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Christmas 2019: Part One - The Annual Card Photos

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Hey, everyone! I know, we're almost finished with the second week of 2020 already, and I'm just now getting around to posting fotos from Christmas 2019. Without getting too morose, let's be clear: I have a number of health problems which, when combined, are making the length of time I have left on Earth quite an uncertainty. So, it's more important to me than ever to actually edit and post the photos I take, for my husband's and kids' sakes, lest they be forgotten forever. 

With that sadness out of the way, let's move on. Since we've been married 19+ (!!) years, it has always been important to me to capture and share the happiness and love between Rob and me, and then baby Chloë makes three, followed closely by her brother/s and baby sister. That has never changed. What has changed is the busyness of life! My mother-in-law used to email me if I missed a day without a blog post. Then, weeks before I got an email. And then a few months before she sent, "Are you still doing the blog?" 

I know when we lived in Miami, Chloë really enjoyed reading about herself and The Littles from earlier days, so here, hopefully, there will be more posts to come for those guys - and maybe their future families? - to enjoy.

12152019 Chloë flouncing & flaring collage (1)

This year, our first in Mountain Home, snow flew before Halloween! I was not thrilled with that, so much, but at least that gave me the ability to make my demands for Christmas pix come late November: I wanted us to be outside, with a backdrop of snow. If it were any other lifetime, I would have preferred us playing in the snow, but alas, that is not the case.

December 2019 Cards Jack

I had six objectives, as I usually do, for this photo shoot. After I chose the Richard Aguirre Park in MoHo, we headed out to accomplish them. I needed (1) individual shots of Jack, (2) individual shots of Chloë, (3) individual shots of Sophia, (4) shots of the three of them together, (5) shots of all five of us as a family, and (6) shots of just Rob and me. As usual, we decided to get Jack's solo shoots out of the way. With his Autism Spectrum Disorder and just his personality quirks, he never likes this process and is prone to getting grumpier as it proceeds. Nothing changed this time!

December 2019 Cards Sophia Collage

Sophia was also somewhat a challenge to photograph at first, because I wanted stills, but then I also put them on swings. This kid is in constant motion, so there was a lot of me yelling, "Stop swinging!!!" ... and her, not

December 2019 Christmas Cards Chloë Collage

Chloë, on the other hand, is always ready to pose from back in her acting and modeling days. The most I ever have to tell her is, "chin up a little!"

December 2019 Cards - Sisters 1

December 2019 Cards - Sisters 2
Because of Jack's self-imposed isolation, it wasn't too hard to get a couple of snaps of just his sisters. For the most part, these two really are quite close and get along famously. I love to see that.

December 2019 Cards Trio Collage 2

December 2019 Cards Trio Collage 4

Not that I wasn't able to get a few fun snaps of the three of them. I think these are quite adorable.

December 2019 Cards Trio Collage 3
This, of course, is another variation of the one posted at the top, here.

December 2019 Cards Outtake 1

And this here would be an outtake, made while I was readying the camera on its tripod. This amuses me because the girls are smiling and ready to go, but the men are serious and have their true "let's get on with it, already" faces on.

December 2019 Christmas Cards Family Pic

I used this as my Facebook cover photo for a while in December, but I really kind of hate it since I'm in front. With all my illnesses, I've regained quite a lot of the weight I lost from surgery, and it's having an extremely depressive effect on my mood. Not to mention, after having 4 kids in 3½ years, it always bothers me to have my belly on full display. Really wish I'd been able to get a tummy tuck!

December 2019 Christmas Cards Family Pic 2

This, which we used in most of the seven (!!) different card styles I ended up selecting, was the family pose we opted to put on most of our cards.

December 2019 Cards Rob and Melanie Collage

After capturing just the two family shots, my camera battery died. I'd forgotten to charge it! And it was FREEZING by then, so everyone was dashing to the car to get warm and go home. And then it occurred to me: every single one of us has a late-model Samsung Galaxy phone, and they all have good cameras. Duh! Jack opted to stay in the car and try to get toasty, but the girls trekked back out into the snow to get these shots of Rob and me. I don't know who took which ones, but I love them!

December 2019 Cards Rob and Melanie

And finally, this is the top-left photo from that collage, which I doctored up for fun on the app PicsArt. I use it a lot to play around.

Hope y'all enjoyed the show! More to come.

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: The Queen's Meme

Hi everyone! Welcome back. I'm seriously not feeling well right now, so it's anyone's guess whether I'll be able to finish this post. Worth giving it a shot!

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

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Stolen from The Queen's Meme

January usually has ample amounts of snowfall in parts of the world. Did you ever make snow cream as a kid?

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The only time I ever did was in my senior year of high school, when we made it one day in my AP Biology class (must have been right before Christmas break, or something). I've made it with my kids, too, while we were homeschooling.

January is one of the months with 31 days. What are you going to do with that extra day?

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I've never really considered that an extra day. That day is payday, so I'll be looking at the budget and checking off boxes that day, I guess.

What is your favorite magazine?

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Growing up, my grandmother had a stash of Reader's Digest back issues here, there, and everywhere. Eventually, I think I read them all during visits. I think I have the current issue on my night table right now. She also bought the Star, Enquirer, and I think a third tabloid every week, too, and People - all of which I also read when I was there. I still read People, but Martha Stewart Living is currently my favorite. I love her!
 
If you live to be 99 years old, what would you like your life to be like in that last decade??

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With Lyme, I really don't think I'll live that long. But if I do, I'd like my mental faculties to be intact, and I would like to be free of this constant, agonizing pain.

The great world of Wikipedia tells me that scientists claim 99% of all documented species are extinct. Which remaining species in the 1% category would you really like to see extinct?  And which species in the 99% category would you like to bring back?

Image result for the far side mammoth

I would love for ticks and mosquitos to be eradicated - but that would also be a bad thing (at least the skeeters). I would love to see a mammoth! (Also I had the The Far Side book this particular cartoon was in; and also, I had the weiner dog one. So funny!)

On January 14, 1986 motorists were required for the first time to wear seat belts? Do you always buckle up? Why or why not?

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Man, I remember when that changed. My father pitched a fit - and he still doesn't wear them! I always wear them, and if I'm driving, the car doesn't go until everyone is buckled up. Why? Because I appreciate their purpose and also the data that backs up the fact that they save lives.

Why did the cow jump over the moon?

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I don't know - to get to the other side?

Have you said anything in the last 24 hours that you regret?

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Not this time! Ask me tomorrow.
 
Have you ever written anything on your blog that you wish you could take back?

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No... There have been some interesting moments after a few things I've posted, but I wouldn't take any of it back. All of the past stuff has been mostly written and forgotten. When we lived in Miami and Chloë started reading it, she would exclaim over this or that that I wrote. It was fun reliving some things!

Are you the blabber or the blabbee? Tell us your most embarrassing blabbermouth moment.

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Oh, I'm definitely a blabbermouth with NO filter. I've had a ton of "oops, I shouldn't have said that" moments. Probably a lot of them happened with my mother-in-law. I've always been certain that our baby, Sophia, who looks just like me and nothing like Rob - unlike Chloë, Jack, and presumably Robby (Jack's identical twin) - has been suspected of having a different father by my in-laws. I've always wanted them to request a DNA test, because I KNOW he is the father. No one else could be. Once, on the phone with my MIL, I joked, "Just do a DNA test! I have no fears! Besides, she's the wrong color if she did have a different dad!" ...crickets...

How important is a cell phone in your life?

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Once upon a time, there were no cell phones... Yeah, I depend on it pretty hard. Right now my phone isn't holding a charge, and I can't get it above 8% or so. It's frustrating because most of what I do is on that phone! I've got to trade up PDQ, I guess.
 
A "cuisine" is typically influenced by and named after geographical regions and cultures. Pretend your blog is a country. What is the name of your cuisine?

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Crazy Fusion cuisine

You are the Blog Paparazzi! Which blogger's real photograph are you most interested in getting?

Janice and Susan

Hmm. Well, all of you, since we've been doing this thing together for so many years, but I think I've been following the blog 5 Minutes for Mom the absolute longest. I'm "friends" with Janice and Susan on Facebook, and Janice and I have chatted a few times. Maybe when we sail out of Vancouver, B.C. for our Alaskan cruise in September, she'll meet me at the airport for a selfie?!

Are you always on time or just a tad late?

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I'm usually early. Before I got married I was always very prompt. I still abhor being late. In the Navy (and I presume with every other branch of the military), being 15 minutes early is "on time," and being on time is considered late. So with that in mind, and having four kids in 3½ years, we learned to s.c.r.a.m.b.l.e. for appointments!!

Can you think of a time when you were late for something and it was REALLY a big deal?

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Well, yeah. Lots of times. For choir, we obviously had to be at the school - or wherever our performance was - dressed and ready to go well before showtime. My stepmother made it a point to screw with me, trying to destroy everything in my life that was important to me. She screamed at me every single day for something - even things she had to invent if there was nothing she could see. On concert days, she screamed about three times as long, to make sure I not only walked in extremely late, but I'd be a mess from crying, and everyone was staring at me. And I hated attention.

If you were on your way to work and had five minutes to get there, would you stop in the road to rescue a crossing turtle?

Image result for gopher turtle Florida

Sure, and I have done this many times - especially in Tampa when I was on my way to one of my grad classes or teaching the lab.

When you are having a really good day, what usually makes it good?

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Hmm. Usually it's a productive day, with many things crossed off my to-do list. (By the way, here's the rest of that list, above; it's worth a read.) Maybe I got a nice compliment that carried me through the day. Or maybe a good package came in the mail. But productivity is pretty key!

What is the most annoying Christmas song?

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Growing up, my dad always got a big kick out of "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer." Now I hate it.

You are Snow White. Which dwarf is your favorite and why?

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I hate to be cliché, but I think Dopey. He's sweet, and he tries really hard!

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Well, y'all, speaking of productivity, I have a few things I'd like to do before my brain shuts down and tells me it's time for the first nap of the day.

I hope you're all having a great weekend!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Sultans Of Swing

Hey there, friends! Happy new year (from me, since I started last weekend's post but wasn't up to finishing). It's 2020, wow!

Sam: Last week, you asked about our favorite sweaters. Here's mine, which I went into the other room to photograph, but then I saw the bed, and, well... I get tired a lot!

Link up here if you'd like to play along this week.

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Sultans of Swing (1978)

Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here

1) The song begins by mentioning how it feels to shiver on a rainy night. As you answer these questions, is it chilly ... or rainy ... or dark?

01102020 WTForecast

It's pretty chilly, and there is snow on the ground, but at least no new snow is falling!

2) The lyrics describe a bar at closing time, when the owner announces, "Goodnight, now, it's time to go home." Can you recall a time when you lingered until you closed the joint?

