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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!)


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!


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?


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

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

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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?

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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?

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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?

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

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

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Losing my mom at the age of 7

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

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This guy

9. What do you judge people for most often?

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Voting for this guy - if they did...

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

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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?

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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?

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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?


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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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!


Sunday Stealing: Fashion Show Meme

What's up, everyone? Time for another rousing round of Sunday Stealing, which you can link up to for this week here. Without further ado, let's get to it!


1. A way to win your heart
Image result for Must love dogs
Being an animal lover is important to me, so someone who shares that love is equally important. Especially for dogs. I love me some poochies!

2. Something you feel strongly about
Image result for Hippie Tree Hugger
The environment. I'm an admitted liberal hippie tree hugger-type.

3. A book you love
Image result for Anne of Green Gables Book
There is a special place in my heart for all of Lucy  Maud Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series books. I must have read them a dozen times each in my youth!

4. Five pet peeves
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a. People who have read this blog for a long time and feel like they know me inside and out (so, basically, me - haha!) should remember my #1 pet peeve are those drivers who take a half an hour to make a right turn in front of me. Oh, my God. I could write a day-long rant about this! I should not have to come to a complete stop behind your dumb @$$ if there is nothing impeding your progress except wishy-washy driving. Commit to it and GO, already! (See?)
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b. Following right up close on the heels of "a" is smoking. I have a zero tolerance policy for it. Especially when there are designated smoking spots and you are not in them. Or you're clustered around a restaurant or, even more crazy-making, medical establishment entryway. GTFO!
Image result for no racism
c. Racism, unfair prejudices, intolerance, all of that. The world is shrinking when it comes to coming into contact with "The Other." Get over it, people are different. And yet we are all the same.
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d. Apologies to fiddler crabs, but asymmetry. OCD is alive and well within me, and I like symmetry, gosh darn it. Some asymmetry is tolerable for me, as long as it is a resolved, balanced form. Gross asymmetry, though, just drives me off the deep end.
Image result for Judgy Christians
e. Judgy Christians. As a Christian myself, I find it abhorrent to be misrepresented by this more vocal and more populous group.

5. What you ate today
Image result for Colossal Shrimp cocktail
There was a sale on colossal shrimp at Fred Meyer today when I went for a few staples, so I took advantage and brought home a pound. The cocktail sauce was way too spicy - thank you, horseradish - so it was all shrimp and no cocktail for me. I think I was full after three! (I just found out there were five left in the fridge. Um. Make that four...)

6. How important do you think education is?
Image result for uneducated funny
Immensely important. People who think a college degree - in anything, really - is overrated probably don't have one themselves.

7. Five people you find attractive
a. & b. Hubs and our older daughter, Chloë, for starters
Jack Head Shot
c. Our son, Jack
d. Our younger daughter, Sophia
Image result for Matt Damon
e. and, my celebrity boyfriend of course, Matt Damon

8. What you wore today
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I got this pair of Old Navy royal blue velour lounge pants from the thrift store, and Hubs teased that I should get the matching sweatshirt so I can complete my, uh, well-aged look. I think this model (and plenty others on Google) shows that velour is not just for the geriatric folk! I'm wearing the pants with a heathery gray Eddie Bauer shirt, also from the thrift store. I'm going for "comfy" here.

9. Something you always think “what if” about
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I play the "what if" game in regards to my mom's early death, as well as my son's, all the time...

10. Something you’re proud of
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We're in our eighth year of homeschooling. I'm pretty proud that we're still going strong. This year may be our best year yet!

11. Something you lust after
Young living essential oils
Well, I don't know if it counts as lust or more like "coveting," but I want allll the oils! I just love my Young Living essential oils so much for how they have improved my quality of life. I want them all.

12. A word/phrase that makes you laugh
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The word "peepee" always gives me a giggle, especially when I get Hubs to say it. So silly!

13. A quote you try to live by
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I try very hard to live by the Golden Rule, as my mother taught me while she was still here.

14. Something you like and dislike about yourself.
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a. Like: I love to organize and plan the dickens out of a thing - anything, everything - but I am also quite wacky and spontaneous all the time. I like that about me. I'm not completely rigid at all.
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b. Dislike: On the flip side of the coin, I'm very impulsive, and that has gotten me into some very hot water at times. Especially when it's my Bipolar Mania kind of impulsiveness. I try to tamp that down as soon as I feel it happening, but I can't always control some of the nutty things I do.

15. A problem that you have had 
Image result for fear of success
That quote is so me. I am terrified of success, and therefore I am a huge procrastinator. But by the same token, I'm also a get-shit-doner, so I'm pretty fabulous a pulling excellent work out of my hindquarters at the last possible moment!
That's it for this week! Thanks for stopping by. 

Sunday Stealing: Art History Meme

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

Let's begin:


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

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

  10. 4. Do you have a good relationship with your mother?
  11. Image result for my mother in heaven

I wish I did...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for Modern american revolution

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

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

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

  11. 14. Is your life moving too slowly or too fast?
  12. Image result for the days are long but the years are short sign

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  13. 21. Are you interested in social issues?

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


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


Sunday Stealing: Something Different Meme

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday 9: Angel

Hey fogies! Sorry for the radio silence this past week, but I have been siiiiiick as a dog. Hopefully that is well over.

Link up here at Saturday 9 to play along with the rest of the bunch!

Let's get started.


Saturday 9: Angel (1998)
... because Bev recommended it

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

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1) Sarah McLachlan wrote this song about someone she barely knew. She read the obit of Jonathan Melvoin, keyboard player for the Smashing Pumpkins, who died of a heroin overdose. What's the most recent news story that touched you deeply?

Well, it was about the last messages and phone calls from Princess Diana to then-little boys, Princes William and Harry. I know it's silly, that I, an American and comparatively a pauper, a commoner, would feel this way, but I do feel connected to the British princes. My blonde, blue-eyed mother suddenly at 33, shocking everyone, leaving behind two little girls. Diana died suddenly at 36, shocking everyone, leaving behind two little boys. I wanted to write to the two of them when she was killed, but I figured they'd never really get the letter anyway.
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2) Ms. McLachlan performed this in tribute to Linda McCartney at the 1999 Concert for Linda. She was expressing her hope that, in death, Linda found relief and peace after a long and painful battle with cancer. What do you think happens to us when we die?
I'm so torn on this. I obviously don't really have any idea, nor does anyone else, truly. Part of me thinks that's it, it's over, that's the end. But the part of me whose faith tells her that her mom and son are walking through Heaven together these last 14 years is stronger. As for Hell... well, all I know about that is I really do not want to go there!
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3) Daytime dramas General Hospital and As the World Turns used this song on-air after a major character died. Do you follow any "soap operas?"
When I was a tween/teen, my stepsisters were into Guiding Light, so that's what I watched, too. Didn't have much of a choice if I wanted to watch something in the family room, anyway. But not since about 1992 or so have I followed any soaps.
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Chickens 012
4) In 2007, Sarah donated her recording of this song to the ASPCA. Do you have a pet? If yes, how did you get it (shelter, pet store, etc.)?
Do I have a pet? Ahahaha, you kill me, Sam. Here's our current rundown: Two dogs (Paco, gotten from a family who couldn't keep their baby's hands off him and kept hurting him, and Tapioca, from That Black Dog Rescue in Miami); four cats (Pepper, found in the street in the middle of the night, Muffin, adopted from the friend of a friend, Sugarplum, adopted from a girl in Miami who couldn't keep kittens for Sophia's 10th birthday, and Henry, adopted through Pet Supermarket in Miami from the Humane Society of Miami); two gerbils and a guinea pig (all from the pet store); and ten chickens (one won by son at a county fair and the other purchased for a dollar each from a crazy chicken lady). So yeah... a few animals in this household!
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5) She admits she can't watch those ASPCA commercials, where her recording of "Angel" plays over sad photos of animals. Is there a TV commercial that really gets to you (in either a good or a bad way)?
I haven't watched commercials in ages, but I agree, that and those poor, sick children with distended bellies in Africa who need adopting... those things always get to me.

6) In 1994, Sarah was stalked by an obsessed fan. Tell us about a time you were really frightened. In retrospect, was your fear commensurate with the threat?
I had a stalker, too. When I lived in Miami, right after college, a former friend turned stalker on me. He found out where I lived, when I would be out of town and when I would be back (I know this because if I left for a long time, he'd have a package delivered in the mail upon my return, with nothing in the middle - and I didn't hold my mail, ever). He wanted to marry me and would stop at nothing to get his way. One time, at about 11 PM after work one night, I pulled into my driveway and opened my car door; I could hear some rustling in the bushes and just felt completely creeped out. I left immediately and drove over to my BFF Kristal's house. Eventually, after a while of this, I had a stalking police report out on him, and they offered to help me file a restraining order. I thought nothing would come of it, and I was wrong. He attacked me in my house later that summer. A definite "hell yes" to the question!
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7) Sarah was adopted by Jack and Dorice McLachlan. Though she has a friendly relationship with her birth mother, she always considered Dorice her mother and sees herself behaving with her son the way Dorice did with her. Is there anyone in your family that you feel you resemble, either physically or by behavior?
In looks, I definitely resemble my father, although I have my mother's and her mother's, er... rather chunky physique. It's starting to dawn on me how to accept myself this way, rather than hate every square inch of myself.  Anyway, I do not remember my mother well enough to know if I have any of her behaviors, although I'm told my silliness, giggling, and love of game-playing come from Mom. I have a few of my dad's minor habits, like playing with my earlobes while I drive or think, but thankfully I do not resemble his behavior much beyond that. Phew.
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8) McLachlan is one of the founders of Lilith Fair, a summer concert series designed to showcase talented female performers. Do/did your summer plans include an outdoor concert?
No, although we were supposed to go to a big outdoor concert last weekend. We had to miss it, because of my illness. Hopefully there will be more to come!
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9) Random question: Which of these men would you most like to be seated with at dinner -- Clint Eastwood, Prince William or Jimmy Fallon?
Well, given my answer to the first question, I think it's obvious that I would choose the prince! I have no care to talk to Mr. Eastwood, although I'm sure Jimmy Fallon would be hilarious fun to pair up with over dinner, but you know I would have a lot to talk about with Prince William. Hopefully no tears in our pudding, though.
Thanks, Sam, I really enjoyed this week's questions. Happy Saturday, y'all! 

