that, until I was 20 years old, I was raised in and under the brainwashing influence of the cult known as Christian Science. (Which is neither Christian NOR Science, if you know anything about it as I do, and which cult status has been confirmed many times over since then.) There was nothing I could do to get out. I was trapped.

                    After my beloved mama died, I endured a decade of abuse of every possible kind - all of which has been denied by the perpetrators and also my fellow survivors- but I think the worst of all was the psychological torture I was met with daily, 24/7/365/10, mostly under the careful, menacing eye of my stepmother. (I have long since dubbed her TBFH, or "The Bitch From Hell.") The secrets my brain holds from that decade and beyond - some of which are still hidden even to me, because of the brain's wonderful ability to blissfully shield oneself from the worst scars inflicted by one's tormentors. I was 17 when I finally fled that House Of Horrors and went to college, but like I said, it was another few years before I fully escaped.

                     That was over half my life ago. That damage has long since been done, but it was far, far too painful for me to touch in therapy. I'd done EMDR (Eye Movement Densensitization & Reprocessing) therapy when one of our identical twins died nearly 16 years ago, along with acupuncture, acupressure, and music therapy, but I had not done EMDR since graduating from that course of treatment.

Image result for blue butterfly cocoon

"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly,

but rarely admit the changes it has gone through

to achieve that beauty."

Maya Angelou

            I've had half a dozen therapists since then, but it was still much too soon for me to be able to handle what happened in that house in Baldwinsville, New York. (If it burned down tomorrow, I would not be sad.) Finally, at 42 years old, as of just yesterday, my wonderful counselor and certified EMDR practitioner began this treatment with me anew. It wasn't even what we were planning to discuss. I had admitted last week that I was terrified to get started and didn't know if I was truly ready yet.

We began "tapping" via EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) on the idea that I am valuable, and worthy, and could love myself... because for all those years, it was taught, and shown, and demonstrated to me time and time again that those things were not true. And I have believed it ever since. I am kind, and compassionate, and caring, and empathetic to all the world... except my own self.

02062019
This suddenly opened the floodgates. I didn't even know it was coming, but suddenly the dam burst and I just started sobbing uncontrollably. My therapist, "T," was encouraging me to speak, and at least try to repeat after her about my own worthiness, but I could not get the words out. I could barely breathe. I am not able to believe that those things - that I am not only worthy of love but that I might be worthy of my own love! - can be true. Not yet.

We filled the hour much more quickly than I had expected, with me doing a lot of crying and T just encouraging me to tap via EFT and her own EMDR work on me, helping me to go to that 7yo little girl whose mother had just suddenly dropped dead, whose world was ripped out from under her and turned upside-down, who already couldn't believe at that time, by 8 years old, that life would ever be okay and, for fuck's sake, safe again. And she was helping me to go to the older me, the teenager inside, and comfort her as well. And show her the love that no one else had.

But. Neither 7-year-old nor 17-year-old me is ready to trust 42-year-old me, and believe that I am safe, and loving, and will be kind and trustworthy to her. We are not there yet. There is still a long way yet to go. But we will get there. We will.

"Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued,

is always just beyond your grasp, but which,

if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you."

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Image result for blue butterfly

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: The Ask Game

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

Let's begin:

~*~*~*~*~

Do you have a passion project? What is it?

003 (2)

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

How many languages can you speak? 

Related image

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

What was the last book you read?

Image result for recipes for repair

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

Where in the world would you most like to visit?

Image result for Great Barrier Reef

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

Top 5 fictional characters?

Image result for Katniss and Peeta

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

Something you miss from your childhood?

Image result for I miss my grandparents

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

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

What skill do you wish you had?

Image result for singer belting it out gif

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

Tell us an interesting fact.

Image result for great white shark in tonic immobility

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

What was your favorite subject in school?

Related image

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

Favorite planet?

Related image

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

Which historical figure fascinates you and why?

Related image

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

Favorite mythical creature?

Image result for gorgeous mermaid gif

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

Do you believe in any conspiracy theories?

Image result for funny conspiracy theories

No.

What is your favorite word?

Image result for Fuck!

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

Do you have any obsessions right now?

Image result for bobs burgers gif

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

Do you play any instruments?

Related image

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

What’s your worst habit?

Image result for staying up until i'm exhausted

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

Do you have a collection of anything?

Related image

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

What’s your biggest ‘what if’?

Image result for University of South Florida logo

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

What is your favorite fairy tale?

Related image

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

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

DSC_6115

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

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

Related image

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

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

Image result for useless talent

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

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

Image result for changes to US education system

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

Have a great week, y'all.

Fin.


Saturday 9: I Forgot To Remember To Forget

Image result for elvis presley

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

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

Related image

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

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

Victor Pareja

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

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

3) What was the first concert you ever attended?

Related image Image result for bon jovi concert syracuse 1989

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

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

Septum Piercing
Tragus Piercing 

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

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

Related image

The evil Bank of America. Horrors!

6) Tell us about your first bicycle.

Image result for little girls bike with training wheels basket streamers

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

7) Who received the first text you ever sent?

18th anniversary

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

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

Related image

Shots of Goldschläger. I was 17.

9) Whose was the first wedding you ever attended?

Related image

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

01112019 New Breeches Dover and New Helmet Ovation Collage

Have a lovely weekend, e'erbody!

Fin.


Saturday 9: We Need A Little Christmas

What's up, bunny rabbits? (Don't ask, I won't know either.) I've been a little manic this week, which is great. Also, it's not so great. I ate some things last night, knowing I'm highly allergic to them already, but I was f-ing HANGRY. So I wolfed it down quickly and had an immediate anaphylaxis. Rob got me in the car, shot me with the Epi-pen® while en route to the hospital, and stuck me in the ER for meds and observation. Two and a half hour later, we were discharged, but... on the way out I had a second phase of anaphylaxis. I wanted to go HOME, though, so I did not, uh... mention this to any medical professionals. Also, later on that evening, I ate even more of the offending food.

Listen, I may be brilliant AF, but I am also stupidly stubborn!

So that happened.

Let's go, y'all! Link up here if you'd like to play along with us this weekend; we don't bite! (Well, that's a complete lie. I totally bite someone daily. Not even exaggerating.)

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: We Need a Little Christmas (2006)

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

1) At the beginning of this recording, Daffy says he hopes all his friends remember his size, style and favorite color. What piece of clothing would you like to add to your wardrobe?

I've always wanted a Burberry trench coat. I'm kind of digging this long black, cashmere one. It's only $3,790. Totally in the budget!

2) His friends are late for Daffy's holiday soirée. Think about the last get-together you attended. Were you early, late or right on time?

