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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!)

ORDINARY PEOPLE (2005)

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


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

Lyme Warrior Poem | Perseverance, Lyme, You are strong

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barbra Streisand, tout sur la chanteuse

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

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

Lucky Peak Dam Photos – Hicken Design

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

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

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

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

Kelly Clarkson opens up about suicidal thoughts in her early career

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

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

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

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

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

03202021 Paco

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

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

Enjoy your Spring beginning, y'all!

Fin.


Saturday 9: America, The Beautiful

Image result for frank sinatra singing gif

Welcome, welcome. Step into my lair. I'm just going to jump right into this one, because Sophia is waiting for me to watch Seasons 1-3 of the Netflix show Stranger Things with her. (Break time. I'd never seen it before; now we've watched Season 1, Episode 1. I think I'm hooked!) Link up here if you'd like to play along with us this week!

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"America, the Beautiful"

Unfamiliar with Frank Sinatra's 1945 version of this song? Hear it here.

1) In 2016, a group recommended that this week's song replace "The Star Spangled Banner" as our national anthem. They maintain it's just as beautiful but easier to sing. How do you feel about this?

Image result for easier doesn't mean better

Hmm. I don't have a super strong opinion either way, but I do love our current National Anthem. I just feel like, if something is easier to sing, does that mean we should choose it to represent our entire country and her patriotism? 🤷‍♀️

2) Katharine L. Bates said her lyrics were inspired by a trip to Pike's Peak. What's the most beautiful American spot you've ever visited?

Image result for jERSEY SHORE WAVES breaking gif

Oh, gosh. This was a tough one for me. I've been to Tumon Bay in Guam, which is gorgeous. I've been from Key West to Niagara Falls. I've been from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to the Santa Monica Pier. I have seen a lot, but there is still a lot yet to see (Grand Canyon, I'm coming for you!). However, the one spot I would return to 10 times out of 10, given the chance, is the Jersey Shore. I love watching those huge waves - taller than I am - of the Atlantic Ocean crashing over and over on the beach. So fierce! So cold! So beautiful.

3) The music was written by organist Samuel Augustus Ward. Both Bates and Ward were very formal when signing their names professionally - she including her middle initial and he with his full middle name. How about you? When you sign checks or documents, do you use your middle name or initial?

07052019 Melanie SelfieB

Well, my signature is no longer really legible, but I do use my middle initial. Also, you can see here on the watermark that I do use the "A."

4) In 1945, when this version of the song was recorded, America lost Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Frank Sinatra said, "I lost a hero." What late, great American hero from our past would you like to honor today? 

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Hee.

So, in consideration of this question, I first considered Abraham Lincoln, because - duh, the Emancipation Proclamation, abolishment of slavery, etc., were all quite huge. But then I thought of Frederick Douglass. And then I thought of more and more Black Americans who deserve the honor. There are so many. I finally decided on Maya Angelou, because she was alive in my lifetime and made such an impact on my life with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, amongst other writings of hers. RIP, Ms. Angelou.

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"You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise."

5) Also in 1945, a 19-year-old "hoofer" waited outside the Los Angeles radio station where Sinatra was being interviewed. That was the beginning of the friendship between Sammy Davis, Jr., and Frank Sinatra. Tell us about your oldest friend.

Image may contain: Ursula Petricek, smiling, standing, shoes, tree, outdoor and nature

That should probably be Ursula, whose very Irish mum, Olive, was my sister's and my babysitter from early on until we moved from Monroe to Syracuse, New York. Ursula has the very NYC accent that I still slip into now and then. We three had a lot of great times together. And it was at their house that I learned my love for PB&J sandwiches with chocolate chip cookies on the side...

6) The Fourth of July means we're in the middle of summer. Are you careful about applying sunscreen?

Image result for fair skin sunburn funny

Oh, hell yes. I hate it, but I'm extremely fair-skinned. I've had enough major sunburns in my life to know I'm fer sure going to get skin cancer. I have zero doubts.

7) Mosquito bites can be a major summer annoyance. Are you scratching any itches right now?

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Not at the moment. Phew!! I hate mosquito bites.

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8) Emergency rooms report an increase in wrist injuries in summer, with people falling off bikes and skateboards and jamming their wrists catching hard-hit softballs. Have you been to the ER or Urgent Care during 2019?
 
0702 Migraine cocktail infusion
Yup. Sometimes, between monthly shots of my biologic meds (formerly Aimovig, now switching over to Ajovy), weekly nerve blocks, weekly migraine cocktail infusions (as above), abortive prescriptions such as every triptan on the planet, all the OTCs I'm not supposed to use... sometimes, I still get breakthrough migraine. Okay, so really, it's daily, so I also occasionally have to go to ER and get that cocktail infused there. And sometimes, they even admit me. Sucks. Last month, these intractable migraines cost our health insurance $28,000. (Cost us nothing, thank God, so once again: thank you, honey, for your service to this great nation!)
 
9) New York is home to Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest every year on the 4th. Will hot dogs be consumed in your household this weekend?
 
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Yes. Chloë (curly sue there, on the left) and Sophia had hot dogs. The boys had hamburgers. I had... eggs. (I'm doing keto this month to try and take off some of this weight I've gained from all these new meds, so. Otherwise, I probably would've had hummus. Heh.)
 
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So, wherever you are in the world, if you're an American, I hope you enjoyed this past Independence Day 2019! And if you're not American, thanks for joining us in the fracas regardless!
 
Image result for waving flag gif Cheers, y'all. Image result for waving flag gif
 
Fin.

Potent. Effective. Efficient.

2019-06-29 08.41.18

That's how I began a post on Instagram a couple of days ago after more than 60 days in a row of a horrendous migraine, and now I only have the vestiges of a headache. Knock wood...

My message:

I live with daily, intractable migraines, and I have for longer than my entire adult life. For me, this means two monthly shots of Aimovig - or maybe another new biologic (Ajovy), since the Aimovig stopped providing relief. I get frequent (~weekly) nerve blocks, so my entire head - except for my face - is numb afterward, is a freakishly weird feeling. That relief usually lasts 24 hours or less. Also weekly, but on a different day, I get infusions of a migraine cocktail, such as Toradol, Compazine or Benadryl, Zofran, and fluids - but they change it up each time, depending on my previous responses. (And I'm allergic to a lot of things, so sometimes that's my response!) And then I have my at-home PRN meds, both prescription and OTC. I try to avoid those, because my liver is basically the only organ I have that still functions - but those don't really work well anymore, anyway.
 
Last week, because of scheduling difficulties on both ends, I missed my weekly migraine infusion. Rob literally went out to Walmart in the middle of the night (which he's done many times before, but usually because I was sure I was pregnant! And as proven by the existence of Chloë, Robby and Jack, and Sophia, I was always right) this weekend to get me acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen. I tried them all. None worked. None. Frankly, I've been miserable.
 
I always, always forget my essential oils until I reach this point, I swear. It was the act of a desperate woman, but I grabbed my "Severe Pain Blend" bottle, right freakin' next to me, and applied the last few drops to my forehead and the rest of my entire hairline. Look. Listen. I am an ichtyologist. A biologist. A scientist, for Pete's sake. I want this not to work. I choose to believe it will not work, it should not work, it can not work. I do not want results, I expect *non* results! And yet, as almost always, the migraine pain instantaneously lessened from a full-stop 10 to about a FIVE. Whaaa?! What the heck. So Rob came in to help me conconct a new blend and refill the bottle.
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It's different every time, but there are the usual suspects like sacred frankincense, helichrysum, and more. I'm doing a Moms Meet Ambassador campaign for La Tourangelle Artisan Oils, so we decided to try their walnu toil for the carrier oil. I do have an exact list of what we used in this latest blend, including the number of drops, if you're interested in the recipe. Or I can make it for you and send. I am not going to lie: these oils can be expensive, and sometimes hard to find. But they do help me, nearly every time, and they may help you.
 
✌️ Peace! ✌️
 
*****
Oils collection
So anyway, I'm here to help if you're interested in trying this. There are tons of other "helps" I can blend up for you if migraine or other severe pain is not your thing. I'm not in this to make a bunch of money; my very good friend Shana sent me some in February 2016 (Succubus started in May 2015), after I kept reporting new and "interesting" things that were going on with my falling-apart body. I was amazed at the results I got, none of which I expected. Grateful and thankful, I've been trying and sharing different oils ever since.
 
You know where to find me.
 
Fin.

Saturday 9: Ooh La La

Image result for Britney Spears performing

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

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

Anyway.

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

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


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

Image result for i stand with ravelry

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

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

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

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

Image result for Red japanese decor

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

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

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

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

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Just these knuckleheads.

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

Josephine House

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

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

Image result for diet coke gif

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

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

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

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

DSC_5713

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

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

Image result for scratching head gif

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

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

Fin.


Saturday 9: Venus In Blue Jeans

Good morning, good day, good afternoon, & good evening, y'all! I know you guys may be all over the place (geographically and in time) when and if you read this, so I'm being as inclusive as I can. Y'know?

I have never heard of this song, nor of Jimmy Clanton, but I love Sat9, I love Crazy Sam and the gang, and it's a great way to start another crazy day in what has been a very busy and occasionally chaotic week! Link up here if you'd like to play along with us this week.

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Saturday 9: Venus in Blue Jeans (1962)

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

1) Like the dream girl described in this song, Sam is wearing jeans as she composes this Saturday 9. Is there a lot of denim in your wardrobe?

Image result for mom jeans

No, because after four kids including a set of twins in the middle, I definitely have the kind of mom-jeans figure that mom jeans were created for, and I know I wouldn't look good.

2) Jimmy Clanton likens this girl to the Venus de Milo, the ancient Greek sculpture made of marble and now on display at the Louvre. Is there any marble in your home?

Image result for jar of marbles

I don't think so (I should probably know by now, eh?), unless you count the jar of marbles sitting right next to me.

3) He refers to his girl as "Mona Lisa with a pony tail." The Mona Lisa is also at the Louvre. What's the last museum you visited?

Idaho Military History Museum 005

It's been a while, because my illness keeps progressing. Geez, I think the last museum we visited was the Idaho Military History Museum, for a field trip I'd set up with some other Boise homeschooling families. Hubs was definitely in his element!

4) This girl is so awesome, she's the 8th Wonder of the World! Without looking it up, could you name the other 7?

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Nope. I don't even know if these are the seven you meant, since I thought the 7 Wonders where natural wonders of the world. I know there are some listed that way and some manmade ones, but anyway. I have seen the Colosseum in Rome, Italy, and near the Mexican pyramids. I'd love to see the rest, especially the Taj Mahal in India and the Great Wall of China.

5) Jimmy Clanton spent his entire professional life behind a microphone. After he quit selling records, he began spinning them as a DJ. Do you consider the sound of your voice one of your better qualities?

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It used to be, but repeated severe respiratory infections have ruined my voice. My girls have lovely singing voices, though, and Chloë actually wants to audition for The Voice someday.

6) At age 80, Mr. Clanton still performs. He averaged an appearance/month in 2018. Some of his fans were surprised that he has let his pompadour go completely white. Do you color your hair?

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Yeah, I do. I started coloring my hair auburn - at my roommate's urging - near the end of my first year in college. Rarely have I stopped, except while pregnant and breastfeeding. Recently I decided to dye it black for the second time. I've since grown tired of it and have tried dying it back to my natural (I think?!) medium brown, and bleaching it, and over-dyeing it with a dark auburn... but only my roots show any of these changes. I'm frustrated and ready (finally) to ask for professional advice. LOL!

7) In 1962, when this song was popular, Americans were reading about 5-year-old First Daughter, Caroline Kennedy, and her pony, Macaroni. Tell us about a pet you had when you were very young.

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In 5th grade, I had an orange-and-white pet rat named Barkley. The classroom next to ours had had a pregnant pet mama rat who birthed about a trillion (give or take) babies at the end of the school year. I persuaded my parents (miracle of miracles) to let me adopt one, get a cage and all that. I loved him! Barkley was wicked smart, too. I tried all kinds of things to keep him in his cage when I wasn't giving him free-roaming time, but he outwitted me every singled time! Barkley loved to chew rubber and ruined the buttons on several small gaming devices I had, along with several watch bands and probably more I'm forgetting. My favorite thing was putting him on my sleeping father's head or shoulder and watching him freak out when that woke him up!