Sunday Stealing: The Procrastination Questions

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

Cheers to all us thieves!

Sunday Stealing: The Procrastination Tool Questions

1. What is your favorite sit-down restaurant?

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I'm not very good at choosing favorites for anything, but I'll venture to answer this one: The [fancy-schmance] Town Point Club in Norfolk, Virginia. Every bite of every course was beautifully presented and memorably tasty.

2. What food could you eat for two weeks straight and not get sick of it?

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You mean besides chocolate, right? Because chocolate. And pizza. If pizza and chocolate were in my life every day, I'd be a very happy lady.

3. Have you ever had anything removed from your body?

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Yes: my entire reproductive organs except my left ovary; my gall bladder; possibly my appendix; a precancerous lesion on my chin; and also, my stomach and small intestine are seriously rearranged.

4. What is the last heavy item you lifted?

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At the job I had for oh, two days (before I had to quit thanks to my health), we were all called to the garden center to stock the shelves with an unexpected surplus of plants they'd just received. Carrying a huge, I don't know, plat of plants was quite a load for wimpy me!

5. Have you ever been knocked unconscious?

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Knocked out by a force outside myself? No, but I have fainted my fair share of times.

6. If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die?

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I've wrestled with that question before, and I think I've finally decided that yes, I would want to know. I like preparing for shit, what can I say?

7. If you could change your name, what would you change it to?

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I would change my name from Melanie Ann to Melanie Penelope. I like multi-syllabic names.

8. What’s your goal for the year?

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I want to see Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; Seattle, Washington; Portland, Oregon; and San Francisco, California before Lyme Disease f-king kills me. At least one of those this year, preferably.

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9. Last person you hugged?

This gorgeous 15yo daughter of mine!

10. First place you went this morning?

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I pee-peed. I don't feel well today; I haven't been outside my house.

11. Do you always answer your phone?

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Pfffftttt. I'm notoriously terrible at answering my phone. It's a New Year's resolution of mine to be better at it. So far, I am.

12. It’s four in the morning and you get a text message, who is it?

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Uhhh, probably the creditor for our car, saying we owe a payment.

13. If you could change your eye color what would it be?

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Green eyes, like these and like me gran'pappy had

14. What’s on your wish list for your birthday?

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I would love it if we were able to afford to have our household stuff delivered to us from Miami, an obstacle that seems forever out of reach. :(

15. Does the future make you more nervous or excited?

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A little bit nervous, but mostly excited. The future of my health is uncertain (fecking, fecking Lyme!), but every day over the age of 33 - which is when my mama died - is like a magical gift I can't wait to open. I'm looking forward to every "What's next?"

16. Do you have any saved texts?

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I rarely delete my texts.  Most are promo codes from various businesses, anyway.

17. Ever been in a car wreck?

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Here comes a story: When I was 18, and my dad was driving me back to college in Miami from South Carolina, we left in the middle of the night. Sometime around 3 or 4 AM, I fell asleep as Dad drove. Sometime during my nap, we were hit from the back by a very drunk young man going extremely fast. I woke up screaming as our car spun and spun and what felt like 1,000 MPH, before we landed down the side of the road in the thick brush, facing the road. We were later told that if all four tires hadn't blown out during that mess, we never would have survived.

Since it was the middle of the night, we were stuck there alone (it was 1995; neither of us had cell phones back then) and both stunned out of our minds. Finally, a trucker started approaching, and I leaned over and hit the horn and didn't stop hitting that horn, telling my dad to flash the lights, until the trucker screeched to a stop. He found us, then ran back for some tools and radioed the police.

Meanwhile, the father of the drunk driver found his son, and the car, and knew something bad had happened. He later told us, "I said to him, "Son, you've got to go back and fix this.'" My dad decided not to press charges against him, which pissed me off at the time because my neck and back were all jacked up, and it threw off my college schedule, but it set an example for me not to be so quick to run to the law and settle things outside of court (in a good way, not like, in a backyard vigilante way).

The creepiest part about being stuck there in the brush was that the windows had all shattered, and my boombox flew out the window - and was playing screechy music the whole time we waited to be rescued! {shudder}

18. Do you have an accent?

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19. What was the last song to make you cry?

 This one, "To Where You Are" by Josh Groban. It makes me think about my angel son, Robby.

20. What did you do last night?

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As usual, I didn't sleep well. I woke up about 0230 and wrote the first half of this post about The Peregrine Fund at the World Center for Birds of Prey.

21. Have you ever felt like you hit rock bottom?

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Not yet, thankfully.

22. Current hate right now?

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My chronic, debilitating Lyme Disease. :'(

23. Met someone who changed your life?

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Sure; everyone I've met has changed my life in some way.

24. How did you bring in the New Year?

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I didn't make it to midnight this year. That was a first for me, in my 40 years of life. I was bummed.

25. What song represents you?

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"Crazy," by Gnarls Barkley is, I feel, my anthem.

Sunday Stealing: The Mommy Time Meme

Sunday Stealing

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

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


Cheers to all of us thieves!

Sunday Stealing: The Money Time Questions

1. What are five passions that you have?

a.  EarthDayEve052a

These three knuckleheads. <3

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

This chump of mine. <3

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

d.  SelfiewithSophieMother Earth (and Science #FTW!)

e.  Pea falafel etc

Experimenting with food! I love to cook!

2. List up to ten random facts about yourself.

a.  Profile

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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

All right, well:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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



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


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


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

5. What is a major strength that you have?

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

6. What is a major weakness that you have?

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

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

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Huge pile of shit (then)


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Unicorn farts... Capisce?

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

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

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



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


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


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


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


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Being kind


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


That was a long one, but fun!

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: Some Guys Have All The Luck

Ahhh, 80s baby here! I used to love this song, and I'm excited it was picked! Also yes, I know it's not Saturday. Yesterday was an awful day for me healthwise, so I took it off. Anyway...

Link up here if you wanted to play along yesterday but couldn't do it. Like me! ;)


Saturday 9: Some Guys Have All the Luck (1984)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) Do you consider yourself lucky?
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Lucky? No, not me. I sometimes have seemingly "lucky" things happen to me, but to be honest, I'm not sure I truly even believe in luck.

2) When did you last risk money in a game of chance (lottery, raffle ticket, slot machine, etc.)? How did you do?
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I'm not sure, but I think the last time I took to the casino or anything like that was in October 2006, when we were on a cruise with some of our extended family. I dropped about ten bucks on chips and played the slot machine. I quickly lost that and took my leave!

3)  There's a major football game this weekend. Will you be watching? Do you have any money riding on the outcome? 
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We're going to a Super Bowl party at our church tonight to watch the game. I'm excited! I've never actually been to any game-watch party, let alone the Super Bowl! Maybe I'm a loser? Anyway, I hope it'll be way fun. Much less stressful than, and a great break from, all the political BS coming out of D.C. lately...
4) The composer of this song, Jeff Fortgang, is an interesting guy who's had two disparate careers: first pop musician, then Yale-educated clinical psychologist. It's possible that many of the patients who see him for help with anxiety or depression have no idea that he wrote this song. What's something your coworkers (or, if you're not working, casual friends) would be surprised to know about you?
Well, I'm an over-sharer on social media (I try to contain myself but have no real filter, so it's hard), so there would not be much. However, I do think some people would be shocked about how much I don't share. They probably think it's none, but it's way more than lots. ;)

5) Similarly, fans are often surprised to learn that this week's featured artist, Rod Stewart, is a history buff who loves reading about WWII. Is there a period of time or historic event that has captured your interest?

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I'd love to go back to the '50s and dance in a good, old-fashioned sock hop. What fun!
6) Rod met his current wife as the result of a dare. Penny Lancaster, then in her 20s, spotted the decades-older celebrity in a bar and only approached him because her friends bet her she didn't have the guts to talk to him. Are you, like Penny, vulnerable to peer pressure? Can your friends talk you into doing things you might not otherwise do?
Usually not. On the other hand, if I'm comfortable with the group I'm in, I ofted get amped up enough to go do shit on my own - with or without my friends' daring me to do it! 

7) Rod vividly recalls being 11 years old and going to see  Little Richard perform in a film comedy called The Girl Can't Help It. When you were a kid, did you enjoy going to the movies? What do you recall seeing?
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Oh, I have fantastic memories of going to the drive-in movies with mom and dad! The first two movies, which I still love, that I can remember seeing were E.T. The Extra Terrestrial and Bambi. Stacey (sister) and I would sit in the back of the car eating M&Ms and other snacks, and when my parents thought we'd fallen asleep, they started smooching. Haha!