Image result for a bar off duval street in key west

A remember a few specific times, maybe a couple in a little bar off Duval Street in Key West, maybe another in Coconut Grove (or three)... ah, Florida. Who needs Vegas?

3) This song was written years before it was recorded, back in the days before Dire Straits was a success. Composer/lead singer/lead guitarist Mark Knopfler recalls that, when he was working on "Sultans of Swing," he was worried about paying his gas bill. Is anything troubling you this Saturday?

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Oh, yes, always. Life has been very, very stressful here in Idaho. It was supposed to be the opposite of that.
 
4) When this song was popular, Sam often played it on the jukebox because, well, who doesn't like Dire Straits? 40 years later, both that  jukebox and the bar it was in are gone. Have you recently been in a restaurant or bar that has a jukebox?

Image result for big jukebox

No. I can't remember when the last time we went out to eat - period - was. It's been a while. But we had a big, giant jukebox in the basement of our house in Syracuse, growing up. We were always in the basement, playing music.

5) In 1978, the year "Sultans of Swing" topped the charts, Garfield first appeared in newspapers all around the United States. Over the years, it was revealed that the cartoon cat loved lasagna and hated raisins. What's a food you love? What's one that you hate?

Image result for new york style margherita pizza

Everybody knows that I am a major fan of New York-style margherita pizza. It is hard to be vegan when you know that is a thing that exists, so I have just resigned myself to doing the best that I can! But don't put ANY meat on my pizza! Or mushrooms! Or especially any jalapeño peppers - I'm allergic!

6) One of People magazine's top-selling issues of 1978 featured Carrie Fisher and Darth Vader on the cover. The article celebrated the theatrical re-release of Star Wars and announced that the cast was on board for a sequel. How many Star Wars movies have you seen?

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To be totally honest with you, I think I've seen the middle three movies, Episodes 4-6, but I don't think I've seen any beyond that. And no Star Trek, definitely. Sci-Fi is just not my genre!

7) The most popular movie of 1978 was Grease. What's your favorite song from the Grease soundtrack?

Image result for hopelessly devoted to you

I love the entire soundtrack, but I did many, many solos of "Hopelessly Devoted" when I was alone - the last time was not even that long ago, probably!

8) In 1978, Yves St. Laurent made fashion news by putting his female runway models in menswear-inspired suits, complete with neckties and pocket squares. Do you know how to tie a windsor knot? Can you fold a handkerchief into a pocket square?

Image result for all the different ways to tie a tie

No, I do not. And the rare time I wear a scarf, I have to Google what to do with that, too. Fashion is also not my forte.

9) Random question: You're visiting a friend. He graciously offers you the use of his super-expensive, brand-new luxury sedan for the duration of your stay. Do you take him up on it? Or do you rent a car instead?

Image result for rolls royce

Hell YES, I would take him up on it!!! I've driven a pricey car or two, and those are a nice ride. And Lamborghini's are my favorite "sexy" car, but I've never been in a Rolls-Royce. Take a look at that 2020 Phantom. Smooth...

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Man, now I'm thinking about driving around in Miami in a cool ride, shutting down bars. Those were the days!

Thanks for another fun one, Sam.

Fin.


Saturday 9: Cold As Ice

Image result for foreigner cold as ice

Heyyyyy, err'body! My last post was a little over a month ago, as I took some time off for health and Christmas preparations. But I have missed you guys, and it's good to be back in the fray.

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Image result for christmas tree I hope you've all enjoyed your respective holidays with your friends and loved ones,if you've celebrated! Image result for christmas tree

Now, link up here to play along today!

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Saturday 9: Cold as Ice (1977)

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

Our last Saturday 9 of 2019. Thank you for another great year, everyone! {And thank you, Sam!}

1) Look back on 2019 and share a happy moment.

Well... amongst many other wonderful happenings, we adopted a new kitten!

Periwinkle 07182019

2) As 2019 ends, are you making any New Year's resolutions for 2020?

Oh, yeah. I didn't think I'd even make it to see 2020 for a while, there, but now that I'm still here, it's time to decorate this big ol' new house of ours! I definitely want to start with the master bedroom. Here is our design inspo, from HGTV; both Rob and I love this!

3) Tell us about an obstacle or challenge you faced in 2019.

POPFit3

It's been a tough year for me, health-wise. I thought we might finally catch a break when my neurologist in Boise referred me to the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center in Baltimore, but they turned me down. That was pretty crushing. But I've been picking myself and trying to carry on. I'm in a wheelchair whenever I leave the house pretty much full-time now, and I sleep about 900 hours a day. My immune system has pretty much revolted and shut down, and I have allergic reactions about a dozen times a day. But like I said, it's time to rally. I'm not done here yet.

4) Is it "cold as ice" outside where you are today?

WTForecast 12282019

Nah. My WTForecast app has us at a balmy 26ºF right now!

5) Foreigner is this week's featured artist. The band formed in New York City. If you were to travel to New York City, what would you be sure to see?

lin manuel miranda hamilton GIF by Recording Academy / GRAMMYs

Oh, for sure, the girls and I would have to go see Hamilton on Broadway - and then try hard to see Lin Manuel Miranda backstage! That would be amazing!

6) The band went by the name Trigger. They changed it because their prospective record label was already auditioning a different group named Trigger. They settled on Foreigner because half the members were foreign -- from England. If you received a free, round-trip airline ticket to any foreign country, where would you go?

Image result for fires in australia gif

Well, you know, I've always been torn between wanting to go to Australia and Japan. Right now with the fires burning Down Under, and the way the government is not handling it at all, I can't decide between not wanting to go and running straight to Tokyo, or making like Greta Thunberg and diving in to help and make a big fuss. Now that I think about it, yeah. Australia. There are koalas on fire to rescue!

7) In 1977, when this song was popular, Star Wars was breaking all box office records. The Spy Who Loved Me, a James Bond movie, was also a 1977 hit. Which film series do you prefer: Star Wars or James Bond?

Image result for jabba the hutt gif

Hmm. Well, I have some serious catching up to do on both series, but I think Star Wars has to take this one!

8) In 1977, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak incorporated Apple. Are you answering these 9 questions on an Apple product (PC, laptop, pad or phone)?

80644323_1332614436922090_3717446897955241984_n

Nah, hope I don't disappoint. Current situation: The monitor is HP, the CPU is Dell, and the keyboard is Logitech... it works.

9) Random question: What was the last thing you thought of as you dozed off last night?

DSC_1474

Well, this, actually. What Rob is doing is reading the letter representing the last Christmas present given this year. I saved the best for last for once! In the letter, I am telling him that I am finally taking him on a cruise to see Alaska, where he's always wanted to visit, because I want to make sure I get to see the joy in him doing that before my time runs out. So now time is running out in another way - I've got serious plans to make for that trip!

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I hope y'all are doing well! Thanks for having me back! ;)

Fin.


Saturday 9: No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)

Image result for no more tears enough is enough

Hey, y'all. It's the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and we are sooo not ready. I haven't been around much - either here or in real life - because right now, I'm fighting Lyme more than ever before. It's knocked me down a peg or nine, that's for sure! But enough about that. Let's get on with it! 

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

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Saturday 9: No More Tears (Enough Is Enough) 1979

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

1) These lyrics use weather as metaphor for romance. Here at Saturday 9, we're more literal. How do the skies look where you are this morning?

Right now it's a chilly but very sunny 46ºF. I don't have the blinds open or anything to really see that, though, because I have a migraine. And that sunlight stabs me right in the eyeballs!

2) According to Merriam-Webster, "enough is enough" is what you say when you want something to stop because you "can no longer accept or deal with it." When did you recently say -- out loud or to yourself -- "enough is enough"?

Image result for Devin Nunes

Well, first, I would probably have more likely said the equivalent in Spanish: "No puedo soportar más." And I don't know exactly when it would have been, but certainly regarding the impeachment trials going on in the US right now, maybe regarding this latest news by Lev Parnas implicating Devin Nunes in the Ukraine scandal.

Or maybe it was pain from the Lyme. Yeah, maybe that.

3) Grammy winner Luther Vandross began his career as a background singer and performed on "No More Tears." Tell us about one of your early jobs.

Image result for university of miami alumni relations

I've worked a lot of jobs here and there. For a while, when I was an undergrad at the University of Miami, I worked three jobs while going to school full-time, often taking the max amounts of credits I could take (20 per semester). For my work-study job, I worked in the UM Office of Alumni Relations. Part of my duties included locating alumni (this would have been starting in 1994, so technology didn't make that as easy then as it would be now), making sure we had their current contact information, and then asking them to make a donation when the request came in the mail. I hated that job. So now that I'm on the other end of those phone calls, I try to make it as easy as possible on the poor schmoes who are calling me!

4) Both Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand made slight changes to their first names. Summer was christened "LaDonna," while Streisand's parents spelled her name the more conventional "Barbara." When she was in high school, meme mistress Samantha Winters went from "Sammy" to "Sam." Did you ever make a similar change to your first name?

Image result for meaning of the name Melanie

No. Why would I? That description fits me to a "T." I used to hate it, but now I find it to be a beautiful name and not so common that I personally know 20 other people with the same name. Plus, my mother changed my name from my father's mother's name (Eleanor) to Melanie on my birth certificate when he was out of the room. Love that, too!

People do try to bastardize my name and call me Melodie or Melody, though. It doesn't bother me as much when they misunderstand what I've said, but recently, I honestly quit a writing program important to me wherein someone in my committee read my name, and then wrote back to me, writing "Melody" instead. I was honestly not so much offended by that - because, let's be honest, I'm used to it - as by the ludicrous notion that I would want to be affiliated with a program putting such illiterates in with me. Call me elitist, but you should always strive to get someone's name correct when you're reading it right there in front of you. Am I right?

5) Hair was higher maintenance in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Streisand and Summer are both sporting styles that would require chemical treatment, like a perm or relaxer. Today's looks are less rigidly styled and tend to be smoother or slightly messy. How often do you change your look?

Melanie Piggies

I'm pretty fickle capricious. I change my look a lot. I never look the same at the end of the year as I did at the beginning of the year. (This picture is from January 2019.)

6) In 1979, it seems every kid was asking Santa for Star Wars toys. Some things don't change, since the Star Wars franchise remains popular with children and toymakers after more than 40 years. What book or toy did you love as a child that remains popular today?

Image result for Anne of Green Gables

Oh, lots of things, probably. I was a huge fan of the Nancy Drew books, and I read the Anne of Green Gables series again and again. And now, I feel like reading it again!