8) Decades later, Caroline Kennedy was the first woman to serve as US Ambassador to Japan. Have you ever been to Asia?

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Not yet, but I want to! The closest I've come was living on Guam for four months over late 2002 and into 2003.

9) Random question: When talking among themselves, who do you think is more open and honest about sex -- men or women?

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Neither. It's Dr. Ruth. Just... Dr. Ruth.

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That was fun! Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go rescue a cat who is meowing her heart out to be rescued from absolutely nothing but wanting people to wake up and give her attention (it's just 6 AM here). 

Image result for tiny waving pride flag gif Ciao, todos! Image result for tiny waving pride flag gif

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Would You Rather?

Heya, folks! Welcome back to my corner of Ye Olde Interwebs. Glad to have you back. This week, we're playing a fun round of Would You Rather with Bev over at SunSt. ;) Link up here if you'd like to play along with us this week!

Would you rather be able to detect any lie you hear or get away with any lie you tell?

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Well, hmm. Both would be most useful. ;) I think, as a wife and mother, I'd have to say I'd rather be able to detect any lie I hear. I mean, I know each member of my family's "tells" pretty well, but there are those times...

Would you rather be a hopeless romantic or a hopeless unromantic?

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Oh, I'm a hopeless romantic, and I rather like it that way.

Would you rather have too many friends or too few?

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Um, why would I chose to have too few friends?

Would you rather have no taste buds or be blind?

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Easy: no taste buds. I have already significantly lost my sense of taste & smell, and while boring sometimes, it's not the end of the world. But I literally like to live my life in living color, and all the visual beauty in the world would be so... I'd be devastated if I lost that.

Would you rather never hear music again or lose the ability to read?

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Ooh, that's a tough one. I can't decide. Would I have the ability to re-learn how to read? Hm. If not, then please do one to me and don't tell me which; it'll hurt either way.

Would you rather find true love or be rich?

Appreciate Those Who Don't Give Up On You

If I didn't have true love, I'd never consider myself to be rich. One contributes to happiness; the other contributes to convenience.

Would you rather be the richest person or the smartest?

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I'm pretty fond of being intelligent. Being rich is overrated.

Would you rather create history or delete it?

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I'd much rather create history, especially if it's good stuff. Even bad stuff shouldn't be deleted from history, because well,... Winston Churchill.

Would you rather create a great piece of art and not get credit or get credit for a piece of art you didn’t create?

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I would never want to get credit for something I didn't do, good or bad. That would make me feel rotten. I'd much rather have a secret sort of joy over creating something beautiful that others admired, knowing I gave them something special.

Would you rather age from the neck up, or from the neck down.

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Hands down, neck down!

Would you rather see the world but live in poverty or stay in one place and live rich?

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I'd travel and travel and travel until I dropped.

Would you rather become famous or powerful?

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I'd never want to risk being drunk with power, so I hope I'd be famous for something wonderful!

Would you rather be a creative person or a technical person?

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I like being a creative. There's always something brewing.

Would you rather get a paper cut whenever you touch paper or bite your tongue whenever you eat something?

Image result for bite your tongue meme

I do bite my tongue constantly already, and while it's painful, I guess it wouldn't be any more painful to keep doing it. On the other hand, paper cuts are the worst!!

Would you rather wake up in the morning looking like a giraffe or a kangaroo?

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Does it matter? It's just a silly question. ;) 

Would you rather speak “whale” or read babies’ minds?

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I can already do both. Both worthy abilities under the right circumstances...

Would you rather eat pizza every day or never eat pizza again?

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Hey, now, don't take pizza away from this New Yorker! It didn't say I could only eat pizza, or how much pizza I had to eat, so eating a little a day is much preferable to never eating it again. (P.S. This pizza is what I ate in Dubrovnik, Croatia, while on our Mediterranean cruise in 2008. Such good times!)

Would you rather stay forever at your current age or be 10 years younger?

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Ten times out of ten, I'd want to be a decade younger than I am right now. Getting older is for the birds! Especially now that my health has taken a sharp detour south for the past four years. Hit the rewind button, please!

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Thanks for the fun meme, Bev! Y'all have a good week! Hopefully I'll be here on time next week for S9 & SS. I have to take my daughters to Boise Pride on Friday & Saturday.

Image result for tiny waving pride flag gif Cheers! Image result for tiny waving pride flag gif

Fin.


Saturday 9: It's Late

(First of all, let me just say that it sure is: it's 0339 on Saturday, July 1st, 2019. Heh. Okay, okay, that aside...

Image result for ricky nelson it's late

Welcome back, party people! My 14yo daughter Sophie and I are up late watching, currently, Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. The kids used to watch this over and over when they were littler. Sophia was shocked to find out a little earlier that I'd never sat down and watched it with them. I'd only heard it a billion times from the front seat of the minivan while they played it in the onboard DVD player! So she had to queue it up on Netflix.

Anyhoo.

Link up here if you'd like to play along with the S9ers today!

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It's Late (1959)

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

(Personally, I'd never heard it, although I do know the other from my pic up top there.)

1) Ricky Nelson laments that he should have been home hours ago. When is the last time you stayed up later than you should have? What were you doing?

Looking up master bedroom inspo for the house we're closing on first thing Monday morning. (EEEEEEKKKKK!!!) Hubs and I agree we both like this one the best.

2) Compounding Ricky's problem is that he's nearly out of gas. How is your gas tank right now? When did you most recently fill 'er up?

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Welp,  yesterday was payday, so we filled 'er up first thing in the morning.

3) It gets worse! He can't call home because he doesn't have a dime for the pay phone. Have you recently been in a situation where you've been glad you had your cell phone handy?

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Only all the time! Yesterday, I had back-to-back-to-back medical appointments (I'm being evaluated for MS now), and I am not the most patient person ever. Good thing I had my phone to keep me busy! And my charger. And... hubs. Who brought his block. I always forget mine. Heh. (For the record, my first phone was like #9 or #10, above.)

4) The video for this song is from an episode of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Ozzie Nelson, Ricky's father, was in charge of the show and made the rules. One was that no one was allowed to smoke on the set... except his wife, Harriet. Do you smoke? Have you ever lived with a smoker?

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I do not smoke, I have never smoked, and I will never smoke. Yes, I have lived with a smoker; I do not think it is entirely a leap (especially based on modern medical evidence) that this might help explain why I've had lifelong asthma and migraine issues. This is also why I do not smoke, have never smoked, and will not ever smoke - and neither should you. (And yes, in this regard, I judge.)

5) Life magazine coined the phrase "teen idol" to describe Ricky's popularity. According to Tiger Beat, today's teen idols include Johnny Orlando and Ruby Jay. Johnny was born in 2003, Ruby in 2004. Sam admits that before today, she had no idea who these young people are. How about you?

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Nope. Never heard of these two!

6) While Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan have posthumously praised Ricky Nelson's music, 1950s music critics dismissed him as a lightweight. What's the last review you read? Was it written by a professional critic, or was it contributed by a consumer to a site like Amazon or Yelp?

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Earlier, I was just flipping through People magazine, and the last review I read in it was for the book The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary. Looks interesting.

7) At the height of his popularity, Ricky tried his hand at movies, appearing in the western Rio Bravo with John Wayne. He turned 18 during the filming, and Wayne celebrated by playfully throwing Ricky into a sack of horse manure. Do you think pranks and practical jokes are funny?

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Some things, sure; I don't think I'd like to be thrown into a sack of shit, though!

8) In 1959, when this song was popular, the St. Lawrence Seaway was completed. It connects Canada to our Great Lakes. Without looking it up, can you name all 5 Great Lakes?

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Oh, yeah. I've been to Erie and Ontario multiple times, having grown up near Syracuse, New York. I haven't been to the others yet, though.

9) Random question – You drive past a local motel and see the car of a very married friend right there in the lot. Would you ask her about it?

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NOPE! Not my circus; not my monkeys.

~*~*~*~*~

So now back to Cloudy... they're at the Jell-O scene. Awww... (I'm alone here, aren't I?)

Image result for tiny waving pride flag gif Thanks for stopping by! Image result for tiny waving pride flag gif

Fin.


Saturday 9: Doris Day's Secret Love

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Hey, guys! I hope you're all well! As for me, I've turned into a sh***y blogger. I keep meaning to blog this and that during the week, but next thing I know, it's Friday night and time to post another Saturday 9. So, thank you Crazy Sam, for keeping me writing at least a little bit on the weekends! without y'all, I'd probably have wrapped. Link up here if you want to join is this weekend.

So let's let her rip...:

~*~*~*~*~

Secret Love (1953)

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

Rest in peace, Doris Day (1922-2019)

_______________________________________
 
1) In this song Doris admits she's spoken to the stars, "the way dreamers often do." Do you often daydream?

Red Nose Day Ruby

Oh, yeah. My mind is constantly roaming. It's very hard for me to pay attention to stuff, especially stuff that isn't terribly important to me.

2) What's the last secret you kept? (It doesn't have to be romantic.)

Mother's Day - Kids

I don't remember - and probably wouldn't share - any recent secrets, but I'm forever agreeing to my kids' requests to "don't say anything, but...," "don't tell Dad, but..." etc.

3) While "Secret Love" was one of Miss Day's best-selling records, and the song won an Oscar, she did not perform it at the Academy Awards Ceremony. She said she was just too nervous to sing it live before an international television audience and an auditorium full of entertainment professionals. When did you last suffer an attack of nerves?

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Well, I have social anxiety, so I get an attack of nerves pretty much every time I leave my house, especially if it's to see a new specialist, or if I'm wearing a new outfit I'm not sure looks good.

4) Doris' well-publicized attack of Oscar stage fright was unexpected because she began her career as a band singer, performing before live audiences every night. But she reportedly did develop more phobias over the years, including a fear of flying. Is there anything that scares you now, as an adult, that didn't frighten you as a child?

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Yeah. Stalkers. Rapists. Gun violence. Modern Republicans...
 
5) Doris Day made 39 movies between 1948 and 1968. She said one of her favorite things about filmmaking was working with costume designers on her wardrobe. Do you enjoy shopping for clothes?

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Back when I still looked like this, I didn't mind as much. Fast-forward a few years to now, when I've been taking meds that cause weight gain that's impossible to undo, and no. Not so much.

6) Doris confessed that when she had to lose weight for a role, she gave up ice cream. If we checked your freezer, would we find any ice cream?

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I think so? I bought several pints of these Magnum flavors last week. The kids have been eating it like there's no tomorrow, which is fine with me. I haven't had any - also fine with me.
 
7) In 1985 she hosted a cable show called Doris Day's Best Friends. She used the show as a platform to promote pet adoptions and animal welfare. Most of the guests were celebrity friends who reportedly donated their salaries for appearing on the show to Doris' pet foundation. Did you more recently ask a friend for a favor, or perform a favor for a friend?

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I think more recently, I asked for the favor.

8) For more than 20 years, Doris co-owned the Cypress Inn in Carmel, CA. The Inn expects to continue on without her, and maintain the pet-friendly policies she introduced. Have you ever traveled with your dog or cat?

Kansas Rest Stop

Oh, yes - for sure, many times!

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

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Oh, definitely being chronically ill. I'm over it. I wake UP over it. I go to bed over it. And I wake up again... but actually, definitely not over it. 

~*~*~*~*~

BUT, I am excited today, because my two girls are going to PROM! I can't wait to see them all gussied, up, share pictures, and hear about it later! :D :D :D

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Say Anything

Happy Mother's Day, thieves and thiefettes! Okay, so it's still Saturday evening here, but maybe by the time you read this that won't be the case. I'm gonna take that gamble! 😉

Link up here if you'd like to check out the rest of the Stealers!

~*~*~*~*~

Do you own your things or do your things own you?