I was fashionably late to Sophia's most recent Pony Club meeting at a local pizza joint. I despise being late, so by that I mean fewer than five minutes.

3) It hasn't a snowed a single flurry where Daffy is. Have you had to shovel yet?

I did plenty of snow shoveling growing up in Syracuse, New York! Snow capitol of the world, I swear. I am now physically unable to snow, though I bet I could do it in an emergency, with the right amount of adrenaline. That being said, Boise is actually a desert, so we don't get too much snow.

4) Daffy sings that he's looking forward to fruitcake. How about you? Are you a fruitcake fan?

I could take it or leave it. I think it gets a bad rap. I don't really care for the red and green candied bits, but the rest isn't awful IMO.

5) Daffy is an American Black Duck. Their usual diet doesn't generally include fruitcake (he he he!!!). These ducks more commonly dine on seeds, foliage and bugs. What was your most recent meal?

Related image  Image result for lindt truffles

My most recent meal consisted of Ahi Tartare from The Cheesecake Factory, and then I snacked on three Lindt Lindor Milk Chocolate Truffles for dessert. I'm kind of addicted to those little balls. (Heh.)

6) The only Christmas card Sam has received so far this year is from her insurance agent. She never sees her agent socially. In fact, she doesn't think she's seen him at all in 2018. Have you received many cards this year? If so, were they from people you feel close to?

So far, I've sent out about 95 Christmas/Holiday (because a number of our family & friends & associates are Jewish or Atheist) cards. It's my favourite Christmas tradition, and I don't care who responds in kind! I've gotten exactly one back from a neighbor, today, along with a plate of homemade cookies. (Yay!) We've also gotten three or four from business, and another from former President Jimmy Carter. That one may be my favourite? I still have plenty more; would you like one? If so, drop me your address info: smellyann at gmail dot com

7) When do you start holiday shopping: Christmas Eve (haha!), Thanksgiving/Black Friday, Halloween?

I've never, ever done the crazy Black Friday gift grab thing, and believe you me, it is definitely not on my Bucket List. I usually shop starting in September or October and put things away here and there. I follow Hip2Save closely, especially during this season, and snag what I can when there's a stellar deal.

8) Sam was recently driven crazy by kids running through store aisles wearing elf hats with bells. Do you have any apparel that makes noise? 

Rose gold jewelry profile pink

Only dangly earrings. I have three (well, technically four, but I rarely use the fourth) piercings in each ear, plus my right tragus, along with my right nostril and septum. When I wear multiple earrings in each ear and swish my head, it can be a bit noisy. But clothing? I don't think so. [Photo is a selfie from 08 December 2018.]

9) This time of year is big for charitable fundraising. Here's your chance to plug a cause or organization that's near and dear to you.

Well, am I making a huge faux pas if I name more than one? Right now I have several that are critically important to me:

Image result for Heifer international

I've mentioned Heifer International in multiple years past. You can read about it here. It's a fantastic organization, and I've fully vetted it; it's legit. This year, we gave a flock of chicks, though I was torn among that, a flock of ducks, or a flock of geese. BTW, when we buy a house, if there's sufficient acreage, I want to add ducklings to our menagerie. ;) (I have not informed Rob of this plan. Heh.)

*

Image result for environmental defense fund

Secondly, there are obviously a number of environmentally-conscious projects dedicated to, well, "saving the earth." That may sound like crazy hippie tree-hugger talk, but I absolutely do not care. This should be important to all of us. Those running our country (USA, for those of you who are not American) are hell-bent on destroying this gd planet, and where will that leave future generations?! I have three living kids. Some of them do want to have kids of their own. I aim to make this possible for them, so I support projects like the Environmental Defense Fund, and others.

*

The Blue Ribbon Foundation

The third charity I'd like to mention is The Blue Ribbon Foundation. Because I have been diagnosed with ME/CFS by Dr. Lucinda Bateman of The Bateman Horne Center in Salt Lake City, which I visit monthly or so, a horribly misunderstood (especially my the medical community) and under-funded disease, I would love for more awareness to be brought to this cause. I mean, I'm 42 years old and take about 90 medications daily just to function, and I rely heavily on the use of my walker and my wheelchair. I sleep far more hours per day than I care to admit, and I'm still exhausted. My ability to drive is now severely limited, and I'm usually in bed each night, crying out in pain and begging my husband and kids to amputate my arms and legs. In short, it's no picnic!

*

Diabetes Research Institute Foundation

And finally, I'd like to call attention to the Diabetes Research Institute. Diabetes research has long been an important cause of mine, ever since my mama died very suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 33 from untreated diabetes. (In my opinion, she was murdered by my father and the Christian Science Church, but that's a story for another day.) I was seven years old and suddenly motherless, and I've been a bereft daughter ever since. During all my pregnancies (and, of course, when not pregnant as well), I've been extremely vigilant about that particular aspect of my health. I am adamantly not going to leave my children motherless, the way I was! No way in hell. So far so good, but my doctor did put me on Metformin just to be on the safe side. I'm fine with that.

~*~*~*~*~

Well, I enjoyed that! Thanks, Crazy Sam for another excellent meme and for the chance to dedicate our posts to those things that are important to each of us. I really appreciate that!

Have a great Saturday, y'all.

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: What IS Normal, Anyway?

Hey, pals! So did I tell you my girls and I have started a new premium, eco-conscious candle company?

EWW MacIntosh Apple Pints Smaller

Well, here's a sneak preview of some of our offerings, but like I think I mentioned in Saturday 9 yesterday. we are so not yet ready to launch. The girls and I are sitting around now, assembling wicks, containers, carefully measuring wax and taking its temperature, etc. Mostly the girls are doing that part while I supervise, make the labels, source bee-friendly, wildflower seed-impregnated, plantable paper for the business cards we intend to order, and trying to figure out how to set up our various platforms. We have a Facebook page, our own website, and an Etsy shop, but so far I just haven't made a lot of progress on those. Lots more to do!

Therefore, I feel fully justified in taking a break to do Sunday Stealing right now. Ha! So link up here if you'd like to join us this week!

~*~*~*~*~

1. What is your favorite animal?
 
Image result for mako shark
 
Look. So I'm a biologist. And therefore, I reserve the right to have a favorite animal for land, sea and air. I will save the reasons for each for another time, so as not to bore you. Anyway, my favorite sea animal is the shortfin mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus).
 
Image result for African elephant
 
My favorite land animal is the majestic African bush elephant (Loxodonta africana). OMG, they're so beautiful I could cry.
 