7) Thinking of things that endure ... In 1979, the #1 show in the ratings was 60 Minutes. It's still on, every Sunday night, and in the summer of 2019 it came in at #4 in the Nielsen ratings. What's the most recent show you watched? Was it news, sports or entertainment?

Image result for ellen funny

I've been balancing out my news coverage with the latest episodes of Ellen and Jeopardy! Thank goodness for DVR! (BTW, I made Hubs really sad the other night when I told him I don't want to go on Jeopardy! anymore. That's been a life-long Bucket List item since before I had a Bucket List. But now that I'm really sick, and Alex Trebek is really sick... it doesn't look so good for either one of us. If I live long enough to enter remission, he probably won't be the host anymore. But if he is... we'll revisit these thoughts.)

8) In 1979, the price for a dozen eggs averaged 85¢. Today, it's about twice that. Are you more likely to use eggs to prepare a main course (like an omelette or Eggs Benedict) or as part of a recipe (anything from a cake to a meatloaf)?

Image result for beautiful vegan food

Neither - and not just because I'm allergic to eggs (which makes getting some of my vaccines a challenge). #vegan

9) Random question: You’re alone in your car, driving through your neighborhood on a bright, sunny day. You get a flat tire. You have a spare and a jack in your trunk. Would you fix it yourself or call for help?

Image result for changing a tire funny

I know how to change a tire, and I have done it before, but right now I just do not have the strength. Thankfully, we finally now have AAA for that - and we have used them!

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Take care, you guys. I'll be back later for some Sunday Stealing. Y'all in? 

Fin.


Saturday 9: The Addams Family

Image result for The Addams Family Gif

BOO!

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

Link up here if you're playing along today!

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

Image result for laura dern magazine cover

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

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

Image result for joey lawrence blossom whoa gif

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

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

Image result for The Munsters gif

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

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

Image result for Children of the corn gif

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

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

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

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

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No, not this year. Hardly ever, really.

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

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

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

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N. E. V. E. R.

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

Image result for ballerina halloween costume

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

~*~*~*~*~

Snow in Mountain Home 10262019

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

I am not ready.

Cheers,

Fin.


Chocolate Chip Cookies For The Soul

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

🍪

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fin.


I Completely Fell Apart Last Night.

 

God! You know, at my age, I still feel like such a child, a complete idiot, for not being able to just "get over" things that hurt me to my core, even if it's been years and years since the thing happened.

Everyone, especially those from the Boomer generation (is it offensive to you if it's true?), scoffs and says that to me about everything that still hurts me. These are the people - the scoffers, not all Boomers - who know nothing about child development, of course. Deep wounds that are cut early sometimes never heal.

But, like lovely Jewel, I'm sensitive, and I'd like to stay that way.

Last night, I was doing some research for a so-far-secret new project and was peeping at an Instagram account I didn't even know I was following. (By the way, I mean no harm or negativity to or about the people involved, whom I will mention momentarily, but as it's the current vogue trend to say, I was absolutely "triggered."

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View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

DESERT DAD MODE: UNLOCKED. ✅🔥🙌🏼 This is the second night in a row that I’ve spent the night shift with my little prince @taztripp. 🌙 I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not known for my ability to burn the proverbial midnight oil, I’ve definitely always been a “I need to get at least 8 hours” type of guy, and leading up to Taz’s birth we were unsure how I’d be able to handle having a little party animal that keeps us up at night. Well, in the past two days since we’ve been home with our little man, I’ve wanted to break my sleep weakness and care for Taz so @sassyredlipstick can get much needed and well deserved sleep. After all, just days ago she pushed this nearly 9 pound, broad-shouldered boss baby out of her body unmedicated and is still healing from that, not to mention she’s breastfeeding this little guy like twenty times a day because he’s got the appetite of a champion and I think it goes without saying that her nips are more than a little tender... you get the picture. Mothers are the ones with all the difficult responsibilities so I’m very intent on taking as much off her plate as possible in this new venture as parents. 💙🙏🏼 The first night I stayed up with a crying Taz was scary and a little frustrating trying to decipher what he needed. But even just 24 hours later we’re starting to get the hang of what this little guy needs. 😌 So in the wee hours of this morning, Sarah spent an hour breastfeeding Taz in our bedroom until she couldn’t keep her eyes open. I took him into the nursery and he did the same thing as last night, crying until 3am. But this time I did not panic. I changed his diaper, I swaddled him tight just like @sassyredlipstick and @shan.tripp taught me, then I went into the kitchen and prepared a bottle of Sarah’s liquid gold breast milk that she had pumped earlier in the day using the luxury, state-of-the-art @willowpump that literally looks like a pair of robot breasts from the future. After testing out the temperature on my wrist like I see the nice moms do on TV, I fed my beautiful boy until he drifted off to sleep with the cutest, milk drunk smile. (Swipe to see the video.) 🍼🥰 What a wonderful night. 💙 #TazTripp #DesertDad

A post shared by ROBBIE TRIPP™ (@tripp) on

So, like I said, I wasn't aware I was even following this verified blue-checked (for whatever that's worth) @Tripp dude on the 'gram, and I know virtually nothing about him, but I probably got there by going down yet another rabbit hole. (Probably, my arse. I just figured it out, but never mind.) Irrelevant. I was doing that research and landed on this particular post about his second night up with his new son @TazTripp, who is darling, of course, so that Mr. Tripp could let his wife Sarah aka @sassyredlipstick (whom I now also follow out of temporary heightened curiosity to see whether I like or am not fond of their overall presence on the platform. I'm leaning toward the latter, but like I said, it isn't personal, just research) rest from giving birth.

Kudos to him for that. Hands-on daddies are the best. I know this because I watched Rob do it multiple times, and yes he was definitely the best.

[Can you follow all my punctuation plot-changes? Because I've always done that. I've also always had to re-read each thing 30 times to make sure it made sense, at least in that instant. My mind is so annoying.]

Okay, that's great! I'm all about babies; I've said endlessly over the years that I would have had a hundred more if I could have, and just spent all my days picking up one and loving on him or her, then putting that babe down and picking up the next one, and so on. Sarah's breastfeeding, and I'm 100% supportive of that, too. Full-on love affair with breastfeeding, nature's perfect mammal baby food. She's also curvy, confident, and they're both very body-positive, which is still incredible even as we head into 2020. So I mean, while I don't get their "desert fortune" vibe even a little bit, just from what I've seen after a somewhat brief perusing is genuine, sweet, true love. And I applaud them for that.

But this was n.o.t. really about the Tripp family at all.

In the post above, when I got to the line where Tripp writes, " just days ago she pushed this nearly 9 pound, broad-shouldered boss baby out of her body unmedicated and is still healing from that," I was suddenly hit with an emotional grenade. My lungs suddenly forgot how to breathe, and I don't think I was aware of anything my five senses were doing at the moment, either. I remember I got up out of my chair in the office here, brought something that needed to go downstairs out to the ledge in the hallway, and then I just didn't move.

Or couldn't move, I really don't know.

And then I became aware that I was about to start sobbing the cries of a woman who desperately wanted this thing, this one thing in her whole damn life, to go even remotely according to her plan... and it didn't resemble that plan at all. Not the first time. Not the second time. Not the third.

It was so long ago now - after all, Sophia is 14½ years old now! - that I didn't want anyone to hear me. I didn't want to have to explain that yes, I am yet again crying over something from the past.

Silly, stupid fucking me.

Except, I'm the only one in this house who feels that way. Why? Because I've let so many elders in my life get inside my head and tell me that that's how I'm supposed to feel. Ashamed of my pain, dumb for not being able to just grin and bear everything. Boy, for being part-English, I did not ever have that stiff upper lip.

So, I stood there and hurt without making a sound. I don't know for how long. Maybe it was 45 seconds, or maybe it was five minutes, but for me it didn't matter because once again, time had stopped. I felt the sobs coming from the core of my being, so deep inside there that the origin isn't even really substance or matter but rather an energy of pain and the most profound disappointment one can imagine.  I could feel myself shaking, but it was still early enough in the evening and the rest of Team Odette were still up and about, so I kept it in.

Sometimes, my private pain is just that. Meant only for me to pick up and feel and then be able to put down for a while.

Except, irony is the master mother here, and as I should have expected if it wouldn't have made that oxymoronical, that isn't what happened.

Just as I was trying to gather myself, go back in the office, get my tissues to dry my face and blow my nose, and sit back down to do more research... I don't know. I must have lagged one split-second too long.

Just then, Rob came walking up the stairs at the precise moment Chloë came out of the bathroom right behind me.

I was not in my usual location, I wasn't in a usual position, and I knew the jig was up.

I kept absolutely still - except maybe those silently quaking sobs - while I tried to think real fast to come up with a lie. A quick, harmless story about what I was doing, what might be wrong beside what actually was wrong, and then back out of the situation.

Pfft. Nah.

These people, these two, do know me best in the world, after all. One lived in me; the other put her there. Ha! Sorry. Even in sadness, my mind is half in the gutter...

They both asked, "Honey/Mom? What's wrong?" at the same moment, and all hope for an easy exit was out the door the way I wish I was.

I turned around and then the hopeless, helpless blubbering began. I rushed into the office to get my tissues.

I didn't know what to say. I didn't know where to start! It's become quite the cliché to say, "I have all the feels" or whatever, but that's legitimately what I had right then. ALL the feels, none of the words. (Shocking for me, I'm aware.)

Where do I start? When do I start? What do I say?

I sat there and poured my heart out for a good long while, unable to stop the competing flows of words and tears, as Rob and Chloë sat next to me on the floor and empathized with what I was seeing, reliving in my mind as I tried to explain why I was crying.

And maybe tomorrow, or... maybe in my book that I'm starting on November 1st for NaNoWriMo 2019, I'll try to explain it to you, too.

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For now, though, the takeaway is: I'm keenly aware that while my heart has been broken into smithereens a thousand times over the span of four-plus decades, and I've experienced sorrows I may never share with another soul, I'm also beyond fortunate to have the love that I do in my life - Rob and the kids, and some other family, and my friends, and my tribe - here to put it back together again a thousand and one times.

Call me lucky, call me blessed, call me whatever you want, but I am, and I know it, and when that pain is eased by their love and caring, it can't possibly compare with the amount of gratitude I feel when it happens - and long after.

Until next time, America.

Fin.


Saturday 9: I'd Really Love to See You Tonight

Image result for england dan & john ford coley - i'd really love to see you tonight

Welcome back, loves. It's been a while. I think I've posted one thing - a petition - in all of October.🙄

I don't want to bring the whole S9 mood down, so suffice it to say that if you haven't heard it by now elsewhere, I'm currently fighting for my life now that my late-state chronic Lyme disease has further advanced. I am stubborn, though, and I will not go down without a fight. I should've done last week's S9! 🙃😉

Link up here if you'd like to play along with us this week!