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I hope I can honestly say it's the former. I'd love to be the minimalist type, which I am in theory, but in practice I'm more of a collector. I think I collect collections! I have some of my grandmother's and some of Rob's grandmother's spoons hanging from a display on the wall; I have my yarn, hook and needle collection, of course; I like to collect shot glasses from everywhere I go in the world... but these do not own nor define me. They just remind me of beautiful memories I've made. I'd be just as happy in a shack on the beach if we washed up penniless, though.

Would you rather lose all of your old memories or never be able to make new ones?

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I guess since I actually have this affliction, I'll say: never be able to make new ones. Part of "Succubus," as I call the conglomerate of conditions and disease with which I now find myself afflicted, is that I have lost the ability to translate most short-term memories into my long-term memory. It's depressing. It hurts. I hate it. But forgetting older memories - happy, lovely ones - I think would hurt much more.

How do you deal with someone in a position of power who wants you to fail?

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(Thank you, Hamilton, one of the greatest Broadway musicals I haven't seen yet.)

So when something like this happens to me, I usually go home and privately cry and pout for a minute, and then I get up, figure what I've got to do to meet and beat this challenge... and then I DO it!

What do you have that you cannot live without?

Josephine House

Well. On June 3rd, we are closing on this big, beautiful house in Mountain Home, Idaho. See, we owned a rather roomy house in Virginia Beach from 2003-2013, but it wasn't quite large enough for our growing family. (We ended up having more kids than we meant to have, hee.) Then we moved to a much smaller townhouse in Miami. We had so much stuff and faaaaaarrrr less room, so the place was cluttered the entire time we lived there. Drove me crazy!! We had to get rid of a lot of things, and since we are all sentimental, losing some of that hurts! Now, we live in a bigger single-family house in Boise, but it's still too small compared to the quantity of belongings we've amassed over the 18+ years of familyness we've created. And now, this new house on Josephine Street is so big, even if we didn't get rid of anything, we'd all fit happily - family AND pets AND schtuff. But the overarching theme of this entire dissertation is "family," and that's my final answer.

When you close your eyes what do you see?

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Nothing. Just like what I usually think of when I'm trying to make a snappy comeback.

What sustains you on a daily basis?

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On this one, I feel like I could wax philosophical about it being my family, my faith... or, as it happens, I'm probably mostly just waiting to find out what will happen next.

What are your top five personal values?

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In no particular order: Optimism, Loyalty, Sensitivity, Innovation, & Environmental Stewardship

Why must you love someone enough to let them go?

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I'm going to PASS on this one; it depends on the circumstances.

Do you ever celebrate the green lights?

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Hey man, I celebrate every chance I get!

What personal prisons have you built out of fears?

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Plenty, but right now, that's between my therapist and me.

What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?

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Collected an advanced degree (or several), written the half-a-dozen or so books meandering around in my brain, traveled to more of the world, gone waterskiing...!

Why are you, you?

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I don't know, because they don't let me be Michelle Obama ever??

If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?

Puppies

I can answer this one honestly: kids. They just don't keep. And since I've been homeschooling them for the last decade or so, I haven't had a whole lot of opportunity to go freely traipsing about, y'know? And now that my health has taken a deep nosedive, there has been even less free time to do some of that stuff. However, now that the younger two kids shall be going to public high school next year, I'm going to take some of that time to work on writing my book(s). That is, of course, if the puppies let me.

What three words would you use to describe the last three months of your life?

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February

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April

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May.... well, today, actually!

Basically... waiting for Spring!

Is it ever right to do the wrong thing?  Is it ever wrong to do the right thing?

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Wait... what? Just kidding. I'm going to defer to my answer for the "if you love someone, let them go" question and say: It depends.

How would you describe ‘freedom’ in your own words?

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Okay, but first, a few quotes:

Freedom is the right to question and change the established way of doing things.

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes – Mahatma Gandhi

Better to die fighting for freedom then be a prisoner all days of your life.

The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage!

I find that last one to be most provocative, for myself. So I'll say... Freedom is when you allow yourself to be who you are, when both external and/or internal pressures ask you to be something you're not.

What is the most important thing you could do right now in your personal life?

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Well, I've just done a thing: since I really need to go to my most excellent therapist, but often health issues keep me from getting there, we decided to start doing teletherapy for the days I can't get to her office in person. After a lengthy phone chat about it, I realized - oh! - I probably need to get a webcam for this, huh? She confirmed I did, so I got one on Friday. And yes, I looked just like that guy up there.

If you could ask one person, alive or dead, only one question, who would you ask and what would you ask?

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I would ask Beethoven if he was waiting to finish the 9th Symphony and, when he was finally satisfied that it was complete, then decided it was safe for him to give up the ghost. Because it is that perfect.

If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?

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I'd be singing my heart out on a stage, with no mic necessary, night after night after night!

~*~*~*~*~

Well, it's 10:21 AM on Sunday, and I'm finally done! I slept overnight in the middle. Seems like I do that a lot. Heh.

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... to all you moms out there!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing + Bonus: Provoking Thoughts, Part The Second

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

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: The Fool on the Hill (1968)

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

Chosen because Monday is April Fool's Day. 

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

Chloë Taco Bell 03302019

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

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

Georgia Rest Stop March 2017

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

2019 Dodge Journey Collage

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

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

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

Image result for elevation burger veggie burger

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also hilarious. I love it.

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

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

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

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

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

CAREPKG Layette

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

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

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

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

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

2. Image result for excel logo

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

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABSOLUTELY.

8. What makes you smile?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16. Which is worse, failing or never trying?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

Thanks for stopping by!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Young And Beautiful

First of all, I have not heard of this song before, and I'm kind of out of the loop as far as entertainment news goes, so I had no idea Lana Del Ray was on the soundtrack for The Great Gatsby!! Very cool. It had already piqued my interest, so I think I'll definitely have to read, and then see, it now. Woot!

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{The formatting is so weird for Typepad sometimes. Apologies in advance for anything confusing to read!}

Link up here if you want to play along today. Seems like it should be a fun one!

~*~*~*~*~

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

***

1) Lana Del Rey wrote this song for the soundtrack of The Great Gatsby. She wanted it to reflect the feelings of Daisy Buchanan. Have you read The Great Gatsby?

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Admittedly, I have not. It's on my must-read list, though. I don't know why I haven't gotten around to it. Maybe because raising three kids has left me too busy to even read a magazine? But one day I will.

2) In the 1970s, Robert Redford portrayed Jay Gatsby. In the 2013 version, Leonardo di Caprio played the part. In real life, both "Gatsbys" have helped raise funds for the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). Are you careful about recycling and conserving water/electricity?

#MoveTheDate
Oh, goodness, yes! Very much so. I'm teaching the kids more about the environment and ecology this year in our homeschool, and of course, there are always intersections with each topic and the concepts of conservation, preservation, the five Rs:

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Although the "R"s do vary considerably from site to site. Most say  "Refuse - Reduce - Reuse - Recycle - Rot," but you probably get the point. I am an absolute stickler for reducing waste and for recycling like a maniac. If I find a recyclable item thrown away in the garbage can, I go a little berserk about it. But it's extremely important to me that the kids learn to be the guardians and shepherds of the world they are inheriting, not its destroyers. I think they are learning well. We play a fish game every few months that dramatically explores and explains the concept of conservation. It's really interesting; let me know if you want the (free) link to it!

3) Lana admits that she dropped out of college because she simply could not get the required math credits. When confronted with basic addition, subtraction, multiplication or division, do you do it in your head? Reach for pencil and paper? Or do you take advantage of the calculator that's on your desktop or phone?

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I can most certainly do that all in my head, but sometimes I write down the multiplication or division when it gets out to several place values - but only if I'm too tired to guestimate by rounding. Occasionally I'll use the calculator, but that's very rare and usually only when I am in a hurry and MUST have the exact right answer. Short answer? It depends.

4) She enjoys Kurt Cobain, Eminem, Elvis and Sinatra. Which of those four gentlemen did you listen to most recently?

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Oh, gosh. I've honestly listened to all four of them recently, but I do think that Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was the very last song of one of these fellas that I heard on the radio. Aaaaand... now I'm gonna have that in my head all day!

5) Speaking of Sinatras, she has described her high maintenance look -- big hair, long nails, elaborate eye makeup, full lips -- as "Gangster Nancy Sinatra." How long does it take you, on an average day, to prepare to face the world?

Well, again, that depends. I used to mandate (to myself) that I had to take a shower, do my hair, do my makeup, and generally have matching (and hopefully cute) clothing on before I left the house. Nowadays, NONE of that applies!  I'm lucky to get 3 or 4 showers or baths a week (because of my myriad illnesses), and then I usually just comb out my hair and let it air-dry. If I put on makeup, it's minimal; usually just mascara will suffice for me these days:

Melanie 2

However, the other night 13-year-old Sophia wanted to play with my (expensive, fancy, high-quality) make-up, so I let her. But she wanted to give ME a makeover. Needless to say, I did not leave the house after this one:

Sophia did my makeup
I think I'm pretty much guaranteed not to be America's Next Top Model!


6) She's a big soccer fan, and her favorite team is Liverpool FC. Here in the US, college basketball fans are currently obsessed with March Madness. What's the last sporting event that you watched?

Karen Joyce Collage

I don't really watch sports, per se, but when my Hurricanes are playing (particularly football, basketball, and sometimes baseball), I try to stop and at least pay attention to the scores. I don't have a whole lot of interest in most mainstream team sports; my family and I are not particularly athletic! On the other hand, my beautiful niece Karen, above, is a superstar when it comes to soccer and track! She's now in her freshman year playing on the team at SUNY Fredonia; I don't know if she continues with track, however. She's smart and beautiful, to boot! Her younger sister, Hanna, is just the same. 

7) Her younger sister, Caroline, studied photography and is responsible for some of Lana's publicity pictures. Have you ever gotten a job because of a relative?

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Nope; I got all of my jobs based on my own merits. Unless you count a babysitting job here and there because an older sister wasn't available; I don't.

8) In 2013, when this song came out, Pope Francis became the first pope from a Latin American country. Latin America generally includes Mexico, most of Central and South America, and in the Caribbean, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. What's the farthest south that you've ever traveled?

This was a tough one for me; I actually had to check the latitude of two places in particular:

Guam 13ºN
When we lived on Guam, part of Micronesia and close to the countries of the Philippines, Japan, Korea, Australia, etc., from October 2002-February 2003, we were about 13ºN of the equator. A lot of the tiny island is beautiful, with its clear blue lagoons (the picture above is where we first stayed before getting into base housing, in Tumon Bay near the capital), waterfalls, and lush green foliage everywhere. Some wasn't, but mostly I feel like I would have had a much more delightful time if I wasn't enormously pregnant with a high-risk twin pregnancy! Hot, damp, huge... not a good combination! 😏

Boys' 16th Birthday Collage

[By the way, shout out to those aforementioned twins: yesterday was Jack and Robby's 16th birthday!]

Holland America Panama Canal 9ºN
However, even closer to the equator, at around 9ºN of the equator, I was on a Princess Cruise with some of my family as we went through the Panama Canal! That was a special memory, definitely. 

I have yet to make it south of the equator. What the hell; I guess I'd better live at least another 42 years so I can do all this traveling that's happening in my mind!

9) Random question -- What button would you prefer your life to have: rewind, fast forward or a pause?

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So that's, like, a completely impossible question for me to answer honestly! I'm in a three-way deadlock with those choices; 33.3333% of the time (mostly my childhood) I would gladly have taken the fast-forward button. Another 33.3333% of the time, I would hit rewind so I could go back and have my babies be actual babies again and not these big-ass teenagers I can't get used to just yet! (My youngest may be turning 14 next month, but I still sit and oooh and ahh in the baby clothing and shoe departments at various stores!) And now that I have so many chronic illnesses which contribute to a massive amount of brain fog, I'd hit that pause button constantly to give myself a chance to pick my words carefully while others don't try to supply them for me. It's so hard to form a cohesive thought sometimes, so I'd need that for the final third of the time!

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Phew! That took me a lot longer than I anticipated! Not Sam's or anyone's fault, really. Between birthday "doings" with Jack last night, my computer giving me the blue screen of death not once but twice in the middle of it, and finding myself getting busy with 1700 other things, it's a wonder I finished at all! But that's not to say I didn't enjoy it - I always do! Crazy Sam, you write some great questions. Sometimes I ponder whether I'd ever be good at this duty if you were to step down, and I always come to the same conclusion: Nope. I could not measure up.