 
Image result for endangered bats mexico
 
And, my favorite air animal is the endangered Mexican Long-Nosed Bat (Leptonycteris nivalis). They have a special place in my heart. ♥

2. Your dream vacation?
 
Mappacificislandsandaustralia-510x330
So. This was a dream vacation I'd actually planned in my mind back in 2002, when newly-ish-wed Rob and I, and 13-month-old Chloë moved to Guam: Once I'd given birth to the twins I was carrying, we'd all fly "space-A" (space available, as in, if there's a seat on a military flight you get to go; if there's not, you don't) to Australia, dive the Great Barrier Reef, and wander around saying and eating weird shit. We'd fly space-A to South Korea, to Japan, to Thailand... everywhere. Then the twin pregnancy became too dangerous for us to continue living on Guam, and then Supertyphoon Pong'sona hit Guam, and ... none of that ever happened. We moved back to CONUS early in 2003. Fifteen-plus years later, I'm finally at a place where I'd honestly really like to go back and try again. Maybe.

3. Last person's house you were in?
 
Image result for 4-h
Last night, we were at the house of Celia, the leader of Chloë's knitting and sewing 4-H club.

4. Worst injury you've ever had?
 
Image result for burns from a grease fire
 
In August 1984, just four months after my mother died, about a month into my dad's new relationship with the woman I was already being forced to call "Mom" - although I call her "the bitch from hell" now - I was not quite eight years old. My dad and tbfh decided it would be a good idea if we all (including 7yo me, 9yo sister, 10yo soon-stepsister, and 12yo soon-stepsister) watched the movie Porky's II on either HBO or Cinemax. Great parenting all around, you see. Anyway, we all wanted pizza except my dad, so tbfh agreed to make him some fried chicken. Only, they got distracted by the soft-core porn we were watching and forgot to watch the stove, so a grease fire started in the kitchen. My numbnuts father decided, since we didn't have baking soda, to throw flour on the fire. That made it explode. He picked up the frying pan and carried it out to the garage to get it out of the house.
 
Only, his red mint condition 1971 Dodge Challenger convertible was out there, and it was too precious to risk getting damaged, so he turned around and came BACK into the house. Sister and younger stepsister had managed to get out of the way by that point, but older stepsister and I did not. The frying pan handle became too hot for my dad to continue to carry, and he dropped it, splashing burning hot grease all over both of us. Stepsister got attention for her burns because she was not a Christian Scientist, but since father, sister and I were in that f-ing cult, I did not get any attention for the burns scalding both of my legs. Rather, I was screamed at to be quiet and go outside. Stepsis was rushed to the emergency room, while I had to sit in the back of the car and muffle my crying. I still have the scars... Life was like that from then on, until I escaped to college.
 
5. Last play you saw?
 
Image result for the jungle book children's theater
 
Last year we went to a children's theater production of The Jungle Book. It was cute, but my kids have kind of grown up too much for that genre now. <sniff, sniff>

6. Ever go to camp?
 
 Image result for camp skimino
 
As a kid, I was sent for two weeks to the Christian Science camp, Crystal Lake Camp, in Pennsylvania, that same summer after my mom died. That's also not a great story. But more fun was Camp Skimino, the Girl Scout camp in Virginia where my girls and I went camping. Much better memories there!

7. Were you an honor roll student in school?
Image result for national honor societyImage result for who's who among american high school students 1993-1994Image result for advanced placementImage result for RSMAS logoImage result for SAT logoRelated imageRelated image Image result for beta beta beta biological honor society Image result for rho rho rho marine science honor societyImage result for GRE logo  Image result for Mensa logo
 
Yes, I was on the High Honor roll all through school and was inducted into the National Honor Society in high school, where I graduated 3rd in my class and appeared in the 1993-1994 Who's Who Among American High School Students book. I took five AP courses in high school (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Spanish, and Calculus), so I entered college dual-enrolled as both a sophomore and a doctoral student at the Rosenstiel School For Marine & Atmospheric Science, having fairly well aced the SAT. I made both the Dean's List and the President's List at the University of Miami. In college, I was inducted into Golden Key [Inter]National Honor Society, Beta Beta Beta National Biology Honor Society, and UM's Rho Rho Rho Marine Science Honor Society. I then aced the GRE and went directly into the Ph.D. program of my dreams. There, while at the University of South Florida in Tampa, I was accepted into Mensa, which I felt I needed to do to prove my own intelligence to myself, because for the first time in my life I was really being challenged and didn't feel all that intelligent at all. Anyway, all this is not to brag but rather to say, this is why I get so pissed off when medical doctors and other such types diminish the fact that though I am now "just a mom," I, too, possess a freaking brain. Gah.

8. What do you want to know about the future?
 
Related image
 
I want to know if I'm ever going to get to see my mother and my son again.

9. Are you wearing any perfume or cologne?
 
Image result for diffuser necklace
 
No, not really, but I am wearing some lemon essential oil in my diffuser necklace. Only mine says "Melanie" instead of "Olivia."

10. Are you due sometime this year for a doctor's visit?
 
Image result for spit take gif
 
Only about eleventy billion!

11. Where is your best friend?
 
Image may contain: 1 person, smiling
 
Absolutely, for sure, tonight on this 18th anniversary of the night Rob came down 11+ hours on a Greyhound bus to get down on one knee and ask me to marry him, just 16 days after meeting online, I can say unequivocally that it's this little hot shot ninja sailor man who is sitting right next to me. I love you, Rob!!! ♥

12. Do you have a tan?
 
Image result for brunette covered in freckles
 
Ha! Well, only if you connect all the many, many freckle dots that cover the outer portions of me.

13. What are you listening to right now?
 
 
Well, right now it's "Give Me One Reason" by Tracy Chapman. Before that it was "Wonderful Tonight" by, of course, Eric Clapton, and prior to that it was "If I Had a Million Dollars" by Barenaked Ladies. Now up is "Come Sail Away" by Styx, and after that will be "American Girl" by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. It's an anniversary night, and 18 years seems like a super long time to both of us, so we're playing the songs of our brief two-month courtship. I love him so.

14. Do you collect anything?
 
Fishy
ell, for one, since Rob spent 20 years in the US Navy, and I am a marine biologist, we have a lot of different fish artifacts both big and small all around the house.

15. Who is the biggest gossiper you know?
 
Image result for shhh
 
Well, if I told you, wouldn't that make me one?

16. Last time you got stopped by a cop or pulled over?
 
Image result for hot male cops
 
I've had a few run-ins lately! In June, I got a speeding ticket. In July, at almost the exact same spot, I got a ticket for following too closely. In October, we were rear-ended in the rain, while I was stopped at a red light, and someone must have called the police because that became this big, whole "thing." And just tonight, Rob was pulled over for improper lane change. Sheesh. We need to quit.