8) The lyrics tell of when Rod's car overheats and he calls a friend, who doesn't come through. Tell us about a time recently when you were there and helped a buddy out.
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Note: This not the actual cake, but she'll get one similar to it.
My good friend, Domenica, doesn't have a car, and she needed to order a 4th birthday cake for her daughter, Emma. She was going to walk the nearest Publix and does that all the time, no problem. But she's pregnant and having some issues with that, so Chloë and I drove over to pick them up. Domenica and Emma ran with us to our local, organic CSA share farm and then to Publix to order the cake. Also:
Domenica and Chloë glommed onto the cupcake display case at the bakery and could not resist getting a couple of tasty treats for themselves! (And yes, I 'stole' a bit of Chloë's delicious cupcake, despite the fact that I can not have anything in it! Delicioso!)

9) The lyrics mention that "some guys do nothing but complain." Who do you know who is like that? Do you have a friend, relative or coworker who just always seems to find fault?

If I had a friend like that, always finding fault, they probably would not be my friend in the first place. I had enough of that growing up with my wicked stepmother. I complain, but honestly I just do it to hear myself talk! ha! I'm like my grandpa that way.


Thanks for stopping by! Have a great Super Bowl Sunday.


Sunday Stealing: The Ice-Breaker Meme

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


Cheers to all of us thieves!

Sunday Stealing: The Icebreaker Questions

  1. Are you loud, outgoing or shy?

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

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

 Stacy Uncorked

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

Carey and Melanie

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

  1. Are you easy to get along with?

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Nope. Next!

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

  1. Who was your first crush on?

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

  1. What are your bad habits?

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

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

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

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


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

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

 Image result for past relationships funny

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

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

 Image result for Matt Damon family

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

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

 Image result for Giving up funny stuff for lent

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

  1. Do you believe in second chances?

 Image result for second chances funny

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

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


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

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

Image result for broken heart

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

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

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

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

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

Image result for I understand

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

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


Saturday 9: O, Holy Night

Link up here if you're playing along today!


Saturday 9: O, Holy Night (1967)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.
1) This beloved carol takes its lyrics from a French poem. What else can we thank the French for?
I assume you mean besides the fries and kissing? ;) How about our beloved Statue of Liberty?
2) How well do you know  "O, Holy Night?" Without looking up the lyrics, could you sing along with Ella?

 Not all the way through, but a great deal of it, I could
3) In order to get this record into stores in time for Christmas 1967, Ella had to record this in late July. So let's reverse that. Now that it's Christmastime, what do you miss most about summer? 
Well, considering we live in Miami where it's a clear 72ºF at 11:18 PM, it's not so bad here weather-wise. But when Hubs took the kids to the pool today, they swam for maybe 20 minutes before the pool closed for sundown, and they had to head home. Bummer! I definitely miss the late sunshiny nights, where the kids could stay out until 8:30 PM instead of 5:30. Their curfews are when the street lights come on and the sun is gone, you'd better be home! 

4) Sam is crazy about the open toed pumps she'll be wearing to holiday parties, but that means she needs to get a pedi. Will you be at a salon between now and year-end?
Oh, no. Not me. I just did my pedicure, but I've only gone to a salon for my nails twice in my life. It's just not the sort of luxury I really desire to spend our money on.
5) Will you be consuming any egg nog this holiday season? And if you do, will it be spiked?
Yes, and yes. I had my shot glass-full for the year, and it was spiked with rum. Hubs says I had some of the bottle with bourbon in it, too, but I clearly don't remember that! Ha!
6) Thinking of holiday cuisine, what's your favorite Christmas cookie?

For decorating, of course it's got to be the sugar cookies. For taste, nothing beats a good chocolate chip. But our new favorites are these chocolate and pistachio numbers that I could make myself sick on for a week straight before deciding to learn my lesson!
7) Sam knows she will get a bottle of red wine from her boss, because that's what he gives his staff every year. Is there a gift you can count on receiving?
Nope! I don't count on any gifts. Even the mail loses those I've purchased for myself. And I sent to my nieces each an iTunes gift card, which they wanted... only when they received it, I'd ordered Apple Store gift cards, instead. FAIL, Aunt Melanie. I don't know what to do with those except replace them and buy my youngest - the only one of us with an iPhone - some charging cords or something?
8) What one gift would you most like to receive this year? Do you think anyone will get it for you?
I would really just like the gift of good credit, which I've never had as an adult, myself. I'm working on that now. And after all these years of just wanting a clean house for my birthday and Christmas, well. I've just decided either I do it or I won't get it. So I don't get it! ;)
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.
I would love there to be some big push for Fibromyalgia research, but if there is a place that's doing it, I'm not finding it. Basically, no one cares about us sufferers and thinks we are crazy, except for a few doctors who are probably suffering it from it themselves or have someone close to them who is. I'm in a lot of pain tonight, so that's where my head is.
Cheers, y'all.

Sunday Stealing: Ask Questions, Yo Meme

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Cheers to all of us thieves!!! 

Ask Questions, Yo Meme

Stolen from: i take surveys


1. Are you a very open or private person?

I am the queen of TMI. I have said way too much, way too much!

2. Change one thing about the world. What would it be?

I'd make people stop being assholes for NO GOOD REASON. That pretty much sums up many things in one neat little package.

3. Live in any country/city, where would you choose?


4. What perfume do you wear?

I switch it up among several different JAFRA scents, but my favorite are these fruity / floral three that are meant to be blended in any way  you want, or worn alone. I go through them entirely too fast.

5. How are you feeling right now?

Like my whole existence is flawed. In finally coming to have our 13-year-old son evaluated for Autism Spectrum Disorder, I'm realizing that not just Jack but I, too, almost certainly have Asperger's Syndrome. It's been quite a shocker. My world is upside-down. Did people not know? Which is possible, since I'm nearly 40 and am just now figuring it out... or did my parents suspect, but because of their religion, never took me to a doctor who might have figured it out? And coupled with the severe emotional abuse I suffered from my stepmother after my mom died... well, let's just say, I'm having quite a tough moment right now. 

6. If money was no object, where would you move to?

I'm thinking Mars.

7. Who was the last person to make you cry?

Me. Right now, it doesn't take much. Why do I always cry on the days when I wear mascara that is not waterproof?!

8. What age do people usually mistake you for?


I don't know; you tell me. I swear I looked way younger than my chronological age until this past year of being ill. Then it caught up in a hurry!

9. Is there a song which can bring you to tears instantly?

 This one. I played it a billion times after our son Robby died.

10. Do you play video games?

I mostly just stick to Words With Friends now on my phone. I play a ton of that. The minute it's clear someone is cheating against me, though... buh-bye.

11. What do you think about before you go to bed?

Everything. I think that's why I end up in the ER so much in the middle of the night. Ten points for you if you can connect the dots between those two thoughts!

12. Have you ever online dated?


Yeah, with this guy who later became Daddy to our four kiddos!

13. Do you get cranky when you’re hungry?

Doesn't everyone?

14. What drink did you last consume?

But I really need to quit. This time I mean it!

15. Have you ever tripped while walking up the stairs?

Uh, yeah. I'm ridiculously clumsy.

16. Is there something you’re happy about at the moment?

I'm an anxious, neurotic wreck... and my family still love me anyway. ♥

17. Are you a shy person?

That about sums it up.

18. Were you happy when you woke up today?

Yeah, I actually was. It was a pretty great morning, until I went full-on neurotic about the Aspy stuff.

19. Do you like rain?

Rain, I like. Except when it's in the middle of a hurricane or Supertyphoon Pongson'a in Guam. Then... bring on the PTSD!

20. Can you go a day without music?

Negative. Nope. Nyet.


Thanks for stopping by!


The Buck Stops Here.

I read this book nearly 20 years ago, and it was hilarious of course. But with all due respect to Ellen Degeneres for stealing her book cover, this will probably not be a hilarious post.

It's just some stuff I need to say somewhere, and this seemed like the appropriate place. I mean, it is my space, isn't it? Where else could I get away half the shit I say? This might be the only post where I close the comments; I really can't remember. 

It's not that I don't value your feedback. Of course I do. It's that I'm emotionally a sensitive, fragile little flower, and sometimes I can't hear (or read, as the case may be) anything negative without taking it all the way to the inner recesses of my heart. If you have something positive to say, then by all means, let me hear it. But negativity here is not needed. Please.

I do remember doing this, clearly and distinctly, with my mom. I don't have a huge ton of memories of my mother, as a kid should, because she died when I was 7½ years old. I don't really remember doing this more than once, but this one memory is huge in my head:

It's about 1980 or '81, so I'm maybe four or five years old, and we're living in Monroe, New York. It's late, like, way past my sister's and my bedtime late, and my dad is not home - probably working. Mom is lying on her back on the floor, and the three of us girls are just laughing away at ourselves. Mom has the giant, square pillow my grandmother probably latch-hooked for our house under her head. She takes turns, flying one of us, then the other, as long as it lasts until her legs can hold on no longer, and she lands us safely on the big, puffy pillow, giggling all the way.

That's it. That's the whole memory. Pretty simple, and yet so wonderful.