Hope y'all have a great weekend, and I'm delighted to finally be able to wish you all a very happy SPRING!

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Fin. 


Sunday Stealing: Aesthetics

Welcome back, kids of all ages! I slept well past noon today, thanks to everyone else being out at various things and not waking me up, and also thanks to my new Parkinson's medicine knocking me the F--- out as well. 😴😴 I've only been up an hour, in fact, so my day (Saturday's) just beginning. I feel like, out of all of you and me... that makes one of us.

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Link up here if you'd like to write a fun meme about aesthetics with the rest of us this week. Thanks, Bev, for sending it through the Interwebs!

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Aesthetic themed list

When did you last sing to yourself?

Before Hubs and Sophia came home from her showjumping lesson a few minutes ago, I was belting out "The Schuyler Sisters" from the epic Broadway musical Hamilton. Work, work!

If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about anything, what would you want to know?

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I guess I'd want to know if I'm ever going to recover from the conglomerate of 20+ autoimmune diseases I've been diagnosed with in the last 45 or so months.

What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

My husband and kiddos - #18YearsStrong!

What is the first happy memory that comes to mind, recent or otherwise?

Eloping with Robert Allen Odette 18+ years ago was the most joyful thing I've ever done in my entire life, and to think about it, no matter how often I think about it, brings me a rush of pure joy all over again. The Law of Diminishing Returns definitely does not apply to this situation.

♥ ♥ ♥(If you're interested in any colourful lovey-dovey art by Romero Britto art, perhaps start here...)

If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living?

I'd worry even less about stuff, even more about making memories with my loved ones. Incidentally, these are part of the Valentines the kids made for each other and us parents. Still a work in progress, but I love the results thus far!

Do you feel you had a happy childhood?

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Absolutely, most definitely, NOT.

Would you ever have a deep conversation with a stranger and open up to them?

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OMG yes, all the time! It's weird, since I'm such an introvert, but when someone gets me to talking, I get to talking!

What would you title the autobiography of your life so far?

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It's actually a book I'm writing, and it's a work in progress, so maybe for right now... A Work in Progress??

How do you feel about tattoos and piercings? Explain.

Well, since I've got multiple ear piercings including a trio in each lobe, the left cuff, the right tragus, my right nostril, my septum... and more being considered for down the road, I guess that explains how I feel about piercings. They don't bother me, although I would never do my tongue (too many infections! too much interference with singing and speaking!) or my eyebrow (mostly because OUCH!).

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As for tattoos...

they're fine for other people who want them, I really don't care - in fact, we allowed our then-16-year-old Chloë get a Deathly Hallows tattoo (from the Harry Potter books, for the uninitiated among you) - but I've thought a good long time about whether to get one for myself. Still, the answer is no, but that's because it's permanent and that means it has to be PERFECT. I'd want it to represent my kids and also something very personal to me, like the ocean. So we'll see.

Do you wear a lot of makeup? Why or why not?

Sometimes I do, like here the other day, just because I have a lot of makeup - a lot of Jafra, mostly Young Living Savvy Minerals (which is everything that I've got on in this pic), but I'm starting to think about getting into the very $$$ BeautyCounter everything-free cosmetics... maybe? Have any of you used them and can recommend?

But most days, like here, I just wear mascara so my eyes stand out a little bit from the rest of my face. It's weird, but much of my lashes are blonde, so I need to give them a little colour.

The world is listening. Pick one sentence you would tell them.

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If you are doing nothing to do your part for the planet, then you are doing literally nothing important.

Who in the world would you most like to receive a letter from and what would you want it to say?

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"Dear Melanie, It's Michelle Obama. I'm officially running for President, because I am guaranteed to defeat the current false "President" if he runs for a second term - and another other right-wing nutjob - and I want you to be part of my team! ♥ MO"

(Hey, we have the same initials; it's kismet!) 😂😂

Do you have a desk/workspace and how is it organised/not organised?

This is what it looks like right this second, but it's a constant, constant battle to get and keep things organized!

What’s your starbucks order, and who would you trust to order for you, if anyone?

Java chip

I trust Me, Myself, and I to order myself a Venti Java Chip Frappuccino with coconut milk, no whipped cream, and no chocolate or caramel drizzle. ☕️😋😉

What is the most important thing to you in your life right now?

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Well, first of all see #3 about "greatest accomplishments," but other than those guys, it would be buying a house. I'm beyond eager to start the process... which we have, but we're mostly keeping it under wraps. I hope, and pray, and yearn for it all to fall properly into place!

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So that's that, for now. I hope y'all are having a splendid weekend that only gets more so as the hours progress. See y'all soon!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Backfield In Motion

Hey, everybody! I hope you've all had a fantastic week. Mine hasn't been so bad, but it's been pretty exhausting! Tomorrow I get to sleep as long as I want, and I cannot wait!! So let's get started with this wonderful questionnaire provided by the lovely Gal herself, Crazy Sam! ;) Link up here if you'd like to play along this weekend!

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Saturday 9: Backfield in Motion (1969)

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


1) This week's Saturday 9 has a football theme because there's a big game Sunday. Will you be watching?

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I might DVR it. I can't watch it live, because I'm taking my son on a fun assignment on Sunday. I don't care about the teams, though; I just want to see the commercials and the half-time show.

2) The Super Bowl is the second-largest day for food consumption in the US, second only to Thanksgiving. What's on your menu this weekend?

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Honestly, I'm craving tofu. I haven't even started my grocery list for our monthly shopping, so I have no idea what it'll be, but definitely all vegan. Hubs made a tofu stir-fry the other night, and I loved it. I even picked out and ate all the tofu in it!

3) Super Bowl Sunday is the #1 day for consuming guacamole. When did you most recently eat something with avocado in it?

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I was super hungry about a week ago, so I just took an avocado out, sliced in half, popped out the seed, and then spooned the good stuff out of the shell. Or skin. Whatever, it was good!

4) The Pro Football Hall of Fame is in Canton, OH. Have you ever visited Canton, or any other city in Ohio?

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I think my dad took me to Ohio on a business trip once, but I honestly don't remember anything else about it or where we went. So memorable, that Ohio.

5) This song mentions different moves that football players -- and, it seems, girlfriends -- can make that will result in penalties. What's the last rule you broke? What were the consequences?

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My younger daughter Sophia, aged 13, and I drove the 5-hour trip down to Salt Lake City, Utah, on Thursday. I had an appointment with my specialist there. Then we drove the 5-hour trip home. (So, out the door at 6:45 AM and home by 8:20 PM! Long day.) I was speeding the entire way. No real consequences this time, other than Sophie looking over at my speedometer one time and exclaiming, "No, Mom! Don't go over 100!"

6) In 1969, the year this song was popular, the Colts lost to the New York Jets in Super Bowl III. The game is famous because of all the hype leading up to it, including Joe Namath "guaranteeing" his underdog Jets would win. Tell us about a time when you felt like an underdog.

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I can't really think of anything except graduate school! That's not recent at all. LOL But I was trying to get into a super-competitive doctoral program, and I was up against some tough men and women to get in. It was an extremely stressful time in my life.

7) This week's featured duo, Mel and Tim, are cousins from Mississippi. Tell us about one of your cousins.

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So, I have three cousins from Florida who have all grown up into such amazing women, with graduate degrees, families (for the two older ones) and spouses who are great to/for them, and a deep sense of caring for their community and the world. I'm proud of them. (This one here, Laura, was just born when I moved to Miami for college!!)

8) The song is about a man who catches his girl cheating and he just won't put up with it. In romance, do you find it easy to forgive and forget?

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I mean, yeah, as long as that person genuinely apologizes and feels remorse, it comes easily to me.

9) Random question: You've collected a box of gently-used items to donate to a second hand store. What would it be most likely to contain: clothes, housewares, or books/video/music?

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Probably clothes, since I still have growing kids who need to discard and upsize their wardrobes!

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Well, that was fun. Back to writing my reports! Thanks for the fun quizzionaire, Sam. 

Toodle-loo, y'all.

Fin.


7th Gen Wipes

Recently, the fine folks at Seventh Generation, the makers of all kinds of eco-friendly household goods like cleansers, disinfectant sprays, dish liquid and oodles more good stuff, sent me these three freebie sample packets of their Free & Clear baby wipes. Now, as you might know, my "babies" are all now teenagers (sob 😭), but I did give birth to four of them not all that long ago, so I know a thing or two about such things as diapers (Seventh Generation also makes these) and wipes. I swear.

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Now, if you can read the package for yourself, you don't need me telling you this, but just in case my site graphics are too much for your device (which is entirely possible if you tend to keep as many screens and apps open at any given time as I do!), I'll reiterate for you.

Seventh Generation Free & Clear Wipes:

  • are safe for baby, hands and faces
  • {Side note: I don't have a baby tush to clean, but I did use the wipes to wash the makeup off my face, and they were soooo perfect for that! I also washed my dirty feet from walking around outside barefoot - yes, in the winter, because I'm stupid and/or stubborn - with the wipes, and they did a stellar job}
  • are fragrance free

{Side note: I can vouch for this! Definitely no icky artificial scents here!}

  • Contain NO alcohol
  • Contain NO Parabens
  • Contain NO Phenoxyethanol
  • {This is a now commonly-used paraben-alternative used as a preservative in many cosmetic items, the Environmental Working Group states this can be a lung, eye, or skin allergen, can cause harm to immune systems, and can cause non-reproductive organ toxicity. Since I have several immunodeficiencies and autoimmune disorders, I really don't want to encounter much of that!}

This, altogether, means that these wipes are great for sensitive skin which, not surprisingly, I have - and I did not have any kind of irritation or reaction after using them. WIN!

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Now there is a LOT of information on the back (click the picture to embiggerate if you can, so you can read it more easily) of the wipes package, so I'm just going to highlight some of the goodness here.

The Seventh Generation Free & Clear Wipes:

  • are made from plant-based materials, which as a newly-bornagain vegan, y'all know I adore!
  • are not tested on animals which, duh, big ++++ there!
  • are safe and highly effective (I can vouch for this!)

Now, the ingredient list is on the package, but you can also shoot me a comment and I'll write those down for you, as well.

If you want to contact Seventh Generation on social media, you can find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest! Check out their website, too, for all the great environmentally-friendly products Seventh Generation makes.

"Join us in nurturing the health of the next seven generations."

Full Disclosure: Seventh Generation provided these three packets of Free & Clear baby wipes for me to sample and also share with my friends. I received no payment or any other compensation. In this post, as with all my product reviews, all opinions are and will always be my own honest thoughts on the product.

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Speaking of plant-based goods, have you signed up for Veganuary yet? Run over here and sign up to take the pledge and give it a try! It's not too late - it's never too late!

Black Bean and Refried Bean Burritos 01122019

Also, if you want some recipe inspo, be sure and follow my Instagram account for what we're cookin' up now that we're all vegans. Something super tasty is coming up later today!

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: The Ask Game

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

Let's begin:

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Do you have a passion project? What is it?

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

How many languages can you speak? 

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

What was the last book you read?

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

Where in the world would you most like to visit?

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

Top 5 fictional characters?

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

Something you miss from your childhood?

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

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

What skill do you wish you had?

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

Tell us an interesting fact.

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

What was your favorite subject in school?

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

Favorite planet?

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

Which historical figure fascinates you and why?

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

Favorite mythical creature?

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

Do you believe in any conspiracy theories?

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No.

What is your favorite word?

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

Do you have any obsessions right now?

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

Do you play any instruments?

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

What’s your worst habit?

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

Do you have a collection of anything?

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

What’s your biggest ‘what if’?

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

What is your favorite fairy tale?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great week, y'all.

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Joy

Happy New Year 2019, fellow thieves! I'm late now, because I tried to post early (when I had time), and the post wasn't up yet. Please forgive me! Link up here if you're playing along today, y'all!

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Questions from Sleepy Rambles
 
1. Are you filled with joy today?
 
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I just woke up at 1 PM, and only then because my husband woke me up to take my morning pills. Oops! But so far, I have no reason not to be filled with joy, so yeah! Sure!
 