17. What does your last text message say?
 
 
Scintillating conversation with my daughter, I know.

18. Do you like hot sauce?
 
Image result for funny hot sauce names
 
No, I do not. My husband does. And our son Jack does. I don't think the girls do. Funnily, our Chihuahua and Chi-mix both like jalapeños.

19. Do you need to do laundry?
 
Image result for funny vicious cycle
 
Duh.

20. What is your heritage?
 
Image result for Island of saba
 
I'm mostly German, English, and Hungarian. Lots of the family on my dad's side came to the U.S. via the small Caribbean Netherlands-owned island of Saba, which is where my paternal grandfather was born. We were all considered Pennsylvania Dutch. My children have some Bohemian (which is now considered Czech) from their paternal grandmother, and some Basque from their paternal grandfather. Basically we're a bunch of Caucasian mutts.
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
See ya soon!
 
Fin.

Saturday 9: Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Image result for alfred hitchcock silhouette

Welcome back, S9ers!

Looks like we'll have a fun time this month. Link up  here if you want to play along with us!

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" Theme

This week's song was chosen because this is the last Saturday 9 before Halloween. Are you unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.



1) The Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, was born in England. Name another pop culture contribution England has made.
 
Related image
 
I got stuck on the Beatles, of course, and my brain wouldn't let go of that thought to let me think of anyone else. But then I jumped to Sir Elton John, and I had to go with him. Boy George, George Michael... I could (now) go on and on.

2) This week's song is recognized as the theme to Hitchcock's long-running TV show, but "Funeral March for a Marionette" is a classic piece written for piano in the late 1870s by Charles Gounod. Do you often listen to classical music?
 
♪♫♪♫♪♫... I've put that on right now. I listen to classical every chance I get. I usually put it on YouTube on my phone and then ChromeCast it to the TV in order to annoy a certain three teenagers. Of course, to annoy is not my point. I learned in 9th grade Biology that playing classical music during any kind of thinking time for students helps encourage broader and higher levels of thought processing in the brain, so I put it on when I feel the kids will least object. I prefer Vivaldi's Four Seasons the best, but lately they've wanted more Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart. And they still always complain. (Now we have Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata playing.)

3) Janet Leigh's shower scene in Hitchcock's Psycho is considered one of the scariest sequences ever filmed. What's the most frightening movie you've ever seen?
 
Image result for children of the corn
 
When I was seven years old, in April, my mother died. My father lost all the parenting sense he probably never had and basically forced me to watch Children of the Corn. That same month, I think if not that week! And later, all the Freddy Krueger movies. And after that, Silence of the Lambs. And more. I do not enjoy that stuff. I have had plenty of scary things happen to me in the dark. I do not like purposefully subjecting myself to more.

4) Hitchcock admitted that he "never trusted birds," and he took that fear and turned it into the movie, The Birds. Is there a member of the animal kingdom that just gives you "the creeps?"
 
Image result for people saving Earth
 
Yeah. Home sapiens. Too damn many of us, making too damn many horrible decisions. Soon, we're going to be using up more Earths than Earth has left to give us. It's scary, and not enough people care.

5) Halloween will soon be upon us. Will you carve a jack o'lantern this year?
Related image
 
Yeah, but we probably won't even get our pumpkins until Halloween itself this year. I want to do something like this skull one!!
 
 
6) What candy will trick or treaters get at your house? 

Image result for full-size candy bars
 
I haven't decided yet. I give out good candy, not like apples or pennies - I got a lot of those as a kid and was not a fan! Ha. Hallowe'en, to me, is (partly) a day for kids to just let loose, have some fun, and eat a shit ton of stuff that's bad for them. Rob and Chloë say we got fewer than a dozen last year, so I really want to give out full-size candy bars this year. In Virginia Beach we got hordes of kids every year and sometimes had to put out a sign that we'd run out. And I bought a LOT of candy to prepare. That's more more fun to me.
 
7)  When you went trick or treating, did you prefer fantasy costumes (like a storybook character) or scary ones (like a monster)?
 
Whatever people wear, I prefer interesting costumes.
 
8)  Which candy was your favorite? Which one were you disappointed to find in your trick or treat bag?
 
Image result for reese's pieces cups
 
Let's just say, if Reese's Pieces Cups had been a thing when I was a kid, I'd be in serious trouble with diabetes right now. I never liked finding pennies and apples, as mentioned above, and I hate(d) Milky Way and 3Musketeers bars. Gross.

9) Which do you find scarier -- cemeteries or haunted houses?
 
Image result for peaceful cemetery
 
I've always found graveyards to be beautiful and peaceful. I never mined being in them. Haunted houses, on the other hand, I don't even like now. I don't like bad things coming out of the dark and grabbing me. It's terrifying to me.
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
And now I think we might watch Children of the Corn. Just to get that memory out of the shadows and out of my worries for good.
 
Fin.

Where I'm At Right Now

I'm not saying this just to be heard. I'm not saying this because I need attention. I'm saying this because I need some personal, private space to put my thoughts sometimes, and this is my space.

I'm going through kind of a crossroads mentally right now.

I've been through many different therapists across, oh, four different states. But I'm finally at a place here in Boise, at this point in time, where I feel ready to carefully navigate my way through my awful past and maybe come to some sort of terms with it.

Right now, I have a great therapist. She's really amazing. She gets me, she understands me, she's comforting and soothing - she hugs me after a painful session! - and I think she is the one who has the right tools to get me through what I need to do, without completely driving me over the brink of insanity in the process.

Because that could definitely happen.

I've seen my psychiatrist at least a dozen times, probably more, in year and a half we've lived in Idaho. At every single visit, she's changed and tweaked my psychoactive meds, so that they're carefully in tune with what I need. She's still doing that, even just today, so we're treading carefully in my therapy sessions.

Anyway.

As of yesterday, we're using a tool called EMDR, which stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy. 

It varies by therapist, but they basically do something to (with?) you that allows you both to work through some difficult and painful memories and then translate that to a better thought, a better idea in your head, that is much more peaceful to live with than the harmful You can visit that site I linked for a much better understanding, I'm sure, but that's kinda how I describe it.

Image result for long empty corridor

My therapist, Terrie, asked me at the beginning of yesterday's EMDR session to tell me what it felt like when my mother had just died. 

I told her that it felt like I was alone in a long, dark, empty corridor, calling for help.

And no one ever came.

They never did. No one ever came to help me, to comfort me, to love me, even to tell me WTF had just happened, to make any kind of sense of things in a way that a 7-year-old kid could begin to understand.

They still haven't come.

So fast-forward to just now. Rob and I were talking about a high school friend of mine, and her parents.