~*~*~*~*~

I'd Really Love to See You Tonight (1976)

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

1) This song is about a guy who, out of the blue, phones an ex. Have you ever spontaneously phoned or emailed a former lover? Has an ex ever reached out to you?

Yes on both counts. 🤐🤐🤐

2) He suggests walking through the park, taking a drive along the beach, or watching TV. Do any of those suggestions appeal to you right now?

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Memories from Christmas 2013

Definitely, I'd love a drive along the beach (hell no, I'd want to go IN), but I'd love to do all of those things right now!

3) "England Dan" got his nickname because he was a passionate Beatles fan and would affect a British accent when he talked about his favorite group. Are you good at imitating accents?

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I seem to be, but quite unintentionally. I just pick them up talking to people. When I lived in South Carolina for a summer, my BFF Lisa (from NY) called me up and said I sounded like a Southerner. We laughed and laughed, mostly because we both knew how much I hated that! (I do still find "y'all" useful, though.) And when I've lived in Miami and Hispanic people have heard me speaking Spanish, it really throws them off. They study my appearance and just look at me and look at me before finally asking, "WHERE are you FROM?" Because my accent is Castellano (from Spain), I do not "look" Hispanic, and yet there I am. I make them try to guess and have gotten all kinds of responses. Mostly, they think Argentina. 🤣🤣

4) Dan met John Colley when they were high school classmates in Dallas. When they were still kids, they agreed that "John Ford Coley" would be a better stage name. Think back to your high school days. Which of your friends daydreamed along with you?

Shana & Melanie on the autobus

Shana and I on the bus to the Young Living Lavender Farm in June 2017

Oh, we were all full of daydreams, right? But I think my other BFF, Shana, and I did the most daydreaming. Mostly random stuff, but isn't it always?

5) After the duo disbanded, "England Dan" went to Nashville, billed himself by his real name -- Dan Seals -- and recorded country music. Who is your favorite country performer?

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There aren't too many. Mostly it's a song here and there. Right now, I'm kind of digging Maren Morris. Love her song "Girl." 

6) Today John Ford Coley lives in TN. He performs occasionally and raises horses. Have you ever been to TN?

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I have, several times, and even more times through it on the way to somewhere else. I was at a hospital once there (I've been in hospitals everywhere by this point, I swear), outside of Nashville. And I don't mind saying this, now that I'm largely out of the business now, that I once did an evaluation for this resort in Gatlinburg, TN. I evaluated several of their resorts in different states, actually. 

7) In 1975, when this song was popular, Foster Grant Sunglasses had a suggested retail price of $5/pair. Do you buy sunglasses more for fashion or utility?

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I definitely buy them for utility. Mostly, I get wraparound sunglasses (unless they're prescription, which is a whole 'nother story) to try to block as much sun from piercing my eyes as possible while I'm driving. I have let my driver license expire now, though, and I don't drive anymore. So that's kind of a moot point, now.

8) The most popular movie of 1975 was Jaws. Have you seen it?

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I'm a bicentennial baby, but I've seen it several times as it was still popular by the time my awareness of such things developed. Maybe it was a predictor of things to come, but I was always #TeamShark. I always rooted for the shark... always.

9) Random question: Excluding anyone related to you by blood or marriage, what man are you closest to?

Joe Mitchell

There aren't many. I have intentionally not cultivated male friendships in the latter years, since my husband is very ... sensitive ... to that. I used to be friends with only guys before I got married; it's weird. I guess I'll say Joe, here. We actually both grew up in the same neighborhood in Central New York, but through different paths, we both ended up here in Idaho. So strange, but interesting. He and his wife Gladys are really good people. 

~*~*~*~*~

I'm glad I was able to participate this week. Thanks, Sam, for the great questions! 

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Deep Thoughts Meme

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

Cheers to all of us thieves!

><> *  ><> * ><> * ><> * ><>

 

These are questions suggested by Markandangel

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

Must-Know Tips for Breastfeeding a Sick Baby

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

What is the most desirable trait another person can possess?

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☼☼☼ kindness ☼☼☼

What are you most grateful for?

Enhance (1)

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

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

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

Is stealing to feed a starving child wrong?

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Is not feeding the starving child wrong?

What do you want most?

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

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

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

What has life taught you recently?

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

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

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

Where do you find inspiration?

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

Can you describe your life in a six word sentence?

I had to come, but stayed.

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

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

What impact do you want to leave on the world?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What lifts your spirits when life gets you down?

Image result for ozzy crazy train gif

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

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

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

Has your greatest fear ever come true?

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

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

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

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

What is your most beloved childhood memory?

Mom and Me1

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

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

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

Fin.


Saturday 9: Shake It Off

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

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

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

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Shake It Off (2014)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Colloquium

Hi, guys! It's 6 PM Mountain Time on Sunday - the first chance I've had to write this - essentially guaranteeing NO ONE will read nor comment on it.

I dare you to prove me wrong?!

Link up here if you want to join in the fray this fine Sunday.

~*~*~*~*~


These are from From Colloquium, which has not published since 2012

Last person you were in a car with?

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We were coming home from an equestrian competition for Sophia, so in addition to the two of us, Rob was driving and Chloë was along for moral support.

Any plans for tomorrow?

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Well, heh, yeah... but we're out of gas and I've 3 dr appts to get to. I don't quite know how I'm going to manage that, yet...

Best friend or close friends?

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Um, both. Duh.

Is tomorrow going to be a good day?

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Oh, I don't know yet; I forgot to turn on my clairvoyance.

Ever thrown up in public?

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Oh yes. How high can you count? Yeah? More than that.

What’s on your mind RIGHT NOW?

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That it's about time for my post-Climate Strike (one of them, anyway) conference call, so 'scuse me while I multitask for a minute...

Who was the last person you talked to?

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Rob. I thanked him for taking away my empty place of cheese enchiladas.

What is the WORST subject they teach at school?

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For those who still teach it, Creationism, especially as the only "science" taught in those schools.

Have you seen anyone lately that you don’t get along with?

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Not lately, I don't think?

What is your favourite color top to wear?

Pass, on the grounds that it's irrelevant.

Have you ever been in a car accident?

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Yes, probably the worst of which was the time I was hit by a drunk driver. Did I ever tell y'all that story??

What’s the closest thing to you that’s green?

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My recycling bin 😉♻️

Where would you like to be right now?

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Anywhere right now not having this migraine

Is anything bugging you right now?

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Second verse, same as the first!

Is life going right for you now?

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It's... going.

Is there someone you care about more than yourself?

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Pretty much everyone... but most of all, these goons.

What made you laugh today?

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⬆ This. ⬆

What was the last movie you watched?

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I don't even know, but I really want to see Hustlers!

What was the last conversation you had about?

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Robert was just begging me not to overdose on the acetaminophen he had just brought home. I said, "No promises." He took it with him... /Endscene

What were you doing at 7:00 this morning?

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With back-to-back things going, I passed out after we left the ACLU Activitists' Academy yesterday and didn't wake up until 9 or 10 this morning. Autoimmune illness will do that to ya.

Do you like your hair long or short?

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I just like it when it looks good, however long it is...

Do you like the rain?

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Sure but, I mean, everything is relative...

~*~*~*~*~

Fin.


Saturday 9: The Candy Man

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

IWILLBESTRIKING

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

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

~*~*~*~*~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday Stealing: Compassion Meme

Hello, hello! I don't have a lot of pre-meme prattling for you today, so link up here if you're playing along this weekend, and then let's jump right into it!

~*~*~*~*~

These are questions suggested by Compassion, Int'l

And BTW, Happy Birthday to Lori, whose birthday is the 9th!


    Happy birthday, Lori!!
    

What is the most fun thing you have ever done?

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I don't think there's been a more fun moment in my whole life than when Rob and I eloped. That moment, running hand in hand together to the courthouse, laughing, hearts pounding... it was absolutely exhilarating!

Are you left-handed or right-handed?

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Yes.

What is the nicest thing someone has ever done for you?

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Oh, various things. The specifics don't matter, such as the concept: each of us has, within us, the power and wherewithal to do good, to make this world a better place. Every day, every moment, every interaction is a choice to make that good happen, or not. And then those on the other end will hopefully go forth and do the same.

What is the biggest animal you’ve seen in the wild?

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Probably a bear, in the woods, driving through West Virginia on our way from Missouri to Virginia

What is the smallest animal you’ve seen in the wild?

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I mean, mosquitos are pretty tiny animals, right? I'll tell you one I wish I'd seen: The deer tick, Ixodes scapularis, that infected me with Lyme Disease. I believe that happened in the summer of 2014 in central New York. I didn't get diagnosed until January 2017. That was plenty of time to do substantial and permanent damage.

Do you ever have funny dreams at night?

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Yeah. I dream very vivid, realistic dreams that always confuse the shit out of me when I wake up, too. It always takes me forever to suss out what really happen and what was just a dream.

If you could make a law for your country, what would it be?

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Easy: I would ban single-use plastic. But that would just be the beginning.

What would you do if you were invisible for a day?

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If I were invisble for a day, I'd go around and cover up and bring warmth to the people who are homeless. I'd steal food if I had to, to feed the hungry. I'd find a way for the light to shine on those who are struggling to feel beautiful and loved. I'd use my day to find a way to let others know that even though their day-to-day lives are a constant struggle, they are not forgotten, and they matter.

If you could be someone else for a day, who would you be?

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I'd be Oprah and feel FABULOUS!

What would you like to change about yourself?

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I'd go deep inside and tinker with my soul, until whatever is inside me telling me I'm not worthy of love, of joy, of contentment, and that I deserve pain... is gone. I would change that.

What is your daily routine?

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I don't have one at the moment. It's kind of depressing!

What would your perfect day be like?

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This may sound inane, but I would accomplish everything on my to-do list, precisely the way I'd hoped. I'd get in some yoga and do some poses that I've been working toward. Whatever I'd do, I'd want to impress myself. I haven't impressed myself in a long time.

How old were you when you learned to read?

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I learned to read when I was three. I started reading out loud off the back of the cereal box during breakfast one morning, and that's when they realized I could read. Everyone took credit for it, but no one gave it to me. Story of my life.

What is the most interesting thing you know?

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Oh, gosh, I don't know. I know when a toddler has been eating and offers you a bite, it's not always of their food...

What makes you nervous?

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Uncertainty. And life's full of it! I'm an anxious person. But I don't shy away from it. I jump in with my eyes open quite a lot. 

What is your favourite flower?

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Bright, surprising bouquets of irises, lilies, and tulips are my favorites. I love the bulb flowers, the monocotyledons. Look at this "Dragonfly" bouquet from the Bouqs! 😍😍

Have you ever ridden on a horse or any other animal?