2. Has it been a rough week?
 
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Some of it has definitely been easier than others. But I'm still plodding along, hoping to get better instead of continually worse!

3. If given the opportunity, would you like to star in a musical?
 
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I was the caterpillar in Alice the Wonderland in 5th grade, and I stole the show! (Not even lyin', it's because of the kick-ass costume my otherwise-evil stepmother handmade for me.) But I've always wanted to belt it out on a stage production of Annie. Maybe not even as Annie! Maybe as Molly!
 
4. Name one person you’d take a bullet for.
 
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Robert Allen Odette, my husband of 18 years and four days!
 
5. Did you trip over anything today?
 
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Not yet... but give me time!

6. Last time you painted a picture?
 
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Oh, years and years. I'm horrible at painting. Chloë and I bought a Groupon to go out and do a Paint Nite thing together, but it was awful and disorganized, so we left early.

7. Is your favorite color yellow?
 
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I don't hate it, but no, it's about the fourth shade to the right.

8. Were you born in a hospital? Do you know the name of the person that delivered you?
 
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Yes, surprisingly enough, since I never spent a day of my childhood other than that in a doctor's office or hospital, I was born in one. This one: Arden Hill Hospital in Goshen, New York.

9. Have you ever had a friend or relative who was incarcerated?
 
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Not that I know of, no.

10. Do you enjoy romantic movies, even when they’re cliché?
 
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Yeah, I do. Am I such a girl? I don't even care; they're fun and easy to digest. (BTW, I loved this "Thriller" part of 13 Going on 30, with Jennifer Garner.)

11. Would you rather watch a movie or listen to music?
 
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Either one, depending on what I'm also doing at the same time (because it's never just one thing). After 17+ years of motherhood, though, I'm not one of those moms who revels in peace and quiet. I hate it!

12. Ever been to Rhode Island?
 
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Not yet!

13. Can you tell the difference between a Scottish & an Irish accent?
 
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If I said I wasn't too shabby at it, and then was tested, I'd probably fail every time!

14. Can you read music?
 
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I'm not going to lie: that is one thing at which I'm really horrible. I've taken organ/keyboarding/piano lessons. I've sung in several choirs. I've taken years of voice lessons. I've been in the selected women's choir. I've studied music theory. I've been chosen to audition for All-County Choir and NYSSMA (back in high school)... and yet I feel like it's just something I have a learning disability for, or something. It doesn't come naturally to me. Sight-reading, singing solfeggio, during those auditions, was so challenging for me. It's always been very frustrating. One of my very best lifelong friends, Shana Marie, is a violist/violinist, a high school music teacher, gives music lessons at home, can probably play every single instrument ever invented, and has performed in concert with some very famous names. Now she can read some music!

15. Have you been to McDonald’s in the past month?
 
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Well, my son works there, so yeah - but only to bring him to work. I don't eat there. #vegan ;)
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
Speaking of eating vegan, I just finished a salad Hubs made for me, from a recipe in the book Vegan Cookbook for Beginners. It calls for a cup of halved cherry tomatoes. I have never liked raw tomatoes in my whole life, but I find myself loving them. There is just something about eating more healthy, I think, that makes you just want to do more of it!
 
I hope 2019 is off to a good start for all of you! Cheers.
 
Fin.

Saturday 9: You Make Me Feel Brand New

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

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

Welcome to the first Saturday 9 of 2019!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 8 2018a

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 2018 Selfie Collage

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

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

Fin.


So Long 2018, Welcome 2018: Saturday 9 & Sunday Stealing

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Howdy, folks! I missed the super amazing fun times this past weekend because I'm having a bunch of anaphylactic episodes due to what my immunologist termed a "full-blown autoimmune assault." So that's fun. I did an undercover assignment for several hours with my younger daughter, Sophia, and reacted there. And everywhere, pretty much. It's not awesome - especially because I missed you guys!

Fruit Salad

So I'm trying to get these two in under the radar. While eating delicious fruit salad. And watching a marathon of Bob's Burgers with Sophie, Jack, and Hubs. Funny stuff. Do you watch it? Why not?!!

Here goes Saturday 9:

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: Winter Wonderland (1968)

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

Welcome to the last Saturday 9 of 2018! Thanks for a great year, everyone.
 
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1) This is an unconventional take on an old familiar song. Over the holidays, do you prefer traditional carols? Or do you like to mix it up with with more contemporary fare?
 
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I like to mix it up. Along with old favorites, I love the song "Santa Tell Me" by Ariana Grande along with pretty much everything by the Pentatonix.

2) Now that Christmas is behind us, are you enjoying a relaxing week? Or do you have socializing/celebrating/chores to do?
 
Image result for idaho potato drop 2018
 
I think most of the socializing and celebrating is behind us, other than having fun times tonight with the family. I did want us to go downtown here in Boise, where instead of a ball - I shit you not - they drop a potato. A damn potato! But we're all sick, so I think we may end up just staying home and watching it on the local NBC affiliate tonight. Bummer. Also tomorrow, I wanted us to go up to Bogus Basin, where the ski resort is near us, for all kinds of New Year's Day festivities, but the two older kids have to work, which would be no fun.

3) Winter is a time for cocooning. What book or movie did you enjoy in 2018 that you would recommend to your fellow Saturday 9-ers?
 
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I really enjoyed the movie Dumplin' with Danielle MacDonald. We've been watching a lot of movies on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video lately, but I think that may have been my favourite.

4) Looking back on the past year, what was one of your happiest moments?
 
Week 21 of 52 -Catching Light
Two things: On April 16th, Hubs had surgery for prostate cancer. His recovery was fraught, and I hated every minute of it for him. He ended up having another major surgery and more hospital stays. As for myself, I had surgery on May 22nd, and it was supposed to be far more major than it ended up being. I was honestly scared for my life and, if that ended up being not in jeopardy, then I was scared of being in even more pain than the endless amount I've been suffering for more than 3½ years. In the end, my surgeon decided to close me up early and save the rest of the surgery for another day. So I can honestly say, in 2018, my happiest moment was waking up alive and well, and being still here to torment the rest of Team Odette!

5) What was the smartest thing you did all this past year?
 
Week 27 of 52 - Leading Lines
I persevered! It's worth it.
 
6) As 2018 comes to a close, what are you most grateful for?
 
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♥ Smiles, joy and happiness from my loved ones ♥

7) This week's featured artist is Herb Alpert. Because of the style he popularized and the name of his band, people assume he's Hispanic. Yet his parents were Jewish immigrants from Romania. What's something we'd be surprised to learn about you?
 
🤦‍♀️ I dunno anymore; everyone knows everything about me! 🤦‍♀️
 
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Maybe that I've been varying levels of vegan/vegetarian since August 1995, and as of about a week ago, all five members are now onboard with giving veganism a good go! Why? Get on Netflix or some other streaming service and watch What The Health? and Cowspiracy, and that'll explain a great deal.
  
8) He performed an instrumental version of "The Star Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl XXII. How did your favorite sports teams do in 2018?
 
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Oh, God. My Miami 'Canes were a disaster! They were up against Wisconsin in a rematch from last year at the Pinstripe Bowl four days ago, and we got totally trounced 35-3. What an embarrassment! Hopefully new head coach Manny Diaz can turn things around for the 2019 program.
 
9) Random question: When did you last check your social media feed?
 
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I just checked my Instagram notifications a few minutes ago. I'm on it now more than Facebook, although I suppose now that they're both owned by the same people, it doesn't much matter? No, really, I like the quick-speed format of Insta much more, I think.
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
That was fun. Thanks, Crazy Sam! I'm going to go right into yesterday's Sunday Stealing now, so go take a quick walk around your house or the block or something as an intermission. Then link up here if you want to play along with me and the rest of the thieves, albeit belatedly! ;)
 
 
 
 1. Are flowers a nice gift to give someone?
 
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They are if they're a bouquet from Bouqs, like these beautiful calla lilies! I love Bouqs.

2. Do you wear any jewelry?
Yeah, and I like to change it around frequently. I really love Pandora rings (That's why I bought a bunch of inexpensive costume jewelry on eBay recently. I just got this new ring today, and I love it! Except it's scratchy...

3. Have you ever lain in a field of flowers?
 
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I have, but it's been ages, so here's a photo from our April 2015 visit to the Chihuly exhibit at the Fairchild Garden in Miami.

4. Do you like tea?
 
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I like bubble tea. Other tea is okay, as long as it's both caffeinated and flavored. Absolutely no iced tea for me, though!

5. What would you do with a million dollars?
 
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a. Get a good financial advisor and invest wisely, living off the interest as much as possible. b. Buy us a beautiful, elaborate, multi-roomed house like the ones I've been dreaming about my whole life. c. Set up a grantor's trust, so that the kids don't have to struggle any more than we already have and any more than what's necessary for them not to lose their work ethics. and d. Take Hubs on a whirlwind tour of the world, retracing our steps for the last 18 years (our anniversary is on Wednesday!), including here to La Calle Ramblas (with lots of beautiful architecture by Joan Miró) in gorgeous Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. e. And the whole time, I'd have The Barenaked Ladies serenade us with one of our courtship songs, "If I Had a Million Dollars"!

6. What word do you have trouble saying?
 
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Many, many things, but since this is one of Hubs' favorite drinks, I have to attempt to say it a lot: Arnold Palmer. I fail each and every time.

7. Favorite fairytale?
 
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Maybe Little Red Riding Hood, since I have fond memories of my sister and I planning out our skit of it, making props, and then acting it out in front of our grandparents and some of their friends and neighbors.

8. Do you sleep with stuffed animals?
 
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Yes, I sleep with the huge teddy bear Hubs gave me when he gave me my engagement ring.

9. Do you prefer the city or the country?
 
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I am definitely a big city girl at heart!

10. Are you a big fan of makeup?
 
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I used to be, but nowadays I usually keep it simple and just wear mascara and maybe some lip gloss.

11. Favorite drink?
 
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Hands-down, it's Diet Coke! (And for my grandpa, it was "Coke on the rocks!"

12. What’s the longest amount of time you’ve stayed awake?
 
Newborn Chloë
Several days in a row, once Chloë was out of the NICU. Even when she'd sleep, I had awful insomnia. Man, those were some miserable days for me! (Aside from the beautiful new baby girl, natch.)

13. Have you ever traveled outside of your country?
 
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Beautiful Talofofo Falls on Guam
 
Yes, many times, but the one I'm most yearning to return to at this point in time isn't even technically outside the United States.
 
14. Do you like Spring?
 
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I love Spring! It's my second favorite season after Summer. Especially when all the tulips come in around Idaho.

15. Lipstick or lip gloss?
 
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I'll wear lipstick (like my Young Living ones) on the odd occasion, lip gloss (like the lighted mirror-containing one at the back of the picture above) slightly more frequently, but mostly lip balm.
 
 
I really like this minty one on Grove Collaborative.
 
16. Favorite color?
 
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All the blues in the sea...

17. Do you like to decorate?
 
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I do! My tastes run eclectic and colorful as hell, like here, which is certainly not for everybody!

18. Do you ever go barefoot when you’re outside?
 
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I love being barefoot! Especially when we're at the beach... nothing like it!

19. Are aliens real?
 
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How the hell should I know?!

20. Does your zodiac sign fit your personality?
 
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I don't really buy into astrology as anything more than entertainment. I find bits of myself in all 12 signs of the zodiac - and some of all the Chinese ones, too. But I do often see a lot of myself in the Virgo horoscope, like above.

21.Favorite sea animal?
 
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I think right now, at this moment in time, it's the Tasselled Wobbegong, Eucrossorhinus dasypogon. Cool looking, right?

22. Are you a nice person?
 
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I try very, very hard to be. I don't always succeed, but I keep trying!

23. Favorite word?
 
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FUCK! (hee.)

24. Night or day?
 
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Oh, I am a total night owl. Also, science has found that we night owls are: more creative; more intelligent; more productive; and, more successful. However, we are also more likely to be single and die early.