Image result for high school choir

I realized, through the course of the conversation, that both of her parents - though divorced - always attended every concert in which she performed.

Every. Single. One.

And then I thought back to who came to my concerts.

I remember being dropped off. 

More than once, when I was dropped off, I was very late and blubbering in tears.

And more than once, when I arrived late in tears, my whole chorus was lined up, and sometimes the whole band, and sometimes the whole orchestra too, to go on stage, and everyone would be there watching me arrive late in tears, as I tried to gather myself enough to appear and perform on stage.

Those are miserable memories.

It was embarrassing, and awful, and I would have given anything not to be there at that moment.

But not only that!

I couldn't remember any single concert or event where I was performing, when someone showed up for me

Image result for alice in wonderland caterpillar elementary school play

The last time I had any kind of audience was when I was the Caterpillar in a fifth-grade production of Alice in Wonderland. My stepmother made me my costume, which admittedly was awesome and practically stole the show when I appeared onstage, but I suspect she came to see the costume in action rather than support my performance.

I was in multiple concerts for chorus in 6th grade.

I was in multiple concerts for chorus in 7th grade.

I was in multiple concerts for chorus in 8th grade.

I was in multiple concerts for chorus in 9th grade.

I was in multiple concerts for chorus in 10th grade.

I was in multiple concerts for chorus in 11th grade.

I was in multiple concerts for chorus in 12th grade.

No one ever came for me.

Not once.

Ever.

It felt exactly like I was calling for help in an empty corridor.

It's a hollow feeling.

It feels pretty shitty, actually.

So there we are.

That's where I am right now.

Fin.


Saturday/Sunday Mash-Up

Eggs

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

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

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

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

~*~*~*~*~

She Works Hard for the Money (1983) 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guam-map-0

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

Image may contain: Bob Simmons, closeup

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

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

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

Image result for delicious cakes

I'm better at smaller desserts more like this:

Image result for beautiful petit fours

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

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

Image result for snore

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

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

Image result for Japan celebration

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

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

Image result for Restyle thrift store boise

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

Anyway.

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

Image result for temper tantrum gif

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

Name three exotic countries you would like to visit:

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

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

What do you think the secret to life is?

Image result for BE THE JOY

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

Best concert: 

Image result for bob dylan baseball concert norfolk virginia

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

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

Image result for maroon 5

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

Worst movie music soundtrack or score: 

Image result for shrug gif

My mind is a blank on this one.

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

Image result for wayfair logo

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

Who was your FIRST date?

Image result for first kiss

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

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

Do you still talk to your FIRST love?

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

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

What was your FIRST alcoholic drink?

Image result for shots of goldschlager

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

What was your FIRST job?

Image result for first job funny

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

What was your FIRST car?

Image result for 1991 ford escort wagon red

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

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

Image result for New Jersey

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

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

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

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

and this is my friend Ursula with her beautiful family:

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

And yes, I still talk to both.

Whose wedding did you attend the FIRST time?

Image result for little girl in pink bridesmaid dress

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

Tell us about your FIRST roommate.

Image result for rochester

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

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

Image result for coexist

 

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

Back of car

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

Image result for Latin

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

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

Nope, I married this dork:

Image may contain: 1 person

 He's so cheerful!

What were the first lessons you ever took and why? 

Image result for organ lessons

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

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

Front entry

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

P.S. 

Drawing

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

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: The #Movies

Hey, guys! Thanks for coming back week after week to see the weird sh** I've written this time, or thanks for popping in if this is your first time! ;) I'm late as usual on Sunday Stealing. This time, it's because I had to take my daughter Sophia (aka "Foofie") to her showjumping lesson in Eagle, about 45 minutes away:

Sophia on Sunny

Sophia on Sunny

So anyway, let me get started, eh?

~*~*~*~*~

  1. Have you ever had a movie both totally captivate and complete confuse you?

Image result for Ocean's eleven

  1. This happened to me the first time I watched Ocean's Eleven. I watched it at least three more times after that, which helped straighten things out for me. There is another, more recent, movie that I've watched that repeated this pattern, but I can't think of it now.

  2. 2. When watching a movie, do you prefer things all laid out or to have to 'hunt for your own clues' along the way?
  3. Image result for pulp fiction funny

Occasionally I don't mind a puzzle-piece, Easter egg type of hunt in a movie, but I generally don't prefer it.

  1. 3. Do you want an ultimate ending to your movie or do you prefer to have it open for conjecture and discussion.
  2. Image result for movie ending funny
  3. I like both. Can I have it both ways? Or sometimes one way, sometimes the other? Tough, I'm taking it.

  4. 4. Do you talk during a movie (preferably one in your home, not in the theater)?
  5. Image result for talking during movies meme

I try to avoid it, and it drives me apesh*t when other people do it incessantly. (Ahem, I'm looking at you, Chloë!) ;)

5. Have you ever seen a blockbuster movie and not get what was so great about it?

Image result for ernest goes to camp meme

No. I don't think so, really. However, I will take this opportunity to rant one more time about this non-blockbuster (I think? I hope) franchise, the "Ernest Goes to ...XYZ." I saw the "Camp" one in North Carolina when I was about 12 or 13, with my sisters, and ugh. It was "Oh, my God" stupid. I'm sorry, but there are plenty of movies in the "stupid humor" category (Hi, Chris Farley! Hi, David Spade! Hi Adam Sandler!), and it's just not my genre. So I guess yes, after all, haha. All the "dumb movies" that appeal to the baser elements of society just do not interest me at all."

6. What book frightened you as a young person?

Image result for The Shining book cover

Stephen King's The Shining  scared the crap out of me as a kid. I tried several times to read it, but I kept closing my eyes at the scary bits and really, that's counterproductive when reading.

7. If you had to become a ‘living book (i.e. able to recite the contents of a book cover to cover upon request – reference Fahrenheit 451), what book would it be?

Image result for Last Chance to See cover

I really had to think about this one, because there aren't many I could or would want to memorize at this current stage in my life, but then my mind landed on one: Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams (and Mark Carwardine). Love this book so much. I've read it half a dozen times. It's worth a gander.

8. What movie or TV show scared you as a kid?

Image result for Children of the Corn

Aside from all the Freddy Kreuger movies I was "forced" to see, that would be Children of the Corn. My unthinking father put it on, kind of as a babysitter, for both my sister and me verrrrry shortly after our mom died. I was seven years old. Poor choice, Dad. One of hundreds, though.

9. What movie (scary or otherwise) will you never ever watch?

Image result for Poltergeist

I have never watched and never will watch Poltergeist. No, thanks.

10. Do you have any phobias?

Image result for phobias funny

I mean, sure, who doesn't? My phobias include touching mustard, hearing sandpaper, and rubbing fabric. Eek!