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Well, not like Sophia (my 14yo daughter, here)! But I've ridden on a horse, an elephant, and a camel. And a dog. And a human. 😂😂😂

What time do you go to bed?

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I don't even know. Goes along with that 'routine' thing we previously discussed.

What time do you get up?

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Whenever I can. As soon as I can. For as long as I can. #spoonielife

What is something that is always in your refrigerator?

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A package of tofu. I actually love tofu, really and truly. In fact, tomorrow for my birthday, I think I'm going to forgo any kind of cake and have tofu instead. Not even kidding.

~*~*~*~*~

Great. Now I want tofu, and I don't think we actually have any right this second! I don't even know what we do have. I haven't been grocery shopping yet this month... #FeedMeSeymour

Have a great week, y'all!

Fin.


Saturday 9: The Sweet Escape

Hi, you guys!! I'm going to get into Saturday 9 in a moment. But first, let me say:

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to this young lady today:

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Can you guys believe it? My kids have practically grown up in front if y'all on Saturday 9 and Sunday Stealing, and here now as of this very day, my firstborn is an adult! I swear, I'm in absolute shock. Happy birthday, Chloë Raine!

Okay. On to Saturday 9. Link up here to play along with us today!

(And I may jump in and do last week's, which I missed due to illness.)

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The Sweet Escape (2006)

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Unfamiliar with this week's song. Hear it here.
 
1) This song begins with, "First of all, let me say I must apologize ..." Who most recently apologized to you?

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Actually, it was this girl. We bumped heads or something, and she immediately apologized. Chloë, like her mother, is an over-apologizer. People ask us to stop, and we just can't! It's annoying for us, too. Just so you know.

2) Gwen Stefani sings that she acted like "sour milk on the floor." Is there milk in your refrigerator right now? What about non-dairy creamer?

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I'm pretty sure there is cow's milk in the fridge for the kids' cereal right now. We do need to pick up some more almond milk for me, though.

3) In the video, Gwen wears several different pairs of stiletto heels. What are you wearing on your feet as you answer these questions?

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Great for those who can and want to wear stilettos, high heels, and all that - but I can't and never really wanted to. I've worn stiletto pumps a few memorable times, but I can rarely find any, let alone a billion pairs, that make me think, "Yeah, I'd rather wear those shoes, put that dent in my wallet, and sacrifice my foot health." It just doesn't happen. So right now, I'm barefoot. I usually am.

4) Mrs. Stefani named her daughter "Gwen" after a stewardess in the book/movie Airport. Who was your favorite character in the book you just read, or movie you most recently watched?

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Okay, so it's neither a book nor a movie, but I'm watching "Dear White People" on Netflix lately, and I adore the Samantha White character. She's sassy and smart - and stunning!

5) Gwen is a distant cousin of Madonna's. Are there any performers in your family?

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Well, Chloë started acting and modeling at 5 years old, but about 10 or 11 years later, she decided she wanted to take an extended break from it to focus on other things. (The rejection is tough!) And Sophia is now in the marching band (percussion) - her first parade is today! - and competes in equestrian events. Jack is nooottttttt the performing type!

6) In high school, she joined the swim team not because she enjoys swimming but because she wanted to lose weight. Are you doing anything (dieting, participating in an exercise regimen) in order to shed a few pounds?

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I want to, but I'm not sure what to do. I've been all over the map weight-wise, and now that I've gained back a fair number of lbs from the medicine I take, I admit, I'm depressed. I decided to try the keto diet in July, to disastrous effects. It really messed up my blood sugar stability, and I had severe hypoglycemia every day. And I'm dealing with gastroparesis now, and all sorts of things, so I just don't know what to do, honestly.

7) Before she became successful, Gwen worked at the makeup counter in a department store. What was the last thing you purchased? Did you buy it online or at a store?

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I bought this pair of shoes for Chloë from Amazon. I didn't really pay for them, though; I get free items as an Ambassador for a company, in exchange for my honest reviews. I hope they fit her!

8) Gwen has gotten a great deal of publicity for her romance with country star, Blake Shelton. What's your favorite Blake Shelton song?

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Gah, they're so cute together, aren't they? I hope they last and stay happy. I love his song, "God's Country," ever since I saw him debut it on The Voice last Spring.

9) Random question: Which of these compliments would make you the happiest: to be called fascinating, or brilliant, or gorgeous?

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Well, I think that, like this sapphire engagement ring from Lauren B Jewelry, it's possible to be all three in the same moment. Likewise, I think all three may last a lifetime or be fleeting and momentary. That being said, if I could only be one, and even if would only last a moment, I would want to be thought of as brilliant. I'd choose that option 10 times out of 10.

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That was fun, Sam, thanks! Might come back later and do some catching up from last week but for right now, I've got some more birthday planning to do! See ya later on the blogiverse.

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Love Me Some Questions Meme

Howdy do, neighbors. I've made it out of bed today, just before 1400, but that's not what counts. It took a lot of effort. If my bladder didn't make it imperative, I might still be in bed. But I digress.

First:

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I finished watching the Season 4 of Netflix's Queer Eye, and now I'm bereft as hell. I literally found myself looking through all the episodes from all the seasons, trying to see if I'd missed one. I hadn't. Boo! 😭😭

But moving along with life. Make sure you link up here if you're joining us this weekend!

~*~*~*~*~

These are from Love Me Some Surveys.

a. Has anyone ever made fun of your taste in music?

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Of course! His taste in music runs with the likes of Bob Dylan, right?

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And this is more my frequency. (Also, that was some shady shit, Whit.)

Ya dig?

b. Is anyone’s birthday coming up?

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Yep. This boy, Robert Allen O, will be 47 in six days!!! 😳🤭🎂🎂 Happy early birthday, baby!

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But that's not all! A week after that, the curly girlie on the left, Chloë Raine O, will be 18! 🎂🎂

I cannot even handle that, y'all! I just cannot.

But wait, there's more! Her mother, the lady on the right (that's me!) is turning 43 (ughhhh) one day later. (Why can no one ever remember it's 9/8/76? Easiest birth date ever, y'all!)

So yup. It's birthday season 'round here!

 c. Do you remember who you liked in grade eight?

Mike Amati

Yup. M was a cutie! He still is... but that picture there is 11 years old. Nowadays, what hair is left is mostly just stubble. Still a cutie. Whatever.

d. When was the last time you burned any part of your body?

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Y'all may remember? I blogged about it back then, in January 2017. I had never cooked a real steak in my life (because making cube steaks for the dogz in my single days totally does not count, you guys), and I have not eaten beef since August 1995. No plans to restart. But my boy likes steak, so for our 15th anniversary, I thought I'd make him a proper one.

It did not go the way I planned, the HOT! oil splattered, and I ended up in the ER instead. In fact, I went in by myself so he could eat his steak, because I refused to ruin his steak dinner any further. 🤣 No lie, mesdames.

Anyway, 2½ years later, right now, it looks like this:

Burned Arm

Honestly, and I would not lie to you for one moment: it did not hurt. It did not hurt one bit, and the scarring isn't bad, is it? Truth: I used a shit-ton of straight Young Living lavender oil on that burn, raw, open, and errrrythang. Like, the whooooole bottle. Because lavender is used in burn salves, and you know what? That shit worked. And then, when it was all closed up, I used Jafra Royal Jelly to heal the skin. 

Not bad. Not too bad at all. I'd do it again.

e. If I gave you ten dollars, what would you spend it on?

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Gas. Seriously. I love our new house. Not gonna lie. Love, love, love our house. But all of my doctors are in Boise, so we're hurting for gas money constantly nowadays. Kinda sucks. Sometimes I have to cancel the week's worth of my appointments - and there are many - because there just isn't any gas to get out there. And then I get angry letters in the mail about my canceled appointments. Really?! Are you putting gas in my tank?

It's hard. I keep re-budgeting and re-budgeting, but when you're two disabled folks living on a retired enlisted veteran's pension... it's a challenge.

f. What are you most excited about right now?

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I'm excited to see what comes next for the adult version of Chloë. I know great things are in her future!

g. Does / did either of your parents serve in the military?

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My  p---y-@$$ sperm donor was in the CG for five or six minutes. He thought because he was "smart" (truth is, he only thinks he's smart, and this is from someone who actually is), he'd be able to get one of his superiors to set him up in OCS. Instead, he swabbed poop deck after poop deck and probably cried about it - literally - the whole time. How long was he in? One blink? Two blinks? Not long. Meanwhile, he tries to square up with my husband, who did 20 full years, some during wartime in the Middle East, in the Navy. And with my beloved grandfather (my mom's dad, mind you), who served in the Navy during WWII in Europe. And my uncle (mom's brother) who served in the Navy. And my FIL, who was a submariner in the Navy during the Cold War. You know? Dad. Ya weren't shit then. You aren't shit now. And ya ain't never gonna be shit.

h. Are you somewhat of a perfectionist?

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Oh, yeah. You could say that. It's taking me years, and it will continue to take many more, but I am trying to learn to accept good enough when that's all I need. It's hard going teaching Chloë this, as well.

f. Do you like sour candy?

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I don't mind it now and then, but I swear it's like one of the major food groups for my kiddos!

g. Are all nighters something you have grown used to?

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I have pretty erratic sleeping habits, so yeah, I've grown accustomed to it.

h. Do you usually wear sunglasses when you’re driving?

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I wear 'em whenever I need 'em.

i. Do you wear your shoes around the house?

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Since I have virtually no immune system, and the next major infection could very well be my last, I try very hard to enforce our strict "no shoes" policy.

j. What clothes are you most comfortable in?

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What this woman has on, I could live in. Now I want it!

k. Are you good at painting nails?

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I have no special skills. My sister's a pro, though.

j. Smoothies or slushies?

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I'm impartial, as long as the slushy contains real fruit and, if must be, a non-sugar sweetener, or if the smoothie contains almond or coconut milk or similar dairy substitute. I'm not being picky. I'm just allergic to life!

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Thanks for another fun questionnario, Bev! Hope you all have a great last week of August 2019. Maaaaaan, this year has flown by!

Fin.


Saturday 9: No One's Here To Sleep

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How ya doin', folks? Welcome back. Click here if you want to join the rest of the Saturday 9 gang this week!

But first, a few things:

First, Viola Davis, go on with yo' fine self.

Second, this is the first time I've been out of bed for any length of time since Sunday night, when I went out to dinner with Hubs. I have a dizzying amount of health issues, and just the simple act of having a birthday dinner (his) out has worn me out that much. I hate it.

Finally, do a Google search for The Wizard of Oz. Then click on the ruby red shoes. And then, click on the tornado. Then come back here. Fun, right?!