Another memory from about the same time, around Thanksgiving or Christmas 1980:

My mom's younger brother, Uncle Chris, came up to visit from Florida. He brought this new thing with him, something we hadn't heard of before then: an Atari game console for my mom. He also gave her Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, several other things, and her beloved Frogger. She played whenever she had a spare ten seconds to rub together!

It seemed like Mom was playing Frogger whenever she got the chance. She loved that game! I never did manage to advance to the higher levels like she did, but man, could she leap through some snakes and crocodiles in no time flat! Me? Splat!


Mom was a pretty amazing mother. My dad has told me time and time again, "She was what made parenting fun for me. It was all her doing."

All Dad had wanted was a boy. He had been an only child, himself, born fairly late in his parents' lives, and he wanted a son of his own. I was supposed to be Clayton, but then I came out and was another girl - his third daughter. Dad tried to name me Eleanor after his own mother, but he left the room, and Mom wrote "Melanie" down on the birth certificate papers all lickety-split. I guess I got Ann as a middle name for lack of something better, but I still wish she had chosen Penelope. It's so much more fun to say!


Sure, I remember Popeye. I also remember moving away from all my friends and my grandparents in nearby Leonia, New Jersey, and moving what seemed like forever away up to the Syracuse area.

One year later, on April 9, 1984, my mother died from acute complications of diabetes and Christian Science. Dad didn't know what to do with two little girls. He started dating entirely too quickly (really, WTF, Dad?!) and just like that, on July 13, 1985, he was married to ... her. 

His explanation, "I wanted a mother for you two girls, and she seemed like a good one," has failed to appease me ever since.


There was all kinds of abuse going on in that household after that. Every kind. All the kinds.

I don't really don't want to talk about that too much right now, so I will spare you there. Suffice it to say, my sister took the brunt of the physical abuse from my dad, and she eventually got emancipated at 16 because he beat the crap out of her. Meanwhile, because my stepmother hated my dad, and I was his "precious favorite," she took all of her mental/emotional/physical anguish out on me.

And believe me, there was a lot of it. She utterly destroyed me.

There are those out there who knew what was going on in that house but kept silent. I'm sure they have their reasons. I don't have any ill will toward them. And then I had a homeroom teacher who saw me come in crying one morning, and when I talked to my amazing friend Shana about what happened, the teacher saw some injuries that had happened.

Well, you know what they say about that, right?


Shit rolls downhill.

Needless to say, the outcome wasn't pleasant. It was never pleasant.

Image result for university of miami logo


Fast-forward a few years to my college years at UM.

I had finally escaped! I made it! Only... I did not make it out unscathed. I no longer had to try to commit suicide all the time - as I had been in Baldwinsville, at least monthly if not weekly - just to get out of that terrible situation. But, as I learned in the Child Psych classes I took for the babies I hoped to have one day, along with some research I have done on my own, the damage was pretty well done by the time I finished high school at 17. I learned that abuse of one kind often manifests itself in other ways in the next generation of victims, which scared the bejeezus out of me, having experienced all the kinds.

I went to therapy as a graduate student at the University of South Florida, but my therapist was still a student herself and, therefore, ill-equipped to handle me. So, I stopped going.


I was taking a break from USF when I met Rob, and we eloped right away. Chloë was born less than a year later. That first year, home alone with my baby girl while Hubs was at work in the Navy, was heaven. I mean, she was a sickly little baby and projectile-vomited a dozen times every day, so that was tough, but for the most part, I was madly in love with my life! That was what it was all about for me.

Then we had the twins, and Robby died, which messed me up all over again. I started going to therapy to get through my grief almost immediately after that. The total-fucked-uppedness of my brain was masked by my intense bereavement, so it wasn't until another therapist and another psychiatrist got me in their chairs three years later - after Sophia had already been born, too - that my Bipolar Disorder was finally diagnosed.


That was a blessing in disguise, because I was finally able to get on the med cocktail I needed to help my head straighten out a bit. Unfortunately, stability is a myth with this disease, so the meds all-too-often need some tweaking, but now we all recognize when that need happens. I swear the whole of Facebook knows when I'm getting manic before I do, because I stay up all night baking everything in sight!

And now, I am finally getting to my point.

There are those who think I'm ridiculous (at best) or horrible (at worst) for all the things I do, as myself, as a wife, as a mom.  But my world revolves around these people, these little humans I have been given, and I do my damnedest every day to give them the best that I can.

Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I fall. Sometimes, I lose my shit and have to go slam out the door and drive to Walmart - of all places, if you know me - to walk around and look at stuff I don't want to buy for an hour!

But the point is, I leave before my mental shit comes out in some other form, and when I come back, I apologize for the huge bitch I was. Maybe I never got that Ph.D. I wanted, or that Nobel Prize I envisioned when I was a silly teenager, or a bunch of research journals with my name published in them, but that's okay. Rob and the kids know that they are wanted, and loved, and that I would lay down my life for them. That I will never stop, no matter what. That "home" means love and laughter, not crying and fear. The kids are all right.




Sunday Stealing: That Alphabet Thing Meme


Link up here if you're playing along today, too!

Cheers to all of us thieves!!!  

That Alphabet Thing Meme
Stolen from: Songs of innocence and of experience


A. Accent:


I have an Central New York accent until I get amped up. Then I am all New York City.

B. Breakfast:


I sometimes eat "breakfast" at 2200, and it may consist of an egg or two on a piece of toast. Or two. But I rarely eat breakfast at the proper time anymore.

C. Chore you hate:

Cleaning up dog shit is probably not my favorite chore. Listen, I had a passel of kids so I wouldn't have to do those things. You know?

D. Dad's name:


My dad is Robert Eric Simmons. He took off the "Jr." that was originally part of his name.

E. Essential everyday item:

Normally I might say my smartypants phone, my Samsung Galaxy S5. But last night, during the big UM vs. FSU game, it was either my voice, or the wine. We lost, but it was still an awesome game, because my boys FOUGHT those $%^&* 'Noles!

F. Flavor ice cream:


My favorite flavor is Peanut Butter Chocolate ice cream, but Mint Chip follows right along behind that.

G. Gold or silver:


So many precious metals, so little time... I choose copper! :P

H. Hometown:


Though we moved up to Baldwinsville when I was six, my hometown was originally Monroe, NY. Hence the accent answer, above.

I. Insomnia:


That's pretty much correct, right there. My sleeping cycle is AFU.

J. Job title:


I'm not sure if it's "Mom" or, now that we have teen/tween kids, it's "Moooooommmmmmmmm!"

K. Kids:


We have Chloë Raine, 14; Robert William, our forever baby and identical twin to Jack River, 12; and Sophia Lorelei, 10.

M. Mother's birthplace:

My mom was born in The Bronx, New York. (Dad is from Staten Island.)

N. Number of significant others:


Um... one at a TIME? Hubs and I are rapidly coming up on our 15th anniversary. I'm pretty stoked about that!

O. Overnight hospital stays:

I've had three C-sections, a hysterectomy, and gastric bypass surgery. And that's just the beginning of it. Glad you asked?

P. Phobia:

In this story, I am the one petrified of this scenario. Hubs is Buzz Lightyear, and he loves loves LOVES his mustard. Ugh.

Q. Quick at:


Actually, I love math, and I have used this ^^^ in real life! So pbbbtthhh!

R. Religious affiliation:


I was raised as a Christian Scientist. At 21, I read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, and ever since, I'm a non-denominational Protestant. Trust me, I'm much happier this way.

S. Siblings:


That's me in the black, and my older sister Stacey with her arm around my back. We also have an older half-sister, Pamela, whom we've never met.

T. Time you wake up:

Most of the time, I wake up on my own. Sometimes, though... eh. Too complicated to go into it. We'd need some of that alphabetical math.

U. Unnatural hair colors:


My friend Erin once told me, in high school, that she and I had "hair-colored hair." It was kind of a mousy brown. In May 1995, my college roommate told me we should dye it reddish-brown. I have been doing so ever since. That's about it, color-wise, for me.

V. Vegetable you refuse to eat:


I have never eaten okra. We didn't have it growing up in New York, and I consider it a Deep South thing. Maybe that's why? But maybe not, since I have eaten grits. Meh.

W. Worst habit:


I don't smoke or do illegal drugs. Other than that... Hey, leave me alone. I'm a work in progress, m'kay?

 X. X-rays:

I think my first x-ray was when I was in graduate school, and I broke several toes on my left foot. Oh Em Gee, that hurt. But now, I probably would just walk around that way. Now I know what real pain is!

Y. Yummy:


I'm a semi-vegetarian, and I adore my hummus. HUMMUS FTW!

Z. Zodiac sign:

I am a true Virgo. I don't go into the whole horoscope nonsense, but hey, maybe there is some truth to that shit.

Wow, this post was like my autobiography, eh? Time to go bathe and then read some of y'all's posts. Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday Stealing: Making A List Meme

Stealing today, too? Link up here to join the rest of us in the thievery and debauchery.

Making a list Meme
Stolen from: Love me some surveys

 1. Do you like making lists? 
I them! I make them all. the. time.

2. Did you play sports with your siblings? 

I took dance lessons for years with my two (older) stepsisters. That is a story with an unhappy ending, so we'll leave it at that for now. As for more mainstream sports, per se, no, I did not partake.

3. Would you rather go to a University or a community college? 


I went to the University of Miami as an undergrad, and the University of South Florida as a grad student. Guess that answers that?