11. What's the happiest thing to ever happen to you?

Robndoggos

This guy! Pretty fond of the doggos, too.

12. What's the saddest thing to ever happen to you?

Robby

When my mother died very suddenly and inexplicably at the age of 33 - when I was 7½  - I thought there wasn't a whole lot in the world that could make me any sadder than that. And not very much still can. But when our son Robby died after a 3-day struggle in the NICU - when I was 26 - I found I was wrong. It's just not the natural order of things. Parents are not supposed to outlive their children. Parents are not supposed to bury their babies. It's just wrong.

13. What's the thing that got you the most angry in your life?

Image result for Uhaul trailer

Oh. This was when I was 17, and about to graduate high school and move to South Carolina to live with my dad for the summer before heading to college in Miami. My lovely (read: sarcasm) stepmother had informed me in about March or April that I needed to condense the entirety of my belongings to what I could fit into my rather small Ford Escort Wagon, because it would all go in there. So I spent the next several whiles selling off all of my (very nice) matching furniture, including my bed and headboard, my dresser, its mirror, my desk, and its bookcase. I also sold various knickknacks and thingamabobs - anything for which I could get money, to which I was still quite attached (some, anywho). Stepmother also hadn't allowed me to have my dad's phone number, and email wasn't really a thing then, so I had no contact whatsoever with my dad for months on end after he ahem abandoned me ahem in December of that school year...

So when Dad showed up with a big Uhaul truck to move me and all my belongings to South Carolina with him the day after graduation ceremony, I absolutely saw red. I was beyond furious with her. She pulled shit like that all the time, but I sold things that meant something to me, and she probably just sat in room and cackled over her evil plan. Bitch. I had so much adrenaline from that incident that I could lift up and move heavy things I otherwise could not have from the driveway into the garage, out of the rain that started, and then I powerwalked several miles away to the family for whom I babysat routinely, sobbing angrily the whole way. The only thing that calmed me was knowing I was about to be away from her and rid of her evil ways for good.

14. What's the most frightening thing to ever happen to you?

Image result for pirate ship ride at the fair

So I don't really want to talk about the actual thing(s), so I'll go with riding in the back of the Pirate Ship ride at Darien Lake Amusement Park or any given fair. I don't like to be scared on rides. I hate it. But my three older sisters often insisted I join them on rides (I put my foot down on roller coasters; not an easy thing at the time!), including the dang Pirate Ship. But not in the middle, oh noooo. Always at the back of either side so that the slope of our descent was the steepest.  And scariest for chickeny-chicken me. Eckkkk. I hated it. Still kinda do!

15. What's the most unbelievable thing to happen to you in your life?

Image result for Phil Motta

So many things! But I think the biggest shocker for me was when I spent a year kind of "auditioning" to work on my Ph.D. in Dr. Phil Motta's lab at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and then finally, I got a letter from Dr. Motta that I got in!! I got in! I literally gained 50 lbs and about 2-3 ulcers stressing over that the previous year, and then I was accepted. Oh, my gosh, I was in a campus computer lab when I found out, and I screeched and squealed right in the middle of the lab. And I didn't care at all, because WHOOOOO! I was so surprised, even though I'd worked my whole life up 'til then for that very moment. Excited was not the word!!

~*~*~*~*~

Well that was fun. I think I started this about 4-5 hours ago, but I've been interrupted so many times in the process. Oops! Still Sunday here, though, so it counts. ;) Thanks for the fun post, Bev! ;)

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Curious As A Cat

I'm here this week! Woot! I had a 4-day migraine and didn't think I'd be back at all, but it finally broke this morning. Phew! On to business: Link up here if you'd like to play along with us this week!

~*~*~*~*~

1) Do you think you’d be a good writer? What kind of writer would you like to be (fiction, children’s books, magazine, etc.)?

Image result for novelist meme

I plan to write novels and a few non-fiction books, but I can't seem to get over the hump of this chronic illness I've been lumped with in order to get much of it even started. Very frustrating to have it all going on in my head but not be able to put it down in writing. :\

2) I wish I had enough money to ________.

Image result for money for college meme

... help my college-bound kids go to the school of their choice(s) and then travel the world!

3) If you had to enter a competition for the "Most Uselessly Unique Talent," what would your talent be?

Image result for flexing the last knuckle of your fingers

Uhhh, I guess that I can do this with my fingers, too? LOL

4) When it might hurt their feelings, how do you feel about telling your friends the truth?

Image result for telling the truth funny

I get really shy about things like that. It's hard for me...

5) Peanut or plain?

Image result for M&Ms funny

I like both. I also like the almond ones, the peanut butter ones, and pretty much all but the weird, new flavored ones. Coffee M&Ms? No thanks!

6) Is there someone you would like to take your place in life for one day? Who and why?

Image result for walk a mile in my shoes funny

Maybe my dad, and anyone else who doesn't understand what it is that I go through on a daily basis just to do the bare minimum of functioning, let alone actually accomplish things like schooling the kids, etc. But especially my dad. Then he can f- off. ;)

7) What do you think is the ugliest thing or event on Earth?

Image result for pro-life meme

This kind of hypocrisy

8) What is your least favorite of your personality traits or quirks?

Both-my-best-and-my-worst-habit-is-that-im-very-impulsive-quote-1

I like to plan and carefully lay out what we/I am going to do and when, how, etc. But then, sometimes I have this spontaneous, impulsive need to go 180º off-plan. Sometimes it has worked out really well; often, it has not.

9) I wish I could see ________ because _________.

Image result for my angelic mother

My mother, because she was the most important person in my life for the 7½ years I was able to know her, and she has remained so since. And because I would love to just sit and relate to her, adult to adult, woman to woman, and see how she would be with my kids, my family... This Monday will mark 34 years since she left this Earth.

10) Tell us your favorite children's story.

Image result for rikki-tikki-tavi gif

I have this weird obsession with Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling, ever since it was read to us in the library when I was 8 years old or so.
                           
11) What do you keep in the trunk of your car?

Image result for onward faithful steed wheelchair meme

We have a minivan, so not a true "trunk," per se... but in the back we keep car stuff and... my hated wheelchair. I don't use it as much as I probably should, because I hate having to use it and not being able to walk. It's a thorn in my side.

12) Describe your perfect, rainy afternoon.

Image result for most beautiful triple rainbow

Rainy days are made for napping - and looking for rainbows near the end; this is key. I was born for finding rainbows! If I'm up to it, I'll be cooking an Instagram-worthy meal (yeah, I'm into that, so?). Reading a book. That's about it.