Now let's begin:

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Saturday 9: No One's Here to Sleep (2013)

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

1) This song is the theme of How to Get Away with Murder, the legal drama that premiered in 2014 and airs on Thursday nights. Are you a fan?

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I have never watched it. Yet. Should I?

2) The song's refrain says, "I'll never catch up with you." Behind the wheel, do you carefully observe the speed limit? Or do you have a lead foot, making it hard for anyone to catch up with you?

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I definitely have a lead foot - and I have the speeding tickets to prove it! There are a lot of 25 MPH roads here in Mountain Home, Idaho, which has made the transition from Boise (and before that, Miami) particularly difficult for me. It's impossible! So the first thing I do when I leave the house is turn on the cruise control, which fortunately starts at 25 MPH in our vehicle, so that I can't get any (more) tickets here. My current peeve is that the two-lane interstate from here to Boise, or anywhere else for that matter, allows 18-plus-wheelers to pass in the left lane, but they can only go 70 MPH. Except the speed limit is 80 MPH! So we're often stuck rolling our eyes, gnashing our teeth, and gripping the steering wheel in frustration behind those Macks.

3) How to Get Away with Murder is about Annalise Keating, a law professor at a top Philadelphia university. She has a reputation for being tough, demanding and able to turn her students into successful defense attorneys. Tell us about a teacher who helped prepare you for life after graduation.

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I had many great teachers and professors, so it's hard for me to single one out. But I will. At the University of Miami, I took Physics I and II from a gent who used to write "IAEFRTGDI" on the chalkboard before every exam. And then he'd read it aloud, pointing to each letter in turn: "If all else fails, read the g-- d--- instructions!" to remind us that, if we were stuck on a problem, to do exactly that. He'd just pause for the "G-D-" parts, giving us all a giggle. But that was 25 years ago, and I've obviously never forgotten his lesson!

4) The students she feels show the most promise - and are recruited to help her solve murders - are known as The Keating Four. Did you ever sense that you were your teacher's favorite?

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It was always pretty rare for me not to be the teacher's pet.

5) Viola Davis was just nominated for an Emmy for playing Professor Keating. Ms. Davis was born on a farm in SC. Have you spent more of your life in a rural, suburban or urban setting?

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That's Chloë and me on South Beach (Miami) on New Year's Eve, 2015 - I had just started getting sick that year, and that night really took a lot out of me. But I digress. I'm a city girl, through-and-through. Now I live in land-locked Idaho. Or I'm dying here. Either way, I've asked Hubs to take me to the beach at least every couple of years or so. I miss it more than I could ever convey.

6) Next to Annalise Keating, Viola Davis is best known for her Oscar-nominated role as Aibileen in the movie, The Help. Have you seen it?

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I have, and while we (my daughters and I) loved it, I was a bit disappointed because it was historically inaccurate. They could have done a lot more to celebrate and elevate the true stories those black actresses portrayed.

7) In 2014, the year How to Get Away with Murder premiered, we lost two famous comedians: Robin Williams and Joan Rivers. Who was the last person to make you laugh out loud? (This means actually, literally laughing out loud, not just keystroking LOL.)

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I mean, I'm a legit nerd and don't mind it, but yes, all of these (and more) individually and collectively made me laugh aloud. In fact, I wanted to keep looking and enjoying, but then I remembered I had unfinished business here with Sam. ;)

8) The 2014 Olympics were held in Sochi. Have you ever been to Russia? If not, is it a dream destination of yours?

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I want to see the whole world, but the idea of going to Russia draws a great big "meh" out of me. Is it enough that my grandpa went there?

9) Random question: The sign on the railing says, "Wet Paint." Do you touch the railing to see if it's really wet?

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Probably. At least nine times out of 10 I would, anyway. In one of my Animal Behavior lectures, Prof told us of a study - probably by Konrad Lorenz - wherein four different species were suspended in a net that allowed the dangling of one or more legs. Initially, when a leg was dangled, it hit a surface that delivered a painful electric shock. (Ugh, I hate these studies.) Anyway, the animals studied included a cat, a pig, a dog, and a monkey. We students had to guess which animal then exhibited which behavior: one never, ever put down its leg again. Was it smart, having learnt its lesson? One waited awhile and then tried again. Another maybe waited longer? I forget. And the fourth continuously put down that leg, time and time again. Was it stupid, forgetting each time about the shock? Or was it just following its genetic predisposition to test a thing to see if something new and different would happen? I believe that last animal was the cat. (In the first case, I believe it was... the pig! Surprised?) Long story short, I am like the cat. I always need to test everything to see if it's true, or still true. The more data I can collect about Life, the more accurate I'll be, right?

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Y'all have a good weekend. And FFS, please stop confusing your Batesian and Müllerian mimicry, wouldja? So distasteful. ;)

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Swap-Bot Questionnaire

Welcome, welcome, kids of all ages!

Thanks for all the well wishes about my eardrum rupturing Friday. It definitely wasn't fun, but I've had problems with that ear since we came up from 0' above sea level in Miami to ~2500' above sea level in Boise over two years ago. That ear just did not want to make the trip! The constant Val Salvo maneuver is my life now. When I do it now, the air screams out of that hole in my eardrum so loudly that Rob and the kids can hear, too. It's weird.

Anyway!

Link up here if you want to play along with the rest of us this weekend.

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Swap-Bot asked people to post questions they would like to answer.  Bev copied them all and put together this brief selection.

What do you enjoy about summer?

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I like the carefree, mostly-unscheduled nature of it, the freedom, the warmth, everything. It seems like the most "come as you are" season of the year.

Do you like snow? Why?

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haaaaate snow. I grew up in Syracuse, New York, the lake-effect snow capitol of the world. I've done my time! If that isn't 'nuff said, then also, it means I'll be c-c-c-cold, and being cold causes me intense pain nowadays. Then there's the blackish-brown crap that gets all over everything after the street cleaners come through the place. That's three reasons, but I could go on.

What do you think about dogs?

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I am a dog lover, through and through. (But then, I love all animals!)

Have you ever gotten lost?

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Oh, I'm the genius who perpetually gets lost outside her own driveway - especially if she tries to "wing it" and turns off Google Maps to get there. I have no sense of direction!!

What are your favorite type of socks?

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This is gonna sound like I'm joking, but I promise you I'm not: Most of my socks are hospital socks. I have texture issues, and the socks from the hospital don't bug those at all. In fact, my friend Gwyn sent me a boatload of her husband's old hospital socks upon hearing this, and I love her for it! I always keep my hospital socks when I've been there.

What is your favorite style of shoes?

Crocs.

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I used to wear these Crocs Cypress heels a lot, but I can't wear heels anymore now that falling is a constant risk for me.

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Now I wear almost exclusively Crocs, but it's more like these Patricia sandals, which I have in several colors. I had to give my Navy ones (above) to Sophia, though, because they stretch out over time and were no longer snug enough on my size 5½ feet.

What would you name your boat if you had one?

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It would be the Sweet Pea. Didn't even have to think about that one.

What common misconception do you hate to hear repeated as fact?

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I worked on the concept of "novice theory" for my graduate thesis, especially as it pertains to the Theory of Evolution. Note the caps on the latter presentation of the word, versus the former. And that's the crux of it: Most people don't understand the concept of Scientific Theory vs. the theories we bandy about day-to-day, in our normal, non-scientific lives, and suppose are correct. That of Evolution is well-founded in example after example, able to be observed by the human eye in a short time period, and is well-replicated inside and outside the lab. This is true whether it agrees with our own ideas of what religion should dictate or not. Sorry if you don't like it, Joe Schmo, but that's just the way it is.

What was the last shop you went into and what did you buy?

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I've been a couponer since birth. My mother taught me. After she died, my sister Stacey would cut all the coupons, and I would sort them into their respective categories. I continued doing that as I went to college, and on into adulthood. Now, things have gone high-tech, and I could teach Mom a thing or two! Chloë is a girl after my own heart: she loves to save a buck and cringes when she sees someone needlessly paying full price. I love to give away our haul to battered women's shelters, the families at the Ronald McDonald House, etc. So we thought we'd take $150 and see what we could get from Walgreens, Rite Aid, and CVS. I'm not sure which one was the last one we went into, but we ended up with well over $1,000 worth of merchandise.

What's your favourite thing to do to pass the time?

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Back in the day, I easily could've said "read." Now, I don't know... waste time online? When I was pregnant with Chloë, my aim was to spend the time, having hyperemesis gravidarum, catching up on the classics. Except, I stumbled across Sidney Sheldon works in the library and read all of those books instead. Quite a different thing! Since motherhood, I haven't exactly given myself permission to sit and read. I really need to re-learn how to allow myself that.

What is a way to die that scares you the most?

I would not like to suffocate or drown. The thought terrifies me.

Travel or homebody?

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Oh, I may be trapped in my body, but my body is not one to be trapped in Idaho. Plenty of World left for me to see!!

Have you ever gone to a Bingo hall?

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I have not.

What is the longest plane trip you have taken?

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Listen, you've never flown long-haul until you've moved from Panama City, Florida, to Guam whilst pregnant with twins, with a one-year-old child. And then flown back four months later... 🙄

Do you text more or call more? Why?

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I much prefer to text over calling. I have severe phone anxiety. So do several other members of my family. It's a thing. If you don't have have it, lucky you, but please don't let that diminish your capacity to understand that others do. (I'm a "yes" to all, btw.)

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Well, on that cheerful note, I'll say buh-bye! LOL Tonight, after all, is the Matador dinner with Hubs, finally, after I felt like shit all day Saturday. Tequila!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Where You Lead

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Hey there, Sat9 fam! What's the haps?

My younger two kiddos started public high school this week, the first time they've ridden a bus or been to public school in about a decade! This did not come without anxiety and trepidation - and, when it started, many tears over not knowing what to do - but they've handled it, and I think we're on the right path. My baby, Sophie, even decided to take up Percussion in Marching Band! Little did I know that this would be an every-single-day committment! Hopefully she's up for it.

This week's theme, brought to us by the plucky Sam, is from the theme of The Gilmore Girls. Did you watch it back in the day? I used to be so addicted to it, but I have not yet watched the reboot. I keep meaning to, though it hasn't happened. Link up here if you want to play along with the rest of us!

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Where You Lead (1971)

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

1) This is the theme of The Gilmore Girls, a TV show that ran  from 2000 to 2007. It recently enjoyed renewed popularity as a reboot. Were you a fan?

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Very much so. Actually, you wanna know a not-so-secret little secret? Our daughter Sophia's (born in 2005) middle name is Lorelei, and yes, I chose it after the two main characters. I looooooved that name as much as the show and Rory and Lorelai! (I'm about 2/3 German, though, so I kept the spelling of the German siren, instead.)