4. What’s your favorite kind of bread? 

I adore sourdough bread. I really should get started on making my own. Someday...

5. What toppings do you like on your pizza? 


I like pineapple on my pizza, lots. I really like a margherita pizza, too. In a pinch, a cheese pizza will do just fine.

6. What color or design does your shower curtain have? 


We have this  shower curtain from Kohl's. It's new. I like it a great deal. I like the whole she-bang-bang.

7. What kind of car did your mom drive? 

When Mom died in 1984, she drove a Renault Fuego. I don't know what year it was, but it was fairly new. My dad hated that car, but it made her happy...

8. What’s on your cell phone’s home screen? 

2015-07-24 16.37.37

It's a close-up of this Hanna Andersson pillow, which I brought back from San Diego for my girls recently. I'll probably change it soon.

9. Do you like to watch the National Geographic channel? 

Nah, but only because I don't watch much TV in general.

10. Are you the type of person to correct a survey maker’s grammar and/or spelling? 

I certainly am. Sue me.

11. What color is your microwave? 

Really?!! It's black. 

12. Do you have a fan in your bedroom? 


13. Mountain Dew or Sprite? 

Mountain Dew, but make mine a Diet, please!

14. Does it rain a lot where you live? 


You could say that!

15. Do you shop at Walmart regularly? 

Only when it's the only option; otherwise, I avoid Walmart like the plague that it is.

16. Does it bother you when animals lick themselves? 

Bother me? Why should it bother me? It's their nature, isn't it?

17. Have you ever been to a Trader Joe’s? 

Yes, and I am a huge fan. Sadly, our closest one is not close at all, so I've only been there once or twice in the two years we've lived down here.

18. What’s the longest time you’ve ever been stuck in traffic? 

Probably about three hours. It infuriates me.

19. Do you wear black a lot? 

I guess I do, but I wear a lot of color, too. I'm not wearing all black, all the time, or anything.

20. Are there stairs in your house?


 No, but now I totally want them so I can do this!

21. Have you ever held $500 in cash?


Yes... it's really not that much cash...

22. Do you like onions on your burger? 


On my veggie burger? I like caramelized onions, sure.

23. Could you ever give yourself a shot? 


I suppose if I had to, I would be able to. I get blood drawn and IV meds all the time, but I always have to look away. However, Chloë (my oldest who'll be 14 tomorrow) and Jack (my 12yo) both need to take daily growth hormone shots, and that's hard enough!

24. Do you wear shoes in the house? 

I used to be a "no shoes in the house" kind of person, but with tile floors, three kids, four cats, and two dogs, you never know what you might go sliding around in. I wear the damn shoes now!

25. Have you ever worked as a cashier?


Yep. I worked at various grocery stores as a cashier, including my favorite place to work: Publix in Coral Gables. I was a rock star, y'all. Queen of Customer Service, that's me. I could go on and on, but even I'm bored of me.

Thanks for stopping by!



Saturday 9: I Miss You (Björk)

Link up here with the rest of Saturday 9ers if you're in love with this song, like I am!

Saturday 9: I Miss You (1997)

... because Smellyann (hey, that's ME!) suggested it

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

1) In this song, Björk knows what she's looking for in a mate, she just hasn't met him yet. If you are/were still looking for The One, what two qualities would you hope he/she possessed?

Very high intelligence and a rockin' sense of humor - and he does

2) The lyrics ask if you believe "that a dream can come true." Do you believe that dreams come true if you wish hard enough? 

No. Maybe if you work hard enough or all the cards fall luckily into place, but not just by wishing. Sometimes, maybe, but coincidentally so.

3) Björk turns 50 this year. Do you treat "milestone" birthdays differently? Or to you, is your age just a number?

I treat them differently. For me, personally, turning 40 in 15 months will be cause (again for me, personally) for epic celebration. Ever since my mom died very suddenly and unexpectedly at the age of 33, I grew up believing that I would, too. Every year after 33 has been a reason to celebrate, for me, but the milestones are just that much more incredible a gift to me.

For my Hubs and kids, though, I celebrate every birthday like it's a milestone, because I find it so amazing and wonderful that they are the ones with whom I get to share this life.

4) Björk was always highly musical. At the tender age of 6 she began studying classical piano and flute. Sam is impressed because at the age of 6, she was still trying to master tying her shoes. Do you consider yourself musical?

Inclined, yes, but only slightly [vocally] gifted. My great friend Shana is a musical genius. Her brothers and sister, as well as her parents, are all musical geniuses. All of them are in music careers. Shana has played violin in concert with Josh Groban, of whom I am a huge fan, so this impresses me much more than it does her. You may have heard of her father, Todd Hobin, especially if you're from New York.

5) She was born and raised in Reykjavik, Iceland. While the city is known for its bar scene, beer was banned there until 1995. How often do drink beer?

Rarely, very rarely, and only with good [?] reason to do so. I'm not a huge fan. I once drank a Guinness, in Key West, during my college years (I was with Shana then, as it would happen). I puked my guts out immediately after that. Okay, the other beers and that last shot of tequila helped...

6) 66ºNORTH is one of Iceland's biggest employers. This clothier makes quality outdoor wear and this time of year they sell a lot of durable rainwear. Do you have a raincoat?

I ought to, given the dump of rain we get every day here in Miami from June through November, give or take six months (haha). You're lucky I own an umbrella... but I never use it. We just take our wet lumps daily!

7) In 1997, when this song was popular in clubs, Titanic was popular in theaters. Sam saw it and yes, she cried. How about you? Have you seen the saga of Jack and Rose? Did you enjoy it?

love Titanic. Love it. I saw it in the theater with, again, Shana! And my then-roommate, Jasper went along. I loved it so much and yes, I cried, too.

8) Also in 1997, singer John Denver died. Name a John Denver song.

"Take Me Home, Country Roads" is probably the only one I know or could name.

9) Random question: If you had the opportunity to sky dive, would you take it?

I have had the opportunity, and I didn't take it. I don't know if I would. Never say never... but I'd probably shit my pants and swallow some on the way down when it flew up in my face! Haha... Hm, that sounds super pleasant! ;) Hubs, on the other hand, has done one jump. It was one of his favorite experiences, ever.

On that note, thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend!


Sunday Stealing: CAPS LOCK MEME


Link up here if you're stealing this Sunday, too! And, really? A CAPSLOCK meme? I refuse to shout this whole meme, so forgive me for taming it down a smidge!




I'd fill up my giant keg full of Diet Coke at the fountain for 99¢, get four two-for-$3 bottles of Gatorade for the rest of Team Odette (and yes, we do call them by their colors, LOL). That takes care of $7. With the other $3, I would buy two 49¢ string cheeses for me, and a big $2 bag of chips for everyone else. And yes, I have done exactly this in the past; what makes you ask? ;)


I would rather be a rock. An unfeeling, uncaring, unworried, unstressed, unpained rock. Is that a possibility? Sign me up for that, por favor.



Profile Picture

Me!! Okay, okay, I'm guessing you meant natural redhead. I'll go with my sweet, smart, talented ginger niece, Hanna Leigh. 

And my favorite redhead whom I don't know but who is my boyfriend anyway? Ed Sheeran!!!


This ^^^ is true. I can't make an omelet to save my life. I do get them when I go to IHOP, though. I like them with some kind of greens (spinach, usually), some kind of cheese (feta, maybe), and sautéed onions. Yummy!

At Waffle House, I'll get my hash browns scattered, smothered, and covered. Great, now I want to go down to Key Largo (our nearest Waffle House location) and get a plateful!


I actually just started Black Boy by Richard Wright. I'm not far into it enough to comment. We'll see!


We watched a few movies yesterday, but tonight the girls are watching Monster High: Haunted, and then the three of them are watching some puppy movie, and then, finally, I get to see the first Pitch Perfect. I've been dying to see it forever!


They're definitely not a thong, I'll tell you that. My butt does not like Der Thongs. Nope nope nope!


I don't know. I am a klutzy, clumsy girl, and I just don't have the brain cells to remember every injury I incur!

One time, when I was in college, we were doing a soil survey in the anoxic muck of a mangrove tree forest. Walking out of the mangroves toward shore, we had to step carefully on the sturdier prop roots. Well, of course graceful Smellyann took a misstep, and my leg slid down between a thick cluster of prop roots, cutting my entire leg up from ankle to knee. It was a horribly ugly boo-boo. People kept asking me WTF I did to myself. Since most of them knew I was studying shark biology, I said I'd gotten attacked by one. More often than not, they believed me! I still find this hilarious.

Did I ever tell you about the time I tripped over the dead dolphin in the freezer? Ah, another day...


Um, EWW?

I would invent a self-cleaning house. And then live in it.


It depends on who is playing, but probably the symphony these days. I don't know, I'm game for either one. You buyin'?


I haven't changed it in ages. It's just a droplet of water. Cool, but I need something new.


Diet Coke, sighhhhh...


Tapioca! It reminds me of my mom; she used to make it for me.


Nope. I'd rather go for the massage and do my own nails!


I don't even know. I think I have a few, but I'm not sure what they are.


 Don't know, don't care. I just added a few the other day. Sometimes I feel like I'm the last person in the blogosphere to discover a popular one. Makes me feel like stupeed.



Well, it wasn't this dress, I can tell ya that much!