13) Tell us about your favorite way to get lost in a simple activity — running, chopping vegetables, folding laundry, whatever. What’s it like when you’re in "the zone"?

Image result for In the zone meme

I try to stay out of "the zone" these days, because I get in that trance state, which leads to me falling asleep very quickly. If I'm not completely alert, I could put myself and maybe others in some danger. Seriously, the thought of being "in the zone" while chopping vegetables scares the shit out of me right now. My poor fingers!

14) What parts of nature do you like best?

Image result for most beautiful nature scene

All of nature is stunningly beautiful to me. All of it. I think right now I'm digging on waterfalls, though. We'll have to find the closest doable hike for one near Boise soon!

15) What's the kindest act you have ever seen done (either to/by you or another)?

Image result for RAOK meme

Practicing Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty = something I have made a priority ever since this mind-state became known to me in grade school. I don't like to call attention to those I have done, so I will mention one done to me. When we lived in Miami, and we were in the poorest state we've ever found ourselves, right after Rob retired from the Navy and then his brain tumor issues started. Neither of us had jobs, and his disability stuff hadn't kicked in; his retirement pension paid our rent and not much more, so thankfully at least we weren't homeless! Anyway, I'd taken enough money (so I thought) to walk to the store for some groceries for the next few days, and I had both of my daughters with me. Naturally, I had coupons for everything I possibly could, 'cause that's how I roll. I get to the checkout, everything is rung up, and the coupons are taken off, but I ended up several dollars short. I was trying to count out a bunch of change to see what I could cover. The very patient, older lady behind me took out her wallet and said to both the cashier and me, "Hey, I've been in this situation before. Don't worry; I'll cover it. Just pay it forward." She paid for the whole thing. I cried all the way home out of gratitude. And fortunately, I can say I have been able to pay it forward and forward and forward. ♥

~*~*~*~*~

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Heartbreak Hotel

Welcome back, everyone! I had to do another disappearing act midweek to go into the hospital again for the third time in a month, and can I just say -- that's enough?!! Because it is. I'm home again now, and my fingers are crossed that this time it sticks.

Link up here if you want to play along this week. Let's go!

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: Heartbreak Hotel (1956) 

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

1) Elvis checked in to the hotel at the end of Lonely Street. Where was the last hotel or motel you stayed at?
 
Utah YL Fall Festival Trip 091
 
We went to the Young Living Fall Festival this past October at their lavender farm in Mona, Utah. We stayed in this little hole-in-the-wall rinky-dink hotel somewhere near there (I don't even remember the town), and we skedaddled on out of there just as soon as we could in the morning! Not our most comfortable night ever.

2) He sings that Heartbreak Hotel is always crowded. The fear of crowds is so prevalent that it has four names (enochlophobia, ochlophobia, demophobia and agoraphobia). Are you comfortable in a crowd?
 
Image result for crowd meme
I'd rather blend into a crowd than stand out on my own. I'm fine with crowds.

3) The desk clerk at Heartbreak Hotel is dressed in black. Do you often wear all black?
 
Image result for little black dress meme
 
I don't know about often, but occasionally. I like dressing in black, but I gotta have some color somewhere.
 
4) The song was written by Mae Boren Axton, who said it was inspired by the story of an anonymous young man's suicide in a hotel. She said she read in The Miami Herald that the John Doe left behind a note that said, "I walk a lonely street." What's the last note you handwrote? (Hopefully it was more upbeat.)
 
Utah YL Fall Festival Trip 066
I called my kids' pediatrician today to get one daughter a referral and make an appointment with the doc for the other, so I jotted down the appointment info before transferring it into my phone's calendar.

5) When Elvis was 11, his parents bought him a guitar. He had asked for a rifle, but his mama convinced him a guitar was a better idea. Tell us about a time one of your parents was right about something. 
 
When I was three or four, my mom, sister and I were grocery shopping. I spotted what looked like a bunch of spilled sugar on one aisle floor, and I've always had a big sweet tooth. I got away from my mom and found that aisle, and I actually went and ate some off the floor before Mom found me! She told me it was laundry detergent, and I shouldn't eat that.
 
Image result for tide pods meme

Turns out she was right...
  
6) Not long before "Heartbreak Hotel" was recorded, Elvis' father recommended he give up the guitar and become a truck driver. Tell us about a time one of your parents was wrong about something.
 
Image result for christian science meme
 
Oh, my dad is always trying to talk me into not using modern medicine and coming back into the Christian Science fold again. Yeah, that's not happening.
 
7) There are many stories about Elvis' manager, Col. Tom Parker. One anecdote, about his career before Elvis, has the Colonel painting sparrows yellow so he could sell them as canaries. Have you ever been ripped off?
 
Image result for canary meme
 
When I was in college, I was headed from the main U-Miami campus, where I lived, to class at the marine science campus. My ratchet car broke down on the Rickenbacker Causeway, and I was stranded. My best friend Lisa was actually down from New York during her Spring Break on a visit, so thankfully I wasn't alone. A man with a toddler was walking along the causeway, and he said he could fix it but needed to get some parts or something first (I think it was the spark plugs). We gave him all the cash we had on us to go get those parts. To a complete stranger. In Miami. SO STUPID!!! Of course, he never came back.

8) Speaking of birds, Elvis once owned a peacock. It damaged his cars, so he gave it to the Memphis Zoo. In earlier days, it might have been dinner, for peacock was considered a medieval delicacy. What's the last poultry you prepared?
 
DSC_0552
I don't remember the last actual meat I cooked that was poultry, but do our own eggs from our own backyard chickens count? If so, then I had some before I went in the hospital. Delicioso!

9)  Random question: You and a friend have dinner at a restaurant. Your friend left her wallet at home, so you pick up the entire tab of $62, including tip. A few weeks later, you two meet for lunch and when the bill comes, she puts down half. Do you remind her that she still owes you $31 from the last time you dined together?
 
Image result for splitting the check meme
I would have had that all sorted before we even got to the restaurant, so that it wouldn't be a problem!
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
That's it for now. Thanks for stopping by; have a great weekend!
 

Saturday 9: Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree

Welcome back, folks! Link up here if you're playing along today! Let's get right into it:

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree (1971)

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

In memory of David Cassidy, who died on 11/21/17. 

1) This song mentions celebrating the holidays in "the new old-fashioned way." What's a holiday tradition that began with you (or your generation)?

Image result for christmas stockings

Growing up, we always went to the Christmas Eve midnight mass at my stepmother's Catholic church, and then came home and opened our stockings. There is no Catholicism revered in my household, but we do go to the Candlelight Service on Christmas Eve at our non-denominational (Protestant) church and then return home and open our stockings. It's a treasured tradition among our wee family.