25. What would make you happy right now?
 
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It would thrill the shite out of me if I stopped having allergic reactions to every single thing. I mean it: everything. Every food I eat. Being too hot. Being too cold. Medications. And things are moving quickly in the wrong direction. So yeah, for 2019, which in this time zone (MST) starts in 04:12, I would really like for at least that aspect of my poor health to turn around. I just can't do it anymore!!!
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
So it's almost 8 PM, and I guess I better figure out the plan for New Year's Eve! Kinda late for that, but meh! Not feeling it this year.
 
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So, Happy New Year 2019, y'all!!!
 
Fin.
 

Sunday Stealing: It's The End Of 2018 As We Know It

Welcome back, homeslices! 🤣 I woke up sick as a DAWG today 😞😭🤧😷, so I'm not feeling the (self) love. I know just being "here" with all of y'all will cheer me up, though, so let's bring it! 😍🤩💗💖 Link up here if you'd like to play along with us this weekend, or want to check out all the other amazing thieves among us!

~*~*~*~*~

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

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Boise Pride Festival 2018 020

Well, since two of my kiddos came out late last year as gay or bisexual, the three of us attended the Boise Pride Festival this past summer. It was SO fun, so loving, so joyous, and so inclusive. I loved every moment of it, and I am so proud of my girls for having the strength and courage to embrace their true selves.

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

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I'm sure I set some, but I don't remember what they were! I'll probably set more for next year, but I haven't done so yet. I'll keep ya posted! 🙃

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

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My good friend Stephanie, who first was my kids' babysitter in Virginia Beach, when they were itty bitty, is pregnant with her fourth son!

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And my high school pal, Lora, gave birth to her second son this year. Her kiddos are so cute! It's the year of boys! (I'm sure there are plenty more, but I'm forgetful.)

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

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Gosh, I can't think of anyone who died - I hope I'm not forgetting! Aside from myself, Hubs was diagnosed with prostate cancer earlier this year and had surgery to remove the prostate. The recovery was heinous for him, and he had another surgery after that to repair the perforated bladder and fix the internal bleeding happening after the first surgery and on and on... it was just terrible for him. 😢

Rob Breast Cancer pin

Also, someone on his side of the family is in a serious breast cancer battle right now, and we are thinking of her all the time, wishing her well.

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What places have you visited?

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Well, the hospital for one - a LOT! heh heh

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We visited the Boise Ronald McDonald House on multiple occasions to make donations and take tours. This is a cause that's near and dear to our hearts (Dammit, Gal, I left it off your annual charity round-up post! DUHHHHHHHH!!) because we stayed in one while Chloë was in the NICU in Pensacola for 10 days. It's an amazing place. Visit one and I guarantee your heart will melt.

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We drove out to Wasatch Sport Horses in Eagle, Idaho, many, many times for Sophia's riding lessons. Our new second home!

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We went to many lessons at Chloë's fencing club, until she decided not to continue at the end of the season.

Listen, y'all, I could go on and on. And on!

Any new pets? Lost a pet?

Yes; critters we've lost this year:

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We lost Rob's gentle giant, Henry, to a suspected sudden asthma attack. It was very sad.

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We lost both of Chloë's beloved guinea pigs, Alexander Sirius and James Theodore, on the same day to unknown causes. She feels devastated and blames herself. 😢

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Jack's old gerbil, Lucy, who lived a good, long, loved life with him, passed away peacefully. She is missed.

04 June 30 2017
And finally, we lost all but one of our 2017 chickens, our White Silkie Athena, to a predator massacre. I was so crushed!

Critters we've gained this year:

71 September 6 2018

We got 21 new rare-breed chicks in September. There's Athena keeping watch over the new babies. Two of them have since died, so we're at a 2018 flock of 20 chickens, currently.

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Jack adopted this bunny-buns, Fudge, for his 4-H project this year. He's ridiculously soft!

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And very shortly after that, Jack - an extremely conscientious pet owner - adopted Rocky so that Fudge could have a playmate. The two are still in separate cages, though, awaiting their neutering so they don't fight. Rocky's such a love!

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What would you like to have next year that you lacked this year (doesn't have to be a physical thing i.e. love, job security, peace of mind...)? 

Wishful Thinking House

Well, aside from improved health, obviously, I would love to buy and move into a house of our own once again - like this one!. I yearn for it!

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

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April 16th, 2018 - that's the date of Hubs' prostatectomy that sucked big ass. He's still recovering.

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What was your biggest achievement last year?

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I try to keep it lighter in my SS posts, but that's not always possible for me. So to answer this question: I realized and acknowledged that I was raised in a cult. I was an unwilling member for almost 21 years. And I went back to therapy, where I am finally in "intensive care" to undo the effects of the trauma, abuse, and brainwashing I've endured.

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Did you get sick or injured?

Walker

Well, yeah! I have a lot of new diagnoses from this year. Mast Cell Activation Disorder, ME/CFS, and (possible, waiting to be genetically tested) Ehlers Danlos Syndrome among them... and since I'm now stumbly-bumbly all the time, lots of injuries from falling. I rely on my walker or wheelchair most of the time when I'm out of the house now.

What was the best thing you bought?

Pf changs

Well, I don't know! Lots of things, I guess, and I'm sure I'll get this wrong. I won, this week, a photography contest, wherein I was stacked up against several professional photogs, and for the prize I could get a $50 gift card to anywhere. I opted for P.F. Chang's, which we never get. I don't know why. But I snuck a slice of cheesecake in there, and WOW! That shizz was the bomb! And this is coming from a New Yawka who knows her cheesecake. Two thumbs up!

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Oh! And I signed up for Grove Collaborative to get all kinds of good-for-us and good-for-the-earth stuff, and I'm really happy with our membership thus far. Their customer service is outstanding, and the products and prices are great! I'm a huge fan. If you want to sign up here, you'll even get a free 5-piece gift set. I loved mine!

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

Barkbox Dogs

You say that as though there is any disposable income! 😂😂😂 Have you never tried to raise three hungry teenagers, 20 chickens, two dogs, three cats, and two bunny rabbits - not to mention the four score and seven prescription medications I take daily - on an enlisted veteran sailor's pension? BWAHAHAHA! But if so, we tend to spoil the pets. Especially the doggos. I mean, I love to get the chickens toys and chubby mealworms and stuff, watch the cats go insane on new catnip toys, etc., but the dogs! Nothing makes me happier than watching two butt-wiggling pooches get their BarkBoxes in the mail!! And oh, they know that that box is theirs, long before it gets opened. They just know. (I highly recommend it!)

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What song will always remind you of last year?

"Girls Like You" by Maroon 5, featuring Cardi B (Gal, can we please, please, pleeeeeaaase do this song on Sat9 sometime?) is a song my 13yo daughter Sophia and I have played on the radio, YouTube, or whatever umpteen million times over and over. We sing along to every word and then, when Cardi B's part comes on, we blast it even louder and rap along to every word. I don't care how white we are, we rock that $h!t!

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What do you wish you would have done more of?

Clamps1a

My husband! 🤪😂😈

What do you wish you would have done less of?

Tears in Heaven

Crying in pain (this photo is from Friday night, just hours ago, but represents many nights)

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

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Well, I've finally really gotten into Bob's Burgers this year, and it's a good thing I did, because that $h!t is fookin' hilarious! I like to pretend I'm just like Linda, which I am, and I do both Linda's and Bob's and sometimes Tina's voices. If you're not watching it yet, why not?! You oughtta be. I DVR every episode. We all love it. Yeah. So.

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Also, I recommend Ellen De Generes' new stand-up special, Relatable, on Netflix. I love her talk show, so I finally queued it up and am watching it right now. She swears, y'all! That's relatable!

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

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I'm reading Recipes for Repair right now, which I just started but bought about two years ago, to see if it will help any of my autoimmune disorders. It's hard. I'm having allergic reactions - sometimes anaphylaxis - to every single thing I eat lately, so I've just gotta do something! Plus, my therapist recommended I read something along these lines. I don't think I've read any other books this year! Shocking!

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

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Well, first of all, I turned 42, and Chloë made me these birthday cupcakes. She baked Hubs' chocolate bundt cake - his favorite - too, and was really excited about doing both. Only, I was looking at these photos recently, and I just don't remember these cupcakes. I mean, I know I was there and must have taken the pictures and blown them out, but I cannot recollect them for the life of me. This is very distressing. My short-term memory has been stolen from me since I became ill in 2015, and I hate it!

091218 FREE Pedicure from Reginald
Also, Hubs gave me a pedicure, which he often did during my pregnancies when I couldn't reach and now often does again since my joints are so stiff and painful. Yeah, he's a keeper. (Also, pssst! Robert! I'm due for another one!)

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Chloë's birthday (9/7) is the day before mine (9/8), so we usually celebrate together by running around collecting all the billions of birthday freebies out there. Here are some from this year:

Birthday Freebies Collage

[click to embiggerate]

I'd list them out for you, but as you can see, um, it's kind of a lot.

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What political or social issue stirred you the most?

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I will always, first and foremost, be an environmental activist. Now, more than ever, it is crucial for denizens of Planet Earth to become acutely aware of what we as people are doing to harm the planet and what we as humans can do to remedy that.

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Additionally, I am a Global Citizen, and I am dedicated to working for the causes of education for all; those that promote equality for women and girls; ending world hunger; and, bettering the health and sanitation practices around the world. I even get points for sharing the information I learn, and I've used those points to enter contests. This year alone, I've won two concerts: Amy Lee (of Evanescence) and Lindsey Sterling, which I'd entered for Chloë's sake - but I ended up winning the one in Phoenix, Arizona, and we could of course not make it there. The other concert was just recently, here in Boise: Metallica, which I sent Rob and our 15yo son Jack to. They had a blast!

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Who was the most interesting new person you met?

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Hmm. I don't know; I've met a lot of interesting folks. I'll say my new orthopedist, Dr. Alex Homaecheverria. Not only is this doctor smoking hot (I'm married, but I mean, c'mon! I'm not dead!), but he's relatable. Great bedside manner. And he genuinely seems interested in truly helping me improve.

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What changed at your job?

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Well. For one, Chloë, Sophie, and I started a specialty candle company called Every Wick Way on November 1st! I'm so excited about this! Most of our items are listed in our Etsy shop, but I'm still working on the website for Every Wick Way. Check it out! ;)

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What changed in your home?

Coop Life 25 Sept 2018 (2)

Well, we got those 21 baby chickies from the hatchery, so they would need a place to live, right? After forever and a day (seriously; we're talking over a year), Hubs and another military vet friend got together and built it basically in a day. It's not perfect, but it's pretty great, and so far we've avoided another slaughter. Whew!

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Describe how a relationship changed.

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Well, I'm like this ^^^ so it's completely surreal for me to read things like this. Anyway, I've been distancing myself emotionally from my father more than I ever have in my life. It's been hard. He's noticed, too, and wrote a note to me about it in our Christmas card. Such tomfuckery. I'll not have it!

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

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No. Of course not. At the end of every year I hope I have grown and learned so much during that year that I am a completely new and more enlightened person by the end.

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Summarize the year in three words or less. Bonus points for doing it in one word. Explain.

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How have people around you changed?

December 2018 Selfie Collage

Well, I don't know about everyone's internal dialogue or whatnot, but I feel like this year, as I've become even more self-aware and adulty than ever, I feel that people are changing the way they respond to and interact with me. I feel it every day. It seems like some people actually like me, which I never really thought could be true. It's delightful.

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What have you learned throughout the year?

T Rex Cmas Tree

Well, I've definitely learned that I do, in fact, have limitations. And also that getting older sucks, and I do not care for being forty-freakin'-two!

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What was your favorite outfit for warm weather? Cooler weather?

Warm weather:

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Something cool, comfortable, and hopefully, cute!

Cool Weather:

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Anything remotely warm, comfortable, and hopefully cute! ;)

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

EWW Etsy Collage

Oh yes, of course! For Every Wick Way, the girls and I jointly learned how to make soy and beeswax candles and melts, and we're taking very explicit notes so that we can duplicate everything that turns out great. And most things do, because we're just amazing like that. ;) I'm always learning something new in the craft world. Every year, I've got a new thing going. I embrace change. Love it. Adore it!