I ordered a bunch of clothes for the kids on ThredUp and saved 95% off a bunch of great clothes. I love this site!

Thanks for stopping by.



Saturday 9: Harper Valley PTA

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

Saturday 9: Harper Valley PTA (1968)

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

1) This week's featured artist uses her middle initial (C. for Carolyn) all the time. Do you use your middle initial very often? 
I used to, for a long time, but I stopped when a "friend" started teasing me endlessly about it. Just wasn't worth the hassle.

2) In this song, a mother tells off the local PTA. What's the most recent school event you attended - whether as a parent, a teacher or a student?
I'm a homeschooling mom, so pretty much every day is something school-related for us!

3) The lyrics reference the mom's miniskirts, which were trendy in the 1960s. The website Popsugar reports that gingham checks are trendy for 2015. Tell us about the most recent addition to your wardrobe.
I was at the local outlet store here {in Florida City}, and they had some crazy-awesome clearance deals. Combined with my military discount, I paid rock-bottom prices at G.H. Bass for two adorable denim skirts, a black crossbody purse (my Thirty-One satchel finally gave up the ghost), and a wallet to go IN that purse.
{I didn't have a wallet for ages, because my Thirty-One crossbodies are itty-bitty wee-tiny.} Anyway, that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

4) Thinking of moms, Access Hollywood named Carol Brady of The Brady Bunch TV's #1 mom. Who is your favorite TV mom?
Claire Huxtable!

5) Mother Winters always gave Sam peppermint tea to calm her stomach. Do you have any tried-and-true home remedies to share?
When I get my really bad migraines, they go all the way down my spine to my coccyx, and around my clavicle, and they hurt in my jaw and pretty much my entire skeleton. {I'm now thinking I have an auto-immune disorder, actually.} Anyway, when my Fioricet doesn't take away the migraine pain, I've found that a really hard knuckle massage from my oldest kiddo, Chloë, helps. She has to massage my ankles to my wrists and everything in between, and it wears her out, so I only ask beg her to do it when I'm desperate.
{P.S. to CountryDew: Yes, I have had acupuncture for depression, but not for pain. It helped marginally. I'm willing to give it a go for this, but I haven't sought out an acupuncturist here in Flah-riddah yet. Stay tuned, I guess!}

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?
I'm more like good ol' Sam. However, I never tip less than $2.00 for anything, unless the service was so crap-tastic that I don't leave a tip at all. That rarely happens. When I mystery shop, I'm often specifically instructed to tip 15-18-20% regardless of the quality of service, and so I do what I am told. Left to my own devices, though, I let my tip do the talking.

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?
It completely depends on the circumstances. I am mostly the frugal type, and I am a hard-core couponer (please don't call me "extreme," though; I'm just a smart shopper) from jump street. My mama taught me how to use coupons, and I am teaching my young'uns the same way. It absolutely kills me to pay full price for something that I know I can get for  nearly free or better-than-free, so I avoid it at all costs (pun not intended).
However, there are times when I'm extremely brand-loyal, such as my JAFRA skin care regimen, and I will not use anything else... because I'm worth putting only high-quality products on my skin, and I feel good about that! (Holy run-on sentence, Batman!)

8) Mother Winters loves how French vanilla smells and burns her Yankee Candles all year around. Do you use scented candles or air fresheners?
I absolutely adore fruity scents and will burn those whenever I can. We can't burn any candles right now, because Sophia's kitten, Sugarplum Yogurt (yes, that is her real name, and yes, Hubs and I have lots of creative nicknames we use instead of that one!), is in the "leap before you look" phase of exploratory development. Having her land in a burning candle would be no bueno, especially after her littermate Spike's recent untimely demise. :(
{P.S. I absolutely loathe French vanilla and cinnamon-y scents. They make me gag, truthfully! I'm mostly apathetic about pine-y and floral scents, but I lean towards "no, thanks" on those, also.}

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?
Chocolate with almonds sounds nice, please. As a motherless daughter from a young age, and also as a mother who has lost a son, I have mixed feelings about Mother's Day, myself. I celebrate it mostly for my living childrens' sakes, but I would not care if we did not.
On that note, thanks for stopping by today!

#TBT Throwback Thursday: Wedding Day Bliss


Yesterday (Wednesday), Team Odette headed up to Clearwater in Pinellas County, Florida, for me to visit a potential new JAFRA Consultant of mine. (That appointment went great, even though I forgot to take my anxiety meds. She's going to sign up next week!)


Afterward, the children were starving, so I took them nearby to Steak 'n' Shake for dinner. Surprising absolutely nobody, and true to form, Sophia ordered mac & cheese, Jack ordered chicken fingers, and Chloë ordered a grilled cheese sandwich. Par for the course. Robert had to stay outside in the car with Paco - voluntarily, of course. He spoils that pooch something awful (and I'm a bit of an enabler, myself)!


Since we were already in Pinellas, and St. Petersburg was on the way home, we offered to take the kids on a slight detour through St. Pete Beach and show them where we had our second wedding on the beach at sunset fourteen years ago. They were all over that like white on rice.  Our first stop was to visit where Mama used to work before going to graduate school: Larry's Olde Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor. (I gained so much weight snacking on the Peanut Butter and Chocolate flavor!)

Since the kids had already had shakes with dinner, I simply ordered a vanilla cone for our ice cream-lovin' spoiled pooch, Paquito, and let the kids get a chocolate-covered pretzel. And, come to find out, the same owner(s?) are still there from when I was 22 and heading off to University of South Florida to work on my Ph.D. in shark feeding ecomorphology with Dr. Phil Motta. (Totally name-dropping there.) She didn't recognize me, but when I told her that I had been there 16 years earlier, she said I must have been a baby, so I was too flattered to remind her that she fired me because I was leaving for grad school four months later!


And finally, we meandered down Gulf Blvd along the coastline to Pass-A-Grille Beach, the site of that fortyear post-nuptial wedding ceremony.

You see, we had originally planned for that sunset-on-the-shore wedding to be the actual nuptial ceremony. However, circumstances changed in that I had to rush up to see Rob unexpectedly a week or so after my previous visit to see him for a Navy Christmas party, wherein I found it almost impossible to drive away back to St. Petersburg at the end of my visit. For this latter drive up, I already knew by the time I arrived in Panama City Beach, where he was at Coastal Systems Station, that it would be utterly impossible for me to leave him again.

So, after we returned to PCB from Missouri to bury his stepfather, Gene, we hauled ass back to St. Pete together to put in my notice at work, pack up my apartment, get my dog Johnny... and elope! We filled out our marriage license paperwork on the 30th of December and had to wait until the 2nd of January to get married. Rushing to the courthouse after I finished work on that 2nd day of January, 2001, hand-in-hand and laughing our fool heads off, was the absolute best moment of my life.

We got married at the courthouse that day, just us and the Justice of the Peace. She shut the blinds, left, and let us smooch to our hearts' content after we exchanged the rings.


By that time, however, some of our family and friends had already made their travel arrangements for the planned beach wedding. We decided to go on with it and get married in front of them, our pastor, and God. (Not that He wasn't present the first time, but, you know.)

On February 17th, 2001, which also would have been my mommy's 50th birthday, we had our beach wedding after all. I had found out sometime around January 20th - just a few short weeks after we eloped - that Chloë was on the way! So I went to our wedding pregnant and, kicking off my shoes, finished the scenario barefoot to boot. I knew people would think my pregnancy was the reason we got married two short months after we first met, and that wasn't helped by her arrival a month early! Haha! But no matter, because Rob, God, and I know the truth. (And my OBs, natch.)

Anyway, 14 years later, there we were at twilight, with 13½-year-old Chloë, along with nearly-12yo Jack and nearly 10yo Sophia cavorting in the sand on Pass-a-Grille Beach. And just like we had those years ago, Rob and I kissed in the moonlight whilst dancing to Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight." However, with Paco in Rob's arms, those kisses turned into puppy licks and, um, eww.

Once we gathered up the children, who were disappointed not to have seen any sharks or cownose rays as I'd suggested might have happened, we decided to head up to St. Petersburg's 34th St S and visit where I used to work at the Law Offices of James M. Brickley.

Jim died while watching the attacks on September 11th, just four days after Chloë was born, so sadly the law firm was no longer there. It was replaced by a dental office. The Gold's Gym in that plaza was another gym chain now, but the Domino's was still there. The bagel shop that had the best bagels and cream cheeses on earth (which I've been craving ever since our elopement) was shut down and empty inside, and the plaza had expanded to include many more shops including one of those ubiquitous Dollar Tree stores. I got a little teary-eyed remembering Jim and his wife Pam, who I had considered my mom-figure once upon a time.

Anyway. All-in-all, it was a pretty rockin' day, and we had the best time. The kids and Paco snoozed almost all the way back home to Miami, and Rob and I held hands and rocked out to songs on the radio. And I drove entirely too fast.

Thanks for strolling with me down Memory Lane!


Saturday 9: Here I Go Again

Link up here if you're playing along today!

Saturday 9: Here I Go Again (1982)

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

1) This song originally appeared on Whitesnake's Saints and Sinners album. Are you feeling more saintly or sinful this morning?

No one's all good or all bad, and I'm definitely a healthy mixture of both. ;)

2) Whitesnake was formed by Brit David Coverdale, who now lives in Lake Tahoe, NV. Have you ever wanted to relocate to another country?