2) The lyrics include dancing, caroling and pumpkin pie. Will you enjoy any of those three between now and year-end?

Image result for christmas caroling meme

Probably all three! I made three pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving, and they were gone in a flash. The other day, my younger daughter emailed me to let me know we still had the ingredients for more pumpkin pie. Subtle, Sophie, very subtle... ;)

3) David Cassidy and The Partridge Family were intensely popular for a short period of time. For example, this song was from the best-selling Christmas album of the 1971 holiday season. Have you added any holiday music to your collection this year?

Image result for christmas music meme

Not yet, but I don't officially get into the Christmas spirit until December first [today], so I haven't even begun to think about it!

4) In 1971, the official David Cassidy fan club had a membership that exceeded both Elvis' and The Beatles'. Have you ever joined a fan club?

Image result for elvis fan club meme

I don't think I have? I'm not really the fangirling "type".

5) David recalled that his first hero growing up was the Yankees' Mickey Mantle. When you were a little kid, what grown-up did you look up to?

Mama

My mother. And I still do.
  
6) David was a notoriously bad driver. In 1990, he was sentenced to traffic school for speeding. He was late for the class because he was stopped for speeding en route. Do you have a "lead foot?"

Image result for lead foot meme

Yeah, I totally have a lead foot. I've probably gotten half a dozen speeding tickets, from several different states... Oops. I did get pulled over near here in Mountain Home, Idaho, for going about 38 in a 25 mph zone recently, but the detective who stopped me was on his way to a call and didn't have time to write me a ticket, so he let me off with a warning. Phew! (I probably not have learned my lesson.)

7) David's parents divorced when he was only four years old. He and his mom lived with her parents until he was 10. Have you ever lived in an extended, multi-generational household?

Image result for extended family meme

wish I'd lived with my grandparents in New Jersey instead of the shitty family I got stuck with after my mom died, but nope. On the other hand, my husband's parents divorced when he was four, and his mom's mom lived with them, so. Does that count?

8) In 1971, when David and the Partridge Family were at their height, the US Mint introduced the Eisenhower Silver Dollar. Think of the last thing you bought. Did you pay with cash or plastic or your phone?

Image result for dutch bros

We went to a Christmas parade tonight in nearby Meridian, Idaho, and got hot chocolates for each of the kids from Dutch Bros. Cash was paid. I haven't set up my new phone to pay with yet, for no particular reason. I think I'll do that after this!

9) Random holiday question: Let's talk re-gifting. Tell us about a time you re-gifted, or you received a present you suspect was re-gifted. 

Image result for regifting

I always get some kind of skin care or body care for Christmas, but until recently, I was particular to only using JAFRA skincare for over 20 years. I always regifted those presents. And I don't mind receiving something regifted, if it's something I like.

~*~*~*~*~

Happy December, everybody! Our Advent calendar started tonight, of course, and I'm super excited about it. I can't wait to reveal all the Christmas-y fun stuff I have planned, to the kids! 

DSC_9863


Sunday Stealing: Crush Meme

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

~*~*~*~*~

What do you find hilarious, but most people don’t find funny?

Lavender Farm Day 010

Potty humor

2. What was the best year of your life so far?

002

Probably 2001, since that's when this crazy family began!

3. What’s your favorite thing to do on the Internet?

Image result for internet surfing meme

I go from window to window to window... not true multi-tasking, since I don't believe that's truly a thing, but close enough!

4. What fad have you held on to even tho it isn’t popular any more?

Related image

I try not to give into fads much, so I don't know of any?

5. What do you spend most of your time doing?

Image result for nucleus of the family meme

Hubs calls me the nucleus of the family, so I guess I spend most of my time nucleating!

6. What do you spend way too much money on?

Image result for tons of groceries funny

Um, I have three teen-aged children. FOOD.

7. What event, large or small, has changed the course of your life most?

Image result for motherless daughters

Losing my mom at the age of 7

8. Whom do you have a hard time taking seriously?

Image result for idiot donald trump

This guy

9. What do you judge people for most often?

Image result for idiot donald trump

Voting for this guy - if they did...

10. What was the most beautiful view you have ever experienced?

Image result for tumon bay guam

I've seen some pretty stuff in my life, but Tumon Bay, Guam, where we stayed in 2002, ranked high up there!

11. What is something you read or heard that has stuck with you for a long time?

Related image

I have long been a proponent of saving the Earth's various ecologies... but especially the rainforests. So in college, when I learned that Americans are the primary consumers of the beef and other livestock that the rainforests are being destroyed to raise, I quit eating meat then and there. That was in 2005.

12. What’s your favorite thing to shop for?  Why?

Image result for tons of pretty yarns

Y'all know I love my yarns. I could shop for yarn every day of my life and never get tired of it!

13. What’s the best compliment someone can receive?

009

I think it varies for each person. For me personally, I think it would be that my kids have turned out to be great human beings. Let's hope!

14. What’s something people go on and on about and you just can’t stand sitting through?

Image result for boring finances funny

I'm just not into finance or insurance stuff - I really don't have the head for it, and I'm okay with that - so when people talk about it, my eyes gloss over and I tune out immediately.

15. What’s something you can do that most people can’t?

Image result for manic funny

I have genuine Bipolar I Disorder - the kind with honest-to-goodness, REAL mania - not the kind far too many people insensitively joke that they or someone they know have, so I can spend all night cooking and baking everything in the house and then completely function the next day... and repeat! (Or whatever my craze of the moment is)

16. When was the last time you tried to look cool and ended in embarrassment?

Image result for trying to look cool gif

I could never pull off trying to look cool, so I don't even bother!

17. What is the most ridiculous rule you have to follow?

Image result for veterinarian funny

Well, just the societal norms, now... but shortly after we were married, again on Guam, I took our pets to the Air Force base vet. Well, something (I don't remember what) went wrong, and I was pissed and acted like it. Shortly after that, both my husband (mostly him) and I were reprimanded for my bad behavior. It was then that I learned that as a Navy wife, my actions reflected completely on him, and I had to learn to control my outbursts. Heh. I'm pretty good at outbursts, y'all. (Goes with the aforementioned Bipolar...)

18. What country do you not know the location of, even though you should?

Image result for Tahiti funny

I honestly have no earthly idea where Tahiti or Bora Bora are.

19. What do you have a hard time with but most people find quite easy?

Image result for speaking funny

I have the hardest time getting coherent thoughts out of my brain and off my tongue. I just cannot speak well. I think the part of my brain that controls speech melted, or something...

20. What’s the most impressive skill you have?

I guess I knit and crochet pretty well. I should probably do some more of it!

~*~*~*~*~

That's the end. Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.