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

Well... Before:

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And now:

Week 48 of 52 Selfie

So let's see... Since the top picture was taken a couple of years ago, I've gained a little (read: not a little) weight, my eyes are getting greener as I get older, I've at least temporarily stopped coloring my hair auburn (which I've been doing since my freshman year of college!), I started growing out my bangs for the first time ever in my live (but just got sick of it and trimmed them back to 'normal' this week, heh), pierced my septum, and pierced my tragus. Dang, when I read it back, it sounds like kind of a lot, no?

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What are your hopes and dreams for the new year?

Well, I'd love to say I wanna buy a house (but I said that already) and that I want to lose weight (but when don't I?); however, instead, I hope to bring awareness about and then somewhat defeat the health struggles constantly plaguing me:

Image result for autoimmune disease

I have multiple Autoimmune Diseases, including: Raynaud's Syndrome, Mast Cell Activation Disorder, Chronic Spontaneous Urticaria, and Anticardiolipin/Antiphospolipid-Antibody Syndrome, for starters - but now I'm blessed with a medical expert in Asthma, Allergies, and Immunology who is doing the right tests and looking at the right things.

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I struggle with Fibromyalgia, but now I'm blessed with a medical expert who brings me in and gives me Trigger Point Injections whenever I call up and say I need them.

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I have Bipolar I with Psychosis, but now I am blessed with an expert psychiatrist who listens to me and knows what to tweak when I tell her what I am experiencing, as well as an incredible therapist who is helping me navigate the intense, childhood-long traumas that (I believe) led to the bipolar, along with severe PTSD, OCPD, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

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I have Chronic Lyme Disease and am daily trying to manage the extreme pain in my bones and joints from that, while trying to explain to every medical professional under that sun that just because I was treated with antibiotics for two weeks after I tested CDC-positive for Lyme, that I am not "cured." Some listen. Much, much more education is needed on this subject, and it is intentionally being squelched. Very frustrating!

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I probably have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, but I'm waiting for genetic testing to rule it in or out, which takes up to a year for the appointment in these parts. I have hypermobility and am constantly having dislocations and subluxations, along with just about every other symptom up there - but fortunately, I am now blessed with a knowledgeable physical therapist and a stellar (and hot - see above) orthopedist who have many tricks up their respective sleeves to try and help a girl out.

Image result for myalgic encephalomyelitis

And now, I also have Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, but I'm now blessed with an ME/CFS specialist in Salt Lake City, whom I now see every other month or so, who has made it her life's work to care about those of us with this devastating illness. 

And that's not even my whole list. So when someone (I believe from here, but I'm certainly not going to name names) tells me to "snap out of it," or when I get letters from my fng father telling me not to be a drain on society and make something of myself... well, it kinda breaks me. That is so soul-crushing. So, you guys, just don't do that to chronically ill people, okay? That is just not cool!

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Whew! That took me hours upon hours to do! Well, okay, I watched the Ellen DeGeneres Netflix special Relatable. And then the whole family sat down with me to watch the Netflix documentary What The Health? which everyone should totally watch, and they all - even JACK!!! - decided pretty much on the spot that we're all gonna be vegans now. I'm so excited about that. Okay, and then Chloë and I stayed up all night watching Titanic, and finally the girls and I just wrapped up Crazy Rich Asians, both on Amazon Prime Video. So I was a little distracted... Hee.

See y'all after the happy merry!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Dudes, I'm Walkin' In A Winter Wonderland

What's up, guys?! Didja miss me? Nah, of course not. I hope y'all have had a great week. Link up here if you wanna join us in this Happy Holidays post, 'cause we'd love to have you. Jumping right in:

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Saturday 9: Happy Holidays! (from the archives) 

1. As you can see, Sam loved giving her annual wish list to Santa. Yet some children are reluctant to climb into Jolly Old St. Nick's lap. Did you enjoy the tradition or were you shy? Or did you bypass it altogether -- either because you wrote him a letter or because your family didn't celebrate Christmas?

Hmm. I can't remember sitting in Santa's lap ever, so I don't know if I did or not. NONE of my kids liked it their first and maybe their second Christmases - we have pictures of all three sitting there crying in his arms 😂😂 as babies. I probably hated it too, if I did it, because I've always been desperately shy. I don't think I ever wrote him letters, either; after my mom died, my stepmother just asked us to write lists for her.

2. Are you currently on the Naughty or Nice list? How did you get there?

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Oh, I remember this question. I think for once, this year, I'm on the Nice List! This is quite a shocker, as I generally try to keep pretty naughty. Hubs and I are coming up on our 18th anniversary, and we had a couple of grumpy months over the summer and early autumn. So I came up with this idea to stick sweet things I love about my husband on his bathroom mirror every day. Then he started doing it back, and by the end of November, we had two mirrors full of  Post-It notes! I took them all off and we started over again in December. I love it! It's a real pick-me-up.  

3. Did you ship any gifts to friends and family this year? If so, which one traveled the farthest?

I sent a gift to my niece, Karen Joyce (who is named exactly after my mother), now a freshman in college. I'm kind of a slacker in the gifts department, especially this year, and Karen has a younger sister, Hanna! I haven't sent anything technically for Christmas for them yet, though. Karen's got a December birthday, so that was that gift. I'll make it up to them. I swear. 😉

4. Did you buy yourself a gift this year?

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Well, I'm in this rose gold season of my life - did I mention this last week already? If so, forgive me for the redundancy but it's 0604, I'm watching Titanic with Chloë (her first time), and I haven't slept a wink! 😉 So I treated myself to a few things; my husband spoils me entirely too much. I bought this rose gold septum ring on Etsy, and I have a love/hate relationship with it because it isn't properly balanced. I have to keep adjusting it.

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I also bought this hibiscus tragus ring from the same Etsy shop, but the post isn't long enough to meet the back of my tragus hole, so I'm wearing as an earring at the mo' and have a hoop in the tragus. I'm annoyed about that, too.

Rose Gold Rings

I got these rose gold stackable rings from a different Etsy shop, and I am very happy with these. I would love more! And I got the ColorStreet nail appliqués for free for me, when I bought three more sets for the girls' stockings. I thought they were beautiful, but because of the glitter I think, they did not last anywhere near as long as promised. Boo. 😞

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For Chloë, Sophia (whose birthstone it is), myself, and Chloë's boss it turns out, I was able to score nine pairs of diamond earrings for less than $4.00 on eBay! So when they came, I was happy to share with the boss-friend. Why not?

Mel Slippers

And finally, so that Rob could have something to give me for Christmas - because I rarely let him buy me anything - I got these Dearfoams slippers for an absolute steal on Shoes.com. I wanted them early to keep my feet warm, though, so here they are. haha!

5. What's your favorite holiday-themed movie? Have you seen it yet this year?

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Miracle on 34th Street. No, not yet. I think I recorded it on the DVR, though. The kids have never seen it.

6. Thinking of movies, Christmas is lucrative for Hollywood. Have you ever gone to a movie theater on Christmas Day?

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I know we saw Home Alone - maybe more than one of them in subsequent years? - on Christmas Day. Maybe others, but that's the main one I remember.

7. Have you ever suffered an embarrassing moment at the company Christmas party?

No, but I have had an embarrassing moment at a different company party. Not exactly PG-rated, though! I'm too embarrassed to tell it on this post! 😜

8. What's your favorite beverage in cold weather?

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Hmm. I don't know, maybe egg nog spiked with Bailey's Irish Cream? We had that for my first and only time in Miami one Christmas. Didn't take us long to finish that bottle! 😂

9. Share a memory from last Christmas.

Hos Hospital Christmas
I spent last Christmas and New Year's - a total of about two weeks - in the hospital with a life-threatening case of double MRSA pneumonia. I was fighting for my life, locked up in a tiny leaded room, crying thinking I was going to die and leave my kids motherless just like I had been, and thinking maybe I wouldn't even get to see them that day. But for 90 minutes, they were allowed to come in! I truly felt like it gave me a much needed boost of immunity that day, and I pulled through. ♥

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Thanks so much for joining us again at Saturday: 9. As always, feel free to come back, see who has participated and comment on their posts. In fact sometimes, if you want to read & comment on everyone's responses, you might want to check back again tomorrow. But it is not a rule. We haven’t any rules here. Join us next week for another version of Saturday: 9, "Just A Silly Meme on a Saturday!" Enjoy your holidays!

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Fin.


Saturday 9: We Need A Little Christmas

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

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

So that happened.

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

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Saturday 9: We Need a Little Christmas (2006)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related image  Image result for lindt truffles

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rose gold jewelry profile pink

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

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

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

Image result for Heifer international

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

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

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The Blue Ribbon Foundation

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

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Diabetes Research Institute Foundation

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

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

Have a great Saturday, y'all.

Fin.


Saturday 9: We're Gluing The Christmas Tree!

Image result for I'm Gonna Put Some Glue 'Round

Hey, y'all. Pretty interesting week here for me.

Long ago, after we first moved to Idaho in March 2017, I read that a lot of people with Lyme disease and autoimmune diseases - as I have both - find that their pain is the worst when there is a full moon. I have since found this to be true for me. But I have not kept track of the moon cycles or the rising tides since then... ;) I do keep track of my Good vs. Bad (and everywhere in between, including extremes) on Patients Like Me, and for the first time in eons, I've had three "good" days!! So I was thinking about that in the shower tonight, when I had a thought. "JACK!" I yelled to my son, the only other person home. I asked him to ask his phone ("Okay, Google...") what phase the moon is in right now. He told me it was the new moon. "I KNEW IT!" I shouted. So, there's that.

Link up here if you want to play along today.

Let's begin:

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Saturday 9: I'm Gonna Put Some Glue 'Round the Christmas Tree (So Santa Will Stick Around All Year) (1954)
Unfamiliar with this week's tune? Hear it here.

1) This week's featured songstress, Peggy King, sings that she'd like to extend the Christmas season all year. How about you? Do you wish the season was longer? Shorter? Or do you think things are fine as they are?

I think things are definitely fine right now. Our tree is up, but it's a new artificial one, and the branches haven't been completely "floofed" yet, as I say. The girls have tried lighting it, but it's all a big fail. For Team Odette, Christmas decorations can't go up until Thanksgiving is OVER, and I like them down by New Year's Day.

2) She specifically mentions toys. Have you purchased/will you purchase any toys as holiday gifts this year?

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Well, since my kids are all teenagers, I thought we were kinda past the toy phase. But 13yo Sophia, who sold and/or gave away here entire (huge) Littlest Pet Shop collection in Miami, came to me recently and said she wanted to start collecting them again. Sheesh!! Kids! (She'll get a few.)

3) Search for "glue" on The Home Depot's website and you'll get more than 3,000 results. There's heavy-duty adhesives, all-purpose glue, clear epoxy, wood glue, and more. Do you currently have glue in your home? If yes, how many kinds?

We have about 50 Elmer's glue sticks, probably some Office Depot glue sticks, a couple bottles of regular Elmer's white glue, maybe some purple Elmer's glitter glue (crafty house, lol), some glue sticks (both big and small and for both warm and super-hot use), and several cans of spray adhesive. No "man glue," according to Rob.

4) What's the last thing you used glue for?

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Personally, I used the spray adhesive in Miami for some art projects the girls and I did for our homeschool, Sweet Pea Academy. But the girls use it all the time. I could've sworn we had Gorilla Glue, but Rob still says no. lol

5) This week's featured artist, Peggy King, was a TV staple in the 1950s. With her perpetually upbeat persona, she was known as "Pretty, Perky Peggy King." Do you consider yourself upbeat, aka "perky?"

I mean... I have diagnoses including rapid-cycling Bipolar I with Psychosis, PTSD, OCPD, and severe Anxiety Disorder. So, I'm nothing and everything all at once?

 6) Ms. King got her start singing radio jingles for Hunt's tomato sauce. Prepared tomato sauce, properly stored, can safely be kept in the refrigerator for days. Do you have any leftovers in your refrigerator right now?

Oh, gosh, yes. There are always leftovers in there. Speaking of which, I have to yell at Rob for not repackaging the two family-size things of chicken legs and several other packages of meat and freezing them. It's happened before that he's left them in the fridge too long, and they went bad. Gah!