Sure. Hubs and I talk about expatriating all the time. Well, living on a boat and traveling the world while home-porting somewhere in the US isn't technically expatriation, but close enough. My dad, on the other hand, would do it in a heartbeat if he could afford the destination he desires.

3) In the song, Coverdale says he "was born to walk alone." Do you enjoy time on your own? Or do you quickly get bored or lonely?

Intelligent people should not ever get bored. Boring people get bored. I don't get bored. I love my own company.

4) During the band's 1980s heyday, Coverdale was known for his skintight leather pants. Do you own leather pants or slacks?

I try not to own leather anything. I'm not vegan anymore, not even a full-on vegetarian (more like pescetarian), so owning leather goes against my general principles. I don't own a leather coat or leather shoes, either. (Crocs are my friends.)

5) What about snakeskin?

Ditto the above response.

6) It's estimated that 20,000 people die of snake bite every year. Approximately 1,000 suffer fatal spider bites. Less than 50 are killed each year by sharks. Considering sharks, spiders and snakes, which do you find scariest?

I've swam with sharks and would do it again in a heartbeat. It's a wild thrill. I've had snakes writhe all over me, but I do not relish it. I had a spider bite on the back of my head 14 years ago, and I can STILL feel it. So... I'll say spiders? I'm not afraid of bugs and arachnids in general, but I don't want them touching me without first gaining my express written permission.

7) In 1982, when this song was popular, the world lost Princess Grace of Monaco. Before she became a royal, she was film star Grace Kelly. Have you ever seen a Grace Kelly movie?

No. Should I?

8) Speaking of movies, the top-grossing film of 1982 was ET: The Extra Terrestrial. Have you seen it?

My parents took me to see it at the drive-in theater. I was six then. It's one of the few memories I have of my mother alive, so I cherish this movie.

9) Random question: How many timepieces will you have to reset when we spring ahead this weekend?

Most reset on their own now, but I'll still have to do the van, the microwave, and the stove. Thanks for the reminder!

Have a grand Saturday, y'all!


Sunday Stealing: Colorful Meme


Link up here if you're playing along this week!

Colorful Meme

Stolen from: Survey Haven

Could you tell me please, what color each of these things are?
~ Your hair: 


Well, I was born a blond and had blond hair until I was five or so. Then it turned mousy-brown. I color it auburn, though; I've done so since May 1995!

~ Your eyes: 

Image result for shit brown eyes


My sister is always telling me she misses my "shit-brown eyes." (Hers are blue. Hmph.)

~ Your shirt: 

I just got back from the 2015 JAFRA National Conference in Orlando, and my shirt is exactly this color purple, with exactly this logo.

~ Your socks: 

I wear socks extremely rarely. I'm not wearing any now.

~ Your shoes: 

Image result for barefoot

I rarely wear shoes in the house, either...

~ Your purse: 

I have this 31 Gifts teeny-tiny crossbody, which I wear every single day, except when I use the brown one. The black one recently broke on me, though, but I love it so much I'm going to have it fixed by a seamstress soon. Should cost less than $10, so it's worth it. I'd like ten more, one in every color! They are so small but fit everything I need - except my phone.

~ Your wallet: 

The only wallet I own, separate from my crossbody, is my mom's vintage orange leather one. My dad gave it to me when I was a wee lass, after she died. The only thing I keep in it is a vintage handkerchief, hand embroidered and given to me by a dear friend of my grandmother. 

~ Your phone: 

My Samsung Galaxy S5 is better than the iPhone 5S, from which I upgraded. I'm completely enamored with it. And I have exactly that color of Otterbox Defender protecting it.

~ Your computer/laptop: 


I have an HP desktop and printer. I adore them both. The desktop is super-duper fast, which I need. On the contrary, my husband has a Panasonic Toughbook laptop, and it's the slowest processor on the planet. I use it when we travel, and it drives me apeshit. I could seriously write a whole novel in the time it takes that thing to load one page.

~ Your earphones: 

Image result for i hate earbuds


I hate earphones and earbuds, partly because I like my music on the loud side and don't want to go deaf, partly because I like to hear what else is going on around me, and partly because I find them uncomfortable!

~ Your best friend’s hair: 

Image result for the rachel

I remember when "Dr. Lisa" got The Rachel Haircut while we were in college. It looked so good on her. She has it a little different now, but I still thing she's a beautiful woman.

~ Your best friend’s eyes: 


They're a lovely shade of dark blue.

~ Your sky today:


When we were in Orlando, and it was 44°F on Friday, the kids wanted to go swimming something awful. So, I let them! But we didn't stay long. They pouted, and I promised we'd go to our pool back here at home on any day this week that it's warm enough and doesn't rain. Guess we'll be living at the pool all week! 

Thanks for visiting!


The Ballerina In A Blue House

Blue ballerina

When I was about four years old, my mother gave me this mostly-blue jewelry box. I thought it was the most special thing, and I adored it.

After she died, when I was seven, I would wind the music box and play the "Raindrops Are Falling on My Head" song and watch the ballerina twirl, endlessly, for hours upon hours.

The box started to fall apart during my many moves back and forth to college dorm rooms, and in years after that. But I still cherished it.

A couple years ago, when Sophia was seven, I decided to pass the box on to her. She needed one for her treasures, and I thought I had outgrown it.

Well, Sophia... is not the most careful child ever. Also, she's very active in her wakefulness, and even when she's asleep. Love that child to death, but if she's not creatively and constructively involved in something, she tends to default to destructive behavior. It's not intentional, or malicious, and she's outgrown it a bit now at nearly ten, but it's still a salient characteristic of hers.

So, that box was utterly destroyed. I tried to pretend - to myself and to her - that it was just a "thing" and that things don't matter.

But, sometimes, they kind of do, you know?

I've tried hunting all over the Interwebs for even just a photograph of that box. They don't seem to ever have existed, based on the search results. Nothing on eBay, nothing on Google Images, nothing anywhere...

Except the picture at the top of this post. I don't really want to replace the jewelry box. I just want a photo of it. Guess I'll need to hunt through my billions of photographs to see if there is a glimpse of it in any of those.

And now I'll go throughout my day with "Raindrops" going through my head...


Saturday 9: Kentucky Rain

Link up here if you want to play along with this awesome meme, too!

Next Thursday, the 8th would be Elvis' 80th birthday, so we're celebrating The King. Here is this week's song.

1. In this song, Elvis hitchhikes across Kentucky. Have you ever hitched a ride?
No, I don't believe I have, though I have picked up a couple. Shame, shame, everybody knows my name!

2. Elvis received his first guitar for his 11th birthday, even though he'd asked his parents for a bicycle. As an adult, how often do you ride a bike? 
I have a bike. It is parked near our front door. I've ridden it maybe two or three times. Um... yeah. Time to remedy that!

3. When Elvis was a child, his family was very poor, often living in rooming houses or public housing. His classmates teased him for being "trashy," which left him shy. Were you more shy or outgoing as a kid?
Definitely shy. I remember clinging behind my mom's legs when we would visit people she knew, and her being unable to coax me out. I still feel like doing that sometimes!

4. While in high school, Elvis mowed neighbors' lawns with a push mower and a sickle. According to The Home Depot, one of today's most popular mowers is a gas-powered Cub Cadet with a self-mulching feature. Tell us about your lawn mower.
It's electric (boogie woogie woogie!), but we have never used it. And our lawn proves this fact. I have never mown a lawn in my life, and Hubs is currently unable to do it, so... I guess it's about damn time I figure it out!

5. In the 1950s, Frank Sinatra dismissed Elvis as, "deplorable." Yet by the time of Elvis' death, he had revised his opinion and said, "Elvis was the embodiment of the whole American culture." Tell us about something or someone you changed your mind about.
Mostly parenting stuff. If I had it to do over again, I would have used cloth diapers instead of disposable, and I would not have had our living son circ'ed...

6. After Elvis was discharged from the Army, his first performance was on a Sinatra TV special, sponsored by Timex. Do you wear a watch? 
Nope. My Samsung Galaxy S5 (my verysmartphone) serves as my timepiece. I can't really wear a watch, since I have allergic contact dermatitis.

7. Coinciding with Elvis' 80th birthday, there will be an auction of Presley-related memorabilia at his home in Graceland. One item up for bid is a plush toy he gave to an Army buddy's wife in 1958 for the baby she was expecting. Do you know anyone who is looking forward to a baby in 2015?
Yes!! My very good friend Erin, whom I adore, is having her first baby. I have waited a long time for this to happen (as has she, I'm guessing?), so I am SOOOO excited. My only sad thing is that she's in New York, way the hell far away from me in Miami. So... I will have to love baby boy B from afar!

8. None of the items being sold at the Graceland auction actually belonged to Elvis at the time of his death. Everything left to daughter Lisa Marie remains in her possession. Do you have something you cherish that was given to you by a close relative?
Yes, I have my mother's costume jewelry, which my dad gave to me last year. I can still remember her wearing some of the pieces, which is pretty cool since I was really young when she died. I cherish those.

9. The US Postal service sold more than 500 million of the Elvis commemorative stamp. According to the Census Bureau, that was two stamps each for every man, woman and child in the United States. When is the last time you visited the post office?

Friday. Ugh, I had scheduled a package pick-up, but I got a notification that the postal worker (who is NOT my favorite person on the planet, y'all) did the pickup, when in fact she actually had not. So I had to drive the packages down to the Post Office. I know, I know... #FirstWorldProblems!