2) The show is about thirtysomething Lorelai Gilmore, her teenage daughter Rory, and her parents, Richard and Emily. The four of them had dinner together every Friday night. Who did you have dinner with on Friday? What was on the menu?

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Actually, I didn't have dinner on Friday night. Rob and I were supposed to go out for his early birthday dinner - and tequila cocktails! - to The Matador in Boise on Friday night, but after my eardrum ruptured, I just wanted to go home and lie down. And I crashed. So we're going on Saturday night, instead. I think I"m going to have the vegan Beyond burrito. I had a Beyond burger at Carls Jr. for free recently, and that was actually really good. It didn't have vegan cheese on it, though, which is a concept I don't get...

3) Lorelai is outgoing and talkative. How about you? Are you seldom at a loss for words?

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I'm very shy with new people at first. But when I get comfortable, I straight up babble. Nobody can ever get a word in edgewise.

4) Rory dreamed of going to an Ivy League school and then becoming a broadcast journalist. When you were in high school, what were your ambitions?

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I wanted to follow in the footsteps of Eugenie Clark and become a famous female marine biologist. I didn't know then that I was going to study shark behavior, so it was apt that I did.

5) Rory's grandfather (and Lorelai's dad) went to Yale and performed with the Whiffenpoofs, Yale's famous a cappella group. Have you ever sung in front of an audience?

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Oh yes, including a capella. I played the part of Caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland - in a wildly popular costume - in 5th grade. That solo was nervewracking until I could see that the audience loved it, and then that fed my energy level. From 6th through 12th grades, I was in all the school choirs, including the girls' choir. I took voice lessons in high school. I was going to continue on in college, but somewhere along the way, I lost my nerve and skipped the audition.

6) Rory's grandmother (and Lorelai's mother) Emily was very active in civic organizations and worked hard on the Hartford Zoological Society's Annual Silent Auction. Have you ever attended an auction?

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I have not! I want to, though. It's on my Bucket List. We stayed in the RMH in Pensacola, Florida, when Chloë was in the NICU there, and we have been active supporters of RMH ever since. I know the one here, in Boise, has annual silent auctions. One year, I plan to attend. 

7) Alexis Bledel, who played Rory, went on to appear in Mad Men and The Handmaid's Tale. Of these three shows -- Gilmore Girls, Mad Men and The Handmaid's Tale -- which would you prefer to binge watch?

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Actually, Chloë and I were supposed to go over and start binge-watching The Handmaid's Tale, starting from Season One, Episode 1, on Thursday. But then I wasn't feeling well, so we decided to take a raincheck. I've been wanting to see it, but we don't have Hulu!

8) Carole King originally wrote this week's song, "Where You Lead," for her Tapestry album. Do you have a favorite Carole King song?

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It's hard not to love "You've Got a Friend," isn't it? I also love "Natural Woman."
 
9) Random question: If zoo animals could talk, which animal do you imagine would be the rudest?

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100% of the time, it would still be the humans.

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All righty. Time for me to get to bed. YEET!

Fin.


Wordy Wednesday... With A Wink ;) First Day Of High School 081419

Wordy Wednesday With a Wink

🙋‍♀️ Good morning, world! 🙋‍♀️

Today marks a momentous day in the Odette household: the youngest two of our brood, Sophia (aged 14) and Jack (aged 16), are starting public high school for the first time after ten years of homeschooling around the country in Virginia, Florida, and  Idaho.

In fact, it's Sophia's first time in public schooling at all😳😮😲

Jack, who is autistic and has Noonan Syndrome (which causes short stature, among other things), will be getting special services after testing, and Sophia will be challenging herself in other ways, with gifted classes, arts, and marching band/concert band for the first time. She's going to do Percussion, which she has never done before. It shall be interesting to see!

I'm actually really excited for them, along with more than a tinge of mom-anxiety. See for yourself how excited they are, as well:

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Typical smile from Sophia, typical scowl from Jack...

Hahaha!

If you've got something to show us today, link on up! Please grab the button for your post, use the linky below, and be sure to visit the other Windy Winkers! Ha!

 

Hope y'all are having a good week!

Fin.


Sundays In My City: Justin Abel Tattoo & Piercing

Sundays In My City

Well, hello and good evening. It's 11:17 PM on Sunday night, which means I'm late AF but still on time. How can that be? #BecauseMe, that's why.

Welcome to another edition of Sundays in my City, brought to us by Claudya; link up here if you want to share with us about your corner of the world, too!

Justin Abel selfie

So this is Justin Abel. Here in Mountain Home, Idaho, Justin is doing it all at his academy: Super-high professional tattoos, piercings, hair removal, tattoo removal, CPR/First-Aid Training for the Red Cross, murals, oil and acrylic family portraits, and professional skin care, and micro-needling. I don't know how he's got time and energy for all that, but today he explained that it's mostly mania. As someone with Bipolar I, I get that for sure! But instead of tattooing, I stay up all night and bake everything in the house.  

Justin Abel Kelsey Grammar

This is a portrait of Kelsey Grammar that Justin did. I think he draws them by hand, and apparently he has done some for celebrities by commission. I heard that one did not like hers, because it was so perfect that it revealed her flaws, and she didn't want that!

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And here's one of Seth Meyers that Justin did. Isn't that amazing? 

Chloe's Tattoo

A year ago, Justin threw an event for first-time customers where he gave everyone, I think, either $50 or $100 in tattoos, tattoo removal, or piercings. It was just before Chloë's 17th birthday then, and she opted to get this Harry Potter tattoo. She's HP-mad, if you didn't know!

Sophia Piercing

And Sophia got her helix double-pierced. I have mine done, too - for over 20 years - and both of us have had issues with getting those to heal! I also had my septum and my right tragus pierced the day Justin gave out free services last year.

Rob's Tattoo

My favorite thing was that Rob finally got to have his separation of service year, 2013, added to the 1993 tattoo (not visible here) he got when he entered Boot Camp.

So fast-forward to today:

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On top of everything else Justin does, he threw a big party all day today for the community to raise awareness about a new project he's doing: he bought the place next door from his academy and plans to turn it into either a sliding-scale high-quality sushi restaurant, or as I learned today, a teens' arcade. Hmm. With three teens, and all of us loving sushi, I am soosoosososo torn on which way to vote here! My belleh wants the soosh, but there is literally nothing here for the kids to do, so... gotta go with my Mom Gut on this one, I guess.

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When we got to the shindig, we found Justin and crew making tons of doughnuts, but they needed help. In short order, Sophia and Chloë had gloved up and stepped in to lend a hand! They went full-tilt, and I can't really be out the in sun too long, so we left them there for a couple hours and went home! Ha. Oh, and the best part? Justin was raffling off $6,000 worth of his services and actual real cash in baskets. I don't know who won yet, but I've got a pair of crossed fingers! Rob wants a lot of tattoos, but that "2013" is the only one he's gotten during our marriage. Money's tight, y'know?

Anyway, I just wanted to give a shout-out to Justin Abel and his arts academy here in Mountain Home, where we now live. It's truly gratifying to see that there are decent people in the world, giving just for the sake of giving.

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I showed you mine, now show me yours!

Share your city/town/suburb/you name it! Think of this as a photography hop that lets you share your part of the world and lets you travel virtually. If you link up, please link back or post the Sundays In My City button either in your post or sidebar to let people know that other bloggers are sharing their communities too. Happy trails!  

Let’s travel the world together!

Fin.

Fin.


Sunday Stealing: Friday Five Meme

Hidey-ho, neigbors! (Name that TV show.) I took a much-needed nap today to try to sleep off some severe migraine & fibro pain, and when I woke up I had no idea what day or time it was. That seems to be increasingly common for me; so confusing! I hate that. But, it's still Saturday night, which means, based on the numer of times I get distracted and go do other things temporarily... I still have time to post this on Sunday! 😂

Link up here if you want to join the fray today! And we're off...

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Questions from taken from Friday Five

Have you ever had a great conversation with a complete stranger?

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Sure! Once, Rob and I were on a high-end dinner mystery shop in downtown Miami, and when I came out of a stall in the ladies' room, the bathroom attendant and I struck up at least a 10-minute-long conversation that ended in hugs, laughter, and tears. We really connected, and it was so strange to try to write that up in my report without giving myself away.

Where did you go on the very first vacation of your life?

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My sperm donor has told me it was to North Carolina, but I definitely don't remember that.

Open the door of your refrigerator. What is the first thing you see?

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About half a dozen cartons of the fancy omega-3, pasture-raised, vegetarian-fed, etc. eggs - the only kind I can eat without having a severe allergic reaction.

What is your favorite place in your home?

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I don't know yet! It's so big, I feel like I haven't really had time in every place yet. I do love having a three-car garage, though. Maybe hitting that door-open and -close button, like a real grown-up, is my favorite thing!

If you had wings to fly about the universe, where is the first place you’d land?

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When I was a child, I had constant dreams about being able to fly away, escape, get to safety, etc. I also frequently dreamt I was heading to the moon. Those dreams were so vivid and realistic, I became convinced I actually could fly and had just forgotten how. So... the moon would be the first place I'd land.

What is the first thing you do when you get in your car?

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I have OCD, so the first thing my foot does is go on the brake pedal. And it remains there even when the car is turned off for long periods of time, like if I'm sitting in the car waiting for someone. I also jam the parking brake with my left foot, way down, and release it, and then repeat that several times.

What is special about the town you live in?

I posted this on Facebook about it today, actuallly:

Neighbors
What is the last thing you heard about your first love?

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He'd won a trip with his wife to Watkins Glen, New York's recent Nascar races, along with all kinds of racing accoutrement. I don't follow Nascar, but it looked like a great time for them to get away, so I was happy for 'em!

If you had created the world in seven days yourself, what would you have created on the First Day?

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I'd make empathy and compassion, and make it irrevocable in human beings.

How do you beat the summer heat?

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Swimming is my favorite!

Did you enjoy your Senior Year in high school?

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The home part, no, not at all; the school part, yes, absolutely!

Who is your favorite First Lady of all time?

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I've really liked a few, but in my lifetime, I think Michelle Obama takes the trophy.

Post a link to your first blog post.

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Well, this post is almost twelve years old, so it seems like ages in the lives of my kiddos! Wow, interesting for me to read - but probably boring for anyone else! (But my first blog post was actually well before that, on MySpace.)

When was the last time you needed First Aid?

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My physical therapist has gotten me using cupping as a means to quell my sore muscles from the constant muscle spasms I experience. I've gotten many a blister before, and/or worse, depending on your perspective of it. Really freaks out the kids... but I won't say too much. Don't wanna gross anyone out!