7) Her biggest movie role was in Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955). Do you watch scary movies and shows all year around? Only at Halloween? Or not at all?

Not at all! I hate scary movies. My kids love them. They have to wait until I'm not home or sleeping to watch, though. ha!

8) In 1954, the year this record was released, President Eisenhower dedicated the Marine Corps. Iwo Jima Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, just outside of Washington DC. If you were to play tourist in our nation's capital, what site would you be certain to visit?

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When we lived in Virginia Beach, we visited Washington, D.C. multiple times. The first time I went, I was extremely pregnant with Sophia, and we did all kinds of touristy things. Chloë was 3½ years old, and Jack was 2, so they don't remember all that. My favorite thing was visiting Arlington National Cemetery, and the most meaningful moments there for me were when we sat for a while and watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Such incredible meaning goes into that whole monument.

9) Random question: Which of these common household items would you miss most if it suddenly went on the fritz -- your bedside lamp or your hair dryer?

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I don't even know the last time I've used the hair dryer. It's probably in the girls' bathroom right now. Of course, I don't have a bedside lamp right now, either. The above lamp, from Target, is in the living room currently. I have no night table, either. Hate it!

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So that's it for tonight. I'm watching Bob from Bob's Burgers fight with Jimmy Pesto right now, so forgive my crappy answers. I'm distracted! Blame the kids again. ;)

Fin.


Sunday Stealing 11/4: Pop Tarts

Hiya! So this is last week's SS, but I didn't get a chance to participate, and I'm in a blogging mood right now, so here we go. Link up here if you want to play along last week! (heh. I know what I did there.)

Let's go!

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This is stolen from Freaky PopTart

 

1. What's the coldest temp you've experienced?
 
Image result for syracuse blizzard of 1993
 
I survived the Syracuse blizzard of 1993! There are still people there, and from there, who talk about it - and you can easily pull up a jillion images from it on Google. That was my last year in Baldwile (a suburb of Syracuse) before college, and it got down to -53ºF during that blizzard. It completely cemented my decision to go to the University of Miami for college!
 
2. What's for dinner tonight?
 
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Damned if I know. It's 7:34 AM on Saturday, and I haven't even begun to think about it. I took out some ground turkey a few days ago for sliders, but we never cooked it. It's probably gone bad by now...

3. Would you consider moving to Australia?
 
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Hell yeah, I would! In fact, I told my family I was moving there if Donald Trump was elected in 2016. And he was, but we're still here. In freakin' Idaho instead. Uprooting ourselves and moving around the world proved not to be cost-effective for the time being. Bleh.
 
4. What was your favorite subject in high school?
 
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Biology, obviously, but I also loved Calculus. Math is one of my favorite subjects, and I absorbed Calc like a sponge. Bring it! #Nerd

5. How many hours a day is your tv on?
 
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Zero, currently. :\ Stupid disposable technology! We have a fairly new, big-screen Samsung smart TV and... it just went dead. Completely dead. No picture, no sound. And it's out of warranty. And we are on a DirecTV contract that is going to waste, so I hope we can do something about this soon. I didn't even get to watch the Midterm election coverage! Or the new episodes of The Big Bang Theory and Young Sheldon. Oy vey. #FirstWorldProblems

6. Have you ever received an award?
 
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I've won all kinds of academic awards, and some others, but my absolute favorite award was winning "Class Giggler" in third grade. I still have that certificate!

7. Whats your mouse pad look like?
 
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I do not use a mouse pad, currently. I'm on a bamboo lap desk on my laptop, and I use the little thumb controller thingy. I  miss my desktop computer!!! Wah.
 
8. How many browser tabs do you have open right now?
 
Open tabs
All of those (sorry for the blurry screenshot), plus two more in a separate window for my music streaming and my super-secret Christmas lists for everyone. Oops, not so secret now! So that makes what, 20?

9. If you are a parent, have you or did you ever put Vicks VapoRub on your children under the age of 2?
 
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It's possible? But I can't specifically remember, sorry. I like my Puffs Plus Vicks tissues, but nobody else in the house does, so I hear a lot of wanking about that...

10. As an adult, do you like the scent of Vicks VapoRub?
 
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I don't mind it. I have allergies, asthma, and all kinds of autoimmune issues, so I get congested a lot. Vicks helps.
 
11. If you had to pick one insect to infest your house for 1 day and after that day they would just suddenly vanish, which insect infestation would you pick?
 
Bannerwith-ticks
Yeesh, that's a complicated one for me. As someone with chronic Lyme Disease, I hate deer ticks and the other creatures that carry the Lyme-causing spirochete with a passion. I'd love to  have them eradicated from the earth, but... can we leave our house for that one day it's full of deer ticks? And then they're gone when we come back? I'm down with that - as long as the entire ecosystem doesn't fall apart from their sudden disappearance.

12. What color is your underwear that you are wearing right at this moment?
 
Image result for red undies
 
I'm wearing red undies, but they look nothing like those, and my body looks nothing like that model's. And I'm okay with that!
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
That was fun. Now I should probably check the 600+ emails I've been neglecting and then get back to a project that is currently under wraps. I can't wait to talk about it, though!
 
Cheers.
 
Fin.
 

Saturday 9: It Must Be Him

Hey, y'all. Welcome back. My youngest, Sophia, and I drove 5 hours down to Salt Lake City from Boise yesterday (and back at night), for an appointment with my ME/CFS specialist, and on the way back we were treated with the most glorious sunset I have ever seen in my entire life. We were in awe the entire time, I still am. It was breathtaking.

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

~*~*~*~*~

Saturday 9: It Must Be Him (1967)

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



1) This song is about a woman waiting impatiently for a phone call. Do you consider yourself patient?
 
Image result for laughing emoji
 
Decidedly not!!

2) Other women (most notably Shirley Bassey and Dottie West) have recorded this song. Harry James and Doc Severinson did instrumental versions. But there's no record of a male singing "Oh dear God! It must be her! Or I shall die!" Do you think that's because waiting for the phone to ring is more "a chick thing," and men simply don't do it?
 
Having roomed with a few guys during my summer breaks from college, I know for sure that is not just a thing girls do. Guys do it, too. Maybe women are just more willing to show that vulnerability in song.

3) This recording enjoyed a sudden surge of popularity after 20 years when it was included on the soundtrack of Moonstruck, the 1987 film that won Cher an Oscar. Have you seen Moonstruck?
 
Yeah, but I remember virtually none of it. I'm really bad at remembering movies.

4) This week's featured artist, Vikki Carr, was born in El Paso, TX. El Paso can proudly proclaim itself one of America's safest cities. What can your hometown be proud of?
 
Boise is The City of Trees, and there really are a lot of them. Autumn is brilliant here. And the people here are the nicest of anywhere I've lived.

5) She was a staple on Jerry Lewis' Labor Day Telethon, raising funds for the Muscular Dystrophy Association by performing this song. Is your TV on right now? If so, what are you watching?

Image result for angry emoji
 
No. It's not. I wish it was. On Wednesday night, our 4-year-old TV went out. Rob called Samsung while I was in Salt Lake, and they said that it was out of warranty and not their problem. So now we have this fancy smart TV that is basically just taking up space on our wall, a cable contract, and no budget to replace the tube just now because it's Christmas. And it's the last season of Big Bang. Wah!
 
6) In 1971, Vikki fulfilled a dream of hers by establishing the Vikki Carr Scholarship Foundation. Every year the foundation awards Hispanic American students money to use toward higher education. She says it's her way of returning "the support and encouragement she received from others" early in her career. If you could establish a charitable foundation, what cause would you like it to benefit?

Image result for planned parenthood logo
 
A friend of my girls' and mine is raising money for Planned Parenthood this month. I donated $5 for each of us wimmens!
 
Image result for heifer international logo
 
Also, I am still figuring out whether to donate a flock of chicks, geese, or ducks to a project family through Heifer International. I love this great organization. I donate to them through Amazon Smile, too.
 
7)  In 1967, when this song was popular, Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the first heart transplant. Today, one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States is the coronary artery bypass surgery. Have you had any surgeries?

Three Caesarian sections, gastric bypass surgery, gall bladder removal, hysterectomy, tonsillectomy, hiatal hernia repair, and several dental surgeries. So a few.
 
8)  Also in 1967, the RMS Queen Mary was retired after 31 years of service. Have you ever traveled by cruise ship? 

Image result for ms zuiderdam
 
I've been on two or three Carnival cruises, a Princess cruise, and of course, our Mediterranean Holland America cruise. It's my favorite way to travel! I'd go again tomorrow if possible.
 
9) Random question: Who is your oldest living relative?
 
My father, who is 76
 
~*~*~*~*~
 
And now I shall eat a salad. I am on a salad kick lately. So yum.
 
Fin.

Saturday/Sunday Mash-Up

Eggs

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

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

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

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

~*~*~*~*~

She Works Hard for the Money (1983) 

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guam-map-0

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

Image may contain: Bob Simmons, closeup

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

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

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

Image result for delicious cakes

I'm better at smaller desserts more like this:

Image result for beautiful petit fours

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

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

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

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

Image result for Japan celebration

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

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

Image result for Restyle thrift store boise

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

Anyway.

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

Image result for temper tantrum gif

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

Name three exotic countries you would like to visit:

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

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

What do you think the secret to life is?

Image result for BE THE JOY

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

Best concert: 

Image result for bob dylan baseball concert norfolk virginia

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

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

Image result for maroon 5

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

Worst movie music soundtrack or score: 

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My mind is a blank on this one.

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

Image result for wayfair logo

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

Who was your FIRST date?

Image result for first kiss

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

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

Do you still talk to your FIRST love?

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

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

What was your FIRST alcoholic drink?

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

What was your FIRST job?

Image result for first job funny

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

What was your FIRST car?

Image result for 1991 ford escort wagon red

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

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

Image result for New Jersey

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

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

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

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

and this is my friend Ursula with her beautiful family:

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

And yes, I still talk to both.

Whose wedding did you attend the FIRST time?

Image result for little girl in pink bridesmaid dress

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

Tell us about your FIRST roommate.

Image result for rochester

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

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

Image result for coexist

 

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

Back of car

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

Image result for Latin

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

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

Nope, I married this dork:

Image may contain: 1 person

 He's so cheerful!

What were the first lessons you ever took and why? 

Image result for organ lessons

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

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

Front entry

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

P.S. 

Drawing

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

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: ID Questions

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

But anyway.

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

~*~*~*~*~

1: Three Fears ~

Image result for scary dancing pandas

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


2: Three things I love ~

Chloe 12th Grade 1

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

Jack 10th Grade

b: Jack, 15; and,

Sophia 8th Grade

c: Sophia, who is 13 going on 19!


3: Four turns on ~

four?!! Hmm...

DSC_2712

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

Image result for turquoise merino

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

Image result for the killers

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

Related image

d: Pure happiness and joy

4: Four turns off ~

Image result for smoking cigarettes

a: Smoking;

Image result for mistreating children

b: Child abuse;

Image result for slow driver

c: sloooooow drivers; and,

Image result for wildlife hurt by littering

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

5: My best friend ~

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

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

6: My favorite book ~

Image result for jodi picoult songs of the humpback whale

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

7: My best first date ~ 

Scan_20161123 (4)

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

8: How tall am I ~

Image result for i'm not short i'm just compact and ridiculously adorable

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


9: What do I miss ~ 

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

10: What time was I born ~

Image result for september 8 1976

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

11: Favorite color ~

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


12: Do I have a crush ~

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

13: Favorite quote ~

Image result for dirty dancing quote pickle on the plate

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

14: Favorite place ~

Totally Bamboo® Idaho Destination Cutting Board

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

15: Favorite food ~

Image result for new york pizzeria pizza

New York-style pizzeria pizza - yummo!

16: Do I use sarcasm?

Image result for sarcasm meme

What do you think?

17: What am I listening to right now?

Image result for fixer upper

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

18: First thing I notice in a new person ~

Image result for smile with your eyes

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

19: Eye color ~

Week 32 of 52 - JUST FOR ME

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

20: Hair color ~ 

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

Fin.