Thanks for stopping by!


The Big Question: Memories

The Big Question #1

Link up here if you're playing along!

{This is a new meme for Saturdays, and this question is actually last week's, but I just found it. Maybe this week's will be later?!}


The Big Question

What is your earliest memory?

I'm not exactly sure if it's my first memory, but it's definitely one of them:

I was probably three years old, and my sister would've been 4½ or so. We were sitting at the kitchen table in our Monroe, New York, home while Mom made breakfast. I don't remember what we had for breakfast, but it wasn't cereal because it had to be cooked. It was probably "Dip-It" eggs, which is what we always called sunny-side-up eggs, into which we dipped our toast.

Dad joined us eventually, and then Mom sat down. We were all eating, and it was quiet. To this day, I am a goofball who dislikes long periods of silence and always feels the need to fill them up with some kind of chatter.

Grandma (my mom's mom) used to say that I got that "talking to hear my own voice" characteristic from Grandpa. It's true, I think.

I remember, that breakfast, wanting to talk to my mom and dad but not having anything to say. So, for about a hundred and eleven times, I must have said, "Mom? I love you. Dad? I love you." Lather, rinse, repeat. I wonder if they ever got sick of hearing it?

I  know I don't. ;D

Thanks for stopping by!


Saturday 9: All Night Long

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

Saturday 9: All Night Long (All Night)
(because Lia asked for an 80s song)

If you're not familiar with today's song, you can hear it here.

1) This music video was produced by Mike Nesmith of The Monkees. Can you name a Monkees song?

Hmm... I know the show's theme song, and I know "Daydream Believer."

2) The song includes the foreign sounding phrases, "Oh jambali Tom bo li d, say de moi ya," and "Oh, Jambo Jumbo!" Mr. Richie meant to include language indigenous to the Caribbean, but was writing the song under deadline and simply made those phrases up instead. Tell about the most recent time you cheated or "cut corners."

Let's see... Well, it's not really cheating, per se, but it's all I can think of at the moment: I'm a big coupon user, and Target puts out all different kinds of mobile coupons that are a pain to access at the cash register. So instead of dealing with that nonsense, I just took a screenshot of all the codes for the cashier to scan in one fell swoop. Does that count?

3) Richie was a frat boy at college. Kappa Kappa Psi, to be exact. Were you a member of a fraternity or sorority

Uh, no. I was a member of Beta Beta Beta (National Biology Honor Society) and Rho Rho Rho (U. of Miami's Marine Science Honor Society - get it?! We nerds have such a sense of humor), but that's about as Greek as I got.

4) When this song topped the charts (September 1983), Vanessa Williams became the first African American to be crowned as Miss America. Do you watch beauty pageants?

Holy crap, was it that long ago that she was crowned? I actually love beauty pageants, particularly this one, but I haven't watched in at least half a decade. It's been that long since we've subscribed to TV service. We all miss it; whenever we stay in hotels, we're all glued to the television when we're in the room. Lame.

5) Since it's Labor Day weekend, that holiday established to celebrate the American worker, let's talk about the workplace. Tellers work in a bank, actors work on a stage or a set, auto workers work on an assembly line. How would you describe your workplace?

I work everywhere and nowhere all at once. I'm a work-at-home business evaluation specialist, AKA a glorified mystery shopper. I work when I want, wherever I want (within limits), so I'm my own boss. It's great fun with great pay on some days, and lousy pay with zero benefits on other days. Heh.

6) An estimated 40% of us have dated a coworker. Have you ever had an office romance?

When I worked at the Publix near UM during my college years, I went out with everyone and his brother that I worked with. Good times, good times.

7) Labor Day is a big weekend for travel. How did you book your last vacation? (Online, through a travel agent, over the phone...)

We went to New York for my 20th reunion (I've only mentioned it about a thousand times by now) a few weeks ago. I booked that trip with our tax refund back in February online - do people still use travel agents? 
8) Mother Winters won't wear white again from now until next Memorial Day. Sam thinks that's just crazy. Where do you fall in this heated mother/daughter debate? 
I live in Miami, dudes. It's always summertime here. If I didn't have a big ol' fat butt, I'd wear lots of white all year long. Maybe if I ever get my freakin' plastic surgery done, that'll be my new wardrobe.

9) When you look at back on Summer 2014, what will you remember?

That afore-mentioned reunion will top the list. The whole week was pretty grand. I saw tons of friends, and my sister's family, and renewed even more friendships that had lapsed. I'm thrilled we were able to go. It was every bit as wonderful as I could possibly have imagined it. 

Today is my husband's 42nd birthday. He's had a rough year, and I'm thankful he's still with us. Happy birthday, Darlin' Hubs o' Mine!

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday Stealing: If You Could Meme


Link up here if you're playing along today!

From Sweet Memes, our friend CAT!:


Travel anywhere, where would it be? 

It's a Bucket List item to SCUBA dive on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.

 Meet anyone, who would it be? 

I was going to say something silly, like my crushes Matt Damon or Ed Sheeran, but then I decided to go a little more cerebral since I'm not even remotely in a silly mood. I'm going with Einstein.

 Bring anyone dead back to life, who would it be? 

If I were being entirely selfish, I'd ask if I could pick two people who were taken far too early:  my beautiful mother, who lived just 33 years, and my darling son, who lived just 3 days. But I try not to be entirely selfish, and so I will pick my son. My reasons are multiple, but partly, I would choose Robby so that his identical twin brother, Jack, who survived their traumatic birth, would have his womb-mate and the kiddo who should be his best friend in life, his partner in crime, his other half. You're right, Jack; it's NOT fair.

(And if you, reader, try and tell me that "everything happens for a reason," I will hunt you down and kick you in bits that will make you cry the ugly cry. Because not everything does. Some things just freaking happen.)

 Be anyone for a day, who would it be? 

Well, or Queen of the Universe, or something. I'd globally mandate and/or outlaw a few things. Recycling, which should be a damn given in the year 2014, would be required for every possible thing that can be recycled. Smoking would be outlawed. Priorities would shift. Real things would matter. None of this "oh, let's not let two people who love each other get married when children are going hungry and global warming is happening" bullshit.

(Sorry, guys, I'm not in a fluffy kitten and rainbows and unicorns mood.)

 Get anything for free for the rest of your life what would it be? 

Yarn. I pick yarn. Okay, maybe there's still a little frivolity left in my spirit today, after all. But not just any old ugly, cheap yarn. Handspun, hand-painted, beautifully soft, natural yarns.

 Change one thing about your life what would it be? 

Hopefully this will be us in 2.5 years: sailing on the open ocean, to destinations varied and far, seeing the world, having amazing experiences, teaching the kids real-life stuff. Maybe it's a pipe dream, maybe it'll happen... time will tell.

 Have any superpower what would it be? 

I still dream all the time that I can fly. I would give anything - almost - to do it for real.

 Be any animal for a day which would you be? 

I'd be a beautiful parrotfish, colorful and interesting, buoyant and free... my favorite of reef fishes.

 Date anyone who would it be? 

I'd date this guy: my husband. But, I'd like him to be the guy before brain surgery, before the brain tumor, before Cyberknife made him a whole 'nother person. Can I have my husband back, please?!!

 Change one thing about the world what would it be? 

I would make it so that no one cared about what other people looked like on the outside; people would see past that - or never see it at all - to the beauty that lies within each and every one of us.

 Live in any fictional universe which would you choose? 

Not that I truly think heaven is "fictional," but I would go there. 

 Eliminate one of your human needs; which would you get rid of? 

Not to get too gross, because I have a million and one fun things I could say about it, but I would eliminate elimination.

 Change one thing about your physical appearance what would it be? 

Okay, that's beyond beyond, but I would get rid of all the extra skin from dropping 200 pounds in the blink of an eye. It's... yuckish.

 Change one of your personality traits which would you choose? 

I would turn my boundless insecurity into (merited) confidence.

 Be talented at anything instantly what would you choose? 

In my mind, I'm secretly an amazing gymnast. In reality, I'm the biggest klutz ever.

 Forget one event in your life which would you choose? 

I'd erase the the years from the time my mom died, when I was 7, until I graduated high school and went to college, when I was 17. Those ten years of my childhood, well, they really fucked me up.

 Erase an event from history (make it so it never happened) which would you choose? 

I'd erase the assassination of MLK, Jr., because I feel that he had a whole lot more to offer this country - no, this world.

 Have any hair/eye/skin color, which would you choose? 

I wouldn't change a thing.

 Be any weight/body type, which would you choose?

 I'd choose to be happy the way I am.

 Live in any country/city, where would you choose? 

I've always wanted to spend a year of my life living in New York City.

 Change one law in your country, which would you change? 

Come on, now.

 Be any height, which would you choose?  

I'm happy at 5'2".

Have any job in the world, which would you choose? 

I was going to join the Peace Corps before I started my Ph.D., but I couldn't go for various (financial and medical) reasons at the time. I'd still like to do that someday.

 Have anything appear in your pocket right now, what would it be? 

It's the end of the month, two days before payday, and we've just run out of milk for the kidoodles. A wad of cash showing up in my pocket would be nice right now.

 Have anyone beside you right now, who would it be?


I'm pretty fortunate, because I'd still choose Hubs, and guess what? There he is. ---->

Thanks for stopping by!