Can you explain what a first down is in football?

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Well, my understanding of it is very rudimentary, but without looking it up: The team who has the ball has four downs to make a touchdown. For each down, I think they need to make it ten yards closer to the goal line. I think if they do that, they get another set of four downs (if they haven't made a goal)? If the other team intercepts a pass, or the original team doesn't make their 40-yards over four downs, the ball passes to the other side. I think. Maybe?

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Now I have to go look it up for real! ha! I feel silly even trying. I just know those UM fellas look pretty good in their new environmentally-friendly uniforms from Adidas!

I hope you all have a stellar week. Hoping to get around and read everyone's posts today. At least this week. Bear with me!

Cheers!

Fin.


Saturday 9: Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs

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Hey, y'all - welcome back! I'm in the throes of a full-on, true migraine right now, with visual aura, dizziness and nausea... the whole bit. But sleepiness, unfortunately, is not one of those symptoms, so here I am. All that to say, if my answers are sloppy, that's probably why. (This time; I can't excuse all the other times.)

Link up here if you wanna chit-chat with us about Frasier this week!

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Tossed Salad and Scrambled Eggs (1993)

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

1) This is the theme from Frasier, a TV show that ran  from 1993 to 2004. Were you a fan?

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Definitely! That right there is my jam. Right up my alley.

2) The show is about a radio advice show host, Dr. Frasier Krane. When you listen to the radio, do you tune in for talk or music?

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I'm not really into talk radio. I feel like I'm supposed to be, intellectually speaking, but I just don't want to. I listen for the music.

3) The theme's composer explained that tossed salad and scrambled eggs are both "mixed up," like the people who called Frasier's radio show. Which did you eat more recently, tossed salad or scrambled eggs?

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I did eat eggs today - twice, since they are my main way to get my protein requirements in - but they were sunny-side up, over easy, on toast with a smidge of cheese. I haven't really had scrambled eggs in a long time. Maybe it's just not fancy enough for me? So anyway, probably a salad. Now I want a salad. A funny one, like these.

4) Peri Gilpin played Roz, Frasier's coworker at the radio station. The actress originally cast was Lisa Kudrow, but the show's producers didn't feel she was "right." Being released from Frasier gave her the opportunity to accept a bigger and better part: Phoebe on Friends. Can you think of a time when a setback was really a blessing in disguise?

Sure, like when the 100-year-old house we thought we loved in Kimberly, Idaho, came back with a plethora of safety and repair issues upon inspection, we were sorely disappointed. But that made way for us to find the house we bought instead (some of which I showed, above, and on Instagram). I love this house so much. Love it, love it, love it, love it!!!

5) Dr. Krane shared his home with Martin, his retired dad. Martin's favorite chair was a well-worn recliner, held together in parts with tape. Frasier tried to replace it by giving his father a brand-new, expensive leather chair as a gift. Martin wanted his old recliner back. Tell us about a present you either gave or received that wasn't a hit.

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It's actually kind of an inside joke between us now: Rob (Hubs) kept asking for this Casio G-Shock DW9052 watch, when we lived in Miami. For Christmas, year after year after year, I gave him at least one new watch - not that watch, but a different watch or watches that I thought were better, which cost a lot more normally but for which I got incredible deals. He never wore any of them, though. This happened probably three years in a row, yet he kept asking for the Casio G-Shock for Christmas. Finally, the last Christmas before we moved here in 2017, I got him the watch he asked for. He wears it every single day. Heh. (I did get a deal on it, though!)

6) Kelsey Grammer played Dr. Krane on three different series (Cheers, Wings and Frasier) over 20 years. What job have you held the longest?

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Well, I've been a stay-home mom since I was pregnant with Chloë (lots of complications, so I could not work). She'll be 18 in less than a month! So I guess Mum is my longest-held job, especially considering I home-schooled all three kids for ten years. Now that it looks like Chloë is heading off the CSI in Twin Falls, Idaho, to study nursing soon, and the littles are entering public high school, I'm going to have to start finding new ways to self-identify and validate myself!

7) Before he found success on Cheers, Grammer played bit parts on the daytime dramas Ryan's World and Another World. Have you ever followed a soap opera?

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When I was a kid, I watched Guiding Light, but that was only because my stepsisters did, really. My mom was a fan of All My Children, so sometimes after she died I would watch that, too.

8) In addition to work in front of the camera, Grammer has done voice over work on commercials for Dr. Pepper and Cheerios. Are either of those products in your kitchen right now?

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The kids love Cheerios, so I'm willing to bet there are at least two boxes in the pantry right now. I hate it. I can always tell when the kids have been eating it, because I think it smells like baby diarrhea. Blechhh!

9) Random question: You're invited to a party where dinner is served buffet style. There's spaghetti with tomato sauce, barbecue spare ribs and buffalo wings. When the evening is over, how likely are you to have a food stain on your clothes?

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I can normally be pretty messy when I eat, but not in this case, because I wouldn't be able to eat any of those three things: I can't eat spaghetti, because of my gastric bypass surgery; I can't stand barbecue sauce and have never eaten spare ribs in my entire life; and, same thing with wings: I don't do barbecue, and I can't keep chicken down because of the bypass surgery. And since I'm allergic to everything, I'm basically on the ice diet now.

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That was a fun one, Sam! Thanks for taking my mind off the migraine while I completed it. I think I've actually got a moment or two, so for once I'm gonna go 'round and visit y'all. Go me, such the equitable blogger! 🙄

Fin.


Sundays In My City: Sunday Sundaes

Sundays In My CityBy Claudya
Hey, guys! Welcome to another edition of Claudya M's Sundays in my City, Smellyann-style. Be sure and link up here when you've posted yours for this week, too!
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So currently, my daughter's girlfriend is spending two nights this weekend at our house, because her parents have gone of out town. I happened to know that Sydney loves ice cream, and I wanted to make sure she enjoys her stay, so I suggested we have sundaes on Sunday. Naturally, everyone jumped on that idea! We haven't done a sundae bar in yeaaaaaars.
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My 16yo son Jack had the brilliant idea of putting a chocolate-dipped cone upside-down on his sundae, which everyone wanted to then copy. But brilliant move, Jack, because then there was only one cone left, and no way that was going to be joyfully split amongst five more of us! He relished it with gusto, too.
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Here's my non-traditional banana split. Having worked at the sundae shop Larry's on St. Pete Beach, Florida, back in the day, I know full well that this ain't right. But it looked and sounded delicious, which is all that truly mattered to me! Being the glutton that I am, I put a small scoop of Talenti pistachio gelato on one end, chocolate ice cream in the middle, and a scoop of Talenti mint chip gelato on the other end, atop half a split banana. The chocolate was topped with peanut butter sauce, while the gelati were topped with chocolate sauce. A generous helping of juiced strawberries, more than enough whipped cream, and a smattering of chopped nuts finished the job, with the requisite cherry on the summit.
It was a diabetic's worst nightmare. Seriously: My blood sugar was already at 96 right before I dug in; we checked. One scoop of gelato (and associated toppings) in, and we checked again: 192! That didn't stop me, as I still knew that deliciousness awaited me. But I didn't get very much further before I started to feel awful. Just awful. We checked it again: 220!! I was full by then, so Rob agreed to take on the burden of eating mine, too, if someone would stick it in the freezer. I passed out shortly after that.
Lesson learned? I doubt it.
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17yo Chloë followed suit, sharing the other half of my split banana. She used three maraschino cherries on her alternative banana split. Maaaaaan. I should've done that. Mmm-mm. Who doesn't love those things?
I remember doing a mystery shop at a bar called... BJs or something? ... on Virginia Beach's Rudy's Inlet. A little locals' dive bar. This one bartendress made me a tequila sunrise with three cherries: one red, one orange, and one beautiful. That was years ago, and I still remember it as one of the best sunrises of my drinking career. Those cherries must've had some impact!
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14yo Sophia continued the banana sundae trend, making this ... monstrosity. I don't know what to call it, but she enjoyed it - after mixing everything UP - so I guess that's all we care about. Mixing it up, though?! What the deuce? I want to be able to see all my ingredients.
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Here's Sophie's adorable 15yo girlfriend, Sydney, who also had some kind of banana sundae. I'm such the trendsetter.
The girls met this past May. Both of my girls came out around December of 2017 or January of 2018, which didn't faze me in the least: Sophia as a lesbian, Chloë as bisexual. As you may know, we lived in Boise, Idaho, at the time, which is the most liberal of this very red state. Meaning, it's difficult to be gay for anyone in the state of Idaho, let alone a teenager. Last year, Pride 2018, was our first time attending this event. I was so excited to finally be able to go to Pride "legitimately," as an Ally, and feel somewhat like I belonged to this cool and unusual crowd. I hope my daughters felt the same way.
And then in May, I urged them to go to the Pride Prom. Sophia was going to wear a jumpsuit, but she ended up finding a dress she loved at the thrift store we frequent. Shocked the shit out of me! But she kept to her usual Sophie self by pairing it with a matching set of high-top Chuck Taylors:
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Chloë looked beautious, too:
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Anyway, so toward the end of the night at the prom, Sophia spotted this young girl standing alone, and went over to talk to her. I like that about my girls; inclusivity is the name of the game. And that, my friends, was the start of a beautiful relationship:
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Do I digress much? Enough? I think so. I think so. But anyway....
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So while Sundae Fun-day was great and all (before I passed out and then Rob and the teenagers played Guesstimation without me), I just did want to say that, yes, it's hard to be gay in Idaho. It's all well and good behind closed doors, safe in our loving and accepting home, but Sydney tells me that she gets bullied mercilessly at school about it. Now that Jack and Sophia are going into public high school, I'm afraid for Soph, too. And she's a brawler! Eek. 
I mean, in a state where - even in "liberal" Boise - I get my "COEXIST" and "Blue Girl in a Red State" stickers ripped off my car, I worry about my kids' sense of self in coming out to the world. About their safety, too. About being hurt physically and emotionally by people who call themselves Christian yet commit bad acts against them. It's a tough world. So I'm proud they've taken this step. As I say...:
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Amen. So cheers to you, Sydney, and Chloë, and Sophia, for being your authentic selves. Maybe someday instead of sundaes in Idaho, we'll be toasting with tequila sunrises in Virginia Beach!  🍹🍹
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I showed you mine, now show me yours.

Share your city/town/suburb/you name it! Think of this as a photography hop that lets you share your part of the world and lets you travel virtually. If you link up, please link back or post the Sundays In My City button either in your post or sidebar to let people know that other bloggers are sharing their communities too. Happy trails!  

Let’s travel the world together!

 

By Claudya

Fin.